Ok, you’ve made your selections in our first round in the “Battle of the 3rd Place Finishers! Laila Ali & Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Chelsea Kane & Mark Ballas, Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy won! Now it’s time to VOTE and determine who is the final winning couple from the three! VOTE in the new poll below and then let us know who you voted for in comments. Thanks All!!
All the talk about freestyles actually had me go back and watch quite a few of the winners and losers to see what the couples have to live up to on Monday. It’s a rather daunting task, to create one that is really good and, just as important, MEMORABLE. If you subscribe to the Derek Hough school of thought, you want it to be remembered more than you want the MBT. Which of the couples will manage that Monday night?? A couple of them have really good track records, for sure.
Season 1 – it’s rather shocking to watch season 1′s freestyles and remember that they did ACTUAL ballroom. You’ll note that once the Hough Ballas Crowd came along, the bar on the freestyles rose considerably. This one was not bad, considering the time frame, but there were a lot of mis-steps in it. Pay particular attention to the judges and how mellow they are and non-dramatic. This was before they became invested in being the stars of the show. Read more..
Good Monday All! How are you and are you anxious for the new season of Dancing With The Stars to start yet?
Just a few media things to share today. First up, according to this tweet Carrie Ann Inaba will be returning as a judge for the new season of Dancing With The Stars. I’m not sure what to think. I’m ready for some new blood in this area especially in Carrie Ann’s and Len’s spot, but, hey.
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Dance pros Karina Smirnoff and Maks Chmerkovskiy continue to make waves in the Broadway world in “Forever Tango”. There are some raving reviews out there and some not so raving reviews out there. To read and see some awesome photos, see these links….
“The show is called Forever Tango, and they weren’t kidding with that title….” via Hollywood Reporter Thanks to Miss Heidi for this one)
“The big draw of course — besides Santa Rosa — is former Dancing With the Stars (and formerly engaged) pair Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Karina Smirnoff, who perform in a handful of the dances to rapturous cheers from the crowd. The couple is, in a word, dazzling. Smirnoff glides beautifully, and Chmerkovskiy shakes his hips (and his booty) with such skill, it’s clear he was born with the talent….” via Entertainment Weekly
“Performing routines choreographed by Horvath and Galoto, the popular duo perform with a more show-bizzy style; making more of an effort to play to the audience than their counterparts. Chmerkovskiy isn’t above clowning a bit with his partner’s skirt, granting peaks at his well-developed chest and shaking his fanny in the direction of squealing fans. I’ll leave it to the dance critics to evaluate the technique of each couple but the intense sexuality of Horvath and Galoto seems to exude more authenticity….” via Broadway World
“Both are comfortable here — having appeared in the 2009 ballroom extravaganza “Burn the Floor,” they’re Broadway vets by now — and they sure deliver something, if not traditional steps. With Karina, it’s a haughty stare and “Don’t mess with me” attitude. With Maks, it’s a bubble butt and hints of sculpted pecs….” via The NY Post
Lastly, there was a beach party over the weekend in which some of our dance pros and past contestants from Dancing With The Stars attended. You can see some cool pics of Cheryl Burke, Kelly Monaco, Chelsie Hightower, Mark Ballas, Peta Murgatroyd and more at the Daily Mail and Zimbio Pictures. Derek Hough was in attendance too. See Pure Derek Hough for some fun pictures of him.
And that is all for now. More later …I hope. xxx
ADDING: Here is a new interview with Maks and Karina with Hollywood TV. Thanks to @DWTSMaksimFans for this one. I love what Karina says about Dancing With The Stars and how it helped her and Maks get their roles in Forever Tango.
There are also some great pics of Maks and Karina taken over the weekend at Getty Images where they attended a “Celebrities Visit Broadway” celebration. Karina also attended a Major League Baseball’s All Star Bash. They also sprinkled “Forever Tango” cupcakes. See this link for more.
…and check out how Kelly Monaco, Andy Dick, and Chaz Bono make an appearance. This is a good one…
So you read my predictions for who is going to be gone before the midpoint of the season. Now it’s time for my predictions for who’s going to be sticking around longer…and who’s gonna win Read on!
6.) Ingo & Kym – Not sure quite what to make of these two – they’re very likeable and seem to have great chemistry, Ingo seems willing to work hard and eager to do well, and Kym, as always, is a very patient, nurturing teacher that brings out the best in her partners. But while everything seems pretty on the surface, I can’t shake the feeling that Ingo may be a bit…awkward. The rehearsal video and the pix we’ve seen so far seem to reveal some “Ralph hands”, and Ingo himself has admitted that he’s not exactly a graceful guy. I’m also seeing shades of him taking things just a little too seriously – and we’ve seen how being a little too serious and a little too desperate to do well can torpedo a couple’s chances of getting votes. Now don’t get me wrong – compared to some of the couples on the bottom half of the list (namely D.L. & Cheryl, and possibly Sean & Peta), Ingo & Kym have a great connection and “taking things a little too seriously” is less of a problem than, say, having zero chemistry with your partner or having a partner that just doesn’t seem to give a hoot I just don’t know that Ingo & Kym are going to coast through this season like Hines & Kym did. Fanbase-wise? I’m inclined to say that Ingo will benefit somewhat from the “soap vote”, although likely not to the degree Kelly did – since Ingo’s character on GH seems to only be recurring at this point, I don’t know that he’ll have as many of the same impassioned fans that voted for Kelly, also voting for him. We already know Kym is pretty well-loved, so her fanbase should help out somewhat…but I think overall, these two will probably be more on-par with the Cameron Mathison/Edyta partnership, rather than the Kelly/Val one. There are just too many more popular celebs (likely with better dance skills) this season for a soap star to really have a hope and a prayer of making it to the finale, methinks. Read more..
And the fun continues…
Gilles & Peta’s Bollywood – 3
Bristol & Mark’s cha-cha – 2
Shawn & Derek’s non-samba samba – 2
Kirstie & Maks’ paso doble trio – 1
Shawn & Derek’s bhangra – 1
Gilles & Peta’s cha-cha – 1
Melissa & Tony’s freestyle – 1
Sabrina & Louis’ paso doble – 1
Shawn & Derek’s rumba – 1
Kelly & Val’s contemporary – 1
Courtney: This is all I’ll say about the write-ins: it’s obvious when someone is writing in a certain dance simply out of spite, or just to try to get a reaction out of people. How very puerile of them Was Pam & Tristan’s cha-cha a bizarre, fumbly train wreck? Yeah, but I almost think it’s unfair to even count first week dances…because they’re the ones with the highest potential to look like crap. I usually find myself more turned off by bad dances that occur later on in the season – because by that point, you can’t cite “first week jitters” as a reason to f*ck up. For that reason, I actually think I chose Gangnam Style – I hated that dance because it was a cop-out. They basically got a free pass to do ANYTHING they wanted – they could have put a completely unique spin on it, thrown in some cool tricks & lifts, and incorporated some ballroom steps to please Len. Instead, it was as if they said “Y’know what? Let’s just copy the video, add some additional raunch, and call it a day.” Was it fun? Sure. But I can think a dance is fun and also think it’s terrible. Case in point? Carson & Anna’s pirate Viennese waltz in season 13. Amusing in a trainwreck fashion, but I definitely wouldn’t say it was my favorite of that season…or even that week, and it was still a complete mess. I think my second choice was Bristol & Mark’s quickstep, because it just ended up being a complete mess, both in terms of choreography & execution. Not sure what to make of the surfer flamenco – I guess I would categorize that one as a “cop-out” as well, since it seemed like they said “Welp, we don’t know any flamenco, so let’s do paso in skimpy swimsuits and hope nobody notices!”
Heidi: Courtney!! How dare you say that people write in comments just out of spite!! That NEVER happens here!! Well, okay, only every other day. Totally agree with you that I wouldn’t look at first week dances and cry out “worst dance ever!!” So many of them DO look like crap in the first week. Anyway, when I looked at this category two dances immediately came to mind – Team Gangnam Style and Gilles’ Bollywood nightmare. Team Gangnam style just disgusted me because they didn’t even TRY. Any actual dancing that was included was sloppy and disjointed – I seem to recall thinking that Emmett was the only standout from that mess. Pretty sure that’s the one I voted for…although I could have written in Gilles.
Vogue: When I saw this poll, I almost voted for the Team Gangnam dance as the Worst dance. I remember thinking it was just awful comparted to Team Call Me Maybe’s dance which was so well executed, choreographed and full of creative content. In the end though, I voted for Val and Kelly’s Surfer Flamenco (what an awful combination) as that dance beat them all as worst dance ever in all of the seasons of Dancing With The Stars PUT TOGETHER!
Ok, it’s official: I’m probably going to eliminate the write-in category the next time we do these, because it seems like it got misunderstood & misused quite a bit this time. HINT: if you wrote in several of “shawn n derrick!!!” dances for best dance, yet also wrote in “shawn n derrick!!!” for most mismatched couple, I’m going to assume you probably did not understand the question. Oy
Bristol & Mark – 11
Shawn & Derek – 11
Kirstie & Maks – 6
Kelly & Val – 1
Melissa & Tony – 1
None – 1
Courtney: First things first: if you wrote in any of the three finalists in this category, this is me rolling my eyes at you, because I daresay Melissa & Tony, Shawn & Derek, and Kelly & Val were probably 3 of the MOST compatible partnerships this season – and obviously they did something right, or else they likely wouldn’t have made the finale. Methinks there are likely some sour grapes over the outcome of this season coming from those writing any of those 3 couples in. And yeah, Bristol & Mark were mismatched in season 11, and they were mismatched again this season…but honestly, does anyone really think Bristol would have fared better with any other pro? I’m not even sure Derek could have shined that turd. As for non-written-in results – I’m not sure I agree that Pam & Tristan were the “most mismatched”, per se – I would argue that they seemed to get along well in their rehearsal package and in their pre & post-show press, but that Pam just wasn’t able to put in the necessary effort to hack it in the all-star season. In retrospect, I actually think that Drew & Anna were terribly mismatched – and as a result, I think they didn’t go nearly as far as they should have, given their combined skill set. From what I gathered from insider info about their rehearsals, Drew came into the all-star season with a “let’s have fun!” attitude, but Anna’s intensity and the pressure she was putting on him to get things perfect took its toll and by the end of his run, he was stressed out, anxious, and definitely not having fun anymore. Unfortunately, as much as I love Anna, I think her intensity is the one thing that may be standing between her and an MBT – unlike Karina, who seems to have figured out how to balance being intense with having fun, I don’t know that Anna has figured out how to relax and enjoy the experience…and I think that may take a toll on her partners. As for Gilles & Peta – yeah, in the end, I think they ended up being a mismatch…but I blame that more on Gilles being a complete d-bag, and Peta just letting him get away with it. Apolo & Karina had some edgy moments, but overall I think they were well-matched; didn’t see enough of Helio & Chelsie to really make a judgement one way or another; and Sabrina & Louis were at about the same level of annoying perkiness, so I guess that means they were compatible
Vogue: I voted for Peta and Gilles for “Most Mismatched”! When we first heard they were going to be teamed up, I thought, “Wow, this pairing is brilliant. We are really in for something special.” Both gave off a classy, ‘old Hollywood’ feel in all of their promos. I loved Gilles the first time he danced, so I was quite taken back with his ego from the get go. I felt sorry for Peta so much of the time. I got the feeling he didn’t trust her since she was more new to the scene and would have rathered had Cheryl as a partner. It was a disappoinment. I didn’t get a “mismatched” feeling from anyone else like I did with Peta and Gilles …and like Courtney, I blamed it on Gilles too.
Heidi: Again – don’t remember who I voted for. And I didn’t feel sorry for Peta at all – she fed his ego instead of reining it in. I have to say that I agree with the Drew/Anna mismatch – that was just no fun at all. I don’t get why people think Pam and Tristan were mismatched. Because they went out first?? That’s a bit of a cop out – just because they were first out doesn’t mean that they were mismatched, just that she was the least skilled dancer who also had the fewest voters. Saying that the most mismatched couple is the one that went out first is kinda like saying that the best dancer always wins. Ummm…no. Also, Courtney – I’ve noticed on PDH that people tend to not read real closely on these sorts of things.
Ok, now that I’ve finally worked up the motivation to start revealing the results, I’m gonna do this a bit out-of-order – mainly because I simply don’t have the patience right now to tally up some of the awards with HUNDREDS of write-in votes This season has definitely made me question whether to even include write-ins as an option in the future. But I digress – let’s start with an award where the results were pretty cut & dry:
Bristol – 6
Helio – 2
Kirstie – 1
None – 1
Courtney: No arguments here – prior to the start of the season, Kelly was one of the celebs that I thought would REALLLLLY struggle, given that she was probably the weakest of the DWTS returning champions, based on her performance in season 1. Apparently Alec just didn’t know how to tap into her potential back then, because she was definitely one of the stronger dancers this season! Maybe Kelly just had time to mature between season 1 and season 15, maybe it helped to have a partner that she could really connect with (and wasn’t an “Iceman”) – whatever it was, she definitely impressed me this season, as did Val…makes me wonder if he could be the next great choreographer on the show in Derek’s absence. I also feel a bit vindicated now, since I’ve always said that Alec probably wasn’t that great of a teacher – if he was truly that great, he would have been able to pull performances out of Kelly 8 years ago that were as good as some of the ones we saw in season 16. I think Shawn & Apolo also improved, albeit not as drastically as Kelly; Melissa improved a little bit, as there didn’t seem to be quite as many cheerleader moves this time around; I think Sabrina stayed about the same; and Gilles got worse. I’m guessing the 6 votes for Bristol came from 2 well-known Bristol trolls on different computers – because she was even trainwreckier this time than she was before
Vogue: I voted for Kelly as well in this category. From the beginning, she seemed intent on doing well and improving herself. She had something to prove and that she could dance with the best of them. Despite a busy ongoing schedule with General Hospital, she gave it her all and it showed with every week that passed. Both she and Val had a powerful passion. They couldn’t have been more suited for each other. He wanted to do well too and set a name for himself other than just being Mak’s little brother. She gave him the confidence to do that and they flew with it even with the odds stacked against them. I loved them and I too look forward to Val’s future on Dancing With The Stars.
Heidi: I actually don’t remember who I voted for in this category, but if I was voting now it would be for either Kelly or Shawn. Kelly for all the reasons already stated – as much as the showmance made me nauseous by the end, she still ended up much better than her original season. I also have high hopes for Val in terms of choreo – that he’s inspired by Derek and not, say, Tony. He is a musician, so he starts out ahead. He did a lot with Kelly and made her seem warmer than I suspect she might actually be. If he continues to look at what Derek did as cool and creative as opposed to “rule breaking”, he can be the next great choreographer on the show. Take notes, Tony and Louis. As for Shawn, she was like a different dancer with Derek. She inspired him to up his game and she was fearless – talk about two people who complimented each other. Derek just pushed and pushed and pushed and got her to not only up her dancing, but her emotional connection to the dance. Awesome.
Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated…much to the chagrin of my detractors
Yes, I am back, after a rather prolonged post-season 15 hiatus. Part of it was due to a hectic year-end at work, part of it was due to other stuff, and part of it had to do with what I’m about to elaborate on in this post. Thanks to everyone who checked in on me on Twitter, and I can assure you I’m back full-time now
Many of you have noticed that I tend to take a bit of a break from Pure after the end of each season – mainly due to the level of burnout we all seem to reach after being in full-on DWTS mode for 3 months straight while we’re covering each season. Generally, I just need a break – some time to appreciate other things in my life besides DWTS – and I’m back after a week or two. This time, though, I had a harder time getting back into the swing of being excited and inspired to write about DWTS – and for awhile, I couldn’t figure out why. Then I had a revelation…
…I HATED THE ALL-STAR SEASON.
There, I said it. I hated the all-star season, and I think it has now surpassed season 9 as my least favorite season of DWTS EVER. Reflecting on this past season, aside from a few standout performances (and all the great interactions I had with Pure readers :-)), I was hard-pressed to really feel nostalgic and pleased about it. In fact, what I tended to remember the most was all the frustration, chaos, and general feelings of “WTF is going on???” that I had while watching and blogging from week to week – and when I really got to thinking about it, I found that there were 5 key problems that left me feeling totally turned-off the all-star season. Without further ado, I give you those reasons… Read more..
This post is the 4th and final part of a series where I basically tell the producers of DWTS how they should change the show – it’s for their own good. This part is more to the audience, but also for the producers. If you want to read parts 1, 2, and 3 you can find them here:
A reminder for those easily induced into righteous indignation – this is NOT about the various couples but about the JUDGES and the Producers – I’ve provided examples of problems that I remember from season to season. If you get your knickers in a twist about Melissa or Shawn or Mya or Nicole or Maria, I’m not going to waste time arguing with you, I’m going to call you names (maybe to myself, maybe publicly - we’ll see) and then ignore you. Keep it on topic.
I’ve never been one to believe in a high degree of manipulation of the show via the packages. I mean, let’s face it – no one MADE Maks be an ass with half his partners. And I’ve had people who work on the show tell me that what you see is usually what you get. Not to mention that after many seasons on the show, these pros know if you give the producers exciting footage, they are going to USE it. So, don’t be stupid. Take up the song “The Camera’s really on me now” by Derek Hough and Nicole Scherzinger. And suck it up. I get that the job of the producers is to get ratings. You get ratings by getting people talking. Be it a showmance or a knock down drag out fight. If you’re not smart enough to realize that camera really is recording everything you do, then it’s on YOU. Maks and Hope really WERE awful, Karina and Apolo (sadly) really were stressed out and boring, and Drew and Anna were indeed too intense and serious. Read more..