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..
Well, this blasted non-ballroom (save for the mambo, and sorta-kinda the bolero) night played out just about like I thought it would: the hapless judges (aided and abbetted by the perpetually out-to-lunch Paula) kind of copped out on giving any seriously harsh scores, likely for the simple reason that they just didn’t know enough about the dances themselves to actually score properly. The end result was some pretty general overscoring, and perhaps a tiny bit of relative underscoring. But what worries me is that even though the spread may seem pretty big this week, more total points = smaller margins between points…meaning that it’s going to require fewer votes for those at the bottom to catch up with the rest of the pack. And it makes me nervous for another “shock” elimination…but this time, I think it has the potential to be truly shocking. Let’s get on with it, shall we?
1.) Shawn & Derek – Best routine of the night, without a doubt – great, PROPER mambo choreography, and flawless execution. I think these two may have had the toughest dance to contend with, for the simple reason that mambo has been done on the show before as a regular dance – and it has been done far more than any of the other dances on the list. Add to that the constant pressure of the all-star season? If they had a bit of an off-week, I wouldn’t have blamed them. But luckily, they absolutely KILLED this mambo – great tricks, a good amount of meat & potatoes choreography, and best of all – Shawn pulled off the “sassy” and sexy without a hitch, and looked great doing it. Very impressed with how she’s matured since her original season. If I REALLY had to nitpick, I would say that it seemed like Shawn was sliding a little bit when coming out of her turns – very slight bobble, but it made me wonder if the floors tonight were a little slick – and could also be the cause of other snafus tonight. Anyway, I think if they gave that hot mess of a Bollywood number that Gilles crapped out a 39.5, then this should have been a 42. But Len, ever the fuddy-duddy, withheld that last half a point that would have put them at the top of the leaderboard. Oh well – luckily it matters even less this week
2.) Kelly & Val – Like almost all of their other dances this season, this came out far better than I would have anticipated – even if these two were kinda giving me the creeps with all of their brooding in the background all night. Was it truly “contemporary”? Meh…it had elements of contemporary, and it came far closer to contemporary than Emmitt did to bolero or Bristol did to rock ‘n’ roll. But it was a pretty dance, and I do feel like they injected some emotion into it – which is really how contemporary came to be in the first place: ballet with emotion. Kelly had some nice extensions and seemed to really connect to the dance…and really, Val did too, as much as he may have hated the style they got. And he did get a few brownie points from me for calling Cheryl the b-word on national television, for all to hear I think they may have gotten a little out-of-synch on the side-by-side sections, and I must confess that I didn’t really understand the purpose of the platform they climbed onto. But overall, a very nice effort for a dance that neither party was particularly jazzed to have…and I’m sure we’ll be hearing buzz about this one for the rest of the week. Read more..
Nice to see that Anna & Chelsie haven’t completely moved onto other projects since being eliminated on Tuesday They did a bit for DWTSRadio in which they briefly describe what we can expect to see this week in terms of dances – you can listen to it HERE. I think they’re option #4, so you can toggle through - but don’t do like I did & get impatient and click too many times, because it will only let you “skip” so many times before it forces you to listen to the segments in order. Grrrrr.
Heather’s costume: “This black/green pants suit was created in England and was such a fun costume to dance the mambo. The circular bell bottoms were flying all over the place, and accentuated all of the intricate footwork that Heather did.”
*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson
Billy Ray & Karina’s costumes: “Dancing to “Ring of Fire”, Billy Ray really wanted to pay tribute to Johnny Cash. We embellished the back of his jacket with a completely rhinestone-encrusted guitar, quite the vintage country western look of that time period. To this day it is one of my favorite men’s costumes. And Karina’s costume had all those firey red rhinestones totally encrusting her bodice, along with that cute vintage June Carter Cash skirt, with a ballroom flare to it. Quite the perfect couple coordinating their costumes with such a great song.”
*photos courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson
Ian & Cheryl’s costumes: “Cheryl’s asymmetrical panel skirt w/slits really showed off some really cool Quicktep moves and Ian’s sleeveless jacket w/coordinating color shirt was a great finish to the couple’s look. Cheryl’s costume was trimmed out in “Volcano” colored stones which has about 6 colors showing, depending on how the light hits it. Cheryl has such a curvy and sexy body and this dress really capitalized on showing off her fantastic curves.”
*photos courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson
Apolo & Julianne’s costumes: “Julianne’s pink quickstep gown is still such a memorable gown. I still have people commenting on it, after all these years. I think the combination of the fringe skirt overlayed on top of one layer of sheer silk chiffon was a first, and it really showed off some terrific choreography of Julianne’s. I am so glad that Apolo was game to wear the gray tails suit, as it was a great look with Julianne’s pink.”
*photos courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson
John & Edyta’s costumes: “The shaded (emerald green to mint green) silk satin ballgown was quite nude for a ballgown look, but who else but Edyta pulls off such a look (consistently)?! Even with the chiffon floater (bat wing), she was able to control it so that it didn’t get in John’s way when they were dancing (for the most part!). And John looks sensational in his classic white tie and tails.”
*photos courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson
Kym’s costume: “During the dress rehearsal, Kym stepped in the hemline of her gown, which meant that in the (less than 1 ½ hour) turn around from dress rehearsal to LIVE show time, we had to shorten the skirt a couple of inches – which meant that we had to RIP OFF yards and yards (!) of paillette beaded trim on the hemline, shorten the skirt about 2” and RESTITCH the beaded trim back on! I have to say that we were literally sweating bullets trying to make that happen before we went live! I still get a hot flash every time I think about that dress!”
*photos courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson
Shandi’s costume: “I sure wish I could take the credit for Shandi looking so INCREDIBLE, but honestly I have to say……she comes that way! That’s the way she looks all of the time! Tall and incredibly curvy and sexy. I just did a little “window dressing” and called it a costume! Wow!!”
*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson
Wow! Kym sure knows how to give Randall a heart attack, huh? Be sure to tune in next week when Randall gives his commentary on the costumes from weeks 3 & 4, which air this Saturday starting at 6 PM EST on GSN. Need more Randall between now and then? Check out his website, or holler at him on his Facebook page
Since the cast announcement, there’s been a lot of talk about whether or not some of this season’s cast members have an unfair advantage on the show due to having “previous dance experience”. So I took it upon myself to do a little digging around to see just who out of our 12 celebs is no stranger to the dance floor…and guess what? All of them have done a little dancing before…well, at least a very loose definition of dancing So why don’t we see how they all measure up, shall we? Let’s begin with the stars with the more obvious experience: Brandy, Florence, Jennifer, & the Hoff. Watch and discuss…
First up, we have Brandy, who starred in a revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella back in 1997. Here’s her big “dance number” – the song “Ten Minutes Ago”, where she croons with Paolo Montalban while doing some Viennese waltzing:
As for any experience she may have garnered in her music video days, here’s the most “dance-heavy” video of hers I could find – “Afrodisiac”:
Courtney: Ok, the first video is some pretty basic Viennese waltzing – natural turn, reverse turn, underarm turn, repeat. And Brandy & Paolo suspiciously disappear when the extras begin the heavy duty spinning & lifting. I mean, as far as an advantage – it may save Maks 15 mintues of practice time explaining what the Viennese waltz is and what the basic movement is. But other than that…nah. As for her video (and I think this goes for all of her videos in general) – Brandy does a lot of grooving and a little bit of basic choreo, but she leaves the hard stuff to her backup dancers. She may be able to inject the “sexy factor” into her dances, but I don’t think she’s going to have an edge in terms of technical skill.
Marianya: I remember when I first saw Brandy and Paolo dance in Cinderella I promised myself that I would learn how to do that. And then when I went to do it, it was the most basic steps in the repertoire… talk about disappointment. Also in regards to music videos or shows, Brandy was big in the 90s, but the 90s weren’t all that dance heavy for the female soloists… at least not until Britney Spears and Co. from the Mickey Mouse club took over the music world for a spell (turn of the millennium). So really in regards to prior dance experience, none… can she pick up choreo? Definitely, but that’s something that most anyone could do… the mere fact that she’s done choreo before just edges here out slightly…
Heidi: Who choreographed that Cinderella thing? Will they own up to it? Yeah, not a ringer, but I do think she has more of an advantage due to her relative youth and physical conditioning.
The verdict: Her basic knowledge of choreo may give her a SLIGHT advantage, but we think she’s going to have more of an edge from her young age & great body.
Now we’re onto Florence Henderson, who did some serious disco grooving back when she was on The Brady Bunch Variety Hour (unless you want to sit through some serious cheese, I recommend starting at the 2:24 mark to see Flo shake her groove thing ):
Marianya: I was watching this at work and was shaking my head a few times… man everyone was all over the place, it’s amazing. The steps are very basic that most anyone could pick up the choreo, I don’t think this could transcend into ballroom dancing. Plus it’s been a few decades for her… and she’s not getting any younger.
Courtney: The hustle portion is hysterical – at some point, every single one of them messes up. Again, some pretty elementary “jazz hands” type dancing…which even Flo fouls up a few times. And this was quite a few years ago – I don’t know that Flo is gonna be as lithe & nimble now as she was then.
Heidi: Didn’t I also read that Florence was also a Broadway baby? Yup, I did. I think, like Jennifer, that her age kind of equalizes any perceived benefit to having been in Oklahoma and South Pacific – but the advantage that doesn’t go away is the comfort in front of a live audience and doing a live performance. See, I think everyone has an advantage of some sort – it’s going to come down to who has the most.
The verdict: Her age will likely negate any edge she may have had from Broadway, but she may be more comfortable in front of a live audience than some of the other celebs…just don’t ask her to do the Hustle.
Here we have the celeb who has been accused of having the greatest amount of dance experience this season – Jennifer Grey. Now, due to the fine folks at Lionsgate Entertainment and their vigilant policing of any uploaded clips from Dirty Dancing, an embeddable copy of the famous “final dance” from the movie does not exist on the interwebs – so you can go watch it here.
Courtney: Ok, now while this iconic scene may be forever embedded in some folks’ minds as “fantastic dancing”, I think Marianya (and anyone else that has seen REAL mambo) will agree that this is pretty mediocre by most ballroom standards. Very stiff, very obviously choreographed. And again – quite a few years ago, and Jennifer has had some health problems since then, so even if she could remember these moves, there’s no guarantee that she’d be able to execute them.
Heidi: Interesting note about this dance: I read or saw a show on Patrick Swayze and they said this was the first dance filmed and they could only do ONE take because Patrick was having…was it back issues?? There was not a lot of takes on this dance, if the thing I saw was correct. It’s possible they were talking about “the lift” too. It’s been a while. That said – I think that most people are blinded by the romance of the moment, and miss the amateurish dancing. It’s a sweet movie – but it’s not truly about dancing.
Marianya: It’s funny when you see iconic dances in movies or television and you think “I wanna be able to do that” and when you actually start learning, it’s a whole different ball of wax. Now, Jennifer has studied dance growing up, but that was how many decades ago? Sure, she could pick up choreography… decades ago, but again, so can most anyone else. I think Jennifer would be slightly ahead of the game in the ballroom dances due to her dance studies growing up, but in regards to the latin dances the most is probably the basics in mambo, but that’s it… An edge? Not enough to win, but enough to score above average I’d say.
Courtney: Heidi, I’m glad you notice the amateurish dancing as well. I think it becomes especially obvious when you compare Patrick & Jennifer’s version to Cheryl & Tony’s version that they performed during season 2 – notice how much more fluid it looks when people who know how to actually dance mambo do it:
The verdict: She may have a slight advantage from her Dirty Dancing days, but that alone not going to be enough to take her all the way.
Last but not least, we’ve got David Hasselhoff. Now as one of the videos that Heidi posted earlier mentioned, David has a little bit of musical theater under his belt – he’s been in the Las Vegas production of The Producers, was the lead in Jekyll & Hyde on Broadway back in 2000, and played Billy Flynn in the London production of Chicago for 3 months back in 2004. Now while I’d love to showcase him dancing in one of these productions, I cannot find any videos of him in The Producers or Chicago, and Jekyll & Hyde is not a very dance-heavy musical. However, I do have something even better - the Hoff getting funky in the 1976 film Revenge of the Cheerleaders:
Courtney: *hysterically laughing* Wow, those cheerleaders were loving them some Hoff! Ok, that aside, I’m sure the Hoff has some rhythm, and I think the musical theater background has helped – but then again, if my knowledge of musicals serves me, Billy Flynn & Roger DeBris (his role in The Producers) aren’t known for being particularly difficult roles, dance-wise. Mainly a lot of jazz hands What I’m more concerned about – and I’ve said this before – is that the Hoff’s mind may be a bit rusty. Seriously- sometimes I think he’s got more than a few screws loose. So in spite of all this experience, I think he might have trouble remembering choreography (or even being able to pay attention when Kym is teaching it). What good is previous experience if you can’t remember it to draw from?
Marianya: Oh heaven help me. If that is what the Hoff is capable of then I foresee another Jerry Springer in the works. I saw the Hoff in the Jekyll & Hyde musical and there was no dancing in there. In fact the other parts that he has done in musical theatre were minimal if any dancing. So I don’t know if he could pick up choreo, ok he could pick up choreo but I don’t believe that he could do anything with it like Donny Osmond. He’ll ham it up, that’s for sure… but I think the buck will stop there.
Heidi: Oh my lord. What more can I say about that? I think The Hoff is going to do well on the show, but I don’t think it will be because of any perceived advantage.
The verdict:If he does well on the show, it sure as hell won’t be due to his Broadway experience – or the sizzling moves we see here!
So there you go – some food for thought for those of you who think that some of these celebs have an unfair advantage. But what about the other celebs this season, you ask? Oh boy – just you wait for part II…because you guys are gonna be blown away by some of the hoofing the other celebs have done in the past Did you sense the sarcasm there?
I’m very sad this week because I loved Louie and Chelsie and was not ready to see them go :( However, that is the nature of the show and favorites go home every week.
What I was really excited about was all the sexy outfits! Hello Joanna in her mambo costume, SO HOT! Kelly in her jitterbug out, SO ADORABLE! Louie as a ‘nerd’, SO SEXY! Donny in his train get up, SO FUN!! And now for the good, the bad, and the incredibly hot!
THE GOOD Kelly and Louis
These two crack me up every single week!!!! I love their chemistry and I love that Louis choreographs to highlight Kelly at every stage of the dance! Her smile is infectious and her feet are getting their :) Her turns are always off and her feet are sometimes very pigeon-toed but watching her with Louis is amazingly beautiful!
THE BAD Melissa and Mark
I think Melissa had a lot of potential to go a long way on this show but she got to the point where she was more focused on the destination rather than the journey. The choreography that Melissa this week was very classic waltz but I didn’t feel like Melissa connected with the piece the way it required. The technique Mark has been trying to instill in her from day one has been going out the window since after their Charleston and I think this week it was finally all gone.
THE INCREDIBLY HOT Competition Mambo: Derek and Joanna
HOLY SMOKES…these two were so SEXY!!!! The choreo Derek gave Joanna was perfect and it really suited her well! She is beautiful in the latin world and I can’t wait for more from these two!
There are so many video’s of rehearsals being leaked and I’m so excited to see these newbie’s take on the cha cha, foxtrot, salsa, or viennese waltz in 2 weeks! Until then…here’s another the good, the bad, and the incredible hot!
THE GOOD Season 8: Lil Kim, Paso Doble
This is a PERFECT example of how amazing Derek choreographs to his partners! Lil Kim picked up on all the little details in the dance including the wrist flips and the leg kicks! Her facial expressions were on point and her costume was very fitting!
THE BAD Season 7: Kim Kardashian, Mambo
I think Mark said it best when he said “Kim just needs to come out of her shell and bring it” I do feel like a lot of people expected Kim to be this sexy dancer but it all reality she didn’t have the musicality! She knew the steps but didn’t put any of her in them which makes for a boring performance. Lastly, Kim never did the moves 100% like Mark does all the time, so it was aesthetically pleasing to watch.
THE INCREDIBLE HOT Louis Van Amstel always has amazing choreography!
This past weekend I was youtubing some DWTS dances from all the past seasons and I found some that I completely forgot about but still love! I was also reminded of several that I don’t care to see again :) So, for today here’s the break down of the good, the bad, and the just plain adorable
Julianne’s first emmy nomination dance: Season 5 Helio Castroneves, Mambo
Season 2: Master P, Cha Cha
There’s one thing to be a terrible dancer and still trying your hardest to be apart of something of this magnitude. However, Master P was clearly over DWTS before he even jumped in. Technically, he was terrible! There was no musicality from him, he walked the entire performance, never once showed any emotion, and wasn’t a great partner for Ashly!
DWTS: Kids Challenge, Brandon and Brittany!
More great Dancing with the Stars Music for all to enjoy!! Hopefully this is helpful to those looking for various songs from week 6 of Dancing with the Stars.
Jason & Edyta danced the Cha Cha to the song Best Of My Love sung by the The Emotions
Shannon & Derek danced the Rumba to the song True Colors sung by the Cyndi Lauper
Marlee & Fabian danced the Mambo to the song Mi Tierra sung by the Gloria Estefan
Cristian & Cheryl danced the Foxtrot to the song Come Fly With Me sung by the Frank Sinatra
Marissa & Tony danced the Viennese Waltz to the song Delilah sung by the Tom Jones
Kristi & Mark danced the Jive to the song Rip It Up sung by the Little Richard
Mario & Karina danced the Rumba to the song Let’s Get It On sung by the Marvin Gaye
All Couples danced the Group Country to the song Cotton Eyed Joe sung by the The Nashville Riders