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PureDWTS Ask Courtney: What’s the Difference Between Jive/Lindy/Jitterbug/Charleston/etc.?

This is a very good question :-), but unfortunately one that required a bit of research on my part…so please bear with me as I give you guys a brief history/background of the swing dances.

First things first: all of the above dances are related, and evolved from one another, so that’s why they all look so similar to the naked eye.  Even I often have a hard time discerning between them, especially within the context of DWTS, where I think sometimes even the pros themselves aren’t quite sure about some of these dances – especially the Jitterbug & Lindy Hop. The lines between them are very blurred, because there’s often a lot of overlap in terms of steps, timing, & styling.

Charleston was the earliest of the swing dances, originating in the speakeasies during the 1920’s, and is usually associated with the “flappers”, who danced it alone or with each other to mock the “drys” – people who supported Prohibition.  At the time, it was considered to be a pretty provocative dance.  It has a bouncy feel to it, and the basic step does have the backward rock-step characteristic to almost all of the swing dances.  Here’s a good example of some other Charleston steps – note how it also has some twisting movements, high kicks, and very jazzy arm styling. The music was a swing beat, with perhaps a bit more of a ragtime feel than other swing styles to follow – think “Hot Honey Rag” from Chicago. These days, it more often lends steps to jive & quickstep, rather than being danced as its own, exclusive dance – my boyfriend’s studio doesn’t have an official Charleston syllabus (just not enough steps), but he does often incorporate Charleston steps into other dances.  One example many of you may have noticed is that funky leg flick that the pros often add to their quickstep routines – Mark does it at about the :55 mark of he & Chelsea’s quickstep.  Yep, Charleston moves fit Mark’s jimmie legs perfectly :-) Which is probably why he & Melissa’s Charleston in season 9 sticks out to me as the best representation of the dance on the show – it has the characteristic steps, and they stuck with the 1920’s flapper theme.

Out of the Charleston came the Lindy Hop, which had its heyday in the big band era of the late 1920’s-40’s. It was a product of the Harlem Renaissance, and was born in traditionally black clubs like The Savoy & Cotton Club in New York.  Its footwork was similar to the Charleston, but it had elements of other vernacular/folk dances (such as the cakewalk and Texas Tommy) and also included a breakaway/throwaway step, which allowed the couples dancing it to do more open work than in the Charleston.  It was also quite a bit more daring – when wealthy white patrons descended upon Harlem clubs to watch the black dancers, the dancers themselves upped the ante, and began doing increasingly more dangerous & eye-catching lifts, flips, and tricks (“air steps” or “aerials”) to entertain them.  This often resulted in the dancers being hired to perform or teach Lindy Hop to the patrons. I would say it’s definitely the “showiest” of all the swing dances, due to all the tricks that have come to be standard fare in the Lindy – and with the pros on DWTS, nothing seems to scream “Lindy!” more than some crazy lifts.  In terms of said lifts, I would say that Melissa & Tony’s Lindy in season 8 is the best example; but in terms of overall “feel” (and good use of basic steps), I’d say that Ty & Chelsie’s Lindy is the best example. Read more..

January 7, 2012 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

DWTS Former Contestants – Where Are They Now? Nicole Scherzinger Edition

Yes, I know….everyone knows that Nicole is one of the judges on the X-Factor.  It’s common knowledge and lots of you watch the show. I’m not one who watches the show because I’m over singing competitions, especially those that include Simon Cowell. I only have room for AI and the Voice.

ANYWAY, the reason why I decided to pick up the “Where are they now” method of killing time between seasons is because I found this video from this past weekend of Nicole singing at the Royal Variety Show in London. Singing Opera…as in Christine from Phantom of the Opera.  When Nicole said she is a trained singer, she wasn’t kidding – she KILLED this.  No lip syncing, per one of her Phantoms. :-) Perhaps all future XF contestants should watch this and then not even try out if they can’t measure up. :-)  This lady is more than a singer from a girl band. :-) Of course, it helps if you just love musical theater and Phantom of the Opera. I actually get misty. ;-)

December 15, 2011 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

New PureDWTS Segment: Ask Courtney

This is a feature I’ve contemplated doing for awhile, and I think now might be the right time, with one season over and the rumor mill not quite started up on the next.  For those of you that don’t know, I actually do have quite a bit of ballroom knowledge, as I’ve been dancing for about 9 years now and my boyfriend is actually a ballroom dance teacher.  Because of that, I’m probably better able to answer some of the more “technical” dance questions than the average viewer, and many of you have seen me get a bit more in-depth in analyzing the dances, in terms of technique and what have you. 

I’ve noticed that many of you seem to be getting more curious about the actual ballroom world, as well as how the rules of the actual ballroom world apply to DWTS (or, rather, how TPTB seem to TRY to apply them ;-)).  So this is the place where you can finally get answers to those burning questions about ballroom technique, certain rules, dance steps, etc. – I will do my best to give you guys thorough, relevant responses, and if there’s something I don’t know the answer to, I will defer to my boyfriend, who is a true expert on the subject :-) So if you are curious about a certain ballroom subject, feel free to post your questions in the comment section of this post, or tweet them to me @putuincespence, or you can email them to John and he can send ‘em my way.  Try to keep them fairly objective – things like “Why do ladies have to wear heels in ballroom?” or “What makes the jive so hard?”, rather than “Why does Derek stink at choreographing samba?” or “Why does Mark always wear spats?” :-P I’m not really equipped to handle subjective stuff like that, hehe. I’m going to try to answer a new question each week, at least until things start to pick up with the new season.   

So to kick off this inaugural “Ask Courtney” post, I thought I’d tackle a question I’ve seen quite a few of you ask in passing this season: Why can’t you break hold in the quickstep?

For those of you that didn’t know, quickstep is the only dance on DWTS in which the couples cannot break hold in the middle of the dance. To quote Len, they can do “a little bit at the beginning, and a little bit at the end” out of traditional dance hold, but they must remain in-hold for the majority of the dance.  Notorious violators of this rule? Mark & Shawn in their Aladdin quickstep, and Nicole & Derek in their sailor quickstep.  So why did they get in so much trouble???

The answer to this is a bit silly to me, because it’s one of the few ways that DWTS has attempted to adhere to actual ballroom dance rules – which I often find don’t really translate well to this show.  In “real world” ballroom, there are two styles: International style, which tends to be more strict and is more difficult; and American style, which is a bit more relaxed and open to interpretation.  With the ballroom dances, you can either do the International Standard style (in which the couple must remain in-hold the entire time) or the American Smooth style (where the couples are able to go in and out of hold as much as they like).  The International Standard dances are waltz, tango, foxtrot, quickstep, and Viennese waltz; the American Smooth dances are waltz, tango, foxtrot, and Viennese waltz.  You’ll notice there is no quickstep in the American Smooth style – it is only danced in the international style, thus the couples are forced to adhere to the international style, in which hold cannot be broken.  Since there is overlap in the other 4 styles, the DWTS pros can choose to dance either the American or International styles of the waltz, tango, foxtrot, and Viennese waltz – and most choose the American style, since it’s easier and allows for more creative freedom.  But even though they’re trying to adhere to “real” ballroom rules by forbidding the breaking of hold in the quickstep, they’re still not being completely true to the rule, since they’re allowing open work at the beginning & end.  In a real international standard quickstep (or any other international standard-style dance), the couple would only be allowed to walk a few feet towards each other to get into hold before dancing – any sort of open work at the beginning (i.e. Ricki & Derek’s tap sequence) is a huge no-no.  You have to be in-hold before you do ANY dancing in real quickstep.

So what do I suggest? Eliminate the silly “no breaking hold in quickstep” rule – it’s just a pointless vestige of the show’s often feeble attempts to mirror the real world of ballroom.  If you’re going to allow open work at the beginning and end of the dance (which I think is a good idea, as it’s more audience-pleasing than just getting straight into hold), you may as well allow it in the middle, just like all the other dances, because most viewers aren’t going to understand the reasoning behind forbidding it, anyway.

So what ballroom questions do you guys have? Lay ‘em on me, and I’ll do my best to get you answers :-)

December 11, 2011 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

DWTS13 Freestyle Retrospective: The Top 10 Best Freestyles in DWTS History

So the other day, we counted down the top 10 worst freestyles in DWTS history, and re-lived some of the biggest stinkers we’ve seen in 12 seasons. Today we’ve saved the best for last: the showstoppers, the jaw-droppers, and the dynamite freestyles that have set the bar for all the freestyles to follow. :-)

Some patterns we’ve noticed: most of these routines are high-energy, use recognizable songs, and have either a theme or a general “feel” for the celebs to connect to. It’s a pattern that seems to work – let’s hope this season’s finalists stick to it!

Heidi’s Note: You’ll also note that you have a better shot of making this list if your name if Johnson, Hough, or Ballas.  Possibly Schwimmer – she’s one for two, isn’t she??

10. Kyle Massey & Lacey Schwimmer, season 11

Courtney: This is a good example of a hip-hop freestyle actually working out well – basically the polar opposite of Lacey’s ill-fated hip-hop freestyle with Lance. This time around, the song & theme fit her partner to a T – Kyle LOVED “Tootsie Roll”, and it really showed. Now while the choreo wasn’t really all that complicated, it was the fact that Kyle just milked each step for all its worth that really made it fun – I swear, I think the only more charismatic contestant to ever do the show is Carson. :-P Kyle had swaaaaaag, and was a true showman…and it didn’t hurt that he wasn’t too shabby a dancer, either.

Heidi: The thing that made this work was that it fit Kyle to a tee and he LOVED it. He was having the time of his life and he had the skills to pull off a hip hop routine. You combine that with some pretty clever choreography and you have a brilliant freestyle. He’d be much farther up on my list…but this is surprisingly hard to come up with and putting them in order? Impossible! Anyway, when I stand up off the couch and cheer, you know it’s good. And this one was also FUN in all caps. :-) Read more..

November 19, 2011 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

Dance of the Day: Pre-Movie Theme review of Movie Theme circa Season 10

I thought it would be a nice idea to take a look back at a prior Movie Theme night, to review all of the dances that night, just to give us a sampling of what we will be enjoying… or cringing… when we watch on Monday.

So, we are looking back at DWTS Season 10, Week 5, definitely a night that gave us some memorable dances…. Some GOOD memories, and some very bad memories, and some that we may not really want to relive, but what the hey, it’s fun…

Since the producers LOVE to challenge the Pros and Celebrities by giving a constant stream of themes, we’re sure to see more. If the theme is a repeat from a prior season, like this one, PLEASE let me know the season and week, it’ll make looking up the dances. Thanks!!

Nicole Scherzinger and Derek Hough Tango to the theme of Pretty Woman

Nicole and Derek scored a 9,9,10 for 29 out of 30 points. Derek is still in the competition, dancing with Ricki Lake. Read more..

October 6, 2011 I Written By

Just a typical, ordinary DWTS fan..

DWTS Who Wore it Better? Part XIII – The Chelsie Appreciation Edition

Well she may not be on the show this season, but “out of sight” is certainly not “out of mind” for us here at PureDWTS! What better time to show Chelsie she’s loved than now? :-)

I must confess, due to my own pessimistic tendencies, this was originally supposed to be the Anna Apprecation Edition, because I was so certain she wouldn’t be back this season.  But thankfully, she is, and now I have inspiration to create subsequent editions of WWIB featuring all of the female pros – eventually. ;-) Finding costume dittos is hard sometimes, even for someone with a freakishly near-photographic memory like mine…

Battle of the peach jeweled ballgown: Brooke’s Viennese waltz with Derek in season 7 vs. Chelsie’s pro dance with Dmitry to Jewel in season 8

Heidi: I think the look worked on Brooke simply so that the dress didn’t detract from the emotion of the dance, which was a Viennese Waltz to Daughters, by John Mayer.  It’s kind of plain on her, otherwise. I prefer it on Chelsie, and I like her softer hairstyle with this dress. Of course, it could just be the lighting. :-)

Courtney: I noticed several patterns with Chelsie’s costume choices while compiling this post.  The first is that she has an affinity for doing very lifty, contemporary choreo while wearing shortened ballgowns.  You can’t see in this picture, but this dress has actually been shortened substantially – check it out on the Randall website. May not be of any consequence to you guys, but I do find it kind of interesting how the costume department, when pressed for time & unable to create new costumes, just takes what they have on hand & changes it to work for them – very resourceful.  Anywho! I always thought the dress was very pretty on Brooke, but I’m not sure it’s a color she would pick for herself – seems too demure, and better suited to someone more wholesome and youthful, like Chelsie. And I’m not wild about Brooke’s hair – looks too…plastered down? Idk.

The winner: Chelsie, for better coloring…or maybe lighting.

Battle of the black, fringed, jewel-trimmed Latin dress: Chelsie in the season 11 finale opening dance vs. Anna’s opening credits shoot with Sugar Ray in season 12

Courtney: Another pattern I noticed with Chelsie: she is so freaking hard to get a decent screen cap of!!!!! Seriously – she never stops moving, and her technique is so good that she moves with such a range of motion that she’s seldom in a position where she’s facing the camera, in a neutral position.  I got so many bad screenshots of her moving her body in crazy ways that made it impossible to see her costume well.  She also seems fond of black-fringed costumes – this one is pretty similar to the one she wore for her cha-cha with Romeo, and she wore gloves for both.  In truth – I’m not wild about this version of the black-fringed costume.  Since there’s very little sparkle, it just seems to look a little blah on both ladies for me.  At least with the Romeo version, there was quite a bit of sparkle to give the costume some depth.  I prefer colored versions of this particular style, such as the hot pink & multicolored versions featured in WWIB Part XI.

Heidi: I don’t care for the long black gloves with the short, fringed latin dresses – I don’t get that wardrobe choice at all. Other than that, there isn’t much to say about it really – it’s hard to see but I really prefer the dress on Anna – and again, it could just be the background and the lighting influencing me. I’m so easy. :-)

The winner: Anna by a hair…with an assist from the background & lighting :-)

Battle of the sheer, white, feather-trimmed ballgown: Cheryl’s Viennese waltz with Chad in season 10 vs. Chelsie’s dance with Mark in the “America’s Favorite Dancers” show

Heidi: They all have their “tics” don’t they?? :-) Mark’s is high water pants and polka dots, Cheryl’s is the sheer ballgown skirt.  I much prefer Cheryl’s tic in this case, although I do find it a rather strange choice. As for who wore it better?? Well, I think Chelsie is wearing it like it’s a dress made for CHERYL, if that makes sense. It doesn’t really seem like it belongs on her, and I also prefer Cheryl’s hairstyle, as it is fancy, fancy, fancy…just like the dress.

Courtney: Ahhh yes – another representative of Cheryl’s ongoing infatuation with sheer-skirted ballgowns :-) This one is odd for me: I think the bodice is gorgeous, with all of the beading & delicate details, but the skirt…looks totally silly to me. Like they let a class of preschoolers decorate it with a bunch of feathers & pom-poms.  All that’s missing is the uncooked macaroni and you’ve got yourself a craft project! I don’t know…they both look good from the waist up, and bizarre from the waist down.  I’m apathetic.

The winner: Cheryl loves her some sheer skirts…and rocks them well.

Battle of the red, jeweled midriff Latin costume: Chelsie in the pro dance with the Mwano family in season 11 vs. Edyta’s salsa relay with Ashley in season 9

Courtney: Chelsie costuming pattern #3: she will never show her stomach completely.  Seriously…find me an example of her midriff being completely exposed and I will gladly admit I’m wrong.  She’ll wear cut-out dresses, or ones that show a teeny-tiny bit of belly, but then you’ve got 2-piece costumes like this where they slap a piece of mesh down the front.  This costume definitely had to go through some un-Edytafication before Chelsie would wear it…the mesh, the extra layer of fabric on the skirt to cover the sides, the increased chest coverage.  Normally I would give this one to Edyta, no contest, but the open sides of the skirt look weird to me.  Gotta go with Chelsie this time.

Heidi: Edyta, by a mile.  It was originally designed for her and by adding back material it just makes an already unfortunate dress worse. :-)  When you add the mesh on the front it make the whole dress look heavy, what with the double patterned belts around the hips and under the bra line.  I think Edyta is just playing the part here better than Chelsie is – and damn that woman has a body.  :-)

The winner: Edyta, for playing the part.

Battle of the lavender, jewel-trimmed, one-shoulder ballgown: Kym’s Viennese waltz with Donny in season 9 vs. Chelsie’s Viennese waltz with Jake in the season 10 finale

Heidi: I think Chelsie is a bit too short for this dress – maybe if it was straight to the floor instead of layered it would work better for me. Both women look very pretty, but I’m gonna have to go with Kym, I believe.

Courtney: This is another thing I hate about screen-capping – it always makes colors look too warm.  The dress is closer to the color on the left than the color on the right – but it’s a pretty color, regardless.  I think it’s a good example of the “less is more” concept of costuming – very simple silhouette, flattering color, minimal trim.  Lovely :-) Looks great on both ladies, but I have to give this one to Kym – love her romantic wavy hair.  Looks like Chelsie may have been the victim of the dreaded quick-change, which usually necessitates un-fussy, generically-styled hair to fit multiple costumes.

The winner: She of the Awesome Boobage dominates once again.

Battle of the gold, fringed, halter-top Latin dress: Chelsie in the season 8 intros vs. Ashly in the 150th episode pro dance to “Hard to Handle” in season 6

Heidi: Hmmm….tough call. Both ladies wear this dress well. It compliments both Chelsie’s sunny, California girl look, and Ashly’s darker hair and complexion.  This one is a tough call!!  I think I’m leaning toward Chelsie, but I have to idea why. :-)

Courtney: Maybe because we have a hard time believing a wholesome Mormon mommy like Ashly would pick out an outfit like this for herself? ;-) I dunno, at least that’s what I think – both ladies are on the wholesome side, but Chelsie is able to pull off sexier, flashier outfits a bit better, IMO.  The impression I get from Ashly in this dress is that “I had to wear a gold dress to match the other dancers, so I bit the bullet and picked out the most conservative one I could.” Plus I love the way a gold outfit looks paired with blonde hair :-)

The winner: Chelsie, for looking more comfortable being sexy.

Battle of the pale blue, jeweled high-neck ballgown: Nicole’s waltz with Derek in season 10 vs. Chelsie’s pro dance with Dmitry to Goo Goo Dolls in season 11

Courtney: I had completely forgotten about this one – and now that I’m looking at it, I’m realizing that it is really a beautiful dress. Simple silhouette with delicate details.  Again, looks great on both ladies, but I’m gonna go with Nicole on this one – I think this dress is better balanced as a long dress, and the high neck looks a bit odd on Chelsie.

Heidi: I think the high collar on this dress rather begs for an upswept, formal hairstyle. It draws the eye to a nice neck and you don’t want your hair ruining the effect. So, I have to go with Nicole also. The bodice of the dress with the shorter length (and lack of shoes) on Chelsie just doesn’t look quite right.

The winner:  Nicole, by a length…of dress.

August 29, 2011 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

DWTS13 Casting Rumors – The Typecasting of Season 13, Part II

 So with each hour closer to the cast announcement that we get, we seem to be getting more and more leaks of who’s in – the next 24 hours will definitely be the time to stay tuned to PureDWTS, as we’ll be posting any potential last minute leaks as soon as we hear them! I dunno about you guys, but I’m getting excited…so let’s take a look at who else we might expect to see, based on casting patterns ;-)

The Teen Idol

Previous examples: Joey McIntyre, Aaron Carter, Donny Osmond, Lance Bass, Mel B., Joey Fatone, Drew Lachey, Joey Lawrence, Ian Ziering, Cody Linley, Sabrina Bryan, Mario Lopez, Kyle Massey, Chelsea Kane, Romeo

Advantages: If sales of Tiger Beat are any indicator, the teenyboppers will come out in full force to support their favorite heartthrobs/idols.  Being young & good-lookin’ sure doesn’t hurt! Many also have the added advantage of having a decent dance background, especially if they were part of a musical act.

Disadvantages: Youth can also have its disadvantages – as in immaturity.  What some might call “youthful exuberance”, others might call “immaturity” or “attention deficit disorder” – poor Cody Linley had a hard time sitting still! Emotional immaturity (a la Aaron Carter’s post-rumba meltdown in the confessional) can be especially off-putting. They’ve also got to contend with the large middle-aged female contingent of viewers/voters – they far outnumber the young viewers likely to vote for them.

Possible candidates this season: Now that the Candace Cameron-Bure rumor seems to have died down, it looks like we’re going to be seeing former child starKim Richards, also of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fame…maybe she’s doing double-duty as the reality star this season, too!

The Host

Previous examples: Jerry Springer, Brooke Burke, Leeza Gibbons, Mario Lopez, Kenny Mayne, Lisa Rinna, Tucker Carlson, Mark Dacascos, Rocco DiSpirito, Erin Andrews, Wendy Williams, Mike Catherwood

Advantages: Being that they’ve been at the helm of their own shows, these guys usually have the media savvy & charisma to appeal to the masses, as well as the previous exposure & recognizability.  Most (not all!) are also decently attractive, which never seems to hurt (unless, of course, you’re a model – see previous post for explanation).

Disadvantages: Many hosts are only used to hosting – as in just sitting down & talking (or dodging the occasional punch, if you’re Springer), so the lack of movement experience problem seems to come into play. 

Possible candidates this season: I’ve started preparing myself to watch Nancy Grace try to hoof it this season, though I can’t say I’m even the tiniest bit excited about it.  Someone hosts I’d rather see? Craig Ferguson or Ricki Lake – the former is just hilarious, and the latter might actually be pretty good due to her Broadway background.

The Actor

Previous examples: John O’Hurley, Melissa Joan Hart, Steve Guttenburg, John Ratzenberger, Debi Mazar, Denise Richards, Ted McGinley, Shannon Elizabeth, Jennie Garth, Vivica Fox, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Shannen Doherty, Jennifer Grey, David Hasselhoff, Ralph Macchio, Kirstie Alley

Advantages: Being that their bread & butter is acting, most can usually nail the emotions of the dances. Bonus points if they’ve done any Broadway (like Winokur) because they have likely had dance experience.

Disadvantages: For lack of a better term, many of them seem to be “has-beens” – actors that haven’t been particularly active in the mainstream in the past several years – or were never that big to begin with (can anyone else think of anything John O’Hurley has been in BESIDES Seinfeld?), making it harder for them to garner votes from a public who may not remember them. 

Possible candidates this season: I think it’s safe to say David Arquette is a lock.  There’s been a couple of murmurs about Henry Winkler as well, and I’m still wondering if Lorenzo Lamas is gonna crop up, after all the talking he did last season.

The Reality Star

Previous examples: Kim Kardashian, Kelly Osbourne, Melissa Rycroft, Steve-O, Holly Madison, Trista Sutter, Shanna Moakler, Kate Gosselin, Jake Pavelka, Audrina Patridge, The Situation

Advantages: Many have achieved pop culture icon status on their respective reality outlets, making them fairly recognizable.

Disadvantages: They may be memorable for the wrong reasons – people tended to remember things like Kim Kardashian’s sex tape more than her reality show when she was on DWTS, and people seemed more focused on Holly Madison’s split from Hef than her antics on The Girls Next Door.  Many can also come across as attention-hungry & talentless(*cough*JakePavelka*cough*) – reality TV is often looked down upon as a way to get famous without having any talent whatsoever. 

Possible candidates this season: We had the great Snooki scare of 2011 (which I doubt is going to amount to anything), but Rob Kardashian & Kristen Cavallari’s names are still being tossed around. 

The Singer:

Previous examples: Mya, Billy Ray Cyrus, Mario, Belinda Carlisle, Master P, Chuck Wicks, Sara Evans, Willa Ford, Monique Coleman, Toni Braxton, Macy Gray, Nicole Scherzinger

Advantages: As with the teen idols, many have had dance experience concurrent with their music careers. 

Disadvantages: Most seem to be committed solely to one genre of music (often R&B or country), making it hard to appeal to a wide fanbase.

Possible candidates this season: Christina Milian’s name has been said quite a bit, but we haven’t had any confirmation. But rumor has it Chynna Philips is definitely in. 

The Wild Card

Previous examples: Heather Mills, Tom DeLay, Mark Cuban, Steve Wozniak, Priscilla Presley, Buzz Aldrin, Bristol Palin

Advantages: The sheer novelty of having someone with such an off-the-beaten-path claim to fame (famous divorcee/widow, entrepreneur, disgraced politician, etc.) may be enough to have the public voting them – just to see what happens.  Being the “underdog” is a powerful thing…as we saw with Bristol last season!

Disadvantages: Due to their often dubious fame, people just may not have any clue who they are – I personally had to Google Mark Cuban’s name. There’s also the risk of backlash from some viewers who don’t think they’re “stars” per se, and shouldn’t even be on the show in the first place.

Possible candidates this season: I’d say our best bet is Chaz Bono

So we’re mere hours away from the official announcement, gang – who do you think is in and who do you think is just wishful thinking? Be sure to check back here for Heidi’s Casting Announcement Live Blog starting at 8 PM EST tomorrow night …she (and the rest of us) suffer through Bachelor Pad so you don’t have to! And make sure you’re following @puredwts & @tvblog on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates on who’s in!

August 28, 2011 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

Dance of the Day…. Let’s Compare Champions!

Sorry….. Things just get out of hand sometimes, things just happen! I’ve meant to sit here and post more, but I end up having shorter time frames online, and I end up doing other things.

Because I’ve been neglecting the Dance of the Day, I’m going to do a mega post now, so we’ll be video heavy today!!!

First up!! We saw Season 1’s Kelly Monaco, and Season 2’s Drew Lachey’s first week dances, and our poll has DREW as the winner, with a total of 114 votes, VS Kelly’s 26. I wasn’t going to post the results, other than the winners, but decided to for everyone, because I was surprised at HOW CLOSE some were!

Here’s Drew’s week 5 dance.
Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke, Season 2 Week 5 dancing the Samba to “Dirrty” by Christina Aguilera. They received a 27. They also performed in the Group Salsa, which I am not including.

Second up!! We saw Season 3’s Emmitt Smith and Season 4’s Apolo Anton Ohno’s first week dances, and our poll has APOLO as the winner, with a total of 105 votes, VS Emmitt’s 56.

Here’s Apolo’s week 5 dance.
Apolo Anton Ohno and Julianne Hough, Season 4 Week 5 dancing the Samba to “Move It”. They received a perfect 30.

Third up!! We saw Season 5’s Helio Castroneves and Season 6’s Kristi Yamaguchi’s first week dances, and our poll has KRISTI as the winner, with a total of 88 votes, VS Helio’s 60.

Here’s Kristi’s week 5 dance.
Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark Ballas, Season 6 Week 5, dancing the rumba. I did not post the song, because that info wasn’t in the video I found for this dance. They received 29.

Fourth up!! We saw Season 7’s Brooke Burke and Season 8’s Shawn Johnson’s first week dances, and our poll has BROOKE as the winner, with a total of 97 votes, VS Shawn’s 90.

Here’s Brooke’s week 5 dance.
Brooke Burke and Derek Hough, Season 7 Week 5, dancing the Jitterbug to “Don’t Be Cruel” by Elvis. They received a 29.

Fifth up!! We saw Season 9’s Donny Osmond and Season 10’s Nicole Scherzinger’s first week dances and our poll has NICOLE as the winner, with 138 votes VS Donny’s 49.

Here’s Nicole’s week 5 dance.
Nicole Scherzinger and Derek Hough, Season 10 Week 5, dancing the Tango to “Pretty Woman” by Ray Orbison. They received a 29.

Last up!! We saw Season 11’s Jennifer Grey and Season 12’s Hines Ward’s first week dances, and our poll has HINES as the winner, with 173 votes, VS Jennifer’s 156.

Here’s Hine’s week 5 dance.
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson, Season 12 Week 5, dancing a rumba to “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood. They received a 27.

That’s it! 2 Samba’s, 2 Rumba’s, and a Jitterbug and a Tango. Which Week 5 Dance of Champions did you prefer? Drew’s Samba? Apolo’s Samba? Kristi’s Rumba? Brooke’s Jitterbug? Nicole’s Tango? Hines’ Rumba?

Sound off in the comments…. Which Samba was your favorite, and why? Which rumba was your favorite, and why? Which of the other 2 did you prefer, the jitterbug or the tango, and why? Of these 6 DWTS Champions, who was your favorite? Drew, Apolo, Kristi, Brooke, Nicole, Hines.

July 22, 2011 I Written By

Just a typical, ordinary DWTS fan..

DWTS12 End of Season Award Winners – Which Dance Was the Worst?

John: To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy any of Wendy’s or Kirstie’s dances really. I enjoyed their humor and their one liners. I just wasn’t a fan of their dancing at all. Even Kendra was a disappointment (we should have had an award for that). However, Wendy definitely takes the cake for worst dancer this season. Can you say awkward?

Vogue: Yeah, I picked Wendy too. She was not very good. Plus, her attitude was poor and egotistical. Poor Tony. I really felt sorry for him. Wendy wasn’t as bad as Kate Gosselin, but, at times I had to kind of wonder?

Courtney: The fact that Wendy thought she was hot sh*t, coupled with some very (IMO) kindergarten choreography is what made this dance so bad. She was barely moving, yet with all the bravado she was throwing around both before & after the dance, you would have thought she danced like Nicole Scherzinger. The hair, the makeup, the dress, the choreo, the attitude – blech.  No wonder Wendy ran away with more than half the vote! Mike & Lacey’s foxtrot – ok, pretty bad, but it had a bit of a trainwreck appeal to it…and Mike was pretty damn lovable.  Kirstie & Maks’ jive wasn’t the strongest technically, but it did have a pretty strong entertainment quality.  I’m honestly surprised Kendra & Louis’ Viennese waltz didn’t get more votes – that was the dance that Kendra managed to somehow contort into some bizarre Mafia tribute, and she looked like a lost puppy the whole time.  Oh – and it’s also the week she said she didn’t care about elegance :-P I can’t really fault Ralph & Karina for their samba being tacky – what the hell are you supposed to do when you get “Sweet Home Alabama” as your music? But of course, the judges raked them across the coals for it – just like they did everything else this season. *sigh* I actually kinda liked Chelsea & Mark’s jive, but I agree that it was maybe a bit too “out there” to please the judges, and wasn’t proper jive technique; Romeo & Chelsie’s rumba was just a non-event. Perhaps the most interesting response in the write-in category: Chelsea & Mark’s freestyle.  It’s interesting because the freestyles are almost universally popular with fans – but I have to agree that this one was a dud, and will probably go down in DWTS history as one of the worst…it just felt like such a cop-out to me.  Just some routine that was thrown together, without any sort of connection to Chelsea.  Some other responses: Ralph & Karina’s salsa (ok, not their best, but I don’t think it was worse than a lot of the dances above!), “Hinds” freestyle (I’m gonna assume you mean “Hines” :-)), Wendy & Tony’s quickstep (I actually thought this one was the most tolerable of their 3 bad dances…), and “anything by Chelsea (OVERRATED)” lol.  While I think Chelsea was blatantly overscored more often than not, I did enjoy a few of her dances – namely her foxtrot & jive.  Overall, I think the right dance won this category – it was the combination of bad costuming, bad choreo, bad execution, and bad attitude that made this one a champion.  But are there REALLY any winners in this category? ;-)

Marianya: Do we REALLY have to pick? I mean, I would have thought it be pretty obvious. Wendy! Since the other bloggers have already said everything that needed to be said in regards to this celeb… all I’m going to say to TPTB is this: please be nicer next time, someone like her is an easy way to turn off the TV.

Heidi: Wendy…worst dancer, biggest diva. And that’s just cray-cray.  I quickly got to the point where I never wanted to see her face or hear her voice EVER again.  That bit on the finale – I almost had turn the channel. :-) I would have, if it weren’t for the cheesecake awards.  All for you people. ;-)

July 21, 2011 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

Dance of the Day… Let’s RUMBA!!

We did it! We completed our quest to review our 12 DWTS Champions, so for now, we’re moving on to other things, and we will revisit our Champions shortly. Meanwhile, you can check back on past Dance of the Day posts, and watch the 12 during their Week 1 nerves and jitters.

Season 1 Kelly Monaco and Season 2 Drew Lachey
Season 3 Emmitt Smith and Season 4 Apolo Anton Ohno
Season 5 Helio Castroneves and Season 6 Kristi Yamaguchi
Season 7 Brooke Burke and Season 8 Shawn Johnson
Season 9 Donny Osmond and Season 10 Nicole Scherzinger
Season 11 Jennifer Grey and Season 12 Hines Ward
Here’s your LAST CHANCE to vote from this round, we will be closing the polls SHORTLY, and I’m currently trying to figure out how to do the next round while we review our Champions. While that is happening….

I picked the Rumba first. I went through the responses I got from my Plea For Help, and emails that I’ve gotten (Emailing off this page won’t go directly to me, but it will get to me eventually, don’t worry!) and am picking 3 at random… And there are PLENTY more, for more posts in the future. So if you don’t see your favorite now, DON’T WORRY! Keep coming back, and eventually, we (hopefully) will see it!

First up is……………….

OLYMPIC SNOWBOARDER, LOUIE VITO AND HIS PROFESSIONAL PARTNER, CHELSIE HIGHTOWER!

From Season 9, Week 3, here’s Louie and Chelsie’s Rumba to “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler. It received an 8, 5, 7 for a total of 20 points.

Second up is…..

ACTOR AND EVENTUAL EXTRA TV NEWSMAN, MARIO LOPEZ AND HIS PROFESSIONAL PARTNER, KARINA SMIRNOFF!

From Season 3, Week 5, here’s Mario and Karina’s Rumba to “The Way You Look Tonight” by Michael Buble. I know there’s an accent on the e, but I am not sure how to make them on my computer. It received a 9, 9, 9 for a total of 27 points.

Third up is……

SINGER AND PUSSYCAT DOLL NICOLE SCHERZINGER AND HER PROFESSIONAL PARTNER, DEREK HOUGH!

From Season 10 Week 4, here’s Nicole and Derek’s Rumba to “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” They also did a rumba in week 10, which was their Redemption Dance, instead of watching that one now, I chose to save it for another time. Each dance on this week of competition during Season 10 got 2 sets of scores. For Technical, it got 9, 8, 8 for 25 points. For Performance, it got 8, 8, 9 for a total of 25. The score for the night was 50 out of 60 points.

So…. Sound off in the comments. Which of these 3 rumbas was your favorite?

July 8, 2011 I Written By

Just a typical, ordinary DWTS fan..