Well, the warm fuzzies and pleasant surprises I had from the judging last week have left the building – and now we’ve moved on to the “completely inappropriate and actually rather offensive” stage of the competition, where every other thing out of the judges’ mouths seems to be insulting, irrelevant, or just plain mean. Even after last week’s spiel about bullying, Charlotte got told she was stupid, and it was implied that Riker danced like a girl and Allison danced like a dude. Oh, and Mike got nitpicked to death for the third week in a row. “Do as I say, not as I do”, huh judges?
Bittersweet seeing Charlotte go. I was glad she got to stick around for another week, and aside from the fact that her rumba didn’t have a whole lot of rumba, I still enjoyed it and thought it was her best dance yet; but I think Charlotte may have mentally checked out a bit after the nasty critiques she got in week 1, so it was probably time for her to go, anyway. If nothing else, she looked FANTASTIC tonight – loved that color on her, and love big, tousled Brigette Bardot-inspired hair :-)
1.) Riker & Allison – Well, I already thought Riker was a contender after week 1 – but I think this week his real debut, because that salsa screamed “Yep, I’m here, and I’m hungry – take heed, Nastia & Rumer!” And despite Len hemming and hawing and trying to claim that Riker “isn’t the best dancer this season”, I daresay he’s certainly the best male contestant, and bested at least Nastia in terms of technique this week – so he’s quickly inching his way up to the top. He never missed a beat in this salsa, which was actually the first piece of choreography I’ve seen from Allison on this show that made me sit up and go “Ok, that was cool.” And good lord, that girl can spin fast! He sold it well, he made it his, and he kept time – if I had one complaint, it might be that he seemed a bit stiff in his hips and didn’t “flow” through the movements as fluidly as he could have, but I also partially blame Allison for that, simply because her choreography was a bit more staccato. Overall, he nailed it, though. …Read more
Several things that make me go “hmmmm” this week: the scores very much in a close cluster headed into finale week (74, 75, 76, 78), Sadie back to being low-balled a bit; the sudden repetition of the phrases “momentum”, “going all the way”, and “contender” with reference to Janel; the decision to bring back Maks for a visit; and the fact that Alfonso seems to be in some serious pain. All are things that make me wonder about the finale, in a variety of ways…you’ll see why.
Tommy, Tommy, Tommy – it was great run, buddy, and you very much went out on a high note (no pun intended…ok, maybe a little bit). Thought that the Chonger actually gave two very respectable performances tonight, and his rumba in particular was a lovely illustration of just why I appreciated him so damn much this season: he let us see a softer side of Peta. I don’t think I’ve EVER seen her so emotionally attached to a partner, and it made her a lot more human and relatable for me – plus Tommy was just so daggone charming, and seemed to really embrace the experience of being on DWTS.
1.) Alfonso & Witney – Injury aside, I think we saw something out of Alfonso tonight that we maybe hadn’t noticed as much when he wasn’t injured: heart. I loved seeing the fighting side of Fonz tonight – his technique may not have been as on-point as we’ve seen from him in the past (though by no means was it shoddy – even injured, the guy is still a revelation), but I think it just made it more obvious how hard he was trying and how much he really wants to be here and do well – so I appreciated both of his performances tonight, as well as Witney’s choreography. She has been a revelation this season – really loving how she’s able to showcase her partner. Also worth noting, I think – just how many (and how diverse) a group of celebs showed up in Alfonso’s “flashback” package to wish him well. Rick Schroeder, Emmitt Smith, most of the cast of Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and…Dan Quayle??? I like to think it just illustrates Fonz’s broad-spectrum appeal – and how beloved he is by so many because of both Carlton and Silver Spoons. My only worry? That his injury may prevent his freestyle from being as truly epic as it could be, if his range of motion is limited – but I’m optimistic that he’s still going to wow us, and he’s still got time to heal. He’s still my pick to win ;-) Read more..
I know I’ve been absent for awhile – chalk it up to an insane workload at my 9-5, some Comicon hijinx in Ohio, and a bridal shower in Texas this past weekend (check out my instagram for pix of the latter two – @putuincespence). Literally, the busiest 2 weeks of my life. 8-O But I’m back now and there’s something I’d like to get off my chest with regards to TPTB…
…STOP TRYING TO MAKE JANEL HAPPEN. IT’S NOT GONNA HAPPEN. And in fact, it very well could backfire – especially after what we saw from them tonight. The viewers are not stupid – they can tell when you’re trying to wrap a turd in tinfoil and sell it to them as a candy bar. You’ve secured her spot in next week’s show – good for you. But when you pimp and pimp and pimp a certain contestant with the objective of getting them to the finale, a funny thing often happens when they get there: they typically don’t place better than 3rd or 4th place. Food for thought.
Moving right along…I see Carrie Ann & Julianne are back to riding high on the bath salts train, as neither one had very much credibility tonight – lots of nonsense being spewed, both positive & negative. Len was a (sort of) stabilizing influence, who wasn’t afraid to speak up and tell them they were full of it, though even he wasn’t completely immune to the nonsense. My only hope is that he can get really, really real next week – cause he seemed to be turning a blind eye to quite a bit this week that he would normally quite vocally object to. Read more..
Three cheers for an opening pro dance that I actually enjoyed! Thought it was cute how they worked in a Halloween theme. At the very least, it wasn’t a bunch of female bumping & grinding & hair-flipping…or Pitbull. 8-O
So Len was back, and as I kind of predicted – he was grumpy, and Julianne kind of reverted back to being the level-headed judge. Carrie Ann is still the airheaded judge; I can’t even really remember anything Bruno said. Overall, I don’t feel as though the quality of judging improved much with Len’s return – so I’m fine if he doesn’t want to come back next season. Hell, I don’t really care if ANY of the judges come back next season ;-)
Kinda had an inkling that Antonio was toast the minute the judges started laying into him for a dance that really wasn’t that bad, in my opinion – it was probably Antonio’s best, and though he’s still kind of an awkward mover, he seemed to smooth things out quite a bit better this week. But I’m guessing that he just wasn’t connecting with viewers – I felt like we never really got to see the real Antonio. Wish he would have given us more of a peek into his work or family life.
1.) Bethany & Derek – Bethany was given great scores and great choreography this week, but here’s the odd part for me: in both her individual and team dance, there seemed to be moments where she just wasn’t…fully present. It’s hard to describe, but it’s like she went into autopilot both times – not sure if she’s just really tired or burnt out, but she just didn’t seem as invested as she was in her tango last week. Thought the concept and setting of her paso was great, and Derek gave her some great choreo in their team dance – but she just didn’t grab the bull by the horns like she normally does. She wasn’t bad by any means – she was just not as dazzling for me as she usually is. Maybe it was just this week and having to learn two dances – hopefully she’ll be back to 100% next week. But she can leave the Maleficient/Queen Amidala hair – wasn’t loving that. Read more..
Normally this list would be a lot longer, but John, Heidi, & Lori all had brain farts on music – leaving Vogue & I to pick up the slack ;-) Here’s some of the songs we’d love to hear on DWTS this season…and we want to hear yours! Let us know in the comments what songs you’re hoping get used on the show!
“Chandelier” by Sia – This has been on repeat on my iPod all summer. Just a great song for a contemporary routine.
“It’s Not Unusual” by Tom Jones – I’ve wished for it before, and now that we finally got Alfonso on the show, I need to see a quickstep to it…or maybe even a quickstep/samba fusion ;-)
“Sunglasses at Night” by Corey Hart – My perennial song wish – you guys know this :-) Well I wished for Alfonso & got him – maybe Rob Wade will give me my much-anticipated paso doble to this one! 8-)
“You & I (Nobody in the World)” by John Legend - While everyone was going crazy over “All of Me” last season, my favorite song off of John’s latest album is this one – it’s kind of the R&B answer to Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight”: a guy telling his lady she’s beautiful no matter what, as he watches her get ready to go out at night. And if you haven’t seen the video yet, go watch it right MEOW – it’s just perfect. If I only see one rumba all season – I want it to be to this song.
“Stay” by Shakespears Sister – Thought about this song last season upon finding out that Candace & Charlie were dancing to Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me”. It’s a pretty old song, but it would make a stellar song for a contemporary routine – hell, I think it would make a fantastic contemporary TRIO song, based on the narrative of the music video. Give it to Derek and watch him work wonders :-)
“Conjunction Junction” from Schoolhouse Rock – Had an epiphany the other night while watching a documentary about Schoolhouse Rock – how fun would it be if they did a Schoolhouse Rock theme week? This song would make such a fun foxtrot, and would allow the pros to show off a bit more of a playful side.
“All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor – This song is so ridiculously catchy, and my sister and I have a running inside joke about this song and a gif of a dancing honey badger. Just don’t ask :-P Would be a fun cha-cha.
“Love Runs Out” by OneRepublic – A currently-popular song that’s actually appropriate for paso doble. So please, producers – no more duds like “Sail”.
“Billy Jean” by Michael Jackson – I’d love to see Alfonso bring this song to life as his older self being this is the song he did with Michael in the Pepsi commercial. That could possibly give us a big “Michael Jackson” moment and I love how this show features something by Michael almost every season.
“A Place With No Name” by Michael Jackson – This is my favorite song currently. I’d freak if the pros performed this in a group number. They could bring on Sharna’s boyfriend Paul Kirkland to dance as well and help with choreography being he performs in the new Michael Jackson Vegas show.
“Come Get It Bae” by Pharrell – This is another one of my current favorite songs. I don’t care who performs it or how….just so they do it. I know Sharna likes this song a lot too.
“Hunter” by Pharrell – Being this song has “Duck Dynasty” mentions, I’d love to see Mark and Sadie dance to this song. Not sure if it’s age or lyric appropriate (maybe the band could fix it somehow?), but, it’s a great dance song.
“Anything Goes” by Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga – What a beautiful song for a Fox Trot or a Waltz.
“Bailando” by Enrique Iglesias – This would be such a great song for a “Latin” group number. The cast could bring the video to life.
“Fairytale” by Alexander Rybak – What a cool and snappy pop Irish/Hungarian “gypsie” jig. A song like this would make a great mix up to the show. I was hooked the first time I heard it.
“Queremos Paz” by The Gotan Project – This song would be so cool for a Tango or Argnetine Tango. Actually, I’d take anything by The Gotan Project for a Latin number. Ssssssssssss
So against my better judgment, I decided to resurrect these awards, after skipping them for a few seasons :-P Just figured that everyone had some pretty strong opinions about this season, and would want to discuss (or argue…) about some of the finer aspects of this season…so here’s the gist:
1.) You get one vote per award category.
2.) If you don’t see your first choice listed, you are able to write-in votes for SOME of the categories – but here’s my strong words of caution: seldom do write-in votes win these awards, so I would encourage you to only write-in if you feel really strongly about something; if your write-in vote is grossly misspelled, doesn’t make sense, or cannot be understood, I’m throwing it out – I’ve had too many seasons of weeding through pages upon pages of write-in votes that were only slightly above jibberish in terms of clarity. And if you decide to be a little jerk and answer questions like “Which was the best dance of the season?” with “All of Meryl’s dances!!!” or “tie between Meryl’s tango, Candace’s contemporary, Amy’s Argentine tango, and Charlie’s jazz”, I’m throwing out your vote. Pick ONE – like all of the people courteous enough to actually follow the rules of this poll.
3.) Polls will be up for ONE WEEK – so get your votes in NOW. Read more..
So somebody requested that I do an update to my first “What’s Left to Dance?” post, just to see what remaining dances the celebs have to do this season…or rather, which dances they might not get to at all :-( I can’t recall another season where the celebs have had so many of the dances left to do with so little of the competition remaining – and I can’t say I’m enjoying it. But before I get too far into it, here’s my handy-dandy chart, updated with everyone’s week 9 dances EXCEPT Amy & Derek (as they haven’t revealed theirs yet):
So now to address some questions that are bound to pop up…
What dances are Amy & Derek doing next week??? I don’t know. Haven’t heard anything official. But there is a conspicuous gap in one section of the chart, so I would not be shocked to see Amy doing samba, since she’s the only person left that hasn’t already done it/will be doing it next week (in Charlie’s case). Then again, maybe they think she’ll struggle with samba, and so they’ll give her paso doble instead…IDK. No clue about the other dance – I would guess that it’s a ballroom dance, since she still has four she hasn’t done yet, but then again, it could also be jazz. Who knows. I guess my official “prediction” is samba and foxtrot…but that’s all it is, a prediction. What do you think?
How many dances are they doing during finale week? And what kind? Again, I know nothing official, but obviously there will be a freestyle, and if Len griping about Charlie’s rumba in week 4 was any indicator, there will probably also be a redemption dance (a dance that the celeb didn’t do so well on the first time around, and could improve upon). There’s probably also going to be a relay dance of some sort (probably something everyone has done – I’m guessing cha-cha or samba) and maybe some sort of instant dance/24 hour challenge (for the three that advance after the first night – I’m guessing someone will get eliminated after the freestyles on night 1. Again, just educated guesses.
What about the trio dance??? AND THE PASO DOBLE???!!! I’m guessing the trio dance is kaput for this season, and I would be shocked if we saw another paso doble (unless Amy is doing it next week) since the finalists typically don’t do an unlearned dance in finale week (besides the freestyle). Yes, it sucks. :-( I also doubt we’ll see another standard waltz or swing routine – seems like those were only brought in to fulfill specific purposes (Amy’s request to dance to a Cinderella song during Disney week, and Amy & Meryl saying they were most looking forward to doing swing in week 2). Basically, unless someone’s doing it next week – we probably won’t see it again this season. Sorry.
What do you think the couples will do as their redemption dance? I think it’s kind of a given that Charlie will get rumba, as Len made a point of saying it back in week 4. I would say that they’d saddle Amy with *cringe* waltz again, but I don’t see her being able to improve upon it that much – so I could see them letting her redo her cha-cha instead. Meryl will probably end up redoing rumba as well, which I’m sure will fit right into this Meryl vs. Charlie showdown they’ve been dancing towards all season. If Candace makes the finale – hehe, she’s got a lot of dances that she could improve upon, but I think for the sake of variety, they’ll pick quickstep for her…she’s got both potential and room to improve on that one. If James makes the finale (and I’m leaning towards it being either Candace OR James that join the other three in the finale), I could see them giving him quickstep as well. That way, they ensure they get at least one ballroom redemption dance.
Will the freestyles be supersized? Given that they’ve been “supersizing” some of the regular dances this season, I don’t think they’ll suddenly opt for austerity and simplicity in the freestyle round…hell, I think the freestyles this time could be super-dupersized. Let’s put it this way: it would not surprise me if the couples called in the entire cast of Game of Thrones, the entire roster of the Miami Heat (blech), and/or the entire Mormon Tabernacle Choir to help with their freestyles at this point…it’s that out of control, kids.
Why are they leaving so many dances unlearned this season? :-( I don’t know, but it kind of gives me a sad. If I had to speculate, I’d say they just got too wrapped up in theme nights and trying to accommodate other random aspects of this season ( i.e. Meryl & Charlie’s travel schedule, Amy’s prostheses’, certain pros’ weaknesses as a choreographer, etc.) that they had to tinker with the dances a bit – why they decided to basically scrap the paso doble, I really don’t know, as that is one dance that it seems like almost anyone could do, regardless of their level of skill or physical abilities…it’s all about selling the performance. So yeah…it’s a head-scratcher for me, too.
So there’s my thoughts on the remaining dances headed into the semifinals and finals. What are yours? What unanswered questions do you have about this season?
Sooooo…anyone else have an unpleasant sense of deja vu from season 14 after last night’s show? Cause I sure am…it’s only the names that have changed: William Levy has been replaced with Meryl, and Donald Driver has been replaced with Charlie. William/Meryl can do no wrong in the eyes of the judges, is bathed in praise, and gets free passes for doing things that other couples get called out on in a heartbeat; while poor Donald/Charlie busts his ass and delivers not only some stellar dances, but manages to keep a smile on his face – yet week after week, he’s nitpicked to death by the judges and looks (along with his partner) beyond hurt as it’s happening. I hated the whole situation two years ago, and I hate it again now – the blatant pimping and obvious hosing of some couples vs. others is making me check out of this season just a little bit more with each passing week. There’s only one glimmer of hope on the horizon: William, despite all the pimping on his season, was only able to eke out 3rd place…while Donald, the weekly redheaded stepchild in the eyes of the judges, ended up winning the whole thing. Just some food for thought… Read more..
My first team dance post was getting a bit lengthy…so I decided to carry on the discussion here :-) I thought I’d take a look at several factors that may affect the outcome of the team dances – things that may affect scores and overall success on each of the teams. Join me, won’t you? :-) And be sure to vote in the poll at the bottom!
Just as a reminder, the teams are:
Team Loca: Meryl & Maks, Danica & Val, Amy & Derek, Candace & Mark
Team Vida: Charlie & Sharna, James & Peta, NeNe & Tony
Pro Team Dance Experience:
Derek: 10 wins, 0 ties, 0 losses; average team dance score: 27.65
Mark: 2 wins, 2 losses, 1 tie; average team dance score: 24.6
Peta: 2 wins, 2 losses, 0 ties; average team dance score: 27
Maks: 2 wins, 3 losses, 1 tie; average team dance score: 25.5
Sharna: 1 win, 0 losses, 0 ties; average team dance score: 25
Tony: 1 win, 3 losses, 0 ties; average team dance score: 25.38
Val: 0 wins, 3 losses, 0 ties; average team dance score: 25.33
The writing is kinda on the wall with this one – Derek wins team dances, so he’s a real asset if he’s on your team. Peta may not have as many wins, but the teams she’s been on have pulled in high enough scores that her average team dance score is pretty high. Mark’s average team dance score may be a bit artificially low – it was hard to account for the 4th judges’ score in season 12, so I just removed it – that ended up throwing things off a bit.
Who’s got the edge: Team Loca
Number of couples:
Team Loca: 4 couples
Team Vida: 3 couples
We only have two precedents for this one – season 9 and season 14, and there are pros and cons for both. In season 9, Team Paso had 4 couples and Team Tango had 3; Team Tango beat Team Paso by 4 points, with Louis citing that having fewer couples was easier because there were “fewer egos” and it’s easier to get a smaller number of couples in synch. In season 14, Team Tango had 4 couples while Team Paso had 3 – Team Tango beat Team Paso by 1 point, and Derek said that having more couples allowed them to “create more cool patterns on the floor”. From what I’ve heard from Deep Throat so far, both teams are looking great – but it seems like Team Vida might be having an easier time with the synchronized group sections.
Who’s got the edge: Team Vida
This gets a bit tricky, as the team dances are freestyles once more and obviously, none of the current celebs have any experience with the freestyle yet. So which pros have experience with the freestyle?
Derek: 7 individual freestyles; 2 team freestyles
Mark: 5 individual freestyles; 0 team freestyles
Maks: 4 individual freestyles; 1 team freestyle
Tony: 3 individual freestyles; 2 team freestyles
Val: 2 individual freestyles; 2 team freestyles
Peta: 1 individual freestyle; 2 team freestyles
Sharna: 0 individual freestyles; 0 team freestyles
Even if they haven’t necessarily WON with every single freestyle they’ve done, I think it’s good for every pro to at least have some experience with the freestyle – and Team Loca has Team Vida beat in that respect.
Who’s got the edge: Team Loca
Team Loca: “Livin’ La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin
Team Vida: “The Cup of Life (La Copa de la Vida)” by Ricky Martin
This one is rather subjective, as it’s just a matter of opinion who got the “better” song. “Livin’ La Vida Loca” has been used once before, as Kendra & Louis’ samba in season 12; “The Cup of Life” has been used twice before – once as Melissa & Tony’s salsa in season 8, once as Maria & Derek’s salsa in season 14. Both songs are conducive to both a samba and a salsa beat; there are also certain sections of each that might work with paso doble & cha-cha. Personally, I think all of Ricky Martin’s stuff kinda starts to sound the same after awhile – so I don’t really think either one is better than the other.
Who’s got the edge: TIE
Average individual score:
Team Loca: 25.63
Team Vida: 25.11
This is kinda reaching, but since everyone on the same team gets the same score, it might be worthwhile to look at what their average individual score is as a team. Not a vast difference between them – I would not be surprised if whoever won this team dance won it by only 1 point.
Who’s got the edge: Slight edge to Team Loca…but not by much
COURT’S OVERALL THOUGHTS: On paper, everything seems to be stacked in Team Loca’s favor: they’ve got great choreographers, great dancers, and are getting along well. Apparently Val is even refreshed at how good it feels to work as a team :-) But I just can’t shake the feeling that Team Loca is being set up to lose – seems like a lot of emphasis is being placed on the fact that Derek has NEVER lost, and according to our sources, Team Vida is looking really good. We’re also at the point in the season where any potential dark horses (namely James, and to a lesser degree, Charlie) could have a bit of a growth arc and surge into the lead. Gotta love storyboarding. If they aren’t deliberately setting Team Loca up to lose, I would imagine the teams are going to be very, very close in score.
So what are your thoughts? Who do you think has the edge…and who do you think will actually end up winning?
So we’re at the halfway point in the competition – 5 more weeks to go, and there’s still 8 couples left…seems like a lot, but I guess numerically it makes sense. We’ve got party anthem night this coming Monday, Latin night the following Monday, and then who knows. Will the guest judges cease once we hit week 8? Will the themes cease? When’s the team dance? What other funky sh*t are they gonna throw our way between now and the finale? :-P
I don’t have ALL of the answers, but I’ll try and paint the clearest picture I can of the remainder of the season. Here’s the list of what the remaining couples have left to dance in the coming weeks – I’ve already removed their party anthem week dances, so consider this the remaining dances for Latin week onward. I’ve added a bit of my own commentary as well. And because I’m nice, I did it both a list format AND a handy-dandy chart. :-) I have a question mark by the Viennese waltz (see why below) and I honestly doubt we’ll see anyone else doing the swing this season, but I went ahead and included it since we did see it from two couples already. Read more..