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DWTS 14 End-of-Season Award Winners – Which Dance Was the Best?

Lesson Court learned from putting together these awards: perhaps the “other” option should be eliminated, starting with next season’s end-of-season awards :-P I got an insane number of write-in responses for the “best dance” and “celeb you most want to see on the all-star season” categories, and let’s just say it was no easy task weeding through all of the write-ins 8O I also learned that some people are too lazy (or inattentive) to click “read more” and vote in the other categories, and as a result we got almost double the number of votes for the “best dance” category than we did everything else.  I love our readers, but sometimes they drive me a little bit bonkers :-P

Other responses:

Donald & Peta’s freestyle – 23
Melissa, Maks, & Val’s samba trio – 10
Katherine & Mark’s Argentine tango – 8
Maria, Derek, & Henry’s samba trio – 4
Katherine & Mark’s jive – 4
Maria & Derek’s rumba – 3
Roshon & Chelsie’s freestyle – 3
Katherine & Mark’s freestyle – 3
Maria & Derek’s Viennese waltz – 3
Katherine, Mark, & Tristan’s cha-cha trio – 3
Sherri & Val’s foxtrot – 2
Team Paso Doble – 2
Maria & Derek’s Argentine tango – 2
Katherine & Mark’s 2nd paso doble – 2
William & Cheryl’s samba – 2
Gladys & Tristan’s cha-cha – 2
Tristan & Karina’s waltz demo – 1
Tristan & Chelsie’s DaD samba – 1
Melissa & Maks’ paso doble – 1
Katherine & Mark’s samba – 1
Roshon, Chelsie, & Sasha’s paso doble trio – 1

Courtney: Can’t say I’m too surprised at the results – the two that I predicted would do well ended up on top, and the rest got a small share of votes, likely from diehard fans of that particular couple.  I do think the jive trio was the dance of the season – the fact that they took a dance that was hard to do with only 2 people and managed to create something fun, energetic, and proper with 3 people was beyond impressive to me.  And the fact that they DIDN’T get a perfect 30 for it??? APPALLING.  I seriously think people don’t realize how HARD it is to lead 2 women – and Donald’s the only one that took on that challenge in his trio dance, and he KILLED IT.  I didn’t see Roshon or William trying to lead two ladies.  Maria & Derek’s paso was good – for this season.  I just can’t seem to get too excited about it, though, because it just wasn’t up-to-snuff with the paso choreography I’m used to seeing from Derek.  As for all the other responses – I think they all were those couples’ best dances, but probably not the best dance of the season.  Write-ins? It’s the usual smorgesbord of random dances, and I usually find myself shaking my head reading some of them, and saying “Really? You REALLY think that was the best dance?” But alas, different strokes for different folks.  :-) The only one I’m gonna comment on is Donald & Peta’s freestyle…and I guess Katherine & Mark’s, too.  I always shy away from including those as options in the “best dance of the season” category, because it seems that, unless a couple REALLY picks a dud, it’s a dance that most couples do well with, and the scoring is pretty inflated – it almost seems like too much of a gimme.  That said, I did really enjoy Donald’s freestyle – but I didn’t think the level of difficulty was as high as his jive trio was.  And I thought Katherine showed better endurance in her jive than in ther freestyle.

Vogue: Court, you took the words out of my head this time. My favorite dance of the season (and the dance I thought was the best) was Donald and Peta’s Jive trio. Donald’s fast leg and footwork amazed me at the time. So much so, I screamed to my husband in the other room to come watch (and we had to replay it after the show several times …which I don’t ever remember doing with him as long as I’ve been watching this show). Our mouths literally dropped to the floor especially when Donald jumped over the top of both girls. 8O A blow away for me as well was their Freestyle. I also loved their Paso Doble and Argentine Tango with the amusement ride twirl. Other stand out dances for me that I thought were the best were Derek and Maria’s Bollywood Trio dance and Paso Doble. Looking back now, I will remember Derek and Maria’s Bollywood Trio dance the most of their dances even though it probably wasn’t her best dance technically, but, it was different, so creative, theatrical, and entertaining. Another dance I have to give props too is also William and Cheryl’s Argentine Tango. I loved all the passion in that dance. William was so into his character and I loved his tails which is when he looked the sexiest in my opinion. :) Anyway, great poll and results!!

Heidi: Yeah, I agree with the top two – by a MILE. Say what you want about the “talent” this season, but Donald and Maria were the two most memorable. As for Derek’s choreography –  I think that Maria was one of his least naturally talented partners EVER (she’s in a club with Joanna and Shannon and wouldn’t have gone as far with ANYONE else), yet his dances with her were just as memorable as anything anyone else did. That’s quite an accomplishment for both of them. He has a way of doing that. He was really challenged with her – she wasn’t naturally talented and she was pretty injured the whole time.  Poor Derek though – he’s set his own bar too high. :-)  But the Bollywood Samba I also loved, and their rumba just because they were so into it.  As for the write ins?  Sad to say I don’t actually REMEMBER a lot of those dances. Most of Katherine’s dances have left my brain. Oddly, several of Willy’s I remember out of sheer disgust.  Someone wrote in DaD?? All I remember is Chelsie almost getting blown off a table. :-)

 

 *photo courtesy ABC/Adam Taylor

June 11, 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!

Vote for Your Favorites in the PureDWTS Season 14 End-of-Season Awards!!!

 Ok kids, it’s time once again to vote of our biannual “end-of-season” awards…our sort of “wrap up” for season 14, where we see what you guys think were the highs and lows of this season :-) If you want to get a feel for how these awards work, you can check out previous seasons’ award recipients here.

First, the rules: I’ve picked what I deem to be the most likely candidates (with the strongest chance of winning) for each category – of course, some of you are going to disagree, and that’s fine.  If you don’t see your pick listed as an option, you can write-in your own nomination in the “other” box.  But here’s my biannual disclaimer about the dreaded “other” box: if I can’t read what you wrote because it’s badly misspelled/grammatically nonsensical/generally incoherent, YOUR VOTE WILL NOT COUNT.  If your response to the question does not make sense (i.e. you simply vote “Donald” for best dance), YOUR VOTE WILL NOT COUNT.  If you simply repeat one of the already listed responses because you can’t be bothered to actually pay attention, YOUR VOTE WILL NOT COUNT.  If you’re just generally being a nudnik and giving harassing responses, YOUR VOTE WILL NOT COUNT.  *shakes head* I still can’t believe that I have to give this spiel twice a year…

…anywho, we’ll give you guys a week to get your votes in, and then we’ll reveal the results in a series of posts starting next week.  Now ready…set…VOTE!!! :-D

Read more..

May 24, 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 14 Week 10 – Power Rankings for the Finale

For a second there, I was sure this night was a complete wash…and then Donald reaffirmed my faith in humanity with one of the most adorable freestyles I’ve ever seen on the show :-D

Not a whole lot to say that most of you haven’t already said on Twitter – there was definite overscoring going on (William), and definite underscoring going on (Donald), but in the end, I doubt the scores are going to matter a ton…because this seems like it’s going to be the fanbase battle royale for the MBT.  And if the response I saw after one couple’s freestyle was any indicator – I think they’re a shoo-in for the MBT ;-) Let’s do things in reverse tonight, starting with who I’m predicting for the 3rd place finisher…

3rd place: Katherine & Mark

Honestly, it were up to me, these two would be a definite 2nd place – but I’ve got a gut feeling that they may have gotten a little lost in the shuffle tonight, in between the judges’ golden boy and the charismatic dark horse.  I thought her paso was pretty damn good – she definitely danced with more assuredness and confidence than her first paso, and the choreo was clean, proper, and exciting.  My only complaint: it seemed to highlight Mark more than Kath, but I guess I can’t fault them too much, as paso is really the man’s dance…which just further drives the point home for me that the judges kinda screwed her a bit when they gave her the paso in the first place.  As for their freestyle – I have to commend Mark for returning to the tried-and-true formula for freestyle success: he picked something that was relevant to his celebrity, he made sure it was high-energy, and he included quite a bit of actual ballroom steps to please Len.  I think it would have been a strong competition for Donald, if only Kath hadn’t lost a bit of steam in the middle and gotten a bit stuck in the lifts.  But I liked the flapper theme, and thought Kath singing at the beginning was a great way to really make the routine relevant to her – I just wish Mark had toned it down a bit, so she could have actually made it all the way through the dance with the same high level of energy.  Ok, so they’ve got the high score – but it’s only one point more than the other 2, so it may as well be nothing…and I’m sorry, as gorgeous and talented as I think Kath is, I don’t think she can compete with the raging hormones of Willy’s fans or the magnetic personality that Donald’s fans are drawn to.  Like Ricki last season, who also had the high score after the first night of the finale (and also the first dance of the 2nd night), I think Kath may be relegated to 3rd :-( However, I would love to be wrong and have her take 2nd…provided it bumps Willy into 3rd ;-)

2nd place: William & Cheryl

I guess hoping that the overscoring would stop in the finale was wishful thinking, as I was not particularly wowed by either of Willy’s dances tonight…and the fault for that lies more with Cheryl than anyone else.  William didn’t mess up, and what he did in both of his dances was technically good – he even looked liked he was having fun, which was something I had yet to see from him this season.  But here’s the problem: the level of difficulty for both of his routines was pretty pathetic…and I genuinely feel sorry for the guy, because I think Cheryl really let him down with the choreography tonight.  Their cha-cha just felt like a recycled version of their first cha-cha, which wasn’t very impressive in terms of choreography – his hip action seemed better this time around, and he seemed more relaxed, but there was nothing particularly impactful or exciting about it.  He could have handled more – but Cheryl didn’t give it to him.  And I’m sorry, but if another contestant pulls a Miss Cleo and predicts exactly what you’ll do in your freestyle (Donald knows what’s up), then you’re probably a one-trick pony without much of an edge.  Sorry, but this freestyle was a cop-out – I’m all for picking something relevant to your partner, but this felt like nothing different than what I’ve been seeing the past 9 weeks: a bunch of gyrations, dips, ass shaking, and vaguely salsa-y moves.  Even the lifts were pretty elementary - William’s a muscular guy, and he could have handled more heavy lifting.  He didn’t mess up, and he seemed to have fun – but the choreography didn’t show me that he was really a great dancer. Overall, at the end of it, I was just kinda left saying “So what else is new?” But I’ve got a feeling that hormones will prevail tomorrow night, and at least carry William into the final two…with his complacent partner, who probably didn’t even bother choreographing anything truly innovative, because she knew they’d be overscored anyway – just like they’ve been all season.

The Winner: Donald & Peta

The last remaining couple untainted by the fishy overscoring of this season – and thankfully, I think they came across as the most likeable, as well :-D While I SOMEWHAT agreed with Len that their Argentine tango was a tad on the safe side, I still think it was underscored, given that William & Cheryl just regurgitated their first week cha-cha (which is probably the ultimate “safe” move), and the first go-round, Len bitched that their Argentine tango “lacked content”.  So they gave him more content…and now it’s “too safe?” Poor Donald just can’t win with Len.  Whatever.  Len sure couldn’t bitch & moan after that freestyle they did, though – it was EASILY the best of the night, as the energy was through the roof and stayed there the entire routine, and Donald totally pwned those lifts.  And really – who would have guessed that Donald would pull out the country card and get out there and line dance? That was fresh & unexpected – yet somehow still strangely relevant to Donald, as I think it really showed us how multi-talented he is…and a goofball, at that :-P I’ve got a good feeling about tomorrow night, that justice will somehow prevail and the grand plans of TPTB will be squashed by a legion of fed-up fans voting for the little Quickie That Could…suck it, Univision merger ;-)

So who do you guys think will walk away with the MBT tomorrow? And how do you think this “24 hour dance challenge” will turn out? If they don’t rank the routines (30, 28, 26), I’m totally predicting they cop-out and give all three of them 30′s, just like instant samba last season.  But aside from that…which returning stars are you most looking forward to seeing? I’m all about some Jack, Gladys, & Roshon, myself ;-)

May 21, 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!

Court’s DWTS Las Vegas Adventure (Live Show Review & Other Miscellanery)

As many of you know, I was in Las Vegas last weekend and had the pleasure of seeing the DWTS live show at the Tropicana – which, of course, I will review for you guys, since certain other individuals *cough*JOHN*cough* haven’t managed to write the 2nd half of their review of the premiere of said show ;-) This post could get a bit wordy, as I took quite a few notes (and just have a really good memory, to boot) and I’ll throw in a few other possibly-unrelated-to-DWTS details for context, as well as some general Vegas info, since some of you have asked about my trip - so if you’re only interested in my review of the show, feel free to skip the next few paragraphs.  And if you hate spoilers (i.e. you want to be COMPLETELY surprised when you see the show), I’d either just skip this post altogether or just read my overall take at the bottom - because I’m not holding back.  You’ve been warned ;-) And special thanks go to Heidi, for helpin’ a girl out with some picture merges that were driving me cray-cray :-P

So why was I in Vegas in the first place, you ask? My best friend Kendra is getting married at the end of July, and she wanted a bachelorette party for the ages – so naturally, we HAD to go Vegas :-) There were 12 of us altogether (11 rowdy bachelorettes and 1 gay bachelor, who I must say put us all to shame with how fabulously he was dressed the entire trip ;-)), and the majority of us stayed at the Flamingo, since we were able to get a great rate on standard rooms – with 4 girls to a room, it was only $82 total for each of us for 3 nights, which is pretty awesome for a well-known hotel on the strip that isn’t a total dive.  Overall, I wouldn’t say the Flamingo is a particularly special or ritzy hotel (if that’s what you’re looking for, I’d go with the Bellagio, Palazzo, or Venetian…but be prepared to shell out big $$$), but if you’re on a budget, it’s certainly more than sufficient – the rooms are clean and the decor is kitchy & cute (think 1960′s, Rat Pack, original Ocean’s Eleven – lots of dots, stripes, retro furniture, and of course, pink :-)).  I’m very into the nostalgia of Vegas, so the Flamingo appealed to me in that it was originally built by infamous mobster Bugsy Siegel, and legend has it that the actual motive behind his murder was to change the management of the Flamingo.  But anyway – if you’re in Vegas, I definitely recommend trying their Paradise Garden Buffet – it’s pretty affordable, as far as buffets in Vegas go, and is quite good…especially the brunch buffet.  Plus the views of their courtyard and flock of live flamingoes are gorgeous :-) Also at the Flamingo? Donny & Marie Osmond’s live show – I didn’t see it (no time, and honestly, not much of a desire), but I did see these in the lobby:

The one on the left is Donny’s costume from his freestyle with Kym in season 9, as well as his MBT (and yes, according to the guest services director that I asked, it is his real MBT – apparently he insisted it be put in the case with his costume); the one on the right is Marie’s dress from her quickstep with Jonathan in season 5 (and one of those freaky dolls she designs – guess they had to put SOMETHING there when they found out that Donny wanted to display his MBT, although I’m not sure why they didn’t display this doll instead).  I found Marie’s costume pretty unremarkable up close – for as fabulous as it looked on the show, upon further scrutiny, it’s really just a tan silk gown with some gems glued on; but Donny’s suit is very well-made and clearly took a lot of work.  Interesting how different the costumes look on tv vs. in person (more on that later). Read more..

May 19, 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 14 Week 8 Power Rankings

A few things became abundantly clear to me in the midst of tonight’s show: the judges’ heads have been up William & Cheryl’s asses so long that their oxygen supply has been cut off (and brain damage has occured), Carrie Ann switches motives faster than most people blink, Maria & Derek should probably just knock boots and get it over with, Roshon is this season’s forgotten man, and Katherine’s dancing is about as exciting as eating dry white toast.  Let’s just get straight into it…

1.) William & Cheryl – The pimping of these two has just gotten so out of control that I don’t even know what to say anymore – it’s inane, ridiculous, and it’s putting me off this show entirely.  You guys wonder why I’m so far behind on the cheese? Because this season has left such a bad taste in my mouth, and 70% of it is because of these two and the lavish, undeserved praise they get.  But since me complaining about that does little to deter them, I guess I’ll focus on the dancing, which overall was not as stellar as the judges would have you believe.  That foxtrot? Ok, it wasn’t bad, but I’m still not seeing a whole lot of showmanship from William – the man looks like he’s constipated out there.  And Cheryl’s still doing a whole lot of dancing around him, rubbing herself on him, and generally doing some attention-whoring of Ballasesque proportions.  Go ahead and whine about how I “shouldn’t judge the celeb based on the choreo”, but when all he’s doing is standing there and occasionally gesturing, what the hell am I supposed to think? Am I supposed to just ASSUME he’s a great dancer, even though I don’t get to see it underneath all of his partner’s showboating? The dancing isn’t about William at all – it’s about Cheryl dancing around him.  And that was the story of their paso doble trio as well – it was the Cheryl Burke show, with special guest appearances by Tony Dovolani & William Levy.  There was a lot of walking from place to place, and William noticeably got off-time…although it was only mentioned in passing by one of the judges, while they absolutely HOSED Roshon for the same thing.  I give up.  There’s clearly an agenda in place that necessitates William sticking around as long as possible, and I don’t like it.  With any luck, this whole mess will completely blow up in the faces of TPTB…but my luck hasn’t been so great lately, so I’m not holding my breath.  These two will be safe tomorrow night…

2.) Donald & Peta – Thank GAWD for Donald! The man is the personification of what I want in a celeb on this show: he’s having fun, he’s working hard, and he’s giving us some legitimately GREAT performances.  Aside from Roshon’s foxtrot, this tango was the closest thing to perfection for me in the ballroom round tonight – Donald had the attack, and the way he was snapping his head and his feet was divine! I will say that he still seems to get a bit off-balance here and there, and it seems to happen when he gets a little too excited – hopefully he’ll gain a bit more control over some of his more dynamic movements.  I also have to tip my tiny top hat (which I’m still wearing from the team dances last week ;-)) to Peta, for coming up with some choreo that both pleases Len and is also pleasing to the eye – not an easy balance! And that trio dance? Wooooooooooooowwwww.  Just….WOW.  I think the trio idea overall kinda failed, but this was the one gem of the evening – I don’t think I could have asked for a better group than Donald, Peta, and Karina.  Both ladies rock at jive, and Donald impressed the hell out of me with the way he partnered TWO ladies.  You guys notice that neither of the other guys did that in their trio, right? Probably because it’s f*cking hard – something that doesn’t come naturally to a novice male ballroom dancer.  So he gets a ton of respect from me for handling two very vivacious ladies, and also for just delivering a totally FUN performance…props to all three of them for that.   I can only hope that Donald is growing on other people like he’s grown on me, because at this point, he’s the only one I see as a lock for the finale… Read more..

May 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 14 Week 7 Power Rankings

If there is one take-home point I want you guys to glean from this season, it’s that THEME WEEKS OFTEN SCREW THE COUPLES! No exception here – I think only two couples managed to churn out something worthwhile from the pieces of music they were given, and the rest either muddled through or failed miserably.  Consequently, I find myself cutting some breaks tonight, just due to some really bad music selections.  And let’s just say there was some “creative” storytelling going on this week…warriors & mannequins & vampires, oh my! 8O I am beyond relieved that it’s back to business as usual next week…no wacky themes to throw couples off their game.  So there’s also going to be no excuses for subpar performances…game on, kiddies ;-)

Thoughts on the team dances: I thought Team Tango (aka Team Tiny Hat :-P) was quite a bit better than Team Paso (aka Team No Shirt, No Problem ;-)).  I saw no timing issues or missteps on Team Tango – everything was in synch, and aside from a couple of small wobbles from Jaleel & Maria, I saw no glaring mistakes.  I also thought they had the more interesting floor patterns  – lots of visually-pleasing shapes and transitions.  I do think Derek was right in his claim that more couples = more interesting patterns.  It can be a good thing, if you can manage to get everyone in synch and on time…and I think that last thing is the real challenge.  I would hearby like to dub Roshon the MVP of Team Tango – the boy was a revelation tonight.  He came out with such determination and attack, and he KILLED his solo on Team Tango.  Zero mistakes, 100% commitment, 100% attack.  Bravo, Ro! Hell, I would even go so far as to say that he was the overall standout in terms of both teams – he was really the only one that made me sit up and go “WHOA!!! Where did that come from???!”  As for Team Paso – I thought they had the more exciting piece of music and had more theatricality and drama than Team Tango, but they suffered in terms of synchronization and just overall cleanliness of their choreography.  I kind of anticipated those two problems, as they had the added challenge of throwing in a lot of open work that Team Tango didn’t really have to worry about.  I loved the parts of the guys’ cape section that were actually in synch (which I must say is a pretty impressive feat), but the parts that were out of synch just kind of reminded me of my cousins playing Zorro as kids – it was a little chaotic. I could’ve done without the shirtlessness (more on that later), but I can’t say I’m surprised that they did it.  If I had to pick, I’d say Donald was the MVP of Team Paso – I loved how much control he showed in his solo, and his choreo was clean.  In the end, I’d say the scoring was just about right – I might have deducted a point from Team Paso, since the objective of the team dance for me is to stay in synch, first and foremost, and they seemed to struggle with that a bit more.

1.) Maria & Derek – I think these two were the only ones who managed to really OWN their individual dance tonight, and not get pwned by the song they were given.  I can’t say that I was wild about the vampire storyline (between Twilight, True Blood, Vampire Diaries, etc., I’m kinda over the whole vamp thing…), but they did make it work for them, and overall the choreography was clean, exciting, and a good representation of paso doble.  Did it deserve a 30? I think so…with all of the overscoring we’ve seen this season for dances that I thought were nowhere near as good as this paso (or at least had nowhere near as much content as this paso), I can’t say that I think the judges were too far off in giving it the first 30 of the season.  Given tonight’s spread, I think these two are safe.

2.) Katherine & Mark – I’m told their rumba was Game of Thrones-inspired, but as someone who does not have premium cable (and whose regular cable it only intermittently available these days – thanks again, AT&T!), I actually thought it looked more gladiator or Roman-y.  Whatever it was – I’m afraid the costuming made Katherine look kinda out of her element, and although I thought her legs looked FANTASTIC and she was at least flirting with some nice hip action, I never felt 100% commitment from her, and the routine never felt super romantic or rumba-y to me.  It tiptoed near being a good rumba, but never really reached it – and Katherine had another week of “deer in the headlights” eyes from time to time, I’m afraid.  I also have to raise a bit of an eyebrow to some creative camera work I noticed – seemed like they changed the shot so you couldn’t see Kath’s legs whenever they went for a move that might possibly get called out as a lift.  Possibly a “if the viewers can’t see it, they can’t get mad at Carrie Ann for not calling them out on it!” strategy? Who knows…but it just seemed a bit fishy to me, especially given a few other things I noticed tonight.  Overall, I think these two are probably safe this week – but I’m starting to see some cracks in her facade.  She’s not as flawless as the judges initially thought, methinks…

3.) Donald & Peta – This was the only other couple I thought really handled their piece of music well tonight, and I thought their “royalty at court” kinda theme was a cute interpretation.  Although Donald gave it a valiant effort and I did see some really good moments (especially when he was out of hold), he did seem to have some footwork issues (a problem all of the VW’s this week seemed to have), and I thought I saw him get off time once or twice.  Then again, it was hard to tell whether someone was on or off-time this week, as so many of the pieces of music had some wacky tempo changes.  I wish Carrie Ann could have just praised them, instead of bringing up some non-issue about a lift that she herself didn’t see but thought might have been there anyway (seriously? WTF??? Just score what you saw and shut up about things you didn’t!), but I think the judges were about right in their scoring.  I think Donald’s pretty safe, but I think he still has some work to do on his ballroom frame if he wants a shot at the finals… Read more..

April 30, 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 14 – What’s Left to Dance?

Well, we’ve reached the halfway point (sort of…) of the competition.  Only 7 of the 12 couples we started with remain, and each couple has 6 dances down and 6 more regular ones to go (not counting team dances, freestyles, etc.) in the 4 weeks left in the competition.  Now we get down to the nitty gritty and see what everyone is really made of…because starting next week, they all have to do 2 full-length dances per week.  So let’s take a look at what each of the couples has to contend with in the coming weeks, shall we?

First impressions: anyone who still has samba left to do is likely at a bit of a disadvantage, as that’s the dance that really seems to trip a lot of people up.  Those who are still waiting to do Argentine tango could have a slight edge, as it seems to be a dance that can really redeem a couple when done later in the competition. I think Donald & William are likely going to struggle a bit with their remaining ballroom dances; Jaleel, Maria, and Katherine are probably going to be a bit challenged by their remaining Latin dances; and Melissa & Roshon are probably going to struggle with just about everything, since they don’t seem to be in the judges’ favor.

Jaleel & Kym – remaining dances: paso doble, waltz, quickstep, Viennese waltz, salsa, Argentine tango

I’d say Jaleel actually has one of the better sets of remaining dances left to do – it’s a good mix of Latin & ballroom, and he still has both of his “extra” dances to burn through.  He seems stronger in the ballroom dances than in the Latin, so I don’t see waltz, quickstep, or Viennese waltz being a big problem; and I could see him really doing well in the paso doble, since he seems to have some anger issues he needs to work out :-).  He seems to have to intensity necessary for Argentine tango, but I have to say, I’m skeptical about how proficient he’s going to be at the salsa – he’s got the personality, but I’ve noticed that his footwork tends to suffer at the expense of his showmanship…especially on more energetic dances like jive & samba.

Donald & Peta – remaining dances: samba, jive, waltz, tango, Viennese waltz, salsa

I seriously love Donald, but I think he’s got his work cut out for him the next few weeks – he’s still got two of the more difficult Latin dances left to deal with, and since he still seems to be struggling a bit with ballroom posture & frame, I think the waltz, tango, and Viennese waltz are going to be a challenge.  I think he’ll have a blast with the salsa, though – I can just see the big ol’ grin on our “hunkey dunkey” football player now :-D I’m just a bit concerned with the judges – I think they’re warming to Donald, but I don’t think they’re as willing to overlook slight errors with him as they are with Katherine, William, or even Maria.  He’s gonna have to be on-point every week if he wants that “10 from Len”.

Maria & Derek – remaining dances: samba, paso doble, jive, waltz, Viennese waltz, Argentine tango

I really wish they had already gotten samba & jive out of the way earlier this season :-( Those are two dances I just don’t see Maria having an easy time with – no one really and truly nails the samba (and along with cha-cha, it’s Derek’s LEAST favorite dance to choreograph), and with the exception of Nicole, it seems like really willowy ladies seem to have trouble with the jive, as it takes more time & effort to get those long legs kicking & flicking properly.  She might struggle a bit with paso, but Derek is generally pretty good at choreographing paso doble to his partner’s strengths, so I don’t think it will be too problematic; waltz and Viennese waltz shouldn’t be a problem; and the Argentine tango could be their secret weapon – if there’s one dance that might win them the pimp spot, it’s this one, as Derek has choreographed some of the most dramatic Argentine tangos over the years.

Roshon & Chelsie – remaining dances: paso doble, jive, waltz, tango, foxtrot, Argentine tango

First things first: while I still think Roshon is technically the best dancer still left in the competition, the judges (Carrie Ann in particular) have made it pretty clear that they’re VERY eager to point out any mistakes he makes – so he’s going to have to be damn near perfect in every single one of these dances, if he wants to stick around.  He’s done pretty well with the ballroom dances he’s had so far, so I think waltz & foxtrot shouldn’t be a problem; he also has a bit of an edge in that he’s already done the jive in the dance duel (and gotten some critiques from the judges on it), so he knows what he needs to work on.  The potential problems I see? Paso doble, tango, and Argentine tango – all require a certain degree of maturity and masculinity to really pull of well, and as we saw with the rumba this week…Roshon seems to struggle a bit with being a manly-man. :-P

Katherine & Mark – remaining dances: cha-cha, rumba, tango, quickstep, Viennese waltz, salsa

Well, when you’re a pretty good dancer and the judges seem to fawn over your every move, it doesn’t seem like you’d really struggle with any remaining dances – and to some degree, I get the feeling Katherine’s gonna have it made from here on out.  However, I see cha-cha, rumba, and salsa sticking out as potentially weaker dances for her – all require a certain degree of sexiness to pull off successfully, and I still don’t think Katherine is really comfortable with being sexy & sassy.  Her samba was ok, but I never got the feeling that she was 100% committed (or comfortable) with it; and while I thought her Argentine tango was great in terms of technique, she seemed to have emotional commitment problems there as well.  Can she pull off the sexiness? We’ll see.  Given her really good track record with the ballroom dances, I think tango, quickstep, and Viennese waltz should be a cinch – provided that Mark can continue to be “good Mark” and avoid any gimmicks. Read more..

April 25, 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!

PureDWTS Exclusive! An Interview with Randall Christensen, Part II

Last week, we gave you part one of our exclusive interview with Randall Christensen, the costume designer for season 2-12 of DWTS.  Now read on for more insight from the man behind the costumes…as well as some exciting news! :-D

What are some of the shows that stood out for you the most when you costumed them, and why? (i.e. certain theme nights, specific seasons, finales, etc.)

Randall Christensen:  Movie/Broadway or TV night is always great fun.  We get to step out of character even more.  If you can dream it up, SOMEONE will wear it!  Themed nights are always fun.  Loved the Halloween show back several years ago.  Edyta as Morticia Addams (The Addams Family), Monique Coleman/Louis van Amstel in their “Ghostbusters” tear away coveralls, to “slime” green…..great fun!  Doing specific time periods are fun and challenging as well.  Doing a retro ‘50’s Paso Doble for Nicole Scherzinger was one of the most challenging, as the Paso Doble is so serious and passionate, yet the ‘50’s inspired song just didn’t go…..but Derek is a genius with choreography, and we came up with a fun yet strong look for them both.

If you could pick any of the pros, past or present, on the show to be your assistant, who would it be and why?

RC:  Hands down, Edyta Sliwinska would be a great co-designer.  She has such an eye for style!  Lacey Schwimmer has some really fun, “out there” and cutting edge ideas too.

What was the best part of your job on DWTS?

RC:  Hands down, the best part of my job was the trust of the producers, and being able to create with such freedom.  You just do NOT get that in the television industry, and that was the most rewarding thing I can imagine.  Weekly, the most rewarding part of my job was when Harold Wheeler and orchestra start playing the overture, there’s not a week that went by that I was ALWAYS there, with shivers running down my spine.  When those couples came down that stairway……truly a magical moment each and every week.  I never missed that descending down the stairs at the top of the show – NEVER! Read more..

January 17, 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!

DWTS13 End-of-Season Award Winners – Which Dance Was the Worst?

Other responses:

Hope & Maks’ rumba – 6

Ricki & Derek’s jive – 3

Hope & Maks’ first jive – 3

Chaz/Any dance from Chaz – 3 (Another one I’m tempted to throw out, because this seems a bit mean-spirited…and it doesn’t follow the directions)

Hope & Maks’ paso doble – 2

Elisabetta & Val’s cha-cha – 2

Ricki & Derek’s samba – 1

David & Kym’s rumba – 1

Ricki & Derek’s freestyle – 1

Rob & Cheryl’s samba – 1

Nancy & Tristan’s rumba – 1

Chaz & Lacey’s rumba – 1

Ricki & Derek’s paso doble – 1

Too many to list – 1

Courtney: Again, no big surprises here – looking back, I really do think Ron/Metta & Peta’s cha-cha was pretty hard to watch…and just kind of bizarre.  Hope & Maks’ tango, while very “clunky”, didn’t seem as bad to me – she was at least trying, where I felt like Ron just said “f*ck it” and was out there just winging it.  I have to give Nancy & Tristan’s jive a bit of a free pass, considering they got what I think could be the WORST jive song in the history of the show.  Chynna  had a brain fart – yes, it was hard to watch her crash & burn out there, but after seeing their encore performance during the finale, the dance itself didn’t seem quite so bad.  I would say that Rob & Cheryl’s Viennese waltz the first week had the potential to be as bad as Ron’s cha-cha, but Cheryl is such a pro at this point, I think she managed to conceal more of Rob’s flaws with backleading than Peta did with Ron’s.  JR & Karina’s cha-cha – yeah, it was a pretty hot mess, but I found that JR’s dancing in the finale was generally not up to snuff with the other stuff he had done all season…chalk it up to injury, I guess.  David & Kym’s jive was another hot mess, but again – he at least looked like he was trying.  It’s funny how effort can make or break a dance for me – a dance can be a hot mess, but I tend to cut it a bit of a break if I feel like the celeb is at least TRYING.  Likewise, a dance can be pretty good, but if I feel like the celeb is not really trying  or doesn’t really care (think Kate Gosselin) – I cannot bring myself to like it, no matter how great it may be.  Rounding out the write in category, I’ve got to raise my eyebrows at some of the responses, unfortunately.  Regardless of how one feels about Chaz’ life decisions, I don’t think all of Chaz’s dances were the worst ones this season, by any stretch – in fact, his cha-cha and samba were both pretty good, in my eyes.  And regardless of how one feels about Ricki and/or Derek, I don’t think any of their dances came close to being the worst, either – I think they may have gotten excessive praise for a few of them, but I don’t think any of them are inherently bad.  Hell, I was actually surprised that no one brought up their 80′s foxtrot – if any of their dances seemed even remotely qualified to be the worst of the season, it was that one…but again, I blame a crappy song and theme.  It’s funny that people bring up Hope & Maks’ rumba – with all the drama that followed it that week, I think it may have colored some people’s opinions of that dance for the worse; however, I actually kinda liked it, because Hope actually seemed to let go and show some vulnerability that week.  I just hated those damn flat boots she had to wear :-)

Heidi: Heh. I forgot Ron was even on this past season, so it would be difficult for me to call him the “worst” – maybe being utterly forgotten is worse than being the worst. :-)  I always laugh when someone throws in Ricki and Derek for a “worst dance” category.  She was not Derek’s best partner ever, but worst out of this group? LOL – I think a bit of envy is at play here.  I will also freely admit that Maks’ and Hope’s behavior toward the end of the season completely colored my thoughts on their dancing and, frankly, them as people.  But you know what? That is the risk you take when you persist in that type of behavior with no apologies. You have to own it.  Be responsible for it.  Like it or not, you’re on TELEVISION and what you do will have an impact on people, either positive or negative.  Now, I’ve had a negative opinion on Maks before and he turned it (and me) around with Kirstie. He may be able to do it again. But how many times can one keep making the same mistake before they just get written off?  So, at the end of the day, that is likely what you’re seeing in the number 2 ranking for Hope and Maks – unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your POV) I’m rarely alone in my opinions or reactions. I’m just not that unique. :-)  As for Tony and Chynna – I think people are very sympathetic with someone just blanking on someone and then feeling awful about it. Sympathy plays a huge part in this show, as we’ve said time and again. Plus, I think most people can see the difference between forgetting ones steps and being a “bad” dancer.  I don’t think she got voted out for blanking, I just don’t think she had a fanbase to begin with and her previously good scores had been protecting her from elimination.

Vogue: Wow, I’m shocked to see Maks and Hope’s Tango scoring so high for worst dance? 8O But, looking back at it again, I was quickly reminded of her “attitude” which was turning a lot of fans off at the time including myself. I also thought Tony and Chynna’s Tango would have scored higher as “worst dance”. In the end, I agree with who won in this catagory. Ron didn’t even seem to care and Peta seemed to have given up as well on him which I didn’t fault her a bit. If she comes back this next season, I really hope she gets a good partner. I’d really like to see her given a good chance to teach.

*photo courtesy ABC/Adam Taylor

January 16, 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!

PureDWTS Exclusive! An Interview with Randall Christensen, Part I

A few months back, we asked you guys to submit questions for Randall Christensen, the costume designer for DWTS from seasons 2-12.  Well now that the holidays are over and we’re starting to get back into the swing of things, we’re sharing Randall’s responses :-)

We’ve been lucky to get a chance to chat with Randall, since he has kept very busy since moving on from DWTS! He’s currently working a couture swimwear line with MiracleSuit (check out Vogue’s post on the Macy’s MiracleSuit fashion show last summer!), is working on a sportswear/ready to wear collection, and is still designing dancesport costumes for Randall Designs, Inc., his costume design company for the past 30 years.  Let’s see what this dancewear icon has to say in response to some of your burning questions :-)

At what age did you start designing?

Randall Christensen: I started designing for my professional partner and students back in the early ‘80’s, learning the craft with “hands on” experience.  I am self-taught.

Who were your mentors?

RC: My first mentor (and still most influential) was Bob Mackie.  He was designing for Carol Burnett as well as Cher for their (respective) shows.  I was a pre-teen and tried to NEVER miss a single one of their shows, as I was mesmerized by their costumes!

Seems like things at DWTS run on a pretty hectic timetable. Can you descibe what a typical week was like for you at DWTS?

RC: A typical week at DWTS starts new on Monday/Tuesday with new designs for each couple.  If we are lucky enough to get the music by Monday (instead of typically Tuesday) I try to get the couples up to the wardrobe department to discuss concepts for the next week’s costumes.  I only get 15-20 (30 mins. tops) to listen to the music, research ideas, discuss, design and finalize.  Then the entire show is shopped Wednesday by 5pm and delivered back to the studio, where I go over every women’s design with our cutter/fitter (the mens’ costumes are done off site, by our dance tailor in downtown Los Angeles).  The costumes are cut/sewn/preliminarily fitted on Thursday, then I have celebrity fittings all day Friday. My assistant helps on Saturday with the professional women’s fittings, they’re altered and ready for the final fitting on Sunday, after the couples do their blocking for the camera.  Adjustments are made and then are trimmed, beaded, crystallized and trimmed out to completion.  Monday morning is time to review each costume before setting them in the individual dressing rooms.  We have dress rehearsal only a few hours before we go LIVE on the east coast.  During that time any last minute adjustments are made and redelivered to the couples’ dressing rooms, sometimes just minutes before they’re to go to the top of the stairs for their walk down – live!  We have to design/shop/fit/finish each and every costume in 3.5 to 4 days!!  Whew!

What types of fabrics are the best for ballroom costumes?

RC: Thank goodness for stretch fabrics, jerseys, lycras, etc.!  These help the costume to be quite comfortable as well as flexible.  We can then get a terrific fit with little to no wrinkles in the fabric.  Chiffon (both silk and polyester) are great for the ballgown skirts, due to the wonderful movement.  Charmeuse satin is a terrific vintage type fabric, reminiscent of some of Ginger Rogers’ gowns.

Are there limitations, or can you work with pretty much anything?

RC: I push the limits every chance I get!  How else can you continue to come up with fresh ideas?  That being said, some fabrics are VERY challenging!  I try not to use brocades, as they are just to stiff and unforgiving for costumes.  Not to mention the fact that they do not flow at all!  I love using natural trims, for an organic vibe, still mixing in crystal rhinestones of course.  We have to have a sparkle on almost everything.

What is the most extravagant costume you’ve ever designed for the show, and who wore it?

RC: I would say the most extravagant costume would have to be Toni Braxton’s Marie Antoinette-inspired Viennese Waltz gown (complete with powdered blonde wig and all).  To be as authentic as possible, we went to a costume house and purchased a “cage” to make the silhouette as close to the look of the era as possible.  It was almost all completely sewn by hand, on the dress form as there is no way to get that wide cage (for the hips) on the sewing machine to work on.  Quite labor intense, but what a gorgeous look!  And still, we did it in just under 4 days……I still break out in a sweat thinking about that one!

*photo courtesy ABC/Kelsey McNeal

If you could only pick one DWTS costume as your “all-time favorite”, which would it be and why?

RC: Besides Toni Braxton’s Marie Antoinette gown, I would have to say Joanna Krupa’s “Futuristic Paso Doble.”  We pushed the limits (again) of what we could do in just 4 days.  The silver silk lame with electric lights (all wired into the dress) was sensational, but a nightmare to get done in such a short time.  We had a lighting specialist up from San Diego for 3 days just wiring the darn thing.

*photo courtesy of ABC

Everyone has regrets. Have you ever looked back at a costume you’ve designed for the show and thought “What was I thinking???” If so, which one & why?

RC: Oh, I’m sure we ALL have regrets, but I have to say, we have a really good track record if you consider that from concept to completion is 4 days maximum.  The discipline the couple has to have to stick with the original design, in spite of choreographing after the design is done, a procedure which is completely backwards! That being said, each and every week I look at the costumes, making mental notes as to what we could have done better, or what I would have done differently.  The beauty is I get another chance 4 days later.

Who have been your favorite celebs and/or pros to design for, and why?

RC: I count myself quite lucky to have such a great rapport with the pro dancers, and we have such fun with (and trust in) each other.  Our design sessions are quite intense and rewarding. I have enjoyed the trust that almost all of the celebrities have shown to me.  I honestly think that they put their trust in me (and their pro partner) due mainly to the fact that they are in such a foreign and vulnerable area.  They have not danced like this before, and really have to rely on our experience and expertise.  The trust that Susan Lucci, Jennifer Gray, Florence Henderson, Chelsea Kane and Kirstie Alley (to name a few) showed me was quite humbling and really rewarding!  This definitely impacts how wonderful their costumes showed on them.

Do you have an all-time favorite? 

RC:  I would have to say that as far as professional dancers, Edyta Sliwinska made ME look good!  I wish I could take credit for her beauty, but she came that way!!  That being said, I have to admit that Edyta was remarkably prepared each week, knew what looked good on her, and above all else, she left me to interpret her ideas and trusted me completely.  What a dream lady to work with!  Toni Braxton and Brandy both were appreciative, trusting and so lovely to design for.

What happens to the costumes after they’ve been worn?

RC: The celebrities have the option of purchasing any of their costumes, once the season is over.  Kristi Yamaguchi and Shawn Johnson purchased all of their costumes, along with several celebs. buying their favorite one(s).  We keep a great majority of the costumes from past seasons in a storage facility quite close to the studio.  We also keep a few on hand right in the workroom, in case we need a last minute “fix.”  We have NEVER had to use one of those yet!

We’ve noticed some get reused and others don’t. How do you decide which ones get reused?

RC: We reuse costumes based on the producers’ requirements/suggestions, as well as our guest choreographers’ ideas.  Many times (most of the time) we re-work them so that their silhouettes more readily coordinate with each of the other dancers’ looks, for a more cohesive themed look. There is just not enough hours in the week to make ALL the costumes seen on Monday’s and Tuesday’s shows.  That said, we ALWAYS make something new for our couples for Monday’s show.  The pro numbers and (pro) group numbers may get previously worn costumes, but NEVER on celebs nor their partners for Monday’s competition!

*photo courtesy ABC/Adam Larkey

Do certain pros want specific kinds of alterations (i.e. shorter hems, lower necklines, mesh inserts, etc) on costumes that have been worn before by someone else?

RC: Again, it’s all about the overall theme/silhouette desired.  Our pro dancers do have their specific preferences, and if we could accommodate them, we most certainly would.  Some of those preferences are just going to be kept secret – no use spoiling the illusion……

Tune in later this week when we reveal part II of our exclusive interview…and Randall talks theme nights, panic attacks, and his love of princess seams (?) ;-) You won’t want to miss it!!!

January 9, 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!