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PureDWTS Season 18, Week 6 – What’s Left to Dance?

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.

remainingdances

 Meryl & Maks – remaining regular dances: rumba, paso doble, jive, waltz, quickstep, Viennese waltz; “other” dances: contemporary, jazz, salsa

Kinda interesting how Meryl & Maks have basically done two of everything: two Latin dances, two ballroom dances, and two “other” dances – probably the most evenly divided-up of all the couples, and gives them the greatest variety of dances left to do heading into the second half of the competition. I don’t see her necessarily struggling technically with any of the dances she has left – but I do think some of the relentless shippers have built up their rumba so much in their heads that they’re going to be disappointed if they do anything short of making out on the dance floor. I also think Maks’ skills as a choreographer might make some of these styles questionable – I’m highly skeptical of how he’ll do with contemporary & jazz.  I’m also wondering if he’ll be able to resist the urge to waste time in their quickstep – that seems to be one dance where he seems to love throwing in long sections of running up and down the stairs or fiddling with props.

Charlie & Sharna – remaining regular dances: samba, paso doble, waltz, foxtrot,  quickstep, Viennese waltz; “other” dances: salsa, Argentine tango, swing

Charlie’s only burned through one ballroom dance so far, and I think he has the potential to really kill it with the ones he has left – if Sharna can choreograph some impactful routines.  Kinda glad he got rumba out of the way already, since he seems a tad uncomfortable with the really lovey-dovey dances; I think he’ll probably handle Argentine tango better, because it has such a strong technique component and it moves faster.  But I’m fully expecting rumba to crop up again for him as his “redemption dance”.  I’m hoping he can really summon some rage (does this kid even have an angry bone in his body? :-P ) for the paso doble, as that’s one dance that I see going completely against character for him.

James & Peta – remaining dances: cha-cha, samba, rumba, paso doble, waltz, Viennese waltz; “other” dances: jazz, Argentine tango, swing

Unlike a lot of the others, who have burned through almost all of their Latin dances, James has actually gotten all but one (maybe two) of the ballroom dances out of the way, and still has 4 Latin dances to work with – and considering he handled his salsa & jive pretty damn well, he could potentially ace the Latin dances he has left and really build some momentum headed into the finale.  I’m hoping Peta learned her lesson with the judges during switch week, and is able to choreograph a really by-the-book rumba for James;  maybe getting hosed during a week when nobody actually got sent home was a blessing in disguise for James.  I’m thinking his Argentine tango has the potential to make jaws drop – he’s proven he can handle complex choreography and can commit fully to the mood of each dance.

Amy & Derek – remaining regular dances: samba, rumba, paso doble, tango, foxtrot, quickstep, Viennese waltz; “other” dances: Argentine tango, jazz

I love Amy to bits, but YIKES – I worry that they got the majority of the dances that were going to be easier for her out of the way early, and now she’s stuck with the stuff that may prove pretty difficult on prostheses.  She’s probably going to struggle with tango,  since she can’t really pivot; I think quickstep & Viennese waltz could cause problems since they involve crossing one ankle over the other at some point; rumba will probably cause problems due to the hip action; she might actually be able to do samba decently, since she is actually able to bend her knees and has a strong core from which she can get the bounce, but pivoting steps like samba runs may be out of the question.  Argentine tango? I’m having nightmares of her getting her feet tangled up during one of the sequences of footwork.  I’m hoping Derek has got some serious tricks up his sleeve, because I think Amy’s going to really need them in the coming weeks.

Danica & Val – remaining regular dances: rumba, paso doble, waltz, tango, Viennese waltz; “other” dances: salsa, jazz, Argentine tango, swing

Danica is one big puzzle to me – I don’t think she technically struggles with any of the dances (she’s conveniently overcome her arm problem), but at the same time I don’t feel like she really masters any of the dances like Meryl & Charlie, either.  I think she may hit a snag with the rumba as she seems to obsess over dance steps, and rumba is one dance where you have to let go a bit and just let the emotion take over.  I don’t really  have a whole lot else to say about Danica – she’s not the best for me, but not the worst; and she’s not really leaving a very lasting impression on me, either way.  Bad? :-(

Candace & Mark – remaining regular dances: paso doble, waltz, tango, foxtrot, Viennese waltz; “other” dances: salsa, jazz, Argentine tango, swing

Thankfully, she’s gotten most of the Latin out of the way – she really only has paso doble & salsa left to contend with.  I think she’ll handle the ballroom better than the Latin, but I still worry that the judges are just gonna nitpick her to death like they did with her quickstep, because they’ve decided she’s disposable.  Will be interested to see if they let her do jazz at some point – with the season half over and the theme weeks winding down, I’m wondering if we’ll begin to see less jazz & contemporary.  I think she & Mark would knock the jazz out of the park – so if she does get to do it (maybe as a trio dance?) I think it has the potential to be a comeback for her.

NeNe & Tony – remaining dances: samba, paso doble, waltz, tango, quickstep, Viennese waltz; “other” dances: contemporary, Argentine tango, swing

Well NeNe’s burned through all but two of the Latin dances , and she has only managed to check one hardcore ballroom dance off the list…seems like there’s not a whole lot of flashy dances left for her to really sell.  And I’m not sure that samba & paso doble are going to be ones that she can really “wing it” with – samba’s heavy on the technique, and paso doble is heavy on the aggression.  IF she survives this week – and that’s a big IF – it looks like it’s gonna be a pretty bumpy road for her from here on out.

Drew & Cheryl - remaining dances: samba, rumba, paso doble, foxtrot, Viennese waltz; “other” dances: salsa, contemporary, jazz, Argentine tango, swing

I’m afraid things don’t look particularly easy for Drew, either – the dreaded samba is in the mix, as well as the nitpicky-on-technique rumba.  He only has one or two ballroom dances left, and oddly enough, he’s the only contestant left that hasn’t done at least one “extra” dance – he’s the only that has only done real competition dances so far.  Can’t decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing – did I read somewhere that Cheryl’s not really fond of contemporary and/or jazz?

Other random thoughts…

Where the hell are the paso doble & the Viennese waltz??? Since paso doble has been included in every season since season 1, I highly doubt they’ve scrapped it as one of the regular dances this season – I’m guessing that the theme weeks thus far just have not really been conducive to the aggressive feel of the paso (think personal story week, Disney week, and party anthems week). We’ll probably have a pretty paso doble-heavy Latin week – for some couples, it’s one of only two Latin dances they even have left to do.  Now as for the Viennese waltz – we may or may not see it this season.  The fact that we haven’t seen a single one yet (while we have seen two standard waltzes) makes me wonder if they decided to cut this season down to just waltz, or maybe have the couples do only one type of waltz through the course of the season (either waltz OR Viennese waltz – not both).  They’ve done it in previous seasons – there’s been seasons with only the waltz, seasons with only the Viennese waltz, seasons where the couples did both, and seasons where they only did one or the other. Guess we’ll just have to wait & see what kind of season this is – I personally prefer the Viennese waltz, because I find it more exciting to watch, but obviously I’m not the one in charge (despite what some fringe fans seem to think)…

What about the team dances? I’m hearing week 7, which is Latin week – which means that the team dances will most likely be Latin dances (my money’s on either both teams doing cha-cha, or one team doing cha-cha and the other doing paso doble), and one team will have 3 couples while the other has 4.  They’ll most likely get picked immediately after Monday night’s show, and then go straight to rehearsal.  If they follow the scheme of previous seasons, then the two contestants with the highest cumulative score will serve as the team captains – as it stands right now, that’s Meryl (134 total points) and Charlie (131 total points) – but the scores they get Monday night could change that (I doubt it will, but the possibility is there).  They’ve also done a coin toss and allowed the winner to either get first pick on the song or the team members, but that could change this season, too.  I could go into great detail on all the things that could happen – but that’s best left to a “Team Dance Speculation” post coming up over the weekend ;-)

Are we going to see the trio dance again? Haven’t heard anything official, but I would assume so – it’s been too popular in the past 4 seasons to NOT do it.  I’m guessing week 8, and as always, it will be either a Latin dance or jazz.  I’m guessing they will still be able to pick from either a current troupe member (Sasha, Artem, Lindsay, or Jenna) or an eliminated pro from this season (Henry, Karina, Emma, Witney, or whichever pros are eliminated in weeks 6 & 7) as their third trio member.  No, I have no reason to believe that Tristan/Chelsie/Anna/Gleb/etc. will be available as choices for the trios…and yes, there are fans that still think it’s a legit possibility. 8-O

Anything else coming up? Again, no official word, but I would expect to see the supersized freestyles again (cause they sure seem to love supersizing!) and either an instant dance and/or 24-hour dance challenge during finale week.

So what do you guys hope to see in the coming weeks? Who do you think has the right dances left to succeed this season – and who is screwed? And if you haven’t already, be sure to vote in Vogue’s new poll here! :-)

April 17, 2014 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 Season 18, Week 5 – Power Rankings

Well Disney week went just as predicted, for the most part – overall, it was a pretty feel-good evening in terms of scores and critiques, (minus one or two puzzling comments here and there), and the rules seemed to be relaxed a bit; the animations dancing along the couples were not as intrusive as they were made to sound; Donny, of course, managed to make every critique all about himself instead of the dance he just saw; and Erin (who looked like she was going to the prom and her bff had done her hair & makeup and let her borrow a “super expensive” Claire’s rhinestone necklace) did not call a moratorium on obnoxious questions in honor of Disney week, and continues to bug.  The opener was probably the best we’ve seen so far this season – tons of fun and a good use of the Disney songs they were actually able to clear (more on that later).

So what did we learn tonight? That if you give the impression of not really caring about being on DWTS, then the audience won’t really care about voting for you.  Such is the case with Cody, our first “shocking” (but not really, when you think about it) elimination of the season – I think many of us had commented that he seemed rather blase about the whole experience, and just didn’t seem to be very invested or enthusiastic about learning the dances.  I know many had assumed that he was getting “tons of votes” from his teenybopper fans, but once again, I reiterate: it’s not how a small (but vocal) minority is voting; it’s how the main demographic (middle-aged women) is voting that will determine long-term success on DWTS.  I doubt Cody is too disappointed about getting sent home, though – his pride may be wounded, but I’m sure he will be right back to donning his genie pants and admiring his hair in the mirror while singing “Surfboard” to his supermodel girlfriend in no time.  :-P He got his exposure, he’s good to go – I just feel bad for Witney, who made a pretty damn good showing for her first outing as a pro and just suffered from having a partner that didn’t connect with viewers, despite her best efforts.  Thank god for the switch-up – I think her week with Drew was just a taste of what she’s capable of as a pro. She’s got a thumbs-up from me if they want to bring her back as a pro next sesaon! ;-)

So now that we’re at the halfway point of the season, how are things looking, overall? Hate to say it, but I’m starting to get the William Levy-vibe from Meryl – somebody that the judges/PTB seem intent on jamming down my throat as the be-all, end-all, and someone who manages to avoid negative critiques altogether despite making technique mistakes that other couples get called out on in a heartbeat.  I’m also still not quite sure what the deal is with Charlie – the judges seem to be much harder on him than Meryl, despite him not really being inferior to her in terms of skill; can’t decide if they’re setting him up for more of a “journey” arc or what.  Danica seems like she  might still be in the mix as a potential contender, but the judges seem to run hot & cold on her; James, however, has solidified his position as this season’s “dark horse” in a BIG way – I would be nervous if my name were Meryl, Charlie, or Danica, because James is HUNGRY for that MBT. Read more..

April 15, 2014 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 Season 18, Week 5 – Let’s Recap Tonight’s Show (Spoilers)

I’m back in the saddle again…oh, wait, that’s not a Disney song. I have a feeling this damn music is going to be stuck in my head for DAYS. :-)  Anyway, Heidi here, with the recap- as-I-feel-like-it method of blogging.

LOVED the opening number. Love. Made me happy.

Eight minutes into the show and we’ve already heard TWICE how Donny won. Once from him, once from either Erin or Tom.

I would have killed Len if he had picked on Drew for breaking hold. Pisses me OFF that their damn animation is probably dictating choreography.

Gee, Danica looked great in that preview for someone who isn’t a dancer. :::cough:::

Holy shit! Sorry john, but that’s all I can think of after Charlie’s dance. I’ll be pissed if he doesn’t get a ten or 3 – it was just a cane!

Danica’s dance was very cute! Yes, Len, she is a fantastic dance. She’s a ringer!

Okay, she was overscored, folks. Our news “story”.

I forgot to mention Cody in Jeopardy…if he’s safe tonight he will be for a while. Let’s talk riled Fanbase.

:::sob::: That was beautiful, Amy.

I really liked NeNe’s dance. Don’t know what to say about that package, but I guess Tony was honest.

I guess some fans don’t much care if they are perceived as soulless….I guess it’s good to have goals.

Wow. Great dance from James – first perfect score and he ain’t even the big ole ringer!

Meryl’s dance was well executed, but pretty uninspired compared to the rest of the dances of the night.

I wonder if NeNe’s going because they gave her such a great score.

So, Mark’s the crab? :-)

Donny: “me me me me”

I was kind of hope they would call Candace safe right there. That would have made it exciting.

And that shocking elimination we were all wondering about? Well it happened tonight. Although it wasn’t really that shocking. I kind of wondered if Candace had a good voting Fanbase. And to all of you wondering about teenybopper fans and guys with huge Twitter following? There’s your answer.;

April 14, 2014 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. :-)

PureDWTS Season 18, Week 5 – Disney Week Song Predictions/Wish List!!!

Bye-bye, gadawful switch week – helllloooo, Disney week! This may be the one good idea TPTB have had the entire season :-D Sounds like a lot of you are pretty pumped about it – so why not get even more excited by compiling a song wish list and seeing if we might be able to predict what everyone might be dancing to, shall we?

Vogue & I came up with a list of the most popular Disney songs we could think of and divided them up by dance style – Deep Throat indicated that all the songs were probably going to be very well-known, so while I think it would be totes appropos to see Maks dancing to “Gaston” from Beauty & the Beast, it’s probably far more likely that he & Meryl have a song like “Beauty & the Beast” or “Be Our Guest”.

If you didn’t catch it yesterday, some of the couples revealed some clues about their dances in this media post Vogue posted yesterday.  Some other clues, which I revealed on Twitter yesterday? Both Meryl & Charlie have eschewed the expected “Disney princess/prince” roles that some were hoping they’d assume this week, and are both going for “something different”.  And because Peta is about as subtle as a sledgehammer (thanks, emojis) I’ll go ahead and throw out one song spoiler: James & Peta are, indeed, doing contemporary to “Let it Go” from Frozen. Happy Hump Day, kids ;-)
Read more..

April 9, 2014 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 Season 18, Week 4 – Power Rankings

Tonight’s episode of Sesame Street was brought to you by the phrases “these are the couples you chose!”, “keep it all in the family”, and “incestual”.  :-) I know I can’t be the only one that thought they were trying to drive the point home just a bit too hard that the couples we saw last night were the ones that we voted for – defensive much? Had they actually given Meryl to Derek (as the voters had), it would have created an entire cascade of partner changes that I think would have created an entirely different outcome last night.  But that’s neither here nor there – I guess I’m just sort of over the entire partner switch at this point. It’s over and done with, and it’s hard to dwell on what a turd the whole thing was when we’ve got Disney Week  next week :-)

I do feel the need to touch on the phrase “keep it all in the family!” though – on the surface, it seems innocuous enough, but I feel like it’s yet another barrier the Chmerkovskiy brothers (and Tony, to a lesser degree) put up between themselves and the other pros on the show.  I know they seem to have a sort of “us against the world” mentality, but more often than not, they themselves are the ones creating that environment.  “Keep it all in the family” says to me “I don’t trust the other pros.  I refuse to associate with the other pros.  I am better than the other pros. Don’t let the other pros near my partner…mine, mine, MINE!” It implies that the only family that matters is theirs – and the relationships with the other pros that they’ve cultivated over the years are worthless.  The Chmerkovskiys are a family, but so is DWTS – when the cards are down, the pros do look out for each other. I guess the reason I’m bringing it up is because I was rather surprised to hear Meryl repeat it in her package – I think it was probably just out of politeness to Val & Maks, but in the spirit of the switch (which so many of the other pros embraced with open arms – including Tony), it just seemed almost like self-segregation.

I’m left feeling rather puzzled by the judges’ comments & scoring last night – there were certain couples that got raked across the coals that I didn’t think were that bad (Candace & Tony, Charlie & Peta), couples that got treated with kid gloves (and this is probably gonna get me in trouble, but Amy & Mark), and couples that just did not really register at all with the judges (Danica & Maks, Cody & Sharna). And apparently there was fallout backstage last night after the show – a source says that Peta was in tears and was being consoled by Charlie & Sharna, and Mark was allegedly overheard saying that he thinks he’s “as good as done” next week thanks to Tony (which I don’t agree with…at least not the reasoning).  Tough day at the office for those two :-(

On the upside, we got a pretty cute opening number (that was perhaps a little heavy on the “switch” theme, but whatever), and the Macy’s Stars of Dance segment returned triumphantly with a pretty cool flamenco-infused number by Derek, Artem, Sasha, Henry, Jon Platero, & the beast that is Kathryn McCormick.  I smell some potential Emmy fodder, if the Stars of Dance segments in the coming weeks measure up to the one we saw last night! Julianne also returned as a judge, to both cheers and jeers – and WTF was up with her eyebrows??? Somebody get Anastasia Soare on the phone, because somebody is using the wrong color pencil on Miss Hough…

Bear with me as I try not to repeat too much of the stuff I said in the live discussion post last night – guess I should have held back a bit for my power rankings :-P I went ahead and put the original pro partner names in parentheses here, as they will be the ones potentially at-risk to be eliminated next week. Read more..

April 8, 2014 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 Season 18, Week 4 – Let’s Recap Tonight’s Show (Spoilers)

Heidi is otherwise occupied for the time being…so for now, you get me (Court).  Who’s ready to see this partner switch?

Cute opening number…maybe a little repetitive on the whole “switch” theme. That song takes me back to sorority recruitment 2005. Damn, Julianne’s hair is SHORT.

Candace & Tony actually seem like a good match, personality-wise. I think that dance suited them both well, and she actually handled it better than the last two dances we’ve seen from her.

Kinda surprised at Candace’s score. Thought she was a little low-balled. Wonder if this is gonna be one of those nights with lots of over & underscoring…

Wow. James & Cheryl must’ve found some chemistry after all – cause that was hot, both technically & from a showmanship perspective. He really may be a “dark horse” (pun intended ;-) )

Unrelated: isn’t that Oksana’s bf that was standing up by Cheryl’s throne? Jonathan Platero?

Erin, your voice makes me want to punch babies. Please stop with this inane showmance talk.

Drew & Witney were actually really cute – I think having a younger partner brought out the more playful side of Drew.

Hmmmm…beginning to wonder if they’ve decided that Candace is expendable, the way they’re scoring everyone else…

Pretty cool Stars of Dance performance from Derek & Co. Kathryn McCormick is a beast – probably only one of two female contemporary dancers that could have kept up with the ballroom boys…the other being Allison Holker.

Hmmm…Danica & Maks were interacting exactly the way we said they would: Maks saying “just do it” and Danica asking super-detailed questions. It was cute, but it seemed like an awful lot of time-wasting…and WTF was up with the wedge sneakers???

Charlie & Peta were nice to watch – if not a bit incestuous-looking, with their twinnie-looking hair. Thought I saw a lift, though…will Carrie Ann call them out?

Really glad Amy is going back to Derek next week – Mark tried, but I think Derek just knows better how to utilize Amy’s skills. On the upside – her ass looked hot. I’m envious :-)

Kinda left with mixed feelings about Cody & Sharna’s foxtrot – I think she did a good job of choreographing to his strengths, but his frame is still wonky and I feel like he doesn’t get very invested unless he can make the dance very “Cody”. Also, Cody & Sharna aren’t the first Aussies to dance together on DWTS – that would be Ingo & Kym on season 16. :-)

Now that may not have been the most difficult jazz routine, but it was PERFECT for NeNe and I thought going the Afro-jazz route was pretty clever. Was nice to see her let loose completely!

Meryl nailed that. ‘Nuff said. :-)

April 7, 2014 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. :-)

PureDWTS Season 17, The Finale – Power Rankings

*sigh* Well kids, all good things must come to an end – and last night, the inspired run that Bill had on DWTS this season came to a close.  As soon as the judges handed out that first bullsh*t score, I think I knew there was no way in hell they were gonna let Bill even get within striking distance of the MBT – but thankfully, Bill went out on a very high note: I don’t think Emma could have choreographed a more perfect routine for him than his freestyle :-) Just wish that the judges had given him just ONE pity 10, but again, I think they were afraid that giving him any excessively kind scores was going to prolong his stay…but it just became even more glaringly obvious when you take into account that each of the other couples got a perfect 30 on their freestyles.  I’m trying not to be bitter about it, but the fact that Len admitted that Bill “did improve” on his Viennese waltz, and then proceeded to give him the SAME SCORE as he got the first time around, just doesn’t compute for me.  Grrrrr.  But alas, I don’t know that poor Bill had the energy in him for more dancing tonight, so I’m partially relieved that the guy gets his life back now…now I just have to work on getting mine back.  Gonna miss Bill & Emma :-(

Speaking of that blasted “judges’ choice” dance – I don’t know what the hell was going on with the scoring & commentary there.  They tell Bill he improved, but give him the same score as the first time he did the dance; they tell Corbin he didn’t improve, but give him a higher score than the first time he did his dance.  I thought both improved, but from the way the judges were talking, you would have thought both had completely bungled their dances up even worse than the first go-round.  But once again, I think the judges had an agenda there, and the scores and commentary given for those two dances in particular had little to do with the actual quality of the dance.  The secret judges’ mission statement of finale week, night one seemed to be “make sure Bill goes home at all costs”. Oh well.

Gonna do my rankings in reverse order tonight – starting with 3rd place and working up to the winners.

3rd place: Corbin & Karina

Corbin’s a fantastic dancer, no doubt, and he definitely delivered in all three of his dances last night – but I’m still left just a bit chilly after watching him dance, and it seems to be a sentiment shared by many of our readers.  Something about Corbin’s dancing just doesn’t feel connected to me – it’s as if he’s dancing for himself each time, rather than for an audience, and the end result just seems to create a barrier that prevents me from really connecting to him.   As I said before, I thought his quickstep was an improvement, but I still felt a bit of a disconnect in it – like he was more in his own head than interacting with the audience.  He handled the samba pretty damn well for not having done it before – and while I do agree that he deserved to win the samba relay, I can’t really say that his samba was my favorite or the most fun to watch; it was just very technical.  His freestyle was pretty impressive and very ambitious – taking on MJ is no easy task, but both he & Karina did rise to the occasion.  Wish they could have made it their own a bit more, as opposed to just throwing in a small section of tango before breaking into a hodgepodge of MJ moves; I also could have done without the extra people, as they only came in for a small portion and they damn near dropped Karina during the one stunt they assisted with.  I think he’ll probably handle his cha-cha/foxtrot fusion decently well, but when it all comes down to it, I just have a feeling that he’s going to end up in third place – between the way the judges run hot & cold with him, to the way some of the viewers haven’t been able to connect with him, to a fanbase that I’m really uncertain about, I just think the best he can hope for is third.  Amber’s got the judges on her side, and Jack seems to have the viewers – not a whole lot left for Corbin :-(

2nd place: Jack & Cheryl

For what Jack lacked in terms of technique and energy last night, he more than made up for in heart :-) As I found myself tweeting more than once last night, I think poor Jack is just absolutely drained at this point – as someone who lives with someone with an autoimmune disease, I can tell you that the fatigue is neverending; sure, those suffering have good days and bad days, but most days they do just feel kinda sluggish…and on really bad days, they can barely get out of bed.  I think after 13 weeks, Jack is just plain pooped – and as a result, his first two dances got a bit bungled.  You could tell he was really trying hard with his jive, but he just didn’t quite have the energy to pick his legs up and he may have gotten a little foggy on the choreography.  At the very least, he admitted it wasn’t his best and he was mad at himself - I don’t think I would have been as sympathetic if he had acted like that jive was better than his first attempt.  I agree with Len about their samba relay – it felt a tad safe and slow-moving, but I’m wondering if that was an intentional choice by Cheryl in order to somewhat preserve his energy for the freestyle.  But man, was that freestyle something to behold – Jack seemed to come alive again, and I actually found that the Fred Astaire theme fit him remarkably well.  And the tears both he & Cheryl shed after getting through it flawlessly? Just precious.  If I think Bill & Emma were the best-matched couple of the season, I think these two were a very close second – I think Cheryl needed Jack just as much as Jack needed Cheryl, and this season has been an epiphany for both of them.  I gave all my votes to Jack this week, and I could have sworn that I saw Bill whisper “Now you win this mofo!” in Jack’s ear as the credits were rolling last night.  I actually think he’ll do quite well with his paso/salsa fusion – I think Corbin was pretty kind in giving him that, as he would have ended up with jive again, otherwise.  I think Jack may benefit from the fact that he’s the only remaining finalist that has really had a strong “growth” arc on the show, and also the fact that he’s fighting with an incurable disease as he’s been learning.  Saw a lot of Bill fans tossing their votes to Jack – I’m hoping it helps him pull out 2nd place.  Although seeing him hoist that MBT would be nice ;-)

 Winner: Amber & Derek

Amber was flawless last night – I don’t think she could have done any better with her Charleston or her freestyle. They must have really drilled synchronization when rehearsing that Charleston, because I didn’t see them out of step at all.  While they handled their samba relay routine well, it seemed to get a little repetitive to me – a lot of samba runs and pivots – and I think that may have been what Len was referring to when he said that one couple had “almost” nailed it.  Loved the concept and execution of their freestyle – the stepping was definitely something that’s never been done before for the freestyle, and this was one instance where the extra dancers actually served to enhance the routine as opposed to just being in it.  And best of all: it highlighted Amber and what she is capable of.  I doubt the samba/quickstep fusion will give them any trouble – just hope they don’t try to pull out “Sir Duke” yet again. Given their scores and the undoubtled large Glee fanbase,  I would be surprised if they didn’t win – still think there’s an outside chance that Jack maybe gained some support after last night, and there’s enough “Derek doesn’t deserve a 5th MBT” naysayers out there that it could make a difference – but at the end of the day, I think Amber deserves to win.

So what did you guys think of last night’s show? And who do you think will be walking away with the MBT tonight?

November 26, 2013 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 Season 17, Week 9 – Power Rankings

Just a quick side note before I break down last night’s show: after perusing Facebook & Instagram last night and witnessing some of the irrational and illogical outrage from some viewers following Liz’s elimination (and Bill’s continued presence), I have to say – I’m so grateful for our intelligent, logical, and rational readers here at Pure :-) Consider this an early addition to my “things that I am thankful for” list that my family usually recites when we sit down to Thanksgiving dinner – I am thankful for the fact that our readers understand how this show works, and their level of intellectual maturity prevents them from shooting their mouths off and making utter and complete fools of themselves on social media because they have no control over their knee-jerk emotional impulses.  So from me to you guys – thank you for not making me bang my head against a wall in frustration :-) The level of stupid on Facebook & Instagram…it hurts…

…moving right along, there was some definite iffy scoring last night, and the judges seemed to be trying like hell to shield both Liz and Leah…although the former seemed to be beyond help, as she got sent home.  Can’t say that any of us were terribly surprised by it – we’ve been saying since before the show started that Liz seems to have a problem connecting to the viewing audience, and her lack of relevance in recent years might have contributed to her struggle for votes.  I also wonder if her bizarre (and kinda self-indulgent…) jazz routine last week contributed to her downfall – I saw a few remarks about how her demand to change the song at the last minute seemed a little “diva-ish”.  Plus that dance was just really a stinker. She had an ok-to-decent night last night – her Viennese waltz, while a bit overwrought with emotion, was actually pretty nice to watch; thought the choreography for her salsa trio was a bit odd (what was with that “cradling the baby” move they all three were doing for what seemed like a long ass time???) and there were a few timing issues (which, of course, the judges conveniently missed), but was overall a relatively decent effort for the trio round.  But in the end – she just didn’t get the votes, just like Christina, Snooki, & Brant.  Sh*t happens, kids. 

1.) Corbin & Karina – Corbin finally seemed to regain his stride this week with two good dances.  I thought he may have gotten nitpicked to death on his waltz (then again, just about everyone did the first round, except the golden girl, Leah), as I found it to be near-flawless – even Mama Spence remarked that he seems to really “get” the concept of rise and fall, and does it without even thinking.  Thought they got a bit shafted with their song choice – “Apologize”? Which has been used as a rumba several times on this show? So what are they doing now – just picking random non-dance-appropriate songs and saying “Hey Harold, can you tweak the arrangement of this one so it’s a waltz?” Reminds me of a CD I had back when I first started doing ballroom that had “My Heart Will Go On” rearranged as all the different dances – there was even a paso doble version! But anyway.  I think they owned the trio round, by far – I thought their jazz trio was the most interesting and engaging to watch, and was the only trio where the celeb really seemed to dominate.  I had to chuckle to myself as I was watching, as I had heard a lot of complaints about them picking Witney – apparently some think she “steals the show” – but I barely even noticed Witney this time, because Corbin was just owning the whole damn thing.  I barely noticed Karina, either – but since the whole point of the trio is to showcase the celeb, I think they succeeded.  Barring any nitpicking-to-death by the judges next week (and who knows what those knuckleheads are going to do), I think he ought to be headed to the finale. 

2.) Amber & Derek – I kinda feel bad for Amber, because I feel like her knee injury is really starting to limit her movement – she’s doing the best she can, no doubt, but I’m really starting to notice how she has to baby her knees while dancing.  Thought her quickstep was cute and she sold it well (as she does with every dance, every week), but she seemed to move really, really tiny and cautious during the stationary sections, and because she was moving so gingerly, she seemed to get a little off-time and off-kilter.  And in a routine that was that short – I think she probably needed to really make a splash.  Still thought the judges nitpicked her to death, though – and the fact that she 3 points less than Leah, who has moved itty-bitty each & every week? Ridiculous. I enjoyed her trio – it was cute, and I think the choreography was clever in that it was fun to watch while still keeping Amber relatively stationary.  Could it have used a little more hip action? Sure.  But I also think Liz’s salsa trio was totally off-time (which is an even bigger offense in my mind) and she still managed to get a 30…so why saddle Amber with a 27? I’m guessing the judges are trying to make things look like a tight race headed towards the semifinals and finals, so they’re really nitpicking to death the couples that stand the best chance of advancing…and they’re babying the ones that aren’t so likely to do so. 

3.) Leah & Tony – *gritting teeth* I can’t believe these two knuckleheads are still here, let alone that I have them this high on the list – but with each week that passes and Leah gets coddled by the judges for non-event dances, the more I’m convinced that they’ve decided that they need her in the finale.  Seriously, no other couple last night got as babied as these two – everyone else either got nitpicked to death (Corbin, Amber, Jack) or totally hosed (Bill), and Leah got a tongue bath a cushy scores once more.  That tango had so little impact, at one point Mama Spence looked over at me and said “Wait…what dance are they doing again?” It was that “small” and soft that she could not even figure out what dance it was supposed to be.  And then that trio – I’m sure Tony just thought he was the most clever & innovative choregrapher ever for coming up with that nonsense.  But herein lies the fishy part: do you think any of the couples would be ballsy enough to poke fun at the judges…unless they knew they were safe? Just food for thought.  If it were me, just knowing how petty the judges can be (Carrie Ann in particular), I wouldn’t have chanced it.  But anyway – once again, Leah barely moves, and her kicks & flicks looked more like what I do to nudge the cat away from food that has dropped on the floor than it did proper jive technique.  Tony & Henry did all the heavy lifting, and Leah just stood there, barely moving, and looking smug…likely because she knew she wasn’t gonna get called out for anything.  I’ve been saying it for weeks, but I’ll say it again: Leah needs to get gone…like yesterday.  But now I’m legitimately worried that they’ve decided to coddle her all the way into the finale, and that she stands a decent chance of ousting one of the two frontrunners (Corbin & Amber) for 2nd place.  Blech.

4/5.) TIE: Jack & Cheryl and Bill & Emma – Both couples gave a valiant effort last night, but I worry that they simply don’t fit into the judges’ “dream finale” and thus will probably get hosed next week. Which sucks, because I’d rather see either of these two over Leah, ANY DAY.  Jack seemed to own the ballroom round, and has really hit a nice stride heading into these last few weeks – really extends his arms, has a great sense of timing, and nails the rise and fall.  Just lovely to watch.  Thought he & Cheryl’s samba trio with Sharna was cute & funny – and the best they could have done given that they got one of the hardest dances to do a  trio with.  Going the comedy route was probably a wise choice – sure, there could have been more hip action, and maybe he got a little bit off-time, but I was still smiling as I watched it :-) God bless Bill & Emma – they know they’re going to get hosed pretty much every week, but they still go out there and give it their all, and make it fun to watch nonetheless.  Thought the Charleston had a cute theme and Bill did the best he could with it – but really, Charleston is one of those dances I really can’t judge anyone too harshly on, because it’s not exactly easy to pick up and there’s not a whole lot to it.  I’d just assume get rid of it completely on the show, but you know that won’t happen.  Loved the trio with Peta for it’s ridiculous train-wreck appeal – that song was absolute crap, and the dance they had to do to it was absolute crap…so they gave the judges absolute, trippy, hiliarous crap :-) It was self-acknowledgingly bad – all three of them knew it, and were in on the joke.  I think that was part of the appeal – the Katy Perry-esque costumes for the girls, and Bill in all his Willy Wonka’d glory.  It was AWESOMELY bad :-) I think it’s quite obvious which of these two the judges want gone (Bill) and who they want to stay (Jack) – but next week, who’s gonna have the votes to pull them through to the finale? I think Bill has proven he’s got some decent voting leverage (enough to negate the hosing from the judges), but will it be enough to get back the points Jack will likely get from the judges? Will either of them have the juice to oust Leah? Time will tell, I guess…

So what did you guys think of last night’s show? Where do you think the couples stand headed into the semifinals?

November 12, 2013 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 Season 17, Week 7 – Power Rankings

Kind of a strange, low-energy night for me – I feel like everyone, across the board, had kind of a so-so night, and I think it’s due in part to the fact that two dances a week are really starting to wear on some of the couples.  I think I notice it more this season than any other season – some are dealing with injuries, some are dealing with strained partnerships, some are dealing with illnesses, and everyone seems to be feeling the pressure.

I think most of us can agree that it was not Nicole’s time to go home – however, I’m appalled at some of the sources of blame I’m seeing from those who are upset about it, and I place a lot of blame on the shoulders of TPTB for some really sh*tty scoring decisions.  Nicole got a very kind score for her samba – while it wasn’t bad, I certainly don’t think it was 27-worthy, as she seemed to struggle with timing and there was very little hip action.  So you can’t blame scores for her exit…although the judges likely screwed her over by overscoring just about everyone except Bill – it only served to make the margins smaller, which meant that someone below her needed even fewer votes to surpass her.  And this was ON TOP of the big points dump from last week, so the margins were itty bitty.  And sorry, but those of you upset about her going home – you were actually voting for her, right? Cause I’m finding that the biggest complainers about Nicole’s exit were people that didn’t bother to throw a single vote her way all season.  If you didn’t vote, you don’t get to bitch & moan, and you are part of the problem.  Snookole needed VOTES…and she didn’t get them.  Kinda how this show works…this isn’t really a revelation, kids.

And fair warning: I’m going to be prone to bouts of rantining this week, after some of the wanton idiocy and deductive reasoning leaps I witnessed after last night’s elimination.  I’m allergic to stupid, y’know ;-)

1/2.) TIE: Corbin & Karina and Amber & Derek – Just kind of an odd night from both of these couples – I don’t feel like either one was operating at peak performance levels.  I think Corbin & Karina coped as well as they could with a rather odd cha-cha song – seemed like there was a lot of what Len would call “frippery”, though…lotta side-by-side hip-hop sections, but I kinda blame the rhythm changes in the song for that.  Someone on Twitter remarked that Karina seemed stressed – and yes, I have to agree, and wonder if the constant pressure to make their routines better and better is beginning to wear on she & Corbin’s partnership.  Then there was Amber & Derek, who both had injuries to contend with – while I think they handled their paso doble well, I think Derek did kinda take the safe route on it; seemed like it wasn’t as daring or impactful as some of the other paso dobles we’ve seen from him.  Pleasant to watch, yes; super-innovative and exciting? Not really.  Let’s hope they can get back into good physical form so they can tackle more daring stuff.  Read more..

October 29, 2013 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 Season 17, Week 6 – Power Rankings

Tonight’s episode of Sesame Street was brought to you by the words “bullsh*t” and “inconsistency”.  :-) By the time they lined the couples up for elimination with a mere 5 minutes remaining in the show, my blood was boiling – Len was an absolute terror tonight, the other two stooges were more or less his accomplices when it came to completely contradicting things that they have said in previous weeks (or even earlier in the evening).  Seems kinda obvious that they’ve been told they need to shield certain couples from excessive criticism, while piling it on others like it’s going out of style.  Len in particular has lost all credibility for me this season – he’s not the “strictly ballroom” judge he once was; now he seems to have a personal agenda, and that dictates his scores & critiques far more than any actual ballroom knowledge.  Can we ship him back overseas next week and bring in a guest judge? Pretty please? :-)

As I had kinda guessed, the switch-up dance challenge was a complete turd of an idea – and I think it was quite possibly the most ridiculous-looking thing we’ve seen them make these poor celebs do in 17 seasons.  My best guess is that, immediately following the aftermath of last week’s production Muppet voting snafu, they knew they were gonna  have to forego this week’s elimination, but needed something trivial to fill time…enter this nonsense.  God I hope this one gets permanently scrapped, cause I felt seriously embarassed for some of the couples out there…except for Bill & Emma, who seemed hip to the fact that this challenge was complete bullsh*t and just decided to have fun with it :-) Thrilled that nobody got eliminated – I was seriously scared for Bill by the end of the show.  But likely thanks to the Muppets, we get him for another week :-D

1.) Amber & Derek – I’m convinced now that there is nothing Derek can do this season to please Len – “there’s not enough content”.  “There’s too much content & it’s repetitive.” The guy is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t – and he seems to be the only one that Len picks apart for these reasons, and the only one that gets legitimately punished as opposed to just getting a warning (looking at YOU, Tony).  And the worst part: Amber just seems to be collateral damage to Len.  I actually thought this routine was a good example of samba – had a lot of textbook steps, it traveled around the room, and Derek took out a lot of the “frippery” that Len has been complaining about this season…and Amber handled it well! But Len has the nerve to whine about it being “repetitive”.  Ok Len, I’ll take the bait: maybe it was repetitive because THERE’S A FUCKING SYLLABUS OF STEPS THAT YOU CONSTANTLY HARP ON, and samba in particular is rather limited in the sequence of steps you can use to get around the room.  And dammit, every single routine is going to be repetitive to some degree – if you want a dance to look like it should, you’ve gotta use a lot of basic, characeristic steps.  Bill & Emma’s tango? Yep, repetition.  Brant & Peta’s tango? Repetitive.  Jack & Cheryl’s paso? Repetitive.  Nicole & Sasha’s foxtrot? Repetitive, repetitive, repetitive. And yet none of those other couples got scolded for it…hmmmm.  I guess my only explanation is that Amber is getting the votes she needs to stick around, so TPTB don’t feel the need to “shield” her from elimination like they do other couples – and maybe, to give the impression of this being a close race, Len feels the need to knock this couple down a few notches.

2.) Elizabeth & Val – Lizzy, Lizzy, Lizzy…I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m actually starting to feel a bit sorry for her.  This woman just seems like she’s DESPERATE to do well, and might emotionally shatter at any given moment.  By extension, I think I might actually be feeling a bit bad for Val, too, just because I’m not sure that he really knows how to handle it when Liz has a meltdown like she did during her rehearsal footage.  But anyway – I thought her cha-cha was actually pretty good, but I don’t think it was 30-worthy – as I said to someone on Twitter, I MIGHT have given it one “10″ as a courtesy, and then maybe two 9′s.  I will commend Val on the fact that he must really drill proper turn technique into his partners, because Elizabeth, like Zendaya & Kelly, seems to know how to properly spot her turns, and the result is pretty nice to look at.  Can’t say I was wild about Liz’ solo at the beginning, but I guess I understand why Val put it there – it utilizes her ballet & jazz training.  My only other complaint: like a lot of other routines we’ve seen from Val, it just seemed a little bit “stop-and-go”, which interrupted the overall flow of it.  But overall, I enjoyed it, and Liz seemed to handle it well.  The fact that it was given a perfect score, however, makes me wonder if the judges are attempting to shield Lizzy from a Christina Milian-esque ouster – and I wonder if they’ve decided that she MUST be in the finale.  I get that they want to have a strong finale of good dancers, but I think anymore, it’s not just about the dancing anymore…you’ve gotta connect with the audience and really entertain them, and that’s one area where I think Liz & Val could take a page out of Bill & Emma’s book. Liz & Val seem to be more inwardly-focused and taking the competition more seriously; I think Bill & Emma, while still wanting to do well, seem more focused on putting on a good show and really making things enjoyable for viewers.  If Liz could do both, I could see her being more of a contender. Read more..

October 22, 2013 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!