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PureDWTS Season 17, Week 10 – Power Rankings Headed Into the Finale

I’m a happy girl for two reasons – most of you can probably guess the first: Bill & Emma made the finale :-) The second? Leah & Tony did NOT make the finale, which I find myself even more thankful for after witnessing yet another night of Leah dancing like she’s made of glass.  Did she do the steps and stay on-time? Sure.  But I wasn’t excited or entertained by her dancing, and the choreography she was given wasn’t exactly hard-hitting or particularly challenging…which is funny, because the way she & Tony were acting, you would think they were dancing at a Nicole Scherzinger level of difficulty.  But alas, the judges finally seemed to call attention to her cautious performances, and ultimately she got sent home.  Darn, guys – I know you are all as disappointed as I am that we won’t get to see J.Lo & Chelsea Handler in the audience again ;-)

As for Maks judging – I’d say he was definitely much better than Cher, but maybe not quite as constructive as Julianne.  Chalk it up to nervousness or whatnot, but he seemed to ramble a bit – then again, at least the rambling was mostly praise and support for the couple he was critiquing.  And much like Julianne & Cher, he tended not to rock the boat a whole lot in terms of scores – there were a couple deviations here and there, but I don’t think they’re going to matter much in the great scheme of things.  I know, Amber & Derek fans, you’re pissed about the “9” he gave them for their jazz – but really, it’s one point amongst 350 that were given out last night, and her score was near-perfect.  Was it petty of him? Maybe.  But is it going to affect the outcome of the competition? Likely not.  I’m big into being selective about what I get upset about these days ;-)

On the whole, I think we got the best group of finalists we could ask for – we’ve got a high level of skill (Corbin), a high level of entertainment (Amber), a guy who’s really improved (Jack), and a funny guy that just seems to appeal to the masses (Bill).  There’s a little something for everybody, and I feel like all the couples left genuinely like each other and there’s not an ounce of bad blood between any of them, celeb or pro.  I’m calling this the “feel-good finale”, because it’s the first time in a long time (possibly EVER) that I don’t really care who wins – I’d be fine with any of the four walking away with the trophy.  Sure, I’d love to see Bill hoist that trophy, but I know that it’s not likely to happen, and I’m just thankful that he’s gotten this far :-)

1.) Amber & Derek – I’m giving Amber a slight edge over Corbin this week, simply due to cleanliness – both of her routines were near flawlessly executed, with a lot of synchronization in her jazz in particular.  I really enjoyed it, although I knew right off the bat that at least one of the judges (likely Len) was going to bitch about “too much sitting down” – to be fair, the opening section, as cool as it was, was really more of a hip-hop/tutting section than it was jazz, and I think that’s why Len just couldn’t really process it…even if he did think it was as cool and visually stimulating as I found it to be.  But it was a clever way for Derek to keep Amber off those injured knees, so I appreciated it, and once they finished it they did move into some more traditional jazz choreography.  I thought their Viennese waltz was very pretty, if not a tad repetitive – but then again, I’d rather take well-executed & repetitive over the “barely moving, dancing on eggshells” vibe I got from Leah & Tony.  I still think these two will be one of the last two standing with Corbin, but I’m not really sure which direction the odds are going to tip in – I think it could hinge upon the freestyle.

2.) Corbin & Karina – Two potentially perfect routines from these two last night – but the first one seemed to suffer from “excited puppy syndrome” and I think they may have tried to jam-pack a little too much into their tango, as it seemed to get a little hectic & sloppy at times.  Loved the theme and mood – but the execution wasn’t quite there.  Several frame issues, a couple bobbles on some dips and and trick moves – I’m just hoping that they can resist the urge to pack too much into their freestyle, because I could see them having similar problems…and I think it really could come down to the freestyle this season.  Their rumba was much better, and I’m thinking the slower pace allowed Corbin to really focus more on the technique and overall performance, which was beautiful & haunting.  I love Karina’s rumbas :-) As I said before, I still think it’s going to come down to these two and Amber & Derek in the final two, and it may come down to who has the better freestyle – Amber may have the edge there by virtue of having Derek, but I think Corbin may have the edge in that he isn’t injured and can do a bit more than Amber.  Will be interesting to see who comes out on top.

3.) Jack & Cheryl – As I was watching Jack dance last night, I found myself saying “I’m gonna be really, really disappointed if this guy does not make the finale.” And this is coming from someone that has rooted for Bill all season long – after Jack had danced his 2nd dance, I had resigned myself to the fact that I probably was not going to get both Jack & Bill in the finale, and was ready to forego having Bill if it meant Jack could stay, because he really has had a lovely journey this season.  And the best part: Cheryl’s been there with him every step of the way.  I seriously think Jack was what the doctor ordered for Cheryl – seeing her in tears last night after dancing with him showed me that she’s got a newfound investment in the show, but also that she does have feelings…feelings that had been hard to see underneath a perceived indifference I saw from her the past few seasons.  But all that aside – I think Jack had a pretty good night last night.  While his jazz wasn’t my favorite (likely because Jack is just downright MAJESTIC in-hold, and this was predominantly open work), he still looked really invested in it, and I did enjoy some of the lifts.  His Argentine tango was the dance of the night for me – once again, Jack comes alive in-hold, and really seems to lead Cheryl; and those lifts were both creative and well-executed.  Even his footwork was looking sharp and on-point…and I loved every moment of it :-) I think Corbin & Amber probably have 1st and 2nd place on lock this time, but I’m hoping that Jack really gets the chance to wow us with a freestyle to pull out 3rd place. 

4.) Bill & Emma – What can I say about Bill & Emma that I haven’t already been saying all season? He just makes me smile when he dances :-) It’s not about technique or rhythm when I watch him dance – it’s all about how invested in the dance he is, despite any difficulties he’s having with the technical aspects of the dance.  Was his cha-cha off-time? Sure.  But it didn’t diminish my enjoyment of it.  I actually thought his Argentine tango was kinda impressive, though – he had some nice leg lines and handled the lifts and the character of the dance well, and I have to commend Emma for some Derek-esque cleverness in choreographing a good portion of the dance around a chair, since Bill was fighting with a groin injury. I’m both shocked and thankful that they made the finale (even though I know the Rioters are a force to be reckoned with ;-)), and I’m actually really looking forward to what Emma pulls out for a freestyle.  I think I read somewhere on Twitter last night that this is the first time since Lacey in season 7 that a first-time pro has made the finale – cool to see some new blood showing off their freestyle skills.  I doubt Bill & Emma can hope for much more than 4th place, but at least we get to see them dance one last time and they get to say they’re finalists :-)

So what did you guys think of last night’s show? Did the right people make it into the finale?

November 19, 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 8 – Power Rankings

Did anyone else feel like the dances were a bit…I don’t know, MECHANICAL last night? Almost every dance I saw felt a bit wooden and robotic…like you could practically see the couples counting out the steps as they danced.  Once again, I’m going to chalk it up to all the couples feeling stressed and burnt out, which is unfortunate because I feel like several of them are forgetting that this is supposed to be fun.  Also mechanical? Cher as a judge, as more often than not she seemed like she was out to lunch and just threw in a generic comment and threw up the “9” paddle when prompted (unless, of course, your name is Bill, in which case she managed to locate her “8” paddle…convenient.) Say what you will about Julianne as a judge – but at least she was coherent in her critiques, and I understood why she gave the scores she did.  Cher? Not so much. 

Once again, we have a “shocking” elimination that isn’t all that shocking when you really think about it – I’m guessing that Brant’s fanbase, which seemed to be sustaining him sufficiently well since his bottom 2 scare early in the season, just finally gave out this week…with several people left who are likely pulling in a lot of votes, I think anyone with a “young” fanbase is probably in some degree of jeopardy, by comparison.  I guess all I can hope for at this point is that someone like Bill can somehow edge out an older fanbase like Leah’s…because that woman has GOT to go. 

1/2.) TIE: Corbin & Karina and Amber & Derek – Another not-quite-100% night for both couples, and due to the immunity challenge, there’s some trade-offs that seem to level the playing field between these two.  Corbin & Karina’s Argentine tango, while pretty good technically, just left me wanting a bit more emotionally – not sure if it was the strange song or the fact that these two were pressed for rehearsal time this week, but it just felt really cold and obligatory to me. Corbin seemed to be laser-focused on remembering his steps, and seemed to lose a bit of entertainment value as a result. Amber & Derek also had a strange song to contend with, and while I think they actually handled it well, the choreography just felt a little odd to me – like “rumba by numbers”, if you will, with a few sequences of Amber strutting around in a sassy fashion to fill it out.  Did the music necessitate it? Maybe.  But like Corbin’s Argentine tango, it just kinda left me wanting more, and it wasn’t Amber’s best dance.  Now here’s the kicker: while Amber may have gotten the immunity, Corbin actually got the 3 extra points that came with winning his dance-off against Liz.  Amber is still the cumulative points leader for the season – but with Corbin a mere 3 points behind her, one off-dance could shift the balance of power: say Corbin gets his first perfect 30 next week and Amber falters a bit a gets a 26.  That could mean the difference between picking first and picking second in the next challenge.  And as we’ve seen – that can mean the difference between getting a good song vs. a sh*tty song, or a good team vs. a sh*tty team.  It all adds up, kids… Read more..

November 5, 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 3 – Power Rankings

Well apparently I missed the memo that Hollywood night was really “Gatsby Night”, as last night’s show seemed to borrow pretty heavily from the new movie…if Baz Luhrmann was going to be a guest judge this season, last night would have been a good night for him to do it! Overall, almost everyone did well and got a rather generous score from the judges – but the unfortunate downside to that is that we may have seen our first glimpse of the puppet strings from the men upstairs, as there was some suspicious overscoring going on that may or may not have contributed to Bill Nye’s exit.  Granted, I think it was his time to go, due both to his injury and the fact that he wasn’t really progressing at the same rate as his fellow contestants.  But Heidi’s numbers post should be exceptionally interesting this week…

…and once again, my rankings are about as clear as mud :-P I’m seriously having a hard time determining who is the most likely to get sent packing – I’m getting some “struggling with votes” vibes from a few of the couples, but nothing that screams “This person is going home next week!”; I’ve also got the added complication of anticipating the modus operandi of TPTB, who now have the power to influence the outcome since they know exactly how many points each couple needs to stick around.  A rather scary pall cast over an otherwise lovely season to watch, no? For that reason, I could see anyone in my bottom 5 potentially getting sent home – depending on how things go down next week.

1.) Corbin & Karina – I think Corbin had, by far, the highest level of difficulty in terms of choreography in his routine last night – and for what it’s worth, he actually handled it pretty well.  There seemed to be a few issues with wobbly frame, and I saw a couple “deer in the headlights” looks, but he kept up with the footwork decently well and delivered a great quickstep, reminiscent of the quickstep Karina did with Apolo a year ago.  But, like the quickstep she did with Apolo, this one didn’t seem to get the love it deserved – or rather, the love it did get was overshadowed by some suspicious overscoring of another couple.  It also confirmed a fear of mine that has been brewing since week one: that Corbin seems to thrive more in the Latin dances, and loses a bit of his sparkle in the ballroom dances.  He’s got a lot of room to improve, but last night was the first time I’ve seen him be less than confident on the floor – hopefully he can hit a groove with the next ballroom dance he gets.

2.) Amber & Derek – Judging from some of the comments I’m seeing on the show discussion post, seems like there’s a debate raging over who had more “Charleston content” in their routines last night – Amber or Christina.  To be honest, I don’t think either was bona fide Charleston – first off, there aren’t that many Charleston steps that exist; secondly, Amber’s music dictated that she do something more than just Charleston, and Christina had Mark’s tendency toward the theatric to contend with.  I would say Amber had more Charleston basics, but the overall mood, steps, and theme of Christina’s routine fit the Charleston better.  And at the end of the day, I’ll be honest: I didn’t particularly care for either one.  Amber unfortunately got saddled with a song that was really more hip-hop than Charleston, and with a ridiculously long intro that didn’t allow for much dancing – and the dancing she did do was just ok for me.  She seemed to hit a bit of a wall with the foot action of the Charleston (which isn’t easy – they ended up using a dance double for Tobey Maguire for a few scenes in Gatsby), but I will give her this: ever the showman, she sold the performance well…even if she wasn’t really nailing the steps.  Anyone else find it totally trippy that Len was the one that seemed to gush about this routine – and it was Bruno & Carrie Ann complaining about the content? :-P Read more..

October 1, 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 2 – Power Rankings

I’m in a bit of a strange position this season – I find myself liking just about everyone, and I think it’s making it hard for me to predict who’s next on the chopping block :-P I probably rewrote my list of rankings 4 times before deciding on this…and I’m not even 100% confident in this list! So take it with a grain of salt…because things are just kinda murky right now :-P

I think Keyshawn going home was for the best – I just don’t think he had the necessary time to devote to the show this season, and I wonder if things would have been different if he had been on the spring season instead of the fall one.  I do get the feeling now that he was really trying – but just wasn’t sure how to connect to the audience. Oh well – I wish him the best, and hope we still get to see Sharna from time to time this season. Glad I got to keep Bill E. though :-)

1.) Corbin & Karina – A very cute, clean, energetic jive, made good by the fact that Corbin just seems so enthusiastic about every dance he does.  I thought the song was a little odd (an opinion shared by Chelsie, who also tweeted “weird song to jive to”), but the overall presentation & theme were cute – probably a good idea to play off of Corbin’s HSM background.  My only complaint? In an odd twist, Corbin actually actually seemed a bit too sharp on some of the flicks & kicks – I’m usually complaining about the celebs being a little lazy on their kicking & flicking, so this was actually a pleasant change of pace! Will be interesting to see how Corbin handles a ballroom dance next week – I’m wondering if he might be someone that just KILLS it in the Latin, but stumbles a bit in the ballroom.

2.) Amber & Derek – A bit of a backslide for these two this week, which I still partially blame on their overscoring last week.  While I wished Amber’s technique was a bit better in this jive (and that she had worn ballroom shoes, which probably would have helped her kick & flick more easily), once again she had great energy and really sold the performance – and she actually stayed pretty well on-time, which is more than I can say for some of the other couples tonight.  I have a feeling she & Corbin will be taking turns at the top from week to week, so it will be interesting to see who fares better with a ballroom dance – I have a feeling she’ll be doing ballroom as well next week.  Read more..

September 24, 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!

DWTS 16, Week 9 – Power Rankings

Things I learned from tonight’s episode of DWTS:

1.) Don’t feel like wearing heels? No problem…as long as your name is Zendaya or Aly.

2.) Even wearing a played-out hipster fedora, Peanut is still the coolest person in the ballroom.

3.) You can apparently praise a couple that was blatantly OUT of sync for being IN sync…and not mean it ironically.

4.) You get a 30! And YOU get a 30! And you get a 30, too! Whoops…not you, Ingo.

5.) Even an exhausted Jacoby is ten times more fun to watch then an Aly operating at peak efficiency.

Yeah.  I feel enlightened :-P But not really, because I vacillate between thinking the judges’ agenda is blantantly clear and thinking “WTF was that?” So let’s get to it…

1.) Zendaya & Val – Color me NOT surprised that she got hip-hop, and color me even LESS surprised that she got a perfect 30 – she SHOULD have gotten a perfect 30, given that the girl has been dancing hip hop “since she was 8″.  And then there’s that whole being employed on a show where she is dancer…but noooo, Zendaya doesn’t have an advantage! But anywho – she was great in the hip-hop, but I expected her to be great in the hip-hop; I actually think I saw Val getting a bit out-of-sync with her, which I imagine is the result of him being completely green in the hip-hop arena.  I actually found the song choice a bit odd – really? Chris Brown? It worked, but it just felt…strange.  And I just HATE those pants that look like they’re made from trash bags and are intentionally saggy in the crotch…looks like a diaper.  As for the quickstep – I agree that it was definitely not perfect and there were clearly some issues…but I don’t know that I would have dropped the hammer like the judges did.  Almost felt like they were being intentionally over-the-top, perhaps to whip those darling youngin’s that spend more time on Twitter & Instagram than they do on schoolwork into voting even harder (for those of you wondering what I’m talking about, just check out the comments section of the pic of Ingo & Kym posted on the DancingABC instagram yesterday…it’s a sh*tshow).  I thought the intro with the cars took up too much time, and there were a couple instances where there were synchonization issues with feet.  And again, with the wide-leg pants….WTF? Once again, I have to chalk this one up to choreographic issues – Val seemed to go more for speed than for technique, likely hoping to wow everyone with just how FAST they were going, but as a result, their frame kinda fell apart.  I see no reason these two shouldn’t make the finale – and with the judges already plugging Zendaya’s upcoming album in her critique, I think the agenda as far as she’s concerned is pretty damn clear.

2.) Kellie & Derek – Glad to see that the red screen from Ricki’s Psycho tango got to make a reappearance :-P Really liked the Argentine tango – it was refreshing, for once, to see the celeb dancing circles around the pro, rather than vice-versa…Kellie seemed to be doing a lot of the intricate footwork, and I think Derek was probably smart to utilize Kellie’s long legs and her ability to extend them.  Lots of pretty leg lines.  Thought the pose for a pseudo-kiss in the middle was a bit odd & awkward, and I wasn’t wild about the wig they put on Kellie, but overall, I enjoyed it.  I actually really enjoyed their flamenco – as a side note, those stomping movements that Derek was doing are deceptively hard to do and require a lot of technique…otherwise, doing them wrong, repeatedly, can actually cause hairline fractures in the feet.  Kellie seemed like she might have been a bit tired after their tango, because I got the impression that she was having to really soldier through the flamenco – but it was fun to watch, nonetheless, and was nice to see PROPER flamenco choreography :-) Loved the trick at the end, too.  Again, I see no reason why they shouldn’t make the finale…and I’m already curious as to what Derek pulls out for these “supersized” freestyles.  Did they really need to be “supersized” again, though?

3.) Aly & Mark – I just don’t get it.  The judges turn the biggest blind eye, by far, to Aly’s mistakes – and I’m sorry, but even though she seems like a sweet girl, it’s week 9 and she’s still about as interesting to me as watching paint dry.  I think the only week I was really on the Aly bandwagon was Stevie Wonder week, when she seemed to hit a stride, but I feel like both of her dances this week were just lukewarm.  I can’t be the only one who thought her rumba felt more like a contemporary routine than a rumba – and the few rumba steps that were in it got kind of repetitive, and were pretty simple.  I guess I didn’t HATE it, and it wasn’t BAD…but I just find myself going “Meh.” The chemistry was tepid, and the rumba content really wasn’t there for me.  As for the Afro jazz – brave routine, but c’mon judges…BLATANT synchronization issues here.  And you guys went so far as to PRAISE it??? Is the Ministry of Truth editing your commentary? (If you’re a tween and you didn’t get that literary reference, get off the damn interwebs and go check 1984 out of the library – like right meow.) I go back & forth between liking & disliking Mark’s Afro jazz choreography – yes, it definitely had Afro jazz steps and an overall Afro jazz feel, but like their contemporary routine earlier this season, it felt a little like “Afro jazz by numbers”: ok, now we’re going to stomp our feet! Then we’re going to swing our arms! Then we’re going to jump! Then we’re going to swing our arms again! Once again, I found myself thinking “What would a SYTYCD choreographer think of this?”And I think the answer would probably be something like “Well…that was cute.” I think with their scores, they should have no issues making it to the finale – but I think they may fade into the background next to Kellie, Zendaya, & Jacoby.

4.) Jacoby & Karina – I think pigs must be flying, because it actually looked like Jacoby cleaned up his footwork this week! I was very pleasantly surprised by his Argentine tango – if there was one dance that was really going to put those bad feet on display, it was this one.  But he seemed to handle the intricate footwork really, really well, and had no problems with the lifts.  And this goes without saying – but he carried off the tango “swagger” well, too.  One of the best dances he’s done this season.  Not gonna lie – the Lindy Hop was totally fun to watch, but it did feel a bit thrown together to me…like maybe Karina spent most of the week working on the Argentine tango (smart idea) and then lost track of time and had to scramble to put the Lindy together.  Nonetheless, it was extremely entertaining, and Jacoby looked like he was having the time of his life…boy seems to like dances where he can kick his legs :-) I think these two deserve to be in the finale, and I’m hoping they’ll be there…but the fact that Jacoby has been in jeopardy the past two weeks has got me a little bit worried.  I like to think he’s handily beating Ingo in votes…but have the GH fans rallied? I doubt we’ll see a real bottom 2 tomorrow, but if we did…I have to wonder if Jacoby would be part of it.  I hope I’m wrong!

5.) Ingo & Kym – Anyone else notice that Kym’s costumes have gotten progressively skimpier as the season has worn on? Not that I’m complaining – everyone knows I respect the Awesome Boobage.  :-) But I have to wonder if it’s an attempt to distract from how truly awkward Ingo is on the floor – I say it every week, but man, poor guy still seems just as awkward to me now as he did in week 1.  Their samba was almost comically bad – Ingo seemed like he was really focusing hard, but was always about 1 beat too fast…and the hip shaking just was stiff & weird.  I think their Charleston had the potential to be cute – but unfortunately, there were timing issues in this one as well, and it also seemed like they didn’t do a whole lot of the Charleston basic…seemed like a lot of running around and lifts, and just a couple basics.  Then again, I have had the feeling for a few weeks now that Kym is just burnt out and ready to be done with this season, and maybe just doesn’t have the energy to try and conceal Ingo’s many dancing eccentricities with very clever choreography.  Nothing against Kym – I just think the poor woman is exhausted and running on fumes.  If it wasn’t obvious by the scoring, I think Ingo’s toast tomorrow – we don’t know for sure if he was in the bottom 2 last week, but I’d venture a guess that he probably was; he’s been there before.  There’s still a part of me that’s a bit uneasy about the GH fans somehow rallying and keeping him around, and I think Jacoby is the most likely target if Ingo somehow manages to get the votes…but I hope he doesn’t, because he’d look woefully underqualified next to Kellie, Zendaya, Jacoby, & Aly.

So what are your thoughts on tonight’s show? And who do you think is headed to the finale? :-)

May 13, 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!

DWTS 16, Week 7 – Power Rankings

Well that was a craptastic (and trippy, and nonsensical) evening.

Seriously, powers that be, trash the Latin night theme, because it just feels clichéd and ridiculous now.  And dammit, if tonight were a poker game, TPTB would have been the poker rookie that was giggling and smirking like the cat that ate the canary, betting too high, too soon, and then falling out of your chair and inadvertently showing me your royal flush as you flailed – yeah, it was pretty obvious who you wanted to stay and who you wanted to backdoor.  And the immunity dance? We already knew that was a turd wrapped in tinfoil, but thank you for actually confirming it.  Let’s get down to it so I can take an Ambien and forget today ever happened…

1.) Kellie & Derek – A bit of a gimme, considering they won immunity and can’t be sent home tomorrow – and to be honest, that samba was not Kellie’s best dance, nor do I think it was 10-worthy (but then again, I don’t think any of the 10’s we saw tonight were truly deserved).  The technique was there – she handled the samba runs, stationary walks, and rolls without any issues, and she stayed on-time.  But I’m guessing that Derek was maybe feeling the weight of having to practice 4 dances with Kellie this week, because it probably wasn’t his most inspired piece of choreography – aside from the clever little slo-mo section in the middle, it got a bit repetitive…Derek sure does love those counter-clockwise torso gyrations, side-by-side :-P Tonight may as well have been “Pssst…your tic is showing” night for some of the pros…but we’ll get to that later.  As for Kellie – she kept up, but I do agree that she wasn’t quite “there” for the whole dance…maybe it was nerves, or just trying too hard to remember her steps.  But if this was her “off” week and she still got the high score AND immunity, I doubt she or Derek is losing sleep over it ;-)

2.) Zendaya & Val – Get ready, because pigs may start flying: I actually think Zendaya was underscored, especially given that Jacoby got the same score for a dance that was, by comparison, rather messy.  HOWEVER, that’s not to say it was 10-worthy, either – I guess if they were gonna give Zendaya a 27, then Jacoby should have gotten a 25.  And tonight, I think Val’s “tic” was also on display: as I mentioned last week, he has a real affinity for what I call “dead space” – pauses in the dance that are meant to add dramatic effect, but inadvertently end up looking like the dancers just standing there doing nothing, and it kind of slows down the momentum of a dance and gets a bit…boring.  There also seemed to be quite a lot of separate flamenco-style moves, as opposed to them moving as a couple, which was odd – I think he had the right music & the right set-up, and the right partner for a really dynamic, dramatic dance…but he may have blown it a bit on the choreography.  Not sure what judge said it, but the only real problem Zendaya had was kind of over-tucking (?) her chin in an effort to look dramatic – it’s kind of a rookie paso mistake, just like freakishly looking at the ceiling in tango is a rookie mistake. Val was probably wise to obscure her legs, which continue to be a problem, as evidenced by her jive tonight…and what was with the sneakers??? She didn’t wear sneakers for her first jive…why wear them now? As for them picking Jacoby & Karina for the immunity challenge – I have two theories: one, they were out to prove something; or two, they were told who to pick by someone higher up, which actually wouldn’t surprise me, given how much funny business there was tonight.  I daresay their jive matchup with Jacoby & Karina was the only exciting one tonight.  I don’t see them going home this week, but I’m curious to see what the next few weeks leading up to the finale bring – especially since Zen has already burned through every Latin dance except the one most obviously awkward for her: the rumba. 

3.) Aly & Mark – Did Aly go for it in her salsa? Yes.  Was it fun? Sure.  Was it 10-worthy? Hell no.  If we’re going to call Jacoby out for a  salsa that was basically fluff, and just a bunch of gyrating, then we’ve got to call Aly & Mark (or mainly just Mark) out for it, too.  Hell, for the first 20 seconds or so, I thought I had just heard wrong, because it felt more like a merengue or a samba than a salsa – awful lot of bouncing going on.  A lot of shimmying, too – and the crawling on the floor? Errr…I guess it was…cute? I’m not even sure how to describe it.  Lots of fun, yes, but it was a salsa only in name, really.  Then here they come, picking the obvious “gimme” in the immunity dance – Andy.  In Mark’s defense, though, I think anyone picking Andy probably would have looked like a bit of an asshole – I love the guy, but I have no disillusions about him being the weakest dancer left.  That said – I still think they could have picked either Sean or Ingo and still won their matchup, and left the remainder to go up against Andy.  But here’s the strange thing about their immunity cha-cha: was it just me, or was Mark obscuring our view of Aly for quite a bit of it? Yes, we’ve long said there are Muppets running the show, but this even looked like a pretty rookie mistake for the cameramen to make.  I still doubt Andy would have won even if our view of her was unobscured, but it just bugs.  Anyway, I doubt they’re going anywhere, since they topped the leaderboard in a week where the bottom is pretty damn far away…

4.) Jacoby & Karina – Yes, I acknowledge that a 27 was probably a point or two too high for this salsa – while it was very fun and Jacoby actually handles some of the more intricate steps pretty well, the overall feel was a bit chaotic.  Side effect of losing a full day of practice? Who knows – but Jacoby does best all of the other guys still left when it comes to doing lifts.  As for the immunity dance – Heidi tweeted and asked “Why the hell did Jacoby chose jive??? He could have won with rumba!!!” and the only good answer I have is that Jacoby just really, really loves his jive…and loves the audience response he gets from it :-P I’m starting to get the feeling that he is not as hungry for the MBT, so much as he is hungry for just a lot of fun (and there’s nothing wrong with that!)…and while I would love to see him walk away with that trophy on finale night, I’m beginning to wonder if he’s determined enough to really put in the effort to get up to Kellie & Zendaya’s level, technically.  Time will tell :-)

5.) Sean & Peta – All I really remember from both of the rumbas he did tonight was Peta’s choreography tic: slow, slow, FLAIL!, slow, kick your leg up, FLAIL! FLAIL! FLAIL! Aaaaand slow, dramatic arm extension.  Seriously, watch her rumbas (and Sean’s Viennese waltz) – she will do 3-4 sections of slow moves, punctuated by 2-3 really fast, choppy, overdramatic moves.  I guess you can call it “guerrilla rumba” – just when you least expect it, BLAM! Dramatic arm in your face :-P I will say this, though – I think Sean did a better job of actually moving around than Ingo did, and while Peta did do a lot of dancing around him, it wasn’t quite as obvious as it was with Ingo & Kym.  But calm down there, killer – Sean about flung Peta into the audience on that spin-turned-lift.  I would say his immunity rumba with Ingo was probably the most evenly-matched of the night, but it wasn’t particularly exciting – wasn’t terribly invested in either guy.  But I was a bit surprised that they gave that one to Ingo – was sure they would fall for the drama & faux-passion of Sean’s rumba AGAIN.  Which kind of begs the question for me: did they deliberately leave things pretty even between the two ABC guys? I think it could be almost a toss-up between the two of them in the bottom 2, but my gut is telling me Sean might be safe this week (blech).  I’d love to be wrong, and I’d love for him to go home – because as someone here put it, he’s like Willard from Footloose – except he’s not really that charming. 

6.) Ingo & Kym – Well, I give props to Kym for looking hotter tonight than she has all season – I think she was probably wise to pull out the blood red fabric and show some leg…and abs…and awesome boobage tonight, on a night where Ingo’s rumba just kind of fell flat.  I feel like I say this every week: Ingo seems to try really, really hard, but it just never seems to translate into significant results on the dance floor…especially in the Latin dances, where he just has super-stiff hips.  But in contrast to Sean, who seems to benefit from a lot of smoke & mirrors and flash & trash from Peta’s choreography, I do feel like Ingo actually TRIES to get the right technique…so I have to applaud that.  His rumba, while awkward, thankfully didn’t feel as contrived and phony as Sean & Peta’s.  But again – why switch gears and give the immunity dance to Ingo & Kym, when both guys basically did the same routine again, and Sean scored higher the first time around??? I’m not particularly invested in either guy, but it’s just yet another thing that happened tonight that seemed…off.  But anyway – I’m thinking Ingo might take a spill into the bottom 2 tomorrow night, although I’d love for it to be Sean instead.  He hasn’t been there – yet – but I have to wonder if his jeopardy appearance a few weeks back was a warning.

7.) Andy & Sharna – First of all, can I just say how much it gave me warm fuzzies to see some of the Kellie fans throwing their votes to Andy after it was announced that Kellie got immunity? :-D Restores my faith in humanity a bit, which I really needed after a sh*t day at work, and an even sh*ttier time watching tonight’s show – I’m not a particularly vengeful person, but I’m getting to the point where I’m hoping karma bites the judges in the ass.  Carrie Ann’s weave gets horribly knotted & the paps get a pic of it looking nasty, Bruno’s Maserati gets a BIIIIG ol’ scratch right down the side of it, Len gets a bad batch of Marmite and ends up with food poisoning – because these three stooges have reached a whole new level of LOW with some of the comments they threw at Andy.  We get it, judges, Andy’s the weakest dancer left and he gots ta go – but jeez, way to rub both lemon juice & salt in the poor guy’s wounds.  As non-technical as this rumba may have been, it was clever, and it played to Andy’s strengths as a performer – and you can’t deny that it was kinda cute and fun to watch.  So there was no need for comments like Bruno’s, where he wished he “could forget that dance”.  Pssssh…I wish I could forget your leathery-ass face, Bruno, but I don’t say it out loud…until now.  ;-) And I have to wonder if Andy may have been better off picking the jive as their immunity dance, because while his rumba wasn’t good – his first cha-cha wasn’t, either.  But anyway – I think they got pretty hosed with their score, and didn’t manage to scoop up any points in the immunity round, so barring a miracle (and I like to believe in miracles!), I think Andy is toast tomorrow – but once again, I’d love to be wrong.  Andy just makes me smile so much :-D

 So were you guys as disenchanted with Latin night as I was? And what did you think of the immunity dances?

April 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!

DWTS 16, Week 6 – Power Rankings

Well, guess tonight didn’t end up too bad after all – team samba pulled out a win (despite being at a clear disadvantage from the get-go), Len got taken to task by the audience for basically being a douchebag, and perhaps best of all: I made it through the show without committing a felony, due to my asthma medication-induced ‘roid rage :-) But that’s not to say everything was hunky dory.  There was definite overscoring (duh, Zendaya; and to a lesser degree, Ingo & Sean), definite underscoring (Jacoby), and out-and-out cruelty (which left Andy in tears…inexcusable, IMO).  Let’s get right to it…

1.) Kellie & Derek – I think I was prepared for both their quickstep and the team samba to be a trainwreck, after hearing how poorly their rehearsals were going this week…but I was very pleasantly surprised at how well Kellie kept up in this quickstep, and didn’t miss a beat.  She also seemed to correct a lot of the issues I saw with her posture last week, which was an added bonus.  Maybe not the most exciting quickstep Derek has ever choreographed, but when you’re struggling, going for simplicity (and meat-and-potatoes steps to please Len) is your best bet.  I honestly don’t remember a whole lot of their solo from the team samba, but besides a few minor stutters from Kellie, I think they handled it well.  Obviously a front-runner; now let’s hope they resist the urge to low-ball next week…

2.) Zendaya & Val – First of all, if you are not mature (or literate) enough to understand the difference between being mad at TPTB for pimping someone and being mad at the person themselves, then consider this an invitation to stop reading and come back when you’ve educated yourself.  Ok, now that we’ve got that off the table – I really think Val let her down this week, because I found his choreography in both the cha-cha and the team paso to be a bit dumbed down.  The cha-cha was good, and she danced it very well, but I’m starting to notice a lot of stop-and-go in Val’s choreography – parts where they suddenly stop and Zendaya kinda stands still while Val does…I don’t know, something.  A spin, a flourish, whatever.  And it doesn’t do her justice – the girl can handle tough choreography, so she shouldn’t need all these little pauses.  Pauses are for couples who can’t dance :-) I also think that, while she’s great at doing spin after spin after spin (and Val has actually taught her how to spot her turns – something he never really got Kelly to master), he has GOT to do something about her legs. I could have driven a boat show in between them in that cha-cha – you have to close your thighs to get the right hip & leg action.  And here they were complaining about Kellie & Derek having some space in between them while in hold…psssh.  Again, I reiterate: Val, you have got to figure out what you’re going to do with those legs…because Len will cease to be dazzled by her showmanship before too long, and he will start to get nitpicky.  She did well in their team paso…but her solo choreography felt a bit blah.  Like she could have handled something more.  I think her cha-cha was overscored, and the team paso was about right-on, but there’s no doubt she’s safe this week…and that bland team paso will probably get the encore tomorrow night.  Read more..

April 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!

DWTS 16, Week 4 – Power Rankings

Well first of all, I’m happy to report that for once, “best year of your life” week was NOT the night of a thousand rumbas!!! It was, instead, the night of a thousand (ok, THREE) Viennese waltzes, and this episode of Sesame Street was brought to you by the awkward men’s Viennese waltz solo :-P OH! And be still my heart…did Carrie Ann actually cop to being remiss in her lift policing the past few weeks???? And then promptly make herself look rather like a douchebagette, when sternly chastising Gleb for carrying a sick Lisa down the stairs? Yeah…that happened.  But let’s just get down to the nitty gritty, shall we?

1 & 2.) TIE: Kellie & Derek and Zendaya & Val – Both ladies had strong showings tonight, yet both of them seemed to have minor technical issues that kept them from being 100% on-point.  Loved Kellie & Derek’s rumba  – very simple, intimate feel, and Kellie does have some fantastic legs.  But I do agree with whatever judge said that she seemed a little bit “clipped” tonight – I don’t know if it was the segueing from very slow, fluid movements to rather fast, crisp ones, but things got a bit jerky from time to time.  As for Zendaya – I love watching that girl dance, and she’s obviously right at home on the floor…just the right amount of attitude to really carry off Beyonce, and the dance chops to back it up.  But once again, she seems to be having trouble with those long legs – Len was right, she was a bit too bent in the knee, and needed to really straighten those legs out in order to get more of a bounce.  She also seemed to get a bit off-balance in some of the faster turns, which I noticed in her Viennese waltz & jive as well.  Long legs are great to look at – but when it comes to ballroom & Latin, sometimes the ladies with shorter legs have it a bit easier, just because it’s easier to move quickly & crisply when you have less to extend.  Also a bit of a warning to Val – there seemed to be an awfully high proportion of jazz-y, hip-hoppy type-moves in that samba.  I know it’s tempting to really go wild when you’ve got a Beyonce song (and a partner that can do those kinds of moves), but if this continues week to week, you’re going to be butting heads with Len A LOT.  Overall, I think I was probably more entertained by Zendaya’s dance, but I was more touched emotionally by Kellie’s.  Enjoyed both, and I doubt either of these ladies are going anywhere.

3.) Jacoby & Karina – I still think this guy is gonna walk away with the trophy when all’s said and done – and the fact that he actually handled his first ballroom dance quite masterfully just makes me believe it anymore.  I was mentally preparing myself for a trainwreck – crummy frame, messy feet, missed beats, etc.  But I was actually impressed at how well Jacoby held his frame – his neck & shoulders looked great, almost hyperextended, although he did stick his butt out just a tiny bit…which I’m sure Karina’s going to chastise him for later, because ballroom law dictates that the man never slouches down to accommodate a shorter lady – it’s the lady’s job to rise up to the man’s height :-) But this guy never missed a turn, stretched those arms out nice & wide, and best of all – he was totally uninhibited, and really gave that solo his all.  And can I just add that his little guy is beyond precious??? :-D And one other thing I have really begun to appreciate about Jacoby’s dancing? He’s there for Karina EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.  No fumbling to get turns straight, no near-misses with tricks, no missing getting into frame – the dude is on-point. Read more..

April 8, 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!

DWTS 16, Week 3 – Power Rankings

Well…that was special.  Aside from a few bright spots, I don’t know that I could have choreographed a sh*tshow that was sh*ttier than tonight’s show – yeah, it was pretty bad.  I guess I expected it to be pretty tacky, given the whole prom theme…but there were some all-time lows hit tonight.  And there was some definite tinkering going on with the scoring – scoring that makes me think they’re trying to backdoor some floundering couples.  But let’s right to it, shall we?

1.) Jacoby & Karina – I still stand by my week 1 claim that Jacoby is a shoo-in for the finale and will likely play spoiler to whoever else ends up there and will pull out a win.  And tonight really solidified that for me – because this guy can DANCE.  Sure, he’s a little cocky, a lot kooky, and can handle the goofy, uptempo dances like the cha-cha and jazz…but the true test was him tackling the rumba tonight, and that he did.  He actually let down his guard quite a bit and showed us a vulnerable side – I thought their rumba was quite lovely, and Jacoby had some great extensions and footwork going on.  A few footwork issues, sure, but overall, he & Karina really sold it for me, chemistry-wise.  And here’s the big advantage he may have over Kellie & Zendaya: he’s got a bit more of a learning curve to work with.  While Kellie & Zendaya are both great dancers, I’m beginning to think that viewers (and their increasingly unpredictable voting behavior) may tire of them topping the leaderboard week after week…and while Jacoby is still up there pretty close, he may get a bit more leeway because he’s more unexpected – it’s a bigger shock that Jacoby’s legitimately good, than it is for Kellie or Zendaya.  Who knows…I never really know what to think about the voting from week to week.  But I do know he’s safe for quite awhile.

2.) Kellie & Derek – Did one of you mention that Kellie was sick this week? If so, I will cut her a bit of slack on what I thought was a good (but not great) performance, and applaud her for soldiering through.  I think this had the potential to be a fantastic routine – they got a great song and a great theme to work with, and this stuff is right in Derek’s wheelhouse.  Very fun jive (without copying any moves from the movie, mind you), and Kellie kept up pretty well for the first half – but then I think she got tired and lost steam, and suddenly she wasn’t bouncing quite as much and her kicks got a bit soft.  But it was still a great performance, and I sincerely doubt she’s in any danger this week…but I am crossing my fingers that she can somehow pull off getting prom queen J Read more..

April 1, 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!

DWTS 15 End-of-Season Awards: Which Dance Was the Worst?

And the fun continues…

 worst15

Write-ins:

Gilles & Peta’s Bollywood – 3

Bristol & Mark’s cha-cha – 2

Shawn & Derek’s non-samba samba – 2

Kirstie & Maks’ paso doble trio – 1

Shawn & Derek’s bhangra – 1

Gilles & Peta’s cha-cha – 1

Melissa & Tony’s freestyle – 1

Sabrina & Louis’ paso doble – 1

Shawn & Derek’s rumba – 1

Kelly & Val’s contemporary – 1

Courtney: This is all I’ll say about the write-ins: it’s obvious when someone is writing in a certain dance simply out of spite, or just to try to get a reaction out of people.  How very puerile of them :-) Was Pam & Tristan’s cha-cha a bizarre, fumbly train wreck? Yeah, but I almost think it’s unfair to even count first week dances…because they’re the ones with the highest potential to look like crap.  I usually find myself more turned off by bad dances that occur later on in the season – because by that point, you can’t cite “first week jitters” as a reason to f*ck up.  For that reason, I actually think I chose Gangnam Style – I hated that dance because it was a cop-out.  They basically got a free pass to do ANYTHING they wanted – they could have put a completely unique spin on it, thrown in some cool tricks & lifts, and incorporated some ballroom steps to please Len.  Instead, it was as if they said “Y’know what? Let’s just copy the video, add some additional raunch, and call it a day.” Was it fun? Sure.  But I can think a dance is fun and also think it’s terrible. Case in point? Carson & Anna’s pirate Viennese waltz in season 13.  Amusing in a trainwreck fashion, but I definitely wouldn’t say it was my favorite of that season…or even that week, and it was still a complete mess. I think my second choice was Bristol & Mark’s quickstep, because it just ended up being a complete mess, both in terms of choreography & execution.  Not sure what to make of the surfer flamenco – I guess I would categorize that one as a “cop-out” as well, since it seemed like they said “Welp, we don’t know any flamenco, so let’s do paso in skimpy swimsuits and hope nobody notices!”

Heidi: Courtney!! How dare you say that people write in comments just out of spite!! That NEVER happens here!! Well, okay, only every other day. ;-) Totally agree with you that I wouldn’t look at first week dances and cry out “worst dance ever!!” So many of them DO look like crap in the first week. Anyway, when I looked at this category two dances immediately came to mind – Team Gangnam Style and Gilles’ Bollywood nightmare.  Team Gangnam style just disgusted me because they didn’t even TRY. Any actual dancing that was included was sloppy and disjointed – I seem to recall thinking that Emmett was the only standout from that mess.  Pretty sure that’s the one I voted for…although I could have written in Gilles. :-)

Vogue: When I saw this poll, I almost voted for the Team Gangnam dance as the Worst dance. I remember thinking it was just awful comparted to Team Call Me Maybe’s dance which was so well executed, choreographed and full of creative content. In the end though, I voted for Val and Kelly’s Surfer Flamenco (what an awful combination) as that dance beat them all as worst dance ever in all of the seasons of Dancing With The Stars PUT TOGETHER! 8O

February 21, 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!