For the regulars, you probably have witnessed what prompted this rant 😛 For the non-regulars, bear with me: it seems like every season, there is at least one fanbase that just bugs the ever-loving sh*t out of me – and it’s usually because said fanbase decides to obnoxiously remind the entire online DWTS fandom how awesome their favorite is, and how they’re going to win, and how they’re sooooo much better than other contestants, and how much harder they’re gonna vote than all the other fans, how rabid & supportive the fanbase is, etc. Basically – if they can think of something to boast about, they will. Loudly, frequently, and obnoxiously…and the rest of the fans just have to grit their teeth and bear it until the season ends or that particular contestant gets eliminated.
But here’s the funny part: for all the boasting these fanbases do, very seldom do their contestants actually win DWTS. Why? To quote one of my Twitter followers, “If you have to tell us how big it is…it’s probably not that big.” 😉 But seriously, though – there’s a bit more to it than that. You have to take viewing demographics into account, and whether or not that fanbase aligns well with the main viewing demographic; you also have to consider if there’s another contestant on a particular season who perhaps aligns better with the main viewing demographic. The bottom line is this:
You cannot win DWTS if you don’t have the main viewing demographic of the show on your side.
And right now, I can hear the defiant protests of hoards of Harmonizers 😛 Go ahead – you guys can tell us all till you’re blue in the face how “rabid” you are, how “organized” you are, how “passionate & committed” you are. It comes across as a tad insecure, but go ahead. But I’m gonna warn you right now, unless Normani can get demographics on her side (or the show tries to pull off a pimping of never-before-seen proportions), I can almost guarantee she will not win. Let me explain why, using historical data from the show…
Holland America has announced a new Carabbean cruise. Note how Sharna Burgess and Artem Chigvintsev will be joining Kym Johnson, Carson Kressley, and Sabrina Bryan for entertainment and lessons, etc.
SEATTLE, Oct. 14, 2014 /CNW/ — Holland America Line has added the talents of professional dancers Sharna Burgess and Artem Chigvintsev to the remaining two 2014 “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” theme cruises. Both currently performing on the ABC hit show “Dancing with the Stars,” Burgess and Chigvintsev will join ms Westerdam for the theme cruise departing Nov. 29 and the Champions Cruise that sets sail Dec. 6. Both cruises sail roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to the Caribbean.
“Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” brings the excitement and passion of the hit ABC television series to the high seas aboard two Holland America Line Caribbean cruises in November and December this year.
Burgess and Chigvintsev will be joined onboard the “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” cruises by dance professional and Mirrorball Trophy winner Kym Johnson, and celebrities Carson Kressley and Sabrina Bryan.
Each “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” theme cruise features guest performances from the professional dancers and stars, who dazzle the audience with routines from the television show. Additional events include dance lessons with the ship’s professional dancers, a special fashion show featuring glamorous show costumes and a chance to meet the dance pros and celebrities, ask questions and take photos with them.
Let me lead off with this: I don’t mind ringers. Actually, I appreciate 2-3 in each season, for the simple reason that it ensures that we get to see some good dancing and that the bar is set high for the competition. The show needs ringers just like it needs really bad dancers, and every skill level in between – it’s part of what makes DWTS work. The ringers please those who just love great dancing, and the inexperienced dancers ensure we get to see some good growth arcs.
Now what I DO mind is when someone who has enough experience to be considered a ringer tries to insist that they aren’t – in our experience here at Pure, this certainly does not negate the fact that they do have a bit of an edge, and it also tends to rub some viewers the wrong way. The viewers are not stupid – they know when their intelligence is being insulted by the machinations of the powers that be or a celeb that tries to downplay his/her experience level. And they especially don’t like feeling like they’re being lied to.
So an interesting discussion came about when Vogue posted this video of Danica & Val’s first rehearsal yesterday. In it, Danica seems to give the impression that she’s new to this whole dancing thing – lots of giggling, clueless looks, and “Huh? What?” It’s what you’d normally expect during the first rehearsal with a celeb who’s never danced before – but considering that Danica has had some fairly extensive ballroom training, it kind of bugs. We know for a fact that she’s taken lessons before – check out this clip of her on 20/20 back in 2008:
While working on Inspector Mom (the TV movie mentioned in the clip), she met Gocha Chertkoev, a Latin dance champion who was playing the role of a dance instructor. Presumably, she started taking lessons with him, as that’s who we see her dancing with in the clip. Some have argued that she “only took lessons for that movie”, and it was a “one-time thing” – but if that’s the case, then why is her picture plastered all over the newsletter from Gocha’s dance studio as recently as a year ago? And why is he plugging her book while she takes a cha-cha class?
Possibly worth noting: Gocha is also one of the judges on the Georgian version of DWTS, Tsekvaven Varskvlavebi. Regardless, I get the feeling Danica’s lessons with Gocha weren’t just a one-time thing – they’ve more likely been ongoing. She’s also had some dance training for another film, 21 and a Wake-Up, courtesy of Jamie Bayard (Lacey Schwimmer’s former swing partner, and of SYTYCD fame). She talks about in more detail here, on this now-defunct post at her website. Yes, I’m aware it’s in code – that’s the only way to access it now that it’s been conveniently removed from her website (thank goodness for caching!). You’ll see why in the excerpt below – pertinent parts in bold:
Says Danica, “I love to dance! I got hooked after learning to Tango for the TV Movie Inspector Mom: Kidnapped in 10 Easy Steps.”
“Gocha Chertkoev and Shorena Gachechiladze are worldwide ballroom dance champions, and I was so lucky to be trained by them for the movie. I was a fan of Gocha’s from his TLC series, Ballroom Bootcamp. He was a real find – a great actor and dancer! Since then, I dance whenever I can — I love it! I’ve even trained with Jamie Bayard from So You Think You Can Dance”
“Perhaps I’ll end up dancing on stage or in front of the cameras again soon. I’ve been asked more than a few times about Dancing with the Stars, but I think I actually have a little too much professional training this stage. And that’s fine by me – I’m not sure I’d like the judges’ on-stage criticism very much!”
Sorry, but I’m having a harder and harder time buying the whole “I’m new at this!!!” act of their rehearsal video, and this interview that she herself posted presents some pretty damning evidence that she is, in fact, a ringer. The rehearsal video itself is a bit shady, too – my boyfriend (who has been teaching ballroom for 12 years) even remarked that “It’s almost like she’s trying too hard to act confused for the first half – she clearly has danced salsa before, she’s following him pretty easily.” As for the second half of the video? “She’s already doing rumba walks with great hip action and transfer of weight, and she’s spotting turns like she’s been taught before. No way Val could have taught her that in one short rehearsal.”
So what’s my beef? The fact that Danica has had some pretty extensive ballroom training is being conveniently swept under the rug, while Meryl & Charlie get raked across the coals for being “practically professional ballroom dancers already!” If you’re going to cry that “DWTS is for celebs with no dance experience!” (not true, but whatever floats your boat) and that it’s “unfair” that Meryl & Charlie get to be on the show this season – then it’s only fair that you call Danica out, too. But for whatever reason, the two Olympians are the ones fielding most of the cries of foul from viewers, while Danica flies under the radar, with incriminating blog posts being quietly removed from her site and mentions of her previous dance experience being conveniently omitted from interviews. And to what end? I like to think that Danica herself is too smart and too confident to let a few cries of “Ringer!! RINGER!!!” deter her from being open and honest about her dancing. I’m leaning more towards someone from further up the chain at DWTS “gently encouraging” her to downplay her dance experience – it’s happened before. Sabrina mentioned in an interview once that she was told by producers to “dumb down” her dancing during the first few weeks of her original season, in order to give the impression of a much more level playing field. Sabrina (honest as a girl scout) didn’t comply, but it does set a precedent for what might be going on now with Danica – or it may even be someone from her own camp, such as a publicist, trying to paint a better picture of her client with regards to the show.
I guess overall, I’m just left feeling a bit…deceived by the whole thing. I do not like having my intelligence insulted, and trying to pass Danica off as a beginner to me is insulting. I’m left with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, as I did back in season 14 when Sherri Shepherd tried to downplay the fact that she took lessons at Maks & Val’s studio immediately prior to being cast on DWTS. In both Danica AND Sherri’s cases, I think the whole situation would be a lot better-received by fans had they just been honest about it from the get-go, instead of lying by omission, dodging questions, and dancing around the truth before finally coming clean. Hiding things implies some sort of guilt on the part of the hider. 🙂 I actually really like her as a person, and I’m hoping that Danica, in the interest of full disclosure, is able to be open about her previous experience – I really don’t think being labeled a “ringer” is going to hurt her OR help her. Ringers don’t always win, and they don’t always lose. Unless, of course, they’re paired with Derek – in which case they ALWAYS win…cause “Ugh, Derek always gets all the good partners!!!”, y’all. 😉
So all of that being said…what do YOU guys think of Danica and her previous experience? Is she a ringer, or not a ringer? Vote in our poll and weigh in down in the comments!
Be sure to see Popular Cruising’s reviews of the recent Holland America Dancing With The Stars At Sea Cruise below. They cover everything from the complimentary dance classes, the guest dance competition, pro judging, audience voting, production and fashion shows, comedic interludes, and more. In the coverage below you can see Dancing With The Stars pros and alumni Sabrina Bryan, Joey Fatone, Carson Kressley, Kym Johnson, Derek Hough, Emma Slater, Tristan MacManus, and Sharna Burgess. Lots of fun and laughs. Thanks to Linz for the heads up!!
The pros from Dancing With The Stars continue to light up Holland America’s Dancing With The Stars At Sea Cruise. You can view new pictures of yesterday and last night’s events at Popular Cruising Facebook. Also, Chris Cruises Facebook has new pictures and video coverage posted. Lastly, don’t miss viewing this post as a reader from Pure Derek Hough is on the cruise. She took some cool pics of Derek Hough, Emma Slater, and Sharna Burgess. Too fun!! Photos below courtesy of Popular Cruising, @ChrisCruises and @CruiseCurrents…
Hey All! Pictured above is Emma Slater, Derek Hough, and Sharna Burgess on the judging panel for Holland America’s Dancing With The Stars cruise now taking place in the Caribbean. If you’d like to see more pictures visit and be watching Chris Owen’s Pinterest page. Also, Chris has given an update in a blog. Below is a take for what he wrote about the Dancing With The Stars pros on board. Be sure to read the link for more.
The ship’s entertainers were on hand, showcasing various venues around the ship to give guests an idea of what to expect, and were well received. Based on the night’s preview performances, there is much to look forward to as the ship makes its way through the Caribbean itinerary. Still, headlining tonight’s show were the 15 finalists competing for the coveted mirror ball trophy, one from each ship in the Holland America line.
They came from Florida to California to compete and one by one, television personality Carson Kressley introduced each of them as passengers began choosing favorites in what would be an integral part of the experience. It was just a preview of what was yet to come.
On the ship but absent from the night’s performance were singer Joey Fatone from Orlando (who I met at Port Everglades, during curbside luggage check-in), dancers Tristan MacManus, Kym Johnson, Sharna Burgess and Emma Slater along and actress Sabrina Bryan. But it was Derek Hough, the Emmy® Award-winning dancing professional best known for his role on the hit ABC television show “Dancing with the Stars, that drew the biggest round of applause from the crowd as Kressley announced each star on board.
Too fun! Be watching this link as he may update us with more soon!! If you’d like to see more of Derek, visit Pure Derek Hough as we are featuring some new video of him dancing on the cruise.
Gear up! If you weren’t able to sail on the upcoming Dancing With The Stars At Sea Cruise in January, you can do so on another date. Holland America has renewed their passenger-favorite program for a second year. Below are some new dates. Be sure to see this link for more info if interested. Note how Kym Johnson, Tristan MacManus, Carson Kressley, and Sabrina Bryan are on top to dance so far….
This renewal also means Holland America will have a few more sailings that feature the dancers and celebrities from the ABC hit TV show Dancing with the Stars. While the details are still becoming available, winner Kym Johnson is scheduled to appear, as is fan favorite Tristan MacManus. Celebrities scheduled to appear are Carson Kressley and Sabrina Bryan. The dates of these cruises are as follows:
•January 5, 2014, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, 7-Day Eastern Caribbean
•June 14, 2014, ms Zuiderdam, 7-Day Alaska (roundtrip Vancouver)
•June 21, 2014, ms Zuiderdam, 7-Day Alaska (roundtrip Vancouver)
•July 26, 2104 ms Westerdam, 7-Day Alaska (roundtrip Seattle)
•August 2, 2014, ms Westerdam, 7-Day Alaska (roundtrip Seattle)
•November 29, 2014, ms Westerdam, 7-Day Eastern Caribbean
For those Louis Van Amstel fans out there!! PureDWTS reader Carlos has sent us an exclusive interview that took place with his friends Érico and Isaias’! Both are Dancing With The Stars fans and Érico has a blog that focuses on “Dança dos Famosos” (the Brazilian version of Dancing With The Stars). Isaias also posts at PureDWTS on occasion (and I think Erico has too?). They are also from Carlos’ Brazilian Dancing With The Stars Facebook Page (which is a fun spot if you are looking to discuss Dancing With The Stars from Brazil and every country). So, without further ado, here is this fun new interview with Louis. I love when they ask Louis how Dancing With The Stars has changed his life. They also ask him about his favorite dance (any guess to what that is before you start reading?), how he would evaluate his time on the show, and choreographing for Dancing With The Stars behind the scenes. Lots more below (as well as a news item on Louis afterwards). THANK YOU CARLOS, ERICO, and ISAIAS!!!!
Érico’s questions: 1- Hello Louis. You are one of the most experienced teachers on DWTS. How do you evaluate your participation during all these seasons?
I can honestly say I have no regrets on the show. I put a lot of work into each season and play the hand that is dealt to me. All of my partners have been so amazing, I am so thankful for each one of them- and remain in contact still. A lot of my participation is behind the scenes as well. They ask me to choreograph the group dances often, and that’s a lot of fun to be able to do for all of my friends!
2- What’s the best partner you ever had? Which partner did you like the most?
I can’t say I had a “best” partner because they were all so great- but the one I am most proud of and I love to death is Kelly. She made such a transformation right before my eyes and before America’s eyes, and became such a lovely beautiful woman- not that she wasn’t already. She became healthier, eating right, exercising, and her skills improved so much. It was so great to see and be apart of it. And we still keep in contact and have a great relationship.
3-Among all the partners you’ve had… With which one felt closer to victory?
Definitely Kelly! We made it to 3rd place! That felt like a win to me. Especially all that we went through together.
4- How did the show changed your life?
I would say it has enhanced my professional life. Since they asked me to be on the show I have gained a lot of notoriety, and it is also how LaBlast started. It has always been my goal to help people feel better about themselves from being healthy and exercising- and LaBlast is a program designed to help people exercise while having fun by doing a lot of the dances you see on Dancing With The Stars!
5- I know it is a difficult choice. But what’s your favorite season, why?
That is difficult! This last season with Sabrina Bryan was one of my favorites. All the dancers have been doing this for a while now, and we have become very close to each other. That makes it a lot of fun, we have become a crazy family lol. And then having Sabrina as a partner was amazing, she is such a great talented girl- its a shame she wasn’t able to show American all that she was capable of.
6-How do you deal with the repercussion the program has worldwide? Have you ever imagine that the show would reach so far? How is the reception from fans from other countries?
Stemming from the BBC British version, it has really taken off here and in other countries. I have noticed that it has been very well received, a lot of people watch it and not just Americans. When they asked me to join the cast I knew I wanted to do it and it would be a lot of fun, but I never thought it would turn into something so popular!
7- Sabrina suffered another shocking elimination with you last season. What do you think about the DWTS’ elimination system? Is it fair?
Yes, that was a hard thing to go through. The elimination system is tricky because unfortunately its not about the skill of the celebrity and how well he or she does with their Pro partner, the elimination system is based on the popularity of the celebrity- so people with a larger fan base are always going to be ahead of those that don’t. Hopefully they will start to change that.
Isaias’ questions; 8- Some people considered All Stars Season a mistake. Do you agree and why?
I can see how they can see that but I don’t think so. I think its great to switch it up every once in a while, it keeps the show fresh and it keeps people watching
9-You choreographed DWTS live tour twice. What’s the sensation of dancing to a lot of people in other cities from Detroit and Seattle?
It is absolutely amazing! It’s one thing to dance in front of the live studio audience and knowing it will air to millions of people- but actually doing it live in front of them is a whole new ball game. Its much much different, such a rush!
10- Which dance you like the most?
That’s a hard question! I really love the Latin dances, that’s what I competed in professionally. Rumba, Salsa, Paso Doble- the Latin dances are so fierce and they have so much raw emotion- its a lot of fun! And sexy! lol
Just a side note! Louis will be performing this weekend in New York City in “Dance Legends” with Julie Fryer! Below is beautiful preview of them rehearsing. For ticket and show information, see this link.
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! 😯