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PureDWTS Season 18 Food For Thought & POLL: Is Danica This Season’s “Secret Ringer”?

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?

danicabookplug

 

 danicachacha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

March 11, 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!

Popular Cruising Reviews Dancing With The Stars At Sea Cruise, Videos With DWTS Pros

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!!

January 30, 2014 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.

Dance Pros Continue To Light Up Holland America’s Dancing With The Stars At Sea Cruise (New Photos)

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…

January 16, 2014 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.

Update On Holland America’s Dancing With The Stars At Sea Cruise

DWTSatSeaCruise2014

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.

January 14, 2014 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.

Holland America Announces More Dancing With The Stars At Sea Cruises Coming In 2014

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

– See more at: CrusieWeb

December 22, 2013 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.

Louis Van Amstel Interviewed About His Time On DWTS, Dancing In “Dance Legends” (Preview)

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.

April 11, 2013 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.

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!

DWTS 15 End-of-Season Awards: Which Couple Was the Most Mismatched?

Ok, it’s official: I’m probably going to eliminate the write-in category the next time we do these, because it seems like it got misunderstood & misused quite a bit this time.  HINT: if you wrote in several of “shawn n derrick!!!” dances for best dance, yet also wrote in “shawn n derrick!!!” for most mismatched couple, I’m going to assume you probably did not understand the question.  Oy 8-O

 mismatched15

Write-ins:

Bristol & Mark – 11

Shawn & Derek – 11

Kirstie & Maks – 6

Kelly & Val – 1

Melissa & Tony – 1

None – 1

Courtney: First things first: if you wrote in any of the three finalists in this category, this is me rolling my eyes at you, because I daresay Melissa & Tony, Shawn & Derek, and Kelly & Val were probably 3 of the MOST compatible partnerships this season – and obviously they did something right, or else they likely wouldn’t have made the finale.  Methinks there are likely some sour grapes over the outcome of this season coming from those writing any of those 3 couples in.  And yeah, Bristol & Mark were mismatched in season 11, and they were mismatched again this season…but honestly, does anyone really think Bristol would have fared better with any other pro? I’m not even sure Derek could have shined that turd.  As for non-written-in results – I’m not sure I agree that Pam & Tristan were the “most mismatched”, per se – I would argue that they seemed to get along well in their rehearsal package and in their pre & post-show press, but that Pam just wasn’t able to put in the necessary effort to hack it in the all-star season.  In retrospect, I actually think that Drew & Anna were terribly mismatched – and as a result, I think they didn’t go nearly as far as they should have, given their combined skill set.  From what I gathered from insider info about their rehearsals, Drew came into the all-star season with a “let’s have fun!” attitude, but Anna’s intensity and the pressure she was putting on him to get things perfect took its toll and by the end of his run, he was stressed out, anxious, and definitely not having fun anymore.  Unfortunately, as much as I love Anna, I think her intensity is the one thing that may be standing between her and an MBT – unlike Karina, who seems to have figured out how to balance being intense with having fun, I don’t know that Anna has figured out how to relax and enjoy the experience…and I think that may take a toll on her partners. As for Gilles & Peta – yeah, in the end, I think they ended up being a mismatch…but I blame that more on Gilles being a complete d-bag, and Peta just letting him get away with it.  :-) Apolo & Karina had some edgy moments, but overall I think they were well-matched; didn’t see enough of Helio & Chelsie to really make a judgement one way or another; and Sabrina & Louis were at about the same level of annoying perkiness, so I guess that means they were compatible :-P

Vogue: I voted for Peta and Gilles for “Most Mismatched”! When we first heard they were going to be teamed up, I thought, “Wow, this pairing is brilliant. We are really in for something special.” Both gave off a classy, ‘old Hollywood’ feel in all of their promos. I loved Gilles the first time he danced, so I was quite taken back with his ego from the get go. I felt sorry for Peta so much of the time. I got the feeling he didn’t trust her since she was more new to the scene and would have rathered had Cheryl as a partner. It was a disappoinment. I didn’t get a “mismatched” feeling from anyone else like I did with Peta and Gilles …and like Courtney, I blamed it on Gilles too.

Heidi: Again – don’t remember who I voted for. And I didn’t feel sorry for Peta at all – she fed his ego instead of reining it in.  I have to say that I agree with the Drew/Anna mismatch – that was just no fun at all. I don’t get why people think Pam and Tristan were mismatched. Because they went out first?? That’s a bit of a cop out – just because they were first out doesn’t mean that they were mismatched, just that she was the least skilled dancer who also had the fewest voters.  Saying that the most mismatched couple is the one that went out first is kinda like saying that the best dancer always wins. Ummm…no. :-)  Also, Courtney – I’ve noticed on PDH that people tend to not read real closely on these sorts of things. :-)

February 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!

DWTS 15 End-of-Season Awards: Which Celeb Improved the Most?

Ok, now that I’ve finally worked up the motivation to start revealing the results, I’m gonna do this a bit out-of-order – mainly because I simply don’t have the patience right now to tally up some of the awards with HUNDREDS of write-in votes 8-O This season has definitely made me question whether to even include write-ins as an option in the future.  But I digress – let’s start with an award where the results were pretty cut & dry:

mostimproved15

Write-ins:

Bristol – 6

Helio – 2

Kirstie – 1

None – 1

Courtney: No arguments here – prior to the start of the season, Kelly was one of the celebs that I thought would REALLLLLY struggle, given that she was probably the weakest of the DWTS returning champions, based on her performance in season 1.  Apparently Alec just didn’t know how to tap into her potential back then, because she was definitely one of the stronger dancers this season! Maybe Kelly just had time to mature between season 1 and season 15, maybe it helped to have a partner that she could really connect with (and wasn’t an “Iceman”) – whatever it was, she definitely impressed me this season, as did Val…makes me wonder if he could be the next great choreographer on the show in Derek’s absence.  I also feel a bit vindicated now, since I’ve always said that Alec probably wasn’t that great of a teacher – if he was truly that great, he would have been able to pull performances out of Kelly 8 years ago that were as good as some of the ones we saw in season 16.  I think Shawn & Apolo also improved, albeit not as drastically as Kelly; Melissa improved a little bit, as there didn’t seem to be quite as many cheerleader moves this time around; I think Sabrina stayed about the same; and Gilles got worse.  I’m guessing the 6 votes for Bristol came from 2 well-known Bristol trolls on different computers – because she was even trainwreckier this time than she was before 8-O

Vogue: I voted for Kelly as well in this category. From the beginning, she seemed intent on doing well and improving herself. She had something to prove and that she could dance with the best of them. Despite a busy ongoing schedule with General Hospital, she gave it her all and it showed with every week that passed. Both she and Val had a powerful passion. They couldn’t have been more suited for each other. He wanted to do well too and set a name for himself other than just being Mak’s little brother. She gave him the confidence to do that and they flew with it even with the odds stacked against them. I loved them and I too look forward to Val’s future on Dancing With The Stars.

Heidi: I actually don’t remember who I voted for in this category, but if I was voting now it would be for either Kelly or Shawn.  Kelly for all the reasons already stated – as much as the showmance made me nauseous by the end, she still ended up much better than her original season.  I also have high hopes for Val in terms of choreo – that he’s inspired by Derek and not, say, Tony. He is a musician, so he starts out ahead. He did a lot with Kelly and made her seem warmer than I suspect she might actually be. :-)  If he continues to look at what Derek did as cool and creative as opposed to “rule breaking”, he can be the next great choreographer on the show.  Take notes, Tony and Louis. As for Shawn, she was like a different dancer with Derek.  She inspired him to up his game and she was fearless – talk about two people who complimented each other.  Derek just pushed and pushed and pushed and got her to not only up her dancing, but her emotional connection to the dance.  Awesome.

February 14, 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: Why I Hated the All-Star Season

Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated…much to the chagrin of my detractors ;-)

Yes, I am back, after a rather prolonged post-season 15 hiatus. Part of it was due to a hectic year-end at work, part of it was due to other stuff, and part of it had to do with what I’m about to elaborate on in this post. Thanks to everyone who checked in on me on Twitter, and I can assure you I’m back full-time now :-)

Many of you have noticed that I tend to take a bit of a break from Pure after the end of each season – mainly due to the level of burnout we all seem to reach after being in full-on DWTS mode for 3 months straight while we’re covering each season. Generally, I just need a break – some time to appreciate other things in my life besides DWTS – and I’m back after a week or two. This time, though, I had a harder time getting back into the swing of being excited and inspired to write about DWTS – and for awhile, I couldn’t figure out why. Then I had a revelation…

…I HATED THE ALL-STAR SEASON.

There, I said it. I hated the all-star season, and I think it has now surpassed season 9 as my least favorite season of DWTS EVER. Reflecting on this past season, aside from a few standout performances (and all the great interactions I had with Pure readers :-)), I was hard-pressed to really feel nostalgic and pleased about it. In fact, what I tended to remember the most was all the frustration, chaos, and general feelings of “WTF is going on???” that I had while watching and blogging from week to week – and when I really got to thinking about it, I found that there were 5 key problems that left me feeling totally turned-off the all-star season. Without further ado, I give you those reasons… Read more..

February 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!