Aren’t these some fantastic shots of Dancing With The Stars Derek Hough? Yesterday, he made a guest appearance to talk about his “Move Live On Tour” with ssiter Julianne Hough. They also talked on his recent cover and interview in People Magazine and signing with Kelloggs to help promote their cereal and good nutrition. Derek also danced with Jenny McCarthy (wouldn’t it be cool to see her do Dancing With The Stars and she looks so good with Derek!) and Sherri Shepherd. What a great show. Note how Donnie Walberg (he’d be a great get for Dancing With The Stars too, huh Court?) and Rick Fox were on the show as well. To see more photos, see Getty Images. To see even more pictures, the full video of this interview, and lots more on the “Move Live On Tour”, see Pure Derek Hough.
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!
In case you missed Karina Smirnoff on The View today, she talked about “relationships” with Whoopi, Sherri, and Barbara. They ask her about her two engagements. Karina explains how they didn’t work out and why she gave the ring back. Karina also adds that this is one of the subjects she writes of in her new book and everything she learned from those experiences. Most importantly, she learned to be a “better person”.
Karina does great job at co-hosting. She’s full of heart, sincere, and fun….and she’s radiating in yellow too. You can watch more of Karina in this episode in full at The View.
Speaking of Karina, Charlesg315 You Tube recorded her dancing with Maks Chmerkovskiy in Forever Tango. This is fun too. Thanks to @DWTSMaksimFans for this find…
ADDING: Thanks to Jimmbboe, here is the first segment for International viewers….
According to OTRC, DWTS is giving Andy Dick a TV reunion with the cast of his old show, Less Than Perfect:
Sara Rue, Zachary Levi and other actors who starred on the comedy series “Less Than Perfect” are set to reunite on the ABC ballroom dancing show on Monday, March 25, to support fellow sitcom alum and contestant Andy Dick, OTRC.com has learned exclusively.
This will marking the first full cast reunion since the sitcom ended its four-season run in 2006. Dick played Owen Kronsky, Claude’s friend and co-worker. Check out a full list of “Less Than Perfect” alumni who will attend the reunion:
Sara Rue — she played Claude, who starts out working as an assistant in a TV newsroom, on “Less Than Perfect.” She currently plays Kim on the new Reba McEntire sitcom “Malibu Country,” which also airs on ABC.
Sherri Shepherd was also on that show, so you can expect to see her back in the ballroom as well, along with Eric Roberts.
Vogue ADDING: In other things on Andy. Don’t miss Sharna on Afterbuzz this week. They discuss Andy, the judges, the other contestants and lots more. Thanks to Butterflywhirl for the heads up!
Today Sherri Shepherd and company of The View interviewed Karina Smirnoff And Apolo Ohno. Apolo jokes that he is still trying to figure out why he said “yes” to doing Dancing With The Stars again. They talk of the competition….especially for how Joey and Kym are talking smack. Lots more below including some dancing with the two. They look SO GOOD! What do you think? Wow, Monday can’t come soon enough, Guys!
William Levy – 9 (Not sure how you can improve your ass-shaking & shirt-removing technique a whole lot…)
Roshon Fegan – 7
Gladys Knight – 3
Jaleel White – 2 (Maybe if you consider witholding his crocodile tears an improvement…)
Sherri Shepherd – 1
Everyone – 1 (If only that were true :-))
Courtney: I don’t think this season’s “most improved” award was quite as clear for me as it’s been in previous seasons - I know when I voted in season 12, it was like “Duh, ROMEO!” and in season 13, “Of course it’s Rob!!!” This season, I found myself wavering a bit, as it seems like a lot of people started out being good and then stayed pretty good the entire season – and then there were others who were a bit up-and-down. In the end, though, I think the improvement was most apparent with Maria. I remember muttering “Yikes!” after her cha-cha in week one, as she looked downright terrified and pretty unsteady on her legs. Then she looked a bit more relaxed and in the zone in week 2, and a little more in week 3, etc. By the time classical week rolled around and she managed to get the first perfect 30 of the season, I was pretty impressed. As for Donald – I do think he improved, but it wasn’t quite as marked as Maria – plus he really never seemed to get the love he deserved from the judges, so I guess it kinda distorted things for me. It became a matter of “Is he really improving drastically, or are the judges just finally warming up to him?” I will credit Melissa with improving in her stage presence, but overall, I think her dancing only improved slightly during her stint on the show. I think Gavin could have improved quite a bit, had he stuck around a little longer – but his transformation in the short time he was on was enjoyable nonetheless. :-) I feel the same about Roshon as I do about Donald – I don’t know that he was truly improving (I thought he was pretty good the whole season), but the judges just seemed to vacillate between lavishing praise upon him and absolutely ripping him to shreds from week to week, so I think it gave a false impression of him having all of these dramatic ups and downs. I thought Gladys gave it a good try, but only had a slight net improvement throughout the season; I thought Jaleel was down more than he was up; and I still don’t think I even saw enough real dancing from William to even determine if he improved greatly. I think his finale cha-cha looked better than his week 1 cha-cha, but that’s the only benchmark I have to compare to.
Vogue: Court, I’m with you again. When I first read this Poll, I was baffled for who to vote for “most improved”? With every season we’ve done this, I usually know straight away for who to answer with, but, not this time. After thinking on it, I voted for Maria. Looking back to her first interviews and first dances, she was weak and a little uncoordinated. She so nervous and unconfident. She was worried she wouldn’t be as good as Derek’s other partners which she voiced several times in interviews which, in turn, made me nervous for her too. Well, just like Derek said, he worked on her “walk” first. After that, he totally molded her into a confident dancer. Soon, we saw her relaxing and them playing off of each other’s humor and creativity. His Fox totem was hard at work and in tune again. He can “blend” into anyone to make a union work. It amazes me how he can do that season after season. It’s too bad Jack Wagner was sent home so early. I think he could have improved more with every show too.
Heidi: Yeah, I’d go with Maria. The problem with this category is that you pretty much have to totally tune out the judges nonsense and the crowd reaction to get to the heart of what is real – that’s very hard to do. Roshon started out good and stayed good – but it’s easy to think there is actual improvement when one week the judges are saying how poorly you did and the next week they are raving. It’s very easy to hear all that “noise” from them and have it start to sink in. As for Donald? The judges never liked him, IMO, and never “wanted” him to win (I think in the end their rank comes out in the scoring regardless), so when they finally started giving him credit it was like an epiphany. “Oh, he’s improving!!” Well, maybe – but not as much as Maria. The judges own bias turns into noise, which turns into false impressions for a lot of the dancers. But I think Maria truly went from “Bambi on ice” (per Derek) to a decent dancer. She’s not the best of his partners in terms of dance quality, but I think she did go the farthest in terms of growth.
William & Cheryl – 4
Jaleel & Kym – 2
Katherine & Mark – 1
Gavin & Karina – 1
All of them really they were all so much fun – 1 (Vogue, did you write this one in? )
None. Even if it was a shocker, I wasn’t disappointed because I wasn’t rooting for them. – 1 (And I thought I had a hard time this season!)
Courtney: This is always an interesting category, because I think certain people interpret it in different ways – some people seem to vote for the most shocking elimination, some people vote for their favorite couple (because it would stand to reason that their elimination probably would be the most disappointing in their mind!), some people vote for someone in the finale that they felt they didn’t place high enough. *shrug* To each his own. I guess I tend to vote for the couple whose elimination seemed to illicit the greatest emotional response in me – and I think that often gets colored by how that couple fares throughout the season. My knee jerk reaction with this one was Roshon & Chelsie, but then I realized by the time they got sent home that they had been beaten up so badly by the judges week to week that I was almost relieved that they weren’t going to have to endure it any longer, and I wasn’t going to continue yelling at the tv in frustration. I was kinda sad to see Gladys go, for the simple reason that I thought they really kinda screwed her in the end; I was disappointed to see Maria & Derek go, because I thought they could have delivered a much more entertaining performance in the finale than William & Cheryl. But in the end, as surprising as this may sound, I think I was actually most disappointed to see Jack go – because at that point in the season, I wasn’t totally jaded by all the fishy stuff the judges were doing, and I thought Jack was one of the stronger male dancers in the competition and I wanted to see more from him. I guess by the time Roshon & Maria’s eliminations rolled around, I was kind of “whatever” about this season as a whole, so it didn’t bother me quite so much – but I was definitely upset by Jack’s earlier ouster.
Vogue: My feelings in this category stumped me too. I thought this award would go to Roshon all season, but, he actually stuck around until the right time despite how harsh the judges were on him all season. In the end, it was a toss up between Martina, Jack, and Sherri. Who did I pick? Sherri!! Yes, Sherri. At first I had my misgivings with all the cheating stuff and then she started wrapping me around her finger with how funny and compassionate she was about learning how to dance. She was so into it all. When she cried during her elimination, I cried too. She was so thankful to her fans and the experience. I also loved it when she said to take on the things you are most scared of and how that can make you the happiest in this life “on the other side”. Remember that? I melted. I was sad to see Jack go as well because there was potential there and he was just an all around nice guy. I would have liked to have seen his message about adoption and finding his daughter played out more. Then there was Martina. I was really hoping to see a retired tennis champ and one of my tennis mentors really take over the dance floor “mentally” somehow like she did tennis and her competitors somehow, but, I was more disappointed in Tony than in Martina. I will always wonder if she had another partner, would she have done better? Maybe not?
Heidi: Well, believe it or not, I don’t think I voted and I don’t think I was really disappointed to see any of them go – I’m a glass half full kind of woman when it comes to Derek and partners like Maria. Maria was not a natural dancer, but she worked so freakin’ hard and wouldn’t give up and had so much fun and made Derek have so much fun that it’s probably one of my favorite partnerships. But really, with someone like Maria and Derek I end up just being grateful that they made it as long as they did. Sure, I much preferred them to William and Cheryl and they would almost certainly have brought more to a free style – but Maria had a great run. And it was a more successful season for Derek than it was for Cheryl, that’s for sure. Despite all the pimping, Cheryl couldn’t get past third place. Derek, on the other hand, took someone that he thought would be eliminated in week three or four and found a way to make sure she stuck around in a season where she could have easily been forgotten in the William/Katherine mass pimpage. Katherine being the only one worthy of such pimpage. Well, yes, I was probably sad to see Jack go…and Gladys…but disappointed?? I dunno. Hellooo? Katherine and Mark were not actually “eliminated” – they just didn’t WIN. Geez, greedy much?
I think it’s safe to say that this one is pretty cut & dry
Sherri & Val’s jive – 3
Maria & Derek’s jive – 2
William & Cheryl’s rumba – 1
William’s porn “dance” sequences - 1 (Normally I’d eliminate this one for ambiguity, but I’m curious – what’s a porn dance? :-P)
William & Cheryl’s finale cha-cha – 1
William & Cheryl’s quickstep - 1
William & Cheryl’s Argentine tango – 1
William & Cheryl’s paso doble – 1
Katherine & Mark’s 1st jive – 1
No bad ones – 1
NO comment – 1 (Then what do you call your write-in response?)
Courtney: Poor Martina…she was kind of a shoo-in, methinks. It was really kinda hard to watch that jive…she just got so awkwardly off-time and never really regained her footing, and you could tell she was really frustrated. I don’t think that costume did her any favors, either – shame on you, Tony, for dressing your partner in a bedazzled tuna net! Mama Spence voted for William & Cheryl’s jive, because she loved watching the part where William tries to swing Cheryl around and her foot awkwardly thunks on the floor – repeatedly. And she laughed heartily each time. I think the worst part of that routine was that, by the end of it, I think William was to the point of “f*ck it” and just half-assed the last few bars. As for the rest of the dances – I think a lot of them suffered because of bad song choice. Unless you’re a pro who ROCKS at doing out-of-the-box-but-still-proper dances, you’re probably gonna get screwed by a bad song at least once per season. The Shaft routine? Now that was just a hot mess. :-P And in a move that will probably surprise some of you, I’m actually gonna disagree with all the William write-ins - I actually never thought he was a bad dancer. Far from it – dude had some natural talent. But what turned me off is how much they were hyping him, and how oversexed his routines became. But despite that, I still don’t think he had the worst dance of the season. Even though I enjoy seeing Mama Spence crack up at his jive
Vogue: As much as I hate to admit it, the voters in this Poll pegged it. Being I was a huge tennis fan of Martina’s, I was really hoping she’d stun the dance world like she did her tennis days back in the day. But, oiy,…as soon as I saw her costume for the Jive, I cringed and could foresee her fate. From there, it just got worse. I felt so sorry for her. It wasn’t like she was trying. Like Court, I blamed Tony for the costume. This dance was proof positive how a costume can set the tone. Even still, she was lagging in time. It was sad and painful to watch. She knew it was bad too. As for the other dances, I was shocked (yes, I am pathetic) to see Jaleel and Kym’s Shaft dance have the outcome it did. I wasn’t a fan to Jaleel all season, but, the Shaft dance actually made me smile and laugh. I liked how it kind of poked fun of him. It was so “him” too.
Heidi: How can you NOT blame Tony for the costume since he’s the one that repeatedly uses that type of costume on his partners? Take a look back at some of Melissa’s dances with him. At least it was better on her. I think Martina looked in the mirror and could no longer focus on dancing because of that horrible costume. Horrendous. Gawdawful. Worse than the dance even. As for William – yeah, he wasn’t a horrible dancer, but he was also not the best thing since Gilles like they promoted him – and I laugh every time I see that Jive too. Of course, it gave Cheryl something to blame and she ranted about that shoe to anyone who would listen for days afterward. As for the other write ins – why take the time to write no comment or no bad ones?? And I also think that anyone who writes in Maria or Katherine is someone with an axe to grind. Disgruntled William fan? Same goes for Sherri and Val’s dance, actually. Worst?? With Martina in the running? Right.
*photo courtesy ABC/Adam Taylor
Uh no…just no!
LOL! Seriously, let us know what you think after watching this new interview with Margaret Cho on The View today. Margaret also reveals why people shouldn’t feel sorry for those eliminated after they get voted off the show.
Ok kids, it’s time once again to vote of our biannual “end-of-season” awards…our sort of “wrap up” for season 14, where we see what you guys think were the highs and lows of this season If you want to get a feel for how these awards work, you can check out previous seasons’ award recipients here.
First, the rules: I’ve picked what I deem to be the most likely candidates (with the strongest chance of winning) for each category – of course, some of you are going to disagree, and that’s fine. If you don’t see your pick listed as an option, you can write-in your own nomination in the “other” box. But here’s my biannual disclaimer about the dreaded “other” box: if I can’t read what you wrote because it’s badly misspelled/grammatically nonsensical/generally incoherent, YOUR VOTE WILL NOT COUNT. If your response to the question does not make sense (i.e. you simply vote “Donald” for best dance), YOUR VOTE WILL NOT COUNT. If you simply repeat one of the already listed responses because you can’t be bothered to actually pay attention, YOUR VOTE WILL NOT COUNT. If you’re just generally being a nudnik and giving harassing responses, YOUR VOTE WILL NOT COUNT. *shakes head* I still can’t believe that I have to give this spiel twice a year…
…anywho, we’ll give you guys a week to get your votes in, and then we’ll reveal the results in a series of posts starting next week. Now ready…set…VOTE!!!Read more..