Well…if the crew set out to hotbox the studio, they succeeded 😛 Seriously, though – what a colossal production FUBAR. I could barely see some of the dances through all that smoke, and trying to even see the judges and Tom afterwards was a struggle. I have to wonder if it negatively affected some of the couples as well – especially the ones that stuck to the main floor and didn’t hop up on any platforms. Talk about props getting in the way – and this, kids, is why themes can really screw up an otherwise decent evening. BEWARE THE SMOKE MONSTER.
And the smoke wasn’t the only monster in the ballroom last night. Unfortunately, I felt like at least 2/3 members of the judges panel devolved into gossipy teenage girls when giving critiques, and came across as vindictive and childish. I’m also completely OVER the whole “Derek’s never lost!” plotline they pose in every team dance, so now that he’s actually lost – can we please come up with something more compelling to talk about? It was clear Derek didn’t give a rat’s ass, and perhaps the only ones that did were a certain other pro and his fans. It’s time to find some new material, guys.
On the upside? I actually found Leah a lot more natural and enjoyable last night, and she seemed much more at ease. Much more like the Leah I loved hosting back in season 19. As for Hayes getting eliminated – he did far better than I thought he would this season, so I give him BIG props there. But though I hate to say it, I think he’s partially responsible for his own elimination – as I mentioned last week, he seemed to place too much emphasis on #VoteForTeamSlayes trending on Twitter and not nearly enough on actual voting…and when your fanbase is a bunch of impressionable teenage girls that will blindly follow your every whim, I think you need to be VERY CLEAR on what it is you need from them. Remember, kids: as much emphasis as this show sometimes puts on social media, Twitter hashtags will not keep you in this competition – only votes will. So you may as well forget about Twitter and just focus on the votes…something to keep in mind next week… Read more..
So according to our source, the teams for the team dances are getting picked immediately after tonight’s show. What does that mean? That probably the only couple to do the press line will be whoever gets eliminated tonight (most likely Paula), and the rest of the couples will get rushed directly into their first team dance rehearsal. Tonight and Friday (or Saturday) will be the only time the teams will be able to rehearse together, so the pros will likely work on getting the group portions of the dance choreographed tonight, and polishing later in the week; the couples will be responsible for choreographing their individual parts of the team dance on their own time. So all that being said – what can we predict about how the teams will turn out? Read on…
Who will the captains be???
Assuming they’re following the old “the two highest cumulative scorers this season are the captains” rule, then the two most likely candidates are Bindi & Nick. Bindi is currently in the lead with 151 cumulative points, and Nick is in second with 150 points. The PenaVegas are tied for 3rd at 146 points apiece. I’d say Bindi is pretty much guaranteed a spot as one of the captains, given that if she scores at least a 36/40 on her rumba tonight, nobody can get past her. I think she does this easily, given that she’s already gotten solid 9’s and a couple tens in the past two weeks. If Nick scores at least a 37, he, too, is untouchable – might be a bit more of a struggle for him, as it means he has to get at least (1) 10…a score which has evaded him thus far. But neither one has to be untouchable if the PenaVegas don’t get a perfect score – and I don’t think either one will. I’m guessing Alexa gets 9’s and Carlos maybe gets 8’s & 9’s – unless Bindi or Nick really steps in it tonight (or the judges just completely lose their minds), I think both have a solid chance of being captain.
Who gets first pick?
I think a lot of this depends on whether or not the pros are even in the room when the captains pick their teams – in the recent past, they haven’t been, so they exert a lot less influence over the picking. They usually give the higher-scoring captain the choice of first pick of music or first pick of teammates – and if Derek has dropped any hints or made any suggestions to Bindi, she’ll opt to pick music first. So I’m guessing Nick gets first pick of teammates.
Who will pick who?
This is where it gets really murky to me, because neither captain seems to have a strong sense of loyalty to any particular couples – Bindi loves everybody, and Nick…strikes me as a bit of a lone wolf. After listening to Nick talk last week about Witney & Carlos, I wonder if he maybe feels his position as the “alpha male” in the competition is threatened by Carlos doing well…so the only thing I feel somewhat certain about is that he will not pick Carlos if he can help it. So maybe he picks Alexa first? And then maybe Bindi picks Carlos, just to keep their team strong. Nick seems like he might have a bro-like appreciation of Alek, so maybe he grabs him. Can’t decide if Bindi is more likely to pick Andy or Hayes – but whichever one she doesn’t, I think Nick snaps up, and Tamar ends up on Bindi’s team. Since I don’t see Paula surviving tonight’s elim, I didn’t even factor her into the equation. The interesting thing about this season is (assuming that Paula goes home tonight) that there really isn’t an obvious “weak link” or “toxic asset” that is the last to be picked for the team dance – everyone left is either of average or above average competency in terms of dance skills. So whoever is picked last may not necessarily be the “weak link” – they just might be the one that nobody dislikes, but they just might like someone else more. And in this instance, I think that’s Tamar – like Nick, she strikes me as a bit of a lone wolf; also wonder if her being sick might be a bit of a deal-breaker. So to recap, my official prediction is this: Team Bindi – Bindi, Carlos, Andy or Hayes, Tamar; Team Nick – Nick, Alexa, Alek, Andy or Hayes
What songs will they get?
Since next week is Halloween week, I’m assuming some vaguely spooky-sounding songs – or ones that just sound edgy. Past examples? “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence, “Disturbia” by Rihanna, “Time Warp” from Rocky Horror Picture Show, and “Black Widow” by Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora. My guess? One song will likely be more current, while the other will probably be older but more familiar. Kinda wonder if they might whip out some Ozzy Osbourne.
What style will it be?
Seems like they’ve stuck with the freestyle format for a few seasons now – I don’t see that changing.
So do you have any predictions about how the team dance will shake out??? Let’s hear ’em. 😎
Before I start in on everything else, I have to get this off my chest: poor Willow Say what you will about “this is what happens when you put a 14-year-old on an adult show!” or “she should have prepared herself!”, but I think back to what a naive, insecure girl I was at 14, and I just cannot help but feel for her – she had done so well and seemed so excited to be there, only to be told “Sorry, not enough people like you enough to vote for you. Bye-bye!” We knew a shocking elim was probably going to come at some point, what with the overlapping fanbases of some of the couples this season…I guess I had just hoped that it wouldn’t be HER. So please, if you have an ounce of compassion in you – please go tweet (or Instagram) some encouraging words to Willow – it’s tough enough to be a teenage girl in this world, let alone one who just got the rug pulled out from under her on national television.
As for the rest of the night – maybe I just got spoiled in previous seasons, with fun decade-themed dances like Nicole’s 50’s paso and Erin’s 80’s rumba (I still giggle at Maks in the Don Johnson costume!), but tonight felt like an “Eras Night” only in name: so many of the songs (and sets, and costumes) didn’t really seem to reflect the era they were meant to, so I guess I kinda said “Why even bother?” to some of it. Oh well – probably yet another hastily-thrown-together theme to cover their asses when plans changed. As for the judges – they’re still doing some fishy sh*t. They’re just taking turns on who gets to play good cop, bad cop each week. Read more..
Let’s play a game It’s called “Who can come up with the most ridiculous, subjective, and flimsy critique for a dance that’s nearly flawless???” I’ll start!!! “Nastia, your pupils were FAR too dilated while you were doing that tango – it made me feel like you were undressing me with your eyes!” Or how ’bout this? “Derek, the pleats on your pants weren’t sharp enough – and it really detracted from the dance for me.” YOUR TURN!!! I think you guys get the point I’m trying to make – some of the critiques have gotten so out of control that the judges really seem like they’re grasping at straws to appear superior and relevant. Or they’re just trying to make sure that Nastia doesn’t get too confident, even though she is every bit as good as Rumer & Riker. Whatever, guys – I guess just keep spinning the “Wheel O’ Excuses Why We Simply Can’t Just Tell Nastia She Did Well” back in your trailers to keep things colorful…and to keep the season’s agenda on-track.
Besides Nastia, I STILL feel like Robert is getting the short end of the stick from the judges and can’t do anything right in their eyes; and then there’s Chris, who looks downright miserable all the time, barely moves, and the judges just FAWN over him. Here’s a bit of a “behind the scenes” scoop for you guys, free of charge: CHRIS DOES NOT WANT TO BE THERE. Sure, it’s totally written all over his face whenever the camera pans to him, but just confirming it for you – the dude was legit disappointed that he didn’t get sent home last week. And can you really blame him? He’s struggling hardcore each week, he’s butting heads with Witney, and I’m pretty sure he just wants to get back to the farm to have some wild hayloft sex with his Whitney. Or something like that. While I think it was Patti’s time to go either this week or next week, I still would have rather kept her over Chris – at least she was having fun, even if she wasn’t really doing a whole lot. She was still entertaining. Read more..
Three cheers for an opening pro dance that I actually enjoyed! Thought it was cute how they worked in a Halloween theme. At the very least, it wasn’t a bunch of female bumping & grinding & hair-flipping…or Pitbull. 😯
So Len was back, and as I kind of predicted – he was grumpy, and Julianne kind of reverted back to being the level-headed judge. Carrie Ann is still the airheaded judge; I can’t even really remember anything Bruno said. Overall, I don’t feel as though the quality of judging improved much with Len’s return – so I’m fine if he doesn’t want to come back next season. Hell, I don’t really care if ANY of the judges come back next season 😉
Kinda had an inkling that Antonio was toast the minute the judges started laying into him for a dance that really wasn’t that bad, in my opinion – it was probably Antonio’s best, and though he’s still kind of an awkward mover, he seemed to smooth things out quite a bit better this week. But I’m guessing that he just wasn’t connecting with viewers – I felt like we never really got to see the real Antonio. Wish he would have given us more of a peek into his work or family life.
1.) Bethany & Derek – Bethany was given great scores and great choreography this week, but here’s the odd part for me: in both her individual and team dance, there seemed to be moments where she just wasn’t…fully present. It’s hard to describe, but it’s like she went into autopilot both times – not sure if she’s just really tired or burnt out, but she just didn’t seem as invested as she was in her tango last week. Thought the concept and setting of her paso was great, and Derek gave her some great choreo in their team dance – but she just didn’t grab the bull by the horns like she normally does. She wasn’t bad by any means – she was just not as dazzling for me as she usually is. Maybe it was just this week and having to learn two dances – hopefully she’ll be back to 100% next week. But she can leave the Maleficient/Queen Amidala hair – wasn’t loving that. Read more..
It’s super early, and I’m tired, so I’m just gonna cut right to the chase – the teams for the team dances are…
ETA #1: Updated with songs for both teams. Methinks this should level the playing field a bit…
ETA #2: Added two polls to see how things stack up…
Team Alfonso (song: “Time Warp” from Rocky Horror Picture Show):
Alfonso & Witney
Sadie & Mark
Antonio & Cheryl
Tommy & Peta
Team Bethany (song: “Black Widow” by Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora):
Bethany & Derek
Janel & Val
Lea & Artem
Michael & Emma
It sounds like the team dances are freestyles once again, and they both have Halloween music. One team has “Black Widow” by Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora. This is all I know right now.
My thoughts? The teams are far more evenly-matched then they have been in previous seasons, but Team Bethany probably has the edge by virtue of having 2 trained dancers and Derek; on the flipside, I think they also ended up with the weakest dancer currently left – Mike, so he could be a bit of a liability. Funny how one team ended up with 3 male celebrities & 1 female celeb, and the other team ended up with 3 female celebs & 1 male celeb.
My first team dance post was getting a bit lengthy…so I decided to carry on the discussion here I thought I’d take a look at several factors that may affect the outcome of the team dances – things that may affect scores and overall success on each of the teams. Join me, won’t you? And be sure to vote in the poll at the bottom!
Just as a reminder, the teams are:
Team Loca: Meryl & Maks, Danica & Val, Amy & Derek, Candace & Mark
Team Vida: Charlie & Sharna, James & Peta, NeNe & Tony
Pro Team Dance Experience:
Derek: 10 wins, 0 ties, 0 losses; average team dance score: 27.65
Mark: 2 wins, 2 losses, 1 tie; average team dance score: 24.6
Peta: 2 wins, 2 losses, 0 ties; average team dance score: 27
Maks: 2 wins, 3 losses, 1 tie; average team dance score: 25.5
Sharna: 1 win, 0 losses, 0 ties; average team dance score: 25
Tony: 1 win, 3 losses, 0 ties; average team dance score: 25.38
Val: 0 wins, 3 losses, 0 ties; average team dance score: 25.33
The writing is kinda on the wall with this one – Derek wins team dances, so he’s a real asset if he’s on your team. Peta may not have as many wins, but the teams she’s been on have pulled in high enough scores that her average team dance score is pretty high. Mark’s average team dance score may be a bit artificially low – it was hard to account for the 4th judges’ score in season 12, so I just removed it – that ended up throwing things off a bit.
Who’s got the edge: Team Loca
Number of couples:
Team Loca: 4 couples
Team Vida: 3 couples
We only have two precedents for this one – season 9 and season 14, and there are pros and cons for both. In season 9, Team Paso had 4 couples and Team Tango had 3; Team Tango beat Team Paso by 4 points, with Louis citing that having fewer couples was easier because there were “fewer egos” and it’s easier to get a smaller number of couples in synch. In season 14, Team Tango had 4 couples while Team Paso had 3 – Team Tango beat Team Paso by 1 point, and Derek said that having more couples allowed them to “create more cool patterns on the floor”. From what I’ve heard from Deep Throat so far, both teams are looking great – but it seems like Team Vida might be having an easier time with the synchronized group sections.
Who’s got the edge: Team Vida
This gets a bit tricky, as the team dances are freestyles once more and obviously, none of the current celebs have any experience with the freestyle yet. So which pros have experience with the freestyle?
Derek: 7 individual freestyles; 2 team freestyles
Mark: 5 individual freestyles; 0 team freestyles
Maks: 4 individual freestyles; 1 team freestyle
Tony: 3 individual freestyles; 2 team freestyles
Val: 2 individual freestyles; 2 team freestyles
Peta: 1 individual freestyle; 2 team freestyles
Sharna: 0 individual freestyles; 0 team freestyles
Even if they haven’t necessarily WON with every single freestyle they’ve done, I think it’s good for every pro to at least have some experience with the freestyle – and Team Loca has Team Vida beat in that respect.
Who’s got the edge: Team Loca
Team Loca: “Livin’ La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin
Team Vida: “The Cup of Life (La Copa de la Vida)” by Ricky Martin
This one is rather subjective, as it’s just a matter of opinion who got the “better” song. “Livin’ La Vida Loca” has been used once before, as Kendra & Louis’ samba in season 12; “The Cup of Life” has been used twice before – once as Melissa & Tony’s salsa in season 8, once as Maria & Derek’s salsa in season 14. Both songs are conducive to both a samba and a salsa beat; there are also certain sections of each that might work with paso doble & cha-cha. Personally, I think all of Ricky Martin’s stuff kinda starts to sound the same after awhile – so I don’t really think either one is better than the other.
Who’s got the edge: TIE
Average individual score:
Team Loca: 25.63
Team Vida: 25.11
This is kinda reaching, but since everyone on the same team gets the same score, it might be worthwhile to look at what their average individual score is as a team. Not a vast difference between them – I would not be surprised if whoever won this team dance won it by only 1 point.
Who’s got the edge: Slight edge to Team Loca…but not by much
COURT’S OVERALL THOUGHTS: On paper, everything seems to be stacked in Team Loca’s favor: they’ve got great choreographers, great dancers, and are getting along well. Apparently Val is even refreshed at how good it feels to work as a team But I just can’t shake the feeling that Team Loca is being set up to lose – seems like a lot of emphasis is being placed on the fact that Derek has NEVER lost, and according to our sources, Team Vida is looking really good. We’re also at the point in the season where any potential dark horses (namely James, and to a lesser degree, Charlie) could have a bit of a growth arc and surge into the lead. Gotta love storyboarding. If they aren’t deliberately setting Team Loca up to lose, I would imagine the teams are going to be very, very close in score.
So what are your thoughts? Who do you think has the edge…and who do you think will actually end up winning?
So if my spidey sense is correct, the teams for the team dances next week will probably get picked immediately after the show tonight, and they’ll head directly into rehearsal immediately after that – and there are a number of ways the teams could get divided up. Since so many of you were chomping at the bit to start discussing it in detail after my “What Left to Dance?” post – here’s a place to do just that.
First, a bit of an overview: the team captains have always been the two celebs who have the highest cumulative point total for the season, and they usually flip a coin to see who gets first pick (or, whoever wins the toss gets a choice between picking first or picking their song/dance first). Because the cumulative point total will ultimately determine the team captains, pay close attention to how Meryl, Charlie, & James are scored tonight – as of right now, Meryl is in the lead with 134 points; Charlie trails by 3 points at 131, and James is a mere 2 points behind him at 129. Based on how they’ve been scoring Meryl, I don’t see her getting bumped out of that top spot, so I would venture a guess that she will definitely be one of the team captains; however, if Charlie has an off-night (and James kills his quickstep), we could potentially see James bumping Charlie out of the #2 spot in order to go up against Meryl as the other team captain. Hell, I would even say there’s an outside chance (wayyyy outside chance) that Amy or Danica (particularly Danica) could swoop in and knock both Charlie & James down a notch and take that #2 spot, since they’re both tied at 128. But my gut tells me that TPTB are too in love with the idea of Meryl vs. Charlie, and so they’ll probably go out of their way to ensure that Charlie stays at #2…which may mean low-balling James and giving Charlie a pretty cushy score. Read more..
So we’re at the halfway point in the competition – 5 more weeks to go, and there’s still 8 couples left…seems like a lot, but I guess numerically it makes sense. We’ve got party anthem night this coming Monday, Latin night the following Monday, and then who knows. Will the guest judges cease once we hit week 8? Will the themes cease? When’s the team dance? What other funky sh*t are they gonna throw our way between now and the finale? 😛
I don’t have ALL of the answers, but I’ll try and paint the clearest picture I can of the remainder of the season. Here’s the list of what the remaining couples have left to dance in the coming weeks – I’ve already removed their party anthem week dances, so consider this the remaining dances for Latin week onward. I’ve added a bit of my own commentary as well. And because I’m nice, I did it both a list format AND a handy-dandy chart. I have a question mark by the Viennese waltz (see why below) and I honestly doubt we’ll see anyone else doing the swing this season, but I went ahead and included it since we did see it from two couples already. Read more..