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. 8-O
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? :-P
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..
Kind of a strange, low-energy night for me – I feel like everyone, across the board, had kind of a so-so night, and I think it’s due in part to the fact that two dances a week are really starting to wear on some of the couples. I think I notice it more this season than any other season – some are dealing with injuries, some are dealing with strained partnerships, some are dealing with illnesses, and everyone seems to be feeling the pressure.
I think most of us can agree that it was not Nicole’s time to go home – however, I’m appalled at some of the sources of blame I’m seeing from those who are upset about it, and I place a lot of blame on the shoulders of TPTB for some really sh*tty scoring decisions. Nicole got a very kind score for her samba – while it wasn’t bad, I certainly don’t think it was 27-worthy, as she seemed to struggle with timing and there was very little hip action. So you can’t blame scores for her exit…although the judges likely screwed her over by overscoring just about everyone except Bill – it only served to make the margins smaller, which meant that someone below her needed even fewer votes to surpass her. And this was ON TOP of the big points dump from last week, so the margins were itty bitty. And sorry, but those of you upset about her going home – you were actually voting for her, right? Cause I’m finding that the biggest complainers about Nicole’s exit were people that didn’t bother to throw a single vote her way all season. If you didn’t vote, you don’t get to bitch & moan, and you are part of the problem. Snookole needed VOTES…and she didn’t get them. Kinda how this show works…this isn’t really a revelation, kids.
And fair warning: I’m going to be prone to bouts of rantining this week, after some of the wanton idiocy and deductive reasoning leaps I witnessed after last night’s elimination. I’m allergic to stupid, y’know ;-)
1/2.) TIE: Corbin & Karina and Amber & Derek – Just kind of an odd night from both of these couples – I don’t feel like either one was operating at peak performance levels. I think Corbin & Karina coped as well as they could with a rather odd cha-cha song – seemed like there was a lot of what Len would call “frippery”, though…lotta side-by-side hip-hop sections, but I kinda blame the rhythm changes in the song for that. Someone on Twitter remarked that Karina seemed stressed – and yes, I have to agree, and wonder if the constant pressure to make their routines better and better is beginning to wear on she & Corbin’s partnership. Then there was Amber & Derek, who both had injuries to contend with – while I think they handled their paso doble well, I think Derek did kinda take the safe route on it; seemed like it wasn’t as daring or impactful as some of the other paso dobles we’ve seen from him. Pleasant to watch, yes; super-innovative and exciting? Not really. Let’s hope they can get back into good physical form so they can tackle more daring stuff. Read more..
Well, guess tonight didn’t end up too bad after all – team samba pulled out a win (despite being at a clear disadvantage from the get-go), Len got taken to task by the audience for basically being a douchebag, and perhaps best of all: I made it through the show without committing a felony, due to my asthma medication-induced ‘roid rage :-) But that’s not to say everything was hunky dory. There was definite overscoring (duh, Zendaya; and to a lesser degree, Ingo & Sean), definite underscoring (Jacoby), and out-and-out cruelty (which left Andy in tears…inexcusable, IMO). Let’s get right to it…
1.) Kellie & Derek – I think I was prepared for both their quickstep and the team samba to be a trainwreck, after hearing how poorly their rehearsals were going this week…but I was very pleasantly surprised at how well Kellie kept up in this quickstep, and didn’t miss a beat. She also seemed to correct a lot of the issues I saw with her posture last week, which was an added bonus. Maybe not the most exciting quickstep Derek has ever choreographed, but when you’re struggling, going for simplicity (and meat-and-potatoes steps to please Len) is your best bet. I honestly don’t remember a whole lot of their solo from the team samba, but besides a few minor stutters from Kellie, I think they handled it well. Obviously a front-runner; now let’s hope they resist the urge to low-ball next week…
2.) Zendaya & Val – First of all, if you are not mature (or literate) enough to understand the difference between being mad at TPTB for pimping someone and being mad at the person themselves, then consider this an invitation to stop reading and come back when you’ve educated yourself. Ok, now that we’ve got that off the table – I really think Val let her down this week, because I found his choreography in both the cha-cha and the team paso to be a bit dumbed down. The cha-cha was good, and she danced it very well, but I’m starting to notice a lot of stop-and-go in Val’s choreography – parts where they suddenly stop and Zendaya kinda stands still while Val does…I don’t know, something. A spin, a flourish, whatever. And it doesn’t do her justice – the girl can handle tough choreography, so she shouldn’t need all these little pauses. Pauses are for couples who can’t dance :-) I also think that, while she’s great at doing spin after spin after spin (and Val has actually taught her how to spot her turns – something he never really got Kelly to master), he has GOT to do something about her legs. I could have driven a boat show in between them in that cha-cha – you have to close your thighs to get the right hip & leg action. And here they were complaining about Kellie & Derek having some space in between them while in hold…psssh. Again, I reiterate: Val, you have got to figure out what you’re going to do with those legs…because Len will cease to be dazzled by her showmanship before too long, and he will start to get nitpicky. She did well in their team paso…but her solo choreography felt a bit blah. Like she could have handled something more. I think her cha-cha was overscored, and the team paso was about right-on, but there’s no doubt she’s safe this week…and that bland team paso will probably get the encore tomorrow night. Read more..
Ok, I was getting hit with a lot of questions about this on Twitter last night, and as many times as I repeated myself – there still seemed to be the same questions over and over again…apparently people don’t know how to navigate Twitter and look back on my timeline. And you guys know how I just LOVE to repeat myself ad infinitum < /sarcasm>. So here it is, all in one place, and the next person that asks me about next week’s schedule on Twitter is going to get a link to this post along with the message “Read this, asshat.” :-P
First, here’s why next week is funky: the 3rd and final presidential debate is scheduled for Monday night between 9-10:30 PM EST…which basically kills the prospect of our usual 2-hour performance show Monday. They can’t possibly cram 8 individual dances and 2 team dances into 1 hour, so instead of one 2-hour performance show next week – we’re getting TWO 1-hour performance shows, on Monday & Tuesday. Consequently, there is no results show – and thus no elimination next week. Yippee hooray, we get two weeks of everyone who made it through last night’s elimination! Good for some, not so much for others. But I digress…
From what I’ve been told, there’s going to be 4 individual dances and 1 team dance each night – and each couple will be dancing both nights. However, they’re going to alternate what nights the team dances are done, and what nights the individual dances are done. Let me explain. Let’s say that Team Shawn does their team dance on Monday night – then the couples on Team Shawn will be doing their individual dances on Tuesday night. Likewise, if the couples on Team Gilles do their individual dances on Monday night, they will be doing their team dance on Tuesday night. Make sense? I kind of wish we could see the team dances on the same night (because I think seeing them back-to-back tends to deter the judges from lowballing/overscoring each team relative to one another), but I understand why they’ve done it this way – it ensures that we get to see ALL of the couples dance each night, and probably eliminates the need to rush, rush, rush to get everyone’s costume changed after their individual dance. Remember, they’ve only got one hour – and they were cutting it AWFULLY close with the team dance picks on the results show last night (I blame Gilles, who felt the need to give a grandiose speech as to why he was picking each couple.) And before you ask – no, I don’t know which team is dancing what night…yet. I have a feeling that will be determined after TPTB have had a chance to look at how the rehearsals are going, and determine which one fits better with what night, in terms of logistics (props, how much the judges will likely comment on a dance, how “buzzworthy” each dance is). We should know for sure on Sunday, after camera blocking. And please, don’t ask me to speculate as to whether going first or second is better for the team dance – I’d normally say 2nd, but with the schedule being as funky as it is, I don’t know that that’s necessarily the case this time.
And now here’s the big question I keep getting – and it’s unfortunately the one I don’t have a lot of information on yet: the voting. I don’t know if there’s still going to be voting or not, and if there is, what time the voting is going to start/end and how it’s going to get tabulated into week 6’s results – which, by the way, will be another double elimination. And“country week”. 8-O I know the scores given in week 5 will just get added to the scores given in week 6, and the percentage of points share will be calculated using the combined total points awarded in weeks 5 & 6. If you’re thinking “Wow, that’s a lot of points!” you are correct – and we all know that more points = tighter margins. So I daresay week 6’s double elimination will ultimately come down to fanbase more than any other elimination, and we’re going to get a good idea of who’s really getting the votes and who isn’t. And as for the voting – I’m guessing there will indeed be voting, and like the points from week 5, the votes will just get carried over and combined with week 6’s. Not sure what the voting window will be – if it were up to me, voting would commence at the beginning on Monday night’s show, and continue all day Tuesday, and then end at 11 AM EST on Wednesday morning. I think that would be the fairest thing, because it wouldn’t give preference to either night – if there happens to be more viewers on Tuesday and we only see the members of Team Shawn doing their team dance on Tuesday, then I think voting that only happens on Tuesday would give an unfair advantage to the couples who danced individually that night, since they’d have more screen time. Make sense?
If I get any further information, I’ll update this post in RED - so you might want to bookmark it, because I don’t know how long I’m going to keep it stickied to the front page. I would advise everyone to go ahead and take a look at your DVR’s now, though, and make sure you’re set up to record for 1 hour from 8 – 9 PM on both Monday & Tuesday. I have AT&T U-Verse as my cable provider, and my DVR made the time adjustment and captured last night’s show without a problem; but I’ve heard that those with Brighthouse have been having some issues recording the show this season, so some of you may have to manually go in and program your DVR to pick up the show. Just a friendly PSA from the folks here at Pure…cause PureDWTS cares ;-)
ETA #1: Next week’s arrangement just got a lot fairer for everyone :-) The show will only be live on Monday – Tuesday’s show will be pre-taped. The way I had it explained to me, the couples from Team A will do their 4 individual dances, Team B will do their team dance, they’ll roll the credits, keep the audience where they are, take a short break for Team A to change into their team dance costumes and Team B to change into their individual dance costumes, and then shoot Tuesday night’s show ahead of time. That way, everyone has the same amount of time to rehearse, and the judges will be seeing the team dances the same night – which (god willing) will keep the judges (semi)honest. Another update? Double elim moved to week 8.
Ahhh, good ol’ Henry…my favorite paparazzo, since he always seems so preoccupied with what the celebs & pros have eaten on a particular day :-P He was posted up outside the reheasal studio last night, and got some footage (and a few words) with the cast as they arrived for team dance rehearsals late into the night:
First impressions? Kirstie can do the Bewitched nose twitch really well, Kelly doesn’t like to be interrupted when she’s on her phone, Karina looks cute in her cut-off “Team Apolo” shirt, and Shawn totally looks like Chelsie from behind now. Interested to see how these team dances pan out – I heard that rehearsals went incredibly late into the night. Possibly later than any other team dance rehearsal in seasons prior. We’ll keep you posted if we hear anything else!
P.S. Rumor has it that Vogue is back from vacay today. To quote Madea, “Hallelujer!” I’ve missed her and I know Heidi has too. Let’s give her a warm welcome back, k? ;-)
I know most of us are pretty absorbed in speculating about who will get sent home tonight, but I think there’s something else going down tonight that could be a game-changer: the selection of the teams for the team dances. Let’s explore, shall we? :-)
As Tom stated last night, the two cumulative highest scorers (those who have amassed the most total points so far this season) will be appointed as team captains, and will be alternating picking other couples for their teams. In this case, it will be Gilles & Shawn. If history is any indicator, I’m guessing the highest scorer (in this case, Gilles) will get first pick. Semi-interesting side note: prior to this week’s dances, Sabrina was actually in the lead for cumulative points – she had .5 points more than Gilles, who in turn had 1.5 points more than Shawn. Given that Sabrina danced before Gilles last night, in order to stay at least tied for the top 2, he would have had to get at least a 36 on his Bollywood routine. To break the tie & edge Sabrina out of the top 2, he would have had to get at least a 36.5. And to surpass Shawn to secure the top spot (and the first pick in the team dance), he would have had to score at least a 38.5. And even more interesting: had Shawn actually gotten a perfect score, Gilles would have needed at least a 39 to maintain his high scorer status. Draw your own conclusions, but that 39.5 for a sloppy Bollywood routine doesn’t seem so ridiculous if you take into account that they may have wanted to ensure that Gilles would get first pick in the team dance (for whatever reason). Just food for thought. ;-)
So we’ve got Gilles & Shawn as team captains, with Gilles (probably) picking first. The interesting thing about the team dances this time around is that they’re freestyles – so we may see some picking going on that would seem unsual in a regular season (with a team dance like the cha-cha, tango, or paso doble), but makes sense this season, given that the captains will (or at least SHOULD) also be taking into consideration which pros are good at freestyle choreography. For that reason, if Bristol is still around, I could actually see her being one of the first ones picked – not necessarily for her dance skills, but for Mark’s freestyle skills. I think Derek may be willing to bite the bullet and have a weaker-dancing celeb on his team (hey, he managed to make Hope look semi-presentable in the season 13 team paso!), if it means getting Mark’s creative energy to work with.
Something else that could come into play when choosing the teams? Ego. :-P Gilles seems to have a large one; Shawn seems to lack one altogether. I have to wonder if Gilles would be willing to set aside any bad blood he has with Mark (and possibly Apolo) and pick one of them for his team…and I think both would be very strategic picks. But my gut tells me he’s going to continue being a bit of a diva, and may snub those two in favor of someone fairly neutral who hasn’t yet called him out on his bullsh*t – possibly Melissa. I also wonder how much the influence of Gilles & Shawn’s pro partners is going to affect their picks – once again, I wonder how much Gilles’ ego is going to come into play, and whether that will nullify any persuading Peta might be trying to do. The only pick Peta might have any hope of securing is Kirstie & Maks, methinks…since Gilles seems to be the one driving the bus in that partnership :-P I think Shawn, on the other hand, is going to listen to Derek and any strategy he might have, and won’t let any interpersonal issues with the other cast members (if she even has any) influence her decision-making. Very similar to Derek’s philosophy :-P
I’m having a hard time shaking the feeling that, given what I’ve mentioned above, we may end up with one team comprised of the Chmerkovskiy Faction (Gilles & Peta, Melissa & Tony, Kelly & Val, Kirstie & Maks…picked in that order) and the other team comprised of the Hough-Ballas Alliance & some “independent contractors” (Shawn & Derek, Bristol & Mark, Apolo & Karina, and Emmitt & Cheryl…feeling fairly certain that Sabrina will be leaving us tonight). If that’s the case (or at least comes close to how things will shake out), then I’m almost convinced that Shawn’s team is just gonna mop the floor with Gilles’ team. Shawn’s team already has an edge – they have Derek, who remains the 7-time undefeated champ in the team dance. Poo-pooh that if you wish, but he has delivered a win every season that he’s been in the team dance…I doubt that’s just a coincidence. If I were any of the other couples (besides Gilles & Peta and Shawn & Derek), I’d be crossing my fingers that I’d get picked for Shawn’s team, because that’s a pretty sure bet. It’s not guaranteed safety from elimination, but it sure doesn’t hurt, either :-P
So how do you guys think the team dance selection will play out tonight? Do you have a “dream team” you’d like to see? Or a “nightmare team”, for that matter? :-P In the meantime, just contemplate the following: in a battle royale of dance skills, which of the below candidates wins?