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DWTS 14, Week 7 – Who’s Got the Edge in the Team Dances?

So we now know for sure what the team dances are (paso doble & tango) and who’s on what team (Katherine, Maria, Jaleel, & Roshon vs. William, Donald, & Melissa).  So who’s gonna win? Let’s see how they stack up.  I looked at several factors that could come into play in helping to determine who has the advantage – experience level of the pros on each team, experience level of the couples on each team, number of couples on each team, what dance each team has, and other miscellaneous factors that may affect the outcome.  So let’s get to it!

Pro Team Dance Experience

Derek: 6 wins (seasons 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13), 0 losses, 0 ties; average team dance score: 27.5
Cheryl: 4 wins (seasons 7, 8, 10, 13), 1 loss (season 11), 0 ties; average team dance score: 26.8
Kym: 2 wins (seasons 7 & 9), 1 loss (season 13), 1 tie (season 12); average team dance score: 25.75*
Maks: 2 wins (seasons 11 & 13), 1 loss (season 10), 1 tie (season 12); average team dance score: 25*
Chelsie: 1 win (season 8), 0 losses, 1 tie (season 12); average team dance score: 25*
Mark: 0 wins, 2 losses (seasons 8 & 11), 1 tie (season 12); average team dance score: 23.67*
Peta: 0 wins, 0 losses, 0 ties (never been in a team dance); average team dance score: 0

*Since there were 4 judges’ scores given for the team dances in season 12, I subtracted Donnie Burns’ score from the two team dances in that season in order to normalize with all of the other seasons, which only had 3 judges’ scores. 

Team Tango: I’d say their biggest advantage is having Derek – the guy’s undefeated, so he’s clearly figured out the formula for what works and what doesn’t work in the team dances.  Say what you will about team dances being a product of all the pros working together (I agree to some extent), but the only common denominator in every single team dance win has been Derek, regardless of what other pros have been on each team with him, what the dance style has been, etc.  Many of the pros have also gone on record as saying that they tend to let Derek take the lead when choreographing the group portions of the team dance, so I’d say he probably has a lot to do with the success of each of the teams he’s on, as the judges do tend to really harp on synchonization, interesting formation patterns, and overall performance quality in the group portion of team dances.  I’d say Kym is an asset as well – she’s been on a team with Derek twice before (one of those times was another team tango), and when she hasn’t been on a team with him, she’s managed to tie once, and the 1 team dance she lost was not really all that bad, IMO.  I don’t really know if Chelsie is battle-tested enough to say whether she’s good in the team dance or not – but I don’t get the impression that she is one to make waves, so she will probably be very cooperative and easy to get along with.  My only concern is Mark – he seemed rather volatile in the team dance rehearsals in season 12, and seems to have a penchant for very flashy, high-energy, in-your-face choreo…which doesn’ t always translate well in the team dances.  I’m hoping that he lets Derek take the lead on the group choreography, and really focuses on giving Katherine some good, solid solo choreography this week.

Team Paso: While I think they don’t have quite the same edge that Team Katherine does, I don’t think they’re super weak, either.  Both Cheryl & Maks have been on teams with Derek before, so they’ve probably at least picked up a few tricks and strategies – I would say Maks is probably the stronger choreographer, judging from what I’ve seen him do in other team dances and pro dances.  The big question mark here is Peta – we just don’t know how she’s going to fare, since this will be her first team dance.  I doubt she’s going to suck at it (I don’t think anyone has really sucked at it – except maybe the unfortunate souls in the team mambo in season 8…), but it may take her a little longer to really get a feel for how the team dances work and what to do for Donald’s solo.  I think she’s probably going to rely on Cheryl & Maks for the group choreo, and isn’t likely to make any sort of big fuss, since she’s the new kid on the block.

Who has the edge in pro experience? I’ve got to give this one to Team Tango - they’ve got the only undefeated pro, and each of the other pros has been in at least 2 team dances. Read more..

April 26, 2012 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!

DWTS13 End-of-Season Award Winners – Which Dance Was the Best?

You guys voted…now it’s time to reveal your picks for the bests and worsts of season 13!

Other responses (keep in mind I am paraphrasing, as there were some…creatively-written responses ;-)):

JR & Karina’s freestyle – 11

JR & Karina’s waltz – 7

Nancy & Tristan’s rumba – 4

JR & Karina’s rumba – 4

JR & Karina’s 1st jive – 4

Ricki & Derek’s rumba – 3

Ricki & Derek’s quickstep – 2

JR & Karina’s instant jive – 2

Rob & Cheryl’s tango – 1

Elisabetta & Val’s quickstep - 1

Ricki & Derek’s paso doble – 1

Ricki & Derek’s portion of the team paso doble – 1

Rob & Cheryl/JR & Karina’s instant samba – 1

Kristin & Mark’s samba – 1

Kristin & Mark’s quickstep – 1

JR & Karina’s “Vietnamese” waltz – 1 (I assume you meant “Viennese”? :-))

Chynna & Tony’s rumba – 1

Derek & Mark’s dance w/Charm – 1 (one of the results show dances)

Chaz & Lacey’s rumba – 1

Carson & Anna’s Vogue – 1

GET NANCY OFF THE STAGE – 1 (I have half a mind to toss this one out completely…)

None really impressed me to say they were the best – 1

Courtney: Can’t say I’m too surprised – choreographically, I think Ricki & Derek’s tango was really the strongest dance of the season, and the execution and performance value were there as well.  It’s also a great example of how a less-than-desirable song/theme isn’t necessarily a death sentence, if put in the hands of a creative pro – in fact, a challenging song can often push a pro to really rise to the occasion and crank out something incredible.  JR & Karina’s samba was fun & well-executed, but maybe not quite as creative; ditto for Rob & Cheryl’s samba.  Gotta say – I was kind of rooting for Carson & Anna’s cha-cha.  It has yet to get old for me :-) Nancy & Tristan’s foxtrot and Hope & Maks’ quickstep were both fun & light, but I actually think Hope & Maks’ foxtrot was a stronger dance, both performance-wise and technique-wise…but I feel like it got overlooked because it was wedged between two weeks where Hope didn’t do so great.  The quickstep happened during her “breakthrough” week, so I think it comparison it may have appeared better than it really was. Hope looked to me like she was holding on for dear life in the quickstep, but seemed much more at-ease during her foxtrot.  I dunno…it is what it is.  Other responses: I liked JR & Karina’s freestyle a lot, but for some reason (which I can’t really put my finger on), it’s lacking a certain something for me that would really qualify it as the best dance of the season.  I have to raise my eyebrows a bit at the fact that 4 people (or rather, 4 different IP addresses ;-)) really thought Nancy & Tristan’s rumba was the best dance of the season…I mean, the dirty glance Tristan tossed Carrie Ann’s way at the beginning was hot, but other than that…Nancy was kinda lifeless in that dance, at least for me. As I recall, the judges weren’t too keen on it, either.

Heidi: I think JR was up and down an awful lot for someone who won the show, actually – and their freestyle??  I know we discussed it at the time but I can’t put my finger on it either.  There was nothing really technical in it beyond the one or two lifts – I always seem to prefer the freestyles that stick to a lot of ballroom moves but break all the rules in terms of lifts and hold – which explains why I am a Derek fan. He generally puts a lot of ballroom in his freestyles.  Tristan and Nancy?? Just no.  I liked them as a couple, and Tristan is a cutie – but the jury is still out on his choreo skills.  Nothing I saw from them was “wow” – although I adored the Spamalot dance just cuz it was Spamalot. :-) And I’ll give credit to Maks’ fans for being loyal at least.  Best dance of the season? Nope. Their dances were just too awkward looking most of the time.

Vogue: I don’t think I’ll ever forget my jaw dropping during and after Ricki and Derek’s Psycho performance. I love it when that happens. I’m a huge fan of theatre-like dance productions anyway being a huge fan to Madonna and Lady Gaga. Derek covered all of his bases not only with the dance itself, but, with the costuming and the brilliant backdropping. This performance will go down as one of the ‘most memorable’ on Dancing With The Stars. I’ll never forget it. I also loved Maks and Hope’s Quickstep. I felt they were both finally starting to find their element with this dance. It was good to see her finally relaxing. Whatever the case, their Quickstep gets best costuming. :D

Keep watching in the coming weeks as we reveal more of the results of your voting! :-)

January 11, 2012 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!

DWTS13 Who Danced it Better? Halloween Edition

And the parade of song dittos just keeps on coming.  :-) Seriously, I find myself groaning aloud each week when I see the song list – “Ugh, that one AGAIN!” or “I feel like they just used that song!!!” But alas, at the very least, it makes throwing these posts together a cinch ;-)

Lotsa dittos this past week – the only ones who managed to make it through semi-unscathed by the reuse of songs that probably shouldn’t have been reused were Nancy, Hope, & David.  Guess that was to be expected, though, since there aren’t too many songs that are both Halloweenish and suitable for ballroom!

Battle of Evanescence “Bring Me to Life”

As most of you already know, it was Evan & Anna’s paso doble song in season 10:

And then, this past week, it was the song for Team Paso Doble:

Court’s take: I have to say I was a bit shocked that they were reusing the music from a very memorable routine, and I gotta give this one to Evan & Anna.  Both routines are great, and this song is damn near perfect for a very dramatic, intense paso doble – but compared to Evan & Anna, who were absolutely KILLING their routine, team paso doble was just kinda kicking it in the shins.  :-) And on a side note, it’s amazing what you notice when you watch these routines the 2nd or 3rd time around – Evan looks a lot better than I remembered him being at the time (guess a few seasons of subpar dancing will make you recognize REAL talent even more!), and Hope looks off-time in several parts of team paso.  That cape section Evan did was SUPERB. 

Battle of Rihanna’s “Disturbia”

Lance & Lacey had their tango to it in season 7, Lacey’s very first season on the show:

 And it was Team Tango’s song this past week:

Court’s take: Why oh whyyyy did they pick this song to reuse for a tango??? I mean, the lyrics are edgy…but the beat is so clubby & dancey.  Not edgy enough for a tango, IMO.  But anyway.  As overrated as I thought Lance & Lacey’s tango was at the time (and I still kinda do), it was better than team tango’s interpretation of the song.  I liked how Lance & Lacey went the classy-edgy route, with the dark costuming and slight tweaks in choreo to make the dance feel “creepier”; in retrospect, it just seems like team tango was doing a regular tango in straightjackets and kinda let that be our only indicator that it was a scary Halloween tango.  I will say this, though: I still think Lacey’s ballroom is horrid.  You could drive a boat show between her & Lance…and that footwork? Yeesh.  And as ho-hum as I felt about the team tango on the whole, I actually really liked JR & Karina’s section, upon second viewing.  Liked that body wave move they did in reverse :-)

 Battle of Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams”

It was first used as Chad & Cheryl’s tango in season 10:

 And then it was Ricki & Derek’s paso this week:

 Court’s take: Considering that most of you probably didn’t remember that it was Chad & Cheryl’s tango, you’ll probably agree that Ricki & Derek had the better interpretation :-) Chad & Cheryl were just a non-event to me – it was just a garden-variety example of their usual routine each week that season, with Chad just kinda walking through the steps while Cheryl danced circles around him.  I think I remembered Cheryl’s dress more than the dance itself – that was during her sheer-skirted ballgown phase, and I remember the back being vaguely…thong-like.  :-P It may not have been the most compelling paso doble that Derek has ever choreographed, but for me it at least managed to take a step beyond the stereotypical Halloween schlock we saw this week.  Plus I just kinda dig Little Red Riding Hood – my favorite Halloween costume everrrrrr. ;-)

 Battle of Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters”

Monique & Louis had it as their cha-cha song during the first Halloween show back in season 3:

And JR & Karina got it as their tango this week:

 Court’s take: This is almost a no-contest to me – Monique & Louis!!! The song was positively sucktastic as a tango and I think JR may have been 2nd only to Nancy in song screwage this week.  Wayyyy too hard to keep timing.  And let me just say this: I think Monique may be one of the most underrated contestants that’s ever been on this show, and I think Louis is capable of being every bit as creative as Derek, Maks, or Mark – when he has the right partner :-) I loved this cha-cha – it was fun, cute, cheeky, creative, and yet still a proper cha-cha.  And Monique is like the DWTS-conceived love child of Kyle Massey & Lil Kim – she was a sassy showgirl like Kim, with the skill & youthful appeal (and Disney pedigree) of Kyle.  That girl could DANCE, too – kinda makes me wonder if she would have fared better (and possibly won) if she was in a less-competitive season. 

 Battle of “The Addams Family Theme”

Another gimme from the original Halloween episode in season 3, it was Joey & Edyta’s tango:

And Rob & Cheryl had it again this Halloween episode:

Court’s take: This is a little bit of a weird one for me, as I’m not particularly fond of “The Addams Family” as a tango – even though it has a strong tango beat, it just seems…hokey. :-) And I think both guys had different strengths in their respective routines – Joey’s was definitely better from a technical standpoint, but I thought Rob played the character a bit better.  I enjoyed both for different reasons.  But overall – I just don’t ever want to hear this song again on DWTS!

November 2, 2011 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!

DWTS13 Week 7 Power Rankings

Well kids, I’m afraid tonight was a prime example of how theme nights can really sabotage some (or most) of the couples – because I feel that almost every single couple was negatively impacted by their song assignments this week.  Yes, it was kinda “fun” to have a Halloween week – but making the dancing suffer in order to fit theme? No thank you. But praise Jeebus, this week was the final theme week of the season – back to business as usual next week! Well, about as “as usual” as you can get when you’re thisclose to the finale ;-)

Thoughts on the team dances: I agree that team paso had the stronger routine of the two, however – I don’t think team tango was as terrible as everyone seemed to think it was.  I think team tango was indeed better in their group sections – everyone managed to stay very in-synch, although there were a few spacing issues; team paso seemed a bit less in-synch when all 3 couples were on the floor at the same time, and it almost seemed like they tried to avoid a lot of synchronized work, which was probably a good idea.  I was also a bit bothered by the fact that team paso seemed to have quite a few spots of what I like to call “empty space” in their dance – moments where, due to the phrasing of the music, they seemed like they were just waiting or stalling until the next accent or big move.  I think team paso better captured the aggressive, haunting feel of both their music and their dance, but probably had the song with the more difficult rhythm; team tango had the song with the easier rhythm, but probably suffered due to the fact that it lacked a lot of the theatricality necessary for the tango.  Team paso was leaps & bounds stronger in the individual sections – Ricki & Derek were their usual showstopping selves, Hope managed to keep up (although I could have done without such a long count of her on the floor while Maks kinda danced around her), and oh man – ROB.  Rob was the MVP of team paso for me - he impressed the hell out of me with the way he kept up not only with Cheryl, but with Maks & Derek as well.  I was shocked at how much better JR looked dancing the tango with his team than he did individually – guess it’s a testament to how a bad song can throw even the best dancers off their game.  David seemed a bit wobbly, but was still looked decent to me; Nancy was clearly the weakest member of team tango, but man – she was out there giving it her all.  Overall, I think the scoring was about right, and likely won’t cause a huge upset when all is said & done tomorrow night.

1.) Ricki & Derek – Alone at the top of the leaderboard once again, and she thankfully did pretty well on a night where everyone seemed to have a bit of a slump.  I must say, I wasn’t completely wowed by her paso; I could kinda tell she wasn’t dancing full-out and seemed to be babying her rib, which I can’t really fault her for – I’ve bruised a couple ribs in the past and was in so much pain I could have sworn that I had collapsed a lung.  I think Derek probably went a bit easier on her with the choreo as well, as it wasn’t exactly the same level of paso genius I’ve come to expect from him.  But once again, when you’re working with a theme like Halloween – you’re kinda forced into thinking inside the box, because they’re expecting something spooky/scary/eerie/etc, and they want to see Halloween archetypes like werewolves, vampires, ghosts, etc.  Add an injured partner on top of that, and you’re pretty limited in what you can do.  Overall, though, a nice effort with a pretty good payoff for these two – I think it will be enough to keep them safe tomorrow night. Read more..

October 31, 2011 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!