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PureDWTS Season 17, Week 9 – Power Rankings

Just a quick side note before I break down last night’s show: after perusing Facebook & Instagram last night and witnessing some of the irrational and illogical outrage from some viewers following Liz’s elimination (and Bill’s continued presence), I have to say – I’m so grateful for our intelligent, logical, and rational readers here at Pure :-) Consider this an early addition to my “things that I am thankful for” list that my family usually recites when we sit down to Thanksgiving dinner – I am thankful for the fact that our readers understand how this show works, and their level of intellectual maturity prevents them from shooting their mouths off and making utter and complete fools of themselves on social media because they have no control over their knee-jerk emotional impulses.  So from me to you guys – thank you for not making me bang my head against a wall in frustration :-) The level of stupid on Facebook & Instagram…it hurts…

…moving right along, there was some definite iffy scoring last night, and the judges seemed to be trying like hell to shield both Liz and Leah…although the former seemed to be beyond help, as she got sent home.  Can’t say that any of us were terribly surprised by it – we’ve been saying since before the show started that Liz seems to have a problem connecting to the viewing audience, and her lack of relevance in recent years might have contributed to her struggle for votes.  I also wonder if her bizarre (and kinda self-indulgent…) jazz routine last week contributed to her downfall – I saw a few remarks about how her demand to change the song at the last minute seemed a little “diva-ish”.  Plus that dance was just really a stinker. She had an ok-to-decent night last night – her Viennese waltz, while a bit overwrought with emotion, was actually pretty nice to watch; thought the choreography for her salsa trio was a bit odd (what was with that “cradling the baby” move they all three were doing for what seemed like a long ass time???) and there were a few timing issues (which, of course, the judges conveniently missed), but was overall a relatively decent effort for the trio round.  But in the end – she just didn’t get the votes, just like Christina, Snooki, & Brant.  Sh*t happens, kids. 

1.) Corbin & Karina – Corbin finally seemed to regain his stride this week with two good dances.  I thought he may have gotten nitpicked to death on his waltz (then again, just about everyone did the first round, except the golden girl, Leah), as I found it to be near-flawless – even Mama Spence remarked that he seems to really “get” the concept of rise and fall, and does it without even thinking.  Thought they got a bit shafted with their song choice – “Apologize”? Which has been used as a rumba several times on this show? So what are they doing now – just picking random non-dance-appropriate songs and saying “Hey Harold, can you tweak the arrangement of this one so it’s a waltz?” Reminds me of a CD I had back when I first started doing ballroom that had “My Heart Will Go On” rearranged as all the different dances – there was even a paso doble version! But anyway.  I think they owned the trio round, by far – I thought their jazz trio was the most interesting and engaging to watch, and was the only trio where the celeb really seemed to dominate.  I had to chuckle to myself as I was watching, as I had heard a lot of complaints about them picking Witney – apparently some think she “steals the show” – but I barely even noticed Witney this time, because Corbin was just owning the whole damn thing.  I barely noticed Karina, either – but since the whole point of the trio is to showcase the celeb, I think they succeeded.  Barring any nitpicking-to-death by the judges next week (and who knows what those knuckleheads are going to do), I think he ought to be headed to the finale. 

2.) Amber & Derek – I kinda feel bad for Amber, because I feel like her knee injury is really starting to limit her movement – she’s doing the best she can, no doubt, but I’m really starting to notice how she has to baby her knees while dancing.  Thought her quickstep was cute and she sold it well (as she does with every dance, every week), but she seemed to move really, really tiny and cautious during the stationary sections, and because she was moving so gingerly, she seemed to get a little off-time and off-kilter.  And in a routine that was that short – I think she probably needed to really make a splash.  Still thought the judges nitpicked her to death, though – and the fact that she 3 points less than Leah, who has moved itty-bitty each & every week? Ridiculous. I enjoyed her trio – it was cute, and I think the choreography was clever in that it was fun to watch while still keeping Amber relatively stationary.  Could it have used a little more hip action? Sure.  But I also think Liz’s salsa trio was totally off-time (which is an even bigger offense in my mind) and she still managed to get a 30…so why saddle Amber with a 27? I’m guessing the judges are trying to make things look like a tight race headed towards the semifinals and finals, so they’re really nitpicking to death the couples that stand the best chance of advancing…and they’re babying the ones that aren’t so likely to do so. 

3.) Leah & Tony – *gritting teeth* I can’t believe these two knuckleheads are still here, let alone that I have them this high on the list – but with each week that passes and Leah gets coddled by the judges for non-event dances, the more I’m convinced that they’ve decided that they need her in the finale.  Seriously, no other couple last night got as babied as these two – everyone else either got nitpicked to death (Corbin, Amber, Jack) or totally hosed (Bill), and Leah got a tongue bath a cushy scores once more.  That tango had so little impact, at one point Mama Spence looked over at me and said “Wait…what dance are they doing again?” It was that “small” and soft that she could not even figure out what dance it was supposed to be.  And then that trio – I’m sure Tony just thought he was the most clever & innovative choregrapher ever for coming up with that nonsense.  But herein lies the fishy part: do you think any of the couples would be ballsy enough to poke fun at the judges…unless they knew they were safe? Just food for thought.  If it were me, just knowing how petty the judges can be (Carrie Ann in particular), I wouldn’t have chanced it.  But anyway – once again, Leah barely moves, and her kicks & flicks looked more like what I do to nudge the cat away from food that has dropped on the floor than it did proper jive technique.  Tony & Henry did all the heavy lifting, and Leah just stood there, barely moving, and looking smug…likely because she knew she wasn’t gonna get called out for anything.  I’ve been saying it for weeks, but I’ll say it again: Leah needs to get gone…like yesterday.  But now I’m legitimately worried that they’ve decided to coddle her all the way into the finale, and that she stands a decent chance of ousting one of the two frontrunners (Corbin & Amber) for 2nd place.  Blech.

4/5.) TIE: Jack & Cheryl and Bill & Emma – Both couples gave a valiant effort last night, but I worry that they simply don’t fit into the judges’ “dream finale” and thus will probably get hosed next week. Which sucks, because I’d rather see either of these two over Leah, ANY DAY.  Jack seemed to own the ballroom round, and has really hit a nice stride heading into these last few weeks – really extends his arms, has a great sense of timing, and nails the rise and fall.  Just lovely to watch.  Thought he & Cheryl’s samba trio with Sharna was cute & funny – and the best they could have done given that they got one of the hardest dances to do a  trio with.  Going the comedy route was probably a wise choice – sure, there could have been more hip action, and maybe he got a little bit off-time, but I was still smiling as I watched it :-) God bless Bill & Emma – they know they’re going to get hosed pretty much every week, but they still go out there and give it their all, and make it fun to watch nonetheless.  Thought the Charleston had a cute theme and Bill did the best he could with it – but really, Charleston is one of those dances I really can’t judge anyone too harshly on, because it’s not exactly easy to pick up and there’s not a whole lot to it.  I’d just assume get rid of it completely on the show, but you know that won’t happen.  Loved the trio with Peta for it’s ridiculous train-wreck appeal – that song was absolute crap, and the dance they had to do to it was absolute crap…so they gave the judges absolute, trippy, hiliarous crap :-) It was self-acknowledgingly bad – all three of them knew it, and were in on the joke.  I think that was part of the appeal – the Katy Perry-esque costumes for the girls, and Bill in all his Willy Wonka’d glory.  It was AWESOMELY bad :-) I think it’s quite obvious which of these two the judges want gone (Bill) and who they want to stay (Jack) – but next week, who’s gonna have the votes to pull them through to the finale? I think Bill has proven he’s got some decent voting leverage (enough to negate the hosing from the judges), but will it be enough to get back the points Jack will likely get from the judges? Will either of them have the juice to oust Leah? Time will tell, I guess…

So what did you guys think of last night’s show? Where do you think the couples stand headed into the semifinals?

November 12, 2013 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

PureDWTS Season 17, Week 8 – Power Rankings

Did anyone else feel like the dances were a bit…I don’t know, MECHANICAL last night? Almost every dance I saw felt a bit wooden and robotic…like you could practically see the couples counting out the steps as they danced.  Once again, I’m going to chalk it up to all the couples feeling stressed and burnt out, which is unfortunate because I feel like several of them are forgetting that this is supposed to be fun.  Also mechanical? Cher as a judge, as more often than not she seemed like she was out to lunch and just threw in a generic comment and threw up the “9” paddle when prompted (unless, of course, your name is Bill, in which case she managed to locate her “8” paddle…convenient.) Say what you will about Julianne as a judge – but at least she was coherent in her critiques, and I understood why she gave the scores she did.  Cher? Not so much. 

Once again, we have a “shocking” elimination that isn’t all that shocking when you really think about it – I’m guessing that Brant’s fanbase, which seemed to be sustaining him sufficiently well since his bottom 2 scare early in the season, just finally gave out this week…with several people left who are likely pulling in a lot of votes, I think anyone with a “young” fanbase is probably in some degree of jeopardy, by comparison.  I guess all I can hope for at this point is that someone like Bill can somehow edge out an older fanbase like Leah’s…because that woman has GOT to go. 

1/2.) TIE: Corbin & Karina and Amber & Derek – Another not-quite-100% night for both couples, and due to the immunity challenge, there’s some trade-offs that seem to level the playing field between these two.  Corbin & Karina’s Argentine tango, while pretty good technically, just left me wanting a bit more emotionally – not sure if it was the strange song or the fact that these two were pressed for rehearsal time this week, but it just felt really cold and obligatory to me. Corbin seemed to be laser-focused on remembering his steps, and seemed to lose a bit of entertainment value as a result. Amber & Derek also had a strange song to contend with, and while I think they actually handled it well, the choreography just felt a little odd to me – like “rumba by numbers”, if you will, with a few sequences of Amber strutting around in a sassy fashion to fill it out.  Did the music necessitate it? Maybe.  But like Corbin’s Argentine tango, it just kinda left me wanting more, and it wasn’t Amber’s best dance.  Now here’s the kicker: while Amber may have gotten the immunity, Corbin actually got the 3 extra points that came with winning his dance-off against Liz.  Amber is still the cumulative points leader for the season – but with Corbin a mere 3 points behind her, one off-dance could shift the balance of power: say Corbin gets his first perfect 30 next week and Amber falters a bit a gets a 26.  That could mean the difference between picking first and picking second in the next challenge.  And as we’ve seen – that can mean the difference between getting a good song vs. a sh*tty song, or a good team vs. a sh*tty team.  It all adds up, kids… Read more..

November 5, 2013 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

PureDWTS Season 17, Week 6 – Power Rankings

Tonight’s episode of Sesame Street was brought to you by the words “bullsh*t” and “inconsistency”.  :-) By the time they lined the couples up for elimination with a mere 5 minutes remaining in the show, my blood was boiling – Len was an absolute terror tonight, the other two stooges were more or less his accomplices when it came to completely contradicting things that they have said in previous weeks (or even earlier in the evening).  Seems kinda obvious that they’ve been told they need to shield certain couples from excessive criticism, while piling it on others like it’s going out of style.  Len in particular has lost all credibility for me this season – he’s not the “strictly ballroom” judge he once was; now he seems to have a personal agenda, and that dictates his scores & critiques far more than any actual ballroom knowledge.  Can we ship him back overseas next week and bring in a guest judge? Pretty please? :-)

As I had kinda guessed, the switch-up dance challenge was a complete turd of an idea – and I think it was quite possibly the most ridiculous-looking thing we’ve seen them make these poor celebs do in 17 seasons.  My best guess is that, immediately following the aftermath of last week’s production Muppet voting snafu, they knew they were gonna  have to forego this week’s elimination, but needed something trivial to fill time…enter this nonsense.  God I hope this one gets permanently scrapped, cause I felt seriously embarassed for some of the couples out there…except for Bill & Emma, who seemed hip to the fact that this challenge was complete bullsh*t and just decided to have fun with it :-) Thrilled that nobody got eliminated – I was seriously scared for Bill by the end of the show.  But likely thanks to the Muppets, we get him for another week :-D

1.) Amber & Derek – I’m convinced now that there is nothing Derek can do this season to please Len – “there’s not enough content”.  “There’s too much content & it’s repetitive.” The guy is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t – and he seems to be the only one that Len picks apart for these reasons, and the only one that gets legitimately punished as opposed to just getting a warning (looking at YOU, Tony).  And the worst part: Amber just seems to be collateral damage to Len.  I actually thought this routine was a good example of samba – had a lot of textbook steps, it traveled around the room, and Derek took out a lot of the “frippery” that Len has been complaining about this season…and Amber handled it well! But Len has the nerve to whine about it being “repetitive”.  Ok Len, I’ll take the bait: maybe it was repetitive because THERE’S A FUCKING SYLLABUS OF STEPS THAT YOU CONSTANTLY HARP ON, and samba in particular is rather limited in the sequence of steps you can use to get around the room.  And dammit, every single routine is going to be repetitive to some degree – if you want a dance to look like it should, you’ve gotta use a lot of basic, characeristic steps.  Bill & Emma’s tango? Yep, repetition.  Brant & Peta’s tango? Repetitive.  Jack & Cheryl’s paso? Repetitive.  Nicole & Sasha’s foxtrot? Repetitive, repetitive, repetitive. And yet none of those other couples got scolded for it…hmmmm.  I guess my only explanation is that Amber is getting the votes she needs to stick around, so TPTB don’t feel the need to “shield” her from elimination like they do other couples – and maybe, to give the impression of this being a close race, Len feels the need to knock this couple down a few notches.

2.) Elizabeth & Val – Lizzy, Lizzy, Lizzy…I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m actually starting to feel a bit sorry for her.  This woman just seems like she’s DESPERATE to do well, and might emotionally shatter at any given moment.  By extension, I think I might actually be feeling a bit bad for Val, too, just because I’m not sure that he really knows how to handle it when Liz has a meltdown like she did during her rehearsal footage.  But anyway – I thought her cha-cha was actually pretty good, but I don’t think it was 30-worthy – as I said to someone on Twitter, I MIGHT have given it one “10” as a courtesy, and then maybe two 9’s.  I will commend Val on the fact that he must really drill proper turn technique into his partners, because Elizabeth, like Zendaya & Kelly, seems to know how to properly spot her turns, and the result is pretty nice to look at.  Can’t say I was wild about Liz’ solo at the beginning, but I guess I understand why Val put it there – it utilizes her ballet & jazz training.  My only other complaint: like a lot of other routines we’ve seen from Val, it just seemed a little bit “stop-and-go”, which interrupted the overall flow of it.  But overall, I enjoyed it, and Liz seemed to handle it well.  The fact that it was given a perfect score, however, makes me wonder if the judges are attempting to shield Lizzy from a Christina Milian-esque ouster – and I wonder if they’ve decided that she MUST be in the finale.  I get that they want to have a strong finale of good dancers, but I think anymore, it’s not just about the dancing anymore…you’ve gotta connect with the audience and really entertain them, and that’s one area where I think Liz & Val could take a page out of Bill & Emma’s book. Liz & Val seem to be more inwardly-focused and taking the competition more seriously; I think Bill & Emma, while still wanting to do well, seem more focused on putting on a good show and really making things enjoyable for viewers.  If Liz could do both, I could see her being more of a contender. Read more..

October 22, 2013 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

PureDWTS Season 17, Week 5 – Power Rankings

I’m currently resisting the urge to go poke obnoxious Christina fans on Instagram with a stick, because so many of them were swearing up and down that she was “the most popular person on this season”, and that anyone trying to say she came across snotty was “just jealous”, and that we all should “just wait – she’s gonna win the whole thing!” *snicker* Hate to say I told you so, kids, but – I told you so.  She was not connecting with viewers, and I think it was a direct result of what many of us perceived as a “I’m too good to be here” kind of attitude – and as a result, she was not getting very many votes AT ALL, to the point where she got painfully overscored and STILL couldn’t manage to stick around.  I highly recommend rereading Heidi’s numbers post from last week, as it paints a rather prophetic picture of what might have happened to send Christina home. 

It’s nights like last night that make me wonder if TPTB do skim Pure from time to time to keep their finger on the pulse of the viewers – because the whole “previous dance experience” bit and the nonsense about lift policing seem like they were plucked directly out of discussions here.  What’s next, guys? Humorous screen grabs? :-P

1/2.) TIE: Corbin & Karina and Amber & Derek – Last night was a bit of an odd night for the two frontrunners – both still had strong routines, but seemed to get picked apart by the judges a bit more.  Corbin & Karina’s foxtrot was a  bit odd for me – the music didn’t seem very foxtrot-ish, and I have to wonder if another style (maybe Viennese waltz) would have suited it better; consequently, I feel like both Corbin & Karina were struggling to make their dance actually fit the music, and while they didn’t overtly lose time, it felt like they may have been on the brink of it at a few times – heck, I even had a hard time keeping a steady foxtrot beat in this one.  Not my favorite dance they’ve done, but I think the whole “lift police” bit was just inane – but I LOVE that Tom actually kinda tried to hold her accountable for it by offering up a “playback” and the option to change her score…of course it didn’t end up working, but I kind of enjoy the fact that Carrie Ann actually had to own her capricious, petty lift-policing this time.  Perhaps she’ll be a bit more cautious about it in the future? ;-) As for Amber & Derek – I enjoyed the routine, except for the bit at the end with the mic, which I think would have played a lot better if it was actually Amber singing instead of just lip-syncing.  Len’s complaint about not enough “in-hold” moves? Really, Len, foxtrot on DWTS has really become more Broadway than foxtrot, and each season we see less and less work in-hold; I don’t think there was any less in-hold work in Amber & Derek’s foxtrot than there was in Nicole & Derek’s foxtrot in season 10, which got RAVE reviews.  But Len usually has to pull out a “7” paddle for Derek at least once a season, and it’s usually when Carrie Ann & Bruno are pulling out 9’s and 10’s…so I guess we got that out of the way early, eh? :-P

3.) Nicole & Sasha – This actually ended up being one of my favorite routines of the night – just  pure fun and pure “Snooki” :-) I just love the way these two work together – and while they may not be the best or most impressive couple on the floor, everything they do entertains me, and has a good energy to it.  Love that they have a bit of a “signature move” now – Nicole sticking her leg out and Sasha jumping over it.  I just think it’s a cute analogy to their partnership: Nicole’s always doing stuff to mess with Sasha, and he just laughs it off and keeps going. I don’t think they could have picked a better partner for Sasha – she meshes well with him, she’s tiny, and she can do some of the gymnastic-y stuff we know he loves :-) I’m hoping they’re getting the votes to stick around – because I think they’ve got the right attitude about this season.  They’re just working hard and having fun – they aren’t tunnel-visioning towards the MBT or trying too hard. 

4.) Bill & Emma – Not the best routine we’ve seen from Bill, but a very sweet, honest routine nonetheless :-) He seemed to have a few timing issues with the Viennese waltz, which I kind of expected, but he seemed to handle it well enough; I think he may have messed up a few steps, but god bless Emma, she was able to move with it and minimize the effect.  Overall, I think the routine was a sweet tribute to his wifey, and it brought back memories of Andy’s Viennese waltz for his daughter last season – both routines that weren’t technically perfect, but were just lovely for their message :-) I do think Bill is gaining some momentum in terms of votes, and has the potential to overtake some of the better (but less popular) dancers if he can continue to improve and entertain us (and not be a douchebag :-P).  Do I think he make the finale? Probably not.  But I still think he’s got at least a week or two left in him…which I’m totally fine with :-)

5.) Jack & Cheryl – I think Jack may be the most underappreciated dancer this season right now – if you really watch him as he dances, you’ll see that he actually GETS the concepts of rise & fall, and actually has a great frame. Cheryl also seems to have instilled in him the ability to really “be there” for his partner, as he seems like he’s never in danger of dropping her or mowing her over.  And man, this routine was just gorgeous to watch – both in terms of technique and feeling.  He certainly didn’t take the easy route with his song, either – the tempo changed quite a bit, so I find it really impressive that he managed to stay on-time. My only complaint? I feel like he’s getting shoved in crummy running order positions, and just seems to be getting lost in the shuffle – last night he was stuck between a ridiculously overscored routine (Christina) and a really, really bad one (Leah).  He’s neither at the top of the pack, nor the bottom; he’s just a pretty good dancer that is slowly improving. I don’t think he’s in danger of getting sent home – yet – but I just feel like I’m not hearing as much “buzz” about him as I am some of the other couples.  Hope he’s not getting forgotten!  

6.) Brant & Peta – It was the better contemporary routine of the night – but unfortunately, that was a pretty easy feat, considering how truly BAD Leah’s contemporary was :-( Generally, though, I thought Brant’s contemporary was pretty good – he handled what he was given well, and he did inject a good deal of emotion and conviction into his moves.  Thought it was a little lift-heavy, and a bit too flaily; but anymore, I’m just kind of “whatever” about contemporary routines on this show, since most of these pros don’t have the contemporary experience necessary to choreograph something great – they’re just flying by the seat of their pants, probably watching YouTube videos for inspiration, and trying to throw something together that their partner can handle while still somewhat-resembling a contemporary routine you might see on SYTYCD.  He seems to be back in favor with the judges, so barring any huge snafus next week, I think he ought to be ok.  He seems like a good kid – I’d definitely rather see him stick around than Leah or even Elizabeth.  Let’s just hope Peta resists the urge to “sex up” any more of his routines…

7.) Elizabeth & Val – After all the hype we saw for this jive throughout the show, I was thinking “This better be the best damn jive this show has ever seen!” Aaaaand…it wasn’t.  Sorry, but the whole SBTB, caffeine pill-throwback skit at the beginning just felt awkward and desperate, and like a waste of time – and I think Liz & Val may have mixed up their 90’s teen sitcoms, because I don’t recall Zack Morris ever climbing through Jessie’s bedroom window (that was a move credited to Sam from Clarissa Explains it All – duh ;-)). It only go worse from there – Liz’s little solo bit at the beginning felt like she got a little too excited and desperate, as she fell out of her pirouttes…and with her dance background, that’s one move I would expect her to EASILY nail.  The actual jive portion started out promising – she stayed on time, her flicks and kicks looked good, and I actually have to commend her on handling the simple spins (which are anything BUT simple) well; but after that, I think she lost some steam, as she seemed to struggle with picking her legs up quite as high and started looking a little winded.  Consequently, it looked like she may have lost time at a few points.  Overall, I admire her effort – but if she wants a hope and a prayer of making it to the finals, she is going to have to step up her game…because I think both Corbin & Amber danced circles around her last night.  The whole “in jeopardy” thing happening AGAIN also doesn’t seem to bode well for her…

8.) Leah & Tony – Ummm, wow.  I think we have our first nominee for “worst dance of season 17″ – because this was a real turd, folks.  I do not care that Tony “has never choreographed contemporary before” (not entirely true); I do not care that Leah is “not a dancer” (heard you the first 10 times, dear); I do not care about how well you did or didn’t “tell a story” (you took too long doing it, anyway) – this routine was just crap.  The cheesy bit with the marionette at the beginning was just that – cheesy – and it took too long to get going; the lifts didn’t feel so much like a part of the dance, as they did just moves that were arbitrarily thrown in “because contemporary!” – oh, and Leah looked heavy going up into them, and it seemed like she was stopping every other beat and just waiting to be lifted.  The ‘tude they were throwing the judges’ way when being called out on all of these things was just the icing on the cow pie for me – everything about this routine and Leah & Tony themselves just left kind of a bad taste in my mouth last night.  And I daresay Leah got a bit of a wake-up call standing up there with Christina last night – I hope she realizes that the sense of entitlement we’ve seen from her is not going to guarantee her safety (if anything, it might guarantee her elimination – she should go ask Christina), and I hope Tony realizes that he has got to kick his choreo up a notch…because they have an uphill battle to stick around next week, and I’m not sure it’s one that they’re going to easily win.

So how do you guys feel about last night’s elimination? And who do you think is on the chopping block this coming week?

October 15, 2013 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

PureDWTS Season 17, Week 4 – Power Rankings

 Overall, I think I enjoyed last night – liked that there wasn’t a particular theme, and everyone got a different dance, so as to avoid being compared against another couple.  Wasn’t particularly wild about the Ray Leeper-choreographed opening number – to quote Mama Spence, “That was a whole lot of nothing!” and goes to show that choreography created for ballroom dancers by non-ballroom dancers doesn’t always work well. 

I think Julianne actually ended up being a pretty fair judge – granted, I think it was decided before the show started that she was simply going to echo the same score that Carrie Ann & Bruno called out, but I still feel like she gave constructive criticism and didn’t put anyone down…which Len has a tendency to do on the regular.  Not gonna lie – I’m kinda glad it was Julianne judging instead of Len during the week that Bill & Emma did their samba ;-)

As lovely and inspirational as Valerie was, I do feel like it was her time to go – she seemed to be really struggling these past few weeks, and the poor woman is probably getting really tired.  But I’m SO glad we got to see her this season, and her foxtrot from week one is probably going to remain one of my favorites :-) And god love Tristan – there’s a pro that gives a whole new meaning to “being there” for your partner.  I don’t think there are too many male pros on this show that could handle both the physical and emotional strain that having a partner with terminal cancer can bring – and he handled it with such poise. 

 1.) Corbin & Karina – For all the ado about him dancing shirtless before last night’s show, he really wasn’t shirtless for long – and it actually did fit the routine, IMO.  After he and Karina stalked around each other and let the tension build, the shirt coming off was kind of a gesutre of “Ok, now I’m throwing my hat in the ring.  It’s ON!” and it worked with mood.  Anti-shirtless brigade, take note: this is an example of the correct way to go shirtless. :-) Really and truly, I thought this paso was fantastic – Corbin never missed a beat, he was invested in it, and contrary to what the judges said, I didn’t think “his hip-hop moves were creeping in”; I actually thought he was creatively styling some of his arm & hand gestures, which I’ll take any day over limp, apathetic, purposeless moves.  Anyone else think the judges were intentionally being REEEEEALLLLY nitpicky about this one? I’d say this worthy of at least one “10” – it was that good, kids.  And I know there’s been some talk from some here about “Ehhh, I kinda don’t like Corbin & Karina, they’re desperate, they’re trying too hard, etc. etc. etc.” I’ll just say this: if this routine was the result of their “desperation” and “trying too hard” – then more power to them. :-) Read more..

October 8, 2013 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

DWTS 16, Week 8 – Power Rankings

Well, this is probably going to be a pretty short ranking, because besides nursing a killer migraine…tonight just kind of sucked.

Ballroom round? Too short, and pretty ho-hum.  Trio round? Only one real standout, a couple that were so-so, and the rest were fails.  And of course, Len continues to be a horrible human being.  I miss Andy more than I thought :-( Let’s get this over with…

1.) Zendaya & Val – First off, I probably would have picked a different song for their foxtrot – the fact that it’s a capella made it feel a bit thin & boring.  On top of that, it seemed like it took a little too long to get into the dance, and what I saw, while pleasant to watch, didn’t really excite me.  As for their salsa trio – where was the salsa? I saw a lot of vaguely hip-hoppy stuff and a lot of side-by-side actions, but very little interaction between Zendaya herself and the two guys she was supposed to be dancing with.  And I generally just found some of the choreography to be a bit odd – once again, rather stop-and-go.  It wasn’t a bad dance, per se, but I would dispute the fact that it was a salsa and call attention to the fact that the bulk of it was done individually, as opposed to in couples.  Hell, salsa’s even one of the easier dances to do with 3 people…would it really have been that hard to do a bit more work in-hold? Oh well…they’ve got a 58, so they don’t even have to worry about it…

2.) Kellie & Derek – I feel like they were the only couple tonight that really put a ton of thought into both of their performances, and even figured out a clever way to link the two together.  The Viennese waltz was very pretty, though I would have liked a little bit more of it to be in-hold, because Kellie can handle it; the paso trio was the only dance that really stuck out in my mind tonight, because it was so exciting to watch and it was the only one that actually seemed to work WITH the props they chose, as opposed to just having them there (like several other couples).  Len’s score AND his comment to Bruno about having “something up his ass”? Uncalled for, inappropriate, and I’m just done with that SOB.  If Fox can issue an apology for Steve Tyler’s behavior on Idol, then they can certainly issue one for Len’s behavior on DWTS.  Dude is seriously crossing the line.

3.) Aly & Mark – Man, they’re REALLY trying to make Aly “happen”, aren’t they? Yes, she has grown – somewhat – in her time on DWTS, but I still find her a bit underwhelming to watch.  I actually agreed with (ack) Carrie Ann about her Argentine tango – for as acrobatic & flexible as Aly is, her leg lines seemed a little…weak.  I don’t think it was 29-worthy – maybe 27-worthy.  As for the jive trio – it wasn’t bad, but it was just so BLAND.  Part of it was Aly, but I really just found the choreography to be a bit blah as well – Mark seemed to be erring on the side of safe again.  I have to wonder if she’s not getting the votes – because they seem to be scoring her awfully kindly these days.

4.) Jacoby & Karina – The Viennese waltz was better than I expected, though not his best dance.  Liked the drama of it, but I thought it could be a bit neater.  Actually enjoyed their paso trio with Cheryl, but I feel like the only real problem seemed to be that there was just so much choreography jam-packed into that routine that Jacoby got a little distracted…which could explain why he just kind of flung Cheryl off to the side.  I think they just got so caught up trying to show everything that Jacoby was capable of doing that they may have overwhelmed him.  But overall, I thought he did pretty well with both of his dances tonight…let’s hope that translates into safety.  Not sure what to think after he ended up in jeopardy last week…

5.) Ingo & Kym – Eee gad…this partnership really kind of imploded this week, didn’t it? Kym seems like she’s at her wits end, and Ingo got really, really whiny this time around – that package did not do them any favors.  For all the fussing that they were doing, I think their foxtrot turned out halfway-ok…it was definitely better than Sean’s tango, despite a few little stutters.  The jive trio was basically a dud – you could tell the ladies did everything they could to ensure that Ingo was moving as minimally as possible during that dance, as they did most of the heavy-duty dancing; there was also a rather prolonged entry & exit, perhaps to cut back on the time that Ingo was actually dancing.  I think they’re definitely bottom 2 fodder tomorrow night, and might even end up going home.  They’re just getting hard to watch…

6.) Sean & Peta – Well, I think Sean is probably the weakest dancer left, and I think the judges made clear that it’s Sean they want gone tomorrow night.  The tango felt stompy & awkward, and I could tell that Peta was doing a good deal of backleading in that one.  Jazz trio? Despite having Sharna there to at least offer up some good advice, I think Sean’s trio was probably the biggest fail of the evening.  Like Ingo’s trio, it seemed like they tried to put the ladies front & center whenever they could, and had them doing most of the real moving…although I feel like there was even less actual dancing in this dance than Ingo’s, and Sean was even more awkward attempting some of the jazz steps than Ingo was with the jive steps.  I was pretty much done with Shawn a few weeks ago, and I’m definitely ready to see him go now…the question is: will it be him, or Ingo?

So was anyone else let down by this week’s dances? Go ahead and sound off, I need to lie down…

May 6, 2013 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

DWTS 16, Week 5 – Power Rankings

Well, side-by-side challenge night went about as well as can be expected when you put complete amateurs (well, and a ringer or two…) next to seasoned pros with years of experience under their belts.  If nothing else, it let us see some sorely missed pros doing what they do best :-) The judges have made it pretty clear at this point who their favorites are (ZENDAYA, Kellie, Jacoby, & Aly), who they are lukewarm about (Sean & Ingo), and who is disposable (Victor, D.L., and unfortunately, now Andy), and seem to be scoring accordingly.  And dare I say that many of the pros came out dancing at full throttle…but noticeably slowed down and calmed down when the celebs joined them on the floor? No bueno.  And god bless Tom for soldiering through what had to be a tough night for Bostonians :-( Let’s get on with it…

1.) Zendaya & Val – It was a good dance, and I was actually impressed with Val’s first venture into Argentine tango choreography – and thankfully, he seemed to eschew the multitude of lifts big bro seems so fond of, and put in some good basic steps.  Zendaya handled pretty well, and I liked the jewel thief storyline – I was worried they were going to go more the smut route, which would have felt…icky. But this was appropriate :-) So that was the good – now here’s the bad: I don’t think it was 10-worthy.  Sorry kids.  Once again, I find myself just fixated on how BENT Zendaya’s legs are – yes, I am aware she is tall, and yes, Argentine tango is usually done with a flexed knee.  But girl was damn near SQUATTING – and consequently, it made her upper body look that much more flimsy when they were in hold.  I hate when tall people (male or female) try to compensate for a shorter dance partner – it almost always looks awkward, and you don’t get the full impact of their lines.  I say stand up straight and forget about who’s taller – the bf has 2 female students that have a good 3” on him in heels, and when they’re dancing to the full extent, it’s MAGICAL…their legs just go on forever.  You don’t even  worry about who’s taller, because the lines are so gorgeous.  So with that said – these two are obviously safe (and thankfully, there were no Twitter machinations this week to tip things in their favor), but I do think Zendaya’s legs will continue to be an issue in the coming weeks.

2.) Kellie & Derek – I’ve always loved Derek’s foxtrots, and the Broadway quality & character they have to them.  This was no exception – great side-by-side, playful choreography, and Kellie seemed to handle the sweeping motions of the foxtrot well.  She seemed to get a bit stiff in her neck and shoulders at a few times, which looked a bit awkward, but other than that, she handled this routine well and I liked watching her do it.  I think she probably came the closest to mirroring her pro counterpart tonight – and I think she has Derek to thank for not dumbing down the choreography, because in most of the routines, the pros went from dancing full-on, difficult steps to dancing simple, kindergarten steps without much energy.  It gave me whiplash, at times.  But the transition in this one felt seamless – the way Kellie was keeping up, it felt more like another pro couple joining Henry & Anna on the floor, rather than “Oh sh*t, here comes the celeb, better slow it down…NOW!” So even if Kellie “doesn’t like Derek’s ways” – I think it was those “ways” that probably helped her look so good tonight.  ;-)  Read more..

April 15, 2013 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

DWTS 16, Week 4 – Power Rankings

Well first of all, I’m happy to report that for once, “best year of your life” week was NOT the night of a thousand rumbas!!! It was, instead, the night of a thousand (ok, THREE) Viennese waltzes, and this episode of Sesame Street was brought to you by the awkward men’s Viennese waltz solo :-P OH! And be still my heart…did Carrie Ann actually cop to being remiss in her lift policing the past few weeks???? And then promptly make herself look rather like a douchebagette, when sternly chastising Gleb for carrying a sick Lisa down the stairs? Yeah…that happened.  But let’s just get down to the nitty gritty, shall we?

1 & 2.) TIE: Kellie & Derek and Zendaya & Val – Both ladies had strong showings tonight, yet both of them seemed to have minor technical issues that kept them from being 100% on-point.  Loved Kellie & Derek’s rumba  – very simple, intimate feel, and Kellie does have some fantastic legs.  But I do agree with whatever judge said that she seemed a little bit “clipped” tonight – I don’t know if it was the segueing from very slow, fluid movements to rather fast, crisp ones, but things got a bit jerky from time to time.  As for Zendaya – I love watching that girl dance, and she’s obviously right at home on the floor…just the right amount of attitude to really carry off Beyonce, and the dance chops to back it up.  But once again, she seems to be having trouble with those long legs – Len was right, she was a bit too bent in the knee, and needed to really straighten those legs out in order to get more of a bounce.  She also seemed to get a bit off-balance in some of the faster turns, which I noticed in her Viennese waltz & jive as well.  Long legs are great to look at – but when it comes to ballroom & Latin, sometimes the ladies with shorter legs have it a bit easier, just because it’s easier to move quickly & crisply when you have less to extend.  Also a bit of a warning to Val – there seemed to be an awfully high proportion of jazz-y, hip-hoppy type-moves in that samba.  I know it’s tempting to really go wild when you’ve got a Beyonce song (and a partner that can do those kinds of moves), but if this continues week to week, you’re going to be butting heads with Len A LOT.  Overall, I think I was probably more entertained by Zendaya’s dance, but I was more touched emotionally by Kellie’s.  Enjoyed both, and I doubt either of these ladies are going anywhere.

3.) Jacoby & Karina – I still think this guy is gonna walk away with the trophy when all’s said and done – and the fact that he actually handled his first ballroom dance quite masterfully just makes me believe it anymore.  I was mentally preparing myself for a trainwreck – crummy frame, messy feet, missed beats, etc.  But I was actually impressed at how well Jacoby held his frame – his neck & shoulders looked great, almost hyperextended, although he did stick his butt out just a tiny bit…which I’m sure Karina’s going to chastise him for later, because ballroom law dictates that the man never slouches down to accommodate a shorter lady – it’s the lady’s job to rise up to the man’s height :-) But this guy never missed a turn, stretched those arms out nice & wide, and best of all – he was totally uninhibited, and really gave that solo his all.  And can I just add that his little guy is beyond precious??? :-D And one other thing I have really begun to appreciate about Jacoby’s dancing? He’s there for Karina EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.  No fumbling to get turns straight, no near-misses with tricks, no missing getting into frame – the dude is on-point. Read more..

April 8, 2013 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

DWTS 16, Week 3 – Power Rankings

Well…that was special.  Aside from a few bright spots, I don’t know that I could have choreographed a sh*tshow that was sh*ttier than tonight’s show – yeah, it was pretty bad.  I guess I expected it to be pretty tacky, given the whole prom theme…but there were some all-time lows hit tonight.  And there was some definite tinkering going on with the scoring – scoring that makes me think they’re trying to backdoor some floundering couples.  But let’s right to it, shall we?

1.) Jacoby & Karina – I still stand by my week 1 claim that Jacoby is a shoo-in for the finale and will likely play spoiler to whoever else ends up there and will pull out a win.  And tonight really solidified that for me – because this guy can DANCE.  Sure, he’s a little cocky, a lot kooky, and can handle the goofy, uptempo dances like the cha-cha and jazz…but the true test was him tackling the rumba tonight, and that he did.  He actually let down his guard quite a bit and showed us a vulnerable side – I thought their rumba was quite lovely, and Jacoby had some great extensions and footwork going on.  A few footwork issues, sure, but overall, he & Karina really sold it for me, chemistry-wise.  And here’s the big advantage he may have over Kellie & Zendaya: he’s got a bit more of a learning curve to work with.  While Kellie & Zendaya are both great dancers, I’m beginning to think that viewers (and their increasingly unpredictable voting behavior) may tire of them topping the leaderboard week after week…and while Jacoby is still up there pretty close, he may get a bit more leeway because he’s more unexpected – it’s a bigger shock that Jacoby’s legitimately good, than it is for Kellie or Zendaya.  Who knows…I never really know what to think about the voting from week to week.  But I do know he’s safe for quite awhile.

2.) Kellie & Derek – Did one of you mention that Kellie was sick this week? If so, I will cut her a bit of slack on what I thought was a good (but not great) performance, and applaud her for soldiering through.  I think this had the potential to be a fantastic routine – they got a great song and a great theme to work with, and this stuff is right in Derek’s wheelhouse.  Very fun jive (without copying any moves from the movie, mind you), and Kellie kept up pretty well for the first half – but then I think she got tired and lost steam, and suddenly she wasn’t bouncing quite as much and her kicks got a bit soft.  But it was still a great performance, and I sincerely doubt she’s in any danger this week…but I am crossing my fingers that she can somehow pull off getting prom queen J Read more..

April 1, 2013 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

DWTS 15, Week 8 – Power Rankings

Not a whole lot to say about tonight, other than that everything felt incredibly frantic as they rush, rush, rushed to fit 14 routines into 2 hours (which was no bueno, considering the ballroom round was drastically cut short and the danced seemed to be over before they even started), and that the judges did their usual wacky scoring (which really means nothing, considering how close the margins are).  Literally, guys, this is an even bigger battle of the fanbases this time, as there are even MORE points and even SMALLER margins than the week Sabrina got sent packing.  So if somebody’s not getting the votes – methinks they’re pretty much doomed.

1.) Shawn & Derek – They’ve got the 2nd highest point total from the past two weeks, and in perhaps an even bigger advantage – a bunch of pissed off fans.  Ok, so maybe there wasn’t a ton of samba in their trio – I still think there was enough there to warrant at least an 8, and it was still a wildly entertaining routine that actually evoked more of the excitment of a pro dance to me than just a regular dance with a celeb.  The way Len was acting, it was as if Derek & Mark had walked center stage and defecated or something…while Shawn watched.  And the whole “If you go home tomorrow night, don’t blame me, blame them!” comment? Was that REALLY necessary? Just felt like a low blow and not any sort of constructive criticism.  I really think Derek probably knew they were taking a risk and choreographed more of a crowd/audience-pleasing routine than a judge-pleasing routine, intentionally – it was a calculated risk, maybe to jump-start the fans into voting.  But I don’t think he was expecting Len to take it so personally.  As for their Viennese waltz – despite it being awfully short, I thought it was quite pretty and very fluid, and Shawn had some butter-smooth turns and showed a lot of emotion.  I think they’re probably the safest from the double elim tomorrow…seems like they’re getting a lot of votes and still pretty decent scores, in the great scheme of things.

2.) Emmitt & Cheryl – I find myself drawing a bit of a blank on his Viennese waltz, despite the fact that I have several notes written about it – “smooth & fluid, didn’t see the alleged mistake, not very high level of difficulty”.  I daresay that it probably left me lukewarm: no big problems, and pleasant to watch, but nothing particularly impactful or impressive.  Just as I said last week, I think the biggest problem I have with Emmitt at this point is just that he seems to have plateaued in terms of difficulty, and Cheryl really isn’t pushing him as hard as she should choreographically at this phase of the competition.  Most of the other couples are pulling out all the stops – but Emmitt & Cheryl seem to be sticking primarily to the “Do easy choreo and just charm everyone’s pants off!” method.  Their trio – ok, very cute, and I definitely enjoyed it more than I did Gilles’ trio….but 30? Really? I saw an awful lot of backleading & stationary ass-shaking going on…I think many other couples had much more difficult steps in their dances, and they did them with much more impressive execution.  I guess the judges were maybe judging more on entertainment value than level of difficulty and content (unless your name is Shawn, in which case it’s ALL about content).  I guess I’ve just kind of given up on trying to understand the judges’ motives at this point :-P Regardless, I think he’s likely safe tomorrow, but things could get dicey next week… Read more..

November 12, 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!