The Pros and Cons of the DWTS Pros – The Tony and Dmitry Edition

This is a part of the Pros and Cons of the DWTS pros Series. You can check out all the posts in this series here.

Tony Dovolani

Marianya: When Tony has a partner with some measure of talent he really pushes them (Stacy Keibler and Melissa Rycroft) but on the other side of the coin when it’s a partner that doesn’t have natural talent he doesn’t challenge them nearly as much, choosing to work around them… which honestly a lot of pros do but I like to see my stars challenged… now if you have someone like Kate that simply isn’t trying, ok I get it. I do like Tony, but he’s not necessarily a favorite… though last season put a bad taste in my mouth. I’m hoping he changes his M.O. and pushes his star this season.

Heidi: Tony has an amazing smile. 🙂 And when he’s in good humor, he seems like a nice guy. But….and this is a big but….he can be pretty shitty too. Here’s my problem – because of working on this website I see a huge majority of the media surrounding the show and that, like it or not, impacts my opinion of the various pros – which is why I’m not crazy about either Tony or Louis right now. Tony can be good, but he can also find one great attribute, like Melissa’s ability to kick her leg high over her head, and then repeat it so often that you can make a drinking game of it.

Courtney: For me Tony’s best quality (and also one of his biggest problems) is his ability to actually use legit syllabus steps in his choreography – as I’ve mentioned before, sometimes some of the pros venture so far out of the realm of “meat & potatoes” steps in some of their routines that we’re left watching something that barely resembles a samba or a waltz. And that’s when Len gets pissy! Tony, for me, is the male pro that most often seems to take strides to stay true to the dances; we see New Yorkers in his cha-chas, we see bota fogos in his sambas, we see quarter turns in his quicksteps. But in the same token, sometimes these “true to form” routines are just that – lifeless, robotic collections of steps without a whole lot of creativity…Susan’s hustle in season 7 comes to mind. It almost reminds me of the syllabus tests we used to have to take in my ballroom lessons – very mundane execution of the steps we’d learned in front of a judge so that we could graduate to the next level. And echoing Heidi’s sentiments, Tony’s personality can be a study in contrasts at times: extremely charming in the media one minute, a total diva the next. Makes it hard to figure out which is closer to the real him…

John: Tony is like a girl on PMS (excuse the comparison for those girls who don’t do this). Seriously though, he’s this up and down emotional roller coaster. You don’t know if you’re going to get the good Tony or the bad Tony. I guess that keeps things interesting and I think that deep down he is a really sincere guy. The problem seems that he’s just a really emotional guy and he often let’s that emotion spill out. I’d think he was Italian, but maybe Albanian’s have some of those same characteristics. Very passionate about everything (good and bad). As far as his dancing, I agree he’s just to standard and textbook. It’s enjoyable to watch, but compared to a dozen other dances on the same night it gets forgotten easily. That said, I really think he’s a great teacher of those standard moves.

Dmitry Chaplin

Marianya: Ok I admit it, I’m a SYTYCD junkie, blame my auditioning moons ago… but that’s a different story. I loved Dmitry on SYTYCD and was literally squealing in my seat when I heard he was going to be on DWTS. His choreography on SYTYCD is fantastic, but I can’t figure out why it’s not shining nearly as much on DWTS. I really want TPTB to give him another chance and for Dmitry to take that chance and fly with it. He’s such a wonderful calming presense on the show and quite honestly that’s a breath a fresh air considering all the personalities on the show >.<

Heidi: I really like Dmitry as a person but as a choreographer/dancer he seems kinda dull to me. I was also screaming at the TV when he had that 10 zillion bars of Mya dusting the judges desk — “Dude! Have you never watched this show? Len is going to KILL YOU!!” I felt bad, but I also thought that he had to have heard that Len didn’t like that stuff. And especially not with a dancer like Mya. But then, how do you explain Maks doing the same thing with Erin more than once? It boggles the mind that the pro gets angry when they get yelled at for that because Len has *always* hated that stuff. If you’re going to break the rules – the rules that are very clear – don’t get mad when called on it or, in Dmitry’s case, act like you don’t understand what the problem was. I don’t mind breaking the rules, obviously, because sometimes it works in your favor. It’s a strategy. But the anger or cluelessness after? That’s just silly.

Courtney: Dmitry is a real toss-up to me. Definitely one of the best Latin guys they’ve ever had on SYTYCD, and that has carried over to DWTS. I like that he tries to make his routines very “now” by playing into certain trends in music & theme (Mya’s Hairspray freestyle, his “Hip Hip, Chin Chin” routine for Lacey & Danny on SYTYCD), but in the same token, I feel like it tends to make his dances feel a bit…cliche. Don’t get me wrong, I love his choreography; but when he opted to use “You Can’t Stop the Beat” as Mya’s freestyle after it had been used twice on SYTYCD (with better results, I might add) and just as the Hairspray resurgence was dying down, I couldn’t help but think “been there, done that”. Ditto for the samba he choreographed for Lauren & Robert this season on SYTYCD – I could damn near scream if I have to hear Debi Nova’s “Drummer Boy” one more time. Great choreo, completely overdone song. If he could just take that same routine and set it to something a bit more unexpected, I think he would blow a lot of the other male pros on the show out of the water.

John: I agree that Dmitry has been a DUD on DWTS. Even his shirt taking off hasn’t taken off the same way that it did on SYTYCD. Maybe that’s because Tom Bergeron is the host and not Cat Deeley. Unfortunately, the only dances of Dmitry’s that come to mind are the “Hip Hip, Chin Chin” routine and the “Calle Ocho” routine he did on SYTYCD. I can’t think of any memorable ones on DWTS. Plus, the “Calle Ocho” he did with Nappytabs. Not to mention Dmitry’s personality is missing. Maybe it’s a language problem that he can’t get out what he wants to say, but I love when a pro’s personality entertains. For example, we can always expect the unexpected comment or face from Karina. Dmitry has none of that.

Heidi: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think calling him a “dud” is a bit harsh. And taking off your shirt gets old after a while – I’d prefer he leave it on, because it seems desperate on DWTS. Anyway, I think that Dmitry suffered from Mya more than Mya suffered from him, if that makes any sense. We have comments from a couple of you regarding Derek and an occasional “I’m the Pro” attitude, but it’s THIS attitude that Dmitry needed to have with Mya. Derek is the most successful pro on the show and this might just be one of the reasons. It’s kind of a shame that he didn’t have a chance to learn like the other pros have had – the show is at the point that if you’re a new pro you best make your mark.

Marianya: In some ways I agree with you, Heidi. But there are other pros that put the “I am the Pro” attitude and it backfires in one way or another. You might be right that Dmitry should stand his ground more when dealing with his celebs. Whatever the case may be, I still believe he needs more time on the show to prove his meddle, because he’s a lot better and more as a dancer than people think of him as.

Courtney: There’s definitely a fine line between a pro letting their celeb have some input, and the pro asserting their authority. In the case of Dmitry and Mya, given her extensive background in dance, I don’t think it was a terrible idea to let her have SOME input…after all, she knows her strengths and weaknesses, and could offer up some fresh ideas (granted, he doesn’t necessarily have to TAKE those ideas). It worked when he let her throw out some ideas for her ’70s samba – it got a 30, and was one of their more memorable performances for me that season (and not just because of Dmitry’s porn ‘stache, hehe). And I know we’ll never know for sure, but I have always wondered if their disastrous freestyle could have been salvaged if they had gone with Mya’s idea instead of Dmitry’s – because clearly the latter’s did not work at all. But on the other hand, there are certain times when a pro just needs to buckle down and tell his/her celeb to just trust them – the best example I can think of is Tony with Kate. I know I caught a lot of flak from some of you when I ranted about how Kate just needed to shut up and listen to Tony instead of complaining about the steps he was giving her. But seriously – what makes Kate, somebody with ZERO dance background, think that her ideas are going to be any better than the ones that Tony, a seasoned pro, is giving her? Tony was right to put his foot down. Then there’s the case of Maks and Erin and her freestyle – not a bad idea to let Erin tap into some of her dance experience, but I think Maks should have reigned her in a bit when the routine got too far out of their comfort zone. It’s a delicate balance, the whole “let your celeb have input” vs. “I’m the pro!” debate.

John: Heidi, I think it’s funny that you think calling him a dud is harsh, but then you go on to say all negative things about him. Seems to prove the point. Imagine if he wasn’t lucky enough to get Mya who is a great dancer? Would Dmitry have any other memorable dances on DWTS? I still love him on SYTYCD, but he’s done nothing for me on DWTS (much to my disappointment).

Round Up:

Tony Dovolani

Marianya: Used to like, but doesn’t really give a crap about anymore. Meh

Heidi: Double Meh

Courtney: Hit or miss, depending on both his choreography & his mood

John: Like a wave on an ocean, lots of ups and downs.

Dmitry Chaplin

Marianya: Oh hell yeah! 😀 Give me some of that hunka burnin’ love.

Heidi: In the words of Randy Jackson, “He’s a’ight, but I’m not feelin’ it dawg.”

Courtney: I like what he has to offer, I just wish he’d step up his game a bit!

John: Must be the rules, or the fear of Len which hampers him.