The Pros & Cons of the DWTS Pros – The Kym and Lacey 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.

Kym Johnson:

Courtney: I adore our little Aussie bombshell! What first struck me about Kym when she first joined the cast in season 3 was her sunny disposition – I can’t recall a time when Kym wasn’t in an upbeat mood, or had anything other than gracious, kind things to say about anyone and everyone involved with the show.  Seriously – this gal is a class act, no matter how inept her partner may be, or how awkward their behavior can become (I still cringe when I think of poor Kym having to stand next to a livid David Allen Grier the night he was eliminated).  A class act that can dance her butt off – her routines are always top-notch.  She’s 100% committed to every step – and it shows.  In the course of Heidi & I doing “Who Wore it Better?”, we’ve been wowed by how Kym’s facial expressions add so much to her performances – she smolders in her tangos, she’s sassy in her cha-chas, and she’s the portrait of grace in her waltzes.  Do I even need to comment on how gorgeous she is? 😀 She’s stunning with both short & long hair, be it blonde or light brown, and has a smile that lights up a room…and a set of boobs that make Heidi & I green with envy.  Don’t laugh – she seriously fills out the bodices of her costumes better than any other female pro on the show! And like Edyta, her legs have no end.  Just a beautiful, beautiful girl – with an adorable, honeyed Aussie accent.  If I had to pick out any downsides to Kym (and this is hard for me!), I would say that some of her routines may not always be super difficult, or necessarily super creative – but then again, I think she likes to give her partners stuff they can handle & execute well, rather than flashy stuff that may impress the judges but just look terrible if they can’t be performed correctly.  But beyond that, if Anna wasn’t on the show – I would so have a girl crush on Kym.  Oh wait – I love both of them. 😉

John: There really is nothing bad to say about Kym. I guess I can see some people complaining that she’s too nice and too happy and too wonderful. I agree with them, and that’s why I love her so much. Her first season with Jerry Springer was really something special for me. I can’t think of another star that danced so poorly that I wanted to see more. Kym is the reason it was enjoyable to watch. Her and Jerry just lit up the floor in a playful and fun way that made me want to watch them dance despite being a technical disaster. Kym is the professional I’d like to teach me to dance, because you know she’d hold you accountable but she wouldn’t make you feel bad in the process. Heidi probably would like someone a little rougher, but I’ll take the Pollyanna like Kym any day. Add in her great looks and awesome accent and it’s no wonder she’s loved by many and hated by few.

Marianya: This woman has been a ray of sunshine the moment she introduced herself to the DWTS with Jerry Springer as her celeb partner. Wait what? Jerry Springer? When I saw that partnership I was not thinking very many good things about it… in fact, it could have been a lot worse. But Kym immediately showed her meddle and brought out the best in Jerry Springer, not just the best, but showed America another side of Jerry Springer that was only known to his family and friends. Not only that but it gave him so many more opportunities leaving his season outside of the Jerry Springer show. With every other partner thereafter, no matter their talent level, she has been nothing but positive encouragement. Though not as precise of a dancer like other females on the show, her performance factor is one of the strongest of the pros. Kym isn’t one to overly challenge her celebs as much as give them material that she knows they could execute and execute well, which is a teaching style some would appreciate if they are just looking to have fun and not necessarily compete. That’s what makes Kym stand out in the end, she knows how to make dancing fun and enjoyable and her teaching style caters exactly to that mindset best… but if you want to compete, she’ll be able to whip you into shape and you might actually like it.

Heidi: Well, John, I would like to be taught by a MALE dancer, thankyouverymuch. 🙂 Kinda leaves Kym out regardless of her roughness level or lack thereof. Anyway, I’m gonna love any girl who calls my boy Derek “beautiful boy” – she’s a kindred spirit. 🙂 Seriously, though, she’s always a joy to watch – and she makes even the most annoying partner tolerable. She inhabits every dance regardless of the talent (or lack thereof) of her partner – like Courtney said, you can see it in her face. I was really bummed out she got injured and couldn’t do the Viennese Waltz with Derek during the last tour – Aliona did great, but I really would have liked to see Kym do it. I could also listen to her talk for HOURS.  She is one pro that can do the E! or ET correspondent thing and do it quite well.

Courtney: No joke – Kym’s voice is so soothing.  Heidi, I too could listen to her talk for hours – that mellow, laid-back Aussie accent and her bubbly (yet somehow also calm) demeanor are the auditory equivalent of Xanax.  If I had an app on my iPhone that could play sound clips of Kym (and Laurence Fishburne) talking, I would not need to be on anti-anxiety meds.  😀 And the girl is articulate, too!

Lacey Schwimmer:

Courtney: Ok, let me first start off by saying that I DON’T HATE LACEY.  Quite the contrary – I think she often brings a breath of fresh air to the show with her creativity & her “rebel” side.  However, Lacey is someone that I find myself getting irritated with often, and it’s usually for the same reasons I like her – her creativity & her rebellious side.  Let me try to explain. I think a big part of Lacey’s appeal (especially to younger DWTS fans) is that she likes to “bend” the rules of ballroom a bit – whether it’s going barefoot or wearing boots instead of ballroom shoes, or wearing funky costumes or hairstyles, or choosing to abandon ballroom altogether and do a hip-hop freestyle (Lance’s in season 7).  Now while I think change is good, and I agree that DWTS has never been and will never be a “real” ballroom competition, I do think there are certain ballroom rules to abide by – and one of those cardinal rules is wearing ballroom shoes, which Lacey often seems aversed to.  Why? Because they’re worn for a reason: to accentuate the movement of the legs & hips.  So when Lacey decides to forego them in order to be “different”, I don’t think it’s really fair for her to pout when she & her partner get critiqued for not having enough hip action (case in point: her rumba with Lance).  Speaking of pouting – it’s another thing that she does that just gets irksome.  She, like Louis, is guilty of making some pretty snippy comments in the media after Nicole won – and she wasn’t even on the show last season, so it really made her come across as rather petty.  She’s pouted on other occasions as well – usually after a less-than-complimentary critique from Len.  At this point, I just kinda wish she’d realize that Len is a traditionalist – so if you’re constantly trying to be “untraditional”, be prepared to get called out on it.  As for her actual dancing…I’m afraid her technique pales in comparison to many of the other female pros on the show, but I think this is more a product of her being primarily a swing dancer who has happened to have done some ballroom.  Her Latin is decent, but her ballroom – it truly makes me cringe sometimes. Ok, now that I’ve gotten all the stuff about Lacey that bothers me out of the way, there are quite a few things I do like about her – the most obvious being her prowess in the swing & line dances.  I’ve loved her lindy hops & jitterbugs, and she’s the only pro who’s given us an authentic country 2-step routine.  And she shines in the pro dances, especially the ones with a more contemporary feel – she’s surprisingly skilled in the lift department, and is up there with Chelsie as one of the best liftees on the show.  A shining example of this is the pro dance she did with Dmitry to Nastasha Bedingfield’s “Soulmate”, as well as Teddy & Tyne’s dance to Maxwell this past season, which Lacey actually choreographed.  I also have to give her props for working with some difficult partners – Lance was constantly touted as the “worst dancer in NSync”, and Steve-O was still struggling with drug & alcohol issues while he was on the show.  She managed to make a decent success out of both, so I definitely respect that. 

John: I’d like for Lacey to throw out all the rules. If they ever have a Dancing with the Stars with a variety of dance styles and no “rules” I vote for Lacey to be on the show. Plus, I guess I get a bit of a high when I see Len’s pantyhose all bunched up in a knot. I should clarify though. I like her without rules on the dance floor. I don’t really like when she goes crazy off the dance floor (ie. on Twitter). This may sound a bit contrary to my view that Derek needed to be less PC, but there’s a difference between making constructive comments and me me me comments. It’s a hard thing to do when you’re seen by 10’s of millions of people at such an early age, but it still bothers me on occasion. I actually really enjoyed Lacey with Lance Bass. That partnership seemed to work for me and created some great and memorable dances. Her other partners have been less than exciting for me and I predict that Kyle and Lacey are going to set a new low for her as far as Lacey and the chemistry with her partner. I do love when Lacey and Benji have danced together on the show. When they’re in their element it’s some of my favorite dancing to watch.

Marianya: Of all the SYTYCD imports, Lacey’s my least favorite. This is mainly because I classify her primarily as a Swing dancer, rather than a Latin dancer. Sure she’s won a title in Youth Latin Ballroom Dancing, but with her massive background in swing dancing I really don’t consider her a strong fit with the rest of the cast. That being said, she brings in a breath of fresh air that caters to the younger audience mentality of breaking traditions and expanding horizons, aka the Rebel. In reality my belief is that Lacey’s technical prowess on the dance floor is slightly lacking in the latin dances and don’t even get me started with the ballroom dances. However, when it comes to West Coast, Jitterbug, Lindy Hop, Country 2 step… etc she’s very strong… however these are all extensions of her swing dance training. That being said she has placed decently well with her partners to date… so her teaching style is strong and so is her connection to her partner. So perhaps her non-conformist style is working for her… but for me being a non-conformist can only take you so far…

Heidi: Coincidentally – or NOT – all of the dances that Lacey excels at are those that I don’t much care for. If we never have a another Jitterbug, Country 2 Step or West Coast Swing dance on the show again that would be perfectly okay by me.  She does get carried away on Twitter and  elsewhere with her me me me attitude, and yes that annoys me. But the worst was her attitude towards Nicole and others (pimping Maks/Erin’s showmance, trying to start Nicole/Derek showmance rumors, among other things) when on Daily 10 during last season. Worse than a genuine feeling that it was unfair to have Nicole on the show, was that I got the feeling that everything she said and did on Daily 10 was very self centered – that is, she was reporting what she thought the show and their audience wanted to hear. She could have (should have?) ruined her shot on one show, for the sake of another.  I guess that’s a common thing, but I don’t care for it.  All that said, I liked her with Steve-O and I particularly liked her solo with Lance during one of the team dances – that move she did where she drops to the side and Lance catches her – extremely sharp, very impressive. And not nearly as easy as she made it look. John – do NOT mention her brother’s name to me. Ick. 🙂 And finally, girl? Dye your hair back to dark brown – you have gorgeous eyes and the brown sets them off much better. 🙂

Courtney: John, I can see where you’re coming from with regards to enjoying Lacey “throwing out the rule book” on the floor, but maybe I should amend my last statement – it annoys me when Lacey breaks rules JUST FOR THE SAKE OF BREAKING RULES.  Sometimes her little “rebellions” don’t add anything to the dance – I don’t think her rumba with Lance was any better because they did it barefoot, nor do I think her smooch with him at the end of their paso doble did anything to improve the overall quality of the dance.  Now if she took a big risk – say, doing a waltz blindfolded (a la Erin & Maks last season) – and it worked for her and her partner, then I would say her rebelliousness paid off.  And I feel I should really add that this isn’t something that just applies to Lacey – I tend to gripe on all the pros when they do silly extraneous stuff that doesn’t enhance the quality of their dancing at all.  Maks’ stripping in he & Erin’s quickstep, Dmitry having Mya spend 8 bars of music dusting the judges’ table in their jitterbug, and in retrospect, Louis’ cookie consumption in he & Niecy’s Argentine tango (which I actually liked at the time, but now find to be a bit pointless) are other examples of extraneous crap that I don’t think was necessary in those routines – I believe Len would refer to it as “mucking about”. 🙂 But I do agree, Heidi, about that one move Lacey did with Lance – if it’s the same one I’m thinking of, it was during the samba smackdown, and it was she & Lance’s “secret weapon”. 🙂

John: I guess I like mucking around and Benji. Some of the mucking is crazy, but as long as Len’s still there to keep it generally in check it makes for great content on the DWTS Cheesecake Awards. Heidi, I agree with you 300000% that she needs to get rid of that blonde and go back to the brown. It’s fine that she tried, but it’s not working.

The round-up

Kym Johnson:

Courtney: The sweetest little Aussie you’ll ever meet – with great boobs!

John: Looks – 10, Accent – 10, Dancing – 10, Personality – 10

Marianya: Fun, flirty, full of sass and joy, definitely a total package when you just want to enjoy yourself… and probably more.

Heidi: Along with the boob envy, I could listen to her talk forever.

Lacey Schwimmer:

Courtney: I respect her need to be unique, but I wish she could balance it with ballroom tradition.

John: Rebel child with a lip on her.

Marianya: It isn’t bad to want to walk with the dark side… just keep a toe over the line.

Heidi: Very good at what she’s good at, but watch the ‘tude, girl.