PureDWTS Season 19, Week 5 – Power Rankings

And this is the week that the hammer drops and suddenly the judges are “over” some of the dance crushes they have had so far this season – particularly Julianne and her crush on Tommy.  Hate to say it, but you only have yourselves to blame, guys – when you gush over the same people doing the same rudimentary stuff week after week, you can’t expect them to improve…and then it’s kinda lame to suddenly say “I’m bored, I want more.” But in the same token, you also don’t have to be over-the-top mean – and I think they got that way with a few of the couples tonight.  They seemed to lose sight of the fact that these were NOT the regular pairings, which is a tough enough row to hoe, and on top of that, they were all doing these bizarre dance styles that none of them are extensively trained in.  Was this REALLY the best week to drop that hammer, stooges?

So I guess the asshattery from Julianne, Carrie Ann, and Bruno made me thankful for Jessie J, who at least seemed to try and find the positive in everyone’s routines while still giving a useful critique – she is a judge on The Voice UK, after all, so I think she felt obligated to be constructive.  Also quite impressed with her ability to not only sing live (!!!), but also do some dancing at the same time.  As I said on Twitter – it’s so rare to find singers that actually sing live and don’t just lip sync, let along singers that sing live and dance as well.  The only other singer I can think of off the the top of my head that also does both is Usher…so she’s in good company.

So I guess all this talk about the judges tonight brings me to pose this question to everyone: do we really need Len? Next week will be the 4th week out of 6 that Len hasn’t been at the judges’ table – and I’m not really noticing his absence.  I’m almost wondering, what with his sorta-kinda farewell speech on the finale last season, if he originally was not gonna come back at all this season – and TPTB somehow guilted him into doing a few shows just to maintain some consistency.

But anyway – no elim tonight, but there is one next week, based on last week’s votes, this week’s scores and votes, and next week’s scores.  As our longtime readers know, the more total points given out = the smaller the margins = the greater the likelihood of a “shocking” elimination.  It really becomes a battle of the fanbases – who’s getting the votes vs. who isn’t.  I don’t care if you’re at the bottom of the leaderboard – in a massive-points-dump-to-calculate-elimination scenario like this one, the playing field becomes a lot more level.  To give you an idea of what crazy sh*t could happen – Sabrina was voted off the all-star season in a week where she was only 1/2 point away from a perfect score…but the elim was based on multiple weeks of scores and votes.  Vote, vote, vote, kids – even if your favorite is in the lead.

1.) Alfonso & Cheryl (Witney) – Aaaaand we’re back to nitpicking Alfonso to death, I see – can’t let him get too confident now, can we PTB? Once again, he dances FLAWLESSLY – and in a style that’s totally different than anything we’ve seen from him so far. He nails the technique (those heel things he was doing at the beginning are insanely difficult – the bf actually got a hairline fracture attempting it during a showcase routine), he nails the drama (loved the dust – just that added drama every time he clapped his hands), and he nails the partnering…and all Carrie Ann and Bruno wanna talk about is the distance between his neck and his shoulder??? Seriously, you stooges – what’s the complaint gonna be next week? He’s moving his ears in a strange way when he’s dancing? His pupils are too dilated? He’s flaring his nostrils too much? Because this is getting ri-goddamn-diculous. I guess I see what they’re trying to do – trying to level the playing field, make it seem like Alfonso isn’t running away with this season (even though he really is), but there’s gonna reach a point when even the most dim viewers are gonna say “Ok, that’s just being petty.” And sorry, but 8’s for a dance that good are just ASSININE…especially when they specifically say Sadie missed a few steps in the beginning of her routine, and give her 9’s across the board. She earned her 9’s – but so did Alfonso. Oh well – at least he still gets THUNDEROUS applause after every dance he does. 😀

2.) Sadie & Derek (Mark) – FINALLY Sadie gets some good scores – she’s gotten shafted these past few weeks, so it was good to see her getting some solid 9’s. I actually agree with whichever judge said that her long limbs seemed to suit her well in the Charleston – plus she seemed to actually nail the bouncing action of the basic, which so many people struggle with. Also thought that Derek did a good job of taking a modern song and still making the choreography look like authentic Charleston. I think she, like Alfonso, is getting a bit shafted by the judges, albeit in different ways – Sadie gets good critiques, but scores that don’t match the gushing; Alfonso just gets nitpicked to death and underscored. Makes me wonder if both of them are running away with a ton of votes – on top of the fact that both are actually good dancers, as well.

3.) Lea & Val (Artem) – This was supposed to be a Broadway routine, correct? Cause I certainly saw quite a bit of jive. But anyway…when I heard from Deep Throat that Lea & Val had opted to do something that was “not related to Hairspray at all” for their routine, I thought “Ok, this has the potential to be interesting.” And on paper, it was – I just don’t know that the execution really came together 100% effectively. Seemed like there were 3 separate parts to the routine, and they just kinda got mushed together with some weak transitions – Lea handled them all well, of course, but I don’t know that the end result was particularly cohesive…or Broadway-y. I honestly thought the side-by-side work we saw from Alfonso & Witney in their jazz routine was far more “Broadway” than anything we saw in this routine. Oh well…it was still better than Mya’s ill-fated freestyle to the same song back in season 9. And I still like Lea J

4.) Bethany & Mark (Derek) – I do believe Bethany had a bit of a breakthrough this week – I think we finally got to see a more fun side of Bethany, and she shed some inhibitions out there on the floor with Mark. And she seemed to be really enjoying herself – not that she ever didn’t enjoy herself with Derek, I just think she was able to finally let some walls down with Mark and really embrace the fun. Mark actually gave her some really good choreography – thought the beginning & end were very clever, given the theme this week; he also didn’t hold back, and gave her some pretty complex stuff, which she handled well. She was maybe just a TAD slow on some parts, and could have been a bit sharper at times, but overall, I think she did a really credible job on this one J

5.) Janel & Artem (Val) – Well…so much for burlesque, I guess. Hopefully TPTB learned their lesson – you can’t really throw someone a dance style that’s really more of a vague genre and expect them to churn out a routine that fulfills all of the requirements of being “burlesque”. I can understand Deep Throat’s comparison of this routine to a “music video” – it was too heavy on the writhing and sauntering around and the “look at me, I’m such a seductress!” I guess I give Janel & Artem points for trying, since they likely weren’t given a whole lot of direction, but if I could pick one DWTS routine that I think could be a good precedent for burlesque – it would actually be Andy & Sharna’s rumba in season 16. It had a lot of the aspects of burlesque that Julianne mentioned: a bit of a cheeky, comedic storyline; a sensual female role; and a bit of male-female attraction-dynamic interaction. Wonder how different Janel’s routine would have turned out if she had been given a more old-timey song instead. I just think of all of all the Dita Von Teese burlesque I’ve seen – it’s all about the art of the tease, it’s playful, it’s not always overtly sexual. This routine had potential…it just didn’t really deliver.

6.) Antonio & Allison (Cheryl) – Oy. Well, I will say this: it was not as trainwrecky as I thought it would be, since after hearing the song and talking to Deep Throat, I was prepared for this to be one very, very hot mess. That’s not to say it wasn’t a mess – there were a TON of synchronization issues, plus Allison overdanced wayyyy too much and it just made Antonio look worse by comparison. Oh, and there was a ton of filler, too – a lift where Antonio just basically had to hold Allison up, and the bit with the rope (WTF?) at the end. Did Gilles pop by rehearsal and suggest that, guys? Because it made no freaking sense, other than to waste time and minimize the amount of time Antonio was actually dancing. But somehow – people actually seem to be voting for Antonio. Still see a lot of the cray-cray older ladies on Facebook gushing about how hot he is and how they loved him on General Hospital. So he may hang on awhile longer – or he could go home next week. I just don’t have a very good feel for him.

7.) Tommy & Emma (Peta) – Ok, we get it, PTB: Tommy smokes a lotta weed, and therefore you think it’s funny and clever to have him dance to songs that reference that activity (but heaven forbid you show him doing the “smoke weed” sign). It was kinda funny in week 1; slight “hehe” in week 2; and now, in week 4 – I’m shaking my head and going “Come ON…get a new schtick.” Especially since “Pass the Dutchie” is wayyyy too slow and even for a mambo – I struggled finding the mambo rhythm in it, and can’t blame Tommy for looking tired…the song makes me feel all tired and languid. And need I remind Julianne that TOMMY IS 76. He’s ALWAYS tired, and that’s on top of being a pothead for the majority of his life. If you wanted to see something different out of him – maybe tell the producers to ditch the weed songs, give him a ballroom dance (or paso doble, something more serious), and let him show you if he’s versatile or not. Of course he was gonna get complaints about being repetitive – they basically made him combine his cha-cha and his salsa and do it to a song that wasn’t right for the dance they wanted him to do. Are you sure you didn’t get a contact high while judging, Jules?

8.) Mike & Witney (Emma) – Does anyone HONESTLY still think that Mike is getting “pimped” at this point? And yes, I kept seeing this idiotic notion pop up in various social media mediums in the past week – people genuinely believing that Mike is getting propped up by TPTB so they can “keep the NASCAR viewers around”. Errr…if that’s the case…they’re really taking a gamble by absolutely HOSING the guy every week. I honestly didn’t think this disco was as bad as the judges were making it out to be – I actually thought it was one of his stronger dances, and Witney somehow managed to pull some focus and (sort-of) synchronicity out of him. Sure, it was still very, very kindergarten, but he seemed to keep up with it much better than some of the other dances he’s done. And he’s still managing to come across as fun and charming – while some better-dancing dudes (*cough*Antonio*cough*) aren’t. For that reason, I could see him surviving next week’s elim – still think he could wind up in jeopardy, but I don’t think his head is rolling…yet. If the judges have anything to do with it, he’ll be out soon, though.

9.) Jonathan & Peta (Allison) – I mentioned this on Twitter, but I actually feel just a little bit bad for Peta – this is the second time the partner switch has kinda chewed her up and spat her back out.  I see what she was trying to do – have everyone be impressed with  Jonathan & his ability to handle very high-energy and complex choreography; instead, I feel like he became totally overwhelmed by it, and the whole thing kind of fell apart.  I’m also not sure that having him do any sorts of lifts (let alone SEVERAL lifts) was a very good idea – Deep Throat mentioned that he almost dropped Peta in dress rehearsal, and it was just painful to watch him really fumbling with lifting her tonight.  And this song  was just sooooo faaaaast…he was missing steps and leads left & right.  Add all of that to his really weak samba last week – and I daresay Jonathan could be in a bit of deep dookie.  His fanbase is kinda iffy right now – the last time he had a routine as weak as last week’s, he ended up in jeopardy; and I daresay last week’s was even weaker than his week 2 cha-cha.  And unlike some of the other contestants who have multiple claims to fame – Jonathan really only has 1 movie from 10 years ago to back him up.  Are there really THAT many Mean Girls fans tuning in & voting? So I’m picking him as my “shocking (but not really shocking, when you think about it)” elimination – could be someone more obvious (Mike, Tommy, even Antonio), but my gut says Jonathan’s time is up.

So what are your thoughts on tonight’s show? Do you think the judges were fair? Which switch pairings worked for you…and which didn’t?