PureDWTS Season 19, Week 9 – Power Rankings

I know I’ve been absent for awhile – chalk it up to an insane workload at my 9-5, some Comicon hijinx in Ohio, and a bridal shower in Texas this past weekend (check out my instagram for pix of the latter two – @putuincespence).  Literally, the busiest 2 weeks of my life.  😯 But I’m back now and there’s something I’d like to get off my chest with regards to TPTB…

STOP TRYING TO MAKE JANEL HAPPEN. IT’S NOT GONNA HAPPEN. And in fact, it very well could backfire – especially after what we saw from them tonight.  The viewers are not stupid – they can tell when you’re trying to wrap a turd in tinfoil and sell it to them as a candy bar. You’ve secured her spot in next week’s show – good for you.  But when you pimp and pimp and pimp a certain contestant with the objective of getting them to the finale, a funny thing often happens when they get there: they typically don’t place better than 3rd or 4th place.  Food for thought.

Moving right along…I see Carrie Ann & Julianne are back to riding high on the bath salts train, as neither one had very much credibility tonight – lots of nonsense being spewed, both positive & negative.  Len was a (sort of) stabilizing influence, who wasn’t afraid to speak up and tell them they were full of it, though even he wasn’t completely immune to the nonsense.  My only hope is that he can get really, really real next week – cause he seemed to be turning a blind eye to quite a bit this week that he would normally quite vocally object to.

As for Lea – I feel comfortable saying this: I think she would have made it further with a different partner.  After seeing she & Artem’s rehearsal package for their samba, I tend to think that Artem has held her back a bit this season – I have to wonder if the reason Lea felt so unsure of herself at times was because Artem seemed reluctant to really let her cut loose and show us what she was capable of.  That samba was the most at ease and in the zone  I think we’ve seen her all season – and she kinda had to fight Artem for it.  As for the trio – Lea gave it her all, but I just feel like it was the Artem & Henry show, with special appearance by Lea…likely a side effect of having the “man’s dance” dealt to her as her trio dance, and two shirtless dudes in some questionable bondage kinda stealing focus.  Oh well – I’ll miss you, Lea.  You were far better than I think you were given credit for this season 🙂

1.) Alfonso & Witney – I still get kinda pissed when Carrie Ann becomes a nitpicky wench whenever she’s critiquing one of Alfonso’s dances which, arguably, are near-perfect.  But then I get perspective – because he must really be running away with the MBT if she has to resort to claiming that his ballroom dances are “too smooth” in order to gain any traction for why she won’t give him a perfect score.  LOVED their foxtrot – not only do I feel like Alfonso embraced both the character and the dance well, but I thought Witney’s choreography was clever and fun while still being proper foxtrot.  Still cannot get over how IN SYNC these two are when out-of-hold – and it became even more apparent in his paso trio with Witney & Lindsay, where he was never out-of-step with those two…and he STILL managed to own the dance, which was a feat considering that he had to lead two ladies.  I have yet to be disappointed with this man’s dancing…still my “dream contestant”.  🙂

2.) Sadie & Mark – I guess if there was one dance in which Sadie’s gorgeous long legs might be a liability, it was the jive – and while she did struggle a bit with it, she did do better than most tall ladies with it.  I could tell she was still giving it her all, and it was a very cute dance nonetheless.  But I love, love, LOVED her foxtrot trio – and I think I owe a lot of that to Mark, who got dealt a pretty sh*tty hand and still managed to make it work in his favor.  The very first true ballroom dance used as a trio, and being sort-of forced into picking a female pro to perform next to his celeb? Tough row to hoe – but damn, this routine was just so damn CUTE, was still a proper foxtrot.  I think the only other time I can think of (off the top of my head, mind you) that a pro chose another pro that was the same sex as their celeb was Karina picking Sasha for she & Apolo’s jive trio in season 15, and that, too, was a gamble that paid off.  I think Sadie managed to dominate the trio well (and Emma did a good job of hanging back), and Mark did a great job of seamlessly leading between two ladies.  Gotta say – Mark choreographed two very un-Marklike dances this week, and it worked for him.  Props 🙂 Plus I just adore Sadie, and I think she’s FINALLY getting the love from the judges that she deserves.

3.) Bethany & Derek – Two solid dances from Bethany this week, but I’m still feeling like we haven’t yet seen the best we’re going to see out of her.  Enjoyed her Viennese waltz – gave us a glimpse of vulnerability from her, which we haven’t seen much of yet, and was a respectable Viennese waltz.  Also enjoyed her Argentine tango – very unconventional song, but it’s one I love and I’ve had it on my iPod for awhile now, so I appreciated it.  Thought the combo of Derek & Tony actually worked out surprisingly well – and Bethany meshed well with them both.  There’s just one problem: I’m just not left with a whole lot to say about Bethany at the end of the show.  I guess she’s just not making as huge of a splash for me as Alfonso or Sadie, and she’s not putting me off like Janel is, and she’s not the resident comedian like Tommy – she’s just…there.  Maybe she just hasn’t quite found her niche on the show yet – hopefully in these next two weeks, she can continue to blossom.

4.) Janel & Val – Some very questionable overscoring going on tonight for these two – a quickstep with 20 seconds of the “fussing about” that Len hates in the beginning, some broken hold in the middle, some frame issues, and a misstep at the end getting a 38? A salsa that one judge admits “didn’t contain a lot of salsa” and another judge said “made him uncomfortable at times” getting a 39??? Something’s up – and at first, I wondered if it might have been that Janel was the one getting sent home, and they were trying to make it seem all the more spectacular by padding her score.  The high scorer of the night getting sent home??? OH THE HUMANITY!!!! But then I had to wonder if they were really just trying to ensure that she makes it through to the finale – and if they’re trying to ensure she makes it to the finale, then she must need the help.  I think Tommy’s fate is all but sealed next week, but I’m definitely interested to see just how the finale shakes out – because I don’t think Janel’s got the votes to get past Sadie or Alfonso, regardless of whether she gets a perfect score or not; I think Bethany may even have more voting clout than she does, just based on the volume of YouTube  subscribers she has.  But perhaps I’m putting the horse before the cart – I mean, surely some of you were gushing over that recycled hybrid of the Shawn/Derek/Mark tribal samba freestyle in season 15 and Aly & Mark’s Afro-jazz in season 16, with the addition of risque stunts worthy of Zumanity (yeah, that’s the Cirque show that’s 18 & over ONLY) and some potentially racial undertones, courtesy of Janel, the self-proclaimed “Queen of Color” 😯

5.) Tommy & Peta – Ahhhh, Tommy – even though the remaining contestants are miles ahead of you in terms of skill, I still can’t help but love you and cheer for you 🙂 Because you has HEART, Tommy – and you bring out the heart in Peta, too.  I kind of love watching Peta’s face when they get their scores – you can tell Tommy kinda brings out the mama bear in her: she gets visibly disappointed with their scores, and then  looks over at him, as if to make sure he’s not hurt or sad.  She tries to protect him, and it’s kind of adorable 🙂 As for their dances tonight – I actually thought he did a quite respectable Viennese waltz, and he managed to stay on-time and handle some more complicated steps.  Minor misstep at the end, but overall quite lovely – I probably would have given it straight 8’s.  And then the samba trio…hehe.  I don’t think anyone here is under the delusion that this was a solid, respectable samba – there was maybe 3 samba steps, total – but then again, I don’t think many of us really care, either.  We were all probably too busy laughing our asses off and being entertained by this season’s resident jokester 😉 But alas, I think Tommy’s scores have basically guaranteed he goes home next Monday night – not that he really minds, I don’t think.  Poor Tommy seems exhausted, and I think he & Peta both have the right to be EXTREMELY proud of how far they came this season – someone that most of us had written off as a week 1 elim candidate making it all the way to the semifinals??? That’s pretty awesome.  It may have been Mike who was friends with Bill Engvall – but I think it was Tommy who takes the title of “this season’s Bill Engvall” 🙂

So what are your thoughts on tonight? And what are your predictions headed into the semifinals?