PureDWTS Season 20, Week 3 – Power Rankings

Well, the warm fuzzies and pleasant surprises I had from the judging last week have left the building – and now we’ve moved on to the “completely inappropriate and actually rather offensive” stage of the competition, where every other thing out of the judges’ mouths seems to be insulting, irrelevant, or just plain mean.  Even after last week’s spiel about bullying, Charlotte got told she was stupid, and it was implied that Riker danced like a girl and Allison danced like a dude.  Oh, and Mike got nitpicked to death for the third week in a row.  “Do as I say, not as I do”, huh judges?

Bittersweet seeing Charlotte go.  I was glad she got to stick around for another week, and aside from the fact that her rumba didn’t have a whole lot of rumba, I still enjoyed it and thought it was her best dance yet; but I think Charlotte may have mentally checked out a bit after the nasty critiques she got in week 1, so it was probably time for her to go, anyway.  If nothing else, she looked FANTASTIC tonight – loved that color on her, and love big, tousled Brigette Bardot-inspired hair 🙂

1.) Riker & Allison – Well, I already thought Riker was a contender after week 1 – but I think this week his real debut, because that salsa screamed “Yep, I’m here, and I’m hungry – take heed, Nastia & Rumer!” And despite Len hemming and hawing and trying to claim that Riker “isn’t the best dancer this season”, I daresay he’s certainly the best male contestant, and bested at least Nastia in terms of technique this week – so he’s quickly inching his way up to the top.  He never missed a beat in this salsa, which was actually the first piece of choreography I’ve seen from Allison on this  show that made me sit up and go “Ok, that was cool.”  And good lord, that girl can spin fast!  He sold it well, he made it his, and he kept time – if I had one complaint, it might be that he seemed a bit stiff in his hips and didn’t “flow” through the movements as fluidly as he could have, but I also partially blame Allison for that, simply because her choreography was a bit more staccato.  Overall, he nailed it, though.

2.) Nastia & Derek – This samba had some standard Derek fare (samba rolls, crazy kicking-over-the-head trick, weird-whippy-around-spinning move) and some new stuff (neck drop, tribal arms).  I thought Nastia handled it great for the most part – seemed to stay on-time, and seemed to have fun; but there were a couple weak moments where she seemed to “slip out” of the groove of the dance a bit, both in terms of how she executed the steps and the look on her face.  God bless Nastia, but she still gets this blank “gymnastics stare” at times – and while I know she’s enjoying herself, it just doesn’t look like she is. In terms of showmanship, I actually think Rumer may have outdone her this week; but when you take into account running order and actual dance content, I think Nastia pulls out slightly ahead of Rumer this week in the rankings.  I’m wondering if Nastia is just more well-suited to the elegance of the standard dances than the party atmosphere of the Latin dances…

3.) Rumer & Val – As I mentioned above, I actually think Rumer came across as more comfortable doing her dance than Nastia did doing hers, so I have to give her points for confidence and overall showmanship.  But my problem  with this one is that it was really more of a disco than a salsa (and please, spare me the lectures about how “the song dictated it!” – Val could have easily worked a few more arm wraps and cross-body leads into that routine at the expense of a few disco moves) – so in that sense, I have to give the overall advantage to Nastia, who had a samba chock full o’content.  And while she nailed this dance (and looked fantastic doing it), I’m getting a bit tired of “smolder-y” Rumer – even though this was more “fun” than her cha-cha and foxtrot, it still felt sexy & serious – I’m ready to see the goofiness of the jive or the quickstep.  She’s still a contender – but like Nastia, I think she’s got a few things she could improve upon.

4.) Willow & Mark – Once again, Mark manages to knock it out of the park with a dance that’s super-creative without being inappropriate for a 14-year-old 🙂 Sure, his costume may have been a tad ridiculous (hello, Jack Frost), but it was definitely something we’ve never seen before on the show; and Willow kept up and maintained the serious mood of the dance well.  There were a few spots where she could have committed a bit more to the movement, but I have to give her props for her focus – she was able to commit and pay attention to the dance far better than Charlotte, who’s got some years on her.  She’s kind of the dark horse for me, right now – I thought it would really be Michael or Noah, but as they’re currently contending with other issues…I think Willow is quietly working her way to the top of the pack.

5.) Noah & Sharna – Ok, sorry, going to start this one out with a minor rant: starting to get just a tad irked by those who love to poke holes in my happiness bubble after I watch this guy dance.  I can be in awe of how he managed to hoist Sharna over his shoulder with ONE ARM, and somebody does a drive-by on Twitter and says “Yeah, but he’s still not really dancing” or “They’re just going easy on him because he’s an amputee”.  One, I don’t care how much he is or isn’t dancing, because I think it’s absolutely miraculous that he’s even able to move at all when he’s up there, and I still find myself entertained by it; two, OF COURSE they’re going easy on him because he’s an amputee – because no matter how high-tech or advanced his prostheses might be, or how hard he works, Noah is NEVER going to have it as easy as someone with real arms and legs.  To act like he should be treated the same as everyone that has all of their limbs is just delusional, IMO, and if you take a silly television dancing competition THAT seriously that you get severely bummed by the judges cutting this guy some slack due to his unique anatomy – perhaps you need to get a bit of a life.  I love watching this guy dance, if only for the fact that I find it fascinating how he manages to use other parts of his body to compensate for the work of ones he no longer has.  Keep on truckin’, Noah! You’re doing a great job 🙂

6.) Robert & Kym – Not going to address all the “wink wink, nudge nudge” comments I was seeing on Twitter about these two – they’re adults.  They’re single.  They’re having fun.  Let ’em. 🙂 Very pleasant rumba to watch – not a ton of hip action from Robert, but he was there for Kym at every moment and there was chemistry to boot.  Not a whole lot else to add – was a sweet rumba, but would like Kym to push Robert a bit harder with content in the coming weeks.  Luckily, I think they’ve become the sweethearts of this season, and are gaining fans – so they could stick around for a while.

7.) Suzanne & Tony – Suzanne’s still not quite up to snuff with how well I think she COULD be doing, but she is improving each week – so I have to give her a lot of credit for that.  She still seems rather timid in most of her moves, so I’m hoping she can continue to break through on that; also seems like she lost time quite a bit, so maybe Tony just needs to sit her down and count out music for awhile with her.  But man, she always seems to have so much fun out on the floor – thought it was adorable how she wanted to wear her fruit hat 🙂 Thought she was a tad overscored with respect to Michael – I probably would have flipped their scores.  Eager to see her do a ballroom dance, as I think that might suit her better. I think she’s still getting quite a few nostalgia votes – but part of me also wonders if she & Patti are catering to the same demographic, and are thus splitting votes. Guess we’ll see.

8.) Michael & Peta – Starting to feel really bad for this guy – sure, this was probably his weakest dance yet, but I still felt like he kept up and didn’t miss any steps; I watched it back 3 times to try and see where Bruno said he “went off-time” and couldn’t really find it.  But the judges just seem to love nitpicking him to death – they don’t find anything to praise, and just kinda go on and on about his timing, his feet, his lift technique, yadda yadda yadda.  It’s as if they can’t find a single redeeming quality about his dances, which is a load of bull when you see Patti getting praised for basically riding around on a luggage cart for a minute.  I think he was underscored relative to Suzanne, who I felt didn’t have as much content in her dance; I probably would have given this at least a couple 7’s.  My only issue with it was that it was a bit timid, and he just didn’t look like he was having fun.  Kinda wish he’d either have a breakthrough week, or the judges would actually tell him he’s doing something right – he’s starting to look a little defeated.  Not sure where his fanbase stands – I think he’s safer than Chris, but beyond that? No idea.

9.) Chris & Witney – This went a lot better than I thought it would, given that I heard he and Witney had some pretty major struggles in rehearsal last week.  I think Witney may have phoned it in a bit on the choreo, because Chris didn’t seem to move around the floor a whole lot and she kept the intricate footwork scant (or just absent) on his part.  Chris’ role in the dance was to primarily just be a a frame for Witney to dance around 🙂 The lifts looked great, though – but I’m not sure if that’s more of a credit to Witney or to Chris.  I think the song and the stage set-up made this dance look better than it really was – some folks on Twitter seemed taken by the “drama” of it, but the dancing was just not there for me.  Now I’m at a total loss as to where Chris lies in terms of fanbase – he managed to get past Charlotte last week, despite a deficit, but I wonder if he could be in trouble now that the two pieces of low-hanging fruit (Redfoo & Charlotte) have been picked off.  I’m going to tentatively call him safe for another week, because I’m not sure how much Patti really has left in her, but if she doesn’t withdraw? All bets are off.

10.) Patti & Artem – Oh Patti, Patti, Patti – you are adorable, and even when you’re really not moving a whole lot (or doing a whole lot of whatever dance you’re supposed to be doing), you’re still very entertaining 😎 But I’m not sure that there’s a whole lot left for you to do in the coming weeks, especially if your foot continues to hurt the way it has.  While I enjoyed this and was amused by it, it wasn’t as novel to me as it was last week with her salsa – and even   though I knew going into tonight’s show that she hadn’t had much rehearsal time due to her injury (and had skipped out on the camera blocking) and my standards were low, I just found myself saying “Awwww, Patti…that’s it? Maybe it’s time to bow out, honey.” Here’s where I’m having a hard time: I think she likely has the VOTES to stay, but I’m not sure how much longer she’s going to be able to nurse that foot injury with simple, delicate dance steps.  I also wonder if the schtick is wearing a bit thin with other viewers – so I’m going to verrrry tentatively predict that Patti bows out next week.  If she doesn’t – both Chris & Mike could be in trouble, I think.  Maybe even Suzanne, because I think the two of them might be  sharing a fanbase.  Ack…I don’t know.

What are your thoughts on last night’s dances?