PureDWTS Season 20, Week 5 – Power Rankings

First off, an apology: these are late, but I do (sort of) have good reason: I needed time to cool off after last night’s show (more on that later) and I actually got caught up talking to Deep Throat and just got too tired to start these last night (as I usually do).  Then after my truncated sleep schedule last night (no rest for the spoilers!), I just dragged all kinds of @$$ today and didn’t get around to finishing these until just now.  So I apologize – hope this is all still relevant and you guys haven’t completely moved onto Spring Break week 😉

Overall, I enjoyed Disney night – this one felt a lot more well-prepared and planned out than the last, which felt a bit hastily thrown together.  Sorry to see Suzanne go – I do feel like she was really trying and wanted to be there, and maybe just got caught having a weak moment in rehearsal.  But if she didn’t go home this week, she certainly would either next week or during the double elim – just kinda stinks that she went out on a bit of a low note, forgetting almost half her routine.  And it started out so promising, too! Hopefully she can do it again on the finale results show 🙂

1.) Riker & Allison – I put these two at the top because they just had a fantastic dance without any weirdness coming from the judges – they weren’t overpraised, they weren’t underpraised, and I felt like they managed to balance the obligations of their dance style with the obligations they had to be theatrical during Disney week.  And for the first time this season – I felt like both of them were 100% in the zone and at the top of their game.  The past few weeks, I either feel like Allison has been the weak link, or a certain dance wasn’t quite in Riker’s wheelhouse – that ended last night.  Riker rose to the occasion with his Jack Sparrow impressions, no doubt – but I think what really impressed me was just how well he really shapes his body and manages to get the most out of every movement in the paso.  I also appreciate how he’s able to really take his time and properly accent syncopated beats – so many amateurs seem to just rush through it or make it wishy-washy, but he STICKS IT.  And boy does he need to, with Allison sticking every single last movement  she does.  So bravo to these two – they finally met in the middle and matched each other’s energy.

2/3.) TIE: Nastia & Derek and Rumer & Val – The double standard applied to these two couples is part of the reason why I didn’t even start writing the power rankings until today – I was just too irritated by what the judges said.  My main gripe? Rumer lip syncs to her song, gets praised for it; Nastia & Derek do the same thing TO A SONG THAT BASICALLY REQUIRES LIP SYNCING and get docked for it.  I don’t think anyone can claim with a straight face and a sound mind that this was a fair application of Carrie Ann’s sudden lip-sync policing (side note: is there any other inane aspect of dancing of which this twit can claim herself to be the police? The “too-bouncy hair” police? The “excessive pupil dilation” police?) Add to that the fact that Nastia & Derek were more or less coerced into performing to “Love is an Open Door” (see Rob’s interview HERE and Rumer & Val’s package HERE for proof), and I think this week was basically engineered to make Rumer the golden girl once again and paint Nastia as the inferior, rule-violating second banana.  I’ll say this about Rumer’s dance: it was a good, theatrical piece.  The theme and mood were entertaining.  But I don’t think anyone can pretend that was a peerless example of how samba should look – there were samba steps, yes, but it they took liberties with the samba rhythm, and this was neither fluid nor did it move around the room like a samba.  It was also choppy, with the samba steps it did have being frequently interrupted by filler and posing – a problem I’ve had with Val’s choreography for years now.  Once again, I’m left with this to say: Rumer handled what she was given well – but yet again, what she was given was NOT a good example of the dance she was to be portraying.  Not her fault – this one’s on Val.  AGAIN. As is the impression that I (and many others, I’ve seen) am getting that Rumer is pretty one-note – she can do dark and edgy or sexy and edgy…and that’s it.  If I didn’t think it would get vetoed by Prince Joffrey-er, VAL, I wish they would get saddled with the most ridiculous, un-edgy, un-sexy song for Spring Break week – something like “Who Let the Dogs Out” or “Boom Shack-a-Lack”, so that they have no choice but to be completely silly.  I think Rumer would gladly embrace it – I think Val’s head might explode.  Because he’s a SERIOUS competitor, guys. Don’t kid yourself, Val – had any other pro, male or female, tried to do perform that exact same routine, they would have gotten reamed by Len for “too much messin’ about” and “letting the theme get in the way of the dance”.  As for Nastia & Derek – I don’t think the judges could have expected a better dance the turd of a song that NOBODY wanted – it was engaging, entertaining, and made good use of the music.  The overall production value was strong – otherwise, I doubt they would have ended the show with it.  Carrie Ann and her lip-sync policing can go get eaten by a lion – that was the most irrelevant, completely fabricated-on-the-fly excuse for docking those two a point that I have seen since she docked Corbin & Karina for a lift she wasn’t sure she saw back in season 17.  She could have even said “that dance didn’t turn me on and make my lady parts tingle like Rumer’s dance did!” and I would have believed it more than the lip syncing excuse.  You don’t get to pick and choose when you make up a rule, Carrie Ann – it either gets applied to everyone or no one.  Go fall out of your chair a few times in order to get that through your head, k?

4.) Willow & Mark – I would say that I want to see some less over-the-top, more pared-down number from these two – but I have a hard time saying that this week because I actually loved this dance 🙂 Loved how trippy, disorienting, and haunting it was – it was very Alice-y.  And it was still a proper foxtrot! For me it kind of harkened back to Mark’s Harry Potter-themed Viennese waltz with Chelsea in season 12 – just really, really cool and creative.  And once again, Willow kept up nicely – I don’t see her struggling or getting lost with her timing, and I have to give her props for always remaining PRESENT in the dance.  She never breaks character or allows her face to show if she doesn’t really know what’s going on – she keeps with it.  Thought the judges bitching about the theme was a bit of a cheap shot on Disney night – if Disney can put a moratorium on the sale of specific Disney titles for years on end, then the judges should be able to put a moratorium on nit-picky comments about  “the theme overshadowed the dance, blah blah blah” on a night WHEN THE COUPLES ARE BASICALLY ENCOURAGED TO PUT ON A HUGE PRODUCTION.  Calm your tatas, Len.

5.) Noah & Sharna – First of all, I have to get this off my chest: hair department, for the love of god – DO NOT TEASE NOAH’S HAIR.  Ever again.  Even if it’s to make him look more like Aladdin.  Noah, you’re a cutie, but that teased-up ‘do just looked silly. However, I actually found this dance adorable – and once again Noah pleasantly surprises me with what he’s able to do.  Kinda glad that Sharna recognized off the bat that Noah will never be able to do rise & fall – so they decided to focus more on the swing and sway instead, and just staying on-time and putting on a good show.  Kudos to both Noah & Sharna for being able to do a foxtrot without Noah having to wear the prosthetic arm he hates – I don’t think some appreciate how much harder it is to mark ballroom dances when you’re never truly in-hold; it’s much easier to lose your balance, or affect your partner’s balance, or get too far apart, etc.  One thing I think Sharna will have to pay attention to in future dances: there is no graceful way for Noah to go up or down a flight of stairs – therefore, I recommend trying to avoid it altogether, because it got a tad distracting that they panned to Sharna every time Noah had to climb down the stairs during the dance.  Maybe think of creative ways to do it – would love to see Noah “surf” down the stairs on a surfboard for their team dance next week 😎

6.) Patti & Artem – Unrelated to how they actually danced: anyone catch why exactly Patti & Artem disappeared so quickly after the opening number? The way they scooted outta there so fast made me think that they were dancing first – but then they were the 3rd ones up, and it didn’t look like they had any hugely complex costume changes to make – certainly nothing like Mark’s rabbit getup.  Did Artem just need more time to practice with Patti? Or is Patti’s knee that bad that they had to give her plenty of sitting time before her dance? Just curious, because it seemed odd to me.  This waltz was pleasant – just like all of Patti’s other dances – but for the 5th week in a row, it was extraordinarily simple, with her repeating a handful of moves verrrrry carefully and with a lot of guidance from Artem.  I love Patti, but sorry – I just need to see much more than she’s giving us at this phase of the competition.  Like Chris, I think she’s already peaked, and she’s either going to plateau or get worse from here on out.  I’m going to be reeeealllly upset if she and/or Chris somehow manage to outlast Robert, who I feel has far more potential (and a much stronger work ethic) than either of them.

7.) Robert & Kym – I give up: what exactly did Robert do that made the judges turn him into this week’s whipping boy??? For as terrible as the judges acted like this quickstep was, I still found it far more entertaining (and far less painful to watch) than Suzanne forgetting half her routine and Chris cringing through his quickstep.  And yes, both scored at least 3 points higher than this.  Color me confused – sure, Robert lost timing, but I can’t say I really blame him…the beat of this song was all over the place! And even though he was off-time, he was still moving, and I still found myself entertained by him.  He didn’t just stop in his tracks like Suzanne; he didn’t make an awkward face and half-ass a move like Chris.  He KEPT GOING – and he stayed in character.  And dammit, this routine was adorable – Kym was an adorable Mary Poppins and Robert was an adorable Bert.  One thing I have to give Robert credit for is that he never phones it in – he always gives 110% week after week, even if he’s not entirely sure what he’s doing.  And the judges seem to have loved him up to this point – so I guess it’s a bit of a head-scratcher for me that the hammer got dropped so quickly and so hard on him last night.  I’m hoping that he’s got enough votes that this obscenely low score won’t put him in danger next week…

8.) Chris & Witney – The fact that this man looked physically ill upon being told that he was safe is reason enough for me for him to skedaddle next week.  Chris’ heart just isn’t in it anymore, it seems – he’s clashing with Witney (not entirely his fault, but I was a little surprised at how jerky he came off during their rehearsal), he’s been struggling since week 2, he’s injured, and he doesn’t seem to be improving at all. It boggles my mind that he managed to score higher than Robert – he may have stayed on-time just SLIGHTLY better, but he certainly had a few fumbles himself and my god, it was painfully awkward to watch.  Complete lack of musicality & showmanship – while Robert, on the other hand, still felt quite musical (and very entertaining!) to me, despite losing timing.  Chris peaked in week 1 – and I’m having a really hard time with the fact that he’s managed to outlast someone as iconic as Suzanne, or a much better dancer like Michael (or even Redfoo).  For the love of all things good in this world, Bachelor fans – please stop voting and let this poor guy just go back to the farm.  You know sh*t has really deteriorated when they have to bring Alfonso back to liven things up…and distract from the fact that you’re so boring…

What are your Disney week thoughts? And how do you feel heading into Spring Break Week?