PureDWTS Season 20, Week 8 – Power Rankings

Not a whole lot to lead-in with – apologize that these didn’t come last night (I try to have the power rankings up before going to bed on Mondays with a results show the following day), but I had a cake to make and my icing gun broke and I kinda lost all my will to live…momentarily 🙂 Then I slept and I was ok.  Definite judges’ agenda last night, and it seemed to be “make sure Rumer makes it to week 9 AT ALL COSTS, and kinda try to shield Nastia & Riker while you’re at it – the rest are expendable”.  Len has completely lost all credibility for me at this point – just seems like he’s following the directions being fed to him by TPTB each week, even if it means contradicting himself.  Random epiphany I had while watching Robert’s samba trio: how cool would it be to have a pro samba to George Michael’s “Freedom ’90” with the pros playing female & male models? 😉

Also, a point of clarification on Nastia’s “meltdown” in their package: per Deep Throat, that occurred at the end of an 8-hour rehearsal, and Nastia was already planning on heading home – so yeah, she didn’t “walk out of rehearsal in anger”, as some are trying to spin it. Also interesting to note: sometimes the staff filming the rehearsals are encouraged to ask kinda inflammatory questions in order to amp up the drama when the pros and celebs are feeling tired, anxious, stressed, etc – so the frustration you saw from Nastia was more than likely her getting irritated by a needling cameraman, rather than with Derek. Felt that this required clarification, since some of Derek’s detractors seem to be having a field day on Twitter over Nastia’s “outburst”. Hehe – I’ll show you a REAL outburst. Just goes to show that the narrative of the show has gotten so out-of-control that you can’t trust the rehearsal packages anymore.

1/2/3.) TIE: Nastia & Sasha (Derek), Rumer & Val, and Riker & Allison – The major point I gleaned from the judging & scoring last night was that the judges wanted to ensure that these 3 couples survived tonight’s elim – beyond that, I don’t think they really cared who go eliminated.  That being said – even though they were all relatively close in scores, I don’t necessarily think they’re getting an equal number of votes.  The fact that Rumer got a perfect score for a rumba that felt more like a tango and a oddly tame paso doble makes me wonder if she NEEDS the help – as I’ve mentioned in previous weeks, I’m just not sure if she’s getting a ton of votes from people who are fans of her parents, and with Val fans splintering into factions (the Vajanel fans have NO LOVE for Rumer, from what I’ve seen), I’m dubious about how many of Val’s fans are actually voting for her.  She danced well last night – but once again, I’m left going “Val, WTF?” as the pendulum now seems to be swinging more in favor of very safe, almost sedate choreography from him.  Noticeably lacking in her rumba was any sort of movement where we’d see significant hip action, and it all had a staccato feel that felt more appropriate for a tango – rumba definitely has more of a fluidity than what we saw.  As for her paso trio – I actually thought they could have ramped up the intensity quite a bit more, as some of the movement felt a bit soft to me; I actually thought Nastia did better both in terms of body shaping and intensity in her paso than Rumer did in hers.  Also worth noting: how many times has it been, now, that the judges have conveniently run out of time when it’s been time to critique Rumer, and have had to resort to a “You did great!” without actually giving a real critique? Food for thought. Moving right along to Riker – I don’t think I’ve ever been as completely lost & confused by a judges’ critique as I was by Len’s critique of Riker’s Viennese waltz.  It seemed like Len was taking out his dislike of “messing about” on Allison, who actually choreographed quite a proper Viennese waltz, when he SHOULD have been directing that ire at another pro who has taken all sorts of liberties with what defines each of the dances in previous weeks.  Granted, Riker’s Viennese wasn’t perfect – and I think Mama Spence hit the nail on the head when she remarked after the dance that Riker “seemed emotionally immature – he was smiling most of the time!” I just think he’s so young and naive that when Allison told him to channel “angst from a breakup”, he wasn’t left with much of a frame of reference.  But yeah – Len’s critique both confused and pissed me off.  The “narrative” of this season has taken over completely, and Len is just making a caricature of himself at this point. As for their trio – the energy was great and he nailed the choreography, but there was just something lacking for me.  Maybe some of the choreography got a little repetitive, maybe I wish they had used the space a bit more – but I think they could have absolutely KILLED it, and they just came up slightly short of doing so. Now as for Nastia – paso doble was cool and definitely had cool moments (loved the flip Sasha did over Nastia’s shoulder), but I wonder if the song kinda made it hard for them to create an ideal paso doble.  Parts seemed a tad slow.  I LOVED their trio, though, and thought to myself “THAT’S how you handle a song with a lot of tempo changes and an injured pro – WITHOUT copping out and asking for a different song.  With the way it was set up and how clever the transitions were, it would not surprise me if this one was submitting along with their Charleston in D’s Emmy package – it was just the kind of set-up that seems to scream “Emmy bait!!!”

4.) Noah & Sharna – Kind of a mixed bag for Noah last night – one ho-hum dance (his tango) and one pretty awesome dance (his salsa trio).  I think the problem with his tango was that he just got too focused on doing it right – and consequently, he went a bit blank in the face, and the dance came off a bit “blocky”, as Carrie Ann said.  Granted, he’s only able to do so much pivoting with any degree of smoothness with his leg, so I guess I can’t complain too much.  I guess my one problem with it was that he didn’t look like he was having fun.  As for his salsa trio – it was my 2nd favorite trio of the night, after Nastia’s 🙂 I don’t think I’ve ever seen Noah look like he was having as much fun as he was with Sharna & Emma dancing around him – and Sharna, hats off to YOU, lovely, because that arm-wrapping sequence was some genius-level sh*t 😎 I actually thought the salsa was a tad underscored, relative to Robert’s off-time samba trio and Chris’ Clydesdale paso doble.  But I think he probably has the votes to survive this week’s double elim – but next week will be a different story.

5.) Chris & Witney – I think I realized whilst watching Chris dance last night, just how apt my Clydesdale comparison is.  You see, Clydesdales are work horses – they’re big and clunky, and they aren’t known for being particularly graceful or fast, but they can do simple stuff (albeit kinda slowly), and generally let the show ponies and racehorses do the complicated, showy stuff.  That’s exactly the impression I got watching both his contemporary and paso doble trio – Chris, once again, stayed relatively stationary, doing either simple movements or just lifting his partner, while Witney and/or Lindsay danced around him.  In his paso doble in particular, it felt like he was doing “paso doble by numbers” – you could practically see him counting, then doing some simple move; counting again, doing the same move in another direction; counting once more, then spinning the girls.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  I’ve already said it multiple times, but I guess I’ll do it once more with feeling: Chris has plateaued on this show.  He isn’t going to get any better (and he’s probably going to get worse), and he doesn’t appear to be having a very good time – so please, for the love of god, LET HIM GO HOME.  A Clydesdale belongs on the farm, doing farm things – or making me bawl my eyes out in Superbowl commercials.  Not on the dancefloor.

6.) Robert & Kym – I’m left feeling kinda bad for Robert once more, because where Chris kinda gets a free pass from the judges despite never really improving, Robert DOES improve, but never gets the credit he deserves from the judges.  I actually thought he & Kym’s contemporary was quite a bit better than Chris & Witney’s – it was for sure more organic and had better flow – yet he still gets a point less than Chris, along with a begrudging “Eh, you improved a little” pat on the head from the judges.  I just DO NOT GET the hard-on the judges seem to have for Chris, although I do credit Carrie Ann for pointing out a bad dance when she saw one.  But anyway – I think Robert may have gotten a tad screwed when they handed him samba as his trio dance, because I think Clydesdale was able to do his 8-counts of kindergarten choreography more easily to a paso doble than Robert was with this samba.  It started out kinda nice – he was on-time, he was engaging both Kym & Jenna, and he looked like he was having fun.  Then something happened about midway through the dance, he got off-time, and the dance never fully recovered.  While I agree that on-time and boring usually trumps off-time but entertaining, in this case, I preferred Robert’s not-quite-on-time-but-at-least-he-sold-it-well samba to Chris’ “I’m a constipated Clydesdale, please send me home so I can poop in peace” paso doble.  Regardless, I think both are on the chopping block tonight, unfortunately.

So let’s hear your thoughts on last night’s show.  Who’s headed home tonight?