PureDWTS Season 25, Week 6 – Power Rankings

I’m not exactly sure who at DWTS this should be directed towards (Mandy? The producers? Val/Maks/the male pros as a whole?), but here goes:

Exactly how high and out-of-touch with reality were you when you decided on the concept for the opening pro dance for movie week???

Honestly, I don’t know that I’ve witnessed such a gauche, tactless move on this show since…well, ever. And this show has had its fair share of snafus over the years. In the past two weeks, Hollywood has basically had roof blown off of it with 20+ years of Harvey Weinstein’s misogynism and sexual misconduct coming to light, and 30+ women have  come forward with stories of his unwelcome advances in exchange for “furthering their career”; it has really brought the issue of men basically ruling Hollywood to the forefront, and illustrated just how so many women in the industry live constantly under the boot of the patriarchy and have to really fight for representation. So what does DWTS do? Choreographs an opening dance that paints Val as a bright, new, MALE screenwriter, auditioning for a room full of MALE directors, producers, and studio heads, before being given the job and commanding a bevy of doe-eyed ingenues that swoon over his every move. The dance was 3/4 the male pros showing off how awesome it was to be men in Hollywood, and 1/4 the female pros looking pretty swaying in the background and stroking the mens’ egos – and it was yet another insult to the talent of our female pros, just like most of the hair-flipping, sex kitten routines Mandy Moore subjects them to on the regular. And it basically glorified the very culture that women in Hollywood are trying so hard to fight right now – with spectacularly poor timing. I don’t want to hear justifications from anyone that this “was just how old Hollywood was, and that’s what was being depicted” – as far as I’m concerned, the time for reliving and romanticizing those days is LONG past, and for the love of all things good and pure, WAS IT ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY TO DO THAT PARTICULAR ROUTINE THIS SEASON, OF ALL SEASONS?! So help me god, I hope people drag the hell out of Mandy for this one – there were so many other routes she could have gone, and she went with this festering turd instead.  *rings bell like Septa Unella* SHAME… *ring*… SHAME… *ring* …SHAME…

And another item to file under “really bad ideas for DWTS” – who the hell thought it would be smart to bring Shania Twain in as a guest judge??? Aside from her being neither an authority on dance nor particularly relevant to the movie theme, she functioned mainly as a random word and number generator, that spat out incoherent critiques and puzzling scores, and didn’t even sing live when she performed the song she did for a recent movie. I got shades of Idol-era Paula Abdul, trying to make sense of some of what she was saying – it was not a good look.  Just brings me back to “Why do we even need guest judges, anyway?” All the extra scores do is just make the margins smaller for next week’s elimination…which may explain why they felt the need to include a guest judge at all this week: anyone want to place bets that the double elim may come next week? And they’re basically trying to distill it down to who is getting the votes…and who isn’t? Then again, the decision to bring her in may be as simple (and dumb) as somebody high-up at DWTS losing a hand in poker and having to agree to have Shania on to pay their debt 😛

So Nick finally hit the road, and not a moment too soon – that samba was pretty cringe-y, and Nick’s “feign disappointment about getting a low score and being in jeopardy” face was getting progressively less believable with each passing week. Dude was practically halfway to the parking lot before Tom finished saying “And the couple leaving us tonight is…Nick and Peta!” I think Peta was also lightweight relieved to be done, as she seemed to be trying to keep a low profile with all of the Chmerlachey drama – and I think she’s just tired and probably very much in need of the 11-month break she’s going to get before she has to be a pro again. A baby and a marriage in the same year are big life-changers, and we saw how much a year-long break benefited Mark…

1.) Lindsey & Mark – So help me god, DWTS, you had better not do anything to d*ck Mark Ballas over, because he is YOUR BEST HOPE OF EVER BREAKING INTO THE OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHY EMMY CATEGORY AGAIN RIGHT NOW. With Mandy continuing to churn out formulaic drivel, and Derek giving DWTS the bye-bye finger, the show needs routines like this to give them a fighting chance against the likes of SYTYCD and WOD next year. I feel like this is one instance where words are failing me – this may have been my favorite Argentine tango on DWTS, EVER…its predecessor being the Argentine tango Mark choreographed for Paige a year and a half ago. The concept, the choreography, the costuming…just…FLAWLESS.  Still a proper Argentine tango, while still unique enough to stand out. The trick at the end was MONEY. I’ve watched it six times already and I’m still not tired of it. I’m beginning to think this competition may actually be Lindsey’s to lose…

2.) Jordan & Lindsay – I just have to laugh that we’ve reached a point where Len has to resort to bitching about finger styling in order to justify not giving Jordan a perfect score 😛 Honestly, I live for the styling Jordan does with his arms, hands, and fingers – I think I’ve mentioned it before.  So once again, Len is just grasping at straws, as he’s prone to doing. Can’t say this was my favorite routine he’s done so far, but was still lovely nonetheless – he’s another rare male contestant that actually seems to understand and nail the rumba hip action, and he was doing it without a whole lot of effort. I think Lindsay did a nice job of combining rumba steps with a more contemporary vocabulary to fit the “drama movie” theme – and yes, I said Lindsay, because a source confirmed to me that she’s been doing her own choreo for the past three seasons. Calm down, ghost (choreographer) hunters 🙂 Nice routine, doubt he’s in any danger whatsoever…not a whole lot to say this week.  Hope he gets a good Halloween week dance 🙂

3.) Drew & Emma – The fact that I had so many fans tweeting me after last night’s show to ask if I thought Drew was in danger of elimination just makes me realize how not-the-norm this season has been – because honestly, with someone like Drew whose fanbase aligns nearly perfectly with the main viewing demographic of DWTS, I don’t see him being in imminent danger until we start getting to week 8 or 9, at the earliest; but given that the elims this season haven’t been 100% straightforward, I could see why some may have been a bit rattled. But I go back to Drew being a good demographic fit, as well as he & Emma’s skill at “playing the game” – even though Drew is not the best dancer this season, these two are still doing a great job of standing out each week, and appealing to the audience.  Drew’s dances are always clever, funny, and have a good concept – last night was no different. Sure, there were a few issues with him going off-time, but generally, the dance was entertaining, and a fun use of the “action movie” theme – thought he got a bit weird on some of the sections in hold, due to the height difference, but generally, I thought he got rather low-balled, as I would given this one at least a couple of 8’s. But even with that, I disagree with Len – I think Drew ought to be fine for at least next week, if not the week after as well.

4.) Victoria & Val – Let me put this out there: I have absolutely no issues with Victoria. In fact, I think she may actually be my favorite partner Val has ever had – just a genuinely nice, grateful, genuine person that is here to have fun and enjoy the experience. Where I’m beginning to have issues is with Val’s attitude towards Victoria – the one line that really rankled last night was when they were talking to Erin after their dance, and Val said he was “teaching Victoria to stand up for herself”.  Errrr…was Victoria’s MMY story not how she was able to stand up to her bullies in school? I don’t think she needed Val’s tutelage to do that, and the fact that he seemed to be trying to take credit for it just pissed me off on her behalf. She’s clearly not some shrinking violet, and she’s dealt with far more adversity in her life that he’s ever had to cope with. There were also a few comments he made in their package that left me going “Really bro?” and I’m left torn between really liking Victoria, and really not liking how she got treated by Val this week. The routine itself was decent, but I don’t think it was anything extraordinary; Val’s fondess for the high kick of season 24 seems to have changed into a proclivity towards dips (LOTS of dips), I’m guessing in an attempt to keep Victoria stationary as much as possible.  Didn’t love the routine, didn’t hate it; doubt it’s going to hurt or help them a whole lot for next week, but I think they’ll get a bit of a boost by being in faux jeopardy.

5.) Terrell & Cheryl – This may have actually been my favorite routine of the night, next to Lindsey’s – just a very cool, creative concept, and Terrell & Cheryl both having a lot of fun with it while still doing a great dance. Terrell has actually become one of my favorites since MMY week – like Drew & Frankie, I just love it when someone really embraces the experience and goes for it. It took Terrell some time to get there, but he’s here now – and really, he’s not a bad dancer, either.  Watching him do jive, he struck me as a bit less-polished version of Rashad, but he’s still got good rhythm and showmanship.  Will he make it to the finale? I doubt it, but then again, who knows – this season’s kind of a crap shoot, and it’s entirely possible he could outlast Nikki, Vanessa, and maybe even Frankie.  I do think he’s safe next week, though, by virtue of his jeopardy this week.

6.) Vanessa & Maks – #ThatAwkwardMomentWhen you see Vanessa excited to be called safe…and then you see a split second flash of utter panic followed by a smile that’s just a bit too sharp, when she realizes that she’s still stuck with Maks as a partner. And then when you realize she’s also a bit alone in this experience now, with Nick out, you start to realize that Vanessa has got quite a bit on her plate – and it’s taking its toll. She’s been a tad squirrelly from week 1, but it seems to get a bit worse each week – and with all the ado about the too-early skirt drop that Vanessa kept harping on to the judges last night, I was just left thinking “Girl, I hope you get eliminated soon, because I’m not sure I can take much more of the neurotic babbling.” Really and truly, the skirt dropping early was a relatively minor snafu in the grand scheme of the dance – she seemed to recover from it without any major stumbles, and the rest of the dance, while typical Chmerkovskiy-time-wasting fare, she handled with relative ease. Wasn’t my favorite dance of the night, but also wasn’t the worst – but just having to watch the uncomfortable energy between Vanessa & Maks and Vanessa babbling nervously after made it a chore to watch.  I think she’s probably safe for another week or so, unless they pull out the double elim – then all bets are off.

7.) Frankie & Witney – The fact that these two are this low really gets my goat, because in the grand scheme of things, Frankie only made a couple small mistakes, but from the way Carrie Ann the drama queen acted, you would have thought he screwed up the entire routine and completely forgot this choreography.  And with regards to the choreography, whoever did it did NOT go easy on Frankie – this was a pretty intricate and challenging routine, and he kept up and was on-time for probably 85% of it; I was actually really impressed by what he DID do, moreso than I was disappointed with what he didn’t manage to carry off so easily. This should have had at least straight 8’s, with maybe one or two 9’s thrown in.  What worries me is that I still don’t have a very good feel for Frankie’s fanbase – he could be killing it, or he could be in trouble, and while I was heartened last week by how many folks were throwing votes his way after he was in jeopardy, this week the focus seems to have shifted more to Drew, who is low man on the totem pole, but who I think has a stronger fanbase coming in. I’m just hoping y’all didn’t forget about Frankie completely – I threw all my votes his way, because I think he is likely in more danger than Drew, heading into next week.

8.) Nikki & Artem – It sucks that I have these two this low, because I think they’ve done the best they could with everything that’s been thrown at them so far, but there seemed to be multiple factors working against them last night that could potentially spell trouble.  First, they danced first, and were told immediately that they were safe – we’ve seen it happen before where this seems to lull some fans into a sense of false security, and they maybe don’t get their votes in early as a result. First isn’t the worst running order position, but it’s also not the strongest – and can get lost in the shuffle. Then there’s the style and theme they were given – “foreign” was probably the least likely film genre to resonate with the audience, and they were given a style that, while decent, was also the same as the eventual “dance of the night” (Lindsey & Mark’s sci-fi Argentine tango).  Whose tango do you think is going to get remembered more: Nikki’s or Lindsey’s? Really and truly, this was actually a pretty good Argentine tango – a few minor balance issues, and Nikki maybe focusing a tad intensely from time to time, but really quite nice (and Artem’s suit was clutch); question is, is “nice” going to stand out in the long run? I would be happy to be wrong about this one, because I don’t really think these two have gotten a fair shake this season, but I think they may end up fading into the woodwork come Monday, unfortunately.

So who were your favorites from last night? Who got screwed? Who’s in trouble next week?