PureDWTS Season 25, Week 7 – Power Rankings

Greetings from Houston 🙂 I’ve been on vacation since Thursday, and started off bumming around Denver with my sister before heading to hang out at my aunt’s in Magnolia, TX on Sunday.  Happy Halloween, and GO ASTROS!!! 🙂

So the dreaded double elim hit last night, and I think it was kind of a dick move to get both Nikki & Vanessa up there and then go “Surprise! You’re both going home.” Sure, they probably at least had an inkling, but still – dick move, bruh. Can’t say I’m too disappointed to see Vanessa & Maks go – it was getting pretty uncomfortable watching them, and while I think Vanessa was hoping to make it further, I think she may have had a nervous breakdown before long; I get the feeling she’s leaving the show with a bit of a disillusioned, Marilu Henner-esque view of her experience: something she wanted so badly for so long, but it ended up not being nearly as fun as she had hoped. As for Nikki – I had no issues with her, and I do think she was screwed a bit in the grand scheme of this season, but who I really feel for is Artem – for the second season in a row, I think he was unfortunately a victim of circumstance, and his partner was sacrificed in order to keep someone else in the competition longer. Like Mark, he was the only male pro that I thought was making an honest effort to give his partner the best choreo and experience he could – and he still got screwed. I may have seen it coming, but this is one instance I was hoping to be wrong. I would say I hope he gets a contender next season, but given that he’s had two contenders in a row now and STILL gotten shafted, maybe I should start hoping he gets a Bindi or the female equivalent of a Hinch/Grandpa – someone that outwardly isn’t a contender, but ends up just being a natural. I recommend Sarah Michelle Gellar, who was in the audience last week 😎

Halloween week…was Halloween week, and anymore, it doesn’t really seem to vary much from season to season. The team dances as a whole were a scoring/critique dumpster fire, and no amount of ABC posting how “great!” Team Phantom was is going to convince me it’s true – stop trying to gaslight us, ABC.  I guess I’m lightweight curious to see these trios next week, because I think there’s some potential for some showstoppers (Jordan/Lindsay/Corbin, Lindsey/Mark/Kristi, Frankie/Witney/Alfonso…that last one in particular has me particularly curious), some fun, sentimental reunions (Drew/Emma/Rashad), and some head-scratchers (Victoria/Val/Laurie, Terrell/Cheryl/Kelly). To those speculating that Vanessa & Nikki were eliminated because they didn’t have trio members for them – stop. A little birdie told me they actually had quite a few former contestants on-deck that were willing and able to step in, but they were able to be picky & choosy and select the best fit for each couple.  Allegedly, Danica was on the list, which makes sense, given that she’s an L.A. local and a decent dancer – my guess is that she may have gone to Vanessa & Maks, since Maks partnered here during switch week in season 18. If I had to guess (and really, this is just a guess, because I have no idea what other names were on the list), I think Lea may have been a good pick for Nikki & Artem, as she’s L.A. local and a decent dancer. Fun fact: the “bring back a former celeb for the trio” idea was originally kicked around as one of the many lofty ideas the producers had for All-Stars, but with all the flying by the seat of their pants that they had to do that season, it got scrapped.

1.) Frankie & Witney – My favorite routine of the night, BY A MILE, and please forgive me while I go off on a bit of a tangent for a moment: “Every Breath You Take” is possibly the most infuriatingly misinterpreted song I’ve heard in my lifetime (even the guy that wrote it thinks people misunderstand it). Far, far too many people either don’t actually listen to the lyrics, and assume it’s about someone lovingly looking after a romantic partner, to the point where I’ve known more than one couple that has used it as their first dance at their wedding; or they romanticize what is really rather disturbing, abusive, stalker behavior. Both are equally as vexing, which is why I was actually really thankful that Frankie & Witney’s interpretation of the music was the correct one: it was dark, disturbing, and legitimately unsettling – and this is coming from someone with an ex who used to drive over to my house in the middle of the night, park in front of it, and just stare menacingly for hours until I called the cops. This routine gave me goosebumps, because while it hearkened back to my own experience 8 years ago, I was still riveted – the choreo was perfectly suited to the menacing tone of the song and the theme, and Frankie and Witney both sold the absolute sh*t out of it.  If this was Witney’s choreography, I think she stands a decent chance (along with Mark) of possibly garnering an Emmy nomination – if for no other reason than being brave enough to tackle a topic that I don’t know has been tackled before in choreography (I vaguely remember a SYTYCD routine that had an “obsessed fan” theme to it – maybe with Allison? – but not just the average person getting stalked). I think Frankie fully redeemed himself from his slight misstep last week (although I still maintain that the routine wasn’t nearly as bad as the judges, Witney, or Frankie himself made it seem), and seems pretty comfortably insulated with a perfect score of 60 this week…so I think he might actually be the safest of all next week. And I’m also investing further in my theory that he may actually be this season’s tour celeb…

2.) Jordan & Lindsay – First of all, I feel like I need to make sure Jordan fans don’t stroke out – so many of you were tweeting me last night, freaking out over his combined score.  No, I do not think Jordan is in any danger of getting eliminated, and if he happens to be “in jeopardy” next week, I think it’ll be a faux jeopardy just meant to stir up drama. I’ve said from the first week that Jordan & Lindsey will be the last two standing; I don’t see that changing, barring some HUGE manipulation from the judges/PTB that I’m not sure they’re even ballsy enough to attempt. I think the leaderboard this week is just another attempt by the PTB to make this season seem like a real horse race, rather than just two couples running away with the whole thing.  Ride out the panic, and just keep voting – I’m on a bit of a streak right now (correctly predicted the last three elims – four if you count predicting Nikki would go this week) and I’m starting to trust my gut, and my gut is telling me Jordan is safe. Another strong individual dance from him, and he was the only paso of the night that I feel really knocked it out of the park – he was hitting every move confidently, and was giving me serious “Michael Jackson turning into the wolfman in the ‘Thriller’ video” vibes. Maybe not the most memorable routine, at the end of the night, but certainly one of the strongest, technically, and certainly fun to watch. Jordan fans, please BREATHE.

3.) Lindsey & Mark – Having Lindsey get hurt is probably the worst thing that could happen this season, given that she’s been the vehicle by which Mark has given us some of his most impressive choreography EVER – but I will commend her for handling it like a champ, and still managing to deliver a pretty awesome paso doble.  Granted, there were spots that you could tell she wasn’t dancing full-out, and she may have looked a bit wobbly as a result, but man – the fact that Mark had her doing knee walks was badass, and I loved the ending…Mark’s really gotten good at tying his routines up nicely, choreography-wise, so it sticks with you long after. And just like the Jordan fans, I need to issue “breath, please” advisory to the Lindsey fans as well – I don’t think she’s in any danger of getting sent home next week, and I think she actually may be getting the lion’s share of votes.  Like Jordan, I think if she does end up in jeopardy next week (and like Jordan, she probably will), it will be to create drama and solidify their spot in the finales – that’s it.  I stand by the fact that she will be one of the last two standing…but please, keep voting.

4.) Victoria & Val – Since I’m currently on vacay and hanging out at my aunt’s in Houston, I got back a bit late from a pizza run and missed the intro to Victoria’s dance – but oh boy, you guys sure filled me in on Twitter, and I went back and watched it this morning. First off, I may have actually peed my pants a bit, when Val actually seemed to admit that NEARLY ALL OF HIS PREVIOUS PARTNERS WERE ALREADY DANCERS. We’ve only been saying that for how long? Five years? With him either outright denying it, or just conveniently not addressing it? Then he tried to shade both Jordan & Lindsey last night for “being dancers their entire lives”.  So to recap: Val admits that the bulk of his partners had been dancers already when he competed with them (which kinda disses Victoria, because it implies she’s not as easy or fun to partner), and then goes on to shade two current contestants FOR BEING DANCERS ALREADY. It’s not even correct, given that Lindsey hasn’t really had any formal training, but it also reads as ridiculously hypocritical, because he’s basically stomping his foot and saying “It’s only okay when I have dancers, not anyone else!!!” And the fact that he somehow gaslit a teary-eyed Victoria into thinking that she was the problem in their partnership after all this just makes my stomach churn – Victoria has been nothing short of LOVELY this season, and because Val can’t reconcile his inability to partner someone that isn’t already a dancer, it’s suddenly her fault that they’re struggling. Guys, this is textbook abusive narcissist behavior, and I think some of you may need to consider the fact that Val isn’t such a nice guy, after all.  Unfortunately for Victoria, I think TPTB have decided that they must fulfill their Chmerkovskiy quota for the finale, and with Chmerlachey finally biting the dust last night, Victoria is their only hope to get a Chmerkovskiy to the finals – even though that Viennese waltz was a lukewarm non-event that was neither great nor terrible, at best, it got overscored, along with her team dance, to basically ensure she advances next week. But what happens next week should be interesting, because barring some major interference from TPTB, I’m not sure Victoria has the juice to get past Drew, Frankie, Lindsey, or Jordan – I think all of the above have been dancing better than she has, and I think all of the above also have the potential to best her in votes. I think bringing Laurie in as their third trio member is a bit of a calculated popularity move, even though Laurie will really have to dumb down her dancing so as not to overshadow Victoria – we’ll see how it pans out.

5.) Drew & Emma – I’m kind of at a weird point with this couple – I like them better than at least one other couple still left, but I don’t know that I find them as charming as most of the others remaining.  They’re very good at playing the game and managing to stand out week after week, but I’m not sure I find their dancing as appealing as Lindsey, Jordan, or Frankie’s, and Drew doesn’t seem to have the same organic charm of Lindsey or Frankie. I would prefer them in the finale over Victoria & Val, but they’re the first couple I’d cut if I was told that one of the finale spots absolutely had to go to Victoria. Drew’s done far better than I expected he would, make no mistake – but their Charleston last night just felt like more of the same that we’ve seen from them in recent weeks, and it’s just not as clean and polished as several of the others we saw last night.  I think Drew’s hectic schedule is starting to take its toll, headed into the final weeks of the show, and I’m just not sure these two have the juice to take it all the way.  I’m hoping they get a bit of a boost from having Shad in their trio, though – so who knows what might happen.

6.) Terrell & Cheryl – I’m honestly pretty disappointed to have these two here, because they’ve really grown on me and I’d like to see us getting another week out of them – but with Terrell in the basement, points-wise, I’m not sure he’s going to be able to dig himself out…even though I think he actually may be beating at least Victoria in votes, I’m doubting he’s going to be able to cover the spread. If the team dance nonsense was meant to protect Victoria, I think it was also partially an attempt to cut T.O. loose and start finalizing their ideal finale. T.O.’s been fun and another quite pleasant surprise this season (along with Frankie), but I think TPTB are at the point now where they’re like “Haha, yeah, it’s been fun – but you gots to go, now, bro.” The tango wasn’t his best dance, but it was far from his worst – you could tell he was really trying, and while his frame is still a tad wonky (an unfortunate side effect of most partnerships with a height difference) it was still pretty clean, and I was loving how excited he was about his vampire fangs 😛 Honestly, at this point, I would be thrilled to see Terrell outlast either Victoria and/or Drew – but I think the fix may unfortunately be in on this one.  But he’s had a lovely journey this season, and I think Cheryl has actually had a lot of fun partnering him.


Thoughts on the team dances:

I’m still shaking my head over how this sh*tshow shook out – quite possibly the most nonsensical scoring/critiques o a team dance ever, and my best guess is that it was done with the intent to protect somebody on Team Phantom (most likely Victoria, since they already knew Vanessa was a goner, Frankie got a perfect score in the individual dance, and they weren’t afraid to rip into Drew last week, so he’s either safe or expendable) from elimination next week. Likewise, I think TPTB knew that low-balling the team with the two front-runners (Jordan & Lindsey) on it wasn’t likely to endanger either of them, they already knew Nikki was a goner, and they seem to be letting the chips fall where they may with Terrell. Both teams had some synchronization issues – and I may need to watch again, but I think Team Phantom may have actually had more (most of them coming from Victoria), on top of having some very, very remedial choreography. I think the whole “celebs dance alone for 20 seconds” section of Team Phantom’s dance was an utter mess – all four celebs seemed to be experiencing varying degrees of uncertainty what they should be doing and where they should be going, which was ridiculous, since their choreography was basically just a series of straight 8-counts walking from place to place, posing, then making a line, posing, and then making a circle and posing. Given that it seemed to be a composite of last season’s girls’ team dance and some copycatting of other team dances (Team Past from season 23, maybe?), I’m gonna guess Val took the lead on choreo, perhaps assisted by Emma & Witney. Regardless, I have to shake my finger at all the pros on that team, because at least half of them are better than what we saw tonight, choreo-wise. I will give Frankie my MVP award for Team Phantom, for being enthusiastic and making a big snooze of a dance slightly more enjoyable. But yeah – nowhere near a perfect 30, and I hope to god the judges get dragged to all hell on social media for daring to gush and act as if this was the best team dance ever…most transparent manipulation EVER is more like it. As for Team Monster Mash – I thought they had the more creative concept and the more complex choreo, and overall was far more entertained by their dance than the other team’s, messiness issues aside. I actually thought it was smart of them to have everyone do jive in the group sections – three of the four couples had already done it (Lindsey, Terrell, & Nikki) and the remaining dancer can do just about any dance with ease.  Thought the corn maze idea was new & interesting, and the moving mazes added another level of difficulty and clever use of the floor space that the other team didn’t even try to approach. I’d actually probably give MVP of Team Mash to Terrell, who seemed to be having an absolute blast out there even if he wasn’t doing some of the moves correctly. Will either of these dances go down in DWTS history as the best we’ve ever seen? Hell no (nice try, judges) – but I do think they will be remembered as the most ridiculous scoring in DWTS history.

So those are my thoughts – what are yours? 🙂