PureDWTS DWTS Juniors, Season 1 – Week 1 Live(ish) Blog!!!

Ok, so technically, since the show is pre-taped, this isn’t a live blog in the same sense that Heidi’s are for regular DWTS – but I am blogging it as I’m watching it…and we’re all watching it for the first time…so it’s sorta-kinda live 😉

To bring anyone up to speed that’s just joining in and knows nothing about the show: DWTS Juniors was actually pre-taped starting back in July (the episode we’re watching tonight was taped back on July 28), and wrapped on August 25. Yes, the winner has already been crowned; no, I’m not going to tell you who it is 😉 However, we do have a “what to look forward to” spoiler thread where you can find info about what the themes nights are, who the high scorers are for each episode, and other fun tidbits.  WARNING: you might run the risk of being able to deduce outcomes based on info in that post, so if you want to be completely surprised – steer clear.  If you just want a refresher on the cast (junior celebs, junior pros, mentors, judges, hosts, etc.), go here. If you want to know how the show is going to work (particularly with regards to the voting, since there is no phone voting), go here.

Thoughts headed into the show? I just hope these kids have fun and the tears are minimal 🙂 I’ve heard Jordan & Frankie are actually fantastic hosts, and all of the junior pros are adorable AND super-talented – nearly all of them are cross-trained, and the ones that aren’t seem to pick up new styles quickly. I might be a tad partial to Rylee & Artyon 😉

Here we go!!!

I got the impression that the judges they picked for Juniors weren’t necessarily their first choices.  Oh well – they’re what we’ve got.  Let’s see how it works out.

Had never heard of Jason prior to Juniors.  He’s sassy…I dig it 😉

That was a cute cha-cha.  Impressed with how well Jason kept up.  Elliana seems to dance Latin like a contemporary dancer, but it was still nice.

Val appears to be eating up sitting in that head judge spot.  Says he has to “pick on the technique” and tells Jason it was good but to work on the footwork. Adam says the song made him feel like he “had bills he had to pay”.  Jason: “Don’t we all???” This kid…I think he’s gonna be a hoot!

Jason & Elliana get 6, 6, 6 (in order from Mandy, Val, & Adam).  Seems about right.

Kinda funny seeing all the kids being kids in the background while Jason & Elliana get their scores.  Everybody seems really excited to be there 🙂 Except Tripp – I think he’s turning the energy up when the camera’s on him, but he seems like a bit of a fish out of water.

Pan to Bristol & Sara in the audience…

I get the impression that Tripp was coerced into doing Juniors by mom & grandma.  He doesn’t seem particularly enthused to be there.

“Marmoset, there’ll be days like this, there’ll be days like this, my Marmoset…”

I had heard that Tripp had a tough time, but that dance was actually a very respectable foxtrot – especially for a kid with zero experience doing any sort of performing in front of a crowd.  Judges are being really gentle – Mandy praising the acting. I have a feeling less generous scores are on the way…

Tripp says his mom told him to smile and “show your ooh’s and aah’s”.

Tripp & Hailey get 5, 6, 6 – Tripp just seems happy it’s over. Cue that damned floss dance…

BANANA BREAD BREAK!!!

Junior troupe grooving to 24K Magic…

Ok, tea: kinda surprised that Lev got Keo as his mentor, considering Lev’s actually a student at Gleb’s studio. *sips tea* Hmmm, choices…

Addison comparing doing cha-cha to meringue: “it took me 27 times to get it right”.

It’s a cooking themed cha-cha to “Burnin’ Up”.  Another very respectable effort – I just think Addison isn’t a natural showman.

Adam making an analogy between “secret ingredients” and not counting out loud to the music.  Mandy commends Addison’s technique and showmanship, but encourages Addison & Lev to work on chemistry.  Val says to work on the technique but doesn’t really offer specifics.

They get a 5, 5, 5 – probably about right, as they didn’t have as much interaction as Tripp & Hailey.

*clears throat* Not that it means anything, but over a year ago, I said I wanted Miles on DWTS Juniors and I wanted his partner to be Rylee.  Coincidence? You be the judge 😉

It’s a salsa to “Who Let the Dogs Out?”. You can tell that Miles has some dance experience and is comfortable performing for a crowd – basically the complete opposite of Tripp.

I don’t know that there was a whole lot of salsa in that, but I think it was wise of Lindsay to show off Miles’ hip-hop skills.  Rylee is tearing up and feeling emotional and so is Lindsay…awww…

Val shades Lindsay a bit about salsa content, and then makes a vague suggestion to Miles to really “embody” the dance style he’s doing.  Ok, so far not impressed with his judging, if he’s not going to articulate what exactly he wants from these kids – they can’t read between the lines, bro.  SPELL IT OUT.

They get 8, 7, 7 – so far, I think Mandy’s been the most effective judge.  She’s giving really clear, helpful critiques that are congruous with the scores she’s giving.  Val’s being vague, and Adam seems to be showboating a bit.

I’m loving Ariana & Artyon’s bright yellow costumes.  Take note, Nancy & Val – that’s how you rock yellow. 😎

Sophia looks SO MUCH LIKE HER DAD.

Oof…jive is a tough week 1 dance. Good thing they’ve got a cute song: “Do You Love Me?” by the Contours.

Sophia actually handles the dance really well – doesn’t miss any steps and moves big.  But she looks so nervous and doesn’t smile at all.

Pan to Kim K. and her kids in the audience (she’s friends with Larsa, Sophia’s mom).

Mandy, I love you right now.  You’re being the judge these kids really need.

They get 7, 7, 7 – maybe a skosh low, but Sophia’s stage presence does need work.  Poor girl just seems SO SHY.

Mama Spence: “Applebees is like the Nickelback of restaurants.” I about choked on my La Croix.

Not really tea, but some “behind the scenes” info: Hudson’s original junior pro was supposed to be Makeila Lawrence (one of the troupe members), but Makeila was wayyyy too tall for him…enter Kami.

It’s a cha-cha to Shawn Mendes.  Hudson is selling it well – I saw one slight goof, but overall, another fun dance 🙂

Mandy gives a FANTASTIC tip: if you’re getting ahead of the music, make your moves BIGGER.  Val basically just echoes Mandy and says “good job”.  Mandy is holding down the judges’ table, y’all.

They get 7, 7, 8 – I’d say maybe a bit high, as I thought both Sophia and Myles were better.  Or maybe Sophia and Myles deserved higher.  My barometer is a bit iffy, since we’re judging kids 😛

Nikki Bella in the audience…

Ariana and Artyon are both so precocious.  I ADORE THEM.

I heard tremendous praise for Brandon’s skills as a mentor & choreographer on Juniors.  It very well may have earned him his spot as a pro on season 27.

It’s a cha-cha to “Cut to the Feeling” and they both are SELLING THE HELL OUT OF IT. Ariana is sassy, and Artyon is actually handling the ballroom pretty well for not being cross-trained in it.  Ones to watch, for sure.

Val disagrees with Mandy’s assessment about the technique, and urges them to “work on chemistry”.  Do kids understand “chemistry”? Adam insists that Ariana pointed right at him (and not Val) during the dance. Mandy is still holding down the judges’ table.

Artyon looking like a miniature black Evel Knievel in that suit.  I dig it.

They get well-deserved 8, 8, 8.  Enjoy it, kids 🙂

And Kenzie & Sage are next.  Lord help my eyes not to get stuck when I inevitably roll my eyes at Gleb…being Gleb…

*sipping tea* So Kenzie was apparently the last junior celeb cast…and Sage was brought in specifically to partner her (they apparently knew each other prior).  And I’ve had it implied to me that Gleb was not originally their mentor…*grabs teapot to refill*…

Are we really trying to pretend Kenzie ISN’T a dancer??? And they don’t even mention her sister being a dancer, opting instead to label her “a performer”. Kenzie says she’s nervous because she “hasn’t done ballroom before”. Notice the qualification there…

I see Gleb did maybe 5 bars of actual foxtrot before saying “whatever, we’re going to do Charleston instead”.  Gleb, you’re glib if you think that’s gonna fly…

Val points out the lack of foxtrot and for once, I agree. Adam’s trying to make another analogy and it’s only kind of working. Mandy, please save us…

…Mandy is the first to acknowledge that Kenzie does, in fact, have jazz and contemporary training, and points out how different it is from ballroom.  She also urges Kenzie to use some of the same technique.

They get 7, 7, 8 – probably low if you’re going off execution, but given that they really didn’t do the assigned dance, probably about right.

Alanna (I refuse to refer to her as “Honey Boo Boo” because she has a name) is up next…

It’s a salsa to “Conga”.  And I’m actually living for it 🙂

Alanna sells the sh*t out of it, and then dips (and intentionally drops) Tristan at the end.  I LOVED IT. She’s a showman.

Mandy earns even more points where she says she’s going to call her Alanna and not “Honey Boo Boo” because she’s  beautiful young lady with a name. Val gives the token “work on your technique and partnering” critique again. Zzzzzz.

Artem says he feels like a proud parent but he’s “very nauseous” because he’s nervous for them. Awww.

They get 6, 6, 7 – I agree.  What it lacked in technique, it more than made up for in entertainment value.

Next up is Mandla & Brightyn. I had no idea he was into fashion.

Brightyn was born the year Cheryl was first a pro on DWTS. Oof.

Mandla is actually really killing this jive.  Just wish he didn’t have his mouth open the whole dance 😛

You can definitely tell they’ve slowed the tempo of the jive for the kids.  I think this dance was the 3rd or 4th one that included a Fortnite dance step…I guess kids are just obsessed with those dances 😛

Val says “it was the performance of the night”. Adam agrees. Are they just gonna pretend that Ariana & Artyon didn’t also kill their dance???

They get 8, 8, 8 – probably about right, but just a tad irksome that they called it the “performance of the night” and then gave it the same score as another dance.

Next up is Akash & Kamri – and I’m told they’re absolutely the most adorable couple, if it’s even possible 😛

It’s a foxtrot to “L-O-V-E”.  And it’s it’s giving me a toothache cause these kids are beyond precious.

Akash gets a few “deer in the headlights” moments but overall, it’s another really impressive effort.  None of these kids are terrible, and they all gave it 110%.  Props 😉

Adam “just can’t” with Akash, cause he’s so adorbs. Both Val & Adam admit they got emotional watching it. Mandy tells him his foxtrot was “awesome” and Akash’s face lights up 😛 He momentarily forgets how old he is, but he’s floored to be getting good feedback. Gahhhh…these kids 😛

Goddammit Akash is making me tear up.  He gets 7, 7, 7 – maybe a tad high, but I think the adorableness probably helped 😛

Sky & JT are next – and Sky’s accent is precious.  And she’s a badass skateboarder.  This world needs more little girls like Sky. 🙂

It’s a salsa to “Light it Up”.  Sky has surprisingly great musicality for a non-dancer.  But you can tell she’s an athlete, based on the ease with which she’s turning, splitting, and shaking her hips.  Another great dance, and a contender!

Mandy zeroes in on the hip isolations and says she loved it. Val says “Sky’s the limit”. Hurr hurr hurr.

They get 7, 8, 7 – I probably would have given it a point or two more, just based on the ease they handled it with.

In-studio audience casting their votes…

It’s Addison & Lev and Tripp & Hailey headed home.  Tripp doesn’t look terribly disappointed (and perhaps a tad relieved), but Addison, Lev, and Hailey are all in tears.  Gahhh…I hate this part 🙁

Worth noting: Tripp & Addison danced in what we usually refer to the “running order positions of doom” – 2nd & 3rd (and sometimes 4th and 5th, depending on how many couples dance).  Perhaps the running order also affects perceptions of the in-studio audience, and they just weren’t the ones the in-studio audience remembered at the end of the night.

I might do a quick post-mortem to go up sometime tomorrow, but we’ll see you all tomorrow night for Heidi’s live blog of “most memorable year” night on the regular show!