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PureDWTS Season 27, Week 8 – Power Rankings, Who Will Win?

Y’all, it’s been a week…hell, it’s been a season.  And if I’m being honest, this is one season that has felt like it has absolutely DRAGGGGGGED on – I’m not sure I’ve wanted a season to be over this badly since maybe season 11, when Bristol was sticking around like a bad rash. Strike that – season 14 was pretty bad, too, when William Levy was getting jammed down my throat every week. Season 20 wasn’t much better, given that it had been predetermined it was “Val’s season” from week 1 and it got monotonous pretty quickly. To put it plainly: I’m just plain ready for this season to be over, and have my life back for the next 5ish months. I’ve got plans in the pipeline 😉

So in the penultimate elim of the season (which was a double, thank goodness – a 5-person finale on a season where the finale is only 1 night is a bit much), we finally shook Grocery Joe loose (yassssssss) and also lost Juan-Note Pablo in the second “shocking” elim of the season.  Can’t say I was terribly upset about either one leaving us – Joe should have been gone in week 1, and was little more than a glorified weightlifting spotter in his dances on Monday night; Juan Pablo, while probably deserving of a spot in the finale, just never resonated with me as a person – and I apparently wasn’t alone, as he clearly wasn’t getting the votes to stay. I think it says something when we ALMOST get a rare show of vulnerability from Juan Pablo (talking about his mother beating cancer in his rehearsal package, and dedicating his dance to her), and then it was like “JK, I’mma still serve you macho Latin lover realness!” and he performed a dance that, while technically quite good, was little different than every other dance we got from him this season: all smolder and sexiness, and no vulnerability or emotion.  I will credit him for being (to my knowledge) the first and only real-live Argentinean to perform an Argentine tango on DWTS, but at the end of the day, I think he & Cheryl probably missed the mark a bit in the grand scheme of things – you have to be a good dancer to succeed on this show, but people also have to like you and care about you; and if you’re constantly serving the same bravado week after week, dance after dance, and not taking the time to show the viewers that you’re also human and have feelings, they’re probably going to tune you out after awhile, no matter how great your dancing is.

I’ve been getting quite a few questions about what I think the future of this show looks like, given the three-ring circus that this season has been. Unfortunately, I think it looks grim – can’t remember where I had this conversation, but Heidi, John, & I were talking recently about the future of the show, and either Heidi or John said “At this point, they’ve gotten what they wanted out of the show – they probably don’t really care what happens now, and will let the show continue its steady demise until they find something better to take its place.” Let’s face it: getting 25+ seasons out of a show where it stays a ratings juggernaut is not just good – it’s great.  Almost unheard of…so for DWTS to be taking a dive in season 27, it’s more than likely just the show running its course. Sure, there’s been some wonky stuff going on this season, but I’d chalk a lot of that up to overall viewership being down and less of a normalizing influence in the voting as a result; I don’t think it’s so much that the SHOW has changed, it’s the AUDIENCE moving on.  I have often found myself saying “I just want to see something I haven’t seen before!” for several seasons now – be it a new pro, some more “out there” choreographic risks, an unexpected celeb, etc. I can’t imagine I’m alone in that desire.  Given that the show has basically already called several audibles this season (rearranging the elimination schedule, changing the original plan for a 5-couple finale, and cutting the finale down to 1 night), I don’t think ABC would have any qualms cancelling a prospective spring season if it came down to it – really, the only evidence we have of a spring season in 2019 is an interview (which I haven’t seen myself) where Sharna apparently said she had “signed on for several more seasons, including the spring one”; given that the pros contracts are pretty open-ended, and being “on contract” just means you must avail yourself if they need you, I don’t think we can safely assume there’s going to be a spring season, just that Sharna is available for it if there is one. And someone also pointed out to me that the winter tour has now been extended through early March – if there was going to be a regular-length spring season, the cast would have already been announced at that point, and the couples rehearsing. At this point, I’m dubious that there’s going to be a spring season at all, but if there is, I think the best we can hope for is a shortened one, a la season 26. I’d personally be just fine with no spring season, as I’m going to be tripled up on my classes by that point and also job hunting out west. DWTS can come back in the fall, when I’m done with school, hopefully settled into my new digs in Denver, and with a lot more free time on my hands 😉 …Read more

November 16, 2018 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

PureDWTS Season 27, Week 7 – Power Rankings

Welcome to season 27, where the decent dancers are in perpetual danger, and the more mediocre you are, the greater the likelihood you’ll stick around. Guys – this is not the dance show I fell in love with 13 years ago. This season is a strange, bastardized caricature of it – and that’s why this post has been hard to write.  It’s also been hard to try and make sense of the nonsense of this season in general, and I feel worthless when some of you come to me asking what to make of [insert nonsense here] or [insert wonky scoring here], and I’m not able to give you an intelligent explanation for it…because I don’t have one. It still tickles me that so many of you give a damn about what I write,  after all these years, and value my thoughts on this show. But this time around, I just don’t know what to tell you, other than “Yep, this season sucks.” I fear we’re possibly witnessing the death throes of DWTS – all good things must come to an end, I guess, and this show has paid the dividends for 13 years now, which is impressive and quite a bit longer than I thought it would be on the air. Just stinks that it’s going out in such an inauspicious way 🙁

It’s beyond me why reality competition shows even bother doing “country night” as a theme anymore – it only seems to appeal to a small subset of the audience, the music is often pretty cringe-y, and the attire is…questionable. Monday night’s show was no different – the opener was pretty sloppy, and even the guest singers seemed a bit bewildered and not quite sure what to do.  Additionally, I feel like the couples that got saddled dancing to songs performed live by the artists took a bit of a hit, as their choreography had to accommodate intermittent pans to the singer for their obligatory face time.  At the end of the night, I remembered very little, and cared even less about “country night”. Put it to bed, ABC.

As for who we lost this – John & DeMarcus were 2/3 of my favorite guys this season, and them getting taken out in one sweep was gutting. I would have GLADLY traded Joe, Bobby, Alexis, AND Juan Pablo if it meant keeping the two of them in the competition. I ended up enjoying John far more than I thought I would – he was actually a decent dancer, had great musicality, got along great with Emma, was excited to be there, had a nice journey, and was generally a likable, humble guy.  Unfortunately, I think the writing was on the wall where he was concerned – we saw it coming last week, and TPTB seemed to have decided his time was up. Then there’s DeMarcus – someone I thought for sure we’d see in the in the finale.  Not entirely sure what happened here – he was always one of the better male contestants, and was never a bad dancer in the same way that both Bobby & Joe are; he was also extremely likable and genuine, and vibed well with Lindsay.   Part of me thinks he just got lost in the shuffle between the general (but memorable) stink of Joe & Bobby, the three-ring circus of the Alanis/Alexan (have they decided on their ship name yet?) showmance, the gushing over Juan Pablo, and both Milo & Evanna having memorable journeys; part of the blame for that lies with the judges and their more middle-of-the-road scoring and critiques, which were usually unnecessarily tough on De. Then there’s also the small matter of his finger injury back in week 3 – as minor as it may have seemed in the grand scheme of things, it was as if the moment DeMarcus realized his finger was injured, sh*t got real.  I mentioned to someone on Twitter, but if you re-watch the video of it happening, there was a noticeable shift in his demeanor – he went from “Oh hell yeah!!!” to “Oh sh*t, this is bad!” in .3 seconds.  And part of me thinks he was never really able to shake it off totally – every dance from that moment on seemed a tad cautious and tentative. Who knows – regardless, I don’t think he or Lindsay deserved to go home, and on any other season, he probably would have had a free pass to the finale.  And the finale has suffered in quality with the lost off both John AND DeMarcus 🙁 Read more..

November 9, 2018 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

PureDWTS Season 27, Week 6 – Power Rankings

Last night’s episode of Nightmare on Sesame Street was brought to you by the morbid/nonsensical theme and that “fake-like-you-broke their neck” move that everyone seemed to be doing.  Second week in a row I’m left feeling pretty “meh” on the whole – I think the kids on Juniors put on a far better Halloween show this week, and they taped theirs way back in August. Themes were a bit of a mess, and the only routines I felt knocked it out of the park were Milo & Witney’s contemporary and the pro teaser dance for the tour. Then again, I think there’s only two Halloween week routines in DWTS history that have really wowed me: Hinch & Jenna’s Suicide Squad Viennese waltz, and Frankie & Witney’s stalker-themed contemporary. No worries – not the last time you’ll hear me hold those two dances up for comparison in these rankings 😉

Seeing a lot of comments/concerns about the running order the past two weeks in particular, and I’ll say this: I think TPTB may have finally gotten hip to the fact that the viewers have totally figured out the patterns in running order, and can predict things pretty well based on that; thus, I think they’re scrambling things up a bit more this season, hence some pretty nonsensical running order positions. Funny how DeMarcus went from dancing last, middle of the show, and first (all the key positions) within the first few weeks of the show, but has gotten stuck in doom positions for the past two weeks; Milo also went from dancing in the doom spots the first few weeks, to either opening or closing the show the past two weeks. And I tend not to think their voting numbers have changed drastically in those times, so I doubt it’s necessarily and indicator of their success, and is more just TPTB throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks.  Likewise, Alexis’ running order has been all over the place, too, and she still seems to end up in jeopardy every week. Long story short: I don’t think the running order means much this season. Read more..

October 30, 2018 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

PureDWTS Season 27, Week 5 – Power Rankings

Weird things happen when Disney comes to town. Wonky scoring, a fake-out jeopardy and almost-elimination…I guess we should unpack what all went down and see what can be inferred from it. Generally, I think the judges were out to give out as many points as they could reasonably get away with last night, to everyone except Joe; this accomplishes two things: it makes the voting margins very small (due to the larger number of total points), and also makes it harder for Joe to try and make up ground and potentially oust a better dancer. Given that we’re now on the hook for (2) double elims (and one of them is on night 1 of finale week), and we didn’t eliminate anyone this week, I’m thinking next week we cut (2) couples, when we’ve got the best odds of Joe at the very least falling into the bottom two.  He doesn’t have to be the lowest on the totem pole; if they can just get him second-lowest, they can flush him out.  As for the psych-out almost-elim – my little bird told me the couples were told by producers (after the fact, of course) that the two couples in jeopardy “were only picked for shock value, it wasn’t a ‘real’ jeopardy”. Be that as it may, I think that faux jeopardy will only have the effect of boosting votes for DeMarcus and Alexis – I think the former is doing fine, vote-wise, but I think the latter probably could use whatever boost they can give her.  I think it’s interesting that they went more for “shock value”, when they could have actually utilized this jeopardy to boost someone that maybe needed help – Mary Lou comes to mind, as I have yet to find any super-passionate Mary Lou voters (except maybe Bill – I know you’re reading this, bruh) and there seems to be a lot of viewers that tend to forget about her by the end of the night. Then again, with 5 weeks down and 4 to go, they’ve gotta start lining things up for their ideal finale…

…which brings  me to my next point: given that last night was the midpoint of the season, it’s time to take inventory of who I think is headed to the finale and who is probably not.  I’ve been told by several people that Carrie Ann apparently said in her Instagram live that (5) couples go to night 1 of the finale (meaning we get five freestyles) and then there’s a double elim at the end of the night, and only the final (3) dance on night 2 of the finale. So somewhere in weeks 6, 7, and 8, we’ve gotta shed (4) more couples…meaning there’s a double elim at some point BEFORE the finale, and my guess is that it’s next week.  My gut says they don’t let Joe anywhere near the finale, if they can help it – and Bobby’s probably not far behind him. Mary Lou just seems to be fading into the background, so I doubt she’s long for this show, either; I think the last cut is probably a toss-up between John and Juan Pablo – I think John’s actually connecting better with the audience, but I get the feeling TPTB are going to do whatever they can to ensure that the better dancer (Juan Pablo) makes it over the decent-dancing everyman. So that leaves us with Milo, DeMarcus, Alexis, Evanna, and either Juan Pablo or John headed to night 1 of the finale; of those, I think the final three SHOULD be DeMarcus, Milo, and Evanna. But given the sudden showmance angle with Alexis & Alan, and the fact that they seem to think Juan Pablo is the greatest thing since sliced bread, who knows what will happen.

Things I enjoyed from last night? Loved that they found ways to work in the junior pros and contestants, and that opener was the most unique one we’ve had in awhile – loved how may Disney Easter eggs they managed to throw in the background (loved Hayley trying to jam Cinderella’s slipper on Britt’s foot in the hallway 😛 ).  As far as I’m concerned, Jason Maybaum can cohost with Berge anytime – that kid is a riot 🙂 Read more..

October 23, 2018 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

PureDWTS Season 27, Week 4 – Power Rankings

Oof. For the first time in a looooong time, I am speechless at the results. We lost an extremely talented dancer paired with probably the most promising male pro we’ve had in quite awhile, and for what? To keep some slouch that doesn’t even appear to be trying anymore, just because a niche fanbase has a hard-on for this guy??? There’s more to unpack here than just the fact that folks (inexplicably) seem to love Joe, but that’s probably the most outwardly frustrating part. I think back to Bill Engvall’s season, when so many seemed to complain about him sticking around while better dancers got sent packing.  But at the very least with Bill, I always got the impression that he wanted to be there, he was doing his best, and Emma was putting in 110% each and every week to help him improve.  Wish I could say the same for Joe, but judging from the appallingly bad trio he gave us this week (which he just seemed to laugh about and shrug off), I don’t really think he cares whether he stays or goes.  I think Jenna was praying they got sent packing this week, judging from how mortified she appeared to be when they got called safe. Bachelor Nation, if you’re reading this (and you probably are) – put them out of their misery.  STOP VOTING FOR THEM. This show is already struggling, without your nonsense.

As for other extenuating circumstances that may have lead to Tinashe’s elimination – once again, the “DWTS viewers hate female ringers” argument has popped up again. I still have a hard time believing that one 100%, given that female ringers have gone on to win this show (and make the finals); I absolutely believe that some viewers think that way, but I don’t know that it’s necessarily the majority of voters. However, Heidi did point out that with viewership down, voting might also be down – which gives more power to those that do vote, since the totals are much smaller, and makes the prospect of a “shocking” elim much more likely. I can’t help but draw parallels between voting on DWTS vs. voting in the midterm elections next month – currently, it’s a relatively small but determined demographic dominating the polls (white Baby Boomers); however, if the disenfranchised demographic that isn’t getting to the polls (Millennials & minorities) would make a big push to actually get out and vote, we could upend norms that have persisted for decades. I cannot emphasize the importance of voting – whether its on DWTS or in the midterm elections. I’m hearing a lot of “Tinashe got Sabrina’d!”, but I would actually go with “Tinashe got Hillary’d” – some voters fixated on a fabricated, non-existent problem as justification for not voting for her.  Tinashe’s “emails” were the imaginary “attitude problem” some seemed to have with her – I never saw it, as she always struck me as very calm and just enjoying the ride. But was that same chill demeanor ultimately the problem…? I know I mentioned in my week 2 power rankings that I thought Nancy may be in trouble because she was simply so laid-back that at the end of the night, it was hard to remember her dances.  Did Tinashe suffer the same fate? When you’ve got Bones bouncing around like a lawn dart, Joe being memorably terrible, John being unexpectedly genuine and down-to-earth, Milo dancing surprisingly well and being sheepishly charming, DeMarcus just being an incredibly hard worker, and Alexis showing vulnerability about her past…do you really forget about an otherwise-great dancer that maybe just wasn’t as dramatic as the other celebs? Part of me also wonders if her “Most Memorable Year” dance may have also just not struck as much of a chord with viewers as Alexis’, Bobby’s, DeMarcus’, & John’s did – we’ve often said that if you don’t go the weepy route during MMY week, you run the risk of getting lost in the shuffle, regardless of how well you actually dance. Is it more of a memorability problem than anything else? Or can a season only sustain x number of ringers? We had said over and over that this season probably couldn’t handle both Alexis AND Tinashe for long – I guess I just always assumed that Alexis would be more likely to go first; but who knows, maybe the dance about her mom earned her some votes. I could go on and on about potential contributing factors – but at the end of the day, it comes down to votes: she wasn’t getting them. So if you don’t want to see that happen again, you’ve gotta phone it in and interweb it in – the votes matter.

One factor I don’t blame in any of this: Brandon. He was the one male pro that I was really betting it all on to lead the guys out of this post-Ballas/Hough talent drought.  That tango had serious shades of Derek in it – and Brandon probably got dealt the toughest hand this week: a dance that’s already tough to do as a trio (tango) with a celeb that has some limitations to consider (Amy).  And I think he knocked it out of the park – which is pretty admirable for his first outing as a pro, considering it seems to take the male pros in particular a season or two before they hit a stride (and even then, some of them still don’t quite get it – looking at YOU, Gleb). Producers, he better have a spot for the foreseeable future – ’cause I think he’s gonna pay the dividends in a big way.

So some of you seemed rather perplexed about some of the trios we ended up with – admittedly, I did too. I saw speculation that there was an agenda at play – while I don’t really have any solid tea here, I don’t really think that there was much of an agenda…except maybe for including Maddie, which when taken into account with the fact that her sister is a contestant on Juniors, seems to indicate an attempt to insinuate one or both of the Ziegler girls into DWTS in some capacity. To what end? I’m not sure – part of me wonders if they’re trying to angle to get Maddie employed by DWTS in some capacity (pro? troupe? JUDGE?!) in the future; part of me thinks this could have been part of a quid pro quo for Kenzie doing Juniors (“If you make Kenzie a contestant and give her exposure for her music, I’ll avail myself to you guys in some capacity!”) Kenzie on Juniors just seems very, very strategic – more beneficial for her than for the show itself, I think. But I digress – the rest of the trios just seem like a hodgepodge of former contestants that they managed to convince to come back, with gaps filled in by other randos where appropriate. Shad, Joey, and Melissa seem to avail themselves to the show whenever they’re needed (all-stars, tours, guest judging, hosting, celebrity space filler in the audience, etc.); Nastia, Riker, and Lindsey seem like fan faves they were just fortunate enough to convince to help out for a week.  As for Scarlett and Jordan – the latter just seems like catnip for the Bachelor nation; as for Scarlett, a little bird insinuated to me that she may have been a backup for a former DWTS celeb that had to back out for whatever reason (my knee jerk guess was Jodie – probably the only one of Keo’s former partners worth inviting back, but also a potential conflict of interest, given that her costar is currently a contestant on DWTS). Honestly, I think the decision-making process for who got who in trios probably went something like this: “Ok, who can we convince to come back? Remember, we’ve got Maddie – Maddie needs to fit in one of these trios. So Shad, Melissa, Joey, Riker, Nastia, Lindsey, and Amy all said yes? Ok, now who can we plausibly pair them up with? And what should we do about the remaining two couples that need trio members? Bah, just tell them to invite a friend. What’s the worst that could happen???” Well, I think only one trio truly benefited from having their third person (Milo/Witney/Riker), while the rest were either neutral (Juan Pablo/Cheryl/Melissa, Bobby/Sharna/Lindsey) or were somewhat disadvantaged (pretty much everyone else). Honestly, I think the trios were just the result of the usual flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-planning we’ve come to expect from DWTS 😛 Read more..

October 16, 2018 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

PureDWTS Season 27, Week 3 – Power Rankings

Welp…so much for the agenda-free season. Judges’ scores and critiques were a bit of a mess Monday night, as some okay dances were hyped and overscored while some very good dances were nitpicked and underscored. To what end? I think there’s certain individuals that are getting oodles of votes and possibly running away with the competition, and the judges have no qualms pointing out the faults in their dances and docking points as they see fit, and “leveling the playing field”, so to speak; others seem to be struggling to connect and resonate with the audience, so I think they’re the ones the judges are reluctant to really score and critique realistically, lest the individual get eliminated “before their time”.

File under the category of “bad ideas that should be scrapped and never mentioned again”: that damn camera on the celebs they had inset over their rehearsal package, so we could voyeuristically enjoy watching the celebs reliving the traumas they had picked for their “most memorable year” packages. Things like this are what I like to refer to as “grief porn” – exploiting the contestants emotionally for a dramatic edit, a la poor Laurie’s grief over her grandma’s death.  It’s gross, it’s sneaky, and it’s a cheap stunt. Just when I think TPTB have hit rock bottom with their tactics, they find a sub-basement. 🙁

So, we lost Nancy this week, a development that both Heidi and I saw coming – and I’m a tad disappointed, because I feel like Nancy was actually a really cool person and was not a bad dancer at all.  But it brings me to my next point: why do the female celebs seem to be dropping like flies, while the male celebrities are doing just fine? We’ve lost three ladies so far – and all of the guys are still standing. Some seem to want to blame the show, claiming that “female celebs, especially ringers, get treated so poorly – none of them will ever win again and it’s not fair, WAHHHHH!” but I go back to this point I made in my preseason “Why Hayley Didn’t Get a Pro Spot This Season” post: the male pros, as a whole, are not serving their celebs well. Since the departure of Derek (and to a lesser degree, Mark), we’ve been left with a crop of male pros that just don’t seem to know how to  harness the talent of their female celebs – or cultivate some talent in celebs that have not danced before. It’s not that people dislike the female celebs or have a specific type of disdain for female ringers; it’s that the male pros just don’t know how to present their partners in a way that makes viewers care.  It’s possible to win with a female ringer or a female non-ringer – just ask Derek; it’s also possible to lose with a female ringer (Val’s done it a few times) or lose with a female non-ringer (basically every male pro at some point) if you don’t present them properly. It took TPTB doing some heavy-duty interfering to ensure the Chmerkovskiy boys each got their first MBT (and both brothers had ringers to begin with!), since Derek & Sharna turning amputee non-ringers into contenders during those respective seasons posted too grave a threat to Maks & Val’s trophies. Then you look at Emma, who has become an expert at turning turd partners into gold; and Lindsay, who seems to build such a successful working relationship with all of her partners anymore that she’s become a finale mainstay; or even Witney, who has blossomed as a choreographer these past few seasons and is developing a knack for pulling surprising stuff out of partners that didn’t seem like anything to sneeze at on the surface. Really and truly, the current lineup of female pros has paid their dues and really proven that they’ve got the juice to make their partners succeed; the current male pros (with the exception of Brandon, and to a lesser degree, Alan) seem to just be coasting, and hoping for ringers season after season so they can get a free pass to the finale (except that sometimes that doesn’t even happen – hello, season 24). The male pros are holding out for their window of opportunity to open; the female ones aren’t waiting for it to open – they’re grabbing a sledgehammer and making their own damn window. The three male pros we’ve lost this season suffered from a failure to make their partners stand out – even if their partner was demographically screwed regardless, there are ways to at least make them memorable…and that’s where the failure lies. So if you’re whining about not ever getting a female winner again, don’t whine at us – go whine at the male pros letting them down. Read more..

October 10, 2018 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

PureDWTS Season 27, Week 2, Night 2 – Power Rankings

As usual, I apologize for the tardiness 😛 This has been a rather rough season for my asthma, as the constantly vacillating temperatures here in the Midwest have created the perfect storm of mold, pollen, and other allergens – I’ve been medicating pretty heavily and not always super sharp and able to write.  Let us all pray that it gets cool and stays cool soon, for the sake of my lungs AND brain!

Seems like many of you have some strong feelings and a lot of questions about Tuesday night’s show. One question that seems to be on everyone’s lips: what the hell happened with the phone votes??? For those that missed it, Tom mentioned (rather in passing, as the show was ending) that the phone votes from Monday night “were not available” and thus only the online votes and scores from Monday night were counted towards Tuesday’s elimination. I was too busy on Monday evening to even carve out time to vote, so I can’t personally vouch for anything hinky happening with the phone voting; but I vaguely remember maybe one person tweeting me to say they were getting a weird message on the online voting number…? Anyway, for whatever reason, phone votes either weren’t available (or weren’t counted), so only online votes and scores determined Tuesday night’s eliminee – which happened to be Danelle.  I’ve said this on Twitter, but I’ll repeat it again here: I tend to think Danelle was headed home regardless, and I really doubt the phone votes could have saved her. I’ve heard all manner of outrage on Twitter and IG about how “unfair” the vote was to Danelle, and how people think she was screwed over by the phone votes getting thrown out, how she would still be here if they had included the phone votes, etc. – but those same people also seem to be the ones answering “Well, no, but” when I ask if they actually voted for her. Danelle was in the bottom 5 last week in votes and scores, and was consistently one of the lowest scorers in her two dances last week and the two she did this week.  Is it really that much of a stretch to assume she was probably a goner no matter what??? Both Heidi & I called it, and this was before we even heard about the voting issues.  “But Court, her story is so inspirational – surely she was getting a ton of votes!” Was she, though? Again, bottom 5 last week, and then I go back to my inspirational story fatigue theory from the pre-season.  Additionally, the one difference I noticed between Danelle’s journey on the show and other “inspirational” celebs? Amy, Noah, Nyle, and Victoria all seemed to have these triumphant moments after their dances where they felt like they really persevered – I never really got that vibe from Danelle, and she always seemed to have a certain air of uncertainty and fear about her after she was done dancing.  She was more “Well, I got through it, but it was scary” than “I killed that dance and I feel so proud of myself!” And who can blame her? She really had to be completely reliant on other people to maintain her safety, and probably felt pretty lost and alone at times when she was out on the floor.  It had to be incredibly frightening to her, and I don’t feel like her experience on DWTS was always fun or rewarding for her.  And I feel like the viewers can sense that – I’ll admit, it was hard to watch her sometimes, because it seemed like she was trying so hard but was really frustrated and anxious. Sometimes, seeing those celebs having a hard time get sent home is almost a relief – unless it’s one of the Bachelors (or Nick Lachey), who can act completely miserable, and yet seem to linger week after week 😛

However, I will say that I think that the double elim we had heard about was originally supposed to be Tuesday night – but given the phone vote debacle, I think they opted to just do a single…especially if the other individual in the bottom 2 with Danelle was an aberration.  TPTB can see who the votes were going to last week – if someone that was quite safe and was getting oodles of votes last week suddenly landed in the bottom 2, owing to the absence of phone votes, I’d say that would be a good case for opting out of eliminating them this week. If this is indeed a case of TPTB trying to prevent an otherwise-popular contestant from going home, my guess is that it’s someone that appeals to the older demographic of the show, as they’re more likely to be voting via phone, rather than online – my guess is Mary Lou, although I’ve heard a few others thinking it’s Nancy (simply because TPTB “want to keep Val around longer”). By the same logic, it could also be John, although I get the feeling he may actually be getting more mainstream votes than we probably think; I doubt it’s DeMarcus, as he seems to have enough broad-spectrum appeal that he’s likely getting plenty of both online AND phone votes.  Tinashe, Milo, Evanna, & Alexis seem like they’re more likely to be getting online votes than phone ones; no idea what to think about Juan Pablo & Joe. I’ve heard some asking “Why eliminate anyone at all, if the votes were messed up?” And my one guess is this: we’re already dealing with a shortened season (9 weeks instead of 10 or 11), and with as much bitching and moaning as I hear from fans about how much they HATE double elims, I’m guessing TPTB were trying to avoid having to do another one.  Right now, we’ve got 11 couples left, and 6 weeks to whittle them down to at least 4 – which means we’re already going to have to have at least one double elim somewhere in the mix (if they’re aiming for a 3-couple final, we’ve gotta have TWO double elims).  Had they not eliminated anyone Tuesday night, we’d be on the hook for TWO double elims, possibly three. Additionally, the “extras” we see from week to week on the shows (guest performances, special segments, the length of dances, the length of rehearsal packages, etc.) vastly depend on having x number of couples to fit in the show.  If they’ve suddenly got to fit (12) couples into Monday night’s show again, we may be dealing with another week of shortened dances, or maybe a musical guest that was originally booked to perform gets bumped. It’s a bit of a logistical nightmare, I think – so I can understand why they opted to do at least a single elim this week. Read more..

October 5, 2018 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

PureDWTS Season 27, Week 2, Night 1 – Power Rankings

Two hours down – two more to go this week! While I still love DWTS, I gotta admit: these (2) two-hour show weeks are a bit much to watch/write about sometimes – so I can only imagine how hard it’s been on the contestants.  It was likely frustrating enough having to learn two routines last week, only to be told “Hey, only half of you are actually going to have to perform the second routine!” Now this week, it’s two different styles, and everyone’s gotta dance again tonight.  Adding to the tension is the fact that tonight is allegedly a double elim, so the stakes are getting pretty high, pretty quick – everyone dancing this season has my respect for dealing with some pretty tough stuff, so early on in the competition.

Last night was also our first theme night, which means there was the usual shoehorning to get certain dances to fit certain New York-themed songs that aren’t necessarily ideal for the dances they’re being played to. It’s something I try to keep in mind anymore when I feel like something doesn’t necessarily fit – sometimes it’s not really the pro/choreographer’s fault, so much as it is the music editor’s fault. Keeps things in perspective.

One variable that I’m not quite sure how it will play out in this week’s results? Last week’s revelation of the bottom 6. We might see the voters rally for those particular six, as a result of their being in danger last week; we could see some of the couples that were safe last week suddenly in jeopardy, as the lack of exposure on night 2 last week could have made them fade in viewers minds.  Or maybe some of the folks who just weren’t getting the votes last week, still ain’t getting ’em this week – and so they’re still in danger.  Who knows. We haven’t really had a situation like this before, so there’s no precedent to help us predict how it’s going to shake out – and I’m 100% cool with that.  Remember, after 9 years of blogging this show – I just want to see something unexpected 🙂

Other observations? I would have been just fine without the bumpers from Kelly & Ryan and the GMA crew – particularly the latter, which included the omnipresent Ginger, once again using it as an opportunity that she, too, did DWTS (2.5 years ago, mind you – time to get a new schtick, gal). Also feeling a bit optimistic about seeing Jesse Tyler Ferguson in the audience – sure, he was just there promoting Modern Family, but given that it’s now in its final season, dare I hope that his schedule clears up enough that we might see him on a future season…? 😉 Read more..

October 2, 2018 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

PureDWTS Season 27, Week 1, Night 1 – Power Rankings

I can’t remember the last time we had a premiere night where nobody really and truly sucked – so last night was rather refreshing.  Even Joe, who bungled up the middle of his dance pretty badly, was still pretty impressive during the sections he did do right.  I find it interesting that as the seasons roll on, we end up with even better dancing, and more ringers; part of me wonders if this is the “new normal” on DWTS: more ringers, better overall quality of dancing, and more effort from the pros.  As skeptical as I may have been about the cast at first, last night was actually kind of awesome 🙂

As for the dance styles – I keep finding myself thinking that they should stick to (2) dances styles on night #1: cha-cha or foxtrot.  Both are fairly easy for newbs to do, and aren’t unnecessarily taxing on the celebs. Quickstep and jive are too vigorous for complete non-dancers.  I’m also really believing now that the song can make or break your performance – even a skilled dancer (in this case, Tinashe) can get thrown off their game by an less-than-ideal song choice.

So as for this wack-a-doo “hey, let’s make them dance the same dance style TWICE in one week!” nonsense – I’m having a love-hate relationship with it.  For those that maybe only slightly missed the mark with their dances last night (i.e. Tinashe, Alexis, Juan Pablo, Evanna), it’s an opportunity to give it another shot, often with a better (or at least different) song; for those that didn’t do so hot, though (I’m thinking Nikki & Joe), it’s probably a bit dreadful, as you have to give another shot to a dance you didn’t particularly excel in the first time around. And for everyone else, I think it’s a bit of a crapshoot – they might do better, they might do worse, or they might do just about the same, just to different music. I could just slap Len for throwing in the “well foxtrot ain’t a great dance to get in week 1” line he threw at Evanna, because guess what, bud: she’s gotta do it again tonight. At times, it seemed like the judges had even forgotten that these celebs have got to dance again tonight, doing the same dance – just a testament to how silly it all is. But let’s get on with it, shall we? T minus 9 hours till we do it all again… 😛 Read more..

September 25, 2018 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

PureDWTS Season 27 – Preliminary Thoughts & Predictions

I feel like all I do is apologize for the lack of timeliness in my posts these days 😛 Sorry guys – life got busy for me real fast this season. I thought about doing a preliminary power rankings, but I realized I haven’t been keeping up with enough media about the couples to really do that justice.  So instead, welcome to my random and scattered thoughts about this season, in no particular order 🙂 I tried hit on some of the questions I was getting on Twitter, but if there’s anything else you want my thoughts on, go ahead and leave it in the comments and I’ll try to answer.

This is DeMarcus’ MBT to lose.  Now before anyone assumes I mean “I think DeMarcus will win!”, pump your brakes – what I mean by this is that I feel like DeMarcus has the easiest path to the MBT, from the jump: he’s a former NFL player from possibly the most universally popular team (the Dallas Cowboys – often referred to as “America’s team”, part of the reason why Emmitt was so popular), he’s well-spoken and well-liked, he’s in great shape physically, he’s got one helluva work ethic, and he has a great rapport with his partner, who is also widely well-liked and well-respected.  Basically, as long as he dances decently (not necessarily great – decent should do it) and puts on a good show and has a “journey”, I think the MBT is his – which means the other couples are going to have to work twice as hard to win, even though they might actually be better dancers. DeMarcus is easily the biggest fanbase ringer this season, from where I sit – and sometimes, that can help a decent dancer overtake a fantastic dancer for the MBT. Just ask Donny Osmond.

We could be dealing with season 24, redux.  I can’t help but draw some comparisons between this season and season 24, when there was a preponderance of ringers (particularly female ones) and the last two standing were guys with no previous dance experience (one of which was an NFL player) that were just really likeable and had great chemistry with their partners. I think each season of DWTS can realistically handle 1-2 high-level ability ringers, tops – any more than that and you start to run into some unexpected results, as we saw in season 24 (you could also argue that too many fanbase ringers of the same type yield unexpected results – look at season 22, when all three NFL players got shut out of the finale). And here’s the kicker: you’ve gotta have a pro that actually knows how to choreograph to an ability ringer’s strengths.  One way I think season 24 fell woefully short was handing the two biggest ringers (Normani & Heather) to two pros who couldn’t cut the mustard, choreographically-speaking. Maks’ choreo for Heather that season was absolutely pitiful, and while Val managed a few hits (the Mulan paso, the contemporary, maybe the Argentine tango), towards the end of the season, his choreo kinda petered out (the Viennese waltz and freestyle were both head-scratchers for me). Even Mark seemed to burn out towards the end of season 25 with Lindsey.  I think a big key to the big ability ringers’ (Tinashe, Alexis, Juan Pablo, Mary Lou, and to a lesser degree, Evanna & Milo) longevity this season is how well their partners are able to choreograph to their strengths – and if they’re able to keep up the momentum, all season long.

If any of the pros are going to step up the choreo to become the “new Mark/Derek”, now would be the time to do it. We’re kind of in an odd transition period in the show: with the exception of Cheryl popping in for fall seasons, the OG pros are all gone; even some of the second generation pros (Peta, Val, Sharna, Emma, Sasha) are starting to pursue other opportunities outside of DWTS, and they may move on from the show before long. TPTB continue to try retooling the show to keep up with the times (All-Athletes, Juniors), and the pressure is generally on to keep this show “fresh”. While most of the female pros are actually stellar choreographers, the male pro lineup has been woefully void of great choreography; if one of them wanted to try cementing himself as the new choreographic genius of the male lineup, now would be the time to do it – and I think Brandon may be the ticket.  I have heard tremendous praise for his skills as both a teacher and a choreographer on Juniors, and if you think about it, he’s the first male pro that has come from the same training background that gave us Lindsay, Witney, and Jenna. He’s impressively cross-trained (like the rest of the Utah Squad, and really, Ballas/Hough before them), and doesn’t seem to have any of the same “ballroom purity” hangups that we seem to see with Chmerkovskiy acolytes. I’m thinking Brandon could be the breakout star pro of this season, if he plays his cards right.

I am totally fine with newbs like Brandon & Alan getting ringers. Val’s already been granted his 2 MBT’s, and seems to be transitioning to more of a judging role; Gleb & Keo just can’t seem to get their choreo right; Artem & Sasha are for the most part “hit”, but still sometimes “miss”.  Repeating it again for good measure: the male pro lineup needs a wake-up call.  So if that means handing Brandon & Alan some pretty ringy ability ringers, I’m all for it – let’s see what they’re made of. I actually thought Alan did respectably well with Mirai, and the only issue there had more to do with Mirai’s loose lips and general lack of self-awareness. Seems like these pros really have to hit the ground running in their initial season, anymore, if they want to continue as pros – and that can be kinda hard to do, if they’re always handing the newbs dud partners. Cheryl, Mark, Julianne, and Lacey all got ringers in their first season on the show – and it seemed to keep them in play for awhile. I used to be of the “newbs shouldn’t get ringers” camp – but anymore, I just keep going “Show me something new and different!!!” and “Everyone ends up getting a dud at some point, and everyone ends up getting a ringer at some point. No point getting too hung up on a single season.”

I wouldn’t count on Mary Lou being an early out.  I know some are hoping she’s gone by week 2 or 3, due to her comments about the Nassar case – I don’t blame you.  However, a bit of a reminder about the demographics of this show: the largest chunk of viewers are middle-aged, female, and conservative, and likely have very fond memories of Mary Lou as the Olympic darling who brought home gold back in her youth.  I would also venture a guess that many of them (like some of the conservatives currently trying to get a man of questionable morals elected to the Supreme Court) are “#MeToo skeptics” who are unfortunately more likely to give a pass to an Olympic darling defending her former trainer than to take the word of countless women who bravely came forward to speak about the trauma they endured at Nassar’s hand. It sucks, no doubt – but it’s an unfortunate pattern I’ve noticed, and it makes me think Mary Lou could last at least until the midpoint of the season – especially if she’s a decent dancer, which I think she will be.  I don’t see her winning or making the finals, though…at least not right now.

I think Nikki & Alexis need to turn on the charm, though.  Both come from professions that have yet to really do well on DWTS: comedians, models, and social media influencers. With the exception of conservative-leaning “country boy” comedian Bill Engvall, comedians generally haven’t done very well on this show – I think their biggest struggle is connecting with the audience, particularly if their brand of humor is a bit more high-brow or sarcastic. Or female 🙁 Conservative folk love the somewhat simple-minded humor of Jeff Foxworthy, Rodney Carrington, Larry the Cable Guy, and Bill Engvall – but they tend not to embrace the D.L. Hughley’s, Jeff Ross’, and Margaret Cho’s of the world quite so warmly. Unless Nikki ends up being an Alexis or Tinashe-level dancer (and I don’t think she will be), or ends up finding a way to endear herself to the audience…I see her as an early out. Alexis may be a very trained dancer, but she’s also a model (and they tend not to last long on this show) and a social media personality (the only precedent we have for that being Hayes Grier – who couldn’t manage to get his millions of followers to vote hard enough to get him past week 7). Additionally, Alexis seems more reserved on-camera – so I think she’s really going to have to come out of her shell to endear herself to the audience, if she wants to stick around.

Being an “inspiring backstory” ringer may not be as much of an advantage as it once was.  Not counting Heather McCartney (who despite being an amputee, was also the much-maligned ex-wife of Paul McCartney), Amy was a novelty, since we hadn’t really had anyone disabled on the show in awhile, and Derek managed to mold her into a pretty respectable dancer. Noah had the fanbase boon of being a disabled vet; Nyle was both deaf AND a very likeable guy who could actually dance really well.  I’m not sure anyone really considered Terra’s small stature as a disability, since she was actually a pretty good dancer; and things started to deteriorate once Bonner came along, as he actually was a creep, despite his “inspiring backstory”. Victoria gave it her best shot a year ago, but given that her disability wasn’t as visible as, say, Amy’s or Noah’s, I don’t know that it really carried her as far as it once might have (then again, Val also really phoned it in on the choreo towards the end, so that likely didn’t help either).  I guess the point I’m trying to get at is this: the “inspiring backstory” is becoming less and less of a novelty on this show with each passing season, particularly with contestants whose disabilities aren’t outwardly visible, so Danelle might not get as much support as she would have on an earlier season. Times change – the audience changes.  Things that were once new and novel become commonplace, and voting attitudes change.  I don’t think Danelle will be first, second, third, or even 4th out, but I’ll be interested to see just how far her story takes her, particularly if she’s really struggling with the dancing.

Is Juan Pablo William Levy 2.0? Is Evanna going to be the next Katherine Jenkins? Those are the two former contestants that come to mind when I look at Juan Pablo & Evanna. On the plus side, I already find Juan Pablo quite a bit more likeable and relatable than William, who I always found to be a bit reserved and even borderline awkward in interviews; his dancing was decent, but not as fantastic as the judges would have had you think. Juan Pablo seems like he might have more polish and technique on his side. Evanna seems like she’s got roughly the same level of dance experience as Katherine – they’ve probably dabbled in it at some point, but are more well-known for other things.  I think Evanna will be at least as good as Katherine, ability-wise – question is, will Keo be as good as Mark? I’m gonna go with a big fat “NO” on that one, unless Keo has had some sort of choreographic breakthrough over the summer.  He seemed to hit a small groove with Jodie 2.5 years ago, but that season was a bloodbath and she probably could have gone further on a different, less competitive season. Will his choreo/teaching skills hold up this time? We’ll see.

Early prediction for the final 3: DeMarcus, Juan Pablo, & Tinashe. If they take 4 to the finale – Milo or Bobby join the other 3.

First out: My gut says Nikki.  Outside chance of John. Whichever one doesn’t go in week 1, is probably toast during the double elim in week 2. Having Val will likely keep Nancy around for a bit longer than expected, but I would be surprised if she lasted past the midpoint of the season.

“Shocking” elim potential: Alexis screams “good dancer that will probably get eliminated because she can’t successfully crossover fanbases” to me. I don’t think her millions of IG followers will vote as hard as some think they will, and I don’t know that the general DWTS audience is going to embrace her strongly.

Dark horse: I feel like Bobby is going to surprise a lot of people.  I’m hearing a lot of people say Joe, but Joe strikes me as kinda awkward…especially after I saw this.  What has been seen cannot be unseen. 😛

So there we have it – my thoughts headed into Monday’s premiere.  What do you guys think? Share in the comments, and if you don’t mind, please take 5 minutes to go watch my cousin’s son, Kingston, do his first LEGO unboxing video on YouTube and throw him a like or a comment.  He’s been battling leukemia since March, and he’s officially CANCER FREE now and starting to feel like a regular kid again. Bonus: appearance by his equally adorable brother Lincoln, and they both have the most adorable Tennessee accents 😛

See you all Monday for the live blog!!! 🙂

September 21, 2018 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog