Free DWTS Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on Dancing with the Stars sent straight to your email? Join hundreds of other DWTS fans who subscribe to Pure DWTS for FREE!

PureDWTS 2018 Emmy Awards – Nomination Predictions/Live Blog

Once again, this has snuck up on us 😛 I will try to do a live blog tomorrow morning once the announcements are up, but it may end up being more of a “this is what was announced” post with a short lag time…we shall see.

I think part of the reason we kinda spaced this is because it looks to be slim pickin’s for DWTS this year – the shortened (and simplified) spring season means fewer eligible routines for the Outstanding Choreography category, and with World of Dance‘s first season now eligible, I think we could witness a reduction in nominees from SYTYCD, and DWTS being shut out of the category completely.  Additionally, part of me thinks that we may see WOD and possibly American Idol also picking up a few nominations in other categories (Outstanding Costume Design, Outstanding Makeup, Outstanding Hairstyling, Outanding Lighting Design, etc) that might have otherwise gone to DWTS – I don’t think the austerity measures that they appeared to take with the All-Athletes season helped, because they seemed to stick to simpler, “safer” hair, makeup, costuming, and staging.

As for Outstanding Reality TV Series/Reality Host – given that DWTS/Tom got shut out last year, I’m not optimistic they’ll somehow elbow their way back in this year, especially with WOD and AI in the mix; my guess is that RuPaul wins Outstanding Reality Host again, and RuPaul’s Drag Race could be the dark horse to win Outstanding Reality Series, with the boom in viewership they’ve experienced since moving the show from Logo to VH1. But I digress…

Read more..

July 11, 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 26, Week 3 – Power Rankings

In light of the fact that I’m now writing my last power rankings of the season (I think…admittedly, I haven’t been paying close attention to the schedule) and it’s only week 3, safe to say this abbreviated season has been very, very weird. I generally find myself (and the fans that follow me on Twitter) not as invested as I would be on a full 10-week season, and I think I really and truly don’t have any investment in one couple winning over another.  All the pros left have never won before – so we will have a new pro champion, regardless; and that’s really enough for me, since I think their respective celebs have all had very satisfying, fulfilling journeys on the show this season. I’m actually finding myself more and more pumped to get started on DWTS Junior – more on that in the coming weeks 😉

So this week, Grandpa was back as a judge, and while I don’t think he was necessarily as helpful as Shad when it came to judging, I’m glad he was there to be the “nice” judge, and occasionally throw an optimistic bone to the couples that maybe didn’t do so hot (as evidenced by his tendency to dissent on the ballroom battles – bless him). I’ve heard a few people throwing shade in Grandpa & Shad’s direction, claiming that they “weren’t qualified” to judge, and at this point I have to ask “Have you guys actually been watching the show? And comprehending what’s been going on?” Nearly none of the guest judges are “qualified” in the same sense that the Three Stooges are – and for that, I’m glad.  I don’t need another Len getting grumpy about content, or another Carrie Ann incoherently babbling about non-existent lifts, or another Bruno flamboyantly gushing about whatever it is he gushes about – anymore, it’s kind of nice to have someone on the panel that can look at a dance from a non-technical perspective and say “Y’know what? That may not have been technically perfect, but I enjoyed it!” And really, the extra points dump from a 4th judge only makes the margins closer, so it basically gives more power to the viewer vote.  So if you’re bitching & moaning about unqualified judges at this point – you’re out of your element, Donnie.

We also got some pseudo-quasi mentoring from returning celebs Meryl, Nastia, & Von – and in the case of the latter, I’m thinking this was probably all thrown together fairly last-minute, as Von couldn’t even be present to actually mentor his couples in person, and did his mentoring via Skype.  Have to wonder if they had another returning celeb lined up, and they had to cancel at the last minute, necessitating the scramble for another and Von maybe just happened to be (semi)available. The bumpers we got from these returning celebs ranged from rather marginal (Von) to “Ok, but was that the best choreo you could give her?” (Meryl) and “Actually pretty decent, but man was the camera work terrible!” (Nastia), and seemed like a bit of an afterthought overall. I have a love-hate relationship with the random ways they try to bring back former contestants, as it’s usually pretty flimsy, but in the same token, I do love seeing (some) alums of the show back in the ballroom.

Not a whole lot else to add – seems like the writing is on the wall with this one.  Shall we? Read more..

May 15, 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 26, Week 2 – Power Rankings

If it felt weird last week to be 1/4 way through this season, it feels even weirder that we’re at the halfway point this week – and the votes from tonight’s show are determining the finalists. I still feel like I’m getting to know these couples…and some of them are still finding their groove…and already I’m having to pick who the ultimate contenders for the MBT are.  Is this what it felt like back in season 1? Thirteen years has fogged my memory of those simpler times 😛

I hereby nominate Shad Jennings as the gold standard for guest judges on DWTS 🙂 Seriously, the guy could not have done a better job – he somehow managed to give very personal, very relevant critiques to each couple, while remaining encouraging and keeping it brief.  He wasn’t wordy and petty like Donny O., he wasn’t nitpicky & self-aggrandizing like Alfonso, he didn’t try to turn everything into a joke like Kevin Hart, he didn’t ramble on aimlessly like Shania, and he managed to give more than the standard boilerplate “It was great!” responses like Zendaya. Anymore, I couldn’t care less whether the guest judge actually critiques the dance – leave it to three stooges to actually point out the negatives, and let the guest judge be more of a motivator that just happens to score pretty closely to what the stooges do. Shad did just that – and damn, if that man isn’t articulate AF…Shad, if you need a new gig, can you just come narrate my life? Pretty sure you could give an eloquent play-by-play of me flossing my teeth. 😛

Sometimes, I find myself giggling at some of the truly wacky sh*t they make the troupe members do – reminds me of the dumb stuff we made the pledges do back when I was in my sorority, although the fraternities usually far bested us in the “weird stuff to make the pledges do” category.  As the sweetheart of one house, I once had pledges of that particular fraternity walking me to class HOLDING AN UMBRELLA OVER MY HEAD for one entire, rainy week, a la Diddy & his hip-hop manservant, Fonzworth Bentley (anyone remember whatever happened to that guy?).  Watching Brandon running around in a bear suit, or Hayley doing salsa with Lindsay on her shoulders, or watching the rest of the troupe duck through Kareem’s legs like an never-ending clown car last night just drives the point home that they really do kinda haze the troupe members, before they let them become pros 😛

So with last night’s votes basically determining the three couples who make the finals (and contrary to what fans seemed to be saying last week, it is only THREE couples, not four), I’m left feeling a bit wishy-washy about at least two of those couples.  Gun to my head, I think Adam makes it to the finals no matter what, and Jennie doesn’t, no matter what; the other two spots could be any combination of the remaining four couples – my gut says they’re going to do whatever they can to ensure Mirai ends up in the finals, so she’s probably in, too; I think Tonya deserves the third spot in the finals (and I think the producers would absolutely DROOL at the prospect of an all-figure skater finale), but Josh could possibly take it as well if he really does get the NFL vote, and if Chris does well next Monday, he could also be the dark horse, a la Frankie, for that third spot. Really, though – at the rate he’s going, I’d be shocked if anyone other than Adam won this season.  Granted, he could (but probably won’t) have an off-week next week or in the actual finals, and it could make it a tighter race between he & Mirai…but at the end of the day, I think Adam pulls this off, no matter what. Read more..

May 8, 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 26, Week 1 – Power Rankings

So with night 1 of our abbreviated season on the books, we’re already 1/4 of the way through the season! 😛 It definitely felt weird for me to live tweet and blog this time – I haven’t had a 5 month hiatus from this show since I started blogging it back in 2009.  And given that I’m currently in the midst of working full time, going back to school, juggling a new relationship, and helping my sister plan her wedding – I can’t say I’m too disappointed that this season is a shortened one.  It’s everything I enjoy about DWTS, just condensed into a shorter time frame 🙂

I wish I could say that I didn’t notice some of the budgetary “fat trimming” the show had to do in light of breaking the bank on Idol – the lack of a live band seemed the most obvious, as some of the pre-recorded tracks were painful to the ears…like those cheapo Party City CD’s with covers of popular songs.  The costumes also seemed to get back to basics, with most of the ladies’ Latin costumes following the same basic fabric & crystal scheme, and it looks like the hair & makeup looks stayed pretty basic across the board – I didn’t see as great a degree of creativity with bold eyes & lips, as if the makeup team was told “Just make them look good on camera.  Doesn’t have to be particularly unique or bold, just get them camera-ready.” Also saw a few recycled set pieces – shout out to the house set from Alek’s jazz in season 21, which made a repeat appearance for Jennie’s foxtrot last night.

In light of this abbreviated season, I already see some debate about who the contenders are – from where I stand, Adam is likely a shoo-in for the finale, with Josh being highly likely as well; I’m not entirely sold on Mirai, as I found her a personality a bit grating and have to wonder if others did as well, plus I wonder if Alan has the choreographic chops to really make her shine in the long term.  Then again, there’s supposedly four couples in the finale this season, so I guess Mirai is highly likely as well.  As for the fourth spot – at this point in time, I could see either Chris or Tonya duking it out for the last spot…but hey, it could change in a heartbeat, if Arike or Jennie has a breakthrough, or people decide they just really, really like Kareem 😉 Read more..

May 1, 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 25, The Finale Power Rankings – Who Will Win?

And just like that, there’s only one show left this season – and then we have to wait a whole 9 months for a regular season of DWTS to kick back up again.  Lord knows what this spinoff, mini-season we’re getting in the spring is going to be like.

In what has become a regular struggle for me these days, I found myself not really wowed by the freestyles as a whole – it’s been several seasons since I last felt truly “blown away” by a freestyle, and the last time they really felt “special” or potentially game-changing was probably way back in season 11, prior to the days when you could include all manner of props/extra dancers/set pieces/etc in your regular weekly dances. I think at this point, a lot of the couples simply struggle to find a theme/tone for their freestyle that sets them apart from the other freestyles on a particular season – and I think each of the four couples last night achieved that distinction, to some degree, even if they maybe didn’t do it perfectly.  The trend seemed to be upbeat vs. edgy – I think upbeat maybe had a slight leg up on edgy, as viewers seem to always enjoy a happy freestyle, while they only sometimes like an edgy or dark one.

As predicted, Drew came out in 4th place – probably quite a bit better than most of us predicted initially, and an admirable effort by both he & Emma this season.  As has been the case pretty much all season long, they couldn’t really compete with the other three remaining couples on skill level, so they went with their usual brand of quirk – thought the pause in the middle of their freestyle was totally in-character, and I’ll credit Emma with throwing in something that has truly never been done before in a freestyle 😛 Paso was only marginally better than their first one (which I still maintain was not as bad as it was scored) – shaping got a bit better, but there were still bungled steps, and I didn’t see all this “vast improvement” the judges were gushing about.  It was about that time that I got the feeling that Drew was for sure getting the goodbye kiss last night, so I didn’t fret too much over the scores with which he was being gifted.

3rd place: Frankie & Witney

My god, it’s sure been nice seeing a sparkle back in Witney’s eye that we haven’t really seen since Alfonso’s season.  She seems like she’s genuinely having a great time with Frankie, and it’s even inspiring her choreographically. That foxtrot was some Bindi & Derek-esque magic – loved the theme, loved Frankie’s solo, loved the costumes, and loved how well they both sold it. Frankie really has come a long way since the premiere, and has become a confident, fully-realized version of his earlier-in-the-season self – and I adore how much he has enjoyed this experience, so I’m lightweight hoping he ends up being the tour celeb…guess we’ll find out tonight. As for their freestyle – as with all of the others, I appreciated what they were trying to do, even if it maybe missed the mark a bit.  For those that didn’t get the backstory from me on Twitter – Frankie & Witney actually lost a full day of rehearsal time for their freestyle, because they were waffling back & forth over the music (“Run Boy Run” vs. “Yeah 3X” by Chris Brown).  Production was really pressuring them to go with the latter, and Frankie thought that it might resonate better with fans – but Witney felt strongly that “Run Boy Run” inspired her more, so Frankie opted to defer to her (as we saw in the rehearsal package). I think the risk paid off, to a degree – it was definitely different than the other freestyles we saw, and there was some pretty cool choreo in there that I applaud Witney for. Part of me thinks it might have read better if it were treated as a paso doble/tango fusion, as opposed to a freestyle, but generally, I think it was enjoyable.  It didn’t really get me out of my seat and clapping like Jordan’s did, but I appreciated it.  I think that these two are probably resigned to taking 3rd, though, especially since the two powerhouse couples managed to get perfect scores for the evening, while Frankie came up 4 points short. But I’m happy that they got to make it to the finals, and have had a fun journey together 🙂

2nd place: Lindsey & Mark

Unpopular opinion: I’m not sure what’s happened to Mark these past two weeks, but the choreography we’ve seen is not up-to-snuff with the renaissance he gave us for the bulk of this season – I heard someone on Twitter mention “being on tour”? Not sure if they meant Lindsey’s tour (or Alexander Jean’s?), but both of Lindsey’s dances last night struck me as odd and out of character for different reasons.  I actually thought their quickstep was uncharacteristically stiff – not actually all that bouncy, compared to their first quickstep, and the bit at the beginning with Lindsey talking was just odd. The dance wasn’t bad, on the whole, and Lindsey didn’t mess up, but it just felt…low-energy. And like neither one of them really wanted to be doing that dance. Especially following Jordan’s Charleston. As for the freestyle – here’s the thing: if you’re gonna go edgy, go full-on edgy, like Frankie & Witney did. The weirdest part about it for me was that it seemed to dance with being edgy, while at the same time being kind of…goofy? I know they were going for the whole “mad conductor” theme, but I think some of the steps bordered on silly/cheesy – Mark playing Lindsey’s leg like a violin? Lifting Lindsey up to the heavens for what seemed like forever, and her grinning the whole time? I may have audibly groaned and said “Mark, you’re better than this.” There were good parts – good reuse of their jive choreo, and incorporating her violin playing worked for the most part (there were a few spots where it looked a bit strained). I appreciate the fact that they were trying to go for a unique theme that still fit Lindsey – but I’m not sure all the pieces came together perfectly. I think Mark may have spoiled us in the front half of the season, what with the robot Argentine tango, the gorgeous Disney foxtrot, that jive…so many genius dances, and this one just felt…decent, but not fully-realized. And then there were a few more troubling things said during their packages – and I know I’m gonna catch flak for this, but it needs to be said. Once again, Lindsey brought up the fact that she’s the only female left that’s “not a professional dancer” – whether she meant it to shade Jordan, or just meant she’s the only female left in the competition that’s not one of the pros, or whether she even said it of her own volition, I don’t care – it just came across as desperate & unnecessary…like it did the few times it got said last week. And the whole “Mark’s been on this show 19 seasons and only won twice!” read to me as equating seniority with entitlement, on a show that already heavily favors male pros over female ones from the jump – so to basically hear “Mark needs a 3rd MBT because he’s been here a long time!” while some of the female pros (like Lindsay) have been busting their ass and doing amazing work and are always coming up just short of the MBT, doesn’t exactly make me sympathetic towards his plight. And that was really the tipping point for me with regards to who I voted for last night – don’t know if Lindsey herself said it, was baited into saying it, or said it without thinking, but it shed a light on one of my biggest issues with this show: despite what some of you think, the male and female pros are not afforded the same opportunities on this show.

Winners: Jordan & Lindsay

Unfounded claims of Jordan “being cocky” or “needing humble pie” notwithstanding, he won the night for me with both of his routines, and I think he’s been consistently fantastic all season – and Lindsay’s been consistently giving him great choreography (WHICH SHE HAS BEEN DOING HERSELF FOR THE PAST THREE SEASONS…the fact that I have to repeat this and still get people sticking their noses in the air and saying “Nuh-uh, she used Alan for their contemporary!” is just another way this show and its fandom sh*ts on female pros). That Charleston was proof that Lindsay is the go-to pro for fantastic Charleston choreography – it was chock full of content, was high-energy, and made good use of the floor.  And as always – Jordan was flawless.  Their freestyle was my favorite of the night – it fit Jordan’s journey well, and he and Lindsay both seemed to be having the time of their life out there. The flips and falls and catches actually reminded me a lot of the minstrel number from White Christmas – one of my favorites; and there were nice little homages to his jive, his salsa, his Charleston, and a few other dances. And when it comes to fully completing each movement and getting as much out of it as you can – Jordan can’t be beat. And I’m hoping that’s the case with the MBT, because my mind keeps going back to last season’s finale, with Emma tearfully confessing in a finale rehearsal package “I may never get this chance again!” with regards to having a shot at the MBT.  And it’s a sad truth on this show: any given male pro will likely get at least 3-4 partners in his tenure as a pro that stand a decent shot of making the finals, right off the bat (unless you’re Keo, which is another problematic discussion); the average female pro is lucky to get 1-2 in her tenure that she could potentially make it to the finals with. Why? Because you’re more likely to find female celebs with previous dance experience to do the show than male ones, and the bulk of the predominantly-female audience of DWTS tends to fiercely support their favorite male pros (think about who the “big fanbases” have been the past 7 or so years – Derek, Mark, Maks, Val) while being passively-supportive to indifferent to most of the current female pros (until last season, the predominant opinion of Emma seemed to be “Awww, yeah, Emma’s great…with the old, bad dancers”.) And when the agenda of the season requires giving a certain pro (usually male) a boost, it’s often a female pro and her partner paying the price: in season 12, it was Ralph & Karina getting screwed to ensure Chelsea & Mark advanced; in season 18, it was Charlie & Sharna getting screwed to ensure that Meryl & Maks won without issue; in season 22, it was Wanya & Lindsay getting bumped out of the finale to make room for Ginger & Val.  So with all that in mind – sorry, but I don’t feel as gung-ho about Mark getting a 3rd MBT as I do about Lindsay getting her first; and I’m not saying she only deserves it because she hasn’t won – because she has been nothing short of phenomenal this season (and so has Jordan!), and she’s been phenomenal ever since her return as a pro 2 years ago. “But Mark hasn’t won in a while!!!” is the excuse I keep hearing – to which I say “But he’s already won twice, which is better than most of the female pros can hope for during their time on this show.” I don’t know that the stars are ever going to align in this way again for Lindsay – so yeah, I’m hoping she & Jordan pull this off.  Not sorry.

So how do you think things will shake out tonight? What do you think about the live voting? What returning couples are you excited to see?

November 21, 2017 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 25, Week 9 – Power Rankings

I’m already seeing this finale labeled the “feel-good finale”, or “season 17, the sequel” because of the generally amiable vibe among both the celebs and pros that are left, and the fact that this is the first Chmerkovskiy-free finale we’ve had in two years. Admittedly, I’m eager to see a finale that isn’t tainted by the need to promote a member of the Fam as the “star of the show”, and without a crystal-clear front-runner – I think any of three remaining contestants could walk off with the MBT, and about the only thing I feel 100% confident asserting is that Drew will NOT win the MBT. But man – I am HYPE for these freestyles, guys.  With the choreographic prowess of the remaining pros, we’ve got the potential for some showstoppers.

Judges were back to being on their bullsh*t last night – particularly Carrie Ann, who had a wishy-washy, patronizing, nonsensical critique for just about everyone – the only one in whose favor it seemed to work was Victoria, who was headed home anyway.  Len was similarly skewed, getting particularly cranky about “hip-hop” content and various other petty complaints. My guess is that they were told to create the impression that it was a horse race, and to nitpick everyone except Victoria.  Thankfully, Bruno seemed to play good judge again, and usually threw in a conciliatory score that was a point higher than what Carrie Ann or Len gave.

So Victoria left us – and I felt bad, because she seemed like a genuinely nice girl, and I don’t think she saw this coming.  Part of me thinks the judges being overly-kind to her over the course of the season may have actually convinced her that she had a legitimate shot at the MBT – hell, from the way they gushed (pretty predictably, if you ask me) over both of her just-okay routines last night, you would have thought she was the front-runner for the win.  I’m guessing Val is probably also partially to blame for her inflated expectations, and in the same token, he was also beginning to get detrimental in terms of choreography – since when is it allowed to basically do a second trio as one of your individual dances??? And in that trio, have the other two people doing most of the dancing, while the celeb primarily stays stationary? Had Amy & Derek pulled the same stunt on their season, fans would have absolutely shat themselves in anger. And I’ve still gotta raise an eyebrow at the fact that they ended up doing contemporary, while the press release listed waltz as their dance.  Say what you will about Victoria saying she had contemporary since last Monday – there’s been enough instances of Val’s partners conveniently getting their styles changed that it gives me pause, and it’s entirely possible that the song was originally intended for a waltz and someone just couldn’t make it work. Read more..

November 14, 2017 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 25, Week 8 – Power Rankings

So for those of you that don’t know – my Twitter got hacked 🙁 Not quite sure what happened, but I got a new phone on Friday around noon, didn’t really check Twitter all weekend, and then woke up Monday morning with all of my tweets from the past two years just gone, my profile picture/bio deleted, and some new artwork in its place. I’m also apparently from a city that rhymes with a city in Alabama, but starts with a “C”…but that’s neither here nor there. I’ve got a case open to try and get my Twitter back, but not sure how long that’s going to take. Lesson learned, kids: if you trade in your phone, make sure they wipe it clean and don’t leave any of your data vulnerable; change your passwords often; and don’t click on any suspicious links…

…so aside from that obvious setback, I actually had a pretty sh*tty day at work as well, so I think I was totally ready for DWTS to just really be the turd on top of an already craptastic day; however, I actually found myself rather pleasantly surprised, particularly with the trio dances with returning celebs.  Honestly, I think if they’re dead set on bringing former winners/finalists/whatever back to the show, this is the best way to do it – one week of dances, without the long, drawn-out pressure (and potential disappointment) of a full-length all-star season. And I feel like they really lucked on the crop of celebs they were able to get to come back – five champions and one runner-up, and of that, probably the two strongest male contestants this show has seen (Alfonso & Corbin), and probably one of the top five female contestants this show has seen (Kristi). Granted, some trios worked out better than others, and there are two trios I probably would have recast if it were up to me, but on the whole…still a pretty entertaining round.

It pained me to see Terrell go, even though once again, the writing was pretty much on the wall after last week’s show. The man behind the curtain just seems to be showing his hand a bit too much these days, I’m afraid.  But I’ll be damned if Terrell didn’t impress the hell outta me with how much he improved from week 1, and just his personal growth in general – he went from being pretty insufferable in week 2 to being utterly charming in week 8, and his Charleston last night was actually my favorite dance of the individual round. Not too shabby at all, considering he wasn’t even Cheryl’s original partner, and filled in at the last minute.  And big props to Cheryl, for taking another seemingly hopeless partner on paper and turning him into a decent dancer that people actually enjoy watching 🙂

1.) Jordan & Lindsay – I get the impression that the judges are trying to set up their ideal placements for the finale, and based on their comments and scores last night, I think they may be pushing for a Jordan win – but part of me also wonders if Jordan might need the help, as well. A six-point lead over Lindsey & Mark, for dancing that was maybe only slightly better? And then a 13 point difference between them and the bottom of the leader board? Part of me wonders if Jordan might need a bit of insulation, and the fact that they had him bring up the fact that Lindsay has yet to win? Also makes me wonder if they’re trying to increase their pantheon of champion pros by one. At this point, I honestly don’t find myself caring one way or another who wins – I think Jordan, Lindsay, & Frankie have all been tremendous this season, and I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that either Drew nor Victoria is anywhere within striking distance of the MBT. But I would be lying if I said I didn’t think it would be nice to see some of Lindsay’s hard work over these past several seasons rewarded 😉 Can’t say I was wild about the music they were given for their quickstep, but I appreciated what Lindsay did with it – the mod, quirky vibe fit the music well, and as always, Jordan’s technique was unmatched. I found their trio to be the strongest of the night – and I expected it to be, given that I think Corbin & Jordan are two of the top three male contestants (with previous dance experience) we’ve ever had on the show. I thought they had the most interesting transitions and interactions among the three of them, and appeared to be the most confident and precise out on the floor. I expected them to be – but I still enjoyed it, and I still appreciate that Jordan continues to bring a high level of execution each week.  I can always count of them for a showstopping routine, and this week didn’t disappoint 🙂

2.) Lindsey & Mark – If the judges appeared to be giving Jordan a boost and pushing a Jordan win as the narrative last night, I think they maybe did it at a bit of the expense of Lindsey & Mark – because I found a few of the scores they were given to be rather questionable. And if my gut is telling me that Jordan may need a bit of help – it’s also telling me that Lindsey is likely doing just fine in terms of votes.  Which is good, because admittedly, Lindsey’s samba was probably my least favorite of the dances she’s done – I appreciated that Mark went creative again with the choreo, but I found Lindsey to be a bit too bouncy through her upper body (as opposed to keeping the characteristic samba “bounce” in her core) and like many of the female contestants on this show, she wasn’t quite closing her thighs enough as they passed.  Samba’s a difficult beast on this show – so for Lindsey to have one off-dance, that’s still pretty damn good. I LIKED their trio, but I don’t know that I LOVED their trio – I guess I was just hoping that Mark would really go all-out with the creativity, given that they had a pretty open-ended dance and he got one of his most talented partners (Kristi) back to help; but while it was a pleasant trio and there weren’t any huge mistakes (I did see a few points where the staging looked a bit off, though), I just don’t know that I found anything super special about it. Just more of a personal preference, rather than anything grossly wrong, technically-speaking. I do think it was underscored, though, and I found the two 9’s from Len & Bruno puzzling, given that they didn’t seem to have anything bad to say about the dance. But again, I go back to “Make this season a horse race!” along with “Lindsey’s got the votes, but Jordan maybe doesn’t” – sure, it ain’t really fair, but like many unfair things about this show, it’s easy to see why they did it.

3.) Frankie & Witney – Again with Frankie, I go back to “Where do the judges seem to be placing him in the great scheme of things?” If they’re putting Jordan out front, and underscoring Lindsey a bit (but still keeping her in striking distance), I think they’re trying to set Frankie up as the 3rd place finisher this season – they’re keeping him separated enough from Jordan & Lindsey that it would probably be difficult (but not impossible!) for him to break into the top 2, but they’re also keeping him separated enough from the bottom of the leader board (Drew & Victoria) that they most likely can’t catch up. Which I’m fine with – I think I said a few weeks back that I would be happy if Frankie just made the finals, and it looks like that’s probably going to happen after all. I actually really liked his Viennese waltz, and like Drew’s waltz, I was puzzled as to what exactly the judges (mainly Len) were bitching about – I took particular issue with Len bitching about rise and fall, because I saw enough of it, and Len was acting as if Frankie should have been rising & falling to the same extent one would with a regular waltz (I can’t seem to find the post where I mentioned it, but the rise & fall in Viennese waltz isn’t as pronounced as it is with regular waltz – with the faster tempo of the former, you just don’t have time for dramatic rise and fall). I also thought Frankie was extending beautifully through his torso and arms, which is rare for shorter guys on this show.  Thought the trio with Alfonso was great – once again, I got back to my “say what you will about Alfonso, but” speech: he may be a bit insufferable at times, but this dude cares genuinely about the show, and he ALWAYS delivers. I think he was the best returning celeb when it came to tailoring his own energy level to match the current celeb’s – there were definitely moments that I saw him toning his steps down a notch, which I appreciated. I still maintain that he’s the best male celeb we’ve ever had on DWTS, as I think he comes across more organic and is more of a seasoned showman than Corbin or Jordan (if we’re going for “best male celeb without previous dance experience”, I think that goes to either Hinch or Shad). Also loved that the choreo had a sense of humor (the “nope, not gonna do the Carlton!” move made me snicker), and that they didn’t always have Witney in the middle – I think it’s temping to put the odd man out in the middle to give the dance a sense of balance, but I noticed quite a few spots where they actually had Frankie (or is it Malcolm…? ;-)) in the middle as the focal point, which is much riskier to do…but gives much more emphasis on the celeb, as opposed to the others. Great job on both dances, and I’m eager to see what else we get to see from them before the finals.

4.) Drew & Emma – From an objective standpoint, I think Drew & Victoria are the two weakest dancers left in the competition – but unlike Victoria, I think Drew has slightly more potential to be competitive in the finals than Victoria does, plus I think he has more mainstream popularity with the main viewing demographic. So even though Drew ended up low man on the totem pole this week, points-wise – my gut’s telling me he’s going to the finals over Victoria. I think he may have gotten a tad screwed by getting saddled with waltz as his individual dance – this late in the competition, it seems like high-energy, show-stopping dances are what sticks out in viewers’ minds, and they also seem like the dances that are less likely to get nitpicked by the judges; I think Drew was unfortunately a victim of “it’s a lot easier to see mistakes in a very slow dance than a faster one” and caught the full force of the judges’ nitpickery. I actually didn’t think it was as bad as they were saying, though – not sure I was wild about the choreography from start to finish, but I thought Drew handled it well, at least tried to get rise and fall, and his frame looked pretty good. Liked their trio with Shad – if there’s one thing Drew really needed to work on, it was “swag”, and Shad was the man to teach him.  Sure, there were a few slightly fumble-y spots, but overall I liked it – everyone seemed to be having a really good time, and I appreciated that Shad was able to dance in a way that didn’t overshadow Drew. Good energy, very fun. I don’t know that Drew & Emma can hope for any better than 4th place at this point, but given the caliber of the talent we’ve had this season, I think they’ve done a tremendous job.

5.) Victoria & Val – Part of me really feels for Victoria, because like the viewers themselves, I think Victoria has come to the realization that she’s hit a plateau on the show – she’s probably not going to get much better than she already is, and she’s likely to only suffer by comparison to the remaining contestants. She’s just reached her limit – nothing wrong on her part (or even Val’s, really), it’s just the way the cookie crumbles when you’ve got some sort of physically-limiting factor in play. I don’t think she minds too much, just based on what seems to be a really stellar outlook on life; but there were just a few moments last night where the look on her face said “I’m not going to get any better than this…it’s probably the end of the line for me, but I’m going to be okay with it.” Seemed rather unfortunate that they saddled her with not one, but two very footwork-heavy dances this week – I always knew jive would be the biggest struggle for her, given that it’s so dependent on leg and footwork to get executed well (and Victoria can’t feel her legs); Argentine tango has long been labeled the “war of the feet” dance on DWTS, and while Val had a bit of an easier time concealing her shortcomings in that dance by keeping Vic relatively stationary while he did most of the moving around the stage, it still felt like a bit of a watered-down version of many of his other Argentine tangos (namely Ginger & Rumer’s) and seemed to lack the characteristic “punch” you get when you’ve got an actual “war of the feet” going on out on the floor.  The Argentine tango was neither great nor terrible – just a non-event, unfortunately.  The trio…was a bit bizarre, for me. The set-up was a head-scratcher – basically re-living Laurie & Val’s win, and then just awkwardly inviting Victoria to join them.  The dance itself seemed to be the Laurie & Val show, with special guest Victoria – Laurie & Val were doing most of the heavy-duty dancing, while Victoria just bobbed around in the background, with her feet conveniently obscured for most of the dance by the set-up of the stage with the fans crowded around it. And here’s the funny part: I caught a glimpse of Laurie’s feet a few times as well, and she’s still not really pointing them – same problem I had with her on her own season. Probably the weakest trio of the night, and one I would recommend re-casting with another former contestant that would be less likely to overdance – I actually think Danica would have been better at matching Victoria’s energy and not making her look weaker by comparison. But anyway – I’m getting the feeling that Victoria’s come to the end of the road, and the impression I got from the judges’ wishy-washy, I-don’t-really-want-to-say-that-you’ve-plateaued-and-aren’t-going-to-get-any-better-so-I’m-going-to-make-up-some-other-reasons-why-that-wasn’t-great critiques, I think they realize it, too.  She’s had a good run (and as I’ve mentioned before – she’s probably my favorite partner Val has had, personality-wise), but I just think she’s not really able to compete for the MBT with the couples that are left.

So with only two weeks left – what are your thoughts as we head into the semifinals? Who do you see making it to the finale?

November 7, 2017 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 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. Read more..

October 31, 2017 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 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… Read more..

October 24, 2017 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 25, Week 5 – Power Rankings

I’ve said it before, but here it goes again: I actually usually hate Disney night, and it’s not because I “hate Disney” or “had an upsetting childhood” (Twitter sure is full of recreational psychologists these days) – it’s because, like many a theme week, it tends to force the pros to shoehorn their choreo to fit songs that aren’t all appropriate for the dance they’ve been assigned, and the end result is usually…painful to behold, and a detriment to the celeb partner’s scores. However, I will say this: maybe my personal bar was set pretty low, but I actually found myself enjoying last night’s show, on the whole. Most of the pros (with the exception of maybe three) seemed to bring their A-game and actually churn out some respectable and entertaining dances, that still managed to stay true to the Disney movie they were assigned; granted, there were still some eyebrow-raising scoring issues and the general ick of Chmerlachey in its death throes, trying wayyyy too hard to stay on our radar, but all in all, I found the show enjoyable…even with having to watch it on a dodgy live stream on my iPad due to Monday Night Football.  For the first time in PureDWTS history, Heidi’s Titans were playing my Colts on MNF – so we both were on the live stream struggle bus, but thankfully, our server issues here at Pure seem to have been fixed by our latest update, so we hope more of you will stick around to chat with us now 🙂 Read more..

October 17, 2017 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