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PureDWTS DWTS Juniors Season 1 – Court’s Season 1 Post-Mortem: What Worked, What Needs Work, Some Tea, and Final Thoughts

So here it is – my high-level thoughts on the season as a whole.  Some of you have been asking for “more tea”, which is kinda tough because there’s not really so much to be had on Juniors 😛 But I did the best I could…

Some tea:

There was no bonus or cash prize for the winner. You heard right: Sky & JT didn’t receive any additional cash bonus or other compensation for winning Juniors.  The prize was literally just the trophy and bragging rights – all the kids got paid by the episode, and were paid the same fee per episode they appeared on. It’s a rather refreshing, egalitarian take that we don’t really see on the main show, where winners & finalists get bonuses for winning or just sticking around longer, and celebs play hardball with contracts so bigger names can negotiate more money for appearing on the show. And I think the lack of cash motivation allowed the kids to do the show for the right reasons – they weren’t in it for the money, but for the experience.

If there had been an elimination in the semifinals, it was allegedly Ariana & Artyon that would have gotten sent home. Part of me wonders if they opted to do a 4-couple finale because Ariana & Artyon were such firecrackers – of the 4 finalists, they were probably the most energetic, and offered a nice balance with Sky & JT being adorable and Kenzie & Sage and Miles & Rylee being more mature and subdued.

Tripp apparently had no idea he was even doing DWTS Juniors until the day of the first rehearsal. Contrary to what some rogue Palin fans have tried to claim, Tripp allegedly had no idea he was doing the show until the morning of his first rehearsal with Hailey & Jenna, per source who saw the first rehearsal tape.  Talk about an awkward (and potentially traumatic) introduction.  I guess Mama Bristol made all the arrangements for him to be on the show and then just didn’t tell him until it was too late to back out. So the permanent bewildered expression the poor kid had on his face the whole time he was on screen? It makes sense now, given the context.

Source isn’t 100% sure the voting clickers the audience used to vote were even working properly for most of the season. Apparently the handy-dandy “clicker remotes” the eligible audience members were given to vote with at the end of each show were a crapshoot most of the time – on premiere night, the crew ended up frantically handing out pencils and paper to about half the audience because they couldn’t get the clickers to work (confirmed by someone who was in the audience the night they taped the premiere).  The issues apparently continued for most of the season – source “was not entirely sure” the voting was even working properly in the finals, as the remotes were pretty low-tech (those of you who’ve been in college in the last 20-odd years – think of the remote controls you used to record attendance for your big lectures). Now before any of you start crying foul, some perspective: given that there was no cash prize involved, TPTB were not bound by the same laws that prevent the regular version of DWTS (which DOES have a cash prize) from “rigging the votes”. And per the source, the audience support for Sky was overwhelming – even if all the clickers stopped working, I think it would have been obvious based on applause and cheers who the favorite was. It might have caused problems with determining how the other three placed, though, which could explain why it wasn’t announced.  With that in mind…

Who finished 2nd, 3rd, & 4th? Per source, they were never told how everyone placed in the finals, aside from Sky & JT winning – and I’m fine with that, as I don’t really see the value in knowing how they ranked otherwise.  They all made the finals; that’s something to be commended, and if I were one of those kids and I ended up in 4th place, I’d feel pretty bummed. THAT BEING SAID – many of you have asked how I think they placed, so here’s my take: given that Ariana allegedly was low-kid on the totem pole and in danger of elimination during the semis, and given that she & Artyon were arguably the weakest performance-wise on finale night, I’m going to venture a guess that she would have probably ended up in 4th place. Source said audience support for Kenzie & Miles at the finale seemed neck-and-neck, but I’d give Miles a slight edge given that he danced later in the show and had probably the two strongest routines, choreography and performance-wise – so I’d put him in 2nd place; I think Kenzie probably ended up 3rd, as the favorite dance with Gleb seemed to fall a bit flat and going first never seems to bode well for those in the finals.

What worked:

Having the regular pros as mentors. It gave me some serious warm fuzzies seeing how into coaching the pros got, and how extraordinarily proud they were of their teams. Loved seeing moments where they were genuinely moved by their junior teams, and seeing how their junior teams idolized them. It also gave the pros a chance to show off their choreography chops in a new way (choreographing for kids is a different ballgame than choreographing for adults!) without having to worry about performing it themselves. This is closer to how it works in the “real life” ballroom world: competing couples don’t usually choreograph themselves – they hire an outside choreographer for that part, and they just perform it. With the exception of one pro (Gleb, who I think is a lazy, self-interested choreographer that needs to seek outside help more often), I think all the pros handled the whole experience beautifully. Stand-outs for me personally were Lindsay (who I felt was the most consistent in delivering appropriate-yet-inspired choreo that suited her juniors), Brandon (who got to show us what he’s capable of, choreography-wise, and what he can do when given an energetic pair to coach), Alan (who seemed to really bond with his pair, and show us a nuturing “Papa Bear” side), Artem (who took a junior pairing that, on paper, looked hopeless, and turned them into a respectable team), and Emma (whose choreo was both creative and really suited her pair well).

The junior pros. I think every last one of them was brilliant, in terms of skill – I’ve talked with Justin about this a few times, but the group they chose is really reflective of the next generation of professional dancers: they’re all impressively cross-trained, and seem to pick up new styles with incredible ease.  They’re also all born performers, and seem to have never encountered stage fright in their life. Ones to watch: Kamri (who I think could be the next Maddie Ziegler – perhaps even eclipsing her in talent and charisma) and Artyon (he came into this season with no ballroom experience, picked it up impressively well, and made up for any other shortcomings with a strong sense of showmanship).

The theme nights. While this is usually something I complain about on the regular version, I thought the themes were well-chosen and offered a decent framework for the kids to work their routines around – and there’s something to be said for watching kids throw themselves headlong into Disney and holiday-themed routines 🙂 The themes were appropriate and they were ones the kids seemed to really get into – so I’m good with it.

Mandy as a judge. At times, it felt like Mandy was the only one on the judging panel that could come up with a concise, coherent, and pertinent critique for the teams – while I didn’t always agree with her 100%, I thought she was at the very least trying to be constructive (and specific enough for the kids to actually understand) and supportive of the kids at the same time. It’s a delicate balance, and I think she’s the only judge on the panel that carried it off consistently.

Frankie & Jordan as hosts. I think Frankie handled the main hosting role with incredible ease, while still being approachable to the kids and having a fun-loving vibe about him.  I know some of you thought Frankie came off as “awkward”, but I thought his vibe was perfect for the show – the kids aren’t terribly articulate or polished, why should Frankie be? 🙂 And I love the way Frankie & Jordan vibed off of each other – there was a definite synergy there, likely formed during their own season and their time out on tour together.

 

What needs work:

Adam as a judge. Sorry, Adam fans – while I adore him as a person, I just don’t know that I think he’s well-suited to the judging panel of this show.  I felt at times that he was more interested in showboating and coming up with gif-worthy phrases than he was giving more concrete, useful critiques. Or maybe he actually gave them, and they were just edited out for time.  Who knows – but if he was just hired to be less relevant, more flamboyant version of Bruno, and they didn’t much care about him actually legitimately judging, then why not just change that third judge’s chair into a rotating guest judging position? It would at the very least offer up some variety – I’d love to see Rashad step in to judge the kids, maybe Kenny Ortega…there’s tons of possibilities.

The length of the show.  I doubt there’s much that can be done about this one, but I feel like even extending the show by a half hour could go a long way in slowing down the sometimes breakneck pace at which the episodes seemed to move. Or, if they can’t increase the show to 90 minutes, at least decrease the number of couples or turn the episodes in multi-part ones – maybe when they’re in the early weeks with a lot of couples, let six of them dance one week, and the other six the following week? At least until they whittle down to a more manageable number.

The voting process.  As mentioned above – the clickers need work. I don’t think a live, public vote is necessary in this instance (a la the main show), but at the very least, invest in some more reliable technology.

Kenzie as a contestant. I feel bad putting this one here, because it’s not necessarily Kenzie’s fault per se, but I felt like she (and Sage) stuck out like a sore thumb among the contestants: they looked far older, more mature, and more professional than the rest of the couples.  And I always felt like Kenzie was performing as if this was a job, rather than an opportunity; while all the other kids were out there really letting loose and having fun, Kenzie felt more controlled and detached, as if she was dancing to collect a paycheck rather than to have a good time.  I think part of what appealed to a lot of us was just how down-to-earth and genuine Juniors was compared to the regular show: there wasn’t an agenda, there wasn’t the usual pretense and posturing and ulterior motives from both the judges and celebs; it was just good clean fun. And Kenzie’s presence on Juniors felt a bit more like a calculated career move, like something we’d see on the regular show – that, and the fact that the show as a whole seemed to be trying to downplay her dance experience. The whole thing just seemed to be a bit at odds with the tone of the show, in general.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS: I think Juniors ended up being a real feather in DWTS’s cap – and I think it hearkened back to a simpler, more wholesome era of DWTS for many of us, when the show didn’t feel so blatantly manipulated and commercial. Kids don’t understand (or care) how to manipulate a viewing audience – they were all there to just have fun, and they threw themselves headlong into it without hesitation.  What I wouldn’t give to see some more of that unbridled, genuine zeal on the adult version of the show! I don’t think Juniors has been fast-tracked to cancellation yet – while ratings may not have been as impressive as the ones the main version pulls in (or did at one time…), it may be perfect for a Friday time slot, when expectations are low and they might be able to grab a larger cross-section of that coveted 18-34 demo, since it’s not a school night. I think it’s also good to keep in mind that it’s a much cheaper show to produce than the original – pre-taping everything over the course of a month and not offering huge cash bonuses goes a long way in keeping overhead costs down (and the show around longer).  Remember: if they’re gonna cancel Juniors, they’ve first gotta come up with something better/cheaper to take its place.

Anyone else have any final thoughts they’d like to share? Recommendations for how to improve the show?

December 14, 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 28: ABC Release Spring 2019 Schedule – NO SPRING SEASON OF DWTS

ABC just released their spring 2019 schedule, and DWTS isn’t on it – so it looks like we’re going to have to wait until next September for our fix, per Just Jared:

It looks like Dancing With The Stars is taking a break from the spring season on ABC.

The network released it’s full schedule for the upcoming 2019 spring season and the reality competition show was missing.

Instead, the second season of the new American Idol will take over the expected start date on March 3rd @ 8PM.

I’ve been assured the fall season is a definite yes, and the fate of Juniors is still up in the air; I know I’ve said it already, but I’m kinda glad we’re not getting a spring season – I think they need to let the show breathe a bit after the dumpster fire of season 27, and these shotgun shortened seasons just aren’t cutting it. But yeah, what we initially predicted would happen when ABC took on Idol has finally happened: they sacrificed spring season of DWTS at the altar of Katy Perry’s bloated salary. Did any of you actually watch last season…? The only person I know that watched it religiously was the shifty dude I dated for a hot minute back in March/April, and he thought it was “the greatest show on television”.  But he also neglected to inform me that he was still legally married, so I take his opinion with a grain of salt…

Thoughts on this?

December 12, 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 DWTS Juniors, Season 1 – THE FINALE: Week 9 Live(ish) Blog!!!

And just like that, the inaugural season of Juniors comes to a close tonight.  Granted, tonight’s episode was already taped wayyyyy back on August 25, but I’ll be honest: I’m surprised that I’ve been able to avoid inadvertently spoiling the winner for over 3 months 😛 According to one outlet, I apparently “strongly insinuated that Kenzie won” (I did?) and someone else on Twitter was claiming that I told him Ariana won (again – I did?), but the only real spoiler I offered about the winner was their gender – you can find that spoiler at the bottom of the master spoiler thread I’ve been linking to all season. Who are your guesses for who wins? I will say this: after the taping of the week 8 show, source told me that they thought that “any of the four remaining couples could win it”. So the outcome of the show was truly surprise for the contestants as well, since they all saw it as anyone’s game.  Except Gleb, apparently, but that’s a story for another time…

Songs & dances here. Bound to be a jam-packed show tonight – each couple is redoing their favorite dance with their pro included this time, and doing a Christmas freestyle. I am so ready to see Brandon doing “Rolex” with Ariana & Artyon 🙂

Say what you will about Alana – but she was always a showman, even if her technique wasn’t great. She delivered in that opener.

Artyon looks like a mini-Keo 😛

Kenzie/Sage/Gleb up first.  Gleb thinks the dance is special “because I’m in it.” May seem innocuous on the surface, but given Gleb’s narcissistic tendencies, it just grates.

I’m thinking Kenzie picking this dance was probably a bit of a strategic career move (since it’s her song), but I don’t know that it’s a particularly memorable dance. The addition of Gleb just made it weirder.

Mandy loves that she got to see that dance a second time. Adam says she’s “a different girl” and “taking no prisoners”. Val thinks she “shined” and then seems to throw a slight dig in at Gleb saying that Kenzie “came in with potential” so she “did great things”. Scores are 9, 9, 10.

Brandon looks exhausted in the package.  I can imagine chasing those two around all season was no easy task 😛

Some nice little flourishes added to the dance with Brandon joining them.  Pretty cute.

Val says “Iconic.” Adam can’t wait to see what they do in the next round. Mandy is complimentary of all three team members and generally fulfills the supportive mom role she has all season.

Tens, tens, TENS ACROSS THE BOARD!

Miles/Rylee/Lindsay redoing the salsa, dalmatian outfits and all. And I gotta hand it to Lindsay – that felt like a cohesive routine, with some nice double-leading by Miles, rather than a retooling with Lindsay just shoehorned in.

Val is glad he redid this dance, since he was so hard on Miles the first time.  Mandy gives Lindsay props for being a great coach.  Adam thinks Miles has “grown so much”. 10, 9, 9 – ok, I thought that was better than Kenzie, but whatevs.

Sky warns Alan that he “better kill it” in this salsa they’re redoing 😛

Alan skateboards in with Sky and bungles it almost immediately, hehe. It’s cute overall, but feels a tad shoehorned. I thought Miles won the “favorite dance” round.

Mandy commends Alan for “diving into” the whole mentor role. Adam thinks Sky has grown the most of the finalists. Val says Sky “emobodies what this competition is about”.

Sky being Tony Robbins again 😛

10, 10, 10 – I thought Miles & Rylee were better, but again…whatevs.

Kenzie up first in the freestyle round. Sage says ten more words for a grand total of MAYBE 50 words spoken this season.

It’s pretty hard-hitting hip-hop with a little bit of stepping and Charleston thrown in.  It’s good…maybe my favorite dance she’s done.

Mandy thought it was incredible, and hopes this show has brought back Kenzie’s “love of dance”. Adam just stands  up and shrieks. Val thinks that is what a freestyle should look like.

Worth mentioning: Gleb did enlist the services of an outside choreographer for this freestyle…which I think shows.

10, 10, 10.  I’m guessing freestyle round is probably gonna go the same way it does on the regular show – unless somebody really bungles stuff up, they’re all getting perfect scores.

Per Zoe (@ptxdwts) on Twitter: Ebonee Arielle choreographed Kenzie’s freestyle.

Ariana & Artyon up next, serving you Grinch & Cindy Lou Who realness 😛

It’s a very theatrical, Broadway-esque dance.  Artyon did two pretty impressive lifts with Ariana.

Adam thinks they had “so much to be proud of”. Val says he thinks they’re going to be “big stars”.  Mandy says Ariana is  “a star”.

9, 10, 9 –  soooo…what was the issue there, Val & Adam?

Miles & Rylee are next.  Loving the snow white costumes 🙂

It’s mainly hip-hop, but I saw blurbs of their jive, Charleston, and even a bit of Carlton Banks 😛 I thought it was excellent. Anthony Anderson in the audience cheering for Miles.

Val thinks Miles has made it “cool” for boys to dance.  Mandy says he’s been such a joy to watch this season.  Miles tearing up a bit (awww).  Adam says he’s “a superstar”.

Lindsay is full on weeping with pride.  Goddamn, my house is dusty.

10, 10, 10 – I would have called foul on anything less.

Sky & JT last…and it looks like a surfer Christmas theme.

It’s a cute routine, and energetic – but it feel like there was a lot of posing and non-dancing moments. I think Miles’ freestyle had the best content.

All three judges generally commenting on Sky being an “inspiration”.  Sorry guys – things are moving so fast and the judges are kinda being repetitive anyway.

Three 10’s – and I believe their score of a perfect 60 leaves them at the top of the leaderboard as the audience votes for the winner…

And the winner is…

…SKY & JT!!!

Alan is full-on bawling. Alexis who? This is what real emotion looks like from this man.

And that concludes my blogging for the first (and hopefully not last) season of Juniors…thanks for joining me! We’ll keep posting news in the off-season, and we may see you back in the spring (depending on whether we’re getting a spring season or not). HAVE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY!!!

December 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 DWTS Juniors, Season 1, Week 9 – Who’s Dancing What for the Finale?

Hard to believe we’re already down to the finale! This week is gonna probably gonna feel like a mad dash – they’ve gotta fit (8) dances into one hour, with the inevitable filler you get from a finale (returning couples, bumpers, pro dances, etc.).

I think the only “favorite dance” pick that DOESN’T surprise me is Ariana & Artyon; the rest I just kinda go “Really? That dance? Ooooookay then.” I don’t know about you guys, but I cannot WAIT to see Brandon join Ariana & Artyon in that number 😛 As for the freestyles, I kinda like that they gave everyone the same theme (Christmas, which all kids can relate to), as it levels the playing field. Most kids probably wouldn’t be able to handle something really edgy or “out there” for a freestyle, or some overwrought contemporary-tinged freestyle.  Keep it simple, keep it familiar.  I like 🙂

Ariana & Artyon (mentored by Brandon)
Favorite dance (with Brandon): jazz (song: “Rolex” by Ayo & Teo)
Christmas Freestyle (song: “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” by Lindsey Stirling feat. Sabrina Carpenter)

Kenzie & Sage (mentored by Gleb)
Favorite dance (with Gleb): cha-cha (song: “What If” by Johnny Orlando & Mackenzie Ziegler)
Christmas Freestyle (song: “Drummer Boy” by Justin Bieber feat. Busta Rhymes)

Miles & Rylee (mentored by Lindsay)
Favorite dance (with Lindsay): salsa (song: “Who Let the Dogs Out” by Baha Men)
Christmas Freestyle (song: “Sleigh Ride” by District 78)

Sky & JT (mentored by Alan)
Favorite dance (with Alan): salsa (song: “Light it Up” by Major Lazer feat. Nyla & Fuse ODG)
Christmas Freestyle (song: “Underneath the Tree” by Kelly Clarkson)

 

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If @milesbrown can find the time to dance, anyone can. #TeamLindsay’s in it to win it! 🙌 #DWTSJuniors

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December 3, 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 DWTS Juniors, Season 1 – Week 8 Live(ish) Blog!!!

So we’re already on the penultimate episode of our inaugural season of DWTS Juniors. As of right now, no word on whether it’s been renewed for a second season yet; while part of me hopes some news drops next week concurrent with the finale, I think it’s going to be awhile before we hear anything. Source seems to think spring season of DWTS/second season of DWTS Juniors is going to hinge upon whether or not they can find a suitable replacement for the two shows – if not, then they get greenlit. So if you want more – start putting vibes out into the universe that ABC can’t find anything better.

So the four remaining couples are doing two dances this week, for the first time this season; spoilers here. If I remember the notes I was given correctly, the taping of this episode turned into a bit of a Kenzie lovefest, as a good chunk of the audience were Dance Moms/Ziegler girl fans. Will be interesting to see how that gets edited this week, as the judges seemed a bit “meh” on her last week.

I love Jordan & Frankie as a hosting duo. Don’t @ me.

Love Sky’s tango dress.  And Miles just makes me SMILE. 🙂

Kenzie wants a standing ovation from all 3 judges.  She’s probably gonna get one, as this is one style that actually suits her hard-hitting movements.

Still not wowed by Kenzie in general, but she did well with the paso – actually handled it better than Sage, I think.  Too many high kicks, though…GLEB.

I agree with Mandy that Kenzie was “driving the car” on that one – Sage was a bit of an afterthought, I’m afraid.  Adam isn’t crying, but giving her a “WOOOOOOO!!!” Val is proud of her, and says “it’s important to break the rules in art”…this coming from the guy that touts ballroom purity as a measure of superiority.  Just sayin’…

Frankie setting them up for 10’s…and they get 10, 10, 10.  Meh.

Sky & JT up after the break!

Still loving the junior troupe, BTW.

I hate “Thunder” but I think Sky & JT are probably going to deliver a solid tango.  They’re getting flustered and tired in rehearsal, and Sky is in tears, but Alan is handling it beautifully.

I thought they killed that – Sky in particular really seemed to nail the legwork.  Lifts went off without a hitch.

Adam thinks they have “the best chemistry of any couple”.  Val says it was a “really tough routine”, and Mandy commends them for “diving 100% into whatever style they’re given each week”.  She mentions Sky’s “biscuit” feet but says they’re getting better. Sky being adorable apologizing for “being little but really heavy”.

They get 10, 9, 10 – I probably would have given it three 10’s, but generally probably about right.

Miles & Rylee are up.  They’re dancing to DWTS fixture Pitbull, who sucks. 🙂

Miles is filming Black-ish while also rehearsing, so it’s created some stress for them.

He never ceases to impress me – he paid such close attention to the technique, and seemed to really get the leg action well. There were a few bits that looked a bit frantic, but overall, another great dance.

Val says that cha-cha “had the most power I’ve ever seen in a cha-cha”. Mandy loves watching him because he “loves to dance” and has “such joy”. Adam says Miles brings “an energy to every performance” and Miles “is born to perform”. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Miles becoming a triple-threat and start singing within the next few years…

They get 9, 10, 9 – I probably would have thrown in another ten, but whatevs.

Ariana & Artyon after the ‘mercial break!

Side note: I get irrationally irritated by the High School Musical soundtrack, because I had to listen to it for hours at a time when I worked at Claire’s like, 10 years ago.

Brandon laying down the law in rehearsal!

Gotta be honest: not my favorite routine from these two.  Song wasn’t ideal, and they seemed like they were struggling with the beat a bit.

Mandy, however, thought it was “gorgeous”. Adam says Ariana “blew it out of the water”. Val wishes his middle school looked like that. I’mma be a tad irked if they score higher than Miles & Rylee, who I think were low-balled.

They get 9, 9, 10 – eh, aight. Funny that they had “last day of school” written on the chalkboard for their dance, as two days after this episode was taped, it was the first day of school for some of the junior pros, who had to work with a tutor at the rehearsal studio 😛

Miles/Rylee and Kenzie/Sage duo after the break!

Ariana & Sky shaking the fringe on their dresses is adorbs 😛

Sage gives us another short sentence.  HE SPEAKS! They are happy to get paired with Miles & Rylee, but Miles can’t be there so it’s a bit hard. Looks like Gleb is trying to call the shots – hope Lindsay is shutting that sh*t down.  Linds & Rylee go to the Black-ish set to teach Miles the dance.  Kenzie is “nervous for him”. Psssh.

Poor Miles is at least three inches shorter than the other three but he’s still selling the hell out of the dance 😛 Kenzie hitting harder than Rylee – calm down, girl.  Overall, a cute samba/jazz, though.

Mandy loved it.  Adam says Kenzie “is having a heck of a night!” and that this routine is his favorite of the season so far. Val agrees.  It was  good…but “best of the season”? Hmmm.

They get 10, 10, 10.  I’m ok with it.

Brandon/Alan bromance >>> Alexis/Alan showmance. No contest.

Ariana/Artyon and Sky/JT are doing a jive/foxtrot fusion. Probably more tricky than the samba/jazz fusion the other team got. Lots of screeching.  Kids are ‘cited to dance together 🙂

Extremely cute routine, but not quite as cohesive as Miles & Kenzie’s, I don’t think.  Definitely harder, though.

Adam says the dance was “all about teamwork”. Val think the girls are “a hit show in the making”. Mandy says it was “full of wow moments”, but did say that there were a few timing issues.  But she loved the complexity of the choreo.

They get 10, 9, 9 – probably about right, if you take into account the cleanliness issue.

And heading home is…

…nobody! They’re all going to the finale 🙂

Sky and Ariana crying tears of joy.  All the kids thrilled.  These are the reactions that make me LOVE this show so very much 😀

December 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 DWTS Juniors, Season 1, Week 8 – Who’s Dancing What?

So we’re in the semi-finals, which are actually part 1 of the finals because nobody’s getting eliminated this week and they’re all proceeding to the finale.  Points/votes from this week’s show will just roll into the finale, to determine the eventual winner. More spoilers here.

Thoughts: Kenzie got a dance that will likely suit her tendency to hit every line hard.  While it kinda stinks that Ariana got saddled with a ballroom dance for the 2nd week in a row, that song will probably help her to blow it out of the water. I think I’d rather get a root canal than listen to “Thunder“, and it doesn’t seem to be the right kind of song for Argentine tango. I feel pretty neutral on the duos – Kenzie/Miles seems stronger technically, but I’m still getting a disconnect from Kenzie during her performances; Ariana/Sky will probably be a crowd-pleaser.  

Ariana & Artyon (mentored by Brandon) – foxtrot (song: “We’re All in This Together” from High School Musical)

Kenzie & Sage (mentored by Gleb) – paso doble (song: “The Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga)

Miles & Rylee (mentored by Lindsay) – cha-cha (song: “Shake Senora” by Pitbull feat. T-Pain & Sean Paul)

Sky & JT (mentored by Alan) – Argentine tango (song: “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons)

 

Dance duos:

Ariana & Artyon/Sky & JT (song: “369” by Rhett George)

Kenzie & Sage/Miles & Rylee (song: “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus)

November 29, 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 DWTS Juniors, Season 1 – Week 7 Live(ish) Blog!!!

It’s “Time Machine” week, which is basically the Juniors equivalent of “decades” week on regular DWTS.  Songs and dances here, spoilers here. Sorta-spoiler: this is basically the semifinals, because everyone who makes it through tonight goes to the finale.  No elim next week.

Thoughts headed into tonight: I think the right bunch of kids are left, based on their performances so far this season. As little as Kenzie does for me, she’s one of the better dancers. Not sure I agree with preponderance of Dance Moms fans that think she’s a shoo-in to win, though.  If the results of this season of regular DWTS are any indicator, there are factors at play beyond dance skill that determine who wins…

Nice little opener from the pros.  Cute how they did a segment with each couple that corresponded to their decade. Too bad that song has been grossly overused within the context of this show.

Miles & Rylee up first. Miles actually seems to have a pretty good idea of what the ’50s was like.  And he’s probably gonna kill this jive…though he does look a bit winded in rehearsals, bless him. Miles is now rattling off facts about Disney, frozen dinners, etc.

WOWWWWWW. Lindsay did not go easy on them with that choreo, and they nailed EVERY. LAST. STEP. And they made it look easy! Miles is extraordinary. Technique was SPOT ON.

Mandy thinks Miles “is here for the win”. Adam says it’s “down to the wire, and [Miles] seized the moment”. Val says “Miles Brown” funny, and thinks Miles has “soul”. He also praises Rylee for being a strong partner, and says “you can’t teach that soul” re: Miles.

Miles talking about the Lakers being in Minnesota in the ’50s, and color tv being invented.  They get 9, 9, 10 – for once, Adam gets it right and the other two judges miss the mark.  That was ABSOLUTELY a 30-worthy routine. I’mma be pissed if another, less technically-perfect routine gets higher than that.

Junior troupe appreciation moment: why do these kids seem ten times more charismatic than the current adult troupe? 😛

Still not sure how “Call Me Maybe” fits with an 80’s theme. Something about the way Kenzie talks reminds me of Nan, Jamie Brewer’s character on American Horror Story: Coven.  Like she’s got some sort of secret that she’s trying not let slip.

This is taking awhile to get going. And too prop-heavy. Kenzie & Sage are handling it well, but this choreo looks like Gleb went on YouTube and searched “80’s jazz”.  Feels a tad formulaic at times.

Adam thinks Kenzie’s “giving it 100%, but isn’t letting go”.  I kinda agree – feel like she’s always in performance mode, while the other kids are LIVING their dances. Val thinks she’s “an amazing dancer, period” but implies that Kenzie didn’t seem “inspired” by her performance.  Mandy thought it had great jazz content, and makes Val demonstrate a hitch kick, but thought there were a few “bobbles” on the turns.

Sage talking about having to learn how to use a pay phone is maybe the most I’ve heard him talk all season.  They get 9, 8, 9 – probably about right.

Mandla & Brightyn up next.  Mandla is so sweet & soft-spoken, but lights up on the floor.  Wish he got more love from the judges.

Something about wormholes…

That was actually really dramatic, and Mandla had some pretty impressive shaping.  Maybe got a tad wishy-washy on some of the sharper arm actions, though.

Val notes the same – some areas where he hit the paso hard, and others where he didn’t so much.  Mandy reminding everyone that Mandla has “no previous dance experience”.  Which implies that others do 😉 She loved the shaping  and thought it was great. Adam thinks what Mandla’s done “with no dance experience” is “absolutely incredible”.  Really hard-selling the “no dance experience” angle this week…hmmm…

They get 8, 8, 8 – I probably would have thrown a 9 in there, but probably about right in the grand scheme of things.  Funny how the Juniors judges have no qualms scoring tough when a routine doesn’t cut the mustard, but the adult version judges cop out and give 9’s & 10’s when 7’s & 8’s are deserved…

Alanna makes a cameo with the troupe! Jordan and Frankie join in doing the Macarena. Glad she’s such a good sport 🙂

Ariana & Artyon up next. This should be interesting, considering they haven’t done a ballroom dance yet. Ariana tells Artyon he smells like popcorn.  And Brandon can’t get them into frame. Ohhh buddy…

Song’s a skosh slow for a quickstep and there’s little to no body contact, but beyond that – it’s actually a very cute dance with a lot of quickstep content.  Dare I say that Artyon actually may be a bit better at ballroom than Latin, technique-wise…?

Mandy loved it.  Adam knows quickstep can be challenging, but praises them staying on-time. Val says quickstep is tough, Ariana is a star, yadda yadda…might have Frankenstein’d his critique together in post, it seems ramble-y.

Ariana & Artyon’s costumes might be my fave.  You can tell they’re feelin’ themselves in their 40’s gear 🙂

They get 9, 9, 9 – and I agree. Not quite as solid as Miles & Rylee, but definitely better than Mandla & Brightyn and Kenzie & Sage.

Sky & JT are closing the show.  I have a feeling they’re probably going to slay this…

Love how plucky Sky is: “Our dance is in the 1920’s, so it’s gonna be really cool!” Interviewer: “What do you know about the 1920’s, Sky?” Sky: *blank stare & grin* 😛

It was a fun dance and they sold it well, but not sure there was a ton of actual Charleston in it.  Miles & Rylee still the best dance of the night for me.

Adam says Sky should be proud of how she’s become a “role model” on this show. Val believes in Sky and thinks Sky has “it”. Mandy says the Charleston is her favorite, but wants Sky to focus on being ON the beat, rather than in front or behind it. Sky gushing and being thankful and making my house dusty again…need to change the furnace filter…

They get 9, 9, 9 – I would have thrown an 8 in there, because I felt like Ariana & Artyon were better, but otherwise…score’s about right.  Elim after the break 🙁

Frankie’s mic cuts out…or they edited out sound.  Hmmm…we have no sound.

Leaving us tonight: Mandla & Brightyn 🙁

Still can’t hear Frankie, Jordan, or anyone but the crowd.  Poor Mandla doesn’t even get a decent send-off. Sky is bawling, but Mandla seems to be handling it very gracefully.

See you next week for TWO dances from each couple!

November 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 DWTS Juniors, Season 1, Week 7 – Who’s Dancing What?

So Sunday’s show is being branded as “Time Machine” night – I was originally told it was 90’s night, which didn’t make sense since Kenzie’s song was “Call Me Maybe” and that song was released in 2011; “Time Machine” doesn’t make much sense, either, as Kenzie’s now doing an 80’s jazz to a song released 21 years after the 80’s ended 😛 Oh well…semantics, I guess. I think the only song that was actually released in the decade it’s meant to portray is “Rock Around the Clock” – the rest just seem to have a certain time period “feel” to them. This’ll be Ariana & Artyon’s first ballroom dance, so that should be interesting; I could see Sky & JT knocking that Charleston out of the park. Some other spoilers here.

 

Ariana & Artyon (mentored by Brandon) – 40’s quickstep (song: “Classic” by MKTO)

Kenzie & Sage (mentored by Gleb) – 80’s jazz (song: “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen)

Mandla & Brightyn (mentored by Cheryl) – futuristic paso doble (song: “Gangsta’s Paradise” by 2WEI)

Miles & Rylee (mentored by Lindsay) – 50’s jive (song: “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley & His Comets)

Sky & JT (mentored by Alan) – 20’s Charleston (song: “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)” by Fergie & Qtip & Goonrock)

November 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

PureDWTS Cancellation Watch & POLL: Spring Season Out, DWTS Possibly Back Next Fall?

After the train wreck of this season, both Heidi & I said “well we can kiss this show goodbye.” I think we both can agree that last night’s show was the beginning of the end of DWTS, if not the actual end. So naturally, people are talking today about the future of the show. Not sure of the credibility of TVShowsCancelled.com, but they’re claiming DWTS will be back in the fall:

ABC has renewed the competition show for Season 28, although it won’t premiere in the spring, co-host Tom Bergeron has revealed.

Now here’s where I take issue, because they’re taking some of Tom’s tweets & IG comments and drawing some conclusions from them that I’m not sure we can safely make. Reading through Tom’s tweets/comments, it sounds like he’s not been given specifics, only that the show will be back “next year”. He seems doubtful that it’ll be in the spring, but is “hopeful” about the fall; perhaps its my pessimistic side talking, but I think the higher-ups could be leaving “see you next year” a bit open-ended – could be referring to Juniors (if it gets renewed), or they might just be saying that for now, and might scrap DWTS if something better comes along. Nothing seems set in stone to me, but you be the judge.

Here’s where I sit with the whole thing: I’m on the fence with skipping the spring season, as I feel like the gap between season 25 & 26 (and the shortened season 26) is partially responsible for the drop in viewership – let the viewers go too long, and they start to forget about DWTS and move onto other things. However, given that so many seem fed up with the show right now, I think it would do them well to give viewers some breathing room to start to miss the show again. I’m fine skipping spring season, as I mentioned before, because I doubt I’d have time to blog it this coming year 😉 If they are bringing DWTS back in the fall, I think they really need to focus on getting worthwhile stars that will draw viewers in, and possibly tweaking the format a bit – if there’s only going to be one season per year, a la SCD, they need to focus on quality. I’m hoping Juniors gets greenlit for another season, as I feel like that’s been a real bright spot this year – viewers seem to be enjoying it far more than they initially assumed.

UPDATE, 11/21/18, 1:06 PM EST: A source came through and said DWTS has “definitely been picked up for the fall season, according to a BBC exec at the afterparty” and “still a maybe for a shortened spring season” and “juniors is a maybe for the summer season”. Source got the impression that spring season & juniors “will probably boil down to filling a spot” – basically, if they can’t find something else, spring & juniors will get greenlit. So we may not be completely out a spring season – but if we do get one, it’ll definitely be shortened. Something to think about.

But what do you guys think? Let us know in the poll and the comments below.

November 20, 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 DWTS Juniors, Season 1 – Week 6 Live(ish) Blog!!!

It’s “Giving Thanks” week, and the junior celebs are paying tribute to those they’re thankful for – get ready for appearances from Stevie Wonder and Maddie Ziegler, as I believe they’re joining Mandla & Brightyn and Kenzie & Sage, respectively, for their performances tonight. Looks like a dark horse might emerge tonight, and we say goodbye to yet another beloved couple.  Although Jason’s relatively composed elimination last week gives me hope that maybe the remaining kids will be able to keep their composure from here on out…prolly not. Oh well…at least the rest of the show is pleasant to watch 🙂 Far more so than its adult counterpart these days…

Pretty cute opener, seeing the junior celebs, junior pros, and mentors all dancing together – reminds you of how young these kids are 😛 Once again, Kenzie & Sage look more like mentors than juniors.

Ariana’s dedicating her routine to her family and is doing a salsa.  Ariana’s abelo & abuela come to visit at rehearsal 🙂

It’s fun and energetic, and they both are selling it well – though I don’t know that it’s necessarily their strongest performance.  Tuck that tush under, Artyon!

Mandy is “thankful for that salsa!” and commends Artyon on the lift.  Adam wants to know if Artyon can lift him next.  Val says it was “spicy” and “authentic” and thinks Puerto Rico is proud of Ariana.

They get 9, 9, 9 – they seem happy.

As an aside: you start to notice some of the editing if you know where to look.  Case in point: the voiceover from Jordan talking about the DWTS finale tomorrow night. Clearly filmed later on, and you notice the only thing you actually saw Jordan saying was “Frankie!”

Mandla is giving thanks for his dad – and he’s dancing to “Isn’t She Lovely”, his favorite song his dad has written. Stevie seems touched 🙂

It’s a lovely foxtrot – no pun intended 😉 What I love about how Mandla moves is just how organic he is – he may lack the polish of some of the kids with previous experience, but there’s something so genuine about his dancing.

Adam thinks it was his best dance.  Val thanks Stevie for being there, and Stevie says the dance “looked good to him!” Hehe. Brightyn is crying, and saying how she’s so touched by Mandla’s relationship with his dad.  Mandy says it was beautiful.  They get 9, 9, 9 – looks like tonight’s episode of Sesame Street may be brought to you by the number “9”.

Akash & Kamri up next – and I’m told this Bollywood jazz is TOTES ADORBS.

Akash is thankful for his parents, and they love “Jai Ho”.  They’re visiting rehearsal and they’re every bit as darling as he is 🙂

I think that may have been his best dance – he was nailing all of the arm and leg movements.  And he looked so proud!!!

Val thought it was his best dance.  Mandy praises him for “cleaning up” his movements.  Adam agrees with both.

Akash’s favorite move was the “pump-up move” and he’s trying to teach Frankie 😛 He gets 8, 8, 7 – and they’re shrieking with joy.  Adam’s weird.

Miles & Rylee up next!

Like everyone thus far, Miles is thankful for his family.  He’s dancing to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”.  I remember his mom & Dad from when he was on AGT 🙂

Miles is like a mini-Jordan – he just moves so confidently.  I loved it.

Mandy name drops La-La Land and praises Miles “genuine sense of joy”.  Adam is mad he didn’t get any flowers from Miles 😛 Val thinks it was one of his best dances and praises the footwork and technique, and appreciates that he’s a short guy that “dances big”. His critiques have improved from week 1, I’ll give him that.

Miles says his family has both chicken & turkey for Thanksgiving.  They get 9, 9, 8 –  seriously, WTF, Adam.  You’re my least favorite judge.

Sky is thankful for her family, too.  Her brother looks like he could be her twin.

It’s a pretty foxtrot and Sky seems so chuffed to being doing it the whole dance.  I still feel like both Miles & Mandla were better, thought.

Adam is getting choked up.  Val says it was “so special” and had “emotional range”.  Mandy says it was excellent and praises Alan for Sky & JT looking “coached”.

Ocean (Sky’s brother) is waiting in the skybox and making me cry.  Sky & JT get 9, 10, 10 – ok, it was good, but I still feel like Mandla & Miles were just as good.  And dammit, these kids are making it dusty in my house…

Obvi, Kenzie is thankful for her sister, Maddie.  So clearly, we need to invoke Sia again.

It’s good, but Kenzie still seems to exaggerate her movements – contemporary dancer having trouble transitioning to ballroom?

Val praises the sisters’ relationship.  Mandy talks about “dancing big” and “full-out”.  Adam wants to be the 3rd Ziegler sister.

Frankie sarcastically saying that Maddie has “never danced before” is unintentionally hilarious, given the song-and-dance of this season. 😛

They get 9, 9, 9 – I’m getting a tad tired of the “9” paddle tonight.

And now its time to say goodbye…

…to Akash & Kamri.  🙁

Akash was such a bright spot this season – just so exuberant and happy to be  there.  My god, Akash is so mature and articulate.  I’mma miss this one…

November 18, 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