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PureDWTS Season 28, Week 5: Power Rankings

Monday night summed up: shut up and make those sweet Disney dolla$, kids. I’ve mentioned it more than once in past seasons, but almost all of the joy from Disney night has gotten sucked out by the relentless capitalist drive to turn the whole show into one giant, two-hour long commercial for Disney – and this season seemed to turn the sales pitch to a fever pitch.  Promos for the new Disney streaming service, rehearsal packages consisting of the couples puttering about Disneyland, and a massive opening number shot on location at the park – it was all a bit much, especially when you take into account that the songs/dances/dance styles seemed like such an afterthought at times. Off the top of my head (and I’m sure you guys will correct me if I’m wrong or missed any), at least six of the nine songs/dance styles/themes on Monday night were recycles from previous seasons – which seemed to be a bit of a detriment to some of the couples, as comparisons to previous dances done to the same song/theme were bound to be made. Not sure what can realistically be done about it, though – heard some folks suggesting that the show “retire” certain Disney songs, but I just don’t see it happening, given that there are already seemingly few Disney songs that actually fit into the dance styles we see on the show without resorting to a bunch of jazz & contemporary routines. One thing done right on Monday night? Having the “extra dancers” do the obligatory promo dance to a newly-released song from a Disney movie nobody has seen yet – it’s always been a bit of an albatross for the couples that have had to do it in previous seasons (Jodie & Keo with Zootopia, Nikki & Artem with Coco, David & Lindsay with Cars 3), so it was nice that they released the couples from that burden and allowed Daniella & Co. to dazzle us 🙂

As expected on feel-good/make money Disney night, nobody was eliminated, and we didn’t even get a bottom 2 – which was halfway disappointing, but also halfway curious, as they could have used that bottom 2 to potentially rally votes for couples that maybe didn’t belong there. But they didn’t – so they either a) ran out of time, or b) have people in the bottom 2 that belong there, and they don’t dare upset the balance by revealing their hand. Given that the President took time out of his busy schedule of inciting conflict to tweet about voting for his former press secretary on DWTS this week, perhaps I’m a tad skeptical that Lindsay’s partner might be down there – but it could be possible, especially since we are now combining scores and votes from two nights to determine who goes next Monday, and more total points = smaller margins to overcome = more unexpected results.  At this point, he’s the weakest dancer left, and he should be gone; but will he get sent packing…? I really don’t know what to expect from week to week on this show anymore…we’re 5 weeks in and have only ditched three couples, so my gut thinks we’re probably getting a double elim next week; a double elim increases the likelihood of a certain someone getting booted, as he would have to get past not one, but TWO other couples in order to stick around.

So we’re (probably) at the halfway point in the competition, and we’re starting to see a narrative take shape. I think there’s definitely contestants that the judges have decided to champion for the win (or at least a place in the finale) and there’s ones that they’ve decided are expendable.  While my initial feeling was that it was Hannah that was going to get pushed for the win, I’m now thinking they may be focusing on Lauren instead – the latter has a Kelly Pickler-esque, folksy charm and down-to-earth nature that isn’t as apparent in the more reserved Hannah, and my gut’s telling me that the viewers are just eating Lauren up…while they’re a bit more hesitant to embrace Hannah, whose dancing has not popped in the way I had initially hoped, and who I think viewers may actually be a bit burnt out on (more on that later). While I don’t have any beef with Lauren – she seems like a girl I’d love to hang out with it – here’s one problem I see right now with a Lauren win: it just extends Bones’ control of this show. I could see him gloating for months on his show about how he “broke the system”, and now he’s the puppet master and can get all his friends on the show and guarantee them a win simply by plugging them on his radio show. A Lauren (and *cringe* Gleb) win would simply be a slightly more palatable version of Bobby winning – particularly if Gleb continues with some of the choreographic nonsense we’ve seen that doesn’t showcase Lauren well. If the show is trying to distance itself from the stink of season 27, then someone that can legitimately dance needs to win – and I’m hoping James can run interference, because right now, it seems like the judges are going with the “let’s pretend Lauren’s dancing is phenomenal, so when she wins, we keep our street cred!” narrative. Lauren doesn’t suck – but I don’t think she’s anywhere near James, Hannah, or even Ally in terms of her dance skills, and Gleb’s choreography is utterly insulting compared to the chock-full-o’-content dances that nearly all the other pros are churning out (even Val). So do the judges continue handling Lauren’s routines with kid gloves, or do they start backing another contestant FTW? Do they choose to acknowledge that James is probably the best dancer this season? Do they keep trying to make Hannah happen? Or do they start backing a dark horse like Ally, Kel, or even Kate? Hell, at this point, I think there’s even an outside (really outside) chance that Sailor could be the dark horse. Makes one wonder how things are going to pan out in the next 4-6 weeks… …Read more

October 17, 2019 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, Week 4: Power Rankings

Anyone else lightweight disappointed that we didn’t get to see Leah & Len come to complete fisticuffs on live national television? 😉 They were getting close there in the end, critiquing Karamo’s dance – and Leah (deservedly) called out Len’s suspicious nitpickery and also Carrie Ann’s sham lift policing, and I was generally kind of glad to have her on board last night – there were times when the judges needed reminding that some of these contestants are NOT dancers, they’re all working hard, and there’s no need to be mean or make things personal. Sure, some could argue that she was over-the-top and stole focus from time to time (which, to be fair, is kind of her brand), but given that it was usually when Len was talking, I’m not too upset – that man could use a bit of humbling these days, particularly when he’s going in on men of color for no good reason…

…and speaking of people of color, consider this me raising my eyebrows at bit at the bottom 2’s we’ve had so far. Mary, Ray, Lamar, Kel, Karamo…if Ally ends up there next week, we may need to have a “come to Jesus” (or whatever deity of your choice) meeting. I can understand Ray and Lamar – neither were very good dancers, and Ray had the added stench of a potentially murderous past. But Mary, Kel, and Karamo – they don’t suck, guys.  I partially blame some of the shenanigans from the judges, but is the viewing audience just far more besotted with snowy-white southern girls Hannah and Lauren, a certain conservative firebrand partnered with Lindsay, and family man/former teen idol James? Jury’s still out on Kate – she’s snowy white too, and from a popular TV show, but this show doesn’t tend to hold on long to women over the age of 40 (unless they’re paired with Derek). Just food for thought, y’all…

Anyway, scoring was all over the place last night, and it seemed like some of the viewers on my Twitter timeline were starting to buy into some of the poppycock that the judges were trying to pass off as fair and informed judging.  One thing I want to get very clear: just because the judges rip a dance to shreds does not necessarily mean it’s inherently bad, and just because the judges praise a dance to high heaven does not mean it’s a great dance that’s above reproach.  I would think by now, most viewers would realize that the judges’ job isn’t necessarily to honestly judge the dance they saw – we’ve seen plenty of instances over the years where they were clearly carrying out some sort of agenda, and their comments and scores didn’t align with what we actually saw on the floor. I recall ridiculous nitpicking of fantastic dancers (and eventual champs) like Jordan and Nicole, and over-the-top praise of generally-okay dancers like William Levy, who just so happened to be inking a deal with Univision (an ABC affiliate) around the time he was on the show. To quote Bing Crosby’s character in White Christmas, “Everybody’s working an angle.” When in doubt, remember this: the judges are getting paid to say what the producers want them to. Sometimes that aligns nicely with the truth; other times it’s nothing resembling it. Sometimes, they seem like they actually know what they’re talking about; other times, they seem about as credible as an Instagram model endorsing the Fyre Festival for a fat paycheck 😛

I would say I was sad to see Lamar go, but I’m generally happy that he went out on a high note – that Viennese waltz was his best dance yet, and he really did improve incrementally each week (even if the judges’ scores didn’t really reflect it). I think he was likely ready to go – it was hard for him to remember the choreography, and I got the impression that the judges’ critiques and scores never really stopped cutting him to the quick each week. Was glad Leah was there to throw him a bone with that “7” paddle, and to shame Len and Bruno for throwing up the “4” paddles for the third week in a row. But with Lamar now gone, there’s really only one obvious bit of “low-hanging fruit” still in the competition – and my gut says he’s still got at least a few weeks left in him, unless the judges decide to get really real and start whipping out the “4” paddles again. So that means we’re likely to start losing better dancers starting next week – how will the viewers react to a potential rehashing of last season’s three-ring circus of persistent mediocrity, starring Bones and Grocery Joe? I’d say next week is when we start getting a feel for whether this show even deserves another season… Read more..

October 9, 2019 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, Week 3: Power Rankings

Well I obviously didn’t get to watch the show in real time (had a 3-hour delay in Montrose on my way back from sis’ wedding Monday night, and did a mad dash through the Dallas airport to make my connection back to Indy), and due to 500+ emails I had from 1 week away from the office, I didn’t even get to watch the show until Wednesday evening – and then I was dealing with a freshly cortisone’d wrist on Thursday evening, so typing up the power rankings wasn’t really in the cards until the weekend.  Forgive me? 🙂 I promise the week 4 rankings will be done in a far more timely fashion…

…so I’d say week was generally an improvement over week 2, and I’d credit that to the judges (Len in particular) taking a much softer tack than they have the first two weeks of the season.  At times, judging from what the three of them were saying, it was almost as if they had read my rankings last week…right down to some of the word usage (more on that later). Anywho, it seemed like just about everyone (even Lamar!) had fun this week, which made for a much easier-to-digest show – however, I feel like the show’s still stuck in a bit of an identity crisis. Soooo, do we have a troupe or nah? ‘Cause there seemed to be quite a few extra dancers this week (more than we ever had in the troupe) getting pretty regularly utilized, and a few of them even were former troupe members (I definitely saw Morgan and Vlad in the mix…did I miss anyone else?) Oh, and the fact that these extra dancers brought about more “mucking about” in most of the routines they were in makes me question just how strictly the whole “content, content, content” edict is being emphasized and enforced. Sure, it was Movie Night, which tends to give a bit more leeway for extraneous stuff…but are we focusing on content, or focusing on production value? Do we have a troupe or not have a troupe? Show’s still a bit wishy-washy on what it wants to be, methinks…

…and then there was the whole matter of Ray’s withdrawal from the competition.  Sure, we already saw it coming before Monday night, but still…*sigh* they (controversially) saved Ray over Mary last week, only for Ray to withdraw anyway this week. No, there’s nothing technically illegal/against the rules about it, but like Tamar dipping out of season 21 the day after Alexa (who reeeeeally wanted to be there) got eliminated, it was just a bit of a d*ck move. Seems to me like Ray’s foot problems were not a recent thing, and I highly doubt they only just started giving him a lot of trouble in week 3.  Sure, one could probably argue that Ray would have probably ended up in the bottom 2 again this week (assuming he had actually danced), and probably wouldn’t have been saved over anyone except Lamar (and maybe a certain other marginal male celeb), but still…as much as I love Shad and getting to see glimpses of his progress in his dancing pursuits post-DWTS, I would have much rather seen a third week of Mary over two mediocre weeks of Ray and a week 3 dance performed by the champ from 4 seasons ago. Read more..

October 5, 2019 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, Week 2: Power Rankings

**NOTE: This is atrociously late, but with good reason – I’m currently in Telluride, CO, for my only sister’s wedding.  Tuesday was a whirlwind of preparation, Wednesday was a ton of traveling (IND -> DFW, DFW -> Montrose, then a 90 min car ride from Montrose to the rental house in Telluride), and today was preparation of floral arrangements, the altar, makeup dry-runs, grocery shopping, etc. Did I also mention that I’m experiencing some lightweight altitude sickness and haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep since Sunday? 😛 But it has been so very, very worth it to have this time with my family…and just marvel at how much bigger the glory of nature is than all of our minute, silly problems we focus on.  Seriously – staring at mountains is a religious experience.  Check out my IG story for more 😉

Oof. So the big reveal about the eliminations was (gasp!) a judges’ save, which many of us had already kind of predicted – but what I don’t think we could have seen coming was just how spectacularly WRONG the judges managed to get it on the first outing.  Sure, they were likely confronted with a real bottom two that none of us really saw coming (Mary and Ray), but judging from my gut reaction (and that of most of my Twitter timeline), the decision was a clear one: Mary should have been saved based on scores alone, and Ray should have been sent packing. That was the whole point of the judges’ save, right? To help them back up their own scoring and lessen the effect of any errant or contradictory audience voting? And yet when the chips were down, they went with the guy they cumulatively scored two points LOWER the first two weeks of the competition, muttering some phony baloney explanation about going with their head over their heart, blah blah blah. If this new power was meant to prevent another Bobby Bones from winning this season, the judges sure didn’t manage to give us any peace of mind with the way they chose to wield it this week. And notice that I said “judges” – because I’m fairly certain all three were in on the decision, and just offered up their votes in such a fashion that it gave the impression of being a nail biter: they knew all along that they wanted to keep Ray & Cheryl (because OG pro loyalty? Who knows), but they decided that Carrie Ann would vote to keep Mary & Brandon, and Bruno would vote to keep Ray & Cheryl, thus creating a tiebreaker which allowed Len the windbag to spew some grandiose nonsense before ultimately casting the deciding vote to keep Ray and Cheryl. Here I thought the viewers had poor judgement – perhaps I should be more worried about the judges and their newfound, rife-with-potential-for-abuse power this season.

Which brings me to my next concern: I think this whole “focus on content, score tough, be like Strictly!” strategy is resulting in a bit of an identity crisis for this show…because instead of the generally feel-good entertainment I’ve grown accustomed to, this show is now oddly…joyless. Len’s critiques alone just suck the air out of the room – I can watch a dance that is objectively pretty entertaining (like James’, regardless of what you thought of the content) and then feel completely deflated after listening to Len rip into it. If I’m feeling deflated as a viewer, I can only imagine how these celebs are feeling up there – or even the pros.  Len in particular feels oddly confrontational in all his critiques now – calling Emma “aggressive”? Making fun of Karamo’s shoes? Going in hard on Ally, who seemed like she was near tears the whole time? While we know Len has been known to get seriously cranky from time-to-time in previous seasons, he was never THIS mean-spirited THIS frequently. This doesn’t feel constructive – this feels like cruelty for cruelty’s sake. And that’s on top of the fact that that the choreo this season seems duller than ever before; I think one fraction of the pros are too scared to push boundaries and thus play it too safe (i.e. Jenna, Sasha), another fraction aren’t necessarily great choreographers regardless and are just doing whatever they want (i.e. Gleb, Val), another chunk of them don’t have much to work with and are just trying to keep it simple and doable for their partners (i.e. Lindsay, Peta, Brandon, Cheryl), and the last chunk are trying to strike a balance between playing by the rules and creating something entertaining (i.e. Emma, Pasha, Alan, Witney). Dare I say the costumes even seem a bit basic? The only two that stand out in my mind are Lamar’s head-to-toe invocation of the Jolly Green Giant, and Witney’s simple, see-thru lingerie-inspired samba dress (which was my fave of the night – I’d wear that in Vegas!) Overall, the vibe this season is just kinda bland and unhappy…if this is what Strictly is like on a regular basis, then I’m thankful that I don’t watch it.

Poor Mary – and really, poor Brandon. This is his second season as a pro, and the second season he’s had an unfairly early exit. Feels awfully similar to Keo’s initial seasons on the show, when it seemed like he just could NOT catch a break – only with Brandon, it feels like he’s already found his footing as a pro (whereas Keo had to learn how to teach, let alone how to teach a non-dancer) and is still getting screwed over…which makes it worse. Mary had such a great attitude about the show as well, and was a joy to watch…so I’m gonna miss these two. Bye bye, Mr. Steal Your Grandma…hope you have better luck next season (if there is one…)… Read more..

September 26, 2019 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, Week 1: Power Rankings

So we wrapped up the premiere of the “new, improved!” DWTS a little over 24 hours ago, and I’ve got some mixed feelings. My main concern: in the wake of the disastrous year the show had in 2018, they’re currently trying to reinvent/rebrand the show to give ratings a boost and maintain a hope and a prayer of this show surviving into 2020.  The only problem? I feel like the rebranding involves just turning DWTS into Strictly Come Dancing 2.0.

Yes, they’re essentially the same show, in terms of the concept, aesthetic, etc. But Heidi and I have long been reminding people that comparing DWTS and SCD is a bit like apples and oranges, because the fact that the two shows air in completely different markets makes each take on slightly different flavors. Americans and Brits are two different cultures that have different tastes when it comes to television – I have yet to meet an American that understands the appeal of British soap operas (I can’t tell you how many times I fell asleep trying to watch the same god-forsaken episode of EastEnders in college because a girl in my dorm was from London and swore up and down that it was the greatest TV show ever), while I’ve heard more than one Brit puzzle about why American television is so violence-driven (same girl in my dorm was CONVINCED we all carried guns on our person because she had watched 24 before coming to college). And there’s obvious differences between our humor, with British humor being quite a bit drier and high brow than more crass, slapstick American humor. Given all those differences – would it be a stretch to assume that  Americans expect different things out of DWTS than Brits do out of SCD?

With respect to DWTS and what I’ve observed in my 10 years of blogging, I tend to think Americans care less about how many syllabus steps a routine has and care more about being entertained and wowed by a memorable dance. I know SCD is more driven by syllabus content and correct execution of the steps, and low-scoring of non-compliant routine is more commonplace than it is here in the US, where it’s unusual to see any paddle lower than a “6” taken out after week 1. So for things to shift rather suddenly from the DWTS focus on entertaining and memorable dance numbers to a more content-driven approach from the judges, I have to wonder: is this sh*t gonna fly…? Some of the best choreographers we’ve seen on DWTS are the ones that really thrive when they’re unfettered by syllabus  requirements – think Derek, Mark, and Julianne, who all ended up Emmy nominated at some point as a result. We’ve still got a few pros in the current stable that I think choreograph best in a more out-of-the-box setting – namely Jenna, and possibly Brandon. Then again, with the prospect of an Emmy nom a distant memory since the departure of Derek and the onslaught of more competition in the Outstanding Choreograhy category…maybe it’s time to start focusing more on content? I honestly don’t know – but I’m not sure the answer to all of DWTS’ problems is just tweaking everything to match SCD. Time will tell, especially after we hear about this new elimination twist next week…

One good thing to come out of the “let’s do it like SCD!” gambit? The delayed reveal of the partnerships left us more  likely to get unexpectedly WOWED by some of the contestants – and I daresay with all the chatter about Hannah, Karamo, Kel, and Sailor, I did NOT see James coming at all. I was genuinely and delightedly surprised, which was nice. I also didn’t head into this season with a favorite – there were a few contestants/partnerships I found intriguing, but nobody that I knew from the jump I’d be voting for…so I felt like I was seeing everything with fresh eyes. But shall we get on with the rankings?  🙂 Read more..

September 17, 2019 I Written By

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

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

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

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

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

November 16, 2018 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 27, Week 7 – Power Rankings

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

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

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

November 9, 2018 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 27, Week 6 – Power Rankings

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

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

October 30, 2018 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 27, Week 5 – Power Rankings

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

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

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

October 23, 2018 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 27, Week 4 – Power Rankings

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

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

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

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

October 16, 2018 I Written By

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