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Today is the premiere that we’ve all been waiting for. I think I speak for all of us at Pure Dancing with the Stars when I say Finally!! I much prefer the wait between the Fall and Winter seasons. It’s shorter and there’s something called Christmas to break it up. Either way, the long summer wait is over and tonight we’ll be enjoying some great ballroom dancing again!

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September 20, 2010 I Written By

Better known as Charlie.

DWTS Season 11 – Who’s Dancing What…and When?

UPDATE: Here’s the full list of DWTS Premiere music with song title and artist.

Okay, here’s what I’ve gleaned…from Marianya. 🙂 I’ve also checked Wiki AND everyone’s twitter accounts. Dance order, if known, is after the pair’s name. Song is per TMZ – no clue on their accuracy so take it for what it’s worth. 🙂 I will update this post as more info becomes available.

ETA: ABC MESSAGE BOARD CLAIMS THAT FOR THE FIRST TIME THE PHONE # IS NOT MATCHING FIRST NIGHT DANCE ORDER. They want to “mix it up” according to the board. Anna’s Twitter seems to corroborate that, although it wouldn’t be the first time they pulled a last minute switch of dance order. We’ll see!! 🙂

Michael Bolton & Chelsie Hightower – Dancing 2nd
Song: “Life After You” Life

Margaret Cho & Louis van Amstel – Dancing 5th
Song: “We are the Champions” We (WTF??)

Rick Fox & Cheryl Burke – Dancing 4th
Song: “Crazy” Crazy (Patsy Cline version?? Cool.)

Jennifer Grey & Derek Hough – Dancing 11th
Song: “These Arms of Mine” These (Shocker. Not.)

Brandy & Maksim Chmerkovskiy – Dancing 6th
Song: “Cry Me Out” Cry

Kurt Warner & Anna Trebunskaya – Dancing 8th
Song: “This Ain’t a Love Song” This

David Hasselhoff & Kym Johnson – Dancing 12th
Song: “Sex Bomb” Sex (um, ick?)

Florence Henderson & Corky Ballas – Dancing 9th
Song: “Kiss Me Honey Honey Kiss Me” Kiss

Kyle Massey & Lacey Schwimmer – Dancing 3rd (crap spot)
Song: “My First Kiss” My

Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas – Dancing 7th
Song: “Mama Told Me Not to Come” Mama (bwahahahah….she told you to NOT do a lot more than that, sweetie. Sorry. Can’t resist that opening line. 🙂 )

Audrina Patridge & Tony Dovolani – Dancing 1st
Song: “California Gurls” California

Mike Sorrentino & Karina Smirnoff – Dancing 10th
Song: “Break Your Heart” Break (He wishes. 🙂 )

September 19, 2010 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

DWTS Season 11 – Changes, As Per Usual

I saw this article a few days ago, but work has been such a nightmare that I’ve not had as much time to post random bits I find. Then I nearly forgot about it!! But then we were just discussing in the comments how every single season the producers feel this inexplicable need to tinker. Tinker, tinker, tinker. Pretty sure this comes from a press release, but The Examiner doesn’t provide a link – for that reason, take it with a tiny grain of salt…or hope it’s not true?? I dunno, some of these might be interesting. And at least by putting them out there NOW, no one can cry that their favorite is being conspired against. 🙂 From The Examiner:

Other than its new cast of diverse celebrities, ABC has announced even more changes for the new season of Dancing With the Stars. “We’re trying to make the show more like a real ballroom dance competition,” says executive producer Conrad Green. So, how does ABC plan on shaking up a show that scored monster ratings last season? Here’s a look at what’s new for season eleven of Dancing With the Stars:

• Rock Night: This new themed night will feature classic rock and roll. All of the teams will dance to the tunes of classic rockers, like The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Eagles, Elvis Pressley, Queen, Chicago and others.
• A Striped-down Acoustic Night: The audience will be seated on the dance floor to make it a more intimate setting.
• Instant Choreography Challenge: The couples will practice their assigned style of dance all week, but they won’t get their music until 20 minutes before they have to go out and perform.

I think we all know where the “Acoustic Night” came from – I certainly hope they are compensating Derek and Chelsie appropriately. 🙂 I’m all for it – I think their Paso was very powerful for it’s stripped down feel. But can everyone pull it off??

Classic Rock?? No big deal. Now, the Choreography Challenge could either be interesting or a disaster. Some pros seem to ignore the music anyway, but others are very musical. It could negatively impact them.

ETA: Carrie Ann confirms the changes and adds an additional one (which I hate) on The Insider (Video on the site – Thanks to Jennifer):

In addition, Carrie Ann, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli will be joined by a fourth judge this season when some of the favorite contestants from the past will join the judging panel. No one is confirmed yet, but the “DWTS” judge says she would like to see Drew Lachey, Emmitt Smith and Jerry Springer, among others, return.

What do you all think??

September 17, 2010 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

First Meeting Footage!! DWTS Season 11

And it is AWESOME.  You can read their write up at TV – thanks to Voguerista for the heads up on this one!  Hilarious!!

I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

The Pros & Cons of the DWTS Pros – The Maks and Cheryl Edition

This is a part of the Pros and Cons of the DWTS pros Series. You can check out all the posts in this series here.

Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Marianya: Maks, Maks, Maks. The best thing since sliced bread… NOT! *evil cackle* Ok, all kidding aside, he’s actually a pretty good teacher, and is not that bad looking… as long as he keeps his clothes on. I mean seriously, the shirtless gimmick only works once and it’s over. Some people might like a few more times, but I think he’s sexy when a lot is left to the imagination. He is willing to work out of his comfort zone (as evidence to his freestyle with Erin last season, which I actually really liked), and he could handle pretty strong personalities (Laila and Mel B anyone?). That being said, Maksim (aside from some fairly recent partners) has actually done rather well placement-wise, however, add in recent placements then his average drops… que sera. since I don’t read any of the pros blogs or off the air antics I can’t, and won’t, comment on those… I’ll leave that to the other bloggers. That being said, he has done some decent choreography, but he tends to act like a big bratty kid when things don’t go his way… like crazy-Tom-Cruise-jumping-on-the-couch-only-on-a-ballroom-floor crazy. In any case, Maksim, in my opinion needs to grow up… and unfortunately I don’t see that happening anytime soon, and if he doesn’t grow up he’s going to leave a bad taste in people’s mouths down the road…

Heidi: Maks is a dichotomy for me. And my opinion of him is like one of the big coasters at the amusement park. Up, down and all around. At the start of last season, I was on one of the high hills of the coaster – but the plunge came quickly. I thought that Erin brought out a catty, snotty side of him that I really didn’t care for. Don’t throw your damn clothes at the judges when you KNOW you screwed up. And when the camera is on you after someone else dances – CLAP. Unless you’re a freakin’ 12 year old. Then, at the end of the season he and Erin both were very gracious in their loss. Then in his most recent blog, he says a lot of stuff I absolutely agree with – like the constant need the producers have to change the show. Hell, most of his blogs have chunks of stuff I agree with – but then he swings back into a#*hole territory. Up…down…up. But he’s a much better sport (most of the time) than Louis, for sure. And Marianya – while I agree Maks needs to grow up, that jumping temper tantrum was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time – and you know he’ll pay for it because the show will use it over and over and over – they already have. 🙂 Dealing with Erin probably would have brought that out in me as well. 🙂 Now as a choreographer, he’s also on the roller coaster. I thought when he subbed for Derek with Joanna he did an awesome job. I think his Argentine Tango, while not as difficult as the others last season, was also very good. That leap off the stage that he got out of Erin was an example of how to use a gimmick or a risk to your advantage. It was very well played. The ONLY mistake was choosing to dance it again, up against Nicole and Evan’s ATs – who didn’t have big flashy leaps, but who were clearly much more technically difficult.  I also think that when he choreographed the tour he did a much better job than Louis did – more contemporary and entertaining. The Paso in that tour was EXCELLENT. But then he wasted a hell of a lot of time with Erin last season – lots of walking, menu waving and other non-dancing stuff. Len was right when he said that Erin was too good of a dancer for all that crap (he didn’t even get called on it half the time, either, but still complained). And you know, if you still want to do it and it fits the dance, fine – but don’t get mad when you get called on it. Grin and bear it. The anger just makes you seem dumb – because everyone knows that Len hates that stuff. As a dancer? Well, he doesn’t do that much for me, but he is certainly very talented.  I just get the feeling when he’s dancing that he thinks he’s tremendously awesome – and that puts me off a bit. I’ve seen people say that about Derek and Mark – but the feeling I get when watching them is that they’re having a hell of a good time. that has an impact. I’m actually really, really liking Brandy so I’m hoping that he does her justice and teachers her, and keeps his attitude in check. And his clothes on. 🙂

Courtney: I think I can best sum up how I feel about Maks like this: I like him when he’s not all about some gimmick, be it on or off the dance floor.  In the same way I get flustered with Lacey “bucking tradition” for no valid reason, I get flustered with Maks – some of what he does in his choreography, especially like he did last season, does nothing to enhance the overall quality of the dance, and just seems like a waste of time. Heidi mentioned it – the menu reading, the stripping, the wasting of 6+ bars of music just walking from one part of the stage to another.  I know he’s got more up his sleeve choreography-wise than that! The guy has choreographed some great stuff in the past – my favorite is still his Argentine tango with Joanna when Derek was sick – fabulous, and just made that much more impressive by the fact that it was put together in the 11th hour.  If he could make every dance he did as riveting as that one, he’d be up there with Mark & Derek as the two strongest male choreographers on the show.  As for his attitude – it can be hard to swallow from time to time.  The ranting in blogs, on Twitter, and to various news outlets about how the show is “unfair”? The shirt-throwing at the judges? The loud fights with his partners during practice? All that combined, season after season, makes it really hard for me to like the guy as a person – but then, when he does have his moments of sincerity and sensitivity, it makes it that much more endearing.  I just wish those moments came more often! I’m actually really optimistic about this season though – from what I’ve seen of he and Brandy together so far, she seems like the best fit he’s had yet.  Not too feisty (like Mel B. or Erin), but not made of glass (like Debi or Denise) – I think she’ll be able to listen to him without letting him walk all over her.  I’m hoping with Erin gone that he reverts back to good, solid choreography and a more calm demeanor…because I actually do enjoy his dancing when he’s in that mode.

John: I must admit that Maks is probably my favorite male pro. I enjoy that he takes some risks in what he does. I agree that some of them may be dumb risks. I also agree that many of the risks often don’t work out, but I like that he’s trying to be unique and different. This blog wouldn’t be nearly as interesting if they all just came out and did basic steps. I love when they risk it and succeed and fail fantastically. I know many hated Maks’ choice to do contemporary for his freestyle. I loved the risk. The performance wasn’t exceptional, but I still loved that he was stretching himself and the pro in an attempt to do something special and memorable. One of these seasons someone else will do a contemporary and it will be fantastic. Just wait for it. I also I’m surprised by all this hating of him taking off his shirt. I’m a guy and so I couldn’t care less, but I have a feeling there are a lot of people out there that are happy to enjoy a shirtless Maks. We’ll definitely see in the comments to this post. Maks does have his good and bad moments (and partners), but every pro has that too. Although, I must admit that Maks and Mel B was probably the most powerful dance couple I can think of on the show. Them doing Paso Doble was the way I like to see a Paso Doble done. Off the dance floor Maks is a bit of a live wire, but that’s what makes him so interesting. You never know what he might say and I get the feeling he’s really saying what he thinks. I love the unfiltered opinions. I also can’t help but wonder how much Maks persona has been built by the producers. They have hours and hours of footage that they have to fit into a couple minute package. So, they have a lot of ability to shape the audiences opinions on pros for good or for bad. I’m quite sure every “bad boy” clip of Maks has been included on the show. It’s good TV to have a “bad boy” on the show. I know I like it.

Heidi: No, it’s not just that he’s edited that way, in my opinion. One only has to watch a lot of paparazzi video and read all his blogs…and follow him on Twitter. Maks is the only one who really complains about how he’s edited – but the camera can’t make stuff up, you have to remember it’s on you. Maks is not a bad guy, he’s just an often annoying guy. 🙂 I’ve never gotten the feeling from him, however, like I got from Louis last season – that he was being intentionally mean and nasty. He’s just very blunt – and then complains when people take his tone the “wrong way”. Ya can’t have it both ways – sometimes he knows that and sometimes he doesn’t. SAY what you think, Maks, by all means. But OWN it. All the time, not just some of the time. As for the shirt thing – well, it’s just been done too often and I probably wouldn’t mind if he just didn’t seem so proud of it. 🙂

John: I also forgot to mention how much I liked Maks on The Superstars with Kristi Leskinen. He was competitive, but very likable. It was also fun to see him outside of DWTS and somewhere other than the dance floor. I also just read that he did some work with Le Reve in Las Vegas. Who would have thought he worked on a water based show.

Courtney: Yep, I actually did know about Maks’ work with Le Reve – Ashly’s little sister Afton & her partner Brett (remember them from the pro contest in season 8?) are actually cast members.  But I agree with Heidi – I don’t ever get the feeling that Maks is intentionally mean – just very, very blunt to the point of coming across as insensitive at times.  But never intentionally malicious. 

Cheryl Burke:

Marianya: The highest placed female pro of the cast… and second highest placed overall. Without Wayne Newton and Tom Delay she would have placed top overall on average, but alas she’ll have to settle for second. Those statistics alone is a credit to her teaching style/ability towards the celebs given to her, be it a boy band member, a football player, an actor, or anything in between, she seems to have this competition teaching down to a science. Before the dawning of the new young crop, she was the go to person for the sparkle front and center. So what happened?

Heidi: The Houghs and Ballas happened. 🙂 And really, if Derek hadn’t had Shannon, there would be no catching him in terms of numbers. And it’s not like he got way better partners than Cheryl – Joanna and Lil’ Kim had serious handicaps. Seriously though, not long after they showed up on the show, Cheryl really became a business woman – not that the two things were connected. Total convenient timing. That girl is *everywhere* – sponsorships, studios, attending all kinds of events – the list goes on. While I think it may have affected her on the show, I say good for her. Like Edyta has said recently – you can’t be a dancer forever. And this girl is making her mark and making a living. I’d be willing to bet that, for now, she is the wealthiest of the pros – if any of them qualify for wealthy. 🙂 I have a ton of respect for what she has managed to accomplish at such a young age. As a dancer and choreographer, I think she’s first rate. She’s also a class act behind the scenes – she never seems to say a bad word about anyone. She comes across as a little cool when presented with paparazzi – but Derek does too lately (thanks, Cheryl Cole), and I think they are both just tired of being harassed and don’t feel like they NEED that kind of attention. I respect that a lot too. Don’t kiss the parasites ass just to get ahead. I really have nothing bad to say about Cheryl at all. And really, put her and Derek together on a team dance and they can’t be beat. 🙂

Courtney: Strongest and most consistent of the female pros, bar-none.  While her choreography may sometimes tend towards the fluffy and less complicated (Chad’s jive and Maurice’s quickstep come to mind) it always does seem to suit her partners well, no matter how inept they might be.  She also seems to strike a balance between being both tough & tender – she works her partners hard, but is calm in the face of their frustration, and she does seem to genuinely care about all of her partners.  I agree with what Heidi says about her being “cool” – nothing seems to ruffle her feathers, and she seems intensely focused on doing her best – it very well could be a by-product of her businesswoman side, which I also have to praise.  She’s only a year older than I am, and has already created an empire – dance studios, endorsements, sponsorships, etc.  I think she’ll definitely be someone whose name we’ll be seeing for a long time in the dance world, even if she’s not dancing herself.  If anything, the only thing that’s lacking for me on Cheryl’s part is a bit more personality – sometimes she’s just so cool and composed that it’s hard to tell if she’s happy, sad, angry, or confused.  I really wish I had more to write about Cheryl, but she’s neither pissed me off or given me goosebumps of excitement while on the show.  She’s just a very pleasant pro to watch, and I have a lot of respect for her 🙂

John: I think Courtney just hit it on the head for me with Cheryl. I don’t hate her choreography. I don’t love her choreography. I don’t hate her personality. I don’t love her personality. I don’t hate her look. I don’t love her look. I don’t really love or hate anything about Cheryl. Initially I think I was partially biased towards Cheryl because she’d won twice and the American in me loves that the underdogs win or at least have a chance of winning. Of course, this was early in the show when I really thought it was more of a dance competition and less of a popularity contest. However, now that were at season 11, all of that has really worn off and I just enjoy being wow’d by a dance and the story lines of the show. I think I was also tainted a little by a short clip I saw of her early on in this highly ornate dance floor at her house. It felt like she’d kind of come from the golden spoon mentality. However, as time’s played out I don’t think that Cheryl has really played into the “I’m the champion” or “Golden Spoon” roles at all. She’s been amazingly humble when it comes to any discussion of the competition on DWTS. I also think that Cheryl does a really amazing job of making the star the star. She does dance “around them” sometimes in her choreography, but off the dance floor she does a great job highlighting and supporting her star partner. It’s almost never about her, but about the star.

Heidi: It is true that Cheryl is one of the females that has a tendency to dance around her partner, you’re right. And it annoys me at times, but then I figure what can you do with some of these guys? I kinda think the male pros have the harder job though, so I cut Mark more slack for it that I do Cheryl – I mean, the female in most of the dances has the harder moves and the male pros have to teach that. By the same token, though, the fact that the female partner generally is the one being showcased, might make it easier for it to seem she’s dancing “around” her partner instead of with her partner. Know what I mean?

John: There’s definitely something to say about the challenge being quite different for the female vs. the male pros. I’ve always been impressed that any of the pros can teach the opposite sex’s dance moves as well as they do. I agree it’s much easier for the girl pro to look like they’re dancing around the male star since in much of ballroom it is about featuring the lady.

Marianya: Well when I first started trying to figure out what to write about Cheryl, I really couldn’t think about what to say. I think after the Paso Doble and the Freestyle with Drew Lachey way back in Season 2, nothing from her seemed to wow me anymore. And then I saw the Paso Doble that she did with Tony Dovolani for Toy Story 3 and I realized that part of the reason that I really don’t know what to say about her is because she seems to have moved beyond Dancing with the Stars and as thus seems to stay above the behind the scenes drama that other pros seem to “suffer” from. In the process, she has developed into a savvy businesswoman who keeps a calm demeanor, plays it cool and collected with the cameras on and off the dance floor, and has no real drama with her pro, it’s almost like she’s the most adult of the professional dancers and she’s still in her twenties? Anyway, this development, I believe, keeps in line with wanting to keep a good reputation for her studios, especially since her name is attached to them front and center, and with the interests of the dance studios possibly in the forefront of her mind she probably feels a responsibility to be at her best behavior while on the show. Oddly enough, with all the publicity and air time on the show, Cheryl seems to come off as the most successful of the professional dancers thus far. Makes one wonder if she set off on this path of joining the show with the knowledge that she wanted to open studios down the road and as thus did what she felt she had to do to succeed. Now that she has, she just makes sure to keep that good reputation, because it’s more than just her now.

Round Up

Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Marianya: Keep the trap shut, the body covered and open up the mind, he might have a chance.

Heidi: What part of the roller coaster will we be on this season?? Jury is out.

Courtney: Cut the gimmicks, onstage and off, and you could win this whole thing.

John: Expect the unexpected, which is why I like him so much.

Cheryl Burke

Marianya: One of the youngest, while one of the most “adult”, now if only she’d “wow” me again.

Heidi: The entrepreneur – and I say that in a good way. 🙂

Courtney: Cool, calm, composed, and classy.  I just wish she’d be a bit more sassy!

John: Neither here nor there. Just a solid dancer that supports her star.

I Written By

My life can be summed up in the following two quotes: 1) "I am married to engineering and am its faithful wife by day, but at night my wanderlust takes hold and the arts becomes my jealous paramour." and... 2) "Engineering is my safety net. Writing is my passion. Acting is my escape when the other two become too much." So where does dancing fit in? Pretty much anywhere at this point... =)

Miscellaneous Media – September 16, 2010

Maks and Brandy on ET – I sure like Brandy. She might even get me to be more positive about Maks. 🙂

Tony and Audrina on Lopez Tonight – I dunno people, she’s like Joanna part deux. Can she make it to the final four??

Kurt and Anna on one of the local ABC affiliates. Joker reported clearly doesn’t see dancing as a sport.

Bwahahahahaha….this guy might actually entertain me way more than annoy me. 🙂

Karina and the Sitch

Chelsie/Michael and Kurt/Anna on Entertainment Tonight

Rick and Cheryl – he looks pretty good. He and Kurt both look a tad stiff, but I bet that goes away.

Margaret seems cool. Don’t know how she’ll do as a dancer though.

September 16, 2010 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

The Pros & Cons of the DWTS Pros – The Kym and Lacey Edition

This is a part of the Pros and Cons of the DWTS pros Series. You can check out all the posts in this series here.

Kym Johnson:

Courtney: I adore our little Aussie bombshell! What first struck me about Kym when she first joined the cast in season 3 was her sunny disposition – I can’t recall a time when Kym wasn’t in an upbeat mood, or had anything other than gracious, kind things to say about anyone and everyone involved with the show.  Seriously – this gal is a class act, no matter how inept her partner may be, or how awkward their behavior can become (I still cringe when I think of poor Kym having to stand next to a livid David Allen Grier the night he was eliminated).  A class act that can dance her butt off – her routines are always top-notch.  She’s 100% committed to every step – and it shows.  In the course of Heidi & I doing “Who Wore it Better?”, we’ve been wowed by how Kym’s facial expressions add so much to her performances – she smolders in her tangos, she’s sassy in her cha-chas, and she’s the portrait of grace in her waltzes.  Do I even need to comment on how gorgeous she is? 😀 She’s stunning with both short & long hair, be it blonde or light brown, and has a smile that lights up a room…and a set of boobs that make Heidi & I green with envy.  Don’t laugh – she seriously fills out the bodices of her costumes better than any other female pro on the show! And like Edyta, her legs have no end.  Just a beautiful, beautiful girl – with an adorable, honeyed Aussie accent.  If I had to pick out any downsides to Kym (and this is hard for me!), I would say that some of her routines may not always be super difficult, or necessarily super creative – but then again, I think she likes to give her partners stuff they can handle & execute well, rather than flashy stuff that may impress the judges but just look terrible if they can’t be performed correctly.  But beyond that, if Anna wasn’t on the show – I would so have a girl crush on Kym.  Oh wait – I love both of them. 😉

John: There really is nothing bad to say about Kym. I guess I can see some people complaining that she’s too nice and too happy and too wonderful. I agree with them, and that’s why I love her so much. Her first season with Jerry Springer was really something special for me. I can’t think of another star that danced so poorly that I wanted to see more. Kym is the reason it was enjoyable to watch. Her and Jerry just lit up the floor in a playful and fun way that made me want to watch them dance despite being a technical disaster. Kym is the professional I’d like to teach me to dance, because you know she’d hold you accountable but she wouldn’t make you feel bad in the process. Heidi probably would like someone a little rougher, but I’ll take the Pollyanna like Kym any day. Add in her great looks and awesome accent and it’s no wonder she’s loved by many and hated by few.

Marianya: This woman has been a ray of sunshine the moment she introduced herself to the DWTS with Jerry Springer as her celeb partner. Wait what? Jerry Springer? When I saw that partnership I was not thinking very many good things about it… in fact, it could have been a lot worse. But Kym immediately showed her meddle and brought out the best in Jerry Springer, not just the best, but showed America another side of Jerry Springer that was only known to his family and friends. Not only that but it gave him so many more opportunities leaving his season outside of the Jerry Springer show. With every other partner thereafter, no matter their talent level, she has been nothing but positive encouragement. Though not as precise of a dancer like other females on the show, her performance factor is one of the strongest of the pros. Kym isn’t one to overly challenge her celebs as much as give them material that she knows they could execute and execute well, which is a teaching style some would appreciate if they are just looking to have fun and not necessarily compete. That’s what makes Kym stand out in the end, she knows how to make dancing fun and enjoyable and her teaching style caters exactly to that mindset best… but if you want to compete, she’ll be able to whip you into shape and you might actually like it.

Heidi: Well, John, I would like to be taught by a MALE dancer, thankyouverymuch. 🙂 Kinda leaves Kym out regardless of her roughness level or lack thereof. Anyway, I’m gonna love any girl who calls my boy Derek “beautiful boy” – she’s a kindred spirit. 🙂 Seriously, though, she’s always a joy to watch – and she makes even the most annoying partner tolerable. She inhabits every dance regardless of the talent (or lack thereof) of her partner – like Courtney said, you can see it in her face. I was really bummed out she got injured and couldn’t do the Viennese Waltz with Derek during the last tour – Aliona did great, but I really would have liked to see Kym do it. I could also listen to her talk for HOURS.  She is one pro that can do the E! or ET correspondent thing and do it quite well.

Courtney: No joke – Kym’s voice is so soothing.  Heidi, I too could listen to her talk for hours – that mellow, laid-back Aussie accent and her bubbly (yet somehow also calm) demeanor are the auditory equivalent of Xanax.  If I had an app on my iPhone that could play sound clips of Kym (and Laurence Fishburne) talking, I would not need to be on anti-anxiety meds.  😀 And the girl is articulate, too!

Lacey Schwimmer:

Courtney: Ok, let me first start off by saying that I DON’T HATE LACEY.  Quite the contrary – I think she often brings a breath of fresh air to the show with her creativity & her “rebel” side.  However, Lacey is someone that I find myself getting irritated with often, and it’s usually for the same reasons I like her – her creativity & her rebellious side.  Let me try to explain. I think a big part of Lacey’s appeal (especially to younger DWTS fans) is that she likes to “bend” the rules of ballroom a bit – whether it’s going barefoot or wearing boots instead of ballroom shoes, or wearing funky costumes or hairstyles, or choosing to abandon ballroom altogether and do a hip-hop freestyle (Lance’s in season 7).  Now while I think change is good, and I agree that DWTS has never been and will never be a “real” ballroom competition, I do think there are certain ballroom rules to abide by – and one of those cardinal rules is wearing ballroom shoes, which Lacey often seems aversed to.  Why? Because they’re worn for a reason: to accentuate the movement of the legs & hips.  So when Lacey decides to forego them in order to be “different”, I don’t think it’s really fair for her to pout when she & her partner get critiqued for not having enough hip action (case in point: her rumba with Lance).  Speaking of pouting – it’s another thing that she does that just gets irksome.  She, like Louis, is guilty of making some pretty snippy comments in the media after Nicole won – and she wasn’t even on the show last season, so it really made her come across as rather petty.  She’s pouted on other occasions as well – usually after a less-than-complimentary critique from Len.  At this point, I just kinda wish she’d realize that Len is a traditionalist – so if you’re constantly trying to be “untraditional”, be prepared to get called out on it.  As for her actual dancing…I’m afraid her technique pales in comparison to many of the other female pros on the show, but I think this is more a product of her being primarily a swing dancer who has happened to have done some ballroom.  Her Latin is decent, but her ballroom – it truly makes me cringe sometimes. Ok, now that I’ve gotten all the stuff about Lacey that bothers me out of the way, there are quite a few things I do like about her – the most obvious being her prowess in the swing & line dances.  I’ve loved her lindy hops & jitterbugs, and she’s the only pro who’s given us an authentic country 2-step routine.  And she shines in the pro dances, especially the ones with a more contemporary feel – she’s surprisingly skilled in the lift department, and is up there with Chelsie as one of the best liftees on the show.  A shining example of this is the pro dance she did with Dmitry to Nastasha Bedingfield’s “Soulmate”, as well as Teddy & Tyne’s dance to Maxwell this past season, which Lacey actually choreographed.  I also have to give her props for working with some difficult partners – Lance was constantly touted as the “worst dancer in NSync”, and Steve-O was still struggling with drug & alcohol issues while he was on the show.  She managed to make a decent success out of both, so I definitely respect that. 

John: I’d like for Lacey to throw out all the rules. If they ever have a Dancing with the Stars with a variety of dance styles and no “rules” I vote for Lacey to be on the show. Plus, I guess I get a bit of a high when I see Len’s pantyhose all bunched up in a knot. I should clarify though. I like her without rules on the dance floor. I don’t really like when she goes crazy off the dance floor (ie. on Twitter). This may sound a bit contrary to my view that Derek needed to be less PC, but there’s a difference between making constructive comments and me me me comments. It’s a hard thing to do when you’re seen by 10’s of millions of people at such an early age, but it still bothers me on occasion. I actually really enjoyed Lacey with Lance Bass. That partnership seemed to work for me and created some great and memorable dances. Her other partners have been less than exciting for me and I predict that Kyle and Lacey are going to set a new low for her as far as Lacey and the chemistry with her partner. I do love when Lacey and Benji have danced together on the show. When they’re in their element it’s some of my favorite dancing to watch.

Marianya: Of all the SYTYCD imports, Lacey’s my least favorite. This is mainly because I classify her primarily as a Swing dancer, rather than a Latin dancer. Sure she’s won a title in Youth Latin Ballroom Dancing, but with her massive background in swing dancing I really don’t consider her a strong fit with the rest of the cast. That being said, she brings in a breath of fresh air that caters to the younger audience mentality of breaking traditions and expanding horizons, aka the Rebel. In reality my belief is that Lacey’s technical prowess on the dance floor is slightly lacking in the latin dances and don’t even get me started with the ballroom dances. However, when it comes to West Coast, Jitterbug, Lindy Hop, Country 2 step… etc she’s very strong… however these are all extensions of her swing dance training. That being said she has placed decently well with her partners to date… so her teaching style is strong and so is her connection to her partner. So perhaps her non-conformist style is working for her… but for me being a non-conformist can only take you so far…

Heidi: Coincidentally – or NOT – all of the dances that Lacey excels at are those that I don’t much care for. If we never have a another Jitterbug, Country 2 Step or West Coast Swing dance on the show again that would be perfectly okay by me.  She does get carried away on Twitter and  elsewhere with her me me me attitude, and yes that annoys me. But the worst was her attitude towards Nicole and others (pimping Maks/Erin’s showmance, trying to start Nicole/Derek showmance rumors, among other things) when on Daily 10 during last season. Worse than a genuine feeling that it was unfair to have Nicole on the show, was that I got the feeling that everything she said and did on Daily 10 was very self centered – that is, she was reporting what she thought the show and their audience wanted to hear. She could have (should have?) ruined her shot on one show, for the sake of another.  I guess that’s a common thing, but I don’t care for it.  All that said, I liked her with Steve-O and I particularly liked her solo with Lance during one of the team dances – that move she did where she drops to the side and Lance catches her – extremely sharp, very impressive. And not nearly as easy as she made it look. John – do NOT mention her brother’s name to me. Ick. 🙂 And finally, girl? Dye your hair back to dark brown – you have gorgeous eyes and the brown sets them off much better. 🙂

Courtney: John, I can see where you’re coming from with regards to enjoying Lacey “throwing out the rule book” on the floor, but maybe I should amend my last statement – it annoys me when Lacey breaks rules JUST FOR THE SAKE OF BREAKING RULES.  Sometimes her little “rebellions” don’t add anything to the dance – I don’t think her rumba with Lance was any better because they did it barefoot, nor do I think her smooch with him at the end of their paso doble did anything to improve the overall quality of the dance.  Now if she took a big risk – say, doing a waltz blindfolded (a la Erin & Maks last season) – and it worked for her and her partner, then I would say her rebelliousness paid off.  And I feel I should really add that this isn’t something that just applies to Lacey – I tend to gripe on all the pros when they do silly extraneous stuff that doesn’t enhance the quality of their dancing at all.  Maks’ stripping in he & Erin’s quickstep, Dmitry having Mya spend 8 bars of music dusting the judges’ table in their jitterbug, and in retrospect, Louis’ cookie consumption in he & Niecy’s Argentine tango (which I actually liked at the time, but now find to be a bit pointless) are other examples of extraneous crap that I don’t think was necessary in those routines – I believe Len would refer to it as “mucking about”. 🙂 But I do agree, Heidi, about that one move Lacey did with Lance – if it’s the same one I’m thinking of, it was during the samba smackdown, and it was she & Lance’s “secret weapon”. 🙂

John: I guess I like mucking around and Benji. Some of the mucking is crazy, but as long as Len’s still there to keep it generally in check it makes for great content on the DWTS Cheesecake Awards. Heidi, I agree with you 300000% that she needs to get rid of that blonde and go back to the brown. It’s fine that she tried, but it’s not working.

The round-up

Kym Johnson:

Courtney: The sweetest little Aussie you’ll ever meet – with great boobs!

John: Looks – 10, Accent – 10, Dancing – 10, Personality – 10

Marianya: Fun, flirty, full of sass and joy, definitely a total package when you just want to enjoy yourself… and probably more.

Heidi: Along with the boob envy, I could listen to her talk forever.

Lacey Schwimmer:

Courtney: I respect her need to be unique, but I wish she could balance it with ballroom tradition.

John: Rebel child with a lip on her.

Marianya: It isn’t bad to want to walk with the dark side… just keep a toe over the line.

Heidi: Very good at what she’s good at, but watch the ‘tude, girl.

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

DWTS 11 Stat Class: Who has the Edge? Part 2

Hello! Here it is… my calculated rankings for the celebs this season. Mind you, unlike others on this site, these do not reflect my opinions, but rather a calculation that I am attempting to use to predict the placement of the celebs based on past data. Whether this is true or not remains to be seen, but it is fun to speculate nonetheless.

For a quick refresher for other bloggers’ opinions of rankings please see Heidi and Courtney’s (Part I and Part II) posts as well as John’s posts about the odds/competitiveness factor and the number of twitter followers for each celeb.

If you recall from DWTS 11 Stat Class: Who has the Edge? Part 1, I gave a breakdown of the professional dancers as they were place by attempting to normalize the average. Granted with a built in bias there is only so much that can be done.

Before I go through the individual celebs here is an idea of how each age group placed on average through all ten seasons of the show thus far from highest to lowest:
1.) Teens (ages 10 thru 19) – 2 celebs
2.) 20s (ages 20 thru 29) – 17 celebs
3.) 30s (ages 30 thru 39) – 48 celebs
4.) 60s (ages 60 thru 69) – 7 celebs
5.) 40s (ages 40 thru 49) – 27 celebs
6.) 50s (ages 50 thru 59) – 12 celebs
7.) 80s on up (ages 80 on up) – 2 celebs
Note: Florence Henderson is the first person to be on the show while in their 70s, thus there is no normalized average for that age group as of yet.

Now that we know which celebs will be participating this season and who their professional partner will be, it’s time to calculate and attempt to predict how the celebs would place in the upcoming season. First I will give an analysis and a little of my opinions belief of each celeb and how each of the three factors (Age, Primary Occupation and Professional Partner) either help or hinder them as individuals.

Age: 31
Typically those in their 30s do reasonably well on the show. Trailing those in their teens, and 20s (is that really any surprise?).
Primary Occupation: Singer
Singers in general stay in the middle of the pack placing just out of the semi-finals but better than most of the worst dancers. Mya being the only one to break out of that middle-of-the-pack while Macy Gray exited earlier in her season. Singers also incurred the most pre-season injuries (Lil Romeo and Jewel)
Professional Partner: Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Prior to his Season 6 vacation, Maksim placed fairly well with his celeb, typically hitting the midway point (Willa Ford being an exception). However, aside from Erin, Maksim hasn’t done quite as well with his partners, then again they were both actresses. Brandy could find herself closer to the top half of the middle-of-the-pack group. She might even find herself in the semi-finals… but I’m not too sure about beyond that.

Jennifer Grey
Age: 50
Oddly enough those in their 50s, on average, has done worse than those in their 60s. Sympathy vote perhaps? Granted Jennifer recently turned 50 so she might still have a little bit of that spunk from those in their 40s, but even those in their 40s didn’t do as well as those as their 60s.
Primary Occupation: Actress
Actresses don’t really do well on DWTS rarely breaking the midway point. The ones that do break the midway point either were very popular or have some sort of dance experience or had picked up choreo before. Jennifer picked up choreography for the infamous last dance on Dirty Dancing, but that was over 20 years ago… they say that dancing is like riding a bike though.
Professional Partner: Derek Hough
Granted all this could be balanced out by the mere fact that her partner is Derek Hough. Right now he has the highest placement average of all the pros. Just adding the Derek factor into the equation… she her chances of getting into the semi-finals or more just went up.

Margaret Cho
Age: 41
Those in their 40s hit the midpoint of the competition trailing those in their 60s. Going beyond that depends on other factors as well.
Primary Occupation: Comedian
To me, I’ve known her more as a comedian than as an actress. So I’m placing her in the comedians group. Comedians in general have the worst finishing trends on DWTS, placing dead last on average.
Professional Partner: Louis van Amstel
However, Margaret could buck the trend like Niecy kind of did. After all they both have Louis van Amstel as their partner. Despite doing decently with other celebs in the past, Louis has stayed largely in the middle of the pack. So the question would be, would the Louis factor help Margaret like it helped Niecy? It’s up the viewer, and the GLBT community I think 😀

Audrina Patridge
Age: 25
Celebs in their 20s do rather well in the competition just behind those in their teens.
Primary Occupation: Reality TV Star
On the other side of this coin, Reality Stars in general hit the lower half on average. Those Reality Stars in their 20s have actually hit the midway point in competition… so… Audrina could be a surprise and goes up on the rankings.
Professional Partner: Tony Dovolani
And then there’s her partner. Tony’s been kind of up and down throughout his tenure on the show. With a ringer-type he does well (who doesn’t?) but with non-ringers, not so much. The other fact is that he has worked with two Reality Stars from opposite sides of the spectrum. So this partnership is a bit of a tossup.

Florence Henderson
Age: 76
Believe it or not this is the first time that DWTS has someone in their 70s. So there isn’t much material (ok not any) to work off of. So let’s look at those in their 60s and 80s. Those in their 60s tend to do a lot better than those in their 80s (who tend to finish towards the back of the pack).
Primary Occupation: Actress
And based off of some of the comments I made about actresses for Jennifer Grey, this is one that I don’t believe would get terribly far in the competition. But if everyone loves Mrs Brady, who knows? Maybe that star power would get her to the midway point.
Professional Partner: Corky Ballas
Corky has only been on the show once before and he placed seventh in a cast of thirteen partners, so there is no telling how he would do this time around. If the averages of the other two factors are any indication… he might have his work cut out for him.

Bristol Palin
Age: 19
Uh, this “known” person hits the prime age group. Those in their teens do rather well on average, and is it really any surprise as to why? They are young and malleable… theoretically 😉
Primary Occupation: Other
On the other hand… The “others” are known persons that don’t fit the stereotypical celebs/stars type. And those in this “others” group almost hit dead last on the ranks, just ahead of the comedians.
Professional Partner: Mark Ballas
Mark Ballas tends to falter the most with non-ringer types… the closest similarity being Kim Kardashian. But Bristol is young, she could theoretically win audience members over… Who knows? But the numbers tell me otherwise.

Michael Bolton
Age: 56
Please see Jennifer Grey
Primary Occupation: Singer
Please see Brandy. Though Michael Bolton is well known for a lot longer than Brandy has, plus his music has a wider reaching net. Most of his demographic (I’m assuming) intersects the demographic of the show so he may have that to his advantage.
Professional Partner: Chelsie Hightower
Now let’s add little Chelsie into the mix and now you have someone that could hit the midway point perhaps, and has a semi-decent chance of getting past that midway point…

Mike Sorrentino
Age: 27
Please see Audrina Patridge
Primary Occupation: Reality TV Star
Please see Audrina Patridge
Professional Partner: Karina Smirnoff
Basically the same as Audrina, only male. One main point though is that male reality stars fare worse on average than female reality stars. Karina, by contrast, has hit middle of the road pack status with her celebs in recent seasons. So unless he’s drop dead gorgeous he may hit the midway point. Personally between Mike and Karina it may be more the Battle of the Abs rather than Dancing with the Stars.

David Hasselhoff
Age: 58
Please see Jennifer Grey… Another celeb in their 50s? That makes it what? Three? Gee whiz people. It’s like they are desperately trying to create another John O’Hurley. But celebs in their 60s do better than those in their 50s. Well David is pretty close to 60, maybe he’d find himself just past the midway mark…
Primary Occupation: Actor
Anyway actors tend to do better than actresses (yes I ended up separating the two). There is just something about their charm and charisma that makes the older female demographic (I’m assuming here) just want to pick up the phone for them.
Professional Partner: Kym Johnson
And of course there is that beautiful blonde Aussie bombshell that has probably worked the most with male celebs in their 50s on up. She has had a decent track record and knows how to turn on the entertainment charm for the male celebs. This might be another Donny Osmond in the works… but David is no Osmond, David’s an actor that branched out while Donny was an entertainer ever since he could dance and sing. So David stands a good chance of making it past the halfway point… I don’t know about the finals though.

Kurt Warner
Age: 39
Please see Brandy. Although he’s closer to his 40s so you might also want to look at Margaret Cho for the age range commentary.
Primary Occupation: NFL
He’s not as known as some of the other ex-NFL players that has come through the doors. But after looking him up on Wikipedia it does seem like he has a following of sorts. Football players tend to do really well in the standings (ok, on average they hit the number one spot), and the younger they are the higher up the ladder they tend to get. So I’m expecting him to go past the midway point and quite possibly compete at least in the semis and if I really want to go out there he could go to the top two. But quarterbacks do the least amount of running which could work against him.
Professional Partner: Anna Trebunskaya
In the few seasons that she has been on she has placed second with an Olympian and an NFL player. This bodes well for Kurt… but being in the position of the “non-athlete” of the NFL doesn’t really help matters any, but time will tell.

Kyle Massey
Age: 19
Please see Bristol Palin.
Primary Occupation: Disney
He’s a Disney Channel star which automatically brings him votes. Add to that his age and possible fan base I could see him knocking on the semi-finals door… as for walking through? That’s a whole other story.
Professional Partner: Lacey Schwimmer
Lacey, Lacey, Lacey… she’s only been on the show for three seasons and she’s done all right, however Kyle isn’t the same strong Disney powerhouse that Sabrina Bryan was or even Monique Coleman. The series that most people would know (That’s So Raven) was so three years ago, and whatever he has going now isn’t as known either. But Disney related celebs have fared rather well… and we can’t discount the Disney power.

Rick Fox
Age: 41
Please see Margaret Cho
Primary Occupation: NBA
But there has only been one other NBA player and that was Clyde Drexler from waaaaay back when. So there isn’t much to go on (maybe I should do a breakdown by heights). If we expand from NBA players to athletes in general they typically do hit the midway point in the competition, after that it’s entirely up to them. But since Clyde never made it to the halfway point in his season could Rick do better? Who knows
Professional Partner: Cheryl Burke
With Cheryl Burke as his partner his chances just got better. Cheryl has had practice working with athletes from all walks of life, and has been in the top half of the casts in almost every season she has been on (Wayne Newton being a notable exception). Perhaps Rick would be able to get his wish and surpass Kurt Warner on the show?

Now that we know my thoughts on the factors and how they could affect the celebs, lets look at how the factors add up… here is my calculated ranking by elimination sequence:
Week 1.) Margaret Cho
No surprise here based on what we know, but I’m hoping she’ll do as well as Niecy did and go further.
Week 2.) Florence Henderson
A little surprised, but considering her age and her profession, the only thing that could help her go further is her fan base… she’s Mrs Brady afterall.
Week 3.) Rick Fox
With so little information about NBA players, this is the best that could be done, which doesn’t bode well for Cheryl Burke… could they still buck the trend? The jury’s out on that one.
Week 4.) Audrina Patridge
Well considering that both Audrina and Mike have similar circumstances coming into the competition, most everything relies on who they ended up getting as their partner. Since Audrina’s partner is Tony her chances of lasting in the competition is a lot lower than that of Mike.
Week 5.) Michael Bolton
Age is working against him, as well as being simply a singer versus an entertainer. This is going to depend largely on the voting audience unless he has some sweet moves that he has kept largely hidden from the audience.
Week 6.) David Hasselhoff
Same as Michael Bolton, with age working against him and technically being an actor rather than entertainer I’m not expecting David to last that much longer than Michael Bolton or vice versa.
Week 7.) Jennifer Grey
If Jennifer makes it past the midway point it would be primarily due to the sheer power of Derek Hough. Which is a good thing too, because he could bring out the best from her without (hopefully) resorting to iconic dances.
Week 8.) Mike Sorrentino
With Karina as his partner, Mike could do rather well, granted good eye candy is always a good thing as long as he could dance.
Week 9.) Brandy
As mentioned by others already, if Brandy gets far along in the competition it would be due to her age and sex appeal… but if she can’t dance then everything else is a moot point.
Week 10.) Bristol Palin
Don’t kill me!!!! Youth does it everytime and since we have only had two teens on the show and one won their season while the other got fourth place in their season then it stands to reason that teens could do well this time around.
Runner Up.) Kurt Warner
Really… this is no surprise considering history… and the power of Anna T.
Winner.) Kyle Massey
Again don’t kill me… he’s young and there have only been two teens on the show prior to this, plus he’s Disney… all Disney people have done well in their respective seasons. The only problem with this is that Kyle’s “big show” ended three years ago while other Disney related people had a current project that kept them current. So this to me can’t work… even though the numbers tell me otherwise.

I Written By

My life can be summed up in the following two quotes: 1) "I am married to engineering and am its faithful wife by day, but at night my wanderlust takes hold and the arts becomes my jealous paramour." and... 2) "Engineering is my safety net. Writing is my passion. Acting is my escape when the other two become too much." So where does dancing fit in? Pretty much anywhere at this point... =)

DWTS11 Preliminary Power Rankings, Part II

So last week, I formulated who wouldn’t last past the midpoint of the competition in part I of my season 11 preliminary power ranking.  Today, I’ll reveal my top half – and who I think is going to walk away with that mirrorball trophy.  Enjoy & dicuss!

6.) Florence Henderson & Corky Ballas – I think these two could be interchangeable with Michael & Chelsie, depending on how memorable Florence can be.  No doubt Florence will likely be the better dancer – she’s had legit experience, plus the footage I’ve seen of her practicing so far looks reeeeaaally good.  She seems like a very focused, hard worker.  She’s also got the boon of being the oldest cast member, which seems to bring its own voting fanbase with it.  The one problem I think Flo might have is the comparisons she’s likely gonna get to Cloris, since that’s been Corky’s only other partner – and she and Cloris are NOTHING alike, besides their older age.  While part of Cloris’ appeal was her outrageous behavior, it’s something we’re not going to see out of Flo…like I’ve mentioned before, Flo is very demure and classy, and not the type to throw out off-color comments and innuendo.  As for Corky and his fanbase…that’s a little harder to predict.  He’s only been on the show once before, and it seemed like it was his partner’s outrageous behavior that kept them around so long.  I’m not sure if Mark’s (or Derek’s, for that matter) fans are gonna throw any votes his direction, or if he has enough of a fanbase of his own to really make a difference.  Regardless, I’m actually kind of excited for these two – it will be nice to see what a dynamite choreographer like Corky can really do with a partner that’s willing to work. 

5.) Kurt Warner & Anna Trebunskaya – Now Kurt could be the worst dancer in the competition this season, and I still don’t think he’d get sent home any sooner than week 6 or 7, just due to being a former NFL player (the worst any of them have done is 7th place).  On top of that, he’s the first quarterback we’ve ever had on the show, and the QB’s are typically the most well-known players on each team. But I think Kurt could actually be pretty good, if his work ethic during dance practice is anything like his work ethic on the football field.  And really – Kurt just seems like a genuinely good guy.  Comes from humble roots, evangelical Christian, family man, does a lot of charity work…I’m not sure there’s a more likeable guy in the competition.  He also seems to have a goofy side (see The Great Previous Dance Experience Debate, Part II), which always seems to balance nicely with a serious work ethic.  I think Anna has also beefed up her fanbase after having such a breakout season with Evan – people have warmed to her considerably, and she seems to have gotten a good deal more comfortable with her own choreography.  But while these two will likely be Mr. & Mrs. Congeniality this season, I don’t think Kurt necessarily has the dance chops (or the explosive personality) to make it to the semifinals.  

4.) David Hasselhoff & Kym Johnson – I’m saying this right now – I don’t think the Hoff is going to be a fantastic dancer.  Decent, maybe; but not great.  However, I do think he will be this season’s funny man, and that will take him farther than his dance skills will.  From the bit of media that I’ve seen so far with him in it, I’m having flashbacks of Donny in season 9 – the Hoff is definitely hamming it up.  Very chatty, cracking a lot of jokes, but seems enthusiastic…I do think he’ll make an honest effort, but I’m just not sure he’s got a ton of natural skill to pair it with.  But that’s ok, because if there’s one thing Kym is really good at, it’s taking an okay partner and giving them choreography that really lets them shine – I think that’s exactly what she did with Donny & Warren, and I’m sure that’s what she’ll do with David.  Plus Kym is quite possibly the most likeable female pro in the competition – mellow, sweet, and drop dead gorgeous.  I think they’ll look good together, and will likely be one of the couples out there that is truly enjoying themselves – it probably won’t trump some of the better-dancing couples, but I could see it taking them to the semifinal. 

3.) Jennifer Grey & Derek Hough – Looks like Heidi and I are in agreement on this one – Team Jenougher will probably make it to the finale, but just don’t quite have the juice to go all the way.  Like Heidi, I agree that Jennifer’s age and recent health issues will likely hinder this pair a bit; however, I do think she will be a sentimental fave with the voters, and they will come out to vote for her in big ways…even if she isn’t the greatest.  She does have a big advantage in having Derek; choreographically, I think he’s the strongest male pro and the one most likely to bring out the best in his partners.  He’s also got an uber-strong fanbase, and they’re smart about how they vote.  The only thing I can’t really predict is if there’s going to be any backlash from his win last season – I can’t decide if those that are still pissed about Nicole winning are going to refuse to vote for Derek now, even if they really do like what he’s doing with Jen.  Ditto for the same people that are clinging to the (flimsy) notion that Jennifer is a “professional dancer” and that DWTS is strictly for stars with “no dance experience” (keep dreaming) – are they gonna refuse to vote too, just on principle? By the same token, are they gonna refuse to vote for Brandy, Florence, & the Hoff too? I would like to think that in a season like this, with a fairly level playing field, that people wouldn’t try to concoct conspiracy theories like that – but there’s always some renegades.  That whole mess aside, I do think these two will be one of the stronger couples this season…but I’m not sure they’re going to have enough momentum to win. 

2.) Brandy & Maksim Chmerkovskiy – I’m sure there will be shock, awe, and outrage over this one, but when it comes down to it I just don’t think Brandy is going to be the stereotypical “pop-star ringer” that everyone is saying she is.  As we proved with the previous dance experience post, Brandy’s career has not been nearly as dance-heavy as, say, Nicole, Sabrina, or even Mel B’s.  And unlike Nicole & Sabrina, who were still in the high point of their careers when they did the show, Brandy’s been out of the spotlight for a little while now…aside from an album she released last year that flopped, and the reality show she has with her family on VH1 (which I’m not sure paints her in the best light), she hasn’t really been up to anything “big” in over 10 years.  I’m not sure how much of her original fanbase is still invested enough to come out and vote for her, which will likely cause her to rely heavily on pulling people in with great dancing.  And from what I’ve seen from the media so far – Brandy seems like a focused, hard worker, but doesn’t seem to be a natural when it comes to ballroom.  However, I do think she has an advantage in having Maks, who does have a large fanbase, and is a good choreographer – when he isn’t pissing off the judges or throwing fits (then again, like Heidi, I blame a lot of his less savory behavior last season on Erin, who seemed to bring out the worst in him, for whatever reason).  However, it is encouraging to see Maks & Brandy practicing and no tantrums being thrown by either party – the energy between them seems much more synergistic than it was between him and some of his other partners.  I daresay this will likely result in some really good, memorable routines.  However, when it comes down to it, I think they’re no match for… 

1.) Rick Fox & Cheryl Burke – Ok, pick your jaw up off the floor, and let me explain why I think these two could be the couple to beat this season.  First off, athletes generally do well (duh) – and pretty male athletes tend to do REALLY well (think Jason Taylor, Apolo Ohno, Helio Castroneves).  And when a pretty athlete teams up with a pretty female pro – watch out.  I have already said multiple times that I think these two are going to be this season’s most handsome couple.  Plus Cheryl is statistically the strongest female pro on the show – two wins, one 2nd place finish, one 3rd place finish, and 2 trips to the semi finals in her 9 seasons on the show – and she’s also one of the toughest, which Rick has said works well for him.  I also have a sneaking suspicion that Rick is not completely inept in the rhythm department – ex-wifey Vanessa Williams was a fantastic dancer, and I can’t imagine that a little bit of know-how didn’t rub off on him during their 5-year marriage.  Rick also has the boon of being a star not only from his basketball career, but also his acting career – he’s appeared on quite a few TV shows.  Both he and Cheryl seem to have pretty good-sized fanbases on their own, too, which gives them a bit of an edge over couples where the celeb isn’t as popular as the pro, and vice-versa.  Seems like this couple has a pretty good hand to play…but they do seem to be keeping their poker face up.  Not a whole lot of media leakage on these two, which makes me think that they’re really trying to play up the whole surprise factor when Rick turns out to be pretty damn good.  Cheryl seemed to do the same thing with Gilles, and look how he panned out.  But I daresay it will be interesting to see what these two have up their sleeves 😉

So there you have it – I’ve laid out my predictions for this season’s couples, without any of them having actually set foot on the floor.  Definitely hoping for some surprises this season, since this is the most level the playing field has been in quite some time.  But what do you guys think? Am I onto something? Am I full of crap? SPEAK UP! 😀

September 15, 2010 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

DWTS Season 11 Media of the Day – September 14, 2010

Cheryl Burke and Rick Fox Day. 🙂First look at the Situation. 🙂Rick Fox on Access Hollywood – they do show some rehearsal video, but I think the bulk of the AH video will be tomorrow.

The Hoff on Jimmy Kimmel Live – Part 1; Thanks to Vogue for the heads up. 🙂

Oh, god, I find this guy oddly charming – but I have been drinking. I’m just saying. 🙂 There appear to be two more parts after this one on Jimmy Kimmel’s YouTube channel.

September 14, 2010 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)