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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 4 – Power Rankings

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

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

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

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

October 16, 2018 I Written By

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

PureDWTS DWTS Juniors, Season 1, Week 2 – Who’s Dancing What?

Trying to let the stickied posts breathe a bit, but it looks like this is going to be an ongoing struggle as DWTS27 and DWTSJ1 air concurrently 😛 Here’s the songs and dances for Sunday night’s show, which was taped August 2nd; go here for spoilers on who the high scorers were.

Couples are all dancing to songs from the year the junior celeb was born in.

Akash & Kamri (mentored by Witney) – cha-cha (song: “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz from 2010)

Ariana & Artyon (mentored by Brandon) – jive (song: “Girlfriend” by Avril Lavigne from 2007)

Alana & Tristan (mentored by Artem) – cha-cha (song: “Don’t Cha” by The Pussycat Dolls from 2005)

Hudson & Kami (mentored by Hayley) – paso doble (song: “4 Minutes” by Madonna feat. Justin Timberlake from 2008)

Jason & Elliana (mentored by Emma) – jive (song: “Shake It” by Metro Station from 2008)

Kenzie & Sage (mentored by Gleb) – quickstep (song: “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?” by Jet from 2004)

Mandla & Brightyn (mentored by Cheryl) – salsa (song: “Pump It” by The Black Eyed Peas from 2005)

Miles & Rylee (mentored by Lindsay) – Argentine tango (song: “I Don’t Want To Be” by Gavin DeGraw from 2004)

Sky & JT (mentored by Alan) – cha-cha (song: “Just Dance” by Lady Gaga feat. Colby O’Donis from 2008)

Sophia & Jake (mentored by Sasha) – foxtrot (song: “Love Story” by Taylor Swift from 2008)

 

Thoughts: god I’m old. When I first heard “I Don’t Want to Be” I was playing cornhole on the lawn of Kappa Sigs my freshman year of college. One of my coworkers at my first (shitty) job out of college used to play “Shake It” on repeat in the office break room. And I’m pretty sure I would hear “Dynamite” at least 10X on a Saturday night while bar-hopping in downtown Indy during my “party girl” phase. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in my pajamas by 8 PM, washing down my daily dose of ibuprofen with some Earl Grey. 😛

October 12, 2018 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 27, Week 3 – Power Rankings

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

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

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

October 10, 2018 I Written By

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

Dancing with the Stars Season 27 – Post Week 3 Media

Here are a few things I ran across while surfing. Please don’t complain about what I post – if your favorite has a video that you don’t see here, tweet it to me at the PDH account. Happy to post it, I just don’t have time to go hunting for a lot of stuff.

Here’s Milo and Witney on ET talking Kardashians, Salsa and Riker Lynch.

DeMarcus and Lindsay talking about his injury and their scores.

Bobby Bones and Sharna

Jenna blogs about Weeks 3 and 4 and Jordan Kimball – who is an actual nut bar that grew on me after a while. An excerpt is below…click the link to read the whole thing.

I think adding in the trio next week is an awesome opportunity for Joe especially since our partner is Jordan Kimball. He exudes confidence and charisma, and they are great friends. I think it will be awesome to have another male figure in the rehearsal room. He’s gonna bring this masculine energy out of Joe. I think Joe’s going to feel safe out there and he’s going to be super pumped to do our salsa.

October 9, 2018 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. :-)

PureDWTS Season 25, Week 2, Night 2 – Power Rankings

So the bar was set pretty low for the show on night #2 of this week, given that night #1 was, for the most part, a snoozefest. Did Latin Night rise to the occasion? Yes…and no.  Ehhh, sorta…I guess. If nothing else, the energy level seemed higher, though there was still some really, REALLY screwy scoring (sorry to anyone who danced in the first  half of the show – y’all were gonna get hosed, regardless), and the music department still seems to be saddling some couples with some absolutely garbage songs that have an impossibly long intro for a dance that’s already been severely truncated. Bruno seemed to be relishing the opportunity to continue his stint as “good judge” this week, to Carrie Ann & Len’s “bad judge” roles; Erin, who looked stunning on premiere night, looked more like the lead singer in a Florence + The Machine cover band last night in a dress that still has me scratching my head.

Sad to see Debbie go, but can’t really say it was entirely unexpected – I had her in my 4-couple “lost in the shuffle” club after ballroom night, while Terrell, who had an atrocious rehearsal package that I thought for sure would do him in, actually had enough support (from Cheryl’s fans, I guess) to stick around. Better to be a jerk and memorable (or at least paired with a popular pro whose fans can float you) than be polite and forgettable, I guess. I have a feeling Debbie was probably not long for this competition, though – she just looked progressively more exhausted with each dance she did, and something was probably gonna have to give by week 4, at the latest. Alan had an admirable first outing as a pro, as well, and probably earned himself a pro spot next year (side note: it feels totally weird saying “next year” instead of “next season”, when referring to DWTS…gonna take some getting used to.)

NOTE: If you’re looking for the power rankings from Monday night, go here. Read more..

September 27, 2017 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 24, Week 8 – Power Rankings

Wow…I’m honestly not even sure where to begin. I feel like last night’s show was just 2 hours of the judges/PTB spanking the viewers for not voting how they (the judges/PTB) feel they SHOULD be voting. And the judges reached new lows – between Len telling Bonner “you should have gone home already!” and Carrie Ann deciding that David’s critique was a great time to shade Rashad (disrespectful to both men, really), to every judge giving vague, rambling, directionless critiques based on absolutely nothing, my head was spinning by the end. And my blood was boiling, because I think last night things legitimately got a bit sexist, too – between the judges giving Simone a hard time about smiling too much/not enough, Val & Alan doffing their shirts and shifting focus away from Normani, Sharna & Britt begrudgingly selling their souls in that trio, and watching female pros bite their tongues and try not to show they were upset by the critiques they were getting (while a certain male pro basically acts like a mouthy teenager every week and talks back to Len), I honestly felt sickened. Heidi & I are still gonna write that sexism post I promised you guys – but at this point, I think I need a cooling off period before I’m able to discuss it without absolutely losing my sh*t.

So Bonner went home, to the surprise of basically no one – but I will say that, for awhile there, I was seriously wondering if he was safe, with as cruel as they were being to him. Two unflattering packages, a sleazy trio dance to a terrible song, getting mocked by Val & Alan, two bad scores, and Len basically calling him out to his face on live national television – it seemed to point more to “he’s sticking around, but we want to make sure that he ain’t gonna survive next week’s elim!” But thankfully, he did end up going home – especially since they decided to share a sleazy clip of him during the trio rehearsal.  Yes, he might have gotten a bad edit – but they can’t actually edit you in such a way that you say “maybe I could spank you both on the butt!” if you didn’t actually say it. Or gesture it. Anywho – bye-bye, Bonner. You hopefully freed up Sharna’s schedule so she can fly to Indy and watch Hinch in the Indy Grand Prix this weekend 🙂

And then there were four – and next week’s elim is probably gonna hurt. I think everyone left deserves to be in the finale for different reasons, and would be fine if they ended up deciding to take all four to the finale; but my initial guess that they’re aiming for a Rashad-Simone-Normani finale doesn’t feel so concrete anymore – part of me wonders if they’ve grown accustomed to the new viewers and votes that David has brought to the show, and don’t want that gravy train to end…so I still think there’s at least a slight chance he could edge out one of the three above and make it to the finals. I’m also not entirely positive who he might displace – my gut says Normani, because her voting fanbase is still untested and she seems to be the one that gets the most help in term of gushing critiques and inflated scores; but they seemed to nitpick the life out of Simone & Rashad last night – will America buy it? If some of the comments I’ve been seeing are any indicator, the answer is no – people seem especially pissed about how Simone was treated. So I guess I’m still leaning towards a Simone-Rashad-Normani finale, with David potentially playing spoiler to Normani. Read more..

May 9, 2017 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 24, Week 7 – Power Rankings

Y’know, if I felt so inclined, I’m thinking I could probably set up some phony-baloney psychic hotline and bilk people out of hundreds of dollars an hour, because predicting this season and its manipulation has gotten SO EASY that I could probably convince some of the less-bright viewers that I’m the second coming of Miss Cleo.  Who da fathah of de bebe? 😛

But in all seriousness – my god, was last night a shitshow. The powers that be didn’t even seem to be trying to hide their hand – from the moment they started mentioning the immunity and perfect scores, you just knew they were setting it up to serve Normani on a silver platter. Poor Simone & Shad, who both had fantastic nights and were every bit (if not more) as deserving as Normani, never even stood a chance of coming near that immunity. But the fact that TPTB went out of their way to keep Normani safe does give me hope – because it seems to point to her not being able to stay safe on her own. Think about it: for the past three weeks, she’s either gotten perfect or near-perfect scores, regardless of the actual quality (or content) of her dances – and this started happening after all of our low-hanging fruit (Chris, Charo, & Mr. T) was gone.  The judges turned on the gushing, and Normani has had a decent points cushion ever since. She has never really been in a position of imminent danger of getting sent home, by virtue of her scores (and the relative underscoring of others). But now that we’re getting down to the wire, and all that’s left are people who can hang in terms of votes – it’s going to take more and more drastic measures in order to keep Normani safe.  And during a precarious week with a *gasp!* double elim, what better way to ensure her safety than granting her immunity to this week’s elim? Just food for thought – it’s entirely possible that Normani could have been one of the two headed home when you added up last week’s scores and votes. But if they handed her immunity, the next person up on the roster would have gotten sent home in her place – and I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that the most likely person she would have bumped is Nancy, who probably has more support in the main viewing demographic than Normani does. So for those of you trying to make sense of this week’s elim – I honestly think that’s a valid theory of what may have happened.  Nancy could have been the sacrificial lamb because someone else had to stay. Or hell – Normani could have actually had the lowest combined total of scores and votes, but got saved by the immunity. Don’t think it’s possible that such an awesome and “popular” contestant could have gotten sent home? How quickly some are likely to forget Heather. Just a warning: don’t assume Normani is raking in votes because she’s been sticking around. She has yet to really have her fanbase tested on this show…

…as for our two eliminees, I think Nick & Nancy both did an extremely respectable job this season, and will be missed. As I’ve said before, I found myself liking Nick & his self-deprecating sense of humor way more than I thought I would, and he was actually a pretty decent dancer, too – but I think he was understandably beginning to tire of being berated week after week for dances that weren’t really all that bad, and I think Peta is just tired, period, and needs a nap. I could not have asked for more from Nancy & Artem – she was really finding her footing and starting to take shape as a contender, and I just LOVED seeing how grateful she was for the experience; and Artem absolutely blossomed this season as a pro – it was nice to see him so supportive and connected with his partner (after a chain of iffy partnerships), and his choreo took a turn for the better. As I said before, I think they may simply have been the victim of the machinations to keep Normani around, and I do believe Nancy actually had more support within the main viewing demo of the show than Normani did; I think Nancy & Artem may just have been at a bit of a disadvantage by quietly improving week after week, rather than swinging wildly from high-highs to low-lows like some other couples did.  Their journey may not have been dramatic, but it certainly was memorable and fun to watch 🙂

And now we move on to the elephant in the room: Bonner. Saw a lot of questions of “Who the hell is voting for Bonner????” floating around, and I’ll admit, it baffled me initially, too.  But once I got to thinking about it, it started to make more sense – I’m not sure that people are so much voting for Bonner as they are Sharna.  And this, kids, could be a bit of an unforeseen side of effect of multiple seasons of screwing Sharna out of a win – more and more fans seem to be adopting the “it’s [insert pro here]’s turn to win!!!!” philosophy, and I still see quite a bit of talk from fans who thought last season should have been Hinch & Sharna’s (hell, I’m one of them). It’s possible Sharna’s still experiencing a ground swell from last season, that’s carrying she & Bonner further than expected; they also had a comparatively decent week last week, with a pretty kind score and a rumba that wasn’t altogether terrible (along with being part of a really, really fun team dance). And to reiterate a point Heidi brought up to me earlier – when you’ve got the same 2-3 people getting the lion’s share of the votes each week (likely Rashad, Simone, & David), the situation at the bottom of the leader board can vacillate from week to week. If the same 3 couples are getting the most votes week after week, and the rest of the couples are each getting roughly the same fraction of votes as one another each week, then actual rankings can vary quite a bit based on their dances.  Bonner happened to have a relatively “up” week last week, while Nick got dragged and Nancy slipped a bit. Those little fluctuations, no matter how small, have the potential to shake things up quite a bit if those further down the leaderboard are all fighting for the same fraction of votes.

Other than the obvious stuff? Mandy was an ok judge, but seemed to be just another “yes” woman and was following instructions from the control booth on how to score; I did kinda like how she seemed to frequently give a point more than the other judges, though, especially for those dances were the judges were being particularly nitpicky/stingy. I thought the opener was kinda lazy, though – was Mandy too busy getting debriefed on the responses she was to be giving each of the couples as a judge to choreograph something more interesting? Seemed like everyone got caught up a bit in some time-wasting in their dances, just by virtue of the theme, so I guess I’m giving everyone a bit of a free pass this week. The dance-offs were kind of a non-event, and seemed to be very much predetermined, down to who would win each one. Is it too much to ask to let things unfold at least a little bit organically on this show??? Read more..

May 2, 2017 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 24, Week 6 – Power Rankings

Anyone else missing Derek & Mark (and their choreography) something fierce right about now??? Because my god – if last night wasn’t an exercise in choreographic futility for some of our pros, then I don’t know what the hell it was. On top of that, the judges seemed eerily kind to just about everyone (except Nick, which we’ll get into later), which left me with this unpleasant sense of foreboding for most of the show – like I was waiting for something bad to happen, but I wasn’t sure what.  Basically, the same feeling I had while watching the first 20 minutes of last season’s Game of Thrones finale – but thankfully, when it all played out, I felt less like Margaery & more like Cersei, because something that Heidi & I had be predicting would happen eventually, happened: Heather got outsted in a “shocking” (but not really, if you actually think about it) elimination. We had been saying she was the most likely candidate for the token “shock” elim this season, but I don’t think we were anticipating it happening this early on – I myself had her making it to at least week 7, I think. But when you take into account the turd of a routine her pro foist upon her last week, and the fact that most of the general viewing audience couldn’t really get past her basically being a professional dancer herself, she followed the basic formula for getting “Sabrina’d”: the minute a skilled dancer dips below a certain score threshold, they get sent home because they Just. Aren’t. Getting. The. Votes. If you want to see a breakdown of just how few votes Heather was getting (or rather, just how much better than Heather everyone else was doing), go reread Heidi’s Dancing By the Numbers. I wish I could say I was disappointed by a good dancer getting sent home before some less-skilled ones, but I made no secret of it that I never really found myself enjoying Heather’s performances – and it was a combination of lack of connection to the audience on her part, and just plain subpar choreography from Maks on the other. Add in the fact that Maks managed to find TWO ways to proverbially spit in Alan’s face last night, and I’m left saying “Toodles, Heather & Maks – don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya!” Not gonna lie, though: part of me would love to see Alan as a pro next season, and have Maks left out in the cold – karma could be such a perfect bitch 😎

Which brings me to a few notes on demographics.  I think I warned everyone a month ago that Chris, Erika, Heather, & Normani were the four most likely to struggle with fanbase issues this season – three of them are now gone. You Harmonizers still feeling so confident about Normani’s voting fanbase? I saw quite a few folks wringing hands after it was announced that everyone on the girls’ team was in jeopardy, and many of them seemed convinced that Nancy was the one headed home.  You guys do realize that she aligns almost perfectly with the main viewing demographic of the show, right? A middle-aged Olympian with an inspiring backstory? Please help me understand why you thought a C-list-at-best, 30-something professional dancer from a 2-years-defunct teen tv show that was being given highly mediocre choreo by her partner was somehow going to outlast that Olympian, who so far has thrived and been given solid routines by her partner? It’s important to remember that sometimes, this show is about everything EXCEPT the dancing – in this case, the fact that Heather was already a great dancer didn’t matter to a lot of folks. If anything, it seemed to turn them off. They seemed to prefer Nancy’s journey to Heather’s already-professional polish. I also think Nancy has come off far more relatable and down-to-earth than Heather ever did on the show – and trust me when I say that can make a bigger difference than a few points, sometimes.

As for the rest of the show – Nick was an ok guest judge; seemed excited to be there and tried to give insightful critiques, but I think he came across a tad disingenuous at times. He also seemed like a bit of a yes-man, and had been fed a list of instructions on what to say and to whom (“Make sure you mention that Normani could win this whole thing! And don’t go easy on Nick V.!”) But I was pleased to see he gave Rashad a “10” when the other judges were whipping out 9’s – seemed to make up for Carrie Ann’s uncalled-for “7” last week. Opener seemed bland, like it was an afterthought – “Crap, what are we gonna do for the opener this week??? IDK, just…line everyone up or something…” Can’t say I missed Julianne too much – guess the Move Beyond tour didn’t leave any time for the “Ballroom is soooo different than what Heather does!” apology tour this week…and now Heather’s gone. Wuh wuh wuhhhhh. Read more..

April 25, 2017 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 23, Week 10 – Power Rankings

It’s nights like last night that make me seriously question why I continue to watch DWTS, let alone write about it – because there was some seriously skeezy, very manipulative stuff going on, and the agenda could not have been more clear.  Someone on Twitter asked me last week how we get our predictions about who’s going home/how the judges are going to score/who’s going to get pimped or hosed correct so often – and last night I found myself seriously questioning whether it’s the fact that we’ve been doing this for 7 years now, and just sharpen our skills each season…or if the show has just gotten more and more obvious with their agenda, thereby just making it that much easier to predict what’s going to happen.  It’s a very disconcerting thought to be having…

…so while we’re on the topic of disconcerting things we saw last night, I’ll go ahead and get this out of the way and leave it up to you whether you continue to read after this point or not: I was very, very disappointed (and kinda disgusted) with how Laurie’s package about her grandmother’s death was handled. And before some of you turn your moral outrage to a fever pitch, know this: BEING DISAPPOINTED IN LAURIE’S PACKAGE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HOW LAURIE HANDLED HER GRIEF, AND EVERYTHING TO DO WITH HOW THE PRODUCERS EXPLOITED IT. The very fact that I have to even preface this commentary with that makes me seriously weary of how emotionally unintelligent some DWTS fans have become, as I witnessed on Twitter last night, and does not give me a whole lot of hope for continued intelligent discussion in future seasons. But I found the way they chose to hone in on Laurie crying, lamenting the fact that she didn’t get one more trip home to see her grandma, and then playing the clip of her grandmother wishing her good luck at the end seemed like “emotion porn” – taking Laurie’s genuine grief and cobbling it together in such a way that it seemed extra devastating, and only seemed to rub Laurie’s face in her own sorrow.  It looked like Val didn’t warn her not to watch the package before their foxtrot, because she did seem very thrown-off by it, and a little choked up during her dance.  So many people feel the need to remind me each week that Laurie “is only 16”; so yes – given that, maybe it wasn’t in the best taste of the producers to create a package that could very easily have compounded the poor girl’s guilt about not getting to see her grandmother one more time. Also saw a lot of folks on Twitter justifying it with “well they did the same thing to Bindi” –  sorry, but Bindi’s father had been gone for 9 years when she did her season; Laurie’s grandmother passed away just a few days ago.  Big difference in the way one interprets grief immediately after a death and then several years after a death, and Derek at least had the forethought to warn Bindi not to listen to her packages, lest they affect her performance. Laurie kinda got thrown headlong into it – she handled it well, but am I alone in thinking that maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t in the best taste to create a package that hinged upon Laurie’s guilt about not getting more time with her grandmother…and then kinda ambushing her with it? It is possible to create a package with a theme of remembrance that doesn’t victimize those grieving – we’ve seen this show do it. And given that I’ve had people forwarding me links to interviews this morning where Val has said that he actually knew about Laurie’s grandmother dying BEFORE she did and that the interview with her grandmother happened 10 weeks ago (and not last week, as the package led us to believe), makes me all the more weary of how the show handled the whole thing.  It stinks…bad.

Moving right along to another bone of contention from last night’s show – wonky/inconsistent/agenda-filled scoring/judging that was clearly meant to shield some while disadvantaging others.  James got nitpicked, so as to justify not tying Laurie with a perfect score; Calvin got severely low-balled, so as to keep him from getting too close to Jana; Laurie got treated with kid gloves; Jana got overly kind scores & critiques.  The judges copped out and gave everyone the same score on their trio, which basically just made the margins a bit smaller – something that I don’t think would have happened if Len had been there, and needless to say I cannot WAIT to have him back next week…although I have to wonder if he will just follow the company line and only award 9’s & 10’s.  We had already kinda gotten the feeling that Terra was a goner headed into this week, and the fact that they gave her a perfect 60 for the night was the final nail in the coffin, I’m afraid – Rob Wade got his ideal finale, which did not include a little person who was actually more technically proficient than at least one of the finalists.  Sad to see Terra go, because she was a good dancer and I got the impression she really was having fun on the show – but as with many sh*ttastic things that happen on this show these days, not entirely unexpected. Read more..

November 15, 2016 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