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PureDWTS DWTS Juniors Season 1 – Court’s Week 2 Post-Mortem

I wasn’t originally planning to do a post-mortem this week, but given the site issues we had last night (which should be fixed now – please let us know if you’re still getting a message about our security certificate being expired) and the fact that last night’s episode moved ridiculously fast, I thought I better sum up my feelings…

Trying to fit (10) dances into (1) hour was perhaps a bit ambitious. I could barely keep up on the live blog – I was trying to verbalize how I felt about a dance, while still keeping my ears peeled for what the judges were saying, and hopefully getting enough of the general gist of it before having to scramble to report the scores.  Last night moved at a breakneck speed – by the end of it, I felt like I had been shot out of a cannon. Made it hard to remember all of the dances…at least last week, the pace was a bit more leisurely, so we got a chance to really get to know the couples. I worry that the shows are going to continue to be rushed for at least the next few weeks – seems like things won’t calm down a bit until they narrow it down to at least six couples.

Judging felt rushed, so not sure anyone really improved. Since the judges were just as rushed as the show was, I’m not sure there was really even room for improvement – Val’s critiques felt even less focused this week (hell, even a passing “work on your technique” would have been better than the rushed “it was good” of this week), Mandy tried to stay on-topic (but she struggled to be concise), and Adam had a couple gems but mainly just a bunch of forgettable “it was great!”-type lines.  Part of me is thinking this is part of the reason why the judges picked feel like such an afterthought: TPTB knew there wouldn’t be a ton of time for them to actually judge, so they just said “F*ck it, let Val have his ‘judging’ position, throw Mandy & Adam in there, and be done with it. They’re only going to have a max of maybe 15 seconds to judge a dance, for the bulk of the season.”

However, judges’ critiques are NOT a time to call out your fellow pros for lack of content. This week, it was Cheryl on the receiving end of Val’s “tsk, tsk”-ing over lack of content.  Which is borderline hilarious, considering Val has become the king of time-wasting non-dancing on the regular show, and Cheryl has far more years of this show under her belt than Val.  But I digress – it’s not of ANY benefit to these kids to have the judges (or really just Val) picking on content, which they have no control over. If it really gets his goat, he can go pull the “offending” pro aside after the show to hash it out. Stick with critiquing the kids – especially since you have such a limited time to judge, anyway.

When you have TINY voting samples, unexpected things can happen. So needless to say, last night’s elim was…shocking. Shocking-ish, but when you consider that the amount of people voting is TINY compared to the regular show, it really puts things in perspective.  The audience capacity of the studio is 838 people; when you take into account that friends/family of the celebs/junior pros/pro mentors cannot vote, that number gets even smaller – it may be only 500 votes total determining who stays and who goes, so it could easily come down to only one vote determining who gets eliminated.  Hudson & Kami had four couples that were below them on the leaderboard, and two couples they were tied with; however, I’d argue that three of the four below them had big personalities that left a lasting impact, as did the two couples they tied with.  Hudson & Kami, while being cute and doing a good dance, seemed to fade into the woodwork a bit – and this microcosm of DWTS Juniors just really re-illustrates what we’ve been saying about the voting on the regular show: you’re better off being memorable, for better or worse, than you are being quiet, compliant, and potentially forgettable. But I think they did a respectable job, as did Hayley as their mentor.

Some of the bigger personalities that aren’t such great dancers seem to be making more of an impact than the better dancers that aren’t as outgoing. The three that come to mind in particular are Alanna, Akash, & Jason – probably the three weakest dancers left, but also EXTREMELY memorable and likeable. Sophia, on the other hand, is actually a great dancer, but is so shy that she’s barely a blip on the radar.  Kenzie has a weird hollowness to her dancing, where she’s doing the moves well, but almost seems robotic in her personality (kind of the same problem I’m currently having with Juan Pablo on regular DWTS).  Sky, Miles, & Mandla are slowly coming out of their shells, and also dancing well; Ariana (and really, Artyon too) is just an absolute firecracker that also is a great dancer. I hear a lot of talk about Alanna, Akash, Jason, and Ariana – not so much about Kenzie or Sophia.  Coincidence?

Any thoughts about last night’s show?

October 15, 2018 I Written By

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

PureDWTS DWTS Juniors Season 1 – Court’s Premiere Post-Mortem

So last night was the premiere of DWTS Juniors – if you didn’t tune in live, you can get a synopsis of sorts from my live blog here. Even though I had an idea of what to expect headed in, there were of course some nuances that didn’t come to light until I actually got to watch the show myself.  So here’s my general impressions after watching last night’s show:

These kids are all giving it 110%. Every single one of those kids was giving it their best shot last night – even the ones that maybe aren’t natural performers. That’s something to be commended, as I can recall more than a few adult celebs on DWTS who clearly were not putting in their best effort during their seasons.  All of the junior celebs, all of the junior pros, and most of the pro mentors are really putting their hearts into this, which I appreciate.  It’s nice to watch a show where everyone’s so invested 🙂

Val is not very good at verbalizing what he wants to see as a judge. I know a lot of fans were insistent that Val would be “a great judge”, because “he’s so good with kids” (is he…?) and “he has competition experience” (so do most of the other pros), but for reals – he was probably the most vague of the three judges, and couldn’t seem to articulate specific critiques for the kids.  These aren’t adults that have enough experience with the subtleties of human language that they’re able to deduce less-than-obvious things that the judges may be trying to tell them – these are kids that need to have things very explicitly stated for them, in concrete, non-abstract terms.  You can’t really tell two 9-year-olds “work on your technique”; be specific: “I want to see more rise and fall and heel leads”, “work on your frame and keeping your posture up”, “I want to see you using your hips more”, etc. Even Len at the very least calls out specific examples when he’s complaining about technique.  Possibly the most confounding comment I heard from him last night: “I want you to embody the dance more.” It was said to Miles, after his salsa. I don’t think Miles knows enough about salsa to really understand what that means and apply it, and I’m guessing he probably thought he was “embodying” the dance because he performed the choreo he was given well. Even Maks, when he was at his pettiest and nitpickiest sitting behind that judges’ table, was more specific and lucid than that. And before anyone tries to pull the “but English isn’t Val’s first language!” bullsh*t: not buying it, have never bought it as a valid excuse for the many jerky things he’s said over the years, he’s been in this country over 20 years, and part of the responsibility of being a judge is being able communicate what it is you want to see – if he can’t do that, he has no business judging. I’ll be waiting to see if he improves as the season wears on…

Mandy is the saving grace of the judges’ panel. I may not always be the biggest fan of Mandy or her choreo, but my god – she was singlehandedly saving the whole panel last night, and was giving really supportive, helpful critiques to the kids. With Val being vague and Adam just kinda showboating and making flimsy analogies, it was nice to have a judge on the panel that both supported the kids AND gave them really clear, relevant tips on how to improve that the kids could understand.  I can’t remember who she said it to, but one of the junior celebs was getting ahead of the music – and Mandy gave him/her a very good tip: “if you feel like you’re getting ahead of the music, make your moves bigger – it will get you back on time.” These are the kinds of things the kids need to be hearing – very simple, concrete examples of what to do/what not to do. And Mandy was phrasing it in such a way that the kids still felt good about themselves, so her critiques were likely to be much better-received.  Also gave her props for being the only judge (and the only person on the show at all, really) to point out that Kenzie does, indeed, have dance experience. Which brings me to my next point…

Nobody is being fooled by the “Kenzie isn’t a dancer” act. Quite possibly the worst example of attempted gaslighting of the audience on this show I’ve seen in quite awhile 😛 The fact that they’re trying to bill Kenzie as a singer, and won’t even cop to her sister being a dancer (Maddie, a dance phenom, was conveniently referred to as “an artist”) is ridiculous to the point of it being almost comical – how far will they go to avoid mentioning that Kenzie has had quite a bit of dance training??? Are they going to come up with euphemisms for dance training? Is Kenzie “well-versed in rhythmic movements performed to music”? I think after she handled that “foxtrot” (in quotes ’cause after about 8 bars, Gleb basically said “f*ck it” and choreographed a Charleston/Lindy) quite easily, nobody was convinced she was a non-dancer that coincidentally managed to nail a dance on the first try. I’m interested to see if they try to keep this song-and-dance act going for the rest of the season – especially since Maddie is due to guest in Kenzie’s samba later on.  How are they going to introduce her? “Kenzie’s artist sister”? 😛

Jordan & Frankie were the right choice to host this show. While Tom & Erin’s more dry, sarcastic tone sits well with the adult version, the kids version needs a softer touch – and I think Jordan & Frankie are perfect. They’re both professional, but also have an exuberance to them that appeals to the kids and makes them not so intimidating. Frankie in particular seemed to be doing a nice job of interviewing the kids up in the box, and bringing some of shyer ones out of their shell. They also play off each other nicely, likely owing to the chemistry they built when they were on the same season AND while on tour together.

Kids sure do love the Fortnite dances. I saw quite a bit of “flossing” and “hyping” – as well as a few other dances that I’m fairly certain are from Fortnite.  It’s annoying when Bobby does it on the adult version, but I’ll give the kids a pass because those moves are likely very familiar and accessible to them 😉

Miles, Kenzie, Ariana, Sky, Sophia, & Akash seem like the ones to watch.  They’re the ones with the biggest personalities or skill sets, and some of them have both. Akash in particular has serious dark horse potential 😎

So what are your overall thoughts after the first episode??? Share ’em below 🙂

October 8, 2018 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Dancing with the Stars Juniors Season 1 – Meet the Cast! **PROMO PIX**

You may have already seen the list on our spoiler post, but here’s the cast of DWTS Juniors season 1 – and they’re freakin’ adorable. Be sure to tune in on October 7 – I’ll be live blogging (even though the show is pre-taped), and maybe you should whet your appetite with the “What to Look Forward To” spoiler thread 😎


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September 25, 2018 I Written By

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

PureDWTS DWTS Jr. Pro Profile – Hailey Bills

Age: 12
Height: 5’0″(Court’s best guess)
Hometown: Dallas, TX/Orem, UT (moved last year)
Home studio: Prodigy Dance and Performing Arts/Center Stage Performing Arts
Dance styles: ballroom/Latin, contemporary, hip-hop, ballet, jazz, tap
How you might know her: She’s Jenna’s niece.
Other accolades: 2017 Female Mini Best Dancer at The Dance Awards
Pro mentor: Jenna Johnson
Celeb partner: Tripp Palin

Competing in Latin with her partner, Blake Fox:

Doing an edgy, contemporary/jazz/Latin fusion to “Billie Jean” at The Dance Awards earlier this year:

Edgy contemporary duet with Joziah German last year:

Doing some hip-hop with Rylee & Brightyn:

And the contemporary routine that won her Mini Best Dancer at TDA last year:

Court’s thoughts: I think Hailey might be the best technician of the junior pro girls – she seems to have a really good understanding of what her body’s supposed to be doing when she’s dancing, and she does it precisely. The one thing I think she hasn’t quite honed perfectly yet is her stage presence – she’s a great dancer, but I do see my attention wandering from time to time when I’m watching her as her presence in each dance seems to waver. She reminds me a bit of SYTYCD-era Lindsay: extremely strong technician, but maybe not quite as charismatic as some of her contemporaries (for Lindsay, it was Witney; for Hailey, I think it’s Brightyn & Rylee).  But the good news is that she’s only 12, and already a great dancer – the stage presence will come with time.

Follow Hailey on social media:

Hailey’s Instagram

September 22, 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 Season 27/Juniors Season 1 – An Update About the Cast Announcement

So I’ve been getting a lot of questions about when they’re going to announce the celebs for Juniors – initially, I was told it was going to happen closer to the cast announcement for the regular season, which made me wonder if they were just going to do one big cast announcement on GMA for both Juniors and season 27.  However, source has now heard that the cast announcement for Juniors is “going to coincide with the premiere of season 27” – which makes me wonder if the results show we’re getting on 9/25, per Kristyn, is going to double as the cast announcement for Juniors, which premieres roughly 2 weeks later. I have no other info other than that – no idea if the Junior celebs and their partners will be there for the show (seems like it could be a bit of a logistical nightmare), or if they’re just going to be showing something pre-taped, but I’ve got a gut feeling that whatever it is, it’s probably going to happen during the 9/25 results show.

As for the regular season – since everything has basically gotten pushed back a week due to the premiere being a week later than usual, I’m guessing we get a cast announcement sometime between 9/4 and 9/12.  Pros were due to start meeting their partners this week, so I’m leaning more towards the week of 9/10 for the cast announcement. Notice the use of the words “I’m guessing” and “I’m leaning more towards” – this is just my educated opinion, not fact, so I better not hear anyone saying “Well Courtney says the cast announcement is the week of the 10th” or “Courtney says Juniors celebs are getting announced during the results show!” This fandom has developed a bit of a fake news problem as of late, so please don’t contribute to it by misquoting. I’d rather not burn out on both Juniors and regular DWTS before the seasons have even started 😉

August 27, 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 Junior Season 1 – Junior Pros & Mentors Start Teasing Pix of Their Celeb Partners on Instagram

I’m admittedly late on this, but that’s what you get when things at my office are falling apart and I’m finishing up final projects for my econ & marketing classes 😛 The junior pros and mentors have started dropping hints on their celeb partners on Instagram – here’s a few, but if you want our spoiler list, go here. From the vibe I’ve gotten from sources, it seems like the junior celeb announcement is going to happen pretty close to the celeb announcement for the regular season – which if I had to guess (and this is a GUESS, don’t quote me) is probably going to be Sept. 4 or 5th. If it were me, I’d probably just make one big announcement, all at once, in order to maximize cross-promotion of Junior & regular DWTS. I’d start keeping pretty close tabs on Instagram next week…I’d imagine the regular pros are going to start meeting their celeb partners within the next week or two.

Can you guess who my partner is? 🤩🤔🤫😍 @dwtsjuniors #dwtsjuniors

A post shared by Jake Monreal (@jakemonreal33) on

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August 17, 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 Junior Pro Profile – Brightyn Brems

Age: 12
Height: 4’11” (Court’s best guess)
Hometown: Lehi, UT
Home studio: Center Stage Performing Arts
Dance style: cross-trained in ballroom/Latin, hip-hop, jazz, tap, contemporary, and gymnastics
How you might know her: part of the 801 Squad from season 1 of World of Dance; auditioned for So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation
Other accolades: 2017 TDA Female Mini Best Dancer
Pro mentor: Cheryl Burke
Celeb partner: Mandla Morris

Who better to tell you about Brightyn, than Brightyn herself? 🙂

Not sure if this actually aired on the show or not, but here was 801 Squad’s performance on WOD in season 1 – Brightyn is front & center for a good portion of the dance (you can also catch a quick glimpse of junior troupe member Makeila Lawrence):

Brightyn doing a very limber solo at The Dance Awards last year:

Competing in Latin:

And doing some edgy contemporary:

Court’s thoughts: Brightyn looks like a mini-Witney to me 🙂 And she’s got the charisma and talent to match! Contemporary seems to be her bread & butter, but she is incredibly well-trained in Latin as well.  She strikes me as one of the more mature junior pros, so I’m just hoping she can strike a balance between working hard and having fun. She’s got star quality, for sure!

Follow Brightyn on social media:

Brightyn’s Instagram
Brightyn’s YouTube

August 9, 2018 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Val Choreographs for SYTYCD; Lindsay & Rylee’s Sister Competes

So begins the yearly series of cross-over posts between DWTS & So You Think You Can Dance 😎 This week was the first of the live shows, and Val choreographed a cha-cha for top 10 finalists Magda (a Latin/ballroom dancer) and Darius (a contemporary dancer);

Overall, wasn’t bad – definitely better content-wise than the bulk of the stuff Dmitry has choreographed for SYTYCD, though there was some time-wasting and a bit too much “posing” for my taste…then again, I have found most of SYTYCD’s Latin & ballroom routines in recent years to be pretty watered-down, choreography-wise; I tend to think it’s because most of the non-ballroom contestants likely couldn’t handle a full-on Latin or ballroom routine.

Jenna & onetime DWTS troupe member Nicole Volynets were on-hand to support Val – and somehow got stuck in the nosebleed seats.

Lindsay & Rylee (and Mama Arnold!) were on-hand to support sis Jensen, who is one of the top 5 girls this season – she danced a samba (choreographed by Jean-Marc) & a jazz (choreographed by Mandy Moore, of course), to some interesting comments from Nigel (couldn’t find a video with them, but Google it and you’ll see what I mean):

Nigel had a rather convoluted explanation for Kristyn when asked about his comments about Jensen. Oh well – looks like a contender to me 🙂 More over at Pure SYTYCD.

August 8, 2018 I Written By

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

PureDWTS DWTS Junior Pro Profile – JT Church

Age: 12
Height: 4’9″ (Court’s best guess – he’s taller than Artyon, but still one of the shorter junior pros)
Hometown: Chandler, AZ
Home studio: Club Dance Studio
Dance styles: jazz, hip-hop, contemporary, ballroom/Latin, gymnastics
How you might know him: He was the runner-up on So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation; Lip Sync Battle Shorties
Other accolades: Mini Male Best Dancer at the 2017 Las Vegas Dance Awards
Pro mentor: Alan Bersten
Celeb partner: Sky Brown

A compilation of all of JT’s duets & solos while he was on SYTYCD:

Dancing a duet at the Radix Nationals this year:

Serving us some “Cake By The Ocean” on Lip Sync Battle Shorties:

Getting “In His Feelings” doing this hip-hop combo:

And some cha-cha fun with Lacey:

Court’s thoughts: Another extraordinarily well-rounded and energetic kid – I honestly don’t think there’s a single weak link in the junior pros, guys; most of these kids are cross-trained better than a good chunk of the adult pros. I think Jake’s got everything he needs to do well on the show – the technique, the showmanship, the versatility; my only concern (and this is an itty-bitty one, no pun intended) is that his small stature/build may mean his partner has an inch or two on him, and he may not yet have the upper-body strength for lifts – it just might limit he & Sky a bit in terms of variety in their routines, but as I mentioned – this is a very small concern. I’m really having to stretch to find issues with these junior pros, they’re that good 😉

Follow JT on social media:

JT’s Instagram
JT’s Twitter
JT’s Facebook

August 2, 2018 I Written By

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

PureDWTS DWTS Junior Season 1 – Junior Pros Start Sharing Adorable Pix with Their Mentors

I was told that DWTS was planning on formally announcing the junior pros on their Facebook page sometime today, but it appears as though that’s been scrapped in favor of the junior pros/mentors spilling the beans themselves on Instagram 😛 For anyone skeptical about the junior pro/mentor spoilers we posted – here’s your fact-check.  For everyone else – how stinkin’ cute are these kids??? I think Artyon/Brandon’s pic might be my fave – lil Artyon’s out here looking like a black Evel Knievel Jr. in his yellow jumpsuit, I heart him 🙂 #BlackBoyJoy UPDATE: Below is the video they originally posted on the DWTS Facebook page – until they realized they still had Kami Couch labeled as Makeila Lawrence…wuh wuh WUHHHHH.

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August 1, 2018 I Written By

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