Free DWTS Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on Dancing with the Stars sent straight to your email? Join hundreds of other DWTS fans who subscribe to Pure DWTS for FREE!

PureDWTS Season 28, Week 5: Power Rankings

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

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

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

October 17, 2019 I Written By

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

Private Members Area – DWTS Season 28 Week 5 Discussion

It’s time again for Dancing with the Stars chatter! Share your thoughts and insights as we lead into the next season of Dancing with the Stars from the comfort of the Pure DWTS Private Members Area. If you’re not a Pure DWTS Insider yet, you can do so here. If you are, then I look forward to the discussion in the comments.
Read more..

October 15, 2019 I Written By

Better known as Charlie.

PureDWTS Season 28, Week 4: Power Rankings

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

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

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

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

October 9, 2019 I Written By

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

Private Members Area – DWTS Season 28 Week 4 Discussion

It’s time again for Dancing with the Stars chatter! Share your thoughts and insights as we lead into the next season of Dancing with the Stars from the comfort of the Pure DWTS Private Members Area. If you’re not a Pure DWTS Insider yet, you can do so here. If you are, then I look forward to the discussion in the comments.
Read more..

October 7, 2019 I Written By

Better known as Charlie.

PureDWTS Season 28, Week 3: Power Rankings

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

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

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

October 5, 2019 I Written By

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

Private Members Area – DWTS Season 28 Week 3 Discussion

It’s time again for Dancing with the Stars chatter! Share your thoughts and insights as we lead into the next season of Dancing with the Stars from the comfort of the Pure DWTS Private Members Area. If you’re not a Pure DWTS Insider yet, you can do so here. If you are, then I look forward to the discussion in the comments.
Read more..

September 30, 2019 I Written By

Better known as Charlie.

Ray Lewis to Withdraw from DWTS Season 28 Due to Injury

Many thanks to our commentors who pointed me in the direction of this Entertainment Tonight article which claims Ray and Cheryl are dropping out tonight due to an injury:

Looks like Ray Lewis and Cheryl Burke won’t be competing on Dancing With the Stars Monday night.

A source tells ET that the two plan to withdraw from the dance competition show tonight due to an injury that the former NFL star has sustained.

ET has reached out to ABC for comment.

Over the weekend, Lewis shared a lengthy post to Instagram about “finding balance between work, family and rest.”

—–

The news comes a week after Lewis and Burke found themselves in danger of elimination. After being announced as one of the two bottom couples, the dancing duo was saved by the judges, who sent Mary Wilson and pro Brandon Armstrong home.

Yeah, I’m kinda ticked they sent Mary home only for Ray to get injured. Judges screwed up on that. In regards to the questions people are asking, No, I have no idea if they will still eliminate someone. If they do, they almost certainly will pull a stupid fake out elimination scare because they can’t help themselves. They think it’s so “exciting”. Ha!

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 28, Week 2: Power Rankings

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

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

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

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

September 26, 2019 I Written By

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

Private Members Area – DWTS Season 28 Week 2 Discussion

It’s time again for Dancing with the Stars chatter! Share your thoughts and insights as we lead into the next season of Dancing with the Stars from the comfort of the Pure DWTS Private Members Area. If you’re not a Pure DWTS Insider yet, you can do so here. If you are, then I look forward to the discussion in the comments.
Read more..

September 23, 2019 I Written By

Better known as Charlie.

PureDWTS Season 28, Week 1: Power Rankings

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

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

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

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

September 17, 2019 I Written By

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