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PureDWTS DWTS Juniors, Season 1 – THE FINALE: Week 9 Live(ish) Blog!!!

And just like that, the inaugural season of Juniors comes to a close tonight.  Granted, tonight’s episode was already taped wayyyyy back on August 25, but I’ll be honest: I’m surprised that I’ve been able to avoid inadvertently spoiling the winner for over 3 months 😛 According to one outlet, I apparently “strongly insinuated that Kenzie won” (I did?) and someone else on Twitter was claiming that I told him Ariana won (again – I did?), but the only real spoiler I offered about the winner was their gender – you can find that spoiler at the bottom of the master spoiler thread I’ve been linking to all season. Who are your guesses for who wins? I will say this: after the taping of the week 8 show, source told me that they thought that “any of the four remaining couples could win it”. So the outcome of the show was truly surprise for the contestants as well, since they all saw it as anyone’s game.  Except Gleb, apparently, but that’s a story for another time…

Songs & dances here. Bound to be a jam-packed show tonight – each couple is redoing their favorite dance with their pro included this time, and doing a Christmas freestyle. I am so ready to see Brandon doing “Rolex” with Ariana & Artyon 🙂

Say what you will about Alana – but she was always a showman, even if her technique wasn’t great. She delivered in that opener.

Artyon looks like a mini-Keo 😛

Kenzie/Sage/Gleb up first.  Gleb thinks the dance is special “because I’m in it.” May seem innocuous on the surface, but given Gleb’s narcissistic tendencies, it just grates.

I’m thinking Kenzie picking this dance was probably a bit of a strategic career move (since it’s her song), but I don’t know that it’s a particularly memorable dance. The addition of Gleb just made it weirder.

Mandy loves that she got to see that dance a second time. Adam says she’s “a different girl” and “taking no prisoners”. Val thinks she “shined” and then seems to throw a slight dig in at Gleb saying that Kenzie “came in with potential” so she “did great things”. Scores are 9, 9, 10.

Brandon looks exhausted in the package.  I can imagine chasing those two around all season was no easy task 😛

Some nice little flourishes added to the dance with Brandon joining them.  Pretty cute.

Val says “Iconic.” Adam can’t wait to see what they do in the next round. Mandy is complimentary of all three team members and generally fulfills the supportive mom role she has all season.

Tens, tens, TENS ACROSS THE BOARD!

Miles/Rylee/Lindsay redoing the salsa, dalmatian outfits and all. And I gotta hand it to Lindsay – that felt like a cohesive routine, with some nice double-leading by Miles, rather than a retooling with Lindsay just shoehorned in.

Val is glad he redid this dance, since he was so hard on Miles the first time.  Mandy gives Lindsay props for being a great coach.  Adam thinks Miles has “grown so much”. 10, 9, 9 – ok, I thought that was better than Kenzie, but whatevs.

Sky warns Alan that he “better kill it” in this salsa they’re redoing 😛

Alan skateboards in with Sky and bungles it almost immediately, hehe. It’s cute overall, but feels a tad shoehorned. I thought Miles won the “favorite dance” round.

Mandy commends Alan for “diving into” the whole mentor role. Adam thinks Sky has grown the most of the finalists. Val says Sky “emobodies what this competition is about”.

Sky being Tony Robbins again 😛

10, 10, 10 – I thought Miles & Rylee were better, but again…whatevs.

Kenzie up first in the freestyle round. Sage says ten more words for a grand total of MAYBE 50 words spoken this season.

It’s pretty hard-hitting hip-hop with a little bit of stepping and Charleston thrown in.  It’s good…maybe my favorite dance she’s done.

Mandy thought it was incredible, and hopes this show has brought back Kenzie’s “love of dance”. Adam just stands  up and shrieks. Val thinks that is what a freestyle should look like.

Worth mentioning: Gleb did enlist the services of an outside choreographer for this freestyle…which I think shows.

10, 10, 10.  I’m guessing freestyle round is probably gonna go the same way it does on the regular show – unless somebody really bungles stuff up, they’re all getting perfect scores.

Per Zoe (@ptxdwts) on Twitter: Ebonee Arielle choreographed Kenzie’s freestyle.

Ariana & Artyon up next, serving you Grinch & Cindy Lou Who realness 😛

It’s a very theatrical, Broadway-esque dance.  Artyon did two pretty impressive lifts with Ariana.

Adam thinks they had “so much to be proud of”. Val says he thinks they’re going to be “big stars”.  Mandy says Ariana is  “a star”.

9, 10, 9 –  soooo…what was the issue there, Val & Adam?

Miles & Rylee are next.  Loving the snow white costumes 🙂

It’s mainly hip-hop, but I saw blurbs of their jive, Charleston, and even a bit of Carlton Banks 😛 I thought it was excellent. Anthony Anderson in the audience cheering for Miles.

Val thinks Miles has made it “cool” for boys to dance.  Mandy says he’s been such a joy to watch this season.  Miles tearing up a bit (awww).  Adam says he’s “a superstar”.

Lindsay is full on weeping with pride.  Goddamn, my house is dusty.

10, 10, 10 – I would have called foul on anything less.

Sky & JT last…and it looks like a surfer Christmas theme.

It’s a cute routine, and energetic – but it feel like there was a lot of posing and non-dancing moments. I think Miles’ freestyle had the best content.

All three judges generally commenting on Sky being an “inspiration”.  Sorry guys – things are moving so fast and the judges are kinda being repetitive anyway.

Three 10’s – and I believe their score of a perfect 60 leaves them at the top of the leaderboard as the audience votes for the winner…

And the winner is…

…SKY & JT!!!

Alan is full-on bawling. Alexis who? This is what real emotion looks like from this man.

And that concludes my blogging for the first (and hopefully not last) season of Juniors…thanks for joining me! We’ll keep posting news in the off-season, and we may see you back in the spring (depending on whether we’re getting a spring season or not). HAVE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY!!!

December 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

DWTS 15, Week 10 – Finale Power Rankings

First off, a bit of an apology/explanation: some of you may have noticed me being a bit quiet and scarce both on Twitter and here at Pure the past few days – that was due to a rather intense bout of the stomach flu which had me sidelined for 5 days.  I’m feeling much better, but still not 100%…and thus I’ve just been taking it easy, saving my energy for things like the cheese and power rankings.  Thanks for hanging in there with me 🙂

Anywho…

…I find myself repeating a lot of the “guidelines” Heidi & I set forth about a year ago when we did our Top 10 Best & Worst freestyles in DWTS history, after watching the freestyles tonight.  I feel like only one couple really knocked it out of the park, and the other two made some pretty amateurish mistakes…one in particular showed us just how green he is in the freestyle arena.  And I’ve decided that I just HATE the “favorite dance” round, since it’s nothing really new, and I think it’s seldom a vast improvement on the original performance…and I think it can often turn out WORSE.  Can’t we just go back to the redemption routine, where it was completely new choreography, new music, and a clean slate?

Gonna do things differently tonight, and start off with 3rd place and work my way up…

3rd place: Kelly & Val

I’m left with mixed feelings for both of their dances, overall.  The paso doble started off very promising – lots of attack, and not a single falter UNTIL that rather noticeable slip of the hand and momentary loss of connection, which I have to assume was due to Kelly’s nerves.  I seriously thought she might pass out, as anxious as she was looking beforehand.  But she did manage to regain her footing, and I was actually impressed that she managed to do her whole turning sequence without getting dizzy or off-balance this time.  But she just looked so SCARED, and while she corrected the problems from last time, she had problems with a different section this time.  Was it an improvement? Sure. But I don’t think it was perfect, and I kinda wish Bruno had docked her half a point as well – if you’re going to point out an obvious error, I think you should adjust your score accordingly.  Len may have given her a 10, but at least he did it WITHOUT also pointing out the mistake she made.  Moving on to the freestyle…*sigh* This is the part where I chastise Val for making the rookie freestyle mistake of kinda copping out with a movie theme that is SO iconic that he & Kelly had no hope of ever living up to the original – and then even going as far as to copying some of that iconic choreography, so it makes the contrast to the original even more obvious and just makes the copier pale in comparison to the original.  Historically, dance movie-themed freestyles on the show have not gone over well – examples that come to mind are Mya & Dmitry’s Hairspray freestyle, Gilles & Cheryl’s Flashdance freestyle, Evan & Anna’s Footloose freestyle, Stacy & Tony’s Saturday Night Fever freestyle, and Bristol & Mark’s Chicago freestyle.  Why? They’re almost always cheap, generic knockoffs of the original, and we’re kinda just left feeling “meh” about the whole dance.  I think this was the biggest flaw of Kelly & Val’s freestyle – the overall theme (and choreography) was a watered-down, lukewarm copy of the show-stopped Swayze & Grey number from the end of Dirty Dancing.  Did it have relevance to Kelly & Val’s relationship? Ok, maybe – but I think they would have fared better had they stayed away from such a recognizable piece of music and the choreography associated with it, and done something more unique to them.  As for the dancing itself – as with many of their dances, it felt like it took a long time for them to finally start dancing, and there seemed to be a few stutters and what I call “empty space”: gaps in the choreography where more dancing could be fit in, but instead we had…standing around.  The lifts were decent, but I think they paled in comparison to both Melissa & Shawn’s; I thought the troupe rushing in like a disorganized herd of elephants was a BIG mistake, though.  It was at that moment that I really lost sight of Kelly, who should have been the focus for the whole routine.  The choir? Ok, cute touch, but I think it too distracted from Kelly.  Overall, just wayyyy too many people onstage for her dance, and if they were going to copy anything, they should have copied the section of Tony & Cheryl’s DD routine where the group comes in, because it was far more organized and not nearly as distracting.  Yes, Kelly & Val had great chemistry – but has that ever really been a problem? I guess I’m just glad they didn’t go the route of over-the-top mush, so I will give them props for that.  Was it a good routine? Mehhh…they danced what they had well enough, but I just think the content (and theme) could have been much better thought out.  In the end, I think Kelly will likely end up in 3rd – especially if things end up like I think they will after the instant dance.  I’m guessing it’s going to be ranked, in which case I think the judges easily give her 3rd place; and “soap fanbase” or not, I think Shawn has always had her beat, and I think Melissa’s more buzzworthy at the moment.

: Shawn & Derek

I would LOVE to be wrong and for these two to win – I think they deserve it.  But part of me just can’t shake the feeling that there are too many people riding on the “Melissa & Tony have never won before so they should win this time” train for Shawn & Derek to overcome – especially since they got reamed for their quickstep, which I’m feeling on-the-fence about.  As I said earlier, I kinda hate the whole “repeat your favorite dance again!” concept, because I feel like the routines only have a small margin for improvement…and even if they don’t improve, the judges tend to cop out and give them inflated scores anyway.  But that said – I really wish Derek would have given my nerves a rest and just tweaked the choreography a bit for a few more points.  I think they still have the opportunity to slide into at least 2nd place – but I’m just not sure that the rule-breaking was worth the risk this time.  The rule-breaking left the door WIDE open for those judges to storyboard the crap out of this week, for them to lowball Shawn, the early frontrunner, in order to give the impression of it being “anyone’s game”.  The routine was spectacular once again – but I thought it was only maybe a tad better than the original, since there wasn’t really a lot of stuff to improve upon, other than the choreography itself.  I would be resting a lot easier tonight if they had just picked their mambo and knocked it out of the park again – which makes me wonder, like Heidi, if these dances were chosen FOR them, as opposed to being chosen BY them.  As for their freestyle – I may have a colorful and varied vocabulary, but I believe the best response to this once was “OMG.”  STUNNING tricks, especially the counterbalance stretch at the beginning and that insane falling-face-first-towards-the-floor-from-my-partner’s-shoulders-but-gracefully-ducking-into-a-roll-at-the-last-possible-moment stunt that left me holding my breath.  I officially crown that the most ambitious stunt ever attempted in DWTS history, because that was some seriously dangerous sh*t, kids.  Loved the fact that Derek included bits & pieces of their mambo, bhangra, Argentine tango, and a few other dances in their freestyle – he knows Len just eats that stuff up.  Also loved the Fab 5 backing Shawn up – so cute seeing them gyrating in their matching black costumes, and nailing the choreography as only a squad of Olympic gold medalists could 🙂 Overall, if it were up to me, these two would walk away with the MBT tomorrow night – because they have danced flawlessly, entertained me week after week, and have brought something new to the table each time they hit the floor.  That, to me, is what the champion of the all-star season should be…I’m praying I’m wrong about the results tomorrow night!

The winner: Melissa & Tony

In the end, I won’t be upset if these two win – they’ve been working hard and giving us good, drama-free dance each week, and dammit, they’re likeable 🙂 I think both of them have stepped out of their comfort zone quite a bit this season and have really grown, and even though they may not have been the most technical or the most entertaining dancers each week, I still enjoyed watching them.  But I do think they were a bit overscored tonight, and maybe lacked a little bit of the panache of both Shawn & Derek and Kelly & Val.  Their samba – I actually think it was a little bit of a backslide from the original, because it didn’t feel as fluid to me this time.  Rather than Melissa just moving through it effortlessly like she did last time, it felt a bit more…I don’t know, stop-and-go this time? As if Tony had maybe focused a bit too much on having her really accentuate each step, and the end result looked a bit too isolated.  It defintely wasn’t bad, but I just preferred the original myself – seemed like she wasn’t under as much pressure and enjoyed the dance more.  Then we have their freestyle – as a side note, I have to wonder if Tony was drawing inspiration from Eric Luna & Georgia Ambarian, an incredible theater arts champion couple, when he was choreographing this routine – because a lot of these lifts had a very Eric & Georgia feel to them, and even Melissa’s costume reminded me of one I’d seen on Georgia before.  Anywho! I’m a little bit torn on this one – I normally complain about routines that are too lift-dependent, and I feel like this routine was almost entirely lifts.  But I will say this: Tony is still the best lifter we’ve seen on the show, and I think Melissa may have given Julianne a run for her money as the best liftee tonight – because the lifts they did were just stunning.  It was a beautiful routine – and I do feel like it was a good homage to Melissa’s routine on the show.  But I think going with such a slow song was a bit of a gamble…the only precedent we have for a freestyle done to more of a ballad was Erin & Maks’ in season 10, and it only seem to read lukewarm with fans.  I think Melissa’s was definitely better, but I wonder if she might have a more competitive edge against Shawn & Kelly with a more uptempo song.  In the end, I won’t really mind too much if Melissa wins – she’s nice, she’s worked hard, and I think she & Tony have had the right attitude about this season.  Guess we’ll have to see how things pan out after the instant dance…

So who do you guys think will be walking home with the MBT tomorrow night? And which returning stars are you looking forward to seeing? 🙂

November 26, 2012 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

DWTS13 Finale Week Power Rankings – Who Will Win?

Gotta say – going into tonight, I couldn’t recall a time I was THIS EXCITED to see a finale since maybe season 10.  Nor have I ever felt this invested in the outcome of a season of the show as I am in this one…seriously guys, I might lose my faith in humanity if JR does not win.  Fair warning. 😉

Anywho – as much as I hoped this would be a good, clean, honest finale, there unfortunately seemed to be some shady business afoot.  DEFINITE overscoring, and I think you all know who I’m referring to.  Overall, the “last unlearned dance” round was pretty underwhelming & lackluster, and the freestyle round only slightly made up for it for me.  But let’s get on with it, shall we? Gonna do things a little differently tonight – I’m gonna start with 3rd place and work my way up to the winner, and I’m going to try to guesstimate how things are going to pan out tomorrow night.

3rd place: Rob & Cheryl

As much as Rob may have endeared himself to me this season, methinks he wasn’t as good as his scores would lead us to believe this evening.  The waltz was pleasant – if not a bit goofy.  That whole “run towards one another and I’ll run around Cheryl as she spins” move made me chuckle a bit…my mom busted out laughing, and said “It looks like he’s going around the Maypole!” And I had to laugh too – because that’s exactly what it looked like.  😛 Some footwork & timing issues as well, but overall I wouldn’t say it was painful to watch…just…goofy. 🙂 Now the freestyle.  *sigh* I liked the idea of it, I really did.  And I thought it was smart of Cheryl to go with something that seemed to play on Rob’s strengths.  But that was by no means a 30-worthy routine.  Seemed like Cheryl did most of the tough stuff (it was like Gilles’ freestyle all over again), and it just took too long to really go anywhere.  Rob did the best he could with what he was given – little imp.  Got a bit scared when he was spinning around with Cheryl on his shoulders, though – thought I was gonna have to use my physics minor to calculate tangential velocity as she flew across the room.  I think Rob really likes going around in circles, hehe. Cute idea &  choreography – but it was just lacking in content for me, and I don’t think I’m completely alone.  So why, then, did the judges give it a 30? *shrugs* Who knows.  Part of me thinks they might be trying to shake up the top 2 by displacing Ricki or JR; part of me thinks this could have been a strange strategy for spurring Ricki & JR fans to vote even harder.  I honestly can’t give you a theory that’s 100% sound or reasonable.  But I am gonna put my faith in humanity (god help me) and say that Rob will probably get 3rd in the favorite dance round tomorrow, and won’t get the points to overcome JR or Ricki.  But it’s been nice seeing Rob evolve from kind of a douchebaggy guy to a goofy but kinda lovable guy that managed to emerge from the shadow of his harpies-er, sisters. 😉 Read more..

November 21, 2011 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