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PureDWTS Season 28, Week 9: Power Rankings

HE’S GONE, GUYS!!!! HE’S REALLY, FINALLY GONE!!! 🙂 *cue Pharrell’s “Happy”*

It only took nine weeks, but we finally shook him loose…and not a moment too soon.  Not sure if I was feeling more optimistic at the beginning of the season and fatigue/frustration is setting in now that we’re close to the end or what, but somehow, it seems like S*** somehow got WORSE as the season wore on. Even Bristol Palin (whose politically-charged casting I also disapproved of) managed to actually improve during the course of season 11; wacky Rick Perry even got a skosh better before he got booted in season 23. S***…not so much.  And yes, I still refuse to say his name – I don’t want his supporters or anyone at ABC thinking that “any publicity is good publicity”, and thus I make sure it doesn’t even show up in the search algorithm by refusing to say it. He should never have been on this show in the first place; the fact that he stuck around as long as he did is a damn travesty. But mercifully, it’s over now. And I give all the props in the world to Lindsay and Jenna for being nothing less that consummate professionals and class acts in partnering him this season 🙂

So we saw a bit of wonky scoring last night – I don’t think that was an accident, by any means. If I had to guess what was happening, I’d say that someone in the control booth was keeping a very close eye on the votes and scores throughout the show, and was feeding the judges instructions on what scores needed to be given in order to elicit a particular outcome at the end of the night. Based on her being in the bottom 2 twice before, my guess is that the judges were instructed to protect Ally at all costs – hence, two good (but definitely not perfect) dances got gifted with gushing praise and perfect scores. I think they likely were told to go easy on Kel on his second dance, based on the number of votes the man in the control room was seeing – they got kinda nitpicky with his paso in the first hour, but had nothing but good things to say about his good (but again, not perfect) Viennese waltz in the second hour. I’m guessing Hannah and James are doing a-okay with votes, and thus weren’t spared from the full force of the judges’ nitpicking. Half the judges (Joey, who gets a pass for being the guest judge, and Carrie Ann, who refuses to take any responsibility for S***’s continued presence) whipped out the “7” paddle for S***’s first dance, but demurred for his second dance (which might have actually been slightly better than his first dance) and whipped out the “6” instead. I’d stake money on it that they were ordered to do so by the control room, as it was likely the only way to ensure he fell into the bottom 2. That left Lauren to join him in the bottom 2, and if I’m being honest, this felt like the first time this season that the bottom two actually made sense: S*** was quite obviously the worst dancer left in the competition, and I think Lauren’s the weakest one left after him. Though that really didn’t matter – the reality was that S*** was going home as soon as he fell into the bottom 2, regardless of who was there with him.  Keeping Ally and Kel out of the bottom two was likely more for optics than anything else…

…which brings me to my next thought (or really, a couple of semi-related thoughts): why aren’t more people voting for Ally, and at what point will the judges stop saving her if she keeps falling into the bottom 2? I’ve seen a lot of folks on Twitter trying to figure out why Ally isn’t getting more votes, especially since “Normani made it all the way to the  finals, the Harmonizers should be carrying Ally as well!” First, I go back to my “Not as many people are watching/voting on DWTS now” point – the show was averaging between 8-11 million viewers 2.5 years ago when Normani was on; now they’re barely hovering above 6 million. Secondly (and this is one I really have to sell folks on), I’m still not convinced that Normani was “getting tons of votes” like her fans claim. I explained the many reasons why I think she didn’t win in this post, but for the TL:DR crowd, take a look at the margins between Normani and the person voted off each week.  Aside from one off-week early on in the season, she always either had pretty hefty padding in terms of points or immunity to keep her safe – she didn’t actually NEED a ton of votes in order to stick around each week. Additionally, I also mention in that post the somewhat indifferent attitude DWTS fans seem to have towards female pop stars – they tend to struggle with votes, particularly if they’re young and relatively new to the music scene (read: not immediately familiar to Baby Boomers).  I tend to think all of these factors that Normani had stacked against her, Ally is likely dealing with as well…and to a greater degree, owing to the demise of Fifth Harmony, overall lower viewer/votership, a pro less popular than Normani’s, and a rep as “the worst dancer in Fifth Harmony” (which still I absolutely don’t understand). Plus, Ally’s up against at least three contestants (four if you count Kel; five when you throw in S***) that appeal more readily to the middle-aged, female, conservative-leaning main viewing demographic. Really and truly, Ally’s dealing with a pretty stacked deck – which SUCKS, cause she may actually be the second best dancer this season from a technical standpoint. So that brings me to my next thought: with the new format that allows the judges to pick who goes home from the bottom 2, will they ever reach a point where they stop trying to save someone that ends up there repeatedly? Ally’s been there twice already, and been saved both times; if she ends up there next week, is it worth saving her if she’s just going to keep ending up there again and again? I think at some point, the judges’ are going to have to take into account the fact that a couple that ends up in the bottom 2 repeatedly is just not clicking with fans for whatever reason – and continuing to save that couple could send the message that viewer votes don’t necessarily matter, and could risk alienating viewers. It really might be just a stay of execution, so to speak.  And when you take into account that she could end up there with a couple that maybe just had an off week (score-wise or votes-wise) and their being in the bottom 2 is really just a fluke…is it worth it to save the one with repeat bottom 2 appearances, and send the one-off couple that shouldn’t really even be there packing? It’s something to consider, and I saw a few people on Twitter suggesting that the judges should have a limit on how many times they can save the same couple – I don’t think it’s a bad idea, and could avoid giving the impression that the judges have ultimate control.  Clearly this new system for eliminations isn’t perfect – it  was created to help prevent another Bobby Bones, and yet it allowed one of the worst dancers this season to advance all the way to the quarterfinals; could be worth taking a closer look and see if certain aspects of the system needs tweaking. Read more..

November 13, 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

PureDWTS Season 28, Week 8: Power Rankings

He’s still here, y’all. 🙁

We’re only three weeks away from the finale, and we’ve eliminated half of this season’s cast. Assuming they eliminate one couple next week and another the following week, we’re looking at a four-person finale – and given that the judges seem disinclined to really do anything to help the situation, I think we need to start coming terms with the fact that’s he’s more than likely going to end up in the finals, barring any sort of extreme interference from production. As I predicted last week, this week’s bottom two was just a recycling of previous bottom 2 survivors, which makes me think it’s going to continue being such (sorry Ally, and possibly sorry Kel) until he finally ends up pitted against contestants that have also been able to steer clear of it thus far (read: Hannah, James, Lauren). I’ve seen some folks worried that he might win – while I’m not ruling it out completely, I’m also thinking (hoping) that his continued presence is lighting a fire underneath some viewers to vote for all the other couples, and with each week that passes there’s fewer and fewer people to spread the votes around to…so those that haven’t fallen into the bottom 2 yet are likely amassing bigger and bigger shares of the voting pie, which creates more pressure for his voters to pick up the slack. I’ve given up on the judges actually scoring him fairly – he should be getting 4’s, and not the overly-kind 6’s and 7’s that the judges are still throwing out.  Got blocked by Carrie Ann (again) for telling her that she has no room to be “irritated” with the fans, when she’s actively contributing to him sticking around by copping out with her little 7 paddle. So we clearly can’t rely on the judges to actually drop the hammer. But if it’s any consolation, we confirmed this week that you can vote ten times per couple, per account online, so if you aren’t doing so already – go through and add ten votes for each couple EXCEPT HIM, then submit your votes, log out, and repeat with your other accounts. If we ride this hard, it could result in him falling into the bottom 2, where he can finally be flushed out…

So with this continued clownery, the question on everyone’s lips seems to be “Is the show going to be cancelled?” If you’re just asking for my opinion, I say if this is the type of nonsense we can look forward to for seasons to come, the show SHOULD be cancelled; however, the actual answer is quite a bit more complicated than that. Ratings are at their lowest; however, if ABC is going to cancel DWTS, they’re going to have to come up with something else to put in its time slot that can hold its own against The Voice, which airs concurrently on NBC. I don’t know that it’s going to be very easy for ABC to track down a new show to replace DWTS, but I could see them swapping it out – and I think the most likely candidate is American Idol. It’s currently airing on Sundays (which is actually considered a more competitive time slot than Mondays) and is pulling in roughly the same ratings as The Voice on Monday nights. Why ABC has such confidence in an outdated reality competition format is beyond me, but I could see them giving DWTS’ Monday night slot to Idol and either putting DWTS on Sundays or scrapping it altogether. I mean, they’ve got all manner of fluffy stuff they can pad Sunday night out with – America’s Funniest Home Videos, Kids Say the Darndest Things, Shark Tank, etc. However, AI has been airing in the spring, and is already greenlit for a spring 2020 season; will ABC take the risk of doing two seasons of AI in a year and over-saturating viewers? Can they even AFFORD to do so, given Katy Perry’s bloated salary? There’s a lot of variables to consider when it comes to cancelling DWTS, and while I can’t in good conscience condone several continued seasons of the shenanigans currently happening, I can’t say confidently that this show will be toast after this one. Will be interesting to see what (if anything) gets said about another season on finale night…if they don’t say anything, up-fronts in May of next year will be a key time to watch…

So we lost Kate & Pasha, which, while not unexpected, was still disappointing. I actually thought her jive was her strongest Latin dance, and was impressed and how bouncy and clean the legwork was – which made it all the more annoying when the judges seemed to downplay how well she did, and she ended up with the same score as Lauren for a dance that I thought was actually better. But boy am I glad that they were on this season, and that Pasha was a pro – as Len mentioned last week (I think), Pasha has forced all the other pros to up their game in terms of content, and it’s benefited just about everyone. You could tell Len was sad to see them go when he did press line after Monday’s show, so I guess that’s something… Read more..

November 6, 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

PureDWTS Season 28, Week 7: Power Rankings

Well I guess it goes without saying that Halloween Night brought some bad juju with it that I’m struggling to shake. My girl crush Kate (and male pro messiah, Pasha) fell into the bottom two, while you-know-who somehow dodged the bottom two altogether (again). And I’m noticing a disturbing pattern with his supporters: with each week that passes with him sticking around, they seem to take on more aggressive, offensive posturing; they’re likely heartened by witnessing human garbage like former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus antagonizing Erin on Twitter, over a perceived “sad face” that she apparently had when you-know-who was announced as safe.  He did this completely unprovoked, I might add – and that’s what’s really disturbing to me. Bones’ fans may have been annoying, but I don’t recall them going out of their way to pick fights with his detractors (until finale night, when they all apparently decided to flood my mentions). Supporters of Lindsay’s partner seem to have started searching the #dwts hashtag, and start pig piling on anyone that dares to say anything negative about him – or nothing at all about him (I legit saw one poor fan inundated with “Funny how you’ve left S*** out of your list of favorites” and “You’re gonna feel so stupid when S*** wins this whole season!” tweets from the #MAGA faction).  I don’t even think half these people voting for him even like him as a person or a dancer – I think they just like thinking they’ve somehow “stuck it to the liberals” by keeping him on the show. This is why I refuse to say his name – not only does it give him power in social media algorithms, but it just allows the bad juju of the people that support him to find its way into my timeline. I DO NOT ACCEPT THIS ENERGY. But unfortunately, this show did, and when you lay down with dogs, you wake up with fleas…

I’ve inevitably had a few fans asking me “What can we do to stop this??? How do we get rid of him????” and I wish I had an easy answer for you. The fool’s errand this season has left us with is to basically vote for EVERY SINGLE OTHER COUPLE, in the hope that they all eventually surpass him in combined scores and votes. However, my gut feeling (one I share with Heidi) is that it’s not necessarily that he’s getting a ton of votes – it’s that there’s not very many votes being cast, TOTAL, and thus it’s giving a small-but-determined fanbase more voting power than they’d normally have. If that’s the case, then every vote that is not for him should help – and it seems like there’s some debate over whether the online accounts will allow you (10) votes total (to distribute among the couples as you see fit, as it’s always been), or whether they will allow you to vote ten times apiece for each couple (like the text voting, which allows you a max of (10) votes per couple). If you truly can vote ten times per couple per account, then y’all, I recommend you ride that till the wheels fall off – that could be the key to finally ousting this festering boil of a contestant. If it’s not the case, then I hope you guys are still voting nonetheless – if you wanted to vote more strategically, I would suggest throwing votes to James, Lauren, and/or Hannah, as I think those are the three that ol’ Frankenstein is going to struggle to surpass in votes (they’ve never been in the bottom 2, while Kate, Ally, and Kel all have). All I know is that if this show ends up with another bullsh*t winner, we can probably kiss it goodbye…hell, we might still kiss it goodbye, even if he doesn’t win. But I’ll be damned if I don’t put up a fight first…

So as I had generally been thinking for the past several weeks, we inevitably lost Karamo – half of the bottom two from last night had no business being there, and I think Karamo had plateaued with his dancing and wasn’t likely to improve much more this season. If you-know-who had gone home last night (or last week…or the week before…) like he ought to, I think Karamo would have probably been in the bottom two with him, and probably would have been the next one eliminated, anyway. I still love the story and the energy he brought with him, though, and if nothing else, I now have a quite fetching “OMG BEEEEYOOOOONNNNNCCCEEEE!” pterodactyl screeching Karamo sound byte as my text tone, graciously created for me by reader Rob 😉 Read more..

October 30, 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

DWTS Season 27, Week 6 Post-Show Media

Just some stuff I ran across on the inter webs. 🙂

Read more..

October 30, 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 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..

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 4 Live(ish) Blog!!!

It’s the second week in a row where the Juniors theme has matched the theme on the adult version – tonight they’re doing Halloween, and like Disney last week, I have a feeling the kids are gonna outdo the adults again. High score spoilers here, songs and dances here. Tonight’s episode was taped on August 10.

Gonna try to type as fast as I can, but I’m also trying to eat a bánh mì and sorta-kinda read my accounting textbook.  It’s been a busy weekend, to say the least 😛

Cute opener with monster/zombie choreography.  Sage & Kenzie still look like the kids that got held back a grade or two and tower over the rest of the class.

Akash & Kamri going with a mad scientist theme. Kind of perfect for Akash 😛

It’s pretty stinking cute.  Akash has his hair gelled up and does the entire dance with goggles on.  He seems to be getting bolder on the floor and also more articulate and less nervous when he talks.

Mandy thinks its some of his best dancing so far. Adam praises him for working through the goggle issues.  Val starts down some track about chemistry, but kind of abandons it and instead tells them it was great.  They get 7, 7, 7.

Mandla & Brightyn up next.  Apparently there’s a cauldron in their dance.

Mandla seems rather shy & soft-spoken in interviews, but seems to come alive on the floor.

It’s cute and very fast, but seemed to lose a bit of steam in the middle.

Milo was in the audience that week! They must have booked him early.

Val says he’s usually hard on Mandla for content (even though Mandla has NO SAY in it) but it was great this week, and makes some reference to South Carolina.  Mandy says this was as good as his week 1 performance. Scores after the commercial. Then Kenzie & Sage dance. Aren’t they just wearing their costumes from week 2, just…zombiefied?

Mandla & Brightyn get 8, 8, 7 – not sure why Adam was the lone dissenter.

Yes, Kenzie & Sage are wearing the same costumes from week 2 – Kenzie even says they’re “monsterfied”.

I can’t be the only one that has a compulsive desire to karate chop Gleb in the throat like Miss Piggy whenever he speaks…

It was a good jive, but I’m not sure how to describe Kenzie’s technique…almost TOO sharp? It was almost too aggressive & sharp, as opposed to bouncy.

Mandy says there’s something missing, and mentions Kenzie losing focus when doing tricks. Val enjoyed it. Adam says it’s excellent and says “You look terrible, but I love it!” They get 8, 8, 9.

Troupe in fox costumes dancing to “What Does the Fox Say?” We can leave that song back in 2013, thanks.

Jason & Elliana up next doing Argentine tango.  Jason is playing a vampire and Elliana says she’s playing “an innocent girl named Patti.” Jason: “Like a secretary?” Dying.

Ok, that may have been my favorite dance so far.  Jason sold the hell out of it, and there were a bunch of subtle little movements that have become so characteristic of Emma’s choreo.  She knocked it out of the park AGAIN, despite having a weaker couple and a less-than-ideal song.

All three judges blown away and very positive about the performance. Jason does an old-school vampire impression.

8, 9, 8 – I agree.  Jason says he’s still in a dream and he cannot wake up.

Alana & Tristan up after the break…

Correction, Ariana & Artyon up next, doing paso.

Ariana can’t say paso doble, so she calls it a “Picasso”.  Artyon doesn’t know what a Picasso is. 😛

Brandon laying down the law in rehearsal!

It’s a pretty good paso. They both sell it well. Kenny Ortega in the house!

Adam says the dancing is very good, but wants to see “a greater range of emotion”.  Val agrees with Adam.  Just how are they expecting a 10 & 11-year-old to emote? Mandy makes sense of it, saying that there was a lot of “hard-hitting moves” and they want to see more than that.

They get 7, 8, 7 – boys, you’re being stingy. Cut it out.  Should have had at least another 8.

Alana & Tristan up next, doing jazz to Ghostbusters. Cameo by apparition of Len in their rehearsal package 😛

I am beyond tired of “Ghostbusters” used in Halloween week, but Alana & Tristan made the most of it.  Very simple, but Alana kept up and sold it well. And they get slimed at the end 😛

Val commends the body roll.  Mandy says she did everything necessary for a jazz.  Adam continues his mall analogy from the past two weeks – in week 2, it “looked like she was walking at a mall”; last week, “the mall was closed”; this week, “if there were any ghosts at the mall, I’d definitely call you.” They get their scores after the commercial.

Artem trying like hell not to get slimed by getting hugs from Alanna & Tristan.  They get 7, 7, 7 – probably a bit kind, given the other scores they’ve given out tonight.

Sky & JT doing jive to “Little Shop of Horrors”.  God these two are beyond cute. Sky struggling a bit with the choreo.

Alan so proud of his kids.  Daaaaaawwww.

It’s actually super cute, and they sell it 110%.  Take note, Gleb – that weak ass “jizz” you choreographed for Jana just got bested by two minors. Loved the back bend walk.

Judges all very complimentary. Sky thanking Alan & JT for “being so patient with me.  I just love these people.” They get 9, 9, 8  and are squealing for joy.

Miles & Rylee closing the show after the break…

They’re in a candy haze prepping for their samba.  Miles has an orange tootsie roll up his nose. 😛

WOW.  Miles actually really nailed the samba technique – perhaps better than Artyon, a junior pro, did last week.  TONS of content. He & really out of breath.

Judges all very positive.  Mandy says we’re witnessing a transformation.

No Juniors next Sunday, y’all.

They get 9, 9, 9 – high score of the night.  I think it’s fair.  His & Jason’s dances were my faves this week.

Heading home: Alana & Tristan

Poor thing is in tears and seems shocked. This never gets easier 🙁 Interesting to note that the only kid so far that HASN’T cried when they were eliminated was Tripp.

October 28, 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 25, Week 8 – Power Rankings

So for those of you that don’t know – my Twitter got hacked 🙁 Not quite sure what happened, but I got a new phone on Friday around noon, didn’t really check Twitter all weekend, and then woke up Monday morning with all of my tweets from the past two years just gone, my profile picture/bio deleted, and some new artwork in its place. I’m also apparently from a city that rhymes with a city in Alabama, but starts with a “C”…but that’s neither here nor there. I’ve got a case open to try and get my Twitter back, but not sure how long that’s going to take. Lesson learned, kids: if you trade in your phone, make sure they wipe it clean and don’t leave any of your data vulnerable; change your passwords often; and don’t click on any suspicious links…

…so aside from that obvious setback, I actually had a pretty sh*tty day at work as well, so I think I was totally ready for DWTS to just really be the turd on top of an already craptastic day; however, I actually found myself rather pleasantly surprised, particularly with the trio dances with returning celebs.  Honestly, I think if they’re dead set on bringing former winners/finalists/whatever back to the show, this is the best way to do it – one week of dances, without the long, drawn-out pressure (and potential disappointment) of a full-length all-star season. And I feel like they really lucked on the crop of celebs they were able to get to come back – five champions and one runner-up, and of that, probably the two strongest male contestants this show has seen (Alfonso & Corbin), and probably one of the top five female contestants this show has seen (Kristi). Granted, some trios worked out better than others, and there are two trios I probably would have recast if it were up to me, but on the whole…still a pretty entertaining round.

It pained me to see Terrell go, even though once again, the writing was pretty much on the wall after last week’s show. The man behind the curtain just seems to be showing his hand a bit too much these days, I’m afraid.  But I’ll be damned if Terrell didn’t impress the hell outta me with how much he improved from week 1, and just his personal growth in general – he went from being pretty insufferable in week 2 to being utterly charming in week 8, and his Charleston last night was actually my favorite dance of the individual round. Not too shabby at all, considering he wasn’t even Cheryl’s original partner, and filled in at the last minute.  And big props to Cheryl, for taking another seemingly hopeless partner on paper and turning him into a decent dancer that people actually enjoy watching 🙂

1.) Jordan & Lindsay – I get the impression that the judges are trying to set up their ideal placements for the finale, and based on their comments and scores last night, I think they may be pushing for a Jordan win – but part of me also wonders if Jordan might need the help, as well. A six-point lead over Lindsey & Mark, for dancing that was maybe only slightly better? And then a 13 point difference between them and the bottom of the leader board? Part of me wonders if Jordan might need a bit of insulation, and the fact that they had him bring up the fact that Lindsay has yet to win? Also makes me wonder if they’re trying to increase their pantheon of champion pros by one. At this point, I honestly don’t find myself caring one way or another who wins – I think Jordan, Lindsay, & Frankie have all been tremendous this season, and I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that either Drew nor Victoria is anywhere within striking distance of the MBT. But I would be lying if I said I didn’t think it would be nice to see some of Lindsay’s hard work over these past several seasons rewarded 😉 Can’t say I was wild about the music they were given for their quickstep, but I appreciated what Lindsay did with it – the mod, quirky vibe fit the music well, and as always, Jordan’s technique was unmatched. I found their trio to be the strongest of the night – and I expected it to be, given that I think Corbin & Jordan are two of the top three male contestants (with previous dance experience) we’ve ever had on the show. I thought they had the most interesting transitions and interactions among the three of them, and appeared to be the most confident and precise out on the floor. I expected them to be – but I still enjoyed it, and I still appreciate that Jordan continues to bring a high level of execution each week.  I can always count of them for a showstopping routine, and this week didn’t disappoint 🙂

2.) Lindsey & Mark – If the judges appeared to be giving Jordan a boost and pushing a Jordan win as the narrative last night, I think they maybe did it at a bit of the expense of Lindsey & Mark – because I found a few of the scores they were given to be rather questionable. And if my gut is telling me that Jordan may need a bit of help – it’s also telling me that Lindsey is likely doing just fine in terms of votes.  Which is good, because admittedly, Lindsey’s samba was probably my least favorite of the dances she’s done – I appreciated that Mark went creative again with the choreo, but I found Lindsey to be a bit too bouncy through her upper body (as opposed to keeping the characteristic samba “bounce” in her core) and like many of the female contestants on this show, she wasn’t quite closing her thighs enough as they passed.  Samba’s a difficult beast on this show – so for Lindsey to have one off-dance, that’s still pretty damn good. I LIKED their trio, but I don’t know that I LOVED their trio – I guess I was just hoping that Mark would really go all-out with the creativity, given that they had a pretty open-ended dance and he got one of his most talented partners (Kristi) back to help; but while it was a pleasant trio and there weren’t any huge mistakes (I did see a few points where the staging looked a bit off, though), I just don’t know that I found anything super special about it. Just more of a personal preference, rather than anything grossly wrong, technically-speaking. I do think it was underscored, though, and I found the two 9’s from Len & Bruno puzzling, given that they didn’t seem to have anything bad to say about the dance. But again, I go back to “Make this season a horse race!” along with “Lindsey’s got the votes, but Jordan maybe doesn’t” – sure, it ain’t really fair, but like many unfair things about this show, it’s easy to see why they did it.

3.) Frankie & Witney – Again with Frankie, I go back to “Where do the judges seem to be placing him in the great scheme of things?” If they’re putting Jordan out front, and underscoring Lindsey a bit (but still keeping her in striking distance), I think they’re trying to set Frankie up as the 3rd place finisher this season – they’re keeping him separated enough from Jordan & Lindsey that it would probably be difficult (but not impossible!) for him to break into the top 2, but they’re also keeping him separated enough from the bottom of the leader board (Drew & Victoria) that they most likely can’t catch up. Which I’m fine with – I think I said a few weeks back that I would be happy if Frankie just made the finals, and it looks like that’s probably going to happen after all. I actually really liked his Viennese waltz, and like Drew’s waltz, I was puzzled as to what exactly the judges (mainly Len) were bitching about – I took particular issue with Len bitching about rise and fall, because I saw enough of it, and Len was acting as if Frankie should have been rising & falling to the same extent one would with a regular waltz (I can’t seem to find the post where I mentioned it, but the rise & fall in Viennese waltz isn’t as pronounced as it is with regular waltz – with the faster tempo of the former, you just don’t have time for dramatic rise and fall). I also thought Frankie was extending beautifully through his torso and arms, which is rare for shorter guys on this show.  Thought the trio with Alfonso was great – once again, I got back to my “say what you will about Alfonso, but” speech: he may be a bit insufferable at times, but this dude cares genuinely about the show, and he ALWAYS delivers. I think he was the best returning celeb when it came to tailoring his own energy level to match the current celeb’s – there were definitely moments that I saw him toning his steps down a notch, which I appreciated. I still maintain that he’s the best male celeb we’ve ever had on DWTS, as I think he comes across more organic and is more of a seasoned showman than Corbin or Jordan (if we’re going for “best male celeb without previous dance experience”, I think that goes to either Hinch or Shad). Also loved that the choreo had a sense of humor (the “nope, not gonna do the Carlton!” move made me snicker), and that they didn’t always have Witney in the middle – I think it’s temping to put the odd man out in the middle to give the dance a sense of balance, but I noticed quite a few spots where they actually had Frankie (or is it Malcolm…? ;-)) in the middle as the focal point, which is much riskier to do…but gives much more emphasis on the celeb, as opposed to the others. Great job on both dances, and I’m eager to see what else we get to see from them before the finals.

4.) Drew & Emma – From an objective standpoint, I think Drew & Victoria are the two weakest dancers left in the competition – but unlike Victoria, I think Drew has slightly more potential to be competitive in the finals than Victoria does, plus I think he has more mainstream popularity with the main viewing demographic. So even though Drew ended up low man on the totem pole this week, points-wise – my gut’s telling me he’s going to the finals over Victoria. I think he may have gotten a tad screwed by getting saddled with waltz as his individual dance – this late in the competition, it seems like high-energy, show-stopping dances are what sticks out in viewers’ minds, and they also seem like the dances that are less likely to get nitpicked by the judges; I think Drew was unfortunately a victim of “it’s a lot easier to see mistakes in a very slow dance than a faster one” and caught the full force of the judges’ nitpickery. I actually didn’t think it was as bad as they were saying, though – not sure I was wild about the choreography from start to finish, but I thought Drew handled it well, at least tried to get rise and fall, and his frame looked pretty good. Liked their trio with Shad – if there’s one thing Drew really needed to work on, it was “swag”, and Shad was the man to teach him.  Sure, there were a few slightly fumble-y spots, but overall I liked it – everyone seemed to be having a really good time, and I appreciated that Shad was able to dance in a way that didn’t overshadow Drew. Good energy, very fun. I don’t know that Drew & Emma can hope for any better than 4th place at this point, but given the caliber of the talent we’ve had this season, I think they’ve done a tremendous job.

5.) Victoria & Val – Part of me really feels for Victoria, because like the viewers themselves, I think Victoria has come to the realization that she’s hit a plateau on the show – she’s probably not going to get much better than she already is, and she’s likely to only suffer by comparison to the remaining contestants. She’s just reached her limit – nothing wrong on her part (or even Val’s, really), it’s just the way the cookie crumbles when you’ve got some sort of physically-limiting factor in play. I don’t think she minds too much, just based on what seems to be a really stellar outlook on life; but there were just a few moments last night where the look on her face said “I’m not going to get any better than this…it’s probably the end of the line for me, but I’m going to be okay with it.” Seemed rather unfortunate that they saddled her with not one, but two very footwork-heavy dances this week – I always knew jive would be the biggest struggle for her, given that it’s so dependent on leg and footwork to get executed well (and Victoria can’t feel her legs); Argentine tango has long been labeled the “war of the feet” dance on DWTS, and while Val had a bit of an easier time concealing her shortcomings in that dance by keeping Vic relatively stationary while he did most of the moving around the stage, it still felt like a bit of a watered-down version of many of his other Argentine tangos (namely Ginger & Rumer’s) and seemed to lack the characteristic “punch” you get when you’ve got an actual “war of the feet” going on out on the floor.  The Argentine tango was neither great nor terrible – just a non-event, unfortunately.  The trio…was a bit bizarre, for me. The set-up was a head-scratcher – basically re-living Laurie & Val’s win, and then just awkwardly inviting Victoria to join them.  The dance itself seemed to be the Laurie & Val show, with special guest Victoria – Laurie & Val were doing most of the heavy-duty dancing, while Victoria just bobbed around in the background, with her feet conveniently obscured for most of the dance by the set-up of the stage with the fans crowded around it. And here’s the funny part: I caught a glimpse of Laurie’s feet a few times as well, and she’s still not really pointing them – same problem I had with her on her own season. Probably the weakest trio of the night, and one I would recommend re-casting with another former contestant that would be less likely to overdance – I actually think Danica would have been better at matching Victoria’s energy and not making her look weaker by comparison. But anyway – I’m getting the feeling that Victoria’s come to the end of the road, and the impression I got from the judges’ wishy-washy, I-don’t-really-want-to-say-that-you’ve-plateaued-and-aren’t-going-to-get-any-better-so-I’m-going-to-make-up-some-other-reasons-why-that-wasn’t-great critiques, I think they realize it, too.  She’s had a good run (and as I’ve mentioned before – she’s probably my favorite partner Val has had, personality-wise), but I just think she’s not really able to compete for the MBT with the couples that are left.

So with only two weeks left – what are your thoughts as we head into the semifinals? Who do you see making it to the finale?

November 7, 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 25, Week 7 – Power Rankings

Greetings from Houston 🙂 I’ve been on vacation since Thursday, and started off bumming around Denver with my sister before heading to hang out at my aunt’s in Magnolia, TX on Sunday.  Happy Halloween, and GO ASTROS!!! 🙂

So the dreaded double elim hit last night, and I think it was kind of a dick move to get both Nikki & Vanessa up there and then go “Surprise! You’re both going home.” Sure, they probably at least had an inkling, but still – dick move, bruh. Can’t say I’m too disappointed to see Vanessa & Maks go – it was getting pretty uncomfortable watching them, and while I think Vanessa was hoping to make it further, I think she may have had a nervous breakdown before long; I get the feeling she’s leaving the show with a bit of a disillusioned, Marilu Henner-esque view of her experience: something she wanted so badly for so long, but it ended up not being nearly as fun as she had hoped. As for Nikki – I had no issues with her, and I do think she was screwed a bit in the grand scheme of this season, but who I really feel for is Artem – for the second season in a row, I think he was unfortunately a victim of circumstance, and his partner was sacrificed in order to keep someone else in the competition longer. Like Mark, he was the only male pro that I thought was making an honest effort to give his partner the best choreo and experience he could – and he still got screwed. I may have seen it coming, but this is one instance I was hoping to be wrong. I would say I hope he gets a contender next season, but given that he’s had two contenders in a row now and STILL gotten shafted, maybe I should start hoping he gets a Bindi or the female equivalent of a Hinch/Grandpa – someone that outwardly isn’t a contender, but ends up just being a natural. I recommend Sarah Michelle Gellar, who was in the audience last week 😎

Halloween week…was Halloween week, and anymore, it doesn’t really seem to vary much from season to season. The team dances as a whole were a scoring/critique dumpster fire, and no amount of ABC posting how “great!” Team Phantom was is going to convince me it’s true – stop trying to gaslight us, ABC.  I guess I’m lightweight curious to see these trios next week, because I think there’s some potential for some showstoppers (Jordan/Lindsay/Corbin, Lindsey/Mark/Kristi, Frankie/Witney/Alfonso…that last one in particular has me particularly curious), some fun, sentimental reunions (Drew/Emma/Rashad), and some head-scratchers (Victoria/Val/Laurie, Terrell/Cheryl/Kelly). To those speculating that Vanessa & Nikki were eliminated because they didn’t have trio members for them – stop. A little birdie told me they actually had quite a few former contestants on-deck that were willing and able to step in, but they were able to be picky & choosy and select the best fit for each couple.  Allegedly, Danica was on the list, which makes sense, given that she’s an L.A. local and a decent dancer – my guess is that she may have gone to Vanessa & Maks, since Maks partnered here during switch week in season 18. If I had to guess (and really, this is just a guess, because I have no idea what other names were on the list), I think Lea may have been a good pick for Nikki & Artem, as she’s L.A. local and a decent dancer. Fun fact: the “bring back a former celeb for the trio” idea was originally kicked around as one of the many lofty ideas the producers had for All-Stars, but with all the flying by the seat of their pants that they had to do that season, it got scrapped. Read more..

October 31, 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 8 – Power Rankings

So for those just tuning in that may have missed the producers’ agenda that permeated last night’s episode, let me recap:

1.) Make sure you keep pushing for Jana to make the finals.

2.) DO NOT LET DEREK ANYWHERE NEAR THE FINALS!!!

3.) Create an emotional redemption arc for Laurie, complete with Val crying his eyes out on camera.

4.) Milk the drama of Sharna’s injury, but let Jenna have the spotlight tonight…we need her to happen!!!

5.) Keep Calvin in the running for the finals, but he needs to take a back seat to the others tonight.

The face-offs, just like the ones in season 21, were about as big of a sh*tshow as one could expect – mainly just a means to carry out the agenda of the moment, and pretend to give a sliver of power to the viewers so they can feel like part of the action.  I actually found myself profoundly relieved that James ended up with immunity – judging from his rehearsal package, it looked like he may have lost some rehearsal time learning the two face-off dances he hadn’t already done (jive & salsa), and I was very, very leery of him having to learn them from Jenna, whose teaching skills are…dubious, at best.  So the fact that he ended up not having to attempt them with someone that’s NOT his normal partner? Phew. And really, if they were going to give immunity to anyone, I would rather it be someone that was probably headed to the finale already (and not someone that genuinely needed a boost to stick around), so as to minimize rocking the boat too much – so in the grand scheme of things, I would have been fine with Laurie, James, or Calvin getting it, and oddly enough, they were the only three last night that ended up with perfect scores.

I think I mentioned last week that I was fairly certain that Ryan was on borrowed time – just couldn’t put my finger on when, exactly, the hammer was gonna drop.  Oddly enough, his tango last night was probably my favorite dance he did all season – the Cheryl Burke House of Pain method seemed to work, as he seemed more invested in that dance that any other one we saw from him all season.  It was fun to watch, but it was time for him to go – but overall, I’m actually glad he ended up doing the show, because I think I came out of it with a much better understanding of him.  He generally seems like a good guy, not the calculating type – but is simply too dumb to function sometimes, and that’s what gets him into trouble 😛 And then there were only 2 men, and I’m guessing they’re probably guaranteed a spot in the finals.  Which means we’re most likely gonna lose 2 ladies in the next 2 weeks… Read more..

November 1, 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

PureDWTS Season 23, Week 8 – Who’s Dancing What…And When?

Ye old Halloween week returns 😛 But they’re switching it up a bit this time, replacing the team dances with the face-offs, per James in this clip from my local news.  If it follows the pattern of season 21 (the last time they did it), we can pretty much guess how it’s gonna shake it out – and it should be very, very interesting to see just who earns that coveted instant immunity from next week’s elim. My gut instinct is that they’re gonna give it to Jana, to ensure she makes it to the semifinals – because I’m not sure that’s she actually getting the votes to get there herself, and their scoring/critiques of her the past few weeks seem to indicate they want her in the finale.

ETA: Lindsay revealed she & Calvin’s song in an interview, and said they’d be dressed as skeletons.

ETA2: The rest of the songs and dances have been filled in via Disney ABC. – Vogue

ETA3: And George Pennachio comes through with the dance order for round one – shown below. Gee, now that the running order doesn’t matter as much, Laurie makes her second appearance early in the show…but James is still in the pimp spot with Jana not far behind. My, the fortunes have changed for a few couples this season. I suspect the writing on the wall isn’t what it once was…~Heidi

Terra and Sasha – Cha Cha – “Day – O” by Harry Belafonte
Dancing 1st
1-800-868-3412

Laurie and Val – – Viennese Waltz – “Pure Imagination” by Jane Monheit
Dancing 2nd
1-800-868-3407

Marilu and Derek – Argentine tango – “Sweet Dreams” by Emily Browning
Dancing 3rd
1-800-868-3408

Calvin and Lindsay – Quickstep – “Dr. Bones” by the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies
Dancing 4th
1-800-868-3403

Ryan and Cheryl – Argentine tango – “Howlin’ For You” by The Black Keys
Dancing 5th
1-800-868-3411

Jana and Gleb – Jazz – “Little Shop of Horrors” by Alan Menken
Dancing 6th
1-800-868-3406

James and Sharna – Viennese Waltz – “You Don’t Own Me” by Grace ft. G-Easy from Suicide Squad
Dancing 7th
1-800-868-3405

Face-Off Challenge:

*Highest score from individual dance round earns immunity from week 8’s elimination (and 5 additional points added to their score) and does not have to dance-off.

*Of the remaining 6 couples, the couple with the highest score from the individual round will pick an opponent to face-off against – that opponent will pick the dance style (either cha cha, salsa, or jive).

*Winner of each face-off will get 3 points added to their score; loser will receive no points.

October 25, 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