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PureDWTS DWTS Juniors Season 1 – Court’s Season 1 Post-Mortem: What Worked, What Needs Work, Some Tea, and Final Thoughts

So here it is – my high-level thoughts on the season as a whole.  Some of you have been asking for “more tea”, which is kinda tough because there’s not really so much to be had on Juniors 😛 But I did the best I could…

Some tea:

There was no bonus or cash prize for the winner. You heard right: Sky & JT didn’t receive any additional cash bonus or other compensation for winning Juniors.  The prize was literally just the trophy and bragging rights – all the kids got paid by the episode, and were paid the same fee per episode they appeared on. It’s a rather refreshing, egalitarian take that we don’t really see on the main show, where winners & finalists get bonuses for winning or just sticking around longer, and celebs play hardball with contracts so bigger names can negotiate more money for appearing on the show. And I think the lack of cash motivation allowed the kids to do the show for the right reasons – they weren’t in it for the money, but for the experience.

If there had been an elimination in the semifinals, it was allegedly Ariana & Artyon that would have gotten sent home. Part of me wonders if they opted to do a 4-couple finale because Ariana & Artyon were such firecrackers – of the 4 finalists, they were probably the most energetic, and offered a nice balance with Sky & JT being adorable and Kenzie & Sage and Miles & Rylee being more mature and subdued.

Tripp apparently had no idea he was even doing DWTS Juniors until the day of the first rehearsal. Contrary to what some rogue Palin fans have tried to claim, Tripp allegedly had no idea he was doing the show until the morning of his first rehearsal with Hailey & Jenna, per source who saw the first rehearsal tape.  Talk about an awkward (and potentially traumatic) introduction.  I guess Mama Bristol made all the arrangements for him to be on the show and then just didn’t tell him until it was too late to back out. So the permanent bewildered expression the poor kid had on his face the whole time he was on screen? It makes sense now, given the context.

Source isn’t 100% sure the voting clickers the audience used to vote were even working properly for most of the season. Apparently the handy-dandy “clicker remotes” the eligible audience members were given to vote with at the end of each show were a crapshoot most of the time – on premiere night, the crew ended up frantically handing out pencils and paper to about half the audience because they couldn’t get the clickers to work (confirmed by someone who was in the audience the night they taped the premiere).  The issues apparently continued for most of the season – source “was not entirely sure” the voting was even working properly in the finals, as the remotes were pretty low-tech (those of you who’ve been in college in the last 20-odd years – think of the remote controls you used to record attendance for your big lectures). Now before any of you start crying foul, some perspective: given that there was no cash prize involved, TPTB were not bound by the same laws that prevent the regular version of DWTS (which DOES have a cash prize) from “rigging the votes”. And per the source, the audience support for Sky was overwhelming – even if all the clickers stopped working, I think it would have been obvious based on applause and cheers who the favorite was. It might have caused problems with determining how the other three placed, though, which could explain why it wasn’t announced.  With that in mind…

Who finished 2nd, 3rd, & 4th? Per source, they were never told how everyone placed in the finals, aside from Sky & JT winning – and I’m fine with that, as I don’t really see the value in knowing how they ranked otherwise.  They all made the finals; that’s something to be commended, and if I were one of those kids and I ended up in 4th place, I’d feel pretty bummed. THAT BEING SAID – many of you have asked how I think they placed, so here’s my take: given that Ariana allegedly was low-kid on the totem pole and in danger of elimination during the semis, and given that she & Artyon were arguably the weakest performance-wise on finale night, I’m going to venture a guess that she would have probably ended up in 4th place. Source said audience support for Kenzie & Miles at the finale seemed neck-and-neck, but I’d give Miles a slight edge given that he danced later in the show and had probably the two strongest routines, choreography and performance-wise – so I’d put him in 2nd place; I think Kenzie probably ended up 3rd, as the favorite dance with Gleb seemed to fall a bit flat and going first never seems to bode well for those in the finals.

What worked:

Having the regular pros as mentors. It gave me some serious warm fuzzies seeing how into coaching the pros got, and how extraordinarily proud they were of their teams. Loved seeing moments where they were genuinely moved by their junior teams, and seeing how their junior teams idolized them. It also gave the pros a chance to show off their choreography chops in a new way (choreographing for kids is a different ballgame than choreographing for adults!) without having to worry about performing it themselves. This is closer to how it works in the “real life” ballroom world: competing couples don’t usually choreograph themselves – they hire an outside choreographer for that part, and they just perform it. With the exception of one pro (Gleb, who I think is a lazy, self-interested choreographer that needs to seek outside help more often), I think all the pros handled the whole experience beautifully. Stand-outs for me personally were Lindsay (who I felt was the most consistent in delivering appropriate-yet-inspired choreo that suited her juniors), Brandon (who got to show us what he’s capable of, choreography-wise, and what he can do when given an energetic pair to coach), Alan (who seemed to really bond with his pair, and show us a nuturing “Papa Bear” side), Artem (who took a junior pairing that, on paper, looked hopeless, and turned them into a respectable team), and Emma (whose choreo was both creative and really suited her pair well).

The junior pros. I think every last one of them was brilliant, in terms of skill – I’ve talked with Justin about this a few times, but the group they chose is really reflective of the next generation of professional dancers: they’re all impressively cross-trained, and seem to pick up new styles with incredible ease.  They’re also all born performers, and seem to have never encountered stage fright in their life. Ones to watch: Kamri (who I think could be the next Maddie Ziegler – perhaps even eclipsing her in talent and charisma) and Artyon (he came into this season with no ballroom experience, picked it up impressively well, and made up for any other shortcomings with a strong sense of showmanship).

The theme nights. While this is usually something I complain about on the regular version, I thought the themes were well-chosen and offered a decent framework for the kids to work their routines around – and there’s something to be said for watching kids throw themselves headlong into Disney and holiday-themed routines 🙂 The themes were appropriate and they were ones the kids seemed to really get into – so I’m good with it.

Mandy as a judge. At times, it felt like Mandy was the only one on the judging panel that could come up with a concise, coherent, and pertinent critique for the teams – while I didn’t always agree with her 100%, I thought she was at the very least trying to be constructive (and specific enough for the kids to actually understand) and supportive of the kids at the same time. It’s a delicate balance, and I think she’s the only judge on the panel that carried it off consistently.

Frankie & Jordan as hosts. I think Frankie handled the main hosting role with incredible ease, while still being approachable to the kids and having a fun-loving vibe about him.  I know some of you thought Frankie came off as “awkward”, but I thought his vibe was perfect for the show – the kids aren’t terribly articulate or polished, why should Frankie be? 🙂 And I love the way Frankie & Jordan vibed off of each other – there was a definite synergy there, likely formed during their own season and their time out on tour together.

 

What needs work:

Adam as a judge. Sorry, Adam fans – while I adore him as a person, I just don’t know that I think he’s well-suited to the judging panel of this show.  I felt at times that he was more interested in showboating and coming up with gif-worthy phrases than he was giving more concrete, useful critiques. Or maybe he actually gave them, and they were just edited out for time.  Who knows – but if he was just hired to be less relevant, more flamboyant version of Bruno, and they didn’t much care about him actually legitimately judging, then why not just change that third judge’s chair into a rotating guest judging position? It would at the very least offer up some variety – I’d love to see Rashad step in to judge the kids, maybe Kenny Ortega…there’s tons of possibilities.

The length of the show.  I doubt there’s much that can be done about this one, but I feel like even extending the show by a half hour could go a long way in slowing down the sometimes breakneck pace at which the episodes seemed to move. Or, if they can’t increase the show to 90 minutes, at least decrease the number of couples or turn the episodes in multi-part ones – maybe when they’re in the early weeks with a lot of couples, let six of them dance one week, and the other six the following week? At least until they whittle down to a more manageable number.

The voting process.  As mentioned above – the clickers need work. I don’t think a live, public vote is necessary in this instance (a la the main show), but at the very least, invest in some more reliable technology.

Kenzie as a contestant. I feel bad putting this one here, because it’s not necessarily Kenzie’s fault per se, but I felt like she (and Sage) stuck out like a sore thumb among the contestants: they looked far older, more mature, and more professional than the rest of the couples.  And I always felt like Kenzie was performing as if this was a job, rather than an opportunity; while all the other kids were out there really letting loose and having fun, Kenzie felt more controlled and detached, as if she was dancing to collect a paycheck rather than to have a good time.  I think part of what appealed to a lot of us was just how down-to-earth and genuine Juniors was compared to the regular show: there wasn’t an agenda, there wasn’t the usual pretense and posturing and ulterior motives from both the judges and celebs; it was just good clean fun. And Kenzie’s presence on Juniors felt a bit more like a calculated career move, like something we’d see on the regular show – that, and the fact that the show as a whole seemed to be trying to downplay her dance experience. The whole thing just seemed to be a bit at odds with the tone of the show, in general.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS: I think Juniors ended up being a real feather in DWTS’s cap – and I think it hearkened back to a simpler, more wholesome era of DWTS for many of us, when the show didn’t feel so blatantly manipulated and commercial. Kids don’t understand (or care) how to manipulate a viewing audience – they were all there to just have fun, and they threw themselves headlong into it without hesitation.  What I wouldn’t give to see some more of that unbridled, genuine zeal on the adult version of the show! I don’t think Juniors has been fast-tracked to cancellation yet – while ratings may not have been as impressive as the ones the main version pulls in (or did at one time…), it may be perfect for a Friday time slot, when expectations are low and they might be able to grab a larger cross-section of that coveted 18-34 demo, since it’s not a school night. I think it’s also good to keep in mind that it’s a much cheaper show to produce than the original – pre-taping everything over the course of a month and not offering huge cash bonuses goes a long way in keeping overhead costs down (and the show around longer).  Remember: if they’re gonna cancel Juniors, they’ve first gotta come up with something better/cheaper to take its place.

Anyone else have any final thoughts they’d like to share? Recommendations for how to improve the show?

December 14, 2018 I Written By

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

PureDWTS DWTS Juniors, Season 1 – Week 5 Live(ish) Blog!!!

After a hiatus last week (owing to some Disney anniversary nonsense), we’re back in business this week – and thank god, cause last week’s regular DWTS has left me in need of a palate cleanser…and Juniors is the perfect salve for disillusioned wounds 🙂

Tonight is “Juniors Choice” night – and the kids are dancing to songs picked by the Junior celebs. Missed the boat on a “Who’s Dancing What” post this week, but the press release is here. Oh look, all of the kids have picked fun and well-known songs – except Kenzie, who is dancing to her own song.  Sorry y’all, I just find her entire presence on Juniors to be a carefully-crafted PR op, while the other junior celebs seem to be having very organic journeys. Maddie’s due to make an appearance next week…

Spoiler alert! We’ll see the “10” paddle for the first time tonight 🙂 A few more spoilers here.

Costumes look fun.

Miles is doing the theme from “Space Jam”.  I’ve never actually seen Space Jam, but I know everyone seems to love  it. They’re trying to work some basketball moves into the dance. Miles is tied up filming Black-ish and trying to balance both shows.

Very high-energy and fun routine, with a TON of content. Might have been a section where Miles forgot choreo, but overall, IMPRESSIVE.

Adam making some basketball analogy. Val going on about how he loved Space Jam and thought it was incredible. 9’s across the board, which seems fair.

Kenzie’s crying in her package and I’m not really following why…

She’s keeping up and the song is ok, but she’s doing that same hard-hitting thing she did with her jive in Halloween week and it’s making everything feel jerky.

Adam praises her “giving herself” and says the song’s “really good”.  Val praises her for having “never done cha-cha before”. Mandy says she’s a performer and has star-quality, and encourages them to continue working on partnering.  Scores after the break…

Ok, I may have to watch that Prince-themed episode of Black-ish 🙂

Kenzie & Sage get 9, 9, 9 – I don’t think it was as good as Miles & Rylee’s dance, but go off, I guess.

Jason & Elliana up next.  My god, this kid is such a character – he’s got the Run DMC chains, glasses, tracksuit, and hat on 😛

It was a fun routine and Jason sold it well, even if he wasn’t always hitting the moves quite right. I feel like he’s going places.

Val says it had swag X 1000.  Elliana says Jason is “an 80-year-old trapped in an 11-year-old’s body”.  Mandy praises him for dancing “out” of  his body. Adam says he was “the leader of that dance crew”.

9, 8, 8 – probably fair.  Jason looks THRILLED.

Akash & Kamri up after the break!

Akash wants to spell a word for a his dance.  Ooo…kay. Let’s see how this works…

It’s a tad messy, but a very fun Charleston.

Mandy was impressed with how fast he switched gears from spelling to dancing, and says he’s the first one in DWTS history to do a “one-legged leapfrog over his partner”. Val says Akash “makes intelligence look charming”. Akash thanks the judges for their comments, and tells all the kids at home that “you’re never too young to do big things”. Awwww.

7, 7, 6 – Akash & Kamri seem a little disappointed.

Sky & JT doing samba after the break!

Idol, go away.

Sky riding Alan as he does push-ups. 😛 She likes this song because it pumps her up before skateboarding.

Sky handles samba hip action and rhythm better than many of the adults on the show. I loved it.

Adam says Sky’s still not pointing her toes at times, but she’s “out there kickin’ biscuits and taking names”. Val praises the content and Alan for “making the right choices”. Mandy loves “the slingshot move” and praises the execution. Sky thanks Maddie Ziegler (who was in the video for “The Greatest”) for inspiring her.

Sky & JT get 8, 8, 7 – I’m not sure what’s with Adam tonight, but that deserved at least straight 8’s.

Mandla & Brightyn up after the break, with Ariana & Artyon closing the show. Feels like a bajillion commercial breaks tonight…

I see they’re advertising a “final 4” for the finale on DWTS…guess this week is a double elim, Heidi.

Mandla wants to do “Perm” by Bruno Mars.  I really hope the judges go easier on him this week – he seems to get a raw deal with scores.

It was a fun, energetic cha-cha, but I bet the judges call out lack of content…

Val praises Mandla being his own man outside of his dad’s shadow. Mandy says she “can’t stop watching” when Mandla dances. Adam praises the creativity.

They get 8, 9, 8 – seems about right.

Frankie feels extra awkward tonight.

Why do I have to explain the difference between Frankie Muniz and Carlos Munoz to Mama Spence? 😛

Ariana & Artyon felt like they let Brandon down after Halloween week.  Brandon did a good job of coaching and encouraging them to keep trying.

The kids requested a Rolex and a camel.  Oh boy. lol

As predicted, it brought the house down. Both of them hit it hard and sold the hell out of it.

Mandy praises the jazz content which they “swagged out”. Adam says they were tough in their last critique, but she came out and showed them what makes a champion. Val hands them his “rolly-rolly-rolly”.

Ariana says she was channeling Cardi B.  Artyon yells “Beyonce!!!”

9, 9, 10 – Ariana & Artyon both in tears. Awww.  Time to watch another cry for a not-so-happy reason 🙁

Leaving us tonight: Jason/Elliana/Emma.  This was tough, cause I think that kid’s got character in spades.

Jason’s not crying! He says he’s really sad, but “thank you for the opportunity”. He’s actually handling this really, really maturely.  I’m impressed as hell…this kid’s got a bright future 🙂

November 11, 2018 I Written By

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

PureDWTS DWTS Juniors, Season 1 – Week 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 DWTS Juniors, Season 1, Week 4 – Who’s Dancing What?

We’ve got another DWTS double-header this week: it’s Halloween week on both shows. Like Disney week, I think I’m more excited to see the kids’ dances than the adults’. Go here for spoilers on who the high scorers were – also has a couple cute pix of the junior pros in costume 🙂

 

Akash & Kamri (mentored by Witney) – tango (song: “Weird Science” by Oingo Boingo)

Ariana & Artyon (mentored by Brandon) – paso doble (song: “Ways to Be Wicked” from Descendents)

Alana & Tristan (mentored by Artem) – jazz (song: “Theme from Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.)

Jason & Elliana (mentored by Emma) – Argentine tango (song: “Youngblood” by 5 Seconds of Summer)

Kenzie & Sage (mentored by Gleb) – jive (song: “Monster Mash” by Atwater Men’s Club)

Mandla & Brightyn (mentored by Cheryl) – Charleston (song: “Witch Doctor” by Cartoons)

Miles & Rylee (mentored by Lindsay) – samba (song: “I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow)

Sky & JT (mentored by Alan) – jive (song: “Little Shop of Horrors” by KIDZ BOP Kids)

 

 

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Clearly I’d do anything for these kids. 😏💄 See what they did to me this Sunday during #HalloweenNight on @dwtsjuniors.

A post shared by Gleb Savchenko (@glebsavchenkoofficial) on

October 25, 2018 I Written By

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

PureDWTS DWTS Juniors, Season 1 – Week 3 Live(ish) Blog!!!

It’s night 1 of the “two night Disney event” on Juniors & regular DWTS 😛 I’m expecting there to be some fairly heavy-handed marketing ploys on both shows, but at the very least, on Juniors the kids’ excitement about dancing to Disney songs is a bit more sincere and fun to see. Also crossing fingers that our technical difficulties here at Pure last week are behind us, as it didn’t seem like I got much conversation on the live blog thread last Sunday. Womp womp womp. Song and dance list here, spoiler post here. If you want a recap/rundown of last week’s episode, week 2 live blog here and week 2 postmortem here.

Things to keep in mind headed into tonight’s show: this episode was taped on August 3rd, which was the first week where the kids had to learn (2) dances in basically three days (basic schedule this season was rehearse M-Tu-W, camera block Thur, tape Fri/Sat, mandatory law-required day off on Sun); we might start to see the signs of fatigue a bit more tonight. In light of last week’s semi-shocking elim, keep in mind that it may not necessarily be the lowest-scoring couple headed home…it may be more likely to be a decent scoring couple that maybe just didn’t “pop” so much. Oh, also – Kim Kardashian is apparently on tonight’s episode, to *snicker* give Sophia & Jake tips on their performance.  Oh, that’s rich…coming from the woman who went home in week 3 of her season (after a very underwhelming performance) and was also once kicked offstage at a Prince concert for not dancing. Can’t wait to see what kind of wisdom she has to impart on the kids 😛

Kids look so darn cute in their costumes 🙂 Alana looks very pretty and mature in her Belle costume. Read more..

October 21, 2018 I Written By

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

PureDWTS DWTS Juniors, Season 1, Week 3 – Who’s Dancing What?

It’s Disney week on both Juniors & regular DWTS! Judging from pix I’ve seen from Juniors, looks like they might start utilizing the junior troupe in the dances a bit more this week. As always, go here for spoilers on who the high scorers were for Disney night.

 

Akash & Kamri (mentored by Witney) – jive (song: “Zero to Hero” from Hercules)

Ariana & Artyon (mentored by Brandon) – samba (song: “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” from Lilo & Stitch)

Alana & Tristan (mentored by Artem) – foxtrot (song: “Something There” from Beauty and The Beast)

Jason & Elliana (mentored by Emma) – foxtrot (song: “You’ve Got a Friend In Me” from Toy Story)

Kenzie & Sage (mentored by Gleb) – contemporary (song: “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas)

Mandla & Brightyn (mentored by Cheryl) – jazz (song: “Un Poco Loco” from Coco)

Miles & Rylee (mentored by Lindsay) – Charleston (song: “One Jump Ahead” from Aladdin)

Sky & JT (mentored by Alan) – contemporary (song: “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana)

Sophia & Jake (mentored by Sasha) – samba (song: “Poor Unfortunate Souls” from The Little Mermaid)

 

Thoughts: kinda pleased to see some new songs thrown into the mix – they don’t seem to be going with old standbys like “Friend Like Me” or “I Wanna Be Like You”.  I’m sure there’s going to be cries of “cultural appropriation!!!” for some of these, but given that these are kids and Disney kind of has a history of cultural appropriation, I’m willing to cut some slack…although I think using anything from Pocahontas is just cringe-y, regardless of how old the person dancing is. Miles & Rylee’s Charleston is probably going to SLAY, given that nobody choreographs a Charleston like Lindsay (bonus: I’m about 95% sure she & DeMarcus have a Charleston to “A Star is Born” from Hercules next week – so double-dose of #Linsanity Charlestons!).

 

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Sneak peek into #TeamCheryl’s Disney-fied dance. Can you guess what their theme is? 🎶 #DWTSJuniors

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October 17, 2018 I Written By

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any thoughts about last night’s show?

October 15, 2018 I Written By

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

PureDWTS DWTS Juniors, Season 1 – Week 2 Live(ish) Blog!!!

Well we had a pretty good time with the premiere last week, and the general sentiment (at least around here) is that Juniors is turning out far better than many of us thought it would, which makes me happy 🙂

Tonight’s episode was taped on August 2nd, and was the only episode of Juniors to be taped on a Thursday (instead of the Fri/Sat taping schedule of the rest of the season).  Why? Because Kenzie had to perform at another engagement on Saturday the 4th, so they rearranged the taping schedule to accommodate her. Interesting. *sips tea* Theme tonight is “songs from the year the junior celeb was born” – if you want to feel old now, rather than later, go check out the song/dance list here. And if you’re in a spoiler-y mood, you can see who the high scorers tonight will be here.

If you haven’t checked out my premiere post mortem, I recommend doing so…I’m interested to see what, if any, changes we see tonight.  Will Val give more lucid critiques? Will the “Kenzie definitely is not a dancer, pay no attention to the fact that she seems to dance really well right off the bat!” song and dance continue? Will the kids keep doing Fortnite dances? 😛 Read more..

October 14, 2018 I Written By

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

October 12, 2018 I Written By

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 8, 2018 I Written By

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