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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 8 – Who’s Dancing What?

So we’re in the semi-finals, which are actually part 1 of the finals because nobody’s getting eliminated this week and they’re all proceeding to the finale.  Points/votes from this week’s show will just roll into the finale, to determine the eventual winner. More spoilers here.

Thoughts: Kenzie got a dance that will likely suit her tendency to hit every line hard.  While it kinda stinks that Ariana got saddled with a ballroom dance for the 2nd week in a row, that song will probably help her to blow it out of the water. I think I’d rather get a root canal than listen to “Thunder“, and it doesn’t seem to be the right kind of song for Argentine tango. I feel pretty neutral on the duos – Kenzie/Miles seems stronger technically, but I’m still getting a disconnect from Kenzie during her performances; Ariana/Sky will probably be a crowd-pleaser.  

Ariana & Artyon (mentored by Brandon) – foxtrot (song: “We’re All in This Together” from High School Musical)

Kenzie & Sage (mentored by Gleb) – paso doble (song: “The Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga)

Miles & Rylee (mentored by Lindsay) – cha-cha (song: “Shake Senora” by Pitbull feat. T-Pain & Sean Paul)

Sky & JT (mentored by Alan) – Argentine tango (song: “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons)

 

Dance duos:

Ariana & Artyon/Sky & JT (song: “369” by Rhett George)

Kenzie & Sage/Miles & Rylee (song: “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus)

November 29, 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 7 Live(ish) Blog!!!

It’s “Time Machine” week, which is basically the Juniors equivalent of “decades” week on regular DWTS.  Songs and dances here, spoilers here. Sorta-spoiler: this is basically the semifinals, because everyone who makes it through tonight goes to the finale.  No elim next week.

Thoughts headed into tonight: I think the right bunch of kids are left, based on their performances so far this season. As little as Kenzie does for me, she’s one of the better dancers. Not sure I agree with preponderance of Dance Moms fans that think she’s a shoo-in to win, though.  If the results of this season of regular DWTS are any indicator, there are factors at play beyond dance skill that determine who wins…

Nice little opener from the pros.  Cute how they did a segment with each couple that corresponded to their decade. Too bad that song has been grossly overused within the context of this show.

Miles & Rylee up first. Miles actually seems to have a pretty good idea of what the ’50s was like.  And he’s probably gonna kill this jive…though he does look a bit winded in rehearsals, bless him. Miles is now rattling off facts about Disney, frozen dinners, etc.

WOWWWWWW. Lindsay did not go easy on them with that choreo, and they nailed EVERY. LAST. STEP. And they made it look easy! Miles is extraordinary. Technique was SPOT ON.

Mandy thinks Miles “is here for the win”. Adam says it’s “down to the wire, and [Miles] seized the moment”. Val says “Miles Brown” funny, and thinks Miles has “soul”. He also praises Rylee for being a strong partner, and says “you can’t teach that soul” re: Miles.

Miles talking about the Lakers being in Minnesota in the ’50s, and color tv being invented.  They get 9, 9, 10 – for once, Adam gets it right and the other two judges miss the mark.  That was ABSOLUTELY a 30-worthy routine. I’mma be pissed if another, less technically-perfect routine gets higher than that.

Junior troupe appreciation moment: why do these kids seem ten times more charismatic than the current adult troupe? 😛

Still not sure how “Call Me Maybe” fits with an 80’s theme. Something about the way Kenzie talks reminds me of Nan, Jamie Brewer’s character on American Horror Story: Coven.  Like she’s got some sort of secret that she’s trying not let slip.

This is taking awhile to get going. And too prop-heavy. Kenzie & Sage are handling it well, but this choreo looks like Gleb went on YouTube and searched “80’s jazz”.  Feels a tad formulaic at times.

Adam thinks Kenzie’s “giving it 100%, but isn’t letting go”.  I kinda agree – feel like she’s always in performance mode, while the other kids are LIVING their dances. Val thinks she’s “an amazing dancer, period” but implies that Kenzie didn’t seem “inspired” by her performance.  Mandy thought it had great jazz content, and makes Val demonstrate a hitch kick, but thought there were a few “bobbles” on the turns.

Sage talking about having to learn how to use a pay phone is maybe the most I’ve heard him talk all season.  They get 9, 8, 9 – probably about right.

Mandla & Brightyn up next.  Mandla is so sweet & soft-spoken, but lights up on the floor.  Wish he got more love from the judges.

Something about wormholes…

That was actually really dramatic, and Mandla had some pretty impressive shaping.  Maybe got a tad wishy-washy on some of the sharper arm actions, though.

Val notes the same – some areas where he hit the paso hard, and others where he didn’t so much.  Mandy reminding everyone that Mandla has “no previous dance experience”.  Which implies that others do 😉 She loved the shaping  and thought it was great. Adam thinks what Mandla’s done “with no dance experience” is “absolutely incredible”.  Really hard-selling the “no dance experience” angle this week…hmmm…

They get 8, 8, 8 – I probably would have thrown a 9 in there, but probably about right in the grand scheme of things.  Funny how the Juniors judges have no qualms scoring tough when a routine doesn’t cut the mustard, but the adult version judges cop out and give 9’s & 10’s when 7’s & 8’s are deserved…

Alanna makes a cameo with the troupe! Jordan and Frankie join in doing the Macarena. Glad she’s such a good sport 🙂

Ariana & Artyon up next. This should be interesting, considering they haven’t done a ballroom dance yet. Ariana tells Artyon he smells like popcorn.  And Brandon can’t get them into frame. Ohhh buddy…

Song’s a skosh slow for a quickstep and there’s little to no body contact, but beyond that – it’s actually a very cute dance with a lot of quickstep content.  Dare I say that Artyon actually may be a bit better at ballroom than Latin, technique-wise…?

Mandy loved it.  Adam knows quickstep can be challenging, but praises them staying on-time. Val says quickstep is tough, Ariana is a star, yadda yadda…might have Frankenstein’d his critique together in post, it seems ramble-y.

Ariana & Artyon’s costumes might be my fave.  You can tell they’re feelin’ themselves in their 40’s gear 🙂

They get 9, 9, 9 – and I agree. Not quite as solid as Miles & Rylee, but definitely better than Mandla & Brightyn and Kenzie & Sage.

Sky & JT are closing the show.  I have a feeling they’re probably going to slay this…

Love how plucky Sky is: “Our dance is in the 1920’s, so it’s gonna be really cool!” Interviewer: “What do you know about the 1920’s, Sky?” Sky: *blank stare & grin* 😛

It was a fun dance and they sold it well, but not sure there was a ton of actual Charleston in it.  Miles & Rylee still the best dance of the night for me.

Adam says Sky should be proud of how she’s become a “role model” on this show. Val believes in Sky and thinks Sky has “it”. Mandy says the Charleston is her favorite, but wants Sky to focus on being ON the beat, rather than in front or behind it. Sky gushing and being thankful and making my house dusty again…need to change the furnace filter…

They get 9, 9, 9 – I would have thrown an 8 in there, because I felt like Ariana & Artyon were better, but otherwise…score’s about right.  Elim after the break 🙁

Frankie’s mic cuts out…or they edited out sound.  Hmmm…we have no sound.

Leaving us tonight: Mandla & Brightyn 🙁

Still can’t hear Frankie, Jordan, or anyone but the crowd.  Poor Mandla doesn’t even get a decent send-off. Sky is bawling, but Mandla seems to be handling it very gracefully.

See you next week for TWO dances from each couple!

November 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 7 – Who’s Dancing What?

So Sunday’s show is being branded as “Time Machine” night – I was originally told it was 90’s night, which didn’t make sense since Kenzie’s song was “Call Me Maybe” and that song was released in 2011; “Time Machine” doesn’t make much sense, either, as Kenzie’s now doing an 80’s jazz to a song released 21 years after the 80’s ended 😛 Oh well…semantics, I guess. I think the only song that was actually released in the decade it’s meant to portray is “Rock Around the Clock” – the rest just seem to have a certain time period “feel” to them. This’ll be Ariana & Artyon’s first ballroom dance, so that should be interesting; I could see Sky & JT knocking that Charleston out of the park. Some other spoilers here.

 

Ariana & Artyon (mentored by Brandon) – 40’s quickstep (song: “Classic” by MKTO)

Kenzie & Sage (mentored by Gleb) – 80’s jazz (song: “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen)

Mandla & Brightyn (mentored by Cheryl) – futuristic paso doble (song: “Gangsta’s Paradise” by 2WEI)

Miles & Rylee (mentored by Lindsay) – 50’s jive (song: “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley & His Comets)

Sky & JT (mentored by Alan) – 20’s Charleston (song: “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)” by Fergie & Qtip & Goonrock)

November 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 6 Live(ish) Blog!!!

It’s “Giving Thanks” week, and the junior celebs are paying tribute to those they’re thankful for – get ready for appearances from Stevie Wonder and Maddie Ziegler, as I believe they’re joining Mandla & Brightyn and Kenzie & Sage, respectively, for their performances tonight. Looks like a dark horse might emerge tonight, and we say goodbye to yet another beloved couple.  Although Jason’s relatively composed elimination last week gives me hope that maybe the remaining kids will be able to keep their composure from here on out…prolly not. Oh well…at least the rest of the show is pleasant to watch 🙂 Far more so than its adult counterpart these days…

Pretty cute opener, seeing the junior celebs, junior pros, and mentors all dancing together – reminds you of how young these kids are 😛 Once again, Kenzie & Sage look more like mentors than juniors.

Ariana’s dedicating her routine to her family and is doing a salsa.  Ariana’s abelo & abuela come to visit at rehearsal 🙂

It’s fun and energetic, and they both are selling it well – though I don’t know that it’s necessarily their strongest performance.  Tuck that tush under, Artyon!

Mandy is “thankful for that salsa!” and commends Artyon on the lift.  Adam wants to know if Artyon can lift him next.  Val says it was “spicy” and “authentic” and thinks Puerto Rico is proud of Ariana.

They get 9, 9, 9 – they seem happy.

As an aside: you start to notice some of the editing if you know where to look.  Case in point: the voiceover from Jordan talking about the DWTS finale tomorrow night. Clearly filmed later on, and you notice the only thing you actually saw Jordan saying was “Frankie!”

Mandla is giving thanks for his dad – and he’s dancing to “Isn’t She Lovely”, his favorite song his dad has written. Stevie seems touched 🙂

It’s a lovely foxtrot – no pun intended 😉 What I love about how Mandla moves is just how organic he is – he may lack the polish of some of the kids with previous experience, but there’s something so genuine about his dancing.

Adam thinks it was his best dance.  Val thanks Stevie for being there, and Stevie says the dance “looked good to him!” Hehe. Brightyn is crying, and saying how she’s so touched by Mandla’s relationship with his dad.  Mandy says it was beautiful.  They get 9, 9, 9 – looks like tonight’s episode of Sesame Street may be brought to you by the number “9”.

Akash & Kamri up next – and I’m told this Bollywood jazz is TOTES ADORBS.

Akash is thankful for his parents, and they love “Jai Ho”.  They’re visiting rehearsal and they’re every bit as darling as he is 🙂

I think that may have been his best dance – he was nailing all of the arm and leg movements.  And he looked so proud!!!

Val thought it was his best dance.  Mandy praises him for “cleaning up” his movements.  Adam agrees with both.

Akash’s favorite move was the “pump-up move” and he’s trying to teach Frankie 😛 He gets 8, 8, 7 – and they’re shrieking with joy.  Adam’s weird.

Miles & Rylee up next!

Like everyone thus far, Miles is thankful for his family.  He’s dancing to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”.  I remember his mom & Dad from when he was on AGT 🙂

Miles is like a mini-Jordan – he just moves so confidently.  I loved it.

Mandy name drops La-La Land and praises Miles “genuine sense of joy”.  Adam is mad he didn’t get any flowers from Miles 😛 Val thinks it was one of his best dances and praises the footwork and technique, and appreciates that he’s a short guy that “dances big”. His critiques have improved from week 1, I’ll give him that.

Miles says his family has both chicken & turkey for Thanksgiving.  They get 9, 9, 8 –  seriously, WTF, Adam.  You’re my least favorite judge.

Sky is thankful for her family, too.  Her brother looks like he could be her twin.

It’s a pretty foxtrot and Sky seems so chuffed to being doing it the whole dance.  I still feel like both Miles & Mandla were better, thought.

Adam is getting choked up.  Val says it was “so special” and had “emotional range”.  Mandy says it was excellent and praises Alan for Sky & JT looking “coached”.

Ocean (Sky’s brother) is waiting in the skybox and making me cry.  Sky & JT get 9, 10, 10 – ok, it was good, but I still feel like Mandla & Miles were just as good.  And dammit, these kids are making it dusty in my house…

Obvi, Kenzie is thankful for her sister, Maddie.  So clearly, we need to invoke Sia again.

It’s good, but Kenzie still seems to exaggerate her movements – contemporary dancer having trouble transitioning to ballroom?

Val praises the sisters’ relationship.  Mandy talks about “dancing big” and “full-out”.  Adam wants to be the 3rd Ziegler sister.

Frankie sarcastically saying that Maddie has “never danced before” is unintentionally hilarious, given the song-and-dance of this season. 😛

They get 9, 9, 9 – I’m getting a tad tired of the “9” paddle tonight.

And now its time to say goodbye…

…to Akash & Kamri.  🙁

Akash was such a bright spot this season – just so exuberant and happy to be  there.  My god, Akash is so mature and articulate.  I’mma miss this one…

November 18, 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.

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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