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PureDWTS Season 24 Debate – Battle of the Ringers: What Makes Heather Morris So Ringer-y?

So I think it’s been established that, as a professional dancer, Heather is pretty ringery, in terms of DWTS.  I would even go so far as to say she’s the ringiest ringer the show has ever had – although judging from some of the chatter I’ve seen here, on Twitter, and on Facebook, some of you don’t agree.  And there’s also those that don’t really seem to understand what some fans of the show are so upset about – “So Heather’s a dancer? Big deal, so was Nicole/Shawn/Amber/etc.” And it’s those comparisons to other previous ringers on the show that seem to contribute to some of the misunderstanding of just how ringery Heather really is – so I put this together to address some of the questions I’ve gotten about “Well what about [insert previous contestant here]? He/She was a big ringer, too!”

Let me start off by recapping Heather’s background for those who don’t really know it: Heather’s been dancing since she was 9 years old, and has trained in jazz, tap, and contemporary, primarily.  She tried out for season 2 of So You Think You Can Dance, and made it through Vegas week to the “Green Mile” (the stage of the competition where the judges select who will and won’t advance to live shows) but was not chosen as one of the final top 20. She landed a gig dancing backup for Beyonce in 2007, and also nabbed a number of small dance roles in various TV shows and movies. She was eventually brought to the Glee set in 2009 to help teach the “Single Ladies” dance to some of the cast, and was so well-liked by the cast & crew that Ryan Murphy actually created the role of Brittany for her. So to be clear: Heather started off as a PROFESSIONAL DANCER – she only dabbled (only semi-successfully, I might add) in acting & singing as a result of her role on Glee. She is a dancer that (kinda) acts and sings – not the other way around.  Yes, this is an important distinction to make – and generally the biggest factor that sets her apart from previous ringers. Read more..

March 10, 2017 I Written By

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

PureDWTS: Questions We’re Tired of Answering, Volume II: The Emmy Edition

I wasn’t planning on writing another edition of “Questions We’re Tired of Answering” so soon after the first edition, but after the sh*tstorm I witnessed on Twitter in the past 36 hours since Derek & Julianne won an Emmy for their “Elastic Heart” routine with Tessandra Chavez, I felt it necessary to field some of the questions I’m seeing over and over again about the Emmy’s.

Before I get into it, though, let me just say this: I think a lot of these questions are stemming from the increase in “entitlement mentality” I’m seeing from a lot of the pros – and some of the fans are starting to buy into it.  Contrary to what some seem to believe, not every pro deserves a MBT, an Emmy nomination, an Emmy win, movie roles, Broadway gigs, book deals, endorsements, etc., simply by showing up and being a pro on DWTS.  That, in itself, is a privilege; things like MBT’s, Emmy’s, etc. are rewards for merit and hard work – not entitlements.  If a pro wants these things, to quote Britney Spears, “you better work, b*tch!”. Let’s try to keep that in mind…

Why does SYTYCD get so many more nominations than DWTS?

To understand this, you have to understand that there’s two components for success in the “Outstanding Choreography” category at the Emmys: the strength of the choreographic content, and the strength of how it was performed.  Therefore, you’re much more likely to get nominated if a) your choreography is strong, creative, and innovative, and b) you’ve got a skilled dancer performing it. Thus, it’s kind of easy to tell why it’s easier for SYTYCD routines to get nominated: all of them are performed by professional dancers, and because the choreographers (usually) aren’t limited to tailoring their choreography to the skills of their dancers, they can take more risks and do more off-the-wall stuff.  Choreography for DWTS, on the other hand, tends to be limited by the skill set of the celebrity – which affects what exactly the pros can include in the routine, and how well it gets performed on show night.  On top of those two factors, the Academy voters tend to be more from the contemporary style than from ballroom – and thus have a bit of a bias towards contemporary routines (of which there is usually quite a few on SYTYCD) and a bit of a bias against ballroom (which is the bulk of what we see on DWTS).  Most years, the best that DWTS can hope for is (1) nomination, against usually 4-5 from SYTYCD.  So for me to see some people complaining about [insert pro here] and [insert another pro here] not getting nominated as well, I feel like puking – cause the fact that DWTS was actually able to get TWO nominations this year is HUGE…whining about them not getting more is a tad greedy, I’m afraid.

Why wasn’t Sharna nominated for an Emmy for her choreography for Noah? It was awesome!!!

The explanation above kinda explains this one, too – Sharna likely didn’t get nominated because the routines she created for Noah were rather limited in their choreographic scope, and were not performed by a skilled dancer.  Let me repeat for good measure: it is incredibly hard to get nominated for a routine that isn’t performed by a dancer with a high level of skill.  It’s not impossible – Derek did get nominated last year for some of his choreography for Amy, who wasn’t quite as physically limited as Noah – but it’s certainly not probable. While the choreography Sharna did for Noah was great for someone as physically limited as him, I’m not sure it would stand up as great choreography for someone that was completely able-bodied.  Would you still be as wowed by choreography if, say, Alfonso danced the same routine? I doubt it.  Remember, when DWTS is up against dynamic routines danced by professional dancers on SYTYCD, they’ve gotta bring their A-game – solid routines danced by skilled dancers.  This explanation in particular seems to be one that Sharna & Noah fans just can’t seem to wrap their brain around – I’ve gone blue in the face explaining this one, only to have the people asking say “Well, I still think she should have been nominated. That choreography was incredible!” That’s great – their routines were awesome and Sharna did an incredible job showing what Noah could do.  No one can take that away from her. But just understand that it was incredible choreography FOR NOAH – not necessarily incredible choreography, period.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Why wasn’t Mark nominated for his choreography with Sadie and/or Willow?

IMO, because he focused a bit too much on production value…at the expense of choreographic content.  These past two seasons, Mark has choreographed a LOT of routines that were very set and costume-heavy…and it seemed to dominate those performances, to the detriment of the actual dancing being done.  His Halloween paso doble with Sadie kinda sticks out in my mind as a good example – I enjoyed it, but even I can admit that the OTT costuming and set kinda distracted from the actual dancing.  The set and costumes OVERWHELMED the dancing, rather than working with it.  Derek’s “Walking on Air” routine with Jamie Goodwin is a good example of the set working WITH the dance – the set itself was almost like a 3rd dancer, with all of the moves choreographed with it in mind.  Ditto for “Elastic Heart” – the set itself was actually choreographed into the dance.  I think if Mark would focus more on the choreography itself instead of the set & costumes, we might see more nominations for him in the future – especially if SYTYCD kicks the bucket after this season, which is looking evermore likely from their dismal ratings.

Why was Witney nominated??? IT WASN’T EVEN HER CHOREOGRAPHY!!!

This is me emphatically rolling my eyes.  To those of you still repeating this tripe started by a few disgruntled pros (and one rather scheisty-seeming outside choreographer) on Twitter/Instagram, please stop – we’ve already talked about it at-length here, but here it is again, once more, with feeling: if you don’t have a formally-written contract with an outside choreographer to help with a certain routine, the Academy will not give them co-choreographer credit in the event of a potential nomination.  Academy rules, fools. And judging from what SYTYCD choreographer Spencer Liff said in the link I posted above, ghost choreographers are well aware of this rule – so for this Alan dude (and most of “The Fam”) to suddenly be crying foul is kinda…d*ck.  If you’re of the camp that is trying to claim that she shouldn’t have been nominated because the choreography “just wasn’t that good”, hehe…ok.  Whatever you say.  Nevermind that it was choreographed for possibly the most skilled male celebrity that we’ve ever had on DWTS, and he KILLED IT – and the Academy agrees that the choreography was outstanding.  And then it gets even weirder – I’ve had more than a couple people try to write off the Carlton jazz routine because “it was derived from a dance that Witney didn’t choreograph”.  The fact that people are (probably pretending to be) genuinely upset that about 15 seconds of a nonsensical dance with TWO STEPS was used in the routine makes me not want to live on this planet anymore.  So, were you guys expecting her to give Alfonso credit for “the Carlton dance” or something? It ain’t even really his dance, either – he cites Courteney Cox & Eddie Murphy as his inspiration for it.  Should they have been given credit? Do you people now see how ridiculous you sound?  At this point, you may as well just admit that you just don’t like Witney…cause this is really reaching, kids.

Why wasn’t Allison nominated???

I have to kinda eye roll at this one, too, because it seems like some are drinking the “Allison was awesome on SYTYCD; therefore, by default, she is also awesome on DWTS” Kool-Aid.  For as stellar as Allison is as a contemporary dancer/choreographer, she is still a mediocre-at-best ballroom choreographer.  And again – the bulk of the routines on DWTS are still hardcore ballroom.  On top of that, her first season with Jonathan didn’t really have any standout routines, and some of her strongest routines with Ryker were a bit derivative (i.e. their paso – it was good, but how many Pirates of the Caribbean routines do you think the Academy has seen in the last 10 years?).  Maybe we’ll see some nominations for her once she steps up her ballroom game, but right now? Just not cutting the mustard as a ballroom choreographer yet, though she is improving.  She’s probably more likely to get nominated for any pro-dance collaborations she does – particularly if she does them with Derek.

September 14, 2015 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: The Pros, The Judges, & Their (Sometimes Embarrassing) Music Video Pasts!

Because it’s summer and there’s not much else DWTS-related to talk about – why not get a blast from the past and take a look at what some of our pros and judges do when they’re not performing on the show? And in this case, the activity in question is appearing in music videos – with varying results.  Some of them are pretty cool, others are blink-and-you-miss-it cameos, and some…should probably stay buried forever 🙂 Let’s check it out… Read more..

August 3, 2015 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 POLL: Best Male & Female Celeb Dancers in DWTS History?

So I was eating my lunch outside today (since it was the first day in quite some time that wasn’t rainy) with some coworkers, when the topic of my favorite DWTS contestant of all-time, Alfonso Ribeiro, came up.  We had been talking about the celebrity golf tournament he was in this past weekend (Vogue reported on it here, if you haven’t seen it yet), and the fact that he did the Carlton, and I think I said “He’s probably the best male dancer they’ve ever had on the show!” To which another coworker replied “Nah, Corbin Bleu was the best dancer they’ve ever had on the show!” And of course, a debate commenced over who was the better technician, who was the better entertainer, who was more athletic, etc. etc. etc.  We ended up agreeing to disagree, but it got me thinking: really & truly, out of the 20 seasons we’ve had – who is the best guy we’ve seen, and who’s the best girl?

I did a bit of a snap poll on Twitter, but I figured “Why not make it a bit more official?” and do an actual poll here? So below, I picked the most likely candidates for who would likely qualify for “best dancer” on DWTS – most would probably fall under the “ringer” category, but that’s kind of expected when we’re voting on dance skills alone.  Keep in mind that it’s not about popularity, or how well-known they were when they did the show – just dance skills & presentation, period; and independent of any previous training they might have had – so no “Well so-and-so was better because they had no previous experience and were great and that’s what DWTS is all about!!!” Strictly voting on dance skills/showmanship alone, kids.

Obviously, I voted for Alfonso for the men – I think he was the most consistent of all the male ringers we’ve had, and also the best showman; I also think part of his appeal was that he was a really organic, natural mover that seemed to really get into the pocket of whatever dance was thrown his way, even if he had no previous experience with it. While I agreed with my coworker that Corbin was more athletic and likely had more refined technique than Alfonso, I think he wasn’t as much of a natural as Alfonso and had to work harder to appear at ease with the movement of some of the dances – which didn’t always work, and made him a lot less consistent throughout his season.

For the ladies, it wasn’t as cut-and-dry for me – my knee-jerk answer was Nicole, but then I remembered she had some ups-and-downs and some dances that she wasn’t naturally good at (her first rumba and her samba come to mind); then I thought of Meryl, but while her technique was usually flawless, I remember thinking she sometimes lacked in the showmanship department, and could be a timid mover at times. Then I thought of Kristi Yamaguchi, who was a strong dancer AND entertainer, but I remember thinking that she seemed to always have that skater’s “perma-smile” that made her look a tad cheesy at times.  As surprising as this may be for some of you, I actually ended up picking Zendaya as the best female dancer we’ve seen on the show – for a lot of the same reasons I picked Alfonso: she was consistent, she was a showman, and she was a very NATURAL mover.  Granted, I thought Val failed her in the choreography department on multiple occasions (which may have eventually prevented her from winning, I think), and I didn’t love every single dance; but I do think she probably had the best skill set to work with, and seemed the most comfortable out on the floor.

So what do YOU guys think? Vote in the polls below, and then tell us how you voted & why 🙂

July 20, 2015 I Written By

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

DWTS Allison Holker To Do New Music Video With Riker Lynch And More – New Interview

Pro dancer Allison Holker was a guest on KTLA this morning. She talks of what it’s like to be married to tWitch, his new movie “Magic Mike XXL”, Riker Lynch and doing a new music video with him, Dancing With The Stars, and lots more. Thanks to @DWTSgossip for the heads up.

July 6, 2015 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars and World Of Dance seem to have this way of bringing all of those things together. Favorite Quote at the moment: "Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching, and live like it's heaven on earth." ~ William Purkey. Follow me at: Voguerista Twitter & Voguerista Soundcloud. To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.

PureDWTS Talk: Dance Movies For Summer 2015

Al Kahn @idolXFactor1 recorded R5 on Good Morning America for us today (Thanks Al!!). You can see them dancing and promoting their new Move “Teen Beach 2” (out in theatres June 26th). Looks good.

Also, below is the trailer for “Magic Mike XXL” (out in theatres July 1st) which stars Allison Holker’s husband T-Witch. This movie looks like a goodie too.

So, what other dance movies are coming out that you’d like to see? Let us know. I love dance movies!

June 24, 2015 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars and World Of Dance seem to have this way of bringing all of those things together. Favorite Quote at the moment: "Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching, and live like it's heaven on earth." ~ William Purkey. Follow me at: Voguerista Twitter & Voguerista Soundcloud. To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.

Nightline Goes Behind The Scenes Of The DWTS 10th Anniversary Show

This is a little dated (and I can’t remember if we posted this), but, it’s fun to watch in case you missed it. #DWTSOffSeasonFun Thanks to Lois for the find.

June 2, 2015 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars and World Of Dance seem to have this way of bringing all of those things together. Favorite Quote at the moment: "Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching, and live like it's heaven on earth." ~ William Purkey. Follow me at: Voguerista Twitter & Voguerista Soundcloud. To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.

More Coverage Of Dancing With The Stars Los Angeles Children’s Hospital Visit – Video

Do you remember when Dancing With The Stars Val Chmerkovskiy, Rumer Willis, Sharna Burgess, Noah Galloway, Alison Holker and Riker Lynch visited the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital in May? Well below is some video footage. You can also read a special report on at this link. Thanks to Lois for the heads up.

May 30, 2015 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars and World Of Dance seem to have this way of bringing all of those things together. Favorite Quote at the moment: "Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching, and live like it's heaven on earth." ~ William Purkey. Follow me at: Voguerista Twitter & Voguerista Soundcloud. To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.

Dancing With The Stars 10th Anniversary Show To Be Televised Again On Sunday

A TV Heads Up: In case you missed it the first time, ABC is re-airing the Dancing With The Stars 10th Anniversary show on Sunday, May 31st. Be sure to tune in. It’s a great show. Thanks to Jennifer for the heads up.

May 29, 2015 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars and World Of Dance seem to have this way of bringing all of those things together. Favorite Quote at the moment: "Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching, and live like it's heaven on earth." ~ William Purkey. Follow me at: Voguerista Twitter & Voguerista Soundcloud. To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.

Backstage DWTS Season 20 Finale Show Reports From Pennsylvania Anchor

Ali Lanyon, Pennsylvania Co-Anchors the very early Morning News show from 4:30 am to 7 am on WHTM TV, ABC27, Harrisburg, PA. She also wears a Reporter’s Hat for the station. She filed Backstage Reports from The Monday and Tuesday Finale shows. Also, seen commenting on the video clips are her Morning News Co-Anchor James Crummel. And the Morning News Weather Anchor, Brett Thackara.

She interviewed Tom Bergeron, Noah Galloway, Sharna Burgess, Riker Lynch, Allison Holker, Val Chmerkovskiy, Rumer Willis, and Carrie Ann Inaba. She also did a fun segment on those with tickets waiting outside the studio to get in. Even if you have a ticket, there is a chance you will be turned away.

Please check out Ali’s reports at the following links:

By Lois A Troutman, May 23, 2015

May 24, 2015 I Written By

Resident DWTS Poet