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PureDWTS Season 29, Week 2 – Power Rankings

Welcome to “Dancing with Tyra Banks! And 15 Other Famous People But Mainly TYRA BANKS!!! Did We Mention TYRA BANKS??? WE ARE CONTRACTUALLY OBLIGATED TO SAY HER NAME AT LEAST 50 TIMES PER SHOW, SEND HELP!”

For anyone still able to hold onto the notion that Tyra “is doing better than we thought she would”, I admire your optimism, but I’m completely over her after only 2 weeks. Every time she asks an awkward (and usually frivolous) question after a couple gets their judges’ critiques (which are cut woefully short), or we have to hear her make every interaction about herself in some way, or we’re forced to witness her awkward attempt at humor in the “smizing” cold open, I just think to myself “Tom Bergeron would have never stooped to this level, and he could have gracefully hosted this show with a blindfold on and his hands tied behind his back…and it would still be better than this drivel!” Erin would have been worlds better than this as well…and Samantha Harris…and even one-and-done host Lisa Canning. About the only previous host Tyra has beat is Brooke Burke-Charvet, owing to the fact that Brooke wasn’t much more than a barely-sentient (but very pretty) potato. At least Tyra has a certain trainwreck appeal that makes her somewhat entertaining to watch…

…so with the new(ish) voting format, as Heidi mentioned, we’ve kind of discovered that it may actually be more beneficial for a couple to dance in the first hour of the show (as opposed to the second); I don’t think it was a coincidence that they seemed to front-load the show this week with most of the good dancers (Nev, Skai, Johnny, Justina, AJ) and left more of the weaker dancers in the back half (Charles, Carol, Chrishell, Vernon, Anne). And I don’t think the order in which the couples were called “safe” from elimination was a coincidence, either, despite Tyra insisting that the couples were “in no particular order”; the earliest ones called safe (Kaitlyn, Justina, AJ, Johnny) are the ones I think the majority of us assumed would be the safest, and the last three standing (Chrishell, Carol, and Charles) were the three most of us had in the danger zone.  I find the fact that Skai was one of the last four standing to possibly be a bit of a warning shot – I’m wondering if she’s dealing with Disney Kid Syndrome(TM) and is struggling with votes.

Other noteworthy stuff? On the negative end, I’m not sure the cameras panning to the couples sitting in their socially-distanced balconies after watching another couple dance is a good thing – more often than not, the couples were either making strange (potentially shady?) faces, or were messing with their phones; at least once, the camera panned to an empty balcony for a few beats. On the positive end, we are getting to experience the saucy troll side of Derek – the passive aggressive “Good job! That’s all I have time to say!” to Jesse after being rushed along from giving a critique by Tyrant (I’ve decided it’s her new name, y’all, since she’s the airtime hoarder) was SENDING me, as was this Carrie-Ann trolling TiK ToK he posted the other day that has inspired me to resurrect my long-marinating “lift policing” post for later this week 😉 Seriously, I cannot wait to see what other sassy comedic GOLD this arrangement sends our way – this is what happens when you hire the most decorated former pro in DWTS history to judge, after he’s had a successful run judging another more high-profile show on a rival network and he has absolutely NOTHING to lose by being a bit of a little shit 😉

@derekhoughShe’s a stickler for lifts @dancingabc♬ original sound – Tucky

So we lost Charles & Emma, which wasn’t terribly surprising – I think most of us had Carole and Charles as our bottom two; really and truly, as much as everyone seems to want Carole gone, I do think the right decision was made – I thought Carole was slightly better than Charles both weeks. Charles, bless him, I just don’t think he was going to improve much more this season. Sweet man, sweet partnership with Emma…but just not meant to go the distance. Read more..

September 23, 2020 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.

PureDWTS Season 29, Week 1 – Power Rankings

As I find myself saying more and more often in this god forsaken year – this episode of Black Mirror sucks 😛

Granted, my bar for this season of DWTS was set lower than ever; I was expecting a certain degree of shenanigans that inevitably comes with COVID-19 precautions. The lack of audience meant the couples seemed to just get swallowed up by the stage (and lighting), and the walls constructed on both sides of the dance floor to obscure the lack of audience seemed to evoke a sort of post-apocalyptic robot obelisk. Then there was the dystopian (and highly unnerving, at times) pre-recorded applause, booing, and cheering noises that were piped in, often at the wrong time (and wayyyy too loud). The intro of the celebs at the beginning of the show seemed to be some sort of bastardized version of the “choose your player” screen at the beginning of video games, with each character pulsing awkwardly in some sort of characteristic movement – or a preview of the 2020 version of The Sims, who knows. While I enjoyed the intro of the pros walking to the stage one by one and striking a pose, they all seemed to look a bit sad – I like to think it was because they missed Tom. I certainly did.

I just can’t with Tyra, guys. I know it was her first night, but sis was just trying wayyyy too hard, and it came across disingenuous and awkward at times; I just found myself going “We let go of the ease and aplomb of Tom and Erin FOR THIS???” And this is DWTS, not the Met Gala – so the ginormous “look at meeeeeee!” ballgown made me roll my eyes, as did the costume change. I can’t recall Tom or Erin ever changing costumes during the show, or wearing anything that was so over-the-top as to shift focus from the contestants. Nor did they feel the need to stunt in a Ferrari… Read more..

September 15, 2020 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.

PureDWTS Season 28, Week 1: Power Rankings

So we wrapped up the premiere of the “new, improved!” DWTS a little over 24 hours ago, and I’ve got some mixed feelings. My main concern: in the wake of the disastrous year the show had in 2018, they’re currently trying to reinvent/rebrand the show to give ratings a boost and maintain a hope and a prayer of this show surviving into 2020.  The only problem? I feel like the rebranding involves just turning DWTS into Strictly Come Dancing 2.0.

Yes, they’re essentially the same show, in terms of the concept, aesthetic, etc. But Heidi and I have long been reminding people that comparing DWTS and SCD is a bit like apples and oranges, because the fact that the two shows air in completely different markets makes each take on slightly different flavors. Americans and Brits are two different cultures that have different tastes when it comes to television – I have yet to meet an American that understands the appeal of British soap operas (I can’t tell you how many times I fell asleep trying to watch the same god-forsaken episode of EastEnders in college because a girl in my dorm was from London and swore up and down that it was the greatest TV show ever), while I’ve heard more than one Brit puzzle about why American television is so violence-driven (same girl in my dorm was CONVINCED we all carried guns on our person because she had watched 24 before coming to college). And there’s obvious differences between our humor, with British humor being quite a bit drier and high brow than more crass, slapstick American humor. Given all those differences – would it be a stretch to assume that  Americans expect different things out of DWTS than Brits do out of SCD?

With respect to DWTS and what I’ve observed in my 10 years of blogging, I tend to think Americans care less about how many syllabus steps a routine has and care more about being entertained and wowed by a memorable dance. I know SCD is more driven by syllabus content and correct execution of the steps, and low-scoring of non-compliant routine is more commonplace than it is here in the US, where it’s unusual to see any paddle lower than a “6” taken out after week 1. So for things to shift rather suddenly from the DWTS focus on entertaining and memorable dance numbers to a more content-driven approach from the judges, I have to wonder: is this sh*t gonna fly…? Some of the best choreographers we’ve seen on DWTS are the ones that really thrive when they’re unfettered by syllabus  requirements – think Derek, Mark, and Julianne, who all ended up Emmy nominated at some point as a result. We’ve still got a few pros in the current stable that I think choreograph best in a more out-of-the-box setting – namely Jenna, and possibly Brandon. Then again, with the prospect of an Emmy nom a distant memory since the departure of Derek and the onslaught of more competition in the Outstanding Choreograhy category…maybe it’s time to start focusing more on content? I honestly don’t know – but I’m not sure the answer to all of DWTS’ problems is just tweaking everything to match SCD. Time will tell, especially after we hear about this new elimination twist next week…

One good thing to come out of the “let’s do it like SCD!” gambit? The delayed reveal of the partnerships left us more  likely to get unexpectedly WOWED by some of the contestants – and I daresay with all the chatter about Hannah, Karamo, Kel, and Sailor, I did NOT see James coming at all. I was genuinely and delightedly surprised, which was nice. I also didn’t head into this season with a favorite – there were a few contestants/partnerships I found intriguing, but nobody that I knew from the jump I’d be voting for…so I felt like I was seeing everything with fresh eyes. But shall we get on with the rankings?  🙂 Read more..

September 17, 2019 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 27, Week 8 – Power Rankings, Who Will Win?

Y’all, it’s been a week…hell, it’s been a season.  And if I’m being honest, this is one season that has felt like it has absolutely DRAGGGGGGED on – I’m not sure I’ve wanted a season to be over this badly since maybe season 11, when Bristol was sticking around like a bad rash. Strike that – season 14 was pretty bad, too, when William Levy was getting jammed down my throat every week. Season 20 wasn’t much better, given that it had been predetermined it was “Val’s season” from week 1 and it got monotonous pretty quickly. To put it plainly: I’m just plain ready for this season to be over, and have my life back for the next 5ish months. I’ve got plans in the pipeline 😉

So in the penultimate elim of the season (which was a double, thank goodness – a 5-person finale on a season where the finale is only 1 night is a bit much), we finally shook Grocery Joe loose (yassssssss) and also lost Juan-Note Pablo in the second “shocking” elim of the season.  Can’t say I was terribly upset about either one leaving us – Joe should have been gone in week 1, and was little more than a glorified weightlifting spotter in his dances on Monday night; Juan Pablo, while probably deserving of a spot in the finale, just never resonated with me as a person – and I apparently wasn’t alone, as he clearly wasn’t getting the votes to stay. I think it says something when we ALMOST get a rare show of vulnerability from Juan Pablo (talking about his mother beating cancer in his rehearsal package, and dedicating his dance to her), and then it was like “JK, I’mma still serve you macho Latin lover realness!” and he performed a dance that, while technically quite good, was little different than every other dance we got from him this season: all smolder and sexiness, and no vulnerability or emotion.  I will credit him for being (to my knowledge) the first and only real-live Argentinean to perform an Argentine tango on DWTS, but at the end of the day, I think he & Cheryl probably missed the mark a bit in the grand scheme of things – you have to be a good dancer to succeed on this show, but people also have to like you and care about you; and if you’re constantly serving the same bravado week after week, dance after dance, and not taking the time to show the viewers that you’re also human and have feelings, they’re probably going to tune you out after awhile, no matter how great your dancing is.

I’ve been getting quite a few questions about what I think the future of this show looks like, given the three-ring circus that this season has been. Unfortunately, I think it looks grim – can’t remember where I had this conversation, but Heidi, John, & I were talking recently about the future of the show, and either Heidi or John said “At this point, they’ve gotten what they wanted out of the show – they probably don’t really care what happens now, and will let the show continue its steady demise until they find something better to take its place.” Let’s face it: getting 25+ seasons out of a show where it stays a ratings juggernaut is not just good – it’s great.  Almost unheard of…so for DWTS to be taking a dive in season 27, it’s more than likely just the show running its course. Sure, there’s been some wonky stuff going on this season, but I’d chalk a lot of that up to overall viewership being down and less of a normalizing influence in the voting as a result; I don’t think it’s so much that the SHOW has changed, it’s the AUDIENCE moving on.  I have often found myself saying “I just want to see something I haven’t seen before!” for several seasons now – be it a new pro, some more “out there” choreographic risks, an unexpected celeb, etc. I can’t imagine I’m alone in that desire.  Given that the show has basically already called several audibles this season (rearranging the elimination schedule, changing the original plan for a 5-couple finale, and cutting the finale down to 1 night), I don’t think ABC would have any qualms cancelling a prospective spring season if it came down to it – really, the only evidence we have of a spring season in 2019 is an interview (which I haven’t seen myself) where Sharna apparently said she had “signed on for several more seasons, including the spring one”; given that the pros contracts are pretty open-ended, and being “on contract” just means you must avail yourself if they need you, I don’t think we can safely assume there’s going to be a spring season, just that Sharna is available for it if there is one. And someone also pointed out to me that the winter tour has now been extended through early March – if there was going to be a regular-length spring season, the cast would have already been announced at that point, and the couples rehearsing. At this point, I’m dubious that there’s going to be a spring season at all, but if there is, I think the best we can hope for is a shortened one, a la season 26. I’d personally be just fine with no spring season, as I’m going to be tripled up on my classes by that point and also job hunting out west. DWTS can come back in the fall, when I’m done with school, hopefully settled into my new digs in Denver, and with a lot more free time on my hands 😉 Read more..

November 16, 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.

PureDWTS Season 27, Week 7 – Power Rankings

Welcome to season 27, where the decent dancers are in perpetual danger, and the more mediocre you are, the greater the likelihood you’ll stick around. Guys – this is not the dance show I fell in love with 13 years ago. This season is a strange, bastardized caricature of it – and that’s why this post has been hard to write.  It’s also been hard to try and make sense of the nonsense of this season in general, and I feel worthless when some of you come to me asking what to make of [insert nonsense here] or [insert wonky scoring here], and I’m not able to give you an intelligent explanation for it…because I don’t have one. It still tickles me that so many of you give a damn about what I write,  after all these years, and value my thoughts on this show. But this time around, I just don’t know what to tell you, other than “Yep, this season sucks.” I fear we’re possibly witnessing the death throes of DWTS – all good things must come to an end, I guess, and this show has paid the dividends for 13 years now, which is impressive and quite a bit longer than I thought it would be on the air. Just stinks that it’s going out in such an inauspicious way 🙁

It’s beyond me why reality competition shows even bother doing “country night” as a theme anymore – it only seems to appeal to a small subset of the audience, the music is often pretty cringe-y, and the attire is…questionable. Monday night’s show was no different – the opener was pretty sloppy, and even the guest singers seemed a bit bewildered and not quite sure what to do.  Additionally, I feel like the couples that got saddled dancing to songs performed live by the artists took a bit of a hit, as their choreography had to accommodate intermittent pans to the singer for their obligatory face time.  At the end of the night, I remembered very little, and cared even less about “country night”. Put it to bed, ABC.

As for who we lost this – John & DeMarcus were 2/3 of my favorite guys this season, and them getting taken out in one sweep was gutting. I would have GLADLY traded Joe, Bobby, Alexis, AND Juan Pablo if it meant keeping the two of them in the competition. I ended up enjoying John far more than I thought I would – he was actually a decent dancer, had great musicality, got along great with Emma, was excited to be there, had a nice journey, and was generally a likable, humble guy.  Unfortunately, I think the writing was on the wall where he was concerned – we saw it coming last week, and TPTB seemed to have decided his time was up. Then there’s DeMarcus – someone I thought for sure we’d see in the in the finale.  Not entirely sure what happened here – he was always one of the better male contestants, and was never a bad dancer in the same way that both Bobby & Joe are; he was also extremely likable and genuine, and vibed well with Lindsay.   Part of me thinks he just got lost in the shuffle between the general (but memorable) stink of Joe & Bobby, the three-ring circus of the Alanis/Alexan (have they decided on their ship name yet?) showmance, the gushing over Juan Pablo, and both Milo & Evanna having memorable journeys; part of the blame for that lies with the judges and their more middle-of-the-road scoring and critiques, which were usually unnecessarily tough on De. Then there’s also the small matter of his finger injury back in week 3 – as minor as it may have seemed in the grand scheme of things, it was as if the moment DeMarcus realized his finger was injured, sh*t got real.  I mentioned to someone on Twitter, but if you re-watch the video of it happening, there was a noticeable shift in his demeanor – he went from “Oh hell yeah!!!” to “Oh sh*t, this is bad!” in .3 seconds.  And part of me thinks he was never really able to shake it off totally – every dance from that moment on seemed a tad cautious and tentative. Who knows – regardless, I don’t think he or Lindsay deserved to go home, and on any other season, he probably would have had a free pass to the finale.  And the finale has suffered in quality with the lost off both John AND DeMarcus 🙁 Read more..

November 9, 2018 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 27, Week 6 – Power Rankings

Last night’s episode of Nightmare on Sesame Street was brought to you by the morbid/nonsensical theme and that “fake-like-you-broke their neck” move that everyone seemed to be doing.  Second week in a row I’m left feeling pretty “meh” on the whole – I think the kids on Juniors put on a far better Halloween show this week, and they taped theirs way back in August. Themes were a bit of a mess, and the only routines I felt knocked it out of the park were Milo & Witney’s contemporary and the pro teaser dance for the tour. Then again, I think there’s only two Halloween week routines in DWTS history that have really wowed me: Hinch & Jenna’s Suicide Squad Viennese waltz, and Frankie & Witney’s stalker-themed contemporary. No worries – not the last time you’ll hear me hold those two dances up for comparison in these rankings 😉

Seeing a lot of comments/concerns about the running order the past two weeks in particular, and I’ll say this: I think TPTB may have finally gotten hip to the fact that the viewers have totally figured out the patterns in running order, and can predict things pretty well based on that; thus, I think they’re scrambling things up a bit more this season, hence some pretty nonsensical running order positions. Funny how DeMarcus went from dancing last, middle of the show, and first (all the key positions) within the first few weeks of the show, but has gotten stuck in doom positions for the past two weeks; Milo also went from dancing in the doom spots the first few weeks, to either opening or closing the show the past two weeks. And I tend not to think their voting numbers have changed drastically in those times, so I doubt it’s necessarily and indicator of their success, and is more just TPTB throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks.  Likewise, Alexis’ running order has been all over the place, too, and she still seems to end up in jeopardy every week. Long story short: I don’t think the running order means much this season. Read more..

October 30, 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.

PureDWTS Season 27, Week 4 – Power Rankings

Oof. For the first time in a looooong time, I am speechless at the results. We lost an extremely talented dancer paired with probably the most promising male pro we’ve had in quite awhile, and for what? To keep some slouch that doesn’t even appear to be trying anymore, just because a niche fanbase has a hard-on for this guy??? There’s more to unpack here than just the fact that folks (inexplicably) seem to love Joe, but that’s probably the most outwardly frustrating part. I think back to Bill Engvall’s season, when so many seemed to complain about him sticking around while better dancers got sent packing.  But at the very least with Bill, I always got the impression that he wanted to be there, he was doing his best, and Emma was putting in 110% each and every week to help him improve.  Wish I could say the same for Joe, but judging from the appallingly bad trio he gave us this week (which he just seemed to laugh about and shrug off), I don’t really think he cares whether he stays or goes.  I think Jenna was praying they got sent packing this week, judging from how mortified she appeared to be when they got called safe. Bachelor Nation, if you’re reading this (and you probably are) – put them out of their misery.  STOP VOTING FOR THEM. This show is already struggling, without your nonsense.

As for other extenuating circumstances that may have lead to Tinashe’s elimination – once again, the “DWTS viewers hate female ringers” argument has popped up again. I still have a hard time believing that one 100%, given that female ringers have gone on to win this show (and make the finals); I absolutely believe that some viewers think that way, but I don’t know that it’s necessarily the majority of voters. However, Heidi did point out that with viewership down, voting might also be down – which gives more power to those that do vote, since the totals are much smaller, and makes the prospect of a “shocking” elim much more likely. I can’t help but draw parallels between voting on DWTS vs. voting in the midterm elections next month – currently, it’s a relatively small but determined demographic dominating the polls (white Baby Boomers); however, if the disenfranchised demographic that isn’t getting to the polls (Millennials & minorities) would make a big push to actually get out and vote, we could upend norms that have persisted for decades. I cannot emphasize the importance of voting – whether its on DWTS or in the midterm elections. I’m hearing a lot of “Tinashe got Sabrina’d!”, but I would actually go with “Tinashe got Hillary’d” – some voters fixated on a fabricated, non-existent problem as justification for not voting for her.  Tinashe’s “emails” were the imaginary “attitude problem” some seemed to have with her – I never saw it, as she always struck me as very calm and just enjoying the ride. But was that same chill demeanor ultimately the problem…? I know I mentioned in my week 2 power rankings that I thought Nancy may be in trouble because she was simply so laid-back that at the end of the night, it was hard to remember her dances.  Did Tinashe suffer the same fate? When you’ve got Bones bouncing around like a lawn dart, Joe being memorably terrible, John being unexpectedly genuine and down-to-earth, Milo dancing surprisingly well and being sheepishly charming, DeMarcus just being an incredibly hard worker, and Alexis showing vulnerability about her past…do you really forget about an otherwise-great dancer that maybe just wasn’t as dramatic as the other celebs? Part of me also wonders if her “Most Memorable Year” dance may have also just not struck as much of a chord with viewers as Alexis’, Bobby’s, DeMarcus’, & John’s did – we’ve often said that if you don’t go the weepy route during MMY week, you run the risk of getting lost in the shuffle, regardless of how well you actually dance. Is it more of a memorability problem than anything else? Or can a season only sustain x number of ringers? We had said over and over that this season probably couldn’t handle both Alexis AND Tinashe for long – I guess I just always assumed that Alexis would be more likely to go first; but who knows, maybe the dance about her mom earned her some votes. I could go on and on about potential contributing factors – but at the end of the day, it comes down to votes: she wasn’t getting them. So if you don’t want to see that happen again, you’ve gotta phone it in and interweb it in – the votes matter.

One factor I don’t blame in any of this: Brandon. He was the one male pro that I was really betting it all on to lead the guys out of this post-Ballas/Hough talent drought.  That tango had serious shades of Derek in it – and Brandon probably got dealt the toughest hand this week: a dance that’s already tough to do as a trio (tango) with a celeb that has some limitations to consider (Amy).  And I think he knocked it out of the park – which is pretty admirable for his first outing as a pro, considering it seems to take the male pros in particular a season or two before they hit a stride (and even then, some of them still don’t quite get it – looking at YOU, Gleb). Producers, he better have a spot for the foreseeable future – ’cause I think he’s gonna pay the dividends in a big way.

So some of you seemed rather perplexed about some of the trios we ended up with – admittedly, I did too. I saw speculation that there was an agenda at play – while I don’t really have any solid tea here, I don’t really think that there was much of an agenda…except maybe for including Maddie, which when taken into account with the fact that her sister is a contestant on Juniors, seems to indicate an attempt to insinuate one or both of the Ziegler girls into DWTS in some capacity. To what end? I’m not sure – part of me wonders if they’re trying to angle to get Maddie employed by DWTS in some capacity (pro? troupe? JUDGE?!) in the future; part of me thinks this could have been part of a quid pro quo for Kenzie doing Juniors (“If you make Kenzie a contestant and give her exposure for her music, I’ll avail myself to you guys in some capacity!”) Kenzie on Juniors just seems very, very strategic – more beneficial for her than for the show itself, I think. But I digress – the rest of the trios just seem like a hodgepodge of former contestants that they managed to convince to come back, with gaps filled in by other randos where appropriate. Shad, Joey, and Melissa seem to avail themselves to the show whenever they’re needed (all-stars, tours, guest judging, hosting, celebrity space filler in the audience, etc.); Nastia, Riker, and Lindsey seem like fan faves they were just fortunate enough to convince to help out for a week.  As for Scarlett and Jordan – the latter just seems like catnip for the Bachelor nation; as for Scarlett, a little bird insinuated to me that she may have been a backup for a former DWTS celeb that had to back out for whatever reason (my knee jerk guess was Jodie – probably the only one of Keo’s former partners worth inviting back, but also a potential conflict of interest, given that her costar is currently a contestant on DWTS). Honestly, I think the decision-making process for who got who in trios probably went something like this: “Ok, who can we convince to come back? Remember, we’ve got Maddie – Maddie needs to fit in one of these trios. So Shad, Melissa, Joey, Riker, Nastia, Lindsey, and Amy all said yes? Ok, now who can we plausibly pair them up with? And what should we do about the remaining two couples that need trio members? Bah, just tell them to invite a friend. What’s the worst that could happen???” Well, I think only one trio truly benefited from having their third person (Milo/Witney/Riker), while the rest were either neutral (Juan Pablo/Cheryl/Melissa, Bobby/Sharna/Lindsey) or were somewhat disadvantaged (pretty much everyone else). Honestly, I think the trios were just the result of the usual flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-planning we’ve come to expect from DWTS 😛 Read more..

October 16, 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.

PureDWTS Season 25, Week 1 – Power Rankings

So we end the season premiere of DWTS’ 25th season (and my 17th season blogging!) and I’m left feeling possibly the most vague and uncertain I’ve ever felt about a season before – about the only thing I feel fairly confident in saying is that Lindsey & Jordan will likely be the last two standing, as I’ve already expressed. But the rest of them? None of them suck terribly, per se, but not many of them really sparkle, either…at least not yet. I think we’ll get a clearer picture of where the audience’s heads are at next week, after eliminations 1 & 2, and after the celebs have had a few more dances and another week to let everything marinate.

I had to chuckle a bit when Tom announced that only (1) judge would be critiquing each couple – I think I may have said out loud “Yeah, good luck with that!”, as we all know that the judges just LOVE hearing themselves talk.  And sure enough, whichever two judges didn’t get to give a full critique to a specific couple gave a quick one before throwing up their scoring paddle – Carrie Ann in particular looked like she was about to implode if she didn’t get to offer her opinion of a dance. Why they did this, I’m not sure – could have just been a time-saving measure, could have been an attempt to appease an audience that seems to grow increasingly bored of the judges’ pious soap-boxing – but I’m glad they did it, because probably 80% of what the judges say anymore seems like scripted filler. Less talky.  More dance-y.  Me likey 🙂

Wish I could say I was as pleased with the scoring, which on the whole seemed to error on the conservative side, and wasn’t always what I would consider congruent with the quality of dance we were seeing. There may be an agenda in play – particularly with regards to our married couple(s) and possibly Jordan – but like so many other things, I don’t think it will become fully clear until we’ve gotten a few weeks under our belts and can identify some patterns. The score distribution is pretty dense, though – seems like a good chunk ended up in the 17-19 point range. And having scores bunched up so closely can often lead to some unexpected eliminations…

…other observations? I thought Erin looked stunning last night – for once, her dress was on-point. The whole “married couple vs. married couple!” schtick has already worn thin and has reached the point of beating a dead horse…and we’re only in week 1! Unfortunately, I don’t see it ending until one of them goes home – and that could be awhile. Opener was cute and fun, but not really all that different from the past few seasons’ openers we’ve seen – not sure there’s a whole lot else they can do to keep things fresh.

Just a reminder for those of you that have been here before, and a crash course for those that haven’t: the power rankings are NOT just a ranking of who danced the best, or who is the most popular, or who has the most fans, etc.  It’s a comprehensive ranking, where I try to take into account scores, memorability, popularity, running order, technique, etc. – basically anything and everything that could affect whether a couple stays or goes.  Top of the list are the couples I think are the LEAST likely to get eliminated; bottom of the list are the ones I think are most in danger of getting eliminated. So please – don’t be “that guy/girl” that shows up in the comments and starts in with “Your rankings are wrong, [insert couple here] scored better than [insert another couple here], so they should be higher in your rankings!” It’s not all about the scores, folks – we appreciate nuance around here 🙂 Shall we begin? Read more..

September 19, 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.

PureDWTS Season 24, Week 9 – Power Rankings

In season 12, it was Ralph.  In season 18, it was Charlie. In season 20, it was Nastia. In season 22, it was Wanya…and in season 24, it was Simone. Following the precedent they set back in 2011, the show has managed to screw a worthy contestant out of a spot in the spring finale for four consecutive seasons now – and more often than not, it seems to happen in order to lend a hand to one of the Chmerkovskiy brothers.  It’s getting BEYOND predictable, to the point of the spring season almost following a template: let things happen organically for the first few weeks, then determine who needs to make the finale (must take mandatory Chmerkovskiy quota into account) and be sure to start neutralizing any threats (read: other good dancers that might prevent a Chmerkovskiy from making it into the finale) by having the judges underscore, nitpick, and generally demean said threats until the generally gullible cross-section of the voting audience (the “sheeple”) actually start to believe that contestant really isn’t any good after all and ceases voting for them. And because of this template, I have ZERO sympathy for the judges – practice your shocked faces all you want, but what happened last night was a direct result of all the meddling you’ve done.  The blood is on your hands, and I better not hear implications of “The audience has to vote! You guys sent Simone home!” next week – you don’t get to pull the puppet strings all season long and manipulate the viewers, and then blame Simone’s elim on them.

But I’m guessing that’s inevitably going to be part of the narrative next week, as they seem to be gunning for a 3rd MBT for Prince Joffrey Val – the “we’ve sent two of the best dancers home – don’t let it happen again!” strategy seems to imply that viewers should vote for the best dancer left, which if you believe the judges’ scores and critiques, is Normani (I don’t agree). If the audience is more woke than I give them credit for, it may more broadly imply “vote for one of the good dancers”, which would mean Normani & Rashad, and imply that voters should not be voting for David.  I’ve gotten several questions about how things are going to shake out next week, and I’m not 100% sure (like just about everything else this season), but I feel fairly confident in stating that they will likely lowball the sh*t out of David – as Heidi has stated multiple times before, the judges like to be RIGHT, and a season of gushing about pro dancer Normani only to have halfway-decent dancer David take the MBT makes them look…dumb. I think David is going to get the Noah/Alek treatment relative to the other two – scores several points lower on his two night 1 dances, to the point where votes won’t be enough to bridge the gap between him and Rashad/Normani.  As for the other two – who knows. The fact that they seemed a bit more lukewarm on Normani last night makes me think they’ve already accomplished what they really wanted – ensure Val makes the finale, to continue the narrative of Val being the “star of the show” and hopefully gain some younger viewers from Normani’s fanbase – and they won’t care quite so much about what happens from here on out.  The other part of me thinks they’re saying “Go big or go home!!!” and will continue the OTT gushing in an attempt to secure MBT #3 for Val. There’s just so much funny business going on that I just cannot state with certainty what exactly TPTB are trying to accomplish.  However, if you’re trying to be strategic with your vote (and some of you have expressed a desire to do just that), I would recommend tossing them to Rashad – and I’m not just saying that as a Shad fan 🙂 As I mentioned above, I think they’re going to score David such that it’s going to be a huge uphill battle to catch up to Shad & Normani, and I think there’s at least a decent chance that Normani is going to continue to get pimped right up until the MBT is handed out – so if you’re looking to really stick it to TPTB, I think Shad’s your best bet.

As for poor Simone – I think the thing that made me the saddest about the whole thing is that she almost seemed relieved to be heading home.  That speaks volumes – the fact that she had a meltdown in practice about doing the best she can and it not being good enough for the judges tells me that this show had long since stopped being fun for her.  This show BROKE her, to the point where not continuing seemed like a better bet than continuing on in the competition. So I guess if that’s what she really wanted at the end of the day – I’m happy for her, and glad she could go out on a high note. Other random thoughts? SO. MUCH. FILLER. LAST. NIGHT. If we cut out the two guest performances and cut back on mic time for random people (i.e. Normani’s grandma), I’m willing to bet we could have shaved a half hour or more off the running time. And I feel like every pro, current or former, that isn’t tied up with the DWTS tour is now trying to pull a Derek & Julianne and start their own tour…and each kinda feels like a less fully-realized version of MOVE. Yeah, it was kinda cool seeing Cheryl doing something really different for her – but it felt more like contemporary by numbers, than a truly creative, connected performance. Read more..

May 16, 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.

PureDWTS Season 24, Week 7 – Power Rankings

Y’know, if I felt so inclined, I’m thinking I could probably set up some phony-baloney psychic hotline and bilk people out of hundreds of dollars an hour, because predicting this season and its manipulation has gotten SO EASY that I could probably convince some of the less-bright viewers that I’m the second coming of Miss Cleo.  Who da fathah of de bebe? 😛

But in all seriousness – my god, was last night a shitshow. The powers that be didn’t even seem to be trying to hide their hand – from the moment they started mentioning the immunity and perfect scores, you just knew they were setting it up to serve Normani on a silver platter. Poor Simone & Shad, who both had fantastic nights and were every bit (if not more) as deserving as Normani, never even stood a chance of coming near that immunity. But the fact that TPTB went out of their way to keep Normani safe does give me hope – because it seems to point to her not being able to stay safe on her own. Think about it: for the past three weeks, she’s either gotten perfect or near-perfect scores, regardless of the actual quality (or content) of her dances – and this started happening after all of our low-hanging fruit (Chris, Charo, & Mr. T) was gone.  The judges turned on the gushing, and Normani has had a decent points cushion ever since. She has never really been in a position of imminent danger of getting sent home, by virtue of her scores (and the relative underscoring of others). But now that we’re getting down to the wire, and all that’s left are people who can hang in terms of votes – it’s going to take more and more drastic measures in order to keep Normani safe.  And during a precarious week with a *gasp!* double elim, what better way to ensure her safety than granting her immunity to this week’s elim? Just food for thought – it’s entirely possible that Normani could have been one of the two headed home when you added up last week’s scores and votes. But if they handed her immunity, the next person up on the roster would have gotten sent home in her place – and I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that the most likely person she would have bumped is Nancy, who probably has more support in the main viewing demographic than Normani does. So for those of you trying to make sense of this week’s elim – I honestly think that’s a valid theory of what may have happened.  Nancy could have been the sacrificial lamb because someone else had to stay. Or hell – Normani could have actually had the lowest combined total of scores and votes, but got saved by the immunity. Don’t think it’s possible that such an awesome and “popular” contestant could have gotten sent home? How quickly some are likely to forget Heather. Just a warning: don’t assume Normani is raking in votes because she’s been sticking around. She has yet to really have her fanbase tested on this show…

…as for our two eliminees, I think Nick & Nancy both did an extremely respectable job this season, and will be missed. As I’ve said before, I found myself liking Nick & his self-deprecating sense of humor way more than I thought I would, and he was actually a pretty decent dancer, too – but I think he was understandably beginning to tire of being berated week after week for dances that weren’t really all that bad, and I think Peta is just tired, period, and needs a nap. I could not have asked for more from Nancy & Artem – she was really finding her footing and starting to take shape as a contender, and I just LOVED seeing how grateful she was for the experience; and Artem absolutely blossomed this season as a pro – it was nice to see him so supportive and connected with his partner (after a chain of iffy partnerships), and his choreo took a turn for the better. As I said before, I think they may simply have been the victim of the machinations to keep Normani around, and I do believe Nancy actually had more support within the main viewing demo of the show than Normani did; I think Nancy & Artem may just have been at a bit of a disadvantage by quietly improving week after week, rather than swinging wildly from high-highs to low-lows like some other couples did.  Their journey may not have been dramatic, but it certainly was memorable and fun to watch 🙂

And now we move on to the elephant in the room: Bonner. Saw a lot of questions of “Who the hell is voting for Bonner????” floating around, and I’ll admit, it baffled me initially, too.  But once I got to thinking about it, it started to make more sense – I’m not sure that people are so much voting for Bonner as they are Sharna.  And this, kids, could be a bit of an unforeseen side of effect of multiple seasons of screwing Sharna out of a win – more and more fans seem to be adopting the “it’s [insert pro here]’s turn to win!!!!” philosophy, and I still see quite a bit of talk from fans who thought last season should have been Hinch & Sharna’s (hell, I’m one of them). It’s possible Sharna’s still experiencing a ground swell from last season, that’s carrying she & Bonner further than expected; they also had a comparatively decent week last week, with a pretty kind score and a rumba that wasn’t altogether terrible (along with being part of a really, really fun team dance). And to reiterate a point Heidi brought up to me earlier – when you’ve got the same 2-3 people getting the lion’s share of the votes each week (likely Rashad, Simone, & David), the situation at the bottom of the leader board can vacillate from week to week. If the same 3 couples are getting the most votes week after week, and the rest of the couples are each getting roughly the same fraction of votes as one another each week, then actual rankings can vary quite a bit based on their dances.  Bonner happened to have a relatively “up” week last week, while Nick got dragged and Nancy slipped a bit. Those little fluctuations, no matter how small, have the potential to shake things up quite a bit if those further down the leaderboard are all fighting for the same fraction of votes.

Other than the obvious stuff? Mandy was an ok judge, but seemed to be just another “yes” woman and was following instructions from the control booth on how to score; I did kinda like how she seemed to frequently give a point more than the other judges, though, especially for those dances were the judges were being particularly nitpicky/stingy. I thought the opener was kinda lazy, though – was Mandy too busy getting debriefed on the responses she was to be giving each of the couples as a judge to choreograph something more interesting? Seemed like everyone got caught up a bit in some time-wasting in their dances, just by virtue of the theme, so I guess I’m giving everyone a bit of a free pass this week. The dance-offs were kind of a non-event, and seemed to be very much predetermined, down to who would win each one. Is it too much to ask to let things unfold at least a little bit organically on this show??? Read more..

May 2, 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.