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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. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

PureDWTS Season 24, Week 8 – Power Rankings

Wow…I’m honestly not even sure where to begin. I feel like last night’s show was just 2 hours of the judges/PTB spanking the viewers for not voting how they (the judges/PTB) feel they SHOULD be voting. And the judges reached new lows – between Len telling Bonner “you should have gone home already!” and Carrie Ann deciding that David’s critique was a great time to shade Rashad (disrespectful to both men, really), to every judge giving vague, rambling, directionless critiques based on absolutely nothing, my head was spinning by the end. And my blood was boiling, because I think last night things legitimately got a bit sexist, too – between the judges giving Simone a hard time about smiling too much/not enough, Val & Alan doffing their shirts and shifting focus away from Normani, Sharna & Britt begrudgingly selling their souls in that trio, and watching female pros bite their tongues and try not to show they were upset by the critiques they were getting (while a certain male pro basically acts like a mouthy teenager every week and talks back to Len), I honestly felt sickened. Heidi & I are still gonna write that sexism post I promised you guys – but at this point, I think I need a cooling off period before I’m able to discuss it without absolutely losing my sh*t.

So Bonner went home, to the surprise of basically no one – but I will say that, for awhile there, I was seriously wondering if he was safe, with as cruel as they were being to him. Two unflattering packages, a sleazy trio dance to a terrible song, getting mocked by Val & Alan, two bad scores, and Len basically calling him out to his face on live national television – it seemed to point more to “he’s sticking around, but we want to make sure that he ain’t gonna survive next week’s elim!” But thankfully, he did end up going home – especially since they decided to share a sleazy clip of him during the trio rehearsal.  Yes, he might have gotten a bad edit – but they can’t actually edit you in such a way that you say “maybe I could spank you both on the butt!” if you didn’t actually say it. Or gesture it. Anywho – bye-bye, Bonner. You hopefully freed up Sharna’s schedule so she can fly to Indy and watch Hinch in the Indy Grand Prix this weekend 🙂

And then there were four – and next week’s elim is probably gonna hurt. I think everyone left deserves to be in the finale for different reasons, and would be fine if they ended up deciding to take all four to the finale; but my initial guess that they’re aiming for a Rashad-Simone-Normani finale doesn’t feel so concrete anymore – part of me wonders if they’ve grown accustomed to the new viewers and votes that David has brought to the show, and don’t want that gravy train to end…so I still think there’s at least a slight chance he could edge out one of the three above and make it to the finals. I’m also not entirely positive who he might displace – my gut says Normani, because her voting fanbase is still untested and she seems to be the one that gets the most help in term of gushing critiques and inflated scores; but they seemed to nitpick the life out of Simone & Rashad last night – will America buy it? If some of the comments I’ve been seeing are any indicator, the answer is no – people seem especially pissed about how Simone was treated. So I guess I’m still leaning towards a Simone-Rashad-Normani finale, with David potentially playing spoiler to Normani. Read more..

May 9, 2017 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 23, Week 10 – Power Rankings

It’s nights like last night that make me seriously question why I continue to watch DWTS, let alone write about it – because there was some seriously skeezy, very manipulative stuff going on, and the agenda could not have been more clear.  Someone on Twitter asked me last week how we get our predictions about who’s going home/how the judges are going to score/who’s going to get pimped or hosed correct so often – and last night I found myself seriously questioning whether it’s the fact that we’ve been doing this for 7 years now, and just sharpen our skills each season…or if the show has just gotten more and more obvious with their agenda, thereby just making it that much easier to predict what’s going to happen.  It’s a very disconcerting thought to be having…

…so while we’re on the topic of disconcerting things we saw last night, I’ll go ahead and get this out of the way and leave it up to you whether you continue to read after this point or not: I was very, very disappointed (and kinda disgusted) with how Laurie’s package about her grandmother’s death was handled. And before some of you turn your moral outrage to a fever pitch, know this: BEING DISAPPOINTED IN LAURIE’S PACKAGE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HOW LAURIE HANDLED HER GRIEF, AND EVERYTHING TO DO WITH HOW THE PRODUCERS EXPLOITED IT. The very fact that I have to even preface this commentary with that makes me seriously weary of how emotionally unintelligent some DWTS fans have become, as I witnessed on Twitter last night, and does not give me a whole lot of hope for continued intelligent discussion in future seasons. But I found the way they chose to hone in on Laurie crying, lamenting the fact that she didn’t get one more trip home to see her grandma, and then playing the clip of her grandmother wishing her good luck at the end seemed like “emotion porn” – taking Laurie’s genuine grief and cobbling it together in such a way that it seemed extra devastating, and only seemed to rub Laurie’s face in her own sorrow.  It looked like Val didn’t warn her not to watch the package before their foxtrot, because she did seem very thrown-off by it, and a little choked up during her dance.  So many people feel the need to remind me each week that Laurie “is only 16”; so yes – given that, maybe it wasn’t in the best taste of the producers to create a package that could very easily have compounded the poor girl’s guilt about not getting to see her grandmother one more time. Also saw a lot of folks on Twitter justifying it with “well they did the same thing to Bindi” –  sorry, but Bindi’s father had been gone for 9 years when she did her season; Laurie’s grandmother passed away just a few days ago.  Big difference in the way one interprets grief immediately after a death and then several years after a death, and Derek at least had the forethought to warn Bindi not to listen to her packages, lest they affect her performance. Laurie kinda got thrown headlong into it – she handled it well, but am I alone in thinking that maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t in the best taste to create a package that hinged upon Laurie’s guilt about not getting more time with her grandmother…and then kinda ambushing her with it? It is possible to create a package with a theme of remembrance that doesn’t victimize those grieving – we’ve seen this show do it. And given that I’ve had people forwarding me links to interviews this morning where Val has said that he actually knew about Laurie’s grandmother dying BEFORE she did and that the interview with her grandmother happened 10 weeks ago (and not last week, as the package led us to believe), makes me all the more weary of how the show handled the whole thing.  It stinks…bad.

Moving right along to another bone of contention from last night’s show – wonky/inconsistent/agenda-filled scoring/judging that was clearly meant to shield some while disadvantaging others.  James got nitpicked, so as to justify not tying Laurie with a perfect score; Calvin got severely low-balled, so as to keep him from getting too close to Jana; Laurie got treated with kid gloves; Jana got overly kind scores & critiques.  The judges copped out and gave everyone the same score on their trio, which basically just made the margins a bit smaller – something that I don’t think would have happened if Len had been there, and needless to say I cannot WAIT to have him back next week…although I have to wonder if he will just follow the company line and only award 9’s & 10’s.  We had already kinda gotten the feeling that Terra was a goner headed into this week, and the fact that they gave her a perfect 60 for the night was the final nail in the coffin, I’m afraid – Rob Wade got his ideal finale, which did not include a little person who was actually more technically proficient than at least one of the finalists.  Sad to see Terra go, because she was a good dancer and I got the impression she really was having fun on the show – but as with many sh*ttastic things that happen on this show these days, not entirely unexpected. Read more..

November 15, 2016 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 21, Week 10 – Power Rankings

Fun fact: you can totally dominate an entire episode of DWTS with your antics, narrowly avoid elimination, and then turn around and withdraw 24 hours later – and somehow STILL get more attention once you’ve been eliminated than some contestants got all season long  😎 Yes, kids, this was the second installment of “The Tamar Show”, with Tom reminding us for nearly the entire first half of the show that we were going to get an update on Tamar – nevermind the fact that we had 4 celebs that were actually still competing on DWTS tonight, the people must know what’s been going on with Tamar!!! Yes, it sucks what happened, and despite my feelings about Tamar this season, I do wish her a speedy recovery – but the constant reminders of her last night? Just kinda did a disservice to Alek, Bindi, Carlos, & Nick.  If next Monday is the same way – so help me god, I just might commit seppuku with a plastic knife.

Also becoming tiresome to me? The fact that Carlos still seems like he’s trying to come up with sob stories each week to compete with Bindi, Nick, & Alek.  And they just sound totally disingenuous, on top of sounding a bit silly compared to the struggles of the other contestants remaining. Carlos says “I was depressed and addicted to weed!”; Nick can easily counter with  “Yeah, I was pretty heavy into alcohol, cocaine, X, and prescription painkillers for awhile…failed at rehab…got a heart condition…did I mention my sister died of a drug overdose a few years ago? But please, tell me more about your crippling weed addiction.” Carlos pulls out “I haven’t spoken to my mom in 4 years!” Bindi can say “How awful! My dad died in a freak accident when I was 8 – I just wish he was still here.” Meanwhile, Nick is over in the corner, waving his hands and going “Hey, anyone want to talk about how my parents only want my money, and how I’ve had to cut ties with them as a result?” Oh wait…Carlos says he “found Jesus!” Wonder what Alek has to say about that…”Gosh, I only just found a terrorist on a train, and beat the tar out of him to protect the lives of the other people said train. Shucks.” I guess my point is this: Carlos may not have a super-compelling story to tell, but that doesn’t mean I want to see him grasp at straws to try and out-sob story everyone else.  I probably would find him more likeable if I didn’t feel like he was constantly trying to one-up everyone else and just let his dancing do the talking.

As for the possible bomb Tom dropped at the end of the show about either Nick or Bindi having the lowest combined total – call me crazy, but I actually think there could have been some truth behind it. I just don’t see them lying about it – they could have very easily just called those two “in jeopardy” and not even mentioned anything about the lowest combined total, and the effect would have been the same.  But they DID actually say “one of you has the lowest combined total, but you’re not going home because Tamar is out.” I don’t believe for a minute that it’s Bindi that got the lowest combined total, considering everywhere I look, people are singing her praises – but Nick? He could be in some legit trouble with votes. Now while his fans assure me that the Backstreet Boys “are HUGE around the world!” and that he is “getting tons of votes”, I feel like this is a good opportunity to remind everyone of a central tenet of being successful on DWTS: international votes aren’t likely to help much if you don’t also win over the main viewing demographic of DWTS – middle-aged, conservative-leaning American women.  There hasn’t been a single DWTS champ that didn’t in some way appeal to that demographic, and in order to win, you HAVE to have them on your side. Is Nick appealing to that demographic? If so, is he making himself more appealing to that demographic than Bindi, Carlos, and Alek? Keep in mind that veterans (think J.R., Noah…and Alek) typically hold a lot of appeal for that demographic, as do those who are openly Christian (Sadie, Candace…and Carlos), and really anyone that is typically just bubbly and likable across the board (Kellie, and Bindi – particularly the latter, who seems to have enchanted just about everyone). Where do boyband members fit in? Only one has managed to win (Drew Lachey), and the rest have done ok-to-well, likely owing to their previous dance experience. One slight problem I see is this: Nick’s fans might still be a tad young to fit into the “middle aged” category – I was 13 when BSB posters covered my walls at the height of their popularity, and I’m 30 now…still 10 years shy of that “middle-aged” label. Part of me thinks his more casual fans might still be a tad young to be tuning into DWTS on the regular and actually voting – I know I’m really more of the exception than the norm.  You also have to take into account what happened last week – Nick kinda got upstaged by Tamar’s drama, and Carlos likely got a bit of a boost (not a huge one, but enough) in votes from Alexa’s fans that kicked their votes over to him.  Nick also dropped back down to getting mostly 9’s last week after getting a perfect score the previous week. When you take all of this into account – is it really all that far-fetched to think that maybe Nick really was the lowest combined total of votes & scores? Did his fans maybe get a bit complacent, thinking that so many people were voting for him that he would be ok if they maybe didn’t vote so hard a certain week? I just think back to Zendaya in season 16 – her fans were so sure that she was getting oodles of votes, yet she still managed to come up short in the end and Kellie took the MBT. Regardless of whether what Tom said last night was truth or a total fabrication, they likely did both Bindi & Nick a huge favor – I can only image the panic that ran through some fans at the revelation that their favorite was in danger, and the increased vigor with which they voted. Heck, even if you think Tom was lying…is that really a bluff you care to call?  😯 Read more..

November 17, 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