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DWTS Stat Class: What’s Running Order Got to Do with It?

With 10 seasons of DWTS behind us now, we’re at an interesting place – we’ve got enough data and scores at our disposal to do some interesting statistical analyses of the show.  Ever wonder if there’s any interesting patterns in scoring, running order, dance selection, or even pro pairings? Well, wonder no more – because we’re about to run those numbers, and bring some surprising patterns to light…I like to call it “DWTS Stat Class”. 😀 

Here’s an interesting fact: out of the 83 regular, weekly eliminations (not counting elims that determined placements in the finals or withdrawals from the competition – the math just gets too tricky with those) in the 10 seasons of DWTS, only 39 of them were couples that were that week’s lowest scorer – roughly 47%.  So what does that mean? Well, that the other 53% of the time, some factor other than a low score resulted in a couple getting sent home.  While the obvious answer to some might be “Well those couples just weren’t as popular!”, there’s no scientific, finite way to measure popularity on the show, and we unfortunately aren’t privy to the vote counts for each couple.  However, there are other factors we can take an objective measurement of – running order, dance choice, even the pro you’re paired with…and that’s where some interesting stats pop up. 

DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional statistician, nor am I a Vegas sports bookie – I am well aware that these calculations are not perfect, nor are they particularly sophisticated.  There are simply too many variables to account for in order make these stats “airtight”, and quite frankly, I don’t have the time or the desire to try.  These are just general observations, to be taken with a grain of salt – so if anyone starts complaining in the comments about this not being “scientific” enough, go run the numbers yourself…I’ll even publish your findings on this site.  But you don’t get to bitch & moan if you can’t do better yourself.  Mmmmmkay? 😉

 Today’s topic? Running order.  The question: is it possible that the order in which the couples dance on performance night can affect their odds of elimination that week? The answer, based upon my findings: sure seems like it.

 Some of you have heard me talk about the “money spot” (dancing last) or the “crap spot” (dancing first) in my power rankings – my general observation is that those who dance last are less likely to get sent home, as their performances are fresh in the viewers’ minds when they’re voting after the show; those who dance first are more at risk of getting sent home, as an entire show’s length has elapsed since their performance and they’re often forgotten by the voters. 

 Well, after taking a closer look at the running order of eliminated couples, it seems as though the numbers are consistent with my first hypothesis – only 3 out of the 83 eliminations were couples that had danced last on performance night (or one of 2 performance nights, if there was no elimination previous week, so the couples would have danced twice before a particular elimination); it may also be worth noting that two of the couples, Joey McIntyre & Ashly Costa and Ty Murray & Chelsie Hightower, were also the low scorers that week (and both were eliminated in the semifinals, when scores are of greater importance) – so their departure may have had more to do with a low score than the order in which they danced.  Based on that, it seems to me that, unless a couple does exceptionally poorly any given week, if they dance last – the chances of them getting eliminated that week are slim to none, unless it’s one of the final weeks of the competition. Guess if you’re a couple having an off-week, you should hope and pray that you get to go last!

 As for my “crap” spot hypothesis about going first – I was wrong.  Only 11 out of 83 eliminations were from couples that had danced first on performance night (or, again, on at least one of 2 performance nights, if there was no elimination the previous week and the couples danced twice before an elimination).  That’s only about 13.25%.  However, there was an overwhelming percentage of eliminations for couples who danced 2nd in the running order during the week they were eliminated – about 30%, by far the greatest of all the running order positions. And this was regardless of how many couples total danced that week!  Of those, only 9 were actually the lowest scorer during the week they were eliminated – so maybe the other 16 were part of the “curse of #2”.  I guess it makes sense to me – if you go first, you’re still at least the first one viewers have seen, so they’ll likely remember you because of it; but if you go second (or anywhere in the middle of the pack), you’re more likely to get lost in the shuffle. A good example of the new “crap spot” in action – Shannen Doherty.  Poor girl got a pretty lousy draw in the running order lottery – she danced 2nd in week one, and 1st in week two…overall, a pretty hard combo to overcome, which may have had something to do with her getting sent home despite not being the week’s lowest scorer. 

 So what about the “middle of the pack” positions, you ask? Well things get a bit tricky there, since there hasn’t been the same number of competitors each season, so I’m not going to go into the details of positions 3, 4, 5…etc.  However, two interesting points: one, no one who has danced in a position greater than 10th in the running order in a given week has gotten sent home; two, over 70% of the eliminations have been couples who danced in the first half of the show the night they performed.  What can we extrapolate from that? Well, it seems like the closer your performance is to the end of the show, the better – if you can’t go last, at least you can hope that you perform in the second half of the show, because it seems a helluva lot safer than dancing in the first half!

 Here’s another interesting tidbit, which I already sort of touched on above: the closer you get to the end of the season, the less running order seems to matter.  At about the halfway point in each season, the patterns I’ve mentioned above seem to show up less frequently – and couples tend to be sent home based more on low score than anything else.  Why? Probably because it’s easier to get lost in the middle of a big group of couples (such as the first half of the season) than it is to get forgotten in a much smaller group (second half of the season).  The fact that people have already established their favorites and know who the strong couples are by the middle of the season may also play a role – the second half of the season really seems to separate the men from the boys (and the women from the girls!), so to speak, and actually giving good performances with high scores tends to matter more.

 So what can we conclude about running order, class? 😉

Well, we can’t really conclude anything – lord knows this show can be completely unpredictable at times, and no pattern we find is guaranteed to hold true.  HOWEVER, we can say it seems as though you’re safe if you dance last, pretty safe if you dance in the second half of the show, slightly at a disadvantage if you dance in the first half, and you’re almost totally screwed if you dance 2nd.  I guess 2nd place really is first place loser 😉 But if it’s later in the season – well, then you just better dance like there’s no tomorrow!

August 13, 2010 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

Dancing with the Stars – Who Wore it Better, Part V

…and the fun continues! Alright fashion critics, have at it 😉 

On a side note, we have to give a very special thanks to our friend Marcela, who frequents this site all the way from Brazil! Marcela was kind enough to share with us many dittoes that she had found, and even sent us side-by-side pictures of them.  Marcela, here’s a big “Obrigado!” from all of us here at Pure DWTS…you rock! 😀


Battle of the black & white floral-print ballgown: Brooke’s quickstep with Derek in season 7 vs. Cheryl in the pro dance to Michael Buble in season 9

Courtney: Hmmmm. I’m not hugely fond of this dress, so I think it’s making it hard for me to figure out who it looks better on.  I think it probably suits Brooke’s body a bit better (surprise, surprise…that woman could make a burlap sack look good!), but I’m not a fan of the severely pulled-back side bun hair they gave her.  I think it doesn’t suit Cheryl’s body quite as well, but I think her loose, carefree hair & hoop earrings better suit the breezy feel of the dress.  I dunno…I’m defaulting to Heidi.

Heidi: Does liking Brooke’s partner better count?? 🙂  Seriously though, look at both of the men – I think you’ll note that the men’s outfits match the hairstyles on the ladies. They made Brooke much more formal, to complement Derek’s dinner jacket and bow tie and slick hair, whereas Cheryl’s hair is more loose and flowy which compliments Jonathan’s lack of jacket and undone bow tie. BOTH couples are very finished, for what they are trying to portray.

The winner: Have to call it a draw for two complete ensembles – men included. 😉


Battle of the gold-fringe Latin dress: Chelsie’s salsa with Ty in season 8 vs. Nicole’s jive with Derek in the season 10 finale

Heidi: Derek and Nicole’s Jive was just fan-flippin-tastic – and that includes seriously rocking that dress. Chelsie might be too sweet to be that fierce. And that ain’t no jive talkin’. 😉

Courtney: Now as fierce as both these ladies look in this sparkler, I’ve gotten give it to Nicole – she just slightly out-fierces Chelsie with that fabulous hair flip.  That jive was seriously awesome – and Tina herself sure knows how to rock a gold fringe dress!

The winner: Nicole, by a Tina Turner ‘tude


Battle of the hot pink, cut-out ballgown with matching gloves: Kym’s foxtrot with David in season 8 vs. Melissa’s preseason photo shoot with Mark in season 9

Courtney: This gown is just adorable – reminds me so much of Marilyn Monroe’s dress in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes…which is why I think it looks so cute on both of these lovely blonde ladies 😉 Love Melissa’s 40’s-esque finger waves, but I also love Kym’s tighter curls.  In the end, though, I just have to give this one to Kym – while I don’t particularly remember David well that season (except for his rather embarrassing exit speech), I do remember Kym just working it in this foxtrot, and this dress just sparkling away as she moved.  Therefore, I must give this one to our favorite Aussie blonde 😀

Heidi: They both do look awesome. But when you mention Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, it made me think of Marlee Matalin’s dance with Derek, Mark, Fabian Sanchez and Genya Mazo and I ran to check the video. Nah. Not the same dress as Marlee. 😉 ANYway, I have to give it to Kym too – that body is hard to beat and I just like her personality better anyway.

The winner: Kym, for being the Aussie answer to Marilyn herself!


Battle of the itty-bitty, coral one-sleeve Latin dress: Edyta’s cha-cha with Jason in season 6 vs. Julianne’s pro dance with Derek to Jennifer Hudson in season 7

Heidi: That Julianne had the guts to wear a dress AFTER Edyta wore it – well, I have to hand it to her. Girl is brave. Of course she works it just as well as Edyta, so why not? I like it better with Julianne’s coloring, I think.

Courtney: This has got to be one of the TINIEST costumes I’ve ever seen on the show – and that’s saying something, considering that Edyta is, to quote Lawrence Taylor “allergic to clothes”, hehe.  Not that I blame Edyta at all – as I’ve said before, if I had a body that fabulous, you’d have to put me in a nudist colony, because I would be naked ALL THE TIME.  However, this dress looks too much to me like many of the others Edyta has worn, while the look is a little more surprising on Julianne – the coral looks surprisingly flattering on her.  So kudos to Julianne for out-Edytaing Edyta!

The winner: Julianne for bravery. 😉


Battle of the yellow & orange overdye Latin dress: Julianne’s salsa with Cody in season 7 vs. Lisa’s quickstep with Mayo in the new pro contest in season 8

Courtney: I found it very, very strange that they opted to put Lisa in a Latin dress to do a quickstep – I guess they were trying to fit the whole “Walking on Sunshine” theme with the colors of the dress.  But it just looks so mismatched up to Mayo – he’s so covered & dark and she’s so…bare.  And I hate that shaggy haircut of hers – I feel like it totally obscures her face.  Now Julianne, on the other hand, is just an absolute delight in this dress – can you believe this was only about a week after her appendectomy?!

Heidi: Girlfriend did one hell of a jive with Derek a week after her appendectomy, so yes, I can believe it. 😉 This one is kind of a toss up for me – Lisa cut off the tail of the dress and the colors look better with her tan, but her hair and her overinflated lips get me every time. Love Julianne, but she added a huge flower up near the shoulder that I can’t get behind, plus it took me a minute or two to figure out that the tail of the dress was wrapped around her right leg. Don’t know what she’s got around her left ankle. Anyway, I guess I find the flower and the tail less egregious than the hair and the lips. 😉

The winner: Julianne, for normal lips.


Battle of the fringed, zebra-print Latin dress: Mel B’s jive with Maks in season 5 vs. Lacey’s preseason photo shoot in season 7

Heidi: I kind of find this dress awful. And Lacey didn’t follow the “take one thing off” rule before she left the house. 😉 That said, I like it better on her because of the gloves and the red hair. Add in that I am SO NOT a Mel fan and well….Lacey wins. 😉

Courtney: Another dress I just don’t particularly care for – looks like something off the sale rack at Wet Seal.  However, I do think it fits both ladies’ feisty personalities well.  I guess I’ll go with Lacey – the streaks of red in her hair offer a nice pop of color to offset the black & white in the dress.

The winner: Lacey…just barely. This dress sucks.


Battle of the red, cut-out, ruffly Latin dress: Shannon’s mambo with Derek in season 6 vs. Kym’s preseason photo shoot in season 7

Courtney: Wow, this batch is really a mixed bag for me – I’m either loving or hating these dresses.  This, unfortunately falls into the latter category – BLECH.  Am I the only one that thought that Shannon looked terribly awkward in almost every costume they put her in? Aggghhh, and that hair – looks like they were trying to style it like her ex-husband’s (look him up – Joe Reitman.  Eek!) Kym does a decent job of making a crappy dress look acceptable, so I’ll go with her. 

Heidi: I think Shannon WAS awkward in a lot of the dresses. This one is funny because she had lots of padding in the bra AND in the butt, and she wasn’t afraid to tell EVERYONE. It made all the media that week very entertaining, especially when Derek is pulling down the back of her dress to show reporters and she then proceeds to rip his shirt open. And to think they tried to tell people they were just friends. Um, right. 😉 I also have to give it up to Derek for once again attempting a camouflage (with all those ruffles) a lack of hip action. Despite me enjoying this dress on Shannon for all the backstage reasons, it’s pretty clear that Kym just wears it better. The confidence will get you every time. I bet Kym didn’t need the padding either. 😉

The winner: Duh, Kym! Even though this dress sucks too. 😉

 Pssst! First time here? Then you should definitely check out parts I, II, III, & IV of our “Who Wore it Better?” series! 😀 

August 4, 2010 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 10 Week 6 Predictions

Another week has come and gone and with upcoming Monday’s show, comes new dances… in this case the fiesty Samba and the sultry Argentine Tango…

(Un)Fortunately, the Argentine Tango was introduced only two seasons ago as thus there is limited data available for analysis. But I will do with what I can…

Many thanks to Heidi for breaking down who is dancing what in tomorrow’s show

Pamela Anderson/Damian Whitewood – Argentine Tango
– Season 8 (Holly Madison/Dmitry Chaplin, Week 4): 16/30
Prediction: 23/30

Niecy Nash/Louis van Amstel – Argentine Tango
– Season 9 (w/ Kelly Osbourn, Week 10): 26/30
Prediction: 20/30

Chad Ochocinco/Cheryl Burke – Argentine Tango
– Season 8 (w/ Gilles Marini, Week 4): 30/30
– Season 8 (Lawrence Taylor/Edyta Sliwinska, Week 4): 19/30
Prediction: 21/30

The Samba on the other hand has been around since Season 1 of Dancing with the Stars, as thus there is much more data available for analysis:

Erin Andrews/Maksim Chmerkovskiy – Samba
– Season 2 (w/ Tia Carrere, Week 5): 22/30
– Season 4 (w/ Laila Ali, Week 7): 30/30
– Season 5 (w/ Melanie Brown, Week 5): 29/30
– Season 8 (w/ Denise Richards, Week 3): 16/30
– Season 9 (w/ Debi Mazar, Week 3): 17/30
Prediction: 22/30

Evan Lysacek/Anna Trebunskaya – Samba
– Season 2 (w/ Jerry Rice, Week 5): 23/30
– Season 9 (w/ Chuck Liddell, Week 3): 17/30
– Season 9 (w/ Mark Dacascos, Week 7): 19/30
and of course in comparison with that other figure skater…
– Season 6 (Kristi Yamaguchi/Mark Ballas, Week 8): 26/30
Prediction: 26/30

Jake Pavelka/Chelsie Hightower – Samba
– Season 8 (w/ Ty Murray, Week 10): 23/30
Since there is so little information in regards we look to other reality stars for additional data
– Season 8 (Holly Madison/Dmitry Chaplin, Week 3): 17/30
– Season 8 (Melissa Rycroft/Tony Dovolani, Week 9): 30/30
Prediction: 23/30

Nicole Scherzinger/Derek Hough – Samba
– Season 5 (w/ Jennie Garth, Week 5): 25/30
– Season 6 (w/ Shannon Elizabeth, Week 5): 23/30
– Season 7 (w/ Brooke Burke, Week 4): 26/30
– Season 7 (w/ Brooke Burke, Week 10): 28/30
– Season 8 (w/ Lil’ Kim, Week 3): 25/30
– Season 9 (w/ Joanna Krupa, Week 3): 23/30
Prediction: 27/30

As for who I think will leave the competition on Tuesday? According to several calculations, I believe that bottom two would be Niecy and Pam with Niecy going home… though I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if Jake is swapped with Pamela.

Those are my predictions, what are yours? 🙂

April 25, 2010 I Written By

My life can be summed up in the following two quotes: 1) "I am married to engineering and am its faithful wife by day, but at night my wanderlust takes hold and the arts becomes my jealous paramour." and... 2) "Engineering is my safety net. Writing is my passion. Acting is my escape when the other two become too much." So where does dancing fit in? Pretty much anywhere at this point... =)

DWTS 10 Week 5 Predictions

Hola! Konnichiwa! Bonjour! Alo! I’m Marianya the newest blogger on the site. I’ve been a fan and following DWTS since Season 2. I have done some ballroom dancing myself and totally recommend it as a recreational activity for those that are fans of DWTS and would like to know how to dance… even just for fun!

In any case, Princess Heidi did an awesome write up that includes which dance each celeb/pro is doing, possible song choices, commentary, etc. What I’m attempting to do is take past scores and experiences of the pros (and in some cases past celebs that relate to a current celeb) and will attempt to predict what their scores are going to be tonight. I did not use scores from relays, or team dances. I also did not use scores of the Argentine Tango since it is a different dance from the Tango.

And now, in no particular order…

Evan Lysacek/Anna Trebunskya – Rumba
– Season 2 (w/ Jerry Rice, Week 7): 21/30
Since there is not enough information, I’m going to add include the scores of previous figure skaters:
– Season 6 (Kristi Yamaguchi/Mark Ballas, Week 5): 29/30
Prediction: 26/30

Jake Pavelka/Chelsie Hightower – ChaCha
– Season 8 (w/ Ty Murray, Week 1): 14/30
Since Chelsie has only done the ChaCha with Ty Murray, I’m going to pull data from previous reality stars.
– Season 8 (Holly Madison/Dmitry Chaplin, Week 1): 18/30
– Season 8 (Melissa Rycroft/Tony Dovolani, Week 10): 27/30
Prediction: 21/30

Chad Ochocinco/Cheryl Burke – Quickstep
– Season 2 (w/ Drew Lachey, Week 2): 27/30
– Season 3 (w/ Emmitt Smith, Week 2): 24/30
– Season 4 (w/ Ian Ziering, Week 2): 22/30
– Season 5 (w/ Wayne Newton, Week 2): 15/30
– Season 6 (w/ Cristian de la Fuente, Week 2): 20/30
– Season 7 (w/ Maurice Greene, Week 8): 24/30
– Season 8 (w/ Gilles Marini, Week 2): 27/30
Prediction: 22/30

Niecy Nash/Louis Van Amstel – Jive
– Season 2 (w/ Lisa Rinna, Week 3): 25/30
– Season 3 (w/ Monique Coleman, Week 3): 27/30
– Season 9 (w/ Kelly Osbourne, Week 8): 26/30
Prediction: 24/30

Kate Gosselin/Tony Dovolani – Foxtrot
– Season 2 (w/ Stacy Keibler, Week 4): 26/30
– Season 3 (w/ Sara Evans, Week 1): 15/30
– Season 4 (w/ Leeza Gibbons, Week 1): 15/30
– Season 5 (w/ Jane Seymour, Week 1): 24/30
– Season 6 (w/ Marissa Jaret Winokur, Week 8): 25/30
– Season 8 (w/ Melissa Rycroft, Week 3): 27/30
Prediction: 17/30

Nicole Sherzinger/Derek Hough – Tango
– Season 5 (w/ Jennie Garth, Week 3): 26/30
– Season 6 (w/ Shannon Elizabeth, Week 7): 27/30
– Season 7 (w/ Brooke Burke, Week 8): 28/30
Prediction: 26/30

Erin Andrews/Maksim Chmerkovskiy – Jive
– Season 3 (w/ Willa Ford, Week 3): 22/30
– Season 4 (w/ Laila Ali, Week 8): 26/30
– Season 5 (w/ Mel B, Week 3): 27/30
Prediction: 22/30

Pamela Anderson/Damian Whitewood – Quickstep
– Season 1 (Kelly Monaco/Alec Mazo, Dance Off): 24/30
– Season 8 (Holly Madison/Dmitry Chaplin, Week 2): 18/30
I’m comparing with the only data that would be relevant, which is via the celeb… Since this is later in the season, and Pamela is slowly doing better… and can act…
Prediction: 22/30

So those are my predictions for the night… What are your predictions? 😀

Data Disclaimer: This was the best data I could find. Feel free to correct anything I might have gotten wrong so I can update the post.

April 19, 2010 I Written By

My life can be summed up in the following two quotes: 1) "I am married to engineering and am its faithful wife by day, but at night my wanderlust takes hold and the arts becomes my jealous paramour." and... 2) "Engineering is my safety net. Writing is my passion. Acting is my escape when the other two become too much." So where does dancing fit in? Pretty much anywhere at this point... =)

Dancing with the Stars All Stars

Heidi’s been doing an amazing job as usual finding all the leaks as to who will be the cast on Dancing with the Stars 2010. I find the most recent rumor of Paula Abdul on Dancing with the Stars especially interesting.

While we wait to find out the official DWTS 2010 cast, I was thinking about what could make the show REALLY exciting. Plus, I think I was influenced by the Survivor 20: Heroes vs Villains where they’re brining back a bunch of old contestants. Similar to that, what if Dancing with the Stars did a special season called Dancing with the Stars All Stars?

Of course, the hard part of doing a Dancing with the Stars All Stars would be selecting the stars to return to the show. Here’s the list of celebrities I’d be interested in seeing back on the show (in no particular order):

Donny Osmond – Better bring the ringer back so that he can compete against all the other ringers. Then, it would be really interesting.

Mya – I’d like to see her dance with someone besides Dmitry. I might change my mind about her then.

Shawn Johnson – Maybe it would be even more fun with her if we gave her 10 years to actually grow up. However, seeing her fan base against a Donny Osmond fan base would be interesting.

Ty Murray – I know I should have Gilles here, but I’m not a huge fan. I’d rather see Ty dance again. He’s just so lovable.

Brooke Burke – Let’s partner her with someone other than Derek and see how she does. She had such a natural ability to dance. I’m pretty sure she’d look great regardless of partner.

Lance Bass – I really enjoyed the effect he had on Lacey. Lacey was more exciting with Lance as a partner. I think Lance would have a similar effect on some of our other favorite female DWTS pros.

Kristi Yamaguchi – I wonder if there are more ice skating fans or gymnastic fans. This would be interesting to find out. My bets on Kristi as cute as Shawn is.

Mel B – She was great on DWTS and I’d love to see her again. Her and Maks were great, but I think Mel B would be entertaining with almost any partner. Well, except maybe the stone faced Dmitry or Alec.

Sabrina Bryan – I’d like to see her get another shot. I bet her fans would go crazy voting for her if they had another chance.

Apolo Anton Ohno – It would be odd to see him dancing with anyone, but Julianne. In fact, a whole group of fans would likely revolt. However, Apolo would be fun to watch again on DWTS.

Emmitt Smith – Emmitt was just downright smooth. I’m not sure about how he did technically, but he definitely had a gift for making his movement look silky and smooth. It was amazing to watch.

Mario Lopez – Him and Karina were great together and it would be weird to see him with another pro. However, imagine Mario dancing with Ashly DelGrosso (who they’d have to bring back as well). That would be nice to watch.

Joey Lawrence – I loved all of the top 3 from this season. Edyta definitely made Joey look good. I think a part of me sees Joey as a skinny nerdy kid dancing with someone as beautiful as Edyta and that makes me happy.

Drew Lachey – I don’t remember many standouts from season 3, but I did see Drew on tour and he was a good dancer.

Kelly Monaco – The first season barely even counts, but Kelly was the first to win and deserves to be on a DWTS with some actual competition.

Can you imagine a season of Dancing with the Stars with even half of these dancers? You’d barely have any idea each week who was going home. Plus, the dancing would be to such an amazing level. Every dance would be a pleasure to watch. I’m sure the judges would get a little crabby and anal about little things, but we could deal with that for the chance to see these people again.

Ok, so it probably won’t happen, but it’s fun to think about a Dancing with the Stars All Stars, no? Who would you include in your All Star cast and why?

January 28, 2010 I Written By

Better known as Charlie.

DWTS9 Week 7 Power Rankings

At long last…a week where I actually get excited about a routine (or maybe even two! 🙂 ) After the doldrums of the past few weeks, I was beginning to think I had come down with H1N1 and was just grumpy about the whole show…but I have to say, I was actually blown outta the water by one couple in particular this week…and it may not be who you think it is 🙂

As much as I’ve hated some of the new “twists” of the past few seasons (the “dance off”, the addition of a bunch of new dances every season, the relay dances, etc.), I actually do really enjoy the team dances – although I am getting a bit tired of the team paso (but thank goodness they didn’t try to revive the team mambo…I don’t want to re-live the ones from the past two seasons, yikes!).  While team tango was clearly superior to team paso (Joanna & Derek in particular stood out for me), both this season’s routines didn’t seem as hard-hitting and memorable of those in past seasons…and team paso in particular just seemed to be going through the motions.  Blah. But onto the rankings! Gotta say, it’s getting more and more fun to write them as the season wears on and the power players shuffle around 😉

1.) Joanna & Derek – Now I realize that I may have been accused in the past of being overly “partial” to Derek.  However, I think Heidi can vouch for the fact that I haven’t always been a fan of these tw0 (I’m still scratching my head over the whole Tarzan entrance, haha) and have had almost the same amount of criticism for them as I’ve had praise for them.  But I feel as though I have to point out that these two manage to remain memorable week after week, even if their dancing wasn’t necessarily the highest-scored.  Their rumba was steamy, and I expected it to be, given Derek’s track record; and Derek made a wise move in playing up his goofy side during the little “fantasy” lead-in – it’s endearing to viewers and I think they’ll definitely remember it when voting.  Joanna continues to impress me with her technique, but I did see a few wonky arms and also the little stutter from getting her heel caught in her dress.  And I will again reference the special powers of the Money Spot (TM). These two were the stand-out couple for me in the team tango (those high-speed pivots towards the end of their solo portion were fantastic!) and are at the top of the leaderboard points-wise.  No danger here…

2.) Aaron & Karina – Oh, what a difference a week makes! These two were my favorite couple of the night…that jive was FLAWLESS (I dunno what Carrie Ann was smoking, giving them a 9!).  I would even go so far as to say it was one of the best-executed jives I’ve ever seen on the show…Aaron’s flicks were razor sharp & perfectly synched to Karina’s, and perhaps most importantly of all, HE DIDN’T TIRE.  The energy level stayed up from beginning to end, which is more than I can say about a lot of the jives we’ve seen. I think Aaron is beginning to give Mya a run for her money for the title of Best Technician on the show – and he also seems to tackle the hardest choreography of any of the celebs.  And I have to say, he does seem to be reigning in his over-the-top behavior quite a bit – he’s beginning to become a lot more likeable to me again.  While I was underwhelmed by the team paso, Aaron & Karina were most memorable to me, and seemed to best embody the sharp, aggressive feel of the dance.  I daresay Aaron might have redeemed himself tonight with that jive – and he did manage to avoid the danger zone last week, so I don’t see him suddenly dropping into it this week.  Kudos to him for the vast improvement!

3.) Donny & Kym – Ok, their quickstep this week was a bit of an improvement from last week’s jitterbug, and it did seem like Kym upped the ante with some more difficult choreography – but I still can’t seem to shake the feeling that Donny just looks EXHAUSTED.  And I would be too, if his schedule is as crazy as everyone says it is! But the trick is to hide it well, and I’m not sure he is – he seemed to drop his posture quite a bit, and did lose the rhythm at a few points (although I did agree with Bruno that he seemed to hide it well – whenever he flubbed, I did find myself questioning what I saw, like “Did he just mess up, or am I just seeing things?”).  I also go back to my “Donny likes characters” theory, and thought he may have struggled this week without a real theme or character to play in the dance – he was just left with the steps and his stage presence.  His solo bit in the team tango felt a bit recycled to me (from his Argentine a few weeks back), but then again, Kelly’s did too, and at least he danced it well.  But he has the fanbase, so he will be fine…but I’m sorry, Kym’s dress???! Ghastly.  Please Donny, stick to singing and dancing – because ladies’ fashion is not your calling. 😀

4.) Mya & Dmitry – I really feel like a broken record saying this week after week, but here it is again for good measure: brilliant technique, zero heat.  I almost feel like both of them are more focused on playing to the audience than they are each other – Dmitry in particular.  Cloris, you are such a wise old (crazy) soul, pointing out this obvious lack of heat! This was some great choreography, with such a fluid execution, and it would have been light years better if I didn’t feel like they were still so disconnected after dancing together for all these weeks – the silhouetted kiss at the end just felt contrived.  But I will say that I loved the costuming – probably the best of the night: they both looked like they foxtrotted right out of a ballroom in pre-Castro Cuba.  For anyone that saw Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights – Mya’s dress tonight felt like a throwback to her cameo in it as Lola Martinez (check it out – it’s the big mambo competition scene towards the end).  While I was once again underwhelmed by their frigid chemistry, they did dance their foxtrot well, and they were scored decently well for it.  No comment on the team paso; honestly, most of it was a non-event for me…

5.) Kelly & Louis – This week could easily be titled “How Kelly Got Her Groove Back” – her salsa this week was the most relaxed and free I’ve seen her since week 1.  It was almost as if she had to have a complete meltdown (see lead-in) before she could shake her jitters and just have fun out on the floor…and fun she did have! She shimmied, she smiled…she conquered.  And I gotta give her props for putting Louis in the famous fringe pants that we’ve only seen the girls wear up until this point – the man looked like Cookie Monster out there, and I loved every minute of it! I guess it’s just a testament to she & Louis’ great chemistry that they can get in a “fight” and still look like they love each other to bits while they’re yelling at one another.  Kelly shined in the group tango – so her choregraphy wasn’t really complicated and felt a bit redundant, but she didn’t flub (a lot) and she actually had some really dramatic head snaps.  She definitely reclaimed the America’s Sweetheart title tonight, but let’s be honest: her dancing is nowhere near that of Mya, Donny, or Joanna, and we’re getting down to the wire now – she may live through this week based on her winning personality, but I’m afraid the clock is ticking…

6.) Michael & Anna D. – I’m finally beginning to understand why this guy has managed to stretch far beyond what should have been his lifespan on the show – he has a heart of gold.  Seriously – I cannot hate the guy, no matter how much he may butcher a bolero or flub his way through a cha-cha.  The pep talk during team paso rehearsal? The sweet explanation of he & Anna’s purple costumes? Heck, the guy was even big-hearted enough to hug it out with Aaron during his post-rumba meltdown!  The man is like a walking Hallmark card.  And add to that the fact that he actually is improving – he could surprise us all and be this season’s Ty Murray and live through another week! Like last week’s waltz (which I bit sheepishly admit that I haven’t had the heart to delete off my DVR 🙂 ), his foxtrot wasn’t necessarily the hardest choreography, but he moved through it gracefully, without any missteps and without getting off-time – the man is light years better at the smooth dances than the Latin ones. And he’s charming when he dances.  But we have to take into account that he was in the danger zone last week, and I don’t know that his fanbase will be able to contend with that of Donny’s or even Mya’s…and then there’s the curse of the dreaded Crap Spot (TM). The play clock may have run down for our lovable wide receiver…

7.) Mark & Anna T. – Poor Mark just couldn’t seem to catch a break this week – his regular partner gets sick, he gets a short tutorial from Tony in New York before jetting back to the west coast, and then is thrown headlong into rehearsals with Anna (<3 her!) with only 2 days to learn both his own samba and the group paso.  The deck was stacked against him from the get-go, I’m afraid.  But I am going to disagree with Bruno & Carrie Ann – I actually got a kick out of his samba.  His samba rolls were actually pretty darn good, and he did have great energy throughout the whole thing.  He wasn’t THAT bad.  But I don’t even remember him in the group paso, and I think America may forget about him amidst very striking routines and high scores from Joanna & Derek and Aaron & Karina, and the fanbases of Donny, Mya, and even Michael.  Sorry Lacey…I don’t think you’ll be able to make that triumphant return next week like you were hoping to 🙁

Alright, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m pretty ADD, so I can’t remember if they said tomorrow was another double elimnation or not – so if it is, I’m gonna say it’s Mark & Anna T. and Michael & Anna D. headed home; if it’s only a single, it’s gonna be Mark. What do you guys think?

November 2, 2009 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


It’s time for another edition of THE GOOD, THE BAD, and THE INCREDIBLY HOT!  All of your comments are SOOOOO helpful when I’m putting together this post and I’m kicking myself right now for not remember the hottest paso thus far!


Season 8: Ty Murray; Waltz
I am well aware that Ty was never an amazing dancer but he had so much heart!  From all 8 seasons…he has the biggest heart and desire to do well 🙂  This was my favorite dance of his

Season 8: Steve-O; Foxtrot
Sticking with the Season 8 trend, I’ve chosen Steve-O’s fox trot for a number of reasons.  First of all, clearly he was always one (or two) steps behind Lacey which was clearly noticeable at all times.  Also, we know that he was hurt from the week before and we could see it on his face which is unfortunate because he has so much heart!  I loved all of his comments about being able to do this without getting high!  I think Lacey was a great partner for him but he just didn’t have the technique to go along with the heart 🙁

Season 8: Paso Doble
I love the three ladies and Derek in this dance!  They are so precise and on point all of the time!  Derek is, hands down, the hottest dancer and Julianne, Chelsie, and Lacey have got to be three of the sexiest pros on the show! 

September 14, 2009 I Written By

DWTS Costumes…Sparkle and Shine!

Hey Everyone! I’m a new blogger for DWTS so I thought I’d let you guys know what to expect from my blogs 🙂 I will be blogging about the costumes featured on this season and the choreography/technique of the dances and how well (or not so well) each couple performed them! Now that we have that out of the way let me get started!

I absolutely love the costumes that the celebs and pros wear on DWTS and I first wondered how all the costumes got sewn and fitted in time! I googled Randall Christensen, the head wardrobe designer, and found that he only has 3 1/2 days to get costumes made! This has got to be a crazy time during the first weeks of competition since there are so many couples! I also found this AMAZING youtube video interviewing Mr. Christensen about the process:

To me, what makes are great costume is a combination of:

  • Is the material used appropriate for the dance style?
  • Is the costume suited for the celeb and pro as a couple?
  • Does the style of the costume match the style of the dance?
  • Are the sparkle and shine elements right on for the costume or not quite there?
  • Are the accessories perfect for the costume or are they to much or to little?
  • Overall, does the costume compliment the celebrity to showcase their dance strengths instead of their dance weaknesses.

With that said…here are my top 5 favorite costumes and my top 5 train wrecks!

TOP 5 FAVORITES (Season 4 – Present):

  1. Chelsie Hightower and Ty Murray: Season 8
    Chelsie Hightower and Ty Murray
  2. Cheryl Burke and Gilles Marini: Season 8
  3. Cheryl Burke and Gilles Marini

  4. Julianne Hough and Apolo Anton Ohno: Season 4
    Julianne Hough and Apolo Anton Ohno
  5. Cheryl Burke and Christian de la Fuenta: Season 6
    Cherly Burke and Christian de la Fuenta
  6. Brooke Burke and Derek Hough: Season 8
    Brooke Burke and Derek Hough

TOP 5 TRAIN WRECKS (Season 4 – Present):

  1. Cheryl Burke and Wayne Newton: Season 5
    Cheryl Burke and Wayne Newton
  2. Marie Osmand and Johnathan Roberts: Season 5
    Marie Osmond and Johnathan Roberts
  3. Susan Lucci and Tony Dovolani: Season 7
    Susan Lucci and Tony Dovolani
  4. Julianne Hough and Chuck Wicks: Season 8
    Julianne Hough and Chuck Wicks
  5. Karina Smirnoff and Steve Wozniak: Season 8
    Karina Smirnoff and Steve Wozniak

Now it’s your turn! What costumes stand out the most as favorites or train wrecks!

August 27, 2009 I Written By

Mirrorball Mayhem: Don’t forget to factor in the Alternative Demographic Factor

It’s an honor to be writing for! Having been a regular viewer and enormous fan of DWTS since the second season, and a constant viewer since season four, I have noted a number of trends that have occurred over the various seasons. And I’ve noted that often the biggest factor in viewer’s voting, one that has been a constant throughout each season, has been what I call the Alternate Demographic Factor.

The Alternate Demographic Factor, or ADF for short, aka the specialized fanbase, has decided a number of seasons. And it has a tendency to keep people around longer than they perhaps should.

Last season was a perfect example. Ty Murray made it to the finals, despite the fact that most people had no idea who he was, he was an incredibly stiff dancer, and to be blunt was just really bad about 60% of the time. When the season started, everyone said “Who?”, and “A rodeo guy? What kind of star is that?” and other various sundry things. But by the end of the season, his winning personality and genuine sweet charm had won him a whole new legion of fans. He came back week after week, hanging on over other people he really had no business beating, such as Li’l Kim. Why? Ty tapped into his natural fan base – his fans from the rodeo circuit. These fans saw Ty as their chance to make a mark and a breakthrough to a general audience base. And Ty was the perfect representative of their interests.

Who knew who Helio Castroneves was before his turn on the show? Racing fans – but almost no one else. And Helio and his partner Julianne Hough worked that fan base like never before. Again, his genuine sweetness and undeniable charm helped win over the dancing fans, and he eventually went on to capture the revered Mirrorball trophy as season five’s champion, beating out the people who most fans thought were sure to capture the title, Mel B and Maks.

Season eight also had a huge fanbase issue. Shawn Johnson was an underdog when she first joined the compettition, a 17 year old Olympic gold medal winner who was known for just two days of competition at the Bejing Olympics. But she had a huge fanbase, not just from the olympic fans, but general gymnastic fans, and a midwestern loyalty to Iowa’s favorite daughter. She upset expected champs Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke, and everyone was stunned and amazed, but given the olympic track record, they probably shouldn’t have been.

There have been other demo factors as well. The seniors came out week after week for Cloris Leachman and kept her around much much MUCH longer than they should have; the boy band fans helped both Joey Fatone and Lance Bass make the finals (and genuine dancing talent didn’t hurt either); football fans have come out in droves to support Jason Taylor, Warren Sapp, and 3rd season champion Emmitt Smith, among others. I could go on and on about it, but I think you get my drift here…

Once again, despite the odds and the previous history lessons, the same things I heard last year about Ty Murray I’ve been hearing again since last week’s announcement about a number of this seasons competitors, but most notably two sports figures little known outside their respective sports. As they say, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, and that’s exactly what’s happening, with many fans pooh-poohing the inclusion of UFC former champion Chuck Liddell and especially champion snowboarder Louie Vito in this year’s cast.

A disclaimer of sorts here – I have been advocating the inclusion of an extreme sports star on DWTS on our Popcorn N Roses website and Subject:CINEMA podcasts for over a year now, three seasons in DWTS time, and I have focused most of that attenion of Vito because I’m a huge fan of his and because he’d already interviewed for it last year. But I would have been happy with ANY extreme sports star, from skateboarders Bob Burnquist and Bucky Lasek to other snowboarders like Mike Goldschmidt, Danny Davis, Scotty Lago, and Shaun White to BMX champs like Dave Mirra, Anthony Napolitan, Garrett Reynolds, Daniel Dhers, and Jamie Bestwick. But I’m especially happy they went with Vito because he’s a charming, talented and funny guy who puts everything he has into whatever he does. He has a better-than-average shot at making the 2010 mens snowboard Olympic team, and as my wife says, he’s just so gosh-darned cute.

It’s evident that sports fans are especially rabid when it comes to voting for their guys and gals. As long as they don’t embarrass the sport, or don’t look terrible (Ty Murray aside) on the dance floor, their votes have been enough to bring them back week after week. Again, look to the fact that since the show started there have been over a dozen sports-oriented stars in the top four, and FIVE of them – more than HALF over 8 seasons – have been Champions – Emmitt Smith, Apolo Anton Ohno, Helio Castroneves, Kristi Yamaguchi, and Shawn Johnson. Three more were just narrowly beaten for the MirrorBall – Jerry Rice, Jason Taylor, and Warren Sapp. And three more have made the final four – Stacy Keibler, Lalia Ali, and Ty Murray. And consider this – only one Olympian hasn’t won; Misty May-Trainor had to bow out with an injury. Otherwise, I believe it was quite possible that she too would have at least made the final four.

It’s not all about popularity. Many of the stars who have danced on the show were not well known before they appeared except with an already existing fan base. And even those who were, and who were just average on the dance floor – think Marie Osmond, Ian Ziering, or Cameron Mathison – they were kept around by their existing fan base and the new fans they built from the regular DWTS viewers. Cameron and also Marissa Jaret Winoker weren’t terrific on the dance floor, but they had fun, they let the viewers know they were having fun, and that they REALLY wanted to stick around. And the fans delivered as long as they could. And they both made it longer than anyone thought they would, with Cameron getting fifth place his season, and Marissa making the semi-finals in hers.

Back to Louie Vito for a moment – from what I’ve read around the net in the past week, some people, a lot of them big DWTS fans, are already counting him out. But Louie is one of the most savvy extreme guys out there. He has a well oiled fan base thanks to his well designed website, he Twitters regularly, he has a huge mailing list, and has followings on Facebook and MySpace. And that doesn’t even count the many often rabidly loyal snowboarding fans, or fans of extreme sports in general. He is also known to throw everything he has at what he does, which is how he came to be one of the top snowboarders on the contest circuit. He has TV experience, hosting a couple of extreme-oriented tv shows and occasionally doing commentary. And he knows how to market himself. All of which could play a role in how long he lasts, particularly if he turns out to be actually passable as a dancer. Somehow, knowing Louie from being a fan of his for a long time, I have the feeling he’s going to surprise a LOT of people.

Last season, no one I knew had any idea who the heck Gilles Marini was. By the end of the season, he was genuinely a STAR. IN fact, he was THE breakthrough star of the season. And the fans that the stars make while dancing also carry over to their natural fanbase after the exposure. For proof, look to the ratings for the Indianapolis 500- they had been declining steadily for several years, but suddenly took a jump from 4.7 in 2007 to a 5.1 in 2008, after Helio Castroneves won the Mirrorball the previous fall. Was it DWTS fans tuning in? Could be, could be…

All in all, if there’s anything that’s been proven over the past eight season, it’s that ANYONE can make it to the top four. And even the best known or well-loved can take an early fall, like Li’l Kim or Sabrina Bryan. It’s going to be up to the “Nobody knows them” stars – Vito, Liddell, Joanna Krupa, Natalie Coughlin and others – to prove they can make new fans. And that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Let the dancing commence! Oh, and one other thing…GO LOUIE!

August 25, 2009 I Written By

TC is the owner of the PNR Networks family of websites, including Popcorn N Roses ( and producer and co host of the popular film podcast Subject:CINEMA ( He is a rabid DWTS Fan, and he and S:C partner (and wife) Kim Brown will be launching a new podcast, Mirrorball Mayhem, for DWTS fans in the very near future.

Random Dancing with the Stars News – Seasons 8 and 9

Jewel nixes the idea that she would try DWTS Season 9 – she and hubby Ty Murray (Season 8 – 4th place) are trying to have a baby.  Numerous websites are reporting this, but I’ve linked to Star Magazine.

We won’t be seeing this anytime soon, if the Star is correct.

Copyright 2009 Craig Sjodin / ABC

Copyright 2009 Craig Sjodin / ABC











Cheryl Burke is telling anyone and everyone about her relationship – and hey, I don’t blame her. The guy is HOT and a health nut. 🙂


According to People and StarTraks Photos    Cheryl also threw a 4th of July party in Malibu. If the pictures are anything to go by, she and Derek (at least) had a great time. There are a couple more larger pictures of Derek and Cheryl at Pure Derek Hough.


I think all true DWTS addicts probably know by now that Louis Van Amstel, a professional dancer who was on several early seasons paired with Lisa Rinna (among others), has moved over to So You Think You Can Dance as a choreographer. And from what I’ve seen he’s doing a very good job. But that isn’t DWTS only connection to SYTYCD! DWTS Judge Carrie Ann Inaba has teamed up with the executive producer of SYTYCD, Nigel Lithgow, Katie Holmes and Director Adam Shankman to create Dizzy Feet Foundation. The steering committee of the foundation also boasts Paula Abdul, Miley Cyrus and Jennifer Lopez. The foundation’s Mission Statement includes providing scholarships and grants to talented dancers and choreographers working at or through accredited studios and to provide dance education programs to underpriviledged children.

You can see Katie Holmes dance to promote the foundation on So You Think You Can Dance’s 100th episode on July 23rd. Apparently, Katie dances very well. I would expect as much because, although I’ve never been a big fan, I did see her sing and dance on defunct show Eli Stone and she was surprisingly good.

July 7, 2009 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)