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PureDWTS Season 27 – Preliminary Thoughts & Predictions

I feel like all I do is apologize for the lack of timeliness in my posts these days 😛 Sorry guys – life got busy for me real fast this season. I thought about doing a preliminary power rankings, but I realized I haven’t been keeping up with enough media about the couples to really do that justice.  So instead, welcome to my random and scattered thoughts about this season, in no particular order 🙂 I tried hit on some of the questions I was getting on Twitter, but if there’s anything else you want my thoughts on, go ahead and leave it in the comments and I’ll try to answer.

This is DeMarcus’ MBT to lose.  Now before anyone assumes I mean “I think DeMarcus will win!”, pump your brakes – what I mean by this is that I feel like DeMarcus has the easiest path to the MBT, from the jump: he’s a former NFL player from possibly the most universally popular team (the Dallas Cowboys – often referred to as “America’s team”, part of the reason why Emmitt was so popular), he’s well-spoken and well-liked, he’s in great shape physically, he’s got one helluva work ethic, and he has a great rapport with his partner, who is also widely well-liked and well-respected.  Basically, as long as he dances decently (not necessarily great – decent should do it) and puts on a good show and has a “journey”, I think the MBT is his – which means the other couples are going to have to work twice as hard to win, even though they might actually be better dancers. DeMarcus is easily the biggest fanbase ringer this season, from where I sit – and sometimes, that can help a decent dancer overtake a fantastic dancer for the MBT. Just ask Donny Osmond.

We could be dealing with season 24, redux.  I can’t help but draw some comparisons between this season and season 24, when there was a preponderance of ringers (particularly female ones) and the last two standing were guys with no previous dance experience (one of which was an NFL player) that were just really likeable and had great chemistry with their partners. I think each season of DWTS can realistically handle 1-2 high-level ability ringers, tops – any more than that and you start to run into some unexpected results, as we saw in season 24 (you could also argue that too many fanbase ringers of the same type yield unexpected results – look at season 22, when all three NFL players got shut out of the finale). And here’s the kicker: you’ve gotta have a pro that actually knows how to choreograph to an ability ringer’s strengths.  One way I think season 24 fell woefully short was handing the two biggest ringers (Normani & Heather) to two pros who couldn’t cut the mustard, choreographically-speaking. Maks’ choreo for Heather that season was absolutely pitiful, and while Val managed a few hits (the Mulan paso, the contemporary, maybe the Argentine tango), towards the end of the season, his choreo kinda petered out (the Viennese waltz and freestyle were both head-scratchers for me). Even Mark seemed to burn out towards the end of season 25 with Lindsey.  I think a big key to the big ability ringers’ (Tinashe, Alexis, Juan Pablo, Mary Lou, and to a lesser degree, Evanna & Milo) longevity this season is how well their partners are able to choreograph to their strengths – and if they’re able to keep up the momentum, all season long.

If any of the pros are going to step up the choreo to become the “new Mark/Derek”, now would be the time to do it. We’re kind of in an odd transition period in the show: with the exception of Cheryl popping in for fall seasons, the OG pros are all gone; even some of the second generation pros (Peta, Val, Sharna, Emma, Sasha) are starting to pursue other opportunities outside of DWTS, and they may move on from the show before long. TPTB continue to try retooling the show to keep up with the times (All-Athletes, Juniors), and the pressure is generally on to keep this show “fresh”. While most of the female pros are actually stellar choreographers, the male pro lineup has been woefully void of great choreography; if one of them wanted to try cementing himself as the new choreographic genius of the male lineup, now would be the time to do it – and I think Brandon may be the ticket.  I have heard tremendous praise for his skills as both a teacher and a choreographer on Juniors, and if you think about it, he’s the first male pro that has come from the same training background that gave us Lindsay, Witney, and Jenna. He’s impressively cross-trained (like the rest of the Utah Squad, and really, Ballas/Hough before them), and doesn’t seem to have any of the same “ballroom purity” hangups that we seem to see with Chmerkovskiy acolytes. I’m thinking Brandon could be the breakout star pro of this season, if he plays his cards right.

I am totally fine with newbs like Brandon & Alan getting ringers. Val’s already been granted his 2 MBT’s, and seems to be transitioning to more of a judging role; Gleb & Keo just can’t seem to get their choreo right; Artem & Sasha are for the most part “hit”, but still sometimes “miss”.  Repeating it again for good measure: the male pro lineup needs a wake-up call.  So if that means handing Brandon & Alan some pretty ringy ability ringers, I’m all for it – let’s see what they’re made of. I actually thought Alan did respectably well with Mirai, and the only issue there had more to do with Mirai’s loose lips and general lack of self-awareness. Seems like these pros really have to hit the ground running in their initial season, anymore, if they want to continue as pros – and that can be kinda hard to do, if they’re always handing the newbs dud partners. Cheryl, Mark, Julianne, and Lacey all got ringers in their first season on the show – and it seemed to keep them in play for awhile. I used to be of the “newbs shouldn’t get ringers” camp – but anymore, I just keep going “Show me something new and different!!!” and “Everyone ends up getting a dud at some point, and everyone ends up getting a ringer at some point. No point getting too hung up on a single season.”

I wouldn’t count on Mary Lou being an early out.  I know some are hoping she’s gone by week 2 or 3, due to her comments about the Nassar case – I don’t blame you.  However, a bit of a reminder about the demographics of this show: the largest chunk of viewers are middle-aged, female, and conservative, and likely have very fond memories of Mary Lou as the Olympic darling who brought home gold back in her youth.  I would also venture a guess that many of them (like some of the conservatives currently trying to get a man of questionable morals elected to the Supreme Court) are “#MeToo skeptics” who are unfortunately more likely to give a pass to an Olympic darling defending her former trainer than to take the word of countless women who bravely came forward to speak about the trauma they endured at Nassar’s hand. It sucks, no doubt – but it’s an unfortunate pattern I’ve noticed, and it makes me think Mary Lou could last at least until the midpoint of the season – especially if she’s a decent dancer, which I think she will be.  I don’t see her winning or making the finals, though…at least not right now.

I think Nikki & Alexis need to turn on the charm, though.  Both come from professions that have yet to really do well on DWTS: comedians, models, and social media influencers. With the exception of conservative-leaning “country boy” comedian Bill Engvall, comedians generally haven’t done very well on this show – I think their biggest struggle is connecting with the audience, particularly if their brand of humor is a bit more high-brow or sarcastic. Or female 🙁 Conservative folk love the somewhat simple-minded humor of Jeff Foxworthy, Rodney Carrington, Larry the Cable Guy, and Bill Engvall – but they tend not to embrace the D.L. Hughley’s, Jeff Ross’, and Margaret Cho’s of the world quite so warmly. Unless Nikki ends up being an Alexis or Tinashe-level dancer (and I don’t think she will be), or ends up finding a way to endear herself to the audience…I see her as an early out. Alexis may be a very trained dancer, but she’s also a model (and they tend not to last long on this show) and a social media personality (the only precedent we have for that being Hayes Grier – who couldn’t manage to get his millions of followers to vote hard enough to get him past week 7). Additionally, Alexis seems more reserved on-camera – so I think she’s really going to have to come out of her shell to endear herself to the audience, if she wants to stick around.

Being an “inspiring backstory” ringer may not be as much of an advantage as it once was.  Not counting Heather McCartney (who despite being an amputee, was also the much-maligned ex-wife of Paul McCartney), Amy was a novelty, since we hadn’t really had anyone disabled on the show in awhile, and Derek managed to mold her into a pretty respectable dancer. Noah had the fanbase boon of being a disabled vet; Nyle was both deaf AND a very likeable guy who could actually dance really well.  I’m not sure anyone really considered Terra’s small stature as a disability, since she was actually a pretty good dancer; and things started to deteriorate once Bonner came along, as he actually was a creep, despite his “inspiring backstory”. Victoria gave it her best shot a year ago, but given that her disability wasn’t as visible as, say, Amy’s or Noah’s, I don’t know that it really carried her as far as it once might have (then again, Val also really phoned it in on the choreo towards the end, so that likely didn’t help either).  I guess the point I’m trying to get at is this: the “inspiring backstory” is becoming less and less of a novelty on this show with each passing season, particularly with contestants whose disabilities aren’t outwardly visible, so Danelle might not get as much support as she would have on an earlier season. Times change – the audience changes.  Things that were once new and novel become commonplace, and voting attitudes change.  I don’t think Danelle will be first, second, third, or even 4th out, but I’ll be interested to see just how far her story takes her, particularly if she’s really struggling with the dancing.

Is Juan Pablo William Levy 2.0? Is Evanna going to be the next Katherine Jenkins? Those are the two former contestants that come to mind when I look at Juan Pablo & Evanna. On the plus side, I already find Juan Pablo quite a bit more likeable and relatable than William, who I always found to be a bit reserved and even borderline awkward in interviews; his dancing was decent, but not as fantastic as the judges would have had you think. Juan Pablo seems like he might have more polish and technique on his side. Evanna seems like she’s got roughly the same level of dance experience as Katherine – they’ve probably dabbled in it at some point, but are more well-known for other things.  I think Evanna will be at least as good as Katherine, ability-wise – question is, will Keo be as good as Mark? I’m gonna go with a big fat “NO” on that one, unless Keo has had some sort of choreographic breakthrough over the summer.  He seemed to hit a small groove with Jodie 2.5 years ago, but that season was a bloodbath and she probably could have gone further on a different, less competitive season. Will his choreo/teaching skills hold up this time? We’ll see.

Early prediction for the final 3: DeMarcus, Juan Pablo, & Tinashe. If they take 4 to the finale – Milo or Bobby join the other 3.

First out: My gut says Nikki.  Outside chance of John. Whichever one doesn’t go in week 1, is probably toast during the double elim in week 2. Having Val will likely keep Nancy around for a bit longer than expected, but I would be surprised if she lasted past the midpoint of the season.

“Shocking” elim potential: Alexis screams “good dancer that will probably get eliminated because she can’t successfully crossover fanbases” to me. I don’t think her millions of IG followers will vote as hard as some think they will, and I don’t know that the general DWTS audience is going to embrace her strongly.

Dark horse: I feel like Bobby is going to surprise a lot of people.  I’m hearing a lot of people say Joe, but Joe strikes me as kinda awkward…especially after I saw this.  What has been seen cannot be unseen. 😛

So there we have it – my thoughts headed into Monday’s premiere.  What do you guys think? Share in the comments, and if you don’t mind, please take 5 minutes to go watch my cousin’s son, Kingston, do his first LEGO unboxing video on YouTube and throw him a like or a comment.  He’s been battling leukemia since March, and he’s officially CANCER FREE now and starting to feel like a regular kid again. Bonus: appearance by his equally adorable brother Lincoln, and they both have the most adorable Tennessee accents 😛

See you all Monday for the live blog!!! 🙂

September 21, 2018 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 24: Why Normani Didn’t Win

So, to say that the four days following the announcement of the winner of season 24 of DWTS have been “interesting”, would be an understatement 😛 I’ve seen mainly rejoicing, but also some general rage from the Harmonizers, who simply can’t fathom how Normani came in 3rd place and insist that the show must be rigged/racist/sexist/capitalist/whatever-ist because she didn’t win. While this is unfortunately the type of behavior many of us have come to expect from that particular group of fans, there have been a few fans that have sincerely expressed a desire to know why I think Normani didn’t win.  So here is my sincere response – if you are genuinely puzzled as to how it happened, this is my personal opinion, backed up with some numbers and some general observations about voting behavior. Very little of this actually has anything to do with Normani herself – most of these are factors that were out of her control, out of her fans’ control, and weren’t really things that anyone (other than maybe the executive producers) could have done anything to fix. I think Normani herself was just kind of a victim of circumstance this season – just not destined to win, for whatever reason. So the cries of “You’re just being mean to Normani!!!”? Keep ’em to yourself or GTFO.

So if you are genuinely interested, read on – and if you can remain civil and level-headed, feel free to comment or ask questions. But if you’re just here to complain about us or just generally be obnoxious, I will delete comments and permanently blacklist posters without a second thought – I’ve never witnessed the same level of vitriol from some fanbases as I saw this season.  I have no time for it. Read more..

May 27, 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

DWTS Season 15, Week 1 – The Cheesecake Awards!!!!

Well kids, we’re back & snarky/juvenile/perverse/etc!  😛 And for those of you not accustomed to our particular brand of humor – consider yourself warned.  We swear, we get innuendo-y, we make fart jokes, and we call people out for being stupid on the show.  If you are hypersensitive/lack a sense of humor/are a prude/whatever, you probably should just skip this post altogether…and you sure as hell better not comment on it.  Because any Debbie Downers/Bobby Buzzkills lurking in the comments section will be deleted without a 2nd thought.  Consider this the party post – party poopers need not apply, because we have plenty of fellow freaks who love to party along with our special brand of humor.  Party on, Wayne 😉

The “C U Next Tuesday” Award: Carrie Ann Inaba, for repeatedly calling out Tom for cutting her off

Courtney: We learned pretty quickly on Monday whether we’d get cool Carrie Ann or bitter, angry Carrie Ann this season – and I think she made it pretty clear it’s definitely the latter.  Look, CAI, I get it: your fairytale engagement didn’t result in a fairytale wedding, and you’re probably not too happy about that.  But did you really have to repeatedly heckle EMMY AWARD-WINNING HOST Tom Bergeron for cutting your commentary on Joey & Kym’s cha-cha off early? It was pretty obvious the show was moving at breakneck speed in order to fit everyone in, and I daresay that, being the EMMY AWARD -WINNING HOST of a LIVE reality tv show, Tom Bergeron knows a thing or two about effectively fitting into a time frame while still being entertaining – plus he probably had the Muppets upstairs screaming in his earpiece to move things along.  I highly doubt whatever long-winded critique you were going to offer up was all that insightful, CAI – it seldom is.  Yet your excessive self-importance forced you to interrupt things not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES to remind everyone that Tom cut you off – who’s the asshat now?

Heidi: My brother texted me during the show to call CAI names….then commented that her tampon is in sideways. 🙂  Yes, that is my family…we tend toward gross at times. But also very apropos.  But seriously, don’t heckle The Berg, biotch. It’s not all about you. Hard to believe, I know.

Courtney: Looks like someone had a bad case of Emmy Envy.  😛

The “Deeerrrrp” Award: Chelsie Hightower, for getting confused over the native languages of Brazil & South America; (dis)honorable mention – Val Chmerkovskiy, for not really knowing what Kelly did for a living

Courtney: “Wait…they speak Spanish in South America???” I’d like to think this was taken out of context, but from the puzzled look on Chelsie’s face…I doubt it was.  And by the earnest expression on Val’s face as he asked “Oh, you work in a hospital?”, I’m gonna venture a guess that “catching up on the soaps” is not on Val’s list of hobbies 😛

Heidi: Both were hilarious…but I was yelling at my TV, saying “Chelsie, STOP talking, yer makin’ it worse”, while laughing at her.  Val I thought was just endearing…and for Kelly, humbling. 😀

Couple’s Schtick That is Most Likely To Get Old VERY Quickly: Sabrina & Louis reminding everyone that Sabrina was voted in and this season is “all about redemption”; (dis)honorable mention for Derek’s short jokes and Kelly & Val’s pattycaking

Courtney: I just think the short jokes are corny 😛 And I guess I would just rather see Kelly & Val doing something other than pattycaking…something more…intimate.  😉 Maybe if they were playing pattycake with their face.  LOL 😛 But the Sabrina & Louis “the viewers chose us to be here!” and “this is all about redemption because Sabrina left too early” poppycock is just beyond annoying at this point.  If that’s their big reason why people should vote for them – then they must not be that special, because every week that any of the couples is sticking around, is a week they are being “chosen” by the viewers, since they’re obviously getting votes.  And you want to talk about “redemption”? Gilles was narrowly beat out for the MBT by a mere 1%.  Joey & Kirstie are both 2nd place finishers; Bristol finished 3rd in her season, and was pretty unpopular.  Drew, Kelly, & Emmitt are all trying to prove that the earlier champions are every bit as good as the newer ones. I daresay any of the names I just mentioned have a greater hunger for “redemption” than a 7th place finisher who just couldn’t get the votes to stick around in season 5…and has been reminding us about it ever since.

Heidi: Eh, I don’t mind the short jokes and Derek usually recognizes the shelf life of  joke in general. (I have to say, though, that the harassment he got from one Shawn fan freak on Twitter was OTT – yo, Derek ain’t the one that looks bad here, nutjob!) Also didn’t mind the patty caking – was rather amazed by that, actually. Not sure I could do that without a shit ton of beer to relax me.  🙂 But the Sabrina crap is in a whole other league from those other two because we’ve been hearing for YEARS about her (not) shocking elimination. Talk about drinking game potential. Get the fuck over it already! I’m about ready to stick a pen in my eye.  Guess what kids – you were voted in over Carson and Kyle, NOT the rest of the cast. You better hope like hell that Team Sabrina is a lot bigger than I suspect it is. Read more..

September 29, 2012 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 14 End-of-Season Award Winners: What Was the Biggest Controversy?

Other responses:

All of the above/any combination of the above answers – 17 (Sorry guys, too many different combos to list them individually!)

Derek & Maria’s kiss – 1

William & that stupid running & sliding move in every single dance – 1 (Annoying, yes, but is it really a “controversy”, per se?)

Katherine’s “injury” – 1

Derek’s behavior – 1

Cheryl’s Emmy-worthy creativity *sarcasm* – 1

None – 1

Rock & Roll Week – 1

Overstating Maria’s injuries, ribs NOT broken…hurt, yes, but not broken – 1

William wearing the same shirt in many different colors – 1 (Again, it’s annoying, but is it really controversial?)

Dance marathon – 1

Courtney: Again, it looks like we have several different interpretations of the term “controversy” here. I guess the way I interpret it within the context of the show, a “controversy” is something that occured that caused a great deal of debate and dissenting opinions on the issue – but maybe some other people interpret it as something that just really bugged them personally. I guess I need to be a bit more specific in my explanation of next season’s awards, perhaps along with eliminating the write-in category 😛 Anywho! I think the results are about right on the money – I found the most prolonged, contentious, polarizing issue of the season was the question of whether or not William was getting unfairly favored by the judges and/or the TPTB, and just the judges being highly subjective in their scoring across the board.  I don’t think we’ve ever had a precedent for a situation like the one that unfolded this past season – I can’t recall a time in a past season where the judges were so blatantly displaying favoritism towards a certain contestant.  Granted, there is always some degree of subjectivity, and the judges do tend to pick favorites each season, but I don’t think we’ve seen it before to the degree that we did this season.  As for Jaleel’s behavior, the dance duel, & Cheryl’s behavior – yes, they all generated a great deal of debate and polarity in opinions, but perhaps weren’t as prolonged as the William/judges controversy.  As for the trio dance – I know some of you are probably balking at the notion of it being “controversial”, but I seem to recall quite a few debates about which couples would pick which pros and how it would be advantageous to some and a disadvantage for others, so there was at least a bit of controversy there.  Especially on the topic of who would get Tristan 😛

Vogue: I think this poll was spot on as well. As much as I loved William himself and his dancing too, the pimping was over the top. I was patient about it at first and could understand the interest in him being he was a new sexy Latin star to hit the Hollywood scene, but, the hype and the manipulation from the producers and the judges scoring and then Cheryl herself out of control took it’s toll on a great many of fans. Sadder yet, was that William himself could see it too and it wasn’t something he welcomed. I really admired his humbleness through out it all which made me a fan. I wish I could say the same for Cheryl. I’ve lost a lot of respect for her that I once had. I was also outraged with Jaleel’s behavior. I was so glad when he was finally picked to go.

Heidi: I think the top three were the only real controversies – and they were doozies. The rest? Nah.  And the write ins?? Some people need a little reality check.  🙂  Although I did snicker at the “emmy worthy creativity” one. 🙂  Every season there is someone who is the judges favorite – but it’s usually someone who is the best dancer. Not this season. This season they had their favorite….and he was also pimped to high hell at every opportunity by the show itself. It was quite ridiculous.  Now can we go to my favorite moment of the season? Carrie Ann’s mouth falling open when said controversial dude took THIRD place. 🙂  Anyway, after a while it seemed to be a highly orchestrated dance (pardon the expression) between production and judges to make sure this guy went to the finals. Of course, they seemed determined to get Katherine there as well (and keep Donald away), but it was at a much higher level with Willy…and Katherine could really DANCE. Madness.

*photo courtesy ABC/Adam Taylor

July 18, 2012 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

William Levy Nominated For 2012 Alma Award For Dancing With The Stars, Other Awards News

Congratulations to Dancing With The Stars Season 14 3rd place contestant William Levy. He’s been nominated for a 2012 Alma Award for “Favorite TV Reality, Variety, or Comedy Personality or Act”. The Alma Awards honor Latinos for their leading parts in television, movies, and music. Other Latin celebrities to be honored in the same category with William are Christina Aguilera for “The Voice”, Gabriel Iglesias for “Gabriel Iglesias Presents Stand-Up Revolution”, George Lopez for “Take Me Out”, and Jennifer Lopez for “American Idol”. The winners will be selected based on fans’ votes online through Sept. 7th. You’ll be able to catch the ALMA awards on Sept. 21st on NBC. For a complete list of the 2012 Alma Award nominations and more details on the show, visit En Starz.

In other awards news, Dancing With The Stars has been nominated in VH1’s “Do Something Awards” for Best Reality TV Show along with The Biggest Loser, Whale Wars, Undercover Boss, and Savage U (WHA? I’ve never heard of these other shows before? 😯 ). Be sure you vote at the link and then be sure to watch VH1 on August 21st to see if our favorite show wins.

Picture of William courtesy of Zimbio Pictures.

July 10, 2012 I Written By

Hi, I'm a news hounds from way back. Since 1999, I've worked on Madonna and Enrique Iglesias fan sites....and now PureDWTS. I have always been a big music and dancing fan, but, I'm also passionate about photography, nature, animals, and spending as much time as possible travelling and camping with my hubby and our loving and patriotic doggie, Cash. To read more on me and view my photos (including some dancers from DWTS), see Lisa Kay Photography. You can also follow me at: Voguerista Twitter & Voguerista Soundcloud.

DWTS 14 End-of-Season Awards – Which Celebrity Improved the Most?

Other responses:

William Levy – 9 (Not sure how you can improve your ass-shaking & shirt-removing technique a whole lot…)
Roshon Fegan – 7
Gladys Knight – 3
Jaleel White – 2 (Maybe if you consider witholding his crocodile tears an improvement…)
Sherri Shepherd – 1
Everyone – 1 (If only that were true :-))

Courtney: I don’t think this season’s “most improved” award was quite as clear for me as it’s been in previous seasons – I know when I voted in season 12, it was like “Duh, ROMEO!” and in season 13, “Of course it’s Rob!!!” This season, I found myself wavering a bit, as it seems like a lot of people started out being good and then stayed pretty good the entire season – and then there were others who were a bit up-and-down.  In the end, though, I think the improvement was most apparent with Maria.  I remember muttering “Yikes!” after her cha-cha in week one, as she looked downright terrified and pretty unsteady on her legs.  Then she looked a bit more relaxed and in the zone in week 2, and a little more in week 3, etc. By the time classical week rolled around and she managed to get the first perfect 30 of the season, I was pretty impressed.  As for Donald – I do think he improved, but it wasn’t quite as marked as Maria – plus he really never seemed to get the love he deserved from the judges, so I guess it kinda distorted things for me.  It became a matter of “Is he really improving drastically, or are the judges just finally warming up to him?” I will credit Melissa with improving in her stage presence, but overall, I think her dancing only improved slightly during her stint on the show.  I think Gavin could have improved quite a bit, had he stuck around a little longer – but his transformation in the short time he was on was enjoyable nonetheless.  🙂  I feel the same about Roshon as I do about Donald – I don’t know that he was truly improving (I thought he was pretty good the whole season), but the judges just seemed to vacillate between lavishing praise upon him and absolutely ripping him to shreds from week to week, so I think it gave a false impression of him having all of these dramatic ups and downs.  I thought Gladys gave it a good try, but only had a slight net improvement throughout the season; I thought Jaleel was down more than he was up; and I still don’t think I even saw enough real dancing from William to even determine if he improved greatly.  I think his finale cha-cha looked better than his week 1 cha-cha, but that’s the only benchmark I have to compare to.

Vogue: Court, I’m with you again. When I first read this Poll, I was baffled for who to vote for “most improved”? With every season we’ve done this, I usually know straight away for who to answer with, but, not this time. After thinking on it, I voted for Maria. Looking back to her first interviews and first dances, she was weak and a little uncoordinated. She so nervous and unconfident. She was worried she wouldn’t be as good as Derek’s other partners which she voiced several times in interviews which, in turn, made me nervous for her too. Well, just like Derek said, he worked on her “walk” first. After that, he totally molded her into a confident dancer. Soon, we saw her relaxing and them playing off of each other’s humor and creativity. His Fox totem was hard at work and in tune again. He can “blend” into anyone to make a union work. It amazes me how he can do that season after season. It’s too bad Jack Wagner was sent home so early. I think he could have improved more with every show too.

Heidi: Yeah, I’d go with Maria. The problem with this category is that you pretty much have to totally tune out the judges nonsense and the crowd reaction to get to the heart of what is real – that’s very hard to do. Roshon started out good and stayed good – but it’s easy to think there is actual improvement when one week the judges are saying how poorly you did and the next week they are raving. It’s very easy to hear all that “noise” from them and have it start to sink in. As for Donald? The judges never liked him, IMO, and never “wanted” him to win (I think in the end their rank comes out in the scoring regardless), so when they finally started giving him credit it was like an epiphany. “Oh, he’s improving!!” Well, maybe – but not as much as Maria. The judges own bias turns into noise, which turns into false impressions for a lot of the dancers. But I think Maria truly went from “Bambi on ice” (per Derek) to a decent dancer. She’s not the best of his partners in terms of dance quality, but I think she did go the farthest in terms of growth.

*photo courtesy ABC/Adam Taylor 

June 27, 2012 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 14 End-of-Season Awards – Which Couple’s Elimination Was the Most Disappointing?

Other responses:

William & Cheryl – 4
Jaleel & Kym – 2
Katherine & Mark – 1
Gavin & Karina – 1
All of them really they were all so much fun – 1 (Vogue, did you write this one in? 😉 )
None.  Even if it was a shocker, I wasn’t disappointed because I wasn’t rooting for them. – 1 (And I thought I had a hard time this season!)

Courtney: This is always an interesting category, because I think certain people interpret it in different ways – some people seem to vote for the most shocking elimination, some people vote for their favorite couple (because it would stand to reason that their elimination probably would be the most disappointing in their mind!), some people vote for someone in the finale that they felt they didn’t place high enough.  *shrug* To each his own.  I guess I tend to vote for the couple whose elimination seemed to illicit the greatest emotional response in me – and I think that often gets colored by how that couple fares throughout the season.  My knee jerk reaction with this one was Roshon & Chelsie, but then I realized by the time they got sent home that they had been beaten up so badly by the judges week to week that I was almost relieved that they weren’t going to have to endure it any longer, and I wasn’t going to continue yelling at the tv in frustration.  I was kinda sad to see Gladys go, for the simple reason that I thought they really kinda screwed her in the end; I was disappointed to see Maria & Derek go, because I thought they could have delivered a much more entertaining performance in the finale than William & Cheryl.  But in the end, as surprising as this may sound, I think I was actually most disappointed to see Jack go – because at that point in the season, I wasn’t totally jaded by all the fishy stuff the judges were doing, and I thought Jack was one of the stronger male dancers in the competition and I wanted to see more from him.  I guess by the time Roshon & Maria’s eliminations rolled around, I was kind of “whatever” about this season as a whole, so it didn’t bother me quite so much – but I was definitely upset by Jack’s earlier ouster.

Vogue: My feelings in this category stumped me too. I thought this award would go to Roshon all season, but, he actually stuck around until the right time despite how harsh the judges were on him all season. In the end, it was a toss up between Martina, Jack, and Sherri. Who did I pick? Sherri!! Yes, Sherri. At first I had my misgivings with all the cheating stuff and then she started wrapping me around her finger with how funny and compassionate she was about learning how to dance. She was so into it all. When she cried during her elimination, I cried too. She was so thankful to her fans and the experience. I also loved it when she said to take on the things you are most scared of and how that can make you the happiest in this life “on the other side”. Remember that? I melted. I was sad to see Jack go as well because there was potential there and he was just an all around nice guy. I would have liked to have seen his message about adoption and finding his daughter played out more. Then there was Martina. I was really hoping to see a retired tennis champ and one of my tennis mentors really take over the dance floor “mentally” somehow like she did tennis and her competitors somehow, but, I was more disappointed in Tony than in Martina. I will always wonder if she had another partner, would she have done better? Maybe not?

Heidi: Well, believe it or not, I don’t think I voted and I don’t think I was really disappointed to see any of them go – I’m a glass half full kind of woman when it comes to Derek and partners like Maria. Maria was not a natural dancer, but she worked so freakin’ hard and wouldn’t give up and had so much fun and made Derek have so much fun that it’s probably one of my favorite partnerships. But really, with someone like Maria and Derek I end up just being grateful that they made it as long as they did. Sure, I much preferred them to William and Cheryl and they would almost certainly have brought more to a free style – but Maria had a great run. And it was a more successful season for Derek than it was for Cheryl, that’s for sure. Despite all the pimping, Cheryl couldn’t get past third place. Derek, on the other hand, took someone that he thought would be eliminated in week three or four and found a way to make sure she stuck around in a season where she could have easily been forgotten in the William/Katherine mass pimpage.  Katherine being the only one worthy of such pimpage. 🙂  Well, yes, I was probably sad to see Jack go…and Gladys…but disappointed?? I dunno.   Hellooo? Katherine and Mark were not actually “eliminated” – they just didn’t WIN. Geez, greedy much? 🙂

June 21, 2012 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 14 End-of-Season Award Winners – Which Dance Was the Worst?

I think it’s safe to say that this one is pretty cut & dry 😛

Other responses:

Sherri & Val’s jive – 3
Maria & Derek’s jive – 2
William & Cheryl’s rumba – 1
William’s porn “dance” sequences – 1 (Normally I’d eliminate this one for ambiguity, but I’m curious – what’s a porn dance? :-P)
William & Cheryl’s finale cha-cha – 1
William & Cheryl’s quickstep – 1
William & Cheryl’s Argentine tango – 1
William & Cheryl’s paso doble – 1
Katherine & Mark’s 1st jive – 1
No bad ones – 1
NO comment – 1 (Then what do you call your write-in response?)

Courtney:  Poor Martina…she was kind of a shoo-in, methinks.  It was really kinda hard to watch that jive…she just got so awkwardly off-time and never really regained her footing, and you could tell she was really frustrated.  I don’t think that costume did her any favors, either – shame on you, Tony, for dressing your partner in a bedazzled tuna net! Mama Spence voted for William & Cheryl’s jive, because she loved watching the part where William tries to swing Cheryl around and her foot awkwardly thunks on the floor – repeatedly.  And she laughed heartily each time. 🙂 I think the worst part of that routine was that, by the end of it, I think William was to the point of “f*ck it” and just half-assed the last few bars.  As for the rest of the dances – I think a lot of them suffered because of bad song choice.  Unless you’re a pro who ROCKS at doing out-of-the-box-but-still-proper dances, you’re probably gonna get screwed by a bad song at least once per season.  The Shaft routine? Now that was just a hot mess. 😛 And in a move that will probably surprise some of you, I’m actually gonna disagree with all the William write-ins – I actually never thought he was a bad dancer.  Far from it – dude had some natural talent.  But what turned me off is how much they were hyping him, and how oversexed his routines became.  But despite that, I still don’t think he had the worst dance of the season.  Even though I enjoy seeing Mama Spence crack up at his jive 🙂

Vogue: As much as I hate to admit it, the voters in this Poll pegged it. Being I was a huge tennis fan of Martina’s, I was really hoping she’d stun the dance world like she did her tennis days back in the day. But, oiy,…as soon as I saw her costume for the Jive, I cringed and could foresee her fate. From there, it just got worse. I felt so sorry for her. It wasn’t like she was trying. Like Court, I blamed Tony for the costume. This dance was proof positive how a costume can set the tone. Even still, she was lagging in time. It was sad and painful to watch. She knew it was bad too. As for the other dances, I was shocked (yes, I am pathetic) to see Jaleel and Kym’s Shaft dance have the outcome it did. I wasn’t a fan to Jaleel all season, but, the Shaft dance actually made me smile and laugh. I liked how it kind of poked fun of him. It was so “him” too.

Heidi: How can you NOT blame Tony for the costume since he’s the one that repeatedly uses that type of costume on his partners? Take a look back at some of Melissa’s dances with him. At least it was better on her. I think Martina looked in the mirror and could no longer focus on dancing because of that horrible costume. Horrendous. Gawdawful. Worse than the dance even. As for William – yeah, he wasn’t a horrible dancer, but he was also not the best thing since Gilles like they promoted him – and I laugh every time I see that Jive too. 🙂  Of course, it gave Cheryl something to blame and she ranted about that shoe to anyone who would listen for days afterward.  As for the other write ins – why take the time to write no comment or no bad ones?? And I also think that anyone who writes in Maria or Katherine is someone with an axe to grind. Disgruntled William fan? 🙂 Same goes for Sherri and Val’s dance, actually. Worst?? With Martina in the running? Right. 

*photo courtesy ABC/Adam Taylor

June 18, 2012 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

Brooke Burke Says It’s Going To Be A Great Cast For The Dancing With The Stars All Star Season

While doing some charity work for Operation Smiles, Dancing With The Stars co-host Brooke Burke stops by the Grove to talk to Celebuzz. Brooke gives her thoughts for who she’d like to see come back for the new All-Star season. She’d like to see Sabrina Bryan, Maria Menounos, Jaleel (WHA?? 😯 Hush, Brooke!), William Levy, Stacy Keibler, and Warren Sapp to name a few. She says it’s going to be a great cast. More below….

June 12, 2012 I Written By

Hi, I'm a news hounds from way back. Since 1999, I've worked on Madonna and Enrique Iglesias fan sites....and now PureDWTS. I have always been a big music and dancing fan, but, I'm also passionate about photography, nature, animals, and spending as much time as possible travelling and camping with my hubby and our loving and patriotic doggie, Cash. To read more on me and view my photos (including some dancers from DWTS), see Lisa Kay Photography. You can also follow me at: Voguerista Twitter & Voguerista Soundcloud.

DWTS Season 14 – Dancing by the Numbers Wrap Up

Blah blah All-Star Season blah blah.  🙂  That’s months away yet and I don’t find myself interested in it. Yet. I’m sure that will change. Sooner or later.  I’m still thinking about the season that ended a mere two weeks ago. Because that’s who I am. 🙂

So, in looking at the way the show turned out, I saw a few people discussing what William’s REAL voting block was like. Some had a tendency to say “Oh, Katherine must have been killing it” or “Maybe William didn’t have it all along and he was getting by on margins” – well, being the nerd that I am, I just have to go back and LOOK and see if there are any conclusions to be drawn.

The final scores ended up being very close, with only one point separating Donald and William from Katherine.  In order to win, Donald or William needed 3,740 more votes per million votes cast to get by Katherine. Obviously, Donald got those votes because he ended up beating her. William, on the other hand, didn’t get those votes because he came in third place. Pretty simple, right?

That’s not to say that William WASN’T getting more votes than Katherine, because he could have been – he just couldn’t cover the spread.  I’m inclined to believe that William was pretty solidly in third place (and no better) all along – because of the pimping or in spite of the pimping, take your pick. Why do I think this??  Well, 3,740 is chump change when it comes to votes, but he couldn’t get past Katherine. While Katherine was a beautiful dancers, she was quite over hyped in the latter weeks as well (by the judges) – but she and Mark together were also very likeable.

The previous week, Katherine, William and Donald all had to get past Maria by the following margins:

–          Katherine needed just over 13k per million votes cast to get past Maria, AND;

–          Donald needed 8,700 votes per million votes cast to get past Maria, AND;

–          William needed 4,350 votes per million votes cast to get past Maria

They all did that and Maria went home – so it seems to me that she was fourth place all along. Those aren’t huge numbers.  However, there IS an argument to be made that Katherine was helped A LOT by her “back spasm” and the fact that people still think someone is safe with the high score. Sure, that could have helped Katherine…and maybe it did.  It’s hard to say for sure. But it seems to me that if people got lax on voting for Maria because she had the high score, it would have been William in trouble and not Katherine.  Because at the time it mattered the most, and with no sympathy vote in play, Willy couldn’t get past Katherine.  For that reason, I think the winner, 2nd place and 3rd place were pretty solid. Read more..

June 2, 2012 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. :-)