DWTS: Season 14 Week 2

27 03 2012

Round 2 on DWTS – could week 2 top week 1?

I think…. it did!

I’ve had this conversation with anyone who’ll listen. This show isnt just a ‘fun thing’ to do between gigs for these celebrities. It has launched careers, movie deals, magazine covers, hosting jobs… it’s a cash cow for all involved, if they play it right. If you want it, you gotta take it starting week 1. It’s taken 14 seasons for the ‘Stars’ to realize that, and it’s showing VERY early on.

It hardly matters WHO you are – the show has evolved from the NAME to the GAME.

There are a few key factors – you’ll need at least one or two to win this competition:

1. A good partner – Derek, Maks, Mark have statistically won the most trophies. Cheryl and Julianne have won the most for the men.

2. A good attitude in practice – no one likes to see a prima donna celebrity NOT working their tails off in practice. We want to see sweat, ugly hair, and tears. lots of tears.

3. A story – We love a good backstory – so make sure you tell it BEFORE you get axed.

4. The Moves – because most celebs have mastered the ‘tricks’, it comes down to dance ability. A good dance will be rewarded…

So let’s get to the dancing shall we?

Katherine Jenkins – Remember her? She’s the blonde Brit (don’t they have their own version of this show?) I have nothing against her, I just feel like within the current roster, she’s a bit of a head scratcher. Not that it matters, her PR team is genius because she is knocking the SOCKS off this competition in the early weeks! She was strong last week, and this week she absolutely nailed her jive… maybe it was in small part her partner, the showman Mark or the tiny tassled dress giving the illusion of movement… but this girl can dance, and her career might’ve just hit an American launching pad.

Roshon – is a Jonas Brother, except about 3 years too late. He’s just a bit ‘too much’ for me. Too much Disney Factory personality and look. But because he has youth on his side, he’s got the body and the energy to take on high tempo dances… like the quickstep. This was a good dance for him, it will be interesting to see if he can mature and scale it down for a Viennese waltz in later weeks.

Maria Menenous – continues to polarize herself. She could be the’ hot n sexy young thing’… but then she opens her mouth and she’s looses her ‘sex appeal’. Let’s not even begin to talk about her laugh. *shudder*. She would be considered a front runner in this competition because she has the RIGHT partner, the RIGHT body (to fit into any sequin bra) and she’s GAME. Their performance was probably my favourite of the night – it had a Bonnie and Clyde theme and Derek’s creative fingerprints all over it.

Jaleel White (Urkel) – another good routine, probably not as sharp and surprising as his first. But he’s got massive potential if he lets his personality shine and attacks dances like he did week 1. He’s still a favourite…

Sherri Shepherd- has great chemistry with Val, she couldnt have gotten a better partner for this experience. She is LOVING this…can you tell? It’s infectious, it’s fun to watch and she represents alot of demographics who watch and vote on thsi show. Her dance last night was great, she kept great pace and didnt let her ‘thickness’ hold her back from any tricks and kicks. You know, she will be the first on People magazine talking about her ‘dance diet’. it’s coming.

William Levy – Has a lot of fans for someone I’ve never heard of. HE will be a contender, Cheryls got a good one this year. This week, he was working on his form, which probably led to a slightly wooden performance overall. However, he aint going anywhere, his scores are great and Cheryl promised he’d take off more clothing.

Jack Wagner – overdanced it. Probably trying to ompensate for the fact taht he’s irrelevant and has no real shot at winning in this competition. That may sound hardsh, but t’s true. He’s not good enough, nor ‘famous’ enough nor personable enough.

Donald driver – might turn into a sparkplug dancer… he’s quick to a fault at times, he lacks precision and hold, but he’s got the fire in his belly to make it happen. I can see him getting batter, even in week 2, so I think he’ll be a contender in this show.

Gladys Knight – Is a revelation. She has poise, she has elegance, but she also has sass, determination and and boatloads of  ‘can do’. She has nailed 2 dances in a row, last night was even better than her first week. She might also be the biggest ‘name’ on the show…doesnt hurt.

Gavin Degraw – Closely rivals Gladys Knight for the biggest ‘Name’ ont he show… but he has the edge in relevance. He has a number 1 record in the country right now, and he’s on DWTS?!?! It still boggles my mind. The guy doesnt need it, which might be a reason he wont win. He’s trying, he’s giving it a shot… but he doesnt NEED this in the same way Melissa Gilbert needs this. Are you with me? ANyways, he’s been mediocre, but he is a true NON dancer and there’s something charming about watching a kitten learn to walk…right?

Martina Navritilova – was hard to watch last night. It was a slow, painful, agonizing death march… once she went off the rails (I think it was the second or thrird beat) she was finished. There’s one every season, a person who completely forgets everything from a weeks worht of practice, and it’s pure live TV terror. I feel bad for her, but I think she’s on the chopping block tonight. As much as good dancing should be rewarded, bad dancing should be punished.

Melissa Gilbert – has resorted to good ole fashioned Hollywood name dropping. She used to date Billy Idol in the 80’s. That’s low. Yah? Well looks at the hosts of waitresses and Z-list models George Clooney has dated… it aint sayin’ much. Whats lower? Saying dancing is harder than childbirth.  Well, you cant fault her for the amount of ‘try’ she puts into this… but her scores are bottom dwelling at best.

Thoughts?

In this the first week of elimination, I believe the axe falls on Martina or Jack.

 

 

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DWTS Season 13 Finale

22 11 2011

Last night, the Final 3 danced for their shot at the title of DWTS Season 13 Champion.

This title holds alot of weight… seriously. It may be bright and gaudy, but the Mirrorball means more than just a big bling-ball for your mantle. Past winners have gone on to catapoult their careers to new heights… you’re almost guaranteed your own show, hosting gig, morning/late night show rounds and a People Magazine cover.

Trust me, they all want this BAD.

and it showed… although not the Top 3 I wouldve expected, these 3 definitely rose to the ocassion and put on a great show. It’s truly amazing the tranformation from week 1 to the finals dances… it really validates the process.

Let’s get to last night – each dancer had two dances, one being the infamous ‘ Freestyle’ that can win or lose the competition, and one was ‘judges choice’.

Rob Kardashian– started with a lacklustre waltz. It was slow and pretty, but I think by the end he lacked the focus to keep his carriage and lines in full form. The judges though, were not so harsh giving him all 9’s to start with. His Freestyle was a real tribute to Cheryl Burkes genius. It started off graceful, and ended with booty shaking and energy. It was definitely a culmination dance… a dance that showed Rob’s transformation and skill level. Like at a recital, you give it your best shot…and that’s what Rob did. Kudos to Cheryl, it was a great Freestyle with tons of great moments and super high scores.

JR Martinez – Has been snake bitten recently, his scores have not been as solid, and he really needed a comeback week in a big way. It didnt start off well for JR (however, if you’ll notice, the judges reserved the high scores for the Freestyles) Not that the dance was bad, infact I thoroughly enjoyed it! The dance was not perfect. It was behind in parts and i guess there were some music issues… so JR received a mixed bag of scores. JR made his comeback in his freestyle, liek we all knew he could! He shimmy-ed and shook everything his mama gave him, and nailed some very dangerous lifts and spins. Wow. Just wow. Len is right, Karina is an unbelievable dancer/choreographer and she has been dealt some pretty rough cards… finally, she got an Ace and she deserves, as much as he does, to receive some recognition. Awesome Freestyle, it might be the ‘winner’ we were looking for.

Ricki Lake- Needed to stand out. She hasa been kind of quietly punching her card tot he finals, she needed a BIG final. She started out with a fast-paced, frantic dance in a sexy red number. She has been flaunting her new look Ricki (just in time for her new show…) just as much as her dancing…it’s her ‘story’, her ‘journey’. I get it. It was a good dance, and it showed the kind of personality and vitality this woman has had all through the competition. Her freestyle shouldve been amazing…she has Derek. But this time around, the dance Derek put on the floor lacked depth and character. Derek used the time to hoist Ricki, fling Ricki, spin Ricki … but i’m not sure Ricki really proved she should be the winner with this dance. Tough call.

Final Thoughts:

It is most certainly a tough call…. because having Rob Kardashian in the final should have me believing it’s really a Final 2. But the kid came out strong (and it doesnt hurt to have the whole family, yep even Kim, in the audience) proving he may actually be a contender. Listen, if Kris Jenner hs anyhing to do with it… we could see Rob K on the cover of People by tomorrow. It’s a possibility, a very real possibility… brace yourselves, because it could happen.

I think JR had the dance of the night with his freestyle, and I’m not sure having a Hero special on ABC hurts his chances either. The guy was the least ‘known’ Star at the beginning, but this exposure can be a career-maker… and I think JR is set. You’re going to see this guy everywhere, win or lose… but ezpecially if he wins. I don’t know what has been plaguing him lately, but we all know peaking at the right time is crucial. He was everyones favourite from the start, will he be able to carry that through?

Ricki was arguably one of the bigger names in the cast – and tehrefore had the most to lose. She already had a career, already had a ‘name’, already had a reputation. She didnt need the show to promote her, however, she needed to uphold her persona on this show. It wouldve been devastating to her, if she had gone in the first or second week… or if she had struggled, and not been able to get herself to the top of the pack. Lucky duck got Derek (who pulled those strings?) who was able to propel her through the early rounds and make her the dancer she is. She deserves the trophy as much as the next guy, she worked her butt off literally.

Thoughts?





DWTS: Semi Finals Results

16 11 2011

The semi final reslts were read on DWTS last night, that is of course after we saw performances by a group of pre-pubescent dancers, product placements, a performance by The Muppets, and the usual recapping that takes… a full 55 minutes to complete.

We all know how i feel about these results shows.

IN any case… we found out fairly early that Hope was ‘in jeopardy’… no real surprise. And then we learned that, horror of horrors, JR MArtinez was also in jeopardy. The hosts are quick to point out taht this doesnt necessarily mean these dancers were both in the bottom.

This of course always gets me thinking… its a script. Obviously, JR had a hard night on monday (read my review to remind yourselves) but producers know jsut as well as we do… JR needs to be in the finals to bring legitimacy to the show. Also, who doesnt LOVE a rise from the ashes story. JR will get his chance to regain top form nex week because….

Hope Solo eliminated from DWTS last night.

again, not a huge surprise, and I’m personally very happy to see her go. I was not a huge fan (understatement).

So your final 3, who will dance for the mirrorball trophy are:
Ricki Lake
JR MArtinez
and Rob Kardashian. (wow…)

Thoughts?

 





DWTS: Semi Finals November 14

15 11 2011

The semifinalists took the stage last night on DWTS.

Rob Kardashian, Hope Solo, JR Martinez and Ricki Lake are the Final 4 ‘Stars’ in the Running… after 3 dances each last night, we should have a pretty good idea of who should take home the title…. right?

As they say (who?) ‘that’s why they play the game’. Because I could write you a perfect script for what I think could/chould happen… but in reality, sometimes people drop the ball, sometimes people surprise…and that’s why they play the game.

I definitely couldnt have predicted this Final 4 at the start of the season. And I definitely couldnt have expected what happened last night…

What i CAN’T figure out, is what is ‘real’ and what is ‘storyline’.

For example – we’ve been waiting for Rob Kardashian to peak all season, giving him lots of chances, lots of opportunity to have his family in the audience, lots of time probably not warrented, to improve and become  passionate dancer. Well, last night… he was on top of the game. He was smooth, he was entertaining, he seemed very focuse and confident. Being a cycnic… there was something still rubbing me the wrong way. Then it happened. When asked WHY he should be a finalist, he turned to the camera and said “Because I LOVE to dance”. Shuldve added the million dollar wink to his mother in the crowd. Because he has completed his story arch set out from the very beginning of his casting. Rob becoming a man. Rob finding his way without his sisters. Rob learning to become passionate about… something/anything.

Next Hope Solo, as unpredictable as it gets. Because she had potential on the first week, then she went flat, then she fell backwards, and now she’s just hanging on. I don’t know who is voting for her, I don’t know if I am seeing something differnt from everyone else, but the girl can’t dance and it’s the semi finals. You can see her following her steps in her head, and then getting occassionally thrown around by Maks and strategically wearing costumes that excentuate her ‘lines’ and figure. Those pants with the tassles? Those are specifically designed for people without hip action, because they mask the lack of movement underneath. Enough… sorry. She was not great last night, but has she ever been? She was the bottom dancer by a large margin… so if I was writing the story, she’d be gone (weeks ago).

Next, Ricki Lake, who has made quite an impression and become quite a good dancer in this process. I give more than half the credit to Derek… both for designing dances that will embellish her strengths, and for bringing in the ‘grandma’ vote (yes, my grandma still votes for ‘Derek’ without knowing his partners name). But Ricki is a pro at this point, she knows her body, she knows her technique, she has the personality and gets into character better than anyone else. The X Factor as they say. I think she has a larger appeal than any other dancer, and I think that her rise to excellence is commendable. She got great marks last night, and I dont see her NOT making the finals.

Lastly, JR Martinez, who was riding high after two perfect scores last week. However, here is where that saying rings true… you’ve got to play the game. JR faltered last night, and not just because his ankle was twisted. He was suffering, it waws obvious. But the problem is not the suffering, it’s the defeat. He looked defeated. He hardly looked at the camera, he hardly flashed his meg watt smile. He was not present, and I feel like he wanted the night to be OVEr so that he could rise from the ashes and make his triumphant rebound. The problem is, he may not have the votes to pull that off. I dont know for sure, but what I DO know, is that people dont like to see defeat… or a mope. JR is still an elite dancer, and outdanced Hope for sure.. but he might’ve been dethroned after last night’s performances.

We shall see…

Thoughts?

 





DWTS: Top 4 Semi Final Dancers

9 11 2011

Who will be in the DWTS Semi Finals next week?

The Top 5 became a Final 4 last night on the DWTS results show.

At this point, there is an our’s worth of content to fll before revealing the obvious… Nancy Grace eliminated from DWTS. Not a huge surprise by any stretch, perhaps the surprise is how long she actually stayed in the competition.

I have to keep reminding myself not to bothe rwith the first… 55 minutes of the show. I can’t take it. It’s drivel, useless interviews, recaps, dramatic lighting cues, people trying to sell CD’s and other products. Both of the singers have albums coming out, and these next few dances are brought to you by Macys. Look there’s a Kardashian, or a Jackson, or a Lohan or a nobody from the ABC show no one watches.

Enough about that, sorry, seomtimes I fall into the trap of using my blog to spew my aggrivations. Apologies. The real news story is that Nancy Grace is out of the competition… and so is my new favourite pro-dancer of the year, Tristan. Swoon. An accent goes a long way…

So your final 4 Dancers in the semi finals are:

Rob Kardashian
Hope Solo
JR Martinez
Ricki Lake

Thoughts?





DWTS: Final 5 November 8

8 11 2011

The final 5 took the stage last night on DWTS.

Is this really your Final 5?

Rob Kardashian, Nancy Grace, Hope Solo, JR Martinez and Ricki Lake?

I don’t know that I wouldve let Rob, Nancy or even Hope get this far… but alas, the group is not as strong as past seasons in my opinion. However, if  ‘shockers’ and upsets hadnt gotten rid of David Arquette, Chynna Philips or even Kristen Cavallari… we may  have a stronger final group.

Last night, the final dancers DID step it up – the quality of dancing was the highest it has been all season – even from perrennial bottom dwellers Nancy, Rob and Hope. The addition of the ‘instant dance’ was supposed to show us who can really ‘dance’ on the spot… but the reality is, all the pairs practice a routine… no matter what the music is, they stick to the script. I dont think that proves much – if anything it disproves their growth as dancers because they look like robot monkeys who prepare a routine and don’t even need the music to perform it.

Rob Kardashian – had a great week last week, and was riding high. He performed probably his best dance this week in terms of his comfort level and performance level. Can I just ask, what IS the deal with the Kardashian rear end? Rob has a serious booty – it might even be better than Kims. Just sayin. Yes, Rob is peaking at the right time -his mother must be so proud to have all of her children making headines recently.

His instant dance was a little bit off putting, or was it just the pants? He seemed a little thrown by the process, but he maintained his speed and composure so he effectively pulled it off.

Nancy Grace– went back to herbread and butter, the ‘I am woman, hear me roar’ scowl she has made quite a few bucks off of in her lifetime. However, i have never been a fan of bringing it to the dancefloor…every week. This week, the dance called for it so she brought it. She was vampy and strong – but still, this woman really has no place in the final 5 based on her abilities. She is clunky when she dances, her facial expression rarely changes and she does not perform the same quality of movement as her counterparts.

Her instant dance was actually better than her first performance, because it took her away from her ‘dark brooding’ persona and forced her to kick it up a notch.

Hope Solo– is not my favourite dancer, I’ll admit it. THere’s something about her performance that always seems forced and hesitant. But, I will say that I enjoyed more than usual last night. She was feminine without being a playmate or a hooker (same thing?), she was fun without feeling contrived, and she was elegant without looking wooden. This Hope Solo is not as hard to watch as the other overly agressive, overly emotional, awkward athlete that we’ve seen in the past.

Her instant dance was also better than expected. I thought she would have the most trouble, because she tends to over-prepare and get out of sorts if anything goes awry. She held it together and performed, what looked to be, a very fast tempo, technically demanding jive.

Ricki Lake – it doesnt surprise me that she has made it this far, I predicted that fromt he start purely based on her fanbase, celebrity status and personality. What DOES surprise me is how good she has become. She is now starting to work on very nit picky elements of her dance, and that’s when you know you’re getting more and more professional about your approach. She doesnt work on basic movements, she works on her angles, heel leads, shoulder placement. Her dancing is very high quality, and this week she had to perform 2 totally different dances. Her slow romantic dance was lovely…

Her instant dance was also very impressive. She was able to turn up the speed and intensity and perform the bobby socks off her jive! She has really emerged as a stand out, and a true contender for the title.

JR Matinez – came to WIN last night! Seriously, it was HIS night and everyone else was a spectator. He and Karina knocked two dances out of the park last night, and he is back on top of the leaderboard as he should be. He looks like a pro – his footwork is preceise, his energy matches his partner, he looks totally in control and confident… he just came out gangbusters last night!

His instant dance took on a new personality – even though he had rehearsed sections of the dance, it seemed to all come together once the music played. Thats what is supposed to happen… the music puts the soul into the movement.

Thoughts?

Which misfit will go home tonight? Obviously, it is clear who the Top 2 are after last night…





DWTS: Week 2

27 09 2011

It’s Week 2 of Dancing With the Stars… the new, improved, $3 million stage reno, bigger Stars edition!

Right.

Thankfully, last week we stopped caring about what to call ‘that basketball player’… Metta World Peace was eliminated. That is the last time I will say that name with my serious face… it’s over.

This week, we can start to really critique the dancers… it’s almost unfair to do that in week 1. Cream will start to rise to the top, leaders will begin to emerge, tears will flow, injuries will crop up, Bruno will say soemthing naughty…I can’t wait, let’s get to the dancing!

1. Hope Solo and Maks – Can I jsut say something, Hope scares me. Yes, she is imposing and competitive… but also, she wears her confidence all over her facial expressions and gestures. Last night, part of her choreography was to get the crowd on their feet and clapping… if you slow mo-ed it, you would be frightened. Somehow, this girl needs to live among the real people and soften her edges a little. America doesnt care about soccer… but they will embrace you if you connect with them and humble yourself a tad. Her dancing is fine, it’s progressing… if she can stick around long enough, she’ll have a ‘break out’ week for sure.

2. Rob Kardashian and Cheryl – Better. Definitly better. However, the wardrobe decision maker who put him in THAT Hawaiin shirt needs a new postition. Seriously. It was a vacation outfit, an outfit ONLY acceptable on vacation with your family at a resort. It didnt help his case, even though his dancing was marginally improved form last week. The judges for some reason thought it was the reincarnation of Fred Astaire and gave him overwhelming praise… this is when I start to think they’ve got a script, a roadmap for the seson… each person gets a ‘high week’, this was Robs.

3. Kristen Cavallari and Mark – Kristen was completely unrecognizable as ‘Marilyn Monroe’ (how original) which might actually be the right direction for her. She needs to be ‘in character’ every week to go far because no one is a fan of Kristen Cavallari. It’s not 2009 anymore. Last night’s dancing was just ok,  but her performance and get up were entertaining. She’s not the worst dancer of the bunch, but she may have the least fans.

4. Elisabetta and Val – I’m going to be a little bit bitter and ruthless here. Don’t mind me. Last night I said out loud ‘ good thing she’s got a good body, because her personality and dacning kinda suck.’ If she wasnt nice to look at, this woman would be a wreck. She doesnt have a good disposition, she doesnt have a work ethic, she’s not so hot when she’s not smiling, and her coodination is atrocious. Models are not succesful on this show, probably because of people like me. We secretly dispise them for the fact that they have no talent or ‘try’… yet they have been successful in life based on their appearance. She was terrible again last night, it’s almost hard to watch… so, good thing she fills a ballgown with a perfect shape.

5. Carson Kressly and Anna – The night was a little boring, and then… Carson. He is the human Big Bird. He is almost impossible not to like… go ahead, send the hate mail. Here’s why he is so likable: He has a well definied personality, he is almost luminouswhen he dances, he tries harder than most and he doesnt take himself seriously. Len hit it right on the head, the unfortunate thing is… the people with the most personality are the worst dancers on this show. If Carson had an ounce more natural dancing ability, he’d be on the leader board.

6. Chaz Bono and Lacey – It happens every year, and every year I go through the process of psycho-analyzing the real situation. Injuries begin to appear. Yes, these peple are not used to dancing 8 hours a day. Yes, most of these people do not have the most athletic bodies (to begin with). Yes, dancing is very physical. But I jsut feel liek sometimes, an injury can be a perfect crutch or a perfect cover for a bad performance. Last night, Chaz had knee issues that made his Quickstep painfully slow. Seriously, I’ve seen more robust waltzes at old folks homes.

7. Chynna Philips and Tony – Chynna is beautiful, she has natural grace and moves very well to the music. However, I do find that she suits some dances far better than others. Last night, she approached her quickstep the same as her previous waltz. She didnt get down into the floor, her bounces werent energized and her frame was high. But she still looked pretty good because she has the poise to pull it off. She needs to work on attacking each dance with a different set of skills and technique.

8. Nancy Grace and Tristan – I had higher hoped for Nanacy, and I think she let me down a bit last night. She started off with such gusto and determination, but this week her lack of dancing abilities let her down and made her appear weak. Her dance was tentative and she looked extrememly nervous and unsure of her steps. This shatters her persona of tough, vivacious TV judge… she may be in some trouble if she wasnt already.

9. Ricki Lake and Derek – Ricki had a breakthrough with this dance. She picked up the pace and performed a hard hitting, full cylander routine a la classic Derek Hough. She is going to be a board-topper this season, and might just have the personality + talent uotia that is needed to be a true contender. A great dance, and she received high praise and high scores from the judges.

10. David Arquette and Kym– I’m not sure whether to get behind the ‘new’ David Arquette, or remember the unlovable- jerk-goof-ball he used to be. I feel liek he needs this competition right now, and therefore I am impressed with his dedication to the learning process. He may need a week or two to really start to develop his skills, but I think he has the potential to be really good. I don’t think he can win, but I think he can gain some dignity with his performances and persona on the show.

11. JR and Karina– Ended the night with waht I thought was the dance of the night. The judges thought Ricki Lake was better, but I was completely shocked by the professional performance of this routine. JR has mad skills, he also is a great person to cheer for and he is absolutely going to be a leader in this competition for a long time. It’s week 2, and this guy looked like a pro on the stage, jumping, jiving, totally in time and with a smile on his face the whole time.  He makes me excited for this season.

Thoughts?

Who will get eliminated on week 2? Tune in tonight to find out…

 

 








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