DWTS: Motown Night Week 6

24 04 2012

Last night’s week 6 of DWTS featured Motown  and the Dance Marathon.

You know the producers were scrambling. The task was to find Motown acts, still alive, still living in LA, and willing to come out of retirement to sing on a reality show of D List dancers. The set is impressive, the viewership massive… so the appeal is there (and the paycheque). But the BIG problem still remains… how do you FILL a show with live Motown performances from the original artists? You call Smokey Robinsons agent, you call The Temptations and you scratch your head for awhile, then call Martha Reeve. What happens next? Smokey Robinsons agent finds him at Tussauds Wax Museum, The Temptations work on a few moves, and Martha Reeve gets a doctors note to attend.

Sorry, but it’s hard to watch a man’s face so tightly strung that his eyebrows, eyelids and cheek muscles don’t move while he sings. It’s just as hard to watch The Temptations attempt choreography they havent rehearsed, or Martha Reeve scream and convulse her way through old hits.

The music was perfectly suited to the dancing. I like that DWTS has decided to adopt the ‘Theme’ format that all other competition shows seem to have perfected. Motown was a far better theme than KISS headlining Rock Week. I just have to think that sitting around the production table wouldve been a struggle… because Gladys Knight (arguably the move well known and well… preserved of all the MOtowners) was unavailable.

Begs the question – SHOULD she have been eliminated last week, WOULD she have been one of the headliners?

Hmmmm…

either way, Glaydis Knight was GOING to be a part of Motwon week – the conspiracy theorist on my left shoulder tells me they kept her around JUST to dance in week 6, Motown week.

So they started off the night, with Knight. Gladys is a pleasure to watch, her facial expressions and performance quality are so endearing. It was definitely cool to see her dance to the music she helped create and make ‘classic’. The judges were cordial, but we all know that Gladys’ days on this show are numbered with the standard of dance that is required to win.

Next, Maria Menonous shares Karina’s wardrobe, and foxtrotted herself into a top finish…again. She had a minor mistep, and did not perform very well during the Dance Marathon, adding only 4 bonus marks to her total.

Roshon Fagan tried to pretend that he hasnt JUST hit puberty with a ‘sexy’ dance to Smokey Robinsons Cruisin’. The judges hit the nail on the head – his movement are far to ‘herky jerky’, like he’s trying to pop hip hop moves into a foxtrot… and it comes across as jarring and overdanced.

Katherine, the Welsh Wiggler, was spot on again this week. She wiggled and shook ‘her bits’ to a rousing, crowd and judge pleaser . It can be difficult to have a partner like Mark Ballas who will dance circled around you effotlessly – but in this case, katherine is rising to the challenge and matching him step for step. The pair also won the dance Marathin, catapaulting them into a sound first place.

Donald Driver came out with his best dance of the season, receiving his best scores to boot. I had become a bit bored of Donals, he wasnt bringing anything unique or different to the dance floor , but he could be a contender if he continues to perform the way he did last night.

Melissa Gilbert (needs to look at Smokey Robinson and make some life changes…faces are meant to move) Her dancing tends to err on the side of awkward and wooden. This was a better effort, and she received some very high praise (yet mediocre marks) from the judges. I like her better in the smooth dances where she can show control… she runs off the rails very quickly in fast step dances.

Jaleel (Urkel) is quickly becoming one of my favourites. He had a bounce back week, performing the SOCKS off his cha-cha adding boatloads of personality. He also had a new easy quality that made the dance look effortless. Great scores, great dance, great week for Urkel.

William Levy relies heavily on his oozing Sex appeal. The ‘sexy dances’ are right up his alley, and he sizzled through another one last night. It’s going to keep him around for a long time, but I hope that he gets a chance to show off some high octane dancing in the future too!

Thoughts?

Did the Dance Marathon help you decide who the best dancers in this competition are? I read pretty deep into the judges picks and placement – Gladys went first, Katherine went last. Does this predict the order of elimination?





DWTS Season 14: Week 5 Results

18 04 2012

The new ‘dance for your life’ duel made it’s debut on the week 5 DWTS elimination show last night.

The bottom two couples danced a pre-reheased cha cha, side by side, to give the judges one last look at them. Apparently there have been some issues with ‘fan favourites’ going home too early… tell that to Sherry Shepherd who missed this last chance ‘dance off’ by one week.

This week, Gavin DeGraw (who struggled mightily with his Salsa) and Urkel (who received high praise for his latin moves) danced in a lopsided ‘battle’ for the judges save. This was not Gavins night… nor was it his dance.

So the judges unceremoniously gave Gavin the boot, and Urkel lives to dance another week.

Thoughts about the new ‘dance off’? I personally found it hard to follow… a bit confusing, and probably a tad unecessary. But c’mon. It’s Dancing with the Stars . Nothing is ever done out of necessity.





DWTS Season 14: Week 4 Results

11 04 2012

They told us it would be ‘shocking’.

We’d been warned.

On the DWTS results show last night, after a mediocre night of dancing masked by kitschy ‘rock n roll’ iconogrpahy and imagery, we were left puzzled by the elimination.

As I said, Tom did a great job of pre-warning us for a wave of confusion over the eliminated dancer. As the night went on, dancer after dancer was ‘safe’ leaving only a few marquee players left to remain in jeopardy.

Roshon, a judges favourite last night, was sent to the red glow of jeopardy. Also, fan favourite Sherri Shepherd rounded out the bottom 2.

I dont disagree… I just think there were other dancers who couldve been in that bottom 2 BEFORE these two. In my opinion, and if it was the only one that counted, I wouldve liked to see Melissa Gilbert in the bottom, also, Gladys Knight or even William Levy. They all had lacklustre dances, or major screw ups during their performances.

Sherri was just subpar for HER standards, and I dont think she excelled in a dance that was dark and brooding. Roshon probably doesnt have many FANS who watch this show. Even my grandmother isnt voting for him, so I think he could be doomed by the demographic.

Who did the red glow of elimination shine upon?

get ready for the ‘shocker’… Sherri Shepherd.

Crazy right? One slightly off week and the rug gets pulled out from under you. This is particularly painful because Sherri Shepherd has been campaigning HARD to be on this show, and has admited that it has been a long time dream of hers to compete. I saw her gaining traction, I also thught she was a sparkplug in this cast… it’s really sad to see someone with her energy and joi de vive leave so early.

But that’s reality TV, and that’s what happens when the public gets to vote. Democracy can be so cruel.

Thoughts?

 





DWTS Season 14: Rock Week

10 04 2012

It was ‘fake’ rock night on DWTS last night.

Fake rockers KISS set the tone, with Fake rock decor and even Faker rock music as the backdrop.

It’s like a new genre emerged… Kitsch Rock.

Even though we are about a month into the DWTS season, this was by far the worst perforamance show thus far. There were outright mess ups, awkward mishaps, and good old fashioned sloppy dances. The judges shouldve put away their 10 and 9 paddles because the MOST anyone shouldve received was an 8. But these are celebrities, they need to be reassured every 5 seconds that they are ‘enough’ and ‘special’.

Sherry Shepherd kicked it off with a dark tango that lacked emotion. She was going for intense and brooding, but she just looked bored. I think she was surprised to hear that… it will beinteresting to see how well she takes real criticism. Straight 7’s across the board.

Katherine Jenkins fruitlessly went with mark to an MMA fighting gym to prepare for her dance. Right. Good idea. Anyone else finding the ‘field trips’ are getting really tiresome? Anyways, the only thing she pulled off with any conviction was her outfit. Girl can rock a spandex unitard better than anyone else in the competition. Straight 8’s.

Jaleel White (Urkel) tried to Move like Jagger… but he didnt know who he was. Um. Youtube it. In the same way half of America had to Google your name. Since his first dance he’s been entertaining, but mediocre at best.

Melissa Gilbert apparently was rushed tot he hospital after this dance with an injury. I didnt see anything that wouldve provoked an injury in her dancing, in my opinion, it was flat and she had some unsure moments (which Maks took the blme for…)

Donald Driver – looked too much like a GI Joe or Jacked up Ken doll to be taken seriously. Yes, we women-folk like to see some eye candy, but his upper body was borderline creepy… there were muscles poking out I didnt even know existed. His dancing, was just OK – they made a big deal about how athletes love the Paso, but maybe it’s because they finally get to show their ‘assets’.

Gladys KNight danced to bohemian Rhapsody… why?! Who made THAT musical decision?! It was a horror show, that song is one of the greatest of all time, but Freddy Mercury never intended someone to try and win a dance competition with it. The judges were right… it was the herky-jerky tryring to find the ‘beats’ that made the dance unsuccessful.

William Levy is starting to wear out his initial welcome. He has made some glaring mistakes in all of his dances, non bigger than last night. He was mistepping after mistepping all the way through. Cheryl’s really got to work on his memorization of the steps and execution.

Roshon (let me be frank, he looks like Gumby…no?) took on a more graceful dance, and his lanky long limbs should be a quality, but I find it off putting. He’s not ‘manly’ in his stature, in his personality, in his movement… not a criticism, but why must ABC/Disney continue to foist their young stars in shows that are clearly not meant for them. This show is for wash up D listers!

Maria – another in a long line of injured, but persevering dance stars. Do we believe that Maria has a broken foot? I dont know… I’m a sceptic, so I tend to believe the doctors are actors too. The judges really seemed to give her some leaniance in their scoring this week – she pretty much won the night, but I don’t think she was the best she’s ever been.

Gavin gets better week after week. This week, he did it again. He took control, he didnt look like a scared kitten, or a 13 year old at his first dance… he was leagues above where we’ve seen him before. I think that should be applauded and I think he’s exactly what we need to see on this show. A star, removing themselves from their comfort zone and learning a new talent.

Thoughts?





DWTS Season 14: Top 11

3 04 2012

It was Lights, Camera, Waterworks in an emotional DWTS Week 3.

It didnt HAVE to be emotional – the theme was ‘Most Memorable Year’ – but of course it WAS emotional because obviously, the best sotry wins the night … am I right? You know I am.

This night always exposes parts of the ‘storyline’ the Stars want you to follow. For example, Sherry Shepherd is the dutiful, beaming proud mother. Her story was probably one of the most heartfelt of the night, talking about her baby being born with serious health complications. We heard about Melissa Gilberts ‘back problems’. We heard about Urkels struggle to break form his Urkel character (what a first world problem…) We heard about Maria’s hardworking parents and her obsession with Madonna that gave her ‘the dream’. We heard about Gavins ever-loving parents who have supported him even when NO ONE else did.

etc…

If you were asked what your most memorable year was… would you come up with a sob story, or a happy story? I feel like I might NOT choose the death of a family member as the quintessential moment in my existence. But then, I’m not campaigning for votes…

Let’s talk about the dancing!

Jack Wagner – had a daughter he didnt know about, and now he cant even say her name without whimpering. He’s dancing for her. To HIS song. Shameless. I still dont know who this guy is, but his dancing is nothing to write home about.

Maria – apparently has broken ribs, but continues to do wrestlemania and practice 8 hours a day. Maybe its the tenacity she got from her immigrant parents who made her sweep floors with them on weekends. Although, she wouldnt have been much help is she was watching Madonna videos and daydeaming. Either way, she and Derek danced a pretty steamy Rhumba worthy of her high scores.

Gavin – has hustler parents who used to go door to door to land him gigs? Wow. Gavin is exactly the kind of person I watch this show to see. A ‘name’ that has NO dancing experience, and is dedicated to learning and progressing every week. I dont expect that everyone is going to get 10’s and standing O’s in the first week… it’s not a professional dance competition. He gets better and more confident week after week, and this was his best week so far!

Roshon – Has been practicing MJ moves infront of a mirror and adoring familiy members since he was 3. Now, he gets to do those same moves on stage and call it ‘ballroom’. I was pretty ticked about Roshon being a member of this cast from the start – he dances. But what really grinds my chops is when stars with previous experience a) pretend it means nothing in this competition and/or b) put every move they know into their dances, no matter what the style is.

Gladys – I could listen to her talk about the ‘Pip’ days for hours. She did NOT use a sob story, instead she interpreted the theme the way I wouldve interpreted it… a memorable year in your life. She used the year she broke into the industry at the Appollo theatre. Her dance was elegant and and heart warming. She used a good ole Sam Cook song and danced to it beautifully. No tricks.

Urkel – I guess I really should be calling him by his ‘real’ name, but I cant bring myself to remember it. I’m partly responsible for his ongoing struggles with identity. Guilty. This may be one of the last chances this guy gets to shed the Urkel iconograpy and move on. If he gets far enough, that’s possible. He might even get a JOB after this. I’m not being mean, I can understand that he would have serious trouble shaking that Urkel character. Last night was not his best dance, and I worry about him fading into the background in this competition. He might need to fall back on Urkel to revive his status on DWTS.

Sherri Shepherd – told the gut wrenching story of a mother who is helplessly watching her newborn suffer. It’s very sad, and she choked me up a few times. She really is just a massive fan of the show, and a proud mother. That’s a winning combination. If Kate Gosselin had a shred of personality, she’d still be famous, and she mightve won DWTS despite her dancing. Sherri Shepherd also happens to be a confident performer and has nailed her dances 3 weeks in a row.

William-Finally showed his famous latin chest and mid section. Cheryl is a pro, she knows what she’s doing! William can certainly move his hips, which is all he really needs to do at this stage in the game. A good dance, he was very much in command and confident with the rhythms and the movements. His PR team is highfiving all around.

Melissa – NO, she didnt say anything about her drug dependancy or those dark years during Little House. Instead, she chose to tell us about her broken back. She’s trying. But with that story, she’s not winning anyone over… unless her dancing is great. But it’s not. The judges gave her a little more praise and adulation than I wouldve given… but in a night of fantastic dancing, perhaps they were wearing rose coloured judging glasses.

Katherine – Needed to work the hardest to connect, so she chose the story of her father dying. It was a very weepy tale, and her dancing was superb. She got the seasons first 10’s. She deserves them, and after last night, she will probably win over some more of the voting public.

Donald – told another sob story about death. So much death in one night, t’s starting to get nausiating. This is monday night, prime time, mirrorball trophy, sequins and open chest vests, Dancing with the stars. geez! Anyways, Donald had a solid effort, you can tell he is another one that needs the time to really master the steps and his performance will get better as he moves forward. However, with such a strong cast and a night of great dancing, he might not be given that chance.

Thoughts?





DWTS Season 14 Premiere

20 03 2012

The first episode of DWTS Season 14 kicked off rather impressively last night!

Agreed?

Usually the premiere is more about ‘potential’ and setting up the backstories we’ll follow all season. This season, it felt a little bit different. There wasnt quite as much emphasis on the Celebrity back story, as there was on executing a good first dance. Don’tfret… the sob stories, the metaphors, the weight loss cover stories… it’ll all come. But I was pleased with the pace and the week 1 talent that stormed the stage.

Celebrities are getting up for this now. It’s a chance at rejuvenating and recessitating a feldgling careeer. It’s a ‘role’ that is campaigned for shamelessly behind the scenes. It is a HUGE paycheque depending on the success of the Star. And those two factors are driving the Celebs to compete.

ut everyone has to start somewhere…

let’s get to the week 1 performances shall we?

We start with Maria Menounos who, has somehow acclaimed notoriety and a house bigger than yours despite a terrible and paralyzing affliction… her laugh. Yeah, it’s bad. Google it. However, she makes up for it with some charisma, a killer ‘bod’ (which she gets because she’s ‘sporty’) and the Ace in the hole… Derek and his army of grandmothers who will vote for him no matter WHO he gets as a partner. She was good. She’ll get better, and she’s easy to throw around and dance around.

Next Jack Wagner – who thinks very highly of himself and his career. I had to Google him and I’m still a little foggy on his ‘Star’ status. I would say at this point, his partner might be more of a celebrity than he is… that’s what happens when you’re on a hit show 14 seasons running. Anyways, he didnt blow me out fo the water, or make me a fan… but apparently his entire fan club was at the show last night.

Donald Driver, Greenbay Packer receiver – the guy’s got GREAT legs… he showed them off  in practice. I’d kill for those calves. His dancing was a bit frenetic at times, it think the excitement of the lights, the audience and the pace of the dance was a bit overwhelming. But he has potential – he’s definitely got the character, the smile and the atheticism to go far.

Gavin Degraw might be one of the biggest names on t he show this season… but his unassuming personality, and quiet wit might get overshadowed by some of the larger spotlight huggers clawing at a career rebirth. His dancing was exactly what you would expect for a ‘week 1’. He was a bit stiff, a bit slow… but very eager to learn and get better. Thats what you need to make it on this show… plus, he’s in good hands with Karina.

Obligatory Disney Star. They all look like poor boy versions of Jonas brothers to me. Roshon is young, toothy and already has ‘the moves’. I don’t know that his particular fan base watches THIS show, so he’ll have to have a break out performance quickly. He was pretty on point last night, but he used a lot more Michael Jackson/Usher moves than traditional cha cha . 

Anyone else get the idea that Sherri Shepherd has been campaigning for this job for a LONG time? She’s SO happy to be on this show, and that’s something I can connect with. Imagine getting teh role of a lifetime on your favourite show? She has a true edge because the same audience that watches The View, watches this show. She will be able to boost The Views ratings with her ‘insiders’ perspective and she’s a figure a huge auudience in a certain demographic see EVERYDAY at 11am. She delivered, because her first dance was great…

Melissa Gilbert,  who my mother knew right away as Little House on the Prairie girl. I knew her as the woman with the drug problem on Oprah. Funny, she never mentioned that in her intro. She’s very lucky to get Maks, but I forsee a lot of bickering as the competition moves onward. Does she have a big enough Star to shine? Is this her career comeback? Watch for her on People if she makes it much further. I get that vibe from her.

the Mexican Brad Pitt. Ooh lala. I see he brought a lot of fans with him. He and Cheryl are going to be a force to be reckoned with for a long time in this competition. His good looks, accent and latin american community of fans will propel him. He had a good first dance, all he really needs to do is wiggle his hips for an audience reaction… let’s see how well he does with tricky technique in coming weeks.

Tennis champ Martina Navratilova has a dancefloor at her home? Really? That’s what it looked like. I also noticed she had American flags hanging in the background of anywhere the camera landed. It’s slight, but you know the intent. She’s not ‘American’ and Foreigners do NOT do well on this show. I’m not playing the race card… it’s just a fact, and she knows it. No, she did not look comfrotable in that dress even though yes, she does still have a bulging forcep muscle! Unfortunately for her, she’s not the only athlete on the show, and she happens to be in the ‘older’ crowd.

Katherine Jenkins  –  who? Right. She’s a semi famous Brit (they LOVE those on this show!). They couldnt get Adele, so they got her. She’s lovely. She’s blonde, fit and has an accent. She also dances with Mark ballas who can make ANYONE look ‘cracking’. She received very high scores for a well executed foxtrot.

Redefining the role of ‘token old legend’  Gladys Knight took the stage and the audience by storm! She moves extremely well, has charm and personality for days and nothing to lose. Her career doesnt hinge on winning or losing. She’s here simply to edify her own interests and satisfaction. She may not win, but she wont be a shrinking, shriveling old violet that withers and lets age become an issue.

The final dance was performed by Jaleel White- AKA Urkel! One of the most classic TV characters of my generation. I was geeking out at the chance to see him again. THIS guy is exactly the right ft for this show. A guy who needs a career jumpstart after years of laying low, in the shadow of his iconic character. And he could be a contender! He was fantastic this week, and its only week 1! I  am so pleased to see him blossom into a starpping young man and a heck of a good dancer.

Thoughts?

 

 

 





DWTS Season 13 Winner

23 11 2011

and the winner is…

(should I make you sit through 2 hours of fluff before I tell you? No, that would be cruel… right ABC?)

JR Martinez wins the mirrorball trophy and is the DWTS Champion for Season 13!

He was the best dancer from night 1, when nobody knew who he was. He had some seriously memorable dances, including his Freestyle that might have given him the final edge in voting.

Who knows how ‘close’ this was… according to the TV Night Prediction Poll – 55% chose JR to Win, while about 38% chose Rob Kardashian and something like 8% chose Ricki.

Let me go into this a little deeper. Why was Ricki written off by fans? She had a 1 in 3 shot at the title… but only got 8% of the votes on our poll. This seemed to be the gerneal opinion… that Ricki was absolutley not in the running to win last night. Interesting. So much so, that the producers revealed the ‘third place finisher’ early on in the show… because there was no real drama, somehow we knew it would be Ricki. Was it her performance on monday night’s show, or was this building? I can’t put my finger on it, but at one point Ricki Lake was a front runner, and touted as the potential winner… she’s probably asking the same thing today, what happened?!

Not that it matters… she got a new body, more than 15 minutes of ‘fame’, and a new show (and a bonus for making the finals)

So then the Top 2 were Rob Kardashian and JR Martinez. 3 weeks ago i wouldve cried foul and thought it was a joke. But Rob came out guns ablaze at the finale, and his sisters were in the house. Kris Jenner wouldve been so proud, that the two biggest newsstories (sadly) were her two moneymakers/children. I am actually still flabbergasted that of all the Kardashian/Jenners willing..nay, begging for more TV time… Rob was the one DWTS chose.

Anyways, he had a good run… he’ll get a show, and he’ll exhauset the TV circuit with his new moves and ‘passion for dance’.

Now… What does this mean for JR? Only time will tell, but think of the title brings to all winners. They are all household names, they show up as hosts on bad ABC competition pilots, they become People Magazine darlings, they will always have a front row seat in the DWTS audience, they will offer ‘advice’ to future contestants, and most of all, they can now afford that house in the hills. Oh yah, JR’s star is rising big time and there ain’t nobody ‘hotter’ right now.

Thoughts?

Congrats tot he best dancer of the season, and the Winner of Season 13 JR Martinez!








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