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Dancing With the Stars - Season 13


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#16 Helene

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:30 AM

I'm glad that the pros are getting recognition and have fan bases of their own. They work their butts off, and they're wonderful dancers. Whether they're great at what they're supposed to do with the stars -- i.e., teach well, choreograph well -- isn't something that the general public cares to know, and for the minority that does, it's not often based in ballroom expertise. (That's why we need sidwich.) Audience feelings about their star partners from week to week, the number of their trophy balls or lack thereof, and attractiveness, and their star partners' fan bases can neutralize the professional aspects of what they do. People like what they like. I doubt that a lot of the votes have to do with the actual performances from week to week, and I'd be shocked -- shocked I tell you -- if the judges' comments, mostly what they're not saying, didn't reflect what would best suit the ratings.

Having pros with their own fan bases is insurance against having a crop of stars that the audience, before they put one step on the floor, decides isn't worth watching or that the stars they count on to draw audiences crash or peter out.

As far as scraping the bottom of the barrel, I disagree. This is the 13th season, and there were only three "marquee" names in entertainment that the article mentions: Alley, Donny Osmond, and Grey. That leaves a lot of seasons without any, and even they are like once hugely popular entertainers who are putting in their decades in Vegas. Last year the Steeler Nation rallied its fans to outvote Kirstie Alley, one of the biggest actual stars the show has ever had, and the most currently active and visible.

I don't see how Hope Solo is any less of a star in her niche sport (at least as far as TV is concerned) than Evan Lysacek and Apollo Anton Ohno; she, too, has an Olympic gold medal, too, is a goalie, the most individually visible position, and there are far more girls playing soccer than kids in either figure or speed skating in the US. I would say she has more visibility than even Kristi Yamaguchi; only Nancy Kerrigan might have more. I suspect soccer moms vote.

Ricki Lake is known for both her talk show and her acting -- "Hairspray" and "China Beach" -- and actors in long-term supporting roles in TV can be beloved, like JR Martinez, or at least their characters are, and to many TV viewers, those are the same thing. David Arquette is a bona-fide film actor with a fan base (even without having been married to Courtney Cox), Chynna Phillips was at the top of the charts in her time, a legitimate musician child of folk rock royalty -- clever cross-generational marketing -- and someone who has entered middle age gracefully -- another coup -- Ron Artest is an NBA champion, "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" was a phenomenon and Kressley is quite a character, and Chaz Bono was an inspirational choice.

TV has become more niche, and the fan bases more distributed. I might not watch soaps, daytime talk shows, non-fiction law shows, NBA basketball, or reality TV, and know squat about international models, but these people are stars to their constituencies, and most of these constituencies are either TV watchers or happy to do their part when their sports team fan club or message board encourages voting, even if they never watch the show. I can't think of a reason to watch a show about the Kardashians, but enough people do to keep it viable. DWTS has capitalized on family rivalry before (the Osmonds, Romeo and Master P), and if Canalis had a fan base in the US -- and not an "anti" fan base, because while it's great to be known mostly as the ex-Mr. Courtney Cox, being the ex of George Clooney will not endear you to hoards of women, even if your day job is saving baby seals -- there would have been a nice symmetry with the Kardashian (virtual) and the Chmerkovskiy rivalries.

This may have been deliberate or they may have lucked into it, but I find the mix this season to be terrific, at least now. I look forward to see how this shakes out: sometimes the group at the end isn't as interesting as the group in the beginning, and sometimes it works the other way. Mainly, in the end, for me, because it's about the dancing, and how they, as adults, learn an excruciatingly difficult and varied form of it.

#17 dirac

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 01:08 PM

As far as scraping the bottom of the barrel, I disagree.


It's a sad bunch, even by DWTS standards. Sorry.....

#18 miliosr

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 04:18 PM

The bad casting for Season 13 (unlucky 13?) has taken its toll on the ratings. The performance show only managed a 3.1 in the all-important 18-49 demo. That's the lowest-rated performance show ever.

As I see it, the casting went wrong in two ways. First, too many reality TV retreads -- Kristin, Rob, Carson -- who are/were never that great in the first place. Second, too much emphasis on tabloid darlings like David, Ron a.k.a. Metta, Chaz, Elisabetta and Nancy who haven't been very interesting to watch from a charisma or dance perspective. Chaz, in particular, has been a real dud not because he's transgendered but because he's inherited none of his parents' charisma and his obesity overwhelms his dancing.

ABC must be gagging hard over what's happening given that the show consumes four hours of its primetime schedule each week.

#19 Helene

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 05:30 PM

I didn't see last night's show, but I've been very happy watching Nancy Grace. In last week's foxtrot (?), it looked like her pro, Tristan, gave her a lot that she might get if she were trying to learn at a studio, rather than a big production number with props, and it looked like he was dancing with his aunt at a wedding.

ETA: It may be because I have no associations with her. I hadn't heard of her until DWTS.

#20 miliosr

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Posted 05 October 2011 - 03:43 AM

Results - Week 3:

Non-Bottom Two "Bottom Two": Kristin/Mark and Hope/Maks

Eliminated: Kristin/Mark

This was not a deserving elimination as Kristin was better, at a minimum, than Chaz, Nancy, Rob and Carson. That being said, her elimination was not surprising as she is the stereotypical reality "star" whose fanbase is a mile wide and an inch deep. Furthermore, Mark Ballas has become somewhat controversial in his own right with his perceived showboating. So, the result is perfectly understandable when seen in that light.

Here's hoping that Kristin can patch things up with Jay Cutler so she can leave reality TV behind and get back to making money the old-fashioned way -- by marrying an NFL quarterback! :wink:

#21 YouOverThere

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 10:59 AM

I didn't see last night's show, but I've been very happy watching Nancy Grace. In last week's foxtrot (?), it looked like her pro, Tristan, gave her a lot that she might get if she were trying to learn at a studio, rather than a big production number with props, and it looked like he was dancing with his aunt at a wedding.

ETA: It may be because I have no associations with her. I hadn't heard of her until DWTS.


On the subject of Nancy Grace, I ran into a discussion on facebook about whether her outspoken opinion on the Amanda Knox case will ruin her chances on Dancing with the Stars. I tend to think that it will.

#22 Jayne

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 01:06 AM

Regarding Nancy Grace, I'm completely opposed to her judgmental character assassinations. However, she is receiving good feedback for her dancing, and I credit her for working hard for her Irish charmer partner, Tristan MacManus, who by all accounts is teaching her great technical building blocks of ballroom dancing - unlike some of the others. I think it shows in the judges' praise of her basics.

My mother complains to me that she cannot understand a single thing Mr. MacManus says, at first she thought he was speaking with a Russian accent. Apparently Irish charm doesn't work on my mother. I, however, think he's adorable and an excellent addition to the show.

They need to bring Edyta Slivinska back, and give her a celebrity with good potential, to allow all the straight men to watch with a good excuse. :)

#23 Paul Parish

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 05:17 PM

I'm late to this discussion, and late to any real viewings -- since I've disabled my TV, I'm going to have to catch up on youtube.

The thing that caught my attention is the news that Ricki Lake is on the show -- whose performance in John Waters's "Hairspray," which I simply adore. She danced GREAT in that movie -- "I can do that dance," she says, and jumps into he middle of the Madison on the teen-dance TV show and becomes the toast of Baltimore. AND she can do ensemble performance (she can hold her own against Divine just fine).

From the jive and mambo that I've seen, she can still turn that trick. And if there's any justice, her ability to talk spontaneously after the dance and tell the audience something they can appreciate and learn something from will move her into the top. She may not have a huge fan base, but she can win hearts. It makes me glad to see her doing so well, and giving so much credit to her teachers and to the art. SO much of what dance teaches is how to make good decisions and behave decently under pressure amidst many contingencies in an enterprise that involves many other people. It looks like she's got that -- the banter about "Get Smart" was wonderfully smart, light-hearted. The inter-generational dynamics there were breath-taking -- she's not just twice Hough's age, she remembers "Get Smart" well enough to know the running gags from it. She gets my "Young at Heart' award for the week.

Now I've got to go back and watch Hope and Nancy.

#24 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 09:04 PM

Chaz, in particular, has been a real dud not because he's transgendered but because he's inherited none of his parents' charisma and his obesity overwhelms his dancing.


I found her painful to watch...(aside from the non dancing issue...)

#25 miliosr

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 05:04 PM

Performance show dips to a 3.0 in the 18-49 demo this week -- lowest rated performance show ever.

#26 miliosr

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 04:14 AM

Results - Week 4:

"In Jeopardy": Nancy/Tristan, Rob/Cheryl and Chynna/Tony

"Last Two Couples Under the Red Lights of Doom": Rob/Cheryl and Chynna/Tony

Eliminated: Chynna/Tony

Once, I would have been outraged that Chynna, who was one of the more competent dancers this season, went before DOA contestants like Chaz, Nancy, Carson and Rob. But, there comes a point during contestants' runs on this show where the contestants must do things for themselves in terms of either bringing in a fan base or developing one with their dancing (i.e. Gilles). Chynna had a disastrous night on Monday so this week was her first real test in terms of the vote. Clearly, she failed the test as there was no fan base there to save her. So, it was her time to go.

This leaves with 8 contestants and two tiers:

1st tier: Rikki, JR

2nd tier: David, Chaz, Nancy, Rob, Carson, Hope

Still a lot of low-hanging fruit to be picked from the 2nd tier.

#27 Paul Parish

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 08:13 AM

Rikki Lake, dancer, jumps into line in the Madison, from "Hairspray"


The set-up is, (if you don't know it) that she's an ordinary high-school girl whose mother takes in ironing and who dances in front of the TV to the teen rock-and-roll show, the "American Bandstand" of Baltimore. IN this scene she breaks into the exclusive set of teenagers who're regular performers on the show, who as we enter are being televised dancing the Madison. In the front line is the blonde snob Amber, whose racism actually is a major factor in the movie (which turns on a civil-rights demonstration at Amber's family's amusement park, where our girl and her African American friends successfully integrate the place).

I love the movie, watch it every year at Thanksgiving. Perfect accompaniment to a food-coma.

#28 sandik

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 11:51 AM

are being televised dancing the Madison. ...

I love the movie, watch it every year at Thanksgiving. Perfect accompaniment to a food-coma.


Oh, this is my favorite dance sequence in the film -- I just wish your clip had stretched to include the Jackie Gleason step!

And yes, this would be a great addition to a Post-Feast Film Festival!

#29 miliosr

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 03:58 AM

My favorite number from the original Hairspray is the "Shake a Tail Feather" number. (Sorry, couldn't find a clip online.)

Years ago, Ruth Brown (who played Motormouth Maybelle) said something lovely about her co-star Sonny Bono. She had been hesitant to take the part until Bono convinced her to do it. It ended up being one of the smartest decisions she ever made because she continued to receive lucrative royalty checks years after the film's release. She said that,every time she opened her mailbox and saw a royalty check, she thanked Sonny Bono. (This was after he had died in a ski accident.)

#30 Jayne

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 01:53 PM

I watched last night's episode and what bothered me most was not the dancing - but the judging numbers given out. Fairly awful dancing given the same 7 or 8 as superior technical dancing. Usually the milk separates from the creme during the next few weeks, so we'll see. Here is my recap, from best to worst:

JR Martinez / Karina Smirnoff: Wowed us with an amazing samba to Miami Sound Machine's "Conga", Karina really did look like Gloria Estafan out there. I think they're in for the win. Karina may finally get her mirror ball trophy this year, as long as JR doesn't plateau, and she goes for a technically strong (rather than trickster) show-dance finale.

Rikki Lake / Derek Hough: first off, I agree that she's the show "ringer". Def has some past skills to rely upon. This week wasn't good, but I blame it squarely on the choreo (Derek's responsibility). Interrupting the dance for 80's moves every 10 bars of music was awful. Better to do all the 80's moves at the start, and then move into a continuous fox trot. Easy Lover by Phil Collins is a guilty pleasure song and kinda-worked for the dance. But still, they can do much better.

David Arquette / Kym Johnson: I'm a fan of the actor, he's turned in some great performances. I think in real life, he may be on the Asperger's scale, based on his odd sentence sequencing and the way he freaks out when out on the dance floor surrounded by large groups of people. Kym is so patient and upbeat, a good personality match for him. As a performer, I respect that he puts his whole heart into it and truly does win over the audiences. There have been some bad music matches for tango (last week's movie theme Flash Gordon was atrocious). But Tainted Love really worked as a tango, and I thought David was a decent leading man (important in a tango). Improving every week, I think he's a contender for the finale, but will go up against Rob Kardashian for the 3rd spot.

Rob Kardashian / Cheryl Burke: I think the rabid following of the Kardashian juggernaut on twitter, combined with Cheryl's own following are keeping their votes high. But Rob turned in a contained rhumba (he's surprisingly light on his feet). My eyes are burning from all the neon eminating from my TV. Rob could be a surprise candidate for the finals if he continues his improvement at the present rate.

Nancy Grace / Tristan MacManus: I think the costume department took revenge on her last week for her anti-Amanda Knox comments. She was sporting a Demi Moore black bike shorts with opening skirt type look. This week it's awful 80's music / costumes, and yet an improvement for Nancy. A nice rumba for a wedding demo of a nephew and his right wing super judgmental auntie. Pretty smooth, and I say that grudgingly as I loathe her and her cable show.

Chaz Bono / Lacey Schwimmer: I lurvvvvv Lacey's dad, but Chaz's moves are really simple and based on performance alone, he should be in the bottom. But he has captured the hearts of the audience, so I think he may go far, but maybe not the finals. having Mama-Cher at last week's performance probably increased ratings for her followers (and subsequent Chaz voters).

Hope Solo / Maxim Cherminovsky - this week their tango needed the delicate / strength / sexy interplay. Instead Max just pulled Hope around the ballroom and hoped her full skirt would hide her poor footwork. They received straight 8's - they deserved 5's and 6's. The lack of practice time is beginning to show, as other dancers excel.

Carson Kressley / Anna Tribunskaya - Love the showmanship, adore the humor, think he'll make it pretty far to keep the entertainment value up in the show. But his dancing has plateaued at the rank-beginner stage, while others are racing forward. They received 19 points total. About right. Kinda hoping he makes it to the semi finals, just for the laughs he brings to the show.

Kinda hoping Nancy or Hope gets the low votes tonight. JMTC.

Quote of the night?
"No one likes funk, like I do. I was a funkateer. I'm up for the funk!" -Len Goodman


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