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Dancing With the Stars - Season 13


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#31 Helene

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 02:30 PM

I'm no fan of Derek Hough, but I thought Lake and Hough's dance last night was delightful, second only to Buddy Schwimmer's appearance on the show.

I wish that Tristan MacManus had been paired with Chelsea Kane last year.

#32 EricHG31

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 08:12 PM

I'm not a big Derek fan either, as a performer, but I do think (particularly out of the guys) he usually does the best choreography. That said, I think the judges were right that they would have been wise to drop the Roger Rabbit.

#33 miliosr

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 06:22 AM

Results - Week 5:

I was at the movies last night watching the Rolling Stones Some Girls concert feature so I missed the results show. In any event, Carson and Anna were eliminated.

He was certainly entertaining but he was also a terrible dancer. After five weeks, he wasn't making any improvement at all. So, it was his time to go.

Here's who's left: David Arquette, Chaz Bono, Nancy Grace, Rob Kardashian, Rikki Lake, JR Martinez and Hope Solo

I suspect JR and Rikki (thanks to Derek) are locks for the Final 3. Sadly, I can actually envision Chaz, Nancy or Rob slotting into the "Marie Osmond" position in the Final 3.

#34 sidwich

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 12:32 PM

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.


I think JR is going to win. The combination of personality, sob story/real American hero-ness, and good-enough dance abilities should do it, I think. Karina is actually a good teacher for students with some ability. She's not great with hopeless cases like Kym or Cheryl, but if there's a nugget of talent there, she can usually do something very good with it, and it's showing with JR. The one thing I can see derailing this train is if JR's body can't deal with the physical demands of the show over the next couple of months, but he's seemed okay so far.

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.


I can't blame Derek on this one. None of these celebs can handle continuous foxtrot. Foxtrot is the hardest dance out of the 10 standard ballroom and latin dances. Most of the foxtrots on DWTS have two or three 8s of foxtrot interspersed in a minute and half of mindless filler. There actually was some content in this foxtrot, despite the terrible music choice.

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.


Total aside, but Cheryl looks really out-of-shape and her technique is starting to look really ragged again. She really needs to take the off-season to get back into training herself. Her Latin looks almost as bad as Kym's, and Kym was never a Latin specialist.

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.


I feel for Tristan just because Nancy seems like she has no sense of movement, no athletic ability, and seems like she would be no fun to teach (as opposed to Carson who at least seems like he would be fun to work with and would give it a sincere effort). But somehow Tristan seems to pull out at least basic beginner routines, and that seems like a real accomplishment.

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).


I'm not a huge fan of Buddy's teaching style. One of my former coaches used to call Buddy's students "Schwimmerites" because it was so obvious from performance style who had studied with him. (Seriously, they all had the same performance tricks and tics to go with the impeccable technique). But I can see how Buddy's emphasis on performance really helped Chaz by giving him something to fall back on during the show.

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.


I think lack of practice time is part of it, but this just seems to be a bad teacher-student pairing. I think that Hope really needs someone who can build her a technical foundation first, and then build the performance on top of it. Maks is not helping her by telling her to be "sexy." "Sexy" as a concept clearly confuses her, and saying it over and over again is just frustrating her. She needs someone to teach her the technique of "sexy" first, e.g. holding back the hip, straightening the legs, dragging the shoe, etc., and then let the sexy come from the confidence that builds. She needs someone like a Jonathan Roberts, or (if he weren't too short for her), Louis van Amstel.

What's interesting with Hope is she actually does much better with some of the solid technical requirements than with the frou-frou filler choreography that Maks gives her. Hope blew me away with some of the foxtrot walks she did last week. Blew me away! They were as good as I've seen from a celeb on several seasons of the show. The ability is there, but Maks is not the right person to pull it out from her.

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.


Anna usually frustrates me with her inability to teach celebs, and yet she and Carson have been so much fun this year. I will miss this daffy pairing.

Kym's Latin technique made my eyes bleed on the results show. It was only somewhat saved by Louis and Karina's appearance which looked pretty thrown-together. But slapdash Louis and Karina is still always worth watching.

#35 Helene

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 01:50 PM

I think JR is going to win. The combination of personality, sob story/real American hero-ness, and good-enough dance abilities should do it, I think. Karina is actually a good teacher for students with some ability. She's not great with hopeless cases like Kym or Cheryl, but if there's a nugget of talent there, she can usually do something very good with it, and it's showing with JR.

After seeing Hines Ward beat Kirstie Alley last season, I think you're right. I think JR's the best dancer of the lot, and I hadn't ever really noticed how beautiful Karina Smirnoff is until this season, but I've enjoyed Ricki Lake and (gasp!) Derek Hough's last few choreographies more than JR and Karina's. It's like Hough is doing for Lake what poor Tristan McManus cannot do for Nancy Grace.

Total aside, but Cheryl looks really out-of-shape and her technique is starting to look really ragged again. She really needs to take the off-season to get back into training herself. Her Latin looks almost as bad as Kym's, and Kym was never a Latin specialist.

I thought I was seeing things: she looks kind of soft and underwhelming to me this season, but not knowing enough about technique, and tending to watch the star more than the pro, I though maybe she was just burned out.

I feel for Tristan just because Nancy seems like she has no sense of movement, no athletic ability, and seems like she would be no fun to teach (as opposed to Carson who at least seems like he would be fun to work with and would give it a sincere effort). But somehow Tristan seems to pull out at least basic beginner routines, and that seems like a real accomplishment.

I really like his choreography for her: he keeps her from looking as silly as the costume department keeps aiming for. I thought the backstage this week was interesting, where she seemed to want more complicated, and he pointed out the bad position her shoulder was in in hold. He's pushing for basics, which is what she needs, because she's neither a natural mover nor a theatrical performer.

But I can see how Buddy's emphasis on performance really helped Chaz by giving him something to fall back on during the show.

It seemed to get him out of his shell in moving, not just Rocky-posing, but, oh, Chaz was so unhappy after the judges' comments this week. It's not that I think the judges should lie, but I think they should get two points across: how the celeb stacks up against the competition and/or an expected level, and how the celeb has improved. It's not even always what they say, but how they say it: exactly how is Len's dyspeptic head-shaking going to help Chaz, when Chaz is working within his limits?

I know they're going for Good TV (whatever that means), but I find it horrible when the judges are going after the pros in a back-handed way: the celebs are trusting these people, and here the judges are telling them that the pros are incompetent. (Only a few talk back, like Ballas and Kane last season.) The celebs might get some input into what they feel comfortable with or suggesting what they might try, but their main choices are 1. try to do what the pro asks them to do or 2. not try to do what the pro asks them to do.

For example: when Hope Solo said she wasn't going to waste time on rhumba walks because they were a small percentage of the routine, she was doomed: it was like saying, I'm not going to waste any time on tendu :wallbash:


I think lack of practice time is part of it, but this just seems to be a bad teacher-student pairing. I think that Hope really needs someone who can build her a technical foundation first, and then build the performance on top of it. Maks is not helping her by telling her to be "sexy." "Sexy" as a concept clearly confuses her, and saying it over and over again is just frustrating her. She needs someone to teach her the technique of "sexy" first, e.g. holding back the hip, straightening the legs, dragging the shoe, etc., and then let the sexy come from the confidence that builds. She needs someone like a Jonathan Roberts, or (if he weren't too short for her), Louis van Amstel.

This pairing makes me want to put my eyes out. Maybe on paper Phillips and Dolovani -- both elegant and quieter personalities -- and Solo and Chmerkovsky -- both with great energy and power -- looked good, but I think maybe the opposite might have been true. Chmerkovsky's personality, I think, is too emotional and theatrical for her.

I get the impression that Solo would have been fine with a more "Hoosiers"-like drill approach: these are the pieces, and this is how they all go together. (If they're going to bring in Buddy Schwimmer, maybe they can coax Gene Hackman out of retirement.)

She looks devastated trying to get the "sexy" and missing it. Or at least one definition of "sexy". Of course she would respond to the three members of the troupe, but as soon as she was back with him, and he was on her case, she would revert. Hasn't he done this for a bazillion seasons? Has he learned nothing about fear in his time? I have no doubt that he cares, but I'm wondering how smart he is. He so reminds me of a Jewish mother, wanting the best for her kids, but making their heads explode.

Of course, all of these opinions are based on edited slices, and maybe the pros do bring in other people to help. I would have loved to see her with van Amstel, and he's been around to perform and choreograph. (Even with their heights, maybe they could have been a Suzanne Farrell and Ib Andersen pairing.)


What's interesting with Hope is she actually does much better with some of the solid technical requirements than with the frou-frou filler choreography that Maks gives her. Hope blew me away with some of the foxtrot walks she did last week. Blew me away! They were as good as I've seen from a celeb on several seasons of the show. The ability is there, but Maks is not the right person to pull it out from her.

She seems to go in and out from minute to minute. I wish she had the kind of choreography that Hough is doing for Lake and McManus is doing for Grace, where they look, to a casual view like me at least, like dancing, rather than performing showpieces.

The costume people must hate her, because they could hardly have made her look worse, and unless she had an injury of some kind or couldn't practice in heels, those boots could not have sabotaged her more, except maybe the very bad poncho.

#36 Helene

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 04:19 PM

I'm thinking about the height issues in ballroom. Listening to David Pelletier, who is partnering the first female hockey player to skate on Battle of the Blades, when asked about lifting Bonhomme -- Pelletier's not taller than 5'10", and he may be shorter than that -- he said that he's lifted men, in practice and shows, and that it's all technique. He also said he appreciates skating with Bonhomme, because as an athlete, she's very aware of her body, and when he gives her a physical instruction, she knows what he's talking about. They've done some very nice lifts and partnering moves in the last five weeks.

The hardest part for her was wearing a dress. It took four weeks, and the show made a big deal about it, but she did it, and she looked great in it.

Could this have translated to ballroom? With van Amstel? If not, is there a pro this season that might have been better for Solo?

#37 sidwich

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 09:00 PM

I'm thinking about the height issues in ballroom. Listening to David Pelletier, who is partnering the first female hockey player to skate on Battle of the Blades, when asked about lifting Bonhomme -- Pelletier's not taller than 5'10", and he may be shorter than that -- he said that he's lifted men, in practice and shows, and that it's all technique. He also said he appreciates skating with Bonhomme, because as an athlete, she's very aware of her body, and when he gives her a physical instruction, she knows what he's talking about. They've done some very nice lifts and partnering moves in the last five weeks.

The hardest part for her was wearing a dress. It took four weeks, and the show made a big deal about it, but she did it, and she looked great in it.

Could this have translated to ballroom? With van Amstel? If not, is there a pro this season that might have been better for Solo?


Yes and no. There's some leeway based on technique, particularly on the Latin side (and of course, as Pelletier says, lifts and aerials are all about the technique and physics involved). Sometimes you will see very successful Latin couples with a very tall man and a very short woman like the Cutlers of England who were World Amateur champions several years ago. You lose something on the visual lines, but on the other side, if the technique is good, you can get some very interesting effects that you can't without the size difference.

But it's much harder to overcome a significant height difference on the Ballroom side of things because of leg swing and alignment issues. At some point no matter how good the technique is, you can't compensate for lack of length in the legs, and the difference in the leg swings will become apparent. (Ballroom is like crew... at some point, tall always wins.) Even if you can compensate for the leg swings, it's very hard to get good alignment if you have a significant difference in height. For good positioning, the pelvises need to be aligned with the lady straddling the man's thigh and maintaining contact all through the sternum (roughly). Obviously, this is very difficult if you have a major difference in height. Not impossible, but very difficult, especially for a beginner like Hope.

I'm 5'2 (almost exactly the same height at Cheryl who claims 5'4, but that's another story...) which translates into 5'5 or so when I'm wearing my shoes, and generally, a comfortable partner for me is someone in the 5'7 to 5'10 range (Louis, Mark). Men who are 5'10 to 6'1 (Tristan, Derek) can still work, but it will take some compensation on both sides. Anything taller is challenging to get quality ballroom partnering to work.

And Hope is very tall. I actually ran into her getting coffee a few days ago, and felt like a positive midget next to her. I think she's actually taller than Louis (who I used to see on the practice floor regularly when I still lived in NY), and would probably tower over him in shoes. (Hope is absolutely stunning in person, by the way. A gorgeous young lady).

Which is a shame because I think Louis would actually be good for her. He's very used to coaching top athletes, and I think his mind-and-body Yoda approach would be very positive for her.
More realistic height-wise although neither are on the show this year, Jonathan Roberts and Nick Kosovich probably would have done well with Hope. Both are very experienced coaches who I think would have given her a good combination of drill-sergeant/supportive therapist that I think she needs.

#38 Helene

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 12:06 AM

Tristan strikes me as a mature young man. I have no sense of height -- I think because Derek looks like a 15-year-old, he must be short!, and I had no idea that Hope Solo and Maks Chmerkovsky were so tall -- but if Tristan is on the tall side (is he tall enough for Solo?), I wonder if that would have worked, since Roberts and Kosovich aren't on the show. He seems to be a stickler for basics, and he's not trying to force Nancy Grace into being a femme fatale: he'd much rather see her in proper hold.

I've always thought Hope Solo was beautiful, and it's great to know how much so she is in person.

I fell in love with Nick Kosovich when he performed a standard dance with a pro -- maybe his wife -- either a season he was on or maybe the season following his last appearance, and he pointed the toe of the foot of his outstretched leg. That was it: I became an instant uber.

#39 miliosr

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 04:06 AM

Results - Week 6

Last Two Under the Red Lights of Doom: Chaz/Lacey and Hope/Maks

Eliminated: Chaz/Lacey

Chaz proved his point by doing the show so, from that standpoint, the experience was a success for him. In terms of dancing, though, he was hopeless from Week 1. Also, he has none of his famous parents' charisma and looked like he was miserable from the get-go. So, it was his time to go.

We have six stars left: David, Nancy, Rob, Ricki, JR and Hope

I continue to believe that Ricki and JR are locks for the Final 3 but have no clue who will take the final spot.

#40 sidwich

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 08:49 PM

Tristan strikes me as a mature young man. I have no sense of height -- I think because Derek looks like a 15-year-old, he must be short!, and I had no idea that Hope Solo and Maks Chmerkovsky were so tall -- but if Tristan is on the tall side (is he tall enough for Solo?), I wonder if that would have worked, since Roberts and Kosovich aren't on the show. He seems to be a stickler for basics, and he's not trying to force Nancy Grace into being a femme fatale: he'd much rather see her in proper hold.


I think Tristan and Derek are both in the 5'10 or 5'11 range (mind you, both were still in the UK when I was dancing a lot, so they're two pros that I haven't seen in person), which is still probably shorter than ideal for Hope, but probably still doable height-wise, although Tristan might have a slighter frame than ideal also.

Unfortunately,from a height and build perspective, Maks probably really is the best physical match for Hope. Tony might have worked as well. I'm not a fan of Tony's teaching or choreography, but I think Hope might have at least had a fun experience with him.

#41 miliosr

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 04:35 PM

Sorry . . . I've been derelict this week!

Results - Week 7:

Bottom Two: David/Kym and Nancy/Tristan

Eliminated: David/Kym

No way should David have left over Nancy but that's the way things are going this season. David didn't make it to the Final 3 but I do think the competition was a success for him in that he rehabilitated his image after his recent tabloid travails. So, his was a personal success story (if not a dance success story.)

In other news, the performance show fell to the lowest rating ever (for a performance show) in the 18-49 demo -- a 2.8! (Weirdly, the results show, which is usually lower-rated, got the same rating.) I'm sure ABC can't wait to be done with this disastrous season.

#42 Jayne

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 07:08 PM

I didn't think Nancy/Tristan's jive was as gawd awful as the judges made it out to be. Maks / Hope showed in practice that their relationship is contentous, and when Maks stormed off, it was very clear that Hope responded better to a gentler form of teaching / demonstrating from the other male professionals. It made me think back to the comment earlier in this thread, that she would have done better with a different partner. Will be interesting to see if Maks' histrionics block a contract for Season 14.....or seal the deal? DWTS loves the drama! David plateaued in skills, and Kym did her best, but I will always have a soft place in my heart for his Raiders of the Lost Arc routine.

Odd that the ratings for the results show were so low in the 18-49 demo, considering that Justin Bieber was the performer. I (who am still a part of that demo, at least for another 10 years), decided to watch a Frontline documentary on Meth, since I do not have Bieber Fever.

Of the remaining "stars", I am most entertained by Rob / Cheryl's dancing and rooting for them to make the finals.

#43 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 09:05 AM

Chaz proved his point by doing the show so, from that standpoint, the experience was a success for him.


The point of becoming a national curiosity...? Sorry to be a little off topic, but...what a painful act to watch.

Anyway...back to DWTS....

#44 miliosr

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 03:58 PM

Odd that the ratings for the results show were so low in the 18-49 demo, considering that Justin Bieber was the performer. I (who am still a part of that demo, at least for another 10 years), decided to watch a Frontline documentary on Meth, since I do not have Bieber Fever.

It makes sense that Bieber didn't move the needle for the results show as I have to imagine his audience is almost entirely under the age of 18.


Chaz proved his point by doing the show so, from that standpoint, the experience was a success for him.


The point of becoming a national curiosity...? Sorry to be a little off topic, but...what a painful act to watch.

I think with Chaz that people can look at him and -- reasonably -- see different things.

#45 miliosr

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 05:56 PM

Results - Week 8

The Not Necessarily Bottom Two Bottom Two: Nancy/Tristan and Hope/Maks

Eliminated: Nancy/Tristan

Nancy was past her sell-by date so this was a fair elimination. She certainly lasted a lot longer than I thought she would given her modest ability and her polarizing public persona.

I do hope Tristan is back next season as he is one of the best new pros to come along in quite some time. (And the DanceCenter skit with him was hilarious.)

I enjoyed seeing Kenny Mayne and Jerry Rice again last night. I thought DanceCenter was unusually pointed with its humor.

Ratings for the performance show crossed the 3.0 mark this week which must have come as a relief to ABC.

The Final Four now consists of Rob, Ricki, JR and Hope which, to my mind, is one of the weakest Final Fours ever. I would be shocked if JR doesn't win but . . . you never know.


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