I have a new story out today in a magazine named Fabula Argentea. It’s focused on adolescents so most of the stories have teens as the protagonists. Mine is about a fourteen year old who sucks at sports and is always picked last for teams. Here’s a link. Fabulaargentea.com
I loved the opening number. That is what I have sooo missed. Pro with pro. Now that’s dancing – what a feeling.
Only one word for Tyra’s first dress – OMG. It was something I would expect to see in a drag show. Actually I was walking today and came upon an outcropping of toadstools. I pressed one with my foot and this nasty looking powder came out that looked just like her dress. The second dress looked like she stumbled into a paint display at Home Depot. And what was up with the stars on her head?
The first four dances were all recognizable ballroom dances. Yay. Kaitlyn and Artem kicked it off with an Argentine tango. Nobody tangoes like Artem. It is definitely his dance. He proved he reigns supreme once again. Great tango face, too. Both of them. The squat rondé thing was great and that lift and around the world whatever you call it was beautiful. Still, I didn’t get the tingles the judges seemed to get.
I am still puzzled how Nelly and Daniella got into the finals. I didn’t realize he still had that much of a fan base. I thought rappers had a short shelf life. And he’s 46, old in rap years. I love Rhythm of the Night as a samba and really didn’t expect much from him. He surprised me with decent hip movement for man his age. He didn’t look so much like grandpa at the wedding reception this time around. The joy of the dance shone through. A few mistakes, but his best dance of the season.
The Swan Lake thing of Nev and Jenna wasn’t my favorite of their dances over the season, but it was definitely a powerhouse of a paso. I don’t really know much about paso but I know phenomenal dancing when I see it, and I saw it. But, Nev. You shaved. NOOOOOOOOOOOO!
And damn if Justina and Sasha weren’t killing the cha cha. Sass and cheekiness for days is her signature and perfect for cha cha. She put it all out there, and, dang. Best of the first half. I couldn’t stop smiling.
Derek’s dance wiped the smile right off my face. So disappointing. Tapping doesn’t do a thing for me. I know it takes talent and artistry. So does portrait painting but I don’t want to sit and watch someone do it. I was hoping for something special. Well, maybe Bob Ross.
One of the things I used to like was the final practice when the celebrity would come into the studio and find huge posters of their best shots of the season on the walls. It was always a touching moment. None of that this year. I guess they blew the budget on Tyra’s bizarre getups. Not a great trade off.
I approach the Freestyle event with a bit of trepidation. I’m a bit of a traditionalist (surprise) when it comes to ballroom and the freestyle sometimes goes awry (like that stepping thing Big Girl from Glee did some years back, or the hip hop thing Apolo did). Tonight was a perfect example. I don’t care for rap or hip hop. I figured both would abound in Nelly’s freestyle and I was right. At least I got to ogle Daniella in her latest find from Peta’s dominatrix closet. And just how many times has Nelly said ‘dope’ this season? There are ten billion words in English, how about expanding your vocabulary a little bit?
When Kaitlyn and Artem came out I expected something worthy of the finale and they delivered. It was an amalgam of dances, beautifully executed, an homage to the season. Nice, but it missed the wow factor. Artem should know better, but then again, he’s never won. There has to be a reason.
Nev and Jenna threw in what I call the wow factor. Something just a bit different. Other dancers have used the shower – Justina earlier in the season, Val dancing in his skivvies a few seasons back, etc.) But Nev and Jenna tied it to the music – Singing in the Rain. A simple melody everyone knows, iconic dancing that could have backfired, but worked beautifully for me. Cute, bouncy, engaging and just a happy feeling dance.
Let’s Get Loud has to be one of my most favorite cha chas ever. Sasha had Justina working it, using all her jiggly parts and releasing the inner Latina. It was sexy and sassy. But she was slow. She seemed a little behind and it came across as tired. It lacked enough wow factor also. But she’s always a fiesta and makes me smile.
I forced myself to watch Nelly’s musical performance. I was appalled. If this is what passes for good music we are truly doomed as a species. I was amused at some of the camera cuts of Derek. He never looks more nerdy white than when he tries to be a homey. Give it up, Derek. Your whole family doesn’t have a molecule of melanin among you.
The final result was disappointing but as I called it. I looked back at my posts and I called it on week 2. I put Nev, Justina and Kaitlyn in the finals and Kaitlyn winning because of Bachelor Nation even though I thought Nev was the better dancer.
I rank the season as a natural disaster hampered by unoriginality, fatigue, lackluster celebrities and Tyra. If there is a season 30, I may not be watching.
What an awful night. Nelly advances to the finals and 25% of the performances were non-ballroom. I didn’t sign up for this.
The night started out normal enough, Tyra came out and we wondered WTF is she wearing. It looked like a UFO made an emergency landing on her head. Kind of reminded me of a scene from “Earth vs. the Flying Saucers”.
The first six dances were all traditional ballroom dances. Then they imposed three (THREE) contemporaries on us and a jazz. WTF?
But I’ve hyperventilated enough about that. There was more disaster to come.
He’s just not that good. Yeah, he’s better than Sean Spicer or Bobby Bones, but not by much. In his paso doble redemption he looked like someone broke wind and he was smelling something bad the whole time. And the weird stiff hands thing. As for the jive. Really? They’re gonna go there? Any other dancer on the show would have been called out for that mess. Why is he held to a different standard? His moves were abbreviated, he wasn’t matching his partner and he still looks like grampa at the wedding reception hoping his truss holds up. And I can’t think of anything I look forward to less than hearing a selection of his “hits” next week. I’ll keep my finger on the mute button.
One of the good parts of the night was ditching the stick figure Disney child Skai. I have to say she nailed the cha cha as her first dance. But it still looked like a father/daughter dance (which is just plain creepy). I’m not a fan of pre-pubescent dancing. At least she was no longer making the weird faces. Her VW was much better, she maintained the emotion throughout. Still looked like a little girl playing dress up.
And how could we lose Johnny? In his salsa, OMG, talk about redemption. The side by side section gave me chills. I loved his game face and the booty work made me chuckle. He was definitely channeling the fabulous. His ‘jazz’ piece was odd. I absolutely loved the song and it did not look like jazz. It looked like contemporary. I liked it better for that reason. It was telling Johnny’s story, and he did it beautifully. Still, there are a lot of haters out there.
And Justina survived a squeaker. I didn’t feel it was a particularly good night for her other than that win. The tango with Sasha was mediocre. Tango de Roxanne is one of my favorites and I was ready for her to rock it. Didn’t happen. Sasha pulled out the most tepid choreo ever. It was like he didn’t even try. She ended up looking ungainly and smiling too much. In her contemporary I give Sasha props for lifting her, that takes muscle. Her facial expressions were more suited to the song. Her smile is beautiful.
I don’t think anyone would mistake Kaitlyn for my favorite dancer and last night was no exception. In their paso I can imagine Artem showing up for dress rehearsal and saying, “I am not wearing this.” He is so not a fringe type of guy. And paso is so his style of dance. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. So much power and aggression and sheer machismo. They said she matched him but I noticed looks of uncertainty. She needs to hold her head up. And her contemporary was shamelessly maudlin and pandering. She seems to have taken a page from Skai’s book.
Which leads us to Nev’s perfect night. 60 out of 60. I don’t think I love any dance more than foxtrot when it’s working. And that one was working. It was so working. As ethereal and light as a waltz with the escape velocity of a Viennese waltz. Some of the shaping was just sublime. I was so in awe. And their contemporary was technical perfection. The music sucked, with no real melody but they worked it. Her groin spin on his shoulder was phenomenal and way cool. I yelled.
Of the finalists, two deserve to be there, one is no surprise and then there’s Nelly. Just one more cosmic joke? I want Nev to win it all. He’s the best dancer and seems like a nice guy. It would be nice for the right guy to win for a change.
What the hell, guys? How could you put AJ and Johnny in the bottom two and save Nelly? That doesn’t even make sense. Nelly should have been ditched this week and AJ next week. But as usual, the producers monkeyed with the results.
Tyra’s outfits were bizarre as usual also. Actually I have a shirt made from the same material as her opening gown. Makes a great Hawaiian shirt. When she came out in the suit of armor the bottom was so wide she looked like the stove in my great grandma’s house.
Okay, something else I want to get off my chest. I am so tired of them handling Skai with kid gloves. She panders shamelessly and they fall for it. This is entertainment. If she wants to get political, she can take the fame the show gives her and do it elsewhere. I didn’t tune in to watch her “make a statement”. What it said to me was that she was declaring she was black and the white judges better not dis her. Sorry, but that’s how it looked from my side. And she’s just not that good. Her paso doble was pretty much awful. She had no gravitas at the opening. Just looked like a little girl playing with her skirt. Then what was with all the tippy tippy steps? In PD you put your foot down like you mean it, no pussyfooting about. So many times she was off balance, making faces and cutting her lines short left and right. How did the judges not see that? Are they afraid of her PR people? Have the producers put pressure on them? Something stinks.
Nev and Jenna were my favorites by far. Wow, wow and wow! I got a full body frisson at the opening notes of the song (love that song) and grinned like an idiot all the way through. Great kicks. He really sold it. They got robbed. Should have been 10.
Kaitlyn and Artem. When he is hitting it, he is really hitting it. He was full on Artem tonight and that’s what makes him one of my favorite pros. So sharp, so dramatic, so much everything. Some of those moves made me shout out loud. Definitely her best and the second best tonight.
Johnny and Britt turned it on. Great shapes and perfect timing. So in sync with each other and the double jetes just flew through the air. Reminded me of Apolo. So entertaining.
And the rest.
Justina and Sasha picked one of my favorite Madonna songs to dance to. I was so ready to love it, but it just didn’t happen. She didn’t sell it. Too much grinning going on. Romance is serious stuff. Not enough naughty and too much nice. I just didn’t feel it. Disappointing.
AJ and Cheryl. Who doesn’t love Freddy Mercury? The man was truly legendary. AJ was feeling it and giving it everything he had, but he just went wrong a few times. Heartfelt but far from smooth. And he looked totally out of breath before he was halfway through.
Nelly and Daniella. I don’t listen to rap and I’m opposed to jazz as a ballroom dance. No score.
I really liked the dance offs. Justina vs. Kaitlyn was its own iconic pairing. Cha cha is all about the sass and cheek. Justina ran away with that dance. She has sass and cheek for days. Kaitlyn never got out of the gate.
Skai vs. Nelly, well it took me a minute to stop laughing. Nelly’s floppy tits and Grandpa at the wedding moves just cracked me up. Skai had no control but she still danced circles around grandpa. My favorite in that matchup was Daniella. She’s fast becoming my favorite lady pro.
AJ versus Johnny. Really? Johnny had such precision and his kicks were phenomenal. I guess they made up for it by saving him over AJ.
I still think Nev is the best celeb on the show. He’s got class, he’s got style, he’s got showmanship and the man can just plain dance. I bring Johnny in second if he’s having a good day. He can be uneven. Same with Justina. I put her a close third. Then Kaitlyn, Skai and I don’t know why Nelly is still even here. But I doubt that’s the way it will go down.
Pandering, monkeyjinks producers, Disney kids and Bachelor Nation will probably put one of the lesser luminaries at the top. But that’s how it usually goes. It’s a rare year when the best dancer comes out on top. But it’s fun to watch.
This just in. I have sold another story. “The Haint” will be in Page and Spine (online only) on November 6. Go to https://www.pagespineficshowcase.com/index.html and select Outta This World. But wait until November 6.
The weeks go on and Tyra’s wardrobe gets weirder and weirder. I can come up with no words to describe the yellow monstrosity she came out in last night. Kind of like a Piss Bridezilla. And then the chartreuse bathrobe kept making my TV buzz.
Carrie Ann must not pay attention to tonsorial sites, or she would realize that her do is recognized as the international sign of a bimbo. Jean Kasem (Casey’s wife) pioneered it and made it famous. And was the purple stripe on Derek’s arm signifying anything?
Anyway, on to the dancing. And it was wall to wall ballroom. Yay! No need for extraneous diatribes today (although there may be some).
I hope everyone noticed that at the end of the night the top of the chart were Nev, Johnny and Justina, just as I have said all along were the best.
Sorry about Jeannie Mai’s problems but sometimes people have to withdraw. I thought last night would be Chrishell and Nelly. Looks like Nelly got a reprieve but next week, hopefully. In his rumba I can’t be sure what he did but I’m in love with Daniella. Wow, what a dance. I’ve always loved that song and her explosive starts and stops, fasts and slows, and uninhibited hairography just sent me over the edge. He stood around unobtrusively, not getting in the way of things, stage managing and may even have half heartedly led a couple of moves. His instant cha cha at the end was unmemorable at best. He dances like an old man at a wedding afraid he’s going to disrupt his hernia truss.
But let’s talk about the good stuff. Once again Nev and Justina were shining lights. Johnny, not so much. I can’t decide which of the front runners I liked best.
Nev and Jenna did a Viennese Waltz that was perfection. So lyrical and poetic, it was ethereal that morphed into a romance. I absolutely loved it. I can’t be sure but I think I detected a stumble early on and he stepped on her dress, but none of that detracted from the beauty.
But another couple almost stole the show with their VW – Chrishell and Gleb. Where did that come from? Wow! Hard driving, emotional and erotic as hell, three of my favorite dance styles. I’m not sure of her performance because I was so swept away by the choreography, but I guess that means she didn’t blow it. I got to say it again – so moving and so, so sexy. That crab scramble was wild. I had to rewind and watch that routine again. Wow. Just wow. The judges went yadda yadda about inconsequential things while I tried to get my heartbeat regulated. 8 was way off the mark.
Justina and Sasha. I’m not sure she should be allowed to do the Latin dances since she’s been doing them since birth. But, wow, was that a samba! She just owned it. It felt like the music had been slowed down. I’ve got three versions of Magalena on my ipod at three different speeds. This sounded like the slowest. It kept her from looking lively and crisp. Loved me them samba rolls. Chills. And then she flashed us when Bruno said it was the full Monty. I about spit my soda across the room. As Derek said, she’s just so fun to watch. I love Justina.
On the other hand, I thought Johnny and Britt bombed. I didn’t care for it one bit and it’s mostly on Britt. The choreo was totally pedestrian. Is that all she could come up with? It was so basic and really did nothing to showcase the athleticism. And I don’t know if she drilled him on this or not, but she should have. Heel leads. I didn’t see a single heel lead the entire dance. He stepped forward on his toes every time. I thought sure at least Carrie Ann would call him on it. He got away with it. It was really annoying me. Completely lackluster. And I hated the high-water pants.
Kaitlyn and Artem got dissed by the judges. It was fun and she sold it by smiling and looking like she was enjoying herself – finally. I loved the music; my toes were tapping the whole time. Only a brief nod to kicks and flicks, though. That was a big disappointment for me. They should have scored higher, though.
I have to agree with the judges that AJ’s rumba was non-traditional. It had a lot of contemporary moves rather than typical rumba. I’m surprised because Cheryl’s not known for risk taking. It was effective in my opinion. All the roughness and fighting conveyed a powerful message. And I disagree with Carrie Ann. Old guy can move those hips. I’m with Derek. It worked.
Skai and Alan. As far as I can tell, she killed it. It would be nice if she had an adult body instead of a humuncula to do it with. I’m about ready to call Child Protective Services on Alan for perving over a child. She still needs to fix the mannequin face when she’s dancing.
I was originally excited that they would be doing two dances, thinking each pair would have two choreographed routines. As the clock slipped away and time grew short I knew they had something up their sleeve. The dance off was not as satisfying as an entire routine but it was still fun.
Cha Cha: Nev-Chrishell-Nelly
Nev couldn’t have asked for a better group to be in. He outshone them so much. My fave in their grouping, however, was Daniella. She just set the floor on fire. But of course it was already smoking from Gleb. Man that guy can move. As for the celebs, Nev was running away with it. With Gleb coming out right behind him I could compare them. Nev doesn’t have the hip swivel of Gleb (who does?) but his leg work, foot placement and sharpness were all comparable. He’s just a damn good dancer. Chrishell was just fumbling and Nelly was showing his age. I want Gleb’s red shirt.
VW: Justina and Johnny
This was a good chance to see two of my faves head to head. Looked like Johnny took it. His sharper edges worked better with the music. Justina just looked tired and klunky.
So much fun. My favorite had to be Artem – such motion. And I want that blue shirt. Second was Alan with the rolls and I like the navy-blue silk shirt, too. As for celebs I liked Kaitlyn. Either she moved her ass or Artem moved it for her, but it rocked. AJ looked too much like an old man. And poor Skai tried to do the tit shimmy and was a total failure. It looked so silly. She’s got nothing to work with. Samba needs to be juicy and she’s so dry.
I was so glad to see Skai in the bottom two and was yelling at my TV “Dump her! Dump her!” Alas, they either couldn’t hear me or are still beset by their personal dementia. At least judging by the scores they are starting to see some chinks in her armor. She’s just not the same caliber as the top three.
Nelly needs to go next week. Then in a perfect world Kaitlyn would go leaving Nev, Johnny, Justina and Skai for the finals. But in the real world, in two weeks even if she is in the bottom two, they’ll save her. So it’s anybody’s bet who’ll be around for the finals. Kaitlyn has Bachelor Nation voting for her and Skai has all the Disney kids. Looking at simple ability, though, I’m giving it to Nev.
Villains Night? I thought it was just Halloween. I guess they had to specify villains to block all the Disney princess wannabees. Johnny might have run with it.
Carrie Ann’s costume gets honors for being weirdest. I’m not sure what it was – an Asian Queen of Hearts or Oriental Harlequin?
And Tyra’s disaster reminded me of the time I was in my little two-seater car and it was raining outside. I picked up my little push button umbrella and accidentally pushed the button. The mechanism was strong so it was determined to open. The inside of my car looked like Tyra’s wings.
I’ve always liked the Halloween show because they seem to up the ante on weirdness and it usually pays off. Sometimes it didn’t, like several of Mark Ballas’ disasters.
I was pleasantly surprised at this episode. In order to channel evil or malice they went with more serious music and that led to more serious dances (Paso, Tango, Argentine Tango). We had four paso dobles. When has that ever happened? And four tangos. All that left was a Viennese and a disqualified non-ballroom number. See, a good night. And the dancing was strong. I only really didn’t like one performance. When was the last time that happened? I’m not going to tell you which one I didn’t like until the end. But speaking of paso doble. One of my favorite of all times paso dobles was done as a Halloween dance. Little Red Riding Hood meets the Wolfman. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IAoBj6EaFc
Once again, my three favorite performances were from my three favorite performers. I just can’t figure out which topped the other. They all pushed different buttons and worked on such different levels. However, one did manage to stand a little above the rest.
Justina and Sasha. Sasha seems to love Halloween. He used to always be behind the pranks they would show in outtakes. Not sure if he still is involved, but his intensity in the performance underscored how much he was into it. And his crazy eyes were a nice touch. I read the book and saw both movie versions of Carrie (loved them all). I think the character resonated with Justina as a plus sized Latina. Their tango was a tour de force of power, passion, menace, evil and just plain fun. I was mesmerized. Her scream was excellent. Then the use of her telekinesis to toss objects and even Sasha around was so cool. Sasha pulled some great choreo for this one. I was breathless when she finished trashing the scene. I’d say Stephen King would be proud. Definitely the best of the night for me. It captures Halloween.
Johnny and Britt. Absolutely LOVED IT! The fabulosity is definitely back. So on point and so gothic. They need to take care with the special effects though. I lost view of them in the smoke at one point. I want to be able to see what they are doing. From what I could see I was alternating between frissons and silly grins (a few maniacal laughs, but we don’t need to go there). The song was great. Definitely VW tempo but too hard driving for an ethereal dance. So they grabbed it by the throat and beat it into submission. It was like a triple rhythm paso. Mixture of dance and story telling at its best. Carrie Ann seemed to agree in her comments. I also liked Johnny’s story about identifying with the vampire as an outsider. He may be milking his outsider status, but it’s working. I’m glad he opted for a man’s outfit rather than pulling Vampira from Peta’s closet. I give it a 10.
Nev and Jenna completed the hat trick. It was just so creepy. I love the music for Swan Lake and it is eerie in its own right. Unfortunately for me although the music has a melancholy eeriness, I don’t pair it with danger and madness. I didn’t really see the story Nev said it was about, but I did see some damn fine paso going down. Maybe if I’d seen the movie it would have meant more. There was power and menace. There was violence and aggression. I was surprised that he looked so human. He has a face that would be a natural for a Jekyll/Hyde routine. Or maybe zombie apocalypse. Speaking of zombie apocalypse and madness, here’s a nice memory. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wftw2ev_waQ
Chrishell and Gleb’s number was so weird. I mean that in the good sense. The music had no real beat, just a kind of slow cadence, so they were left to interpret the feeling and mood with paso. And they nailed it. I loved the evil she channeled. Gave me goosebumps. I just wish the music would have had more punch, maybe moments of power. She needs to watch her face. Some of her evil leers morphed into “I’m so happy to be here” grins. Gleb always has good pd choreo and this one had so much of what an earlier one had lacked. Bruno was right when he said it was mesmerizing. I loved that she got so excited over the good scores. They’re so cute when they do that. They should have gotten straight nines.
And there were other joys to be had. Surprisingly, one of them was Nelly and Daniella. I wrote him off as just another rapper whose career is tanking and needed some visibility. That may be true, but the man can dance. Who’d a thunk? I’ve never been a Nightmare on Elm Street or Freddie fan. I like my horror either classic (e.g. Dracula) or psychological thriller realism (Psycho). It’s just not my kind of movie. But that song and the Argentine Tango merged to form just the right platform for their message. Daniella masterfully brought out the latent sexual mixture of evil and dreams, the eroticness of blood and terror. Nelly got a little foot happy a couple of times and Derek called him on it. His flicks also lacked conviction. I couldn’t see why Derek gave him a nine after pointing out what was wrong. An eight would have sufficed. It was a nice dance and a lot of fun, but I think the scores were inflated.
After referencing Chrishell and Gleb’s and Nev and Jenna’s paso dobles above, a less luminary quantification would be Jeannie and Brandon. I’m not sure why I wasn’t moved by it. I felt it lacked staccato and paso doble flair. It just didn’t look traditional and that’s what I want with pd. I think Bruno summed it up well when he said it lost the Spanish feel. Still it was grade inflation.
One of my all-time favorite horror fests is Psycho. Tony Perkins is deliciously looney in it. And was so avant-garde for its time. I was glad to find AJ and Cheryl were doing it because I knew she’d come through with a great tango. I got chills just from the set up. My only problem was that the music was too frenetic for tango. It rushed through the whole piece. It just didn’t seem to match up. What they did was great, but it missed the mark. I’d say that was the music, and not them. I did notice him hunching and am glad Carrie Ann called him on it.
I thought I would like Kaitlyn and Artem’s pd more than I did. I mean who can’t like Artem at his masculine best? But it had problems. I love the music. Disturbia is a cha cha for me, but if they want to dance pd, go for it. I don’t really think of 101 Dalmations as a horror movie, and that’s what I was grooving on up until this point. I guess Cruella is a villain in the strict sense but it didn’t work for me. And what was the story here? Cruella dancing with a dog? They performed it beautifully; no one pasos like Artem. But to what end? There was no evil in Kaitlyn’s Cruella; no fear or menace; no anger or aggression. It was plotless and emotionally stale. Here’s what I mean by the dance telling a story. Just a slasher trope but so so creepy. I like it even though it’s contemporary. Go full screen on this one and it’ll scare the bejesus out of you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpDY5-rrck0
Thanks to Derek for calling everyone’s attention to what a great dancer Artem is. I may sound like an Artem groupie, but the man throws it down.
The final two were a questionable one and one I really didn’t like. One, obviously was the jazz routine. I’m not going to go into a diatribe about jazz again this week. Much as I want to. Monica and Val had good and bad points. They used what actually looked like dance moves to tell a story and it held me spellbound (the music helped). A big problem was Monica wanting to play temptress. Nurse Ratchet was definitely not a temptress. It did remind me of the maid who morphed back and forth between young temptress and old crone in American Horror Story about three or four seasons back. That was one of the best written horror series since Twilight Zone. I believe it was brought to us by the same creative force that brought Glee. Now if that isn’t a whiplash for change in direction. I think he also produced Scream Queens, that wonderfully campy whodunit that ran for several weeks. It starred Jamie Lee Curtis, who is a veteran horror hostess, as Dean Munsch (some puns come to mind, but I won’t go there).We also got John Stamos and Taylor Lautner as romantic rivals, Michele Lea apparently for her talentlessness and the deliciously whacky and my all-time favorite Niecy Nash and all her jiggly parts. But I have digressed. The good overrode the bad in my opinion. One of the better jazz pieces.
Which brings us to the worst of the night. Skai and Alan’s mess. I was never into Chucky or Bride of Chucky. I got it mixed up with Chucky cheese. Just not my type of movie. Maybe if I’d seen the movie I would have known what was going on. But dance is an art form that is supposed to take you on a journey even if you don’t have a map. I shouldn’t have to know all the ins and outs, whatever they may be, of Chucky if danced well. Even Alan said at the beginning that Argentine Tango was about telling a story. So, uh, where’s the story? I got angsty, overwrought, emo teenagers, one black and one white, apparently in Appalachia by the costuming. I would make a snarky remark about West Virginia here, but North Carolina has those pockets too. So mostly it looked like an illicit, interracial love affair getting out of hand. Those things never go well in the uber-Conservative South. So there is definitely a horror story there. I can’t be sure, but I don’t think that is what Chucky is about. The moves and shapes were fine, but it just went nowhere. It definitely didn’t rate nines. Her agent must have some dirt on the judges because they just seem to pander to her. I usually like the new system of the judges deciding who goes home because they can protect us from the mindless masses who do as they are told. No matter who are in the bottom two, the judges can save the better dancer. But they seem to have lost their minds over this kid. I’m not really loving her personality as it comes out. Her dancing is good but it’s nowhere near the level the judges are singing seraphims about. Since I was on a Milo Manheim kick this week, here’s how a real star dancer who’s only 19 handles himself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAhZ5cTp6KU He’s dancing here with Riker Lynch. Both boys came in second in their seasons. Riker lost to Rumer Willis (yeah, she was a little better) and Milo lost to, wait for it, Bobby Bones. WTF? That’s one of the reasons they had to change the rules. So when Skai starts showing me stuff like this, then I’ll say she’s a dancing star. Until then she needs to sit down and shut up.
We’re getting down to what my dad used to call short rows. After next week’s double elimination they will be down to seven people, only three off of the four they’ll send into the final. So far, no surprises. The past few weeks we have weeded out the chaff. Back when I thought Nelly couldn’t dance, he was the one I picked to leave this week and then Monica next week. Just flip that.
Here’s how the remaining fall out to me, ranked best to worst. I’ve starred who I think will win. Three stars for first, two for second and one for third. Hopefully, I’m wrong.
*Johnny/Nev These two have star power. Johnny’s got the buzz and Nev is the surprise dark horse.
Justina This sassy Latina wants to take it home. She gets the big girl vote and has grabbed most of our hearts.
AJ Everybody loves boy band refugees. AJ has struck the right tone of growing up, being humble and seeming like a really nice guy. Plus he can dance.
**Kaitlyn Another boring bachelorette, but DWTS and Bachelor are owned by the same company. And don’t tell me the producers don’t meddle with the voting.
***Skai I need the emoji for sticking my tongue out. She’s a Disney princess and the judges have crowned her a dancing queen.
Jeannie She should get some nice parting gifts.
Nelly He’s made his mark. He might need to leave before he loses his street cred.
Chrishell Not much there, but Gleb can make even a burlap sack look good.
And here’s my parting Halloween treat. Sweet dreams.
My short story Best Summer Ever just came out in the online magazine Youth Imagination. Please use this link to see the story. https://youthimagination.org/
Mixed bag with a scare at the end. Let’s take this apart.
First off, it was apparently My Most Miserable Memory night, where they all tell maudlin tearjerker stories to make us feel for them.
And Tyra’s opening outfit. They must really hate her. How wide are those hips? Those pants do her no favors. And the top seemed to be a burlap bag with some sequins glued on.
The highlight of the night had to be Derek’s tour de force performance, reminding us of why he has six glitter ball trophies. I only have three words to describe it. O M G !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That’s what I came to see. I was covered in a musical frisson chill from the opening note. Fast and hard (like Bruno likes it). Part paso, part flamenco and all awesome. I would pay to see that every day. Yow!
Interestingly, the Derek performance kind of kicked the show into high gear. The six performances before him were pedestrian at best. The five after were sparklers.
Best of the night. AJ and Cheryl. OMG the boy’s got game. He killed it! I was wooting and jumping around the room cheering him on. He was giving out sass like nobody’s business. He could give Johnny lessons on how to be fabuloso. It was a real live samba. 10
Jeannie and Brandon gave me a rumba with some teeth in it. Strong, sharp, deep, emotional and sexy without being sex. So many gorgeous lines. I got some minichills. Brandon’s choreo has never moved me before, but he has improved. Loved the costuming and I want his shirt. She was robbed in the scoring.
Justina (and Sasha) was the only one of my favorites to make a mark tonight. Her VW was so beautiful. A few too many hard edges and I could have done without all the feathers but still, so beautiful. As Bruno said – Radiant.
Chrishell and Gleb got to do a dance that he excels in. I’ve always liked his contemporary. It always touches me. This was no exception. Wow. Gorgeous movement. The song moved me and the dance made me cry.
As for Kaitlyn and Artem’s samba, I didn’t see it the way the judges did. I liked AJ’s much better. Granted, AJ’s was choreographed to show off the man, whereas hers was choreographed to show off the woman and I liked his moves more. I think the content of his was superior. She’s good and will continue to move up and AJ’s days are numbered. But tonight went to him. And what’s with Artem’s pants? Are 1950s high water pants coming back in style?
Then there was the first half of the show which was an unmitigated mess. If you tuned in just as Derek was getting started, you missed nothing.
It started with my two favorites doing absolutely awful dances.
Johnny looked like he stumbled or got off time at the very beginning but picked it up and gave us Johnny face. He was totally sassy. But to me, salsa is supposed to be sexy with the woman being feminine sexy and the man being macho sexy. With the hose and fringe skirt Johnny missed the macho boat. Call me old fashioned but ballroom has conventions, traditions and expectations. One of them should have been wearing pants. Carrie Ann called them on it rightly. Now they’re doing instant voting I think America showed what they thought of his costume. The envelop can be pushed, but only so far.
Nev and Jenna were disqualified for failing to do ballroom. I came to see ballroom. They just jumped around like a pair of idiots. It was athletic, but nothing else. At that point I was 2 for 2 in disappointments.
Skai and Alan. What the hell were those costumes about? He was a zebra and she had on a blue tutu and wig they must have grabbed off a hooker down on Santa Monica Boulevard. I thought next week was Halloween. As for the dance, yeah she screwed it up. Aside from that, it had no hip action because she has no hips. I figured she be one of the bottom two and the judges would of course save her. I don’t know why they feel the need to fawn on her.
Vernon and Peta were a bright spot in the first half. Their routine had some cha cha and a lot of Vernon’s special dance. In the cha cha he was wooden and jerky, but when he did his thing he was selling it. He was having a blast and it was nice to see him have fun. Carrie Ann got it right that he’s easy to watch because he loves dancing. And now I know what happened to that hideous sofa that used to be in Grandma’s parlor.
Val danced a beautiful rumba and Monica held on for dear life. Nice hip action and extensions, but most of the moves were simple. My problem was her face. Her smile was not real. It was so obviously fake that it kept distracting me. I did like that the dance was romantic rather than vertical sex. I don’t know. Maybe she felt weird about dedicating it to her husband and then getting intimate with another man.
Nelly and Daniella got ridiculously high scores from the judges. I loved what Daniella did, she almost achieved escape velocity with her Viennese. But she was dragged down by Nelly’s dead weight. The opening sequence he did well, with flow and arms. But when the feet got involved it was a mess. At least Derek called him on it. He was my choice to go. Well, actually my choice to go was Skai but I know that’s not going to happen.
So nothing much happened tonight except they let Vernon go. I had decided that he and Nelly needed to be next. Maybe they’ll boot Nelly next week.
I still say the best dancers are a two-way tie for first with Johnny and Nev, and Justina a close second (or I guess that’s actually third). I don’t particularly care for Skai and Kaitlyn is good but not stellar, but I see them as spoilers since they have incredible fan bases. Next week is Halloween and that’s usually a good time. Looking forward to it.
October 12, 2020
Oh, it’s 80s night and I’m feeling right, sung to the tune of Ladies Night. We have entered the Land of Mullets.
I’m not even going to get into TB’s costume changes, other than how many times did she change? Such a waste of their budget.
I liked two of the judges’ clothes choices. The deep colored dress suited Carrie Ann. Now if she’d just ditch the pan-fried hair. I’m not sure what Derek was going for, but I’m pretty sure he missed the mark. It was just odd. Bruno won the night, totally rocking the Gay Miami Vice look.
I have to wonder if there is any rhyme or reason to the dance styles they do. I mean, four tangos in one night? And jazz? OMG
Let’s just get this out of the way. There were three disqualifications right off the top. Jazz is not a ballroom dance (noticed I used my indoors voice) and will not be sanctioned. Most offensive was Justina and Sasha. There was no dancing. It looked like an aerobics class to me. It lacked fun, grace or dance. So disappointing since she’s usually one of my top three. I noticed that Derek only talked in generalities about this stage of the competition, never actually talking about what they did. Bruno just perved on Sasha’s pectorals. Conehead Carrie Ann just dithered with her fried hair. Maybe they were all thinking what I was thinking and didn’t want to admit that the emperor had no clothes.
Skai and Alan, and it’s me, not her. I just don’t like her. Probably not her fault, I just wish she’d go away. And take Tyra with her. Their faux dance was midway between the Justina/Sasha mess and Jeannie and Brandon. It had lots of flashy, ballsy lifts but that was about it. Throughout the first half it looked like they were stepping tentatively as if their feet hurt. By about the third lift the tentativeness was gone but she still kept pulling odd faces. And where’d they dig up Alan’s wig? It didn’t look like Doc; it looked like Martha Washington.
As for Jeannie and Brandon, now that was a performance I could get into. It was fun, frisky and had real dance elements. Everything the other two weren’t.
I’m having trouble deciding the worst actual ballroom dance of the night. I’ve got it down to two couples. One was Nelly and Daniella’s attempt at samba. It had nice samba content as the judges noted. Unfortunately, Nelly did not have nice samba content. Samba has an unusual beat that no one wants me to bore them explaining and Nelly must have checked out on that conversation also. He hit the beat some of the times and was completely off some of the time. He had a great time, smiling up a storm and doing inventive footwork (just not samba footwork) but it just didn’t work. He has no flexibility in his hips and makes me afraid I’ll dance like that after my spine fusion next week. I don’t know what happened with the judges. They were way too generous.
But I guess honors for the worst of the night has to go to Vernon and Peta. What a mess! It looked like he got in her way during the first move and she stumbled. They never got it back together. He was definitely scary looking with all the dreads. He was a ringer for Laurent, the black vampire in Twilight (Yes, I watched Twilight. I’m a Jacob fan. Edward was just gross). It lacked grace and poise and he just looked like a surly stumblebum vampire. Too bad; I like Vernon. And of course Peta isn’t going to let us get away without a few crotchshots. No comment.
And speaking of tango, there were three, count ‘em, three more. Bottom of that pileup was Jesse and Sharna. I so wanted Jesse to do well because he’s with Sharna. It just wasn’t happening. He opened a bit wooden, it seemed there was no mental connection between them. Once in frame he got better, but near the end he seized up again. And the emotion he was projecting was more paso doble anger than tango burn. I don’t know what he’s done as an actor, but must have been soaps. They don’t know the difference between anger, burn or chew the scenery melodrama.
The judges reversed the last two tangos from what I thought they deserved. Kaitlyn and Artem did something that would have given Len a coronary. First was all that freaking jumping around before the dance and then ending it with stiff 35-year-old white girl trying to bust a b-move? What tango they did was good, but not as good as what I expect from Artem. He’s about to be dethroned as my favorite male pro over this. And when did he get so bow legged? And wasn’t their song, “I Think We’re Alone Now” from the 60s? Yes, talentless Tiffany covered it in the 80s but that doesn’t make it 80s music any more than the Boston Pops’ cover of Blue Danube makes it modern music.
The tango of tangos was Monica and Val. I need to take up smoking so I can have a cigarette after something like that. Wow. What she did was pretty good, but Val was a force to be reckoned with. When that man gets his tango on, everybody just stand back. It was a no holds barred smackdown. Some of his moves left me gasping. From when they fired guns over each others’ shoulders (with sexy body rolls) to their hair-raising race to the finish I was just hanging on. Yeah, love me some Tainted Love.
There were a couple of also rans. Chrishell and Gleb stumbled through a messy cha cha. She either missed or dragged on nearly every step. Those baggy pants never made anyone look good and did no favor to her hips. And for the record, Gleb looks awful in a mullet.
AJ and Cheryl surprised me. I liked their waltz. It was weirdly credible from someone who looked like he was about to spew through the entire dance. He just looked soooo uncomfortable. He had all the right elements, but I just kept expecting him to stop, bend over, and lose his cookies. But Cheryl pulled him through, demonstrating once again that she is the mistress of the faux lead. She is always the first female pro to make it look like her partner is leading. Probably my favorite thing about her. I’d like to bring up a complaint here. Why do, when the dancers do any kind of spiral move, the camera is intent on spiraling around them in the other direction? It’s distracting and disorienting. It screws with the perceived speed of the move and makes me dizzy. I’m the one in danger of losing his cookies.
Once again they ended the show with wham bam show stopping performances. Johnny and Britt kept the fabulosity alive with a wild contemporary. I know contemporary isn’t ballroom but I’ve grandfathered it in when they actually look like they’re dancing. At least they weren’t wearing their jammies. But it was hard and soft and emotional and lyrical and just grabbed me. Bruno described it perfectly even though he screwed up the perfect score.
My favorite of the night actually got low scores. Shoot the judges. Nev and Jenna continue to surprise me every week. Okay, we’ve found out now that he’s a ringer, he used to take dance classes. But then, so many of them have. And he had the weird eyes even as a little kid, too. I’m an 80s nerd and love a-Ha and immediately perked up for the quickstep. They were perfectly in sync and no one even talked about the great jete. They had so much fun, it was just infectious (in a non-Covid way). Definitely my fave of the night. As Bruno said, it was exuberant.
I loved the music for every performance, but then, I’m an 80s guy. Probably the last decade they made decent music.
Unfortunately, I think they made the right choice in dumping Jesse. He just wasn’t cutting it.
Nelly, Vernon and Chrishel need to go next. I’m afraid we’re stuck with Skai because the judges think she’s precious. They are still impressed with her shameless pandering about her dead friend. Kaitlyn will stay around because of Bachelor nation. Justina outclasses Jeannie but neither may make it to the end. I want a smackdown between Nev and Johnny. Now that would be entertainment.
Well, that was a CF if there ever was one. What a mess. Still, nowhere near the gaffe of Steve Harvey back in 2015.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DKDaSd-4nY
People are already calling for Tyra’s head. I’m not sure if she was at fault as Steve was so I won’t pile on. But she was very quick to throw everybody else under the bus in avoiding any responsibility. And if the fubar was with the cards she was to read, then Tom Bergeron would have done the same thing. But I imagine he would have handled the fallout with more grace. He had class. I kinda wondered what was going on when she said, “the two bottom couples” and there were still three couples on the floor. Gleb was whipping his head around, trying to figure it out, too. Yep, amateur hour all the way around.
And what is it with her costuming? It’s like a whole separate event of the evening. First, she comes out in yards and yards of gold lamé; yeah, she has a lot to cover. Then she shows up in a Xena top with a couple of rain barrels tied to her hips. And make up by Annie Lennox.
I have to be grateful there were no execrable performances over the evening and even a few 9s and a 10 dropped. Grade inflation, however. And I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but the music they are using has taken a nosedive. Some of the songs I would have ranked undanceable.
The judges seemed to lose their minds over Skai’s shmaltzy performance. It was cheap tearjerker drivel designed to deflect judgment of her dancing. Her actual performance was nice but a 9 would have been stretching the mark. She’s just not yet built for dancing. She needs to grow up some. It’s like watching a pubescent girl dance with her father. She has no boobs or butt or anything else to fill out a ballgown. Call me crass or sexist, but I call it like I see it. And Carrie Ann has a history of buying into it. The judges all got sidetracked on the “lovely tribute” and didn’t really talk about the actual dance. In it’s own way that is just as bad as Bobby Bones or Sean Spicer being kept on the show by people who aren’t looking at their dancing.
The highlights for me was the Nev/Johnny/Justina Show. They are the ones I look forward to. They know how to put on a show.
As odd as Nev looks (I can’t figure out if his eyes or smile is scarier, he’s gotta stick around until Halloween) he is growing on me. I like his attitude of not taking himself so seriously, his wonder at dancing and he’s a seemingly nice guy. He has the body of a mini wookie, but that’s okay. I liked the manscaping comments. I liked his rumba, but I was amazed that no one called his obvious foul. Every forward step (and there were many of them) was a heel lead. It just leapt out of the screen at me. Did no one see that? I thought sure that at least ditzy Carrie Ann would have called it. Incredible hip rolls, though. You don’t usually see that on men outside of pros.
Justina and Sasha are also favorites. I mean who doesn’t love Sasha? And Justina is always my favorite party. I love a plus size woman who just owns it like nobody’s business. Sassy and brassy and who cares about the scores. Time to partay! When she dances, she glows. Best dance of the night.
Fabulousness is in the ballroom again! Johnny has found his mojo and is working it. His routine could have used more kicks, but that was just because I was enjoying them so much. One of the performances that gave me chills. He should have got 9s but was robbed. And for the record, I adore Mama Weir.
The rest of the performances ranged from “That’s nice, dear” to “What have you been doing with all the time you weren’t practicing?” The four-way tie for last place was, well, yeah.
Jeannie and Brandon. Soulless. I hate a soulless tango. It just failed to move me. Her face vacillated between looking scared to “I just peed my pants.”
Nelly and Daniella. He may or may not have accomplished a Paso, but the song was a hot mess. That was not PD music, not even music in my old white guy estimation. It was awful rap junk and was so fast they couldn’t articulate the artistry. It became just flailing. I made that note before I listened to the judges and was surprised to hear Bruno also decry the “lack of artistry” and mention flailing. You go, Bruno. I was amused to see that Daniella must have broken into Peta’s dominatrix closet. And damn, but Nelly has some big muscles. Kind of weird for a guy whose name comes from a pejorative for limp wristed gay men. On an aside, I figured Derek would say he liked the music. He is desperately struggling to stay relevant as he ages, while being handicapped with being painfully white.
Jesse and Sharna, such a disappointment. He was totally checked out. I don’t know who the ringer was they sent in to replace him. He did everything okay, but there was no spontaneity, no flirt, no sass, no life. And I’m glad they finally called him about keeping his head in Sharna’s tits. They just said he was looking at her feet, but we all know where his eyes were.
Anne and Keo. I think I’m going to have to rant for a while on this one. She apparently tried to pull the same trick that Skai did. Deflect from the dance by tugging at the hearts of the audience. I was moved by how she has been treated for coming out gay. It’s a travesty. And I applaud her heroism. She still can’t dance. That was the most bloodless PD I’ve seen since Kate Gosselin and Sean Spicer stunk up the ballroom. And I want to talk about racism and victimization. Keo keeps getting put with partners who “admire” his body. You never see Gleb’s partner’s pawing him. Or Val’s. Or anyone else (okay, Pasha has gotten a couple of off-color comments over time). So why is it okay to objectify Keo? Is it because he’s black so it’s alright to treat him like he isn’t human? He’s just stage dressing. Anne may be a lesbian, but your gender orientation doesn’t stop you from being a bigot or a racist or just a tasteless person. Keo deserves a huge apology from ABC and most of the partners he has been tasked with. Okay, rant over.
Moving up the food chain, I was disappointed with the scores Gleb and Chrisell received. What they did is what I want to see. A proper foxtrot. Classic, fluid, sexy, and beautiful. It had all the elements and was performed with emotion. What’s not to like?
I think Vernon and Peta are my choice for the next elimination. What they did was nice, but it was all Peta. Her best rumba ever. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I have no idea what he did. He has looked familiar to me, but I’ve had trouble placing him. Last night is dawned on me that he looks so much like Amenadiel, Lucifer’s angel brother on my favorite series, Lucifer. Here’s his pic.
The two 24s and the 25 were puzzling. I found them all overrated.
Monica and Val’s samba was nicely done. It did have proper samba moves, but Val must be slipping. Her execution was just not up to his usual. No bounce, no joy, just workmanlike effort. They seemed to be holding back. I say let loose and kill it. Or go down swinging. Seven’s would have been more appropriate.
AJ and Cheryl. I paid to see cha cha, not krumping. What cha cha he did was enjoyable, even if there was too much stomping. But I saw that as he was so excited and just wanting to stomp it out. I like some of Backstreet Boys music, including the one they used. The “virtual” band was a disappointment. I was envisioning something more live, not just some pre-recorded holographs blown up to monstrous size. I’d give it at least one seven mixed in with the eights.
Kaitlyn and Artem. I’m sorry but I had trouble focusing on the dance. That monstrosity of an outfit Artem was wearing kept getting in the way. I just kept getting visions of Hannibal Lecter’s suit made of humans. Once that was in my brain, I was lost. The VW seemed short, with no swoop or etherealness. Definitely not a 25. Even though Artem is my favorite male pro.
That’s my thoughts. The worst of the worst have been winnowed out. Now time to go after the ‘also rans’. I think they need to boot Nelly and Vernon next, in whatever order they wish. Monica and Skai also need to go but now Carrie Ann is hooked on her I imagine Skai will be around to the end.
In Candide’s best of all possible worlds the finals would be Johnny, Nev and Justina. In reality I feel Skai and Kaitlyn will be spoilers.