As busy as Tristan has been lately, he was still more than willing to answer your questions. This latest is from Friday, April 26.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
It was great seeing you back on Dancing With the Stars during Week 5, and we especially loved your performance with Witney Carson during the results show. Tell us about that one; it looked incredibly intricate and difficult, yet you and Witney seemed to embrace the dance and let the story develop.
I loved dancing with Witney - she is so good and fun to be around, and Teddy Forance is unreal. I was a bit in two minds about doing the number. I really wanted to work with those two but at the same time I wasn’t too sure about doing the contemporary as it’s not really my style but Teddy made it work for me which I was happy about. He is very much a 'guy' dancer and let me do things I felt comfortable doing. I really enjoyed working with them for sure.
Len’s side by side challenges were great fun from the fans’ point of view. Would you share a little about working with Emma, Victor, and Lindsay for the Viennese Waltz and again with Chelsie, Peta, and Sean for the Quickstep? There must be some good stories to tell.
I always love working with Emma, and Vic and I hang out so rehearsals were fun. I love Emma’s dancing so it was great to dance with her but also it is good to work with the guy celebrities as well - if nothing else just for a new perspective for them and to freshen things up even for a week. We had great laughs there. I always love hanging out with Peta as well. She is one funny girl, and I was interested to get to know Sean. He is cool, real down to earth, and a bit of a dry sense of humor which kept me entertained while working.
Every time you and Sean are on our tv screen at the same time, we can’t help but laugh. You guys seemed to have a great time working together, and if nothing else, we were hugely entertained. How did all the silliness begin?
Yeah, like I said Sean is a good guy- the show really pushed the bromance thing which gets a bit old, but we do genuinely get on with each other so most of the interaction was just us really making fun of the situation and at how bizarre the intent of the packages was. Someone would start a ridiculous conversation, and we would just roll with it. I wasn’t expecting the rose thing so we tried to make that as ridiculous as possible. My language I guess was cut out of a lot of the footage. Haha!
We got a huge kick out of “Dressing For Dance With Tristan MacManus” - the DanceJunkiesTV segment with Stuart Brazell and Rib Hillis. That must have been a lot of fun, and you guys had lots of laughs. Would you share some of that day with us?
Stuart and Rib are cool. I didn’t actually know what to expect to be honest. I had done Dance Junkies before so I thought I was just coming in to talk about the show but it turned into the dress up thing. When I got there they told me Emma had done it the week before and had some sumo suit on so I didn’t know then what was gonna happen, and then when they showed me the costumes I was trying not to offend anyone, so I just gave them the clothes and left it to them.
You’ve been all over the place the last few weeks – the DanceJunkiesTV piece, the DWTS Week 5 Pre-Show, the April 3 AfterBuzzTV segment and so much more. You seem so comfortable with all of it, and your sense of humor is always evident. Have you ever thought about being on the other side of the camera and being the one asking the questions? You seem like a natural.
Yeah, I’ve done a few of the talking things the last few weeks which I do really enjoy doing. It’s easy enough to just talk for me - being Irish I guess. I like the idea of interviewing or just talking on shows but that’s out of my hands. If I’m asked, I’ll do it. Hopefully that is something I can get into.
A couple of weeks ago, we all saw the photos of you and Anna with Mark Walberg, Marysol Castro, and Poncho De Anda? What's the occasion?
I’m not too sure what I can and can’t say about that project to be honest but we worked with Poncho and Marysol for a few days. I really just helped out on the project that Anna was working on, but I had a blast. Marysol is so funny - I could work with her all day long. Mark’s humor is very much like Tom’s as well so he is cool to be around. Maybe I’ll keep schtum on that, and I’m sure it will come out when it needs to or maybe someone else involved will talk more about it if they can.
We’ve seen some notifications come in about your off-season appearances – the two Holland America cruises as well as a couple of appearances in Ballroom with A Twist. Do you have any other definite plans right now? Do you have any more DWTS performances or other appearances scheduled for the upcoming weeks?
I don’t have too many definite plans at the minute to be honest. There are a few irons in the fire but you never know with this industry until you are actually on the stage or behind the camera if things are going to happen or not. There are a few things I’m trying to put together and get involved in but until they are signed and sealed it’s hard to say. It’s fair to say though if you don’t see me I’m busy working on something. I may be on the show over the next few weeks. I always want to be involved but again it’s not my call. We just have to wait and see what the producers want.
In our last Q and A, you explained some of the challenges of teaching the Jive. What approach do you take when teaching Cha Cha? What particular challenges are there?
The challenges of each dance really depend on the person who is doing it but the rhythms can be difficult for people. At the same time it’s a dance that people I feel find more familiar. Everyone knows 'cha cha cha'. It’s a fun dance to do, and I think people feel that and enjoy learning that you just got to move in it. Some find it hard to do when they stiffen up because of certain rotations but it’s great to do when you get it.
The pros and troupe members always seem to have great camaraderie and get along great. Tell us – who is the biggest prankster on the show?
Thanks, Tristan! As always, it was a pleasure.
Photo Courtesy of OK Magazine
Now that we have your attention with the lovely photo to your left (which incidentally has been Shakes' forum avatar photo since Day 1), we will now focus on other important stuff.
It’s that time of the season when we pay tribute to those standout performances and people on DWTS. Of course we already gave out awards a few weeks ago, and we were in kind of a fog most of Week 5 because of all of those Tristan appearances. We didn't want you to think that we had forgotten to hand out awards, so we decided to this week pay homage to six “interesting” weeks of DWTS with “The Season 16 is Finally 60% Over Awards.”
The Out Of Tea Honorary Sweatshirt Award – This goes to Peta because our own Out of Tea was willing to fly across country to cover Peta up with her own sweatshirt because Peta never seems to remember to take one along and looks really, really cold most of the time. Consider it a public service.
The Please Turn Up The Heat Award – Almost everybody. There’s no passion, no zing, no pop, no pow, no sexy, no lust, no heat, no smolder, no sizzle - you get it… (We say "almost everybody" because every time Tristan has been on the dance floor this season, the temperature has risen substantially.)
The You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet Award - This goes to Val who has previously lost his pants and shirt on national television. We can only imagine what is next.
The I Am 16 Going on 17 Award - Zendaya. You probably didn’t know she’s only 16.
The Zorro Can Fly Award - Andy and Sharna for giving Antonio Banderas wings. Or a zip line.
The Cutest Couple Award – Sean and Tristan – Anybody who can make us laugh the way they did has to be the recipient of a prestigious honor like this.
The Big Whoop Comeback Award – To Maks who unfortunately staged his comeback the same night as Professor MacManus made his return to the DWTS stage in a big way.
The Thud Heard Around the World – Tristan and Witney – It needs no explanation.
The You Can Teach My Zumba Class Anytime Award – To Tristan MacManus. If you read our road trip blog, you know the storied background, but SWAT might be willing to take on Zumba Lesson 2 if the Zumba King (in our minds anyway – we have no idea if he has even ever walked into a Zumba class) is running the show.
The Guess The Mystery Dancer Award – To the DWTS Troupe – Why have six members of the troupe when there are 300 more dancing in every number they do? Where is the voice of reason (Sonny) when you need him?
The Worst Use Of all That Skin Award – to Gleb Savchneko. It’s a pretty chest but it’s kind of blasé now. All of that waxed shininess has given way to the Tristan MacManus look. You know what that is.
The Spray Tan Is Icky Award – To everybody who undergoes that unpleasantness every weekend. We would much rather see pasty white skin than that fake bronzed, shiny mess that looks like a fake, bronzed shiny mess.
It’s A Good Thing This Isn’t The Voice Award – To the Week 6 cast who tried and failed miserably to sing to Stevie Wonder’s music. The only ones who didn’t make our ears bleed were Kellie and Derek but their attempts were funny and still off key. Sigh. ABC should have asked us because we could do Stevie's music justice. Well, at least one of us could. The other one's singing would scare you.
The American Idol Vocal Winners - Victor and Lindsay. Andy and Sharna were a close second. They were awful and didn’t care how bad they were when singing to Stevie’s music. Sharna’s apology before she began was a warning of things to come. It was so awful that we had to laugh. Kind of like American Idol.
The Immunity Challenge – To us for coming up with the idea of messing with everybody and switching all the partners around for the rest of the season and bringing back those teams who already left. We know Dorothy can’t dance yet so she can be the judge instead of those other three. We vote for bringing in a ringer for Tristan, just to screw with everybody’s heads. Here are our pairings for the Immunity Challenge:
Derek and Lisa
Peta and D.L.
Lindsay and Jacoby
Karina and Victor
Kym and Victor
Tony and Zendaya
Val and Wynonna
Cheryl and Andy
Gleb and Sean, uh we mean Aly
Mark and Kellie (that’s because he had Bristol twice – he should have had Kellie this season but Aly works for him too)
Sharna and Sean
Tristan and Catherine Zeta-Jones – oh why not? She’s gorgeous, she’s sexy, and she’s a ringer. Everybody else has had ‘em. It's Tristan's turn.
The What Are you Smoking Award? To Bruno for saying NBC was stupid for putting The Voice up against DWTS on Monday nights. I guess he didn’t get the memo that it’s all about ratings and winning the ratings war.
The Boom shaka-laka-laka Boom shaka-laka-laka 'I Want to Take You Higher Award' – which is what will happen if Zendaya stands on Jacoby’s shoulders. They would be 200 feet tall.
The Corny Star Light, Star Bright Award - To the first MacManiac who will step up and admit that she said something ridiculous like“Star light star bright first star I see tonight, I wish I may I wish I might, See Tristan dance on Tuesday Night”. Go ahead and roll your eyes and gag a little. It’s sickening.
And you think these are bad? Just wait until the season ends and we start getting serious about our awards.
This season has been a mess with some good dancing, some okay dancing, and some bad dancing. Yet, nothing has knocked our socks off. Nothing. So we asked what was missing, and it took us about three seconds to come up with the answer. It's obvious. If the dancing is there, the chemistry isn’t. If the chemistry is present, the dancing isn’t. No team has managed to combine both of those integral parts into something believable. Upon further examination, we keep coming back to what’s wrong with Season 16. To be fair, we did find a few things that are right with the season too, and below, we have covered both.
What’s wrong with Season 16
1. Twitter – ick. From “voting” for the encore, to “voting” for prom king/queen, to “voting” for the pro for a pro dance that turned out to be an 18 second bumper, to “voting” for the winner of the team dance – this has stunk up the place with hints of “there is only one way this will end up.” It’s a pain in the ass, it’s inaccurate, and it doesn’t work. Betcha we can predict the winner of the team encore dance right now. The trend is already in place.
2. It’s boring. Granted, a big part of it is that Tristan and Dorothy had to withdraw, but where is the excitement, the passion, and the red-hot, lust-induced, smoking/smoldering chemistry? We haven’t seen it once this season. That's because the pros and their celebs don't connect with each other on that level, and that’s a darn shame because that’s what makes dance exciting. And of course we know Zendaya can't get sexy with Val because she's only 16 - jjust in case you forgot - but unfortunately nobody else is connecting either.
3. We’re being force fed the troupe and various and assorted other unrecognizable dancers to the point that we want to scream, “FOUL!” We like the troupe, and we especially like Sasha, Emma, Henry, and Oksana, but the newness just isn’t cutting it. Yes, Witney was amazing in her dance with Tristan, but honestly, the troupe this season is boring. They are also consistently out of sync. People tune in to see the DWTS pros do their dances, not to see dancers that we've never seen before trying their best to outdo one another just to get the chance to become a pro. In Season 13, the Troupe was used in perfect doses as filler in between pro dances as well as in musical guest dances. Now they are peppered in every single dance, and it's too much to handle. We aren’t even getting too much of a good thing. It's just too much. Let’s return to the basics, please.
4. No offense to ABC's decision-making ability, but Lindsay should have been in the troupe this season. She’s adorable, she has a great attitude, but she doesn’t have the experience, the savvy, or the knowledge to teach a large amount of material in a short period of time. Victor is a famous athlete and we've expected more from him. We’re not saying that it's completely Lindsay's fault, but she's not ready to handle the stress of the show and you can tell that in rehearsal footage. It's not just about teaching someone a dance; it’s about being a mentor, being their therapist and being their better half for the entirety of the show. Again it's nothing personal, but someone like Oksana or Emma would have been better choices, and they have earned the right to try.
5. These mega-sized pro dances have to go. We can’t even tell who is dancing 98% of the time (partially due to the Blonde Conspiracy of Season 16), and if we wanted to see huge production numbers, we would go to Las Vegas. This is not working. What happened to the good old days when there were 3 couples max on the dance floor and you had a chance to watch them all and truly appreciate them as dancers? Sure, the all male pro dance was great but it should have been just the male pros....and not with the troupe members thrown in so they could see who could “out bare chest” the regular pros.
6. New isn’t always better. Gleb, Lindsay, Witney, Julz, are we missing anyone? There are so many new people that we don't know where to look. Again, it's too many people to keep track of on the dance floor and it's making us go cross-eyed.
What’s right with season 16
1.This is much harder to write than the “what’s wrong” portion, but we’re giving it a shot. Tristan is something right. He has class, principles, and a wicked sense of humor. Handling what no pro should have to handle for two consecutive seasons (both of which were doomed), he has persevered and shown how to deal with crap without excuses. He always brings an amazing energy to the show and that's why it's so painful when we don't get to see him week after week. The great thing is that ABC has picked up on it and so they've been giving him more screen time. As we've discussed many times before, even if Tristan had a short go with Dorothy this season, this really has been his season. The commercial bumpers, the pro dances like the Contemporary dance he did with Witney, and the fact that they chose him to dance with two different teams during Len's Challenge week all translate into respect. People can't get enough of Tristan. Neither can we. Hear that, ABC?
2. We’ve gotten used to the nonsense. In fact, the show is so predictable that we don’t even get annoyed any longer when idiotic things are thrown at us – like voting for prom king/queen, voting for encore- blah blah blah. We are no longer surprised so it doesn’t make our blood pressure escalate. Monday nights are now a breeze and we laugh at the judges instead of throwing things at the tv and Tuesdays no longer require puke buckets. Heck, we just can't wait to watch Tuesday results show now, and we find it amusing when they announce who gets the boot. We're sick of everyone already anyway.
3. Tom Bergeron is a rock star and the real star of this show. Without Tom the show wouldn't be the same...plain and simple. Forget the fact that having to watch Brooke deliver her questions makes us cringe. Tom brings us that humor that we need to keep things light, not to mention that he has an uncanny talent for coming up with one line zingers at the drop of a hat. That's not easy to do folks.
4. Sharna is going to be a great pro on DWTS – in fact, we’ll go out on a limb and say she may already be one of the best on the show. Of all the new pros, she’s by far the best teacher, and she’s a top notch choreographer who doesn’t need to showboat or overdance to make that statement. She's creative, gorgeous, sexy and strong. We love her dynamic with Andy, and we love how she handles “Andy under pressure.”
5. It’s good comedy. The Sean/Tristan Comedy Team is the best part of the season. The dancing? Not so much. But it doesn't matter because the Sean and Tristan comedy hour gave us a good week of delightful visual goodies. We don't know who came up with this little marketing idea for these two but it was bloody brilliant. Tristan has a natural knack for playing the straight man in this scenario, and even though this isn't exactly Abbott and Costello, it still works.
6. The biggest “right”? MacManiacs have been in training since that fateful Week 2 Tuesday night. We’re building up our arsenals of voting accounts, supporting Tristan by making him a DWTS icon, recruiting new members to our already big group, and using social media as only MacManiacs can. Season 17? We’re already there.
So…ABC decided that it would be a great plan to have our celebrity dancers – of varying skill levels and dance training (yes, one of them is a pro and some are, like us, incapable of walking from Point A to Point B without breaking something) - dance with not one pro, not two pros (as in a Trio Dance) but with three pros. This might be good, but probably won’t be, but we do get to see Tristan dance a few times, so that makes it a brilliant plan. Here is what we think will happen, assuming any of the information we have is correct. With recent developments, expect plenty of snarkiness and sarcasm coming from us. It’s how we roll. And it’s gonna be legendary and epic too – so say Maks and Val.
In no particular order, here are your Week 5 dances.
Aly and Mark – Samba with Tony and Witney – Uh, Tony and Witney? Okay. Here’s what we think. We don’t care what some of the critics said about their contemporary (meaning what some fans of other teams and some bloggers said). We thought Aly and Mark did just what they should have last week in order to move to the top of the leaderboard, and get this – we even predicted it. Whodathunkit? So if Aly loosens up and puts on a happy face, and they nail the side by side choreography (which they should because she can learn choreography, steps, and precision), they will receive some high marks. We had definite ideas on this that included some 10s, but then we heard the pro combination – the very tall Tony and also Witney from the troupe. It doesn’t seem like a logical Samba fit to us, and we think it will mess with the ability to hit the synchronized parts. The usually big mouthed pros and troupe members (you know who they are) just weren't spewing forth any information this week so we were left with fantasies of a Tristan/Chelsie Design a Dance sequel with Aly and Mark sprinkled in there for spice. Okay, we love Tony, and we are just pleased as punch that they didn't put Maks in another dance but this is not the best fit for Aly and Mark, and we know next to nothing about Witney (Note to SWAT: stop spelling her name “WHITNEY” on MML) – the most important fact is that she danced something (currently a phantom dance that's taunting our Tristan starved eyes) with Tristan which was recorded to supposedly air (per Witney) last week (it didn’t) or per Tristan, this Tuesday (we hope). Score: 25
Kellie and Derek – Foxtrot with Anna and Henry – We think this Foxtrot will be good but not great. Assuming that they stick with the rules of the ballroom, and you never know with Derek’s choreography, they should do well, but throwing two more pros into the mix probably will not help them. This shouldn’t hurt more than a point or two, but we don’t see it as making them stand out in a good way. It is beneficial in that it is permissible to break hold in Foxtrot so Kellie can probably hold her own with Anna in that regard – as long as the choreography is not over the top, but keep in mind that this is Kellie's first ballroom dance in five weeks. That does concern us a little. All we can see coming our way is a Star Trek themed Foxtrot, especially since Derek and Mark have choreographed a Sci-Fi themed opening number for Tuesday. Forget that for a moment. Let’s get back to the Foxtrot and breaking the rules. Derek has done it many times and usually doesn’t get away with it from our judging voice of reason (Len). Stop and think for a second - remember the Bollywood Samba? Innovative? You bet. Samba? Not so much. It was more of a freestyle. There was also the non-Quickstep Quickstep from Season 10 and a few more even from as recently as Season 15. Good thing Anna is a tough cookie and one of the rare ballroom purists so we have hope. But then we remember that Derek is in L.A. working on this epic number, and Kellie is touring and not in L.A. Derek said he is having trouble with the choreography. Henry said they are doing something different. We are getting a bad feeling about this, and our prediction is a Len meltdown when it turns out to be something other than instructed. Chances are we will see either a non-Foxtrot Foxtrot or a mix up the dancing of the pros/celebrities to screw with everybody’s head. Sigh. We’re too old for this. Score: 26
Zendaya and Val – Argentine Tango with Maks and Anna - The self-proclaimed sex-on-a-stick is dancing with his baby brother and Zendaya. We love, love, love Anna – but we don’t recall seeing Anna and Maks dance together too frequently, and she is going to be dwarfed by Zendaya. We personally think more evenly matched pros size-wise would make it more visually appealing, but what do we know? Argentine Tango is a tricky one, especially since it's so sensual, and to add to the mix, Val has never done this dance. How does that happen? With all of those very sharp moves, we’re thinking Zendaya might have a little trouble with some of that, and we don’t see Val simplifying the choreography. Remember when the judges called Kellie’s moves “staccato” or “clipped”? This is what we see a lot of with Val, and we’re not sure Zendaya can pull off the Argentine Tango technique. We do think Maks will have a very heavy hand into the choreography. We have to always keep in mind that Anna could school both Maks and Val if she really wanted to, but she most likely will not. Maybe they will reverse the roles and Zendaya will lead and dance side by side with Maks instead of Anna. Nothing would be too surprising. We don’t think there will be any 10s, although it will still be okay. Score 25
Jacoby and Karina – Jive with Maks and Anna – This is going to tell us a lot. Karina is brilliant with the Jive – just remember the trio last season with Sasha and Apolo, but Jacoby is no Apolo, and this has to be sharp and fast with those knees lifted way up for the Jive. He’s quick but he’s not that quick. Donald Driver did an okay Trio Jive with Karina and Peta and even scored 28 (which we think was high), but Jacoby is nowhere near that level yet, and he has to match Maks step by step. Uh oh... We also don't see how the dynamic with Maks is going to be on this one. That's a lot of testosterone. Don’t forget that it’s supposed to be epic and legendary. That’s what they keep telling us. Score: A very generous 24 which should probably be more like a 22.
Ingo and Kym – Cha Cha with Tony and Emma– This could be good. Both are tall guys, and Tony can help Ingo with the logistics. We see another baby step forward for Ingo and Kym this week. There's not a whole lot to say about this team. The two couples are a perfect pairing, and Tony and Emma have a similar dynamic to that of Ingo and Kym. No drama - just a lot of hard work and a pleasant learning experience all around. Score: 24
Victor and Lindsay – Viennese Waltz with Tristan and Emma – We like this formula, and we like that it’s ballroom because Victor is better at ballroom than Latin. He received 6’s in Week 1 with a Foxtrot, and we think he will do well here with Tristan helping him through the synchronization of steps. They won’t go overly complicated where there will be more opportunity to mess up. They will also score major brownie points if they can get their VW timing down. It's one of those dances that can be gorgeous - particularly when there is more than one couple. We also haven't seen Tristan do a Viennese Waltz so they get an extra point or five if Tristan wears white tie and tails. We do think this will be a good dance; it might not be as complex or as intricate as others have done on the show, but it will be decent. Score: 23
Sean and Peta – Quickstep with Tristan and Chelsie – Sigh. We just can’t get behind Sean and Peta at all, but we are going to try, given that they are dancing with Tristan and Chelsie. The tricky thing about these two couples is that Tristan and Chelsie are clean and wholesome. Sean tries to give us the image of being wholesome and then there is Peta, whose costume choices are sometimes straight from the Bordellos ‘R Us catalog. Tristan will help Sean straighten out a few things, but we still think Sean will have problems with the side-by-side synchronization. It’s possible Tristan will simplify that part for Sean, and that should make him (Sean) look less awkward. Sometimes quality is better than quantity, but Peta indicated in interviews that she would be pushing Sean very hard this week. Our hope for the week is that Peta just puts some clothes on. And that Sean doesn’t annoy us. And that Tristan wears white tie and tails…oh wait, that was for the Viennese Waltz, but we wouldn’t mind it for both. Score: 23
Andy and Sharna – Paso Doble with Emma and Sasha – We think this is going to be a tough week for Andy. Emma and Sasha are a great duo to pair with Andy and Sharna, and chances are Sharna will have some things planned to divert the focus from the footwork but this is a powerful dance, and we can see Andy having a lot of trouble bringing the strength of the matador as well as the precision of the footwork. Sharna is smart because she keeps things very creative, and Sasha, is an amazing teacher, and we loved how he worked with Apolo and Karina, so anything is possible.We hope that this will help build Andy's confidence. He seems like he's in this to be inspired and better himself which is why he's a fan favorite. Andy’s scores haven’t been great so far, and the judges have been overly kind with the compliments, but there hasn’t been a lot of change. We don’t see any improvement coming from last week’s score of 21. Score: 21
D.L. and Cheryl – Tango – Chelsie and Sasha – Well, Sasha is earning his paycheck this week, but he is the perfect pro to work with D.L. Other than Tristan, we don’t think there is a better natural teacher. With patience all over the place and a wicked sense of humor, he is the perfect pro to get D.L. to his best. The problem is that Samba is one of the hardest dances to pull off because there are often problems with natural hip movement. You never know though...we'll see what Sasha can get out of him Score: 20
Who is going home? In spite of everything, we think it will finally be Victor and Lindsay going home, regardless of performance. If not them, it will be Andy and Sharna. Sometimes the lack of voting power rears its ugly head and in spite of how much we like both of these couples, it’s probably going to be Arrivederci. (Note: Those are not the teams we want to go home - just the ones most likely in danger of hitting the road.)
It's that time of the season when we start giving out our awards. Usually we wait until the halfway point, but this season is just overflowing with possibilities, so we decided to start at about the one-third mark. Yes, these are ridiculous, but we're all about having fun, so here you go. Love 'em or hate 'em, here they are.
The That’s A whole Lot of Skin Award - This one goes to repeat winner Peta Murgatroyd who can’t seem to keep her clothes on for more than a couple of seconds. We don't think we've ever seen a costume where she isn’t mostly bare. Derek Hough gets honorable mention for losing his shirt Week 2, and that might be a record, but we don't feel like going back and looking through all the videos to double check. Let's just assume it's a record.
The We’re Shocked the Skin is Staying Covered Award – to Val Chmerkovskiy. All we can say is “Whodathunkit?” We were convinced Val would be baring it all sooner than later, but even in the Men of Season 16 dance, he was covered up. Our little boy is finally growing up - or he's just afraid of being too sexy with Zendaya, who, in case you didn't catch it the first 300 times people have mentioned it this season, is only 16.
The We’re Not Surprised the Skin is Showing Frequently Award or The “I Gotta Do Something To Get Noticed Award” – to Gleb Savchenko who was the only pro in the Men of 16 dance (excluding the always chest- baring troupe boys) who kept his shirt open and his freshly waxed pectorals exposed to the elements. He also likes to go completely shirtless during rehearsal footage, which we guess makes dancing easier. I know I always love to try to grab onto a sweaty hairless dude when I dance. Val? Talk to him, would you?
The Funniest Use of the Nekked Chest Award – to Andy Dick whose parody of the chest-baring antics of pros and celebrities (oh, that wasn’t supposed to be a parody? Oops…) was hilarious.
The Kiss My Grits Award – to Len whose crankiness has gone to new heights. He makes menopausal mood swings and/or PMS seem tame. We hope that Carrie Ann offers Len some Midol during the commercial breaks.
The Best Use of 12 Seconds in the History of Television – the mind boggling trio dance during the Week 3 results show which was meant to be a little audience entertainment prior to and during the commercial break but instead caused a thud heard around the world. A big chunk of that thud was SWAT rolling off of her couch in ecstasy and Shakes' laptop falling off of her lap as she jumped off of her Lazy Boy and started doing a happy dance. All that jumping up and down probably caused an increase in the size of the San Andreas Fault too.
The Best Use of 4 Seconds in the History of Television – Tristan MacManus for choreographing a simple yet “holy moley” lift in the "Tiny Dancer" contemporary with Dorothy when the music reached its peak. Yeah, that was something all right, and it proves that lifts don't have to be crazy,gravity-defying, circus-like, and outrageous to make a big impact. Goosebumps all the way around.
The So Far You Kind Of Blend Into the Background so Show Us Something Amazing Please Award - Multiple award winner Gleb. We like his personality, his relationship with Lisa, and his looks, but so far, he’s just kind of there – nothing bad, nothing great – just there. We would like to see brilliant. Runner-up: Lindsay, but she’s so young, we can’t fault her for still getting the hang of it.
The Lacey Who Award – Ever since Sharna showed up in Season 14 we thought of her as a replacement of sorts for Lacey. The difference here is Sharna doesn’t talk back, she doesn’t break the rules, and while she might like props and costuming a little much, she is the consummate pro, and she fills that particular pro spot very nicely. Once she makes it all about the dance instead of the fluff, we're gonna love her.
The Dumbest Move of the Year Award – to ABC for not having Anna Trebunskaya back as a pro. She’s hugely popular, talented, fun, and a great choreographer. Change is okay, but Lindsay is just too young for his job (troupe anyone?). Our ideal list of female pros? Anna, Chelsie, Kym, Karina, Cheryl, Sharna.
The Not So Great Dancing But Great Entertainment Award – Andy Dick and Sharna – In spite of ourselves, we love this couple, love his work ethic, and think this is one of the most inspired partnerships ever on DWTS. Sharna’s extensive background in performing, dance, and choreography prepared her for this and Andy’s respect for her is enormous and well-deserved. Hey, worse dancers have advanced further (Bristol, for example), so we say, keep it coming Team Dick.
The Dang It We Can’t Remember You Award – Gleb and Lisa. Have they even danced yet? Runner-Up: Mark and Aly, Kym and Ingo, and a few more
The Dance We Can Almost Remember Award – Mark and Aly – We kind of remember their Quickstep but that’s it. Not a single thing stands out, but we’re hoping for better things in Week 4.
The Dance We Wish We Couldn't Remember Award - Sean and Peta. YMCA. The non-Cha Cha Cha Cha. The encore. The costumes. Where is that amnesia when you need it?
The Barbie and Ken Award – Kellie and Derek – It probably doesn’t need an explanation, but we’re going with this. Besides, Derek called them that himself in his blog and even referred to their “blonde moment” when they couldn’t add up their scores in their heads. Besides they are cute.
The We Don’t Really Care Award – to ABC for sharing the Karina and Jacoby footage of, shall we say, his flatulence. Come on, ABC, that was nasty. Karina probably didn’t need to share the information either. We don’t care if Jacoby farts or not, and it’s actually kind of a TMI moment.
The Who Are All These People Award – to the Troupe and all the extra people who show up in their dances. We like six troupe members; when there are ten or 3,000 of them (that's what it seems like), we just can’t keep track, and for the first time, one of us (you guess which one – SWAT or Shakes) got up and left the room when they were dancing. With the new members, it’s hard enough to tell who is who, and with the blonde explosion on DWTS this season, we can’t even think about keeping track of all that blonde whipping hair, but let’s go back to six so we can get to know our Troupe. Otherwise, you might as well have a gang.
The I’m Scared Award – to all of the male dancers who have to deal with the blonde explosion of whipping hair – all the male pros forced to content with the dancers imposed by Oksana, Emma, Witney, Lindsay, Peta, etc. etc. That’s frightening stuff.
The We Need Sunglasses Award – to everybody who is confused by all the blondness and can’t keep up. Heck we can’t tell them apart when they are spinning and turning and flicking and kicking. Which one is Oksana, Peta, Emma, Witney, Lindsay, Chelsie, Julianne (we forgot Chelsie and Julianne aren’t on – couldn’t tell any of ‘em apart), Derek, and Kellie... Well maybe Derek and Kellie don’t have whipping hair but they have the mind-numbing blondness that makes us pull out our Ray Bans.
The Blonde Hair Conspiracy Award - This goes to Derek. Not to harp on the blonde hair thing but there seems to be an awful lot of female blonde hair going on and only one male pro with blonde hair - Derek. This wouldn't be such a big deal to us if the rest of the male pros including our very own sexy Irishman weren't brunette. Trying to pick out a male pro during that male pro number was nearly impossible since they all had dark hair and wearing were leather. It made us come up with the conspiracy theory that ABC purposely does this crap to show off Derek – or maybe SWAT has been watching way too many reruns of “24” on Netflix which is the likely scenario.
The Stick Fork In Eyeball Award - to Len for being so freaking inconsistent and rude with his critiques toward the teams - so much that it just makes you want stick a fork in your eyeball out of frustration (now don’t go getting any crazy ideas – we’re talking figurative language here, not literal, Don't go to the kitchen for a fork or anything other sharp object). Alternate: Peta for making us watch the hideousness of her Prom Week, tribal hangover getup – it seriously made our corneas hurt without the fork.
The Wishful Thinking Award - To the MacManiacs for secretly hoping that ABC would give Tristan another dancer for this season. What can we say? We are eternally optimistic when it comes to Tristan, and it’s a darned shame all of those votes are going to waste.
The Your Partner Isn’t Doing You Any Favors Award - To Sean who is clueless to the fact that Peta isn't doing him any favors by always trying to upstage him with her lack of clothing and over-the-top attempts at sensuality, sexuality, and something else that ends with 'ality' but we can't think of another word. Again, Sean would have been better with Kym...or Anna....who might we add again SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON THIS SEASON. Harrumph.
The We Get It You’re Good At Dancing For Someone So Young Award - Yep, we get it. We’ve heard it enough on twitter from Val, Zendaya, and her legion of twitter followers who share that information with us frequently. Yes, she’s the ringer. Yes, she’s mature (we hear it all the time), yes she’s 16, and yes, she’s mature. Through no fault of their own, people seem to think we’re idiots and can’t figure out that she is 16 and mature and a ringer. One question: wouldn’t it have made more sense to have her on when she finished high school? We’re sure she has tutors, but no way can you rehearse long, long hours, do homework (which for my kids took 4-5 hours a day in high school), and fit in everything else. Did we mention she’s young, a ringer, and mature?
The Season 16 Super Duper Eyeroll Award - to SWAT, who just can't stop rolling her eyes at basically everything that happens this season. People who trigger this reaction are Peta, Derek , the Troupe, Len, Carrie Ann, Bruno, Brooke, and Jacoby who likes to fart during rehearsal footage. Have we really come to this DWTS?
The You Make It Way Too Easy Award - Goes to Peta, Derek, the Troupe, Len, Carrie Ann, Bruno, Brooke, and Jacoby who make it way too easy for Shakes to churn out a brutally honest recap every week with their constant shenanigans. She basically knows what she's going to write before the show even starts. [note from Shakes: This is true. This season is so predictable, all I have to do is fill in the blanks]
The Show Us What You've Got Award or The What Are You Waiting For Award - To Ingo and Kym. You can tell that he's trying and has some natural talent, and he has a fantastic teacher in Kym but these two aren't exactly standing out. In fact, we sometimes forget that they are a part of this competition because they are in the middle of the pack and have done nothing yet to make us get up off of our backsides and do a happy dance. They have what it takes to make it to the finals, but they are going to have to show us what they've got in order to overcome the Zendaya and Kellie show this season. We know y’all can do it Ingo and Kym...so what are you waiting for?!?!
You think these are ridiculous? Just wait until Part 2.
This post needs very little in the way of introduction. We saw a lot of things wrong and a lot of things right with Week 3 but we narrowed it down to just six. For a change, the two of us (the two of us being SWAT and Shakes) agreed on things. So enjoy our mini-blog, and trust us, we're not done yet. We have a long list of things we want to talk about.
1.There is a huge difference between constructive criticism and being rude. D.L. might not be the best dancer in the field, but he’s in it for the right reasons – to learn to dance and to go a little out of his comfort zone. We wish somebody could explain to us why he got rudeness while others got a pat on the head. Len needs to read Emily Post’s rules of etiquette because that rude crap was just, well, rude. Tristan said it best himself in a rare tweet - this one sent this to D. L. on April 3: @RealDLHughley keep doing it my man. Oh yes, Tristan, you get it, but then we’ve always known that.
2. Not only are we going to miss Dorothy, but we’re going to miss Wynonna. Here are two very different ladies from very different backgrounds who had very different styles; both wanted to dance, both wanted to try something different, and both ended up leaving the show way too soon. The whole point of the show is to give celebrities who have never danced (other than at a bar, wedding, or bar mitzvah) the chance to learn. With Wynonna going home, we aren't going to be able to see her progress and with her enormous fan base, we're sure we aren't the only ones who are bummed to see her leave before she blossomed. There are at least 5 couples we would willingly say goodbye to with a not so fond, “Don’t let the door hit your butt on the way out.” We would happily elaborate, but choose instead to follow the example of Dorothy, Tristan, Wynonna, and Tony and keep it classy.
3. The best part of this season is not the ten remaining couples. Instead it is Tristan MacManus, who through a 12 second Trio Dance to “A Little Less Conversation” told the world who the star of DWTS really is. Oh sure, we know it’s the pros and not the celebrities that draw people to the show and all the pros have large followings, but between the sexy trio and the dominating presence in the Men of Season 16 dance, we have no doubt that Tristan MacManus has moved to the head of the class. Coincidence? We think not, you might as well call him Professor because he’s the one giving lessons.
4. Costumes are quite often nightmares made of silk, satin, tulle, and some other mystery fabrics but less is not best, and nobody wore the following to prom: 1) whatever Peta had on that was a miniscule scrap of a doily that we used for tea parties when we were three 2) an unbuttoned shirt or no shirt a la Jacoby because you wouldn’t get in the front door of prom, nor would your mama or your daddy let you out of the house with that scoundrel. That’s what you wear during the after prom party when you're hammered or perhaps when you’re thinking of getting a room. 3) cat suits at Kentucky high school proms or proms in Asheville, N.C. were no-nos and would get you turned away at the door, thus making you miss the crepe paper streamers and the disco ball in the center of the school gymnasium 4) Nobody does a Paso Doble, a Rumba,and certainly not a Viennese Waltz at any prom. Instead you stand in the middle of the floor and gyrate or wrap yourself around your date like shrink wrap. Or, if you're in a more conservative atmosphere, you do the slow dance where you have at least a foot of space between you and your date and you rock awkwardly back and forth like Napoleon Dynamite and Deb while listening to “Forever Young” by Alphaville. Next Prom Week, we’re designing the costumes, picking the dances, and choreographing too. Tristan will probably love that. Better yet. Dump the Prom Week theme. It’s hideous.
5. You can’t ride a motorcycle into prom especially when your helmet is half of a ridiculous glittery ball and you certainly can’t row your boat into the gym. Ever heard of less is more? Somehow we don't think the rest of the couples got the memo on what is exactly correct for Prom Prop-age (is that even a word?) In other words, this ain’t the islands, dudes and dudettes. And we seriously doubt that the beautiful people of Jamaica row their dates across the crystal blue waters to their proms. Do we need to get into the complete bizarreness of Peta’s prom attire again? YMCA or not, she would be in the county jail if she had worn that mess. How about a little authenticity?
6. The only true prom queen and king – if we have to go there – should have been Dorothy and Tristan. That would have been the classy thing to do, but yeah, we probably don’t even need to explain. Classy. DWTS. Not to be used in the same sentence. Zendaya, as we were informed too many times within an hour long segment, had never been to prom because she is too young. And Jacoby...really? The football player...a prom king? How original. Sheesh. Give the Queen to status to Dorothy because she's had the life experience for years before Zendaya was a glimmer in her parent's eyes. And Tristan...well let's just call him the DWTS Most Valuable Player and therefore worthy of the title of Prom King.
Inspiration for next week’s blog to come from next week’s best year’s/personal stories/cryfest. Oh this will be fun. Stay tuned for some literary fireworks.
April 1, 2013 NEW PREDICTIONS – subject to change every week. Take these with a grain of salt. We will change our minds about 3,000 times before the end of the season but based on two weeks of performances, rehearsal footage, and gut feeling, this is what we think. Excuse the rambling but that's how we roll when things annoy us. And lots of things annoy us these days.
Kellie and Derek – They are going to win it, and other than the frequent Derek promotion (after all, he wasn’t even supposed to be here, but if he wasn’t, shouldn't Kellie have gone to Henry or Gleb or another new pro? – but no, that’s not right either– you have to pay some dues before getting the best dancer). Kellie is the best dancer, and as much as we're not crazy about it, Derek got her as his partner probably just because she is such a good dancer. That being said, she is likable albeit a little slow on the holding attention factor, and I don’t think she and Derek have any real believable chemistry (she does; he doesn’t), but since when has that stopped him from winning? Nobody seems to care about the chemistry factor but us, so they will win.
Jacoby and Karina – As far as dancing skills go, we would say Jacoby is somewhere about the bottom one-half. We are not impressed, but he will go far, far, far for no reason other than he is huge in the football world right now, and we all know how that ends up. WE don’t think Donald was the best his season, and we don’t think Hines was either, but we are not going to ignore the football block of votes. Might as well face, it, we’re addicted to football. Yes, we stole those lyrics from Robert Palmer and took a few liberties. What else is new?
Ingo and Kym – They are quiet. They are minding their own business. They are non-controversial. They are also getting better. Week 1 was weak, but Week 2, Ingo’s smile told a big story even though the dancing was just okay. They also have the General Hospital fan base behind them and honestly we think that’s what kept Kelly in the competition last season, and she was a whole lot less personable than Ingo. If we vote for anybody this season, it will likely be them.
Zendaya and Val – Strike 1 – She’s 16 years old, and we don’t think anything that young should be on DWTS. There is no way to make the sexiness believable without being “ewwy” and Val is all about selling the sex. Strike 2 – 16 or not, she has decades (seemingly) of experience behind her and she is a very, very good dancer, but in all honesty, we think Kellie is better. And we think Kellie has more votes. Strike 3: We do think ABC will do all they can to keep her in it, but we don’t feel the connection between Zendaya and Val. We like her; we think she’s mature for her age, but she’s 16, not 25. We think top five is a stretch, but we think ABC’s constant pimping of their Disney kids is getting old and a lot of people are tired of it. And Val just isn’t the right pro for her either. Then we get miffed when we remember that Val's partner last season was another ABC celebrity, and the pimping went on all season long. That gets tiresome.
Aly and Mark- Dang it, we want to like them, but we do not see any personality here, and there is zero chemistry. One of us (you can probably guess which one) was never, ever a Shawn Johnson fan. Not in Season 8. Not in Season 15, but at least Shawn showed something occasionally that was fun. Aly’s monotone drives us crazy, and every time she says anything, it’s like she’s reading a script. Boring. It doesn’t mean they won’t finish high, but it does mean that we think they are just not interesting and thus, will not win over a massive fan base.
Sean and Peta – First of all, this Murgalo crap is driving us crazy. Not sure if they think they are going to get a billion you tube hits – ala Gangnam Style, but the gimmick is old, tiresome, and embarrassingly obvious. Facts are facts. He can’t dance, and she’s doing an awful lot of showboating.
Tony and Wynonna – The dancing isn’t good (yet) and last week’s Quickstep made us frown more than once. The theme was just too over the top and we really want to see a Quickstep that is a Quickstep and not a Quickstep that is a prop-infused, costume disaster that leaves us grimacing in pain, and grimacing for them because they really crossed the line – not in a good way. Anyway. She’s popular. That’ll keep them in a couple more weeks.
Andy and Sharna - Andy is getting by on sympathy votes at this point, and we actually are enjoying this ride. Sharna is also good at this pro business. Now if she would focus more on the dance and less on the props and gimmicks, she could move to the top of the class, but not with Andy. The thing is that we watch the dancing and not the props, and while the props were clever and the theatrics were good but this isn’t Broadway, the movies, or a play off-Broadway, so when we muted the tv and just watched the dancing, we saw a lot lacking. A few more weeks at best for them and only because the bottom half of the cast is created equal. There isn’t much difference between Andy/Sharna, Sean/Peta, Tony/Wynonna, Lindsay/Victor, Gleb/Lisa, and D.L./Cheryl. They are interchangeable. Pick any one and they will be gone. It’s a toss-up, and it doesn’t really matter to us who goes or who stays.
Gleb and Lisa – So far we think Gleb is pretty, Lisa is more fun than we ever thought, but Gleb is not the right pro for Lisa. They aren’t connecting (notice a trend?) and the pink is turning my stomach. All we can think of is Barbie, bubblegum, or Pepto Bismol and that is not a good combination. Eventually American television audiences will agree. Had fate not intervened, they might have been the Week 2 casualty but at best, they will be here until Week 5 and that’s being generous.
Lindsay and Victor - They should have been gone Week 2. Not a doubt in my mind that they were destined to hit the trail first until Dorothy Hamill saved their butts. Victor is adorable but the rehearsal meltdown wasn’t so good, and Lindsay didn’t handle it very well. She’s too young, and there are several other pros better suited for Victor. Buh bye.
D.L. and Cheryl – We think they are the first to be voted off. Why? Because by ABC’s logic, at least one team in the bottom two one week will probably be good the next week. It’s all about shock value. Not that it’s a shock, but he and Cheryl aren’t really winning anybody over, they are fun but not chemical, he can’t dance, and she’s about pushed as hard as she can. I think it’s destiny. They are toast.
Right now, this is how we see the final two.
Runner-up: Jacoby and Karina
Winner Ingo and Kym Why? Because we like the pro, and we like the celebrity. It’s the next best thing to a Tristan and Dorothy win.