Tristan Deprivation isn’t pretty. Without a regular appearance of suspenders, Samba hips, and bedhead, this posse of MacManiacs gets restless. Things happen that throw the balance of the universe off, and surges in chemical imbalances become a regular occurrence. You think that’s an exaggeration? Oh no, our little chickadees. It’s real. What we don’t get and will try to explain in our logical and scientific way, is how and why this deprivation occurs and what is to be done to fix it immediately. Note: This post was written before Season 17 ended but too many Tristan-related news events (and repeated viewings of the Lady Antebellum dance featuring Tristan and a bunch of other people that we can't remember) have kept us from getting this in final form. Oh well. Too bad.
Let’s begin with the mess that is Season 17. And we thought Season 16 was bad and Season 15 was equally bad. Nope. Season 17 was the biggest mess of all messes and that’s because too much time was spent on filler, gimmicks, and showcasing celebrities and pros that people have little or no interest in seeing showcased. Makes sense? Oh, it will.
The problem is simple. There hasn’t been enough Tristan for many seasons due to crazy casting decisions and crazy production decisions, and if you think we’re kidding, we have the proof. We’ll start with this season’s Trio Dances. Where was Tristan? Exactly. Tristan Deprivation #1. It’s serious. Let’s use an analogy. We have a big group of famous and well-respected singers, past and present, who are lined up to get picked for the team dance. Or a dodgeball team. Or a pick-up basketball game. Whatever it is, you have Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, George Michael, Usher and the either/or from Milli Vanilli. And Vanilla Ice, just to make it reasonable excessive, dramatic, and get you to understand our way of thinking. The decision of singing dodgeball placers (team dancers) should be easy. So who gets picked first? Milli Vanilli and Vanilla Ice. Yeah, you see where this is going. The stud wasn’t chosen. The one with the magic wasn’t chosen. Folks, that is incomprehensible and even more importantly, it was the one big factor that put us over the edge with this Tristan Deprivationitis.
Then there are the commercial bumpers which were a great idea in Season 16. A brilliant idea in Season 16. Unfortunately, in Season 17, it evolved, due to the shortened format, into a frantic, “let’s see how we can give the troupe something to do” mess which served not to showcase the troupe or anybody else. Instead it gave us a few seconds of The Magician dancing and a bunch of seconds of everybody else dancing when if you combine all those seconds into a couple of minutes, you could have seen a red-hot Samba, Salsa, or Rumba with Tristan and Sharna. Yeah, more Tristan Deprivation. On a scale of 1 to 10, this season’s bumpers couldn't hit a 5. This doesn’t even take into account the fact that the few bumpers featuring Tristan also didn’t even amount to a good cardiac workout. You get all worked up for 2.2 seconds only to have the workout stop abruptly without a proper cool down. So Tristan deprivation isn’t healthy.
The format is too short and we didn't get a chance to see Tristan in all of his bedhead splendor do any real pro dances with anyone. We had to pass out the drool bibs and buckets every week in Season 13 and 14, and this season, we have a surplus in the dungeon because, let’s face it, there just wasn’t enough of all that splendor. Or the black wifebeater top. Or the close-ups of “the look.” We strained our eyes hoping for a pro dance and seeking out Tristan among the corners of the stage, glitter pit, and other studio locations, but nada.
The most renowned DanceCenter on record was Season 13, or “I’m sick of dis place.” Design a Dance in Season 14 gave us Samba brilliance in classic Samba format – something the fans wanted, chose, and approved. The deletion of those two fan favorites meant Tristan deprivation. We miss Jerry and Kenny in Dance Center, and we miss Design A Dance because the fans (us) chose the winner. Doesn’t it just figure that would give way to stupid stunts like a glitter pit that looks a poorly decorated bordello and Twitter voting contests that have an outcome that a toad could predict. Tristan is a comic genius and would make DanceCenter iconic; he is also the pro the fans adore – whether that fan is 6 or 96. By depriving us these two big events, things got ugly. Fast.
When Tristan dances we don’t have to worry about Speedos, see-through silk shirts, and completely inappropriate behavior. When we were forced to see excessively oiled chests, excessively gelled hair, and excessively feathered garments, we realized how truly deprived we were of a first-class studly type who didn't need oil, gel, or feathers to make a statement.
We just need to hear the man speak. That accent is way too addictive to be taken away from us cold turkey. So ABC and everybody else needs to eliminate our Tristan-deprived status by doing any or all of the following: 1) Have him do pre-show backstage interviews (rehearsals are okay too, since Tristan is going to be busy getting to the freestyle competition in Season 18) 2) Have him tell dirty jokes. 3) Have him tell clean jokes. 4) Have him do the ExtraTV press line. His question to Jack about crying on national tv still makes us giggle and giggling MacManiacs (even if some of us are a little older than the giggle-appropriate age) are happy MacManiacs, and Happy MacManiacs are not going to cause trouble. Just sayin… 4) Have him sing during commercial bumpers. Granted, accents don’t really show up in song, but we can greatly reduce our deprived status by hearing him belt out something by Journey or Elvis.
The bottom line is that there must be an immediate end to this deprivation crap. More Tristan, please.
Have you ever noticed that when it gets to be near the end of the Dancing With the Stars season, we start finding ridiculous things to write about? This season is no exception, and this time, we kept thinking back to those crazy honors that are given out to the Senior class in high school. Some call them Senior Awards; some call them Senior Superlatives. We decided that should apply to the craziness that is Dancing With the Stars too. So just like high school, we are giving out our “Senior Superlatives” – or what we call “Stupid Ways To Ramble On About Nothing." Most need no explanation, but we explained them anyway because we're a little weird like that. So here they are:
Most Likely To Catch Pneumonia – Peta and Emma (for obvious reasons)
Most Likely To Cause Heart Palpitations – Tristan (for really obvious reasons)
Most Likely To Make Us Want To Delete His Twitter Account – Val the Hashtag. We mean Val.
Most Likely To Make Us Want to Delete Her Twitter Account – Elizabeth the Hashtag. We mean Elizabeth.
Most Likely To Use Instagram To Do A Little Self-Promotion – Val and Derek (don’t they get tired of looking at themselves? A photo of them with Tristan would be a nice change of pace.)
Most Likely To Be the Next Spokesman for L’Oreal Hair Products – Tristan’s Bedhead
Most Likely To Be the Spokesperson For Dr. Ace Bandage, Orthopedic Surgeon – Amber, Valerie, and their pesky knees
Most Likely To Make Excuses and Then Say The Excuses Aren’t Excuses – Derek ("we won't use Amber's knees as a crutch" and "Amber couldn't walk at all on Sunday..." and "we didn't rehearse but three hours all week" - shall we go on?)
Mostly Likely To Get Pissed Off At Julianne Hough and Then Say He Isn’t Pissed Off At Julianne Hough – Mark
Most Entertaining Celebrity – Ever – Bill Engvall
Most Likely To Suffocate From Excessive Feathers – Emma and her bustles
Most Likely To Be the Next Spokesman for Crest Without Blinding Us With A Shiny Glare – Tristan MacManus
Most Likely To Get A Ringer in Season 18 – Derek, Karina, Mark, Peta, and everybody but Tristan
Most Deserving To Get A Ringer In Season 18 – Sharna and Tristan
Most Interesting Costume Choices In A Good Way – Cheryl and Jack, Tristan and Valerie, Sasha and Snooki
Most Interesting Costume Choices in A Bad Way – Peta, Peta, and Peta
Most Likely to Require An Enlarged Door So That the Head Will Fit Through It – Tony after this season
Most Likely to Be A Perpetual Echo – Leah “I am not a professional dancer” Remini
Most Likely to Never Whine or Make Excuses Regardless of Circumstances – Valerie and Tristan
Most Likely to Explode Because Of A Puffed Up Chest Award – Maks and Val
Most Likely To Never Wear The Valentin Collection – All the pros – except Val
Most Likely To Be The Only One Shocked – Elizabeth and Val (What was so shocking?)
Most Likely to Forever Be Named A Ridiculous Ringer – Corbin
Most Likely To Cause A Furor Among Women Of the World – Trio Dance Week Season 17 which somehow left Tristan off the list. Duh, people. That was stupid. All 6 pros who did that.
Most Likely To Make Us Say Whodathunkit – Snooki (Yep, we like her)
Most Likely to Put Us Into a Coma If It Doesn’t Give Us Raging Migraines First – Season 17
Most Likely To Breakout Into A Backflip At Any Moment – Sasha (he’s been backflip deprived)
Most Likely To Be Forgotten – Mark and….. (we forgot who his partner was), also the Troupe (who’s in it again?)
Sexiest New Twitter Accounts – @TristansBedhead, @ItsTristansTurn, and @TristanDWTS_S18
Most Likely To Be Accused of Crazy and Ridiculous Pimpage – MacManiacs for setting up sexy new twitter accounts such as @TristansBedhead, @ItsTristansTurn, and @TristanDWTS_S18
Most Likely to Be Driving People Crazy With Excessive Twitter Rants Until Late February, 2014 – MacManiacs (for obvious reasons)
Most Wasted Talent – To ABC for wasting the popularity and talent of their best pro
Had enough yet? Oh, we’re just getting started…..
Thanks to Christine for this post. Enjoy "10 things About Season 17 . . . So Far"
10. Hosting or not so much. I have noticed that they quite don’t know how to employ a host and a hostess, so they have Brooke doing things like sitting in the glitter pit, standing around in what used to be the balcony, or standing around backstage. She really isn’t needed in this new format - which is partly sad, partly a relief, and somewhat awkward. She still hasn’t figured out quite what to ask people yet. Either eliminate her entirely or send her to hostess school.
9. Questionable Costume Choices: Peta, Derek and Val have always been a bit on the edge, but this season saw some questionable choices from Cheryl, Tony and Emma as well. Emma did recycle that tie-died chicken like bustle thingy a time or two so far this season. Also for Val, Derek and any other male pro…KEEP THE SHIRT ON! Tease me; please me BUT DON’T GROSS ME OUT!! So far Peta has needed several new sweaters and a new fashion expert as well. Val, who is supposedly the fashion guru, has shown me that I won’t be buying anything in his clothing line. EVER. Especially if it was made with lace or some other material; on the other hand, he does have a fallback career if he is just brave enough to embrace it.
8. Format Changes: What the hell was TPTB thinking? Okay, not having the results show wasn’t as horrifying as I first thought it would be, but still not exactly the best idea that they have ever had. I miss the results show. I wish it would come back. I miss the artist showcases each Tuesday and the troupe and pros being showcased much more than the dancing shown on the Monday night shows.
7. Talk about dancing… What happened to Ballroom? What happened to Latin? What are TPTB doing to the dancing? One week Derek is called out because he and Amber are not in hold enough…then another week, a 10 for a shirtless rendition of a tacky Cher video? On that note, Derek also gets to choose to NOT do what is assigned (refer to the week Amber and Derek got Charleston…)
6. Done with dancing…On to music: What’s up with the music? Seems some pros get the pick of the music, don’t have to fight with the directors to get their's changed (can anyone say Elizabeth and Derek?) while others get all the crappy leftovers and have to have diva complexes to get the music changed. Not FAIR! Then the world isn’t fair and we, the fans, should just grow up, right? WRONG! There’s a song I think TPTB should take a moment to listen to…WE AREN'T GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE!! Nope, not gonna take it anymore. No way, no how, got it? Okay.
5. Camera, lights and WHUT? Yeah, the camera work has been very amateur. The lightning was preventing the judges from judging (or at least being able to see the dance) and so far as I am concerned I find it a bit distracting from the flaws that are very evident this season. Which is why I think there has been so much of it this season, it has been enlightening as it says that the dancing is no longer important.
4. What happened to Harold and the Band? I miss the peeks now and again at the band playing and singing. I have started to notice, especially on Cher night, that there has been a heavy reliance on taped music this season, rather than have the band perform. I can understand why this was so on the night that Cher was a guest, but not on a regular Monday night show. Is it because the songs are so short? Or is there a more, sinister reason? I think the only time that I have been somewhat reasonably sure that Harold and the band have played was during that Corbin/Karina V. Waltz.
3. Star power…or the lack thereof. Yeah, I am quite disappointed in the celebrities DWTS has had this season. Brant, Corbin, and Elizabeth are dancers and everyone else is a mixed bag. Leah is questionable on just how far she is going to go, Snooki should have stayed a week longer, Valerie should not have ever left and now I am wondering when TPTB are going to tire of Bill E. I forget who (again and again) Mark got paired with…oh yeah, Christina, which is funny because my name is Christine. Bill N. didn’t stick around long enough for us to figure out if he was a dancer or not. Valerie was there and she was awesome. So she forgot some steps, and she wasn’t able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but she brought a Fred and Ginger quality to the show that it is in desperate need of. Just witness the numerous times that they have showed J-Lo in the audience and you will know that for sure.
2. Pros and Troupe. When the announcement came about a much reduced troupe, I was not overly surprised. What was surprising was the choice of members. Weren’t Gleb and Lindsey pros last season? Emma and Sasha as pros: This, other than Valerie and Tristan, has been the highlight of Season 17. I feel that Sasha has a style similar to Tristan’s and that Emma is very good at what she does. They both enjoy the dancing, and really try to teach on a level that their partners can understand. None of this dancing around while their partner stands there and tries to imitate them! Some advice for Derek, Mark and Tony: Time for an extended vacation guys. Let the young bucks come in and show you what chemistry is.
1. It’s all about Tristan…of course. Sadly TPTB hasn’t figured this out, but I feel eventually they will have to. Other than that, some night TPTB will awake to find that the nightmare isn’t a dream but a reality that they will pray to escape. This will be MacManiacs storming the studio or the stage to demand that Derek, Val or Mark get the older, less able celebrities. Of course, Tristan would be horrified if that happened and I’m actually surprised it hasn’t yet, but we can only take so much before someone snaps.
As some of you may know, I am living outside of the U.S. and have been for the last ten years. Some may wonder, how did you become a Tristan MacManus fan aka a MacManiac? I have always enjoyed watching Dancing with the Stars but have not had regular access to American television in quite a while. In various places where I have lived, we had access to Armed Forces Network (AFN) which showed a variety of primetime shows covering all the major networks. A major drawback was that everything was taped so we never saw anything live. It made it much more difficult to stay involved with a television show. I was aware of Dancing with the Stars and made an effort to watch it when I could but invariably missed quite a few seasons.
I remember watching the troupe introductions for Season 12 and thinking, “Oh, isn’t he cute, and he’s Irish too!” My father’s family is from Ireland and I’ve long had a dream to live and work in Ireland (more on that later). So I kept an eye out for him. Season 13 is when I really became a fan. His relationship and interactions with Nancy Grace were just wonderful. I didn’t find out about the MacManiacs until maybe March 2012. Then I became a YouTube addict looking for any videos that included Tristan. The MacManiacs were the ones who kept me up to date on every season and what was happening. I became a staunch supporter of DublinDown330 and Grassroot Soccer through the website.
Then came the DublinDown33 charity event in January 2013. I know people thought I was crazy but when was I ever going to have the chance again to see Tristan in person and also support his charity?So I ponied up the money for a plane ticket to New Jersey, made hotel reservations, and then tried not to freak out! I got there a few days early and Shakes greeted me like a long lost friend. I was able to help out some in the set-up for the event and then it was time for the big event itself. Really what everyone says about Tristan is true. He is a true gentleman and is so gracious in person. He met everyone there and treated them all with the same courtesy and consideration. He made a last minute decision to offer a private dance lesson in a raffle to raise additional funds for the charity. There was a lot of last minute filling out of raffle cards and then the big moment came. He stood there with the box of cards in his hand and asked which number he should draw. I yelled out my number “12!” Everyone laughed and then he drew out a card, squinted at the number written on it (there was lovely mood lighting in the room) and then asked “Is this a 12?” The MC for the evening verified the number and I about fainted. He then drew SassyLass’s number and we moved into a small studio for our dance lesson. I think Sassy and I were both in shock. He ignored our glazed eyes and stumbling feet and treated us as if this was a regular every day occasion. What an amazing gift. Tristan is a very talented teacher and has a rare gift of being able to explain things very clearly and use stories and/or analogies to get his point across. Sassy and I have some great memories of learning to “know the wall.” When our lesson expanded from what was supposed to be a brief 20 minutes to over 30 minutes, we began to feel a little guilty. I would have stayed in there until the cows came home but I had a feeling the rest of the group would have been pounding on the door a lot sooner than that. Not only did Tristan manage to teach us a trio cha cha in that short amount of time, we then went out and performed it to the entire group. The only way we were able to do that was because he had the utmost confidence in our ability to do it and was completely supportive of whatever it was we managed to dance that night. What a perfect end to an amazing night.
I flew home the next day on cloud nine. Not only did I have an opportunity to meet Tristan and dance with him, I was able to meet and spend time with some great MacManics that weekend including Shakes, TealRibbon, Out of Tea, Sassy Lass, Lincap, and many more. What an amazing community of friends.
I’ve continued to follow Tristan’s career on Dancing With the Stars and all of his off season activities. It was his inspiration in January that convinced me to start taking ballroom dance lessons. This past August I competed in a pro-am competition in Finland. I also went on a Holland America cruise in September and participated in the Dancing with the Stars At Sea dance lessons. To my amazement, I was chosen as one of the finalists. I ended up dancing a Cha Cha with one of the ship’s dancers on the final night of the cruise. Just another experience I never would have had it not been for Tristan MacManus. Thank you to him and all of the MacManiacs for enriching my life over the last several years.
Oh yes – In 2016 I will be assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Dublin, Ireland for three years - another one of my life’s dreams coming true! (Granted I will have to spend the next two years in Islamabad, Pakistan but it will be worth it.)
Thank you, Patty!
Tristan was asked a few weeks ago about the best part of Season 17 thus far. His response? “Sasha and Emma being given partners!” Trust Tristan to always stand up for his good friends, Sasha Farber and Emma Slater, but if there was a better decision than to have Tristan, Sasha, and Emma as pros, I can’t think of what it would be. Today I am going to talk about Sasha and the extraordinary touches that made him a superb pro.
In Burn the Floor and Floor Play, Sasha was a superstar performer that we could never forget. As a member of the DWTS Troupe beginning in Season 13, he stood out because of his winning smile, his fun personality, and those famous backflips. He was also, all along the way, extremely fan-friendly and receptive to comments and kind words and was always a friend to his many supporters who also happen to be Tristan MacManus supporters. Just like Tristan (and Emma, too), he answered question after question that we sent in for him.
When he was named as a pro for Season 17, we wouldn’t have been happier, but I was concerned that with Nicole’s cheerleading and gymnastics skills and with Sasha’s amazing talents we might end up with a lot of flips, rolls, and non-dance moves. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Sasha made sure to take advantage of Nicole’s skills while teaching her how to be a performer, but he also taught her how to dance and how to entertain. The best part of all? He never, ever showboated. He didn’t dance around Nicole, and he didn’t try to draw attention away from her with overly ambitious or overly theatrical costume decisions and selfish choreography. What he did to was dance as a team with Nicole and made us love them both every week. It was all about the dance. It was about the team. It was all about showcasing Nicole and making her the best she could be. It was all about making Nicole’s experience on DWTS as fun and enjoyable as possible. Sound familiar? I thought so. Tristan has said the same thing many, many times.
Like Tristan, Sasha should be back for Season 18 but he should return as a pro with a celebrity partner. He showed us why in seven wonderful weeks. We missed Tristan, of course. We still do, and we are still stinging from that early exit because Tristan deserves to have a legitimate chance to compete for that mirror ball trophy. The funny thing is that somewhere along the way this season we fell a little in love with pro Sasha Farber too. Like Tristan, he stands out from the crowd. Not only is the talent exceptional, but he handles his celebrity partner with the utmost respect and kindness. He makes the journey about the partner and not about himself, and that is not something we see very often.
All I know is that DWTS would be missing their main attraction without Tristan and Sasha. Well done, guys. You are what this show is all about. You give it class.
When it comes to season 17, I’m as bored as Paris Hilton at a MENSA meeting. But I have an idea that would spice it right up! Let me explain….. I used to be a literature teacher. Given the opportunity, I could talk about the genius of Shakespeare, the timeless characters of Dickens, or the downright creepiness of Poe for hours on end (and put most of you to sleep in the process). So guess what that makes me when it comes to math? You guessed it….not great. But I look at it this way, I can balance my checkbook. Are there really that many more essential math skills that I need to know? Nay. But even this math dummy remembers that a2 + b2 = c2, right? Now I don’t exactly remember WHY you add those together, but I do know it always results in a specific answer…..a consistent answer. What does all this have to do with Tristan? Well I’ve noticed that, without fail, if you combine 1 Tristan MacManus with 1 Sharna Burgess, the specific, consistent answer is always, “BAM!” So let’s examine these two factors separately, shall we?
We all know how chivalrous Tristan is, so ladies first…. Ah, Sharna Burgess. This girl is a force of nature! She basically kicked the door off the hinges when they brought her into the troupe in Season 13. And it wasn’t just that gorgeous dark hair of hers that made her stand out in a sea of blonde. No, it’s more than that. The girl is fierce! Every time she performs, she is giving 1000% while everyone else is giving 100%. But not in that annoying, over-dancing way that some pros do. She always seems to be giving just THAT much more than the other girls on the floor, so your eyes are always drawn to her. Two recent examples….when she and Witney were dancing with Tristan and Henry in a bumper a few weeks ago, at the end of the dance Witney was inexplicably looking for the camera while Sharna looked like she was about to treat Henry to the best night of his life. Then in last week’s bumper with the other girls, she was right up front, looking into the camera with a flirtatious gaze that seemed to say, “I dare you to even TRY to watch any of the other girls right now!” “Give It To You” by Robin Thicke was the music and boy, was she giving it to us! She was also singing along, and I love that. It makes it feel like she’s truly performing. So yes, while all the female pros on DWTS are gorgeous and talented, Sharna has that extra something that puts her in a whole different league. That’s the first part of the equation.
The second part of the equation is the indescribable perfection that is Tristan MacManus. His talent, charisma, charm, good looks and ability to WOW us with a single look (remember that wink to Carrie Ann in the 80’s Rumba??) or move of his hips (um, that cha cha with Gladys!) has been well documented on this site for quite some time. But the MacManus Magic is REAL. It’s tangible. We all know the man lights up from the inside out when he’s performing. And that light, the MacManus Magic, spreads to everyone around him. Heck, it even worked on me in Pensacola. I don’t think I’m much to look at, but in my picture with him I think I look pretty cute! I can only assume the MacManus Magic spread to me for just a moment that night (thanks, Tristan!). He makes everyone around him better. Just look at who his partners have been. Haven’t they ALWAYS looked good? Yes! Tristan always makes sure of it with his superior teaching and tailor-made choreography. And he is SO darn magical when he’s performing, that his magic makes up for any imperfections in his partner. That is powerful stuff, y’all!! No other male pro on DWTS has it like Tristan does….plain and simple. That’s the second part of the equation.
These two are, quite simply, the best of the best on DWTS. So what do you get when you combine the alluring fierceness of Sharna (x) with the transcendent magnetism of Tristan (y)? Oh, it’s simple…….BAM!!!!!!! And that’s exactly what this season needs right now, a big, sexy, heaping dose of BAM! I think a pro number with these two might be just what the doctor ordered.
Oh, and someone nudge Paris and tell her the MENSA meeting is over. :)