In a year old tradition, SWAT and I are bringing you our team descriptions, predictions, and names largely based on those absolutely gorgeous (sarcasm) team photos released by ABC on Wednesday. You just can’t ignore the plain white king-sized sheet from Sears background that flatters nobody and makes you wonder if we should be taking the photos for them. Anyway, it also became apparent this time that SWAT and I saw very different things in these photos and that I like to ramble a lot about nothing in particular. Regardless, we give you the Teams of Season 17 – SWAT and Shakes style.
Tristan and Valerie – Sigh. Okay, as thrilled as I am about Tristan and Valerie being a team, I’m not crazy about this photo, and it has nothing to do with the pose or the energy between them. They both look very pleasant and comfortable together. Their smiles are nice, and Valerie has some nice extension going on. What gets on my diggity dang nerves is the wardrobe. Tristan is wearing all black which is sexier than sin, but I would be shocked if he can breathe since that his shirt is buttoned up to his chin. Hello ABC! God gave Tristan glorious chest hair for a reason, and that was so he could share the joy of it with others! And as for Valerie, I quote the lovely and wise Mrs. ATA who said, “She’s dressed in something that my husband’s MeeMaw would wear.” Very true Mrs. ATA, and has a MeeMaw ever actually won DWTS? I think not. Valerie is a fighter, so she should dress like she’s celebrating and not like she’s trying to hide in the shadows. Introducing Team You Go Girl – Straight To the Costume Department And Kick Some Ass.
Sasha and Snooki – Good grief this woman is short. Looking at the photo (which is a good one by the way), Snooki just comes up to Sasha’s shoulders and she’s wearing heels. I do think that this is an ingenious pairing however, and I also like how glamorous Snooki looks in this photo as opposed to her signature trashy beehive and low cut shirts she used to wear a couple of years ago. Maybe motherhood has softened her. Regardless, I really like the transformation, and I can’t express how happy I am for Sasha as well. I’m looking forward to seeing how these two get on. Snooki’s sass with Sasha’s energy will make for a good team, which is why my team name for them will be Team Snooki Fierce And You Don’t Mess With Jersey Girls – and First Time Pros From Australia.
Tony and Leah – I think this is going to be a decent team. I really do. And I’m kind of digging their good buddy kind of photo where they look comfortable with one another. Tony looks ecstatic, as well he should. This is one of those few (very few) times where they give him someone he can work with. Leah is gorgeous, and Tony is dashing and even though there is no news yet that she has any dance training, I’m sure she’ll be able to pull it off. Tony never really has any sexual chemistry with any of his partners but Leah could cure him of that. Nice photo…nothing striking or flashy but the camaraderie is there. This is Team Sexing Up Season 17.
Corbin & Karina – This is the only team that is actually doing a real dance pose. They look like they are in it to win it, and it shows in their photo. What can I really say here? Karina is a divine teacher, Corbin is already a professional dancer so I’m not worried about them in the slightest. Now there’s no real sexual chemistry between these two but I think they are going to be the team to beat this season. Team Ringer Ding Ding.
Brant & Peta – Well I’ll say one thing. Besides the fact that I have no idea who Brant is, and still don’t, he definitely looks happy to be here. This is a nice photo with both Brant and Peta giving us those million dollar smiles. These two are another team that I kind of forget about too, just because I’m so unfamiliar with Brant and the show that he’s on. But he could surprise us. My opinion is that Peta got another Sean Lowe and I’m fine with that. Brant is nice to look at and he and Peta will look nice together. Now if only she could show a little less skin, their chemistry won’t come off as icky. Team Sean & Peta (without the Bachelor nonsense)-Part Deux.
Elizabeth & Val – Here is a team that I think is a little too obvious. ABC wanted to give Val someone who could dance but not someone who is going to win the show. They almost seem lukewarm to me, and the perplexed look on Elizabeth’s face doesn’t help matters here. She seems completely closed off, and Val has pasted a smile on his face. It almost looks like they met each other for the first time the day of the photo shoot and could care less about why they are there. There is no togetherness…. Team Saved by the Showgirl But Lost By The Boring and Predictable.
Keyshawn & Sharna – These two look nice together, and I simply love Sharna! Keyshawn, like the rest of the American footballers will be his usual suave and charming self and will be able to stay in the competition based on strength in fan votes alone. He also looks a little too casual as he’s standing there with his bowtie undone so I hope she’s ready to work. In a way I do feel that ABC didn’t put much thought into this addition to the cast. It was almost as if they just threw him in there because they needed a football player to round out the cast and they gave him to Sharna because she’s one female pro who hasn’t danced with a football player yet. At least we know ABC is being fair with the rotation of partners for the female pros. That’s why I couldn’t resist giving them the name Team Touchdown Rotation and a Big Old Penalty Flag for Predictable.
Christina & Mark – Again, another photo that really doesn’t say much…at least on her end. I do like that Mark is looking at her which puts the focus on his partner. I’m sure these two are going to be fine, and they are another team that I’m not worried about in the choreography department. How they are going to be able to stand out from some of the stronger personalities this season is going to be the challenge. Christina is beautiful and talented, but she doesn’t exactly reel you in with her personality. Mark has also gotten partners like Christina in the past so I don’t see there being anything particularly interesting about this couple. Hate to put it this way but I had to name them Team We’ve Seen It All Before.
Bill Nye & Tyne – Bill’s got some good extension in his legs in this photo and Tyne has that “I’m SO Happy I’m a Pro” look on her face. Bill also looks very comfortable. Believe it or not there are a lot of people who are rooting for The Science Guy this season, and yet I’m not quite sure how he is going to do. I kind of get a Kenny Mayne vibe from him, so he could be busting out the goods week one only to get voted off with a bang that same night, at least that’s my theory. My name for Bill and Tyne is Science Guys Dance Too…Maybe.
Amber & Derek – Meh…could be worse, could be better. There’s really nothing special about this photo. Derek is giving us his “sexy eyebrow stare” and Amber looks very pretty. Problem is, there is no energy at all, and normally when I think of the show Glee I think of fresh and energetic. I am sure Amber is going to do well, but this photo isn’t really selling it for me. But we know that Amber and Derek will be selling it to the judges and the rest of America which is why I’ve named them Team The Powers that Glee.
Jack & Cheryl – Could this photo be any more awkward? Jack and Cheryl are in hold and yet there is literally three feet of space between them. Jack looks like he’s scared and unsure of himself and Cheryl has put on a smile, but I can see the concern in her eyes. This is one of the couples that I keep forgetting about too when I’m running through the DWTS lineup this season. I know this is all very new to Jack but hopefully Cheryl will help him feel more confident or else these two are going to have an early exit. It’s unfortunate but I’ve dubbed them Team 50 Shades of Awkward.
Bill Engvall & Emma – You had me at Bunny Ears Bill and Emma. I love this photo! You can tell that they are already having a blast together and it’s obvious that Bill is here for mostly comic relief. My guess is that he and Emma are going to have fun this season and that’s their main objective. Emma is a fantastic choreographer and so I’m sure this team is going to keep us smiling for sure. Between Bill Engvall’s Blue Collar Comedy and Emma’s stellar ballroom presence there is only one way to mesh the two together into something unique and entertaining. My team name for them is Team Blue Collar Ballroom.
Now I am turning over to the snarky and rambling Shakes…
SHAKES' Teams...in no particular order
Derek and Amber – Cute photo. I guess. He needs to lose the swarmy mustache. Not that I know what 1970s porn stars look like but that’s what the caterpillar over his upper lip looks like in my wild imagination. He also needs my own personal stylist (that would be me) to advise him that spats do not go with that outfit. Also those pants remind me of a pair of polyester trousers my dad wore to church on Sunday when I was a kid. I fully expected to look down and see white shoes (a la used car salesman) going with it (more on the shoes below). She’s a cutie, and I think I am going to like her a lot but I don’t want to hear Derek sing with her because no way could he match her pipes. She’s a powerhouse singer; he’s a dancer. Here’s the problem with this photo; she is smiling like she’s having a great time. He looks like he wants to seduce the cameraperson. It’s not working. So we say, next time before you take the photo, just say, Team Smile and Say Gleeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
Mark and Christina – Er….what’s up with this one? She looks awkward. He looks like he would rather be getting a new tattoo or having a beer with his pals. Her hair looks like it’s part of the white sheet and not part of her head. The dress? Color is all wrong. Even her right hip/leg whatever it is looks contorted. Sigh. I had such high hopes for a Christina Milian appearance on DWTS, but this isn’t making us stand up and applaud at all. Not a single flicker. Not a spark. Nada. So I am saying this is Team You’d Better Turn Up the Heat STAT Or It’s Gonna Be Arrivederci For Y’all.
Tyne and Bill N – Bill Nye is wise. As in an owl. But that will need an additional explanation which will come in a minute. Here is the thing. We know Tyne was on DWTS at some time during Season 16, but we barely remember her. Okay, we don’t remember her at all other than seeing her name pop up. In the Dances With the Blondes TV show, we recall so many blondes dancing and whipping their hair at one time that we really could only recognize Emma and Oksana most of the time. Wouldn’t ABC have done better with at least using a familiar face? Oksana or Witney or even Lindsay? The Science Guy is awesome and would be great with anybody. In fact, I think Bill should have been with Peta, Brant with OWL. (Oksana or Lindsay or Witney – yeah, I know. That just came to me, but it was so corny I had to use it). So here’s the thing. He looks great and has a nice line but we don’t know her at all. So we’re calling this one Team Should Have Been An OWL.
Emma and Bill E – This photo is the best – by far – of the group. In spite of the dreadful generic white background which makes everybody look like they are standing in front of a sheet (which they probably were) and which makes you think you could take better photos with your old Samsung flip phone (which you probably could) this photos is hilarious. Emma looks likes a goddess and makes us all want legs like that (and a body) but she is clearly having the time of her life. Whether they are in it one week or ten, they are going to have a good time. Who doesn’t love Bill? His sense of humor makes him a stud. So I’m calling them Team Stud and the Million Dollar Legs.
Sasha and Snooki – Now that Snooki has lost the wild hair that resembled a beehive permanently residing just north of her forehead and we’ve had time to get over the fact that people in Jersey Shore made millions going to the gym and drinking beer and cheap tequila, we love her. She and Sasha are having fun, and did you read her blog? She paid a great tribute to every other celebrity in the show, and we give her a standing ovation for that. We are also going to give them a standing ovation when they do the Jive because mark it down, it’s going to be epic. For that, this pint-sized team gets the name Team Standing Ovation.
Val and Elizabeth – When Val pulled the “I’m gonna play the sexy card again and show ‘em chemistry just like I always do” at the cast reveal, we knew we were in trouble. The problem with that is that we’re sick of the showmance, romance, bromance, nothingmance so don’t be pulling that crap again. How about this? No gimmicks, no silk see through shirts, no Speedos with dance shoes, and no partial or full nudity. I will give it a week before the shirt comes off and as soon as Rumba week comes along, we’ll have the silk see through shirt. Elizabeth will be in Peta costume mode – meaning little or next to nothing, and if I had a body like her, I would probably go around like that too. Yes, I’m jealous. We’re calling her Ringer 2 – only because she didn’t do Macy’s Stars of Dance like Corbin. Anyway, the team photo was surprisingly not sexy and kind of average. Using the Sears plain white sheet photo background that is so flattering to all, we have her looking just average and bored while Val looks like he is ready for a burger at Friday’s. If this is sexy, smoldering and red hot chemistry, then we’re in deep doody cause you have to have chemistry with each other. Team Name –Team Prepare Yourself Because These Are the Most Clothes We will Wear All Season.
Peta and Brant – Cute photo but it seems like the rest of Peta’s promo photos. Hasn’t she used that pose a million times? Also, why not put him in dance pants? The shocking pink shirt was a bold move, but it didn’t work well with his “I just graduated from Yale Law School, and this is what all the boys wore” pants. He also looked like those babies were gonna split wide open and give us a showing of skin well before we were ready for it. He’s cute, we think we will like him a lot, but if she pulls the “take it off card” in Week 1, we’re going to have big fat issues with it. We want to see choreography and teaching, and we also hope Brant isn’t already a dancer because Peta hasn’t really had a challenge as far as physical limitations. Case in Point: Season 13 – Metta World Peace (athlete, prime condition – couldn’t dance but he was a specimen). Season 14 – Donald Driver (another athlete, prime condition – he would have won the MBT no matter who was his partner and that season was a lot of lifts and more lifts, but not much else) Season 15 – Gilles Marini – arguably the most popular celebrity ever on the show until his ego got too big for his dancing shoes. Season 16 – Sean Lowe – another one who was in prime shape and while he wasn’t a dancer, we also didn’t see a lot of hot off the press choreography. Season 16 – an in the prime, hot tamale from ABC Family who should have gone to Sharna so she can showcase her talents and teaching skills. Since we don’t get the logic here AT ALL, I’m going with Team Scratch My Head.
Karina and Corbin – Cute, but doesn’t she use the same pose all the time too? He does look adorable in the suspenders, but let’s face it, only one person on DWTS rocks suspenders, and his name starts with a T and is spelled T-R-I-S-T-A-N. Not much smolder but we like this photo okay except it appears like pink is the color of the season for the boys. We’re not sure that is okay. Also, where is Karina’s other leg? It’s going to be tough for them if they only have a combined three legs. Anyway, I think they are a ringer/contender but that’s okay because they are mighty cute. I’m calling them Team DWTS Musical Because High School Musical Has Already Been Used. We also think they would do a great Jive, Lindy Hop, or Charleston. Not so sure about the Rumba or Samba, but we’ll look forward to it.
Cheryl and Jack – Okay, this was awkward. If somebody looks awkward in front of the photographer, then switch the pose. Why not just have him standing beside/behind her? Why have this weird pose where he isn’t comfortable, Cheryl isn’t comfortable, and we aren’t comfortable? I think he is in this for the right reasons and is going to be fun, but ABC needs to 1) quit putting everybody in the weird pants 2) placing them in weird positions that don’t even resemble dance poses, and 3) just stop annoying us because it’s been that kind of week. Had he been holding her close, it would have been fine. As it is, the lack of connection tells me the chemistry is not there. I do like the pairing though – Cheryl has never looked better, and he looks strong and healthy. I just hate the pants (not his fault) and the dress shoes (again, not his fault) that ABC has seemed determined to pull out for DWTS – the Used Car Salesmen Edition. This can be Team Cut Loose and Have Fun But Get ABC To Let Them Have Fun.
Sharna and Keyshawn – They get bonus points for being one of the few couples who weren’t a complete washout against the white sheet. They actually look striking, but the loosened bow tie doesn’t work and instead of sexy after the cocktail party look, we’re getting a “what the hell is this thing around my neck look and why is it there?” It would have been much better with just the shirt (well, and the pants and shoes too). I’m telling you. They need my stylist. Sharna looks breathtaking as always, and I think they will have fun. I don’t think Keyshawn will be as endearing as Andy, and at age 41, he just might not have all of the NFL pulling for him. Like I always said, Sharna should have been paired with Brant, but like Tristan says, it is what it is. I will call this team Team No Bow Tie Because If You Put Another One On Me I’m Gonna Rip It Off With My Teeth.
Tony and Leah - Damn. Tony borrowed Derek’s polyester pants and paired them with Keyshawn’s bow tie which they must have died in my mama’s special marble loaf dye (no, there's no such thing - I just made it up because I'm creative like that). They look comfortable together, kind of like a pair of old shoes. See where I’m going with this? Team Old Shoes doesn’t have a great ring to it. They look comfortable like my flip flops or fuzzy slippers but not particularly hot to look at on the dance floor. Which brings us to a team name - something like Team Fuzzy Slippers and Pajama Pants.
Tristan And Valerie – Yeah, the photo was kind of weird. I have an outfit like Valerie has on and I wouldn’t wear it to dance, and Tristan? A black bow tie on a black shirt that is damn near choking him? Bleech. The costume department had an epic fail day on this one. HOWEVER, the gleam in the eyes is there, the crooked little smile is there, and the tendency to cause hot flash moments among all of us whether we are menopausal or not is also there. Facts are facts. I also stole the team name directly from Ms. Harper. What else could they be except Team You’re As Cute As Can Be?
The rambling is over. Thanks for listening.