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DANCING WITH THE STARS, POST-SEASON: June 14, 2017

DANCING WITH THE STARS, POST-SEASON 24: June 14, 2017 Hello, again, Dancing with the Stars fans! I hope that your week is going well. The Hough and Ballas Families: Last week I promised to follow up by telling you about the Hough and Ballas families. What I actually meant was that I’d tell you how they’re connected. Not by blood, but rather by years of circumstances that seem to have made them become as close as blood-family members. Let’s start by remembering this spring’s season of Dancing with the Stars, when Derek and Julianne performed an exquisite and emotionally charged dance about their parents’ divorce when they were growing up in Utah with three other siblings. In the referenced year, 1999, the parents sent Julianne (the youngest) and Derek to London to live and study with their dance coaches. Who were those coaches? Corky and Shirley Ballas, Mark’s parents! The Ballases participated in tutoring all three kids. The kids were trained in various forms of dance and gymnastics, in singing, and in theater. Just a few years later, the three formed 2B1G (2 Boys, 1 Girl), a pop-music trio that they took to a UK TV show and to dance competitions in the UK and the U.S. These three extremely talented performers have been through a lot and on stages since they were kids, with Julianne competing since she was only nine. (BTW, you may recall that Corky Ballas served as dance pro one season to actress/comedienne Cloris Leachman. As a funny guy, he was a good match for her.) The connection between the Houghs and the Ballases evidently will be for life in dance and in music and song. Derek and Julianne are second cousins of musicians Riker, Rydel, Rocky, and Ross Lynch from R5. Remember when blond Riker competed on DWTS a few seasons ago with Allison Holker as his pro? I liked him a lot, and he did very well. Adopted family member Mark Ballas and his wife BC Jean will tour with R5 this summer—cool! We’ve heard Mark and Julianne sing; even though Derek, too, sings, I have yet to hear him. Have any of you heard Derek sing?   Gleb’s New Baby:  I haven’t found a straight answer about when the new baby is due. Last September a story reported the pregnancy, which would have the baby either born by now or coming around the corner.  But then a report in March of this year said that it’s due in August. Stay tuned. “World...

DANCING WITH THE STARS, POST-SEASON 24: June 7, 2017

DANCING WITH THE STARS, POST-SEASON 24: June 7, 2017 Judge Derek:  Did anyone else get to watch the first episode, last week, of Jennifer Lopez’s “World of Dance” show (10 p.m. on NBC)? If so, what did you think of it? Fantastic dance expression, for sure! Judge Derek Hough, our own Dancing with the Stars mega talent,  was as sweet as ever. I didn’t always agree with the judges’ comments and scoring, though. My fave dance was the one by the married couple, which was cute and fun while expressing their love. The 11-year-old girl dancer/contortionist who performs with tremendous heart for dance was something to behold, too. I’ll watch our recording of last night’s episode at some point this week and then report on that. Maks and Peta:  I read a while back comments from both Maks and Peta saying that they wanted to spend $1 million on their wedding.  $1 million! Why $1 million? Even in LA, that money could buy a nice house. Oh, well, it’s their hard-earned money. Reminder: The wedding is July 8. May they and Baby Shai be healthy and happy! Mark Ballas:  Dancing with the Stars’ Mark Ballas and singer-songwriter wife BC Jean together have a new EP coming out shortly. Word is also that they plan to go on tour this summer with R5. Like R5? If so, get it all in one show. Enjoy! DWTS Pros:  Even when the DWTS pros are and aren’t in season, they’re touring with DWTS or other dance groups, attending red-carpet events, and doing many other things both artistic and domestic. Do these people ever really get enough rest?! True, they’re professional athletes and in great shape. Even so, sufficient rest for body and brain is critical. DWTS Fall Season Wish List:  Have you ever hoped to see certain celebrities dance on DWTS? Are you sometimes disappointed when your favorite pro is absent for a season or two? Let’s talk about it. Think about celebs from some of the TV shows and movies you’ve liked recently, or over the past 10-20 years, and maybe produce a list of both male and female celebs you’d like to see compete on the show. And, which pros can you not wait to see again? I’d like to see pro Keo get some well-deserved teaching time with a celeb who’s really worthy of him. Also, I’m having withdrawal symptoms for the patient, tactful and ultra-talented Tony. Wouldn’t it also be nice to have Kym back for another consecutive season?...

DANCING WITH THE STARS, POST-SEASON 24

DANCING WITH THE STARS, POST-SEASON 24 WHO WON OR DIDN’T WIN SEASON 24:  WHY? Some fans are puzzled, even outraged, that Simone Biles was eliminated just before the finals and that Normani Kordei didn’t win Dancing With the Stars . Most things are simply beyond the control of the celebs and the fans. I’ve read that the average fan who is key to votes is middle-aged, female, and at least somewhat conservative, and that voter is partial to military personnel, Olympians, country singers/stars, and football players (probably thanks in part to their husbands’ preferences).  If you’re a member of that key demographic, you know what we’re talking about. Simone Biles: The girl is clearly adorable; pro partner Sasha Farber is, too. All season long I said this and that Normani was a better dancer right out of the gate while repeating that I don’t like the advantage that gymnasts have on this show. She was too technically excellent, almost as though she were doing an impersonal gymnastic floor show; she didn’t reveal much of herself, allow herself to be vulnerable, or connect sufficiently with enough viewers (including me), all while still being too gymnastic. She did improve on those last few points during the last few weeks, though. She remained gracious and tactful when responding to judge Carrie Ann Inaba’s negative comments; for this, she deserves even more credit. Normani Kordei: She didn’t seem to have the level of fan base and appeal that David and Rashad had/have. Her scores were pretty consistent all season long, and she was never really in jeopardy of being voted out because the judges kept fawning over her (and pro partner Val Chmerkovskiy); so, fans may have forgotten or not felt the need to rally for her. On the other hand, David and Rashad truly were in jeopardy at some point (surprising to me regarding Rashad), so their fans evidently pulled out all the stops to keep them in the running. Also, the producers didn’t allow viewers to get to know Normani and Simone as well as they connected us with David and Rashad; this, too, may have been a factor. At the same time, we had an unusual number of talented female dancers this season; female viewers, especially, may have tired of them and preferred to look at the guys. Although Normani will go down in DWTS history as having been one of the top celeb dancers of all seasons, we’ve learned, especially where David Ross is concerned, that the best dancer doesn’t always...

Dancing With The Stars Season 24, Week 10 FINALS, Night 2

Dancing With The Stars Season 24, Week 10 FINALS, Night 2   It’s Week 10/The Finals/The Finale, Season 24 of Dancing with the Stars! Tom and Erin hosted. Carrie Ann Inaba (CAI), Len Goodman, Julianne Hough, and Bruno Tonioli judged.   The Remaining Cast: Val Chmerkovskiy  +  Normani Kordei, Singer Emma Slater  +  Rashad Jennings, NFL Running Back Lindsay Arnold  +  David Ross, CHI Cubs Baseball Catcher (won 2016 World Series; retired) Dancing With The Stars: Week 10 Finals, Night 2/The Finale, Analysis & Results (May 23, 2017) This is Finals Week on Dancing with the Stars! It’s basically a big party that everyone came home for. The show began at the outdoor venue/stage, which turned out to be just beyond the ballroom. Much of the night Erin was outdoors while Tom ran things in the ballroom, but Erin was back and forth. We saw clips reviewing the three finalists’ respective journeys over the past 10 weeks and were reminded that they would have to do one more dance for the judges to score (the fusion dance). That was when they revealed that Rashad had logged 100+ more rehearsal hours than the other finalists, which says a lot. Pro and troupe members together—first girls, then guys—danced hot numbers; the girls did a “rain dance” that Witney choreographed, and the guys danced shirtless in black tux-like coats/pants, all fantastic, of course. Solo artist Hailee Steinfeld and bands One Republic and Lady Antebellum each performed twice. Season 10’s Nicole Scherzinger danced to “Do You Love Me?” from the new “Dirty Dancing,” which will air tomorrow night. All contestants from this season returned tonight; it was good to see them, and we could easily remember why most of them were eliminated weeks ago. Certain pairs replayed certain dances from earlier weeks: Sharna/Bonner revisited their cute/sexy Country/cowboy dance; Nancy/Artem and Normani/Val did the Samba (with Bruno as a background dancer for Normani); Peta/Nick and Heather/Maks Rhumba’ed (couples separately); David/Lindsay redid “Magic Mike”; Rashad/Emma Cha-Cha’ed; Simone/Sasha redid their Contemporary; the sweet Mr. T wore a small Mirrorball dangling from a large chain (reminiscent of “The A-Team”) while he rapped about “Take a chance; you can do it.” Charo didn’t try to dance; instead, she did something very impressive, showing her skills as a longtime award-winning Flamenco guitarist (I loved it). 24-HOUR FUSION DANCE:  Len said, “It’s as much about the will to win as the skill to win.” David Ross: Foxtrot/Salsa.                                               Judges: 9.  Me: 9. Well done in choreography and execution. He...

Dancing With The Stars Season 24, FINALS, Night 1

Dancing With The Stars Season 24, Week 10, FINALS, Night 1   It’s Week 10, Season 24 of Dancing with the Stars! Tom and Erin hosted. Carrie Ann Inaba (CAI), Len Goodman, Julianne Hough, and Bruno Tonioli judged.   The Cast: Val Chmerkovskiy  +  Normani Kordei, Singer Emma Slater  +  Rashad Jennings, NFL Running Back Lindsay Arnold  +  David Ross, CHI Cubs Baseball Catcher (won 2016 World Series; retired) Dancing With The Stars: Week 10 Finals, Night 1, Analysis & Results (May 22, 2017) This is Finals Week on Dancing with the Stars! Tom and Erin got right down to business by getting the first couple on the dance floor for the first of two dances. The first dance: a redemption of an earlier week. The second dance: The freestyle! The performances were a joy to watch. The judges’ scores were fair. DANCE #1:  REDEMPTION DANCE (A re-do of an earlier week) David Ross: Vien. Waltz (Week 4).  Judges: 8-8-9-8.  Me: 9. David has improved a lot since Week 4 to keep his bum tucked under; still, though, it wasn’t perfect tonight. Nor was his posture. But he was close; still hardworking, sweet, likable, and entertaining. (Week 4’s scores were: Judges 7-8-8-8; Me 8.) We have not seen him do:  a Rhumba, a Samba, a Tango, Contemporary, or a Charleston.   Normani Kordei: Modified/Untradl. Quickstep (Week 1).            Judges: 10-9-9-10.  Me: 9. Normani and Val tried to improve upon Week 1’s Quickstep, which also was modified but much closer to traditional than tonight’s in both content and dress. She executed very well in dress and content that were much too untraditional for my tastes and, so, not quite entertaining enough. (Week 1’s scores were: Judges 7-6-7-7; Me 7.5—lower than she deserved.) We have not seen her do:  a Samba, a Tango, a standard Waltz, or a Charleston.   Rashad Jennings: Tradl. Viennese Waltz (Week 2).       Judges: 10.  Me: 10. Rashad, without any background in dance, was a pretty-good dancer in Week 2 and quickly improved a lot; he has been consistently good while improving and honing the craft all season long. He soon learned to control his ‘football’ hands and size-14 feet. Just recently, he learned to finish every arm movement and to use his hands as a dancer must, both with stunning grace. Tonight’s V. Waltz was beautiful, smooth, graceful, and even a tad sexual but perfectly tasteful while portraying a truly connected and loving couple; it had the required rise and fall in the footwork and was absolutely...

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