Dancing With The Stars Season 23

Dancing With The Stars (DWTS) Season 23/Fall 2016: Sep. 12


Welcome back, Dancing with the Stars! Four months we’ve waited! This fall season opened with all pros (some shown rather closely) (and the troupe, I think, according to the numbers from a distance) together outdoors at LA’s beautiful Griffith Observatory, all dressed in red and black and forming a star at the end of their number. Then the camera took us indoors, into the ballroom, where everyone else waited. Everyone and everything pulsated with excitement and anticipation as we were taken directly to see the celebs. Welcome back to the regular pros (Val, Witney, Lindsay, Sharna, Artem); to the always-funny Sasha in his third season as a pro; to pros Derek, Emma, and Allison, whom we missed last season; to pros Maks and Cheryl, who didn’t dance here for a few years; and to pro Gleb, returning to the U.S. in his second term here after a long break from the U.S. while performing in Europe. Welcome to Dance Captain Jenna Johnson in her first season as a pro! Welcome back also to Tom and Erin as hosts; and to our usual three judges–Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli. Welcome back to Julianne Hough, returning as judge #4 after a season away. Peta, we miss you as a pro this season while you’re pregnant, but we’re glad to see you in the audience rooting on Maks and the others; we’ll watch for you to return in the spring or fall next year. Welcome to the fall season, number 23, of Dancing with the Stars and to all fans!


The Cast:

Val Chmerkovskiy                    with                  Laurie Hernandez, U.S. Olympic Gymnast

Cheryl Burke                            with                  Ryan Lochte, U.S. Olympic Swimmer

Artem Chigvintsev                    with                  Maureen McCormick, Actress (“Marcia,”                                                                                                                 “Brady Bunch” TV show from 1960s/1970s)

Maksim Chmerkovskiy with                  Amber Rose, Talk Show Host/Activist

Sasha Farber                            with                  Terra Jolé, Reality TV Star

Derek Hough                            with                  Marilu Henner, Actress/Author

Emma Slater                             with                  Rick Perry, Former Texas Governor

Jenna Johnson                          with                  Jake T. Austin, Actor

Lindsay Arnold             with                  Calvin Johnson, NFL Wide Receiver, “Megatron”

Allison Holker                          with                  “BabyFace” Edmonds, Singer

Witney Carson             with                  Vanilla Ice, Singer

Sharna Burgess             with                  James Hinchcliffe, Pro Race Car Driver

Gleb Savchenko                       with                  Jana Kramer, Country Music Singer

Dancing With The Stars: Week 1 Analysis

The Stars and the pros tonight brought many delights, surprises, a few disappointments, a shocking number of similarly low scores, some matches to my predictions, and much more. Unfortunately, some of the judging was off target. They usually cheat the first contestant on scoring; tonight they switched it up. I was shocked and disappointed by the number of pros who failed to provide appropriate/traditional and sufficient dance content.

  1. Marilu Henner: Untraditional Jive with Derek (on small raised stage). Judges’ scores 7-7-6-7. My score 6.

The positive: She’s as in shape as ever, with an enthusiastic attitude, promising skill to match, and good entertainment value. Pretty good were her footwork, arms/hands/legs/extensions, facial expressions, and chemistry with Derek She did a good job with the shockingly untraditional content that Derek gave her to do. We’ve never seen a “jive” like this: almost fully in hold and without them side by side to do front/side/back kicks. It was odd! WTH was that about? The judges had no business scoring her with mostly 7’s when they all, like Julianne, should have given her 6’s. At least, Derek’s content, or the lack thereof, deserved 6’s; her ability probably deserved 7’s, though.

The negative: WAY too much hold; little traditional jive content (even though the stage was just large enough for it), and no sharp front/back kicks.

Needs to work on: Derek, please do what you know to be right:Provide appropriate and sufficient dance content from now on. Marilu, study the requirements for the dances; then, if Derek doesn’t seem to be giving you full, appropriate content, suggest changes or additions to your routine. Relax and have fun, Marilu; don’t be so intense. Improve the small footwork in the close hold and overall technique.


  1. James Hinchcliffe: Traditional Foxtrot with Sharna. Judges’ scores 8-8-7-8. My score 8.

The positive: A nice and funny guy who shows great talent and promise as a dancer, a fab attitude, and strong chemistry with Sharna. Good musicality/timing, rhythm, grace and flow, frame/hold, footwork/arms/hands/extensions, entertainment value. I loved their outfits and that his shoes matched his suit.

The negative: Julianne scored James and some of the others one point low.

Needs to work on: With continued work on techniques, he can go to the finals.


  1. Calvin Johnson: Traditional Cha-cha with Lindsay. Judges’ scores 7-6-6-7. My score 7.

The positive: What a genuinely nice and likable guy! His footwork on the field as a wide receiver helped him here. Pretty good were his accuracy, timing, rhythm, lines, arms/hands. Two judges did not account for his technique, great attitude, entertainment value, chemistry with Lindsay, and height difference.

The negative/Needs to work on: his lines, follow-through gracefully and smoothly, posture/frame because he’s so tall that he sort of leans toward Lindsay sometimes, better technique/placement/control of his feet, learning/showing how to move his hips more and to do so naturally.


  1. Maureen McCormick: Traditional Viennese Waltz with Artem. Judges’ scores 6-5-5-6. My score 6.

The positive: Good traditional content, chemistry with Artem, and desire to learn/improve. Okay were her rhythm, musicality/timing, flow, arms/hands/legs/extensions. She looked pretty, and her dress was pretty.

The negative: She does some unpleasant/odd facial expressions at times.

Needs to work on: Improve frame/hold, footwork, trust in/flow with Artem, extensions, footwork, timing, techniques/refinement, relaxing into the dance. Watch a playback of her odd facial expressions and work on not doing them again.


  1. “BabyFace” Edmonds: Traditional Foxtrot with Allison. Judges’ scores 7-6-6-7. My score 7.

The positive: A sweet man. The dance was pretty and mostly graceful. Pretty good were his general rhythm, musicality/timing, frame/hold, footwork, arms/hands/extensions/legs. Good attitude, entertainment value, chemistry with Allison.

The negative: Keep a close eye on posture and footwork.

Needs to work on: Rise and fall, rhythm in the hips.


  1. Amber Rose: Traditional Foxtrot with Maks. Judges’ score 6. My score 6.

The positive: She’s an attractive woman with a pretty smile. Maks should be a good teacher for her. She seems to be committed to learning and performing well. Pretty good were her frame/hold, footwork, arms/hands/legs/extensions, chemistry with Maks, and entertainment value.

The negative: She seemed to be nervous and to lose some focus.

Needs to work on: confidence, relaxing, flowing/continuous movement (body and feet), proper footwork without slipping into walking instead of dancing.


  1. Vanilla Ice: UNtraditional Cha-Cha with Witney. Judges’ scores 7-5-6-7. My score 6.

The positive: Enthusiastic, happy, all out! Good rhythm, musicality/timing, and chemistry with his pro.

The negative: After how many years as a pro, Witney, somewhere in her mind, knows that she is supposed to give her celebrity the proper dance content and plenty of it, yet she DID NOT do so; instead, she allowed Vanilla Ice to do pretty much whatever dance moves he wanted to match his own song. She has pulled this kind of a stunt before and should be chastised for doing so. There was not enough traditional content for us to be able to judge frame, hold, arms/hands/legs/footwork/extensions.

Needs to work on: Witney and V.I. need her to provide proper and sufficient content! V.I., study the requirements for the dances; then, if Witney doesn’t seem to be giving you full, appropriate content, suggest changes or additions to your routine. You must buckle down to learn the difficult and traditional dances and to strengthen your frame and core in order to perform them properly with appropriate posture, frame, hold, rise and fall (where required). You probably will be able to do them at least pretty well.


  1. Jana Kramer: UNtraditional Viennese Waltz with Gleb Judges’ scores 7-6-6-8. My score 8.

The positive: All out! Good timing, athleticism, a healthy attitude and chemistry while staying with Gleb, and entertainment value.   Very good rhythm, musicality/timing, frame/hold, footwork, arms/hands/legs/extensions. I loved it, except the lack of V. Waltz content. If given consistently appropriate dance content and instruction, this girl could win.

The negative: Largely incorrect/inappropriate/untraditional dance content and facial expressions; too hot, like a rhumba, but disconnected. Should have been soft, flowing, and pretty.

Needs to work on: Study the requirements for the dances; then, if Gleb doesn’t seem to be giving you full, appropriate content, suggest changes or additions to your routine.


  1. Jake T. Austin: Jive with Jenna (on small raised stage). Judges’ scores 5-6-5-6. My score 5.

The positive: He tried and seemed to have some chemistry with Jenna. His attitude and facial expressions were okay, too. The content should have been more traditional, with more of it.

The negative/Needs to work on: Nearly everything. Even though Jenna wasn’t given much skill to work with in Jake, she should have known to provide proper and sufficient content. Jake’s kicks should be larger and sharp; his arms/hands and extensions need much improvement, and he needs to develop some rhythm and musicality/timing. For me, this was the least-enjoyable dance tonight.


  1. Rick Perry: UNtraditional Cha-Cha with Emma. Judges’ score 5. My score 5.

The positive: Good attitude, cheerful face, chemistry with Emma, entertainment value. Good leg extensions with pointed toes and a decent frame/hold. Fun and happy! Even though his score was a bit worse than Jake Austin’s, he at least provided a lot of fun and entertainment value; so, of the two, I’d prefer to see Perry again.

The negative: Needed plenty of traditional cha-cha content, more hip action, and better energy and action with the feet (they were basically flat).

Needs to work on: Hips, rhythm, musicality/timing, feet, arms/hands. Emma, please do what you know to be right: Provide appropriate and sufficient dance content from now on. Mr. Perry, study the requirements for the dances; then, if Emma doesn’t seem to be giving you full, appropriate content, suggest changes or additions to your routine.


  1. Terra Jolé: Jive with Sasha (on the floor). Judges’ scores 7-6-6-6. My score 6.

Entertainment Value/Attitude: 8

The positive: Good job, esp. for a woman who just had a baby one month ago! What a beautiful attitude and spirit she has! A professional commitment, too. Pretty good were the jive content, her rhythm/timing/footwork/legwork/facial expressions, and entertainment value.

The negative: She’s so short that I had a hard time seeing whether her legs were always doing what they were supposed to do.

Needs to work on: posture, frame/hold, arms/hands/extensions, technique.


  1. Ryan Lochte: Foxtrot with Cheryl. Judges’ score 6. My score 6.

The positive: Ryan usually showed nice lines, arm extensions/graceful hands, and pointed toes, musicality/timing, and chemistry with Cheryl. He “caught”/spun her well. Good attitude/eager to learn/improve.

The negative: The dance needed less fooling around and time wasting at the beginning and much more traditional content. The delay and some of the resultant catch-up, fast-paced movements made the dance lack connection, flow, smoothness, and enjoyment for viewers.

Needs to work on: frame/posture, rise and fall, bringing his bum in, proving honest humility and regret/personal growth to America for embarrassing our country at the Olympics this summer.


  1. Laurie Hernandez: Traditional Cha-Cha with Val. Judges’ scores 8-8-7-8. My score 8.

The positive: She’s adorable and fabulous in every way: rhythm, timing, frame/hold, footwork, arms/hands/legs/extensions, attitude, facial expressions, chemistry with Val, and entertainment value. She could win!

The negative/Needs to work on: looser/move-developed hip action, control, focus, softened strength.



WHO SHOULD BE ELIMINATED NEXT WEEK? . Jake Austin; I didn’t enjoy his dance at all.

Here’s my first impression of those who seem to be the true contenders: James, Jana, Laurie.

What do you agree or disagree with? Weigh in with your comments! Let’s get a great conversation going about Dancing with the Stars!

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Vickie L. Weaver

Vickie L. Weaver

Owner at Writestyle
Writing has been an important talent and part of my life since I was a child.Professionally, after decades of employment for others, I founded Writestyle in 1996 to provide writing, editing, proofreading, training, and more to clients worldwide (www.writestyle.com).Clients often call my work “magic.”I have written and/or edited for “Coexistence Magazine” (national), for “Ohio Magazine,” and for various newspapers.In addition, I have edited or contributed to the writing of numerous books.Personally, I have written in various genres.I have always composed poetry; as such, I have won awards and publication for some of my poems, and I am compiling a book of my poetry.One of my children’s books is set for publication.With my second husband, family and friends in Ohio, I enjoy music and dance, aid charitable causes, and strive for beauty and harmony in life.
Vickie L. Weaver

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