Pure World of Dance, Season 2, Week 5 (Qualifiers) – Court’s Thoughts: The Good, The Bad, & the WTF???

So this week was supposed to be “a very special episode” of WOD…why? Because someone got injured right before they were due to go onstage? Sorry, but I wasn’t feeling the alleged mushiness that the “very special episode” description we got last week implied.  But we did get some good acts, and saw quite a few familiar faces this week – namely Rudy Abreu (the leader of Embodiment) and Audrey Case & Will Thomas (from Royal Flux), who are all SYTYCD alums. No doubt this show has definitely brought a few dancers we’ve forgotten about over the years back to the forefront of our minds 😉 Not a whole lot else to add, so shall we get to it?

This is What Happens When You Do Too Much of A Good Thing: Royal Flux. I’ll say this: generally, I enjoy Royal Flux and what their style of dance is. We only saw them pretty briefly last season (no qualifier performance shown, and I don’t even know that they got a full-length intro in the duels), but I went back and read what I had to say about them and it was neutral-to-positive. Here’s my concern: their routines tend more towards the DNA end of the spectrum – meaning they toe the line between and an above-average amount of content and wayyyyy too much content. They’re doing really cool lifts and tricks – but there is just SO MUCH going on onstage at any given time that it can get a bit hard to absorb and appreciate everything they’re doing. And part of me thinks that may have contributed to their teammate (who Justin on Twitter pointed out to me is Audrey Case from season 9 of SYTYCD – I thought she looked familiar!) getting injured while practicing – they are just going full-tilt, trying to do more and more interesting and complicated lifts and tricks that eventually, something has to give.  I’d like to see them pare down some of what is going on onstage at any given time, and maybe have those in the background stick to simpler steps in order to keep the focus on those doing the complex stuff.  They’re about 50/50 for me headed into the duels – I think their success is largely going to depend on who they’re pitted against: I think they lose if they’re put up against an act that’s very clean and fleshed-out like Fabulous Sisters, but they might be able to beat a less-realized act like Expressenz.

100% Skill, 0% Personality: Freshh. I’m not sure I’ve seen an act on this show yet that was so fully engaged and skilled in their performance – but had such a poker face about it, to the point that it felt a bit robotic.  I mean, these guys were doing some pretty intricate stuff, IN PERFECT SYNCHRONIZATION, but judging from the looks on their faces, they may as well have been doing the multiplication tables in their heads.  Yes, their faces were moving – but it somehow felt…rehearsed? Like they were used to not doing ANYTHING AT ALL, facially, and were forcing themselves to do SOMETHING to make the whole things seem more…human? I dunno…I’m just left with a really strange vibe from this group.  They’re fantastic, but there’s a peculiar hollowness to their performance that I’m having a hard time putting into words.  They’re another group that I’m on the fence about headed into the duels – depending on who they’re pitted against, they could advance or they could get bumped out.  Strange.

Eva Igo, Slightly Remixed?: Madison Brown. Oh, awesome…another teenage-ish female contemporary dancer. Perhaps I’ve just soured so much on Eva that any contemporary act in general kinda makes me yawn, but Madison just felt like a slightly tweaked Eva with slightly different packaging. I will commend Madison on having much better musicality than Eva, and more of a tendency to move with intent and understanding behind the choreography; whereas Eva tends to give more of an impression of just going through the motions and not being particularly connected to the music or choreo. But at the end of the day – are they really that different or special in what they do? Flex, flail, repeat – my guess is that they’ll pit them against one another in the duel, and we might get a surprise shock elim of Eva.

Rudy!…Rudy!…Ruuuuuuudy!: Embodiment. It’s good to see Rudy really coming into his own as a choreographer 🙂 I remember watching him on SYTYCD, and he seemed like he was often overlooked in favor of the more conventionally attractive male contestants, despite the fact that Rudy was impressively cross-trained – he specialized in contemporary, but had training in salsa/ballroom (with Manny Castro, no less) and seemed to fare pretty well in hip-hop as well. I know he did a stint on Derek & Julianne’s tour, and as he mentioned on WOD last night, he’s also been dancing in J-Lo’s Vegas residency. So for him to finally step out in front and choreograph, after being a backup dancer for awhile? That’s pretty impressive, and I daresay it was a pretty admirable effort for a first-timer – loved that there seemed to be two guys doing a pas-des-deux in the middle while the group danced around them; loved that everyone was very in-sync; also loved that it was a very edgy performance with a lot of musicality. And I’m going to disagree slightly with J. Lo with regards to Rudy’s ambitions for doing the show – I don’t think any act HAS to win in order to “get hired” or benefit professionally from the show.  Would winning improve their chances? Maybe, but I think the best thing this show has to offer is exposure – so I’m right on board with Rudy’s ambition to do well on the show, but have it be more about personal growth rather than being 100% eyes-on-the-prize.  I think this group could go far this season, though, if they can continue to switch up their routines week to week.

Cognitive Dissonance On Fleek: Marissa & the Heartbreakers. Like Heidi, I’m generally not a fan of “hairography” – anyone that has followed us over at PureDWTS knows how we groan and shake our heads whenever the female pros are reduced to Beyonce-esque hair-flipping and mugging to the camera while the male pros get to do really athletic, impressive choreo that really shows off their skills. So normally, what Marissa & the Heartbreakers (the name is pretty cringe-y, while I’m at it) did would not be my cup of tea.  HOWEVER – I am actually familiar with Marissa and have seen her dancing in some of of Yanis Marshall’s (a fairly well-known choreographer from Britain’s Got Talent who has become known for “heels” choreography) YouTube videos, and I will say that the girl can DANCE.  Additionally, “heels” is becoming a more well-known and well-appreciated choreography style these days, and I have a definite appreciation for the difficulty of it. It may not look like much, because heels do impose some limitations to the type of movements that can be done (gymnastic tricks are pretty much out, and balance/flexibility tricks like extended legs tend to be risky), but the fact that these girls can still turn and and spin and stretch in those shoes is pretty remarkable.  So I’m left somewhat torn on this act – part of me really appreciates the difficulty of what they do, and part of me is also “This isn’t competitive enough for this show.” I will agree with Derek that they need to come up with some more dynamic ways to fill time in their routine, aside from just sexily walking from spot to spot. My gut feeling is that they probably won’t make it past the duels – but I do think what they do is valid, and maybe just not super-compatible with this competition.

Cool In Theory, Maybe Not So Much in Practice: Silverbeat. I feel like I’m beating a dead horse by saying this again, but this is yet another act that I think was probably sought out by producers and enticed into trying out to fulfill the “we truly are the biggest dance competition in the world!” quota that seems to be getting emphasized more this season; and they perhaps weren’t necessarily a great fit for the show, but that doesn’t invalidate the importance and skill of what they do. I thought they had great energy, and loved how unique the moves were; however, the dance vocabulary just wasn’t there, relative to other acts.  But I’m glad we got to see them, and I hope the show is good exposure for the great work they’re doing 🙂

Derek & Aneta Jr: Daniel & Mishella. How they managed to find mini-Derek is beyond me 😛 And they managed to find a little girl that at least bore a passing resemblance to Derek’s old partner, too! Loved their spunk and their stage presence, but I do agree with whichever judge (Ne-Yo, maybe?) pointed out that they needed to clean up some of their steps and up the ante a bit – and I agree, although I do think they may just be a tad limited by their age.  Part of me worries that they’re going to end up pitted against an older ballroom couple (namely Jonas & Ruby, who are leaps and bounds ahead of them in age and skill) and they’re just going to get trounced and heartbroken, but who knows. I don’t know that I see them lasting past the duels…

Thoughts?

June 27, 2018 I Written By

Medical device sales by day, reality TV blogger by night. Makeup artist, baker, hair model, and wannabe DIY-er when time permits, and a potty-mouth 24/7. Read more of me at puredwts.com, and follow me on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence

Pure World of Dance, Season 2, Week 4 (Qualifiers) – Court’s Thoughts: The Good, The Bad, & the WTF???

So I know you already heard my thoughts this week in the live blog, but in the interest of consistency (and me rewatching the show and perhaps changing my opinion on an act or two), I thought I would stick with my weekly recap 🙂 I apologize for any redundancy – gonna try and keep this as fresh as I can!

I was thankful that last night was an improvement upon last week’s rather low-energy episode, but if there’s one thing it got me really thinking about, it was this: WE DO NOT NEED TO SEE EVA IGO AGAIN.  Yes, she is a great dancer; but she already made it to the division final last season, and ended up as runner-up in the whole thing; I do not think she has grown much as a dancer since last year, and really – are they gonna send Eva home early this year? How will that look? Last season’s runner-up ousted before the finale? Not a good look.  But also not a good look? Her winning the whole damn thing, as a consolation for last season.  I guess I’m just of the opinion now that, if you made it to the finale on WOD, YOU SHOULDN’T BE ALLOWED TO COME BACK (unless you’re part of a different act in a different division – although I even have some reservations about that, too).  If you make it to the live shows on SYTYCD and don’t win, you don’t get to come back again; same rule for AGT – you wanna come back after making the live shows one season? Figure out a way to retool your act, a la Manny Castro and the many ways he managed to get his kids coming back to AGT season after season (Miami All-Stars, The Untouchables, D’Angelo & Amanda, Ruby & Jonas, etc.) Sorry Eva fans – I think I’m gonna have a tough time with her this season.

Sibling Rivalry Has an Upside: Jonas & Ruby. Probably the one act I was really looking forward to seeing, given that I was such a big fan of D’Angelo & Amanda, and I think Ruby has eclipsed her brother in terms of talent. I also think Jonas is a stronger partner to Ruby than Amanda was to D’Angelo (apparently they aren’t even dancing together anymore), and I’m gonna guess that Manny has probably honed in a bit more on the formula for successful choreography on WOD (The Untouchables are also on WOD this season, and apparently D’Angelo is in it – we’ll see if they can make it further than the duels this time). I will say that I wish Manny would tone down the flexibility displays a bit (one bendy leg trick per dance is plenty) and they probably need to pare down their costumes somewhat, but I do think there’s a lot of talent to work with here – Ruby’s a little firecracker, and if I can’t have her as a pro on DWTSJ, I’m fine having her here.

I Dunno What a Brada Is But It’s Good Sh*t: The Bradas. Probably the most impressed I’ve been with a hip-hop crew since S-Rank – just clean, unique, athletic, and with a ton of showmanship.  Loved that they had a bit of a storyline to their dance, and kept finding interesting ways to incorporate the bag into it.  Not much else to add, other than “Watch out, Ruggeds & Connection!”

There’s Still a Place For Pretty Dances (And Leg Weights) In This Competition: Expressenz. First of all, big ups to the first act from my home state on WOD 🙂 We may not be cranking out champions like Utah, California, or New York, but we still have some talent in the Hoosier state! I’ll admit – this routine was a tad pageant-y/recital-y.  The girls’ makeup was flawless, they had those perfectly tailored & bedazzled leotards, flesh-colored tights…the works.  And they were dancing to a country song, which I generally find a tad cringe-y.  But FWIW, they more than made up for it with their technique – never have I seen turn sequences done in such perfect synchronicity.  Even experienced teams usually have their girls a bit staggered on their turns after 1 or 2 – but this group? I can only imagine the precision & focus that got drilled into them to stay completely in sync on those turns. I think they have the potential to be very competitive – IF they can up their choreography to something more edgy and unique.  Right now my gut is telling me they’ll end up in a duel with the Fabulous Sisters.

Please Don’t Let This Be Les Twins, Part Deux: Eva Igo. Obviously not in the physical sense (Eva’s a 15-year-old white girl from Minnesota; Les Twins are 20-something men of color from France), but more in the “I hope they haven’t predetermined this to be ‘Eva’s season’ to make up for her being runner-up last year” sense. The thing I disliked most about last season is that that Les Twins appeared to have it in the bag from week 1 – and they basically just slightly tweaked the same routine each week, to rave reviews from the judges.  There was never a point where I didn’t think they would win. And while I certainly preferred Eva to Les Twins last season, I’m afraid this season, it just feels like more of the same from Eva (gymnastics, flailing, displays of flexibility) – and the judges are eating it up, and giving me that same sinking feeling I had whenever I saw the judges gushing about Les Twins: that this season’s winner had already been determined. However, I did get a few small glimmers of hope: one, the judges did seem to allude to her “being so good that it might get hard to top what she’s already done” and “the competition being a lot tougher this season”; two, she did only end up with an average score of 95, which has been bested by four other qualifying acts thus far – two of which are in her division (Charity & Andres and Sean & Kaycee). I guess time will tell if this season has been earmarked for her or not…

Maybe 8 Years Doesn’t Age You Like Fine Wine: Poreotics. This was one of the acts that I liked upon first viewing, then kinda went “ok, some of the weaknesses are showing” upon a second viewing.  I remember absolutely LOVING the Poreotics that ended up winning ABDC back in 2010 – all of their routines were so sharp, yet humorous and unique.  Just so FUN to watch – and while they still are fun, I feel like they’ve maybe lost a little bit of that energy that made them so appealing 8 years ago. Granted, they did mention that some of them had “left the group and gotten ‘real’ jobs” and they only decided to reunite after seeing Jabbawockeez on WOD last season; if it’s anything like other crews that have “gotten the band back together” to do WOD, the result often seems like a shadow of their former success (Miami All-Stars comes to mind – we’ll see if Manny can get The Untouchables further this season). They did have some fun moments that nodded to the stuff that originally made them popular – the card trick, the glasses, the fact that they were amalgamating several different styles (robotics, popping, vogueing, waaking, some b-boying); but there did seem to be some slow sections that made me disengage a bit.  Like Pasha & Daniela, they might need to work on giving more content.  I’m already predicting a 3-way duel between Poreotics, Elektro Botz, & Dragon House.

Shy Kid By Day, Monster On The Stage: Lucas Marinetto. So we basically have this season’s answer to Kyle Van Newkirk – and I will say that I think he may actually be a bit better than Kyle 🙂 Something about the way this kid goes from somewhat shy and awkward when he’s not onstage, to absolute beast mode when he’s dancing is appealing – you can tell that dancing is where he truly feels like he can be himself, and it’s joyous.  I appreciated that he has great musicality – he did not waste a single beat of that music, although I do agree with Derek a little bit that it would have been nice to have a section of him dancing without music so we could really appreciate what he was doing. I just hope they don’t pit this poor, smol bebe up against someone like Eva Igo in the duels, a la Kyle vs. Les Twins last season – that was just painful.

Thoughts?

June 20, 2018 I Written By

Medical device sales by day, reality TV blogger by night. Makeup artist, baker, hair model, and wannabe DIY-er when time permits, and a potty-mouth 24/7. Read more of me at puredwts.com, and follow me on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence

Pure World of Dance, Season 2, Week 3 (Qualifiers) – Court’s Thoughts: The Good, The Bad, & the WTF???

I apologize for the tardiness of this review – due to tornadoes in my viewing area on Tuesday night (not where I live, but in my viewing radius), my NBC affiliate preempted WOD in favor of weather coverage, so I had to wait until Wednesday to watch the show on Hulu and do both the music and this little review.  Additionally, I’m still adjusting to a migraine medication that is making me very, VERY drowsy and a tad cranky, so I apologize if this review is less than sunshine-y…then again, I found the acts in this week’s episode to be a bit lackluster on the whole, so I’m not sure I’d really be honest if I put a hugely positive spin on this week’s show.  Seems like they may have aligned some of the less-stellar acts this week with what will probably amount to a bit of a dip in ratings that shows typically experience 3-4 episodes into each season, before picking back up midway through; then again, maybe this wasn’t intentional, and the way this particular group of acts cobbled together just fit nicely with the storyline and that’s why we ended up with a preponderance of okayish acts all in one episode. Either way – I’m not sure we see the majority of these acts lasting through the duels, save for maybe one or two having a huge breakthrough…

The Lab, Lite: Rascals. Had I not been dazzled by The Lab last week (and last season), I probably would have had a lot more of a glowing review of this group – but unfortunately, up against The Lab, Rascals have the heart, but not the polish. The Rascals weren’t bad, per se; I just found myself comparing everything they did to The Lab, and Rascals paled in comparison in nearly every aspect: the cleanliness, the staging, the choreography, the execution. I’d stake money on it that they get pitted against The Lab in the duels, and just absolutely blown out of the water…which sucks, because I get the feeling Rascals are the less-privileged group just trying to keep up with the Joneses, and probably work every bit as hard as The Lab. This is the sad side of the Junior division – seeing kids get disappointed.

Charity & Andres meet Sean & Kaycee – with an edge: Josh & Taylor. Probably the only act this week that I thought was anything worth sneezing at – and I’m not even entirely sold on them being a contender, just based on other similar acts we already have in the lineup for the duels.  I thought Josh & Taylor were the best of both worlds of Charity & Andres and Sean & Kaycee – they had the polish of the former, with the edge of the latter, and the whole performance was very edgy and cool.  The only problem I have is that they may actually be too “cool”, and I could see the judges (Jennifer in particular) gravitating more towards the contemporary angst of Sean & Kaycee or the romanticism of Charity & Andres. I’m hoping Josh & Taylor have something completely different up their sleeve for the duels, because if they can prove that they’re versatile, I could see them ousting one of the other two couples I mentioned…possibly Sean & Kaycee…?

I Thought Hilty & Bosch Were Already Eliminated…?: Lock N Lol. I’ll admit, I thought this group was a ton of fun and I was thoroughly entertained – but the difficulty level just wasn’t really there, though I will commend them on being really, really clean and tight on their synchronization, and I enjoyed the creativity with the costume changes. Unfortunately, they just felt like a remix of Hilty & Bosch – just a slightly larger group, with the same token “look, we really are ‘World of Dance’ – we have dancers from all over the world!!!” explanation for why they’re there, even though they unfortunately probably don’t stand a chance in this competition.  I think they’re probably going to get their asses handed to them in the duels.

Not Really A Fair Fight: LD Dance Company. This is one of those acts that I feel a bit sorry for, because I feel like they were probably lured into trying out for this competition, so WOD can claim to be diverse, but they really never stood a chance of ever being successful on this show simply because what they do is not what WOD is looking for.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with what they do – I actually have a tremendous amount of respect for traditional Brazilian samba (my stepmother trained in it from age 6-24) because it’s deceptively easy-looking, but actually involves a huge amount of technique; but I feel like the skill of it is unfortunately lost on most Americans, as most only see the bright, sparkly costumes and booty-shaking. I will give Ne-Yo a free pass, as he is the least technically-learned judge and probably doesn’t know enough about it, but I feel like Derek & Jennifer should have known a bit better, and at least thrown in something to the extent of “I wish America knew how tough samba is, what you did is actually very difficult!!!” before dismissing it as “just not enough diversity in the steps to be competitive on this show.” If there’s one respect in which I feel this show falls short, it’s educating the masses on various styles of dance – too often I see lesser-known styles reduced to “Eh, there’s just not enough there to be competitive” rather than actually making an effort to say “Sure, they may not be the right fit for this competition, but what they do is still very valid in its own right.”

Diet Super Cr3w: The Ruggeds. Oof…I guess I should have known when they started the show out with this crew, that this week’s episode was going to be a tad lackluster. I need to remind myself that every competition reality show needs some cannon fodder for the first round, and they do seem to be placing more of an emphasis on getting acts from all over the world this season (without as much regard for whether or not they can actually hack it in this competition)…so for this act to be as underwhelming as it was, I suppose was to be expected.  I guess my biggest gripe was just how disorganized it seemed to be – the b-boying moves were decent (and I actually loved the guy in the center doing flares in slo-mo, and the ending move), but nobody seemed to care deeply about synchronization, and everything looked a bit sloppy. They reminded me of Super Cr3w from season 1 and ABDC – perhaps the early years, before they actually tightened and polished everything up.  Gut feeling is they get paired up against a better crew in the duels (maybe S-Rank?) and get sent packing.

Quickstyle, but with Robots: Elektro Botz. I liked this group, but I’m not sure I loved them – I think I was more impressed with how they sold the dance, showmanship-wise, rather than being blown away by anything specific they were doing dance-wise. They were creative and whimsical, but I have seen robotics done much more cleanly – namely by Poreotics, who we’re going to be seeing later on this season, and who have the potential to make Elektro Botz look like rank amateurs. Will the whimsy carry Elektro Botz? We’ll see.

Jaxon Willard in an Australian Suit: Michael Dameski. Not going to pretend, and you guys already know – I’m not a huge fan of contemporary dancers. So I wasn’t really expecting to be dazzled by Michael, before even seeing him dance, and there were upsides and downsides I saw to his dancing.  The upsides: I liked that he didn’t seem to revert to gymnastics and acrobatic tricks quite so much as some of the other contemporary dancers I’ve seen, and I will say that his ballet technique seems very well-honed. The downsides: he seemed a bit inorganic and clinical (as opposed to Jaxon’s more organic, emotional approach) in his dancing, and it seems like his shorter stature limits him from really extending quite as much as the more willowy Jaxon. Do I like one more than the other? Eh…I’m still not terribly fond of solo contemporary dancers, but I think I will give a slight edge to Jaxon for just being a bit more compelling to watch, where Michael can be a bit more…robotic. Not sure either one has the star-power to win this season, though.

So did you guys find yourselves a bit let down by this week as well? Or did you find yourselves impressed?

June 14, 2018 I Written By

Medical device sales by day, reality TV blogger by night. Makeup artist, baker, hair model, and wannabe DIY-er when time permits, and a potty-mouth 24/7. Read more of me at puredwts.com, and follow me on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence

Pure World of Dance, Season 2, Week 2 (Qualifiers) – Court’s Thoughts: The Good, The Bad, & the WTF???

So we got to see six more acts throwing their hat in the ring last night, and I think we’re starting to see the competition really take shape: seems like it’s going to be a strong season for ballroom duos, between Karen y Ricardo, Pasha & Daniela, returning season 1 acts DNA and Luka & Jenalyn, plus the other Castro sibling – SYTYCD finalist Ruby – and her partner Jonas.  I think we’re probably also going to see some tough competition among hip-hop teams – particularly those who do animation/robotics, as I see both Poreotics (from ABDC) and Dragon House (which includes SYTYCD alum Cyrus) on the roster. I wish I could say I was excited to see Eva Igo back, but given that I was not always impressed with her brand of contemporary flailing last season (and would have rather seen The Lab advance over her), I’m skeptical of whether or not they’re going to send her to the finals of her division again. But shall we focus on last night’s acts? 🙂

The OTHER Ones To Beat (Maybe): Charity & Andres. This is about the only act I could see giving Karen y Ricardo a run for their money so far – these kids are THAT GOOD, and in the grand tradition of most of the Utah dancers, they appear to be cross-trained in contemporary, ballet, ballroom, and gymnastics, which gives them a serious edge since they can fuse together multiple styles.  That’s probably why I enjoyed this routine so much – it was contemporary-heavy, but there were enough lifts, attention to technique, and partnering to round out the routine that I wasn’t left going “Christ, here we go again with the flailing & flipping.” However, I will say that Karen y Ricardo have Charity & Andres beat in terms of chemistry – and it’s not just because the former is an actual couple; Charity & Andres give me a bit of that “uber-polished & trained” competition vibe, which can come across a bit too perfect and a tad robotic at times…hope they can show us a bit more vulnerability in the coming weeks.

The Excuse to Get the Judges Arguing: Pasha & Daniela. Last week, the judges were pretty warm & fuzzy and generally in agreement about the acts they saw; this was the first time we saw them split pretty noticeably with their opinions on the act.  Ne-Yo seemed altogether unimpressed; J-Lo gushed about how much she loved it; and Derek fell somewhere in the middle, complimenting their technique but cautioning them about their choreography.  I tend  to side with Derek on this one – their technique and chemistry really was impressive, but I think they did waste a bit too much time stretching out their moves and probably could have benefited from using a song with more potential for musicality. They kind of have the opposite problem as DNA (ballroom act from last season, who also appear to be back this season): DNA got called out for trying to cram too much into their routines, while Pasha & Daniela maybe didn’t have enough. I like Pasha & Daniela – I remember Pasha when he was competing in pro 10-dance with onetime DWTS pro Inna Brayer, and I remember watching Daniela perform a showcase at the Ohio Star Ball when she was dancing youth Latin like 12 years ago – but I’m not sure I love them, and I’ll be interested to see how they hold up against some of the other ballroom acts this season.

Dey Aight: Connection. I don’t have a problem with this hip-hop group, other than the fact that I just simply don’t find them to be as memorable or unique as the other hip-hop groups we’ve seen so far this season (Desi Hoppers, S-Rank).  They were pleasant to watch, but I didn’t find myself wildly impressed – thought they could have been a bit cleaner, and their choreography more…distinct.  I know Jennifer threw out the term “hip hop with Latin flare”, but where I see Desi Hoppers really making an effort to combine traditional Indian dancing with their hip-hop, I don’t think that the effort was as apparent with Connection trying to really combine Latin dance with hip-hop…I have a feeling they’ll probably get ousted in the duels, especially if they’re up against ABDC champs like Poreotics.

WTF Did I Just Watch?!, Redux: Fabulous Sisters. Where as I was saying “WTF?!” in a bad way with Flip last week, I found myself saying it in a positive sense this week – ’cause Fabulous Sisters were everything that Flip was trying to be: they had the fusion of dance styles, the drama, the bold costuming, and the right staging & coordination. I’m not quite sure what to call the style they were doing – it was part modern/contemporary, with almost a paso doble-like feel and a little bit of waacking thrown in – but I was buying what they were selling, and found myself wanting more. Probably my favorite act of the night.

You Mighta Picked Wrong, Jenna: Bdash & Konkrete. I didn’t even really watch SYTYCD with any sort of regularity last season, but I did make an effort to watch some of the clips of Jenna – and I still find myself shaking my head in disappointment that she brought Konkrete all the way to the final cut before doing the predictable thing and picking Kiki, the ballroom dancer with about as much personality as a wall, over the much more interesting and unpredictable krumper, Konkrete. Well it looks like Konkrete is getting the last laugh, because he seems to have found a pretty nice niche for himself on WOD – he & his partner, Bdash, were giving me Les Twins vibes, without the swaggering arrogance that I found so off-putting in the latter.  Thought their choreo was fun and interesting, and they sold it well – hope they can hold their own in the upper division.

Reunited And it Feels So Good: The Lab.  These kids are both adorable AND wildly talented – it broke my heart to see them get eliminated last season, so I’m glad to see them back this time, and with the added protection of the junior division getting split into teams and individuals, so they won’t be up against junior finalist Eva Igo again. Loved their routine – the colorful outfits reminded me of individual bags of chips that my mom used to put in my lunch when I was a kid (not complaining!); and I feel like all of the kids in that group just have such strong, confident personalities even at their young age – loved all the faces they were pulling, particularly the two little boys who were up front for most of the time.  Also loved that we had a girl doing b-boy moves 🙂 And I what I find most impressive is that these kids are actually cleaner and more synchronized in their choreo than most of the adults in this competition – which is harder, considering that you’ve got a ton of kids of varying heights and builds, trying to do the exact same moves, and having them look identical onstage. Really hoping they can take the junior team division this year 🙂

That’s a Cute Top…Wait, No It’s Not: So yeah, J-Lo’s ruffly sequined top I was admiring last week? It has a price tag of $2200.  Either I need to sell a kidney on the black market, or starting learning my way around a sewing machine, if I ever wish to possess it…

Shante, I Hope This Stays: Just a general observation – I feel like we’re starting to see a lot more waacking and voguing moves thrown into other styles of dance this season, and I’m not mad about it.  Love seeing the hip-hoppers do death drops, and the jazz dancers doing waacking moves.  Worlds colliding for me – Rupaul’s Drag Race and WOD 😎

Favorites from tonight’s acts? Any thoughts on how the divisions are shaping up so far?

June 6, 2018 I Written By

Medical device sales by day, reality TV blogger by night. Makeup artist, baker, hair model, and wannabe DIY-er when time permits, and a potty-mouth 24/7. Read more of me at puredwts.com, and follow me on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence

Pure World of Dance, Season 2, Week 1 (Qualifiers) – Court’s Thoughts: The Good, The Bad, & the WTF???

I apologize for the tardiness of this breakdown – my life has gotten a tad crazy as of late, with going back to school (while still working full time), helping my sister plan her wedding (I’m flying out to Denver early Saturday morning to go dress shopping with her), and doing side gigs (freelance makeup artistry, baking).  Additionally, I’ll admit I wasn’t quite sure how to approach this post after last season – doing a “power rankings” like I do over at PureDWTS doesn’t really work for the format of this show, as each act is really only competing with those in their division (and we only see 1 or 2 acts from each division each week); and I wanted to do something different than what Heidi does with the live blog.  So I came up with this format: basically giving each act it’s own description/award based on how I felt. I will try to get this posted the morning after each show (so Wed mornings), but I reserve the right for them to be a bit tardy as I am now in my 30s and need my sleep a lot more than I did when I was in my 20s 😛 Let me know what you guys think, or if you have any other suggestions for the format!

The Ones to Beat: Karen y Ricardo. Unless there’s some dynamite dance crew or a phenomenal soloist waiting in the wings, I think these two are going to be the last ones standing in season 2. They’re everything I loved about Swing Latino last season (the crazy tricks, the creative choreo, and the seamless transitions), but without all the distractions & limitations of having so many people on the stage – it gave me more of a chance to appreciate just how amazing everything was that they were doing, and also put more of an emphasis on their chemistry as a couple. I’m pretty excited to see what else they can do, and they’re my pick for the upper division so far.

The Ones I Was Unsure About At First, But Warmed Up to Later: Desi Hoppers. I’ll admit, upon my first watching, I thought these guys were a tad hokey – keep in mind that I was also trying to keep track of the music from that episode, though, so I was a bit distracted. The whole fusion of Bollywood to hip-hop seemed like a bit of an afterthought, and I was left wondering if they would be able to compete with the high athleticism of some of the other hip-hop crews (Super Cr3w from last season comes to mind). But I did go back and watch them again (this time paying much better attention), and found that their choreography was much more creative than I originally thought – and they do seem to be pretty athletic, so they’ve got that working in their favor, and they had a bit of a sense of humor in their performance. I’m still curious as to how they’re going to fare up against a pure hip-hop crew, but they could have some longevity in this competition.

The Ones That Were Good, But with an Asterisk*: Sean & Kaycee. They were fantastic, but here’s what gives me pause: I think he’s the real genius in that pairing, and Kaycee is just…there.  I don’t get the same vibe from them that I got from Keone & Mari last season – everything the latter did felt like a genuine collaboration, with great, synergistic chemistry; with Sean & Kaycee, I feel like he’s the one driving the bus (very well, I might add), but Kaycee’s just along for the ride. She’s not a bad dancer – I just don’t feel like her dancing is as inspired as Sean’s, which I guess makes sense because Sean’s actually dancing his own choreography, as opposed to someone else’s.  But man – that guy has a bright future as a choreographer, with as good as he already is at this young age.

The “Plant”: Hilty & Bosch. I like to think of these two as somewhat similar to Jabbawockeez last season: I don’t think they were there to do much more than fill in the requisite “dance legend” slot, just so WOD can say “Our competition is so big, we even get legendary poppers coming to try out!” If I had to guess, I think WOD probably reached out to them and extended the invitation for them to come try out, but I don’t think anyone (particularly Hilty & Bosch themselves) actually expected them go anywhere beyond the first round. And like Jabbawockeez, who were eliminated surprisingly early last season, I don’t think these guys really needed to prove anything – so this felt more like a fun, exhibition performance.  I was entertained, but the level of difficulty wasn’t there – but I also wasn’t really expecting there to be anything wildly impressive, so I was content with it.

The Underrated Ones: S-Rank. I was lightweight surprised that these guys didn’t score better than they did – I thought their choreo was impressively clean and in-sync. Plus their performance had a certain swag & sense of humor about it, which I was really entertained by. I’m wondering if they didn’t resonate quite as well with the judges because their performance was more “cool” and less in-your-face-energetic or unique – but I’m intrigued to see what else we get out of them, because the skill level is there.

WTF Did I Just Watch?!: Flip. I guess this is what it looks like when a garden-variety dance studio that primarily teaches jazz, tap, & some ballet/character tries to go outside its comfort zone and do something “edgy” to try and get on a reality show. I agree with whichever judge made a comment about the music not feeling compatible with the dancing – they were doing a bunch of high-energy waacking to a slow, sultry song…and can we please retire “Feelin’ Good” from the musical repertoire of the current prime-time dance competition shows? So, SO overdone at this point. The costumes felt a bit juvenile to me, too – like they, too, didn’t really fit the feel of the dance or the music, and the whole thing felt like a disjointed mess.  I’m honestly kind of shocked that they made it through – given that they weren’t even given a full-length intro, though, I’m guessing we seem them ousted in the duels.

The One I’m On the Fence About: Jaxon Willard. Admittedly, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with contemporary, so I’m copping to that right off the bat – and the struggle I’m having with Jaxon is that, while he is a PHENOMENAL dancer and athlete, I feel like he may be prone to reverting to the characteristic flailing & heavy reliance on gymnastics/acrobatic moves I see from so many contemporary dancers in this setting. I had the same problems with Eva Igo and Diana Pombo last season – both seemed to rely too heavily on flips, leaps, flails, and displays of flexibility, as opposed to doing more creative choreography. I chalked those ladies’ shortcomings up to their choreographer, but in this instance, we know for a fact that Jaxon is doing his own choreography – so I’m hoping he gets creative with his choreography, and doesn’t just flip and flail around the stage in angst each week, because he is seriously amazing.

Wardrobe Props: J-Lo’s top. The sequins and ruffles would probably look ridiculous on just about anyone else, but they looked both chic & fun on her.  Makeup was on-point as well.

Wise Dad Award: Ne-Yo, for always seeming to have the perfect fatherly advice to impart upon the contestants.  Last year’s gem was “There is no ‘lose’ – you win or you learn!”; this time it’s “If you’re happy, smile; if you’re sad, cry – because both make you a real man.” I know there was some heavy skepticism when he was first announced as a judge, but man – he has more than earned his spot for me.

So who were your early favorites? Any contenders so far?

June 5, 2018 I Written By

Medical device sales by day, reality TV blogger by night. Makeup artist, baker, hair model, and wannabe DIY-er when time permits, and a potty-mouth 24/7. Read more of me at puredwts.com, and follow me on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence

Pure World of Dance Season 1, Week 10 (Finale) – Power Rankings

So ends the inaugural season of World of Dance – can’t say I was entirely surprised with the result, given the song-and-dance we’ve seen from the judges all season long. That sadly made last night’s show a bit of a snooze for me, although I did thoroughly enjoy both of Swing Latino’s performances, one of Eva’s, and one of Les Twins’.

Aside from the general predictability of it all, I think the thing that bugged me most about Les Twins winning was that they were neither humble about it, nor did they really need it. Say what you will about them wanting to send their mom on a permanent vacation, but I go back to “You were touring with Beyonce and modeling for Jean-Paul Gautier before all this.” I sincerely doubt they were too bad off before WOD. On the other hand, Swing Latino members talked about family back in Colombia that they could really help if they won the million dollars, and Eva tearfully admitted that money had been tight in her family in the past year and that she’d like to at least be able to cover her own dance expenses. I thought the million would have genuinely been “life-changing”, as Derek put it, for those two – whereas it just seemed like a nice bonus for Les Twins, which they acted almost entitled to. I’ve really come to question their sincerity when it comes to their backstory, so this is just kind of another thing I’m having a hard time swallowing with regards to them. I only take solace in knowing that – to our knowledge – they can’t come back and win again next season 🙂

Thankfully, it’s sounding like next season is getting a longer time slot, so hopefully things won’t be so hurried and disorganized; I’m also hoping it’s less predictable, given that the show is established now and doesn’t have to try so hard to grab an audience. So there’s that to look forward to 🙂 I am still toying with how I’m going to do the power rankings next season, so feel free to offer up suggestions – we’re still just rolling with it here at PWoD, and things could change a bit next season.  I just ranked last night’s performances in terms of my own enjoyment once again…

1.) Swing Latino, first performance – This was the performance of the night for me – I just felt like they went above and beyond when it came to coming up with new tricks and staging for their dance, and they had my jaw on the floor multiple times.  I really came to appreciate that they were the last act standing that made an honest, conscious effort week after week to up their game and bring something new to the table – too many acts skated by doing the same things over and over, so they have a tremendous amount of respect from me.  Perhaps a bit messy in spots, as Derek pointed out, but considering that Columbian salsa is so fast, I generally cut them a bit more slack on messiness. I don’t really care when they’re tossing women 20 feet in the air 🙂

2.) Eva Igo, second performance – Thank god for this, otherwise I think Eva may not have been able to hope for better than 3rd place after her first, lackluster performance.  Not sure that it really had much in the way of a cohesive storyline, but I liked that she returned to the displays of athleticism that got her to the finale to begin with – much more impressive than the aimlessness of her first performance.

3.) Les Twins, second performance – Probably my favorite performance they did all season, for the simple reason that it was DIFFERENT. Thought the mirrors were a nice touch, and the storyline seemed to sum up their season well. Ambitious song choice, but I feel like it paid off.

4.) Swing Latino, second performance – Not quite as glossy and impressive for me as their first performance, but perhaps cleaner, and still a solid effort. Seemed like a nice ending to the season for them.  Only thing I disliked were the ladies’ costumes…the gold ruffle was kinda distracting.

5.) Les Twins, first performance – Anyone else get the impression while watching this that they were really just kinda running out of ideas? The turntable felt like a bit of an afterthought – like, “Crap, throw in a turntable or something, I dunno, just make it different!” And then the part where one brother was dancing while the other just kinda ran around hyping up the crowd? That bordered on arrogant complacence for me, as if they were saying “Look, we don’t even really have to dance, we can just run around and still win this thing!!!!”

6.) Eva Igo, first performance – She didn’t screw up royally, per se, but I was just shocked at how completely underwhelming the choreography was – it was as if she ditched all the impressive shows of athleticism and just stuck with some vague flailing. I have to wonder if she was either using a different choreographer, or this was just a failed attempt at doing “something different” and kinda running out of ideas.

So those are my final thoughts – what are yours? Did the right act win? ?

August 9, 2017 I Written By

Medical device sales by day, reality TV blogger by night. Makeup artist, baker, hair model, and wannabe DIY-er when time permits, and a potty-mouth 24/7. Read more of me at puredwts.com, and follow me on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence

Pure World of Dance Season 1, Week 9 (Divisional Finals) – Power Rankings

Well, surprising just about nobody at this point, the Les Twins love affair continued and they seem to be poised to win the whole thing…*yawn*. I think I’m just trying to enjoy the rest of the show for what it is: a great platform for great dancers where we see some great dancing.  Not sure I really agree with the politics of it all, but it is what it is.

I was pleased last night with the fact that every single act at least made an attempt to up their game and really go all in for their spot in the finale – everyone seemed to think a bit bigger with these routines. Not sure that the judges got it right all the time, but again, I guess I’m just at the point where I feel like “it is what it is” and just hope that next season leaves things a bit more open-ended. Read more..

August 2, 2017 I Written By

Medical device sales by day, reality TV blogger by night. Makeup artist, baker, hair model, and wannabe DIY-er when time permits, and a potty-mouth 24/7. Read more of me at puredwts.com, and follow me on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence

Pure World of Dance Season 1, Week 8 (Cuts) – Power Rankings

Well, I said last week that I thought the judges were bound to get it wrong at some point – and unfortunately, I think that trend extended into this week, with some strange disparity amongst the judges’ scores, disparity between scores and critiques, and general quality of performance and the responses each routine got.  When things feel as wonky as they did on last night’s show, it does give one pause and makes one wonder what exactly is going on…

…which brings me to my next point: it’s important to remember that, while this is a reality show, it is still very, very produced, and there’s little things that go on behind the scenes that may help “shape” the show in a certain way.  Heidi, Vogue, and I had a pretty enlightening email conversation earlier today about some things we had read in various interviews that made us really question the validity of some of what we had seen on the show – particularly how the editing has been rather poor and left the show feeling a bit disjointed.  Something to keep in mind that I think escapes a lot of viewers: when you’ve got a show that is completely pre-taped like WOD, it’s entirely possible (and it’s entirely legal) for the show to edit portions of footage that do not effect the overall outcome of the competition.  This may mean we only see short snippets of acts that are probably going to get eliminated fairly quickly, anyway, or maybe the judges’ comments get edited together in such a way that they appear to be more positive or negative in tone than the complete critique they gave an act. It may even be that they may cut to a judge making a facial expression during a dance, and that particular clip is from another performance altogether, but contextually fits with the “story” of this particular dance better (this sneaky clip poaching is a technique oft-employed on Rupaul’s Drag Race, where several queens have claimed that critiques from the judges have often been shuffled around to make it seem like they’re talking to one queen, when they’re really talking to another). As I’ve said many a time over at PureDWTS – you guys should watch UNReal.  Very eye-opening about the world of reality television and how it’s often not all that…real.

But I digress.  What does all that have to do with the price of tea in China? I think the reason that last night’s show maybe felt so strange and incongruous was some editing – albeit poor editing.  Some of the acts got fairly positive critiques, but only lukewarm scores; other acts seemed to get nitpicked quite a bit more, but ended up with fairly decent scores in the end. And some cuts from the judges to the contestants and back seemed kind of jerky and abrupt, as if whole sections of dialogue had been cut.  I’m hoping that, with hopefully a live format and a longer time slot next season, a lot of these awkward bits of editing disappear. And as for the scoring disparities – I find myself wondering if this might be one of the caveats of the judges scoring on multiple metrics, and not seeing how their fellow judges are scoring.  The only analogy I could come up with takes me back to my sorority days, during formal recruitment.  There were multiple rounds, and each potential candidate was interviewed by a different sister during each round, and then we’d score each candidate and come up with an average that helped to determine if the candidate was going to be offered a bid. Each year, there always seemed to be a candidate that was either rude/distant/uninterested/generally unpleasant that somehow managed to score high enough to get into bid territory, despite all of the sisters who interviewed her being generally unimpressed. We figured out that, because we were scoring independently, most of us tended to pad our scores a bit, just so we didn’t seem douche-y, figuring that the girl wouldn’t make it through, anyway. And when we all did it – it actually had unexpected side effects.  Part of me wonders if something similar is happening with the judges scores – the fact that they aren’t colluding is leading to unexpected disparities, since they can’t really bounce ideas off one another.  Or I’m just trying to make sense of nonsense 😛 Read more..

July 26, 2017 I Written By

Medical device sales by day, reality TV blogger by night. Makeup artist, baker, hair model, and wannabe DIY-er when time permits, and a potty-mouth 24/7. Read more of me at puredwts.com, and follow me on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence

Pure World of Dance Season 1, Week 7 (Cuts) – Power Rankings

Well, it was bound to happen at some point – the judges got it wrong. For the most part, I’ve generally agreed with them on most scoring – but they really screwed the pooch last night when they scored Diana, because they kinda backed themselves into a corner scoring her so high that they had to go even higher with Eva, thereby bumping out The Lab…who I think deserve a spot in the final two far more than Diana. And now we’re stuck with two angsty, flailing contemporary girls, representing (or rather, MISrepresenting) the entire talent pool of the junior division.  We lost a fantastic tapper, a fantastic ballroom couple, and a fantastic hip-hop group for this???

The only saving grace for that FUBAR was Misty, who thankfully called out Diana in particular for some technique issues with her feet – I feel like some of the judges (particularly Jennifer) allow themselves to get so carried away in the emotion of a routine that they tend not to notice when the choreo or execution is a bit lacking…so I’m glad Misty didn’t seem to have rose-colored glasses on when she basically told Diana “Girl, work on your footwork.”

So because last night was a bit odd in terms of format (we got through the 5 acts in the junior division, and then only 2/5 team acts…three more to be shown next week), and because I’m absolutely exhausted from work and I feel a migraine brewing, I’m gonna keep it simple and just gonna rank the acts we saw last night purely in terms of my own enjoyment. This is irrespective of whether or not they advanced to the next round or how they scored – this is just how much I personally liked them (or disliked them). I’m hoping they get granted a 2-hour time slot next season, so they have a bit more time to work in all of these acts and don’t have to do some questionable scheduling to make everything fit 🙂

Predictions headed into next week? I think Swing Latino stands a good shot of making it through the cuts to the next round, but I think Super Cr3w is probably screwed, along with Ian Eastwood and the Young Lions and Chapkis Dance Family; Kinjaz seem to stand a good chance of making it through, barring any major snafus. I’m not even sure I want to think about the upper division – I’m guessing one of the spots is has already been reserved for Les Merde Twins, and the other seems like a toss-up between Fik-Shun and Keone & Mari; my ideal scenario would be Les Twins getting shut out completely in favor of Fik-Shun and Luka & Jenalyn advancing, just to add some variety to the next round… Read more..

July 19, 2017 I Written By

Medical device sales by day, reality TV blogger by night. Makeup artist, baker, hair model, and wannabe DIY-er when time permits, and a potty-mouth 24/7. Read more of me at puredwts.com, and follow me on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence

Pure World of Dance Season 1, Week 6 (Duels) – Power Rankings

So in what’s seemingly becoming a pattern – I apologize for the extreme tardiness of these rankings 😛 At least this time, I have a legitimate excuse – we were experiencing some pretty hefty technical difficulties this week, which have only recently gotten remedied. Thank god for bosses who know how to fix this stuff…thanks John!

This round of the power rankings is brought to you by this face, my favorite gif of the moment 😛 :

So this week wrapped up the duel round, and I gotta say – why the hell have they turned the last episode of each round into such a slapdash, gotta-fit-it-all-in-despite-taking-our-time-the-first-two-episodes pace? We’ve only got 4 episodes of this show left in the season, and there’s acts that we still know next to nothing about and have only seen tiny glimpses of, and the pacing of each of these third episodes of a round just leaves my head spinning.  Really hoping this was just a result of this being the rookie season of this show, and everything next season will be a lot better thought-out and more organized.

Another thing I’m hoping not to see next season? A bunch of previously-established acts with super-rabid fanbases that have a sense of entitlement about their faves. I’ve said it before, but I get the impression that certain acts may have been invited to do the show for the simple purpose of bringing along their previously-existing fanbases and hopefully boosting ratings for the show – I get that.  But at the same time, watching Jabbawockeez fans have an absolute MELTDOWN on Twitter and Ne-Yo (naively) trying to reason with them just gives me apoplexy. Oofdah. So let’s just leave it at “I get it, you needed to get viewers for the show.  Well now that you’ve got them and are guaranteed another season, maybe try turning your attention to fresh, new, undiscovered acts?”

So fifteen acts remain – five in each of the three divisions, and apparently that’s gonna get cut down by half in the next round…how? No idea 😛 But at this point, I think Kinjaz are the most likely to win the team division, now that Jabba is gone; The Lab, Diana Pombo, and Eva Igo will probably be duking it out for the junior division; and I’m not so sure now that Les Twins is gonna coast through and win the upper division spot in the finals – their appeal seems to be fading in the eyes of at least two judges, and I’m seeing more and more fans complaining online about how “overrated” they are. I’m not sure that it’s necessarily in the best interests of the show for these guys to win…but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.  I’m thinking Mihacevich Sisters, Immabeast, Pasion, Chapkis, Super Cr3W, and Swing Latino are probably goners in this next round – I just don’t think they can hang. The rest is up in the air. Read more..

July 15, 2017 I Written By

Medical device sales by day, reality TV blogger by night. Makeup artist, baker, hair model, and wannabe DIY-er when time permits, and a potty-mouth 24/7. Read more of me at puredwts.com, and follow me on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence