The Freestyles - An Assessment

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The Freestyles - An Assessment

Post by Lesallee on Tue Nov 22, 2016 4:46 pm

We've seen the Season 23 freestyles and this is just my take on them. 


Jana and Gleb. I got what Gleb was trying to show in that dance, Jana's struggle to break free from her past troubles. It had some good moments but unfortunately I think Gleb's illness impacted the performance greatly. He just wasn't on his game.


Calvin and Lindsay. Gotta love the affable sweet guy Calvin. And Lindsay is always a treat. But, we've seen this type of bright, breezy, energetic dance many times during the season. In recent seasons DWTS has gone the glitzy production number route right through. It then becomes very difficult to create and deliver a unique and memorable freestyle. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed C's dance greatly but I would have liked to get a glimpse into what makes Calvin who he is.


Laurie and Val. As I mulled this dance over I decided I am most disappointed with this one. Sure, it was lighthearted, well done and youthful (maybe too youthful). And I blame Val for that. Laurie could have done whatever he asked of her. I would have liked to have seen the side of Laurie who worked and persevered through the years to become the decorated Olympian she is. The times she was discouraged and wanted to quit but picked herself up and carried on. To achieve what Laurie has done at the tender age of 16 takes great determination and strength of character. Instead we saw a little girl playing in a playground. 


James and Sharna. Everybody on this board knows these two are my team. But that dance last night exceeded my expectations greatly. To see that defining moment in James' life presented in the medium of dance so absolutely perfectly brought me to tears. Not an easy thing to do. It was art, the judges superlatives were exactly right.


After watching 23 freestyles I guess what I want is an insight into the person not just a learned routine. 


For sure we have the correct F3 and tonight will tell the tale. We've all won with this most entertaining season. Gonna be hard to top this one for Season 24.

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Re: The Freestyles - An Assessment

Post by DeadManDancing on Tue Nov 22, 2016 5:36 pm

Our opinions about 'the other three' freestyles may slightly differ, but wer'e in unison where it matters. This was as good as it gets. I honestly doubt we will see anything like it in the near future, and I really hope no one ever tries to imitate it.

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Re: The Freestyles - An Assessment

Post by Psychee22 on Tue Nov 22, 2016 6:01 pm

I find myself agreeing with your opinions on these freestyles, Lesallee.



And although I don't feel like the Freestyle has to give me any psychological insight into the celeb, I DO think that it should in some way represent them, or bring out the best of the best of them. 



Mostly, though, I expect to be wowed.  I expect, at some point in the routine, to say "Oh, wow!", and at the end, I expect to feel the kind of impact that evokes spontaneous clapping.



A routine that just leaves me feeling "That was nice..., I wonder what is next" does not pass muster with me in the Freestyle round. 



My rating for this bunch was:
1.  James
2.  Calvin
3.  Laurie
4.  Jana

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Re: The Freestyles - An Assessment

Post by DeadManDancing on Tue Nov 22, 2016 6:10 pm

I'm fine with your rating, Psychee.

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Re: The Freestyles - An Assessment

Post by suebob16 on Tue Nov 22, 2016 6:48 pm

Lesalee, I pretty much line up with your ranking and your reasons.  I've seen some people on the internet with the opinion that it was a meh season.  But even with the opinion that it didn't have high-powered celebrity glamour, it seemed like TPTB this season tried their best to put together a good cast and good matches for the pros and mostly succeeded.  We may complain about how TPTB handles the story THEY want to tell, but it is also the reason why we continue to watch.  We get to discover newer celebrities and learn more about some of the more familiar ones, and I think that is what continues to draw in the faithful viewers.

Looking back on Calvin for a moment, he probably had it the hardest coming into the finals.  He was a man who worked very hard and excelled at his chosen sport.  He had a fun, charming personality that the average viewer didn't get to see.  When we got to see it, that brightens up the viewer's initial impression of any normally serious athlete.  Plus he worked well with Lindsay and would do any moves she threw at him.  That makes Calvin similar to James coming into DWTS.  But Calvin didn't appear to have a singular dramatic moment in his life that shaped him like James with his accident, or Jana with her early difficult life, or Laurie who is so young and already an Olympian.  The emergence of his fun side and his ability to dance was what delighted viewers about him.  So I could see why Lindsay went with a fun freestyle for Calvin.  I'm not sure a more serious dance would have won him more votes.  I did love their moment on the treadmill.  That was a cool idea to incorporate it, and I wouldn't be surprised if other pros use it in the future.


Last edited by suebob16 on Tue Nov 22, 2016 8:06 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The Freestyles - An Assessment

Post by Lesallee on Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:23 pm

Speaking of the treadmill. I listened to Edyta talking about the Final this morning and she recounted when she requested a guitar as a prop and it was denied. And now they get treadmills!

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Re: The Freestyles - An Assessment

Post by suebob16 on Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:55 pm

Lol, the props and effects the show is now willing to use as opposed to the earlier seasons.  James was able to bring in his own IndyCar--Helio didn't get to do that his season.  Real water effects are occasionally used too like Bethany and Derek's earlier Singin' In The Rain jazz and now Jana and Gleb's AT.  Seems like more flowing handheld camerawork too instead of a basic straight on approach.

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Re: The Freestyles - An Assessment

Post by beardiedawg on Tue Nov 22, 2016 8:48 pm

I'm with you guys on the ratings.  I loved James and I thought Calvin did a great job.  I was disappointed in Laurie.  I thought they reverted to using too much gymnastics and not enough dancing which she is capable of. 

I think my all time favorite freestyle was Nyle at Peta and now James and Sharna are in a very close second.

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Re: The Freestyles - An Assessment

Post by kincaid53 on Tue Nov 22, 2016 8:56 pm

   I disagree about Laurie, they have not used that many gymnastic moves all season and last night only those two in the middle of the dance.

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Re: The Freestyles - An Assessment

Post by therealdfshary on Tue Nov 22, 2016 9:11 pm

I think Laurie was the best all season. I hope she wins. Applause

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Re: The Freestyles - An Assessment

Post by beardiedawg on Tue Nov 22, 2016 9:23 pm

James is my favorite with Laurie second.  I just thought Val let her down with the freestyle and he could have done much more with her.

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Re: The Freestyles - An Assessment

Post by kincaid53 on Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:05 pm

therealdfshary wrote:I think Laurie was the best all season. I hope she wins. Applause

   Congratulations shary you picked a winner...wasn't my pick, but she was very good.

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Re: The Freestyles - An Assessment

Post by singlyme on Wed Nov 23, 2016 8:23 am

For me, the success of this season was the absence (or long endurance) of duds.  No manufactured romances, no backstage drama.  James and Laurie were my favorites from the beginning with Calvin climbing on my bandwagon midway.  

As for the free-styles, I guess I'm in disagreement.  While Jana's was supposed to be about her journey on the show, it seemed yet another rehash of her abuse.  And for James... When that voice over started, my eyes rolled back.  Sorry.  I find it exploitative and an attempt to get emotional votes.

I found Calvin's to be fun and energetic.  He improved to the point that he was on par with James and Laurie.  The beginning of Laurie and Val's was met with my furrowed brow of confusion.  But once they left the equipment, it opened up into a wonderful display of happiness and freedom.  Loved it.

I was torn between James and Laurie the entire season and would have been happy either way.

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Re: The Freestyles - An Assessment

Post by GymGirlJane on Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:28 am

Unless I missed something Laurie did absolutely no gymnastics until the freestyle.  Even then her gymnastics was quite minimal.  She did a front handspring into a switch leap.  It was mostly a way of just saying "hey, this is why I'm here in the first place folks.  I am an Olympic gymnast."  She relied entirely on her dancing on DWTS.

I am no great expert on dance or choreography.  But I really thought Val just did not do a good job with Laurie.  His choreography was meh.  Thats it.  I think had Laurie had Mark as her pro it would have been far better.  Still, she really shone and I am glad that, in spite of Val, she won this season. I am also glad for her that she is going on the DWTS tour.  Her agents know that this is her short window of opportunity in terms of marketability and they are taking advantage of it.  Although she won Team Gold and Beam silver she did not emrge as one of the stars from Rio.  Simone and Aly did.  So this was a great way of increasing her visibility.

But I honestly think Laurie has truly loved the dancing.  So that's just great.

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Re: The Freestyles - An Assessment

Post by DeadManDancing on Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:46 am

Why am I not surprised we end up on the same page, Jane? Val has been busy with his own struggles way too much to be the best for her. Thank God he stepped it up again for the last dance. That at least was champions-worthy and makes it easier for me to see her take the trophy. I also agree he didn't overly make use of her gymnastics, so let's give him credit for that. It separated her from the routines that Shawn (s 15) and Aly have done, especially with their freestyles.

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Re: The Freestyles - An Assessment

Post by beardiedawg on Wed Nov 23, 2016 11:07 am

I'll have to rewatch Laurie's freestyle.  Maybe it was the disappointment in the choreography.  Because of her dancing ability, I think I expected more.  She could have been pushed and been successful.

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Re: The Freestyles - An Assessment

Post by Psychee22 on Wed Nov 23, 2016 11:09 am

GymGirlJane wrote:Unless I missed something Laurie did absolutely no gymnastics until the freestyle.  Even then her gymnastics was quite minimal.  She did a front handspring into a switch leap.  It was mostly a way of just saying "hey, this is why I'm here in the first place folks.  I am an Olympic gymnast."  She relied entirely on her dancing on DWTS.

I am no great expert on dance or choreography.  But I really thought Val just did not do a good job with Laurie.  His choreography was meh.  Thats it.  I think had Laurie had Mark as her pro it would have been far better.  Still, she really shone and I am glad that, in spite of Val, she won this season. I am also glad for her that she is going on the DWTS tour.  Her agents know that this is her short window of opportunity in terms of marketability and they are taking advantage of it.  Although she won Team Gold and Beam silver she did not emrge as one of the stars from Rio.  Simone and Aly did.  So this was a great way of increasing her visibility.

But I honestly think Laurie has truly loved the dancing.  So that's just great.

Had Laurie been paired with anyone else, I would have felt much more emotional support for her.  But Val's angst-ridden need to eclipse her in almost every interview -- even her very last with the MBT in hand! -- just turned me way off. 

She is cute as a button, her skills are to die for, her personality is bubbly and she REALLY loves the show and HAS loved it for for years.

But week after week, I did not find her to be as entertaining as James or Calvin - even when her dancing surpassed expectations. 

It was as if her glow was just dimmed by her partnership. 

So yeah... she won in spite of Val.  And I can live with that.

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