Tuesday, May 13, 2014

DWTS Season 18: Elena Grinenko, Part 2

Second to last show of the season and it was a wild one. I think we all agree Meryl will win that Mirror Ball Trophy and I won't be upset about it. She had an incredible season. I felt more connected to Amy's journey, but she's going on to great things so I am not worried about her. I know I put James in second place. I don't think I really believe that's how it will play out, it's just me making a ridiculous prediction for a ridiculous season when it comes to manipulation and scoring.

A big thanks for Elena Grinenko for stepping in at the last minute when Lindsay Arnold couldn't make it. Grinya always offers a insider's perspective on Meryl, Charlie and Maks that we would never have otherwise. 

Who is going to win that MBT? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. Not sure who will 'win' the MBT but I do know that Twitter/the internet will go into a meltdown if Meryl doesn't! Its DWTS so be prepared for a shock 'top3' and expect the unexpected! I would laugh if top two were Candace and James... Oh the comments that would fly based on that!

    1. I would love Candace to win. She has had a great journey and she is who most of us identify imo.

    2. It's going to be Meryl or Amy for the win. Meryl has the edge and a large fan base, but the show isn't over until that last freestyle dance is twirled out on the floor. Bring it! Monday is going to be fun!

  2. Hi Kristyn!

    First of all "Old Mcdonald did a Rumba" was the comment of the night! You are hilarious!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for talking about Maks. I agree 100% with what you said that Meryl can do more and that Maks is his own worst enemy. I also appreciated you guys talking about coreography when it came to him. Here's my take on it and I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks this. The show has grown a lot and the coreography has been stepped up by many of the pros. I'm not even going to talk about Derek because I believe he's in a class of his own, but pros like Mark, Sharna, Henry and Val are just too amazing and you can see the difference against pros like Maks and Tony. It's not that they're bad, it's just they don't measure up against the the names I mentioned. I've read over and over that Meryl should have been with Val and that was seen in their Argentine Tango. The repeat dance for the finals is going to be the dances done during the switch up week so it's going to be interesting to see Maks AT in comparison to Val's.

    Thank you for talking about the mean comments that are going around the internet. It's just too much. It's season 16 Kellie vs Zendeya - Derek vs La Familia all over again. All I can say is that it's just sad.

    As for Charlie and Sharna, you guys said it: crap card all season. I felt so bad for him. I don't know if he was going to win but I was convinced he was going to be in the finals. Suri talks about it every time and if people still don't believe the producers have anything to do with the show, Charlie is evidence that the fix is in. Poor Charlie, and poor Sharna. You could tell she was frustrated all season. Oh well, I hope they keep pairing her with good partners and wins at some point.

    The show as always was great! DWTS isn't truly finished until you guys do the Afterbuzz :) Can't wait until next week.

    PS: I also had #suritears when Amy came done the stairs and did the first run on her Quickstep. AMAZING!

    1. Hi Ana!
      You make a really great point. Choreography has evolved quite a bit on this show and it's starting to become a larger component of the show. It's easy to point out the pros who have stepped up and taken on the challenge. Maks must be under tremendous pressure to deliver an outstanding FS because Meryl is capable of doing anything. She's so good.

      It's going to be a great finale…but hopefully no farm-based Rumbas! :)

  3. Thanks for another great show! Elena was such a treat as a guest commentator that I hope she'll be back on more shows. I'm thinking of doing a spin-off of this season called 'Unnecessary Cruelty to Charlie White" so stay tuned for that. It also looks like my friend Susan in NY and I are the only two who loved Mery's skirt and feel she is the only woman who could wear it without looking like Dumbo in a tutu! I just loved it. FYI- The campaign to install Kristyn as co-hostess next season on DWTS continues.

    1. LOL…..I don't know if ABC will ever have me, I have spoiled too many of their shows! Meryl is so petite that I missed some of her beautiful lines and movement. That VW was gorgeous! I bet Meryl loved her skirt, though. :)

    2. I loved the skirt [in both dances]. CAI was correct, imo, that the fluffy skirts in a jive give the impression of more movement [and distract the eye from the footwork, imo] Instead, it was a period piece [down to perfection on Meryl's styling -my background is in fashion and period design is a special interest] and the Elvis outfit was ripped from the Hound Dog images [with the white shoes the change up from another iconic Presley outfit] Also, the colors were SPOT on. Perfect period look, down to the coral enamel [look] on gold metal petal earrings.

      The VM outfit was incredible, imo... First, the layers were chiffon, not lace or a cotton fabric. Thus, it went VERY floaty during spins/turns, which I am sure was the goal. Additionally, the look, besides being a nod to a classic movie, was based off of period SW/Mexican-American dress... That skirt, btw, is the type featured in 'country or western' weddings... There is a pinterest photo floating about which looks very similar to the skirt and is topped by a lightweight denim shirt [lighter color] and what appears to be a wide, raffia belt [which is surely cheaper than the traditional, wide leather belt w/ or w/o the concho pieces]

      As for both dances... Well, I've added them to the list of dances from this season I watch over and over. Included are M/M foxtrot, tango, salsa, rumba, and even the Jungle book dance as it really is very cleverly done- even with the 'cartoonish' exaggerated start to the hold part of the dance.

      Really looking forward to their freestyle and redo AT. As much as I admired the technical virtuosity of Val's AT w/ Meryl, I'd have liked something which offered far more emotion and change of speed. With the song they had, it really wasn't an option.

    3. Oh, also wanted to give Maks props on Meryl's costuming for the entire season. He has impeccably dressed her as befitting an elegant lady with the distinction of an OGM. Nothing gaudy. Nothing raunchy. Nothing cheesy or trite. Kudos.

  4. I agree wholeheartedly that Maks' choreo always leaves me wanting more for Meryl. the only time I didn't feel like that after her dance was AT & coincidence? it was with Val! She's such an amazing talent who deserved better choreography.

    I'm so tired of the pre-fixed notion that Meryl will win because Maks is back, has never won, is a changed man, yada-yada. There's a reason why he's never won - he chokes at choreo pressure! (Mel B was an amazing talent, dancer, & partner with him - freestyle? choke!)

    He complains when he doesn't have ringers that others have ringers, then he is all "woe is me" when he has ringers that it's so hard to choreograph, he is always throwing insults & tempers around - SO uncomfortable how close to abusive it seems (melissa gilbert, hope, throwing the mic around meryl) - he's just lucky Meryl is an amazing & focused Olympian who can take it & work around it, but she shouldn't have to.

    The producers have ensured every possible way to basically hand Maks the trophy (however unearned) from (probably) promising him a ringer for a return (which I'm fine with but let's be frank - Maks has had plenty of ringers before, just like Derek but still just has never been able to be a closer to capitalize on it!), Val got eliminated probably resulting in all the "La Familia" votes turning 100% to Maks, then now Charlie being eliminated which will result in all the skating fans votes turning 100% to MnM - & yet Maks has just been giving "phoned in" choreo that he always does & it's tiresome! He always has the same stuff - 5 counts wasted on walking down steps, 8 counts wasted on running down stairs, 14 counts wasted on looking at each other "will they kiss?", 5 counts wasted on putting his finger to his lips "Shh...-while-the-girl-waves-at-him-to-pay-attention" bit, etc.

    I do think Maks has been VERY smart about packaging MnM as a FULL of chemistry & an endearing relationship which has pulled viewers in, which made his lackluster choreo an afterthought. This has been Team ShaCha's downfall - they had fun, cheery, no drama, no nonsense with GREAT complex choreo & performances but the producers had to weigh what's better reality TV - spend 3-4 minutes on a package about how Meryl is "the beauty taming the beast" bringing out a NEW MAKS (gag me! he's the same as before - they did this bit with Mel B & Erin) which left only 1:30 or so on Charlie's pre-dance packages (this is a pattern that George from OTRC noticed about those package times that he brought to Sharna's attention.)

    I would've loved to have seen Charlie in the finale - even if he wouldn't have won, but at least just to see what their freestyle would've been since we've never seen a Sharna freestyle (& we've seen plenty of Maks blah ones). At least we've seen Peta, Mark, & Derek are capable of great freestyles, but Maks? He's just lucky Meryl is an amazing athlete & performer & will deliver flawlessly whatever he gives her, but who knows if he's going to be able to impress conceptually.

    1. I agree…..we were robbed of Sharna's FS choreo. She deserves major kudos for bringing out complex choreo each week for Charlie. I was very sorry to see them go. :(

  5. Wow, such amazing comments. I think I am in the Amy camp. I love her to bits and she has had such an amazing journey. Likewise James and Candace have got the job done with flare and good humour. Maks has been completely unprofessional imo and while Meryl has been amazing I really do not want to see Maks win. There is some scuttlebutt that not only is his win predetermined, he is going to be a judge next year. Anyone know anything about that? I, for one, will no longer watch the show if that happens.

    1. I've heard nothing about Season 19 yet. I need to get through Season 18 and then take a long nap. :) Thanks for watching, Jude!

    2. Jude, I agree with you! I'm in the Amy camp. I like Meryl but I really don't want Maks to win! I don't understand why there's this predetermined notion of him needing to win because he's never won - there's a REASON why he's never won!

  6. Another outstanding show. You guys have me so hooked! As for my predictions for the finals, it goes like this;

    1. Amy (1st disabled person to win a dance show in the US. wow, it would be so cool)
    2. Meryl (Maks is bringing her down. You are right.... he's his own worst enemy)
    3. James
    4. Candace

    Though a week ago, I would have predicted it like this:

    1. Amy
    2. Charlie (or maybe switch him with Amy. I could never decide as I loved them both)
    3. Meryl
    4. James

    1. That FS showdown is going to be epic. I know many didn't think Kellie would win over Zendaya until Derek pulled out that FS dance. Whoa! I am very excited for Monday. We are going to see some serious dancing…and even if Candace and James aren't the top 2 contenders, we all know Peta and Mark are going to pull out some great choreo to finish up.

    2. Kristyn, can we PLEASE have a DWTS afterbuzz show on Tue only about Monday's dances (let's be honest - really the freestyles!) & then another show on Wed about the finale & results? We need the afterbuzz crew's analysis of the freetyles for a whole hour!!!

    3. I wish we could. The ABTV studio is so busy, that it's only available to us for the Wednesday show. We will have so much to talk about!

  7. Hey Kristyn! It's nice to see you back on the show and AGAIN another GREAT one!

    Elena has a great point of view! Right now I'm feeling better about Charlie's departure, but I'll always miss his and Sharna's freestyle! Well, at least we had that Supersized Mary Poppins piece that had a big taste of a freestyle to me. I hope they can redo that in the finale and do not drop the cane, which never bothered me (TRY TO DO THAT Mr. GUEST JUDGE) in the first time around, but I won't get over of it - just like you. It should been a perfect 40!!!!!!

    Moving on, I just predicted the same as Suri! And THANK YOU VERY MUCH for putting there that on tv there is no coincidence. In my humble opinion, "reality shows" fails once it start to be clear to the most beloved viewer of the show the manipulation behaind it, which is ot that "behind" anymore, and it comes to an ending!

    But it is clear that DWTS viewers watching the show not only for the dramas, romances or whatever, but the dancing! We all love to see how everyone will do on each style of dance they get. This season especially I missed a lot the Paso Doble and the Vienese Waltz, I mean there was a time that most of the couples would do both of them... It felt like they did not have ballroom dances, only latin dances and and not-exectaly-ballroom-or-latin-dances...

    Massive love from this brazilian fan! :)

    1. Hi Geórgia! I always love your commentary. Yes, not enough ballroom this season. I hope they reconsider that for S19. I don't need contemporary or jazz as much. I have SYTYCD for that.

  8. Hi Kristyn,

    I think Meryl will win too. With her combined fanbases I don't even think her freestyle has to be amazing. Probably just good. LOL. Folks have some low expectations for Maks so there's that. I am all for the Meryl win. She's been great all season. I am with the consensus that the only dance that truly blew me away was her AT with Val. But even her dances where I've wanted more have been above and beyond what other celebs were doing. Each pro has a "style" I would have liked to see Maks grow more and expand his choreo vocabulary. I think he gave it his best this season and he did put together some great routines (Tango, Foxtrot...maybe even their Rumba) but he didn't hit it out of the park every week. But I'm not sure any pro could do that even with a Meryl. So I'll just wait until I see that freestyle.

    I think the Charlie/Sharna down fall was lack of chemistry and Sharna not finding the balance of tough choreo and entertainment. Sometimes tough choreo is mind blowing (Val/Meryl - AT)...other times simple but unique choreo is equally as impressive (Derek/Amy - Jazz). Charlie was doing tough choreo all season but some dances it was so jammed packed it didn't look smooth or finished. And when I say lack of chemistry I don't mean that drama=chemistry or showmance level chemistry. I think Candace & Mark have great chemistry. You can tell each is really invested in their partnership. For some reason while I truly loved some of Charlie's dances I was not truly invested in his partnership with Sharna if that makes sense. When they danced it was about the dance not about the chemistry or emotion between them. I just felt more emotion in the other partnership...maybe it's just me.

    I thought Amy's quickstep was so good. So to go from that fast paced fun routine to the jazz was somewhat of a jolt. Now I wonder if she would have used those runner legs in some of her other dances would I have enjoyed them more??? My fav dances of her's was her jive and QS. I see where Julz is coming from in wanting more from her Jazz especially after seeing her QS she's so capable so I'm a bit baffled.

    James & Candace....I think James is the slightly better dancer...but Mark is the more experienced choreographer and has an edge over Peta.

    Can't wait for the Finale!


    1. I agree, Toni. I think many of us will go back to the Sharna/Charlie partnership and look back on why they didn't get to the finale. He had a tougher time with some of the edgier dances and he had some mental struggles 3/4 of the way through the season. I feel like we could debate the choreo strategy for days: complex vs. simple/clean vs. unique.

  9. This is my fourth season watching the show and this is the first time I been so shocked by all of the things said on AfterBuzz. I agreed that Charlie should still be for the FS! But I think he should be there instead of Meryl (for me she was pretty much like Christina) I never felt connected to her! Also, I have my concerns for Amy I think it was never fair for her to be on the show and for the other competitors. All of them were at a huge disadvantage by being compared to her.
    Candace was my favorite all season long and still is. I love the way she connected with Mark. And her contemporary (my god!) and her dance with Charlie I found myself re-watching them time after time! I feel (like I felt with Zendaya) is just that I want to see her win! Just that… she really deserves it!
    Regarding the pros I'm a little bit tired and annoyed at always seeing Derek winning. There are some amazing pros that should have the same opportunities than him: Karina, Mark, Val, Sharna, and, even, Peta are as amazing as he!! I think long time ago the show stop being about the "best celebrity dancer" but more about the relation between celebrity and pro.

    And for this season I would be so, so happy if Candace or James take the MBT.! Yes, they should take it home. I would not be as happy if Meryl or Amy got it. I've never seem to be on the same page with all of you but, as I said at the beginning this was the first time I felt shocked, and kinda angry at the comments you made.

    P.S: I still enjoyed all of the insight you guys have. Keep up the good work! Greetings from Argentina! xo.

    1. Hello Argentinas: You made a great point: I think long time ago the show stop being about the "best celebrity dancer" but more about the relation between celebrity and pro.

      This is a really correct observation about the show…and while many fans won't agree with the statement, the best dancer hasn't won in many seasons…I wonder what will happen this season? Hmmmm…..

  10. Hi Kristyn,

    LOVE AFTERBUZZ!! I was a casual viewer of DWTS until Season 10 when I HAD to watch due to Evan Lysacek being on the show! Didn't think it was fair that season that a PCD (Nicole Scherzinger )was on the show & won..lol. Fell in love with Anna Trebunskaya. Fell in love with the show. Been a regular viewer ever since!
    While I think Meryl is a great dancer, I don't think being partnered with Maks has been in her best interest. I don't think Maks has choreographed routines that have really shown us what Meryl is truly capable of. Val certainly did that during switch week. Can you imagine what kind of routines we would've gotten if she'd have been paired with Derek?
    Now we all know that Derek has won so many times because the man is talented at figuring out exactly what his partner's strengths and weaknesses are and choreographing routines that showcases them perfectly. He also knows how to teach partners how to dance as well. Plus the man is a genius.
    I would really LOVE to see Amy win, followed by Meryl, Candace and James. I really hope it doesn't end up like All-Stars season where Maks wins because he's never won before like Tony.....because really, could anyone ELSE have done a Knight Rider Bhangra like Shawn and Derek?? I plan to stay up REALLY Late Monday night to Power Vote for Amy and Derek! I wouldn't mind if Candace or James won...I just don't want Maks to win because it seems like it's been pre-determined for that to happen all season long and I don't like that AT ALL!

    P.S.--Is Julz EVER on time for the show? lol

    1. The answer to Julz is…..I think he was on time two times? LOL I have to give him credit for those two times. ;)

      Thank you so much for watching. We are having a blast doing the show. I agree on the Meryl/Val pairing. That would have been my choice, too. Height-wise, it is also better match. While I do think it is Maks/Meryl's MBT, you can NEVER count anyone out until that last FS dance is out there on the floor. We have seen how it has changed the final outcome the last few seasons. Looking forward to Monday! :)

    2. IMO, Val worked her so hard that week, I would have feared even MORE injuries AND would have robbed much of the fun from the season from Meryl as she'd have been working flat out. That routine ONLY came together on MONDAY, the day of the performance... Val and Meryl were rehearsing ALL day at every chance, per Artem.

      Technically, it was a masterpiece. But, I didn't get the AT emotion, which is why I love that dance and it, too, is my favorite. Looking forward to the one Maks creates. I'm confident it will be spectacular, but very different. [Provided they're not stuck w/ pounding/driving music]

    3. Kristyn,

      Love you on afterbuzz and i love your insight. I miss Jake so much and originally only watched for him....Now I enjoy all of you guys.

      I have to say I agree that the fix is in for Maks/Meryl....I love Meryl but Maks, I just dont feel his choeorography(sp)...I havent watched any of his dances back, ever....Now, Derek's dances, seasons can go by and i will go look on Youtube to look at some of his past work with some of his past partners.

      I cant believe i am saying this but this may be the first season that I wont be upset if Derek doesnt win.

      I actually wanted Val/Danica and Sharna/Charlie to win....

      I love James and feel he is a better dancer than Candance so truly wouldnt be upset with whoever wins the MBT....

      I honestly think that Amy is a great dancer and she deserves to be in the finals and for what She and Derek have accomplished, has been mind blowing but then again, how could you not love someone who has courage and who goes out there with no legs and dances so beautifully....I am like Suri, tears and all, with watching Amy.

      So I honestly think it may be a tighter race than anyone thinks, I think the freestyle is gonna make or break Maks. If he can pull out something fantastic or halfway decent, the MBT is his....he better get some tips from Val, lol...

      However, if Derek pulls a Derek and like JC Rubio says, Derek is "the closer".....Maks better watch out! After all it's up to America to vote and Derek has a lot of fans, Add in the story, plus Oprah's endorsement and Amy can dance, I think it just might go to Amy by a smidge.

      If not, I'm like you...we could have a shocker at the top.

      I wouldnt be surprised if Candace or James wins.

      Sorry so long, just rambling here.


    4. Catharine/theTruth, you've just said what's bothering me the most right now. "The fix is in" - yet Maks still might lose. Derek still can win and you'll be okay if he doesn't - but he's the closer and Maks better watch out (meaning "the fix" isn't in). There also might be a shocker and Candace or James could win (meaning there isn't a fix).

      Is there or isn't there a fix? You can't have it both ways - either the show is manipulated and the mirrorball is already engraved and in Julz trunk (ha, I caught that) or it's not over until we see the freestyle dances and the viewer votes are in.

      (I'm not directing this at you specifically Catherine, it just happened that your comment included all of the specific points I wanted to cover.)

    5. Catherine…I think you are right when you say, "it's a tighter race than anyone thinks." Until that last FS dance is done, I don't think we will have an idea who the clear winner is. Maks/Meryl have had the most consistent season, but Derek is the FS master. For that reason, I can't wait for Monday!

  11. Thank you! That means a lot to me. I know you guys care as well and I think it is fun to hear what everyone thinks of each show and the dances. Thank you for watching!

  12. HI Kristyn, really enjoyed this week's show. Please tell Jake a lot of the viewers really miss him.
    I still can't get over Charlie's elimination. That really broke my heart. I wish he had gotten more ballroom dances. His attitude is so infectious, Just seeing him smile made me happy. I could tell it broke Sharna's spirit to be eliminated like that. I predicted Charlie would win in the beginning of season given his personality, ability, and Sharna's choreography, so it's shocking to know we won't even get to see their freestyle.
    So far I had been splitting votes between Amy and Charlie, Now obviously I'll give all the votes to Amy. Meryl is spectacular but I can't warm up to Maks. In the past he complained about Derek getting good partners, now that he gets one, he still complains. I know I'll vote really hard on MOnday, but knowing the fix is in for Maks, it really makes me wonder if the votes will even count.
    One question, how is Facebook data measured? I try to avoid it at all costs given the nasty comments.

    1. Ananya, Ahhh….exactly what I wanted to know! While I am sure a lot of Meryl/Charlie fans will stick with Meryl, I am starting to hear that some Charlie fans are throwing their votes to Amy. This could be an interesting twist to voting, especially if both couples nail their FS dances.

      If you are talking about FB-ology, there is no science to it. Kristin Hope looks at the votes based on how people respond to the posts about a particular couple. It's more psychology on our end, but it has turned out to be pretty accurate the last few seasons.

  13. Hi Kristyn! *pre-coffee sluggish wave*

    This is my third season watching the show but my first watching AfterBuzz and I can't begin to tell you how much more fun it is with you guys. I get to pretend like I know what's going on. ;) I never realized how much I missed Anna dancing on the show until I watched her lovely face every week again.

    I've been disappointed by how polarized some of the fan bases have become in these last couple of weeks. I enjoy participating in discussion groups and on social media and it's gotten to the point where there are places that I can't even go to anymore because all they do is argue about either the celebrities, pros or the other sites. It's crazy! I won't even touch the Facebook groups - they make me want to take a Silkwood shower.

    Maybe all of this infighting has made me touchier than usual this year, but it's bugging me that predictions for the winner this year are being qualified with words like, "deserved," "ridiculous" and "manipulated." I'm *NOT* specifically picking those out of yours - well, I am but only because they're here in front of me, others have used similar words to say the same sort of thing. Anyway, in a sense, the winner has already been invalidated by all of this kind of stuff. If Amy wins, she won because she had a good story and because she had Golden Boy Derek (not because she was a good dancer). If James wins, it's because his teenybopper audience voted their fingers off (forget his questionable dance skills). If Meryl wins - she's already lost, no matter how she wins. She'll have the Pete Rose asterisk next to her name. *Producer-manipulated because it was Maks' year, she was the ringer-iest ringer that ever ringered (depending on which website or forum you're on, add in that she's a horrible person who faked a showmance).

    I think ever since this Facebook-ology thing got out, some people think it was actually created by the producers (I've heard that, seriously) and there's some secret Illuminati conspiracy over there to make people click on something and have it count for someone else to make sure certain people are eliminated.

    1. Hi Barbara…you had me at Silkwood shower. LOL

      The infighting makes me sad. If you are rooting for a particular pro/celeb, go for it. Celebrate them, but don't cut down the competitor. It's just sad. A lot of this does have to do with producers manipulating packages and the "story lines." Some of us see right through it and others believe it hook, line and sinker.

      It's a shame because anyone who wins will have to deal with this mess…and the fans will fight….and again, that's sad.

      LOL….I can't believe Facebook-ology is sending people over the edge. It's not a perfect science, but it is surprisingly accurate. It shows who fans are rooting for the most. Kristin Hope pointed it out to me a few seasons ago. It's more of a psychology experiment than anything else. ABC has nothing to do with it.

  14. I agree Barbara re fan bases colliding. In particular, I had no idea that ice skaters had such intensely devoted fans. It is a world I know little about but I do think the intensity of it all is at another level this season. However, that being said, Maks has not ingratiated himself with his remarks and the outbursts we have seen in the packages. Because of this, I think, many voters believe he doesn't deserve to win and this has spilled over into blogs and fansites. I wonder if the finsl four are what the producers wanted for the


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