Phoenix Bartenders Served Sweet Moves at "Dancing with the Bars"

It was an evening of cat calls, curtain calls, and glittery dresses as seven Valley bartenders competed for the third annual "Dancing with the Bars" championship at the Wyndham Phoenix Hotel on Sunday, July 25.

The Dancing with the Stars-inspired competition, sponsored by Sway Events and benefiting the One Voice Community Center, featured a variety of popular local drink slingers. Each bartender trained with a professional dance instructor from Fred Astaire Dance Studios for seven weeks leading up to Sunday's event.

Some of the bartenders had some hot moves, while others struggled with their steps. We'll recap each bartender's performances (with judge's comments), and announce the winner after the jump.

JoJo Halko (bartender at Amsterdam)
Instructor: Cullen. Rocking a slinky black dress and a punky, greased bun hairdo, Halko performed a combination of ballroom and jazz dance to Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll."
Judge's Comments:
Ryan Freeman (bartender at BS West, dancer at Fred Astaire Dance Studios): "I love the whole package...make sure you stay confident in the presentation. You've got it, make sure you sell it."
Katy June (Board Director of Phoenix Pride): "Super hot. I felt a little Grease vibe, a Sandy vibe coming on."
Judge's total score: 34 out of 40

Nathan Gilligan (bartender at Forbidden)
Instructor: Guadalupe. Dressed in a glammy scarecrow-looking costume and busting moves around giant straw props, Gilligan performed modern dance to a medley of disco, Motown, and hip-hop beats.
Judge's Comments:
Andrew Hasbin (Fox 10 News reporter): "I really liked that you had a mix of songs. That made it really fun."
Katy June: "It was hard for us to see [over the props]. There were a lot of fluid movements, but I would like to see more precision."
Judge's total score: 26 out of 40

TC Taylor (bartender at The Rock)
Instructor: James. Dressed in drag and sporting a flashy red and black crinoline dress, Taylor performed a mix of Latin dances to the Lady GaGa song "Alejandro," which included a beautifully executed spin and dip.
Judge's Comments:
Bill Jones (Latin ballroom dancer, manager of Fred Astaire Dance Studios): "I liked the mixture of rhumba, cha-cha, and mamba. Your mamba was smokin'."
Ryan Freeman: "Somebody get ready to push the censor button, because that was the shit."
Judge's total score: 34 out of 40

Ron Rogers (bartender at Kobalt)
Instructor: Vicki. Rogers looked sharp in black pants and a red dress shirt, but was upstaged by his instructor, whose glittery red dress was so shiny and skimpy we couldn't take our eyes off of it. Rogers and the red dress performed a blend of salsa and cha-cha to Usher's "OMG."
Judge's Comments:
Bill Jones: "You are one hell of a sexy man. You can tell you've only been doing this for six weeks, but it looks good for six weeks."
Andrew Hasbin: "You knew your steps, and everything was there."
Judge's total score: 29 out of 40.

Kat Carlson (bartender at Cash Inn)
Instructor: Diona. Carlson, who teaches line dancing at Cash Inn, admitted she felt totally out of her element performing jazz and ballroom dance to Lady GaGa's "Teeth," but managed to elicit the loudest crowd cheers.
Judge's Comments:
Andrew Hasbin: "I don't think it matters what any of us think, because clearly, the audience thinks you're the winner."
Bill Jones: "For the first time, a couple had some good lead and follow."
Judge's total score: 36 out of 40.

Emilio Minto (bartender at Velocity)
Instructor: Rachel. Minto's dynamic modern dance performance to Nadia Oh's "Hot Like Wow" started with him dressed in a shirt and tie and reading a newspaper. It ended with him almost shirtless and crawling around in his female instructor's lap.
Judge's Comments:
Ryan Freeman: "That was amazing. Your timing, your moves -- whatever, your body is hot. I'm single. Give him my phone number."
Andrew Hasbin: "I thought this was supposed to be an amateur show. It didn't look like it."
Judge's total score: 40 out of 40.

Claudia B (bartender at Charlie's)
Instructor: Shawn. The ever-flamboyant Claudia B dressed in drag and a glittery black and silver dress for an interesting ballroom and modern dance interpretation of the Ike and Tina Turner version of "Proud Mary."
Judge's Comments:
Bill Jones: "Great telemarks, great timing. That was some pretty hard stuff you did there, but it came out clean."
Katy June: "You were gorgeous."
Judge's total score: 38 out of 40.

The judge's scores counted for 40 percent of the total tally; audience cheers made up the other 60 percent of the score. By the end of the night, the three finalists were announced as Claudi B, Emilio Minto, and Kat Carlson. Ultimately, Minto was crowned this year's "Dancing with the Bars" champion.

Congratulations, Emilio. We expect a full Coyote Ugly-type routine the next time we're in Velocity.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea