So You Think You Can Dance Season 12 Top 20 Perform 2 Eliminated

29 07 2015

The opening song for tonight’s show is “Baila Como Yo” by District 78 choreographed by Pharside and Phoenix. The costumes were so colorful. It was very, very impressive.

Yorelis, Darion, and Hailee were teamed up with choreographers Jonathan Platero and Oksana Dmytrenko to do a salsa to the song “Blucutu” by Saamara. That was making me dizzy there for a bit. Hailee and Darion hit the complicated move but the crowd didn’t go as crazy as they expected. I think Darion was challenged by the dance. It is a very different style from ballet where you are needing to keep you posture straight. Latin dancing requires a completely different skill set. But also to be fair, he had to handle two female dancers for a lot of complicated and fast moves. The ladies did great. I think Yorelis had a better bit with the music. Jason felt like he nailed the jumped but missed he spiciness. He missed the sexiness this number should have had. Jason thought for Darion it was a little bit less than okay. Regarding Yorelis he thought she did a great job. He did not comment on Hailee and Hailee’s face looked like “why?” Nigel thought the two girls were fabulous. Hot and spicy. Darion said he saw what Travis was saying about him sleeping behind the wheel a bit. While the two girls were being spicy, he was like the yogurt in the middle that calmed it all down a little bit. He thought one of the lifts went crazily wrong but he carried on and maybe some people didn’t notice. Paula noticed but she applauded Hailee for the recovery. She felt the ladies were extremely hot. She thought Hailee’s trump card was her laser focus. She thought Yorelis was phenomenal. Paula just saw Darion’s thinking process instead of being in the performance.

Interestingly, they are going to give results if they are in the bottom right after they dance. Based on last week’s votes for last week’s dance, Darion is in the bottom; Hailee and Yorelis are safe.

Derek and Ariana are teamed up for a jazz routine with choreographer Ray Leeper. It’s a story about two people who come together to share in the pain and misery of losing a loved one to the song “Cry Me a River” by Michael Bublé. That was a fantastic pairing. No goosebumps but I enjoyed it so very much. Paula said it is so glad to see a plain old jazz routine. Paula thought she nailed it for being something completely out of her genre. Derek’s technique is perfect. But both of them need to work on performance with their face and with their eyes, how they can learn to communicate with each other with just some emotional connection. Jason agrees with Paula. Ariana’s performance shocked him. He agrees they need to turn up the performance with their eyes. Nigel said it was wonderful to see someone on Team Street dance like this. He said Derek was wonderful but he didn’t have to have the “peeling onions” face on all the time. Change the emotions. Cat Deeley shares that Ariana and Derek are both in danger in their bottom six.

Alexia, Virgil, and Megz were put together with Dee Caspary. The contemporary dance is about the beauty and love coming from the girls is toxic for Virgil. The song is “Until We Go Down” by Ruelle. You could tell Megz and Virgil were not in their dance style; however, they did pretty good to make up for performance what they lacked in technique. Did I get “toxic” from the ladies? Maybe in some of Megz movements, but not consistently. I saw a lot of pursed lips from Alexia. I did like her ending glance. Virgil is like Fik-Shun. His personality makes people drawn to him. However, this is my favorite routine up to this point since the opening of the show. Nigel said he liked this routine for many reasons. Nigel said that Alexia is so good they should be shouting her praises and she is slipping under the radar because they aren’t. Nigel liked her ending glance too. As far as Megz and Virgil—WOW, WOW, WOW! Paula said that Alexia was beautiful, she adored Virgil, and Megz? “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh.” Jason said they earned that standing ovation though and through. Virgil became one of the top contenders after that. Cat Deeley tells them all they are safe based on last week’s dance and last week’s vote.

Lily, Burim, Gaby and Edson teamed up with Nakul Dev Mahajan to do a Bollywood routine to the song “Dhol Baaje” by Ek Paheli Leela (Soundtrack). My new favorite of the night. They all did so wonderfully but you know my eye is always drawn to Edson. Jason enjoyed it. It had a lot of energy. He thought the “slap the booty” move was fly. Nigel thought the girls were terrific. He didn’t learn a great deal from the boys though. Paula enjoyed this number. Lily’s face tells a beautiful story. She is proud of Burim and he was right in the middle of cheesy fun. Edson said he could give a little bit more but his technique was wonderful and Gaby should just get off the stage (a compliment). As far as their place in the competition. Lily is in danger; Gaby, Burim and Edson are safe.

Asaf, Kate, and Neptune met up with Spencer Liff to do a Broadway routine. They are going to be musicians but instead of having instruments, their instruments will be their bodies. We are into week 2 and Asaf’s easy frustration level is getting old. Once again, he had to be pulled out by tWitch to be talked to. Twitch is frank that his attitude is disrespectful to Spencer that he is not trying harder. The song is “All About the Bass” by Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox featuring Kate Davis. I don’t think Asaf’s heart was in this dance at all which is quite a shame. He has been given a tremendous opportunity here and he’s blowing it. Neptune did a good job, but my eyes were with Kate. However, I think the song really showcased the depth of her experience. Paula said she thought what Spencer did was very inventive and he did a great job. Neptune was creative, committed, innovative. She is proud of him because he is really showing up. Kate said she is a stunning bass. She thinks she can turn it on even more. Dial up the notch more. She thinks Asaf gets the “most improved.” She said he needs to turn his opposition to choreography and make it his best friend. She told him he needs to enjoy the process because he will never have anything like this again. Jason agrees. He said Kate was gorgeous, like a movie star. Jason wanted her to give him a little more. He is proud of Neptune especially where he comes from. Nigel said that sometimes Kate’s coolness can be misconstrued as not performing. Her technique is beautiful but he wants a little bit more. He felt Neptune threw himself into it and he really looked like a jazz performer. He said to Asaf that a negative mind will never create a positive life. Challenges are opportunities. Cat said that Neptune is in danger; Kate and Asaf are safe.

Christopher Scott took on Jim and JaJa for a hip-hop routine. The story is about a man’s compassion for a woman for the struggles she has that a man does not. The song is “No Woman, No Cry (Live Version)” by Bob Marley and the Wailers. That was lovely! Jim did a great job. It was very fluid and had a lot of emotion in it. Nigel got very emotional when he was describing street and stage coming together like the positive and negative of a battery that makes things work. He loved Jim’s rounded shoulders. Paula said it was beautiful. They proved that if they show up, commit and are present, it works. It was beautiful execution. She loved JaJa’s softness. She loved Jim’s ability to let go of his core. Jason said it was an unbelievable routine. He said those two are stars and he would pay money to see that. He said he saw a dancer in Jim, not a ballet dancer. He said JaJa that the feminine and softness was a side of her he absolutely loved. After last week’s votes, both are safe.

Marissa, Moises, and JJ joined choreographer Ray Leeper for a jazz number. The story is that Moises has been seeing both girls and they show up to confront him. The song is “I’m So Sorry” by Imagine Dragons. THAT is now my favorite routine of the night. They were cohesive, hard-hitting, and you could not tell who was street and who was stage. LOVED IT!!! Jason said it was very good. He thought Marissa adding a smile was not appropriate. The story was that she should be mad as hell at him. The smiles kind of took him out of the story. JJ had a frown on her face that had no levels; the dancing was good. Nigel said Jason said it all. He felt like Moises parted those two women as Moises parted the Red Sea. He was very proud of his strength tonight. His technique? No one should discuss it (but he will). He had beautiful feet and beautiful lines. Nigel said to the girls that Jason is right—they had a smile on their face every now and again. The routine he loved. Paula said she had a slightly different approach. Starting with the ladies, she thinks that in ganging up together, there is a slight amount of rejoice in the fact that you are ganging up on him. Paula said that it is from a female perspective instead of a male. She thinks JJ is friggin’ kryptonite. She said to both ladies that she doesn’t want to see them looking down—she wants to see them inviting them in. For Moises, Paula said he took notes and she is proud of him. Cat tells them the results: Moises is in danger; JJ and Marissa are safe.

Last week Team Stage pulled in 54% of the vote from last week’s dancing and Team Street pulled in 46% of the vote so Team Stage won last week.

Christopher Scott and Phillip Chbeeb from season 5 teamed up for the group number for Team Street. It’s a story about balance. And ugh–Asaf AGAIN complaining, complaining, complaining. I’m seriously tired of it. The song is “Time” by Nathan Lanier. That was quite the ambitious routine. No one fell off the see-saw so that is a plus.

Team Stage is taking on a “God’s At War” theme, choreographed by Travis Wall, to the song “Stabat Mater” by Woodkid. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Goosebumps! I love you Travis Wall. It was incredible. The judges were on their feet.

The vote results time: Twitter saved Moises and Neptune from elimination this week. The judges decide to go with America’s vote on who they saved tonight. They decide to save Derek and Ariana. They say goodbye to Darion and Lily.





So You Think You Can Dance Season 12 Top 20 Perform Only

22 07 2015

Since I ran out of time to watch the Vegas Hell Week, I decided to just get into it with the Top 20 Performing. Both #TeamStreet and #TeamStage go on stage and perform to “Revolt” by Nathan Lanier choreographed by Christopher Scott and Jessica Lee Keller. It looks like they divided both teams into 5 guys and 5 girls on each team so that they can be partnered. That was exciting!

Team Stage are: Alexia, Darion, Gaby, Derek, Hailee, Edson, Kate, Marissa, Jim, and Moises.
Team Street are: Ariana, Asaf, Jaja, Burim, JJ, Neptune, Lily, Megz, Virgil, and Yorelis.

Bummer, Queen of Detroit did not make it. Asaf was not supposed to be here but Hurrikane injured himself and had to retire from the competition.

Three members from Team Street (Megz, Neptune, and JJ) team up with Dave Scott to do a dance that they are superheroes saving the streets. Dancing to “The Illest” by Far East Movement featuring Riff Raff. I loved it. They were all so strong, but if I had to pick the weakest link, it was JJ. Nigel thought it was a great opening. Megz is dancing good and looking good. Eddie changed his named to Neptune. He needs to bring some personality along with that long. Paula loved that Dave gave them the superpower feel. Paula said she needs to see that superhero characterizations all the way through. Jason thought it was good. He was a little let down by the performance. He thought it was good, but we are way past good. He felt like it lacked breadth in some places. Some movements were bleeding into the next movement. Megz tried to get her point across to vote for her to a camera that was not focused on her and it looked a little strange.

Three members of Team Stage, Moises, Gaby and Derek,  teamed up with Stacey Tookey. Stacey said the routine is about finding your light and standing in that light. The song is “Luminous” by Max Richter. Goosebumps!!! Wow, Gaby is a tapper and is just bringing it. I felt like they were angels dancing for God. There were so many spots where someone could have gotten kicked in the head and they didn’t. It just flowed effortlessly. Paula said Stacey brings so much emotion into everything she does. The costuming was ethereal. She complemented all of them on stepping up their game. Jason said the performance was something for sure he would have paid to see himself. Nigel said that when they were in unison it was absolutely beautiful. The guys’ extensions were incredible. Nigel complimented Gaby for going outside her comfort zone of tapping and doing so wonderfully in the routine. Travis approves.

Christopher Scott choreographed the next street routine with Jaja, Burim, Asaf, and Lily. The song is “Easy (Switch Screens)” by Son Lux featuring Lorde. It was so hard to try to watch them all. It was good, but it didn’t wow me like the others. Maybe it was the song choice. I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with some of Christopher Scott’s choreography for the show. Jason thought it was beasty. Nigel thought after Stacey’s routine Team Stage was going to take the show but after this routine, Team Street has come through. Even though Lily’s strength is waacking, she should out to him. Nigel said to Asaf that if he is a good dancer and a good entertainer, too, he has the ability to win this program. Paula said this routine made her nervous. Chris had to choreograph for four different dancers and even though the boys are both b-boy dancers, they aren’t the same. She thought it was awesome, strong and powerful. They took Paula’s breath away. But Asaf had to have the last say (that might get him into trouble). Even though it was to compliment and thank his fellow dancers for working hard with him (because he had to jump into the spot). The judges teased him that now he is a judge. I know he was very confident in his audition which made him stand out, but now he has to learn humility to be part of the show.

Brian Friedman is back on the show as a choreographer. We haven’t seen him in awhile on the show. He worked with Alexia, Hailee, and Marissa. The song is “New Dorp, New York” by SBTRKT featuring Ezra Koenig. I would say Alexia is the person who stood out as having the most difficulty. While it seemed Marissa and Hailee were really putting all of themselves into the dance, Alexia seemed to be held back by something—maybe she did not feel comfortable exerting that sexy side or maybe it was something else—but Marissa and Hailee did a great job. Alexia did a lot of the pursing of the lips to appear to be sexy but it seemed force and, like Brian said, she had to get out of her competition mode. Nigel thought Hailee looked like a young Madonna. He cautioned them for a sexy kind of dance style. Sex straight out there tends not to be sexy, but a raised eyebrow, a look down the nose, the thing that just keeps people interested rather than just in your face. Paula said when you are given a powerhouse routine, it is the subtleties that make the dance. They all delivered but cautioned them to have that intellectual knowingness. Jason thought it is harder to have just a couple of steps versus many because you have to sell it. He agrees with Nigel and Paula about in the in-your-face sexiness and for a minute he thought he was in Miami.

The ballet dancers, Darion and Jim, were paired with choreographer Benoit Swan Pouffer to the song “Blood and Stone” by Audiomachine. That was a tough routine to get unison with in just the short amount of time they had to learn it. If I had to pick one over the other, Jim is the stronger dancer (very Alex Wong). It was not in unison a lot of the times it needed to be. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t anything that moved me to goosebumps. The audience was on their feet. Nigel and Jason were standing up. Paula said the amount of strength it takes. She hopes the costuming of them gets better, but they are tremendous dancers. Jason was floored by their performance. He felt like it was one of the performances that will be remembered just as Travis said and not because of their outfit. Nigel said Jim has amazing feet. He needs a little more light in Darion’s eyes. But technique wise it was so strong. They are a privilege to have on the show.

Yorelis, Virgil, and Ariana teamed up with choreographers Phoenix and Pharside for a hip-hop number for Team Street. The story is that Virgil is at the gate of heaven and he has to decide between good and evil. And what song would go perfectly with that routine? Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven” of course. I really enjoyed that. It was a lot of fun to watch. Jason said Ariana did her thing and held her own. He thought it was a dope performance. It was real fly. Nigel agrees with Jason. Paula said they were wonderful performers. They all had superhero qualities. Paula offered advice about taking those moments and turning them into a star-quality performance.

Edson and Kate are the last to perform and they got stuck with Travis Wall as their choreographer (sarcasm). I love Travis Wall. The story is about love that hurts people. The song is “Shaped Like a Gun” by Tailor. Goosebumps in the first 5 seconds. The move where her foot brings up his head was amazing. Goosebumps, goosebumps, goosebumps. I had to rewind and watch it again. It was magnificent. It was full of emotion. Nigel said beautiful dancing, beautiful choreography, but he didn’t understand what it was about. He didn’t get what the song was about from the emotions they were expressing on the stage today. There was smiling, then there was frowning. But I beg to differ. It was about a relationship that sometimes is really good and then sometimes it is really sad and bad. I don’t get moved to goosebumps without reason. Paula said there was some kind of void in the chemistry. She felt they were technically perfect, but there was something that was holding them back from giving into the routine. Jason agreed with what they were saying, and said to Kate when she has to push him, don’t just nudge him—really push him away because he can handle it. Live it.

Jason Derulo backed by the All-Stars did his new song “Cheyenne.” It was great seeing all that SYTYCD talent backing him up.

The next routine was the entire Team Stage with Warren Carlyle. He wanted to make a Broadway routine inspired by Bob Fosse. The song is “Body Language” by Queen. THAT was fabulous. To combine all their unique skills to be showcased into one cohesive routine with no prop failures and no costume failures. Wow. The judges were on their feet.

Team Street gets their chance to answer with choreographers Tabitha and Napoleon (aka NappyTabs). They danced to “Ready or Not Here I Come” by District 78 featuring Cheesa. I think it is much more difficult to get street dancing in total sync because there are so many moves that go on. The judges again were on their feet. The judges believe it went to Team Street tonight.





Getting Dark Matter to Trend

17 07 2015

The fans from Fringe ( http://morethanoneofeverything.net/2012/10/01/fringe-twitter-event-all-is-not-lost-theres-got-to-be-anotherway/ perfected the best protocol for getting something to trend. Because the single word “Fringe” never trended (well it finally did at the finale), they got with Fox Broadcasting and instead of using Fringe they used the title of the episode. They trended EVERY SINGLE WEEK using this.  It took a labor intensive coordinated effort to get people on board.

Since Dark Matter has no named episodes, #DarkMatter would work just fine (if it doesn’t, then #DarkMatterTV might be something to try in the future). I am going to post what the rules were for Fringe and I’ll put my comments in bold about Dark Matter).

I tried very hard to get the fans of Enlisted on Fox Broadcasting to follow the protocol and it never worked (and it, like Fringe, had a name of the show as a common word that would never likely trend) but it was next to impossible. The fans think that more hashtags make things better, but it does not. Fringe had a very organized process and anyone they saw tweeting more than one hashtag, they kindly asked the person to just use one. If they saw someone not using a hashtag, they politely reminded them to use the hashtag.

This was an example of the Fringe approach (my comments about Dark Matter are in bold and italics below the Fringe approach):

1) Don’t use #LoveIsTheAnswer before the designated time: 1 HOUR before Fringe airs.

(In this case, don’t use #DarkMatter until 1 hour before airtime; you can use DarkMatter without the hashtag, but don’t start using the hashtag until 1 hour before airtime).

2) One # term per Tweet. (Only one hashtag because Twitter doesn’t count tweets towards trending with multiple hashtags.

If everyone needs to use #DarkMatter there should be a coordinated effort that everyone just use that and not something else. So if someone tweets #FourClan #DarkMatter it won’t count towards trending at all.

3) Lots of people tweeting matters more than the number of tweets.

(Rules apply to Dark Matter as well)

4) Those with lots of followers help out a lot!

(Rules apply to Dark Matter as well)

5) We want to pique the interest of non-Fringe fans. (In our case non-Dark Matter fans).

(This was more because they were using the episode titles. If we could get Syfy to pick a hashtag other than #DarkMatter to describe the episode that people would say, “Hey what’s this” that would be great. But the key is a fully coordinated effort).

6) We can discuss aspects of the show in our tweets -TRY to include the word FRINGE (with no #) in your tweet if possible.

(For Dark Matter, if you wanted for example to trend #WeAreDangerous then only use that as a hashtag and type darkmatter in or Dark Matter as two words without a hashtag– another example:  You always need to worry about the silent deadly types, especially with FOUR #DarkMatter   If you wanted #FOUR to be the trending hashtag, then that sentence would look like   You always need to worry about the silent deadly types especially with #FOUR  DarkMatter  )  See the difference?

7) Private accounts must have their locked status removed, as the tweets from these accounts do not count toward the trend tally.

(Rule applies for any trending event)

8) Retweets are the easiest way to help out the trending effort. Just search for the hashtag, and retweet the ones that are interesting to you (and ones with just one hashtag). If you know how to use a Twitter application suite like TweetDeck or HootSuite, this is made even easier.

(Don’t retweet multiple hashtags (or before retweeting correct them by removing all hashtags except #DarkMatter)

9) Thank the sponsors.

(This is true for ANY show.  Sponsors do pay attention to this. Often with DVR viewing, commercials are skipped. When people go out of their way to thank the sponsors means a great deal to them. For example: @subway Thank you for sponsoring #DarkMatter. It s a fabulous show. I think a sandwich would go well with it! 

 

Let’s help Dark Matter trend every week. Fringe got 5 years even though the network wanted to pull the plug on the show much sooner. It was because of the coordinated efforts of these dedicated, knowledgeable fans that made the difference.





So You Think You Can Dance Season 12 New York Auditions

7 07 2015

SoYouThinkYouCanDanceThe final leg of the auditions for season 12 were in New York. Virgil Gadson had auditioned in season 8. He had almost made it into the top 20 but got cut. He kept practicing and got a part in “After Midnight” on Broadway. He chose “Uptown Funk” to audition with this time for Team Street. As he got started, Paula whispered to Nigel that he reminds her of Fik-shun. He glides like ice across that stage which is hard for hip-hop. He has great star quality. Nigel said he set the bar for that day for hip hop. It was unique, great things in it, lots of different angles, wonderful personality. It was exactly what he was looking for. Paula said he was a like a day of Disneyland in a minute and a half. He is born to entertain. Jason said his technique was the dope part about it. It was amazing to watch. He gets a ticket to Vegas.

Alexia Meyer was up next trying out for Team Stage. The choreography had a lot of thought to it. I thought the eye wink was a bit odd. I really enjoyed the dance overall. Paula said she had great showmanship. The hardest thing for her is that she saw moments of great connection, and then she kind of went off and lost it a little, and then would fall back into it. Paula got booed! She thought nerves got to her. Jason got booed before he even started. He didn’t know if that was the end of Paula’s boos or the start of his. He thoroughly enjoyed it and he is not just saying that because they booed. Nigel enjoyed it, too. She gets three yeses.

Korey Cleveland had a tough road in getting to the audition. His dad was never there and his mom was battling her addiction. He, too, has struggled with crack cocaine to the point where he was incarcerated for 2 years in Missouri. Dance saved him. He would rather dance than do drugs. He said if he made it to 30 days clean he would come to the audition. He danced to Keys and Krates “Treat Me Right.” That was wicked. When he was moving his upper trunk around his head (or is that the head around his upper trunk) that was phenomenal. It has been awhile since I saw someone do that so well. Paula said she is proud of him because he proves you can live your passion and inspire people. Jason said he was inspiring. A lot of people can relate to his situation. He felt his passion. Paula and Jason both say yes. Nigel said that it is 2 months before Vegas. That means he is going to have to stay clean for 90 days. He said he’ll bring his 90-day key to show them. He gets a conditional ticket to Vegas.

“Hoofing” dancer Justin Ballasy wants to show what he can do to the song “Love Ain’t Gonna Let You Down” by Jamie Cullum. His tapping was insane. I didn’t see the tapping story translate into the song being played however. Paula said she felt like she just saw the movie “Whiplash” with tap. It was very impressive. Great timing, fast, clean. She didn’t know where the music and the tap made sense. Nigel asked him what time signature he was using. He said 4/4. Nigel said, no, and Justin asked three-four? That was Nigel’s complaint to him. He loved his tap and loved what he can do but it had absolutely nothing to do with that music. Justin said it was difficult to hear himself up there in his defense (not sure that was a good idea—the judges don’t like excuses). Nigel said he is so against people coming in and laying down machine-gun tap. Jason said it made him feel something—his heart started to race. But at the same time the musicality in it means so much to tap. If they didn’t say something, all the tappers out there would have been saying “What?” He is worried. He asks to do something a capella. They say no, but they say yes to Vegas.

The next auditioner’s family call him “Mr. Hollywood.” I smell trouble. Thomas Condello chooses “As Long As You Love Me” by Justin Bieber. He has some rhythm and some moves, but they were sloppy. The competition is fierce this year and he dances fine for entertaining, but not to win the show. All the judges were smiling but you know they are just going to thank him for making them smile. He said he did impressions, like Jason Derulo, and they invite him to show them. Paula said he has a lot of heart. He is not through.

Angely “Cookie” Deaza and Angela “Angyil” McNeal try out together for Team Street. I don’t know why they reminded me of Japanese robots that I saw on an episode of Almost Human on Fox. I loved them. Jason looked like he was really getting in to it (and, in fact, gave them a standing ovation). Jason said he would pay money to see that. Angyil and Cookie are a yes for him. Angyil is a yes for Paula. She thinks Cookie is limited in her style. Paula advises her to lift it and elevate it and get out of that monotone aspect and add character. She doesn’t think Cookie is ready. Nigel says a yes for Angyil and a no for Cookie for this year.

Allyson Wilcox works on the Vegas strip as a dancer in a show that is similar to Medieval Times. She is trying out for a spot on Team Stage. She chose “Wasting My Young Years” by London Grammar. Some of her moves I liked. I thought she spent too much time on the ground. Sometimes her lines were fabulous; other times they weren’t. Paula thought she had tremendous control. The start of her choreography was spot-on, but then she felt like her ability was far better than her choreography. Jason thought he saw things he hadn’t seen yet that day. Her arabesque was beautiful. Nigel gives her a ticket to Vegas.

One of the last auditions for this day was from a special man named Alain “Hurrikane” Lauture from Haiti. He chose Jeremy Joshua’s “Thinking About Your Face” to show his locking routine for the judges. His routine demonstrated a great command for choreography and the nuances of the music. He has a lot of talent. I was drawn to him. Employing the stairs as a prop to his routine was different in a smart way. Nigel liked it because it was fun. Paula thought it brought back the 1980’s fun and saw influences of Shabba Doo and Boogaloo Shrimp. All agreed his smile was terrific. He gets three yeses.

Kenya Welch and Connor Bermingham decided to audition together versus separately. They chose A Great Big World’s “Say Something.” Their decision proved to be the right one. I felt the choreography of the number as well as the performance of the number was something you would actually see on this show. I loved their emotion. Well done!!! Paula said she didn’t expect that and it was a very nice surprise. Paula kind of got lost in it. Nigel chimed in that it was one of the best they had seen all day. Jason thought it was awesome and a joy to watch. He said more like a fan than a judge. Both of them are through to Vegas.

As day two begins I am not sure who I like better, the contestant or his mother! Ryan Raffloer decided to try out without a partner in Latin ballroom to Tom Jones’ “Sex Bomb.” He was a surprise! I felt certain he was stoned out of his mind, but he turned into someone else while he was dancing. I could have done without the overindulgence in facial grimacing but his dancing for a Latin solo was unbelievable. I had a feeling Nigel was going to compare him to Dmitry Chaplin. Nigel thought he was excellent. It was over the top and too much but it is what you have to do when you are auditioning yourself. Paula thought he has this “je nais sais quoi”, a presence about him, it stands for something important. Jason felt he brought this grand presence. Jason thought “expensive” was the right word and Paula went “ooo”. He gets three yeses.

Bobby “Anime” Major dances to District 78’s “I Need an Explosion.” Wow!!! He is FANTASTIC! The judges were on their feet. There was no feedback; just a ticket to Vegas.

Eliazer Chapman brought “The Bronx” break dancing to the SYTYCD audition stage with a song from Madcon called “Beggin.” He had some really great moves. Nigel said it was raw and exciting. Paula thought it was entertaining. Jason said he was a strong b-boy and he wants to see what else he has. He is going to Vegas.

The next audition combines break dancing and ballet to form his unique style. Ian Williams surely doesn’t lack confidence as he dances to “Clocks” by Coldplay. His extensions and lines aren’t even there for his ballet. I saw no waacking. Jason looks like he is trying hard not to break out laughing. Nigel is a no. Paula said he is not ready yet. Jason said it was a no for sure.

Darius Drooh has a huge crush on Paula Abdul. She inspired him to dance. He chose Michael Buble’s “Cry Me a River.” He was fabulous. Jason said it was awesome. The choreography didn’t have a lot of the bing, bang, boom, but he liked the straightforward choreography a lot. Nigel said it was beautiful, but he just wanted the flow to stop every now and then. But it was magnificent. Paula thinks he has a beautiful technique and strength. Darius calls up a friend from the audience to do Paula’s “Coldhearted Snake.”

The last contestant of the day is Alyssa Guerrieri. Her grandmother was a dancer. Alyssa dances to “Take Me to Church” by Sofia Karlberg. She has beautiful lines and great personality in her dance. Paula said she is a breath of fresh air. Her technique was beautiful and her choreography was seamless and yummy. Jason felt her confidence was through the roof. Her acrobatics were right on. And it fit right in with the contemporary. Nigel said she is like a little ray of sunshine. Three yeses.

And this concludes the auditions for season 12. This gives Team Travis 114 hopefuls for a spot in the top 10 for stage dancers and 105 would join Team tWitch for a spot in the top 10 for street dancers.





Twenty-Five Years Since We Met

4 07 2015

FireworksOur relationship started out like most people. We were set up on a blind date and ended up being chased by the police by the end of the evening. Wait? They don’t?

My trip began in late June when I went up to New York from Houston to be in my dear friend’s wedding. Louise and I had been high school friends since our sophomore year. I spent a lot of time at her house. When my foster family decided to move to Florida at the end of my junior year in high school, I had three choices; 1) go live with my biological sisters who were both now in Houston; 2) go with them; 3) or be put into a foster home. Option 4 unexpectedly came up from Louise’s parents—come live with them. For reasons that aren’t relevant for this topic, I decided to go with my foster parents to Florida (in case all my friends from high school wondered where I went for my senior year). There were a few people I still stayed in touch with, and Louise was one of them. I was honored to be a part of her magical day and the few days leading up to it.

The next day when I left their apartment the day after the wedding on June 30, 1990, my trip took me to Toms River, New Jersey to spend a few days with my sister. After there, I went to the western part of New Jersey to visit my aunt and uncle overnight on their farm in Blairstown/Hope. From there, I went back to Long Island. I stayed with my high school friend Carolyn Leitgeb, now Carolyn Mulderig. My best buddy Patty had invited me out several evenings trying to play matchmaker. On July 4, Carolyn and her family and I went to Montauk for the day. We walked around a lot, including up into the Montauk Lighthouse, some place where I had never been before. Patty called me and begged me to PLEASE come out this one last night. I was tired. I had to leave at 5:30 a.m. for my flight back to Houston. I remember saying to her, “I have driven more than 700 miles and have gotten an average of 3-1/2 hours of sleep every night since I came up here.” After a few more dozen “please” promptings, I said okay, but I needed to have strawberry shortcake that Carolyn made from scratch (it would have been rude to have her put in so much effort and then ditch her for the evening, especially since she was kind enough to let me stay with her family for this last part of the trip. I still had to go over to say hello to my foster brother and sister. When I was leaving, my foster brother took my car keys in a game of keep away that annoyed me. Now I was going to be late.

I went to Patty’s house and we had pictures taken, and then we went to Mario’s. Patty told me this was her boyfriend Larry’s best friend, Jeff, and he was SUCH A NICE GUY. She said that over and over again. From what I discovered later, Larry and Jeff were able to leave because we were so late and they were tired of waiting. It was somewhere like 10:30-11:00 p.m. when we finally got over there.

We talked for a bit and when Jeff went to the bathroom Patty asked me, “Sooooo?” I said, “Wow, he can actually carry an intelligent conversation.” But he wasn’t my type. Now you might be asking,  “What was your type?” Do you know how you are in a room and you feel this chemistry towards someone? When you come from a dysfunctional family, usually that chemistry will lead you to the people who are alcoholics, drug users, abusers, etc. I remember watching an episode of Phil Donohue where a former pageant queen was saying that all of her life she was picking the wrong men, and then she realized what she was doing and stopped and was married now to the man of her dreams. About two years prior to this, I also made peace with the fact that I would be okay if I never married because I would rather be not married than marry the wrong person.

Once Mario’s closed for the evening, Patty and Larry went home. I had said that the one thing I still hadn’t seen on my trip was water (yep, even though I was in Toms River). I crave the salt water smell. Jeff said he knew of a place we could go so I followed him in my rental car. We settled onto the beach and continued our conversation. There was a boat in the water with a headlight but I didn’t think anything of it. The young man running past us telling us to get out of here because the cops were here DID get my attention. In a split second what was rushing in my head was—I can’t go to jail. What thought did not enter my brain was I needed to grab my purse as I was trying to flee the police. The purse that had my airplane tickets for my return home the next day. We got as far as the parking lot before the cop car came speeding up to us. I grabbed Jeff and said, “Stop running.” I knew this would become so much worse if we ran in full view of a police officer. He pulled down his window and I said to him, “Officer, I am so sorry. I am from out of town and I didn’t realize we weren’t allowed to be on the beach this late at night. I am leaving in the morning and wanted to see the water before I left.” I hadn’t been drinking (I am allergic to alcohol) so he could see that I was not driving while under the influence. I was also dressed in nice clothing. He stayed with us until we both got in our respective cars, and Jeff drove us to a place over by the main post office, not far from where he lived. We could not exactly go back to his place because he was living with his parents at the time. So the town square seemed like a reasonable alternative. The police car followed us until we did pull over, and I am certain, he ran the plates on my rental car (which were from New Jersey so he could see I was not lying). Once we pulled over, he passed us.

I came to find out later that this particular beach was being raided for drugs.  In fact, it was being raided when we were on it.  It was a notorious hang-out for people making drug deals.  That husband of mine.  So romantic (sarcasm).  He knew that about the beach, too.

Jeff and I continued our conversation until about 3:30-4:30 in the morning. I had just enough time to go home, get my stuff in my suitcases, and write a note to Carolyn and her husband.

At the airport, I was on the pay phone with Patty who wanted to know all the details. I almost missed my flight home because of it. A day or two later, I got a dozen beautiful red roses. Jeff and I spent hours on the phone and were faxing each other. This was back in the day where there was no internet (at least it wasn’t common for people like us). Two weeks later he came down for a visit. It wasn’t uncommon for us to have 2+ hour conversations on a daily basis.

When he told me he wanted to move down to Houston, I panicked. Things did not go well when my ex boyfriend from Florida moved here trying to rekindle a relationship again. I told him that if he decided to move here, it needed to be because he wanted to move to Houston. If things did not work out, I did not want to feel guilty for him being stuck here. Also, he could not live with me.

I guess it wasn’t until his Christmas 1990 trip that I realized I loved him. He moved down in January of 1991 to his own apartment. In June of 1991 he proposed to me. We went to his cousin’s wedding on August 10 up in Ohio and we let people know the next day after the wedding that we were engaged. We eventually set our wedding date for October 24, 1992.

Today is the silver anniversary of the day we met. Happy Unindependence Day my love. It was the day I allowed you to sneak into my heart (although I didn’t know it at the time) which made this extremely independent girl something different. Blind dates can be wonderful. I had been on my fair share in my adult life. I never knew though we would be sitting here 25 years later celebrating our wacky, unusual, totally weird date that turned into so many years of love, sacrifice, forgiveness, and trust.

Baby, you indeed are my fireworks.  I look forward to our 25th wedding anniversary in 2 more years.





The Great Light of Dark Matter

29 06 2015

DarkMatterPicSince 2009, long-time blog followers of Joe Mallozzi, executive producer/writer of the beloved Stargate franchise, have been reading about the comic book story that we came to know as Dark Matter, co-written by Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie (his long-time writing partner). It came to life in a comic book series in 2011/2012 followed by a graphic novel both published by Dark Horse Comics. In the fall of 2014, his blog readers were treated to frequent updates as preproduction for Dark Matter began, the comic book/graphic novel now turned television show produced by Prodigy Pictures (Jay Firestone and Vanessa Piazza who also served as executive producers) for the Syfy Channel. Our appetites for updates were insatiable. It beckoned the return of space-show-loving fans’ beloved Syfy Fridays (with Defiance and Killjoys as part of the trifecta powerhouse). It has been such a privilege to see this original work evolve over all these years.

In the lead up to the premiere on Friday, June 12 on the Syfy Channel in the United States and on Space in Canada, entertainment sites and bloggers who had access to the screener were receiving it very well. The internet was abuzz with Dark Matter love. It was no surprise that the ratings were high as well, with a rating slightly higher than Defiance (Killjoys would not premiere until June 19).

Episode one set up the show, both characters and players, as all shows do. The cast included ONE (a.k.a. Jace Corso) played by Marc Bendavid (Bitten, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Hard Rock Medical); TWO (a.k.a. Portia Lin) played by Melissa O’Neil (Broadway’s Les Misérables, Jesus Christ Superstar); THREE (a.k.a. Marcus Boone) played by Anthony Lemke (Lost Girl, The Listener); FOUR (a.k.a. Ryo Tetsudo) played by Alex Mallari, Jr. (True Justice, Debug); FIVE (a.k.a. The Kid) played by Jodelle Ferland (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, Stargate Atlantis); SIX (a.k.a Griffin Jones) played by Roger Cross (Arrow, Motive, Continuum); and The Android played by Zoie Palmer (Lost Girl, The Guard). Some aspects did deviate from the comic series but only insofar as some characters’ sexes and a tweak of the crimes they allegedly committed. Otherwise, it stayed true almost word for word. While I really enjoyed the comic book series, it was nice to see it play out visually as a TV series.

Episode one opened similarly in the way the world of Stargate Universe was revealed to us—a walkthrough of the ship, going down corridors, although that was apparently not the intent. The ship, after all, is also a character. The dialogue from the script of episode one and the comic book issues 1 and 2 were pretty much word for word. By the end of the episode, the characters learn of their real names, but still have no memories of their past history that the computer screen was sharing with them. The computer-retrieved footage of a sketchy figure, who could be obviously identified as actor David Hewlett, appeared to the shipmates. Stargate fans will rejoice in seeing this beloved actor again.

Who has racked up the most bodies? In the TV show, the numbers are never revealed of their alleged crimes. On the comic book page, the true numbers belonging to FOUR (Ryo) and TWO (Portia) are obscured by the heads of those characters, but as far as ONE (Jace), THREE (Marcus), and SIX (Griffin) are concerned, these were their numbers:

Jace (ONE): 212 counts of murder, 279 counts of assault, 75 counts of kidnapping, 130 counts of trafficking, 309 counts of theft. (In the show, the crimes were the same as the comic book).

Marcus (THREE): 123 counts of murder, 175 counts of assault, 13 counts of kidnapping, 42 counts of smuggling. (In the show, his crimes were murder, assault, kidnapping, and piracy).

Griffin (SIX): 36 counts of murder, 107 counts of assault, 13 counts of piracy. (In the show his crimes were murder, assault, and smuggling).

In the show, Ryo (FOUR)’s crimes were murder, assault, piracy. Portia (TWO)’s crimes were murder, assault, arson, theft, and piracy. There was no file for The Kid.

By episode 2, the actors were fitting well into the skin of their characters. Some questions were answered; more questions appeared. Other mysteries remained unsolved. Stargate Atlantis fans were also pleased to see Torri Higginson appearing on the series. Another science fiction favorite, David Richmond-Peck, also had a role in this episode. Hopefully we will see more of them in future episodes.

What was clear by the end of episode 2 is that the witty banter and humor of what we loved about the Stargate universe is in Dark Matter. People who loved the action sequences from Stargate would love the action especially in this episode. People who love seeing women in roles that are commanding and powerful would be fulfilled. People who liked the comradery that was part of the Stargate world would be satisfied in this aspect as well. It’s all packed inside this wonderful gift of a show. The only thing missing is you.  Be a part of the great light of Dark Matter.

(Dark Matter airs on Friday nights on Syfy at 10 pm eastern/9 pm central time). 





So You Think You Can Dance Season 12 Los Angeles Auditions

28 06 2015

Part of the programming was interrupted by the coverage of Tropical Storm Bill that was headed our way. However, it finished up by the time the first contestant’s audition started in Los Angeles. Asaf Goren does “Hebrew Breaking” as a style of dance. It was really interesting. It had an element of B-boy dancing that I don’t think I have ever seen before. Just when I thought he was done, he threw water on the ground and wowed me even more. All three judges were on their feet. Asaf was so emotional, he was getting all teary eyed. Nigel thought it was, in the British vernacular, bloody great B-boying. Paula thought he had a wonderful personality. Jason thought he is a star. He believes he is going to create something special that is going to change the world. He said sometimes people come in with that kind of confidence and it is off-putting, but after seeing him perform, he understands why, because it is the truth; it is not being cocky. Paula added that he danced from his heart and everyone could feel it. Nigel said he looked like a very young…and Jason chimed in Aladdin at the same time Nigel was saying Rock Hudson. He is through to Vegas.

Avo Karapetyan is formerly from Armenia but currently living in Boston. He came to try out for a spot on Team Stage with Travis Wall. He chose “Stay with Me” by Sam Smith. Instant goosebumps. His height was tremendous. His technique was terrific. The judges again were on their feet. Paula was crying. She said she would love to critique him but she cannot critique perfection. He is smashingly brilliant. Nigel thought he was a joy to watch. It was stunning. Jason said his hat went off to him. He was through.

Jana “Jaja” Vankova, an animator who made it to Pasadena last year but then got cut. Jason was already yelling at her. She is a tremendous animator. Right up there with Cyrus I think. I think she will give the Queen of Detroit a run for her money. Again the judges are standing on their feet for a standing ovation. Jason said that is bananas, that she became another being. He would pay money to see her. Paula thinks she is a perfectly wrapped gift that puts smiles on people’s faces. Nigel said it is a gift to watch her. She is through to Vegas.

Allen Genkin was trying out for Team Stage. He is a very young man who was diagnosed with testicular cancer and is now 3 years down the road from all of that. He chose “Land of 1000 Dances” by Will Pickett. I loved it. Paula said he lit up the stage with his high-energy routine. Paula was sarcastic about how terrible he was. It was so “off” in the right way, and that he was so fantastic, phenomenal, sexy, etc. Jason said before he started moving he knew he was going to be great. Nigel compared him to Benji Schwimmer. He is also through to Vegas.

A bunch of performers go through for Team Street. Brothers Illijaz and Burim “B1” Jusufi wished to join the team with their breaking moves. Some of their moves were typical moves we’ve seen before but some were unique. I think they deserve a ticket to Vegas, but I don’t think they’ll make the top 10. The judges liked it though. Nigel wasn’t sure why they had to take their t-shirts off to do their head spins. He thought they were incredible. Paula mirrors what Nigel is saying. Jason thought it was entertainment at its finest. They had a great connection between each of them and to the audience. They are through.

Mary Kate Lavoir called her dad out as a dance dad who bedazzles costumes. She danced a jazz routine to “As Long As You Love Me” by Justin Bieber. She is beautiful and definitely has star quality. She has great strength in her legs. There was a lot of self-glorification with the touching of herself that the judges have ridiculed them about in past seasons. Her routine was average. I think with a good choreographer, she could improve. I would say that most of her routine was about the self-touching and the rolling around on the floor. Nigel invites dad up to the stage to show his dad’s unique style. His name is Patrick (I like his name). He dances to “Opposites Attract” by Paula Abdul. Mary said she wasn’t feeling it; she has seen better at the kitchen table. Dad said it would be a long flight home. Paula thought it was the best walking she has seen. Jason thought he connected with Paula really well. Nigel thought he needed to be stronger. Nigel thought Mary, on the other hand, was tremendous. No for dad to Vegas but Mary will be going to Vegas.

Krump. I love krump. Krump started in 2001 in South Central Los Angeles. Krump was derived from clown dancing in 1992 (who knew?). I must have been asleep for that style of dance. The movie “Rize” inspired this next young man to get out of a gang and start dancing. James “B-Dash” Derrick hopes to take his game to the next level to make a career out of his moves. He dances to Glitch Mob’s “Animus Vox.” He threw some animation in there as well. He was on fire. I thought it was less krump though. Jason said he loved it because it is so different from what they are used to seeing. It didn’t feel angry but more like entertainment. Paula thought he was phenomenal. He is through to Vegas.

The next performer’s story was cut off due to more Tropical Storm Bill coverage. Shaolin from Mortal Kombat (?) was the song of choice for this ballet dancer. Jim Nowakowski owned that stage. It was like samurai ballet. Nigel compared him to Alex Wong. He felt they had the same strengths and technique. Alex was from the Miami Ballet; he is from the Houston Ballet (Woo-hoo Houston!). The performance was remarkable. Nigel thought it was one of the best dances he has ever seen on the show. Paula said he was exceptional. Jason asked him how many hours a day does it take to become a dancer like him. He replied “Forty hours?” They all giggled with that. Then he realized what he said and corrected himself saying eight hours. Jason felt it was amazing to have watched something like that. Jim obviously makes it through.

The last contestant on day one of the LA auditions was a young man with Down syndrome named Cody Carlson. He wanted to audition for Team Street with some freestyle hip-hop. Jason Derulo was his inspiration. Jason cheers him on. He is a terrific dancer. Jason said he is a born entertainer. Nigel shares that for the first time ever they are entering dance into the Special Olympics. Nigel is honest with him that this competition might not be the right one for him to be in because the dancers at this level are so technically trained, but he might be representing America in the Special Olympics. Paula said he is magnificent and not to forget that. Jason said he was an inspiration to him and a lot of people watching him. I don’t think Cody cared about a ticket to Vegas. He just wanted to hug Jason and it was a beautiful moment that made me cry. But Jason also hands him a ticket to Vegas.

Day two of the LA auditions commenced. Jacy Jordan was up first. When she was 7, she and her family were in a car accident. She was ejected out of the window despite her seat belt. She was bleeding to death and she might lose her leg. They told her she would never walk again but she refused to accept that. She is from Manvel, Texas? Wow! That is just south of Houston. (I looked up the story and it indeed happened). James Vincent McMorrow’s “Cavalier.” I really enjoyed her dance. It had a lot of emotion and wonderful technique. It was a great song choice, too. Jason said he felt attached to her because he had a near-death experience as well. He said he is not a crier, but he had to hold back his tears because that (her dancing) was such a moment for him. Paula said that dance, if you have experienced it, keeps you going through the hardest of times. She didn’t see any disability; she saw incredible ability. Nigel said the fact that she is dancing is, in fact, a miracle. Nigel said as far as Vegas, he was going to pass because he felt they had stronger dancers. Jason said yes and Paula said yes, so she is going through.

Jessica Rabone has a Japanese heritage and has been living in the shadow of her sister Becky who is a celebrity over there. Jessica decided to combine waacking and “house” for her audition. She had previously been in a battle with Comfort Fedoke, a contestant from season 4. She and Comfort were a team and they won the battle. Jessica has such a stage presence and has a face of a star. Her dancing was fierce! It was so fluid and–I’m not kidding–my dog while sound asleep was moving rhythmically to the song. When it was over, he stopped (he was sleeping). Nigel thought he saw a lot of Toni Basil in her. Jessica said Toni had trained her. Paula said she was like a mini superhero. She was representing quirky and fun with an amazing infectious smile and she knows how to work it and play her character well. She only suggested she incorporate more of a vocabulary with her movement but it was wonderful. It was very special. Jason said he loved it too. He was about to have some coffee but he had his fair share of caffeine right there–with a little cream, of course. Nigel said she lit up her stage. The smile lights up the entire theater. He thinks she needs more steps but this is not “so you think you can choreograph” so she is going to Vegas.

A group of female hip-hop dancers who were just hitting it hard on stage, and who I can’t wait to see in Vegas, all made it through.

Kareem “Anointed” Ali came with a unique dance style: All-style spiritual vibrational dance. I hope his dance style lives up to his hype. I’m not sure how this is different from the usual street dancing, but some of the moves were unique. The whole dance was indeed entertaining. Some of those moves made my biceps hurt. Nigel said what was great about him is that he was performing and his great personality came across. He did some really brilliant b-boy stuff. Paula said he has a gift. He dances in his own lane and that is what she is looking for. Jason said being a street performer you have to have a special something to stand out in a crowd. He brought that on stage. He lived up there. He is a gift. He gets a ticket to Vegas.

The last contestant is Brandon Armstrong. In 2012, he wasn’t old enough at that time and he was given a ticket to come back in 2013 but he went on a mission. During that mission he had to talk about Jesus from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. No TV. He was not even allowed to dance. He chose “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson. The year off did not harm his dancing ability in any way. He needs to back off on the facial expressions a bit. I think he deserves a ticket to Vegas. Jensen, his partner who is underage for the show, gets her own ticket to come back next year. Paula thought he was stunning. He has a lot of flair and wonderful style and is very well trained. Jason said his father said, “you gotta know how to handle a woman” and Brandon knows how to handle his woman. In ballroom you have to know how to dominate and that is exactly what he did. Nigel cautioned him on the mouth “oo” expressions. He also cautioned him on overextending in some of his lines. He is going to Vegas.

After four cities now 84 stage dancers and 84 street dancers were going to Vegas.








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