So You Think You Can Dance S11 Hell Week

2 07 2014

SoYouThinkYouCanDanceDuring the Pasadena, California callbacks, Adam Shankman, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, Tara Lipinski, and Irina Dvorovenko joined Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe.

 

CallbackJudges

Solos were first. One hundred and fifty-seven contestants danced in front of the judges. Tanisha Belnap‘s solo was okay, but now that I’ve seen other ballroom dancers, she is not quite at their level. I loved Steven Kador. Even “tWitch” went “oooooo.” After this round, 36 dancers were cut including puppet-dancer Paul Brushaber. One hundred twenty-one dancers remained.

The first choreography challenge was hip-hop. Christopher Scott and Jasmine Harper demonstrated the routine. The contestants had the night to rehearse. Steven Kador and Malene Ostergaard danced together and were through. Marie Poppins was through. Jessica Richens was asked to dance for her life. Marcquet Hill was fabulous and was put through. Trevor Bryce, Caleb Bruner, Megan Marcano, and Franchesca Bass were sent home. Jessica Richens danced for her life and made it through to the next round of choreography.

ScottAndHarper

Sonya Tayeh put them through the paces with a jazz routine. George Lawrence II and Amy Yakima demonstrated the dance. Alla Kocherga was a no, but Zach Everheart moved on. Serge Onik, Johnny “Waackd” Gibson, and Jourdan Epstein are all through. Steven Kador, Shafeek Westbrook, and Marie Poppins all were sent home. Jana “Jaja” Vankova had to dance for her life and she was sent through to the next round of choreography along with 64 other dancers.

SonyaTayeh

The dreaded ballroom was choreography round 3 with Dmitry Chaplin and Anya Garnis demonstrated. They were once again given the night to practice. Zach Everheart and Valerie Rockey were through.

DmitryAnya

Travis Wall led round 4 of choreography for contemporary dance with the lovely Makenzie Dustman. Bridget Whitman and Landon Anderson had to dance for their lives. After the contemporary rounds, 29 boys and 21 girls were left to compete.

Travis

Group night was next. Once again they were given overnight to choreograph and learn their steps.  They were broken up into groups of five and given a CD of music. They are required to choreograph and perform the routine. “One Love” consisting of Ryan Johnson, Ryan Redman, Carly Blaney, Novien Yarber, and Serena Pav did not do well at all. Tara thought it was “a mess” as did Irina. Mary told Serena that international rumba is not done on the show for a reason. Nigel said they need smart dancers and that was not smart. He makes the group go decide who will go home. When they could not reach a decision, and because they were willing to all go home versus give up a name, Nigel puts them all through.

The group containing Trenton Williams, Kamille Upshaw, Zach Everheart, Malene Ostergaard, and Johnny “Waackd” Gibson did a wonderful job dancing to “All of Me” by John Legend. I had goosebumps. Adam Shankman thought it was lovely. Tara said it showed they thought about each other but showcased their individual strengths as well. It was Nigel’s favorite routine of the morning.

At this point there were 44 dancers left. They were asked to dance their final solos. Ricky Ubeda may be my favorite dancer this year. I had seriously major goosebumps. In the background you could hear Adam Shankman say, “He’s the best dancer you have.” The four dance crews who will perform are “Academy of Villans“, “Wanted Ashiqz,” “Control Freakz” and “Syncopated Ladies.”

The dancers who walked the final mile were: Ricky Ubeda, Jessica Richens, Jacque LeWarne, Teddy Coffey, Stanley Glover, Carly Blaney, Emilio Dosal, Jana “Jaja” Vankova, Novien Yarber, Serena Pav, Armen Way, Johnny Wacckd Gibson, Bridget Whitman, Valerie Rockey, Zach Everheart, Jourdan Epstein, Casey Askew, Emily James, Landon Anderson, Haley Payne, Justine Lutz, Nick Garcia, Rudy Abreu, Tanisha Belnap, Serge Onik, Malene Ostergaard, Brooklyn Fullmer, Marcquet Hill, and Erik “Silky” Moore.





So You Think You Can Dance S10 Top 20 Revealed

23 06 2013

I could not believe it when I came home on Tuesday, June 11, and found my DVR did not record So You Think You Can Dance because of a glitch. I missed Vegas Hell Week. I tried to find it elsewhere but apparently my satellite company does not interact with Fox on-line for on-demand programming (although I can see it 30 days after the air date–what good is that going to do me. I also was not going to pay Hulu Plus for the chance to see it. I did watch the first 40 minutes live before I had to leave, but I took no notes. I do remember someone liking my #TruthInFikshun hash tag on Twitter, which I promptly claimed ownership and bragging rights.

This week’s episode announced the Top 20 and allowed us the opportunity to see them dance for the first time. Thirty-three contestants awaited their fate.

Du-Shaunt “Fik-Shun” Stegall and Mariah Spears made it through to the top 20. However, Emilio “Millie” Dosal, Phillip Cheeeb’s friend, made it, but had an injury and had to withdraw. Markus Shields who auditioned in season 4 and got to the green mile only to receive a “no”, received a “no” for a second time.

Fikshun

Du-Shant “Fik-Shun” Stegall

MariahSpears

Mariah Spears

 

Dance: Hip-hop
Choreographer: Luther Brown
Song: “Ball” by T.I. featuring Lil Wayne

It was wonderful seeing a female hip-hop dancer this year. There was nice chemistry and synchronicity to their movements. Mariah was the stronger dancer her. As Cat was making introductions you could see Fik-Shun was a little sad that he didn’t get lavish praise from the judges. He seemed to take it in and sighed. It’s okay Fik-Shun–next week raise your game.

FikShunMariah

Mariah & Fik-Shun

Makenzie Dustman (The contestant I thought rolled too much on the floor for her audition) is a yes. Jasmine Harper, Cyrus ex-girlfriend), gets a yes. A surprise yes was given to both Tucker Knox and Nico Greetham who went into the judges together. Ryan Johnson, who auditioned in Memphis, received a no for this season. There were several other contestants I did not recognize (whose names were not said) that also were turned down for this season.

MakenzieDustman

Makenzie Dustman

JasmineHarper

Jasmine Harper

TuckerKnox

Tucker Knox

NicoGreetham

Nico Greetham

 

Dance: Contemporary
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Song: “Goes On and On” by Sleeping At Last

This was a very strong performance by all 4 and I got them–yes GOOSEBUMPS! The judges felt the magic too and gave them a standing ovation.

MakenzieTuckerNicoJasmine

Makenzie, Tucker, Nico and Jasmine

Tappers Alexis Juliano and Curtis Holland both received a yes. Aaron Turner was an initially a “no” but when Emilio withdrew from the competition, Aaron was guy #11 so he was back in.

AlexisJuliano

Alexis Juliano

CurtisHolland

Curtis Holland

AaronTurner

Aaron Turner

Dance: Tap
Choreographer: Anthony Morigerato
Song: “You Really Did It” (Live) by Jason Mraz

That was so enjoyable. Curtis had some balance issues at the end there, but the judges were also gave them a standing ovation.

AlexisCurtisAaron

Aaron, Alexis and Curtis

Animators Jade Zuberi and Dragon House’s Dorian “BluPrint” Hector were both in the top 20.

JadeZuberi

Jade Zuberi

BluPrint

Dorian “BluPrint” Hector

Dance: Animation
Choreographer: Christopher Scott
Song: “Trigger” (Original Mix) by Kezwik featuring Mel Presson

That ROCKED! There were a few spots that should have been synchronized but were a bit off but it’s only week one. The mannequins moving freaked me out. The judges once again were on their feet.

JadeBluPrint

Jade and BluPrint

While David Lorenzo was sent home, Carlos Garland, Hayley Erbert and Malece Miller were moving to the top 20.

CarlosGarland

Carlos Garland

HayleyErbert

Hayley Erbert

MaleceMiller

Malece Miller

Dance: Contemporary
Choreographer:  Mia Michaels
Song: “Stay” by Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko

I thought Carlos had some great partnering skills, catching Malece especially when she fell backwards. After being dropped on her head in Vegas, I bet she was scared. I LOVE Mia Michaels. Goosebumps again.

MaleceHayleyCarlos

Malece, Hayley and Carlos

Brittany Cherry, Jenna Johnson and Paul Karmiryan were moved into the top 20, but Serge (?) from the Los Angeles auditions was a no. Two brothers, Alan and Gene Bersten, were pitted against each other and Alan was moving forward.

BrittanyCherry

Brittany Cherry

JennaJohnson

Jenna Johnson

PaulKarmiryan

Paul Karmiryan

AlanBersten

Alan Bersten

 

Dance: Ballroom
Choreographer: Louis Van Amstel
Song: “Wings” by Little Mix

They had two challenges–Dancing with their partners and trying to synchronize with each other. The first was fine, the latter needs work. I think Jenna was the better girl.

BrittanyJennaPaulAlan

Paul, Jenna, Alan and Brittany

There were many “no” responses for the next group of individuals including Marissa Milele, Tessa, and Gabby Marquez. Amy Yakima from the Detroit auditions received a yes. They brought back Megan and Jasmine. This year, Jasmine Mason made it through.

AmyYakima

Amy Yakima (was called The Beast by Nigel; she does look a little like Melanie Moore’s cousin, doesn’t she?

JasmineMason

Jasmine Mason, not she is not related to Jeanine Mason

Dance: Jazz
Choreographer:  Sonya Tayeh
Song: “Enjoy” by Bjork

Loved it and Goosebumps. The judges also loved it.

AmyJasmine

Amy and Jasmine M.

 

Top 10 guys dance
Choreographer: Christopher Scott
Song: “Sand” by Nathan Lanier featuring Karen Whipple

Like a sandstorm happening. It is difficult to watch all 10 and say who stood out. I adored it. When Christopher Scott first joined the show, I did not quite understand his perspective. Either he has gotten better or I finally GOT it.

———

Top 10 girls dance
Choreographer: Ray Lepper
Song: “Let’s Have a Kiki (Guwremix) by Fanny Pak and District 78

I adore Ray for getting sweaty during rehearsals with his group. It was a fun routine.

——–

Top 20
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Song: “Ghost of the Sky” (Epic Dub) by Steed Lord

Wow! How talented is Sonya that she created such a vehicle for such a diverse group of dancers to show off their strengths! I love warrior mama.

I am looking forward to seeing them perform next week for voting.

Top20

SYTYCD Season 10 Top 20 — Good luck everyone!





So You Think You Can Dance S10 Boston Auditions

3 06 2013

Adam Shankman joined resident judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy.

Ashley Goldman and Phillip Kudryavstev

They are hot! She talks too much. He does not talk at all. But they dance wonderfully together. Vegas!

Natalie Vilos, age 29, from Laie Hawaii

Chose her Halloween outfit to audition. Her moves are not as tight as they need to be for this show. The lamp shade was hiding her flaws. I would say no to her. The judges agree. But before she leaves, Adam dances in it.

John Tesoriero, age 21, Boston

He collaborates with a beat boxer to do something unique. This is definitely that. It would be something I would remember. I think he should go through to choreography. The judges give him that chance. They loved his effort, but it was a no this year.

Katlyn Rodriguez, age 18, Brooklyn

Her little brother filled in for her missing partner. I think the brother was better but he is too young to compete. Mary got all choked up. She also loved her. Yes to choreography. She gets a ticket to Vegas from there.

Jennifer Jones, age 21, Philadelphia

The former ballerina who developed an eating disorder. I think she may be my new favorite. Vegas!

Tommy Tibball, age 21, Ozone Park, NY

I enjoyed his dancing. At first I thought it would be a disaster, but I was pleasantly surprised. Ticket to Vegas!

Jennie Begley, age 24, Aurora, Colorado

Her brother made it possible for her to be there today. I liked her dancing, but I am more of a fan of Jennifer Jones at the moment. Mary and Adam gave her a standing ovation. Adam said it was his favorite audition so far in Boston. Going to Vegas!

Day 2

Jason Kidd, age 19, Baltimore, Maryland

He won 5th place in dancing in germany, representing America. He is an animator. I think he may be as good as Cyrus. Vegas! He reminds me of Josh, mindy’s ex-boyfriend, on The Mindy Project.

Shizzy Shake (Shannon Tarantino), age 21, Bloomingdale, NJ

After watching her interview, I was not expecting her to dance so beautifully. I like being surprised. She might be my favorite contemporary audition so far. Vegas

Elena and Gene Bersten, husband and wife, age 29 and 25, Minneapolis, Minnesota

He has great hips! They were great together. I think they should go to Vegas. They are going to Vegas!

Ernest E-Knock Phillips, age 26, Waterbury, VT

He almost lost himself after his cousin died, but found purpose again as a hip-hop instructor in Vermont. That was a very emotional audition and I could feel his pain. I found myself crying. I saw Adam crying as well. They all send him through to choreography. It is no to Vegas.

Alexis Juliano, age 18, Coral Springs, Florida

Nigel has a soft spot for tappers. I thought she was fabulous. She has a great personality as well. She is going to Vegas!

Anthony Bryant, age 28, Elkin, North Carolina

Ribbon boy from season 1. It was interesting. He always gives the unexpected. I would say yes to choreography to see him without the silly costume. But when the judges want to send him to choreography, he declines. His attitude always gets in his own way. I do not think they should allow him to have a spotlight for another year.

Anthony Savoy, age 24, New York, NY

I got goosebumps and very emotional seeing him dance. I heard his voice. Top 20 material to be sure. After the fiasco with the other Anthony, they said yes to choreography to show people how to accept that humbly, and they made him walk back to the microphone for his ticket to Vegas.

Kate Kapshandy, age 23, Hoboken, NJ

Dances with Maks from season 5. She holds many titles, 2 Latin and 2 in 10 dance. Definitely the best they have showed us so far in ballroom. Mary gives her the first hot tamale train woo-hoo. Adam did a wonderful Bruno imitation (from Dancing With The Stars). Straight to Vegas. And Adam Shankman gets an award from best Bruno imitation EVER.

Toshihiko Nakazawa, age 28, Harlem, NY

He was memorable. His moves are not tight enough. I would have said yes to choreography. But they said yes to Vegas.





So You Think You Can Dance — Season 9 — Top 20

28 06 2012

So You Think You Can Dance — Season 9 — Top 20 Revealed and Performance Show

What a great night to not only celebrate the 200th episode of So You Think You Can Dance, but to also welcome back the magnificent Mia Michaels. Cat Deeley looked particularly stunning this evening as she opened the show. Nigel Lythgoe announced that there would be two winners this season: One from the girls and one from the guys. On the judges panel this evening where our regulars, Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy, and guest judge is adorkable Zooey Deschanel from Fox’s hit show “New Girl.

Learning Their Fate — Whittling down 35 to the Top 20

People who are in: The first 3 people receiving a yes from the judges were Alexa Alexander, George Lawrence II and Will Thomas. Amber Jackson who had auditioned in season 6, got to the Green Mile, did not make it, auditioned again, and did not even get that far, and said she would not audition again was through. She had grown a great deal emotionally and came back. Perseverance and a positive attitude paid off well for her. After a fake out that made Lindsay think she was out, Witney Carson and friend Lindsay Arnold were both in. Nick Bloxson-Carson also won a spot. Daniel Baker, who had left his job in the San Francisco Ballet and Chehon Wespi-Tschopp who left his job in New York City, both were in. Eliana Girard in her blue-suede shoes and bubbly personality was also on the show. Both Tiffany Maher and Audrey Case went in together. Debbie Allen said she was almost invisible but then she pushed her way to the front. As Tiffany receives a yes, Audrey looks worried. Adam Shankman breaks the news that she made it as well. She cannot believe it and asks, “Wait….are you sure?” She goes and calls her mom. Janelle Issis also was in disbelief as Adam welcomed her into the top 20. Adam said, “Honey, OWN this. You’re the first belly dancer in the top 20.” Janelle is a bit accident prone. She smacked her nose going back through the door to the waiting area and was ill this evening and told not to dance in the performance show. Mary Murphy did a silly version of Simon Says with Ryan-Gosling-look-alike Matthew Kazmierczak with which he readily complied and then received a yes. Dareian Kujawa told the panel he was working on his feet positioning, but they are like brutes. Lil’C tells him to keep working on that because he is in to the top 20. Janaya French moved to Los Angeles after she Vegas week and has had some highs and lows. She is through. After telling the last two girls that they were looking for star quality this year, Tyce Diorio  informed Amelia Lowe she was put through as the final female contestant.  Mary was telling Cole Horibe about hills and valleys in a dancer’s life and compliments him on his uniqueness. She sees no valleys for him–he is put through to the top 20. Namaste, Cole. Stepper Brandon Mitchell joined the top 20. Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer, who struggled with choreography in Vegas, but always had a great attitude, showed an ability to adapt quickly, and has that special “it” factor. Not only does he radiate this wonderful energy, but he has quite the fan base in America. Even though his dancing might not be up to par with some of the others, his personality will take him far. Nigel commented that he has “never seen anybody like Cyrus in my entire life.”

People who are out: I was surprised by the no given to Megan Branch. She was really good, but they are looking for variety. Abigail Ruz, Kaitlynn Edgar, Katie Muth, and Rebecca Hart were encouraged to come back next year. Sadly, Joshua Alexander was a no this season. No one can really know if the trip to the emergency room that stopped him from performing his final solo became a factor. They insisted Joshua return next season and I hope he does as well. He is a tremendous dancer. They also passed this year on Blake Zelesnikar, Jasmine Mason, and Daniel Kermidas. Jill Johnson, who went into the judges’ room together with Amelia Lowe, was sent home. Tappers did not fare well this season, sending Aaron Turner and Zack Everheart home. Going into the judges’ room with Brandon Mitchell was Devon McCullough. Adam said they would see Devon next year. With Cyrus in, that meant that Feliciano Turk, who had wonderful moments in Vegas, was out.

Dance #1


Dancers: Alexa, George, Will, Amber
Song: “We Found Love (BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge)” by JessieJ
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio

My thoughts: They had great expression, reach, lines, timing, partnering. They blended and complimented each other with a very fluid flow. I got goosebumps (and if you haven’t read my blog before, my goosebumps never lie) towards the end.

The Judges: Nigel gave constructive criticism to Will about keeping up with the shorter dancers. He had encouraging words for Alexa and Amber. To George, Nigel said that if every light in the studio went out, he would still shine. Mary complimented Will’s partnering skills. She complimented Alexa on dealing with her demons. George’s leaps were phenomenal and Amber shed her emotional baggage. Zooey complimented the team work; she could not wait to see more.

Dance #2


Dancers: Witney, Lindsay and Nick
Song: “Dance Again” by Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull
Choreographer: Jason Gilkison

My thoughts: It had great energy and great partnering. It didn’t floor me (sorry).

The judges: Mary gave a “woo” that sounded like the train was still in the station and not the hot tamale train that was moving. Zooey said the girls looked like twins and were incredible. Nick kept up with them as well.

Dance #3


Dancers: Daniel, Chehon, and Eliana
Song: “Romantic Inclinations/Like a Shot/Fury” by P. Mottram/S. Everitt/G Shadid, T. Marberger
Choreographer: Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden

My thoughts: Goosebumps, but not the entire song. It looked like at times the boys were flinching when they got too close to Eliana, and then when the judges were commenting, it was apparent that the costume was inflicting wounds on them. Boo to the costuming department on that one.

The judges: Nigel commented the boys on their bravery at leaving paying jobs to come to the show. He also complimented Eliana on her classical skills. Mary called Eliana a ballet warrior. Mary went from “wow” or “woo” in her hot-tamale-train voice but her train whistle did not sound like it was quite fully on the train.

Dance #4


Dancers: Audrey and Tiffany (Janelle was out per doctor’s orders)
Song: “Sail” by AWOLNATION
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh (assisted by Season 8 winner Melanie Moore)

My thoughts: Audrey and Tiffany had great timing, wonderful warrior spirit and great team work. It did not give me the goosebumps though.

The judges: Zooey said they made an amazing, great pair. The choreography was incredible. Tiffany was very strong and Audrey was graceful, which made for a good pairing. Nigel said that they looked like Pebbles (of the Flintstones) dancing.

Dance #5


Dancers: Dareian, Amelia, Janaya, and Matthew
Song: “Modern Drift” by Efterklang
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey

My thoughts: My eyes were fixed on Amelia. She reminded me of my favorite from last season, Melanie Moore, especially in the jump into Dareian’s arms.

The judges: Zooey thought it was delicate and beautiful, like watching a painting move. Amelia shines like she irradiates light. Mary gave accolades to Stacy Tookey for the routine. She said Dareian had great strength, power and partnering. Amelia was fabulous. Janaya was not on their radar at first, but she is “now out of that radar.” I think Mary meant to say she was now ON their radar. Mary still loves Matthew.

Dance #6


Dancers: Brandon, Cole, Cyrus
Song: “Resolve” by Nathan Lanier
Choreographer: Christopher Scott (and Marko Germar said on Twitter he assisted in this routine)

My thoughts: I loved the baseball voiceover using their real names. Very clever, very inventive. It was a fantastic idea for a routine especially with the baseball all-stars game coming up on Fox. Christopher Scott did a wonderful job highlight each one of their strengths but blended with perfection. I did not get chills but I enjoyed it immensely.

The judges: Cat Deeley said she had the first chills of the season (I know she is not a judge but I love her as a host). Nigel commented that in front of them was a stepper, an animator and a martial artist and that they complimented each other, and complimented Christopher for highlighting each one of their strengths. Mary said they “hit it out of the ballpark with that one.”

Dance #7


Dancers: The girls
Song: “Where The Light Gets In” by Sennen
Choreographer: Travis Wall
Story: The door is the gateway to the afterlife.

My thoughts: Travis Wall’s choreography always seems to elicit a deep emotional response from me, much like Mia Michaels. It was like watching angels dancing on the plane of existence between the two worlds. I got goosebumps about halfway in and had tears in my eyes by the end of the routine.

The judges: Nigel said it was like frieze on a Greek vase and complimented Travis on his growth since being a contestant on SYTYCD. Zooey said it was a beautiful routine for beautiful girls. Cat mentioned the word “ethereal.”

Dance #8


Dancers: The boys
Song: “Precognition (Steed Lord Machine Mix)” by Steed Lord
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Story: They had to fight to win on the show. During the footage of learning the routine, she said having this group is like releasing the wolves to the masses (and I instantly pictured “Twilight”). She wants them to be exposed physically to expose the inner man. Brandon was comfortable with the male-male partnering ’cause he “likes the ladies.”

My thoughts: Each group of guys got to show their strengths but it did not illicit an emotional response from me like the girls did. I definitely did not like the high-waisted costumes. The guys looked very uncomfortable in them.

The judges: Nigel does not like the pants either (called them maternity pants). He chuckles at Will because he is not as buff as the other guys. The routine was athletic, gymnastic and strong, and the boys had to be that way now. Mary enjoyed George’s assisted lift. She loved the routine and thought the guys were great. Zooey would love to join in with them, and the boys were encouraging her to come up and do so. She thought it was all fantastic.

Dance #9


Dancers:
The top 20
Song:
“Eyes (Coachella Live 2012 Version)” by Kaskade
Choreographer:
MIA MICHAELS IS BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My thoughts: I love Mia and have missed her being on the show. I got goosebumps when they moved their sunglasses off their eyes onto their heads right at the part of the show that said, “look into my eyes.” Eyes are the window into a person’s soul. The choreography keeps building throughout the entire song. I had goosebumps the entire song. And everyone stepped up.

The judges: Nigel kept it short and sweet, “Welcome home momma; you’ve been missed.”

It was a phenomenal ending to a terrific beginning for the journey of season 9’s top 20. They take a week off for our United States July 4th birthday, and will be back on July 11th.

My Early Favorites (in no particular order and I reserve the right to change my mind at any time)


Guys: Cole Horibe, Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer, Daniel Baker, George Lawrence II, Dareian Kujawa
Girls: Amelia Lowe, Janelle Issis, Eliana Gerard, Amber Jackson, Alexa Anderson

Who are yours?

National Dance Day

The third-annual National Dance Day will take place on Saturday, July 28. There is a hip-hop master class with Lauren Gottlieb, Lauren Froderman, and Brandon Bryant video and a Zumba fitness video for people of all levels with Kass Martin, Gina Grant and SYTYCD All-Stars Allison Holker and Ade Obayomi. That Saturday evening, there will be a Dizzy Feet Foundation Gala at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in the Music Center. Desmond Richardson will be performing as will Alvin Ailey, American Ballet Theater, LXD, and the All-Stars from SYTYCD (past and present). Click on the logos below to learn more.





So You Think You Can Dance — Vegas Hell Week Recap

23 06 2012

So You Think You Can Dance: Vegas Hell Week

By Hilda Clark Bowen (PBMom)

Vegas week–the dancers’ equivalent to Navy SEAL hell week. Eight grueling rounds. Late nights. Early mornings. No sleep. Pushing themselves to the brink physically, mentally, emotionally. That is what it takes on the road to becoming America’s Favorite Dancer. There were 8 rounds. Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, Adam Shankman, Debbie Allen, Tyce DiOrio, and Lil’C were the primary judges with others sitting in to comment on their own choreographed segments.

Round 1: Solos

Hampton “The Exorcist” Williams from Richardson, Texas (Dallas auditions) danced his unique style to Evanescence’s “My Immortal.” He was mouthing the words to the song which I did not like. Debbie Allen was crying. It was very similar to his Dallas audition. After 10 solos, Jennifer and Briana go home. Hampton and 7 other dancers make it through to the next round.

Hampton “The Exorcist” Williams

Next bunch included Janelle Issis, the belly dancer from Birmingham, Alabama. Both Tyce and Adam loved her. By the end of the round, 51 dancers were cut, including martial arts expert Tim Conkel.

Round 2: Hip-Hop with tWitch and Comfort

This proved too much for two contestants. Hampton felt that the choreography was too difficult to learn left the competition. I praise the respect he showed the judges by coming up on stage and sharing that. Andre Rucker, from the Dragon House trio, just left. Good impressions are won, and you just do not up and leave. It’s too easy just to quit. I hope that Hampton gets some experience in some other areas and comes back to the competition next year. The song chosen was “B.O.B.” by OutKast. It was fast and slick. After the first group, Boris Penton from Dragon House was cut as was Gene Lonardo (the praying mantis guy), and Bree Hafen. After the last group performed, and Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer. Glitch meets tWitch and I’m loving this. All the members of the final group survived, which totaled 105 dancers surviving to the next round.

Round 3 (Day 2): Broadway with Tyce DiOrio

Tyce comes with a story about dancers in a club at 2 a.m. and drinking water and then POW!…a lust force seizes them. Witney Carson and Lindsay Arnold, from the Salt Lake City auditions, are out of their comfort zones. They have known each other since age 9 and found out they were roommates in Las Vegas. The song, “Must Be the Water” by Marc Broussard. Everyone who danced in the morning made it through. The judges gave Alexa Anderson a stern lecture about lacking an emotional connection and getting tired of fighting for her. I think she is terrified that she will not make it through again at the very last moment and she is guarding her heart. Joseph and Trey were gone. Teddy Tedholm went home. After this round another 23 dancers went home, which by my count 105 minus 23 leaves 82 dancers for the next round.

Round 4: Jazz with Sonya Tayeh

Eighty-two contestants remain. Sonya is looking for strength, aggression, texture, and musicality. Shafeek Westbrook is struggling, but bacon-girl Danielle Dominguez is trying to be supportive. The song is “Freak Out (Gold Chains, Panique Mix) by Brightest Diamond. Shafeek was cut and left with a terrible attitude. Danielle steps forward to partner with Giovanni and is rewarded with a big smack to her head. She is sent to the hospital; he is sent home. Cyrus partners with Lindsay and does an adequate job. I think his uniqueness and the judges desire to have him through to the top 20 is allowing them to forgive mistakes. This is about the favorite dancer and not necessarily the best dancer. They ask Amelia Lowe to dance for her life. Rachel Applehans is asked to dance for her life (It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World by Leela James). Sonya, Nigel, Mary and Tyce all say no. I have to say I am glad about Rachel because she just did not fit into the show. It’s fine to turn on the sex appeal once or twice, but every time it makes me uncomfortable, like she is dancing for men at a strip club. Amelia danced to “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Elmer Bernstein. Adam is visibly moved. Sonya is smiling and says she wants to get her hands on her. Sonya, Mary, Lil’C, Tyce and Debbie say yes. Adam says “yes” and thanks her. Nigel gave a surprising no.

Round 5: Groups

It’s now day 2 at 10 p.m., and it is group time. The twist this year was that the people got to pick their own groups (about 5-6 people). The first group up on day 3 in the morning includes Daniel Baker, Audrey Case, Danielle Dominguez. Danielle got back late from the hospital. They danced to Gotye’s song, “Somebody That I Used to Know.” Charlie and Danielle are sent home. The judges should have allowed Danielle to at least dance for her life. She did not have to volunteer to partner in the previous round a second time. Boo to the judges on that. In the next group, Taylor Giri (? spelling) was sent home. The next dance, choreographed by Aubrey Klinger, was praised by Nigel, and he complimented her by calling her a mini Mia Michaels. Aubrey danced with 4 other guys. The story was that she was the only girl at the prom and they called themselves the “High Schoolers.” The song was Side Project’s “I Want to Dance with Somebody.” The entire group is sent through to the next round.

The High Schoolers

The first group in the afternoon were The Wolfpack which included Dres Reid, Adrian Lee and Alexa Alexander, all who auditioned in previous seasons and danced to “I’m Glad You Came” by The Wanted. Alexa was called out again by the judges. They prodded her until tears flowed. They allow her one more chance. Sixty-one contestants now remain for the next round.

Wolfpack

Round 6: Ballroom, specifically the cha-cha with Jason Gilkison.

The song: “Let’s Get Loud” by Jennifer Lopez. I was shouting GO CYRUS. I just love this guy’s attitude and energy. He is asked to dance for his life. It was a no to Asher Walker, Dee Tomasetta, and a huge surprise Aubrey Klinger who had just been highly praised in the group round. My heart was hurting for her as she said she was not able to get work as a dancer audition after audition. While hurting for her, it reminded me what is so fantastic about this show: Even dancers who are not crowned the winners are getting work in the industry as evidenced by the many times I’ve seen them especially on Fox shows. Witney, Stepheon Stewart (great hip work!), Eliana Girard and Alexa (who was being cheered from the sidelines by Tyce and Adam) all received a yes to the next round. Cyrus dances to “Holy Ghost (Helicopter Showdown and Sluggo Remix) by Messinian. He BLOWS my mind. I was so glad he got to dance for Lil’C who thought it was EXTRA BUCK. I loved the support he was also receiving from his fellow contestants in the audience. A total of 52 contestants are put through to contemporary.

Round 7: Contemporary with Travis Wall

The contestants only have 1 hour to get the steps down. That’s insane. Travis says, “Technically I’m looking for perception.” Travis, your standards are set so low. The song is “I Won’t Give Up” Jason Mraz. Cyrus, Eliana, Lindsay, Janelle, Trenton, Daniel, Witney, Amelia, Luciano, Cyrus and Tiffany are all put through. Eighteen dancers’ fates were in question. The judges asked them to perform again and only Joshua and Abigail make it through. I was so sad about white-girl krumper Mariah. I thought she did very well.

Round 8: Final solos

Trying to stand-out, Joshua attempted to do a new trick in the waiting area and fell smack to the ground. The medics are called and he is taken away. He was not able to perform his final solo. Alexa Anderson was first, dancing to The Naked and Famous’ “Young Blood (White Sea Remix)”.  (PS Thank you Warren for the correction on this).  Debbie Allen said to her fellow judges that “This child could win” but Tyce balked at that observation. The last solo was Chehon Wespi-Tschopp of Zurich, Switzerland, the ballet dancer. The heights he could reach were phenomenal. The song to which he danced was “Suite of the Winter Songbirds,” by Noah Lifschey.

The guys were called up. Adrian Lee, who almost made it in season 7, and whose mother stopped watching the show because of it, was cut. Nigel reminded the group that they were not going for the “best dancers” but the uniqueness. The girls get called up; no one is cut….at this point.

There are 35 in the end. Next week, they will have to cut that down to 20 people. Joshua will find out if his stunt to try to impress will cost him a spot in the final 20.

Who are your favorites? I think Chehon and Cyrus are going to make it simply because of their unique styles. Cyrus improves with each lesson and America adores him. Chehon is, I think, the only ballet dancer in the group and they tend to like a diverse group of individuals. I am unsure about the girls. Amelia is very unique. I was truly rooting for Mariah. Janelle should make it.





So You Think You Can Dance — Salt Lake City auditions

14 06 2012

So You Think You Can Dance, Season 9, Salt Lake Auditions — 2012

Judges Adam Shankman, Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe gave a tutorial about what NOT to do when you are auditioning: No booty shaking; no self-worship (rubbing, touching yourself); and no reaching, with Adam Shankman doing the illustrations. The girls dominated in this city as did ballroom dance, which has been not seen much at all in the other cities.

Who I Liked A LOT

Witney Carson, American Fork, Utah, Cha-Cha/Tango: The girl on FIRE. It was hot and she is only 18 years of age. Her father looked very uncomfortable in the audience as Nigel talked about her sensuality and sexuality within the dance. Mary, for the first time this audition season, put her on the HOT TAMALE TRAIN, and blew out the eardrums of Nigel and Adam. Adam claimed, “I’m a slave for you.” And uses the “F” word in Salt Lake City. She is definitely through to Vegas.

Witney Carson

Gene Lonardo; Las Vegas, Nevada; contemporary: Although I should put him in the Odd-Ball LOT because he came out saying he was going to do the dance of the male praying mantis, it was stunning to watch, and I immediately thought that Sonya Tayeh (choreographer) would love to play the female praying mantis. The routine really made him stand out. He was an average dancer as contemporary styles go, but the fact that he choreographed the dance himself set him apart. Although it did get weird when Gene told Nigel he imagined him as the female praying mantis (because Nigel was fearsome to him). Awkward. He is through to Vegas.

Gene Lonardo, male praying mantis

Lindsay Arnold; Provo, Utah; ballroom Latin: She dances wonderfully. It was a shame her partner was not competing because he deserved a ticket as well). She was through to Vegas.

Lindsay Arnold

Mariah Spears; Phoenix, Arizona; krump: White girls CAN KRUMP! I was not expecting this. When she said she was going to krump, Adam spat out his drink. But she lived up to the hype. She was fabulous. I wished L’il C was in the room judging then. I think she needs to work on the open-mouth look. The anger should come through her movements without the “O” face. She was sent to choreography and then on to Vegas.

Mariah Spears

Murphy Yang; Roy, Utah; contemporary: His family disowned him and moved to California. He was homeless for awhile. I admire him for sticking to his dreams despite his idiot family. He had quite a mixture of styles in his dance. There was a good sense of humor, good musicality. Then he lifted his shirt with “Vegas?” on it and I loved it. He has had no formal training. I bet you if Debbie Allen had been the judge, she would have offered him free lessons at one of her schools. Adam Shankman was on the verge of tears. Murphy was sent to choreography but for this year it was a no to Vegas. Murphy–Keep on refining your technique. You are SO close to getting a ticket to Vegas. Do not give up. I ADMIRE you.

Murphy Yang

Dareian Kujawa; Boulder City, Nevada; contemporary: He, too, had a very rough life. They were very poor and it was a depressing, dark life. He decided to create a roadmap for himself and dancing pulled him out of this dark place. This man is filled with inner strength and it showed in his dance. It was filled with great emotion and great athleticism. He had beautiful lines. Of course he was going to Vegas!

Dareian Kujawa

Leroy Martinez; Sacramento, California; hip-hop. He also has had a rough life, but turning to dance helped him. He is the only one in his family to live a straight life. It was his first audition ever. He works at a doggie day care by day and gives back to the community working with the Peacemakers program, a group who works to establish afterschool programs in the community. There is an article done in a local paper about this group. Please click here to read more about it.  Because of his larger size, one thinks he is going to be unable to do impressive moves. He breaks stereotypes. He was AWESOME. Adam was crying and hesitated to say it, but said it was “fucking awesome.” Of course it was bleeped out. He went on to choreography and it was a no for Vegas, but something inside of me tells me that Adam is going to do something for this young man.

Leroy Martinez

Who I Thought Was Average

Deanna “Dee” Tomasetta; Millbury, MA; contemporary: She was beautiful to watch. I really liked the backbend move she had which showed really excellent control. The one thing that did not match for me was the smile with the song, which then reminded me of Ryan Ramirez. The song she chose was “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt. The song is about unrequited love. But she is smiling the ENTIRE performance. I should have felt angst in there. That is the only reason why she is in the “average” category for me. But the judges loved it and she is through to Vegas.

Deanna “Dee” Tomasetta

Adrian Lee; Los Angeles, California; contemporary: In season 7 he came so close to being in the show, but that was the year they picked the best 10 and had them dance with 10 all-stars. He was not invited. His family became very down on the show after that and he chose not to tell them he was auditioning this time. However, between then and now, season 8 happened–the top 20 best dancers EVER chosen, and his dance looks very amateurish when comparing it to people from last season. He is doing the self-worship moves despite being told that the judges did not want to see that. Mary was crying because the emotion of having to tell him “no” in season 7 came flooding back. He did get a ticket to Vegas and Nigel gave him another ticket for his mother to come along. He has to do better in Vegas or he will be cut.

Adrian Lee

Rachel Applehaus; Denver, Colorado; burlesque jazz: She claims she was shy growing up. She hoped that her dance would make Nigel uncomfortable.  She was hot and sultry but she rolled on the floor too much. Then I started thinking this reminds me of a dancer in a gentleman’s club and I became uncomfortable. There was not enough substance in her routine. Then they said she was doing burlesque jazz (Is that like Anchorman’s jazz flute?) and she is through to choreography and then on to Vegas.

Rachel Applehaus

Odd-Ball LOT

Lynn Gravatt; Portland, Oregon; space dance: The story was being set up as a disaster. She claims that her energy comes from the Pleiades constellation. She has three spirit guides (Divine DeFlame–which is her highest self; they flash Mary Murphy on the frame; then Devil DeFlame (which is her “male” dancer, and of course Nigel is flashed on the screen; the third is Rainbow Light Bright, which is of course Adam). Before Lynn starts, Mary is giggling a lot. Lynn is a former aerospace engineer that has worked on aircraft we will see in 10-15 years. Very intelligent woman. She was not that bad considering she has had no formal training. Being 33, that automatically disqualified her from being part of the show, but the judges were very kind to her.  She left with a wonderful message for people to never give up on their dreams, no matter what their age.

Lynn Gravatt

Johnny Ahn and Whitney Hallam; Orem, Utah; ballroom: This guy is so full of EGO it isn’t funny. And the look on his partner’s face the entire time she is with him is one of contempt. I do not blame her. He should spend less time on watching videos on how to get dates and more time on how to be a good dance partner. There is a 10-year age difference between them. She is unimpressed with his MAN-GO. His ballroom “O” face bothers me. He NEVER looks at his gorgeous partner. The dance is all about him–“Hey look at me–I think I’m hotter than I really am.” They are sent through to choreography but it is a “no” to Vegas for both of them. My advice to Whitney is to get another dance partner quickly and come back next year. I would never pick up the phone and vote for him, so he should just not come back to audition for the show.

If looks could kill….Whitney Hallam and Johnny Ahn

Next week is So You Think You Can Dance Hell Week! I cannot wait.





So You Think You Can Dance — Finale Performance Show

11 08 2011

It has been a wonderful journey with the best group of dancers to ever be picked in the Top 20 of So You Think You Can Dance. Tonight, the four favorites who flitted into our hearts were: Marko, Melanie, Sasha and Tadd. Katie Holmes and Kenny Ortega served as guest judges for this evening (I just LOVE Kenny Ortega).

Final4

The final 4: Marko, Sasha, Melanie, Tadd

Dancers: Melanie and Marko
Song: “I Feel Love”
Artist: Donna Summer
Choreographer: Doriana Sanchez
Style: Disco
Story: None, just high-energy disco.

I was wondering when disco was going to show up. This song was a blast to my past. It was lovely seeing them partner again. Dressed like John Travolta, Marko did a slightly better job than Melanie with a bit more energy into all his movements. While it was danced well and it was fun to watch, there was no emotional investment in it for me and did not bring me back to that golden era. Kenny thought it was electric, sizzling and great. Katie loved it and said it was like watching Saturday Night Fever. Mary Murphy pointed out that the lifts were not great and they went in and out of the style. Nigel agreed with Mary and felt they were uncomfortable in the style and hoped that they do better in their other routines this evening.

Dancers: Sasha and all-star Mark Kanemura
Song: “Raise Your Weapon”
Artist: Deadmau5
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Style: Contemporary
Story: Ode to Sasha from Sonya, that Sasha handles all the struggles in her life with such grace and integrity, fueling her and giving her power. Mark represents the obstacles.

Another emotional dance for Sasha. This dance brought both goosebumps and tears and then a “hell-yah” out of me during the final sequence when she throws her obstacles to the ground (i.e., Mark). What a powerhouse duo in this pairing (Are you ready to join Lady Gaga’s tour, Sasha, with Mark?)! It stung me in all my emotionally vulnerable hotspots. Sasha has had some incredible performances, but this one tops them all. Mark is the perfect example of someone who did not win the show who went on to do fantastic things in the dance world. Like a fine wine, he has gotten better with age. Katie loved it, especially that walk at the end. Mary pulled out her train-whistled woo-hoo for this and called her a champion and a star. Nigel thought Sasha just threw down the gauntlet to the other three contestants.
Before getting to Sasha’s critique, Kenny had glowing things to say to Sonya who was deeply moved by his accolades. Turning to Sasha, he cited her struggles this week–an injury, battling against Melanie–but claimed her “Sasha, Warrior Princess.”

Dancers: Tadd and all-star Joshua Allen
Song: “Hustle Hard” (Traditional)
Artists: Ace Hood
Choreographer: Lil’C
Style: Hip-hop
Story: None, just the hustle.

Lil’C choreographed a very difficult routine. Tadd is the dark horse in this race, but having Joshua dance with him did not help him, like watching a master and his apprentice. Joshua was crouching lower and hitting harder. Tadd made it this far not only because of his dance technique but also his personality. Just looking at Tadd though, this is the best I have seen him dance all season. Mary said his difficulty is the “sweetie-pie” factor, but was able to pull off a hard-hitting hip-hop style. “Hustle Hard” was Tadd’s theme song for this season. Nigel complimented the moves on the knees, but still felt he was too sweet. Kenny thought the pairing was perfect and wants a pair of the red shoes. Katie thought his hustling was terrific and she loved the pairing. The red shoes helped to highlight how fast of a dancer he was.

Dancers: Melanie and all-star Robert Roldan
Song: “Sacrifice”
Artist: Sinead O’Connor
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Style: Contemporary
Story: Unrequited love; in order to save herself, she has to say good-bye.

My goosebumps started halfway through and were at standing straight up on my arm and traveling down my legs by the time the song was over, a lovely rendition of the famous Elton John song. I loved this pairing as well, as each complimented each other. Nigel felt like Sasha threw down the gauntlet and the challenge was accepted. Kenny would push himself to the front of the line to have a chance to work with Melanie. At this point, Cat announced that he would be resurrecting “Dirty Dancing” and got Melanie her first job after SYTYCD. Katie thinks she is a magical dancer and loves how she creates stories. Mary feels like she is in a class of her own and is so proud of her. Melanie feels so blessed for the journey.

Dancers: Sasha and Marko
Song: “Whatever Lola Wants”
Artist: Ella Fitzgerald
Choreographer: Spencer Liff
Style: Broadway
Story: A restaurant scene. Marko is the waiter, Sasha an elegant dinner who wants to order something off menu.

Hot and spicy, both Sasha and Marko played their roles well. She looked elegant in her purple gown, showing off her cougaress cavort, going after what appeared to be a younger, geeky waiter, portrayed by Marko. Kenny thought it was fun, and their character conversions were fantastic. He had a few extra words of praise for Sasha about her giving her all for every performance. Katie compared Sasha to the legendary Cyd Charisse and thought Marko was great. Mary did not initially recognize Marko and thought he was perhaps one of the all-stars. She was surprised at what a wonderful actor he is, saying that it is not easy to pull off comedy and dance at the same time. The dance, however, did not wow Nigel. He thought Sasha was a better warrior princess than a vamp. He did not understand Marko’s character at all.

Taking a break in the dance action, Cat showed some interviews that she had with all the contestants. Melanie’s favorite moment was dancing with Neil Haskell (with the launch she did into his arms halfway across the stage). Her closest buddy in the competition is Ricky because he can make anyone smile and was such a fighter regardless of the criticism each week. Out of the four remaining, she feels closest to Marko. She misses her father and knows that he would be very proud of her. She then performed her solo to “Song for Viola” by Peter Bradley Adams. I cried, feeling like she was dancing that for her father.

Cat asked Marko what he was thinking when she read his name as the first one through to the finale. He had closed his eyes and wondered why she was waiting (she was waiting for him to open his eyes). His favorite performance was “Turned to Stone” with Melanie. She asked him what it was like to have his mother in the audience, and he again shared that he was not always the most grateful child growing up. Winning would mean “everything” to him. When he got shot, he was searching for the reasons why he survived and perhaps this show was a vehicle for that. He then performed his solo to “The Fear You Won’t Fall” by Joshua Radin, incorporating all he has learned, growing a great deal since his original audition. Tonight, his father was in the audience for the first time, giving him an extra boost.

Dancers: Sasha and Tadd
Song: “Raindrops”
Artist: Basement Jaxx
Choreographer: Mark Ballas
Style: Cha-cha
Story: None, just fun and sassy.

This was not finale-quality dancing. Both looked uncomfortable in the style. Because of that, they did not have that hot, spicy chemistry. The height difference was an issue for me. Katie completely bypassed saying anything about the dance itself and just complimented them on the journey. I think Katie did not want to be booed. Although agreeing with Katie, Mary had to talk about the dance. It just did not work–the connections, the body positions, missing hand connections, lack of chemistry, although Sasha fared a little bit better than Tadd. Nigel agrees with Mary, saying it was uncomfortable to watch. While Sasha did a bit better, Nigel felt it did not bear well for her either. Kenny said it was too ambitious for the last show and for them to walk it off and come back and blow us all away.

Dancers: Marko and all-star Lauren Froderman
Song: “Shirk”
Artist: Me’Shell Ndegedcello
Choreographer: Tessandra Chavez
Style: Contemporary
Story: Two people drawn to each other who can’t seem to find a way to make it work.

Setting the tone for the routine, Lauren was already in character, shedding tears when the dance started. This was another dance that drew me in emotionally, taking me on a journey of moments of my own life. My goosebumps never lie. Mary thought it was beautiful, provoking honest communication in the dance, feeling his soul. Nigel felt like it was a fabulous performance, redeeming his past dances of the evening. Kenny again complimented the outstanding choreography. He felt this was perfect partnering for him, that their spirits became alive, taking him to a distant place. Whatever Marko was doing in that dance, he needed to continue doing it. Katie also thanked Tessandra for the piece. He thanked Marko for creating these picture moments for her while he danced and deemed him magical (Magical Marko–it works–Cat stop stealing my phrases).

Tadd’s interview and solo were next. He thought and dreamed about being in the finale but cannot believe he is here. He thinks America is connecting to him in his solos. His favorite routine was the vulture dance with Jordan that Travis Wall choreographed. Most nervous performance was the first show when they had to make a first impression. There is web site apparently called: The Official “Keep Your Shirt Off Tadd” Fan Club. He said for some reason people want him to be naked, but Cat points out there is a difference between shirtless and naked. Winning would change his and his family’s lives. Dancing his last solo before voting to “Momma Knows Best” by Jessie J, Tadd showed off why we love him so. It was playful and creative.

Dancers: Tadd and Melanie
Song: “Show Me What You’re Working With”
Artist: Sista Monica
Choreographer: Ray Leeper
Style: Jazz
Story: A guy cheats on his girlfriend and she catches him in the act. Sexy, naughty with a little dysfunction thrown in.

This dance showcased Tadd much better. Since he was comfortable, the chemistry flowed like river rapids between them. I got sexy, naughty and the dysfunction. It must have been difficult for Melanie to dance that short while with one heel on and one off; I can barely walk that way. The routine was a lot of good fun. The strip-tease of Tadd for his fan-base was a great touch after the comments made in his interview. The routine brought Nigel’s evening to life. He praised Tadd for a job well done, while complimenting Melanie for selling the character before the dancing ever began. Kenny apparently let out a “woo” during the dance. He loved everything about it and felt the choreographer delivered the perfect routine to showcase their strengths during a finale show. Katie felt like it was a breath of fresh air. Mary thought Tadd brought the sexy back and Melanie’s strut was like no other.

In the final interview and solo, Sasha never thought she would make it this far, loving that her sister has been with her the entire journey. Her favorite moment was when Lady Gaga threw her shoe. Several routines stood out to her, but she asked Cat which one she liked and Cat said the routine with Twitch. She talked more about the wonderful routine with Kent Boyd (with the wall), saying she had to go to a very dark place, and she had to put her journey into the dance. Seeing people affected emotionally in response to her dancing meant a great deal to her. Dancing to “Be Be Your Love” by Rachael Yamagata, Sasha also showed the audience the growth attained this season from that of her first audition.

Dancers: Sasha and Melanie
Song: “Heart Asks Pleasure First”
Artist: Anh Trio
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Style: Contemporary
Story: Suppressed housewives in the 1950s, feelings of isolation and loneliness. The two join forces to break free.

Extremely beautiful. Melanie and Sasha are in direct competition with each other, yet they dance and support each other every time they dance together like true professionals. Another moment of chills for me. Kenny thought the picket fences were symbolic of prison bars and the space in the yard the only place where these women could express themselves. It made him feel hopeless and he wanted to rush in and free them. It also made him curious about their paths, where these characters came from and where they were going. Katie loved the message about friendship and the power that two women can give to each other. Mary enjoyed every second of it, enjoying the movement and musicality. Nigel shared with the audience what we did not see–that each of them hugged each other and wished each other luck before the show came back on air. He said it did not matter who won because they would both grace any dance company they would join.

Dancers: Marko and Tadd
Song: “B.O.B.”
Artist: Outkast
Choreographer: Chuck Maldonado
Style: Gumboot stepping (hip-hop)
Story: Form of dance that was used to communicate in the mines of South Africa

A fantastic, high-energy way to close the show. Tadd had the slight edge in this dance, but Marko was not too shabby. The timing was a little off, but I noticed Tadd looking over at Marko at times to try to get them back in sync again. Katie enjoyed the athletic ability in this number, but it also sound like she was holding something back. Mary felt like it was solid gold for her. Nigel pointed out the rhythms were not together in this routine. Then he crushed them by saying he has felt all along a girl would win this season and that hadn’t changed although they stood up well for themselves tonight. Kenny thanked the dancers and the choreographer.

If it was simply based on dancing tonight, it would have to be Melanie, Marko, Sasha and Tadd. If it came down to most improved dancers over the season, it would be Tadd, Sasha, Marko and Melanie since Tadd, the b-boy held his own outside his own style of dance. Then Sasha was finally partnered with someone who brought out the best in her during the all-stars, and Marko and Melanie have remained pretty level throughout the competition. If it is based on the dancing all season it would be a tie between Melanie/Sasha then Marko and Tadd. However, the show is about America’s favorite dancer. Sasha has an overwhelming fan base and it will come down to who voted more, Melanie’s fans or Sasha’s fans. The margin of votes will be very, very close.  I predict Sasha is going to win.  But Nigel is right:  Both Melanie and Sasha will have tremendous careers after this (and I believe Marko and Tadd will, too).

Hilda Clark Bowen (a.k.a. PBMom)

Hilda Bowen (a.k.a. PBMom)