The XFactor: L.A. Reid’s and Britney Spears’ Homes

14 10 2012


Group: Over 25’s.
Guest mentors: Justin Bieber and Justin’s manager, Scooter Braun.
Where: Beverly Hills, California

Contestants making it through in this category were: Jason Brock, Daryl Black (we haven’t seen much of anything on him), David Correy, Tara Simon (are you KIDDING ME?), Tate Stevens and Vino Alan. Those going home include Jessie Bryant (Houston boy), Freddie Combs, Jeffrey Adam Gutt, and apparently Panda Ross, but you would never know because they gave her no air time. Read Lindsey’s report on “Where is Panda?”

There is nothing like coming to California, anxiously awaiting to see who your mentor is going to be, when LA Reid and Justin Bieber pop out and the first thing you hear is (paraphrasing), “I don’t like you.” He “does not like them, but I have to figure out how to get one of you to win.” Talk a blow to the gut. Justin gave them a little more hope, “it doesn’t matter how old you are.” He adds that “When L.A. believes in something, he pours his whole heart and soul into it.” Hmmm. He just told the group he did not believe in them. Mixed messages.

Jason Brock
Song: “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Fergie

It was a great start to the show. I think that Jason has a future career in music, but I almost wish that he would have tried out for “The Voice” where his appearance did not matter. I think the XFactor looks for more people who they can market in pop music or rap music areas. I would vote for him. I would like to see what he sounds like not singing a ballad. L.A. Reid thought it was a strong vocal. Justin felt that he did not hold anything back and gave it his all.

David Correy
Song: “Domino” by Jessie J

His hand-shaking was annoying and distracting to me as a viewer. L.A. said it gave him chills. Justin thought he was great, the voice was there, and he has a look to him.

Daryl Black
Song: “She’s Gone” by Daryl Hall and John Oates

This is the first time I have heard him sing. I enjoyed it a great deal. I think he should go through to the live shows. Scooter thought he had a special voice and a band behind him might work. L.A. thought his voice tone is not unique and that he was just singing. Justin thought it was powerful and strong. I see a pattern to Justin’s advice.

Tate Stevens
Song: “Back At One” by Brian McKnight

Tate confuses me as a viewer. He auditioned as a country artist. The songs we saw him sing at Boot Camp were from R&B artists. On this song, he was flat on his notes. Scooter said there was something about him that you want to root for. Justin thought he was charismatic, great voice, but when L.A. asked if Justin would write him a check for $5 million, Justin was not real sure about that.

Vino Alan
Song: “Sober” by P!nk

I got goosebumps. He was putting all his heart and soul into this performance. However, I do think he roomed with David Correy a bit too long because he has that weird hand-shaking movement, too. Scooter thought he was petrified but he stepped up. Justin emotionally felt it (versus unemotionally feeling it?–sometimes these sayings don’t make sense). L.A. Reid questioned if he was “the package.” He just did not know.

Tara Simon
Song: “The Reason” by Hoobastank

I do not know how this woman made it to the top 24. Her vocals are awful. That fact that she is making money as a vocal coach is a crime. She annoys me more than Cece Frey did (Cece has softened in my eyes after seeing her at Demi’s home). This song was horrible. She thinks that performing runs that are off-key makes you a good vocalist I suppose. For me, it is an easy vote to go home. Scooter thought she had a “big voice.”


Group: Teens
Guest Mentor:
Where: Malibu, California

Contestants that made it through were Beatrice Miller, James Tanner, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Diamond White, Reed Deming, and Arin Ray. People you thought did not make it included Dinah Jane Hansen, Ally Brooke, Camila Carbello, Normani Hamilton, but most of them were grouped together to form three new groups.

Diamond White
Song: “I’m With You” by Avril Lavigne

It was a good song for her to choose given her age. She had a few off notes. thought it was amazing but felt she cares about her moves too much. Britney said she needed to work on her stage presence and gain a little more confidence.

Reed Deming
Song: “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White T’s

He is very precocious when he speaks. I remember not liking his performance at boot camp, but this song and this performance gave me goosebumps. He has improved a great deal since his first audition. Britney thought he was nervous and that he can deliver better than he just did. said when he talks he is like this little emperor kid.

James Tanner
Song: “Party Like a Rock Star” by Shop Boyz

I did not care for it at all. Britney thought it was entertaining but she is not convinced it is strong enough.

Arin Ray
Song: “Starships” by Nicki Minaj

Before he sang, gave him some advice that he needs to spill it on stage. Britney told him to stay confident, be true to yourself, and bring the goods. I like him but it was a little boring and he was a little flat on some of the notes. said he has something, that he has potential XFactor in him. Britney said he needs to work on his vocals but she loves watching him.

Beatrice Miller
Song: “Titanium” by David Guetta and Sia

I think she is adorable . Her vocals were rough on some of the notes. said it was the right tone for her and it was fresh. Britney thought she needed to control her voice a bit more.

Carly Rose Sonenclar
Song: “Brokenhearted” by Karmin

At Boot Camp, I was a little disappointed in her performance, but this one was a home run. I had goosebumps. felt she was possessed, that she was like this little caterpillar and you think she is going to turn into this butterfly but instead she turns into a dragon. Britney said she is very talented but she is not sure if she will be able to cope with the pressure.


In the Over-25’s, Tara Simon is the easiest pick for me. She does not deserve the spot. The only reason why she might stay is because she is the only female in the group. My next pick would be Tate Stevens. He needs time to figure out what kind of artist he wants to be–country or R&B. His voice is more suited for country songs. In the R&B songs, his vulnerabilities are revealed in pitch. However, the person who may be in jeopardy based on the mentors’ comments might be Daryl Black.

My picks get harder in the teen group. James Tanner is unique in that he raps, but there is too much talent in this group for him to take up a spot. SPOILER ALERT: In the promos for next week, it looks like Arin Ray definitely gets through. I don’t know if I could pick a second person, but Beatrice Miller might be the one in danger. Carly and Diamond had stronger performances. We know Arin gets through, so that leaves Beatrice and Reed and Reed is going to appeal to all those tween girls out there.

So You Think You Can Dance — Top 10 Performance

21 07 2011

Congratulations to So You Think You Can Dance for the well-deserved 8 Emmy nominations.

Tonight was a game-changer in the format of the show. The contestant would now be paired up with former alumni of the show, affectionately known as the all-stars. Neil Patrick Harris was the guest judge this evening. Tickets for the tour go on sale July 29 which kicks off in Orlando, Florida.

Dancers: Marko & all-star Chelsie Hightower
Song: “Cinema Italiano” (The Ron Fair Remix)
Artist: Kate Hudson
Choreographer: Jason Gilkison
Style: Samba
Story: A photographer and his muse.

The big question of the night is this: Will Marko and Melanie shine being apart? While Marko did well, it was not his best dance. Perhaps Melanie is his muse. There was a lot of footwork, but there were spots where I felt his arms could have been up higher and his legs could have been together more than apart. But Mary Murphy is the expert in ballroom and she loved it. He does get kudos for those massive lift/twirls.

Dancers: Jordan & all-star Brandon Bryant
Song: “Who You Are”
Artist: Jessie J
Choreographers: Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson
Style: Contemporary
Story: The highs and lows of love.

This was a wonderful partnering. Brandon’s age and experience brought more out of Jordan as did the beautiful choreography which left me with goosebumps. The combination gave her a deepened maturity in her dancing. This is one of the reasons why I love the all-stars so much. The contestants seem to rise up to their level. Jordan received high praise from all the judges including a plea from Nigel to keep her in the competition.

Dancers: Tadd and all-star Comfort Fedoke
Song: “Look At Me Now”
Artist: Chris Brown (featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes)
Choreographer: Chuck Maldonado
Style: Hip-hop
Story: None.

Once again, having Comfort in the mix elevated Tadd’s level of dance. The choreography was also very complex to a very fast beat, but Tadd rose to the challenge. It played to Tadd’s strengths. There was very good chemistry between the two dancers. Nigel and Neil both felt he out-danced Comfort. Mary thought he was ghetto-licious.

Dancers: Mitchell and all-star Melody Lacayanga
Song: “Take Off With Us”
Artist: All That Jazz Soundtrack
Choreographer: Tyce DiOrio
Style: Broadway/jazz
Story: Taking flight.

Once again I’m afraid for Mitchell because Broadway does not bring in the votes. I did not watch SYTYCD in season 1, so Melody is new for me as well. Mitchell had great height in his leaps. There was something awkward about the routine, but I think it was in the height difference actually. I thought Mitchell out-danced Melody. The judges did not like it with Neil Patrick Harris taking aim more at Tyce’s choreography. It was like someone tried to make Boeing, Boeing a musical. It just did not work. Sometimes the dancers are at the mercy of the choreography. Perhaps the awkwardness was not in the height difference, but the fact that the dancers were not feeling it so they overperformed.

Dancers: Caitlynn and all-star Pasha Kovalev
Song: “Malajunta”
Artist: Orquesta Color Tango
Choreographers: Leonardo Barrionueva and Miriam Larici
Style: Argentine tango
Story: A disconnected couple from the 1930’s era falling in love.

This LA-noire-type tango was on fire. With a partner like Pasha how could you not get totally wrapped up in the chemistry? The intricate steps with the interlocking legs are very difficult and I hope the audience can appreciate that. I still worry for Caitlynn because Broadway and ballroom do not do so well with voters. Mary Murphy gave Caitlynn a standing ovation and was near tears. Nigel commented that she used to be a girl dancing but now he saw a woman dance. Neil stated it took a little bit for him to get into it but he was completely mesmerized by it.

Dancers: Sasha and all-star Twitch
Song: “Misty Blue”
Artist: Dorothy Moore
Choreographer: Christopher Scott
Style: Hip-hop
Story: A couple’s whose love has burned out and they try to rekindle the magic.

As much as I enjoyed Alexander, there was a disconnection for me since the first week between the two of them. Tonight, Sasha was partnered with someone who not only had the chemistry but also had the skills to match her. As a married person of 19 years now, I appreciated this dance a great deal and could relate to it. This routine sizzled with sensuality. It was very nice to hear this song again. The routine was received quite well by the audience based on the level of clapping and hooting they did. I just love Twitch and everything he does. Nigel could not even speak. Neil called it the best routine so far in the evening. The routine brought Mary Murphy to swearing, calling it a “sexy-ass number.”

Dancers: Jess and all-star Kathryn McCormick
Song: “The Lonely”
Artist: Christina Perri
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Style: Contemporary
Story: Not being able to see what is right in front of you.

This routine required Jess to give all his eye contact to Kathryn while Kathryn is basically ignoring him. There was not a flowing movement that I would have liked to have seen with the routine. Even dancing separately, there still has to be a bond between them for the audience to be pulled in–a difficult order to be filled by even seasoned dancers. Kathryn did a beautiful job and I have missed seeing her dance. Neil thought the choreography was magnificent but pointed out Jess’ facial expressions that are typical of a Broadway dancer, but thought it was the best he has seen Jess dance. Mary concurred that it was her favorite piece Jess has done to date. Nigel thought Jess did a great job.

Dancers: Melanie and all-star Pasha
Song: “Everybody Hurts”
Artist: Tina Arena
Choreographer: Jason Gilkison
Style: Viennese waltz
Story: A guy who has lost his will to live with Melanie as the friend who is nurturing him through it.

Melanie did not lose herself without Marko. This was the second time this evening I got the chills. Melanie’s movements were ethereal and she looked like a guardian angel cradling Pasha’s troubled soul. I am not really sure what might be troubling Pasha’s soul since he got to dance with two beautiful women this evening! Mary complimented her on her effortless lifts and felt she was right up there on the top of the leaderboard. Nigel called her a solid, brilliant dancer. Neil thinks Melanie looks like she is from the past but dances like she is from the future and is easily his favorite dancer on the show.

Dancers: Ricky and all-star Allison Holker
Song: “Precious Things”
Artist: Tori Amos
Choreographer: Tyce DiOrio
Style: Jazz
Story: A bad dream (Ricky being Allison’s worst nightmare).

It’s hard to imagine cheerful Ricky as anybody’s worst nightmare, but he pulled this dance off. The lift where Allison is in a curved position and Ricky’s arms are straight up took my breath away. There was great power in his movements. Both Neil and Nigel were impressed with both the choreography and Ricky’s performance. Mary thought it was raw, reckless, passionate, intense and committed.

Dancers: Clarice and all-star Robert Roldan
Song: “Aila Re Aila”
Artist: Khatta Meetha
Choreographer: Nakul Dev Mahajan
Style: Bollywood
Story: A game of cat and mouse.

Nakul threw everything except the kitchen sink into this dance routine. Clarice did a fantastic job keeping up with all-star Robert. This season of SYTYCD has got to be labeled the kissing season. This sexy dance was fast with intricate moves. Everyone loved it. It was a great way to end this wonderful show.


Sasha‘s routine to “Syrup and Honey” by Duffy had very complex moves and good emotional connectivity. It reminded me of a little dragonfly. Jess performed his solo to “Come By Me” by Harry Connick, Jr., utilizing the entire stage very well with his Broadway-like routine. He always has a lot of good energy. Melanie danced beautifully to “You’re The One That I Want” by Angus and Julia Stone. Ricky performed a lovely solo to “Daylight Breaks” by Cassidy Haley. Clarice danced her solo with a Latin-vibe to “Royal T” from Crookers featuring Roison Murphy. Performing to “This Time” by John Legend, Mitchell redeemed himself from his all-star routine. Jordan danced to “Tonight” by Lykee L., taking to heart the judge’s advice last week that they needed to see something different from her. Tadd provided an entertaining solo to “Everything I Can’t Have” by Robin Thicke. Caitlynn’s contemporary piece was lovely to Florence and The Machine’s “Cosmic Love.”  Marko closed out the solo performances of the night with a song from Gavin DeGraw, “More Than Anyone”, reminding us what a beautiful dancer he is.

For me, my least favorite dance this evening was Jess, but I am very worried for Mitchell because he was the only one to receive negative feedback. It would be difficult to say exactly which my favorite was because I had so many. All the solos were stupendous.

I would like to pass on some news from Miranda’s fans at @mirandacandance on Twitter. On Saturday they have an exciting announcement to pass to everyone and a chance to win some really great prizes, so make sure you stay glued to Twitter on Saturday.

Who were your favorites and least favorites this evening?