So You Think You Can Dance S10 Top 4 Revealed

29 08 2013

Opening Number

Song: “Hlohonolofatsa” by Soweto Gospel Choir
Choreographer: Sean Cheesman

Goosebumps! What a joyous dance. It is wonderful, too, to celebrate African-American roots with the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.

Judges

Jesse Tyler Ferguson joined Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy for tonight’s performances. I really enjoy the judging panel with him as a guest.

Couples

Dancers: Paul and all-star Kathryn McCormick
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio
Song: “Tied Up” by Yello

Need for control and power between a woman and a man. I smiled the whole way through. It sizzled. Tyce was smart to choreograph this to Paul’s strengths.

The judges: Not standing. Nigel thought it was a great routine. He said week after week he has shown he can do anything. Mary said Paul has charisma and talent, and it was a great way to get the show started tonight. Jesse is happy that they bypassed who might be in the bottom and went straight to the dancing. He thinks this top 6 is an insanely talented group of people (I agree). He has been so pleased seeing him grow since his audition. He also will now wear leather pants more (Jesse is a riot–love him on the judges’ panel).

Dancers: Hayley and all-star Joshua Allen
Style: Hip-hop
Choreographers: Tabitha and Napoleon D’Umo
Song: “Work Hard, Play Hard” by Wiz Khalifa

Ex-champ coming back to train the new kid. I was distracted by her facial movements but she did pretty well. I liked the slow-motion moves. I just don’t buy into her tough angry face because right behind it you can tell she is smiling. I prefer a smiling Hayley and the contemporary-dance-serious Hayley.

The judges: Not standing. I was a little worried we would see a standing ovation for every dance tonight. Mary said what a way to fight to stay in this game. Mary said Ali said it took skill and will and Hayley definitely has the will. She was as strong as she had ever seen anyone doing hip-hop. Jesse said that was the greatest work-out video of all time. She has been consistently awesome this entire season. Nigel said Hayley reminded him of Hilary Swank in “Million Dollar Baby.”

Dancers: Aaron and all-star Melanie Moore
Style: Broadway
Choreographer: Spencer Liff
Song: “Faith” by George Michael

A couple totally in love but they know how to push each other’s buttons. I love Melanie’s straightened hair! Aaron rocks. He is my choice to win for the guys. OH NO!!!!!!! Dropping your partner can’t happen! I was so worried she hit her head.

The judges: I love Melanie for sticking up for him. Jesse said you dropped her and she got even more mad at you. He looks forward to the day when everyone on the show is forced to do tap or ballet. He thinks he has risen more tonight with Melanie. Nigel likes Melanie’s hair too. What a great idea for a routine, not that it happens in real life with people dancing and arguing like this (which he thinks is why now he has an ex-wife) and Jesse chimes in, “Did you drop her on her head?” He wants Aaron to lower his shoulders. Mary brought up his injury and he did not want to use that as an excuse and Nigel thinks holding his shoulders up might not be helping. If Mary had to partner with dance during the entire show it would be him. (MARY–how about during the finale results show?).

Dancers: Fik-Shun and all-star Witney Carson
Style: Foxtrot
Choreographer: Jonathan Roberts
Song: “Sexy Silk” by Jessie J

Good thing there is no voting tonight because the foxtrot would not be popular. He gets an A for effort and an A for personality. I like how the choreographer put a Fik-Shun footprint in it with that sidestepping.

The judges: Again not standing. This pleases me. Mary pointed out he had some rough spots but also pointed out the good points as well. Jesse thought Witney was doing more leading but so was Mary at his wedding. He also was doing the “white man’s overbite.” He thinks he is amazing. Nigel said this was not particularly strong and said the vote from last week will carry over to next week (did he just give it away that he makes it into the top 4?). He gave him pointers of where he can improve. He complimented him on his solo tonight.

Dancers: Jasmine and all-star Neil Haskell
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio
Song: “Unfaithful” from Unfaithful (Soundtrack)

People’s lives being wiped away by natural disaster. I got goosebumps watching the rehearsals (deep breath). Definitely the biggest goosebumps I have gotten all season and then came the tears. We are coming up upon the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Ike here and I have loved ones who were affected by Hurricane Sandy in the northeast. That hooking-foot move was impressive because it is counterintuitive.

The judges: Rightfully on their feet. Nigel said she continues to steal his heart. He can see her signing up with a company as soon as the tour is over. Mary is crying. She said it was seeing rainbows in your soul when you have tears. She thinks Jasmine is spectacular and has been amazed by her whole journey. She said the history books will tell the stories about what happened, but dance will tell us how we feel. Jesse said it is easy to get behind a piece that has social relevance but you also have to have the heart and humanity behind it and they both had it. She has become his favorite dancer this year.

Dancers: Amy and all-star Alex Wong
Style: Bollywood
Choreographer: Nakul Dev Mahajan
Song: “Munni Badnaam Hui Darling” from Dabangg (Soundtrack)

The girl is a Bollywood bombshell diva. Alex is her servant. They are in love and in their world it is unacceptable. They too missed a connection early on that did not have potential disastrous results. Those knee turns made my knees hurt. Was it as well as Melanie Moore could have turned up adult diva? No, but it was still fun and she did a great job.

The judges: On their feet. Mary said it was crazy. It had great athleticism. The knee spins were nuts. Jesse said good golly Miss Bollywood (and cringed at his own corny comment). He needs a massage after watching that. It was insane. Nigel said all these routines (Bollywood) always make him smile. He reminded us that this is the style of dance on which Alex tore his Achilles heel. It was incredible and he had never seen a Bollywood routine that was so demanding.

Dancers: Hayley and Paul
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Dee Caspary
Song: “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by Sleeping At Last

A man reassuring a woman that he will be there for her. Goosebumps! You would never know that they have never danced together before if you were not told. That was so beautiful. Paul–you did not look like you were out of your element at all!

The judges: Jesse and Mary were standing. Dee looked like this was very personal to him as I saw tears in his eyes after they were finished. Jesse said he is so stressed out that people have to leave tonight. He thought it was amazing. The love and trust that they have for each other from this shared experience on the show was evident. He was going to keep this Carly-Rae-Jepson short–it was amazing. Nigel loved the flow of the movement. He said it validated for him that they are complete dancers. Mary is hoping they become a real life couple because they are so cute together! Their connection together was so friggin’ amazing. She commented on the contrast from Hayley’s other number tonight.

Dancers: Amy and Fik-Shun
Style: Hip-hop
Choreographer: Dave Scott
Song: “Lemme See” by Usher featuring Rick Ross

The woman shopping and showing off what she got. I think Amy channeled the sexy better in this dance versus the Bollywood number. I really enjoyed that.

The judges: Nigel said they have this wonderful chemistry brings out the best in both of them. He took a swipe at Miley Cyrus saying that this just proves you don’t have to put it in someone’s face to be sexy. Twerking! Mary said it is fabulous to have the dream team back together. The body rippling was so right on it was ridiculous. They have the ability to make us feel the movement. Jesse said he was heartbroken when the all-stars came in and broke them apart but happy to see them reunited tonight. Fik-Shun is a mega star. His solo erased the image of Miley twerking in his mind. The two of them together is so special and so spectacular. He thinks Amy is small enough to go into his pocket and he just loves that.

Dancers: Aaron and Jasmine
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Sean Cheesman
Song: “Mirror Mirror” by Lord KraVen

A man who appears to be vain but is mesmerized by this woman in a mirror only he can see. The woman is so obsessed with herself that her essence got trapped in the mirror. In rehearsals Aaron had trouble flipping Jasmine over his head; I bet that move disappears on the final product. Aaron is wearing GUYLINER! The mirror reflection of this dance was the co-star with these two. Aaron needs to refrain from singing the lyrics, although I love him so I am just teasing. (So inquiring minds want to know if he’ll be trying out for Idol or X-Factor or???) That leg move that Jasmine had where it went 120 degrees over was sick. I was right–they got rid of that move and it wasn’t really necessary. I think in the end, Jasmine chewed up his essence and spit him back out again.

The judges: Standing. Mary thought it was a phenomenal concept. The two of them have such a deep conviction dancing together. She touched on Jasmine’s beautiful solo and how there is a class and artistry in everything she does. Aaron was such a strong partner. The synchronization part on the mirror was just out of this world. Jesse agreed with all that. He called her a protractor. She is just a crazy robot and he hates her and loves her and hates that he can’t be her. To Aaron he said last time he got so tongue-tied because he is such a fan and then gushed and blurted out that he has a crush on him. Cat said it was the guyliner. Jesse was turning all sorts of shades of red. Jesse said Aaron looks like his husband. Aaron could not stop laughing. Nigel said like Amy and Fik-Shun they complement each other so well. Nigel complimented him on his tap solo. He noticed that Aaron kept his shoulders down in this routine with Jasmine and Aaron was excited he noticed. Nigel could not believe what Jasmine did with her legs. He remembered doing that to his sister’s dolls right before yanking their heads off. He thought it threw the gauntlet down to others in the competition saying “Beat that!”

Solos

Amy danced to “Anna’s Theme” from The Red Violin (Soundtrack). Breathtaking! Major goosebumps! Her extensions and lines were exquisite. Fik-Shun danced to “Look At Me Now” by Chris Brown featuring L’il Wayne and Busta Rhymes. Fantastic animation and I thought I was double-jointed! Jasmine danced to “Outro (Amazing Grace…Dedicated to Andretta Tillman) by Destiny’s Child. Goosebumps!!!! Jasmine for the win! Paul danced to “Mamba Negra” by Huecco. You know what I love about apart? He makes you smile because he just loves to dance. Hayley danced to “Be Mine (Acoustic) [Live At The Cherrytree House] by Robyn. She dances beautifully but I do have one criticism–they always look the same and too much of it is usually rolling on the ground. I really like to see things that they have learned on the show incorporated into their solos. Aaron tapped to “Use Me” by Bill Withers. Whoa! Superb. Aaron for the win!  I cannot even begin to know how difficult that must have been (and the judges gave him the only standing ovation during solos).

Top Four Revealed

Aaron, Jasmine, Amy and (sad face) Fik-Shun. That ruined my almost perfect record of picking who was leaving. I like Fik-Shun, I do, but Paul is the better dancer. What? It is only going to be one winner this season and not favorite girl and favorite guy? Don’t make me pick between Aaron and Jasmine. That is just not fair.

 

8/29/2013 Update:  I just saw a commercial for the show on Tuesday and it is favorite guy and favorite girl, so I won’t have to pick between them.  Phew!





So You Think You Can Dance S10 Top 10 Perform

18 08 2013

Its all-star pairing tonight!

Opening Number

Song: “The Gravel Road” by The Village (Score from the motion picture)
Choreographer: Christopher Scott

Dancing with props is so difficult but that was so beautifully done. I felt the angst and raw emotion of the piece. I don’t know the story behind it, but I felt it was possibly that the couples just lost a baby and the pain of that loss. Of course that feeling comes from my own experience with that.

Judges

Legendary Debbie Allen joins Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy.

Bottom 2

Tucker is automatically in the bottom because of his inability to perform because of his injury. Joining him are Makenzie, Nico, Jenna. Nigel is going to skip seeing them do their solos and go straight to the all-stars. I like that idea very much.

All-Star Couples

Dancers: Amy and All-Star Brandon Bryant
Style: Disco
Choreographer: Doriana Sanchez
Song: “I Will Always Love You (Hex Hector Radio Mix) by Whitney Houston

Doriana has created a brand new move called the disco location. Amy looked like she was having a blast out there. I would be throwing up on stage with all those spins. Brandon has some major guns on those arms and the moves are effortless. The death drop at the end where she was just inches from the ground made me gasp. I don’t know how dancers do that. Brandon has his back turned to her so he is death-dropping her from behind so how does he know when she is close enough but her face is not smashing the floor?

The judges: Mary is not crazy about the song but is crazy about Amy. Debbie loved it. She thought they were paired well in their energy and size and spirit. Nigel thinks Amy is vivacious. She stood out more than the disco ball did.

Dancers: Fik-Shun and all-star Melanie Moore
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Mandy Moore
Song: “Feeling Good” by Jennifer Hudson

Ex-lover of a performer returns to town and things get steamy. Melanie looks stunning. It was a great number, but after seeing Aaron perform, it was a little novice. I did not buy into the chemistry. It felt fake. The dance moves were fun. He did wreak attitude and that was well done.

The judges: Also on their feet. Nigel thought it was fantastic. He is proud of Fik-Shun. He well he kept up. Mary thinks he is growing every week. Debbie said that they can say his name is Fik-Shun but that was real tonight.

Dancers: Aaron and all-star Kathryn McCormick
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Song: “I ‘m Kissing You” by Des’ree

It is about unconditional love. About 15 seconds into the song I got goosebumps. The damn goosebumps stayed the entire song. As Stacey said it is not about the moves but the emotion in the moves. Their connection for just having met was amazing. It was as if they were dancing together their entire lives. There was love and passion and depth. Aaron–YOU ROCK! There was a little mess up at the end when he had to pick her up that should have been a fluid move but I am nitpicking at this point. I think he might wind up being the top 2 dancers in the finale. Then he was talking about how much he had learned from her and that she took him to a whole new place in his dancing and that made me start crying. He is so humble and so filled with joy. I think that is why I like his energy so much. And to think, he was not going to be on the show until that other person left because of an injury. It’s destiny baby! Fate is calling.

The judges: The judges were standing. Debbie said call the fire department because there is fire going on on this stage right now. She thought it was a magical pairing. Aaron has grown so much over the weeks tonight he has raised the bar in the competition. Nigel felt it too that it was like they were dancing forever. He said that the look in Kathryn’s eyes at the end said that she knew he was something special. Mary agrees with everything that has been said. She thinks Aaron is one of the most captivating dancers ever on the show.

Dancers: Paul and all-star Witney Carson
Style: Cha-cha
Choreographer: Jean-Marc Généreux
Song: “Live It Up” by Jennifer Lopez

It was a fun routine that sizzled at times, but I think there were some misses in the moved, like missing her hand. Was she supposed to be in the floor? Maybe but I thought the move was going to be a drop to just above the ground. Happy birthday Paul! He turns 22.

The judges: On their feet again. Mary said he can dance his patootie off. His foot work is clean and precise. He is on the hot tamale train. Debbie said this was his element and they expected him to soar. It was beautiful and seamless. Nigel thought they were born for each other. He has personality and technique.

Dancers: Hayley and all-star Stephen “tWitch” Boss
Style: Hip-hop
Choreographer: Christopher Scott
Song: “Locked Out of Heaven (District 9 Remix) by Bruno Mars

Bank loan applicant meets loan officer Hayley. Her hip-hop is not good but you tend to overlook it during her sexy-loan-officer moves. I was watching tWitch more. Christopher Scott made up for her lack of being able to loosen up with these staccato-like movements.

The judges: Debbie felt when she pulled her hair out, she rose to the occasion. Debbie was watching tWitch, too, more. Nigel said it was great fun and calls her a dark horse. Mary thinks she is following in tWitch’s tracks and agrees with Nigel. She loves her.

Dancers: Jenna and all-star Neil Haskell
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Mandy Moore
Song: “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Mark Masri

A story about breaking up. The lift and turn was great. The acrobatics were great. Jenna and Neil were both filled with emotion but I did not believe they were in a relationship, not in the way I believed in Aaron and Kathryn earlier. I think Jenna was trying to make it happen but Neil was not reciprocating. No goosebumps.

The judges: They were on their feet again. Nigel loved the fluidity in the movement. Mary agrees; the movement was perfect. Debbie says that she sees someone who is one of the most gifted dancers.

Dancers: Jasmine and all-star Marko Germar
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Ray Leeper
Song: “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell

Ray said they had to look like one person but their movements were not (microseconds but not exact). It got better as the song went on though. I love this song. That was a barrel of fun.

Judges: They were on their feet again. Mary was drawn to Jasmine in the performance. The only thing missing from the video of the song of the summer was them dancing in it. Debbie could not keep her eyes off Jasmine. Nigel thought at some points he was reminded of Michael Jackson and sometimes other people back in history. He did not know if he was actually looking at two all-stars.

Dancers: Makenzie and all-star Jakob Karr
Style: Broadway
Choreographer: Spencer Liff
Song: “Too Darn Hot (RAC Mix)” by Ella Fitzgerald

This was a dance about attitude versus tricks. Makenzie did a great job. It is going to be hard to decide who goes home between her and Jenna.

The judges: They were on their feet again. Debbie loved it so much and compared her to Cyd Charisse Nigel said they have the best pair o feet he has ever seen. Mary said it was so darn hot. Nigel chimed in that it was more Rita Hayworth than Cyd.

Dancers: Nico and all-star Comfort Fedoke
Style: Hip-hop
Choreographers: Tabitha and Napoleon D’Umo (Nappytabs)
Song: “Get UR Freak On (Amended LP Version)” by Missy Elliott

This was reptiles on the prowl. Nico looked like a white boy trying to find attitude and dance moves in the hip-hop style. It was fun, but there have been so many other dances so much better than this tonight.

The judges: Finally, they are not giving them a standing ovation. Nigel things the audience loved the routine a little more than he did. He complimented him on getting into character. Mary thought he got his freak on. Debbie enjoyed it. She felt like she was in Jurassic Park.

Dancers: Tucker and all-star Robert Roldan
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Travis Wall
Song: “Medicine” by Daughter

Two brothers–one hits rock bottom and the other helps. It was done with a nod to his brother Danny Tidwell, but Tucker was in a car accident where he was paralyzed for awhile and Robert apparently had a brush with death from a serious fall. In fact, back in June of 2012. In September of 2012, Robert tweeted this: The Reason I Will Not Be An All Star: This past June my life was almost ended. One night I had a major accident that changed my life. I injured myself very badly and to the extent where I had to be rushed to the hospital immediately. This accident has caused me to be unable to dance which is why I’m writing this letter. Every doctor that I have been to since has said “wow…you’re lucky you are alive..” or “people with kind of accident are usually are pronounced dead on the spot..” Therefore I just want to tell everyone single one of you how much your support and encouragement means to me. It makes me fight through this bump in the road. The kind things you have said to me and things you have done for me truly mean the world. One day I will be back on my feet and dancing and doing the things I love to do. In the mean time I am so lucky to be living breathing and opening my eyes every day. I will never take anyone of you and your support for granted because every single one of you are important weather I know you or not. You have made my journey from SYTYCD to now more than a dream and I can’t thank you enough for it. Always cherish the things that you have, even if they are the smallest things because it can all be taken away in the snap of a finger. My heart goes out to each and every one of you with so much thanks! This is not the end. God has a plan. I won’t give up till I’m on that stage again. Much love and thanks, Robert.”

I was welling up in tears within a few seconds. What an amazing idea pairing them together. There was a spot in the middle where they were supposed to be in-sync that they weren’t, but you know what? It just doesn’t matter. That was so beautiful, so exquisite, and so emotional. What a brilliant job. Travis Wall–you ALWAYS get to me.

The judges: Standing as they should be. I think Nico is going home. Mary was crying. She talked about their amazing journeys and triumphs and gave it over to Debbie because she could not speak anymore. Debbie said she did not know how he could be on the bottom but he was on top now. Nigel said all the stars were aligned and it created this piece that will always be remembered on the show.

Going Home

Makenzie and Nico will leave the show tonight.

My Top Picks

For the guys, it’s quite easy: Tucker and Aaron. For the girls, definitely Jasmine, but I’m torn between Amy and Jenna.





How Dance Changed Their Lives

24 05 2013

Some fantastic news from tWtich! Congratulations to them both!





So You Think You Can Dance S10 Detroit Auditions

22 05 2013

SYTYCDLogoThe judges at the Detroit auditions were Stephen “tWitch” Boss, Nigel Lythgoe, and Mary Murphy.

Jade Zuberi, Dearborn Heights, age 21

I think he is our Cyrus for this year. The muscle isolation involved in his movement is one of the new wonders of the world. The judges gave him a standing ovation. He is going to Vegas.

Amy Yakima, Northville, MI, age 19

After inviting her father up on stage it is clear who wears the dance shoes in this family–Amy. She reminds me a little bit of winner Melanie Moore with the passion and emotions that she channels through her dance steps. She is lost in her dance, and I was lost with her in that dance. I got goosebumps. She received a standing ovation from the judges. She is obviously through to Vegas.

Morgan “Mo” Williams, Chicago, age 22

I did not feel that his level of dance was up to par with what we have grown to expect from people on the show. He has had some training, but he has a long way to still grow. Nigel wants to see him in choreography but Mary overrules him with a ticket to Vegas.

Will “Sysko” Green, Detroit, MI, age 27

Sysko specializes in a local dance called the Detroit Jit. I have never seen that type of dance before. It was like a smash up of jitterbug meets b-boy. It was entertaining, but did look unpolished during some moments. I bet you he goes to choreography. Mary goes on stage to get a hip-roll dance from him. Okay–that will get him to Vegas! Nope! They all send him to choreography. Ultimately he is sent home because he tried to freestyle during his partnering dance and put his partner in danger.

To show people that you never stop learning as a dancer, tWitch treated us to a popping, locking hip hop that we so adore in him. He was a little Pac-Man with the music that was playing that reminded me of the game! I’d like to be the ghosts chasing after all that yummy goodness. Yes, I said it. I think I have added something to my Bucket List.

In his self-described style called “panic”, Garrett Frye, age 26, from Bowling Green, Ohio, showed that he has some flexibility and rhythm–he should think about getting some professional lessons. It is a “no” to the competition, but it sure did make me smile.

Tyrone Cobham, Jr.,  Toledo, Ohio, age 18

This is the first tapper they have shown us during the auditions do far. He has some very complicated, impressive moves. The judges are all standing. Nigel and Mary say that he really had the best performance in all 10 seasons. VEGAS BABY!

The best part of tonight’s show was the grandmother doing gangham style with her granddaughter after she was given a ticket to Vegas. The judges came up on stage and joined in.

Last up was a group of young men doing exotic dancing for a living. The first young man, Darryl “Smilez” Harrell has a terrific sense of humor. He has some great talent and threw some krumping into the mix. They let the rest of the group audition including DeFonte “Prince Charming” Thomas. His dancing was so different and bizarre. It looked like his head belonged on another body. It was fascinating. These two were staying for choreography. Smilez had trouble learning the dance and partnering but Prince Charming gave it his best try. It was not perfect but he is going to Vegas.

Next: LA Auditions Day 2





Glee Preview: The New Rachel

12 09 2012

Thanks to FOX VIP, I had the privilege of viewing episode 1 of Season 4 of Glee, “The New Rachel.” Not only does the title reflect what is going on with Rachel (Lea Michele) in her new surroundings in New York City, but also back in Lima, people are wondering, “Who is the next Rachel Berry?” Artie (Kevin McHale), Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz), Blaine (Darren Criss) or Brittany (Heather Morris)?

When we last saw Glee, Rachel Berry was off to New York City ready to conquer the world. Like many freshman at universities all over the world, she has to find her way, to reinvent herself, dealing with life on her own, with a roommate, and in the big city. She will have her successes, failures, and temptations, but she is an adult now, making her own decisions.

Some of the new faces we see in this episode are: Kate Hudson (Cassandra July), the Sue Sylvester of NYADA; Becca Robin (Kitty), the new old-Quinn of Lima; Alex Newell (Wade “Unique” Adams); Melissa Benoist (Marley Rose); Jacob Artist (Jake Puckerman), Whoopi Goldberg (Carmen Tibideaux); and Dean Geyer (Brody Weston).

The NYADA scenes have a feel of the original Fame movie. The comedy as always is spot-on. Was that Melanie Moore from SYTYCD on there in the background? It is! It is! And oh Lord, Dean Geyer in a towel. And about halfway through I swear I saw Kent Boyd from So You Think You Can Dance, too.

I was curious how they were going to be able to meld the two locations into a show without losing from either one. Would they focus on one location and alternate it all season or mix the two up? I should have never doubted. Both are highlighted without detracting from each other, in fact, enhancing one another.

It would not be a good Glee episode if it didn’t have its moments of tear-shed, and indeed I did, briefly. There is a break-up, updated information on some of our graduates, and a happy reunion at the end. You could not ask for a better way to start a new season, a new sound, and a new chapter. It works.  Make sure to watch Glee on Thursday, September 13, 2012, on Fox starting at 8:00 Eastern/7:00 Central.





So You Think You Can Dance Mia Michaels’ Night

21 08 2012

This is my 100th blog post since moving to this site. Exciting, yes? I had a fabulous trip to New York and will have some blogs, including my moving trip to the 9/11 Memorial Site.

I know. I’m very late with this review. I was behind before I went on vacation and I’m even further behind now that I am back. Tonight the top 14 faced a third elimination. The dancers had two weeks off. The Olympics gave my DVR a break from exploding from overuse. Tonight two very special judges were in town after performing for the Dizzyfeet Foundation’s National Dance Day gala, Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt of The BalletBoyz from the UK. While the show was away, Tabitha and Napoleon welcomed their son, London Riley D’Umo, into the world.  Of note, someone on Facebook has been pretending to be them, but this is the legitimate Facebook page for them, and you can see pictures of the baby on there.  Congratulations!

Tonight’s show would see the return of our favorite Mia Michaels’ routines. Mia Michaels and Travis Wall are my favorite contemporary choreographers on So You Think You Can Dance. They seem to be able to tap into the emotional center of my brain that leaves the deepest, long-lasting impressions. Whether it be chills or tears, I have never forgotten the original dances.

Mary and Nigel will be bringing bias to the table tonight since they were present for the original Mia choreography where Billy and Michael would be bringing a fresh perspective, judging the dances on tonight’s performances alone.

The opening group number showed us a new dance from Mia. The song was “Hanging On” by Active Child. Was this the first group CPR by our dancers? I could feel the power of the fine line between life and death, although I could see where it could also be the symbolism of the life and death of a relationship on a more simple level. I also hoped those roses were de-thorned.

Dancers: Cyrus and Eliana
Inspired Dances: Cyrus had been inspired by Brian Gaynor’s audition. Brian is now one of Cyrus’ roommates at Dragon House. Eliana’s inspiration was Wade Robson’s Peace Dance with 10 dancers interpreting the same movement.
Mia’s Dance: The Door Dance originally performed by tWitch and Katee Shean
Song: “Mercy” by Duffy

My thoughts: Cyrus’ and Eliana’s kiss looked “icky” and not full of hot passion. Cyrus was able to ignite his own locking/popping style that made it stand apart from tWitch. I would never believe that Eliana is a ballet dancer because she was that awesome at contemporary.

The judges: Nigel pointed out Cyrus bringing out his own flair but also that he needs to drop the tension in his shoulders. Eliana showed us that she is great at creating these characters because ballet dancers usually focus on technique first and character second. Mary said Eliana was “swagger-welcious” and that Cyrus brought his own swagger to the group. Michael said they were strong performers. Eliana would have him begging for mercy for sure and there was a good use of props. Billy said that something that should not have worked did work fantastically.

Next we saw some clips of National Dance Day and how much it was spreading globally.

Dancers: George and Tiffany
Inspired Dances: For George it was Wade Robinson’s Ramalama group dance from season 2. For Tiffany it was when Ellen was on the other side of the door on Mia’s door dance and moving into the tWitch/Alex Wong “Out of Your Mind” dance. She hopes to be on The Ellen Show.
Mia’s Dance: The Hometown Glory dance originally performed by Katee Shean and Joshua Allen in Season 4.
Song: “Hometown Glory” by Adele

My thoughts: I had chills from the beginning. It was phenomenal. I know it was only two dances so far tonight, but this one became my favorite of the night (until the last routine).

The judges: Mary felt like we needed to call 911 because we witnessed a murder this evening on stage. She thought it was phenomenal, that Tiffany was soft when she needed to be and powerful when that was needed. The assisted lift was perfect (my note–did she mean the assisted run?) She said George elevated the role today. Michael felt like it had fantastic energy. It was a great match up to each other. Tiffany got so into character, but maybe too much because she didn’t look like she needed any help whatsoever from George in the assisted run and that was the point (she needed to be lifted). He felt like she needed to pull it back a bit. Nigel felt like we finally saw the best from George this evening. Tiffany over-egged the pudding, but would prefer that and trying to calm it down, versus not giving enough energy and having to ramp it up.

Dancers: Will and Amelia
Inspired Dances: For Will it was the group routine where Nigel got kidnapped in season 4. For Amelia it was Melanie and Neal’s routine “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”
Mia’s Dance: The Butt Dance made famous by Evan Kasprzak and Randy Evans. Interestingly, Amelia seemed surprised, but there is a French feel for it and her audition was French-inspired. Mia was probably remembering that when this routine was assigned. Amelia looked like she might feel uncomfortable with everyone looking at her butt for the evening.
Song: “Koop Island Blues” by Koop

My thoughts: While it might be technically challenging and does elicit an emotional response from me, it was not goosebumps. I could feel Amelia’s discomfort at the thought of everyone looking at her butt. There was a height difference, too. Evan and Randy were shorter. Also Evan’s Broadway experience allowed him to shine the character more than Will’s contemporary background. Please also see my notes after hearing what Nigel had to say. George and Tiffany’s routine still my favorite at this point.

The judges: Nigel felt that Will was trying to bring the character out. He said Amelia needed to bring more character. He noticed that she was looking at the floor much of the routine. At this point, that comment from Nigel made me feel like, “Yeah, do you think so?” Perhaps knowing everyone was looking at her butt made her a little self-conscious and perhaps psyched her out a bit. The first thing Nigel said was that he had Randy’s butt in his mind for the last 3 years! I like Nigel but that is a little creepy. Even the most seasoned dancer would have felt weird hearing that. Mary liked it. Felt it was too big and maybe the character needed to be pulled back more. Was Will entranced by Amelia’s butt? Absolutely. She also felt that Amelia maybe looking down at the floor was her attempt at being coy. Having nothing to compare it to, Billy felt it was very strong, musical, and endearing. Both dancers were wonderfully in character. There were moments when subtlety would have been good, but it overall was great.

Dancers: Janelle and Dareian
Inspired Dances: For Janelle, it was the Mark Kanemura and Chelsie Hightower’s “Bleeding Love” routine. For Dareian, it was Kent and Neal’s Season 7 routine by Travis Wall “In The End” routine.
Mia’s Routine: The “bed” routine done by tWitch and Kherington Payne
Song: “Dreaming With a Broken Heart” by John Mayer

My thoughts: This might be their strongest routine yet, but I did not have chills, the kind I got seeing the original. They might be bringing their A-game too late.

The judges: Michael thought it was “wow!” The choreography and the ideas about it were wonderful. He was worried about Dareian’s lines. If he gets over that hurdle, he’s got it. Janelle had a great performance but he found himself looking at her hair oddly rather than the choreography. He did not know why but he just did. Billy said that it was difficult or Janelle because the movement is all about Dareian and not her, but they did well. Nigel said this was Mia Michaels at her best. For Dareian it was the first time he felt personality out of him and Nigel felt what Dareian was feeling. Janelle is at her best when he can see Janelle’s eyes smiling and her hips moving. She did not stand out tonight. Dareian’s technique was stronger than the original done by tWitch. Mary agrees with the comment on technique. There was no passion and at the end felt that it was overacted by Janelle. Dareian needs to fix his feet.

Dancers: Audrey and Matthew
Inspired Dances: For Audrey it was season 1’s Brian Friedman’s disco routine performed by Melody Lacayanga and Nick Lazzarini. (I did not watch season 1 of this show). For Matthew it was the 80’s jazz piece in season 7 by Ade Torbert and Lauren Froderman.
Mia’s Dance: The loss of Mia’s father and the reunion in heaven originally performed By Lacey Schwimmer and Neil Haskell.
Song: “Time” by Billy Porter

My thoughts: I thought Matthew was the star in this piece. Just watching the “making of/behind the scenes practice” brought tears to my eyes, but watching Mathew at the beginning where he smiles at first seeing his daughter (Audrey) and then the breath he took was he first caught sight of her had me in tears. Audrey was great, too, but I was watching Matthew more. They were able to make the transition I thought between the chemistry of a couple in love from previous weeks to the energy of a father and daughter. My new favorite of the night. I was a little shocked at what the judges had to say about Matthew, so after hearing their comments I watched it again and I could see some of what they were saying that he could have been more playful, but I think their comments were a bit too harsh.

The judges: Mary was very emotional, sharing that when Mia originally choreographed the song that Mary’s father had been diagnosed with lung cancer and the song gave her courage to take leave from her business to go be with her father in those final times. Mary, however, did not feel the passion or truth in this piece tonight from Matthew. She thought Audrey was the shining star. Billy said there were amazing things from Audrey and the first pirouette was flawless. He felt Matthew needed to disguise the effort of the dancing that weighed into it. Nigel felt that when Neil did the dance, it showed the playful man that Mia’s father was, that Matthew needed to bring fun into Audrey’s life. He felt Matthew was a little too focused on the dance steps rather than being a dad joined up with his daughter. That character that was needed did not come across.

Dancers: Witney and Chehon
Inspired Dances: For Chehon it was Melanie Moore’s Atlanta audition. For Witney it was “Danielle’s” audition in S4 (that turned out to be Travis Wall in drag).
Mia’s Dance: The bench routine performed by Season 2 Travis Wall and Heidi Groskreutz
Song: “Calling You” by Celine Dion

My thoughts: It was hard for a ballet dancer like Chehon to move into a contemporary style that requires him to loosening up a little. Regardless I still got chills when Chehon was lying on the bench with Witney under it. Not as good as Heidi and Travis’ routine, but that is some hard competition to live up to. They did a good job, but this dance is so iconic and it was TRAVIS WALL.

The judges: Nigel was pleased. He felt the passion came across. He also explained what the dance was about. Apparently Mia was in love with a gay man who was not going to be able to return the same kind of love to her. Mary felt they pulled it off. She wants Chehon to let go a bit more. She thought Witney was “wow” and was remarkable tonight. Michael asked Witney is she was a Salt Lake City girl, and said that Salt Lake is a fantastic place for dance (without really commenting on Witney’s dance tonight). He told Chehon he always had a job with The BalletBoyz if he ever wanted one.

Dancers: Lindsay and Cole
Inspired Dances: For Cole, it was Mark Kanemura in Season 4. They are friends and are from the same dance studio. Lindsay was inspired was Travis Wall and Benji Schwimmer’s nerd dance on the finale of season 2.
Mia’s Dance: The “Addiction” routine originally performed by Kupono Aweau and Kayla Radomski in season 5.
Song: “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles

My thoughts: Cole was spectacular. This was indeed my favorite routine of the night. When he ran his lips up her leg in a gesture of him “the addiction” consuming the whole of her, I got chills. Lindsay did a great job, too, but Cole was mesmerizing in his robotic-like movements.

The judges: Billy was impressed. Both have versatility in bucket loads, something that is needed for the business. Mary said this was the best performance from both of them. Kupono was a bit more sinister, but Cole was a quirky kind of demented, but it worked. Lindsay was amazing. Nigel said they came out on top tonight of everyone. Cole’s performance was quite chilling.

Eliminations

George, Dareian and Matthew are in the bottom 3 for the guys and Amelia, Janelle and Lindsay are in the bottom 3 for the girls. The judges wanted to see all of them perform solos before they made their decisions.

Amelia danced to “Falling Slowly” by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. I prefer Kris Allen’s version. It does not look like she is dancing for her life. Janelle did a belly dance routine to “Inta Omri” by Elie Attieh and she, too, does not look like she wants it. It was fun but there was nothing remarkable or stand-out about it. Lindsay did a dance to “Hip Hip Chin Chin” by Club des Belugas. I felt like out of the three girls she wanted it more and I think her routine with Cole tonight is likely to save her.

The guys looked more poised to fight for their spots. George danced to “So Long, Lonesome” by Exploding in the Sky. He really wants it. There is something about George that reminds me of the painter Thomas Kinkade. When George dances, he lights up the stage. Dareian came out fighting, dancing to “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” by Joshua Ledet. Unfortunately he has underperformed his peers most of the season and has not made a real connection with the audience. Matthew danced to “Delicate” by Damien Rice. Out of the three guys, I was not so sure he wanted that spot so badly, like he had written it off that it would not be his. But out of the three guys, I think they’ll put George through.

Nigel said the judges would save Lindsay mostly because of her performance in tonight’s routines. For the boys, they would save George. Dareian really needed to fix his feet and they felt Matthew was not connecting with the audience (I would disagree with them on that).

As a personal note, I think that Cyrus, as much as I adore him, should have been up there instead of Matthew because he has been getting by without a great technique, but it is about America’s favorite dancers, not the “best” technical dancer. Next week the couples will be broken up and they will be paired with all-stars from previous seasons.

Who will go home this week based on their performances on Wednesday? I think Cyrus should be in the bottom 2 and maybe Will is in trouble. Witney and Audrey might be in the bottom 2 for the girls. The voting is going to get more difficult. I am looking forward to seeing Eliana paired with an all-star. She, I think, is the most underappreciated dancer in the show. It’s time for her to have a moment in the sun.





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.