The XFactor Simon & Demi’s homes

12 10 2012

The day of the division of the contestants arrives. In the end, there will be 24 acts. After a brief montage of the contestants saying why they deserve to stay, the announcements are made.

Guest mentors at the judges’ homes will be will.i.am, Nick Jonas, Marc Anthony and Justin Bieber. The groups will be broken down into four groups. What is very cool is that I tweeted a few weeks back that I heard a rumor about who would get what bunch, and the rumor proved to be true.

DEMI LOVATO

Group: Young Adults Over 25
Guest Mentor: Nick Jonas
Where: Los Angeles, California

Contestants who made it through: Cece Frey, Willie Jones, Jennel Garcia, Nick Youngerman, Paige Thomas, and Jillian Jensen.  Interestingly Sophie Tweed-Simmons, daughter of KISS’ Gene Simmons, was not invited. It must be cold there in his shadow, trying to make your own way. On the one hand when you are turned down, you wonder if it is because of the family connection; on the other hand, you wonder the same thing. It is a tough place to be in. They did not show any of her singing, so I’m guessing it was not good enough. Also going home included Lyric Da Queen, and Ally Brooke.

JENNEL GARCIA:   At her “home”, Demi gave her some stage advice about not flipping her hair so much.
Song: “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry

I thought she did a great job and only had 1 episode of hair flipping. You could tell she was trying to use their constructive criticism to improve her performance. Nick thought it was great. Demi thought her advice before the show somehow took light away from her performance.

WILLIE THOMAS:  No preadvice given (at least on camera).

Song:  He decides to sing “Nobody Knows It But Me” by Babyface AGAIN.  This could be great or this could be a disaster. I was pleasantly surprised. He has an incredibly nice voice.  Nick: He’s a star (I would not go THAT far), and that Willie has to define himself as country or R&B.

JILLILAN JENSEN:  During the advice session, Demi tells her how excited she is to be working with her. She has an incredibly voice. She laughed at herself about her John Mayer squinting look
Song: “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles

I got goosebumps and that is the tell-tale sign of who is going to win. I’m never wrong. Nick thought she was “sexy..”. She pulled off a beautiful song without giving into crying, but showing a full range of emotion.  My PREDICTION:  She wins.

NICK YOUNGERMAN
Song:  “Tik Tok” By Kesha.

I think it was too silly. Nick Jonas said he liked it. Demi said she could not tell if she liked it or hated it.

If you want to do a Tik Tok cover, you do it like these guys, VerseCity (now The Anthem):

PAIGE THOMAS is up next. She got air-time advice before she went on. I noticed she is wearing a leopard-spots print. Was that a dig to Cece, who she feels has been her competition?
SONG: “Turn Up the Music” by Chris Brown

The song makes me a little sleepy. Demi said she has a lot of insecurities. Nick pointed out this, “Can you get her back to the way she used to sing in the auditions.

CECE FREY: Demi, as diplomatically as possible to tell her that “sometimes her character on stage is unlikeable.” That led Cece to tear-up and Demi said that if she were to put some emotion like THAT into what she sings, it would be great.

SONG: “I’m Sexy and I Know It” by LMFAO

After the pep talk she likely could not change songs, so I’ll give her some leeway on that.  I did roll my eyes when I heard the title, but I was surprised that it was good. It looks like she heeded the advice and toned it down a bit. Nick and Demi thought that she took direction when very well.

 

SIMON COWELL

Group: Groups (was this to give a dig to Paula since all her groups went home quickly; that Simon can handle the groups and she could not?)
Guest mentor: Marc Anthony
Location: Miami, Florida

Three of the groups who were came in as groups made it through to the judges’ home. Many single contestants were brought back in and they created 3 new groups.
Groups who made it who auditioned as groups:
1) Sister C
2) Dope Crisis
3) Emblem3

The three groups created
1) Playback
2) Lyles
3) Lyric 145

PLAYBACK: (Members: Josh Metzler, Owen Stuart, Austin Corini, Brandon Hassan, Johnny Maxwell) Simon said that each of them were lacking a little something, but together as a group they are stronger.
Song: “You’re a Rich Girl” by Daryl Hall and John Oates

Personally I did not care for it. I felt it was dull. There were no harmonies which is essential for a group. Marc Anthony was bored; he wanted to look at planes. Simon disagrees.

EMBLEM3 (Members: Wesley Stromberg, Keaton Stromberg, Drew Chadwick): Their cocky faces were smacked down when Simon said, “If we shake hands on a deal and you renege, I’ll kill you.” The other contestants inside the house were making fun of Drew Chadwick who always seems to have his shirt open. Hmmm. The Dmitry Chaplin of The X-Factor.
Song: “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” by The Police

I don’t like the way Drew sings and he missed his cue into the verse. Simon did notice. He felt they had lost their way a bit. Will that hurt the group or not? Marc said the younger one was lacking confidence, but he likes them.

SISTER C: (Members: Cirby, Carli, and Celbi Manchaca) Simon’s comments were to them: “Are people going to like you” because they come off a little “standoffish.”
Song: “Leavin” by Shelby Lynne

I like them better when they are singing gospel/R&B type of music versus turning up their intense country twang on a country song. I really could not stand their music before tonight, but tonight’s song was one I could like. Simon liked them. Marc thought it was a home run.

LYRIC145 (Members: Lyric Da Queen and the group previously known as ONE4FIVE members Jamelle and Julien Joseph).
Song: Party in the U.S.A. by Miley Cyrus

I loved it. It was my favorite song done by any of the groups tonight. Marc Anthony was thoroughly impressed and felt like she is a superstar.

DOPE CRISIS: (Members Jesse Stearn and Eli Brown):
Song: “Super Bass” Nicki Minaj

I did not like them. I don’t think they can sing. Simon and Marc Anthony think they did well, but how far could you push them?

LYLAS: (Members Dinah Jane Hansen, Lauren Jauregui, Ally Brooke, Normani Hamilton, Camila Cabello). Simon shares that this is the moment that can change their lives.
Song: “Impossible” by Shontelle

They are a bit more marketable versus Sister C. They did a great job.

 

MY PREDICTIONS

The three I think earn the spot for Demi’s group: Cece Frey, Jennel Garcia, and Jillian Jensen. Definitely Nick is gone because of his song choice. I’m unsure between Paige and Willie. Willie picked the same song he bombed on, so does that earn points or detract points? Paige’s song was just plain boring and her confidence is dipping.

The three groups I think earn a spot on Simon’s team: Sister C, Lyric145, and Lylas. Playback may get through because Simon liked them. I don’t like the cockiness of Emblem3 (Drew hurts their cause). Dope Crisis may get through, but I’m betting they don’t.





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.