American Idol S15 Top 10 Revealed Part 1

25 02 2016

The judges’ four picks were unanimous and they went to Dalton Rapattoni, Olivia Rox, Trent Harmon and last but not least (and it surely had better have been her) La’Porsha Renae.

The first person to fight for our votes tonight is Manny Torres singing “Master Blaster” by Stevie Wonder. He sang this in his final performance before the top 24 was picked. Unless they have been told they have to pick a song they have already done, I deduct points for taking the easy road out. He had a lot of energy and he did a respectable job. It may have not been the best song choice, however. Keith thought it was a great way to open the show. He didn’t know if it was the right song for him, but he has this fighter spirit and he delivered that tonight.

Gianna Isabella chose “I Put a Spell on You” by Annie Lennox. She just sang this in the showcase last week so I’m totally unimpressed by that. I think that last note was a little sharp. Jennifer there is a beginnings of an artist. She said she was her number 5 to go in the group and she believes she deserves to be in the top 10 and that they would see tremendous growth in her over the course of the competition.

Thomas Stringfellow was called up next. He picked “Story of My Life” by One Direction. Again he already sang this song. He looks awkward up there without his guitar. I wasn’t particularly fond of the sound he was making at the end of each phrasing. Harry said there is a big difference between an idiosyncrasy and a bad habit. And Harry comments about the note-cracking (unless you are the lead singer of The Cranberries). It gets annoying and if he listens back he might agree with that.

Tristan McIntosh performed “What Hurts The Most” by Rascal Flatts. Again, this song was already done by her. This did not sound as good as the first time, and I am a Tristan fan. She looked really, really nervous. But I do like her purple eye makeup. Keith said it was a beautiful song choice for her voice.

Avalon Young approached the stage for her chance in the six being chosen. The song is “Yo (Excuse Me Miss)” by Chris Brown which she sang for her final performance before the top 24 was revealed. That is cheating (unless they were told to pick a song they have done already). Points off for that. We don’t want to see the same song performed again. We’ve already heard it and not too long ago either. I’m bored. I hate they are all redoing songs. Jennifer said it was smooth like butter.

Jenn Blosil is repeating “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper. This sounded a little different than when she originally did it and I liked that she tried to alter it. Harry said that was a flawless lyric delivery.

Lee Jean picked “Make It Rain” by Ed Sheeran to sing again. The audience isn’t clapping in rhythm properly and it is distracting me. Keith said he has his own style—unique and chill. He felt his nerves but still likes what he is doing.

Sonika Vaid chose “I Surrender” by Celine Dion for a second time. She was flat on some of her notes. The stage is smaller so it didn’t swallow her as much as it did the first time. Jennifer said she got goosies on her face. The challenge for Sonika is that she is a singer and not an artist. She doesn’t know how to change a song and seems to only be able to sing it exactly like the original.  I love her voice, but in the industry these days you need to be an artist.

Jeneve Rose Mitchell picked “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash to do over.   I liked that she ditched the instruments for this song. I actually was a good choice because she could just concentrate on her voice. I liked it better this time. Harry said her talent is it is compelling and interesting but it is also a bit polarizing. He said although this wasn’t the best performance out of all the times he has heard her…and Keith said she needs to let go. Harry said her talent is a bit different than everything else out there and that is why she is on stage. It may take people some time to catch up.

And last up is MacKenzie Bourg. He goes back to his original song “Roses” that he wrote. I love that he can write these songs at such a young age. It was a smart choice if he had to redo any song. Keith says when he has every one reacting to that song like that, it is an amazing thing.

Not really sure who I would put through to the top 6.  Jenn Blosil has to be in there because she adds creativity to the group, much like Joey did last year.  They want a country girl in there and they think Jeneve is original so it sounds like they want her in there (or Tristan McIntosh).  If I had to choose, I would go with Tristan.  I think I would choose MacKenzie Bourg over Thomas Stringfellow at this point.  Lee Jean has to be in there.  Sonika has a beautiful voice but she is too much of a novice at this point in her life.  She needs to play with arrangements and make songs her own.  So between Sonika and Gianna Isabella I would choose Gianna.  How many is that?  Five.  Manny Torres because he is a great singer.  I like Avalon, but unless one the surprises is that they are going to choose seven, then it might come down to Lee Jean versus Avalon and I’d have to go with Lee Jean.





XFactor Season 2 Finale Performances

20 12 2012

With the judges and the audience feeling like Emblem 3 would be the group to go through to the finale, they were stunned at the results.  A strong performance by Fifth Harmony guaranteed them a spot in the finale.

I am tired of filler stuff in these singing competitions. Doesn’t matter to me what it is or what network it is on, I don’t see the point of singing a song again that was already done. The exception for me for this would be if they were completely rearranging the music so it felt like a song with a very different vibe from the last time they sang it. Or it was something very, very early in the competition. With Fifth Harmony, it was a song that was just done last week. Granted it was their best performance ever, but I want something new. I want to be blown away–something that makes me want to pick up the phone and WANT to vote for somebody. Keep it to two songs and cut a half-hour off your show.

The evening did start with a lovely tribute to the Sandy Hook Elementary victims and their survivors with a modification of a lyric for “You Are Not Alone” by Michael Jackson.

They introduced the judges and the remaining contestants. I could not help but remember what I said last week to someone on Twitter: Demi would still have someone in the competition if she had not sent Jillian Jensen home.

ROUND 1: RESING A SONG YOU’VE ALREADY DONE AND MOST OF US TUNE OUT OR GO EAT DINNER OR GO TO THE BATHROOM

Since I have no comments about any of these because they were no different for me than the originals, I will just list the judges’ comments.

Carly Rose Sonenclar chose “Feelin’ Good” by Nina Simone. Since I have no further comments about their performance because it was exactly like the last time, I’ll just mention what the judges said. LA Reid said she had topped everything she had done. Demi said she was going to inspire so many young girls to follow their dreams. Simon said she sang it better tonight than the first time and he likes her competitive spirit. Britney said it was shocking how bright her star was.

Carly1

Carly Rose Sonenclar

Tate Stevens chose the song from the audition, “Anything Goes” by Randy Houser. Britney said when he does country down the middle he is right on. Demi said that the audience still loves him. This was the first time he turned it into a stadium performance. Simon said he agreed with Demi tonight. LA Reid said he was still lovable tonight.

Tate1

Tate Stevens

Fifth Harmony performed, “Anything Could Happen” by Elie Goulding. LA Reid said it was magical, that magic happens when they perform it. Demi said they were underdogs but they pulled through. Simon said they made him so proud. He likes sometimes being the underdog.

FH1

Fifth Harmony

MY RANKINGS: Fifth Harmony, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Tate Stevens

****************

ROUND 2: SING A DUET WITH SOMEONE FAMOUS WHO WAS AVAILABLE THIS CLOSE TO CHRISTMAS

Apparently they were short on time for anyone but the mentor to give comments which, of course, will be glowing. If they cut out that third song, they would have had time for the full panel to give critiques. I won’t list in this section what the judges said because of that reason.

Carly Rose said with Lee Ann Rimes (odd pairing since she is a country music star). They sang Lee Ann Rimes’ famous, “How Do I Live Without You.” Every time I hear this song I think of the ending of the movie, “Con Air.” It is a beautiful song, but this was not the right song for Carly. I think it was her weakest song ever. It showed all her vulnerable vocal areas that need developing.

Carly2

Carly Rose and Lee Ann Rimes

Tate sang “Pontoon” with Little Big Town. I had fun watching him with these ladies. He was eating it up. Watch out wife! God, I dislike country music but his song was better than Carly’s.

Tate2

Tate Steven and Little Big Town

The next one I could just SCREAM about. Fifth Harmony sang ANOTHER SONG THEY SANG IN THE PAST, “Give Your Heart a Break”, but this time with Demi Lovato. It was as pitchy as it was the first time they sang it. Demi sounded like she had run from her seat backstage because she was very out of breath, but the true performer she is, she pulled it off.

FH2

Fifth Harmony and Demi Lovato

MY RANKING FOR THIS ROUND: Tate Stevens, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Fifth Harmony (mostly because they sang two full songs tonight they sang in the past).

*****************************

ROUND 3: THE FIVE-MILLION-DOLLAR SONG (OR NOT)

Carly chose the very overdone “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. In fact, I heard it just yesterday on The Voice. Simon looked all teary-eyed and given the tragedy in Sandy Hook, people’s emotions for songs like this are high. I do know it is one of his favorite songs from what he said on American Idol. It started off very, very rough. She needs to work on the lower end of her vocal range. But the second verse got better. It does not hurt having a choir behind you either. It was her best performance for me tonight. Was it her best performance of the series? No. LA Reid said it was an angelic performance and she did not oversing it. Demi said she sang like a ridiculously talented angel. Simon said she looked great and it was a beautiful version of the song. Britney said that song was worth $5 million so Simon should get out his checkbook.

Carly3

Carly Rose Sonenclar

Tate chose “Tomorrow” by Chris Young. It was a lovely song. It did not blow me away. No one is giving me chills. My goosebumps are my indicator that I’ve been wowed. Britney said it was great and she always enjoys what he does. Demi said she was almost crying because it is the last time she will see him perform on that stage. (Well, not really, he’ll sing in the results show). Simon said it was a fantastic night for talent; that it was a really, really good night. LA Reid said he consistently comes out and delivers.

Tate3

Tate Stevens

Fifth Harmony sang “Let It Be” by The Beatles. This song has special meaning to me because it was friend Diane’s favorite song. She has been gone for almost a year now from this earth. It was played at her funeral. This is the first time I wanted to turn off the TV (at least when it first started). Normani did a lousy job. The others did better, but their $5 million song was “Anything Could Happen.” Again, this is another one of those emotional songs given the grief the nation is feeling. LA Reid said they’ve come so far and it was beautiful. Britney said they have blossomed as a group. Demi said they have evolved and grown. Simon said he could not be more proud. Although biased, they deserved to win.

FH3

Fifth Harmony

MY RANKING: Carly Rose, Tate, Fifth Harmony

So where does that leave us? Fifth Harmony was my first round pick as favorite, Tate was my second round pick as favorite and Carly was my third round pick as favorite. I guess any one of them could win. But all in all when I turned off the television, I left not being blown away enough to buy any of those last songs. What I would have liked to see is an original song that no one has done ever before and hearing what THAT would have sounded like as a $5 million song. Perhaps they can think about doing that next year.





The XFactor Season 2 Top 8 Perform

29 11 2012

Last week was the perfect reason why this contest should not allow 13-year-old children. The pressure is too much. Even a confident Rachel Crowe from last year broke down into hysteria when she was no longer in the competition. CeCe Frey and Beatrice Miller had to sing for their lives, neither doing very well at all. Simon had the unfortunate position of deciding Beatrice needed to go home on Thanksgiving Day. America was not surprised Arin Ray was in the bottom, but he sure did. From first place to 8th place: Carly Rose Sonenclar, Tate Stevens, Vino Alan, Emblem3, Diamond White, Paige Thomas (who looked very surprised she was NOT going home), Fifth Harmony and CeCe Frey.

Demi Lovato’s Young Adults

Contestant: Paige Thomas
Twitter @PaigeAva
Song: “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley

My thoughts: I loved her look. I loved the song. The dancing was odd. First it was just herself on stage dancing and then at the end other dancers joined in. It felt disjointed. This was her best performance since the live shows began. And I’m happy to say I understand every single word she sang.

The judges: L.A. Reid thought it was her best performance yet. Britney said the risk worked. Simon said for the first time she looked and acted like a legitimate pop star. Demi was so proud of her.

Paige Thomas

* * * * * * * * * *

Contestant: CeCe Frey (pronounced “fry” like “French fry” and not “fray”)
Twitter: @CeCeMissXToTheO
Song: “Lady Marmalade” by Patti LaBelle

My thoughts: This was CeCe’s best performance since the live shows began. I think it is too late though. I suspect she will be in the bottom 3.

The judges: LA Reid said he enjoyed the circus. Britney said she stepped it up a notch; really good. Simon said it was too much and compared her performance to too much chocolate cake. He said she should pack her suitcase. Demi was so proud.

CeCe Frey

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Britney Spears’ Teens

Contestant: Diamond White
Twitter: @DiamondKWhite
Song: “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston

My thoughts: I am glad she did something upbeat; however, it was terrible vocally. Most of the song was off pitch. However, she is adorable and that definitely wins her points.

The judges: LA Reid said she had never had a moment like that. Demi was blown away. Simon said she was fearless and incredible. He believed the lyric. Britney said it was beautiful.

Diamond White

* * * * * * *

Contestant: Carly Rose Sonenclar
Twitter: @CarlyRoseMusic
Song: “Rollling in the Deep” by Adele

My thoughts: It was great. I was expecting something worse because very rarely can someone sing Adele, or in the case of Amanda Brown on The Voice, make it their own. For Carly, this was average. Her average is someone else’s awesome. No goosebumps for me this week.

The judges: LA Reid said she was insanely talented and loveable, but it was not her best performance. However, her second best is better than everyone else’s best. Demi felt proud of her even though she is not mentoring her. Simon said the first half was good, the second half was sensational. Britney said she took it to the next level. (PLEASE NOTE THAT PHRASE RANKS UP THERE FOR ME AS “HOW DO YOU FEEL?” WHEN SOMEONE IS GOING HOME). Stop it.

Carly Rose Sonenclar

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

L.A. Reid’s Over 25’s

Contestant: Vino Alan
Twitter: @VinoAlan
Song: “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” by Righteous Brothers

My thoughts: He lost that loving feeling with this song. It was switched by LA Reid with only 1 day. It was a weird arrangement. Vino had a rough start and all the notes in the lower register were rough. I did not excite me at all. Usually I like Vino’s stuff. LA Reid made a bad decision.

The judges: Britney said it is the same thing from him each week–something needed to be freshened up. Demi agreed with Britney; she was not totally entertained. Simon that was not a good song choice and was actually uncomfortable. LA Reid said there were moments where there were timing issues.

Vino Alan

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Contestant: Tate Stevens
Twitter: @TateStevensCtry
Song: “Somebody Like You” by Keith Urban

My thoughts: Much better this week. I am not familiar with this song and I hate country music, but this was upbeat and entertaining. There were a few off-key notes, especially in the higher range.

The judges: Britney said he was brilliant. Demi wants to marry a guy like him (a man who loves his wife the way he does). Simon said don’t dance but the good news is he was back with passion. LA Reid was proud.

Tate Stevens

* * * * * * * * * *

Simon Cowell’s Groups

Contestant: Formerly LYLAS, then 1432, which meant “I Love You Too” , and now “Fifth Harmony”
Twitter:
Song: “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson

My thoughts: I cried when they showed the clip of the grandfather passing away. I understand how TV works and how exploitive it can be. It could sway votes and Simon needs every card in his favor right now. But I feel badly that she could not grieve in private. The genuine affection the girls have for each other is endearing. After hearing the judges’ comments, LA Reid makes a good point that there was no 5-part harmony going–just 5 young ladies singing the melody.

The judges: LA Reid said he heard unison and not harmony. Britney thought the song sounded great for a group. Demi said the energy got sucked out of the performance because it was weird they were just standing there for an upbeat song. Simon thought it was great.

Fifth Harmony

* * * * * * * * * *

Contestant: Emblem3
Twitter: @EmblemThree
Song: “I’m A Believer” by The Monkees

My thoughts: They sounded MUCH better this week. It was my favorite song of the night. The harmonies were spot-on. Note to Drew: I know you are pumped up about your performance on stage, but stop stripping off your shirt. It is getting old. We know you have awesome biceps.

The judges: LA Reid said he would sign them. Britney said she did not like the song. Demi said she did not know what Simon was doing with them and got them to say stuff on stage that wasn’t cool (like they had original stuff, they play instruments, etc., as if Simon was not letting them do something). Simon said this turned them into real pop stars. One of his favorite performances.

Emblem 3

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

My picks for going home

The bottom three will be CeCe Frey, Vino Alan, and Diamond White. But who leaves immediately and which two will have to sing for their lives, I am not sure.

Who are your picks to leave tonight?





XFactor Season 2 Top 10 Perform

22 11 2012

Two of the acts that I was hoping would win left the competition last Thursday: Jennel Garcia and Lyric 145. I guess that America just wants to hear cover songs and nothing original anymore. The list of how the contestants placed based on their votes. From first place to 10th place: Tate Stevens, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Vino Alan, Emblem3, Cece Frey (that is a surprise), Fifth Harmony, Diamond White, Beatrice Miller, Arin Ray, and Paige Thomas. Tonight they are dedicating their songs to someone special in their lives for whom they are thankful.

Demi Lovato’s Young Adults

Contestant: Paige Thomas
Twitter @PaigeAva
Song: “Everytime” by Britney Spears, dedicated to Colleen who took her in after her mother died.

My thoughts: It was a strange song. The lyrics match more of what you might sing to someone who is no longer with her. “Notice me, take my hand, why are we strangers when our love is strong.” Just a confusing pick. Her enunciation was a bit better tonight, but again, it sounds at time like she is stumbling through the lyrics. It was also pitchy, like right under the note.

The judges: Since it was Britney’s song, they let her comment first. Britney thought it was beautiful. L.A. Reid thought it was not good enough tonight to get her out of the last-place spot. Simon said at moments she sang really well, but her voice was muffled. He thought she could be going home. Demi said it was pitchy but she let her emotions take over.

Paige Thomas

* * * * * * * * * *
Contestant: CeCe Frey (pronounced “fry” like “French fry” and not “fray”)
Twitter: @CeCeMissXToTheO
Song: “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler dedicated to her sister Kelsey who died at a young age.

My thoughts: Her story was very touching. I like this emotional CeCe. The song was less pitchy than last week, although it was very pitchy at the beginning and the end. She had a tough time on the high note. I doubt she is going to be in the bottom because she will get the emotional vote. No one is going to vote off the person who had a sister with a disability.

The judges: LA Reid said her emotion was genuine. Britney said it was amazing. Simon said he hoped the public will keep her in the competition. Demi said she was proud, that she poured her heart and soul.

CeCe Frey

Britney Spears’ Teens

Contestant: Arin Ray
Twitter: @ArinRaySings
Song: “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias dedicated to his brother who was a father figure in his life.

My thoughts: Don’t laugh, but in the wide shot, the red curtains looked like red condoms. My husband actually pointed that out to me. It was rough in places but it was a huge improvement from last week. However, there was no challenge in the vocals. I still think he needs to stop trying to have a relationship backstage with Normani and concentrate on his performance. I think he will be going home on Thursday.

The judges: L.A. Reid said the song was too big, a tough one for him. He gave a good performance but not a 5-million-dollar performance. Demi said she was bored. Simon said he felt Arin was trapped in a cage. He said he thought he was not seeing from Arin on this show what Arin the performer would do in the real world.  Arin said he was not doing what he wanted to do.  He wanted to be able to dance.  Britney thought it was really good.

Arin Ray

* * * * * * * * *
Contestant: Diamond White
Twitter: @DiamondKWhite
Song: “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion dedicated to her mom.

My thoughts: I’m calling BS on the story about her mom. She said she had a 50/50 chance of “making it through surgery for scoliosis.” Doubt it. All spinal surgery carries a risk of paralysis, but I think the 50/50 chance was that it would actually be of benefit to her. It does not carry any more increased risk of death other than any other surgery. Cardiac surgery has a higher risk of death. Now, if she had complications after the surgery, like blood clots, pulmonary embolus, coma, etc., then I could see that. People tend to remember things differently as time goes on and exaggerate their responses. One thing they teach you in medicine. If someone says they are exercising 5 days a week, usually it is less. If they say they are drinking 2 glasses of wine per week, it’s probably more. Anyway, back to Diamond’s performance, it started off weak and pitchy, but she worked it out. She did a good job on the high note. But, again, I get back to the fact that these songs all sound like covers (nothing original about them).

The judges: LA Reid said she had never had a moment like that. Demi was blown away. Simon said she was fearless and incredible. He believed the lyric. Britney said it was beautiful.

Diamond White

* * * * * * *
Contestant: Beatrice Miller
Twitter: @BeatriceMiller
Song: “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol dedicated to her twin sisters who have had some challenges in their lives.

My thoughts: When Carly Rose sings, she sounds like an adult. When Beatrice sings, she sounds like a child. She is suffering from vocal strain. It was pitchy and not good. It was, however, better than last week. I don’t think she will be in trouble, although she will be towards the bottom of the list again.  I think, though, she might be great for the Disney Channel.

The judges: LA Reid said Britney had good taste. Demi said it is like she is singing the same song every week. She needed something different and fun. Simon said this song meant something to her and that this week was better than last week. Britney said it was her best performance so far.

Beatrice Miller

* * * * * * * * * * *
Contestant: Carly Rose Sonenclar
Twitter: @CarlyRoseMusic
Song: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland dedicated to her brother who has always been there for her.

My thoughts: It was awesome. I had goosebumps. I think she may win this competition.

The judges: LA Reid said, “Wow girl.” She is a force of nature. Demi said it was amazing. Simon said he had heard more versions of that song over his career and that was one of the best versions of it. Britney said it was amazing.

Carly Rose Sonenclar

L.A. Reid’s Over 25’s

Contestant: Vino Alan
Twitter: @VinoAlan
Song: “God Bless The USA” by Lee Greenwood dedicated to our troops

My thoughts: Anyone who sings a patriotic song ensures they are going through the next week. Vino might get the #2 slot this week with that. I got chills. He did an excellent job.

The judges: He received a standing ovation. Britney said it was spot-on and amazing. Demi said there is something special about him. Simon said he could be seeing him at the #1 spot tomorrow (prior to Carly Rose singing). LA Reid was proud of him.

Vino Alan

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Contestant: Tate Stevens
Twitter: @TateStevensCtry
Song: “I’m Already There” by Lonestar dedicated to his father.

My thoughts: It was pitchy. His movements sometimes feel forced or manufactured, especially when he is trying to emphasize a lyric. Last run was good. This is a very personal song for me. I heard this song on the anniversary of my child’s death, and the chorus reminds me of what my son would want me to know–“I’m already there. Take a look around. I’m the sunshine in your hair. I’m the shadow on the ground. I’m the whisper in the wind, your imaginary friend. And I know I’m in your prayers. I’m already there.” The Lonestar version makes me cry every time I hear it; I did not get that from Tate tonight.

The judges: Britney said LA is doing a great job. Demi said it was not his best performance but it was incredible. Simon said he loves the song and story, but it was not as confident. LA Reid said America loves you.

Tate Stevens

* * * * * * * * * *

Simon Cowell’s Groups

Contestant: Formerly LYLAS, then 1432, which meant “I Love You Too” , and now “Fifth Harmony”
Twitter:
Song: “I’ll Stand By You” by Pretenders dedicated to God

My thoughts: Choirs always make you sound better. It was average. There was nothing that blew me away. I do like their genuine friendship that you can see between them on stage. No one dedicates a song to God and goes home either.

The judges: LA Reid said that was great. Britney said it was touching and beautiful and bravo. Demi said she was not crazy about the song choice but they made it beautiful. Simon said the competition would not be the same without them.

Fifth Harmony

* * * * * * * * * *
Contestant: Emblem3
Twitter: @EmblemThree
Song: “Secrets” by One Republic dedicated to their youth leaders who inspired them.

My thoughts: It was horrible at first but it sounded better later. I still like them. They might be the only original sound left in the competition.

The judges: LA Reid said it lacked emotion. Britney said it was well done. Demi said it was a great change of pace and they had more emotion. Simon said it was fantastic and they were such a pleasure to work with.

Emblem3

My picks for going home

The bottom two will be Arin Ray and Paige Thomas.  However, I think they are going to pull something about not sending anyone home since it is Thanksgiving Day.

Who are your picks to leave tonight?





So You Think You Can Dance — America’s Top 20 Revealed

12 06 2011

Vegas Hell week is over. Of the 31 dancers that remain, America’s Top 20 will be chosen. I loved having the all-stars last year. It immediately elevated the dance contestants to a higher level, but having only 10 of them go through was difficult. Some gifted dancers, like Ryan Ramirez, did not make the cut, but surely if there had been a top 20, she would have. A decision was made to bring together the best of both worlds: Have a top 20 and when it whittles down to the top 10, bring in the all-stars. I LOVE IT! Tonight they combine 2 shows into one, grouping the announcement of what dancers have made the cut into their dancing styles. Some of these dancers we’ve seen on screen before; some are new to us. After they were announced we would get to see the group dance.

Ricky Jamie auditioned in Salt Lake but this is the first time he has really been featured. He has been dancing since he was 9. He has great height and lines. He is confident that his answer will be a yes, and it is. Miranda Maleski then took the long walk to hear her fate. Nigel plays with her heartstrings, doing the bait and switch to pretend like she is leaving, but she is also in the top 20. One of my early favorites, Melanie Moore, from my sister’s former town of Marietta, Georgia, also joins the top 20. I look forward to her enchanting us with her pixie dust. Abigail Ruiz and Kate Linetka would not be part of this year’s competition. The Mallory sisters started this journey together and then walked together to receive the news of their fate: Sasha would be the one moving forward. I’ve known of Sasha since September of 2010 when I saw her performing with the Adam Lambert tour.

Melanie, Miranda, Ricky and Sasha then took the stage to dance a routine choreographed by Stacey Tookey to the song, “In This Shirt” by The Irrepressibles. In the champagne-colored outfits, they glided about the floor in an ethereal way. They all partnered well together, each being there for the other for some intricate movement. Since no one goes home tonight, there are no critiques, just praise.

Contemporary

Melanie, Miranda, Ricky and Sasha perform Stacey Tookey's routine

Back to the green mile, Chris Koehl of Texas has taken this trip before in season 7. Mary Murphy delivers the good news that he will be a part of season 8. Tadd Gadduang (from the Salt Lake auditions, who reminded me of Dominic) and Wadi Jones will be joining him. Virgil “Lil’O” Gadson, however, did not make it through, although Nigel complimented him on his wonderful personality; perhaps next year. Drace Reed was also eliminated. Robert Taylor (the Woo man) was not feeling confident about his chances to make it to the top 20. Being 30, this was his last year to try out. Bryce “Professor Lock” Johnson also wondered if there would be room for him. It was “Woo” versus “Indubitably.Robert, who previously auditioned in season 3 for American Idol, was in and Bryce was out.

Chris, Robert, Tadd and Wadi took to the stage to perform a routine by Dave Scott to the song “Everyday (Coolin’) by Swizz Beatz featuring Eve. Robert almost looked with Twitch with the red glasses on. I’ll have to say that Tadd had the best moves, but Robert’s personality stood out. The boys got swagga.

HipHop

Chris, Robert, Tadd and Wadi performed Dave Scott's hip-hop.

Ballrooms dancers are up next and out of everyone that made it to Vegas only 2 survived: Iveta Lukosiute and Lenny Progue. My guess is that both of them would make it as it is a male/female partnership. Mary delivers the news straight-up to Lenny: He was too weak in his other styles. Would 10-dance World Champion Iveta be in? This is her last year to compete in this competition. Mary Murphy is very emotional delivering the news to Iveta and it did not look like she would make it either. Iveta makes it!

They brought in Pasha to dance with Iveta, dancing to a Jason Gilkison routine to the song, “Ven a Bailar (On the Floor)” by Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull. She looked stunning as Pasha expertly guided her along the dance floor, in a paso doble complete with skirt-yanking-turned-cape. While Iveta showed us why she is a world champion, I still adore Pasha and Anya’s partnership. It’s hard to build chemistry with someone you’ve just met. When Iveta is described as a 10-dance World Champion, it is not that she won 10 different competitions, but rather is the champion in all the different ballroom dances.

Ballroom

Iveta finishes performing Jason Gilkison's routine.

Jazz dancers were highlighted next. Clarice Ordaz and Bridget Krouse were nervously awaiting their fate. Clarice received good news; Bridget was sent home as was someone named Tae Kwon. Another one of my favorites, Marko Germar, is the young man who was shot in the shoulder, the bullet still embedded inside. We will be seeing him in our top 20. Missy Morelli and Jordan Casanova (another of my early favorites) are the little vixens vying for our attention of their seductive prowess. Could the top 20 handle both of them? Yes we can!

Performing a dance choreographed by Sonya Tayeh to the song “Vanguardian” by Steed Lord, Clarice, Jordan, Marko and Missy took the stage. By Sonya’s standards, this was pretty tame, but was still fierce. Sonya’s describes her dance style as “combat jazz.” They all made her proud and had Tyce on his feet.

Jazz

Clarice, Jordan, Marko and Missy perform Sonya Tayeh's routine.

Broadway/Tap dancers were the next group. Although he auditioned in Atlanta, Nick Young was not one of the featured dancers, so we have not learned much about him. He is from Wisconsin and played sports in high school. Back in the early 2000’s, he toured with Kenny Rogers Christmas show as an actor/singer. Jesse LeProtto was one of my early favorites, reminding me a great deal of Evan’s dancing, but with a little bit more attitude, which actually bothered the judges. Jesse knows he is good and I feel sometimes that is not a bad thing. He also has a great sense of humor, saying that hip-hop was the dance he excelled in. He is in, as was Nick.

Nick and Jesse came together on stage to perform Christopher Scott’s immensely entertaining routine to Nina Simone’s “Funkier Than A Mosquito’s Tweeter.” It showcased the dancer’s fun personalities and their mad skills as tappers. If I had to choose who the better tapper was Nick would have the edge. Jesse hams it up with the audience which brings a smile to my face. Nigel tells us that 4 of the girls are also tappers. He also said, “This warmed the cockles of my heart.”

Contemporary dancers were last. Caitlynn Lawson auditioned in Salt Lake City but was not one of the featured dancers on that show. She hails from Washington State and is a senior in high school. A bit of a tomboy, she likes to fish, camp and go four-wheeling with her family. She kind of reminds me of Lacy Schwimmer around the eyes. She sails into the top 20. Ashley Rich would also be joining her. With only one spot left for the girls, Ryan Ramirez found herself in a similar predicament as last year. Alexa Anderson waited nervously along with her. Only one of them would be moving on. However, they would have to wait as Mitchell Kelly’s fate would be determined next. Mitchell auditioned in Atlanta, but again was not a featured dancer on that show. Chicago, Illinois is his hometown, and started dancing relatively late at the age of 15. He receives a “yes” from the judges. Alexander Fost and Jeremiah Hughes were vying for the last spot for the males. Alexander receives the last spot. Would it be Alexa or Ryan? Both young ladies are very emotional. Ryan receives that coveted last spot.

Travis Wall has become a choreographer who has moved me to goosebumps and tears. He was on season 2 of “So You Think You Can Dance” and came in second, proving that you do not actually have to win on this show to become successful. “Moth’s Wings” by Passion Pit played while Alexander, Ashley, Caitlynn, Mitchell and Ryan took the stage. The dance was celebratory, soft and spiritful, floating and fluid. While everyone should be commended on a job well done, my eye was particular drawn to Ryan. All the judges were on their feet clapping for this one. Cat loves Travis’ bow tie.

Contemporary2

Alexander, Ashley, Caitlynn, Mitchell and Ryan dance to Travis Wall's routine

But wait, that is not it. The audience is to be treated to three more routines. The 10 guys perform to a routine by Christopher Scott, where he mixes hip-hop with contemporary and pulls it off. The song is “Velocity” by Nathan Lanier. It was reminding me for some reason of The Matrix when all the infected versions of Agent Smith come out of the doors (ha, I wrote that about The Matrix before Nigel said the same thing in his critique). I have a harder time finding small faults with a large group, so for me, bravo to all of them for a job well done. Interesting comment from Nigel when he says that “this show doesn’t favor the boys all the time” (reference to American Idol).

The routine for the top 10 girls was done by Sonya Tayeh. Her theme is to “make a geisha girl creepy and twisted and excited.” Sonya is the perfect mama cub who pushes her pups to work hard but at the end of the day is the one hooting and hollering in the crowd in thunderous support and pride. The song is Pop Drop and Roll by Chonique Sneed and Lisette Bustamante. The timing and precision of the girls are flawless. Mary needs a bigger Hot Tamale Train. Lil’C has words for Sonya for the acronym of her hand which moves Nigel to come over and hug him.

After commercial, Nigel says that next week 2 dancers will go home, one male and one female. This year, we will be allowed up to 50 votes on-line for our favorite dancer.

The top 20 then performs to a Tyce Diorio routine to the song “Little Bird” by Annie Lennox. Some of Tyce’s routines have also made me cry in the past, but tonight it is about celebration and being upbeat. The show closes out without any comments but the pictures and names of this season’s SYTYCD.

Tyce

All the contestants perform Tyce's number

Good luck to all the contestants next week!