Wednesday, August 30


Wow, I thought tonight was a great show and from here on out it's a tough call!! I think Magni and Storm are probably in trouble soon; Toby & Ryan have really gained momentum (& for the first time in at least 3 weeks, Toby wasn't in the early bottom 3!). I'm not sure where Lukas & Dilana stand. Personally I've been done w/Dilana for a while, but she's right about her fan base. Still I'd at least like her to have to deal with being in the bottom 3 for once (especially if Ryan & Lukas aren't). I don't think Lukas is a frontrunner anymore but the guys loved him tonight and he's certainly entertaining, no matter what he does. Storm usually isn't one of my favorites but *loved* her performance tonight (though Toby helped! I wonder if Paul & Jim felt dissed by that? Hope not). I voted quite a bit for Toby & Lukas; apparently they're now my favorites. ;-) If I had to make the call I'd say Magni is gone, as I don't think they'll boot another girl yet.

Thursday, August 17

America's Favorite Dancer

And the winner is...

(as if there were any question) BENJI!!!!!

Thursday, July 20

SYTYCD - Top 10

Just the basics, at least for now. This week's judges are Nigel, Jean-Marc, and Cicely & Olisa. And Cat looks fabulous.

Ivan and Martha
1) Hip-hop (Shane) to Cassie's "Me And You" - fun choreography; Ivan was really great, Martha just ok.
2) Smooth waltz (Michael Mead & Toni Redpath) to "Sandy's Song" by Dolly Parton - Very nice!! Definitely helped by Martha's flowy dress. Judges criticized technique a lot.

Allison and Ryan
1) Contemporary (Mia) - Allison said practice that this is the hardest routine she's ever done, and all the judges commented on the difficulty. It was very different, with a lot of held positions but also a lot of quick moves. They weren't together like they should've been.
2) Broadway (Tyce) to "Bye Bye Blackbird" (Liza) - Awesome, especially Allison, who looked like she stepped out of a number from Chicago! They had red outfits with white fedoras.

Dmitry and Donyelle

1) Lindy hop (Nick Williams & Kristin Sorci) to "Sing, Sing, Sing" from Swing Kids - much fun!! Donyelle set and met her goal of not looking bad next to Dmitry's "amazing"-ness. Cicely annoyed me by getting both of their names wrong ("Danielle" and "Demitrious")!
2) Samba (Mary - and Artem!) to Black Eyed Peas' "Hey Mama" - the practice footage was a riot, with Mary complaining that the guys kept speaking in Russian, and also very... visually pleasing. ;-) The performance sizzled as well and the judges liked it.

Heidi and Travis
1) Paso doble (Mary) to a piece from The Mask of Zorro - Had fun in practice. Heidi was supposed to be the cape and Travis the matador - they started with dramatice lighting as he held her (upside down) on his back; nice. Very good overall and the judges loved it.
2) Contemporary (Mia) to Celine's "Calling You" - Apart from the annoyance that this is basically a straight-up audition for Travis for the Celine show (which Mia choreographed), this was incredible. Strange - used a park bench as a prop - but I honestly got chills and teared up the first time I watched it. Travis was just amazing; perfectly communicated the choreography, and I was happy that he finally got the chance to do his specialty, as well as to be able to focus on helping someone else which I also think boosted his personal morale. Heidi struggled in practice but Mia admitted she was "creating as we go," so she didn't give her anything too challenging movement-wise, and she did great w/the acting. Even Nigel admitted he was "touched."

Nat and Benji- Jazz / hip-hop
1) Jazz (Tyce) to "Wonderful (India.Arie) - Excellent! Great to see Benji in such a different style (clothing-wise too, with loose shirt & pants), and they showed real chemistry.
2) Hip-hop (Shane) to "She's Freaky" (Pitbull) - Ooh! Very high-energy routine, and they both did great again, though Natalie was a bit better. They weren't together but the choreography was fast & I saw them watching each other at times (espec. Benji watching Nat) to try to synchronize, so it must've been difficult just to get the moves down individually. I really saw tonight that Natalie is an awesome dancer, possibly as good as Allison (it's hard to compare to Donyelle & Heidi since their styles are so different). Nigel called them on this and the audience boo'ed but both Benji & Natalie were like, "No, it's ok!" That was cute.

As for the solos, they were mostly what you'd expect...
1. Donyelle- Hip-hop, good.
2. Dmitry- ripped his shirt open at the end & Nigel laughed and laughed!
3. Ivan- Wore skate shoes. Nigel said it was a gimmick. Ok but nothing new.
4. Martha- just ok.
5. Heidi (Black Eyed Peas) - Great!! Judges loved it.
6. Travis- (Gavin deGraw's "Belief," stripped version) - again excellent, and Nigel finally gave him his due.
7. Natalie- Emotionally and technically excellent.
8. Benji (Wilson Pickett's "Lord of 1000 Dances") - Just awesome!! He started on the stairs & used that as a prop (as did Heidi). Incorporated several styles - spinning, rock, hip-hop, etc. - & played w/the audience. Judges loved.
9. Allison- Good, her usual.
10. Ryan- Good.

The injuries weren't really mentioned, though after her solo Cat asked Donyelle softly how her foot was and she said "ok." But I know Natalie was injured; after their hip-hop he had to help her up and get over to the judges! (He limped with her so it was less obvious.) Then he was doing lifts w/her during the end group freestyle. Which continue to show what a skilled and considerate partner (and nice guy) he is!!

I voted mostly for Benji, Travis, and Donyelle, but threw in a few for Heidi and Dmitry. I predict Ryan and Martha will be sent packing.

Wednesday, July 19

RockStar - Week 3 (7/18/06)

In the song selection clip, we see Toby & a few others trying to keep the process organized and fair, but others are more competitive; Josh says he "can't be a nice guy all the time," takes his song off the board and leaves; we also see Jill giving Patrice a hard time for taking a song.

We're told that one of the SuperNova guys will join a contestant on stage for one of tonight's songs, but who and when will be a surprise...

(Note - I'm trying to condense & just include the basics instead of all the details because of time constraints, but if anyone wants to know more just ask, as I have most of the comments/quotes in my notes.)

Patrice: Helter Skelter (Beatles) - Very good! Both the vocals and stage presence. Most of the guys liked it.

Josh: Come As You Are - He played acoustic guitar and just stood at the mic, and his voice sounds too nasal to me at first, but it was really good overall. Tried to work some sexy looks this week and was fairly successful. ;-) Dave complimented but wants more "heavy/ugly," which Josh said he'd bring next week.

Storm: Just What I Needed - Just ok vocally, and seemed to take the song too seriously, playing up the sex-kitten look. It worked for the guys though (especially Tommy, who said he'd like to "see more of" her, and she said "Tommy: 6 letters - Google").

Lukas: Let's Spend the Night Together (Stones) - Excellent! This isn't my style of music and I didn't 'enjoy' it as such, but he did a great job with stage presence ('Jagger swagger') and vocals. All the guys loved it. Tommy said "You're raising the bar, and I'm pulling up a bar stool."

Jill: All Right Now - Also very good. Tommy said "I'm definitely all right now." Gilby said it was the 1st performance of hers where he could imagine them behind her.

Ryan: Fortunate Son - Worlds better than last week, good vocals. The guys thought he should've moved around more & didn't seem to be enjoying himself.

Phil: White Rabbit - with Jason on bass!! This was a different Phil than we've seen, harder rock with a sneer (and eyeliner, which rocked, but I could've done w/o the sneer). Even when yelling his vocals held. Jason was jumping around excitedly afterward, asking how he did, and Dave had to calm him down, saying "you've already got the gig" so he could get the attention back on Phil! Who received all compliments.

Dana: It's My Life (Bon Jovi) - She also had a sneer and intensity, but hers didn't come across as genuine to me. The guys didn't think it was a good fit for them.

Toby: Runaway Train (Soul Asylum) - I loved the end, especially the (intense but spot-on) vocals. Otherwise it was just ok and the guys agreed, wanting to see more grit (my word) in his stage presence. He said he would work on that and thanked them.

Magni: Plush (STP) - *Great* fit for his voice and an awesome job. Not necessarily perfect for the band but perfect for that song, anyway, and the first time I've really enjoyed him. The guys liked; Tommy said "Magni-ficent."

Zayra: Everybody Hurts - Appropriate title for her singing. Wasn't as off-key as her others but still, fast forward is my friend. Unfortunately the guys liked it. (though Dave admitted he thought she should've gone instead of Chris last week!)

Jenny: Drive - She played acoustic guitar while singing. She sounded off key to me and looked like she was playing 'rock star'. The guys didn't love it.

Dilana: Zombie (Cranberries) - Awesome performance of that song. Not to my taste/liking personally though. Jason gave her a standing ovation and Tommy just said "Dilana - I wanna."

Best performances of the night: Patrice, Lukas, Magni, Josh, Dilana, Jill. Worst: Jenny, Zayra, Storm, & Dana.

Early bottom 3: Jenny, Dana, Ryan.

My prediction: Jenny, Dana, and Zayra, with Jenny leaving.

Monday, July 17


Sorry I didn't get to this earlier, but I've been mad busy! Fun stuff but busy (saw an awesome production - Broadway Across America - of Les Miz, went to see Cars, watched House of Flying Daggers, church & stuff, cat sitting, and had lots of company!). I'll just do the bare basics but if anyone wants to know more I do have the notes, so just ask.

RockStar: Toby got the encore. He also seems like the 'voice of reason'/big brother type from the mansion footage.

Bottom 3 were Jill, who sang "Bring Me to Life" and did an *awesome* job, was the first safe. Zayra displayed more attitude, sang the same song as the night before, and was somehow kept around for another week. Chris had his best performance yet with a stripped-down "If You Could Only See." The band went on and on about his great attitude, humility, ability to take criticism and grow, etc... and somehow got rid of him and kept Zayra. Whatever.

The spoilers I've heard make me very excited for this week's performances!!

SYTYCD: Doriana choreographed the disco opener to "Born to be Alive," and it was ok but not as good as previous weeks. Donyelle did not participate at all due to injury.

The format changes were announced: from now on partners will be randomly chosen as well as dance styles. Plus we're adding numbers. Each pair will dance 2 routines and each contestant will also dance a solo (Wednesday's show is 2 hours, though my local schedule doesn't show it!). Voting will be on an individual basis only and the male and female who each have the lowest number of votes will be eliminated.

Bottom 3 couples are Dmitry/Ashlee, Travis/Martha, and Musa/Natalie. The judges were "unanimous... not happy, but unanimous" in sending Ashlee and Musa home. Not too surprising. It will be interesting to see how individual voting switches things up.

Sunday, July 16

Random fun stuff

Blogger starts trading with paper clip, ends with house. That pretty much says it all for that one.

I'm currently addicted to this Mah Jongg solitaire game. I love puzzle-type games, and Mah Jongg solitaire in general, but I like this one because you get bonuses for getting both pairs of a design at once, and the graphics are really cool (with one tile set there are candy pieces that bounce away when matched, parrots that fly, etc.).

I guess that's it for now. And yes, I am going to blog the recap shows....

Wednesday, July 12

SYTYCD - Top 12 (7/12/06)

Unfortunately the show started a bit early so I missed the beginning! :-( I missed the intro mini-solos and the judges' introductions. Judges are Nigel, Mary (those 2 seem a given this year), and Brian (yay!!! - I really like him for several reasons, one being that he's brutally honest & gives detailed, practical feedback - or was that two?). When I came in Cat had asked Brian something and he was finishing up his comments. They were talking about someone's comments, and Brian said he was just giving a "normal guy" opinion and that was ok. I'll edit later if I find out what that was about (if someone knows please comment!). Then he said it was his job as choreographer to give them something fun and entertaining and it kept them out of the bottom 3, so he was happy. This almost has to be about Dmitry & Ashlee's contemporary routine last week- I'm guessing from this that the comment was a criticism. Anyway, on to the performances!

Musa/Natalie- HipHop by Dan, to "Promiscuous."
Dan said the routine was "built for their relationship" and it was about a guy chasing a girl; most of the practice footage was of N. or M. talking about their roles and how each would 'win' and I thought it was a waste of time. The routine itself was ok; Musa did a lot of tricks but (as I'd read in spoilers from someone who attended the taping) Natalie did more "acting" than actual dancing. The choreography in general just wasn't that interesting.

Nigel said it was "worth waiting for" Musa to be in his own element and that Natalie did what she was asked to do well, and that was to be an actress. Mary said they played the parts given to them; she complimented Musa's upper body strength but said the synchronized parts were not together or strong. Brian said he'd been waiting from the beginning of the finals to "tear [Musa] down technically," but that he couldn't! He said, "Granted you did like 15 tumbling passes," and they weren't in unison in the parts of the routine that required it. He told Natalie she's "sick" and said he really couldn't say much more; that she's "every video girl right now" and is "ready to work."

Heidi/Ryan - Cha Cha. Choreographed by Jean-Marc Genereux, to "Sex Bomb" by Tom Jones.
Heidi apparently knows Jean-Marc, who describes the dance as being about "rhythm" with one's feet and hips, and a fun dance. Ryan seems a bit intimidated, which isn't helped by the fact that Heidi spends more time working and practicing with Jean-Marc than with Ryan. I love her outfit, it's sparkly and flashy and very flattering to her. A lot of the choreography wasn't in unison... perhaps the video clip influenced me, but it just didn't do that much for me, especially Ryan. However, the crowd seemed to enjoy it. Especially Ryan's family, who all had signs, and Cat said they'd all been dancing along.

Nigel mentioned Latin dance expert Louis Van Amstel (from Dancing w/the Stars) in the audience. He said that the dance was difficult, and that Ryan had "really good technique," although he also felt something was missing. About Heidi he said "Wow... just fabulous." His only criticism was that at times she scrunches her face up and looks "like a Cabbage Patch doll." (the gal who attended the taping said that after the cameras were off he said he didn't mean it in a bad way). Mary said yes, Heidi was a doll, but *not* a Cabbage Patch. She said she's a "ball of fire" and can do anything. She called Ryan a "sex bomb." Brian said Heidi is "infectious," "excellent," and that she always makes him happy when she performs, and then she starts talking and (I was expecting something bad!) then he gets even happier! Wow, that had to make her feel good. He said what he thought was "missing" with Ryan was relaxation, that he dances with too much tension and concentration, but if he would "accept" his skill more he would grow more.

Ivan/Allison - Contemporary, by Tyce Dioro to Annie Lennox's "Why."
I thought Tyce said he created this routine for them before they picked their style, which doesn't really make sense. Anyway, Allison said Ivan has been wanting to learn contemporary since the show started, and he said he's ready to "attack" it! It showed... wow!! It was really good; they both stayed in (serious) character throughout the routine, and it was hot! She was definitely more passionate and aggressive in movement (reminding me of Jason), but he was definitely good.

Nigel told Allison she's beautiful and said he was close to agreeing with Mary that she could win. He mentioned Tyce's saying that "maturity" was something to look for in the routine, and said Ivan showed more than maturity, he showed "growth." He said the choreography was beautiful and that he was proud of Ivan. Mary was actually crying! She said that while she isn't normally "mushy" at all, that it was "very touching" and "fabulous," and that Ivan has taken them on a "magnificent roller coaster ride." She said "SeaBiscuit is still in the race," and for the first time, I agree! Brian called Allison "genius" and "brilliant" and said there was nothing negative to say. He told Ivan he "far surpassed" the expectations Brian had for him, and that he had "amazing lines," the connection between them was believable, and he had "great technique" including pointed feet. Also a bit from the gal at the taping: "During the performance, you could hear multiple gasps throughout the audience, and after it ended I heard Brian say, "Wow" behind me."

Dmitry/Ashlee - Pop by Dan to "Let Me" by Rihanna.
Dan said a lot of people don't know what "pop" is but it's basically "watered down hip-hop with jazz influences." Again I was somewhat bored with the choreography (though I did like it better the 2nd time I watched it), especially Dmitry's; perhaps he wasn't given as much because he didn't have the experience?? They were both good when they had good things to do, but overall it wasn't a great performance. I did like her hair up (she looks older) and her attitude/persona was fitting.

Nigel said he didn't know what "pop" is either, that Dmitry didn't have "a character to play," and that the routine was "forgettable." The audience boo'ed, and he said he/it deserved it and he wanted to boo himself (hee!), but he didn't know what else to say. Mary loved it; she said "it was supposed to be watered down hip-hop and it was." She loved their chemistry and said they were synchronized. Brian, who also specializes in "pop," was quick to correct them and defined it as "a mix of hip-hop and jazz." It was hard to understand his comments though because he seemed to contradict himself. First he said he didn't see any jazz in it, but that wasn't their fault. He said Dmitry should have done more with his upper body, and that Ashlee played her role but stayed at one pace (especially facially) throughout the routine instead of giving it different levels. He said that it wasn't their fault though and that they "brought what they were given." I'd heard rumor of disrespect between Brian & Dan, which this seemed to confirm, as did Cat's obviously scripted follow-up question asking what he thought of the "actual routine," emphasizing that it was by Dan! He said, "I'm not going to answer that," but then he did, saying it was a good routine but "they should have brought more energy to it." Hmm, backpedaling perhaps?

Travis/Martha - Foxtrot from Jean-Luc, to "Witchcraft" by Steve Tyrell.
I didn't catch all of the practice footage due to a phone call & lack of time to rewatch everything ;-), but I did hear Martha say that Jean-Luc likes choreography with stories, and Jean-Luc was talking about reviving (the style of) Fred & Ginger. Travis was talking about how usually you get (taught) the steps of a routine and then work on fine-tuning the technique, but they were doing it in reverse, at that point having only technique and no steps (he sounded slightly frustrated/bewildered, but it was hard to tell). Oh, and it was really funny when they chose their style because Travis definitely wasn't happy to get another ballroom dance! According to the taping attendee, the clip then showed him saying, "Am I allowed to cry on camera? Or is that a Benji thing?" Bwah!! But for tv they cut the 2nd half. The performance was nice, elegant, due muchly to their costuming (her dress was awesome, she looked wonderfully feminine for a change) and the temporary disappearance of his mohawk. ;-)

Nigel said they're both "fabulous dancers". He talked about extension and how the movement in your arms & shoulders is supposed to 'keep going' but Travis' sometimes 'stopped' instead, and that Martha needed to lower her shoulders, but otherwise it was lovely. Mary said that Martha looked beautiful and was "stunning" moving across the floor; she told Travis that he "partnered her" very well. Brian said he was scared with another ballroom pick that it would be their "kryptonite," but that it wasn't. He was "very impressed" with both of them. I still threw them a few votes for support as there have been a few indications that Travis is disheartened and think a lot of people "hate" him, but I still think (especially after seeing Benji's Broadway routine) that he's the best technical dancer on the show.

Benji/Donyelle - Broadway, by Tyce, to "You Can't Stop the Beat" from Hairspray.
What fun! Tyce talked about this being a very high-energy routine and said it involves several movements from the 60's (he named them but I didn't write them down, I figured this has enough detail as is!). Donyelle was excited and said she's a "theater junkie," to which Benji replied, "in other words, 'geek'!" Apparently she started in musical theater (cool, and I never would've guessed!). They talked about how in this routine they get to just "celebrate each other" and have fun, focusing more on their "real-life friendship" than the 'romance' of some of their past routines. His hair was slicked back and between that and his over-exaggerated movements, he ended up being the 'geek' in my eyes. I'd built up really high expectations based on the song, how much I loved Travis/Martha's Broadway routine, and comments from the tape attendee, and I was rather disappointed when it came down to it. There wasn't that much of anything technically difficult, and such a large part of my love for them is based on their skills. It was entertaining but probably my least favorite of theirs so far (and I'm not a huge waltz fan). Also for the first time I didn't think their styles were perfectly matched; she was more smooth (plus the ruffly dress hid her hips) while he moved more sharply, or severely. I think she did a much better job with it than he did.

Nigel said the reason they're such a great couple is that neither carries the other, they both "come up" and "get" anything they're given. He said he's not one to predict winners (because that's "silly") but said he'll be very surprised if Benji doesn't win! Benji laughed & actually pointed to Donyelle & mouthed "she's going to win," which was sweet. Of course then Nigel said, "And Donyelle, I'll be very surprised if *you* don't win!" He said unfortunately there's only one winner, but that person will have personality, technique, and performance, and they both have all of those things.

Mary looked a bit serious and said "we have to get real... 50% of that was corny & cheesy, 40% was energetic dancing, and 10% was pulling faces... but (standing up and almost screaming) it was 100% fantastic!" Nigel stood with her and they cut away but when they cut back Brian was standing too! Benji laughed and complained that she "did that to" them/him, but "at least I didn't cry this time" and said she did, so they're even! She also said theirs was the best routine of the night (I disagree, but I'm glad she thought so!).

Brian started by saying, "Benji, I'm going to tell you this now, because I haven't told you yet... but I never wanted you in the finals & didn't think you were one of the top 10 guys." Then "I eat my words fully" and said he is "the best male dancer on the show right now"!!!!! (Wow, and woo-hoo!!) Benji just thanked him respectfully, no big shocked face or anything, he was just listening intently to his comments I think. Brian went on to say "every time you come on stage you light it up;" that he does everything he's asked to do; and that he has surpassed the contemporary/lyrical dancers (& mentioned the high kick Benji did - "you kicked!"). Lastly he said that he loves Hairspray and that they "both belong in that musical." After Brian's comments to Benji in the past I was really surprised to hear all of this, but on the other hand Brian loves good dancers (and is very focused in the studio) & was probably frustrated that Benji's goofiness interferes w/his performance at times.

A good show, though overall I probably enjoyed last week's better performance-wise (I enjoy Brian's choreography a lot more than Dan's, but also love when he's judging!). I predict (and hope) the bottom 3 will be Ryan/Heidi, Dmitry/Ashlee, and Musa/Natalie, though I won't be too surprised if Travis/Martha are there instead of Musa/Natalie. I think Ryan is almost certain to go, and normally I'd pick Ashlee for the girl, but that would leave Heidi with Dmitry and since they're real-life partners, I'm not sure they'd be allowed to partner on the show. On the other hand we're moving to more solo competition soon and I don't know what all that will entail, so it might be ok. I think Heidi is definitely more skilled than Ashlee so I hope she doesn't suffer from a 'technicality.'

Tuesday, July 11

RockStar: Supernova (Episode 2: 7/11/06)

Already I am seeing a difference from last season, and I think a lot of it is because of the difference in the type of band. But at this point last year I remember being very impressed and liking very much at least 2 contestants (MiG and Ty), if not more. Granted even they were perhaps a bit 'mellow' (or pop) for INXS, and definitely wouldn't fit Supernova. So... I know I won't like the style of music SN does, so the performances I enjoy the most are probably not the same as what will be best for the band. Still I can try to objectively judge what I think is best for them.

Magni – My Generation (The Who)
Good, not great; good stage presence (and one lyric + gesture were edited out). Jason said "good control," and that his stage experience shows; Tommy made a comment about liking the "ho" but not having enough "hum," and I'm not sure anyone other than Tommy knew what he meant by that (Magni didn't, but didn't ask)!

Jenny Galt – Tainted Love (Soft Cell)
Brooke introduced this as Jenny with "her own version" of the song, and Jason later confirmed that she had arranged it herself. I thought the vocal was really good at the start (softer part), and decent overall. I don't care for her mannerisms & some of the things she does on stage (it's not really her stage 'presence' I don't like, though). Gilby didn't like the beginning at all; Dave liked her (but said she looked like she needed to eat something, which I thought was somewhat inappropriate).

Jill Giola – Violet (Hole)
She was wearing a white flouncy wedding dress (the skirt was mini, but still) and carrying a bouquet of roses. I didn't like it at *all,* but it's not my style. Mr. PezKat said "She's not as good as Courtney, and I don't like Courtney." Dave liked her willingness to "get messy & dirty," but said the "Courtney impersonation ws a bit uncomfortable." Jill replied that this was her interpretation of the song and she didn't know what Courtney did. I didn't either, but Dave said she wore a white dress & had a bouquet of roses, so I don't think that was a coincidence. One of the other guys said she sings better than the screaming she did on this. Tommy said he just wanted to know if she was wearing panties.

Zayra Alvarez – You Really Got Me (The Kinks)
Ok she just needs to go home NOW, seriously. Her vocal was better than last week (but it almost had to be), but her presence & style were very strange and didn't fit the song well. Gilby said, "I can't say you didn't give it your all, but I don't think you have a clue what we're looking for in a singer." (Ouch! but true...) He asked her if she even owned any of the albums that any of them are on... and, get this, her reply was "I've heard of them... but I was in diapers then." There are hardly words to describe how disrespectful I think that was! (and the studio audience made noises that suggest they agree.) I don't care if you were in space then, do your homework!!! I still just can't believe she would be here and do that, let alone admit it.

Chris Pierson – Take Me Out (Franz Ferdinand)
Well, there's a lot to say about this one. Speaking of doing homework... I know they had to choose from the songs on the board, so whoever got this would have big shoes to fill since it was, to some of us, "Marty's song," and one with which he made a big impression. He did a decent job, but his look and his voice don't mesh at all for me (both are ok, though the look moreso than the voice IMO). Dave said he felt like he was watching someone who'd won a charity event where the prize was getting to sing with a great rock band; heh. Chris interrupted, asking him for clarification, and Dave finished his thought & then summarized by saying he lacked authenticity. Another of the guys agreed, saying that Chris needs to "get down to who you are."

Dilana – Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash)
Brooke introduced this as a "stripped down" version; I'd call it an acoustic Middle Eastern version with a touch of spookiness! This was my favorite performance of the night, which surprised me because I didn't care for last week's performance at all. But it was one of the mellowest tonight and I like female singers with rough alto voices, so there you go. A couple notes were shaky but overall her vocal was good. All the guys loved it. Dave played w/her a bit & psyched her out, saying "you took a classic Johnny Cash song and did *that* to it?!" and pausing, before saying that he thought it was great!

Josh Logan – With Arms Wide Open (Creed)
In his intro Brooke mentioned last week's performance and the guys' critiques, saying "this week he chose a tune with a little more rock." Which I know got sneers from all the "real rockers" who dismiss Creed as a rock wannabe! Josh quickly said as he started that this was for his son (awww). It was good, but nothing outstanding. Dave said he's potentially "one of the greatest singers I've heard in a long time," but that this performance was just average. Jason warned him against some of his mannerisms, which he described as "ad-libbing Stevie Wonder stuff."

Phil Ritchie – If You Could Only See (Tonic)
Phil is someone else whose voice and style don't seem to mesh for me. He's fairly affected, which one could get used to with time, but for now I enjoyed his voice more, for the most part, with my eyes closed. (Though he did surprise me a few times in being much more attractive than last week; he has a great smile and nice eyes but keeps them closed a lot while singing.) The guys liked it; Dave complimented his voice but said he still needs a better stage presence. Tommy said he liked the way he sings and his "swagger," and that he's a good-looking guy. Jason said what Tommy likes, he dislikes, calling it the "almost spineless feeling" way he moves around. He said he had to close his eyes to listen to him and wants him to stand still and just sing in the future.

Storm Large – Surrender (Cheap Trick)
This was good vocally, but I don't care for her stage persona/antics. I can see her fitting w/the band though. (Without the ponytails she wore tonight; too Courtney Thorne-Smith!) Mr. PezKat thought she seemed like she was trying to force it to be heavy rock, and she's too 'bug-eyed,' but that it was mostly ok. Jason said "the energy is always infectious with you" and that she keeps the audience's attention. Dave said "you can clearly sing" and said she has "a huge voice," but thought it had Broadway elements. He said "I want you to have character, but I don't want you to be one."

Patrice Pike – Heart-Shaped Box (Nirvana)
Another song with big shoes to fill, as Jordis' version was an early standout last season. Other than missing the first line lyrically (which Dave pointed out but in his usual rocker fashion then said, "who cares?") she was decent. Good vocals, and she played electric guitar. Tommy said he'd prefer her to wear it lower. Gilby said he liked that "you stay yourself, do it your way."

Lukas Rossi – Don’t Panic (Coldplay)
Brooke said Lukas would show his "softer side" with this one. Definitely a different style of song than he did last week, more acoustic & mellow. I thought his rough voice seemed in contrast to the song style, but it was pretty good (and the small falsetto part was good). Dave said he has "a foot in today's rock & roll and a foot in the future." Jason warned him about constricting his throat when singing (Tommy interrupted & told Jason to "shut up," then laughed); that Lukas needs to take care of his "instrument," and Lukas seemed to understand.

Ryan Star – Jumpin’ Jack Flash (The Rolling Stones)
Mr. PezKat and I both pretty much hated this. Dave said that the song is "all about energy & attitude," and that he started out poorly but (after going into the audience & coming back) ended well. Tommy mentioned (and tried to demonstrate - seriously, his pants could not have been any lower and still be shown on tv!) Mick Jagger's "showboating" and said Ryan needs to "show me some boat!" (with some bleeping, I think)

Dana Andrews – Born to Be Wild (Steppenwolf)
Her vocals were again very strong - smooth and powerful, on pitch and with good control. The performance was decent though her outfit made it look like she was trying too hard. Gilby said he was still waiting for some "dirty, dirty rock" to come out (& she said she'd bring it next time). Tommy said 4 words came to mind: "born to be mild." She got defensive & said she had leopard print, headbanging, etc... but if you have to tell us what your style is, it didn't come across (just ask Jessica on SYTYCD). Jason complimented her powerful vocal and said she has killer potential and is "great clay to work with."

Toby Rand – Somebody Told Me (The Killers)
Again a hard act to follow (Ty's version seemed to be a hit last year), but he did pretty well. I think it was arranged & sung more 'hard rock' than the original, but even without the techno pop instrumentals the rough, rock vocal came across as incongruous to me. I liked how he did the bridge and the first verse really highlighted how strong his vocals are (confirming what I thought last week). Gilby said this was the "perfect example of picking the right tunes," and that he killed it (ha!). Tommy said it's obvious from the crowd response that the girls love him, and he replied that's "lucky," because he likes girls! Cute. Dave said, and I quote: "Vocally, you are dialed." I think that means he liked it. :-)

I think the 2 best singers of the group are Dana & Toby. My favorite performance of the night was Dilana but I doubt I'll like most of the other things she does. I think Toby and Phil have potential, but at this point there's no one I really care about yet; if the show ended tomorrow I wouldn't be disappointed that I'm missing anything that's to come.

The early bottom 3 were Jill, Chris, and Zayra. My personal bottom 3 are also my prediction for voters' bottom 3: Jill, Ryan, and Zayra, with Zayra going home. If the voters put her in the bottom, and I don't see how they can't, I'll be shocked if the band doesn't cut her based on tonight's comments.

Saturday, July 8

SYTYCD Top 14 - Results

The opening number is Footloose (choreographed by Mary) and it's a blast! All the guys are in jeans and black sleeveless tees, and they start out w/sunglasses on. For most of the number everyone danced in pairs and there were a lot of tricks. It was fun to see some different pairings than usual, such as Jaymz & Ashlee, Dmitri & Heidi, and Travis & Allison. It seemed like Jaymz, Benji, & Travis were featured the most but maybe that's just because they're my 3 favorites. Donyelle was hardly seen; I think they kept her at the back so that she didn't have to dance as 'hard' & could favor her injury; if that's true then I'm glad they're thinking of things like that. (Actually later Mary mentions that last year the contestants got days off but they really don't this year, and several injuries are occurring related to that: besides Donyelle's toe, she said someone has a back injury and someone else has a knee injury; she didn't say who.)

I think Cat looks beautiful tonight; her hairstyle and dress are very flattering. She has Nigel clarify some comments he made last week about the solos; he says it wasn't the fact that people improvised that bothered him, but that they didn't "put thought behind it." He said you need to think about your music, what "planes" of dance you're going to do (floor/air), etc... He said they have to "know exactly what they're going to do, *then* they can improvise." Um, Nigel? Self-contradiction much?! He also added that you "can't fall off the stage & think you can get away with it, either" (& got some boos in response). Then Dan was asked about partner (in-)equality, and he said that while Musa & Natalie are a "great couple," she definitely "picks him up" some; and that Jessica "let Jaymz down" this week. He said for the most part the pairs are working well together. So, according to the voters, which ones aren't?

Musa/Natalie - safe
Benji/Donyelle - safe

Travis/Martha - safe
-after reviewing all 3 couple's performances and telling Travis & Martha are told they're safe, Cat says to the others, "you 4 have all danced for survival before, know how it feels to be in the bottom..." and are again tonight.

Dmitri/Ashlee - safe (and they were shocked!)
Ivan/Allison - bottom 3

When Cat had the 3 bottom couples stand together Jaymz reached over & touched Ivan's arm in encouragement, it was really sweet. Mary was shocked to see Ivan & Allison there; no big surprise. Nigel said that besides technique American looks for "entertainment" and though the swing was fun it was slow and apparently not memorable enough for people to pick up the phone. Next the solos:

Jessica - the red shorts again, sigh. It was just ok.

Jaymz - Paso Doble, cape & all! Very nice, and everything synchronized perfectly w/the music (except the end which was a bit rushed), though you could tell he was nervous. Afterward Cat asked if Nigel's comments last week influenced his choice of solo, & he said no, not really; he just wanted to do something different and fun. Cat at least loved it!

Heidi - a fun jive to Ike & Tina! In a short, fringy white dress which was just perfect for the dance. You could tell she was having a blast, & when Cat asked if she wanted to say anything to the judges she just talked about how much she enjoyed being able to dance for them & the audience (more freely, without having to count steps to match a partner).

Ryan - very good. Cat asked him if having previously been in the bottom put more pressure on their relationship, and he said no, and that Heidi is great to work with. He had the usual comments to the judges about being thankful for the opportunity, etc.

Allison - also very good. The music was slow but her moves were fast or more complex than most (read, Jessica or Aleks) have done. Cat asked how she copes w/the ups & downs (praise/criticism) and she said to just remember that every person there is amazing.

Ivan - decent, better than I was expecting. ;-) The crowd loved it. There were audio problems so I didn't catch all the Q&A, but he'd been laughing through most of it & when asked what he had to say to the judges, he said with a boyish grin & shrug, "You guys are cool!... love ya'!" :-) They all laughed, & he also said something softly about offering to shine their shoes, which Cat found very funny.

After a performance by guest artist Ne-Yo of "Sexy Love" (which wasn't bad, plus he and his 4 dancers were shown doing some interesting moves) it's time for the eliminations. Nigel does commend all of them for their solos, saying the judges felt all 6 were fighting for their lives on the show. He also says they're unanimous, at least about the girls (later he says they "became" unanimous about the guys)...

Allison is told she's one of the best all-around dancers on the show, and she's the first sent back to safety. Jessica is commended for being the first to do point work but again told we haven't seen the personality she keeps talking about. Heidi is told she has plenty of, and occasionally too much, personality. But she's obviously having fun and has good technique, so she's safe, and Jessica will be sent packing.

Ivan is brought forward first of the guys. Nigel says it was tough because he's not a great dancer (yet), except in his specialty, and that if not for his great solo tonight he would've been sent home! But as it is he's the first safe. Nigel asks Jaymz to confirm what his specialties are - ballroom, jazz, and hip-hop? Jaymz says yes, he does everything. Nigel is surprised that he would choose to "experiment" instead of showing his best stuff (which confuses me, because isn't P.D. ballroom?). Nigel tells Ryan that last week a good "technician" in Ben was lost, and Ryan similarly has technique but needs to bring the performances up. Mary would have sent Ryan home but was outnumbered by the guys, so Ryan is safe and Jaymz is sent home. Nigel tells him he's a good "all-around" dancer and that "it won't matter" in a few weeks when everyone will be receiving votes for individual performances instead of couples, as everyone will be doing solos and I didn't catch it all *or* understand what in the world he was talking about, but Jaymz just had a wonderful attitude. He actually gave Ryan a congratulatory hug immediately upon hearing that Ryan was safe! I'm sure he expected to leave, but that was just a very generous, sweet thing to do. In case you can't tell, he has become one of my favorites in the last couple of weeks, so I'm sad to see him go. I do think he's a great dancer and an even greater all-around guy, with a great smile and presence. I wish him well and hope he gets the recognition he deserves in the future.

Thursday, July 6

RockStar Results

There was normal intro stuff, with some video clips from the mansion including song choice (which they pretty much admitted no one was taking terribly seriously yet). At the after-show party Lukas pretty much killed the mood when he asked Dana who she thought would be in the bottom 3; everyone was pretty surprised he asked, and to her credit she refused to answer. As did Matt when Lukas asked him; in fact Matt turned it back around and asked Lukas, who eventually said he thought Dilana "sucked" but didn't answer the question either! So Dave pushed him for an answer and he said Chris, Dana, & Jenny. They showed Chris saying he was "one of the best singers in the world" or he wouldn't be there in the first place.

In the recap clips not everyone was shown, which I thought was interesting. Storm was shown opening; highlights were Toby & Dilana; strugglers were Phil and Chris; and Lukas was said to end "with a bang." Q&A time: Dave asked Chris if he had any regrets about his song choice, and he said no, that he wanted a challenge. Dave then asked Phil if he would think differently about song selection in the future, and he said yes, he would take it more seriously. Throughout the evening several of the band members emphasized how important song choice is.

The first encore performance was given to Dilana.

Brooke then announced the early bottom 3 as Magni, Phil, and Chris. After the break we find out that Zayra, Ryan, and Matt were also in the bottom 3 at one time or another. So now she'll call out the final bottom 3 one at a time and they will perform a song of their choice.

1) Chris
Gilby asked what he planned to do to change people's minds or show he should stay? Chris said he would perform one of his favorite songs, The Doors' "L.A. Woman." I think he looks better w/tonight's curly hair, and his vocals were worlds better. He interacted with the audience a lot (rolled over on stage & sang on his back for a moment, then was face-to-face with some front row ladies). Overall a good performance and I think he deserves to stay.

2) Phil
Tommy asked about his song choice, and Phil said he hadn't done it before but wanted to start with something "heavy-hitting." Tonight he sang Switchfoot's "Stars," and Tommy Lee said he loves them (which surprised me, since they're a Christian band, but yay!). He then asked why Phil chose it and he said whenever he "wants inspiration" he goes to them. The performance was better than last night's but his vocal still wasn't great.

Before announcing the last of the bottom three, Brooke called first Ryan's name and then Zayra's, telling them they were safe. Then it was between Matt and Magni, and the third person is...

3) Matt
Jason said that he personally loved his performance and thought the song (Yellow) was a good fit for him. Mentioned Dave's request to see something 'harder' and Matt said that "this isn't going to sound good, but..." and said he's doing a Duran Duran song!?! He did do a more rock arrangement of it & it was decent (the performance was better than the vocal), but, just, no.

Recapping the three, Chris was told that he made a good song choice tonight and did a great job, but they still question his vocals. Phil was told he had good vocals but they question his performance. Lastly Matt was told they question his song choice (and rightly so, though I love me some Duran Duran).

Tommy Lee called Phil first and said he's safe. Then, after pausing for an "I hate this" (I'm not surprised this part is tough for him), he tells Matt that his song choice - "for this," as he pointed to the band members - wasn't right and he will be the first to leave.

Matt had a great attitude, very respectful and gracious. He told the 3 band members that they were, & still are, his heroes; he had posters of all of them on his walls! Tommy was like, "You're making me feel bad!" ;-) He said that though Tommy gets a bad rap in the press he's "a beautiful person," and that he didn't mind "losing to these guys" (the other contestants) as they're all very talented. I'm sure all bootees won't be this classy but at least we're starting off well!

And *yay,* the performance show is moving to Tuesdays! So my shows-to-recap won't be in conflict any more which makes me happy (but also takes away my excuse not to keep up!). 'Til next week-

RockStar Premiere is below!

Sorry, see this post. (I started both recaps as drafts last night, apparently in the wrong order!)

Wednesday, July 5

SYTYCD - Top 14 (7/5/06)

The good thing about having RockStar on the same night as SYTYCD is that it will keep me from obsessively rewatching the dancing all evening. ;-) The bad think is that I have 2 recaps to do! (I thought about not, but really, how can I not? Sigh...)

I got home 30 minutes into the show and they were doing Intro dances! So I'm not sure what the first half hour was, I'll watch it tomorrow or Friday (looked like audition footage & backstage stuff; I glanced back a bit on my tape during the 1st commercial & saw Brian dancing, so yay!).

Tonight's judges are Nigel, Mary, and Dan. A guest krump performance by Li'l C and group started things off & then it's on to our contestants!

1) Ryan and Heidi - Hip-Hop (Shane Sparks)
They joked in practice that they were assuming new identities for the week to feel more in character for the genre, even giving themselves new names (something like Hakeem and Shadan)! Shane loved their attitude, and Heidi, especially, had a blast with it. They both wore white (her outfit was rather skimpy) and did well, especially Ryan. The routine was great, very entertaining and fit the music like a glove. The crowd loved it; Nigel said he loved the "personalities" they showed (no surprise there); Mary loved it also; Dan said it was better than he expected but they were a bit too cheerlead-y (w/snappy movements).

2) Travis and Martha - Salsa (Ron Montez)
Ron said the dance is supposed to be spicy and flirty; they struggled quite a bit in practice as the style was so different & new for them. The performance wasn't perfect but it was very fun! They did several tricks & had some sexy moves; I think the routine was good. The crowd loved it; Nigel said Travis was too sharp in movement & not sultry enough (I agree); he also said Ron did a good job of highlighting each of their strengths (Travis' spinning and Martha's figure!). Mary criticized them quite a bit, including saying Travis did not seem "masculine" enough (- I agree; I don't know if it was the pink sparkly accents to his outfit or the type of dance, and I hate to stereotype, but he appeared very much the gay man he supposedly is and I hadn't seen that in his other dances; it detracted from the supposed sexy moves for me as they weren't believable toward Martha, but I still enjoyed watching him very much). Dan complimented them, saying he was entertained.

3) Dmitri and Ashlee - Contemporary (Brian Friedman) to Fall Out Boy's "Dance Dance"
They joked ahead of time about Dmitri's loss of partners & that he's seeing a counselor. ;-) Brian was, expectedly, very creative and also tough! The 'story' of the dance was that Ashlee is a doll in a toy shop, and Dmitri is a (runaway?) circus ringleader who brings her to life by waving his wand over her. Alrighty then! He said the dancing & routine would be different than we've seen on the show thus far; the costuming was definitely 'out there' (Ashlee wore a tutu and corset and Dmitri really had a wand) but I really enjoyed it (and afterward Ashlee acknowledged Brian in the audience saying he's "a genius!"). It was a very physical dance (Brian compared it to running track), and very new for both of them (neither ever had to point their toes before, for example). Nigel said that they know Dmitri is a magician, since he "made 2 partners disappear"! He also said it was entertaining and that was the point. Mary also complimented them, but Dan said they didn't portray the characters well enough even though the dancing was ok.

4) Musa and Natalie - Disco
(Doriana Sanchez) to Donna Summer's "Hot Stuff"
Doriana liked Musa's strength because he could do tricks & lifts; Musa & Doriana both complimented Natalie on her willingness to take risks and try the moves! They both looked very 'hot' (w/some help from her skin-colored costume with appropriately placed fringe); several transitions were rough but it was a good performance overall. Nigel said they had a good partnership as he noticed them helping each other with certain things; Mary gave a "Woo!" and said the difference from last week to this was like going from "crap to caviar"; and Dan said "If sex sells, then you guys just made about a million dollars." He said it came across well because it wasn't forced, it "just is." (Careful Dan, unless you want us to start calling you Paula!)

5) Benji and Donyelle - Viennese Waltz, to Bryan Adams' "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman"
I was really annoyed by Donyelle's difficulty with the name of the dance; she initially said "Vietnamese" and never really did get it. (I think if someone had explained it was from Vienna that might've helped, because she kept putting a 't' in it.) Other than that, their practice clip was greatly entertaining (as usual). One choreographer (I didn't catch their names but it wasn't someone familiar) said Benji was being too boyish and not masculine enough, and Donyelle said he was working on "channeling his inner Dmitri;" then he went to practice w/Dmitri for a bit! When they performed he had his hair slicked back, and Donyelle had a gorgeous dress (black & red); he also pulled off the proper posture/attitude for the most part. There were lots of screams from the girls in the audience after certain moves & of course at the end. The judges also loved it; Mary said they had an amazing "flow" & acknowledged the difficulty of this dance for both of them. Dan said the most important thing about dance is to entertain, and said that "whether they're dancing, talking to the camera, or just being stupid," they're the most entertaining couple he's ever seen! Almost in direct response, they hammed it up during Cat's voting number spiel, Benji suggestively raising his eyebrow and pulling his shirt open to show his chest, and Donyelle feeling his arm & pec muscles! So cute. *

6) Ivan and Allison - West Coast Swing (Ron & Carla Montez) to Pat Benatar
Ron described this dance style as classic "American", from the era of WWII, the GI's and the jitterbug, and as something everyone loves to watch. Allison complained a bit that they'd done a lot of ballroom, but also said it seemed a happy-go-lucky dance and they're both young & energetic so it should be a good fit; however, Ron had to correct them several times not to be "too happy"! Her outfit was strange with rows of fringe on the pants, but the performance was good. I've been watching a lot of WCS video clips lately (from Benji & Heidi's past) and it didn't compare to those, so I'm not as objective as I might otherwise be. Nigel said Allison was great, and Ivan showed more confidence (and mentioned the call from his dad *again*! sheesh!); Mary said Allison was "perfection" (?!) and said if she picked the winner right now it would be her (obvious pimping, much?). However, she did say that she wasn't "sexy" at all. Dan complimented Ron's choreography, saying they looked more like they were dancing freestyle than performing a routine.

7) Jaymz and Jessica - Hip-Hop (Shane) Before they chose, Jaymz said he'd like to do hip-hop, and he mentioned he's had a little training in it. They struggled in practice, especially Jessica in learning to pop, and both in timing their 'scarf toss'. The performance was great though! I loved how in character they were, there were a lot of fun moves, & Jaymz especially was very sharp. Nigel said it was tough to critique, that they danced well but didn't have the "feeling" necessary, calling it "hip-hop by numbers" (like paint-by-numbers). Mary loved it and emphasized how different this was from Jess's ballet background. Dan didn't think they pulled it off, saying that it was clean and they were "perfectly together" (I didn't think so) but the technique wasn't there. Jaymz got rather defensive talking about how different the style was for them and how short of a time they had in which to learn it (only 3 hours?); Nigel reminded them that's what the whole competition is about & everyone else has similar situations. I think that may push Jaymz's chances over the edge on which he's been tottering, unfortunately (he brings the pretty and I really like his dancing).

Whew! Overall probably the most entertaining & enjoyable show yet, IMO. Aaaaand I just realized I forgot to vote. Oh well (I would've voted for Jaymz/Jessica and maybe Dmitri/Ashlee; I don't think Benji/Donyelle need votes at this point). Time to sleep!!

* I can't believe I forgot about Donyelle's toe! During the judges' comments Nigel mentioned she "might be" dancing with a broken toe, & Cat asked her about it- she said last week she jammed it into the floor & that it keeps getting worse! I hope she sees the doctor soon (though she probably already has) & that it doesn't get any worse!! She said she couldn't/didn't feel it while dancing, but depending on what type of dance they pull, it could be problematic.

I also forgot my predictions! So, for the 4th edit or so... I'll say Dmitri/Ashlee, Jaymz/Jessica, and the third one's really a toss-up; I'll pick Musa/Natalie. With Jaymz & Jessica both going home.

RockStar: Supernova Premiere!

Whee! First episode. This year we have 15 finalists, and I actually know (or at least recognize) all 15 songs!

Show format, for any who don't know: we're looking for a lead singer for a new band called Supernova, to include instrumentalists Tommy Lee (from Motley Crue and Tommy Lee Goes to College), Gilby Clarke (from Guns 'n Roses), and Jason Newsted (from Metallica). They will record a single to "drop" at the end of September, make an album (produced by Butch Walker, who is also on hand to comment on the singers), and do a big New Year's Eve concert in Vegas. Voting will take place online or by text messaging. House band same as last year (yay!) On to the contestants!

1) Storm Large – Pinball Wizard
Yes, that's her real name! She describes herself (in her intro video clip) as a "performer," after mentioning that some people say she exploits her sexuality. She is very pretty and has a good voice, but her range seems very limited (she changed the melody to eliminate the lowest notes). Tommy asked why she chose the song? "I'm unafraid."

2) Ryan Star – Iris
Ryan points out that he's not your typical "tattoed and pierced" rock star, and even says he has the "rock" part down but isn't a star yet. He played acoustic guitar while singing (the band played too). I like his voice, it's rough but not too screamy. Dave said he could see Ryan's passion; Jason liked his versatility and performance but mentioned he kept looking at his guitar to play the right chords.

3) Toby Rand – Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
Toby is an Aussie who's a high school dropout and surfer. They did this acoustic and I really love his voice! I don't love his performing expression though, like he thinks way too much of himself. He was seated for part of it & held one note for a really long time, which (to me) shows good 'pipes' & vocal technique. Tommy enjoyed it, saying "I don't know how I'm going but I know where I'm going!" and Toby replied "hopefully I'm comin' with ya'." In general the band loved him, and looking back he's definitely in my top 3.

4) Patrice Pike – Somebody to Love (the Jefferson Airplane version, not the Queen song)
She mentioned in her intro that she has toured Europe. She was the first to interact w/the band while performing, & of course got praise for that. Her voice sounds a lot like the original; she has a good voice and good lung capacity as well. Overall it was very good, and comments were in agreement: Dave said she "killed" it and Gilby loved the tone of her voice & said he could tell she really wants this.

5) Magni – Satisfaction
Magni is from Iceland (!). His voice was just ok for me & too screamy for much of it, but he was good at interacting w/both the audience (encouraging them to sing) and the band and used a lot of the stage. Dave called his stage vibe too "Vegas" (& Magni defensively said he's never been to Vegas!). Tommy said he wished he could say something in "Icelandic" to him! He asked how to say "Hello" and Magni said with a slight accent, "Hello." ;-) Tommy just kind-of shrugged & sat back disappointedly (he cracks me up!). Again referring to his stage presence, Gilby said that they're a "dirty" rock band, so they want him to be himself but also keep that in mind.

6) Zayra Alvarez – Bring Me to Life
She is from a small town in Puerto Rico, and her name is pronounced in 3 syllables (zi-ear'-uh). This is a very ambitious song choice, but as she started out we found she has the perfect tone of voice for it. Unfortunately, she's not a good singer: not enough strength/power, missed notes, and was out of breath before the end. Apparently the band didn't care: Dave bonded w/her over being Puerto Rican, Gilby loved her 'style,' Tommy said "spicy," and Jason got down on one knee and asked her to marry him!

7) Jenny Galt – How You Remind Me
Jenny is 29 (they only mentioned ages for a few) and Canadian, with long blond hair. Apparently she has toured (Canada) and done videos but has yet to hit it big. She has a unique voice, and played electric guitar (very comfortably) while singing. I think she missed some of the high notes though (flat). Dave said she was hot & sexy, and a great example of someone who's comfortable playing an instrument on stage.

8) Josh Logan – She Talks to Angels
Josh is from New Hampshire and is a "soul" singer. He describes himself as multi-dimensional and says the term "rock star" needs to be re-invented. His voice is somewhat nasal and his look is a bit too boyish & pretty, but the performance was good despite over-embellishing. Dave said he's "like Chris (from The Black Crowes) went to finishing school" (hee!). Tommy asked why he picked that song and Josh said because he could "feel it;" T. said it was a good choice for his style. Jason asked why he thinks he can front their band, and he said he will bring his style/funk to them.

9) Matt Hoffer – Yellow
Matt is from Chicago and worked in real estate (aww, just like mmmMarty!). He mentioned how much money he thought he'd be making if he were still doing that, but said "life is about taking risks." Interestingly, his was one of the only clips that showed him singing (& playing acoustic guitar). His voice is different, rather soft, and his falsetto was not good. Dave mentioned the pitch problems but waved them off (nobody cares because "it's rock & roll"), saying he still "delivered." He wants to see something "uglier, heavier" next time.

10) Dilana – Lithium
Dilana grew up in a poor family in Africa and now lives in Texas. She has a very 'interesting' look, very extreme (mostly in makeup). For most of the song she stood very still at the mic, just singing intensely in her very growly, even somewhat snarly, voice. Then she ran around the stage frantically. Tommy loved watching her & was shown giving her a standing ovation; Dave said she was "awesome" and found her intensity "riveting."

11) Dana Andrews – I’m the Only One
Dana is the 'baby' of the group at 22; she's from Georgia and it's mentioned that she sang at weddings. She says she grew up very sheltered & took her first plane ride for the show. She has a low voice with a nice tone and surprising power! She started softly but really wowed a lot of us at the chorus (Jason was shown mouthing "wow"). From what we can tell I think she has the best voice of anyone. The crowd like it; Gilby said her voice was "awesome" and she had great pitch (and compared her to Bjork & someone else I didn't catch). Jason agreed and said she has a "gift."

12) Phil Ritchie – Cult of Personality
Phil is a former marching band member (yay) and college chemistry major from Maryland, but says he's passionate about music. His vocals weren't great nor did I enjoy his 'antics' on stage, though he was animated and used a lot of the stage. Dave said his stage presence lacked strength & confidence and implied the vocal was good, but Gilby called him "pitchy." Tommy said it was a "crazy" song choice for him, but he liked his style and said it was "well done."

13) Jill Giola – Piece of My Heart
Jill is a 4-11" well-endowed blonde from Long Island who's wanted to sing on stage since she was 3. (I think they pronounced her last name "Joy-a") I'm not exactly sure why but she really annoyed me with this performance (and I normally love the song), but then I didn't like last season's well-endowed bouncy blonde female's version either. ;-) I tried to stay objective though and am interested in seeing her do something else. Dave loved her and Jason said she's like a stick of dynamite - "a small package with lots of power." Oh and I laughed at Tommy Lee leaning backwards out of his chair to sing along into the camera!

14) Chris Pierson – Roxanne
Huh? That really says it all, but here's the rest... Chris is from Atlanta & was a baseball player until he injured his arm, and then music was his "outlet." This was a weird song choice and he rearranged it to be more rock, but it didn't come across well; they kept showing the band members who looked... somewhat bewildered! He had a good stage presence but *not* a good voice. Dave didn't like it and said the song showed what a limited range he has; Gilby & Butch both criticized the arrangement, acknowledging the intent but that sometimes you can't mess with classic songs and they didn't like it.

15) Lukas Rossi – Rebel Yell
Lukas is another Canadian (from Toronto) who says he lived on the street since (or at, at least) age 15. He said he's not here for the tv exposure or "to be a pop star," but to be in "a serious band." He has a very 'interesting' look and style, somewhat punk (which caused Mr. Pezkat not to like him). I thought he was very good, as did the crowd & Dave. Gilby channeled Randy and said he "made it [his] own," and Tommy just said, "Can you say 'Rock star'?!"

~ It's hard to tell just from one performance, but my early favorites are Dana (11) and Toby (3), though Josh (8), Patrice (4) and Lukas (15) have potential. Easily the weakest are Zayra (6) and Chris (14). Whew!


That word always reminds me of that ketchup commercial from (yipes) many, many years ago! I hope everyone had a great 4th, ours was nice & relaxing. Today I'm filled with anticipation for both SYTYCD and the RockStar: Supernova premiere! It's bad enough that they're on opposite each other, but I won't even be home for the first hour. Thank goodness we have 2 VCR's! ;-)

There are spoilers for tonight's SYTYCD at vixen's blog. They're from someone who attended the taping on Monday so it's the full list of what everyone's dancing, if you like to know such things ahead of time. A couple of them sound *really* fun!!

As for RockStar, there are photos & bios of the finalists here and here. I'm not as excited about the end product this year but will certainly enjoy the performances each week, not to mention watching Dave Navarro & Tommy Lee spar for camera time. And if anyone (else) enjoys guess-who's-going-home-next contests, RockStar Go Home is all set up for the new season.

Saturday, July 1

Randomness (cats and tennis)

Ok, firstly I must share this photo of my friend Kim's cat, because it's priceless. That's just such a cat thing to do. Plus his name is Oliver, just like one of my cats! Of whom I should definitely post photos, but not today.

Secondly, I got to see Andre Agassi's last Wimbledon match today. I am close to his age and have been a fan since he came on the pro scene, so I definitely partook in the emotions of the crowd, who gave him a long standing ovation and didn't want to let him go. I just thought it was very nice for them to honor him so; even Nadal was very gracious and stood clapping for Andre though he'd just beaten him. But I'm sure Nadal literally grew up watching Andre and knows his history there.


So long Andre, and thanks for all the fish.

Top 16 - Results

Whew! I'm finally caught up at TWoP,thanks to having the day off work and being a bum. So having read a lot of other people's opinions, I shall combine them with my recap to hopefully make it a bit more well-rounded.

Shane choreographed this week's group number, and besides the black & red sweatsuits, it was really good (to "Poison" by Bel Biv Devoe). Ivan got the first solo and Travis got the last (though it was just acting, not dancing), but a highlight was the Benji/Travis flip.

Cat has a flattering dress (for once) and hairdo tonight. In the recap one comment toward the end was "Ivan and Allison stole the show" (they did?! which show?). Then there was even more Ivan pimping when he was mentioned as Mary's "standout" performance (when Cat asked judges for different things), and then Nigel brought up a supportive phone call Ivan received from his (formerly not-so-supportive?) father! Enough, already! It'd be one thing if he were an awesome dancer, but he's not....

Results in pairs, by choreographer:

Ivan/Allison - safe
Ryan/Heidi - safe

Ben/Ashlee - in bottom 3
Travis/Martha - safe (they were very relieved!)

Jaymz/Jessica - in bottom 3 (when asked later, Mary said she was surprised & would've chosen Musa instead)
Benji/Donyelle - safe

Musa/Natalie - safe
Dmitri/Aleskandra - in bottom 3


Ashlee - good, but not fabulous. She said she was glad America finally got to see how "real popping" is done. (According to rumor, she was not impressed w/Todd as their choreographer and even 'corrected' him on something in their rehearsal.)

Ben (Lifehouse's "Everything") - very good, energetic or frenzied depending on how you look at it. The music was really loud and he didn't have a set ending which looked messy to me, but otherwise it was good.

Jessica ("Fever" by Michael Buble) - just ok for me. She talked about how she thinks people haven't seen her real personality yet, but that she's from Miami, Cuban/Italian, loud, fun, outgoing, etc.

Jaymz - it was good, but mostly just spinning. He ended off the stage; most are saying he fell and I actually haven't rewatched it yet but I wouldn't be surprised. He was very emotional afterward & Cat asked him if he wanted to say anything, and he thanked the judges for the experience, etc. - probably assuming he'd be going home after that mistake.

Aleks - good, and she was smiling this time. Cat asked her why the judges should keep her, and she rambled a bit about how she's trying to "be honest" in every performance & apologized it wasn't coming across that way... sigh. I *really* don't like when contestants apologize for their performance.

Dmitri - um, that was very good, and very reminiscent of Artem (a contestant last year). And very almost-shirtless. And very almost-Chippendales.

The guest singers' performances have less and less dance as the weeks go by. Natasha Bedingfield (a chum of Cat, apparently) sang her new single, called "Single." She had 2 back-ground vocalists who stood at mics, and there was basically no dancing whatsoever. Sigh.

Time for the results; girls up first. Nigel says the judges were in unanimous agreement about them.

Ashlee is called forward and told she seems a "different person" with her bowler hat on (which, in fact, she is, as she goes by the stage name "Lady Shiva" off the show!). They see her improving in her journey on the show and she is safe.

Jessica is labeled as being in a "middle area" and that she doesn't need to talk about her personality, just show it.

Aleks got a Mandisa-Simon moment out of Nigel without even asking: he actually apologized to her for the "Corpse Bride" comment and admitted it was rude of him! He said they were all "delighted" to see that she had a good solo this week and wanted her to know that she wasn't being cut for not having a good solo (though he implied someone else would be later). But, she's still being cut, for her overall performance. So Jessica is safe.

Of the guys, unsurprisingly, Dmitri is brought forward first, given sympathy for repeatedly "losing" partners, told unnecessarily that, as all could tell by the screams, "girls adore you," and complimented as being a "great performer." He is safe.

Ashlee was then brought forward again and asked a question about Ben! Nigel asked her something on the order of was she disappointed w/him as a partner, and she answered very well & said that she thought he did a great job. Next, Ben was asked how much work he put into his solo, to which he answered, "Zero...." Nigel cut him off before he could say more and asked Jaymz the same question. Jaymz said he prepared a little but thought he did a horrible job. Nigel then went on a rampage and gave a lecture to them both, the rest of the dancers, and the audience (who gave a short "aww" in sympathy to Jaymz), about how little respect it showed on their part by not putting any "effort"/preparation into the "dancing for your life" solo. It was a little much, especially given how absolutely nothing negative was said to Allison 2 weeks ago when she admitted to doing exactly the same thing!

So, finally, Nigel calls Ben a "wonderful" dancer and implies that he voted to keep him, but that the other judges felt Jaymz had shown more growth, so Ben was being eliminated. I think he expected it (as did Aleks) but was still obviously disappointed. As was Ashlee, who started to cry! Unfortunately she didn't get to go over to Ben right away & had to stand on the other side of the stage with new partner Dmitri, who gave her a sympathetic hug. They should prove an interesting couple, depending on what style they pull.

I will miss Ben, but he had a bad week and isn't incredibly versatile (or mature). I thought Jaymz was one of the top performers last night but obviously many viewers don't find him very interesting. If he lands in the bottom 6 again I'm afraid it'll be his turn to go.

Wednesday, June 28

SYTYCD- Top 16 (6/28/06)

The intros are fun tonight, several 80's style outfits and most of the girls have their hair up. Looks like it's going to be an interesting night!

Judges are Nigel, Mary, and Cicely & Olisa (ok as choreographers last week; somewhat annoying as judges this week). We get a few bad audition clips and some behind-the-scenes footage from this past week; nothing too interesting. Then a guest performance by 6 people called "Hip, Swing, and a Jump" who had a couple of neat tricks but really don't do anything our contestants haven't already shown us, & then some. So on to them!

Ben/Ashlee - Hip-Hop (she's thrilled, though has a cold & no voice), choreographed by Todd Sams to Usher's "Caught Up." Ashlee was great, but Ben wasn't snappy enough. The choreography seemed slow to me too and their routine just looked like obvious choreography, not 2 people (just) dancing. Nigel reamed Ben, saying it was "not so much street as Rodeo Drive", though Mary called his effort "respectable."

Ryan/Heidi - Cuban Rumba (Alex DiSilva). Heidi thought this would be the same as American Rumba, but it's very different: a mix of African & Latin dance. This routine has a story of flirtation & resistance. Ryan said he's having to learn a lot of acrobatics and also mentions that their connection/chemistry will be very important. The dance is very entertaining, very African percussion-filled. I thought Ryan was better with the movements and expression than Heidi (she was too smiley), and they weren't together at times, but overall it was good. The crowd & judges loved it.

Dmitri/Aleksandra - Waltz (choreographer Heather Smith) to a Kenny Rogers song. The dance is explained as being about the connection between the two dancers, even when they're not touching, but even as a new team they seem to develop this fairly well (and seem to enjoy working together). However, she doesn't get the technique and I think her arms are too straight; Mary mentions this as well. Nigel calls Dmitri "special" and "passionate," while he asks Aleks if she's seen "A Corpse Bride" and likens her to the title character (ouch!). Cicely & Olisa compliment her though, saying she "stepped up" (from last week) & was good.

Ivan/Allison - Argentine Tango (Alex), described as passionate and nicknamed "the war of the feet." Allison was great, doing most of the work, but making the couple look good as well, as did their smokin' costumes (hers was red, sultry & skimpy; he was in a suave suit & hat). Nigel called the choreography "incredible" and said Ivan was showing much improvement; Mary was very impressed and Ivan was ecstatic to receive a "Mary scream" (jumping around showing his age & immaturity, in contrast to his performance).

Benji/Donyelle - Pop/Jazz by B-Free! (finally!) Brian apparently always choreographs to a story, or at least he does tonight. This number is about a diva supermodel "taking control" of a cool, suave DJ. Benji annoyed Brian a bit w/his goofiness, but also admitted he needed to "tone down the geek & bring out the sheik" (hee). He was also talking about his background in fun, happy dance styles and said that portraying sexual attraction is out of his comfort zone, but said that Donyelle makes it easy for him... and, blushing a bit, was for once speechless! The routine was a lot of fun. The crowd of course loved it (they screamed at the introduction!), and Cat "dared" Nigel to say somthing bad... which he did, kind-of. He mentioned how Brian had encouraged Benji to portray a "strong masculine" character & then puts him in eye make-up! (He had eyeliner & a mohawk.)

Musa/Natalie - Quickstep. Musa of course struggled; choreographer Heather had him wear a "ballroom training bar" for a while to keep his arms up so he could learn the posture but concentrate on footwork. It was an entertaining routine - they were together & decent, but obviously new to the style. Nigel called them "great performers" and mentioned the hard work (& time) Musa put into practicing. Mary agreed though said they couldn't see Natalie's full potential because of Musa's limitations.

Jaymz/Jessie - Contemporary, again by Brian. This one's a love story, with the woman trying to break down the man's walls, and the focus on the repeated lyric mentioning joy in the breakdown. Brian was very tough, said he was disappointed to have this couple & criticized them both (Jaymz for having a lot of "competition kid" bad habits), but said he wanted them to perform well enough to show everyone they're in contention! He said he thought they could but would have to work for it. J&J admitted it was a lot harder than they'd expected. The routine was awesome, and Jaymz was fantastic! They started up on the platform and used the stairs, then the whole lower stage... (Nigel complimented Brian on that part of the choreography). Cicely & Olisa also complimented B, for both numbers, and he was shown (yay!) smiling contentedly in the audience.

Travis/Martha closed the night with Hip-Hop from Todd Sams to a Chris Brown song. Travis told Todd they'd been "kicking each other" away in previous weeks & asked if they could have a romantic relationship this time! Which they did. I thought the routine was great, and while Travis was much snappier than Martha, their close moves were very nice and convincing (i.e. hot!). Nigel and others criticized Travis for not being as smooth as Martha, and Nigel said they really need to work next week as several other couples have "passed them up." Travis humbly agreed that the competition had heated up and they/he needed to improve, but he was also defensive (after the 2nd negative comment) and said he thought "America" was "forgetting" that he's a contemporary dancer & hip-hop is new for him. I do think the krumping may have hurt him because he concentrated so hard on that sharpness, and this week's choreographer may not have emphasized the difference & smoothness of what they were supposed to do this week (whereas Martha knew because it's her specialty; perhaps she should've helped him more, but on the other hand maybe she saw a chance to finally outshine him & took it!).

I agree with Nigel that "America" has a tough choice tonight. I threw in 5 votes each for Benji/Donyelle, Jaymz/Jessica, and Travis/Martha.

I predict the bottom 3 will be Dmitri/Aleks, Ben/Ashlee, and Travis/Martha, with Ben (unfortunately) and Aleks leaving. Musa/Natalie could replace Travis/Martha (or Ben/Ashlee, as they seem to have a strong voting fanbase) though; I think it'll be close between those three.

Friday, June 23

Top 18 - Results (6/22)

This week's opening group number was choreographed by Dan and seems shorter and not quite as interesting as last week's. But still fun. Then we get the normal recap of last night's performances, plus a little behind-the-scenes footage: one scene of everyone complaining about having to be up so early, & one of Dmitri & Joy in a practice room right before performing. There has been much discussion of this online, and I'll recap what I saw...

They were practicing, she was messing up, he was frustrated with her and snapped at her. He made some comment about "someone" not wanting to practice more earlier. Then they noticed the camera in the room and he gruffly asked them not to film them right then. Now, several people thought he was being all mean & unsupportive of his partner. But if it's true he wanted to practice more & she didn't, then he certainly had a right to be frustrated w/her for not knowing the routine. As he was after the performance (I believe he said something like they had some problems with practicing, but worked it out? I may go rewatch to be sure... but Nigel said it was a smart, politically correct way to answer) I think he was being tactful and protective, not wanting to publicly criticize or blame his partner.

Then the results - with something I hadn't noticed before, short performance clips on the big overhead screen while each couple's judges' comments are reviewed. Anyway they're brought up 3 at a time this week:

Jaymz/Jessica - safe
Ben/Ashley - safe
Dmitri/Joy - bottom 3

Musa/Natalie - all 3 safe!

Jason/Aleks - bottom 3
Ryan/Heidi - bottom 3
Ivan/Allison - safe

So, now we get solos. Oh, couple quick comments on people who aren't doing solos. Or at least on their hair. I despise Natalie's 'do tonight. And is it just me, or is Benji's hair darker??

Well, all the solos are fairly good. I'd label them but I don't know dance styles well enough to distinguish correctly, so I'd better not. Dmitri wore a cape over his regular pants that made him looked like he was wearing gauchos. And Aleks wore a long-sleeved dark shirt w/very short shorts you couldn't really see... you know, like she was walking around in her boyfriend's shirt. Different. She was incredibly nervous and almost looked like she gave up part-way through. Heidi's was pretty good for someone who's a pairs dancer. Ryan (who is surprisingly short!) was very creative in his, and Jason had some impressively fast hip-hop moves and a great routine. Also a fun attitude that spawned some goofy comments when Cat talked to him afterward.

This week's guest artist Rihanna performed "S.O.S." and her dancers were decent, but really not shown that much. What's the point of the show again?

The girls get their results first. Heidi is brought forward first, complimented, and told that she's safe. Joy is told that she is a "jack of all trades, and master of none." Aleks is told her solo was "pitiful" but she has time to work on it as she's safe... so Joy is sent home. She's not surprised.

Of the guys, Dmitri is brought forward, told his dancing was "superb" both nights and that he answered well regarding his partner's weakness last night - and he is safe! Nigel tells Ryan that while the judges wouldn't have put him in the bottom 3, the audience did, and he thinks it's because there's a 'wall' of sorts between Ryan and the audience. But he'll get time to work on that, as Jason is told that he didn't show "personality" tonight (sigh, the same thing Stas got, and I think they both have great personalities and did show them!!) and is going home.

So, wow, all my predictions were correct! I would've changed them after the solos as I loved Jason's & Dmitri's wasn't that interesting, but they're really emphasizing the "personalities" this year so the more charismatic people get the advantage. Which I'd already been considering regarding Travis & Benji, but hadn't really applied to anyone else yet. Oh and Dmitri and Aleksandra are now paired together since their partners have been eliminated. Until next week....

Wednesday, June 21

SYTYCD - Top 18 (6/21/06)

Everyone gets short little intro dances again; Travis spins again (beautifully, but I hope he doesn't get in a rut), and Jessica & Joy are here again, why? They just both seemed to do simple, boring stuff. They & Ivan are definitely my least favorite at this point, but we'll see....

For tonight's fluff, the judges (Shane, Mia, & Nigel - no Brian, again! boo!) are asked about standout auditioners from certain cities. But then Cat has a short interview w/Hawk & we see a video montage (um, some of those clips weren't him!). Then we get a performance by the other 4 Sickstep Crew members!! That was quite fun. All 3 judges loved them, not that they're being judged. On to the competition!

Couple #1: Travis & Martha doing Krump! Oh my. Travis was *very* excited to hear their assignment. The choreographer is one of the "co-creators" of the style and describes it as very energetic & aggressive. Travis mentions the high expectations they have after last week's ("too many") nice comments. However, he lived up to it: he was just awesome at the beginning! Lost a bit of energy & sharpness toward the end but was still good, & Martha did well. Shane was amazed at Travis, asked the audience to give him another round of applause & said he could be a krunk dancer today if he wanted! Mia, who prefaced her comments with "I really feel dorky critiquing this in flowers" (referring to her flouncy shirt), loved them, and Nigel mostly agreed (though he noted they didn't come close to approaching the speed of Lil C's routine, and, he, um, "demonstrated" a bit!).

#2: Jaymz (were they showing it as "Jamyz" tonight?) & Jessica - Foxtrot. With Mary and Artem, and speaking of Mary and Artem, WHA?!??!! Are they a couple??!?! Maybe she's not as old as she acts & he's older than he looks, but wow, I did *not* see that coming! Um, ok, back to the dancing... they were good, smooth. Shane said "perfect"; Mia said "mature," "slick," and in honor of Nigel, "bloody beautiful;" Nigel said it was good but wasn't sure it was good enough to prevent a repeat showing in the bottom 3.

#3: Ivan & Allison - Hip-Hop. They built Allison up a lot from the practice & said we'd be surprised at how good she was, but she really wasn't. The crowd seemed to like it, as did Shane & Nigel, but Mia didn't; she said yes, they "did the steps," but that it was still lacking, and I agree.

#4: Dmitry & Joy - Samba (with Mark Weiss; I don't remember seeing him before, but I like him), which was described as a dance that "travels a lot" and requires "heavy" but "quick" footwork. Dmitry was great and Joy struggled, both as expected. The judges pretty much agreed (Mia called Joy "dreadful").

#5: Musa & Natalie - Contemporary. It was very good, though I didn't personally care for the routine very much; it didn't 'do' anything for me. The judges liked them. And said that the chemistry and balance they showed (of skill & style) is exactly what they were going for as they paired up contestants.

#6: Ryan & Heidi - Pop. They danced to Kelly Clarkson's "Walk Away," which I really like, and to me the 80's outfits and somewhat simple choreography were disappointing. They did do a good job though. Shane absolutely loved it and said for him they'd just become "the group to beat." (To which Mia replied, "really?!" hee!) Mia & Nigel thought they were just ok.

#7: Ben & Ashley - American Jive, a very fast, high-energy dance. In practice they showed a slight collision as Ben attempted the leapfrog-style jump over Ashley's head (while she was standing straight up), and he said "I now know why we're dancing to 'Great Balls of Fire'; that hurt!" - bwah!). I loved their performance! No, it wasn't perfect, but it was very entertaining and I still think he's a very good dancer (had great footwork on the fast kicks). Shane didn't like it; Mia enjoyed & was especially impressed w/Ashley, given her background (popper w/very little formal training); Nigel enjoyed their energy & said they improved "beyond belief" since last week. I tossed them a few votes just in case.

#8: Jason & Aleksandra - Hip-hop ("old school"). He was awesome; she was good. Shane & Nigel both loved him, but didn't like her; Mia liked both. Nigel said if that was supposed to be about "flavor," she was tofu.

Once again they saved the best for last! #9: Benji & Donyelle - Cha Cha. Of course something Benji should be great at, and he certainly was, but so was Donyelle. The crowd loved them & just went nuts, and Shane gave them an S.O.! He said they were definitely the best of the night. Mia said they'd be in the yearbook as "most unlikely couple," but they were fabulous; Nigel referred to last week when he declared Travis & Martha the "couple to beat" and said to Benji & Donyelle, "You've just beaten them." He also addressed Donyelle's weight issue, saying that he knows she's struggled with it (and been rejected because of it) but that she looks "comfortable" with it and is one of the sexiest gals on the stage, and that because of that she is an inspiration to many girls (who aren't comfortable w/their weight). Well put.

IMO the race is definitely on between Travis (the best dancer) and Benji (the best entertainer) for the title. Overall I'm very impressed with the skill level and am enjoying the season very much.

My predictions for bottom 3: Dmitry & Joy, Jason & Alex, and Ryan & Heidi, with Joy and Jason leaving. But I think it's a hard call.

For anyone interested, I ran across a nice interview with Benji about his mission trip. It also mentions/explains the "donut drop" move that he & Heidi did during the group dance-out at the end of tonight's show (very cool!).

Friday, June 16

Top 20 Results (6/15)

I have 3 wishes after watching this episode:

#1. I wish I had taped the group number that opened the show! That rocked. Except that Ivan was featured a lot and Benji was hardly visible, and they didn't even show Brian's face after Cat complimented his choreography. Which rocked, I say!!

#2. I wish Ivan were eliminated instead of Stanislav. Self-explanatory.

#3. I wish they'd shown Mary's reaction when Stas was eliminated instead of Ivan.

On to the quasi-recap! As I said, opening number was really, really good, and longer than I was expecting (which was a good thing).

After a short review of last night's performances we have the couples take center stage two at a time (by genre of performance, interestingly), and we're looking for the 3 with the lowest votes.

Hip-hop pairs Benji/Donyelle and Dmitry/Joy are both safe.

Ballroom pair Ryan/Heidi is safe, but Stanislav/Erin are in the bottom 3. Really? She wasn't anything to write home about but he was fantastic, and last year Artem was incredibly popular, and isn't Stas the Artem of this year? Mary is confused too, she says they were in her top 3!

Contemporary couples Travis/Martha and Jason/Aleksandra are both safe. Travis was sooo worried & then sooo relieved! Not that he should be worried, but I guess it's nice he's not taking anything for granted.

Mamba/salsa pair Musa/Natalie is safe, but Ivan/Allison are in the bottom, as I predicted.

Lastly the disco pairs: Ben/Ashley are, surprisingly (to them too), safe! I was looking forward to seeing Ben's solo but glad he has no chance of being eliminated tonight. Which leaves Jaymz/Jessica as the last of the bottom 3.

Solos: Erin is ok; Stanislav is amazing (the crowd agrees, they love him!); Allison is pretty good, does some creative stuff (and later says it was all improv.); Ivan is really good at hip-hop, I'll admit, though he was a little flippant at the end for someone who's 'dancing for his life'; Jessica was pretty good, very powerful; Jaymz was good but he has yet to wow me, and for some reason I keep expecting him to. Maybe next week.

Nelly Furtado and Timberland (?) perform a song called "Promiscuous." I flip around to see what's on the other stations.

And it's time for eliminations. Girls are up first - Allison is asked to step forward, complimented, and told she's safe. Of the two left I think Erin should go... and she does. She gets a little goodbye montage.

Now the guys - I expect Stas to be called forward and sent to safety, but instead it is Jaymz. Nigel says they think he's one of the "most versatile" dancers they have (-which is a good thing *if* he's good at everything & not just passable, which I've yet to see). He's safe. So, ok, no-brainer & Ivan is gone, right? Not quite... each of them are called forward for a moment and pretty much reamed by Nigel - both are too one-dimensional and *if* they remain must work really hard to improve (in Ivan's case, so that he doesn't bring his partner down, again). Unfortunately, though it was fabulous, Stanislav's all-ballroom solo combined with yesterday's Paso Doble comfort-zone performance work to his disadvantage and because of his lack of versatility Stas is sent packing, while Ivan is safe. I just have to wonder what Nigel was thinking here?! I mean, Ivan is cute & all, but do we really need another Kevin Covais? I don't know, maybe he thought there's an overload of ballroom guys and Stas was the least versatile of the 3. I'm surprised, Stas is surprised, and I'll bet Mary was very disappointed (and outvoted). Ah, well, this is a Fox "reality" show after all, and disappointing surprises make for good ratings.

Ok, fine, I still have my favorites. :-) But I'm sad, and feel bad for Stas. And Ivan better kick some booty next week to show he deserves another chance.

Wednesday, June 14

SYTYCD - Top 20

It's the first week of the Finals, the first time viewers can vote and the first *real* look we have at our finalists! So after the mini-intro solos, some looks back at high/low-lights from auditions (thankfully they only did 3 and 2 were good) and a guest performance by last year's winner Nick, game is on!

This year they haven't left the partner pairings up to chance; everyone is assigned a partner with whom you'll stay until one gets voted off! I can see the value of this, because they can pair people they think have similar talents levels (see, first and next-to-last couples, definitely the two to beat!), and for the most part avoid pairings where both dancers have the same specialty.

First up are Benji & Donyelle, doing hip-hop (her specialty). Benji is sooo charismatic and always fun to watch, on stage or off; and he was much better at hip-hop than I'd expected!! Especially with the fast footwork; wow! (Hope he gets to do the quickstep!) Donyelle made it look easy. Judges loved it.

Ivan & Allison did a "Club Salsa", with which hip-hop specialist Ivan struggled. Allison was good; girl can move!! All the judges reamed him but complimented her; I predict they'll be in the bottom 3.

Jason & Aleksandra did a "Contemporary" (I don't remember that as a style from last year?) to "Unwritten" (yay!). She struggled in practice and, I thought, also in the performance. This routine needed 'oomph' (power & emotion) at which Jason excelled, but she was quite lacking. The judges liked them both though.

Jaymz (contemporary specialist) & Jessica (ballet) get "70's Disco," which makes me wonder, 'Is there any other kind?' To which the answer apparently is yes, as we'll find out later! Anyway, she struggled a bit in practice but the routine was good. Nothing wow; I'm anxious to see him do a different style, as I think he has potential. The judges liked it overall.

Stanislav is paired with Erin (jazz specialist) and they do a Paso Doble! Wow, so *that's* how the guy's part is supposed to look!! ;-) (Aww, I miss Drew!) So, yeah, Stanislav was awesome as expected, and Erin was ok.

Dmitry & Joy did Hip-Hop. As a ballroom dancer, Dmitry struggles because all the moves are new, but he works hard and it pays off. I thought he did really, really well! Unfortunately I missed the judges' comments (looked like there were several, with laughter & replies from him) because of an Amber Alert. (I understand the importance, but couldn't it have waited until commercial? I mean, we're sitting at home watching tv; I doubt the kidnapper is going to parade through our living room!)

Ryan was the first (and only) guy to be disappointed w/his partner when he saw it was Heidi and not Natalie. But he got over it eventually. ;-) His specialty is ballet and hers Latin & swing, so they did well with their Viennese Waltz, especially w/the posture and spins. The judges weren't overly impressed but were content.

Ben (contemporary) and Ashley (a girl popper!) get... "80's Disco"! Which is apparently "freer" and "more jazzy" than 70's Disco. Alrighty then. Ben hasn't the best build for lifts and there are quite a few in this "Flashdance" routine, but he does alright. Other than that I thought he was awesome; much better than in the only other clip I've seen of him. I was really impressed, so I hope Nigel was wrong in predicting they'll be doing solos tomorrow (to which Ben quickly replied, "I like my solo!" Hee.) Mary really panned the lifts and Dan said the routine was "flat-out bad," though at least he blamed Ashley and not Ben.

Finally we see Travis (a favorite who wasn't shown much at all last week) with Martha, both contemporary specialists. They get to do Broadway, and Travis comments that he worked on Broadway for 2 years so this is kind-of his "thing"! Both express a *lot* of confidence in themselves and their pairing as a team, Travis a bit too much. The choreography actually advises him to "hold back" with his performance & not overly try to impress! (I've heard this guy has a lot of experience & talent & is well-known in the industry... and if he's already done Broadway I'm not sure why he'd want to do Celine in Vegas, but whatever... I'll certainly watch!) They get classic/vaudeville-style choreography to "Steam Heat" and are predictably fantastic, or at least Travis was, I had to keep reminding myself to pay some attention to Martha too but it didn't work very well! She's got a great body and danced well but Travis is just riveting, in his dancing skill and he was very much "in character." The judges outright said they're the couple to beat! I see why they were one of the last to perform; that'll be a hard act to follow.

The ones to follow are Musa and jazz specialist Natalie, doing a Mambo. Of course Musa has had no real training (which really made the choreographer nervous), and Natalie has a tendency to just go without waiting for a partner's lead. However, they were great! Granted Musa largely stood still and let Natalie twirl around him, but when they moved apart he was fantastic. Nigel said that "if you operate on teh premise that all the guys are watching Natalie's hips and not Musa's feet," it was great! The other judges agreed his technique was lacking but that they had great chemistry and were very entertaining & enjoyable to watch.

So... my favorites of the night were Benji, Jason, Travis, and Musa, and if I must pick some girls :-), Joy and Donyelle (nothing wowed me but it was a solid performance & I appreciate that she's there on talent, not looks).

I predict the bottom 3 couples will be Ivan & Allison, Jaymz & Jessica, and Ben & Ashley, with Ivan and Jessica leaving.

Overall great show, I'm excited about the season! I didn't hate anyone and really enjoyed all of the guys except Ivan. Yay!!