SYTYCD - Top 6 - a night of great music

Hi folks,

No time for a lot of details tonight. I've got places to go, people to see, so tonight I'll give you the basics.

As you'll recall, the top 6 are dancing tonight, but two people will be going home this week. Tonight everyone's dancing three times. There's another guest judge tonight, 4-time U.S. ballroom champ, Toni Reopath.

Kent's dancing the cha-cha with Anya. Choreographed by Jean-Marc and France Genereux. It's Kent's second cha-cha, and this one is about a first kiss. Kent has to start in the audience and kiss a random girl. Lots of kisses for Kent this season. Okay, he didn't actually kiss her, he just held her head in his hand. Song: My First Kiss by 3OH!3 feat. Ke$ha. Anya's the teacher, Kent's the bad boy. (I guess we'll assume he's already 18 in this little play.) Fun routine, but his facial expressions got on my nerves. Mia critiqued him about it too. For the most part, the judges liked it.

Robert and Kathryn will dance a contemporary routine by Stacey Tookey. It's about the last moment's before going off to war and leaving a loved one behind. Song: Heaven is a Place on Earth by Katie Thompson. In an interesting twist, it's Kathryn who's going off to war. Very nice performance. They're a great pair. As Adam said, Robert "killed it." Adam also said that Kathryn is so stunning that it freaks him out. She truly is.

José's solo is next. Song: Giant Squid by RJD2.

Adéchiké reunited with Courtney for a Tyce Diorio jazz routine. Tyce said they're in a nightclub in Spanish Harlem--no inhibitions, and they just let it go. Song: Mantega by Dizzy Gillepsie. Another fun routine...they were off sync just for a couple of seconds, but otherwise great. Adam said instead of a lot of partnering like we've seen a lot of this season, it was "balls out dancing." Then he said, "did I just say that on TV?! L.A. won't see it." He said AC did a tremendous job. Nigel said there wasn't enough abandon from AC. He needed to look like he's letting himself go.

Lauren's solo. (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman by Aretha Franklin. Outstanding! Love her.

José gets to dance hip-hop with Comfort. Choreographers: Marty Kudelka & Dana Wilson. (Have we seen them before?) It's a traditional boy meets girl scenario in a club. Song: Try a Little Tenderness by Otis Redding. [Great music tonight!!] Not your typical hip hop song. I LOVED it! So charming! Nigel loved the cool vibe and funky feel of it, but he thought Jose wasn't quite there. Toni loved it. Mia didn't. Toni loved the character of the dance--I think that's what I liked too.

Billy's solo. Lights Go Down by Telepathe.

Kent's solo. A Song for You by Elliott Yamin. Another great song! Great solo--30 seconds wasn't enough. He was just getting into it, and it ended.

Lauren dances Broadway with Allison for a Tyce Diorio routine. First time this season that two girls are dancing together. The number is to show that these two girls can dance as well as any guys can. Song: Who's Got the Pain from the Damn Yankees (1994 original Broadway cast). Hmmm...I didn't love this routine. The theme Tyce told us about didn't really go with the Broadway music. They danced it well though. Adam loved it though, and said he already thinks about her as an all-star. Mia also said there's nothing to critique. Nigel loved it. He also goofed and said this is the first time two girls have performed together this season on American Idol. Oops.

Robert's solo. Song: A Beautiful Mess (From a Raining Jane Sessions) by Jason Mraz I think he's a beautiful dancer, but I still can't bring myself to root for him. I just don't know what it is. I'm not rooting against' him at all, but I just don't connect with him for some reason.

Billy and Ade will dance a contemporary piece with Ade. Stacey Tookey's back to choreograph. It's about two people on opposite ends of the spectrum...Ade's a business man who has everything. Billy is a homeless man with nothing. [There's a new comic strip running in the Post with this theme....in the comic strip, an unlikely friendship develops. Interesting.] Song: Mad World (alternate) by Michael Andrews feat Gary Jules. Wow...that was amazing. Billy's SO talented. Standing "O" from the audience AND 3 of 4 the judges. (Not Nigel.) Mia said it was sheer perfection. Adam said it was mag-NIF-i-cent.

Adéchiké - solo time. Song: Pretty Wings by Maxwell. For a minute there, I thought he did the same solo as last week, but I checked, and last week's was to Maxwell's This Woman's Work.. AC did a good job this week, but last week's was my fave.

Kent and José team up next for a Spencer Liff Broadway routine. It's about two guys working for a moving company, watching girls go by, and competing for who will get the girl. Song: From This Moment On from the Kiss Me Kate soundtrack. Great routine. Jose held his own against Kent tonight, but Kent's the better dancer for this style. I can already hear the judges comparing Kent to Gene Kelly. Who will be first to say it? Mia says this style of dancing fits him like a glove--he can even do his faces. Well, Adam didn't say Kent reminded him of Gene Kelly, but he did reference Gene Kelly in talking about the choreography. Close enough.

Lauren and Adéchiké are dancing a fox trot from Jean-Marc and France. Uh-oh...the fox trot can be the kiss of death...not always, but it can be. Song: Fever by Beyoncé. They performed well, but it didn't wow me. Judges had some criticism and weren't wowed either.

One more routine...thank goodness--it's almost 2 a.m.!

Robert and Billy for Bollywood by Nakul Dev Mahajan, who tells us that Bollywood is a mix of different styles of dance from all over the world. (This show is SO educational, right?) The story is two guys fighting for one role in the biggest Bollywood movie ever. Song: Ganesh from the Bombbay Dreams Sountrack. Both were great, but I think Robert looked best in this style. Toni liked Robert best. Mia liked Billy. He said Billy was great...Robert was brilliant.

My rankings for the dancers overall this week:

6. Jose
5. Adéchiké
4. Robert
3. Billy
2. Kent
1. Lauren

Tomorrow's elimination night, but I'm afraid I won't be here to record what happens. Take a break for a few days and will catch back up next week. Enjoy the show, and thanks for reading.

WAIT, what's this? At the end of the show, Cat announces that Lauren's with the medics. This is about 2 minutes after everyone was excited that there were no injuries tonight. I do hope Lauren's okay. She's gotta be here to dance so she can win this thing!


Who's leaving tonight?

Will it be Billy, or someone else? It's elimination night, once again, on SYTYCD.

The show opens to the Fosse-inspired group performance to All That Jazz by Lea DeLaria. Great routine from choreographer Kelley Abbey. Bill didn't dance in the opener, so my guess is he'll be going home.

Cat introduces the judges, and Kenny Ortega's joining them again tonight.

The show then pays tribute to dancer Denise Jefferson, who directed the Ailey School since 1984, and passed away recently. That's sad.

Cat brings all five dancers to the stage. We get a recap of Lauren's night. Here's the hip hop she did with Twitch. Loved it!

Lauren's safe. Then Kent is safe.

Then we get a guest performance. They gotta stretch the show out to an hour, after all. Tonight's guests are from the American Ballet Theater, performing the grand pas de deux from act III of Don Quixote. Ahh....so beautiful.

Back to the results. Adéchiké, José, and Robert come back on stage. She comes to AC first We got a recap of his night. Here are the two great pieces he performed last night. I won't mention the lackluster paso doble...these two pieces more than make up for it.

Adechike's solo:

Adechike's hip-hop with Comfort:

We also get the recaps of Robert and Jose. And these two are in the bottom three along with Billy. AC is safe.

Now I guess it all comes down to whether Billy can continue dancing or not.

Next up is another guest. It's DJ Smart dancing to Say You Will by Kanye West. Cat tells us that he blew the judges away in Vegas, but they never had time to show his whole routine. Wow...this guy has got the biggest quadriceps I've ever seen. He's so powerful. The dance is very impressive. His hands are chained through the whole performance. He moves from a full split on the ground to standing position without using his hands! Why wasn't he a contestant?!

They then show people's videos of them doing NappyTabs routine for National Dance Day. It looks like fun. The routine looked a little beyond my abilities, but I'm going to try it.

All-stars Lauren and Neil come together to perform to Night of the Dancing Flameby Roísín Murphy. Fun routine!

Time for the solos from Robert and Jose. Robert dances to Fireflies by Ron Pope. Great job. Jose dances to It's Just Begun by The Jimmy Castor Bunch. I think we've seen him perfomr to that song before...maybe during auditions. Wow..he bounced around in a one-arm handstand for the last five seconds.

Decision time for the judges. While they're gone, we get a performance from Enrique Iglesias featuring Pitbull. All-stars Lauren, Dominic and Allison dance in the background. I liked Pitbull's reggaeton sound in the middle, but I don't think I care for this song (I Like It) too much. Maybe it'll be one of those things that grows on me.

Time for the decision...Nigel says, "We haven't made up our minds. We've come to a conclusion." Hmm...does that mean they all get to stay? He first tells Robert that they judges don't think he's growing much. To Jose he says that he's stopped growing a little bit, but in his own work (breaking), he has grown. He tells Billy that he's set a precedent because this week is he first time the docs gave Billy the okay to dance, but he chose not too. Which, if he comes back next week to dance, means he's had a week to rest, while the others haven't. So, the judges have decided that none will go home this week. TWO people will go home next week.

Next week we'll get to see the Top 6, part deux. Jose lucked out, methinks.


Four guys and a girl

The Top 6 perform tonight on SYTYCD Cat tells us that we'll also get to learn a little about each dancer's family. We've got Adechike, Kent, Lauren, Jose, and Robert. Wait! Where's Billy??

Tonight is the 150th show. Six years, seven seasons--and I've seen and loved 'em all. There's a guest judge this evening--it's dancer, choreographer, director, producer, Kenny Ortega. He brought us Dirty Dancing; High School Musical 1, 2 and 3; and Michael Jackson's This Is It.

Nigel answers the question as to where Billy is. Another injury. He's hurt his knee. The doctor said Billy could dance if he felt up to it, and Billy opted out. Nigel mentioned needing to bring someone in to help with warm ups or something. So, once again, the injured dancer will go into the bottom three tomorrow night. Alex is in the audience too, and seems in good spirits.

This week, each dancer gets to perform three times: once with an all-star, once with another contestant and then solo.

Here we go:

Lauren gets to do a NappyTabs hip-hop with Twitch (who's wearing grey contacts...no me gusta. I'd rather see him wearing his silly glasses. Looking at his eyes is making my eyes water). Tabitha promises this is going to take us to the Wild, Wild West. In the dance, Lauren's the last girl standing and she's trying to prove she's just as bad as the guy in a show down. Song: My Chick Bad by Ludacris & Nicki Minaj. Lauren did an AWESOME job. This is one of the first times I paid more attention to whoever Twitch's partner is. Adam gave his usual, "Lauren, who are you? He told her she just tore it up out there. It was hot, hot, hot! Mia loved that Lauren was aggressive, but still maintained her sexiness. Kenny first thanked Nigel for having him on the show. Then he said Lauren has enough energy to power L.A. He said it was funky, sexy, and he loved the choreography. Nigel said she's grown tremondously, and added she was "nasty, buck, and it was a sick routine." That Nigel...

José's next, dancing with Allison to a Sonya Tayeh routine. It's about a couple who meets, then parts, and the different levels of a relationship. Jose says that he feels a connection to Allison and that the chemistry's already there. Allison said she has a secret crush on Jose, and that "he's kinda the love of my life." She also says that she melts when she sees him smile, and he looks into her eyes... Awwww.... Then she says, "Don't tell the girlfriend!" (Hmmm...does he have a girlfriend?) Song: Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind Theme by Jon Brion. Wow...that was one of Sonya's most interesting pieces. It took place, literally, on the edge of the stage. I loved it. Sonya said this represents the risks you take when you're in love...Jose adds that it's that point in a relationship when you're afraid to fall, and afraid to be alone. You definitely could see all that in the choreography. I loved it. It was also good for Jose because he couldn't get lost in steps and form. Adam complimented Sonya on the choreography, and said the concept was so strong, however, it makes it difficult to critique Jose's dancing. He said his commitment was perfect, his partner work was excellent, but, he wasn't "dancing" much. Mia agreed with Adam. She commented that Sonya gave Jose pedestrian contemporary, which is based more on human gestures, versus technical movement. So, she didn't see much growth technically, but despite that, he did really well. Kenny said Jose was exquisite. Nigel pointed out that last week Jose's weaknesses were exposed, while this week, Sonya cleverly hid them.

Robert is next paired with Lauren (the all-star) for a Tyce Diorio jazz routine all about seduction. Tyce says there's no story, they just have to seduce each other. Song: Wasted Time by My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult. Very well done, but I didn't feel the sexiness...probably because I'm not attracted to Robert. I never called out "Woo!" like I do with other sexy performances. Robert's a great dancer, but I just don't feel it. Now, if Pasha had been dancing that routine, it'd be another story. Adam said they were "smokin'." Mia liked the strong, clean jazz piece. And she said he's s strong, solid dancer. Kenny said it showed that Robert is grounded and he loved the liquid movement and turmoil in the piece. Nigel loved the flow of movement, and said that this show has encouraged a lot of guys to get into dancing, but he added that's because of dancers like Lauren.

Now it's parents' time. Adechike's mom said that he was a happy child, and gave him some great encouragement. He gets to dance the first solo. To, This Woman's Work by Maxwell. Oh...this is the best I've ever seen him. SOOO beautiful. Bravo! I'll have to find and post this one tomorrow.

Kent's up next with Kathryn. Another jazz number, this time from Sonya, and it's about having fun and accepting who you are. Sonya's goal is for Kent to really embrace what a great dancer he is. Song: Tightrope by Janelle Monae. Fun routine. Kent did a great job, but I have to agree with Mia that sometimes his face just gets too animated. It's distracting. Mia said it takes the choreographer's work to a juvenile level, and Sonya is not at juvenile level. Adam thought he was great. Kenny liked the choreography, and said Kent's the guy to beat. Nigel said for the last two weeks, Kent has almost out-danced the all stars. He also gave props to Sonya for the choreography.

New message from Robert's folks. I hope you don't mind, but I'm just going to skip through these.

Robert's solo is to Parachutes by Trevor Hall. He did a good job, but I liked Adechike's solo better. Oh, today's Robert's birthday--he's 20 years old. I think he looks older than that, like, at least 23.

Lauren's solo is next. Song: The Waves by Elisa. Love her. I"m definitely pulling for her to win this whole thing.

Next up is Adechike with Comfort, doing another NappyTabs hip-hop routine. This is another one about a relationship on the rocks...it's about when your mind tells you to leave, but your heart wants you to stay. They're dancing to the perfect song for this theme, Alicia Keys' Fallin'. I gotta say, Adechike brought it tonight...he was great! And in this routine, I felt the, passion, I guess...I didn't feel it in Robert's routine that was supposed to be so sexy. Adam said it was so intense, beautiful, horrifying, and so "my life." Ha! AC is in tears after the routine. Adam enjoyed seeing a contemporary dancer succeeding so well in hip-hop. Mia said it felt more real than any contemporary piece because it came from a raw place. She said it was like a dance film...like a movie. It was awesome. She said AC let so much out on the floor and we got a big taste of who he truly is. Kenny said it was truly dramatic, heartfelt, beautifully connected, impressive. (I really like his critiques...bring him back!) Nigel found it difficult to critique the dancing because it moved to another level. He said it reminds him of Bleeding Love and No Air. (See below, and I'll post AC's routine tomorrow.) Nigel said as exec producer on American Idol, he loathed this song because so many people sang it so badly. He now hopes Alicia Keys gets to see this routine because it's on equal par with the beauty of her own work. Nigel said AC just showed what he means when he talks about honesty in dancing.

Jose does his thing to Give It Up or Turnit a Loose by James Brown. Good job and it looked like he was having fun. I don't think he's the best b-boy I've seen, but he's just so darn likeable, I like to see what he does.

Kent does his solo to End of the Road (A Cappella) by Boyz II Men. Very impressive, and he controlled his facial expressions.

Time for the dancers to be paired with each other.

Robert & Lauren are first. They're doing a Dmitry Chaplin samba. Dmitry! Love him! The samba will be taking place at a beach party. Dmitry says it has to be really flirtatious from the girl, and really masculine from the guy. There's a lot of footwork, and the samba is the most difficult of the Latin dances. They perform to Drummer Boy (SYTYCD Remix) by Debi Nova. I believe this song was performed on the show earlier this season. They both did a great job. Adam said Robert's lines were so clean and his partner connection was great. He told Lauren that she could have a future in ballroom dancing. Mia said she was so pleased with Robert's performance because he actually looked like a samba dancer. She critiqued Lauren on being in plié too much. Whatever. Kenny said they performed extremely well at something they don't normally do. Nigel said that Robert's upper body reminded him of Dmitry. Nigel said Lauren made contact with the audience as well as her partner and she was very good.

AC & Jose will be doing a the first all-male paso doble. Here's Dmitry again...assisted by LEGACY. Yay!!! In this dance, the two matadors will be fighting for glory. Song: The Arrival/Rampage/Continued Existence by James Dooley. Hmmm...I usually love the paso doble, but this one didn't do it for me. They were talking earlier about flow of movement, and that just wasn't evident in this. AC did slightly better, but neither of them is a Dmitry. Adam commended their connection, but then commented about their technical flaws. For Jose, it's that he needs to stretch his legs and feet. AC needs more abandon. Mia said they did okay with it. She said they were beautiful to look at, but the technique wasn't there. She said they didn't have the carriage and poise necessary--I agree with her completely on that. Kenny said it was a valiant effort. Nigel agrees with everyone else, and said they were a little lacking this evening...it wasn't everything he wanted it to be.

And FINALLY, Kent will be dancing with Twitch in Billy's absence. They're doing a stepping routine for the first time on the show, choreographed by Chuck Maldonado. This has been done by black fraternities since the late 1950s and it's about percussion. Song: Pro Nails (Rusko Remix) by Kid Sister. Hmmm....I'm afraid something got lost in the translation here. First of all, the music was too loud, so you couldn't hear their steps. Second, talk about a fish out of water--Kent looked so awkward. Twitch looked great though (despite those dang grey contacts). Adam thanks the show's producers for introduced new dance styles to America. Adam thought Kent kicked its ass. I dunno. My guess is that Adam may never have been to a step show before. He got props from Mia too. She loved Kent & Twitch's chemistry together. Maybe I need to watch it again. Apparently I missed something. Mia says Kent's the one to beat. Kenny worked with Chuck Maldonado to bring stepping to the Olympics for the first time, and is glad he's here to see it on SYTYCD for the first time. He liked Kent's performance too. Nigel points out that this is not really the first time stepping has been on the show, and seemed a little upset that everyone forgot the piece he choreographed with Chuck Maldonado called Five Guys Named Moe. (Look for stepping around 1:28--that was a good routine.)

Whew--with three dances each, the show seemed extremely long. I think AC and Lauren were tops tonight. Technically, Jose should probably go home tomorrow, but if Billy can't dance, Billy will probably be the one to leave. Jose might get another stay.

So, my order for the dancers tonight is:

5. Jose
4. Robert
3. Kent
2. AC
1. Lauren

Thoughts? Please feel free to share--what did I miss, am I crazy or do I have it right? [Note, you don't have to have a blogger account to comment. You can choose "Name/URL" and then just type your name in. Come on, don't be shy! :o)

And now, as promised:

No Air:

Bleeding Love:

Another summer show

I'm watching yet another show on the USA network called Covert Affairs. I just love USA's shows, and this one doesn't disappoint. (I'm happy that Psych is back too, and White Collar is starting soon.) Covert Affairs stars Piper Perabo as a rookie CIA agent. The first episode reminded me a lot of Alias with the disguises and fight scenes. Piper Perabo even looks and sounds like Jennifer Garner sometimes. On the show, Piper's developing a cool friendship with a blind, gadgets guy, played by Christopher Gorham, also known as Henry from Ugly Betty. He's kinda cute without the glasses and regular clothes.

Just a couple of problems with the show...one is the actress who plays Piper's boss. She was on 24, and since then, I've just never cared for her. She was also on ER and I didn't like her there either. She just comes off as really cold, which despite the fact that her characters are written that way, she's like ice, and it's just a little off-putting. I also don't think the side story of the ice queen's marriage to Peter Gallagher's character requires so much attention.

The other problem is that since the show is supposed to take place in the DC area, I have to pretend, really hard, that I don't know what DC looks like. It's cool to hear all the places in Maryland and Virginia that I'm familiar with--Rockville, Bethesda. But last week, there was a chase scene in the subway system that I couldn't get past. First of all, DC's subway is not called even called "subway," it's called "Metro." Second, the station was so bright, and had grey flooring, and was very clean. Metro stations are dark with burnt orange floors and ceilings and walls that remind me of the Death Star from Star Wars.

Still, I've dealt with this same thing on the show Lie to Me, and I've managed to get past it, so I'm sure I will with Covert Affairs too.


Champagne dreams and caviar wishes

So, I've been watching episodes of HGTV's Selling New York about two real estate brokerage companies in NYC, catering to the very well-to-do. On the first episode I saw, the mother and daughter team from one company drove out to Connecticut to scout out homes for clients who wish to have a "country home." They don't have time to look themselves. The first house they looked at was $4 million, 14,000 square feet. FOURTEEN THOUSAND square feet. This place had a BALLROOM inside of it. The second house was $7 million and had a pool and tennis courts.

The agent from another company was working with a male couple to first sell their current home, and buy their next home. One place they visited was about 1200 square feet (close to the size of my modest little home). It was only $1.99 million. A bargain! This couple insisted on a doorman and a gourmet kitchen. In reference to the doorman, one guy actually said, "It's really necessary."

The architecture and design in these places is gorgeous. Some beautiful views of Manhattan. I would love to just see one of these places in person.

On the next show I watched, a gentleman's dilemma was: "do I build a two-story living space above my showroom, for me to live here, or, should I shop around for an apartment elsewhere." What to do, what to do. Turns out he owns the air rights above his store, so, it sounds like he'll go ahead and build two stories of living space above it.


It must be nice.

If I ever come into a bunch of money, the first thing I'm going to do is buy a penthouse in Manhattan. I'll be buying a lottery ticket tomorrow, just in case tomorrow's my day.


Monday, once again.

It really seems like Mondays come around way too frequently around here. I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. Here's what I got up to.

Watched Greenberg with Ben Stiller playing a rather sad sack. He's just out of a mental facility after suffering a nervous breakdown, staying at his brother's house while the brother and his famiy are on vacation. He meets and connects with the brother's assistant who's a rather pitiful case herself. I didn't love this movie, but can understand why it got good reviews. The performances were very good, especially Ben Stiller, but his character is so un-likeable that it was hard to root for him. My favorite character in the movie was the dog, actually. A beautiful German Shepherd. I'd say it's good for renting--am glad I didn't pay to see it in the theater.

  • Went to the Linganore Reggae Wine Festival. Linganore is a Maryland winery that hosts various festivals and wine tastings throughout the year. Deb and I went a couple years ago with a friend, and have now decided we'll make in an annual tradition. We don't do the wine tasting because we already know which wine we like best, so we bought a couple of bottles, then spread out on the lawn to enjoy our little picnic, and listen to reggae. Even though it was 95 degrees and we were too late to find a spot in the shade, we had a good time. Next time we'll come with a big umbrella or tent. There will be another reggae festival in October, so we'll try to hit that one too.

  • I re-watched Tom Hanks in Big. I added it to my Netflix queue after our recent visit to Coney Island. When we visited, we were trying to pick out where scenes from Big were filmed, but as it turns out, Coney Island only appears once in the movie--it's not the place that the kid found the fortune telling machine the first or second time. Instead, it's where he went on a date with Elizabeth Perkins. The movie's still a lot of fun to watch, even after (*gulp*) 22 years.
  • Saw The Kids Are All Right, with Deb. Julianne Moore and Annette Bening play a lesbian couple who have raised two kids. As the oldest kid turns 18, she does her 15-year-old brother a favor and makes a call to find out who their sperm donor is. Turns out it's Mark Ruffalo. This movie was funny, touching, very well-acted, very realistic, and worth the ten bucks. Deb and I both really enjoyed it. And can I just say that my crush on Mark Ruffalo continues to grow?

  • I'm reading book number two of the Millenium Trilogy, The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson, and am loving it. The (Swedish) movie is already playing, so I need to hurry and finish. My dad's already given me book three to read, so that will be next. I believe that movie comes out in December. I'm going to be sorry to see this story end.

So, overall, a pretty good weekend. Can't wait for the next one.


Bye-bye night on SYTYCD

The show opens with the group performance, including the all-stars, to Charleston (from Billion Dollar Baby)from Jerome Robbins Broadway. Cute routine taking place in a speakeasy. I don't see Ashley, so I'm guessing she's still injured, and will probably be out tonight. Tonight's opener was choreographed by Tyce Diorio.

Cat reminds us that Ashley's automatically in the bottom three, but didn't provide an update on how Ashley's doing. I guess we'll do that right before she's eliminated. Gotta fill out an hour in the meantime.

We are also reminded about National Dance Day and they showed videos people have sent in of them attempting NappyTab's dance routine.

Also, before we start going through the contestants, here's my favorite dance from last night, choreographed by Travis, and performed by Robert and Allison to Coldplay's Fix You (I don't know why the picture is flipped backwards...):

Aw...so lovely.

OK, time to go through the contestants.

Kent and Lauren come out first. I'm sure both are safe. They are.

Time for a guest performance. The dancers are from Mary Murphy's Champion Ballroom Academy...they're trained by Igor Ustymouych (yeah, I had to look that up) and Olga Ginsburg, the dancers are Fernando and Lauren. They're junior dancers--probably 11 years old I'd guess--dancing to Elvis Presley'sJailhouse Rock by Elvis. OK, Lauren's 10 and Fernando's 11. Very cute...they were good.

Back to the results.

The next two up are Billy and Adéchiké. I think Billy might be in danger. I was right. Billy's in the bottom three. AC is safe. I had a discussion with my friend Katherine about Billy earlier today. We think the problem is that he can't really *do* masculine. He looks awkward when partnering with the ladies. He's beautiful and brilliant when he dances solo though. Which we'll get to see again later.

Next out are José and Robert. I think Jose will be in the bottom this time. Jeez, I just got all teary again just watching the clip of Robert's dance with Allison. I was right again. Robert's safe. Jose's in the bottom three for the first time.

Next up are dancers from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Jamar Roberts and Rachael McLaren perform an excerpt of excerpt of Ulysses Dove's Bad Blood to Gravity's Angel by Laurie Anderson. Wow...Jamar is SO strong and powerful. It seemed like Rachael must weigh only 20 pounds.

Time for a reintroduction of some of the all-stars, Twitch and Comfort. I love Twitch! We get to see them perform to Chris Brown's Forever, choreographed by Dave Scott. They first danced this together during season 4...it was the first time two hip-hoppers partnered on the show. Here they are the first time they did it:

Billy's solo is next. He's dancing to Stand by Me by Ben E. King. Like I said--amazing when he's performing solo.

After commercials, Jose does his solo to Chicken Bone Circuit by RJD2. He did a good job.

Time for the judges to go deliberate. While they're gone, we get a performance from Christina Perri. Cat tells us that two weeks ago, Christina was a waitress. Stacey Tookey used her song in a routine with Billy & Kathryn (embedding's disabled on this one), and since then she's sold 100,000 copies of Jar of Hearts. It is a great song...might have to download it myself. Neil and Allison perform too, and are wonderful together. How cool for Christina to perform live on SYTYCD when it's this show that made her song so popular in the first place.

Time for the judges' decision. Ashely is on the stage with Jose and Billy. Nigel starts with Jose...and said tonight he showed himself as someone fighting to stay on this show. Nigel tells Billy that the judges all think he's on the right track, and he's doing well, yet here here he is in the bottom three. They thought his solo went back to his default moves that we've seen before. Nigel tells Ashley that she needs 3-5 weeks rest, according to her doctors, so they have to let her go this week. He wants her to get better now, so that she can participate when they go on tour.

Poor Ashley. She says she's very disappointed, but that the experience has been the most amazing thing she's done.

So, that means Lauren is the only girl left. Wow.

Looking forward to next week already.


Top 7 perform on SYTYCD

I heard a promo for SYTYCD earlier tonight where they mentioned that Alex had to leave the competition and so now, any of the remaining seven contestants can win the competition. To me it sounded like they were saying, "Well, we lost our expected winner. Now we're left with this lot." I think the remaining seven deserve a little more credit than that.

Holy cow...Lauren was the only girl in the opening dance intro. Ashley must be injured now. Yep, Cat confirms it. Ashley was taken to the hospital on Monday with severe rib pains, and she's been advised not to dance. Looks like she's not even in the audience. Hope she's okay. So, Ashley's in the bottom three automatically.

Cat also gave us an update on Alex. He had surgery on Monday to reconnect his Achilles tendon. Seriously, any time I mention that injury, I shudder. He's still in the hospital.

Each contestant's dancing two routines tonight. The second draw was random, but first they found out with which All-Star they're paired with. (It'll be a dancer they haven't formerly been paired with.)

ContestantAll-Star PairingContestant Pairing
Adéchiké (AC)Anya
Cultural (huh?)
No more contesntants...he gets to dance with Dominic

Here we go!

  • Lauren and Mark
    Style: Tahitian (first time ever on the show)
    Choreographer: Tiana Liufau
    Song: Junle by Lost Voices

    Lots of hip shaking in this one. Tiana tells us that dances were used to pass down the history and mythology of the Tahitian culture before they had a written alphabet. The dance is about Night and Day, Mark's Night, Lauren's Day. As Lauren said, "This is going to be the best Tahitian dance this show has ever seen....becuase it's the only Tahitian dance they've ever seen." Mark has gorgeous tribal tattoos on his chest and back and looks really good tonight! As for the dancing....nice! Like I said, lots of hip shaking, and Lauren made it look effortless. Nigel said it was great and fun, but technically, he has no idea what to say. Mia called it fascinating, and compared it to a duck in heat." Umm...okaayyyyyy. Adam said, "Lauren, I can't believe you just did that...it was amazing!"

  • Adéchiké and Anya
    Style: Salsa
    Choreographer: Liz Lira (& Danny Davalos) (new?)
    Song: Oyelo Que Te Conviene by Eddie Palmieri

    Liz tells us this is a traditional competitive salsa with a little more "oomph." The rehearsal looks intense. AC was bleeding and at some point, he sort of kicked Anya in the head. I hope they make it through! Anya looked fantastic. AC did okay, but I don't think his posture was right...he seemed hunched over. Looked like he was having fun though. His facial expressions were a little distracting too. Nigel, however, said AC pulled it off, and his posture and lack of lines was how it was supposed to be. See? This is why I'm not a judge on the show. Mia said there were bumps here and there. Adam asked what was in AC's mind when he first saw "Salsa" and he said, "Bottom Three." But, he pushed himself knowing that he didn't want to go home. Adam said it was "hard-ass choreography" and that AC did great.

  • José and Courtney
    Style: Broadway
    Choreographer: Joey Dowling (she looks just like Maggie Gyllenhaal)
    Song: Mister Cellophane - from Chicago (Motion Picture soundtrack)

    Aw...I love this song. So, in this routine, Courtney is a show girl, and José is a stage hand in love, but she never sees him. I think this might be difficult for Jose because he has to play a sad desperate character, but he's always so happy and has that gorgeous smile. He did okay--seemed a little awkward, but I really liked the choreography. As Nigel said, by taking away his smile and personality, we focused that much more on his dancing, and it wasn't good enough. He said the steps just weren't danced well. And now, Jose really does look sad, and Mia's having a hard time giving him more bad news. She said his lack of training was very evident. Adam said Nigel and Mia weren't wrong, but he gave constructive criticism on dancing sharply and maintaining lines. They basically said he needs lessons and training.

  • Robert and Allison (recovered from her injury last week)
    Style: Contemporary
    Choreographer: Travis Wall
    Song: Fix You by Coldplay

    Travis did this piece about his mom, who just had massive surgery. Robert is representing Robert, and Allison is his mom, and her struggle through life and her journey. On a personal note...I just got some sad news from a close friend, so I'm already in an emotional state before it starts. Oh wow. Let me go wipe my eyes. It was beautiful. The piece ended with Allison placing her feet on top of Robert's, as he walks for the two of them. Powerful. Nigel said the if the audience doesn't connect with Robert this week, there's something wrong. Mia said it's the best she's Robert dance this season. Adam said Travis deserves an Emmy nomination, and that this is probably going to be one of the performances of the season.

  • Billy and Anya
    Style: Jive
    Choreographer: Louis van Amstel
    Song: Paradise by the Dashboard Light by Meatloaf

    During rehearsals, anytime Billy got uncomfortable, he had this nervous laughter. He's supposed to be building chemistry with Anya. I don't think he quite got there, but his dancing is great. Anya, as always, looks amazing. He gave her a quick peck when it was over. Nigel said it was the hardest Billy has worked in getting chemistry. He felt it was a bit "up in the air" when Billy could've afforded to get down and low, still he thought this week was better than previous weeks. Mia thought it was a stellar performance. Adam said it was his favorite performance of Billy's. Hmm...I didn't like it as much as the judges did, but they're the pros and I'm not.

  • Kent and Neil
    Style: Broadway
    Choreographer: Tyce Diorio
    Song: Shoeless Joe from Hannibal, MO from Damn Yankees (1994 Broadway cast)

    The dancers are playing baseball players. Wow. Kent came out and leap-frogged over Neil who was standing tall. Wow! That was fantastic! Very acrobatic, and I think Broadway suits Kent really well. Nigel called Kent the MVP tonight, and said he even out-danced Neil the all-star. Mia said it was great entertainment and she loved the strong, male dancing. Adam first told Tyce it was so awesome. And he told Kent that he has a huge future in Broadway if he wants it. Adam appreciated that they made it look completely effortless.

  • Lauren and Billy
    Style: Jazz
    Choreographer: Mandy Moore
    Song: Boogie Shoes by KC and the Sunshine Band, of course!

    Mandy's inspiration was having two shoes meeting up and wanting to boogie. In rehearsals, Billy's got on bright blue Chucks, and Lauren's wearing pink ones. For the real dance, the shoes are all sparkly! What a cute routine. I loved it. Billy and Lauren were great--especially Lauren. Nigel said it was an "absolutely adorable routine" that just makes you smile. He again thanked Billy for connecting with his partner. He also said that jazz seems to suit Billy nicely. He told Lauren not to click her heels three times because she's not going home. Mia said it was completely "in the pocket." She said it was quirky and groovy. That's a great description. Adam said it was so happy-making. He said Billy finally got lost in the dance. He told Lauren that the boys have something to be afraid of.

  • José and Dominic! The dance I've been waiting for!
    Style: All B-Boy
    Choreographer: Tabitha and Napoleon, and Legacy is there too!
    Song: Battle for the Beat by District 78

    This is the first time there's a break dance piece on the show. That was fun to watch, but I gotta say, I think Dom's style is a little tighter than Jose's. I just love Dominic and am so glad he's on the show this season. Nigel said that Jose redeemed himself from earlier. No other dancer on the show this season could do what he just did. That's fer shure. Mia loved it, but she asked that Jose work on his strength. She said he needs some fine tuning that will make his windmills tighter and more precise, his jumps higher, etc. (So, she saw what I saw.) Adam said, "That's the way to compete, buddy." He then said, "America, he is the sweetest, most sensitive guy in the world, and I know how much that hurt earlier tonight, and I know how hard you took that, and then for you to come out and SCHOOL US LIKE THAT? That was HOT!" Dom said, "Jose's a beast."

  • Kent and Adéchiké
    Style: Contemporary
    Choreographer: Dee Caspary
    Song: You Only Disappear by Tom McRae

    So, this week the dancers were asked to tell America what we don't know about their dance partner. Adechike said, "Kent has a secret, a secret crush on Lauren Froderman, and that kiss last week was not a part of the choreography!" Kent looked flabbergasted and said, "Yes it was...." (rather lamely, methinks) and then AC adds, "and, he enjoyed it!" So, in the dance, Kent is in a poisonous relationship, and AC is his friend trying to get him out of the relationship. Dee comments that this is the first time he's done a male contemporary duet. During rehearsals, I notice that these two seem like good friends in real life and that they're having fun. That was beautiful. Both of them had amazing leaps. AC did a leap in the air and seemed to hang there for several seconds before coming down so gently. Nigel said it was tremendous. Nigel called attention to the same leap. He complimented Kent for underplaying the role. He also said that Kent stands a good chance of being this years' champion now that Alex is gone. Mia enjoys his organic quality of movement and his strength. Mia hoped AC would have a great week, and he did. She compared his jump to that of a gazelle. Adam said Kent & AC taught him so much tonight about dance and performance, despite the fact that Adam's the one who's supposed to be imparting that to them.

  • Robert and all-star Kathryn, subbing for injured Ashley
    Style: Disco! Finally! Where've you been all seasson?
    Choreographer: Doriana Sanchez
    Song: Instant Replay by Dan Hartman

    Doriana tells us this piece is supposed to be fun and big party time. It's supposed to look fun and easy, but during rehearsals, Ashley assures us it's not. Oh man, they could've chosen a better song. Oh well. Beyond that, the white disco suit looks good on Robert. Wow...that was energetic! They did a lift where Robert picked Kathryn up as she was straddling his shoulder, and then he dropped her back and went into a spin. I gasped out loud. Nigel had high praise for Robert and Kathryn. Mia said, "I hope I never see you do that again." She was looking for a masculine weight. Nigel disagrees with Mia that Robert didn't look masculine in this dance. Adam enjoyed it.

My overall rankings this week:

5. Jose (sorry Jose....I still love ya!)
4. Billy
3. Robert
3. Adechike
2. Kent
1. Lauren

I have AC and Robert tied this week. I loved both their contemporary pieces, and thought they did well with their other routines too. It's hard for me to pick a favorite. Robert was part of that Travis Wall routine, but then AC was so beautiful in the performance with Kent. The decision's so difficult! Because of his lack of trainign, Jose is the weakest dancer, but that doesn't mean he's not good. ALL of these dancers are good.


Chuckling over here.

On Sunday evenings, I'm watching the show "Hung" on Showtime. If you don't know, it's about a guy who uses his, ahem, best asset, to earn money--yes, he's a male prostitute. I watched it last night and it was a decent show.

Tonight, I was checking Tivo to see what I needed to watch, and I see that Hung is being recorded again. This was weird because I have it set to record new shows only, no repeats. I read the description and see it has something to do with someone trying to convince campers to do something.

I was like, huh? What campers?

Then I looked at the title of the show again...oh. It's Huge, not Hung, on the ABC Family channel. Oops. Still, it's kind of funny how the title "Huge" could work for the Hung show too, couldn't it?


Mullet with Headlights and Arthur Fonzarelli's Army of Clones.

I was in the car earlier this evening when Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" came on. I thought of two things: 1) how me and my best friend in junior high used to sing to this while hanging out in her garage, and 2) this classic literal video people were talking about on Facebook a year or two ago:

You're welcome.


The Outside Boy by Jeanine Cummins

The Outside BoyThe Outside Boy by Jeanine Cummins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a coming-of-age story about a young, 10-year-old boy, Christopher (Christy for short), who is an Irish traveller or Pavee Gypsy, during the 1950s. Christy has grown up without a mother, and deals with the grief and guilt of thinking he killed her during childbirth. After his grandfather passes away, he finds a piece of information about his mother and strives to learn more about her, and about his own past.

The story is told in first person, and in the beginning, it took me a little time to get used to the dialect, but then I got used to the flow, and appreciated how Jeanine portrayed a 10-year-old's perspective. (Also, she posted a helpful glossary/pronunciation guide on her website). She has a wonderful ability to fully describe a scene so that as I was reading, I always had a clear picture in my mind. There are many moments that made me smile, and many other poignant moments that tugged at my heart. It's a very sweet story and I was sorry for it to end. I really wanted to know what happened next! I also learned a little something. I was unfamiliar with the Pavee culture, and I think Jeanine provided great insight into that lifestyle.

Full disclosure: Jeanine Cummins is a friend of mine...we grew up together. It may seem I'm a little biased in my praise, but I'm really not. She's a great writer and storyteller, and I'm very proud of her accomplishments.

SYTYCD elimination night

Well, judging from my site statistics, people were VERY interested in Kent & Lauren's contemporary performance on Tuesday night--in particular, The Kiss. So, before we get to the elimination, here's their wonderful performance:

I don't know for certain, but I suspect the kiss was part of the choreography, but I also think Kent & Lauren may have really been into it at that moment, too.

Now onto last night's show. It opened with a heavenly group performance to Sting's "When We Dance." Everyone's dressed in white, and a smoke machine makes it look like they're dancing in the clouds. Ade was an angel...I wonder if he was filling in for Alex. Mia Michaels choreographed the piece--she is an amazing choreographer. Just an annoying judge.

SYTYCD got three Emmy nominations. One for Mia Michael's "Addiction," one for Stacey Tookey's "Fear" and one for Outstanding Makeup. Here are the two nominated performances for choreography:

Addiction (performed by Kupono and Kayla):

Fear (performed by Legacy and Kathryn):

Those are great performances, but I'm especially surprised and disappointed that Tyce Diorio's breast cancer piece wasn't nominated. It was my favorite from Season 5. Everyone was crying after this piece--how could it not be nominated?? As Nigel said at the end, Dance can express so many emotions without use of words, and this piece is the best proof of that. Nigel also said at that time that he'd be hugely surprised if it wasn't nominated. Well...I guess he's surprised. Here it is. I still get chills and teary-eyed when I watch it.

*Dabbing my eyes* - whew! Okay, back to the show.

Billy and Lauren are brought onto the stage. Wow--Billy's in the bottom two (he's joining Alex, who was already in the bottom three due to his injury). Adam said this is not about Billy's dancing, but he's not connecting with the people. Adam said he needs to pretend he's no longer in a competition, and just bring joy.

Lauren is safe.

The remaining five contestants come to the stage. Kent's safe. José is safe. Robert is safe. It's down to Ashley & Adéchiké. The dancer in danger is...Ashley. People probably voted for AC because they felt bad after Mia's bitchy remarks last night. Mia chimes in and says she doesn't know why Ashley's there, but she knows what to do. But then she admitted to coming off very harsh and insensitive last night, and she apologized if she hurt him in any way. She said she believes in him, and loves him, and said she'll always be "tough love Mama Mia." That was pretty classy. She's redeemed herself.

Next we get to see Anya and Pasha perform on the SYTYCD stage together for the first time since their audition back in Season 3. They dance to "Magic Carpet Ride (No Comprende Edit)" by Might Dub Katz. Whew! Those two are hot! Love them!!

The next performance is from the cast of In the Heights featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda who wrote the music & lyrics. They perform "96,000," which refers to the winnings in a lottery. Great performance. I didn't *love* that show when we saw it a couple years ago, but I did like that song and performance.

Time for the solos. Billy's first. Song: "To Build a Home" by the Cinematic Orchestra. Good job--I wish he'd done more of his leaps though.

Ashley's next. Song: "Lost (Acoustic)" by Anouk. Ashley was great too. Amazing spin.

The judges go to deliberate, and meanwhile we get to see Natasha Bedingfield with her new song "Touch." The All-Stars dance. Hmm...I'm going to have to hear the song a few more times before I decide if I like it. I think it's one of those things that will probably grow on me. I enjoyed watching the All Stars though.

Time for the decision: Nigel says they're unanimous. The results of Alex's MRI came in last night and he has suffered a lacerated achilles tendon, which means it's detached from the bone. GASP! I am CRINGING as I type that. Alex has to have surgery on Tuesday and then rest for three months, so he's out of the competition. :o( I feel so bad for Alex--he seems crushed. Nigel said he's invited back next year. And Ashley and Billy are both safe for another week. Mia said he's "beyond special" as a dancer and a human being. They ran his highlights clip, and he really is a fantastic dancer. He thanked everyone for the opportunity, and he's going to miss his fellow contestants. There were tears everywhere. I do wish him a speedy recovery.


SYTYCD shakin' it up

The Top 7 perform tonight, and according to a Tweet I saw from Adam Shankman, the contestants tonight will be dancing with the All-Stars, AND with each other.  That should be interesting.  That should be fun, but one thing I miss from the old format, is watching the contestants develop a relationship and chemistry with one other dancer, before they move into dancing with each other.  I'm still happy to have Pasha and Twitch each week!

As usual, Cat introduces the judges. Then she announces that Alex wasn't in the opening dance sequence tonight because he injured himself during rehearsals, and the doctors have advised that he shouldn't dance tonight. That's such a shame after he had such a fantastic performance last week.  Nigel says that Alex went for an MRI today.  At best, he'll just be out this week, at worst, he's got a ruptured achilles tendon.  Then, with new rules this season, Alex will automatically be placed in the bottom three this week.  If he can't perform next week, he'll automatically be out.  Nigel said when someone asked Alex if it hurt, Alex's response was, "Only in my heart." Ohhh.... I do hope he's able to perform again this season.

Time for the dance choices:

Lauren - Pasha/Cha-Cha
Kent - Comfort/Hip-Hop
Lauren/Kent - Contemporary

Lauren says she's excited to dance with Kent because she might be able to get ONE "tween" fan. Kent says he doesn't know how he's gonna follow Alex's hip-hop. Well, Kent, I don't know either.

Robert - Kathryn/Jazz
Ashley - Dominic/Hip-Hop
Ashley/Robert - Quickstep
(uh-oh...the kiss of death)

Adéchiké (AC) - Courtney/Jazz
Alex - Anya/Foxtrot
Alex/AC - Bollywood
(Poor Alex can't dance, so I wonder who will be AC's partner?)

José - Lauren/Contemporary
Billy - Allison/Broadway
Jose/Billy - African Jazz

Billy said that he's not looking forward to Jose's ADD in rehearsal because all he can talk about is Lauren Gottlieb's butt. Jose's response: "Oh no you didn't, bro! You are not using that! You are not using that!" Of course they're going to use it, Jose!

First up are Lauren and Pasha with a Cha-Cha to "Telephone" by Lady Gaga and Beyoncé choreographed by Jean Marc & France Genereux. Wow. Lauren did great--and it looked like she grew up for the performance. She looked so much more mature. Nigel said that one of the comments she's gotten repeatedly is that she needs to mature a bit more, and he said, "No question, you've done that tonight." (Thanks for validating me, Nigel!) Mia said, "Pure 'murderation'." Whatever, Mia. (She's getting on my nerves.) She then said Lauren was perfect. Adam said she was sharp, specific, strong and she had so much smoke and smolder in her eyes.

Next, Jose & All-Star Lauren with Mandy Moore's contemporary routine about soul mates. "Never Tear Us Apart" by INXS. Aw...great song. Whew! Sexy! Now, Lauren did most of the real expressive dancing there, but Jose was there all the way to partner her. He did a great job. Nigel said he looked amazing. Wow...Nigel then gave a very eloquent speech about Jose's accepting the challenge of SYTYCD and is pushing himself beyond barriers Jose may not even have known were there. He said Jose's dancing isn't about ego, or arrogance, it's about somebody who wants to learn and is doing so in front of America. After that, everyone had tears in their eyes. Mia said more of the same. Adam said Jose has become one of the most beloved people on the show, and Adam is so proud. Jose seems so humbled. Very sweet. (Let me go get a tissue now....)

Uh-oh--here comes Kent's hip-hop with Comfort (choreographed by David Scott). "You're Not My Girl by Ryan Leslie. Gotta say--Kent's doing MUCH better than I expected and he's reminding me a little of Justin Timberlake! He faltered ever-so-slightly in doing a couple of freeze poses in the middle, but otherwise did pretty well. Both Cat and Nigel commented about Justn Timberlake too. Nigel liked it, and also commented on how far Comfort's come. Mia said, "I wasn't mad at you, at all." Adam said he saw growth in Kent this week.

Adechike and Courtney's jazz routine is next. This is another Mandy Moore routine, set during closing time at a bar. Courtney's character is a woman on the prowl, AC's a man who's available. When they see each other, "the seduction ensues." Courtney comments that AC's enjoying it a little too much. Song: "Is You Is Or IS You Ain't My Baby ((Rae & Christian Remix)" - by Dinah Washington. Cute routine. AC did a good job. Nigel said AC met the task of the dance--finding his character and staying with it. Nigel wasn't expecting AC to be that good, so instead he was pleasantly surprised. Mia disagreed with Nigel and called it mediocre. I honestly don't know what Adam said (he rambled a bit), but I think he was more in line with what Mia said.

Billy and Allison get to do a Spencer Liff (new guy) Broadway dance. Billy and Allison play burglars making their escape. Allison got injured during the routine, and here comes Season 4's top gal, KATIE, to fill in!! Yay!!!! LOVE HER. The song: "Macavity: The Mystery Cat" from Cats (Original Broadway cast) (one of my faves from that show). I enjoyed the performance, but they were out of sync a couple of times toward the end. Still, Billy is such a great dancer. Nigel said this is the best he's seen Billy dance (outside of his solos). Mia said he was "Fabulicious." (Groan. I'm finding that I'd rather have Mia doing choreography.) Adam loved it too. And now? Macavity is going to be in my head all night long!

Ashley/Dom - NappyTab Hip-Hop. They're playing Ninja assassins this week. Song: "How Low" by Ludacris. I LOVED IT! Ashley was awesome with Dominic--great chemistry, even though their characters were trying to take each other out. Nigel enjoyed that she was able to show she can do something other than contemporary, and she can. He said she hit really hard and she was really strong. Nigel loved it too. Mia thought Ashley danced it "so hard core." The only thing lacking was there was no "kill" in her eyes. Adam said she's in this to win this, and that she's a contender.

Next, Robert and Kathryn perform their Sean Cheesman jazz routine where they are dolls who come to life. Song: "Sinking Feeling" by Róisín Murphy (this show likes using her music). Robert & Kathryn start out in boxes like Ken & Barbie dolls, but their names are Bob and Kathie. Robert really got into his character--he truly looked plastic! Nigel loved the concept of the entire routine. He said he doesn't understand why Robert keeps landing in the bottom three, so it looked on the Internet and found people calling Robert arrogant. Nigel said he doesn't know where that's coming from because it's the furthest thing from the truth. I think my issue with Robert is that during auditions, we never really got to "meet" him like we did most of the other dancers, so I always feel like he's the odd man out. I'm not saying he can't dance, because he's a beautiful dancer, I'm just saying that the producers didn't give us a chance to connect with him early on. Mia said he's wonderful. Mia said it was a perfect piece for Robert. Adam said, "Rob, you're so great."

Whew. Halfway through...now it's time for the contestants to dance with each other.

AC's first. As you'll recall, he was supposed to dance Bollywood with Alex, but Alex got hurt. The dance is choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan and is about two people doing a devotional dance to a god. Since Alex can't perform, AC's dancing with Nakul's assistant Marla. Song: "Mourya Re" from theDon the Chase Begins Again (soundtrack). WOW. I think this is the fastest Bollywood we've seen, and AC made it look so EASY. What stamina! I'm tired just watching it. He did eight split jumps in a row, and it looked like he was on a trampoline. Nigel cautioned against AC making it "funky." I think he just got into the music. Nigel also felt he was lacking in sharpness. Those split jumps at the end are where Alex got hurt. Good ole Cat reminded Nigel that when Jose did Bollywood a couple weeks ago, they commended him for putting his own little funky style into it. The crowd went crazy and applauded. Then Mia says, "yeah, but Jose has this whole heart thing that pulls us in," and the audience booed her (yay crowd!). Mia felt it seemed a little African. Then she said, "I miss Alex right now, hard." Beeyotch. Adam said he needs to finish his lines and add the snap. He encouraged him to keep pushing on his journey. (Adam is the Paula Abdul of this show--he always puts a positive spin into things.)

Kent/Lauren - they get to do a Travis Wall contemporary routine taking place after the prom. They're saying goodbye, but they know they'll be drawn back to each other no matter what. Both of them just graduated high school, so they can relate. Song: "Collide (Acoustic Version)" by Howie Day. They were a great pair and they ended with a KISS!! Lovely routine! I love Travis' choreographry. Nigel said it proved what good contemporary dancers Kent & Lauren are, and what a great choreographer Travis is. Mia said they had a great night tonight. Adam said it was so honest and real, so he felt it felt too intimate and he felt a little weird watching it....which is a testament to how well they danced it.

Ashley/Robert - quickstep...Cat reminds us that it's always the "kiss of death." (I feel like someone very insightful said that several paragraphs ago...) This dance is choreographed by Jean Marc & France. It's about a powerful man and a woman who wants to take away that power. Song: "Man with the Hex" by The Atomic Fireballs. I think as far as quicksteps go, they did a really good job. Nigel said Robert's shape wasn't quite right, but his character & technique were right. He thought Ashley was absolutely lovely, and she kept her body shape. Mia said, "they got through it and it wasn't a train wreck." The music didn't work for her. Not THEIR fault, Mia.... She thought Ashley's legs were too far apart. She said it wasn't the kiss of death, it was just "a really bad kiss." Whatever. Adam said the music spoke more to jive, but they got through it.

Jose/Billy - African Jazz routine by Sean Cheesman about a hunter and his prey. Song: "The Hunt" by Mickey Hart. Wow...I enjoyed it, but I think the two were a little mismatched. Billy's lines are incredible. Nigel said he loved the concept, but neither dancer was powerful enough. Mia loved Billy's performance. She said Jose went for it, but it wasn't enough. She thought it was his weakest performance, but he wasn't as physical as she would've liked him to be. Adam said that Billy sometimes needs to let go of his lines. He said that Jose needs to hit it harder. Then he ended with, "But I love you guys." (See, he's Paula!)

I think that should be it, right? Yes, that's it. Good show. I really liked Kent tonight. Lauren too. And Billy. Those are my top three. The three in danger might be: Adechike, Jose (it makes me sad to say that) and Robert. That leaves Ashley in the middle. I don't necessarily think the three in danger danced poorly, but someone has to be in the bottom.

During the closing credits, Dom and Jose had a little battle going on--wish we could've seen more!

DVR Alert!

I just learned that the Independent Film Channel (IFC) is running episodes of my favorite show of all time, Freaks & Geeks! The pilot episode ran last week, and ep. 2 will be showing various times this weekend--including 11:00pm eastern. (Looks like the pilot runs several times too.)

If you're not familiar with this show, I HIGHLY recommend it! You'll recognize a lot of faces, including that cutie pie, James Franco.

I'm so happy, which is actually kind of strange since I own the DVD set and can watch it any time. I guess I'm really excited for you, dear reader, because if you've never seen the show, here's your chance!


Adventures in NYC

Rockefeller Plaza

Hiya folks. Hope everyone had a Happy 4th of July. I'm sorry I didn't have any SYTYCD updates last week--I was preparing for a trip to NYC and didn't get a chance to see the whole performance show, and I haven't seen any of the elimination show. But, my sister and I had a great time in New York, as usual. The impetus for this trip was that Maroon 5 was playing on the Today Show on Friday, July 2.

Before we get to that, I wanted to talk about Thursday evening. We arrived in NYC around 6pm (the usually 4-hour ride took 6 hours...lots of folks on the road). We later met a friend for dinner at a place called Ayza, a Wine and Chocolate Bar. Wine AND chocolate?! Wow. Great food, great company--and great weather...we ate outside and it was wonderful. We finished the meal with this yummy-ness:

Molten Chocolate Cake @ Ayza in NYC 20-layer crepe dessert @ Ayza in NYC

By the way, Ayza sits at the bottom of a gorgeous apartment building. Can you imagine living in a place like this, and above a wine AND chocolate bar, no less?

So, after dinner, we walked around a bit, and then Deb and I headed to our hotel to prepare for Friday's activities.

On Friday morning, we got up at 3:30 a.m., got gussied up, and then headed over to The Today Show. We came across a police officer who pointed us to where we needed to get in line. We were thinking, there's a LINE? At 4:30 a.m.? The cop must've read our minds and pointed out that the first people arrived the night before at 8:00 p.m. and spent the night on the sidewalk. We got in line, and the folks who came behind us, counted the folks in front of us...we were about 80th in line.

The powers that be let us into the plaza around 6:00, and Maroon 5 drummer, Matt Flynn, warmed up and helped with the sound check. We crowded in, and noticed two things: 1) There's a whole "VIP" section in front of the stage, we were a bit back from that. And 2) we stood about 30 feet away from the gals who'd arrived at 8:00 p.m. the night before. So, lessons learned: 1) there's no real need to get there SO early, and 2) try to get your hands on some VIP passes.

The whole band came out around 6:30 and did some more sound testing/rehearsal. We got to hear "Sunday Morning" and "This Love." The crowd went crazy. We could barely see anything, but the band sounded good. Then, the Today Show started at 7:00 a.m., and we stood, and stood, and stood, until 8:30 when the band performed for real. We again heard "This Love" and "Sunday Morning." But we also got to hear their new song, "Misery." And...that was it! Most folks filed out at 9 a.m. Overall, it was fun--we were glad we went. Even though we were set back a ways from the stage, we still figure that it's the closest we'd ever be to the band, so we may as well enjoy it.

Maroon 5

More Adam

Matt & Meredith

Me and Deb @ the Today Show

After the show, we went back to the hotel for a nap, and then we met the same friend from the night before at her office building downtown. This is what she gets to see from the 42nd floor:

NYC skyline

NYC bridges


It was GORGEOUS up there!!!

Late Friday afternoon into evening, we visited with a friend who'd just had her second daughter last week. The baby was cute, and it was fun to hang out.

On Saturday, we set out to Brooklyn with our aunts and we spent the day at Coney Island. Deb and I had never been there before. The weather was spectacular--no humidity, just a few clouds, and a nice breeze. We walked most of the boardwalk and rode a couple of rides. One of the rides was a small roller coaster called "The Tickler." It looked rather tame, so we all decided to ride--then we screamed the whole way through--it was so funny!

Coney Island boardwalk

The Tickler

Coney Island

After Coney Island, we headed back to Manhattan to Times Square to see a part of the "Play Me, I'm Yours" art exhibit. This exhibit consisted of 60 pianos placed around the city--anyone can come up and play.

Play Me I'm Yours Piano @ Times Square Play Me I'm Yours

We hung out a bit more with our aunts, and then we parted ways. My aunts went to see a play, and Deb and I headed out to a new park they told us about called High Line Park. The High Line used to be an elevated railroad track. My aunt told us they were going to tear it down, but then someone came up with a plan to turn it into a park. Right now, it's from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District up to W. 20th Street between Avenues 10 and 11. It's planned to go up all the way to 34th street.

That night, Deb and I walked from Times Square (42nd and Broadway) all the way to the park (we entered at 20th street) and then to the end of the park. This was AFTER we walked all day at Coney Island. Our dogs were barking when we got home, but it was worth it--the park was so cool.

Along the High Line

The High Line

On the tracks

Oh, we had dinner at a place in the Meatpacking District, and then spent some time trying to figure out where they shot the final scene from the first Sex & the City movie...I think we found it. (But did I take a photo...noooooo.... not sure why!)

On Sunday, we finally had a celebrity sighting. We were at a diner, waiting for a friend, and in walked Dr. Drew Pinsky and another guy--his son perhaps? We were hoping they'd be seated at the two-top next to us, but they decided to go somewhere else. That was kinda cool. After breakfast, we took a stroll through Central Park, and then we headed back to catch our bus home.

There was no traffic coming home--this time our 4-hour trip only took about 3-1/2 hours! It was a great weekend, and I'm happy to have one more day off work so I can get in some relaxation and catch up on Tivo.