So You Think You Can Dance returns tonight with a tribute to Mia Michaels

I’m going to a concert tonight so I probably won’t get to watch the return of So You Think You Can Dance until tomorrow, but I’m super curious/excited to see what happens.  After a couple of seasons away from the show, Mia Michaels is back. . .sort of.  Tonight, each pair will be dancing a classic Mia routine – from “The Bench” which Travis and Heidi danced in season 2 to season 5′s “Gravity” originally danced by Kayla and Kupono.  I happen to think that Mia is a genius choreographer for the most part and all of the dances chosen are great, but I’m not sure how I feel about watching these new pairs try to take them on.  Each of the original dancers brought something so specific to the choreography that lifted the routines to a different level.  I suppose that’s kind of the point.  To see how the choreography is changed by who dances it and also to see if its the dancer or the choreography that really defines the dance.  It’s a really interesting idea and I’m very much looking forward to it.

So You Think You Can Dance Season 9: Top 20

So You Think You Can Dance Season 9 Top 20

Every year I think that there is no way the talent in the So You Think You Can Dancetop 20  will surpass the previous season and every year I am wrong.  Season 9′s top 20 appears to be particularly strong, not only in dance ability, but likability as well.  What I’m really excited for, though, is the fact that Mia FREAKING Michaels is BACK!  This is huge news that I wasn’t aware of before last night and I am very excited to see what kinds of stuff she comes up with for this crop of dancers.  Nigel Lythgoe has done some really great things with this show – never staying too precious with the format – and one of the best ideas was this first episode introduction.  It gives the dancers a chance to get comfortable on the SYTYCD stage in front of a live audience without the pressure of the competition hanging over them and produces some really great stuff.  And the choreographers tend to just KILL IT as they did last night. Continue reading

Emmy Nominations: Outstanding Choreography

Lauren Froderman and Kent Boyd perform the Travis Wall choreographed "Collide"

As I think I’ve made clear already, I love dance in general and it makes me extremely happy that the Emmys have an Outstanding Choreography category.  I think it’s a total travesty that we don’t get to see the nominated dances during the ceremony.  However, it appears that instead of nominating a specific routine, they nominate a choreographer and name 2 or three dances that got them the nomination, so I guess it might be difficult to show all of the nominated dances.  But they could definitely include a few of them – maybe show the dances by the winning choreographer or something.   Anyway, this year, choreographers from So You Think You Can Dance dominated the category scoring 5 out of the 6 nominations and since I know we won’t get to see the dances on the telecast (or even find out who wins in this category) I thought I’d make it easy to watch them all in one place.  The Outstanding Choreography category doesn’t usually get mentioned when television critics are analyzing the nominees, but it’s important to me.  Plus, I wanted to see all the dances again too! Continue reading

So You Think You Can Dance – My top 20 dances of all time to celebrate season 8′s top 20

Tonight, the top 20 dancers will strut their stuff and officially kick off season 8 of So You Think You Can Dance.  Spurred on by Entertainment Weekly, I decided to take a trip down memory lane and rewatch my favorite dances from the past.  It was a lot harder to narrow down than I though it would be, and it also hit home just how strong some seasons were vs. others.  For instance, I only chose one dance from season 6 vs 4 from season 4 and 5 from season 5 (huh.  How appropriate.)  One note before I get into the videos: stupidly, I didn’t watch the first season of this show, so I have not chosen any of those dances.

My favorite number of all time is a group number, so I’m including it as a bonus.  Wade Robson’s choreography for “Ramalama” (season 2, top 10 results show routine) has stuck with me ever since it first aired.  I love the characterization that each dancer brings to the performance and feel like I’m watching an 18th century zombie ball which is just nuts.  I know it’s a bit derivative of the choreography from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video, but I really don’t care.  Wade adds his own flair to it and it is just bursting with energy.

And we’re off! Continue reading

So You Think You Can Dance: “Meet The Top 20″

Your Judges! (l to r) Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, Tyce DiOrio, Lil' C, and Robin Antin

Part of the benefit of the truncated So You Think You Can Dance audition episodes is that there isn’t a lot of meaningless filler, but it also makes the show feel like it’s rushing.  The whole audition period has only taken 5 episodes.  I really would have liked one more Vegas episode and one episode devoted to our top 20 dancing for the first time.  However, last night, as the judges announced their picks for the top 20, instead of getting the same backstories over and over again (and NOT getting to see the final solos), the producers combined the tunnel of doom episode with the very first episode of new dances.  Starting in season 6, producers added a “Meet the Top 20″ episode to give the audience a chance to get to know the dancers in their own genres before the voting begins.  It’s a really smart move because it means that pretty much everyone starts out with at least some camera time (although Sasha Mallory is definitely the winner in the exposure race this year) and the dancers get a chance to dance on the big stage for the first time without the pressure of being voted off which helps them reign in their nerves when the competition really begins.  I think the combination of the reveal and “Meet the Top 20″ is ingenious and I am super super excited to get started.

Cat Deeley in all her courthouse bridal glory.

Cat’s first live show ensemble is a little “courthouse bride”, but still pretty.  It’s so nice to have Cat back as her full charming, excitable self.  She is so happy to be on the stage with so many good dancers and it’s lovely that she is so supportive of them.  The judges on hand tonight are Nigel Lythgoe, Mary murphy, Robin Antin, Lil’ C, and Tyce DiOrio.  (Gotta say, I’m loving Mary’s hair color this year).  My biggest complaint about the all-star season last year was that the dancers never got a chance to establish a chemistry so each dance felt like they were just getting to know each other’s rhythms.  Luckily, Nigel is not afraid of change and after shaking the structure up last year by adding in the all-stars, he’s doing it again by combining the two elements – we’ll have a top 20 and get to see the dancers build chemistry with the same partner for the first five weeks and when it gets to the top 10, the all-stars will swoop in and be awesome.  I think it’s great to hear that Nigel listened to the audience and found a compromise that works for everyone.

Shall we meet the top 20? Continue reading

So You Think You Can Dance: VEGAS WEEK!

Cat didn't really have too much to do during the Vegas callbacks, but she looked super cute.

Not only did we get a truncated audition round (only 3 episodes vs at least 4-6 episodes in previous seasons), but this year’s So You Think You Can Dance Vegas week (where a dancer’s dream goes to die) was smushed into one episode instead of spread out over two.  Normally, I’m ok with shortening the number of audition episodes.  I think it was a good thing for SYTYCD and forced the producers to keep the focus on the good dancers rather than try to fill time with crap dancers.  But I think Vegas week could have been extended.  The shortened episode meant less time spent with the dancers who are moving into the top 20 which means going into tonight’s announcement I can think of exactly 5 dancers who I know by name.  I think having an attachment to the dancers early on is important.  Plus, it’s always kind of fun to see who surprises and succeeds vs who surprises and fails at each step.

Ladies & Gentlemen, your JUDGES!

This year, 160 dancers made it from the city auditions to Las Vegas where they will be judged by Robin Antin, Adam Shankman, Debbie Allen (Woo Hoo!), Tyce Diorio (Boo!), Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe.  (Is Robin Antin supposed to be the hip hop expert on this panel?  Because I’ve never seen her dance and she said about two words all night.  Bring back Lil’ C!)  For those of you unfamiliar with Vegas week, here’s how it goes.  Each dancer dances a solo for the judges with no feedback, the judges make cuts, then the dancers learn choreography in hip hop, broadway, ballroom, and contemporary, with cuts after each genre, next, the dancers get together in small groups to choreograph their own routine, the judges make cuts, and finally, the dancers dance solos one more time, more cuts are made and then about 30 or so dancers are left waiting to find out if they’ll get into the top 20.  I don’t know why there’s no additional dancing between the final solo cuts and the top 20 cuts, but there should be.  More dancing is always welcome. Continue reading

Good News of the Day! (So You Think You Can Dance)

Lauren Froderman celebrates her season 7 win with host Cat Deeley

Get ready for the return of Mary Murphy’s screams and some seriously good dancing!  So You Think You Can Dance will return to Fox on Thursday May 26th at 8pm with two hours of auditions.  After taking last year off, Mary Murphy will return as a permanent judge joining executive producer Nigel Lythgoe and the very best hostess on TV, Cat Deeley, will also be back.  I hope we get the return of Mia Michaels’ choreography now that she is no longer a permanent judge.  As good as some of the dances were last year, she is just the best and I really missed seeing the dancers grapple with the challenges her choreography presents.  Hopefully we’ll find out which choreographers will be back soon.  SYTYCD is my very favorite reality show – I can’t wait to see what kind of talent they bring to my TV this year!

Monday Night TV: House, Greek, & The Bachelor: The Women Tell All

 

Scott Michael Foster, Dilshad Vadsaria, Jacob Zachar, Clark Duke, Spencer Grammer, Paul James, Jake McDorman, & Amber Stevens of Greek.

Greek (ABC Family) – After four fun-filled seasons, Greek has come to an end.  This show was like a carnival ride and bright pink cotton candy all rolled into one.  It was fun, frothy, sweet and totally inconsequential.  It never took itself seriously, but still taught great lessons about finding yourself, loyalty and the importance of higher education (although maybe not the book-learning kind).  In this final episode, the KTs worked a terrible terrible scheme to try (in vain) to save their house, but like most episodes, I was chuckling all the way through (until they actually tore down the house – I have to admit, I teared up a bit).  I am a big fan of the fairy tale element in any finale and this one had fairy tales in spades and they were all beautiful.  Cappie (AKA Captain John Paul Jones) and Casey rode off into the sunset, everyone started the next chapters in their lives with smiles on their faces and friends by their sides and Kappa Tau lived to fight another day.  I’m definitely going to miss the crazy theme parties and overdrawn romances, but it is time to say good bye.  Like all shows based in high school or college, viewers will only stick around for so long before they start to see the grey hairs in the actors and stop buying them as being high school or college aged.  It had one of the most diverse casts on TV, perfect chemistry, a great sense of humor, and a huge, huge heart.  Good-bye Greek.  Way to do the college thing right.

 

 

House and Cuddy (Hugh Laurie and Lisa Edelstein) take a dance break.

 

House (Fox): I haven’t watched this show regularly in a few seasons.  The predictability and constant cast shuffling started to get me down and I gave up.  But I read in Entertainment Weekly that this week’s episode would have a dream sequence choreographed by Mia Michaels (So You Think You Can Dance) so I tuned in.  I actually really enjoyed the episode as a whole, but the highlight was definitely Michaels’ dance to “Get Happy” .  That woman constantly surprises me with how emotional her dances can be.  The dream dance took place while Cuddy was under anesthesia and had a sort of dark and twisted undertone which I absolutely loved.  House and Cuddy’s break up was actually really sad, despite the fact that I haven’t been around for any of their relationship, but it may be too much of a downer for me to jump back into the show at this point (especially judging from that haunting preview for next week’s episode).  I don’t think I’ll keep House on my DVR, especially because my 8 o’clock hour is already full on Monday nights, but I’m glad I tuned in for tonight’s diversion.

Continue reading