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 – From 20 to 16

The top 20 perform a dance choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon

Group Routine, choreographed by Christopher Scott performed to “The Beautiful People (District 78 Remix) by Marilyn Manson: I really had no idea who choreographed the opening group routine while I was watching it.  It highlighted Cyrus which led me to believe that it was a hip hop choreographer, but had these great group movements (that I really have no way to describe other than to say it was like the dancers were portraying the movement of breathing) which made me think that it was a contemporary choreographer.  The dance was completely great, but the director did a really poor job of capturing it and editing the performance which is a bummer.  I LOVED the choreography – really challenging and different and entertaining.  The whole piece had a really great vibe to it.  I’m so glad the producers recognized how important these group routines are and didn’t get rid of them when they got rid of the elimination episode.

Amber and Nick during rehearsals.

I can’t believe we’re going to lose FOUR dancers tonight.  That’s not cool.  We jump RIGHT into the top 20 announcement by pairs.  Everyone is pretty much getting the same level of screaming across the board although it definitely lessons as the pairs go on, as if the crowd got tired of cheering which is really weird and kind of sad.  It doesn’t take that much energy, guys.  Also, it is made very clear that the group numbers are pre-taped.  I am ok with that.  I adore Cat’s dress.  So summery and adorable.  Umm, that routine was apparently Tabitha and Napoleon.  They have really switched things up stylistically this season.  It’s kind of crazy.

Judges: Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, Adam Shankman

Tonight’s guest judge is Adam Shankman which I think is a good choice for the first cut.  At least he knows something about dance/dancers so he’ll actually be able to have an opinion unlike, say, Zooey Deschanel last week. After Nigel does his whole Dance Day Spiel (which I’m all for, really, but he does go on a bit long) Cat says that we are not only going to get 10 performances from the contestants but also a sneak peak at Step Up: Revolution and a live performance from some of the dancers from the movie PLUS we have to see four people eliminated.  All in under 2 hours.  Ummmmm, right.

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Lindsay & Cole, Hip-hop, choreographed by Christopher Scott, Performed to "Teeth" by Lady Gaga: I have a total soft spot for this song so I’m prepared to really like this performance. I thought his costume was great and Lindsay is definitely tried to bring the personality and character, but I don't think the props really worked the way that they should - she seemed to be working extra hard to move that chair around and things kept flying off her costume. She definitely out-danced him a little. He was just a little less sharp or something. Maybe she was more exaggerated in her sharpness? I'm not sure. It's was cute, but maybe a little under-choreographed. Cole totally annoyed me when he remained in character during judging. The first time, ok, but after that it's obnoxious.

Here’s where things get weird and sad and awkward.   Continue reading

So You Think You Can Dance: The Top 20 Perform for Votes

The Top 20 perform a Christopher Scott routine.

The show opens with a group number which I’m almost positive has been choreographed by Christopher Scott (I was right) and I am immediately relieved because I assumed that with the elimination of the results show the group numbers would be eliminated as well. Anyway, The costumes makeup and hair are just rockin’.  I love the use of the spinny chairs as props and I really feel like everyone is in complete unison and just kind of rocking it.  Wow.  I’m really excited to get to know these dancers.  They just completely hold my interest.  They all look as if they’ve been a company forever.  I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like to lose any of them.  Why, GOD, WHY!

Now we have our intro to the top 20 dancers and its clear that the opening number was pre taped because everyone is in different hair and makeup and costumes.  I guess I’m ok with that.  Our judges tonight are Nigel, Mary and Kenny Ortega (he of Dirty Dancing and the High School Musical series).  Right off the bat they explain how things are going to go down next week – America will vote for individuals and the bottom three guys and bottom three girls will be announced next week and 2 of each will be sent home by the judges.  Apparently there will also be some discussion with the choreographers about the dancers, which I think could be interesting if we get to see any of that.  They better not kick off 2 dancers each every week.  That would be a depressingly short show.  I’m hoping the double elimination is just to make up for the lack of episode last week.  Shall we get on with it?

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Witney (why no “H” Witney?) & Chehon, Samba, choreographed by Louis Van Amstel, performed to “Jump" by The Cube Guys & Lucinana: Chehon is a little stiff. Witney is awesome at this, as she should be considering that this is her thing. I wish they had chosen a different hairstyle for Chehon. There's something a little stop and go about the choreography that's not really sitting well with me. They are trying to connect, you can see them trying to connect, but there's definitely something missing here. They gave it the good old college try, but the two of them together just didn't work. Yes, Witney was great, but I think she wasn't quite there for Chehon to bring him into it a little more and that would have been nice to see. I pretty much don't care what the judges say, but find it hilarious that Kenny clearly didn't know Chehon's name so chose to call him "mister" during his critique.

Season 9 is kick-ass.

Good god.  I can’t even handle this season.  There is barely a weak link.  Plus, no results show means I have to wait another whole week for another episode.  Unfortunately, I think that Nick and Amber’s Viennese Waltz is going to land them in the bottom three because it didn’t quite have the same allure as a lot of the other dances.  I’d also put Janaya and Brandon in the bottom but I don’t want them to go home at all.  I think it’s possible that Daniel and Alexa will end up in the bottom as well which would be really sucky.  I don’t want anyone to go home.  LET THEM ALL STAY.  Let’s just pick the final winners at the end of 10 weeks of awesome dancing.  That’s my vote.    UGH.  Two people going home next week is stupid.  Can’t they just keep a double elimination for further down the line when they can seen who’s not improving and have more evidence of the dancers’ abilities?  I HATE (but really love) this show!

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

TV Critic’s Choice Nominations Announced

The critics always get it more right than the academy when it comes to handing out these awards.  I’m not sure why it’s so hard for the excellence that exists on television to be recognized over the merely popular at the Emmys, but that seems to be the case more often than not (Kyle Chandler’s win for Best Actor last year not-withstanding).  My Emmy ballot won’t look exactly like this, but I bet it will be pretty damn close.  I made a few notes on nominees who most likely won’t be nominated by the Emmys and who I don’t care for and the photo by each category represents my pick to win.  The awards will be handed out at an non-televised gala on June 18th.

My Pick: Parks and Recreation; I really could have gone with Community, Girls, New Girl or P&R, but this photo clinched it.

BEST COMEDY SERIES
The Big Bang Theory
Community 
Girls 
Modern Family 
New Girl 
Parks and Recreation

Non-Emmy entry: Community (there seems to be something about Community that the Emmys just don’t like.  Maybe it’s quirkiness, maybe it’s self-referential attitude.  Regardless, Community deserves at least the recognition of a nomination); Non-TV Junkie entry: The Big Bang Theory (I just don’t find it funny in the least) Continue reading

Bits and Bobs: TV is still awesome

TV is as good as ever (LOVED the twist on The Vampire Diaries last night that when an original dies their whole bloodline dies with them) but I’ve found that when the TV I love is really good, I have less of a need to blog about it.  Here are a few bits and bobs that I’ve been thinking about anyway:

- Nothing makes me happier than seeing So You Think You Can Dance alum in new projects – last week I pointed out that Alex Wong is in Newsies on broadway (along with Jess LeProtto from season 8 and Evan Kasprzak from season 5), this week it has come to my attention that Kathryn McCormick from Season 6 is starring in Step Up: Revolution out this summer.  Not only that, but Travis Wall is going to be choreographing a few of the dances.  Dude.  This is going to be the best (dance-wise) in the series yet!

- Do you think America is ready for a black Bachelor? If ABC/Mike Fleiss go with Lamar Hurd from Portland, OR I think the answer is ABSOLUTELY!  Check out his audition video in which he comes across as sincere, well-spoken, actually interesting and also adorable!  That smile!  Seriously, ABC.  You should do this.

Show pickups for next season are starting to trickle in from the networks and so far there haven’t been any major surprises.  I’m still holding out hope for a Fringe renewal from Fox though.

- I have finally watched Terriers, the FX series from 2010.  It is awesome.  I still have 1 episode to go but it is so worth checking out on Netflix if you’re looking for a great show.

 

Alex ‘Freaking’ Wong in Broadway’s Newsies!

Alex FREAKING Wong!

I don’t think there’s been a more beloved contestant on So You Think You Can Dance than Alex Wong from season 7.  The kid kept getting knocked down – when he first auditioned (for season 6) he made it all the way to the final round only to learn that the Miami Ballet wouldn’t let him out of his contract, when he returned the following year he gave 4 amazing performances (culminating with this one) and then got sidelined by a terrible injury and THEN the next year he was almost made an All Star (despite not making it very far in the competition) but re-injured his achilles and had to sit it out again!  As a fan of both the show and Alex, it was devastating.  So it warmed my heart to see him front and center in this video of a performance from the new Broadway musical Newsies.  For those of you who don’t know, Newsies is an adaptation of the truly great/terrible 1992 movie musical starring Christian Bale and Bill Pullman.  I would line up to buy tickets for the show regardless, but knowing that Alex ‘FREAKING’ Wong is in it only adds to my disappointment that I no longer live in New York.

‘Newsies’ Cast Performs in Broadway Medely Times Square | Video – ABC News.

The Highs and Lows of Summer 2011 TV

This has been one of the busier summers TV wise in recent memory.  There were a ton of new shows premiering on cable and a lot of them actually weren’t bad.  For the most part, the shows kept things light and easy, but every once in a while they really surprised me with their craft.  While gearing up for the fall premieres has me all sorts of excited, I don’t want to forget how much I’ve enjoyed what was on TV this summer either.  (For the purpose of this article, I am only including shows that premiered between June 1 and September 1).  A common theme among the shows I loved this summer is a feeling of surprise.  Either a new show that I wasn’t expecting to like or an old show that had some new tricks up its sleeve.  There were a few disappointments (while still one of my favorite shows, So You Think You Can Dance was missing a certain something for me this year) but overall, the summer TV schedule was a pleasure to watch. Continue reading

So You Think You Can Dance: And the winner is. . .

Season 8's top 20 one last time.

I’m still pretty bummed about the way things went down last night, but I’ve been reminded that the season finales very rarely provide us with stellar numbers (on my own top 20 list only one -Jeanine & Kayla’s Mia routine from Season 6 – comes from the final competition episode). I think fatigue has a lot to do with it which is unfortunate, but hopefully tonight the final four – Melanie, Tadd, Marko and Sasha – will bring a more relaxed energy. At the very least they won’t be required to do ALL of the heavy lifting tonight.

Some wicked leaps to start off the show.

Top 20 Group Performance, performed to “Wanna Get Hype” by District 78: I’m going to assume that the use of District 78 means this is a Sonya routine, also, the costumes and hair are very S&M dark which is a pretty Sonya trait. But the style of the choreography is more classical than Sonya normally uses so that makes me doubt it. But NICK is there!!! All is right with my world. Perhaps if Nick had been given a couple of chances rather than just the one week, I would feel differently, but he definitely got cut before his time. I loved the moment that our final four emerged from the back of the stage. (For the record, I totally guessed right about Sonya being the choreographer. I rock at this show.) Continue reading

So You Think You Can Dance: The Final Four didn’t exactly “bring it”

Man, oh man was Katie Holmes a waste of space at the judges table last night.

The So You Think You Can Dance season 8 2 part finale is upon us and my expectations of the final four – Melanie, Marko, Tadd & Sasha – is very high.  All season long, we’ve heard that Melanie and Sasha are the two greatest female dancers ever to dance on this show about dance and while I appreciate both girls’ skill, I feel as though they’ve been shoved down our throats a bit and that worries me.  I do believe that going into this show, Marko and Tadd are just glad to have made it this far and they should be proud, although I think the boys’ field of contestants was definitely weaker than the girls.  But first things first – Cat’s makeup looks gorgeous!  I wish she was wearing a flirtier dress with it, but still.  Gorgeous.  She must be kicking things up a notch in order to celebrate the finale.  Instead of the little dances as intros, Melanie, Sasha, Marko and Tadd sort of stalk up the stage all confident like.  We must have a lot of dancing to fit in if they can’t even take a few seconds to do a little jig while Cat says their name (and we do – each contestant will dance with an all star, each other and a solo for a total of 20 routines tonight!).  Tonight the Mary and Nigel are joined by Kenny Ortega and Katie Holmes (who has the prettiest hair on the planet). Continue reading