So You Think You Can Dance: Calling All Dancers! (Season 8 Episode 1 Atlanta and Bay Area Auditions)

Cue Music!

I’ve come to the conclusion that this show is my favorite. Not only is the dancing crazy, but you can see how the choreography has evolved over the course of the show. The talent is so high that it is impressive (whether or not it is true that every season has talent stronger than the last). Cat Deeley is easily one of the best hosts on TV (though she never gets any credit) and the judges are generally speaking helpful and intelligent (except for when they were disarmed by Jose’s smile but you know everyone makes mistakes).

For the first stop on the audition tour we have judges Nigel, Lil C, and Mary Murphy (a quieter Mary due to the health problems she dealt with over the past year). In case you have never seen the show there are three possible outcomes to an audition: 1) you are awful, just leave. 2) you might be good go learn some choreography, or 3) you’re awesome here is your ticket to Los Vegas.

First of the Bianka Hinkerian is a Columbian Salsa dancer who auditions with a partner who is too young for the show this year but Nigel seems almost more taken by him than her (though both are quite impressive and actually this is one of the few Latin performances that I have ever appreciated). Their tricks were choreographer worthy. Mary gives her stamp of technical approval. They send her to choreography (not straight through?!?).

Melanie Moore is an art major at Fordham and though my immediate thought when I heard that she wasn’t studying dance was “she must not be that dedicated/good” I have learned not to jump to conclusions. (She is also the first sad story of the show about her father who died.) This is one of the better solos we will likely see in general. Mary can’t stop wowing throughout. She is warned to be excellent in other genres or else because she is going to Vegas!

Anyone else notice Nigel’s new haircut? Not sure how I feel about it. Mary looks great. Lil C seems a bit ignored during this.

I have watched Deon Lewsa Jr and Damon Bellmon audition twice and I feel like something must not have translated through the screen because the judges were cracking up and I couldn’t find anything funny. Mostly I thought, why do you keep wasting time doing nothing? Nigel can’t imagine anyone not being entertained by it. (Sorry Nig.) Deon goes straight through to Vegas for his extra bit of personality and Damon gets one too, though not before being tricked into thinking he was being sent home empty-handed.

The city seemed to be teeming with dancers of talent as a montage of tickets goes by. 10 in a row straight to Vegas, which had never happened before.

Marko Germar was shot while fighting back during a robbery and the bullet is still there. He’s not bad though he doesn’t have the extension we’ve come to see from some other dancers (ie- Billy Bell, Alex Wong, etc). Nigel says fabulous and he’s through to choreography.

25 dances go to choreography for Day 1. Katee and Jakob teach the dancers the routine and in the end, Bianca goes to Vegas, along with Marko eleven others.

Kimalee Piedad is another ballroom dancer with a non-competing partner (though not because he isn’t old enough) and their performance to gravity is another impressive routine though it might have been a little too lift heavy (sometimes they looked more difficult than graceful) He seemed to be just a strong partner not a particularly great dancer. I think Nigel was even tearing up a bit. Straight through.

Mary and Lil C compete for most fake words of the day but despite Mary’s Organtic, Lil C ultimately wins–Dominissive! Nigel asks about Surnames which seems to be mystifying in its own right. To be fair, that is a British thing. In this country we say “Last Name”.

John “White Chocolate” Palermo is the first audition we see to really not impressive. Perhaps trying too hard to be black John? Too juvenile dude. He accepts with the consolation prize of a hug from each judge.

Cue montage of Awesome (aka Awful).

Kyre Batiste gets a quartet as judging panel. Judge number four is his grandmother. Kyre is another one of those bizarre dancers that is surprisingly entertaining. Her grandmother thinks he should have used his eyes better. Lil C disagrees at the risk of a belt whipping. He goes to choreography.

This seems to be a small group of dancers for choreography. Kyre does not make it through (he’s only 18 so he has time).

Part two has Tyce Diorrio, Tony Redpath, and Nigel Lythgoe as judges.

Amber Williams is ready to dance her tusher off. She might have hard time in this competition simply because her energy is overwhelming and annoying. Her dancing on the other hand is quite excellent so we’ll see. Going to Vegas. (Because in Nigel’s world, Amber is a traffic light color that means get ready.)

B-Boy Timothy Joseph is all stunts which, while cool, may not actually qualify as dance. Tony agrees with me but the other judges don’t. Choreography round for Timothy.

With all the good dancing, we were bound to head to some bad shots. Former stripper Ieshia Moss freestyles it and Nigel hides. Marcos Prieto gets her encouragement.

Danielle Ihle‘s father lost their house and his job and abandoned the family. Dancing one sock on and one sock off, Danielle was pretty great technically (after a bit of a slow start). Tony wants more elite and emotion, which Tyce agrees with. Choreography.

Ashley Rich has extensions that Tyce agrees with. She isn’t wearing the best outfit for an audition, but otherwise, great performance. Vegas it is!

Things started to look up and a number of solid dancers showed up. That was before D’onque Addison showed up and burst into tears. He had a story to tell, or so he said. Never got around to the actual telling. The judges can only watch his tears in complete confusion. Nigel rightly warns him not to be SO vulnerable because it repels people.

In the choreography round were 22 dancers led by Katee and Will. Timothy has hurt his knee and pulls out. Danielle manages to find her smile and easily gets a ticket. 14 in total get tickets.

Jeffrey McCann is a b-boy billed as possibly better than Timothy. But better than the b-boys we have seen on the show thus far? His movements are cleaner and sharper than Timothy’s. He gets a big “heck yeah!” from Tyce and a Vegas ticket from Nigel’s forehead.

Ryan Ramirez came close to making the show last year–Top 24 (don’t really remember her). She thinks she has found herself since so hopefully that will mean she is even better. She’s very charismatic and bubbly. You can tell she’s really enjoying and she clearly has talent. Tyce says he can see the improvement in her power and extensions. Definite yes (to Vegas or choreography?). Nigel lets her walk almost out of the room before giving her a ticket. Hehe, he’s better at being tricky than Ryan Seacrest is.

Whitney Bezzant and Lilly Nguyen are among some of the others to get tickets straight to Vegas.

Time for something different (read: creepy). The insect.

Turfing is a dance where you…have swagger, feetwork, pantomime, and storytell. This doesn’t sound like a unique dance style but sure. Levi “I Dummy” Allen however makes it look interesting and unique. Nigel is not sure he likes it visually but he is impressed. Tony wants more facial performance. They worry that the choreography will be difficult but he is sent through.

24 dancers do the final choreography, Levi needs to learn more choreography. 7 others do make it through.

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Platinum Hit: Episode 1

Because we do not have enough singing competitions on TV (American Idol, The X Factor, The Voice, The Sing-Off, America’s Got Talent partially…) it was time to have a new one. This one, on Bravo, attempts to put its own spin on the competition by making it geared towards singer-songwriters rather than singers. It is more about writing songs than being particularly good at singing them. Each week they are given a particularly genre and/or subject for which they must compose a song.

Jewel, as host, takes after Padma of Top Chef and Heidi Klum on Project Runway–every line is delivered as a stiff statement off fact. It almost looks like she needed to be specially taught how to enunciate for this gig.

Like with all Bravo TV competitions, we meet the competitors as they drag their luggage around (in this case into the Songwriters Hall of Fame), meet each other, and talk about how awesome they are and how determined they are to win. One is a self-proclaimed leader of men. One competitor, named Blessing, is blind and has a seeing eye dog.

Jewel comes in and lets them know that maybe one or two of them will ever make it into the Hall of Fame. She also explains that the songwriting will happen in two parts–first the hook then the rest. The winner will receive $100,000, a publishing deal with Sony, and a recording deal with RCA Jive.

For the first competition, they must write a hook for a song about LA in 30 minutes. inspiration varies from the reasons people come to LA to sunglasses (could fit in with a Glee original song–we had “My Headband” and “My Cup”, why not “My Sunglasses”?) to homeless men.

Judging time brings in Kara DioGuardi, the judge no one liked from American Idol. To be fair, I didn’t dislike her the way other people did. I thought she generally knew what she was talking about and gave better critique than the others. Plus, she has written an obscene number of hits so she is appropriate here.

Scotty– (Jordin Spark’s creative director) “No One” not bad, not amazing
Johnny– “Lost in Los Angeles” also ok
Sonyae– “Love It or Hate It” Kara seems to like, meh
Blessing– “Smile for Me LA” this one is sweet
Amber– “LA with Me Tonight” ok
Jackie– “City of Dreams” fave so far
Melissa– Hawaiian chick “Our Town” doesn’t get far before messing up so…yeah
Jes– “Fake” pretty good
Brian– “City of Make-Believe” (people not feeling good about LA huh?) I liked
Karen– “Southern Spice” Huh?
Nevin– “You’ll Never Be My Home” depressing and not catchy. oh, and Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind.”
Nick– “My City” not bad but not amazing.

Winners:
4- Jackie (catchy)
3- Scotty (good emotion)
2- Nick (crafty)
1- Sonyae (high energy)
The winners get to choose their teams for the next part which is to work in groups of three and create a song around the winning hooks. (Apparently writing a hit song is rarely a solo adventure, explaining why they are being grouped up.) They can modify the hooks but that is their starting point.

The Teams:

  • Sonyae- Blessing and Amber. Team Sonyae decide to just have Sonyae perform because they don’t think they can sell it. Sonyae realizes she should hav chosen her team more carefully because their genres are so different.
  • Nick- Jes and Karen. Nick is full of himself and his awesomeness. (“Jes and Karen should be thankful hat I chose them.”)
  • Scotty- Brian and Nevin Not showing LA much love. Nevin can’t give much but cliche.
  • Jackie- Johnny and Melissa. Melissa cannot focus and ends up being distracting.

Performance time:
Team Nick is up first with “My City”. I don’t love the girls’ voices, they’re a bit shrill, but after that it is pretty solid. I could listen to it.
Team Jackie comes second with “City of Dreams” which I find a little easier to listen to. I like Jackie’s voice (though it would be better with a better singer) and the song is definitely one I would put on my iPod.
Team Scotty is third with “No One Again” and they put on a melodramatic performance. Not awful but not great either.
Team Sonyae/just Sonyae is last with “Love It or Hate It” and does not manage to maintain the high energy of the hook challenge.

Team Jackie and Team Nick are called up in one group and told they are the top two teams. Only one team can win and that team is Nick’s.

Team Sonyae and Team Scotty are the bottom. Sonyae’s team is safe because of their melody in the hook. Otherwise, boo your song sucked. Meanwhile Scotty’s was alienating. Ultimately, Nevin is considered the weakest link and goes home.

The funny thing about this show is that there are two other judges but we only really hear Jewel (the host) and Kara (head judge) speak. I can’t even say who the other two are. EW seems to think that the songwriters have songs already thought out and just plug new lyrics into them and while that might be true I don’t mind, since once they collaborate things get changed anyway. I imagine on Project Runway the contestants have some ideas before starting the show.

I’m not sure how much I liked this show. It does feel different than the other singing shows (no auditions for one thing) and the emphasis on the writing is interesting. This seems like a difficult system to have to write songs in but they do seem to have some talent in the group.

ABDC: Season 6 Episode 8

We’re down to the final three this week (Theme: Kanye West) and only one group will be safe. This means that two will have to battle it out for a spot in the finals. Who will it be?

But first a group number, I wonder who choreographs these. I also think it is interesting to see how much better the crews choreograph routines then whoever did this bigger number (whereas on So You Think You Can Dance, the weakest performances almost always come from the solos). Not that it is bad, it is just not quite as impressive as the things we have seen on the show.

The first and only crew that is safe this week is…Iconic Boyz. Really? They have improved a lot, but better than I.aM.mE? Ok, if you say so Mario. Instead of the single challenge, last season’s winners, Poreotix demonstrates three different styles which they must incorporate in some way–the Dougie, Boogaloos, and Isos. The Boyz are not used to these styles and have a tough time in practice but by performance time they seem all right. They do the challenge in fairly typical fashion (which is to say, straight out with no frills) with the exception of the Dougie. After a few particularly strong weeks, I think this is one of their weaker performances.
Judges’ Say:
D-Trix: Had some good moments but a little sketchy with the movement at times.
Lil Mama: Wants to establish that they’re not just cute (stop yelling Mama!)
JC: Entertaining but not your best. Don’t lose cleanliness.

Phunk Phenomenon must fight for a place in next week’s finale. Like the Boyz, they struggle with the isos but are familiar with the music. Solid opening, frame stunts well. (Deserve the finale more than the Boyz.)
Judges’ Say:
Lil Mama: Amazing. You are the underdogs.
JC: Fantastic performance. You threw some nitro into your tank.
D-Trix: This routine had zero downtime.

I.aM.mE is last to fight for the finale. They have a harder time with the Dougie than anything else. They are as exciting and interesting and surprising as ever. The crowd is screaming for them.
Judges’ Say:
JC: I could not ask for more. Outstanding creativity. Nothing you do is expected.
D-Trix: ……..temporarily struck dumb. Every move was yours. You’re supposed to be all out of tricks. Brain banging.
Lil Mama: Shout shout shout I agree shout shout.

The judges have decided and not surprisingly, I.aM.mE is moving on while Phunk Phenomenon is headed home. Now we get one more performance from the finalists to help America make their final decisions. There are no challenges here, they get to choose their own music and moves, with a big theme.

Iconic Boyz aim for “The Boyz in Hollywood” theme which is cute if not unexpected. it opens with them walking the red carpet which is maybe a waste of a few seconds but not entirely detrimental considering how much time they have. They do a good job but again their moves are somewhat repetitive with few shapes/pictures/formations, etc.

I. aM.mE has gone a different route, creating their own superhero routine using the elements–fire, water, earth, wind, electricity, and machine. Wait, machine is not an element. Neither is electricity but at least that is not manufactured. They also create their own music (at least in part) for the routine. The interesting thing here is they showcase each member’s unique dance style, creating their usual unique shapes but still doing something new. The judges actually give them a standing ovation (allowing us to see the ridiculousness that is Lil Mama’s outfit) with JC clapping about as enthusiastically as he can manage. And he’s usually the serious judge.

I would be surprised if I.aM.mE did not win. What do you think? Are you happy with the finalists?

The Voice: Episode 5

We’re on Round Three this week, let’s see what the coaches have come up with:

Team Christina:
For this battle, Raquel Castro and Julia Eason will be singing together.The song is Rihanna’s “Only Girl in the World”. This seems like a fairly even pairing. Sia tells her to relax her vocal chords to improve her tone. (I’m glad she actually understands that, cause I’m not sure I do.) Raquel is a bit more of a powerhouse. Both girls have some pitch problems so here’s hoping they have improved.
Battle On for Round 3:
The opening is sort of quiet and a bit shaky (Raquel tries to show off some of her dance moves). I don’t think either of these girls will be winning the competition. I think Raquel has the advantage here.

  • Cee Lo thinks it was wonderful but he thinks Raquel (Lil Mama) won.
  • Blake finds Raquel better all around but Julia better when she opens up.
  • Adam thinks they are dead even vocally but Raquel has “this thing”.
  • Christina enjoyed working with them both with Julia cleaner and Raquel more energetic.

Christina picks Raquel to stick around.

Team Blake:
Dia Frampton vs Serabee are put together much to Blake’s amusement. He has them singing “You Can’t Hurry Love” and he’s excited because they have such different styles. They advise Dia to hang on to her stage fright. Blake tells Serabee not to oversing it.
Round 2 Fight!:
Dia doesn’t sound great on this song, it just doesn’t suit her voice. I like Serabee better vocally but she needs to move out of the church choir thing (I don’t think this was the right pairing or song choice). Weird choice Blake.

  • Adam found Serabee’s carefree vibe carried the performance.
  • Cee Lo just thought it was bizarre. Dia’s voice is wonderful to him.
  • Christina found them too odd to decide.
  • Reba liked how consistent Dia was.
  • Blake thinks the odd pairing was to help bring them out of their comfort zone.

He chooses Dia. (Meh.)

Team Adam:
Rebecca Loebe and Devon barley are paired off to sing “Creep” because the song is dark and ominous where they are not at all. Rebecca has the advantage because she knows the song. Devon is so obviously uncomfortable so Adam recommends he try to connect to it.
Battle Time:
Devon seems to have gotten over his nerves and despite how different their auditions were, they sound great together. Adam, best pairing so far. I don’t love Rebecca’s voice, but I like how they sound together.

  • Blake doesn’t want this pair separated ever.
  • Christina originally turned for Rebecca but she thinks Devon stole the show.
  • Cee Lo loves their cohesive quality but he liked Devon more.
  • Adam is split. He had a plan and their performance ruined it.

He goes with the performance itself and picks Devon.

Team Cee Lo:
Tori and Taylor Thompson vs Kelsey Rey are partnered up for “Unwirtten.” This is a tough but awesome song. Originally thought the duos would have an advantage over the soloists, I think the case is the opposite because if they have twice the chance to mess up. If only one screws up that could knock them out. Kelsey just has to make sure to exude charisma.
Final Round:
Kelsey’s voice is the most similar to Natasha Bedingfield’s voice and she’s a little older so she’s got a bit of a stronger stage presence.

  • Adam loves the cuteness. Fun to watch but he can’t pick.
  • Blake is impressed by the sister’s improvement but thinks Kelsey is better.
  • Christina feels the opposite.
  • Monica thinks the sisters have something special but Kelsey is so self-assured.
  • Cee Lo loves the sisters’ charm and innocence.
  • But tonight, Cee Lo will have to go with…The Thompson Sisters. Really?

    Do you agree with all the coaches’ picks? How do you feel about the show after three weeks of battling? Are you ready to move on? Do you think it is a mistake to expand this show to two hours?

Make It Or Break It: What Lies Beneath/Worlds Apart

The worlds team takes some publicity photos. The Rock girls diss KP who insists that she is not part of team but only looking out for herself. Kaylie’s all “but we’re a team not competition!” KP’s all “whatev” but then Kaylie is called to stand in front instead of KP and her mother (the manamonster) goes berserk. Summer points out how shameful KP’s mom’s exploitation of her daughter is. Lauren shows off about her chance at winning gold on beam.

Payson sounds awkward trying to speak spanish for some commercial. It’s pretty awful. Somebody should help her with the pronunciation. Meanwhile KP and mom hash it out about losing a sponsor. They have to prove that Kaylie really has an eating disorder because they don’t listen to rumors. When her mom’s not looking, KP hides Kaylie’s notebook lower in her bag. You go KP, but will it last? When it is Kelly’s turn, she has no problem with her lines.

The NGO has finally gotten the real tape and we learn that Kim doesn’t want to rehash it. Plus, the Keelers can’t afford to go to Worlds. 😦 Which leads me to wonder what ever happened to Ellen Beals.

Lauren works on beam and she actually has a pretty nice tumbling pass. Sasha tells Lauren to stop flirting and look fierce instead. Payson thinks this is like giving her a lobotomy. This might be some of the hardest stuff we’ve ever seen on the show. So maybe she could win beam, minus her fall on the dismount. Sasha tells her to have a short memory–forget about her mistakes. He tells her to trust him and she says she does. (But though Sasha trusts her, perhaps he shouldn’t…) It is nice to see him actually working with her for once.

Kaylie’s commercial goes without problems because she speaks Spanish easily. When asked in her interview who should be team captain, Kaylie says Kelly because she has the most successful career (perhaps the problem is picking a team captain based on success and not on leadership ability).

Kaylie and her father talk with sponsors about a health bar called Grrrl. Because she would never starve herself and she cares about her health. They’ll have to get back to them. When the execs leave, she and her father discuss the secret of her anorexia. She hates lying, even if she is entitled to her privacy. He doesn’t want her to be treated unfairly. Anyway, she can say no if she wants. It is a great deal but it isn’t like she needs the money.

KP and her mom talk about Kaylie’s issues–there’s Ellen Beals! She’s thrilled to find another potential Rock scandal. She’s under investigation for ethics violations, but she does plan to go to the Cruz send off party.

Kaylie and Austin discuss the deal. He tells her to be true to herself. That’s what her recovery is all about. I guess she’s past Damon now. Payson and Max join them at Spruce Juice. Payson is upset that her parents can’t come to Worlds. If only her parents would have let her take sponsors before. Kaylie thinks Payson should be the athlete for Grrrl, she has a great story. Now to convince everyone involved.

Max continues taking pictures of Pay for a secret project they are working on. Lauren is jealous but tries to pretend otherwise. So she tries to tell Payson to buzz off but Payson isn’t taking it today.

Kaylie works on her vaults since that is her only thing at Worlds. KP asks if Kaylie meant it when she said she should be captain because the Rock girls would never let it happen. She does have experience and if she wasn’t such a jerk she wouldn’t have to handle the sport alone. She invites her to the sendoff party. Awww. Her friends will be nice to her if she’s nice to them.

Kaylie and Max make their pitch of Payson and Payson watches from the wings. They’ve never had a potential client pitch someone else instead but this seems to have gotten their attention. They’re offering her $25,000 now and $250,000 if she medals. Payson’s excited but her parents are opposed. She says if they don’t have enough money, she can’t keep pursuing a dream that continues to put them in debt. Emily had a scholarship, why can’t Payson? Her parents wonder if maybe they’re wrong to keep her from taking money–she is a professional athlete after all.

Sasha still blames himself for Payson being attracted to him. Summer and Sasha hash it out about the end of their relationship–different values and all. He says that women’s biggest mistake is thinking their love can change a man. She’s where God wants her to be. Or where she feels safe. Let’s just kiss a little. No?

KP’s mom tells her to think of Kaylie as the competition. Her mother even says KP’s parents’ divorce is the fault of KP’s gymnastics. She guilts her into giving up the journal. KP pretends to be happy about this but she’s clearly not thrilled. She tells her to bring the journal to the party to give to Ellen Beals. Momma did not do good.

They’re shocked to see KP at the party but Kaylie insists they play nice. She sends KP off with Lauren for a tour of the house, as though that is ever a good idea. She ditches her almost immediately when she spots Max arrive and pulls him upstairs (in order to have sex because clearly that worked so well the last time around, especially at a party where everyone’s parents are around). He’s not ready though and tells her so. Lauren thinks it is about Payson who she says will never be able to “give him what he needs.”

Summer and Steve discuss wedding plans. Maybe a marriage in Rio? It’s perfect! She agrees though when he leans in to kiss her she pulls away.

Kim and Mark discuss Payson’s sponsorship chance. He doesn’t want to mortgage her dreams. Alex doesn’t understand this thinking because the gamble was letting her turn elite. Don’t they know she can go all the way? if not, what was the sacrifice for?

Austin confesses his desire to kiss Kaylie while dancing with her. Austin, why would you say that! Kaylie thinks KP is like a cornered animal. But they have bigger worries anyway because Ellen Beals has arrived. Lauren worries that Beals will reveal what she did. She is not out though, which means she could be up to any number of things.

Sasha mopes around the party and doesn’t seem to care that Beals has arrived. He’s more interested in finding a drink/walking away from Summer.

Decision time…Payson lets Max know they said yes. Her parents are coming to Worlds and they can pay off their debt. She tells him “I-love-you-and-I-always-thought-she-couldn’t-have-a-boyfriend-because-it-would-mess-with-her-gymnastics-but-clearly-you’ve-only-made-things-better-so-kiss-me-now-oh-wait-you-have-a-boyfriend-this-is-awkward-run-away.

Ellen Beals lets Lauren know she is displeased (people think she edited the tape of Sasha herself to be named coach but all she wants to do is ensure that the US wins the Olympics. And for that, they need Lauren at the moment so she won’t be outing her right now. She will find some way to pay her back though.

KP has an internal debate–do I hand over the journal or not? She clearly feels horrible but also feels like she has not choice. She crosses the room toward Beals…actually no, she’s headed to Kaylie. She wants to talk privately. Kaylie hopes they are friends. KP thinks they are so she returns the journal. Kaylie does not take it well. So much for that trust. (Does anyone else feel totally bad for KP here when Kaylie says she’s a horrible human being and everyone knows it?)

Steve makes a speech. Marriage! Well, this is good news for Lauren anyway. Lauren also announces that Summer will adopt her after. Ellen seems the happiest of all about this news.

Austin finds Max drinking alone. He couldn’t say yes to the two girls that threw themselves at him. Instead, he kisses Austin. Oh. I did not see that coming. He says he’s not gay. Ah, bi. That is new for ABC Family (and TV in general). Austin doesn’t really believe him or understand. He wishes he was just gay because it would be easier. He’s worried about hurting Payson in particular. Austin suggests he tell her if he truly cares. (I’m totally with this idea but find the way they introduced it weird. If he’s in love with Payson, why is he kissing Austin? Being bi doesn’t mean you just kiss everyone.)

Ellen Beals stirs things up with Summer. She suggests Summer ask Steve who did it. She asks about the training video and she insists (specifically tears up) to know the truth. Lauren admits the truth because she wanted Summer to be her mom. Summer doesn’t want anything to do with either of them. (I sort of feel bad for Lauren here even though she totally deserves this.) Lauren is balling when in comes Max. She just wants to leave and he takes her away–she drives because he is drunk after all. Why so sad Lauren? Lauren is sure Summer will forgive her, she loves her, right? She already thinks of Summer as her mother. She runs a stoplight and they get into an accident. Summer runs to the hospital (well that’s a good sign for the relationship). They ask if Summer is her mother…

Lauren is just a little bruised. Max was not as lucky as Lauren with a concussion and broken collarbone. She hasn’t even called her dad yet. Sasha comes in to yell at her about being reckless right before they leave to Worlds. He tells her one more strike and she is out. (Way to check that she’s ok.) Summer tells Lauren that she will have to tell him before Worlds is over, sooner than later. “Why are you doing this to me?”

Pay and Kay insist on seeing her before going home. Austin arrives too. Max is sedated but asking for someone–Lauren probably so she runs in. Even KP comes in to see that Lauren is ok and tries to explain to Kaylie that she wants to be her friend.

Lauren goes in to see Max and he says he’ll never hurt her. but he thinks she’s Payson!

Payson isn’t packed for their flight. They leave in three hours. She is not doing well at the moment. Becca is disappointed that she can’t come (since we can’t see her). Kim is still worried about not having more money left over.

NGO head comes to check in on Kaylie, the team captain. A lot of people want to interview her. He doesn’t want to mention her disorder because she will perceived as weak and the whole team’s scores will go down because she is captain (not exactly how it works but sure).

We have arrived in Brazil and we see the competition walking in. The three way race is between China, Russia, and the US. Sasha tells them they will win and they should not talk to anyone. KP doesn’t listen so naturally she grabs the mic and Lauren jumps in. Then they ask Kaylie about her ACL and she’s hesitates a moment. NGO head tells her she can’t talk to the press for fear of her revealing the truth.

Kim and Marc enjoy the expensive hotel. They are not on a vacation. They are here to support Payson. Kim is worried. Stanford University comes to talk to the Keelers about a scholarship but it is too late. She says even if Payson isn’t up for the Olympics they’d have waned her. Whoops. (I don’t know how they could ever have thought Payson wouldn’t have gotten a scholarship. What planet are they living on? She’s on the world team!)

Austin seems to be back in his partying ways and Kaylie is less than pleased. He chases after her but she is not happy. He is doing this for his image to sell things. He says he’s not the only faker anyway. Hmm, got her thinking…

Nadia Commenicci joins in as a commentator but she does little to write about. Time to start with the qualifying rounds–44 teams over two days. The top 8 move on to finals.

Sasha encourages Lauren before she does beam. She doesn’t need sass, just flawlessness. She has a wobble on a fairly simple skill and lands off the mat on her dismount. Lauren gets snappy with Sasha.

Russia’s Ivanka is pretty much flawless on bars, as expected.

KP tries to be nice to Kaylie and give her a good luck wish but Kaylie is not having it. Well, it is vault time. (PS after an ACL injury, she would not be doing vault.) She messes up her first vault and it is KP who tries to cheer for her. But her second vault is not any better and she leaves out a twist. The US drops into fourth place.

Payson is still out of sorts as well. We rehash her injuries and hope for a full comeback (tell me they don’t not even qualify). Even Marc can tell something is wrong. She falls on her tumbling pass and the parents blame themselves. See boys do ruin everything! The US falls into sixth.

It all rests on KP (plus a need for a fall form the people above them). Sasha tells Kaylie to support KP because she is captain (specifically, he tells her to stop being a prom queen. awesome). Payson agrees. The encouragement from the team does a lot for her self esteem and we get the performance they needed, which only means they still have a chance. Sure enough, it moves them to fourth.

The team goes upstairs for a scolding from Sasha. Nothing until the girls can figure out what went wrong and they have to tell each other. (PS why is he blaming Kelly, she did nothing wrong.) They are not leaving until they make friends. The girls fight and things don’t look good. Payson steps up and apologizes first but it isn’t the nicest apology. “Sorry for being an airhead like the rest of you.” KP is the one who stops the fighting by saying she used to be jealous of how they always cheered for each other and even their fake cheers that day were nice. Now she doesn’t want that team anymore, seeing them tear each other down. (I think this is the best thing the show could ever have done–gotten rid of Emily and given KP a real backstory, which, by the way, is much more sympathetic than any of the other girls’. Who votes Kelly into a permanent place in the Rock!?) Payson cries about losing her scholarship eligibility. KP wishes her parents cared–she lost her eligibility at age nine. She also tells Lauren she wins and she can have Max but Lauren admits that he likes her. Payson encourages Lauren to listen to Sasha. Kaylie is the only one who doesn’t think she can do this, not lying about her story. She can’t come clean even though it would help so much. They say they will support her whatever she choose (Well, lauren thinks some secrets are best kept secret but yeah see how well that has turned out).

Kaylie calls a press conference, which the girls of the team join her to show support. She tells the truth and says her team is behind her and after going through this, she is a better gymnast. The NGO thinks the us has lost but Sasha is proud.

The girls share some lipstick which is meant to indicate that they are a team again. And it is clear to everyone that they are a different team now.

It is Lauren’s turn on beam so she admits to Sasha what she did. Everyone else has been honest so she should be too. She was afraid he would take Summer away from her. (She doesn’t tell Payson though and Payson deserves to know too.) Lauren asks for forgiveness but Sasha just walks away. She gets on beam in tears but Sasha comes back to say she should now show off “the whole package.” He gives her words of encouragement and says “short memory” this is their new start, he forgives her. He cares about her and he knows she is better than she shows herself to be. Yay! Summer looks pleased from up in the stands. That was all she needed to see. The queen of the beam is back. The US moves up to fourth.

Payson on vault lands and hurts her ankle on the landing. It isn’t broken but she needs a doctor. She insists on doing her second vault. On one leg. She can’t do floor so she has to do this. (Hopefully team vault counts medal payment.) Kaylie gives her some words of encouragement and I wonder more about the run than the landing. (Also, Keri Strug anyone?) Sure enough, Payson sticks the landing with the best vault of the meet, putting the US in second ahead of Russia.

Sasha puts KP on floor but KP suggests Kaylie do it instead. She says Kaylie is on fire while she isn’t. Sasha agrees. Interesting since she hasn’t practiced at all. (If we were being realistic, the US would not win this.) No matter, Kaylie does her routine just fine. Because in MIOBI world only Payson needs to work to get her skills back after time off. Even China is looking worried.

I love that they say “Team USA was poised for the comeback of the decade” as though they didn’t just kill it in the last few Olympics and Worlds.

The scores are being tabulated and…sure enough Team USA wins gold. With the comeback of a lifetime! (So does this mean Payson’s family now has another $250,000 and no longer have to worry about money?) Hugging all around as confetti flies (conveniently in USA colors as though they store some for each team).

Summer is proud of Lauren. Austin is proud of Kaylie and he admits to the cameras that he and Kaylie are dating. Max comes to tell Max he might be in love with her (she cuts him off before he can say anymore because she says she doesn’t care). The Rock trio stare at the board together (come on, bring KP over!) with Pay on a crutch. Hope that’s not a long term injury (though a sprain shouldn’t be if she takes a little time to let it heal).

Well, with the finale out of the way, what did you think? Should the US have won it or would it have been better if they lost to allow for another year of fighting back? Where can the show go from here?

Make It Or Break It Pages

Episode summaries:
Season 1
Episode 1: Pilot
Episode 2: Where’s Marty
Episode 3: Blowing Off Steam
Episode 4: Sunday Bloody Sasha Sunday
Episode 5: Like Mother Like Daughter
Episode 6: Between A Rock and A Hard Place
Episode 7: Run Emily Run
Episode 8: All’s Fair in Love, War, and Gymnastics
Episode 9: Where’s Kaylie
Episode 10: All That Glitters
Episode 11: The Eleventh Hour
Episode 12: Follow the Leader
Episode 13: California Girls
Episode 14: Are We Having Fun Yet?
Episode 15: Loves Me, Loves Me Not
Episode 16: Save the Last Dance
Episode 17: Hope and Faith
Episode 18: The Great Wall
Episode 19: The Only Thing To Fear
Episode 20: Are We Family?

Season 2
Episode 1: Friends Close, Enemies Closer
Episode 2: All or Nothing
Episode 3: Battle of the Flexes
Episode 4: And the Rocky Goes To…
Episode 5: I Won’t Dance, Don’t Ask Me
Episode 6: Party Gone Out of Bounds
Episode 7: What Are You Made Of?
Episode 8: Rock Bottom
Episode 9: If Only…
Episode 10: At the Edge of the Worlds
Episode 11: The New Normal
Episode 12: Free People
Episode 13: The Buddy System
Episode 14: Life or Death
Episode 15: Hungary Heart
Episode 16: Requiem for a Dream
Episode 17: To Thine Own Self Be True
Episode 18: Dog Eat Dog
Episode 19-20: What Lies Beneath/Worlds Apart

And misc. show things:
What Might Happen Season One
General Thoughts
Stunt Doubles
The Cast
The Unanswered Question of Season 1
Chalked Up by National Champion Jennifer Sey Book Review
Feel No Fear by Bela Karolyi Book Review

Canceled Shows 2011

With a disappointing year of new pilots and some weaker returning shows, a number of series have been canceled (and will be canceled in the coming days) to make room for new shows. The canceled shows announced so far are:

  • 18 to Life
  • 100 Questions
  • $#*! My Dad Says
  • All My Children
  • America’s Most Wanted
  • America’s Next Great Restaurant
  • As the World Turns
  • At the Movies
  • Batman: Brave and Bold
  • Better With You (I really disliked this pilot but the show grew on me)
  • Big Love (I only just discovered this but it is fanastic)
  • Break Through with Tony Robbins
  • Breaking In
  • Brothers & Sisters (This show started out so strong and had some of the best chemistry and acting on TV but eventually the storylines got tired and some of the characters got irritating)
  • Caprica
  • Chaos (This felt like it couldn’t find the balance between comedic and dramatic)
  • Chase
  • Countdown with Keith Olbermann
  • Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (I love Janeane Garfolo but this show focused too little on the actual cast and too much on the mystery of the week)
  • Dark Blue
  • Dating in the Dark
  • Defenders
  • Detroit 187
  • Downfall
  • Eastbound & doWN
  • Entourage
  • Friday Night Lights
  • Glory Daze
  • Gravity
  • Hannah Montana
  • Hellcats
  • Huge
  • Human Target (Poor characterization kept me from ever enjoying this show)
  • I’m in the Band
  • Important Things with Demetri Martin
  • In Treatment
  • Jonas: LA
  • Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List
  • Larry King Live
  • Last Comic Standing
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent
  • Law & Order: Los Angelos
  • Lie to Me (I liked this show best when it focused on the characters but sometimes it was too procedural for my taste)
  • Life Unexpected (I loved elements of this show and its focus on adoption but thought it lost focus at times)
  • Lights Out
  • Live to Dance
  • Lone Star
  • Losing It with Jillian
  • Mad Love (Shame, I really liked this one)
  • Medium
  • Million Dollar Money Drop
  • Mr. Sunshine (I think I liked this more for the actors involved than the actual show)
  • My Boys
  • My Generation
  • No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
  • No Ordinary Family (I liked this show somewhat but it never found the right tone)
  • Off the Map (This is one of the shows I liked more and was most disappointed to hear canceled)
  • One Life to Live
  • Outlaw
  • Outsourced (Had its ups and downs, was always better when not making a huge deal of the cultural differences)
  • Perfect Couples (I hear it got better but I found the first couple episodes irredeemable)
  • Persons Unknown
  • Players
  • Rescue Me
  • Rubicon
  • Running Wilde (Never as funny as it should have been)
  • School Pride
  • Scoundrels (shame)
  • Secret Diary of a Call Girl
  • Shaq vs.
  • Shedding for the Wedding
  • Skating with the Stars
  • Smallville
  • Sonny with a Chance
  • Stargate Universe
  • Supernanny
  • Terriers
  • The Bridge
  • The Cape (There were some fundamental issues with the format of this show)
  • The Chicago Code (Could not get into this from the start)
  • The Closer
  • The Event (The biggest problem with this show was the amount of talking and the poor characters)
  • The Gates
  • The Good Guys
  • The Oprah Winfrey Show
  • The Paul Reiser Show (Not at all funny)
  • The Suite Life on Deck
  • The Whitest Kids U’ Know
  • The Whole Truth
  • Tracey Ullman’s State of the Union
  • Traffic Light (I liked but never loved this series)
  • True Beauty
  • Tyler Perry’s House of Payne
  • Undercovers (I really wanted to like this but there was no tension in the story, making it surprisingly dull for a spy show)
  • United States of Tara
  • V (It had its ups and downs but it was too passive considering the genre)
  • Working Class

Smallville and Friday Night Lights are in their final season as well, though their cancellations were not based on ratings so much as a decision made prior to the season’s run. Fox is apparently testing it on a new night, so it may depend on the numbers there. More news is sure to come.

What do you think of the shows canceled?