SYTYCD: Top 8 Results

We open with a circus themed performance by our top eight here Jess looks a bit terrifying but otherwise I have little to complain about . The style particularly suits Sasha. It is definitely one of the better group numbers, choreographed by Tyce. (Maybe he’s just better with group numbers?) It sort of reminded me of Mia’s Alison Wonderland routine.

Sadly, eliminations will still be done by gender so the bottom two guys and bottom two girls will perform and one of each will go home.

The four girls are up first to get their results as a group. The two girls who are safe are…going to be announced after the break. The top two girls after the biggest vote of the season are Sasha and Melanie, as expected.

The four remaining guys come up next and here is where things are a bit trickier. Marko is obviously safe but I am less sure of the others. Tadd seems most likely but that might just be my hopes. Marko is quickly sent to safety and Jess finds himself in danger. Surprisingly, it is Ricky who is safe and Tadd is in the bottom. (Anyone else think it is Jess going home?)

But before the solos, let’s watch some awesome LXD (Legion of Extraordinary Dancers). This crew seems to get bigger every time I see it and it only seems to have a fewq of the same people from one performance to the next. That being said, it is always awesome. (Christopher Scott is one of the choreographers.)

It is not surprising at all that Jordan chooses to dance her solo to S&M which is carefully edited to be appropriate for the Fox audience.

Jess‘s solo is Broadway appropriate but and his spinning is even impressive but it wasn’t anything new from him.

Caitlynn shows good technique but I’m not sure she has convinced me. Especially since the judges seem to love Jordan.

Finally it’s Tadd who continues with an impressive bit of strength and entertainment but not enough actual content for me. I know he’s a b-boy and that’s how they work but I wanted more dancing. The judges seem to like it enough to give it a standing ovation.

Lady Gaga performs “The Edge of Glory” and “You and I.” We have already watched “The Edge of Glory” performed on Fox during American Idol but I’m pretty sure they have at least changed the costume and dance this time around. However, the sound is a little off and it can’t possibly be “live” since that was a lot of equipment to manage so quickly. She continues rocking the blue hair but otherwise nothing so shocking about her clothes. Even her shoes aren’t that high. I wonder if she will ever get tired of being wild and just want to be pretty one day. Not even permanently, I just think that one awards show it would be shocking if she just showed up as a well dressed, normal-haired woman. I’m not sure people would even recognize her.

The judges were not originally unanimous about the decision but now it is time to look towards the winner. They are picking the potential winner not just the greatest talent. A fabulous dancer will be going home.

Both girls had disappointing solos. Going with America’s votes, Jordan will be going home this week

Tadd is so unique that they cannot let him go so Jess will be joining Jordan and leaving the show.

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SYTYCD: Top 8 Performances

Cat Deeley has opted for a sweet, simple outfit, so as not to compete with crazily dressed guest judge Lady Gaga. Rob Marshall is another guest judge. (Why do we need two guests? To fill time?) Lady Gaga is actually not as crazily dressed as she might be (though wearing sunglasses indoors seems like a bad plan, that theater is not very bright).

Sasha and Pasha are paired for a quickstep ballroom routine choreographed by Jonathan Roberts. It is meant to be a crazy character driven waltz. Sasha looks incredibly awkward in the beginning (almost like she and Pasha just aren’t the right sizes for each other or something. I don’t see the crazy characters there either. This might be Sasha’s worst performance of the season yet.
Judges Say:
Rob- Sasha is astonishing and beautiful and elegant. The genre doesn’t show off the things you do well.
Mary- You pulled it off. You create a fantastic vision. Best body position of anyone yet. Get knees softer.
Nigel- Sasha is his favorite dancer by a hair’s breath, at least this week. A little too stiff in the upper body line.
Gaga- Sasha is as shiny on the outside and the inside. Disagree with Nigel. The strange posture was interesting. Maybe could have been a little looser.

Caitlynn
is paired with all star Ivan for a hip hop routine with Marty Kudelka about a girl sick of her boyfriend and swept off her feet by another guy.The routine starts way too slowly but it clear that Caitlynn can hit the sharp hip hop moves. Her steps aren’t as smooth as I would like. The connection isn’t great and I think this is more due to the dance and the music than the dancers.
Judges Say:
Mary- Caitlynn wasn’t brilliant but good.
Nigel- Caitlynn is a lovely dancer but she needs to open her legs and get a firmer base to get down into the swagger more. Stayed in character well.
Gaga- (the sunglasses have come off) Caitlynn is sexy and the connection was magical (really?). Don’t rely on the center and stop so much, move through the movement more.
Rob- Great, a beautiful style but needs to lose herself more in the style (the way Lady Gaga does). Work on becoming more of a character.

Jordan and Ade get a Tyce Diorio jazz number about a secret rendezvous. This number felt a little disjointed for me, like each individual move worked but it didn’t come together into a cohesive or fluent whole.
Judges Say:
Nigel- Is there anything that little body can’t do? It was a fun routine.
Gaga- She’s a star!
Rob- Dynamic and full of meaning when dancing.
Mary- She was the badass Tyce wanted.

Melanie and Neil get a Mandy Moore contemporary routine about being at the crossroads of a relationship. Not my favorite Mandy Moore dance but my favorite of the night so far. (Just not feeling the emotion the way I want to.) It does get a standing ovation from the judges (and the audience goes wild), which elicits giggles from Cat when she sees how tall Gaga is.
Judges Say:
Gaga- Melanie is my favorite, I would hire her for my tour tomorrow. (crying)
Rob- It is poetic what she does. Amazing.
Mary- How many more adjectives can we use to describe her?
Nigel- I’ve changed my mind, Melanie is my favorite dancer.

Ricky and Anya will be jiving to Jason Gilkinson’s choreography. I liked Ricky a lot in this piece. There was only one moment where I noticed him looking at his feet instead of up.
Judges Say:
Rob- Ricky dances with such joy and the technique is out of this world.
Mary- He missed some of the feel but it got better. He pulled it off.
Nigel- Ricky was too high but one of the lifts looked too labored.
Gaga- I have a sweet spot for Ricky, he looks strong and nimble.

Jess and Lauren Gottlieb (!) get a hip hop number by Nappy Tabs about a guy who cheated on his girlfriend and is trying to win her back. Much as I like Lauren, this wasn’t my favorite performance by her either. Or my favorite Nappy-Tabs number. That being said, Jess was pretty good.
Judges Say:
Mary- Every week has been progress. Jess was really good this week, it felt really honest.
Nigel- Jess didn’t oversell it.
Gaga- There was something I didn’t love about the props but you outshone them.
Rob- Jess has used the competition to grow. Simple and pure and beautiful.

Tadd and Lauren Froderman are paired for a Mandy Moore routine about pulling a heist. Did Tadd lose his hat in the beginning of that routine? This routine felt more hip hop than contemporary (which suits Tadd) but it is a lot of fun.
Judges Say:
Nigel- This style suits Tadd.
Gaga- I liked the attitude and style.
Rob- Very special.
Mary- Very cool up there. Tadd’s got this thing.

Marko and Allison have a Sonyah Tayeh contemporary routine about being cruel to someone and wanting to change. It is hard to believe Allison didn’t win her season because she truly is one of the best dancers to ever be on this show. Marko is also pretty fantastic here. Everyone from Marko’s mom (who flew in from Guam) to Allison and Marko to Lady Gaga to Mary are bawling. Another standing ovation.
Judges Say:
Gaga- I’m so proud, Marko really loves to dance. Absolutely incredible.
Rob- Allison is a true artist. It was an incredible partnership. So fluid and beautiful.
Mary- Amazing, you can’t say it enough. Marko adds a volume and finishing to his steps. By far my favorite.
Nigel- We’ve seen a moment here that is more than the competition.

Caitlynn and Tadd are paired for a Johnathan Roberts ballroom number. Caitlynn’s costume makes it difficult to see what she’s actually doing with her feet which is sort of annoying. Not a fan of this number and especially its music. Which is not a commentary on their dancing which seemed to get stronger as the night wore on.
Judges Say:
Rob- Sparkling from beginning to end.
Mary- I need more power in the base , slightly awkward when in hold but gorgeous when side by side.
Nigel- I was just in heaven watching it.
Gaga- I loved it. The lean back and the “hello I’m a star.” Every once in a while, you’re hands get a little “I’ve won a lot of trophies.” Relax them a little.

Marko and Ricky get a Nappy-Tabs hip hop number about “waste management technicians.” It looks like Ricky might have missed up in the middle. He doesn’t have as much swagger as Marko in some places and Marko doesn’t quite get it as well in other places. Almost like they took turns to get it quite right.
Judges Say:
Mary- I loved it. Fabulous. WOOOO!
Nigel- It was a lot of fun, there were good characters. Marko got nasty. Ricky is still a bit high (he’s also taller). Ricky might be in the bottom.
Gaga- I think both are incredible dancers, it was amazing. The only thing for me but the “interpretation of hip hop felt a little contrived.”
Rob- What astonishes me is the range of the pair.

Jordan and Jess get a Jason Gilkinson rumba about a woman blinded by love. Jordan’s facial expressions threw me a bit. They did a good job but it didn’t pull me in.
Judges Say:
Nigel- Fabulous lift Jess. Didn’t feel the chemistry. Watch the swayed back.
Gaga- There was nothing wrong with it. It had beautiful moments. I would have interpreted it differently.
Rob- You brought out the best in each other. You both work from an acting place.
Mary- What was lacking was the elasticity in the arms and the sensuality. Still beautiful.

Sasha and Melanie are paired for a Sonyah Tayeh jazz routine. (That much was obvious when you saw their outfits.) This is Sonyah at her greatest. It is just such a bizarre and interesting routine. Another standing ovation and even Sonyah looks a bit shocked. Twitch in the audience is wowing, the audience (and Ellen Degenerous) are unable to stop cheering. Gaga even starts banging on the table. (Sasha is definitely redeemed for anything I did not like earlier.)
Judges Say:
Gaga- Performance of the evening. Absolutely incredible.
Rob- Unbelievable.
Mary- Talk about strength and power, my goodness. The best number of the night and ever done by Sonyah.
Nigel- Fantastic. I don’t know who is the better dancer. One of these two could be this year’s champion.

Who do you think will be in the bottom this week? Who should be going home?

Platinum Hit: Episode 8

As Nick gloats about Johnny’s departure, Jes is upset because though she didn’t know him before the competition, having him around felt like having a piece of home.

Kiss the Flame. That is the letter the contestants find waiting for them just before Jewel arrives to tell them about their challenge. But first, the guest judge, the editor in chief of Spin magazine, Doug Brod. Kiss the Flame is a song of Jewel’s about running towards danger instead of away from it. So the hook challenge is to write a song about empowerment. Like Queen’s “We Are The Champions.” Oh, and they must incorporate the words “kiss the flame.”

Scotty is gay so coming out is empowering. Jess feels like she isn’t taken seriously because she is a girl. Nick thinks today’s empowerment songs are all about women being pissed off. Sonyae has been physically and verbally abused so she intends the song as advice to others in a similar situation. Brian’s mother died of breast cancer and he wants to write about getting over it.

Scotty– “Reign Over Me” clever but potentially confusing
Jes– “Underestimate Me” powerful lyric
Nick– “Kiss the Flame” great grasp on melody
Brian– “The Last Candle” tweak the cliche
Sonyae– “Tomorrow’s Too Late” great job

Top Two:
2- Scotty (interesting concept and intriguing creativity, make sure to get the lyrics right)
1- Brian (blew the others away, nice lyrically and emotionally)

The surprise of the week. The member of the winning team to contribute the most will be featured in Spin.

Brian picks Jes. Scotty picks Sonyae. Brian has the option of taking a third teammate or passing him over. Nick actually wants to work with him but Brian passes because he doesn’t want Nick and Jes together.

Jes and Brian have a heart to heart during their session about being drugged and assaulted. They want to aim for a “Pink” sound. They decide to have Jes sing it even though he wanted to sing it.

Scotty explains that coming out means taking control while staying in the closet means other people are dictating your life.

Team Scotty is up first with “Reign on Me” which comes out as something of a mixed up mess.

Team Brian is second with “The Last Candle” which ends up sounds liking something I would listen to.

Backstage Jes says Team Scotty’s song is a mess. Nick thinks Team Brian’s song is not current.

Cara is glad that Brian and Jes based their song on their true story. At the same time, it needed more growl.

Scotty says the writing session was difficult. Cara thought they miss-worded the chorus/song title. Scotty doesn’t think they succeeded in the song.

The superior and more empowering song is Team Scotty’s. Colbie Callait, guest judge, thought it was catchy. It sounds like each of them contributed something key to the song, making the winner a little trickier. The judges agree that the writer to play the key role in the song’s success is Nick for the melody of the chorus, which he fought for.

Meanwhile, they thought some of the lines were undeveloped and the music was too old. Jes gets emotional when told she should have made Brian help work on the lyrics. Nick goads her backstage.

Ultimately, the judges tell Jes she is save and it is Brian going home.

Glee Project: Episode 6

The song is Bulletproof with the theme Tenacity. Hannah is exited because she has finally found her confidence. Lindsay, who is adopted, thinks she’s got tenacity. It seems the contestants aren’t quite sure what tenacity is. The guest judge is Max Adler (Dave Kroski) who tells them how to keep fighting. Max originally only had two lines. Mid-song Max tells them to stop and says they need to surprise him by doing something they have never done before. They start over, sort of pushing each other around and jumping up and down. Max tells Damien to stay in performance. Samuel has focus. Lindsay and Marissa have amazing voices. The winner is…Marissa.

This week’s big song is a mash up of “Ice Ice Baby” and “Under Pressure.” Also, in the video they will be slushied. Most of them are excited but Alex is NOT. Samuel is upset that he didn’t won and it ruins his focus. Hannah in particular struggles in the recording session.

They are warned not to break character when slushied and Marissa and Samuel have no problem with it. Damien and Lindsay play well off each other. Hannah gets over her jitters for the slushie fest. Alex meanwhile seems a little out of it though he thinks he’s all in. Cameron barely gets sprayed when he starts having difficulty. They are worried about being unable to slide for their dance because the ground is sticky but they seem all right.

For the first time, the decision was not unanimous. Samuel, Damien, and Lindsay are safe. Alex is the best mover than the other boys but he tries less than everyone else. He is doing a last chance performance. Marissa had a hard time in the recording studio and she wasn’t as “electric” when being slushied and as such she is in the bottom. Hannah and Cameron split the decision. Based on the theme of the week, Cameron was the only one who stopped mid-performance while Hannah struggled in the booth and in choreography, but she pushed through the problems for the video. Hannah is safe and Cameron is in the bottom.

To give the bottom three an easier time, they let them since their audition numbers, which the contestants seem thrilled about.

Marissa– “Hate on Me”
Marissa gets all teary-eyed. She feels like she fits in here. Mostly what we hear is her yelling. She puts on a major attitude to fit the song but I want her to look at the judges more. She’s not quite hip enough for this song (she’s got the voice but I’m not sure about the attitude). I’m not sure who she would be on the show because she’s not weird or dorky, if anything, she’d be a cheerleader and fit in well. She puts Ryan’s name into the song, which they seem to like. They know her talent is excellent and she will always be performing but they need her to be more in control.

Alex– “And I’m Telling You I’m not Going”
Alex chooses to do his song in drag so he can show them what he’s bringing to the table. (A typical gay kid already exists on the show, but imagine the borders they could push with a kid who dresses in drag or who wants to become a girl.) As always, Alex can belt out the song. I think Mercedes sings it better, but he’s pretty good too. (Also, I don’t think we’re hearing him with the sound corrected, whereas i doubt we’ve ever heard her without it.) They like that he shows that he really wants this. They tell him they need him to attack everything the way he attacked this.

Cameron– “Love Can Wait” (Cameron’s original song)
Cameron wrote this song after breaking up with his girlfriend. The song is actually pretty good. It shows off his personality well (obviously, since he wrote it). They like him when he does his thing. He’s a great performer but they worry about his acting. He was the only one they had to stop for. Can he keep up with the cast?

Alex worries that he will be leaving because he has been in the bottom so often. Cameron is sure he is leaving since he has been in the bottom a lot too. Marissa is fairly secure because she has never been in the bottom (does that mean she is leaving?) but she knows she can’t be too sure.

The list is up and it is time to find out who will be leaving. In a shocking move, the judges decide to send Marissa home.

Cyberbu//y

I have not done a movie review in a long time, but I recently caught this movie on ABC Family and was surprised to find myself liking it a lot.

Emily Osment plays seventeen years old Taylor, a slightly awkward, inexperienced teen who gets a laptop for her birthday. As any teen, she is excited for the new freedom and immediately logs on to a popular social networking site. But what starts out as fun quickly turns bad as a prank turns to cyberbullying and everyone in Taylor’s school turns against her. The teasing and bullying gets so bad and isolates Taylor so completely that she contemplates suicide.

Osment is a shockingly good actress, I have only ever seen her as goofy sidekick to Miley Cyrus’s Hannah Montana, so I wasn’t sure how she would be. It turns out, she is not only believable (as a sweet, sad, and bubbly teen), but also has the ability to really make you feel for her. In fact, she did such a good job she had me crying at all the right moments. (I haven’t cried during a movie in probably ten years so this is a pretty big deal. Any of my friends can tell you, I am not a crier.)

I was impressed at how well and realistically the movie covered the problems of the characters without becoming melodramatic and over the top. If this movie is any indication, Emily Osment has a bright future in the acting world.

Single Ladies

I decided to check out Single Ladies on VH1 because a friend said the show was supposed to be good. Plus there is Stacey Dash of Clueless as the main character, an added bonus.

The premise: A bunch of single ladies living and dating. Val is an aspiring fashion mogul who separates from her longtime boyfriend when he doesn’t want to get married. Keisha is a former video performer who doesn’t believe in love. April is the married non-black girl in the group who is cheating on her husband.

There are so few black women on TV (at least in lead roles) and I was hoping to like this show, but it was so stereotypically “black.” The ghetto-ish speak, stealing, backstabbing…I would like to think black women are more diverse than this. The girls are sort of mindless and shallow. Their empowerment is more like sluttiness.

I hoped for more nuance and likable characters. I could not get into this, Dash notwithstanding.

Alphas

Syfy’s newest show, Alphas, is basically Mutant X or X-Men. There are select people in the world who have special abilities such as super strength, mind control, enhanced senses, etc. They are known as Alphas. Five Alphas work together to stop other Alphas from wreaking havoc and injustice throughout the country.

The strongest element to the special abilities story is that each one has limitations and downsides to them. The girl who can enhance her senses can only do them one at a time and always at the expense of the others. The super strong guy only has strength for shorts bursts of time and then is left exhausted. Though we have not learned all there is to know about these downsides, we know that more is coming. Nina in particular, the attractive mind controlling rebel, obviously has a past. They have hinted to it in different ways but there will obviously a lot more revealed as the show continues.

There are also hints of something bigger and more nefarious going on. For me this is the most exciting part of a series. I have always been a sucker for the bigger mythology. I find it adds another element to the story that makes it more complex and attention-grabbing. The question is how well a show can balance the big picture with the rest of the show. As long as the development of the characters don’t suffer, I’m game.

At this point, I’m excited about the show but not sold that it will be able to hold on. (See Heroes…)