Friday, August 28, 2009

Pilot Review: Community


NBC. Thursdays at 930.
Starring: Joel McHale, Chevy Chase, Danny Pudi, Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown, John Oliver, and Donald Glover


Community seems to suffer from the same problem that caused me to abandon Parks and Recreation, just not to the same degree. That problem is, well, what is enthralling enough about this group of people that I should watch it? This then gets branched into the two real problems with communities pilot: Who actually are these people and how do they (and the show) exist outside the classroom/college?

That first paragraph makes it seem like I didn’t like Community. Which is not really the case. It was enjoyable. There were definitely a few moments where I was solidly laughing. Joel McHale is actually really good, on his game and sharp as Jeff, the lead character, a suspended lawyer who ahs to go back to school. McHale has always shown a really quick wit and a knack for snarky delivery, so this isn’t really a surprise. I expected Joel McHale to be good, he was.

But, and this gets back to the earlier part of this review, he is the ONLY character to be developed beyond personality tics. We get like two lines of exposition for everyone else and then these “quirks” or, as I call them, “Chances for fun or extreme annoyance” (it’s a mixed bag, in this group). A character is more than a background summary and a tic, and pretty much no one in the pilot is a full-fledged character. As I said, some of them show promise. The show deserves another shot if only for the fact that pilots are always a little shaky on fleshing everything out; I mean, you have to intro the whole show, you can’t be expected to intro every element of it. Currently, Community is a weaker element of NBC’s comedy stable, hopefully with more time it irons out who these characters are and lets us actually experience them. For now, with the better Modern Family, I might have to say ABC has the better overall comedy lineup. But Community is good enough to get…

Rating: I’ll Give It Another Shot

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pilot Review: Modern Family


ABC. Wednesdays at 9.
Starring: Ariel Winter, Ed O’Neill, Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Julie Bowen, Nolan Gould, Rico Rodriguez, Sarah Hyland, Sofia Vergara, and Ty Burrell


I really hope ABC is not duping me into saying this but: ABC’s comedies might be close to rivaling NBC’s lineup. Because between ABC’s acquisition of Scrubs (which, darn it, I still have hopes for), the immensely under-rated and quickly-rising-up-my-list-of-favorite-shows Better Off Ted, and now Modern Family, they might actually have a comedy lineup to challenge NBC’s current quality level.

If you didn’t pick it up from that first paragraph, I really liked Modern Family. I was all set to groan my little blogging heart out over the tired ABC family comedy clich├ęs I was expecting, only to be surprised by a large number of genuinely funny moments, executed by a cast that works well together and has pretty darn good comedic timing. I found myself genuinely liking all three storylines pretty much evenly, and there wasn’t even a single character that got to me, as most shows, even the ones I like, tend to have. Simply put, Modern Family is no According To Jim (aka: It’s actually really good). In fact, I almost want to give it more credit, because a number of the actors in it have grated on me from other projects, but Sofia Vergara had great timing, and Ty Burrell actually maybe even being my favorite character. Even the kid actors, who can tend towards the ever-so-grating end of the spectrum, were solidly funny.

Back to that ABC vs. NBC challenge I was talking about earlier, I’m holding off on crowning a winner in that battle until I watch “Community”, but with me stopping with Parks and Recreation after the second episode and my dwindling interest in “The Office”, ABC’s line-up seems to be a serious threat to their comedy throne. 30 Rock will hopefully be as strong as always, but Modern Family and Better Off Ted just may take the throne.

Rating: Definitely Worth Another Viewing

Thursday, August 6, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance 8/6- Our Season 5 Champ Is Crowned!

Well, folks, it's finally here. Tonight we crown Ameriker's Favorite Dancer for the fifth time! (Ameriker's Fifth Favorite Dancer?). This season really feels like it flew by. Cat looks, um, what's the word, STUNNING, in a little white number. Maybe the slightest bit over tanned, but still, she's like catnip.

Note: This is a somewhat abridged recap. For a complete version of the night's events, head to sytycd.ca

Wait, seriously, we're repeating Tyce's Brand New Day routine as the group routine tonight? Not Mia's "Higher Ground"? Or NappyTabs and Dmitry's one? Because this wasn't the top 20's group rotuine, was it? No, right? Then why pick this one? I mean, there are some cool parts, and everyone gets at least a little moment to shine, but I MUCH would have preferred to see a bigger, more out there version of Higher Ground.

Jeanine or Brandon get the biggest cheers upon mention of their names. There were 21.6 million votes last night. Impressive. We've got SEVEN jidges on the panel tonight: Lil' C, Mia (who looks great), Tyce, Honey Child Debbie Allen, Shankers (!), Mary Murphy (apparently auditioning for the role of Tiffany Case in a Diamonds are Forever remake?), and Nigel.

Tonight, all our jidges are picking favorite routines from this season to see all over again. Shankers is the first jidge to pick a routine from this, and it's NappyTabs' first routine of the season, with Chbeeb and Jeanine. Really, that's the one you pick Shankers? I will say, it shows Jeanine's growth over the season that she's actually drawing my attention more than Phil. This number was good, but was it finale good? I still don't think so. As my viewing partner suggests, it's probably to remind people that Phil will be on the tour.

Nigel's pick is Brandon and Janette's Argentine Tango. Now, THIS is a dance that I wanted to see again tonight. And, um, this is still really good. It maybe doesn't pack the same punch it did the first time, but Janette is still Ri.Dic.U.Lous. Um, can someone remind me how she didn't make the finale? Seriously, what happened there?

Debbie Allen is up next with Asuka and Vitolio's Top 18 Louis Van Amstel waltz? Again, this is one of the routines we're getting tonight? I mean, this one I understand somewhat more than the other one, but there were such better routines this season, at least IMO. Maybe because I don't have the strongest memories of this dance, but it's quite beautiful.

Mary's favorite is Jeanine and Jason's Travis routine, which is another one I wanted to see tonight, so thanks Mary. I notice that the heart pendant is red this time as opposed to silver. I don't know, but this small detail somehow makes it a bit more distracting. I forgot how good these two were in this number. Jeanine actually missed a catch on the locket this time. The kiss also is less of a "wow" moment this time, but this number is still amazing, and will be remembered in future seasons.

Mia is the next to pick an encore routine and she’s going with Kayla and Max's Samba, which was hot hot HOT, IIRC. It'll be interesting to see this one again, It's still high energy, and great, and it makes me wish Max had made it farther into the competition. However, I can only wonder if right after this number, they're going to eliminate Kayla. It seems like it's about time for them to eliminate someone. But White Lightning is not the one who should go out first. And, wow, I forgot about that RIDICULOUS ending.

Debbie's next pick is that NappyTabs and Dmitry collaboration that was far better than Brand New Day, so why not just do that at the top of the show? This one still rocks, in case anyone had questions that it wouldn't. And that dancing in water part is still ridiculous and sexy. Brandon, Ade, Kayla, Karla, Janette, and Jeanine are all the real standouts in this one.

Our next guest is the winner of SYTYCD Australia Talia Fowler, choreographed by Sonja. Now, THIS, is awesome. This is the kind of stuff I wanted more of from Sonja this season, which is not to say that Sonja disappointed this season, but rather I wanted more edgy stuff from her. Talia actually reminds me of Jeanine somewhat, both in look and, to an extent, movement. But this was really, really good. Kudos to Sonja.

Lil' C's pick is next and he's going with "Jai Ho all day." Of course, he has to wax rhapsodic for like a minute before letting us see the dance. He also calls Caitlin and Jason extra buck. You know, the amount I remember NOT being wowed by the top 20 performance show, it's making an impressive showing on the finale. Although my favorite routine from that night still hasn't popped up yet. Bollywood isn't my favorite style on the show, it's entertaining but never leaves a particularly lasting impression on me. That being said, they still do this routine well. And Jason ends with a kiss again. He's a kissing bandit, that Jason.

The top 4 are brought out on stage, and one is getting cut. . The dancer in 4th place is... Kayla. White Lightning, I'm sorry to see you go. You were awesome, you know it, and Shankers knows it (as do the other judges). Her video package only reminds what a powerhouse she was.

Shankers is next to pick another encore routine, and it's gonna be Mia's Butt routine, which was fun, and I'm excited to see again. I liked Randi, and was sad that she just completely fizzled without Evan and when saddled with that terrible Paso Doble wig. She actually seems to be dancing with much less abandon this time, and is even better than she was the first time. If we had seen THIS Randi Top 10 week, I suspect we might have had a different latter half of the season.

Mary, the show's queen of scream, is picking the next one, and it's Jeanine and Brandon's Paso Doble from last night. OK, is it wrong that I'm expecting Cat to eliminate one of these two at the end of the number? This is still really good. Their intensity is bonkers.

up, it's time for Elimination number two. At least they bring Evan back on stage. The next person getting cut and our third place finisher is... Evan! Wow, I did not see that one coming. I mean, I'm not going to lie, I'm kind of glad that he was the cut. Brandon deserved to finish above him. Evan is a great performer and tons of fun to watch. He brought Broadway styling to the mainstream which is great. And the kid is adorable. But he was outdanced by Brandon last night. He thanks everyone and says he never imagined he'd be at this point in the competition. He's ecstatic to have been a part of this and he's going to take as much away from it as possible. You can see that Evan is holding in the tears until the commercial break, which is kind of sad. Awwwww.

Nigel’s picking the next routine, Mia’s addiction piece. Am I the only one who thinks it's cruel to make Kayla dance after eliminating her? I acutally think Pono is MUCH better this time and Kayla is STILL managing to portray vulnerability like whoa. Although I guess maybe that's easier after being told that Ameriker doesn't love you as much as the other three? Anyway, this is another one that's sure to remembered from this season. Mia is crying at the end. As are Shankers and Kayla it seems.

The Rage Boyz Crew, that kids group who I didn't think were amazing last time they performed, are back. They've maybe stepped up their game this time, or at least put their strongest dancers up front. I mean, they're kids, and they're still far better dancers than I will ever be. But this still isn't like, jaw-dropping or anything. I'd much rather see more things like the SYTYCD Australia solo. Although the moment when they throw the littlest kid like 15 feet in the air is awesome.

There's only time for two more judges routines, and one of them better be that Wade Jazz. But Tasty is next and he's picking a Doriana disco featuring Brandon and Janette, which means I'm guessing that the other routine won't also be Brandon and Janette, to which I say What The Eff? You include that Chbeeb and Jeanine NappyTabs but not that ridiculously amazing Wade Jazz? Asuka and Vitolio's waltz? SERIOUS OVERSIGHT on the jidges part. I mean, this number is still great. But this or the Wade Jazz? The Wade wins every time. The only reason I can think of for Wade's number being conspicuously absent is that they needed the staircase and couldn't bring one to the Kodak. At least, that better be the reason. If it's any reason than that, that reason is unacceptable.

Time for our last piece, and Mia is, as expected, picking Tyce's cancer routine. Which was beautiful, and I'm glad to see it again, but I want my Wade Jazz dammit! Tyce also reveals that the friend he choreographed this for is cancer-free today. That's nice, and I mean that with zero snark. Rewatching this makes me miss Ade in the finale. I think he would have been awesome in that LaurieAnn number versus Brandon.

There's a surprise, though, first. A Mia routine, the top 8 one in paritcular. I notice the judges table is conspicuously absent as Cat intros the number. Methinks cameo appearances are coming. The editing on this one is really really terribly choppy. It's completely ruining any sort of flow the number should have. And yup, there are our jidges. Althouhg, Lil' C isn't there. Um, what's up with that C?

Jeanine and Brandon are back on stage and it's time to find out who America's favorite dancer is. After over 21 million votes, Ameriker's Favorite Dancer Is... JEANINE! Jeanine is, completely understandably, overcome with emotion. She never thought she would be giving an acceptance speech at the Kodak, but she thanks the academy. Ok, that's kind of awesome. She thanks her mom for pushing her to dance. What she'll remember most from this experience is:
1) Right now. (Great answer)
2) The other dancers
3) Travis' piece for her and Jason
4) Cat (who is jokingly appalled to be number four)

The confetti goes off (although noticeably over the audience, not the stage) and the dancers all run up and hug each other and awww. The dancers all may holding up some sort of hand signal for season five. All I know is that it's gotta be better than "4 Real." So, that was our season folks. I had a good time. Did you? I’ll be back for season 6 but, until then, I'm Nate Levy, Good Night Ameriker!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance 8/5- Performance Show Finale Goodness!

Hey all! Can you believe that the finale is already here? This season kind of feels like it flew by. I'm not sure if it'll be as memorable as say, seasons 2, 3, or 4, but overall, I think I enjoyed myself. Cat is wearing something that is a wee bit too baggy to be very flattering on her, but she's still pulling it off. The intros feature everyone doing their best moves. Kayla is impressive, but Brandon is banoodles. If we consider this round one, Brandon is most definitely ahead. Tonight features everyone dancing with everyone else, per the usual. Jidging tonight are Mary, Nigel, and Shankers! Yay Shankers!

Note: This, as always, is the abridged recap. For a fuller version, head to sytycd.ca. Oodles more finale goodness there...

The final four have a Wade and Amanda routine about two football jocks and two cheerleaders who are too much to handle. The video package makes it look awesome. It's too Lady GaGa, which takes it down a notch in my book. So, I don't want to bee too cheerful, but everyone is kind of NAILING this. Everyone is greatly in character. The choreography is fun fun fun. If anything, they all won this round. Maybe White Lightning by a nose, but a great start to the show.

Evan and Jeanine are the first couple to dance together, with a Sonja Tayeh contemporary. . The routine itself is pretty great, and they are both doing it well. Jeanine is a bit more in control in the routine so she's coming across a little bit better but this is still some of the best dancing we've seen from either of these two this season, at least in my opinion. I'm not sure how memorable this routine is going to be, but I certainly liked it as I watched it. Shankers thought Sonja's choreography was awesome too, because it showed both their strengths and was fun to watch too. Mary thought they would be a good partnership and she was right. Nigel tells Evan he has to be more in command of the stage in his upcoming routines.

Cat sits down with Brandon, who says the show is super-tough but he wouldn't want to be anywhere else. but the big revelation is that Brandon didn't think he'd make the show and he doesn't see it in himself some times. He's blind, maybe? Because the boy can DANCE. His final solo is to the bombastic Dies Irae, and he's just as crazy good as always. He may actually slip at one point but he covers it exceptionally well. He ends with such power and manages to get out of a split using only his legs. To quote my viewing partner, "Jesus." Shankers says “That is COMPETING!” Mary got goosebumps. Nigel thought he wiped out the competition.

Kayla and Brandon are up next, with a Tasty Oreo Broadway where he's putting his own spin on things. So it'll be kitschy, overly literal, and only meh? Despite the best efforts of the costume and lighting people to distract me, I'm actually watching the routine and they are dancing it fantastically. The routine itself could be better, but they are dancing it to the extreme and doing it fantastically well. They were awesome. The routine itself wasn't up to their level. Shankers loved it so much he has to stand up. Mary thought they were rockstars, dancestars, and frontrunners. I get the last two, but if they're such rockstars, why can't we have them performing instead of Kristinia DeBarge? Nigel thought they were strong together and fantastic.

Jeanine’s solo is next. . Jeanine started dancing at age 3 and faced challenges dancing when she was younger. Her favorite routine was Travis’ Top 10 Contemporary. Cat mentions the apparently unchoreographed "Full On Smoocharamaroony" That needs to become a part of the SYTYCD Vernacular. Lets make it happen folks. Anyhoo, Jeanine's actual solo is like tango-ed out or something and it's an interesting direction to take, and certainly one that makes me take more notice of her. She doesn't choreograph her ending well though, and the whole thing judged as an overall was a little lacking. Shankers is so happy for her and lavishes her with every compliment possible. He says she fought Brandon back. Mary thinks she's peaking at the right time and that she's elevated every partner she's been with. She’s in the final two, as far as Nigel is concerned.

Evan and Brandon are up next with a LaurieAnn Gibson Pop/Jazz routine. It's about two guys battling for a number one spot. I'm shocked. Because if there's anything that one could critique about LaurieAnn's previous number on the show it's that it wasn't literal enough. That being said, the routine itslef is... ok. It's ridiculously hyper-literal to the situation, which grates, at least for me. Brandon is also crushing Evan, this round clearly goes to him. I'm gonna say this one isn't gonna be particularly memorable as the night goes on. Shankers thinks Evan got dusted and gets booed. Why? Mary also thinks Brandon did a better job. Nigel thinks Brandon out-personalitied AND out-danced Evan.

Kayla and Jeanine have a Mia Michaels contemporary that takes place from Stage-Left to Stage-right. I find myself focusing on Kayla a lot more than Jeanine, but they're both doing a very good job. Jeanine's movements are bigger, but I'm not sure if that's what the number calls for so much as the slight bit of restraint Kayla is putting into it. Although for the last 10 seconds or so, Kayla falls apart a little bit. But it was a fantastic routine. Shankers just can't say enough about how much he loves them. Mary thinks they laid their heart and soul out there on stage. Nigel reiterates Mary’s comment regarding Jeanine peaking at the right time.

Evan's solo is up next, but first, he has a sit-down sesh with Cat. The brothers Kasprzak (no relation to the Brothers Karamazov) story is retold, especially when he mentions that being away from his family is the toughest thing. His favorite routine was the Butt routine. Evan, for as much fun as he's clearly having, is not dancing nearly big enough. It's all small little movements which just don't give a sense of greatness to his solo. It's exactly what they tore into Kupono and Lauren "Misha Chan" Gottlieb about when they danced this small. Shankers thought he took an interesting, calculated risk. The solo did enough for Mary. Nigel thinks he has something special, but he still hasn’t grown enough for Nigel’s liking and that solo wasn’t up to Jeanine and Brandon’s levels.

Kayla and Evan are the next routine. They've got a Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin Jive. m absolutely watching Kayla more than Evan in this routine, and, especially coming off Nigel's criticism that Evan needs to control the stage, he is almost a little bit of a disappointment here. He's not bad, he's just kind of... there. I mean, Kayla has some rough moments where Evan pulls her through, but she was the one this routine showed off, not him. Shankers loves Tony and Melanie but didn’t think that was a finale-level routine. Mary calls the routine phenomenal but tears into Evan on technique before telling Kayla she stole the show. Nigel thought Evan brought personality and wonders where this personality has been from Kayla all season.

Kayla’s the last soloist of the night. She wanted to start dancing because of Singin’ In The Rain, she likes the nickname “White Lightning”, and her favorite piece was Mia’s addiction piece, which was probably her best work all season. Um, when did Kayla finally learn how to chroegraph a solo? Because this is really frickin' good. Her best solo all season. I think she was better than Jeanine. Shankers didn’t think the solo showed off who she is, but dubs her one of the best dancers the show has ever had. Mary says she’s gifted and touched by angels. Nigel doesn’t want the audience to be fooled by ideas that she’s entitled or doesn’t need their votes.

Brandon and Jeanine wrap things up with a Louis Van Amstel Paso Doble. This is really really good. They’re nailing the intensity, dancing it to the hilt and without abandon (Jeanine is just throwing herself around the stage). I missed the judges comments for the most part, but they got a standing ovation and Nigel said they edged the other two out as front runners.

Shankers and Mary evade the question of who will win. Nigel says it should be Brandon or Jeanine.

ROUTINE RANKING:
1) Kayla and Jeanine
2) Kayla and Brandon
3) Brandon and Jeanine
4) Jeanine and Evan
5) Top 4
6) Evan and Kayla
7) Brandon and Evan

SOLO RANKINGS:
1) Brandon
2) Kayla
3) VERY CLOSE- Jeanine
4) Evan

OVERALL RANKING FOR THE NIGHT:
1) Kayla
2) Brandon
3) Jeanine
4) Evan

OVERALL RANKING FOR THE SEASON:
1) Brandon
2) Kayla
3) Jeanine
4) Evan

Thursday, July 30, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance 7/30- And We Have Our Finalists...

Cat is in something green and shiny and it's oh-so-much-better than her simple ensemble from last night. Cat Deeley, please dress more ostentatiously from now on. In close-up, Cat looks very 80s kinda-sorta. At least, I see it. It's kind of fab.

Note: It's the second to last week, everyone knows this by now, right? This is the abridged recap. For a full version, go to sytycd.ca

Tonight's group routine is to send in the clowns, which is maybe their way of preparing us for the next round of auditions? The number itself is actually quite beautiful, so much so that I know it can't actually be the Tyce piece I would have guessed from the ridiculous costumes/makeup/set design. Seriously, the choreography in this is just beautiful. In fact, I kind of love this. The number ends with Evan waving goodbye. An omen of things to come? But holy what-the-what, it WAS a Tyce? For serious? Nice, Mr. Tasty. Kudos. Um, also, the four emmy nominated routines from last season are gonna be performed. Which means MARK AND CHELSIE ARE BACK! HUZZAH! Oh, and Twitch, Joshua, Katee, Jessica, and Will too...

Anyhoo, our top 3 girls are up on stage and one's about to be sent to the finale. Jeanine is up first, and... we have to wait until we hear about everyone to find out who's guaranteed to be there to the end. The first girl going to the finale is.... Jeanine. Good for her. I still don't get it, but clearly enough people are seeing something I'm not.

Our first encore performance is Jessica and Will doing Tyce's "Adam and Eve" piece from last year. So, serious question. Was Jessica always this good last year? Because she's great. Will, as always, is astounding. But if Jessica really was this good last season, I was really misjudging her harshly. Anyways, the number is still beautiful, it's probably better than "Cancer."

It’s time to send one of the boys to the finale. It really should be Brandon. The first guy going to the finale is... Brandon. Well, at least it's deserved. I mean, the boy can DANCE. Anyone who disputes that is... well... blind.

It's time for another encore routine, this time it's "Mercy" featuring Twitch and Katee. Um, this number was oodles of fun last time, and it's even moreso this time. They really go for the kiss this time. Actually, I probably liked it a little more the first time, but it's still a wide margin better than a lot of what we've seen this season. Katee is still absolutely flippin fantastic, in case any of you were wondering.

The next encore is Dmitry’s “A Los Amigos”, featuring Chelsie and Joshua. Hoo boy is this sultry. Can someone please explain to me how Chelsie didn't make the finale last season? The girl is fantastic. I mean, look at the facts, she's the only one in TWO of these numbers. And she is selling it hardcore this time too. Not that Joshua is bad, but he just can't compete with her.

It's time for the bottom four's solos. First up is Melissa. I still think this is an utterly fantastic solo.

Ade is the next solo. It's still ridiculously good. Better than it was last night. At least, I think so.

The Jabbawockeez are now doing a routine. They won the first season of America's Best Dance Crew, a show I haven't watched but apparently should if it often features dancing this cool. Then again, it has Randy Jackson too, doesn't it, and that's a big no-no. The white masks creep me out a bit at first, but I've completely come around to them like 20 seconds in. But yeah, this is really awesome.

It's time for the encore I've been waiting for, "Bleeding Love" by NappyTabs featuring Mark and Chelise. Yay Mark! Yay! Sorry, he's just maybe my favorite contestant ever, so I'm excited to see him back. And he's even better than Chelsie in this number. But seriously, this number is just really really really good. I remember not being wowed by this the first time I saw it, but I was a complete idiot back then. Can Mark somehow make the finale this season? Can I massively write-in vote for him right now?

Kayla's doing her solo again now. It looks even more frantic this time. Kayla's a really really good dancer, and if she's not in the finale I'll be upset, but she really needs to work on choreographic a jaw-dropping solo for the finale if she does.

Evan's got even more energy this time it seems. As I said last night, his solos are always tons of fun to watch. I just wish it was a little less of the same thing each time.

Sean Paul's up now, performing his song "Get Fine." Relative to the other performances this season, it's not terrible. Which means it's not good really, it's just not "make-your-ears-bleed" bad (cough cough Sean Kingston, Kristinia DeBarge, Kelly Rowlands, and the Black Eyed Peas). And he's got back up dancers who are actually dancing, so he certainly gets points for that.

The final girls results are up. girls. It's either gonna be Kayla or Melissa. The other girl advancing to the finale is... Kayla, which means Melissa is going home. This was the right decision. I'm a big fan of Melissa's, but Kayla totally deserved the spot over her.

Now it’s the boys turn. . Nigel, who had been mercifully silent up until this point tonight, takes the last moment to pat himself on the back and he FINALLY makes mention of the passing of Merce Cunningham, to which I say about time with that. The other guy making the finale is... Evan, which means Ade is going home. I'm sad, but not entirely surprised. I kind of prepared myself for this, so I'm fine with losing Ade. Now at least I won't be torn between him and Brandon next week. Cat reintroduces us to our finalists: Brandon, Evan, Jeanine, and Kayla. Is it too early to say Brandon FTW?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance 7/29- The Top 6 Make The Final Push

So, folks, we're down to our top 6. This was the week we lost Mark last year, so I fear what top 6 week will bring this year. However, tonight's 2 hour long show is guaranteed to bring the filler, so at least we know that's there. Excited? Cat is wearing something purple and, in all honesty, fairly boring. Plus, I'm completely not feeling her hair tonight. In good news however, it's ON! Melissa's intro is all about moving one of her legs. Brandon is just crazy good, Kayla has more life than usual (I might describe her as a firecracker based on this), Evan is cute, Jeanine is good but not necessarily memorable, and Ade is great and ends by jumping into a split. Yowza. Guest jidging alongside Mary and Nigel this week is Lil’ C.

Note: As per the usual, this is the abridged recap. For a full version, head to sytycd.ca

The top 3 guys are starting off this week with a Sonja routine, which she describes as Willy Wonka-esque. Color. Me. Pumped. Like super-pumped. And, um watching this number, I was absolutely right to be pumped. This ROCKS. Every one of them has a bunch of great moments. My eyes were probably most drawn to Brandon, but this is twisted, fun, dynamic, and has great musicality. Evan may fall out of sync at the end too, but overall, really good start to the night. Lil’ C thought all of them were fantastic. Mary just loved it, yes she did! Nigel agrees with what’s been said and doesn’t think past seasons could match this level.

The first pairing is Jeanine and Ade, doing a Louis Van Amstel Samba. It’s to Lady GaGa, so I automatically have problems with it. Thankfully, the dancing seems to be pretty good. They're certainly having fun, although I'd say neither is connecting to the other amazing. They're doing the steps and nailing the feeling great, I just would have liked a bit stronger vibe between them. Mary loved the first twenty seconds but if fell apart after that for her. Lil’ C did not get the explosion of excellence he needed. Nigel thinks Ade didn’t alter his style enough for the genre, but that Jeanine was great, which is easier for her because she’s pretty.

Kayla has the first solo of the night. It’s quite good, although it gets a bit busy at the end. But it’s certainly a very good solo.

Evan and Melissa are up with a Tyce Broadway routine. The costuming is a little sparse and not in the good way, because it distracts. That being said, this routine is actually a ton of fun, but because of the performance. Evan's footwork is great, but Melissa outshines him on leaps. They're kind of adorable together though. Lil C thought it was an A, but he wanted an A+. Mary thought it was fun and entertaining. Nigel thought it wasn’t technically demanding, but they needed personality to sell it and they succeeded.

Ade's solo is, as always, full of huge leaps, spins, and dynamic movement. I, as always, really enjoyed it. And his choice to wear an open button down actually helped seriously because it draws the eye to his actual movements, which is great.

Kayla and Brandon are the last pair to perform together. They've got a Stacey Tookey contemporary about a married man's mistress. This is really fabulous. Brandon is phenomenal. Like, absolutely amazing. Kayla is also no slouch and bringing. But overall, this routine is just amazingly good. I will definitely be rewatching this one. Definitely an A+. Lil’ C calls it beyond amazing. Mary loved every second of it. Nigel thought they were technically excellent.

Melissa is soloing to Nina Simone, so points for that. Her pointe feet perfectly hit the tinkling piano keys, so points for that. She looks amazing dancing, so points for that. She may not have the most motion, but it shows a level of restraint that certain dancers, ahem, lack in their solos. I found myself more excited by her solo than either of the previous ones.

Jeanine and Ade are back with a NappyTabs hip-hop routine. Unfortunately, they're still not connecting. Early on, it almost seemed like they were dancing two different routines. I don't think it's my bias that tells me that Ade is dancing circles around Jeanine though. She just kind of seems fatigued. But this was not the knockout performance that either of them needed. Lil’ C felt Ade finally had that dirty groove he’s shown in the past. Mary thinks they won’t be going anywhere after that performance. Nigel is glad to applaud them instead of the choreography, because they got down.

Brandon's solo is next and he's again soloing to something overly bombastic. However, his dancing is just amazing. Like, the boy should be asked back to choreograph, that's how good it was. All three judges give him a standing ovation.

Melissa and Evan are back with a Louis Van Amstel quickstep. It's certainly more fun than the typical quickstep, and these two are still adorable together. Comparing this to something like Asuka and Vitolio's awful week one quickstep this is a revealtion. Compared to the other number this week, I'm not sure how this is gonna stack up. But it's definitely fun. Why does that word follow Evan around?
Lil’ C thought Evan danced bigger than he ever has before and that Melissa was fabulous. Mary found the choreography amazing but their dancing fell short. Nigel wouldn’t call it one of the best routines of the night.

Jeanine's solo is next. It's got personality, and it's fun, but, I'm sorry, I still don't see what everyone sees in her. Like, I found it to be the weakest solo so far. Please, can someone explain the Jeanine love to me?

Evan's solo wraps those up for the night. His solos are always so much fun to watch, and this one is no different. I love his style.

Kayla and Brandon deliver our final partner routine of the night, a Doriana Sanchez disco. Dancing-wise, this. is. AWESOME. Production-values wise, however, sheesh, could the lights and camera focus be any more distracting. Thankfully, by the middle the soft-focus of the beginning is gone, but dear lord, this is just banoodles on the actual dancing and performance front. Kayla in particular is phenomenal, not that Brandon is anything less than flipping fantastic. Kayla can't breathe at the end. Lil’ C rambles and makes no sense whatsoever, but I think he liked it. Mary thinks they had a home-run night tonight. Nigel loved it so much he gets up and runs around.

Our final routine of the night is the top 3 girls getting THEIR Sonja routine, about superheroes. This isn't as good as the boys number, but its still good. Kayla probably draws the most focus, but they all appear to be on roughly an even level. Again, though, the lighting and camerawork/editing is doing them NO favors. Lil’ C thought they were all a little too held back. Mary thought they were all strong, versatile, and sexy but that Kayla stood out as best. Nigel loved their chemistry and found their strength equal.

ROUTINE RANKINGS:
1) Kayla and Brandon- Contemporary
2) Kayla and Brandon- Disco
3) Top 3 Boys- Contemporary
4) Melissa and Evan- Broadway
5) Jeanine and Ade- Hip-Hop
6) Melissa and Evan- Quickstep
7) Top 3 Girls- Contemporary
8) Jeanine and Ade- Samba

SOLO RANKINGS
1) Brandon
2) Melissa
3) Ade
4) Evan
5) Kayla
6) Jeanine

OVERALL RANKINGS:
1) Brandon
2) Kayla
3) Melissa
4) Evan
5) Ade
6) Jeanine

WHO SHOULD GO HOME:
Jeanine had the weakest night. Sadly, Ade was probably the worst of the boys tonight. However, I agree with Mary that this should be an overall evaluation, so I think it should be Evan and Jeanine going home tomorrow night.
WHO WILL GO HOME: Beats me.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance 7/23- Top 8 Results/100th Episode Extravaganza!

Hey folks! Tonight’s our top 8 results AND our 100th episode extravaganza! Excited? I am. Cat is wearing a sparkly dress that has a tiger on it. Her hair is also quite voluminous tonight. I have to say, on the Glorious/Gloriously Awful scale, it falls toward the latter, rather than the former. Although, the more I look at it, the more I kind of like it.

Note: As always, this is a somewhat shorter recap. For a fuller version, head to sytycd.ca

Tonight's group number is a Broadway number that I'm betting is Joey Dowling because it's really good. I'm a little surprised that they have a Broadway group number considering Katie Holmes' tribute to Fosse coming later tonight. No one really stands out as better than anyone else because I have NO idea who anyone is. Which is almost kind of a good thing because it means I only focus on the dancing, which, as stated above, is really good. I'm a fan. Better than Wade's Geisha piece last week, that's for sure. But weirdly enough, it's a Mia routine. I did NOT see that coming.

There’s lots of jidges padding and video recaps. They are not worth mentioning beyond this sentence. I'm glad to see a few former favorites there in the audience (Shoutouts to Pasha, Shortney Galliano, and the gone-way-too-soon Chelsea Traille (S4)).

Girl results are first. Melissa is up first and she is... SAFE. Not all that surprised, but I hope this safety carries over to Ade as well. Kayla is one of our bottom 2 girls however. Kayla doesn't deserve to go home for last night's performances, but I'm not sure who does, so there's that. Between Jeanine and Janette, the other girl in the bottom two is Janette, who does not really seem all that surprised at the news.

Our first encore performance is Hok and Jaimie doing "The Hummingbird and the Flower" by Wade Robson. This is still really, really, really good. The intricacies of the hand motions alone sells me on this dance. Even if Hok wasn't the all around strongest dancer his season, he still had exactly what was needed to nail this number. And he still does. Jaimie is still good. And still not the most memorable dancer for me. She doesn't leave that large of an impression on me this time around.

Boys' results are up next. Ade is up first, and please please please please please let him be safe. But they hold his results until after they talk to Jason. Diabolical, Ms. Deeley. Diabolical. One of these two is safe, one isn't. The dancer in danger is... Jason. Ade is SAFE! Hip Hip Huzzah To the Nth Degree! Obviously, the other guy in the bottom is Brandon or Evan and, in a true testament to Evan's fanbase, Brandon is the one who is in danger.

Our next encore routine is Travis and Heidi doing the bench. And THIS is still absolutely amazing. With Hummingbird, I didn't feel that same initial "WOW" as when I first saw that dance. With this one, that same feeling is still there. This is still hauntingly beautiful, although Travis' slide down the bench is a wee bit rougher this time around. But it's still absolutely banoodles.

Everyone repeats their solos from last night. It’s a yawn, except for Brandon, who is still amazing.

It's time for the encore we've all really been waiting for: "Ramalama" featuring the original top 10 of season two AND Wade Robson, dancing the number. And this is still just like ridiculously ridiculously amazing. I may or may not take back my statement that Higher Ground was the best group routine ever. But I still posit that it's a close second. Also, while Wade can clearly dance, I feel like his presence here diminished the number because I was playing "Spot the Wade Robson" instead of watching the dance.

Next, it's time for the Katie Holmes Tyce Broadway piece. Bear in mind, it's a Tyce Broadway routine, so my enthusiasm is... muted. We get a nice interview with Katie. That's... nice. So, the routine is entirely pre-recorded because it takes place on an external stage. And which also means this could be edited to the wazoo and we wouldn't know it. Also, I have to say... Wait a tick, was that Mark? I'm pretty sure it was. There seems to be a minimal amount of dancing for her to do, but she's doing what she's given alright. OK, now I'm pretty sure that was Mark because I'm pretty sure that's also Joshua. What's weird though, is that those two appear to be the only alums there. Did I just completely fail to recognize the others?

Girl results are up first. Between Kayla and Janette, the girl going home is Janette. She takes the news well. Nigel says that Janette was his favorite too and he was really rooting for her to win. Boys’ results are next, and between Jason and Brandon, Jason is the one who’s going home. He seems to know this before his name is even read though. Well, folks, do you agree with tonight's results? Looking forward to another hundred?