Thursday, June 28, 2007

Jesus Is Not The Judges' Homeboy

Holy bad decisions ... Jesus (Chuy) Solorio has been cut from So You Think You Can Dance despite being one of the best and most versatile dancers in the whole cast.

I place all the blame on the idiotic judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy for this one. It all stems from their rude and overly harsh treatment of Cedric during his contemporary piece with Shauna yesterday. They were already eliminating the kid before the vote, which created such a backlash that the audience rallied to keep Cedric in the game. And sure enough, Cedric and Shauna were safe, leaving Sara/Jesus, Neil/Lauren and Danny/Anya as the bottom 3. Cedric for sure would have been gone had he been in the bottom 3, but the judges inadvertantly made sure that didn't happen. You'd think Nigel had seen it enough times on American Idol not to make that mistake again. Can you say Sanjaya?!

Chuy's solo wasn't the most inspiring, but his great work on his previous three partner dances should have been enough. Neil did a lot of gymnastics and spins, but he has been the worst (other than Cedric) at the partner dances. His solo apparently saved him.

What gets me is that the judges are so bloody inconsistent with their decisions. Neil's solo saved him, and Chuy's caused his elimination, but Lauren's horrible solo to freaking K-FED's Popozao kept her in the game? The girl barely danced at all and spent more than half her dance getting into position and taking off her jacket (which Neil could have easily tripped on in the next performance)! And she should have been kicked off for her music choice alone. Anya's solo to Eva Cassidy's Fields of Gold wasn't much better, but her previous work had been good. Lauren's? Not so much. I figured Jessi would go home, but it wasn't because of her solo, which was better than the aforementioned girls. Why she went home, no one knows because Nigel didn't give any explanation at all. It was just "Jessi, we'll be losing you tonight", delivered with coldness. Ass. I'm assuming it's because of her health or because she was the only one who didn't actually dance yesterday. But he should have said why and not been so cold.

I can't believe that the consistently worst couple was out there ripe for elimination, and the judges kept them in at the expense of better, more charismatic dancers. The judges seem to have an inexplicable soft spot for Neil and Lauren, even if they haven't delivered worth squat all year. The squealing fangirls won't let Neil near the bottom 3 for awhile now, methinks. Gah.

It's outcomes like tonight that make me hate this show. And if it weren't for the terrific dancers, I'd probably stop watching.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

So You Think You Can't Dance

So You Think You Can Dance contestant Jessi Peralta missed this week's performance show after being taken to the hospital with an apparent heart condition, leaving her partner Pasha Kovalev to dance a cha cha cha with his choreographer's assistant for votes. Not that his makeshift partner was a slouch by any means - he was dancing with former U.S. Latin dance champion Melanie LaPatin.

Since the show was taped on Monday, it's conceivabe that Jessi could get medical clearance in enough time to do her "Dance For Your Life" on Thursday (and Nigel Lythgoe really should have reworded that term, considering Jessi's condition). Pasha undoubtedly will be safe from the bottom 3 after overcoming the unfortunate situation, but either way, if able, Jessi will have to dance to stay on the show. I can't see the judges keeping her around at all. They'll send her home for either bad dancing (her solo/strip-tease last week was awful!!!) or for her own safety.

Unless the voters keep him out of the bottom 3, Cedric is also a goner. He and his partner Shauna danced a Mia-Michaels contemporary dance. Or, should I say, Shauna danced while Cedric sat and emoted. Nigel and Mary Murphy both pointed out that the choreography was designed to mask his flaws. But Cedric's a winner either way because while he was getting judged (and while Shauna was basically fading into the background), guest judge Debbie Allen offered Cedric a scholarship to the Debbie Allen Dance Academy. Good for him. Now get off the show and go to that dance academy, because he has big dreams and wants fame, and that is where fame costs and they start paying ... and sweat.

Who I expect to join Cedric/Shauna in the bottom 3 ...

*Neil/Lauren, who did a clompy, awkward tango. Neil's slumped posture was horrific, and I kept imagining Len Goodman screaming at them for not being in a hold position for about half the dance.
*Either Danny/Anya or Sara/Chuy. I say Danny/Anya because of their lack of flashy (or even memorable) personality (their hip-hop wasn't anything special either; I kind of thought it was too simple in comparison to others' dances) and Sara/Chuy just because they went first with their krump routine. None of the four deserve to go at all, and whoever gets stuck in this position will not go home.

Best of the night honors goes to Hok/Jaimie for Wade Robson's genius "jazz" choreography. For sure one of the best routines of the season.

Kudos also to Dominic/Sabra for nailing a rumba (probably the least interesting/showy of the Latin dances) and to Lacey/Kameron for making the usual kiss-of-death dance, the quickstep, entertaining. Props especially to Dominic, Lacey and Danny for adapting well to every dance thrown to them out of their speciality. Neither of the three have done their speciality yet. Neil hasn't done his speciality yet either, but I wouldn't say he's adapted well to the other dances at all. He's had two big clunkers in three weeks. :P

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

We Will Rock A Paso?

One of the things that made So You Think You Can Dance stand out in comparison to Dancing With The Stars was the music. I've always found the DwtS music to be ridiculous, with mediocre singers singing songs that have nothing to do with the type of dance they were doing (I will never get over that Kris Kross mambo). But there must be something about doing a paso doble on these dancing shows that makes the choreographer or whoever pick lousy-ass music. On DwtS, we had Sara Evans doing a paso to Phantom of the Opera, Monique Coleman with The Reflex by Duran Duran, and Apolo Anton Ohno with Jessie's Girl. I mean, really, people. Seriously?!

That influence has regrettably seeped its way into SYTYCD now. Last week, someone decided that Avril Lavigne's Girlfriend would be a good choice for the jive. This week, Sara and Jesus/Chuy got saddled with a paso doble set to a remix of We Will Rock You by Queen. Yeah. A Latin dance set to a song associated with stadium rock. Chuy brought that Latin fire to the dance (even while he was looking awfully short thanks to the costuming), and B-Girl Sara did her thing, but I was having difficulty getting past that music. And if they hit the bottom 3 tomorrow, it will be because of that music. I personally wouldn't mind seeing them in the B3 just to see their solos, but I don't want the judges to use a previous B3 appearance later to give them the hook.

Best dances of the night went to:

Sabra/Dominic's contemporary to The Pretenders' I'll Stand By You. He's a b-boy more known for spinning on his back/head, but he totally pulled this contemporary dance off, and his personality is so appealing. He's had to do dances he's so not familiar with, but he's so willing to learn, and he puts his all into it every single time. As the judges said, he is what this competition is about. Sabra is a gorgeous dancer who was totally in her element.

Danny/Anya's Viennese Waltz to Lifehouse's You And Me. They were graceful and elegant, although I did think that at times Anya's movements looked more Latin than Viennese. Danny was exquisite.

Good:

Jessi/Pasha - Pasha impressed me because I didn't think he'd be good at the contemporary-type of dances. I was wrong. He's a strong overall dancer. Baby oil girl bugs whenever she opens her mouth, but when she's dancing and not pulling gimmicks out of her ass (or hand), she's really, really good.

Lacey/Kameron - They got stuck with not-so-hot choreography with their Chicago Broadway routine, but they really brought the sex appeal and chemistry.

Sara/Jesus - see comments above; would have been awesome with better music

Shauna/Jimmy - Very cool step routine; some of it didn't always work, but they deserve to stay out of the bottom 3. Shauna surprised me. I thought she would bring him down, but she held her own.

Meh:

Cedric/Faina - Of all things to pull, it had to be foxtrot. Cedric was screwed from the start. Faina may get a pass for doing well while her partner floundered, but I have a feeling these two will be gone tomorrow. The producers don't like to break up the couples just yet.

Hok/Jaimie - Hok did much better than I expected, but both of their hip actions were weak, and the samba roll was awkward. Jaimie has not impressed me much at all this season. I'm sure she's terrific at contemporary, but hip-hop and samba ... not so much. The only part I liked from her was the part at the end when she was shimmying backwards towards him. I don't think they'll be bottom 3 due to his fanbase, but they should be.

Neil/Lauren - Lauren is supposed to be a hip-hop dancer. Couldn't tell from watching that. Neil stole the spotlight from her, and he wasn't even all that. It's just that compared to last week, he was a lot better. But taken out of that context (and taking away that jump over her), that was big fat ball of meh.

Friday, June 15, 2007

More Opera

I'm not usually a classical/opera gal, but there are a few exceptions. That Britain's Got Talent guy got me looking for more videos. Here are a few good ones:

More Paul Potts from Britain's Got Talent, doing "Time To Say Goodbye"


Same song from Andrea Bocelli/Sarah Brightman


Bocelli with Celine Dion singing "The Prayer"


And if you can't deal with Celine, try this one from Australian Idol season 2, by Anthony Callea (I still can't believe he didn't win after this)


And more "popera", this is from the first time I ever saw, heard or even heard OF Josh Groban, when he guested on Ally McBeal and blew. me. away. His first live CD is amazing. I can't even tell the difference between the studio songs and the live songs. (His second live album ... uh, not so much. I think the ghost of Carmen Rasmusen came to visit him before that show.)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Britain Certainly Has Talent

I just discovered this video from Britain's Got Talent. This is 36-year old cell phone salesman Paul Potts singing the opera song "Nessun Dorma " like he's Luciano Pavarotti. This guy is AMAZING.



I don't know where this kind of talent in America is hiding, but it's certainly not on America's Got Talent. That show is a total joke, especially compared to this. I have never seen such a audience reception on a talent competition. Holy wow.

Oh, and check out this adorable little girl, Connie, from the same show, singing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow". Now, I'm not big on little kids entering these talent competitions, but at least Conny is being age-appropriate, unlike 11-year old Bianca Ryan (last year's America's Got Talent winner), who really knows nothing about what she was singing about. Anyway, Connie's toothless smile alone could have put her through to the next round, but her angelic voice probably didn't hurt either. haha

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

This Is What Happens When There Is No Cannon Fodder

It's amazing how Nigel Lythgoe can get one of his shows right while mucking up his most famous one. Unlike this year's American Idol Top 24, this season's So You Think You Can Dance Top 20 does not include any obvious cannon fodder, which, hence, brought a strong show with solid performances all the way around and no real train wrecks.

In the upper echelon of dancers tonight:
Lacey/Kameron - Dancing a contemporary routine to "Dancing" by Elisa, Lacey answered any residual doubts leftover from Benji last season. Benji's big knock was that he never had to do contemporary. No one can use that against Lacey, especially after she threw herself, literally, fully into this routine. If she can kill a Mia Michaels contemporary routine, I don't know that there's a dance she can't do. I knew she was a good swing dancer, but I didn't know she was this good of a dancer period. Dan Karaty said her partner Kameron was just a prop. I thought that was unfair. He was terrific as well, and neither could have done that routine alone. But perhaps this is the first sign of the Schwimmer mystique and charisma ... it's hard to take your eyes off the Schwimmer.



Sara/Chuy - Wade Robson gave them the most bizarro pop jazz routine, but they also threw themselves into the choreography and sold it. I loved the rustling of the newspaper at the beginning and end, and I couldn't believe that they were able to spin so cleanly on the paper!

Also very good:
Pasha/Jessi - Smooth waltz to Norah Jones' Come Away With Me - I did not like her at all during the audition period, but she was lovely tonight. Pasha was as good as expected.

Anya/Danny - Jive to Avril Lavigne's Girlfriend - Anya shined more so than Danny. She is the performer of the competition. It's hard to take your eyes off her. Danny's balletic style looked out of place here, and at times he was moving kind of horse-like. But he's obviously a good dancer. His turns and extension are gorgeous. I probably would have liked this more had they not used this song. A punk song on a jive routine? Too much Dancing with the Stars, not enough SYTYCD.

Middle of the pack but still good:
Sabra/Dominic - Disco to Donna Summers and Westlife's Enough Is Enough - Disco routines on these shows are always kind of whack and cheesy. This was actually pretty entertaining, and I love the breakdancing he threw in it. Loved the Dirty Dancing references. Even Cat threw in a "Nobody puts Sabra in a corner".

Jaimie/Hok - Hip-hop routine - I wasn't too worried about Hok here. Jaimie handled herself well for a contemporary dancer.

In danger:
Ashlee/Ricky - Argentinian Tango - Not good. The only thing that stood out in this routine was how much Ashlee towered over him. Because Dan called them out as being in danger, I think they will be safe from the bottom 3, leaving the following ...

Neil/Lauren - Oh boy did he look like a white boy trying to do a Latin dance. And Mary Murphy really delivered her best critique ever on this show by demonstrating that Neil was dancing up here in his shoulders like a cheerleader while he should be dancing down throughout his body. Lauren's incessant mugging may end up grating after awhile.

Faina/Cedric - Faina looked like a Russian ballroom dancer trying to do hip-hop. Cedric was really good, not surprisingly, since he's a hip-hop dancer. But their synchronization was off at times. Not a good pairing, I must say.

Shauna/Jimmy - Broadway to Ease On Down The Road from the Wiz - Shauna brought Jimmy down. Jimmy was terrific, she was not so much. At the end, she did a pirouette to end pose and lost her balance and almost fell down. Oops.

I expect to see Shauna dropping off tomorrow. With the guys, it's hard to say. I feel like it should be Neil, but I also see him having a standout solo routine. It will be a tough one ... whereas during American Idol it was easy to pick who should go in the early rounds (can you say SAN JAYA?)

Friday, June 08, 2007

So You Think You Can Hide The Good Dancers?

The Top 20 for season 3's So You Think You Can Dance? was revealed last night, and I have to say (I feel like this is a broken record for Nigel Lythgoe-produced shows) ... WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?!

I don't think we've seen half of the Top 20, and we don't really seem to know much about any of the ones we have seen, other than that three of them are siblings of finalists from last year. As someone much wittier than me said at TWoP: They should have renamed the show So You Think You Can Dance Better Than Your Brother?

The ones we have "backstories" on:

Lacey Schwimmer - Swing and International Latin dancer; brother Benji won the whole thing last year and helped Lacey in her audition this year
Faina Savich - Latin ballroom dancer; brother Stanislav was a finalist last year
Hok Konishi - Breakdancer who would have made last year's show if not for an expired visa
Anya Garnis - Latin ballroom dancer who auditioned in New York with her partner Pasha Kovalev, who is also a finalist.
Pasha Kovalev - See above
Lauren Gottlieb - Contemporary/jazz dancer who helped choreograph a routine in the finals last year and has ties with one of the show's choreographers - Tyce D'Orio.
Jessi Peralta - Hip-hop (?) dancer whose first audition in LA was shown. AKA oil rubbing girl or suitcase girl (reference to some weird things she did in audition pieces)
Ricky Palomino - Contemporary dancer who was not shown until the Vegas round; quirky oddball
Jesus (Chuy) Solorio - Contemporary/Jazz dancer who makes his own wine; auditioned for the show last year and was cut in Vegas

The others they ignored in previous episodes (and if they were shown before, I really don't remember ... probably because they spent so much time showing whiny Olivia and the Lindy Hoppers!):

Jaimie Goodwin - Contemporary dancer who has partnered in the past with last year's runner-up Travis Wall
Danny Tidwell - Contemporary/Jazz/Ballet dancer who is Travis' adopted brother (and got one hell of a villain edit last night! This was the first time they acknowledged him on the show, and all they did was show the judges talk about his ego/attitude ... without actually showing him giving attitude ... although he did give a smug smirk when the judges praised him, but who knows what kind of context they took that out of!)
Sabra Johnson - Contemporary/Ballet/Jazz dancer
Ashlee Langas - Contemporary/Jazz dancer
Shauna Noland - Contemporary dancer
Sara Von Gillern - Hip-Hop dancer/B-girl
Jimmy Arguello - Contemporary dancer
Kameron Bink - Contemporary/Hip-Hop dancer
Cedric Gardner - Hip-Hop dancer
Neil Haskell - Contemporary Jazz dancer
Dominic Sandoval - B-boy/Hip-Hop dancer

A LOT of contemporary dancers. We'll see if Mia Michaels can keep her contemporary bias in check.

Based on what little I have seen of these people, I'm rooting for Jesus/Chuy and Lacey, but I will definitely keep an open mind about everyone else. Jessi Peralta and her pantomime dance routines can go any day now, preferably in that suitcase she came out of in her group dance. I just don't get her.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Major Minor League Meltdown

This is one of the craziest managerial meltdowns I've ever seen, courtesy Mississippi Braves' manager Phillip Wellman.



Dude, it's a double-A baseball game, not game 7 of the World Series, and certainly not the Vietnam War. So take your rosin bag grenade and chillax!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Canadian Idol Judges Delusional

With Canadian Idol about to start its fifth season this week, the judges are all over the place trying to drum up interest in the show. And let's face it ... they need all the help they can get because if the last two seasons were any indication, this show is on its last legs. But publicity stunt or not, the statements coming out of the CI judges' mouths are laughable, especially considering the "talent" that has come out of their show lately.

First, judge Farley Flex said to the Canadian Press that the American Idol judges were at fault for the whole Sanjaya thing (true). But then Farley goes on to say, "I'm very confident in the integrity of our panel and our vision of what we see as being the Top 22 to turn over to the public, so I'm pretty confident in saying there wouldn't be a Sanjaya scenario in our world."

Hmmm ... really, Farley? Let me submit the following evidence from the last two seasons against that claim:

Brandon Jones


Daryl Brunt


Sanjaya was better than both of them.

Then Zack Werner popped off about the American Idol judges not knowing anything about finding talent. And then popped off about the contestants, calling Blake Lewis a "Justin Timberlake knock-off who looks like he's 40" (WTF?!) and Jordin Sparks a "professional pageant kid ... who knows so little about artistry". He also said, "And the fact that that Blake (Lewis) kid had the audacity to use the word artist in describing what his music is, is ridiculous -- it's just generic, knock-off, imitative crap. Our show is about anything except that."

Oh really, Zack?

Because I don't see last year's winner Eva Avila being all that much different artistically from Jordin Sparks, or even Katharine McPhee. And are we going to even try to pretend that season 3's runner-up Rex Goudie is a great singer? Blake can sing circles around him. The only way Zack's remarks have any merit is if the only season of Canadian Idol that existed was Season 2, which I still think is one of the best seasons of any Idol ever. Blake's music is generic, knock-off, imitative crap? Please! Until CI starts allowing people to sing their own songs, that's basically what their show (and all other Idol shows) is all about.

The show's producers also went to the press and talked about how Canadian Idol is a kinder, gentler show than American Idol. And this is another problem with the show. The last two years, the judges have just gushed about how great the show and the singers were, even when they gave performances that made Chicken Little look good.

This is not to say that CI is this awful show that has produced no talent. It has produced some great (and artistic) talent, and the tweeny Canadian voters are the ones who seem to vote out the artists before their time. But for the judges to go on their high horses about AI when they've been guilty of the same mistakes (and more) is hilarious to me. And all I have to say is if there's a Sanjaya-esque singer in their Top 22 or whatever it is, I will laugh ... and hope that he makes the final.