Friday, September 16, 2011

Lady Antebellum Plays The Troubadour

Country superstars Lady Antebellum played a 12-song set at the Troubadour in Los Angeles on Sept. 15, treating fans to a rare intimate, acoustic show. With the venue holding about 400 or so people, you were pretty much guaranteed a good view of the group. Thanks to my concert partner-in-crime who got in line early, we were able to get a front row spot right in front of Charles Kelley. Yes, that was glorious. And so were there voices. They sound so great live. That's one thing that has always struck me about them whenever I saw them perform on TV ... I don't recall any times when they've sounded off. And they were the same live. Flawless.

They sang some songs from the new album, including ones they had only played once before, and one in the encore they had never done live (As You Turn Away). It was quite a treat to hear the new songs, and as much as I hated not being able to hear my favorite (All We'd Ever Need), hearing the gut-wrenching vocals by Hillary Scott on As You Turn Away made it more than ok.

We Owned The Night
Our Kind Of Love
Dancing Away With My Heart
American Honey
Cold As Stone
Looking For A Good Time
Singing Me Home
Just A Kiss
Love Don't Live Here
I Run To You
As You Turn Away (encore)
Need You Now (encore).

Four videos coming (apologies in advance for the sound; I was right next to the front stage speakers).

As You Turn Away:

Cold As Stone:

Dancing Away With My Heart:

Our Kind Of Love:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Kris Allen Debuts New Song - You Got A Way

Kris Allen debuted a brand new song Monday night in an opening set for Lifehouse in Michigan. The song, "You Got A Way", was written by Kris and band member Cale Mills, and is reminiscent of Kris's cover of "Maybe" with the tempo and the guitar. It's really pretty, and his voice sounds great on it.

(Video by mskristen8108)

Also well worth watching is Kris's mashup of "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" and "The Way You Make Me Feel", with an awesome call and response with guitarist Andrew DeRoberts at the end.

(Video by altrus01)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Video Of The Day: Keith Urban Long Hot Summer

Keith Urban released his music video for his latest single, "Long Hot Summer". The video is set on the beach, and lovely visuals during sunset almost make up for the fact that he is fully clothed. On the beach. :|

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Video Of The Day: Michael Johns Covers "Crying"

American Idol Season 7 finalist Michael Johns played an acoustic show at Molly Malone's in Los Angeles Saturday night. In his set, he performed an impressive cover of Roy Orbison's "Crying".

Video by livehead16

Friday, August 12, 2011

SYTYCD Front-Runner Actually Wins!

In a reality show rarity, a front-runner from the beginning of the season actually won. Pixie-haired dancer Melanie Moore captured the title of America's Favorite Dancer on So You Think You Can Dance Season 8, winning 47% of the vote in a decisive victory over runner-up Sasha Mallory, third-place finisher Marko Germar and fourth-place finisher Tadd Gadduan.

Melanie was featured in the first episode of the season, and she grabbed me from the second she started dancing. I called her one of my early favorites then, and she remained at the top for me throughout the entire show. I've seen people complaining about how she was never challenged, but I would like to point out that nearly the entire season was contemporary/jazz-based, and the only ones in the Top 10 who were really forced out of their box more often than not were Tadd, Jess and Ricky and Caitlynn to an extent. Whether or not Melanie was only given her style all the time is irrelevant. For the most part, the people on the show are judged on how well they do in their style most of the time anyway. Melanie is an EXQUISITE dancer. Besides, disco was the only style she flopped in. 

In addition to crowning the winner, Thursday's grand finale showcased some of the top dances from the season, including Marko and Melanie's "Turn to Stone" number, choreographed by Travis Wall, and their Nappy Tabs hip-hop to "I Got You"; Sasha and Twitch's awesome hip-hop (soggy Corn Flakes), choreographed by Christopher Scott; Sasha and Kent's wall dance; Melanie and Neil's "Total Eclipse of the Heart"; Marko and Allison Holker's contemporary; Tadd and Lauren Froderman's "Another One Bites the Dust" (with no hat fail!); Caitlynn and Pasha's Argentine tango; Robert and Melinda's hip-hop (which was FANTASTIC this time!); and Ashley and Chris's jail routine. A bunch of group routines were showcased as well, but I would have tossed a few of those in favor of Caitlynn and Mitchell's contemporary that Stacey Tookey choreographed and given Ricky a spotlight dance since he was one week shy of the finale. Jordan didn't get one either.

My favorite dance of the night, though, was the tap number done by Jess, gone-too-soon tapper Nick, and SYTYCD UK winner Matt Flint. It was thrilling and fun, and I watched it back like 3 times in a row. And I don't even like tap!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

SYTYCD S8 Finale Falls Flat

After what was, prior to this week anyway, a well-danced season, the choreographers and dancers suffered a major let-down in the finale this week. No doubt exhausted with performing four dances each, there were few highlights and way more train wrecks than we should have seen this late in the game. I put most of the blame on whoever chose these styles of dances. Disco? Gumboot Stepping? Cha cha for two dancers who have no Latin experience? What even?!

Marko/Melanie - Disco, choreographed by Dorianna Sanchez
"I Feel Love (12" version)" by Donna Summer
Dorianna wanted to make this the "best disco ever". Her choreography made that impossible. That, and Melanie looked so awkward and unnatural doing this type of dance. Marko seemed to have a few issues with the lifts as well. This was easily the worst routine they've done this season.

Sasha, with Mark Kanemura - Jazz, choreographed by Sonya Tayeh
"Raise Your Weapon" by Deadmau5
Sasha is such a Sonya-type of dancer. Pair her with Mark, and you've got Sonya's ultimate partnership.

Tadd, with Joshua Allen - Hip-Hop, choreographed by Lil' C
"Hustle Hard" by Ace Hood
JOSHUA. So much swag. God damn. Tadd's a little too pretty boy to match up with that. Although Joshua is adorably sweet and still managed to hit this so crazy hard. This routine would have been RIDICULOUS with Russell omg.

Melanie, with Robert Roldan - Contemporary, choreographed by Stacey Tookey
"Sacrifice" by Sinead O'Connor
Lovely routine by both of them. Like the judges were saying, she tells stories so well. And her dancing is just exquisite.

Sasha/Marko - Broadway, choreographed by Spencer Liff
"Whatever Lola Wants" by Ella Fitzgerald
I cannot ever buy Sasha as the sophisticated, elegant dancer she's supposed to be here. I don't care what the judges say. She is a powerful, strong dancer, yes, but elegant? No way. Her legs and feet are not pretty. Marko played his nerdy, timid waiter role very well. His facial expressions were hilarious.

Melanie solo -
"Song For Viola" by Peter Bradley Adams
I think she was going for the emotions here, but it was a big let-down after last week's solo stunner.

Marko solo -
"The Fear You Won't Fall" by Joshua Radin
I adore his music choices. It was lovely but not one I'd rank amongst the most memorable ones in the show's history.

Sasha/Tadd - Cha Cha, choreographed by Mark Ballas
"Raindrops" by Basement Jaxx
OOF. They were missing quite a few connections, the dance was clunky, and the chemistry was a big zero. They were both equally bad.

Marko, with Lauren Froderman - choreographed by Tessandra Chavez
"Shirk" by Me'Shell Ndegeocello
Holy crap. Lauren grabbed me the second they put the camera on her in the opening shot with her quivering lip. It was beautiful and emotional and easily the best routine of the night, and I'd put it up there with his dance with Alison.

Tadd solo - 
"Mamma Knows Best" by Jessie J
His solos always crack me up. And, boy, is he adorbs! This was the most enjoyable solo of the night for me.

Tadd/Melanie - choreographed by Ray Leeper
"Show Me What You're Working With" by Sista Monica
Shirtless Tadd? I approve! I also approve of the fun and playful routine. Tadd had a good back-to-back series of dances there. Unfortunately, his first and last routines were not so hot.

Sasha solo - 
"Be Be Your Love" by Rachael Yamagata
She has interesting movements and is so long-limbed. I just wish she had better flexibility in her feet. She'd be unbelievable if she didn't have such flexed feet. I think I'd rank her solo second on the night behind Tadd.

Sasha/Melanie - Contemporary, choreographed by Stacey Tookey
"Heart Asks Pleasure First" by Ahn Trio
I like how this routine let both dancers shine equally and also at their own style. The theme was a little odd, but it was well-crafted.

Marko/Tadd - Gumboot Stepping, choreographed by Chuck Maldonado
"B.O.B" by Outkast
Wow. That was a train wreck. They both looked sooooo tired.

I'm not sure that anyone seized the title, a la Jeanine Mason, with their dances tonight. Nigel made a point of saying on the show that a girl is going to win, which, if this were Idol, would totally backfire on him. But it's not implausible that Melanie and Sasha could split votes, opening the door for Marko. I'm still convinced that is what happened in Season 3 when Sabra beat Danny, Lacey and Neil.

Video Of The Day: Lady Antebellum Parodies Dirt Road Anthem

Lady Antebellum recorded a parody video of Jason Aldean's "Dirt Road Anthem", a golf-themed ditty titled "Country Club Anthem". It is HILARIOUS. Weird Al would be proud.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

New Music Monday At Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood

Colbie Caillat, Carolina Liar and Mat Kearney performed at MyFM's New Music Monday at the Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood on Aug. 8. Each performer sang their latest single, plus some older hits, in an intimate, acoustic setting.

Mat started the show with a too-brief three-song set, singing "Nothing Left To Lose", "Closer to Love" and his latest, "Hey Mama". Carolina Liar sang, I believe, five songs. The only one I knew was their big hit from a couple of years ago, "Show Me What I'm Looking For". Honestly, the only thing I remembered about their set was that one of the guitarists looks like Adam Levine, they sang a song about drinking vodka, and the lead singer told us about 20 times to get louder. I counted 11 such commands before the second song ended. :|

Colbie sang five songs - "Fallin' For You", "I Never Told You", a cover of The Script's "Breakeven" with Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car", "Bubbly", and her current single, "Brighter Than The Sun".

Hey Mama, from MyFM

Breakeven/Fast Car

Brighter Than The Sun

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Coldplay Plays New Songs At UCLA Concert

Coldplay played some of their new songs Wednesday night at their first LA concert in two years. Amongst the new songs they played were their new single "Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall", which they did twice for replay on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and a new song, "Us Against The World". Chris Martin introduced "Us Against The World" by saying if you didn't like it, blog about it. Well, I'm blogging about it, but I liked it!

Us Against The World:

In their encore, Chris sang a bit of Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" leading into "Fix You":

The Scientist:

In My Place:

Life Is For Living:

Charlie Brown (from Jimmy Kimmel Live):

Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall (from Jimmy Kimmel Live):

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Video Of The Day: The Civil Wars Cover Billie Jean

The Civil Wars recently did a Q&A and performance at the Grammy Headquarters. Amongst the songs they sang was a really cool cover of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" (second video):

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pia Toscano Gets Covered

American Idol Season 10 finalist and current Interscope darling Pia Toscano has sung a lot of covers in her career, and now she has a major label recording artist covering her own song, "This Time". Epic recording artist Andrew Allen, who had a recent single "Loving You Tonight" go at least Top 30 on HAC, posted an acoustic cover of the song on his YouTube channel:

Andrew's "Loving You Tonight" was featured on Now That's What I Call Music: 37, and he has opened for The Script and He Is We this summer. He also has another really cool song, Sooner, which should be on his new album, which hopefully gets released sooner rather than later. ;)

Boyz II Men Makes Surprise Appearance At NKOTBSB Concert

90's R&B icons Boyz II Men made a surprise appearance at the New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys concert in Orlando on Friday night. Boyz II Men sang "Motownphilly", "I'll Make Love To You" and "End of the Road", with NKOTBSB joining them on the latter. Geez, and I thought my NKOTBSB concert was epic (lol whatever, it still was!)

Full video from the floor:

(video by bedtimekc)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Alex Wagner-Trugman At House Of Blues

Got a few (noisy) videos from Alex Wagner-Trugman's acoustic set at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. The Voodoo Lounge doesn't lend itself well to videotaped performances, between all the socializing going on and the angles of where the audience can stand. It's like you can either get right up in his face (which no one did), or you can go off to the side, straddle the bar or stand way in the back.

Alex, who was a semifinalist on Idol Season 8, did about three or four songs he didn't do at his Viper Room show, including a cover of The Beatles' "For No One", a cover of the Cure's "Just Like Heaven", and a song he wrote about two days ago, called "Good Luck". I really like the new original song - it's got a lot more dynamics to it, and the guitar adds a lot to the song.

Good Luck:

Just Like Heaven:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Video Of The Day: Bruno Mars Loves His Popchips

Bruno Mars is such a hit-maker that he can even make a song about popchips sound legit. And also slightly dirty with lyrics like "Sour cream and onion - I want you all over my face" and "I remember the first time I opened you up". HA.

Here's his ditty to popchips, which was a main sponsor of his last tour:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Anchors Away! SYTYCD Top 10 Dance With All-Stars

The Top 10 of So You Think You Can Dance were given new life and a clean slate, with the previous partnerships being dissolved and All-Star dancers serving as their partners. Dancing without the weighted bricks known as Alexander and Ryan, Sasha and Ricky, in particular, flourished. Power couple Marko and Melanie continued to thrive even with other partners, and Jordan and Caitlynn seemed to turn corners with mature performances that impressed the judges.

Marko/Chelsie Hightower - Samba, choreographed by Jason Gilkison
"Cinema Italiano (The Ron Fair Remix)" by Kate Hudson (iTunes)
That was such a fast-paced routine with very difficult lifts and a high-octane speed in everything they did. Marko kept up with Chelsie somehow, and he showed off his athleticism with a straddle jump and a swan dive over her. Great routine (even with the crappy Kate Hudson music)!

Jordan/Brandon Bryant - Contemporary, choreographed by Dwight Roden & Desmond Richardson
"Who You Are (Live Acoustic Version)" by Jessie J (iTunes)
I could not take my eyes off Brandon for the first half of the routine (good lord, that spin jump into immediate splits!), but then Jordan did that spin with her leg all the way up, and she grabbed and held my attention the rest of the way. She was almost balletic in this routine. Another great one to start!

Tadd/Comfort Fedoke - Hip-hop, choreographed by Chuck Maldonado
"Look At Me Now" by Chris Brown, feat. Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes (iTunes)
I was kind of disappointed with that one. I felt like Chuck could have actually have done more with the rapid-fire Busta rap. And Nigel's comments were pretty eye-rolling. The "you're a b-boy, you're not used to choreography" is so condescending. I did agree, though, that Tadd outshined Comfort, but compared to the other hip-hop on the show this week, this was inferior in so many ways.

Mitchell/Melody Lacayanga - Broadway, choreographed by Tyce Diorio
"Take Off With Us" from All That Jazz (iTunes)
Poor Mitchell got saddled with another one of Tyce's shitty Broadway routines. The concept of it was all wrong, from costuming to music. As Neil Patrick Harris said, I didn't get it. It was not the kind of routine that will get anyone reaching for the phone (or laptop) to vote. 

Caitlynn/Pasha Kovalev - Tango, choreographed by Leonardo Barrionuevo & Miriam LaRici
"Malajunta" by Orquestra Color Tango (iTunes)
Caitlynn sold and performed this very well. She got so much slack last week for not connecting or for lack of proper emotion, but this week she was on point with it. And it was so cute how happy she was after receiving the judges' comments.

Sasha/Twitch - Hip-Hop, choreographed by Christopher Scott
"Misty Blue" by Dorothy Moore (iTunes)
DAMN. The routine of the night by far and one of the best routines of the season. Just an amazing routine with amazing chemistry and amazing dancing. Holy hotness! This is the first time I've loved Sasha this season. Between Alexander the Anchor not weighing her down anymore and omgTWITCH! being her partner for this routine, it was like the perfect storm of perfection.

Jess/Kathryn Mahoney - Contemporary, choreographed by Stacey Tookey
"The Lonely" by Christina Perri (iTunes)
NGL, I was afraid Kathryn was going to hit her head on that one lift because Jess couldn't hold her up high enough. I'm not sure this routine really did it for me as far as showcasing Jess. I thought Kathryn was amazing, though!

Melanie/Pasha Kovalev - Viennese Waltz, choreographed by Jason Gilkison
"Everybody Hurts" by Tina Arena (iTunes)
There is no doubt that Melanie is a beautiful dancer, and her moves are so flowy and graceful. I think I would have liked to have seen more in the routine. Compared to, say Marko's ballroom routine, there wasn't a whole lot of difficulty here.

Ricky/Allison Holker - Jazz, choreographed by Tyce Diorio
"Precious Things" by Tori Amos (iTunes)
CREEPY-ass routine! But amazing!!! Second-best of the night. Ricky got a lot of the blame by Nigel for him and Ryan not connecting, and I always thought that was crap, and he showed tonight that he wasn't the problem. He really showed how great of a partner and how amazing of a dancer he is.

Clarice/Robert Roldan - Bollywood, choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan
"Aila Re Aila" from Khatta Meetha Soundtrack (iTunes)
This show needs to retire Bollywood. I have no idea if that was done correctly. There were times when it looked like they were doing Latin dance.

I have a hard time saying much about the solos, especially when 80% of the routines are contemporary or jazz routines and consist of a bunch of pirouettes and leaps. So here's the music list instead :P

Sasha solo - "Syrup & Honey" by Duffy (iTunes)
Jess solo -"Come By Me" by Harry Connick Jr. (iTunes)
Melanie solo - "You're The One That I Want" by Angus & Julia Stone (iTunes)
Ricky solo - "Daylight Breaks" by Cassidy Haley (iTunes)
Clarice solo - "Royal T" by Crookers featuring Roison Murphy (iTunes)
Mitchell solo - "This Time" by John Legend (iTunes)
Jordan solo - "Tonight" by Lykke Li (iTunes)
Tadd solo - "Everything I Can't Have" by Robin Thicke (iTunes)
Caitlynn solo - "Cosmic Love" by Florence + The Machine (iTunes)
Marko solo - "More Than Anyone (stripped Version)" by Gavin DeGraw (iTunes)

I will say that I was impressed by the control showed by Melanie and Ricky. Caitlynn seems to fall out of her pirouettes often. And Jess's solos are delightful.

Two dancers are going home tomorrow. It's unclear as to whether or not they are the bottom 2 regardless of genre or just the guy and girl with the least amount of votes. I would surmise that Mitchell is most likely to get voted out amongst the guys. Depending on how they are doing the eliminations, I think he'll be joined by either Clarice or Tadd.

Video Of The Day: History Of Rap, Part 2

Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon got together on Jimmy's show again for a Part 2 of their History of Rap. Best thing ever, or best thing ever?

My favorite part is "It Takes Two", with Justin peeping in behind Jimmy. Hilarious!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Idols Live Tour - Southern California Recap

Both of the Idols Live shows in Southern California were sold out this weekend. And if it weren't for some sweet luck in scoring some free tickets, I would have missed out on what may be the best Idols Live tour in the 10 seasons of the show's existence. From top to bottom, the song selections were strong and current, and the performances were entertaining and well-sung.

This year's show adopted the format of Season 6, ignoring boot order and going the ensemble route by intermixing solo performances with group numbers. Also, instead of using actual backup singers for certain songs, some of the performers sang backup for each other. While some people adamantly hate this (especially people whose favorites only have one or two solos), I like the fact that they focused on putting on a SHOW as opposed to "being fair". Granted, it helps that I didn't have a favorite and was thus more interested in seeing the ensemble.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

SYTYCD Trims The Fat For Top 10

I've been calling for their ouster for weeks now, and finally, the time has come: Alexander and Ryan were sent packing on So You Think You Can Dance!

Weeks of lackluster performances finally caught up with the two. Ryan had been in the bottom several times but saved by the judges. This was Alexander's first time in the bottom, no doubt due to Sasha's popularity. I knew the second he hit the bottom, he'd be toast, but surprisingly, the judges were not unanimous in voting him out. SERIOUSLY, mystery judge (lol probably Sonya Tayeh)? His solo was sloppy, and he was traveling all over the place on his pirouettes.

Joining Alexander and Ryan in the bottom were their partners Sasha and Ricky, along with Caitlynn/Mitchell. Ricky's solo was masterful. So exhilarating, yet also so controlled. Caitlynn also danced very well in her solo, and I really enjoyed Mitchell's as well. I'm not a fan of the style of dancing Sasha does, but she's probably Sonya's dream dancer. Ryan's solo was blah, just like her dancing has been most of the season, and especially this week.

Also notable in the episode was the announcement that from this point on, the Top 10 will be dancing with All-Stars. The All-Stars announced are:
Melody (S1)
Allison (S2)
Pasha (S3)
Twitch (S4)
Comfort (S4)
Chelsie Hightower (S4)
Brandon (S5)
Kathryn (S6)
Robert (S7)

Alex Wong was supposed to be an All-Star, but last Saturday at an audition, he suffered yet another injury, snapping the tendon in his other foot. SO. SAD. I think he just isn't destined to be on this show. :\

Tonight's music:
Top 12 group dance - En Fuego by Sean Peter featuring Oscar Ramirez
Caitlynn solo - The Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga (iTunes)
Mitchell solo - Ra by Nathan Lanier (iTunes)
Ryan solo - Not In Love by Crystal Castles featuring Robert Smith (iTunes)
Ricky solo - Body Language by Queen (iTunes)
Sasha solo - Thinkin' About Your Body by Bobby McFerrin (iTunes)
Alexander solo - Palladio by Escala (iTunes)
Nicole Scherzinger - Right There (iTunes)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

SYTYCD Top 12 Double Up

The So You Think You Can Dance Top 12 performed two routines apiece this week in the last week of the current partnership. The extra dances seemed to take a toll, as each couple had at least one routine that was sloppy at times (or two routines that were sloppy, ahem, Alexander). But sloppiness aside, I'm just glad we finally got to see some people challenged with ballroom. I was beginning to think this was called So You Think You Can Contemporary Dance.

Sasha/Alexander - Paso Doble, choreographed by Tony Meredith & Melanie LaPatin
"Alley Dash/March of the Trolls" by Taylor Long/Rick Powell
He's a terrible partner. He can't support her and almost dropped her once or twice. The choreographers played it right in giving Sasha a strong part, but she made him look so weak.

Jordan/Tadd - Contemporary, choreography by Travis Wall
"Brotsjor" by Olafur Arnalds
Jordan has amazing strength in her legs. Tadd has amazing abs. They both danced so powerfully and so well.

Ryan/Ricky - Broadway, choreographed by Spencer Liff
"All I Need Is The Girl" by Frank Sinatra (iTunes)
There was an awful lot of nothing going on early in the routine. I think this is a trademark of Spencer Liff, as we will see later. And whoever did Ryan's makeup for this routine should be fired.

Caitlynn/Mitchell - Hip-hop, choreographed by Christopher Scott
"Break the Chain" by Lupe Fiasco featuring Eric Turner & Sway (iTunes)
Mitchell looked pretty natural in this, while Caitlynn was overcooking it. I hate to put it like this, but she looked like a suburban white girl trying to do a hip-hop routine. Their moves weren't quite in sync either.

Melanie/Marko - Tango, choreographed by Louis Van Amstel
"Triptico" by Gotan Project (iTunes)
They weren't quite perfect, and they had some moments of clunkiness, but it was a well-choreographed and very difficult routine. As Nigel said, that last lift was incredible.

Clarice/Jess - Lyrical Hip-Hop, choreographed by Christopher Scott
"Just The Way You Are" by Boyce Avenue (iTunes)
That portrait was CREEPAY but I really liked that routine. I thought it was sweet. Jess continues to surprise me.

Sasha/Alexander - Broadway, choreographed by Tyce Diorio
"That's Life" by Aretha Franklin (iTunes)
I don't think Tyce gave them a good piece (shocking!). Aesthetically not the most pleasing, and whether staged or not, some of the moves were very clunky (and I thought that even before the end when he failed to lift her and then tried to drag her across the stage). Jesse calling it his favorite number of the night so far is mind-boggling.

Jordan/Tadd - Broadway, choreographed by Spencer Liff
"Out Tonight" from Rent (iTunes)
This was the worst routine of the night and right up there with that pedestrian hip-hop that Christopher Scott gave Ashley/Chris got in week one. Not Jordan & Tadd's fault, but they didn't overcome the bad routine either.

Ryan/Ricky - Cha Cha, choreographed by Louis Van Amstel
"Tonight (I'm Lovin' You)" by Enrique Iglesias (iTunes)
Everything Nigel said, I completely agreed with. Ricky was workin' it, and Ryan was overdoing it and looked clunky.

Caitlynn/Mitchell - Contemporary, choreographed by Travis Wall
"Piece Of My Heart" by Janis Joplin (iTunes)
I think these two have always been good at emoting well in their routines, although sometimes I feel like Caitlynn has been doing the same type of angry/pained dance every week.

Melanie/Marko - Contemporary, choreographed by Dean Casparay
"Skin & Bones" by David J. Roch
The dynamics of that piece were amazing! Loved the use of that light bulb, and their chemistry is off the charts. So sad the partnership is ending.

Clarice/Jess - Jive, choreographed by Tony Meredith & Melanie LaPatin
"Ain't Nothing Wrong With That" by Robert Randolph & The Family Band (iTunes)
Clarice was a little bit sloppy, but Jess was really selling that routine for all that it's worth.

Bottom 3 predictions:

It should be Alexander, but, again, he's coasting on Sasha's popularity. I think the judges will get rid of Ryan and Caitlynn, but Ryan's been in the bottom more often, I believe. But she is the judges & choreographer's pet, so she'll continue to be safe. Sigh.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Alex Wagner-Trugman Plays Viper Room

American Idol Season 8 semifinalist Alex Wagner-Trugman is getting back into the swing of things music-wise after finishing up his college degree. On July 5, Alex played an enjoyable acoustic set to a packed crowd at the Viper Room in West Hollywood. He played mostly original songs but tacked on a few covers at the end of his set, including one borrowed arrangement by a famous friend in the audience.

One of the things that I enjoy most about Alex is his sense of humor. The dude is funny! And he did a great job of mixing this into his set. His most well-received song was his own "Bootylicious", a hilarious tongue-in-cheek love song (with rap break). Hysterically funny lyrics aside, it's also melodically and structurally a really good song. And it may or may not have been stuck in my head for a good chunk of this past week. Ahem.

(video by TMFFYT)

Another highlight was Alex's last song in his set, Kanye West's "Heartless", played in honor of his pal Kris Allen, who was in the audience. Borrowing Kris's famous arrangement, Alex sang most of the song with a devilish grin on his face, clearly taking delight at ribbing Kris a little.

Alex did one other cover, a nicely-done version of Elliott Smith's "Say Yes".

His original songs were a little hard to hear to get a good feel on (glasses clinking at the bar, people chatting, etc.), and Alex seemed a little less confident on some of these. I think this may have been his first time performing some of these in front of a crowd. But he's definitely got something there lyrically. "Mr. Blah" was one of his standouts - it has a Radiohead feel to it. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be video of this song, but here are two other originals he sang.

Anyway (original):

Rich and Standard and Poor (original):

(videos by VioletSkyye)

Check Alex out on his YouTube channel, on Twitter (@alexwtrugs) or in person. He's playing at the House of Blues in Los Angeles on July 21 at 8:30 pm.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Video Of The Day: Justin Timberlake Plays College Sports

Actor and sometimes (grrrr) musician Justin Timberlake is presenting the inaugural Capital One Cup at the ESPYs July 13 and filmed a promo spot for it, in which he hilariously tries his hand at several collegiate sports, including volleyball, lacrosse, track & field, and wrestling (but not the kind of wrestling he was expecting).

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Another Couple Goes Home On SYTYCD

In a completely expected elimination, the fourth consecutive couple was sent home on So You Think You Can Dance - Ashley and Chris. While I don't think this week's elimination was made with the intent to keep couples together (as I thought in previous weeks), I do think that they need to shake things up a bit, as some of these couples just have no chemistry and need to be paired with others.

This was Ashley and Chris' second consecutive week in the bottom three, and Ashley's second consecutive relatively lackluster solo. Chris did well again in his dance-for-your-life bone-bending solo, but he was terrible in the guys' group dance and mediocre in his salsa Wednesday. Chris hasn't been good in any of his choreographed dances, as Nigel pointed out. So it wasn't a surprise at all that either of them were cut.

It is frustrating, however, to see three b-boys go in three weeks, while Alexander coasts each week by virtue of having a popular partner in Sasha. The fourth b-boy, Tadd, was in the bottom three also, no doubt because he "drew" the ever-so-unpopular smooth waltz as his dance (his second waltz in three weeks).

And when Nigel Lythgoe actually has the gall to say, "The whole idea of the show is to do styles you're not accustomed to" while people like Ryan and Sasha haven't done anything outside of jazz/contemporary or hip-hop, I just want to throw my shoe at the TV.

For as much as TPTB are coddling Ryan and giving her everything in her style, she keeps landing in the bottom 3. Nigel may believe it's her partner Ricky who isn't connecting, but it's her and her shit-eating grin and meh solos. Her solo this week was better than her last one, but for someone who is good enough to work on the show with Mia Michaels prior to being a contestant, her solos are not up to snuff at all! Ricky's solo was fantastic - his leaps and spinning jumps are awesome and so controlled. As much as I was appalled at Tadd's song choice (1-2-3 by Gloria Estefan), I was also impressed by his handstand work and energy. Jordan got called out for overdoing her développés (or HMV as it is known to TWoPpers). Seriously, we get it, Jordan. You can lift your leg up really high. Move on.

Next week is the last week the viewers vote for couples. THANK GOD. Some fat needs to be trimmed, and quick. Although I'm sure my definition of fat wouldn't be the same as Nigel's. My only consolation is that there is no way the Top 10 will be ALL contemporary/jazz dancers. The only two non-contemporary/jazz dancers left are both guys. So only one of them will go next week .:P

Music from tonight's show:
Group Dance - Bollywood - "Kata Kata" from Raavan Soundtrack (iTunes)
Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet - "Ends" by Mikael Karlsson (iTunes)
Ashley - "Lovely" by John West featuring Pusha T
Chris - "Scars" by Basement Jaxx featuring Kelis, Meleka & Chipmunk (iTunes)
Jordan - "Commander" by Kelly Rowland featuring David Guetta (iTunes)
Tadd - "1-2-3 (remix)" by Gloria Estefan (iTunes)
Ryan - "Adagio For Strings" by Brno Philharmonic Orchestra (iTunes)
Ricky - "When You Say My Name" by Mario Spinetti (iTunes)
Florence & The Machine - "Cosmic Love" (iTunes)

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

AI10 Tour Kicks Off In Salt Lake City

photo from The Salt Lake Tribune
The American Idol Season 10 tour kicked off Wednesday night in Salt Lake City, UT. This year's tour format is more akin to that of Season 6 - lots of group songs/duets, Idols singing backup for each other, less solos, and no winner's appearance until the end of the show. And it's a long show too - over 30 numbers!

First review of the show, from the Salt Lake Tribune (who thinks the Top 10 are the "most talented singers ever assembled in the show’s 10 seasons." LOL NO. The reviewer also complains about the length of the show. Dude. Come on. If it's a good show, it's never too long.): REVIEW

And another review, from the Daily Herald also praised the Idols' "serious vocal chops" (while also saying that most will struggle to have a career after this): REVIEW

The setlist and available video are after the jump:

SYTYCD8 Top 14 - Second-String Show

Top 14 night on So You Think You Can Dance saw the show bring in the second-string crew of choreographers. Only one of the (relative) top tier choreographers, Mandy Moore, had a routine on this week's show, and as a result, we really only got one standout routine. Hers.

We also got another week of non-challenging genres for Ryan/Ricky and Sasha/Alexander. Yep, another jazz and hip-hop, respectively. Meanwhile, Jordan/Tadd got their second waltz in three weeks, and Ashley/Chris got a poorly-received salsa.

Guys Dance, choreographed by Justin Giles
"Prague" by Damian Rice (iTunes)
Chris was very off in this performance. He was going one way, the others were going another. He needs to go.

Marko/Melanie - Jazz, choreographed by Ray Leeper
"Americano" by Lady Gaga (iTunes)
Good thing Melanie is such a beautiful dancer because they keep dressing her in the most awful outfits ever. The ending of the dance was clumsy, though. Melanie's last split jump (or whatever that thing is called) was awkwardly-landed, and Marko landed off on his side aerial right before catching Melanie. That was almost a disaster.

Sasha/Alexander - Hip-hop, choreographed by Shaun Evaristo
"To The Moon" by Miguel (iTunes)
Alexander still has no swag, and he gets totally swallowed up in Sasha's presence. They have like zero chemistry, and the best thing that could happen to Sasha would be to land in the bottom 3 so Alexander can GTFO.

Jordan/Tadd - Smooth Waltz, choreographed by Toni Redpath
"Nocturne" by Secret Garden (iTunes)
ANOTHER waltz? Seriously, show? I'm convinced they're giving them these different genres because they may be one of the few pairs who can actually handle it. I mean, can you imagine Chris or Alexander doing this or the African dance? LOL NO. Both Jordan and Tadd showed good extension, if not smoothness.

Clarice/Jess - Contemporary, choreographed by Justin Giles
"Light Through the Branches" by Celeste Lear (iTunes)
I agree with Travis - this was the best thing they've done all season. Jess was so much better than I anticipated, and Clarice was amazing! So precise.

Ashley/Chris - Salsa, choreographed by Liz Lira
"Mambo Beat" by Tito Puente (iTunes)
Their lift sequence was pretty awesome, but they really have zero chemistry. It's just as bad, if not worse, than Sasha and Alexander's non-existant chemistry. I would like to see Ashley with a different partner, but I am not sure that she'd survive another bottom 3 trip.

Ryan/Ricky - Jazz, choreographed by Chucky Klapow
"Fashion" by David Bowie (iTunes)
I was about to say that their technique is really strong, but then Ryan got sloppy on her last pirouette and nearly fell out of it. I wasn't feeling the choreography on the routine, but that's not their fault, and they did well with what they were given.

Caitlynn/Mitchell - Contemporary, choreographed by Mandy Moore
"To Love You More" by Celine Dion (iTunes)
They did such a great job in making the speed and aggression of their movements beautiful. So many of their lifts were jaw-dropping, especially the one where he flipped her over, dropped her into a split and pulled her back up. Wowzers.

Girls' Dance - Jazz, choreographed by Ray Leeper
"My Discarded Men" by Earth Kitt with Bronski Beat
Yeah, there's a reason why the girls get hyped so much. Compare and contrast with the guys' performance at the top of the show. They are so much better than them.

Bottom 3 Predictions:
Ryan/Ricky (I think Travis jinxed them)

I think the only way Ashley and Chris stay are if they somehow stay out of the bottom 3. So ... yeah. They're toast.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Kevin Richardson Reunites With Backstreet Boys

The Backstreet Boys regained its fifth member, at least for one night, when Kevin Richardson joined the group for a few songs during their NKOTBSB stop on Friday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Richardson, who left the group in 2006, surprised the sold-out crowd by walking onto the stage at the end of the catwalk in the middle of "I Want It That Way" (video) and singing his part of the song in the bridge. It was a special moment in one of the most fun concerts I've ever been to.

Even without the surprise reunion, the show was thoroughly entertaining, with both groups singing all of their big hits and collaborating with each other as Boy Band Supergroup NKOTBSB. Both groups were very interactive with the audience, and with the stage setup, featuring a nearly basketball court length catwalk, it was hard not to be. They each performed songs walking through the audience. Backstreet Boys brought four people from the audience on stage to serenade on "I'll Never Break Your Heart" (including one guy, brought up by AJ McLean). Donnie Wahlberg provided good fan service by tearing off his shirt (and whoa he's clearly Marky Mark's brother ... he's ripped!).

The show wasn't without its cheese - most of New Kids on the Block's songs are oozing, especially their earlier songs when they were younger. And that opening number with the "Viva La Vida" sampling was strange, as was the Backstreet Boys covering "Raspberry Beret" (lol no) before "Quit Playing Games With My Heart". I'm convinced that NKOTB knows that "Cover Girl" is the worst and that they enlist Donnie to take his shirt off during that song to counteract the cheese. But they somehow make it work for the thousands of adult women there who I presume have better musical taste now than they did. Sometimes it's just all about having fun and reliving your youth.

And for those looking for actual-fax good singing, there was opening act Jordin Sparks. Performing all of her singles (to backing tracks, unfortunately), Jordin put all the other singers that night to shame. She (or her musical director) also got a little creative, adding in a dance break-down with a snippet of Timbaland's "The Way I Are" in the middle of "One Step At A Time". And then she tacked on a medley of songs into the end of "Tattoo", singing Beyonce's "Irreplaceable", Jessie J.'s "Price Tag", Pink's "Perfect" and Black Eyed Peas' "Where is the Love".

Videos and more photos after the jump.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

SYTYCD8 Top 16: Two Strikes And You're Out

With so many strong dancers this season on So You Think You Can Dance, the judges are finding it hard to get rid of anyone for any good, consistent reasons. So this week they decided to get rid of two dancers mostly because of the amount of times they've been in the bottom 3. Miranda and Robert probably danced well enough to stay out of the bottom, but America's vote put them back in there for the second time in three weeks, along with first-time bottom 3 performers Ashley and Chris and Caitlynn and Mitchell.

Based solely on their solos, I definitely would have kept Miranda. I actually thought she had the best solo of the whole group. Once again, I thought Robert had the worst male solo, so I agreed with that decision. I'm starting to wonder if Miranda was sacrificed in order to keep the pairings intact. Nigel told reporters after the show that he fought for Miranda to stay but was overruled. Ashley likely would have been the one to go if he had his way, and as much as I like her and think she's a beautiful dancer, I wouldn't have had a problem with her going since she really hasn't had any wow performances yet. Plus, her solo was lacking in content, big-time. Robert's solos have been lacking as well, although this one was better than his last, but it was easily the least impressive of the three. Mitchell's strength and grace was stunning (and he was amazing on the samba), and Chris did some cool tricks. I was a bit disappointed with Caitlynn's solo - she fell out of a turn and wasn't very clean.

I don't always enjoy the guest dance performances, but this week was an exception. The first group, AXIS Dance Company, featured a man in a wheelchair and a woman. The dance was inspiring and creative. And theatrical dancers Eric Luna & Georgia Ambarian were STUNNING with their gravity-defying tricks and lifts.

A couple of quick thoughts on the performances from Wednesday:

TPTB are still trying so hard to tell us how much better the girls are over the guys. They're not even being subtle about it. Tyce Diorio created a group dance implicitly to capitalize on their strengths and "domination" over the guys.

They are also trying to so hard to make Sasha and Ryan happen. I don't think it's any coincidence that they consistently get contemporary and jazz, respectively, nearly every week, with a lyrical hip-hop thrown in to ~challenge them. Please. Give them some ballroom or even Broadway already! And they still show Ryan front and center in the group dances all the time.

Best dance of the week was Melanie and Marko's Nappy Tabs lyrical hip-hop. Marko sold this performance the second he lifted up his head and emoted so perfectly. He and Melanie have to rank right up there with the best pairing this show has ever had. They are both exquisite dancers. The show needs to costume that poor girl better, though. Holy ugly outfit! All the talk after was about all the kissing going on (between Marko and Melanie during the dance and between Nigel and Mary and Kristen Chenowith and Lil C ... and even Nigel and Lil C during critiques), but I don't think even that could overshadow how great that performance was.

Before critiquing Ashley and Chris, Nigel went on about how he tells the judges not to talk about the wrong song choice on American Idol and then proceeds to tell them that the music sucked and that the costuming and makeup was bad when he knows they have no control over this!

If I watched Ryan dance without looking at her inappropriately smiley or blank facial expressions, I'd probably like her.

The Voice Anti-Climatically Crowns A Winner

In a reality show rarity, the early front-runner actually won, as Javier Colon was voted the winner of The Voice. The honey-voiced crooner was picked from the very first episode as the one to beat after a stunning performance of "Time After Time", and he eked out a win by 2% over Dia Frampton, who has consistently been winning the vote on iTunes.

Before announcing the results, each finalist sang a duet with a special guest artist. Vicci Martinez sang with what Carson Daly called her "one of her favorite artists", Pat Monahan from Train. Luckily for the whole world, they did not sing "Hey Soul Sister" but "Drops of Jupiter" instead. Pat was a hot mess (vocally and aesthetically ... what is that hair?!), and Vicci couldn't save that.

Javier sang "Landslide" with Stevie Nicks, and it was GORGEOUS. Stevie can't handle some of the higher notes anymore, but his harmonies were incredible!!! Adam Levine gushed like whoa afterward, calling it one of the most beautiful duets he's ever heard in his life. Maybe a bit hyperbolic, but it really was stunning. I want to buy this recording now and play it 100x in a row.

Beverly McClellan got stuck with OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder (or Ryan Teeder, as Carson Daly, massive tool, called him at the top of the show), singing "Good Life". Tedder has been much-maligned by me as a bad live singer on television, and he didn't disappoint (for the record, he sounds perfectly fine in concert). Beverly didn't sound good either. I think whoever did the duet pairings clearly skimped on the third and fourth place finishers.

Blake Shelton enlisted his wife, Miranda Lambert, to sing her Grammy-winning hit "The House That Built Me" with Dia. They sounded beautiful together, despite the audience clapping along. Stop doing that on slow songs, audience.

For all the good things this show has done better than Idol, they really biffed the crowning moment. After pulling out the top two, Carson didn't really make the winning announcement suspenseful, nor did they have Javier end the show with a performance of his single. They pretty much just congratulated them and ho-hummed off the air. They need to fix that next season. And while they're at it, they should fix the host situation also. Carson's terrible!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Voice Finalists (And Coaches) Compete For Title

I find it pretty ironic that The Voice is supposed to be about finding the best voice, but in this week's final performance show, two of the four coaches heavily incorporated dancers or costumes or pyro (or all three, Mr. Cee Lo Green!) into the performances.

But we found fairly early into the season that this show was just as much about the coaches at it was about the contestants. As we saw with yet another group performance by the four coaches at the top of the show (Queen's "Under Pressure"). And later in the show with a random duet in the middle of the show by Blake Shelton and Brad Paisley ("Don't Drink The Water").

The four finalists (you know, the supposed real reason for the show), each sang an original song and a duet with their coach.

Javier Colon - "Stitch By Stitch" (Buy on iTunes)
Of the four original songs, I think I enjoyed this one the best, but it wasn't Javier's best vocal. He seemed nervous, and his throat closed up a few times.

Dia Frampton - "I Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty, with Blake Shelton (Buy on iTunes)
This whole performance is like opposite day for Dia. She's not in some 60's mom dress, she's in a suit. She's not rearranging a song. Everything that was unique about her on this show was stripped away. What in the world was Blake thinking?! Also, it was not the best song choice, to be honest. Dia's voice is too whispy and breathy for it to really pack the punch it needs. It was definitely more suited for Blake.

Vicci Martinez - "Afraid To Sleep" (Buy on iTunes)
Not a fan of the song. It sounds like a late 80's hair anthem B-side reject with no hook. That attempt at a glory note on the bridge was a mess, but she did sell it with all she had.

Beverly McClellan - "Beautiful", with Christina Aguilera (Buy on iTunes)
I laughed when I first heard that Christina picked her own song. But as soon as it started, I saw why. It was just as the song title says. Beautiful. Their voices blended well together, and Christina squelched her usual tendency to do runs all over the place. It was great.

Dia Frampton - "Inventing Shadows" (original song) (Buy on iTunes)
I'm torn on this song. There were parts I liked, but there were parts I was like "what IS this?". Same with her voice. Sometimes I think she sounds fantastic, other times I think she sounds bizarre (and omg it sounds worse on the iTunes version). So basically, that was like the Jekyll and Hyde of finale songs (and one without a hook). And, like Adam, I was a little distracted by the shadow dancers.

Javier Colon - "Man In The Mirror" by Michael Jackson (duet with Adam Levine) (Buy on iTunes)
I think there were a few word screw-ups here, but damn, Javier sounded fantastic. And Adam Levine ......... holy hotness in that suit.

Beverly McClellan - "Lovesick" (Buy on iTunes)
This song is schizophrenic! The chorus and hook don't mesh with each other. It's kind of like that "Just Can't Get Enough" song by Black Eyed Peas - it's like 3 different songs.

Vicci Martinez - "Love Is A Battlefield", with Cee Lo (Buy on iTunes)
This is like Mad Max meets Flash Gordon. And they have to use children to match Vicci's height. LMAO. Vocally, I wasn't all that impressed, to be honest. I felt like Vicci was cutting notes short when she could have totally wailed on this song. Working in her favor, though, is the possibility that all the flash and pop and sizzle of the baby dancers, the pyro and the costumes will distract some voters from this.

This is really going to be a tight race, I think. Dia has been winning on iTunes, but her margin of victory against Xenia last week was fairly tight, so I'm not sure that she's totally winning the public vote. Javier has been the favorite since the beginning, but that rarely ends well for contestants (amirite Susan Boyle, Jackie Evancho, Adam Lambert, Danny Gokey and Justin Guarini?). Beverly had the most memorable performance of the night with her duet with Christina, but she may be too far out of the mainstream to win the whole thing. And I thought Vicci was just average tonight. So who is going to win? I'm going to guess Javier, but you can't really go wrong with any of them in this competition.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Video Of The Day: Lady Antebellum "Just A Kiss" Music Video

Lady Antebellum's music video for their latest single, "Just A Kiss", world-premiered today on their website and on VEVO. The video tells the story of a couple who meet and fall in love in Europe, with an interesting twist at the end. Product placements also play a big role in this video. ICU, iPad and Samsung!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Video Of The Day: Alicia Keys Sings With Bruno Mars, Rick Ross

Alicia Keys performed a medley of songs at the BET Awards Sunday night and was joined by Bruno Mars on "A Woman's Worth" and by Rick Ross on his "Maybach Music 2".

Alicia bookmarked those two songs with a new song "Typewriter" and "Fallin'".

alicia211626212126 by yardie4lifever2

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Video Of The Day: David Cook "Circadian" (Live)

David Cook opened his show at Six Flags Great Adventure Saturday with his first live performance of "Circadian", which is the first track on his upcoming album This Loud Morning (and one of my personal favorites from the album).

(Video from CookieNookie77)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Video Of The Day: Bruno Mars "The Lazy Song" (Today Show)

Bruno Mars performed on The Today Show this morning, rebooting his latest single, the breezy "The Lazy Song", with a more upbeat, almost-reggae feel:

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Nigel's Saves Blow Up In His Face - AGAIN

Thanks to Nigel Lythgoe deciding not to eliminate anyone last week, four dancers were going to go home this week. And thanks to Nigel's asinine decision to do this AFTER showing the bottom three last week, fanbases were mobilized and none of the seven who were in the bottom last week were in danger this week. NONE OF THEM. Instead, the bottom 3 this week consisted of Missy/Wadi, Iveta/Nick and Ryan/Ricky.

Good job, Nigel. Way to eff up another season.

While I thought using the save so early on American Idol this year was stupid in the long run, at least the people who went home the following week were justifiable in being sent home. This situation here is similar to the Corey Clark situation on AI Season 2, when on Top 9 week they went through the process of showing the Bottom 3 (Kimberley Locke, Trenyce and Carmen Rasmusen) but then at the end of the show said no one was going home except for Corey, who was disqualified. The following week, all three were out of the bottom 2, and Rickey Smith went home instead.

Between these six dancers, I can't fault the judges for saving Ricky, who delivered big-time on his solo. Nick did the only tap solo I've ever liked on this show, but because of the predicament he was in, he got cut. I was ready to see Wadi go after watching Quest Crew dance with LMFAO. Wadi was the worst last night, and his solo skills compared to the Quest Crew guys were very mediocre.

The female elimination was less clear-cut. Iveta did as good of a solo as a ballroom dancer can do, and Nigel praised Missy while criticizing Ryan's solo. But, as I said earlier, Ryan is clearly one of the pets this season, and they saved her basically for her potential. That's bull. If you don't bring it, you need to go.

The music from tonight's show:
Group dance - "Sinnerman" by Nina Simone (Amazon | iTunes)
Rage Crew - "Party Like This" by Colton B featuring Mauli B
Wadi - "Pon de Floor" by Major Lazer featuring VYBZ Kartel (Amazon | iTunes)
Missy - "Move (Metronomy Remix)" by CSS (Amazon | iTunes)
Nick - "Follow Me Down" by 3OH!3 featuring Neon Hitch (Amazon | iTunes)
Iveta - "Samba Rock" by Gennaro
LMFAO - "Party Rock Anthem" (Amazon | iTunes)
Ricky - "Riot Rhythm" by Sleigh Bells (Amazon | iTunes)
Ryan - "Moving Mountains" by Usher (Amazon | iTunes)

The Voice Finalists Chosen In Least Suspenseful Result Show Ever

I probably should have saved myself some time and written this recap last night with the predictability of the voting on The Voice. The four people who got sent through to the finals - Vicci Martinez, Javier Colon, Dia Frampton and Beverly McClellan - were the best in their group, and they are also the ones kicking the most booty on iTunes.

The only suspense, really, was how big of a margin the cumulative coach/audience vote would be. There were two landslides and two races that were fairly tight. The landslides were for Vicci, who lost Cee Lo's vote, 49-51, but got 75% of the audience's vote, and Javier, who was the only one with a coach who tried to make his vote count (and who didn't cop out). Adam Levine gave Javier 65% of his vote in order to ensure that he made the final, but Adam could have given Casey Weston 65% of the vote and Javier still would have advanced, as he earned 73% of the public vote.

The other two results were a bit closer. Blake Shelton had the hardest choice amongst his team, and he was clearly torn between them, so he left it up to America, who voted in Dia's favor, 56-44%. Like Blake, Christina Aguilera went 50-50 on her vote, and Beverly advanced by taking 57% of the audience vote.

There was one surprise - I wasn't expecting an group sing at the top of the show! Actually, I was more expecting the coaches to perform again in some capacity since they seem to do this on every show (and LOL Cee Lo did perform after his finalist was named, singing "Bright Lights, Bigger City"). The semifinalists sang George Michael's "Freedom" with a sprinkling of "Faith". And while they managed to accomplish what many Idol group songs have not in the past (stay in tune!), it was sorely lacking some choreography and pointy poses. For me, it's really just boring without it, sorry to say. The staging of this was so awkward - when the group of Javier, Frenchie, Xenia and Vicci walked out, it was so nonchalant and/or stiff-legged (Xenia). The other group was more energetic, but you also need to control yourself and not spray the stage with spit while singing your opening line (Nakia).

For next week's finale, it sounds like they're going to do an "original song" (whatever that means) and a duet with their coach. The duet with coach could be interesting. I foresee Christina running Beverly over on their duet, something really quirky from Cee Lo and Vicci, and lots of high voices between Javier and Adam, and the best partnering coming from Blake with Dia.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

SYTYCD8 Top 20 Dance Again

Thanks to Nigel Lythgoe's "everybody's safe" show last week, the So You Think You Can Dance Top 20 all lived to dance another day, with most of them not receiving the luxury of dancing in their own style. As a result, we saw lots more uneven routines and, for me, only just one instant-classic standout routine.

This week, Debbie Reynolds served as a guest judge, and even if she didn't offer any criticism, at least she was funny. Playing the Betty White dirty old lady role, Debbie was suggestive, offering to take Wadi and then Jess and Clarice home. AND she did a Woody Woodpecker impersonation. Amazing!

Ryan Ramirez/Roderick Ricky Jaime - Jazz, choreographed by Mandy Moore
"Addicted To Love" by Robert Palmer (Amazon | iTunes)
A Mandy Moore 80's routine! Now Season 8 has officially begun! Nigel felt like this routine was dripping with sexual tension. I felt like Ryan was vamping to the camera too much for it to be as steamy as Nigel said. It was danced well, but I kept noticing Ricky looking at her and her not so much looking back. I didn't totally feel the connection between them.

Caitlynn Lawson/Mitchell Kelly - Contemporary, choreographed by Stacey Tookey
"Turning Tables" by Adele (Amazon | iTunes)
Another stunner from Stacey. She's one of the best choreographers SYTYCD has ever had, and she always picks such great pieces of music. I was most impressed by the acting from these two, especially from Caitlynn, although maybe getting accidentally punched in the face could have contributed to her pained faces. Heh. I'm going to go out on a limb right now and call her a dark horse to make the finale. She's wonderful. 

Missy Morelli/Wadi Jones - Cha Cha, choreographed by Jean-Marc Genereux
"Cannibal" - by Ke$ha (Amazon | iTunes)
I don't know what Jean-Marc was thinking when he gave them what he called the most difficult routine he's ever choreographed on this show. Missy handled it fairly well, but Wadi was stiff and awkward. I think he's more of a Twitch in the ballroom genre than he is Joshua.

Iveta Lukosiute/Nick Young - Bollywood, choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan
"Baawre" from Luck By Chance soundtrack (Amazon | iTunes)
It's hard for me to fairly critique Bollywood routines because a) I don't know the dance and b) I'm SO sick of it on this show that I almost automatically hate it. There were times when I thought their dancing should have been sharper. Nick once again showed more energy and more spring to his step than Iveta.

Miranda Maleski/Robert Taylor Jr. - Hip-Hop, choreographed by Tabitha & Napoleon
"Break Ya Neck" by Busta Rhymes (iTunes)
Miranda was doing way better than I thought she would ... until she stumbled short on the back tuck and nearly fell on her face. Prior to that, though, she was hitting it pretty hard. I would not call her the best contemporary dancer who's done hip-hop though. Ahem, Lauren Gottlieb and Courtney Galliano, to name a few!

Clarice Ordaz/Jess LeProtto - Contemporary, choreographed by Stacey Tookey
"Cathedrals" by Jump Little Children (Amazon | iTunes)
Ooh Stacey is evil - she gave the little man lifts to do! Props to him, though, for not dropping her! But I did agree with Nigel that they danced well separately but not as much together.

Jordan Casanova/Tadd Gaduanng - Viennese Waltz, choreographed by Jean-Marc Genereux
"Fade Into Me" by David Cook (Amazon | iTunes)
OK maybe Nigel was onto something last week when he said Tadd could go far if he continues to pick up the choreography. I scoffed then, but I'm starting to become a believer. This kid is good. His flow was nice, he did discernible rise and fall, his lifts were strong. If Wadi is Twitch, Tadd is most definitely Joshua. And we haven't even see him breakdance yet. The dance was beautiful, and I love how this show continues to remain on the cutting edge of music. This song isn't even available yet - it's a track on David Cook's upcoming album, which comes out next Tuesday.

Melanie Moore/Marko Germar - Jazz, choreographed by Mandy Moore
"Sing With A Swing (Raf Marchesini Radio Edit)" by DKS (Amazon | iTunes)
These two are terrific dancers, and they really command the stage, especially Melanie. This wasn't the most exciting routine of the night but their showmanship really enhanced the routine. The lift combined with the immediate arabesque was gasp-inducing. Marko probably could have done without picking up that hat right before the lift - it was a bit clunky.

Sasha Mallory/Alexander Fost - Hip-Hop, choreographed by Tabitha & Napoleon
"Coming Home" by Dirty Ditty Money & Skylar Grey (Amazon | iTunes)
The routine is about a couple reuniting after coming home from Afghanistan. Maybe it's because I was expecting something completely different, but this routine did NOTHING for me. It was too jerky, and I really just didn't get what they were trying to say.

Ashley Rich/Chris Koehl - Broadway, choreographed by Spencer Liff
"Please Mr. Jailer" by Rachel Sweet
It was a little hard to get into the routine because of the bars, but there were some good moments there, like Chris's impressive reverse planche on the bars in the opening and Ashley's high kicks.

My guesses for Bottom 3 couples:

From this group, I think they would save Missy and Wadi. Wadi was dancing way out of his genre, and they liked Missy tonight. Plus, they weren't in the bottom 3 the week before.