Wednesday, July 25, 2007

leftover drunk

I don't know how many of you actually read my So You Think You Can Dance recaps. But tonight's landed on my birthday. So instead of recapping the show, I'm going to just watch it with the leftover drunk from my birthday dinner tonight, which I shared with friends so awesome they're really extended family, seriously, LOVE MY FRIENDS, and just predict, oh, Kamron and Jaimie.

Happy birthday to me. I'm going to bed.

Friday, July 20, 2007

On to the results

Tonight! Tonight I am a little drunk and extremely tired, and have just come home from an event for Our Very Own, and, oh my god, I met Allison Janney! She's SO my favorite. I love her. Love love love and she was lovely and gracious and fabulous.

On to the results from my favorite summer obsession.

Anya & Danny in the bottom three. Not what I would have hoped for or predicted, but not super suprising.

Jaime & Hok in the bottom three. What I predicted, but not what I hoped for at all.

Lauren & Neil in the bottom three. As, quite frankly, it should be.

And, by the way? I told you, America has a mania for the Schwimmers, which is why Kameron is still safe.

In preparing for the solos, I'm preparing for Anya and Hok to go. The two I loved in the beginning, the guy I wanted in the top ten, and the woman I thought could win it all. NOW what.

Well, Anya's solo sucked, as usual. Hok's solo was brilliant, as usual. I'm really, really hoping it's Lauren & Neil, or Anya & Neil.

Of the girls, Anya is going home. Not at all what I predicted, for this evening or for the the competition as a whole, but still not terribly surprising.

Of the guys, Hok is going. Exactly what I predicted, but so, so disappointing. I know, this competition can't be won on personality alone. But if strength of character could have won this competition, Hok could have worked out a win. I love him, and I'm so sorry to see him go. It really, really, really should have been Kameron or Neil here. Seriously.

Overall, it's a week late, but my predictions for those leaving have come true. It's kind of a bummer, actually. At least I got to meet Allison Janney tonight.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

all over the damn map

I am bloody exhausted so I'm going to try and make this quick.

Last week my bottom three predictions came true, but Cedric and Shauna were the ones to leave. I'm fine with that decision. I didn't think either of them were ever going to win, but they had a nice run and got to leave on a high note. Good for you two, moving on.

Tonight's dances were all over the damn map. Also, the judges were a little insufferable. What the hell was up with Mary's freaking OUTFIT, people? Oh, and with Wade talking like an enormous tool? Take yourself too seriously much? Good grief.

Here's the breakdown:
Sabra & Dominic, jive - Sabra continues to be darling, Dominic continues to bug me. That said, they pulled off a solid routine tonight. I say they're safe.

Jaimie & Hok, broadway
- I disagreed with the judges a lot here, I thought this routine was lovely. I thought the movements from both were fluid and the tone was beautiful, and I thought the judges were a little hard on them. That said, other couples were better than they were, so I'm guessing they're in the bottom three.

Sara & Pasha, jazz - This was a weird, cool, sexy routine and I dug it. I'm always impressed with the way these two really inhabit their roles when they dance--it's like they become different people. I was completely impressed with the detail they pulled off here as well. I say they're safe.

Lauren & Neil, contemporary - The judges loved this one, but it didn't do it for me. The routine had its moments for sure, and I can tell they're both extremely proficient, technically. As an added bonus, the goggles prevented me from dealing with their incessant camera mugging, so they annoyed me a little less. But the parts where they had to dance in unison were sloppy. This could have been so much cooler, but I was disappointed. I suspect I'm in the minority where these two are concerned, but if there's any justice in the world, they'll land in the bottom three.

Anya & Danny, foxtrot - Much ado has been made about Danny's attitude, and the couple's struggle to connect to the audience, but the judges were falling over themselves to praise them for their routine tonight. They said all of these fancy things about what they achieved, but I'm going to break it down really simply for you. The dancing was superb, the routine was sensational, and the reason everyone's saying that they finally really loved them, in addition to all that? They SMILED. Danny smiled. Genuinely smiled. And, truly, it was awesome to see. I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess they're safe.

Lacey & Kameron, hip hop - I'm not a big fan of Dan Karaty routines. They aren't really hip hop in a true sense, and this one involved lots of prancing around on Lacey's part, which isn't entirely her fault. I would have liked to see them take on something a little more tough, but even with this soft routine, they were just okay. I've loved these two the whole season so far, but tonight they were meh. Now, I think fans of this show have a blind spot when it comes to the Schwimmers and just vote for them maniacally. So I could be wrong when I say this, but I think they're going to end up in the bottom three.

So, predictions:
1. Sabra & Dominic - safe
2. Jaimie & Hok - bottom 3
3. Sara & Pasha - safe
4. Lauren & Neil - bottom 3
5. Anya & Danny - safe
6. Lacey & Kameron - bottom 3

Truly, though, the voting this season has been erratic and surprising. If my bottom 3 predictions are right, however, then I'm going to guess that we're saying goodbye to... gosh, I'd love to say Lauren & Neil, but I'm thinking the judges will be thinking about who'll sell the most tickets when the top 10 go on tour, so I'm going to guess Jaimie & Kameron. Feel free, as always to tell me where I'm wrong.

cute little bugger

I have a new nephew! Mac's sister gave birth to Russell Dean on Friday, July 13th. He's a cute little bugger, don't you think?

Russell071807

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

peanut butter & mushroom sandwich

It's late, and I've had wine. Let's get right to it.

First: Cat Deeley's frocks this season overall have been better than last season's, but tonight's looks like some kind of sequined mermaid thing from the reject pile of the entire decade of the 1980's. OY.

Second: Guest judge is Adam Shankman, director and choreographer of Hairspray. Which, yay! But how much more fun would it be if they had the director of the original Hairspray, John Waters? I'm just saying.

Lacey & Kameron, hustle - Seriously, hustle gets its own dance genre? I mean, it does when the UNC Crew does it (holler!) but... what? Whatever, it's a gimicky name for a disco routine, and everyone knows that "disco" equates death on this show. As for the dancing, they were really tight as a couple, the performance was strong, but the overall routine was just kind of meh.

Shauna & Cedric, mambo - Honestly? Way better than I expected, and Alan agrees with me. Shauna is growing on me, and she was fabulous here, and Cedric really went after this style. When they came out of the partnering stuff and were dancing in unison? HOT. Hot. They weren't perfect, but they were hot.

Anya & Danny, contemporary - I love Tyce DiOrio. He just seems darling, and his routines are very fresh to me. He has a nice sense of the music he uses, which I appreciate. This routine is no different, and is my favorite contemporary routine of the season so far. The pair of dancers do a beautiful job again. But more and more, I find that they're almost too professional. They're cold. I don't connect with these individuals at all any more, and that will be problematic for them in the long run. Alan & Nigel argued about Danny a bit here, and I think they're both right--Danny needs to give viewers a reason beyond his technique to want to root for him, because right now it's missing.

Sara & Pasha, west coast swing - OMG how cute is Pasha? Benji Schwimmer is choreographing this number, which is... interesting. As is his... blond hair? Oh, dear. And, I was feeling kind of "Oh dear" all through the rehearsal footage and even when Fatboy Slim started up, but then suddenly? They became my new favorite couple. They were slick and fun and technically lovely, and the chemistry was there, and I did not see this coming, but yeah. Good, good stuff here.

Sabra & Dominic, hip hop - Dominic thinks Cat Deeley has a French accent, and dude? Why are you so lame? *sigh* BUT they got a Shane Sparks routine, whom I love love love. The routine is cute, and executed well. Everyone is usually all, "Ooh, Dominic, you're so amazing & growing so much!" But really, Sabra? Is the one growing on me on this show. She's been a slow burn, but I like her a lot lately.

Jaimie & Hok, waltz - Hok reveals in his interview that he plays the violin, so you know I love him even more now. Jaimie still bugs the crap out of me. And yet, when she dances? Lovely. I have a hard time buying Hok in these traditional styles, but I respect how much he throws himself into them as much as he does a hip hop or Wade Robson "jazz" routine. Sarah McLachlan's dreamy "Angel" really helps them as well, but ultimately it wasn't a super strong result from the pair.

Lauren & Neil, jazz - Ugh. I hate these two. I love Wade Robson. I love Wade Robson doing Roisin Murphy songs even more. WHAT TO DO?!? Well. The routine is totally rad, but these two made it seem twee. They mugged through some otherwise badass choreography, and it was basically what you would expect to see with two obnoxious, immature people doing brilliant choreography. It was like a peanut butter & mushroom sandwich. Love the peanut butter, hate the mushrooms. Love the routine, still don't love the couple.

Predictions this week are tough, but I'm going to go with:
1. Lacey & Kameron - safe
2.
Shauna & Cedric - bottom 3
3.
Anya & Danny - bottom 3
4.
Sara & Pasha - safe
5. Sabra & Dominic -
safe
6.
Jaimie & Hok - bottom 3
7. Lauren & Neil -
safe (I don't believe anyone's putting Wade in the bottom 3)
And if my bottom 3 couple predictions are right, then I think Anya & Hok, who were my two favorites at the onset of the season, could be the ones to leave. I know, crazy, but it could totally happen. We'll see.

I'm going to Santa Barbara tomorrow night so I may not get to blog the results & how right/wrong I was. So until I can blog again, I'll just say that the word safe has ceased to seem like a real, accurately spelled word to me. Safe. Safe safe safe. Safe. See?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

delighted and amazed

My friend Claudia just sent me this. It's just an old dance video set to new music, but I remain delighted and amazed by the result.

where I'm living

I was looking up something in my blog for someone and got sidetracked by some of my older entries. Remember when I didn't just post videos and recaps of silly dance competition shows? Good times.

This is where I'm living these days:
- Work is going pretty well, but just when I think I've figured out how to run things and my To Do list is fairly under control, all this other stuff crops up. Like, hey genius, you need to write copy for your website and finish your budget, and what about those reports, and those case studies, and and and.... I finally bought a new chair yesterday so I'm not working all day hunched over in my cute-but-uncomfortable Ikea chair, but I also need a new desk with some proper leg room. And a new keyboard. Basically, I'd like to finish out a work day in my new home office without the pain I've started to learn to live with. I'd also like to finish a work day and feel like at least a few things are finished. Maybe I should stop blogging. Just a few more quick updates while I eat, and it's back to it.

- Some of my friends are falling in love and getting engaged and getting married and buying houses these days. It's fun to be the one they can turn to for a change, instead of the freaked out one that was all, "If these are good things why am I so STRESSED OUT!?!?" A nice change indeed.

- I'm still embroidering and really need to upload photos. My friends have also been repopulating the earth a lot lately, so there's a lot of baby stuff in the mix. Wait 'til you see baby Aiden in his cute embroidered "Rock Star" cap, though.

- I'm considering bringing the Mix of the Month back to life. I'm working on one for July that's a lot of fun for summer. We'll see. It's nice to be fired up about music again, I'd gotten a little burned out lately.

- I watch a lot of Food Network and read a lot of cookbooks, but still don't cook as much as I should. I've been studying Alton Brown's textbook-like "I'm Just Here for the Food" like I'm going to be quizzed on it. I want to try out some more of the recipes my brother in law gave me for Christmas, and I'd like to learn to make more pies. I mean, who doesn't love pie? Specifically, I want to learn some savory pies, or quiches, if you will. And I will, because, hi: YUM.

- When my parents visited in May they brought several boxes of stuff I've been saving since childhood. There's at least one whole blog entry waiting to happen, from my old journals alone.

- Summer movies have been a mixed bag so far. I enjoyed Transformers, Ratatouille, Waitress, Knocked Up, Hot Fuzz, Live Free or Die Hard, Ocean's 13, and the surprising Mr. Brooks. I did NOT enjoy Spiderman 3 or the Fantastic Four. If I haven't mentioned it, I haven't seen it. I'm still ridiculously excited for Harry Potter, the Bourne Supremacy, Talk to Me, and Hairspray even though John Travolta as Edna is already making my skin crawl because his voice is terrible and his makeup makes him look like Miss Piggy. I will see it anyway though, because I love that Amanda Bynes, I'm curious about Queen Latifah, Christopher Walken is always entertaining, and I think Michelle Pfeiffer is going to OWN this movie at the end of the day. Plus the music is truly fabulous, as anyone who's seen the stage musical will tell you. Finally: Becoming Jane, please don't disappoint me. I really want to love you, I have very high hopes. Be my new comfort movie, won't you please?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Monday, July 02, 2007

still high on the crack

Well, I'm back in California and have gotten caught up on work, and on my favorite obsession ever. Incidentally, the more I come clean about my unadulterated love for this show, the more people keep coming out of the dancing closet to me, confessing in reverent, hushed tones, "Oh my god I LOVE that show!" And then we proceed to disagree on all the couples. Which, honestly? Fine. I'm just happy to have someone to debate with. Watch it, preach it, fight with me, and watch it some more.

This past week was possibly the most dramatic I've ever seen on So You Think You Can Dance, and I look forward to all the possible discussion of the performances and the results. Here's the complete run-through of the dances and the results, complete with my opinions, of course.

Debbie Allen was a guest judge, so if you missed the show you missed pretty much the Queen of Darling and Sassy. What a mensch, and what a treat to have her on this show.

In other news, Nigel Lythgoe is kind of a pervert. I mean, you could guess it by the way he's all gross about some of the female contestants, going on about how hot they are, and the way he's partial to the younger ones (I know, ew). But Wednesday he also went so far as to make a joke about having host Cat Deeley on his head, and... no. He's passionate about promoting the world of dance and his critiques are usually pretty spot on, but classy, he ain't.

On to Wednesday's performances:
1. Sara and Jesus, krumping - I like these two a lot, and they both dance very well. I'm surprised no one's given them a hard time for not being together enough yet, though. They are sometimes, not others. They dance like they're competing with each other, and it's distracting from an otherwise good and entertaining performance. My gut after this performance says SAFE.

(By the way--did anyone else find Nigel's "compliments" for this routine a little, oh, what's the word... racist? Here's what he said: "I like where krumping is going, or I like where Lil C's taking krumping, because it's a lot more accessible. You're not just 'kicking butt.' . . . Sara, you are a GANGSTA. Wow. She scared me. When she pulled her shirt up, I thought she looked like an outlaw or something. . . . Jesus, you're a contemporary dancer. This is really mean work from, you know, South LA--Slausom [sic] & Crenshaw, I think it is. . . where did you learn that in Paso Robles? . . . You were so together, the pair of you, and it's really great to watch and a lot of fun, which is unlike krumping. I'm normally scared of it."

I mean. . . what?)

2. Shauna and Cedric, contemporary - Mia Michaels doesn't just choreograph "emotion," she turns melodrama into high art. Of course, it's the kind of art that I respect without necessarily loving it. Shauna is sensational in this performance, and Cedric is good but, not surprisingly, not good enough. At one point, Mia just had him sitting on the stage, which is a choice I disagree with--if you think he can't handle the routine, at least give him some steps and let him try. Don't make it obvious that you're compensating. The regular judges spanked him again, some more, but check this shit out: Debbie Allen offered Cedric a scholarship to her dance studio. I know!! I know. I was crying. It was highly emotional. Even so, I was certain they would be in the bottom three.

3. Lacey and Kameron, quick step - The quick step is a hard sell, but these two totally up for it. I understand where people feel that they aren't a technically proficient couple, and making up for a lack of substance with a lot of style. That said, I like that they throw themselves into every routine they try and really COMMIT, and this week was no different. It was a fun, entertaining routine, and I am convinced they are SAFE.

4. Anya and Danny, hip hop - Much like fellow Russian ballrom dancer Faina, Anya had trouble learning the hip hop choreography and loosening up enough to pull it off. Dan Karaty's routine is slick and sharp, and the song (Timbaland's "Oh Timbaland") is an awesome hip hop cover of Nina Simone's "Sinnerman," and just conveniently showed up in my iTunes for only $.99, because it is RAD. So: the song is hot, the routine is slick, the costumes are sharp, the dancers are excellent... and yet something was missing for me. Anya and Danny danced it perfectly, but they didn't really feel it. Even so, I'm thinking thinking there's no way they're not SAFE.

5. Dominic and Sabra, rumba - These two are really trying to sell themselves on personality in their little interviews. They really don't need to,though, because they're starting to dance really well together. Their routine is sensational this evening, truly, and Dominic is really improving week over week, which is exciting to watch. I am officially feeling the Dominic and Sabra love over here. They have convinced me they are SAFE.

(And now we pause for these messages from the new Hairspray trailer: Eeeeeee!)

6. Lauren and Neil, tango - Ugh. I'm so over these two. Neil mugs for the camera like he's been taking tips from Ben Affleck circa Mallrats. His expressions and behavior in front of the camera are so insincere it's gross. Lauren is about 6--right? if she's 18 now?--years away from shaving her head after the pressure of being married to the world's biggest sleeze, then turning into Gross Party Girl Extraordinaire gets to be too much for her. What was somewhat charming immaturity last week, is this week cloying and hard to take. They dance the tango, and mug for the camera, and even though the steps are fine, they are an insufferable couple and I'm hoping they land in the bottom three by my sheer force of will.

7. Jaimie and Hok, "jazz" - I put jazz in quotes because what they really pulled out of a hat is the once in a lifetime chance to work with Genius Wade Robson on his latest creation. The dance choreography is meant to portray a love story between a flower and a hummingbird, and because Wade is a freaking Master and Hok and Jaimie are talented, it comes across just exactly so. The dancers get a lot of praise for doing a dance that was, in the words of the judges, "created for their skills." I think every choreographer customizes their routines for their dancers, and I also think that Wade could create something this beautiful on the spot if he wanted to; I also think the dancers didn't get enough credit for a beautiful job on this particular genius routine, so I'm going to go ahead and give them props here: GOOD ON YA. I dub thee SAFE.

8. Jessi and Pasha, cha cha - After watching lots of rehearsal footage, we find out that Jessi has been taken to the hospital for respiratory problems and chest pains, and doctors have recommended that she rest, and not compete. DRAMA! At the onset, Nigel explains that if Jessi is up to dancing the following night, then she will automatically be in the bottom tier of girls and will have to dance a solo to stay in the competition. If she is still sick, she will automatically be cut. That out of the way, they tell us that the choreographer's assistant will be dancing with Pasha, who still has the chance to compete for votes. Then Pasha comes out and proves he is, in fact, one fabulous Latin dancer, as well as an incredible partner. And, frankly, a trooper. I think there's no way he's voted into the bottom three, and is therefor SAFE.

Which means I'm already wrong about one couple. Let's just go ahead and see how the results broke out, shall we?

1. Sara and Jesus - I said safe. They're not, they're in the bottom three.
2. Shauna and Cedric - I said bottom three, but Cedric's passionate speech and all the damn drama, plus some amazing dancing by Shauna, have saved his ass and they are safe. Similar to last week's outcome, I feel like this is not entirely right, even though I totally love Cedric.
3. Lacey and Kameron - I said safe, they're totally safe.
4. Anya and Danny - I said safe, and they're totally NOT. I know! Everyone was shocked. They even had the last "bottom three slot" down to Anya/Danny or Shauna/Cedric for Dramatic! Effect! And shocked us all with these results. It's very surprising, but what's more shocking is Danny's behavior. First, he barely wanted to hug Cedric. Then he started laughing, even as Nigel was trying to comfort him and Anya (by explaining the concept of "voting" to us dumb 'Mericanz). His face is a mess of emotions, the most readily detectable being "disgust." Yes, by all means, Danny--show contempt for the American public and their choices. See how well that works out for you in the long run. He's a talented dancer--no question. But what an asshole.
5. Dominic and Sabra - I said safe, and they are.
6. Lauren and Neil - I hoped bottom three, and they ARE. Ha! Suck it! I hope you go home!

Which means,
7. Jaimie and Hok and 8. Jessi and Pasha got the votes, and are safe. Jessi, of course, will have to dance a solo anyway.

At this point, I'm really hoping Lauren and Neil get the boot. Lauren's solo involves a lot of prancing and sex-kitten pouting, and I'm not impressed and want her to go. (Plus, in an odd twist that makes my Britney Spears premonition all the more ominous, she chooses freaking PopoZao to dance to, and girl? You're young, so let me give you some words to live by: when it comes to K-Fed, JUST SAY NO.)

Then again, the rest of the girls' solos are also just okay. Oh, dear. On the guys' side, Neil does a lot of really impressive pirouettes and not much else, Jesus does a more creative, but less polished, routine, and Danny phones in a bitter, yet somehow gorgeous, routine.

So naturally, the two going home are Jessi and Jesus.

I don't even know what basis the judges are using to choose people at this point, but I will say this: I think having Mary Murphy on the judging panel every week was a mistake. I think having more than one judge on the panel every week is a bad idea. I feel like the judges were more balanced and objective last season when they changed up. I think Mary makes very emotional choices, and she's getting attached to certain people, and to opinions about certain people, that is ultimately clouding judgment that used to be way more balanced. I don't think it's her fault some of these people are going home; I think it's Nigel's for including her on the panel every week.

As for the decision itself, I'm actually fine with Jessi going home. I personally think that her "dehydration" issues are the result of an eating disorder (it looks like she's lost a lot of weight since her first audition--look at her face, if you don't believe me). This is all suspicion, but if I'm right and they knew about it, and it was a factor, then good. If I'm wrong, I still believe that her dancing never would have overcome her obnoxious personality for me, and I'm fine with her leaving. Jesus, on the other hand, breaks my heart. What a genuine guy and entertaining dancer. To lose out to asshole Danny and insufferable Neil just plain sucks.

SO! So. what did you think? Am I onto something, or am I still high on the crack? Only a thorough posting in the Comments section will let me know for sure.