Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Target is a magical place

There is a boycott circulating currently to encourage people to boycott Target because they're letting people choose which gendered bathroom they want in order to relieve themselves. (I'm not linking to it because they don't deserve the traffic, but feel free to Google it.) Here's why this is super stupid.

First, Target is a magical place. Target is the place where you go in to pick up toilet paper and end up rolling out with a cart of groceries, home decor, beauty products and birthday cards and, if you're really lucky, the toilet paper you needed in the first place. 

The stores have an intuitive layout that makes things easy to find if you're really committed to making that surgical strike. They're also good at creating cute displays in case you're in the mood to be swayed by their new selection of ornaments. They also keep the beauty products right by the pharmacy and I have picked up a new color of nail polish with my prescription more times than I can count. (Let's just say I'm healthy and can paint my nails any color of the rainbow any time I want.)

Also, they usually have surprisingly friendly cashiers. I find myself chatting with them more often than not, and easily half of them know that I once stood at Target register in my own red shirt and khakis, back in the day. And, yes, one of them finally talked me into the Target Card because, hi, five percent off!

So, I love Target. I do not, however, love their bathrooms. They are disgusting.

The last time I was in a Target bathroom, I was with Duncan, who realized that he needed to go RIGHT NOW while we were on the polar opposite end of the store. I rushed him to the bathroom, encouraging him to hold it and distracting him with the myriad of colors and displays we saw along the way. We burst through the doors of the ladies room and were immediately greeted with the stench of stale farts and serious concerns about the personal hygiene habits of the women in our community. I ushered him into a stall where he asked for "privacy please!" so I stood on the outside, holding the door closed. Turns out it was a Code Brown, so he pulls his pants down, sits in something wet, and hollers, "Eeeeewwwwww! Moooomm!" I wince and tell him it's only water (please, God), have him wipe himself off with some TP and continue his business.

When he's done, he starts asking for help wiping his little booty. (He's five and a half, he should be able to do this on his own by now, but he fights us on it. I know we're not alone in this struggle.) The smell in the bathroom, including Duncan's contributions, has brought me nearly to tears, so I'm inclined to just clean him up and get the heck out of there. 

But here's the thing: I didn't grab a cart or basket when we went into the store because we were just there to grab ONE THING: a birthday card for Mac. But then I thought it would be fun to put together a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "survival kit" for the big 4-2, so we started running around the store for supplies. Which means I've been standing in the World's Stinkiest Bathroom holding a door closed for a noisy five year old with one hand, all while holding a towel, a notebook, a giant bottle of beer and three (3!) birthday cards precariously in my other arm.

I gracefully push my way into his stall to check the situation and try to help him out with my one free hand and keep him from Touching! Everything! I fail. At one point he says, "Ew, Mom, what's this?" I see him touching--TOUCHING--a smear of dried, brown... something on the wall and die a little inside because it's almost certainly poo. It's poo. I holler at him to stop touching it, oh my God Dude, and get him all squared away, pants up, whole deal, so we can get out of this horror show as soon as possible and then shove our hands under streams of scalding water in the sink, sudsing them with ten gallons of soap like surgeons until the horror of germs and ebola we've almost certainly contracted is exorcised from our bodies.

I tell this story not to gross you out, but to make this very important point: as awesome as Target is, their bathrooms are not great. At times, they are downright nasty, as so many public bathrooms are. So if a person, regardless of their current gender, really needs to use one of these horror shows of human excrement, by all means, we should LET THEM. Why worry about whether or not the person peeing next to you was blessed with a vag or a wang at birth, when you really should be worrying about the last time that joint was scrubbed down? God knows they wouldn't be in there unless they really, really had to go.

In conclusion: support Target. Go there when you need one thing, go when you need all the things, do your holiday shopping there, or just enjoy the spacious parking lot. They're letting everyone use the crappy, filthy bathroom of their choice, and I for one am fine with this. I think we should all continue to shop here throughout the holidays and enjoy spending too much on their cute holiday decor (have you seen the Hanukkah display? Adorbs!) and seasonal oatmeal and beer offerings and great deals on stuff you need anyway and convenient in-store Starbucks locations. Just remember: get a cart, because you'll probably buy more than what's on your list.

And maybe make sure everyone uses the bathroom before you leave the house.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Liner Notes

Every December/January I put together a CD of the songs that Mac & I listened to the most throughout the year. Every year I struggle to get that list down to the 1.2 hours of music that will fit on one CD, and end up ruthlessly cutting really fantastic songs. So here are the songs that made the cut for this year's CD, complete with a few liner notes, as well as the ones that were also awesome but just wouldn't fit. Enjoy.

Mac & Dinah's Best of 2010

1. Black Sheep / Metric (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Soundtrack)

Two words for you: Power Chords. I love them. Love! I also love that they bring more of a rockin’ edge to Metric’s typical “pretty alternative girl pop” offering—a style I also enjoy as a general rule on its own, but one that really goes well with some good old-fashioned power chords.

2. Dog Days Are Over / Florence + The Machine (Lungs)

When this album came out in 2009, the only song I listened to from it was “My Boy Builds Coffins,” a great song that my friend Amanda put on a mix for me. Then I heard this song and a bunch of others from the album on this summer’s season of “So You Think You Can Dance” and just fell in love with their Big Anthem qualities. And then, yes, this song was everywhere and overplayed, but by that point I was already in love with it, so there you go.

3. Learnalilgivinanlovin’ / Gotye (Pre-Release Singles Compilation)

A song that sounds like a lost track from The Temptations is an unlikely creation from an artist describes as an “Australian electronic pop trickster.” And yet.

4. Tightrope (feat. Big Boi) / Janelle Monáe (The ArchAndroid)

Loving the Motown-revival movement much? Yes, yes I am. This young lady holds the honor of being the only artist to ever perform on “So You Think You Can Dance” who was so good I not only didn’t fast-forward through her, I automatically hopped on iTunes & bought her single. Effective marketing, yes. It’s an even more effective dance song.

5. Opposite Of Adults / Chiddy Bang (Opposite Of Adults – EP)

MGMT’s “Kids” has been covered & sampled more times than I can count, but this one is the best. It also might be Mac’s favorite song of 2010.

6. WOR / Django Django (Wor/Skies Over Cairo)

Also experiencing a revival in recent years? Surf rock. I don’t know much about this band, but I know I love the hell out of this song.

7. Howlin' for You / The Black Keys (Brothers)

This whole album is so good it’s hard to pick just one song. This one is a little reminiscent of Gary Glitter’s “Rock & Roll Part 2,” I admit, but it also sounds like a sexy striptease. Ow.

8. More Or Less / The Soft Pack (The Soft Pack)

As long as Motown & surf rock are experiencing a comeback, why not garage rock? Why not indeed. This whole album is great. This song is my favorite.

9. Hellbound Train / Magnolia Mountain (Redbird Green)

Growing up in Evansville, IN in the 80s, the big local band was called Stop the Car. Today, a couple STC alums have put together this outfit that’s a little more country than rock & roll, but just as sexy & fun. I just wish I knew how to get this song in front of the music supervisor of HBO’s “True Blood."

10. How You Like Me Now / The Heavy (The House That Dirt Built)

Technically from 2009, this song grabbed the nation’s attention in a car commercial featured in the 2010 Superbowl, with toys that came to life and went carousing around western bars, bowling alleys & tattoo parlors. Then it hung out on the down-low for the rest of the year as simply one of Mac’s favorite songs until The Fighter came out in the fall, and became a whole new anthem for scrappy badasses everywhere.

11. Momma's Place / Róisín Murphy (Momma's Place – EP)

Straight up late 80s/early 90s dance pop.

12. I Can Change / LCD Soundsystem (This Is Happening)

I first listened to this on my niece Sydney’s Facebook wall, and it reminded me of songs I loved when I was her age. Maybe because we both moved away from our best friends when we were 14, I always think of her and my old friends when they sing, “Never change never change never change never change…”

13. MoneyGrabber / Fitz & The Tantrums (Pickin' Up the Pieces)

A treat from my friend Alf, and another neo-Motown jam, with a dash of funk.

14. Sorrow / The National (High Violet)

I love this guy’s voice and I love this album, but I love the heart-wrenching sadness in this gorgeous breakup song the most.

15. What Part of Forever / Cee Lo Green (Twilight: Eclipse Soundtrack)

It never fails to amaze me that these goofy teen sparkly vampire melodrama movies can boast these really great soundtracks that compile a lovely mix of pop, rock and indie acts. Most people will remember Cee Lo’s delightful “F--- You” from 2010, but this catchy, strummy pop number is the one that gets stuck in my head the most. Maybe it’s the whistling?

16. Grey X Sage / Theophilus London (This Charming Mixtape)

Mac calls this the “muppet song” because it sounds like there are muppets singing counterpoint. He’s not wrong. It is, in fact, one of the reasons I love the song. Because who doesn’t love muppets?

17. We Used to Wait / Arcade Fire (The Suburbs)

I feel like such a victim of marketing with this song. The Arcade Fire released this song as part of a viral marketing campaign to introduce Google Chrome by having the viewer punch in their childhood home address, which would then play the song while all these pop ups & animation come up around satellite views of the old neighborhood. I don’t know if I’m explaining it well, but it was really cool, and by the time the song was over I wanted to hear it again and again.

18. Write About Love / Belle and Sebastian (Write About Love - Single)

Less Motown but still a 60s throwback, this song reminds me of my days of punching the clock in my old corporate gig with lyrics like, “I hate my job. I’m working way too much (every day I’m stuck in an office).”

19. Light Of Love / Music Go Music (Expressions)

Wait, did I sneak in a lost ABBA track on here? No. But I did sneak in something just as joyful and fun.

Burnable CDs should be longer for songs like these:

The World Was Made For Men / The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger – A gorgeous, dreamy boy/girl duet ballad from this new group made up of Sean Lennon and his girlfriend. The whole “Acoustic Sessions” album is lovely, if you don’t mind the slightly haunting fact that Sean sounds an awful lot like his dad when he sings.

Bang Bang Bang / Mark Ronson – A fun, highly percussive indie pop song for anyone who likes that sort of thing. Like me.

Excuses / The Morning Benders – I like anthem-y tunes constructed in waltzy, ¾ time like this one. Another find from my niece Sydney.

Angela Surf City / The Walkmen – This one is another great surf rock homage, filled with all the jangly guitars & strong drums you expect, and some authentically angsty vocals that maybe you wouldn’t expect.

Not in Love / Crystal Castles feat. Robert Smith – The Cure’s old front man lends his unique vocal stylings to dancey, electronic pop with fantastic results.

Lovesick / Lindstrom & Christabelle – This electronic dance track was a present from my sister Amy, and a slinky, sexy good time.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

things to say

Tap tap. Is this thing on?

I've been thinking about bringing back the Blog. I even re-designed it with the idea that maybe I could get her going again. I have things to say and I miss the writing.

My reasons for taking almost a year-long breather are still there. I'm still highly busy. If I'm writing a personal blog then odds are good I should actually be doing something else.

But it's also been a hell of a year. I'm pregnant for the first time and like every other mom before me I have all these Important! thoughts and feelings about my experience so far. As for the rest of my life, sometimes I just have thoughts that can't be summed up in 140 characters, even if that's all I have time for. Plus I have a couple playlists going that need liner notes. (Yes, they NEED them. Need.)

So, I'm back. For now. We'll see how it goes. Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Moms are TOTALLY embarrassing!

Look. All of the bitching about Moms on Facebook has got to stop. I just watched a video of a dude who outlined an entire PowerPoint presentation for dealing with Moms on Facebook that ended with this nugget:

According to him (and you can watch the video here), more people are searching for ways to deal with their Moms on Facebook than are searching for ways to Find God.

So here's my solution for how to deal with Moms on Facebook:

But! What about my PRIVACY?!?!?
In case you weren't aware, Facebook is on the Internet, dummy. It's public. You HAVE NO PRIVACY on the Internet.

Once you start putting your life online, your mom is not the only one who can see what you're up to and judge you for it. There are, in fact, entire sites dedicated to calling out dumb-ass behavior on Facebook. Just one example of someone looking you up online: future employers. It is a FACT that companies can and will choose whether or not to hire you based on what they find about you online.

Also, here's a revelation--you don't actually WANT privacy. If you wanted privacy, you would un-tag or delete those embarrassing pictures, you wouldn't air out your relationship problems in your damn status update, and you wouldn't tell the world about every minute detail of your life.

What you want is ATTENTION. It's not entirely your fault--our society rewards the famous more than anyone else, even those who gain notoriety for being complete and utter dumb shits. You want that too, and that's okay. But all those famous people also have parents, and have had no choice but to accept a more open relationship with them. Loss of privacy is a trade off and consequence of increased fame and attention. You want one, you get the other, period.

But! I can't be MYSELF!
Sure you can. This is only really a problem if
A) Being yourself involves being a complete and total douche bag
B) You lie to your parents on a regular basis and have a crappy relationship
or C) Your parents have had every other thought and experience in their lives surgically removed from their brains except for all of their lovely memories of YOU.

Let's start with C)
When I learned that my mom had discovered my blog, I had a small moment of panic and gasped, "But I swear on my blog!" And then I rolled my eyes at myself and GOT OVER IT because guess what? Mom has read, heard, and even uttered curse words before. I know, SHOCKING, right?

One of my favorite examples of living life publicly for all to see, including Mom, is Dooce. Here is a woman who talks about everything from hemorrhoids to duck farts in her blog and in person, and if you read her awesome and highly detailed story of the birth of her second daughter, you will note that she was in so much pain she was screaming profanities right in front of her very own darling mother. And her mom remained unphased.

You know why? Our parents have heard it all before. They had whole entire LIVES before we even showed up. Your parents did all kinds of stuff before you were born, and here's a real shocker: some of them still do! The idea that your mom has nothing better to do than wash your clothes and stalk you on the Internet is stupid.

As for B) Quit lying to your parents. If you are making adult decisions and enjoying the fun and freedom of adult behavior, then it is time to have an adult relationship with your parents. With or without Facebook, they probably know or at least assume you're making some dumb choices anyway, and they probably still like you just fine.

One of my favorite stories of a mother-son relationship is this one: A guy I know went to college and fully rebelled against many of the rules of his loving, yet conservative, upbringing. When his mom came to visit him at school, he took her to lunch, sat her down and said, "Mom. I have to tell you something. I drink. I smoke. I have tattoos. And I'm no longer going to church."

First of all, she was relieved because she thought he was going to tell her he'd gotten someone pregnant, which I just think is funny. Then she responded, "I do wish you'd go to church. But you REALLY shouldn't smoke." Which, hi, she's totally right--smoking is really bad for you.

The point is, she didn't lose her mind over what turned out to be a fairly small revelation about her son. In fact, there is a lot of value to being honest with your parents, especially as an adult. I recognize and respect that not everyone has loving parents who want the best for them, and those situations should be handled differently. But if your parents DO love you and want the best for you, and you're lying to them anyway? Knock it off.

Finally, A) Easy solution: Quit acting like a total douche bag.

If you're all weirded out or even ashamed by the idea of your mom finding out about your behavior, then I'd like to take a moment to congratulate your mom for raising you right. That means that that nagging voice in the back of your head telling you not to do that stupid thing? That's your MOM. That voice is trying to save you from yourself. Maybe instead of worrying about what she'll think of you when she finds out, you should LISTEN TO HER.


First of all, if you're a teenager: I know right?? Moms are TOTALLY embarrassing! It's like it's their JOB or something. GOD.

Now, if you are NOT a teenager: Oh, honey. You have a mom who wants to be involved in your life, who cares about how you're doing, and has fond memories of your childhood with pictures to back it up? That's... awesome. No, really. Have you seen Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire? Or met anyone outside of your own little world who didn't grow up exactly like you did? Because not all moms and dads care that much, dude. Some of them suck, mightily. Some people don't even HAVE moms, how sad is that? If you have a mom, and she's still around, and she doesn't suck, maybe you should take a minute to be grateful. (Yes, I realize I just sounded JUST LIKE HER just then. No, I am not your mom writing this in disguise. Or a mom at all, in fact. I'm just someone who is lucky and knows it.)

Also, check this out--all your friends? That you're worried about impressing with your cool, unsupervised life? They also have moms (again, if they're lucky). They know what it is to be embarrassed. What a fun thing to share, have in common, and laugh about. I mean, you do have a sense of humor, right?

But! But!
You have officially run out of buts. (Heh. "Butts.") Your mom being on Facebook does not actually mean that your life is over. There is officially nothing left to do, but get over it. Either live your life publicly on the Internet exactly the way you want, with no limits, and accept that your parents can see it and might not approve. Or accept that what you put online is entirely public and maybe should have some limits.

Live your life on the Internet as though your mom can see it, and make choices about what you share with the whole damn world accordingly. Isn't that what we should all be doing anyway?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

So, fine. I have opinions.


Alright, fine, listen. I wasn’t gonna, but the opinions, every week. And then, no one in my house or work watches, so I have to keep them to myself. Which, if you’ve met me, well. Not the most possible thing ever. So, fine. I have opinions. I make no promises for consistent recaps every week, but I have to say at least a little something about these most recent seven dances.

First of all, the praise the judges heap on Travis Wall is crazy well deserved. The kid is creative and resourceful and has created some amazingly physical, musical and emotional routines.

This week, he did a routine to one of my all-time favorite songs, “Your Ex-Lover is Dead” by Stars, so I was pre-disposed to love the dance. The song tells the story about being introduced, as though for the first time, to that one Ex that brings up all your FEELINGS, and is sung in a man/woman duet in 6/8 time accompanied by romantic cellos and French waltzy accordian, and just listening to the song can give me chills and make me cry when they sing, “I’m not sorry I met you. I’m not sorry it’s over. I’m not sorry there’s nothing to say” in unison, one octave above the other.

Not to music-geek out on you, but this is how I feel about music and it’s best you just understand it up front. I am passionate about what I listen to, and I am way passionate about how freaking much I love this song.

So, you can imagine, when Ryan and Ellenore took Travis’s brilliant choreography, and transformed a handshake into the story of an entire relationship that’s run its course, and told that story SO BEAUTIFULLY…. Well. It was overwhelming. It was a moment I never felt in Season 5, as you know. I loved it far too much not to share.

Obviously, I felt Ellenore & Ryan's Contemporary was the best of the night. And I’ll go ahead and add: considering how eye-gougingly awful they were last week? Pretty amazing accomplishment.

Second best couple was Katherine & Legacy. I really thought I was going to hate Legacy, if only for being a douche-tard who calls himself Legacy. But then, dammit, he started winning me over. And this week I needed a cigarette after their Paso Doble (and I don’t smoke). It was just that hot. Again, they were fully committed to the style and the performance and I loved the hell out of it.

The rest break down like so:

3. Noelle & Russel, Foxtrot – Yeah, Russell has improved, and yeah, Noelle is darling, but really this routine was all about their back-to-back shimmy and their genuine, confident smiles throughout the steps. Not a masterpiece like my two faves of the night, but nicely executed and super joyful to watch.

4. Ashleigh & Jakob, “Hip Hop” – Dumb routine (as usual, Napitholeanitha) but danced well. I like these two, I think they really committed to what they were given the best they could, and think they’ll go really far.

5. Channing & Victor, Jazz – Conceptually, this piece didn’t work for me because music and dancing were too much of a contrast for me, the song being too quiet for their strong dancing. I thought it was really well done, but I had no emotional reaction to it whatsoever.

6. Mollee & Nathan, Pop Jazz – I’m not 14, so I really don’t give a shit about these two or how cute they are, and I’m not a judge (or their parents) so I really don’t care how much they grow or mature as people. I mean, Nigel is so invested in trying to snap Nathan out of his spoiled, immature cute boy bullshit that he hardly had a thing to say about his dancing. Which was great, actually. This number was way better than that pile of garbage they handed in last week. But, like with Channing & Victor, it elicited no emotion from me whatsoever.

7. Karen & Kevin, Broadway – I really loved the song and choreography, and the dancing was decent & cute, but only just. Also, I’m super tired of Nigel referring to Karen as “sexual.” Like, he’s not even saying “sexy,” he’s saying “sexuality” and it’s gross & creepy. Also, she’s pretty & all, I guess, but I don’t get what all this hot tamale “Ah-OOO-ga” fuss is all about, frankly. As for Kevin, he's up against Russel & Legacy as a hip hop dancer, and for whatever reason, he's just not rocking it as much as they are.

I meant to do just a short thing about all this, maybe one sentence per couple, and now it’s this long essay. Which took way longer than I expected. This is why I’m not supposed to be recapping this season, y’all. But, whatevs, thems my opinions, and I look forward to hearing yours, and seeing how the votes shake out!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How Can I Miss You if You Won't Go Away?

I'm just going to rip this Band-Aid off first: I will not be blogging the fall season of So You Think You Can Dance. (Or, as Brigid accidentally, brilliantly re-named it, "Do You Think You SHOULD Dance.")

It's too much. It's 3 hours a week just to watch it, and the writing and the thought I like to put into it. I have too much to do, and if I'm being honest, too much other fall TV to enjoy.

Also, as far as I'm concerned, it's just too soon, and Too Much of a Good Thing. Which inspired the following list, entitled, "How Can I Miss You if You Won't Go Away?"

1. So You Think You Can Dance
My summer treat, my guilty pleasure! You started as the bastard step-sibling to the American Idol monster, and became the little show that could, impressing more and more people every season by showcasing contestants with actual talent and darling personalities. Your judges were unique and crazy, yet (mostly) surprisingly insightful and accurate, and four years running the results were totally satisfying.
And then you watered down your Top 20 cast for season 5 so you could build a story and a Top 20 cast for Season 6. The contestants were darling at first but we tired of them quickly, and no one was So Outstanding or So Committed that we felt like we couldn't miss a show, and desperately needed to vote. The Emmy nominations rolled in for dances that included Twitch standing by a door, and you celebrated your 100th episode, and suddenly it just felt like you were not just taking the dance seriously--something I have ALWAYS appreciated--but you were taking yourselves too seriously. Which is less fun. And just when I was thinking, "Yeah, but I bet I'm over it and ready for more dancing by next summer," you're already back with a whole new season? I don't know, honey.

2. Spike
Remember when Spike first showed up on Buffy, and her mom threatened him with an axe, and he was all new and scary and funny and interesting? And then when he showed up you were like Eeeee! Spike's back! Fun! And then they kept bringing him back? And then he was in Sunnydale all the time? And no one really knew why? And then there was that ill-advised romance with Buffy? And then suddenly there were TWO be-souled vampires and we were all like, What??? And then he was Crazy in the Basement for, like, ever? And then he moved over to Angel, and while Marsters & Boreanaz had awesome chemistry it was still like, "Great, just what this show needed: MORE DUDES."
Spike is the perfect example of how shit goes wrong when you give The People what they think they want. Spike was awesome as a recurring character. As a series regular, it was Too Much Spike. There weren't enough stories for him, so the stuff they ended up giving him was weird and shark-jumpy and just rang false. As someone who loved the character, I was pretty bummed when I realized I'd gotten totally sick of him.

Sometimes, you don't need Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Sometimes, you just need to cook with regular vegetable oil. Or canola. Or Pam. I'm looking at you Food Network. Seriously.

4. Cupcakes/Bakeries
I realize that I am spoiled with this in LA, but sweet fancy frosted Christ the cupcake bakeries have gotten OUT OF CONTROL. These used to be a rare and exciting TREAT. Now it's like, oh, cupcakes. There they are again. There's another bakery. Yawn.
And the thing is, if you taste the cupcakes they're still delicious. They're still a fairly exciting treat. The problem is that people have gotten so used to them being around, that they're no longer impressed when you bake them.

Or I bake them. So really, I'm just complaining that people don't appreciate my cupcakes enough.... yeah. Moving on.

5. Michelle Forbes
When Michelle Forbes showed up on Battlestar Galactica as the scary commander we were all like, "DUUUUUUDE YESSSSSS." And for awhile, it was awesome. Then it got tiresome.

Same thing on True Blood. She shows up and we were all, "Awesome! Scary villain time!" And she was a scary villain. She was slinky and mysterious and weird and creepy and it was great for a good long while. And then it got tiresome again.
I think the problem with Michelle is not her. She brings an intensity to her roles that is gripping. It's just that her level of intensity is hard to take, week after week, with no break. Maybe there's a problem with the stories she's in as well. But the upshot is that Michelle Forbes is like black pepper. It'll season up your food/show, but a little sure goes a long way.

I'm sure there are other things for this list, but that's all I got for now. What would be on your list?

In conclusion:

Thursday, August 06, 2009

C'est la vie.


The night kicks off with Tasty's "Brand New Day" routine from The Wiz, and all Top 20 dancers. Hi Top 20!! Hi hi it's so good to see y'all again! It's so high energy and fantastic! And then out comes Cat lookin' like a million damn bucks. Wow. Well done, honey.

Before the rest of the show kicks off, I am under the impression that Jeanine has become the front-runner to win the whole thing. Not my favorite, or my first choice, but I kind of get it. It's been the buzz on the Internets, and the crowd at the Kodak goes extra bananas when Cat says her name, if that's any indication.

Basically, I'm girding myself for a disappointing ending to a season that didn't grab me as much as past seasons have. Although, after the season montage, I still get a little choked up.

It's the dancing, y'all. I love it so much. I can't help it. No matter how I might feel about .... whatever. I still just love to watch these people dance their asses off. Just love it.

Adam Shankman's pick: Hip Hop to "Mad" by Ne-Yo, choreographed by Tabitha & Napoleon, danced by Phillip and Jeanine. Really? because I'm fast-forwarding this dumb dance. Also, I don't really believe this was Adam's pick. I mean, really??

Nigel Lythgoe's pick: Argentine Tango to "Libertango" from Forever Tango, choreographed by Miriam Larici & Leonardo Barrionuevo, danced by Janette and Brandon. YES. I was riveted the whole time and clapped spontaneously when it was over, just like I did the first time. So awesome.

Debbie Allen's pick: Waltz to "Dreams are More Precious" by Enya,choreographed by Louis Van Amstel, danced by Asuka & Vitolio. It's pretty, I guess, it's just not sticking out in my memory, like at all. These two really seem to enjoy being back and dancing together again, though, which is nice or something.

Mary Murphy's pick: Contemporary to "If It Kills Me" by Jason Mraz, choreographed by Travis Wall, danced by Jeanine & Jason. I would have been surprised if they didn't take one more chance to show this, and give more props to Travis's choreography, which is lovely.

Mia Michaels' pick: Samba to "Jum Bah Day" by House of Gypsies, choreographed by Louis Van Amstel, danced by Kayla & Max. Great number. Just as hot and flawless as I remember it the first time. Surprising pick by Mia, though.

Debbie's second pick: Salsa/Hip Hop fusion, or whatever, the Top 16 group number with all the water by Tabitha & Napoleon and Dmitry to "I Know you Want Me" by Pitbull. I have to say, I liked this much better than I did the first time around. Though I can think of at least two other group numbers I liked better.

Lil C's pick: Bollywood to "Jai Ho" from Slumdog Millionaire, choreographed by Nakul Dev, danced by Caitlin & Jason. Great pick, high energy, awesome, great to see them again. Although Jason's kind of a mess--his vest stuck to his bracelet, then the cuff fell to the floor, and was that lipstick or blood all over his face by the end? Yikes!

First one to go: Kayla. Sigh. Like so many superior, brilliant dancers before her on this show, she proved that simply being a truly excellent, gorgeous dancer is not enough to win.

Adam's second pick: Contemporary "butt dance" to "Koop Island Blues" by Koop feat. Ane Brune, choreographed by Mia Michaels, danced by Randi & Evan. I would have been very surprised if this had not been picked by someone. And I still wish it was being danced by someone more earthy and less cute. C'est la vie.

Mary's second pick: Paso Doble to "Tetsujin" from The Matrix, choreographed by Louis Van Amstel, danced by Jeanine & Brandon. From last night. As in, the one we just saw. Which was great, but. We just saw it. Whatever. Fast forward.

Second one to go: Evan. And there he goes, finally. He looks really disappointed that he didn't win. Like he's thinking, "All those goats we sacrificed... for third??"

Nigel's second pick: Contemporary to "Gravity" by Sara Bareilles, choreographed by Mia Michaels, danced by Kayla & Kupono. Mia's addiction piece is just as intense, heartbreaking, and amazing as it was the first time we saw it.

I'd be crying again, if they didn't follow it up with teeny tiny adorable little hip hop boys. So stinkin' cute.

Tasty Oreo's pick: Disco to "Loving is Really My Game" by Brainstorm, choreographed by Doriana Sanchez, danced by Janette & Brandon. These two are so sensational. They did so many amazing numbers. Tasty could have picked Wade Robson's brilliant cartoony "Ruby Blue" routine, for example, and I would have loved him forever for it. But he picked a Doriana Sanchez disco routine. So I'm fast-forwarding.

Mia's second pick: Contemporary to "This Woman's Work" by Maxwell, choreographed by Tasty Oreo, danced by Melissa & Ade. Tyce's breast cancer piece. Just as gorgeous and touching as it was the first time we saw it. Now I AM crying, at least a little.

Thank God they decided to take this moment to do a little Chorus Line with six of the jidges dancing!! Debbie, Adam, Mary, Nigel, Mia and Tyce! I love it! But too short!! Jidges and choreographers should dance MORE on this show, I think. Don't you?

(Also, Mia should rock that bright red lipstick more often because it just works on her like a fabulous charm.)

And the winner is: Jeanine. I guess the buzz was right. It feels.... exactly like the rest of the season. Love the dancing, but not necessarily the people, or the results. And why is this interview going on for so long? Also, it seems like kind of a shame that the second place person doesn't get their own separate moment to shine. Also also, last year, they gave the top girl a separate prize, the first time ever they'd done that. They're not doing it for the top guy this year? No moment at all for Brandon, after all he did and went through this season? Really?

Ah well. Regardless. There you have it. No more dance program recap blogs. I need to get back to my other one.

Talk about pie or something.

really difficult, highly entertaining, and perfectly executed

Performance Finale!

I'm not super excited about this whole Kodak Theater thing. I think it makes the sound weird, the lighting bad, and it also seems kind of hard to shoot the dancing properly. Which, if you can't get the dancing onto my TV, how do you expect to have a damn TV show about dancing? But Cat & the jidges really seem to think the fact that they're at the Kodak is the Best! Thing! Ever!

Wade's opening jock/cheerleader number might be my favorite thing he's ever done. It just tickled me to no end. Also, seeing him dance it in rehearsal just really makes me want to watch HIM dance, like, as much as possible.

Jeanine & Evan, Contemporary - The bio bit just shows how obnoxious they both are, and surely I am not the only one noticing this? The dancing is good, but to me it's a top 8 or 10 number, not a final four number. Can you tell how over them I am?

1. Brandon, solo - Weird shorts aside, I thought this was excellent. He danced like he was a tight ball of frenetic energy about to explode, with the flawless technique we've come to expect, packing his short time with what seemed like just as many moves as he could think of. I think I would have like to see that energy release more, by way of using a lot more of that ginormous stage. Otherwise, this guy is unstoppable.

Kayla & Brandon, Broadway - Well, the song is kind of dumb. But Tasty Oreo's choreography is senfrigginsational, and of course these two dance the shit out of it. THIS is what finale dancing should absolutely be: really difficult, highly entertaining, and perfectly executed.

2. Jeanine, solo - Girl. Spit out that dumb flower RIGHT NOW. I mean it young lady. I will not look at your dancing until you do. Spit it. Spiiiitttt itttt. Oh you're done? Well then. I just missed your whole damn solo 'cause you had to do it with that stupid effing flower in your mouth. I hope you're proud of yourself. GOD.

Brandon & Evan, Pop Jazz - I might not have realized it until just now, but I have always wanted to watch Brandon dance to Janet Jackson. And he is KILLIN' IT. Evan, dude, is not. In fact, it occurs to me, watching the two of them together, that Brandon is caring a lot more about nailing the routine than supporting Evan, and really competing. In fact, it also occurs to me that this might be the first TRUE dance competition I have seen thrown down this whole damn season. I had to wait for the finale for this?!? Although, again, at least I got to watch Brandon dance to Miss Jackson, if you're nasty. (Nigel: "Evan, there isn't a nasty bone in your body." Me: "Heh. Heh heh heh heh. Heh heh.")

Kayla & Jeanine, Contemporary - Mia's routine is totally riveting. I also really enjoy seeing these two dancing side by side, the dark brunette and pale blond making a striking pair. Of course, I like Kayla better, but I don't think that's why she kept drawing my eye. She finishes her lines better, her timing was perfect, and she never dropped character, where I felt like Jeanine was just wasn't as polished. The difference was not as obvious as the one between Brandon and Evan, but it was definitely there, resulting in an uneven routine, not because of its construction or anything else but the difference in talent.

3. Evan, solo - Sigh. It's adorable, it's slick, it's more of the same. I think, in fact, it's just like his initial audition piece, and Adam Shankman confirms that for me. Oh, Evan. It's time for you to be done on this show.

Kayla & Evan, Jive - Well, it's about damn time they got our Colorado girl into some damn cowboy boots. The number is really fun and high energy, and they do some cute things with the height difference, with Evan crawling between her legs and all. Where I thought Brandon just flat-out out-danced Evan, however, I thought here Kayla decided to try and keep the pairing at more the same level in order to make the partnership work, and it resulted in Evan just bringing her down a wee bit, and that's a damn shame.

And just as I'm thinking that I, and the judges, have really been harshing on Evan--justified, but still harsh--the crowd at the Kodak starts chanting his name. Because they are either blind or stupid. Seriously, I DO NOT GET IT. HE'S NOT THAT GOOD, PEOPLE.

4. Kayla, solo - Well, I wanted to see more either because she didn't get to the good stuff til the end or because I'm just a fan of hers. Adam Shankman prepares me, and the rest of her fans, for her not to win when he points out that she is one of the best dancers on the show, just like Travis, Danny, and Will. All of whom were, in fact, the best dancers of their seasons, and none of whom won. Very astute observation, Shanks.

Jeanine & Brandon, Paso Doble - YES. This Matrix-inspired number is FIERCE, honey. Brandon gets way, WAY into the floor with his movement, and he's sharp and aggressive and dancing like an animal. In black vinyl. Jeanine also attacks the routine with a commitment I really appreciate, although she's just not as good as Brandon who just kills it, again, some more. All that energy I was waiting to unleash in his solo just landed all over the stage, and it was awesome.

If it were me ranking them: Brandon, Kayla, Jeanine, Evan
How I think it'll play out: Brandon, Jeanine, Kayla, Evan

Unless that chanting for Evan was actually opening a portal to Hell, through which Evan's fans will sacrifice a field of goats in order to secure him extra votes. I sincerely hope that doesn't happen. Poor goats.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Don't fuss with the girls."

Last night's show, as briefly as I can.

Cat's side part makes her look like a Wakefield Twin.

Boys group: Brandon & Ade nail the style Sonya was going for--one I particularly liked, in fact--and Evan keeps up respectably. Why he keeps getting props from the judges for just keeping up at this point is quite beyond me.

Jeanine & Ade 1, Samba: Two seriously hot dancers doing a hot dance to a hot/nasty song...with tepid results, unfortunately.

Kayla solo: Fabulous, but did it seem a wee bit desperate to anyone else?

Melissa & Evan 1, Broadway: Evan is great in his ideal style--Cute--and Melissa is also cute, but I'm just not as delighted by this as I feel I should be.

Ade solo: I love this kid, but I feel like I've seen this solo before. Yawn.

Kayla & Brandon 1, Contemporary: (Stacey Tookey!) Goosebumps. Best dance of the night. Amazing partnership. Final Two written all over it. Brilliant.

Melissa solo: Lovely. Showed nice variation & range on her style, and excellent music choice.

Jeanine & Ade 2, Hip Hop: Napoleobitha, with props (sigh). Ade's hat covering his face is a mistake. Well danced, but not hitting it out of the park. For me, anyway. The judges lost their minds over it.

Brandon solo: He breaks out his original audition piece, which might be smart, or might be a bit lazy maybe? It's amazing, still, though.

Melissa & Evan 2, Quickstep: This just makes me wish for a big ol' swing number--where have they been? Too easy? Otherwise, this dance is slick & pretty & fine.

Jeanine, Solo: A little too much sex kitten pouting, sweetie. You're sexy without it, girl, knock it off.

Evan, Solo: Cute. What else would it be?

Kayla & Brandon 2, Disco: UGH DISCO GOD WHY. For what it is, it's fabulous. These two, seriously. Loving the hell out of them.

Girls group: Kayla & Jeanine nail the style; Melissa doesn't hit it as hard. As a bit of a comic geek, though, I love the concept. (Cat: "Don't fuss with the girls.")

Brandon & Evan staying, Ade leaving--not what I want, but what I think will happen
Kayla & Jeanine staying, Melissa leaving--not what I expected to want, but what I think will happen

I think Evan & Jeanine maybe should leave at this stage, but I think they have the votes.

If Brandon or Kayla leave I am DONE with this season.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

sitting here kind of gaping

100th Episode! Yeeeeeaaaayyyy!

And Cat decided to raid Linda Richman's wardrobe for this episode because....?

I just love it when they do the montage of all the best dancers of the past seasons. So much amazing talent on this show, I just love it so freaking much.

So when they announce the bottom four, it's Janette, Kayla, Jason and ... BRANDON?? I know I predicted Kayla, just in terms of voting/personality, but let's be clear: she probably is the best female dancer in this season. And if she isn't, Janette is. And I was kind of over Jason, but he had a great night last night. Brandon had that waltz, but he's also Brandon and kind of a genius. And I was just sitting here kind of gaping when Mac said, "Remember: America is stupid."

Oh. Right. I mean... I don't actually believe that. But right now I'm really feeling like something's gone horribly wrong. Or like Evan has a phone bank somewhere.

Also, can someone please tell me what the hell happened to Sabra? Why doesn't she ever come back to the show??

Also also, I need to find more videos of Wade Robson dancing, because HI. I mean. It's just a whole other level watching him dance, as opposed to just choreographing isn't it? So sharp and perfect and professional and awesome. What a treat for us!

As for the Katie Holmes treat, well. It was nice to see Mark and Joshua in that, at least.

The results: Janette is leaving, just as I was starting to believe she could win the whole thing. Jason joins her, which isn't as big of a shock, I guess.

And so the 100th episode ends, not with a bang, but with my DVR paused over Jason's tears, and me realizing I have to freaking PACK. Yikes!

As always, I welcome your thoughts!!

"Have you ever...? I mean seriously."

It's a little tragic that I haven't blogged my favorite summer show two weeks in a row, but my life is busy and it's not like I'm gettin' paid for this. SO. The 100TH EPISODE has already started and I haven't even made predictions, so I'm watching on the DVR now and will do a superquick shortcut blog of Wednesday's performances.

First: Ellen Degeneres rocks and is hilarious and I love her. Fab.

Travis's Group Dance: Cute!

Janette & Evan 1, Sonya Jazz: Evan was better than usual but not great. Janette was FANFREAKINGTASTIC. Mac: "Now's the time on Sprockets when we dance."

Kayla Solo: I just love watching her dance.

Jeanine & Brandon 1, Waltz: Yawn. Also, Jeanine's yellow dress doesn't go with this song or number. Random observation, but there it is.

Jason Solo: Cute, but not much more.

Melissa & Ade 1, Cha Cha: Prim when it should have been a lot sexier.

Janette Solo: Clearly trying to show how much she's grown, and I appreciate that. Even if I do hate that she made me listen to Celine Dion.

Kayla & Jason 1, Broadway: Slinky, and exactly what the dance calls for. I love how Kayla can rock any costume or makeup or character anyone throws at her, inhabits it completely, but still shines through as herself. Such a rare gift she is.

Ade Solo: I just want to hug him, is all.

Janette & Evan 2, Rhumba: Janette continues to win at everything, and I'm officially over Evan. He can go any day and I won't cry over it. Also, he's just, like, 1/3 head, and 2/3 tiny dude body. He's like a bobblehead.

Melissa Solo: I appreciate that she did something a different and not totally "I'M A BALLERINA," despite wearing her point shoes. Well done.

Jeanine & Brandon 2, Pop Jazz: Really great, really committed.Brandon is much better, and they're a bit of a mis-matched couple, in terms of energy. But overall fantastic.

Evan Solo: Been there, seen that. I love it, but I'm kind of done with it. It's kind of like, I like pancakes, but I couldn't eat them all the time. I only like them every once in awhile.

Jeanine Solo: Fabulous. She's really gone from being a meh dancer to one of my favorites. Very well done.

Melissa & Ade 2, Contemporary: Sublime, heartfelt, gorgeous and painful. Beautiful work by Tyce, beautifully danced by the couple.

Brandon Solo: DAMN. 'Nuff said. (Cat: "Have you ever...? I mean seriously.")

Kayla & Jason 2, Hip Hop: Crazy, sick. Awesome. Jason proves he can do more than Cute. Kayla proves, yet again, some more, that she can do anything brilliantly.

Predictions: UGH. So impossible to say, and I kind of don't want to because I know the results/100th episode are waiting for me. Of the guys, I was kind of ready for either Evan or Jason to go before this episode, and now I'd basically still just be okay with Evan. Of the girls... I mean, they're all so freaking good at this stage. I think she's freaking genius, but it might be Kayla just because, like Will last season, she's not as engaging personally as she is brilliant as a dancer. But we'll see...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

the same thrill I always used to get

I don't have a blog/analysis of this week's Top 10 show, so I'm going to just say that Travis's routine was senfreakingsational, guess that Randi & Kupono are going home (weak paso doble, weak solos), and see how that turns out.

Also, congrats to Mia, Tabitholeon, Tasty Oreo and Dmitry Chaplin on their Emmy nominations! So awesome!!

I went and did a Google video search of the numbers they were nominated for, and Dmitry's tango was danced by last year's winner, Joshua. Watching it again, I got the same thrill I always used to get watching him dance. His commitment, strength, skill and character still just rock my world.

Then I looked up Benji & Donyelle's Shane Spark's "Too Much Booty" on Google video to see if that still holds up as The Moment when I fell in love with those two and wanted them to win (and, honestly, when I fell in love with the show), and sure enough I was just as delighted as I was three years ago.

Then I looked up Sabra & Neil's jazz routine to "Sweet Dreams," which is the moment I really started to want Sabra to win, and it was exactly as awesome as I remember.

My point is, I just don't feel that Connection with any of these Top 10 so far this year. I like Ade, I admire Brandon, I've become a little "meh" on the other three guys. Jeanine's grown on me, I like Melissa but I'm losing interest for some reason, Janette's awesome but comes on a little strong for me, Kayla's awesome but doesn't come on strong enough (except on the floor), and Randi's just cute and kind of boring.

I dunno. I still love the show to pieces, but I'm not feeling that LOVE I felt for Joshua last year, nor am I feeling that competitive spirit I did last year when Twitch was constantly nipping at his heels right to the final two. You know?

What do you think? Who do you LOVE this season? And, if no one, why do you think that is? And who are you favoring to win?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

identifying the best of the best

You know you're getting older when you start referring to your favorite TV show as "my dance program" and you record an episode of Nova all in the same week. SIGH.

The program starts with the crowd going wild for Cat Deeley, and honestly I can't tell if she cut her hair into that fetching bob, or if it's just tucked up? It's cute, and I love a short hair cut on a girl, but I miss her flowing locks of perfect hair.

The good news is, all the couples are performing twice tonight—YAY! MORE DANCING! Instead of blogging in order, I’m going to group the dances together by couple.

1. Melissa & Ade
Dance 1: Disco - UGH. I've really started to hate the disco routines on this show. The choreography is so jilted between the dancing and the lifts, and the lifts are all so crazy hard, that it's hard for couples to really have fun. In this, I think Ade is surprisingly great at what I think is a bad number--he's having fun, his overall dancing and, as he said, "swagger" are perfect, and it makes me really want to see him in a hip hop routine, oddly. Also, I am just really really starting to love the hell out of him, and I'm pretty sure he's my favorite dancer on the show. Melissa, on the other hand, kills the steps, but is a little stiff. And, after they nail all these crazy hard lifts her foot slips on the last pose and she falls, which is a shame. But! She picks herself up and smiles and laughs, which I appreciate. The judges love the hell out of it, of course, because of whatever devil's pact they made with Doriana Sanchez.

Dance 2: Waltz – From the first move, this dance is gorgeous. These two are really well suited to the waltz, with Melissa’s grace and Ade’s strength. Ade charms me again with his grace and his commitment to the style. Not to mention some flawless pirouettes! And Melissa is all lines and floaty dress and pretty pretty pretty. Plus I thought having them waltz to “Natural Woman” (Mary J’s version) is a genius musical choice. Beautiful!

2. Kayla & Kupono
Dance 1: Contemporary - Mia Michaels is doing a dance about addiction, because there is NO SUCH THING as a show on TV that is not about addiction and/or daddy issues, and it has finally infiltrated the dance-off show. And yet. It's beautiful, and so powerful. The dancing is perfect, their characters are perfect, and the story is so tragically rendered that I'm crying at the end. It's kind of hard to watch, actually, because it's such an authentic, cathartic piece about something so hard to fight or witness. Mia, though. Wow, honey.

Dance 2: Broadway – Joey Dowling again, whom I didn’t love last week. But again they get characters to play, which is awesome for them. And the routine is great! The choreography is rad and fun, and they dance it really well and totally bring it to life. We finally get to see some plain ol’ fun and sweetness in Kayla’s face, for a change, which is nice. They don’t totally nail the style just right, though, and Nigel’s critique is spot-on. West Side Story contains my favorite music and dancing of any Broadway musical, and there’s a frenetic energy, tightness and toughness that’s inherent to the story that would have been so great to see here. But also like they said, it was still danced well.

3. Caitlin & Jason
Dance 1: Foxtrot - The number kicks off with style, and within 15 seconds I'm wishing I could see someone with more finesse in this dance. The choreography and the song are so fabulous and slinky, and these two are merely dancing well and making faces. And, no, it's not the crazy-ass characters they had to inhabit last week (or Kayla & Kupono worked just before them), but these are characters they have a chance to play, foxtrot or no, and they miss the opportunity. Caitlin is much better, as strong as she usually is, and she looks gorgeous. But Jason, whom I had such high hopes for at the top of the season, is weak as hell. The judges give high praise, but I think it was for the stylish routine more than it was for the dancing. Once again, great choreography helped save dancing that was merely okay.

Dance 2: Lyrical Jazz – They get a routine that Mandy Moore calls “the kitchen sink” because it has everything in it. And it’s fantastic entertainment. They’re clearly in their own element, and after struggling a bit here and there to get to this point in the competition, it’s really nice to see. It feels almost relaxing to watch them dance this choreography. But, like Mary said, I’m not sure if they danced it well enough to be memorable.

4. Jeanine & Phillip
Dance 1: Russian Folk Dance - WTF? (Mac: "Who's bright idea was this shit?") Seriously, I can appreciate it as its own fabulous style of dance, or whatever, but the result--with this couple at least--is just kind of goofy. Phillip's leaps are WEAK-ASS. (Remember Joshua's leaps in his Russian number last year? Hi.) Jeanine does a respectable job, and works hard to have fun, which I appreciate. Mostly, this feels like someone wants these two to go home. I'm tellin' y'all it’s sabotage.

Dance 2: Jive – So, Jeanine, in this fringed bra top, you guys, is so sexy it’s kind of distracting. Like, Phillip is lucky to have such a hot number for a partner that no one hardly looks at him. Because when I do look at him, I find him to be a little weak—not finishing lines, not bouncing enough, and just seeming like he’s nervous and not quite keeping up. Nigel gives Phillip props he doesn’t deserve, in my opinion, but I think they just want him in the Top 10. Jeanine, on the other hand, is on fire. Smokin’ or not, however, the overall number is just cute.

5. Randi & Evan
Dance 1: Hip Hop – Tabitholeon choreograph a story of a couple getting engaged and just finding out about having a baby, which sounds so freaking cheesy, and with these two white kids I’m totally prepared to hate on it before it starts. And, you know? I didn’t. I rather enjoyed it, actually. Randi is surprisingly great, and Evan at least did this choreography really well (which is not the same as saying either of them can dance hip hop really well, my feelings on Napolitha’s non-urban, store-bought "hip hop" being fairly well known at this point). Also, it is kind of cheesy, but they sell the hell out of it, and bring a lot of the joy in the dance out, and I found myself going “Aw!” a couple times. In short, this was a really nice surprise, and sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Dance 2: Samba – Choreographed by Pasha and Anya! Hi guys! Great to see you! Oh, they’re just as adorable as I remember, and I’m looking forward to their choreography. Which kicks off with so much going on, including these really over the top animal print costumes, that I barely know what to think. I think it’s danced well, but once again with these two, I find myself thinking that they’re cute when they should be raw or earthy or dirty. I like these two a lot, but ultimately I think they haven’t grown beyond the cute thing, and they’re going to have to, especially Evan, if they want to last much longer.

6. Janette & Brandon
Dance 1: Argentine Tango – These two, in this are just…. WOW. They’re amazing. The whole thing is strong and sexy and breathtaking. I think I said “Wow!” about 17 times in a row. Brandon is as flawless as we’ve come to expect from him, and Janette is kind of a revelation. As in, regardless of what happens for her in this competition, I think she has discovered a new calling in dance, and it’s the Argentine Tango. She’s ridiculously perfect. Wow. The judges, of course, have nothing bad to say, go completely bananas over it, and even give them a standing ovation, and for once I don’t find their effusiveness undeserved.

Dance 2: “Jazz” – Which is in quotes, because it’s Wade Robson, which means a little less actual jazz and a little more weirdness. The costumes are great, as well. (Mac: “It’s Willy Wonka’s children!”) And the dancing? IS SO AWESOME!!!! Mac and I were both squealing “Eeeeee!” with rapture and delight, mixed in with “Wow!” over their gorgeous, flawless technique and style. That thing, where they slink across the floor in unison, sliding the brims of their hats? Awesome. It’s so freaking cartoony and fun and as they’re moving towards the end of the dance, and their table prop (they’re supposed to be jewel thieves, evidently) Mac and I are all, “What are they going to find?!?” “I don’t know!” As soon as it ends I immediately rewind my DVR and watch it again, because I’m just so tickled and entertained. In conclusion: JANETTE AND BRANDON FOR THE WIN! It’s freaking GENIUS and officially my favorite routine of the season so far. My only complaint, and it’s minor, is that Wade uses another Roisin Murphy song, AGAIN, SOME MORE. Seriously, that’s three Roisin Murphy songs, Wade. Someone needs to make you a MIX CD. In fact, I will do that shit for you. Have you heard of Rasputina, the Dresden Dolls? Maybe some Ting Tings? Let’s branch out, sweetie.

Overall, I think all six couples are very good at this point, but some are just trying harder, committing more, and working harder than others. So predicting results is really more about identifying the best of the best. And that, right now, is Janette & Brandon, with everyone else just fighting to stay out of the Bottom Three, not necessarily fighting for that top spot. Which is kind of like me hedging my bets in case my predictions are wrong, maybe. But also, some people really need to step up.

Janette & Brandon – For delivering perfection week after week, overcoming their fairly annoying bio packages to become surprisingly likeable, and fully committing to every style they’re given.
Melissa & Ade – For working hard within and outside of their styles, being genuinely likeable, and showing what true grace under pressure looks like.
Kayla & Kupono – For truly growing week after week, creating outstanding chemistry despite their partner change, and inhabiting characters like no other to the point they border on brilliant.

Not Safe:
Caitlin & Jason – Because they’re good but not truly outstanding, because they have yet to shoot for the moon, and because they haven’t grown as much as some other dancers.
Jeanine & Phillip – Partly for that dumb Russian number, but also because of Phillip’s overall lack of technique. I think he’s skating a bit on personality, plus there’s only so far you can go when the judges say, week after week, “That was good considering your lack of training.”
Randi & Evan – Because they stay cute even though the routine calls for sexy, gritty, slick, earthy, or any number of other personalities. They only partially commit and play it safe, instead of taking risks that could maybe expose them as fools, or could allow them to be revelatory and truly be amazing.

Out of all of those, I feel like Caitlin and Jason, though adorable, have grown the least, and therefore deserve a Top 10 spot the least. Plus, not to be all cynical, but I think the producers are going to want Phillip and Evan in the Top 10 for the tour.

What did you think??