Wednesday, July 18, 2012

So You Think You Can Dance July 18 -- From 20 to 16

Woo, a second week of top 20 action! Sweet! (It'd be way more fun had I not spoiled myself earlier, but eh... we'll deal.)

Okay. The opening NappyTabs routine was... well, it was. I didn't love it. I didn't love how they made the weakest dancer of the bunch (ahem, Cyrus) the central figure. He got scads of attention during Vegas week, after all. And personally I'm still trying to figure out how in peaches he made the top 20. Don't get me wrong, he's an incredible animator. But that's about it. Last week was... lackluster. (Poor, poor Eliana.) But anyway, I digress. No one really cares about those opening numbers anyway.

So Adam Shankman is the guest judge this week. He told Cat Deeley she looked like a big ol' tomato in her red dress. Meh heh. Amusing. Chicanery, but amusing.

Onto the show.

Lindsay and Cole opened the show with hip hop. I. Love. Cole. I loved him during his initial audition and was bummed that he didn't get much air time in Vegas. But he rocks. He may've gone a little too far with the whole nerd character, but he played it well. He's a darn good dancer. He rocked the Paso last week and rocked the Christopher Scott hip hop tonight. We'll see how he fares with contemporary. Or jazz. Those softer styles may be harder for him. Lindsay wasn't as bad as the judges made her sound. She's a good girl, I can tell. I respect her for being 'cute' rather than 'slutty'. If America doesn't like her for being who she is, then screw America. And for sure screw the judges. Pttthp!

Amelia and Will were up next with a Sonya Tayeh number. So yeah, they rocked it. Of course they did. Contemporary dancers doing contemporary and all. There's something about Amelia that just grates on me. I don't know what it is. She just annoys me. Not that she's not good. Just between the two of them, I find Will's personality the more palatable one. By a lot. He's just so cute and... fluffy.

Amber and Nick. How friggin' lucky was Nick? Two weeks, two ballroom dances. Too bad they have zippo, zero chemistry. Not terribly impressed by Amber putting that lack of chemistry right out there like she did; bubble gum and oil, really? You're not even going to pretend you like your partner? Please, child. I now like Amelia more than Amber. Bam.

Audrey and Matt. I didn't like them at first, but loved them last week. They rocked my socks again. SO good. Audrey's legs and flexibility are insane. She's like a pretzel. And Matt, well, I spend most of my time marveling over Audrey's moves, but Matt is pretty darn solid. Woot!

Janelle and Dareian. Oh dear. I think it was a cute number. Very cute, really. But cute isn't something that gets lots of judges' happy-dancing. It wasn't terribly memorable. I have trouble remembering who they are. That's not a great combo. Blah.

Janaya and Brandon. Janaya really, really had her game face on. She was cute and perky and totally in character during their Broadway number. Sean Cheesman redeemed himself from last week's atrocity with this one. And Brandon played his role well, too. Bravo to them both. BIG improvement. Big, big, big. Like Snuffalufagus-sized.

Eliana and Cyrus. Love Eliana. Love her. She's been out of her element twice now and she's rocked out both times. That's versatility. Cyrus... well, not so much. I like him in his element. But I think my 4-year old could probably do about as well with some of the other styles. I think America will keep voting for him (and will hopefully see Eliana's talent and vote for her too) but we'll see how long the love affair lasts. Absotively VFTW fodder.

Alexa and Daniel. I like them as dancers. Really. But this was another awkward performance. I may've totally imagined it, but it looked like they actually fumbled a little in the bathtub. (Which was, by and by, a pretty cool prop. Nice one, Dee Caspary.) Fumbled! It has to look easy, effortless, flowing. This was a little clunky.

Tiffany and George. They're so adorable that it's almost disgusting. I love them together. Love 'em. They were a-may-zing, given that they'd never ever done ballroom before. Great expression, great lifts, very light.

Witney and Chehon. Hmm. The judges fawned all over this one. I've never done Bollywood myself so I don't feel particularly qualified to say much, but it didn't do much for me. It was fine. It was fast. But it was also... lacking somehow. I can't put my finger on it. But despite the drool from Nigel and the gang, it left me wanting something more.

So yeah, then the unpleasantness of eliminations. It never ceases to surprise me how toolish voters can be. We very often seem to take what the judges say as gospel truth and vote accordingly. So it wasn't surprising at all (AT ALL) when Janaya and Alexa wound up in the bottom three. Witney was a bit more of a surprise, but they saved her so it's sort of a moot point. On the guys' side, I wasn't surprised to see any of them --Daniel, who partnered Alexa through that Sean Cheesman disaster last week, Nick or Chehon-- as the bottom three. I was a bit more surprised to see Chehon get the save, though. He's a gorgeous ballet dancer and his Bollywood tonight was good, but last week... iish. I would've liked to see if Nick could do anything but ballroom. And Daniel... well, I liked Daniel okay. Better than Glitch. But there's a love affair between America and the Animator so it was no shock that he avoided facing Nigel and co. tonight.

So that's about it. I'm totally out of gas and ready to catch some serious Zs.

So You Think You Can Dance, baby. You *think* so, anyway. Meh.

Okay, so I have a confession to make: I write about SYTYCD for a few different outlets. I try to be as professional as possible when I review and recap the program, so I keep the snark to myself and write strictly about what I see technically and what the judges say. But I ain't-a-gonna do that here. Nope. Here, I'm gonna take off the sequined gloves and get down 'n dirty with my critiques. WWF-style, baby. Okay, so maybe that's a wee bit of a stretch. But I won't keep my true opinions to myself. Nope, they'll all be laid out here in keyboarded glory. So... get ready for some fun! Because the 'oh, that was awful' train is on the track and ready to steamroll some competitors! Maybe.

Monday, April 16, 2012

DWTS Week 5 -- The Scores

Latin Week's in the books. Here's a quick look at how the couples scored juxtaposed with my predicted scores.

1st - Jaleel White and Kym Johnson (Samba)
Projected: 23
Actual: 24
2nd - Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy (Salsa)
Projected: 21
Actual: 21
3rd - Maria Menounos and Derek Hough (Salsa)
Projected: 25
Actual: 27
4th - Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas (Argentine Tango)
Projected: 27
Actual: 29
5th - Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff (Samba)
Projected: 20
Actual: 19
6th - William Levy and Cheryl Burke (Argentine Tango)
Projected: 24
Actual: 29
7th - Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus (Samba)
Projected: 19
Actual: 22
8th - Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower (Salsa)
Projected: 24
Actual: 26
9th - Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd (Argentine Tango)
Projected: 25
Actual: 27

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Trouble for William and Cheryl?

Uh oh, looks like another injury. William Levy tweeted --first in Spanish and then in English for anyone without translator capability-- that he'd hurt his ankle pretty badly during rehearsals. He's going for an MRI tomorrow. Wishing him and Cheryl the best!

Trouble for William in store?

DWTS Week 5 Dance Order!

With week 5 action only about 24 hours away, the contestants are slowly leaking the dance order via Twitter. Here's a look at who's dancing when....

1st - Jaleel White and Kym Johnson (Samba)
2nd - Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy (Salsa) 1-800-868-3407
3rd - Maria Menounos and Derek Hough (Salsa)
4th - Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas (Argentine Tango) 1-800-868-3410
5th - Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff (Samba)
6th - William Levy and Cheryl Burke (Argentine Tango) 1-800-868-3408
7th - Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus (Samba)
8th - Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower (Salsa) 1-800-868-3405
9th - Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd (Argentine Tango) 1-800-868-3403


Donald in the last spot? A bonus for landing at the top of the leaderboard last week. Dancing last is never a bad thing!

'DWTS' Season 14 Week 5 -- Who's Dancing What and Predictions

Martina Navratilova is gone. Jack Wagner is gone. Sherri Shepherd is gone. None of these eliminations were gut-busting shockers. Martina, though a classy lady who clearly tried really, really hard, wasn't a good dancer. Jack fell through the cracks as the guy without an enormous fan base. And Sherri? Her exit was the result of a culmination of different factors: low scores, limited recognizability and the 'oh, she'll get enough votes so I'll cast mine for x' effect. (Okay, and her perkiness was annoying.) With respects paid to the departed celebs, here's a look at what's to come this week.

It's William Levy... er, Latin Week in the ballroom. The stars will dance one of three different styles, the Salsa, the Samba or the Argentine Tango. Here's a look at who's dancing what, grouped by style.

Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough

Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff
Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson

Argentine Tango
William Levy and Cheryl Burke
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd

At first glance, it looks suspiciously like they're grouped by skill level, with the weakest performers assigned the Samba. I'm sure it's just a coincidence (maybe) but the implications could be wide-reaching when it comes to results night. Let's predict which couple will 'win' their respective group.


Melissa's returning from a head injury, which is hella scary, so she'll get props from the judges for having the guts to come back at all. But she hasn't been especially good this season. She hasn't yet managed to really relax into her routines, and as a result she's looked strained, frenetic and unsure of herself in the ballroom. There's just something unnatural about the way she performs. Hopefully she'll get it together and stick around for a few more weeks because I'd love to see Half Pint succeed, but she's easily the third-place finisher in Group Salsa.

Predicted scores: 7, 7, 7 = 21

I don't know Roshon personally, but I do know that he seems to have an extremely high opinion of himself, and it makes him abrasive. I know you're young and all, but a little humility goes a long way, dude. With that said, he does have some natural talent when it comes to hoofing it, and he and Chelsie are a good match. They'll get good scores. Not tops, but good.

Predicted scores: 8, 8, 8 = 24.

And that leaves us with the projected winners of Group Salsa, Maria and Derek. They've only had one disappointing week, and luckily for them, it was week one. On the downside, Maria's strength is probably her near-impeccable form, which isn't useful with the Salsa. On the upside, she can do Latin dances, too. Their Rumba was one of the steamiest, bedroom-worthy numbers I've ever seen. They won't top the leaderboard, but they'll score quite well.

Predicted scores: 9, 8, 8 = 25.


At long last, Gavin and Karina managed to escape the bottom two last week! But I'm predicting a short-lived respite from the danger zone. I like Gavin, especially since we've gotten to 'know' him a little better. And I like the effect he's had on Karina. But he's not a natural hip-wiggler, so I expect this dance to be painfully awkward. And I also expect the round of 'oh no, we can't let them wind up in the bottom two AGAIN' votes to recede.

Predicted scores: 7, 6, 7 = 20.

Gladys is a rock and roll legend. She's amazing. I have nothing but respect for her amazing musical career. And Tristan? Mmm, mmm, good. But this dance smells like disaster. I'm hopin' for the best, but bracin' for the worst. The worst performance of week 5.

Predicted scores: 6, 6, 7 = 19.

It's been a tough competition for Jaleel. If he hadn't made that bizarre and egotistical comment about Urkel being his personal Mickey Mouse, I'd almost feel sorry for the guy. (I most defintely do feel sorry for Kym.) They've been one of the most inconsistent couples of the season, but I'll gamble and call it an up-week, just because I know Jaleel has talent.

Predicted scores: 8, 7, 8 = 23.

Argentine Tango

Ah, dear William. If America didn't know you before, we certainly do now. Never has the ballroom known such catcalling. (Or so much drool from Carrie Ann and Bruno.) But he's probably the weak link in this very strong Group Argentine Tango. He's scored well in the past, but at the same time, the judges nailed him last week for letting the quality of his dances go downhill. He's gotta get it together. Don't get me wrong. William and Cheryl will steam up the ballroom. But it won't be the stuff of Gilles Marini.

Predicted score: 8, 8, 8 = 24.

Donald and Peta sit at the top of the leaderboard entering Latin Week. But honestly, their Paso Doble was overscored and the rest of the competition was comparatively weak. So, I'm not sure that it says much. Still, this is Donald's kind of dance. For an athlete, he's pretty good at conveying emotion when he dances, and the Argentine Tango is all about great movement, great lines, great emotion, great everything. It's a restrained power-dance. He can do this.

Predicted scores: 9, 8, 8 = 25.

Katherine and Mark had an off-week, but I'm betting they'll come back in a very big way on Monday. She's just so, so good. She's naturally graceful and elegant. I can see them pulling out the stops and putting some serious romance (or maybe just fauxmance) on display. It'll be good. Really good.

Predicted scores: 9, 9, 9 = 27.

So that's what I think is in store for Dancing with the Stars this week. What do you think will happen?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

We're Ba-ack!

I know, it's been ages and ages! But we're back to offer up sips from the reality TV juice box.

Up now: Dancing with the Stars and American Idol. Stay tuned for a tasty swig.