Sunday, August 26, 2012

SYTYCD 9: Top 10 to 8 Recap - Now With ALL-STARS!

Welcome Back, Dance Fans! Two episodes in a row! Is this a season record? I'm so excited for this installment. FINALLY we get our amazing ALL-STARS back on stage! I've been wondering who will return all week and can't believe there wasn't an official announcement ahead of time. Why must you torture me with anticipation, show?

2 contempos, 2 ballers, 2 ballerinos, 2 Jazz Hands, 1 Tokyo Popper, and 1 Kung Fu Hustler.remain. Can you believe there are only 2 contempos left?? And NO contempo girls! Very unusual for this show at this point. The field is usually comprised by half of contempo dancers . It has been a much stronger season for outside genres - as long as those genres are not hip hop or tappa tappa tappa!

Cat kicks things off straight into a pre-taped group number by choreographed by Tyce Diorio to "The Cool World Stomp (Reprise)" by Mark Isham. It's a Gene Kelly tribute, as the dance legend would've turned 100 this week. This tribute features absolutely zero tappa tappa tappa. Hmm. There are costumes evoking Singin' In The Rain, On The Town and An American in Paris. The routine is fine, I guess. It's Tyce, so it's kinda scattered and cheesy, but I'm mostly distracted by the fact that Tyce is actually dancing in it... which means one of the guys was injured when they filmed it! NO! Is someone sitting out tonight? I want the number to end just so they can explain the situation. I frantically try to figure out which guy is missing and it's Cole! Oh dear. He comes out at the end and climbs up a ladder for the final pose, so we know his legs still work. There's hope. Tyce, in truth,  looked good doing his choreography with the group.

Cat, wearing a dress possibly made out of chain mail and bubblewrap, introduces Patricia Kelly in the audience as Gene Kelly's widow. I think Cat must be confused, because this woman doesn't look a day over 50 and Kelly would've turned 100! I was so perplexed by this, I actually looked it up and yeah, when they married she was 47 years his junior, so that makes her 50-ish. Wowzers. With that out of  the way, Cat tells us Cole is fine to perform tonight, he was just slightly injured when they filmed the group performance. Fine with me!

Joining Nigel and Mary at the judge's table this week is Mr. Natalie Portman and Black Swan choreographer Benjamin Millepied, prononce Mill-pee-ay. I like to call him The Millipede as a bastardization of his last name. He seems both very mellow and very amused to be on the show tonight. Let's hope he doesn't call Twitch "Titch." 10 routines tonight! A lot to get through so let's get to it!

1) Tiffany & ALL-STAR: Brandon Bryant from Season 5! Dancing a Doriana Sanchez Disco to "You Make Me Feel..." (Disco Fries remix) by Cobra Starship feat. Sabi. Concept: It's DISCO, bitches! Doriana Sanchez is a crazy woman and she LOVES tricks in her dances. This routine has eleven of them and they count them off in rehearsal to drive the point home. Luckily Brandon is a great disco partner as he and Janelle in Season 5 performed one of the show's best ever Doriana numbers. This one is equally as impressive. After a slightly wobbly initial spin move, Tiffany recovers and delivers one hell of a performance. They both have amazing energy throughout the routine. The tricks come fast and furious but never seem labored. Tiffany does two variations of mid-air split moves, one which then launches her up over Brandon's head. It's insane. And then they spin around for like ten minutes with her perched on on his shoulder. She really hit this routine hard and gave tons of personality and had a great connection to Brandon. Really well done and a great start to the show. The judges all love her.Well played, T-Maher Star.

2) Witney & ALL-STAR: Nick Lazzarini, Winner of Season 1! Dancing a Travis Wall Jazz Routine to "Sing It Back" by Moloko. Concept: Jazz Ghosts in a theater. Nick's got too much dead make up on. Witney looks hot as hell. Witney's great at being sexy in a really powerful way. She has a bit of that Anya force-of-nature quality about her that of course I really respond to. There's a really lovely assisted collapse to the floor at the end where she very lightly lies down on top of Nick that's really great. Obviously Nick and Travis working together was gonna produce a really polished routine and I thought this was a great piece for Witney. The judges all love her. Nigel even thinks she looks sexy when she's just breathing. Is that because her chest is heaving, Nigel? All-Stars always brings his Dirty Old Man antics out even worse than usual.

3) Cole & ALL-STAR: ANYA! Garnis from Season 3! Dancing a Dmitry Chaplin Cha-Cha Routine to "Glad You Came" by The Wanted. ANYA! Oh, how I love her. If there is a dance equivalent of the planet Krypton, ANYA! is the Supergirl who has come to Earth to protect us from bad ballroom. If there is one downside to ANYA!, it is only that she can chew up and spit out lesser dance partners without even trying to. Pasha is really her greatest partner and she's had good routines with other guys, but as her powers have only grown since she was a contestant six seasons ago, it has become harder and harder for non-all-stars to keep up. This is kinda what happens to Cole. He's desperately after a ticket on the Hot Tamale Train, but Mary won't give it to him, citing too many flaws in the footwork and connection, but she assures him he's on the platform, ticket pending. Nigel loves Anya's haircut better than he does the connection between them, and The Millipede enjoyed Cole's effort. This routine was pretty good, but we've still got so many to go and I don't think it will stack up that highly against what else must be coming.

4) Lindsay & ALL-STAR: Jakob Karr from Season 6! Dancing a Spencer Liff Broadway Routine to "Dancin' Dan" (Me and My Shadow) from Fosse. FINALLY! I've been hoping for Jakob to come back as an All-Star for years! His season 6 had its issues, but that was mostly because they did back to back summer/fall seasons and the production side was noticeably burnt out by the end. Jakob's amazing technique was a stand out though. The Concept: A girl and her male shadow. They are separated by a screen they can't see through for parts of the dance, so they can't rely on eye contact to stay together. It actually is a very nice routine. There's one jazzy little climactic step that is shown in a close up so you can't see Lindsay or Jakob's feet which is a poorly timed and somewhat ridiculous editing choice. The judges LOVE Lindsay. Mary pushes Cole out of the way on the platform and gives her his ticket on the Hot Tamale Train! This seemed a little excessive to me. I like Lindsay a lot, but this routine wasn't about being a hot tamale. Hot routines = hot tamales.Nigel's comments seem to indicate that she is wonderful and progressing and since I have an advanced degree in Nigelspeak, I feel quite confident that she is not in danger again this week. He also gets Jakob to point his leg for us again so we can see how his extension goes on for days. He really in incredible. I hope he's been having a fantastic dance career away from the show.

5) Will & ALL-STAR: Kathryn McCormick from Season 6! Dancing a Nakul Dev Mahajan Bollywood Routine to "Ooh La La" from The Dirty Picture. Concept: Will is a snake charmer and Kathryn is a snake. This is not the best Bollywood I've seen on the show, but it's definitely fun. Will is pulling faces left and right, though. I wish the judges were a little more stern with him about it because, I mean, his mouth is WIDE OPEN for half the routine. It's crazy!  He's certainly likable and fun and doesn't pull that shit in his home-genre of contemporary, so I guess they are letting it slide for now. Kathryn is gorgeous and a lovely partner as always. The judges all compliment her movie success and thank her for not forgetting where she came from by coming back as an All-Star. Nigel gives the vaguest of hints to Will that he needs to stop pulling his face so much, (thank you!) but he does it in a way that almost doesn't sound like criticism, so I hope that Will also has a degree in Nigelspeak so that he knows he has to cool it.

6) Cyrus & ALL-STAR: Jamie Goodwin from Season 5! Dancing a Travis Wall contemporary routine to "Outro" by M83. Concept: They are the last people on Earth, which is sad, but also there really is no reason for them not to Do It. Travis choreographed two strong routines tonight. I haven't been hot on Cyrus for a couple weeks now, and there are moments where his lack of contempo training noticeably let him down, but none of it is in the partnering. His energy and emotion are in the right place and he's totally there for Jamie as she tears it up out there. Love her! Millipede and the other judges are all about Cyrus being Raw Energy and how he HAS to dance and how the naysayers against him are just haters who don't understand what dance is. It's not just movement and technique it's about passion and personality. My counterargument would be that for the winner of SYTYCD, or for a great professional dancer in general, it need not be an either/or scenario. Why can't I have both, Nigel? Why can't I have both?

7) Chehon & ALL STAR: Lauren Gottlieb from Season 3! Dancing a Dave Scott hip-hop routine to "Pretty Wings" by Maxwell.  Concept: Best Friends as a support system! This hip hop is VERY lyrical and not very hard hitting. Very very loose. Chehon interestingly looks really... happy. The routine is not super dynamic. It's not big and flashy and exciting. There are no giant tricks. I appreciate his effort, even though I don't think this will be a routine people pick up the phone and vote for. I will once again translate Nigelspeak into English. "I'm so glad we saw you loosen up and enjoy yourself tonight because that's how you let the audience in. Listen, you're bottom 2 this week, but we're keeping you. Keep smiling and lightening up and when you're bottom 2 next week, maybe we'll save you again!" Mary likes the "slinky groove hop" of the number, but felt he was in and out of it. Millipede thought he did a very good job forgetting his ballet training and giving a very spontaneous performance. I thought that Chehon was as far out of his comfort zone as Cyrus, and while I enjoyed both their efforts, I think Cyrus actually came out looking better.

8) George & ALL-STAR: Allison Hollker from Season 2! Dancing a Tyce Diorio jazz routine to "Bahamut" by Hazmat Modine.  Concept: Missing a train in Paris for a raunchy rendezvous I think this routine suffered from the rehearsal footage, because it does not deliver on what they said was going to happen. There is zero raunch. There is certainly flirtiness to the routine, and it's danced to perfection by two amazing technicians, but it's not really what it was made out to be. Also there is this walking stick baton thing that they are using that doesn't really make any sense to be there story-wise. In judgins Mary reacts like she just a friend perform in a play she hated. "Wow, George! You were just on stage with Allison! Isn't that great. Tyce definitely choreographed that routine! Dancing is fun. You're a great technician! Anyone else want to jump in here?" The Millipede tells George he did a good job, but then Nigel is like, "No raunch! FAIL! You go home now!" Cat for once isn't sure how to turn that into a positive. The audience is dead silent until Mary instructs them to boo and Cat finds a way back to being supportive. George is definitely going home tonight, guys.

9) Eliana & ALL-STAR: Alex Wong from Season 7! Dancing a Stacey Tookey contemporary routine to "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" by Nancy Sinatra. Concept: A love you know is no good, but you enjoy it anyway. It's great to see Alex Wong back at SYTYCD with no snapped achilles tendons. It's been so many years, guys! I think the technique and the vibe of this piece are great. It's creepy and emotional. Alex and Eliana are a great partnership. These two have so much passion and facility. Excellent! Nigel calls her his favorite dancer, Mary calls her a perfect tiramisu and The Millipede thought she was fantastic. Eliana is pretty much beaming all over, hugging and giggling with Cat. She's a delight.

10) Audrey & ALL-STAR Twitch from Season 4! Dancing a Dave Scott hip-hop routine to "Sincerely, Jane" by Janelle MonĂ¡e. Concept: Undead Married Couple bitches and nags for an eternity. Audrey's challenge here is to get the focus off of Twitch and on to her which is no easy feat considering that Twitch is first out of his coffin, last to be seen on stage and in between Audrey seems okay playing second fiddle. She dances the hip hop very well. She just doesn't grab the spotlight here. She's a little too cute. A bit more stank face would've gone a long way to selling her role here. She's so close here! It just doesn't quite hit the right tone The Millipede thought she was great, but could've found ways to be more outrageous within the movement. Agreed. Mary tells Audrey she was watching her instead of Twitch. Hmm, really? Nigel thinks she could've gone more Helena Bonham Carter withing the role. He also declares we'll see this routine in the finale. REALLY? Well, I'd rather see this over the Rugrats one from a couple weeks ago.

Overall, I'm very pleased by the infusion of the All-Stars into the competition. There were a couple growing pains, but I found the level of dance throughout the show a step up from last week and very exciting. I also think they did a good job representing a wide variety of former contestants, having at least one All-Star from the first seven seasons of the show on hand. I hope they continue switching it up throughout the next few weeks because there are so many great dancers I want to see again - especially Katee!!

Now it's time for Cat to announce the bottom four. Everyone is quickly hauled back out onto the stage.  Witney, Audrey, Chehon, and George are in danger. Damn. I though Witney and Chehon were one of the stronger couples last week. I'm not really surprised to see Audrey there since her Dad Dance didn't give her a lot to do, and the audience has never really taken to George. It reminds me a little of how much the show loved Billy (Elliot/Jamie) Boyd back in Seasons 6 & 7, but the audience kept putting him in the bottom. Did the audience not hear Debbie Allen decree re: George, "This child is fierce!"? That should've been enough to get him to the finale.

Solo time. Since there are no more contempo girls, no one is trying to kick themselves in the head to prove how far their line extensions go. Instead, the girls are great showing nice variety of movement and emotion, while the boys are incredibly athletic and controlled. Nigel saves Chehon and Whitney. Not very surprising.

Rundown of tonight's performances in order of my preference:

1. Tiffany and Brandon's Disco
2. Eliana and Alex's Contemporary
3. Witney and Nick's Jazz
4. Lindsay and Jakob's Broadway
5. Will and Kathryn's Bollywood
6. Audrey and Twitch's Hip Hop (unsaved)
7. George and Allison's Jazz (unsaved)
8. Cyrus and Jamie's Contemporary
9. Cole and Anya's Cha Cha
10. Chehon and Lauren's Hip Hop

I think the girls overall definitely had a better night, so it will be interesting to see next week who winds up in the Top 2 and Bottom 2. We are getting down to it, America. I wonder how the finale will work? Tonight's dances determine the top 6, next week's vote will determine the top 4 and then the week after that is just straight up finale? I wish the top 4 had an extra week to perform on their own. I really wish Fox would pick them up next season with a half hour results show. It would be easier to keep track of these things.

I hear Melanie is coming back as an All-Star next week! You don't want to miss it, folks. See you then, Dance Fans! up next season with a half hour results show. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

SYTYCD 9: 14 to 10 Recap - Mia Michaels, Then and Now

(This is her night!)

And so we're back together, Dance Fans! It's been forever. The Olympics happened! Now we're back with a Top 14 that will be cut to TEN tonight! Gulp! Nobody told us that ahead of time! I thought it as just the regular two who would go. They should've mentioned that when people were voting last time. This means the audience vote from, like, three weeks ago will determine who's going on tour. I hope you did a good job back in July, America!

Tonight, everything old is new again as the show has taken the odd approach of making this a tribute to the Mia Michaels dance catalog. I love Mia Michaels, but as soon as I heard about this, I questioned the logic. Firstly, the dancers had so much time over the break to practice new routines. I was looking forward to seeing a much wider variety of styles - and challenging routines within those styles. Secondly, so many of Mia's dances have become iconic routines throughout the history of the show. How can these kids compete with the memory of seeing these gems for the first time? I feel like we're predisposed to favor the originals. Even sometimes the encore performances in the season finale don't match up to the energy and surprise of seeing the dance the first time through - and that's with the same dancers performing them! I feel like this is just too high a bar for the dancers to clear and the overall effect will be underwhelming. If the viewing audience is an informed audience, we know what to expect from these routines which leaves little room for surprise and a lot of room for dissatisfaction.

Nothing we can do about any of that now though! As I said before, tonight we're down to 14. 5 contempos, 2 ballers, 2 ballerinos, 2 Jazz Hands, 1 Tokyo Popper, 1 Kung Fu Hustler, and 1 Shake Shake Shakira. Good luck, kids! Those contestants from season's past are gonna cast long shadows tonight.

Joining Nigel and Mary at the judge's table tonight are Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt - they both come from the London Royal Ballet and are the creators of the BalletBoyz Dance Company. They are also filming a new TV show with Nigel about building an entirely new dance company from nationwide auditions. These two seem like pleasant blokes, but to say they are not super-fans of SYTYCD is the understatement of the summer. They've never seen the original versions of the routines being performed tonight. This seems crazy to me. If they knew Nigel professionally, don't you think they would've sampled his other dance tv show before starting their own with him?  Considering how personally connected Mary and Nigel are to the original versions of the dances, it's actually not bad to have people on the judging panel who don't have that baggage... except these two also haven't watched this season at all and don't have any idea who the dancers are. How is that helpful for the contestants midway through the season? I don't get it. Their comments have zero context, other than first impressions after 90 seconds of dance. So while as professional dancers i'm sure they'll have a lot to say about performance and technique, don't expect to hear a lot about contestant growth from these two.

National Dance Day happened 104 US Olympic medals ago. I hope you got your groove on! If not this show has a montage you'll like to see. But I kinda skipped it.

Before we get to the solos, there is a new Mia Michaels group number for the top 14. There are ropes from the ceiling, and roses in hand and formal wear and upside-down spiderman open-mouth kisses. Then in the end maybe everyone dies? Or just collapses from exhaustion? I didn't really dig this group number the first time through, but I played it back and liked it better. Not my favorite group number from Mia, but it's solid. my favorite group number of hers wasn't even on the US version of the show.

Now on to the routines!
Cyrus and Eliana - The Door Routine - Originally performed by Twitch and Katee in Season 4. Danced to "Mercy" By Duffy. Man, I wouldn't want to be any of the girls following Katee in this. She was so fierce and balls out and crazy and Twitch was solid enough of a wall to take all the shit she was throwing at him and then send some of it back at her. Eliana seems to know it's a no-win for her to try to be Katee and will instead focus on bringing herself to it. In the routine Cyrus and Eliana both seem game and have energy, but it feels kinda sloppy. It doesn't have the precision nor the fluidity of the original dance. Meh. If this is a harbinger of things to come, we're in for a rough night. Mary and Nigel are like "huh... maybe this wasn't the great idea we thought it would be." They swear Eliana killed it, and that Cyrus brought his energy to it, but they sound like they're trying to convince themselves of that fact. Nunn-Trevitt thought it was great, but it's also the first couple dance they've ever seen on the show. Cat throws out the numbers but I wonder if people will be that inspired to vote tonight, as the choreography is really the star this week.

George and Tiffany - Hometown Glory Routine - Originally performed by by Katee and Joshua in Season 4. Danced to pre-Global Megastardom Adele's "Hometown Glory." OOF. Here's another routine I wouldn't want to touch. This one is famous for Katee's assisted run, but also for the amazing connection between Katee and Joshua and their undeniabile ferocity and commitment to the routine.God these kids have so much to live up to tonight. It really seems unfair. In performance, this is better than the Door Routine, but Tiffany is trying a bit too hard. The assisted run didn't really have the drama we know it potentially could have, as Tiffany almost left George behind there. George is really great though. I'm not sure why he's not a big vote-getter. It's not that his technique is lacking, that's for sure. The judges like it just fine. They love George. They love Tiffany. They too thought the assisted run wasn't really executed as a super-wow moment, but they like what these two did. 
Amelia and Will - The Butt Dance - Originally performed by Randi and Evan in Season 5. Performed to "Koop Island Blues"—Koop feat. Ane Brun. This new rendition is okay, but I didn't really think the original was much to write home about in the first place. Sorry, Mia fans! It doesn't grab me the way some of her more dramatic pieces do. I know she won an Emmy for it, but still, it's VERY much designed specifically for Evan and Randi and even moreso for Randi's butt and other butts simply need not apply for the job. Also, Will starts off doing this very shaky head thing that I assume is his attempt to make the routine his own through mugging. Amelia's character never really comes through. Will is lacking subtlety. It's weird. It's like the movement doesn't fit on them right. They explored similar character work in the Alley Cats routine from earlier in this season with much better results. The judges are all "Meh... we miss Randi's butt. Bring back THE BUTT!" Will Randi be an All-Star? Tune in next week to find out!

Dareian and Janelle - The Bed Dance - Originally performed by Kherington and Twitch in Season 4. Performed to Dreaming with a Broken Heart by John Mayer. (If you are keeping score. Season 4 had some badass Mia routines.) Someone online mentioned that this would've been a better fit physically for Chehon and Witney and I agree, Twitch and Chehon are not exactly stand-ins for one another. Dareian does look great shirtless though! Beyond physique, I actually think he has one of his best performances on the show tonight. There is emotion and character and technique all working for him. Janelle is not doing as well, getting kinda lost in the background. Her hair keeps getting flung in her face too. She seems kinda out of it. Her rehearsal package mentioned that she was going through a romantic break up of her own presently, and maybe she's just too close to it. This isn't a bad version of the routine, but if this was the first time seeing it, you wouldn't think it warranted being brought back in a "best of" night. Mary and Nigel again are like "Eh... okay...?" Nunn points out Dareian's feet as if it's the first we've heard of it, but I guess this means the problem hasn't really improved much since the beginning of the season. Nunn calls them "the young man" and "the young lady"  because he doesn't know their names. Trevitt mentions "Titch" and Cat's beautiful eyes grow wide and slightly panicked as she corrects him "Twitch! Twitch!" Somehow Teitch happens not be in the audience tonight, so the awkwardness is mitigated. But seriously, these two dudes have NEVER seen the show before if they don't know their Titch from Twitch.


Audrey and Matthew - The My Dad is Dead Dance - Originally performed by Neil and Lacey in Season 3. Performed to "Time" by Billy Porter. This dance has always been 90% character and 10% steps and was originally danced by two contestants who had a much stronger connection to Mia as she was going through this, than Audrey and Matthew have now. They obviously want to do the dance justice since it is so personal to her, but Matthew falls out of it in places. Audrey had a better go of it. The routine also feels very short. It goes by so fast. I don't really know what else to say about it. The judges are like "The music is still nice. The memory of the awesome original dance carries it for a distance, but you guys missed the point." They are especially harsh on Matthew which is not good for him since his last routine pre-Olympics was weak and he's probably in danger tonight. Nigel really hounds them about whether or not they know who Mia's dad was, and that seems a little unfair. I'm sure they know whatever Mia felt comfortable sharing with them. A lesson now on who he was isn't going to help their routine. Poor Matthew seems crushed by the critique. Aww!

Chehon and Witney - The Bench Routine - Originally performed by Travis and Heidi in Season 2. Performed to "Calling You" by Celine Dion. The iconic routine that started them all, really! Again, it's so hard to hear this music or see the bench and not picture Travis and Heidi. Chehon is so much bigger than Travis. It's a little weird seeing him do the same movements, but I have to say they brought a slightly different emotional interpretation to it that worked for them. The hands pressing up agains the steal bench move didn't really have the emotional heft that Travis and Heidi had, but what can you do? I think Chehon and Witney have been the most successful thus far in terms of getting the storytelling down as well as the steps. The judges really dig it. Nigel tells the backstory of this dance re: Mia fell in love with a gay man and he couldn't accept her love and stepped away from it for fear of really hurting her. I don't know if it was necessary to explain it, but he certainly stated it well (much better than I just recapped it). Nunn-Trevitt know a talented Ballet Boy when they see one and want Chehon in their company. Heehee!

Cole and Lindsay - Addiction Dance - Originally performed by Kayla and Kopono in Season 5. Performed to "Gravity" by Sarah Bareilles. Oh, this is probably one of my top 5 routines ever. Maybe top 3. I think these two can actually do it justice. Kayla was so fantastically wrecked-looking in the original though and starting out Lindsay looks a little too composed. Her technique is great and her facial expressions are spot on, but she doesn't look so strung out as she might. And maybe that's not really required for a reinterpretation, but the original made such a strong impact it's hard to step back with a clean perspective. Cole is super creepy as the Addiction, and he's not quite in the same vein of evil as Kopono was. There's a sharpness to his movement and brutal coldness to his expression that is very striking. Kopono creepily relished being the Addiction, while Cole has no human consideration factoring in at all. It really works for me. The judges are like "FINALLY! One that totally worked!" They all agree that Lindsay and Cole are by far the best of the night. Nigel admits that the night as a whole was underwhelming, but opines that dancers need to be able to go in to dances that were not designed specifically for them, and perform them as if they were. Fair enough. This just wasn't a good idea. The show is always eager to try new things and sometimes they flop (i.e. going to contestant's homes to tell them in front of their families that they are not gonna be in the Top 20) but at least they try. If one good thing comes out this, it will be that they now for sure will not attempt a "Best of Tyce Diorio" night. Silver lining indeed!

Bottom 3 Guys and Girls? George, Dareian and Matthew, Amelia, Janelle and Lindsay. Well, I don't think they will send Lindsay home 30 seconds after saying she was the best of the night. The boys I'm not so sure of. Everyone's dancing solos though! They still have a fighting chance!

The solos are all fine. They don't provide a lot of clarification as to who you think should go home, but I betting it's George and Lindsay who stay. And I'm right! Amelia seems pretty crushed. The others are sad, but try to take it in stride. Dareian cries! Oh, Dareian!
The show runs short by like 4 minutes. Cat is trying to stretch out the goodbyes as long as humanly possible. Are they going to reveal next week's All-Stars? They are not. Boo-urns! We do wind up getting about two minutes of Credits-Dance where everyone is hugging and crying. I love when we get to see this at the end, so the extended cut of it makes up a bit for the fact that the routines themselves were kind of underwhelming.Even the judges get on stage for hugs and consolation. Mia gives Dareian one million kisses. Nigel consoles Amelia non-lecherously. Mary slings an arm around Lindsay's shoulder as her ballroom girl survives another elimination. It's all adorable.

Tonight Routines in order of my Preference:
Cole & Lindsay's Addiction Dance
Chehon and Witney's Bench Dance
George and Tiffany's Hometown Glory Routine
Audrey and Matthew's Dad Dance (Matthew unsaved)
Dareian and Janelle's Bed Dance (both unsaved)
Amelia and Will's Butt Dance  (Amelia unsaved)
Cyrus and Eliana's Door Dance

Next week. New Routines! All-Stars! Thank goodness.Eliana is FREE! Spread your wings and fly, girl! 10 dances next week. Can't wait to see who is coming back. I once again have my fingers crossed for Katee and Jakob. Maybe this will finally be the year my All-Star wish will be granted! Until next time, Dance Fans!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

O-Lympics: Judo as Street Fighter !!

I don't know a lot about Judo as a sport. I could never figure out which channel was showing it this Olympics and most of my Olympics time has been focused on the pool and the gym and the tennis courts. But I do know that Judo produces some very violent and painful-looking still photos that are vaguely reminiscent of Street Fighter II throw moves, so it might be the case that not all the Olympians who are entered in the Judo Competition make it out alive. At the very least, few make it far enough to challenge M. Bison. I

 definitely know that Kayla Harrison a 22-year-old from Ohio, game America it's first Olympic gold medal in Judo EVER this week. She has had an incredible personal journey, having been sexually abused by a former coach as a child, becoming disillusioned with the sport, but then somehow finding her way back to a champion. Her Gold Medal match was against hometown favorite Gemma Gibbons from Great Britain who she beat 2-0 in the women's under 78-kilogram division. In honor of her victory. I have posted some pictures from the match, captioning them with some classic SF2 champion quotes. Congrats, Kayla!

GIBBONS (in Blue): Attack me if you dare - I will crush you. 
HARRISON (in white): Seeing you in action is a joke. 

GIBBONS: Next time we meet I'm gonna break your arms! 
HARRISON: My strength is much greater than yours.

GIBBONS: (high-pitched wail of defeat.)
HARRISON: I will meditate and then destroy you.

HARRISON (now in blue?): I am the strongest woman in the world!!

HARRISON: Finally I can get back to being a young single girl!

Thanks for Playing!! Presented by Capcom!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

O-Lympics 2012 Update: 2 Gold Crew

(These women row row rowed their boat aggressively down the stream to Olympic Gold!)

I must give props to the U.S. women's eight that won a second straight Olympic gold today, continuing an incredibly impressive six-year dominance in the event. I love the spirit of this team. The mixture of exhaustion and elation that came over them as they crossed the line in first place really touched me. They left it all out there and became victors together again. USAwesome, indeed.

The US domination of the women's eight started in 2006, when the U.S. won the world championship, and they haven't lost since. The Canadian crew came very close to besting them earlier this year, but here at the Olympics, the US team took the lead early and never came close to losing it.

(imagine what they would've done to her if they didn't win gold!)

The womens eight claimed victory to win in 6 minutes, 10.59 seconds. They rule! They also took the opportunity to throw Coxswain Mary Whipple (who said to be retiring after her third Olympic Games) into the lake. Nice. Congrats on your gold, ladies! With your focus, determination and camaraderie, you make your country proud!