Tapeworthy

Friday, May 28, 2010

SYTYCD7 - Welcome Back Cat!

So You Think You Can Dance - Auditions: New York City, Miami - Ep. 701 - Season Premiere
Judges: Nigel Lythgoe, Mia Michaels, Adam Shankman, Jason Gilkison, Sonya Tayeh

... And we're back! Despite having the shortest time since the last season (man has it felt like a long time with no help from the neverending drag of American Idol, it's good to have Cat Deeley back! And with all the discussions over the changes the format will have this season, it seems like we've been gearing for this season for a long time. Well, as long as they change that damn ugly stage from Season 6.

Anyways. you all know it's ALL STAR season! Sort of. There will be new dancers that we're supposed to root for, which we've now gotta slowly discover during the audition episodes. Of course, with the show's tendency to show far too many bad auditions and montage away the good ones, I can't be bothered to deal with the crap.

So as usual, I'll only note any auditions that happen to catch my attention, as I patiently wait for Vegas week.

New York City Auditions:
Judges: Nigel Lythgoe, Mia Michaels, Adam Shankman

Sarah Brinson
Seems like another pretty blonde contemporary dancer which used to wow us but after a few seasons heavy on the contemporary dancers with no personality, we're gonna need some sparkle. Right now it's too hard to tell how Sarah is, but I'm wiling to give her the benefit of the doubt for now.

Giselle Peacock, 28, Menio Park, CA
Henry Byalikov, 24, Sydney, Australia
The pair are from the cast of Burn the Floor, which is where SYTYCD dancers go after the show. So now it's become full circle like a mobius strip. But hey, considering Burn the Floor made Pasha, Anya, Artem, Ryan, Ashleigh and even Karen Hauer as headliners in their recent Toronto stop, I can see why the other cast members would want to get onto TV to make themselves a name. Unless they totally suck at Hip-Hop or Contemporary, it'll be an embarrassment if they don't make the Top 10 at this point. Also, if watching a few episodes of So You Think You Can Dance Australia (when I was there over the winter) is any indication, Australia has got some HAWT dancers! I keep meaning to catch up online but haven't yet, but from what I've seen, it'll be worth it!

Teddy Tedohom, 18, Rockaway, NJ
TEDDY!, So adorable and it's nice to see him come back with groth and to be honest, he did a better job than I thought he would. He's getting quite angsty and artsy!

Chris "Isolock" Dixon
I loved the Cat in the Hat type costume that just added to the weirdness in his locking skills.

Choreography (Day 1) with Courtney Galiano and Jason Glover

Wow, Isolock looked pretty horrific doing the choreo. Oh well. Then it was a bunch of clips of good dancers we didn't really see. I'm glad to see nothing has really changed over the seasons. Still too much time on bad dancers, not enough of the good.

Great contemporary auditions:
Anthony Burrell, 29, New York, NY
Megan Davis, 24, Penacook, NH
Edward Spots, 20, New Orleans, LA - with Alvin Ailey Company

Choreography (Day 2) with Courtney Galiano and Jason Glover

Wadi Jones, the Parkour turned Breaker and Megan Carter, the larger dancer, both get cut but Edward Spots (who I'm surprised had to go to choreography in the first place) moves on.


Miami Auditions
Judges: Nigel Lythgoe, Jason Gilkison, Sonja Tayeh

Michael Petr, 30, Engelwood, CO
The Dirty Dancing inspired Czech Ballroom dancer. A bit too Rico Suave and sparkly for me but his footwork and posture is pretty great. Goes straight to Vegas.

Tyrell Rolle, 24, Liberty City, FL
From the hood side of Miami, and danced to get out. And not as a hip-hopper, but as a contemporary dancer. And a pretty amazing one at that. His dancing and the lines doesn't fit the stereotype of being from the 'hood. Goes to Vegas. Simply beautiful. These are what Hollywood biopics are made of!

Henry Rivera, 19, Miami, FL
He's a nervous wreck in the interview, almost to embarrassment, so I thought his audition was going to be a disaster. Until the music started playing and you know it's going to just wow us (it's season 7, we know the editing tricks down pat now), and he did. Now the nervous interview seems endearing in hindsight.

Amy Aguilar-Riley, 27, Miami, FL
Mom who brought her adorable son to the auditions. She's pretty great (and good choice of music too) though please don't make this like American Idol where all the finalists seem to have a kid. That pull for heartstrings is starting to get old. Anyways, Amy goes to Choreo and eventually makes it to Vegas.

Choreography with Lauren Gottlieb and Jason Glover

Candace Craig the Pussycat Doll Velvet Angel dancer gets cut. Jose "Full-Deck" Ruiz, the B-boy who gets compared to Legacy, makes it through, even though he seemed pretty mediocre in the choreo.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
For More So You Think You Can Dance:
Check here for the most Recent current postings and Latest News on SYTYCD


Decadeworthy - SYTYCDworthy - Ranking All the Top 10 Dancers from SYTYCD and SYTYCDCanada (w/ Videos) - List Format

So You Think You Can Dance - Season 6:
Finale - Final 6 Results
Final 6 Performances
Top 8 Performances, Top 8 Results
Top 10 Performances, Top 12 Results
Top 12 Performances, Top 12 Results
Top 14 Performances, Top 14 Results
Top 16 Performances, Top 16 Results
Top 18 Performances and Results
Top 20 Performances and Results
Introducing the Top 20, The Top 20 Showcase

So You Think You Can Dance Canada - Season 2 with So You Think You Can Dance Season 6 Auditions:
Finale
Top 4 Performances
Top 6 Performances, Top 6 Results & US Vegas Week Auditions Continued
Top 8 Performances, Top 8 Results & US Salt Lake City and Vegas Week 1 Auditions
Top 10 Performances, Top 10 Results & US New Orleans and Atlanta Auditions
Top 12 Performances, Top 12 Results & US Boston Auditions
Top 14 Performances, Top 14 Results & US Phoenix Auditions
Top 16 Performances, Top 16 Results & US Los Angeles Auditions
Top 18 Performance, Top 18 Results and SYTYCD Top 15 Dances of all time
Top 20 Performance, Top 20 Results
Top 20 Announced
Auditions - Toronto, Vancouver, Saint John
Montréal, Edmonton

My Top 25 Routines from SYTYCD Season 1-5

So You Think You Can Dance - Season 5:
Finale
Top 4 Performance
Top 6 Performance, Top 6 Results
Top 8 Performance, Top 8 Results and Panel Chat
Top 10 Performance, Top 10 Results and Panel Chat
Top 12 Performance, Top 12 Results and Panel Chat
Top 14 Performance, Top 14 Results, Top 14 Panel Chat
Top 16 Performance, Top 16 Results and Panel Chat
Top 18 Performance, Top 18 Results and Panel Chat
Top 20 Performance, Top 20 Results and Panel Chat
Auditions - Vegas Week Part 2 - Top 20 Announcement, Top 20 Pictures/Panel Chat
Vegas Week Part 1
New York City, Denver, Miami, Memphis, LA, Seattle

So You Think You Can Dance Canada:
Finale
Top 8 and 6 Performances and Results, Top 4 Performances
Top 10 Performances, Results 10 to 8
Top 12 Performances, Results 12 to 10
Top 14 Performances, Results 14 to 12
Top 16 Performances, Results 16 to 14
Top 18 Performances, Results 18 to 16
Top 20 Performances and Results
Introducing Canada's Top 20
Auditions:
Toronto Week - The Cut to the Top 20
Vancouver, Halifax, Calgary, Montreal - West, East, Middle and Quebec
Toronto - Toronto's Best Foot Forward
The Judges, The Host, The Teaser, All Photos from CTV

So You Think You Can Dance - Season 4:
Finale
Top 4 Performances
Top 6 Performances and Results 6 to 4
Top 8 Performances, Results 8 to 6
Top 10 Performances, Results 10 to 8
Top 16, 14 and 12 Weeks Recaps by Vance again
Top 12 Performances, Results 12 to 10 - Guest Blogger Linz McC
Top 14 Performances, Results 14 to 12 - Guest Blogger Linz McC
Top 16 Performances, Results 16 to 14 - Guest Blogger Linz McC
Top 18 Performances, Results 18 to 16
Top 20 Performances, Results 20 to 18
Introducing the Top 20
Auditions:
Callbacks in Las Vegas - The Top 20 Revealed - What Happens In Vegas
Milwaukee, WI - How The Midwest Was Won
Charleston, South Carolina and Washington D.C. - S.C.D.C. The New Electric (Boogaloo) Term!
Salt Lake City and Dallas - Yeehaw Utah!
Los Angeles - It's Time To Put On Those Dancing Shoes Again Kids!

So You Think You Can Dance - Season 3:
Live Tour - Toronto, Pasha's Solo Video, Neil's Solo Video
Finale - Winner Result
Top 4 Performances - Finals
Top 6 Performances, Top 6 Results
Top 8 Performances, Top 8 Results
Top 10 Performances, Top 10 Results
Top 12 Performances, Top 12 Results
Top 14 Performances, Top 14 Results
Top 16 Performances, Top 16 Results
Top 18 Performances, Top 18 Results
Top 20 Performances, Top 20 Results

For So You Think You Can Dance Season 2:
Favorite Video Clips
Song List Live Tour 2006 - Toronto
Live Tour 2006 - Buffalo, Pics, More Pics
Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


More After the Jump...

So You Think You're An All Star

Just as the new So You Think You Can Dance Season 7 starts, here's some sexy photos of the much discussed All Stars! (With links to their twitter accounts (if they have one) and the ranking I listed them in when I ranked ALL the dancers from S2-6 (plus S1-S2 Canada) though even now looking at the list, I would re-order some of it, but you get the general idea).

Ade Obayomi (Season 5, Top 6) (@ADEEVERYDAY) (Ranked 44th):



Allison Holker (Season 2, Top 6) (@Allisonholker) (Ranked 22nd):



Anya Garnis (Season 3, Top 12) (Not Ranked Since not in Top 10):



Comfort Fedoke (Season 4, Top 8) (@ComfortIVREAL) (Ranked 67th)



Courtney Galiano (Season 4, Top 4) (@courtneyg612) (Ranked 29th):



Dominic "D-Trix" Sandoval (Season 3, Top 8) (@d_TRIX) (Ranked 34th):



Kathryn McCormick (Season 6, Top 3) (@KatrhynrMcc) (Ranked 19th):



Lauren Gottlieb (Season 3, Top 6) (@LaurenGottlieb) (Ranked 42nd):



Mark Kanemura (season 4, Top 3) (@mKiK808) (Ranked 9th):



Neil Haskell (Season 3, Top 3) (@NeilHaskell) (Ranked 4th):



Pasha Kovalev (Season 3, Top 6) (Ranked 15th):



Stephen Twitch Boss (Season 4, Top 2) (@official_tWitch) (Ranked 50th):



- - - - - - - - - - - - -
For More So You Think You Can Dance:
Check here for the most Recent current postings and Latest News on SYTYCD


Decadeworthy - SYTYCDworthy - Ranking All the Top 10 Dancers from SYTYCD and SYTYCDCanada (w/ Videos) - List Format

So You Think You Can Dance - Season 6:
Finale - Final 6 Results
Final 6 Performances
Top 8 Performances, Top 8 Results
Top 10 Performances, Top 12 Results
Top 12 Performances, Top 12 Results
Top 14 Performances, Top 14 Results
Top 16 Performances, Top 16 Results
Top 18 Performances and Results
Top 20 Performances and Results
Introducing the Top 20, The Top 20 Showcase

So You Think You Can Dance Canada - Season 2 with So You Think You Can Dance Season 6 Auditions:
Finale
Top 4 Performances
Top 6 Performances, Top 6 Results & US Vegas Week Auditions Continued
Top 8 Performances, Top 8 Results & US Salt Lake City and Vegas Week 1 Auditions
Top 10 Performances, Top 10 Results & US New Orleans and Atlanta Auditions
Top 12 Performances, Top 12 Results & US Boston Auditions
Top 14 Performances, Top 14 Results & US Phoenix Auditions
Top 16 Performances, Top 16 Results & US Los Angeles Auditions
Top 18 Performance, Top 18 Results and SYTYCD Top 15 Dances of all time
Top 20 Performance, Top 20 Results
Top 20 Announced
Auditions - Toronto, Vancouver, Saint John
Montréal, Edmonton

My Top 25 Routines from SYTYCD Season 1-5

So You Think You Can Dance - Season 5:
Finale
Top 4 Performance
Top 6 Performance, Top 6 Results
Top 8 Performance, Top 8 Results and Panel Chat
Top 10 Performance, Top 10 Results and Panel Chat
Top 12 Performance, Top 12 Results and Panel Chat
Top 14 Performance, Top 14 Results, Top 14 Panel Chat
Top 16 Performance, Top 16 Results and Panel Chat
Top 18 Performance, Top 18 Results and Panel Chat
Top 20 Performance, Top 20 Results and Panel Chat
Auditions - Vegas Week Part 2 - Top 20 Announcement, Top 20 Pictures/Panel Chat
Vegas Week Part 1
New York City, Denver, Miami, Memphis, LA, Seattle

So You Think You Can Dance Canada:
Finale
Top 8 and 6 Performances and Results, Top 4 Performances
Top 10 Performances, Results 10 to 8
Top 12 Performances, Results 12 to 10
Top 14 Performances, Results 14 to 12
Top 16 Performances, Results 16 to 14
Top 18 Performances, Results 18 to 16
Top 20 Performances and Results
Introducing Canada's Top 20
Auditions:
Toronto Week - The Cut to the Top 20
Vancouver, Halifax, Calgary, Montreal - West, East, Middle and Quebec
Toronto - Toronto's Best Foot Forward
The Judges, The Host, The Teaser, All Photos from CTV

So You Think You Can Dance - Season 4:
Finale
Top 4 Performances
Top 6 Performances and Results 6 to 4
Top 8 Performances, Results 8 to 6
Top 10 Performances, Results 10 to 8
Top 16, 14 and 12 Weeks Recaps by Vance again
Top 12 Performances, Results 12 to 10 - Guest Blogger Linz McC
Top 14 Performances, Results 14 to 12 - Guest Blogger Linz McC
Top 16 Performances, Results 16 to 14 - Guest Blogger Linz McC
Top 18 Performances, Results 18 to 16
Top 20 Performances, Results 20 to 18
Introducing the Top 20
Auditions:
Callbacks in Las Vegas - The Top 20 Revealed - What Happens In Vegas
Milwaukee, WI - How The Midwest Was Won
Charleston, South Carolina and Washington D.C. - S.C.D.C. The New Electric (Boogaloo) Term!
Salt Lake City and Dallas - Yeehaw Utah!
Los Angeles - It's Time To Put On Those Dancing Shoes Again Kids!

So You Think You Can Dance - Season 3:
Live Tour - Toronto, Pasha's Solo Video, Neil's Solo Video
Finale - Winner Result
Top 4 Performances - Finals
Top 6 Performances, Top 6 Results
Top 8 Performances, Top 8 Results
Top 10 Performances, Top 10 Results
Top 12 Performances, Top 12 Results
Top 14 Performances, Top 14 Results
Top 16 Performances, Top 16 Results
Top 18 Performances, Top 18 Results
Top 20 Performances, Top 20 Results

For So You Think You Can Dance Season 2:
Favorite Video Clips
Song List Live Tour 2006 - Toronto
Live Tour 2006 - Buffalo, Pics, More Pics

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


More After the Jump...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

So You All Ready For Season 7? So You Ready For Some Change?

A few weeks back, Joe, Lauren, Kirk and I had an online roundtable discussion about the changes being made to the new season of So You Think You Can Dance (which starts tonight on FOX at 8pm). Joe posted the full conversation here but I'm reposting it here in case you missed it.

In case you haven't heard yet (which obviously means you haven't been following me on twitter), the changes to Season 7 will have a "competition round that will feature only 10 dancers, down from 20. Only one dancer eliminated each week. The dancers will be paired, each week, with a different partner from a pool of "all-star" SYTYCD dancers.

The judges will choose the eliminated dancer (from a fan-voted Bottom 3) until the finale."

Mary Murphy will choreograph this year while Mia Michaels (@MMRAW) will replace her as a permanent judge.

The All-Stars are:
Allison Holker (Season 2, Top 6) (@Allisonholker)
Lauren Gottlieb (Season 3, Top 6) (@LaurenGottlieb)
Pasha Kovalev (Season 3, Top 6)
Neil Haskell (Season 3, Top 3) (@NeilHaskell)
Dominic "D-Trix" Sandoval (Season 3, Top 8) (@d_TRIX)
Anya Garnis (Season 3, Top 12)
Mark Kanemura (season 4, Top 3) (@mKiK808)
Stephen Twitch Boss (Season 4, Top 2) (@official_tWitch)
Comfort Fedoke (Season 4, Top 8) (@ComfortIVREAL)
Courtney Galiano (Season 4, Top 4) (@courtneyg612)
Ade Obayomi (Season 5, Top 6) (@ADEEVERYDAY)
Kathryn McCormick (Season 6, Top 3) (@KatrhynrMcc)

Here's the online roundtable conversation about the changes reposted below:

Joe:SO! First impressions? Does this make you more or less excited for Season 7? Did you think the show was in need of such a drastic shakeup?

Vance: I guess I'll start and start it off on a positive note. MIA WILL BE BACK! YAY! MARK WILL BE BACK! YAY! PASHA WILL BE BACK! YAY! ALLISON WILL BE BACK! YAY! I can also see the pros of the 1 vote off per week combined with All Star pairings, in that it won't necessarily be guy-girl guy-girl. And the final can possibly be all girls or all guys. And no one can survive until the Top 10 with a stronger partner. But then again, there is no Top 20.

Kirk: I'm already looking forward to seeing Mia in the audition rounds. More cutting! I'm super glad they're bringing her back, ditto the rotating judges chair. Toni Basil issues aside, I really like the guest judges and missed them last time around... doesn't seem right to have a season of SYTYCD without 'C.

As for the all-stars, there's a chance it'll work, if only because I get the sense that a lot of people are a little burnt out on the current setup... it feels like much of my recent time with the show (especially last season) has been spent reminiscing about when the dancers were better, the routines more memorable. Perhaps the producers decided to simplify the show while giving us more of our favorite dancers?

So I could see it working okay, provided they find good contestants and the whole thing can avoid seeming desperate.

What I'm curious about is... what were any of those dancers even doing? The SYTYCD endgame is still kind of murky for me. Like, if you win, you end up doing backup dancing for an American Idol singer or something? Bringing all those contestants back seems to imply that this is the best gig they can get, which kinda robs winning of some of its oomph.

Joe: See, Kirk, one of my favorite things about the show is the exact opposite of what you're saying. Because there is no path to notoriety or mainstream superstardom in the dance world, the competition becomes much more about the work itself. Being the best dancer on the show becomes its own reward. I tend to watch American Idol with an eye to what singers I like the best, yes, but I also have to think of things like marketability, likability, how they would fit in the current musical landscape. And that all gives "Idol" some dimension and that's fine. But it's great to watch a show like "Dance" where the ONLY thing that matters is what's happening during those ten weeks.

At base, I like this idea because I will enjoy seeing the all-stars again, and honestly, I don't get attached to more than 10 dancers per season anyway. I do hope the semifinal/Vegas rounds are expanded a bit, so making the Top 10 becomes a momentous achievement. [BTW, I don't think Mia's hopping back onboard 'til after Vegas.]

LOVE that we're getting a rotating judge back. I loved Adam Shankman the best of all judges last year, but I missed my Debbie Allen and Lil' C terribly. Having Mary's seat become (semi-)rotating appears to be the best of both worlds. And i wonder if this means Travis Wall will get a seat on the panel before long.

I noticed that Anya (season 3 ballroomer) was announced as an All-Star today. Which seems to leave one slot open. For a boy. Who are we hoping pulls that slot? They've already got a bunch of contemporary experts, so I guess my hopes for Neil and/or Jakob are long shots. I've love to see Gev or Legacy return as hip-hoppers. Or Hok! Sweet lord, Hok!

Vance: Yah, rarely do dancers become famous in the first place, so the show IS the fame and makes rock stars out of dancers who usually are relegated to the background. Even in ballet, there are only a few principal stars with a huge company behind them. And it's usually only smaller moments like seeing Travis Wall choreograph, Neil Haskell on Broadway, or Mark Kanemura joining Lady Gaga's entourage that we consider successes post-SYTYCD. So coming back as All-Stars will be a nice little gift back...

BUT... are they choosing right? Nigel sure is kinda choosing obvious picks. And making sure the demographics are there. I mean, no offense to Comfort but COMFORT? Really? Just because they want a female black Hip-Hop dancer? (And I'm guessing Donyelle (who I would have much preferred) was busy with her own dance troupe and motherhood?)

And does Anya seem like she comes as a package deal with Pasha? I like Anya, but seriously, Pasha is the star in that team. I wish Legacy had the hip-hop slot (given to Twitch) but from his tweets, it didn't seem like he's been contacted by Nigel. I would love Neil AND Jakob to be on, but is there really only 1 slot left? If you think about it, since they're always switching, they CAN have more than 10 All Stars if they want. Having a rotation of stars every week.

Anyways, while it's true we don't get attached to more than 10 or so dancers a season, and usually it doesn't really get great until the Top 10, the Top 20 did give us a chance to start weeding them out in our minds ourselves. I guess the prolonged Top 10 now will have to do. I can also see why the judges want to take back the ultimate vote-off power (especially after seeing what's happening on American Idol) but looking at some of the decisions they made last year, I'm not sure giving Nigel more power is a good thing. Let's hope for some outside sense with the rotating judges.

Kirk: Oh, on the whole, I really like that SYTYCD is more humble than American Idol. It's nice to watch a show that isn't constantly reminding me what a huge effing deal it is, and where the judges have more of a sense of perspective about the show, the industry, and themselves.

And I also like that they have their own community - The 100th episode, when they all got together at the end and had cake? I died. So really, it seems like the new format will build that community more firmly into the fabric of the show, which is pretty cool. Rather than a contract or whatever, the reward for doing well on the show is a place in that community, which is in many ways a better prize than, say, a recording contract. Especially since, as Vance points out, there's no equivalent for dancers.

I was also surprised to see Comfort on the all-star list - she was a dancer who never really connected for me. For that last male slot, it'd be great to see Gev back, since I always liked the guy, but if there's one dancer from the past few seasons that I want to see more of, it's Jakob. God, such a freak, and a great partner!

I realized that with this shift, the show will kinda become a twist on "Dancing With The Stars" - the twist being that the stars are dancers, too. Which means, sadly, no more watching for that special couple that blossoms into amazingness. Seeing duos like Katee and Joshua or Courtney and Gev find a groove together has always been one of my favorite parts of the show - I'm kinda bummed that we won't get that anymore.

But the more I think about it, the more I'd like to see some more shake-ups, especially among the choreographers. It seems like a lot of them are repeating routines that we've seen before (especially Tab+Nap, who I thought got overworked last time around). Travis's routines were the by far the most enjoyable of last season, and I, too, hope he turns up as a guest judge. And it makes me wonder who else is out there!

Sometimes I wish that they made a competition show for choreographers. So You Think You Can Choreograph (...eograph ...eograph)

Joe: In Comfort's semi-defense, she did shine on a couple of those hip-hop performances in her final weeks (with Twitch; with Thayne). As far as hip-hop girls go, I'm a Sara von Gillern guy myself, but alas.

Kirk, you bring up what a great partner Jakob was, and that's a great point. I'll remember it when the hordes of Danny Tidwell and Will Wingfield fans come complaining that those two weren't chosen for the all-star pool. Both great dancers, sure, but they were AWFUL partners.

And I agree that we're losing something with not being able to see pairs of dancers grow and bond together. That was always a big part of how I grew attached to the dancers -- think Kathryn/Legacy just last season. I guess there will be bonding with the all-stars too, but there won't be a sense of learning together.

What do we think of the increased judges' control over the eliminations? I've never had much of a problem with the dancers Nigel and Co. have chosen to be eliminated. Even the ones I've really loved (Matt Dorame from season 4; Victor from last year), you could tell they'd run out of steam. It's America whose choices haven't always been the best lately (looking at y'all, Evan and Ashleigh).

Vance: Oh yah, I would have been down with Sara von Gillern too! And yes, I hated Danny since day 1 because he was all ME ME ME dancer and a horrible partner. I've blogged about it, but when I saw him in Memphis the musical on Broadway (which he's in right now anyways, so he's busy), he basically dropped his partner. She looked PISSED. (He caught her just in time before she smacked the floor, so injury averted, but still.)

Joe: How did I know that last all-star would end up being Dominic? Inferior Quest Crew members for the win, I guess.

Kirk: Huh, Dominic ... he never made that huge of an impression on me as far as I can remember, but then again, he always made Sabra look really good, and she wound up winning! So perhaps strength as a partner is indeed factoring into the decisions? In my mind, the ability to dance super-well and make your partner look good has usually been what separates the great contestants from the good ones. Though he never connected on his own, Ade was actually like that - he had this incredible athleticism, and made his partners look great. It'll be nice to see him back!

I have no problem with the judges getting more control - the only issue I've ever had with the SYTYCD eliminations is that the process isn't very well-explained... I remember feeling kind of baffled for like the whole first season I watched, unclear on how the voting/dance for your life/elimination part of the show really worked. That's probably on me and my short-attention-span ass, though, heh.

Taking it down to single eliminations seems like it'll change the feel of the competition considerably, and will doubtless make the whole thing feel more focused. Really, the big challenge for the next crop of contestants is going to be measuring up when placed next to their all-star partners! I would imagine that means the audition process is going to be pretty brutal, which: bring it.

Joe: See, and I always thought it was SABRA who made DOM look good. Though, Kirk, I agree that the challenge for the newbies will be to wrest attention away from the all-stars.

Anyway, I was wrong, it's gonna be 12 all-stars and not 10. The two final all-stars got announced this week, and to my delight, they're two of my all-time favorites: Courtney Galiano (s4) and Neil Haskell (s3). At the risk of sounding partial, FUCK YEAH.

So once again, here are our all-stars:

Allison (season 2)
Lauren (season 3)
Pasha (season 3)
Neil (season 3)
Dominic (season 3)
Anya (season 3)
Mark (season 4)
Twitch (season 4)
Comfort (season 4)
Courtney (season 4)
Ade (season 5)
Kathryn (season 6)

Final thoughts on the all-stars? I have to say, I kind of intensely love this group. Though I wonder if we're gonna be sick of seeing dancers like Comfort, Anya, and Pasha, since they're pretty much the only option for their specialty (i.e. if there's a guy who draws hip-hop, his partner will always he Comfort; anyone who draws any ballroom number will get Pasha or Anya). (...Oh, who am I kidding, how could I get sick of seeing Pasha?)

What about you guys. On a scale of 1 to 10, how psyched are you for the new season?

Vance: I was gonna say, sick of seeing Pasha? Have you gone completely MAD? Looking at the full list ... Hmm ... no S1'ers. And considering how awesome S2 was, I'm shocked there's only 1 (then again, Travis will still be choreographing). And I agree, I think Sabra won but is also easily forgotten because she was the ultimate partner and morphed from style to style, making it all look good. But she didn't have her own distinct style/identity BECAUSE she immersed herself in each dance.

Lauren: I'm here, I'm here! Lord, I am EARNING the vacation I am taking later this week. But I couldn't not weigh in on all of this, and forgive me if some of what I've got you guys discussed last week already. Seriously, Joe, sick of seeing Pasha? NEVER!

I am actually really excited about this new format because I was definitely getting a little bit bored. I think the main reason for that is having a Fall season -- I didn't have time to miss the show yet from the summer, and I also have enough other TV to watch and recap during the regular season that committing all that time to SYTYCD because kind of unrealistic for me and so I never got as into it as I had been in the past. I didn't necessarily jump to needing a new format, but when the new format was announced I was stoked because I love the idea of seeing the all-stars again and because it feels fresh.

I am thrilled about the new voting, too, because while I don't always agree with the judges' decisions 100%, I do agree at least 90% of the time and I don't trust America nearly that much with who they sometimes keep around FAR past when I think they should be there. (Evan, you're darling, but no.)

The one thing I will miss a little is the same thing you guys mentioned -- seeing partnerships grow during the first part of the season -- but at least on paper for me the trade-offs are worth it right now. I always enjoy the dancing when a couple is doing the style of at least one of the two dancers because it's just so much stronger, and so to have the all-stars there in that respect I think will raise the level of dancing even higher. Also, I adore most of the picks and can't wait to see them again. The impression I've gotten is that a lot of the dancers on the show have gotten opportunities afterward, but I think because the dance world is still not mainstream in the way the music world is, they aren't nearly as visible. I watch Dancing With the Stars on and off and love the few SYTYCD alums that have gotten a chance on there, and have also noticed Pasha, Anya, and Travis (off the top of my head) at various times appearing in performances on that show.

I hope this makes sense because I had to just throw this all in an email while I had a chance.

Kirk: Dang, seeing the list all at once I'm reminded how much I really like all of these dancers. This should be great!

Interesting that they don't have anyone from Season 1. Wonder if it has anything to do with how many people watched that season, versus Season 2 and beyond? I know I didn't tune in until S2, anyway.

Joe, allow me to second your FUCK YEAH to the addition of Courtney and Neil and upgrade it to an OH FUCK YEAH. Not only did Courtney dance in my Official Low Resolution #1 Favorite SYTYCD Routine Of All Time, I always thought she was an awesome contestant. By which I mean I always thought she was hot.

Vance: Ok, I just got back from seeing Burn the Floor and right now, the cast includes Ryan and Ashleigh, Artem and Karen Hauer, and Pasha and Anya.

And seeing Pasha and Anya dance again has gotten me REALLY excited about seeing them on my TV every week again! I guess at this point we all seem curious about the new switch and could be interesting.

It could work... as long as they CHANGE THAT DAMN FUGLY SET FROM LAST SEASON.


Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


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Wanting - The Kid - Musical Review

The Kid - Acorn Theater at Theater Row - Off-Broadway, New York, NY - ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Music by Andy Monroe, Lyrics by Jack Lechner, Book by Michael Zam based on the book by Dan Savage, Directed by Scott Elliott, Musical Staging by Josh Prince
Runs until May 29th 2010


I LOVE Dan Savage's book The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant (and his followup The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family too). Savage's books are essential readings for anybody who is contemplating parenthood or marriage (gay or straight), and his easy to read style and funny openness into his own personal life with his partner Terry is consoling and inspiring. I've reread both books many times over, but especially The Kid, so I have a particular kinship to Savage's book.

And now they've turned it into a musical! Of course! But you know, for a book about a gay couple trying to adopt, making a musical out of it makes total sense since it hits all the right demographics.

The musical as it turns out is a lovely and charming little show that traces Dan Savage's basic storyline and heightens some of the drama without losing much of Dan's humour, much of it from Christopher Sieber's (Shrek, Spamalot) adorable performance as Dan Savage himself (a famed sex columnist). The musical isn't perfect, with many of the songs sort of muddling into each other from one bland melody to another, but Savage's heartfelt story, Michael Zam's efficient book, and Chris Sieber's loving performance gives the show enough joy that it won me over.

The songs aren't terrible, but they definitely could use a punch. When they work though, like "Behind the Wheel" (a song sung by Bacchus, the father of the baby Dan and his partner Terry were expecting to adopt), it hints at the tuneful and emotional depth Andy Monroe and Jack Lechner's songs can achieve.

While the musical follows the book as a series of events that eventually lead Dan and boyfriend Terry (Lucas Steele above with Sieber) through the adoption process, including being picked by a homeless girl Melissa via an open adoption in Portland, all while Dan's mother and friends fit into their impending parenthood lifestyle, the show rolls along smoothly from moment to moment but by the end of it all, only the overall narrative arc of getting the actual baby becomes memorable. There are amusing moments, and some beautifully emotional scenes, especially between Dan and Terry, but I wished Dan's mom Judy (the loving Jill Eikenberry, L.A. Law) played more of a presence.

Theatre faves Susan Blackwell ([title of show]) and Ann Harada (Avenue Q, both above with Sieber and Lucas Steele) appear in multiple key roles (though Harada was out the night I went) while Tyler Maynard (Altar Boyz) is quite funny in his multiple roles.

Jeannine Frumess (above with Sieber, Steele and Harada) sort of fades into her ghostly role of Melissa, a character that is supposed to disappear in front of you, but makes for an odd musical theatre character. Frumess does her best to grunge herself up but it's when she finally makes her final choice after the birth of the baby, that she makes Melissa's life truly heartwrenching.

The small Michael Wartella (stellar as JoJo in Seussical) explodes with his clean voice as the dirty and downtroddened Bacchus, the father of Melissa's child. Wartella, with his stall stature, gives Bacchus less of a physical threatening nature and punches up the emotional threat instead, and Wartella manages to fully flesh out the small part from a plot point into a real human roadblock. Wartella is hidden (as much as possible in such a small cast in a small theatre) into the ensemble for much of the rest of the show as other characters but at least we get to hear his beautiful voice as Bacchus in the later parts of the show.

The Kid the musical nicely wraps itself around Dan Savage's personal story, and while it loses some it's witty editorials and more serious discussions on adoption and parenting, the show does a good job of getting the right dramatic flow as a base, and now just needs some fine tuning. The music is serviceable but not unlikeable and it too, with some fine tuning, can become something memorable and heartfelt based on some of the stronger songs. While the ensemble cast usually has to remain relegated as a collective character of Dan and Terry's friends, a few manage to eek out a memorable performances out of their smaller, multiple roles (particularly Brooke Sunny Moriber, Maynard and Blackwell) and I only wish Eikenberry and Wartella had even more to do.

Still, this is Dan's story and Christopher Sieber's show and Sieber doesn't disappoint, earning our trust, love and sympathy while being a slightly self-absorbed gay man (aren't we all?). Sieber's riffs with Steele's Terry, and their constant fights over Bjork play out perfectly like they do in the book. The whole musical is still packaged as a nice and fluffy yuppie wholesome story (plus a dildo reference here and some sex talk there. Savage IS a sex columnist after all) and while it plays it safe and middle of the road, the musical has so many winning elements that I was willing to overlook the flaws and enjoy all its charms.

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dark Lustre - The Metal Children - Play Review

The Metal Children - Vineyard Theatre - Off-Broadway - New York, NY - ****1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Written and Directed by Adam Rapp
Runs until June 13th 2010


Adam Rapp wrote a young adult book that once got banned from a High School in the heartland of America, and now he has written a darkly funny but deeply disturbing play that takes that experience and takes it all to the next level.

Without trying to give away too much in the review, the story starts with Billy Crudup's Tobin Falmouth sitting in his messy apartment speaking to a camera. It's meant to be his statement to a the high school that is banning his controversial young adult novel, but when his agent convinces him to go to the small town himself, things start getting uncomfortably strange.

Tobin encounters those on both sides of the book banning issue, including a scared but supportive teacher Stacey (a terrific Connor Barrett), a teen who has taken his book a bit too seriously and literally (a confident Phoebe Strole), and a Christian mother (Betsy Aidem, almost unrecognizable from another character she plays earlier in the show) who is obviously against the book.

The play keeps adding layers of strange activities in the town as Tobin finds himself in the midst of an increasingly dangerous situation.

Tobin's reflections on the responsibility he and his novel holds, and the interpretations the townsfolks read into his book, becomes a gripping, thought-provoking, and truly chilling play, and one that really questions our responsibilities in free speech and guiding the youth.

Billy Crudup holds the lead strongly as his Tobin comes to grip with the domino affect his book has had on this small town. We see the town through Crudup's Tobin's eyes and Crudup manages to balance the neutral central figure and still imbue him with human imperfections. I've never seen enough of Crudup to understand his appeal (beyond tabloid fare), but his performance here is controlled and nuanced with a natural charisma that grabs you into this strange world Rapp is taking us on.

Strole (Spring Awakening) and Barrett (above) are outstanding as two very different townsfolks who believe in the book. Connor Barrett's sensitive and intelligent teacher Stacey avoids caricature and stereotypes and makes his sympathetic character all the more tragic in his situation. Susan Blommaert (a character actress you've seen EVERYWHERE) is fascinating as the local motel owner who reads and appreciates Tobin's book. The rest of the ensemble are terrific in multiple roles.

Rapp's play takes his real life situation and pushes the boundaries to extremes, building up some intensely dramatic and creepy moments. It nicely reveals the extreme novel Tobin has written which truly becomes questionable itself, and brings up many moral quandaries. Rapp's direction nicely balances the dark humour in between the truly dark and intense moments.



SPOILER ALERT:
The major plot point that seemed to come out of nowhere was the moment Tobin and Strole's teenage Vera character decide to sleep together. Perhaps Strole and Crudup's chemistry wasn't right yet but it seemed a bit like a forced plot point that keeps the story moving, with results that work far better than this awkward set up.

The Metal Children, despite some minor quibbles, left me questioning our moral obligations to others, and left many lingering and provoking issues bouncing in my head. The solid cast and production keeps the play grounded in reality even when the outrageous and mysterious turns emphasize the extreme sides being demonized in Rapp's writing.

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


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