The Wife:

Thank you, Wade and Amanda Robson. That opening number is exactly how you stage a fucking show, ya’ll. And probably the most dynamic use of the dancers we’ve seen so far this year. I’m embedding it below so you all can watch it, because it was almost too awesome for words.

I really liked the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon elements where Jeanine “wirewalks” over the backs of the male dancers. (At least, I think the white geisha was Jeanine, based on height and hairstyle. Jeanette and Randi were in black, while Kayla and Melissa were in red. I think.) And I was totally impressed with how well that number covered that stage, drawing the eye to each part of it at different times, relying on isolated segments from pairs of dancers before coming together as a whole. In some ways, and maybe this was just the Asian theme, it reminded me a little bit of a Cirque du Soleil piece. If there were a terrestrially-based dance piece in Ka, for instance, this one might be it.

When Cat emerged from the Ang Lee dance sea, she and her sparkly sack of a dress followed my lead and kicked things off by congratulating the Emmy-nominated choreographers. I’m really, really happy that the producers put together a package recapping these dances. Admittedly, when I was reading yesterday morning’s nominations (and I went straight to the Choreography category just to write this article, only later reading all the way through and emailing my husband a completely incoherent “live blog” style mess of my reactions to things), I had to struggle to remember the piece Dmitry Chaplin choreographed. In fact, I only recognized it when I saw the clip of it last night, and my husband reminded me of my reaction upon first seeing it because there is a section with a chair tipping that literally defies gravity. It even took a minute to remember Tyce’s piece, and that’s only because I didn’t remember what the music was. So if any of you also have some trouble remembering and don’t feel like looking things up on YouTube on your own, below are the four Emmy-nominated dances:

Mia Michaels, “Mercy,” performed by Stephen “Twitch” Boss and Katee Shean

Tyce DiOrio, “Silence” (Adam and Eve), performed by Jessica King and William Wingfield

Tabitha and Napoleon D’umo, “Bleeding Love,” performed by Chelsie Hightower and Mark Kanemura

Dmitry Chaplin, “A Los Amigos,” performed by Joshua Allen and Chelsie Hightower

Now that the onus of eliminating dancers has fallen on the voting American public, Nigel took the night off to fly back to Bedfordshire, England where the University of Bedfordshire saw fit to award the dancer/choreographer/very wealthy television producer with an honorary Doctorate of Arts. I’m all for recognizing people’s achievements and such, but there’s something about an honorary doctorate that makes me ever so slightly miffed at the fact that I’m going to have to work very, very hard to earn mine. This is not to say that Nigel hasn’t done his fair share of work outside of academia, because he obviously has, but I still crinkle my nose just a little bit. I guess I’ll just have to consider the Dizzy Feet Foundation his honorary dissertation.

Cat assembled all the female dancers to reveal America’s votes, which sent Randi and Melissa to the silver stools of doom (borrowed from American Idol a few soundstages down!) along with Kupono and Ade from the boys’ side. Randi and Kupono I expected (and wanted) to see in the bottom two this week, but Melissa and Ade? What? Why did this former partnership find its way to the silver stools of doom? Is there some residual hatred from Melissa I don’t know about? Or did Brandon just upstage her during their trippy hippie number on Wednesday night? And Ade? That just baffles me. He nearly died for your entertainment, America! What’s wrong with you?!

As the bottom four dancers went off to prepare for their totally unnecessary solos, Cat told us that next week, PTL, Ellen Degeneres will be joining the judging panel and that the results show will bring back dancers from past seasons to perform some of our favorite routines including Travis and Heidi’s “Bench” routine, Hok and Jessi’s “Hummingbird,” and, even more important than the Katie! Katie! Katie! Does Judy! Judy! Judy! piece from Tyce DiOrio, Wade Robson’s “Rama Lama Bang Bang.” YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! RAMALAMALAMALAMALAMALAMA! Zombie Dance! PTL! OMG! My favorite dance ever! No, really. This is my favorite dance ever. The first time I saw it, it filled me with such joy that ever since, Magen and I will sometimes greet each other by holding our hands like zombies and saying “Ramalamalamalamalama” in a terribly annoying high-pitched voice. Yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss! So excited!

Randi, Kupono, Melissa and Ade came out to perform their solos again, and Randi and Kupono decided to do so in different outfits. Neither of these new outfits could change the results, but I have to say that I enjoyed Kupono’s dance ever so slightly more when he was dressed as an arctic genie rather than a gay zombie. (I may not be into neon foxtails as epaulettes, but I’m kind of into wearing a wing as one. If he’d worn that wing as a hat, it’d have made the late Isabella Blow very proud indeed.) Still, arctic genies and gay zombies aside, America had decided it was time for both Randi and Kupono to go home, and all was right with the world. Fox still hasn’t mentioned Kupono’s furniture collection, but I have to say that I was very happy they chose his sneer in the addiction piece as the final shot of his farewell package, which was fittingly his best work on the show.

The Black Eyed Peas also performed their single “I Gotta Feeling” which is infectious and lovely, even if parts of the performance didn’t totally make sense. A. Why was Fergie carrying a sex toy? B. What was the point of having that girl in yellow pop out just to take her top off? C. Where did all those back-up dancers come from? D. Why wasn’t this the first single off The E.N.D. rather than “Boom Boom Pow”? Much like the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, the world may never know the answers to these questions.

The Husband:

Is it just me, or does Kupono look like Dhalsim from Street Fighter during his solo?


Answer: only in his arctic genie outfit.

Answer: only in his arctic genie outfit.

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The Husband:

I love Big Brother, probably more than any other reality show on television, even though I recognize its many technical and sociological faults. And I do want to cover it here, but as it’s on three times a week, and the show is actually defined by the sheer lack of anything remotely “exciting” happening, I’ll just try a weekly round-up.

And how will I do it? Why, in the same lazy way that I covered the audition/Hollywood rounds of American Idol. This means that I’m pretty much just following notes I’m taking during the broadcast and further elaborating.

The newest Big Brother houseguests.

The newest Big Brother houseguests.

So let’s get into it. Who do I like? And why was I so fucking pissed by episode’s end?

  • Michele’s got that cute, geeky Lisa Loeb look that I very much enjoy. However, her lusting after Jeff is semi-obnoxious. I don’t need her letting up her guard just because she has the hots for somebody.
  • Natalie, there is absolutely no reason to lie about your age – saying she’s 18 when she’s really 24 – especially since any true Big Brother fan (and I assume contestant) knows that, except under very special circumstances (like Michelle on the X-Factor season), nobody under 21 gets on this show.
  • Kevin does not like boobs, and I think he’s hilarious.
  • Jordan is a “no” for me simply because I can’t stand to listen to her. And if you follow the Loveline logic here (which seems to work 90% of the time), her childish voice more than likely indicates something horrible happening to her, and that’s a great deal of emotion baggage that I’m not sure CBS is ready to handle right now.
  • Russell, the MMA fighter, is from Walnut Creek, a city less than 20 miles from my current residence and also where my wife went to high school, so he’d better fucking represent the East Bay in the most hardcore way. Yay Area, fool.
  • Ronnie, the video game geek who looks a bit like Ricky Gervais, has a bit of an ego (probably well-deserved), which could get him in trouble, but if he chills out for a few weeks he could fly by to at least the Top 4. He just needs to make sure to not let some of the more jocky types (I’m looking at you, Braden) feel threatened by his assumed intellect.
  • And, of course, nicely tattooed movie FX artist Lydia is awesome so far, snarky enough to be funny but not so much that she alienates me as a viewer. Not yet.
  • The first competition couldn’t have gone more horribly. I tell you this with every ounce of anger I have within me – I absolutely despised bodybuilder Jessie from s10. Egomaniacal, idiotic, unrightfully aggressive and borderline dangerous, he was the last person I wanted to come back into the Big Brother house. But lo, the athletes won the toilet-seat-and-wedgie competition, and I’m stuck with him for probably the next four weeks
You look even stupider than you did last season, and I hope you know that.

You look even stupider than you did last season, and I hope you know that.

If I had my druthers, Brian would have been the one to return to the house as the 13th contestant, followed by the bubbly but not obnoxious Jessica, and Michael (a.k.a. Cowboy), the runner-up from s5 (also known as the season where my mother and I were actually in the CBS audience for the finale, thanks to being two degrees separated from a BB video editor). I dug Michael just fine, but I also have to think about things in terms of fairness, and he already received $50,000 in his season. And Brian (another Bay Area guy) was ousted far too early last season (first one out, actually) after promising that he’d play a very interesting game, one that I would have loved to have seen.

But hey, good on you, BB11, for getting me so emotionally invested in just the first episode. I don’t think any BB premiere has ever incited such rage out of me so quickly.

I hate you, Jessie.

The Wife:

This week has been a sad week for pop culture with the loss of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. I’m glad that Nigel took a minute to address each of these figures, as each of their lives impacted the lives of others – perhaps none more greatly than that of Michael Jackson. I sometimes get very tired of our obsession with celebrities, but I certainly don’t find it in anyway trite or silly to mourn the loss of a beloved actor, musician or television personality. The reason these people were famous is because their lives created a product consumed and enjoyed by many people. They lived to entertain us and make us happy, to move us, and so it’s only fitting that we should be moved by their loss. I don’t generally listen to the all-dance station here in the Bay Area, but as I drove home from work yesterday, I had sincerely hoped that some stations would be playing Michael Jackson songs as a tribute to his long and varied career. Sure enough, I found that Movin’ 99.7 was doing just that, asking callers to request their favorite MJ songs and share the ways in which his music touched their lives. Me? I’m not the biggest MJ fan, but I do like to hear about how art reaches people, and I am grateful for every single one of his fans who called in to share a time when they got the courage to dance with a girl they liked because “P.Y.T.” was playing or how, as Nigel noted last night on Dancey Dance, so many people were inspired to take dance lessons because of the wonderful, memorable choreography in Michael Jackson’s music videos.

(Husband Note: I actually listen to Movin’ every day on my drive back from the office, and also enjoyed that they overhauled the St. John’s Playhouse 5 O’ Clock Happy Hour Mix and did a wonderful job sampling bits of his musical history. Once they upload the “podcast,” which should be later today, you can download the very mix in question at this link.)


I wish Nigel had more to say about Farrah Fawcett and how her career affected him, rather than telling a story about how the actress, while very ill, invited him over to teach him how to make pecan pie. (Although this does give me a great insight into the kind of woman she was – a kind, giving, sweet-toothed optimist with iconic feathered hair.) But I think the remembrance I appreciated the most from Nigel was what he said about Ed McMahon. Both Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien paid tribute to the former Tonight Show announcer earlier in the week (Conan showed a clip of McMahon riffing on the original Late Night with Conan O’Brien where Andy Richter challenged him to a rigged game of quarters), but Nigel actually reminded me of another facet of McMahon’s life I’d completely forgotten about: StarSearch. Half of the pop talents I grew up with were discovered on Ed McMahon’s StarSearch, a program that established the modern reality competition program genre, the televised talent show we’ve come to know and love in many incarnations from American Idol to Top Chef to Project Runway to So You Think You Can Dance.

But those necessary tributes aside, there was dancing for lives to be done and, even on such a sad day for the world of dance, dancers had to be cut from the competition. Ed McMahon would have wanted it that way. I think he (and Farrah and MJ) would have all enjoyed the opening number, a spicy club salsa number, the likes of which we’ve never seen before on SYTYCD, choreographed by season two’s Dmitry Chaplin and Tabitha and Napoleon. First of all, it is about damn time we had a group Latin dance number, especially one as writhing and sexy as that was. Chaplin choreographs some pretty hot Latin numbers (I remember season three’s cha cha for Lacey and whomever she was dancing with at the time) (Husband Note: It was Danny. Watch the video below), and I have to say that dancing on tables coated in water was a nice music video/vodka ad touch. (And also very Eastern European, considering I’ve seen Bulgarian all-male Romeo & Juliet that ended in an amazing, electric-light-laden-water-dance.) I’m not really sure how much Tab/Nap had to do with that, perhaps just the guys’ group section, but the whole thing was pretty damn cool. Please do on tour. Kthxbi.


Cat sort of did her own Farrah Fawcett tribute, surprising the hell out of me by wearing a palm-print halter jumpsuit that I simply can’t believe looks that good on any human being. Was that thing from the Michael Kors cruise collection? Does Michael Kors even do cruise? If he did, though, I bet it would look that chic. And as she towered over the dancers, looking even taller than she already does thanks to said amazing jumpsuit that I couldn’t wear in a million years, she announced the evening’s results.

  • Auska & Vitolio: Bottom 3
  • Jeanette & Brandon: Safe
  • Randi & Evan: Safe (“The butt made the cut,” Cat intoned. Good job, writers!)
  • Jeanine & Phillip: Safe
  • Melissa & Ade: Safe
  • Karla & Jonathan: Bottom 3
  • Kayla & Kupono: Safe
  • Caitlin & Jason: Bottom 3

He should have been immediately removed from the Top 20 for having this as his promo photo.

He should have been immediately removed from the Top 20 for having this as his promo photo.

Allow me to gloat for a moment that I am a very premium judge of dances, for I have once again correctly identified which couples will be in the bottom three. I really wish we got points for predicting the couples that would be in the bottom three in EW‘s SYTYCD Predictify game, because I would get hella more points that way. I am by no means very good at this game, but at least I’m beating two EW staffers, Alynda Wheat and Annie Barrett. So Cat sent the bottom three couples off to prepare for their dancing-for-their-lives solos and she brought on this week’s Special Guest from the World of Dance: a group of adolescent (and prepubescent!) boys called the Rage Boyz Crew, choreographed by Tiffany Byrne. First of all, the teenage white kids in this crew are hilarious because some of them went an extra mile to hit everything HARRRRDD. Second of all, I don’t think the teeny tiniest of the Rage Boyz was all that good as a dancer and the only reason they put him in dance captain position was that he was so tiny and cute, but when the older boys LAUNCHED THAT LITTLE DUDE IN THE AIR I was suddenly ALL ABOUT THAT KID. He is my hero. He has no fear. And a great fro. And is tiny and adorable. Please buy me one! (Husband Note: Stop trying to buy tiny African-American children! It sends the wrong idea.)

I’m not sure any of the solos lived up to the glory of tossing a tiny afroed boy into the air, but there were a couple of moments that I thought were great (although Nigel vehemently disagreed with me about these).

  • Auska: Girl phoned this shit in as she half-heartedly shimmied and shook that blue fringed dress across the floor to “Don’t Trust Me” by 30H!3. Sad.
  • Vitolio: He got points immediately for dancing to Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” because this shit is my jam. I thought he was extremely powerful, and I was floored by the height of his jumps, his lines, his strength and his carriage. I mean, when Chris Martin sang “feel the fear in my enemy’s eyes,” I fucking FELT THAT. Nigel, apparently, did not and later told Vitolio he didn’t do enough because all those powerful moments never built toward something more powerful.
  • Karla: Her solo last night to Radiohead’s “15 Steps” was officially more interesting than she has ever been. Ever. Nigel later said it was all over the place, and I kind of felt that, especially during the super-duper arm-twirly movement that came the fuck out of nowhere, but at least it was interesting in its awkwardness.
  • Jonathan: He chose to dance to a strong, Africanized beat with Kodo’s “The Hunted.” I thought this started strong as he leapt from the stairs to the stage, but then it rapidly descended into madness, and not in an intentional, artistic way, either.
  • Caitlin: Like Vitolio, I’m giving the girl props for interpreting lyrics with movement. She chose to perform to a version of “Que Sera Sera” by Jennifer Terran that sounded a bit like a dying cat, but she somehow handled the darkness of that minor-keyed rendering with grace, particularly the moment when she fell to her knees and drew her arms into her chest on the lyric “I asked my lover where should I go.” Plus, she didn’t rely too much on her gymnastics tricks tonight, earning back some points with me.
  • Jason: I think this solo might have been such a mess because of song choice, “New American Classics” by Taking Back Sunday, which gave him absolutely nothing to work with. That said, I thought his floorwork was nice. Nigel disagreed and told him later that whole thing was desperate.


In the end, the two dancers with the absolute weakest solos of the night were sent home, Auska unanimously, and Jonathan un-unanimously. I’m glad to see Jonathan go, as I don’t think he contributed anything to the show in the 3 weeks he’s been here, but I’m a little sad to see Auska go. Sure, she wasn’t great last night or tonight, but now we’ve ousted two ballroom dancers, which narrows our diversity field to having one salsa dancer, one ballerina, one popper, one Broadway baby and a whole bunch of contemporary/lyrical/jazz dancers. Now, this show has proven multiple times that dancers of the contemporary/lyrical/jazz styles are often the most successful on the show (if not winning, then placing in the finals), but there are at least three examples off the top of my head of ballroom dancers making it to the top . . . and all three of those examples are Schwimmers. So what gives this season? Where’s the love for diverse styles?

And never again will I have to hear British people call her Oscar.

And never again will I have to hear British people call her Oscar.

I’m glad that the horrible Jonathan/Karla pair has been broken up, though. It’ll be good to see what Karla can do with a new partner. I think Vitolio’s emotiveness might just finally be the end of Karla, as it will show her weakness in that area of performance. I just hope it won’t be the end of Vitolio, as well.

The Wife:

This week has been a sad week for pop culture with the loss of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. I’m glad that Nigel took a minute to address each of these figures, as each of their lives impacted the lives of others – perhaps none more greatly than that of Michael Jackson. I sometimes get very tired of our obsession with celebrities, but I certainly don’t find it in anyway trite or silly to mourn the loss of a beloved actor, musician or television personality. The reason these people were famous is because their lives created a product consumed and enjoyed by many people. They lived to entertain us and make us happy, to move us, and so it’s only fitting that we should be moved by their loss. I don’t generally listen to the all-dance station here in the Bay Area, but as I drove home from work yesterday, I had sincerely hoped that some stations would be playing Michael Jackson songs as a tribute to his long and varied career. Sure enough, I found that Movin’ 99.7 was doing just that, asking callers to request their favorite MJ songs and share the ways in which his music touched their lives. Me? I’m not the biggest MJ fan, but I do like to hear about how art reaches people, and I am grateful for every single one of his fans who called in to share a time when they got the courage to dance with a girl they liked because “P.Y.T.” was playing or how, as Nigel noted last night on Dancey Dance, so many people were inspired to take dance lessons because of the wonderful, memorable choreography in Michael Jackson’s music videos.

(Husband Note: I actually listen to Movin’ every day on my drive back from the office, and also enjoyed that they overhauled the St. John’s Playhouse 5 O’ Clock Happy Hour Mix and did a wonderful job sampling bits of his musical history. Once they upload the “podcast,” which should be later today, you can download the very mix in question at this link)

[EMBED http://www.movin997.com/pages/3701621.php ]

I wish Nigel had more to say about Farrah Fawcett and how her career affected him, rather than telling a story about how the actress, while very ill, invited him over to teach him how to make pecan pie. (Although this does give me a great insight into the kind of woman she was – a kind, giving, sweet-toothed optimist with iconic feathered hair.) But I think the remembrance I appreciated the most from Nigel was what he said about Ed McMahon. Both Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien paid tribute to the former Tonight Show announcer earlier in the week (Conan showed a clip of McMahon riffing on the original Late Night with Conan O’Brien where Andy Richter challenged him to a rigged game of quarters), but Nigel actually reminded me of another facet of McMahon’s life I’d completely forgotten about: StarSearch. Half of the pop talents I grew up with were discovered on Ed McMahon’s StarSearch, a program that established the modern reality competition program genre, the televised talent show we’ve come to know and love in many incarnations from American Idol to Top Chef to Project Runway to So You Think You Can Dance.

But those necessary tributes aside, there was dancing for lives to be done and, even on such a sad day for the world of dance, dancers had to be cut from the competition. Ed McMahon would have wanted it that way. I think he (and Farrah and MJ) would have all enjoyed the opening number, a spicy club salsa number, the likes of which we’ve never seen before on SYTYCD, choreographed by season two’s Dmitry Chaplin and Tabitha and Napoleon. First of all, it is about damn time we had a group Latin dance number, especially one as writhing and sexy as that was. Chaplin choreographs some pretty hot Latin numbers (I remember season three’s cha cha for Lacey and whomever she was dancing with at the time) (Husband Note: It was Danny. Watch the video below), and I have to say that dancing on tables coated in water was a nice music video/vodka ad touch. (And also very Eastern European, considering I’ve seen Bulgarian all-male Romeo & Juliet that ended in an amazing, electric-light-laden-water-dance.) I’m not really sure how much Tab/Nap had to do with that, perhaps just the guys’ group section, but the whole thing was pretty damn cool. Please do on tour. Kthxbi.

EMBED VIDEO http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrgDPTc4sl4


Cat sort of did her own Farrah Fawcett tribute, surprising the hell out of me by wearing a palm-print halter jumpsuit that I simply can’t believe looks that good on any human being. Was that thing from the Michael Kors cruise collection? Does Michael Kors even do cruise? If he did, though, I bet it would look that chic. And as she towered over the dancers, looking even taller than she already does thanks to said amazing jumpsuit that I couldn’t wear in a million years, she announced the evening’s results.

Auska & Vitolio: Bottom 3
Jeanette & Brandon: Safe
Randi & Evan: Safe (“The butt made the cut,” Cat intoned. Good job, writers!)
Jeanine & Phillip: Safe
Melissa & Ade: Safe
Karla & Jonathan: Bottom 3
Kayla & Kupono: Safe
Caitlin & Jason: Bottom 3

Allow me to gloat for a moment that I am a very premium judge of dances, for I have once again correctly identified which couples will be in the bottom three. I really wish we got points for predicting the couples that would be in the bottom three in EW‘s SYTYCD Predictify game, because I would get hella more points that way. I am by no means very good at this game, but at least I’m beating two EW staffers, Alynda Wheat and Annie Barrett. So Cat sent the bottom three couples off to prepare for their dancing-for-their-lives solos and she brought on this week’s Special Guest from the World of Dance: a group of adolescent (and prepubescent!) boys called the Rage Boyz Crew, choreographed by Tiffany Byrne. First of all, the teenage white kids in this crew are hilarious because some of them went an extra mile to hit everything HARRRRDD. Second of all, I don’t think the teeny tiniest of the Rage Boyz was all that good as a dancer and the only reason they put him in dance captain position was that he was so tiny and cute, but when the older boys LAUNCHED THAT LITTLE DUDE IN THE AIR I was suddenly ALL ABOUT THAT KID. He is my hero. He has no fear. And a great fro. And is tiny and adorable. Please buy me one! (Husband Note: Stop trying to buy tiny African-American children! It sends the wrong idea.)

I’m not sure any of the solos lived up to the glory of tossing a tiny afroed boy into the air, but there were a couple of moments that I thought were great (although Nigel vehemently disagreed with me about these).

Auska: Girl phoned this shit in as she half-heartedly shimmied and shook that blue fringed dress across the floor to “Don’t Trust Me” by 30H!3. Sad.


Vitolio: He got points immediately for dancing to Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” because this shit is my jam. I thought he was extremely powerful, and I was floored by the height of his jumps, his lines, his strength and his carriage. I mean, when Chris Martin sang “feel the fear in my enemy’s eyes,” I fucking FELT THAT. Nigel, apparently, did not and later told Vitolio he didn’t do enough because all those powerful moments never built toward something more powerful.

Karla: Her solo last night to Radiohead’s “15 Steps” was officially more interesting than she has ever been. Ever. Nigel later said it was all over the place, and I kind of felt that, especially during the super-duper arm-twirly movement that came the fuck out of nowhere, but at least it was interesting in its awkwardness.

Jonathan: He chose to dance to a strong, Africanized beat with Kodo’s “The Hunted.” I thought this started strong as he leapt from the stairs to the stage, but then it rapidly descended into madness, and not in an intentional, artistic way, either.

Caitlin: Like Vitolio, I’m giving the girl props for interpreting lyrics with movement. She chose to perform to a version of “Que Sera Sera” by Jennifer Terran that sounded a bit like a dying cat, but she somehow handled the darkness of that minor-keyed rendering with grace, particularly the moment when she fell to her knees and drew her arms into her chest on the lyric “I asked my lover where should I go.” Plus, she didn’t rely too much on her gymnastics tricks tonight, earning back some points with me.

Jason: I think this solo might have been such a mess because of song choice, “New American Classics” by Taking Back Sunday, which gave him absolutely nothing to work with. That said, I thought his floorwork was nice. Nigel disagreed and told him later that whole thing was desperate.

In the end, the two dancers with the absolute weakest solos of the night were sent home, Auska unanimously, and Jonathan un-unanimously. I’m glad to see Jonathan go, as I don’t think he contributed anything to the show in the 3 weeks he’s been here, but I’m a little sad to see Auska go. Sure, she wasn’t great last night or tonight, but now we’ve ousted two ballroom dancers, which narrows our diversity field to having one salsa dancer, one ballerina, one popper, one Broadway baby and a whole bunch of contemporary/lyrical/jazz dancers. Now, this show has proven multiple times that dancers of the contemporary/lyrical/jazz styles are often the most successful on the show (if not winning, then placing in the finals), but there are at least three examples off the top of my head of ballroom dancers making it to the top . . . and all three of those examples are Schwimmers. So what gives this season? Where’s the love for diverse styles?

I’m glad that the horrible Jonathan/Karla pair has been broken up, though. It’ll be good to see what Karla can do with a new partner. I think Vitolio’s emotiveness might just finally be the end of Karla, as it will show her weakness in that area of performance. I just hope it won’t be the end of Vitolio, as well.

The Wife:

This week has been a sad week for pop culture with the loss of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. I’m glad that Nigel took a minute to address each of these figures, as each of their lives impacted the lives of others – perhaps none more greatly than that of Michael Jackson. I sometimes get very tired of our obsession with celebrities, but I certainly don’t find it in anyway trite or silly to mourn the loss of a beloved actor, musician or television personality. The reason these people were famous is because their lives created a product consumed and enjoyed by many people. They lived to entertain us and make us happy, to move us, and so it’s only fitting that we should be moved by their loss. I don’t generally listen to the all-dance station here in the Bay Area, but as I drove home from work yesterday, I had sincerely hoped that some stations would be playing Michael Jackson songs as a tribute to his long and varied career. Sure enough, I found that Movin’ 99.7 was doing just that, asking callers to request their favorite MJ songs and share the ways in which his music touched their lives. Me? I’m not the biggest MJ fan, but I do like to hear about how art reaches people, and I am grateful for every single one of his fans who called in to share a time when they got the courage to dance with a girl they liked because “P.Y.T.” was playing or how, as Nigel noted last night on Dancey Dance, so many people were inspired to take dance lessons because of the wonderful, memorable choreography in Michael Jackson’s music videos.

(Husband Note: I actually listen to Movin’ every day on my drive back from the office, and also enjoyed that they overhauled the St. John’s Playhouse 5 O’ Clock Happy Hour Mix and did a wonderful job sampling bits of his musical history. Once they upload the “podcast,” which should be later today, you can download the very mix in question at this link)

[EMBED http://www.movin997.com/pages/3701621.php ]

I wish Nigel had more to say about Farrah Fawcett and how her career affected him, rather than telling a story about how the actress, while very ill, invited him over to teach him how to make pecan pie. (Although this does give me a great insight into the kind of woman she was – a kind, giving, sweet-toothed optimist with iconic feathered hair.) But I think the remembrance I appreciated the most from Nigel was what he said about Ed McMahon. Both Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien paid tribute to the former Tonight Show announcer earlier in the week (Conan showed a clip of McMahon riffing on the original Late Night with Conan O’Brien where Andy Richter challenged him to a rigged game of quarters), but Nigel actually reminded me of another facet of McMahon’s life I’d completely forgotten about: StarSearch. Half of the pop talents I grew up with were discovered on Ed McMahon’s StarSearch, a program that established the modern reality competition program genre, the televised talent show we’ve come to know and love in many incarnations from American Idol to Top Chef to Project Runway to So You Think You Can Dance.

But those necessary tributes aside, there was dancing for lives to be done and, even on such a sad day for the world of dance, dancers had to be cut from the competition. Ed McMahon would have wanted it that way. I think he (and Farrah and MJ) would have all enjoyed the opening number, a spicy club salsa number, the likes of which we’ve never seen before on SYTYCD, choreographed by season two’s Dmitry Chaplin and Tabitha and Napoleon. First of all, it is about damn time we had a group Latin dance number, especially one as writhing and sexy as that was. Chaplin choreographs some pretty hot Latin numbers (I remember season three’s cha cha for Lacey and whomever she was dancing with at the time) (Husband Note: It was Danny. Watch the video below), and I have to say that dancing on tables coated in water was a nice music video/vodka ad touch. (And also very Eastern European, considering I’ve seen Bulgarian all-male Romeo & Juliet that ended in an amazing, electric-light-laden-water-dance.) I’m not really sure how much Tab/Nap had to do with that, perhaps just the guys’ group section, but the whole thing was pretty damn cool. Please do on tour. Kthxbi.

EMBED VIDEO http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrgDPTc4sl4


Cat sort of did her own Farrah Fawcett tribute, surprising the hell out of me by wearing a palm-print halter jumpsuit that I simply can’t believe looks that good on any human being. Was that thing from the Michael Kors cruise collection? Does Michael Kors even do cruise? If he did, though, I bet it would look that chic. And as she towered over the dancers, looking even taller than she already does thanks to said amazing jumpsuit that I couldn’t wear in a million years, she announced the evening’s results.

Auska & Vitolio: Bottom 3
Jeanette & Brandon: Safe
Randi & Evan: Safe (“The butt made the cut,” Cat intoned. Good job, writers!)
Jeanine & Phillip: Safe
Melissa & Ade: Safe
Karla & Jonathan: Bottom 3
Kayla & Kupono: Safe
Caitlin & Jason: Bottom 3

Allow me to gloat for a moment that I am a very premium judge of dances, for I have once again correctly identified which couples will be in the bottom three. I really wish we got points for predicting the couples that would be in the bottom three in EW‘s SYTYCD Predictify game, because I would get hella more points that way. I am by no means very good at this game, but at least I’m beating two EW staffers, Alynda Wheat and Annie Barrett. So Cat sent the bottom three couples off to prepare for their dancing-for-their-lives solos and she brought on this week’s Special Guest from the World of Dance: a group of adolescent (and prepubescent!) boys called the Rage Boyz Crew, choreographed by Tiffany Byrne. First of all, the teenage white kids in this crew are hilarious because some of them went an extra mile to hit everything HARRRRDD. Second of all, I don’t think the teeny tiniest of the Rage Boyz was all that good as a dancer and the only reason they put him in dance captain position was that he was so tiny and cute, but when the older boys LAUNCHED THAT LITTLE DUDE IN THE AIR I was suddenly ALL ABOUT THAT KID. He is my hero. He has no fear. And a great fro. And is tiny and adorable. Please buy me one! (Husband Note: Stop trying to buy tiny African-American children! It sends the wrong idea.)

I’m not sure any of the solos lived up to the glory of tossing a tiny afroed boy into the air, but there were a couple of moments that I thought were great (although Nigel vehemently disagreed with me about these).

Auska: Girl phoned this shit in as she half-heartedly shimmied and shook that blue fringed dress across the floor to “Don’t Trust Me” by 30H!3. Sad.


Vitolio: He got points immediately for dancing to Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” because this shit is my jam. I thought he was extremely powerful, and I was floored by the height of his jumps, his lines, his strength and his carriage. I mean, when Chris Martin sang “feel the fear in my enemy’s eyes,” I fucking FELT THAT. Nigel, apparently, did not and later told Vitolio he didn’t do enough because all those powerful moments never built toward something more powerful.

Karla: Her solo last night to Radiohead’s “15 Steps” was officially more interesting than she has ever been. Ever. Nigel later said it was all over the place, and I kind of felt that, especially during the super-duper arm-twirly movement that came the fuck out of nowhere, but at least it was interesting in its awkwardness.

Jonathan: He chose to dance to a strong, Africanized beat with Kodo’s “The Hunted.” I thought this started strong as he leapt from the stairs to the stage, but then it rapidly descended into madness, and not in an intentional, artistic way, either.

Caitlin: Like Vitolio, I’m giving the girl props for interpreting lyrics with movement. She chose to perform to a version of “Que Sera Sera” by Jennifer Terran that sounded a bit like a dying cat, but she somehow handled the darkness of that minor-keyed rendering with grace, particularly the moment when she fell to her knees and drew her arms into her chest on the lyric “I asked my lover where should I go.” Plus, she didn’t rely too much on her gymnastics tricks tonight, earning back some points with me.

Jason: I think this solo might have been such a mess because of song choice, “New American Classics” by Taking Back Sunday, which gave him absolutely nothing to work with. That said, I thought his floorwork was nice. Nigel disagreed and told him later that whole thing was desperate.

In the end, the two dancers with the absolute weakest solos of the night were sent home, Auska unanimously, and Jonathan un-unanimously. I’m glad to see Jonathan go, as I don’t think he contributed anything to the show in the 3 weeks he’s been here, but I’m a little sad to see Auska go. Sure, she wasn’t great last night or tonight, but now we’ve ousted two ballroom dancers, which narrows our diversity field to having one salsa dancer, one ballerina, one popper, one Broadway baby and a whole bunch of contemporary/lyrical/jazz dancers. Now, this show has proven multiple times that dancers of the contemporary/lyrical/jazz styles are often the most successful on the show (if not winning, then placing in the finals), but there are at least three examples off the top of my head of ballroom dancers making it to the top . . . and all three of those examples are Schwimmers. So what gives this season? Where’s the love for diverse styles?

I’m glad that the horrible Jonathan/Karla pair has been broken up, though. It’ll be good to see what Karla can do with a new partner. I think Vitolio’s emotiveness might just finally be the end of Karla, as it will show her weakness in that area of performance. I just hope it won’t be the end of Vitolio, as well.

The Wife:

I am so glad auditions are over because the Vegas callbacks on So You Think You Can Dance are where the real magic begins. 172 dancers were brought to Vegas, and by the end of this episode, only 32 remain in the competition. Tonight, six boys and six girls will be cut, leaving us with our Top 20. This episode was rather surprising and rather brutal as I watched a few of my early favorites falter and get cut, a couple of whom were so loved by the judges that I just can’t believe they got cut at all. But that’s the difference between SYTYCD and American Idol: here, the producers’ intentions for packaging and selling a contestant mean fuck nothing if they don’t impress Mia Michaels during Vegas week. I love the bitch, but she was fucking ruthless in Vegas. To wit:

“You know me. I’m a cutter. And I will cut you.”

That coupled with her comment to the “beautiful, disastrous weirdo” last week make her my favorite person on reality television at this very moment. But great Mia Michaels moments aside, I can’t tell you how much it hurts to see great dancers get cut on this show. The Vegas callbacks are, in some ways, very much like watching a real life version of A Chorus Line, only here there are no weird songs about dancing with Indian chiefs and the entire cast of 172 that begins the show won’t be around to dance the final production number. We get to know these dancers through their movements and the producer packages, we latch on to their hopes and dreams and when those dreams are dashed? Well, that hurts quite a bit.

Vegas Week began with the contestants performing solos before the panel of Nigel, Mary Murphy, Mia Michaels, Lil C, Adam Shankman and the legendary Debbie Allen. We got to see two solos from people we hadn’t yet seen in earlier episodes: a beautiful ballet piece from Miami ballet dancer Alex Wong and a comedic hip-hop routine from the ill-named Tony Bellissimo. I adored Alex Wong and immediately was angry that we’re only getting to know him now, but Tony Bellissimo? I don’t get it. Sure, his performance was funny and cute (he put pictures of Nigel inside his props and danced to “Somebody’s Watching Me”), but I just didn’t see much dancing or technique in it. I thought: really? This late in the game you’re going to do something clever that isn’t backed by hardcore technique? Even Ryan Kasprzak knew better than that, tapping his ass off and accentuating the sounds with that whoopee cushion like Gene Kelly did with a newspaper and a squeaky floorboard in Summer Stock.

Nigel then announced after a solos montage (in which we briefly saw Megan Kinney one again) that some people would be cut after their solos, pointing out that while they were strong in their audition cities, they were not quite so when culled together with 172 of the best dancers in the country. Among the 45 cut were Chimezie Nwosa, Travis Prokop (he of the football coach father) and widow Talia Rikards, which pleased me only because I now never have to hear Cat Deeley say the phrase “widow Talia Rikards” again and I feel justified in noting that Chimezie didn’t land either of his flips properly in his audition.

TabNap in yo face.

TabNap in yo' face.

After those cuts, the dancers were asked to perform a hip hop routine with Tabitha and Napolean Duomo and here I witnessed my first major disappointment of the night: my beloved carney Gaby Rojas has absolutely no sense of musicality. She got woefully lost during this performance and couldn’t hit a single step on time. Fortunately for me, the judges gave her a free pass on the strength of the solo she’d performed earlier and she was allowed to continue on. 37 dancers were cut after the hip hop round, and I have to admit I found it very strange that the montage of cut dancers from this round included only African-American dancers. Was FOX trying to make a point? If so, what?

The 97 dancers who made it through the hip hop round where then asked to try their hand at ballroom, dancing a waltz with Jean-Marc Généreux and his wife, France. I got another bit of vindication during this round when a limber-limbed Phillip Chbeeb was sent through, but his far less talented partner Arielle got cut. Some featured dancers who got through this round include samba dancer Maksim Kapitanikov, Auska, Ricky Sun, Kayla Radomkulous and Priscilla Marrero. Nobuya Nagahana gets sent through, too, although I do not understand why. Maybe my issue with him is that his height makes his center look wrong, but Mary seemed to go gaga over his arm extensions, so what do I know. Maybe they were distracting enough to take away from the fact that he didn’t create good lines anywhere else. 16 dancers (including Arielle Coker) were cut from the ballroom round.

Next up, the remaining dancers were put through jazz with Sonya, and many of them injured or maimed themselves or others during the rehearsals for this piece. One fellow kicked himself in the face, noting to camera whilst holding an icepack to his temple, “This is what happens when you get kicked in the head by yourself.” Noted, sir. Noted. Because of the number of dancers that struggled with her piece, Sonya asked Natalie Reid and Brandon Bryant to perform it one last time so that everyone in the class could see what it should look like. “Hooray!,” I thought. “Brandon and Natalie are doing so well! ” But then Natalie performed, and she wasn’t as good as she was in rehearsal and a terrible, terrible thing occurred: the girl who should have had Katee’s spot last year, the girl who made Sonya cry in Denver . . . got cut. I don’t understand exactly why or how this happened, especially when people like Tony Bellissimo and Nobuya Nagahana get through. Sure, Natalie didn’t kill that piece like she killed it in rehearsal, but if they gave Gaby Rojas a chance, why not Natalie? I was shocked and deeply saddened, and so was Brandon Bryant, who lost his best friend in the competition when Natalie got cut. I told you kids this shit was brutal.

In fact, Natalie’s departure only got more brutal when Gaby Rojas again completely failed to follow the music in any way, shape or form during her turn at Sonya’s piece. The judges asked her to dance for her life, and she whipped out an amazing solo (set to a great song about the blackness of her skin and the strength of her back, etc. etc.), earning six yeses and the chance to continue on. Natalie didn’t mess up nearly as badly as Gaby did, so for Gaby to get two chances and Natalie to get none seems slightly unfair. What I gleaned from seeing the respective failures of both of these dancers is this: Natalie might lack a little stamina, but at least she can actually learn choreography quickly. Gaby had no issues following the music during her solos, which proved to me that her issue wasn’t so much musicality as it was with muscle memory. She simply can’t learn routines in a single day. It doesn’t make her a bad dancer, it just makes her totally wrong for a show in which you basically have 2-3 days to perfect a routine. If you can’t pick up choreography quickly, you can’t be on SYTYCD. I love Gaby deeply because I desire to do what she does in the realm of circus arts, but after watching her fail, I’d rather Natalie have been given her chances.

Even Brandon Bryant got beat up on during this round. For some reason, Mia Michaels just doesn’t see how amazing he is and makes a point to tell him that she’s disappointed that he isn’t living up to his reputation. But, despite Mia’s protestations, he continues on, which is good, because I don’t know if I could have handled losing Brandon Bryant again. Eight dancers, including popper Sammy Ramirez, were cut during this round, leaving 73 contestants to fight on through the next day . . . but first . . .

Just when they’d hoped the day was over and they’d get to rest, Cat Deeley corralled all the dancers on stage and told them that they’d be put into groups and asked to choreograph a piece to a randomly drawn CD. Their dance would be performed for the judges the next morning, meaning they’d have to work through the night to get it right. While I definitely see the value in asking dancers to try their hand at choreography, I’m not entirely sure I see the value in forcing them to stay up all night to do it (same regarding the “group vocal arrangements done overnight” during Hollywood Week on Idol), other than that sleep deprivation makes good television. I just can’t imagine a situation in which staying up all night to work on something you’re going to have to do the next day actually produces good work. But that said, I like watching people attempt to choreograph for two reasons: it shows you how well the dancers work with other dancers, which indicates how well they partner and collaborate, and it also demonstrates how well a dancer can recognize the strengths and weaknesses of those he or she is working with, as well as their own, and incorporate those into a performance.

But not everyone is good at choreography, or working with others, as the first group to perform on Day 2 proved. Tapper Eric “Silky” Moore’s group just didn’t get along, with Silky himself doing the majority of the refusal to listen and collaborate, and they decided to call it a night and sleep rather than working through to make their dance not suck. I really don’t know if a few extra hours would have been much of an improvement, but, man, their piece really, really sucked. From a visual standpoint, it just didn’t make any sense. There were no formations, no repetitions and no one ever danced in unison. After being panned by the judges, cute shorthaired mystery girl Paula Van Houten cried and said she should have stepped up and been a good leader and forced her group to keep working rather than going to bed, and the judges let her continue on based on the strength of her dancing during that shitacular routine, as did some mysterious ballroom dancer we’ve never seen before but showed up in virtually every shot in this episode. Androgynous Megan something-or-other got cut, as did some other poor girl, while Silky himself was told to stick around and dance for his life at the end of the day where he would, mercifully for me, get cut.

The morning continued on with a montage of groups that failed the choreography challenge, until Branden Bryant’s group came along and produced an Alvin Ailey-esque routine to “My Life Would Suck Without You” in which the dancers started to move as a connected circle, broke apart, came back together and ultimately ended up as two pairs (Branden and some chick, and two chicks together), rejecting the other male dancer in the group. I was so refreshed that someone actually managed to tell a story and choreograph well, and so were all of the judges except Mia, who delivered the line I quoted above about cutting in Branden’s direction. Everyone in Branden’s group goes through, and the remainder of the performances we’re shown are well-choreographed and good, especially Ryan Kasprzak’s group, who dress up as nerds and call themselves Nerdography, which Ryan describes as the precise moment in which a nerd both gets up the nerve to talk to a hot chick and hears a great song. Could I be any more in love with the Brothers Kasprzak? I think not. His routine was funny, cute and brilliantly choreographed – a mix of Dan Karaty and Shane Sparks at his silliest. (See Travis and Benji’s final two routine from season two. Tranji comin’ atcha below!)

The dancers who passed the choreography challenge were then put through one of the most brutal tests a dancer can endure: a contemporary routine by Mia Michaels. The dancers had no problem telling us how difficult Mia’s work is, as though fans of the show were not already aware. That Tony Bellissimo fellow I’m not fond of was asked to perform Mia’s choreography again, as he was not quite in time with the music, but probably hit the moves better than many others in his group did, which was pretty surprising. Amanda Kirby Whose Dad Has MS got cut, as did Nobuya Nagahana. Megan Kinney got through, but her sister Caitlin had a lot of trouble with Mia’s choreography and was asked to dance for her life, after which she received enough votes to go through. Former Miss Washington Paris Torres, the token Latino kid whose name I don’t know, Phillip Chbeeb and that Tony Bellissimo fellow also got through.

With all the emphasis on the Kasprzak brothers and the Kinney sisters, as well as the other sets of siblings during auditions, it became pretty clear to me that SYTYCD was going to have a set of siblings competing against one another in the Top 20. The Brothers Kasprzak seem to be aware of this, too, and the producers put together an adorable little package of them discussing the epic battle that could be between them, laid over a sweet ska track (because I guess Ryan’s sweater vest and driver’s cap equal ska? Whatever, he is having a good time). Both Brothers Kasprzak did Mia’s choreography beautifully, and I shared no more a joyous and exciting moment all night when Mia asked Evan to move on in the competition by doing a round of flea hops across and off the stage. Flea hop! Flea hop! Flea hop! HE IS SO GODDAMNED ADORABLE!

By the end of the Mia Michaels round, there were 54 dancers remaining, and they returned the next morning to perform a Tyce Diorio Broadway routine. For the first time, the dancers were split into groups by gender to perform two separate pieces from West Side Story. The ladies, clearly, performed “America,” while the gentlemen were asked to perform “Cool.” I can’t fault Tyce for his work on these, because he was basically doing justice to the original Robbins choreography (and, really, that’s just kind of how you do West Side Story – it’s wrong to do it any other way). I also have to give Tyce props for asserting that something is very wrong with you if you’re a dancer and you don’t know West Side Story and Jerome Robbins. That’s like being a model and not knowing who Twiggy is. (Looking at you, Salome!) We saw a number of girls get cut during the West Side Story number, including Bianca Revels the “best female tapper,” who needs to realize that when she was told she was the “best female tapper,” it meant that the male tappers were much better than she was. Also cut were Megan Kinney, Priscilla Morerro and, not-so-sadly, carney Gaby Rojas. I had pretty high expectations for professional/semi-professional dancers to be able to accurately do the Jerome Robbins choreography for West Side Story because I know for a fact that the current Anita on Broadway, In the Heights‘ Karen Olivo, is not a dancer, and she worked her fucking culo off to be able to do that choreography and do it well enough to be nominated for a fucking Tony award. (You go, Karen! I’m rooting for you this Sunday, even though you’ll probably lose to Haydn Gwynne for Billy Elliot.) If Karen Olivo can do that choreography (and you can check her out below), a professional dancer should be able to.

After the boys did their performance of “Cool” in which Branden Bryant and the Kasprzak brothers totally shined, 16 boys and 16 girls remained to take the long walk onto that stage tomorrow night. All I can say is that I better have Branden Bryant and both Kasprzaks in the Top 20, and I will power vote my little heart out for the three of them as long as they remain in the competition.

The Husband:

I hate to say this, but Natalie was cut because she wasn’t as hot as many of the other female dancers. Nigel really likes to fill the show with female dancers who are both great performers and are ridiculously hot. (Who you define as hot in previous seasons is, of course, entirely subjective, but I know that each of you male viewers has a good half-dozen in your head right now, contestants who, if you saw them on the street, you’d drop your Frappucino and run to them just to get a better look and maybe, just maybe, ask them out for yoga followed by a light lunch.) Nigel’s insistence as the show’s creator and executive producer is, of course, pretty much just the way Hollywood is, and sometimes we lose an even better dancer just because she’s not model hot. And, as Nigel declared before this season started that the Top 10 “girls” this season were the most beautiful the show has had, I unfortunately knew that Natalie was a goner. (Don’t worry – the principle is the same for male dancers, but far less so.)

And as a major fan of West Side Story, I can tell you (if I hadn’t already) that in my first post-high-school-graduate summer, I was in CCCT’s production of West Side Story, and those 16 performances over the July and August weekends before moving onto college was probably the most exhilarating experience of my life. But no, we didn’t really stick to Robbins’ choreography (it was, after all, a community theatre production), but I am also glad that our version of “Cool” wasn’t even close to as difficult as what Tyce prepared. Rough stuff, I tells ya.

The Wife:

We don’t usually do news here, but since I’m trying to decide what shows I can and can’t watch next year (thus, can and can’t cover) because of grad school, I figured I’d help you all out by sharing my handy-dandy season schedules for the major networks here at Children of St. Clare.

I’ve listed everything by hour, as most networks are running hour-long shows these days, so two half-hour shows are listed in the same box with the time the latter show starts in between them. If a show runs longer than one hour, I’ve indicated the length and listed it in the hour in which it starts. Asterisks (*) indicate new shows, and I’ll have some snap judgments on those shows following these graphics:

falllineupMTWRF

And here’s the weekend schedule for the fall, which, as you can see, is largely blank:

FallineupSS

In January, the networks will change to their midseason schedules:

midseasonlineupMTWRF

And here’s the weekend midseason schedule

midseasonlineupSS

Now, on the midseason schedule, you may notice some funny little symbols after the network names. Here are those footnotes:

  • # ABC has not yet announced its midseason lineup. The have, however, three new shows on deck: V, Happy Town and The Deep End, as well as returning shows Lost, Wife Swap, True Beauty, The Bachelor, Better Off Ted and Scrubs. Timeslots all to be determined.
  • + CBS has not yet announced its midseason lineup, but has the following shows for midseason replacements: Miami Trauma*, The Bridge*, Undercover Boss*, Arranged Marriage*, Rules of Engagement, Flashpoint
  • = CW’s midseason debut is Parental Discretion Advised, timeslot to be determined.
  • Additionally, Fox has Hell’s Kitchen scheduled for Summer 2010, and has Kitchen Nightmares on deck to fill holes in the schedule.

Now, for my snap judgments . . .

NBC: While we all know by now how I feel about Jay Leno, I can honestly tell you that the only one of their new shows I will definitely watch is Joel McHale’s comedy pilot Community, joining the NBC Thursday comedy block in 30 Rock‘s spot until it returns at midseason. Community has a good premise (McHale finds his college degree is invalid and must go back to community college to make up the credits), and has both McHale and Chevy Chase, who turned in a good performance as the villain at the end of Chuck season 2. I am overjoyed that Chuck is returning at midseason, as I think a 13-episode run will give us only the most super-concentrated awesomeness Chuck has to offer. I do not need another medical show in my life, so I’m declining Trauma and Michelle Trachtenberg’s nursing show, Mercy. 100 Questions looks so much like Friends that it is entirely out of the question for me. But then there’s Day One, which has a nice pedigree of coming from the people who work on Lost, Heroes and Fringe. It could be awesome, or it could be hokey, but I think it’s the only other promising thing NBC has to offer us.

ABC: I am delighted that ABC has given a permanent slot to Castle, allowing Nathan Fillion to prove he is charming, rakish and shouldn’t be a showkiller! He and Adam Baldwin have broken their own curse! Other than that, though, I am extremely concerned at how unimpressive the new shows debuting for fall seem, compared to the stuff ABC has on deck for midseason. Not a single one of the Wednesday night comedy block shows looks palatable. Hank looks downright abysmal, The Middle looks, well, middling, Modern Family falls flat and Cougar Town is trying way too hard. I might DVR Eastwick because I like Rebecca Romjin and Lindsay Price, but I have no emotional ties to either the previous film or the novel upon which it’s based to grab my immediate attention. I watched a clip from The Forgotten and I can tell you right now that I think it’s going to be the most dour procedural on television, and I certainly don’t need that in my life. I am, however, intrigued by Flash Forward because I like both time travel and Joseph Fiennes. But what sounds really interesting are the midseason shows. The Deep End is about law students and, out of all the ABC clips I watched, it certainly has the most character, pizzazz and joy. It also has Tina Majorino, looking the prettiest she’s ever looked. I will give that a shot when it premeires. I will also give hardcore sci-fi reboot V a shot, as we certainly don’t have any shows on network TV currently dealing with alien invasion, and I’m really jazzed on the trailer for Happy Town, which seems like its going to be a slightly more normal Twin Peaks (in that its a small town mystery), only this time, with Amy Acker!

FOX: I’m wary of a fall edition of SYTYCD, but I do see the benefit of it giving FOX a consistent schedule so that things don’t get shitfucked when Idol rolls around at midseason. Perhaps, if this is a success, going forward we’ll have to find a new totally awesome summer reality competition . . . maybe one for actors? OR MAYBE WE CAN MAKE A TRIPLE THREAT SHOW BECAUSE I WOULD TOTALLY WATCH THAT????? (Please, FOX?!!!!) Fox is actually my favorite of the networks so far, actually. I’m happy to see they’ve renewed Dollhouse and paired Bones with Fringe, which makes for a really rockin’ Thursday. Also excited to see Sons of Tucson with Tyler Labine as it looks pretty funny from the promo.  Human Target looks pretty fun, too. And you best fucking bet I will be watching Glee. The only thing I think I’d really pass on, here, is Past Life, and that’s just because I’m not really interested in seeing a show that solves crimes using past life regression (although one of my favorite X-Files episodes has exactly that conceit). So, rock on, FOX. You are my winner for next season.

CBS: I will be skipping pretty much every new show on CBS this year as they continue to build their police procedural empire. However, I will give a try to the new Monday comedy Accidentally on Purpose, even though it’s based on the memoirs of a film critic I don’t like very much, the Contra Costa Times‘ Mary F. Pols, who can’t seem to see the good in anything at all. The show is set in San Francisco, though Pols lives somewhere in the Walnut Creek area in reality, I assume, and Jenna Elfman plays the fictional version of Pols’ film critic who accidentally gets pregnant by a younger, one-night stand and decides to keep the baby, and it’s daddy. I generally like Jenna Elfman and, of course, adore Grant Show, who will be playing her boss. I will also give Three Rivers a shot, because it stars Moonlight‘s Alex O’Laughlin and its about organ donation, so there’s a chance I could see him repeat at least part of his horrifying performance in Feed, a film in which he kidnaps obese women and feeds them their own fat until they die. (How he would repeat part of that performance, I don’t know, but I’d like to see CBS try.)

CW: Will I watch a show produced by Ashton Kutcher about teenage models called The Beautiful Life? Yes, I will. Will I watch a show about teenage vampires called The Vampire Diaries? Indeed, I would probably watch something like that, as long as it sucked in a good way and not a bad way. Melrose Place? I have even less of a connection to that show than to 90210, so I’m not inclined to watch the reboot — especially since Ashlee Simpson’s on it. But, hey, I might need some mind-numbing crap to counterbalance all my grad school reading, so perhaps. I’ll give Melrose Place a perhaps, a perhaps perhaps, even, if I choose to continue watching 90210, making my Tuesday nights just like 1992. I am, however, surprised that CW axed the Gossip Girl spin-off, as even though I didn’t like the backdoor pilot, I did think the show had potential. I’m also surprised they axed Jason Dohring and Minka Kelly’s legal show, Body Politic, if only because I was hoping both former Moonlight vampires would have jobs come fall, but I guess it just wasn’t in the cards for Josef Kostan nee Logan Echolls.

So, as the curtain on this TV season falls, you can look forward to me actually writing about Mad Men this summer, as well as many, many articles on SYTYCD. After that, I’m going to have to see what my fall schedule is like and compare it to the above fall schedules to see what I can really watch and what I can, in turn, cover.

I’ll make you guys a chart of all that later.

The Husband:

I think the New York Times said it better than I ever could. (That’s why they’re the New York Times and I’m not.)


“It’s possible that American Idol viewers’ selection of Kris Allen over Adam Lambert says something about the mood and mores of the country, that viewers are too conformist to anoint a sassy, androgynous individualist. Then again, maybe not: Mr. Allen’s victory may merely reflect the voters’ conventional taste in pop music…Mr. Allen never fell out of character as the humble, earnest country boy from Arkansas.”


Oh, and besides Jordin Sparks (who is still from a Red State in the West), every single Idol winner has been from the South. It’s a hard trend to beak.

I don’t hate Kris Allen. If you’ve been following the show along with us, you know that I grew to love him. But I can’t say that I wasn’t disappointed at the outcome. But the above quote shows that there were a lot of reasons Kris won, and some are more valid than others.

A formidble set of opponents.

A formidble set of opponents.

Personally, I think it comes down to more how Adam lost than Kris won. At the beginning of the Top 12/13, I don’t think anyone thought Kris would ever beat Adam, so here are a few items of interest.

Adam became too safe of a choice:

Yes, the wildly flamboyant and sexual Adam was actually too safe of a choice, the complete opposite of what a lot of people may cry about today, that America was being homophobic. (I think that while some Kris voting may be due to this very thing, it will turn out to be a minor blip on the bigger scale.) The bigger problem, and this was way more subconscious, is that everybody assumed Adam was going to win. Simon went on Ellen and said so. Entertainment Weekly did a friggin’ cover story on him most of the way through the competition. The judges kept on praising him until it felt like the end was preordained. Everybody said the same thing. And Adam, well, he did stop surprising us right around disco week. He was consistently passionate and bombastic, a competent performer. And he was humble about it. But after a while we could already imagine the song before he sang it. Which is a great trait, but not for the attention-craving America. America wants to reward the underdog, to keep things interesting, and Adam stopped being dangerous. He stopped reaching for the “holy shit” factor.

Adam was not Danny:

Last week, we already saw that Adam had lost his considerable lead over the rest of the competition when we were told that only one million votes separated first place and second place, while the remainder was lost on a losing Danny Gokey. But where did Danny’s votes go this week? They went to the other good ol’ American boy, Kris. And that pulled Kris ahead. If we’re going by DialIdol, Kris did not beat Adam by very much, so I’m surprised that some of Danny’s votes may have actually worked their way into Adam’s number — perhaps those who liked Danny for his voice and didn’t give a shit about his story or spirituality, but at the same time were originally afraid to vote for Adam — but I’m willing to bet that the majority of them went to Kris or disappeared outright. Kris was more Danny than Adam could ever be, whatever that may mean to you.

Adam strutted too much:

Yes, I actually believe that if Adam had performed “Mad World” like he did originally, sitting down and letting the music and his spoke speak for themselves, instead of descending a staircase into way too much fake fog, he could have won. He definitely could have gotten Simon to agree that he won all three rounds on Tuesday instead of merely two, but he had to indulge in his theatricality. Which is fine. But I think it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, just like he got into the Bottom Two for performing “Feeling Good” in roughly the same way. But this is saying that his performance tactics are bad. No, they’re not. They’re fucking great. But not everybody is like me, and, for some indiscernible reason, there will still be millions of people out there who outright hate musicals and drama. (Then why are they watching television? I’ll never understand it.)

But let’s get down to the bottom of this: Adam is a much better singer than Kris will ever be. You know this to be true. He was damn near perfect. Oh, and that scream you Adam haters consistently complain about like a broken record? That is a perfect rock wail, a glorious sound you can find in all of the best rock ‘n roll music for the last 50 years. A release of sheer force, emotion and performance. All your complaints really tell me is that you don’t listen to rock music, and you wouldn’t know a good rock singer if it kicked you in the nuts and spit whiskey and glitter in your eye.

But Kris is good, and he’ll make a good album for 19 Entertainment. As I said, “his is the face that launched a thousand glittery posters taped to a teenage girl’s walls and ceiling, right next to her dolphin art.” He has a long career ahead of him.

And not to sound like I’m justifying a loss or acting like the battered wife/husband, but Adam losing might be the best thing to happen to him. As I was fine with the competition going either way (with me, of course, leaning toward an Adam win), I considered Adam’s future, and while he is still to cut an album for 19 Entertainment, he will be free of much of the Idol machine that tends to crush people. He has a better chance of making the album that he wants to make (for one, without Kara’s crappy song), he can more easily pursue acting on stage and screen if that is what he so chooses, and he can be a music star and not have to live up to or live down the label of being an American Idol, a label that often turns a lot of people off in the actual real world. And yes, I think if they make a movie version of Wicked, they’d be insane not to cast him as Fiyero. Some have said he would overdo the role. 1.) From the clips of him understudying as Fiyero, he does it just fine, thank you. 2.) If he does overdo it, it’ll definitely help define a horribly underwritten character in an overrated musical. He could potentially save the entire second half of the story.

I think that’s about it. What other stuff can I say to wrap this up?

Had Allison been in the Top 3 instead of Danny, perhaps Adam may have had a chance to grab her votes and win in the finale had she been voted out. The number of votes that would have gone to her despite her losing would have been far greater than her Top 4 votes, which in turn got Danny out in the actual Top 3.

I think Kara is a great judge and should stick around. She is the only one besides Simon who gives actual friggin’ advice to the contestants, advice that is mostly useful, instead of just being judgmental. She knows what she’s talking about, and I don’t know how that strikes most of you out there as “annoying.”

This is without much hindsight, but I think the finale was definitely one of the best they’ve ever had. And yes, they have done awards in the past. If you thought this was new, either you haven’t watched the show for too long, or you’re an idiot. But I will leave most of the finale talk to my wife. But I do have something to say to the Black Eyed Peas. If you guys really have that “future sound” and are “so 3008,” then why does your #1 hit single sound like techno music from 15 years ago?

I am, above all else, extremely grateful that the top two contestants were exciting, interesting, evocative and [mostly] original. It’s tough to get that on Idol, so despite my misgivings with the results, glad that this show can still surprise me. This was one of the best top 12/13s in the show’s history, with far more talented individuals holding on and only a few non-talented ones eking by. It’s nice to be able to pick on a singer for subtleties instead of just simply declaring that they’re bad, and sparking discussion, even on a show as cookie-cutter as this, is never bad.

And now, it’s time for So You Think You Can Dance, which is, in a lot of ways, a better overall show than American Idol. But if FOX’s decision to also create a fall version of the show right after this summer season ends up overplaying and killing the entire program, I’m going to be pissed.

The Wife:

I’m going to summarize my feelings about Adam Lambert’s strange un-victory per a text message I sent to my friend Magen last night after she had long since gone to bed over in DC:


“Fsdfhsdfgsdfshvgyugsdufh! I die. That outfit was bananas! I was clearly not mature enough to handle that fantasy duet between Adam and KISS because all I did was squee and figdet and wonder where the hell those epaulettes and those fucking boots came from. This was a great finale. KISS. Queen. Allison and Cyndi lauper. Amazing. Even though Adam didn’t win, I cannot wait to buy tickets on his first tour. He is now free to make the gayest, rockingest record ever, and no one will stop him. Glambert saved. Stevecrest out.”


As my husband mentioned above, I think Adam is better off without the Idol win, although I’d have liked him to have it because, well, I love him. He and Kris will both sell records and will both have long careers, and I can have no ill-will toward someone like Kris who is so humble that he conceded to America that he thought his competitor deserved the win more than he did. Both men are winners in my book, really. So now, let me talk about how thoroughly pleased I was with the finale, despite an outcome that didn’t actually go my way.

Idol Awards

First of all, I came late into the Idol game, having only watched since season 6, so the Idol awards were odd to me, but I actually found them pretty enjoyable over all. I never thought I’d be so happy to see Norman Gentle aka Nick Mitchell, and while I hated the idea of him being on Idol, he is funny. And weird. And I’d definitely see his cabaret show, so I’m glad to be reminded of why he’s likeable. I was not happy to see Bikini Girl, especially because she’s so tan now that she looks like she’s been living in South Florida since she was 22 and is now 60. Someone needs to give her the message that pale is the new tan . . . and someone kind of did, actually. Kara. Although I’m bothered by Kara’s pop culture solipcisms, I like her as a judge, and now I like her even more as a singer. Bikini Girl cannot sing at all by comparison and I now know that Kara also looks better in a bikini than bikini girl. She has some damn hard abs, that Kara DioGuardi. I would not be surprised if Bikini Girl has either tried to kill herself or developed an eating disorder after being upstaged by a woman in her 30s who sings better and has a nicer body than she does. As for Tatiana Del Toro . . . I do not know if that was real or not and I don’t care because watching security guards chase that crazy bitch around the stage was funny as hell!

I mean, really, Bikini Girl got nothing on this.

I mean, really, Bikini Girl got nothing on this.

Fantasy Duets!

  • I love that Allison Iraheta got to sing one of my favorite songs ever, “Time After Time,” with Cyndi Lauper. I also love that Cyndi plays the dulcimer. She just gets more amazing every damn day.
  • Kris Allen and Keith Urban are very similar in that they both have scruffy facial hair, play guitar, have a country twang and have blonde wives. I liked this duet because it proved that Kris Allen can easily transition into a country-rock artist if he ever wanted to.
  • Kris + Adam + Surviving Members of Queen = truly spectacular way to end the show. This is the point where I kind of stopped caring which one of them won because I saw that they had such an amazing camraderie while singing “We Are the Champions.” It was clear to me that these guys were having the fucking time of their lives, and that’s exactly what I want to see on Idol. Plus, I enjoyed watching Adam touch the guitarist several times during the performance, as though he couldn’t believe he was singing with fucking Queen. That’s probably what I would have done if I were singing with Cyndi Lauper.
  • But, of course, there was no greater fantasy duet (although, really, not a duet) than Adam Lambert in his King Henry VIII-from-Space outfit with the blinged out epaulettes and the giant gold platform boots he clearly borrowed from Gene Simmons’ closet singing with KISS. Magen was right; I straight up died. I mean, this performance was just the cat’s fucking pajamas for me. I had to cover half my face with a blanket because I was so excited that it was incredibly difficult to not ruin the whole performance with squeals of joy. I don’t even like KISS all that much, but Adam singing with KISS I FUCKING ADORED. I mean, this was a perfect moment for him and he performed the hell out of it, as he does with everything. If I had to pick a favorite moment from this performance, though, it would be when he delicately raised his eyebrow in innuendo when he sang the line “Me and the boys will be playing all night.” Oh, I know, honey. And I wouldn’t have you any other way.
Other performances:
  • At first, I hated the fact that the whole American Idol gang was going to sing Pink’s “So What?” as I adore Pink and never want to hear her stuff sung by anyone else, but I think this was one group number that worked really well. It had a ton of energy and everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun.
  • I do not dislike Megan Joy, but she was kind of very not good in her duet with Michael Sarver over Steve Martin’s banjo music. Moreover, while I’m sure Steve was happy to be there, I don’t think he was happy to hear “Pretty Flowers” sung the way those two completely oversang it. My fantasy duet for that song? Dolly Parton and Anoop Desai.
  • Speaking of Anoop, I loved that he and Alexis Grace got to do Jason Mraz right by singing the intro solos to “I’m Yours.” That said, this group performance of the song with Mraz was way better than when one third of the Top 36 tried to sing it back when there was a Top 36.
  • Lil Rounds and Queen Latifah? Strangely disappointing. Although I should note that during this number, I sang a bit of “When You’re Good to Mama” from Chicago to my cat. And I changed the words to be about my cat. That’s how uninteresting this number was.
  • The minute Fergie came on, I screamed, “SING ‘BE ITALIAN’!” because she’s playing Sereghina the Whore in Rob Marshall’s adaptation of Nine and I all kinds of love her super minor-keyed version of a song that, in the stage show, is very bright and somehow not about molestation at all. Here’s the Nine trailer, so you can hear it and be just as excited as I am:
  • But once the Black Eyed Peas came on, I became very frightened of their strange cybertronic zebra dancers. Why were they putting their feet in will.i.am’s crotch? Not okay! (I bet that was choreographed by Shane Sparks, though.)
Fashion notes!
  • I’ve already talked about Adam’s KISS outfit, but in case you didn’t catch it, I fucking loved it. I die. I channel Rachel Zoe and I die.
  • Alexis Grace got to wear two pairs of very sexy over-the-knee boots. She is one hot mama.
  • Another hot mama? Adam Lambert’s mom, who gets a million extra cuteness points for wearing armwarmers!
  • I was very embarassed for Megan Joy’s pink hot shorts during “Glamorous.”
  • Oh, Lil Rounds. No one knows how to dress you. That top with the strange leaf-like skirt just accentuated your huge booty, and not in a good way. I do not understand why everyone is just a step away from making you into Josephine Baker, as you’ll never, ever be as good of a performer as she was.
  • Allison looked amazing tonight. Staight up.
  • I like that Anoop went for a seersucker jacket as if to say, “I’m from the South and you will all deal with my desire to drink sweet tea from a mason jar, bitches! Get me a fucking mint julep!”
  • Janice Dickinson was totally trashed throughout this whole show, or at least she looked that way.
  • I want my legs to be as shiny and toned as Fergie’s.
  • Matt Giraud looked his best during his Santana number. I think Abuelito shirts are really a good look for him, and they work with his obsession with cubano fedoras.
  • It was very bold of Rod Stewart to pair the Coach leather that is his skin with that faux Burbury jacket.
All of that stuff ads up to a wonderful two hours of television. I’ve been saying it all season, but I’ll reiterate: I can’t wait to see Adam Lambert on Broadway someday. If Constantine Maroulis can get nominated for a Tony for Rock of Ages (and let me say that I saw him in Rent pre-Idol, and while I thought he was the most Roger-looking Roger I’ve ever seen, he certainly wasn’t the best), surely Adam Lambert will one day win one. I will see him in anything. I will follow his ass around the country like my mother-in-law does with Clay Aiken because while he may not be the American Idol, he is my American Idol.


The Husband:

Are you excited for tonight? I know I am. While I would have definitely preferred an Adam-Allison finale, I think Kris is not only a talented contestant, but he is also a valid threat to an Adam Lambert win. This is definitely strange coming from me, the person who, when Kris somehow came out of frickin’ nowhere only to easily win his round in the semi-finals, prompting me to get pissed that he was only voted through over more worthy contestants because of his cuteness factor. Describing him as “bland but cute,” I said the following:


“I’m not as mad at the final selection [as] I was Thursday night, but I still think that both Kris Allen from this week and Michael Sarver from week 1 should not be in the Top 12.”


And yet, here we are, and I have nothing but respect for the man. He’s shaken up the competition in a way almost entirely heretofore unprecedented on Idol (save for the vastly less talented but interesting Blake Lewis) by being an incredible builder of songs, performances and themes first and being a singer second. It feels strange to put him on a pedestal over Danny Gokey, who I will always admit had a good voice, but just wasn’t cutting it for me.

It was the end of the line for Gokey, for sure. Yes, he sang “You Are So Beautiful” quite well, but it was a cheap song choice. I thought it was a cheap song choice when Taylor Hicks did it, and I was a big fan of the Silver Fox, so don’t think that I’m just being hard on Gokey. Going back on my notes, I realize I was actually fairly sick of Gokey by the time semifinals rolled around, that he hadn’t risen above his sob story to be a performer, and week after week, I became less and less interested in his growl. While people may say that Lambert screams all of his songs (which isn’t true if you actually watched all of his damn performances), Gokey has this ability to look pissed at everybody and everything even while singing the most beautiful of songs. And that turned me off above all else. Yes, I broke my own rule when it comes to contestant, which I call “pulling a Simon.” And yes, it’s a positive thing. It’s averting your eyes from the performance so you can simply listen, which is technically what this competition is all about. And when I pull a Simon with Gokey, he seems to work. But not nearly as much as the other two.

Adam, let’s be honest, has lost a good deal of his ability to surprise. By now, we’re expecting him to be wild, to be different, to be triumphant. But he also has this uncanny ability to take a horrible decision and make it work for him. And man, did he make two bad decisions. #1. “Play That Funky Music” on a non-disco week. #2. “Born to Be Wild.” And while his unicorn-raping version of “Ring of Fire” might have ill-advised, it definitely made him a complete character for the show. But you see, the fact that he can make something great out of something suck is a skill few have, and that’s why I want him to win. He’s that good. He makes you like Wild Cherry. And he survived the curse of performing “Feeling Good.” We’re a rapt audience for this man.

As for Kris, I still don’t think he has that great of a voice, but oh man is he interesting. While you can’t give him all the credit for basically finding other versions of assigned songs (see my response to his cover of Adele’s version of Bob Dylan’s “To Make You Feel My Love” during country week saying it’s a Garth Brooks song), he started to make it work for him by being honest and being fascinating. From “Ain’t No Sunshine” onward, he’s proven what any good Idol viewers know, that this is a performance showcase, and you’d better be a helluva performer. That’s why Lil Rounds ain’t around no more. That’s why Michael Sarver isn’t around anymore. They weren’t performers. They were just singers with passable voices. But no personality.

I mean, how could you not love him just a little bit after this picture?

I mean, how could you not love him just a little bit after this picture?

And yes, Kris somehow managed to take a rap song and turn it into something quite interesting and downloadable. While covering “Heartless” as a Jason Mraz-type song doesn’t eliminate the fact that nobody has seemed to notice that the song seems to have only seven notes in the entire thing and barely jumps out of its octave. It’s not really a singer’s song. But it is one ripe for rearrangement. YouTube doesn’t seem to be working right now (or if so, it’s moving verrrrrrry slowly), otherwise I’d show you Mia Carruthers’ own performance of “Heartless” on the damned addictive MTV show Taking The Stage, just to show that maybe from a different perspective, you too might realize that the song kind of sucks no matter how good the singer is. (And yes, Mia is great. Just find any of her original songs.) My problem with the song is that, since Kanye has somehow fashioned himself as a singer, he’s been writing these nonsense pop songs that could be done by anybody. Hell, I think you could replace Kanye with Britney Spears on “Heartless,” and it’d be about the same.

My point? Kris can also rise above weird choices, and yet at the same time is defined by them. But give him a guitar and a worthy beat, and he performs the shit out of it. And that’s another thing we don’t get often enough on this show.

Adam and Kris prove that this isn’t just a karaoke competition. It’s a competition for stars, for great performers, and potentially for those who can actually alter the recording industry.

The Wife:
Does this year’s final two remind anyone of last year’s final two? We have a bona fide rocker going against someone cute, sweet and unassuming. While last year, that latter role was filled by a tiny child who best resembled a monchichi, this year it’s filled with an appealing (and married) boy next door, who, I think, is infinitely more listenable. I like Kris Allen a lot better than I did D’Archie the Monchichi, but I still need Adam Lambert to win. I think he’s much more of a showman than Kris Allen, although I would download a Kris Allen single or three, and for me, I like music and musicians that are very engaging and performative.

Vote for Adam Lambert or the terrorists win.

Vote for Adam Lambert or the terrorists win.

The soulful weight of his “Tracks of My Tears” haunted me for days, and he performed it honestly and openly. I said after that song that I would pay to see him in a revival of Jersey Boys, and that’s still true. I’d pay to see him in anything, because he understands lyrics, phrasing and performing a song. Because he’s an actor, he understands when and how much of himself to put into his songs. While Gokey had one look, Adam had many. Turning from swinging swagger to eye-ball raping edginess to straight-up rock n’roll energy whenever the song called for it. I believe that’s what you call versatility. He’s so versatile, in fact, that he can also tone it down and deliver a quieter performance with just as much passion and intensity. “Mad World”? I’ll never hear a better interpretation of a line on American Idol than when Adam Lambert pushed the “nervous” of “I went to school and I was very nervous” into a wavering falsetto, capturing the emotion and meaning of the song better than anyone. I’ll give Kris his due for his beautiful rendition of “Falling Slowly,” a song he truly seemed to understand and adore, but in the performance department, he’s no match for Lambert.

And besides, how could you not love Adam when he returned to his old theatre camp and that tiny little tot came up and asked him how he learned to sing and dance so good? Tears to my fucking eyes. I wish I could sing and dance that good, too, tiny boy.

Either finalist will make records. And they will make records that will make money. It’s really a win-win situation this year, which is an improvement over last years’ rocker vs. boy next door battle, in which one option was win and one was suck.