The Wife:

I thought perhaps it was just me, coming off an evening of less-than-normal sleep because I was having the most cathartic rock concert experience of my life at the No Doubt show on Tuesday night and preparing for the arrival of my dear friend Magen today. I thought the first few numbers on SYTYCD tonight felt a little slow. They were all passable, but not wholly engaging. And I assumed it was just me, with my mind being off in a million different places. But, no. Even despite the presence of the effervescent Ellen DeGeneres on the judging panel, Nigel felt the evening was a little slow. But for all the creeping waltzes and the slower than slow rumbas, the show really picked up in its final three numbers to remind us what this whole thing is about.

The Excellent

Melissa and Ade (Contemporary)
Choreography by Tyce DiOrio
Song: “This Woman’s Work” by Maxwell

I’ve said multiple times that Tyce’s jazz and contemporary work is so strong, creative and beautiful that simply knowing he can be that brilliant is why I harbor so much hatred for his contrived, hackneyed and startlingly unoriginal Broadway routines. When I saw this absolutely stunning and evocative piece of theatre come out of him, danced with sheer grace by a reunited Melissa and Ade, I was extremely moved. Although I’d mocked the costuming choice of putting Melissa in that “I’m going through chemo” headscarf, there really was no other way to make the piece specifically about cancer. If we all agree to pretend that we didn’t hear the intro package about how Tyce created this piece to honor his friend who struggled with breast cancer, it was the headscarf that informed us of just what the struggle here was. Without it, I think the idea of disease would have still been communicated through the movement – those flying leaps of faith Melissa took into Ade’s arms, the moment where he was the strength to her weakness when he lifted her up by her delicate wrists, the moment where she wilted around his body – all of that informed us that Melissa’s body was falling apart. But would the piece have been as moving without that headscarf? No, I don’t think it would have been. The piece has to be about cancer because cancers are the most terrifying diseases, the most trying diseases I can think of. At their core, they are about the body turning against itself. Some of them are preventable (certain types of lung, cervical and skin cancers), but others aren’t. There are only a few things I can think of that are more horrifyingly unjust than the human body destroying itself from the inside out.

And so, having lost a family member to mesothelioma, another to metastatic melanoma (henceforth called Izzie Stevens Disease) and having had a malignant melanoma removed from my own arm, this piece was extremely affective to me, as it was to all of the judges and, I hope, to everyone else who saw it. It was a gorgeous piece of choreography that told a clear, emotional and riveting story, danced by a pair of brilliant performers.

Cancer Vixen.

Cancer Vixen.

Jeanine and Brandon (Pop Jazz)
Choreography by Laurieann Gibson
Song: “Battlefield” by Jordin Sparks

I loved the choreography and costuming for this piece, and I agree with Nigel that this pop-jazz number really woke us up from what we saw earlier in the evening. But although I loved it and agree that it was one of the best of the night, I wonder if anyone else noticed just how much better Brandon was in this piece than Jeanine. There was a whole segment of the dance where I wondered if he was a little too fast, or if she was just slow, and finally decided on the latter. Brandon completely and totally nailed this number (and should go hang some paintings at Ellen’s house), enough to fully convert detractor Mia Michaels to a Brandon Bryant lover. Seriously, Laurieann Gibson put a horizontal leap (over Jeanine) into the floorwork segment of this routine, I think, specifically because she saw Brandon Bryant’s amazing audition and knew he could do it absurdly well. And he did. The best compliment the judges could give Jeanine was that she “kept up” with Brandon . . . if by keeping up with they mean being ever so slightly behind. Don’t get me wrong, Jeanine is really a stunningly good dancer, but I think this is the first time in the competition she’s been with someone better than her so that you can actually see she has faults. He definitely outdanced her, but she still performed well (and put on a good tough-gal face) and contributed to a strong performance overall, which received what I’m counting as three Official Mary Murphy Screams. (It was hard to tell. They came in short, exaggerated bursts.)

Kayla and Jason (Hip-Hop)
Choreography by Shane Sparks
Song: “They’re Everywhere” by Izza Kizza

I’m starting to realize that I really like anything that involves dancing zombies. Here’s my evidence to prove that: I love Wade Robson’s “Rama Lama (Bang Bang).” I truly enjoy Evil Dead the Musical. I like “Thriller.” And I really liked this fun show-closing number in which undead Jason turned sexy schoolgirl Kayla into his zombie mistress. I feel like the guys from Mutation are a little bit jealous that they didn’t get to perform this number, but I think Jason and Kayla were great in it. I’ve always loved Kayla, but my feelings for Jason haven’t been so universally positive. He really put himself into this performance, though, and I think my husband most enjoyed the solo segment where he kills Kayla, dances with glee for about five seconds, and resurrects her. It’s his “I just killed you!” dance, and it was pretty damn adorable. I also agree with Mia about the final image of this piece, where Jason lifts Kayla up by strangling her, which walked the fine line between cute and creepy. And I like things that do that. Mary Murphy liked it enough to give what I’m assume are two Official Mary Murphy Screams.

Tyra would call this an experiment in ugly-pretty.

Tyra would call this an experiment in ugly-pretty.

The Good to Very Good

Melissa and Ade (Cha Cha)
Choreography by Tony Meredith and Melanie Lapatin
Song: “Yeah (Gomo Gaza Mi Morena)” by Chino Espinoza y Los Dueños Del Son

That Spanish-language cover/sample of Usher’s “Yeah” really threw me off a bit because I kept trying to figure out if I was actually hearing “Yeah” in there or if the name was just a coincidence. As such, I was a little distracted. This ended up being not my favorite cha cha, but I nevertheless couldn’t take my eyes of Melissa. As Mia said, she really broke it down here and got into the sultry sex kitten vibe, so much that I didn’t even notice Ade was there. Mary thought Ade danced it too high off the floor, and Mia thought it was Ade’s worst performance. I guess I agree with them, as he didn’t command any attention from me here at all.

Evan and Jeanette (Jazz)
Choreography by Sonya Tayeh
Song: “Move (Metrononomy Mix)” by CSS

A band named after a programming language wrote the song to which this piece was choreographed, which isn’t totally surprising. I liked this piece, but I had pretty much forgotten about it by the end of the show. I think it suffered from being set to such a weird song, allowing it to get lumped in with the other slow-tempo numbers that plagued the beginning of last night’s show. However, I thought Evan and Jeanette were good in it and the choreography was very interesting to watch. Mia is right, however, that Evan is just wrong for Sonya’s work. I realize that one of the things we look for on SYTYCD is a very versatile dancer who wows us in many genres and thus becomes our favorite, but what Mia said about Evan here is spot the fuck on. Just like in acting and modeling, I wouldn’t cast Evan in a Sonya Tayeh show simply because he doesn’t have the right look. That’s like trying to turn character actor Patrick Fischler into a romantic lead in a rom-com – it just wouldn’t work. It doesn’t matter how good of an actor Fischler is or how good of a dancer Evan is, sometimes the performer simply isn’t right for the work.

Jeanette looks so sublime in this leap.

Jeanette looks so sublime in this leap.

Kayla and Jason (Broadway)
Choreography by Tyce DiOrio
Song: “Mr. Monotony” by Kim Kriswell

This was another pretty bland number from Tyce, with no real sense of story of dynamism, which I guess is okay because the song is called “Mr. Monotony.” I didn’t like Jason very much in this piece, actually, because every time I watched him do those Gene Kelly-esque floor-pops, I wanted to see Evan doing them instead. Jason’s another dancer this season that I just don’t think has the universal casting appeal of some others. Remember how I said his baby face was incongruous in his foxtrot with Caitlin because it doesn’t look right sitting atop a double-breasted suit? Same here. He doesn’t look right in a faux-1940s setting, chasing after a poisonous dame like gorgeous, leggy Kayla. The zombie thing worked for him, but this didn’t. It’s not that he danced poorly, per se, it’s simply that someone else would have been better for this role. Kayla, on the other hand, was spot-on, and Mia thinks she should take some singing and acting lessons so she could take Broadway by storm. Or she could audition for Chicago because she doesn’t need to know how to do either of those things to be in that show. (I know. That was mean to Kander & Ebb. But let’s face it: Chicago only exists on Broadway because it’s an easy show to fake-sing and fake-act in, making it an ideal place for celebrities of moderate renown to make their Broadway debuts in. How else do you explain the fact that it was so easy for Melanie Griffith, who cannot sing, to just take the role of Roxy Hart because her husband was starring in Nine in the theatre across the street? And why Jerry Springer is being allowed to play Billy Flynn when we already know he cannot dance?)

The Mediocre

Brandon and Jeanine (Waltz)
Choreography by Hunter Johnson
Song: “May It Be” by Hayley Westenra

I thought this was danced with pure loveliness, and I have to give Brandon and Jeanine credit for that, but it was a real snoozer of a waltz. I mean, you play me “May It Be” and all I can think of is the sleepiness of the Shire and Samwise Gamgee dreaming about fair Rosie Cotton. There’s nothing technically wrong with this piece, it just wasn’t very awe-inspiring. I would, however, like to gloat that I remembered this song was both an Enya cover AND from Lord of the Rings and yet my film geek husband didn’t. Nigel really seemed to hate the song, which means he hates things that are good and nominated for Oscars. Mary called the piece respectable, and all of the judges agreed they’d wanted more from it.

But for the record, this yellow dress is my Outfit of the Night.

But for the record, this yellow dress is my Outfit of the Night.

Jeanette and Evan (Rumba)
Choreography by Tony Meredith and Melanie Lapatin
Song: “Heartless” by Kris Allen

Although I really like Evando and Little Miss Fire, Spice and Flavor, I was really confused by this slow rumba. SYTYCD is all about slow rumbas, but this one was probably the slowest of them all, and I think its major failure comes down to song choice. Kris Allen’s cover of “Heartless” was not a good choice, and I felt there were many moments where the choreography didn’t match up with the music. By far, the best slow rumba on this show was done in season three, choreographed by Jean-Marc Genereux and performed by Sabra and Dominic to the Pussycat Dolls’ “Stickwitchu.” At least, that’s my favorite. The song provided a good, consistent beat to which the dancers could sensually groove. I didn’t get that from “Heartless.” It would have been a good choice for a contemporary routine, but not for this rumba. Even Jeanette, that Miami heat, couldn’t get into the Latin ballroom flavor of this one. I would, however, cast Evando in a rumba, if only because I like his serious and sexy face – it makes him look like James Van Der Beek as Sean Bateman, as my husband pointed out. P.S. Did you guys see a single rumba walk in this number? Did I miss them? Because I didn’t see any and that really bothered me.

Solos:

1. Brandon: “Ain’t Nothing Wrong with That” by Robert Randolph and the Family Band. He wowed me tonight. I don’t know how the fuck he moves this way, but it’s amazing.

2. Jeanine: “Let the Drummer Kick” by Citizen Cope. She once again provided a solo that combined technique, musicality and personality. I really think Jeanine is the most competent soloist in the competition. She never disappoints.

3. Kayla: “The Moment I Said It” by Imogen Heap. This solo reminded me the most of her wonderful audition in Denver. I know she’s a graceful, strong and altogether lovely dancer, but here she reminded me of her own quirky interest in movement. Remember that move where she pulls her shoulderblades together and jerks her arms back? She did something similar here, which is why I liked it so much.

4. Evan: “Old Devil Moon” by Jamie Cullum. Hey, everybody! I’ve got a great idea! Let’s keep Tyce from ever doing Broadway routines ever again by inviting Evan Kasprzak back to the show to be the new Broadway choreographer! Hooray! My idea is awesome! Really, though, Evan choreographs marvelous, fleet-footed Broadway baby solos and I enjoy them so much that I want to see what he’d do with an entire piece.

5. Ade: “Hater” by Various Productions Artist. I didn’t think this was anywhere near as good as his other solos, until he did that ridiculously high leap. How does he get so much air under him? I simply don’t understand.

6. Melissa: “Heads Will Roll” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Melissa tried to break away from standard ballet here a little bit by doing something that ended up being both modern and dated. It would have made choreographer Mandy Moore proud.

7. Jason: “Slowdance on the Inside” by Taking Back Sunday. Taking Back Sunday is clearly Jason’s Lifehouse. To that end, this was like a weaker version of a Nick Lazzarini solo. Boo-urns.

8. Jeanette: “Seduces Me” by Celine Dion. This was a complete and total failure of concept and execution. I was baffled as to why she tried to do a contemporary solo when her strong suit is salsa, and even more confused when she tried to toss some salsa moves into a non-salsa song. What the fuck?

Simply because neither of these two dancers were in the top three pieces of the night, I think we’ll be losing Evan and Jeanette tonight. I really thought Jeanette would make the top 4, but she lost her way big time tonight. As for Evan, I adore him, but he’s definitely not as good as Brandon or Ade, and he doesn’t have the benefit of a top dance to keep him in the running tonight. Alas.

Other thoughts:

  • Ellen DeGeneres is such a joy. Her timing is amazing. I adore her. It was impossible to write down all of her improv, because she’s just so quick, but I think my favorite moment was when she started a critique with, “I’d been asking for tickets to a taping for a really long time, and these were really good seats, so I sat here, but I didn’t know they were going to make me judge.”
  • Furthermore, Ellen’s jacket was très adorable.
  • Cat dressed up like the Emmy she’s never going to get!
  • Travis Wall’s group number to “Let It Rock” by Kevin Rudolf featuring Lil’ Wayne was like a futuristic version of Conan O’Brien’s “In the Year 2000.” Excuse me, it was like “In the Year 3000” went to a rave.
  • “It should just be this huge banana extravaganza.” – Travis Wall, discussing his routine and, perhaps, some sort of sex act.
  • “It’s crazy off the chain!” – Mary Murphy, saying something she should never say again.
  • Mary got a train whistle. I approve of this. It emits a much more pleasant sound than her screaming when she gives train tickets.
  • I’m sorry to report that I don’t have a Hot Tamale Train Ticket count for the night, as I evidently forgot to write them down. I have failed you all.
  • Official Mary Murphy Scream Count for the night is 5, though!
  • Did anyone else immediately think of Dracula when they saw that the “May It Be” cover was by Hayley Westenra? No? Just me?
  • Mia Michaels wants to brutally beat and eviscerate Jason. Don’t you test her. She will do it, because she is a cutter!
  • Where did Mia get that cross-referencing dictionary? Is it from Hogwarts? And can I get one so I can look up three things at once?
  • “When [your grandparents] first sent you to dance class, did they ever expect you’d be a zombie mistress? – Nigel Lythgoe
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The Wife:

Before I begin to discuss last night, I’d like to take a moment to congratulate four of our SYTYCD Choreographers for their Emmy nominations! The Emmy voters have nominated TabNap for “Bleeding Love,” The Emmy Award-Winning Mia Michaels for “Mercy,” Tyce DiOrio for his truly beautiful Adam and Eve jazz piece for Jessica King and William Wingfield and Dmitry Chaplin for his Argentine tango for Joshua Allen and Chelsie Hightower. The SYTYCDers lead the pack in this category, facing only one nomination from that other reality dance competition program (a jive from Julianne and Derek Hough) and the “Musicals are Back” showpiece from the 81st Annual Academy Awards. The sheer number of nominations snatched up by SYTYCD, I think, reinforces what I love about this show and proves to me that the Emmy institution’s decision to expand their categories to six nominations this year has allowed for more thoughtful decisions and recognizes true artistry. Nothing makes me happier than to see people share in the joy of this show, and to see great art recognized. So, congrats to Nappytabs, Mia, Tyce and Dima! (And on a personal note, even though I hate Tyce, I sort of want him to win so he’ll stop doing shitty Broadway and return to his strengths as a jazz choreographer, which is obviously where he really shines. See? I’m not totally mean!)

Now that we’ve reached our Top 10 Dancers, the producers decided that we didn’t have a moment to waste and treated us to 5 routines, 10 solos and 2 group numbers for the top girls and boys. For the sake of my sanity, I’ll discuss the routines in my typical fashion (Excellent, Good to Very Good, Mediocre, Problematic), followed by the solos ranked in order of their impressiveness and then, just for larfs, the group numbers.

The Excellent

Jeanine and Jason (Contemporary)
Choreography by SYTYCD Season 2 Runner-Up Travis Wall, who now has dark hair and tattoos. (My new fantasy celebrigays: Travis Wall and Adam Lambert. Best. Couple. EVER.)
Song: “If It Kills Me” by Jason Mraz

Thank you, Travis Wall, for attending the Debbie Allen Dance Academy so you could give me this beauty.

Thank you, Travis Wall, for attending the Debbie Allen Dance Academy so you could give me this beauty.

This was an absolutely stunning piece of choreography by an amazing contemporary dancer (whom you may remember from the last thing The Emmy Award-Winning Mia Michaels won an Emmy for . . . season 2’s “Bench Dance” with Heidi). I was so impressed with Travis’ choreography and its dynamism. He truly took us on a visual ride here in a piece with levels, floorwork, individual sections, synchronized leaps, jumps, lifts, story and sensuality. There wasn’t a single moment in this work that felt inorganic, and it’s a testament to Jeanine and Jason’s skills as dancers that they danced it with complete authenticity. I believed them, and I was there. Seriously, this was better than most movie sex scenes at capturing romance, longing and what it’s like to finally heed the word of your body. The only critique I can really give here is that it was apparent in the beginning of the number that the necklace wasn’t working the way it should. When they do this on tour, I would do away with the prop altogether. It worked for TV, but on stage, it would be too small of a prop to notice and, in fact, I think the motions of giving it and taking it would absolutely still work without the actual prop. So there’s that. But even that prop malfunction couldn’t diminish the work that was done with this. Sheer brilliance, and great collaboration that, to borrow from Debbie Allen, is “evangelizing dance in a way nothing else has.” Amen, Miss Allen. Mary awarded it a silent scream, just to appease Conan O’Brien, who lives in fear of her shrieking. (Does is still count as an Official Mary Murphy Scream if no sound comes out? This is the eternal question.)

Melissa and Brandon (Broadway)
Choreography by Tyce DiOrio
Song: “Aquarius” from Hair (It’s the New Broadway Cast recording, for those who care.)

See, this is what dance on Broadway these days actually looks like. This is why I don’t think that Broadway is a style of dance because the kind of dancing required in a Broadway show should be varied to suit the mood, music and story. But on the other hand, without that label, what the fuck would I call what Tyce usually does? (Husband Note: “Crap.”) Anyway, I give Tyce his fair share of crap for the kind of hokey work he usually produces, but I’ve long said that his jazz work is some of the strongest I’ve ever seen. I love the piece he did for Ivan and Allison in season 2, I love the African jazz he did for Pasha and Jessi in season 3 and Emmy voters and I both love the near-silent jazz piece he created for Will and Jessica last year. He works best when he’s freed from his desperate need to be like Bob Fosse, and I’m glad he chose to do a piece from Hair this week, for a few reasons.

Far out, man.

Far out, man.

First and foremost, this piece reminded me what Tyce is like when he’s good, and his choreography was really good in this one. It lent itself to the characters he created, suited the spirit of the show and told a story along with the music. Secondly, I’ve never actually seen Hair, and my first experience listening to the whole cast album (with the new cast) was on our drive up to Seattle the other week. I’ve had it stuck in my head ever since because I really dig it. (I mean, who writes a libretto like that anymore?) Third, the cast of Hair came all the way from New York on their dark night to perform on The Tonight Show and watching them take over the studio actually moved me a great deal. Of all the New York-based late night shows, Conan O’Brien was the best at booking Broadway actors (Husband Note: Second-best, as Letterman usually has that covered.), and I thought it was wonderful that he got an entire cast to fly out on their night off to bring that experience to the culture suck that is L.A. I can only imagine what it was like for those Burbank audience members to have their hair tousled by love-spreading hippies, a kind of interactive theatre experience that is basically dead in L.A. It was just really fucking cool. (Cooler than when they did it at the Tonys, that’s for sure.) Finally, just yesterday, the cast announced that they’d be going dark on October 11 so they could all join cast mate Gavin Creel (who plays Claude) in Washington, D.C. for the Equal Rights March. Nothing could be more in the spirit of that show and its message of peace, love and understanding than for its entire cast to join an openly gay cast member in his fight for equality.

I guess Nigel wasn’t quite hip to anything about Hair and why it’s important (other than Twyla Tharp’s choreography of the movie, which I have seen and don’t love), because the only thing he could really comment on was how “this was the time when white girls danced with black boys.” Uh, yeah. In fact, if he’d ever heard the damn show, he would already know that “black boys are delicious.” To his credit, though, the fact that it was danced by dancers of two different ethnicities did indeed highlight the message of that particular song and the themes of the show. (And may I say that the black boys on SYTYCD are indeed quite delicious?) Brandon and Melissa danced this number just as beautifully as it was choreographed, and I have to give extra props to Melissa here for being so in character. She’s a great little actress, and I can only imagine how much of a joy she’d be to work with.

The Good to Very Good

Jeanette and Ade (Hip-Hop)
Choreography by TabNap
Song: “Love Sex Magic” by Ciara ft. Justin Timberlake

Paging Dr. Funk.

Paging Dr. Funk.


This was a very cutesy number from TabNap, and I think it was danced with a lot of gusto from both Jeanette and Ade. However, I was very worried for Jeanette during their tuck-and-roll segment because something about the way she hit the floor looked off and I thought Ade might smoosh her head. The use of Ade’s magic hairpick was pretty cute, too. But because it isn’t Travis Wall’s piece or Tyce’s rendition of Hair, I don’t have a whole lot to say about it.

Kayla and Evan (Viennese Waltz)
Choreography by Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin
Song: “Kiss from a Rose” by Seal

A testament to the power of footwear.

A testament to the power of footwear.

I completely agree with Nigel that this number’s biggest problem was the fact that it didn’t look like a Viennese waltz, and I also agree with Mary about the clunkiness of Evan’s turns in the final third of the dance. However, I thought the rest of it was really pretty good. The wizardry of shoes managed to even out the height disparity between tall Kayla and her vertically challenged partner, Evan, and with the exception of that final third, they danced this really well. Kayla was great all around, actually, and I give Evan points for keeping up with her. His feet may not have been spectacular, but his frame was really good and he supported her well throughout the dance, especially in that lift.

The Mediocre

Randi and Kupono (Paso Doble)
Choreography by Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin
Song: “Dies Irae” by Carl Jenkins

The weakness of this Paso Doble had nothing to do with the music or the choreography, but everything to do with Kupono. He just didn’t dance this hard enough or with enough passion. Randi at least made a good show of putting on her fiery face, even if she, too, is guilty of the most cardinal Paso Doble sin of not dancing hard enough. A great Paso has to be danced into the ground, stamped and bullied like a great flamenco number or, you know, the bullfight it’s emulating. All in all, it just wasn’t up to snuff, and I can’t even give that death drop full credit because Kupono took her out one half turn too early. I did, however, not mind the addition of Randi’s wig, although I resent Nigel’s comment about how she did it to create some passion, which basically says that women with shorthair are passionless. Thanks, Nigel! I’m sure Mia Michaels it the most passionless person you’ve ever met, with that elfin pixie cut!

For all Kupono's good acting in other pieces, I fail to see where it went this week.

For all Kupono's good acting in other pieces, I fail to see where it went this week.

The Solos

1. Ade once again performed a completely insane, off-the-hook solo to – of all things! – “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers, complete with a backflip toward the stairs that actually made me fear for his life. Not even kidding, he was so close to those stairs I would he was going to break his neck and die on national television. But he didn’t! Because that’s how good he is!

2. Jeanine gets a million extra points from me for choreographing her solo to the same song (“Violento – Up Mix” by Bailongo!) that underscored her tragic Argentine tango with Chbeeb. She presented a really interesting 30 seconds of dancing that mixed her classical technique with some Latin-esque moves. It was impressive.

3. Brandon needs to join Alvin Ailey immediately if he doesn’t win. He’s just so amazing and so ready, as I think this solo to Jeffrey Gaines’ cover of “In You Eyes” proved.

4. Evan reminded his fans exactly why we like him by performing a great, classic little 40s-style number to Rufus Wainwright’s “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart” from the Rufus! Rufus! Rufus! Does Judy! Judy! Judy! concert. I only wish he’d entered his windmill segment about five seconds earlier so we’d have been able to see his full glory.

5. Kayla did an absolutely Radomkulous contemporary solo to Elisa’s “Rock Your Soul.” She’s just so good. Why don’t you love her, America?

6. Jason actually showed me he was creative and had personality with his funky, down-home solo to Muddy Waters’ “Train from Home.”

7. Jeanette closed the solo portion of the show by proclaiming “This is Miami,” which, in fact, I think she is. Like, when I think of Miami, I think of Jeanette.

8. Melissa performed a much weaker ballet solo this week than she did last week to “Gabriel” by Lamb. Still pretty, though.

9. Randi did a graceful contemporary routine to “Dream” by Priscilla Ann. It struck me when I watched this that I actually had no idea who Randi was outside of Evan. She’s a good dancer, but I don’t think she has the spark that the other girls in the competition do.

10. Kupono gave us one of his best solos ever, but still the worst of the night. He danced to “Marina Gasolina” by Bonde do Role, and I have no idea why he insisted on doing so in a gay zombie costume.

As for the group numbers, we were treated to a whole lot of ethnic dancing tonight, with the girls performing a Nakul Dev Mahajan Bollywood number and the boys performing a Jeffrey Page African dance. I thought both numbers were absolutely stellar and a joy to watch, but of the two, I think the girls’ number was more expertly danced. I agree with Nigel that none of them stood out as better than the rest, which of course also means that no one fell behind as worst of the bunch. As far as the story was concerned, I’m pretty sure that number was about how women seduce men and take them off the path of righteousness. You know, like a really fun dance version of the scene in the Disney Jungle Book where Mowgli sees a girl fetching water and all of a sudden he decides he wants to live with human folk. Hmm . . . maybe it’s about how women’s beauty civilizes men? Whatever. Who the fuck cares? It was fun, and the girls made a great show of it. Nigel even put them on his “hot bangers-and-mash train,” which I’m pretty sure is his penis.

With the boys, I think it was much clearer in this number that some of the boys just aren’t as strong as others. Although Evan stuck out like a sore thumb because he is the only male dancer on SYTYCD without ANY kind of ethnicity, he wasn’t the worst dancer of the bunch. No, that honor goes to Kupono, who fell back into his old critique of simply looking too feminine. While all of the boys kept up with the fast footwork of this number, I thought the thing that truly separated the men from the boys here (if you’ll pardon the expression) was the detail in the arm movements. It was clear that Evan and Kupono simply didn’t have the arm strength to uphold those angles like Jason, Ade and Brandon did. But even then, Evan kept it up a little better than the Hawaiian, who too often looked limber and willowy, rather than bold, geometric and strong. Here, I thought Nigel was being a little too complimentary in saying that no one stood out, because someone definitely did.

So based on the pairwork, dancing and solos, my picks for who is going home tonight (and this is putting my faith that American will still, at least for the next two weeks, vote out the less-strong dancers before turning this competition into a favorite-dancer-free-for-all) are Randi and Kupono. I don’t think Randi’s anything without Evan, and it’s already pretty clear that America doesn’t love the tall Hawaiian because he dresses poorly and, I repeat, IS NOT AND WILL NEVER BE MARK KANEMURA. Also, Fox.com promised me I’d hear about Kupono’s furniture collection. I am very disappointed that I haven’t heard about this yet. Please mention it in his exit package so I can at least feel like mentioning that in his website bio was slightly justified.

Other thoughts:

  • Given that I am in the process of getting a large botanical tattoo on my shoulder, I’ve decided I need Cat’s green strapless dress so I can show it off at cocktail parties. I’ll probably find it later when I go interweb hunting, but if anyone beats me to it and posts a link in the comments, I will . . . uh . . . send you a cookie . . . or something . . .
  • Jeanine danced so well last night that she ALMOST made me forget she opened the show wearing a romper. I’m sorry, but if you’re a grown woman, you shouldn’t be wearing something meant for toddlers.
  • At the show’s open, why was Kupono wearing a man-corset that he didn’t bother to lace closed? What’s the point of an open corset?
  • Dear Hollywood types: Please don’t hire Kupono as a stylist or designer one he leaves this show. The gay zombie look is so gauche.
  • Now I know that Cat is a Rufus Wainwright fan, and that makes me love her all the more.
  • When Dev called the Top 5 girls the “Bollywood Bombshells,” I was reminded of a great 1960s Bollywood soundtrack for a film called The Bombshell Baby of Bombay. My friend Lauren loves that soundtrack, and when we cook and drink at her house, we always end up listening to it. Good times, Bombshell Baby of Bombay.
  • I am very disappointed that we didn’t see the Fame trailer last night, as Debbie Allen basically IS FAME and Kerrington Payne is kind of starring in it. Maybe tonight? Maybe a special performance from the cast of Fame? Maybe maybe?

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:

For those of you who aren’t entirely aware of the situation going on at the networks right now, Chuck is in danger of being canceled. And it’s not entirely because the show doesn’t have viewership. It’s because of Jay Leno. It took me a bit to come to anger about NBC’s decision to give Leno the 10 p.m. slot five nights a week. At first, I just thought it was sad that there would be five pilots that wouldn’t be seen, and that it really sucked for Conan O’Brien who would still be in Leno’s shadow. But then I realized that in addition to those five pilots that wouldn’t be seen (which, of course, means thousands of people who, because of Jay Leno, will not have jobs), the few shows that are currently succeeding in NBC’s desolate 10 p.m. hour would have to be shifted forward into the 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. timeslots. NBC has three editions of Law & Order, a very successful franchise that will most certainly be given 9 p.m. timeslots. Heroes has been renewed, even though I’m not watching it anymore, which will either keep its 9 p.m. slot or be shifted to 8 p.m. Medium and Southland are doing well enough that they might be shifted to 9 p.m. timeslots. What that basically means is that four shows that currently have a 9 p.m. to 8 p.m. timeslot will have to be canceled to shift the 10 p.m. shows into the schedule. Chuck is in severe danger as an “on the bubble” show of succumbing to this fate. (Technically, Medium and Southland are also “on the bubble,” but I have a feeling NBC will end up renewing those over Chuck. I’ve heard good buzz about Southland, and I think people watch Medium, although I have no idea who those people would be.) If Chuck gets canceled, it’s not because it isn’t a good show. It’s purely Jay Leno’s fault.

And, to reiterate, because of Jay Leno, five pilots will not air, which means that thousands of new jobs won’t be created. Because of Jay Leno, four shows will likely be canceled, which means thousands of jobs will also be lost. It’s a pretty bleak economy, and NBC has just made it worse for those who earn their bread and butter as PAs, grips, wardrobers, gaffers, makeup artists, writers and set dressers. This is not a good thing to happen to the television industry, after so many were out of work for months during last year’s pre-economic downturn writer’s strike. Just think about that before you contemplate catching Leno before Conan. Support NBC’s other programs. And, while it’s still here, support Chuck. Because the past two episodes have been totally fucking amazing.

The two-part search to find where Fulcrum has stashed Scott Bakula begins with Chuck’s earnest plea to do whatever it takes to find his dad, even if that means removing Jill from custody to get close to her uncle Bernie (whose nutsack you have seen in Borat, by the way). To do this, Chuck and Jill fake an engagement and, when gangster Bernie realizes something is very not right about the situation, he threatens to kill the couple in the attic (after an amazing chase scene set to Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf”) . . . until he has a heart attack and dies on the spot, earning Chuck his titular “first kill.”

Uh, is this where the GRE Subject test is being held?

Uh, is this where the GRE Subject test is being held?

Unfortunately, Bernie dies without giving over the information they’d need, so Sarah is ready to send Jill back to jail, but Chuck, on advice from Morgan to trust the person you trust the least, lobbies to keep his end of the deal he struck with her. This proves especially useful when Bernie’s cell phone rings and Chuck answers, finding out that Fulcrum has plans to move Orion. Jill says she recognizes the address and Sarah begrudgingly agrees to let her go with them. It’s Fulcrum’s recruitment center, so Chuck and Casey pose as potential Fulcrum agents and try to bypass security to get to the 8th floor where Orion is being held, but to no avail. They walk through Fulcrum’s propagandized halls and are forced to take the aptitude test, which Fulcrum uses to separate Chuck from Casey. Realizing this, Sarah and Jill break in and start raining hellfire down on the Fulcrum agents that surround them while Casey, dressed as a window washer, shoots through the windows of the high rise to save Chuck. Jill escapes in the ensuing melee and catches up with Chuck who, after accidentally pushing Fulcrum’s head of recruitment out the window is also dangling precariously in an attempt to save him. Jill pulls back Chuck, causing him to drop the Fulcrum agent, bringing his kill tally to a total of two.

Chuck learns that Fulcrum has moved his father to an outpost in Barstow, CA called the Black Rock (and yes, the potential for a time travel-induced Lost crossover did enter my mind), and he allows Jill to escape by letting her keep the very expensive engagement ring provided to her by the government so that she can get away and have money to live off of with no paper trail. Although Chuck wants to rescue his father, the General fears that because the asset has been exposed to Fulcrum for what it really is, the project has to be shut down, with Chuck kept in lockdown in Washington, D.C. until the storm passes. Sarah is sent to the Buy More to catch the unsuspecting Chuck, and in a moment where we’re sure that Sarah is going to betray our hero, she turns around and whispers to him that she was sent to take him to lockdown, but that they’re going to the Black Rock, as she casts off his watch.

I wrote at the end of my notes that this episode was a total game-changer, and with the subsequent episode, I can tell you that Chuck is riding so high right now that, if it does succumb to cancellation, it will at least go out on an excellent end-of-season/series arc because “Chuck vs. the Colonel” was even more game-changing than “Chuck vs. the First Kill.” With Sarah and Chuck gone AWOL, the General sends Casey after them with the enticement that, as this will be his last mission with the Intersect project, he will have his pick of missions thereafter and will be promoted to Colonel. (It’s pretty difficult to make Colonel. In fact, let me take a minute to be extremely impressed that General Beckman is a woman. Women almost never make General or Admiral. There are, I believe, only 57 women of that rank in the United States.) Casey starts his search by looking for clues at Chuck’s home, only to be confronted by Ellie and Awesome, at which time he panics and tells the fretting bride that her brother hasn’t shown up for work and he was just looking for clues to see where Chuck would be. And then very inauspiciously exits through Chuck’s window.

This raises Awesome’s suspicions about Casey, and he heads to the Buy More to ask Lester and Jeff what they know about Casey. Despite the store being in the throes of the takeover by Emmett Milbarge (who tricked Morgan into helping him usurp Big Mike’s position by pretending that the performance review was to get Emmett promoted to store manager at another store) Lester and Jeff are eager to break into Casey’s store locker and show Awesome the contents of Casey’s secret locker, which contains not only a photo of President Reagan, but also a Chuck diary, in which Casey has recorded Chuck’s every bathroom break in the two years he’s worked at the Buy More.

Sarah and Chuck find the Black Rock, which is sadly not an old slaver on a mysterious island, but a desolate drive-in, under which the base is located. They check in to a nearby motel and wake up cuddling, which quickly turns into something more, and would have turned into every Chuck and Sarah ‘shippers dream had Morgan not stolen Chuck’s only condom and replaced it with an IOU. (I appreciate that Chuck practices safe sex, but am surprised that someone smart enough to go to Stanford keeps a condom in his wallet.) As Chuck heads out to buy another condom, Casey catches up to him and is prepared to also capture Sarah, but she’s already set up a Casey trap in their room so they can escape. After knocking Casey out, she chains him to the radiator. As they’re about to takeoff, they realize that Fulcrum’s around, and Chuck insists on heading back for Casey . . . who has already torn the radiator off the wall and hopped in the car moments after Sarah leaves to get him. She is captured by Fulcrum and the two agents battle it out with the Fulcrum captors (Casey using his radiator as both a shield and an accessory), eventually landing Chuck and Sarah in Casey’s backseat as they make their way back to Burbank. The drive-in flashes a “12AMTRON” sign on their way out of the Black Rock – a message from Papa Bartowski – but Casey won’t turn back.

Youre out of ammo, Walker. And I could still beat you with a radiator.

You're out of ammo, Walker. And I could still beat you with a radiator.

Awesome breaks into Casey’s apartment and gets locked in by his absurdly secure security system, while Lester and Jeff stage an attempt to make Emmett look bad by shutting down the power at the Buy More with some explosives they found in Casey’s locker. They end up blowing out the power for a few large blocks of Burbank, shutting down the power in the Castle just long enough for Sarah and Chuck to escape their holding cell and get to Casey’s apartment in time to break up the brawl between two such awesome men. At a loss for words to explain the situation, Chuck tells Awesome he’s a spy and hands him his own spy mission to keep Ellie calm and not let her in on the situation until the wedding. As cool as Awesome thinks it is that Chuck is a spy, he has a really hard time not spilling the beans to Ellie. Man, it’s a lot of pressure to be that awesome, I guess.

Sarah and Chuck head out to the drive-in again to try and find the Black Rock at the site, but General Beckman wants to annihilate the site. Casey catches up to Sarah and Chuck and tells them about Beckman’s plan, as well as his own intention to follow through with his word to help save Chuck’s father.


“One more step it’ll be your last. No hugs!” – Casey


The trio pulls up to the drive-in to see dozens of sports cars robotically peeling back their convertible lids with besuited men inside them, all positioned for the midnight screening. Roark, happy that Papa Bartowski has completed his Intersect, stands atop the screen and announces his plan to create an army of human intersects in pretty much the fucking coolest use of an old drive-in ever. Chuck heads off to the projection room to stop the showing and walks right into Roark’s trap. He’s unable to stop the show, but demands that everyone in the room who doesn’t want to succumb to his fate close their eyes. Papa Bartowski tells Chuck that it’s okay for him to look because he made this Intersect for Chuck . . . to erase the one that’s already in his head. Roark is furious that Bartowski outwitted him but Beckman’s airstrike hits the drive-in before Roark can get his hands on either Bartowski. Scott Bakula grabs his Intersect-eraser and his son and piles into Casey’s car, where Chuck wakes and realizes that his life can finally be normal again – in every way possible. He is free.

Seriously, how creepy is this image? Never before has someone made me think a drive-in is creepy. Its usually where I go to watch terrible movies and eat Chinese take-out in my car.

Seriously, how creepy is this image? Never before has someone made me think a drive-in is creepy. It's usually where I go to watch terrible movies and eat Chinese take-out in my car.

Morgan also realizes he can be free of the life he’s been trapped in during the Emmett vs. Big Mike battle for control of the Buy More, and strips off his assman chains (as assistant manager) and declares that he will go to Hawaii to study the ancient art of hibachi and fulfill his dream of becoming a Benihana chef. And he’s taking Anna with him. Both Bartowski men make it home in time for Ellie’s rehearsal dinner, and she couldn’t be happier to have her brother and her father at her side. Even though Casey has no ties to Chuck anymore, Chuck invites him to Ellie’s rehearsal dinner as a friend, and he accepts, which just goes to show that even the heart of a cold-hearted killing machine can be warmed over by the prospect of an open bar. And Sarah is finally free to attend the event as Chuck’s real girlfriend. Even though it’s not said, the smile on her face as she takes his hand in the courtyard says it all. But I doubt this idyll will last long, as Roark has somehow survived the air strike and is hitching his way to Burbank to crash Ellie’s wedding as we speak. (Husband Note: He presumably had a safety bunker underneath the playground rocking horse he taps knowingly.)

These two episodes were filled with excellent spy work, humor and, in the case of “Chuck vs. the Colonel,” truly dizzying action sequences which, I think, were the strongest of the whole series. Although I truly hate the fact that Chuck might not come back next fall, I feel that if the series does end, it will feel like a complete story has been told, and I can be happy with that. Although, truthfully, I’d miss watching Adam Baldwin grunt. I’d miss that a lot.

The Husband:

It’s true. Chuck will very likely not be back next season, and it’s a goddamn shame. This shit’s really stepped up its game this season, and as I keep reiterating, it has found the perfect balance between goofy comedy and bomb action/adventure spy thrills. It has an incredible roster of recurring day players, most with stellar backstories and believable intentions (both good and bad), plus a geek’s encyclopedic love of mostly 80s-based pop culture. Why the fuck aren’t you watching?

Next week is promised to be a true gamechanger, which of course includes at least one wedding, and also the fact that a major character is going to die. I don’t have an answer for certain as to the identity of said dying character, but I do have slightly more information than just a random fan through a series of acquaintances, but I’ll hold onto that info until the series ends, as I’m not big on spoiling things for anybody. Especially me. Hell, maybe I just won’t say it at all. That’s how anti-spoiler I am.

Note: So, our DVR thought this episode was called “Barney Stinson: That Guy’s Awesome,” so if you saw this post with that title earlier in the day, you can blame Comcast. IMDB calls this episode “The Possimpible,” which is a much better title. Although, presumably, Barney’s video resume is indeed titled “Barney Stinson: That Guy’s Awesome.”

The Wife:

Robin needs a job by the end of the week or else she’ll get deported, so the gang rallies around to find a way to keep their Canuck friend in the country. She’s tried for four months to get another news job, but even at auditions she’s sure she can get, she somehow gets pysched out and loses them, like the time some smarmy reporters from Denver went up against her for an anchor job and made her self-conscious about her sign-off phrase, leading her to come up with something so horrible and long-winded that I was only able to catch this part:


“Stand tall, New York. Trustworthy. Recycling. Wear a condom.”


As they start to review her reel to ascertain exactly why news stations don’t want to hire her when disasters like the above aren’t present, they realize that maybe they, too, should start to revise their resumes and delete some of the things that make them sound cool, but don’t really get them anywhere at all.

This whole plot was pretty much here for the jokes, and the jokes were pretty amusing, as they often are with HIMYM‘s grand manipulation of the flashback. Robin likes to keep her first reporting job on her reel because she feels it shows where she comes from, even though everyone else hates the clip so much that they secretly hope she gets attacked by a bear at the end. Ted likes to keep his college radio stint as the mysterious Dr. X on his resume, even though no one, including Marshall and Lily, actually liked Dr. X at all. Marshall and Lily liked to listen to his broadcasts stoned and make fun of him. And no one ever came to his happenings. Marshall includes the fact that he was a slam dunk champion back in 1995 who earned the nickname Vanilla Thunder, until he developed “dancer’s hip” and couldn’t dunk anymore. Lily prefers to use her resume to boast about her hot dog eating abilities. She took first place at the Coney Island Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest in 1995, billing herself as Lily “The Belly” Aldrin and gloriously showing off her distended hot dog belly after downing 29 hot dogs in 8 minutes. (I am so happy this show found an unexpected way to show off Alyson Hannigan’s baby bump. You go, baby Slayer! You’ll work your way onto this show one way or the other!)

Hot Dog Belly is the hottest thing I've ever seen.

Hot Dog Belly is the hottest thing I've ever seen.

Barney, however, doesn’t include anything extraneous on his resume. Actually, he doesn’t include anything of substance at all. He has a video resume in the tradition of that Russian guy whose extreme video resume was all over the web last summer, filled with images of Barney standing next to horses, revving a motorcycle engine but not actually riding it and, of course, standing next to the American flag in a tuxedo, just being awesome. As Barney interviews himself, the interviewer sporting a British accent, he spouts out non-words like “the possimpible” and “visitivity” and “insaneulous” to show how creative he is. After all, this kind of resume is exactly what people are looking for.


“That’s what corporate American wants: people who seem like bold risk takers, but never actually do anything.” – Barney Stinson


But because Barney’s insanely ridiculous resume got him 11 job offers, Robin enlists his help to make her own insaneulous video resume. He encourages her to invent her own portmanteaus, but gets defensive when she tries to take his, and then asks her to break a stack of bricks with her head. Robin wonders why she actually has to do stuff in her video while Barney just got to stand around. He explains that, as a woman, she automatically has to actually prove she can do stuff, trying to inspire her with the rhetoric of feminism:


Robin: I can’t break 15 bricks with my forehead.
Barney: Robin, it’s not 1950 anymore. Yes, you can.


But this is the last straw for Robin, and she reaches her nadir when she heads off to audition for the worst possible job a television personality can have: being a Lotto Girl. (Incidentally, Barney has a game he plays with the nightly lotto numbers that uses them to reveal the true sadness in the Lotto Girl’s life, like her actual age vs. the age she pretends to be.) The producer and director of the lotto segment think Robin is too stalwart for the job, and she fails to get it, returning home to her friends with the heavy heart of someone who has to move back to Canada.

one really good reason why Robin should never be a Lotto Girl.

This face: one really good reason why Robin should never be a Lotto Girl.

Meanwhile, Marshall, after enduring much teasing about his dancer’s hip, informs Lily, eerily:


Marshall: Lily, I have something I need to tell you . . . I dance more than you know.
Lily: I don’t know how to respond to that.


His dancer’s hip, of course, is not at all from a basketball injury, but from his secret passion for dancing for joy, which he often does behind closed doors when something good happens so as not to embarrass himself. Until the day he danced a little too vigorously and injured himself, that is. Lily encourages Ted and Marshall to give up listing Vanilla Thunder and Dr. X on their resumes, insisting that they no longer need to judge themselves on accomplishments from their youth. The very idea of these resume revisions reminded me of a segment Conan O’Brien’s been doing on his show since the inauguration wherein he tries to heed the words President Obama quoted from scripture, “The time has come to give up childish things.” In accordance with that, Conan has slowly been retiring some of his insaneulous characters, like the alligator with gaydar, the really tall Daschund (a favorite in our home) and the FedEx Pope. There is, of course, a point where we all have to give up some of our former accomplishments in an effort to make ourselves relevant in life and on the job market. Being Dr. X or Vanilla Thunder may make you more interesting as a person, but a less serious job candidate.

By the end of the episode, Barney manages to save Robin by submitting her video resume to several networks and fielding calls for her, ultimately getting her a prime offer to host a morning talk show on channel 12. Should GNB ever fold, I think Barney should seriously consider being a talent agent. Clearly, he’s got something going for him in that arena. Thankfully, Robin hugs Barney, but not after both parties linger for a moment in which I hoped they’d spontaneously kiss. In deference to Robin’s new career move, Ted and Marshall decide to remove Dr. X and Vanilla Thunder from their resumes, although I hope they’ll save that information to toss out at office cocktail parties. Lily, however, refuses to give up her hot dog eating stats and decides to go for another record, downing 33 dogs at McLaren’s in 8 minutes and displaying an even more prominent hot dog baby bump, which Marshall fondles in awe. So fucking cute. Also cute: Lily immediately and proudly updates her stats on her resume as the boys delete theirs.

If it weren’t for the flashbacks and Barney’s amazing video resume, this episode would have been a little too generic. However, those elements are the very things that elevate HIMYM above the level of a basic sitcom, even when it comes across a standard sitcom plotline. Mostly, I am suddenly inspired to make my own insaneulous video resume and start inventing endless portmanteaus so I can be just as awesome a Barney.

Oh, and one more thing to add into the “Why I’m Like Lily” column: she speaks Italian. Or, at least her resume claims she does.

The Husband:

Having just mainlined the first four seasons of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, I’m hoping of all hopes that Robin’s new job will be a major focus in the upcoming episodes as well as the next season. There’s something quite wonderful about news stations as settings on American television sitcoms that really make me happy – my favorite show of all time is Aaron Sorkin’s Sports Night – and even middling dreck like last year’s Back To You still found a chance to worm its way into my heart every now and again.

A morning show is a great opportunity to continue Robin’s ascent into true responsible adulthood, and may even give us a few great extra characters. It’s a great source for conflict, but even if it just ends up being like Ted’s architect job – meaning, it’s kind of beside the point of the show’s stories and rarely discussed – even the slightest acknowledgement of it will make me happy.

As for the episode, I think I found it funnier than others – my coworker would go so far as to declare that it sucked – but I appreciate Robin’s arc this season, how she has sunken so far that she will basically be forced to reevaluate the way she lives her life despite her strong will. And Barney’s eventual insistence on always being there for her puts him in a great position for their relationship.

But yes, coworker, it would have been nice to see Robin’s Barney-made video resume.

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