Saturday, July 26, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance Top 10...

Last week, we lost Thayne’s big toothy grin and Comfort’s trick shoulder, leaving us with a handful of superior dancers and Jessica. Well before the airing of the Top 10 performance show, the fan sites erupted with the rumor of Jessica’s abdication from the competition, attributed to a mysterious injury or something. In her place, the show has invited back Comfort, which gives America the chance to get rid of her all over again. On reality shows, it’s best not to believe rumors, but sure enough, Jessica is conspicuously absent from the opening montage. Cat brings her out immediately, and Jessica informs the world that she has suffered two broken ribs as well as cracked another, and will thus cede her position. Now, I’m sure her ribs are, in fact, broken, but really… so is her spirit. She must be so relieved… I know I am.

The other important note: the couples have been split up, meaning the coattails have been cut. Who has been under the false impression that America loves them, when really we just love their partner? Come on, America. It’s time to break some hearts!

First up, Joshua and Courtney. This should be good. As sad as I was to see my beloved Team Hobbits split up, I think the world of Joshua, so Courtney is in good hands. Their first dance will be a Hip-hop routine by Dave Scott. It’s a mad scientist routine, with Joshua sporting a lab coat and Courtney’s hair teased to oblivion. The routine is cute, if not a little goofy, and Courtney impresses us all with her ability to hit hard. I do have to ask, though… have we discovered another brand of hip-hop to add to the pantheon? If Tabitha and Napoleon are doing lyrical hip-hop, is this comical hip-hop? And if so, what IS stand-alone hip-hop? Does it even matter? Anyway, Courtney is certainly a sexy Frankenstein monster, and, as always, Joshua is incredible.

Kherington and Mark have been paired up, and their first dance is a two-step, which… really? A country two-step? Have we really gone from Bollywood to the Texas two-step? We must be running out of dance styles. The very pregnant choreographer assures us that this style is not as easy as it looks, and their version of it is even more difficult… very fast, tricky turns, and complicated foot-work. Kherington and Mark are game, even if this style is as far out of their comfort zones as possible, and strangely, I’m kind of looking forward to it. And then… wow. It’s bad. I will often say that I like a dance even if I don’t like the way the dancers perform it, because I’ve been watching dance shows long enough to have a pretty good idea of when the dancing is bad versus when the choreography is bad. This is certainly bad dancing. Both of them look terrified, and they seem very under-rehearsed. It’s amazing to me that these two could perfect complicated contemporary and ballroom routines, and yet this one makes them look like they’ve never danced with a partner before. The judges seem to place the blame on Kherington, claiming that she showed an obvious and matter-of-fact distrust in Mark’s partnering, and once they showed footage, I couldn’t help but agree. The bottom line was neither dancer knew where their hands and feet were supposed to be at any given time, and for the first time since I can remember, a dance on this show was an unmitigated failure. I do hope they try again with this style, because it would help break up a rather monotonous series of routines (all the hip-hop, contemporary, and ballroom can get tedious), but they may have to dumb it down just a bit. On a positive note, though, Mark in a cowboy hat did all sorts of things for me. Giddy-up, indeed.

Twitch is stuck with Comfort this week, and while I know that sounds kind of mean, let’s just be honest! Getting paired with Twitch is the absolute best thing for Comfort, though, because Twitch is universally adored. Their first dance is a smooth waltz, and I’m asleep before the dance even starts.

Ooooh, Will and Katee are together, and this should be amazing. Personally, I think Will is probably the best all-around male dancer, even if his personality is holding him back a little bit. The same goes for Katee, except I’m not sure she even has a personality. Their first dance is a Broadway routine by Tyce Diorio, set to Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat, from Guys and Dolls. Will is playing up-tight and conservative, while Katee is playing… um… milk-maid? I’m not sure. I think she’s supposed to be a slut or something, but the pigtails just say farm hand to me… Anyway, the dance is very, very Broadway, which is fine, and they’ve even got a massive boat prop, you know, to either sit down in or rock or both. At the end, Will rips his shirt open, because he’s incapable of performing a dance without baring his rippled, tight chest… not that I have a problem with that. I will say that this routine was probably too reliant on story and props, well… more so than I prefer, and I say that because now, several weeks later, all I can remember about the routine was that there was a boat. There may have been dancing, sure… but I know there was a boat. I’m saying that’s not a good thing.

Yay, Crazy Sonya is back with another contemporary routine. This time, she will work with Gev and Chelsie, and I can’t wait to see it. Gev, like Courtney, got lucky with his partner this week, because Chelsie is the only other dancer besides Joshua who I trust with Team Hobbits. Sonya’s first trip out (remember: it was with Matt and Kourtni) was only so-so for me, but I LOVED this routine. I love how connected the choreography was to the words and the music of the song (These Arms of Mine by Otis Redding). I think my fav moment is the lazy waltz around the stage; see if you can spot it in the video. I mean, it just seems to fit. Their bodies are so loose and free, almost like puppets with loose strings… I mean, perfection!

Time for round two. Joshua and Courtney are back with a rumba, and this one will be set to Hero by Enrique Iglesias. I’m not ashamed… I love this song. Appropriately, the piece is about a man’s promise to be his woman’s protector, illustrated by some dramatic lifts and intimate closed positions. I don’t think Courtney has ever performed a ballroom routine I didn’t like, so add another tick mark to her scorecard. What I love about Joshua, and the judges have said this too, is even though ballroom isn’t his cup of tea in the technical sense, he always nails the emotional aspect… the storytelling. It doesn’t matter if his hips aren’t quite right or if he fumbles a step or two. He partners well, and he brings out the character without fail. He just gets it.

Kherington and Mark are back to redeem themselves (hopefully) with a Tyce Diorio jazz routine. Tyce makes it clear in the pre-package that this dance isn’t about anything. In fact, there’s no story whatsoever. This will be important later. Quite a few positives to point out: great song (Canned Heat by Jamiroquai), very interesting choreography, and Mark is sleeveless again. Will I ever get tired of seeing his arms? For myself, I actually really enjoyed the routine, because I’m one of those people who thinks all the so-called stories can get kind of old. If I had my way, these kinds of dances, in which the dancing itself takes the focus, would be the norm as opposed to the exception. But that’s me. The judges didn’t like it at all, and were way harsh, in my opinion. After watching it over a few times, I’m starting to see what they were saying. They claimed Mark was distant from the dance, and that he really struggles when he isn’t telling a story. I don’t disagree, but I think their criticism applies more to Kherington than Mark. She looked incredibly uninvolved. Uninvolved is a difficult term, and I only use it because my music teacher used to throw it at me all the time. Uninvolved means you performed the piece correctly and it was good, but there was no spark… no sense of personal attachment to the piece. I liken it to a waiter at a restaurant who gives exemplary service but never smiles or says hello or asks how everything was. I don’t expect a waiter to kiss my ass or be my best friend or anything, but they should at least be personable and, you know, pleasant. So Kherington and Mark performed the dance well, all the necessities were there, but they seemed uninvolved, which took some of the juice out of it. To be fair, involvement is a tricky, very relative, aspect of performance, but you know when it’s there and you miss it when it’s not. The judges, apparently, really missed it.

Comfort has been touched by an angel, because she and Twitch have drawn Hip-Hop as their second dance. Choreographed by Dave Scott, it’s a futuristic dance party set to Chris Brown’s Forever (I LOVE THAT FRIKKIN’ SONG!!) and it is AWESOME!! This… is the hip-hop I like. Ok, seriously, if Comfort and Twitch didn’t hit this one of the park then they would both deserve to go home, and luckily, they sure do. Li’l C, who is guest-judging, described the routine as “buck”, which he then defines as, “when internal artistry meets physical expression.” I have no idea what that means but it sure sounds complimentary.

Katee and Will have drawn the second new dance style of the evening. This time, it’s a Pas de Deux choreographed by Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, two seriously amazing contemporary ballet dancers/instructors/choreographers. I shouldn’t have to tell you what a serious coup it is for this show to have someone like him choreographing. He’s, like, bigger than Debbie Allen. And lucky for this show, he gets to work with Will and Jessica, the two dancers least likely to embarrass him. Now the Pas de Deux is a technical ballet term, but put simply, it’s a dance for two, usually about love or whatever. There is usually some internal structure to the dance, but it won’t be that deep for this two-minute routine. Mr. Richardson, and I feel like I have to call him Mr. Richardson out of respect, explains that it’s more about two people and their thoughts, expressed with movement. Well, whatever it is, it is incredibly beautiful. Except for a tiny glitch during a trick, an obviously very difficult trick, Katee and Will are superb. Their lines are exquisite, first of all, and the shapes they make are beyond anything else we’ve ever seen on this show. Will is certainly in his element with this dance as he shows off his powerful leaps, his flexibility, and his strength. I mean, some of the lifts defy gravity. The only thing I didn’t like was the music, and that’s only because I’m still not comfortable with the idea of someone covering Imagine, even if it is a cute little puppy dog like David Archuleta. But I’m picky… just watch…

This is completely unrelated, but does Will have something against shirts or what?

Finally, Chelsie and Gev will perform a jive, set to a Brian Setzer joint, and I kind of feel bad for these two having to follow the Pas de Deux. Anyway, it’s a high energy number that’s fun enough to watch, as jives go. The judges point out how much better Chelsie was at the style, which is a big no-brainer considering she’s a ballroom dancer, but I thought Gev kept up with her as well as any of the other male dancers would have. Plus, he’s Team Hobbits, so… YAY!!

If it wasn’t obvious from the videos I posted, my three favorite routines were Gev and Chelsie’s Contemporary routine, Comfort and Twitch’s Hip-Hop, and Katee and Will’s Pas de Deux. I should also mention that each dancer performed a solo, but I won’t talk about them because I barely even noticed. I applaud Nigel’s efforts to keep the show from being 80% filler, but GOD it gets boring.

On elimination night, we are treated to the first ever group Bollywood routine. I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t like it nearly as much as Katee and Joshua’s routine… I don’t know, I guess I just wanted more. In answer to that, Cat tells us that there will be two more group routines: A Mia Michael’s number for the girls, and the guys will have a mystery choreographer.

The Mia Michaels routine is breath-taking. I’ve read that a lot of people didn’t like it, but I was totally into it. So much so, that I’m gonna post it!

The guys’ number wasn’t so great for me. The only positive thing I can say is I enjoyed seeing them all in white tank-tops. I really, really like that look on guys.

They aren’t quite wife-beaters (because wife-beaters can be a little trashy), but they show off the arms and the chests and the backs… everything that is good in this world. The surprise choreographer turned out to be Nigel, of course, and you know… it’s his show; he can do what he wants.

When the results are revealed, Mark and Gev are the bottom two guys and Comfort and Kherington are the bottom two girls. I wasn’t surprised by any of this, because I figured Mark was doomed after last night’s display, and Will, Joshua, and Twitch have been crowd favorites since the beginning. Honestly, I don’t want any of the guys to leave. I like all five of them so much more than any of the girls, with the exception of Courtney. Kherington totally deserves to be in the bottom after last night, and Comfort has never been able to get America on her side.

When Gev was eliminated I was sad (NOOOOOOOooooooooo), but keeping Mark is a good consolation, as long as he keeps wearing those tank-tops. I was shocked (SHOCKED!) when Kherington was eliminated, but I figured Comfort was saved by that fantastic Hip-Hop routine. After some thought, I think America got it right. Choosing from the guys will only get harder, but at least Comfort is an easy choice next week.

So You Think You Can Dance Top 12...

It seems moot to even have a show this week, because without Kourtni and Matt around to make them look good, Comfort and Thayne must know they’ve reached the end. I’m not ashamed to admit it (ok, I’m a little ashamed), but I think about this sort of thing a lot: what would Comfort and Thayne have to do, short of mass hypnosis, to get America on their side? And what would Comfort and Thayne have to do, short of sexual favors, to convince the judges to let them stay over the likes of Twitchington or Team Hobbits? The easy answer seems to be, “Well, Reeva… they could, like, dance good and stuff,” but I think it’s more complicated than that. Clearly, America doesn’t like them – or I should say, America doesn’t like them as much as they like the others, so I guess they only thing they can do is show up, smile pretty, and try not to suck. Meanwhile, everyone else can coast…

Oh, and for real, the picture on the left is Cat on Performance Night and the picture on the right is on Results Night. It kind of looks like a before and after shot… what was Cat thinking on Wednesday?? She looks like she’s just had a hard day of teaching kindergarten on the beach…

First up this week are Chelsie and Mark. I’m not gonna lie, I missed their first dance because I fell asleep during the Simpsons and didn’t wake up until I heard Mary Murphy start squawking. They looked hot, though… sleeveless is a good look for Mark. Anyway, I caught it on YouTube later and it was apparently a Salsa. It was flirty and fun, but ultimately hard to remember (which probably explains why I slept through it).

Later that evening, they performed a Tyce Diorio Broadway routine to the tune of Smokey Joe’s CafĂ©, and I’m happy to say I really enjoyed it. Tyce Diorio’s routines have been rather hit-or-miss for me this season, to the point that I think he’s missing more than hitting… but this was a hit. Mark was sleeveless again (good choice), Chelsie was appropriately smoky and hot, and they both played their parts very well. I got a little nervous when Mark’s suspenders starting acting up, but then I thought… that’s the kind of wardrobe malfunction I like. Sadly, his pants stayed up.

Comfort and Thayne must know they’re on borrowed time, so dance choice this week was crucial, and even though I know it’s kind of pointless, I can’t help but pull for them, because he’s so lovely, and she’s such an underdog, and they keep getting struck with bad dances… I just want them to land in some good luck, that’s all. And look… they do. They draw a TabNap Hip-Hop routine and a Mandy Moore contemporary joint. Other pairs have had great success with these styles, especially the lyrical hip-hop, so if they blow it, at least we know it isn’t the source material. Hip-Hop is first, and, I’ll say it again, Thayne just can’t pull off thug. Why do they make him try? To be fair, he did his best, and it was really quite good, but if Comfort isn’t even buying it (which she clearly isn’t), then why the hell should we? The choreography is really good, though, and I immediately imagine it with a different couple and like it even more.

The same thing happens with the Mandy Moore routine. It’s such a great number – different dancers would have made me love it – but Comfort and Thayne just Do. Not. Connect. I’m tempted to blame Comfort, because it seems like Thayne is trying so hard and since I like him I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but there’s no mistaking the freeze these two have for one another. I will say that neither performance was as bad as the judges made them out to be, in my opinion, but I think the judges are just tired of delaying the inevitable. They’re also setting up the easy elimination tomorrow night. This show has gotten rather transparent, hasn’t it?

Next up, Jessica and Will. I’m getting really tired of this show forcing me to like Jessica. I’m not in a coma… I can see what they’re trying to do, and I don’t appreciate it. Or her. They will perform a contemporary routine by Tyce Diorio and (Dun Dun Duuuuuuunnnnnhhhh) The Dreaded Quickstep.

If you will recall, most of Tyce’s non-Broadway routines have an African flavor, which I only know because they tell me it is so. I mean, what was African about that routine that Comfort and Chris did? When I hear anything by Marilyn Manson, I don’t say to myself, “Wow, this would work well for African choregraphy…” But then again, I guess that’s why I’m sitting here recapping at my shit job instead of working on the show, right? Anyway, this night’s routine doesn’t have a story, per say, but Tyce directs them to think of themselves as the first man and woman on Earth, so everyone assumes he’s talking about Adam and Eve. The music is minimal and evocative (Silence from the Unfaithful Soundtrack, obviously (but not really)) and provides an almost blank slate on which Tyce can draw a beautiful picture. Will is shirtless (yay!) and sporting some short shorts, so all I see are abs and legs and… I’m not complaining. Jessica is there, too. When it’s over, the audience is very appreciative, if not slightly awed, and the judges are very complimentary. Besides the fact that it was danced incredibly well, this was one of those routines that transcend the show, in a way, because it was real art. It’s something I would expect to see in a real venue after having paid a nice wad of cash. It obviously challenged the audience (and me) because it wasn’t just two people we like performing a crowd-pleasing number to a song we recognize… it was so much more. Anyway, loved it.

The quickstep, on the other hand, was as uncomfortable and unmemorable as I expected it to be, so I need not dwell on it further.

Team Hobbits, aka Courtney and Gev, performed a Cha-Cha and Mandy Moore jazz routine, and even though they didn’t get many accolades, they remain my default favorites. I must mention that the Cha-Cha was choreographed by Season 3 alums Pasha and Anya, and I desperately wish this show could find more reasons to have Pasha. I mean, he is ratings gold. I would watch that man have a root canal. Well, he’s as fine as ever, and the routine he puts together for Courtney and Gev is so much fun. I’m not sure if Courtney knows it, but she really shines on these Latin Ballroom dances. She’s got a smoldering sexiness, perfect for these styles, and she and Gev just seem to have a ton of fun dancing them. Gev is such a trooper, too, and even though he does kind of slip into the background sometimes, he’s holding his own.

Later, Mandy Moore’s jazz routine, about two kids lost in the jungle, is cheeky and bouncy, giving Gev a chance to be silly (which suits him). While this won’t go down as the most exciting dance of the season, I smiled all the way through it, and that has to count for something.

Now for Twitchington. They started with a Krump routine that I just did not like, and I had to meditate for a while on why… I think I like the style of Krump, especially when it’s done well, but I guess I can’t tell the difference between Krumping and regular hard-hitting hip-hop, at least in the context of this show. Maybe I don’t like it because of the obvious disadvantage it poses to these white contemporary dancers… not because I feel sorry for them but because none of them can do it, so the dancing suffers. If I want to watch white people dance poorly, I’ll watch Dancing with the Stars. Anyway, this routine bored me to tears, regardless of whether or not Kherington managed to be “buck” and, surprisingly, I wasn’t even enthused to watch Twitch, even though this is supposedly right up his alley. Again, I feel like I should like this stuff, so maybe I’m out of touch?

Their other routine was a Smooth Tango, and for God’s sake, someone is going to have to do a better job of explaining the differences between the Tangos. There’s the Tango, the Argentine Tango, and now… the smooth Tango, and I mean, can’t we just call them all Tangos and go home? Anyway, the storyline for this dance is a cheap rip-off of the Mr. and Mrs. Smith dynamic, and ya’ll… I didn’t like it at all. I thought it was tedious. Both dancers seemed tentative, and neither one brought any fire or passion. Except for one fairly impressive lift, NOTHING HAPPENED! I can’t rag on the choreography, either, because I feel strongly that a different couple (Chelsie and Mark, maybe) could have totally sold it.

And here’s Katee and Joshua, bringing up the rear. Their first dance was a Viennese Waltz, and I’m so sorry but I don’t remember anything about it… like, at all… and even though I’m writing this three weeks later, I can promise you that I couldn’t remember this routine five minutes after watching it. I’m sure it was magical and beautiful and touching and all that because it’s Katee and Joshua, after all, but seriously…

What we really must discuss is the Bollywood routine. I think this dance marked the first time this entire season that I’ve actually been excited about a routine. Like, this was the first time I actually felt compelled to watch it on YouTube so soon after the show that I couldn’t find it because no one had posted it yet. Since then, I’ve watched it a gazillion times. I have a vague, unsatisfied fascination with Bollywood, and I say vague because I’m not even sure what I like about it, and I say unsatisfied because I know so little about it that I have no idea where to start looking on the interwebs for more! We have an Indian restaurant here in town that plays Bollywood on giant screens, and most of the time I forget to eat (ok, that’s a lie) because I’m completely absorbed by the videos. Anyway, I loved this…

On elimination night, we start with a group routine from Nappy Tabs, or TabNap, or Tapoleon, or however you wanna call ‘em. For the record, I’m totally on this particular train (I have no interest in the hot tamale one, thank you very much)… I think Tabitha and Napoleon are frikkin’ awesome. And since the last few group routines have been, in a word, bad, I was very pleased with this one, if only because it wasn’t boring.

The bottom 3 was hard to predict this week, or rather, two out of the three couples were hard to predict. The first two couples on stage were Katee/Joshua and Comfort/Thayne. I like to think it took every ounce of Cat’s willpower not to roll her eyes and just escort Comfort and Thayne backstage herself, but no, we must go through the motions: Katee and Joshua are safe and Comfort and Thayne are not. The next two couples were Jessica and Will and Chelsie and Mark. I wasn’t sure about this pair-up because Will and Jessica had that awesome contemporary routine while Chelsie and Mark had two good, but not all that memorable, routines. Well, the national distaste for Jessica struck again, though I swear I could hear the audience collectively screaming excuses to Will, “It’s not you, dear, it’s her!” Even sadder, I think Jessica could hear them, too. Finally, in a surprise for me, Twitchington is finally (FINALLY!) called out for their less than stellar performances and Team Hobbits is safe! I have absolutely nothing against Twitch or Kherington, but I was thrilled to see that America wasn’t going to let them slide through purely based on Twitch’s exuberant personality. This show has the best audience of any I’ve seen… seriously.

Is it bad that I’ve stopped watching the solo routines all together? I don’t get anything out of them and I really can’t fathom what the judges see in them, either. I wouldn’t be upset if they did away with them all together. Anyway, the eliminations are not surprising in the least… Comfort and Thayne are booted. Both seem grateful for the experience, and Comfort seems surprised that she made it this far at all (little does she know). I was sad about Thayne not making the tour, although, don’t they usually take the Top 12 (the last two serving as alternates)? I still feel like Thayne got screwed by the Fates, because I think he and Chelsea T. (remember her?) would have been awesome had they drawn better dances… now we’ll never know. Comfort, on the other hand, never proved to me that she could effectively dance anything besides her own genre. Many people have commented that her only real flaw was her inability to connect with her partners, but you know, I’ve said it before… I wouldn’t expect a girl like Comfort to have chemistry with the likes of Chris and Thayne. But since it is a competition, she must rise above, and… she didn’t.

I feel I must mention the strange implications of Nigel’s comments during the eliminations. After dismissing Comfort and Thayne (thus saving Jessica), Nigel says something along the lines of, “the truth is we’d rather get rid of two girls.” Of course, the camera flashes straight to Jessica, and the nation nods in agreement (or at least I do). This, plus Mia’s comments from the night before (she said, “Will, I think you’re tired of carrying her. You need a new partner.”)… OUCH!! I mean, I don’t like Jessica either, but that was way harsh, don’t you think? Anyway, my point is: Jessica is going to break some ribs in the next few days and drop out of the competition. Coincidence??

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance Top 14

Ok, sue me for just now getting around to talking about So You Think You Can Dance. But as I was starting to dive into it, I remembered why I stopped recapping in the first place. The Top 14 show had fourteen dances. FOURTEEN. That has to be a record. I can’t recap fourteen dances. I mean, I have a lot of free time, but not that much free time. So, let’s just hit the highs and lows.

Speaking of lows, Cat Deeley wore this…

The only commentary I can muster for this look is, “Ewww.”

Last week, we lost Chelsie and Chris, so the new couple to watch is Comfort and Thayne. I’m not going to lie, I was a little worried for these two kids. Comfort really struggled through all the genres that weren’t hip-hop or krumping, and I don’t think anyone is excited about seeing Thayne act all thug. Seriously, this pairing is most incongruous, so it’s all going to come down to what dances they pull from the hat. But we’ll get to that in due time.

First up are Will and Jessica. Will continues to gain momentum, even as he’s carrying Jessica like a beast of burden. Meanwhile, Jessica continues to try very hard, and yet, not be all that great. I read a lot of recap blogs and television fan sites, and no one has been able to articulate what it is about Jessica that just… doesn’t sit well, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t even matter. We don’t like her.

Of their two dances, the lyrical jazz piece choreographed by Mandy Moore is the highlight. It’s the shirt dance, so called because the two dancers fiddle with an oversized dress shirt throughout. And not just any shirt… Will’s shirt. That’s right, he dances shirtless, which is very hot, because his body is ripped. The shirt prop is used masterfully, and for the first time, Jessica seems to be enjoying herself – totally in the moment of the dance. She’s dancing the dance instead of the dance dancing… on her… ok, I’m not quite sure where I was going with that, the point is: it was really good.

Comfort and Thayne are next, and lucky for them, they’ve drawn Broadway and the Smooth waltz. While these dances aren’t going to be anything to write home about, at least it isn’t Krumping followed by contemporary. I’m saying: both genres are equally out of both dancers’ comfort zones, which should be an advantage, because neither dancer should be able to outshine the other. The Broadway routine, despite the fact that it’s set to one of my favorite tunes from West Side Story, is forgettable at best. I feel like they’re both trying sooo hard, especially when it comes to chemistry, and yet… I got nothing. I feel nothing. I don’t believe it. But actually, I don’t expect to believe it when I watch them, because the idea that Comfort, who is kind of stand-offish, could be sexually attracted to someone like Thayne, who is clearly a big homo, well, it’s ludicrous, isn’t it? I mean, why would they have any chemistry?

And sure, we can talk all day about faking it and acting but we aren’t blind. Comfort and Thayne, poor dears, do all the right motions and their expressions are right on, but… no dice. I will never buy it. And I’m sad because I love Thayne more than String Cheese, and Comfort is awesome. Oh well, can’t win ‘em all.

Matt and Kourtni will be dancing Hip-Hop and Mambo this evening. These two have had an interesting journey. They were two of the brightest stars in Vegas, early favorites, almost shoe-ins, and from their very first performance… they’ve been slipping. The bigger they are, the harder they fall, and these two are freakishly tall, so… TIMBEEEEEERRRRR. That said, I love Matt a little bit. He is rather strange, but he’s cute in a totally non-threatening kind of way, which is why I think Nigel doesn’t like him.

I think Nigel confuses non-threatening with effeminate, and they are totally different things. Like, it’s totally possible to be effeminate and threatening - if you’ve ever known a drag queen, you know I’m right. Anyway, tonight just wasn’t their night. First, they performed probably the worst hip-hop routine this show has ever had, and I would just like to say it was bad all the way around, from the choreography to the styling to the music, just… badness. I mean, they put Matt, the third whitest guy in the competition, in a mandanna under a fedora. That’s just wrong. Their mambo went significantly better, but not enough to make the judges be nice. I however, really enjoyed it, mostly because I thought Matt looked particularly yummy (and non-threatening and effeminate, but I don’t have a problem with it like some people).

Mark and Chelsie probably had the best night overall, I think. Mandy Moore, who was on fire that night, apparently, put together a jazz routine set to Kiss, Kiss, by (???) that can only be described as delightful. Mark has become so impressive - he’s nailing all of these genres so well. I wish the judges would stop calling him quirky, because there’s nothing quirky about him at this point. He’s just good. Chelsie, meanwhile, is awesome in every kind of way. I haven’t become attached to her in the same way as Sabra, but I don’t know, maybe I’ll get there.

Twitchington (and can I be honest? This whole Twitchington thing started to make me tired. I mean, I do love Twitch, and I’ll swear to that on a stack of pancakes, but this pair is sooo over-rated… they aren’t that good…) had a hot and cold evening. Cold would be their Paso Doble, which was the first (and hopefully only) BORING Paso I’ve ever had to sit through. I think the choreography was at fault for most of it, but Twitch didn’t add anything to it, either. Kherington carried him through that one. And then came Mia Michael’s bed routine, which was all kinds of hot, allegedly, but… I don’t know. I couldn’t help but feel like this was Mia’s attempt to recapture the magic of the bench routine, and honestly, it didn’t really hit. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was good… but I wasn’t jumping out of my chair. Even a shirtless Twitch (and seriously, he’s built like furniture) couldn’t make this routine what I think it was supposed to be. Maybe there was too much “stuff” going on… bed-hopping, rose-petals, Kherington appearing and reappearing in different places… it was kind of all over the place. Don’t quote me, but I don’t think Mia is going to get her second Emmy nom with that one.

So the first Mia Michaels routine was sort of… meh. That’s OK, because Katee and Joshua were around to redeem all. Their first dance was a stripped-down Mia Michaels routine. No props, no real story… just amazing choreography set to good music. The two of them flying down length of the stage, Katee kind of fake-running while Joshua carried her… I think that was my favorite part.

As much as I adore Katee and Joshua, I did suffer during the West Coast Swing. I mean, first of all, Katee looked awful (not her… the outfit), and I just didn’t get it. I think I like WCS, but maybe only when Benji does it. I think this dance requires a certain shamelessness, and no one can deny Benji is the biggest ham this show has ever seen. Indeed, Katee and Joshua aren’t used to having to beg the audience to enjoy themselves, which is maybe why this routine didn’t really work. I understand, however, that a lot of people liked it, so… maybe I’m just out of touch.

And finally, Courtney and Gev take the stage with Hip Hop and Broadway. To be fair, their Hip Hop is better than Matt and Kourtni’s, but not by much. These Cicily and Olisa characters did not have a good night. I say, Fired. Anyway, the Broadway routine was, thankfully, loads of fun. Set to On the Town, Courtney and Gev really sold it, and Gev is sooo cute, isn’t he? He’s really starting to grow on me. He’s a got a great smile, too. Anyway, funny story, I don’t remember too many details about this dance, because all I could see in my mind’s eye was Justin from Ugly Betty in his sailor outfit mincing away to, “New York, New York, a hell of a town, the Bronx is up, but the Battery’s down…” Uuuugh, totes can’t wait for that show to come back on!!

On elimination night, I’m fairly confident Comfort and Thayne are toast, but the bottom three… who knows? We start with a rather lackluster Broadway routine from Tyce Diorio, and I’m totally just being nice. It pretty much sucked.

The bottom 3 ended up being Comfort and Thayne (of course), Matt and Kourtni (no surprise), and Courtney and Gev (Noooooooo!!). Actually, as much as I hate seeing Courtney and Gev in any kind of danger (I’m totally Team Hobbits), it wasn’t really a big deal. Based on the performances, it was either going to be them or Will and Jessica, and the shirt routine was awesome, sooo… Courtney and Gev it is.

You know that Kourtni and Matt got the boot because this happened three weeks ago, but was it right? Methinks the judges probably thought Matt and Kourtni had just about exhausted their chances with the populace, while Comfort and Thayne were a new pairing and therefore deserved another shot. Me also thinks the judges were considering the glut of contemporary dancers in this competition, and losing Kourtni and sparing Comfort would go a long way in preserving some diversity on the dancefloor. Honestly, Thayne and Matt are two peas in a very gay pod, so it was probably ‘half of one, half a dozen of the other’ situation for the judges. We can’t be getting all sentimental though. There are lots more cuts left to make. I’m just sitting here thinking what I’m going to do when the people I like start dropping. It won’t be pretty.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Knitty McKnitsalot, here with an update…

Sadly, my compulsion to knit has waned over the past few months. On the one hand, I’m saving a truckload of cash (yarn is expensive, ya’ll), but on the other… my yarn stash takes up more space than all of my clothes, which is a problem. Li’l Sis is my greatest patron, however, and right after I finished her monogrammed scarf/wrap/stole for her birthday, she commissioned another scarf for her trip to London in the fall. I started it in March (I think), and I’m pleased to announce… it is complete.

And now for a close-up…

It’s a basic cable pattern… nothing too fancy. I added a gartered selvage in the hopes that it would prevent the reverse stockinette background from curling up on itself, but… it didn’t work. The only reason it is lying flat in the picture is I’ve bolted it down with two copies of Harry Potter. Luckily, Li’l Sis doesn’t mind the curling, because when she wraps it around her neck, the rope-like quality keeps it tight and compact and warm, which will be all to the point on those freezing London nights.

I’m especially glad that I finished it and that she likes it, because I looks like I won’t be joining her in London for a visit after all (sad face). It’s good to know she has a piece of something suffocating her to remind her of home.

Next up on the knitting agenda…

I realized as I was rifling through my knitting patterns that I’ve knitting almost nothing for myself. Not even a scarf. So I’ve landed on some vest patterns that I think I can manage. I don’t know if I’ve told anyone, but I’ve grown rather partial to the sweater vest, even though they make me look like a substitute chemistry teacher. If I do it right, I look dashing and chic, but without calling to mind a waiter at a 4 star restaurant. My plan is to master the pattern and then create one-of-a-kind creations with unique embellishments. I’m thinking strategically placed argyle…in bright, gay colors… hmmmm…

Also, I absolutely MUST pick a blanket pattern for nephew/niece, who is due next month. I have no delusions of finishing it on time… Baby will have to settle for getting it at Christmas. I really don’t think he/she will care, as long as it’s FABULOUS!

I’m alive and so are you…

Sorry I’ve been such a slacker with the blog lately. Call it an unplanned hiatus. Granted, the work issue has been bad for business, but I think I’ve turned the corner. I can’t blog, necessarily, but I can work on posts. I’m to the point that even if my boss suddenly appeared over my shoulder and read what I was writing, I wouldn’t care. I’d be all, "well… it isn’t like you’re giving me anything to do, so I’m just killing time, right? Transition and all that? you lazy bitch… oops, did I just say that out loud?"

I’m not bitter. I’m just bored.

Anyway, I know my readers will forgive me. At least, I know you’ll be nicer about it than my blog. When I signed on and opened up a post page, the first thing it did was shriek and crouch in a corner looking at me through its fingers, kind of like it was seeing a ghost. After a few moments, it said, in between involuntary shudders and gasps of breath, “Reeva? Is it really you?” After I responded in the affirmative, it jerked up and made for my throat. It throttled me violently as it screamed, “What! You don’t call, you don’t write. I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEAD!! Of all the rotten, horrible, thoughtless things you could do… I mean, it’s been WEEKS!!” With the little breath I could manage, I managed to squeeze out, “Geez, I’m sorry. I’ve been uninspired (gasp), and a wee bit depressed (wheeze) about things, and I didn’t want to (choke) bother you with complaints because I enjoy the idea (huff/puff) that my blog is half-way fun to read, instead of a downer.”

Happily, my platitudes (my very earnest and sincere platitudes) had an effect, and the bitch let go.

The blog went right back to business, even as the color began to return to my face. It adjusted its spectacles, whipped out its trusty clipboard of potential blogposts, and began to go over the to-do list…

“Alright, you lazy bastard,” it began, “we have a lot of work to do:
1. You are three weeks (I said THREE! [1, 2, 3]) behind on So You Think You Can Dance recaps. It seems unrealistic to expect full and detailed recaps, so management has agreed to let you do short versions…
2. You’ve seen two movies, Hancock and Wall-E, both of which you liked. I need to know why...
3. A new season of Big Brother and a new season of Project Runway have started without any commentary. This is a travesty and must be rectified immediately…
4. You’ve read three whole books (I know, weird) and I’m dying to know how that went…
5. You’ve watched the first season of Torchwood, a UK sci-fi show about bisexual alien-hunters. How was that for you?...
6. You knitted a scarf and it is IMPERATIVE that you show it off…
7. Not to MENTION the loads upon loads of celebrity gossip and hot men that have percolated through the blogosphere.”

I said, “Um… wow. That’s quite a lot, isn’t it?”

Without any sympathy, my blog responded, “Well, it’s your fault for letting things pile up like this. The good news is I’ve checked your appointments: work should be slow (yeah, I know, right?) this week, and you’re on vacation the week after, so I think you’ve got time. BUT, you need to get a move on, because those T.V. shows are just going to keep airing new episodes, and the celebrity gossip stops for no man.”

“Well, I suppose I should… get to it.”


“I missed you…”

“Aww… that’s sweet. Now shut up and type.”

Here’s the deal! I plan to tackle the to-do list with several posts, so check back often. Now that I’ve typed this, it’s kind of a commitment, so I do to follow through, I just can’t promise I’ll do it in a timely manner. Anyway, I’m back…

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Mary tagged me for a meme!

1. Last movie you saw in a theatre?
Actually, I experienced a rare and very welcome Movie binge earlier this summer, taking in Ironman, Indiana Jones, and Sex in the City in a two week period. That’s more movies than I saw all last year, so it seems I’ve met my quota. But I definitely plan on seeing WALL-E, Hancock, Twilight, and the Harry Potter movie later in the year.

2. What book are you reading?
Believe it or not, I’m currently reading Wuthering Heights. It was never assigned to me in high school (I think I got stuck with Tess of the D’urbervilles instead)… Anyway, this wasn’t a random thing. I just finished reading the first three Twilight books (all in about a week and a half, bam-bam-bam style), and the novel was mentioned several times. In a way, it was used as an extended allusion, running parallel to the story. The whole time, I was frustrated because I wasn’t sure I was getting all of what Stephenie Meyer was trying to communicate when she alluded to Wuthering Heights, so it seemed fitting to pick it up and see what all the fuss was about. The good news: I’m kind of enjoying it, which surprises me.

3. Favorite board game?
This one is tough because I LOVE board games in general. If I really want to think and stuff, I rely on Chess, but if I’m just looking to enjoy myself, I like Boggle, Cranium, and Trivial Pursuit (I should mention I’m terrible at traditional Trivial Pursuit, because I’m not one for the obscure knowledge, but I DOMINATE the themed versions, like 90’s pop culture or Lord of the Rings). Ultimately, though, I think my favorite is probably Monopoly.

4. Favorite magazine?
Entertainment Weekly, hands down. It feeds all of my cravings: celebrity gossip, music, movies, and TV. People can get a little tedious for me with all those human interest stories. I think the Tab Mags are fun, but I don’t feel like I’ve learned anything after flipping through one.

5. Favorite smells?
Garlic bread… freshly mown grass… citrus

6. Favorite sounds?
Dance music, a really good coloratura soprano, Pavarotti singing anything, most things by Tchaikovsky, Enya… Wow, those are all music-related. Let’s try again… I love hearing my friends’ ringtones…

7. Worst feeling in the world?
Loss and the loneliness that inevitably follows.

8. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up?
1,001 creative ways to destroy my alarm clock.

9. Favorite fast food place?
That depends: McDonald’s for fries. Wendy’s for burgers (and Frosties).

10. Future child’s name?
Jim Bob for a boy and Soda Pop for a girl.

11. Finish this statement. “If I had lot of money I’d…”Ahh… crass consumerism – my favorite topic. First, I’d buy a house. Then, I would buy a beach house. Then I would give a whole crapload to my favorite no-kill animal shelter. Finally, I would get whatever is left in pennies and snorkel in them like Scrooge McDuck.

12. Do you sleep with a stuffed animal?
Never. They always wound up under the bed with the dust bunnies.

13. Storms- cool or scary?
VERY COOL! Unless people get hurt, or lose their homes, or if they come near me. I love thunderstorms the best because nothing really bad happens to anything. And while I wouldn’t appreciate a tornado or hurricane destroying my stuff, I find them fascinating and exciting from a safe distance.

14. Favorite drink?
Diet Coke. And I’m going through a Cran-Apple Juice phase right now.

15. Finish this statement. “If I had the time I would…”Write! A novel… a play… a symphony… an album of cheesy techno ballads…

16. Do you eat the stems on broccoli?
I tend to avoid broccoli whenever I can, but when I do eat it, yes… I eat the stems. I can’t taste the difference.

17. If you could dye your hair any color, what would be your choice?
I would bring out the natural red more.

18. Name all the different cities/towns you’ve lived in?
Spartanburg, SC… Greenville, SC… Cincinnati, OH… Brevard, NC (this one is debatable because it was only for one summer and I hated it so much I spent quite a bit of time commuting home)…

19. Favorite sports to watch?
I only enjoy watching the Olympic sports, especially gymnastics, swimming (also, synchronized), diving, some of the track and field, ice-skating, ski-jumping

20. One nice thing about the person who sent this to you?
Mary is just awesome. I don’t know her personally, but I can tell she’s very smart, very nurturing, very supportive, and very creative.

21. What’s under your bed?
Nothing… at the moment.

22. Would you like to be born as yourself again?
Umm… Yes, I suppose, just prettier.

23. Morning person or night owl?
Total night owl.

24. Over easy or sunny side up?
Neither… I like ‘em scrambled.

25. Favorite place to relax?
My bed watching movies… any old bar drinkin’ some cocktails with my friends… on my walks

26. Favorite pie?

27. Favorite ice cream flavor?
French Silk! You have to try it. It’s kind of hard to find because not every store carries it, but trust me… DEElicious.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Good God, is it July already?

I hope everyone had a happy, trauma-free Fourth of July. Li’l Sis and I are still recovering from Sibling Smash 2008 in Washington, D.C. – and I totally plan on recapping all the festivities. Just not right now, for I am tired.

My blogging may be few and far between from now on. I’ve just moved offices (and jobs) and while I wish I could say I will be too busy to blog, the truth is my computer is rather out in the open, so surreptitious So You Think You Can Dance recaps may not be possible (I know you're devastated - try to remain calm).

The short version of everything: last Tuesday, my new boss called me and told me to pack my stuff. I was surprised because I had been told that there was no space for me down in her office, so I would not be physically moving, but my new boss was frantic to get me out of my old place, probably figuring that my old boss would continue to badger me with my old responsibilities. Rather than wait for an office to open up, my new boss decided to plant me in her office suite’s workroom/kitchen. Yeah, I know. I’m trying very hard not to be offended (my pride is a dangerous, fickle thing), and I have to constantly remind myself that this move is part of a much larger master plan to demoralize my old boss and set me up for a grander situation down the road. Buuuuuuttttt, I’m in the kitchen. Right next to the coffee maker. And the supply closet. So on Tuesday and Wednesday, I spent time packing up my desk, throwing out old stuff, dusting, and so on... and in between all that, I had to help my old boss hold her sh*t together. There were tears, but I'm pretty sure she was only crying because she was slowly realizing all the boring, mundane, officey crap she would have to do herself now that I was gone. I wanted to say SUCK IT UP! but I couldn't get a word in over the sobs.

Anyway, the new space is... well, it is what it is, but at least the people are nice.

I feel like I’m slowly turning into that guy from Office Space; the one who couldn’t bear to be parted from his stapler. True story: I totally kept my old stapler. I love it and it is mine. *Aside* If you haven't seen Office Space, then you have no idea what I'm talking about. That's a shame. Go rent it (haste post-post haste)... it may change your life a little bit). *Aside complete*

The past few weeks at work have been so surreal. Anyone who knows me is aware of my paranoid streak, a trait that has served me well in the past, if not made me just a teensy bit misanthropic. On the surface, I sense that all the players involved in my reassignment have the best intentions, for me and for themselves, but I can’t help but feel, simultaneously, a huge cloud of indifference hovering over the entire production. In other words, while they mean no malice, they don’t have my best interests in mind, either. I’m also getting weirded out by all the niceties being thrown my way: assurances that the move is a huge compliment and promises of future pay-offs. My new boss likes to plead for patience and demand my adaptability at the same time. All of these things, taken together, only convince me further that no one, least of all the people in charge, have any clue what is going on or what they are doing. If they are soooo confident in my abilities in regards to the position they have created for me, then why do they insist on tossing me about like a swimming-pool noodle, instead of treating me like a new, valued employee? And if this is all about my old, unpopular boss, why did I get stuck with all the inconvenience and stress of reassignment?

It’s really no wonder that I’ve had a hankering to play chess lately. For once I’d like to a knight or a bishop, instead of lowly pawn.