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Introducing Your Season 8 All-Stars

Tonight’s Top 10 episode is going to rock, not least of which because it’s the first time we’ll see the Top 10 dance with the All-Stars.

First, we have Melody Lacayanga, the Season 1 runner-up. I chose her disco with SYTYCD Canada judge/choreographer Blake McGrath because I don’t normally go for disco and this Doriana Sanchez disco was fun. I didn’t watch Season 1, but looking back over the season, it seems like Melody’s partners tended to get eliminated a lot. I hope this doesn’t happen to her Season 8 partners!

Allison Holker from Season 2 was an All-Star last season and had some phenomenal routines. I’m going to resist my urge to find videos from last season and instead give you something from her original season. Here is her Alex da Silva Argentine tango with her original partner Ivan Koumaev.

Pasha Kovalev was also an All-Star from last season and I am NOT going to show you the phenomenal tango he did with winner Lauren Froderman. No, I am NOT. I’m going to stick with first seasons and show you him “out of his element,” dancing Mandy Moore jazz with Sara von Gillem.

Yet another All-Star from last season, Twitch Boss was originally the runner-up from Season 4. Chelsie Hightower, who was also from Season 4, was scooped up by DWTS along with Lacey Schwimmer, danced this fun Nappytabs hip hop with Twitch during their season.

Comfort Fedoke, also from Season 4 and also an All-Star last season, also danced with Twitch. Instead of showing you that video, I’m going to show you dancing with Mark Kanemura, Chelsie’s partner for most of the season, in another awesome Nappytabs hip hop.

Brandon Bryant was the runner-up of Season 5. I so want to show you his Wade Robson jazz with Janette, but Margaret showed that video in her All-Star post (same reason I didn’t show Pasha & Sara’s West Coast Swing). So instead, I’ll show you their Dave Scott hip hop, where they were both “out of their comfort zones.”

As an All-Star last season, Kathryn McCormick danced so much with Robert that I could just give you one video for both of them. However, let me show you Kathryn in her Season 6 glory (she came in 3rd), especially since her season didn’t get their own tour. So here she is, with runner-up Jakob Carr in a contemporary routine choreographed by Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden.

Season 7′s Robert Roldan (3rd in his season) has already danced once in Season 8, with Caitlynn Lawson, so he was already an All-Star as far as I was concerned. Because the All-Stars started at Top 20 last season, most of his dances are with Kathryn or another All-Star. I wanted to show you his Dee Caspary contemporary with winner Lauren Froderman, but it wouldn’t embed. Instead, I’ll show you their Dmitri Chaplin (Season 2 and DWTS) samba because it’s fun and they were both out of their element.

Chelsie’s only going to be an All-Star for tonight’s episode and it sounds like they may switch up the All-Stars from week to week. It’ll be interesting to see who else they bring on board and all of the great routines that result. Also, I haven’t ever seen it confirmed, but Allison and Twitch may be dating and it’ll be interesting to see them together as All-Stars again. Also, I’m dying to see our Georgia peaches, Kathryn and Season 8′s Melanie Moore dance together. You know what else I’d love to see? I’d love to see a current contestant dancing with an All-Star and choreographed by another SYTYCD alumni. That would be awesome. :)

Are they any Season 8 contestant/All-Star pairings you’re dying to see?

July 20, 2011 I Written By

SYTYCD Season 6 Cheers and Jeers

Here’s Season 6 in review. Y’all brought up a lot of this stuff in recent comments (Mrs. D’s comment in particular), which gave me the idea to do a review of the season, what we liked and didn’t like. If you disagree with me (or agree), feel free to put your two cents in, as it’s all subjective and I’d love to know what you think!

Jeer:

This season felt more rushed that any other that I can think of. Between baseball, the Presidential address, so many audition episodes and an early end to the season because of Christmas coming up, I feel like this year’s Top 20 got shafted on actual dancing time. But not just the dancers – the choreographers got fewer chances to wow us. And the audience lost out, as well.

Cheer:

I loved that I didn’t have to wait till the summer for a new season. While America’s Favorite Dancer gets a shorter reign if they continue on the two seasons a year model, we had a shorter wait, which was really nice. After Season 5, I just don’t know how I would have contained my SYTYCD longing. Are the producers hoping to follow a Survivor/Dancing with the Stars model with the two seasons a year thing? If so, they should be just as smart about scheduling and not hesitate to move the finale to a separate night (like Survivor’s Sunday finale yesterday).

Jeer:

The new stage, or at least the screen behind it. It seems like we’ve transitioned from utter hatred toward the new stage, which always threatens to swallow up the dancers, to an acceptance that we’ll probably never get our intimate little stage back. Many readers have begun to say that the screen and imprudent use of it, is actually the bigger issue.

Cheer:

The group numbers were able to utilize this enormous space in really pleasing ways. It’s nice to think that SYTYCD can now command (and fill) a larger audience space. Maybe it’ll end up being a wonderful challenge to the choreographers (as well as the production crew, especially camera folk) to recapture that intimate feeling.

Jeer:

It was awful having three static judges (Nigel, Mary and Adam). No new blood! Adam seemed to be the only one who had something to say, most reliably at least. And when the three additional judges (Debbie, Lil C and Tyce) came in for the finale, it felt like an eternity since I’d seen them and that they were given favorites to pick rather than choosing from their hearts. Maybe that’s not true, and I’m sure they still kept up with the season, but their involvement didn’t have the same feeling because they never rotated in and out during the season.

Cheer:

Adam Shankman is a wonderful addition to the judging panel. I didn’t mind him being a constant, I only minded that there was no new blood. You almost always knew what Nigel and Mary were going to say, so he was a breath of fresh air (especially at the beginning of the season). Adam is funny and honest (he called out choreographers for bad routines!) and you get the impression that he’ll actually hire the dancers he likes (i.e. when Noelle got cut, I was okay because I felt Adam wanted to work with her), so he’s a valuable part of the panel.

Jeer:

Shane Sparks and Alex DaSilva‘s arrests (both for sexual crimes related to their dance students) are not only damaging to the choreographer’s careers, but also haunt the dance community at large and threaten to harm SYTYCD’s image.

Cheer:

The Dizzy Feet Foundation and gala do wonderful things for the dance community, SYTYCD and for us, as it unites our favorite shows, dancers, choreographers, crews in a really positive mission. It raises awareness and gives our favorites work! We can help, too!

Jeer:

How many injuries did we have this season? Mia Michaels was rushed to the hospital at the beginning of the season. Then, Billy Bell had to drop out due to illness. Noelle was injured in the first competition show while Ellenore and Ashleigh were both hurt during the Top 8 week and Russell was injured in the finale. Did I forget anyone??

Cheer:

Despite the overly-produced and rushed feel of the season, despite all the injuries, we had a wonderful Top 20 this season. As John pointed out, they had a great mix of styles and backgrounds. We saw some consistent excellence (Jakob and Ellenore, namely) and some great growth arcs (arguably, everybody, but notably Kathryn and Russell, in my opinion). We had some “characters” to get behind this season, in Legacy and the DiLellos in particular.

Jeer:

America’s SYTYCD lost Mia Michaels this season and her absence was certainly felt. Our loss was apparently SYTYCD Canada’s gain, so while it’s good that she’s working within the SYTYCD family, there’s a great big gaping hole where she was in our shows.

Cheer:

Mia’s absence gave way to a ton of “new” choreographers this season. New to us, at least. Like Sean Cheesman, Jason Gilkison, Spencer Liff and a routine from Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden. We had more Wade Robson, more Stacey Tookey, more Mandy Moore and more Travis Wall routines, which seriously rocked. More Sonya routines, many of which blew our minds, like the “Tore My Heart” Oona - Tore My Heart - Single - Tore My Heart routine with Ellenore and Jakob.  Hopefully, we’ll get to see special Mia routines, maybe one or two a season, in the future. I don’t want SYTYCD America to be completely devoid of Mia Michaels, but I’m glad we had so many standout choreographers, new and recurring, this season.

Jeer:

This season had some really awful costumes…

Cheer:

And some really amazing music. But these two things are pretty typical of all seasons, I suppose. :)

Jeer:

No mention of a Season 6 tour! Not even on the finale show! What are they thinking? There had better be a tour, or I will seriously cry foul. I’m keeping my feelers out, y’all, and using my contacts, to see if/when the tour will be.

Cheer:

I’m glad they mentioned auditions for Season 7 because it sounds like it’ll be another summer season. So that means that we’ll either have two seasons a year, or we’ll go back to our beloved summer format (probably the former). SYTYCD keeps motoring on, which is good news. And again, we don’t have to wait several months till fall, sounds like.

Jeer:

Hell no to the Top 6! I hope Fox and SYTYCD realize they can never do this to us again. This was the worst idea ever and I suspect the results might have been significantly different, if we’d had a normal Top 4 finale. Not cool.

Cheer:

The Meet the Top 20 episode was the biggest stroke of genius and the best of all the new ideas and concepts we dealt with this season. I hope they *always* do this from now on. It was sublime to see all of the Top 20 dancing within their styles without fear of elimination. Some of the best dancing of the entire season happened in this very first episode, as evidenced by how many of the judges’ favorites in the finale show were from this very episode.

I think that’s all I’ve got. I’ve run out of steam. But I’m sure I’ve forgotten something you hated or loved, so let me know what you think.

December 21, 2009 I Written By

Another SYTYCD Choreographer Arrested: Shane Sparks Charged with Child Molestation

Scary news out of the SYTYCD world today, according to sources, Shane Sparks
was arrested today and charged with 9 counts of felony child molestation. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time a SYTYCD choreographer has been arrested, Alex DaSilva was arrested and charged with rape earlier this year.
Shane Sparks

From articles on Usmagazine.com and TVGuide.com, among others:

“According to the criminal complaint filed by the L.A. County District Attorney’s office, the alleged molestation — with an underage girl — began in 1994.”
“The lewd acts include oral copulation and other acts “with the intent of arousing, appealing to, and gratifying the lust, passions, and sexual desires of the defendant, who was at least 10 years older than [the victim].”
-US Magazine

“Sparks was arrested early Friday morning at his Hollywood home and brought to a Van Nuys, Calif., jail where he is currently being held on $590,000 bail, LAPD spokesman, Richard French, told TVGuide.com. French also added that Sparks was the “subject of an ongoing child molestation investigation.” -TV Guide

Shane has contributed some wonderful and memorable pieces to the history of SYTYCD. It’s a very unfortunate situation and will probably have a major affect on Shane’s involvement with SYTYCD. We can only hope that the investigation is completed thoroughly and fairly for everyone involved, especially the alleged victims.

December 18, 2009 I Written By

Alex da Silva Accused of Raping 4 Female Dance Students

This was quite sad news. It’s being covered a number of places online, but it looks like E! Online broke the story about Alex da Silva being arrested on 8 felony counts:

Alex Da Silva, who up until this past season was So You Think You Can Dance’s go-to salsa, mambo and Argentine tango choreographer, was arrested at his North Hollywood home this morning on a bunch of sex-crime charges involving four different women he tutored.

All told, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office charged the 41-year-old dance instructor with eight felony counts: four counts of forcible rape, two counts of assault with intent to commit rape and two counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object.

He had some real skills in choreography. It’s just sad that he had to do something so horrible as well.

Here’s some quotes from the Huffington Post from back in April as well although the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office declined to press sexual assault charges against Da Silva due to lack of evidence, pending further investigation.

[Alex da Silva] was arrested Saturday on suspicion of sexually assaulting four of his dance students, police said.

Alex Da Silva, 41, a well-known salsa dancer who teaches at several Los Angeles dance studios, was taken into custody after teaching a class at a Hollywood studio and booked for investigation of sexual assault, Det. John Eum said.

Da Silva, who was being held on $3.8 million bail, is scheduled to make his first court appearance Tuesday.

However, the more frightening part of this whole issue is the following additional quote about Alex da Silva:

Da Silva had been accused in 2003, 2004 and 2005 of sexually assaulting three women, but for unknown reasons prosecutors declined to file charges, Eum said.

Then on March 28, a fourth woman accused Da Silva of luring her to his home, using a ruse to get her into his bedroom and raping her. Detectives went back to interview the previous accusers, found similar accusations of being lured to Da Silva’s bedroom and sexually assaulted by him, and reopened their cases.

“These four women don’t know each other at all, yet their reports read basically the same,” the detective said. He noted that one of the accusers was a minor at the time of the alleged assault.

“We’re almost sure there are probably other victims out there and we hope they’ll come forward,” he said.

How sad is this? I hope that other people will come forward if there are any. I’m still a bit shocked just thinking about it. I’m quite sure we won’t be seeing Alex da Silva on So You Think You Can Dance at least in the near future and honestly I’m glad about that.

August 19, 2009 I Written By

Just call me Charlie...but where are my angels?