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Witney Carson & Chehon Wespi-Tschopp Star in New Dance Movie

Had it not been for Witney instagraming a photo from the premier of her movie “Dancin it’s On” I may not have know about it. The movie also stars fellow Season 9 SYTYCD alum and winner, Chehon Wespi-Tschopp. Let’s not forget that Witney and Chehon were also partner’s on Season 9, so the chemistry was already established before the movie. The plot line of the movie seems typical of a dance movie but as a fan of dance I’ll most likely check it out. The Movie hits theaters on October 30th. While Witney and Chehon are the stars, there are a few other SYTYCD alum in the film, Comfort Fedoke (Season 4), Tadd Gadduang (Season 8), Russell Ferguson (Season 6 winner), and Brandon Bryant (Season 5).

Thanks to my babe @dance11brooklyn for supporting at my premiere of Dancin' It's On! In theaters Oct. 30th 👍🏼

A photo posted by Witney Carson (@witneycarson) on

October 24, 2015 I Written By

Dance is one of my biggest passions. I grew up dancing at Augusta West Dance Studio (the same studio that Kathryn McCormick). I have a BFA in theatre/dance from Valdosta State University. Tap is my favorite style of dance.

Top 10 to Top 8: Thoughts

My favorite part of the season is here…All Stars and solos are back. It’s just something about when the all-stars join the show the dancers step up their game. There are no more saves, so whoever has the lowest votes from each team will go home. Also, there was another injury, this time it’s JJ and her ribs. Before the show gets started, Jennifer Lopez had some news. The winner of this season gets the chance to dance in her Las Vegas show.

Hailee & Brandon: Warren Carlyle (Broadway)
Such a fun, fast paced routine. This is what I like about Broadway numbers. I really can see the Liza Minnelli and Lady Gaga, when it comes to Hailee. It was just another fantastic way for her to show her personality. Side note you can find Brandon dancing in Brittney Spears in Vegas.

Derek & Kayla: RJ Durell & Nick Flores (Jazz)
Okay so not going to lie…I had to re watch this one because I couldn’t take my eyes of Kayla. I sometimes forget who is the one competing. We definitely saw a different side of Derek this week.

Virgil & Comfort: Chris Scott
This was just too cute. Chris Scott does it again…from the music selection to the dancers was just amazing. I love how effortless that Virgil and Comfort made that dance look. Virgil’s personality is infectious (such a goofball)…loved his happy dance with Cat.

Megz & Marco: Ray Leeper (Jazz)
This was another one I had to watch again…this time it was the song choice…it makes me think of “Center Stage” every time.
This was just a simply a fun routine and just makes you want to dance with them. Megz, like Nigel said, stays true to herself which is nice. Anyone else surprised to learn her parents were ballroom dancers.

Edson & Jaime: Travis Wall
Hate that Edson was eliminated tonight…moments like this I really miss the results show. Thankful he left on such a high note. One of the best of the night and Travis deserves to win an Emmy.

Neptune & Jasmine: Pharside & Pheonix
Halloween a few months early? Just a fun concept and good to see Neptune in his element.
Also, Nigel said the wrong dancers name again. This time it was Sasha who didn’t get the credit for dancing “Misty Blue” with Twitch.

Jim & Jessica: Dee Caspary
So weird to see Jim struggle in rehearsals. I’m not sure but maybe the pressure of the competition got to him a little bit. Over it was a beautiful dance but I felt that the story was a little lost…maybe it had something to do with not connecting with his partner. Agreed with everything Jason said.

Jaja & Alex:  Nakul (Bollywood)
This was so much fun…especially to see yet another side of Jaja. She is my favorite street dancer and has a really chance of winning.

Gaby & Joshua: Pharside & Phoenix
My favorite of the two Pharside & Phoenix routines tonight. Gaby is the other chameleon on the show. I have a feeling it may come down to Gaby and Jaja in the final two.

Bottom 4: Megz, JJ, Derek and Edson Going home: JJ and Edson

Stay tuned for tour info.

August 17, 2015 I Written By

Dance is one of my biggest passions. I grew up dancing at Augusta West Dance Studio (the same studio that Kathryn McCormick). I have a BFA in theatre/dance from Valdosta State University. Tap is my favorite style of dance.

Top 10 to Top 8: Thoughts and Rankings

I really don’t know where to begin, other than just start from the beginning. A very colorful hip hop routine opened up the show and I really did enjoy. Jamal Sims choreographed this number, he is also a choreographer for the Step Up movies. Speaking of Step Up the fifth installment hits this Friday with many familiar faces, including Emilio.

Back to the show, Tara Lapinski was the guest judge this week. We also welcomed back Tabitha and Napoleon, who just finished working with Derek and Julianne Hough on their tour. Oh and I can’t forget about the All Stars. Overall the show was probably one of the best this season. I almost don’t even want to rank them but I will try, with my thoughts on the eliminated dances at the end.

Top 3

Zack and Amy: The second time in the night the audience was completely silent while they danced. What can I say other than Sonya is amazing. There’s not much else to say other than I think Zack showed a lot of growth this week.

Jacque and Chehon: I have to say I was expecting a classical pas de duex not a contemporary ballet by Travis. It was a simple and beautiful routine.

Tanisha and Ryan: So good to see Ryan back and he was the perfect partner for this dance. Miriam and Leonardo choreographed another great argentine tango with amazing lifts.

Top 2

Ricky and Lauren: This dance suited their personalities. Ricky is just great at everything and I’m pretty sure he is at least one oth the top two boys.

Casey and Kathryn: Another great pairing and it is really nice to see Casey do well. Hope he can keep it up next week.

Bottom 3

Jessica and Twitch: I was worried about this but thankfully she proved me wrong. It’s like she finally realized that she needed to step up to stay in the competition. Oh and I so loved the concept too, old man Twitch is cute.

Rudy and Jenna: Well they definitely had the chemistry down and the dancing was great too. It just falls behind others that were slightly better.

Valerie and Ade: I could see where the judges were coming from, she didn’t quite get into the character but I still loved the dance though.

Eliminated

Emilio and Jasmine: Emilio went out with a bang and I wish the results show was still around. Love everything about this dance. Oh and Jasmine almost stole the spotlight.

Bridget and Brandon: A Bollywood disco, turned out to be a fun and fast fusion of two dance styles.

Next week All Stars are: Twitch, Allison, Ryan, Mackenzie, Comfort, Jamie (season 3), Nick Lazzerini, and Will (season 4).

August 6, 2014 I Written By

Dance is one of my biggest passions. I grew up dancing at Augusta West Dance Studio (the same studio that Kathryn McCormick). I have a BFA in theatre/dance from Valdosta State University. Tap is my favorite style of dance.

Top 10: Power Rankings

So since they revealed which dancer is paired with each All Star, I figur ed I would do the power rankings a little different this week. I’m choosing to rank the guys and the girls separately and predict how I think they will do next week.

Guys

Casey: After a great performance this week, he gets to be paired with Kathryn. I’ve got a feeling this will be a good partnership and most likely a good dance.

Ricky: He is the best techincal dancer on the show and hard not put him at the top of the list. I think Lauren Froderman is a good match for him and I’m curious what style they will be dancing.

Zack: He should be ok being paired with Amy.

Rudy: It will be interesting to see him do ballroom. I think he will do an ok job but Jenna could over shadow him after all she is a judges favorite.

Emilio: The height difference will be interesting. I honestly have no clue how they may do. It could be really good or bad. I  also think it depends on what style they pick.

Girls

Tanisha & Jacque: They are kind of tied for me. The are both paired with an All Star that is also in their strongest style of dance. I’m excited to see Ryan dance again. Also I’m expecting a great pas de duex from Chehon and Jacque.

Valerie: I don’t think she will have a problem keeping up with Ade.

Bridget: Why do I get the feeling she could be dancing disco, Brandon is a great partner for it. Disco is tough to pull off so it’s another wait and see how it goes.

Jessica: While I think she will be safe next week she is pair with Twitch. She has a lot of work to do to keep up with the star that is Twitch.

What are your thoughts on the pairings?

July 31, 2014 I Written By

Dance is one of my biggest passions. I grew up dancing at Augusta West Dance Studio (the same studio that Kathryn McCormick). I have a BFA in theatre/dance from Valdosta State University. Tap is my favorite style of dance.

Top 8 Power Rankings

Great night of dancing last night but with the All Stars joining the Top 10, I can’t say I’m surprised. Twitch, Marko, Brandon, Jakob, Robert, Neil, Kathryn, Melanie, Comfort, and Witney were the All Stars for this episode.

The bottom four was Jenna, Makensie, Nico, and Tucker (who was only there by default). There were no solos last night and looking back on it not sure if that was the right thing to do, but in the end Nico and Makensie were the two to say goodbye.

Since the partners were split up I figured I would rank the girls and guys separately.

Girls

Jasmine: Marko joined here for this fun dance to one of the songs of the summer. Jasmine gets the top spot cause she seemed to outshine her all-star partner; it was hard to take your eyes off her. To answer Nigel’s question, he was looking at two all-stars last night.

Jenna: I still have no clue as to why I just can’t connect with Jenna but she is a great dancer. I loved Mandy’s choreography and with Neil as a partner I say this helped Jenna.

Amy: I had to watch this twice cause the first time the song threw me off. Brandon to me is the perfect disco partner with all those crazy lift and that death drop at the end that was so close to the ground. Amy rocked this number keeping the energy up threw the entire dance.

Hayley: This is a perfect example of why sometimes dancing with an all-star isn’t such a good thing. Hayley and Twitch did have the chemistry and dance well with each other. However, even though Hayley did a great job, I think may people were watching Twitch.

Makensie: Paired with Jakob, they definitely have the best feet. This actually was my favorite dance out of all the girls so needless to say I’m sad she was voted off.

Guys

Tucker: What can I say; everything about this piece was just absolutely amazing. Travis provided us with a story that both Tucker and Robert could relate to. They have both survived life threatening accidents, I would imagine it was easy for them to tap into the emotion of the dance. I haven’t really cried while watching a dance on this show but this one came close.

Aaron: It’s crazy to think that he wasn’t part of the original top 10 guys; he has proven he deserved a spot on the show. Love watching him and Kathryn dance together.

Paul: Must have be the luck of the draw that he and Witney were paired together for this cha cha. Thankfully they did not disappoint, which I figured since this is Paul’s style.

FikShun: He is by far the most improved dancer on the show. He kept up with Melanie in this sassy jazz number. I’m excited to see what he has next.

Nico: Loved this reptilian hip-hop. I thought Nico and Comfort were selling not only the character of the dance but the choreography as well. Hated to see him leave but after Tucker’s performance I figured it might happen.

So Hayley, Amy, Paul, and Fikshun make up my bottom four but will the fans agree.

Next week should be interesting since the all-stars are choreographing and dancing with the top 8. Maybe we will get to see Travis dance on the stage again, or maybe even Dmitry.

August 14, 2013 I Written By

Dance is one of my biggest passions. I grew up dancing at Augusta West Dance Studio (the same studio that Kathryn McCormick). I have a BFA in theatre/dance from Valdosta State University. Tap is my favorite style of dance.

Podcast: SYTYCD Season 9 – Top 10 Week

Listen to the podcasts

Episode 52 direct download

Subscribe to podcast on iTunes


Time Stamps
0:00 – Introduction
1:27 – General thoughts about the bottom 4 and voting
4:12 – Bottom 2 Girls routines: Audrey & Witney
7:35 – Bottom 2 Guys routines: George & Chehon
10:57 – Other routines: Tiffany, Cole, Lindsay, Will, Cyrus, and Eliana
22:45 – Wrap-up

Episode Length: 23:42

As we move into the final set of live shows, the voting for this season continues to confuse us as Witney once again ended up in the bottom 2 girls. In particular, we’re unable to understand why she is not connecting with the audience (we think she’s fantastic!), but Tiffany, who’s been off the radar for us and seems to be an easy choice to send home, continues to avoid the bottom. We discuss the possible reasons for this, as well as what may have caused Audrey, George, and Chehon to also land in the bottom 4. Beyond the eliminations, we were extremely excited to see the return of all-star Jakob Karr, our favorite dancer to ever be on the show. We also discuss Cyrus and the way choreographers have been handling him this season, which brings up the question we asked at the end of season 8: should the show aim to choreograph/judge the dancers according to a universal standard, or should each dancer be considered individually according to his/her skill level? We should also mention that we loved the Eliana/Alex routine by Stacey Tookey, which demonstrated that with a proper partner Eliana is capable of amazing things!

Let us know what you think after listening to the podcast! You can leave us a comment here or on our blog, Reflections on Pop Entertainment. You can also follow us on Twitter and tweet with us. You can also visit our Facebook page, like us, and leave a comment there! We love feedback and will respond either with a comment or in our next published show.

August 29, 2012 I Written By

Over the past few years my fiancée Meghan slowly brought me into the world of television, turning me into a full-fledged fan of both scripted and reality shows. So You Think You Can Dance turned into one of my favorite reality shows as it is a competition that takes itself seriously, providing the audience with artistic choreography and talented dancers. It's certainly not something I ever expected to get emotionally invested in, but here I am! Meghan and I are very analytic when it comes to the things we enjoy. We constantly discussed and analyzed shows with each other and after doing this for a couple years, we decided that we should turn these discussions into a podcast. We created Reflections on Pop Entertainment, a podcast that provides commentary and analysis of popular entertainment as found in visual mediums, particularly television and film. So You Think You Can Dance Season 8 is the first television series we're covering with weekly podcasts and has allowed us to find our voice as well as actively contribute to the fan community. We hope that you'll enjoy our installments as they are posted to Pure So You Think You Can Dance!

So You Think You Can Dance Season 9: Top 8 Power Rankings

TOP TWO ROUTINES
Eliana Girard w/ Alex Wong – Contemporary
This one I thought was a no brainer for myself (if not for most people). This really showed Eliana’s technical prowess and her performance level all rolled into one. Though I’ll admit I was a little disappointed it wasn’t further away from ballet because I am sure she has had quite a bit of training or background in contemporary. Having Alex as a partner definitely helps her, she held her own and really shoned the most from the Top Ten during this episode.

Witney Carson w/ Nick Lazzarini – Jazz
Witney got to show the sexy in this routine and did she ever. She and Nick had charisma and steam oozing for days. It was loads of fun watching Nick on the show finally (especially with Melody coming on as an All-Star last season)… that was a real treat. Granted Jazz isn’t too much of a stretch for Witney to begin with, but she looked like she was having loads of fun.

MIDDLE THREE ROUTINES
Lindsay Arnold w/ Jakob Karr – Jazz
What is it with both ballroom girls getting Jazz this week? I mean really. Granted Lindsay did a fantastic job and I actually believed Jakob being her shadow during the first portion of the routine. However, what really threw me was not that she didn’t dance it well, but rather that during the times that they should be in sync I felt that they weren’t. Like when Jakob does his amazing back bend or flicks his head one way or that, Lindsay wasn’t using her full body like Jakob did. Nevertheless this was a strong routine and she really held her own, but she has got to focus on the details if she wants to melt with other dancers that are just that polished.

Chehon Wespi-Tschopp w/ Lauren Gottlieb – Lyrical Hip Hop
Understandably Chehon had a bit of trouble with the choreography, but dammit he was loose, he was free and he was having fun! What more could you ask for from someone that was doing ballet most of his life? You can’t help but be drawn into this pairing and you can’t help but notice how he just feels the music and the warmth that was emanating from him. Even though the dance wasn’t perfect he really grew leaps and bounds through this routine.

Will Thomas w/ Kathryn McCormick – Bollywood
Will’s a goofball and I haven’t seen a routine that Will has done that he wasn’t allowed to tap into his goofiness. Sometimes it fits and sometimes it doesn’t… this is one of those routines where it works and it works well enough. Will danced the routine really well but dammit, sometimes I wish he’d tone down the goofiness a bit.

BOTTOM THREE ROUTINES
Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer w/ Jaimie Goodwin – Contemporary
He could have easily screwed this up, Travis could have easily cut more corners and have Jaimie dance around Cyrus more than she did, but he didn’t. This routine truly emphasized Cyrus’ strengths in emotion, passion and partnering… yes I noticed that he struggled a bit on making the lifts seamless and his technique wasn’t perfect but dammit he really did surprise me with how much he has grown. Travis did a smart job in creating a routine that would push Cyrus to reach Jaimie’s level and even though he didn’t meet by any stretch of the imagination he did grow and grow a lot. That being said, he still wasn’t strong enough, as long as he keeps growing exponentially as he has he should be fine for at least another week.

Cole Horibe w/ Anya Garnis – ChaCha
Yes, this wasn’t the best for Cole but honestly I am not going to thrown him under the bus for it… why? Because of the following:

Sigh, the Dr says I have to stay off my foot for at least 2 days. What? No practicing!? I said, Doc, do you understand what genre I pulled??

@Dance9Cole

Cole Horibe


You read that right, Cole was actually injured this week and sidelined for two days due to that foot injury. So one couldn’t expect his feet to be perfect considering what he was going through. That being said I don’t necessarily agree with the judges saying that he connected with the audience more than Anya, I felt that there were times when he was splitting his focus with one eye on Anya and the other on the audience. I really liked these two together and Cole was always one for characterizations. If anything I would agree with Mary in the sense that I would have liked more, but I think that Cole did well as to be expected due to his injury… unfortunately despite that injury it didn’t really give as much of a cushion as it could.

Tiffany Maher w/ Brandon Bryant – Disco
There isn’t much for me to talk about with this routine, Tiffany was more in the air than on the floor so critiquing was going to be difficult. There were moments that I thought that she had a to work a bit to make the transitions smooth between tricks but it wasn’t bad. This was a very energetic routine that she did well in, however, I haven’t been able to feel much from her throughout the season and she hasn’t really captured my attention yet.

ELIMINATED ROUTINES
George Lawrence Jr w/ Allison Holker – Jazz
No surprise here, George’s performance seemed to fall flat for me here, but I had always had trouble connecting with George no matter how beautiful of a dancer he is. The one issue with this routine was the use of the cane which I kept comparing to that of Season 6’s Ashleigh and Jakob’s routine which was leaps and bounds more memorable than this. Even though the storylines differ I’ll still remember the Season 6 routine over this one.

Audrey Case w/ Stephen “tWitch” Boss – Hip Hop
I really wanted to like this routine, I really did, but dammit I couldn’t, I simply couldn’t. Audrey is another of those dancers that I haven’t been able to connect with throughout the season and she always appeared to fall flat for me. In the case of this performance she is put against someone like tWitch who is just oozing charisma and personality and she doesn’t come up to scratch she’s going to appear like a moving prop… which unfortunately is what happened to me.

GROUP ROUTINE
Paraphrased from the IdolForums:

It was a tribute to Gene Kelly, who’s 100th birthday is this week. Tyce took classic, iconic elements of Gene’s movies & incorporated them into the dance. So there’s Singin in the Rain with the umbrella (Chehon’s part), Cyd Charisse (Eliana, in a beautiful green dress), Fair Weather, Anchors Aweigh (at least that’s what I thought of when I saw Audrey, Lindsay & Witney in sailor/navy costumes but that could have also been On the Town), when he danced with Jerry Mouse, things like that. […] There were a few props on stage: director’s chair with Gene Kelly on the back, a ladder, trash can lids that Will, George, & Tyce (filling in for injured Cole) danced with, Chehon’s Singin umbrella. […] Everyone kind of danced in their own little groups seperately at various points of the dance, then all came together at the end to dance in one big group. Cole did show up at the close of the routine; […]

TOP TWO GIRLS
Eliana Girard
Lindsay Arnold
TOP TWO GUYS
Chehon Wespi-Tschopp
Will Thomas
BOTTOM TWO GIRLS
Witney Carson
Tiffany Maher
BOTTOM TWO GUYS
Cyrus Spencer
Cole Horibe
August 23, 2012 I Written By

My life can be summed up in the following two quotes: 1) "I am married to engineering and am its faithful wife by day, but at night my wanderlust takes hold and the arts becomes my jealous paramour." and... 2) "Engineering is my safety net. Writing is my passion. Acting is my escape when the other two become too much." So where does dancing fit in? Pretty much anywhere at this point... =)

So You Think You Can Dance Season 9: Top 10 Performances – Music and Instant Thoughts!

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Since I wasn’t able to see the show til the morning after… I’m posting everything now. Please bare with me and I apologize for the delay.

Dancer: Top 10 Dancers
Style: Broadway
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio
Song: Mark Isham – “The Cool World Stomp” The Cool World Stomp - Cool World (Original Motion Picture Score)

ROUTINES WITH THE ALL-STARS
Dancer: Tiffany Maher
All Star: Brandon Bryant
Style: Disco
Choreographer: Doriana Sanchez
Song: Cobra Starship feat. Sabi – “You Make Me Feel…” (Disco Fries remix) You Make Me Feel... (Disco Fries Remix) - You Make Me Feel... (feat. Sabi) [Remixes] - EP
Instant Thoughts: It was rather difficult to develop any kind of criticism because this was just shock full of tricks and lifts, which were executed really well. What I would have loved to have seen was more foot work, but what can you do? In the sense of the dance they were energetic and fun and you can’t help but want to get into the beat and groove in the movement.

Dancer: Witney Carson
All Star: Nick Lazzarini
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Travis Wall
Song: Moloko – “Sing It Back” Sing It Back - Repo Men (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Instant Thoughts: Witney needs help being sexy? Really? And she’s what? 18? I really liked this routine, definitely caught my attention and considering it is Jazz, she did rather well.

Dancer: Cole Horibe
All Star: Anya Garnis
Style: ChaCha
Choreographer: Dmitry Chaplin
Song: The Wanted – “Glad You Came” Glad You Came - The Wanted
Instant Thoughts: I was expecting a lot out of Cole this week and was a little bit disappointed. Well, he did connect with Anya but I wanted him to really dig into the steps more.

Dancer: Lindsay Arnold
All Star: Jakob Karr
Style:Broadway
Choreographer: Spencer Liff
Song: Fosse – “Dancin’ Dan” (Me and My Shadow) Dancin' Dan (Me and My Shadow) - Fosse (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
Instant Thoughts: This was fun to watch and I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t a perfect shadow at the beginning and that was a little distracting but once they started dancing together I was enjoying it more.

Dancer: Will Thomas
All Star: Kathryn McCormick
Style: Bollywood
Choreographer: Nakul Dev Mahajan
Song: The Dirty Picture – “Ooh La La” Ooh La La - The Dirty Picture (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) - EP
Instant Thoughts: Will is just one massive goof ball and that is fine by me. I thought he did decently well with this dance, he had energy but yeah sometimes that goofiness comes off as too much but in this case it works… barely.

Dancer: Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer
All Star: Jaimie Goodwin
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Travis Wall
Song: M83 – “Outro” Outro - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming.
Instant Thoughts: Wow, just wow… Cyrus definitely impressed me this time around. Pushed beyond what we perceived to be his limit… his strengths were shown with his partnering and as the judges were calling it “raw talent”. Unfortunately it also showed a little of his lack of training in this area, but considering just how much he is growing on the show that is always a positive.

Dancer: Chehon Wespi-Tschopp
All Star: Lauren Gottlieb
Style: Hip-hop
Choreographer: Dave Scott
Song: Maxwell – “Pretty Wings” Pretty Wings (Uncut) - BLACKsummers'night (Deluxe Version)
Instant Thoughts: This was another routine that wowed me, Chehon doing hip-hop? Yeeeeaaaah. He looked like he was having fun with his partner and there were a killer team together.

Dancer: George Lawrence, Jr
All Star: Allison Holker
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio
Song: Hazmat Modine – “Bahamut” Bahamut - Bahamut
Instant Thoughts: When I saw the cane I immediately thought of another routine in Season 6 and unfortunately I couldn’t keep myself from comparing between the two. George is a strong dancer, but he just has’t wowed me in the grand scheme of things.

Dancer: Eliana Girard
All Star: Alex Wong
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Song: Nancy Sinatra – “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) - How Does That Grab You?
Instant Thoughts: Definitely a favorite, this really appears to really show off Eliana in ways that she wasn’t when she was partnered with Cyrus. She really shined in this piece and having a well-trained partner like Alex definitely helped with that as well.

Dancer: Audrey Case
All Star: Stephen “tWitch” Boss
Style: Hip-hop
Choreographer: Dave Scott
Song: Janelle Monáe – “Sincerely, Jane” Sincerely, Jane - Metropolis: the Chase Suite
Instant Thoughts: For some reason I wasn’t really feeling Audrey tonight, she danced the piece decently enough, but when compared to someone like tWitch she has to really step up her game and she just didn’t for me which is unfortunate.

SOLO ROUTINES
Witney Carson: Santigold – “You’ll Find a Way” (Switch & Sinden remix) You'll Find a Way (Switch & Sinden Remix) - Fame (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Audrey Case: Jennifer Hudson – “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going (Highlights Version) - Dreamgirls (Music from the Motion Picture)
Chehon Wespi-Tschopp: Ólafur Arnalds – “Til Enda” Til enda - Dyad 1909
George Lawrence, Jr.: Olafur Arnalds – “Brotsjor” Brotsjór - Dyad 1909

I Written By

My life can be summed up in the following two quotes: 1) "I am married to engineering and am its faithful wife by day, but at night my wanderlust takes hold and the arts becomes my jealous paramour." and... 2) "Engineering is my safety net. Writing is my passion. Acting is my escape when the other two become too much." So where does dancing fit in? Pretty much anywhere at this point... =)

Open Letter to SYTYCD Producers: How to Fix SYTYCD

Dear SYTYCD Producers,

Here at PureSYTYCD, we’ve had several conversations lately about why ratings, Internet traffic and overall enthusiasm and discussion have been sinking season by season. Margaret says it can be traced to the infamous Fall season, Season 6, when our favorite show started changing swiftly and drastically. While some of the changes have been really amazing (All-Stars), some of them have been just dreadful (yes, I’m going to say it once again – the stage).

So Fox, Nigel, here are OUR pointers for how to fix the show (and readers, please, please add your own in the comments or tell us how you feel about ours and add your voice to the open letter).

1. Keep rotating judges and guest judges – just rotate Nigel right off the panel. We loved the guest judges this season (with the notable exceptions of Carmen Electra and Katie Holmes), especially the fact that we got a rotation of our favorite choreographers on the panel. We’ve learned that static judges are annoying, no matter who they are. Whether it was Nigel, Mary, Mia or Adam, we got tired of hearing the same voices when we already knew what they were going to say. Jean-Marc is a good (pervy) example of this on the Canadian show. However, Nigel almost never rotates out,  so we’re extra tired of him. If you need guest judges to replace him, we’ll make ourselves available. Hey, why not? Fans of the show are good judges, considering the best of the celebrity guest judges were the ones who were clearly fans.

2. Speaking of Nigel, let’s talk about his producing style. While we can’t say we’ve ever produced a show and we can only imagine the numerous concerns involved, we get a little annoyed by Nigel’s heavy-handed pulling-the-puppet-strings style. While we admire that he’s always willing to try new things and some of those new things have really been excellent, the best producing is the kind that doesn’t draw attention to itself. Nigel keeps insisting on shoving the dancers and the show into this perfectly produced package. (Can we talk about how the judges kept the elimination after Top 10 and it was never acknowledged on the show? And how the girls were “beasts” slaying the boys THE WHOLE SEASON, probably to compensate for the Girl Slaughter of Season 7?) Melanie got dubbed America’s Favorite Dancer (by the judges) in the auditions and was never truly challenged or critiqued (by the judges) during the whole season. It could’ve cost Melanie the win she totally deserved if she hadn’t been so adorable and talented. We’re getting tired of Nigel deciding who’s going to win and then trying to make it so. Is it America’s Favorite Dancer or is it Nigel’s Favorite Dancer? Guess which show we’re not going to watch next season?

So how do we fix this, you might ask? John suggests that we need more charismatic dancers who are really good in one style and have to fight to conquer other styles (like Ivan and Russell, who won his season). Marianya says she misses seeing the dancers really challenged at the beginning of the show. Fans of SYTYCD love watching the unexpected partnership and the unexpected dancer struggle and then achieve, making themselves our favorites in the process.

Margaret: Part of what makes those first few weeks so interesting, besides watching partnerships that we really hook into (Melanie & Marko) is wondering how other dancers would work together. If Kayla & Max/Ashley & Kupono hadn’t been in the bottom during week 2 of season 5, Max & Ashley may not have been eliminated at the same time and we wouldn’t have gotten to see the surprisingly great partnership of Kayla & Kupono—which means we wouldn’t have gotten “Addiction” and it’s rated as one of the best numbers the show has ever had, rightly so.

So one way to fix this would be to go back to SYTYCD’s roots. We’ve had some of the most technically gifted dancers the last three seasons and sometimes we could hardly bring ourselves to care because while there was nothing “wrong” with a dancer or a routine, we just couldn’t get excited. This might mean more bad routines and bad dancing but will make us so grateful again for the truly transcendent moments. Which brings us to…

3. We need diversity in dance styles and choreographers. Doreana Sanchez is not the only person choreographing disco routines and Nakul dev Mahajan is not the only Bollywood choreographer. Go to Canada if you don’t believe me. What would happen if there were only one contemporary routine on any given show or maybe only one contemporary routine every few weeks? What if we HAD to depend on Afro Jazz, House, all of the Ballroom styles, Bollywood, Pas de Deux , etc. to fill in the episode?

And for diversity, we don’t even have to look any further than the other SYTYCD franchises. Canada and UK have phenomenal choreographers (and dancers!), as did Australia. Those are just the English-speaking franchises. What wonderful choreographers could we find if the producers imported from the Ukraine SYTYCD or the Turkish or Polish versions?

4. And speaking of one big happy family, why not create another Fall show, but make it different, perhaps a shorter super competition? What if we had SYTYCD SuperStars and all of the previous contestants from ALL of the franchises were eligible to come back and compete for the “World’s Favorite Dancer” title? Maybe this show is 2 episodes a week for only 4 weeks, just to make it special and so that it might not overlap with the World Series again? Dancers featured on SYTYCD don’t have a potential “product” like American Idol singers do when they release a cd, so anytime the producers can create a vehicle for these dancers that doesn’t overshadow the current cast, they’re helping create more of a career and presence for the dancers. The great thing about this idea is that it totally supports this next point…

5. Ditch the musical guests. Or ditch about 90% of them. Keep the 10% that are willing to use SYTYCD dancers for backup dancers (including the current cast! didn’t that happen one season?). Maybe the musical performances bring in money, or maybe you producers only think they do. The reality is, they usually suck and I’m only watching the dancers anyway. It’s like, on Dancing with the Stars, the ONLY reason I watch the musical performances is to catch the dancing that happens at the same time. I would MUCH RATHER see dance performances. It’d be a good time to show us alumni dancers re-dancing their iconic numbers as much more evolved dancers (think Kent and LoFro doing the prom number – it was only 8 months later and they’d already become such different dancers). Bring in performers from all the other SYTYCD franchises, like you did with UK’s recent winner Matt Flint. Pairing him with the all-too-soon-eliminated Nick and Jess in a tap routine that THEY choreographed? BRILLIANT. Easily one of the highlights of not just the finale, but of the season. Do it more. That’s the key to re-building your audience: when you do something we like, do it more. When you do something we don’t like, stop doing it.

6. Which means, bring back the smaller and more intimate stage. Season 8’s stage (or the camera work and lack of distracting backlights) was better than the Seasons 6 and 7 monstrosity, but only by a bit. Watching SYTYCD Canada reminds me of how amazing the original stage is and you really need to listen to us and bring it back. It was a big part of why we fell in love with the show and the Seasons 1-5 dancers. Do you know why? We were closer to them. There were more physical possibilities for the choreographers when it came to moving the dancers around the stage because it wasn’t a giant, uniform thing. When it comes down to it, the stage represents the entire SYTYCD producers vs SYTYCD audience disagreement. With this big uber stage (since S6), you are focusing on the package, the spectacle. The more intimate circle stage that we love and still mourn focuses on the dancers.

Margaret: I miss my stairs! There was something about the old stage and how it was round that made the dances feel like stories, not performances for an audience. We were able to get more closeups, feel the emotions, and the set was about enhancing the dancing, not enhancing the spectacle. My best example came from, oddly, the guy I think used the stage the best during his time with SYTYCD, Wade. With “Ruby Blue,” Brandon and Janette entered the story by popping up from behind a wall and coming down the stairs, and their ability to use the stage in that entrance played a major role in the believability of the movements. But, in Season 6, with the “inside Van Goh’s head” piece Wade did for Peter and Pauline, the ridiculous fractured painting that rotated and flipped on the projecting screen was super distracting and took away from what was actually a really well-danced piece, especially from Peter. It was a very cool routine and they danced it really well, but their technical success was overshadowed by the “overdoneness” of the set.

7. Instead of spending the money on the bigger stage and a lot of flash, we would rather that you spend the money to figure out how to release SYTYCD DVDs so we can re-watch our favorite seasons without resorting to YouTube and other means. There is a market for it, so figure it out. Whenever you focus on the dancers–current, alumni, International franchise dancers, whatever–you can’t go wrong with us. That’s the simple fact at the heart of the matter.

And now that we’ve critiqued you quite a lot, here’s a list of what we like and want you to keep.

1. The All-Stars – having them arrive at the Top 10 is the perfect marriage. Keep it up. Only, we want to see them re-dance their iconic routines and you missed a lot of opportunities to do this during Season 8. Fix that.

Margaret: Not only does this give us the chance to see dancers we love again, but use this as a way to plug their success. Allison & Ivan were All-Stars in the same week, how were they not asked to dance together?! Same with Chelsie & Mark! Those are two of the most successful partnerships, and some of the best personalities, the show has ever had, be proud of that, they are SYTYCD success to the highest degree.

2. The Meet the Top 20 performance – sheer genius. It’s been a highlight of each season you’ve done it. Especially since we get to see the dancers twice on the live show before anyone’s eliminated. Keep that.

3. We like the dancers you pick! We just want you to cut back on the contemporary/jazz and pick some dancers with different backgrounds. We want them to be challenged more and truly judged, all of them and fairly. And clearly they’re talented, because they’re going on to dance in movies, commercials, music videos, music tours, Broadway shows, Glee and DWTS.

Margaret: We also love underdogs, they’re fun to root for. Give us more Tads, Russells, Dominics, Jeanines, Evans, Nicks, even Lauren Froderman floundered her 1st week and was in danger of going home!

4. Cat is the one thing most of us can agree on. She smooths over the awkward moments and she uses her great sense of humor to keep things rolling. I love it when she gets to pick dances for the finale show.

Remember, no matter what, we love the show. We only want to like it again.

Sincerely (and xoxo),

SYTYCD Fans/PureSYTYCD writers

P.S. Sorry this is a little long – clearly we had a lot to say.

September 6, 2011 I Written By

Podcast: SYTYCD Season 8 – Top 10 Performance and Elimination

Summary
It was an exciting night of performances for So You Think You Can Dance. The introduction of the all-stars gave a boost of energy to the remaining contestants and treated us to a bunch of interesting routines that show us just how strong the Top 10 is for this season. We really enjoyed the performances from Caitlynn, Sasha and Melanie as well as Marko and Jess. It goes to show how difficult it’ll be to whittle the remaining field down to a Top 4. At the moment, we believe it’s Melanie’s season to lose as she’s been absolutely phenomenal week in and out. In the podcast we discuss what we enjoyed during the performances, as well as special touches we noticed.

For eliminations, we were a little caught off guard by the judges retention of control over the eliminations after reaching the Top 10. We didn’t disagree with the eliminations of Mitchell and Clarice, we were more just confused about the rationale. We also discuss the effect of Tyce routines on this season of So You Think You Can Dance and how they’ve replaced the Quickstep as the new “kiss of death.” Every single person that has received a Tyce routine has ended up in the bottom three and half of them have gone home (at least one person per elimination week). We discuss what may be happening and wonder if America no longer likes his brand of choreography.

We wrap things up by reviewing next week’s grouping of all-stars. Overall, we like how this season is wrapping up and we eagerly await the next collection of pieces!

Please let us know your thoughts by dropping us a comment here after listening! We love to hear feedback and what you thought of the show. We also encourage you to check out our blog and twitter feed to keep up to date with us!

Episode Length: 30:56

Time Stamps
0:00 – Judges retain control over eliminations
2:00 – Neil Patrick Harris was an awesome judge
3:23 – The all-stars and new couples!
4:30 – The Tyce DiOrio kiss of death
7:30 – Bottom 4: Mitchell/Melody
10:40 – Bottom 4: Ricky/Allison
12:22 – We think Tadd should have actually been in the bottom 4
14:27 – Bottom 2 girls, general discussion
15:30 – Bottom 4: Jordan/Brandon
16:36 – Bottom 4: Clarice/Robert
18:00 – Performance: Marko/Chelsie
19:58 – Performance: Tadd/Comfort
20:41 – Performance: Caitlynn/Pasha
22:22 – Performance: Sasha/Twitch
23:47 – Performance: Jess/Kathryn
25:18 – Performance: Melanie/Pasha
27:36 – Next week’s all-stars: Ivan, Jaime, Pasha, Anya, Lauren G., Neil, Ade, Lauren F.
30:10 – Wrap-up


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July 23, 2011 I Written By

Over the past few years my fiancée Meghan slowly brought me into the world of television, turning me into a full-fledged fan of both scripted and reality shows. So You Think You Can Dance turned into one of my favorite reality shows as it is a competition that takes itself seriously, providing the audience with artistic choreography and talented dancers. It's certainly not something I ever expected to get emotionally invested in, but here I am! Meghan and I are very analytic when it comes to the things we enjoy. We constantly discussed and analyzed shows with each other and after doing this for a couple years, we decided that we should turn these discussions into a podcast. We created Reflections on Pop Entertainment, a podcast that provides commentary and analysis of popular entertainment as found in visual mediums, particularly television and film. So You Think You Can Dance Season 8 is the first television series we're covering with weekly podcasts and has allowed us to find our voice as well as actively contribute to the fan community. We hope that you'll enjoy our installments as they are posted to Pure So You Think You Can Dance!