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my favorite season 8 dances

whew! what a finale! while we’re all still relishing last night’s amazingness, thought I’d take a minute and post my favorite dances from the season. this was a great chance to look back for me, and, for as much grief as we had with things that we felt were wrong with season 8, it still produced some pretty awesome numbers.

These aren’t in order of preference, just week they were done, mostly b/c I’m cheating and using Wikipedia ;)

Iveta’s intro (ballroom medley with Pasha)–while this wasn’t quite as steamy as last season’s intro of Cristina Santana w/ All-Stars Pasha and Anya, this was, by far, the best ballroom we had this season, mostly because it was Iveta in her style. Caitlynn and Pasha’s Argentine Tango that was replayed last night was soo beautiful and a fabulous showcase for her, but technically, this medley was just unbelievable.

Melanie and Marko’s “Turn to Stone”–on the night of the premiere, this was the only number that made me literally punch the air with excitement. I probably rewatched this number a dozen times over that week. For me, Melanie & Marko are the best pair the show has had since Katee & Joshua. They made each other better dancers, and emotionally they were just totally in sync. The slow cartwheel that Marko does over Melanie still gives me goosebumps.

Caitlynn & Mitchell’s “Turning Tables”–our first chance to see them as a couple and they did NOT disappoint. Stacey Tookey has a way of bringing emotions out of dancers that they may not have touched before. The chairs and lamps could have gotten in the way, but they really worked with them well, and the interplay between light and dark made the piece really interesting and powerful. For what Mitchell lacked in technical refinement, he made up for in pure emotion and drive, and I could tell he had a lot to prove after not being able to dance week 1. I loved this partnership.

Clarice & Jess’s “Fly Me to the Moon” foxtrot–as you all probably saw from my posts, I was NOT Jess’s biggest fan, I found in immature and annoying a lot. But NOT in this number, I loved this one. His broadway background lent itself really well to the jazzy bluesy feel of the song. Though there were quite a few points when they were in closed hold when the movements felt heavy, their musicality overshadowed that for me. It was THIS type of movement I was looking for in Ryan & Ricky’s broadway that they did a couple of weeks after this, when Jesse Tyler Ferguson said they were “hitting the ceiling” with their movements and not finishing them.

Tadd & Jordan’s “One Night Stand” hip hop–just so much fun. really great to see Tadd kind of in his element, and how NappyTabs were able to incorporate some of what Tadd does really well. I agree with the judges that it almost became too much about the story, but this was one that I just really enjoyed watching.

Caitlynn & Mitchell’s “To Love You More” contemporary–one of Mandy Moore’s best pieces this season (I’d put it just behind Neil & Melanie, but I’ll get to that later!) The trust they had in each other was innocent but so mature at the same time. They’re both so young, but they tapped into something really amazing.

Sasha & Alexander’s “That’s Life”–their best dance together, Alexander finally let it all go. He was so tight for so long, but in this one, he just felt free, and it lifted a weight from their partnership that had been there really since the beginning. This was also one of Tyce’s best pieces.

Sasha & Twitch’s “Misty Blue”–what can I say that hasn’t already been said?!

Neil & Melanie’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart”–for me, Neil wins the award for most improved dancer since his season aired. He’s become a really fabulous technician as well as an even better partner. He breathes life into the moments between the movements in a way he didn’t used to when he was on the show. Melanie matched Neil step for step, and really shined in this piece. And the leap!! The trust she had in him was just amazing. This was a goose-bump inducing one for sure.

Caitlynn & Tadd’s “White Tie & Tails” foxtrot–was this the best technically? no. But there was such joy on both of their faces. Jonathan Roberts, a pro from DWTS, really does the classic ballroom dances incredibly well. He has a real sense of how to impart wisdom on the dancers in terms of how to embody the dance even if you don’t quite have everything technically sound. And stylistically, Caitlynn looked AMAZING, wow.

Kent & Sasha’s Wall contemporary–Kent is my runner-up in the “most improved since his season aired” award. The strength that he has gained, both physically and emotionally since last summer is absolutely astounding. He would NOT have been able to pull of that routine the way he did this season last summer. And his strength helped Sasha’s strength and vulnerability really emerge.

Tadd & Melanie’s “A Chorus Line/Black Swan”-esque broadway–though I really liked Chris & Ashley’s “Please Mr. Jailer,” THIS is the broadway I would have rather seen last night. I know why they didn’t repeat it, but this was the best broadway of the season, by far. Nothing felt out of place, from the music to the camera work to the lighting to the dancing. It was so sexy but so mean at the same time, I know that sounds weird. For me, this was Tadd’s best dance other than the vulture dance with Jordan.

Lauren & Marko’s contemporary from finale night–this was my favorite dance from the finale. It started with the music; the fact that the music didn’t have big sweeping crescendos allowed the dancing to be the most important thing on the stage. The dancers could just dance, the music wasn’t ruling the way they moved, THEY ruled the way they moved in their relationship on stage together. Loved it loved it loved it. Tessandra hit the ball out of the park with this one.

so there’s my list! what do you guys think? any that I missed?

August 13, 2011 I Written By

Podcast: SYTYCD Season 8 – Top 6 Performance and Elimination

Summary
The top 6 proved to be an interesting week as it wasn’t clear which dancers were going to be in the finals and what two were going to be sent home. It turned out that Caitlynn and Ricky were the ones that had their journeys end, which was predictable but still sad to see. Ricky did well in his contemporary in showing us why he made it as far as he did in the competition and Caitlynn had an excellent night with two solid routines. In another season with a weaker pool of girls Caitlynn may have made it into the finals.

The top 4 makes for an intriguing mix and we go over their performances from this past week. Like last week, we spend some time on Tadd and go over what we liked from him, but that we feel like the choreographers, for better or worse, aren’t challenging him in the same way as the rest of the contestants. Marko, Sasha and Melanie all have been strong the entire season and we’ve loved nearly everything put forward by Melanie and Marko. Any of these four contestants can win the whole win, which is not a normal situation for most SYTYCD finales. Next week should prove to have a gripping conclusion.

We spend a few minutes going over and debunking the “Melanie conspiracy.” We don’t see any evidence for this view and it’s not something we like seeing appear all over the internet, not because we’re Melanie fans but because we like to keep the dialogue about reality competitions honest and based in what we see, not what we imagine.

We wrap up by giving our list of good routines from this season that we’d like to see appear in the finale.

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: 35:11

Time Stamps
0:00 – The guest judging by Christina Applegate and Lil ‘C
1:35 – Eliminated: Ricky – Contemporary and Waacking
5:57 – Eliminated: Caitlynn – Samba and Jazz
9:05 – The end of the Tyce kiss of death
10:45 – Top 4: Tadd
15:10 – Top 4: Marko
17:45 – Top 4: Sasha
20:18 – Top 4: Melanie
24:00 – The alleged Melanie conspiracy
27:30 – Who’s going to win overall?
28:15 – The routines we’d like to see reprised in the finale
34:33 – Wrap-up


Listen to the podcast

Episode 14 direct download

Subscribe to podcast on iTunes

 

August 6, 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!

Top 6 Power Rankings and Poll

I don’t know how I’m going to do this. There’s a clear-cut Top 4 that will probably happen, but there’s every chance there will be a mix-up. I really, really wish they would drop the bottom guy/girl combo. All three girls are so strong and I’d love them all to be in the Top 4.

And I’m not sure how they’re going to do the Top and Bottom tomorrow. Probably the Top Girl and Top Guy, but I’m going to list them in the order of how strong I think their night was, based on how I liked the routines, how I think you liked the routines, my perceptions of the dancer’s popularity and their growth.

Top Three
1. Sasha – Her contemporary with Kent was the best routine of Round One. Gorgeous and amazing and so surprising. Her solo was stellar. She had an alright (and fun) waacking routine with Rickey, but she ended on her lowest note of the night. Her biggest downfall might be that some people dislike what we see of her personality, but one of her biggest pluses is that she’s been visible all season, but she’s fought herself forward every step of the way.
2. Melanie – Her hip-hop with Twitch was also surprising, but it was the first routine. If it’s possible for her to be forgettable, her first routine is in the “least memorable” position. Her solo was one of the best ever and definitely the best this season, which is tough since it came on the heels of Sasha’s. Her ending routine with Tadd was a definite high note for them both. However, her biggest downfall is that people feel she hasn’t been challenged enough (hopefully tonight changed those minds) and that the judges have been too easy on her.
3. Caitlynn – I know everyone expects her to leave tomorrow, but she may be the dark horse. The complaints against Sasha’s perceived arrogance and the favoritism shown to Melanie may split the vote. And she had a great night. A solid samba with Pasha, her best solo yet and then the last routine of the night, which just happened to be a really amazing Sonya routine with Marko.

Bottom Four
4. Marko – His paso with Janette was excellent, but early in the night. His solo was strong, but not a huge stand-out considering Sasha and Melanie wrestling for the best solo of the night. But he had that phenomenal last routine with Caitlynn and he’s been the favorite guy most of the season.
5. Tadd – I loved his quirky routine with Ellenore, though there was some critique that there wasn’t much dancing. His solo wasn’t his strongest (he stood on his hand too long), but he ended on a high note with Melanie.
6. Rickey – His contemporary with Jaimie was really incredible, but Christina Applegate said it right for me – there’s some lack of intention or follow-through when he dances. It’s not entirely complete. His solos have been saving him the last few weeks and he’s picked up some fans. But his waacking routine with Sasha was probably the weakest of the second set of routines.

The gimmie answers is that Rickey and Caitlynn are going home tomorrow night and our Top 4 will be Melanie, Sasha, Marko and Tadd. Unless there’s a shakeup, which is entirely possible if people vote like crazy tonight to save somebody or fans assume Melanie and Sasha are safe. OR, if the judges decide that the Top 4 doesn’t have to be 2 guys or 2 girls. It’s hard to predict how this could go down if a shake-up happens. So, I need your help.

Who are YOUR Top 4? You can only pick 4, but you don’t have to pick 2 guys and 2 girls. Pick any 4 dancers you want, as long as they’re YOUR Top 4.

August 3, 2011 I Written By

SYTYCD Season 8 Top 6 Performance Music

Oh my! I can’t believe we’re this close to the end of Season 8. I can’t wait to see what great routines the show has in store for us tonight.

Melanie danced a Nappytabs hip hop with Twitch to: Nicki Minaj ft. Lil Wayne’s “Roman’s Revenge” – Roman's Revenge (feat. Lil Wayne) - Roman's Revenge (feat. Lil Wayne) - Single

Sasha danced a Tyce Diorio contemporary with Kent to: Me’shell Ndegéocello’s “Fool of Me” – Fool of Me - Bitter

Marko danced a Dmitry Chaplin paso doble with Janette to: Antonia Gomez’s “Zorongo” – Zorongo (Traditional) - 2 On 1: Fabulous Flamenco! / La Gitarra Flamenca

Rickey danced his solo to: Justin Nozuka’s “After Tonight” – After Tonight - Holly

Tadd danced a Sonya Tayeh jazz (?) with Ellenore to: Beirut’s “The Gulag Orkestar” – The Gulag Orkestar - Gulag Orkestar

Caitlynn danced her solo to: Katie Thompson’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It” – What's Love Got to Do With It - KT LIVE

Rickey danced a Dee Caspary contemporary with Jaimie to: Trent Dabbs’s “Inside These Lines” – Inside These Lines - Your Side Now

Tadd danced his solo to: Yolanda Be Cool & Dcup’s “We Speak No Americano” – We No Speak Americano - We No Speak Americano - Single

Sasha danced her solo to: Lady Gaga’s “Teeth” – Teeth - The Fame Monster (Deluxe Version)

Caitlynn danced a Dmitry Chaplin samba with Pasha to: Kat DeLuna’s “Drop It Low” – Drop It Low - Drop It Low - Single

Marko danced his solo to: James Morrison’s “Wonderful World” – Wonderful World - Undiscovered

Melanie danced her solo to: Freestylers ft Belle Humble’s “Cracks” – Cracks (Flux Pavilion Remix) [feat. Belle Humble] - UKF Dubstep 2010

Sasha and Rickey danced a Kumari Suraj waacking routine to: Beyonce’s “Schoolin’ Life” – can’t find this on iTunes yet. I’ll keep looking.

Melanie and Tadd danced a Spencer Liff Broadway routine to: Shirley Bassey’s “(Where Do I Begin) Love Story” – (Where Do I Begin) Love Story - Shirley Bassey: Greatest Hits

Caitlynn and Marko danced a Sonya Tayeh jazz routine to: Florence + the Machine’s “Heavy in Your Arms” – Heavy In Your Arms - Lungs (Deluxe Edition)

I Written By

Podcast: SYTYCD Season 8 – Top 8 Performance and Elimination

Summary

This week’s judging panel featured director/choreographer Rob Marshall and pop music icon Lady Gaga, who gave constructive insight into the performance aspect of dance. Although we liked Neil Patrick Harris’s judging the most so far this season, the celebrity panel additions have worked a lot better in the second half of the season versus the first half.

The elimination show was tough for us to watch. Jess was one of our favorites from the competition and we were both expecting to see him make the top six and possibly the finals. We had a tough time seeing him cut after his growth and improvement in favor of Tadd, who has also grown but hasn’t felt as polished when you compare the two. We talk in-depth about Jess and Tadd and draw a line in the small details. Tadd has difficultly with fast choreography and when we consider his solos in total we don’t see a wide range in his dancing vocabulary and we don’t have these same issues with Jess. We admit, we’re biased here, but we try to quantify our feelings of disappointment as best as we can.

Jordan’s elimination was more straight-forward as her body of work has been hit-or-miss during the season and her solos have revolved around her leg movements. Caitlynn has been consistent and we feel like we still have more to see from her.

Marko and Melanie once again had amazing pieces and have solidified their place in the finals. As for who else is going to the finals, it looks to be a toss up when we compare Tadd/Ricky and Sasha/Caitlynn. We think it will depend on what routines they get next week and how well they perform. We consider their bodies of work and speculate on what may happen.

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: 30:01

Time Stamps
0:00 – The guest judging by Lady Gaga and Rob Marshall
1:45 – Discussion of Jess and his elimination
7:48 – Tadd, has he grown more than Jess to deserve a top six spot?
13:28 – Jess’s final solo and online fan reaction
15:40 – Jordan’s elimination (the Tyce kiss of death strikes again)
16:50 – Caitlynn’s work
18:50 – Sasha had a very good night
19:59 – Melanie had an excellent night!
22:10 – Marko continues to amaze us.
24:15 – Ricky: does he dance too tall? And is Anya heavy?
26:10 – Who makes the finals?
28:24 – Next week’s all-stars: Kent, Janette, Jamie, Ellenore, Twitch and Pasha!
29:23 – Wrap-up


Listen to the podcast

Episode 12 direct download

Subscribe to podcast on iTunes

 

July 30, 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!

Top 8 Results Thoughts and Discussion

My live thoughts and yours, too. Excited to see what All-Stars we’ll have next week. I just realized that Jaimie Godwin was supposed to be an All-Star this week and I guess she was replaced by Allison. I must’ve missed something – did they explain why Jaimie wasn’t on last night? Maybe they’ll say something tonight.

LOOOOOVED Tyce’s Top 8 routine! It’s routines like this that remind me what he’s capable of and make me even more annoyed with his lackluster choreo. It had hints of Wade and Sonya and was just so fun and cool and was a great opportunity for the dancers (especially Jess, as the ringmaster).

I also love Cat’s dress, especially the sleeves. Gorgeous.

Rob Marshall really nailed it when he said that SYTYCD puts dancers back in the center of attention, rather than in the background. That’s what I love about the show, too. Or at least part of it.

It’s cruel that they went to break without saying which of the four girls is in the bottom! Fine, keep us on edge, but soooo mean to the dancers.

Spoiler space for the rest…

Well, I was right about the girls. Melanie and Sasha are safe and Caitlynn and Jordan are in the Bottom Four.

Oh my gawd, I almost lost it watching that little clip of Marko’s mom hugging him backstage. I think he almost lost it too, judging by his face when they went to him on stage. Not surprised Marko’s safe and Jess is in the bottom, but I have to say I loved Jess peeling off his shit as he strolled off stage. Okay, I kinda like him a tiny bit more and more each week. :)

I *am* surprised that Rickey is safe and Tadd is in the Bottom 4, but maybe I shouldn’t be after some of your comments lately that he seems arrogant. I don’t see it myself, but apparently enough people do to put him in danger.

LXD always makes my day. It was nice to see Christopher Scott dancing on the SYTYCD stage, too. And, am I crazy or was that Ashley Galvan in the line of dancers?

The National Dance Day segment was really fun.

Jordan’s solo was her best, I think, but the leg extensions were still prominent, of course. Jess’s solo was full of character and entertaining. BUT, I thought Caitlynn really danced her best solo yet and that it was better than Jordan’s. I hope the judges agree and keep her! Tadd’s was clearly the best, full of character and performance. Love the song, love the tricks, love the whole attitude. He has some of the best solos.

Liked Lady Gaga’s performance, but most especially seeing Mark dancing with her so prominently.

Whew! Glad Caitlynn is safe. I thought Nigel was really respectful and nice to give such a positive build up to cutting Jordan. I’m surprised the judges could bear to cut Jess, but Tadd really earned it with his solo. He threw everything he had onto that stage.

The goodbye sequences made me realize two things
-I liked some of Jordan’s performances more than I remember (the bed hip hop with Tadd namely)
-I warmed up to Jess right as he was leaving.

They never announced the All-Stars for next week. Hmmm….

What do y’all think??

July 28, 2011 I Written By

Season 8 Top 8 Power Rankings

Sorry this is late! I’ve just caught up on the episode. Thanks for all your comments, y’all!!

I really wish this wasn’t going to be broken down into Top 2 Girls and Top 2 Guys vs. Bottom 2 Guys and Girls. I really want three girls in the top and I have to put one of my favorites in the bottom. :'(

Top Four

1. Melanie – While I agree she hasn’t been as challenged as some of the other dancers (she does tend to get contemporary/jazz) and never gets critiqued, I also love her. Her contemporary with Neil was the best of the night, I think and then she ended on a high note with Sasha at the end.

2. Sasha – She was stymied with a weaker partner at the beginning, but she’s gotten almost as much face time as Melanie since Vegas Week *and* she’s had to stretch herself more. Her routine with Twitch last week was maybe the best of the season. I liked her quickstep with Pasha, but it was the first routine. However, she and Melanie had that lauded Sonya routine at the end.

3. Marko – He had a stellar contemporary with Allison, has been part of the Power Couple with Melanie and had an alright hip hop with Rickey later.

4. Tadd – His heist routine with LoFro was great, despite his hat malfunction. He was very MJ-ish and had one of the more popular All-Stars, plus good chemistry. Also, his foxtrot with Caitlynn was really classy and elegant and I think might’ve surprised a lot of people.

Bottom Four

5. Caitlynn – I’d like to put her in the Top if this wasn’t broken down by gender. She had an alright hip hop early on with Ivan, but I really, really liked her foxtrot with Tadd. I think she’s grown enormously and she’s been challenged a lot, even just in tonight’s episode.

6. Jess – He surprised me in his hip hop with Lauren G., but his later number with Jordan wasn’t good. He was stronger than her, to be sure, and I know he’s got a fan base, but I think he’ll be in the bottom. I think he should be, anyway.

7. Jordan – She’s annoyed me more and more each week, with her “sexy” pouting and vamping, not to mention her leg extensions. She danced an alright jazz with Ade, but I think whatever strength the routine had was Ade’s, not hers. She didn’t connect with him or later, Jess, at all. Her rhumba with Jess really sucked. It’s time for her to go home, in my opinion.

8. Rickey – His jive with Anya was pretty good, but not nearly the most memorable routine of the night and then he was called out as the weaker link in his hip hop with Marko. He’s been in the bottom a lot and if he is again, it’s probably his week to go.

It makes me nervous that I didn’t get to vote, but I’m fairly confident that Jordan and Rickey will be going home tonight. What do y’all think?

Also, I BOUGHT MY TICKETS to the tour!! Whooo hooo! Has anybody else gotten theirs yet? I’m going to see it in Atlanta this year, with my mom and (I’m sure) Amanda.

I Written By

SYTYCD Season 8 Top 8 Performance Music

Hi everybody! I will be at a meeting tonight and might miss the beginning of tonight’s episode, so I need your help. If you’ll let me know the music in the comments, I’ll make sure it gets put into a pretty list with links as soon as I possibly can. We have such a great community here and I love knowing I can count on y’all for help whenever I’m running late! Thanks!

Sasha danced a Jonathan Roberts quickstep with Pasha to: Terry Snyder’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz” – Puttin' On the Ritz - Ultra-Lounge: Space-Capades, Vol. 3

Caitlynn danced a Marty Kudelka hip hop with Ivan to: Mario’s “Let Me Love You” – Let Me Love You - Turning Point

Jordan danced a Tyce Diorio jazz with Ade to: Tina Turner’s “Nutbush City Limit” – Nutbush City Limits - All the Best - The Hits

Melanie danced a Mandy Moore contemporary with Neil to: Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” – Total Eclipse of the Heart - Faster Than the Speed of Night

Rickey danced a Jason Gilkison  jive with Anya to: Celine Dion’s “River Deep, Mountain High” – River Deep, Mountain High - Falling Into You

Jess danced a Nappytabs hip hop with Lauren G. to: Rihanna’s “Take A Bow” – Take a Bow - Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded

Tadd danced a Mandy Moore jazz with Lauren F. to: Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” – Another One Bites the Dust - Queen: Greatest Hits

Marko danced a Sonya Tayeh contemporary with Allison to: Jeff Buckley’s “I Know It’s Over” – I Know It's Over - So Real: Songs from Jeff Buckley

Caitlynn and Tadd danced a Jonathan Roberts foxtrot to: Ella Fitzgerald’s “Top Hat, White Tie and Tails” – Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails (1958) - Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Irving Berlin Songbook

Marko and Rickey danced a Nappytabs hip hop to: Diddy ft. Black Rob and Mark Curry’s “Bad Boy for Life” – Bad Boy for Life - The Saga Continues...

Jordan and Jess danced a Jason Gilkison rhumba to: Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” – Set Fire to the Rain - 21

Melanie and Sasha danced a Sonya Tayeh jazz to: District 78’s “Game On” – Game On - Game On - Single

July 27, 2011 I Written By