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“Burn the Floor” heats up Chicago during the SNOWPOCALYPSE

As they say in the performing arts world: “The Show Must Go On” The Show Must Go On - Queen: Greatest Hits I & II

There were predictions hitting towards two feet of snow in parts of Chicagoland but a call to Broadway in Chicago confirmed what most businesses, stores and restaurants would not do in downtown Chicago… the show was open and was going to go on as scheduled. Granted, considering how quickly the temperature rose during the first number of the show “Ballroom Beat” (YouTube clip) this came as little surprise to those in attendance. When the first beats of the African rhythm filled the auditorium, you knew it was going to be hot. Dancers appeared throughout the auditorium, in the balcony, in the aisles… dancing and shaking to the rhythms before jumping onto the stage for an amazing opening number.

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February 2, 2011 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... =)

SYTYCD S7 E5 Meet the Top 11 Thoughts

I *reallllllly* need to talk about this one! 🙂

-First of all, can we all agree here and now that Ade is Ade from S5 and the S7 contestant’s name is Adechike or Chike? Cause this is going to get very confusing very fast, unless we set some ground rules. Lol

-I loved that little dance routine that some of the contestants did with their luggage in the opening montage.

-Wade and Amanda *seriously* need an Emmy for the opening All-Star/Top 11 “Fame” group routine. Like, now. I loved the “Alice in Wonderland”-funked up flavor to it. I love Wade’s choreography – how it can be both elegant and dirty at the same time. It’s like crack for us SYTYCD fans. Loooooved the “partner exchange” near the end and all of their poses at the end and Alex’s face. 🙂 Clearly, he loved being part of that routine.

-Cat rocks. “Thank you for coming to my tea party.” Cat, I’ll go to your tea party anytime. Just don’t ever leave SYTYCD, please. 🙂

-Wonderful to meet the new director, Nikki Parsons, and see her in the control booth. That was a nice, personal touch. Kinda like how SYTYCD AU showed us a lot of footage with the costumers.

-Everyone went mad when Mia was welcomed back. I’m mad for Mia, so I get it.

-11 seconds to say what we have to know about the contestants? Pretty cute. Especially Kent’s, “uh, I’m single.” 🙂 Not for long…

-Travis, Travis, Travis!! “Paris is Burning” is a gooooorgeous routine. Oh my goodness!! I love the idea of basing a routine on celebrating the fall of an empire. How not standard is that? Um, I mean unique. Creative. As cool as the whole routine was, and kudos to chipper LoFro for holding her own in a mental piece like this, the highlight for me was seeing Kathryn and Mark dance together. So…

-Season 8 should be a fall season that is JUST SYTYCD alumni dancing routines together, showcasing the dancers associated with the show. Kinda like the “pro dance” routine in the middle of the results show? But a season full of that. Why not? Then, back to regularly scheduled programming in the summer with Season 9. 🙂

-Cat’s right when she said, “Kent, you look quite mad.” And when she asked him who was his ideal woman and he said, “someone like my mom,” and then blurted, “Beyonce!” Toooo funny.

-Got a bit teary when Travis said, “Four years ago, I was on that stage and now I’m sitting next to these guys.” Wonderful!

-And speaking of “sitting next to these guys,” I love that they’re having the choreographers on the judges’ panel for their routines! Can we keep this for the whole season?!?! Why shouldn’t they chime in on what they thought about the routine? Sure, it’ll mostly be positive platitudes, probably, but every once in a while, we might get a disappointed reaction, etc.

-Tyce’s routine from Sweet Charity and the 4 girls, Alexie, Melinda, Allison and Lauren was killer! Loooved it! I agreed that I couldn’t really tell the difference between the All-Stars and the contestants. This was the one routine where I think that was really true.

-I loooved their dresses!! Especially Melinda’s!

-Cat was so cute when she said, “I wanna be in your gang, girls! Please, let me be in your gang!”

-Then, Cat pointed out that Tyce worked with J.Lo and Tom Cruise *this week* and I loved that he said there was no difference between that and working with the contestants/All-Stars.

-I thought Nappytabs routine with Jose, Twitch, Comfort and Dominic was really smart and creative. It was clearly predicting his journey from contestant, to alumni pro dancer and All-Star. 🙂 Clearly, Jose was loving Cat’s attention afterward. I wonder if Dom’s got some competition? And how he’ll react, if so? Lol.

-Speaking of that… I thought the Cat/Dom interplay was definitely scripted and cheesy, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t think it was funny/cute. 🙂 I did. Cat can pull off cheesy. And they kinda acknowledged that it was a “bit,” when Cat said, “we need to go somewhere with this.” Loooved when Dom said, “I can’t see you” and craned up at her. 🙂

-I loooved that Nappytabs confirmed my read on the routine and said it was about initiating Jose into the SYTYCD family. 🙂 Nice to have such supportive choreographers and fellow dancers.

-Yay, Jason Gilkison!! I liked the “Work” routine, but it kinda reminded me of the DiLillo Couple/Karen Hauer routine from Season 6’s “Meet the Top 20” showcase episode, which Jason also choreographed. And, as much as I like Cristina (and, I do!!), everybody was overshadowed by Pasha in that routine. Pasha!!! Do I really need to say more? I think he could’ve handled another dance partner. Also, Pasha needs to be a pro dancer on Dancing with the Stars. Anybody agree? Also, did anybody else notice that Cristina was the only dancer to get called out for something technical? She was told she has kinda “lazy feet.” I don’t think any of the other dancers got anything but positive feedback.

-Cat’s “These girls danced their dresses off! That’s called shaking it!” Lol.

-Mia’s contemporary “This Bitter Earth” was PHE-NOM-ENAL!!! She’s baaaaaack! I love her creative choreography. The idea of a routine about “time, the journey of life,” is just incredible. I wonder if she got first pick of dancers? 🙂 Billy, Alex and Ade all stood out to me, but I especially loved Ade’s full committment to the “old man” end of the spectrum. More than any of the other routines, I felt like these 3 guys got to represent themselves, got significant “solos” within the routine, which was not just due to Mia’s choreography, but also to the camera work. It was beautiful. I especially loved the point where they were spread across the stage and swayed in unison with each other. And when they walked off the stage together.

-Mia’s comments after the routine, “It was an honor,” with her hand on her heart and to Ade, “Welcome home.” And calling Billy a freak and Alex a beast. 🙂 Cat saying, “Let’s hear it for the freak and the beast.” Looool. 🙂

-I didn’t like that Adechike called himself the underdog. Maybe he feels that way, but it seemed a little too forced to me. I dunno.

-Sonya is amazing. Adechike, Ashley, Robert, Neil and Courtney were all really good in “Freak.” Only thing is that I think Courtney and Ashley were too easy to mistake for each other because they have the same coloring, height and hair color. The guys were all vastly different and because there was an extra one, they kinda got little solos in the routines, so they stood out. Course, I wasn’t complaining when Neil got his moment to show off his spins and jumps. Yaaaaaay, Neil’s back!!!

-Robert did an impression of Sonya!! Awesome!!!! I laughed so hard. And I loved that Sonya called Adechike on calling himself an underdog – though, she did it in a positive way. 🙂

-At the end, Mia leaned over and whispered in Nigel’s ear. Wonder what she was saying? It almost looked like she was kissing him. Lol.

-It’s weird that the judges/Cat didn’t address Kathryn and Mark at all, but then they did address the rest of the All-Stars. It’s like the new director, Nikki Parsons, called down from the control booth and said, “Guys, it feels/looks weird when you completely ignore the All-Stars. Talk to them, let them talk.” And it was a good thing when they did.

-I would’ve loved to have seen how the contestants/All-Stars were chosen for which choreographers/routines. I would’ve much rathered seen that or rehearsal footage than have the judges/choreographers say a single word about the routines. Why say anything when they’re not judging?

-Seriously, we need an entire season of just showcases like this one. It’s like Survivor’s “Fan vs. Favorites,” but eeeeeeven better because it’s about dancers. And it’d give SYTYCD dancers an even larger platform, a longer life on t.v. What do y’all say?

I can’t believe I’m going to attempt this, but I’m gonna do a Meet the Top 11 routine ranking (1 is the best, 7 is the “worst” in my personal opinion):

Meet the Top 11/All-Star Routine Ranking
7. The Nappytabs’ Jose-Twitch-Comfort-Dom routine was probably my least favorite, mostly because of the genre of hip-hop, more than anything else.
6. Despite Pasha’s hard work, Jason’s “Work,” was not as good to me as many of the others.
5. Tyce’s “Sweet Charity” with Alexie, Melinda, Allison and Lauren. So well danced!
4. Loved Sonya’s “Freak,” but it had soooo much competition for my favorite.
3. Travis’s “Paris Is Burning” had so many things to love. It’s a hard call, was almost #2 or even #1. Tomorrow, it may be.
2. Mia’s “Bitter Earth” routine with Ade, Alex and Billy gave me chills.
1. Sorry, but it has to be Wade and Amanda’s full-out group routine “Fame.” Stunning!!!

Alright, a lot of you are probably going to disagree with me. Ready? Set? Go!

June 12, 2010 I Written By

Burn the Floor with the Di Lellos

For those of you who love the Ashleigh and Ryan Di Lello, I just read a great article about them joining the cast of Burn the Floor, along with Season 7 All-Stars Anya and Pasha, and their fellow Season 6 contestant Karen Hauer.

Check it out!

April 21, 2010 I Written By

Season 6 – Season of the Flip Flop?

I’d like to share a bit of yet another conversation between me and John and see what y’all think.

Emilie: and this season, i’ve felt like a flip flopper.John: you are a flip flopperalthough, i think a lot of people have flip flopped this seasonEmilie: i haven’t flip flopped THAT much this seasoni liked my favorites pretty early the only ones i flip flopped on were ashleigh, legacy and mollee oh, i flip flopped on karen, too.

Yes, I’m aware that I flip flopped on whether or not I was a flip flopper. 🙂 So, let me be honest with myself and with all of you.

-I liked Mollee and then didn’t. And then did again after she got to the Top 10 and switched partners.

-I liked Karen and didn’t like Ashleigh. And then I liked Ashleigh better and Karen a lot less. And then Karen left and Ashleigh peaked (in my opinion) and I was ready for her to go again.

-I didn’t like Legacy, but then I was impressed by him in a lot of his routines with Kathryn. And then less impressed (or at least less reliably so) when he switched partners.

But it’s not just SYTYCD dancers I flip flopped over this fall season. I disliked most of Louis van Amstel’s work on SYTYCD, but out of curiosity (and John’s peer pressure), I started watching Dancing with the Stars sporadically. Louis’s partnership with Kelly Osbourne on there made me fall for him and his work. I’m excited to see more of it on SYTYCD in the future. Will that happen?

However, I also had a few solid passions this season. Peter. Sigh. Really wish he could be on the tour. Maybe the tappers could be “special guests,” eh Nigel? Loved Ellenore since Vegas and love her more today. Grew to love Noelle and Kathryn quickly into the Top 20. While I admire Jakob and I’ll be satisfied if (if? ha!) he’s the winner, I’m much more passionate about the girls this season, especially Kathryn and Ellenore.

Did anybody else feel like a flip flopper this season? Who made you flip flop? Any of the dancers have your love from day one?

December 14, 2009 I Written By

The Voted Off Dancers on The Ellen Show

Here are the other dancers performing on The Ellen Show after they got voted off. Enjoy!

Nathan and Noelle

Victor and Karen (sorry this is a little long…the dancing starts at 6:35)

Channing and Kevin (again long…dancing starts at 7:05 but what’s wrong with these photos are hilarious!)

Pauline and Peter

Philip and Bianca/Brandon and Ariana

I couldn’t seem to find these videos online. I don’t remember seeing Brandon and Ariana perform on The Ellen Show but I could’ve sworn that Philip and Bianca did. If you know where to find one of these videos please let me know in the comments section.

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SYTYCD Top 10 Results Thoughts

Well…no Season 5 Top 10. Sorry for that one, y’all. My bad. Must be next week. I’m a bit bummed after tonight’s show. Not just the results, but also finding out there are only two more weeks of Season 6. The finale is going to be between 6 dancers, which seems a bit…much… The results are going to be very strange, I think, because we won’t have gotten to see them dance as many routines over an extended amount of time like in previous seasons. And how long is this finale going to be? Cause if it’s only 2 hours with 6 final dancers… that seems really unfair and like a total gip, really.

As for the rest of my thoughts…

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December 2, 2009 I Written By

SYTYCD Top 10 Power Rankings

To me, it seems pretty clear who should go this week. Except…because it seems “easy” this week, I wonder if America will feel differently or be polarized. Vote to keep your favorites in! No more Kherringtons! I was thinking we’d probably have a male winner this year (we’ve been alternating the last few…) because the guys seemed way stronger at first, what with Jakob and Russell in particular. But these girls are amazing!

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December 1, 2009 I Written By

SYTYCD Top 10 Performance Thoughts

Let me get right into this, because I feel like we kinda dived RIGHT into the show from the very beginning (i.e. why aren’t we getting to see video packages about the new partnerships??)…

-Judging by our poll earlier today, everybody underestimated Noelle and Ryan (including me). They only got one vote for the couple that would fare the best this week. And yeah, it’s early in the show, but that Nappytabs routine was HOT! And yes, they did have terrific chemistry. I feel like we saw an entirely different side of both of them and I’m with Mary – super excited to see their next routine together tonight.

-No offense to Gary Stuart, but that was contemporary? It looked waaay more like hip hop. Which is probably why Nigel had to explain his style. While I admired many parts of that routine, it kinda bored me. It seemed more about tricks rather than substance. And it seemed like Ashleigh was lifting Legacy rather than him ever lifting her. Oddly, despite all those negative comments, I was pretty proud of both of them. They “just attack[ed],” as Adam said (sorta). But I feel like this was another instance of the judges trying to “fix” a weird/hard to understand/boring routine with their comments.

-Of course Mollee has to talk about being in HSM. I mean, how do you not? But I was somehow a bit disappointed… Her brother was really cute talking about his awesome sister.

-I loved seeing Russell’s parents talk about his dancing and watching him on t.v. So cute. And Russell killed his solo! He had so much attitude and confidence out there. Awesome.

-Just as I hoped, Kathryn made a man out of that mancub! She grew him up! She’s only a year older, but she dances with so much more maturity than he’s shown so far. I loved watching them in this Spencer Liff Broadway routine. It was so fun and cute and ON. But I kept thinking, “Heavenly” about Kathryn. She is a dream. She kept reminding me of Rose McGowan in this routine, for some reason.

-Noelle’s solo was great and I loved her interview, finding out about her trying out for Season 5 and what it took to audition again and graduate school. Love her.

-That was a BIG scream for Ryan right before the commercial. 🙂

-Elleanore and Jakob’s quickstep was cute and entertaining, but I’m glad this routine was first so they can kill it with something a bit more charismatic at the end. 🙂 I think they did admirably and quickstep is just hard to enjoy sometimes. But I thought Tony & Melanie had a funny concept staging it like a ballroom competition.

-Hmmm. Ryan’s solo was one thin shirt away from a cheesy Chippendale’s act. Love him, but that was really…not the best use of his skills. But maybe this illustrates the difficulty ballroom dancers have with the solos.

-Kathryn’s solo was a lot of fun. Loved the song. She’s from Georgia like me! 🙂

-Mandy Moore loves her 80s music. I thought both Mollee and Russell were dancing well, but I disagreed with the judges about there chemistry. I think they have it and they’ll be able to show it more later. BUT, I didn’t feel it so much in this routine because it seemed like they were kinda performing separately. Maybe you disagree with me. But I did love that crazy, unexpected lift near the end that Nigel mentioned.

-Adam cracks me up. Loose quote – “I need medical attention after that. Please don’t dance so well in the future.” 🙂

-Wow, Nathan was really close to tears after his solo (pretty solid), which was strange since Cat was talking about someone being eliminated tomorrow while holding onto him and he looked so upset you’d almost think he just got cut. But I could totally see where he was coming from.

-I love the Noelle/Ryan partnership as much as the judges do (Adam called them a “power partnership”) and that was certainly gorgeous. It was really dreamy… It didn’t have as much pizazz their hip hop. I thought Nigel actually described it very well when he said they were like the prince and princess at the end of a Disney movie falling in love.

-Elleanore’s sole was kick ass!!! She is always quirky and interesting and strong.

-Man, I disagreed with the judges on this Ashleigh & Legacy routine as well. I actually liked this one better than the Gary Stuart and felt that if one of these two choreographers should have been called to task, it should’ve been Gary Stuart rather than Dave Scott. I think the routine would have been amazing with different dancers. I liked them okay in it – they had a lot of character and personality where they might not have been in sync. I felt like two things really hurt this routine – and it’s going to sound like I’m contradicting myself here. First, the more major production on the larger stage (flames in the background, etc.) was distracting and second, I would’ve liked to have seen the idea behind this routine (vampire?) and the two discovering their partnership. This is the weakest new partnership to me by far.

-I could see the weaknesses of Kathryn & Nathan’s rumba, but I still somehow enjoyed it. I think Kathryn was a huge part of that cause she was all in. But Nathan was strong and I think he not only supporter her, but showed that he’s building his repertoire and learning with every dance. I think this was a pretty successful new couple, but I did prefer their other routine. Hope to see them dance together again.

-Wow, was that a standing ovation (or something close?) after Legacy’s solo. It was pretty cool, but I actually enjoyed Russell and Elleanore’s solos much better. His dad and Cat were pretty funny. “Are you busting a move?”

-The moment I’ve been waiting for! THIS was why I was glad the quickstep was first, so that we could be left with this memory of Ellenore & Jakob. This combined some of my favorite things: Oona & Dave, Sonya, Jakob and Elleanore. Amazing!!!! Now that sounded like a standing ovation and yes, yes it was. I loved that this is now the 3rd Sonya routine that Nigel has claimed as his favorite this season. Loved that Adam mentioned “The Garden” routine from Courtney and Mark. And then the judges standing and clapping for them together. Brilliant! Who else thinks these two are gonna be in the Top 4?

-Ashleigh finally came to play with her solo! That was pretty awesome and had a lot of personality. Not to mention, speed. But…was the harsh lipstick back? And I would’ve liked to have heard about something else rather than her illness growing up, since we’ve heard about it before. But it was good to see her mom talk about it and I guess she can’t talk about Ryan. But, there’s got to be something else we can learn about her? Great solo, though.

-This Anya & Pasha jive was perfect for Mollee & Russell and I agree with Nigel that it must’ve sucked to follow Elleanore & Jakob and they did a great job doing it. It had a couple awkward “setting up” instances, I think, but was really fun and high-energy and I’m loving this new partnership, too. I agree that Mollee’s grown up a lot in the last week or so. At least, her dancing has. And Russell rocks. They had another interesting arm lift/twirl/whatever at the end of this one, too, which was kinda strange and cool.

-Jakob’s solo was good, but not the strongest of the night. 🙂 But that’s okay.

Overall, I really missed the “packages” where we got to see the new partnerships develop, but I imagine there was just too much to do in this one episode, especially considering they were preceded by President Obama’s Address to the Nation. I hope we get to see a little of them tomorrow. I’m looking forward to seeing Quest Crew and what happens tomorrow.

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The Karen versus Ellenore Debate

I’m not sure how many readers realize that there are a half dozen people who contribute to this site. You can see who wrote what at the top of each post. The cool part is that we don’t always agree on what happens on the show. Here’s one such example of a disagreement Emilie and I had over IM after tonight’s results:
john 10:53 pm
i wish ellenore was gone and not karen
karen would be more interesting on tour
emilie 10:54 pm
NO!
i thought you liked ellenore
i don’t think so. you’re so wrong.
john 10:54 pm
i also can’t help but wonder how ellenore’s family background might have affected the judges
emilie 10:54 pm
she’s AMAZING!!!
she has so much personality
john 10:54 pm
i don’t really dislike her…just not a huge fan
emilie 10:54 pm
blech.
john 10:54 pm
plus we have enough of her style on tour
emilie 10:54 pm
no we don’t!!!!!
she is SO unique
no one dances like her.
john 10:54 pm
well, it’s not like i dislike ellenore. I like her, but I would have just preferred karen on tour

Of course, emilie wants to be validated;-) So, here’s a poll for you to vote on who you’d prefer to see on the SYTYCD season 6 tour (since the SYTYCD top 10 get to go on tour usually):

November 25, 2009 I Written By

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

Something About Ashleigh and Karen

I had to miss last night’s show, unfortunately. But today, I found out a friend of mine, Toni McGee Causey, is a SYTYCD fan and had tvo’d the show. She was gracious enough to let me come over and watch it.

She poked her head in at one point and I said that Kathryn is probably my favorite female dancer at the moment and we talked about the two dances she and Legacy had last night. Then, I said that Ashleigh was growing on me, which I never would have thought when she got into the Top 20. And Toni, who’s a lady who knows a lot about a lot of things, blew me away with her theory about why Ashleigh is growing so steadily on people.

“It’s her lipstick,” she said.

“What???!” I said.

“She used to wear harsh, bright red lipstick and now she wears a lighter, pinker shade. She switched the same week the criticism turned in her favor. And she’s stayed with the more gentle lipstick and makeup ever since. Her approval has grown each week. ” **

And you know what?? I think she’s right!! Check out these two pics that I found here (scroll down almost to the bottom of the page if you click through).

ashleigh-guns-22975ashleigh-garner-29884

It kinda does make a difference, doesn’t it? It’s not the *only* difference. Toni also pointed out that she mostly stopped referring to Ryan. Plus, she’s been able to demonstrate her strengths and grow a lot in her partnership with Jakob.

After that startling revelation, I mentioned that Karen was kinda like Ashleigh’s foil in my mind. The other “married lady,” I had once liked her a lot, but not so much anymore. Toni pointed out that she’s in an impossible position. Not only is she going through a divorce and pursuing her dream in an intense, highly public way, but she’s also having to deal with Nigel’s pervy comments and his insistance on making her The Sexy One. She’s kinda in a no-win situation. If she follows through with the sexy, she’s riding that and the focus is drawn away from her dance. If she’s not sexy, she gets a backlash for it and STILL the focus is not on her dancing.

Which I think is really insightful and I really feel for Karen because of all that she must be going through (Noelle and Mollee have both been injured and that’s been mentioned and they constantly mention that Russell’s a “street dancer” and Legacy’s a “B boy,” yet Karen’s divorce has only been mentioned once. No sympathy votes there, which I respect). Yet…she’s my least favorite dancer at the moment. I didn’t appreciate her face when she and Kevin were in the bottom 3 rather than Mollee and Nathan. Yeah, it’s tough. She’s in front of millions of people and you can’t always control your reactions. Every time Nigel’s about to give her feedback, you can see her bracing herself for pervyness. Which really sucks. I wish Nigel would stop. It might have cost Karen some of our approval, unfortunately.

So it’s interesting to me how these two have kind of traded places in my affections and that makeup and Nigel’s “sexy” label might have in some way accounted for it. What do y’all think?

I have to miss tonight’s show too. :'( Maybe Toni will let me come by soon and see it…

** Not actual quotes. Toni and I are both fiction writers, as well as screenwriters. I think she’ll allow me the liberty of creating dialogue that’s similar to, but not exactly, what she said.

I Written By