Monday, November 30, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance Season 6: Week 5 (A Brief Recap)

I have to admit that overall I was disappointed in Week 5. I was disappointed in who was sent home, and in the routines. I will say that the highlights this week were really high.

Can I first say that they made a mistake by sending Karen home; she is a star. Rather, although Ellenore is quirky and has a unique personality, I somtimes find her boring so I would have sent her home. I called Victor going home last week, and so this decision did not surprise me. He was a gifted dancer but not strong enough to win this competition and be in the Top 10.

Some couples continued to make strives while others were at a standstill. The competition will shake up this week because everyone is going to have new partners.

Out of 12 routines this week, there were four that impressed me and two of those four were danced by the same couple.

The first was a Sonya Tayek Jazz routine danced by Kathryn and Legacy; I loved this so much! Adam says he is sad to see this couple break up because they have developed such a beautiful chemistry. The dance showcased both dancers strengths. Nigel called it one of his favorite routines of the season. He said Kathryn was sexy and mature without pushing it; he said Legacy had great musicality. (music: "So Deep" by Hot Chip)

Sonya Takek's second routine, a Lyrical Jazz routine danced by Ashleigh and Jakob was amazing. Adam said it was so beautiful that he didn't know what to say. Adam said Ashleigh was not the same girl she was in Vegas. He said watching Jakob is surreal and it is a pleasure to watch him. Mary called Jakob a technical genius, and said Ashleigh is so great that she has higher expectations for her now. Nigel said that they have both given each other something special. (music: "Time Flies" by Lykke Li)

Noelle and Russell danced a Tyce Diorio Contemporary and Adam said they were gorgeous and maximized themselves on everything. Nigel said that Noelle was 100% committed to the routine and to her partner. In the midst of it all, Nigel said he forgot Russell was a street dancer.
(music: "A Case Of You" by Diana Krall)

Ashleigh and Jakob's second routine of the night was a Jean Marc Genereaux ChaCha that was wow! Jakob had the feel of a ballroom dancer, and Mary called Ashleigh's legs amazing. The judges agreed that not only did they kill this routine but they were the couple of the night.
(music: ChaCha Heels)

Monday, November 23, 2009

American Music Awards 2009 Recap: A night of Taylor, The King of Pop, and comebacks...

Taylor Swift is having the year of her life, but was noticeably absent from last night's American Music Awards. Michael Jackson collected awards posthumously via his brother Jermaine who told us that love is the answer. Janet, Whitney, and J. Lo made comebacks of sorts; some were more shining than others.

But at the end of the night, it was a handful of divas and a group of alternative rockers that ruled.

Janet Jackson opened the show with a medley of her hits and her new single "Make Me" which she has said was inspired by Michael and takes her back to what she loves: happy, dance music.

Although I love Daughtry, their performance was forgettable at best. I didn't recognize the song either which I am guessing is a new single from their sophomore album.

Shakira's performance was also a miss, yes it was sexy, but the song made no sense, why didn't she sing "She Wolf" or "Gypsey"?

Keith Urban gave a safe, but rather boring performance of "Kiss a Girl"; yawn.

Reba McEntire introduced Kelly Clarkson who gave a moving performance of "Already Gone". Kelly, in my opinion, is someone who is here to stay and has natural musical abilities; her voice really is something to behold. The performance wasn't over the top like so many of her peers; she may not be a "performer", but she is a damn good vocalist.

Yankee's player Alex Rodriguez introduced Jay Z and Alicia Keys who sang New York anthem, "Empire State of Mind". Jay looked classy in a tux and Alicia looked lovely as she played the piano and crooned about the "concrete jungle where dreams are made of". The entire audience was on their feet and even Reba was rockin to the beat; this was one of a few true highlights of the night for me.

Two film stars, Nicole Kidman (a.k.a. Keith Urban's wife) and Kate Hudson (A. Rod's girlfriend) introduced their co-star (Stacey Ferguson) in the upcoming movie "Nine" along with her group, The Black Eyed Peas. I loved the energy of this performance which was a fusion of their new single "Meet Me Halfway" and summer hit "Boom Boom Pow"; Fergie proved once again why she is the duchess. The audience was dancing in the aisles courtesy of the Peas.

Rihanna's mish mosh of new songs from her album didn't really impress me, her performance was more about the special effects and her costume than it was about her singing. I was disappointed since I love almost all the songs I have heard from her album; she should have focused more on her unique voice than giving us a laser show.

Carrie Underwood was the breath of fresh air for the night. Her performance of her new single, "Cowboy Casanova" was cute and hot at the same time, and the song is just yet another awesome country single that is climbing the charts. As always, Carrie's voice was so right on; I am waiting to be disappointed but I don't think I ever will be. I think Carrie' only worry was performing right before Lady Gaga.

Lady Gaga gave a decent performance despite weird costumes and a piano that went up in flames. I especially liked her performance of "Bad Romance"; the outfits were actually kind of Madonna-esque, and thank goodness there was no fake blood involved (VMA style!)

Mary J. Blige sang another power ballad, but this was not up to par with what she usually does; by the time it was over all I could think about was "I'm Goin' Down", "No More Drama", and "Be Without You".

I think the award for worst performance of the night has to go to Jennifer Lopez for "Louboutins"; the first single off her upcoming album. She fell on her butt, and I still have no idea what the song is supposed to be about, or maybe I just don't like it.

Alicia Keys performance of her new single "Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart" was my favorite of the night. Just when I thought she couldn't impress me anymore; she did. The performance highlighted all of Keys' different talents: singing, dancing, playing the piano, songwriting, and conveying a story.

Eminem and 50 Cent's cuss filled performance of "Crack A Bottle" made me wonder if Slim Shady is really back. I wanted to hear something new from Eminem and I wanted him to utilize having 50 there.

Timbaland, Nelly Furtado, and So Shy singing "Morning After" had high points and low points. I thought Nelly walking out onto the stage was a high point and her singing was a high point. The low point was when the two ladies started to have a singing battle on stage; it was strange.

Green Day's performance of "21 Guns" reminded me why this group has staying power. They are one of the few alternative groups that are still around and popular. Their music is fresh, original, and it has a lot of meaning which is more than I can say for most artists these days.

I have to give props to Whitney Houston; she has been off the radar for the past six or seven years and she is back now. She is not the Whitney of old, but I think with everything she has been through she never will be. I am just happy she is ok; her performance wasn't great, but it was respectable. The song, "I Didn't Know My Own Strength" is basically her story from the past few years. I do love her song "Million Dollar Bill" though, that's a fun single, could definitely be made into a club single.

I have no idea what the closing number by Adam Lambert was; I am still trying to figure it out, and I will get back to all of you when I know. Enough said; case closed.

My American Music Awards Playlist for 2009

Janet Jackson "Make Me"

Taylor Swift "You Belong With Me"

Kelly Clarkson "Already Gone"

Jay Z and Alicia Keys "Empire State of Mind"

The Black Eyed Peas "Meet Me Halfway"

Carrie Underwood "Cowboy Casanova"

Lady Gaga "Bad Romance"

Alicia Keys "Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart"

Green Day "21 Guns"

Whitney Houston "Million Dollar Bill"

Michael Jackson "Thriller"

Beyonce "Sweet Dreams" (and while you're there check out "Video Phone")

Sunday, November 22, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance Season 6: Recap Week 4

The Lowlights and the Highlights from Week 4 as the judges said goodbye to two more dancers.

The lowlights:

Karen and Kevin's Broadway number by Tyce Diorio was a bit lackluster as far as their usual performance. Karen didn't have the chance to be sexy in this routine which is so much of what she naturally is. Nigel thought it needed more humor, and Mary agreed. Adam kept it positive saying they should not have been able to get through the performance but they did.

Channing and Victor's Tyce Diorio Jazz routine was a bit beyond recognition. I totally did not get it; the music threw me off, and did not allow me to get into the routine as much as I would have liked and so I found myself not caring about these characters. Adam told the couple to continue to grow and step it up.

The highlights:

Ashleigh and Jakob danced and Tabitha and Napoleon hip hop to "Whatcha Say" by Jason Derulo; Nigel loved the routine. He said there is no doubt that Jakob will be in the top ten, and he said Ashleigh more than held her own. Mary said she found herself drawn to Ashleigh as a result of how tight, how down, how hard hitting, and how believable her passion was.

Noelle and Russell danced an Eddie Simon foxtrot to "Baby (You've Got What it Takes)" by Michael Buble. Nigel said that Russell vastly improved his foxtrot from three weeks ago, and commented that there is no question in his mind that Russell is a star. He said Noelle fights every week to come up to where her partner is and this week she was successful. Adam said their joy extended and they stepped up and were fantastic.

Kathryn and Legacy danced a Tony Meredith Paso Doble; Kathryn really impressed me this week and Nigel called her magnificent. She really improved and brought a lot of intensity. Nigel said that Legacy's passion and hunger could push him into the top ten. Mary said Kathryn played the vixen just and Legacy performed beyond expectations. Adam said that Kathryn killed it and her bravado was perfect, and he called Legacy's stamina crushing.

Ellenore and Ryan performed a Travis Wall contemporary to "You Ex Lover's Dead" by Stars; this was another beautiful Travis Wall routine. Nigel said Ryan is the best ballroom dancer that has done contemporary, and not only is Ellenore a brilliant dancer but a brilliant performer who takes on a different character every time she performs. Adam said he had to catch his breath again this season.

Mollee and Nathan performed a Laurie Ann Gibson pop jazz routine to "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga; Mollee and Nathan are back! Nigel called Mollee one of the most committed dancers he has ever met. He told Nathan to keep growing so that he can reach his full potential in dance. Adam said that Laurie Ann's tough love approach was exactly what they needed to get back on track.

And when all was said and done, the judges said goodbye to Channing and Kevin. I want to say that I disagree with Kevin going home, he has shown more growth than Victor, and I feel like the judges kept Victor because he is a contemporary dancer. Bad move judges, 10 to 1 Victor goes home this week when he should have gone home last week.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance Season 6: Recap Week 3

The Lowlights and The Highlights---

The lowlights first, because there were many,

Kathryn was disappointing in her Broadway number (by Andy Blankenbuehler) with Legacy. She did not show as much growth as her partner did; the character was under-developed, and almost juvenile. She was supposed to be this aggressive woman showing up her man and instead she came across as a little girl who said, "whatever you can do I can do better, I can do anything better than you".

Victor did not impress me in his contemporary number (by Stacey Tookey) with his partner Channing. To keep this simple, this is Victor's style, he should not have just been good, he should have been brilliant.

Ellenore and Ryan in the Lil C hip hop number were not a hit, more like a miss. The steps were not aggressive enough, their feet should have gone down into the floor, Lil C's style is very earthy and rooted, it's a dirty style and this was not dirty enough.

Mollee and Nathan's Gustavo Vargas Salsa was a mess, a hot mess. It's really unfortunate because I love both of these dancers and I love their personalities. I do think Nigel was way too hard on them, especially Nathan; it is not his fault that he has such a loyal following. Overall, the dance looked extremely uncomfortable.

The highlights,

Karen and Kevin sizzled in a Maria Torres Hustle; my eyes were glued to every move. I loved all the tricks that they did with the ease that they performed them with. Adam said they made it work for one another. Mary called Karen a hustle queen. Nigel said wow to Kevin, and that he is delighted that he continues to grow every week. Nigel also said he believes Karen will go a long way in this competition, and I agree.
(Music: "Come to Me" by France Joli)

Ashleigh and Jakob danced a Mandy Moore Jazz routine; I loved the choreography, this was like a flashback to the 80's. Ashleigh was amazing, and I feel like she has grown so much through Jakob. Nigel loved the routine and commented on how he loved that it made them work as a unit.
(Music: "Relax" from Frankie Goes to Hollywood)

Noelle and Russell amazed me in a Sean Cheesman African Jazz routine; I thought that this was beautiful. Adam said it had joy and a great story; he said that both Noelle and Russell were filled with the spirit of the dance. Mary called it crazy good, and said that Noelle was strong and Russell was a dynamic King of Afro Jazz. Nigel said that Russell is definitely a star this season and he has great lines. He also said that Noelle did a great job this week.
(Music: "Frog Dance" by Mickey Hart and the Planet Grum)

Legacy in the Blankenbuehler Broadway routine continued to grow this week. Nigel called him inspirational, and Mary predicted that Legacy would make the top 10.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance Season 6: Recap

The Lowlights and the Highlights--


-Noelle in the hip hop number wasn't selling it enough for me, on the contrary, Russell was creative, fun, full of energy, and I felt like he never stopped at any time throughout the routine. He may have just saved his partner and given her another week to prove herself.

- Bianca and Victor in their Broadway number to "The Color Purple" did not "take me to church". I agree with Mary, their was not enough abandonment; it was good, not great, and the characters were not developed enough.

-Channing and Phillip in the Tony and Melanie Samba was painful to watch. Nothing flowed, and Phillip looked especially awkward, and I must agree with Adam in that I could see them struggling. It's too bad for Channing because she looked absolutely beautiful, and she was really putting herself out there too.

The judges sent Bianca and Phillip home.


- Ashleigh and Jakob danced a Tony and Melanie Viennese Waltz to "At Last" by Etta James. Nigel said that Jakob's lines were fantastic, and Ashleigh is proving a lot of people wrong in a good way. I agree, I was madly in love with this routine.

- Mollee and Nathan danced a Nakul Mahajan Bollywood routine, both dancers danced with so much maturity even though they are both young. The whole thing looked like a Hollywood movie and I loved the energy that was so present between the two of them because it contributed to their chemistry.

- Karen and Kevin danced a Tabitha and Napoleon hip hop routine to "Ice Cream Paint Job" by Dorrough. Adam told Karen that she tore that s*** up, he said Kevin was fantastic and then he fell out of his chair. I agree Karen looked amazing, and the way she moved was just crazy. Mary said she expected Kevin to good and that he was indeed articulate. Nigel told Karen that she was a pleasure to watch.

- Kathryn and Legacy danced a Stacey Tookey contemporary to "2 Steps Away" by Patti LaBelle. I just want to say, wow I am impressed, I did not know that Legacy had all that in him. Adam loved what the couple brought out in each other, and called the performance special. Mary said that Legacy experienced a lot of growth and Nigel called it beautiful.

- Ellenore and Ryan danced a Merriam and Leonardo Argentine Tango to "Violentago". Adam said Ellenore had great maturity and Ryan's partnering was great. Mary liked their connection, technique, and partnering. Nigel said people need to understand the difficulty of a routine like this one.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Style Files: Is Fall 2009 Back to the 80's Part 10 of 10

#10 Metallics-- This fall, add some shine to any outfit with
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A splurge from Banana Republic's monogram collection this gold blouse has beautiful detail and is perfect for any party, $89.00.

From StyleRush, The Silver Open Back Top has a daring back that will work well paired with a tight fitted jean, $24.00.

The Brocade Skirt on the right from Forever 21, is a steal
at $24.80 and will shine with your every move. It has a pleated detail on the side, zipper closure, and is lined. Poly/ cotton blend.
The Metallic Slated Knit Top from Forever 21 is sure to
add retro dazzle to jeans or a mini skirt or even leggings.
It ties in the back and the silver is paired with purple for a regal look, $14.80.

Monday, November 2, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance Season 6: Everything You Need to Know

In the first week, contemporary dancer Ariana Debose and hip hop dancer Brandon Dumlao were eliminated and not by the voting public but by the judges. To be fair, Brandon was thrown in as a last minute replacement for the talented Billy Bell who took ill and was unable to continue with the competition. Nigel said he would speak with FOX and try to make Brandon eligible to try out next season. Ariana was partnered with Peter; the two did a Tabitha and Napoleon hip hop routine, but Ariana didn't bring it and the judges sent her packing.

Who is Left:

Ashleigh Di Lello a 26 year old International Latin Ballroom Dancer from Orem, UT. She is half of the first married couple in SYTYCD history, her husband Ryan is also on the show. Ashley is partnered with Jakob, and the two tackled a Tyce DiOrio Broadway number. Nigel believes that Ashleigh will greatly benefit from her partnership with Jakob because he is such a gifted dancer. He is also quick to remind everyone that Ashleigh herself went through a lot in her life to get to where she is right now.

Bianca Revels is a 20 year old tapper from Detriot, MI; she is one of three tappers to make the finals on this season. Bianca describes herself as happy and upbeat, so it is no surprise that Mary Murphy said it was Bianca's passion that really sold her performance with partner Victor Smalley in a Travis Wall contemporary piece.

Channing Cooke is an 18 year old contemporary dancer from Haverhill, MA. The spontaneous and sporty Channing performed a Jason Gilkison jive with partner Phillip. Although, they lacked a bit of chemistry, I think the partnership has great growth potential. Judge Adam Shankman said Channing surprised him because she showed great elegance and femininity throughout the dance.

Ellenore Scott is a 19 year old jazz dancer with a ballet background from NY, NY. She is partnered with Ryan Di Lello and the two danced a contemporary jazz piece by Sonya Tayeh, a piece very much in Ellenore's comfort zone. Adam called both of them exciting, and Mary said their chemistry was great.

Jakob Karr is a 19 year old contemporary dancer from Orlando, FL. He is partnered with Ashleigh; Jakob is one of the most naturally gifted dancers to ever grace the SYTYCD stage. It is hard to believe that he has only been dancing for about seven years; he is also friends with last season's winner Jeanine Mason and calls her gifted and level headed. Adam believes Jakob will hit it every single time, and not only is he technically good but he performs well too.

Karen Hauer is a 27 year old Latin Ballroom dancer and she is one hot little number. Karen is partnered with Kevin Hunte, and describes herself as sensual, inspired, and nurturing. The two danced a Tony and Melanie chacha this week, and Mary called her "sharp, rhythmical, and sexy" and told her she was on the hot tamale train. Adam told Kevin that this was Karen's world, and "you were visiting". The lovely Karen says that her Latin dance ability is natural especially since she was born in Venezuela and came to the U.S. at age 8.

Kathryn McCormick is a 19 year old contemporary dancer from Augusta, GA. Kathryn is partnered with Legacy Perez, and together, the two danced a funny Dave Scott hip hop routine. Mary told Kathryn that she really pulled the number off and popped her body right. The chemistry between these two dancers was very real, and it's believable since Kathryn is such a fun loving person.

Kevin Hunte is a 23 year old hip hop dancer from Brooklyn, NY. He is partnered with the hot Karen Hauer; Kevin also models in his free time. He has worked with Lil Mama and Beyonce, and cites Michael Jackson as his favorite dancer. Nigel said that despite the fact that he was completely out of his element he did a great job dancing; Adam said he did entertain the crowd.

Legacy Perez is a 28 year old b-boy dancer from Los Angeles, CA. Legacy is partnered with Kathryn; following their first routine, Mary told Legacy that his performance to a Dave Scott hip hop was precise, into character, and hard hitting. Legacy toured a few years ago with Gwen Stefani on the Harajuku Lover's Tour, and cites Singin' in the Rain with Gene Kelley and Cyd Charisse as a favorite dance moment.

Mollee Gray is an 18 year old jazz dancer from Orem, UT. Mollee is partnered with Nathan Trasoras, and last week they danced a Doriana Sanchez disco that was super fast and action packed with lots of difficult lifts. Mollee describes herself as fun, energetic, bubbly, and dedicated which is probably why Adam called her dancing and the energy behind it "infectious, upbeat, and glorious". This couple has amazing potential. Mollee has appeared in all three "High School Musical" films.

Nathan Trasoras is an 18 year old contemporary dancer from Downey, CA. Nathan is partnered with Mollee. Nigel said that a routine like Doriana's could only be danced by someone like Nathan who has that kind of life in them. He says that he looks up to Twitch, Dominic Sandoval, and Travis Wall.

Noelle Marsh is an 18 year old contemporary dancer from Sanford, NC. Noelle is partnered with Russell but was unable to dance last week due to injury so she sat on the sidelines and cheered for her partner. Noelle describes herself as spunky, artistic, vivacious, and loving; she looks up to Travis Wall because not only is he a great dancer, but a great choreographer.

Pauline Mata is an 18 year old jazz dancer from West Covina, CA. Pauline was paired with Brandon who was voted off. Mary praised Pauline for her elegance and quality of movement; Adam loved Pauline's facial expressions throughout the routine.

Peter Sabasino is a 22 year old tapper from Philadelphia, PA. Peter was partnered with Ariana for a Tabitha and Napoleon hip hop, but sadly she was voted off by the judges. Peter says Gregory Hines is his favorite professional dancer, and he says his tap style is similar to his and Jimmy Slyde, and Savion Glover's rolled into one.

Phillip Attmore is a 25 year old tapper from Pasadena, CA. Peter is partnered with Channing Cooke, and Adam Shankman said Phillip did beautifully in the jive which he expected. This is a classy pairing, and I think these are two people that will go far in the competition. Phillip says that he looks up to Ryan Kasprzak (Evan's brother) because he paved the way for other tappers. He cites Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, and Gregory Hines as his inspirations.

Russell Feguson is a 20 year old Krump dancer from Boston, MA. Russell is the first krumper in the history of SYTYCD to make the finals, and he is partnered with Noelle who sat out last week with an injury. Nigel called Russell an inspiration for many people and said he is living proof of why there needs to be dance in school. Adam said that he continues to defy explanation and that he is grace, style, and it is all effortless.

Ryan Di Lello is a 28 year old ballroom dancer from Orem, UT. Ryan is partnered with Ellenore Scott, and the couple danced a jazz routine with which Mary was very impressed. She said that Ryan was focused on his partner 100% and stayed in character the whole time. He has worked extensively with pro dancer and choreographer Louis Van Amstel, and looks up to Pasha because he adapted well to other styles and went really far in the competition which is what Ryan hopes to do.

Victor Smalley is a 20 year old contemporary dancer from Miami, FL. He is partnered with tapper Bianca Revels, and they danced the house down with a Travis Wall contemporary piece. Nigel loved the passion and chemistry between the two, and says he has already seen tremendous growth since they started the competition. Victor says previous contestant Danny Tidwell is a favorite of his because of his turns, and says that even though he started dancing only five years ago, it is never too late.

Style Files: Is Fall 2009 Back to the 80's Part 9 of 10

Vests: The vest is your layering option along with the cardigan this fall; they can give you a series of looks from rock star to preppy. The vest looks best when worn over a tailored button down shirt or a simple t shirt. This season vests are coming in a variety of fabrics, velvet, tweed, jersey, satin, knits, leather, and taffeta.

On the left is the Jersey Boyfriend Vest from Express, it has a hook closure and a racerback, $69.50.

Next up is the Distressed Leather Vest from Charlotte Russe, it features distressed faux leather, cable knit panels, zipper front, mock neck, two front flap pockets, an interior lining, and a ribbed knit bottom band, only $28.99.

Finally we have the X Back Vest from StyleRush, and for only $23, you will be trendy for fall.