Emmys 2017

Kate: Well, this snuck up on us now didn’t it?!

Erica: Everything in my life is sneaking up on me. I feel like I am being hit by a never-ending series of steam trains.

Kate: It’s because we are usually done with SYTYCD at this point, but Fox is messing with our minds/schedules.

Erica: Sure. Let’s blame Fox. I didn’t watch the Emmys. I will, as soon as I have thirty seconds, watch Stephen Colbert’s opening monologue, because he’s wonderful. But I’m just looking at pictures.

Kate: I actually feel a bit out of it this year in terms of Emmy nominees, but not in terms of the fashion. I am always into the fashion. And with that…

 

Anna Chlumsky

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Kate: Oooooh! She is normally quite the mess at these things, but I love this dress. Sparkly/chrome-y mermaid-chic.

Erica: Holy moly. She looks good! I can’t believe she looks this good!

Kate: If the dress had been all the same color/material as the top or all the same color/material as the skirt, it would not have worked. Together, it works.

Erica: I mean, this is not my number one thing, although I would have actually preferred a more smooth transition from top to bottom, but I just can’t believe that she’s shown up looking like a normal, pretty celebrity and not like an insane human with no concept of what human bodies look like or what is visually appealing.

Kate: I would have done a more interesting hairstyle than just slicked-back-straight (which really looks like half-up in this photo), but overall I’m really happy with this.

 

Anna Faris

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Kate: I am so, so sad about her and Chris Pratt.

Erica: I know. Love is dead. It doesn’t exist. I knew it when Amy Poehler and Will Arnett broke up. But now I really know it.

Kate: I can tell she doesn’t even want to be here because she is sad as well, probably sadder than I am. (Also, she didn’t do the red carpet.)

Erica: She looks very beautiful. Very tiny. But very beautiful.

Kate: I do like this dress, though; that shade of pinky-purple, even with the red-ish sparkle, works well against her fair skin and hair. That being said, I don’t love the hair with the dress.

Erica: Well, the hair feels a little phoned in. But the color, which I usually prefer on brunettes, looks terrific. Plus she gets to stand next to Allison Janney so that’s a pretty good day.

 

Ariel Winter

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Kate: Oh my god, she’s naked. Why is she naked?

Erica: She usually goes pretty sexual. That’s a lot of leg.

Kate: She’s so pretty but this is really freaking me out. Those slits are way too high!

Erica: And these were not subtle, you-only-see-them-when-I-move slits. These were the kind of slits that were more present than the skirt.

 

Claire Foy

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Kate: Is that…Queen Elizabeth?! I almost didn’t recognize her!

Erica: Did you watch that show? Can we have many conversations about it? Can we talk about how both Prince Phillip and not-King-Edward whine A LOT about things that are the obvious and natural consequences of decisions they themselves made wholeheartedly?

Kate: Yes I like that show a lot. Season 2 is coming semi-soon! But I don’t like this pantsuit with the half-cape thing and silver knot. Not at all. She is pretty, this is not.

Erica: I hate all of the things happening on this outfit. All of them. I like the person in the outfit. But I hate the outfit.

 

Debra Messing

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Kate: So, Will & Grace is coming back. How about that?

Erica: I feel like maybe we are reaching peak revival time and should step back now. Hey, did you know Debra Messing is a Brandeis alum?

Kate: I did not! Her hair looks fantastic. But her eye makeup is too dark and something about her overall makeup on her face is off, and I really do not like the dress whatsoever. It looks like rubber, AND YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL ABOUT BELTS.

Erica: The dress material is dreadful and overwhelming. The shape would be fine in another material. The hair is her hair which is great hair. But discussing anything about the look other than that fabric is very “But other than that, how did you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln?”

 

Elisabeth Moss

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Kate: The color of that dress with the color of her hair and her skin is just not good.

Erica: I don’t know that I mind that so much. I mean, it’s not perfect, but I’m not terribly upset about it.

Kate: I also don’t like the length at all — it looks like it was supposed to be floor-length (in which case it would have been boring) and they literally just chopped it. Shoes are too matchy-matchy.

Erica: It looks way too young for her. And I mean that in a very non-bitchy way, because I think the very last day this look would be appropriate would be your Sweet 16.

 

Ellie Kemper

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Kate: Ugh, I still have not finished the latest season of Kimmy Schmidt! Who/what am I turning into?

Erica: It was good but not great.

Kate: I love this, though. It’s a modern, bedazzled version of a kimono, but not in a bad way. It looks great on her — the color, the sparkle, even the slightly mussy updo. I especially love the pink earrings; they really pop against the blueness dress in the most perfect way. (This picture doesn’t do it justice; it looked phenomenal during the preshow.)

Erica: I like it but I don’t love it. I think the sheerness is too sheer such that the difference between the skirt and the bodice is too stark, and then the sheerness on the bottom looks weird with shoes. I think there should be more glittery stuff on the bottom to mask the shoes. I do, however, like the colorful beading and the overall color and silhouette on her.

Kate: I swear, it’s just a bad photo that is not doing it justice.

 

Emmy Rossum

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Kate: Perfection, as usual. Looking a little Anne Hathaway-esque, no?

Erica: For me, this is a little boring. Beautiful, but boring. Her eye makeup game is perfection, though.

 

Evan Rachel Wood

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Kate: Has she ever NOT worn a tuxedo-like thing on the red carpet?

Erica: I think it’s her thing now. I have to say, this might be my favorite iteration.

Kate: I think it’s her thing always, which is ok, because she looks good in them. I love the color of this one, and her hair is in the perfect updo with perfect makeup. A tuxedo-like thing is almost never going to make it onto my Best Dressed list, though. Call me old-fashioned, but it’s the truth.

Erica: You are a little old-fashioned. I’m quite impressed with this look.

 

Gina Rodriguez

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Kate: She looks pretty, but this is just too beauty pageant-y. Just too.

Erica: I have been told I should watch her show. I really hate this dress but I’m sure her show is good.

 

Heidi Klum

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Kate: Ok so it’s NOT crazy like the Big Bird outfit or the lavender monstrosity, and I like her hair like that, but this dress is very I’m-at-a-private-dinner-at-a-super-fabulous-resort-in-Mexico. And it’s good for that, but the Emmys are not a private dinner at a fancy resort in Mexico.

Erica: Yeah, I would say, I’m into the hair but the dress is…If even I think there’s too much boob, there’s too much boob.

Kate: I am also NOT into the enormous bangles covering half her arms and the hoop earrings down to her shoulders. Tacky.

Erica: Oh, I kind of am into them. For a fancy resort in Mexico.

Kate: Which this is not!

 

Jane Krakowski

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Kate: Va-va-voom!

Erica: I mean, the dress, yes, but also that bob looks perfection.

Kate: This is very wonderful and very much a LOOK with the straight sleek angled bob and and deep V and blackness of the dress. AND BEFORE YOU SAY ANYTHING, I know there is a little belt buckle there, but I think it is part of the dress and not an additional piece and therefore (mostly) acceptable. I would probably like the dress better without it, though.

Erica: Yeah, I understand the belt buckle thing but I wish it were not red. And I am not persuaded that it is necessary at all.

Kate: Also, when I was looking at E!’s red carpet coverage on their site, they had spelled her last name “Krasowski” at first, and I felt superior. Still kind of do.

 

Jessica Biel

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Kate: Oh my, she is very teeny-tiny. I have always admired her for having the perfect body in terms of muscle tone and proportion, but she is a little on the skinny side for me right now. Lurve the dress, but it only works on her newly skinnier frame, I think. I also feel like the Fashion Police (the real ones, not us) will absolutely hate it because it looks “unfinished” or “too drapey” or “like 2 dresses slapped together”.

Erica: Oh I love so much this look. They would not be wrong about the two dresses, but I love the drape and I love the hair and I love the makeup and I love the softness.

Kate: Always great makeup with her. Hair is a bit poofy up top — this dress calls for something sleeker, I think — but overall a soft, lovely look.

Erica: I like it. I like the poofy. She looks like she’s the dream version of somebody’s crush object in a movie.

 

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

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Kate: Julia you sexy little sneak, not doing the red carpet even though you KNEW you would be on stage because you KNEW you would win AGAIN!

Erica: Good on her. For winning, I mean. She really is the best. J is doing a whole re-watching of all of the Seinfelds (God bless you, Hulu, for the good work you do) and I don’t watch all of them but damn, she is wonderful.

Kate: While this is obviously part of her standard look, I like the pops of color with the golden embroidery and turquoise earrings, and I like that she did her hair a little looser/wilder than usual. She can just never do any wrong for me.

Erica: Yeah, this is one of my favorite iterations of her usual. I really love the gold embroidery.

 

Julie Bowen

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Kate: I had no idea this was Julie Bowen at first. What has happened to her? Is she okay?

Erica: Her face does not look okay.

Kate: This dress — the color and the gigantic ruffle — is completely swallowing her. I hate it.

Erica: I mean, for her, it’s not bad. She’s definitely done worse.

 

Kate McKinnon

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Kate: Has she worn this before? Or something very similar? All they had to do was show the bottom of the dress and I had a feeling it was her.

Erica: I…There is something familiar here, yes. But I’m not sure it was her?

Kate: Regardless, she looks great. She has found what works on her and is sticking to it. Her hair looks very elegant; makeup and jewelry are perfectly understated. Best Dressed nominee?

Erica: Oh, I don’t know. She looks good but uninteresting.

 

Kiernan Shipka

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Kate: Mad Men is OVER, what is she still doing here?

Erica: I mean, I hope she has a good reason to be here.

Kate: Sorry, that came out angrier than I intended. Oh, she was in Feud, so that’s why. This is very princessy and cute. I don’t like her hair.

Erica: This is strangely young for her. It looks like something she would have worn to one of her first Emmys. I don’t much like it but I don’t hate it.

 

Laverne Cox

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Kate: Ian and I were not impressed with the last season of OITNB, thus we have not watched the newest one, but that will not stop me from reviewing the show’s stars’ fashion. This is fabulous as usual from Laverne.

Erica: I did not like this season. I knew it was going to be hard for me to like a season that did not have Poussey. But also, what OITNB was good at was taking these characters who would be so easy to dismiss as nothing more than jailbirds and making them real people. This past season, they mostly made them jokes. It was a betrayal of the premise.

Kate: Yikes. The only thing I don’t really like/don’t think goes with the rest of the dress is the straps.

Erica: Oh, yeah, because they are ruffly and the dress has the geometric thing going. It’s too bad because the silhouette looks stunning on her and, for my personal taste, I’d rather that the dress go with the sleeves than that the sleeves go with the dress. I also don’t love the deep-roots hair look but I have obviously lost that fashion battle.

 

Lea Michele

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Kate: Ugh, I just said during Debra Messing’s critique that I hate belts, and then my fave Brad Goreski had to go and style Lea with a belt. Dammit, Brad!

Erica: Dammit, Brad! It’s a bad use of belt, too.

Kate: I like the rest of the dress, though, even though it’s a print (kind of). Good color. She still takes herself too seriously.

Erica: I like the color a lot, and I like the color on her. I do not like the hair. And also, isn’t Glee off the air? What is she still doing here?

Kate: Brad keeps styling her, so she keeps showing up to these events.

 

Leslie Jones

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Kate: With her build I probably would have gone with something a little simpler and sleeker. This just has way too much going on with the sparkle and the sheer and the slit and the long earrings.

Erica: I feel like it’s just bordering on an ice dancer dress. Although that could be fixed by just taking the sheer panel off the top. And, again, I think the super sheer skirt with the shoes just looks weird. But I like the femininity for her.

 

Mandy Moore

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Kate: Nope. Nope, nope nope.

Erica: Oooh I hate this so much in its entirety except maybe the pop of pink lip.

Kate: She is either super-amazing or super-awful on the red carpet, there is no in between with her. I hate this so much. It’s the top of a Jessica McClintock prom dress circa 2005 with the skirt of an unfinished ballet costume over the underskirt of a Gone with the Wind Halloween costume.

Erica: I hate this dress. A lot.

Kate: Just nope. Worst Dressed nominee.

 

Michelle Pfeiffer

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Kate: Stephanie Zinone coming out of the woodwork here, eh? Why is she there all of a sudden?

Erica: Isn’t she married to someone? Like, a business side guy?

Kate: Oh, she was in The Wizard of Lies about Madoff. Well, she looks quite nice, a little bit like Kelly Ripa but softer/less scary-skinny. I really like what she’s doing with her hair.

Erica: I don’t like the dress, though. Tea length. Long sleeve. High neck. Weird waist. Not for me.

Kate: Not for YOU, for Stephanie Zinone!

 

Nicole Kidman

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Kate: This feels a bit too Oscars for me, even with the shorter length. She looks absolutely stunning in red, I just don’t think it fits the occasion, especially next to her Big Little Lies co-star Reese Witherspoon, who is wearing a short dark turquoise blazer-dress.

Erica: I like it.

Kate: I also don’t like the silver things dangling from the neck — designer, you could have done the gown without them. (They looked worse during the preshow than in this photo.)

Erica: Maybe it’s because of those stupid f-ing parrots at last year’s SAG Awards, but this, I think looks so good on her and so lovely.

Kate: Perfect hair and makeup and jewelry. I don’t even mind that the lipstick matches the dress so perfectly.

 

Priyanka Chopra

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Kate: I get that this is super high-fashion and couture and all that jazz, and I even kind of like it (on her), but I can’t help but sweat just looking at her. How is she not overheating?

Erica: No, I hate it a lot.

Kate: Her hair and makeup and jewelry are always fabulous, so no complaints there. Just…So sweaty.

Erica: Hate it. Hate feathers. Hate high necks and long sleeves and weird, not-working-together-at-all bling on the collar and sleeve with the bling all over. Hate.

 

Rashida Jones

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Kate: Wow. Very, very beautiful.

Erica: I love the color and cut of it. I wish there was not that weird space between her boobs and her midriff.

Kate: That’s because you hate cutouts, but I think it works here. I really am not into bangs, but I know it’s her thing, and I like them a lot better with this slightly shorter haircut. The dress reminds me of something Mila Kunis wore many years ago, and the whole look is very softer-side-of-Cleopatra. Best Dressed nominee!

Erica: Yes. I knew there was someone with a similar dress. I support the bangs on her; I’m assuming there’s something awful about her forehead.

Kate: In the episodes of The Office that she’s on, when her bangs are pushed back away from her face, it really does look odd.

 

Reese Witherspoon

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Kate: I just watched Sweet Home Alabama for the 785th time, and she was just on Watch What Happens Live promoting her new movie Home Again, and I just never stop loving her. She’s so darling.

Erica: Oh, yeah, we watched her on that. She and Candice Bergen both obviously thought that Andy Cohen was an idiot.

Kate: THEY DID NOT AND HE IS NOT! I’m not super into this look, especially since her hair extensions don’t look well done, but I like that she did something out of her comfort zone and far from her usual red carpet look. It just doesn’t look that good.

Erica: I like the color a lot and I think it’s cut well and fits great. It’s just kinda weird. I’m not super into it. Love her, though.

 

Regina King

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Kate: Wow, I kind of love this? Not her hair, at least not in this photo, but the dress is great. Even though it’s a print! See, I’m growing as a person.

Erica: I like the dress but why is everyone doing that thing with their hair? The slick on top, sort of half wavy on the bottom thing? I don’t like it.

Kate: Nor do I.

 

Sarah Hyland

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Kate: This is perhaps the most awkwardly placed and shaped cutout I have ever seen. Do you hate it extra much?

Erica: Yes. I hate it as much as I hate all the cutouts, plus this one is extra weird.

Kate: I also hate the leaf print, the color(s) and whatever odd makeup/surgical things she has done to her face. And I am disappointed to learn that Brad Goreski styled her as well. Maybe he’s not actually my favorite?

Erica: Yeah, she’s WAY too young to make you wonder who did her work.

 

Sarah Paulson

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Kate: I find this to be as daring and high-fashion and couture as Priyanka Chopra’s dress, and I think it looks equally hot and sweaty in there.

Erica: Hate. Hate. Hate it all. Hate it so much. Worst Dressed nominee.

Kate: I don’t like the length, but I like the short low pony and I LOVE the makeup. Love.

Erica: Hate.

 

Shailene Woodley

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Kate: I honestly could start to like this dress if I tried, even though I don’t like velvet, but I can’t because the awful hair and makeup are way too distracting.

Erica: Her hair is really distractingly awful. The dress, I feel, is fine. Not good. Just fine.

Kate: I do not think she is aging well. I KNOW SHE IS STILL YOUNG, I just mean, I don’t think she is looking better as she gets past each birthday, as many normal human beings do. I think she is looking worse and worse.

Erica: I feel like maybe it’s that she doesn’t wear makeup well. And she wears her hair stupidly.

 

Sofia Vergara

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Kate: My dislike for her decreased recently after watching Hot Pursuit (another reason I continue to love Reese Witherspoon) — it was actually, like, laugh-out-loud funny. It’s not hard to make me laugh out loud, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Erica: Huh. I did not have any urge to watch it but that is quite an endorsement.

Kate: I mean, it’s silly, but who cares? Anyway, this dress is very Sofia — like, she maybe has worn this exact thing before in many different colors — but the hair is not. I do not like the bangs at all, but I like that she went for a high pony. The earrings are too heavy and dark for the rest of the look.

Erica: I feel like this dress is her thing and it’s a good example of her thing. I do like the hair but I do not like the earrings.

Kate: I also think a paler, nuder lip would have gone better with the bright white gown. More elegant.

 

Susan Sarandon

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Kate: I mean, she looks like her. Dressed-up her. She almost always wears this dress in navy blue or black, right?

Erica: I’m mad at her right now. I mean, she looks fine. But I’m mad.

Kate: Care to elaborate?

Erica: She was a never Hillary person who was all, “Well, if the revolution comes as a result of Trump winning this election, then great! Bring on the revolution.” And that’s all I want to say about that.

 

Uzo Aduba

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Kate: This looks quite bad.

Erica: The dress is not good. I don’t like whatever is happening at her waist.

Kate: I don’t like the white, I don’t like the silver vertical stripes, I don’t like that it’s 2 pieces, I don’t like any of it at all.

Erica: I like her hair like that.

 

Vanessa Bayer

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Kate: Her hair and makeup and jewelry all look great, and I suppose the silhouette of the gown is ok, but, again, I hate the print. A lot. It looks like curtains. In a really old, ugly house.

Erica: I think it looks like what the teacher chaperone wears to the prom. Well, the young, single teacher. Who is hoping the recently divorced head of the English department notices her.

 

Viola Davis

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Kate: Oooh I LOVE that color!!!

Erica: Yes! And it is only good for women of her hue.

Kate: The dress silhouette is a safe choice and also her usual taste, but I feel like we have not really seen this color on the carpet ever before, and I’m all for it.

Erica: She has a thing and she does it well. In this case, very, very well.

Kate: Alas, Best Dressed?

Erica: God, I don’t know. Even the people I liked weren’t that interesting. Except Evan Rachel Wood, but I respect your No-Non-Dresses-on-the-Best-Dressed rule. Maybe Jessica Biel? Who do you want to give it to?

Kate: You know what, let’s give it to Evan Rachel Wood! (I said a tuxedo-like thing is ALMOST never going to make it onto my Best Dressed list. This moment is almost never.) Worst?

Erica: SARAH PAULSON I HATE IT SO MUCH I HATE IT.

Kate: Oh, no, I don’t hate it as much as you do. Shailene Woodley?

Erica: I don’t hate that nearly as much as I hate Sarah Paulson’s. Priyanka Chopra or Mandy Moore?

Kate: OH yes, Mandy! See you at the Globes, folks!

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SYTYCD Season 14 – Top 6 Perform

Erica: Sorry about the delay this week, guys. This is one of about 20 things I SWORE I would get done BEFORE leaving for Vegas. Which is where we are now. I am writing this from the plush velvet couch in our lovely room at the Palazzo at 6:00 in the morning because my kids haven’t adjusted for the time difference.

Kate: Yea, we have LIVES, guys. (I also forgot to watch Monday and Tuesday night.)

Erica: And for those of you keeping track at home, two will be eliminated tonight and then I guess next week is the finale because Fox wants to get this show done already. Listen, Fox, you are wrong and this show is delightful but why you gotta play things like this?

Kate: It used to be delightful, but I have to admit it has lost a good chunk of its charm for me.

Erica: And, as ever, there will be solos, but we will not cover them.

Cat Deeley’s Ensemble

Kate: Good hair. Bad makeup.

Erica: Her hair looks great. The dress is not my thing but it’s fine I guess.

Kate: I’m just not into prints like that. The silvery-smoky makeup is too matchy-matchy with the dress, and the shoes don’t go at all. I know they’re black, but they just don’t go. Ugh, I am so mean!

Erica: Are we covering the other ladies? Because Hudgy looks strange but it’s not her stupidest outfit. And Mary looks like she’s wearing your maiden aunt’s nightgown from 1972. I say this with love, Mary Murphy. With love.

Zoe: Mary Murphy’s outfit isn’t bad this week.

Erica: Well, we all have our own opinions.

Kate: I have hated every single “look” of Vanessa Hudgy’s on every single episode of this season. It looks like her face is painted actual red. That is an accurate description of Mary’s outfit, Er, and it makes sense that you don’t think it’s bad, Zoe. (Love you.)

Group Routine (All): Contemporary, choreo by Christopher Scott
“Prism” by Nathan Lanier

Erica: So, as a routine, I thought it was pretty neat. The boys were in all black and started the routine with these white boxes, which, I know, props are annoying, but I didn’t think these were a bad use of props. Then they rather spectacularly revealed the girls in white. And the routine was very sharp and precise and cool. But the dancers were not as sharp as they needed to be. The choreo was great; the dancers were not all living up to it.

Kate: I loved the concept — very synchronized swimming without the water. The sharpness has been an issue this entire season; like, seasons 1-5 judges/voters would NEVER have stood for this low level of sharpness.

Erica: There was an especially telling moment where Cyrus and Fik-Shun were doing the same thing, and Cyrus looked 180 times as sharp as Fik-Shun did.

Kate: Yes, I am becoming more and more pro-Cyrus than I ever was during his season.

Lex & Gaby: Samba, choreo by Sasha Farber
“Chillando Goma” by Fulanito

Erica: I am super into her outfit. There’s these really colorful tassels on her skirt and I am in favor.

Kate: I was really into this routine, more so than usual for these two, but I can’t help but wish two REALLY GOOD ballroom dancers had performed it instead. Cool tricks, though.

Erica: Was this sort of African-jazz-inflected samba? I felt like with those flexed-wrist-and-ankle it was. And then Mary Murphy backed me up there. So I know things now.

Kate: That’s kind of what it felt like at first, but then it went mostly into samba.

Erica: I thought it was fine. Fun and wild. But not particularly sexy, as they were saying it was supposed to be in the rehearsal footage.

Kate: …And then Nigel told Lex to go and take some ballroom lessons before the tour? Ouch! (Also, HOW MANY TIMES CAN THEY PROMOTE THE DAMN TOUR IN ONE EPISODE? I went once, and it was super-cool, but come on guys.)

Koine & Marko: Contemporary, choreo by Mandy Korpinen & Elizabeth Petrin
“You’re the Last Thing On My Mind” by Aron Wright

Erica: So this was a routine centered around this big closet set piece and that was making all of the Jewish mother instincts I have in me scream “No! Get off that! Stop it!”

Kate: Haha. (Real laugh.)

Erica: I thought there were some really beautiful moves — like when they were both hanging from the hanger with their legs entangled — but it didn’t cohere for me. It felt like a series of moves as opposed to a dance. That’s more about the choreo than the dancing. Koine, as ever, was gorgeous and perfect.

Kate: Yes, it was very heavy on the acting/tricks/props more so than the dancing, but I am a sucker for super-emo contemporary to slow songs about sad relationships. So sue me.

Ian: I feel like you and I could do this on the playground, but the judges are going to say it’s incredible.

Erica: And then Nigel has to be gross to Koine and women in general, and insulting to Mary Murphy, by speculating that he would like to hang a piece of lingerie in his closet and get a beautiful woman but with his luck he’d probably get a Mary Murphy. You so wish, Nigel. Shut up.

Kate: Ewwwwwww.

Zoe: Taylor’s solo was pretty amazing, but it had a pretty weird outfit in an awful color.

Kate: Zoe, we’re not covering solos! But you’re right, it’s like someone cut up a bridesmaid dress (in not that awful a color?) and made it into a dance costume.

Kiki & Jenna: Jazz, choreo by Ray Leeper
“Proud Mary” by Tina Turner

Kate: Such a fun song, but it would lend itself better to a bigger group routine.

Erica: I did not see one second of this dance because Sadie was dancing next to me on the couch and for one thing I had to prevent her from falling off but also it was SO DAMN CUTE YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW.

Kate: Next time, film it!

Zoe: Jenna’s outfit is really sparkly and I like that but it’s also a little weird-looking.

Kate: It’s very Tina.

Erica: The few moves I did see looked like the moves everyone ever does to “Proud Mary,” so way to phone it in, there, Ray Leeper.

Kate: Yes, Ian was extremely upset about this routine and this show overall, I won’t even include all of his very angry comments. Her stupid facial expressions were very distracting, and he looked a bit unsure of himself. Fun, but not great. PS Jenna totally said “Ray Leeter” instead of “Ray Leeper” and that made me feel really good about myself.

Kaylee & Cyrus: Hip-hop, choreo by Phillip Chbeeb
“Die Trying” by Michl

Erica: For a minute I thought this was another piece with a prop to make me nervous. But they didn’t stand it up so that was good. Kind of stupid for the live audience, but good for my heart.

Kate: They were SUPER prop-happy this week. I love these two.

Erica: I continue to be impressed by her attitude. I could not tell why this was hip-hop and not jazz but it was cool and well-performed.

Zoe: LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!!!

Kate: Me too, Zoe! Love all your commentary this week. You sat and watched with Mommy the whole time, eh?

Erica: But also Sadie started dancing and she was AMAZING. Nigel continues to be a little passive-aggressive to her.

Kate: Nigel is passive-aggressive to Sadie? I’ll kill him.

Group Routine (All-Stars): Contemporary, choreo by Andrew Winghart
“Floreana” by Baauer

Kate: I really didn’t know what to make of this style — they were all wearing pasodoble outfits, but doing some kind of modern-jazz-contemporary mashup. Hey, how come we don’t do “modern” on this show?

Erica: It’s not 100% clear to me what the difference would be between “modern” and “contemporary”. But I don’t think “jazz” is really its own style any more, and “Broadway” hardly means anything at all, so who knows?

Kate: Modern is more flexing, contemporary is more pointing. Of the feet, I mean. The weirdness/annoyingness of the song and the shiny red-and-black skirts were quite distracting, but this was overall ok.

Erica: They gave Jenna a little solo and I hate her so much. I know it’s irrational. Zoe is sitting next to me, going, “You know she’s a pretty good dancer, right?” And I do know. I do. But I hate her. This number was fine but not memorable.

Taylor & Robert: Hip-hop, choreo by Mari & Keone Madrid
“Numb & Getting Colder” by Flume feat. Kucka

Kate: Now HERE was the sharpness I’ve been waiting for. Excellent.

Erica: Oh my goodness. This was cool as anything I’ve seen.

Kate: I thought it was simply perfection. Love these two.

Erica: Love these two. Love the choreo. The wobble they did? The perfectly in sync WOBBLE. Are we kidding? So good.

Zoe: Amazing amazing amazing.

Logan & Allison: Contemporary, choreo by Dee Caspary
“The Other Side” by Ruelle

Kate: It is very hard to believe these two could have a romantic relationship in any routine they’ve done this season, but this is the closest they’ve come so far.

Erica: I’ve always liked Logan, although I acknowledge the chemistry problems between these two. This piece really showed him off perfectly. They were amazing in it.

Kate: The dancing itself was fantastic, very sharp and synchronized. God help me, I liked Hudgy’s description of it: “Sexy Contemporary”.

Erica: But it’s accurate. I also have positive feelings about Dee Caspary, though I’m struggling to remember what specific other routines he’s choreographed that I’ve liked.

Kate: I know we’re not covering solos, but Kiki took his shirt off at the end of his and Mary IMMEDIATELY stood up and started clapping with a VERY happy/satisfied look on her face. It was silly.

Lex & Koine: Disco, choreo by Doriana Sanchez
“Knock On Wood” Amii Stewart

Kate: I don’t know if disco suits these 2, or if these 2 suit each other, because this felt a little off.

Erica: I don’t generally like disco on this show, and I’m not a big Lex fan. I felt a lot of moves looked unfinished and their chemistry and trust were non-existent.

Kate: She was adorable, though, with great legs and lifts and turns, so maybe it was just him?

Erica: I like her a lot. But she was pulling some weird faces here. I kept thinking she was chewing gum. But I still love her. And I think she pulled her weight more than he did.

Kate: Quite awkward when they were talking about his potential injury/Cat was trying to tell him where to go after revealing he was in the top 4/finale, which I am not happy about. WAIT, DORIANA SANCHEZ WAS IN DIRTY DANCING? OMG YES, SHE WAS ONE OF THE FUN DANCE FRIENDS! YAY DORIANA!

Erica: Blergh. I don’t want to yay Doriana. And that was a super-awkward way to handle results. I didn’t like it at all. It was like they were trying to build tension but they flubbed it. And they’ve been doing this too long to flub it.

Taylor & Logan: Jazz, choreo by Mark Kanemura
“Gypsy” by Lady Gaga

Kate: What. Is with. These. Costumes.

Erica: I…Definitely had that outfit in 1995. Or I wanted it.

Kate: Fine, fine, outfits aside, I like him better when he is with her. She is so talented. I can’t decide between her, Koine and Kaylee! Maybe she is the most skilled technically, Koine the funnest, and Kaylee the most interesting/most improved?

Erica: God the three of them are spectacular. I also have to put in another plug for Kaylee’s overall attitude. I love all three of them. Also maybe I like Lady Gaga? Is that okay?

Kate: Duh?!

Kiki & Kaylee: Bollywood, choreo by Nakul Dev Mahajan
“Gallan Goodiyaan” by Dil Dhadakne Do (Soundtrack)

Kate: And in what should come as a surprise to no one, Kaylee was very good at Bollywood. Better than Kiki. But he was still good too.

Erica: She brought the joy. She didn’t look like she was acting happy; she looked like she WAS happy.

Kate: You might have Sadie doing cute dances, but Ian danced to this entire song while also making me my nightly cup of sleepy tea, so he called it his “tea dance”, so now I have that in my life.

Erica: That is a pretty amazing thing to have in your life and I also wish you had filmed that.

Kate: Oh my god, I think Nigel made his most inappropriate/racist comment yet: If Kiki doesn’t get picked up by Dancing with the Stars next season, he can always be an Uber driver in Mumbai. !!!!!!

Results

Kate: So Kiki, Lex and Taylor are all in the top 4/finale. I am sad that either Koine or Kaylee is going home.

Erica: I really could do without both Kiki and Lex.

Kate: OH BUT I’M SO HAPPY IT’S KOINE IN THE TOP 4/FINALE! YAY! Good job, Kaylee. Bye, Logan.

Erica: I mean, I like both the people leaving better than I like Kiki or Lex. I GUESS THAT’S WHAT I GET FOR NOT VOTING, HUH?

Kate: Yeah, I usually only vote in the finale. Hypocrite, much?

SYTYCD Season 14 – Top 7 Perform

Cat Deeley’s Look

Kate: The hair, makeup and jewelry is all way too Khloe Kardashian for my liking.

Erica: I do not know enough about the Kardashians to recognize these things as such, and I still hate everything.

Kate: The plaid is atrocious.

Erica: I like that hairstyle, if you’re going to kickboxing class. Or the beach.

Kate: Meanwhile, Mary’s dress is trying to eat her.

 

Group Routine (All): Broadway, choreo by Warren Carlyle

“Overture” by Merrily We Roll Along (2012 New York Cast)

Kate: I feel it was messy and it was the fault of the choreographer, not the dancers.

Erica: Yes. None of the dance moves were particularly impressive in their own selves, nor did they look particularly impressive as a whole. And the camera was swooping around like crazy to make you think you were watching a coordinated piece, but you were not.

Kate: Maybe I just don’t really like the Broadway dance genre as a whole?

Erica: No. I love the Broadway genre. I was really excited for this song and for this look. It was a disappointing dance.

Kate: Yes, YOU love it, but maybe I do not. Hold on, we’re going from 7 to 4 dancers/next week is the FINALE? Fox, just cancel the show already. This is weird.

Erica: Holy moly. That is super-weird and abrupt. I don’t want them to cancel but if this is as much faith as they have, then, yeah. Time to go.

 

Lex & Gaby: Hip-Hop, choreo by Luther Brown

“Humble” by Kendrick Lamar

Kate: Well, he has much more “swag” than she does, but it’s still not much. He was kind of stiff.

Erica: There was a moment when Gaby was doing that puppet master thing with Lex and the camera was off to the side. That tells me that either a) the camerawork on this show is kind of shoddy, or b) they knew the move didn’t look good from the front.

Kate: It was good, just not what I’d really want/expect to see in the episode before the finale/top 4 dancers. Ya know?

Erica: The judges seem wild about it. I’m not seeing what they’re seeing. Nigel (whose suit is kind of dope tonight, no?) is definitely talking like this show is ending. “When I started this show, I wanted every genre of dance to be respected.” That’s some “I’ve had the time of my life” talk.

Kate: Yes, Nigel’s suit is nicer than usual.

 

Logan & Allison: African Jazz, choreo by Sean Cheesman

“Kabila” by Lord KraVen

Erica: BTW, there are solos tonight, but we’re not covering them. Assume the dancers managed, once again, to not suck in their own genre for thirty seconds.

Kate: He is much more muscular than I thought he was.

Erica: So…Sean Cheesman is black, and therefore this isn’t racist? Okay.

Kate: Why would it be racist?

Erica: African Jazz always gives me a bit of liberal white guilt. Because it feels — and this routine was maybe the epitome of that — very “Oh look at the adorable savage way these Africans dance!” But I think it’s a problem with figuring out where the line is between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation/adaptation. And I never know where the line is and sometimes I think it comes down to things like, “Well, Sean Cheesman is black, so that’s okay.”

Kate: But African Jazz is a real dance genre. It’s not racist. This was one of the better routines they have done together, but I’m not obsessed with it. Why did it get a standing O?

Erica: Oh, I thought it was very good. I thought the two of them moved their bodies in amazing ways, in a very coordinated fashion. Also, Sadie? Super into this routine. Bopped her butt, clapped, and made “ooh” sounds at the appropriate moments.

Kate: Well, then I love it.

 

Kaylee & Cyrus: Contemporary, choreo by Tasty Oreo

“DKLA” by Troye Sivan feat. Tkay Maidza

Kate: Loved it. She/they started out as my least favorite dancer/pair, and now look at her/them.

Erica: This was really quite good. She’s better than he is.

Kate: I just think she has embodied what this show is all about — growing as a dancer and becoming an expert in all styles, not just your own.

Erica: Her attitude is just terrific. I felt that Nigel was a little passive-aggressive about his commentary — “Oh, Tasty gave you the right moves so that you could look good together,” but I think that was unfair, at least as far as she is concerned. She’s shown over and over again how well she can handle things outside her comfort zone.

Kate: And, you know, Nigel said his real name, “Tyce”, not “Tasty”.

Erica: Whatever.

 

Kiki & Jenna: Broadway, choreo by Warren Carlyle

“Dancin’ Fool” by Barry Manilow

Kate: THIS Broadway, I like. His ballroom-ness made it kind of a sexy-Broadway, which I liked more than I expected to. Bravo, Kiki! (Still think that name is weird.)

Erica: I thought this was much better choreography but only slightly better dancing. They had a lot of verve and personality but there were too many moments where they weren’t together. And she seemed to not really be following through on all her moves.

Kate: More importantly, I loved Jenna’s red dance shoes. And THIS standing O, I understand. Even Cat loved it! Wait, why did she love it SO much, though?

Erica: Boy, you’re tough to please.

 

Koine & Marko: Jive, choreo by Dmitry Chaplin

“Rock Around The Clock” by Bill Haley & His Comets

Kate: What a perfect jive song.

Erica: Classic. The definitive.

Kate: She is just adorable, and they do great tricks together. I think her style of dancing makes it look very effortless, which I like, but in this particular one I think she should have gone for more “cutesy” than “come hither”.

Erica: She’s just so cute. So freakin’ cute. I did think she was mostly cutesy and less come-hither, but YMMV. Her hands were, as the kids might say, extra.

Kate: What is “YMMV”? HUDGY, don’t ever try to do the hot tamale train again. Ever.

Erica: Seriously. Mary Murphy has that trademarked.

Kate: She did NOT like it.

 

Group Routine (All-Stars): Jazz, choreo by Brian Friedman

“Derniere Danse” by Indila

Kate: See, I know the LIVE AUDIENCE is not seeing this in black and white with the pink accents, so why is the camera work showing us that?

Erica: I mean, I get that they’re going for the “look” but it comes across just fine once we lose the filter, so just staaaahhhp.

Kate: Still, this was pretty cool. And well danced. Had we seen that choreographer before? He has some good stuff.

Erica: Yes. He’s been on this show a lot, actually. (Like, check this baby out.) I think he was a big deal in the early seasons and now he kind of comes back occasionally as a favor or something. Anyway, I’m glad you liked this dance. I really liked it but I thought maybe I was just being too entranced by the outfits.

 

Taylor & Robert: Contemporary, choreo by Mandy Moore

“To Make You Feel My Love” by Mick McAuley & Winifred Horan

Kate: Ugh, when I heard “contemporary” next to these two’s names, I knew it’d be good. And with a version of this song? Yup. All of it good and nice. (I don’t remember hearing one note of it, but I walked down the aisle to an acoustic version of this song.)

Erica: Every part of her is just so long. Long legs, long arms, long torso. And every move goes all the way through each body part. Stunning.

Kate: Her legs were absolutely perfect in every single step and move here.

Erica: And she can act, too. I mean, it can’t be hard to act like you are deeply connected to Robert, but still. She feels what she’s doing. I feel what she’s doing. Damn.

Kate: Why is Nigel giving us a personal history lesson with each routine?

Erica: I’m telling you, I think it’s because he knows he’s about to be off of our TVs.

 

Mark & Comfort: Hip-Hop, choreo by Misha Gabriel

“No Twerk” by Apashe & Panther x Odalisk

Kate: This concept sounded really cool but it wasn’t what I thought it would be, and he did not seem sharp enough even though this is his own style???

Erica: I honestly (sigh) thought neither of them were sharp enough to pull off the idea here. I’m so sorry, Comfort. I love you. And I thought that the choreography was cool, but missed some opportunities.

Kate: Did Comfort lift him??? She’s awesome. Is this a new choreographer?

Erica: Yes. That was the coolest sequence. I think it might be.

Kate: Hold on, need to comment on one of the pre-solo background videos: They have mini-ballroom competitions for kids? And Lex danced ballroom as a little baby kid? Nothing is cuter.

Erica: Of course they have mini-ballroom competitions for kids. We like making kids act like mini-adults.

 

Lex, Logan & Kaylee: Contemporary, choreo by Dwight Rhoden & Desmond Richardson

“Strange” by LP

Kate: This was extremely visually pleasing — lighting, costumes, dancing, even camerawork, for once. Really loved it.

Erica: Yeah. I found it, somehow, emotionally satisfying. Like I just had some really delicious and healthy soup.

Kate: I hadn’t heard of these “legendary” choreographers they were all gushing about, but I really enjoyed this dance of theirs. Why was only one of them shown in the rehearsal footage?

Erica: I feel like I have heard of them but only from this show. Like, I feel like either they’ve come on before or been mentioned in some capacity. Maybe they are in some way connected to Debbie Allen? I hate how Nigel is damning Kaylee with faint praise. Kaylee is amazing and versatile and doesn’t need to “keep up” with these boys (who were also spectacular in this). But also f you, Nigel, just because she doesn’t make you happy in your pants place doesn’t mean she’s not an amazing dancer.

Kate: Ew.

 

Kiki, Koine, Mark & Taylor: Contemporary, choreo by Sean Cheesman

“Still I Rise (Maya Angelou)” by Alexis Henry

Kate: Dancing to a spoken poem rather than a song is a first for this show, I think, which must be tough to choreograph to, but it worked. Awesome tricks, leaps and lifts all around.

Erica: I started off feeling a little irritated by the performance art of it all, but man. They sold it. The choreography was good enough to get away with an irritatingly self-righteous concept, and they performed the hell out of it. They did a series of tricks to a poem and made it look like a dance.

Kate: It’s tough to pick a favorite between Taylor, Koine and Kaylee right now.

Erica: Seriously. Taylor is so elegant, but Koine has also had elegant moments and Kaylee has proven herself to be capable of taking on any persona. Koine is so adorable, but Taylor can shine and Kaylee can be anything, including cute. Kaylee is such an actress, but Taylor can also pour soul into her performance, and Koine in that ex-beauty-queen routine acted the hell out of it. They’re all SO GOOD. I love this show.

 

Results

Kate: Wait, how are the bottom 3 just in danger and not officially off if next week is the top 4/finale? I guess we are only kicking off 1 right now?

Erica: I don’t know. I understand nothing. I’ll just keep showing up until they name a winner, I guess.

Kate: Mark is going home and I am totally, more than fine with that.

Erica: Yes. Just fine. Okay, so, as of right now, I’m fine with any girl winning. I think Logan is my favorite guy but I’m not sold on him.

Kate: We’ll see if next week is really the finale, I guess!

SYTYCD Season 14 – Top 8

Kate: Wait, they DO dance with each other this season? Not just the all-stars?

Erica: I guess. They do what they want to do.

Kate: I canNOT keep up!

 

Cat Deeley’s Look

Kate: I normally prefer her hair down and wavy, but I am digging this loose high pony. And makeup.

Erica: But not the dress.

Kate: The dress is absurd, but it kind of works on her and on this particular show. The only thing I could do without is the earrings — I think the dress speaks for itself, no additional bling required, you know?

Erica: I think she should wear the earrings and not the dress. I can appreciate that coming up with looks that are new every week and not, you know, stupid looking, is hard. But they failed this time.

 

Group Routine (Everyone): Jazz, choreo by Mark Kanemura

“Call Me Mother” by RuPaul

Kate: Only Robert was worthy of being in this routine — and by “worthy” I mean “sharp enough”.

Erica: Oh, I quite liked it. Though he was the number one best.

Kate: Wait, no, Comfort was too. Obviously. Oh, and Jasmine.

Erica: So happy she’s still around.

Kate: There were just a lot of intricate steps and hand movements that were not executed well. Maybe there were just too many people?

Erica: I didn’t have a problem with it. I also had a baby crawling on me while watching it so maybe I didn’t catch everything. I did think every person was doing a weird thing with their mouth at one point or another.

 

Kione & Marko: Jazz, choreo by Mandy Moore

“Handclap” by Fitz and the Tantrums

Kate: Er, no story! Aren’t you happy? Ian is thrilled.

Ian: No story?!

Erica: I am pretty happy. I mean, stories are fine (sometimes) but it’s nice to not struggle to come up with some stupid shit.

Kate: I feel like this is the only style (so far) that she wasn’t immediately amazing at, TECHNICALLY, but her personality and overall performance quality kind of made up for it.

Erica: I thought she was terrific. This might not make any sense to you, since you can actually dance, but to me, she looks like what I look like in my head when I’m dancing. Like, I understand that I DO NOT look like that, but the creature in my head whose moves I’m following does.

Kate: I honestly feel like Marko wasn’t that great at this style either; like, maybe even messed up a few steps? I also missed their chemistry but I suppose that’s what happens when you have A DANCE WITH NO STORY.

Ian: Ew, Hudgy-Wudgy!

Kate: Yes, ew, Hudgy. Who do you think you are with that silver-blond wig, Daenerys Targaryen? IN YOUR DREAMS!

Erica: You are being very unkind. You do not understand the plight of those living without a personality. Sometimes they have to wear stupid hair to feel like they might, in fact, exist.

 

Taylor & Robert: Hip-Hop, choreo by Luther Brown

“Bodak Yellow” by Cardi B

Kate: I was soooo nervous about these 2 doing hip-hop but they freakin’ CRUSHED IT. Crushed it!

Erica: They really did. She was terrific. I feel like they’ve tried to create this “sweet, soft good girl” image for her but she actually has a lot of sass.

Kate: She adapted to hip-hop so much better than she did to samba. She was so feisty in every place she was supposed to be. I feel like she loved having that long high pony, too.

Erica: Her face reminds us a bit of Anne Hathaway, yes? Yes.

Kate: Yes.

 

Lex & Gaby: Contemporary, choreo by Mandy Moore

“Work Song” by Luke Wade

Kate: I’m not a huge fan of his, but he is obviously a standout within his own style. This was very enjoyable to watch. Probably my favorite from these 2 so far.

Erica: I quite liked the song, which I feel like maybe I’ve heard and commented on before. I thought he was quite lovely in this. Like, yes, he should manage not to suck in the style that got him on this show. But also, he didn’t suck. He was very good.

Kate: Every time I see Vanessa Hudgens’ hair, I get extremely angry.

Ian: Quiet, Hudgy!

Erica: It’s amazing, the total void she adds to this already pretty meaning-lite conversation.

 

Kaylee & Cyrus: Cha-Cha, choreo by Val Chmerkovskiy

“Respect” by Aretha Franklin

Kate: Again, another routine I was nervous about, but it was fab! Kaylee, I am so sorry for misjudging you in the first episode. I actually really like you as a dancer and think you did a phenomenal cha-cha!

Erica: They keep coming up with costumes and concepts that allow her to hold on to her androgyny, which is fine, but I’m kind of curious about how she’d do if they made her do a waltz in a floaty pink dress. That said, she was a sass-machine in this number and it was terrific.

Kate: They both had great form/ballroom posture the entire time. It must have been hard doing such a traditional dance to such a non-traditional song (for the type of dance, I mean), but they pulled it off, even in the pauses where there were no real movements. Really loved it.

Erica: I do feel like ballroom, especially Latin ballroom, has a lot of room for non-traditional song choices.

 

Mark & Comfort: Broadway, choreo by Spencer Liff

“Criminal” by Scott Bradlee’s Modern Jukebox feat. Ariana Savalas

Kate: No. Didn’t work.

Erica: I don’t love the concept. We don’t need another Comfort-is-a-man-eater number. That said, I still feel like he forces their connection too much. They might have one but he always looks like he’s trying to demonstrate to the audience that they have one, rather than just having one.

Kate: I just feel like he was doing an imitation of a Broadway dancer, not being a Broadway dancer himself, you know? It didn’t feel sexy, it felt creepy and wrong. Just didn’t like it. Let’s have Comfort re-do this with someone else?

Erica: Comfort can do anything she wants ever and I will watch it. Maybe next time they can get handcuffs that aren’t quite obviously broken and therefore not holding Comfort back at all.

Kate: NIGEL YOU ARE SUCH A CREEP STOP MAKING THOSE COMMENTS!

Erica: For our readers who missed it, this dance starts with Mark tied up and Comfort shimmying all over him. Nigel claims Spencer just choreographed Spencer’s own personal fantasy. Nigel, you won’t let Spencer choreograph his own fantasies. Because his own fantasies involve two dudes, and you are uncomfortable with that. (Well, two or more dudes, I guess. I don’t know Spencer’s mind.)

 

Kiki & Jenna: Jazz, choreo by Travis Wall

“Pop Hd” by Atom TM

Kate: Not really what I’d call “jazz” and not really what I’d expect/want to see from Travis Wall. And that music and lighting? No thank you!

Erica: So, I was kind of amazed to see Zoe get really into this piece. She even recognized that it was supposed to look like a Roy Lichtenstein painting. I mean, she didn’t remember his name but she recognized the style. So I was pleased about that.

Kate: I couldn’t even pay attention to the dancing because I was too focused on the awful music and seizure lighting. Still seeing spots.

Erica: This routine was interesting, but it was not for me. But I can’t gauge my reactions accurately because Jenna just makes my whole body clench.

 

Dassy & Fik-Shun: Contemporary, choreo by Jaci Royal

“Breathe” by Son Lux

Kate: She danced this beautifully. He was kind of just there, which was ok for this routine, I think.

Erica: I was not entranced by this routine.

Kate: The girl dancers are really strong this season, I like them all so much! And Jaci Royal is new to the SYTYCD choreographing family, right? So far, I’m into her.

Erica: Not me. I didn’t like this routine. I thought it looked very going-through-the-motions and I thought that was her fault, not Dassy and Fik-Shun’s. Well, not Dassy’s, in any event.

 

Logan & Allison: Lyrical Hip-Hop, choreo by Christopher Scott

“Say You Won’t Let Go” by Boyce Avenue

Kate: This was barely “lyrical hip-hop”, in my expert opinion, but I’m not sure what else I would call it, so, fine.

Erica: As far as I can tell, “lyrical hip-hop” is either “jazz, but the motions go faster than the song,” or “hip-hop, but to a non-hip-hop song.” This was the former.

Kate: I felt it was very corny and not believable that they were husband and wife but maybe that’s because we already know she is married to Twitch and they made sure to remind us of it during the rehearsal footage? Like, he really did seem more like her annoying little brother than her husband?

Erica: He’s a lot younger than her, and it showed. I thought this was cute but not spectacular. Like, I thought each of them danced it very well, and it was a pretty cute routine, but I won’t remember this happening in a month.

Kate: Speaking of which, why isn’t Twitch at any of the tapings?! 😦

Erica: I would love to see him and Allison dance together. Also, Nigel’s joke about his divorce made me sad.

 

Group Routine (All-Stars): Contemporary, choreo by Jaci Royal

“Truth” by Balmorhea

Kate: The props were distracting. Was it about looking in a mirror or being separated by thin barriers or shattering ceilings or what? WHAT WAS THE STORY, JACI?

Erica: I thought it was cool. I think it was about, like, the ways we separate ourselves from each other, or something. I liked it. But also, as a person who has been a nervous Jewish mom even before she was an actual mom, this piece terrified me. Zoe really liked this one, too.

 

Taylor & Lex: Jazz, choreo by Spencer Liff

“An American in Paris” by James Levine & Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Kate: I feel like she just kept wanting to do ballet and then remembered this was jazz. I liked her hip-hop routine much better.

Erica: Oh I liked it. It is my kind of thing.

Kate: And similar to her ballroom routine last week, she was just too stiff in some areas. She has a hard time letting go and being fluid, I think. Why are the judges standing? No standing! No standing! This was not good!

Erica: Her spine could have used a little loosening. But other than that, I thought it was pretty good. Not as great as the judges thought it was, but I thought she was charming.

Kate: Also, despite that little “history” comment from Cat and the pre-rehearsal footage and the kiss on stage, they have no chemistry.

Erica: Yeah, I didn’t understand what that was about. I thought we were about to hear that they, like, had a dance class together when they were four, or something.

Kate: Hold on, “one of the best routines ever on So You Think You Can Dance”? Do I need to update my contacts prescription again?

Erica: I feel like she was just standing before the judges going, “How long are they going to keep talking? When can I take my ginormous eyelash feather things off?”

 

Kione & Kiki: Salsa, choreo by Val Chmerkovskiy

“Dança Molengo” by Bonde do Rolê feat. Rizzle Kicks

Kate: Important question: How does Kiki practice dance while wearing glasses?

Erica: I would think contacts would be really important for a dancer. But what do I know?

Kate: Anyway, I love her. She’s a natural at ballroom. She kind of stole the show from him, literally. I think she could win this show. I think she should win this show. Maybe she won’t, but maybe she should.

Erica: She’s definitely rocketing up there for me. She looked terrific. I feel like the costume department dropped the ball a bit on this one — she’s in a sort of mismatched crop top and cha-cha skirt, and then he’s in, like, what he wore to grab a pizza the night before – but she was super-adorable. And he was good, too. In his own style.

Kate: There IS an awful lot of kissing going on here, Mary!

 

Kaylee & Logan: Contemporary, choreo by Travis Wall

“Shadows” by Woodkid

Kate: Now THIS is what I want and expect from Travis Wall. Excellent. Didn’t she kind of remind you of Nightcrawler?

Erica: I…had not really heard of that movie before.

Kate: Also, what a “concept” — they had to be perfectly in sync because she was his shadow, so they had to dance the exact same movements most of the time, like, you know, a…normal…choreographed…dance…routine? GROUNDBREAKING!

Erica: Heehee. I thought this was cool and they did a terrific job. They are such different dancers — I mean, I know they’re both contemporary, but they feel so different to me. So to do a routine like this was very interesting and I thought they did a great job.

Kate: Sorry, Travis, love ya, but come on. So silly.

 

Dassy & Mark: Hip-Hop, choreo by Christopher Scott

“Titled” by Christine and the Queens

Kate: This isn’t “So You Think You Can Toss An Umbrella”, Chris Scott. Let them dance, for crying out loud!

Erica: I don’t know why this didn’t land for me. I don’t mind dancing with umbrellas. I love Dassy. This should have been so in her and Mark’s wheelhouse. And yet, somehow, I just didn’t love it.

Kate: The umbrellas took away everything that could have and should have been cool about this routine. Their movements were not big or sharp enough, it was all about the damn props. I really like her and now I’m worried this will hurt her chances of moving forward.

Erica: You know, I’m wondering if the umbrella handles just needed to be a bit longer.

 

Results

Kate: I am ready for Mark to go home. Unfortunately that is not going to happen, though, because only girls are in the bottom 3. America, why are you so bad at voting?

Erica: I was going to write a feminist rant about American voting, but then I got too sad and had to watch that commercial with the new baby 800 times to make myself feel better.

Kate: Well, this sucks. Dassy had a lot of potential and was fun to watch, but I am enjoying watching Kaylee more and more each week.

Erica: Aw, man. That’s really disappointing. Dassy is really, really good and I’ll miss her. I like Kaylee. But Kione and Taylor are competing for tops in my heart right now.

Kate: Until next time!

SYTYCD Season 14 – Top Nine Perform

Cat Deeley’s Look

Kate: Yaaaaaaaaaas THIS is my favorite version of Cat Deeley hair.

Erica: Yes. Yes. Yes. Well, this is probably my second favorite. I like it when there are just those big loose curls at the bottom a scooch better. But God she is so pretty. I want to brush it.

Kate: And only someone a bazillion feet tall, like her, with teeny-tiny skinny arms, also like her, could pull off that dress. Love it love it love it.

Erica: I think she looks great in that dress. That dress is not my particular thing, but it is a perfect example of the thing it is.

 

Group Routine – All: Hip-hop, choreo by Luther Brown

“Ya Ya” by Jonte

Kate: Why was no one nearly as sharp as they needed to be, all-stars included?

Erica: Here’s what I was thinking during this routine: Okay, so it’s African jazz? But what’s the difference between African jazz and jazz, other than outfits? Well, this is sharper and harder than most jazz. More like hip-hop. Is African jazz just hip-hop with different outfits? And then it was hip-hop after all. In African jazz outfits. But it’s still not clear to me what distinguishes African jazz from other dance forms.

Kate: I did not like the outfits, or the routine, at all.

 

Logan & Allison: Jive, choreo by Emma Slater & Sasha Farber

“5 Months, 2 weeks, 2 days” by Louis Prima

Kate: I do not feel that his feet were as good in this, and your feet HAVE to be good in a jive. That’s the whole point!

Erica: Oh, I enjoyed this quite a bit. There was still a lot of contemporary in him, but I thought he did very well. Maybe it’s just that I love a jive.

Kate: Ugh but I LOVE when Mary Murphy gets all technical in her critiques, reminds me that she actually knows what she’s talking about as opposed to *SOME* other judges.

Erica: I know; I kind of want Mary Murphy to give us a little class some time. Like, get some of the ballroom all-stars on stage and be like, “Look, this is what the feet are supposed to do during a samba/waltz/foxtrot, this is what the arms are supposed to do,” etc.

Kate: “Wow…You guys, like…really DANCED, you know? Heehee!” *eye roll*

Erica: Vanessa Hudgens is so terrible. You know, I was going to show Zoe High School Musical now that she’s the right age for it but I think I won’t. (She also hates Vanessa Hudgens, so that’s fine.) Why couldn’t they have Christina Applegate?

Kate: She was fine in that movie and Zoe would like it, she is just not fine as a So You Think You Can Dance judge. I think something *happened* with Christina Applegate and Fox.

 

Kione & Marko: Hip-hop, choreo by David Scott

“You Don’t Own Me” by Grace feat. G-Eazy

Kate: Trying not to focus on the fact that one of my favorite songs by one of my all-time favorite singers has been turned into a hip-hop remix, I looooovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvved this routine.

Erica: They didn’t even remix it that well. It was just kind of that song, with some hip-hop bits in between. But yes, this routine was brilliant and she was brilliant in it. Like, seriously, seriously brilliant.

Kate: Kione is so so good. She is great at hip-hop, she is great with Marko, she’s even starting to outshine him a little.

Erica: Yeah. Yeah, she is.

 

Dassy & Fik-Shun: Jazz, choreo by Ray Leeper

“Bring the Funk Back” by Big Gigantic

Kate: This was fun, and again the contestant was outshining the all-star, a bit. I think this style suited her well.

Erica: I am more and more impressed by Dassy. I actually thought she was better than him in this. Or at least more comfortable being sexy. Funk is clearly a good style for him, but she was great.

Kate: Agreed!

 

Mark & Comfort: Contemporary, choreo by Talia Favia

“Ending” by Isaiah Danielson

Kate: She is such a beautiful dancer. I am unimpressed by him overall.

Erica: So I agree that she is more or less carrying him, but this one hit me in all the feels. This was another unhealthy romance piece, with more violence and more despair, and I really felt it. It hit me.

Kate: No pun intended?

 

Group Routine – All Stars: Contemporary, choreo by Travis Wall

“Strange Fruit” Nina Simone

Kate: Well this was a bit jarring.

Erica: I hate “issues” pieces. I hate pieces that rely on you watching on TV rather than being in the live audience. And yet. I thought this was magnificent. Beautiful choreography. Astounding performances. Just a beautiful piece of art. In my opinion.

Kate: I’m surprised this was a Travis Wall routine, but I won’t say anything else for fear of being misinterpreted.

Erica: It’s okay, Kate. You can dislike this piece and also still hate racism. I must confess, I was completely confused about how they got out of their first outfits. I had to rewind and watch again and I’m still a bit confused.

Kate: Oh, yes, the outfits confused me. It was beautifully danced.

 

Lex & Gaby: Broadway, choreo by Warren Carlyle

“Miss Otis Regrets” by Bette Midler

Kate: I WANT her dress, except I’d wear it as a tank top.

Erica: She looked incredible. I love this song and she was so good. He was…There? I’m not really sure about that; most of the dance didn’t seem to want me to notice him.

Kate: I am as unimpressed with Lex as I am with Mark, I think.

 

Sydney & Paul: Hip-hop, choreo by  Luther Brown

“Really? Yeah!” by Kyle

Kate: Ah, these two can’t really do hip-hop, can they?

Erica: No. Sydney was doing the same shoulders-hunched-equals-swag thing that fellow ballroom-er Kiki was doing last week.

Kate: For once I agreed with the judges, she was too cutesy/smiley in this. I continue to dislike the odd things she does with her mouth.

Erica: She was just sort of smirking the whole time. I think she thought that was swag as well.

Kate: None of what she does, ever, is “swag”.

 

Group Routine – Top 9: Broadway, choreo by Chris Baldock

“Hey Pachuco!” by Royal Crown Revue

Kate: At first I thought this was just the guys — contestants and all-stars — and then I was like, ‘Wait, why are there so many guys?’ and then I realized the girls were in it too. The suits and hairstyles threw me off.

Erica: You are so funny. I must say, I hated the suits.

Kate: Me too. Didn’t love any of the group routines tonight, really.

Erica: This routine should have done it for me and it did not. But maybe I was distracted by the weird-a$s suits.

 

Kaylee & Cyrus: Jazz, choreo by Spencer Liff

“Less Talk, More Art” by Vito Fun & Koil

Kate: I really thought I did not like her at first, but last week and this week she has really grown on me. Maybe Cyrus brings it out in her.

Erica: They were very good. She was very good. But more than that, this routine was very, very good. It was fun and cute and sharp and difficult enough to show off their skills while still being a coherent piece. And I liked the hats. Good job, Spencer Liff.

 

Taylor & Robert: Samba, choreo by Jean-Marc Genereux

“Bun Up the Dance” by Dillon Francis & Skrillex

Kate: Dammit. I loved these 2, but they didn’t live up to weeks 1 and 2 with this routine. She was WAY too stiff and rigid in her back for this particular ballroom style, it just wasn’t as fluid as it was supposed to be.

Erica: See, I didn’t think she was nearly as bad as they were saying! Yes, a little rigid in the back, but, you know, they slobbered all over Lex and Logan and were very forgiving of their minor missteps, and much harder on Taylor for, I think, similar flaws.

Kate: Yes, because she was SO GOOD the last 2 weeks. Robert looked like he wanted to KILL someone when the judges were giving them criticism. You were obviously great, Robert, it’s Taylor that stunk up the place! We still love YOU!

 

Kiki & Jenna: Contemporary, choreo by Mandy Moore

“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” by George Michael

Kate: This song makes me sad because I think it’s the song Mom and Dad heard on their first date and he thought she didn’t know anything about music and asked her who sang it (the original, not George Michael) and she did know.

Erica: Really? That’s a good story. I like it.

Kate: Everyone was all hyped up about their chemistry in this, and I didn’t really see it, but I did like him more than I have before in this routine. He can stay.

Erica: I mean, he was fine and the piece was nice, but she’s become one of those people where, she could be saving puppies and curing cancer on stage and I’d still be having this overwhelming “Ugh” reaction so I don’t know if I can be objective about them.

 

Results

Kate: Good, Sydney in the bottom 3 again. Oh good, Sydney going home. Bye, weird mouth!

Erica: I can’t believe Dassy was on the bottom. Right now, she, Kione, and Taylor (yes, still) are my favorites. I am ready to say goodbye to Kiki and Lex. And if I could lose Mark without losing Comfort, I would. I’m fine with the Sydney decision. Bottom 3 twice in a row? Sure, time to go.

Kate: I also do not like that Dassy was in the bottom. Get it together, America (in many ways).

 

SYTYCD Season 14 – Top 10 Perform (2)

Erica: Welcome back, dance lovers!

Kate: Nothing makes me love/miss dance more than this show.

Erica: Well, I will say, Nigel is looking a touch healthier this week, and Mary Murphy’s outfit is at least 65% less insane. Vanessa Hudgens is making up for it, though, by wearing the Slutty Business Lady outfit from Trashy.com.

Kate: I’d call it Dominatrix Whore Barbie, Junior. Am completely disgusted by it. My 9-year-old niece is watching this show and seeing someone dressed like that? Not cool.

Erica: Don’t worry; my baby has taste. She hates it. Also, Vanessa really wants you to notice her claws.

Kate: As usual, I just can’t get behind that trend.

Erica: Just FYI, there are solos from each of the 10 contestants tonight but we’re not covering them because they’re boring. Just assume that each of them managed to not suck at 30 seconds of their own style. Also, the all stars joined the step team of the coming feature film, Step, the leader of which auditioned for this show, but, while it was a fun routine and I’d like to take Zoe to see the movie, I don’t feel the need to cover it. I mean, you could barely see the all stars.

Kate: I thought the step routine was awesome, 1) because they talked about it during auditions then actually did it; 2) because our high school had an amazing step team that I loved to watch and it reminded me of them; and 3) because the all stars joined the step routine halfway through so I liked to think of these Baltimoreans teaching the routine to the all stars. I took a step class in college (in Baltimore, coincidentally), and that sh!t is HARD to learn. So, YAY step!

 

Cat Deeley’s Look

Kate: Again, alarming at first because of the lighting, but I kind of love the hair and the disco outfit to match the disco group routine. Her makeup continues to be too much.

Erica: Not a fan. Not a fan of anything. Except the makeup. Zoe liked the pants.

Kate: Ditto, Zoe.

 

Group Routine: Disco, choreo by Mandy Moore & Val Chmerkovskiy

“You Should Be Dancing” by The Bee Gees

Erica: Had there been a late ‘90s/early ‘00s remake of Saturday Night Fever, this would have been the opening routine. And I mean that as a compliment.

Kate: Absolutely loved this. They obviously had so much fun with costumes this week, starting with this routine. The partnering was a little sloppy but the mini-groups were awesome. We haven’t seen a good disco on this show in a while.

Erica: I normally hate disco on this show. But this was so much fun. I mean, it was cheesy, but very deliberately so. And it was so clearly suited to the sensibilities of this cast.

Kate: Great way to start off the show.

 

Comfort & Mark: Jazz, choreo by Ray Leeper

“Hater” by Various Production

Erica: Well, Sadie liked it a great deal. She kept looking at the screen and going “Oh!” And “Wow!”

Kate: Sadie and I are on the same page; I loved this more than I expected to. However, Mark is not nearly sharp enough to be dancing this style with Comfort.

Erica: The dance was about a couple in an intense and unhealthy relationship. I thought the choreo was pretty good and they were each individually pretty good, but the connection and chemistry between them feels a little forced. Not so much that it isn’t there, but that they are both very conscious of making it look like it’s there. I do feel like Comfort is such a goddess though.

Kate: She is just too good for him, literally. She’s soooo sharp. He is not.

 

Gaby & Lex: Argentinian Tango, choreo by Leonardo Barrionuevo & Miriam Larici

“Red & Black (Rojo y Negro)” by Ryota Komatsu

Kate: Mehhh…Not my favorite.

Erica: This did not land for me. There were lifts that were supposed to look slow-motion, but some of them looked just a little awkward, and those fast-foot kicky things looked 100% awkward and off. I know those must be super hard, but, you know, one of these people is a professional dancer and one is trying to be.

Kate: His legs were all wrong for this dance, I think.

 

Jenna & Kiki: Hip-hop, choreo by Luther Brown

“Caroline” by Amine

Erica: Ugh, I still hate her. It’s possibly irrational. It’s not that I think she’s a bad dancer. In this, she was actually quite good. I just…Ugh.

Kate: The choreography of this routine played up her dislikeable-ness. A lot. I was pleasantly surprised at both their abilities to do a hip-hop routine like this and look good doing it, but neither of them are my favorites by far.

Erica: I did not like him in this routine. It feels like someone told him “swag” meant “shoulders somewhere around your ears” and he committed to that 100%.

 

Paul & Sydney: Contemporary, choreo by Jaci Royal

“The Letting Go” by Melissa Etheridge

 

Kate: I knew everyone was going to fawn all over this routine, but the non-dancing parts were not dancey enough at all for me. I don’t want to see them walking and hugging, I want to see them DANCE-walking and DANCE-hugging. It was more like a skit in a play than a choreographed dance routine.

Erica: How come the choreographer spells her name “Jaci” but pronounces it “Jackie”? That’s wrong. In other non-dance-related musings, I really like Melissa Etheridge’s voice. I know it’s not technically great but it is very appealing to me.

Kate: Am officially not a fan of “Jaci”’s choreography OR name spelling.

Erica: I thought Sydney was very good. Better than I remembered her being. Gorgeous long legs. Some great lifts. Weirdly awkward when she ran. For someone who had literally just lived this routine — breaking up with a hometown boy so you can go pursue your dreams — I thought her acting could have been better.

Kate: She does odd things with her mouth during all routines.

Erica: And then Mary Murphy was like, “I’ve lived this routine, too!” And now I want to go get a bunch of margaritas with Mary Murphy and hear all about it.

 

Allison & Logan: Jazz, choreo by Brian Friedman

“In the Morning” by Jaded

Kate: Well, someone’s shoulder is feeling better!

Erica: Doesn’t she look a lot like My So-Called Life-era Claire Danes?

Kate: No? It felt like she had something to prove in this routine so, again, all eyes were on the all star. It was good, and they were good together, but she took all the attention away from him.

Erica: I like her a lot. I might even like him. I was not a huge fan of this routine. I just didn’t really understand what was so special about it besides the outfits.

Kate: And then the inappropriate comments about the breast area of her outfit from…Nigel!

 

Cyrus & Kaylee: Hip-hop, choreo by Pharisee & Phoenix

“I’m Better” by Missy Elliott, feat. Lamb

Erica: The concept here was that they are aliens who just took on human bodies and are figuring out how they work. That seems appropriate for these two. I like her better this week as a hip-hopper than I did last week when she was in her own style.

Kate: Absolutely blown away. Totally bored by her last week, loved her this week. They were amazing together in this routine and I loved watching every second of it. She also impressed me during her solo, so I think I have changed my mind about little miss Kaylee.

 

Robert & Taylor: Broadway, choreo by Al Blackstone

“The Man that Got Away,” by Judy Garland

Kate: Yaaaaaaaaaaasssss. Robert! Yasssssssssssssssss. Loved it loved it loved it.

Erica: Okay, so this was a gimme for me. Broadway? Yes. Classic, Fred-and-Ginger-y dancing? Yes. Unrequited love? That outfit? A street lamp? Yes. Yes. Yes. I am here for all that. But even if this wasn’t 100% my catnip, I still think they were completely spectacular and if voters are voting on sheer talent, Taylor will be the winner. She was incredible in this. Grace and technical perfection and acting and so much amazingness. I am a fan.

Kate: Big fan of Taylor, but I think she lucked out getting Robert as a partner. This was fantastic, and this is the type of Broadway I want to see on this show. And when do the voters ever vote on sheer talent?

 

Marko & Koine: African Jazz, choreo by Sean Cheesman

“Speaking in Tongues II” by Sheila Chandra

Kate: So the routine itself wasn’t as great as last week’s for these 2, but when they are literally physically connected — by hand, by foot, whatever — they truly dance as one. I want them to get married.

Erica: Nigel wants you all to know that this show is basically the United Nations. All these different ethnic groups (dancers from Japan and Guam, choreographer from Canada, African/Caribbean style, British/Indian singer) coming together for one routine! Amazing! We will heal the world with (So You Think You Can) Dance!

Kate: The world is beyond our, and So You Think You Can Dance’s, help. I think the routine was tough and they were shaky in a few parts, but they still make a great pair.

Erica: I don’t know if I liked it. I don’t have any other routines about the lifecycle of an insect to compare it to. I’ve also never been an insect, so, you know, I don’t know if I connected to it. But I think they danced it well?

Kate: Well, but shaky in some parts, but v connected. Koine’s solo was also great.

 

Jasmine & Robert: Contemporary, choreo by Stacey Tookey

“Otherside” by Perfume Genius

Erica: I just like her so much. She’s so beautiful and fluid and I want to watch her dance forever.

Kate: Yes, I keep remembering why we loved her so much during her season. They are good together, but she is so obviously better than him. Tough break.

Erica: The piece is lovely — two sad people find each other at a hotel — but I think, you know, you can’t put a bench in a routine on this show. It’s been done and we all remember.

Kate: Oh, so true. They said he didn’t have the emotion, but I disagree. His solo was THOROUGHLY enjoyable, I just don’t think he’s going to last long on this show.

 

Fik-Shun & Dassy: Bollywood, choreo by Nakuru Dev Mahayana

“Radha Nachegi” from the Tevar soundtrack

Kate: I really loved the Broadway routine, but I might have loved this even more. Dassy seemed so excited to do Bollywood and was so natural in it, it was just a super-fun thing to watch.

Erica: I thought they did very well. A little sloppy-looking toward the end, but damn, they kept up very good energy and amazing verve.

Kate: Yes apparently there was a fumble toward the end that I did not notice?

Erica: I saw it. They recovered very well. Bollywood seems to be a good fit for Fik-Shun — it’s sharp and precise like a lot of hip-hop is, plus it’s happy and bouncy. (Well, I understand not all of it is happy and bouncy. But a lot of it is.)

Kate: For once, I wasn’t watching the all star, I was watching the contestant, which I think is the right way to do a routine.

Erica: Nigel complimented her outfit in a way that felt a little dirty, but also, I really liked her skirt and would like one, too, please.

Kate: I thought he said the costume designer did great on everything the whole night?

 

Erica: I was really surprised by who was on the bottom. I thought Kaylee was gone for sure.

Kate: Samesies.

Erica: I have to say, the main thing that makes me sad about Robert going is that Jasmine is therefore gone as well. Maybe they’ll keep her around and use her if, like, one of the other all star girls needs a break?

Kate: She will for sure stick around, I think. I’m not sad about Robert, but I think Sydney should have been the one to go. Her mouth. It bothers me.

SYTYCD Season 14 – Top Ten Perform (1)

SYTYCD Season 14 Top 10

Erica: Greetings, dance fans! Boy, it’s been a long time!

Kate: Over 2 years, to be exact. We boycotted last year’s stupid season, and this season started a bit later in the summer than usual.

Erica: We boycotted last season because we don’t believe in the exploitation of children. Nor did we want to hear what Nigel had to say about 13-year-old girls.

Kate: Ew.

Erica: This season, I’ll confess, I was on the fence. We hadn’t done last season and I hate lack of continuity. Plus I have a baby and the baby makes it difficult to get anything done.

Kate: I didn’t even know it was starting again until a dear friend reminded me via text and confirmed they were done with the 13-year-old nonsense.

Erica: But then! Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles! THEY BROUGHT MARY MURPHY BACK! So, decision made and here we are.

Kate: Yes, that was also a factor.

Erica: Now, it seems they’re changing some things up this season. It’s the top 10, not the top 20, dancers, for one. Plus, if I am not mistaken, something new happened with the selection of the top 10? Did the all-stars get to pick? I didn’t watch. I really should watch.

Kate: They only held auditions in New York and Los Angeles, and each audition episode was only one hour, then the top 100 dancers went to an “academy” to be whittled down to the top 10 by the all-stars, with whom each top 10 contestant will be dancing throughout the season. Fox is clearly a) about to cancel this show and b) trying to make it as close to Dancing with the Stars as possible. They also had a very similar setup to The Voice when they were going from 100 to 10 and the all-stars were picking people for their “teams”, but the “teams” didn’t last very long.

Erica: Okay, ready?

 

Cat’s Outfit

Kate: That first lighting/camera angle wasn’t great, but I love her no matter what! Dress is v Jessica Rabbit.

Erica: She came out gripping the skirt, indicating that she cannot walk in the dress. So it’s sexy and slinky and red, with the right amount of sparkle, but if you can’t walk in it, it looks stupid. Period the end.

Kate: I don’t think Jessica Rabbit had an easy time walking in it, either.

Erica: I’m digging the hair, I must say.

Kate: Always.

 

All-Star Group Routine: Contemporary, choreo by Mandy Moore

“Knocking on Heaven’s Door” by Raign

Erica: Alright so the all-stars for the season, minus Allison, who hurt her shoulder, come down from a platform. The girls are in purple swirly outfits and the boys are in just pants. The number is a very classic contemporary number. Lots of intense gazes and beautiful flailing and everyone looks fairly tragic. They sometimes couple up, sometimes dance individually, sometimes move into smaller groups. I want to provide you all with some description of the actual dancing this year, but hoo boy, I am not very good at it. Kate?

Kate: I love the beautiful flailing more than anything.

Ian: They are ruining a good song.

Erica: I agree with Ian. I thought the pros looked great, as they should. Very beautiful and professional number. It’s not going to reside in my memory or haunt my dreams, but it was pretty good.

Kate: Agree. Allison hurt her shoulder, like, that day, or the day before, which sucks, but she’s married to Twitch, which doesn’t suck.

Erica: It’s probably worth mentioning that they’ve got a new stage this year. It’s very nice. More open, like their early years. Less proscenium-esque.

Kate: Did not notice that AT ALL.

Erica: Oh, and apparently Nigel was ill! Oh, I’m so sorry, Nigel. This information will not be likely to make me be nice to you, though. It’s not my job. It’s not what we’re all here for. I’m sure you understand.

 

Fik-Shun (Season 12 Winner) & Dassy: Hip-Hop, choreo by Popin’ Pete

“Shake Your Pants” by Cameo

Erica: So they’re in zoot suits, which makes me feel extraordinarily positive right off the bat.

Kate: Don’t like it.

Erica: I think it’s terrific. Fun and poppy and jerky. Pretty much what you’d expect from Fik-Shun. I particularly liked a move when they were facing away from each other but their back feet hooked.

Kate: I wasn’t into this number — not the dancing, not the music, not the outfits — which sucks because I used to love Fik-Shun (I think).

Erica: You did. The judges seemed to like it. Nigel made a terrible pun. So terrible I think he’s not really feeling better yet.

Kate: Doesn’t he always make terrible puns, though?

Erica: This was even worse than usual. Also I feel it should be Poppin’ Pete, not Popin’ Pete, but obviously what do I know?

 

Audrey (Season 9/Allison’s replacement) & Logan: Contemporary, choreo by Tasty Oreo

“Protocol” by Leon Else

Erica: More purple flowy contemporary here. He seems pretty strong. And man, he leaps, like, really well.

Kate: She has great hair.

Erica: The routine was pretty intense. It was a couple fighting and making up (sort of) and then still fighting and it was really good and I’m feeling a bit broken and sad now. I usually am not impressed by Tasty’s contemporary choreo but this one really hit me.

Kate: I never understood why you don’t like Tyce. This was good, but other contemporaries of the night were better.

Erica: Nigel reveals to Allison that the dancer she didn’t choose is now Mr. Mistoffelees in Cats on Broadway. He says it like it’s a good thing, so good for you, unchosen dancer!

Kate: Except that my boss saw Cats last week and said it was absolutely dreadful.

Erica: Cats is, in general, pretty dreadful.

 

Jenna (Season 10) & Kiki: Cha-Cha, choreo by Dmitry Chaplain

“There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” by Shawn Mendes

Kate: Every time I hear this song I envision myself doing some kind of fabulous dance routine. Kind of like this one.

Erica: She’s the one who drove us crazy, right? The one the judges would not send home no matter how many times she was in the bottom?

Kate: Yes, Ian pointed out that I hated her during her season, but I couldn’t stop watching her during this routine. She was fab.

Erica: Is it me or were her hips not nearly Cha-Cha enough?

Kate: It is you. I loved it.

Erica: It’s hard to talk about him because ballroom so often shows off the girl, and the guy does more subtle support work that is harder for the average viewer (like me) to see. So, as far as I can tell, he did well. But I thought the routine was not particularly special and did not allow either of them to really show off technically.

Kate: It didn’t highlight him at all, in my opinion.

Erica: Vanessa Hudgens is so far coming of as a giggly ditz.

Kate: Don’t EVEN get me started!

Ian: Hudgy!

 

Cyrus (Season 9) & Kaylee: Contemporary, choreo by Tessandra Chavez

“Clown” by Emeli Sande

Erica: So this is twice now that a male all-star was between a male and a female partner and chose the female partner and I have to say I think it’s not a coincidence. Nigel doesn’t want to watch two dudes dancing together for the season.

Kate: Supposedly the judges didn’t have any control over that, though; it was all the all-stars’ choices.

Erica: Sure. Nigel is also Executive Producer. She’s got a ton of emotion. It’s an emotional piece, another couple fighting but less tragic, more angry. And she really sells the hell out of the story.

Kate: I was kind of surprised to see Cyrus in this style and then I remembered how great he was and how he almost won his season (right?).

Erica: I sort of remember that he was great at his thing but never really came up to scratch on other stuff. But the audience loved him.

Kate: Yes, so much so that they voted him into the finale or almost the finale, I think. This format is tough because, similar to Dancing with the Stars, I tend to watch the one who is more talented and forget about the one who’s supposed to be learning/competing.

Erica: All of the things Mary is saying make it sound like she didn’t think this was very good. She calls the choreographer “clever” and tells Cyrus he was “there for her”. None of the judges are really impressed.

Kate: They actually made some pretty harsh comments and then Cat had to be all “YAY YOU’RE GREAT” to make her feel better. Also, Mary Murphy is wearing several marshmallows sewn together.

 

Gaby (Season 12 Winner) & Lex: Tap, choreo by Anthony Morigerato

“More” by Bobby Darin

Erica: I hate her costume so much. I know that’s not her fault. I do think it’s possible that the same person dressed her and Mary tonight. Sorry, Mary! I’m still happy to see you even if you are wearing a hideous back-alley wedding dress from 1983!

Kate: I thought the same thing! It’s hard to make tap LOOK really good, but these two worked it out.

Erica: The two of them seem to have great chemistry and the dance is cute and fun. I feel like his movements could be a little freer but maybe that tux jacket is restrictive.

Kate: I want to see more than tap from him, for sure.

Erica: The audience goes nuts. I think tap is pretty crowd-pleasing. They’re going to spend the season harping on his “personality” and it’s going to irritate the crap out of me.

Kate: Yea, this got a standing ovation? It was good but not THAT good.

Erica: You know, I feel they should be more sparing with the Hot Tamale Train. I know it’s Mary’s “thing” but maybe save it for truly sexy numbers, not cute little tap dance routines where the girl is dressed like a fundamentalist Mormon bride (albeit with see-through legs).

 

Comfort (Season 4) & Mark: Hip-hop, choreo by Luther Brown

“Red Mercedes” by Amine

Erica: I love Comfort. I always forget that she’s so gorgeous. I kinda wish she’d chosen the girl.

Kate: She changes her look so frequently, I didn’t even recognize her on the “academy” episodes. But yes, I love watching her dance.

Erica: He was good but I thought he could have been sharper and more precise, especially next to Comfort.

Kate: Yes, and despite Vanessa’s obnoxious commentary, I agree with her that Mark looks like Rufio.

 

Marko (Season 8) & Koine: Contemporary, choreo by Stacey Tookey

“Memories” by Alex Sommers

Erica: This show is now at least 15% Hawaiian, right?

Kate: These 2 are my early favorites. When Marko (whom I LOVED in Season 8) was deciding between her and another girl at the “academy”, and the other girl was perfectly fine but then he danced the same exact routine with Koine, it was like WOW. If these 2 aren’t banging already, they need to be. AMAZING chemistry.

Erica: Happy contemporary flailing this time. Quite beautiful. Her dress really sells it. I f*cking hate the song, though. Like, maybe I want to plunge an awl into my ears.

Kate: Ouch. Best routine of the night by far.

Erica: Oh, it’s a beautiful happy routine but maybe it’s just her remembering her dead love? Aw, that’s sad. But also it utilizes some visuals that only make sense to the television audience, like that Polaroid that only we could possibly see. That annoys me.

Ian: I hate when they use props.

Erica: Nigel implies that Marko and Koine will get married. Then Cat calls him “Yentl,” which is incorrect, Cat. You mean “yenta”. I know, I know. Jewish is hard.

 

Paul (Season 10) & Sydney: Ballroom, choreo by Val Chmerkovskiy

“All Stars” by Martin Solveig feat. Alma

Erica: Now, he was the one partnered with that girl we liked (Makenzie?) who went home when we felt Jenna should have, if memory serves.

Kate: Oh, so that’s Paul, eh?

Erica: Did her back look a little stiff? Am I just looking for things to criticize? I don’t know.

Kate: She was good and he was good but they weren’t connecting, literally — they kept missing connections after turns and things so he was pulling on her wrist instead of holding her hand. V awkward, and I kind of blame him for that and not her. He is the All-Star, he should know better.

 

Robert (Season 7) & Taylor: Contemporary, choreographer by Travis Wall

“Change is Everything” by Son Lux

Erica: Robert dancing to a Travis Wall number? Kate, what could make you happier?

Kate: Literally, nothing. If you recall, that number he did with Allison to “Fix You” by Coldplay was a Travis Wall. Those 2 (Travis and Robert, not Robert and Allison) make an amazing pair. Let’s see THEM dance together, eh?!

Erica: Yeah I don’t think that’s going to happen (as amazing as it would be). The third male dancer (who I think is actually gay) who could choose between a female dancer and a male dancer chose the female dancer. I am dying of shock.

Kate: Robert had a hard time getting the dancers to be on his team, apparently, which I’ll never understand. I love watching him dance, and I think he makes a great partner for anyone he dances with. This song was hard to listen to, but they moved beautifully.

Erica: There’s this amazing…lift?…where she’s on one of his thighs and kind of falls off slowly, so tight and controlled and it’s pretty amazing. They are showing so much control in their lifts and flails. I think it’s spectacular. And you know, SYTYCD SHOULD be proud of themselves for helping Travis Wall have a career, but damn, don’t pull a muscle patting yourselves on the back, there.

Kate: I think these two are the best TECHNICALLY and Marko and Koine are the best CHEMISTRY-ALLY.

 

Jasmine (Season 10) & Robert: Hip-Hop, choreo by Chris Scott

“Perm” by Bruno Mars

Erica: I think he’s kind of adorable. Definite personality. Good chemistry with Jasmine and technically he looked pretty good, too, right?

Kate: Again, hard to stand out next to Jasmine, but they worked well together. Want to see them in other styles together.

Erica: Jasmine was on tour dancing for Beyoncé. That’s pretty good. (Also, as a note, I don’t know how to make the accent mark on anything, but Google Docs knows how to properly spell Beyoncé.)

 

Everyone Group Routine: Jazz, choreo by Wade & Amanda Robson and Tony Testa

“This Time” by Son Lux

Erica: So. I loved Wade Robson back when he did this show regularly. I like weird. And this was weird. But it was too hard to see. There were things that only work for the TV audience (the close-ups on fingers) and so many things that only work for the live audience. The camera work was frenetic but how could it be otherwise? It did not work for me.

Kate: Agree that was a distraction but it was a pretty cool routine. I like how the judges were going on and on about Jasmine and Robert and Jasmine was like GOTTA GO CHANGE FOR THE NEXT ROUTINE YOU FOOLS. Ah, the life of a dancer.

Erica: You know what did work for me? Sadie clapping when everyone else clapped. That was pretty good.

Kate: 🙂

Erica: So, I’m glad we’re back, people, and I’ll enjoy watching this show with you! Predictions for loser this week? For me it’s Kaylee.

Kate: Oh, yea she stunk.

Erica: See you next week!

Misogyny & Aaron Sorkin, “The West Wing,” Episode 1.20, “Mandatory Minimums”

Okay so listen. I know I don’t produce these recaps at a fast enough clip. But I do love doing them. So this one took me, oh, eleventy-hundred months to write. But I enjoyed all of those months and I’ll see what I can do about working at a steadier clip.

Also you need to know – if you don’t already – about two podcasts: The West Wing Weekly, with WW alum Joshua Malina and podcaster Hrishikesh Hirway, and Jed Bartlett is My President with Lani Diane Rich, formerly of StoryWonk and also romance novelist and professor. The first has some big deal guests – including Ed and Larry – and obviously some insight from Joshua Malina himself on what it’s like to work with the Big Guy. The second has a lot more feminist-y stuff, which I like, but she’s going out of order, which drives me crazy. I am not in general a Type A person, but there are some things…

Anyway, on to the recap.

Remember:

  1. Physical comedy is used to undercut a female character’s competence.
  2. A female character’s sexual appeal or sexual/romantic relationship (or, sometimes, maternal qualities) with a male character is primary.
  3. A female character displays “feistiness”. “Feistiness” is a frequent shorthand in liberal misogyny for “See? She’s strong and independent and we find that adorable! What’s the problem?”
  4. Femininity or feminine concerns are disparaged, by male or female characters.
  5. Any character is rude to his/her female subordinate with no consequences.
  6. A male character is lauded and glorified in an unlikely way by a female character or characters.
  7. A female character screws up at her job.
  8. Anger (or other emotions/behaviors) coming from a female character is unreasonable or mysterious, either to the audience or to another character.
  9. A female character plays the Exposition Fairy. Note: Having Exposition Fairies is not in and of itself a problem. It’s necessary in most fiction. But in The West Wing, the Fairy is almost always a female character, and is almost always asking a male character for explanation, and would almost always certainly know the information she’s asking for, so that the fact that she’s asking indicates that she’s not that good at her job.
  10. An episode goes by that does not pass the Bechdel test.
  11. Lip service is paid to female power or agency or simply the existence of females in this world without, oh, say, actually casting one or giving one something cool to do.
  12. A male character or characters act(s) as white knight to a female character or characters.
  13. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! – A display of homophobia

And a ! for every piece of evidence that Toby and C.J. are FwB, and a TNFTS for every time the boys are Too Noble For This Shit.

Last time on The West Wing, Josh failed to land Joey Lucas because she was sleeping with Q; a piece of paper was going around; Leo told the news room about his history of addiction; two seats opened up on the Federal Election Commission and Jed wants to get all outsider-president about how he picks new commissioners, which makes some Congressdude threaten Josh with a legislative agenda that will embarrass the president.

At the Sheraton Centre Hotel in D.C. (which, this is America, bitches; we spell it “Center”), the president is giving a speech about our episode title. He says he feels nervous about laws that assume you can’t trust Americans. I, for the record, do not. (Although I am against mandatory minimums.)

Jed is also against term limits. Ah, Jed. Here in 2017, so am I.

The press seems impressed with the speech, and C.J. is quipping. With a female reporter. They are both women, but they are talking about what the president had for breakfast . I have no idea if this passes the Bechdel test or not. C.J. tells the press they’re about to hear something interesting and she’ll talk more about it at the briefing later, in a sure-to-be-successful effort to get them not to bug her about it now. Danny tries to chat with her privately but she blows him off so she can go listen to Jed’s big announcement.

In another room, a Senator is mansplaining cognac to his staffers. Do I have a number for mansplaining? Not really, and I don’t care enough about this particular moment to make one. The guy who was pissed off about the FEC thing last episode, who I thought WAS a Congressperson but in fact is the chief of staff for Senator Cognac, draws the Senator’s attention to Jed’s speech on the telly. (Hey, if the speech is at a centre, it’s on a telly.) The senator hears the names of the people Jed is appointing to the FEC and is furious that his threats-by-proxy didn’t work.

Sam is kind of needling Josh about the call he’s about to get from Senator Cognac. Toby tells Sam to stop it, and Sam says Toby told him to do it, and Josh appears cool as a cucumber. Donna approaches Josh with his cell phone. It’s Senator Cognac. Josh calmly takes the call, tells the senator to “take your legislative agenda and shove it up your ass.” He hangs up, in a move that definitely looks cooler with a flip phone than it would on a 2017 phone.

And on Cool-Guy Josh note, we get the swelling music!

After the credits, we’re in the briefing room with C.J., who reminds the press that the president has selected one Democrat and one Republican, “which he was under no legal obligation to do.” She also confirms to a reporter that they may not have told Congressional leadership that Jed was making this announcement, so Congressional leadership will be upset, as they expect to be the ones to choose new FEC chairs. Through all this, she’s sort of pointedly not calling on Danny. Another reporter wants to know if the president is declaring war on Congress, and we pan to Josh watching the briefing on a TV and encouraging C.J. (who cannot hear him) to say it’s a “police action.” She does not, but Josh seems pleased with her answer anyway.

Okay, wait, when C.J. answers a female reporter’s question, does that pass the Bechdel test? (Also, this confusion I am experiencing is not the Bechdel test’s fault. It’s the fault of television and movie scripts that force us to look for these little crumbs.) Either way, I guess I can put a -10 here.

Donna pulls Josh out to go see Toby about “polling”. Donna temporarily refuses to tell him that Toby is pulling in Al Kiefer, who you may remember from 1.16, “Twenty Hours in L.A.”, and whose face may or may not, depending on whether you watched Star Trek: The Next Generation and how you felt about his character Q, give you a visceral “No” reaction any time he appears on screen. It’s not your fault, John de Lancie, actor who plays Al Kiefer and Q. Or rather it is. For being such a good actor as the intensely irritating Q.

Anyway, Donna’s point is that, with Al Kiefer will be arriving Joey Lucas, who first charmed Josh in 1.14, “Take this Sabbath Day,” and then was sleeping with Al Kiefer in 1.16, but maybe not exclusively and maybe she’s interested in Josh and despite her stunning lack of taste in men, we like her. Josh pretends to be unfazed by this information and Donna pretends to believe him.

In the Toby area, the Toby assistants clap for Josh and his cool-guy flip-phone demeanor. Bonnie says they’re not allowed to talk like that in Indiana. Ginger, the Sheen, says in New Jersey, it’s encouraged. Speaking as a Jersey native transplanted to the Midwest, I can relate to both these ladies.

Josh finds Toby and Sam in Sam’s office. Toby is watching over Sam’s shoulder as Sam writes and says it’s good twice before saying he might want to come to a verb at some point. Sam says it’s imagery; Toby says it’s bad writing. I love this little byplay because it’s about writing and I love Toby but also if I were Sam I’d want to punt him through the wall and Sam doesn’t appear to want to do that so I love Sam a little, too.

The boys talk Al Kiefer, and how he’s only going to do what Toby orders him to do, which I’m sure will work out great. Also, given that English as the National Language is the first thing the Republican dudes threatened to put on the table, they want to gear up for that. Which means bringing in Joey Lucas and her Hispanic-heavy-California numbers. They are very concerned.

I feel like I should give this a number, this idea that a woman whom Josh finds charming but who didn’t sleep with him last time they saw one another is somehow a concern worthy of all of the professionals who work with Josh. But I can’t figure out which one. Maybe a for Joey being relegated primarily to romantic status.

But the more Sam talks about women in a very way, and also a little 4 for the mention of high heels, the more disheartened Josh looks, until finally Sam observes that nothing he’s saying right now is helpful and so he’ll just go back to his job. Josh leaves (after saying C.J. is doing great) and Toby mentions that Sam could use punctuation at any time, and Sam finally looks annoyed. I could 100% watch a show that is primarily devoted to Sam and Toby co-writing things.

C.J. is still killing it in the briefing room, agreeing with a reporter that the Federal Election Commission is generally “toothless,” but that the symbolism is still important. C.J. walks off and whispers something to Carol. Carol approaches Jack, a reporter sitting directly in front of Danny, and says C.J. wants to see him in her office for some follow-up. Jack gets all embarrassed and insists she must want Danny, not him – not because he and all of the reporters have been gossiping for months about Danny and C.J. possibly doing it, but because Danny outranks him.

Only ever on Sorkin shows do people committed to their intensely competitive jobs ever try to turn down major opportunities in their fields because it’s someone else’s turn. TNFTS!

Anyway, C.J. did not mean Danny, she meant Jack, and Danny is making many faces about this, but, because he is also Noble, he tells Jack to go.

On Tuesday morning, Sam is lecturing Toby about why mandatory minimums are bad, while Toby insists he knows. See, this is the point I was trying to make last episode. When it’s Donna, it’s, “Please, Josh, mansplain to me a thing that the real assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff would definitely know already, even if the average audience member wouldn’t.” When it’s Toby, it’s “I obviously already know this thing you’re telling me for the sake of the average audience member and I will mention with every sentence how much I already know this.” Anyway, the point is that Sam wants to do something, and Toby doesn’t want him to, so even though Toby said Sam was in charge of this thing, actually, Toby is still in charge forever and always. And they passed the breakfast place where they’re meeting Leo a block ago, but Sam felt they were having a nice conversation. You guys, I really love the Toby-Sam dynamic.

At the restaurant, Margaret is doing something weird with pencils. 4? I don’t know. It’s weird. Josh comes in, with Donna, complaining that they’re far from the office. Donna points out that Josh’s suit is particularly nice, because Joey Lucas is coming, and Margaret admires it, and it’s all very silly 4 in a way that Toby and Sam dragging Josh to their office to make sure he’s okay with Joey appearing wasn’t. Toby and Sam arrive – and by the way, they’re seated outside on this lovely terrace and it looks like a very nice place to get breakfast. Toby says they’re ready to go to the president with treatment vs. incarceration on drugs, and Sam also wants to go to him with stuff about getting rid of mandatory minimums (this being what they were talking about during their nice conversation), but Leo, like Toby, thinks they should do one thing at a time. And that Sam’s in-chargeness was not so much an actual thing.

Leo takes a call while the waitress comes over to take their order and has Margaret write some names down. The names are very Sorkin-y so I will record them here: Dalton. Dawson. Foxworthy. Greer. Morganthal. Stackhouse. Sugarbaker. Toby asks what that was, Leo says that Toby knows, and Toby says it’s the right thing to do. But what is it?! We don’t know yet. Boy, the audience anticipation you’re building better pay off.

Josh would like to clear up that he’s not dressed up specially for Joey Lucas and Donna insists it is. Leo threatens to fire them, as is his wont. They are unafraid of him and continue to argue about Joey Lucas. With a little homosexual side-eye thrown in. 13. I almost forgot I had a number for that.

Anyway, Leo feels that they’ve got to not screw up this week and also that he is perfectly calm, a statement which Sam disputes by using a word his mother made up and then everyone looks at him funny. I do that all the time, Sam.

In the Oval, Al “Q” Kiefer is telling them they’re going to lose. C.J. and Mandy head outside and C.J. says “Listen,” and they just stare at each other for a while until Mandy insists she wants to go over Leo’s head to talk to the president. Hey, this is definitely the Bechdel test being passed, though. So that’s cool. C.J. is telling Mandy that everyone is so pissed at Mandy that they’re pissed at C.J. and Mandy storms off in an uncharacteristically poorly framed shot.

Back in the Oval, Al hates Sam’s idea that we spend more money on drug treatment and less on drug enforcement. (Like, spend the same total amount of money on drug stuff, but flip more to the treatment side rather than the punishment side.) Al thinks it makes us sound soft on crime. Jed does not give a fuck. Al is very tired. And I am with the White House boys; Al Kiefer is always wrong and also he’s Q so I hate him. But then why do they keep paying him money to tell them stuff?

Charlie makes a cute little face at Josh to get him out of the room, because omg you guys Joey Lucas is here and Charlie is being just as much of a weirdo as everyone else around this issue. “She’s a fine-looking woman,” he repeats to Josh like 80 times, even though a) isn’t he 20 years old or so? Would a 20-year-old in 2000 use the phrase “fine-looking woman”? and b) 2. Joey is there to do a job. For real, guys.

In Josh’s office, Josh greets Joey and her translator Kenny and offers to show them to her desk. Josh is being rude and justifying it with “This is the White House, bitch,” but then Margaret brings flowers from Leo, so ha! He then says that “women” like to personalize their space with things like hand lotion (?) but he doesn’t like clutter 4 and also he’s a dick 5 because he likes her 2. Then she has her translator say very loudly that she’s not sleeping with Al Kiefer anymore 2,3 and Josh lectures her on professionalism. Hey, remember that time Josh thanked a reporter for favorable reporting by trying to help him get in the press secretary’s pants? Good times.

C.J. finds Josh and reports her mistake – it turns out that the president is, in fact, under legal obligation to nominate a Democrat and a Republican to the FEC. This still doesn’t make sense to me. If two don’t usually quit at a time, how can you always be appointing one Democrat and one Republican? (Also, are our political parties really locked into law like that? I’m not sure I approve.) Anyway, C.J., you made a stupid boo-boo. 7. Josh she’ll fix it in the briefing and don’t worry about it. This feels like a stupid scene. Like, why is Josh C.J.’s point person on this? Isn’t Toby her boss? Why does this need to be explained to Josh at all?

In the Oval, Sam persists in trying to persuade Al Kiefer that drugs are an addiction and not a crime. Al feels they can’t sell it. Toby says, in a tone of voice that implies everyone would agree, that, “This isn’t ideological; it’s science,” and I fall over because I’m sobbing so hard. “Science is science to everyone,” Toby says. I can’t even see the screen through my tears.

Josh comes in and wants Toby and Leo. In Leo’s office, Josh opens with Joey’s new relationship status, because this is pre-Facebook and they don’t all already know. Josh reports what C.J. said, like, why isn’t C.J. reporting this? Why did she tell Josh first? WHAT IS THE STRUCTURE OF THIS OFFICE I AM SO CONFUSED PLEASE SEND HELP.

Josh asks if Leo has talked to Sam about “the thing” yet. Josh, I’m sure Sam’s updated on Joey’s sex life. Oh, no, they need to talk to Toby about a thing. A thing where they want Toby to have lunch with his ex-wife because his ex-wife is in Congress and something something something FEC.

Toby goes off and Josh complains that Leo sent flowers. Because this is a Sorkin teleplay, Josh is under the impression that he, Josh, was successfully flirting with Joey when he was being a dick about the professionalism of the White House. Professionalism he’s displaying in spades right now by mitchering his boss about sending their new contractor flowers.

Josh goes and Leo calls in Margaret and asks for the names he gave her earlier. She repeats them back to him and he’s for some reason annoyed that she memorized them. 5.  He asks Margaret to get one representative from each of those people’s entourages at 2:00, in the press briefing room. He won’t tell Margaret what he’s up to. I’m in a mood so I’m giving that a 5, too.

Josh goes to check on Joey. He declares that her clock is an acceptable bit of personal decoration. Then he sits down and tells Joey all about the FEC and the retaliation and English as the Second Language. Joey knows this; she was briefed by Toby. I’m going to go ahead and give that a -9. A female character already knows the thing she’s having explained to her. See? I am not in such a bad mood that I cannot be generous.

Joey’s alarm goes off. It’s lunch time. Josh looks annoyed that his flirtation-by-way-of-being-a-jackass isn’t going well.

Sam and Toby feel they can sell the idea of spending money on drug treatment. Al disagrees. The president wants lunch.

Sam heads back to his area and Cathy tries to get him to commit to a lunch order. In Sam’s office is Senator Cognac’s chief of staff, the guy who was threatening Josh. Sam wants him to talk to Josh. Senator Cognac’s chief- Oh, Christ, this is too long. I think his name is Steve; let’s go with that, shall we? Steve thinks Josh is not being himself. “Take your legislative agenda and shove it up your ass?” he says. But Sam says that sounds exactly like Josh. As do we all, but I like the opportunity for a joke. Steve wants to have lunch with Sam at Sam’s desk.

A beautiful redhead is on the lawn, trying to get Toby to sit with her. The ex-wife, then. They banter. It’s cute. She’s got pie. I’m giving this a 4 but also it’s cute. They of course must start walking before they can talk business, so they do. Gosh, D.C. is pretty. Andy (Andee? Andi?) wants to talk about mandatory minimums, Toby doesn’t, and they have a little ex-marital spat. Toby asks if she has a problem with what Leo is going to do, and she says she doesn’t but wants to be there, for fun. Toby complains about her wanting to have fun. 4.

Back in Sam’s office, Steve tells Sam that as long as they press on the FEC, there’s no room to work with them on the drug thing, which Steve knows is important to Sam. “With the FEC, you can go back to writing speeches for when the president talks to the Girl Scout who sells the most cupcakes.” Sam is called out of the office but makes a point to tell Steve that Girl Scouts sell cookies, not cupcakes, and that he wrote a great speech about volunteerism. Sam’s defense of the Girl Scouts is why Steve’s comment is not getting a number. I’m taking this show/Aaron Sorkin to task for displays of misogyny, not the characters. We’re clearly not meant to side with Steve.

C.J. comes to see Leo; his peeps are in the press briefing room. C.J. brings up her mistake and Leo chastises her pretty hard. 7. Leo peels off to his super special secret meeting in the press room, and Danny accosts C.J. to yell at her about ignoring him. They yell at each other for a while, and it’s mostly about C.J. not putting up with Danny condescending to her anymore. God, I hope that sticks. A -3, I think, for how this is a woman being in control, quick-witted, and strong in her own defense without it coming across as adorably “feisty.”

Leo greets his group. He starts talking and one of the group interrupts him right away, which, rude. But Leo can handle it. He tells them there’s going to be a debate about fighting the drug problem, and that the White House will be in favor of more money for treatment vs. punishment, while the people they work for – those names Margaret memorized – being more in favor of punishment. Oh, and Andy is getting to witness this, which strikes me as WHOLLY UNPROFESSIONAL but whatever. So why is he talking to the seven of them about this? But it’s because each of their bosses are connected to situations in which privileged people did not have to serve the “mandatory minimums” connected to the drug crimes they committed. Someone’s daughter was trafficking cocaine and got a slap on the wrist. Someone’s husband committed vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, got community service. Etc. “The president wants a lively debate but he’s not going to stomach hypocrisy.” If any of their bosses start saying anything about being soft on crime, Leo will make his information public knowledge. And Leo has C.J. open the doors to the press to demonstrate how easy it would be to do so. Yes, the payoff was worth all the mystery. Andy and I both enjoyed watching that scene very much. Toby did not enjoy Andy’s enjoyment. Aw, Toby. I like you.

Andy reveals to Toby that the previous night, she had been on a date and her date “bumped” a car in front of them and a cop was about to give them a ticket when he recognized Andy and didn’t. Toby says as long as Andy didn’t ask for such treatment, there’s no problem. Then he marvels that she was on a date with the “executive adviser” for the Baltimore Orioles. Is that a real job title? Come the fuck on.

They banter a little more but Andy is very serious about mandatory minimums and enjoyed seeing Toby. Toby asks her for pie. It’s very sweet. I love Toby. And Richard Schiff is so damn good.

It’s 11:30 pm. The president is asleep next to a bunch of open books and papers. Leo barges in because why the fuck, Leo? Jed doesn’t beat him over the head but lets him in instead.

Charlie drops in on Josh still at his desk. Charlie has noticed that Joey is still here and wants Josh to go over there and not be a dick but be nice instead. 2. But also it’s a good piece of advice, Josh.

Charlie leaves and Toby and Sam come in to tell Josh about Sam’s meeting with Steve. Josh and Toby find this whole thing hilarious. They think that Steve knows about Laurie, Sam’s hooker friend, and wants Sam out in front on something so that Steve can use Laurie to take Sam down. Sam is not nearly as amused by this as Josh and Toby are.

They leave Josh’s office and Josh sees Joey. Joey starts telling him about her research but Josh wants to give her this White House mug he got her. You know, to decorate her desk. Joey likes it. Josh kicks Kenny out and tells Joey that he did, indeed, wear his nicest suit for her. Joey smiles. Joey is 100% too good for Josh. I’m not into her highlights right now, but it was 2000 so she is forgiven.

Okay, so Leo woke the president up to talk to him about his feelings regarding drug treatment legislation and Leo’s own addiction. Jed, instead of being irritated at being kept awake for this, says nice, supportive things to Leo. Then C.J. comes in because this is a staff that comes up to the residence whenever they want to. I suspect this is acceptable in very few White Houses. I suspect this is one thing the Trump presidency and the Obama presidency have in common – that staffers are not permitted to wander at will into the residence at 11:45 at night. Anyway, C.J. wants to apologize for her mistake but Jed doesn’t care about the mistake and forgives her. Sam and Toby turn up. Because sure. And then Josh, too. And Josh tells Jed and the gang about the coffee mug. The president wonders why his Secret Service agents haven’t taken them all out. I am wondering the same thing. Sam wants to know where Jed is on the drug thing. He’s not anywhere because it’s nearly midnight and he wants to be a-fucking-sleep, Sam.

I know, I know, this is cute and Jed gets an opportunity to give the gang a pep talk in his pjs. I’m just being a curmudgeon.

Jed also tells them to be nice to Mandy and Danny now because they were both just doing their jobs.

Everyone leaves except for Toby and Leo. Toby says he met with Congresswoman Wyatt. Josh teases Toby about calling his ex-wife Congresswoman Wyatt and reveals that he enjoys calling his own wife Dr. Bartlett. Anyway, Andy’s turned Toby around on mandatory minimums. They’re racist. And Jed promises they’ll be part of the drug conversation.

Toby leaves and Jed tells Leo he’s sleeping better, dreaming of utopias, waking up and thinking he can sell those utopias. It’s a nice ending to a middling episode. Of course, middling episodes on this show kick the asses of episodes on ALL THE OTHER SHOWS OF EVER.

Total Misogyny Points:  Aw, shit, I didn’t keep a running tally. Okay, went back and counted. 15. That’s pretty light. I’d say the misogyny in this episode is light but heavily concentrated around certain themes – like, say, “Hey, Josh, we brought you a girlfriend!”  That theme.

Oscars 2017

Kate: I say this with some degree of humiliation, but I think this is the first year since I was, like, in elementary school, that I have not seen ONE of the nominated films.

Erica: It’s like the, oh, what is it, ah…Eighth. The eighth year for me.

Kate: Oh, hang on! I HAVE seen Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (nominated for Costume and Production Design), O.J.: Made in America (nominated for Documentary Feature), Star Trek Beyond (nominated for Makeup & Hairstyling), and The Jungle Book (nominated for Visual Effects). I feel much better now.

Erica: Yup, I’ve seen none of those. I have seen Zootopia. And I’ve seen Rogue One, which also got a Visual Effects nod.

Kate: But, again, are the movies important? No! Only the DRESSES are!

 

Alicia Vikander

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Kate: I know everyone was obsessed with her last year and she’s pretty and tiny and all that, but…I don’t get it.

Erica: I think I get it. I don’t know if I like it, but I think I get it.

Kate: This looks like something recycled from a really bad sweet 16 in the 80s. I hate the neckline, the sleeves, the layers, the length, the lace, all of it! And the hair! That’s what my hair looks like RIGHT NOW, and it’s not a good situation!

Erica: The neck and sleeves read Jane Austen to me. Which is cool, especially on a tiny person such as herself, but, you know, black in the Jane Austen era would signal mourning, not glamour. And I think that’s unfortunately how this reads.

Kate: Really, really hate it.

 

Amy Adams

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Kate: Disappointed that she didn’t do the red carpet, especially in this number. Va va voom, Amy!

Erica: Oh, I don’t love it.

Kate: I think I’ve said recently that I’m over the sequins, but this looks great. Perfectly tailored to her body, a deep V done right. And I always love soft, voluminous waves like that — kind of like Connie Britton hair!

Erica: I love the hair. And there’s nothing wrong with the dress. It’s just not my favorite.

 

Brie Larson

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Kate: Oh my, how dramatic.

Erica: I’m into it.

Kate: Her terrible hair is a bit distracting, but I like the dress. Kind of like a very fancy Jessica Rabbit, but black instead of red. I might not have worn this if I were not actually nominated (that year), though.

Erica: I agree the hair could be a little more on point but the drama of the gown, I really love. Very John Singer Sargent.

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Charlize Theron

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Kate: Wow. Having a very rare moment of I-don’t-think-Charlize-Theron-looks-good, and I don’t know what to do with that.

Erica: Oh, see, I don’t like the dress, and I don’t like the ponytail thing — it looks like they forgot to finish her hair — and I also really hate the earrings – but I still think she looks good.

Kate: The metallic thing just doesn’t work as well on her as it has on others, I hate the ponytail, the thick-strapped deep V-neck doesn’t complement her beautiful figure, it’s just all off. Very jarring.

Erica: It’s all very weird. And yet, I still think she’s beautiful.

Kate: Yes SHE is obviously beautiful but this LOOK is not. Also, those earrings are dangerously heavy on her earlobes. And also obscenely expensive.

 

Chrissy Teigen

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Kate: I really like one of John Legend’s songs right now, so I am less annoyed than usual that these two literally pop up EVERYWHERE, but seriously, WHY ARE THEY EVERYWHERE?

Erica: Oh I am 100% okay with them being everywhere because I find them — her in particular — to be delightful. Also I think he’s in La La Land.

Kate: Regardless, this is an OK gown. The attached cape thing feels a bit done to me at this point, and the sequin detail feels a bit Cache to me, but the rest of the dress is fab. I could do without the one piece of hair on the right side, too.

Erica: I don’t like the dress. I just don’t like it. It’s not badly done or incomprehensibly ugly. I just don’t like it.

 

Dakota Johnson

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Kate: Oh my god, I could not hate it more if I tried.

Erica: I think I hate it more than I hate the 50 Shades phenomenon. No, wait. Nothing is worse than that. This dress is pretty damn close, though.

Kate: It’s like a decades-old wedding dress that wasn’t stored properly. You know what? It reminds me of Sandra Bullock’s wedding dress in The Proposal. And I liked it on Sandra a lot more.

Erica: Wow, it is better on Sandra Bullock but I still hate it on Sandra Bullock. It is so very awful. Incredibly awful. Like it was trying to be awful. And her makeup and hair look dreadful. Well, her makeup looks dreadful. Her hair is more blah than awful.

Kate: Yea, that is like, what my hair looks like when I want it out of my face at work but I KNOW it doesn’t look good/makes my forehead look enormous. Bleh bleh bleh!!!

Erica: She also claims to not be wearing makeup. Does she think we don’t know what faces normally look like?

 

Emma Roberts

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Kate: I always think she looks very pretty, if not a little too tiny, and I love the nod to her aunt with the bright red hair tonight.

Erica: I mean, I love the hair. Love. A lot.

Kate: The gown is lovely and she overall looks very nice, I’m just not like AMAZED by it.

Erica: So it’s black-and-white evening, which is not my favorite. But she told Ryan Seacrest that she was the one who told Julia to wear the black-and-white one she won the Oscar in, so maybe this is, like, a nod? Or maybe Emma Roberts just really loves black-and-white evening dresses? Which, as we’ve established, are not my favorite, although this one has the lace and is very well tailored and all that. I am not particularly prudish about boobs, though — in fact, I am typically a fan of cleavage — and this is pushing it for me.

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Emma Stone

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Kate: I don’t know. It feels a little too theme-y for me. Aren’t we over the whole Great Gatsby thing?

Erica: I mean, the hair and makeup are lovely.

Kate: Yes, very lovely hair and makeup. I’m having an issue with where the fringe starts and ends on this dress — it creates awkward sections of her otherwise beautiful body.

Erica: I see what you’re saying, but it doesn’t bother me as much as I think it should. I think it actually starts low enough that it’s okay. That said, I don’t love the fringe.

Kate: Honestly, she should have swapped her Golden Globes and Oscars dresses, and done something completely else for SAGs. This dress is fine, but her Globes dress was the real stunner of the group.

Erica: Yes. Agreed. That was the Oscars dress.

 

Felicity Jones

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Kate: Uh oh. I see some tea length.

Erica: Man. I want so badly to like so many things about this. But I hate tea length. And I hate the thing that is happening around her waist.

Kate: I wish it were floor length and I wish the top were tailored a bit better, and I wish she had jazzed it up a with a little more jewelry on the ears, but looking very soft and simple and elegant is kind of her thing.

Erica: It’s like, a good concept. But not a good dress.

Kate: I do, however, love the shoes, ergo, I understand why she WANTED to do tea length.

 

Ginnifer Goodwin

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Kate: Oh, I hate her hair like that. Too plastered to her head, literally.

Erica: Yes. I hate all of this, really.

Kate: The dress is fine, but it feels like something you could buy at Anthropologie and wear to a fancy wedding, not THE OSCARS. You know?

Erica: I don’t think the dress is fine. I hate it.

Kate: I also think a regular old scoop neck would have done just fine instead of a DAMN TURTLENECK.

Erica: BUT she lost her former TV husband the day before. I will give her all the passes.

 

Hailee Steinfeld

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Kate: Oh, my. Gorgeous. Beyond.

Erica: Really?! Really?!

Kate: Really! I think it’s an amazing mix of modern and edgy with classic and beautiful. P e r f e c t makeup.

Erica: I would never have expected you to like this. The back. The frou-frou-ness. How see-through it is. I am shocked.

Kate: The see-throughness was a bit surprising at first but it’s done with taste. Best Dressed nominee!

Erica: So it is the sort of thing I usually like but I don’t know if this is my favorite iteration of it. The back is a bit much for me. And I can’t decide how I feel about how see-through it is. On the one hand, very sexy. Without being slutty. On the other, I think I’m getting old or something.

 

Halle Berry

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Kate: I mean, why does anyone else even show up if she’s gonna be there? Look at her!

Erica: To see what she looks like, naturally.

Kate: I adore the dress, the one shoulder, the sparkle, the colors, the ribbony elements, wow. And her face? Her skin? Her makeup? It’s just not fair!

Erica: It is a really lovely dress. I feel like her fashion is so often, like, really unique and special, while looking exactly like a red carpet dress should. Both surprising and entirely fitting.

Kate: The only reason I’m not throwing her a Best Dressed nominee is the hair — I like the curls, I like the color(s), but I don’t like the style.

Erica:I like that she did that hair. I think it could be perfected but I applaud the concept.

 

Janelle Monae

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Kate: I was able to get into her quirk at the Globes and the SAGs, but this is too much for me. Really don’t like it. Overwhelming in the worst possible way.

Erica: I like it, actually. I wish that the skirt didn’t, like, detach from itself. But I think it mostly accomplishes what it sets out to be and I appreciate that about it. And I really, really, really, really love her hair.

 

Jennifer Aniston

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Kate: Another red carpet evader — Jen, I love you, but Meryl Streep you are not. You still must do the red carpet, especially if you are presenting.

Erica: What is she, even, without the red carpet?

Kate: This is quite sexy. It’s very Jen, and I think she always looks great, and she’s famous for that hair, but I wish it were pulled back a little to show off more of the dress. It’s a great neckline, and it deserves some more attention.

Erica: Yeah, this is classic Jen, 100%.

 

Jessica Biel

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Kate: I know this is FASHION, but to me it’s mostly a very nice costume from The Lion King on Broadway.

Erica: I can’t say it any better than that. That is 100% accurate.

Kate: I’m sorry but Jessica Biel has an extremely beautiful body, and this dress shows absolutely none of it!

Erica: Has she been in anything lately or is she just there as Mrs. Timberlake? I mean, after watching him perform that opening song, I am behind “showing up to be Mrs. Timberlake”. I’m just wondering.

Kate: She’s just Mrs. Timberlake most recently. Also, her hair SHOULD be slicked back with this neckline/necklace, but it’s too loose on that one side. Do not like!

 

Kate McKinnon

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Kate: Well excuuuuuuse me Miss Thing!

Erica: Yeah, she cleans up good.

Kate: I absolutely love it! Great hair, great makeup, GREAT dress. Can never go wrong with black and a little sparkle. Best Dressed nominee!

Erica: I just feel like I’d be annoyed if I were an SNL cast member now. The plumb role — president — is being played by a non-cast celebrity. The next best one — the press secretary — is also going to a non-cast celebrity. Now they talk about Rosie O’Donnell playing Steve Bannon. And then everyone else is played by Kate McKinnon. Fabulously. But still.

Kate: Irrelevant! Dresses!

 

Kirsten Dunst

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Kate: Wow wow wow. I love it!

Erica: I don’t know what’s happening with her since she used to like to look bizarre. This is so beautiful.

Kate: Such a flattering shape, especially around the boobs and waist, and it just looks like a beautifully made piece of fashion. I would not have done closed-toe shoes with that length, though.

Erica: The dress is just 100% perfection. It’s sort of a nod to the era of her movie, too, how beautifully constructed it is, and the silhouette. She looks amazing.

Kate: Agree! But also not totally loving the hair swoop thing. Am OK with the necklace. Luuurrrve the dark dramatic makeup on her.

 

Leslie Mann

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Kate: She is really giving me some Gone with the Wind vibes here.

Erica: I don’t like it. I hate the color. I hate the bow. Her hair is messy. She is a delightful human, though.

Kate: Yes, the color leaves something to be desired, and her hair is too casual for a) this occasion and b) this dress, but…I really, really like her, and she looks like she’s just having so much fun, so I don’t hate this as much as I probably should/usually would.

 

Meryl Streep

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Kate: Meryl throwing me off again with actually DOING the red carpet this time.

Erica: I didn’t see her on the red carpet.

Kate: She was there! I don’t like her hair at all. The sparkly teal pantsuit is very old lady chic, and not in a good way.

Erica: Am I stupid? I’m seeing her in a midnight blue sparkly thing.

Kate: Sometimes it looks blue, sometimes it looks teal, and there are pants AND a skirt somewhere in there. Apparently there was a whole ordeal about this sparkly teal pantsuit because it’s Elie Saab and she was originally supposed to wear Karl Lagerfeld and Karl went on a rant about it, to which Meryl responded in the most Meryl way possible. And now I love it. (But not her hair.)

Erica: I feel like I need to binge-watch her movies but also that will make me very depressed.

 

Michelle Williams

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Kate: I’m shocked — this is such a normal, basic choice for Jen, I mean Michelle!

Erica: She’s going to be pissed when she sees Emma Roberts.

Kate: Oh, so true. Except she most likely doesn’t care. This is pretty but it’s really not doing anything else for me. I think the top could be tailored better. Also, it looks like the skirt is just plain old cream-colored in this photo, but on the pre-show it was a bit more sheer and sparkly.

Erica: It’s not great. And she’s usually so fashion-conscious. This is not particularly interesting and it’s not particularly well-made. The top looks really bad.

 

Nicole Kidman

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Kate: Ahhh, redemption. It’s a beautiful thing.

Erica: It’s baffling, though. Like, if she knows to wear this, how did she wear M-F-ING PARROTS?

Kate: After the ridiculous ruffles of the Golden Globes dress and the stupid sparkly parrots of the SAGs, this dress is a sight for sore eyes. Even though it’s a little too close to the color of her skin so that it kind of looks like she just has swirly body paint on her.

Erica: Hey, I will give all the points to the woman who shows up on a red carpet with just swirly body paint on her.

Kate: REALLY love the hair and makeup.

 

Octavia Spencer

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Kate: Very extremely lovely. Possibly the best I’ve ever seen her.

Erica: She does love her gray, doesn’t she?

Kate: It’s a great color on her. I love the sleek angled bob, very flattering neckline and overall silhouette. Am I the world’s biggest feather fan? No, but it works here.

Erica: Agree with everything except that the feathers are still not working for me. Waist up? Perfect. Waist down? Eh.

 

Priyanka Chopra

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Kate: It is really, really hard to pull off these super-structured strapless tops. I don’t know if Priyanka is accomplishing that here.

Erica: I feel no uncertainty about it. I hate it.

Kate: And the material looks very quilt-like, so that plus the super-structured top plus the flair on bottom makes it feel more like a Cher concert costume than an Oscars dress.

Erica: I think it feels more like a bad Project Runway design.

 

Salma Hayek

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Kate: Well, it’s a vast improvement from the bridesmaid dress from 27 Dresses she wore to the SAGs, but it’s still not great. Quite boring, actually.

Erica: I think it’s fine. Unremarkable.

Kate: And her usually fabulous, voluminous hair is quite…Flat. Meh.

Erica: I don’t like the headband. She’s a grown woman at an awards show, you know?

Kate: I am generally anti-headband.

 

Scarlett Johansson

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Kate: Hate the hair, hate the belt, and if the skirt were a little less poofy she would just be dressed for a very nice brunch with her friends in Southern California. Very disappointing.

Erica: The hair is very stupid. I’m less offended by the dress than you are — actually, it would be super cute as a brunch dress — but I hate the hair.

Kate: One does not wear BRUNCH DRESSES to the OSCARS!!! Also, I think she’s not wearing a bra, which should not be the case for someone as well endowed as her.

Erica: She has a great rack when she dresses it properly.

 

Taraji P. Henson

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Kate: I feel like this is JUST on the right side of the fine line between “vintage” and “dated”. Either way, a HUGE improvement over her Grammys disaster.

Erica: I have no problem with edging toward dated. I also loved how she made Ryan Seacrest wait for her.

Kate: You know what? It’s actually a little Pretty Woman-esque with that neckline, necklace, and material, in a very good way.

Erica: It’s so glam and perfect I feel like she was just playing with the other awards shows this year, because she was saving up for this. Sadie likes it, too; she keeps reaching for the screen.

Kate: Also really love the short, textured, angled bob.

Erica: Yes. Perfect. All the good things. And I really want to see Hidden Figures. I think listening to her talk about it put it even with La La Land on my wish list.

 

Viola Davis

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Kate: Oh yes, I love the red. Love it love it love it.

Erica: The red is perfect. The hair is perfect. The makeup is perfect.

Kate: Gorgeous sleeves, love the shorter hair, FINALLY the softer makeup look I’ve been asking for from her. The only thing I’d have done differently is a bit more bling on the ears to complement the neckline.

Erica: I’m not super into the ear cuff thing. I like the concept but I have yet to see it executed in a way I like. Also, I feel really bad, because I don’t want to see Fences. I understand that it’s a fantastic movie with out-of-this-world performances. I just don’t wanna. Sadie really liked her acceptance speech.

Kate: Alas, our final Best Dressed of the 2017 Red Carpet Season?

Erica: After some consideration, I want Taraji to have it. She looks so good.

Kate: I don’t like hers THAT much. I’d rather give it to Viola, Hailee, or Kate.

Erica: Hmm. Okay, now I’m torn between Hailee, who did something beautiful and interesting, and Viola Davis, who just looked perfect. I will accept either.

Kate: VIOLA IT IS! Worst?

Erica: It’s got to be Dakota Johnson. And NOT because I hate 50 Shades. I actually think she’s quite as charming as a human possibly can be in that dreadful role. But that dress. It is all the things wrong with all the fashion in the universe. I might hate it more than I hated Nicole Kidman’s parrots.

Kate: Could not agree more. Peace out, fellow fashion critiquers!

Grammys 2017

Grammys 2017

Kate: Thanks to my “Today’s Hits” station on Pandora, I may actually know who most of these people are tonight!

Erica: I will probably only recognize Beyoncé.

Kate: Seriously, I’m more excited about the Grammys than the Oscars this year. That NEVER happens.

Erica: Not me. But I am not cool.

Kate: *In the style of Billy Eichner on Billy on the Street* And away…We…GO!

 

Adele

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Kate: It’s going to be hard for anyone to convince me that she does not deserve Best Dressed right here right now. Oh my god, so effing fabulous I can’t stand it.

Erica: I am not seeing what you are seeing.  

Kate: We can usually count on her for a sparkly, semi-frumpy black or navy blue gown that we don’t give a hoot about because then she performs and all’s right with the world. THIS, though, is FASHION and now and perfectly tailored to her body and a PERFECT color on her.

Erica: I do think the color is just perfect on her luminous self. And the hair and makeup are unsurprisingly perfect.

Kate: I absolutely love the lighter hair and makeup, and the updo that the lighter hair is in, she even has a little tan going on! OH MY GOD I AM OBSESSED WITH YOU, ADELE!

Erica: Yes. I think you might be. Not that she doesn’t deserve it. I just think this dress doesn’t, particularly.

Kate: But wait, why wear that fabulousness and then change immediately for the first performance? Her performance dress is much more in line with what she usually wears:

 

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Erica: I don’t like this, either. And her nails are a little insane for my taste. But why do any of them do this? Isn’t the whole getting dressed with hair and makeup a big deal? Why not just skip the red carpet and go straight to performance mode?

Kate: Very long pointy nails are IN. And then you know they all have a third dress for the after-party. Or another performance drew for another performance?

 

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Kate: Love this one, and the messy bun, but that performance…Wow. In so many ways.

Erica: And then she shared her award with Beyoncé because she is 100% class.

Kate: Angel/goddess on Earth.

 

Beyoncé

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Kate: I really did not know what to make of her performance. I know she was being deep and philosophical and maybe political?, but I wasn’t understanding EXACTLY what she was saying. Say what you mean, and mean what you say, B!

Erica: I always assume that I won’t fully get what Beyoncé is talking about. We are of related but separate cultures.

Kate: That said, minus the crazy head and neck gear, her dress is really beautiful. And that’s coming from a longtime Beyoncé hater. I appreciate that she wore it for her performance and stayed in it afterward, and I was wondering why she didn’t do the red carpet, but I guess she’s Beyoncé and she’s pregnant and can get away with pretty much any old thing she feels like.

Erica: Well, and, in order to get her pregnant self all kitted up like an ancient fertility goddess, she had to get there early. Like I said, a red carpet look and a separate performance look is kind of a hassle.

Kate: Well she went for the hassle, because she eventually changed into this delightful little red number and somehow straightened her hair.

 

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Erica: I mean, how do they do secondary HAIR? I can’t get my hair to look good once a night. I definitely couldn’t be a celebrity.

Kate: I like this dress a lot more, including the necklace. WHO AM I?

 

Carrie Underwood

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Kate: Ok so this is super-pageanty and VERY COUNTRY, but that’s Carrie, no? I normally wouldn’t like something like this, but she is really rocking it.

Erica: I just feel like she’s already dressing like she’s 40.

Kate: I don’t think it’s 40, I think it’s country. Her hair and makeup are similar to Adele’s, so I like those things as well. The only thing that’s bothering me is how UNCOMFORTABLE the dress looks — like, I’m itching MY neck just looking at HERS.

Erica: Yes. Also she seemed kind of unhappy tonight. Kind of down. Great makeup.

Kate: I also wish the sleeves were more tapered instead of in that bell style.

 

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Kate: Her performance dress is, like, pageanty-casual, and I love it. Actually kind of looks comfortable?

Erica: It’s younger, as is the hair. Hey, did Keith Urban not bring his wife tonight? I feel deprived of the crazy.

Kate: Was wondering that myself…

 

Celine Dion

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Kate: Oh dear me no.

Erica: No?

Kate: She is too thin and narrow-featured to have her hair pulled back that tight, and that dress? Are we on a fancy St. Patrick’s Day Parade float?

Erica: Well, I never like that kind of hair but I like the color of the dress. Not the whole dress. But the color. The earrings are pretty, too.

Kate: I know what you’re thinking — why am I ok with Adele’s green dress but not Celine’s green dress? Probably because I am overly obsessed with Adele.

Erica: Well. You are. But they are also very different greens. And Adele’s does complement her beautifully. In my opinion, Celine’s green looks fine, but not quite as luminous as Adele’s.

Kate: Now, had she worn her presenting dress on the red carpet, she would have earned my praises. Beautiful.

 

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Erica: WHY IS THERE A SECOND DRESS JUST FOR PRESENTING?! WHY BOTHER WITH THE RED CARPET DRESS AT ALL?! It’s because this is the Capitol, that’s why. We are all already damned.

 

Chrissy Teigen

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Kate: Up close you can tell that there are black feathers attached to the collar of this dress — or maybe they’re earrings? — and there is just too much going on here.

Erica: I do not like it. I like her. I do not like this.

Kate: I also really don’t like that wet curly hair look — what is this, the late 90s? Oh, right, all those trends are back now.

Erica: Which, while I’m not happy about the wet-look curls, I am happy about boot-cut jeans. Hey, do you still have my Docs?

Kate: They are in WO, most likely.

 

Demi Lovato

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Kate: I know almost every lady on this carpet is wearing some form of fake hair tonight, I just hate when they make it so OBVIOUS.

Erica: Yeah this looks…cheap.

Kate: That is the EXACT word that popped into my head when I saw this. She’s a very pretty girl, but this is just all too much. She’s too tan, too stuffed into that dress, too MACRAME. Actually really hate it.

Erica: I do not like the macrame. I do not like the look.

Kate: Worst Dressed nominee!

 

Elle King

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Erica: Including her because I love that song. I always appreciate that the Grammys is a time to dress very costume-y. This little girl princess costume is an unusual choice but that’s okay with me. The tats mean it’s still rock-and-roll, right?

Kate: I think the dress is actually pretty, I just don’t like the matching flower crown and the pale makeup, and then the tattoos kind of blending in with the dress almost? I get it, I’m just not that into it.

Erica: That is a more positive reaction than I thought you would have.

Kate: I’m complimenting Beyoncé, I know current musicians, I’m really growing as a person.

 

Erika Jayne

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Kate: We HAVE to include her because she’s a Real Housewife, right?!

Erica: I’ll go with that logic.

Kate: I kind of love that she’s there. I am really against that half-up-in-a-bun hairstyle — it’s just too EVERYWHERE — and I’m not falling all over myself about the dress, it’s fine, and the shoes don’t match, but I’m just happy that she’s there. Great makeup, as always.

Erica: Yes, the hair is terrible. It’s not even the style, which I don’t love, but fine. It’s poorly executed. And yes, the shoes don’t match. I do actually like the dress, and I love her spirit and her lust for life. I feel like Kyle could become a better person by being friends with her.

Kate: Perhaps, if she stops talking sh!t about every single one of her friends every five seconds.

 

Faith Hill

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Kate: Similar to Carrie’s pageanty vibe, but, again, they are both country, and this is what you wear when you’re country. I might have worn both their dresses to the Country Music Awards instead, but, I’m neither of their stylist.

Erica: Yeah, except Faith Hill is the right age for this.

Kate: Actually, this is alarmingly similar to Carrie’s dress — center cutout and middle-of-legs slit and all. It just doesn’t have the sparkle.

Erica: I can’t decide if that’s an improvement or not.

Kate: I kind of like the hair down in loose waves with this style, but with Carrie’s it would definitely get caught on all the sequins. I’m really fixating on that.

 

Gina Rodriguez

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Kate: She is not usually someone we include, but I got a special request to!

Kate’s friend Candace (via text): You should site that Gina Rodriguez looks hot hot hot in your blog!

Kate: Well there you have it.

Erica: I am not so delighted with this look. No offense, Candace.

Kate: I think it’s very similar to Chrissy Teigen’s look but better executed, but still not my favorite. Sorry Candace!

Candace: Whatever.

Erica: Yes, better executed. And she looks joyous. But I don’t love the ensemble. Sorry!

 

Heidi Klum

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Kate: Another semi-normal choice from Heidi! She MUST be reading these posts!

Erica: We have a power beyond what we expected. Heidi, if you do read this, know that I still sometimes replay that moment in my head where you told the Project Runway contestant that his Barbies were selling like “bagels,” and then Tim Gunn corrected you and said “hot cakes,” and you very seriously repeated “hot cakes.” It was — you are — freakin’ adorable.

Kate: I mean, she’s basically wearing a sparkly t-shirt, and I can basically see her private parts, but this is what she does best — casual but glam California blonde. Love the hair, makeup and jewelry. But how is she going to SIT?

Erica: Oh my gosh, I think she looks adorable. Show off those gams, girl. Sit down and watch your dress become a shirt and don’t care at all because you have the legs of Heidi Klum.

 

Jennifer Lopez

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Kate: Typical J.Lo. Has to do ONE weird thing, can’t just leave well enough alone.

Erica: She looks beautiful, though.

Kate: Of course she does, she’s J. Lo! Honestly, the gown is absolutely beautiful and it’s a beautiful color, and OMG her legs, but why the neck thing? Why? Just why?

Erica: Well, because otherwise no one would talk about it.

Kate: Also, her lipstick is the same color as her face, which is not great. Also also, Demi, THIS is how you do not-so-obvious hair extensions.

 

Katharine McPhee

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Kate: Very boring, but very nice.

Erica: Hate ombre hair.

Kate: You can barely see the ombre hair in the low pony, though? And I think that damn slit is a bit overdone now.

Erica: Yeah, I’m for some reason more willing to be Heidi Klum’s gynecologist than I am willing to be Katharine McPhee’s. Maybe because Katharine McPhee doesn’t look like she means it.

 

Katy Perry

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Kate: Oh Christ.

Erica: I mean she’s whackadoo. Although she usually is whackadoo in a more aesthetically pleasing way.

Kate: I feel like she chose this to purposely look bad, and also insane. It’s ill-fitting, it’s dated, it’s just plain ugly. And the mad scientist hair? No.

Kate’s friend Melissa (via text): Please put in your blog that Katy Perry looks like Lumiere’s love interest in Beauty and the Beast *eye-roll emoji*.

Kate: Honestly, the feather duster looks 100 times better than THIS.

Erica: Seriously. Katy Perry wishes she could be as fire as that feather duster.

Kate: I also did NOT appreciate her dig at Britney during the pre-show by saying she took a break from music for her mental health and hasn’t shaved her head yet. If I have to say one nice thing, I like her makeup, but the Britney dig REALLY got me.

Erica: I was surprised she went there. I was thinking T. Swift was exclusively to blame for their Bad Blood, but I’m rethinking now.

Kate: Oh, and Worst Dressed nominee.

 

Lady Gaga

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Kate: YASSSSS.

Erica: One day when our civilization has fallen and future archaeologists are trying to figure out our culture, I hope they come upon an image of Lady Gaga wearing this to the Grammys so that they understand, at least, what the Grammys were all about.

Kate: I was worried we would get Glam Gaga instead of Crazy Gaga, and I am so happy she did this. It’s Cher and Madonna and costumey and crazy-high shoes and just exactly what I want from her. LOVE the high pony with the deep red lip and aviator shades. Love.

Erica: Yes. Well-executed crazy.

Kate: I also love that after all the crap she got about the little bit of extra skin on her belly during the Super Bowl halftime show, she wore another belly-baring outfit and looks effing fab.

Erica: I have to think that the people who gave her that crap have never seen actual human bodies before.

 

Laverne Cox

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Kate: It’s like someone was recently looking at a photo of Courtney Love in that crazy black dress with all the slits and thought, “Let me try to re-do this, but better”, and it worked. Fierce.

Erica: I thought she was referencing Elizabeth Hurley’s 1994 safety pin dress. Which, I have just learned, has its own Wikipedia page. As does J. Lo’s 2000 bathrobe dress, to which she herself made sly reference during the telecast.

Kate: Yes, she likes to remind us. I love Laverne’s hair darker, and I love the high pony. Up close and personal the makeup is a little too costume party for me, and I wish she had done a more interesting earring, and I don’t love the length of the dress, so it’s not a Best Dressed nominee for me, but overall digging it.

Erica: Yeah, the length of the dress is the part I don’t like.

 

Lea Michele

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Kate: I KNOW Brad Goreski styled her so I really WANT to like this. But I don’t. 😦

Erica: Is that her eye make-up or has she been crying?

Kate: Yes, first of all, what is that face? Second of all, what is that severe hair? Third of all, that awful neck makes her look like she just got neutered. Without it, MAYBE. Maybe. With it? No.

Erica: Seriously, is she okay? Does she need to talk to someone?

 

Mya

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Kate: What is Mya doing at the 2017 Grammys? Has she sang anything since Ghetto Superstar?

Erica: She’s one of those people I should know because she’s of my time, but I wasn’t cool, then, either.

Kate: I really hate this red tuxedo thing. It’s ill-fitting on top, too tight on bottom, the bow in the middle is unnecessary, and dye-to-match shoes? Come on. Worst Dressed nominee!

Erica: It is really bad. Like, really bad. It’s a good concept, and it’s executed so very badly.

Kate: Hair and makeup are fine, though.

 

Rihanna

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Kate: While Celine Dion thinks she’s on a fancy St. Patrick’s Day Parade float, Rihanna thinks she’s going to a Halloween-themed ball but chose to just wear Halloween colors instead of an actual costume.

Erica: Yeah, I don’t like it. It’s whackadoo without being pretty or making sense or anything.

Kate: She always has to wear a skirt that’s, like, impossible to sit down in.

Erica: I think she has made public statements to this effect.

 

Taraji P. Henson

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Kate: Not sure why she’s there — because she’s on a TV show about music? — but really hate the dress. The material looks like it’s pulling across her in the most uncomfortable, too-tight way.

Erica: Yeah, this is very strange. I know this is weird, but I’m thinking about that part in The King and I when Yul Brynner is confused as to why Westerners are cool with exposing all this cleavage, but then create giant bell skirts to hide the very fact that women have legs. This dress is the opposite of that.

Kate: Also really don’t like her hair like that — she looks so much better when she’s tousled and wild and, like, loose.

Erica: She is capable of fierceness. Maybe she’s just, like, experimenting, and she’ll realize soon what looks suit her and go back to them.

 

Tori Kelly

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Kate: Hmmmm…The ruffles and the length and the color and the gold jewelry make this a little too, like, St. Patrick’s Day gala. Celine’s on the fancy parade float, Tori’s already at the gala afterward. But underdressed for it.

Erica: I don’t know who this is. But this ensemble is maybe the most 90s of the night.

Kate: You said that last year and I told you she had fun songs, and I don’t see 90s at all here? She looks pretty, I just don’t like the whole vibe of it. Her hair is also too casual. And now that I’ve looked at last year’s post, she wore the same color then too.

Erica: Well, my memory is sieve-like. And the off-shoulder and the criss-crossing ruffles and the hair and make-up are all very ’90s, trust. You were still too young when this would have been it. Because I came of age in the 90s, I like it. I just don’t like it for the Grammys. But I am struggling to figure out where I would like it.

Kate: Alas, Best Dressed must of course go to Adele? With an Honorable Mention to the Gagster?

Erica: Sure. I just don’t feel strongly about anyone.

Kate: And Worst Dressed is without a doubt Katy I-Have-Lost-My-Mind Perry?

Erica: That is more than fine with me.

Kate: And there you have it. Til the Oscars, then!