SYTYCD Season 9 – Top 8

Erica: Ugh, they’re doing solos tonight?

Kate’s roommate: Tonight is the finale?

Kate: WHAT!?

Kate’s roommate: She said finale!

Kate: No, finale is in 3 weeks. #amateur

Erica: Cat looks pretty good. The dress is inoffensive and the make-up and hair and gorgeous.

Kate: Um, yes she is finally wearing a dress and um, yes her hair finally looks like its fabulous self, but the makeup? No. Her eyes are really freaking me out, I think she got some kind of work done.

Tiffany’s solo

Erica: Fine? Zoe liked it.

Kate: Ugh, Glee. Are they still doing that stupid thing where they write their own songs?

Erica: They did it at least once this last season I think but I don’t remember that song at all. But me and Glee are through anyway.

Kate: Yes this was fine, sometimes she is a little too cutesy but she is quite talented. Also, do you think her sister, who is a fellow dancer, sort of hates her a bit?

Erica: Speaking as the big sister of a fabulous human, I am sure that all of her pride wipes out (nearly) completely any jealousy she feels.

Witney and Season 4’s Twitch: Hip-hop, “My Homies Still” by Li’l Wayne feat. Big Sean, choreographed by Luther Brown

Erica: Okay, see, I asked for real hip-hop last week, and I got it, and I was happy. And then I was reminded of the way Nigel and Mary tend to act around real hip-hop and I take it back. Don’t do anything that gives them license to try to act “street.”

Kate: Ha, but this was great. I mean Witney looked quite silly bopping around with Twitch but she actually has the sass — and the ass, might I add — for hip-hip hop. It’s not her fault she was wearing, as Jesse Tyler Ferguson put it, “diaper pants”.

Erica: I thought she was a little sloppy in the beginning but mostly very good, although she performs street the same way she performs sexy – like a very, very good mimic but without a lot of soul. And I agree that the thing that needs to be discussed were those pants they put her in. What on earth?

Kate: I am actually starting to think she MIGHT win over Eliana, which would not be the worst thing in the world but still shouldn’t happen. Also, I really wish some day some how it would be possible for me to dance with Twitch. Or take a class he teaches, or something.

Erica: I think Witney is second best to Eliana and has been all season (for the girls). And maybe one day Twitch will be teaching classes in NYC and you can go!

Will’s solo

Kate: He is trying to win me over via dancing to James Morrison. It almost sort of worked.

Erica: He’s much better in his solo than he has been in, you know, the dancing.

Kate: Agreed. But he’s still just not THAT good.

Cole and Season 2’s Allison: Jazz, “Possibly Maybe (Instrumental)” by Bjork, choreographed by Bjork’s soul sister Sonja Tayeh

Kate: Um, why was this song called “Possibly Maybe (Instrumental)” when there was clearly a human (sort of) voice involved? Ugh I hate Bjork.

Erica: Allison is just awesome. I know you get annoyed, Kate, that they presume that the all-stars will be better, because it’s not always true, but I’m sure you agree, in this case, it’s true.

Kate: Oh yes, when it’s Allison it’s true. I like that Cole said he was supposed to be a soulless character — um, he has only not played that character in like one dance all season.

Erica: I do have to say, last week they dinged him for acting to the audience instead of to his partner. He definitely took that advice to heart this week. It’s a very strong, lovely routine. I’m liking Sonja more and more this season. She’s got a strong voice.

Kate: I think he’s very talented. More talented than Will, not as talented as Chehon, but talented. But I don’t think America loves loves loves him on account of his creepiness.

Erica: And, you know, Nigel mentions that Sonja said blah blah blah, revealing for the second time – the first was last year – that they see the dances in rehearsal beforehand. And I know this is reality TV and everything is scripted and manipulated, but . . . I want to believe the judges are seeing this all for the first time right now. I want to believe that there is no man behind that curtain. Just let me believe, Nigel.

Kate: Also, what’s wrong with Allison? I know she had on whacky makeup re: Sonya’s bizarre requests, but she looked like she was about to break down. DID SHE AND TWITCHYPOO BREAK UP?!

Erica: It was an emotional number! She was just still in that space! Don’t worry about it!

Lindsay’s solo

Erica: Her family is so very blonde.

Kate: And all dancers. That’s somewhat awesome that her mom owns a dance studio and that they all dance, although I guess there’s not much else to do in Utah.

Erica: I think there are some non-SYTYCD-specific ties between Mormon culture and ballroom dance. But did you catch that thing about her mom opening the studio for them? What does that mean?

Kate: She flings her arms around way too much to disguise the fact that she is not actually really dancing. I mean, look at those stems! She should use them more!

Erica: She has some serious stems. But it is really hard to do a ballroom solo.

Eliana and Season 6’s Ryan: Quickstep, “That Man” by Caro Emerald, choreographed by Jonathan Roberts

Erica: Love. Love, love, love her.

Kate: The step wasn’t that quick, but if anyone can kick this routine’s ass it’s her. She looks so light on her feet like she isn’t making one freakin’ sound.

Erica: When they started in with the “dreaded quickstep” stuff, I was going, look, America, if you vote Eliana off, we’re over. Forget the election, that’s when I’ll know it’s time to move to Canada. But then she shone! Surely, America, you can see that, too?!

Kate: Surely! Also, I want that dress (as I’m sure you do too Er), and it looks like she was sort of meant to be a flapper no?

Erica: Well, the quickstep is sort of flapper-y, right? And yes, wanted the dress. The thing about her is that it’s not just that her technique is flawless and it’s not just that she can adapt to any style and it’s not just that her performance is top notch and that she’s accessible to the audience as Nigel said. It’s all of those things, but it’s also that she makes the movements look beyond effortless. She makes them look like they are just the natural physical manifestations of her emotions. She’s amazing.

Chehon’s solo

Kate: I mean, I feel like I just don’t even need to comment anymore. A standing ovation for a solo? Come on.

Erica: Gosh, he’s pretty.

Kate: In all aspects of the word.

Erica: The solo was amazing, of course. Also, I feel the need to mention that the name of the song was “On the Nature of Daylight,” which is a great, if pretentious, song title. And he’s so choked up about his mom being there he can’t even talk! Aw!

Lindsay and Season Never’s Alex: Jazz, “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye feat. Kimba, choreographed by Sonja Tayeh

Erica: Great choreography, fantastic dancing (wow is Alex Wong a prince among men – hey, do you suppose they’ll reprise your favorite Alex/Twitch routine during the finale, Kate?) but Nigel was right – not a lot of heat.

Kate: Oh so I can post the link to that dance again? Swell. Yea I didn’t love this, and it appears Mr. Wong has gone tanning a lot recently.

Erica: Lindsay’s outfit is super-weird.

Kate’s roommate: I have that bra.

Erica: Sonya just loves her flexed feet, pulses and kicking, doesn’t she?

Kate: But see how much better Lindsay is when she actually USES those legs?

Erica: Oh, yeah. It wasn’t a criticism. I love flexed feet, pulses, and kicking, too.

Will and Season 3’s Lauren: Hip-Hop, “Dance My Pain Away (District 78 Remix)” by Wye Oak, choreographed by Chris Scott

Kate: I like that couch.

Erica: I was skeptical about this concept but the choreography ended up being really neat, didn’t it?

Kate: I think so, I mean I love when the partners don’t dance together together, like touching together, and he did better at hip-hop than I expected.

Erica: Will and Lauren did a very good job staying in sync even when he couldn’t see her, and he was very sharp. His goofiness was sort of contained by the movement, so that he did manage to come across as more serious than usual, but his natural style also came through enough that he seemed relatable and real through his pain. Imagine the contrast if, say, Cole had been working the same character. (That’s not a criticism of Cole; it just would have been very different.) This is the first week I like Will.

Kate: Oh, Cole would look absurd doing hip-hop. I sort of hope they give that to him next week.

Erica: But, oh, my God, Nigel’s comment about Lauren coming to his room that night to be the thing that pushes his pain away? Just stop. Please. You’re old enough to be my father. She’s young enough to be my . . . much younger sister. Just stop.

Kate’s roommate: Ew!

Witney’s solo

Erica: It’s a ballroom solo. It was good for a ballroom solo. Sexier than Lindsay’s but not quite as good.

Kate: See, that’s where you’re wrong. A) She picked my favorite horrible song of the week, so I wanted it to be really cool. It wasn’t. B) She does the same thing Lindsay does with solos but instead of flinging arms she just shimmies a lot instead of ACTUALLY dancing; I guess these young ballroom lassies just aren’t experienced in choreographing solos for themselves. Which sort of makes sense, but which shows me they are not quite ready for the world yet.

Erica: I just think there’s no such thing as a “solo” in the ballroom world so they have to make shit up for this show.

Cole’s solo

Kate: Somehow I am not surprised by his childhood. And his mom looks fab-u-lous.

Erica: Cool. Not as good as Chehon.

Kate: Well, who is?

Cyrus and Season 8’s Melanie: Jazz, “Badder Badder Schwing” by Freddy Fresh feat. Fatboy Slim, choreographed by Mandy Moore

Erica: Okay, first, much squealing about seeing Melanie. Gosh, she is just such a slice of delicious.

Kate: She is quite great.

Erica: And then, love the choreography. Super-fun and cute and memorable. And it’s okay with me if Nigel and Mary want to punch the air for a while.

Kate: Here’s where we differ, and I don’t mean anything against Mandy, but I did not like the choreography so much. It was TOO Fosse, like TOO much of that fist thing. I’d get it if there were just 2 or 3 fist things you know?

Erica: Eh, I think you’re wrong and it was super-fun. I liked it as much as I liked that Sara-Pasha number with the suspenders. The thing about Mandy Moore is that you could use her work to do a dissertation on the difference between cheesy-delicious and cheesy-awful. For me, this work fell squarely in the former category.

Erica: And then on to the Cyrus. You know, this was really very good from him.

Kate: He wasn’t sharp enough. But America loves him, and goddammit Nigel yes it IS about the best dancer!!!!!! WHICH IS CHEHON!!! (For the boys.)

Erica: I hated when Nigel asked him all condescending if he knows who Bob Fosse is and he looked all wide-eyed and said, “No,” and Nigel was all, “Study our history you fabulous innocent, you,” and I’m going, first, shut up, Nigel, and second, stop it, Cyrus. I don’t believe for a second that you’ve never heard of Bob Fosse.

Kate: Seconded.

Eliana solo

Kate: Weeee an actual BALLET solo!

Erica: Sick. Why is she here? Seriously?

Kate: I know, when she said she moved to NYC when she was 16 and she guesses it worked out because she’s here, I went “Um, how old are you?” and then “Um, I think you were doing pretty great before this show!”

Chehon and Season 3’s Anya: Tango, “Breathing Below Surface” by Jesse Cook, choreographed by Miriam and Leonardo?

Kate: How much did you squeel when they said “Chehon” “Anya” and “Tango”?

Erica: Mary Murphy says it’s great so it must be great. I did like it. It was softer and sweeter than I’m used to the tango being and I thought Chehon, you know, didn’t fuck it up in any way. And I almost believed he was straight!

Kate: Yes I thought it was good BUT I thought he was almost not in the right character mind frame for the tango, like not angry/aggressive enough, but then I realized it was not an angry/aggressive tango and it was actually kind of slow and soft, which is odd. So I think I just didn’t like the choreography much.

Erica: But camera! He’s great at spinning but if she’s on stage I need to be able to see her, too! You should make this as much like having the best seats in the house as possible! Stop randomly deciding on close-ups when there’s shit going on elsewhere!

Cyrus’s solo

Erica: The solo was great. Cyrus did what he does and he does it really well. But then Nigel had to throw out “ratchet”, a slang term he learned from Luther Brown up by that first hip-hop routine. No, Nigel. Don’t. I want to like your more “street” hip-hop choreographers but not if they’re going to inspire this nonsense in you.

Kate: See this did not impress me. This stuff never does. It’s not actual dancing/choreography, it’s just matching these weird intricate movements to a weird intricate song, which I know a lot of dancing does but it still just doesn’t get me the way Chehon’s and Eliana’s do.

Tiffany and Season 5’s Ade: Jazz, “The Power of Love” by Celine Dion, choreographed by (seriously, with that song choice, do I even need to tell you?) Mandy Moore

Kate: That was jazz? I’d call that lyrical. I’m starting to think that’s a term my school dance company made up, though.

Erica: Gosh, Ade has quite the set of guns there. I mean, he can just lift her up and toss her around.

Kate: She’s also approximately 85 pounds. I thought she was great in this.

Erica: Just lift her on her side while he’s lying down . . . or over his head . . . or around the side. Just a lot of strong, strong lifting there.

Kate: No, I’ve always liked him. But let’s hear how you feel about Tiffany now hmm?

Erica: Tiffany, to me, there’s nothing wrong with her dancing. She’s very good and strong and light and good lines and all that. But there’s nothing that’s really memorable, either. There’s no depth to her. I feel like, if I were a control-freaky choreographer, I would want to work with her, because she’d always do the dance exactly the way I showed her and do it really well. But I don’t get the feeling there are any surprises in her.

Kate: Well she’s definitely better than Witney and Lindsey combined — remember her hip-hop with George? So good! — but she definitely doesn’t have as much depth and emotion as Eliana. I agree with Mary Murphy that this was her best of the season.

Erica: Oh, and Cat made a comment about Tiffany not know she’s beautiful, like the One Direction song, and then Nigel made THE VERY SAME COMMENT FIVE SECONDS LATER LIKE CAT DIDN’T MAKE IT FIRST. Stop it, Nigel.

Results

Erica: I was surprised Witney was in the bottom and not Tiffany.

Kate: I was not.

Erica: I don’t know how or why people are connecting with Tiffany. But I’m not surprised they picked Witney over Lindsay. I was pleased and surprised to see Eliana safe.

Kate: Duh!

Erica: I was also not surprised to see Will go. It was the first week I liked him; of course it was his time to go.

Kate: Oh well, on to the next!

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SYTYCD Season 9 – Top Ten

Erica: Hey, I didn’t know they were bringing back the all-stars again! Woohoo! Sorry, Kate, I know you hate this.

Kate: I just don’t think it’s fair because the allstars are not in fact perfect — helLO they didn’t (all) win their seasons — so it’s not right to assume that person is perfect and the current contestant is the only one to be judged.

Erica: So the other night, Jason and I were watching “True Blood” and we were talking about all the fairly easy steps one could take if vampires were real and really out to destroy humanity, within the universe of that show. And in that show, silver is a big problem for vamps. So we thought, silver chain-mail outfits. All the time. Why wouldn’t you, honestly? So I guess Cat heard us.

Kate: This was unfortunately an actual improvement from her past, like, 3 outfits, but it’s still not up to par with other seasons. I mean, can someone get her a friggin belt? Or a FITTING for crying out loud?

The Group Dance

Erica: Ugh, I hated this. I think I hated it specifically because it was something that I should have liked – Gene Kelly-esque Broadway routine, set backstage, and featuring Eliana being her usual awesome Eliana self – and yet I hated it. It was all muddled and confusing and not really good for TV, with the swoopy, limited-scope cameras. And Tyce dancing. I mean, I get that he was filling in for Cole, but still. Don’t like him.

Kate: I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it, I thought it was a little too act-y in the beginning but good at the end when they were more all together. I haven’t been impressed with any group routines overall this season.

Tiffany and Season X’s Brandon: Disco, “You Make Me Feel” by Cobra Starship feat. Sabi, choreographed by (who else but) Doriana Sanchez

Erica: Ugh again. I am not a huge disco fan. Or a Doriana Sanchez fan. “This number is about fun, it’s about Studio 54, it’s got a ton of lifts!” Really, Doriana Sanchez? That could describe all of your disco numbers. Or, in fact, all of disco.

Kate: There was a bit too much sparkle going on for my taste but I think this is a great song to dance to and it, like, showed in their energy. And she did that super cool leg lift thing but then they followed it up by an awkward twirl-with-girl-above-head-grabbing-her-legs thing that didn’t really work.

Erica: It wasn’t great. Brandon was great partnering but un-outstanding otherwise and Tiffany was sloppy. Plenty of personality, and that one lift where she’s, like, upside-down in a split on his hip was pretty awesome, but overall, sloppy. More performance than technique.

Erica: And I hated the costumes.

Kate: I bet Zoe didn’t.

Witney and First Season Champion Nick: Jazz, “Sing it Back” by Moloko, choreographed by Travis Wall

Erica: So here’s the thing. I’m not the biggest Witney fan. She does that dewy-eyed-virgin-who-can-play-act-at-sexy thing that annoys me, and a lot of the time I think she’s pageant-y. For sure she’s super-talented, but I don’t have any emotional attachment to her. And I didn’t watch this show Season One, and Nick struck me as a douche in the rehearsal footage, so I have no emotional attachment to him, either. But this dance might be my favorite of the season. I was blown away. And I was blown away by the fact that I was blown away.

Kate: I was not expecting you to say that after that intro. I wasn’t quite as blown away, but let me tell you a little something about shoulder rolls: I think they’re the most awesome things ever. Apparently they are very easy for most intermediate to advanced dancers but they look very complicated to the naked eye; I have never been able to do one successfuly, and here Witney is shoulder rolling OFF OF HER PARTER. So jealous!

Erica: I know I hate when the judges do this but Travis? Seriously? I don’t even know what to call that. That was inventive choreography, my friend.

Kate: Well, Mr. Wall can do no wrong.

Erica: And Witney was a perfect blend of technique and performance although there’s still a surface-y quality to her, but damn it’s a good surface. And her chemistry with Nick was spot-on and, just, wow. Loved it.

Cole and Season 3’s Anya: Cha-cha, “Glad You Came” by The Wanted; choreographed by Season 2’s Dmitry Chaplin.

Erica: Now, they were pretty harsh on Cole here, but I have to say, most of the time, when they bring Anya on to dance with one of these 20-year-old kids, the kid ends up looking like a little boy being led around the stage by her awesomeness. Cole didn’t look like that. Did he look like a professional ballroom dancer? No. Did he perform to the audience more than to her, like Nigel said? Yeah, a little. But he did some cool tricks and his partnering wasn’t bad and hey, he was too sick to be in the group routine. So I thought he wasn’t bad.

Kate: He still scares me but I thought this showed a lovely other non-scary side of him, even if it was a bit awkward in the beginning, and I thought he kept up with Anya pretty well. (I didn’t know it was Anya until they started dancing, and I was oh that is so obviously Anya.)

Erica: Then again, I could watch Anya cha-cha all day long and not get bored.

Lindsey and Season 6’s Jakob: Broadway, “Dancin’ Dan (Me and My Shadow)” by Fosse (Original Broadway Cast), choreographed by Spencer Liff

Erica: Oy do I hate the cameras on this show. The first part of the dance is about them dancing in sync from opposite sides of a screen. So why couldn’t we see her for the first several seconds, camera?!

Kate: This was, in my humble opinion, musical theater at its finest. I was very impressed with her and I think it may have been her best routine yet.

Erica: I don’t really remember Jakob. I feel kind of bad about that. He’s excellent.

Kate: They were very in sync.

Erica: They both did well but I thought the dance was sort of forgettable.

Kate: Disagree!

Will and Season 6’s Katherine: Bollywood, “Ooh La La”  from The Dirty Picture soundtrack, choreographed by their Bollywood guy Nakul Dev Mahajan

Kate: This was the raunchiest, corniest, most hip-hop-iest Bollywood routine I’ve ever seen. I friggin loved it.

Erica: Sometimes Will looks to me like an audience member they just chose to go on stage and lucky for them, he can dance. This was one of those times. They keep talking about his personality being so appealing but he never comes across as a professional dancer to me. Then again, look how they were with Season 3’s Danny, who was Anya’s partner through the first half, and who was a professional ballet dancer (and who is also Travis Wall’s foster brother). He was very professional in demeanor – because he was already a professional dancer, I think with the American Ballet Company – and they were all, “We need more personality from you!” So I guess this sort of “Gee shucks thanks for letting me bounce around on stage with a sexy girl!” demeanor is what this show wants.

Kate: But for such a big bulky guy I thought he moved really well in this.

Erica: The routine was so fast, even Kathryn looked a little behind sometimes, but Will was really kind of sloppy. Also, camera! Stop moving! I can’t see!

Kate: Well then let’s focus on the real gem of the routine: Kathryn’s costume! Holy wow!

Cyrus and Season 3’s Jaime: Contemporary, “Outro” by M83, choreographed by Travis Wall

Erica: It annoys me that they’re still grading Cyrus on a curve. And it annoys me precisely because all the things they say about him are true. He’s got passion out the wazoo. He picks up on things super-quick. His performance and character work are spot-on. He’s strong and good at partnering. But he could be so much better if he just trained in more styles for a few more years.

Kate: Yes, I agree he is very passionate but he is NOT — I repeat NOT — the best dancer on this season of the show, and definitely not the best male dancer either.

Erica: I was also less impressed with this as a piece than I was with the first one. It was still very good – I like Travis Wall’s work a lot- but I wonder, if the costumes had been non-descript and the stage hadn’t been lit all orange, would I still know this was a post-apocaplyptic number? Other than the last few steps where he’s walking all brave and she’s clinging to his back? I guess that’s a nitpick.

Kate: I definitely think the ambiance and the song kind of helped push this routine along and made it much more dramatic, almost distracting us from their actual movements? Also, as happens lots of times, she seemed to be dancing more and he seemed to be just lifting more.

Erica: BTW, Jaime looks great. She’s gotten more beautiful since her own season.

Chehon and Season 3’s Lauren: Hip-Hop, “Pretty Wings” by Maxwell, choreographed by David Scott

Erica: Oh, good. “Lyrical” hip-hop.

Kate: So when NabbyTabs has babies, this is the hip-hop we have to deal with? Not pleased.

Erica: I just . . . I want hip-hop that hits, you know? That’s sharp and swagger-y and cool. If there is a difference between “lyrical” hip-hop like this and jazz, I do not know what it is. And I know I get on NappyTabs’ case all the time because I think they’re cheesy and very much not “street,” but on the other hand, their choreography is usually a lot of fun to watch. This was boring.

Kate: The difference is this was far-from-stellar choreography. When they said “Chehon” and “hip-hop” I visibly cringed and prayed that he wouldn’t be too too awkward.

Erica: Also, they make a big deal of hip-hop being so very challenging for a ballet dancer like Chehon, but if the moves are all flowy like this, it’s a lot less of a gap to bridge, no?

Kate: Well, no. He was still very very stiff for a hip-hop routine, you could tell he was all up in his center and straight spine and stuff and he should have been a little looser. I think he did not do badly, though, and I think it was shoddy, repetitive, boring choreography. And EW Lauren’s outfit!

Erica: I do have to say, “kick groove-hop” might be the first time Mary Murphy’s ever coined a useful phrase.

George and Season 2’s (and Twitch’s!) Allison: Broadway, “Bahamut” by Hazmat Modine, choreographed by Tasty Oreo

Erica: Oh, man. George is going to have to pretend to be a straight guy.

Kate: I am still so bitter that he is there over Dareaiaeian.

Erica: It’s actually his best character work so far. Which isn’t saying much. He’s a brilliant technician and a beautiful dancer, but honestly, and I say this with love, because you know I love him, his performance is usually weak.

Kate: I do not say this with love, because I do not love him at all, I want him gone. Of course the routine looked good as a whole because Allison was in it, but dear me I agreed with Nigel and I don’t think he is all that and a bag of chips.

Erica: I would so very much like it if I could never hear about Nigel’s sexual attraction to one of the dancers ever again.

Eliana and Season Never Really Happened’s Alex Wong: Jazz, “Bang Bang” by Nancy Sinatra, choreographed by Stacey Tookey

Kate: YES ANOTHER EXCUSE TO POST THE ALEX TWITCH HIPHOP!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLtSfYX8tJk

Erica: Okay, first, can we talk about Stacey Tookey’s hair? I know that’s always her hair, but it’s really cute and I kind of want it. But every time I cut my hair short I am sad I did so within about two weeks. But still. It is very cute.

Kate: Yes it is, but she’s blonde. She’s a different breed than us.

Erica: I really enjoyed how Stacey in the rehearsal footage was all, “Eliana, could you be a little bit less awesome for this number, please?” No, Stacey. No, she cannot. She is perfection.

Kate: Damn right she is! Best girl on the season, one of the best in the series’ history, hands down. She is radiant. WEEEEEEEEEEE ALEX!!

Erica: I had actually forgotten that Alex Wong was a contemporary (or possibly ballet) dancer because that hip-hop number with him and Twitch is so popular.

Kate: POSTING AGAIN: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLtSfYX8tJk

Erica: But he, like Eliana, can do anything and can do it amazingly. Witney and Nick’s number was still my favorite of the night, but this is a damn close second and Eliana is my favorite person in this competition. Eliana for the win!

Kate: Nope, this was my favorite of the night, one of my favorite of the season. Correction: Eliana and CHEHON for the win! (When can I see THEM dance together?)

Erica: Oh, and Zoe was sort of disturbed by this song, and the dance actually. She kept talking about how he had stepped on her and was trying to hurt her. But then she decided, based only on the strength of the world “baby” being in the song, that this was about a mommy and a daddy and the mommy has a baby in her belly and she’s going to take care of her baby.

Kate: Well, duh.

Audrey and Season 4’s Twitch: Hip-Hop, “Sincerely, Jane” by Janelle Monae, choreographed by David Scott.

Kate: So this was essentially the most perfect possible routine you could give a guy like Twitch: intricate hip-hop moves that involve a creepy weird character and a not-all-that-hip-hop song. This was essentially a horrible routine to give Audrey.

Erica: Meh. I find her annoying. I did not think she danced this well at all. I did not like the number even a little bit. Even Twitch, with all his awesome and all his personality, could not keep me interested in this number. Just meh to the whole thing.

Kate: Meh to YOU how can you say such things about Twitch! I thought he was awesome, because DUH HE’S TWITCH, but I agree she was a total lame-o. They were together, but the same moves looked so different on him than on her.

Solos

Kate: Tiffany has the longest torso ever, and I had quite a giggle over Will’s shirt. BUT I CAN’T BELIEVE PEOPLE IN THIS GODFORSAKEN COUNTRY VOTED CHEHON OF ALL PEOPLE INTO THE BOTTOM TWO GUYS! WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE LOT OF YOU!?!?!?

Erica: Oh, quit your kidding, Nigel. At an hour and a half into the show, you’re going to pretend the audience’s response dictates whether you see solos? Obviously we’re going to see solos. Witney’s was good for a ballroom solo, Audrey’s was boring, Chehon’s was amaze-balls and makes me hope we see him in a paso doble soon, and George’s was quite lovely but not as good as Chehon’s. So I wasn’t surprised to see him go home, although I was a little sad, and I was neither surprised nor sad to see Audrey go.

Kate: Please don’t ever say amaze-balls again. I was almost sick to my stomach thinking Chehon was going to be sent home but luckily the judges came to their senses, which the rest of America (who watches this show) is lacking.

One More Last Thing about Rape and Pregnancy

I’ve already said some things on Facebook about this comment by Rep. Todd Akin that women who are victims of “legitimate rape” don’t get pregnant because we have magic hormones or something. (One of the things I said was that while human women can’t do that, ducks totally can!) But I just want to point out one more thing .

Remember when I wrote, jokingly, I thought, about how people seem to think that a woman spontaneously produces a zygote from her own slutty sluttiness? I had no idea that so many pro-lifers actually thought that’s how it works.

I’m a Democrat. Duh. I’m a liberal, progressive, and occasionally a little bit of a socialist. Also, duh. But I don’t like it when things get too partisan. I don’t think Republicans or conservatives are necessarily dumb or evil because they disagree with me on what an ideal society looks like or how we should get there. I even appreciate that we need a bit of push-pull, a bit of “Let us give all our money to social programs!” “No, wait, let’s keep some for ourselves!” That’s fine, that’s good.

On the other hand. If you believe that human women can somehow prevent conception of a child because of their super-special hormones detecting the trauma of rape, you are, in fact, dumb. And if you believe that, therefore, if a woman is pregnant, her claim of rape is illegitimate and she’s just a lying, slutty whore who’s going to have to take the punishment of pregnancy that’s been wrought on her by her harlotry, you are, in fact, incredibly evil.

SYTYCD Season 9 – Top 14

Kate: Hold on, this is a total Mia Michaels episode?

Erica: The first thing I thought when they said it was going to be an all-Mia Michaels show, with the kids doing her best routines, was, “Shit. We are going to have to hyperlink everything.”

Kate: Hold on, this is a total Mia-Michaels-routines-that-they-have-already-done episode?

Erica: The second thing I thought was, “Is she okay?”

Kate: Did we ever find out exactly what happened to her? I mean, she definitely looks like she’s been through something rough.

Erica: My initial Google search indicated that she was not sick, or at least she was saying she was not sick, but a) I wasn’t very thorough, and b) I kind of don’t believe her. And this doing a retrospective thing is making me super-worried.

Cat’s Dress

Kate: Bah! Someone get the bird off her neck!

Erica: Kate! How can you say that? Zoe worked so hard to design that dress for Cat.

Kate: In other news, I can’t stand the braid trend. Did we all decide our preschool years were when we looked best, or something?

Erica: Kate, just because you were an ugly baby is no reason to shit all over someone else’s style. Also, my favorite thing tonight was when the (totally gorgeous) Ballet Boys (and how much do I love the English accent pronouncing “ballet”? A lot.) were all, “We’ve never seen the show!” and Nigel and Mia gave the stink eye but what are you going to do? Not everyone in the dance world is going to give a reality show on FOX in which American tweenagers are the judges a tongue bath. Suck it, Nigel.

The Group Routine

Kate: Hoping you’ll back me up on this one Er – I don’t like when props, costumes and “acting” – and KISSING! OMG SO MUCH KISSING! – get in the way of, you know, actual dancing. I didn’t like this at all.

Erica: I thought this was more of a performance than a dance but it was a damn cool performance (except for the kissing which was indeed excessive). But my favorite was when, later in the show, Nigel called it the Fifty Shades of Grey dance and Mia looked horrified. Because I was worried that might have served as inspiration, although I don’t remember a scene in that book with the kind of ropes you can use to fly off the stage like that, but her look clearly indicated that it had not.

Eliana and Cyrus: original performance by Katee and Twitch, “Mercy” by Duffy (The Door Routine)

Erica: I loved this routine with Katee and Twitch so much. I thought Cyrus and Eliana did a really good job with it.

Kate: I have surprised myself by thinking this, but I think Cyrus did a much better job than Eliana in this routine. He seemed to have more actual dancing, know what I’m saying? She was just kind of flipping around, which is disappointing; this routine did not enhance her ability.

Erica: I disagree. Eliana is so much shorter than Katee and I didn’t really realize how much that affects what the dance looks like, but she also definitely brought her personality to bear on the routine and I thought she did great.

Kate: The color of Mary Murphy’s dress is quite awesome, though.

Erica: Seconded.

Kate’s roommate: Why is there a number 6 thing on her dress?

Kate: I do not know, Roommate.

George and Tiffany: original performance by Katee and Joshua, “Hometown Glory” by Adele

Kate: This song was out that long ago? I guess Ian was right (we disagreed on this being her first popular single).

Erica: I loved Katee and Joshua so much as a couple. That pairing might be my favorite SYTYCD “moment” ever. And when they did that routine, the striking thing about it was how completely in sync they were. I mean, it was evident all the time, but especially in that routine, where the pair needs to be so very together but are rarely looking at each other, it was astonishing. They knew each other’s bodies. They knew where they other would be without having to think about it. It was like they were two arms controlled by the same brain. That sideways lift thing where the girl throws herself into the arms of the guy – Katee nailed that because she did it without seeming to have any concern or thought at all about whether Joshua would be where she expected him to be to catch her. Tiffany and George didn’t have that.

Kate: It’s a pretty amazing routine but it almost looks like they are doing a previously done routine; does that make sense? Like they are trying too hard. Watching the original for the purposes of this post gave me chills everywhere, so I don’t they came that close.

Erica: It’s not that they were bad. George brought fluidity where Joshua had hardness, for instance, which was different and not worse. Tiffany was not as good as Katee, though. She was trying to be pretty while being tortured and this dance needed her to just look tortured. And they lacked the epic togetherness. And the Ballet Boys agreed with me.

Amelia and Will: original performance by Evan and Randi, Koop Island Blues by Koop featuring Ane Brun (The Butt Dance)

Kate: Um, this is Awkward Turtle City.

Erica: Awkward Turtle?

Kate’s Roommate: She looks like a prostitute.

Kate: Once again, this is a routine that requires sex appeal, which she does not have.

Erica: Not for nothing, but Randi had sex appeal in the original. And she was a fully grown woman with, like, a husband and a kid and everything. So maybe if y’all want sexy dances you should select women with some level of ownership of their sexuality, instead of bright-eyed, willfully virginal little girls?

Kate: Neither of their movements are fluid or smooth. The originals also had way more chemistry with one another.

Erica: I thought they were better technicians, though.

Janelle and Dariean: original performance by Twitch and Kherington, Dreaming with a Broken Heart by John Mayer (The Bed Routine)

Kate: My my he is very bouncy, isn’t he?

Erica: I didn’t much like the original. So, you know. This didn’t change my mind. Twitch and Dariean are obviously very different dancers who brought different feeling to the dance. Janelle is, I think, objectively not as good as Kherington (and I wasn’t her biggest fan).

Kate: He’s got some great tricks in this but again it seems like the guy is dancing way more than the girl and she is just kind of flopping around looking tragic. Did Mia like re-choreograph some of these and make the guys just have more moves? I don’t get it.

Erica: Well, with this particular routine, the guy does have more moves. I mean, it sort of tells the story of a guy who’s broken-hearted because the girl he wants is not in the bed. So the girl he wants has to be not in the bed. But at the time of the original, I wondered if Mia was underwhelmed by Kherington and therefore deliberately not giving her much to do, and this pairing has not changed that speculation for me.

Audrey and Matt: original performance by Lacey and Neil, “Time” by Bruce Porter (The Dad Dance)

Erica: The first time around, I didn’t like it because how do you critique a dance about someone’s dad dying? This time, they did manage to critique it. So. You know. Progress.

Kate: Well, if there’s one routine you’re not supposed to f**k up it’s the dead dad one, eh Matthew? Nigel made him feel pretty terrible about that.

Erica: Yeah, my heart broke a little when I saw their faces during the critique. But, you know, this again might be an argument for seeking out slightly more mature dancers next season.

Kate: I didn’t like this routine anyway, the clip of the original didn’t look that great and these two didn’t do that great either. It’s just like the Melissa and Ade breast cancer routine – don’t give me that story before the dance and the QUIZ the poor dancer boy about the father whom the dance is about. If there is a sad message like that in the dance, I should GET IT from the ACTUAL DANCING.

Witney and Chehon: original performance by Travis and Heidi, “You” by Celine Dion (The Bench Routine)

Kate: This is one of the most, if not THE most, famous dances in the show’s history. I can’t believe they repeated this one.

Erica: Whereas I can’t believe, given how iconic it is, that they didn’t put it last.

Kate: I didn’t even watch the show until Season 6 and I feel like I’ve heard about this dance every other episode since.

Erica: I would bet that, for people who’ve never seen SYTYCD, this is the thing they know about it. That there was a bench dance.

Kate: But they did a pretty great job. I remain convinced that Chehon is one of the best male dancers I have ever seen – second only to Twitch ❤ – and I think this dance showed her talent and their talent together even more than the Whitney Houston routine last time.

Kate’s roommate: He just looks like such a man dancing.

Kate: He is a man.

Kate’s roommate: Not every guy looks that masculine dancing.

Erica: I thought they both did this really, really beautifully, except I totally noticed the same thing Mary Murphy noticed, that Chehon was danced a fall instead of falling. So go me.

Cole and Lindsey: original performance by Kayla and Kupono, “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles (The Addiction Dance)

Kate: This was much better than I expected it to be, especially when the music and choreography really picked up. But it was semi-awkward when he dragged his mouth up her leg, on account of him being semi-terrifying.

Erica: All I could think was, “I hope she’s not ticklish.” But Cole was really magnificent in this, and it was his character that was the most amazing. Very different from the way Kupono played it; Cole was cold to the point of robotic or flat but I mean that in a totally good way. The whole, you know, metaphor there is that the addiction does not care about you but it can control you anyway. Pretty thoughtful acting choice. And good dancing, too.

Results

Kate: Not at all surprised about the bottom 6.

Erica: I was surprised that George was in. Well, not surprised. Just disappointed.

Kate: I still hate solos, but here goes: Though Amelia chose to do hers to one of my favorite songs ever it was not great and did not show any skill.

Erica: Agreed, except I am tired of songs that sound like that.

Kate: Janelle’s belly dancing also didn’t show any real dancing talent.

Erica: I’ve even seen better belly dancing. On a workout video! But I still want to do belly dancing.

Kate: Lindsey’s was surprisingly boring but shoot I love that dress.

Erica: Ballroom solos are almost always boring. She’s got great legs, though.

Kate: George’s was completely unmemorable.

Erica: I disagree; I thought he was luminescent.

Kate: Dareian’s was AWESOME and I thought it was great that he was dancing to a MAN’S cover of “It’s a Man’s Man’s World.”

Erica: Yeah, he was good, too. But, Kate, “It’s a Man’s Man’s World” is originally James Brown. When girls do it, they’re covering. And for mysterious reasons, since it’s a pretty chauvinist song. Also, I hate that song. Not because it’s chauvinist. Just because I don’t like it.

Kate: Matthew Gosling was pretty good, too.

Erica: Actually, he looked pretty sloppy to me. Still reeling from not having honored Mia’s dad well enough.

Kate: Right before they chose which guy they were saving (and my roommate can confirm) I said, “If they save George I’m going to freak out.” Ugh.

Erica: I for one am glad they saved George. I still think he’s magnificent.

Ricki Cooking School, Chapter 5 – F*cking Awesome Chicken Skewers

I made these f*cking awesome chicken skewers Sunday. And then we made the rest of them tonight. Here they are:

And I feel terribly pleased with myself for them because I sort of made them up. I mean, I took a couple of different recipes and put them together. And they were f*cking awesome. I love them so much; this is my new go-to recipe (or base of a recipe) and here’s how I did it.

First I bought a shit-ton (actually way too many) boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Now, here’s the thing. Chicken thighs are a pain in the ass to cut up into skewer-able squares. If you want ease of cutting up, definitely go boneless, skinless chicken breast. But chicken thighs are a lot more delicious. They hold their moisture better.

So anyway, I found this recipe and pretty much used this marinade on the chicken. I dredged the chicken in salt, pepper, and Aleppo pepper (The recipe called for cayenne, but I found my Aleppo pepper first, so I used that). Then I made twice the honey-maple syrup sauce – 2/3 cup maple syrup (the good kind, the real kind, not the Aunt Jemima colored corn syrup), 1/2 cup Dijon mustard, a few good splashes of cider vinegar (2 tbsp would be double the recipe, but do I need to tell you I didn’t measure?), and a strong splash of soy sauce.

I marinated the cut-up chicken thighs for a few days. You don’t have to do it for a few days. What happened with me was, the barbecue was Sunday, but Jason had planned an awesome anniversary date that would be basically all day Saturday, and then staying overnight downtown, so I knew I couldn’t do this the night before or even the morning of the barbecue, so I did it Friday. But you could probably marinade overnight or even early in the morning.

Then, inspired by this recipe, I cut up some peaches and got some sage leaves and skewered them all up! I used about two peach pieces – I quartered the peaches, then cut that in half, so I’m talking large-bite-sized peach pieces (but the picture above has smaller pieces because it was made today and I had run out of peaches) – and four sage leaves per skewer. Obviously, that’s to taste, although sage is a strong flavor so go easy on the leaves. Then I poured the leftover marinade over the skewers and handed them to Jason, who grilled them up! And oh my God they were so f*cking awesome, you guys. I cannot recommend this enough.

Remember?

Who remembers that show on Nickolodeon, “Goosebumps,” based on R.L. Stine’s series for middle schoolers? Who remembers R.L. Stine? Myself, I was more of a Christopher Pike fan back in the day, but R.L. Stine was the more popular guy. Anyway, there was an episode of “Goosebumps” where this character is walking around his (her?) life not understanding why no one is interacting with him (except maybe this one girl who could see him? Or guy?) and then only at the end do you, the audience, and the character, realize that’s because s/he’s a ghost who died days ago in a car accident. And since The Sixth Sense and The Others hadn’t come out yet, this was a surprise ending. Now, despite the fact that I can’t even remember the gender of the ghost character, the plot has stuck with me, and sometimes when I’m driving I become suddenly convinced that I actually have just been in accident that I now don’t remember happening, and I’m a ghost, and I’m going to get home and find they’re sitting shiva for me and I won’t even know I’m dead. This doesn’t happen (only) when I actually do narrowly avoid an accident. Sometimes, this happens when all I’ve done is change lanes. It doesn’t help that I’m a really terrible driver. And I do recognize that this is nuts, and it’s not like I really believe I’m dead. But sometimes this thought does seize me.

I don’t know why I felt like sharing this with y’all today. I haven’t blogged in a little while, that’s all.

A Few Quick, Mostly Unrelated Things

1. Here’s the thing I really don’t understand about when Mitt insists that, you know, Steve Jobs did build Apple and Papa John did build Papa John’s, etc. Mitt ran Bain Capital. Even if he won’t acknowledge that roads were built not by him and government programs funded half of what he did with Bain and all the rest, he knows he has administrative staff, right? He knows he has janitors and an HR department (presumably) and an Accounts department and all that, right? And he knows he needs them in order for Bain Capital to be successful? And all companies need their staff and CEOs can’t be CEOs of shit without them? Right?

2. I know this is going to get me kicked out of the club, but please bear with me. I know that all of the anti-abortion bills being kicked around, in the U.S. Congress for D.C., and in various states, are very anti-woman, sometimes include provisions against hormonal contraception, and are not doing enough to protect the health of the mother. And even if all this weren’t going on, I’m still very much pro-choice, because it comes down to, you can’t legislate when life begins so you have to allow women/people and their doctors to decide when an abortion is called for. But. I don’t think that the people taking the position that abortion is not okay even in cases of rape are wrong on their own premises. If the premise is that life begins at conception and therefore abortion is murder, then you really can’t make an exception for rape. You can make an exception for the life/health of the mother, because you do have the right to kill in self-defense, but not for rape, because the fetus didn’t/isn’t raping you, so you don’t have the right to kill it.

I get that the person holding the position of, “I sincerely respect women and believe in feminism BUT I also believe that life begins at conception and therefore abortion is murder so as much as it pains me to think of a woman traumatized by rape having to also bear the child of her rapist, I can’t justify allowing for the murder of that child” is, like, a figment of my imagination. But if that person exists I respect them.

I think people who ARE pro-life but make exceptions for rape are holding one of two positions. The more respectable one to me is, “Look, abortion isn’t quite murder and a fetus isn’t quite a person and I don’t know really when life begins, but it’s morally problematic enough that I think it should be outlawed except in extreme circumstances.” And that’s okay. I still disagree, because I’m still pro-choice, and I still think that the question of when life begins is fuzzy and nebulous enough that you shouldn’t legislate it, but I can respect that person. The one I can’t respect is the one who is going, “Slutty whores who willingly have sex deserve whatever happens to them as a result, up to and including babies. But innocent virgins who were raped [because, let’s face it, most of the people who hold this position have a pretty narrow definition of ‘rape’, too] don’t have to bear the baby because they are not the ones who sinned.”

3. I’m thrilled about the new Obamacare provisions kicking into effect this week. But I want to reiterate: Contraception is not just women’s health care. It’s people’s health care. Gentlemen, do you want to have sex and not have babies? Then you need contraception, too. Just because the women are the ones who physically take the pill (or whatever), doesn’t mean that women are the only beneficiaries of the effects.

4. I know that maybe I’m only feeling this way because my main news source is Rachel Maddow and my more moderate, balanced news source is Jon Stewart, but I’m starting to get the feeling that Mitt Romney is secretly super-liberal and involved in some sort of conspiracy to ensure that Obama stays President. He can’t possibly be making all these dunderheaded mistakes and be seriously running for president, can he? Making all these shady comments about his non-released tax returns? Insulting the London Olympics AND Palestinians AND Mexicans? Being the stereotypical Clueless Rich Guy from some 1930s cartoon? This has to be some sort of performance art that’s not only going to allow Obama to win in a landslide, but to actually push through some of his most liberal programs because they’ll look so much better than whatever Romney is promoting this week? I mean, think about it. Mitt was for Romneycare, then when it became Obamacare, he hated it. He was for abortion, even raised money for Planned Parenthood, and now he hates it. He was pro-gay rights, now he hates that, too. But what if it’s all a scam? What if he still loves all those things and is doing his best to ensure that Obama is in a position to protect/promote those very things?

You want to check my eyes? Why?