SYTYCD Season X – The Top 14 Perform

Opening Group Routine – Contemporary: “Dimmon Kryper Sakta In” by District 73; choreo by Sonya Tayeh and Dmitri Chaplin

Kate: Sorry but… I didn’t really watch this part.

Erica: I had trouble with this because the cameras were SO SWOOPY and I couldn’t really get a sense of what was going on. I think I was also in a very snarky, cynical mood last night and liked almost nothing.

Cat’s Outfit

Kate: I HATE her hair, HATE her earrings – they make her look like she has no neck.

Erica: Why is her hair ever up? Her hair is so pretty!

Kate: And…I can’t even put into words how much I hate that dark shade of lipstick. It doesn’t look good on anyone.

Erica: The whole make-up look sort of clashed with the dress.

Kate: I do love the dress color and material, but it’s an awkward length and probably more appropriate for going to a wedding than hosting a reality competition show.

Erica: Yeah, I wanted to like the dress more than I actually did.

Bottom 6

Kate: Curtis is injured? Oh he’s out.

Erica: Yup.

Kate: I’m angry but not surprised that Makenzie is in the bottom for the third week in a row (right?). We all know Alexis is going home.

Erica: Yup. I continue not being surprised by Makenzie’s place in the bottom, not because she’s not good, because she’s spectacular, but because she doesn’t inspire any empathy. She’s too pretty, too sexy, too talented, too inaccessible despite pretending to have a crush on Paul. There’s no struggle there, so there’s no story and nothing to root for.

Alexis’s Solo: “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King

Kate: She has absolutely zero energy! What is she doing?!

Erica: I don’t know. She knows she’s done.

Jasmine’s Solo: “Endangered Species” by Diana Reeves

Kate: She really shouldn’t be in the bottom. But her hair looks much better like that!

Erica: She’s really, really pretty. I think I only began noticing this week.

Jenna & Tucker – Hip-hop: “Slight Work” by Wale feat. Big Sean; choreo by Luther Brown

Kate: Well…She tried.

Erica: This was laughably awful on all levels.

Kate: He has absolutely no hip-hop in him. His moves were way too pretty, despite giving a good effort on the hip-hop “personality”.

Erica: I have more swag than both of them.

Kate: There were also too many awkward non-choreography breaks, but I blame Luther for that.

Erica: Yeah, normally I like him very much but this was a bad song and bad choreography; there was too little for them to do.

Kate: HAH – did you see Anna Kendrick roll her eyes at Nigel!? (I LOVE that she is this week’s guest judge, by the way!)

Erica: OMG I need to fangirl swoon about Anna Kendrick a little. I mean, I love Pitch Perfect, obviously, but I’ve loved her since CampAnd now she’s going to be in Into the Woods, which is in my top five favorite musicals, maybe in my top three, although I’m nervous about the movie. The IMDB plot description right now reads, “A witch conspires to teach important lessons to various characters of popular children’s’ stories” and that’s not exactly what the stage musical is about and if that’s what the movie’s going to be about, it’s going to be worse than the musical by a lot. But she’s also going to be in the movie of The Last Five Years which I’ve only ever heard, not seen, but I LOVE it and it makes me sob uncontrollably and I can’t wait. Okay, I’m done.

Alexis & Nico – Contemporary: “Ashes” by The Bengsons; choreo by Sonya Tayeh

Kate: It’s not really fair that she got contemporary when she is in danger of going home because with contemporary you don’t have to do too much difficult choreography to actually look good. You know?

Erica: I still think she looks only okay, not great, and the performance was over-the-top. But that was also the choreo, which I thought was way too literal and obvious and annoying. I haven’t disliked a Sonja Tayeh routine in a long time, but I didn’t like this.

Kate: But…He is EXTREMELY talented. I’d like to see him and Tucker dance together, actually.

Erica: Yeah. I do like him quite a bit more than I like her.

Hayley & Not-Curtis – Argentinian Tango: “Este Es El Rey” by Juan D’Arienzo; choreo by Leonardo & Miriam

Kate: Some more unfairness is going on here, because she got to dance with THE CHOREOGRAPHER!

Erica: Yeah . . . but she still had to work.

Kate: Unfairness aside, she was phenomenal. She had the perfect pace and gave very effective dramatic pauses. She might be giving Makenzie a run for her money.

Erica: I actually thought this was slightly less good than her samba, but she really hit it. But she’s still my favorite girl.

Makenzie & Paul – Jazz: “You’ll Find A Way” by Santigold; choreo by Sonya Tayeh

Kate: Paul kind of looks like a Latin Joseph Gordon Levitt?

Erica: TOTALLY! Thank you.

Kate: Well he keeps getting better and better week over week. And, man can she point a toe!

Erica: And be sexy.

Kate: They both had great body rolls throughout.

Jasmine & Aaron – Contemporary: “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” by Birdy; choreo by Justin Giles

Kate: Oh no! The Giving Tree always makes you cry!

Erica: No, no, no, I’m GLAD we’re bringing to light what an F’ED UP book that is.

Kate: I thought this was good but too literal. I honestly feel choreographers and dancers should be able to show us “giving tree” without her dressed in green and holding an apple.

Erica: Well, in a night of lots of literalness, this didn’t bother me so much, because the apple was doing something, although that dress kind of looked awful on her beautiful self.

Kate: Also, he looks like a guido from our high school straight out of 2003 in those awful capris.

Erica: He kind of always does.

Kate: Oh good, another lesson from Nigel!

Erica: Seriously. Nigel. Every child in the English-speaking world knows the damn story. Also, it’s about unconditional love but it’s also about EXTREME CO-DEPENDENCY and illness and I thought the dance actually showed that pretty well. Not perfectly, but pretty well.

Amy & Fik-Shun – Hip-hop: “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye; choreo by Chris Scott

Kate: Oh man, I can’t believe she fell. But I can believe it because I just KNEW something bad would happen when he poured too much water from the pitcher onto the table which then got onto the check portfolio things which then dripped onto the chairs/floor.

Erica: Yeah.

Kate: Anyway, I feel like this is exactly something actual Fik-Shun would do to actual Amy in real life.

Erica: They are all adorable, all the time.

Kate: And I don’t like how Nigel said he’s sick of them playing the same characters – that’s not their fault at all! Mr. Scott, and other choreographers, should know they can do much more with them in terms of characters.

Erica: Also, SYTYCD, please – chyron your choreographers. And give them some space on your web page. I know you don’t want to acknowledge the paid professionals that make your otherwise cheap-to-produce reality show a hit, because then you might have to pay them, like, more, but seriously. Make this the tiniest bit easier for us.

Kate: They used to do it though, I don’t know why they stopped and replaced them with hashtags. #Socialmediaistakingover

Malece & Alan – Salsa: “Pa Los Rumberos” by Tito Puente and his Orchestra; choreo by Jonathan Platero

Kate: She is better at hip-hop than Latin ballroom.

Erica: Yeah. But honestly, she didn’t do too badly here.

Kate: I’m sorry but she looked way too awkward and shaky and uncomfortable shimmying and swaying her hips.

Erica: Yes, she can’t do sexy very well. Last year, I said that Witney struck me as someone who didn’t really feel “sexy” but could perform “sexy” like a very, very good mimic. Malece also gave off the feel of a mimic, but she’s not as good at it as Witney. But she can do lifts and stuff.

Kate: He continues to completely creep me out.

Mini Group #1 (Makenzie, Alan, Nico, Hayley, Malece, Jenna, not Curtis) – Broadway: “Come Together” by Joe Cocker (Across the Universe soundtrack); choreo by Spencer Liff

Kate: This is not a song I picture hearing at bar and wanting to break into dance, but the dance was awesome.

Erica: I was trying to remember if Across the Universe came to Broadway, and if not, why do we keep choreographing Broadway dances to non-Broadway tunes when there are so many good ones? But yeah, I thought the dance was fantastic.

Kate: I loveeee the costumes and hair. But it doesn’t seem fair (that seems to be my theme today) that all the best girls were in one routine?

Erica: I think I like Jasmine more than I like either Hayley or Jenna. And Amy is probably better than all of them.

Mini Group #2 (Alexis, Fik-Shun, Tucker, Amy, Aaron, Jasmine, Paul) – Contemporary: “Tears of an Angel” by Ryandan; choreo by Bonnie Story

Kate: I’m so tired of hearing about this topic, as if bullying was just invented this decade.

Erica: I thought she said “bowling” at first. I’m like, we’re going to have a traumatic routine about . . . bowling? But yeah, I don’t like the way the word, which is really so general, gets flown around, context-free, and so self-righteously. “I’m against bullying. And mean people. And frowns. But I love nice people and puppies and rainbows!” Well, good for you, sugar.

Kate: It was a beautiful dance without the “social conscience” crap. And excuse me miss new choreographer, just because I personally specifically don’t actively prevent bullying, I am part of the problem? I don’t think so. What a loony tune.

Erica: Well . . . yeah, if you see bullying happening around you, and you don’t do anything, you are kind of part of the problem. I mean, no one expects you to don a cape and go flying through the night, rooting out bullies in their lairs, but one of the things that one can say about “bullying” that is actually useful is that when there are social consequences for the bully, rather than social rewards, bullies tend to bully less. So be someone who makes consequences for the bully or at least does not reward them. But I still agree that the choreographer was a loony tune.

Kate: But she made it seem like even if I don’t see it going on around me but I still do nothing about it I am part of the problem. I’m twenty-freaking-five years old, I don’t see bullying!!

Elimination

Kate: Wow, that was more quick and to the point than usual.

Erica: Love it. Want that level of conversation all the time. “You two? Gone.” No more of this, “Let me talk to each of you individually and then do the ‘if you stay’ routine when you already know if that person is going to stay!”

Kate: Totally! But we are not surprised by the judges’ decisions one bit.

Erica: No.

Kate: I know they have a new baby and all, but next we can we get at least ONE NappyTabs routine!?

Erica: Maybe they could use the baby as a prop!

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SYTYCD X – The Top 16 Perform

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Group Number: “New World” by The Irrepressibles; choreo by Stacey Tookey and Peter Chu

Erica: So at first I thought this was another Sonja, what with the dystopian-ness and the flexed feet and sharp movements. Then it started to seem to Sonja-ish to be Sonja, so I’ve decided it’s Stacey Tookey trying her hand at something Sonja-ish.

Kate: I don’t know if it was Fox or my TV, but the sound was not on for the first half of this dance. Therefore, I don’t feel I got the full effect of it. It seemed nice, though.

Erica: I liked it very much. I thought it was really cool and really showed how talented this cast is. The dress flying off of Jasmine (no H anymore) really was a little cheesy, though.

Cat Deeley’s Outfit

Erica: This is a much more cas, Cali look, no?

Kate: This is my favorite outfit of hers so far this season. Like, I wouldn’t wear it, but I love it on her.

Erica: I thought her eye makeup looked overdone but her hair looked cute. As did Mary Murphy’s, though I like her better as a brunette.

Kate: No I liked her eye makeup a lot. And that is essentially how I want my hair to look every day, only in my color.

Erica: Carly Rae Jepsen proved to be exactly the kind of judge I expected her to be.

Kate: UGH! She was completely useless. No one knew why she was there.

Erica: Anyway, congrats on all the Emmy nods, dudes! Keep up the good work!

Kate: *Applause*

Erica: So, this week, Makenzie, Mariah and Jenna were the bottom three girls, and Curtis, BluPrint, and Alan were the bottom three boys. I am sad but not surprised to see Makenzie up there – because, like I said, not a lot of straight boys vote.

Kate: But she is so talented!

Erica: She is. But she is too beautiful and too aware of her own beauty to get teenage girls to vote for her.

Kate: Yeah, she might go home soon. Which is a shame.

Erica: So they apparently decided that a) calling it “dancing for your life” is f-ing stupid, so yay! and b) Jenna doesn’t have to do a solo because they saw solo last time. But Mariah also did a solo last time. So I don’t know. But then Cat seems to indicate that that means she’s safe from elimination, which wasn’t clear to me, really, but seems to play out in the end.

Kate: They MUST read this blog and make decisions immediately after. However, it made me mad that Jenna didn’t have to do a solo again.

Makenzie’s Solo: “Claire de Lune” by Laura Sullivan

Erica: She’s a beautiful girl who dances beautifully and keeps such a tight rein on her emotions, if she ever gets as famous as she wants to be, she’s going to be hell on wheels. I think I’ll make the thirty-year-old version of her a character in a romance novel some day.

Kate: I love this song!

Alan’s Solo: “Return of the King” by X-Ray Dog

Erica: Now, that’s a ballroom solo.

Kate: Now, that is CREEPY TO THE MAX!

Erica: He had performance, he had character, he had an actual dance. I wonder if it’s easier for men to do a ballroom solo than women because women are kind of props in the dance and depend a lot on lifts and such. Whereas men can just bring a cape and it’s like, same diff.

Kate: But, ew, I hated this. And I really don’t like him. Not only does he not connect to the audience at all, he creeps us out!

Erica: You just don’t like paso doble.

Curtis’s Solo: “Used To Love U” by John Legend

Erica: Fine.

Kate: Fine?! I really liked this! And I still really like him!

Erica: By “fine” I didn’t mean I hate it. I just meant that I don’t have anything interesting or humorous to say about it.

Mariah’s Solo: “Set It Off” by Kardinal Offishall feat. The Clipse

Erica: I liked this one slightly better than last week’s, as it seemed to be a little bit more of a dance than a series of poses, but not by much. And what was that spin in the beginning? Do crumpers frequently spin? Or was she just trying to show that she can do something different?

Kate: See I didn’t like this much. Although I like her and think she has great potential, she also sort of annoys me for acting too gangster. You know?

BluPrint’s Solo: “Illusion of Choice” by Gramatik

Erica: I feel like this song title should be the name of Jonathan Franzen’s next novel.

Kate: I don’t know who that is. BluPrint adequately displayed his talent in this piece, but he has yet to make more than two facial expressions on this show.

Erica: What do you mean, you don’t know who Jonathan Franzen is?

Alexis & Nico – Jive: “Mayhem” by Imelda May; choreo by Tony Meredith & Melanie LaPatin

Erica: So this week the kids are telling us a little something about themselves (they think) we don’t already know. And Alexis won Olympic medals? In . . . dance? They have dance in the Olympics?

Kate: Oh I thought she said figure skating?

Erica: Oh. Did she? I thought the choreography was great but they didn’t bring quite enough fun and the lifts looked super-labored. And then that lift that Mary pointed out, that you’re usually dropping the girl down, not rolling her up, didn’t the stunt people do something more complicated than that in rehearsal? It looked really unfinished.

Kate: I did not like this choreography at all, and they did a fairly horrible job at it. Very awkward connections and a serious lack of rhythm, I thought.

Erica: Loved the song, though.

Jenna & Tucker – Contemporary: “Hangin’ by a Thread” by Jann Arden; choreo by Travis Wall

Kate: When I saw the performance start and the song name/artist pop up on the bottom of the screen I thought, ‘Hm. That sounds familiar. It’s probably one of those sappy songs from one of those sappy shows I like. Like… Grey’s Anatomy. Or One Tree Hill. Or Dawson’s Creek…OH MY GOD THIS IS A SONG FROM AN EPISODE OF DAWSON’S CREEK!’

Erica: I kind of want to hate-watch Dawson’s Creek again with you. So Travis does this occasionally, where he’ll choose a concept and then use a song and do a staging bit that’s REALLY OBVIOUS and REALLY LITERAL and I’ll roll my eyes and be all cynical and then the dancers will start dancing and I will stop because oh my God. This is one of those times.

Kate: Yeah, well, a) he’s Travis, b) he has two great – if slightly annoying/boring – dancers to work with. BUT. I think they could have taken this concept and ran with it WITHOUT the red string things! They annoyed me thoroughly throughout the performance.

Erica: I do have to say, though, as a Jewish mother – they only got to practice with those straps today? Is that safe? Really? Because that doesn’t seem safe to me. Even if they weren’t actually supporting much weight.

Kate: They were leaning on them too much, literally and figuratively. It was a beautiful piece, but it truly did not need the prop.

Erica: Also, Jenna – you look EXACTLY like the kind of girl who bakes cupcakes.

Mariah & BluPrint – Jazz: “Fall Into the Sky” by Zedd & Lucky Date feat. Ellie Goulding; choreo by Brian Friedman

Erica: So I recognize Brian Friedman but only barely. He did this and this and this. (BTW, found some of those with the help of this site. Awesome, obsessive job, guys.) It appears his jazz, or contemporary, or whatever they call it that season, is always flavored by a lot of hip-hop. So you’d think Mariah and BluPrint could handle it!

Kate: I am currently reading the Percy Jackson series, so I got all psyched when they said “This dance is about a Greek goddess falling in love with a mortal man”. I was like, “Weeeeeeeee! Which goddess did they pick!? Aphrodite? Athena? Oh those silly gods always falling in love with mortals and producing half-god children! What a world!” And then they did that.

Erica: You know, right away when the judges started talking, it was like, if you didn’t know it already, they did. This was this couple’s swan song. All the judge’s comments were slightly modified versions of, “Thanks for playing!”

Kate: But it wasn’t just awful dancing, it was an AWFUL (and very non-Greek-goddess, might I add) song, it was NOT jazz, and the whole thing just felt so so wrong.

Erica: I know; I was so jazzed for the concept and then it was just terrible. And I loved it when Nigel was like, “Do you guys research the history of every style we give you?” A) Nigel, how much time are you giving them with an Internet hook-up, and B) What would they research when “jazz” can mean anything from “pretty much Broadway but we didn’t use a showtune” to “pretty much hip-hop”? In other words, blow it out your butt.

Kate: THAT WASN’T JAZZ!

Malece & Alan – Hip-hop: “Bass Line” by Chris Brown; choreo by Dave Scott

Erica: Oh, are we using Chris Brown songs? Chris Brown songs in which he brags about how little he cares about our disapproval of him? Can I register my “Don’t do that” right now?

Kate: Oh, this made me so very uncomfortable.

Erica: So Malece? AWESOME. Just unbelievable. Damn, girl. I don’t even know. And the outfit was pretty cool.

Kate: So Malece? Did a GREAT job as a tiny little white ballerina doing hip-hop. She did! I’m not saying she didn’t! But it was hard to pay attention to her because I was just wincing at Alan the whole time. Also, I don’t like using certain types of rap and/or hip-hop songs for hip-hop choreography. Just because it’s categorized as rap or hip-hop doesn’t mean it makes a good dancing song.

Erica: His outfit? Well, he got the diaper pants. Memo to hip-hop choreographers/costume people – diaper pants? Not the new Hammer pants. Not the new saggy jeans. Simply a mistake. Even the judges all talked about how much they hated them. But you know what? He wasn’t great, but he was kind of better than BluPrint.

Kate: …No.

Erica: Oh, listen. Nigel is explaining about how to use urban slang! Tell us more about “swag,” please, Grandpa Nigel!

Hayley & Curtis – Contemporary: “Don’t Let Go Yet” by David J. Roth; choreo by Dee Caspary

Erica: First of all, FOX, would it kill you to chyron the choreographers like you used to? It took me WAY too long to find Dee Caspary’s name. (I eventually got it from these guys. Thanks, you guys!) So here’s some other stuff he’s done. I like him.

Kate: Poor Curtis.

Erica: I liked this a lot, and Hayley really impressed me for the first time. But again, my Jewish mother came out. How long did they have to practice with the ladder? And it was wobbly? You know, godforbid a dancer should fall and hurt him/herself and then actually have the balls to sue you guys.

Kate: It did look quite wobbly, and yes it was good but, again, I do not think we needed the prop. Can’t we create the illusion of this height and flying with nice leaps and turns and general flailing around?

Erica: They were pretty harsh on Curtis. If he doesn’t get the votes next week, he’s gone.

Kate: I know, which is a shame, because he has real potential. I didn’t even NOTICE that shoulder thing and it seems to have ruined Nigel’s life.

Erica: AND THEN WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO HIS BURGEONING RELATIONSHIP WITH HAYLEY?! OMG YOU GUYS THEY WENT ON A DATE! SUSHI! HE PAID AND EVERYTHING! THE FACT THAT HAYLEY IS IMPRESSED WITH THIS IS A CLEAR SIGN THAT SHE LUUUUUUVS HIM.

Kate: I know, I can’t believe Cat asked that question before the judges were even done judging!

Erica: Seriously, it was pretty adorable that Cat brought it up (although I am willing to accept the possibility that she is also drunk or high – her eyes were looking pretty red tonight. Although maybe that’s the eye make-up.) and that the judges got so interested. I was amused.

Kate: ‘Twas cute.

Amy & Fik-shun – Jazz: “Under the Bridge” from the Triplets of Belleville soundtrack; choreo by Tasty Oreo

Erica: Do they keep getting lucky every week or are they that good?

Kate: THEY ARE THAT GOOD! I LOVED THIS!

Erica: I thought the judges were a little overly nuts about it, but I did really like it. And I was getting tired. I didn’t start watching until after nine o’clock; I was dying my hair tonight.

Kate: I think it’s because everything else throughout the night was so surprisingly subpar, but this really wowed me, especially after I’ve been saying I don’t like the Broadway dances anymore. They were so in sync with each other and the music, had great facials and very sharp movements and really understood what they were doing up there. They may not be the two best dancers separately, but they are, in my humble opinion, the best couple.

Erica: But seriously, folks. I know that we are all excited about the royal baby. I know. But His Highness (is he His Highness yet? I know he’s already got some title or another, even if he doesn’t have a name) does not need to be brought into every conversation. He simply does not. And he most certainly will not be christened Fik-Shun, no matter how delightful the dancing was tonight.

Kate: I don’t know, Will and Kate are pretty progressive.

Makenzie & Paul – Hip-hop: “Pretty Lil’ Heart” by Robn Thicke feat Li’l Wayne; choreo by Dave Scott

Erica: So Cat announced that, after the break, we’d be seeing a hip-hop routine from Makenzie and Paul. Who were all done up ’20s style. And we’d been promised a quickstep earlier in the show. So I’m going, Is Cat REALLY high? They’re obviously dressed for a quickstep, not hip-hop. But no. It was hip-hop. ‘2os (Not ’30s; Nigel was right, Dave.) style. And you know what? It was pretty damn cool.

Kate: Hah, I didn’t even notice that. But I thought this was cool, this is the type of “hip-hop” routine you want to get when you are someone like Makenzie or Malece. And, um, hel-LO Paul! 😉

Erica: I am just going to go ahead and refuse to believe their pretense of a showmance, though. I mean, if Paul is straight, then I’m sure he’s attracted to Makenzie. But I don’t believe Makenzie allows herself to feel such plebeian things as “attraction,” unless she can use it to further her career.

Kate: I know they were all oohing and ahing over her sexiness, and she is fabulous, but I thought he really came into his own in this piece. He’s been fairly unnoticeable because of his stellar partner, but he really strut his stuff in this one and impressed me.

Jasmine & Aaron – The Dreaded Quickstep: “Pencil Full of Lead” by Paolo Nutini; choreo by Tony Meredith & Melanie LaPatin

Erica: So I totally noticed that his posture wasn’t perfect and their steps weren’t quick and sharp enough. But damn does she have legs.

Kate: Yeah, I can’t believe the judge/audience reaction to this, as I sort of hated it.

Erica: She also seems like, of all the contestants, the one I would most want to, like, have lunch with. She seems like a cool person.

Kate: Well who in their right mind put her in that kind of costume for a QUICKSTEP routine? It completely covered up her marvelous legs and kept getting in the way of all the quick stepping!!!!

Eliminations

Erica: Okay, so, no surprises here; Mariah and BluPrint were sent home. And Mariah was pretty weepy about it.

Kate: Yeah, I was wincing again. I wish Alan had been the one sent home, but I’m not going to cry about it.

Erica: And next week, I’m sure we’ll be saying good bye to Curtis (or maybe Alan, who knows?) and God willing Alexis? They seem determined to keep Jenna (and she deserves it this week) and I’d hate to see any of the other girls go just yet.

Kate: Fine.

Parenting Philosophies

I saw this the other day and I started thinking about my parenting “philosophy.” I do try to “calm the fuck down” about most things. I also have read, you know, Alfie Kohn, and Becoming the Parent You Want to Be, and How to Talk so Kids Will Listen, and all those people, and I try, I really do, to parent the way I want to parent, a way I’ll feel proud of when she’s 16 or 21 or 30 or whatever.

I try to think long-term. I try not to focus on whether or not she’s learning her alphabet on schedule or jumping up and down on one foot on schedule (for those of you who are not parents – yes, that’s an actual thing). I try to focus on whether she’s developing a lifelong love of learning, and developing a body she’ll be able to use and enjoy using for her life. 

I try not to encourage in her personality traits that will make her childhood easy for me – such as obedience – and instead encourage her to feel what she’s feeling, do what she wants within reasonable limits, and question things, even me. 

I try not to say no unless I have to, and when I do, I try to give a reason. Not because she’s owed one, exactly, but because I am not trying to teach her “Do what your mother says”; I’m trying to teach her “Think about what you do before you do it; think about the consequences of your actions. Here’s how.”

Because I’m trying to let her do what she wants within reason, I am constantly monitoring her abilities, her feelings, her physical and emotional ability to handle things. And when she can’t handle things, I try to work with her, not just to comfort her, but to help her figure out how to handle things.

We didn’t exactly subscribe to all of attachment parenting’s doctrines, but I did breastfeed for 106 fucking weeks, and wear Zoe in a Baby Bjorn until she was absolutely too heavy, which, as many of you know, took a while, because she’s teeny. And she did share our bed until . . . oh, yesterday. 

I am trying to be the perfect authoritative balance between “I unilaterally restrict everything!” authoritarianism and “I unilaterally allow everything” permissivism. I try to allow her to have her feelings while also teaching her to be strong. I try to make her feel loved and looked after without helicoptering. 

I am fucking exhausted.

 

SYTYCD Season X – The Top 18 Perform

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Opening Number – Choreo by Sonya Tayeh and Christopher Scott; “Pretty Face (Nathan Lanier Remix)” by Soley

Kate: Now this is an opening number I can get behind. The flailing, the long movements, the tortured faces, the tortured music – wow.

Erica: I really very much loved this routine and thought everyone brought their best to it. Oddly, I did sort of notice Jade was missing. I first noted that Jasmine H. and Aaron were dancing together and thought, “Hey, they kept the couples together,” but then I looked over and Malece was dancing with not-Jade, and I said, “Oh, I guess not.”

Kate: What a dream team of choreographers, eh?

Erica: So here’s what happened in my head during this number: “They’re in white and there’s a big set piece. Mia Michaels?” “Oh wait, no, flexed feet and sharp movements and throwing themselves into a volcano, it’s Sonya!” “But the animators are animating; Sonya doesn’t usually do that. Christopher Scott? But no way, nothing about the rest of this is Christopher Scott. But he’s pretty versatile so . . .” And then it was Sonya Tayeh AND Christopher Scott and I got to feel sort of smart.

Cat Deeley’s outfit

Kate: Finally!

Erica: I think she looks fab tonight. Simple works on her. And her hair has never looked better.

Kate: Can’t go wrong with an LBD and long flippy blond hair. Speaking of which, Erin Andrews is totes Cat Deely’s hair twin.

Erica: She wishes.

Kate: And I want her bracelets.

Erica: I am having a visceral and instant haaaate for Erin Andrews. I’ve got that song from Wicked running through my head. “Loathing/There’s such strange exhilaration/in such total detestation./It’s so pure, so strong!” I don’t even really understand what she is, and yet, haaaaate.

Kate: So I think they read our blog post and, like, a million angry tweets about the elimination format, and then changed their minds about it. Either way, we’re taking partial credit.

Erica: I’m taking full credit. Me and Cat are secretly BFF and she listens to everything I tell her. So, okay, Jade is out due to injury, so neither Curtis nor BluPrint is in trouble this week, although they are obviously gunning for BluPrint. The girls in the bottom are Jasmine M., Alexis, and Jenna. To which I say, I could lose either of two of those girls without crying. I really don’t like Alexis much at all, and Jenna is only meh to me.

Kate: Kate: All 3 girls are meh to me.

Erica: So now we watch the solos.

Alexis – Tap; “Try a Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding

Erica: Okay, I don’t like her much. But this was pretty f-ing impressive.

Kate: No, it wasn’t. Great song, overpowered by stupid tap noises.

Erica: Also, I still ❤ when the dancers do movement to the now-non-existent “dance dance dance” echo.

Jasmine M. – Contemporary; “10 Seconds” by Jazmine Sullivan

Erica: Man. I love her, but this was . . . less than awesome. But I am not worried! She is amazing! That tango last week was to die! She will be fine!

Kate: There is just absolutely nothing special about her, I’m sorry.

Jenna – Ballroom; “Wild” by Jessie J. feat. Big Sean

Erica: The audience is going nuts here and I don’t really get it. She’s got attitude, sure, but the solo is a completely unremarkable and boring ballroom solo and her hips just don’t do what Latin ballroom hips are supposed to do.

Kate: This song made me feel like she was the most annoying Jersey guidette at a Dunkin Donuts down the shore talking loudly on her cell phone. In other words, I hated the whole thing.

Erica: Okay, on to the actual show.

Amy & Fik-Shun – Paso Doble; choreo by Jean-Marc Genereux, “Tactical Dominance (Orchestra Hybrid Version)” by Jack Trammel

Kate: Ugh the dreaded passodoblay.

Erica: I like paso. Sometimes.

Kate: I am still reeling from how much I loved their hip-hop last week, and I think I did an admirable job at this, I just hate this style.

Erica: I have to say, she really is f-ing awesome. For whatever reason she hasn’t quite gotten to my heart but she’s a spectacular dancer, a great performer, and she seems like a genuinely pleasant and cheerful person. And she did great here.

Kate: Yes, I want them both to go as far as possible.

Erica: He looked profoundly uncomfortable with the whole thing, I thought. But the judges are just going to tongue-bathe him all season until, even though I think he’s pretty good, I’ll loathe him. Also, I know that I should be very much in favor of the way paso choreographers for the last few seasons have been playing with the gender expectations of the paso doble, but . . . I miss the swirly skirts.

Janine H. & Aaron – Broadway; choreo by Spencer Liff, “They Just Keep Moving the Line” by the cast of “Smash,” feat. Megan Hilty

Erica: Once I heard the song, I just kept thinking about how sad I am that “Smash” ended up being really not very good, and how much I want Megan Hilty back on my TV screen, and how it would be nice if HBO would attempt a musical TV show, not just because they could do it right, but because HBO would probably let us see Megan Hilty’s boobs, and I kind of forgot to watch the dance.

Kate: Ugh, Broadway again. I really am starting to hate this style, amazingly so.

Erica: I just think Spencer Liff is not a very inspired choreographer. Tyce has his moments, but I’ve been liking his contemporary pieces way more than his Broadway numbers. So they just kind of don’t have a good choreographer to represent Broadway.

Kate: I continue to believe Aaron is not in fact that graceful, and his size inhibits him.

Erica: I have no opinion on him one way or another.

Kate: She does have the spectacular legs and they look nice together, but I do not think he is good enough to stay in this competition. I can’t comprehend what the judges saw that made them think this was quality Broadway – he needed to be way more in character, especially doing the little nothing movements like walking around and hand gesturing.

Erica: Okay. She’s spectacular, though. I grow more and more impressed with her every week. Just one thing – what cheap-ass bargain bin did they pull her costume from? Ugh.

Makenzie & Paul – Contemporary; choreo by newbie Lindsay Nelco, “No Day But Today” by Idina Menzel, Live from Soundstage

Erica: The new girl looks too young to be choreographing. Shouldn’t she still be dancing?

Kate: UUUUUUUMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!

Erica: Not quite there with you.

Kate: Phenomenal! First of all, this song. Second of all, this version of this song. Holy smokes.

Erica: Agreed.

Kate: THIRD of all, Makenzie! Is there anything this girl can’t do? She blows me away.

Erica: She is amazing. She is still suffering from a little show-biz sociopathy, but good lord, she can dance.

Kate: And see how Paul had the facials and the dramatics even while he was just walking around? That’s what Aaron should have had.

Erica: I cannot fault the dancing at all.

Kate: Nor should you.

Erica: I am just not in the mood to watch two ultra-able-bodied 18-year-olds enact terminal illness. Not. in. the. fucking. mood.

Kate: I know, I purposely ignored/didn’t mention the disease theme.

Erica: Remember Melissa and Ade in their cancer dance? I mean, I hate when the show does this tearjerking bullshit anyway, but at least Tyce D’Orio made the effort to use their incredibly abled bodies to enact illness in a beautiful way.  And Melissa and Ade had the maturity to pull it off credibly. Still hated it. But hate this way more. But yes, Makenzie and Paul are amazingly, beautifully talented and it is not at all their fault that they are eighteen and that they were being choreographed by a twenty-year-old.

Jasmine M. & Alan – Jazz; choreo by Sean Cheesman, “Veins” by Charlotte Martin

Kate: I keep forgetting who these two are/that they are in the competition at all.

Erica: I have really liked both of them.

Kate: Also, this choreography was so not Cheesman, in that I actually liked it. A lot. Fun theme.

Erica: Agreed! First time I’ve liked – and I really liked it! – a Sean Cheesman routine. Maybe it’s because his pecs were covered in the rehearsal footage. I wasn’t scared this time.

Kate: But there’s a reason these two aren’t memorable. Nothing stands out about them.

Erica: The judges were right, they needed to embrace the quirk a little more. Remember this? This is good quirk.

Kate: I don’t consider that quirk, but it’s good dancing.

Erica: So Mary said something about Alan not being used to lifts? I thought he was a ballroom dancer, no?

Kate:I didn’t notice she said that, but I thought their lifts were just fine.

Erica: Also, judges, seriously, I know this was a dance about royalty, and I know that Will and Kate are very popular royals right now, but . . . this in no way resembled Will-and-Kate-ness. So stfu. Especially you, Erin Andrews. Haaaaate.

Kate: But…Kate Middleton has the most perfect hair ever.

Erica: Zoe thinks she looks like you.

Jenna & Tucker – Hip-Hop; choreo by two new people whose last names are Madrid but whose first names I couldn’t catch because they aren’t chyron-ing the choreographers anymore and Cat’s accent confuses me, “Dangerous (Immortal Version)” by Michael Jackson

Erica: 5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .

Kate: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD NO FEMALE ON THIS SHOW, NO FEMALE ANYWHERE EVER, SHOULD REMIND ANYONE OF AUDREY HEPBURN! STOP IT!

Erica: Heehee.

Kate: Goodness me I agree with the judges, but this was NOT hip-hop. This was jazz.

Erica: I liked it, whatever it was. And I LOVE when Nigel Lythgoe explains hip-hop to us all.

Kate: It was a cool routine. I don’t think anyone gives Tucker enough credit; his movements are very sharp yet fluid, and he really throws himself into every style. Jenna, on the other hand, I thought was WAY too stiff for this so-called “hip-hop”. When she needed to be sharp, she was sharp and good, but she was so stiff in the upper half of her body I thought she looked ridiculous.

Erica: I give Tucker plenty of credit; he’s my favorite boy on the show.

Kate: By anyone I meant the judges.

Erica: I was intrigued when Mary was like, “Next time, Jenna, you should blah blah blah,” and Jenna was like, “Next time?” and then it seemed like either a) Mary totally forgot Jenna was in danger, or b) the “jidges” had already decided not to get rid of her.

Kate: Oh nice catch!

Malece & Marko (!) (standing in for injured Jade) – Contemporary; choreo by Sonya Tayeh, “In the Embers” by Sleeping at Last

Kate: So ok, this was amazing. BUT, I felt it gave Malece an unfair advantage, because the judges could dedicate their full attention to the girl dancer.

Erica: Oh, whatever. I’ve liked her from the first and this whole thing was A. Maze. Ing. This is the first routine I think will show up on the favorites of the season list.

Kate: That said, the judges were right in that Marko did bring something out of Malece and made her dance much better than I’ve seen all season. And she does, in fact, remind me of Melanie. Good grief I hate agreeing with the judges.

Erica: I just noticed that during the rehearsal footage, Sonya was saying something about how Malece was going to have to take responsibility for Jade because he- and then the video cut off. And then Nigel was like, Sonya said Jade was doing really well! And I’m like, I . . . don’t think that’s exactly what happened.

Hayley & Curtis – Samba; choreo by Jean-Marc Genereux, “Straight to Memphis” by Club des Belugas

Kate: Poor Curtis. In all fairness to him, he didn’t do THAT badly. He didn’t do great, but he didn’t bomb it. And in more fairness to him, Hayley looked good, like, doing her best impression of a ballroom dancer because she stuck out her hips a lot and shook her fringy dress. But, she was not a great ballroom dancer here. Know what I’m saying?

Erica: Yes. I loved her hips, especially as I’ve been complaining about Jenna’s Latin ballroom-trained, unimpressive hips all season, and I loved this choreography, but I thought they both looked like very good dancers who don’t do ballroom and were trying to do ballroom.

Alexis & Nico – Jazz; choreo by Spencer Liff, “I Put A Spell On You” 

Kate: I continue to dislike her and want her off the show.

Erica: Yup.

Kate: She just moved awkwardly, and not gracefully. Especially not in those shoes. I also wanted more from him in this routine, but the “story” focused too much on her.

Erica: I actually thought he did a really great job in this weird character piece. And I kind of liked the routine, even though, oh my God, what a very obvious story choice for a very obvious song.

Kate: Great song.

Erica: Then the judges were clearly getting punchy. As was I. Don’t have four judges again, show. Too many. Too boring. Even they’re bored, that’s why they’re all jumping on top of Nigel. I did like Erin for a minute when she chastised Nigel for joking about having another heart attack. Just because I like it when they chastise Nigel.

Mariah & BluPrint – Hip-Hop; choreo by Luther Brown, “Bring the Noize” by M.I.A.

Erica: Yeah, sure, they draw styles completely randomly.

Kate: He’s got to go.

Erica: Yeah . . .

Kate: I was a fan, and I think he’s talented, but not talented enough. If for several weeks in a row the judges have told you to have some gosh darn facial expressions, and you still aren’t doing it in the top 16, you don’t deserve to be on this show.

Erica: I don’t know. Nigel told that story about Sasha winning over Danny in season 4 despite Danny being a FUCKING AMAZING dancer who’d already had a quite a bit of professional success as if it was an object lesson for BluPrint, rather than a shameful incident for the show. And as if it wasn’t partially Nigel’s fault, for complaining the whole f-ing season that Danny’s perfectly professional demeanor was unlikeable and snotty. Also, how do we know we’d like BluPrint’s personality if we saw more of it? Maybe he’s a dick, and he’s just doing his best not to show us that.

Kate: And furthermore, Mariah completely outshined him in this! She had much more of a hip-hop attitude/swag/whatever you want to call it AND great facials.

Erica: Yeah. I really like her.

Kate: But I could have done without the weird all-white costumes, for sure.

Erica: Luther Brown does like putting girls in bizarre outfits.

Elimination

Kate: So Jade is out, obviously, which is a shame because I wanted to see what else he wanted to do, but it was probably for the best.

Erica: Yeah. Plus, hey, he’s injured. You’ve got to take care of yourself, you know?

Kate: I’m glad America agreed with me on not really caring about or remembering Jasmine M. There’s only room for one Jasmine on this stage, people!

Erica: Boo, hiss. I liked her. And now, Alexis? Oh, now I’m really gunning for you. Not Nancy O’Dell/Wendy Piper levels of gunning, but still. Gunning.

Kate: Also, did you notice the awkward aura surrounding Paula Abdul on this episode? Like, no one was really acknowledging her, and she sounded so nervous and fumbly every time she spoke. No?

Erica: My thing about Paula Abdul is that I never watched American Idol. So though I’m aware of her as kooky, drugged out, super-nice reality show judge, I mostly think of her as the pop singer I liked when I was ten. I’m just surprised every time she doesn’t dance with a cartoon cat.

Kate: Ok, tune in next week for the top 14! God I love this show!

Ricki Cooking School, Chapter 6 – Bloody Mary Salsa (and some Red Potatoes)

So tonight my Aunt Barbara came in and my friends were coming over and I had been thinking about making this Bloody Mary-inspired salsa. I’m reasonably sure I got the idea from Bon Appetit, but when I went to make it I just said to myself, “What’s in a Bloody Mary?” and I put that in salsa.

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Here’s what I did:

1. I cut up two pints of grape tomatoes, in rough pieces. Maybe 1/2″ dice? That’s what Aunt Barb is estimating.

2. I cut up three large stalks of celery, small dice.

3. I cut up one VERY LARGE lobe of shallot. I mean, huge. I don’t even know where the grocery store got shallots that big. So if you have normal-sized shallots, I’d go with three or four of those. Or you could use sweet onions, like Vidalia or Maya. But I had shallots. Huge shallots.

3. I salted and peppered the thing (kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, do I need to tell you?).

4. I chopped a handful of pitted Nicoise olives. I was thinking about using capers and they would be good too but a lot stronger. So as my lawyer mother is fond of saying, be guided accordingly.

5. I had this extra-hot horseradish in the fridge. I ended up using way more than I thought I would need, maybe about two tbsps. It really blended well but I added a little, then tasted, then added a little more, etc. So do that. Don’t add a whole glob at once; horseradish is hard to tame and how many tomatoes are you really going to buy at one time? Not enough to add more if you put in horseradish than you ought.

6. I also sprinkled in some cayenne (a very little bit!) and some celery seed. And then the tiniest bit of good balsamic vinegar. Not zomg amazing balsamic, just regular good balsamic.

Et voila! I made this about three hours or so before I served it. Maybe more than that. We got involved in some intense rounds of Rummikub so food ended up being served later than I had planned. I had intended for it to be eaten over steak but everyone seemed to eat it with their salads instead – the salad being romaine, more tomatoes, and mild blue cheese, with a very simple balsamic vinaigrette. I had it with the steak. I was right and they were wrong. But everyone seemed to like it anyway.

I also served these potatoes which I vaguely remember getting them from Gourmet but I make them a lot and they’re so easy that I don’t really remember their source. And they are unbelievably delicious.

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1. Two pounds of little red potatoes. Boiled. Not too much. Fork tender but not mash-able. (You could use virtually any potato in this recipe. I used little red ones. If you use larger ones, it will be more of a pain in the butt.) After boiling, you can either use them right away or store them for later. I almost always store them for later because I generally boil them when I get home from the grocery store and figure out what I’m going to do with them later. Also, in this particular recipe, I think using them cold is helpful for the next step.

3. Lay them out flat on a baking sheet or large, flat platter. Smash them each with a fork. You don’t want them to completely lose their shape – although that will happen with some of them and it is no big deal — but you want lots of nice nooks and crannies to get all crispy. (And this is why it’s better if they’re cold – they’ll hold their shape better.) Also sprinkle some salt on them at this stage. And, if you want, some other spice. I haven’t but it certainly wouldn’t hurt. Just not cayenne – you will never be able to shut up your smoke detector.

4. Heat some oil in a pan. You want an oil that can take high heat. I usually use peanut, which really is the best for anything potato, but vegetable, canola, safflower, grape seed, even avocado oil – anything that can take high heat – would be fine. Extra-virgin olive oil would not destroy this dish, but that oil shouldn’t be taking this high heat, really. So if you have nothing else, fine, but why don’t you have anything else? Get something else.

5. Add potatoes in batches to the hot oil. Don’t crowd them. You want every nook and cranny to have its space to get nice and crispy.

6. As you take each batch off and put it in a bowl (I forgot this time but you really ought to line the bowl with paper towels to absorb the oil. Not that anyone seemed to mind.), grate a little Parmesan cheese over it. Or some other cheese, if you like. Just freshly grated by you with a microzester or very tiny-holed grater. (I love the microzester. It grates so easy!)

And potatoes! Yum, yum, ooh, delicious!

These should really be served right away, but like I said, Rummikub happened. So I heated them a little in the microwave. You know what? Once you fry something in oil and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on it, it’s really hard to fuck it up.

 

SYTYCD Season X – Top 18 Perform (with two lame ducks)

Cat-Deeley-14

Opening Number – Contemporary: “The Heroic Weather Conditions of the Universe Part One – A Veiled Mist” from Moonrise Kingdom; choreo by Tasty Oreo

Erica: Damn you, Tasty Oreo. Why can’t you just let me hate you in peace?

Kate: This did not thrill me.

Erica: I loved it. A lot. A lot a lot. And not just because of the costumes. Which I also loved. To an unhealthy degree.

Kate: Their faces creeped me out.

Cat Deely’s Outfit

Kate: From the waist up, she is wearing one of those stupid bathing suits no one would ever buy or wear because hello tan lines. From the waist down, she is wearing a hula skirt. The two items attached? God help us all.

Erica: I kind of liked the top. But the skirt . . . not much. And not with the top.

Kate: Also, when you have hair like hers…Don’t put it all on top of your head. I do like/want her earrings, though.

Erica: So . . . we’re doing this thing now where the eliminations happen right after the group number?

Kate: When I asked last week if they were doing the same elimination as last season, in my head I thought, ‘But it wouldn’t make sense to have the eliminations at the beginning of the show and then those people still have to dance, right? That’s kind of cruel?’ But, alas.

Erica: They announced the bottom six, and the judges picked two to save. They picked Makenzie and Alan to save. Totally right calls, as far as I’m concerned, although they kept wondering why Makenzie is in the bottom and I’m like, dude, it’s because straight guys are not your key demographic.

Kate: I know I was mad about that! She’s insanely good. But I suppose being in the bottom 6 of 20 people isn’t THAT bad.

Erica: Then the four that are left “dance for their lives,” which, seriously, you need to stop saying that, guys. It’s a spot on the show. It’s not actual death.

Kate: And you know how I feel about solos.

Erica: Anyway, solos:

Kate: Ugh.

Mariah – Hip-hop: “Hard in da Paint” by Waka Flocka Flame

Kate: Did not like.

Erica: This was terrible. I like her, but her solo looked more like “performing all street and shit,” not like, you know, dancing.

Kate: Yes, she’s better than this solo, and I don’t even like her that much.

Carlos – Contemporary: “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons

Erica: I think he’s really good. His musicality leaves a little something to be desired but his lines are beautiful and he seems strong for his size and the solo as a dance piece wasn’t bad.

Kate: Musicality? Have you transformed into Mia Michaels?

Erica: Hell, yeah. No, I mean, the moves he was doing were beautiful and strong, but they didn’t seem to relate much to the music. That’s what musicality means, right?

Brittany – (Latin?) Ballroom: “Hacksaw” by Ooah

Kate: Ballroom doesn’t make sense as a solo. Ballroom as a solo is a girl shaking her butt/cute costume.

Erica: Ballroom solos are hard to pull off but I definitely thought she did a better job than Mariah here.

Kate: I suppose.

Jade – Animation: “Adagio” by Alicia Keys

Kate: Why did he pick slow music?

Erica: I know you don’t think animation is actually dancing and I do but whatever I think of animation as a whole, this was what the fuck is this I don’t even know because he’s a much better dancer – dancer dancer, not just animator – than this solo shows.

Kate: Agreed, he seemed a little off tonight in general.

Erica: So then Nigel announces that the eliminations are not based on the solos, which is good because they sucked, and why can’t you guys dance for your lives when you’re dancing for your lives, and it’s like, Nigel, a) being not on your show anymore is not the same as being dead and b) you just said you didn’t decide based on solos so why should they put their blood into it? And then he proves it by choosing Mariah and Jade to stay and sending home Carlos and Brittany.

Kate: But, he was right. The solos sucked.

Erica: I guess I should be grateful that I lose a non-descript brunette and get to keep a dancer I like, but this whole thing is too weird for me. I hate that the eliminations are in the beginning and then the losers have to dance. I hate that they have to do a solo even though the solo doesn’t count for anything and no one really likes watching them anyway. Just the whole thing. Blecch.

Kate: Who shall we blame/hate for this?

Erica: Well, it’s either Fox or Nigel. I’m comfortable hating on either of them. Anyway. Onward.

Hayley & Curtis – Jazz: “Mama Knows Best” by Jessie J; choreo by Ray Leeper

Kate: I enjoyed this!

Erica: I feel about this the way I felt about his group number – it’s cute, it’s fun, it’s sexy, and I’m going to forget everything about it but the outfits by tomorrow.

Kate: He continues to be one of my favorites. I don’t want to sound like the judges, but he has amazing jazz and contemporary moves for someone who only tapped his whole life.

Erica: Except I bet that’s not true?

Jasmine H. & Aaron – Lyrical Hip-Hop: “Tears Always Win” by Alicia Keys; choreo by NappyTabs

Kate: Ian had quite a lot to say about this one. He thinks Aaron is too hulky bulky to look graceful while dancing, and I agree. You have to be EXTREMELY graceful and fluidy to overcome that size, ESPECIALLY as a male dancer, and Aaron did not do that here. I don’t know if he did it last week, but he definitely didn’t do it this week.

Erica: She’s in my top five girls for sure. And I like him quite a bit. Not sure I loved this number. It was pretty good, but the angry flailing at the beginning was a little juvenile and overdone for me.

Kate: The thing is, they look good together because she is so tall and, you know, not a complete rail. Also…They are 100% banging each other.

Erica: They are not!

Kate: They are so.

Erica: I noticed in the rehearsal footage that Tabs is rocking the accent nail, a trend I plan on picking up in the near future.

Kate: Kate: This routine made me a little nervous in terms of NappyTabs being off their game post-baby, actually.

Erica: Oh, and I love me some Christina Applegate as a judge, but hard, but I just want to say that I hate how often everyone is mentioning seeing dress rehearsals now. Allow me my illusions!

Kate: She looked a little tired.

Erica: Also, I always forget this but I like Alicia Keys.

Malece & Jade – Bollywood: “Radha” from Student of the Year; choreo by Nakul Dov Mahajan

Erica: OMG this was so freakin’ cute.

Kate: OMG this was a mess.

Erica: I thought these two were very well-suited to Bollywood, actually. Jade as an animator should be able to handle intricate hand movements and I have always admired Malece’s precise and on-beat style.

Kate: Disagree completely! They both looked so uncomfortable about the fact that they got Bollywood this week, ESPECIALLY Jade. Malece kind of sucked it up and did the best she could, but he, who should have extremely sharp and intricate movements, did not do well with this style at all, in my humble opinion.

Erica: But OMG Nigel how do you not hear how awful it sounds when you call Jade’s costume, “Adam Shankman’s outfit” and then ask Jade how all his friends will feel about it?

Kate: Yeah, that was obnoxious.

Alexis & Nico – Contemporary: “Old Skin” by Olafur Arnolds & Arnfor Dan; choreo by Stacey Tookey

Erica: So Stacey Tookey called this a sequel to Kathryn and Robert’s number back in Season 6. And, I mean, come on.

Kate: I squealed when they said “a Stacey Tookey number”, and I got exactly what I wanted. This was loverly, and it made me feel good because everyone hated on their hip-hop last week even though I liked it and then they blew it out of the water with this.

Erica: I can’t exactly find fault with Alexis here, but . . . she is no Kathryn.

Kate: She was damn good at contemporary for a tapper. Not as good as Curtis, but impressive.

Erica: And then Nigel went on about the piece of music – which was quite lovely – so you know he wasn’t thrilled but didn’t want to say so.

Kate: Cranky old hag.

Brittany & Blueprint – Broadway: “It’s Oh So Quiet” from Ice Princess; choreo by Spencer Liff

Erica: So this is the first number with an already-gone cast member, which is too weird.

Kate: Totes.

Erica: Hey, I just did the math, and this means he’ll be dancing with Mariah next week. I don’t see that as a particularly productive pairing.

Kate: That will be interesting. We know it’ll be good if they get hip-hop, but if they get anything else, it’s two people completely out of their element(s).

Erica: This I did not care for. I mean, first, what’s Ice Princess? and second, this song isn’t making me want to find out more about it and third . . . I don’t know. They danced pretty well and I actually thought he made some cute faces, although Christina Applegate is right that he needs to throw his whole body into it more, but it was just meh to me.

Kate: Yes, they were better last week. But I don’t feel strongly one way or another about her going home.

Jasmine M. & Alan – Tango: “Escape from Slavery” by PP Music; choreo by Miriam Larici & Leonardo Barrionuevo

Erica: She remains my number one girl right now. And he’s damn good, too.

Kate: Eh.

Erica: Really?

Kate: This was o-kay. She is not my number one girl, but he is pretty good.

Makenzie & Paul – Jazz: “Mannequin (Skeet & Tito Remix)” by Trish; choreo by Sean Cheesman

Erica: A fembot? What a perfect role for her. I guess since she was on the bottom, all those shrieks are for Paul.

Kate: Loved this!

Erica: I didn’t want to like it because I thought the premise was cheesy and I’m still scared of Sean Cheesman, but I really thought it was cute and fun and they did a good job. But as I was watching I was going, what is in the water at SYTYCD this week? Why are all the choreographers so horny? And then Nigel went and made that joke himself. Damn you, Nigel!

Kate: Actually I really liked the dancing part of this routine, but the tricks looked a liiiiiiiiiittle uncomfortable, almost like she didn’t quite trust him.

Erica: I do think the costumers could have come up with a better fembot outfit, though.

Mariah & Carlos – Contemporary: “Dead in the Water” by Ellie Goulding; choreo by Stacey Tookey

Erica: Well, now don’t you feel stupid for sending this guy home?

Kate: Kate: Yea, this was wonderful. I lovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvve Ellie Goulding!

Amy & Fik-Shun – Hip-Hop: “After Party” by Dorrough Music; choreo by NappyTabs

Kate: Oh my god, yes. This is NappyTabs at their finest, holy moly, yes yes yes, I want to learn this routine.

Erica: I really loved it. It was very silly and cute and fun and I just loved it. NappyTabs have totally grown on me.

Kate: There was just ONE part where I wanted her to be even more hip-hoppy and aggressive — when he was in front of her doing that back bend side to side and she was kind of pushing him, you know? She needed like one more rush of BOOM!

Erica: He is made for NappyTabs routines and she could have been better at the booty-popping but definitely had the right attitude.

Kate: But Jade is also made for NappyTabs routines and he would have done great in this, so now I feel even worse for him. I hope he doesn’t go home next week.

Jenna & Tucker – Cha-Cha: “I Like It Like That (Aaron Jerome remix)” by Pete Rodriguez; choreo by Dmitry Chaplin

Erica: So for those of you who don’t remember, Dmitry Chaplin was the hot tamale of Season 2 who danced with Mary Murphy that one time that I keep posting because it’s evidence that Mary Murphy absolutely deserves to be judging this show even thought she’s hella annoying (I say it with love, Mary! Love!) and who also choreographs regularly and, I totally forgot this, choreographed that FABULOUS samba Lacey and Danny did back in Season 4.

Kate: Yes, but, I can’t find enough words to describe how much I hated this.

Erica: I really like Tucker; he’s right behind Alan for me and maybe even with Aaron for my favorite dancer.

Kate: No, he was way too greasy in this routine. He, like, made me grimace. Possibly I hated this more so because of the song – I just kept waiting for it to START, you know? – but I really did not feel it was a Cha-Cha nor a good ballroom routine. I would have preferred for her to go home instead of the other brunette who kind of looks like her.

Erica: I did not think her hips cha-cha’d enough. Remember Chelsie Hightower? She was in Season 4 and then showed up this year at auditions and also did a samba with Marko two seasons ago? Her most remembered from her season were this NappyTabs number and this Mia number, but she was really ballroom and seems to be on DWTS sometimes now, like so many SYTYCD alums? Yeah. Her hips were crazy.

Kate: Kate: Wow, they don’t do ballroom on this show like they used to. Hot damn. Also, who has straight hair for a Cha-Cha? Seriously.

Erica: Also, I can’t believe I’m agreeing with Nigel, but I do want to see each dance style be very discrete and definitive, too. One more thing – I know no one cares about this but me, but why is it that in so many of these dances where a sexy girl is sexy at a guy for a while, the end of the dance is always her pushing him away? What is this trope about, where part of the definition of a sexy, empowered lady is that she turns down sex? And the sex that she had been, up to that point, apparently pursuing?

Kate: That would be a question for the choreographers. I don’t think Sonya, Mia, Stacey or Mandy ever choreograph that way, though.

Erica: That’s true; it’s mostly a dude choreography thing.