Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Change of Address

I have started a new blog.  I decided that a fresh start was in order.  So... for those of you who have read and enjoyed Wordsmith At Play, I invite you to join me over at The Smith Chalet!  (www.thesmithchalet.blogspot.com)

I do hope you will stop by. 


Thursday, August 2, 2012


Emily chose Jef! 

Why I got so invested in a show that I sincerely dislike is beyond me.  But these two seem genuinely happy.  Good for them.  Finding love on a reality TV contest may be weird as hell but I hope for their sakes (and Emily's daughter Rikki), that this is the real thing.  They may actually have a shot at post-reality show happiness. 


And then there were... Sixteen!

My ears are bleeding. That’s because Tabitha and Napoleon (choreographers of this week’s opening number) chose a Marilyn Manson song to set their piece to. There’s a lot of yelling and screaming and somewhere someone’s blood is curdling.  Oh, it's mine.  My eyes are bleeding as well because this number is a gigantic mess. It’s supposed to be about “wicked beauty” or… something, and Cyrus appears with this silver half mask plastered over his face and he’s muttering something vaguely “mirror mirror on the wall”-ish and the whole thing is chaos. If Beetlejuice grew a uterus and then had an angry menstrual cycle this is what it would look like. Ugh.

After an unforgivable amount of time, the routine is over. Then it’s all “here are your girls, here are your guys” and we’re at the judges’ table. Adam Shankman is here tonight and he’ll be plugging his new Step Up movie every five seconds. He thinks it’s adorable. It is not.

Lindsay and Cole are first out of the gate tonight and while they get Christopher Scott as a choreographer, he has decided to phone it in this week. You see, Cole is a big nerd and Lindsay is a hot dentist and there you have it. There’s a dentist’s chair center stage that poor Lindsay has to turn around a couple of times – the thing is clearly too heavy for her. Way to sabotage your dancer, Christopher. It’s one of the show’s beloved “character” pieces and it does nothing for either dancer. She hops on the chair a lot while Cole looks nervous and then there are some splits and some kicks aaaaand we’re done.

Cole decides to stay in character while at the judges’ table and even after Adam tells him to cut it out ‘cause it’s weird, he doesn’t stop. (Cole, Cole, come over here for a sec. Don’t do that again. You look like a douche). Nigel wanted Lindsay to connect more with Cole, Mary wants her to “attack” it more and Cole is still being obnoxious by staying in character as a “nerd.” For the love of god, Cat, get these two offstage please!

Ooooh, Amelia and Will are up next with a Sonya routine. It’s set to a spare violin piece so I’m already in love with it. The lighting is dark and sparse as well, and A&W are dressed in muted colors. (PS: A&W - I will now be calling this duo Root Beer.  Get it?) Sonya’s idea is that they are two people carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. There’s all kinds of inventive lifts and it’s clear that these two dancers really connect with and trust each other. In addition each of them is emotionally invested. The crowd goes nuts, Mary yells and screams and when it’s Adam’s turn to critique he gives them a standing O. He praises Amelia’s lines and both Adam and Nigel call them “brilliant.” I do a little dance of joy in my apartment because I’m all about Team Root Beer. (It'll catch on.  Just watch).

After the commercial break Amber and Nick dance the Tango. Uh oh. That’s two ballroom routines in a row for them. I smell trouble. This particular dance is choreographed by a ballroom couple I don’t recognize as having worked on the show before and I can’t spell their names. Hereafter they shall be known as Sabina. That’s it – just the one name for the two of them.

As for the dance itself… there’s no chemistry between them and it seems a bit labored. However, Adam thought it was hot and drools all over Amber while Nigel also praises her, saying she’s “… like a cobra ready to pounce.” He thought Nick was “… very, very strong” and Mary thought they were both just great in a tango she described as being extremely difficult. I’ll give you that the Tango is not an easy dance to get right, but I think the judges may have been watching this piece through rose-colored glasses.

Cutie pies Audrey and Matthew are doing a routine by Sonya in which she says she wants to show their aggressive side. It’s more “classic Sonya” than the softer pieces she’s done so far this season, with lots of bent knees and an edgy, offbeat energy. I think they are at war with each other or something. Whatever the idea behind the routine, I hate the song choice but Matthew is shirtless so that makes up for it.

Nigel: praises their virtuosity compared with last week’s tender piece;

Mary: gives Audrey props for extending each movement to its fullest;

Adam: confesses to being an Audrey “doubter” in the beginning but is now won over by her. He tells Matthew that if he keeps dancing like he has been the competition is his to lose.  Yay, Matthew!

Oh, no. No, this is awful. Poor Janelle and Darien are forced to do lyrical hip hop to “My Girl” by The Temptations. The music choice doesn’t work at all as it clashes horribly with the style. In addition, the routine asks nothing of them as dancers. Quite frankly it's boring which Nigel actually comes right out and says! One of the things that frustrates me about this show is the unspoken rule that one must never criticize the choreography when sometimes it is exactly that which is in need of criticism. So, Bravo Nigel for calling the choreography “uninspiring.” He’s absolutely correct. He keeps going too, saying that Christopher Scott didn’t challenge the dancers and that he doesn’t think people will pick up the phone for that routine (thereby ensuring that people will pick up the phone due to feeling sorry for Janelle/Darien).

Mary is not any more enthusiastic than Nigel calling the routine “sweet” and telling the poor duo that they “did okay.” Talk about damning with faint praise. Sheesh.

Then there’s even more banal choreography as Janaya and Brandon dance a Sean Cheesman Broadway number. They’re on a bench, she tries to pick him up, it's supposed to be funny, blah blah blah. Whatever. It’s boring. But the judges have to say something so Adam calls it “super fun” and gives Janaya kudos for playing up the comedy. Mary and Nigel both thought it was entertaining. I disagree. They did their best in a routine that struck me as pedestrian and lackluster.

Cyrus/Eliana and the jive. Oh, dear.

It’s actually painful to watch. Once again, Eliana dances around Cyrus who just isn’t getting it. He’s got a big smile plastered on his face and I would too if I were an extremely limited dancer still on this show due to my winning personality as opposed to my skill level. Now I’m getting angry about the degree to which he is holding her back.

Mary tears into him noting that the transitions were rough, his footwork was terrible, etc., but pays him a compliment about supporting Eliana in the lifts. Nigel praises the choreography for compensating for Cyrus’ weaknesses – a remark that one really shouldn’t be obliged to make on a DANCING COMPETITION. He goes on to say that Eliana has not yet had a chance to show America just how good she is because of the aforementioned compensating for her partner. Ugh! Then why did you include him in the Top 20 Nigel?! You knew how limited a dancer he was. Yes, he’s adorable and his robot thing is awesome but please, let’s get real. He’s a sweet kid who shouldn’t be on the show.

Daniel and Alexa are not dressed entirely in red pleather this time, thank goodness. In fact, both are wearing FAR less clothing than last week as they dance in and around a bathtub. It’s too bad – this routine. I don’t think those without dance experience can appreciate how difficult a piece this is. Alas, difficult it might be and the two of them execute it with great technique but they are hampered with a prop that gets in their way, as they continuously climb in and out of said tub. Again, they don’t connect emotionally with each other, the routine or the audience. Adam says as much when he comments that it was “beautiful, but chilly” and Mary echoes him, noting that it was well executed but lacked chemistry. Ditto for Nigel.

Now we have a Foxtrot from Tiffany and George who are both cute and forgettable. However, considering that neither of them knows a thing about ballroom I think they do quite well by this number. Not much actual FOXTROT happening but it’s still lovely to watch. The judges go nuts – “it’s a lesson in connecting with your partner” (Nigel); “Tiffany, you were living it up there” (Mary). Good for them. They might be dull as dishwater but they danced that piece well.

For the love of god, Bollywood! Oh, producers! The only time Bollywood was interesting was the very first time you tried it in Season 4 with Katie and Joshua. They killed it! Since then, it’s been an exercise in seeing if the dancers can even get through it. Not to mention that each routine is EXACTLY THE SAME. I get it, you want to showcase dance styles from other cultures and that’s admirable. But can we stop with the Bollywood? You showcased it. A lot. Your work is done.

Anywho… Chehon and Witney do really well. Thank goodness, because B’wood has been the downfall of some very talented dancers. Adam points out that Bollywood makes him happy (so I’m guessing it’s not going anywhere is it?), and that they were both fantastic. He does want Witney to lengthen her neck though. Mary and Nigel are also very happy with the two of them with compliments all around. Huzzah.

Cat calls all the dancers to the stage and things get tense. Three guys and three girls got the lowest number of votes and those dancers are:

Girls: Janaya (not surprised), Alexa (not really surprised) and Witney (surprised!)

Guys: Nick (of course – sorry), Daniel (ugh – he’s so good but so cold) and Chehon (again – surprised by this).

The judges don’t need to see anyone dance again so we have no solos this week. But we still need to make the six of them sweat it out a bit longer and we have to pimp Adam’s movie so we get a preview of Step Up Revolution! Hey, who knew that Mia Michaels and Travis Wall both did choreography for the movie? I like that.

The piece presented on stage is high energy and fun and includes Twitch so I’m happy. Also, Katherine whats-her-name – the one from a couple of seasons ago whose voice gets really high when she cries? She’s the female lead in the movie and I’m not sure she’s much of an actress but she’s a fan-fucking-tastic dancer so… yay!

Also… Twitch is hot. Full stop.

Cat is super excited to see alums from seasons past and adorable sincere hugging takes place.

Drumroll… results!

The judges save Witney and Chehon. Janaya, Alexa, Nick and Daniel are out of the competition. Alexa looks like she’s about to throw up, Janaya doesn’t look the least bit surprised, Nick looks… like Nick, and Daniel is a robot who doesn’t feel emotion. There’s no time for the usual goodbye montage so the four of them huddle center stage under Cat’s protective wings.

Next week only one guy and one girl go home. Who will it be? My money is on Tiffany and George. We’ll see!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dance Your Ass Off! Top 20, Part One

It’s the first episode in which competition comes into play and I’m excited!  Go team! 

The opening number is a dystopian office-worker piece choreographed by Christopher Scott. I usually like his group numbers and this one is no exception.  It’s sharp and slightly sinister, with some fancy dancing with desks and chairs.  Naturally people will call it an homage to “Mad Men” with the vaguely 60s costumes but I think it’s a take on oppressive working environments in general, not a love letter to “Mad Men.”  Note to the TV viewing world: not everything is about Mad Men!  Yes, it’s a quality show but can we please stop giving it a constant blowjob?  Thank you.

Happy birthday to Nigel, Kenny Ortega is the guest judge, Mary is wearing something shiny… let’s get dancin’. 

Witney and Chehon are first up with a samba by Louis Van Amstel.  Yay! I love Louis – he’s tough but fair.  Anywho – they are both gorgeous creatures but I can’t take my eyes off Witney. Yes, she’s in her wheelhouse but she also has buckets of stage presence.  Chehon seems to labor a bit.  As a former ballet dancer I sympathize with his struggle to relax his hips and add wiggle.  Which is pretty much what Nigel tells him – that he needs to relax into the routines more.  Mary picks on Chehon’s footwork but puts Witney on the Hot Tamale Train (complete with irritating scream), and Kenny Ortega thinks Witney is hotter than Marilyn Monroe.  Well, she’s certainly a better dancer.

Tiffany and George are next with a Sonya jazz routine.  After watching every episode this season and paying close attention during Vegas week I STILL don’t know who these two are.  They just disappear for me.  Perhaps that will change tonight. 

Not really. 

It’s a much more tender routine than we’re used to from Sonya and while G and T do a lovely job with it I’m left feeling… meh.  Also disturbing is that Tiffany reminds me of Pebbles from The Flintstones – surely not what the costume/makeup department wanted me to take away from the piece.  They are very skilled dancers but are they special?  Do they stand out?  As an actor myself I HATE asking these questions because they’re brutal ones that get asked about every performer in the context of some show/audition/etc.  But the cruel truth is that talent only goes so far and then that ineffable quality of stage presence comes into consideration.  Kenny praises their generosity with each other (I agree) and Nigel compliments the vulnerability displayed.  Again, agreed.  But the jury is still out for me on these two. 

Then: Janaya/Brandon doing hip-hop choreographed by Tabitha/Napoleon.  Tabitha is super preggers.  The gist behind this piece is that Brandon has to choose between THE DRINK and LOVE.  It’s perfectly fine and perfectly boring.  Nigel wants Janaya to work from lower in her core when doing hip hop (which is an excellent point), Mary wants Janaya to have more grit and Brandon is told “Hey, your name is Brandon.” 

Alexa and Daniel are performing a jazz routine by Sean Cheesman.  SC is not one of my favorite choreogs so I’m already worried.  My concern increases exponentially when I see how these two are costumed.  Dressed all in red – Daniel looks like the Devil going out for cocktails and poor Alexa has been put in red spandex pants.  Not only that, they spend the beginning and end of the routine dancing their way in and out of some scaffolding.  There is very little chance for them to connect with each other.  It’s… dull, as far as I’m concerned.  Nigel wants the audience to be aware of just how difficult the piece was and while that’s true, all that difficult choreography didn’t do anything to showcase either of them.  It seemed like a lot of movement with no thought behind it.  Kenny wanted the piece to take him somewhere and it didn’t.  He makes a salient point when he says that he “… admired the exercise but not the performance.”  Yes.  It was, if I may borrow from dear Mr. William Shakespeare “full of sound and fury/signifying nothing.” 

Amber (who has a super pretty face – jeez, how did I not notice that before?) and Nick are doing a Viennese Waltz by Jason Gilkison.  But Jason decides to ruin the entire thing by setting it to a horrid cover of “Nights In White Satin.” Mary is very pleased with them, Nigel wants Amber to use her core more when doing ballroom (he’s big on using one’s core tonight), and is worried that the routine wasn’t special enough to get votes.  Ouch.  True, but still… ouch.  Kenny says something positive about the camera choreography.  As mentioned in a previous post, I LOATHE the camera work for this show because it’s directed for TV and not the stage.  I know, I know… it’s a TV show, but that often means not being allowed to see the piece as it’s meant to be seen on the stage and it irks me. 

Amelia/Will.  Confession: I already love these two.  There, I said it.  They’ve been favorites for me as individuals from the very start.  As a pair, I think they are fantastic and compliment each other a great deal.  Tabitha/Napoleon have given them a hip hop routine to The Cure’s “Love Cats” and they are, indeed, cats frolicking around a dumpster.  It’s sexy, playful and stylish.  They play off each other extremely well.  Will is such a big guy and how he moves as gracefully and effortlessly as he does is a testament to his skill level.  It’s difficult to move that much body as fluidly as the smaller dancers.  Kudos to him. 

Mention must also be made of the spectacular costume Amelia gets to wear: a leopard print leotard with thigh high black boots.  It’s delicious and I covet it.  Nigel is over the moon, calling their pairing a great partnership, the routine “terrific” and “danced brilliantly.”  Smiles all around as Cat sends the “cats” offstage.  (Come on, I couldn’t resist).

Oh, lordy.  It’s an African Jazz piece by Sean Cheesman danced by Darien and Janelle.  Look, I have NOTHING against African Jazz as a genre.  It’s just that every single time it’s done on this show, the routines are exactly the same.  The dancers are always costumed in some shredded “jungle” outfit and tonight is no exception.  As usual the routine is high energy and utterly forgettable.  Darien and Janelle are out of sync in several spots and rather than being “in” the piece it feels like they’re going from one step to the next.  Janelle has loads of charisma so she’ll probably be fine this week but they both need something better than this to demonstrate their capabilities.  Nigel, in an effort to find something nice to say, praises Damien’s pirouettes in the opening number.  Enough said.

Gorgeous ballerina Eliana and charismatic but severely limited Cyrus are up next with a Broadway routine by Tyce.  GROAN.  During the commercial break before we see them dance I wonder if she will be dancing around him rather than with him?  The answer is yes, as if there was really much doubt.  God bless her, she is working her ass off and Tyce does a pretty good job at hiding Cyrus’ weaknesses.  But I fear that this is what will happen every week if both of them stay in the competition – each choreographer will be forced to work around Cyrus with Eliana required to pull double duty compensating for his shortcomings.  In fact, Nigel points this out by saying that Eliana didn’t get to show off how great she is – he thinks she is the benchmark for the other women to aspire to.  My question is – when will she get a chance to really show what she can do without a partner equal to her in skill level? 

Look, Cyrus is charming and he does indeed try very hard as Nigel points out when he says that Cyrus gives himself entirely to each style.  And that’s great!  Good for him.  But how fair is it to have such a limited dancer in the Top 20?  In seasons past there have been other dancers who excelled at one genre but were limited in others who nevertheless managed to grow and develop as dancers (Comfort comes to mind and certainly, certainly Twitch!).  But Cyrus is weak at every style except his own invented one.  I love what he does and I give the show credit for trying to make room for new dance styles and unique dancers.  But it’s usually at the expense of a dancer who actually deserves to be in the Top 20 based on merit instead of personality alone. 

(Stepping down from soapbox).

And now – a Travis Wall routine!  I’m already happy.

Audrey and Matthew will be dancing this piece and really, how lucky are they to pull Travis on week one of the competition?  Audrey is teeny tiny and I get her confused with Tiffany while Matthew is the Ryan Gosling doppelganger.  Travis – much to my chagrin – has decided to make the “Leo draws Kate” scene from James Cameron’s Titanic come alive through dance.  I love Travis with all my heart but it’s not my favorite piece of his.  That being said, even a mediocre routine by Travis is better than just about anything else.  Also – credit where credit is due – Audrey and Matthew dance it beautifully.  It’s lyrical and romantic and the two of them connect emotionally to each other and the story they’re telling.  (As a side note, the extremely cute Matthew is wearing suspenders – braces for the Anglophiles among us – and for this I say, thank you costume department.  Thank you).

The judges love it, they love Travis, they love Matthew and wee Audrey.  Methinks these two will be quite safe next week.

And now it’s Lindsay and Cole to close out the show.  They’re doing a Paso Doble by Jason Gilkison.  This should be a piece of cake for Lindsay.  It must be stated that the combined physical beauty of these two contestants is sick.  Wow.  They’re also well matched in terms of technique level – I like this pairing.  The routine is sexy and dangerous, like watching two knives come to life.  The judges give it a standing O.  Mary goes apeshit, Kenny loves it and Nigel calls them “brilliant.”

Since the results show has been eliminated we won’t find out who’s in trouble until next week.  My prediction?  Here’s who I think ought to worry:

Girls: Janaya, Tiffany and Amber.
Guys: George, Brandon and Nick.

Next week TWO guys and TWO girls go home.  Who will it be?  What color dress will Cat wear?  What pervy remark will Nigel make?  Tune it to find out (or read about it here).

Friday, July 20, 2012

Change of Heart

Yes, it's another post about The Bachelorette.  Curse you, reality television for sucking me in!  I blame Emily for being so charming and likable.

Last week I was team Sean but this week changes things.  It's down to the final three and Sean fails to impress me.  He seems reluctant to express his feelings.  Yes - he tells Emily that he loves her and reads her a sweet note he wrote to her daughter Rikki but... there's something being held back and it concerns me.

And color me surprised but Jef went up in my estimation.  He still has that silly hair but I like him far more than I have in the past, what, two episodes I've seen!

Emily gets very emotional when she sends Sean home.  Emily - I think you made the right decision.

It's down to Arie and Jef.  Hmmm... my guess is Jef.  Here's hoping he gets a new haircut before the wedding.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Ooops, I Did It Again

I watched another few minutes of The Bachelorette.  Sigh. 

Emily, if you are reading this (the chances of which I recognize are slim), please explain why you kept Jef (yes, Jef with one "f").  He looks like your younger brother.  No, actually, he looks like Rick Astley.  I keep expecting him to start singing "Never Gonna Give You Up" while wearing a trenchcoat.  Sure, he's sweet but you could clearly take him in a fight. 

Pick Sean.  The fake out about still living with his parents was hilarious!  Humor - an essential asset.  Also, he chased after you (again!) for another kiss goodbye.  And let's not forget those arms.  Holy crap, the man IS physical beauty.  As are you, Emily.  Pick Sean and make pretty blond babies. 

(Or don't make babies - you already have a kid and the world is overpopulated already).

Top 20!

Time to get down to business. The audition eps can be fun but at this point I just want to know who’s in the Top 20. Of course, this being SYTYCD we have to sit through lots of filler – shots of the dancers in the holding room, looking nervous, slow motion walks to the judges table, etc. I put up with it because I love this show but honestly, just get to the dancing, bitches!

The first to find out she’s in is Alexa – she who nearly made it last season. They put her through her paces in Vegas, calling her out for a lack of emotion in her dancing. Then she cried and they were glad. Anyway, she’s in the Top 20 and I’m happy for her. To get down to the final 35 and not be picked two years in a row would have been devastating. Next to be given a spot are Amber (she auditioned twice before), Will Thomas who is super tall and adorable and George Lawrence II whom I don’t remember from the auditions. Really, the only one of the four to have gotten screen time thus far is Alexa.

We go live to the studio where these four will dance a Tyce D’Orio routine. Oh, dear. Considering it’s Tyce it is neither dreadful nor cheesy, but it lacks focus. There is a long table on the diagonal center stage and the four of them leap on and over and around the table quite a bit. The ladies look like they’re dressed in rags while the men are in long shorts and t-shirts. Thankfully, we are spared the “this is what this dance is about” shtick. I’m watching the movement for movement’s sake. It isn’t all that original or inspiring but again, it doesn’t make me want to punch Tyce in the face, so that’s progress.

Here’s what does bug me and you might want to get used to this rant because you’ll be reading it a lot. The camera work on this show makes me angry. Plant the camera center stage and keep it still so that we can see the entire stage picture. I realize this is a television show but the cuts to a closeup on this or that dancer or stage left or right deprive those of us watching at home the chance to see the entire piece, the entire visual picture that is being presented. It makes me nuts.

The judges (Nigel, Mary and guest judge Zooey Deschanel doing some cross promotion for her show on FOX) give them lots of praise and then tell them that starting next week they’ll have mean things to say.

We’re back to decision day as the judges tell a sweet, weepy young man named Nick that he’s in the Top 20. He’s the first ballroom pick of the season. Then they bring in best friends and ballroom phenoms Whitney and Lindsay together. They try a fake out, telling them that they were looking for only 1 ballroom girl. Mary Murphy is not selling this well. And, of course, after telling Whitney that she’s in and waiting juuuuust a second for poor Lindsay’s heart to break, they laugh uproariously at their trick and tell Lindsay that she’s in too! They are both just too damn talented and so we’ll have 2 ballroom girls in the Top 20. While I wish they’d skipped the fake out, I’m very pleased with this decision because both girls are fierce dancers and I suspect will go far in the competition.

Back to the live studio audience and Cat Deeley in a minidress announcing that Nick, Whitney and Lindsay will dance a Jason Gilkison ballroom routine. And it’s pretty great. I mean, I barely noticed Nick, poor thing, because Whitney and Lindsay are both so good and have charisma and presence oozing out of their pores. Whatever happens on this show, both of these girls are going to be just fine. Over at the judges table, Zooey, who doesn’t have much to offer to the conversation other than stating that everybody is fantastic, calls the girls “firecrackers” and this is a true statement. Each has flawless technique and knows how to take stage. Mary gives us a “hot tamale” scream at which point the dancers look elated and I hit the mute button on my remote.

And then, praise God, we get full on ballet treatment! I am so giddy I can barely type this. Not one, not two but THREE classically trained ballet dancers are in the Top 20. Eliana – whom you may recall also danced for Cirque du Soleil as a classy pole dancer – is the first to learn she’s in and I couldn’t be happier. Daniel, who left his spot in the San Francisco Ballet to audition for the show and Cheon who put his career in NYC on hold are both in as well.

The three of them dance a piece by the superlative Desmond Richardson (if you don’t know who he is, get thee to Google right now). It’s a funky, stylish, athletic piece and I squeeze my pillow with glee while watching it. Elina is en pointe and her strength is just breathtaking. The two men are perfect and gorgeous and it’s all just too much for a former ballet dancer like me to take! Mary calls Eliana a “ballet warrior” and I heartily agree. She goes on about how thrilling it is that ballet will have such a huge presence on the show this season and my heart does a grande jete in agreement. The judges are on their feet when the piece is over. All three of them have loads of technique and I suspect will do well in the first few weeks. This being reality TV however, I’m not sure how Daniel will fare in the “personality” department. Stay tuned.

Janelle the bellydancer is in, thank goodness, along with two jazz dancers, Tiffany and Audrey. I think Audrey is the one Nigel called “Tinkerbell” at some point in the audition process. These two seem kind of interchangeable and forgettable to me but perhaps they will peak in the coming weeks.

Sonya (!) choreographed a jazz routine for the three of them but Janelle got ill and is forced to sit out on doctor’s orders. I feel bad for her despite the fact that she got oodles of screen time in the audition weeks. The other two avail themselves well enough in a piece by Sonya that seems labored. It’s not my favorite but I know that Sonya has all kinds of magic in that crazy hair of hers so I’m not worried.

Up next is a Stacey Tookey routine featuring Matthew (Nigel thinks he’s a Ryan Gosling look-a-like and yeah, I can see it a bit), Darien (a powerful dancer with lazy feet that the judges want to rip off his body), Janea (no idea who she is – apparently Adam Shankman was a huge fan of hers during Vegas week), and one other dancer. The fourth instrument in this chamber piece is Amelia, whose NYC audition dancing to Edith Piaf had me at hello. I like the routine but my eye keeps going to Amelia who simply has that thing, IT. Presence. Zooey agrees with me as she comments that Amelia is “lit from within.” I think Mary feels bad that all the judges commentary is about how terrific Amelia is so she throws Darien a compliment about his partnering work.

And then there were three.

Three spots left in the Top 20, that is. And seven dancers. Cole Horibe – the martial arts influenced dancer is in, as are Brandon (a stepper) and Cyrus, whom the producers have decided to call an “animator” for his unique style. Cyrus is original and I love what he does but he’s got his work cut out for him when it comes to any other style. Christopher Scott choreographs a dance for them that cannily plays to each of their strengths and lets each have his moment in the spotlight. Nevertheless, there are a couple of moments when Cyrus clearly has trouble keeping up. My guess is that his winning personality and his originality will get the votes and he’ll last a while, despite being technically weak. We shall see.

And now, readers, I bring you such good news. The top 10 girls dance together as do the top 10 guys. But wait! Wait. For I’ve yet to give you the best information of the entire episode – the girls dance to a Travis Wall piece and the guys to a Mia Michaels routine! Terpsichore is full of gladness and delight! Go to You Tube and delight your senses.  You'll thank me.