so you think you can dance: thoughts on season 7 so far

I’ve been unable to catch the entirety of both performance episodes so far, (reason #69263 why we need a DVR, parents!) so I haven’t been able to write recaps like I had wanted. I’m not totally wowed by anyone yet, and I’m still unsure if I like the all-stars format or not. Here is my take on the remaining nine dancers.
I don’t know if it’s the extremely high bar he set for himself during his brief appearance in season six, but Billy Bell has been just so-so in his first two performances. Lame choreography dragged him down in his Tyce Diorio Broadway number, and the poor kid never stood a chance next to Comfort in a krump routine. He needs a contemporary or jazz piece soon to really shine.
Kent Boyd is the cutest, most adorable thing to grace my TV screen since the Gosselin sextuplets. He has enough personality for three people, and regardless if you find him entertaining or not, there’s no denying the boy’s got legitimate dance talent. It was impossible not to smile during his cha-cha-cha with Anya, and even though the costume department saddled him with some heinous S&M-type getup in his jazz with Courtney this week, his technical ability shone through any sartorial missteps. I can’t wait to see him in a hip-hop or Broadway number.
I was ready to send Lauren Froderman back to her cheerleading squad after week one’s disastrous pop-jazz with Ade. Technically, it was great, but that cheesy perma-smile was so off-putting. Her redemption came in the form of a Tessandra Chavez lyrical hip-hop. The cheerleader-y grin was gone and she absolutely nailed the choreography. I’ll warily give her my support, but I’m unsure how successful she’ll be with ballroom or something more obscure, like African Jazz.
I keep forgetting that Ashley Galvan is even on the show; the little airtime she received before the top 11 combined with two routines that didn’t really stand out make for a forgettable dancer. Her contemporary with Neil during week one was okay, although I was confused by her declaration to the judges after she danced that she thought she might be in love. With Neil? You best step off, sister. Week two’s jazz (or contemporary if you’re Nigel Lythgoe,) was better, but she needs something really different to make her stand out next week. Give her a hip-hop with Twitch or a jive with Pasha.
Robert Roldan seems to be doing everything in his power to make himself extremely unlikable. The hammy antics and the spastic mugging for the camera have got to go. Personality aside, I think he has a lot of talent left to show us. The guy’s in an Alvin Ailey dance troupe, for crying out loud. I thought he was better than his all-star counterpart, Courtney, in week one’s African Jazz, and while I missed his Argentine tango with Anya last week, from what I saw, he seemed to hold his own. If he could just stop trying so damn hard to be funny, he could make it pretty far.
Jose Ruiz fashions himself to be Legacy 2.0, but he’s not even close. Legacy rose to the occasion each week and made it seem like he’d been doing whatever given genre his entire life, whereas Jose seems very limited in what he can do outside of the b-boy style. Take this week’s Bollywood number, for example. The judges praised him to no end, but I thought it was the sloppiest performance in that style throughout the entire show’s history. I dread the week where Jose picks contemporary.
Judging by the fact that she’s been in the bottom three both weeks so far, I seem to be in the minority of people who like Melinda Sullivan. Nigel sees an inability to connect with the audience; I see someone who isn’t trying desperately to get votes (I’m looking at you, Robert.) Her week one jive with Pasha was a bit off, and terrible costuming and choreography ruined her week two contemporary piece for me, but I’ve loved both of her “dance for your life” solos so far. I do wish the judges would stop praising her technique for being “just a tapper,” though, because Melinda has repeatedly admitted to taking classes in other styles of dance.
Towards the end of Vegas week, I had hoped that Adechike Torbert would survive and make it to the top ten/eleven/whatever number the producers decided to settle on. I’m starting to forget why I wanted him to move on, because his two performances so far have been less than memorable. In his defense, he was forced to stand out while dancing with all-stars Kathryn and Allison, a seemingly insurmountable task. He needs a dance this week that forces him to show some personality, otherwise he could be gone before top five.
Alex Wong‘s technique is so perfect that even Baryshnikov would feel inadequate. However, I don’t foresee him winning, because as SYTYCD history shows, technically flawless male dancers never win. Just ask Danny, Brandon, Jakob, etc. I don’t think he needs to win this show to have success in the dance industry, though. His Broadway number with Lauren was fun, so I hope he gets something like hip-hop or an upbeat ballroom number to showcase his personality and take some of the focus away from his freakishly amazing technical skills.
As far as the new all-star format, I love it and I hate it. I love it because I get to see people like Neil, Pasha, Mark, Kathryn and Courtney dance again, but that’s also the reason why I hate it. Sometimes I’m so focused on watching the all-star dance that the actual contestant becomes an afterthought. I understand what Nigel and co. wanted to accomplish with the all-stars, but I think cutting down the field from 20 to 10 and putting well-known and well-loved dancers into the mix alters the natural balance of SYTYCD.

words of widsom from the executive level.

Apparently there has been a lack of professional behavior during meetings at my company, which should shock about zero people if they’re familiar with the workings of my office. Someone very high up in my company sent out the following email today, which I present to you as reason #673 why a trained monkey could run my company better than the current management, and as a testament to how proper grammar/spelling/syntax is a lost art form in corporate America. The notations in red are mine, naturally.

Team,

I sent a message to the directors the other day about how to act in a meeting and be professional. It seems to be the message has not been received. (Did you mean “seems to me,” or are you just unaware of how a sentence should be structured?) I know we have a lot of things being thrown at us and trust me  I am addicted to my PDA but I am seeing reps in meetings that are not paying attention at all and are so focused they are not even listening to the meeting. (Run-on sentence much? There should be a smattering of commas in there, too.) I have been in three meetings lately with Global type companies and the Carousel rep is oblivious to what the customer is asking. At one point I had to reprimand two reps who were laughing with each other. If we want to be best in class let’s act like it. (Talk about the pot calling the kettle black…) The last things is our dress code is getting way to relaxed. (Should be “thing” and “too,” and about the dress code – no s**t, Sherlock.) I ask if we are doing a briefing for a customer in any location please wear a jacket or suit. Let’s look our part as well.

Sorry for the long email but we need to pay attention to the people that our (are) asking us to be there (their) advisor (adviser) and be thankful….

The grammar nerd inside of me wept when this email found its way to my inbox. Does this man not know how to operate spell check and/or understand the importance of proofreading? Oy vey…

bullpen lovin’

In a story that seems like something found only in a romantic comedy, Seattle Mariners’ bullpen catcher Jason Phillips spotted a beautiful woman in the stands during a game last May. They made eye contact a few times throughout the game, and Phillips decided to make a bold move. He wrote his name and number on a ball and threw it to her.

They’re getting married this Sunday in the bullpen of Safeco Field.

How adorable is that story? To every woman who’s ever complained that rom coms are unrealistic, I offer Jason Phillips as proof. Romance isn’t dead, people.

That means the meaningful glances* Joba Chamberlain and I shared during the Sox/Yankees game last month must mean something, right?

*We made eye contact. Twice. Not like I was counting or anything.

Photo of Jason Phillips courtesy of baseball-fever.com.

please tell me this is a wig.

Tom, whoever told you this was a good idea was wrong. Even if it was Gisele. It may just barely work for Justin Bieber, but he’s practically still in preschool. I just pray that this is some kooky off-season thing, like, “Oh, cool, I can grow a weird Dorothy Hamill-esque ‘do in the summer and then chop it all off before the season starts!” This is almost as misguided as that horrible mustache Mark Sanchez attempted to pull off for a few games last year.

Photo courtesy of Splash News via Dlisted.

have we found the song of summer 2010?

Every year after Memorial Day, the music industry scrambles to name the song that will be the song of that summer; a song so ubiquitous that it’s forever associated with that year. I can’t hear Rihanna’s “Umbrella” without thinking of the summer of 2007, and the summer of 2009 belonged to Lady Gaga and “Love Game.” It’s still technically spring until mid-June, but it’s safe to award the title of song of summer 2010 to Katy Perry’s “California Gurls.”

Whether you’re from “the golden coast,” the east coast, or somewhere in between, there’s no denying the song’s sunny, upbeat feel. It practically begs to be played somewhere sandy and warm. True to summer song form, it’s as commercial as it gets, the most profound lyric being Perry’s assertion that “there must be something in the water.” The bass line is straight out of the 70’s, evoking images of roller skates and hot pants. Were this song released any other time of the year, it just wouldn’t feel right.

That doesn’t mean it’s without its faults, though. The first verse is fun, and you can’t help but sing along with the chorus, agreeing that California girls are “fine, fresh, fierce.” I start to grit my teeth in the second verse, especially on the line “We freak in my Jeep/Snoop Doggy Dog on the stereo.” Perry’s voice turns into some AutoTuned mishmash of sounds on the last note. The chorus helps restore my faith, but then a guest rap by Snoop Dog makes me turn up my nose. I can’t explain why, but I’ve always found Snoop a bit creepy, but I do appreciate a man who knows what a tankini is and is able to rhyme it with “martini” “weenie” and “in betweeny.” That’s the sign of a linguistic genius, folks.

All criticisms aside, I do turn up the radio every time this song comes on (which is quite often.) Because when your life consists of driving a 15-year-old Buick around northern Connecticut, you can’t help but be jealous of someone who can get away with Daisy Dukes and a bikini top as daily attire. I raise a gin and juice to you, Katy Perry. Enjoy your reign as the summer song of 2010.

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com.