So You Think You Can Dance 5-WriterMarie426’s Recap

June 4, 2009 at 6:58 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, So You Think You Can Dance | 2 Comments
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Hey Everyone,

WriterMarie426 is back in action tonight with a recap for SYTYCD’s Top 20 reveal. Enjoy!

Good evening everyone, this is WriterMarie426, and it’s great to be back tonight to recap Vegas Week – Part 2. Thank you to Tink for taking care of this for me last night as I recover from my minor surgery.

After taking 172 contestants down to only 32, we are back at Planet Hollywood to find out who made the Top 20. There are 16 men and 16 women left at this point, and the judges must cut 6 from each group to reach our Top 20. Once again the panel making these decisions consists of Nigel, Mary, Mia, Lil C, Adam Shankman, and Debbie Allen.

Our 32 dancers sit backstage in the holding room as they wait to be called to the stage one by one. The first dancer to take that long walk over to the judges is Janette. She’s had a rough 2 weeks before coming to Las Vegas. She was in a car accident, and her boyfriend of 4 years broke up with her. Janette’s luck is changing for the better though…because the judges tell her she is in the Top 20!

Next to the stage is Diana, who has her lucky monkey waiting for her in the holding room. The judges tell her she is not moving on, but she has really improved and they would like to see her back next season.

Our first guy to walk out to the judges is Vittolio, who is originally from Haiti. He is told that he should bring more of his personality out…but he is in the Top 20!

For the next 30 minutes, the judges cut dancer after dancer. Then comes Kayla, who is supported by her grandparents in her dancing. She is told that she has moved every single one of the judges, and she’s in the Top 20!

After Kuponoh’i shows us his to do list for the day, he comes out to the stage. The judges appreciate that he has cut his hair and has improved so much since they saw him in Seattle. Kupo is in the Top 20…and he checks that accomplishment off his list.

We are shown that 5 more dancers have made it to the Top 20: Paris, Jeanine, Ade, Karla, and Jonathan.

Brandon walks out to the judges next. Mia tells him she is annoyed by him and doesn’t like his attitude. Debbie loves to watch him soar. Lil C is not impressed, and Mary is sick of listening to Brandon being torn down because he’s a wonderful dancer. 4 out of the 6 judges are for Brandon, so he is in the Top 20.

Tony waits backstage, thinking about his brother who is fighting in Afghanistan. When he comes out and finds that he has made the Top 20, he says his brother would be very proud of him.

We find out about 4 more dancers that have made it: Maksim, Caitlyn, Melissa, and Jason.

Next up is Ashley, who is audtioning for the 4th time for this show. The judges say she has emerged and become a fighter…and she’s in the Top 20!

Randi comes to the stage, and she is so nervous that she can hardly speak. The judges say she is uncertain but the power is there…so they are moving her into the Top 20. She is so thankful to all of them!

Alex, who is a member of the Miami Ballet Company, comes to see the judges. Nigel wanted to see if Alex could be let out of his contract with the Ballet, but they said no…so Alex cannot be on SYTYCD this season. He is crushed; he really wants to express himself with different styles of dance besides ballet. Nigel tells him to please come back after his contract is up.

Next is Phillip, who was sick last season and couldn’t perform in Vegas. The judges tell him he is in the Top 20!

We are down to 4 people in the holding room…2 girls and 2 guys. There is only one spot left for female dancers and one left for males. The judges have Deanna and Asuka come to the stage together, and they walk out holding hands to support each other. Asuka is the one who makes it into the Top 20.

Finally we are down to brothers Ryan and Evan. They also walk out to the judges together, and Evan is told that he is in the Top 20. Ryan says he is there to support his brother no matter what.

Tune in next week when the Top 20 dance for America’s votes. Good night everybody!

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SYTYCD: Welcome to the top TWENTY! Sammi T’s recap

June 4, 2009 at 6:17 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, So You Think You Can Dance, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Hello, and welcome to So You Think You Can Dance: The Top Twenty Revealed! Tonight twenty dancers will have their dreams come true as they get the chance to compete for a monetary prize and the title of America’s Favorite Dancer.

Nigel, Mary, Lil’ C., Tyce Diorio, Mia Michaels and Debbie Allen are the judges to make the final decision.

The first dancer to be told she is in the top twenty is Janette, the dancer from Miami. She says this is the good news she needed after a string of bad luck.

Diana Barden, who brought her stuffed monkey for luck, finds out that she is not in the top twenty, but is told to improve and come back next year.

Vitolio is also on his way to the top twenty, although he is told to bring out more of his personality. He tearfully shares his news with people backstage.

After a montage of people being rejected and getting hugs and kisses backstage from Cat and other dancers, Kayla (the girl who came with her grandparents) finds out that she is in the top twenty, after getting a beautiful speech from Mia. I think she is this season’s Courtney.

Kupono is also in the top twenty, along with Paris, Jeanine, Ada, Karla and Jonathan.

Brandon is told he is fabulous by Mary (although Lil’ C. and Mia disagree) and that he is going into the top twenty.

Tony, who has a brother in Afghanistan fighting for our country, (which I thank him for) is also in the top twenty, although Nigel wants to see more from him.

Maksim is also in the top twenty, along with Caitlyn, Melissa, Jason and Ashley.

Randi is in the top twenty as well, but Alex is cut due to his contract with the Miami Ballet Company. (Although he is told to come back when his contract expires.)

After more dancers are cut (this always kills me to see them cry, I feel so bad and could only imagine how hard they all worked.)

The next dancer to be told he will be in the top twenty is Phillip, who is shocked by how far he has come.

The last two girls standing are Deanna and Asuka. Debbie informs Asuka that she is in the top twenty, which means Deanna will be going home.

The last two dancers standing are brothers Ryan and Evan. Nigel says that it is Ryan’s choreography that got Evan into the top twenty. Nigel tells Ryan to come back next year. I was really hoping they would just make a top twenty-one because I loved them both, but it is what it is.

Congratulations to the top twenty! Goodnight America!

So You Think You Can Dance 5-Vegas Week Night One-Tinkcrzy1972

June 3, 2009 at 9:01 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, So You Think You Can Dance, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Hey Everyone,

Thankfully, the nasty weather has cleared out and I’m able to live blog SYTYCD’s Vegas Callbacks, night 1 for you! We have 172 contestants battling it out for only 20 slots, and it will be the best 10 of each gender that survive. This is going to be BRUTAL! Let’s get started, shall we?

In the first segment, we have Nigel, Mary, Mia, Lil C, Adam Shankman, and Debbie Allen. Our first dancer tonight is Alex Wong, from Miami, FL. The hardest part of this show for me is remembering if they are doing something differently than they have in previous seasons. In this case, I don’t remember seeing solos before we saw group choreography last time, but I don’t know if it is new or not. We end up losing 45 dancers just after the solos!

Tabitha and Napoleon are choreographing and teaching the first routine, a hip hop. All told, we lose 37 more dancers in the hip hop round! We’re down to just 97, and only through one round of choreography! I told you Vegas was brutal.

Day 2 dawns with ballroom! Whoo hoo, I’m a happy girl. Choreography for the ballroom round is by Jean Marc Genereux, a waltz. 16 more dancers are victims of the waltz….

Next up is jazz, choreographed by Sonya. Unbelievably, we lose Natalie in this round. For those of you that don’t remember, Natalie and Katee from last season were the last two for the top 10 ladies, and they chose Katee. I’m heartbroken, but my only consolation is that maybe we’ll see her for the fall season, and she will learn and grow in this time. For now, we still have Brandon, who was with Natalie at the Denver auditions. One thing I don’t understand is how, if Sonya was so happy with them while they were learning this same routine, how the judges could be so unimpressed with Natalie as to cut her, and so unhappy with Brandon that they singled him out to tell him they expected more? At what point is the choreographer letting the dancers down? I ask this because I usually end up asking this same question several times throughout the season. We always end up losing people, or hearing that the judges didn’t like this or that routine, when the dancers don’t get to choreograph for themselves.

This is a twist…remember Gabi, our very first audition? She’s made it through so far, but with a lot of faltering. They have asked her to dance for her life at this stage to decide if she should stay. To continue, she will need at least 3 of 6 judges to agree to keep her. They are unanimous in their decision to keep her, but she HAS to be able to pick up more choreography, Nigel tells her. She’s on her last chance now, and I hope she makes the most of it, because she is AMAZING in her solos. I’ve never seen anything like what she can do.

Well, the poor dancers thought they were done for the night after the jazz round, but instead, they get to stay up all night and work on a group routine, to be danced tomorrow morning for the judges. This is going to get UGLY, mark my words. There were only a couple of really stand out groups, but for the most part, the routines we saw were lackluster. I guess this is where you find out who really has the stuff it takes.

Oh boy, Mia is choreographing the contemporary piece, and she’s been more than a bit contentious so far tonight. That was brutal for me, we’re getting down to people I really love. 54 are left, and we have to somehow get to 20. Sometimes I hate this show!

Tyce is doing the choreography for Broadway, which has been split into a men’s piece and a women’s piece. The ladies are up first, and West Side Story is what both groups are working from. By the time they are done with the ladies, we are down to just 16 of them. Of those 16, we still have to lose 6! One of the ladies we lost, I think it was a real mistake by the judges. The tap artist, she deserved to stay. She says she won’t be back again, but I pray she changes her mind!

The afternoon is all about the boys, again with Tyce doing the choreography. This is even harder, because all of the guys I had been rooting for out of this last group made it, and I know that some are going to get cut. Join us tomorrow when we’ll learn right along with you who made our top 20, and which ones get the cruelest cut of all!

So You Think You Can Dance 5: Los Angeles and Seattle Auditions by WriterMarie426

May 28, 2009 at 8:06 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, So You Think You Can Dance, Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Hi Everyone,

We have another treat for you tonight, our own WriterMarie 426 has recapped the last batch of auditions for us, enjoy.

Good evening again dance fans, and welcome to the third and final audtion show of So You Think You Can Dance – Season 5. Our cities for today are Los Angeles and Seattle.

It’s our first day in LA, and our judges are Nigel, Mary, and Adam Shankman, who has judged and choreographed for SYTYCD before, and also choreographed the latest movie version of Hairspray. Last year’s winner, Joshua, is present for today’s auditions.

First up is Bianca, who almost made the Top 20 last season. Her mom flew in all the way from Michigan just to show her support. Bianca performs a classic tap routine, and receives a standing ovation from the audience and all 3 judges. Nigel likes her use of light and shade, calling her the consummate tap dancer. Mary says she is brilliant and the best female tapper that’s ever been on the show. Adam calls her a monster competitor and looks forward to big things from her. Bianca is going to Vegas!

Brynelle and Xavier are dancing next, and they are a brother and sister who say they have the best relationship and it shows in their dancing. Their routine is very dramatic, but they dance more like a couple than like siblings. They have some problems with their lifts. Nigel says this is the strangest brother and sister act he’s ever seen, and tells Brynelle that she dances like a little girl would. Mary says there was no base and no technique. Adam sees no power in the jumps and the extensions are not there. Neither of them is moving on to the next round.

We get to see Debra, who is a plus size dancer, but also is struggling with being an extreme Orthodox Jew…they do not allow dancing on the Sabbath or women dancing in front of men. Nigel likes her routine, but tells her she needs to use the right lines for her body type. Mary says she should never stop dancing, because she loves it. Adam tells her that he is closest to God when he dances, and God does not make mistakes, so even though it would not be her profession she should dance because it is her passion. Debra is not moving on to the next round.

After Debra we are shown several clips of some very strange auditions. The judges are getting frustrated.

Then comes Calico, who loves swing dancing. She says she is inspired by the man who invented the Lindy Hop, because he is 95 years old and still dancing. She performs with a partner, but he is not competing. Nigel says it was enjoyable, and it makes him want to dance with her. Mary believes that Calico should just dance on a social level. Adam says there was no presentation, but he would also love to dance with her. She invites him to come up and do just that! Adam performs the same dance with her that she just did, and he is awesome! Nigel and Mary call Adam to the mic, where past contestants judge him…they tell him he’s going to Vegas. Adam jumps up and down and acts like a real contestant. I just love it!

After Adam’s big moment we watch Asuka and Ricky, who perform International Latin Ballroom. They love the fact that because they are Asian they stand out at competitions. Asuka almost made it to the top 20 last time, and they are back to try again. Nigel loves their dance, saying that it’s hard to take your eyes off off Asuka, but Ricky held his own. Mary calls it absolutely breathtaking, and likes that he is grounded and masculine. Adam says Asuka is very special, but he loves Ricky too. Both of them are going to Vegas!

Later in the day, there are quite a few good dancers, which makes the judges very happy. Then they see Nathan, who quit dancing in eighth grade because people made fun of him. His brother talked him into dancing again because he knows Nathan loves it. Nathan performs a stunning modern ballet routine. Adam calls him impressive, and loves his great center and technique. Mary says he is extrordinary. Nigel likes his great control and says he is brilliant. Then he asks how old Nathan is…he is only 17. This means he is not eligible for the competition yet, but Nigel gives him a ticket to Vegas to hold onto for next season, because he is that good!

We move right on to Day 2, beginning with a wrestler named Sammy. The man who taught him to pop and lock is now in prison, and Sammy hopes his teacher will be able to see him dance on TV. Adam calls his routine awesome, praising his great stops. Mary says he is wonderful. Nigel loves his beaming smile. Sammy is sent to the choreography round.

Next up is Stacey, who does a very strange number for her audition. Adam says he’s never seen anything that looks like that. Mary calls it too crazy. It is decided that she is not moving on to the next round.

After Stacey we meet Amanda, whose dad has had MS for 13 years, but he’s been symptom free for the last six. He gets a lot of joy from seeing Amanda dance. She performs a very expressive contemporary routine. Nigel says he is grabbed more by her beauty than her dance. Mary praises her strong center and says she is extremely talented. Adam asks her about her dad, then tells her to use those feelings to connect with the dance. Amanda is going to Vegas!

Next are Phillip and Arielle. Phillip made it to Vegas last time, but he came down with pneumonia and couldn’t perform. When Nigel sees him, he automatically gives him a ticket to Vegas without him even auditioning this time. We do see him dance though, since he is partnered with Arielle. The judges say they will only be judging her dance since Phillip is already moving on. We find out that Arielle and her parents were in a car accident where they were hit by a semi. She and her dad were OK, but her mom spent a long time in ICU. Phillip would take her to the hospital to visit her mom, and once she was finally in a wheelchair she taught them the choreography in 3 days, focusing on showing Phillip how to partner. Nigel likes the great choreography. Mary calls it clever and says she is a good dancer. Adam says she is a beautiful dancer and she brought out an even better dancer in Phillip. Arielle is also going to Vegas!

After the judges see quite a few great dancers, along comes Kevin, who is channeling Shakira. He even goes by the nickname of Shakiro. Nigel says comparing Kevin to Shakira would be insulting to her, and all he did was move his hips. Mary says he was not dancing, just shaking. Adam tells him to dance for fun, but that’s it. Kevin is not moving on to the next round.

Finally it’s time for the choreography round, and Sammy is among those who are moving on to Vegas.

We are down to Day 1 of our final audition city…Seattle, “The Emerald City”. Our judges are Nigel, Mary, and Mia, who’s been choreographing for SYTYCD for 4 seasons. She won an Emmy for Season 2.

First up today is Christopher, who brings a friend he’s known since seventh grade to help him audition. They call their style a mix of Argentine Tango, East Coast Swing, and International Tango. After their routine, Nigel doesn’t even know what to say, but finally manages to tell Chris that it looked like he was dancing with an ironing board. Mary cannot stop laughing, and tells them it was not good dancing. Mia calls it strange. Christopher is not moving on to the next round.

Our next competitor is Nick, who goes by “Nasty Nick”. He is an aspiring tattoo artist. He does a fast routine with some breakdancing, but stops before he should because he ran out of energy. Nigel asks him about his stamina and Nick gets very disrespectful with him. Mary tells him that he was a yes for her, but since he showed such disrespect to Nigel it’s now a no. Mia agrees with Mary. Nick apologizes, but he is still not moving on to the next round.

After this fiasco comes Dmitrious, who couldn’t wait to audition but now is losing his confidence. His routine consists mostly of a bunch of tricks. The judges are nervous that he is going to hurt himself. Mary says he does not have enough strength. Mia is scared, and couldn’t enjoy it. Nigel says there was nothing there. Dmitrious is not moving on to the next round.

As the day goes on, the judges get frustrated by the lack of good dancing and their energy begins to flag. Mary wishes everyone would stop playing it so safe and just go for it!

Finally they see Kelsea, with her dramatic contemporary routine. Nigel likes it, calling it zany. Mary loves the fun and musicality. Mia calls her a beautiful, disastrous weirdo, liking that she is refreshing and new. Kelsea is sent to the choreography round.

In the choreography round, only 4 people from this day make it to Vegas, and Kelsea is one of them.

Day 2 in Seattle starts with Kuponoh’i (which I hope I’m spelling right!) from Hawaii, and he wants to live up to his name, which means honesty. He dances an emotional routine with a chair. Mary is on the fence about him, saying he was strong but had some feminine moves. Mia says there is definitely something there and she has faith in him. Nigel likes him. Kupo is sent to the choreography round.

The judges are having a much better day, since they are seeing better talent than the day before. Then Nigel spots a familiar face. It’s David, who goes by the nickname of “Sex”. He auditioned in Season 2, and also every season since then.

Dancing next is Leonid, who is from the Ukraine and works on websites and data recovery. He jumps around a lot, moving fast and acting crazy. Nigel says it’s Leo’s personal rave party. Mary likens it to 3 and 4 year olds playing. Mia decides she’d like to see a battle between Leo and David. There is a strange dance-off between them, with the ladies deciding they like Leo better and Nigel actually disagreeing and going with David. He admires David’s tenacity and wants to send him to the choreography round hoping it will finally give him the reality check he needs. Mary finally agrees to that, but Mia does not. Leo is not moving on, but David is going to choreography.

In the choreography round, David is a mess and I feel sorry for the poor girl that wound up as his partner. David goes home, but Kupo is going to Vegas!

Get ready for next week, when our dancers hit Las Vegas. There are over 170 dancers that will be there, but the field will be cut to the Top 20. Good night everyone!

So You Think You Can Dance 5: Miami and Memphis Auditions by WriterMarie 426

May 27, 2009 at 8:08 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, So You Think You Can Dance, Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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Hey Everyone,

Marie has written us another fabulous audition recap tonight, enjoy!

Good evening everyone, and welcome to the second night of auditions for So You Think You Can Dance – Season 5. Tonight’s audition cities are Southern style…Miami and Memphis.

Our judges for the Miami auditions are Nigel, Mary, and Tyce, who was a contestant in Season 3. First up on Day 1 is Tony, who calls his rubber band type movements “Tony style”. He says that anything goes in dancing. He does his routine to “Footloose”, with a lot of sliding on the floor and a cartwheel, which he falls on. Tyce looks bored throughout the routine. Nigel says the only compliment he can give is that when Tony fell, he picked himself up and kept on making a fool of himself. Mary thinks he just looks like a goofy guy. Tyce says it’s quirky, but in a bad way. Tony is not moving on to the next round.

Our next dancer is Priscilla, who’s been dancing since she was 3 but had to deal with an injury at 15. She does a modern ballet number that is meant to celebrate life. Nigel likes it, saying that she proved she is a dancer. Mary says she was over the top wonderful and captivating. Tyce calls her stunningly beautiful, and says watching her makes him happy to be a dancer. Priscilla is going to Vegas!

Tony, who was having trouble breathing after his routine, is now able to leave after being fed a banana and some water.

Janette and Romulo are next. She made it almost to the end last season, but he did not make it. They both came back this season to audition again. They have a great ballroom style, filled with lots of tricks. Nigel says he’s been waiting for some spicy salsa in Miami…and he finally got it. Mary calls them sexy and strong, giving one of her famous screams. Tyce believes they are both amazing. Both Janette and Romulo are going to Vegas!

We now have a set of twins named Jennifer and Jessica, who have created their own style of hip-hop. During their routine, Mary gets nervous when one sister almost kicks the other in the head. Nigel calls it a nightmare. The girls tell him they made up their routine in one day…he says, “That long?” Mary says she’s finally seen something she’s never seen before. Tyce thinks it was fun but tragic. Neither twin is going on to the next round.

The afternoon drags with one bad dancer after another. Tyce reaches his breaking point, and starts being brutally honest with all of the contestants.

After this we see Joseph, who says he needs to go with the flow. He does a wonderful modern/hip-hop number. Nigel loves his humor and footwork. Mary calls him a great entertainer. Tyce says the comedy is good, but he is only half impressed. Joseph is sent to the choreography round.

Lauren choreographs for the group round once again, and Joseph makes it through to Vegas!

On Day 2 in Miami, we start with a lady named Wislande, who feels like she swallowed a bunch of butterflies. She winds up performing a very strange routine. Mary says she was not exactly sure what Wislande was doing up there. Nigel does not see any personality, likening her dancing to that of a little girl just starting out. Tyce says he was shocked and it was not good. Wislande is not moving on to the next round. She calls it a reality check.

We now see a whole group of bad dancers who get their own reality checks. All of the judges have now gone over to the brutally honest side.

Thankfully Erik is next, and his nickname is “Silky”. He says he is bringing tap back. He does his tap/hip-hop routine to “Thriller”, throwing in some Michael Jackson moves. Nigel says he just cleaned up and it was a great performance. Mary loves him, saying she didn’t want it to end. Tyce calls him totally inspiring and likes that he came prepared. Erik is going to Vegas!

Now we meet Paris, who is a former Miss Washington. She knows she really has to bring it. Her routine is ballet with a modern twist. Nigel says it kept him interested and she was fabulous. Mary praises her beautiful lines and great personality. Tyce really likes her, but tells her not to focus too much on her feet, and focus more on her personality. Paris is going to Vegas!

After we see clips from a few great contemporary auditions, we see Geo, who performs an African dance. He scares Mary when he almost jumps onto the judges’ table. Mary calls it entertaining. Tyce says he was scared, but Geo did a good job. Nigel says he is good but needs choreography. Geo is sent to the choreography round.

Finally we meet Talia, who got married when she was 18, but tragically lost her husband when he died in a motorcycle accident. Her dancing gives her a little joy, and helps her take a step forward. She realizes that no one can take life for granted. She does a great hip-hop/jazz routine. Nigel says there was not enough there and she should watch her lips. Mary calls her fiery and sees potential. Tyce says she was one with the music and there is definitely something there. Talia is sent to the choreography round.

In the choreography round, several dancers make it to Vegas, including Geo and Talia.

Our next set of auditions is in Memphis, and our judges are Nigel, Mary, and Lil C from Season 2. Our first dancer is a police officer named Marico, who performs a style called Memphis juking, which consists of rhythmic bounces and steps. Nigel really enjoys it. Lil C is impressed and calls it fundamentally sound. Mary likes the humor and says it’s a great performance. Marico is going to Vegas!

The second dancer up is Dustin, whose mom was a police officer. He also says his cousin is Howie D from the Backstreet Boys. His routine is funny but sloppy. Nigel calls him delusional if he thinks that was hip-hop. Mary says he has a strong body, but his moves are too feminine. Lil C says it was not good, but Dustin might want to consider tricking, which is a combination of fusion and martial arts. Dustin is not moving on to the next round.

Chris is next with a style he calls electric. He calls it performance art, but it looks mostly like a lot of jumping around. Nigel says it looks like Chris is having his own rave party, but it didn’t really show anything. Mary calls it fun, but also thinks it was too much jumping around. Lil C is ready to speak, but Chris doesn’t even want to hear it, because he says the judges are too critical. He walks off the stage.

We see a funny tutorial on The Guide to a Good Audition, which most of the contestants do not follow. They should start with their best moves, come dressed to impress, connect with the judges, and follow directions. We see quite a few people who do not follow this advice.

Next we see Caitlin, whose sister Megan auditioned in Miami and made it to Vegas. She has a gymnastic background but has only been dancing for 5 years. She has also been through hip reconstruction. She performs a beautiful modern ballet routine. Nigel praises her feet and great control. Mary says this is her destiny. Lil C calls her beautiful and captivating. Caitlin is going to join her sister in Vegas!

We see the choreography round, but none of our featured performers are in it. Some dancers do move on to Vegas.

Day 2 in Memphis begins with Anna, whose father committed suicide last year. Dancing is her outlet and her way of expressing herself. She does a very nice modern routine. Nigel says she is a lovely dancer, but she needs to calm the choreography down a bit. Mary says she is a diamond in the rough, but there was too much head bobbing going on. Lil C tells Anna that his father also committed suicide so he knows where she’s coming from, and that she needs to connect with her pain. Anna is sent to the choreography round.

Next up is Travis. His dad is a football coach, but he totally supports Travis in his dancing…he wants him to do what he loves. Travis performs an expressive contemporary number. Nigel says he could be a great dancer but he needs to strengthen his body. Mary believes he’ll have a great future if he can get stronger. Lil C agrees, saying he has great technique and is graceful for his height. Travis is sent to the choreograhoy round.

We meet Ryan and Evan, who are brothers. Evan made the top 40 last season but then was cut. Ryan choreographs for Evan and himself. We see Evan first, doing a classic jazz routine. Nigel says it’s a beautifully constructed routine, and Evan is superb. Mary calls him fabulous and is glad he’s back. Lil C says he is amazing. Evan is going to Vegas!

Before we watch Ryan, we see another set of twins…Lauren and Lydia. They do everything in unison, even talking. They perform a nice contemporary routine. Nigel says that Lydia shows the extremes, while Lauren embodies the performance. Mary calls them solid and adorable. Lil C says they both delivered the routine differently. Both girls are going to the choreography round.

Now we get to watch Ryan. He does a funny tap routine, using a whoopie cushion as a prop. Nigel calls it a terrific performance. Mary says it was clever and fun. Lil C loves the use of the prop. Ryan is also going to Vegas!

Finally we see the choreograohy round, and all four of our featured performers are going to Vegas: Anna, Travis, Lydia, and Lauren.

Tune in tomorrow night for the final two audition cities…Los Angeles and Seattle. Good night until tomorrow!

DWTS Finale: From The Audience Seat

May 20, 2009 at 6:08 am | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Hey Everyone,

We have an amazing intern, Erin, that was lucky enough to attend Monday’s performance night finale of Dancing with the Stars, and lucky for us, she graciously agreed to recap her experience. Enjoy!

Hello BDC Socialites!

I recently won a trip a trip of a lifetime. Two weeks ago, I received a phone call from my local ABC station telling me that I was the winner of their Dancing With The Stars Sweepstakes and have won a trip for 2 to the finale (performance) taping! Over the next 20 minutes, a mix of emotions ran through my body. At first I was caught off guard and was somewhat confused by the phone call. Having entered the contest months ago and thinking “nobody really wins these contests,” I never gave my entry a second thought. However, as I learned more details and all the information started to sink in, those feelings changed. Needless to say, I was ecstatic! Though I live only a short 6 hour drive north of the LA area, I have never attended a DWTS taping, despite always desperately wanting to go. Never in my wildest dreams was I expecting anything like this to happen!

After we got the legal formalities out of the way, I received more specific details from the promotions rep in LA. I found out that ABC was going to wine & dine us! Our hotel accommodations were at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel (http://www.fourseasons.com/beverlywilshire) in the heart of Beverly Hills adjacent to the infamous Rodeo Drive. We checked into our gorgeous hotel room around 3pm Sunday afternoon where we were given a welcome packet with more specific details such as dress code, what to bring to the studio, what not to bring, and Monday’s schedule including the possibility of a meet and greet with some of the dancers! Emotions started building up as reality was starting to set in. I honestly don’t know how I slept Sunday night!

Before getting ready for the show, my boyfriend (my guest) and I shopped around and explored Beverly Hills – but I know none of you care to hear about that! At 2:45pm the winners from all over the country met in the lobby in our best cocktail attire. There was a representative from ABC with us every step of the way taking pictures and videos as none of us would be allowed to bring our own cameras. After the “photo shoot,” we boarded a bus to the studio. We played trivia games along the way and were given DWTS memorabilia, including a copy of the new Ballas Hough Band CD autographed by Mark and Derek! We were a pretty enthused bunch and definitely didn’t need the help of the opening MC to get us pumped for the show!

We took our seats at the set about an hour before show time. We were seated on the floor level facing the stage. We took in the whole set, noting how much smaller it looked in person, and gawked at all the celebrities in attendance. Six chairs down from me was Genya Mazo, Alec Mazo’s brother. A few rows in front, sat Corky and Shirley Ballas, and just feet away were DWTS alumni such as Jane Seymour, Marissa Jaret-Winokur, Brooke Burke, Holly Madison, Vivica Fox, Emmett Smith, Warren Sapp, the Woz, and many more! Tom & Samantha opened the show just to the right of us, and from that moment forward, it was a non-stop thrill! As I’m sure you all saw on TV, the group Paso was amazing and the freestyles were full of energy and entertainment. But what came after the show made our trip even more memorable.

Our ABC rep met us at our seats once the taping concluded and informed us of a little surprise. Mark and Derek were going to come over and take a group picture with us to finalize our night. While we were waiting for Derek, Corky and Shirley Ballas came over to greet each of us and thank us for coming out to the show. They were both very cordial and chatted with us for a bit. Then Derek made his way over to say hi and take the group picture, but was then was kind enough to offer to take individual pictures with all of us winners. He was very nice and patient while we all took our turns to pose with him and the stage. Then it was time to play the waiting game while Mark and Shawn finished up in the Press line, but we didn’t let that bring down the mood!

While we patiently waited on Mark, we took in the chaotic Press line and watched the couples move from interview to interview (where Maks and Karina were conducting interviews for their respected shows as well). A few of us eventually built up our courage and inched our way closer and closer to the end of the press line where, after some time, we were able to meet and get autographs from Gilles & Cheryl and Tony & Melissa. I even snagged a kiss on the cheek from Tony! (Thanks again Tony! 😉 )

Forty not-so-long minutes later, Mark made his way over to take the group picture. Corky was taking pictures for Mark as well, then started to record a video. He then said, “On the count of 3, everyone yell ‘VOTE FOR MARK AND SHAWN!’” We of course chanted back, but apparently it wasn’t loud enough for Corky! He had us do it even louder, which made Gilles stop what he was doing in the Press line and turn to us exclaiming “WHAT?!!!” Gilles threw his hands up in the air in protest then ran over to jump in our group picture. He then summoned Cheryl, then Shawn followed thereafter. Tony then looked up from what he was doing and, of course, had to jump into the fun as well. Melissa was the last to join us, leaving the reporters behind to give us one complete group picture with all of the Season 8 finalists! This crazy, hilarious moment gave us a climactic ending to one of the most perfect nights for all of us.

At the beginning of this trip, I was expecting nothing more than to witness a lively dancing spectacle, but the outcome of the trip far exceed those expectations. Our experience is one I will never forget thanks to all of the people at ABC, both the cast and staff behind the scenes. I will never wash my cheek again Tony, (just kidding!) nor do I hope to come down from this cloud for a LONG while!

(Pictures from the meet & greet are still to come!)

Dancing with the Stars 8 Performance Finale Recap by Tinkcrzy1972

May 18, 2009 at 8:46 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Hey Everyone,

Well, it is finally here, the finale of Dancing with the Stars, Season 8! Tomorrow night, we’ll crown a winner, but tonight, it is a group paso doble and the freestyle round that lie ahead. Let’s get started, shall we?

First up will be the group paso doble, but before that, each of the judges will be visiting with one of our 3 couples. This is a change in the format from previous seasons, it used to just be Len that went out to the couples. Carrie Ann meets with Melissa and Tony, Len meets with Gilles and Cheryl, and Bruno meets with Shawn and Mark. As usual, it is an entertaining segment, and we learn that the order the couples are dancing in for the group dance was determined by a draw.

Shawn and Mark are the first solo. Although I find Shawn’s costume distracting because there is so much of it for her tiny frame, I think they really killed it! Melissa and Tony are second, and I love their costuming. She is SO improved from when we saw them do the paso a couple of weeks ago. She had one little stumble, but recovered quickly and went on with the routine. That isn’t easy! Gilles and Cheryl are last, and to me, it seemed like Cheryl really made the choreo about what worked for her, instead of what worked for Gilles. I don’t like the combined segments for this dance because you couldn’t see all three couples at once, and had to watch whoever the cameraman decided you should watch, instead of deciding for yourself. Judges scores:

Shawn and Mark: 9,9,10
Melissa and Tony: 10,9,10
Gilles and Cheryl: 10,10,10

Now for my favorite part of the whole competition, the freestyle round. Shawn and Mark are first, starting clothed all in black, with white gloves and white sparkly masks, reminiscent of the Jabbawockeez. These are stripped away early on in the number to reveal green and black costumes that are really cute. Their freestyle is a little bit lindy, a little bit hip hop, a little tumbling, and a whole lot of fun. I will say that I think Mark was overdancing Shawn just a bit in some sections, but I enjoyed their freestyle very much. Judges’ scores: 10,10,10

Melissa and Tony are next, and I just have to say it….wow, my boss here at Ballroom Dance Channel is a hottie! Sorry if I’m embarrassing you, Tony, I know you work hard for everything you have! Okay, I know I’m biased, but this freestyle is one of the best I’ve ever seen, and it has everything a freestyle should. It is a classic mix of tricks and flash for the crowd, but with plenty of ballroom content thrown in as well, so we can see what Melissa learned. Also, it was FUN! Tony, win, lose, or draw tomorrow night, I’m so proud of you, and so happy that we have gotten to see you really come alive through your dancing with Melissa this season. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us! Judges’ scores: 9,9,9. BOOOOOOOOO!

Gilles and Cheryl are the last to dance the freestyle tonight. I wasn’t getting the costumes until I heard the song, they chose the theme from Flashdance. Hmmm. Interesting. I would have thought they would choose something that would showcase Gilles a little more, but again, this routine feels like it is more about Cheryl than Gilles, where the other two couples are acting as one, as a team. Also, it seemed like there was much less for Gilles to do in his routine than Shawn or Melissa did. Given it is a freestyle, I don’t think the picture/frame analogy applies. Again, that could just be me. Judges’ scores: 9,10,9.

Tomorrow night is the end of the road, win, place or show. Who do you think is taking home the coveted mirror ball trophy, and who will be the first to go? Hope we’ll find out together tomorrow night. Also, please note that Ballroom Dance Channel is proud to be covering So You Think You Can Dance again this season, and that coverage will start on Thursday with the first audition show!

Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

WriterMarie426’s Dancing with the Stars Finale Recap

May 18, 2009 at 6:15 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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Well, here we are everybody! Welcome to the finals of Dancing With The Stars – Season 8. Ty had a good long run this season, but went home last week just shy of the finals. Gilles, Melissa, and Shawn dance tonight for the mirror ball trophy. The first round will be a Paso Doble face-off among the three couples, then we will move to the always popular Freestyle round.

All three of our stars and their partners descend the stairs in their breathtaking Paso outfits. Kudos to Randall Christensen and his talented staff for making the dance costumes so amazing every single week. All of our dancers look pumped and ready to go.

First we see footage of all of our couples being visited in practice by one of the judges. Each judge is there to give pointers and help improve the dances. Bruno observes Shawn and Mark, telling them to surprise the audience with something they’ve never seen before. Carrie Ann goes to see Melissa and Tony, who wants them to bring out more aggression in their Paso this time, and less of Melissa’s ballet and cheerleading background. Len pops in on Gilles and Cheryl, saying that they need to up their game and dominate, and also make this Paso less hectic. Finally we see the group part of the Paso rehearsal, where the couples are trying to look good as a group but also realize that they are competing against each other in this group number.

Our Paso Doble face-off starts to the tune of Pink’s “So What”, with all three couples together on the floor. Shawn and Mark dance their solo section first, keeping their moves strong, sharp, and serious. Melissa and Tony dance next, making their Paso aggressive and powerful with tremendous kicks. Finally Gilles and Cheryl dance, keeping it sexy and giving us some great spins. The group comes out together to finish, keeping everything in sync.

Len says it’s difficult to do a classic dance to contemporary music, but our couples did a good job with that. He likes Shawn’s excitement and energy, but tells her to keep her chin up more. He tells Melissa she did a good job, but he saw a slight mistake. Len says he liked Gilles’ full on intensity, and that this time the Paso was not too hectic for him.

Bruno commends the three couples for dancing well together as a team. He says that Shawn did a beautiful job, and likes that Melissa’s confidence has grown by leaps and bounds. He calls Gilles a leading man.

Carrie Ann remarks that this is her favorite season so far, and these couples prove why. She doesn’t think Shawn was as emotional as she needed to be, but does say that Melissa nailed it this time. She tells Gilles that she expects perfection from him, and that’s what she got.

Shawn and Mark 28 (9,9,10)
Melissa and Tony 29 (10,9,10)
Gilles and Cheryl 30 (10,10,10)

Now we get to peek in on the Freestyle practices. Shawn says that she and Mark will not be using her gymnastics moves this time, because they got in trouble last time they used them. Former DWTS Champion Apolo Anton Ohno comes in to tell Shawn to use her Olympic edge. He also mentions that no Olympian that has made the DWTS finals has lost, which makes Shawn feel a little nervous.

Shawn and Mark start their Freestyle routine in black hooded track suits, with their faces covered in sparkling silver masks. After a short time they strip down to their green show outfits, and show us a Freestyle filled with acrobatic break dancing moves. They have a little difficulty with a lift, but otherwise do a solid routine.

Bruno says they are going for the gold, and he liked the explosiveness and creativity. Carrie Ann likes the youth and energy, along with the precise movements. Len tells them he enjoyed the fun, speed, and precision.

Score: 30 (10,10,10) TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT: 58

When Bruno holds up his 10 paddle for them, he shouts “11”!

Melissa and Tony tell us that they have to put it all on the line this week. The last time Tony was in the finals was in Season 2 with Stacy Keibler, and he learned something important…no risk, no reward. Tony states that this is the most physical routine he’s ever choregraphed, and that is proven when Melissa accidentally clocks him in the eye practicing a lift.

Tony and Melissa come out in hip hop style, with great footwork and fantastic flips. Their Freestyle is fast and fun, with a lot of intricate moves.

Carrie Ann loves Melissa’s new attitude and likes the performance, but feels that that choreography was a bit disjointed. Lens says they showed versatility, but the style they danced is not his cup of tea. Bruno agrees with Carrie Ann, but also says he really enjoyed their lifts.

Score: 27 (9,9,9) TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT: 56

Our final Freestyle comes from Gilles and Cheryl. Gilles says that all three couples are so good, it’s really anybody’s game now. Cheryl works on bringing out his personality and charisma. Gilles is nervous about all of the tricks in this routine, especially since his shoulder is hurting a lot more. The doctor wraps Gilles’ shoulder to help him with the pain during the lifts.

We hear the music of Flashdance start, and they start the performance with some chair moves. It’s a great routine, high energy yet still sexy, and the lifts go well.

Len really likes the high energy, telling Gilles that he is a real dancer. Bruno says it was a great performance, but he wanted to see more. Carrie Ann agrees with Bruno.

Score: 28 (9,10,9) TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT: 58

Ballroom Dance Channel Congratulates Tony Dovolani and Melissa Rycroft on making the finals!

May 18, 2009 at 1:09 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Hey Everyone,

We at BDC just wanted to take a minute and congratulate our own Tony Dovolani with his celebrity partner Melissa Rycroft on making the DWTS finals tonight! We hope you will join us in supporting their bid to win by voting by phone at 1-800-868-3413, and online at ABC.com. If you are an AT&T cellular customer, you can text votes in as well. Thanks for helping us help them!

Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

Dancing with the Stars 8: The Semis!

May 11, 2009 at 9:02 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Hey Everyone,

Welcome to the semi finals! I can’t believe we’re here already, it seems like our season just started, and next week it is all over until the fall. I can’t be too sad, though, because that means we get to start covering So You Think You Can Dance. It is a wonderful time to be a dance fan, isn’t it?

To start off our evening, there is a rousing pro number to “Should I Stay or Should I Go” that featured Louis Van Amstel, Dmitry Chaplin, and Genya Mazo, partnered with Karina Smirnoff, Aliona Vilani, and Chelsie Hightower. I loved it, but am a little confused why Chelsie was dancing when she has two routines to get through with Ty tonight as well. I hope it doesn’t put them at an additional disadvantage.

After the pro number, we do a segment with Melissa and Tony, where they chose their favorite smooth and Latin dances. They chose the foxtrot and the samba as their favorites. I thought then they would dance, but we are going to go through all the couples first. I assume this is meant to lengthen the show so that Castle’s season finale airs immediately after the close of our show, as it is on the bubble for renewal and showed a 40% increase in viewers last week when aired immediately after DWTS.

Gilles and Cheryl are second for the trip down memory lane, and they chose the foxtrot and the paso doble as their favorites. I was there the night of the paso doble, and I have never felt an energy in the ballroom like I did that night, it was like a rock concert! After the commercial break, we hear from Shawn and Mark. They choose the quickstep and the paso doble, both dances from last week. Interesting that Shawn finally felt she had a breakthrough just last week, as good as she has been throughout the competition! Last for this segment are Ty and Chelsie, and they choose the quickstep from week 2 and the Lindy hop. Chelsie really gives some helpful pointers to Ty during the voiceover for their segment. She is brilliant with the analysis and in telling him what he needs in their dances for this week. I really hope they invite both Chelsie and Dmitry back for next season, as both are positive additions to professional roster.

Melissa and Tony have the quickstep in the smooth round tonight. Melissa is intimidated by the footwork, because she knows Len is going to be watching her closely, and already isn’t a fan of her feet. WOW! That was so beautiful, so elegant, and so much fun all wrapped in one. I thought the footwork was beautiful, and I agree with Len about the musicality. The other two were nitpicky, as usual. Judges scores 9,10,9.

Gilles and Cheryl have the waltz in the smooth round. This has been a busy week for Cheryl, she opened her third dance studio in Laguna Nigel over the weekend. She wisely brought in Jonathan Roberts to help Gilles learn the elegance needed for the waltz, and he did a brilliant job. This was just amazing, all the way through. The song choice, costuming, and choreography combined to make one of the most beautiful waltzes I’ve seen on the show. Judges’ scores: 10,10,10.

Shawn and Mark are dancing the Argentine Tango in the smooth round. The pressure really seemed to be getting to them about the lifts in the practice footage, but the actual routine was just stunning. Mark really knows how to choreograph for Shawn’s strengths. Actually, he’s always done an amazing job of finding the essence of each of his partners and really making him shine. If the reports from this week come true and he and Derek take next season off, I think it will be a loss to the show in both cases, as both are brilliant dancers and choreographers. Judges scores: 10,10,10. Can you imagine what that feels like for her?

Ty and Chelsie are dancing the Viennese Waltz in the smooth round. But first, Ty needs to issue some payback for that rumba solo, and makes Chelsie ride a mechanical bull. She does brilliantly, but Ty mocking her for being too fluid was too funny! Sigh. I love Ty, and I love Chelsie more than I can say, but that was not very good. The musicality wasn’t there, and it was choppy throughout. There were points he ALMOST had it, but we didn’t quite get there. Judges’ scores: 8,9,8.

We’ll be dancing in the same order for the Latin round tonight, which means we’re back to Melissa and Tony. They have the cha-cha for the Latin round, and danced to my favorite Michael Buble song! I thought they did a wonderful job, but the judges were a bit critical of the footwork. Still, you can’t be perfect in every dance, one of them has to be your weak point. Judges’ scores: 9,9,9.

Gilles and Cheryl have the salsa in the Latin round tonight. Once again, a flawless routine. Gilles and Cheryl deserve to be in the finale, but with performances like this tonight, has he peaked too early? How much will they now have to put into the 3 dances for next week in order to sustain that level of intensity? Judges’ scores: 10,10,10.

Shawn and Mark are dancing the jive tonight, and it was a really fun routine. Mark needs to be careful, though, if they make the finale as expected. He doesn’t mean to do it, but he tends to outshine Shawn at times with the precision of his movements. I love to watch Mark dance, but it can make Shawn look less than when he doesn’t dial it back just a little. Judges’ scores: 9,8,9. Seriously? An 8?

Dancing last tonight are Ty and Chelsie, with the samba. It actually is pretty good, but I thought it was lacking in musicality. Ty’s stiffness works well for him with the samba rolls, though! He’s just so cute, and I have to say I am really proud of him for making sure he wasn’t leading with his heels. Judges’ scores: 8,7,8.

Okay, that’s it for tonight. We’ll see you tomorrow where we’ll learn together who makes the finals next week!

Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

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