8 Flavahz taking flight.
8 Flavahz did not win America's Best Dance Crew, guys. But! The Katy Perry finale was still a triumph, bringing back past beloved crews and serving up the excellent performances that we tune in for. First up was season five champs Poreotics, who joined finalists Elektrolytes on "Part of Me." Remember those fun video game-y moves? Love those guys.
This is the cool, non-Christmas version of Greensleeves.
Next up were season four champs (and only all-female crew to win ABDC) We Are Heroes led by Hiroka McRae, who we will hopefully be seeing again soon on So You Think You Can Dance (she's been busy!). Of course they joined the all-girl 8 Flavahz on "TGIF," discussing outfits and girl power as they prepared. The merging of the two groups for the performance emphasized just how tiny and young the 8 Flavahz girl are, but they held their own, especially when Summer Waikiki broke out what looked like some sweet hula-style moves with her feathery skirt. At the end, Hiro passed the symbolic (I guess?) "love" robe along to show the sharing of girl dance glory (I assume). It was very sweet.
Nuclear levels of girl power up in here.
And then came the moment we were all (or at least I) was waiting for, the return of last season's winners I.aM.mE performing for the last time as current champions on "ET." Our boy Moon is now rocking a very nice mohawk-y 'do -- man is it good to see these amazingly talented performers again. I couldn't have put it better than JC: "If that performance doesn't help you understand why I.aM.mE are the reigning champions, you are asleep at the wheel ... you cannot take your eyes off this group." Amen! Seriously, if you missed this performance, check it out immediately. They haven't lost a bit of their brain banging awesomeness since last they were on the show.
Consider your brain banged (sounds grosser than I intended).
Although 8 Flavahz lost out to Elektrolytes in the end, it was another season of dance like on no other show. Love you, ABDC! See you next year!
We met several interesting gentlemen on the last leg of So You Think You Can Dance's audition tour in Salt Lake City. First up was Murphy Yang, who is 22 and from Roy, UT. To say that Murphy's parents don't support him seems to be a bit of an understatement: when he refused to give up dancing to get a "real" job like being a doctor or a lawyer (oh lord, here we go...), they moved to California, disowning him and leaving him to fend for himself in Utah, which he's been doing for six months. If it weren't for the kindness of his girlfriend, the poor guy would be homeless.
Murphy put on a fun little routine, starting out with slow, old fashioned music and moves to match, then eventually adding in a hip hop beat and flavor. At the end he lifted his shirt to reveal "Vegas" written on his abs, a move I found just a bit on the desperate side. I totally agreed with Nigel when he dubbed Murphy an entertainer, then noted that his choreography didn't show off enough moves. Mary found him charming (and loves his name, obviously), but she also found in lacking in dance vocabulary and could tell he's had no training to boot. Guest judge Adam was encouraging when he told Murphy that his "passion transcends the technique," and all three judges agreed to send him to choreography. Unfortunately, he quickly got lost on stage and didn't make it to he land of his abs' dreams.
SYTYCD has always had a healthy Hawaiian representation, and this year is no different with Dareian Kujawa, who is 19 and now lives in Boulder City, NV. We got a whole background package describing how Dareian grew up extremely poor, but that seemed to have no effect on his beautiful contemporary dancing. Though Nigel was a bit oddly obsessed with Dareian's shirtlessness/exposed nipples (keep it in your pants, Nige), he had many compliments ... except for Dareian's feet, which Nigel called "lousy." Mary said, "You're just joy out there," and Adam stood up, pointed, and screamed. "You are what this show is all about!" he shouted before they unanimously sent him to Vegas.
And finally, we have Johnny Ahn, a 29-year-old ballroom dancer from Orem, UT. All throughout the episode we were teased with Johnny's creepy come-ons to his fellow (female) auditioners with blunt lines like, "Are you 18 at least?" and "Are you single?" We eventually found out that he's spent 200 hours(!) over two years on a program called "Double Your Dating," watching DVDs and reading books to learn what I thought were pretty disturbing ways to show women he has confidence. I'm sorry, but asking Cat Deeley for a back massage? You get away from her! He also demonstrated (not successfully) how being a jerk can be a turn-on ... I'm sorry, I can't talk about this any more. Yuck.
Johnny has been dancing with his partner Whitney for 8 months, and when asked what she thinks of his "dating" techniques, she diplomatically (though hesitantly) said, "I guess it just works on other people..." 'Nuff said. Ballroom expert Mary immediately picked up on the fact that Johnny never looked at Whitney, and while she's a ball of fire, they do not have chemistry together. Nigel warned Johnny to be careful of "going oooh all the time," which he totally did, I'm afraid. Both dancers went through to choreography, but neither made it to Vegas. Forgive me for sounding rude, but I'm glad we won't be seeing any more dating "wisdom." Shudder.
Poor Jason on Duets. In the bottom both weeks, and this week when he and Kelly watched his latest performance back, she picked up on all the moments where he was off pitch. For "party song" week, Kelly chose "Satisfaction" and wanted to see Jason get loose and move onstage. She then made fun of his feeble attempt at swaying slightly during rehearsal. Hoo boy, guys. I think this is clearly too little, too late. Jason isn't getting the hang of this stage ease thing, and the additional pressure of landing in the bottom again and again isn't helping. During their performance, Jason looked as stiff and uncomfortable as ever, especially in comparison to Kelly. Nevertheless, the judges all agreed that it was his best performance. Jennifer emphasized the fact that Jason is one of the youngest contestants on the show, so he's still got a lot of potential, but John could still tell that Jason was thinking too much and it was clear to the audience. Maybe I'm completely off in my assessment, maybe the judges took pity on him, or maybe two other people just really screwed up, but Jason ended up number 5 out of 7, marking the first time he hasn't been in the bottom two.
Jason's inability to relax majorly stresses me out.
Meleana interviewed that she's used to grooving to slow songs, so she was a little uneasy with having to "rock out." John surprised her by choosing Kelly's song "Since U Been Gone" (yessssss), actually ending their performance by walking right up to Kelly's chair and singing directly to her. "That was the first time I ever sang a party song," Meleana explained afterward (that seems just a bit odd, right? I guess she means on stage?). Kelly said that she was a little pitchy, but was quick to admit that it's a tough song to sing and she's pitchy herself when she performs it. Jennifer agreed about the off pitch, but complimented Meleana's energy, and Robin said she was "swimming in a barrel of emotion." Wha? Stick to the sandwiches, maybe?
Meleana and John go for the big note.
Meleana ended up 6 out of 7, meaning that she had to sing a capella against Olivia. She performed "Saving All My Love for You," and despite the fact that it truly was a lovely vocal, she was sent home. I feel badly that she came in late and had to leave to early, but que sera, I suppose.
We got to fill in a little more of Angela's back story on Push Girls. It turns out that she and husband Dustin Nguyen are separated not for personal reasons, but because of work: he is in Vietnam, working as an actor and director. Angela has accepted that his life is in Vietnam, but she chose not to join him because when you're in a wheelchair there, "They look at you like you're cursed." The two do stay in touch, and we see them talk over Skype. Meanwhile, Angela asked Dustin for their house in California, and in order to stay she must pay the bills -- a pretty tall order, considering. Man, like there isn't enough tragedy in their lives. Still, much of the episode is devoted to the tenth anniversary of Angela's accident, which she never seems to view with bitterness or anger. Her friends all work to plan her party, and they celebrate together in the end. It's sad how remarkable it is to see healthy female friendships being portrayed on television, but there are a couple of great examples right here.
The previous issue of Hyphen is available in its entirety for your perusing pleasure. Almost as good as having it right in your hands!