Sunday, July 31, 2011

New WIP – YAY!

I've completed White City (Yay!), and it's about stinkin' time, in my opinion. I'm going to start submitting it to agents again, work on getting my query as good as stinkin' possible and also put together a synopsis (I hate those things).

Also, and right on schedule, might I add, I get to start my newest WIP on Monday!

I am so completely excited about this I can hardly sit still. I was going to get started on CERTIFIABLE, my YA psychological thriller, but I've decided I need to let that marinate a little more. The storyline is there, but it's not as developed in my head as I'd like it to be, and since it's so outside my normal genre, I need to do some more reading and research about how to put a book like that together. I still plan to dabble on it, though, and I'm definitely not giving up on it, so don't worry.

My new WIP I'm talking about is the one that came to me last week at Sbux. The one that's fully developed in my mind and seems to be begging me to write it. I've bounced the idea off a few of my nearest and dearest and they're just as excited about it as I am. Ready for the working title? CASTE. It's going to be a YA dystopian (been reading quite a few of that genre, lately) and I it's going to be great.

With my latest WIP, I'm trying a few new things. I'm not an outliner by any stretch of the imagination. I'm a seat of my pants flyer, and a darn good pilot, too. With CASTE, I'm taking a little more time mapping it out. I've worked on the visual aspect of it, what they city looks like; even down to the style of their clothing.

It's so hard to sit there and not write the story. Instead, I'm working on getting the back story down for the characters, the city, the history, the different elements of my characters' lives, etc. Not just a general idea and "it's all in my head" kind of thing I normally do, but an actual "write it down and know EVERY minute detail" idea. And guess what? It's exciting. I've somewhat outlined (in detail) the first act of the book. Doing this gives me more direction and structure.

My goal is to try and have CERTIFABLE and CASTE finished with first edits by February so that I can choose which one to bring to SFWC. By taking the time to outline everything in as detailed of a way as possible (even though it's outside my comfort zone) is giving me the illusion that: This. Is. Possible!

With CASTE, I'm a little at a loss for what POV to use. I love 3rd person, because then I can head hop and show you what's going on apart from my MC. But, as I discussed here, it's not as strong as first person. So, I have tentatively decided on the 1st person narrative.

But then my choice becomes, present or past tense? Past is definitely more comfortable because it's what the majority of authors use, but present is kind of fun and different and adds a little more immediacy to the story.

Aghh! Decisions, decisions. But, I'm still mapping everything out right now, so I have a little time to figure out which one to use.

What about you? Any new WIP you're exceptionally excited to be working on?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

break it down now!



Ha! Look at this everybody! Look at this! I’m early. That’s right. Early. I need to start taking my notes on my Mini instead of long hand. This would only make sense. Carrying on…

I love the group numbers. So much. And this group number was terrific. I loved the song and choreography and costumes. I love the style and the look (Anyone know what it's called?). The number was absolutely beautiful and not one dancer stood out more than any other. They all did their best. On a slight side note, anyone else notice that all of Mary’s dresses tend to be of the one shoulder variety?



Eliminations this time around were going to be hard. We all knew that from the beginning. At this point in the game, everyone left is a superb dancer, you just have to pick the weakest link to go home. I always discuss the show and every possible angle at with my coworkers the next morning. We have our favorites and argue who will go home/be in the bottom and why. Between the three of us, we pretty much nail it each week. Our predictions after Wednesday’s show? Bottom 4: Caitlynn, Jordan, Jess & Ricky.

Reality? Caitlynn, Jordan, Jess, and Tadd???? What the beeeeep?!?!?!

Seriously, to me, this in the bag. When it came down to the boys, Cat already said that Jess was already in the bottom. It came down to Ricky and Tadd. This is so easy! I thought. Ricky will be in the bottom.

But no!!!! It was Tadd! What the heck, America!

I sat on the couch in disbelief when they called Ricky’s name as being SAFE. All I could say was What?!?! At the top of my lungs. But, what’s done is done. Time to prepare for solos.

The guest performance was A MA ZING! The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers (LXD). Oh my! on repeat x100. For real. Everything was fantastic and had me in awe. Their unison, their choreography, the fact that the tricksters were spinning and kicking in the air omplete unison! I WAS DROOLING, PEOPLE! DROOLING!!! I LOVED this number! Loved, loved, loved, loved, LOVED! Can I get that across clear enough? This number! Holy crap! Cat said something about them being on Hulu August 7th for their 3rd season, but to be honest, I was is still shock from their amazingness to pay attention to what she was saying. Chris Scott helped choreographed it, which is no real surprise, or that he’s a great dancer. I really want to download it to my iPod and DROID so I can watch it whenever. Please, watch it at least 5 times. Right. Now.



Solos. Who brought it, and who didn’t
Okay, I don’t think that any of them really brought anything except Jess and possibly Caitlynn. The others already looked defeated. Even Tadd I was a little disappointed with. His solo was far from phenom. But, the judges seemed entertained.



Lady Gaga performed. It was good, but I was still suffering my awesome dancing hangover to really pay attention. Okay, breathe.

All right! So, who went home? Nigel had said that at this point, the judges basically went with America’s choice because they were all great dancers– Jess and Jordan, b. Sad, buh-bye. But, that’s what happens. Life goes on! I think I’m going to go LXD’s performance again.

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 




--Me

break it down now!



Apologies for the neglect and lack of love last week. And we're back! With LADY GAGA!!! What a fun night of judges. Rob Marshall was also there (and what an addition he was to the panel!) Gaga looked straight out of a Beatles' album. Hello, Sgt. Pepper! Onto the show!

Dances with All Stars

Sasha & Pasha
Pasha, Pasha, Pasha. Everything is better with Pasha. I think I like him so much because of Cat's reaction every time she's around him. Anyway, they had a Quickstep with Jonathan Roberts (I'm going to stop my comments about all the new choreographers they're bringing in). It was very quirky and fun and pretty dang good. They're feet were fast and complicated and they nailed the steps. Sasha's knees were still a little wide, but much better than before.


Caitlynn & Ivan
They had a Marty Kudelka lyrical hip hop routine about a girl being fed up with her man, but in the end he wins her back. I need to say that Caitlynn is amazing. She is so versatile and really has the skill to make everything look good. Even hip hop. The dance was very Usher-ish with Ivan (Who is a drop dead gorgeous dancer).


Jordan & Adé
In the words of Nigel when Adé was first on the show, "What a difference Adé makes." And he really does. I've forgotten what a great dancer he was. I'm so glad they're bringing back the All Stars. They had a Tyce Jazz number that was the PERFECT routine for Jordan. Just perfect! It was awesome and wonderful and I forgot to write things down about it, so just watch. Favorite Routine.



Melanie & Neil
They had a Mandy Moore contemporary routine about a relationship at crossroads. Melanie is so talented with these emotional numbers. She always gives her all and makes it real. Like AS Alison, she pulls from deep within, and WOW. That flying jump into Neil's arms! Gaga was near tears at the end and everyone gave them a standing O (Gaga was two feet taller than everyone with her shoes). I agreed with everything the judges said. There really is something about Melanie, and it's not just her dancing, that makes her fantastic. I loved the jump she did off stage into Neil's arms. Hope her boyfriend isn't jealous.


Ricky & Aña
A Jason Gilkison Jive. No story, just dancing their asses off. Sweet tricks and amazingly fast feet, but Ricky missed the over the shoulder throw and it looked really awkward and strained. Aña kind of tumbled to the ground. It wasn't my favorite routine. Gaga kind of blamed the "badness" of the routine on the choreographers. Number 1 rule about SYTYCD - Don't attack the choreographer (she did this also on all the hip hop routines).


Jess & Lauren
A NappyTabs routine about a cheater asking for forgiveness. Jess did a great job staying together with Lauren (who is a-ma-zing). The emotion was really there, and I felt such honesty and vulnerability from Jess. It was the first time that I actually connected with him as a person and didn't find him slightly obnoxious. Every week, like the judges said, he keeps getting better and better.

Tadd & Lauren
Loved this routine by Mandy Moore about a heist. First of all, the song was great, and I loved Tadd (realized last night that I've been spelling his name wrong this entire time). He lost his had near the middle of the routine and then was punched in the face by Lauren, but he kept going, and it was awesome. The dance lost a little of it's flavor without the hat, but it still worked.


Marko & Alison
Okay, so this dance got a standing O all the way around. Everyone was crying: the dancers, the parents, the judges, the audience. It was a contemporary routine by Sonya about the guilt and desire to change after realizing that you hurt someone because of something you've done or said intentionally. Sonya really wanted to express a number to motivate people to be nicer and less judgemental. And I think that that's what made this number so emotional for everyone. We've all been in that place where we've caused someone to hurt. And proud or not of our actions, Sonya convicted each and every one of us to the core.



Dances with Each Other

Caitlynn & Tadd
They had a Foxtrot by Jonathan. Classic Fred and Ginger. Her dress. His tux. It was all magical. Loved it, very fun to watch.

Ricky & Marko
This number was sooo much fun! A hip hop number by NappyTabs about two bad ass garbage men. Mako and Ricky both brought it, Marko most of all, but they were both fun to watch. This was the routine, though, where Nigel said Ricky would be in the bottom 3.



Jordan & Jess
I thought this one was exceptionally choreographed, although the judges didn't like it too much. It was a Rumba by Jason to one of my favorite songs by Adele, but the story behind the dance didn't come through for me. The pairing of Jordan and Jess was interesting. Jess is such a small guy, ad Jordan is a big girl for him--in more ways than one. Almost too much woman for him to handle. But I think he did pretty well, although I must admit I hardly looked at him. Jason put Jordan barefoot for the dance, which suited the height difference and story and emotion of the song. Plus the chair. He had them use it for assisted lifts and tricks, which was really, really smart. Over all I liked it, but it wasn't one of my favorites.



Sasha & Melanie
Okay, so this was my other favorite routine of the night (I told you there weren't that many). It was a Sonya jazz routine. I have no idea what it was about, but didn't care, because these girls rocked it. It was so funny to see Melanie in a Sonya routine (I don't think it's happened yet this year). I thought she'd be out of place, but even though she was out of her element, she was fierce and she owned it! I loved their little crab walk and attitude was there in spades. I loved Melanie's spiky hair, and I agree with Nigel: These two are the best in the show. Standing O in the house. They even got a Gaga shoe! As well as Sonya!



Who's gonna go
Okay, so this is going to be hard. Getting down to the Top 8 means that everyone is pretty much a genius. But, decisions have to be made. Unfortunately, none of the routines really stuck out to me as being fantastic, all though I do have to say there were a few favorites, but I've liked other routines more, if that makes any sense. I've noticed a pattern with Nigel. If there's someone he wants to be in the bottom, he says so, or he makes little comments to sway the voters. It shouldn't happen that way, but it does. He did this with Ricky last night. I agree that he was the weakest of all the guys, but still.

So, my predictions for tonight: Ricky & Tadd for the bottom and Caitlynn & Jordan for the bottom. Going home, I think it will be Ricky & Caitlynn. What about you?


--Me

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Maze Runner


James Dashner
YA Dystopian (younger range of YA)
Spoiler: None
Rating: PG (Some blood, death, etc, but nothing extremely graphic)
Coffee Beans: 2.5/5

I finished the Maze Runner by James Dashner and have mixed feelings about it. It's a good concept (young boys dumped in a maze with no memories of anything. All they have is a drive to solve the maze and to escape). There's a fair amount of mystery and things that go bump in the night.

Now, I know that this is intended for the younger spectrum of the YA crowd, but I still felt like it could have been developed more to hold the reader's attention better. The characters were a little flat and cliché for me to really get into and enjoy. Granted, there were some twists and turns I didn't see coming, I wasn't addicted to this book like others I have been to in the past, and it wasn't until the very end that I was like, "Whoa. That's cool!" when Dashner really caught my attention.

I didn't have the intention to pick up the second book in the series (Scorch Trials), but when those last few pages hit, that's when I got invested in the story and in the characters. Maybe book two will be better than book one, but do I have the motivation to pick it up and the time to invest in it when I have so many other great ones that are demanding my time? Probably not.

Pick it up and decide for yourself, but for me, it was just…meh.
If it's what you LOVE, never turn back.

No matter how hard it gets.


--Me

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Flowers for Algernon

Daniel Keyes
Rating: PG
Coffee Beans: 4/5
Spoiler: Big time

I’ve been doing this thing lately, where my brain remembers books that I’ve read back in Jr. high or high school, and I recall them being very good. I can’t remember every detail, but the overall impression I got from those books has stuck with me through the years, which makes me want to relive the experience. The Giver, A Wrinkle in Time, Hatchet, Shiloh, and Flowers for Algernon, just to name a few. I just finished the last one because I remember it being amazing. While I reading it, I asked everyone I met about the book.


“Remember reading Flowers for Algernon back in Jr. High?” I would ask.
I’d get a curious look or an arched eyebrow. Something about what I had said was familiar.
“The story about the guy who’s mentally retarded, he has an operation and is made smart?” I would prompt.
“Is there a white mouse in it?”
“Yes!” I would exclaim with a clap. “Algernon was the name of the mouse.”
“Yeah! I remember reading that!” Then their voice takes on a hint of melancholy. “That was a good book.”

It’s funny that everyone remembers the mouse the most. It’s not like he has a huge part (page count wise) in the book, but the symbolism he carries with him is gargantuan. No one remembers Charlie Gordon’s name, but everyone remembers the white mouse.

The book was first published back in 1959 in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. From there, Keyes worked on expanding the story to novel length and had it published by Harcourt in 1966. It’s funny to mention that the first magazine Keyes wanted to sell the story to, as well as several publishers, wanted him to change the ending of the book. I am so glad that he held fast to what was true. In all honesty, the story couldn’t have ended any other way than the way Keyes had written it.

Charlie Gordon is a 32-year-old adult that lives on his own, works at a bakery and takes special-ed classes from Miss Kinnian at a local school for mentally challenged adults. In a time where mentally retarded children were to be hidden away, his parents abandoned him at about the age of 12, sending him to live and the Warren State Home for mentally retarded children and adults. When Professor Nemur and Dr. Strauss approach Alice Kinnian for a human test subject for an intelligence experiment, she suggests Charlie. After getting permission from Charlie’s estranged sister, he begins the experiment.

The story is told through Charlie’s journal entries. What he’s going through, experiencing, feeling, noticing, etc. The tests he’s going through, the mazes he races against Algernon, and the inkblot cards. Prof. Nemur and Dr. Strauss tell Charlie that the mouse, Algernon, had a surgery to make him smart, and now he’s the smartest mouse around. They tell Charlie that he’s going to have the same surgery, and hopefully, he’ll be smarter too.

The way Keyes shows us Charlie’s transformation is seamless. In the beginning of his journal entries, there is no punctuation, sentence structure, and misspellings abound. But, as his intelligence increases, the reader starts to notice commas, apostrophes, and bigger words. Although he hasn’t gained emotional intelligence yet, his IQ has increased. He continues to be tested and race Algernon (whom he soon beats), and eventually surpasses the professors in the experiment and Alice, who he’s discovered he loves and who loves him back.

He becomes so smart as to be condescending to others and looses common ground with Alice. As he strives to know all he can and answer all his questions about himself and his sorted past with his mother (who, in flashbacks and dreams, we learn is a horrid woman), something happens to Algernon. He starts behaving erratically and is aggressive. Charlie knows that this, too, will happen to him. With the time he last left, he tries to find where the operation and experiment went wrong, so that future procedures can be flawless. He also tries to put to rest the mixed feelings he has towards his mother, father, and sister.

Telling Nemur and Strauss, and Alice about what is going to happen with him, he tries to have as normal of a life as possible for whatever time is left. He goes to see the Warren State Home to see where he will be living, if the decline of the operation leaves him any functioning ability at all. Then, Algernon dies, and Charlie knows what will become of him. The decline is as subtle as the ascent. Besides Charlie telling us in his journal entries what he’s experiencing, the punctuation is the first to go. Then the big words, then the spelling. Finally, emotional intelligence is all but gone. To spare those around him the pain of seeing him lose what he had become, he secludes himself in his apartment. He can remember bits and pieces of his experience of being a genius, but it’s a ghost of a memory. He knows that he has to leave and go to the Warren State Home, but he can’t fully remember by, but he’s okay with it. The book ends with him leaving a note to Nemur and Strauss to tell Alice none of this is her fault and asks that someone put flowers on Algernon’s grave for him.

The ending is moving and heart wrenching. But it is perfect. To think that someone wanted Keyes to change it to Daniel staying smart, marrying Alice, and having a family is absurd. Sure, we all like happy endings, but this is the true ending. The overall book is amazing and truly a classic. But, it is rather dry in parts. Because it’s in the field of science, there is a lot of science speak and details of things and procedures that felt like filler. In fact, there were a couple parts in the middle and towards the end that I skipped over because they were boring. But I highly recommend that anyone who wants to read a great book, start with this one. There was a movie made in the 70’s (I believe) called Charly that I want to try and find on Nextflix, although, I’m not sure if I want to subject myself to seeing his sad story on screen.

--Me

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Finished!

EditEditEditEditEditEditEditEditEditEditCOFFEE!EditEditEditEditEditEditEditEditEditEditCOFFEE!EditEditEditEditEditEditEditEditEditEditCOFFEE!EditEditEditEditEditEditEditEditEditEditCOFFEE!

--Me

Just Read....

James Dashner's The Maze Runner
Book Report coming soon.


--Me

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Break it down now




Alright, so I had a bad morning. It was busy. I was running around the house like a crazy person. Moral of the story: I forgot my notes for SYTYCD. I know. So sad. Needless to say, it won't be until I get home from work today that I get to post my thoughts on what happened. In the meantime, watch the dances. I found them all but Ricky's. 

Guest Judge: Neil Patrick Harris (I always refer to him as Doogie Howser. Does that date me too much?)
Announcements: Next week, it's a new batch of All Stars!




Jordan and AS Brandon



Melanie and Pasha


Sasha & AS Twitch



Tad & AS Comfort

Marko & AS Chelsie



Caitlynn & AS Pasha


Jess & AS Kathryn


Clarice & AS Robert


Mitchelll & AS Melody



--Me

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Short Letters

It hurts me to admit this, but I’ve been ignoring you lately. Trying to placate you with two posts a week about the best ever reality show and that’s it. Not even a Freebee Friday! to be seen for miles. So let’s move them to Wednesday (for the time being). This is me. Trying to buy your love.

Did it work?


Dear Noah,
We could have sworn you said the Ark wasn't leaving till 5.
Sincerely,
Unicorns

Dear Twilight fans,
Please realize that because vampires are dead and have no blood pumping
through them, they can never get an erection. Enjoy fantasizing about that.
Sincerely,
Logic

Dear Icebergs,
Sorry to hear about the global warming. Karma's a bitch.
Sincerely,
The Titanic

Dear America ,
You produced Miley Cyrus. Bieber is your punishment.
Sincerely,
Canada

Dear Yahoo,
I've never heard anyone say, "I don't know, let's Yahoo! it..." just saying...
Sincerely,
Google

Dear 2010,
So I hear the best rapper is white and the president is black?
WTF happened?
Sincerely,
1985

Dear girls who have been dumped,
There are plenty of fish in the sea... Just kidding! They're mostly dead.
Sincerely,
BP Oil

Dear Saturn,
I liked it, so I put a ring on it.
Sincerely,
God

Dear Fox News,
So far, no news about foxes.
Sincerely,
Unimpressed

Dear jf;ldsfa/kvsmmklnn.
Please lknvfdmv.xvn.
Sincerely,
Stevie Wonder

Dear Skin-Colored Band Aids,
Please make one for every skin color.
Sincerely,
Black people

Dear Scissors,
I feel your pain.....no one wants to run with me either.
Sincerely,
Sarah Palin

Dear World of Warcraft,
Thank you for ensuring my son's virginity.
Sincerely,
Parents Everywhere

Dear Customers,
Yes, we ARE making fun of you in Vietnamese.
Sincerely,
Nail Salon Ladies

Dear Ugly People,
You're welcome.
Sincerely,
Alcohol

Dear Mr. Gump
WTF are you talking about? There's a little diagram on the inside of the box that tells you EXACTLY what you're gonna get....
Sincerely,
Jenny

Dear World,
Please stop freaking out about 2012. Our calendar ends there because some Spanish dirtbags invaded our country and we got a little busy, okay?
Sincerely,
The Mayans

Dear White People,
Don't you just hate immigrants?
Sincerely,
Native Americans

Dear iPhone,
Please stop spellchecking all of my rude words into nice words. You piece of shut.
Sincerely,
Every iPhone User

Dear Man,
It's cute, but can you pick up peanuts with it?
Sincerely,
Elephant

--Me
Got a new book idea. Sat down at sbux yesterday and in an hour had the plot and the back-story mapped out for both the MC’s. That’s how I roll.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Break it down now!


Two more dancers lost last night. But it's okay because next week, we get All Stars! And we have their names. Melody, Alison, Pasha, Twitch, Comfort, Chelsea, Brandon, Kathryn, Robert, & Alex. Oh wait. Alex snapped his other tendon, so he won't be there. So who will the 10th be?? My co-workers and I are hoping it's Kent. So, no ring on Cat's finger, so I guess that answers that question. Emmy nominations! Cat got one for best reality show host. The show got 8 total, 5 for dances (videos at the bottom of the post).

The opening routine was awesome!
I was so entranced that I didn't write anything down. I couldn't. My eyes were glued to the screen. On my paper I found a scribble about Jordan being sexy in the dance and the guys spin-kick-thing being wicked awesome. All I know is that it wasn't long enough. It was choreographed by Kelly Abby (New to the show, and what a way to come in blazing).



Bottom Couples
Every Thursday morning, my co-workers and I discuss the show, talk about the routines and decide who should be in the bottom and then who should go home. I'm pleased to announce that we called all of it. First on stage were Jesse & Clarice and Mitchell & Caitlynn. Mitch and Cait were it. Next were M&M and R&R. There was no way in heck that M&M were going to go home. R&R were in the bottom. The third and final group was Sasha & Alexander and Jordan & Tad. Even though they had good routines, Sasha and Alex were in the bottom.

Performances & Special guests
I didn't really care for either of them, so I'm not going to comment or post them. :) Mainly because, Rule #1: Rapping in the middle of your tap routine = me fast forwarding on my DVR. Sorry, folks. But, if you want to watch them, they're on YouTube.

Who brought it and who didn't
Wow. So many brought it. So many didn't You'd think, at this stage, they'd all bring it. Caitlyn is always the good dancer. Mitchell, Mitchell, Mitchell. Rule #2: Unitards (especially on guys) = negative votes. But, he did dance for his life. Ryan was defeated before she even got on stage, and it showed. Ricky's height was amazing, and he danced for his life too. Sasha was good and unique, but in my opinion, wasn't strong enough. Alex....agh!! Rule #3: ballet tights and a shirtless torso DO NOT nuetralize the other!



Goodbye
The judges were unanomous on their decision that Ryan should go home. And I agree. The guys, not so much. It was a 3:1 vote that sent the loser packing. As they were lined up, getting one last piece of advice from Nigel, Hubby comments, "Alexander wins! He's the only one with his shirt buttoned up all the way!" Needless to say, he doesn't fully understand the art of dance. But what's this?!?! The judges have sent Alex and his wavy hair home! What about the unitard?!?!?!

Emmy nominated routines (Sorry in advance for the really CRAPPY quality of some of these, but Blogger is throwing one of its fits again) Gotta love those folks who record from their TV...

Mandy Moore's Boogie Shoes - Lauren and Billy




Mia Michaels Alice in Wonderland


Stacey Tookey - Billy & Ade

Travis Wall



Tabitha and Napoleon - Alex and Twitch





Thursday, July 14, 2011

Break it down now!


Okay – so a bit of a crisis last night. Hubby had us change satellite providers so we could get one pesky channel that no one else offered (our BSU Broncos’ games are being moved to there because they moved to the Mountain West Conference). Along with trying to learn how to use the blasted new remote, get familiar with how the menu is set up and basking in my new TV that was a bribe for me to say yes to said switch; I’d completely forgotten to set up my shows to record. Which meant, SYTYCD.

Wednesday’s I have my writers group. At the same time as SYTYCD. So, I’m sitting in the coffee shop, talking with Madi about all things great and wonderful when a thought hits me. I DIDN’T SET UP SYTYCD TO RECORD!!!! Seriously—and I’m not happy to admit this—I was freaking out. I called Hubby in a pre-teen, irrational panic and told him to start recording it for me (in HD, of course). I only missed the first 15 minutes (so only the first recording), but I have learned my lesson: get the app for my phone that lets me manage my DVR. Onto dance!

Judges: Sonya (yay!) and Jesse Tayler Ferguson (we’re Twitter buddies, now)

Observations: Cat had a ring on her left ring finger. A diamond and another band, to be more precise. Could it be that our Cat Deeley has finally said “I do”? Last night was the last night for our dancers and their partners to be together. So, naturally, we’d expect great things from them, right? Not so, my friends. Not so. It was sad. There were only a few good routines out of the 12 that were performed. But, M&M outshone everyone, as was to be expected. I think that Cat and Mary hung out over the weekend because both of them looked like a pair of cooked lobsters. Okay, so as I was watching and listening to the critiques, Jesse offered histarical comments, so, for fun, I decided to include something he or Sonya said in the title for each dance.

Sasha & Alexander
I didn’t see this one, so I’m not going to offer any comments. The clip, however, that they showed at the end of the show looked very promising.



Jordan & Tad – “It’s the typical hungry vulture seduces boy, boy kills hungry vulture that we’re all familiar with.” (Jesse)
They had a Travis routine about women taking control of weak men. Caw! Besides Jordan’s costume coming apart…wow oh, WOW! This was AMAZING! For once, I found myself not just watching the girl, but the boy, too! And from Tads performance, I never would have guessed he wasn’t trained as a contemporary dancer. Their extensions and toes were breathtaking and the musicality was untouched! From the first few bars I knew this dance was going to make history. Good job Travis, Jordan & Tad! Favorite Routine.



Ryan & Ricky “Not traditional Broadway” (Mary)
This was a Spencer Liff Broadway routine and Frank Sinatra is back! That was about the only good thing going for this dance. I know people are going to hate me for saying that, but it’s true. It was a little Breakfast at Tiffany’s-y with Ryan’s costume (which I loved, btw. I’d totally buy it and wear it. The necklace, too). Oh, and fedoras need to come back into style, too. I thought they did pretty well together, it was entertaining and fun, but that was about it. The judges didn’t like it very much, and I agree. It seemed like R&R were just sort of sloshing through it. They were missing their pizzazz. If found, please call…



Caitlynn & Mitchell – “The power of a tricycle vs. the power of a Mac truck.” (Jesse)
They had a hip hop routine from Christopher Scott. Cringe. That’s my warning to you for what is to come when you watch it. Okay, so, the choreographers always give us the story behind the dance, their inspiration. Chris’ was very deep and emotional – the child soldiers in Uganda. What we got in the dance was had NOTHING to do with the story. I didn’t see how it was intertwined at all and having that knowledge only distracted me from the dancing. Which wasn’t that good. Caitlynn hit it pretty hard. Mitchell too soft and dancey for the number they were given. AND they weren’t in sync. At. All. Just all around it was a bad number. Oh! The costumes. That was a big thing for me. Bad choice. I think that if they were dressed somewhat in the part…it would have worked better. As it stood, black cargo pants and white tank tops that say “invisible children” just weren’t enough for me. The number made me sad, but not in the way Christopher intended it to be.


Melanie & Marko – “Makes me lose my breath…Timeless dancers.” (Sonya)
They had the American style tango by Louie Van Amstel (such a smart choreographer). There was no story, just dancing. Finally! It was nice and refreshing. I love the tango and Melanie’s killer dress. Marko looked so debonair with his hair and clothes. They are both talented and amazing dancers (especially Melanie) and that little part at the edge of the stage was hot! There were a few out of sync head swivels and Melanie’s visible counting was distracting – but the end more than med up for it. Their footwork was so tight and spot on, their frame was a little faulty at times, but still well done. Favorite Routine.



Clarice & Jess – “Do you have a boyfriend? I do, too.” (Jesse)
Chris Scott lyrical hip hop routine about a woman’s insecurities. First of all, I didn’t like the cover of the song that was used. Second of all, I loved everything else. Lyrical hip hop differs from regular hip hop in that it’s a little slower and more “contemporary”, if that makes any sense. Clarice and Jesse were a-ma-zing in this number. The moves and they way they hit them was very impressive. I’ll admit that I was shocked and impressed at how respectable Jess pulled off the swag and hip hop. It was a very heart-warming dance.



Sasha & Alexander – “I can’t swear, can I? Tyce is the….bloop.” (Sonya, with Jesse providing the bloop)
A Tyce Jazz routine. Woot woot! Okay, so there were a few things about this dance that I thought would take it under, but they were strong and pulled out a great performance and number. First, in the very beginning, Alexander hit Sasha in the head. Then, he full-on grabbed her boob (please tell me that wasn’t choreographed). Then, at the very end, he dropped her. But, they made that part look on purpose. Then, Alexander’s end pose against the lamp post was a little girly. This was the dance that they finally connected as a couple. Too bad it’s the last time they dance together. They had great presence and energy throughout the dance, power and emotion. It’s amazing how diverse of a choreographer Tyce is.



Jordan & Tad – “I have a straight boy crush on Sonya.” (Jesse)
Broadway routine by Spencer. Okay, so, when Spencer talked about what the story was (a princess waking up after a long, long sleep) and when I saw their costumes, I got really excited! This is going to be a great number! I told myself. But then….eh. It wasn’t really that great. I felt like it could have been sooo much better. So very much better. It seemed a little slow and for what the story and costumes promised, it wasn’t quirky enough for me. I think that Sonya and I need to be best friends. Everything that she had to say to the couples, I thought the same exact thing myself. We’re on the same page, her and I. Plus, I love her hair. Spencer has gotten nailed on both his routines last night about closing in the dancers, about not giving them enough room to give their full potential. I didn’t realize, until tonight, how much is on the line for the choreographers when they do a piece. From the story, to the costumes, to the music, to the dancers, and finally the substance of the dance, if they don’t get it 100% right at every point, the whole thing can be ruined.



Ryan & Ricky – “Legs were too far apart.” (Nigel)
Yay! Another Amstel routine. A cha cha, to boot! Since I love Amstel so much, please, R&R, do him justice. They were dancing a story of fire and it was fast. For Ryan being so uncomfortable with the number, she really kind of pulled it off. The beginning, at least. I don’t think she has enough stamina. It always seems that towards the ends of her dances, she loses energy. Her steps were becoming really clunky and heavy and there were some misplaced hand grabs. It was fast and difficult, but I expected more. I’ll be honest. Ricky outshone Ryan. His chest rolls were respectable and he had so much energy and sass.



Caitlynn & Mitchell - "That was hot!" (Mary)
Jazz routine by Travis. I’m going to be up front. I didn’t like this number. It was supposed to be an angry dance—a rock star finds out her boyfriend is married. Okay, I want real anger, but also the sexual tension they have together. I want to see Caitlynn fighting it through her anger. But I didn’t get that. It was just…okay. There were a lot of cool lifts, but in the end: eh. Uh, did Tyce have a cigar in his hand when they did the crowd pan???



Melanie & Marko – “It’s like brail on my arm right now.” (Jesse)
Contemporary Dee routine (have I told you before he’s one of my favorites? A cross between Travis and Sonya). They danced a number about fighting to get out of the darkness and into the light. The opening few bars in any dance sets the mood and tone of the number. It tells you what to expect and can either make or break a routine. There was so much in the opening few moves of this routine. Dee is so very talented. And the series of hand and chest movements in the middle was just jaw dropping. The end was a little abrupt and unexpected. I don’t think the crowd was expecting it. But the emotion and just the quality of dance that M&M gave us was inspiring. Melanie is for sure going to make it to the end. I really wouldn’t be surprised if she won the whole thing. Favorite Routine.

 

Clarice & Jess - "The keys to Broadway."
Their last dance together as a couple was a Tony and Melanie Jive routine. It was so much fun! Jess really shone on this one. I ignored Clarice completely and just smiled and tapped my foot along with the little Broadway boy. The music was fun and the choreography was great. There were some places where it felt a little forced and rehearsed, but they had good feet and hands and the ending was perfect. Mary said she missed the joy that the Jive is supposed to have. Maybe I should share with her what I found.




So, who’s going to be in the bottom 3? It’s hard for me to make a clear cut prediction, because there were only a few standout performances for me. The rest were really very disappointing. M&M will be safe, for sure. I think that there were so many less than good numbers, that no one is really safe. But, if I had to pick, I’d say Caitlynn & Mitchell, Ryan & Ricky, and Clarice & Jess. What do you think?

Oh, PS - HP 7.5 comes out tomorrow.


--Me

Friday, July 8, 2011

Freebee Friday!!!

Yup. I'm gonna be a pro-tuber when I grow up. I'm on the left.



video
--Me

break it down now!

In a couple more weeks, we’ll be down to the Top 10 and the All Stars will be brought in. It will be fun to see who they will be. National Dance Day is July 30th. Will you be participating? Take a look at the routines, here.


Okay, so, last night opened with a fun Baliwood group number by Nakul. Way to go, it was awesome and fun to watch, kind of lightening the weight of the night. No Carmen tonight on the judge’s panel and Mary looks like she’s been tanning a tad too often. Wait, was that a Kardashian I spotted in the audience?



Who’s in the Bottom?

The first couples on stage were Caitlynn & Mitchell and Melanie & Marko. I knew as soon as they paired these two up that neither would be in the bottom 3, and I was right. Both were safe from solos.

The next group though, Jordan & Tad (man, she likes outfits with fluffy things on her chest), Clarice & Jess, and Ashley & Chris. With that grouping, it was for sure going to be Ashley & Chris, and I was right. But, there also had to be a second couple. Comparing C&J’s dance to J&T’s number, I figured America would pick J&T, and I was right.

The final group had Sasha & Alexander and Ricky & Ryan. This was an easy choice, I thought. Even though I loved both numbers, I thought that S&A would be in the bottom 3, especially with what the judges had to say about their hip hop routine. But I was wrong! A total shock when Cat announced it was R&R! But, I guess I could see it. Their routine was a little out there, and America might not have seen and appreciated it for what it was.

Who brought it and who didn’t

Getting this close to the Top 10, the dancers in the bottom really need to bring it. They need to dance better than they did in their auditions, and it’s sad when some of them don’t do that. It almost seems like they have already admitted defeat.

Ashley had beautiful movement but was too safe with her solos. She didn’t put the “wow” factor in it at all. Chris BROUGHT IT! He is so amazing at what he does, and he puts his heart into his dancing. I knew he wanted to stay. He pulled all the stops out when he hit the stage for his solo. Jordan was Jordan. She did the same type of solo she always does, and it didn’t impress me. She really likes to do those standing spilt, turn things. I think she did about four in her routine, and I didn’t feel she brought it until the last 10 seconds. Tad is so fun and brought so much personality to his routine. It was great. It’s crazy to see the difference between how he dances from Chris when they’re in the same genre. Ryan truly danced for her life. I found respect and a little bit of admiration for her when she did her solo. She made me feel her emotion and fierceness and how much she wanted to stay on the show. Well done, Ryan. Ricky. All I can say is that he is such a talented dancer and technically very strong.



Guests


Alright! Now onto the entertainment of the night! I am officially in love with the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet! I am a huge ballet fan to begin with. It is such a beautiful form of dance. This dance company mixes it with the more modern moves and costumes of contemporary dancing, and it really completes it. Not only did this company have the beauty and grace of ballet, but they also had the emotion and power of contemporary. Cat said they were in The Bureau with Matt Damon, so I think I’ll have to check that movie out just to see them. It really was great.


FLORENCE!!!!


Yes, you read that right! Florence + the Machine performed!!!! I was jumping up and down on the couch last night, I was so excited! I love Florence and she was amazing last night singing Cosmic Love.



Results

The girls were brought on first. Nigel warned Jordan that if she stayed, she would need to offer something new to her solos, the same old thing needs to change. He told Ryan that her chemistry needed to be better with Ricky if she was going to stay. And to Ashley, he said goodbye. That's right. Ashley was eliminated last night.

The boys were next, and continuing with the trend so far, one would think that Ashley's partner would be destined for the door. It seemed like they weighed heavily on Travis' input for this decision. Nigel said to the guys, "Travis still wants to work with you" or Travis feels you bring out the best in yourself in all your routines" or "Travis says that you're not fulfilling what the choreographers are giving you." Poor Travis. In the end, Chris was the one who went home. Poor guy, it really hit him hard.

So, now we have our top 12. Next week, it will be our top 10 and the All Stars!


--Me