I would like to register my astonishment and distaste up front that they're starting the 2-dances-a-week process already. Last year they took the 4th of July week off, but this year they get double the workload. Doesn't seem fair. It doesn't even seem fair to the viewing audience, because now we're sacrificing rehearsal video segments that actually help you get a feel for the dancers as people for the DELIGHTFUL (/sarcasm) bonus of twice as many judge comments. Sigh. The judges' comments are always the most boring part of the series to me.
Did Cat cut her hair?! Oh, no, I think it's just cleverly disguised. Few. And I'm curious which stylist Cat pissed off to keep routinely getting such weird-ass outfits. A tuxedo dress? Not really a big improvement on a tuxedo T-shirt. I am still clinging to the belief that she doesn't dress herself, so don't disillusion me if that's untrue.
Allow me to redo Cat's introductions, using keywords that I personally use to identify this season's nondescript contestants (OK, that's not entirely true; as of this week I can finally tell them all apart and have some feel for individual personalities...but I wanted to do this last week, and I didn't write fast enough, so out it goes this time).
2. Benji Jr!
3. Bubble-headed high schooler, brunette!
5. Bubble-headed high schooler, blonde!
7. All-American girl!
8. Huggable teddy bear!
9. Eccentric New Age stoner!
10. My boyfriend!
11. Big Gums!
12. Mr. Gentleman!
14. GTFO, sleazy horndog.
And suddenly, the show began. I have another up-front confession to make, in that I was really tired while watching and by the halfway point I gave up writing first impressions altogether and just laid down in bed, concentrating all effort on keeping my eyes open. I just barely made it to the end. I'm watching it again on STC, but the quality is hideous, and anyway my overall impression of the week is "Blah blah blah." I'm thinking maybe I'll update my opinions of the contestants/partnerships while I go.
Jessica/Will: I fear their eventual split, because right now they're one of my favorite pairs but sometimes I think that's only because Will is so endearingly supportive of her as a partner. Then again, the judges seem determined to cut her ASAP, and a lot of people online seem to think she's annoying, and whenever I hear such statements I want to reach out and protect her. She has a dumb-girl laugh that might actually be an accurate reflection of her mental prowess, but somehow that doesn't stop me thinking she's sort of adorable; cute and quirky. As for Will, well, he's pretty much like Danny in terms of skill...only likable, which is great/
The Jive: They looked like they were having fun, I'll grant you, and that flip she did, like, over his back and through his legs like a doughnut was AMAZING, and I loved their end pose. But for the most part I wasn't nearly as excited by it as I usually am with jives.
Thayne/Comfort: So, new couple here...and I don't like. I think it's because she's so hardcore, gritty-inner-city; pairing her up with the most whitebread white boys just isn't working at all. I'd love to see her dance with Twitch or Joshua, because I still adore her. Thayne's perma-grin is beginning to wear on me a little bit. Objectively, he's cuter than Benji because he doesn't have wild eyes, and yet...missed connections.
Broadway: LOVE her sexy red dress, hate his greasemonkey outfit. I also hate all things West Side Story, so this music? Not helping me enjoy what is an extremely unremarkable routine.
Matt/Kourtni: You know what I love about him? How he's the only guy I can picture meeting in real life. Like, somehow everyone else on the show has this sort of not-real gloss, like they could only be found on a specialized reality show because they stand out and look different, but he could be a guy I went to high school with. Chris kind of had that vibe, but Chris also looked like the wimpy kid who was unpopular or had geeky friends. Matt seems more like an all-around-likable guy. Plus, he's goofy! Goofy is cool. Kourtni, on the other hand, just annoys me the way she looks stoned/high no matter what she's doing. Stupid eccentric New Age hippie.
Smooth Hip-Hop: So they're in white, with Matt looking particularly stupid in a suit with a bandanna on under his hat, and it's the best of the night so far, but still unremarkable. I am sad. Cecily and Olisa, what happened to you?
Mark/Chelsie: So for their rehearsal, Mark is wearing a pink top. PINK TOP. Tell me, what am I supposed to do with that?
You know, the whole thing about guy/girl partner dancing is that I AM SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE THEIR ROMANTIC CHEMISTRY IN THESE STORIES. I cannot do that when he lacks even a tiny ounce of masculinity. It's sickeningly fake when he tries to be all testosterone-pumped - like, he'll pretend to be all aggressive for the camera, and it's like watching a kitten imitate a full-grown tiger. This week he's even wearing eyeliner, which is not helping matters. For Chelsie's part, she at least looks like she's trying to sell the chemistry...except that she's so clearly, like, 12, and so it always comes across as a little girl trying to act like a woman. Or possibly just a beard.
This is a roundabout way of saying SHUT UP, TABITHA, you are getting this exactly wrong: they NEVER tell the story as a couple. It's what makes them so disappointing - I started off thinking Mark was going to be my eye candy, and then he just crashed and burned. There have been plenty of gay dancers on this show before, but they all stepped it up when it came to the stage, so that during the dance you honestly couldn't tell. SHAPE UP OR SHIP OUT. [interjection: I think I might actually have a chance to like Chelsie once she's dancing with someone else. I think she'd be an awesome match for Thayne, actually.]
The Jazz: OK, new reaction: their "sexy" moves actually make me want to vomit. They need to keep their faces far apart at all times. However, if I focus realy hard on ignoring Mark completely, I sort of like Chelsie's fast movements...but I am still not blown away.
Twitchington: I love him. I still think he has this legendary quality from last season that's like no other contestant. It's almost like he's a professional dancing among amateurs. (Also: "I am the Twitchador." HEE) She still annoys me in person, but slightly less while dancing.
The Paso Doble: Let me just state for the record that I laughed for like 5 minutes straight at Twitch's outfit, with the weirdly padded shoulders. Despite that, however, I am always a fan of the matador dances, especially with capes. Kherington's costume, all bejeweled and sparkly and lacy, was mesmerizing, but then Twitch had that amazing fan kick in there, and...what I'm saying here is that this dance was really fun to watch, FAR outstripping everything that came before it and ending up one of the better dances of the night.
In a related note, Nigel always says that people "probably didn't notice" when the dancers mess up, which is stupid - we know when they fail to pull off a lift/pose/spin, but you know what we (or at least I) definitely do not notice? "Wearing your shoulders like earrings" or "dancing too high." I don't even know what that means. You can show me an instant replay and I still won't know what the hell it means.
Joshua/Katee: I think Joshua's appeal is starting to run out for me, a little bit. For all his huggability, he's also starting to come across as a bit bland. That, or I just hate, haaaaaaaaaaaaaate so much that he and Katee are inexplicably this Magic Power Couple Who Can Do No Wrong when she makes me want to claw the skin off my arms every time I see her. She just seriously looks SO BITCHY, all the time, even when she's clearly feeling upbeat and happy!
Mia Michaels Contemporary: WTF IS WITH HER HAIR? WHAT, WHAT, WHAT?! For the love of God, that giant bouffant in front of the ponytail is distracting as hell and just makes me hate her even more. Not really digging the song either (Adele, "Hometown Glory") even though its piano sounds a lot like the beginning of "Breathe Me." I'm sorry, normally I love Mia, but I am just not connecting with this one, even though I admit that the assisted run and various other lifts and jumps were pretty good. Oh, did I mention the part where I am revolted by Katee's every attempt to make "emotional" faces? She looks like she's constipated.
Courtney/Gev: I don't even know what it is, but something about her rubs me the wrong way. I can't help thinking of her as bratty, even though she hasn't done anything to warrant it. And he, well, I just hate him. He has a sleazy, oily feel. Exactly like Dominic. My mom said she knew right away that I wouldn't like them, because they're short. Which, haha, I forgot that part but IT IS SO TRUE. As I mentioned last season, after years of playing soccer against sneaky little devils who would dart around stealing the ball like so many annoying weasels, short people annoy me.
The Hip-Hop: My tolerance level for hip-hop music has expired, and so while I vaguely recognize that Courtney is doing pretty well, and I like the way they're almost rubber-legged sliding across the floor with their footwork, I don't care much about the dance.
Will/Jessica, lyrical jazz: Uh, yeah, THAT WAS AMAZING. Best piece of the night, right here. Despite my fear that she was going to dislocate a knee, the way he kept slinging her around with the shirt, it was some PHENOMENAL choreography. At first I worried that Will was getting too much of a showcase in the beginning - remember when the judges bashed Cedric for just moping in a corner for 15 seconds of one dance? - but then she had some jaw-dropping leaps and indescribable movements, plus...the part where he actually tossed her in the air? This was also the first music of the night I really enjoyed (Heart's "Alone"), and while I'm not sure I quite bought the sexual chemistry - it seemed more like an act - I am not going to argue with any dance in which "Will is wearing pants and no shirt and has like a 16 pack. Amazing." (--Angel Cohn @ TWoP)
And I'm really curious as to what the meltdowns were about...I'm guessing it mostly involved Jessica going into hysterics about
Comfort/Thayne, Smooth Waltz: Oh man, GO NIGEL for praising the removal of piercings. It does make her look far more gorgeous, "a ballroom queen." The music is also extraordinarily pleasing, with title with no meaning to me "Hov Arek Sarer Jan," but is noted as New Age Armenia and does indeed sound very European Celtic, with the mournful strings and penny whistle. I love the sound effect of whistling wind so much that I almost forget to pay attention to the dance, but then I see Comfort, lifted high in the air, twirling in a pose like a graceful swan or a soaring bird of prey, and I can do nothing more than stop and stare in amazement. Twitchador just got bumped out of its 2nd-place spot for the night. ELEGANCE EMBODIED.
Matt/Kourtni, Mambo: "I don't...hate...the mambo...the mambo hates ME." Aw, this is why I love Matt. Dorky grinning! Unfortunately, I hate the mambo, and this one comes off as exceptionally awkward and clumsy, particularly on Kourtni's end. Upon closer evaluation, I realize that by default she's among my top 3 girls, and I do admire the fact that she's a very muscular dancer as opposed to a stick figure, but...something's just not going well for them tonight. I will blame it on craptastic dance styles and/or choreography. I did like the bit at the end where he spun her in a circle like 3 times, with her legs held about six inches above the ground.
Also, I kind of love the part where Nigel tells the booing crowd to shut up and listen. He has a point, because it's one thing to boo Simon when he spits vitriol just because he doesn't like a contestant, but Nigel is honestly not saying anything except VERY *constructive* criticism - "We're trying to improve people on this show!" - and he always works a compliment in there too, so. Come on. Stupid lemmings.
Mark/Chelsie, Foxtrot: And that says it all, as far as why I didn't care and paid no attention, especially after I heard some hideous big-band-jazz music kick off what turned out to be the most horribly bastardized version of a song EVER (Bon Jovi =/= jazz! NO!). Chelsie's feather-filled blue dress was eye-catching, though.
Twitchington, Contemporary: "Mia wants to get Twitch 'vulnerable.' By that she means half-naked and on a bed. I love the way her mind works." Me too. Until I saw the dance, and then I felt like...I SHOULD have liked it, but for some reason, I just wasn't feeling it. The writhing on the bed seemed a bit forced, although I liked the showering of rose petals, and it was just...melodramatic (Mia! Return to form, please!). Oh, I know why I didn't like it - "Dreaming With a Broken Heart" is, like all John Mayer songs, horribly overrated and overplayed. (If you know anything about me, you know that I have a permanent grudge against John Mayer for looking like he should be the dreamiest/most desirable musician ever, and then coming out with dull song after dull song until I was bitter and disillusioned). Sorry. Twitch's abs are not enough. They help a lot, but are not enough.
Katee/Joshua, : Hold on a second for the BENJI, BENJI SCHWIMMER, SQUEE SQUEE SQUEEEEEEEEEE! ALSO, BENJI'S ADORABLE LITTLE DACHSHUND!! Less squee for Lacey, but at least it reminds me of season 3. And this is when I get really pissy that the video packages got sacrificed, because it means that much less Benji time.
Anyway. Frankly, I don't know why everyone's complaining about the hot pink costumes, because I kinda love them. The bright colors make up for the lackluster dancing, which completely lacks anything interesting save for the assisted flips and the massive hip bump at the end. And that last one's only because slapstick comedy is funny, so Joshua flying backwards and hitting the stage. made me giggle.
Courtney/Gev, Broadway: OK, fine, they actually did perform this one well. She had a very Judy-Garland-as-Dorothy appearance; he looked like Homer Price instead of a high school dropout. They both made extremely likable, even cute characters, and I loved the symphonic band arrangement (particularly the piping flute, of course) that made up the majority of this song.
Apparently I am destined to just never see a full results show, ever. This week I missed the final quarter when Dad picked me up at 8:45 to go home for the holiday weekend. It was exceptionally frustrating to get so close and then have to wait 2 additional hours to see the actual voting results.
Running commentary was as follows:
-Really despising Cat's Ethiopian look, with the puffed-up hair and giant flat gold necklace. Didn't her outfits used to be something I looked forward to?
-Oh my God, this group routine is just annoying. Remind me that in the future, it is always OK to slip through the first half, especially now that Shane Sparks and Wade Robson have disappeared off the face of the
-*stares* Twitch. Where's your hair? DAMMIT, TWITCH.
-I hate the fact that Twitchington and Joshua/Katee are probably the top 2 couples right now, vote-wise. Hate. Nothing against Twitch, but quite a bit against the other three.
-DUDE. NAPOLEON! I CONNECT WITH MATT. A LOT. He is the most normal, average guy on there, and I LIKE HIM. LEAVE HIM ALONE! ...of course, I also don't really feel compelled to vote for the pair of them, even if voting were possible, but then I don't feel compelled to vote for anybody, because this season is so blase.
-OH MY GOD I HATE THIS FREAK. [the...rubber-necked popping guy] I could not believe how much endless fucking time they devoted to him in the audition rounds, and now he's BACK? Even the freaking robot guy last year wasn't this bad. I actually had to switch the channel because his rubber movement, in combination with his bug eyes and awful expressions, makes me sick to my stomach.
-Man, if I were on this show, judging the "Happy Dances" would totally be the worst part of my week. These are so frigging stupid, you would find me just looking bored and unethused/disdainful in the corner. The cameramen would probably yell at me until I shaped up and put on an enthusiastic face.
Kourtni Solo: "What's Another Day" by Maria Mena - ah, Mena, always a popular choice for the contemporary dancers, and I love them for it. But she seems kind of bored.
Matt Solo: *gazes at leaps and twirls* He's got Thayne's patented floating look down solid, and because he's taller and heavier, it looks even more impressive.
Courtney Solo: OK, that wins for best solo so far. TV Squad mentioned that it was like letting a racehorse out of the gate, but I loved the insane amount of energy she threw into it. Yeah, she's not going home. Lucky 1st-time-soloer.
Gev Solo: DAMN. That was actually really good, which means even when I finally get the chance to have my dreams come true, he will not be the one leaving, and I'm losing one of my comtemporary boys. Despite what I said about Thayne's perma-grin, I still don't want to give him up.
Comfort Solo: Bring that attitude, girl! *continues to love*
Thayne Solo: Well, he clearly tried, but...it wasn't spectacular, so I feel like he doesn't have a chance.
One Republic: This is boring and my music is better. *mutes TV; listens to Billie Piper*
Girl going home: Kourtni. Which was pretty much a given, and I shouldn't be that sad about it. And I'm actually not, except for the fact that there are other girls I like even less. I liked the tall pair over the short pair, let's put it that way.
Guy going home:Matt. ...the hell? NO! *sobs* How dare you?? This is Ben all over again! Is not fair, not fair! *stops sobbing* No, really, it's not. Thayne's been in the bottom 3 like every single week, and it is so clearly time to drop-kick him that I CANNOT FATHOM why he keeps scraping through by the seat of his pants.
I'm still fairly pissed about Matt's elimination, which brings the number of contestants I like down to 3 (Will, Twitch, Comfort) and the number of contestants I don't hate down to 3 (Thayne, Jessica, Joshua), half of which appear not long for this show. Great. Should be a fun rest of the season!
In an unrelated note, I'm suddenly glad that I don't have that many Doctor Who fans on my flist (at least, not ones who post every week). I've been somewhat...not really super-spoiled, but aware of what's been going on for much of season 4...but I've avoided absolutely everything except the titles from episodes 10-on, and I am desperate to remain in a state of unawareness about the end of the season, particularly the finale. If it's bad, I don't want it hanging over my head; if it's good, I want a reward equal to waiting for new Harry Potter books. I've been trying to gauge a feel for the shipper reactions based on their post titles and cut text, and I feel cautiously optimistic, but I'm still petrified that I'll be spoiled by an icon or something. Although at the rate I'm going, it'll be a small miracle if I get to the finale by the time school starts.
I can't even explain my reluctance to continue watching the series. I thought for sure once I got over the AoG/DD hump, it would be smooth sailing, but then it...wasn't. I thought maybe it was the weight of having to write about it that was bogging me down, so I told myself 2 or 3 paragraphs would suffice if necessary. But then I started watching "Runaway Bride," and only got halfway through before I let something else distract me and stopped it. This was like 4 days ago. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? And I completely enjoyed it, too, I just also had no trouble walking away from it.