Thursday, August 23, 2007

So You Think You Can Dance - Season Review + Odds & Ends

Over the course of the season, I've made almost 300 screencaps, and obviously not all of them made the final cut. A healthy portion weren't that interesting -- how many times could I cap someone in mid-blink and come up with a caption that didn't repeat myself, not to mention be funny? But juggling that sheer volume of pictures meant that a few pics which I intended to post inevitably fell through the cracks, often because I just forgot, but occasionally out of inexplicably aggressive apathy (e.g. maybe I was tired one and the week's performances didn't move me). So to make up for the omissions, this post is going to be the deleted scenes that will cap this season of SYTYCD, and it'll round up my favorite non-solo routines from this year with (hopefully) active download links. (Non-solo because it'd just be a bunch of "unique" solos, and we don't actually like "unique" on this show, amirite?)

Oversight city!

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How'd I forget to post these adorable pictures of my boo? Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Even more outlandishly, I failed to share this gem of a segment, simply out of lazy inertia.

As much as I loved Sara's partnership with Jesús, she and Pasha made an incredibly adorable duo. Her "haw haw" face is so darling! I'm convinced that if I had only shared this vid back in week 5, we would all be complaining about Sara winning.

This article talks about the destined obscurity of dancers, which got me thinking about dance as a product. Recorded media, such as music and film, are liberated from both time and space, performances that are endlessly repeatable and disembodied (i.e. you don't have to be in the same room as the performers to experience the performance). Ironically, because of their disembodied and time-liberated nature, recorded media can be transformed into tangible product -- they can be put down into an actual object (e.g. CDs, DVDs) either to be sold directly to customers (leaving aside wholesale and retail middlemen aside for the sake of the argument) or disseminated and repackaged as temporal experiences (e.g. radio play, theatrical runs) on a massive scale, temporal experiences which naturally (though not always) lead to fame and fortune. (While bands and artists personally make the most money off of tours and live performances, the big money remains with CD sales, the bulk of which incidentally goes to the labels. And while music has more kick live, music's principle form of cultural currency is recorded performances.) Because of recordable media, a resident of Springfield, for example, can experience the Pipettes (who don't really tour the US), the Beatles (long gone), or Cries & Whispers (hardcore Bergman devastation).

However, performed media like dance and theater are, in their ideal presentations, acutely confined to time and space, mostly because their formal qualities (about which I must defer to people who know about dance and theater) don't translate well to being recorded or the recording and distribution infrastructure isn't in place. After the SYTYCD tour, indeed, how are the most of us going to see Sabra and her fellow contestants? Sara is or already has been at a breaking competition in LA, but if you can't or couldn't make it, you're out of luck. That 9.6 million people now know who Dominic Sandoval is -- and that he has hairy toes -- is a testament to how effectively television can promote dancers, and it's probably the best medium to continue to promote dance and dancers, because I can't think of a more effective or easier way to reach such a wide audience on a regular basis.

We all know about Cat and "jidges" -- though honestly, I never noticed anything out of the ordinary in her pronunciation -- but I've always had a softer spot for how she says how every week, "one guy and one gell" would be eliminated from the competition.

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Nigel, in a rare moment of honesty, reveals his true opinion of the dancer being critiqued.

Why Nigel doesn't dance anymore:

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The MEHCAT Moment of the Season

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Remember, there's a reason some of these didn't make it to the blog during the regular season.


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As pure awesome as Cat is, sometimes she's just as coarse (picking her teeth) and immodest (pulling faces) as the lot of us -- which of course makes her rock even more.

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OK, the last one's just plain hot. Tyra would dock her points for the open mouth, but whatevs!

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What's that about masculinity, Nigel?

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Danny, a metalhead?

Maybe, maybe not, but at least he throws down the horns correctly, which I can't say for our favorite British totty.

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Update, brought to you by the I've Always Got To Be Right Advisory Committee: For sure, lolcatdeeley is making the "hang loose" sign -- also known as the shaka -- but she thought she was throwing down the horns -- also known as the corna. She made this gesture after the Who Wants to be America's Next Top Band promo, accompanied by this ejaculation.

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Lacey's other baby pic from the penultimate episode. I can only hazard a guess that Benji's in the back trying to steal Lacey's camera time. Plus ça change, oui?

And the real reason I like Lacey comes out: beneath the smiles, face-pulling, and (yes) the bangs, she is, at heart, a remorseless killbot.

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Here, Sabra gets a head up on the competition.

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Is there a video that disturbs you to no end, that haunts you like you were 8 years old again clutching at your blanket for fear of the very real bogeyman which wanted to do unimaginable harm to you? And which, from any point forward, whenever it was dark, whenever you blinked, it'd be there, lurking in the darkness? That's how I am with Chris Cunningham's "Rubber Johnny" (I'm not linking it to preserve my sanity; feel free to search it out if you want to lose yours). And that's how I am with the following image, such a grotesquery of the barely human that I couldn't bear to share it -- UNTIL NOW:

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OK, fine, that tongue freaks me out.

And now:
My Top 13 Routines, Because I Can't Be Bothered With Round Numbers, of Season 3

Or, How Much Do I Love Wade?

13. Sara & Pasha - "The Rockafeller Skank" -- West Coast Swing (Benji Schwimmer, Week 4)
Download (36.07 MB)
For the cute. Also, for being fun, energetic, and trick-filled.

12. Sara & Jesús - "It's Okay (One Blood)" -- Krump (Lil C)
Download (53.4mb)
No, it's not a krump, but it's still one of the best hip-hop performances/choreographies this season.

11. Neil & Sabra - "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These" -- Jazz (Mandy Moore)
Download (17.32mb)
For introducing "plange" into my (and everyone else's) lexicon.

10. Lauren & Neil - "Night of the Dancing Flame" - WADE
Download (40.17mb)
Wade's "Good vs. Evil" received withering reviews from the message board crowd, which mostly responded to Lauren's scream, to which I'm all, "Wha?" (I still think that the biggest misstep was not giving Neil a big honking handlebar 'stache. No, I will never let that go.) I ate up the silly melodrama of the scream because I grew up on Looney Toons and its exaggerated face-pulling -- and to reiterate my original post on the matter, the routine hewed closer to the broad and over-the-top archetypes of a cartoon than those of comic books. So here's to being a big kid.

9. Sabra & Pasha - "My Pinstripe Suit" -- Quickstep (Tony Meredith)
Download (45.01mb)
Pasha's sparkly pants and Sabra's impeccable topline -- what's not to love?

8. Lacey & Pasha - "In the Morning" -- Hip Hop (Tony Scott)
Download (19.85mb)
I actually feel bad about ranking this routine above the Sara/Jesús krump/hip hop, because doing so would seem to validate Nigel et al's various dicta that hip hop is too scary. But to get Objectivist (and not to validate Objectivism), fun = fun, which I will never shy from appreciating.

7. Lauren & Neil - "Let the Drummer Kick" -- Contemporary (Mia Michaels)
Download (28.63 mb)
Avant hip hop! Technique and synchronization can taking a flying one when Mia co-opts hip hop for this notoriously "abstruse" piece. If you want the Cliffs Notes, just check out the scene in Trainspotting where Renton is sitting in a restaurant, horribly sober, and realizes that life is passing him by (a scene awesomely served by Underworld's "Born Slippy (NUXX)").

6. Danny & Neil - "Are You the One?" -- Contemporary (Mia Michaels)
Download (40.2mb)
Loud, brash, and snotty.

5. Group Dance, Top 20 - "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See" -- WADE
Download (41.87 MB)
Combining the best of Wade's aesthetics: ragdoll lines, twisted syncopation, striking costumes, leftfield music -- but minus MONSTERS. It doesn't quite match the original zombie dance, but for choreographing the full 20 dancers and staging it with a single roving camera -- iconic!

4. Dominic & Sabra - "Make it Work" -- Hip Hop (Shane Sparks)
Download (26.45 MB)
They danced this for each other. We just happened to be watching. Voyeurism? Not when the drama between Dom and Sabra was so real, so hot that it consumed us until all that seemed to exist was Dom and Sabra, and when he picked her up and they just gazed, it really was all about the two of them.

3. Sabra & Lacey - "Foxes" -- WADE
Download (53.48mb)
I think Lacey sums it up best.

2. Hok & Jaimie - "Hummingbird & Flower" -- WADE
Download (22.98 MB)
Wade in referencing different cultural modalities and turning them into a new personalized idiom to awesome effect non-shocker! Or simply: Otherworldy.

1. Sara & Jesús - "Cabaret Hoover" -- WADE
Download (16.03mb)
Download (21.1mb) (Second performance)
I called it the routine of the season during Week 1, and I'm calling it the the routine of the season now. It created and almost singlehandedly sustained my season-long crush on Sara, and it fully brought me onboard the WADE loveboat.
But that's too prosaic.
This routine created a space beauty to be discovered lying in the gutter, where the liminal and fallen, obscured by newspapers, can rise again to recover their human vitality -- making music out of the medium that would have kept them hidden from the world -- and yet possess the audacity to channel and mix the old masters in with their own personae to touch nothing less than Art. What's more, "Cabaret Hoover" never loses touch with its whimsy, a quality too often overlooked when critics judge what is beautiful and good. Beauty is transient; whimsy allows us to pleasure in it for as long as it is earthbound, within reach, and yet, for its duration, lets us transcend the gravity of reality and keep imagination unsullied.

I blog best when I have a meaty subject to cover combined with some kind of conceit, and for someone who'd only discovered lolcats a month before SYTYCD started, I think I did a good job of fooling you all pretending Cat had an idiosyncratic command of English grammar. So thanks to readers for laughing and not calling me out.

Special thanks:
Ted @ Blogging SYTYCD for hyping T!YBE even when it was mediocre.
Beckylooo for making the comments section not too lonely a place and actually knowing the difference between one spinning thing and a different kind of spinning thing.
A-a-and Layla, who dared to call me sexy. I'll show her!

And of course, on your way out, don't forget to shut the front door.

Indie rating: Electrelane - "After the Call"

Filed in:


Anonymous said...

Just found your blog. I adore Sara and am loving all the good Sara stuff you have here. You could post nothing but Sara vonGillern screencaps and I'd be happy. I don't think it's possible for her to look anything other than cute.


Heather said...

i thought i was one of two people in the world that said "shut the front door" like that, so IMAGINE MY SURPRISE when my little phrase was outed on national tv. guess i'll just have to be the midwest director of ridonkulous phrases.

tehresa said...

point of order: cat may be making "hang loose" sign instead of being metal.

Leee said...

Nuh uh! I mean, yeah, she did, but she thought she was hailing Satan because she did it when she was all "Rock on!" after the American Band promo!

Beckylooo said...


For the record, while I mos def know the diff between one spiny thing and another, I have to google how to spell em as they will forever exist phonetically in my brain, just like the day I learned 'em at age, I dunno, 8 or some shit.

All together now... Fwatay!

xrogue81 said...

la la laaa... just crusing by with nothing better to do at work than read your blog. I just wanted to mention that Cabaret Hoover is also my favorite routine of the season, not just because I'm a huge Sara fan, but because it rocks, period. I was a huge Lauren fan going into the season, but after sitting in the audience during the Top 20 show and witnessing the wonder that is the "vagabond routine," and screaming "OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!!!" as 2 little girls stare at me in horror, I was convinced that "This Sara chick is IT for me and I'll be voting for her like a madwoman."

Sue B said...

Ha-lo. Better late than never, eh? I am religiously reading Blogging SYTYCD and so got this link from it. Then I was required to read every SYTYCD post. (I only started watching at the Top 16, I think and DVR'ing the Top 10, and yes, I am making DVR a verb.) I loved the series and enjoyed the live show (though I had horrible seats and saw NOTHING, but that's what you get when you don't purchase your tickets the first minute they go on sale). I now feel compelled to read everything I can about every episode from S3 (and got hooked into S2 thanks to MTV). Your reviews are both esoteric and down and dirty. I don't know how you do it, but kudos. And I would have crowned Sara the winner, especially in retrospect, b/c after seeing the finale and the six dances she was in, I thought, Wow, thab b-girl can do pretty much everything! (I then would have voted for Danny, Travis--oops, sorry, season 2, should have won, BTW, and Pasha.) I actually did vote for Neil that last night pre-last show, and while he was great, I am still shaking my head, thinking WHY DID I NOT VOTE FOR DANNY?

So, enough blathering. Love the blog, and loved the Cabaret number more than any other this season.