Thursday, June 30, 2011

One reason to want to go to China

The Jiaozhou Bay bridge opened today in the Chinese eastern port city of Qingdao, linking it to Huangdao island. The bridge spans across the sea for a little over 26 miles making it 2.5 miles longer than the previous longest bridge over water, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana. I love bridges. The longer the better. The higher the better. LOVE THEM. I mean, not love like that one Belgian lady who wants to have sex with that bridge in France, but I just think they're very cool to look at and to cross. Just look at these pics of the Jiaozhou bridge -

Cool right? It's definitely going on my "bridge-cross" bucket list.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

We can all agree that this is a TERRIFYING image, can't we?

Good Lord, Andy Murray is really unfortunate looking.

Friday, June 24, 2011

If anyone out there sees Terrence Malick, punch him in the face for me...

Or Sean Penn. Or even, beloved Brad Pitt; would you at least give Brad a little slap on the head for me? Because that's the minimum for what I feel I'm owed after spending 2 hrs 18 min enduring The Tree Of Life. Jeezus. Where should I start with this irksome, self-indulgent, weirdo piece of crap?
Okay, let's start with its writer/director Terrence Malick. I like a lot of his films. Badlands is great, and Days of Heaven is in my top 10 movies of all time. I even liked The New World! In other words, for years I have been a Malick apologist, and have defended his weirdo artistic vision. But damn if I can do it now for Tree of Life.
You guys, it's so bad. It's confusing, with a non-linear narrative that makes no sense. It's too silent in places. Sean Penn is annoying. This film is distractingly abstract and so self-indulgent that it makes me angry.
It all started out so promising. Well sort of. For months and months I had seen the posters and the trailers for the movie. Half of me was filled with giddy anticipation - Brad Pitt and Terrence Malick together at last! - the other half was filled with dread because the trailer seemed a little wacky. But I held on to hope. It won the Palme d'Or at Cannes while it polarized the Cannes audience (standing ovation and booing?). It garnered a 87% on Rotten Tomatoes which is the 2nd highest rating for any Malick film on the site (just under Days of Heaven) which I saw as a good sign. 
Critics seemed to love it. David Edelstein gave a really interesting and positive review of it for NPR. Then came  Roger Ebert's review where he glowed about it, comparing it to the brillance and boldness of 2001: A Space Odyssey. I almost always agree with Ebert; if he could love it so much then I was bound to. Right? Wrong. So wrong.
The movie begins with someone whispering quotes from the Book of Job in the bible. There's a lot of whispering in this film; characters whisper questions like "how can I get close to you?" and "where were you when I laid the foundation..." , that are I guess directed towards God? Or no, maybe God is speaking through this character to another character? I don't know. All I do know is that the first 15 minutes of this movie starts out sort of promising, although a little confusing right out of the gate with Malick jumping all over time as we first see little kids playing in late 50s Texas with their parents, then cut to the mother some years later getting a telegram that her 19 yr old son has died. For a few minutes it seems like we might be going somewhere as the parents, played by Pitt and Jessica Chastain, are shown dealing with their grief. Then we cut to present day(?) where Sean Penn has bad dreams? We see Penn in a big glass skyscraper where he rides the glass elevator a lot and is having trouble concentrating at his work as an architect(?) because maybe his mother just died? Because he and his wife/girlfriend who shares his ultra modern house are both wearing black suits like they're going to a funeral and although she never says a word, she's giving him a look that is annoyed yet tinged with sadness and sympathy. Or something. Keep in mind, throughout these first few scenes there's not really any dialog and almost no exposition, so you have to guess a lot.
And then Malick loses his ever-lovin' gawdamm mind. For the next 20 minutes, Malick shares his vision of Creation. There's a dramatization of the Big Bang, and the beginnings of life on Earth. Volcanoes erupt; microbes form and squiggle around; oceans crash. Then come the DINOSAURS. Yes, you read that correctly. All through this absurdity there's mostly classical music blaring, occasionally broken up by a character's voice asking various goofy existential questions, or complete silence. It was at this point that I thought I might be having a stroke because I couldn't compute the things displaying before me on the screen. But I then looked around at my friend Cathie and several other theater patrons and realized we were all watching the same thing. The couple behind us took off, muttering that they were going to demand their money back, but at that point I was almost more fascinated to see what other craziness was in store rather than caring about when the story would get back on track.
But a "story" never really emerged. After all of the cosmos/creation crap we're dropped straight into the birth of Jack O'Brien in 1950s Waco, TX. We're shown him growing up through early adolescence struggling with his father and being a normal shitty pre-teen, as his mother gives birth to two more brothers (whose names we never know I don't think). In fact, Jack O'Brien is the only full name we ever hear. Pitt and Chastain are Mother and Father, or Mr. and Mrs. O'Brien. Mr. O'Brien is shown to be a sad, ambitious, and stern man who sees himself as a failed musician and inventor, always looking to strike it rich. He's a brutal disiplinarian with the 3 boys, and has weird rules about respect and what the kids (and his wife) should do or say. Every so often the film jumps from 1950s Waco to modern day Sean Penn as "adult Jack". Sean Penn at work and on his dumb elevator; Sean Penn lighting votives in his ultra modern house; Sean Penn at the beach, walking in the desert, walking over rocks, and seeing a bunch of dead(?) people, until finally he walks through a doorway and sees his whole family from back when they were in the 50s and is filled with a sense of peace? We are to assume that these jaunts are all in his brain. I don't know.
You may think that all of what I just wrote was way too spoilerish. It isn't. I don't think I'm conveying how weird and vacant this movie is. NOTHING HAPPENS in it. There is no story to thread any of the scenes together. I could throw out at you a bunch of words - BLUE, CAR, ROCKY, SHOE, EYEBROW, DOG, UNDERPANTS; adjectives and nouns chosen at random, and it would make just as much sense as what I've shared in the previous paragraphs.
We are led to believe that the middle O'brien child, the blondest one who has an affinity for music and plays guitar, is the one that dies. But maybe it was the youngest one who doesn't have one single line in the whole film. Was the dead brother sick? Was it an accident? Was it Vietnam (the time period would be right)? If so, why was it just a regular Western Union guy delivering the news without any gravitas and not someone from the armed forces? Does Jack feel responsible for his brother's death? He seems to because he's haunted by it lo those many years later. But nothing is ever said. There are about 160 other questions that are never answered either. But it gives me a headache to think about them.
This movie experience has shaken me to my core. I was led astray by people I trusted and I'm upset about it. But I'm telling myself that if I hadn't seen The Tree of Life, I wouldn't have been able to rant about it here and warn all of you good people.
Seriously Malick, you not only owe me the $10 for the ticket, but I get to land one good punch somewhere on your body.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

SYTYCD Season 8 Top 20 (AGAIN)

Just some brief notes about tonight's performances. DEBBIE REYNOLDS!!!! That's all you really need to know; even though she was sort of a bad judge. She couldn't say anything bad; like a sweet grandma.

Ryan & Ricky (Jazz): Choreographer Mandy Moore really can't give up her 80s music can she? Again compared to other seasons, everyone's really strong but I thought the judges overpraised Ryan and Ricky.

Caitlyn & Mitchell (Contemporary): It was good to see Mitchell out there. He and Caitlyn actually have a good connection; speaking of, I still don't see how Mitchell cut Caitlyn's face? With his foot? Anyway, Stacey Tookey's routines can sometimes leave me cold, but I can't complain about this one.

Missy & Wadi (Cha cha): Is it weird that I like Wadi more after the reveal about the Nair? Jean-Marc's routine was so hard. They were both really challenged and I felt for them. But I like these two and hope they stick around.

Iveta & Nick (Bollywood): I love Nick and his chicken legs. Increasingly I find myself not being able to take my eyes off Nick when he's dancing. So maybe that's why I noticed him making a ton of little mistakes. Sigh. Well I voted for them.

Miranda & Robert (hip hop): Not even a cool NappyTabs routine (about woodpeckers?)can make me like these two.

Clarice & Jess (Contemporary): Damn it Jess! Stop trying to make me like you with your cute quirky stick-figure orchestra drawings. These two impressed me with their execution of a fairly rote Stacey Tookey routine.

Jordan & Tadd (Viennaese Waltz): OMG, I fawking hate Jordan. But I couldn't love Tadd's OCD ass more. I want him to have a new partner. The waltz was pretty gorgeous though.

Melanie & Marko (Jazz): I just really love these two. They're so damn good. Hee hee about Marko and his romance novels. I could listen to Nigel Lythgoe say the word "Terpsechore" all day long.

Sasha & Alexander (Lyrical Hip Hop): Classic NappyTabs. Done to one of the many songs that I predicted this season would use, that P Diddy "Coming Home" track. Definitely one of the routines that they'll be dancing again at the end of the season. Great job by Alex and especially Sasha, but boy, I am not warming up to Alex at all. Thank goodness he shaved. Oh! Wouldn't it be great if Tadd and Sasha were a couple?!

Ashley & Chris (Broadway): The minute I saw Spencer Liff (HOT) in the audience with the other choreographers at the beginning of the show, I got excited about whatever he was going to create and whoever was going to perform it. Ashley and Chris rocked it out. Seriously Nigel, can we just have Spencer do all of the Broadway and stop Tyce from doing it?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dissecting SIFF 2011 - Part 2

Continuing on with reviews and thoughts about this year's SIFF:

Young Goethe In Love  Germany - I didn't know much about Goethe before seeing this film. I knew he was a writer sometime in like the 18th century? and that his name is used by super prententious people to make others feel lame. After seeing this gorgeously shot period piece about the life and times of young Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, I still can't say I know much about him, but boy did I enjoy the 2 hours of getting to know him a little. This film is so lush; a great romance told very sweetly with humor and pathos. Alexander Fehling who plays are hero Goethe is spectacular. I would consider buying this film if/when it gets released digitally.

Saigon Electric  Vietnam - This movie might be the standout of this year's festival for me. I had SO MUCH FUN watching this tale of disenfranchised youth in modern-day Saigon who are struggling to keep their dreams and hopes alive. It combines hip-hop dance battles and romance with a touching and sometimes sad story of poverty, alienation, loss, and loneliness. It was fresh and vibrant. After the screening I got to hang out with the American director Stephane Gauger (who is of Vietnamese descent) and he was great. This wonderful film is making the rounds of the festivals now, but it's scheduled for a wider release in the fall. See it if you can!!

The Names of Love   France - Gosh, French films can be wacky. But also so much fun. This comedic love story with a political bent was both. Sara Forestier plays Baya, a very promiscuous young political activist of mixed Algerian-French descent who is so far on the left she has made it her mission to seduce conservatives in order to convert them to her politics (see? French wackiness!). Her magic fails to work on our protagonist Arthur (played with great aplomb by Jacques Gamblin), a middle-aged Libertarian bird-flu expert she meets. The son of a French father and a Jewish mother, Arthur is, like Baya, an “outsider” in the increasingly intolerant France of Nicolas Sarkozy. Forestier and Gamblin are perfect in their roles in this intelligent and fun satire.

Salvation Boulevard   USA - This hilarious satire focuses on the evangelical movement in United States, and the hypocrisy and deceit that's often found in these religious cultures. Starring Pierce Brosnan as the pastoral leader of the Church of the Third Millenium, one of those new mega-churches with thousands of loyal followers including Carl (Greg Kinnear), an ex-Dead head pot dealer who "found the light" and a new wife and step-daughter through the church. Hijinks ensue when Brosnan's Pastor Dan accidentally shoots a philosophical rival of his and tries to put the blame on Carl. Good performances by all.

Amador  Spain - Amazing work by Magaly Solier as the lead character Marcela, a pregnant and panicked home care aide to the aging Amador. Really well paced and acted by everyone.

Love Crime  France - All About Eve meets Double Indemnity set in the high-powered competitive advertising world. So good. Kristin Scott Thomas kicks all sorts of ass (as usual) playing the powerful and rich advertising president Christine; I guess she's just exclusively doing French films now? It's disconcerting sometimes to not hear her speaking in English. Newcomer Ludivine Sagnier brings the main character of Isabelle to life and infuses her with so many different traits and personalities you don't know whether to love, hate, pity, or laugh at her. Excellent thriller.

Service Entrance  France - See what I mean about the amount of French films I saw this year? I LOVED this movie. A delightful upstairs/downstairs comedy of manners set in 1960s Paris. It should be rentable soon if you can't find it a your local art-house theater.

Killing Bono U.K. - Fun fun fun. A comedy based on Neil McCormick's true memoir about his time as a young man srtuggling to be a rockstar in late 70s Dublin. His band Yeah! Yeah! (later re-named Shook Up!), sadly, came to naught, while his rivals in The Hype changed their name to U2, and, well, the rest is history. Starring the immensely likeable Ben Barnes (Prince Caspian from The Chronicles of Narnia) as McCormick, the film depicts his constantly frustrated hopes while rubbing salt in their wounds by painting their bitter rival Bono as—annoyingly—a pretty decent guy.

Romeos  Germany - One of my top films from this year's festival. Set in Cologne, Germany, it tells the story of young transgendered man named Lukas, who is at a new university and reconnecting with an old friend of his from home when he was a "she". Lukas is also making new friends like Fabio, a gay lothario who seems so comfortable in his skin and his identity, that's like catnip to Lukas. Tensions arise as Lukas falls in love with Fabio and has to decide if and how much to reveal about his gender past. I can't tell you how moving this film was. I hope it can eventually get a wide enough distribution that a lot of people can see it.

Dissecting SIFF 2011 - Part 1

I'm really late with these posts. By like almost 2 weeks. In fact, I had every intention of posting same-day reviews of each film that I saw during the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), but obviously I was too lazy for that.

This year I saw 21 movies during the 3 week long festival. And unlike previous years, I didn't have to cram these viewings into weekends where I force myself to see 4 movies in one day. Because I was out on FMLA recovering from surgery, I had a lot of free time on my hands. And sitting in a movie theater was easy to do and didn't require a lot of exertion that would bust my stitches open.
Anyway, this was an interesting SIFF for me because I didn't see many films from Spain. I usually end up seeing at least 4 Spanish films (I guess I like them?) but this year I only saw two. In fact, this was the first SIFF where I ended up seeing more American films than foreign films. A definite first. And I saw a lot of comedies which I usually avoid at SIFF.
Here's the first rundown of what I saw this year. I'm throwing it out randomly but also sort of in viewing date order.

First, I'll lump together the documentaries that I saw, all produced from the United States:

Page One: Documentarian Andrew Rossi set up his cameras for one year inside the New York Times’ newsroom, with unprecedented access and insight into the paper’s operations. The doc show not only how new media is impacting the Times, but also how the paper reports on its own industry’s demise is a frank way. Everyone in the theater with me LOVED this film but I kind of didn't feeel that it was that great. Maybe I was just in a bad mood.

The Interrupters: From the guy that did Hoop Dreams, this doc told the story of inner city and gang violence in Chicago; focusing on three kids who are trying to make a difference. I won't lie, I cried like a baby in parts of this. Really well done, but you have to be in a certain mood to enjoy it I think.

Being Elmo: I saw this documentary on the last day of the festival, at the last minute, literally deciding to go 10 minutes before the show started because I happen to be driving by the theater it was showing in on my way home from dinner. I had purposely avoided the other showings that the film had had because I really really really hate Elmo. But you know what? I'm sort of in love with Kevin Clash, Elmo's famed "Muppeteer". The movie is an in-depth portrait of Clash and how he came to be one of  the most famous puppeteers of all time. Charming.

  • High Road U.S. - Matt Walsh is one of my favorite comedians. And I really wish he had acted in this film that he acted and directed. I really enjoyed the story and a lot of the performances, but there were part of it where it was really obvious that the dialogue was entirely improvised. Someone like Rob Riggle or Ed Helms is going to kill it, but other actors made some of the scenes really drag. Newcomer Zach Woods was kind of awesome as the 16 yr old kid that is one of the centers of the film.
  • Womb Germany - Oh boy. This movie was so messed up. I mean it was well crafted; but such a mind-fuck. Starring an entirely British cast, including Eva Green (Casino Royale) and Matt Smith (Dr. Who), if there was any SIFF film this year that I definitely would NOT see again it would be this one. Again, it was well acted and beautifully shot, but boy is the story creepy.
  • Crying Out Canada (Quebec) - This was the first of two films I saw at SIFF out of Quebec, and dang, it's right what they say about the Quebecquois being radically different from the rest of Canada. This is a film about MEN, and men's EMOTIONS, and it is dark. So dark. It's about 3 generations of men who are struggling with various problems, including the protagonist Jo (dad, the middle generation) who is newly widowed and not handling it well, resulting in him committing a series of petty crimes that his adult son and his father try and cover up for him. I really liked the performances of the actors that played the son (Patrick Hivon) and the grampa (Jean Lapointe) and elements of the story are good, but I just couldn't get past how bleak everything was; and I think it was supposed to be a comedy?
  • Beginners U.S. - This was probably the most high profile of the movies I saw this year at SIFF. And this is one of the first to have a major distributor and already be out in theaters. See this film if/when it comes to your town. I loved it. It stars Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer as a father (Hal) and son (Oliver) dealing with death, illness, and love. The story is told through two intertwining stories: in the present day, Oliver meets Anna, an alluring French actress who captivates him and gives him a way to heal from the recent and devastating loss of  father, which has happened soon after losing his mother to cancer. As Oliver grows closer to Anna, he is still hung up on the deep emotions that erupted when, at age 75, shortly after the death of his wife, Oliver’s dad Hal came out of the closet. The second story we see in flashback as Hal, disregarding his advanced years and a diagnosis of terminal cancer, gleefully embraces his senior bon vivant lifestyle; hitting the clubs, buying a new wardrobe, and, dating a man half his age. Throughout the film, these two narratives subtly illuminate each other, as Oliver strives to learn from his father’s profound lessons on hope, courage, and love. Did I forget to mention that there's also an adorable dog in the movie? A couple of other things - Christopher Plummer is still just as charming and great looking at age 82 as he's ever been. I didn't think it was possible for Goran Visnjic to be unattractive, but he is in this film as Hal's boyfriend. Also, coincidentally Visnjic and Plummer are both going to be in the upcoming US version of The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo which I'm very excited about. Finally, Ewan McGregor and director Mike Mills were at the SIFF screening of Beginners that I went to. McGregor is hot in person y'all.
  • Natural Selection U.S. - This was a funny and entertaining movie, even if it didn't resonate with me that much or surprise me in any way. It stars comedian Rachael Harris as a Linda, a Christian housewife who is struggling to get pregnant who after her husband suffers a stroke, finds out about a secret adult son that her husband fathered. He asks her to track down his this son, a mullet-haired, drug-addled, escape convict named Raymond. The movie turns into a wacky road movie as Linda and Raymond travel back to grant Abe’s final wish. They form a bizarre relationship that changes them both dramatically. Natural Selection took the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at this year’s SXSW. And Matt O'Leary as Raymond was kind of a revelation.
  • Jucy Australia -  Oh god, I loved this movie. Director Louise Alton tells a warm-hearted story set in Brisbane about BFFs Jackie and Lucy, (played by newcomers Cindy Nelson and Francesca Gasteen, real-life best friends who created the characters together), aka Jucy. The friendship is chronicled set against a story about them auditioning and putting on a production of Jane Eyre with their local community theater. You guys, this movie is like "AbFab" meets "Muriel's Wedding" for the new millenium. So charming and relatable and fun. I really hope it gets a wide distribution because everyone should get a chance to see it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

"Does this ad make me look fat?"

So you know that Yoplait yogurt commercial that shows the lady at the office agonizing over whether she should enjoy a piece of raspberry cheesecake or not, by justifying what she'll do to compensate for the extra calories? It's a funny and effective piece of advertising, right?
Well evidently some overly sensitive wackadoos concerned people over at the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) think that the ad sends a very dangerous message so they've demanded that the ad be pulled off the air, and Yoplait agreed. Sigh...really?
NEDA (which is of course based out of Seattle, #1 city for passive-aggression) has said "a commercial showing a thin person anxiously doing mental gymnastics in order to justify eating dessert—and then denying herself the treat because she wants to be even thinner—could reinforce the idea that such deliberations are healthy and normal".
But...but I think that is normal. Look, this country has a shit-ton of people who are obese and just as many more who are dieting or have lost weight but still find it a daily struggle to maintain their efforts. People have arguments and conversations with themselves all the time regarding whether or not to eat that chocolate chip cookie or have that second helping of lasagne. That's why the ad works! I don't understand NEDA's position on this at all. If we have to calibrate all food advertising to cater to the emotional stability of people with eating disorders, then should we even had any ads at all for food?

Am I being insensitive? Whatever. None of this controversy even addressed my problem with the Yoplait ad. What kind of office do these people work in where they have co-workers bringing in gourmet, fancy, delicious looking raspberry cheesecake for everyone to enjoy? I want to work there!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

SYTYCD Season 8 - Top 20 Performance

As I said in my last post, this season's top 20 are all very good dancers, so there isn't really anything I can criticize about anyone's technique. Megan Mullaly was the guest judge for some reason. She's supposedly a crazy super-fan who's seen every episode of every season so I could sort of get behind that and ignore that she's not really a dancer anymore.

Jordan & Tadd: Afro Jazz -
Ugh, I was disappointed to see Tadd paired up with Jordan because to tell you the truth I kind of hate Jordan. She's a great dancer, but her personality grates and her face bugs the hell out of me. I hope the positive feedback that Tadd got for his great dancing from all of the judges is a good sign. I really like him! I'm still not sure I like Sean Cheesman as a choreographer though.

Sasha & Alexander: Contemporary - Is there ever going to be a Travis Wall choreographed routine that I don't like? These two lucked out. Going shallow for a minute, Alexander needs to stop it with the weird facial hair that looks like he's wearing makeup, it's creepy. I totally agreed with Mary and Megan that Alex and Sasha didn't seem to connect as a couple and that Sasha was way more invested into the character of the dance than he was. I'm kind of race-biased, I really want a black female dancer like either Sasha or Ashley to go far in the competition this season.

Clarice & Jess: Broadway - Ugh. What are the odds?! That fucking Jess would get this freakin' style? I was so annoyed that one of my favorite girls was paired up with Jess, who is so "ON" all the time that he totally irks me. They were paired I'm quite sure because they're both so tiny. And once again, Tyce Diorio's crap ass Broadway choreography disappoints.

Ryan & Ricky: Lyrical Hip-Hop - Mmmm I'm totally digging choreographer Christopher Scott. Every routine he's done I've loved. I want him to be my boyfriend. Can we talk about Ricky's annoying as hell name? Ricky Jaime? It's so ridiculous. He and Ryan together shall I put many TEETH. They're very perky, but I kind of love them. Definitely one of my fave routines of the night.

Caitlynn & Mitchell*: Jazz from Sonya Tahyeh - Mitchell fucked his elbow up so Caitlynn danced with S7's Robert. It was so sad to see Mitchell crying in the audience. I feel really bad for him because he'll automatically be in the bottom 3 which is only fair. He was one of my early predictions to go far in this comp. I think Caitlynn is a little over praised. My eyes roll when she talks.

Miranda & Robert: Jive - Jason Wilkinson cracks me up but generally this was my least favorite routine of the night. Mostly because I don't like Robert and to some extent Miranda (mostly Robert). I'm already sick to death of the WOO thing. Do people really like this dude? Ugh. But I felt for them because they're the only couple that got screwed with a style choice this week.

Missy & Wadi: Jazz - Sean Cheesman's pectoral muscles scare me. I don't know if I liked his "sexy demon" routine that he did for these two. Hmmm. The judges like it, so there's that.

Melanie & Marko: Contemporary - Love love love. Travis Wall routine + 2 of my faves this season = LOVE. I'm glad that Nigel caught and commented on the tiny errors that Marko and Melanie made, but Nigel agreed with me that those flaws didn't mar how wonderful a performance it was.

Ashley & Chris: Hip Hop - Ashley is so cute. I lurve her. Chris? Eh. So consequently I didn't feel a deep connection between them. But I enjoyed their fun Chris Scott routine.

Iveta & Nick: Quickstep - I call foul! Iveta pulls ballroom as a style? harumph  Anyway, I knew these two would be paired because they're the tallest. But I loved their quickstep to Ballroom Blitz. Jason Gilkinson is a nut.

Predictions for bottom 3:

Girls = Miranda, Jordan, and either Ashley or Missy

Boys = Mitchell*, Robert, and either Tadd (frowny face) or Wadi

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Season 8 of So You Think You Can Dance

I've been lame and haven't posted anything on this latest season of So You Think You Can Dance. Dearest Vance over at Tapeworthy wrote up a great summary about the show last week that showcased our season 8 Top 20 dancers that I encourage everyone to read.
But I'm going to try and end my writing hiatus now by briefly talking about the top 20, and five of the finalists that I'm excited to see perform tonight. In general I'm impressed by every single contestant this year, which might be a first for me. So far I've really enjoyed everyone's performance. Although I'm a little concerned that I may grow tired of some of the dancers and their annoying personalities (I'm looking at you Robert and Ricky!), and fear that I'm already weary of Jess' schtick and that thin line he rides right on the edge of arrogance.
I'm super excited that they've brought back a top 20, and can't wait to see who they pair up together. And then once it's down to a top 10 this season the All-Stars are back!! They showed Allison, Twitch, and Kathryn in the audience of the LA auditions which made me think they're coming back, and we got Pasha(!) on the top 20 reveal last week, but will the rest of last season's All-Stars be returning? As much as I love him, I could do without Dominic and maybe see Legacy in his place. And I'd really love to have Jakob on my screen again beyond the 2 seconds they showed him doing some of the choreography at the auditions. MarK Kanemura is on tour with Gaga again I believe so I'm not sure if he's available. Maybe we could get Will!

Anyway, here are the dancers that caught my eye last week that I'm excited to see tonight. I'm not saying that they're my favorites yet, just that they stood out the most and left me wanting to see more. True favorites probably won't emerge until after tonight or next week.

Clarice - She's just so pretty. And I love her jazz style. I don't remember her original audition if we saw it, but she was a shining star in Vegas.

Marko - I think this is the dude with the bullet in his shoulder? Anyway, he's kind of great. I remember his audition in NY or wherever and his lyrical jazz style surprised me but on last week's ep he was amazing. Can't wait to see who he's paired up with.

Melanie - My #1 choice to win this whole thing. Her smile and joy is infectious. How can you not love her? Also? She's a fawking AWESOME dancer. Totally kickass.
Nick - Hmmm, I didn't really like this kid in his initial audition. And I don't remember them showing him in Vegas at all. But then all of a sudden he comes out on stage last week and totally wowed me; both in the Broadway routine with Jess and in the boys "hip-hop" routine. I won't lie; I am hot for him.

Tadd - I saw this guy for the first time in last week's Vegas semi-final eps. I haven't liked a b-boy this much since Legacy, and Tadd seems to have a real knack for other styles of dance. Whenever he was on stage during the top 20 reveal episode I couldn't take my eyes off him. I am completely intrigued.