SYTYCD: The judges didn’t save Jessica & Casey, Travis Wall did.

Episode 10 – Top 14 Perform, 4 Dancers Eliminated

From now until the finale, I’ll be reviewing each episode of SYTYCD and offering my critiques of the routines, personal opinions regarding who was sent packing, and any other thoughts about the show I’m in the mood to share.

This review will be a tad different than how it will be in the following weeks, purely because I was actually able to witness in person with my sister.  With that being said, I’ll try to keep it strictly to the actual show as opposed to the entire experience of being there, but I’m not going to lie, it’ll probably end up being a combination of both.

First off, I want to express the powerful difference between watching the show on TV and being there in person as a member of the studio audience.  The difference is drastic.  Every dance hits you twice as hard and forces you to feel like you’ve never felt before.  Being at the live taping was by far a top highlight of my time here in LA.

My sister and I were 4 rows up from the judges, so if you watched the episode, chances are you didn’t see us.  I was able to point us out when watching only because I knew where we were sitting and my patterned dress gave it away too.  A few times when the judges stood up, we were more visible, but besides that you probably couldn’t point us out unless you were actively looking.

Attending the live taping is an all day affair.  In order to be eligible for the live show, you must first attend the morning taping of the group routine.  Yes, the group routine is pre-recorded.  Haven’t you ever thought it’s odd the dancers are able to change out of the intricate costumes and makeup in the short period of time between the opening number and introduction of the dancers?  Well this is the answer to your question.  Anyways, my sis and I showed up 2.5 hours before the printed arrival time because we knew it was critical in getting into the live show.  Needless to say, we were practically the first people in line.  An irritating, rude family of 4 and 2 of the most obnoxious girl fans I have ever been exposed to in my life beat us for first.  It definitely made the day more interesting being behind these characters.  Because of our spectacular positions in line, we were seated in the first row, front and center.  It was the ideal location to be.  The group number, as you all witnessed, was incredibly moving and actually made us all feel as if we escaped to heaven for 2 minutes.  Their costumes and makeup were just as beautiful in person as it appeared to be on screen.  Seeing their facial expressions up close and personal, allowed me to feel what they were feeling…and let me tell you it was glorious.

Following the group number, I sprinted back to the line in order to secure our spots in the front again.  We were the 11th and 12th people in line, so we were basically guaranteed our admission into the live show.  Here’s how it works for the live show.  They first bring in the VIP’s, choreographers, family & friends of the dancers, and those who didn’t make it into the taping the previous week before letting people from the line in.  We waited about 6.5 hours in line, then another hour in the holding room, then another hour in the actual studio before the show started.  In order to cope with our growling stomachs, I took a Lyft to Whole Foods and stocked up on food and drinks, as well as a towel to sit on, while Diana reserved our spots in line.

While we waited in line, we encountered a number of friendly people willing to strike up conversations here and there.  This made the time pass faster than you’d think.  Several family members and friends of the dancers were waiting in line, which was pretty neat.  They all seemed to be pretty humbled by this experience and so incredibly nice and grateful for everyone’s support.

Now on to my thoughts regarding the actual episode…

Teddy Coffey is the dancer my sister and I were rooting for, partially because we grew up in the same town and attended the same High School and partially because he’s an exquisitely beautiful dancer.

Knowing this, I’m sure you can understand why this episode was particularly upsetting and tough, especially being there in person to witness it all unfold before our eyes.

I don’t know if America actually realizes what factors influence their votes or not, but regardless if they’re aware, it proves to be true season to season.  The factors are as follows:  1) popularity of the contestants (aka their personalities), 2) the choreographer chosen for the routine, 3) the actual choreography, 4) the style of dance, 5) the story behind the dance, and 6) the song selected for the dance.

Teddy definitely got screwed over.  He certainly had the personality, the odds just weren’t in his favor in all other aspects.  In episode 9 he was given salsa and although him and Emily danced it beautifully, who ever votes for salsa aside from the family and friends of the dancers…NOBODY.  If they had been given a style of dance that actually connects with the audience, I’m sure they would have instantly secured their spots in the Top 10.  Their broadway number just couldn’t quite outshine Casey and Jessica’s contemporary piece.

This brings me to the next point.  Casey and Jessica are beautiful dancers, don’t get me wrong, but the way in which they (mainly Jessica) were chosen to advance was not at all fair in any way, shape, or form.  They performed an emotional Travis Wall routine.  Do I even need to continue?  I will just for kicks and giggles, but come on…really?  First off, contemporary is the style of choice for both of them, and secondly, Travis Wall contemporary…  If you don’t know Travis Wall’s choreography, look it up.  He always produces great routines, with great music, and a great story line that always seems to connect with America and evoke emotion out of even the most emotionless people.  The story was about innocent first love and they even shared an intimate, choreographed kiss on stage.  Almost all of America can relate to this.  Relationships in general are high on the list of universal emotions we all experience and can relate to.  Are you beginning to see my point in all of this?  It’s obvious that if Teddy & Emily or Serge & Carly had gotten this routine, they would have danced it just as strikingly as Casey & Jessica did.  Teddy & Emily and Serge & Carly are just as talented and would have been chosen to advance instead.  Not to say on the surface that this scenario is fair either, because it would have been exactly how Casey and Jessica were selected, but if you dig a little deeper and look at the previous weeks, it simply makes more sense based on their past performances.  The judges would have been able to accurately justify this hypothetical decision unlike the actual one they made Wednesday night.

Casey’s dancing ability is tremendous and although my votes and support were with Team Teddy, I’m thrilled for Casey that he has advanced.  If I’m being 100% honest, I cannot possibly be upset with the judges for keeping Casey, as difficult as it is to admit.  I mean I think America is at fault for not voting for Teddy’s potential and beaming personality enough to keep him out of the bottom 6 this week, but based on the style he was given the previous week, I did kind of predict his fate.  Back to Casey, he has earned his spot in the Top 10, but Jessica, on the other hand, has consecutively received negative feedback from the judges and has not been dancing strongly enough for the competition, while Emily and Carly have consistently been receiving positive feedback and have been dancing polished routines each week.  Although Jessica is a brilliant dancer, it was not justified to keep her in the competition based on the one dance she did, in her own style, to a Travis Wall routine, when all other weeks she has underperformed.

Travis Wall definitely saved her this week, but will she be able to save herself in the coming weeks?

Keep watching every Wednesday night 8/7 central to find out!  Oh and on a side note, now that Teddy is gone, all 20 of your votes should go to Emilio!  Weird connection, but he’s good friends with a guy my sister is friends with from High School.

Until next time,

Danielle

 

REWIND Day 3 & 4

Thursday, June 18

Ahhh yes.  It has finally come time to write about Mr. Jimmy Kimmel.

But first, the day began with a pleasant bike ride down to the beach via the Marina del Rey bike trail.  It’s a trail exclusively for bikers, walkers, and runners…no cars allowed!  Despite the fact that the bike I was using was unbalanced due to the loose handle bar, the bike ride was great!

This was pre-bike ride, you should have seen me after because I sure as hell did not look like that!
This was pre-bike ride, you should have seen me after because I sure as hell did not look like that!

After mom and I got cleaned up and pretty, we headed off on our adventure to the La Brea Tarpits!  We had heard from a couple of people that it is a must-go-to spot in LA, so we figured we’d check it out.  Instead of following the tour and hearing their random fun facts, we decided to escort ourselves around, which is quite typical of us.  It honestly did not live up to our expectations and the smell of tar was horrendous.  All in all, it was a cool place to go, but definitely only a one time thing in my book.

Here's a taste of the museum, it was essentially a lot of exhibits of labeled bones.
Here’s a taste of the museum, it was essentially a lot of exhibits of labeled bones.

Finally it was Jimmy time!!  Let me sum it up for you.  You wait, wait some more, wait even more in the hot sun, finally move inside, get to go to the bathroom, wait yet again, then be seated to yes…wait.  Luckily my patience is better than most, but it was a long, long process.  I don’t exactly think my mother was amused, but I at least enjoyed the show once it started.  We were seated in the 3rd row, so we got a spectacular view of everything going on including Cleto’s band and the production aspect of it all.  During Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue I literally could have stood up, reached out my arm, and touched him.  Did I do it?  No.  Why?  Because we were told by the audience coordinator that the security guards are quick on our feet, so if we try jumping up and running, we will get caught.  Needless to say, I didn’t want to end this magnificent day being dragged out of a talk show, not to mention I would have looked like a crazy person.  My main point in all of that jumble, was he was that close to us!  On this particular night, the guests were Eric Bana and Tony Parker.  They were extremely handsome in person!  It’s a shame they’re both 10+ years older than me and already married.

As you can probably imagine, Jimmy Kimmel has an entire team of workers getting paid to maintain the audiences’ energy and enthusiasm throughout the show.  I’ve been on a talk show before, so I understand how it works, but it always amazes me how much they rely on the audience for a solid show.  Before the taping started, they made a point to tell us that when they announce Jimmy Kimmel and he runs out and hits his mark for the monologue, we’re supposed to clap, cheer, scream, and whistle continuously for a good 10 seconds after he has hit his mark.  They really almost manipulate us in order to make Jimmy look popular and well-liked by the audience.  It completely makes sense, I just find it a bit silly and tacky.

The one thing I was left unsatisfied about, along with the waiting, was that Jimmy interacted with the audience at a bare minimum.  During the first break was the only time he even acknowledged our existence.  I understand that he does tapings on a regular basis and I’m sure he gets hounded with people desperately wanting to talk to him every waking second, but my perspective, is you shouldn’t completely ignore the people who first of all, are big fans and are there to see you, second are making you famous by religiously tuning into the show, and third, as a result, are making you filthy rich.

If you can handle all of the waiting, I definitely recommend going to any taping if you get the chance because it is a great experience.  I don’t know if I’d personally ever see Jimmy again because I’m not a diehard fan that watches him daily, however Ellen is for sure on my bucket list of things to do.  In fact, we were planning on seeing Ellen, but couldn’t manage to get tickets because she’s off for a few months on vacation.

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Following the show, we grabbed a bite to eat at the Hollywood and Highland Center, then briefly strolled down Hollywood Blvd to the Grauman’s Chinese Theater.  Up until this point, I had only ever driven past it, so it was thrilling being able to see the hand & footprints of people I grew up watching, in person.  My absolute favorites were the Harry Potter & Twilight celeb prints…big shocker there, right?

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Friday, June 19

Art is one of my mom’s passions, so what better way to spend the day, than to drive to the Pasadena Convention Center and attend the Contemporary Crafts Market!  It’s not something I would have chosen to do on my own, but I was more than happy to go and have fun doing something my mom enjoys so much.  It ended up being a blast and although a lot of the art wasn’t my cup of tea, it was still interesting to see the artists’ work and speak with them about it.  It was inspiring for my mom to see what other people are doing with their art to elevate it to the next level and she was able to gather some ideas for her own art.  She even met a woman who does art extremely similar to hers and found her to be an inspiration.

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We choose to eat at a cafe not too far from the Convention Center and as always, our meal was delicious.  Based on what we saw, Pasadena is a lovely area!  Without a question it’s definitely hotter in temperatures because it’s further inland and this became quite apparent while we walked around the outdoor mall.  Driving back, we decided to go through Culver City because we drove through it the day before and thought it’d be a neat place to walk around and explore.  The overall consensus was that it’s a perfect location to pick a restaurant to eat at, but it’s not so much a great place to walk around, only because Culver and Washington Blvd primarily consist of restaurants, therefore there really isn’t much to see or do.  Although there are restaurants at Abbot Kinney as well, Abbot Kinney definitely still wins this one.

Stay tuned for the last of the REWIND series (Day 5).  By now, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Day 5 was filled with a trillion things just like every other day so far.

Until next time,

Danielle