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

 

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REWIND Day 1

It’s no secret that summer has hit its halfway mark and that I’ve already been in LA for about 4 weeks now.  My intention was to blog consistently throughout my entire journey here, but I just never took the time to set it all up and learn WordPress.  Instead I’ve been doing my best to remain present in the moment, soak up every experience possible, and remember it all so I’m able to accurately recount each moment.  As you can probably imagine, I now have endless amounts of adventures ready to be written here and published.  Recently my two suitemates, Kristen and Tessa, have become active bloggers themselves and have inspired me to actually begin posting and documenting my journey.  Kristen’s blog is A Blonde Movie Critic and Tessa’s is A Brunette With Baggage.  You should definitely check them both out and follow them!

I’ve decided, the days I spent with my mom prior to moving into the program each deserve their own post.  Far too much was condensed into these 5 days where one post briefly summarizing it all, would simply not do it justice and on the other hand, one long post would just be obnoxious and would probably end up being 10 pages!  Each day was beautiful and exhilarating in its own way and I cannot wait to finally relive the adventures we had by writing about it.

Tuesday, June 17th

My wonderful mother and I departed Rochester early in the morning.  We arrived at LAX with no difficulties (aside from spilling oatmeal ALL over my lap in the airport) and it quickly became apparent to me that this adventure was a) getting off to a great start (minus the oatmeal incident) and b) going to be one of the best experiences of my life thus far.

The first thing we did was check into our Airbnb “bed and breakfast” in Marina del Rey.  No question about it, my mom and I usually prefer using Airbnb because for 1) it’s affordable and 2) it’s the best way to immerse yourself in the culture without sticking out like a sore thumb as an obvious tourist.  Not to say I don’t enjoy a high class resort once in a while, but most of the time it’s nice to blend in and do what the locals do.  Upon arrival, we could immediately sense the warmth and friendliness exuding from the house and knew we had scored big.  We have experienced a not-so-great Airbnb before, so it was relieving to know our temporary home for the next couple of days was going to be an experience worth sharing.  In a few posts, I’ll talk more about our interactions with Michael and Tara, the kind, gentle couple who lived there.

Because we left Rochester at the crack of dawn and because of the drastic time difference, we had the entire second half of the day to roam the area.  Venice got our business that night when we ate at this cutesy, Mediterranean restaurant on the boardwalk, called Med Cafe.  Hands down, it was some of the best falafel I have ever eaten!  We spoke with some amiable locals, who could not have been kinder, and they gave us recommendations of places to go in the area.  Abbot Kinney Blvd was high on their list, so following dinner, mom and I ventured a few streets over to check it out.  It literally, was one of the coolest places ever.  I have grown a strong affinity for Abbot Kinney and it has quickly become one of my favorite spots in all of LA.  It’s basically one long street full of boutiques, art, coffee shops, retail, and restaurants with a cool, bohemian vibe.  TOMS was one of my favorite stores at AK, although I am a little biased because TOMS is one of our clients.  But really, who doesn’t like an earthy, organic retail store filled with TOMS products and a place with a positive ambiance?  It was a big score in my book and I discovered it to be a great hang out place to relax and recharge.

 

The view from the outdoor seating area
The view from the outdoor seating area
I ordered the falafel platter and it couldn't have been more tasty!
I ordered the falafel platter and it couldn’t have been more tasty!

Abbot Kinney Blvd

One of our clients for my internship is TOMS, so of course I had to go check out the store...it was awesome!
One of our clients for my internship is TOMS, so of course I had to go check out the store…it was awesome!

We also walked along the Venice beach, which was pretty neat.  There are a lot of interesting characters in Venice.  It’s a great place to go during the day, but definitely a place to avoid at night.

Well that’s a wrap for Day 1!  It was an incredible way to spend my first day in LA.  The only way I can describe it is absolute bliss.  Time sure is flying by though, I can’t believe all this took place exactly a month ago today.

 

Stay tuned for Day 2!  It involves a farmer’s market, yoga in the park, UCLA, Malibu, and everything in between.

 

All my best,

Danielle