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,




A Typical SoCal Weekend

I had to put a hold on my REWIND series to talk about my fabulous weekend.

Saturday, July 26

Before I begin the lowdown, I must give a shoutout to my spectacular mother!  It was her birthday on Saturday!!  Unfortunately I couldn’t spend the day celebrating with her because I’m obviously in LA and she’s back home in Upstate NY.  So my mom decided instead of staying home, to spend her birthday and the days leading up to her birthday in Maine with some dear family friends.  She’s one special gal and deserved all the best for her birthday and from my understanding, she spent her day doing things she loves with people she loves.  What more could you ask for?

In addition to it being my mother’s birthday, it was also National Dance Day!  Every year when Nigel Lythgoe promotes it on So You Think You Can Dance, I imagine how fun it would be to actually be there to celebrate it in LA with Nigel and SYTYCD alum.  So when the time came around and they began mentioning it on the show, I just knew I had to go!  It took place at Grand Park in downtown LA, which was perfect because a group of people from the program I’m in were planning on going to Carroll Avenue, which happens to be only 5 minutes from the park.

Carroll Ave is used in several TV shows and movies as a filming location because of the massively beautiful victorian houses that exist there.  It was the perfect location for Charmed, a TV show I grew up watching.  The street itself has character as well as a subtle charm with a San Francisco feel to it, which is naturally why one of the houses was chosen as the exterior of the sisters’ house in the show.  Upon arriving at the house, a man who lives there was sitting on the 2nd floor porch reading the paper, so it was definitely awkward approaching the house as a group of 5.  As we got closer, without a blink or any facial movement, he crawled back into his house through the window, as a turtle would into his shell.  It seemed incredibly second nature, so I’m assuming he is completely used to outsiders observing his house that is doesn’t even phase him.  I almost felt bad.  I sure as hell would not want unfamiliar people coming to observe my house, but at the same time it’s what you signed up for and agreed to when you bought the house.  The second we were done taking pictures and began walking away, from the corner of my eye I saw him crawl back out from the window and onto the porch.  Next up was the house used in the music video for Michael Jackson’s Thriller.  Pretty neat to say I’ve walked on the same land MJ has walked on.

Charmed House

Thriller House

Back to National Dance Day!  When Dana and I arrived, I could easily feel the warmth, both literally and figuratively.  It was one of the hottest days I’ve ever encountered here and being in a crowd of people is not ideally how I picture spending days such as this one, especially when you’re drenched in sweat and smell like rotten eggs, however I was surprisingly able to deal with all this…anything for National Dance Day!  Figuratively, the energy was warm and inviting.  Everyone was happy and frankly just excited to be there celebrating dance!  Dance is as universal as you can get.  It’s a form of language human beings share across all cultures and societies and my best assumption as to why National Dance Day is so highly regarded.  Cameras were everywhere!  A camera guy approached me and asked if he could see those boots in action!  Unfortunately, I didn’t make it in the footage Wednesday night.  The event consisted of doing the choreographed beginner’s and advanced routines a couple of times and watching actual dance groups perform.  Much to my surprise, the girl who sings the song for the beginner’s routine even came out for a mini performance, which only ingrained that song in my head even more.  Her song is called “Too Cool to Dance,” so when the song ended, she proceeded to prompt us to yell, “we’re not too cool to dance!”  Needless to say, I did not yell that…it crossed the line a little too far for me.  On that note, there was one exercise that involved forming weird shapes with your body with complete strangers and I’m pretty convinced this was the universe’s way of getting back at me for forcing my freshmen orientation groups to do odd ice breaker games.  Back on topic, of course Nigel was there as well as 2 of my all time favorite alum, Ade Chike Torbert and Cyrus!  As always, they were great.  Cyrus even came out and danced for us!  It was the perfect way to spend my Saturday afternoon.  Being there in person was far better than watching the footage on TV; it definitely did not disappoint.

Grand Park
Grand Park
The film crew is on the left!
The film crew is on the left!
Nigel Lythgoe doing the beginner's routine himself
Nigel Lythgoe doing the beginner’s routine himself
Cyrus and Ade Chike
Cyrus and Ade Chike

Following National Dance Day, we topped it off with a trip to The Grove.  After eating lunch at this fancy pizza place, we did some unnecessary shopping and each got a few things.  I finally found the perfect dress for the Teen Choice Awards!  It’s a beautiful, tight fitting white dress.  Seeing as how my body isn’t going to change much within the next decade, I figured I may as well buy it for the TCA and have it for many other occasions to come.

TCA dress from Top Shop
TCA dress from Top Shop
This made its way onto my dream list of things to have!  Unfortunately the pricing was far too much out of my range.
This made its way onto my dream list of things to have! Unfortunately the pricing was out of my range by far at this stage in life.

Sunday, July 27

With a group of friends from the internship program I’m in, we headed to Huntington Beach for the Vans US Open of Surfing!  To be honest, I had never heard of this event before and had absolutely no idea how massively popular it is.  Apparently it wasn’t as crowded as it typically is, but then again, it was only the first day with about a week more to go.  There were tents everywhere with sweet merch!  There was even a Paul Mitchell tent with legitimate hairdressers there cutting people’s hair and styling.  Another tent was promoting People Water, which happens to be Bachelorette star, Jef Holm’s company.  I was secretly crossing my fingers hoping he’d be there, but unfortunately he was not.  The surfing itself was exciting to watch and all we could do was sit there in awe wondering how you even get to that level.

My friend, Emaleigh, from SUNY Fredonia Enactus just moved to Orange County for a job and doesn’t live far from Huntington, so she met us there!  It was great to see a familiar face, but also strange seeing someone so out of context from the usual surroundings.

Vans Surf Open


Vans Surf Open 2

Enactus reunites!  Em and me posin
Enactus reunites! Em and me posin

My weekend definitely fits the typical SoCal stereotype.  Hey, every bit of it was great though.  I sure hope you all had beautiful weekends and hope you have wonderful things planned for this upcoming weekend!

Until next time,