Thursday, July 23, 2009


It's like the world has been turned upside down. I blame Mia mostly, and also Nigel. Actually, it was the circumstances. I'm shocked. Really? Evan's the only one to never be in the bottom ever?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Last week on So Maybe it Wasn't a Mormon Conspiracy After All:
Randi and Capuccino left and it was about time. Jason came to life after getting over that disease he had for a few weeks.. that disease named Caitlin. I finally saw what the big deal was about Janette and Brandon after seeing them separated. And I decided that this year's Top 10 is nowhere compared to last year's. Maybe when we get to Top 6, they'll seem comparable, but I'm not holding my breath. Part of me feels like they're saving a lot of strong talent and personality for next season since it'll be up against other strong regular season shows. Just a hunch.

This week on So Who's the Moron Who Gave Mary a Train Whistle:
I'm not going to go through each dancer, I don't think. I have more to say about some than I do about others. First of all, what was the point of the first hour? Those routines were so boring. What is up with routines this season. This is part of the reason why this season isn't as strong as last season. I feel like there were so many more memorable and exceptional routines last season. I'm not a big fan of the ballroom overload. That's part of it. Also, I have a bone to pick with wardrobe.. it's been weird this season. Today I was fine with all the solo outfits.. OH except for Melissa's.. what the hell. I thought Jeanine looked great tonight. Although I loved the Travis routine last week, I was not a fan of what they had her wear. Janette also looked great during her solo. I'm starting to get the hype about her. And I'll say I have no problem with her winning. I get it.

Ellen. Okay, I wrote a list of topics I don't want to forget to cover. And I'm just going to leave them there like bullet points. First, let's talk about Ellen as a guest judge. I loved it. I was kind of afraid when I heard she was coming, but it's hard to really explain why. I love Ellen. I think she's hilarious and I like her brand of humor. I find her to be too wholesome on her show. And I understand she needs to appeal to as many people as possible to be as hugely successful as she is. However, I like the real Ellen. I think she has a lot of things she thinks in her head but never says on her show because she doesn't want to offend anyone. And that's fine. I respect how smart and savvy she is to become this successful. However, I was afraid she'd come on this show and.. I don't know.. be kind of boring? Like maybe she'd just say generic comments and compliment everyone? I'm so glad she came on and was just hilarious.

My Ellen highlights were 1) when she talked about helping Travis with wardrobe, 2) when she talked about being street, 3) when she kept saying "I can do that," 4) when she talked about the glass of wine she had, 5) when she stood up for Evan when they were critiquing his appearance instead of his dancing, and 6) when she was just honest about not being an expert and just happy to be there for a taping. Also, Mary often has nothing of value to say, and she goes on and on and on. Ellen wasn't pretending to have constructive criticism, so she kept it short and funny. She really added value to today's show. In fact, she was funniest during the boring first hour of the show. Had she not been there, I might have fallen asleep.

Janette v. Chelsie. So in light of this realization I've had of Janette's talent, I think I'd like to break it down and try to explain it. So first of all, I have to say I like Janette and Brandon so much more after they were split up because it's now so clear how strong each of them is individually. Now I get it. But let's talk Janette. I started realizing maybe week 3 or 4 how strong she was because I remember noticing something about how she strong she was in some routine. Vague, I know. Anyway, it's been a long time.. maybe never.. since I thought of a female ballroom dancer winning the show. Let's break it down. Janette is probably going to win. Here is why. She's a very strong dancer, in and out of her style. She's also pretty genuine in the way she carries herself. I don't think the personalities are that strong this season, but at least they're not faking it. I think she puts a lot of personality into her dancing. It's like she gives a lot of herself and I think that's what people appreciate about her.

So Janette v. Chelsie, and it's not like a battle or anything. They're both great, they're from different seasons and it's not like I'm saying one is better than the other. Chelsie's probably the female ballroom dancer that had the most potential to win before Janette came along. But during her season, I knew she wouldn't win. It was a combination of how she was portrayed and how strong the other dancers/personalities were on her season. I did think she'd be in the Top 4, though, so that was a surprise. By the way, I watched season 4 late, so I can't guarantee I would have felt the same about her had I watched it live and on time. With Janette, I get the sense that she can win.

The key difference between Chelsie and Janette is their training, I think. Janette has said that most of what does she learned from her family. While there's no doubt she's also had some professional training in order to get this good, I very much believe what she says. With Chelsie, it's clear that she's had a lot of professional training by some of the best ballroom experts. You can see it when she dances. It's something about being very precise.. her dancing just seems very refined. However, when I watch Chelsie, I see her formal training, and when I watch Janette, I see her passion. Like I said before, I feel like Janette puts a lot of herself into her dancing, and that would develop through learning informally from her family. I think for this reason, Janette has the potential to win. I believe Chelsie is technically the stronger dancer, but Janette is more likely to win a show like this. I think they're both great, regardless, though.

Brandon. Oh I want to talk about Jeanine too. That'll be next. I was kind of wary about Brandon when the season started because there was so much history with him. He'd been really close to making it last year. He and Natalie were apparently bffs because he couldn't handle it when she got cut (for no reason). He caused a rift between the judges when some really liked him and some didn't at all. So there was all this hype, all this anticipation. I so was not interested in any of it. So I don't think I really considered his dancing when forming my opinion of him. I just saw him as controversy and kind of wanted that to go away. I don't like that type of controversy.

Now that it's faded away, I'm able to look at him more objectively. Also, I wasn't too sure who was carrying whom between him and Janette, so I didn't know what to make of them never being in the bottom. When they were split up, though, I think I really liked knowing that they were both pretty equally strong. So anyway, now I appreciate him on the show and have no complaints.

Jeanine. It was nice to see her mom emotional over the Tyce piece. That was sweet. And her little sister looks so much like her. But let's talk about her dancing. I think if this was a solo show where they only performed solos.. besides the fact that it would be boring and have no appeal.. she would win hands down. Every solo that she has done has been so clearly planned out and well-choreographed. I like that she's very intentional about her solos. I think they have been so clearly the strongest, week after week. Again, I love that she's the Terin Humphrey of dance. I think that's great. I appreciate that she realizes that people tune in each week to see good dancing. She takes the time to make sure she's putting out her best effort. What can I say, I'm a fan.

Laurieann Gibson. She's never choreographed on this show yet, right? I really enjoyed that. She was kind of Jillian Michaels-esque in that intro video of their rehearsal. I usually like routines with some storyline, but she was upfront about there purposely not being one. And I think what she created was exactly what she said was intended. It focused on the dancing and the dancing was great.

Tyce. Tyce's routine was great. It's frustrating when I keep seeing "Melissa and Ade's second routine was so good." I want to be clear. Tyce's second routine was phenomenal. Sometimes the choreography makes dancers appear better than they really are. It was one of the best pieces this season. However, it does not make either of those dancers the best dancers of this season. I'm not trying to be vicious towards either of them, but I honestly believe they should both be in the bottom according to their abilities and what they've shown the rest of the season so far. Tyce is amazing. If he can save two dancers from the bottom by giving them amazing choreography, he'll have reached a new level of amazing. We will see tomorrow, I guess.

SYTYCD marketing at its best. So anyone that knows me knows that I like to take a very analytical look at reality tv. When I say I watch a lot of reality tv, I don't mean I stare at the tv screen blankly just to pass the time. I analyze the editing, the casting, the perception of "reality".. I like to make predictions and I'm usually correct. I'm a captive and active audience. Anyway, it's usually hard to delve too deeply into analysis of live performance- and vote-based shows. I kind of enjoy how there's been a different side to sytycd lately. I think this is what's kept me interested. There is something to say about the casting and the seasons are very interconnected.

This is what I mean. Have you noticed they never show them picking their styles anymore? We're supposed to believe it's random. I have no proof and I'm not even completely convinced myself, but there's been a lot of lucky draws this season. Also, unrelated, but what's the reason behind having them write their names on the cards instead of the normal printed versions? Budget cuts? Odd.

Now, I've been very clear about my disapproval of the doubling up of seasons. This is coming from someone who loves the show and wishes it was on all the time. However, I understand why it can't be on all the time, and I'm afraid bad things will happen now with the doubling up. There's no doubt it will be tougher to be on during the regular fall season. This will mean they will need to make their show more marketable and drama = marketability. What I mean is, this could quickly change from a show that we all grew to love with its quirks and turn into a show that is fighting a ratings war. Right now, I still find it to be an honest show. Good dancing wins out in the end and it's not just about who's more attractive or adorable that America wants to see entertain them. I do still honestly believe this. There are people who get cut too early, but I've yet to see a winner that didn't deserve it. And I don't want to see someone make it through who doesn't deserve it. I'm afraid it could happen if they mess with what works. I could be completely wrong, but I know I'm not wrong about fearing it.

With this doubling up of season comes the issue of casting. With the seasons so close together, we're not likely to see as much growth between the auditions like we do with a lot of the current contestants who've auditioned before. Because of this, there is no doubt the judges were casting for two seasons during this season's casting. Now, since next season is risky, being in the regular fall season, it is important to have a very strong cast then. I suspect that many of next seasons' cast was pretty much chosen before those auditions began. They have set up a lot of interesting stories. There's Natalie, of course, and we'll get to her. I find her case fascinating. We have Evan's brother, Ryan. We have Chbeeb's girlfriend, Arielle. Bianca (? the tap girl) said she wouldn't come back, but she could be compelling. There's this Asian chick I've seen a couple times. There are a lot of strong dancers that kind of slip through. Oh, there's Caitlin sister, Megan, too. That's a lot.

The Natalie case. So it pisses me off, the whole situation. I hate that they're using her for ratings and she's too sweet of a person to get pissed off and never show up again. It really killed me when she apologized for disappointing them when they cut her for no reason. There are two possibilities of what they're doing with her and I'm not sure which one is actually the case.

1) They're planning on having her on next season because everybody knows her. If you're a true fan of the show, you know who she is. People will be interested in supporting her and watching her progress in the show. She would be a great person to cast for this new season.

2) She's so well-known on the show that the judges realize that if they cast her, she could easily coast into the finale just based on her established fanbase. If this is the case, they may never cast her, which would be unfortunate, because it is clear that she's a wonderful person.

So we'll see which one it is. My hunch is they either made a deal with her to ensure she'll come back or they know she'll come back because she loves to dance and they want to use her desire to be on the show for the show's benefit.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Can I just say Twitter has added another level to my world of reality tv anticipation. I've never been afraid to make bold predictions and assumptions on this blog. I use previews to make predictions for shows that are pre-filmed and I use observations from contestant interactions to make assumptions and anticipate what will happen on future shows filmed in real-time. So let's talk some shows..

Here Come the Newlyweds just finished. I called a McMorris/Corliss finale, of course, and I was pulling for a Corliss win. The thing that bothers me about this show is they never show the votes. It is a reality show. Show the votes. That's how I get a sense of what's going on and with that, I could have made a correct final prediction much earlier. Of course I thought the Corlisses were great because they own a tattoo shop and are not the traditional-type couple. I think this show tries too hard to be wholesome. If the Corlisses was as out-of-the-box as they could find, they weren't trying hard enough. There's nothing odd about the Corlisses. They're just an honest, real couple. I appreciated that.

Big Brother continues with it's odd theme and pregnant host. I love that Julie Chen said she wouldn't go on maternity leave and would continue doing important work on BB. She's afraid if she left for a season, they'd realize she could easily be replaced with a computer-generated voice or a likeable previous contestant like Janelle. Also, I like how maternity leave was even an option. There are a lot of pregnant women, I'm sure, that do more work while on maternity leave than Julie Chen does hosting BB.

Anyway, I'm not trying to make this a post about ripping on Julie Chen. She doesn't actually bother me that much. I just find her amusing. In a Mary Murphy kind of way.

Let's talk about the actual show, though. I'll admit I watched the first episode and then missed the nomination episode and then watched most of tonight's episode. This is a show that I like to be spoilered on. I like knowing who's nominated.. who won veto, if there's a replacement nominee, etc. Based on that, I decide if I feel like tuning in. There's kind of the boring first two weeks period that we're going through right now. It doesn't get interesting until someone's switched alliances at least once. So I'll wait until then to comment on the characters. I do find Chima annoying, though, but it doesn't seem like she's going this week.

So You Think You Can Dance is on fire as usual. I will say the upcoming season in the fall is a bad idea. We might not see the effects of the decision right away, but I'm telling you it's a bad idea. Don't get me wrong, I love the show. I wish it was on all the time. BUT I'm telling you it will be bad for the show. It's possible we'll see it in the upcoming season, but most likely we'll see it next summer. For one thing, it's not a good idea to double up on a show that has consistently been been known for a particular season. I find that summer shows try to do this a lot. Summer is a legitimate television season. Big Brother doubled up, Hell's Kitchen is doubling up. I find that the two seasons of BB that were coupled together are less memorable than past seasons. I find that memories of those seasons blend together in my mind as if they were one big season. Another thing that I worry about, which is SYTYCD specific, is the resting period for auditioners. I recently watched both season 3 and 4 Vegas weeks and it's ridiculous how many contestants were shown in the Vegas week of the season before they were part of the Top 20. Not only do they look more mature in their actual season, but they very apparently grew extremely between the time they were rejected on one season and the time they were selected on the next. Doubling up does not allow for this. SYTYCD is not like Idol. While it is about marketability, I think it's much more of a specialized skill, and dancers at the level that SYTYCD requires are often committed to dancing as a profession, while I don't think it's true for singing at all. So you get many of the same dancers coming back year after year who've taken more classes, gotten stronger. There needs to be a resting period to allow for that growth. I don't ever want to see a season weaker than the one before it. I fear that that will happen at some point with the doubling up.

Anyway, I'm excited for this week's mixing of the couples. I think we will quickly see who's been carrying the weight in certain partnerships. I also think the first vote will be very revealing. I will not be surprised if Melissa goes this week. In fact, I'll be surprised if she stays. There's nothing compelling about her to me. Well, let's see.. who do we have left? Oh, there's Kayla too. I can see her leaving before Melissa, but it's kind of a toss-up. Let's do a classic list-through of the contestants now. How about it..

Melissa: So I just listed out all of the names and I'm proud of myself for knowing all of them. Let's just say I don't call many of them by their names. For example, I refer to Melissa as Grandma because she's the grandma of the show. It's not actually an attack on her age. I just love how 29 is suddenly old now. It's the same idea as when 27 was suddenly ancient on Top Model.

Anyway, so Melissa.. There's something really off-putting about her personality, or at least the way she carries herself. I'm tired of hearing about how she's a ballet dancer, but mostly because she has not been given hip-hop yet. If the girl can krump, I'll shut up. But for now, she has not proven to me to be able to step out of her style any more than Chbeeb did. But when you're a hip-hop dancer, all that is talked about is whether or not you can do other styles. I would like the same conversation to be had with other dancers. Basically, I think she's been given a very easy first five weeks. I'm not saying any of the dances she's done have been easy.. I just feel like so many of her dances have been about her looking graceful, or modified in some way to play up her ballet experience. Anyway, we'll see this week.

Ade: I think he's slipped under the radar. And I don't mean that in a sense of he's the dark horse. I mean I don't necessarily think he's proven himself yet either. I'm glad he had to do a solo finally last week. I'm looking forward to seeing how he does tomorrow. I can see him leaving soon.

Randi: So I have this Mormon conspiracy theory.. that they're the driving force behind many things that happen in this world. I think they're the reason she's gotten away with getting into the Top 10 without having to prove herself. I'm not happy with the fact that all these couples are getting into the Top 10 without having to dance for their lives. I would have something to say about her if I had had the chance to see her in the situation. Since I haven't, I can't say she's particularly compelling to me either. This is not just a dancing show. You have to open yourself up to the viewers. Be fun. Make us smile.

Evan: I think the whole thing with his brother in the Vegas show really pimped him out. I mean, that was a lot of airtime and it's helped carry him through the first half of the show. Remember someone else that this happened to last year? Katee. Other than the fact that they continue to use her friend Natalie for ratings (which pisses me off to no end.. Natalie seems like a really nice girl and I hate that they're taking advantage of that).. that whole drawn-out unnecessary event last year benefited Katee so much. She was known when Top 20 began. Joshua was also known. They both also happened to be amazing dancers, so that sailed them into the finale. I knew they were unbeatable when I saw they were paired together.

Anyway, the point is Evan was given a gift from the producers/editors/whoever made the choice to abuse the storyline of two brothers fighting for one spot. I saw last year's Vegas show. Evan was there. He was almost on the show. Of course he was chosen over his brother. He was clearly stronger at that point. I'm sure his brother will be either on the next season or pimped out like Natalie was.

Kayla: I would like to state an observation. She is not close to the other dancers. Not in the way that SYTYCD dancers usually are. This is purely observation from watching the show. I'm really interested in knowing more details. Is it just a personality clash? Do other dancers not think she deserves to be there still? Maybe I'll elaborate more later, but I know I'm right about this..

Kupono: I thought he should've left instead of Max, way back when that happened. I don't really get this whole thing about how he's made amazing progress and now all the judges love him. He never had an Ivan or Dominic moment, so I don't really see it..

Janette: Her hair bothers me, but I just watched last season's Vegas episode and it was so much worse then. Do I think she's good? Yes, she's very good. She's great at what she does and she's surprisingly good at other styles too. Do I like her on the show, though? No, because the judges are cramming her and Brandon down our throats. We all remember what happened when they did that with Allison.. she went home way before her time. And I didn't like Allison at all on the show. Watching it back again, though, I realized how amazing she was. If indeed Janette or Brandon deserves to win, I want to be able to see that. Stop telling us how amazing they are all the time.. it makes them seem a little arrogant to no fault of their own.

I also wish they would stop pretending it's a big deal when she's good at another style of ballroom. She's a ballroom dancer. I don't care what she specializes in. She's going to be better at any ballroom than a non-ballroom dancer any day of the week. Are we trying to pull for a ballroom winner this year? I told y'all last year they were gunning for a hip hop winner.

Brandon: SYTYCD loves to make guys look like assholes and then have them do really well in the show based on their talent. Danny anybody? Whatever. If they stopped telling us what to think about Brandon, maybe I'd develop an opinion. He's a great dancer, but I feel like I haven't had the chance to really see who he is on the show.

Jeanine: I kind of became a fan of Jeanine through her association with Chbeeb. But I can tell you what I like about her that has nothing to do with her partnership, though. First of all, her solos have been impressive. I feel like she puts a lot of thought into her solos and her dancing in general. She mentioned being the girl who nobody would have expected to be here. So that means she's not just dancing well out of pure talent. She's playing up on her strengths and she's using her head. And I'm a big fan of people who work hard rather than rely on natural ability. Terin Humphrey anyone?

I feel like I've gotten to know her on the show. This show gives the dancers opportunities to appeal to the viewers. It's the dancers' job to make use of those opportunities. Be endearing. Be fun. I've said that already, but it's really important. The viewers need to relate to the contestants. I find her to be much more compelling than any of the girls left on the show.

Jason: Sad Boy. I remembered him from last year. And I remembered him being sad. Then they put him with Caitlin, who was totally Sad Girl. She had one foot out the door for several weeks before she was actually cut. I don't think that partnership benefited Sad Boy at all. He's at least interesting to me. I'm interested in seeing him with a different partner.

Can I just say I'm loving following NappyTabs on twitter. They never give anything away, but it's fascinating to me hearing their perspective on certain things. Can't wait to see their routine tomorrow.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Last year on Life is a Reality Show:
So I just finished up a year-long extensive, intense Education program where I was constantly reflecting and writing papers and case studies and lesson plans and whatnot. Now I'm in my first real summer vacation in at least 4 years and I feel the urge to blog.. or at least to write and reflect. My fingers literally tingle when I find myself comparing shows and analyzing the editing in my mind. Although apparently I was much more clever and funny a few years ago. I was reading back on some of my earliest posts and was surprised at how much I had to say.

What's to come:
So who knows if I'll be able to keep up with this, and at this point, it's basically something I'm doing for myself. I had a lot of hits during The Mole and if that ever comes back, I will definitely be here reviewing the clues and figuring out who the Mole is. For now, though, there are a couple topics that I really want to talk through. I think my blogging skills have weakened as my analytical muscle strengthens. I see connections and patterns everywhere in TV these days and I'd have a hard time recapping any show without feeling the need to talk about other related shows.

So although this is a reality TV blog, I have been watching a lot of crime shows and feel the need to compare them. By crime shows, I don't mean 48 hours or any of those real crime shows--although I do watch those occasionally. I'm talking about the CSI-inspired genre. Although speaking of CSI, I have a bone to pick with that show.. the Vegas edition jumped the shark a long time ago, but I'm still watching NY because the strong character development within the first few seasons has proven to be worth it as it is the only version of the show I find still worth watching.

I have spent a good deal of time watching shows that I have missed out on and have always thought would be worth catching up on. First, I had to go back to what started it all, back when I was pretty young.. my fascination with these crime shows started with The Pretender, a show I can remember watching with my father. It was such a long time ago, though, that I remembered very little of the show. So I went through that series. I have a lot to say on just the development of the show and the characters throughout the seasons and the eventual cancellation of the show.

I watched the first season of the Mentalist after seeing a really good episode towards the end of the actual run of the first season. I really like the show.. the characters and the cases they work on. Not typical. Which is a very good thing. It's hard to follow 18 million seasons of CSI without taking a very original spin on the concept. So it's only been one season of this show, but I hear it's being moved to Thursdays, which I'm taking as a good sign because Thursday is always the best TV night, year-round.

Then, I finally took a chance with Boomtown. This has been a long time coming. I remember it when it was on and I may have seen parts of episodes, but I never committed to it. Then it was cancelled very early and suddenly. I had heard that it was one of those shows that was too clever to gain a widespread viewing public, and those tend to be shows that I end up liking. So I finally did it. Got ahold of the first season and the six released episodes of the second and probably watched it all in record time. Loved it. I will say that the first episode probably caused the eventual downfall of the show. It needed to be better introduced. It's the type of show that takes effort from the viewer's part. Absolutely brilliant, though. It's a shame there was no closure to the end of the show's run.

Then I was trying to decide if I should watch Bones or Crossing Jordan. Bones was rerunning a lot around the time that I was watching Fox.. which at this point is only when So You Think You Can Dance is on because I like to watch it when it airs. So I think I watched the majority of two episodes of Bones without really paying that much attention and at some point it piqued my interest. The show is brilliant. Love it. I would go through the episodes at record speed. It really is a unique take on the typical crime show. It gives such interesting perspective on relationships, personalities, and a range of different beliefs and issues relevant to today's society without approaching it in a blatant way. I love that each episode is clearly constructed individually with certain points in mind, but the overarching development of the characters and their storylines is so consistent.

I also find that crime shows can fail in two very opposing ways: either they (1) focus too much on the crimes and do not give the characters enough substance to make it an actual show instead of a series of separate individual shows compiled together, or they (2) focus too much on the characters so their lives eventually overtake the show's original concept and become the focus of the show. I think The Pretender clearly became the latter, and I completely understand the downfall of the show. The first season was brilliant and it started to slowly fall apart towards the end. I would argue that the two of the lesser CSI shows, Vegas and Miami, suffer from the first affliction. I think it's a slightly different issue for the two shows, but their characters do not have the substance needed to carry the show. You see this when characters leave the show. If the show was built on a strong enough foundation, it will not suffer from the lost of a main character. The death of Aiden on CSI: NY was fascinating and helped make for a thrilling episode. The death of Speedle on Miami did not have the same effect. And the loss of so many Vegas characters at once was not capitalized on. Just look at how Bones developed the Gormogon story arc. That was brilliant.

Now I'm watching Crossing Jordan and I'm finding it lacks so much compared to Bones, but that's what happens when you watch a superior show first. CJ is interesting, but it lacks the depth and honesty of Bones.

Anyway, briefly, that was what I wanted to discuss about crime shows. I may go back to this if I feel unresolved about something later, but I hope to go back to focusing on reality. I still follow most of the shows. I'm angry and disappointed that the Top 12 hip-hop curse has struck again on SYTYCD. I'm annoyed that Jesse is back on Big Brother because he clearly does not have an aptitude for the strategy necessary to do well in the game. Although Jess was labeled "Popular" (which by the way I think is the worse idea for a theme ever.. I don't mind the teams, but the premise seems very juvenile and makes me feel like BB is telling me I'm getting too old for their show).. I think Jess would've been a fascinating character to see on the show again. She might be stereotyped as a certain type of person, but she was a very smart player.. with a similar skill set to Janelle. I would've like to see how she played it the second time around.

I'm also watching The Fashion Show, Top Chef Masters, Here Come the Newlyweds, and will be watching Hell's Kitchen.

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