Tuesday, September 10, 2019

So You Think You Can Dance S16E13: Top 6 Perform

© FOX
Saying goodbye to two favorites
by Stephen Mosher

This season really has been one of the most entertaining to watch. They say that every year, but there was something special about the dancers this year, each and every one of them, and now that we are at the point where the big, tough, painful goodbyes hit, everybody just has to suck up and suffer.

Fortunately Cat Deely is the best live show host in the business and she can turn even the saddest moment into a celebration. And, oh, so stylish is she! This night she looked every bit of the glamour queen in her red beaded Liza Minnelli suit (oh come on, you thought it, too), so much that every time the camera was on her, I sighed.

I also sighed over the opening number “Down” choreographed by Farside and Phoenix, but not in a good way. The dancing was nice but the lighting, the costumes, the hair, the makeup and the addition of all those all-stars made it impossible to tell which of the dancers were our competitors. It was like "Where’s Waldo" with a Twyla Tharp twist. While I can almost always find something positive to say, I was not loving this number.

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But I WAS loving Al Blackstone and Koine Iwasaki helping Mariah and Bailey to advance in the competition with a bang-up Broadway routine to “Mambo Italiano”! Koine was so sweet, focusing on helping Bailey work on his acting, and honestly, her help must have been just what he needed because he was awesome in this number. But then, this entire competition he has been picking up styles he has never done before and dancing them as though he had been doing them all his life. Dominic said he believed it, Nigel said they were outstanding, Laurieann told Bailey to stay focused and Mary said he was the “Entertainer of the show” - and them’s big words, no mistake. Special shout out to Bailey’s Granny for being such a cool, supportive and fun lady, always looking after her personal favorite dancer.

Mariah had a solo to the song “Loved By You” and it’s pretty clear her technique is wonderful - it’s always been clear that she is simply wonderful. This performance made it clear that she needs a choreographer. Seriously, though, every dancer who gets on SYTYCD should have had the foresight to hire a choreographer to create routines for them. Winging it is never a good idea, and here, she was winging it.

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Gino is up next, doing a hip hop routine by Luther Brown. And what do you need when a boy is dancing Luther Brown? You need Comfort Fedoke, yeah you do! OMG does everyone love Comfort as much as I do? Well then everyone must have loved this nasty, dirty, enjoyable, sexy number to “Get Up” - and as gorgeous and flawless as Comfort is, you just can’t get your eyes off of Gino, whose biggest supporter, his brother, was probably in tears the entire time. WHAT a masterpiece. Nigel said his strength and technique were impeccable, Mary said he came out fighting, Dominic told him he is a star and Laurieann said the elevation of hip hop freed him to get out of his head. Whatever anyone said, we all knew it was a spectacular performance.

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Paired with all-star Lex Ishimoto, Madison landed a jazz routine by Mandy Moore to “Can’t Rely on You”, and it was really sharp and in sync, a pleasure to watch. You could just feel the judges getting ready to praise her, which they did, all except for Laurieann, who advised her to “let go a little more”, while Nigel said she has the best feet he’s seen this year AND that she let her emotions go. Mary liked the chemistry, and Dominic declared it to be her best performance since the beginning of the season. Her strongest supporter, Jarrod (duh!), was visibly moved and incredibly proud.

Ezra was up with a solo, again in a strangely fitting vest and trousers, but it didn’t matter because the performance to “Runaway Baby” was precise, hot, electric and a joy to watch, but joy seems to be what Ezra specializes in.

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There was a lethal dose of ballroom hotness next when Pasha Kovalev arrived to choreograph all-star Kiki Nyemchek into a routine with Sophie to “Shape of You". Sophie’s dad is her big-time support system and he was welled up with pride after a whole new Sophie brought her A-game, causing Mary to say she was just like a professional ballroom dancer. Nigel said she relaxed into it, Laurieanne told her she had poise and timing texture, but Dominic said it best: “You’re blowing up right now.” Truthfully, up until this moment, I did not think Sophie would make the top four. This was a real turning point for her in my book.

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Mariah, whose greatest support comes from her mom, landed a Misha Gabriel hip hop number with Fik-Shun to “We Gonna Win”. I love both of these dancers but I didn’t like this number. I felt it was incohesive and confusing, but I did appreciate Fik-shun taking charge of a prop/wardrobe malfunction. The judges ran the gamut, with Nigel saying he flat out did not feel it, Laurieann saying it was super, Dominic saying she is one of his favorite hip hop dancers and Mary giving out with a vague, “You will always bring in the magic.”

Bailey’s solo to “Writing’s on the Wall” did the same thing it always does - it proved that he is a born star, and that winning this competition or not will make no difference in his future. It’s written in stone. There is work that awaits him.

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A contemporary piece by Robert Roldan is what awaited Ezra, paired up with Gabby Diaz to “Ne Me Quitte Pas”. The entire piece was simply magnificent, prompting the judges to heap praise on him. Mary: “This is your night.” Laurieann: “Something so very special about you.” Nigel: “You have freed yourself.” Dominic: “So absolutely inspiring.”

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The All-stars finished for the night, the competitors were reunited with their partners as Sophie and Gino performed a Warren Carlyle Broadway piece to “Down With Love”. When Nigel said, “There is something about you two together,” he wasn’t wrong. This twosome is special. Mary said he reminded her of Gene Kelly and Laurieann said “Boom Jack Honey!” and we all know what that means.

Madison’s solo to “Lost” was typical Madison beauty, and since it was typical, it’s starting to look like she might be going home tonight. She is wonderful in every moment she dances, but predictable does not win.

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Ray Leper was back to create a jazz routine for Mariah and Bailey that probably just put them in the top four. I’m not kidding. This number to “Need You Tonight” went beyond everyone else on the chemistry level, even Sophie and Gino, and they gots MAD chemistry. This is the number where these petite powerhouses showed everyone that great things come in small packages because this had ALL the damn things. And, honestly, if these two aren’t a couple, they need to be because it is clear he is into her, and he would treat her right. You can’t fake this sh*t. And all the damn judges agreed with me.

Dancing a solo to Shoshana Bean’s “Ain’t No Way” the wonderful Sophie proved once more that the dancers need to get choreographers to make up their solos for them.

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Now, this is where we all found out who was going home. Madison and Ezra were given a Doriana Sanchez disco number to “You Make Me Feel”, and it was good - but it wasn’t great, and it was even remarked upon that Ezra held up his end of the deal when he held up Madison, but that his facial expressions showed that he was working. The judges didn’t criticize them, they praised them. They praised them in as few vague, benign words as possible. It was like when you know you’re dying because your doctor has stopped asking about your health and started asking about the weather. We all love Ezra and Madison, especially the judges, but when the judges are vague and polite with their critiques, you’re going home. And since it was stated at the top of the show that the judges knew the voting results and who was going home (something I don’t remember hearing very often in past seasons), even the contestants knew, if they were listening, who was staying and who was going.

Judges. Bad play. We just read you like a book. Not a best seller. Next time, play it a little closer to the vest so’s you can keep up the dramatic suspense. K?

If it weren’t clear before, Gino’s solo to “Missing You” made it clear: he’s staying. Rarely has there been a boy dancer of such flawless precision. Do it again, Gino, do it again.

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Rounding out the evening were group numbers, girls vs boys. The girls got Ray Leper and Tina Turner’s recording of “I Can’t Stand the Rain” and even though Mary said they are all deserving (vague, but true) and Laurieann said “Pow Pow Pow!” (vague but true), the only thing this writer was thinking was “Madison needs to steal that hat” and “Meh”.

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MEANWHILE. Talia Favia and “Amen (LCV Choir)" will be on the list of great SYTYCD performances. It was so good that I wanted to throw up. The praise from the judges was considerable and the men must have felt very proud of themselves, indeed, because it was, in a word, perfection.

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And that’s it. Next up will be the finals, and the four moving into the finals, the judges made very clear, was based on votes, which is a nice way for the judges to get out of any responsibility when it comes to cutting any of these dancers who have insane abilities and legions of fans. In the end, though, whether it be based on votes or not, the two dancers sent home were Madison and Ezra. It was an impossible choice to make, and these two lovelies cried a little but they were most grateful, which they made clear. Cat kept it upbeat and loving as all said goodbye to the twosome, making way for The Final Four, who will compete next week: Bailey, Gino, Mariah and Sophie. All four are wonderful, all four are delightful, and it’s going to be hard to pick but I am going to go out on a limb and say what I said when the top ten were chosen: Gino is the best dancer, but Bailey has the benefit of being a brilliant dancer AND the most adorable human being on the face of the planet.

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I’m calling it for Bailey.

Let’s watch and see.

Two hours, Monday night, September 9th at 8 pm.

What did you think of this episode? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below.

BH90210 S01E05: Picture's Up

© FOX
BH90210 captures angelic nostalgia with Jamie Walters
By Kim Tibbs-Krober

The "hottest reboot in town" just got hotter, from the opening Peach Pit After Dark fantasy sequence with Brian removing his shirt to put out a club fire, to the sex scene with Brian and Tori, to the discovery of who sent the fiery warning message last week. Although if I'm being honest, none of these moments was especially satisfying. As a woman approaching 40, I sympathized with Tori feeling nervous about her big moment on camera. It was interesting to see how various narcissistic actors and actresses on the show have embraced aging, and as odd as it sounds, Tori's response felt the most refreshingly genuine.

Jennie and Ian both seemed to be having a mid-life crisis, dating people half their age and trying to keep up with the hipster world of microbreweries and caramel apple sangria concoctions. When did Gabrielle decide to pursue a sexual relationship with Christine? It happened so gradually I was momentarily at a loss when she asked her to sign the consent form. Meanwhile, Brian was channeling his best "cool dad" impression, skateboarding to work and getting his new-found son hired on as a PA on the reboot set.

The cast was forced to do its best imitation of the Scooby-Doo gang and figure out who set the sets on fire after an HR investigation and studio concern about the show being uninsurable forced the reboot to shut down temporarily. The best moment out of this entire series happened when the gang went to see Jamie Walters play at a dive bar after Tori mistakenly accused him of being their stalker. Sadly, he was not. Even sadder, he's now balding. But he was still up there belting out the chorus of "How Do You Talk to An Angel?" and I was instantly 13 again. When the entire cast joined him in a rendition, it was perfection, especially seeing Ian get so into it. If I got nothing else from the reboot, I at least got to see Ray Pruit again, and this time he wasn't hitting Donna or pushing her down the stairs! He was more like the character I fell in love with at the beginning of season six, minus carrying the pumpkins of course.

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The 90210 stalker ended up being the obsessive fan who took Tori to court over the theft of the red prom dress at the beginning of the reboot. Yawn. Is that the best you've got? Maybe asking for it to be Valerie was a long shot, but it felt forced and quickly forgotten about as soon as we were given the "big" reveal. It was more entertaining watching the cast brainstorm everyone who might hold a grudge against them. In what seemed like minutes, they had it whittled down to 125 people without thinking very hard, and that didn't count all the celebs, exes, former reality show co-stars, and accidentals they pissed off over the years! Who needs friends when you have that many perceived enemies?

It's hard to believe there's only one episode left of BH90210. The reunion journey has been at times humorous and bizarre, other times nostalgic and bittersweet, as one comes to the realization that nothing can stay as it once was. Did I need this reboot? Probably not. Is it going to provide a sense of closure for the characters? Probably not. Will anything satisfy me more than seeing Jamie Walters sing again? Probably not. But will I regret watching it from start to finish? Probably not.

Purchase the season from FandangoNow!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Why Women Kill S01E03: I Killed Everyone He Did, But Backwards and in High Heels

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It takes two to tango, but three's a crowd
by Chuck Duncan

The latest episode of Why Women Kill started off with our cast of characters in a room watching a tango demonstration conducted by Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd. The dancers, of course, showed why the tango was a perfect dance for two; bring in a third and you've got nothing but trouble ... in fact, someone usually ends up dead at the end. A lesson everyone should heed as they all do their own dangerous dances.

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In 1963, Beth Ann is furthering her plan to befriend -- and destroy -- her husband's girlfriend. Neighbor Sheila isn't quite sure there is a method to Beth Ann's madness, but she comes around once Beth Ann's plan to distract Robert by cleverly preventing him from keeping a date with April (by stealing an important file from his desk at work while bringing him a casserole for dinner since he told her he had to 'work late' that night). Then she gave April her phone number ... actually Sheila's phone number as well as lying that her own name was Sheila too (so ask for 'the other Sheila' when she calls) and waited for her plan to go into action.

And it did. To perfection. Robert was very worried about the missing file, calling Beth Ann to see if she had it, and then saying he was now going to have to work late on the project ... something he'd already told Beth Ann he was doing. No sooner did that call end than the one from April came with an invitation to accompany her to a nightclub since her date stood her up. Beth Ann got a little more than she bargained for when April said she wasn't dating Robert for any long-term goals, no marriage, just fun until she got tired of him. That gave Beth Ann a glimmer of hope for her marriage but really threw a monkey-wrench into her own plans of destroying April. She's finding now that she really likes the girl and realizes all the fault lies with Robert, not April. But ... what happens when April finds out Beth Ann has been deceiving her this whole time? While she take her side or feel betrayed by this woman she currently sees as a friend?

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In 1984, Simone's life is getting more and more messy as she indulges in her catering van trysts with Tommy while trying to keep the peace at home with Karl, at least until her daughter's wedding. Making matters worse, Tommy is not happy Karl is still in the house, and Simone and Karl are expected to appear at a charity ball ... as well as performing a dance for the assembled guests. Simone is more than a bit surprised when Tommy turns up as the waiter at their table (thanks to his mother, who is also seated with them). Tommy is not very subtle in his disdain for Karl, who has no clue as to why the young man is so aggressive with him, eventually ending up with a bowl of hot soup poured in his lap. Simone was upset by Tommy's behavior and tried to have a talk with him about how she has to keep up appearances for now, including the dance with her husband. Tommy is trying to keep cool but his actions led to his immediate dismissal from the catering company which means no more van nookie for them.

In 2019, everything seems peachy for Taylor, Eli and Jade ... all except for the fact that Eli is not very focused on his writing, a subject that is very touchy now for Taylor who is exhausted from being the family's sole breadwinner. Jade can see how stressed Taylor is and suggests the pair go out for a night of dancing. Which Eli overhears and promptly invites himself, ignoring the looks of chagrin on the women's faces. At the club, Jade runs into two old friends, Willow and Mischa ... who, it becomes clear to Eli and Taylor, are more than just old friends. As Eli points out, they are not Jade's first three-way. Jade is swept up in the excitement of seeing her pals, leaving Taylor and Eli to their own devices, the jealousy in Taylor beginning to bubble up.

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Leaving the club upset, Taylor admits to Eli that she needs Jade. She's sorry she lied to him about the length of time she's been with Jade but she needs her to help balance her out. She loves Eli, but the pressure of work and paying for a house they can't afford is taking a toll on her and Jade is the only reason she hasn't completely bugged out on Eli. But Jade's friends -- a pair of pretentious social media 'influencers' who get paid to model underwear on Instagram -- are heading to Venice the next morning and want Jade to go with them. And seeing Taylor's behavior at the club, Jade is considering it.

Finally arriving home hours later, and with Taylor asleep on the couch waiting for her, Jade tells Taylor that she is going to Venice. Her main reason is she can't handle the stability of being in a 'family' because every time she's done that she's gotten hurt emotionally. For her, it's best to cut things off with Taylor now before she gets in deeper. But Eli heard the conversation and, even though he was hurt by the things Taylor said to him, knew that if he was going to keep his wife, he had to convince Jade that she was wanted and loved and that Taylor -- and Eli -- needed her. It was a lovely gesture, and Jade actually felt the sincerity of his words, and she decided to stay as they all shared a group hug.

But outside, Maks and Peta were dancing down the street reminding us that it does take two to tango ... but three is most definitely a crowd.

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Movie review: The Mountain

© Kino Lorber
Jeff Goldblum is an eccentric lobotomist in “The Mountain”
by Justin Moore

I’ve been impressed with Rick Alverson’s work since I saw The Comedy starring Tim Heidecker in college. He followed that film up with Entertainment which starred Gregg Turkington, John C. Reilly, and Tye Sheridan. Alverson’s movies isolate the main character in a new setting, which is one of the reasons I love The Comedy and Entertainment so much. Plus, they have Tim and Eric, so that is a bonus. In Rick Alverson’s newest film, The Mountain, Tye Sheridan plays Andy, an introverted young man, who joins a renowned lobotomist (Jeff Goldblum) on a tour to promote the doctor’s procedures.

Tye Sheridan’s Andy has suffered a lot. His father, who is a figure skating teacher, suddenly passed away on the ice rink, leaving Andy alone since his mother has been absent his whole life. Sheridan navigates through the movie with a blank face, which could be off-putting to some, but his somber performance is a realistic approach to someone who has dealt with a lot in their life and is experiencing new unsettling things. I was wondering if Sheridan was going to remain expressionless throughout the film, but everything he was going through was boiling within him and he let it all out towards the end of the film which led to a dramatic ending.

Jeff Goldblum gives an eccentric performance as Dr. Wallace Fiennes. As Andy and Dr. Fiennes travel from hospital to hospital, we get to see a much more outlandish side to the doctor. He often dances in his motel room, something that isn’t odd to see from Goldblum, but seeing Wally outside of the hospital setting gives more complexity to his character. His procedures are not often shown, but the effects it has on his patients is eerie to watch. What is ever more eerie is how Dr. Fiennes takes pride in his work.

This isn’t a film about the horror of lobotomy and one man trying to lobotomize as many people as he could, but instead it deals with the effect lobotomy had on people and how people were blind to the idea of it. The Mountain also deals with what can happen to an individual who is exposed to people getting lobotomized and feelings they may develop. This all goes back to Tye Sheridan’s fantastic performance and his constant exposure finally caught up to him.

I loved how Alverson filmed the movie. His scenes are gorgeous to look at and how he frames his scenes is impressive. He knows the right time to cut to another scene or when to let a scene simmer. Sometimes the film can get a bit awkward, but he films it in such way that it that it seems beautiful. As the film progresses towards its ending, we meet Jack, an unconventional French healer, who requests a lobotomy for his daughter Susan. Jack (Denis Lavant) gives an all-out performance while he watches over patients who have been lobotomized. It almost seems like Jack should have been lobotomized himself.

Rick Alverson is a talented director. This film clearly tells me that he a master at filming long drawn-out sequences that intensify the scene. His constant gorgeous shots allow for some beauty in such a dark film. Alverson’s craft reminds me a lot of Yorgos Lanthimos, which certainly isn’t a bad thing.

© Kino Lorber

BH90210 S01E04: The Table Read

© FOX
 BH90210 cast may have more than one stalker
by Kim Tibbs-Krober

Everything we do in life is recorded on a camera. I think it was Jennie Garth who made a remark to that effect. Of course she was talking about herself and her fellow BH90210 cast mates who have been in the public eye since the early '90s. However, thanks to social media, it's true of just about everyone today. You no longer have to be a celebrity to be in the spotlight. We post everything about our lives - what we did, where we went, what we ate, what our kids wore on their first day of school. If you were a professional stalker, your job would be easy. We do all the work for you nowadays. All you would have to do is be well-connected.

Social media is dangerous, as the BH90210 gang learned this week. Whether it was Jennie's daughter reading the unkind comments about nepotism and her acting abilities or Brian's wife discovering someone in their household betrayed her trust by leaking one of her unfinished songs on the Internet. Did anyone else have trouble believing that Brian wouldn't conduct a thorough background check on the person he was hiring to take care of his children? In a plot twist that I'm ashamed to admit I didn't see coming, it was revealed that Zach the "stalker" was really Brian's son he never knew about, but that left the question of who's the mother? I'm curious if that will be revealed next week.

We also learned this week that everyone connected to the 90210 reboot is a control freak. Because everyone had a lot at stake, they were all ultra-concerned about how the reboot would be received by the public. When everybody was given the script to read finally, it was met with much disdain. Some were confused about whether or not the reboot was a comedy or a drama. Hmm. It seems the same could be said of the original show. Sometimes it felt as if they were taking themselves so seriously it became comical in effect. Some felt the reboot was taking the easy road, reuniting the characters in their beloved Peach Pit. Others felt like their characters weren't given anything meaningful to do. For at least one character, there were too many love scenes that might make her real-life spouse jealous. It seemed everyone had a major complaint besides Ian who apparently had an amazing monologue.

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Ultimately, the cast decided to throw a collective hissy fit and try to rewrite the script to their liking. After cutting 17 scenes and writing only half a page, they realized writing wasn't as simple as it looked. Luckily, Ian was able to sweet talk the head writer into rewriting the script after making up with her for the faux pas he committed in the last episode. Everyone agreed the rewritten script captured the essence of the show and they were ready to proceed with the reboot, even putting aside their pettiness and how peeved they were when they discovered that Shannon held out for twice the salary of everyone else. Hey, if you've got that bitch card to play, might as well play it up to your advantage.

By episode's end, everything seemed to be coming together for the reboot. And then the real dumpster fire began. There was a crude message scrawled inside the fire - "Stop acting like I'm not even here." If the character of Emily Valentine wasn't already involved in the reboot, I would say fire would be her M.O. and automatically suspect her. However, since she's now a network executive in charge of the reboot's success, I don't think she has anything to do with it. My mind keeps being drawn to everyone's favorite baddie to hate on the original show - Valerie Malone. It will be fun to see if Tiffani Amber-Thiessen makes another appearance. The message seems to indicate someone who's upset about not being included in the reboot, and Valerie makes the most likely suspect. I can't see Noah or Matt or Claire having done that, but I guess you never know. In real life, David and Tiffani dated throughout the course of the show. Maybe she'll end up being the mother of David's mystery son and the stalker/firestarter. Bring on the next episode!

Purchase the season from FandangoNow!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

So You Think You Can Dance S16E12: Top 8 Perform

© FOX
And Then There Were Six
by Stephen Mosher

The Top Eight Dancers took to the So You Think You Can Dance stage for the first two-hour episode and what a night it was. Just watching, I was exhausted! Three group dances, two duos for each team, and one solo for each dancer. It’s a good thing these competitors are all young people! The thing is, they are also really talented, so sending two of them home at the end of the night will be difficult. Last week’s elimination of Eddie was to be expected, but I did feel that Stephanie was sent home prematurely. Still, water under the bridge, as the saying goes. I would not venture a guess on the boy that will go home tonight, but unless something changes, this week will probably be Anna.

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This week’s show started with a big group number by The Plateros to the song “Himno del Carnaval”. It must be said that, while the number was wild and lively, I thought it was also a little haphazard and that I thought the women all looked like they were moving a bit slowly. I don’t guess it really mattered because the fact is that you don’t see anyone else when Gino is on the stage. He is absolutely magnificent.

During the intro, Cat mentioned that two people would be going home and someone up in the back of the auditorium whooped, to which she replied, “Do you know who’s going home? Is it me? I hope not!” which shows why Cat Deeley is the best live show host on TV. It was a fabulous save!

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First up we had Anna and Benjamin dancing a Polynesian Dance by Tiana Liufau to “Maua Taki”. Let’s get this out of the way: I hate this sh*t. I know that dance is a universal, an international thing, and that everyone, everywhere does it. But this is a dance competition, and unless you are an expert on Polynesian dance, what frame of reference do you have upon which to base your opinion? Are any of these judges experts on this type of dance? Mmmmmm I don’t think so. What's more - they CAN’T do it. Over the years some dancers have been lucky and put up good performances of this stuff, but usually they just look STUPID in their native costumes, trying to do moves that they CAN’T DO. I hate this and this dance, effectively, spelled what would probably be Anna’s downfall. I’m just sayin’. It looked like the judges weren’t crazy about it either, since Nigel said he didn’t like it, Dominic erred on the side of diplomacy, and Laurieann told them to “push through the pain.” Mary, on the other hand, thought it was amazing. The one real note was Laurieann telling them to “constantly remember your ‘why’.”

The first solo of the night was from Sophie and it was pretty neat, but I do often wonder why contemporary dancers spend so much time rolling around on the floor. Song: “Skin”.

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Randi and Hef provided a cool Hip Hop routine for Madison and Ezra to a song called “Space”, so space became the theme of the number, with the dancers being flown in wearing space suits. It was a cool enough number with some fun tricks. They really do have a great partnership and it shows. Mary said she got into it near the end, while Nigel thought it was brilliant. Dominic said Madison was amazing and Laurieann told them “the intent was met.” The big reveal came when Cat asked how it felt to fly in and Ezra confessed he is terrified of heights. Atta boy! Way to go.

Gino was the next soloist, performing to “Burn” and, kids, this is it. This is what it’s all about. If he doesn’t win this show, it won’t matter, because he will be one of the most oft-employed dancers in the business. Just. All of this.

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SYTYCD alum Dmitry Chaplin created a cha cha for the fun size duo of Mariah and Bailey, and during rehearsals there was much talk about how hard it was for Bailey. So when they hit the stage to “Ce Soir”, even though it was sexy, with a lot of chemistry and talent, there were times when you could see how hard it was for Bailey to lift Mariah. They truly do have each others’ backs, so you know he wouldn’t drop her - but it was clear he had to really work at those lifts, a fact noted by Dominic, who admitted that he had had the same difficulty when he did the show, and that struggle for Bailey made Dominic love him even more. Not Nigel, though -- ever the diplomat, the 5’11” septuagenarian said it made him uncomfortable. Meanwhile Mary loved every second of it, finding it exposing, stronger and stronger and full of joy and happiness, while Laurieann thought to herself, “Oh this is the real one.” Bailey, it was revealed, is such a gentleman that he gives Mariah flowers every time they tape. Yeah, he just won the show. America is in love.

Madison’s solo to “Cellophane” was the kind of solo we have come to expect of her. She simply is the beating human heart personified through dance.

Ezra solo’d next in a sadly ill-fitting vest that didn’t match the color of his pants. If you look past the costume, though, the dance was smokin’ hot, even if a ballroom dancer dancing solo always looks odd to me.
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KC Monnie is a new choreographer to SYTYCD and one hopes he will stick around because both the emotional and technical content he gave Sophie and Gino for their powerhouse performance to “You Will Be Found” is the stuff SYTYCD legend is made of. This juggernaut performance will put these two over the top with the judges and the viewers, that is how spectacular it was. Nigel found the chemistry magnificent, Dominic thanked them from the bottom of his heart, and Laurieann declared this pairing to be magical. Mary had the big comment when she told Gino, “You are the change,” to which he replied, “I’m here to be the change.” No, he’s here to take over the world. Watch out.

In an interesting variation on a theme started by Sophie and continued by Madison, Mariah delivered a solo to “Somebody” that made me wonder if maybe these three girls all choreographed their solos together. Now they should do them together, because they’re all doing the same thing.

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Beautiful, brilliant Al Blackstone did Benjamin and Anna the favor of their lives by giving them a stellar routine and impeccable direction. Their number to “I’ll Be Seeing You” was as lovely as anything I’ve ever seen. It’s probably the best they’ve had, the best they’ve done and it could save Anna, at some point, because she was totally and completely in the pocket and perfect. All of the judges agreed that it was magical, with Dominic remarking his breath was taken away by the quality of the movement, and Laurieann saying that feeling is everything. “Make me feel something!” - and they did. Cat points out, when BenAnna are onstage together, what good care he takes of her. Lovely.

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An Argentine Tango was next up for Madison and Ezra. Dancing a Leonardo and Miriam routine to “Despues Que Te Fuiste”, they captured everyone’s attention. This sh*t’s really hard to do and they did it so well - even if their costumes are clunky and chunky and ugly. No, seriously, they were both so beautiful in this dance, but what was that schmatta he was wearing, and why the headband on her? Leave her beautiful hairless head alone. Ugly ‘stumes or not, the judges all heaped praise on them both, with Dominic singling out Ezra, something that doesn’t always happen.

Benjamin’s solo to “Run Boy Run” was powerful and demanding and thrilling and sexy. But those red samurai pants! Did you see his quads?! Heavens to Betsy.

Anna’s solo to “Bellyache” was par for the Anna course, with nothing new on display. But it was new from the other female solos of the night, all of which looked the same. Not Anna’s!

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Mandy and Elizabeth gave Mariah and Bailey a gorgeous, sweet, simple, complex contemporary piece to “Slide” and they even gave them a slide! Dudes, this number was just sublime, absolute perfection, start to finish, showing off both dancers to their most breathtakingly beautiful best. Dominic said it was one of his favorite routines he’s ever seen and Mary told them they must “be partners for the rest of your life.” Laurieann, the poet laureate of the show, said they must “stay focused, stay humble” and Mariah “must not suppress your ability because of Bailey.” Nigel still says they are the couple to beat.

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Sophie and Gino JUST started working together. Sh*t doesn’t show. Cause these two are CONNECTED. Damn. Their routine to “Trouble” by Jonathan Redavid was super fun and they are just as perfect as perfect can be, prompting Laurieann to tell Nigel, “THAT’s the new couple to beat, honey!” Nigel did have to own up to it that Mariah and Bailey have some great opponents. Right after Mary put them on the Hot Tamale Train, Dominic did his best Mary Murphy scream (it wasn’t bad either). The entire segment was pricelessness in a bag.

Bailey’s solo to “Let’s Shut Up and Dance” confirmed that the men in the competition are outdancing the women. Each male solo tonight was stunning and original, and this number, with its hankieography, was simply irresistible, just like Bailey.

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Rounding out the night were the group numbers, with some results after each round. The first group number was by Talia Favia to “bad guy” and it featured Madison, Mariah, Ben and Gino. It was way cool, even if the story wasn’t clear. Maybe there wasn’t meant to be a story, only hot, hard, hitting, sexy dancing. For the sheer technique of it, the dance was interesting, but the lack of story … all of the judges praised it, with the most serious being Laurieann, who said they were four dancers that she wants to hire, and the silliest being Dominic, who couldn’t get over the abs. I love the way that Dominic, weekly, teases everyone with flirtatious comments about girl dancers and boy dancers. It’s a fluid world and Dominic is using it to his flirty, quirky, sexy advantage.

SAFE: Gino and Mariah. No Surprise

IN DANGER: Ben and Madison. Both Surprises.

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“Rebirth” by Sean Cheesman was an African Jazz dance created for Anna, Bailey, Ezra and Sophie. Unlike the Polynesian dance, this was okay because it is based in jazz dance and there were actual recognizable techniques for anyone to spot and evaluate. Do I love the costuming for the number? No. It’s unflattering and distracting. Will I survive having had to see it? Yes, because the dancers are delicious and delightful and therein lies the popularity of the show. Again the judges had heaps of praise, with Nigel remarking on the freedom of movement and Dominic referring to the amount of work they go through (which he, of all people, would understand).

SAFE: Bailey and Sophie. Of course.

IN DANGER: Ezra and Anna. Well, I guess this is it for the two of them. That’s what I thought while I was watching.

It isn’t what happened.

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I would not want the job of the judges. I think these young people are all wonderful and I certainly could not pick between them. I pretty much knew Anna would be leaving because she has something, but it isn’t translating through the TV and her technique hasn’t been able to carry her through. But I thought they would send Ezra home, and I was wrong. They opted for Anna’s partner, Benjamin, and in the moments after their decision, I could see why. They were a true partnership. Splitting them up would have caused the remaining dancer to suffer; and Benjamin is special but he’s also very fluid and gentle, kind and laid back. There is something in him that didn’t ignite, and Ezra ignites every week. The judges love to see growth and they love to reward it, and that’s what they just did.

It’s sad to see this sweet twosome go - but we will see them again, make no mistake. Their careers are just beginning and with SYTYCD as a springboard, I expect they will be good ones.

Congratulations Madison and Ezra! See you next week.

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So You Think You Can Dance airs Mondays on Fox at 8 pm

What did you think of this episode? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Why Women Kill S01E02: I'd Like to Kill Ya, But I Just Washed My Hair

© CBS All Access
The wives face the biggest obstacle to their marriages: sex
by Chuck Duncan

The second episode of CBS All Access series Why Women Kill was just as much of a hoot as the first one and did a great job at juggling the three concurrent storyline across five decades. I really enjoyed how the episode opened with a narrator, a man who had lived in the same neighborhood for his entire life, recounted the murders that occurred at the mansion in 1963, 1984 and 2019. He, and we, saw the covered bodies but ... we don't know who actually died. Of course we're led to assume it's the husbands but the title of the show isn't 'Why Wives Kill', so the victims could be a surprise come the final revelations. And this week, each wife faced what could be the biggest problem in all of their marriages -- sex.

In 1963, Beth Ann has confided in neighbor Sheila about her attempts to befriend 'the other woman', April. She did get the confirmation she feared that April did indeed know her guy Rob is married, and suggested he's strayed because of the boredom. Beth Ann did everything but announce she's Robert's wife, and her almost hysterical response, as a 'widower', to April's notions were more than alarming. But April didn't seem to pick up on any of the red flags. Sheila, meanwhile, suggests to Beth Ann that she needs to spice things up in the bedroom, or elsewhere, and gives her a marital sex manual, the images of which completely rattle Beth Ann.

But after getting a new hairstyle (honestly, in Robert's defense it didn't look that different) and spending her week's allowance on a new dress he didn't notice either because he said none of that mattered to him, Beth Ann took the dress off and came back to the dinner table completely naked. And Robert's boss was outside the window right at that moment, there to retrieve the briefcase Robert accidentally brought home. But Beth Ann wasn't about to give up, pulling a page out of the manual and trying some oral gratification on Robert in the shower. It didn't go well and he ended up crashing through the glass wall, requiring a trip to the hospital. And in the end, he still insisted on keeping his 'business meeting' that night, even though he was several hours late.

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In 1984, Simone brings Karl home from the hospital, only to discover he didn't take a bottle of sleeping pills. He just hid them under the cushion of the chair in the bedroom. And he didn't need the cane he was using either. Simone was prepared to make their separation and eventual divorce easy on all of them, particularly because he daughter was getting married in a few months, but this deception was too much. But Karl had a trump card to play -- her catty friends, among whom Simone was the cattiest. If she throws him out now, they'll all know the truth and start gossiping about her, and that was just too much. Simone was even in for a bigger shock when her friend Naomi revealed she knew about Karl's affair because she saw his car parked at a seedy motel. She just didn't know who the woman was that he was seeing. Simone is actually okay with Naomi thinking Karl is cheating with another woman. She's also okay with finally setting up a booty call with Naomi's son Tommy (who we assume is now 18). That the only private place he had that was free was a catering van didn't sit well with Simone, but she couldn't deny Tommy's charm. And she was even more into him when he was ready for seconds just a few minutes after their first. So what if it was in a catering van. That still doesn't answer the question of who was lying dead on the stairs in Simone's mansion. Could Naomi find out about the affair Simone is having with Tommy and that's Simone under the sheet?

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In 2019, Taylor has a different problem with Eli. The arrangement with Taylor's friend Jade is going well, but Eli is starting to become overbearing, flat out asking Taylor if they can have a three-way. Taylor is uncomfortable with the idea but Jade overhears them and says she's fine with that. The three head to the shower and Eli seems to get all the benefits and after they hit the bed, Taylor shoos him away so she and Jade can finish. He obliges and prepares some pie and ice cream for them all but after more than 30 minutes, the women still have not come downstairs. Eli spies on them and sees Taylor looking at Jade like he hasn't seen her look at him for some time. Is Taylor actually in love with Jade? It gets worse when Eli learns the two have known each other for six months, not just a couple of weeks, and that throws him into an emotional tailspin. Taylor assures him that she loves him, she loves everything they have together, and he seems to buy it. But jealousy is sure to rear its ugly head once again, sooner rather than later.

This episode has certainly given us a lot to ponder.

What did you think of this episode? Start a conversation in the comments section below!

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Saturday, August 24, 2019

BH90210 S01E03: The Photo Shoot

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 BH90210 puts the cast's fragile egos on full display
By Kim Tibbs-Krober

The flashbacks at the beginning of BH90210 continue to be among my favorite scenes, and this week's did not disappoint. It featured Brandon and Kelly in a black-and-white film noir fantasy at The Peach Pit, and it sizzled more than Nat's burgers. If only the rest of the episode could have matched this initial momentum. But alas, I believe this reboot fell victim to the mid-season lull in episode three of a six-episode arc.

The theme of the episode revolved around fragile egos on full display, both during the group therapy session with special guest star Carol Potter (Cindy Walsh from the original series) and thereafter. Jason confronted his wife about her obvious affair since he was unable to get her pregnant and temporarily moved out, while Gabrielle told her husband that she wants the freedom to explore her sexuality. Tori's husband felt threatened by her success and proximity to her handsome ex Brian, while Ian was seen spiraling out of control and drinking too much while facing his impending divorce. Jason also showed a fragile ego when confronting the writer who got his wife pregnant, though it was Ian who actually had the nerve to punch him out.

Tori began to question her skills as a producer when she was tasked to fire the show's head writer and had difficulty convincing Shannon to do the reboot. Jennie's ego was left feeling vulnerable in the wake of her divorce and the revelation that the group has a stalker. The cast made several jokes about receiving kinkier items from fans in the mail during the show's heyday, so it seems nobody but Jennie is taking the stalker seriously. Which is a shame because Brian has just handed him the keys to his kingdom after hiring him as an assistant/nanny. I'm still curious how the stalker story will play out, but if this episode was any indication, I have a feeling it's going to go out in a fizzle instead of an explosion.


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The Me Too Movement finally caught up with Ian, or should I say his exaggerated version of Steve Sanders. After attempting to flirt with one of the writers by telling her she had pretty eyes, he was put in his place for objectifying women and making them feel uncomfortable. I'm not sure it was entirely fair based on this one compliment, as he didn't make any remarks about her breasts or anything that went that far. He pondered aloud about flattery being banished and not quite understanding why. I couldn't help but sympathize with him to a certain degree. Dating must be more challenging today than it used to be, but I wouldn't know because I'm now a boring married person.

I loved watching the cast recreate their iconic photo of them all lying together on the floor, and it was great to see Mrs. Walsh once again giving various cast members advice, this time as an actual licensed therapist. At one point, Jason made a snarky comment to the head writer regarding him wanting to reunite the gang at The Peach Pit, saying that's "groundbreaking stuff." Watch it, Jason! That is what I wanted from the reboot, not this convoluted mess that seems to be unraveling quickly at the seams.

It seemed like everything was falling apart on Tori this week, which felt like a metaphor for the entire BH90210 reboot itself. They have three more episodes to get it right and redeem themselves. Something more exciting needs to happen next week to hold my interest. Can the stalker kill someone? Preferably not a cast favorite, but maybe Shannon or Christine? '90210: The Zombie Years' is sounding more appealing to me by the minute!

Purchase the season at FandangoNow!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

So You Think You Can Dance S16E11: Top 10 Perform, Round 2

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Two of the dancers get cut
by Stephen Mosher

Starting out the second of the Live Shows this week was a Travis Wall group piece to the song 'Sign of the Times' by Harry Styles. Last week I said that Travis Wall’s choreography has a look, that it’s predictable - and this week everyone in my house said “This is a Travis Wall dance!” because it has his stamp, his look, his emotion. And it was stunning. This is a Travis Wall number that shows why he is an Emmy winner. Just beautiful, from him and from all the dancers. It was gorgeous.

And so was Cat! Oh my gosh, what an outfit, what a hairdo, what a raving beauty!

Alright, let’s get to it. Last week I predicted that Eddie and Anna would go home this week and tonight all the dancers perform, in spite of knowing two will depart at the end of the show. The suspense begins now.

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Up first! Stephanie and Gino were given a chance to work with Emma Slater and Sasha Farber on a jive to the Little Richard song 'Long Tall Sally', and this number was nothing but personality! These two kids have each others’ backs, that’s how in tune they are with one another. The number was a joy to watch but the real joy was watching Gino step out of his style and go to live in another style! Kid was AMAZING and all the judges said so. After a standing ovation, they all basically said “yeah, yeah, Stephanie … BUT GINO!” It was overwhelming.

Gino: Safe. Stephanie: In Danger

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Moving on we get to Sophie and Eddie, who worked with Travis Wall on a contemporary piece to the Billy Eilish song 'When the Party’s Over'. This number was classic Travis Wall, if a bit simple, one assumes to accommodate Eddie, but it was beautiful in its simplicity and Eddie did a wonderful job, particularly by being a good partner to Sophie. He protected her, he was there for her, he held her up so all could see her brilliance. The judges were complimentary to Eddie, though maybe a bit nonplussed with their comments, seeming to go into detail with their Sophie critiques and favoring vagueness in their Eddie estimations. Mary did call Sophie Liquid Gold and told Eddie she was proud of him.

Eddie: In Danger. Sophie: Safe.

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Benanna are up next and Randi & Hef gave the kids a hip hop dance to 'Lottery' by K Camp. Both are actually cute at the acting bits that the choreographers gave them, but it was odd that Benjamin outshone Anna, dancing in her own style. I think it is because he dances with his heart, indeed, he leads with his heart. Everything he does is with his heart, and it affects the vibe between him and the crowd. As dancing goes, they were both good, and the number was cute, but tonight was all about Ben, who Laurieann told “your calling is absolutely to dance” but she was down on Anna. When Cat told the twosome their results, Benjamin almost cried when he was hearing he was safe, and then he did cry when he heard Anna was not. He’s a good boy who cares about his partner.

Benjamin: Safe. Anna: In Danger.

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Madison and Ezra scored when they got Ray Leeper to choreograph a jazz routine for them to Joe Cocker’s ''You Can Leave Your Hat On because this was one for the SYTYCD history books. They were both extraordinary but Ezra really stepped into the light with this one, showing nuances and gumption that people possibly did not expect from him. The commitment was incredible and the chemistry was off the charts. Nigel told Madison Bob Fosse would have loved her and Mary told them they lived up to one of the sexiest songs in history. Laurieann said “there’s dancing and then there’s DANCING!” and she was right. This is one of the routines on SYTYCD people will remember for years to come.

Ezra: In Danger. Madison: Safe.

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Mariah and Bailey, the couple to beat, pulled a hip hop routine with Luther Brown to the song 'Tempo' by Lizzo ft. Missy Elliot and it turned out to be the best number of the night. These two are simply astonishing, with so much attitude, such skill, and oodles of personality. Everyone had to be wondering who was sexier in this nasty number, and even though Bailey is all the damn things, it’s all Mariah. Who would have EVER thought a classically trained dancer could get this down in the pocket? And down in the pocket is what Mary said they were. The judges gave them a standing ovation and both Mary and Nigel told them they were the couple to beat. That poetess, Laurieann, said “do not make any other choice but believing in the greatness you were born with.”

Both dancers are Safe.

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During the eliminations it was made specifically clear that the judges factored in that night’s performances, as well as all that had come before. Then they sent home a tearful Stephanie and a resigned Eddie. He seemed to know it was coming, but she was hurt. And what this writer wants to know is this: if they factored in last week, and this week, and everything else, why did Stephanie go home instead of Anna? Stephanie has been giving solid performances, they praised her work tonight, she is always good. Anna has been hit or miss since Academy and she gets critiques and still they have kept her. Clearly, they just have a thing for Anna, and maybe it’s a thing I don’t see but I am determined to keep an open mind. It’s just difficult to figure them out at times.

In the meantime, though these two young ‘uns are off the show, their careers are started. They will go out on tour with the show and, eventually, land on Broadway or Dancing with the Stars, so it was all worth it. They are on their way.

So You Think You Can Dance airs Mondays at 8 PM on Fox.

What did you think of this episode? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below.