Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Dancing With the Stars S28E01: 2019 Season Premiere

© ABC
DWTS Season 28 returns with a few fan favorites and a new scoring format
by Kim Krober

After a lengthy one-year hiatus, Dancing with the Stars finally returned with Season 28, an all-new glitzy set, some newcomers in the dance troupe, and everybody's favorite reality show judges (Bruno Tonioli, Len Goodman, and Carrie Ann Inaba) and hosts (Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews). After some criticism and controversy over the scoring in seasons past, it was revealed there's a new voting format this season: we'll be able to see the results of our votes live at the end of next week's show. The judges are also "coming out of their shells" with a call for better technique and stricter scoring than in competitions past. They certainly seem to mean business, as nobody scored any higher than a 7 and some of the scores were the lowest I've ever seen (3's), which were met with boos from the studio audience. Let's see how your favorites did during this first week of competition:

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Hannah Brown & Alan Bersten, Cha-Cha
Am I the only one out there who doesn't get the popularity of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette? It seems like it's the same shtick every season. However, it does produce some fierce competitors for Dancing with the Stars. I thought Hannah's Cha-Cha to Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" was a great start to the season. Len praised the dance for being crisp, clean, and confident, while Bruno claimed she had finally found her true love: dancing. He admired her for being enthusiastic but cautioned her about being too fast and frenzied with her turns and for being slightly ahead of the music. Carrie Ann believed she had the posture and attitude of a Latin dancer, saying she had great form and she can't wait to see what she has in store next week.
Score: 20

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Kel Mitchell & Witney Carson, Tango
I was in middle school when All That premiered on Nickelodeon. I remember loving it the first few seasons, so seeing Kel was a welcome blast from the past. Kel has an awesome personality, and I'm looking forward to watching him grow in this competition. He's turned into quite the leading man coming out to a Tango set to The Jonas Brothers' "Sucker", and I loved his colorful suit! Tom quipped he was the first person in 28 seasons to begin his routine by sliding through his own mouth, referring to a giant Kel head on the backdrop's screen. Bruno loved seeing his serious side and focus, but said he was a little too jumpy and needs to work on his footwork. Carrie Ann is optimistic about his future on the show, though she said he still needs to find his groove. Len liked his attack and attitude, saying he has potential, although he would have liked to have seen a few more heel leads. It will be interesting to see what kind of tricks Kel has up his sleeves this season!
Score: 16

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Kate Flannery & Pasha Pashkov, Cha-Cha
I loved Kate on The Office, and I'm so excited to watch her compete on DWTS! Kate was paired with newcomer Pasha Pashkov (who looks to be a fun addition to the dance pros!), and I thought she came out strong with a Cha-Cha set to Donna Summer's "She Works Hard for the Money". I've never seen Kate look so glamorous and beautiful. Carrie Ann was impressed with her defined movements, while Len commended Pasha for putting a special move in that he hadn't seen in years. He cautioned Kate on needing to straighten her legs, but said she came out and really sparkled. Bruno told her she could run his office any time, although she needs to work on finishing her movements with precise, sharp endings.
Score:15

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Lamar Odom & Peta Murgatroyd, Foxtrot
Two-time NBA Champion Lamar Odom looked debonair in a red velvet suit, coming out to a Foxtrot set to Michael Buble's "Feeling Good". This couple has a distinct height difference to overcome, but I thought they looked fabulous together. Len noted he did a terrific job but felt it lacked an overall finesse. Bruno admired him for giving it his all, acknowledging that the Foxtrot is a difficult dance to try to master during the first week of competition. However, he advised him not to overthink it and go with the flow more next week. Carrie Ann was thoroughly impressed with his ability to smile on cue and hit his lines, saying she knows how much former athletes without any background in dance have struggled in this competition. The crowd booed, as two of the three judges gave him a score of 3. I'll admit it wasn't the best dance of the night but were the 3's deserved? I guess Lamar can only go up from here!
Score: 11

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Lauren Alaina & Gleb Savchenko, Cha-Cha
I don't watch American Idol, so I wasn't familiar with Lauren Alaina. Dancing the third Cha-Cha of the night, Alaina had a fun routine set to Shania Twain's "Man! I Feel Like a Woman". Bruno called her a sultry Southern belle giving him a steamy Cha-Cha with sharp finishes, but he said her hip action was hindered by having locked knees. Carrie Ann told Gleb he took some risks but they paid off for her and she admired her looseness. Len liked the rhythm but thought the beginning was a bit long-winded with the chairs as props. It was one of the more polished performances of the night but maybe not super-memorable.
Score: 19

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Sailor Brinkley-Cook & Val Chmerkovskiy, Foxtrot
'80s supermodel Christie Brinkley was one of the ones I was most excited about in the cast reveal, but she was abruptly removed from the competition when she fell during rehearsal and broke her arm. Luckily for her, her daughter Sailor (also a model) has taken her spot. However, she had only three days to learn the routine (versus the three weeks everybody else had) set to Christie's theme song "Uptown Girl". Was it as flawless as the Brinkleys' complexion? No, but it wasn't a bad effort. Carrie Ann was blown away by her poise and carefree spirit, telling Val he's hit a gold mine with this partner. Len said she floated his boat with beautiful movement, but that it was a bit stumpy and she'll benefit from more practice. Bruno said she has the looks and talent to go far in this competition and is looking forward to seeing what she can do with proper rehearsal time. Christie looked great rooting for her daughter, but I cringed at her description of her injury.
Score: 18

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Karamo Brown & Jenna Johnson, Salsa
Queer Eye's Karamo Brown was probably the most genuinely thrilled contestant I've ever seen - he looked like he was living his best life from start to finish of his Salsa routine set to Lizzo's "Juice".I loved his purple suit and his enthusiasm for the competition. Len thought it was a bit disappointing because it didn't have enough hip action or rhythm. Bruno commended him for his good looks, style, and lifts, but agreed with Len about needing to see better hip action. Carrie Ann thought it was an alright performance but was a little underwhelmed because she felt he was too reserved and didn't let enough of his personality pop through on the dance floor. Can he redeem himself next week?
Score: 17

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Ray Lewis & Cheryl Burke, Salsa
Footballer Ray Lewis came out to Nelly's "Hot N Herre" with this crazy little shuffle that made me smile. Athletes are always a mixed bag on this competition, as you never know how stiff or natural they'll look on the dance floor. I thought it was a commendable effort for the first week, and so did the judges. Bruno loved that he turned on the heat, saying he was charismatic, although he pointed out some missteps. Carrie Ann said he brought his "A" game turning on this audience, calling it pretty damn good. Len noted there were a couple of serious mistakes but told him he has potential. For Carrie Ann's comments, I was a little surprised she didn't pull out a 6.
Score: 15

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Mary Wilson & Brandon Armstrong, Foxtrot
Love The Supremes! Mary Wilson looked absolutely stunning; I'm in disbelief that she's 75! Her Foxtrot set to her signature hit "Baby Love" was inspirational, as she's the oldest competitor this season, but you couldn't tell by her appearance or dance moves. Carrie Ann told her she was built to Foxtrot on their dance floor, calling her elegant and a legend. Len is the same age as her and complimented her on her ability to come out and dance a Foxtrot that good because he didn't think he'd be able to pull it off. Bruno was starstruck, telling her she knows how to sell it and commended her for doing a heel turn. Tom quipped he'd never heard anyone so happy about 5's.
Score: 17

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Ally Brooke & Sasha Farber, Cha-Cha
Am I the only person not familiar with Fifth Harmony outside of this competition? I'm happy for Sasha though - he got a partner who can obviously dance! Len didn't care for all the hip gyrating and thrusting, likening it to Beyoncé. However, he thought she was a very competent dancer anyway. Bruno loved her sense of attack and flair, but he could tell she was missing the beat. He called it a bit muddled but a great performance overall. Carrie Ann felt she needed to find her balance but said she has potential. I didn't recognize their Cha-Cha song choice at all - turns out it was set to Fifth Harmony's "Work From Home".
Score: 16

Sean Spicer & Lindsay Arnold, Salsa
Former Trump Press Secretary Sean Spicer was out to score points for his damaged reputation ... on a dance reality show. Yes, you read that right. His Salsa set to the Spice Girls' "Spice Up Your Life" wasn't as stiff as I was expecting. Bruno quipped he went bonkers with the bongos and said his hips looked like they were set in cement, but felt it was strangely entertaining anyway. Carrie Ann called it the best fluorescent shimmy of the night and admired his boisterousness, although she pointed out that he was off beat most of the dance. Len told him he brought fun to the ballroom, showing more reserved constraint with his commentary than usual. He was committed to having fun, although I don't see him lasting long in this competition.
Score: 12

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James Van Der Beek & Emma Slater, Tango
I don't wanna wait for this dance competition to be over to say I'm rooting for Dawson Leery! It was so good to see James Van Der Beek back in the spotlight (along with all of his adorable lookalike children). They definitely saved the best for last. I was mesmerized from the moment he hit the dance floor, and I'm so excited for Emma to have such an amazing partner this season. James will clearly do "Whatever It Takes" to remain in it to win it. Carrie Ann praised his style, technique, and flavor, calling him the leading man of this season's competition. Len said it had drive and purpose, stating it was a terrific number. Bruno called it charismatic and strong, complimenting it for being so in control and in character. With three 7's from the judges, James was quickly thrust to the top of the leader board.
Score: 21

I'm a little sad a few of my favorites seem to be missing this season: Derek Hough and Mark Ballas. However, I am looking forward to watching this season unfold and seeing how the new scoring and elimination system works. The best part of the night for me though was that winning commercial from KFC touting a fictitious Rudy II with Sean Astin reprising his Rudy role and taking on the role of the Colonel. It was inspired advertising to say the least.

And that's a wrap until next week! How did your favorites fare? Tell us who you're rooting for in the comments section below!

Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8:00 PM on ABC.

Monday, September 16, 2019

So You Think You Can Dance S16E14: Top 4 Perform

© FOX
The Fantastic Four dance one more time before the winner is announced
by Stephen Mosher

Well, this is it, kids. The final four, the final showdown, the time has arrived for everyone to have their last look at these sweet, gifted young people before the winner is announced this week. It’s been a fun, if a bit short, ride. I have to admit I miss the longer seasons of SYTYCD and the bigger cast, but at least the show is still on the air, so I won’t complain.

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The show opened with a fun number honoring the upcoming movie CATS, and while it was a fun number, again, with the addition of the all stars, I couldn’t see the contestants - but I guess we will get enough spotlight on them for the next two hours, I thought, so why grouse? I wasn’t sure who all was in that number but I definitely spotted Cyrus, Comfort, Gabby and Melanie. Fun number, nicely created by Mandy Moore, but the truth is that we all just want to get to it! Let’s see our cherubs do they stuff!

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Sophie and Gino have the stage first in a Ray Leeper jazz number to “All Nite” and it was so, so sexy that I couldn’t breathe … maybe from the talent, maybe from the choreography, or maybe because it honestly feels dirty to be watching people so young in this manner. I know they are, technically, adults, but they still look like kids to me. And Ray Leeper suggesting a kiss between them was kind of icky, if you ask me. But then, the adults have been sexualizing these youngsters all season, so I guess it’s something the producers of the show want. I’ll wait till they are both over 21 before I consider them as sex symbols, even if this number was smokin’ hot. The judges all loved it, with Dominic saying it was so, so sexy (hello, goodbye), Mary saying they were so together, so raw, Nigel pointing out their primitive chemistry and Laurieann saying she “felt your hunger”. Eww. Children. But then, Jodie Foster was 12 when she played a hooker, so, welcome to Lolita-land, Sophie and Gino! You are officially underage sex symbols, courtesy of So You Think You Can Dance.

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Mariah and Bailey had a jazz routine, too (smooth jazz) - Jonathan Redavid staged a number to “16 Tons” and it just reaffirms the idea that they are the couple to beat (with all due respect to Sophie and Gino). These two aren’t just something special on their own, they are unstoppable when they are together - and Bailey is the best. The routine is charming and technically wonderful. Dominic says they always show up and points out that Bailey is special. Laurieanne says they have a god-given gift, and Nigel says Mariah is a joy to watch and that Bailey has had the biggest journey on the show. Mary says Mariah is amazing and Bailey soars every time he steps on the stage. It’s already looking really good for Bailey.

Gino’s solo to “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” was a virtuoso performance that will get him many a job after this show. He left it all on the floor. He is magnificent, and no mistake.

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Entering the contestant/all-star segment of the show, we see Sophie get paired up with Marko for a Talia Favia contemporary piece to “90 Days” - her first time working with Talia, who manages to bring something new out of Sophie, who is peaking at just the right time. This Sophie we haven’t seen before. She is now, a contender. Ending the remarkable routine in tears, Sophie is served up a well-deserved standing ovation from the judges, all of whom praise them in their usual prose, Nigel telling her she has shown that women are just as strong as men, Mary calling out passion with true purpose, Laurieann praising how she found he strength as a woman and Dominic saying it was her best performance of the season.

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Bailey’s all-star was (big surprise) Comfort, because they gave the B-Boy a Luther Brown hip hop routine, proving that the judges and producers are stacking the deck for Bailey. Now, the truth is that I believe Bailey should and will win the show, but I have no power to position him to do so, the producers and the judges do, and they are. The number, to “Tell Me When to Go”, was as good as Luther Brown has ever been, showing off Bailey in a flawless display of talent and personality. Mary said it was bad to the bone, Nigel loved the light and the shade, Dominic said “you did it correct” and Laurieann gave him “Bragging Rights.” Yes, Bailey is definitely having a well-deserved win orchestrated for him.

Sophie’s solo, to the song “Try a Little Tenderness” can be summed up in one word: Meh.

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Gino and Mariah got the dreaded quick step, staged by the wonderful Artem and Sharna to “Bad Boy Good Man” and they were both very good. It was really nice to see them dance together and everyone in the house thought so, as they gave them a standing ovation. Mary called it lighthearted and respectable, Laurieann said they were soulful, honest and authentic. The men used middle of the road verbiage to praise them, again, indicating the set up for Bailey. They are giving heaps of praise to the clear star and front runner and using minimal vocabulary and effort to critique the other dancers. Maybe it is so they can subliminally influence America’s vote, or maybe it is because they recognize the futility in trying to find superlatives for the other three dancers, having used them all up on Bailey. Whatever the case may be, the judges are as transparent as can be.

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Bailey and Sophie’s Bollywood number by Nakul Dev Mahajan was entertaining enough, but the truth is that all it did was leave Sophie choking on Bailey’s dust. You can’t look at anyone else. He has no competition on the show, even though the other dancers referred to him as their “biggest competition on the show.” Um ... no.

Mariah’s solo to “If You Let Me” was wonderful. And in her interview package she referred to one of her past dances as “the best time I ever did that solo”, which would indicate that she has a choreographer who creates her solos, or if she made them herself, she was prepared. This is a problem with Sophie’s solos - they all look like uninspired freestyling. Now, I don’t want to be misunderstood: I like Sophie a lot. But her solos don’t stack up against Mariah’s and it’s because of two things: Mariah has her solos prepared, and Mariah has her eye FIRMLY on the prize.

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Gino had the benefit of having both Jaci Royal as his contemporary choreographer and Melanie Moore as his all-star - he just can’t go wrong with this twosome. The number, to “Someone You Loved”, was so intimate and personal, so moving and breathtaking. The man is so incredible that Melanie is the only all-star with whom he should be dancing. She can do anything. There was some concern over his inability to be emotionally open - Gino himself owned it, but when it came time to do the number, he brought his A-Game, leaving the judges offering comments like “What’s in front of you is limitless” (Laurieann) and “You have broken through” (Nigel) - though Dominc and Mary were vague and colorless in their comments -- because they are trying to soften the blow for him. Still, it was a stunning routine.

Bailey did an interview segment before the show in which he cried over the thought of being the first B-Boy to win … and Cat ended up in tears, as the audience chanted his name. With that interview and his astonishing solo to “Don’t Touch Me”, The Tiny Titan secured his win.

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Mariah’s all-star was Robert Roldan, dancing a Mandy Moore contemporary piece to “Grey” that seemed aerodynamically impossible. The lifts were unbelievable. It was one of the great numbers, and unforgettable, as was evidenced by Mary being in tears and unable (almost) to speak. Nigel and Dominc had some nice, albeit benign comments but Laurieann told her, “I see you. I see your fight. I see your victory. Own your victory,” again softening a blow.

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It’s time for the same-sex pas de deux! Gino and Bailey landed Al Blackstone for a Broadway routine to “The Girl From Ipanema” and the boys have genuine chemistry, like brothers. They are both magnificent in the delightful number but it is clear that Gino is the man with the technique, while Bailey is all heart - and it’s a heart that gives him permission to connect to the material. He lives in it. They are both poetry in motion and a joy to behold. Nigel says this is the best top four across the seasons (Yes), Mary says THIS is the new couple to beat (Sounds good to me) and then she made them the first boy duo to land on the Hot Tamale Train. Laurieann compared them to the film White Nights. It was a great number.

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As good as the boys were, the girls brought it, too. Their hip hop number by Luther Brown to “Sally Walker” was AWESOME, with Sophie emerging from the shadows with hidden talents that nobody knew she had in her. Her hip hop was fan-freaking-tastic. Laurieann had the quote of the night:

“So much shadiness,

OMG,

So much ratchetness,

And it’s all right with me”

Then she told Sophie, “You SERVED that”.

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Sophie deserved that praise because she really is wonderful. But then, all these kids are wonderful. It’s impossible to not love them and appreciate their gifts and wish the best for them. But at the end of the day Bailey checks off all the boxes and I believe, firmly, that his talent, his story, his personality have put him ahead of the curve, as well as the fact that it is time for a B-Boy to win this show.

Bailey, dude, tonight I will be pulling for you. You’ve earned it and you deserve it.

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

BH90210 S01E06: The Long Wait

© FOX
 Is this the last time we'll see the 90210 gang in the Peach Pit?
By Kim Tibbs-Krober

As I sat there watching the final episode of the BH90210 reboot series, it suddenly hit me. Was this really the last time I was going to see those characters together in the Peach Pit? Likely so, unless they decide to give it another go when the cast are all in their 70s. It may not have been the smoothest of reunions, but I'd be lying if I said I won't miss them now that they're gone again. The episode title pretty much summed it up: it was a long wait. It was a long wait from the original series to the reunion, and it felt like a long wait from the first episode of the reboot to the last.

The theme of the final episode seemed to be about lashing out at the ones you love. Brian lashed out at his wife after her private investigator revealed he wasn't Zach's father. Jennie's daughter kept lashing out at her and she kept reciprocating, especially when she formed a friendship with Shannon that irked her. Tori's husband lashed out at her because he felt insecure about being a stay-at-home dad while she pursued her career. One may have expected them to make an effort to wrap up their insecurities and attempt to resolve their issues by the episode's end, but they didn't. It's like they all just went on with their preoccupied lives with a temporary Band-Aid affixed. Would you expect anything less from your favorite spoiled Beverly Hills brats? Ignore me, I'm just lashing out at characters I love.

One of the recurring punchlines centered around the cast of 90210 competing with the cast of The OC for a coveted spot on the network's fall lineup. A reboot of The OC? I would totally watch that! I loved Seth Cohen back in the day, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Some of the most entertaining moments involved the cast reading through viewer comments the network had gathered when it showed the pilot to a test group. Apparently, Tori was polarizing in real life but forever endearing as the character Donna Martin and especially when she was partnered with David Silver. Ian seemed to be caught in a time capsule of swagger, while Brian was improbably sexy as an older version of his character. Viewers thought it was laughable that Andrea would even question her sexuality (I wouldn't necessarily say laughable, but it felt odd).

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Fans were also concerned about the chemistry between Jason and Jennie but were convinced there was more than meets the eye between Jason and Shannon (twins Brandon and Brenda Walsh). This led to disturbing imagery when Shannon had a nightmare about kissing Jason in her old bedroom at Casa de Walsh. It made me wonder if any of those comments were rooted in reality among test groups, as some statements seemed to make sense. It was also humorous to see Shannon reacting to the revelation that viewers wanted to see Brenda act like a bitch again while claiming that Brenda was never a troublemaker (apparently it was Kelly all along because she was such a slut!).

We finally saw everyone reunited in the Peach Pit - pop-up that is. I knew about the real-life Peach Pit pop-up coinciding with the reboot and was sad it was only in California. I went to the Saved by the Bell pop-up in Chicago a few years ago on my birthday, and it was an absolute blast. I can only imagine what this fan experience was like, especially if the cast had been there signing autographs and posing for photos among the burgers and milkshakes.

FOX owes much of its success to 90210. It was one of the first shows the network aired when it launched, and it was probably the first show that made it relevant among the youth. I had higher hopes for the reboot, but I wouldn't have traded reacquainting myself with these characters. It was a fun ride while it lasted, even if I didn't get the full closure I was seeking. The ending felt a bit anti-climactic to me, although the usage of Weezer's "Beverly Hills" was perfection. So, how long do I have to wait for that OC reunion?

Purchase the complete season from FandangoNow!

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

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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

© CBS All Access
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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