Top 10 Favourite SYTYCD Routines

So You Think You Can Dance is one of my favourite reality shows. Getting to watch different styles of dance on my TV screen every week during the summer is quite honestly the best. The show as a whole doesn’t get nearly the respect and recognition it deserves, but over the years, it has provided us with numerous memorable routines, which has been justly rewarded with countless Outstanding Choreography nominations/wins. As such, for my April blogging challenge, I wanted to include a list of my 10 most favourite SYTYCD routines. It’s a simultaneously easy yet difficult task, because lists are simple but narrowing it down is the hard part.

1.) Season 2, Top 10 – “Ramalama (Bang Bang)”

Still one of, if not THE best group routines in the history of the show. It was one of the first times the show really showcased a dance that was very much out of the box, and it really brought out an artistic side to the show that we hadn’t seen before. Also, Wade Robson just kinda rocks.

2.) Season 2, Allison & Ivan – “Why”

This was a turning point for me, in terms of when I really started LOVING the show. Ivan, a hip-hop dancer, held his own, dancing with the incredible Allison in her style, which was Contemporary. Add to that, Annie Lennox’s gorgeous song “Why” and it was just perfection.

3.) Season 7, Alex & Twitch – “Outta My Mind”

Everyone loves Twitch; he’s a beast of a dancer. Everyone already loved Alex at this point, but to see him, who’s trained in ballet, KILL it in this routine next to Twitch, just threw him up to another level.

4.) Season 4, Katee & Joshua – “No Air”/ Chelsie & Mark – “Bleeding Love”

Tabitha & Napoleon had been dancing/choreographing long before SYTYCD, but when they were brought in for season 4, everything changed. They made an immediate impression with the “No Air” routine, then a couple weeks later, they solidified themselves in the SYTYCD world with “Bleeding Love.” We had some smooth hip-hop in the past, but for the most part, everyone thought of hard-hitting hip-hop on the show, so when NappyTabs came on and delivered these contemporary hip-hop numbers, it was just never the same.

5.) Season 8, Melanie & Marko – “Triptico”

Melanie & Marko are among my favourite SYTYCD pairings (next to Allison/Ivan, Katee/Joshua). Every single routine they did was wonderful, starting from their Contemporary “Turn to Stone” and even to their Disco “I Feel Love.” So why is “Triptico” my favourite? Well, I’m a sucker for the Tango, and even though it wasn’t perfect, they sold the performance. And that drop/flip/turn/lift (I have no idea what to call it) at the end? Gets me every time I watch it.

6.) Season 5, Top 12 – “Calle Ocho”

Season 5 was top-notch, in regards to the group routines. I mean, the competition numbers were really good too, but the group routines were everything. This number though was my absolute favourite for the entire season: NappyTabs choreographed with Dmitry Chaplin to make a totally awesome Latin Hip-hop fusion. What more could you want?! It was everything and more!

7.) Season 8, Top 12 – “El Fuego”

I just love this group number. I can’t even explain why. Maybe it’s because it’s a Flamenco-style routine that we just don’t see a lot on SYTYCD, plus everyone was on point, performing the hell out of it.

8.) Season 9, Top 10 & All-Stars – “Circle of Life/Nants Ingonyama”

Season 9 was very light on NappyTabs. At the end of the season though, they made up for it with this awesome Afro Jazz Hip-Hop set to music from The Lion King! The competing dancers alone were terrific, but add in the All-Stars and it just explodes.

9.) Season 7, Top 11 & All-Stars – “Ra”

Speaking of exploding, season 7 was the first season that introduced the All-Stars, and it has certainly helped in bringing out the best in the competing dancers. This was, once again, a finale number, but it definitely proved just how amazing the talent was. A competitive season as it was, with the best 11 dancers (was supposed to be 10, but they couldn’t help themselves and added in one more) instead of 20 competing, you knew they meant business. Like NappyTabs before, Chris Scott immediately made an impression with this genre-fusing hip-hop, and has been a regular choreographer on the show ever since. Bonus points for finding a way to include an injured Alex Wong into the number.

10.) Season 4, Katee & Twitch – “Mercy”

The Door. This routine showed that not all Contemporary routines had to be sad and overwrought with emotion. This was all kinds of fun and emotional in a different sense. Absolutely love it!

HONOURABLE MENTIONS*

*AKA my way of cheating and adding 5 more routines I REALLY REALLY like. My blog, my rules*

1.) Season 8, Top 10 Guys – “Velocity”

Season 8 was just SO GOOD, right from the very start. Chris Scott choreographed this Adjustment Bureau-themed contemporary hip-hop for the Top 10 Guys for the first show, and it was just so indicative of what the rest of the season was going to feel like.

2.) Season 8, Melanie & Tadd – “(Where Do I Begin) Love Story”

There was a reason Melanie won season 8; she’s an amazing technical dancer, who really knows how to sell the performance. Spencer Liff didn’t give us the typical Broadway routine that we typically see on the show, instead he choreographed a routine that was sexy and required Melanie & Tadd to really act.

3.) Season 9, Top 8 – “Run Boy Run”

Sure we have a steady rotation of choreographers creating wonderful pieces, but the show does not just rely on those geniuses. There are so many talented choreographers that it would be a shame to not showcase their work. So it was a welcome surprise to see the show bring the immensely talented Peter Chu to choreograph this group number.

4. ) Season 3, Neil & Danny – “Are You the One?”

Mia Michaels. Genius. A contemporary routine that required so much power from Neil and Danny. Just fantastic.

5.) Season 10, Jasmine & Comfort – “Run the World”

For years, I was constantly complaining that the boys always got the “fun” routines for the finals; they often got either a completely different style (see: Russian Trepak of S4, Malevos of S7, Steppin of S8) or a cool jazz or hip-hop routine. The girls always got Broadway/Contemporary/Jazz. So you have no idea how ecstatic I was to see this routine happen. Mind you, it wasn’t the final 2 girls (Jasmine and Amy) dancing together, but rather Jasmine dancing with All-Star Comfort. However, it doesn’t change the fact that we got a girls hip-hop routine! FINALLY! HALLELUJAH! More of this please!

There you have it – my favourite SYTYCD routines! The show returns for its 12th season – Stage vs. Street – on June 1st!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Music Monday: Old Favourites (AKA When Music Was Awesome)

Pop music has been sort of my bread and butter. It’s pretty much what I grew up on, between my dad listening to ABBA and the Bee Gees; my sister  listening to New Kids on the Block, Debbie Gibson, Madonna, George Michael; and the modern Vietnamese music I gravitated towards – pop music was in me from the get-go. Once I hit the all important tween years (before it was really even called that) in the late 90s, the pop music scene was reaching a whole new level. MTV was still playing music videos and the prevalence of TRL certainly helped elevate the status of pop stars (and other artists) to what we remember. The songs were infectious and well-crafted, which also applies to the R&B music of the time. Maybe it’s a sense of nostalgia when I hear them, but 10-15 years later, I feel like a lot of the songs held up incredibly well; there was something about the music in the late 90s/early 00s that had such an appeal. So with that being said, I give you a rather comprehensive playlist of some of my favourites from back in the day.

Favourites of 2014

Another year is coming to an end and with that, a list of my favourites in movies, music, and TV. Again, not a “Year-End Best of” list by any means, just things that I loved this past year. Also, due to time constraints, this really is just a list of my favourites – I wish I had the time to fully explain everything but alas, December just flew by me.

ALBUMS

  1. Begin Again soundtrack
  2. Kris Allen, Horizons
  3. The Script, No Sound Without Silence
  4. Colbie Caillat, Gypsy Heart
  5. Jason Mraz, Yes!
  6. Lady Antebellum, 747
  7. Pentatonix, PTX Vol. 3
  8. Nikki Yanofsky, Little Secret
  9. Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
  10. Maroon 5, V

SONGS

Obviously I loved songs from my favourite albums above, but here are the other stuff that I couldn’t stop listening to this year.

  1. Tyler Hilton, One More Song
  2. Nick Jonas, Jealous
  3. Jessie J, Masterpiece
  4. Michael Jackson ft. Justin Timberlake, Love Never Felt So Good
  5. Sam Smith, Like I Can

MOVIES

As always, there are still SO many movies that got released this year, that I have yet to get a chance to see. But of what I did manage to see this year, these are absolutely my favourites.

  1. Begin Again
  2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy
  4. Snowpiercer
  5. Nightcrawler

NEW TV SHOWS

There were some REALLY good new shows that came out this year.

  1. The Flash
  2. Jane the Virgin
  3. The Affair
  4. You’re the Worst
  5. How to Get Away With Murder

RETURNING TV SHOWS

And of the returning shows, these continued strong all year.

  1. Arrow
  2. Brooklyn Nine Nine
  3. Agents of SHIELD
  4. The Mindy Project
  5. Sleepy Hollow

SHOWS THAT WERE CANCELLED

These are some of the shows that got cancelled this year, which very much hurt.

  1. Selfie
  2. Enlisted
  3. Trophy Wife
  4. Witches of East End
  5. The Tomorrow People

5 Fandom Friday: Favourite Christmas Movies

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Christmas music is one thing. Christmas movies? I don’t know, I was never really into it. That’s not to say there aren’t any Christmas (-y) movies that I’ve watched and loved over the years. So in continuation with The Nerdy Girlie and Super Space Chick’s 5 Fandom Friday link-up, I give you my favourite (almost by default) Christmas movies.

1. HOME ALONE/HOME ALONE 2: LOST IN NEW YORK

This is what I grew up on. The original Home Alone movies starring Macauley Caulkin were pretty much staples in my house for years. I mean, what’s not to love? The essence of Christmas (being with family) is there, with a solid dash of funny antics. “Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal!” CLASSIC.

2. LOVE ACTUALLY

ALL THE ACTORS! Look, there have been so many movies that have come out since Love Actually that try to trick us into watching because of the sheer number of actors they managed to get in that movie. Unfortunately, movies like He’s Just Not That Into You, Valentine’s Day, and New Year’s Eve have all failed to replicate the success of Love Actually. Why? Because LA actually makes you care about the characters, and not just the actors playing them. Also, Christmas is a special holiday that far surpasses the “importance” of Valentine’s and NYE. Oh, and as if it needed to be said, the Brits just knew what they were doing.

3. SERENDIPITY

I’ll admit: this is one of those movies that just so happen to take place during Christmas (and for only a small but critical portion of the movie) and not necessarily a Christmas movie. But I don’t care, I love this movie and I’m including it. John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale are our romantic leads who meet cute while Christmas shopping. They’re both with someone else at the time they meet, but feel a deep connection and decide to leave it up to fate to see if they end up together. It’s all cute and romantic, and of all the rom-coms, I blame it for my unrealistic beliefs about love.

4. ELF

I’m not typically a Will Ferrell fan, but he was at his best here, exemplifying a different kind of man-child in Buddy the Elf. There’s just so much to be said about a movie that really captures the spirit and joy of Christmas, without being overtly sentimental.

5. THE FAMILY STONE

Bringing your significant other home to visit your family – what could go wrong? Well, for Sarah Jessica Parker’s Meredith, your boyfriend’s family doesn’t really like you. The movie walks the line between drama and comedy, and it’s got a great cast (including Diane Keaton, Craig T. Nelson, Rachel McAdams, Dermot Mulroney, Luke Wilson) that elevates the material from more than just your typical family dramedy.

BONUS TV: The O.C. Chrismukkah episodes

So many shows do Christmas/holiday-themed episodes, but I have a certain affection for The O.C.’s holiday episodes. Sure, all four were wrought with a lot of drama. However, Josh Schwartz and company, via Seth Cohen introduced us all to the wonderful mixed holiday that is Chrismukkah – “8 days of presents, followed by one day of many presents.” Also, all the episodes taught us to never underestimate the power of a Chrismukkah miracle.

5 Fandom Friday: My Favourite Holiday Songs

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For a couple months now, The Nerdy Girlie and SuperSpaceChick have put together a link-up, 5 Fandom Friday, each week with a different theme. I’ve been neglecting it but no more – starting December right with my first 5 Fandom Friday post! Now, I admittedly can sometimes be a grump about Christmas-related things. Some people will listen to Christmas music as early as November 1st; I, on the other hand, consider two weeks before Christmas to be an acceptable time-frame, but that’s just me. Anyways, that being said, I give you my 5 favourite holiday pop songs, and just because I feel like cheating a little bit, my 5 favourite classic holiday songs!

HOLIDAY POP SONGS

  1. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays (NSYNC) – I’m sorry, but as far as original Christmas songs goes, it does not get any better than this song. I’m a little biased because I love NSYNC, but tell me this song doesn’t instantly put a smile on your face and get you excited for the holidays! Or how about that hilarious music video? (Oh the 90s…)
  2. All I Want for Christmas is You (Mariah Carey) – An original song that became a classic. Who doesn’t love this song?
  3. Last Christmas (Wham) – It’s kind of a sad Christmas song, wrapped in an upbeat pop tune, but I love it nonetheless. For some reason, this is one of the first Christmas songs I ever knew (I call it a mix of my sister being a George Michael fan, plus hearing a cover of it by one of my favourite Vietnamese singers – my influences as a kid are so varied, you don’t even know).
  4. Christmas Time (Christina Aguilera) – “There’ll be family, and Christmas cheer/Peace and good will to all man/ Everybody is home for Christmas/It’s Christmas time.” A perfectly solid pop/R&B song that sums up Christmas.
  5. My Favorite Things (Kelly Clarkson) – Was this song always considered a holiday song? I don’t really know, but it is now! Of course only Kelly Clarkson could get me to listen to Christmas songs early when she released her holiday album “Wrapped in Red” last year, and I instantly fell in love with her jazz-y version of this song.

 

TRADITIONAL HOLIDAY SONGS

No explanations necessary. I just love these songs.*

  1. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
  2. Silent Night
  3. The Christmas Song
  4. White Christmas
  5. O Holy Night – *Though for what it’s worth, I LOVE NSYNC’s acapella version of this song.