Didn’t have a chance to watch the Michael Jackson public memorial service? Get caught up with this wrap-up. Featuring Queen Latifah, Mariah Carey, Berry Gordy, Stevie Wonder, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Jennifer Hudson, Rev. Al Sharpton, John Mayer, Brooke Shields, Jermaine Jackson,Usher, Smokey Robinson, Marlon Jackson, and daughter Paris Jackson
So You Think You Can Dance Judge Nigel Lythgoe Issues Apology
May 23, 2009 – On May 22, GLAAD released a Call to Action in response to remarks made the night before by judge Nigel Lythgoe on the popular reality competition show So You Think You Can Dance. Today, GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano and Senior Director of Media Programs Rashad Robinson spoke with Mr. Lythgoe. He expressed his apology over his misuse of words and released this official statement:
“I sincerely regret the fact that I have upset people with the poor word choices and comments I made both during the taping of the ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ audition and on my personal status update. I am not homophobic and it was extremely upsetting for me to be classed as such.
I have been forthright and consistent with my opinion, as a judge, that professional male dancers should move with strength and agility — like Gene Kelly and Rudolph Nureyev. I now realize how this could be misconstrued.
I have been a dancer, and involved in the dance world, for nearly 50 years. Professionally and personally, I believe the sexual orientation of an auditioner or contestant is irrelevant. All that said, the fact that I have unintentionally upset people is distressing to me and it is obvious I have made mistakes that I must learn from. I trust that my humor will be more sensitive and mindful moving forward.”
Nigel Lythgoe, judge and executive producer, SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE
“We certainly appreciate the dialogue, and the opportunity for Nigel to help further educate people about how words and images matter,” said Giuliano. “His sincere words are appreciated, and we look forward to words, images and representations of the LGBT community on So You Think You Can Dance that will be fair, accurate and inclusive in the future.”
Tonight’s America’s Got Talent had HUGE potential. They decided to turn to the internet for their talent by searching for their performers on Myspace.com. We know that sounds like a shameless promo of a web site, but none of us are above that are we? ;-). This was the last audition show of the year folks, so we opined this should be their best!!! (PLEASE MAKE SURE TO CAST YOUR BALLOTS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS ARTICLE!!)
For sure, this should be a great show. We have found so much great talent on the web. Most recently, a favorite of ours that made it into the spot light was Arnel Pineda, the new lead singer for Journey! Discovered on the internet, this singer from the Philippines is now a star performer in an internationally famous rock band!!!
So, if you screened this talent first on the web, most of it that made the actual show should be great. We don’t stare at videos on YouTube because they stink, right? Certainly, America’s Got Talent would take the time to make sure we didn’t have to stare at horrible videos on television, so the cream of the crop should be on this show. We grabbed our popcorn and settled in.
So, did it live up to expectations? Let’s begin:
They always start this show with the obligatory freak acts no matter where they find their talent.
First Act: Michael Trixx (are for kids), a magician. Well, what is our rule? If he looks like a freak… Well, Michael looked like a freak. He started with some cheap tricks from a kid’s magic kit, and by the end, after getting unanimously buzzed off, made us think that the plastic dog poop in a novelty shop would have been vastly more entertaining.
After several more freak acts, they should have been able to find some real talent on myspace and not continue the Jerry Springer show. Right?
On comes Eloy Rendon, who opens with a clever crazy accent and has everyone believing he is not an American. He looked normal, so this was no obvious freak show. He then announces in a totally American accent that he is a motivational speaker. He wasn’t. Buzz, buzz, buzz. Well, our guess is that if he didn’t motivate anyone on the show, he likely wasn’t doing much motivating on Myspace either.
OK, now we are starting to feel like we have been had. All these horrible acts and we haven’t found any internet talent despite the fact they could have screened these people in advance? Well, at least the next act was interesting.
A cluck-off champion!!! That’s right folks. This guy won a championship competition imitating a chicken. No, he didn’t get voted through, but he was the best talent so far by a long shot.
Next…David Deeble. His talent? Being a “FREAK”. He introduced his act as saying he was going to do “fireworks in his pants”. He got summarily buzzed before his first fart.
Now we are thinking, “This is all getting old right?” Any work at all by the scouts on this program and you could have found major talent. We find it every day on YouTube and Myspace. So Suzy Trunquist boards the stage, and what do we see? “FREAK”. Sure enough, what is the rule? If they look like a freak…. Gad, her singing sounded like Big Foot in the throws of death.
By this point, we have to figure that this show is trying to imply that the internet crowd is stupid. We can find garbage on the internet anytime; we don’t need national television to bring it to us. And most of these weren’t even funny freaks, just pathetic ones.
So they finally throw us a curve…an Ozzy Osbourne impersonator. We looked at each other and thought, “Gee, that has never been done before, especially not in front of Sharon. Right?” So freakin’ original. But this guy was actually pretty good. He managed to take Ozzy’s greatest hit of all time and get the audience into it. He got voted through, but we all know, no one could take more than ten minutes of this guy, even if she was married to him. Sharon?
As they cut to commercial, they showed Jerry Springer, and his image said it all. FREAK SHOW!!! It is amazing there weren’t bouncers on the stage trying to hold two bad acts apart as they tried to kill each other for cheating on their wives with transsexuals. Then Jerry could tell us all how stupid Americans are in his wonderful misogynistic way. Love you Jerry.
Now was time for a truly touching story and the only worthwhile segment so far. A mother that, through Myspace, found the daughter she had to give up for adoption years before. This was truly touching, but it was almost like the show was taking credit for it. Fortunately, this woman could wale. Holly Stone surprised us with her voice and got a Standing O. She was voted through and we are looking forward to her next performance!!!
Then it was time for the “Dan Quayle” comment of the night, and it had to come from a man that talks to cars, David Hasselhoff. His infamous quote? “Only in America could this woman have found her daughter on Myspace”. This after Jerry told us at the beginning of the show that the internet was a world-wide phenomenon. Apparently, according to David, only Americans are smart enough to actually use the internet. Holly was great. David gets three buzzes.
Next was a percussion-rock ensemble that played on plastic buckets. So, our first reaction was, OK, can a group of young men doing what we have seen being done in front of subway stations dozens of times make it to the finale? You know, they were actually quite good, but they were no “Blue Man Group”. Piers was the only one that got it right “I like the energy, but you need backup.” Everyone agreed, but only Sharon was smart enough to know that plastic buckets ain’t worth a million bucks, so they got voted through to Vegas. Fortunately, the buckets don’t weigh much, so they shouldn’t have to pay extra for their luggage.
OK, now for our least favorite part of the show, where they whip through talented act after talented act and we barely get to see any of them perform. We hope we get their names right, but the show whipped through these talented acts so fast, we barely had time to see the acts themselves, let alone get the names.
A magician, Shamski, that took out the midsection of his beautiful assistant!! He shocked us with his talent…for all of five seconds. Great, we get tons of freaks, and five seconds of real talent.
Next, The Leasoll brothers, a gymnastic juggling act that seemed quite good, for five seconds and voted through.
Then a performer (sorry we missed his name) that did excellent impersonations…we think. He wasn’t on long enough for us to figure out whom he was impersonating. Voted through and got a standing O, but we as the TV audience didn’t get to see him.
Finally, Kazual, a very talented quartet got to sing for us for all of five seconds. Another great act displaced by stupid freak acts not worth the time in a subway station.
It was finally time for something that had great potential. They introduced “The Tapping Dad’s.” This was a group of fathers aged 32-56 that filled the stage with tap dancing talent and had great promise. The act started and we got to see…five seconds before they were voted through. The camera spent twice as much time on Hasselhoff telling them they made their kids proud. David, if you want their kids to be proud, maybe you should have shown the act instead of your puss, or at the very least cut to Pamela Anderson!!
Well, maybe the talent yet to come was the reason they ran out of time, or so we hoped. They followed with a cameo on a mother/daughter team that called themselves the “Sweet Tones”. The mother was going for the elderly sympathy vote at 80 years of age, but all they did was whistle. OK, you can’t even let grandma through for just a whistle, and the judges got it right. Unfortunately, they wasted minutes of air time on this untalented duo, once again proving that the people that choreographed this show likely couldn’t generate a single decent Youtube video.
Now it was the time for the final insult to the audience. It wasn’t that the next talent, Specialist Dane Jens, was untalented or a freak. He is a dashing soldier that just got back from 15 months of duty in Iraq. We respect his efforts and those of all our soldiers in Iraq, but we hate to see a show use it to their own advantage. They made a ten minute promotion piece for America’s Got Talent exploiting his slightly above average performance and his wife’s tears for all they were worth. This was obviously completely staged for TV. They tried to make it look like Piers would send the man home. They played Lassie-style music to make us all feel so sad, so we wanted the hero to win and go on.
Piers then asks the man if his wife was there. She has been back stage chatting with Jerry for five minutes while watching her husband perform, but Piers expects us all to believe he doesn’t know she is there? Please!!! Could you question the audience’s intelligence any more? She came on, delivered her few obligatory tears, and off they went, on their way to Vegas.
The set wasted a full 1/6 of the show (more if you count the commercials) on this shameless self-promotion, and they expected the audience to just play along like a flock of sheep.
OK, now we love “America’s Got Talent”. They have brought it when it comes to great discoveries like Terry Fator. We think it is a fantastic show and watch every show religiously.
This fortunately is NOT, “what this show is all about”. This particular segment was a sadly choreographed joke that they will hopefully fix before they get to the finals. Overall, it got two buzzers from us, but we unfortunately did not have a third, so they got to finish their act. Hopefully, you will let them know what you think in our surveys below…
Going into this week, there was little doubt which dancers were at the bottom of the polls. Sometimes that underdog status can be an advantage, but when the cards are dealt the way they were this week, there is little hope for the underdogs.
Mark needed a great pairing; he needed to be the strongest he could be, and it required a commanding partner to make him shine, but Mark drew Comfort. Comfort, there was little doubt, had no prayer in this competition, but she was the final nail in Mark’s coffin as well. It was a shame that fate had to pair these two. Seeing one of the leaders like Will draw Comfort would have made it interesting and a challenge. Having Mark draw her was just plain unfair.
And to add to Mark’s troubles, Twitch not only did not draw a formal dance, he drew Katee as his partner. That is like hitting the lottery…twice.
Twitch and Katee drew two dances almost perfect for both their styles. A contemporary piece and Broadway. Had they drawn a tango, fox trot or quick step, Twitch would have been in trouble. But they nailed the draw. To boot, Twitch and Katee got their contemporary piece choreographed by Mia Michaels? Oh, c’mon, when you keep rolling 7’s, it just seems like it will never end.
Will and Courtney ended up together, and this made for a great pairing. It was to Courtney’s benefit and brought her out as on par with anyone else in this competition. She still has the hottest legs and body in this competition. But how did it go for them overall? Read on…
Finally, Joshua drew Chelsie. This was not a good pairing. Their styles and personalities are not complimentary. And Chelsie is not a large woman, but she is not a lightweight either, so lifting her would be no picnic. Now let’s see how it went.
Will and Courtney started off with a Salsa. Courtney was killer in a yellow frilly dress that left little to the imagination. Her legs were almost as fast as Chelsie’s in this dance and every move was perfect. Will guided her beautifully, never missing a step or move. This pairing had championship written all over it. Courtney killed it and was hotter than ever. Will was grace and strength in motion. There is no other competition in which this couple would not have taken the challengers out easily. But this show is at another level. Courtney 5 out of 5. Will 4 out of 5.
Next up was a solo by Comfort. She is the weakest dancer and they made her go first too? Wow. Not fair. She was good. That is it. 3 out of 5.
Mia Michaels then choreographed a masterpiece that will definitely be on the tour. We are dying to see this live. It was amazing. Twitch and Katee killed it. But the one that stood out in this dance was Twitch. Something about the dance was reminiscent of “Kill Bill” because of the quirky character roles which were more memorable than the dance itself. Twitch nailed it. Katee was perfection in motion. Twitch 5 out of 5. Katee 5 out of 5. They were perfect. And Mia stunned with her choreography; outrageous.
Next was the standout solo of the night. Will shocked everyone coming out dressed as James Brown. Normally, you might laugh at the wig and outfit, but he had it down. He was James Brown and Prince combined, and better than either. The only problem with the performance was it ended too soon. By the time his character was built, the dance was over because of the time limitation. Still, he had the judges and audience on their feet and Cat was on her knees and bowing down to him. Will took the show here. 5 out of 5. What is important to note is Will is the ONLY one that got a 5 out of 5 on his solo. And that won him the competition this week.
Comfort and Mark were next. And they finally did luck out a bit, drawing Hip Hop. The dance was so strong and the acting so super that you got lost in it. There was a flip move that took Comfort over Marks back that was shockingly challenging and buck. They captured this piece. And they were both 5 out of 5. Impressive, considering how badly they drew the cards.
Katie now had to do her solo. She played it safe and was not as spectacular as we expect her to be. Still, she mustered a 4 out of 5.
Next, Dmitri, a prior top ten finalist turned choreographer, choreographed a Tango for Joshua and Chelsie. Chelsie’s legs shouldn’t be able to do that. But Joshua kept up. And his lifts and strength shined through again. You have to watch this piece carefully and closely several times to see how good the two of these performers are and how well they performed this dance. This is a tough act to pull off with a modern audience. Both killed it. 5 out of 5 for each.
Mark’s solo followed. As we expected last week, this wasn’t where he would gain any ground. Let’s just say it was a solo. 2 out of 5.
Round one to…NOBODY!!! It was basically a tie at this point, but Mark did blow his solo. The solos, other than Will’s, however, had nothing to do with who won or lost this week, and every partnered piece was danced masterfully, and every dancer was superb. There was no clear winner here. Although Mia Michaels piece may have given Katee and Twitch a slight lead.
Will and Courtney did a slow hip hop piece to start off. It was masterful. Every move was perfect. The acting was superb. We believed this piece totally, and it had us saying “wow” about every ten seconds. If goose bumps were a desirable affliction, this dance would be a drug to deliver you to paradise. Will 5 out of 5. Courtney 5 out of 5. No flaws. Perfect.
Chelsie did her solo next. This woman can shake with the best of them, but just like most ballroom style dancers, that is her limitation. Her legs are so fast you can easily miss half of her moves. But at the end of the day, that is all she has without a partner. 4 out of 5.
Twitch and Katee followed with a Broadway Piece (Sweet Georgia Brown). The movement was incredible. Twitch did it here, and Katee brought it. Every move was sweet and made you know this gal is the one to beat. One judge criticized Katee slightly for not being nasty enough, but it was a desperate attempt to say something negative. They were both so 5 out of 5, we want to make it 6.
Now, a moment we waited for, Joshua’s solo. Could he keep up with Will? After some impressive Hip Hop Moves and more demonstration of how strong this man is, the answer was….NOPE!! 4 out of 5. Will’s solo will be on the tour and Will was one of the best solos we have seen on this show.
Next was Courtney’s solo. She is so beautiful in her solos that it stuns. But the movement was limited and the performance conveyed a bit of nervousness and the unwillingness to let go. We think she is better than this. 4 out of 5.
After a painful set of commercials we have all seen a million times, it was time for Twitch to do his solo. You know, we expected more. He did not kill it like we expected and we just can’t offer him any more than a 3 out of 5. He should have nailed it, but it won’t matter.
Time for the Fox Trot. Oh please, does anyone believe that Mark and Comfort could have been so unlucky as to have drawn the Fox Trot when Twitch avoided all formal dance AND got Katee as a partner????? The odds just don’t seem to make it believable. They were clumsy in practice, but they did the piece quite well. The lead in by Mark was superb, and Comfort was graceful throughout. There were many subtle moves and lifts and they were on target every step of the way. The only mark down was chemistry, which has to do more with Comfort’s masculinity than anything else.
The judges were so far off the mark on this number at the end, it was laughable. They criticized a different dance than we saw. It seemed like they had the dance judged well before it was performed. We cannot give Mark or Comfort 5 out of 5, but they were both a solid 4 out of 5 and the judges were ridiculous in their comments and criticisms. Comfort and Mark do not deserve to be eliminated as a result of how horrible the judges called this one. We are tempted to vote for them just because the judges were so pathetic. But as bad as the judges were, Mark and Comfort are unfortunately doomed.
After another ridiculously long commercial set, Joshua and Chelsie did up the finale with a killer disco piece. Chelsie was better than Joshua in this dance. Her legs were blinding and her movement was fluid. In lifts and landings she looked like she could fly even without Joshua’s arms holding her. Joshua, at first glance, did not seem that good in this number. His movement often seemed uncomfortable and awkward. But when you watch the piece again, you can see why.
The choreographer wanted to use his strength to the max, and for Joshua it was a major gym workout. He had to lift Chelsie 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 times. And the fourth lift was a full body press over his head. By this point, it was obvious he was a bit tired. And before that fourth lift he had to spin Chelsie around him off the floor five times inverting her body. Then, in the final move and lift, he threw Chelsie to the ground and caught her one foot from the floor in an amazing show of strength. The choreographer asked for way too much from Joshua. Shoot, it would have been too much to ask from Clark Kent. And Joshua executed every lift!!! We do not believe any other dancer in this competition could have pulled this off. 5 out of 5 for both performers.
This competition shows that luck does play a huge part in our lives. The draw of partners and dances drove the final result as much as the dancing itself.
The men were in a three way tie. Will had by far the strongest solo. Twitch had a great pair of dances and Joshua showed incredible strength. If we had to select one over the others, it would be Will as the winner this week, Twitch second (with Katee’s help) and then Joshua. But neither Twitch nor Will could have pulled the lifts off that Joshua did. We have seen some other web sites criticizing Joshua this week, but it was subtle how very difficult that last dance was for any man to execute. Physically awesome.
That leaves Mark eliminated. Shoot, he was great. It is a shame, but he drew the cards badly. Had he drawn Chelsie or Courtney, he may have shined, but he did not and such is life. If he had nailed his solo, we could say he was in it, but he did not. He is done this week.
The women are also easy to call. Comfort was out of her league. The hip hop dance she did was killer, but every other woman was killer too. And while she was much better in the formal dance than the judges gave her credit for, she was not up to the standard of the other women.
The big surprise this week on the women’s side? Courtney. She killed everything and was stunning throughout. The surprise on the men’s side? Twitch. He is so strong as a dancer, but in this show, he was also a fantastic character actor.
Please VOTE VOTE VOTE now and tell us who you loved this week!!! Commenting on how we did on the recap would be great too! We’d love to hear from you!
Lastly, check out the video of Twitch and Katee’s contemporary piece. Enjoy!
Presented by Jay Mohr (Seasons 1-3)
Anthony Clark (Season 4)
Bill Bellamy (Seasons 5-6)
Running time 60 minutes (including commercials)
Original channel NBC
Original run June 1, 2003 – present
Premise: An American reality talent competition; Select a comedian among the roster to win $250,000 grand prize, including an exclusive talent deal with NBC.
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L ast Comic Standing brings up the rear on our list of favorites. It was a big favorite of ours in the first two years, but last year they seem to be stretching the fabric of humor. Last year was a disaster, with promising talent after promising talent ignored while boring acts were consistently chosen by the judges who appeared to never laugh as they picked the people they wished to torture us with. There was one true talent in the group, Lavelle Crawford, and he made it to the finals with such hysterical lines as “Why are you breathing that heavy?” “So I can live!! What Kind of Stupid Question is That?” And did he win? No. It was a joke. I guess that is appropriate for a Comedy show though.
This year, they have stepped it up. The talent appears to be much better, but the recent elimination of Esther Ku tells me that the biggest reason someone does not win in this show, and in many other reality shows involving performances, is he or she had to go first. The last performance always always seems to garner the most votes. And the first elimination show of this season was no exception, the first act went home while the final act garnered the most votes, when there was little difference in the quality of the performances. In fact, I laughed more at the first. But people’s memories are short, and that is why, as Alonzo Bodden said, we invented instant replay, “Because we can’t remember something we just saw five seconds ago.”
The show should also have more performance competition and less hype. Allowing the contestants to vote off other contestants forcing them to go into elimination just makes it mean spirited. I would rather see more of a face off of the talents like on American Idol. And the viewing audience does not get to vote at all. They leave it to the live audience, perhaps leaving their viewers a bit detached.
That said, winners like Josh Blue, Alonzo Bodden and Dat Phan have made me laugh more at a television comic than even the professionals making millions touring. There are times I am nearly in tears laughing at this show. So, if they continue to step up the talent, and the judges can continue to pick winners like they did this year, this could move up on our list.