While I was watching Idol, Janell monitored the second semifinalists show on Live to Dance. Take it away, Janell:
Welcome to the second week of semifinals. Fully aware that American Idol is competing against him right now, our host Andrew masters the dramatic introduction, complete with a close-up in front of a dark screen, then a quick pan out with lights and music when he announces the name of the show. He's saying, "Look at me! I'm live! That Seacrest guy is just on tape!" Did you watch? Don't worry, that's what I'm here for.
The three experts come out and walk across the stage without pausing to chat with Andrew. No more jokes from Paula, I guess. We quickly get flashbacks from last week to remind us that the People of America had some voting to do. I expect the stage to be filling up with dancers while the footage airs. Instead, when we're back live, Andrew is flanked only by Jittin' Genius and D'Angelo and Amanda. He immediately tells us that they are the two highest vote getters. Wait, what? The other three acts don't even get to stand on stage? Did the show not want to foot the hotel bill for another week? I wanted closure! Farewell, B-Girl Precious Moments. So long, Austen. As for Bev and Hap, you've been dancing together for 20 years, here's hoping that in another 20 you'll still be at it and this brush with Paula will be but a distant memory in a box labeled "Crazy Stuff We Did When We Were Kids."
With hardly any build up, Andrew announces that D'Angelo and Amanda will move into the finals. D'Angelo has some great celebratory dance moves, then they're shuffled off. Okay, then. Who's up next?
Jalen is the 9-year-old b-boy with a weepy father. After his audition, he lost a tooth (unrelated to his dancing, I suppose) and his entire center of gravity shifted. Or not. He’s been working on some new tricks, and Paula tells him to do the Hammer dance. Remember that? With the parachute pants? I’m sure Jalen is a big fan, since he was like negative-10 years old when MC Hammer was 2 legit 2 quit. Anyway, the dancing. He does some fast floor work, a song change, cool cartwheels, a song change, a back flip, and a 2-second Hammer shuffle. Pretty good. Andrew tries to win me over again by getting down on one knee to be at Jalen’s height and declaring, “Somewhere around the world, it’s always Hammer Time.” Then he stands up because his knee hurts. Paula was proud, gold star. Travis saw new moves, gold star. Kimberly, whose hair always looks as if she has been standing sideways in a wind tunnel, admires Jalen’s repertoire and gives him a gold star. Good job, Jalen.
While leading out into commercial, Andrew hints that one act has a major setback and might not dance. I worry that I might not see Anthony! from Twitch, my entire reason for living.
Next up is a couple named Dance in Flight. They met 18 years ago, lost touch, and reconnected 10 years ago. So, you know, they were alive during the original Hammer Time. When he’s not dancing, he’s a crematory operator. See, kids, work and sacrifice and you might grow up to dance part-time and be a crematory operator, too. Eeek. OK, the dance. They start with her on a bench reading a newspaper, he calls “Here, kitty, kitty” while dangling a big necklace at her. The Pink Panther music starts, she strips into a hot pink dress and they do some good lifts. Then the song changes into, oh dear. Not only is the song “Opposites Attract,” sung by one Ms. Paula Abdul, but the stupid projection wall behind them shows the actual punch line of many a joke, MC Skat Cat. I have so many problems with this I can’t even name them all. Must there be a Paula song in every show? Must the cutesy, less-talented acts always change songs? Must the songs be from the 80s? Must the projection wall always overshadow the less spectacular dancing? Plus, this song is much too fast for their dance, no musicality at all. Sigh. At the end of the dance he handcuffs her for some reason, and then poor Andrew comes onstage and they both insist on fist-bumping him. Well, they’re not winning (I hope) so the comments don’t matter. Red star from Travis. Kimberly is torn but gives them a gold star for theatricality. Paula likes that they danced to her song and gives them a gold star.
Hey, it’s Anthony! And Twitch! Yay!!!11!! Twitch consists of 8 girls plus Anthony!, and in the dance he ends up with one girl that he’s dating in real life. Aw. In the dance, Anthony! is shirtless and wearing red pants, and the girls have red ruffles on their outfits. It’s got some angst, sharp moves, Anthony! does a back flip. It’s not a love story so much as a survival story, and the song is One Republic’s “Apologize.” At the end, the annoying projection wall has Anthony! dancing in front of flames and a beating heart, which is unnecessary but not terrible. Yay! The crowd screams. Paula likes that they listened to her, but says “what I built for you on the stage has to live without the effects.” Like it was their idea to have giant flames and a beating heart, right. Gold star. Travis calls it hot. Gold star. Kimberly likes that they dance like it’s their last chance. Gold star. I rewind and watch it again.
Next is Du-Shaunt Stegall, a 16-year-old hip hop dancer. He dances to the Usher song “OMG,” and sadly the projection screen of literalness flashes “Oh!” over and over when it’s in the song, plus a few other lyrics during the dance. Poor Du-Shaunt, I can’t watch him because I’m busy reading the wall. He starts out really cool, then takes off his blazer to be shirtless on a chair, and he loses some steam. Kimberly thinks what I do, and tells him it fell flat. Red star. Paula says he has to keep working because dance is a privilege. Red star. Travis says he needs more tricks. Red star.
Dax and Sarah are up next, and he’s the injured party. No, it is not a moustache-related injury, although that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t shave that thing off. They’re lindy hoppers, they started dancing and dating 1 ½ years ago. He has 2 herniated discs and hasn’t been dancing much all week. Paula sent him to the hospital and he got cortisone shots. They start out sitting at a café table, with a screen behind them to make it more intimate (and block the projection wall, smart thinking). They start kind of slow and easy, then the foreign song speeds up and gets techno. It’s cute, but not as wow as it could have been, I guess. Paula says, “I watched you, it’s OK.” Gold star. Travis was bored in the beginning. Red star. Kimberly likes them. Gold star.
Finally, it’s White Tree Fine Art, the ballet duo that the People of America voted through on the dance-off. They like dance. The song is some woman’s version of “Hallelujah” (the show doesn’t identify the songs, so you all are lucky if I can recognize any). It’s very pretty. Then a big red tower of silk floats down from the sky (like you see at fancy circuses), and he grabs on and floats up and spins while the projection wall shows a lightning storm. Pretty cool and dramatic. He comes down, they dance some more, and then at the end he floats away upside down. Not typical ballet, I give him props for that. Kimberly stands up for them and says they “bring little girl dreams to life.” Gold star. Travis enjoys the lines but doesn’t get as excited as he wants to, it‘s pretty but he wants awesome. Red star. Paula claims that she asked him to fly, so if that red silk was her idea, I give her credit for creativity. Gold star.
Andrew sends us to a break while the experts decide who to put through. Afterward, Paula says it wasn’t unanimous (shoots daggers at Travis), but they chose White Tree Fine Art. Whoa. Really? I know I’m completely blinded by Anthony!’s torso, so I can’t honestly say which was better. I can say that I actually voted after the show.
Next week we’ll see Shore Thing (the zombie moppets), Tap Sounds Underground, Roosevelt Anderson, Dance Town Chaos, Jill & Jacob (the non-dating teenagers), and Kendall Glover (the moppet from the dance-off). And we’ll see if Anthony! and Twitch were voted into the finals. Join me!