Terrilyn Monette: A Cautionary Tale

Terrilyn Monette 1987 - 2013

Terrilyn Monette
1987 – 2013

This past weekend a memorial was held in New Orleans for 26-year-old schoolteacher Terrilyn Monette, who after months of searching was found in her car at the bottom of Bayou St. John. Prior to this sad discovery, there was a lot of speculation as to what could have happened to her and why no one she knew had heard a word from her. Following this story in the media, I tried very hard not to jump to any conclusions regarding the many theories touted about her disappearance; however, in light of all of those as her family finally puts her to rest and tries to move forward, some things continue to weigh on my mind as a whole that I believe should be addressed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"One for all, and all for one."

“One for all, and all for one.”

1) Never leave your girls hanging, no matter what.

Terrilyn had gone out with friends to celebrate her nomination for Teacher of the Year and was reported to have been too impaired to drive–whether that impairment was from having had too much to drink or being too sleepy or unwell to function behind the wheel of a car is unclear–and said to have decided to “sleep it off” in her car. This was the last contact Terrilyn’s friends, as well as the male witness who was reported to be the last to see her alive, had with her before she disappeared. I never did have much of a social life in that regard, but even with going to the movies or school dances or anything with a group of friends, my parents drummed it into my and my sister’s heads that it was our responsibility to see to our friends–to look out for them while we were out, to see them home safely (to the point of making sure they got inside their houses OK), and calling at least one of those dropped off earlier if you were the last to get home. Under no circumstances would I or any of my friends just leave anyone to “sleep it off,” even if that person insisted they would be OK. With all of the increasing reports of abductions and human trafficking rings, women are at a much bigger risk than ever before for falling into danger, and if traveling in large numbers can help stem that tide, we all need to be more aware and more vigilant with doing so. The advent of cell phones makes it infinitely easier to keep in touch and do so much faster than in the days with only landlines to depend on…and if it could be done back then, we can surely make it happen today.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Know what's in your glass at all times

Know what’s in your glass at all times

2) Guard your drinks at the club.

Again, only Terrilyn and her friends know for certain whether or not she overindulged at the bar (although the bartender at Parlay’s, where she was last seen, said that she did not appear to be drunk, tipsy or otherwise intoxicated); however, it is all too easy to fall victim to the spiked drink. The tips in this wiki are definitely good to keep in mind, as well as the “old school” habit of wearing a rubber band on your wrist when you go out, to be used to wrap a cocktail napkin around the top of your glass should you ever need to leave it unattended. Signs of tampering will be clearly evident and can help you avoid any opportunistic individual trying to take advantage. Of course, the most effective method is always to keep your drink in your sights or finish it before you walk away.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Every second counts--would YOU know what to do?

Every second counts–would YOU know what to do?

3) Be prepared and equipped to escape your vehicle in a dangerous situation.

Whatever happened between Terrilyn bidding her friends farewell and actually leaving the bar, we now know that she met her end in a tragic accident–one that is not common enough for most to have a quick enough reaction to successfully escape unharmed. These tips on how to escape from a vehicle going underwater need to be internalized by everyone–even though the chances of being in this type of accident are much slimmer, having this knowledge and being able to calmly and quickly act will literally mean the difference between life and death.

  • Keep an escape hammer handy: A standard hammer under the car seat will be effective, but an escape hammer would probably be best–they’re smaller and can fit inside the car door, have a concentrated point to easily break glass with one strike, and some even have a blade in the bottom part of the handle in case your seat belt jams and you need to cut yourself free. Experts who have practiced these techniques say to keep work gloves nearby to prevent cutting your hands, but a thick washcloth might do the trick. Though in a real situation, some minor cuts are infinitely better than the alternative.
  • DO NOT try to use your cell phone: If you can try to grab it on your way out of the car, great–it may or may not work, though, depending on how far under water you go and how wet it gets. But stuff–even stuff that might get you additional help–can be replaced, even with the nuisance of extra cost. How much will it cost to get water out of your lungs?
  • GET. OUT. Time is truly of the essence. Get out of the car and swim to surface as fast as you possibly can. If you have children or others in your car that may need assistance, get them out first and do your best to calmly and quickly get all of you to safety. Try even in this most tense of situations NOT to panic; panicking will cause shallow breathing, and that’s the last thing you want to do underwater.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Terrilyn Monette died in a tragic accident that may or may not have been preventable by any of the above. Still, her story serves as a clarion call to women (and really anyone) everywhere to be cognizant, conscious and prepared. If there is anything to be taken from this case, let it be that.

divider-fleur-de-lis-gray

We can honor Terrilynn’s passion for children and learning in a couple of different ways:

1) Terrilyn’s school, Woodland West Elementary, kicked off a book drive in her honor. To contribute, please contact the school at:

Woodland West Elementary
2143 Mars Street
Harvey, LA 70058

2) The family of Terrilynn Monette and UNCF invite you to honor her memory by giving thousands of students the joy of discovering their intellectual potential. To donate to the Terrilynn Monette Scholarship Fund, please send contributions to:

UNCF
1100 Poydras Street
Suite 1400
New Orleans, LA 70163

divider-fleur-de-lis-gray

Related articles:

SYTYCD Season 10, Week 4: Making Transitions

image courtesy of 19 Entertainment and Dick Clark Productions

image courtesy of 19 Entertainment and Dick Clark Productions

Missed the show live despite my best efforts—had a whole lot of people to visit and not enough time. Thankfully, my Season Pass and save lock functions on my TiVo guaranteed a fresh view DESPITE FB page spoilers from the show. -__- (Next time guys, late Wednesday evening or Thursday morning would be the best times to post results for those of us who have to tape-delay.)

Top 16 open
This looks like Mia with a touch of Ailey’s Memoria. Has the look of a tour piece. Did not expect the stripping…but definitely an allegory of the exposure the contestants must submit to as part of this process. Aaron stands out again, but check Fik-Shun lifting Jasmine—you handle your tall woman, boy! Stacey Tookey and Peter Chu knocked out this one; this seems to now be a trend, pairing choreographers who are powerhouses in their own rights.

Guest judge – Carly Rae Jepsen
Hmm. All I know about is her music career, and she’s getting slams for that. You’d better know what you’re talking about, or else maybe is NOT the word I’ll use to call you.

7 Emmy nods for the show—lighting, 4 choreographers, Cat again for host, and the show as a whole

Bottom 6 announced:
Ominous foreshadowing in the recap clips….
Mariah
Alan
Makenzie
BluPrint
Jenna
Curtis

That’s about right…none of these six in this number seem to have a rabid fan base, and with the level of talent and skill this year the fan votes are everything to their survival. Jenna was spared dancing for her life since she had done so the previous week.

Makenzie
Contemporary to classical music—I do appreciate the artist in her. Hopefully America will soon.

Alan
Cape was unnecessary if you’re gonna pick it up at the 10 seconds remaining mark. However, paso solos are usually the most dramatic, so I applaud your choice as far as an instrument to grab audience attention. Could have used a little more footwork but the stance and presence was there.

Curtis
Looka you putting on some big boy muscles! I like the swag to that—can’t have been easy mixing smooth and syncopated to a John Legend song. Not positive it was attention-grabbing enough but it was better balanced than your initial “all tricks and the kitchen sink” audition solo.

Mariah
The ‘tude is there but not enough moves. She might need to actually let the ponytail down and deal with hair flying in her eyes. Not many girls can—or even choose to—krump with any level of believability, and being a little blond girl with skills, it needs to be more in-your-face. Less cozy campfire, more forest blaze.

BluPrint
I don’t know what more to suggest to get his face more engaged, but that solo was SICK. He REALLY has to have gotten something effed up for couples.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Into the competition round, where our dancers reveal little known tidbits about themselves to remind us who they are…. [Those will be set apart in brackets]

Alexis/Nico
Jive – Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin

[Nico is half Colombian and half British….that explains a lot.]

This was weak out of the gate for Alexis. As a tapper her legs and feet should be flicking fast and furiously…plus considering how much the bent knee stance means to footwork, her bounce should have been much better. As a couple, the number didn’t connect well—it was more like them mentally checking off the list of combos (OK, NOW see what we can do…) than doing a whole piece. Not enough high energy or bounce to it, either—this might be the thing that keeps them from Top 10 and tour. I also didn’t believe her character this time around.

Nigel agreed about the connections being clunky and them losing the bounce and energy halfway through…said OK but not great. Mary enjoyed the routine and was impressed by the kicks and flicks, but also noted the flagging energy…but praised the dancing. Carly Rae speaks as a fan—loved the dance, impressed that they danced out of their genre, loved the dress. Yawn. Gimme something to work with, Carly.

Jenna/Tucker
Contemporary – Travis Wall

Team Tuna pulls contemporary—maybe Tucker can escape unbeaten this week?
Tucker is Jenna’s strength this week, with her character having lost all self-control. Tucker is pulling from the near-death experience memories, so this should be a gut-wrencher. One little hiccup in transition with her climb on Tucker’s shoulder leading into the spin on the silks and a timing mishap with taking the last restraint loose, but a very good job from the two of them. (Especially considering they only had the dress rehearsal to work with those.)

Mary’s emotional and thinks they were spectacular—too choked up to properly put them on the Hot Tamale Train, even; Carly Rae impressed by the choreography and the contrast between the pair’s stage and rehearsal personas; Nigel was impressed with Jenna’s grasp of classic contemporary (being a ballroom dancer) and by Tucker’s grasp of presence in a routine that could have easily overshadowed him.

Mariah/BluPrint
Jazz – Brian Friedman

I don’t think we’ve seen HIM since Season 1….welcome back Brian. A Greek goddess falls for a mortal man.

[Mariah is a “girly girl”—cheerleader and everything. Maybe that’s why her krump is not pulling enough grunge.]

Yeah, this piece did them in. Mariah had that supernatural regal power thing going up until that middle partner section…after that, both of them looked like they were out of breath stumbling through the rest of the choreography, and she went from goddess to vestal virgin being sacrificed to the volcanoes. The emotional depth in her contemporary duo with Carlos was sorely needed here, and sadly, nowhere to be found. BluPrint was so far out to sea, lifeguards couldn’t find him in the daylight with a flashlight. He was definitely caught in the undertow.

Carly Rae thought the routine was “fun” and energetic, and thought the end was striking and powerful. Still not one concrete technical comment. Judging table FAIL. Nigel thought even though the end lift was clunky, the two hip-hoppers did a serviceable job with jazz—gave it a good-ish rating. Mary loved the beginning and was delighted with the synchronization, though she thought it lacked a little toward the end.

Malece/Alan
Hip-Hop – Dave Scott

[Malece is tiny and eats like a linebacker. Big surprise.]

Alan is in danger, in a new partnership and dancing hip-hop. Lord help him.
Futuristic hip-hop—“the finders” (Malece and Alan) have to go and steal hip-hop back from the aliens. Oooookay.

Malece had some swag going there. The transitions are KILLING folks tonight—Malece almost got a full A plus up to telegraphing that flip over Alan’s back. Alan is too soft and fluid for this particular number…Dave said robotic and to my mind, that’s more angular and slightly sharper than what Alan was giving us.

Nigel applauded the “badass Tinkerbell” while admonishing Alan on taking on the full persona of the dance style and not coming off as stiff as he did; Mary didn’t think Alan grabbed onto the style but thought he came across as strong—though Malece did overtake him. (Didn’t I tell you about that “in the pocket” business last time, woman?). Carly Rae praised them both (generically, big surprise) and called Malece her favorite of the evening. I’m almost tempted to just forego chronicling her observations—Hannah Simone (of New Girl fame) at least knew some terminology.

Hayley/Curtis
Contemporary – Dee Caspary

[Didn’t realize Curtis was 6’1”….]

Two people trying to climb the ladder of success….

Dee Caspary has yet to really wow me but this was the best of his works that I’ve seen yet. I almost forgot that contemporary was the round where Curtis had that cathartic breakthrough…he did really well. Getting into that end pose was clunky but considering they were climbing a ladder while doing it AND Hayley’s got an issue with heights, I’ll give them a small break on that.

Mary thought the number was creative and interesting, and thought the connections flowed; she also slapped Curtis on the hand about lowering his shoulders to create better lines. However, Hayley got high praise. Carly Rae praised the partnership and the chemistry between the two…it only took half the show to get a comment of substance from her….. *golf claps* Nigel was disappointed with Curtis’s ignoring the shoulder note as well (and was disappointed with his solo) but praised his emotional work, and gave Hayley the thumbs-up. (And did we REALLY have to put the children on the spot about going out on a date? They’re gonna be blushing well into the next few weeks.)

Amy/Fik-Shun
Jazz – Tyce Diorio

[Fik-Shun is a first-degree black belt in Taekwondo. Badass. Cute, kid, but Cole still has my heart there…. ;-)]

Hobo jazz—of course the Wade Robson Triplets of Belleville number with Jesus and Sara comes immediately to mind, but I’ll try to be open.

You’ve GOT to be effin’ kidding me…..the same SOUNDTRACK, Tyce?!? Way to keep it original….luckily, Team Famy does character stuff very well. The track itself took too long to pick up steam so the number dragged a little—but again, that part was the choreographer’s fault. (I think this music contributes as well–I remember watching the Sara/Jesus incarnation several times before I could grasp the rhythm properly, and I did start hearing Fik-Shun and Amy’s piece differently after a few watches.) I can’t help comparing it to its Season 3 predecessor and finding it less than captivating. The fact that they’re good AND popular should get them to Top 10 territory in spite of this performance.

Carly thought they were adorable and flawless, and steals the favorite mantle from Malece and gives it to their number. Nigel calls this the best work Tyce has ever done and throws us a swerve—saying the pair grew ENORMOUSLY in stature as opposed to a little bit, and gave them “couple to beat” status. I’ll watch it again, Nigel, but I’m not that impressed…and again, through no fault on the dancers’ part. Though I WILL agree that this partnership is bananas—I maintain that these two are going to the finals. Mary thought this was as sweet as the Twinkie comeback (really though?), clever and fun and amazing. The hobos get to hop on the “train,” and Mary has a new phrase to retire—no more “hitting it out of the ballpark,” please. (Nigel must have known I was going to slam him on his comment because he worked in Tyce’s Season 5 breast cancer contemporary before I could even type up this note.)

Makenzie/Paul
Hip-Hop – Dave Scott

1930s model and her photographer….hoping this version comes off better than the Chaplinesque piece from Vitolio and Asuka from Season 5….Who knew you could put 21st century swag on 1930s Charleston? There were a few moments I would have liked to have seen more sway in Makenzie’s back on those body rolls and bent-over poses, but she hit those moves very sharply. Paul’s character in the first few bars looked just as intimidated by Makenzie’s character as he himself was in the rehearsal, but once the Robin Thicke verses came in he was all flow and fluid with his own smooth sense of swag.

Standing O from the panel there…..Nigel needs a fan (and Mary obliges off-camera. LOL)—deems it the sexiest number of the night and puts his own Hot Tamale Train on the tracks just for them. Mary wholeheartedly agrees, amazed that Paul had some “soul in his bowl”. Carly thought the number was incredible and was on the edge of her seat. Cat keeps invoking Baz Luhrmann (I haven’t seen his take on Great Gatsby yet but my memories of his Moulin Rouge visuals are much more larger-than-life than this number was….which is not to take anything away from that amazing performance.)

Aaron/Jasmine H.
Quickstep – Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin

The Jazz Age roars back up again with Team Tall jumping way out from under their respective styles of contemporary and tap and launching not only into traditional ballroom, but the HARDEST dance of traditional ballroom. I have the utmost confidence in their drive, so I’m hoping any potential shortcomings in executing the choreography get steamrolled by that. Aaron’s posture (or lack thereof) make this look more like a jive; he should have looked 7 feet tall instead of slumped over. They were both selling the hell of this dance, though, and the footwork looked clean. That last pose was a snoozer given the lead-in from the preceding lift sequence—I’d have preferred some more dramatic-looking. Jasmine was certainly channeling Eartha Kitt again this week, and even her hair was dancing along with her.

Mary loves that they went for it, saying that while they still need work with the framing it was super-fantastic….and clearly bought what Aaron was selling with his personality. Carly Rae thought they made a difficult dance look easy. Nigel thought they looked magnificent and got lucky with being able to fully employ their personalities in the performance. (Looking at the slo-mo clip, I did get a Wild Party feel from the couple.)

I really have to stay off of Facebook before I initially watch (or take the like off the SYTYCD page during the season so nothing shows up in my News Feed), because I knew going in who had left the show. But even if I hadn’t had the spoilers, I’d probably have picked Mariah to go, since of the remaining two girls her solo was the weaker. I’d have personally been torn between Alan and BluPrint as they were about evenly matched with good solos and OK couples’ performances. However, looking at Alan’s across the board performance and the repeated mentions to BluPrint about raising personality level, I can’t say I’m surprised BluPrint was the one to be voted off. I’m really disappointed for Mariah as the only female krumper EVER gets squeezed out before Top 10. I’ll have to look and see if Curtis got slammed as hard as Alexis did by the fans for not taking notes and improving but still remaining on the show.

My bottom 6 predictions for next week:
Alexis
Nico
Makenzie
Alan
Hayley (it could possibly be Jenna as history has shown, but I think her contemporary performance was a little more complete than Hayley’s, and may just edge her to safety.)
Curtis

Nigel has been knocking himself out to hold onto the tappers—Season 6 saw all three of their tappers squeezed out before Top 10, and Season 8’s Nick Young managed to make the tour as an alternate despite his early exit from the competition–so anytime he can preserve his dance “soft spot,” you know Nigel’s gonna go for it. Alexis is going to have to pull stellar performances all around out of her AND somebody else’s wazoo in order to make it there, and Curtis is really going to have to start applying those notes. It’s hard to understand Makenzie’s lack of traction—she’s just as much performance beast as Amy but her fan presence is not as rabid. She’s got Danny Tidwell syndrome—stellar technique but not projecting a whole lot of personal warmth to the viewers (not so much an air of aloofness but there’s some wall of separation she can’t seem to hurdle…and it’s a shame). Alan needs a breakout moment similar to that blindfold contemporary in order to stay through Top 10. And as it seems that Amy and Jasmine Harper (and to some degree, Malece) have a lock on the top votes, it’s down to either Jenna or Hayley despite them both being incredible dancers. Jenna being the last ballroom girl may give her the edge over Hayley, who is stacked against a jazz dancer and THREE other contemporary girls. There’s just no easy way to call the girls. I think Nico’s fan base has been pulling him up since that lackluster hip-hop, but you never know how the vote will go.

Next episode has Anna Kendrick guest judging (who got the merit of pre-hyping in the commercials); I had to go Google her to realize I’d seen her in Pitch Perfect and was delighted to discover a stellar Broadway background in her resume. I pray she adds more teeth to her reviews…Carly Rae can go back to singing.

10 Small Changes that Can Make a Big Impact on Your Marriage | BlackandMarriedWithKids.com

10 Small Changes that Can Make a Big Impact on Your Marriage | BlackandMarriedWithKids.com.

Lin-Manuel Miranda on Working at the Pleasure of the “President” – and the First Treasury Secretary | WAMC

In honor of my lack of funds and vacation time to catch the latest incarnation of The Hamilton Mixtapes (for which I will be copiously searching for reviews and anxiously awaiting the next performance date so I can plan accordingly), here is an interview Lin did shortly before performance day.

Lin-Manuel Miranda on Working at the Pleasure of the "President" – and the First Treasury Secretary | WAMC.

SYTYCD Season 10–Time To Get Back

Back to competition this week! Since we got a quick break, I thought I’d share this link spotlighting last week’s debut choreographers Keone and Mari Madrid.  Though they’re not new to YouTube fans, it’s good to see them on the small screen as new members of the SYTYCD family.

I’ll be watching tonight–hope you will be too!

When Love Doesn’t Feel So Good, Get The Help You Need | Black and Married With Kids.com – A Positive Image of Marriage and Family

When Love Doesn’t Feel So Good, Get The Help You Need | Black and Married With Kids.com – A Positive Image of Marriage and Family

SYTYCD Season 10, Week 3: (Into The) Fire and (Soul on) Ice

image copyright 19 Entertainment and Dick Clark Productions

image copyright 19 Entertainment and Dick Clark Productions

There is more dancing and drama as we enter week 3 of the competition.

Top 18 Opening Number
Contemporary – This has got to be Stacey, Mia or Sonya….

Sonya and Christopher MF’ing Scott. Do I need to start calling y’all Mr. and Ms. Jones, ‘cause y’all seem to have a thing going on…..

The set looked like a cross between the barricades in Les Miserablés and a fiery volcano into which everyone was throwing themselves to appease the dance gods before the results were announced. It looked good, and I see that Aaron is featured prominently in the front. Again. Boy’s got versatility.

One dancer missing already…damn Jade, when I messaged you “break a leg,” I REALLY meant it in the theatrical sense! Poor baby tore his meniscus, aggravated an old injury and requiring surgery and rest. So he’s out of the competition anyway.

Cat announces the format change….(duh!) As if third-world countries weren’t threatening to tar and feather Nigel for last week’s results debacle…..

FOUR people on the judges’ panel?!?
Guest judges: Erin Andrews (DWTS gives her a little knowledge, I guess) for a FOX 1 push, and Paula Abdul (so the rumors ARE true). Happy Birthday, Mr. Executive Producer!

Bottom 6 (there’s still 6)
Jasmine M.
BluPrint
Jenna
Curtis
Alexis
Jade

BluPrint and Curtis are automatically saved due to Jade’s withdrawal, and as there are only three dancers remaining in peril, all three girls are dancing for their lives.

Three unique styles, three stellar solos. I would hate to see Jasmine go, but 1 tap dancer = 1 ballroom dancer = 2 jazz girls. Doesn’t bode well.

We will wait and see (as promised), as the competition begins…..

Amy/Fik-Shun
Paso Doble – Jean Marc Genereux

Aw s**t nah! I can’t wait to see this one. The Evolution of Paso Doble—the two dancers in a fight to the death. The boy’s got a good stance, though…..

Cole, baby….I think you have to move over. Fik-Shun smashed that. Sweetie, I need the truth now—you took classes somewhere, didn’t you? You cannot possibly be this good of a chameleon. Amy, you were on fire, too….had some Pink Power Ranger swag on you. And those are the best paso costumes since Jeanine and Brandon did their Matrix number in Season 5. (Jean Paul, does Pee Wee Herman know you stole his clothes?)

Mary is loud from the beginning—this is a good sign. Though she did critique Fik-Shun’s form (a lot of minutiae), she was really happy with both him and Amy. Erin hailed Fik-Shun for “taming The Beast” and told the pair to keep up their high level as the couple to beat. Paula praised their commitment to the emotion, put powerhouse Amy “front row center” and is proud of Fik-Shun’s progress. And now I have to go search for “Live To Dance” clips to find a 16 year old Fik-Shun….damn, I should have watched that whole show’s run! Nigel said even minus his usual jovial personality, he still demanded attention onstage…and also critiqued his form. But, like Mary, it was mostly posture issues (raised shoulders and the like).

Jasmine H./Aaron
Broadway – Spencer Liff

That’s an ugly nightgown on Jasmine…and a Columbo-style trenchcoat for Aaron. The detective on the case gets visited by the “spirit” of the victim.

OK, how am I supposed to concentrate when you plucked a Smash tune? Sigh…..but DAMN that boy’s got some grace! Jasmine was a bit stiff—pun intended and, I assume, choreographer intended as well. I have to watch this again and erase the song context from my mind so I can get the full effect.

Erin loved the number, Paula thought Aaron embodied the character and looked like a Golden Age MGM contract dancer….and wants to be reincarnated as one of Jasmine’s legs. (They ARE amazing, though.) Said she reminded her of Cyd Charisse, and while I can definitely agree with that, I imagine she could also rival Eartha Kitt in her heyday. Nigel thought the two of them worthy of the Broadway stage, and Mary said this week was about style and class, and it would be a crime if they wound up in the bottom next week. *weak rimshot*

Makenzie/Paul
Contemporary – Lindsay Nelko (new choreographer)

Terminally ill woman trying to help her sweetheart accept the circumstances. The choreographer’s asking for organics, and Makenzie’s all about the artistry. Let’s see what happens.

Now a Rent song sung by Idina Menzel?!? C’mon y’all—you’re killing my focus! But perfect rendition for the number. Paul’s emotional performance brought back memories of Chehon’s breakthrough last season in the park bench redux, and I no longer see that artistic focus of Makenzie’s as a weakness–she reminds me of Season 3’s Jessica King…and I dare say, has the potential to be the next Allison Holker. We can call this the sequel to “Fix You”—the complement to Travis Wall’s vision from Season 7: simply beautiful and tragic and heartfelt. Welcome to the family, Lindsay. I look forward to seeing more of you.

Paula believed the emotion and thought the piece had life; Nigel praises Makenzie’s technical prowess but also praised both her and Paul for letting some of it go; Mary cried, praising Makenzie’s ability and admitting surprise with Paul’s honesty in the performance.

Jasmine M./Alan
Jazz – Sean Cheesman
Regality and “the mundane life of being a royal” – hopefully it carries better than Thayne and Chelsea Trail’s turn (which I personally loved, BTW)

Bits of “Alice in Mialand”—I liked it. Quirky yet refined. Jasmine is showing some very Sabra-like tendencies here, and I’m starting to see Alan flesh out into more of a three-dimensional, versatile dancer with his performance this week.

Nigel praises Alan’s strength in the lifts and thought they could have added more quirkiness to the number; Mary loved the sharpness and precision and was impressed with Alan on the one-leg lift, and also would have appreciated a little more fun; Erin and Paula also agreed the pair should have let go and “gone for it” more.

Jenna/Tucker
Hip-Hop – Keone and Mari Madrid (new choreographers)

Poor Tucker can’t catch a break—Jenna’s leading him around by the nose again. And unless you’re getting a REALLY good spray tan, I don’t think we’ll mistake you for Comfort, love….but give it your all.

Oh come on—MICHAEL?!? Y’all are trying to kill me…..I WILL concentrate on this blog…. I WILL concentrate on this blog….

I liked it for two really white-bread non-hip-hop dancers doing hip-hop. Very stylistic. An eagle-eyed viewer indignantly noted seeing this dance before, and it wasn’t until I did some Googling that I also finally recognized the routine from the choreographers themselves on Urban Dance Camp’s YouTube channel. I suppose in comparison Team Tuna floundered a bit (now Mary’s got me doing it) but they danced what they were given. Besides, it was the choreographers’ own work that the couple performed….it’s not like this was the Les Twins controversy OR like everybody scours YouTube like that bellowing blowhard. Give it a rest, mayn……

Mary thought the hip-hop was jazzy, and liked it….very impressed with Jenna and thought it sat well on Tucker; Erin was jazzed by Jenna and saw shades of Mike in some of Tucker’s moves; Paula thought they had great energy and moved strategically through the various tempos, thinking them a powerful couple; Nigel thought Jenna channeled Audrey Hepburn’s Funny Face persona and deemed the number one of his favorites of the evening.

Malece
Contemporary – Sonya Tayeh

I’m really saddened not to be able to see Jade do contemporary (and somehow I knew it was Sonya before going through the commercial break), though he looked very good in the clips.
Maintaining a legacy? We’ll see. Malece is the first to dance with an All-Star due to Jade’s injury and withdrawal, and is dancing with my boy-toy Marko.

I’ve been comparing her to Melanie from the beginning, and watching her dance with Marko spotlights a lot of the areas she needs to strengthen and develop. Just a little more forceful with her stage energy and she’ll be unstoppable….right now, to me, she’s just really, really good.

She was apparently good enough to get a standing O from the ENTIRE panel and a giddy, dancing Sonya in the aisles of the audience. Partner Jade’s smile says everything. Erin “Sonya, I can’t…” Andrews brings in the Tinkerbell references again (clearly a celebrity Superfan—her panel cred just went up) and loved everything; Paula dubs THIS one her favorite and those Malece was astonishing and gorgeous; Nigel praises the maturity that developed in Malece (in part due to Marko’s delightful yet sadly necessary presence) and said they made the piece look unchoreographed; Mary makes four and said she knew Malece’s captivating moment would come. The FIRST to actually say she looks like Melanie, too.

Cat, get your lips off my man!

Hayley/Curtis
Samba – Jean Marc Genereux

Alright, he’s looking halfway sexy in that outfit there….this’ll be interesting. Curtis, don’t you break that girl!

OK, now THAT’S a man. Needs a little more lift in the posture—he was lifting but it always seems more exaggerated than what he was doing—and the last lift sequence hit a snag, but well done. Those bachacadas on both of them were working as hard as that fringe Hayley was wearing, though I could have used a little extra oomph from her too. I could see Elvis in his heyday doing this samba in our of those beach movies….

Paula liked the sauciness and sexiness of the number, praising Hayley’s hips and Curtis’s effort, all while giving him notes on being more grounded, attacking it more and taking control; Nigel thought Hayley dominated Curtis in a routine where his maturity and machismo were required, saying that he came off a little young, but he praised Hayley’s feet and hips; Mary gave Curtis tips on shifting his weight properly in the samba walks but thought he tackled it well…and also caught the hiccup in the last lifts (Hayley got a “Holy Smokes”); Erin told Curtis to roll with and apply the critiques and called Hayley a vixen who kept getting better every week.

Alexis/Nico
Jazz – Spencer Liff

Alexis hypnotizing Nico so she can have her way with him…..Thank GOD he picked the Nina Simone version of that song—if Screamin’ Jay Hawkins had come out of those speakers this review would have been OVER…..

Some of the side-by-side sync was off but Alexis definitely had the attitude. Nico seemed a little more in control than he should have been–either that, or he was playing it as unwilling under Alexis’s spell and being fascinated and perplexed by it at the same time.

Paula was mesmerized; Nigel was impressed with their unity and thought the routine was interesting; Mary was in a trance—thought Nico was brilliant and was surprised by her presence in the bottom; Erin thought Alexis adapted to the style very well and that their sync was improved from the dress rehearsals.

Mariah/BluPrint
Hip-Hop – Luther Brown

The newly minted couple draws their own genre this week. Luther’s worried about Mariah’s “soul” and BluPrint facial animation….let’s “go!”

They were definitely together on that—strange number, but they danced it well.

Mary thought he danced well but still needed to project more with his face, but loved Mariah. Too cute how Mary has classified sick as a step down from ill….trying hard to get that ‘hood card, are you? Erin was floored by the energy, enjoying Mariah and piggybacking on Mary’s commentary about projection; Paula loved the beginning sync and energy but thinks BluPrint is holding back some, and Mariah’s was personality times 10. Nigel cautioned BluPrint about the history of personality winning over technical prowess (bringing up Sabra and Benji’s victories, though how he couldn’t remember Travis Wall–SYTYCD choreographic staple and BROTHER TO DANNY TIDWELL–is beyond me) and said that he has to dig for it and pull out the charm to stay in the running.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And NOW the eliminations (where they should have been last week):
Jenna wasn’t going home and I knew that before Nigel opened his mouth; Nigel noted some self-doubt in Jasmine over the weeks and lack of adhesion with corrections and notes with Alexis. It’s Jasmine who is eliminated tonight, and we’re treated to our first set of flashbacks.

(I don’t know who selects the music for these things, but I am digging the fact that their love for Christian Contemporary artists seems to be the prominent choices.)

Any choice was going to be tough, but I called that equation at the start of this. Though, judging from some of the fan reaction in the social media outlets, Alexis has to nail EVERYTHING she does AND not be in the bottom with any of the powerhouses like Makenzie or Jenna in order to survive the next round of cuts. Fortunately, she gets a one-week reprieve as FOX and this All-Star Game/new sports channel launch takes over next week. Rounding out the potential Bottom 6 are:

Hayley (HER fans have a pretty strong voice, though….)
Jenna or Mariah
BluPrint
Curtis
Alan or maybe Tucker (whose rabid fan base may keep him safe)

There have been little hitches here and there but still no major dropped balls yet. This truly is the best cast the show has ever had, and the voting is strictly based on popularity this season. The competition resumes after the brief All-Star baseball game holiday, so we’ll see what new surprises are in store for us then.

Previous Older Entries