BET Awards ’09: we love you, Michael!

The show starts off with tape of Michael draping a sequined cape on James Brown at his performance at the ’03 BET Awards.  He did a few fancy foot moves a la JB, and bowed to the Godfather of Soul.  Then we hear the beginning of ABC and see 5 or 6 people [it’s hard to tell] silhouetted in front of a band and a screen showing the Jackson 5.  I can’t tell who iss singing lead on this, but he kinda reminds me of Ralph Tresvant and he’s having trouble reaching the high notes [being a grown man, I can see why].  The background vocals are ok, but we’re just left with a kinda weird feeling best summed up by the face on Weezy, mid-performance.  I can’t find a pic, but watch that stuff if you haven’t seen that.

Oh, snap! It really is New Edition.  With Bobby Brown.  And it’s a little bit scary.  They could’ve at least tried to pitch it a little lower.

So.  Um.  MC Lyte is just the official announcer for the BET Awards?  Like, that’s what she’s doing now?

jamie beat it bet 09Anyways, Jamie Foxx is doing really great doing the dance from Beat It, when you consider he had like, no time to practice this wknd.  He’s in the This is a celebration of MJ.  And for real, I’ve never seen grown white people faint for any other artist.  All over the freakin’ world.

I’m happy to see Jeremy Piven – just because I have a huge thing for Jeremy Piven.  Haven’t seen him in a while, since I don’t have HBO.

Tyra (wearing a really cute top) presents top athlete to LeBron.  And Best male Hip-Hop artist: Lil Wayne.  With an entourage.

Ginuwine remembers the Motown 25 performance as his pivotal MJ moment.

BET is seriously having some technical difficulties, cuz Jamie doesn’t know when he’s back on and he’s giving the censors a rough time with his intermittent cuss words…

But Keri Hilson’s performance was pretty good.  Ending on MJ woulda been good…but then she went too far and decided to get her version of the Holy Ghost.  Wasn’t good.

Neyo’s Lady in My Life is simple, and lovely.  And I’m getting tears.  I still can’t believe he’s gone.

Alright Keke Palmer can sing.  But now the spotlight’s on Jamie.  Blame It, y’all.  Tyra knows these words.  What’s up with Snoop on the stage?  He’s just dancing around?  And T-Pain brought his drink onstage?  Wearing a Big @ss Chain?  Ok…now it’s a lil bit weird with Travis Barker on drums and Jamie playing electric guitar.  But that was a great catch by the stage hand.  Jamie just threw that guitar at that guy.

BET needs to come a lil bit more correct to honor MJ.  Things are still running behind.

I’m just not into Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em, but apparently even Taraji knows the words to Turn My Swag On.  Jamie’s for real, though – he isn’t writing any songs.  He’s just talking about his day.  Blah.

Best Collabo: Jamie Foxx and T-Pain.  Cuz, really, Blame It is crazy hot.  Like…8 months later?  Still hot.  I don’t think I’ve seen T-Pain’s face before.  He looks a lot better without the glasses.

Best Male R&B: Ne-Yo.  Cuz who else is there right now, anyway?  He said he wasn’t expecting this, but – I dunno who else was nominated, so…

Dr.’s Davis, Hunt, and Jenkins made a pact to stay in school and become doctors.  That’s cool.  Don’t hear much about that kind of thing.  And they don’t look bad either.

So, I have I am…Sasha Fierce and I’ve listened to Ave Maria, and it just comes across strange to me.  The robe thing that Beyonce had on for the beginning of the performance was weird..but then the change to a bride(?) outfit was a little weird.  And then, instead of Halo, which is what I thought we were going to hear, Bey sings Angel by Sarah McLachlan.  And then she goes into the actual Latin Ave Maria. With a very strong accent.    That skirt was just bizarre, though.  I was just…confused…by the whole experience.  I thought Halo would’ve been more fitting than either/any of that other stuff.

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SheNehNeh and Wanda?  That was hilarious.

Mary Mary are turning it out for Jesus, y’all.  I heard God In Me banging in a car on the road one day and I had no idea it was Mary Mary.  And Queen La is on it, too.  Why don’t I have this album, yet?

WTF?  Zoe Saldana just tells us all that Nichelle Nichols – the woman who “paved the way for…an entire generation” – is not on stage cuz she in the Ladies’ Room?!?!  That’s just a bit crazy.

Best Female Actress: Taraji P. Henson.  [Hot dress, T!]

Best New Artist: Keri Hilson.  ATL, y’all.  [not into the dress though.]

And now, Jamie and Ne-Yo – Miss Independent Remix.  I like this song, but the dancer is a little bit weird.  Fabolous comes out for the rap and I wonder…haven’t heard anything from him in a while…What’s up with Jamie calling out the recession?  Once was funny.  Twice was kinda..weird.

Ooooh wee.  Keith Sweat is just as ugly as he ever was.  Oooh, wee!  Continue reading

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SYTYCD: wack(y) judges

top 16

Dave Scott choreographed some real hip-hop for Karla and Jonathan, which was kinda hit or miss.  By which I mean, Karla was a hit and Jonathan was a miss.  I spent most of my time watching her, so I didn’t notice as much that they weren’t together.  But we get the joy of watching Nigel and Mary drop their pseudo hip-hop knowledge [hip-hop dance is about fear? what?!] and Toni Basil [I hope not to talk much about her, but she’s still saying street all the time].

Thrash-rocker-jazz from Mandy Moore looks like it’d be a tad more awesome with other dancers.  I’m holding my breath.  Oh I don’t like this.  Low energy until the end, didn’t hit on the beats…I guess it was danced well…but it was boring to me.  I can’t really tell if it was the choreo or the dancers, but I”m definitely NOT getting the thrill from these contestants that I got last year.

Ade and Melissa get to do rumba with Tony Meredith.  This ballroom stuff is hard, so I feel for them.  But this routine is beautiful, even if it’s not really heavy on the footwork.  Wow.  That was a bad pun. [What a difference Ade makes?  Ew.]  I did love this routine, though.  It was hot, and it was danced wonderfully.  Vote for this couple cuz they’re freakin’ awesome.

Janette and Brandon are dancing hip-hop: fingers crossed.  Rock meets hip-hop.  I have high hopes.  And they lived up to them!  They were awesome to me!  They hit everything and it was lovely, but I’m not seeing any choreography that is really knocking me out this week.  Brandon and Janette are doing awesomely, though, and I’m loving everything they do.

Jean Marc Genereux does a Viennese waltz with Kupono and Kayla, and good luck to them.  To my untrained eye, it was beautiful.  I have no idea if it was done correctly, but it was nice.  Still not bowled over by any choreo…

Evan and Randi, yay!  I love this couple – their personalities are so sweet.  Mia Michaels choreography is apparently focused on Randi’s booty.  This could be good.  Fun piece!  Isn’t there a little piece of at least a few of us who’d kinda like a dude [that we’re already into] to be fixated on our gluteus for a few moments?  Loved this.  Toni’s Mia-praise was a little gushy for me, but otherwise, good stuff.

Caitlin and Jason screwed the pooch in the form of Shane’s routine last week.  I’m hoping the Paso Doble is much better for them.  Even though it’s awfully hard.  Wow, Jason looks really strong on this.  And even though I got the emotion in nthis piece, it ended up being kinda hot.  Really.

Philip the inventor?  Ok.  Jeanine the actor?  uhh. ok.  Their tango last week was straight up stank, but Broadway is gonna be just as hard with TyceD.  And my nerves on this couch jump.   What a fun routine!  Poor thing ripped his pants [probably on that jump].  I loved this.  Know what I’d love?  For Toni Basil to go home.  Yesterday.  Please keep Philip and Jeanine [who, it turns out, can definitely act and dance].

Send Asuka and Vitolio to the house.

SYTYCD: the fun chronicles

top 18Shake Your Tailfeather [by Ray Charles]  opens the jive number by Evan and Randi.  Cute, and …fun.  But not great.  Jive isn’t the easiest, and Louis van Amstel’s choreowas def challenging.  I expected more, too.

Sonya takes Ade and Melissa on a jazz odyssey, and we’re back to the weird stuff that she does…I think they really danced it well, though.  Their synchronization was ON it.  It was cool.  Lil’ C got a lil wordy with that review, but spoke the truth: Ade is awesome.

What’s that?  Two Shane Sparks routines???  How much do I love this show!

Caitlin and Jason get to work with Shane and dance to Missing You by Trey Songz.  Caitlin’s popping leaves a LOT to be desired.  Jason was grinning too much for me, and Caitlin had this solo  that just blew chunks.  Ohh, I hated that.  Shane’s choreo was great, but they were sad.  The moment where she did an incredible back bend was something – something…but not hip hop.

Disco!  Doriana Sanchez knows her disco.  I don’t like disco.  But that was a very entertaining routine.  And fast.  That was hugely high energy.  Almost made me tired to watch.  Brandon was weak in some places, for me, but overall, I thought he did very well.  I can definitely see why he doesn’t need to lift weights, tho.  Mary’s right – they embodied everything that disco ever was.  With her standing O, she definitely makes no secret about her love for Brandon.  Janette?  She was awesome, even with her one flub, and her uncertainties.  Great job!

Oh boy.  Asuka and Vitolio.  Asuka blows spit bubbles and she’s not attracted to Vitolio?  I can see that, since I’m no longer into him either, but then – I don’t blow spit bubbles.  On National TV.  Nasty @ss.  And now, a waltz.  I had to watch it twice to really get the feeling from it.  But I got it.  It was fleeting, though.  When they’re outside of the dance, I’m not into them at all.  Amazingly, the judges are basically saying that Vitolio screwed up the steps, but they loved it anyway.  They definitely got something more relatable tonight than that weird piece from last week.

Max and Kayla work with Brian Friedman, who we haven’t seen for a while.  This will definitely be a jazz that’s different from Sonya’s.  Wow, that Kayla is bendy.  Man, I’m tired of Lil’ C’s talking.  He goes so long.  And he only sometimes says anything.  Kayla tore through this routine, Max struggled a bit, but he pretty much kept up.

Karla’s from the Boogie Bots?  Wow.  There is too much crossover between these shows.  But I still love them.  Stacey Tookey takes them through some contemporary.  This just made me smile.  It just crept up on my face and I didn’t even realize it at first.  The choreography just worked.  And it was beautiful.  Definitely my fave of the night, so far.  Yay Jonathan and Karla!  With one more Shane Sparks routine, it may or may not be the best of the night.

Philip and Jeanine work with Tony meridith for the tango, and I think we’re all nervous.  The footwork seemed awkward, and the dance just seemed long.  Like it would never end.  And I know they wanted it to end.  That was painful to watch.  The judging is painful too.  Ugh, Lil C should stick to the choreo.  But the dance was yucky from beginning to end.  Not, as Nigel said, great entertainment.  That stunk up the place.  But I’d rather see someone else go.  There aren’t any other hip-hop dancers…except the newly outed Karla, who I love.

Kupono and Ashley are dancer and shadow and I really liked Shane’s idea.  I thought it was cute.  But it was a lil off [Ashley was actually ahead of Kupono sometimes].  I don’t think it’s fair that the hip hop idiots [Tabitha and Napoleon] got to choreograph the only people who actually DO hip hop, and now the genius [in the person of Shane] gets stuck with a wooden girl [Caitlin] and uh…these guys.  Although, the sync was better than the first hip hop piece.

So who do I want to go?  Asuka and Vitolio.  Who do I think will go?  Evan and Randi.  By the end of the show, I forgot they were even on.

a word about Reco

is it still cocky if you can back it up?

is it still cocky if you can back it up?

I watch The Fashion Show.  And I miss Tim Gunn SO much.  Isaac is real, and Kelly is a little weird in this role, but I love her, but – they are NO Tim Gunn.  So it comes down to the contestants, that really bring me back to the show every week.  Well…the contestant: Reco.

He’s gotten on everyone’s nerves because he’s very vocal about what he thinks of everyone’s designs.  He talks about how great he is, and comments about some of the disasters that other contestants have sent down the runway.  So I get it – he can be annoying.

But this fellow?  He’s got his ish to-geth-er.  His designs are always well-made – every time.  No matter how much time he’s given in a challenge, he finishes it – well.  He works quickly, he has great vision for whatever task that he’s given – he is good at what he does.   Even when his vision doesn’t coincide with that of the judges [or perhaps, my own], his work is apparently flawless.

Reco just doesn’t get along with everybody.  One girl in particular: Daniella.  Daniella is the one to beat, as far as Reco is concerned.  She’s really his only competition.  She’s also a pill, IMO.  Catty and passive-aggressive, her most recent foray into pissing me off was her comment to Reco

why are you so angry?

Certainly, the editing makes some things clearer to the viewers than it may be in any one situation on the show, but her comment and demeanor demonstrated exactly what she was going for with that comment.  As watchers, we all know that on last week’s ep, Johnny made a thoroughly tragic outfit that was hideous to 90% of the Fashion Show attendees.  Johnny was on the chopping block, and he made the comment that he didn’t really care if he was cut or not, because he already had investors waiting for him at home.  This got Reco steamed because he believed that people who want to be on the show should be there, instead of people who don’t.  Johnny made a comment after Reco stormed out to stir up the pot between Reco and Haven [who is immaterial, really].  Haven attacked Reco when he returned, and he had no idea why.  Then Daniella jumped on the boat because she will happily make digs at anyone she can  – in her own passive-agressive, talk-under-your-breath kind of way.

No sooner had the words come out of her mouth than I felt that familiar feeling.  The check [yeah – like hockey, but with words].  You know the feeling you get when you’re the only Black person in a group, and everything’s going ok, but then something happens and people starting looking out for themselves and then they verbally (or sometimes just with their eyes) check you.  It’s the reminder that you are Black, and they’re ______ means more than yours.  Usually the check is enacted to try to reduce you to a stereotype or a caricature.  Once you’ve been boxed in to someone else’s ideas of who you really are, reality doesn’t matter so much.

So here came this young thing with no horse in that race, but she had to get her dig in: spotlight on the “angry black man”.

Tomorrow night, Reco and Daniella will be paired together, and it will be sad.  And drama.  And though I may not be feeling everything that comes from Reco, Daniella just ticks me off.  And I’m not buying it.

SYTYCD: the top 20

top 20So now the real show begins.  I”m excited to see if this season lives up to the excellence that has been perpetuated in at least the last three seasons.  Already, Adam Shenkman is telling us about Step Up: 3D (which I can’t tell if it’s going to be overkill on the franchise or just getting to the good part) with parts for Joshua, Katee, and Twitch(!).  I don’t care how stupid the movie is, I’ll be seeing it. [Possibly not in the theater, but I *will* see it.

I don’t really know much about these dancers, cuz it seems that the ones that they chose to follow on the road to the top 20, ended up not making it.  [I miss you, Alex!]  But I’m noticing that this season seems really light on the hip-hop dancers.  Phillip and maybe one other guy.

So Mad, with Phillip and Jeanine [Tabitha and Napoleon – blah]: I’ll say it was fair.  Obviously hip-hop lite for Jeanine’s benefit.  The part that endeared me to Phillip, and the piece, was the very end.  That popped hug was just adorable.

Asuka and Vitolio (who I think is kinda hot) do Broadway with Tyce and it comes across a little forced to me.  There didn’t seem to be any chemistry, though all the moves seemed to be done correctly.  Oh, and the Charlie Chaplin moustache on V was a bit unfortunate.  Nigel was right – they needed to bring some more personality to that performance.

Cha Cha (Tony Meredith) to Poker Face.  This piece is fun, but it didn’t seem like Karla and Jonathan were together a lot, except for the tricks.  And now, I think Mary’s getting a lil inappropriate with the Lady Gaga comments [“If it’s not rough, it’s not fun”?].

Randi and Evan do some Jazz with Tyce.  And even though Randi’s married, the chemistry is oozing across the floor.  Now I get why Evan apologized.  That was all the way hot.  All the way.  I definitely agree with Adam, this is one of the best pieces of work I’ve seen from Tyce.  And Nigel is right – they’ll be a recognizable couple.  This was great!

So, Paris and Tony, the only other hip-hopper, work with Tabitha and Napoleon again.  I sure do miss Shane Sparks.  A lot.  The choreography was severely lacking for me.  There were only a few moments that seemed like there was a hot move in there.  Mary expected them to be harder into it – but there wasn’t much to draw from in the choreo.  Not only that, but, they weren’t even in sync for a while.  Eww.

Oooh, Bollywood with Caitlyn and Jason!  Bollywood is hard.  Jai ho, y’all!  Huh.  Well…I don’t know that they were supposed to actually kiss.  But they did.  I thought they did well for the task that they were given.  But I think they were a little off in the sync, as well.  Wow, the judges love Jason.  But I remember Joshua and Katee’s routine, and it was a much better piece IMO, than tonight’s.

Foxtrot gets a lot of people in trouble.  So I’m hoping Janette and Brandon kill it.  I think it’s hard for people to connect as well with the ballroom numbers, sometimes…this one started off slow, for me, but it ended well.  Mary must’ve been tipping into the wine tonight, cuz she is on fire.  Her wit is crazy – claiming she can’t lift an eyebrow because of the botox.  Anyway, this was nice.  Not the disaster that foxtrot often is.

Wade Robson is back on the show, doing a jazz piece.  Ashley and Kupono are so lucky to get Wade the very first week.  Jazz ‘blades’ instead of jazz hands.  It really was beautiful, in that weird Wade way.  I think this fit Ashley more than Kupono, but they both did well. Kat’s right, tho, Kupono does kinda give that C3PO feel in that makeup and all.

Melissa and Ade are doing Contemporary with Mandy Moore.  I like Mandy, she’s usually very soft with her choreo, but nicely evocative.  And yay for the back-in-the-day treat of Right Here Waiting by Richard Marx.  From the first lift to the ending hand hold…loved it.  Of course, I’m usually a sucker for the flowy dresses and the wind machines, but the ballerina and the contemporary dancer took the cake.

Samba!  It can be great or scary – we’ll see what Kayla and Max can do.  Max and Kayla were caliente! The swish-swish of her dress accentuated all the movement and made the dance a really fun number.

I hate to say it, but the weakest performers tonight [for me] come down to Asuka and Vitolio, and Paris and Tony.  Well…I guess I don’t hate to say it.  I’m not terribly invested in either one of those couples.

Tomorrow night we can see who gets shaken out first.

another one bites the dust

goodbye, Brenda

goodbye, Brenda

I’ve been watching The Closer for a couple years now.  I think Kyra Sedgwick is pretty near awesome in the role.  She runs things, and doesn’t apologize for doing her job.  I thought the show was doing pretty well integrating a multicultural cast – maybe not perfect all the time, but trying.  The show is fun to watch, so I’m not always sitting there with my critic hat on, anyway.

Sadly, all that changed last night. [spoilers ahead – and I do mean that both ways]

sorry Raymond Cruz...

sorry Raymond Cruz...

The show opens with a Latin@ family having been gunned down in their home in the midst of breakfast.  Only the father survived, because he wasn’t at home when it happened.  This made him a prime suspect.  He was taken into custody and interrogated, and it became obvious that he was not the killer.  He was hurting.  Badly.  The Latino detective under Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, Sanchez (played by Raymond Cruz), obviously felt this more keenly than the other detectives in the squad.  Maybe because he had a long road back from  being wounded last season – or maybe because he was really feeling the Latin kinship.  I dunno.

Meanwhile, Brenda Leigh is waiting for the moment when she gets that flash of brilliance that allows her to solve the case, so she goes home.  For some reason, it took her particularly long to reach her epiphany – maybe because her cat was ill.  Her husband was concerned about the cat and wanted to take it to the vet, but she seemed to be in denial about the fact that it was ill.

After reaching the “break in the case” that all police dramas hinge on, Brenda Leigh returns to work, solves the crime, puts the baddies behind bars, and goes back to her office to wrap up.  The father and husband of the family that has been murdered is distraught, but nearly unresponsive in his current state.  Only Sanchez is paying him any attention.  The father hasn’t been allowed home during this ordeal because his house was an active crime scene.  So the last time he saw his house or family was at breakfasttime the day before.

Sanchez comes in to the Deputy Chief’s office and informs Brenda Leigh that he’ll be letting the victim sleep on his couch for a few days, until a family member can come into town.  She remarks that it’s very kind of him to help the victim like this.  Sanchez responds that he’s just giving him a place to sleep, he doesn’t have any real help to give.  He then tells his boss of the scheduled funeral, and asks for the day off so he may attend.  She approves.

Brenda goes home after a hard day’s work and walks in the house looking for the cat.  But the cat hasn’t had a good day.  The cat won’t be coming home.  Then Brenda says to her husband something like – “I can’t believe that I just saw him [the cat] at breakfast and I won’t ever see him again.”  She’s almost in tears, and the show fades to black soon after.

That’s when I started yelling at the tv.

I don’t know if they’re going to be exploring some kind of story arc where Brenda loses all her emotions, or has a brain tumor [that sure is popular these days (I’m lookin’ at you, ABC)].  Or maybe Brenda’s life in the city is “turning her racist“.

All I know is that I had tears for the man who lost his family, and Brenda was chillin’ in the office.  Then, when she was starting to tear up about her cat, my blood started to boil.

I don’t know if I can watch next week and fell vindicated when I find that Brenda was temporarily body-snatched and replaced with a racist, but functionally skilled lookalike.  Why else would they put this obvious parallel into the show?  What possible point can you make about equating a brown family with a family pet that isn’t a big fat racist point?

And so, more proof that even a multi-culti cast can only do what the writers and producers give them to do.

Guess I can start whittling down my Netflix queue on Monday nights.