Hyphen magazine - Asian American arts, culture, and politics


Hyphen TV: A Lot of Crystals

Check out those pockets. Do they choose their own clothes?

So can we talk about that bizarre body-switching episode of Glee? We began the episode with a "Here's what you missed" that explained how Tina's been excluded, unheard, and generally ignored for ... well, for the run of the show/past two school years. It would be funnier if it weren't out-and-out true about the character (and many others). This supposedly explains Tina's sudden outburst about never getting solos and being used as a "human prop," capped off by Sue calling her "Asian number one." And hey, I agree that they could spread the solo love a little more, but she's a junior and she complained right before the final big performance of the year (the ever-present nationals). Why on earth would you want to take away from the seniors NOW, at their final moment of glory?

The plot only got weirder at the mall when Tina, arms full of fabric for the nationals costumes, tripped and hit her head in a fountain, waking up to find that she's become Rachel, and all the other glee club members have similarly switched personas and clothing styles. This leads to the expected broad comedy -- The gay guys play straight! The abled are handicapped! Boys are girls, up is down! -- including Tina sporting some pretty great bangs, and then she has the chance to have a lovely Rachel-style solo with "Because You Loved Me." But then what does Tina get out of it? She realizes that Rachel (the most spoiled, selfish character this side of Veruca Salt) has it pretty tough with everyone relying on her, so back in regular-body world, Tina decides to support Rachel's bid to get into NYADA.

Seriously, she looks pretty great with those bangs

Sorry, why is this again? As usual with this show, the characters make sudden, 180 degree belief flips that make no sense. I guess they need to set up Tina as a member of next year's senior base? At any rate, Tina helps Rachel get another audition and ends up with a new outlook on teamwork -- and life. "It takes a lot of crystals to make everybody shine," she cheerfully explains in the end. If a real person made this statement so soon after an angry tantrum, she'd be checked for bipolar disorder. But hey, the solo was nice!

The three finalists of American Idol each sang three songs this week: one judges' choice, one singer's choice, and one Jimmy's choice. The judges had Jessica sing Mariah Carey's "My All," hoping she'd show a tenderness that the audience hasn't yet experienced. Randy praised the song choice, saying that he always tells people to never sing Mariah, but he thought it was one of the best performances of a Mariah song ever done on television. Steven said that Jessica will be "the last one standing here," which Ryan thought was a prediction but it was just Steven being nutso again. So ... that?

   They love having Jessica sing in front of her own face.

The finalists also each got to go home for a visit, so we got to see Jessica with her cute family (and dogs!) back in San Diego. It turns out she was homeschooled and didn't have a lot of friends growing up, so it was bizarre for her to experience guys chasing her car around. She got a parade, a huge crowd at the high school she didn't attend, and an official day named in her honor. Aww, congrats, Jess!

ADORABLE.

The song she chose for herself was "Don't Wanna Miss a Thing," a selection considered daring with ol' Stevey sitting right there. He gave his usual bland assessment ("You took a great song and made it greater"), which Jennifer tried to make into a big deal. She also said that the note at the end "sent everybody into the heavens." Jess's last song from Jimmy was "I'll Be There" by the Jackson 5. Jennifer said that Jessica sounded like Michael, but Randy thought that the song never had a real moment. But don't worry, Jessica will get another chance to have that moment next week, as she was voted into the finale! How surreal that a young Filipina and Mexican American woman could be the next American Idol. Of course, she's up against a white dude. But hey, still good on us, America!

Jessica love those jumpsuits.

It was Pitbull week on America's Best Dance Crew, and each performance also took us to a different country. The 8 Flavahz girls were up first with the French can-can paired up with "Hey Baby." It was also the return of Angel, which made for a sweet and touching reunion. Lil' Mama said that "the tempo and performance a little slow but I did enjoy it ... I can see this crew winning the full competition." JC also had high words of praise, saying, "I love the fact that you're showing diversity: technique, fun, athleticism ... you used the whole stage and worked the levels [aside: have you guys also noticed how JC is so into levels?]."

You can see the discarded can-can skirts!

Mos Wanted Crew was voted into safety again, and they got out their furry hats for a Russian barynya dance set to "Give Me Everything," but not before the guys all went to a Russian spa(?). Lil' Mama complimented the opening of the dance, but then she had to acknowledge the two mess ups that even I noticed, the hat drop and the missed jump. JC noted that they took the hits, but then they seemed distracted afterward. "You have to sell it, you can't stop performing." Word. D-Trix echoed JC's sentiment, saying, "You cannot drop the ball anymore, and you cannot let it affect you."

I wasn't kidding about the hats.

Fanny Pak landed in the bottom for a third consecutive week (yikes!). They got Bollywood and "International Love," and JC commended their commitment to always telling a story and their creative use of props (scarves, in this case). D-Trix said that Fanny Pak has the cleanest choreography to ever be on the ABDC stage in seven seasons, and he invited viewers to watch their performances multiple times to really catch how much is going on and how well it's executed. It was a tough decision between Fanny Pak and Rated Next Generation -- so tough that the judges saved both crews, so we're still at five crews next week. Will there be a double elimination? We shall see!

And still rocking those fanny packs!

Around the World in 80 Plates isn't doing a whole lot to win me over, but it's always fun to see chefs cooking delicious French food, and with the contestants actually in Lyon, France, all the better. Sai had been bringing up her military background from the start, but she really rubbed me the wrong way when she conceded, "Civilians can read maps too." Who knows why she ever thought this was a military-only skill. She then harped on her skills in Thai cuisine, lamenting the fact that they were still in Europe and vocally wishing they could travel to Asia. Not to sound like every reality show cliche, but this ain't "Around Asian in 80 Plates." Show a little flexibility! In the end, she was on the losing team, and her teammates found her salad less than impressive for the time they had, so they sent her home. Oh man, kind of hoping they go to Thailand next week, am I right?

              Say good-bye to Sai and her double-buns.

About The Author

Dianne Choie

Dianne Choie's TV is in Brooklyn, NY. She has a cat, several reusable shopping bags, and other mildly annoying stereotypes of youngish people who live in Brooklyn.

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