Hyphen TV: Getting into the 'SYTYCD' Finale, Pet Store Fashion on 'Project Runway'

August 9, 2011

Marko's like, "Yippee! I'm in the finale!"

You guys, this is beyond exciting: Marko and Tadd are the two guys in the finale of So You Think You Can Dance! WOO! I'm totally amped. Here's a look at how their performances broke down:

As they did last week, each of the dancers did one performance with an all-star and one performance with a fellow contestant (they also each did a solo of the non-dance-for-your-life variety). Marko got a paso doble with all-star Janette in which he played a matador and she was the bull. You'll be glad to know that The Abs were on full display, and the choreography really highlighted Marko's strength (though I admit that, as with most ballroom dances, my eye was drawn to Janette and her ruffly dress). The judges were so-so on the piece, not surprising since it immediately followed a very emotional number by competitor Sasha. "It left me a little cold ... I wanted more passion." I definitely understood what Nigel meant, though it's tough to imagine what else Marko could have brought to the moves. Check the performance out here, and note the move that Mary Murphy called out when Marko swung Janette around himself like she was a human cape. Neat!

I'm sorry for the obsession, but those abs are outta control

We got a little bit of Marko's mom (love her!) and his lovely solo, then it was onto a lyrical jazz piece with co-contestant Caitlynn. This time Marko was playing an overbearing, controlling (also shirtless) guy who was being a real jerk to Caitlynn's character, and once again he got to really show off his incredible power. I found his mean face a bit over the top in the opening of the dance, but it was a great piece overall and had the judges on their feet at the end. Mary reminded everyone that Marko is her favorite dancer on the show, which was nice. We love you, too, Marko! He was obviously safe and went right through to the finale.

The power of The Abs allows one to levitate

Tadd pulled an unusual Sonya routine with all-star Ellenore that involved a chair and a chandelier with a strap that they each swung from. There was some cool stuff in there, including when Tadd balanced on the chair by holding it with extended arms, but I had to agree with Nigel once again when he said that he wished there had been more dancing.

"This is my chair, Ellenore."

So Tadd also has an adorable parent: his dad, who has to handle calls from family in the Philippines who watch Tadd's progression every week. Aw. Tadd's solo was, I'm sorry to say, more of the same thing he's been bringing all season, namely one-handed hops on stage (I'm sure there is a technical term for those that I am unaware of).

Impressive, but...seen it

Tadd got another unconventional dance in a Broadway number with Melanie when he played a choreographer seducing his student to get a great performance out of her. The choreography involved a towel and a large mirror and some unrequited lovin'. The judges all gushed over Melanie, who is a good bet for the win (sorry, Marko), and Tadd was just sort of ... there. "To say you didn't suck is a compliment," Nigel assured him. I guess.

"Oh, how I want your chair, Melanie."

It was dodgy for a bit, but in the end, Tadd was saved over Ricky in the results show. Personally, I find Ricky to be an absolutely gorgeous dancer, and a direct comparison of the solos between the two leaves Tadd in the dust. But it is America's favorite dancer, and Tadd clearly has an appealing ease that has him connecting with the audience better than Ricky. Congrats to both Tadd and Marko! SO EXCITED for the finale.


It was all about pets on Project Runway, as the contestants all had to create outfits using nothing but items from a pet supply store (and muslin for infrastructure). This despite the fact that Olivier used to have rabbits but then they all died. Aw.

Olivier tries to block out the bad pet memories

We didn't get to see much of Anya or her look this week, as she landed in the safe middle of the pack, but I really liked her colorful woven top made out of rope from dog toys. Is it just me or is she amazingly talented and the fastest learner ever? Either that or she overstated how little she knew about designing and constructing clothing.

Dog toys! Doesn't look like it, right?

Olivier actually won the challenge with his two-piece look: the top was made out of a cut-up fluffy dog bed, and the skirt was made with different tones of hamster/rabbit bedding, positioned to create an ombre effect (the word "ombre" has never been said so many times within an hour). I liked the concept of the skirt a lot, but I thought the outfit looked heavy overall, adding visual pounds to the slim model. Olivier also had the makeup people decorate his model's eyebrows with the bedding pieces, which I did not care for. Heidi agreed with me, stumping for the birdseed dress (which I also preferred), but losing out in the end. I am glad that Olivier took the win and gets immunity next week, though I was a little weirded out when he said, "It was very good. Well done," to the other designers backstage. I'll comfort myself by believing that he said it about someone else, not himself, as the editing led me to believe. Hmm.

You're right Heidi, a little dumpy.

A few quick hits: Zappo's CEO Tony Hsieh was on The Colbert Report to talk about his company and his book (full disclosure: I work for the company that published his book, though I had nothing to do with the book's publication myself). Zappo's kind of sounds like an awesome place to work, and Tony seems unusually shy and reserved (and young!) for a CEO. Conan had a "Chinese knock-off" bit that presented an imitation of the Conan show in the vein of the Apple and Ikea store knock-offs that have popped up in China recently. It was a silly sketch, but I thought the guy playing "Chinese Conan" really got the string dance down. Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina Chang) was a guest mentor on The Glee Project, and I neglected to mention that Darren Criss has appeared twice on the show as well. Good to see you guys during the summer! Miss you!

Jenna: "I'm so happy I didn't have to go through this crap!"


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.



People keep expressing surprise at Anya's ability to deliver on this show, and inevitably imply that she somehow lied about her lack experience. People need to be clear....she never said she just started designing 4 months ago, she said she just started SEWING 4 months ago. Huge difference. As a designer with her own clothing line, of course she would know all about garment construction and what looks good. Just that she would have had people doing the actual sewing for her. Also, Anya's from Trinidad, the home of carnival! One of the first things you learn to do in elementary school is make costumes for your school carnival day, not to mention actually parade in a band in the city in full costume from the time you learn to walk. Trust me, Anya has had exposure to the creative side of fashion by her mere existance on carnival island.

Yes, it is a huge difference, as you say. I don't know how much Runway you've seen, but every season there is at least one contestant who finds him or herself in over his/her head because of a lack of sewing and other technical abilities. I agree with you that Anya has clearly had a lot of experience with fashion, probably including design -- but that does not necessarily translate into fine sewing technique, especially within the tight confines of PR challenges. I could even overlook the whole sewing issue if she didn't also mention that she had never sewn with silk before, never made pants before, and never draped before...all of these were essential skills in her top-rated look, so it's either strange or truly amazing that she was able to pull off all of these new skills with such success.I am eager to find out which of those it is (or maybe something else, I'm open to whatever the truth is) as the season progresses, and I'm sorry that you seem to think I have some kind of dislike or distrust for Anya.

To put it in another way, art historians study, analyze, and in some cases, restore or recreate fine art on a daily basis. Does that mean that one can assume that they themselves would be talented artists? In some cases, yes. But I would still express surprise if an art historian who claimed no formal training or even familiarity with a given medium were able to produce a praiseworthy painting, drawing or sculpture. Familiarity and actual experience are not necessarily the same thing.