Hyphen TV: To Be Beaten Is Not a Defeat

June 11, 2012

Let's always remember Mos Wanted Crew like this: smooth and kind of glowing.

New show alert! Last week Sundance premiered the documentary/reality series Push Girls, a show that follows four women who all use wheelchairs. They were all friends before the show, so don't look for any Real Housewives-type drama here. One of the women is Angela Rockwood, who is of Thai and German descent and became quadriplegic in 2001. Angela, then a model, was engaged to Dustin Nguyen (of 21 Jump Street) and was on her way home from trying on wedding dresses when she got into a car accident that spared the driver but left her with no use of her legs and minimal use of her arms. The accident killed her best friend Thuy Trang, best known as the Yellow Power Ranger. She's currently separated from husband Nguyen and needs full time care that she gets mostly from her aunt Judy and partially from her roommate Tiphany, also a woman profiled on the show who is paraplegic, meaning she is in a wheelchair but has full use of her arms.

Angela (second from left) catches some girl time with her pals.

What's nice about the show is how much it shows Angela and her friends as "normal" women: going to the gas station, having lunch together, having boy and girl problems. We see the extra steps they need to take at the gym or when taking a bath, but the show doesn't linger on these differences or cast any of the (gorgeous, BTdubs) women as people we should really pity. They all share independent spirits and an assumption that they can do anything they want, even if it's ballroom dance, as we see hip-hop dancer Auti take up, or Angela's re-entering the modeling world, which is easier said than done. After getting info on open calls with some modeling agencies, Angela schedules a photo shoot to get new head shots, and we see the humor and ease with which she handles the somewhat uncomfortable photographer, who is unused to things like his model having leg spasms on set.

I think that anyone who reads this column can appreciate the portrayal of "different" people as having the same desires, struggles, and successes as anyone else. I highly recommend checking this show out for just that plus a little dose of that juicy reality goodness that we all love. It's summertime! What else are you doing?!

America's Best Dance Crew
kept its voting results a secret for the first half of the show while we watched the remaining three crews perform to "master remixes" by David Guetta. Each crew had to incorporate gliding, gloving, and doll moves into their routines, and all three stepped up to the challenge. JC said that Mos Wanted Crew "showed [him] something very special" with their control, manipulation, musicality, levels, and use of the stage. So they pretty much ticked off everything on the standard JC list. D-Trix said that they've had the best choreography that he's seen from any crew all season, and they showed the emotion of the music as they performed. Lil' Mama called it their best performance of the season, adding, "Everything was proper." Love those Lil' Mama phrases.

Tiara was back from her injury to join 8 Flavahz, and D-Trix was ecstatic about it. "Damn, that routine was sick as hell!" he said before telling them that the song ... made him pee? Lil' Mama said that the girls definitely have what it takes to be America's best dance crew, no matter how old they are. JC commended them on a fantastic performance, drawing particular attention to the way they use skills that other crews don't have like ballet and gymnastics. Despite the high praise, I was pretty shocked when it was announced that 8 Flavahz got the most votes, launching them into the finale and setting Mos Wanted and Elektrolytes against each other in a dance battle. Eep!

8 Flavahz show off some light jazz hands.

They chose "Somebody That I Used To Know" (very much remixed, of course) and alternated with Elektrolytes in a dance-off, finishing it out with both crews dancing on stage at once. It was incredibly exciting -- seriously, go watch it right now if you haven't. Or again if you have. With tears in his eyes, D-Trix told Mos Wanted that he truly believes with all his heart that they were "the most memorable crew of the whole season ... Thank you for bringing back choreo." Despite this and the fact that they were top vote-getters all season, the judges selected Mos Wanted to go home. There were many tears all around, but Lando kept it amazingly classy when he said, "As teachers, we like to see things grow, but to be beaten is not a defeat." Still can't believe that these guys won't be in the finale, but congrats to Mos Wanted for a season that they (and their students!) can be extremely proud of.

You really were the mos(t) wanted by many of us, guys!

On Duets, the contestants performed songs that inspire them. Meleana went with a song she auditioned with, "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys. She said, "The lyrics mean a lot to me," reminding her that "we should live for today and enjoy what we have." It felt like a slow arrangement to me, but Kelly was happy to hear the soul that she was looking for last week. "You can tell you love the song, and you've sung it many times," she added, also complimenting the lightness of Meleana's voice when she's at the top of her register and she natural grace she has on stage. Jennifer said she was waiting for the song to get on solid ground in the beginning, but then she felt Meleana's confidence and admired the way she seemed "like a seasoned performer." "She's super comfortable!" Kelly jumped in to add (cute). When asked about his sandwich comments last week, Robin said that he was "obviously in the mood for a little dessert." Ew, not cute. He did add that Meleana was meant to sing that song. The judges' scores put Meleana in fifth place out of eight, a much more realistic ranking than last week's first place tie, I think.

"Hey, fifth is safe! Yay!"

Poor Jason, in the bottom two both weeks. Kelly was determined to figure out what's been holding Jason back, bringing up the fact that he recorded his audition video in a car so that his family wouldn't know what he's doing. Kelly saw this as a lack of support (or at least Jason's perception of one) at home, so she brought in Jason's father to encourage him. Which is sweet, except ... hasn't the audience been packed with Jason's family members every night? Wouldn't his dad probably be well aware of what's going on by now? Anyway, it turns out Papa Farol also had dreams of being in a band when he was young, but his parents gave him an ultimatum: a real job or no support from the family. Luckily, it seems he's more supportive of Jason (in front of the cameras, at least). Jason chose to since Leonard Cohen's version of "Hallelujah," one of his dad's favorite songs (Mr. Farol actually got teary during rehearsal!). He still felt a little shaky on stage, but it was nice for him to get some emotion behind his words. Robin thought it was lovely, sharing that his own dad wanted him to be a dentist (Mike Seaver wanted that??), but he thinks that Jason belongs on stage. John called it a great song to show off Jason's tone, though it was pitchy at times (cue boos from Jason's family, once again dominating the audience) and he needs to pronounce his words more clearly. Jennifer also complimented the song choice, agreeing that Jason was a little shaky at the top, but she could feel his growth and connection and the way he could stand on his own.

Kelly and Jason, looking weirdly dark.

It wasn't quite enough growth, however, as Jason landed in the bottom two for a third week in a row, this time having to sing against bottom slot Alexis in an acapella battle. He sang "Me and Mrs. Jones," and despite seeming nervous to mentor Kelly, he was saved. Jason, SERIOUSLY. Tap into that YouTube swagger and step it up!

Just one quick hit from the Atlanta auditions of So You Think You Can Dance: 19-year-old Abigail Ruiz from Goose Creek, South Carolina made it through to Vegas after proving herself int he choreography round. Looking forward to seeing more of you, Abigail! Also some late-breaking news from Sylvie: Cole Horibe, the SYTYCD auditioner from last week, is the brother of Cara Horibe, of ABDC's Fanny Pak. Whoa, dance family royalty!

And lest we forget Nicole on Around the World in 80 Plates: in Tuscany, her pork sausage and wild boar meatballs earned her status as most valuable chef, meaning that she's immune from elimination in the next city. Awesome! Also, I would like some of that please, thanks. Here's a recipe if anyone wants to make it for me.

This doesn't necessarily scream "Italian" to me, but YUM.


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.