Hyphen TV: A Walking Cliche

July 16, 2012

    Cole knows how to keep them toes pointed.

After what felt (to me) like an interminable wait, the So You Think You Can Dance competition finally began. This week they showed the top twenty pairings for the first time, and it was the first week that America got to vote. Let the awesomeness begin!

Dareian was paired with belly dancer Janelle, and as is custom for the early episodes, we got brief clips of each competitor telling us about themselves. Dareian is 20, left home to join the circus (more on that in the future, please!), used to play hockey, hates spiders, loves the color blue, and can talk like Donald Duck. The latter of which he did, and he wasn't bad. He and Janelle got African Jazz, which meant some "tribal" costuming that you know makes me uncomfortable. In Darian's case, we got fringed red shorts(?), no shirt, and oddly futuristic body paint that make his and Janelle's arms look like they were sporting robot parts. Of the performance, Nigel said that Dareian is "such an exciting dancer" and reminded everyone of the impressive pirouettes that he performed during the group number at the top of the show. Mary told Dareian that he's "a little powerhouse" and called him strong, intense, and possessing a great body line. Will the littlest male dancer make it to the next performance?

Dareian is the kind of support a girl can really use.

We learned that Cole is 26, a "walking cliche" because he's "an Asian male who's also a ninja martial artist," he liked math, and he's a descendant of the famous 47 Ronin Samurai. Cole was paired with Latin ballroom dancer Lindsay, which was lucky for her because they pulled the notoriously difficult paso doble. It's definitely worth noting that they were the very last couple to dance, probably because their performance was incredibly powerful and intense and all those other descriptors the choreographer always throws out at pairs who must dance the bullfighting style. All three judges were on their feet at the end, and not just to applaud Cole's shirtlessness: guest judge Kenny Ortega called the pair "mesmerizing" and "electrifying," saying that it might have been the most fantastic performance ever seen on the show. Mary called the couple "unstoppable" and told Cole, "Oh my god you came in on the martial arts planet but man that was a pure paso doble" (make of that gibberish what you will). Nigel asked Cole what else he's trained in besides martial arts, and Cole explained that he's done mostly jazz and hip-hop and a little ballet, modern and ballroom. Nigel explained that he inquired because "that was the best paso doble I've ever seen any boy do on this show." Wow! Even my little old untrained eyes could see that it was pretty fantastic, but that is some GOOD praise. Cole, I'm sure we'll be seeing you for a while yet.

     Cole: You're not going anywhere until you check out these abs.

Also safe is Duets contestant Jason who was voted into safety and will appear on this week's finale. This week the top three sang one duet as usual and also one solo. Jason brought back his save song from a few weeks back "Me and Mrs. Jones" for his duet, which he and Kelly performed sitting (that ankle's still giving her trouble, I take it). After his performance, host Quddus told Jason that a lot of teenage girls want to know whether he's available, which it turns out Jason is. Way to play right into his audience, everyone. Jennifer told Jason that it took him a little time to figure out his style and she loves the niche he's found, adding, "You're like this soul singer in this skinny little Filipino body!" John thought that this performance was a step back from last week's; he didn't like the song choice (I'm also wondering why he went with a repeat, actually) and felt worried about Jason all over again. Robin told Jason that he needed to sing to Kelly as if she were Mrs. Jones herself, explaining that Jason needed "a little naughtiness" in his performance. However, Jason's solo performance of Bruno Mars's upbeat "Runaway Baby" went over well with the judges and John commented that this is the sort of song Jason should be doing. I guess I agree that it's better than the sleepier ballads, but I still find that Jason lacks a certain level of energy and charisma that lifts any of his songs, be they slow or fast, into a truly exciting place. We'll see whether the supposed teenage fan girls agree with me.

Jason: I'm not that skinny, am I, Kells?

On Push Girls, Angela continued her work toward becoming a model again, meeting with a casting agency that told her she needs new headshots and her own website. Later she got a shoot with the Christopher Reeve Foundation, and though it wasn't a paying gig, it was an important resume builder. Her photographer Christopher Voelker is also in a wheelchair, so he was sensitive to her needs as she struggled to hold poses and maintain awkward positions. Really casts all the bellyaching on America's Next Top Model in a new light, doesn't it?

There's a new competition reality show on TLC called Craft Wars in which three competitors battle in two rounds to win $10,000 and crafting glory. This week we met Amy Ng of San Francisco who specializes in plush animals and was sporting a cute fox scarf during the competition. She started out with a bold attitude, saying that she would "punch the competition in the face." Attagirl! With her assistant Matt at her side to tackle carpentry, Amy started out right in her wheelhouse by using the given toys to make a cute toy box in the shape of a lagoon monster that you "feed" through its mouth. Matt built a wood structure and Amy covered it with decorations, using felt for color and a xylophone for a dorsal fin. The judges didn't like that Amy used felt when paint would have sufficed (and would have been easier to clean), but they liked her overall design enough to send her to the second round, a head-to-head pen mansion-building contest.

     You can't tell me that's not an adorable toy box.

Amy, Matt, and their four assigned helpers created a modern two-story structure with a room for a dog (the "landlord") on the first floor and a cat (the "tenant") on the second. Amy carefully wallpapered the lower floor with patterned fabric and added details like a leash holder made out of a covered embroidery hoop with antlers. Unfortunately, Amy ran out of time to do much with the second floor, so she just tossed in some cat toys and hoped for the best. Michaels craft lady Jo Pearson thought that Amy's house was "architecturally phenomenal," but she would have loved to see more on the second floor. Judge Stephen Brown call the design "straight out of Architectural Dog-gest," but he was disappointed that Amy didn't use more of the pet supplies she was given in a creative way. Judge Erica Domesek said the house "screams Frank Lloyd Wright," but she agreed that Amy didn't embrace the challenge and needed to do more with the second floor. Although Erica voted for Amy's house, in the end she lost to the more creatively reusing (but much less functional/aesthetically pleasing, in my opinion) competitor's house. Sorry, Amy! Hopefully people are inspired to check out more of her work here.

I know my cat would love that house, repurposed items or no.


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.