Archive for May, 2009

Brief pause.

May 28 2009.

I’m taking Teaching English certification classes for the next few days along with work during the day so I’m missing both So You Think You Can Dance audition episodes this week and probably won’t get to watching them until early next week. There probably won’t be a blog about those episodes or any other blog post about anything in general for the next week or so!

Linda

May 28, 2009 at 2:10 pm 2 comments

Lindork’s So You Think You Can Dance Recap & Thoughts – Season 5 Episode 1 (Auditions: Brooklyn/Denver).

May 22 2009.

Welcome to…

So Thursday officially kicked off Season 5 of the summer’s most popular show, So You Think You Can Dance. I love this show. I love reality television. Of all journalism beats, I want to be in entertainment and thus I’ll be blogging about SYTYCD weekly to help beef up my entertainment reporting (well in this case, blogging) portfolio!

The first episode of Season 5 was the audition rounds for Brooklyn and Denver! Now to me, audition episodes are by far the least interesting part of SYTYCD, and this episode didn’t change my mind. I’d much rather the season start right at the in-studio Top 20 week, but alas, it didn’t. It doesn’t. Though it was still enjoyable to watch given its been a year since the last SYTYCD audition episode we had to sit through. So let’s talk about some highlights from last night!

First things first, the ever-amazing Cat Deeley is letting loose! Deeley is seen several times throughout the two-hour season premiere dancing with the dancers in line, making goofy faces to the camera and more! I loved her before but I can tell I’m going to love her even more this season! (I also constantly envy her job).

In what is probably being talked about most post-episode, last night auditioners Misha Belfer and Mitchel Kibel performed a not-too-fantastic ballroom piece. Um, why is that being talked about so much then if it was less-than-stellar? Because Misha and Mitchel are both same-sex, male ballroom dancers. One is straight, one is gay, and their performance resulted in some controversial comments from everyone’s favourite bajillionaire reality TV executive producer Nigel Lythgoe.

Nigel is unimpressed with their routine and basically says maybe the two should try dancing with girls instead, which has caused an outcry in the online SYTYCD world. Fans and GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, are calling Nigel’s remarks homophobic and demanding he apologize (read about it here). My opinion? Come on. There is no way in hell that Nigel is a homophobe. He cannot be that heavily involved in the dance/SYTYCD industry if he actually hates gay dancers. Anyone who has been following the show the past four seasons knows that Nigel likes male dancers who are masculine, but that doesn’t mean he’s homophobic. Plus you have to think, the audition episodes are just as heavily edited as the performance shows so if he was actually bashing gay male dancers on national TV, don’t you think he’d just have that bit edited out? I think people are just making a big deal out of it, though I do think he could have worded his comments a bit better.

Moving right along… Last night there featured the must-have-at-least-one-each-year, inspirational audition by Tiffany Geigal. Geigal is 23 years old and has spondaic thoracic dysplasia, a spinal disease that’s resulted in her only having three vertebrae instead of seven. But that hasn’t stopped her from dancing and I gotta say, girl is good. I mean, not good enough for Vegas Week or Top 20, but better a dancer than I am that’s for sure. Nigel let her down as nicely as he could, and well, he did a good job. She was commended for being brave and coming out to audition and doing what she does given what she’s got. I’ve got massive respect for her and the inspirational audition quota was definitely filled successfully through her.

Two standouts included 23-year-old Kellan Stancil, who performed a BEAUTIFUL contemporary piece equipped with a very effective prop: an umbrella. Mary asks him what the umbrella means and he goes into a tearful story about his aunt who has passed. To be honest when she asked and it took him awhile to answer, I thought it looked like he was panicking and trying to come up with some meaningful response, lol. My bad. 24-year-old Gabi Rojas, a former circus child, did a very odd and interesting audition that impressed the judges and all the dancers in the auditorium. Nigel says her audition is maybe the best he’s ever seen (I respectfully disagree. Don’t take away from the brilliance of Travis or Danny or Mark’s auditions dude. Lol I’m so biased). He also gives her a leg up by saying if she’s not in the Top 20, he’ll be surprised, and she gets a Mary scream! Yes. The Mary screams are back. Both Stancil and Rojas are headed to Vegas!

The adorable Elias Holloway, 18, auditions with his younger brother who isn’t old enough to audition himself. The two brothers are the youngest of 14 (OMG what?) and do a very entertaining popping and locking routine that’s hard to take your eyes off of. Elias gets sent to end-of-the-day choreography (led by S3’s Lauren Gottlieb) but in the end doesn’t make it through to Vegas. He’ll be back next year though, probably with little brother, old enough to audition by then too.

There’s a bunch of other auditioners shown in the two-hour premiere, most of them good actually, which is refreshing compared to the usual stream of shat that tends to be aired during audition rounds (glad to see they’ve caught on, that audiences actually like seeing the GOOD dancers more than the horrendous ones). I just don’t think I’ll name them all because well you just shouldn’t get too attached during audition rounds you guys because it only leads to heartbreak later on when they don’t make it through okay.

And then there’s Brandon Bryant and Natalie Reid.

Both Bryant and Reid auditioned for Season 4 and both made it to the very end of Vegas Week. Bryant was beat out for the Top 20 spot by S4’s Gev Manoukian while Ried was beat out by then-roommate and best friend, S4’s Katee Shean.

Both auditions were brilliant. Bryant’s music was extremely epic, lol, but both dancers are extremely talented, technical, and beautiful. The pair are sent to Vegas Week and will inevitably make it into this year’s Top 20 barring any extremely unfortunate accidents or incidents.

Other thing to note:
Sonya Tayeh is a new judge this year. Some think her comments and actions are kind of unusual but I love her.

As for whether or not I’ve got any early favourites?

The answer is no.

I refuse to declare my love for a dancer only to have him or her (most likely a him, given my track record of favourites) not make it into the Top 20.

Though I repeat, Brandon Bryant is a total shoo-in for Top 20. That doesn’t mean he’s one of my early favourites though, nor does it mean I don’t think he is talented as hell, because he is. It just means he’s definitely going to be in Season 5’s Top 20 given how far he made it last season, how flawless his audition was this season, and let’s face it, Mary’s prophetic and tearful cry that he better be in Top 20 basically means yeah, he’ll be in it.

Here are some videos from the episode you can re-watch that are on YouTube (though here’s your warning, it’ll likely be taken off the site soon):

Elias Holloway:
Episode 1 Audition Clip

Kellen Stancil:
Episode 1 Audition Clip

Gabi Rojas:
Episode 1 Audition Clip

Brandon Bryant:
Episode 1 Audition Clip

Natalie Reid:
Episode 1 Audition Clip

And here’s a ‘segment’ I’d like to include in all my SYTYCD blogs…

Here’s what snippets of what fans online were saying about the first episode of the season (5 comments randomly pulled from 5 SYTYCD discussion sources):

  • From Twitter (#SYTYCD hashtag)
  • @bonitasmith Cat Deeley on #sytycd has always been superb host but shied away from trying to dance. SO FUN last night to see her dancing with auditioners.
    @jarodvhale people need to chill re: ‘same-sex’ dance comments thing last night it’s not that they were two dudes dancing it was that theysucked #sytycd.
    @thedevotv Am I the only one that thought the umbrella sob story was a bit much? #sytycd.
    @thisiscarrie I laughed, I cried. My mouth dropped in complete awe. It’s going to be a great season of #SYTYCD.
    @heybuzzsugar the first auditioner on #sytycd reminds me of all of cirque du soleil wrapped up in a person.

  • From IDF (Idol Forums, SYTYCD Section)
  • Overboard Gabi was amazing. People like her are the exact reason I watch this show.
    Tanvi I HATE HER BY ASSOCIATION, TBH.
    misty1 yeah i really like arielle i can definately root for her if she makes top 20.
    Tiz These kids are weirdly captivating… I can’t look away!
    krazy_katie01 Dear Sonya: You win at life. The End.

  • From Television Without Pity Forums
  • bluvelvet That guy Chimizee(sp?) = Joshua 2.0, also he didn’t dance enough for me as entertaining as he performance was.
    delabela I’ve enjoyed Sonja’s choreography, and I did like her enthusiasm and obvious love of the art and work that goes into the dancing, but watching her respond to the dancers was just not good TV.
    girlnuyorican This season is going to suck if they allow nappytabs to be the authority on hip hop dance. Really suck!
    wheelbarrow I love Natalie Reid but I didn’t love her choreography this year.
    TheHobbit So glad that Brandon is back. He is such a brilliant dancer!

  • From FOX Official SYTYCD Forum
  • bunnyv21 I am rooting for Natalie!
    deancragstreet I enjoyed watching the two men dancing together.
    js Tiffany Geigal I thought your performance was beautiful and inspiring.
    tvboy1010 Yea I agree. I think it was a very homophobic remark.
    twosyllables I don’t know anyone who ISN’T gay or gay friendly who watches SYTYCD.

  • From SYTYCDISM – SYTYCD Blog
  • Joanna Props are distracting: he doesn’t need them.
    alexis GIVE HIM A TICKET ALREADY!
    jenali Wow, way to use the entire stage Chi..something #SYTYCD.
    Lisa still waiting for Mary to cry…
    Trandrew LOL another epic audition from Brandon Bryant.

All in all, despite my disliking audition rounds, this was a great episode to kick off Season 5. Deeley says this season is going to be bigger and better than before (except, don’t they always say that?) so here’s hoping it lives up to her words!!

Next week’s audition show features Miami and Memphis (I think).

Comments are more than welcome! 😉

This also may be cross-posted at SYTYCDISM, but I’m not sure yet. lol

Linda

May 23, 2009 at 12:31 am 7 comments

The show that will, starting tomorrow, consume and define the next 3 months of my life.

May 20 2009.



So You Think You Can Dance.

My #1 summer show. The show that will, starting tomorrow, consume and define the next 3 months of my life. Okay maybe that’s a bit dramatic but it’s very important for me to stress how much of my time, energy, and emotion goes towards this show each summer.

This show is responsible for the two fansites that I created and painstakingly (well maybe not painstakingly, again being a bit dramatic here) maintain – even after the show/season is long over. This show introduced me to, in my opinion, two of the most talented and inspiring dancers, well, ever. Travis Wall (Season 2) and Mark Kanemura (Season 4).

Travis Wall, Season 2.

Travis Wall, Season 2.

I don’t dance. I mean, I have taken a few dance classes and I really wish I could be a better dancer, a good dancer, but while I don’t label myself as a dancer, I strongly insist that I am in love with dance and that I am in love with dancers. I love it. I love them. I love watching them. I’m moved, inspired, and impressed by dancers. By dance. I think what I absolutely love the most about So You Think You Can Dance, is that the dancers are just regular people. They’re just normal, regular people, trying to make it as a dancer. And this show is a wonderful platform for that, and for incredible pieces, art, movement to be brought to a national stage, weekly.

Mark Kanemura, Season 4.

Mark Kanemura. Season 4.

It brings these regular people who are so passionate about what they do, into the living rooms of you and I. And they spark something in us, in me, in the thousands of viewers each week. To watch them grow, to watch them become even better each week. To watch them become household names and see them pushed hard, performing their hearts out. This show, the dancers, and the love I felt for it and them, made me find ways to vote for my favourite dancers each week despite the fact that I’m from Canada and it’s an American show that Canadians technically should not be allowed to participate in. (Is that cheating?) I was dedicated. I was obsessed. It was time consuming, but I loved it. I love it.

I’m what you would call the above-average SYTYCD viewer. There’s actually a lot of us. We are the ones that watch the show, go online, discuss, examine, theorize, search for video clips and pictures from the show, background information on the dancers, create graphics and fan-made montage videos dedicated to the dancers, defend the dancers, critique the choreography, the judges, look for signs of results-rigging and agenda-planning by the producers (it’s not paranoia, no reality television show is without interference from administration). And all of this takes us to the next week’s episode. We cry, we laugh, we get into bitter arguments and cry out exasperatedly about what should have or shouldn’t have happened in the past week’s episode. You know those Youtube clips that ‘infringe’ and get taken off the site all the time? We’re probably the ones who are putting them up. Providing videos of dances that others like ourselves, go online to try and find after seeing it performed on TV, because we NEED to see it again and again and again. That’s us. That’s me. Oh, and then you get the real crazies who even go as far as making fansites for the dancers. 😉

People always ask how me how I have the time to invest in this show. People actually often ask how I have the time to do a lot of the stuff I do online. And my response is always the same. I make the time for it. I find the time for it because it’s important to me. ❤

Anyway, as I've said. The show starts again tomorrow. Season 5. I was really disappointed with the winner last season (and a lot of obvious rigging and favouritism by the judges last season, but I won't get into that now..), but I have high hopes for this one!

And as for fansites for dancers like the ones I have for Travis and Mark, TW-O & MK-O, I’ve decided those 2 are it for me. The more I make, the less special the ones I already have are, you know? And I don’t want those two to be any less special in my eyes because they truly are incredible.

Also, I’m going to see if I can try to use this season to hone my entertainment/reality-TV writing. I’m thinking weekly blogs? 🙂 I’m always totally jealous of the The Edmonton Sun’s Lindsey Ward for her sweet gig writing about reality shows each week!

Now I leave you with FOX’s official Season 5 preview:


( Mark is shown several times in the preview. 😉 )

May 20, 2009 at 12:47 pm 2 comments

‘My 15 Minutes of Fame’ SEE magazine article.

May 14 2009.

Okay, one last Best Job-related blog post.

This is my first person article about being involved in The Best Job In The World for SEE Magazine‘s Thursday, May 14 edition, appropriately titled ‘My 15 Minutes of Fame.’

(NOTE: There is a line that makes no sense because they edited out the end of the sentence, which would have said ‘it would have been legen – wait for it – dary.’)



My 15 Minutes Of Fame

Linda Hoang lost the race for the best Job in the world, but it was a good ride while it lasted. Published May 14, 2009 by Linda Hoang in First Person

So I didn’t get The Best Job in the World.

No, I’m not trying to extend my short-lived 15 minutes of fame. It’s just, even a month later, people are still coming up to me, tilting their heads to the side, slightly pouting their lips, and nodding as they say, “So you didn’t get it, eh?”

To which I respond, in a fairly cheerful tone but with a clear hint of sadness, “No I didn’t get it.”

But I did make it far.

This 19-year-old underdog from Edmonton beat out nearly 35,000 candidates worldwide to make it into the Top 50 list of Tourism Queensland’s finalists to be their official Islands Caretaker.

That’s something to talk about.

I was that close to being flown Down Under, to be given the keys to a beautiful house, a house that actually has its own name — “The Blue Pearl” — and being paid $100,000 CAD to live on the beautiful islands of the Great Barrier Reef and blog about it.

But so what if I didn’t make it to the next round, and ultimately get the dream job? The past four months have been life-changing. I went from being the girl studying to be a journalist to the girl all the journalists wanted to talk to. I appeared in practically every newspaper in the city, on every news show in the city, and even in papers and TV broadcasts across Canada and even in Vietnam.

A family friend who was down in Melbourne, Australia, for a few weeks even saw posters of me (and the other Top 50 candidates) around the city. I’ve never set foot in Australia, but because of this competition and how far I got in it, people Down Under knew who I was.

And that’s not just exclusive to people Down Under. I had support from all over the world — and it blew my mind. Emails, comments, and tweets of support were sent to me daily during my campaign. Customers at my parents’ restaurant, the majority of whom I’ve only ever spoken to in order to get their food order, were congratulating me left and right, pledging to vote for me every day. A Grade 11 class from Brampton, Ont., even chose me as the Canadian candidate they’d put all of their votes and support behind. Strangers. Absolute strangers who were just out-of-this-world kind and thought I should be the Island Caretaker.

Speaking of the Canadian candidates, there were seven of us in the Top 50, the most candidates from any one country involved in the competition. Media called us “The Lucky Seven” and while we all wanted the same job, we also shared another sentiment — that Canadians are awesome.

Yes, I’m disappointed that I didn’t make it further in the competition. I’m disappointed that my efforts to promote Australia, spread the word about the competition, garner votes and more, weren’t enough for the judging panel. And I’m disappointed that I was rejected via e-mail. Ouch.

I personally think I’m an excellent blogger and had I gone onto the next round and be chosen for the job. (* this is where the ‘legendary’ portion of the sentence should have been).

But a lot of good came from my involvement in all of this. I learned how kind complete strangers could be. I saw how supportive my family and friends and the world was and I met so many great people.

But I think the biggest “good” that came out of this was that it made me realize just how much I want to travel. It made me realize I’d love to go to a country I’ve never been to before and blog about it, freelance write and photograph there. It made me really want to get out and live life.

And it made my normally super-strict parents OK with the idea of their youngest child leaving to travel the world.

Oh, by the way, they picked the winner. He’s from England and seems really nice and qualified. Congratulations and good luck to him — but I won’t lie. I still wish it could have been me.

The End!

Linda

May 14, 2009 at 12:51 am Leave a comment

And The Best Job in the World goes to…

May 6 2009.

… not me!

Ha ha. But we knew that already.

No but seriously, last night at 11:00PM Edmonton time, the winner of The Best Job in the World was finally announced. It’s Ben Southall from the UK!

First off, I want to congratulate Ben. He seems like a really nice, funny person, who is obviously super qualified and I wish him the best of luck for his new job as the Island Caretaker of the islands of The Great Barrier Reef!

Now after the congratulations, I have to say I’m kind of surprised. I mean I guess he kind of slipped under my radar because I wouldn’t have guessed he’d be the one to get it out of the Top 16 (no offense, Ben). There were several other candidates that I think stood out over Ben. I had kind of stopped following the competition after I didn’t make it beyond Top 50, but I started being really interested again when all the Top 16 were flown to Australia for their week of fun events, final tasks and interviews and from that alone, I felt there were a few candidates that stood out a lot more.

Oh, also another thing that happened after I didn’t make it beyond Top 50 was that I decided to throw my support behind Top 16 candidate Juweon! He’s a fantastic person. A great blogger and his efforts during the campaign really need to be noted. When all the candidates were down in Oz, they were obviously under really tough time pressures, lots of scheduled things to do during the day so a lot of the candidate’s blogs went inactive for the period they were down there except a few, including Juweon’s. Juweon blew my mind with how he was able to keep the world updated on what was going on Down Under. He updated his blog everyday with detailed, interesting, and insightful posts, included photos and the thing that especially blew my mind – he had fully-edited, well polished videos to put up as well! I don’t think he really slept the entire time he was down there because he spent most of the night working on updating and I was completely and utterly impressed. If I hadn’t been supporting him before, I would have definitely started supporting him based solely on his ridiculously awesome blog.

Aside from Juweon’s blog, I was also regularly checking up on Canada’s lone candidate Erik‘s blog, Australian James‘s blog (I’ve mentioned him on this blog before, I absolutely love his photographs!), and the other Ben from France’s blog. I figured all of them had a really great shot at taking the title of Island Caretaker and I’m actually shocked none of them were chosen.

But oh well, what’s done is done. I think all of the Top 16 have been fantastic and they’ve had an incredible journey that, not going to lie, I was completely jealous of. They all also got cyan-colored shirts that said ‘THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD’, which only further fueled my jealousy, lol. But I think I share the same sentiment as all of the Top 50, and everyone who has been following this contest the last few months… it’s finally over.

Will I be following Ben’s blog come July 1st when he officially starts his best job in the world as Island Caretaker? Not sure. I’m not really sure how interested the world will be after this anyway. I know all/most of my supporters stopped following the contest after I was out, as I’m sure was the case for the other candidates in the Top 50 who didn’t move onto the next round. But I don’t really think people actually religiously following the Island Caretaker’s blog was really the point of the whole contest anyway. The point was to generate worldwide interest in Australia and The Great Barrier Reef and that has most certainly been done. No one can deny that. And the fact that the Top 16 represented someone from all corners of the globe also ensured that reports about the winner of TBJITW would be popping up from all corners of the globe. Oh Tourism Queensland, you’re so clever.

But seriously I think the other 15 candidates are going to have so many great opportunities open to them now and it’ll be cool to see what directions they end up going.

Also, since this is a Best Job-related post. I ask that everyone check out fellow Canadian Top 50 candidate Mitch‘s latest Best Job-related video! He’s seriously SO talented. I can see him having a very successful career on broadway one day. He’s also headed down to Oz for school for a semester come end of July. Another fellow Canadian Top 50 candidate, Anny is also headed down to Australia for a few months of traveling and working. So goodluck and congrats to those two for ending up down in Australia anyway! 🙂

One day I’ll get down there as well. 😉

Oh also, I was asked to write a first-person article about my experience with TBJITW for Edmonton’s SEE Magazine. It’ll run for next week’s issue and I’ll wait till then before I post it up.

Anyway, as I’ve said before, this entire experience has been fantastic and life-changing for me. Even though I didn’t move onto the FINAL final, I’m glad I made it as far as I did and I think it’ll be really interesting to look back on the newspaper articles, TV interview videos, and blog posts about TBJITW, years from now. I also think it’s cool that I now share this Best Job bond with 49 other people worldwide. A lot of them are really cool people and I hope I get to meet them someday in the future too.

On that note, I’d like to congratulate Ben one more time… congratulations Ben! 🙂

Linda

May 6, 2009 at 1:30 pm 8 comments


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