Sunday, September 25, 2011


 “What is a hashtag?” has become easily the most common question I hear from people after mentioning that I am a Twitter user. It seems shocking to me how many people still have no clue about what Twitter is considering how many people are tweeting daily- even hourly. But I have yet to come up with a sufficient answer for them that doesn’t leave the same puzzled looks on their faces.

It seems like Twitter has been around forever by now, especially since I feel like I was so late to the party. I too am still figuring everything out on the social network that people proclaim to be simple. When I really think about it, it’s pretty new. And it’s only incredibly recently that it has become the massive interactive platform for television programming that it is. As an avid TV consumer, this is something I’ve been noticing more and more since the beginning of the summer. All of a sudden I’m seeing Twitter all over TV and it seems that “hashtags” are changing the way we watch TV.

It took me years to convince people that I’m an active TV watcher (as opposed to a couch potato). Now, passive watching is a thing of the past, as TV shows try to compel viewers to join the conversation about their favorite television shows both while they are watching and in the weeks and months between new episodes.

The most prominent use of hashtags has become the little hashtags that appear on the screens during television programs and events. If you’ve recently watched a show on the USA Network, for example, you will probably have noticed the pop-ups in the lower thirds asking you what you think of what is happening in real time and supplying you with a hashtag to talk to other viewers about it.  I think this is a brilliant way of not only engaging viewers, but getting them to watch the shows in real-time, which means they are also watching commercials rather than just skipping through their recordings.

Hashtags have also been used to promote new tv shows, which is especially important this time of year during all of the new fall premieres. I commute into the city several times a week and there are very few promotional television posters in the subway stations that do not feature a hashtag. This summer’s The Glee Project had the hashtag #believe on every billboard, bus and television spot, but they started using #gleeproject when they realized it was a far more popular tag. The new season of ABC’s Happy Endings features a hashtag in its commercials as well. All of this to promote going online and participating in your tv watching experience.

The last noticeable hashtag presence has been on late night and news programs. Jimmy Fallon has famously begun his #latenight hashtags segment, where he prompts readers to tweet about something and then reads some of the funnier tweets on the air. News programs have started using tags to gauge viewers’ opinions and formulate makeshift polls.

With the introduction of google + to the social networking scene, many bloggers and experts have been saying that a simple, singularly focused application like Twitter will soon become a thing of the past (just google ‘Twitter is too simple…). But it seems to me that people are only now gaining a knowledge of all of the things they can use Twitter for, and it will still be around for quite some time.  

Thursday, August 4, 2011

SYTYCD: The Top 6 Fight for It

I have to admit, for the first half hour or so, I wasn't sure this was going to be a great show, but it ended up surprising me somewhere along the way. Plus, I'm really starting to like this celebrity judge thing.

Melanie and Twitch- Hip Hop - this was the kind of hard-hitting hip-hop that fans have been complaining Melanie hasn’t been challenged with yet. I don’t agree with Nigel that she’s good at everything. I thought this concept was adorable but I didn’t love the song or the routine, and honestly, I didn’t think Melanie did such a great jobs with it. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t Top 6 material.

Sasha and Kent- Contemporary – This was my early pick for best routine of the night. I really like Tyce’s contemporary piece, and I do have a things for props as well. Not such a Kent fan, but I got over it. Sasha brings so much to her dancing. She is so stunning every time. I think Christina Applegate was completely right with what she said about Sasha.

Marko and Janette – Paso Doble - I wasn’t the hugest fan of Janette in Season 5, mainly because she was my girl Jeanine’s competition. But seeing her back, I really liked her. This wasn’t exactly the Brandon and Jeanine Paso from Season 5. The cape move was about all I enjoyed in this routine.

Ricky- I usually don’t comment on the solo’s because there’s only so much for me, the uneducated viewer, to say about them. This week, though, there were standout solos that I just couldn’t overlook so I feel like I have to mention them. Ricky’s was fine. Nothing special. That is all.

Tadd and Ellenore – Jazz - No question that Ellenore is like a Sonya Tayeh love child. I personally feel that Sonya does better with abstract concepts and emotions than she does with period pieces and specifics. I totally agreed with Nigel when he said there wasn’t enough dancing (actually I said it first… ask my roommate…). I can appreciate Tadd awesome Cirque Du Soleil situation, but again, it just wasn’t really a Top 6 routine.

Caitlynn- I think Caitlynn did a pretty good job with that. I found myself thinking through her solo that I felt bad for her. She’s so good, but her competition is Melanie and Sasha. How unlucky can a girl get? I wish they’d just do a Top 5 for the finale. That could work, right?

Ricky ft. Jaimie – Contemporary - I love Dee Caspary. Sure he never smiles or really gives an impression that he liked the routine after it was performed, but I truly think he’s a brilliant choreographer. I love the way he creates fluidity in chaos. He can make movement look beautiful without having the dancers moving at once. The complexity gets me every time. I loved the concept here too and I think Jaimie was great. I really like Ricky, but he got lost tonight in this routine. He didn’t get into character, wasn’t domineering or strong like he should have been. It’s a shame really, because it should really have been a contender for best of the night. For another awesome Dee routine, see below.

Tadd – I don’t know why Tadd’s solos aren’t better than they are. I feel like I’ve seen some really awesome B-boy solos in SYTYCD seasons past, but Tadd hasn’t been doing anything for me. He usually has some cool trick but doesn’t pack the solo with them. Last week it was the sideways stand on the scaffolding. This week it was standing on one hand for…ever. I love the boy, but he could do better.

Sasha – I think this was one of Sasha’s better solos. She too, though, doesn’t show us everything in her solos. I miss the days when she danced with Natalia. Where is the Sasha we see in the choreographed routines? She doesn’t visit her in solos?

Caitlynn ft. Pasha – Samba – Caitlynn is good at ballroom! I mean what the hell? She is good at ballroom! I really loved this. It kept my attention in a way that not many ballroom routines really do. I was so happy in the way Caitlynn shined tonight.

Marko – Marko hit the ground running with this. I think his solo was really good. I imagine the difference in solos is largely based on choreography, but good for him for choosing something packed with dancing.

Melanie – I think we all know this is why I was commenting on solos. In reality though, this one was kind of beyond words. No question, Melanie is wonderful. I think it’ll come down to her and Sasha for the win. While I am still in love with Jeanine’s finale solo from Season 5, this rivals it for one of the tops.

Sasha and Ricky- Whacking – No doubt this was interesting. I expected it to be more mind-blowingly fast. I didn’t really expect such a jovial song but it was still fun.

Melanie and Tadd- Broadway – I love Spencer Liff routines. I love how he has a way of telling a great story that enhances a piece rather than overwhelming it. I though Melanie got all of the credit for the routine, when Tadd really had a chance to shine and took it. He was completely in character and his dancing was really good (I thought…)

Marko and Caitlynn- Jazz – Now here was a Sonya piece I could get into. Like I said, better with emotions. I was so thrilled for Caitlynn watching this routine. If she goes home tomorrow, at least she had tonight’s performances. Truly amazing. Was it just me, or was a little something happening between these two dancers?

Best Routine of the Night – This is a toss-up for me (I know, lame…) between Sasha and Kent’s contemporary and Caitlynn and Marko’s Jazz. They were both great. Why choose?

Best Costume of the Night – I think I’m going to give this to the badass Red Riding Hoodie that Melanie wore for the first routine. Did you see the frilly pockets? The laces?  It was so perfect.

Best Overall of the Night- There were more than a few great performances tonight, but I feel that Caitlynn really deserves this one. She really shone.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

SYTYCD: The Top 8

We’re really getting down to the wire here. This week the Top 8 each performed twice (once with an all-star and once with a fellow contestant), and yet for some reason they still stuck a fourth judge on the panel. I love a lot of dances, but I also love the clip packages and these jam-packed episodes are driving me a little insane. Guest judge Lady Gaga was probably the best judge of the night, not being afraid to critique- and this is new- THE CHOREOGRAPHERS! I may not have agreed with what she said all of the time, but I certainly respected her honesty. About damn time.

Sasha ft. Pasha – Quickstep – Haha, their names rhyme… fantastic! There have been two quicksteps this season and shockingly, neither has meant the kiss of death that it has in the past. I was a little nervous for Sasha, but she really impressed me. It wasn’t as good as Iveta and Nick, but it’ll do, it’ll do.

Caitlynn ft. Ivan – Hip Hop – It was a blast from the I-Didn’t-Even-Watch-SYTYCD-Yet past seeing Ivan on stage. His smoothness was really impressive, but I think the judges undersold Caitlynn in this one. I think she did a decent job with it and I love her flow and movement.

Jordan ft. Ade – Jazz – Once again I feel like Tyce picked distracting music for his piece, but the choreography was still incredible. I know it’s been said a million times, but Jordan’s legs are not to be believed. That stretch- you know the one- was shocking. I am in total awe of this girl’s flexibilities. Plus it’s always nice to see a SYTYCD Season 5 All-Star.

Melanie ft. Neil – Contemporary – My god, this girl cannot NOT catch a break. How many times has she gotten something in the realm of contemporary now? Every week? Seriously. But it is always nice to see her dance in her style, even if it makes the competition somewhat unfair. Neil is wonderful, and Melanie’s seemingly impossible leap toward the end had me catching my breath. I just wish Mandy Moore would choose songs from the last decade or so.

Ricky ft. Anya – Jive – Always good to see Anya back. I don’t think this was Ricky’s best. It’s a true shame that he didn’t get as much time to grow while be held back by *ahem* Ryan *ahem*. Still it was good and he brings such a light and energy that I can’t help but enjoy.

Jess ft. Lauren (Gottlieb) – Hip Hop – This routine was not my favorite from NappyTabs. Honestly, I thought the routine should have featured the Jess character more as he was the contestant. Instead, it felt more about the girl. Still I was surprised to see that Jess did a great job with it. He’s still far from my favorite, but credit where credit is due…

Tadd ft. Lauren (Froderman) – Contemporary (ish) – I believe Lauren is the first winner to return to the show, which certainly is a treat. I’ll be waiting for Jeanine… forever I think. Tadd is effortlessly charming and smooth. I love him and I think he’s severely underrated in his abilities and accomplishments in this competition. Once again I felt that we didn’t need to be listening to something from an oldies station, but Queen is classic so I’ll shut up about it.

Marko ft. Allison – Contemporary – I have this feeling that whenever a dancer picks Allison out of the hat they must take a huge sigh of relief. I love Kathryn and Twitch (and Neil and Robert etc. etc.), but I feel like Allison is a huge, HUGE advantage to the dancers. Put her with Sonya for a contemporary routine? Unstoppable. Marko is a great dancer, so it’s not that he needs the help but Allison seems to elevate routines. Was I the only one having flashbacks to her Sonya Contemporary piece with Alex Wong? It was truly beautiful.

Caitlynn and Tadd – Foxtrot – I enjoy the Foxtrot. Such a classy elegance to it. It just makes me smile. This pair did a great job. I just wish more people (including myself really…) responded to ballroom. It’s a shame that contemporary resonates so much, giving a sort of advantage to whomever has it that week. This routine deserves recognition.

Ricky and Marko – Hip Hop – Unless I’m forgetting something, I think this is my favorite NappyTabs routine of the season. These two were adorable and charming. They were just too cute.

Melanie and Sasha – Jazz – I feel like Sonya Jazz should be an altogether different category from regular Jazz. It is so beyond. I think everyone who saw that Melanie and Sasha were paired knew this would be epic and it didn’t disappoint. The strength that the two of them bring is incredible and this was one of my favorite Sonya routines ever probably. This definitely brought down the house and well deserved all the praise it got.

Best Routine of the Night- once again this is a no-brainer: Sasha and Melanie’s Jazz for sure. Just when you thought the boys were fighting back this season… This is SYTYCD at it’s best.

Best Costume of the Night- I think this will go to the same routine. I love Sasha’s and Melanie’s tops. They were Black Swan fierce and beautiful.

Best Overall of the Night- Once again I have to give Sasha the cold shoulder. I think she did a great job with the Quiskstep, but I’d have to be out of my mind to not give this to Melanie this week. Sure, she got an easier lot with Contemporary and Jazz, but there’s no denying the girl’s talents.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

SYTYCD: The Top 10 Bring It

Finally the Top 10 are here! Honestly, I do prefer the Top 20 format, but it seemed that SYTYCD was lagging this year for some reason. Possibly because of all the freakin judging. Thankfully this week, there were only three on the panel, one of whom was the always incredible Neil Patrick Harris. He didn’t quite bring his charm the way Jesse Tyler Ferguson did last week, but he did do something that Nigel and Mary haven’t necessarily been doing this season- CRITIQUE!

Marko ft. Chelsie – Samba - The night started off with Marko, who performed a Jason Gilkison Samba with All-Star Chelsie Hightower. The routine was good. I thought Marko held his own without Melanie, which I was wondering about. It wasn’t magical, but then, neither was the routine.

Jordan ft. Brandon – Contemporary - Jordan impressed the heck out of me last week with the vulture dance (not the Broadway number obviously), but I felt like this was her best performance to date. Brandon was one of the best dancers in Season 5, my personal favorite season, and definitely deserved his place at the top. Having him with her definitely helped Jordan, but it allowed her to shine in her own right. Good for her. She showed an impressive maturity tonight. Loved it.

Tadd ft. Comfort – Hip Hop - I love Tadd. Really I do. I want him to do well. I also loved All-star Comfort last season more than ever before. But this one didn’t do it for me. Such a fast song deserved faster choreography throughout I though, not just that one part, and it kind of looked like Comfort was half-assing it. Strange for the Top 10 week for sure. Not my favorite.

Mitchell ft. Melody – Broadway – I was right there with NPH on this one. I didn’t get it. I didn’t see the concept at all in the performance, and what’s more, I didn’t like the performances that much. I don’t think it was Mitchell’s fault really, since it’s possible he also didn’t get it. I think Mitchell’s great, but to be honest I’m not that attached to him.

Caitlynn ft. Pasha – Argentine Tango – Spectacular, breathtaking, utterly amazing. Caitlynn was radiant, but the routine itself was unbelievable. Watching them slow burn across the floor, it was like I was in a trance. I know it’s different from the regular Tango, but it made me think that all of the praises for Melanie and Marko’s Tango were just jokes. This was absurdly good.

Sasha ft. Twitch – Hip hop…ish – Speaking of absurdly good. I thought Caitlynn’s routine would be a runaway for the best of the night, but this one blew it out of the water. I’ve been a little iffy about Christopher Scott this season, but given this dream team, he knew what to do. The smoothness, the chemistry, and the crazy-sick technical dancing- especially by my girl Sasha. This was what I’ve been WAITING for. I mourn the weeks with Alexander. It was wasted time which could’ve been spent seeing Sasha soar.

Jess ft. Kathryn – Contemporary - I love, LOVE Stacey Tookey. I thought the choreography here was amazing. The way the moved played so that Kathryn was always turning away from Jess? So good! Jess got great reviews on this, but if I’m being honest, my eyes were on Kathryn the whole time. She’s grown so much since Season 6 and now I am simply in awe of her. Heaven is a Place on Earth was probably my favorite routine last season…. Look at me, my attention’s off Jess again. Well, what does that tell you?

Melanie ft. Pasha – Viennese Waltz – I disagreed with NPH when he said he worried when dancers get this dance. In my opinion, it is the one ballroom style that always seems to be a cakewalk. It was everything it should be, flowing effortlessly through the movements. Pasha is just so… sigh. Good work Melanie, but for once, not the best OR the second best.

Ricky ft. Allison – Jazz – I was so thrilled to hear that these two were paired. Allison is one of my favorite SYTYCD alums, and she was just what Ricky needed post-Ryan. I think they both did a really great job. I liked this routine infinitely better than Tyce’s other piece. It makes me wonder about why Broadway is his ‘thing.’ I hope Ricky gets a chance to continue on the show. I think he still has a lot to show America.

Clarice ft. Robert – Bollywood – I’ve been saying recently how short on Bollywood this season has been. I was happy to have it back, and I don’t think Clarice could’ve picked a more perfect style. Her natural sparkle and energy work perfectly with the nature of the dance and I was pleasantly surprised to see that her character had some edge to it as well. Robert was one of my favorites last season. I’ll always be happy to see him.

Best Routine of the Night- No brainer. Sasha and Twitch (henceforth to be known as THE dream team) stole the night. I can’t wait to see this one again.

Best Costume of the Night- There weren’t really any super-standouts this week, but I’m going to give it to Caitlynn and Pasha’s Argentine Tango. Her dress was beautiful and while it is always nice to see him shirtless, the classy suit had it’s own sex appeal.

Best Overall of the Night- Here I’m going to have to go with Jordan. I was so happy that Sasha was able to break out of her mediocre partner shell, but Jordan was the one who truly surprised me tonight. Both the routine and the solo showed her maturity- you don’t always have to dance like a Pussycat Doll!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Trending Trailers: The Week in Preview

I love movie trailers. They're full of a kind of excitement that truly can't be ruined--- until the movie comes out. Here's a selection of the trailers that intrigued me this week:


While I patiently await Matt Damon's inevitable (I hope) directorial debut, I can't help but follow his every move. In this case, it looks like a good one. The Soderbergh directed thriller is about a deadly air-born virus. Matt Damon, though my personal favorite, isn't the only A-lister in this movie. Marion Cotillard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Bryan Cranston and (okay not an A-lister, but) Laurence Fishburne also star. Plus, I MUST give a shout out to Veronica Mars' Enrico Colantoni who make a small appearance in the trailer. The trailer gives a LOT away, but if you ask me, it'll still be more than worth seeing.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Burn Notice Recapture its Purpose

It took some time this season, but Burn Notice is back! The show had a little trouble finding itself after last season's finale. After four seasons of searching and fighting, Michael had a way back into the CIA. The finale left fans wondering if the show would have anywhere to go after that and if the show would be able to hold its purpose. I was more than a little worried that Burn Notice past the burn notice would go the way of Prison Break past the prison break. But last night's episode of the USA fan favorite reassured me that there was no cause for alarm. Plus, the charger is back!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Alphas: Everyday Superheroes

Syfy premiered it's newest original series tonight. The ninety-minute pilot of Alphas certainly made an attempt to cover new ground within the realm of "ordinary people with extraordinary powers." Its success in this venture is, no doubt, up for debate.
Alphas began with promise.