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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

So You Think You Can Dance Season 14 Ep. 8 Top 10 Review

If you haven't read/noticed by now, I love dance. It is very close to my heart and I personally find it to be such a therapeutic activity. So naturally, I love the show "So You Think You Can Dance", especially because it incorporates so many different styles of dance and such impressive choreography!

So I thought it would be fun to share some of my thoughts on the dancers and choreography etc. I would love to hear your guys' thoughts too! πŸ˜Š

Top 10 Picks & Thoughts

Kyle Bennett Jr. vs. Dassy Lee

Fik-Shun is tasked with choosing between Kyle and Dassy. His concerns are that Dassy can be a little "soft" (whatever that means) and that Kyle's not very technical and sometimes has a hard time with the choreography. He chooses Dassy. (I think it's very likely that Kyle might come back in the future, better-trained and more versatile. I think this was the right call for now.)

Zachary Downer vs. Logan Hernandez

Allison has one of the hardest choices to make of all of the all-stars. She has two phenomenal dancers that, in my opinion, both deserve to be in the top 10. (Stupid choosing format!) Further proving my point, Allison has no real "downfalls" to say about either of them (except that Logan is young, which really doesn't count as a "downfall"). She chooses Logan. I think Allison went with Logan because he was a little more confident than Zachary, which seemed to be what Allison was looking for. I probably would've chosen Zachary myself as I think he was more graceful (and maybe versatile?) but either one is deserving of the live shows. 
*Side note: Luckily for Zachary Downer, even though he wasn't chosen for this show, he was chosen for Cats on Broadway! Congratulations to Zachary!

Kiki Nyemchek vs. Kevin Davis Jr. "Konkrete"

Jenna probably had the hardest choice from a personal point of view, as that kiss with Kiki during rehearsals was sure to add some weight to her decision. Jenna called Kiki's performance from the hip-hop round "a hot mess" but said she wanted to be his mentor. Jenna was upset that Kevin doubted himself in front of the choreographer in the jazz round but held out that he would find his belief in himself. She says the choice was between "connection and chemistry" or "stability and a more reliable partner". Editing showed the former being Kevin and the latter being Kiki - though there's evidence that it was actually the other way around. She chooses Kiki. And seemingly a potential romance... So I guess I can't blame the girl for that, but I think the audience is really missing out by not having Kevin/Konkrete in the Top 10. I can't believe the guy that originally had Allison, Cyrus, Jasmine, Comfort and Fik-Shun all fighting for him didn't even make the Top 10 - especially considering he did so well in the other styles of dance, which isn't super common from krump dancers. His sense of musicality was actually really talented and I'm sad we won't get to see more from him. (More proof the "selection" process this season was more harmful than helpful.) I hope he will come back and make the Top 10 next season. He deserves it!

Huwer "Havoc" Marche vs. Kaylee Millis

Cyrus has to choose between a fellow street dancer or a contemporary-fusion dancer. He can either help "Havoc" grow, or grow together with Kaylee. He chooses Kaylee. It was also noted that Havoc had a hard time with choreography so I think that played a role in this choice as well. Havoc said he experienced some growth throughout academy, so there is some light at the end of his tunnel.

Lex Ishimoto vs. Evan DeBenedetto

Kat calls Lex and Evan "equally talented dancers" but no one really believes that considering that Lex trained with thee Travis Wall. Gaby has to choose between a fellow tapper whose pretty versatile or a versatile dancer who can tap. Lex was insane "not in his specialty" while Evan is insane in his specialty. Lex is told he's "too serious" in the face. Clearly they didn't include those moments in the editing (or it never happened) because every time we saw him dance, he wasn't too serious in the face. There have also been many times where she's implied Evan has the same problem, which also doesn't seem to ring true from what we've seen. Gaby says she has to pick someone who "needs [her] a little more". She chooses Lex. (Even though Evan needed her more.) In my opinion, Lex was a shoe-in from the beginning and it would've been a disgrace if he hadn't made the top 10. So of course she chose him!

Mark Villaver vs. Deja Williams

Comfort has the choice of the dynamic of a "powerhouse" of two women, or the dynamic of a masculinity-femininity contrast. She watched as Deja continued to progress; But Mark was delivering in all of the different styles of dance during the academy. It seems like Mark has the better chemistry with Comfort than Deja, and she did say she wanted someone who would maker her "feel good on stage". So she chooses Mark. It was undoubtedly the right call. This guy has too much charisma to pass up.

Sofia Ghavami vs. Koine Iwasaki

Marko has to choose between Sofia and Koine. Marko points out that even though Sofia is a ballroom expert, Koine did a great job in ballroom - especially for not being a ballroom dancer. Even though contemporary is Koine's style, Marko says he was missing something from her but he doesn't clarify what it is. He says Sofia was missing something in jazz. Marko chooses Koine. This was the right choice. If you were paying attention to Koine during the Academy weeks, you probably realized that she's quite the versatile dancer - even though we haven't heard anyone really say that yet. She's definitely underrated at the moment and I think she will end up surprising a lot of people. They also seemed to have the stronger chemistry.

Kristina Androsenko vs. Sydney Tormey

Paul definitely has a tough choice ahead of himself. Kristina definitely has the better passion and fierceness for ballroom dancing but she has trouble with picking up choreography; Sydney is versatile - as shown in her hip-hop round - but she's lacking that passion and fierceness required in ballroom dancing. Paul chooses Sydney. I don't think this was necessarily the "wrong" choice but I do think Kristina was the better dancer. Shame about her having trouble with the choreography as I'm sure that played a big role in her not being chosen.

Jonathan Wade vs. Taylor Sieve

Robert's choice is between Jonathan and Taylor. Robert believes that Jonathan's strength is that "he can fly across the stage more than anybody else in this competition" but he thinks Taylor's "lines are stunning, the way she understands to move her body is stunning". Robert feels he has a connection with both, but that he had a connection with one just a bit more than the other. Robert chooses Taylor. I think this was the right choice. We didn't see much from both of these contestants throughout academy week but I trust Robert's decision.

Robert Green vs. Howard Johnson

Jasmine has a choice between fellow contemporary dancer Howard or hip-hop dancer Robert. Both are strong: Howard is "tall, flexible and well-rounded" while Robert is "not technically trained at all" but "he shows up to the plate every time". (Plus that personality and stage presence!) Jasmine chooses Robert. I think either of them could've done well in the top 10 and I hate to have to "eliminate" Howard but I do love Robert's charismatic dancing personality. Jasmine says he does well in other styles (though we didn't get to see that) so it seems like it was the right choice. Again, this "selection" process is completely flawed and should not continue next season. The judges are better at eliminating than the all-stars. The all-stars should stick to dancing. Besides, the dancers are basically picking the all-stars anyways.

Top 10/All-Star Routines & Countdown

Since the focus is supposed to be on the contestants, I have arranged the performances from the night in countdown order - according to which dances I think were performed the best by the contestants involved.

12. Taylor & All-Star Robert

Choreographer(s): Travis Wall, Contemporary
Song: “Change Is Everything (A Capella Version)” by Son Lux

Contestant Grade: C+
That fall at the beginning was stunning! Although Taylor clearly has great technique at certain points, there were just so many mistakes made in this number. To the untrained eye, there were a few mistakes, to the trained dancer's eye, there were a ton of mistakes - which is especially hard to watch when you love Travis Wall's choreography like I do! Speaking of, thanks to Travis Wall's top-notch choreography, few people noticed/mentioned these mistakes, but there were times where she was a bit sloppy or slow or missed her queue. This was a tough routine though, so I give her that and her size difference isn't much different than Robert's - which makes a difference when it comes to a lot of the lifts.

All-Star Grade: B-
Robert did a good job but I think this routine and partnership really challenged him. There were a few mistakes that he made, primarily when it came to anything involving him physically supporting Taylor. Again, thanks to Travis Wall's top-notch choreography, few people noticed/mentioned it. It kind of seemed like maybe Taylor was a bit too heavy for Robert and that's why the few mishaps happened. Some of it was due to his messing up the footing but a lot of it just seemed like he wasn't strong enough to handle Taylor the way this routine called for; If he were a little stronger or Taylor a little smaller, he probably would've made a lot less mistakes. (After all, he never made a mistake with physically supporting little JT last season.)  Also, this routine called for a lot of trust and chemistry, and I don't think Robert and Taylor had enough to deliver a performance more deserving of such splendid choreography. They look mismatched on stage. They're going to have a tough season ahead of them if they can't improve on their chemistry and lifts etc. Of all of the all-star and contestant pairs this season, they seem to have the least chemistry so far.

*Side note: There's no way that realistically Robert is 6'0" and Taylor only 5'7". Most likely, Taylor is like 5'8" or 5'9" and Robert is 5'10 or 5'11". They were standing barefoot on the stage, there's clearly only 2-3 inches between the two of them, not 5 inches as Cat said.

Pairing Chemistry Grade: C

*Side note: How cute to see JT, Emma and Tate in the audience! πŸ˜Š

Choreography Grade: A+ πŸ™ŒπŸ‘
Is there really anything to say about Travis Wall's choreography other than "stunning", "phenomenal", "work of art"? As per usual, his choreography is top-notch and I think it's unfortunate about the few mishaps as Travis' choreography is meant to be performed to A+ perfection. His use of every pose, turn, flip, lift, etc. is perfect. This routine was very tough, but they also usually make for the best dances and I thank Travis Wall for every piece of choreography he comes up with. This routine was exceptional, typical Travis Wall. As Nigel said, he showed us again why he's an Emmy-nominated choreographer. So true.

11. Kaylee & All-Star Cyrus

Choreographer(s): Tessandra Chavez, Contemporary
Song: “Clown” by Emeli SandΓ©

Contestant Grade: B
Overall this was somewhere between a decent and good performance. The whole time, it just felt like something was missing: perhaps it needed a little more passion, a little more technique and a little stronger characterization/personality. There was also the slightest tinge of sloppiness, like they could've used a couple more practices. Vanessa said she would've liked to have seen more "weightlessness" from Kaylee, I agree with that. She could definitely use some work when it comes to gracefulness.

All-Star Grade: B-
It's a good think that Cyrus was the all-star and not the contestant in this routine because this was only a decent performance. Granted, this was completely out of Cyrus' style but I think they would've benefited from some more practice before performing. There were definitely a few small moments where he messed things up for Kaylee; though never completely messing up. He seemed a tad rushed, so kudos to Kaylee for keeping up anyways. He did do a good job with the characterization and personality though, something Kaylee is definitely going to need to learn from him. Another thing Kaylee could learn from Cyrus is his passion. Even though he was dancing completely out of his style and had a few minor mishaps, he completely delivered when it came to the passion. 
(Maybe Cyrus should've picked up Kevin instead of Jenna.)

Pairing Chemistry Grade: B+

Choreography Grade: C-
This was, in my opinion, the weakest choreography and song/concept of the night (for the partners). Most of these routines either tell a compelling and captivating story or they're just so fun to watch, that they make you want to get up and dance along. This routine did neither of those things. The story wasn't very compelling or captivating and the story was a bit confusing. I can't even tell you what the story was exactly. The couple had some fight and Cyrus' character seemed to be sympathetic yet the dance ends with Kaylee walking out as though she'd had enough... What happened? The dancing itself was pretty talented and had quite the potential; However, it also came off very inconsistent - and I think this really hurt Kaylee's chances. Hopefully she'll get a much better choreographer next week (*cough* Travis Wall *cough*) to give her a nice chance of redemption.

*Note: Vanessa Hudgens threw a shoe at someone? Yikes - that's domestic abuse! No one in a committed relationship should be throwing shoes at each other!

10. Sydney & All-Star Paul

Choreographer(s): Val Chmerkovskiy, Ballroom
Song: “All Stars” by Martin Solveig feat. Alma
Contestant Grade: B+
Sydney hits all of her moves and doesn't miss anything - yet there is still something lacking. Sydney definitely still has some work to do when it comes to bringing more passion and fierceness on stage. (Especially while Jenna and Kiki are still in the competition.) As a result of her lacking a bit in this area, there were a few moments here and there where she felt just a tad slow in the routine. That being said, she did hit all of her kicks, turns and poses beautifully and almost perfectly (except for that one clear mistake at the end). As Paul said, she is a "kitten" who needs to become a "lion", which she does seem capable of doing. Also when Vanessa said that she'd like to see a little more "pizzazz" and "oomph", I know exactly what she was talking about, as she was alluding to the same passion and fierceness that I saw she was lacking as well. It just seems like for whatever reason, she's holding back a little when she performs.

All-Star Grade: A+
Paul is a fabulous ballroom dancer. He clearly loves ballroom dancing and he looks like he's on cloud 9 on stage, having the time of his life. It makes him very fun to watch. He definitely has a lot of personality that shines in this routine. I honestly think that his level of fun and energy really helped Sydney a lot with her own fun and energy - though she does still need to step it up another notch or two. I was concerned about that kick Paul did over Sydney since she is so much taller than him (especially with those heels). I really hope they don't ever have an accident (especially in those heels!). Otherwise, their connection was pretty good; Very solid though not particularly outstanding.

Pairing Chemistry Grade: A-

Choreography Grade: A-
What a fun and entertaining ballroom routine! This was a great routine that actually served both Paul and Sydney, complimenting and highlighting them both while taking away from neither (unlike the earlier ballroom routine with Jenna and Kiki). I love when ballroom routines have a lot of turns and lifts and makes use of quick feet - and this routine did deliver with those things. The music to this dance was perfect as well, really elevating the entire dance; Great choice! A little more lifts would've been (personally) welcome but the routine was beautiful as is.

9. Top 10 & All-Stars

Choreographer(s): Wade and Amanda Robson, Tony Testa
Song: “This Time” by Son Lux

Choreography Grade: C
This dance is so weird. What a weird way to close out the show... It was also interesting the way they had all of the contestants (including the males, many of which had some trouble with the "reveal" part) wear a dress that wrapped them up like presents. I think with that concept, this would've been better at the beginning of the show, rather than the end. There were some cool sequences throughout, but most it was just, well... weird.

8. Koine & All-Star Marko

Choreographer(s): Stacey Tookey, Contemporary
Song: “Memories” by Alex Somers

Contestant Grade: A-
Koine has good technique and she is incredibly graceful when she dances. Her turns, jumps and kicks etc. are really beautiful to watch, and she looks weightless. Even though Koine did a wonderful job in this routine, I think she could've been a little more passionate, going a bit bigger with it. This was a lovely routine that lent itself to bigger, more drawn out choreography that she could have delivered a little more on. Also as weightless as she was, I think she would've benefited from loosening up in just a few areas. Her role was a very feminine one in this dance and she did a great job.

All-Star Grade: A
Marko did an amazing job. His technique is great and he played his character perfectly. He gave the right amount of passion and showed why he's an all-star. He was smart to pick Koine as I don't think this dance would've worked as well with Sofia. Marko and Koine looked great on stage together and seemed to have a very natural chemistry in this routine.

Pairing Chemistry Grade: A

*Side Note: Nigel definitely should not have made a joke about when Koine and Marko "name the day". I think that would've been more appropriate in Kiki and Jenna's situation, since they actually kissed in rehearsal. In this situation, Nigel was adding awkwardness that didn't need to be there.

Then he said, "Too late for you Mary", which was hilarious! and it kind of made up for putting Koine and Marko on the spot. πŸ˜„

Choreography Grade: B-
This routine was soft, sweet, beautiful and touching. That being said, I think it would've benefitted from more jumps and turns that could've taken it to the next level. The concept was very bittersweet and made for a really lovely dance. The turns it did have were so gorgeous, I just wanted a little more.

7. Kiki & All-Star Jenna

Choreographer(s): Dmitry Chaplin, Ballroom
Song: “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” by Shawn Mendes

Contestant Grade: A-
The down side for Kiki being Jenna's partner is that she is so charismatic and talented that she really steals the spotlight, naturally. That being said, he does look the happiest he's ever looked doing any dance so far this season, though. He shows more personality than we've ever seen from him before this point. He executes all of his moves without mistakes but he doesn't get much chance to really shine and showcase his own talents - especially in comparison to Jenna. Furthermore, despite the music, "there's nothing holding me back", it does seem like Kiki is holding back. It kind of seems like a small part of him gets distracted by Jenna every now and then, like he's in awe of her and loses character in those moments. (Jenna is a beautiful and talented woman but he really needs to focus. He needs to remember to engage the audience more. Like Paul does.) This routine also called for a more confident Kiki then what he was bringing.

Even if Kiki was a ballroom champion or something like that, Jenna still seems a bit out of his league. She really owns that stage. Kiki is going to have to step it up if he doesn't want Jenna to keep outshining him. Unfortunately for Kiki, I have to tell myself to watch him or I'll miss him for most of the performance. He needs to push himself to the next level. (Take some cues from Paul.)

All-Star Grade: A
My gosh, this girl can DANCE! And boy did this dance really showcase her tremendous talents. She has amazingly quick feet and clearly great stamina. She has the perfect fierceness that is required to take ballroom to the next level. She is very charismatic and super fun to watch. Unfortunately for Kiki, she also completely overshadows him. I completely agree with Nigel when he brings up the concern that Jenna was "sensational", which is tough on Kiki because it was hard for him to take his eyes off of her. I completely agree with that assessment.

All of that being said though, Jenna could work on her technique a bit - I'd like to see cleaner lines - and she doesn't move her hips as well as Sydney does - though she does seem quicker on her feet than Sydney overall.

Pairing Chemistry Grade: A

Choreography Grade: B+
This dance was a fun dance to watch and would've been better if Jenna was the contestant instead of Kiki. She was highlighted so much in this dance - and steals the spotlight so naturally. This dance wasn't as energetic as it could've been and I would've liked to have seen a few more turns and lifts or poses. The whole dance kept feeling like it was building up to something more that it never delivered on. It was a cool routine though.

*Note: Nigel makes the point that he wants to see more of Jenna's choreography. I second that!

6. Lex & All-Star Gaby

Choreographer(s): Anthony Morigerato, Tap
Song: “More” by Bobby Darin

Contestant Grade: A-
Even though Lex did a really good job, it wasn't "excellent". For all of the "personality" that some say Lex is missing, I thought he delivered on "personality" pretty much throughout the entire routine. I agree with Vanessa about his personality, it's "endearing" and I definitely see it too. That being said, as this was a tap routine, I would've liked to have seen more smiles, confidence and fun from Lex. He did a great job but it didn't seem like he was really enjoying himself the way we've seen with some of the other contestants. That being said, tap isn't Lex's style and for the most part, he did keep up with Gaby and probably did better than she was expecting him to do. (And I'd like to see all of the other contestants try out a tap routine!)

All-Star Grade: A
Gaby is a phenomenal tapper and she makes tapping look way more easy than it actually is. She is very light on her feet and she looks like she was born to tap on stage. Unfortunately, I now see what she meant from the academy weeks when she said that Lex "makes her nervous on stage". She didn't show it too much but there were definitely some moments that seemed like she was "checking on Lex" more than enjoying himself. She didn't seem to trust him as much in certain spots, perhaps remembering his struggles during practice. This affected their chemistry as it wasn't as smooth as it could've been. I agree with Nigel when he said her "dancing reminded us all why you're a past winner".

Pairing Chemistry Grade: A-

Choreography Grade: B+
Tap takes a lot to impress but when it hits it's marks, it really leaves a lasting impression. I think this routine was a very fun routine that gave a nod to the classic tap routines (like Fred Astaire) but wasn't at the same level. Anyone who watched last season (yes, the one with the kids) might remember some really impressive tap routines by Gaby and her kid-star Emma. Those girls could really move their feet. This routine was a bit slow for tap (maybe for Lex's sake?) and while I enjoyed every second of it, it definitely could've been better. I'm sure many viewers who aren't as into tap didn't find this to be too compelling. Those who enjoy and appreciate tap though, I'm sure enjoyed it.

5. Robert & All-Star Jasmine

Choreographer(s): Chris Scott, Hip-Hop
Song: “Perm” by Bruno Mars

Contestant Grade: A
The thing that stands out the most about Robert is his charismatic personality. He really steals the spotlight when he's on stage and seems to be having the time of his life in this routine. He really elevates this routine and makes it seem a lot more fun and entertaining than I believe it would be without his personality. He has the perfect attitude to make this routine work. Also, I don't know if Jasmine was supposed to spray that stuff directly in his face but it didn't seem to mess him up at all. He didn't miss a beat. That being said, it is noticeable that Robert could work on his technical ability. What he lacks in technical ability, he certainly makes up for in personality. He has enough personality even to carry Jasmine's role. However, I'm not sure if that would still hold true if he were doing a contemporary routine. I'm interested in seeing how he does in other styles.

All-Star Grade: B+
Even though Jasmine never messes up in this routine, it really feels like something is missing. Of all of the all-stars this season, she's definitely the least memorable. She also seems a little outmatched by Robert - like if they were both contestants, she'd lose to him. She definitely wasn't having the same high level of fun tat Robert was clearly having. She doesn't have the same fun charisma that he has. She also lacks a bit in techni/que, especially considering she's an all-star.

Pairing Chemistry Grade: B+

Choreography Grade: B-
This song is so silly but thankfully, Robert distracts you from that. There are some really fun moments in this dance but there are also some wasted moments. Robert made this dance come off more fun than I think it actually is (or the way Jasmine dances it). It also isn't as challenging as I'd expect it to be for the "top 10".

4. All-Stars

Choreographer(s): Mandy Moore
Song: "Knocking On Heavens Door" by RAIGN

Choreography Grade: B

This was a pretty and talented number. There were some really beautiful and graceful moments. (Not the "knock-knock" parts though.) Overall, this was not particularly outstanding or mesmerizing but the all-stars did a great job. Considering how beautiful the song is, this routine doesn't match the same level of beauty and splendor. It was also very obvious that someone was missing (Allison), so I think that affected the choreography.

3. Logan & All-Star Audrey

Choreographer(s): Tyce Diorio, Contemporary
Song: “Protocol” by Leon Else

Contestant Grade: A
Wow. I really didn't expect that Logan had that in him but I guess it's that "confidence" that perhaps made Allison choose him. He does a pretty amazing job, getting surprisingly very into character and showing off some strength. His lines are clean and his technique is completely on point. He is very impressive in this number. I don't think he was one of the biggest stand outs during the academy weeks, but he certainly stood out here. Bravo. That being said, I do still see his room to grow. As amazing as this routine was, and it truly was, it wasn't "exceptional" in the way that I think he has the potential to be. I think he held back just a slight tad, I would like to see just a tad more passion and confidence from him.

All-Star Grade: A+ *Note: Audrey filled in for Allison since Allison was injured.
Did they say she learned that in just a few hours? WOW! I agree with Nigel, "stunning". She did just as good in the routine as he did! She performed perfectly and was very graceful and smooth. She also had great chemistry with Logan, despite probably meeting him just that day.

Pairing Chemistry Grade: A+

Choreography Grade: A
This was some very powerful choreography and had a very unexpected concept/story. That being said, the choreography is perfect and tells it's story perfectly. This dance was very intricate, unique and overall, impressive. Very sad and moving, as well.

2. Dassy & All-Star Fik-Shun

Choreographer(s): Popin’ Pete, Hip-Hop
Song: “Shake Your Pants” by Cameo

Contestant Grade: A+
Dassy really knows how to work the camera. She is so much fun to watch! Her facial reactions within the dance work perfectly. It's amazing that someone could be on stage dancing with Fik-Shun, and not be overshadowed by his own amazingly fun and charismatic personality. Dassy clearly has fun with her dance and makes this routine more exciting to watch. Her chemistry with Fik-Shun is top-notch. She hits all of her moves perfectly and maybe even just a tad better than Fik-Shun..? Definitely up-to-par with him. (Not taking anything away from Fik-Shun.) She made the most of all of her moves, elevating her overall performance.

All-Star Grade: A
Fik-Shun is a previous winner for a reason. He is always a blast to watch. He always lights up the stage and gives a fun performance that is always worth watching. This routine was no different. I agree with Mary Murphey's comment, "Fik-Shun, you have finally found your match!" The chemistry between Fik-Shun and Dassy is outstanding and they look like they've been dancing together for years!

Pairing Chemistry Grade: A+

Choreography Grade: B+
What an incredibly fun hip-hop routine and the perfect one to open the show! This routine is fun, lively and energetic; It immediately catches your attention. Popin' Pete really made such great use of the beat in this song and the choreography works so perfectly. Dassy and Fik-Shun come off like dancing puppets sprung to life by the music and it's awesome. It's always fun to see a hip-hop routine that makes you want to get up and dance - and isn't so sexualized (isn't this show supposed to be family-friendly anyways?).

1. Mark & All-Star Comfort

Choreographer(s): Luther Brown, Hip-Hop
Song: “REDMERCEDES” by AminΓ©

Contestant Grade: A+ πŸ™ŒπŸ‘
Mark made sure he took this dance to the highest level he possibly could and he made it seem effortless all the while! Wow! His facials and personality throughout this dance really elevated it and took it to the next level. What a delivery of performance. He was able to catch every pocket to showcase his personality and did so without ever taking away from the choreography. It was incredibly impressive how quick he could switch from a more intense passion to a playful attitude and back again. Again, effortless and also seamless. He hit all of his moves perfectly and even added to them. He was insanely fun to watch - and hip-hop isn't even one of my favorite styles, my preference is for contemporary, ballet, jazz & swing! Furthermore, he looks like he's having the time of his life on stage! And it certainly helps us - the audience - have fun watching him. He had no shortage of passion in this dance. When Vanessa told Mark, "you love the camera, I can tell" and that he "gives it all up there on the stage", she was spot on.

*Side note: Even when Mark was on the floor while Comfort was doing her thing, he still made the most of his role, never taking a break.

All-Star Grade: A+ πŸ™ŒπŸ‘
BRAVO, girl! That solo part where she moved her feet to the quick beat was very impressive! It was also impressive the way she could pick up speed then slow it down without missing a beat. She also has such great personality when she dances. She definitely seemed to "feel good on stage" like she wanted. Whether she was giving us more of her fierceness or more of her smoothness and flow, she was always delivered a top-notch performance. I agree with Nigel, she danced "brilliantly". This was a blast to watch. The chemistry between Mark and Comfort was seriously off the charts.

*Side note: The way Vanessa said Comfort gets her "so riled up" was so funny. I wish they'd showed Comfort's facial reaction.

Pairing Chemistry Grade: A+

Choreography Grade: A+ πŸ™ŒπŸ‘
What an incredibly fun, energetic and creative hip-hop routine! This routine was very captivating from start to finish. It is very impressive how the choreography makes use of every little second in this routine, Bravo. This was such a perfect routine for this pairing as well, it really highlighted their "big", charismatic dancing personalities . The way the choreography would turn from quick and intense to slow and smooth was so entertaining and captivating. This routine really complimented this song in an unexpected but impressive way. It was very fun and had a certain "swagger" to it, for lack of a better word. Just a perfect hip-hop routine, performed perfectly. Furthermore, Comfort and Mark together, truly made this entire routine as fun as it could possibly be, absolutely. Bravo to everyone involved in this routine.

What did you think of this week's show? 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

So You Think You Can Dance Season 14 "Academy" Week 3 Review

If you haven't read/noticed by now, I love dance. It is very close to my heart and I personally find it to be such a therapeutic activity. So naturally, I love the show "So You Think You Can Dance", especially because it incorporates so many different styles of dance and such impressive choreography!

So I thought it would be fun to share some of my thoughts on the dancers and choreography etc. I would love to hear your guys' thoughts too! πŸ˜Š

Academy Week

All-Star Robert, has the best facial reactions to all of the dances - especially Ryan's Solo routine & Jenna's special-tailored routines for Kiki & Konkrete.

Even though I love the "Academy Week" format, of running the dancers through the different styles, in rounds as cuts are made; I do think it's a shame that we miss out on seeing so many of the actual dance performances. It would go a long way to help us understand why certain dancers were cut or chosen etc. - especially those who already had a "fan-base" from their auditions. Why show people who are cut without showing why?

Jazz Routine Thoughts

Gaby's Group
Evan DeBenedetto - Evan does a really great job and shows off some pretty good technical ability.
Lex Ishimoto - Lex pretty much kills it, even adding a bit of "pizzazz" in the personality department to make critics happy.
Natalie Delgado - Natalie is easily the weakest link here. She gives solid effort but she's clearly not as good as her peers on stage.

At the end of the number, Gaby thanks Natalie for bringing "Flamenco" to "So You Think You Can Dance" and "killing it in every round"... though we (the audience) clearly didn't get to see either of those things.

Paul's Group
Ramita Ravi - Ramita does a pretty good job but again, I think the way she tries to incorporate her own personal style isn't as seamless as it could be, and ends up hurting her performance more than helping it. 
Kristina Androsenko - Kristina shows a surprising degree of intensity in this routine, bringing the same amount of passion she does to her ballroom dances.
Sydney Tormey - Sydney does a good job overall and a great job for a ballroom dancer. There are times when she's a little off, but she's clearly trying.

At the end of the number, Paul sends Ramita home.

Jenna's Group
Kiki Nyemchek - For the first time, Kiki looks good dancing outside of his style. 
Kevin Davis Jr. - For all of the trouble that Kevin had earlier during practice, he does a pretty good job in this routine. He definitely has a certain charisma and passion that shows no matter what style of dance he is performing, and his sense of timing is pretty incredible. Overall, he keeps impressing and I think he would make a great choice for the live show.
Riley Kurilko  - Riley isn't entirely graceful as a contemporary dancer but he certainly has some skills to offer.

At the end of the number, Jenna seems to notice what I did about Kiki, calling jazz his "break out moment", but she questions whether it is enough. She scolds Kevin a bit for disappointing her with his attitude during jazz rehearsal. She tells Riley that he "soared through the week" but she "didn't feel a connection" and "it wasn't enough", letting him go. (What?!?) She then proceeds to tell Kevin that he is not allowed to doubt himself anymore and that he needs to show more confidence. She also tells him that he deserves to be here, which some of the all-stars visually and verbally agree with.

All-Star "Final 2" Routines Thoughts

Marko's Group
This dance is a sweet little number. Nothing too special but very sweet, nonetheless.
Choreography: C+
Sofia Ghavami - At certain points, Sofia seems to be behind the music and rushing the moves at the same time. She's also definitely not very graceful - though, not awkward either.
Koine Iwasaki,  - Although Koine is small, you can tell that she has a lot of strength and control in her movements. She is so graceful yet technical in her moves, she seems to come off as being "weightless".

Personally, I think Marko should choose Koine. When he danced with Sofia, the dance itself lost some of it's integrity and came off more amateur. When he danced with Koine, the dance itself came to life and came off much more beautiful. Furthermore, Koine seemed to be surprisingly versatile, exceeding expectations in the hip-hop and ballroom routines. Definitely the better all-around dancer.

Gaby's Group
Tap dancing might not always sound like the most interesting style of dance but Gaby certainly knows how to make it interesting. Her choreography went well to the music and was fun to watch. It wasn't particularly outstanding but definitely required some talent in the tapping department.
Choreography: B-

Evan DeBenedetto - Evan was pretty flawless as far as the moves went. However, when it comes to "dancing personality", nothing about his performance really grabbed you and made you watch him.
Lex Ishimoto - For the first time, Lex seemed to have a little bit of a mishap but it was small and quick. That being said, Lex gave plenty of personality in this routine and it was quite charming as well! (It even had a little bit of a "suave" quality to it.) And aside from the one little mishap, Lex did a pretty great job - especially keeping up with Gaby's crazy tapping ability!

Personally, I think Gaby should choose Lex. Not only has he pretty much been my #1 pick since he auditioned for his amazing talent and abilities, but he's so much more versatile, which is what this show thrives on. Furthermore, for all of the talk about "dancing personality", I love Lex's! It's a little bashful and coy, but it's also incredibly charming.

Cyrus's Group
Interesting "routine" here. It wasn't super exciting and it didn't really give his contestants too much chance to showcase their talents and abilities.
Choreography: C

Kaylee Millis - Kaylee did a surprisingly pretty great job with this hip-hop routine considering her personal style is "contemporary fusion". There were many moments where she looked like a natural hip-hop dancer.
Huwer Havoc Marche - Havoc clearly knows what he's doing when it comes to his own unique style. Unfortunately, it really doesn't seem like he does too great of a job diversifying outside of his style.

Personally, I think Cyrus should choose Kaylee because she's more versatile, otherwise both are pretty equal picks.

Jenna's Group
Jenna is the only all-star to choreograph 2 separate routines for her dancers - in order to compliment their personal styles - and we all thank her for it! WOW! Also, Jenna knows what she's doing and knows how to use the choreography to highlight her contestants! Thank you again!

"Paso" Choreography: B+

Kiki Nyemchek - The best Kiki has EVER looked in this entire competition so far, is with Jenna's choreography and partnership. She makes him go quicker than we've ever seen him go, a key to highlighting a ballroom male dancer. If it weren't for this routine, I wouldn't have realized just how quick Kiki is on his feet. This dance required a lot of passion and control, of which Kiki delivered without a problem. The ending pose will surely be talked about for many different reasons. Personally, I agree with Kevin, "That was too much sauce." It really seemed like Jenna and Kiki needed to get a room at the end of that dance. Kind of uncomfortable to be honest...
*Side Note: Jenna is a phenomenal ballroom dancer! Wow!

"Krump" Choreography: A

I don't know how Jenna figured to make "ballroom" and "krump" work so well together but she really did. The contrast of styles really elevated this entire dance and made it so captivating to watch! It really heightened the intensity of the entire routine and that scream sequence was breathtaking. That being said, this routine had some more cheap "seductive" sell-points but it also had some interesting moves of technique and talent as well. The end lift and pose was also completely outstanding. I would say the "Paso" routine was more consistent but the "Krump" routine had higher hits when it did hit.
*Side Note: Jenna was actually impressive the way she did the krump sequence with Kevin towards the end, really elevating this entire performance. BRAVO!

Kevin Davis Jr. - Just as he had delivered in all previous rounds, Kevin definitely delivered in this one! In fact, Kevin really stood out and delivered an outstanding performance in this routine! It was tailored to his style but he killed it. As Jenna said, "You went there."

Personally, I think Jenna should pick Kevin. My reaction was pretty much exactly what Robert's was, shock and awe due to such an impressive performance. Furthermore, from what we've seen so far, Kevin actually seems to adapt pretty well to the other styles; Better than Kiki did, anyways. I know Jenna seemed to have a personal, romantic connection with Kiki and he's a ballroom champion or whatever, but I still think Kevin would be the better choice for the show.

Most of the the other dances/dancers weren't featured enough for full notes and grades but I'll still share my thoughts and picks below:

Paul's Group
Kristina Androsenko vs. Sydney Tormey

Personally, I think Paul should pick Kristina. I think Kristina is a more polished dancer and they seem to work better together. I think Sydney wouldn't be a bad choice, but she certainly has some room to grow.

Robert's Group:
Jonathan Wade vs. Taylor Sieve

Personally, I think Robert should pick either one, really, but I guess Taylor. (She was definitely highlighted more.) I think either one would make a good pick.

Allison's Group:
Zachary Downer vs. Logan Hernandez

Personally, I think Allison should not have been allowed to have Zachary and Logan on the same team as they both equally deserve to be on the show. They both have wonderful skills and tremendous talent and prove why this particular format and process of selection and elimination sucks! If I really had to pick like she does, I guess I'd pick Zachary. He seems a little more technically sound and I like his "dancing personality" more.

Comfort's Group:
Mark Villaver vs. Deja Williams

Personally, I think Comfort should pick Mark. He has a really fun personality and seems to be the bettter dancer than Deja. (But you know, editing, so we don't really know.) He definitely seems to stand out whenever he's on stage though.

Jasmine's Group:
Robert Green vs. Howard Johnson

Personally, I think Jasmine should pick Robert. I think Howard is a really good dancer and is more technically sound than Robert. However, Robert has the perfect "dancing personality". He's definitely one of the most charismatic dancers in the top 20. Every time he is dancing, he makes you watch him and doesn't let you regret it. It's a shame they;re on the same team because I don't think Howard should be cut but if we have to choose (and we do), then I'd pick Robert.

Fik-Shun's Group:
Dassy Lee vs. Kyle Bennett Jr.

Personally, I think Fik-Shun should pick Dassy. Perhaps this is just personal preference but they just seem like two peas in a pod and I think they'd be a ton of fun watching together. I don't think Kyle would be a bad choice but he's not as technically sound or diverse, so I think he has a lot of room to grow.

What did you guys think of the "Academy" weeks? Who do you think will make the Top 10? Who do you want to make the Top 10?

Share your picks for Top 10 here! 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

So You Think You Can Dance Season 14 "Academy" Week 1 & 2 Review

If you haven't read/noticed by now, I love dance. It is very close to my heart and I personally find it to be such a therapeutic activity. So naturally, I love the show "So You Think You Can Dance", especially because it incorporates so many different styles of dance and such impressive choreography!

So I thought it would be fun to share some of my thoughts on the dancers and choreography etc. I would love to hear your guys' thoughts too! πŸ˜Š

Academy Week

All-Star Robert, has the best facial reactions to all of the dances - especially Ryan's Solo routine & Jenna's special-tailored routines for Kiki & Konkrete.

Even though I love the "Academy Week" format, of running the dancers through the different styles, in rounds as cuts are made; I do think it's a shame that we miss out on seeing so many of the actual dance performances. It would go a long way to help us understand why certain dancers were cut or chosen etc. - especially those who already had a "fan-base" from their auditions. Why show people who are cut without showing why?

Hip-Hop Routine Thoughts

Robert Green, is the stand-out in his group. He has such a natural charisma when he dances that makes you want to watch him, and makes you have fun watching him too!

Koine Iwasaki & Mark Villaver, were the stand-out "couple" in their group. They had amazing chemistry that you could see right away and they looked like they were having a blast! Totally a surprise since hip-hop is not Koine's specialty. (I think she has a good chance of making it far in this competition.)

Sydney Tormey & Logan Hernandez, had surprising chemistry together and looked really good together - especially considering that hip-hop is outside of both of their styles.

Lex Ishimoto, is obviously a stand-out favorite from the beginning. He was surprisingly good in the hip-hop routine, showing why he's such a good all-around dancer. I don't know why anyone says anything about his "personality" when he dances; I guess they need something to criticize him about so it's not so obvious how exceptional he is? He clearly gave personality with his face in this number and did a good job with it, too.

Kiki Nyemchek, did a really bad job at the start of this hip-hop number. It almost seemed like he wasn't there to learn the beginning of the routine like everyone else or something, as he clearly "picked up" as the number went on - though never reached above a "decent" performance. Compared to his partner, it also seemed like he wasn't having any fun dancing either. He looked frustrated to have to be dancing.

Sofia Ghavami & Kevin Davis Jr., were surprising pretty good together. This was especially surprising since Sofia is not a hip-hop dancer at all.

Kevin Davis Jr., had 5 all-stars who wanted him on their team: Allison, Cyrus, Jasmine, Comfort, Fik-Shun. He said he wanted to "be wise about this decision" because he knows he doesn't know a lot of styles and chooses Allison. He really decided to take a chance and grow as a dancer, something very admirable.

Dassy Lee
 is clearly a perfect fit for Fik-Shun and I cannot wait to see them dance together!

Logan Hernandez, has Robert, Allison and Jenna - who actually went as far as to tell Logan that if he picked her team, he basically had a sure-fire spot on the show. Surprisingly, he chose Allison. Very interesting as now he is pitted against Kevin.

Lex Ishimoto, was only shown to have Robert and Gaby choose him for their team.... Really?

Sydney Tormey chose Paul as he was in her style instead of Robert; making the "safe" choice.

Mark Villaver, had to choose between Allison and Comfort. It was interesting that he said he "trusts energy" and chose Comfort. (I guess Allison's over-energetic approach was a turn-off.) I think it was the right choice for him, especially since Allison already has Kevin and Logan at this point.

Robert Green, seemed to only be chosen by Jasmine? Weird because I thought he did a great job and had great personality. At least he was chosen, I guess.

Sade Austin, doesn't make it through even though she clearly did well in the hip-hop routine. I wonder why she didn't make the cut?

Kiki Nyemchek, actually gets immediately picked for a team (despite his hip-hop performance)! By Jenna. He's apparently something of a ballroom expert - which is why she picked him - so it'll be interesting to see how he does in the other dance styles.

Contemporary Routine Thoughts

Taylor Sieve, does a clearly tremendous job in her routine. You'd think she would've impressed the judges enough that Robert would've had someone to fight with to get her on his team, yet he didn't. She is the first dancer to join Robert's team. (Ironic that Robert had such a hard time getting contestants. As a contemporary dancer myself, I would've easily picked him.)

Dassy Lee, Mark Villaver & Robert Green, seem to do a good job in the contemporary round, though we don't get to see much of their routines.

Matthew Deloch, seem to do a good job in the contemporary round, though we don't get to see much of their routines.

Huwer Havoc Marche, has a few great moments in the contemporary but for the most part, he either forgets his moves or doesn't move at all. Cyrus gives him a chance by letting him "dance for your life" in a solo routine. The solo impresses Cyrus enough to offer Havoc a spot on his team.

Ballroom Routine Thoughts

Jensen Arnold, does a good job in ballroom though not an outstanding job despite the fact that it's her specialty. Whoever the other female dancer was on the floor, seemed to be doing a much better job but for whatever reason, didn't get the spotlight. Robert chooses Jensen as his last "missing puzzle piece".

Vasily Androsenko & Koine Iwasaki, are paired together for the ballroom routine. Even though Vasily's "specialty" is ballroom, he surprisingly makes a few mistakes. In fact, he is even almost cut as a result. However, Paul steps in for the save and adds him to his team, despite the fact that he "had other plans". Also surprising, Koine does a great job - especially accounting for Vasily's mistakes. She's definitely a much more well-rounded dancer then she's been presented as.

Kevin Davis Jr. & Dassy Lee, both of whom come from a more hip-hop background, do surprisingly well in the ballroom routine. They had good chemistry together and both executed the moves pretty well.

Lex Ishimoto, Sydney Tormey & Kaylee, are all briefly featured and all seem to do good jobs. This is especially true of Lex and Kaylee, who are not (generally) ballroom dancers.

Evan DeBenedetto & Alexis Gilbert, make an interesting pairing for ballroom. Evan shows that ballroom is definitely not his strong suit, though he's clearly trying, but Alexis does a really great job - despite the fact that her specialty is "contemporary". In fact, her performance was impressive enough to land a spot on ballroom-dancer Jenna's team.

Group Routines Thoughts

Paul's Group
This dance is just silly. It has an interesting concept and the parts between Vasily & Kristina are pretty good, but unfortunately for Sydney & Ramita, they don't get much of a chance to showcase their own talents.
Choreography: C-
Kristina Androsenko - It seems like maybe she did the majority of choreography as she seems to be the only one who enjoys it and makes it look like a coherent dance number.
Vasily Androsenko - When he dances with his wife, he does a great job. With everyone else however, he only did a mediocre job. 
Sydney Tormey - Even though this is a heavily ballroom-influenced dance number, Sydney doesn't really shine in this and her execution comes off a bit sloppy or lazy in this number.
Ramita Ravi - I actually think Ramita's Indian influence on her dancing is an interesting touch and adds to contemporary routines. Unfortunately, the way it is executed in this routine particularly, it really hurts her cause, more than helping it - and honestly serves to make the entire routine seem disjointed.

At the end of the number, it is Vasily who is sent home.

Allison's Group
It was actually very interesting how this 3/4 contemporary group did a mainly contemporary number yet allowed Kevin to show off his much different krumping style throughout.
Choreography: B+

Logan Hernandez - It makes sense that Logan was the prime choreographer as he does a great job in this number and really seems to enjoy himself.
Zachary Downer - Zachary just kills it in this number. The way he moves his body is so beautiful and his kicks and turns are so graceful! 
Abby Griffin - Abby does a decent job but unfortunately, there are definitely a few spots where she is visibly behind in her steps than everyone else on stage - including Kevin. Additionally, there are also times where it seems she's not giving it her all, coming off somewhat sloppy compared to her fellow dancers.
Kevin Davis Jr.  - Even though contemporary is not his style, he actually does a pretty good job fusing his own style within this number. He provides a unique touch that doesn't take away from the routine at all and actually elevates it instead, with it's unique contrast. He definitely gives it his all and does not disappoint.

At the end of the number, Allison chooses to send home Kevin (WHAT?!?). This was definitely a mistake. I can't think of any reason she wouldn't have sent home Abby before Kevin. Luckily, Jenna decides to swoop in for the save, saying, "I can't let Kevin go." and asks him to be on her team. As a result, Jenna will now have to eliminate 2 of her team members.

Jenna's Group
This was an interesting routine. Certainly not great but certainly not horrible either. Unlike say, Allison's group for example, this routine really didn't showcase the talents of the different dancers involved. The concept here was smart considering all other factors, but the execution just came off a little sloppy and not very well-rehearsed (or very well choreographed).
Choreography: C
Kiki Nyemchek - Kiki does a decent job but he looks out of his element when he's not performing in his own style. He never seems to have fun when performing a non-ballroom routine - and never really gives an above decent performance outside of his style either, so far.
JJ - JJ does a decent job and shows off some strength with the way he carries Alexis; However, he only shows an average technical ability.
Riley Kurilko - Riley definitely shows some potential and showcases some of his talent in this routine; Perhaps having the best technique of everyone else in the group.
Alexis Gilbert - As the only female in this group, Alexis gets a rare chance to get the majority spotlight in her group. Unfortunately, she doesn't use it to deliver. Her performance is a little sloppy, her technique is only decent and she definitely needs some work when it comes to a "dancing personality".

At the end of the number, Jenna must eliminate 2 members from her team (which probably wasn't all that hard for her at this point). She decides to eliminate Alexis and JJ.

What did you think? Did you like the routines? Did you agree with the picks and eliminations? Do you like the format for the "Academy" weeks?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

"Ranked:Disney Princesses From Least To Most Feminist" Response

With the trend of so-called "feminist" Disney princesses in more recent years, many feminists are bashing the older princesses for "not being feminist enough". Is this true? If a female meets "feminist" standards more than "conventionally feminine" standards, does that make her a better female? I thought feminism claimed to be about choice and women being able to choose whichever kind of woman they wanted to be?

Many feminists like to say that feminism is the "belief that women are equal to men/deserve equal rights". If this is real feminism then how can anyone compare how feminist they are without creating specific standards to be a feminist? Once you add these standards, you are no longer talking about equal rights between men and women. These "standards" bully and pressure girls and women to conform to a certain type of "feminist" rather than being encouraged to make their own choices.

Take this article for example: Ranked: Disney Princesses From Least To Most Feminist
*Note: This article only lists franchise princesses from Snow White to Rapunzel

(Article comments in regular font, my response/comments in bold; Rankings are the article's, not my own:)

10. Aurora

"Aurora has no interesting qualities; she's pretty, demure, and generally kind, in the way princesses are (i.e., "to animals)."

So feminists can't be pretty or demure or generally kind? Why are those the only qualities listed anyway? Poetic and philosophical aren't interesting? When Aurora is out singing in the forest, she sings:

"I wonder, I wonder
I wonder why each little bird has a someone
To sing to, sweet things to
A gay little lark melody?
I wonder if my heart keeps singing, 
Will my song go winging
To someone, who'll find me
And bring back a love song to me?"

The way Aurora articulates herself is very poetic. Unlike Snow White who wishes for love and Cinderella who might dream for love, Aurora wonders about love and is talking here about the concept of soul mates and how it works.

How can someone say she has no interesting qualities? She is also strong and humble, willing to make sacrifices and put her kingdom before herself. While some people might not agree with this choice of hers, isn't feminism supposed to be out respecting a woman's choice?

"The early Disney films were all strange fables with beautiful scenery and women who made no choices for themselves."

This just isn't true at all. Even in Sleeping Beauty, the main heroines are the 3 good fairies who are all women. They get the most screen time of all of the characters. They do equal or more work than Phillip to save Aurora. Their choice to take Aurora into the forest and raise her for 16 years was completely their idea and it beat out the King's choice.

9. Snow White

"Snow White also conveniently falls asleep for much of this film"

Clearly this person has never really seen this film as Snow White is awake for the majority of the film. She only goes to sleep at the end, after she meets the prince for the first time, after she is warned by the Huntsman to run away, after she finds the Dwarfs' cottage and cleans it then falls asleep, after she meets the Dwarfs and makes them wash up for dinner, after they all have a song and dance after dinner and she tells them the story of her falling in love, after she sends them all off to work, after she bakes the pie for Grumpy and after she gets tricked by the Evil Queen. Then she eats the apple and falls asleep, the Dwarfs chase the Queen and she dies, the Prince gives Snow a kiss of true love and she wakes up. So the notion that she's asleep for much of the film is a lie.

"she doesn't demonstrate a lot of agency or courage. Still, she outranks Aurora, because when she runs sobbing to the tiny cottage and finds that it's populated with seven small men, she doesn't turn tail and flee. She puts some steel into her spine and makes do, which is pretty impressive for a woman who talks to birds."

Snow White is told that her stepmother wants her dead and that she has to leave everything she knows behind, including the new love she finally found after being treated so horribly. She has a frightening ordeal in a dark, scary forest and yes, she cries at the end like a regular human being might do after going through such a traumatizing event. However, then something happens. She chooses to be optimistic, to stop her crying and focus on finding a solution rather than focusing on the problem. She is all alone yet she has the courage as a princess to figure out how to make do with her new life. She doesn't go sobbing to the cottage, she finds the cottage because she asks the animals if they know of a safe place where she can go.

Not only does she not turn and flee when she realizes the cottage owners are the seven small men, but she basically runs that house and becomes their leader. She doesn't "put some steel into her spine", she was courageous and strong to begin with. That's why all that time being treated like a servant didn't break her.

8. Cinderella

"I've never understood why kids enjoy this movie, because it's just one disaster after another"

Actually, this movie shows the ups-and-downs of life and how we have to be able to handle both. Towards the beginning, Gus is in a mouse trap but Cinderella frees him; the mice successfully devise a plan to distract Lucifer so they can all get food; when Cinderella cannot make her own dress, the animals step in and do it for her; when the evil stepsisters destroy Cinderella's dress, the Fairy Godmother comes in and makes things even better than they were before; when Cinderella is trapped in her room, the animal friends (she had chosen to make) help her escape; when Lady Tremaine (evil stepmother) trips the royal guy and the glass slipper breaks, Cinderella pulls the other shoe she chose to keep, out of her pocket and guarantees her own freedom.

"not only is this poor girl kind of enslaved, but then pretty much everything she tries to do to make her life better blows up in her face. Anyway, Cinderella doesn't get much of a chance to be feminist"

Except that her choices don't blow up in her face, they lead to her finding her happy ending. Cinderella was never going to be invited to the ball but she chose to stand up for herself, cite the law and assert her right to go. In that moment her entire life changed because it led to meeting her Fairy Godmother and her true love in the Prince.

"Of course, she still needs to be rescued by outside forces, so it's hard to place her too highly."

So if a gunman held you hostage and the police had to rescue you, would that make you less of a feminist because you couldn't take out the gunman and rescue yourself? As stated before, Cinderella did her part in making the choices to stand up for herself where she could, but we don't live in this world alone and a fact of life is that at one point or another, we are going to need someone else's help. That doesn't make us a weaker person, it makes us part of a society.

7. Ariel

"But on the other hand, the thing she loves is a boy she saw playing a flute on a boat for twenty seconds."

Loving a boy should be Ariel's choice. What's so bad about wanting love or fighting for it? Are feminists not allowed to fall in love? Furthermore, it is not "a boy she saw playing a flute on a boat for twenty seconds" and I have made an entire argument defending this relationship which I will not go into again now. (Link provided.)

"Ariel disempowers herself for the patriarchy, actually trading her voice — her voice — for a chance with a cute boy."

Honestly did this person even see the movie? Ariel traded her voice to a matriarchal figure, a woman, Ursula, who knowingly took advantage of her. She traded her voice for everything she ever wanted - to be on land and the "cute boy" that she fell for was a bonus. Again, is there a rule that feminists aren't allowed to have feelings for cute boys?

"She's either mute or unable to walk until the very end, when her father has to bestow freedom upon her."

She's either mute or unable to walk because of the choice she made or because of the woman who tricked her (Ursula). When her father bestows "freedom", it was more than that: He was using his power for something that she wanted and even though he was the king and father, he was submitting to what she wanted and accepting that he had been wrong and she was right.

"Oh yeah, and the whole time, she's wearing a clamshell bikini."

Are feminists not allowed to wear 2-piece bathing suits? Does this person know Ariel is supposed to be a mermaid - which in some myths are often just topless? Doesn't feminism fight for women's choice to wear what they want? Then how is that used against her?

"her overall message isn't terribly progressive."

How is it not progressive? Ariel transcends two completely different cultures. While her father is limited to his fear and bad experiences with this other group, Ariel is the one who is progressive and open-minded and even eventually gets her father to change his mind. How is that not progressive?

6. Belle

"Her major feat might be that instead of giving up her voice, she voluntarily makes herself a prisoner, but that's not much of a step for womankind. At least she's empowered enough to resent her imprisonment, though."

While I think Belle's choice to voluntarily become a prisoner was foolish and impulsive, what does that have to do with being a step for womankind? The way this person talks, I'm sure they would not have appreciated Belle going back to the village and getting "outside forces" to rescue her father so what did they expect? Would they have preferred for Belle to be a murderer and killed the Beast to rescue her father? Or for her to have been murdered by the Beast trying to physically fight him? And why would resenting oneself for the choice they made be a sign of empowerment? She put her family before herself because she wanted to. Why is that selflessness not considered empowering?

"she's the first princess to express some skepticism about married life."

So do feminism and anti-marriage go hand-in-hand? Why would being skeptical about marriage in general be considered empowering? Furthermore, Belle didn't express skepticism about married life, she expressed skepticism about marrying someone like Gaston. She told her father that she wanted love, but she had higher standards for a marriage partner than Gaston. That's empowering.

"But ultimately, Belle falls for a domineering man, because she thinks she can change him."

Anyone who watches this film knows that she did change him. That's the whole point of the film and his physical transformation proves it. The way the Beast was before, was not deserving of love. Her positive example and willingness to meet him half way is what helped him change and become a better man. This is very representative of what happens when men (or women) fall in love - they often start worrying about this other person more than themselves and it changes their perspective and makes them less selfish. This was a tribute to how much better Belle's character was then pretty much all of the male - and other female - characters around her.

5. Jasmine

"Like Belle, she's skeptical of marriage, and demonstrates the same nerve and curiosity."

Wrong. Like Belle, she demonstrates a desire and determination to marry for love and not convenience, power or status.

"Jasmine is also pretty brave in matters of the heart, falling for a completely inadequate "street rat" and whisking him out of poverty, instead of the other way around."

Why is it considered brave when Jasmine falls in love but not the other princesses, especially when the other princesses have more reason to be skeptical of love? Snow, Cinderella and Aurora had all (presumably) grown up for quite some time without a father to show them a positive example. Jasmine did grow up with her father though and had a man who loved her before Aladdin - albeit different ways. Why was it not brave of Ariel to fall in love with someone from a different species or for Belle to fall in love with the Beast? It seems the only reason Jasmine is being considered "brave" here is because of the feminist agenda to get more women to pay for men instead of the other way around. Why should that be forced on women? Why can't some women choose the original way, especially if they find it to be more romantic and their husband still respects them for that choice?

"Unfortunately, Jasmine's only power lies in her sexuality. At the end of the movie, she's reduced to seducing Jafar to save her life. And though that's sometimes the only power women have in the real world, it's sad to think of little girls walking away with that message."

This is not Jasmine's only power but unfortunately, it's the one she keeps choosing. Jasmine is intelligent and outspoken, she just hasn't learned to harness those powers the way she did with her sexuality. I do agree that little girls should not be taught to focus on their sexuality though, as I think it is too mature and harmful for them.

Different people have different perspectives and therefore make different choices. Why do feminist articles about the Disney Princesses constantly undermine the diversity of women?

"On the other hand, major points for at least verbally refusing to be objectified. 'I am not a prize to be won'"

One of the most harmful quotes ever spoken by a Disney princess. So many people confuse it for being empowering when in reality it is not. EVERY GIRL SHOULD BE A PRIZE TO BE WON IF SHE VALUES HERSELF. When you respect yourself and you want the best for yourself, you will see yourself as a prize to be won by only the kind of person who deserves you that you choose.

And no points for being hypocritical. If you do not want to be objectified then do not objectify yourself, you are sending the wrong message that way.

How can this author complain about Ariel's "clamshell bikini" as a mermaid yet not complain about Jasmine's attire?

4. Rapunzel

"She's one of the few Disney princesses to wield a weapon"

Why would wielding a weapon be a positive thing? Most feminists are fighting for people to use less weapons, not more, so why should it ever be considered empowering just for a princess to wield a weapon?

"She also recognizes the unfairness of her plight and finds a way out of it, outwitting her "mother," who is in fact her kidnapper, to venture to the outside world."

Did this person watch any of these Disney Princess films? Actually she lies to her mother and tricks her but that gets a pass only because the "mother" is actually a kidnapper. Also, anyone who saw this film knows that it was actually Eugene and not Rapunzel, an "outside force", who outwitted Mother Gothel in the end as HE is the one who took the knife and cut Rapunzel's hair with it, which is what ultimately rescued Rapunzel from Mother Gothel.

That being said, unlike this person, I don't believe that a woman choosing to fall in love with a man who chooses to support her and save her is "not" empowering nor that it takes anything away from their other good qualities.

3. Tiana

"I'm also fond of Tiana because she falls for a penniless loser (albeit one who's actually a prince), subverting the whole idea that girls need to be saved."

So this person has no concern at all that Naveen is a huge flirt who wasn't really sure if he could give up all other women and was cut off from his parents for being a loser? Is it really better if he needs to be saved? Under the idea of equality, how is that not just as bad as if the genders were reversed?

"But then Tiana pulls a by-this-point-fairly-typical Disney princess stunt, where she has to sacrifice something she really cares about for the man she loves."

What "by-this-point-fairly-typical Disney princess stunt" is this person talking about?
Snow White sacrificed nothing for the man she loved, she was freed and treated better.
Cinderella sacrificed nothing for the man she loved, she was freed and treated better.
Aurora sacrificed nothing for the man she loved, she had chosen her kingdom and duties over love but it ended up working out anyways. (What makes one sacrifice more feminist than the other, either way it is her choice?)
Ariel sacrificed her voice for legs, but then she got her voice and legs back, and ultimately sacrificed nothing but still got everything she wanted.
Belle sacrificed her freedom to save her father, but then she got herself freed anyway and also sacrificed nothing in the end yet found love and happiness and everything she wanted.
Jasmine sacrificed nothing for the man she loved, she got the laws changed in her favor because her father wanted to make her happy.
Pocahontas sacrificed nothing for the man she loved, she chose to sacrifice the man instead so she could stay and presumably become Queen of her tribe someday. (Again, what really makes one choice more feminist than the other if feminism is supposed to be about women having the right to make A choice, not forcing them to choose a specific one?)
Mulan sacrificed nothing for the man she loved, she took her father's place because she loved her father and she ended up saving China and bringing honor to her family. Then the man she loved came to her at the end, so she got to have love despite the matchmaking failure after all, as well as being a hero.

And anyways, sometimes love does come with sacrifices. Sometimes the man makes sacrificed, sometimes the woman does, and sometimes both do. That doesn't make it any less empowering as long as it is their choice.

"Still, she eventually opens that business and name it after herself. For that alone, she has to rank pretty high."

So if she called her business "New Orleans' Best" or "Creole Utopia" or "Bayou Comfort" or anything that wasn't her name, would that also make it less feminist? Aren't all of these "feminist standards and points" getting plain silly and ridiculous?

2. Pocahontas

"Pocahontas doesn't need saving by anybody."

Lucky Pocahontas, what does that have to do with equality for women? We cannot choose the life we are born into and we cannot control every situation that occurs. If something happens and we end up in a scenario where we need to be saved, why should that be held against us? Why should that be held against someone just because they are a female? If a man gets locked in an elevator and needs to be saved, does that make him less empowered? I don't think so. How can someone make a blanket notion like a woman "needing to be saved" means she's less empowered when anything like that could happen to anyone - male or female? That seems pretty sexist to me.

"she even breaks up with the guy with a whole 'it's not you, it's my path' speech."

It's interesting to me. I have never heard a woman, especially not a feminist, say that a guy breaking up with her and giving her an "it's not you, it's my path" speech was just him being empowered. It's very hypocritical that they would call it empowering when a woman does it though. Sounds like more sexism rather than "feminism" as defined by "equality for men and women".

For anyone who cares about the real Pocahontas:

Interesting how the feminists don't say her tribe was sexist, rather that they just have different cultural values. So why would it be seen as sexist today rather than a cultural preference?

1. Mulan

"She's the only one to overtly challenge the gender roles of her society"

Overall Summary:

Some women want to embrace their femininity rather than reject it (or bash it). Whichever choice they make, the empowering part is in their ability to make that choice, not picking the one that feminists tell you that you have to pick. Let women be diverse - including conventionally feminine women.

True love is empowering and so is embracing yourself and your femininity. Don't let feminists take that away from you (or the Disney Princesses). Equality does not mean not being feminine or not finding romantic love.