Get Down With The #TheParentJam

It’s no secret I love a good marriage proposal, at least ones that are sweet, romantic and creative, not one that will make me second-hand embarrassed. Recently, a proposal which falls into the first category went viral, and it’s become my favorite one yet.

The gentleman in this video, Phil Wright, is a well-known choreographer, while his longtime girlfriend Ashley Lai is also a dancer. So it’s no surprise that he incorporated their mutual passion into popping the question, and the result is tear-inducing and will possibly make you transform into the emoji with heart eyes.

I’d heard of Phil before because he teaches hip-hop at some local LA studios, and there’s one class in particular that isn’t just your normal dance class. It’s for kids AND adults, particularly their parents. Let me introduce you to #TheParentJam.

When I was growing up, there was a section of our dance studio where parents (usually moms) would sit while their kids (usually daughters) had their class. I’m sure anyone who took dance as a kid can relate, but Phil wanted to get those same parents off their seats and onto the floor. His beginner hip hop class invites parents (or grandparents) to join the little ones and learn the same routine. It’s not about how well you do it, it’s about how much passion you put in and most importantly, enjoy the time bonding and dancing with your kids.

Let Phil (who’s dancing with his niece) show you how it’s done.

Ok, let’s get into it. These videos will immediately bring you all the joy, which is definitely what we need right now. First up, the father/daughter duo. Check out dad’s facial expressions (and Ham t-shirt).

Yes, ma! Get into those cabbage patches!

Mom ain’t worried ’bout NOTHINGGGGG

BEAST. I’m CRYING R U CRYING YET

Carly Rae bringing families together

They got the coordinated outfits DOWN.

Me as a mom:

When dad just HAS to show off the pop lockin skills he used to do in the ’80s

No, but this is my favorite. ❤ ❤ ❤

I’m starting to think the coordinated outfits are like *the thing*

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#theparentjam – They Killed it 🔥🔥🔥🔥

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Baby on the beat

Gangnam Style was actually recorded for this very reason. For parents to be able to dance with their kids to a popular tune.

Sorry mom, but your kids committed way more to the cause.

GRAMPS IS BACK

Um hey what’s up hello blue hoodie dad.

Serving face.

BONUS!

James Franco sans kid. No idea why he didn’t just go to a regular hip hop class. Get at me James. I know where you can go on Monday nights.

Pop Culture Blind Spot: Dirty Dancing

Warm up those hips and grab a watermelon because it’s time for another installment of Pop Culture Blind Spot!  And today we’re heading back to family summer camp and celebrating Dirty Dancing, which was released on this day exactly 30 years ago. Even after three decades, the movie still holds up. Let’s dive right in and revisit one of the greatest movies that defined a generation.

Statements of note from the trailer:

“The heat is in the music. The music sets you dancing. The dancing sets her free.”

“She thought it would be just another summer vacation, but it turns out to be the time of her life.”

“What they learn from each other feels too good to be wrong.”

My knowledge of this movie: Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey do a lot of dancing. Kenny Ortega of High School Musical fame choreographed it. Kelly Bishop aka Emily Gilmore is also in it, but I always manage to forget this fact.

The reason I had never seen Dirty Dancing is from a lack of not wanting to see it. By nature, it should be a movie I love – romance, impressive dance sequences, drama, comedy. I just never got around to watching it. Thank God for Netflix, amirite, ladies? So here we are, almost 28 years to the day it was released on August 21st, 1987, and I’m sharing my thoughts with you on it for the very first time. Here goes nothing.

2:20 This movie takes place in 1963? Definitely did not know that. I thought it was just another 80s movie.

2:44 I remember that Kelly Bishop is in this movie. I know, I know. She’s a Tony Award winning actress of stage and screen, but to me she will forever and always be Emily Gilmore. And to quote the Gilmore Guys podcast, Bishop is Queen.

2:57 I knew there was greenery and cabin-looking structures in this movie, but I was not aware it takes place at a sleepaway camp for families. Does anyone go to this kind of camp anymore? Do these even exist?

3:24 The cars lining up to Kellerman’s camp legit looks like moving in day for freshman at my college.

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3:54 Is Newman from Seinfeld in this? [the answer is yes]

5:00 MAMA KELLY BISHOP IS SERVING IN THIS DANCE SCENE, DESPITE THE FACT THEY’RE SMUSHED TOGETHER LIKE A BUNCH OF SARDINES.

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7:20 I get Patrick Swayze now.

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7:55 “You just put your pickle on everybody’s plate, college boy, and leave the hard stuff to me.” – Johnny Castle, an employee at a Jewish family camp, definitely NOT a porn star.

9:00 Baby is set up with some doofus who is the camp owner’s grandson, a dude named Neil who is going to Cornell for Hotel Management. Meanwhile, Baby’s got her eyes on going to Mount Holyoke to study the economics of underdeveloped countries and then enter the Peace Corps. Obviously well matched.

10:30 Johnny Castle and the blonde dance instructor Penny take center stage at this dance Baby and Neil are at, clearly auditioning for whatever the version of Dancing with the Stars was in 1963. However, they get cockblocked by the owner Max who wants them to dance with the guests instead.

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13:37 After being forced to appear in a magic show and awarded a chicken for participation, Baby wanders into the staff quarters, which is a big no no. What a rebel.

14:30 Baby runs into a guy holding three huge watermelons, but they really just look like three prop pickles. There is no way he could carry three of those on his own. Come on.

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15:00 Baby enters the secret staff dance party where the literal Dirty Dancing is going down. Basically this type of dancing is grinding on top of your partner with no room for the holy spirit at all. Which I guess doesn’t matter for the employees of this Jewish camp.

17:00 This soundtrack is amazing, by the way. I’m a sucker for 60s/Motown era music. Still blown away that this takes place in 1963.

20:00 Johnny teaching Baby how to roll her hips is the most awkward. It’s like she’s about to drop a deuce right on the dance floor. (GOD HELP ME I NEVER WANT TO SAY DROP A DEUCE AGAIN)

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21:00 For some reason, an activity for the women at this camp is to try on wigs. What else is available at this camp – How To Cook A Proper Roast For Your Man or Top Tips For Cleaning Your Curlers?

25:00 Penny is pregnant. I was not aware there was a pregnancy twist in this film. Despite attempting to help a devastated Penny, she tells her to GTFO. And apparently the father of this baby is the asshole misogynistic server in the restaurant.

30:00 To remedy this, Baby asks her doctor dad Jerry Orbach for $300 to do a “non illegal” activity – aka she’s going to pay for Penny’s abortion??? This is a lot of money for someone she just met a day ago. Is she trying to prove something or is she just a good person? Or trying to prove she’s a good person?

33:42 Baby agrees to take Penny’s place in a dance competition since she’ll be recovering from her aforementioned abortion – is there really no one else qualified to take Penny’s place? A sub dance instructor at the camp, perhaps? Baby can barely roll her hips around, as we learned earlier. She’s worse than Julia Stiles learning hip-hop in Save The Last Dance.

37:00 Jennifer Grey is incredibly skinny. Penny is even skinnier. And the two skinny waists have a weird threesome with Johnny as they teach her how to dance. Uncomfy moment #3 – it’s the same feeling I get while watching ballroom trios on So You Think You Can Dance or Dancing With The Stars.

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38:00 The closeups on the gyrating hips – not for me. Uncomfy moment #4.

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I know I keep on bringing up Dancing With the Stars, but this B plot about Baby learning how to learn competitive-level dance is totally a parallel to DWTS. The fact that you have to pick up a foreign skill quickly then perform it under the (hungry) eyes of judges is just like in this movie. Which probably explains how she won season 11 of DWTS.

40:00 Johnny accidentally locks the keys to his car inside said vehicle, so he just straight up takes a pole out of the ground to smash his car window. With ease, he does this. It’s also raining, but it’s the fakest rain ever and the sun is shining like it’s 90 degree day, and all I can think is the rain machine is blowing the water horizontally at Patrick Swayze’s face. That handsome mug must be insured, this shouldn’t be happening to him.

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41:00 This balancing on a log practice could be problematic. That is a ravine right there. Maybe don’t risk your life when you could easily do this on a dance floor? Also, I’m supposed to be shipping this right?


43:00 Johnny takes Baby to a field and subsequently the famous lake, which is much better than a log in the middle of the forest. But why isn’t Baby’s family concerned about her whereabouts? She just disappeared from camp. Isn’t her sister wondering why Baby didn’t show up to Wig Class?

47:00 Baby has somehow aged 10 years with her costume for the competition. She now looks like a New York Housewife competing in DWTS.

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51:00 Uh oh. Penny’s not looking too hot after her shotty abortion. Baby comes to the rescue again by secretly getting her M.D. Dad to help her. Jerry Orbach (RIP) is quite the Doctor Detective. And quite upset with Baby’s interaction with the Dirty Dancing sexual deviants.

56:00 Welp Baby basically just confessed her love to Johnny. He’s already got his shirt off, so she asks him to dance… But on the real tho –  this sex dance scene is still hot.

1:00 Penny clearly picks up the sex vibes that Johnny and Baby are putting down, and she warns him not to get serious with Baby. Which of course, in 80s movie terms, he obviously is.

This outfit is the reason I keep forgetting the movie takes place in 1963. This could either be 1987 or 2015, who the hell knows.

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“What is with all this rain? Remind me not to have my honeymoon in Niagara Falls.” Baby’s sister

“So, you go to Acapulco, it’ll be fine!” – Queen Bishop

1:04 Baby and Johnny can’t stop boning. She’s technically a teenager, right? Since she’s “planning” to go to Mount Holyoke? Johnny’s obviously the type to skip college in favor of living out his dreams of being a camp dance instructor, so is this forbidden love even more forbidden?

1:07 Oh hey, a scene I actually have scene before. This makes sense in context now. Before I thought it was just some weirdo lip syncing to a song.

1:09 Neil, the annoying grandson, is like the Patrice of this movie. He wants Johnny to dance the Pachanga for the final show, and Johnny’s response is one that made me legit LOL: “He wouldn’t know a good idea if it hit him in the Pachanga” 1:12 Johnny’s bad boy side comes out when asshole waiter sees him kissing Baby, and the scene is like a fight between the Jets and the Sharks.

1:13 Baby’s sister singing I cannot.

1:18 There’s some side plot about Johnny’s cougar dance client setting him up as a kid who stole her husband’s wallet, but Baby comes to his defense by providing an alibi that he was with her at the time of the alleged theft. Not really important.

1:19 Baby goes to confront her upset father about basically admitted she slept with Johnny, and the whole conversation looks like a scene from The Bachelor when one of the final girls meets the bachelor’s dad for the first time to talk about how in love they are with their son.

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1:22 Johnny’s heading out of town because of all the “trouble” he’s caused, and as he rides away, She’s Like the Wind plays in the background. Yes, the hit song by Patrick Swayze. TOO META. BTW, what exactly is Johnny’s accent? And does he not look like The Terminator in this scene?

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1:26 This camp has its own theme song. This is just such a foreign culture to me that I’m having a difficult time believing it’s real. This tune is a cross between a traditional hymn and one of those camp songs you hear in like Troop Beverly Hills.

1:29 Ah yes, the iconic “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” scene. In my head she was in a literal corner of a room, sitting in a chair as if she had been punished. In addition, Johnny was gone for like 2 hours they’re all acting like it’s been years. ALSO Queen Bishop looks so hot rn!

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1:30 So here’s my problem with Baby and Johnny dancing to Time of My Life – it’s a song that was made in the 1980s, but supposed to be set for a performance in 1963. This is why I’m confused. However, I will say that this song in context also makes so much more sense with the movie. Oh, and how did Johnny coordinate a flash mob so fast??

“I think she gets this from me.” KELLY FREAKING BISHOP

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There are some interesting characters in the crowd, including the guy who predicted wearing sunglasses at night long before Corey Hart, the band leader dancing with Penny, and the two larger women happily dancing with each other. The movie ends with a pan out on the dance floor, with a spotlight on Baby and Johnny DIRTY DANCING. Bless. Also, it’s very reminiscent of the High School Musical 3 finale, because as you remember, Kenny Oretga is a mastermind of both these epic films.

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(Previously posted in August, 2015)

So You Think You Kids Can Dance

Happy Memorial Day! Also happy Motivation Monday (I’m taking a social media hashtag approach this week)! After you finish showing down on hamburgers or setting off fireworks or whatever you do on Memorial Day, may I suggest sitting down to watch the season premiere of my favorite reality show, So You Think You Can Dance. Or rather, So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation.

I’ve been a fan since the literal jump, so when they announced the new format for the 13th season, in which the contestants are kids and not 18+, I was a little hesitant. Actually still am, pending on how tonight turns out. For me, I find young adults competing and achieving their goals much more interesting and less gut-wrenching than seeing kids get eliminated from a show which they think is a life and death situation. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not some sort of curmudgeon about this – in fact, if SYTYCD: TNG turns out to be anything like MasterChef Junior, then count me in. 100 percent. Especially since I know there are some talented kid dancers out there.

I’ve been known to tinker around the Internet here and there, and somehow on my travels I manage to find super talented kids who are already much better dancers than I’ll ever be. So before tuning in to SYTYCD: TNG, check out some of these kids that will motivate you to get up and move that tush a little more.

Soni Nicole Bringas

All four of these kids are great, but I’d like to point out the girl on the right with the long brown hair. If you’re wondering if she looks familiar, it’s because she plays Kimmy Gibbler’s daughter on Fuller House. So not only is she a good actress, she’s an amazing dancer too. Acting seems to be her second profession, really. That’s how good she is.

Aidan Prince

Again, if this kid rings a bell in your brain, he’s one of those kids Ellen brings on her show because she’s dance’s number one fan. I actually discovered him while creeping on videos Soni was in, because apparently this is what 30 is like, folks. Aidan has been dancing for years now, but his hits and grooves are so impressive for a kid his age.

Charlize Glass

This girl. Muscles for dayz. And you can tell because she is one of the strongest dancers I’ve seen, including adults. The other two girls in this video (another appearance by azn gal Bailey Sok on the left) are great dancers, however Charlize could easily pass for a 23 year old with her moves alone.

Kaycee Rice

I don’t even know what the fuck that video is, I’m convinced she’s some sort of dance alien that came to Earth to teach us how dancing really works. Like, what are those moves?

Big Will Simmons

This kid actually deserves the name Big Will. You know how some dudes give themselves nicknames that don’t really fit their personality? Big Will’s swag lives up to his name.

Sofia Lucia

Apparently this girl is on Dance Moms. No idea. All I know is that her extension and turns are flawless.

Balang

This is my Filipino cousin. JK I WISH.

Sorry, Not Sorry: Your New Choreographer Obsession

I don’t know how it happened, but I’ve suddenly become a Justin Bieber fan. I’m a Belieber. Ok, let’s clarify – I’m a Belieber in the sense that I love his new music and play it on repeat (between this and M’s recent One Direction fascination, I think we’re both Benjamin Buttoning). And I’ve found myself playing the music videos from his Purpose album on my TV and jumping around my room as if I’m one of the fierce dancers. You know what pushed me over the edge? The vid for Sorry.

It’s nearly impossible for me to sit still and just listen to this song without breaking out some kind of wannabe dance hall move, and besides the catchy beat, a lot of that has to do with the ladies featured in the video. Instead of Bieber dancing, we get a group of women decked out in 90s gear grooving in a stark white room, and I can’t get enough of it.

After a while, I wanted to know more about who the genius was behind the video, especially since it’s rare to see JB not featured in a Bieber music video. Meet Parris Goebel, your new obsession.

Parris is a 24-year-old New Zealand native who choreographed and directed all the music videos for JB’s Purpose album. More on that later. To get some background info, when she was 15, Parris founded an all-girl dance crew called ReQuest, and that’s the squad she rolls with to this day. Through the years, they’ve been featured and highlighted in various dance competitions and conventions, with numerous awards under their belt. ReQuest was the first non-U.S. team to compete on America’s Best Dance Crew in season six, but were eliminated in week four.

In 2012, Jennifer Lopez found a vid of Parris that she posted on YouTube, and asked her to choreograph for her. The job wasn’t just a one-off gig – Parris choreographed JLo’s Dance Again Worl Tour, as well as the music video for Goin’ In, and most recently, Jen’s epic dance medley at the AMAs on Sunday. She’s also the choreographer for JLo’s upcoming Vegas residency, so they’re practically BFFz now.

In addition to Jennifer, Parris has created routines for K-Pop stars like Taeyang and 2NE1, Janet Jackson and Nicki Minaj’s tours, and worked with Nicki and Queen Bey for their Feeling Myself music video. I mean. Can you even.

Back to Bieber – Parris got a call from JB’s people asking if she would want to make a lyric video for his new single Sorry, but the caveat was that it had to be ready in a week. With limited time, she gathered her girls, quickly choreographed it, threw 90s inspired clothes on and shot it. She thought showing the lyrics would take away from the choreo, so decided not to – and the finished product has now been seen more than 141 million times.

Parris was then recruited to choreograph and directed music videos for all 13 of the tracks on Bieber’s Purpose album. Some of them, she handed over to her also talented choreographer friends like Keone and Mari Madrid, who are featured in Love Yourself. But for vids like Company, it was all her:

But what I’ve found out about Parris is that she’s all about empowering women through dance, which obviously makes me love her even more. She’s created a genre of dance called “Polyswagg”, which she describes as “combining sassy woman fire with aggressive inner strength.”

“I’ve dedicated my whole career, and talent, and life to bringing women especially together, to shine and to create things that inspire other women. It’s a lot easier to make a change if I’m living those standards and living confidently. It’s a lot easier to show people that you can do it. I’m definitely about being confident in myself and strong, like strong in a sense of “Yeah, it is hard work. What we all go through whether it’s in work or life, no one has it easy, but it’s always how we come out of it or always how we react to it that makes us a stronger person.” I have so much to tell through my dance so I like to portray that through my movement and tell my story, and inspire other women to tell their stories as well.” {via Elle}

Behind every Bieber, there’s a strong woman, and that one happens to be Parris in this case. Although I’m a new fan, I wish her the best in her future endeavors and can’t wait to see what she does next. For now, I’m just going to go into a spiral of her dance videos, and I invite you to join me on that journey. Sorry, not sorry.

 

Dance Craze Cray

There is nothing that makes you feel more old when a kid references something that you don’t understand. You know, when you think the person had a stroke in saying something to you, but instead, you take note and look it up on Urban Dictionary later only to find out it’s something either extremely sexual or not at all what you thought.

I was watching the BET Hip Hop Awards earlier this week, when a rapper named IHeartMemphis (apparently he’s just going by Memphis now), performed his hit song Hit The Quan which comes complete with a funky dance. Legit the only other time I had heard of it was when Hayes Grier (look him up, grandma) mentioned it on Dancing With The Stars (haters to the left) and I was like… is that English? Not only is it English, but it’s becoming the new hit that will be overplayed in approx 4 weeks and soon we’ll be seeing people who shouldn’t be doing the Quan doing it anyways.

But of course, this isn’t the first time a novelty dance has swept the nation/world. It’s become a pop culture milestone once a song reaches a certain level of popularity, and here are just some of the most memorable ones throughout the years.

Whip/Nae Nae

If you’re just catching on to the Whip/Nae Nae now, just be aware it will be over in a few weeks before the Quan takes over. The Whip/Nae Nae, to Silento’s Watch Me, actually is one of the few songs on this list that includes other famous dance moves from novelty songs, such as the superman, stanky leg, and bop. That doesn’t make it any less stupid.

Macarena

The year is 1996. A song called Macarena by Los Del Rio hits the radio and a young Traci in Western New York, who thinks it’s cool to be able to buy cassette tapes and CDs, purchases the cassette single of Macarena to… practice the dance? The Macarena became a hit in my house and all over the world, and a number one track on multiple music charts. It was played at school dances, weddings, sports arenas, basically anywhere you could listen to music. Not knowing the moves was considered sacrilege, like a betrayal to the human race. But since it was in Spanish, most people never really knew what the song was really about, and it’s kind of disturbing.

It was inspired by a flamenco teacher, and in the song they sing, “Dale a tu cuerpo alegría, Ma’dalena, que tu cuerpo e’ pa’ darle alegría y cosa’ buena'” (“Give your body some joy, Magdalene, ’cause your body is for giving joy and good things too”). In Andalusian culture, naming a woman “Magdalena” is associating her with Mary Magdalene and her sordid (prostitute) past, suggesting the woman is sassy or sensuous.

Teach Me How To Dougie

Cali Swag District actually wants to teach you how to dougie. So much so that they put the instructions into the lyrics of the song. 1) You need a “beat that’s super bumping”. 2) Back it up and dump it. 3) Put your arms out from and lean side to side 4) They gon’ be on you when they see you hit that dougie right. 5) All the bitches will love you.

Tootsee Roll

This song is my youth. MY YOUTH, I SAY! I was 9 years old when the 69 Boyz released this jam (hahahaha everything about that) and I remember it being a popular song with me and my friends and we’d constantly reference it. I certainly wasn’t aware of what I was singing and dancing along to, all I knew was that I liked it, and damnit, I still like it. This music video tho.

Superman

As previously mentioned, the Whip/Nae Nae mentions the Superman aka Crank That (Soulja Boy) by Soulja Boy, which for some reason I can’t believe was released 8 years ago. Anyways, Soulja Boy was just 17 when the song reached number one and became an international hit. So why has it taken me so long to find out “Crank That” is also a euphemism for masturbation???? This, from Genius.com, so obviously accurate.

Gangnam Style

Who knew that a K-Pop star could take the world by storm with a song that’s not in English and a music video that barely makes any sense? With over 2.43 billion views on YouTube, this is the most watched vid on the site, but really, my favorite Gangnam Style vid has to go to SNL’s sketch featuring Bobby Moynihan as Psy and Hader as the weird dude in the elevator. Comedy gold.

Harlem Shake

So we know the actual Harlem Shake dance is actually nothing like these “meme” that went viral a few years ago, but I was still confused when this first came out. I was expecting this but instead got a bunch of idiots making their own version of the madness that is the Harlem Shake. But this one, featuring the cast of Happy Endings (RIP) is one of the best.

 

Filling The Dancing with the Stars Card

The 21st (yes, really) season of America’s favorite celebrity ballroom competition series kicked off last night with a whole new crew of stars, a term which is used very loosely for this show.

I got into DWTS a few years ago due to my job, and although I’m no longer required to watch it, I find myself accidentally tuning in. This year, I had no choice, since my boy Nick Carter signed up for the show. (BTW my first reaction upon hearing he was cast was ‘Oh no. Nickolas. What are you doing.’ It changed to, ‘I guess I’ll be voting this season?). Of course this isn’t the first time a pop star or even boy bander has joined the competition, and it got me thinking – over the course of 21 seasons, the casting department and producers of DWTS, especially over the past few years, have made it a mission to fulfill certain “stereotypes” when it comes to the contestants on the show. Nick isn’t the first pop singer to join the program, and he’s certainly not the last.

Let’s delve into the certain characters and qualities that appear on the show every year – and determine who actually has a shot of winning the coveted MIRROR BALL TROPHY.

*denotes winner of season

Season 21 Contestant: Nick Carter {Backstreet Boys}

nick-carter-sharna-burgess-dwts-season-21

Filling the Quota: Pop star and-or actor/has plenty of dance experience/ringer

Preceded by: Alfonso Ribeiro (S19)*, Corbin Bleu (S17), Aaron Carter (S9), Lance Bass (S7), Mario (S6), Joey Fatone (S4), Drew Lachey (S2)*, Joey McIntyre (S1)

Usually Partnered With: Sharna Burgess, Alison Holker, Cheryl Burke

Notes: This contestant usually comes in having an impressive background in dance, but not necessarily with ballroom, making them meet high expectations on the dance floor. They’ve also got a sufficient fan base that will vote for them, no matter what.

Season 21 Contestant: Chaka Kahn {Soul Singer}

Filling the Quota: BBW

Preceded by: Patti LaBelle (S20), NeNe Leakes (S18), Amber Riley (S17)*, Sherri Shepherd (S14), Gladys Knight (S14), Wendy Williams (S12), Niecy Nash (S10)

Usually Partnered With: Tony Dovolani, Artem Chigvintsev

Notes: This contestant usually makes it fairly far (not eliminated the first two weeks), even though they’re not usually the best dancer, but they’re universally loved and bring personality and charisma to the show.

Season 21 Contestant: Bindi Irwin {Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin’s Daughter}

Filling the Quota: Most likely to be on cover of CosmoGirl or Teen People

Preceded by: Willow Shields (S20), Sadie Robertson (S19) Bethany Mota (S19), Zendaya (S16)

Usually Partnered With: Mark Ballas, Derek Hough

Notes: The teens are eager to learn, and quick to learn, maybe most importantly. They also make it fairly far in the competition, and it’s always a fine line between being sexy on the dance floor and remembering they’re underage.

Season 21 Contestant: Andy Grammer {Singer/Songwriter}

Filling the Quota: Rando singer/musician

Preceded by: Redfoo (S20), Gavin DeGraw (S14), Master P (S2), Billy Ray Cyrus (S4), Chuck Wicks (S8), Donny Osmond* (S9), Michael Bolton (S11).

Usually Partnered With: Allison Holker, Sharna Burgess, Emma Slater

Notes: You’d think musicians would have good rhythm as dancers, but most of the time, it just means their rhythm is better suited off the dance floor.

Season 21 Contestant: Tamar Braxton {R&B singer/Reality TV star}

Filling the Quota: Rando female singer

Preceded by: Willa Ford (S3), Marie Osmond and Mel B (S5), Toni Braxton (S7), Belinda Carlisle (S8), Macy Gray and Mya (S9), Nicole Scherzinger * (S10), Brandy (S11), Chynna Phillips (S13), Wynonna Judd and Kellie Pickler (S16),

Usually Partnered With: Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Val Chmerkovskiy, Derek Hough

Notes: Same as Rando Male Singer. Unless you’re former Pussycat Dolls star Nicole Scherzinger, who should could as a boy band ringer.

Season 21 Contestant: Victor Espinoza {Jockey/Triple Crown Winner}

Filling the Quota: Athlete

Preceded by: Michael Sam (S20), Michael Waltrip (S19), Keyshawn Johnson (S17), Jacoby Jones and Victor Oritz (S16), Donald Driver (S14)*, Metta World Peace (S13), Sugar Ray Leonard and Hines Ward (S12)*, Rick Fox (S11), Chad Ochocinco (S10), Warren Sapp (S7), Helio Castroneves* (S5), Apolo Anton Ohno (S4), Emmitt Smith (S3)*

Usually Partnered With: Witney Carson, Karina Smirnoff, Cheryl Burke

Notes: Unless they’re an NFL star, they have no chance of winning.

Season 21 Contestant: Hayes Grier {Vine Personality}

Filling the Quota: Reality TV/Internet Person/WHO?

Preceded by: Mark Cuban (S5), Rocco DiSpirito (S7), Steve-O (S8), Jake Pavelka (S10), Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino (S11), Carson Kressley and Rob Kardashian (S13), Sean Lowe (S16),

Usually Partnered With: Emma Slater, Peta Murgatroyd, Karina Smirnoff

Notes: Although this person has plenty of fans, the contestant has a lot of work to do in the dance studio. He gets frustrated often and knows how to be dramatic in front of a camera.

Season 21 Contestant: Alexa Penavega {Actress}

Filling the Quota: Younger actress

Preceded by: Rumer Willis (S20)*, Janel Parrish (S19), Chelsea Kane (S12), Sabrina Bryan (S5), Monique Coleman (S3), Kelly Monaco* (S1)

Usually Partnered With: Val Chmerkovskiy, Mark Ballas, Artem Chigvintsev

Notes: Is the underdog, surprisingly good and consistent throughout the show, a force to be reckoned with towards the end.

Season 21 Contestant: Carlos Penavega {Actor/Singer}

Filling the Quota: Younger actor/singer

Preceded by: Riker Lynch (S20), James Maslow (S18), Brant Daugherty (S17), Roshon Fegan and William Levy (S14), Romeo Miller (S12), Kyle Massey (S11), Cody Linley (S7)

Usually Partnered With: Alison Holker, Witney Carson

Notes: Is the underdog, surprisingly good and consistent throughout the show, a force to be reckoned with towards the end.

Season 21 Contestant: Gary Busey {Actor/This Guy}

Filling the Quota: Older actor/Comedian/Not a chance in hell

Preceded by:  Tommy Chong (S20), Andy Dick (S16) David Hasselhoff (S11), Buzz Aldrin (S10) Tom DeLay (S9), Steve Wozniak (S8), Jeffrey Ross (S7), The Holy Trinity – Steve Guttenberg, Penn Jillette and Adam Carolla (S6), Wayne Newton (S5), Jerry Springer (S3)

Usually Partnered With: Kym Johnson, Cheryl Burke, Emma Slater, Anna Trebunskaya

Notes: Just. No.

Season 21 Contestant: Paula Deen {Former Food Network Star/This Guy}

Filling the Quota: Older Actress/TV Personality

Preceded by: Suzanne Somers (S20), Betsey Johnson and Lea Thompson (S19), Valerie Harper (S17), Ricki Lake (S13), Kirstie Alley (S12), Florence Henderson (S11), Cloris Leachman (S7)

Usually Partnered With: Tony Dovolani, Artem Chigvintsev

Notes: Depending on the star herself, they could either fail (Cloris) or do really well (Kirstie).

 

Season 21 Contestant: Kim Zolciak Biermann {The Real Housewives of Atlanta}

Filling the Quota: Reality TV Star

Preceded by: Lisa Vanderpump (S16), Kristin Cavallari (13), Kendra Wilkinson (S12), Audrina Patridge and Bristol Palin (S11), Kate Gosselin (S10), Joanna Krupa (S9), Holly Madison and Melissa Rycroft (S8), Kim Kardashian (S7), Trista Sutter (S1)

Usually Partnered With: Tony Dovolani, Louis van Amstel, Mark Ballas

Notes: Because this is a REALITY competition show, after all.

Season 21 Contestant: National Guardsman Alex Skarlatos {one of the Americans who helped stop a gunman on a Paris-bound train}

Filling the Quota: Inspirational hero

Preceded by:  Heather Mills (S4), Chaz Bono and J.R. Martinez* (S13), Amy Purdy (S18), Noah Galloway (S20)

Usually Partnered With: Karina Smirnoff, Derek Hough

Notes: The demographic for DWTS LOVES a good inspirational story, one that makes you cry in the video package shown before their dance every week. This contestant usually does really well.

Other Random Quotas Not Filled This Season:

Female Athletes: Laila Ali (S4) ,Monica Seles and Kristi Yamaguchi* (S6), Misty May-Treanor (S7), Shawn Johnson* (S8), Natalie Coughlin (S9), Hope Solo (S13), Martina Navratilova (S14), Dorothy Hamill and Alexandra Raisman (S16), Lolo Jones (S19)

Female Models: Rachel Hunter (S1), Shanna Moakler (S3), Kathy Ireland (S9), Petra Němcová and Elisabetta Canalis (S13), Charlotte McKinney (S20)

Middle-Aged Actress That Were Somewhat Relevant At Some Point In Their Career: Tia Carrere and Tatum O’Neal (S2), Jennie Garth (S5), Shannon Elizabeth (S6), Shannen Doherty (S7), Denise Richards (S8), Melissa Joan Hart (S9), Pamela Anderson (S10 & 15), Ricki Lake (S13), Melissa Gilbert (S14), Elizabeth Berkley Lauren (S17), Danica McKellar (S18)

Middle-Aged Actor That Were Somewhat Relevant At Some Point In Their Career: John O’Hurley (S1), Joey Lawrence and Mario Lopez (S3), Ian Ziering (S4), Ralph Macchio (s12),

Season 21 Predictions: Final Three – Nick Carter, Bindi Irwin and Carlos Penavega

 

Documentaries That Consumed My Life on Netflix Instant

Over the past few years, I spend the time off during the holidays catching up on TV series I have been meaning to watch, but hadn’t had time to before. For instance, I watched Call the Midwife one time, because it was only one season, or my greatest accomplishment in binge-watching: all seven seasons of The West Wing in one month. That’s an hour-long (42ish minute) program, y’all. This year, I decided to watch Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown and couldn’t stop watching. To preface, I usually reserve my documentary watching for when I’m sick (idk why, tbh), but I was on this kick of following Tony to places I probably will never be able to go to otherwise, and are usually off the beaten path.

My addiction to Parts Unknown led to a spiral of watching the documentaries on my Instant list that had been waiting for me to press play for months or even years, and I finally got around to it. So, I’m here to share them with you. Whether you’re sick or need to pause from your Friends binge-ing, here are a few of my favorite documentaries I’ve watched over the past few years that you can watch on Netflix Instant right now.

Undefeated

Watch if you like: Friday Night Lights, football, underdog stories, Oscar-winning movies, crying

Elevator Pitch: A small, predominantly black, high school on the outskirts of Memphis has a football team with the worst record. A white coach who volunteers his time helps them to possible victory. But like FNL, it’s not really about football at all.

First Position

Watch if you like: Dance, ballet, seeing kids do things better than you

Elevator Pitch: The journey of six kids on their way to one of the biggest most important ballet competitions in the world. You’ll leave impressed with their dedication and inspired to do something with your life.

Ballerina

Watch if you like: Dance, ballet, First Position

Elevator Pitch: As opposed to aspiring young dancers, this one features four professional Russian dancers – and you’ll be glad you didn’t grow up in Russia.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Watch if you like: Sushi, Japan, food, elderly people

Elevator Pitch: If you love sushi, you’ll love this 85-year-old sushi master in Tokyo, who owns a world-renowned restaurant and the interesting relationship he has with his son and eventual heir.

Kings of Pastry

Watch if you like: France, Top Chef, pastries, cooking, stressful situations

Elevator Pitch: The French take the art of cooking seriously, and even hand out special medals/collars to distinguish the elite chefs from others – and the competition to win said prize involves years of dedication and endless amounts of patience.

Craigslist Joe

Watch if you like: Humanity

Elevator Pitch: A guy gives up pretty much all he has and travels around the country making money and sleeping in homes all found off Craigslist. The result is a surprisingly moving story proving that despite the fact we live in a diverse country with people who have vastly different views on life, it’s not hard to find the good in people.

Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present

Watch if you like: Art, performance art, any modern museum

Elevator Pitch: Marina Abamovic has been a top performance artist for decades, and this movie follows her acclaimed The Artist Is Present exhibit at New York’s MoMa, which is a retrospective on her career. It shows how she connects with new people through her piece in which she sits and stares at visitors, and also reconnects her with one of the biggest loves of her life.

Mitt

Watch if you like: Politics, Mormons

Elevator Pitch: It doesn’t matter that you know how it ends. It also doesn’t matter if you voted for Mitt Romney or not. What matters is that this movie gives you an inside look of the day to day life of a Presidential campaign over the course of six years – and how it can all come crumbling down in one night.

Anything North Korea

Watch if you like: Asia, secret societies, investigative reporting, hidden cameras

Elevator Pitch: From Lisa Ling’s faux eye surgery documentary to Frontline‘s secret hidden cameras, these specials give you an inside look to one of the world’s most secretive and oppressive countries. Forget The Interview, these are the only North Korea movies you need to see.

Jesus Camp

Watch if you like: Fascination with Scientology, The Duggars

Elevator Pitch: These kids aren’t just regular kids – they’re kids who think they have prophetic powers and attend a Christian summer camp to learn how to become the next “Billy Graham” and “take back America for Christ”. Go into it knowing because of this movie – the camp closed.

Best of C+S 2014: Taylor Swift Dancing to Cheesy Love Songs at Awards Shows

Despite the fact that Taylor Swift has gone country to pop this year, the one thing that she hasn’t changed is her penchant for showing off her dance moves at awards shows. Or rather, producers’ decision to keep showing her dancing at awards shows. But what if we took TSwizzle out of the element and pictured her dancing to non-dancy songs? We explored this in April, and here are our findings.


The Academy of Country Music Awards were on Sunday (I’m sure you all watched it. No? Okay), and we were treated with another installment of “Taylor Swift Dances at Awards Shows”. While the producers opted not to show T Swift the ENTIRE time like other shows have, they waited until almost the final performance to cut to her moving awkwardly. Just when we thought we had escaped her.

If you’re one of the folks that didn’t watch this show, it’s important to note that she’s dancing to Darius Rucker and Lady Antebellum sing Wagon Wheel, a mid-tempo tune that doesn’t reallllyyy warrant this kind of dancing. Just note everybody else in the audience – they’re clapping and singing along, while Swifty is jamming out like it’s Daft Punk on stage.

But then again, she IS the type of person to dance to the beat of her own drum. For example, this (a-mah-zing) gif of her dancing at the Grammys this year to Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons. #WhiteGirlsDancingInTheFrontRow #EveryoneElseIsSittingDown

Since it’s basically proven Taylor will dance to anything, it made me think of how great it would be to see her dancing along to slow jams. Not just any slow jams, but love ballads from the 1980s, when everything was overdramatic and cheesy, filled with teased hair, shoulderpads, and pounds of makeup. The only thing we need is Taylor mouthing the words to these tracks, because she has to also prove she knows every single song in the world by practically unhinging her jaw when singing. We get it. You like every artist and know all the lyrics.

So click on any one of these tunes and scroll through this collection of GIFs:

Up Where We Belong by Jennifer Warnes & Joe Cocker  ♥  If You Don’t Know Me By Now by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes ♥ Endless Love by Diana Ross & Lionel Richie ♥ True by Spandau Ballet Careless Whisper by George Michael ♥ Tonight I Celebrate My Love by Peabo Bryson & Roberta FlackAll By Myself  by Celine Dion

Or check out the playlist here and view the GIFs super slowly.

*Sidenote: IDK if I am going crazy or sleep deprived or all of the above, but i LIT’RALLY was crying laughing to myself while putting this together. Get a freaking grip.

98% of the time she turns to her friend/Selena while dancing, they’re not paying attention.

she is dancing with the award she won around her wrist

This was the Pinnacle from the CMAs – an award which has only been given to one other person in the history of the show – GARTH FREAKING BROOKS. AND THIS BITCH HAS IT DANGLING ON HER WRIST LIKE A SPARKLY BRACELET YOU WIN WITH 10 TICKETS FROM SKEE-BALL AT CHUCK E CHEESE

Show You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Dance Academy

dad

G’Day, mates! That’s me addressing you in the same slang they use on Dance Academy. Although now that I think about it, I don’t recall anyone saying that at all throughout the show. Anyways, if you didn’t catch that, this show is from Australia. If you’re in need of a program to watch this summer that isn’t too ‘involved’ like Breaking Bad or The Wire, this is the perfect show for you. As a bonus, each episode is 30 minutes, and there are only 3 seasons (which are all on Netflix Instant), so you don’t even have to worry about catching up before a new season starts!

As I mentioned in a post about my Summer To Do List a few months ago, my friend Ana was pushing me for MONTHS to watch DA, and I finally did. And following my tendency to get obsessed with TV shows, this show followed suit. If you like teen centered programs like Degrassi or loved the great 2000 film Center Stage, you will most likely get just as obsessed with DA as I am, and here’s why.

What It’s About

Dance Academy is mainly narrated by 15-year-old Tara Webster who is a newly accepted first year student at the National Academy of Dance in Sydney. The series follows her and her fellow dancer pals as they deal with teen romance, rivalries and the pressures of being at a highly competitive dance academy. You know, pretty much everyone’s usual upbringing Down Under.

Reasons to Watch

Aussie Aussie Aussie! (Oi! Oi! Oi!)

Most of the show takes place inside the Dance Academy itself, but there’s a lot of scenes that show Sydney and the surrounding areas. I’ve never been to Australia, but it’s always been one of the places on my ‘bucket list’, and watching this show just makes me want to go there more/temporarily fill my Aussie desires. Not to mention, it’s just *cooler* watching a show that’s not American, you know what I mean? I found myself wanting to watch episodes just so I could go back to ‘Sydney’ every night. It’s like when you watch Friday Night Lights and just want to go Dillon, Texas for an hour or two. I mean, I don’t make it a habit of yearning to go to Texas on a daily basis, outside of the context of FNL/Austin.

Coming of Age Storylines

Screenshot 2014-07-25 15.06.56

If you’re a product of the 90s like we are, you grew up with shows like Saved by the Bell, Full House, Boy Meets World, everything on SNICK etc. But you know how there’s a difference between Saved by the Bell and Boy Meets World? Saved by the Bell was a Saturday morning show where it was about sleeping over in a mall to get U2 tickets, while Boy Meets world was the TGIF show where Mr. Feeny would teach you a life lesson at the end of every episode. Dance Academy is more of the latter. While I can’t exactly relate to it like I did with SBTB or BMW when I was a tween, I imagine DA has the same effect of kids these days.

The show touches on a lot of different subjects throughout all 65 episodes that normal teens go through. All the kids come from different backgrounds – Tara is a naive girl from the bush (aka what ‘country’ is to us Americans), Sammy’s a Jewish kid whose dad disapproves of his dancing, Abigail, the daughter of a dance teacher, is a perfectionist whose only goal is to make it into the company, Kat comes from a super famous ballet family, and Christian is a troubled kid whose mom died and dad was absent most of his life and is in the Academy basically so he doesn’t get into trouble with the ‘bad crowd’. Together, they tackle themes of friendships, romance, jealousy, revenge, death, divorce, even eating disorders (come on, this IS a show about dancers), and don’t do it in a way that is tacky, insensitive, or too in your face. The fact that DA has won the Australian equivalent of the Emmy for Best Most Outstanding Children’s Program TWICE should say it all.

The Gays

On paper, Dance Academy is a show for teens. It’s only in recent years that we’ve seen more family friendly shows incorporate gay characters, so it’s refreshing to see a show in Australia featuring a fairly prominent storyline that involves a gay (well, at least bi) character in Sammy. Without giving too much away, Sammy is faced with trying to figure out what these feelings he has for boys mean, and if he can be comfortable admitting those feelings to his friends and family. There’s also Ollie, who is not your ‘stereotypical’ gay dancer type, and he addresses his sexuality in such a nonchalant way that I almost  didn’t notice he was coming out when he first talked about it. These two provide public figures that teens and younger kids can see on TV and realize that people don’t have to be reduced down to their sexuality, but that they’re just ‘Sammy’ and ‘Ollie’. Deal with it.

The Dancing, duh

I mean the show IS called Dance Academy, so there better be good dancing, right? What I appreciate about this show is that they clearly picked young people who were dancers first and foremost, then actors. I’ll admit, the acting isn’t Oscar worthy or anything, but you have to hand it to every single one of them for their dancing ability. It was hard to narrow three seasons of dancing into a sample platter for y’all, but I tried my best! PS: I would suggest not clicking on YouTube & just watching the embedded videos in case you’ll accidentally see a major spoiler!!

*Note: the video below is from the final scene of the entire series – it doesn’t give anything away, but JIC you don’t like any type of spoiler like me!*

If you guys watch DA or have watched it before, let me know what you think!!!

Taylor Swift Dancing to Cheesy Love Songs at Awards Shows

The Academy of Country Music Awards were on Sunday (I’m sure you all watched it. No? Okay), and we were treated with another installment of “Taylor Swift Dances at Awards Shows”. While the producers opted not to show T Swift the ENTIRE time like other shows have, they waited until almost the final performance to cut to her moving awkwardly. Just when we thought we had escaped her.

If you’re one of the folks that didn’t watch this show, it’s important to note that she’s dancing to Darius Rucker and Lady Antebellum sing Wagon Wheel, a mid-tempo tune that doesn’t reallllyyy warrant this kind of dancing. Just note everybody else in the audience – they’re clapping and singing along, while Swifty is jamming out like it’s Daft Punk on stage.

But then again, she IS the type of person to dance to the beat of her own drum. For example, this (a-mah-zing) gif of her dancing at the Grammys this year to Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons. #WhiteGirlsDancingInTheFrontRow #EveryoneElseIsSittingDown

Since it’s basically proven Taylor will dance to anything, it made me think of how great it would be to see her dancing along to slow jams. Not just any slow jams, but love ballads from the 1980s, when everything was overdramatic and cheesy, filled with teased hair, shoulderpads, and pounds of makeup. The only thing we need is Taylor mouthing the words to these tracks, because she has to also prove she knows every single song in the world by practically unhinging her jaw when singing. We get it. You like every artist and know all the lyrics.

So click on any one of these tunes and scroll through this collection of GIFs:

Up Where We Belong by Jennifer Warnes & Joe Cocker  ♥  If You Don’t Know Me By Now by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes ♥ Endless Love by Diana Ross & Lionel Richie ♥ True by Spandau Ballet Careless Whisper by George Michael ♥ Tonight I Celebrate My Love by Peabo Bryson & Roberta FlackAll By Myself  by Celine Dion

Or check out the playlist here and view the GIFs super slowly.

*Sidenote: IDK if I am going crazy or sleep deprived or all of the above, but i LIT’RALLY was crying laughing to myself while putting this together. Get a freaking grip.

98% of the time she turns to her friend/Selena while dancing, they’re not paying attention.

she is dancing with the award she won around her wrist

This was the Pinnacle from the CMAs – an award which has only been given to one other person in the history of the show – GARTH FREAKING BROOKS. AND THIS BITCH HAS IT DANGLING ON HER WRIST LIKE A SPARKLY BRACELET YOU WIN WITH 10 TICKETS FROM SKEE-BALL AT CHUCK E CHEESE