Thursday, August 14, 2014

So You Think You Can Dance: Top 8

This was Michael Jackson week on So You Think You Can Dance.  There was some great music showcased, and it was a lot of fun.  The Top 8 also became the Top 6, and that was not as much fun.  But more on that later!

The show opened with the Top 8 performing a futuristic dance choreographed by Travis Payne to "A Place With No Name."

The judges were introduced, and this week Jenna Dewan Tatum sat in with Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe.  Jenna's critiques are not as detailed as some of the other judges, but she is pleasant and thoughtful, and what she says is always constructive.

Tanisha danced a solo to "Warrior" by Havana Brown.

Ricky and Jaimie danced a Travis Wall number about best friends.  It was beautiful, and Ricky was, as always, superb.  The song was danced to Michael Jackson's "Smile."  (All the pairs performances were danced to Michael Jackson songs.)  Ricky learned he was safe, and he will dance with Anya next week.

Valerie and Ryan danced a samba battle choreographed by Jean-Marc Genereux.  It was danced to "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'."  It had a nice energy, but Valerie's movements were not as sharp and crisp as one might wish.  Valerie found out that she was safe, and will be dancing with Twitch next week.

Casey performed a solo to "Outre" by M83.  This was followed by Rudy's solo to "Warrior" by Drehz.

Casey and Comfort performed a hip hop routine choreographed by Pharside and Phoenix.  The number, set to "Xscape," was about a spider (Comfort) who had the kiss of death.  It was danced against a giant spiderweb.  Nigel said that Casey is growing as a dancer - and I agree.  Casey learned he was in the bottom 2 guys.  I was surprised to see him in the bottom 2.

Jacque danced a solo to "Nocturne in C Sharp Minor" by Lento (Lazic and Wispelwey).

Tanisha and Nick danced a Stacey Tookey number about love lost and regrets to "She's Out of My Life."  It was a lovely number.  The judges praised Tanisha's strong core but Nigel said she needs to show more vulnerability.  Tanisha learned that she is in the bottom 2 girls.

Jessica danced a solo to "Taking Chances" by Celine Dion.

Rudy and Allison danced a Ray Leeper number to "Dirty Diana."  Allison stole the show!  Rudy learned he was in the bottom 2 guys.

Valerie did a solo to "Dance With Me Tonight" by Olly Murs.

Zack and Makenzie did a Spencer Liff choreographed Broadway number about a new girl in town. (They are pictured in the photo above.)  It was danced to "The Way You Make Me Feel."  The costuming was retro, with a 1940's look, and the dance was reminiscent of old time Broadway.  I loved it, and have to say that Zack is becoming my favorite dancer who is not Ricky in this competition.  Broadway is a good genre for him.  Zack learned he was safe and will dance with Fik-shun next week.

Ricky danced a solo to "Haegt, Kemur Ljosio" (Olafur Arnalds).  There is such an ease to his dance!

Jacque and Twitch danced a Dave Scott hip hop number to "Slave to the Rhythm."  The stage was littered with trash and a street setting;  it was distracting and drab.  One of my friends commented that Jacque looks a lot like Lea Michelle, and I agree.  (I had not noticed that before.)  Jacque learned that she was in the bottom 2.

Jessica and Will danced a Mandy Moore number and earth and mankind to "Earth Song."  The judges praised her growth.  While I think she is a good dancer, the judges are much more enthusiastic about her than I am.  Jessica learned she was safe and will be dancing next week with Ade.

Tanisha and Rudy learned they will be going home.  I was really shocked that Tanisha is leaving, as she has seemed like the most consistent of the girls, and she is very versatile.

Casey learned he will dance with Makenzie next week, and Jacque learned she will dance with Will.  Next week Christina Applegate will be returning as a judge.

What did you think of last night's show?  Were you surprised who went home?  I would love to read your thoughts in the comments section, below.

Book Review and Giveaway: The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani

The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani is the third book in the Valentine trilogy.  This book tells the story of Valentine Roncalli, a 36 year old shoemaker working in her family business, and Gianluca Vechiarelli, a tanner from Italy.  The book begins with their engagement and announcement to her family at Christmas time.  It continues with their wedding and marriage.   Valentine wants to continue running her family business in New York, while Gianluca wants to move back to Italy.  Valentine also wants to become a first-time mother, while Gianluca has a grown daughter.  The book is a lovely exploration of how they work to merge their dreams and lives together.  When tragedy strikes, Valentine reevaluates what really matters.

A line that really stuck with me in this book -- and I think a big part of the book's message -- is Valentine's description of a sign in her childhood teacher's office.  Sister Theresa's sign read: "Everything is a grace" (p. 89).

Valentine's large and colorful family is featured in this book, and I loved all the scenes where they appeared.  The interplay between characters was a pleasure to read.

The characterizations were well drawn and the dialogue moved quickly.  There were some great lines, like Gabriel's "Women end up two ways by the age of seventy.  If you're thin, you wind up looking like Granny Clampitt from The Beverly Hillbillies, and if you're heavyset, you end up like Aunt Bee on Mayberry"  (p. 28).

Adriana Trigiani excels at description.  As a foodie, I loved some of her food descriptions in the book, like the list of homemade cookies at Valentine's family home in the Christmas engagement announcement scene.

I have not read the first two books in the Valentine series, although I loved the Big Stone Gap series and especially loved The Shoemaker's Wife. (I have recommended that book many times over to friends.)  This book worked fine for me as a standalone book.  There was plenty of back story on the characters.  (I will admit that I now want to read the first two Valentine novels as well!)

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to other readers.

About the author:

Adriana Trigiani is an award-winning playwright, television writer, and documentary filmmaker. Her books include the New York Times bestseller The Shoemaker's Wife; the Big Stone Gap series; Very Valentine; Brava, Valentine; Lucia, Lucia; and the bestselling memoir Don't Sing at the Table, as well as the young adult novels Viola in Reel Life and Viola in the Spotlight. She wrote the screenplay for Big Stone Gap, which she also directed. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

Connect with Adriana here:
Twitter: @adrianatrigiani
I received a copy of this book from Italy Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. 
The publisher has generously offered an autographed copy of The Supreme Macaroni Company to one lucky reader.  Entry is easy with the Rafflecopter form, below.  The winner will be randomly drawn on Friday, August 22, notified and requested to send their mailing address within 2 days.  The publisher will then send a copy of the book to the winner. 

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