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  • Breaking From Above: The Final Episodes

    Posted on 06/29/2012 by Lisa

    The last two episodes of Breaking From Above aired tonight. (Watch ALL the episodes here, if you missed any!)

    "I wanna see which of the girls really wanna be in this band." - Mathew Knowles

    In episode five, Mathew Knowles gathered together all the coaches the girls have worked with so far -- on fitness, vocals, choreography, and style -- and asked their opinions of each girl. I wonder what it was like for the girls to watch this episode and hear all the harsh things the coaches had to say about them.

    In episode six, Mathew set up a big photo shoot for From Above. When the photographer started shouting random instructions like "Look sexy!" at the girls, I felt so lucky that I work from home. After the photo shoot, Mathew brought in choreographer Frank Gatson and asked for his help looking through the photos and evaluating each girl's body, moves, and voice. Throughout this show, I've been wondering if Mathew was as harsh on the girls of Destiny's Child -- especially Beyoncé -- as he is to these girls.




    Random questions:
    Do you have anyone in your life as critical as Mathew Knowles? Do you find it motivating, or does it beat you down and crush your spirit?

    After watching what the girls went through, would you want to participate in a pop star boot camp? (I'd love to take voice lessons and dance classes and have a fitness coach, but I don't think I could handle the intensity of working with Mathew.)

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  • Breaking From Above: The First Cut

    Posted on 06/28/2012 by Lisa

    "When I start changing the lineup, things start to get real." - Mathew Knowles, speaking the truth. If you missed tonight's episode, watch it here. (Spoilers below.)

    Mathew Knowles has made one thing clear: He is in complete control of the band From Above. On tonight's episode he wanted to take Siye down a notch, so he tried to show her that being the best vocally isn't enough to guarantee her a spot in the band. He thought the other girls would do just fine without her, but it seemed like that recording session he set up (where it was just Daisy, Ashley, and Monique) was kind of a mess.



    Manipulative people really stress me out, so it was hard to watch Mathew messing with the girls' heads in this episode. After the meeting where he criticized Siye's body language, she was mad that the other girls hadn't stood up for her. But honestly... would you have confronted Mathew in that situation, if it meant risking your own spot in the band?

    I want to say "If I'd been there, I would've defended Siye!" but maybe that's only because pop stardom isn't my dream? When Daisy talked about how ALL of the girls are afraid of being cut from the band, she meant it. Mathew has emphasized over and over that he's the one with all the power. If anyone questions him, he seems to take it personally and hold a grudge. I may not care about being a pop star, but I still wouldn't want to be on his bad side.

    By the way, didn't it seem like he was unnecessarily harsh with Jasmine? He seems happiest when everyone around him is in tears. That's pretty messed up.

    There are only two episodes left of Breaking From Above, guys... and they both air tomorrow night (at 8:30 and 9pm et) on TeenNick. If you've missed any episodes so far, watch them online in the Breaking From Above video playlist.

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  • This Week on Dance Academy

    Posted on 06/28/2012 by Lisa

    This week on Dance Academy, we saw secret kisses, football players, ballet fever, and a major injury. (If you missed any episodes, catch up here.) Spoilers below.

    On episode 18, Betty Bunheads, Abigail and Sammy are secretly making out, but Abigail is doing her best to make sure it stays a secret. She gets annoyed at him for using the word "us." (That seems like a sign that she's afraid of commitment, doesn't it?)

    Petra is Miss Raine's new favorite, but when an opportunity arises to dance back in Germany, she's tempted to leave the academy... despite her crush on Sammy. Meanwhile, Kat tries her best to help her little ballerina friend, Scout, impress Miss Raine at auditions.

    On episode 19, Fairest & Best, some athletes arrive at the National Academy of Dance to work on their agility and balance, but they clash with the male dancers over which sport is more challenging. I was really hoping this would involve some kind of dance battle, but no. The football players had to perform a dance all the way through, and the ballet guys had to try to score a goal on the field.

    I wasn't that into the guys' competition storyline, but I like the way the relationship between Abigail and Sammy is developing. Abigail tried to tell him that kisses don't mean anything, because "It's just lips on other lips," but ultimately she seemed to realize that Sammy's lips are special. Aww.

    Episode 20, Ballet Fever, showed Tara obsessing over dance to the point that Sammy and Kat felt it was time to stage an intervention. At their urging, she took an afternoon off, and bonded with Christian, which included lots of kissing. I love these two together, though I secretly wish he'd give her a new nickname and stop calling her "training bra."

    Meanwhile, Kat struggled to convince the board to keep hip-hop in the curriculum, and realized that maybe her mom isn't ALWAYS the enemy.

    In episode 21, FOMO: Fear of Missing Out, Tara copes with an injury by organizing a formal dance for the school, and realizes that being injured is a nice, relaxing break compared to working her butt off in dance classes every day. Abigail and Sammy grow even closer while working on a dance together and try to figure out if they're ready to have sex.

    Once again, Miss Raine pressures Tara to make dance her one and only priority in life, crushing my dreams of a long, happy relationship between Tara and Christian. Or did the fact that Tara seems to blame Christian for her injury ruin things? Or did Christian's jealousy of Ethan ruin things? I guess there were a few contributing factors, but still. I'm over here sighing dramatically, and wondering if things could ever work out between Tara and Christian in the future. I hope so.

    (Want to rewatch the latest episodes? Here you go.)

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  • Breaking From Above: Ashley's Back!

    Posted on 06/27/2012 by Lisa

    Tonight's Breaking From Above (watch it here if you missed it) included a huge group hug, because Ashley finally made it to Houston! It also included an awkward, stressful dinner party at Mathew Knowles house. Did he really expect them to relax and have fun at his house? They know he's watching every move they make.

    At one point in tonight's episode Mathew Knowles said, "There's a thin line between fear and motivation." Do you think he's just trying to scare the girls so they're motivated? If I'm trying to motivate someone, I'm more likely to encourage them and give them positive feedback... but Mathew Knowles and I are very different people.




    Did you agree with the choice Mathew made at the end of the episode? Or would you have kicked someone else out?

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  • Breaking From Above: Who's your favorite?

    Posted on 06/26/2012 by Lisa

    On tonight's episode, the girls of From Above found out why Mathew Knowles calls this a "boot camp." If you missed it, watch it here.

    From Above started the day exercising in the hot sun with fitness coach Rozelle Jones (at least one of the girls threw up), and then went straight into a six-hour choreography session with Danielle Polanco. That right there is why I'm not a pop star. That and MANY other reasons, haha.

    I was fascinated by the segment where Mathew Knowles asked members of his staff to watch the girls perform and vote on which girl they'd kick out, and then asked the girls in the band the same question. I feel like at this point, we still don't know the girls well enough to evaluate their talents, but I've already picked a favorite anyway -- I love Brandy!




    If you had to kick one girl out, which one would it be?

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  • Breaking From Above: What did you think?

    Posted on 06/25/2012 by Lisa

    Did you watch Breaking From Above tonight? (If you missed the first episode, watch it online.)

    "We're going to decide: Are we moving forward with the group, are we gonna change the group, or are we not gonna have the group?" -Mathew Knowles.

    After watching the first episode, I'm glad he's Beyoncé's dad, and not my dad. This show seems like it's going to have LOTS of tears and drama.

    Mathew Knowles claims "trust" is the one thing he needs from the girls, but it seems like he's making it pretty hard for them to trust him. I mean, he seems to want what's best for the band, but he's made it very clear that he could kick any of them out at any moment. How could any of the girls trust him in that situation? I know I wouldn't.




    If you've seen the first episode, I have two questions for you:

    Do you think this is an amazing opportunity for From Above, or are they headed into a boot camp from hell? I feel like things could get VERY MESSY in the next few episodes.

    Would you trust Mathew Knowles' career advice? I'd probably stop listening the first time he made me cry.

    Breaking From Above continues tomorrow, at 8:30pm et.

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  • Dance Academy is BACK!

    Posted on 06/21/2012 by Lisa

    Have you been watching Dance Academy this week? If you missed any of the new episodes, catch up online. We're also re-airing all four of the newest episodes Friday on TeenNick, starting at 5pm et. (If you haven't seen this week's eps, go watch them before you read any further... spoilers below!)

    I love that they danced parts of A Midsummer Night's Dream in the woods in tonight's episode. It felt like the perfect start to summer.

    Other thoughts on this week, starting with "Turning Points"...
    *Yay! Tara's finally dancing "en pointe"!
    *I appreciate that the show is portraying Abigail's anorexia in such a real way. I'm glad she didn't get better right away, and that it's something she's still going to be struggling with.
    *It really bugs me that Miss Raine keeps telling Tara to stop hanging out with Kat. I think Tara is smart enough to keep her priorities straight, no matter who her friends are, but I guess we'll see.

    "My Life En Pointe"
    *I like the new girl, Petra, and I love that this episode included a cute dog (Yay, dogs!), but her habit of photographing other people's PDA is a little strange, isn't it?
    * I think Kat's "punishment" looks like fun. I would love to volunteer at a community center on Saturday afternoons and dance with little kids.
    * Eeee! Tara and Christian!! But she's dating Ethan! (I like her better with Christian, but that's probably just because he's my Dance Academy crush.)

    "Free Falling"
    *I loved Tara's voiceover at the beginning of this episode:
    "As dancers, we learn to be in control of our bodies, down to the last millimeter, because if even one finger is out of alignment, it all falls apart. So you practice your movements until they're perfect. You learn to control gravity, to control pain, and refuse to let yourself get away with anything. But there's one thing that doesn't follow the rules... that you wish you could control, but can't -- your heart."
    *Tara claims she doesn't have feelings for Christian. Is she lying to him? To herself? I want her to have feelings for him. If I had a Tara doll and a Christian doll, I would totally push them together and make them kiss right now.

    "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
    *I'd love to go on a camping trip and take dance lessons in a clearing in the woods. Somebody, hook me up!
    *When everyone had detention together, and they all had to clean the dance studio, I felt like I was watching a dance version of the Breakfast Club. I wish they'd been stuck there even longer.
    *And again, I'm asking myself (and you) -- what is the deal with Tara and Christian? They're so cute as dance partners, I want them to be loooove partners, too.

    What did you think of this week's episodes?

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  • Dance Academy: The pressure's on.

    Posted on 04/12/2012 by Lisa

    Let's talk about kissing, Australian slang (Have you "pashed" anyone lately?), and the latest episodes of Dance Academy.

    *Spoilers below.* if you haven't seen the Dance Academy episodes "Pressure" and "Family," watch them before you read any further.

    Last night, on "Pressure," I loved the way Tara described her impulsive kiss with Ethan as an "almost pash." (Pashing is Australian slang for frenching / making out.)

    I've never been a huge fan of Ethan's character, but during this episode, I found him much more likable. Maybe Tara will be a good influence on him?

    I totally ship Tara + Sir Joshua. I'll call them "Tashua." They're very cute together, even if Sir Joshua wasn't very good at teaching Tara how to kiss. (Sidenote: When Kat first offered to help Tara with the kissing thing, I thought she was going to give Tara a practice kiss. I was a tiny bit disappointed that she didn't.)

    Speaking of kisses, I love the way the camera spun around Ethan and Tara as they were kissing at the end of the episode. That kind of shot always makes love feel even love-ier, doesn't it?

    On a more serious note, watching Abigail starve herself was so upsetting. I hope she's able to get help, take better care of herself, and continue dancing.

    In tonight's episode, "Family," everyone's family visits before the school holidays, and they all bring drama. Tara's mom pressures her to quit dancing because the family can't afford her tuition; Kat's mom ignores the fact that they made plans to take a trip together; Sammy's dad skips the visit... and meanwhile, Abigail's recovering at home, and her mom won't let anyone talk to her when they call. *sigh*

    Despite all the family stress, I felt like we really saw the main characters pull together and support each other during this episode -- especially when Sammy went to check on Abigail. That made it even harder to imagine Tara leaving them all behind because of her family's money problems.

    I cried when she won the scholarship. Did you?

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  • Dance Academy: Crime and Crushes

    Posted on 04/05/2012 by Lisa

    Did you watch this week's episodes? Things got a little sketchy for some of the dancers... and a little romantic for others. Let's discuss:

    Yesterday, on "Through the Looking Glass," we got a peek into Christian's past when his friend Aaron visited and revealed that Christian had been involved in robbing a gas station (ahem, "petrol station"). Is it just me or does Aaron have a bit of a Heath Ledger thing happening?

    Meanwhile, the last person I expected criminal behavior from was Abigail... but yet there she was, shoplifting from a nice old lady's store. The National Academy of Dance seems like an insanely stressful place to go to school -- especially for someone like Abigail who's so focused on perfection. I'm worried about her.

    On tonight's episode, "One Perfect Day," I was reminded of how glad I am that I'm not in ballet school. Miss Raine (played by Tara Morice, who starred in the movie Strictly Ballroom) says such mean stuff to her students, I can't even handle it. I feel like her teaching style is more intimidating than helpful.

    I totally understand why Abigail is struggling to cope with the pressure, but it hurt to see her taking it out on Paige. Watching Abigail's little sister give her a talk about self-esteem was heartbreaking, especially the line, "Only you hate you."

    Random question: When Sammy put his old pointe shoes in the harbor for their "funeral," was I the only person thinking "That's litter!" ? I probably was, but seriously... there's enough trash in the ocean! Couldn't he have tossed them in a dumpster instead?

    Of course I have to mention that moment at the end of the episode when Tara got what she's been after forever: a kiss from Ethan. I'm not a huge fan of Ethan's character (for exactly the reasons his mentor described), but I was happy for Tara in that moment. Also, that dance she did just before the kiss? Amazing.

    What did you think of these episodes?

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  • Dance Academy: "Growing Pains" and "Heartbeat"

    Posted on 03/29/2012 by Lisa

    What did you think of Sammy's shopping trip, the rumor about Tara and "Damo," Abigail's body issues, Kat's music video, and the competition between Christian and Ethan? Let's discuss.

    Kat and Sammy

    I felt like Wednesday's Dance Academy episode, "Growing Pains," could've been subtitled "the embarrassing moment episode" because there were soooo many embarrassing moments.

    Which "Growing Pains" moment did you think was the MOST embarrassing? I'll give you a selection:

    *Ethan telling Tara "You're like my other little sister." (OUCH.)
    *Sammy getting a wedgie in class.
    *Christian getting assigned to take Sammy shopping for a dance belt (btw, if you don't know what one is, it's basically the dance equivalent of a jockstrap. I had to google it, haha.)
    *Tara's attempt to cover her giant zit with her hand as she walked around school.
    *Tara getting yelled at by Miss Raine in front of her entire pointe class for wearing too much makeup.
    *Abigail getting yelled at by Miss Raine in front of her entire pointe class for wearing a sweater.
    *Abigail's awkward conversation with Kat about how it sucks to grow breasts if you want to be a ballerina.
    *Tara getting in trouble for the rumor that she's dating Damian (even though she didn't start it).
    *Tara getting yelled at by Damian for almost ruining his career.
    *The moment where I had to google "dance belt." (That wasn't shown in the episode, but it happened around the same time.)

    Overall, I thought the worst moments to watch were the ones that involved Tara trying way too hard to cover up the zit. I kept saying, "You're making things worse! Leave it alone!"

    I secretly liked Abigail's awkward conversation with Kat, because it was so rare to see those two characters share a moment. I hope at some point the show does a flashback so we find out how their former best-friendship fell apart. (It's not hard to imagine, since they're very different people, but I want details!)

    Ethan and Christian

    Tonight's episode, "Heartbeat," focused on Kat, Christian, and Ethan.

    How did you feel about the Kat storyline? It felt somewhat possible to me that if a cute dancer uploaded a video of herself making fun of a pop song, the original performer might see it and want to meet her... but would a guy like Myles Kelly really let her change the costumes and choreography on his music video? That felt like a bit of a stretch to me. And besides, I want Kat to have a love interest who isn't a celebrity. I want her to fall for a really nice down-to-earth guy who won't hurt her.

    On the other hand, the competition between Ethan and Christian felt very realistic. It was so hard to watch Christian get picked for that role, knowing how much Ethan wanted it... but it was also hard to watch Christian throw that opportunity away. Do you think Ethan will ever find out the truth? (I really hope not. I don't think he'd take it well.)

    More Dance Academy is coming... tune in next Wed. and Thurs. at 7:30pm et!

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