In the famously catchy words of Gobo, Red, Mokey, Wembley, and Boober, it’s time to let the music play down at ‘Fraggle Rock.’ The fun-loving puppets of ‘Fraggle Rock’ are now available in Hulu Kids, ready to introduce a whole new generation to these subterranean characters who love to sing, party the day away, and share a message of peace with their audience.
Since it’s been 30 years since the series first aired on television, here’s a refresher course: A community of colorful, furry Fraggles — including Gobo, Red, Mokey, Wembley, and Boober — resides in a world of underground caves lies hidden through a hole in a workshop owned by an inventor named Doc (and let’s not forget his dog, Sprocket). It’s Gobo’s Uncle Matt who’s adventurous enough to visit to the world of humans, sending postcards of his travels back to his nephew. A society of industrious Doozers also inhabits the Fraggle’s subterranean world, while another entrance to Fraggle Rock leads to the Gorgs, the Fraggles’ giant nemeses. (Never mind that they’re 15 feet tall, whereas the Fraggles are just 18 inches.)
With the Fraggles now on Hulu, we asked ourselves which modern-day TV characters are most like each of the Fraggles. One no-brainer was Mokey, a quirky, free spirit who enjoys artistic pursuits and plays den mother, often becoming emotionally engaged in everyone’s issues. Sounds a lot like Jess from ‘New Girl,’ doesn’t it?
Now in its third season on Hulu, “The LXD” dance series is an original, telling the story of good vs. evil in an usual way: through dance. It’s the brainchild of Jon M. Chu, the same guy who brought us “Step Up 2: The Streets,” “Step Up 3D,” and Justin Bieber’s movie, “Never Say Never.” (He’s also reportedly working on a sequel to the G.I. Joe movie.) The dance troupe has been making the rounds lately—they’ve toured with the cast of “Glee” for two summers now, and have performed at the Emmys and at the TED conference. Most recently, they made their second appearance on “So You Think You Can Dance,” where the LXD’s Christopher Scott also served as a guest choreographer for several weeks this season. We spoke to Scott about the new season of The LXD a day before the group’s “SYTYCD” performance.
Hulu: So, Chris, tell us about the “So You Think You Can Dance” performance.
Christopher Scott: The performance on “So You Think You Can Dance” is kind of, in a way, a continuation of the last piece that we did on the show. We start off with Galen and I on stage. We choreographed it together. We brought in an element of snow to set the season and tone. We like to engage with a place when we dance, to provide a place for the audience to experience a cinematic feel. We kind of add on routines until we have everyone on stage this time — last time we had people come and go throughout the routing. This time, we added a couple elements like flexers, who we showcase. And we have Pandora with her cutting. There are two ballerinas on pointe. It was contemporary the first time; this performance is more contemporary ballet.
We really wanted to show individual styles. That’s always a mission for The LXD: that street styles are as beautiful as your typical ballet. This one was very much an LXD ballet. Their story is more in the relationship that people have. It’s very subtle in the way that it represents society and where people belong, and where do you fit in. People get pulled into different molds … at the end, we all come together. Ultimately there shouldn’t be any rules.
I think you really got everyone’s attention when you choreographed “Misty Blue” for “SYTYCD” finalist Sasha and Season 4 All-Star Twitch. What’s the story behind that routine?
Originally, the only thing I knew going into the week was that I was going to get Twitch. Twitch has so much power, soul, and passion when he dances. When I listened to the song, it just sounded like Twitch would make this special. Then I found out it was going to be with Sasha, and I knew she’d be great. She’s not a hip-hop dancer, but rather a contemporary dancer. She has so much soul and passion, too. I knew the song was going to be perfect.
Listening to this song, it’s about a woman who was torn. She shouldn’t be with this guy. She misses him, but she shouldn’t be with him. It has this whole blues thing. I did a routine earlier in the season, “Ain’t No Sushine,” and in that one, I had it so that the girl was gone, away most of the routine.
One line in that song, “It’s been such a long, long time,” made me think about any couple who had been together such a long time. You know, they’ve been with each other for so long, but one night, they get the babysitter and go back to how it was. They go have fun, have a glass of wine, get freaky. I decided to just go with it from there. It’s a ’70s song, so I wanted to set it at the time the song came out. I pictured “The Wonder Years” and how they always had dinner on that show. I had it at dinner at first. But for some reason, it was so much more fun if it was breakfast. You know, it’s like she’s so much more important than work. Everyone wants that in a relationship, that feeling of being special. “Forget work, forget reading my newspaper, my relationship is more.”
Who’s your pick to win this season?
I haven’t gotten a chance to work with everyone on the show, so I’m a little biased. Sasha is just amazing. She is so easy to work with. She puts everything she has into it.
All of these dancers are good kids. They’re so hungry, so talented. Any one of them can win the show. When you work with them, it’s different than watching at home. You can’t pick your favorites.
Now, The LXD. What can we expect from Season 3?
Epic-ness for sure. We like epic, always. Season 1 was contained. It focused on meeting the characters. Season 2 introduced the bad guys and setting up the idea of good vs. evil. In Season 3, we’re going to see the impact of the fight. It will be good versus evil. You’ll get a taste of where this all began.
You’ve obviously been busy lately. How do you juggle the series and side projects — after all, you guys toured with “Glee” this summer?
This season was a little tougher. There has been so much opportunity from The LXD, where I started as a choreographer. Now I’m getting recognition and opportunity. It’s getting harder to be available. The same is happening for Harry [Shum, Jr.]. His role on “Glee” has gotten bigger since we started the show. But we’ve been able to build a bigger team and expand. We brought on more choreographers Galen Hooks and Mike Song, a great up-and-coming choreographer.
We got to see some of the series regulars get involved behind the scenes, too. Luigi and David had asked before about bringing some choreography to the series, and this season has been a great opportunity for these B-boys. Madd Chadd — the robot — wanted to jump into the choreography, and it was amazing to see what he could bring.
What’s next for you?
I’ve been hired to be a choreographer on “Step Up 4,” in fact I’m on the set right now. I met Jon on “Step Up,” I came on in “Step Up 3D.” I went to Hollywood High School for performing arts. I started in theater, even though I was a hip-hop kid. My CD case was full of Tupac, “Ragtime,” and “Les Mis.” From there, I attended the Theater Academy and then Second City for improv school. I studied dance, but I never found myself dancing. I always thought “I like to dance, but I love acting,” but as I let it all happen, it just took over. I’d just be in an elevator with my mom and sister, tap-dancing the whole time.
What have been some of your all-time favorite performances?
The first time we did “So You Think You Can Dance.” This was the first time we established what we were gonna do in live shows. Harry and I had no idea what we were gonna do. We had all this crazy stuff. But then we just looked at each other and said we should do a B-boy ballet. We see hip-hop as beautiful like ballet. That’s when it all started.
TEDTalks was pretty amazing: just to be invited, to have 18 minutes on that stage. We had original music. Live musicians were coming to rehearsals and we’d freestyle.
But “Robot Lovestory” is definitely my favorite of the series, for the style of Madd Chadd and to work with him. He’s so precise, and the concept is so cool. I don’t know if anyone out there really got the concept, but we had extensions of Madd Chadd — we called them his energies, these dancers — these extensions were coming off his body and going all over the room. It was fun. It felt like choreographing a superhero.
“Mark of the Ox” was another. Just being there. It was freestyle. We had Frantick there with the powder. It was so music. He’d never done it before, but he just came out of his hood. It was silent, even the music was in a quiet section. Everyone was just laughing at him, because the stuff he was doing with this powder was off the top of his head. It brought his mom to tears. For a lot of these guys, they’re street dancers, and to be filmed like this, this is why we do this.
Catch new episodes of “The LXD” every Thursday on Hulu.
Will it be Melanie or Sasha? That’s the question on everyone’s lips leading into the finals of “So You Think You Can Dance” tonight. Sure, Marko and Tadd are still in the competition, but even the judges are comfortable saying it will likely come down to two female contemporary dancers. (Sorry, fellas!) While we won’t know who will take top honors until Thursday night, here’s a look back at the most notable performances from last week’s Top 6, where we bid adieu to dancers Caitlynn and Ricky. With lead judge Nigel Lythgoe waffling between which girl is his favorite — one minute, it’s Sasha; the next, it’s Melanie — it’s sure to be one of the best finals yet.
Sasha and Kent Sasha literally hit the wall in her routine, but fortunately we mean that in a good way. The onstage prop for their Tyce Diorio routine was simple: a plain wall, which played a significant role in their his story about two people who have hit a wall in their relationship. Sasha poured herself into the routine, putting her technique and her emotion into the routine in a way that made it clear that early frontrunner Melanie wasn’t a shoo-in to win this season. “You put your finger against a wall and you break my heart,” guest judge Christina Applegate said. “And that’s dance. … Something has hurt you and I thank you for sharing that with us.”
Tadd and Melanie Melanie showed off her acting skills with Tadd last week as they performed a story about a choreographer and his star dancer. As Tadd took the role of the choreographer, Melanie portrayed a young dancer who was falling in love with her teacher. As she showed off her technical, sensitive side, her B-boy partner showed how far he’s come this season. “Tadd, to think you are in this routine with one of the best dancers we’ve ever had on this show,” Nigel said. “… To say that you did not suck is a compliment.
Melanie’s Solo Since the judges referred to Melanie’s solo repeatedly in their critique of her pairing with Tadd, here’s a look at the “beefy” performance. (Description courtesy of judge Lil C.) No wonder the judges call her a “beast.”
Marko and Caitlynn It may have been Caitlynn’s swan song, but it was still worthy of a Lil C-ism: her final dance with Marko last Wednesday earned the title of “double hash tag buck.” Marko’s performance was top-notch, for sure, but that’s expected of the Guam native. And so the judges focused on Caitlynn, whose breakthrough routine was one of her best numbers in the series.
Melanie and Twitch Week after week, Melanie has conquered whatever dance “SYTYCD” has thrown at her, getting to the point where it seemed there was no style she couldn’t master. Last week, however, we almost — almost — saw her falter as she paired up with All-Star Twitch for a hip-hop routine. The music was difficult, and the choreography was fast, but, as judge Lil C pointed out, she got through the routine, letting go of her precision and athleticism, and finally showing us that she has teeth and claws. That’s right, this Little Red Riding Hood has bite, too.
Tell us what you think: Which “SYTYCD” star gets your vote for America’s top dancer?
Just when we were starting to get really attached to the couples on this eighth season of “So You Think You Can Dance,” the show threw us for a loop by splitting up the seemingly unbeatable duo of Marko and Melody. But it wasn’t all sad news: “SYTYCD” paired up the Top 10 dancers with some of our favorite All-Stars from seasons past, including Pasha, Twitch, and Comfort. Perhaps even better, the show treated us to two nights with Neil Patrick Harris (no stranger to Broadway, he’s also a fan of the show). Even though we eventually had to say goodbye to Mitchell and Clarice, several acts soared last week. Here’s a look back at some of our faves.
In what was one of the week’s most highly praised dances, Sasha teamed up with All-Star Twitch (Season 4) for a hip-hop routine styled by Christopher Scott (a dancer himself on “The LXD” web series). But this wasn’t your traditional pop-and-lock number. The choreographer opted for some soul, instead, and it worked. Lead judge Nigel Lythgoe was left speechless at first, and noted that this was the first time he’d really seen chemistry between Sasha and her partner. We’d have to agree!
All season long, Marko and Melanie have been the two dancers to watch. Now that we’ve reached the top 10, though, we had to ask how well this charismatic duo would do once they were split up. We got to find out last Wednesday, though, when Marko paired up with “SYTYCD” all-star turned “Dancing With the Stars” pro Chelsie Hightower (Season 4) for a samba full of scissor kicks, fancy footwork, and of course, Latin rhythm. Rehearsals left Marko banged up and bruised, but he persevered and came out strong, leaving Chelsie breathless at the end of their routine. Neil Patrick Harris singled him out as the guy to beat this season, while his fellow judges were equally enthusiastic.
Call it the night of Pasha, if you will: he paired up first with Caitlynn for the Argentinean tango, then returned to the stage for a sexy-sweet Viennese waltz with judges’ favorite Melanie. It was so fluid and natural, she looked like she’d been waltzing for years. The end result was a romantic confection that made us want seconds.
Tell us: which routine was your favorite this week?
Tonight on “So You Think You Can Dance,” the remaining 10 dancers will say adieu to their partners and pair up with a crew of “SYTYCD” All-Stars: Melody (Season 1), Allison (2), Pasha (3), Twitch (4), Comfort (4), Chelsie (4), Brandon (5), Kathryn (5), Robert (7). The big revelation, however, was that world-class ballerina Alex Wong, who left the show (prematurely) last season when he ruptured his Achilles, wouldn’t be returning as an All-Star. Turns out the dancer suffered from the same injury on his other foot. We’ll find out which dances stand out tonight, but first, let’s revisit our top three dances from last week.
Clarice and Jess Christopher Scott (from “The LXD“) presented Clarice and Jess with a lyrical interpretation of hip-hop. The simple routine played to the dancer’s strengths and left the judges feeling all sorts of warm-and-fuzzy. Even typically critical judge Sonya Tayeh ate it up, saying that the pair “just slayed it.”
Jordan and Tadd So you think “Black Swan” was creepy? Choreographer Travis Wall’s contemporary routine for Jordan and a shirtless Tadd took it to the next level, inspiring judge Mary Murphy to exclaim, “Beautiful. Dark. Magnificent.” And while it made us think of Natalie Portman’s eerie turn as a ballerina, guest judge Jesse Tyler Ferguson (“Modern Family“) may have been right when he called it the classic “vulture stalks boy” story. (Note to the “SYTYCD” producers: can we have more Jesse, please?)
Melanie and Marko
“Dancing With the Stars” pro Louis Van Amstel crossed over to “SYTYCD” last week to coach the season’s superstars, Melanie and Marko, through a sultry tango that finished with one heck of a lift. It was one of the toughest routines they’ve faced this season. So did they rise to the occasion? You better believe it. While Mary noted a few missteps, she and Nigel both acknowledged that their performance was leaps and bounds over what they saw in the dress rehearsals.
Tell us: which of the Top 12’s dances were your favorites this week?