On Saturday morning, Russell Horning—aka 15-year-old Instagram king @i_got_barzz—was already kind of famous. His admittedly bad but weirdly mesmerizing dance videos had earned him shoutouts from the likes of Rihanna (and dance tributes from the likes of Josh Killacky).
But by Sunday morning? By Sunday morning, Russell Got Barzz had reached an entirely different level of memedom. Because Katy Perry tapped the teen—signature backpack and all—to perform "Swish Swish" with her on "Saturday Night Live." And the internet lost its darn mind.
The be-wigged dancing machine performing next to Sia on her recent "Saturday Night Live" appearance was, in fact, not Maddie Ziegler. We forgive you for being confused since Maddie and Sia are besties, but this new tiny dancer blew us away.
As it turns out, the dancer in question, Mina Nishimura, isn't that new. She's invested in NYC's downtown scene, so doing something on live TV with a major pop star is totally unusual for her. But you'd never know, (nor would you know she had very minimal rehearsal time before the performance) thanks to her emotionally-charged dancing.
Nishimura is a trained Butoh dancer who uses the Japanese form to create her own contemporary work. She's weird and wonderful, so it's no surprise that Sia would want to work with her.
Does this mean that someday we might see Ziegler and Nishimura onstage together? With Sia calling the shots, it doesn't seem totally impossible.
Who else saw Catching Fire this weekend?! So good. But don't worry--I'm not gonna give away any spoilers (although you've probably already read the entire Hunger Games trilogy at least four times, right?).
Instead, I want to talk about what happened when Josh Hutcherson, aka bad-boy baker from District 12 Peeta Mellark, hosted "Saturday Night Live" this weekend.
Hutcherson teamed up with Jay Pharoah and Kenan Thompson in a mock documentary about a b-boy group, Matchbox 3, that performs on subway cars in NYC. Now, we already know that there is some real talent out there on the NYC Subway. Exhibit A: Tapper Josh Johnson, who tapped his way from the subway to national television and Madison Square Garden. But these three aren't exactly ready for Madison Square Garden.
Beyond being gloriously hilarious, this video also features some clips of real subway b-boy performers, so it's worth a watch just for that:
Because I'm grumpy today, I'm just going to come out and say it: I hope this irritating Harlem Shake business is finally coming to an end. But while it's making its last death-rattle-y appearances in places like "Saturday Night Live" (sorry, JT—even when you're leading it, I can't get behind it), take a moment to look at this stand-alone example of how a Harlem Shake video should be done.
As we (and many other people) have pointed out, this new-wave Harlem Shake thing isn't the actual, authentic Harlem Shake dance, which has been around for literally decades. But NYC radio station Power 105.1 found a way to combine the two. And it's awesome.
Behold: Harlem Shaking to (an amazing remix of) Baauer's "Harlem Shake."
Justin Timberlake's new album comes out next week, which means pretty much the entire world is in a JT frenzy right now. Naturally, he hosted "Saturday Night Live" this weekend—for the fifth time!—where he showed off the full extent of his crazy triple threatness. But leave it to Buzzfeed to come up with a gif collection that shows off the side of Justin we know and love best: his dancing. (Duh.)
Even the best dancers can be made to look totally ridiculous in 3-second clips, and JT is no exception. Buzzfeed rounded up 32 of Timberlake's most awesomely awkward moments. Here are a few of our favorites. (Anybody else hoping that he might re-create these on Jimmy Fallon sometime, à la Michelle Obama?)
The "Tighty Whitey Shirt Shake":
The "Pow Pow Shimmy":
The "*NSYNC Body Roll"
[did I do this in a ballet summer program talent show? maybe.]:
The "Don't-Look-Now-But-Madonna-Is-Behind-You" Twist:
And the "Timberlake Tornado":
I expected the borderline-inappropriate jokes. I expected the appearance by Ted (sighhhhh). I even kind of expected the tribute to boobs on film.
But what I didn't expect from Seth MacFarlane's turn as host of the Academy Awards was a whole bunch of dance numbers. Dance! And here I was thinking the Busby Berkeley-style opening to "Family Guy" was a joke! Who knew that Mr. MacFarlane, the modern master of the fart joke, was a legitimate song-and-dance man?
Anyway, I think I'm not alone in feeling that the dancing elevated what could otherwise have been a very "meh" Oscars show. Let's run down all of the fun dance-y numbers, shall we?
We got off to a strange but, let's be honest, hilarious start with the boobs song. I know, it's terrible and tasteless and everything everyone hates about Seth MacFarlane, but c'mon. It was funny, and not less so thanks to the troupe of tux-clad backup dancers.
Next up, my personal favorite: Charlize Theron (who studied at NYC's Joffrey Ballet School!) and Channing Tatum channeling Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in an elegant foxtrot that was even better for being totally unexpected.
Then we were treated to a cute little softshoe by Daniel Radcliffe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Harry Potter's dance skills could use a little polishing, but points for effort—and Gordon-Levitt looked pretty darn legit. (Remember that time he redid the entire "Make 'Em Laugh" number from Singin' in the Rain on "Saturday Night Live"? I'm striking out in my search for video of the performance, but trust me: It was amazing.)
And then there was that big ol' reworking of "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast. It wasn't the biggest hit of the night, but I'm never really going to knock any production of a classic Disney song. Plus it featured some of DS's fave dancers, including Alex Wong, Spencer Liff, Cody Green and Jaimie Goodwin.
(I can't find any good video of this number, so you'll have to settle for a screenshot from the original instead. Just pretend Lumière is Seth MacFarlane. Not such a stretch, actually.)
Last but certainly not least: Catherine Zeta-Jones and a Fosse chorus in "All That Jazz" from Chicago. Girl's still got it! And it was another chance for our dancer friends to show off a little, too.
My only regret is that Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence didn't get to re-enact their so-bad-it's-awesome dance from Silver Linings Playbook. But I guess the two of them had other things on their minds, what with being nominated for Academy Awards and everything.
(Side note: Jennifer Lawrence. You are amazing. You basically fell on your face last night and it only made everyone, myself included, love you more. I feel like you and Emma Stone and maybe Sandra Bullock should hang out and be awesome and funny and super-stylish together.)
Why is Christina Applegate so amazing at everything? First, she was a total rockstar of a guest judge on "So You Think You Can Dance." Then, this weekend, she hosted "Saturday Night Live"—and proved she can (jazz) walk the walk as well as she can talk the talk in a glorious Fosse sketch.
In theory, I already knew Christina had moves. (She did headline the Broadway revival of Sweet Charity just a few years ago, after all.) But I didn't realize just how hardcore she was. Check out that to-the-nose battement!
This skit was a dance-nerd's paradise in more ways than one. I don't know why "SNL" loves crazy Fosse ladies and Tommy Tune references so much (remember Kristen Wiig doing her best Liza Minnelli last season?), but I, for one, am not complaining. And the whole premise, about kooky teachers using weird noises instead of counts? Pretty much spot-on. As Christina says: "This is Fosse, honey. We don't do 1-2-3s. We do 'ka-donks,' 'ka-doonks' and 'za-zas'!"
Check out the sketch below—then read about how to get Fosse-ified yourself.
Every once in a while, Saturday Night Live shocks me by being right on my dance-nerd wavelength. (Have you seen the classic sketch "Bad Ballet"? You should.) Last Saturday, the totally bizarro—and yet spot-on—"Liza Minnelli Tries to Turn Off a Lamp" skit had me on the floor. Not only does Kristen Wiig nail it as a whackadoo Liza, but her moves aren't half bad. And there are a bunch of legitimate dance references in there! A few choice samples:
"There's gotta be like a ball on the end of a chain, remember that? Chain, ball, kick, chain!"
"Will a Fosse neck do it?"
"Look how long this cord is—Ben Vereen, it's long!"
"I'm not getting anywhere with it—it's like Tommy Tune!"
Also, her dance-off at the end with Jonah Hill is priceless. Check it out: