I'm pulling for this girl; I love Pohai, but I hope Cherissa wins. Her look is one thing, but her dancing is outstanding.Hey, how about that?! First time I've ever called a winner! I actually did stay up for the results and agreed with every choice. So I guess the bottom line is, I really like this year's judges. Now I'm even more bummed that Sweetie Girl's kumu opted not to take the halau this year. Oh, well; next year, next year ...
Live-blogging was fun (I even had a blog follower -- mahalo for your comment, Fia!), but I can't keep it up tonight. For one thing, I have to be watching 2 volleyball matches at the same time (The Coach's team is playing, plus UH vs. USC), and for another ... it's kinda exhausting! But who knows, there might be times when I just can't resist a comment or two ...
10:45 - CC has gone home, SG to bed, and so none of us is going to stay up for the results. I can tell my brain is shutting down, so I doubt I'll be doing this again tomorrow night.
Pohai/Keolalaulani -- Well, what can you say when the song is dedicated to her mom (love you, Max!), the dancer's brother is accompanying her, and she's wearing practically the same dress as the one she wore as 8th grade queen? She looks beautiful, and her dancing is gorgeous. And how she has matured since she was last on this stage four years ago! Great performance.
C'ari Kealoha/Kamuela -- The dress is one of my favorites, and the lei is to die for. What an incredibly gorgeous rendition of Hi`ilawe. Beautiful girl, beautiful performance; it's a no-brainer that she's the other one in the top 2.
Kaholo Panui/Sonny Ching -- Manu O`o; another hula classic (you can see folks in the audience singing along). The gold velvet with yellow ohaialii is gorgeous. She's certainly expressive, well, captivating is probably more like it. CC puts her in the top 2; we could be looking at our winner.
Maria Kanehailua/Ka La Onohi -- So none of us is terribly wild about the costuming, but as a dancer she seems to be holding her own. Not a bad job for a first-timer.
Ashley Artis/Na Mamo O Ka`ala -- Cousin CC is terribly skeptical about this one, but it's refreshing, in a way, to see a traditional sort of look, and grace and subtlety applied to one of the true classics, Kawohikukapulani. I liked it.
Geri Emata/Maui -- The dress, lei, and kupe`e are the best of the night so far. This girl is a beautiful dancer, and the whole package; she's selling this one all the way. She's almost as good looking from the back as from the front! And a killer ending.
Nicole Taniguchi/Laniakea -- Great dress, great lei, excellent skills and she's clearly enjoying herself. Very pleasant to watch, and so much more personality than the one just before her.
Kiki Wheeler/Ka Wekiu -- She's an elegant dancer, but after the first impression has worn off, we've decided she looks too much like Hula Barbie. But the MidPac girl gets our props for wearing buffanblu:) Great hair, though ... she's gonna go places with that hair.
Cherissa Kane/K. Reichel: okay, midnight blue velvet, lei kahelelani, Big Island maile: what's not to love? I'm pulling for this girl; I love Pohai, but I hope Cherissa wins. Her look is one thing, but her dancing is outstanding.
Kristi Celebrado: Sorry, that red la`i skirt has been ruled by the judges on Laamia Place (SG, Cousin CC, and Plum) as an official wardrobe malfunction. It's just so distracting that we can't hardly see her dance. What a poor choice there.
Malia Marks/Olana is back with the bent-at-the-waist look. It is annoying, I have to admit. But I do like the song choice, Nani Kaua`i. And Howard and Natalie singing is always a highlight.
Intermission is almost pau, so I'm looking forward to `auana. But they're sure taking their time about it ...
Pohai Nu`uhiwa, Keolalaulani Olapa O Laka. Yay, Pohai! Been waiting all night to see you. Love your `oli; way to tell a story. How is she ever going to have enough breath to get through this?? Costume, adornments: perfect. And the maile at the waistband is my favorite. I'm biased, of course, but she gets my top 3. Hope the judges agree.
C'ari Kealoha, Hula Halau O Kamuela. Another top 3 probable, just by virtue of her halau. Sometimes pedigree is everything ... Now, that's a la`i skirt! A lot of energy in a fairly traditional choreography. Love the red. She pretty much nailed it.
Kaholo Panui, Halau Na Mamo O Pu`uanahulu. Okay, here's our boy Sonny Ching, renowned for turning out Miss Aloha Hulas. You can feel the energy level go up. You just know she's going to be top 3, easily, Sonny works these girls so hard, you can expect no errors whatsoever. I'm not so sure I like the eye thing, but it seems to work for Sonny.
Maria Kanehailua, Ka La Onohi Mai O Ha`eha`e. I'm so excited to see Tracie and Keawe Lopes at MMF for the first time. They very much belong here. I predict this dancer, albeit a rookie, will do well. I loved everything: the chant selection, the costume, choreography, her performance -- it all worked for me. I think the judges would like it.
Ashley Artis, Halau Na Mamo O Ka`ala. I've seen this girl before as a soloist at Hula Oni E. She's one of their alaka`i, I think. Love this gray costume with the red lehua. I like Noelani's choreography, and Ashley is a beautiful dancer, but there's something missing. Can't put my finger on it. And why does she always say "ilaila" for her kahea? A solid performance, but I don't see the judges scoring it real high.
Gerilyn Emata, Halau Ka Hanu Lehua. What's this?? Roselani? Interesting. Love the lei a`i, not so crazy about the lei po`o. Like her `oli voice a lot. The ombre pa`u, not so much. But I love this girl's energy and connection with the audience. Can't wait to see her `auana.
Nicole Taniguchi, Halau Ka Liko Pua O Kalaniakea. Finally, lei that's not red and yellow lehua. Not that I don't love lehua -- we've got both colors in our yard, the red's going off right now -- but I do love ilima. I like what Kapua Dalire Moe does with her dancers: she's not just a clone of her mom, and she maintains a good balance of the traditional and the creative. I liked this one.
Kiki Wheeler, from Halau I Ka Wekiu. A Mid-Pac student, so my sister-in-law is particularly interested. These guys have had a bit more success with their kane than their wahine, so we'll see. Oops, did I just see a cross step?!?! Well, that's unfortunate.
Cherissa Kane, Halau Ke`alaokamaile, Maui. Keali`i Reichel's girl. Love her `oli. And don't you just love it when the big girls can move that good? Some of her footwork is ever so not precise, but her hands and expression are spot on. I've always loved this chant of his; glad he chose it for her.
Second dancer: Kristi Celebrado, from Kaua`i. First time at MMF for this halau? I can tell you right now the judges are not going to score this one very high. KITV made such a big deal about this being the first Merrie Monarch to broadcast in HiDef; she's going to regret seeing herself on the replay with her kupe`e spraying all over the stage.
First dancer: Malia Marks, from Halau Hula Olana. SG is unimpressed: too bent over, and what's she doing with her mouth? I like the Olana girls for their discipline, but their style is not my cup of tea.
They just introduced the judges, and I'm so excited to see my kumu sitting there! First one to be introduced. I'm happy to see the red shirt he chose is not too overwhelming. He told us last week in class that he was still deciding what he would wear each night, but he was pretty sure he was going to wear a red shirt, with a tie and vest, for Thursday night. I thought the red might be too much, but it looks good. I hope he behaves himself -- he tends to clown around a bit, telling us last week that he was going to be texting while judging, and stuff -- but I'm sure he's taking this plenty seriously. I'm happy for him to have this opportunity.
6:00 pm -
I've never live-blogged anything before, so I have no idea how this will go. Still, I'm giving it a try. At the moment, I'm still fixing dinner and running back and forth to the TV room. Oh, good, Sweetie Girl and the Coach just got home, so I can have SG monitor the action while I finish making salad.