So You Think You Can Dance Season 12 Los Angeles Auditions

28 06 2015

Part of the programming was interrupted by the coverage of Tropical Storm Bill that was headed our way. However, it finished up by the time the first contestant’s audition started in Los Angeles. Asaf Goren does “Hebrew Breaking” as a style of dance. It was really interesting. It had an element of B-boy dancing that I don’t think I have ever seen before. Just when I thought he was done, he threw water on the ground and wowed me even more. All three judges were on their feet. Asaf was so emotional, he was getting all teary eyed. Nigel thought it was, in the British vernacular, bloody great B-boying. Paula thought he had a wonderful personality. Jason thought he is a star. He believes he is going to create something special that is going to change the world. He said sometimes people come in with that kind of confidence and it is off-putting, but after seeing him perform, he understands why, because it is the truth; it is not being cocky. Paula added that he danced from his heart and everyone could feel it. Nigel said he looked like a very young…and Jason chimed in Aladdin at the same time Nigel was saying Rock Hudson. He is through to Vegas.

Avo Karapetyan is formerly from Armenia but currently living in Boston. He came to try out for a spot on Team Stage with Travis Wall. He chose “Stay with Me” by Sam Smith. Instant goosebumps. His height was tremendous. His technique was terrific. The judges again were on their feet. Paula was crying. She said she would love to critique him but she cannot critique perfection. He is smashingly brilliant. Nigel thought he was a joy to watch. It was stunning. Jason said his hat went off to him. He was through.

Jana “Jaja” Vankova, an animator who made it to Pasadena last year but then got cut. Jason was already yelling at her. She is a tremendous animator. Right up there with Cyrus I think. I think she will give the Queen of Detroit a run for her money. Again the judges are standing on their feet for a standing ovation. Jason said that is bananas, that she became another being. He would pay money to see her. Paula thinks she is a perfectly wrapped gift that puts smiles on people’s faces. Nigel said it is a gift to watch her. She is through to Vegas.

Allen Genkin was trying out for Team Stage. He is a very young man who was diagnosed with testicular cancer and is now 3 years down the road from all of that. He chose “Land of 1000 Dances” by Will Pickett. I loved it. Paula said he lit up the stage with his high-energy routine. Paula was sarcastic about how terrible he was. It was so “off” in the right way, and that he was so fantastic, phenomenal, sexy, etc. Jason said before he started moving he knew he was going to be great. Nigel compared him to Benji Schwimmer. He is also through to Vegas.

A bunch of performers go through for Team Street. Brothers Illijaz and Burim “B1” Jusufi wished to join the team with their breaking moves. Some of their moves were typical moves we’ve seen before but some were unique. I think they deserve a ticket to Vegas, but I don’t think they’ll make the top 10. The judges liked it though. Nigel wasn’t sure why they had to take their t-shirts off to do their head spins. He thought they were incredible. Paula mirrors what Nigel is saying. Jason thought it was entertainment at its finest. They had a great connection between each of them and to the audience. They are through.

Mary Kate Lavoir called her dad out as a dance dad who bedazzles costumes. She danced a jazz routine to “As Long As You Love Me” by Justin Bieber. She is beautiful and definitely has star quality. She has great strength in her legs. There was a lot of self-glorification with the touching of herself that the judges have ridiculed them about in past seasons. Her routine was average. I think with a good choreographer, she could improve. I would say that most of her routine was about the self-touching and the rolling around on the floor. Nigel invites dad up to the stage to show his dad’s unique style. His name is Patrick (I like his name). He dances to “Opposites Attract” by Paula Abdul. Mary said she wasn’t feeling it; she has seen better at the kitchen table. Dad said it would be a long flight home. Paula thought it was the best walking she has seen. Jason thought he connected with Paula really well. Nigel thought he needed to be stronger. Nigel thought Mary, on the other hand, was tremendous. No for dad to Vegas but Mary will be going to Vegas.

Krump. I love krump. Krump started in 2001 in South Central Los Angeles. Krump was derived from clown dancing in 1992 (who knew?). I must have been asleep for that style of dance. The movie “Rize” inspired this next young man to get out of a gang and start dancing. James “B-Dash” Derrick hopes to take his game to the next level to make a career out of his moves. He dances to Glitch Mob’s “Animus Vox.” He threw some animation in there as well. He was on fire. I thought it was less krump though. Jason said he loved it because it is so different from what they are used to seeing. It didn’t feel angry but more like entertainment. Paula thought he was phenomenal. He is through to Vegas.

The next performer’s story was cut off due to more Tropical Storm Bill coverage. Shaolin from Mortal Kombat (?) was the song of choice for this ballet dancer. Jim Nowakowski owned that stage. It was like samurai ballet. Nigel compared him to Alex Wong. He felt they had the same strengths and technique. Alex was from the Miami Ballet; he is from the Houston Ballet (Woo-hoo Houston!). The performance was remarkable. Nigel thought it was one of the best dances he has ever seen on the show. Paula said he was exceptional. Jason asked him how many hours a day does it take to become a dancer like him. He replied “Forty hours?” They all giggled with that. Then he realized what he said and corrected himself saying eight hours. Jason felt it was amazing to have watched something like that. Jim obviously makes it through.

The last contestant on day one of the LA auditions was a young man with Down syndrome named Cody Carlson. He wanted to audition for Team Street with some freestyle hip-hop. Jason Derulo was his inspiration. Jason cheers him on. He is a terrific dancer. Jason said he is a born entertainer. Nigel shares that for the first time ever they are entering dance into the Special Olympics. Nigel is honest with him that this competition might not be the right one for him to be in because the dancers at this level are so technically trained, but he might be representing America in the Special Olympics. Paula said he is magnificent and not to forget that. Jason said he was an inspiration to him and a lot of people watching him. I don’t think Cody cared about a ticket to Vegas. He just wanted to hug Jason and it was a beautiful moment that made me cry. But Jason also hands him a ticket to Vegas.

Day two of the LA auditions commenced. Jacy Jordan was up first. When she was 7, she and her family were in a car accident. She was ejected out of the window despite her seat belt. She was bleeding to death and she might lose her leg. They told her she would never walk again but she refused to accept that. She is from Manvel, Texas? Wow! That is just south of Houston. (I looked up the story and it indeed happened). James Vincent McMorrow’s “Cavalier.” I really enjoyed her dance. It had a lot of emotion and wonderful technique. It was a great song choice, too. Jason said he felt attached to her because he had a near-death experience as well. He said he is not a crier, but he had to hold back his tears because that (her dancing) was such a moment for him. Paula said that dance, if you have experienced it, keeps you going through the hardest of times. She didn’t see any disability; she saw incredible ability. Nigel said the fact that she is dancing is, in fact, a miracle. Nigel said as far as Vegas, he was going to pass because he felt they had stronger dancers. Jason said yes and Paula said yes, so she is going through.

Jessica Rabone has a Japanese heritage and has been living in the shadow of her sister Becky who is a celebrity over there. Jessica decided to combine waacking and “house” for her audition. She had previously been in a battle with Comfort Fedoke, a contestant from season 4. She and Comfort were a team and they won the battle. Jessica has such a stage presence and has a face of a star. Her dancing was fierce! It was so fluid and–I’m not kidding–my dog while sound asleep was moving rhythmically to the song. When it was over, he stopped (he was sleeping). Nigel thought he saw a lot of Toni Basil in her. Jessica said Toni had trained her. Paula said she was like a mini superhero. She was representing quirky and fun with an amazing infectious smile and she knows how to work it and play her character well. She only suggested she incorporate more of a vocabulary with her movement but it was wonderful. It was very special. Jason said he loved it too. He was about to have some coffee but he had his fair share of caffeine right there–with a little cream, of course. Nigel said she lit up her stage. The smile lights up the entire theater. He thinks she needs more steps but this is not “so you think you can choreograph” so she is going to Vegas.

A group of female hip-hop dancers who were just hitting it hard on stage, and who I can’t wait to see in Vegas, all made it through.

Kareem “Anointed” Ali came with a unique dance style: All-style spiritual vibrational dance. I hope his dance style lives up to his hype. I’m not sure how this is different from the usual street dancing, but some of the moves were unique. The whole dance was indeed entertaining. Some of those moves made my biceps hurt. Nigel said what was great about him is that he was performing and his great personality came across. He did some really brilliant b-boy stuff. Paula said he has a gift. He dances in his own lane and that is what she is looking for. Jason said being a street performer you have to have a special something to stand out in a crowd. He brought that on stage. He lived up there. He is a gift. He gets a ticket to Vegas.

The last contestant is Brandon Armstrong. In 2012, he wasn’t old enough at that time and he was given a ticket to come back in 2013 but he went on a mission. During that mission he had to talk about Jesus from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. No TV. He was not even allowed to dance. He chose “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson. The year off did not harm his dancing ability in any way. He needs to back off on the facial expressions a bit. I think he deserves a ticket to Vegas. Jensen, his partner who is underage for the show, gets her own ticket to come back next year. Paula thought he was stunning. He has a lot of flair and wonderful style and is very well trained. Jason said his father said, “you gotta know how to handle a woman” and Brandon knows how to handle his woman. In ballroom you have to know how to dominate and that is exactly what he did. Nigel cautioned him on the mouth “oo” expressions. He also cautioned him on overextending in some of his lines. He is going to Vegas.

After four cities now 84 stage dancers and 84 street dancers were going to Vegas.





So You Think You Can Dance S10 Top 4 Revealed

29 08 2013

Opening Number

Song: “Hlohonolofatsa” by Soweto Gospel Choir
Choreographer: Sean Cheesman

Goosebumps! What a joyous dance. It is wonderful, too, to celebrate African-American roots with the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.

Judges

Jesse Tyler Ferguson joined Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy for tonight’s performances. I really enjoy the judging panel with him as a guest.

Couples

Dancers: Paul and all-star Kathryn McCormick
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio
Song: “Tied Up” by Yello

Need for control and power between a woman and a man. I smiled the whole way through. It sizzled. Tyce was smart to choreograph this to Paul’s strengths.

The judges: Not standing. Nigel thought it was a great routine. He said week after week he has shown he can do anything. Mary said Paul has charisma and talent, and it was a great way to get the show started tonight. Jesse is happy that they bypassed who might be in the bottom and went straight to the dancing. He thinks this top 6 is an insanely talented group of people (I agree). He has been so pleased seeing him grow since his audition. He also will now wear leather pants more (Jesse is a riot–love him on the judges’ panel).

Dancers: Hayley and all-star Joshua Allen
Style: Hip-hop
Choreographers: Tabitha and Napoleon D’Umo
Song: “Work Hard, Play Hard” by Wiz Khalifa

Ex-champ coming back to train the new kid. I was distracted by her facial movements but she did pretty well. I liked the slow-motion moves. I just don’t buy into her tough angry face because right behind it you can tell she is smiling. I prefer a smiling Hayley and the contemporary-dance-serious Hayley.

The judges: Not standing. I was a little worried we would see a standing ovation for every dance tonight. Mary said what a way to fight to stay in this game. Mary said Ali said it took skill and will and Hayley definitely has the will. She was as strong as she had ever seen anyone doing hip-hop. Jesse said that was the greatest work-out video of all time. She has been consistently awesome this entire season. Nigel said Hayley reminded him of Hilary Swank in “Million Dollar Baby.”

Dancers: Aaron and all-star Melanie Moore
Style: Broadway
Choreographer: Spencer Liff
Song: “Faith” by George Michael

A couple totally in love but they know how to push each other’s buttons. I love Melanie’s straightened hair! Aaron rocks. He is my choice to win for the guys. OH NO!!!!!!! Dropping your partner can’t happen! I was so worried she hit her head.

The judges: I love Melanie for sticking up for him. Jesse said you dropped her and she got even more mad at you. He looks forward to the day when everyone on the show is forced to do tap or ballet. He thinks he has risen more tonight with Melanie. Nigel likes Melanie’s hair too. What a great idea for a routine, not that it happens in real life with people dancing and arguing like this (which he thinks is why now he has an ex-wife) and Jesse chimes in, “Did you drop her on her head?” He wants Aaron to lower his shoulders. Mary brought up his injury and he did not want to use that as an excuse and Nigel thinks holding his shoulders up might not be helping. If Mary had to partner with dance during the entire show it would be him. (MARY–how about during the finale results show?).

Dancers: Fik-Shun and all-star Witney Carson
Style: Foxtrot
Choreographer: Jonathan Roberts
Song: “Sexy Silk” by Jessie J

Good thing there is no voting tonight because the foxtrot would not be popular. He gets an A for effort and an A for personality. I like how the choreographer put a Fik-Shun footprint in it with that sidestepping.

The judges: Again not standing. This pleases me. Mary pointed out he had some rough spots but also pointed out the good points as well. Jesse thought Witney was doing more leading but so was Mary at his wedding. He also was doing the “white man’s overbite.” He thinks he is amazing. Nigel said this was not particularly strong and said the vote from last week will carry over to next week (did he just give it away that he makes it into the top 4?). He gave him pointers of where he can improve. He complimented him on his solo tonight.

Dancers: Jasmine and all-star Neil Haskell
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio
Song: “Unfaithful” from Unfaithful (Soundtrack)

People’s lives being wiped away by natural disaster. I got goosebumps watching the rehearsals (deep breath). Definitely the biggest goosebumps I have gotten all season and then came the tears. We are coming up upon the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Ike here and I have loved ones who were affected by Hurricane Sandy in the northeast. That hooking-foot move was impressive because it is counterintuitive.

The judges: Rightfully on their feet. Nigel said she continues to steal his heart. He can see her signing up with a company as soon as the tour is over. Mary is crying. She said it was seeing rainbows in your soul when you have tears. She thinks Jasmine is spectacular and has been amazed by her whole journey. She said the history books will tell the stories about what happened, but dance will tell us how we feel. Jesse said it is easy to get behind a piece that has social relevance but you also have to have the heart and humanity behind it and they both had it. She has become his favorite dancer this year.

Dancers: Amy and all-star Alex Wong
Style: Bollywood
Choreographer: Nakul Dev Mahajan
Song: “Munni Badnaam Hui Darling” from Dabangg (Soundtrack)

The girl is a Bollywood bombshell diva. Alex is her servant. They are in love and in their world it is unacceptable. They too missed a connection early on that did not have potential disastrous results. Those knee turns made my knees hurt. Was it as well as Melanie Moore could have turned up adult diva? No, but it was still fun and she did a great job.

The judges: On their feet. Mary said it was crazy. It had great athleticism. The knee spins were nuts. Jesse said good golly Miss Bollywood (and cringed at his own corny comment). He needs a massage after watching that. It was insane. Nigel said all these routines (Bollywood) always make him smile. He reminded us that this is the style of dance on which Alex tore his Achilles heel. It was incredible and he had never seen a Bollywood routine that was so demanding.

Dancers: Hayley and Paul
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Dee Caspary
Song: “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by Sleeping At Last

A man reassuring a woman that he will be there for her. Goosebumps! You would never know that they have never danced together before if you were not told. That was so beautiful. Paul–you did not look like you were out of your element at all!

The judges: Jesse and Mary were standing. Dee looked like this was very personal to him as I saw tears in his eyes after they were finished. Jesse said he is so stressed out that people have to leave tonight. He thought it was amazing. The love and trust that they have for each other from this shared experience on the show was evident. He was going to keep this Carly-Rae-Jepson short–it was amazing. Nigel loved the flow of the movement. He said it validated for him that they are complete dancers. Mary is hoping they become a real life couple because they are so cute together! Their connection together was so friggin’ amazing. She commented on the contrast from Hayley’s other number tonight.

Dancers: Amy and Fik-Shun
Style: Hip-hop
Choreographer: Dave Scott
Song: “Lemme See” by Usher featuring Rick Ross

The woman shopping and showing off what she got. I think Amy channeled the sexy better in this dance versus the Bollywood number. I really enjoyed that.

The judges: Nigel said they have this wonderful chemistry brings out the best in both of them. He took a swipe at Miley Cyrus saying that this just proves you don’t have to put it in someone’s face to be sexy. Twerking! Mary said it is fabulous to have the dream team back together. The body rippling was so right on it was ridiculous. They have the ability to make us feel the movement. Jesse said he was heartbroken when the all-stars came in and broke them apart but happy to see them reunited tonight. Fik-Shun is a mega star. His solo erased the image of Miley twerking in his mind. The two of them together is so special and so spectacular. He thinks Amy is small enough to go into his pocket and he just loves that.

Dancers: Aaron and Jasmine
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Sean Cheesman
Song: “Mirror Mirror” by Lord KraVen

A man who appears to be vain but is mesmerized by this woman in a mirror only he can see. The woman is so obsessed with herself that her essence got trapped in the mirror. In rehearsals Aaron had trouble flipping Jasmine over his head; I bet that move disappears on the final product. Aaron is wearing GUYLINER! The mirror reflection of this dance was the co-star with these two. Aaron needs to refrain from singing the lyrics, although I love him so I am just teasing. (So inquiring minds want to know if he’ll be trying out for Idol or X-Factor or???) That leg move that Jasmine had where it went 120 degrees over was sick. I was right–they got rid of that move and it wasn’t really necessary. I think in the end, Jasmine chewed up his essence and spit him back out again.

The judges: Standing. Mary thought it was a phenomenal concept. The two of them have such a deep conviction dancing together. She touched on Jasmine’s beautiful solo and how there is a class and artistry in everything she does. Aaron was such a strong partner. The synchronization part on the mirror was just out of this world. Jesse agreed with all that. He called her a protractor. She is just a crazy robot and he hates her and loves her and hates that he can’t be her. To Aaron he said last time he got so tongue-tied because he is such a fan and then gushed and blurted out that he has a crush on him. Cat said it was the guyliner. Jesse was turning all sorts of shades of red. Jesse said Aaron looks like his husband. Aaron could not stop laughing. Nigel said like Amy and Fik-Shun they complement each other so well. Nigel complimented him on his tap solo. He noticed that Aaron kept his shoulders down in this routine with Jasmine and Aaron was excited he noticed. Nigel could not believe what Jasmine did with her legs. He remembered doing that to his sister’s dolls right before yanking their heads off. He thought it threw the gauntlet down to others in the competition saying “Beat that!”

Solos

Amy danced to “Anna’s Theme” from The Red Violin (Soundtrack). Breathtaking! Major goosebumps! Her extensions and lines were exquisite. Fik-Shun danced to “Look At Me Now” by Chris Brown featuring L’il Wayne and Busta Rhymes. Fantastic animation and I thought I was double-jointed! Jasmine danced to “Outro (Amazing Grace…Dedicated to Andretta Tillman) by Destiny’s Child. Goosebumps!!!! Jasmine for the win! Paul danced to “Mamba Negra” by Huecco. You know what I love about apart? He makes you smile because he just loves to dance. Hayley danced to “Be Mine (Acoustic) [Live At The Cherrytree House] by Robyn. She dances beautifully but I do have one criticism–they always look the same and too much of it is usually rolling on the ground. I really like to see things that they have learned on the show incorporated into their solos. Aaron tapped to “Use Me” by Bill Withers. Whoa! Superb. Aaron for the win!  I cannot even begin to know how difficult that must have been (and the judges gave him the only standing ovation during solos).

Top Four Revealed

Aaron, Jasmine, Amy and (sad face) Fik-Shun. That ruined my almost perfect record of picking who was leaving. I like Fik-Shun, I do, but Paul is the better dancer. What? It is only going to be one winner this season and not favorite girl and favorite guy? Don’t make me pick between Aaron and Jasmine. That is just not fair.

 

8/29/2013 Update:  I just saw a commercial for the show on Tuesday and it is favorite guy and favorite girl, so I won’t have to pick between them.  Phew!





So You Think You Can Dance Season 10 — Top 10 Revealed

8 08 2013

Opening Number

Song: “Pandeyjee Seeti” by Dabangg 2 (Original Soundtrack)
Choreographer: Nakul Dev Mahajan

Group Bollywood opening number! I think someone had to super-size their energy drink before coming on stage. How in the world do they keep up that level of energy? Nico and Alan’s hands were not as sharp as the other guys. I enjoyed it very much, however.

Judges Tonight

Kenny Ortega joined Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy on the judges’ panel tonight. Cat delivers more bad news about the dancers. Tucker had an infection in his knee and cannot perform tonight. If he survives the cuts on this evening’s show, he will automatically be in the bottom next week. What does Cat mean about Mary and “retiring?”

In The Bottom

Tonight’s cut is important because the top 10 dancers remaining will be the ones going on tour. Jenna, Alan, Malece, Nico, Amy, Tucker. I am surprised about Amy. It could be that she needs a new dance partner (even though Fik-Shun made it through). Nigel sends Nico and Jenna into the top 10. Amy is NOT going home so I suspect it is Malece’s time to leave. Tucker is dancing? I am confused. Cat said he was not dancing tonight. Hoping to secure his place, Tucker dances to “Maestro” from The Holiday (Original Soundtrack). Now there is the Tucker I remember from the auditions that I loved. So fluid and beautiful. Amy danced to “Je Suis Malade” by Lara Fabian. I got goosebumps! The audience was rooting for her too. Now THAT is dancing for your life. Malece dances to “Patient Love” by Passenger. It was nice but Amy was better. Alan danced to “Mas Que Nada” by Sergio mended featuring The Black Eyed Peas. Sergio Mendes is a name I have not heard for quite awhile. His timing seemed off to the music.

Couples Dance

Dancers: Hayley and Nico
Style: Broadway
Choreographer: Sean Cheesman
Song: “Kiss Of The Spider Woman” by Jeffrey Huard & Chita Rivera (Kiss Of The Spider Woman Cast Recording).

Whoa! I was vacillating between wondering whether or not I liked it or if it was boring, but the flip he did made me pause to rewind. She stands back-to-back with him. She has one leg in the arm (so it looks like a split standing up) he starts bending forward. She starts bending backward (with that right leg straight up now bending backward as her left knee bends. The motion continues and her left leg leaves the floor and he flips her over and she lands facing him, then falls backward onto the stage with that right leg still up in the air and she does a backward tumblesault and then stands up as he does a round-off, back spring, backward somersault. And then a kiss. Wow!

The judges: On their feet! Nigel says it was one of the best Broadway routines they have ever had on the series (Tyce will be sad to hear this). He said it was magnificently danced. Mary thought it was outrageous. Mary loved the passion and the power that Nico brought to the character. Mary thought Hayley was a little temptress. Kenny thought Sean created a courageous piece. Hayley and Nico handled it with bravery and passion.

Dancers: Malece and Alan
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Mandy Moore
Song: “Come Dance With Me” by Michael Bublé

He should go home just on the fact that he is a dancer who has never seen Gene Kelly dance. (LOL). She should go home because apparently she is not environmentally friendly (never wears the same thing twice and shops all the time?). Annoying. I think Alan did a better job than Malece. His hips moved better than hers did. It was okay.

The judges: Kenny made sure Alan went onto You Tube to see a Gene Kelly film. Malece has the sparkle of a young Judie Holiday or Goldie Hawn. He wished they would have found that melding point better between their two styles (missing chemistry, not technical dancing). Nigel thought it was uncomfortable to watch. The style and chemistry were not there. Mary thought it was fun and entertaining but there were some issues with the technical part. She is on the fence about it overall.

Dancers: Jenna and Alex Wong (standing in for Tucker)
Style: Paso Doble
Choreographer: Jean-Marc Généreux
Song: “He’s A Pirate (Ship Ahoy Tribal Remix) by Chris Joss and Klaus Badelt

This makes me very excited to see the top 10 paired with the all-stars next week. Remember when I said it takes a lot to get me excited about ballroom dancing? This is what I am talking about. I wonder if she now likes a new pirate other than Orlando Bloom.

The judges: Mary loved it. She wishes she could trade places with Jenna. Kenny complimented her on dancing with someone she had never danced with before with such passion and confidence. She is now at the top of the list for him. Nigel made it known that Alex had never done ballroom on the show before (due to his early leave because of his injury in his season). He also made a comment about the all-stars.

Dancers: Makenzie and Paul
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Mandy Moore
Song: “The Edge of Glory” (Live From “A Very Gaga Thanksgiving”) by Lady Gaga

Unlikely lovers. He’s a boy from the wrong side of the tracks (depends on your perspective I imagine–perhaps he is the RIGHT side of the tracks). That sizzled. I got goosebumps! The lines were exquisite. The chemistry exploded. The judges were standing.

The judges: Nigel talked about all the wonderful moments in their movement. Mary said it was done beautifully. They melted together and oozed. Kenny said they are two of his favorite dancers in this competition and have been for awhile.

Dancers: Amy and Fik-Shun
Style: Viennese waltz
Choreographer: Jean-Marc Généreux
Song: “A Thousand Years, Part 2” by Christina Perri featuring Steve Kazee

This is not going to be pretty. People who dance this usually find themselves in the bottom. The Twilight fans might like it. Fik-Shun’s foot work was sloppy. He gave a good effort with his posture. There was something I had difficulty putting my finger on and I think it is in this dance I felt like more “boy” than “man” came through. His partnering was better this week and he was there for all the lifts and tricks and nothing on the floor she might have tripped on.

The judges: Mary said they were precious together. There were definitely technical issues but something special Happens between them. Kenny praised Jean Marc on being a great teacher. He thought if a choreographer asked Fik-Shun to fly he would find a way to do it. Amy is like the dancer in a music box. Nigel acknowledged the problem this dance has getting votes. He feels like Fik-Shun is learning week after week.

Dancers: Jasmine and Aaron
Style: Hip-hop
Choreographer: Tabitha and Napoleon D’Umo
Song: “Gold Rush” by Clinton Sparks featuring 2 Chainz, Macklemore & D.A.

Stagecoach robber meets gold-digging saloon girl. They truly are my favorite couple. It was fun, playful, sexy, and entertaining. I liked it so much I had to watch it again (and again and again). My favorite routine of the night. Here–You should watch it, too.

The judges–were on their feet! Kenny said after SYTYCD choreographers will have to form a lottery to see who gets to work with them first. Nigel felt that Aaron was right about height but he would have been right had it not been for Jasmine. He did not know the pelvic girdle could move like that (on Jasmine). Mary felt Jasmine’s hip and torso isolations were crazy tonight. Aaron did great too.

Dancers: Nico, Paul, Fik-Shun, Alan
Style: Hip-hop
Choreographers: Tabitha and Napoleon D’Umo
Song: “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World (American Idol Performance) by Joshua Ledet

The guys have to pull their own weight in a relationship. It was a great routine. The girls went NUTS in the audience.

The judges: Mary and Kenny were standing. Nigel thought it was really good. Mary picked out Paul and Aaron to compliment. Kenny gave Alan a compliment for throwing his all into the dance. He also complimented Paul and Aaron (although I think he mistakenly said Alan instead of Aaron).

Dancers: Jenna, Hayley, Malece, Makenzie, Amy, Jasmine
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Song: “Young and Beautiful” (DH Orchestral Version) by Lana Del Rey (The Great Gatsby Soundtrack)

At the fountain of youth, the ladies ultimately find that what matters most is on the inside. It was haunting and celebrated their sisterhood.

The judges: Also standing again. Mary said they are the best 6 girls that they have had in 10 seasons. Kenny said their commitment to dance is evident in every movement they make. Nigel thought it was beautiful.

Going Home

Malece and Alan. But Nigel said he would try his best to get them on the tour in some capacity.

My picks for next week

I can’t pick the bottom this week. Everyone was so good. My favorites though were Aaron and Jasmine and Paul and Makenzie. But Nico and Hayley get props for the complicated moves in their dance. Well, okay, maybe I do have picks for the bottom seeing who is then left. We know Tucker automatically goes into the bottom 2, but the other should be Fik-Shun. Jenna should be the next one to leave. Amy needs a chance to shine with an all-star next week and that leaves only Jenna.





So You Think You Can Dance — Top 4 Perform

13 09 2012

Tuesday night was the last time we could vote on our favorites, the finale sort-of version. One more episode to go–to crown not just one winner but two: America’s favorite girl and guy. Lending critiques to the evening’s performances are resident judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy. Award-winner Rob Marshall was in the house lending his extensive knowledge to the mix.

Dancers: Eliana and Cyrus
Choreographer: Jason Gilkison
Style: Paso Doble (Eliana is the matador and Cyrus the bull)
Song: “The Game Has Changed” by Daft Punk

My thoughts: Cyrus is one determined bull, but was ultimately defeated by the lovely Eliana who continues to bring her strength of character to each role she embodies. It was a great opening number and a very smart move on the part of the choreographer, knowing that Cyrus’ lack of technique would not work in this situation.

The judges: Nigel thought Eliana had secured her place in the industry. He pointed out some things to Cyrus to help him improve and commended him on good partnering. Mary said that Cyrus conquering the paso doble must have felt like skinny dipping with snapping turtles and was very masculine. Eliana was on fire tonight. Rob loved how Eliana threw away technique and focused on the story. He told Cyrus it was exciting to watch them let it happen in the moment.

Dancers: Tiffany and Will Wingfield (Season 4 All Star)
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Style: Jazz
Song: “The Time is Now” by Moloko

My thoughts: Tiffany was really enjoying herself. She is a little spitfire with a lot of grace and strength. It was nice to see Will back, too. The music was a bit boring.

The judges: Mary that she was a star tonight. She loved it and felt there was great partnering. Rob thought Tiffany was great–fearless. Nigel said Tiffany is so little but her lines are so strong, so big. She is a tremendous dancer.

Dancers: Chehon and Eliana
Choreographer: Marat Daukayev
Style: Ballet
Song: “The Nutcracker Suite (Pas De Deux)” by Bruton APM Studios

My thoughts: FINALLY! The first time two ballet contestants were paired up with each other to actually do ballet. I had chills. The dance was exquisite. Poor Eliana almost had a wardrobe malfunction.

The judges: Rob said it showed their versatility. Eliana’s extensions were breath-taking. Nigel made mention that the choreographer, Marat Daukayev, was the principal dancer with the Kirov Ballet. He said that Chehon made it look so easy. Mary thought it was spectacular.

Dancers: Tiffany and Cyrus
Choreographer: Tessandra Chavez
Style: Lyrical hip-hop (story is that Cyrus has broken Tiffany’s heart).
Song: “Best Thing I Never Had” by Beyonce

My thoughts: It was a good pairing. I did get chills (or was it just the air conditioning?) I still have not been WOWED tonight.

The judges: Nigel mentioned that neither of them had been in the bottom 2 or 3 the entire competition. Both were so good at emotional routines and were incredible. Mary thought they killed it. Rob thought that they had “abandon”. He said it was his favorite so far of the evening.

Dancers: Tiffany, Cyrus, Chehon and Eliana
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio
Style: Quirky (is that a style?) I guess Broadway
Song: “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (District 78 remix) by KPM Studio Artists

My thoughts: That must have been the most difficult piece to showcase all their unique, diverse skills. I did not care for it personally, but I respect Tyce’s challenge.

Dancers: Chehon & Allison Holker
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Style: Contemporary
Song: “Leave” by Once–A New Musical (Original Broadway Cast)

My thoughts: My favorite so far tonight. Those leaps Chehon does are incredible. Allison’s face was so full of expression. I think Chehon is finally peaking, taking in all the feedback he has been given and applying it.

The judges: They received a standing ovation. Mary had a WOOOOO yell. She said that Chehon was free at last, free at last, and that his performance ability was growing and growing. Rob thought the height on his leaps was unbelievable. Allison was fierce. Nigel thought Allison should be an actress. With Allison, Chehon came alive.

Dancers: Eliana and Tiffany
Choreographer: Ray Leeper
Style: Pole dancing? (Broadway)
Song: “When You’re Good to Mama” by Chicago–The Musical (1996 Broadway Revival Cast)

My thoughts: I did not care for it. I understand it is difficult and some of the moves defied gravity. It’s okay; one does not have to like all the dances.

The judges: Another standing ovation. Rob (who won an Academy Award in 2002 for the movie Chicago) said he was trying to imagine Queen Latifah doing that. Mary said the two ladies were extraordinary. It was fun and sassy. Nigel said he could not say anything that would not get him into trouble.

Dancers: Cyrus and Chehon
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Style: Jazz — (story is their struggle for the top)
Song: “Fangs (District 78 Remix)” by Little Red Lung

My thoughts: These are always weird dances. They are either hits or misses. Benji and Travis’ dance of the nerds was memorable. Alex Wong’s dance with Twitch was memorable. This was okay for me. Chehon is definitely the better dancer but Cyrus always tries to keep up and should be commended for that as well.

The judges: No standing ovation this time. Nigel thought Sonya choreographed this well. Cyrus has improved so much as a dancer and he is so proud. Chehon has also grown as a person and is his favorite dancer. Both were inspirational. Mary thought both have had a tremendous journey. Rob felt like they were lifting each other up as dancers always do.

Dancers: Eliana and Alex Wong
Choreographer: Travis Wall
Style: Contemporary
Song: “Without You” by Harry Nilsson

My thoughts: Two ballet dancers doing contemporary. Usually I have chills with every dance Travis choreographs, but this one not. The dancing was awesome, but I think I would have chosen the slower Mariah Carey version of the song. I think that is what was not resonating with me.

The judges: Were on their feet. Rob said it was poetry. They (Eliana and Alex) got lost in it and we (the judges) did, too. Nigel said it was his favorite routine of the night and that Eliana was his favorite of all time on the series. (Nigel–Melanie Moore will be very hurt). Mary said it was her favorite of the night as well. Eliana had extraordinary passion that oozes from her body.

Dancers: Tiffany and Chehon
Choreographer: Dmitry Chaplin
Style: Rumba
Song: “Love Me Tender” by Adam Levy and Norah Jones

My thoughts: Wooooo Tiffany! You have been cute, but this was sexy and sophisticated. It must have been hard to come out and dance like that after hearing all this gush about Eliana. Well done young lady. Dmitry said during the rehearsal shots that this dance you have to feel uncomfortable watching it. Was I? No. And I think that was an issue with Chehon. He needed to bring more Latin steam.

The judges: Mary thought it was beautiful. She did not believe the chemistry but the movement was gorgeous. Tiffany was fabulous. Rob thought it was sexy. He thought the connection was beautiful. Nigel said this dance was so much sexier than the pole dance. He commented to Chehon that they couldn’t find a shirt with buttons for him? Mary laughed and said, “Dmitry was the choreographer!”

Dancers: Cyrus and Twitch (Glitch meets tWitch)
Choreographer: Christopher Scott (with the assistance of Madd Chadd, an animator)
Style: Animator (story is they are robots in a secret lab).
Song: “Like A Criminal” by District 78

My thoughts: THAT ROCKED!!!! It was so Terminator-like. Rise of the Machines. Watch out. My favorite routine of the night.

The judges: Standing ovation. Rob said it was crazy; the two guys were superstars. Mary loved it. Nigel wanted people to know that tWitch worked so hard at that because he is not an animator. Hip hop and animation are so very different. He mentioned that Christopher Scott felt they were world class in what they do.

Then Nigel really upset me. Cyrus is having a moment, the time of his life, and Nigel drops a spirit-crushing blow to Cyrus: I am supporting Chehon for my own personal reasons. And goes on and on about it. That Nigel “loved his bones, but won’t vote for him.” Nigel has been a mentor to Cyrus. Nigel’s opinions hold great weight to Cyrus. I remember thinking, “Why don’t you just tear out his heart and stomp on it, Nigel?” Did you really HAVE to say that? Could you have just critiqued his performance and left it at that?

I have always respected Nigel. In that moment, I lost a generous portion of that respect. Did Nigel just have a gaffe on live TV where he said something he should not have? It reminded me of his comments last year to the two guys that one of the girls would win the competition for which he later apologized. Again a spirit-crushing moment to Tadd and Marko. Or are you trying to manipulate voters? Either way, it is not cool, dude. Nigel, I love your bones but that move made me not vote for either one. I do not appreciate being manipulated into voting.

Solos

Eliana danced to “Passacaglia” by Johann Johannsson. Interestingly, she said in her interview that she did not want to be typecast as just ballet, but then she does a ballet number. It’s beautiful but I see no risk-taking here. Cyrus decided to go with something we’ve already seen–his solo during Vegas week to “Holy Ghost (Helicopter Showdown and Sluggo Remix)” by Messinian. It would have been nice to have seen something different. Tiffany danced to “I Believe” by Fantasia. With her, too, I think I have seen all these moves in previous solos. Chehon’s solo was the best. He danced to “How It Ends” by DeVotchKa. I liked the use of a prop other than a costume. I liked it already. His solo incorporated all that he has learned and not just another ballet routine, which is his strength. It was risky and I admired him for it.

Guest Performance

A B-boy dancer named Jean Sok from Paris, France took the stage. The young man only has one leg and uses crutches sometimes. It was a beautiful combination of strength and grace. I stopped breathing for a moment. He danced to the song, “Expression” by Helen Jane Long.

Who will be the winners?  I think it could go either way.





So You Think You Can Dance — All Stars Part 2

4 09 2012

I had this big long write up I planned to type up this weekend, but I decided to do some intense yard work and hurt my dominant hand in the process. So no blog for the last week, especially since tomorrow is a new show. Still hurting, so I don’t know what I’m going to do about tomorrow’s show. So let me keep it brief. I thought most of the dancers stepped it up on Wednesday. My chills have returned. As far as the contestants who were at the bottom: I was not surprised with Lindsay and Witney being at the bottom 2, but I think the judges were wrong. I prefer Lindsay’s way of ballroom dancing. As far as the boys, I was shocked Will was in the bottom 2. That Bollywood dance was incredibly difficult. Cole is a great dancer as well, but his technique has not been so great the last few weeks. For who remains, I will predict Eliana will be the win for the girls (Tiffany in second place) and for the guys Cyrus will win this and I am really unsure who will be in second place between Cole and Chehon.





So You Think You Can Dance — All Stars Return

23 08 2012

Tonight our top 10 are paired with our All Stars from previous seasons. The one dancer I am looking most forward to watching tonight is Eliana, with whom she is going to be paired, and seeing her dance. You know that the show is going to reward her from being paired all these weeks with Cyrus. I enjoy Cyrus and I think Eliana has elevated his technique all these weeks; it is time for her to have a chance in the spotlight.

Joining the resident judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy is Benjamin Millepied who starred in the movie “Black Swan.” He is part of a creative force behind the new group called the L.A. Dance Project and that group would be performing that evening.

The opening song was choreographed by Tyce Diorio as a tribute to the legend Gene Kelly who would have been 100 years old on Thursday. His wife, Patricia, was in the audience. Tyce also filled in for the slightly injured Cole in the dance routine. The song was “The Cool World Stomp (Reprise)” by Mark Isham.

I have not given Cat Deeley enough love this season. I wish she could host every show (including The XFactor). She is so lovely and seems so genuine in her appreciation of the dancers as her children.

Dancer: Tiffany
All-Star: Brandon Bryant (Season 5)
Style: Disco (ugh)
Choreographer: Doriana Sanchez
Song: “You Make Me Feel…(Disco Fries Remix)” by Cobra Starship featuring Sabi

My thoughts: I am not a big fan of this style on the show. It does showcase athleticism and gymnastics, but this is more of a dance in which one participates, not for a competition. They did a great job. Cat Deeley thought it was Saturday Night Fever On Steroids. No, not really. Maybe more like Saturday Night Fever On Starbucks. Tiffany does not even look like she is sweating (I hate her–not really).

The judges: Loved it. They felt Tiffany and Brandon had a great connection and it was a great party. Benjamin said that she had a chance to be fearless tonight because of Brandon’s partnering. He was impressed by the constant level of energy and expressive face.

Dancer: Witney
All-Star: Nick Lazzarini (Season 1)
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Travis Wall
Song: “Sing It Back” by Moloko
Necessary story: They are in an abandoned lounge. Witney and Nick are ghosts who are still doing the show but no one is seeing it.

My thoughts: Travis Wall jazz? I am glad I watched it back again because the So You Think You Can Dance app program was irritating the crap out of me (had to put on my reading glasses to read my phone, then put my distance glasses on to watch them dance). However, it was only slightly better. I thought Witney looked out at the audience too much. Just when she was connecting with Nick and I started feeling the dance, she would look at the judges or at the audience and it would break that connection for me. I didn’t feel any chemistry between them. I thought Witney had a lot of chemistry with Witney. It could have been a smoldering hot (like Eliana’s dance to come). It was not my favorite. I even preferred the disco dance more. I disagreed wholeheartedly with the judges.

The judges: Benjamin thought it was excellent and great fun to watch. Nigel said, “You were totally committed.” She was sexy when she was breathing. “You’re a star.” Mary said, “Lord Have Murphy.” It was smoldering. Each week she is a shining star and she loved the ending move.

Dancer: Cole
All-Star: Anya Garnis (Season 3)
Style: Cha-Cha
Choreographer: Dmitry Chaplin (a.k.a. Be Still My heart)
Song: “Glad You Came” by The Wanted

My thoughts: What is in the water tonight??? Cole is one of my favorites. It was rough. His foot work was rough. It looked a little amateurish. Did his injury play into this. I think he might be in danger for this week’s eliminations (that will be announced next Wednesday). It looked better the second time I watched versus the first time because I was still irritated with that app. When you dance with Anya you have to bring it. Unfortunately, I kept trying to stick Dmitry in there and knew how much better it would be with him in there. Note to Cole: You cannot say you want to be the first in the top 10 to be on the hot tamale train and then have an under-seasoned dish.

The judges: Mary thought it was amazing. She reminded people that Anya was the reason why the phrase “hot tamale train” became infamous. She thought Cole did a tremendous job. She said the foot work and lines were okay, and the chemistry was not hot enough. He did a good job and his bags are packed but he is still on the platform. Benjamin thought it was great, that Cole partnered well. He offered to Cole to think of movement quality and contrast in a performance for something Cole could learn. Nigel agreed with Mary. He was a little disappointed with the contact with Anya. There was no rise and fall. He needed to get sexy with Anya first and then in the performing. He needed to have both.

Dancer: Lindsay
All-Star: Jakob Karr (Season 6)
Style: Broadway
Choreographer: Spencer Liff
Song: “Dancin’ Dan (Me and My Shadow)” by Fosse (Original Broadway Cast)

My thoughts: I guess this is the downside of having an emotional episode last week of all my favorite Mia Michaels’ routines: I was very bored tonight; nothing was moving me to want to pick up the phone to vote. She had beautiful lines. The synchronization of the two dancers must have been extremely difficult, especially during those moments they could not see each other.

The judges: Nigel thought it was a great routine, magnificent. She still had a lot to learn but she was nearly there. Mary thought they had first-class tickets on the hot tamale train. The synchronization was fabulous. Benjamin thought it was extremely well executed.

Dancer: Will
All-Star: Kathryn McCormick (Season 6) and star of Step-Up Revolution
Style: Bollywood
Choreographer: Nakul Dev Mahajan
Song: “Ooh La La” by The Dirty Picture (Soundtrack)
Necessary Story: She is the snake; he is the snake charmer.

My thoughts: Oh wow! There was another “Will” that did Bollywood: (See Sanctuary, Will, Season 2, episode 12. Who says science fiction isn’t entertaining).

Okay back to THIS Will. I LOVED THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My favorite dance of the evening (so far). Finally woke up some life inside of me. The first move when he moves up her front–it was more sensual in the rehearsals, but I’m nitpicking. The synchronization was spot on. The difficulty of these moves versus the dance with Lindsay and the shadow is multiplied by factor 10. It made me want to get up and dance around my room if I was not so enchanted by the snake charmer. In the end, though, the cobra bit him. And I think he was slightly smitten with her because he kept kissing her when the judges were talking. I’ll vote for him tonight. This is dancing on STEROIDS instead of Starbucks (i.e., the disco routine).

The judges: Mary thought he was the Energizer Bunny but also had amazing control. She felt like he was one of the most likeable guys in the competition. Benjamin thought it was charming and had a unique style. It was completely engaging and interesting. Will took advantage of every section and showed different ways of expressions. Nigel said he brought personality to everything he did.

Dancer: Cyrus
All-Star: Jaimie Goodwin (Season 3)
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Travis Wall
Song: “Outro” by M83
Necessary Story: Life after destruction; two sole survivors at the end of the world.

My thoughts: Travis Wall and a story about surviving the apocalypse (two of my favorite things). Ah, yes, this is the Travis Wall that gives me goosebumps. I remember being critical of this when I watched it and I was tweeting, but I changed my mind. Not being distracted by that app, I got chills. Cyrus really did rise to the challenge. Travis was smart in the way he choreographed it, showing off his strengths and hiding some of his weaknesses, but he also made Cyrus. You may be able to criticize the technique (and my saying that Eliana was “stuck” with him) but Cyrus is humble and Cyrus has an amazing heart. You know that he is not expecting to win but he feels blessed to be there. And you cannot help but fall in love with that quality about him. I did worry about the length of time the judges were spending on him with the comments because I thought that was preparing him for being in the bottom 3.

The judges: Benjamin finds this energy compelling to watch. He can also partner very well. Cyrus has a raw energy that is very exciting. Nigel paraphrased a quote from George Balanchine: “I don’t want people who want to dance, I want people who have to dance.” He felt that Cyrus HAS to dance. There is still so much for him to learn, but he works very hard. (Cyrus is humbled by the accolades). Mary said that Travis did not hold back and made it even harder for Cyrus. Maybe his feet and his legs are not the best right now. It is the passion he gives and people connect with that.

Dancer: Chehon
All-Star: Lauren Gottlieb (Season 3)
Style: Lyrical hip-hop
Choreographer: Dave Scott
Song: “Pretty Wings” by Maxwell
Necessary Story: Two friends who support each other.

My thoughts: It is still too stiff in the upper body. I felt like the spiked-out hair made it look like he was trying too hard (although I realize that is not his doing). It is not a world that he belongs (hip-hop). he is a brilliant ballet dancer. However, my expectations are very high because Alex Wong blew my conventional thinking that ballet dancers could never do hip-hop (the dance with tWitch: Get Outta Your Mind–one of my favorite routines of ALL TIME). He tried hard, but it was just okay for me. Again, with the judges giving him a lot of feedback, I felt like he was in the bottom 3 as well.

The judges: Nigel complimented him on everything not being straight and him having a smile on his face. He was much warmer. Mary said she wanted it to be more funky, but it was going in and out. It was not the most memorable but personally he accomplished a lot. Benjamin said the kind of looseness of tonight’s dance he needed to focus on. Performance was spontaneous. He was having fun with her. Chehon was very charismatic.

Dancer: George
All-Star: Allison Holker (Season 2)
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio
Song: “Bahamut” by Hazmat Modine
Story: George lets the train go by because of this great distraction (Allison)

My thoughts: I love George. If you want a song about lightness, you have him dance it. You want something hot and passionate–no. I do not think he has ever been in love like that before so it came off as a little high school production-ish, like he was acting at acting that he was in lust with this woman. After hearing Mary and Benjamin talk, though, I thought I was just cranky again, but Nigel agreed.

The judges: Mary felt it was fun to watch. He had a good time and good technique. Benjamin thought he is an amazing mover. He attacked every step with a vengeance and he was a fan. Nigel thought that his technique is tremendous but he did not believe his character. Here he was to have a raunchy night with this raunchy lady and it just appeared like he was dancing.

Dancer: Eliana (FINALLY!)
All-Star: Alex Wong (Season 7) TOTALLY PSYCHED
Style: Who cares
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Song: “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) By Nancy Sinatra

My thoughts: WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I found my breath rising and falling with the movement. They were so into each other. It was sensual, sexy, smoldering. And I want that red dress. They received a standing ovation. She deserved that! Then I thought, wow, wouldn’t it have sucked if all this lead-up to her performance had fallen flat?

The judges: Nigel said this is what he meant by maturity in movement. Eliana is his favorite girl this year. She was perfect technically and in performance. It was a fusion of the two. Mary said her hair went up on her arm. Her favorite routine of the night. It took her breath away. She was the star of the show tonight–the perfect tiramisu (Mary must have been pretty hungry). Benjamin said it was a great dance and a great song. She has it all: Performance driven by so much passion which is most important.

Dancer: Audrey
All-Star: Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss (Season 4; one of my favorite all-stars)
Style: Hip hop
Choreographer: Dave Scott
Song: “Sincerely, Jane” by Janelle Monae
Necessary Story: A couple of 400 years bond together by love and hate. I’m already thinking “Dark Shadows.”

My thoughts: Audrey was worried she wasn’t going to keep up with tWitch and while he definitely owned the stage, she held her own. I kept thinking she reminded me of a particular actress and Nigel named her. That routine was a lot of fun.

The judges: Benjamin thought she did well. He felt it was unfair to have tWitch, but he wanted more from her, to shine of her own accord. He wanted her not to be afraid. Mary thought it was a great comical number and very entertaining. She was watching Audrey the whole time. She thought it synchronized well and she loved the groove. She called Audrey a dance angel. Nigel agreed with Benjamin. He wanted her to be more like Helena Bonham Carter (Tim Burton’s wife) and get a little crazy like she is.

My Favorites Tonight

For the girls, in this order: Eliana, Audrey, Lindsay, Tiffany, Witney

For the guys, in this order: Will, Cyrus, Chehon, Cole, George

Eliminations

They are only going with the bottom 2 this week. For the girls it is Witney (who did the bench routine last week) and Audrey (who did the flowers routine). For the boys, it is Chehon (who did the bench routine) and George (who did the Hometown Glory routine last week). And of course the audience wants to see solos; there is still 20 minutes left in the show.

Witney: Song: “You’ll Find A Way (Switch and Sinden Remix)” by Santigold. I don’t know. Witney is starting to get on my nerves. There was too much self-worship and too much hair (what they tell the people who are auditioning NOT to do).

Audrey: Song: “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” by Jennifer Holliday. I LOVE her song choice. I don’t know if that was deliberate but there is a touch of rebellion in her that I like. Her technique in her solo was better than Witney’s, but I did start to see the same moves over and over.

Chehon: Song: “Til Enda” by Olafur Arnalds (Commissioned by Wayne McGregor/Random Dance). His technique is….whoa. I know…profound review.

George: Song: “Brotsjor” by Olafur Arnalds (that’s kind of funny; did they plan that?) It was great, too. A mix of ballet and contemporary.

My going-home picks were Witney (because she seems to have hit a plateau). And for the guys, I think they are going to take George’s blah performance tonight into account.

After the LA Dance Project performed (Song: “Trio” by Nico Muhly), the people going home were announced. Nigel said the decision tonight was not unanimous (I think he meant for the girls), but Audrey was going home. Did you see Witney’s face? I really do not like this young lady any more. She had this smirk on her face–it reminded me of a pageant girl who pretends that she is shocked but not shocked. I do not like people like that. My opinion of her just tanked. For the guys, it will be George who is leaving us tonight.

Predictions for Next Week

Based on tonight’s performances, I think Witney and Tiffany will be in the bottom 2 (Witney because of her performance, but Tiffany because she was closer to the beginning of the show and people have short memories). For the guys, Chehon and Cole because of their performance issues.





So You Think You Can Dance Mia Michaels’ Night

21 08 2012

This is my 100th blog post since moving to this site. Exciting, yes? I had a fabulous trip to New York and will have some blogs, including my moving trip to the 9/11 Memorial Site.

I know. I’m very late with this review. I was behind before I went on vacation and I’m even further behind now that I am back. Tonight the top 14 faced a third elimination. The dancers had two weeks off. The Olympics gave my DVR a break from exploding from overuse. Tonight two very special judges were in town after performing for the Dizzyfeet Foundation’s National Dance Day gala, Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt of The BalletBoyz from the UK. While the show was away, Tabitha and Napoleon welcomed their son, London Riley D’Umo, into the world.  Of note, someone on Facebook has been pretending to be them, but this is the legitimate Facebook page for them, and you can see pictures of the baby on there.  Congratulations!

Tonight’s show would see the return of our favorite Mia Michaels’ routines. Mia Michaels and Travis Wall are my favorite contemporary choreographers on So You Think You Can Dance. They seem to be able to tap into the emotional center of my brain that leaves the deepest, long-lasting impressions. Whether it be chills or tears, I have never forgotten the original dances.

Mary and Nigel will be bringing bias to the table tonight since they were present for the original Mia choreography where Billy and Michael would be bringing a fresh perspective, judging the dances on tonight’s performances alone.

The opening group number showed us a new dance from Mia. The song was “Hanging On” by Active Child. Was this the first group CPR by our dancers? I could feel the power of the fine line between life and death, although I could see where it could also be the symbolism of the life and death of a relationship on a more simple level. I also hoped those roses were de-thorned.

Dancers: Cyrus and Eliana
Inspired Dances: Cyrus had been inspired by Brian Gaynor’s audition. Brian is now one of Cyrus’ roommates at Dragon House. Eliana’s inspiration was Wade Robson’s Peace Dance with 10 dancers interpreting the same movement.
Mia’s Dance: The Door Dance originally performed by tWitch and Katee Shean
Song: “Mercy” by Duffy

My thoughts: Cyrus’ and Eliana’s kiss looked “icky” and not full of hot passion. Cyrus was able to ignite his own locking/popping style that made it stand apart from tWitch. I would never believe that Eliana is a ballet dancer because she was that awesome at contemporary.

The judges: Nigel pointed out Cyrus bringing out his own flair but also that he needs to drop the tension in his shoulders. Eliana showed us that she is great at creating these characters because ballet dancers usually focus on technique first and character second. Mary said Eliana was “swagger-welcious” and that Cyrus brought his own swagger to the group. Michael said they were strong performers. Eliana would have him begging for mercy for sure and there was a good use of props. Billy said that something that should not have worked did work fantastically.

Next we saw some clips of National Dance Day and how much it was spreading globally.

Dancers: George and Tiffany
Inspired Dances: For George it was Wade Robinson’s Ramalama group dance from season 2. For Tiffany it was when Ellen was on the other side of the door on Mia’s door dance and moving into the tWitch/Alex Wong “Out of Your Mind” dance. She hopes to be on The Ellen Show.
Mia’s Dance: The Hometown Glory dance originally performed by Katee Shean and Joshua Allen in Season 4.
Song: “Hometown Glory” by Adele

My thoughts: I had chills from the beginning. It was phenomenal. I know it was only two dances so far tonight, but this one became my favorite of the night (until the last routine).

The judges: Mary felt like we needed to call 911 because we witnessed a murder this evening on stage. She thought it was phenomenal, that Tiffany was soft when she needed to be and powerful when that was needed. The assisted lift was perfect (my note–did she mean the assisted run?) She said George elevated the role today. Michael felt like it had fantastic energy. It was a great match up to each other. Tiffany got so into character, but maybe too much because she didn’t look like she needed any help whatsoever from George in the assisted run and that was the point (she needed to be lifted). He felt like she needed to pull it back a bit. Nigel felt like we finally saw the best from George this evening. Tiffany over-egged the pudding, but would prefer that and trying to calm it down, versus not giving enough energy and having to ramp it up.

Dancers: Will and Amelia
Inspired Dances: For Will it was the group routine where Nigel got kidnapped in season 4. For Amelia it was Melanie and Neal’s routine “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”
Mia’s Dance: The Butt Dance made famous by Evan Kasprzak and Randy Evans. Interestingly, Amelia seemed surprised, but there is a French feel for it and her audition was French-inspired. Mia was probably remembering that when this routine was assigned. Amelia looked like she might feel uncomfortable with everyone looking at her butt for the evening.
Song: “Koop Island Blues” by Koop

My thoughts: While it might be technically challenging and does elicit an emotional response from me, it was not goosebumps. I could feel Amelia’s discomfort at the thought of everyone looking at her butt. There was a height difference, too. Evan and Randy were shorter. Also Evan’s Broadway experience allowed him to shine the character more than Will’s contemporary background. Please also see my notes after hearing what Nigel had to say. George and Tiffany’s routine still my favorite at this point.

The judges: Nigel felt that Will was trying to bring the character out. He said Amelia needed to bring more character. He noticed that she was looking at the floor much of the routine. At this point, that comment from Nigel made me feel like, “Yeah, do you think so?” Perhaps knowing everyone was looking at her butt made her a little self-conscious and perhaps psyched her out a bit. The first thing Nigel said was that he had Randy’s butt in his mind for the last 3 years! I like Nigel but that is a little creepy. Even the most seasoned dancer would have felt weird hearing that. Mary liked it. Felt it was too big and maybe the character needed to be pulled back more. Was Will entranced by Amelia’s butt? Absolutely. She also felt that Amelia maybe looking down at the floor was her attempt at being coy. Having nothing to compare it to, Billy felt it was very strong, musical, and endearing. Both dancers were wonderfully in character. There were moments when subtlety would have been good, but it overall was great.

Dancers: Janelle and Dareian
Inspired Dances: For Janelle, it was the Mark Kanemura and Chelsie Hightower’s “Bleeding Love” routine. For Dareian, it was Kent and Neal’s Season 7 routine by Travis Wall “In The End” routine.
Mia’s Routine: The “bed” routine done by tWitch and Kherington Payne
Song: “Dreaming With a Broken Heart” by John Mayer

My thoughts: This might be their strongest routine yet, but I did not have chills, the kind I got seeing the original. They might be bringing their A-game too late.

The judges: Michael thought it was “wow!” The choreography and the ideas about it were wonderful. He was worried about Dareian’s lines. If he gets over that hurdle, he’s got it. Janelle had a great performance but he found himself looking at her hair oddly rather than the choreography. He did not know why but he just did. Billy said that it was difficult or Janelle because the movement is all about Dareian and not her, but they did well. Nigel said this was Mia Michaels at her best. For Dareian it was the first time he felt personality out of him and Nigel felt what Dareian was feeling. Janelle is at her best when he can see Janelle’s eyes smiling and her hips moving. She did not stand out tonight. Dareian’s technique was stronger than the original done by tWitch. Mary agrees with the comment on technique. There was no passion and at the end felt that it was overacted by Janelle. Dareian needs to fix his feet.

Dancers: Audrey and Matthew
Inspired Dances: For Audrey it was season 1’s Brian Friedman’s disco routine performed by Melody Lacayanga and Nick Lazzarini. (I did not watch season 1 of this show). For Matthew it was the 80’s jazz piece in season 7 by Ade Torbert and Lauren Froderman.
Mia’s Dance: The loss of Mia’s father and the reunion in heaven originally performed By Lacey Schwimmer and Neil Haskell.
Song: “Time” by Billy Porter

My thoughts: I thought Matthew was the star in this piece. Just watching the “making of/behind the scenes practice” brought tears to my eyes, but watching Mathew at the beginning where he smiles at first seeing his daughter (Audrey) and then the breath he took was he first caught sight of her had me in tears. Audrey was great, too, but I was watching Matthew more. They were able to make the transition I thought between the chemistry of a couple in love from previous weeks to the energy of a father and daughter. My new favorite of the night. I was a little shocked at what the judges had to say about Matthew, so after hearing their comments I watched it again and I could see some of what they were saying that he could have been more playful, but I think their comments were a bit too harsh.

The judges: Mary was very emotional, sharing that when Mia originally choreographed the song that Mary’s father had been diagnosed with lung cancer and the song gave her courage to take leave from her business to go be with her father in those final times. Mary, however, did not feel the passion or truth in this piece tonight from Matthew. She thought Audrey was the shining star. Billy said there were amazing things from Audrey and the first pirouette was flawless. He felt Matthew needed to disguise the effort of the dancing that weighed into it. Nigel felt that when Neil did the dance, it showed the playful man that Mia’s father was, that Matthew needed to bring fun into Audrey’s life. He felt Matthew was a little too focused on the dance steps rather than being a dad joined up with his daughter. That character that was needed did not come across.

Dancers: Witney and Chehon
Inspired Dances: For Chehon it was Melanie Moore’s Atlanta audition. For Witney it was “Danielle’s” audition in S4 (that turned out to be Travis Wall in drag).
Mia’s Dance: The bench routine performed by Season 2 Travis Wall and Heidi Groskreutz
Song: “Calling You” by Celine Dion

My thoughts: It was hard for a ballet dancer like Chehon to move into a contemporary style that requires him to loosening up a little. Regardless I still got chills when Chehon was lying on the bench with Witney under it. Not as good as Heidi and Travis’ routine, but that is some hard competition to live up to. They did a good job, but this dance is so iconic and it was TRAVIS WALL.

The judges: Nigel was pleased. He felt the passion came across. He also explained what the dance was about. Apparently Mia was in love with a gay man who was not going to be able to return the same kind of love to her. Mary felt they pulled it off. She wants Chehon to let go a bit more. She thought Witney was “wow” and was remarkable tonight. Michael asked Witney is she was a Salt Lake City girl, and said that Salt Lake is a fantastic place for dance (without really commenting on Witney’s dance tonight). He told Chehon he always had a job with The BalletBoyz if he ever wanted one.

Dancers: Lindsay and Cole
Inspired Dances: For Cole, it was Mark Kanemura in Season 4. They are friends and are from the same dance studio. Lindsay was inspired was Travis Wall and Benji Schwimmer’s nerd dance on the finale of season 2.
Mia’s Dance: The “Addiction” routine originally performed by Kupono Aweau and Kayla Radomski in season 5.
Song: “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles

My thoughts: Cole was spectacular. This was indeed my favorite routine of the night. When he ran his lips up her leg in a gesture of him “the addiction” consuming the whole of her, I got chills. Lindsay did a great job, too, but Cole was mesmerizing in his robotic-like movements.

The judges: Billy was impressed. Both have versatility in bucket loads, something that is needed for the business. Mary said this was the best performance from both of them. Kupono was a bit more sinister, but Cole was a quirky kind of demented, but it worked. Lindsay was amazing. Nigel said they came out on top tonight of everyone. Cole’s performance was quite chilling.

Eliminations

George, Dareian and Matthew are in the bottom 3 for the guys and Amelia, Janelle and Lindsay are in the bottom 3 for the girls. The judges wanted to see all of them perform solos before they made their decisions.

Amelia danced to “Falling Slowly” by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. I prefer Kris Allen’s version. It does not look like she is dancing for her life. Janelle did a belly dance routine to “Inta Omri” by Elie Attieh and she, too, does not look like she wants it. It was fun but there was nothing remarkable or stand-out about it. Lindsay did a dance to “Hip Hip Chin Chin” by Club des Belugas. I felt like out of the three girls she wanted it more and I think her routine with Cole tonight is likely to save her.

The guys looked more poised to fight for their spots. George danced to “So Long, Lonesome” by Exploding in the Sky. He really wants it. There is something about George that reminds me of the painter Thomas Kinkade. When George dances, he lights up the stage. Dareian came out fighting, dancing to “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” by Joshua Ledet. Unfortunately he has underperformed his peers most of the season and has not made a real connection with the audience. Matthew danced to “Delicate” by Damien Rice. Out of the three guys, I was not so sure he wanted that spot so badly, like he had written it off that it would not be his. But out of the three guys, I think they’ll put George through.

Nigel said the judges would save Lindsay mostly because of her performance in tonight’s routines. For the boys, they would save George. Dareian really needed to fix his feet and they felt Matthew was not connecting with the audience (I would disagree with them on that).

As a personal note, I think that Cyrus, as much as I adore him, should have been up there instead of Matthew because he has been getting by without a great technique, but it is about America’s favorite dancers, not the “best” technical dancer. Next week the couples will be broken up and they will be paired with all-stars from previous seasons.

Who will go home this week based on their performances on Wednesday? I think Cyrus should be in the bottom 2 and maybe Will is in trouble. Witney and Audrey might be in the bottom 2 for the girls. The voting is going to get more difficult. I am looking forward to seeing Eliana paired with an all-star. She, I think, is the most underappreciated dancer in the show. It’s time for her to have a moment in the sun.