So You Think You Can Dance Season 12 Top 16 Perform 2 Eliminated

15 08 2015

We are quickly making our way towards the finale where America’s favorite dancer is announced. I think all the dancers are reaching inside themselves to conquer those elements of dance with which they were least familiar. It has made for an exciting season so far.

Tonight’s group dance was choreographed by Nick Florez and RJ Durell to the song “Love is Free” by Robyn & La Bagatelle Magique featuring Maluca. What a fantastic way to wake up the audience in preparation for tonight’s show. I am always in awe when these dancers can learn things that have so many complicated fast moves. It shows such great effort on their parts to want to give the best performance possible.

Cat revealed who won most of the votes last week. Team Stage barely won with 50.5% of the votes with Team Street pulling 49.5% of the vote. Derek injured himself this week and won’t be able to perform. He may or may not be in danger this week but if he makes it through to next week, he will automatically be in the bottom 3.

Ray Leeper choreographed Hailee and JaJa in a jazz number. It is a song about female empowerment danced to the song “Endangered Species” by Dianne Reeves. JaJa held her own. Hailee brought more sexiness to the dance than JaJa and dug a little deeper to bend more, stretch more, and emphasize more. But JaJa represented a different type of woman I think; after all, there are so many versions of us. Nigel said they are two incredible ladies. Together they are a knockout. He said whether it is Hailee’s hair or eyes or the “hey look at me” mentality she has when she walks on stage, he has to focus on her. She is just a sensation. JaJa is one of the most interesting street dancers they have ever had on the program. She is growing in technique exponentially. Paula thinks the spectrum from where JaJa started from last year not making it to the choreography rounds to where she is today is unrecognizable. It is brilliant to watch the growth. She knocks them out week after week. Hailee has a radiance about her and they are drawn into the luster of her brilliance. It shines with her like a dance partner that never leaves her. Words that you cannot even describe. They can’t help but laser into her. It’s a beautiful gift. Jason thought it was a beautiful performance. He is so proud of JaJa. Her intention was there. The style of the dance was there. He cautioned her to be careful with her leg extensions and stretch a bit more because when both of their legs are up, Hailee’s leg is “way up here” and hers is “a little down here.” Hailee is coming out of her shell and becoming a star right before their eyes. Cat reveals the results from last week’s dances for them. Both of them are safe.

Dave Scott choreographed Neptune and Alexia. It is a crazy love story type of hip-hop dance to the song “Flex (Ooh Ooh Ooh)” by Rich Homie Quan. I loved this. I got goosebumps. Traditionally I get goosebumps to songs that touch an emotion in me. This pairing was perfect. Alexia was fantastic with her moves. She had great chemistry with Neptune. The added feature of a padded-wall prop made the routine so much more interesting. When things like this are introduced they are either a hit or a flop. This was definitely a hit. Their marks for the wall were perfectly timed singly and in duet. I totally got “crazy love story” from this. If I had to guess I would say Alexia’s character was more of the cray-cray part of the relationship. Paula gave them a standing ovation. Paula thought it was a fun, fun routine. Twerking up a padded wall was pretty creative. Both were committed to the character. They both had so much fun. It was sick, crazy love, whacky, insane, sensual, sexy and just weird and she loved it. Jason told Neptune he will be important to his team. He is a head runner and will steer his team over. Let sure he is leading his team. Alexia is getting better and better every week and keep it going. Nigel agrees Alexia is getting better and better every week. As Jason said, Neptune started quietly and every week is building himself slowly week upon week. America is crazy if they don’t recognize that. Based on last week’s dancing, Alexia and Neptune are both safe.

JJ and Derek got together with choreographers Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo for an Argentine tango. Since Derek can’t perform, she gets to dance with Leonardo. What a treat for her. The song is “Duo De Amor” by Astor Piazzolla. He really helped her get all those lines and high lifts. I think the chemistry was there. It was beautiful. The judges were on their feet. Jason said, “Girl, you brought sexy back, and all the judges didn’t know how to act.” He said it was unbelievable. She overcame adversity and she held her own. Nigel said from the first breath throughout the routine how sensual she was making it. If Mary Murphy were there now, JJ would definitely be on her hot tamale train. He teased her that Leonardo held her at the end for a bit longer and she was enjoying every second of that. She laughed in agreement. She was a credit to her team. Paula said it was beautiful routine. The most incredible, incredible transformation comes from her. It’s the whole 360. The grace and beauty of her extensions. She is like a young ingénue of maybe Natalie Wood and maybe Leslie Caron. It is lovely seeing her like this. Results from last week’s dance: JJ and Derek are both in danger.

Ariana and Jim were paired with Sean Cheesman who choreographed a contemporary routine. The story is about the ups and downs of dealing with depression. The song is “Everyone Wants to Rule the World” by Lorde. Interesting version of this song; I had never heard it before. It set the mood for the dance. The dancing was fabulous but I think Jim needed to dig a little deeper for the emotional connection. There is great despair in depression and it was more like he was playing a part versus experiencing it. Situational depression is different from chronic depression and trying to dig your way up from that. Usually dances like this will certainly give me goosebumps, but not today. Bummed. The judges were on their feet. Nigel said he thought they conveyed the brilliant message that Sean wanted to convey. Nigel said that dance is a great weapon in depression and dementia so if you ever feel this way, get up and dance. He said he didn’t know why the audience was not connecting with Ariana. Nigel felt Jim was not struggling at all. Paula said just when you think you can’t grow better or stronger, both of them are proving that each week. She thinks it is one of the best routines that showcased both of the breadth of who they are as dancers, and both the light and the shame of the depression, the light and the light—it worked beautifully, seamlessly. Ariana was keeping up with Jim step for step with him. Jason said he is blown away by Ariana for being able to dance with such a technical dancer as Jim and hold her own is unreal. He can never tell what team she is on. He said to Jim that he has never seen talent/technique like that live and thanked him. After hearing these comments from the judges, I wonder if the song is what threw the whole dance off for me. I was concentrating on the song so much (as the original is an all-time favorite of mine) that I was trying to wrap my head around that which held me back from fully experiencing it as they did. The results from last week from Cat: Jim is safe and Ariana is in danger.

Virgil and Gaby were teamed with Al Blackstone for a Broadway routine about two people on the streets of New York who think they know each other after they bump into each other to the song “Where or When” by Sammy Davis Jr. That was adorable and so much fun. I could picture them having a job on Broadway. Nigel was on his feet—wait all the judges! Paula said some wonderful things about the dance but turned to Virgil and said he is like a young Sammy Davis Jr. He can do it all and he is so wonderful to watch. She thought Mattel should slap their sign on the back of his behind and sell a million Virgil dolls. (Okay?) Paula said Gaby is impeccable. She is so well versed. It’s lovely to see how elegant and how amazing she is in this competition. Jason told Virgil he breathes life into every performance. Jason shares he went to college for musical theater and *this* (meaning the routine) is his thing. They both did an amazing job. He said the breadth of knowledge of dance that Gaby has is pretty amazing. He cautioned him to not let Virgil upstage her. He told her not to underestimate a smile. Her smile lights up a room. Nigel said he disagrees with Jason—they were both a fabulous power couple tonight. He said Broadway demands the best of you. When they go on those hallowed boards, you have to be brilliant every time, rain or shine, whether you are ill or fine, you just have to be brilliant and both of them were brilliant tonight. Cat told them they are both safe based on last week’s dance.

Asaf and Kate joined together to do a jazz routine choreographed by Sean Cheesman. The story of the dance is that Asaf and Kate ARE the in-crowd at the club. Kate unfortunately does not feel safe with Asaf who is having trouble with the lifts. The song is “Braveheart” by Neon Jungle. I guess thes choreographer and the team captains felt it was better to get the lifts out of the song. It was an okay routine. I feel bad for Kate. She tried her best to make the situation work, but I think what happened messed up the chemistry they might have been able to have—to connect better. Jason told Kate she has been a favorite of his in the past few weeks. Jason said they got a lot of heat last week for saving him and he does not regret it. He thinks, however, that he is in that danger zone. He does not think his performance saved him. Jason feels like Asaf is in a limbo. Nigel said to Kate that her technique has never been in question; it has always been about a connection. She really connected to him tonight and he hopes she did with America. Nigel said that he is constantly being told by his choreographers how hard he works. This was so much better this week than his cha-cha last week. He lived up to his name and he “danced his ass-af.” Paula told Kate she looks lovely tonight. She said what she was happy about was that there was no more fear; she trusted her partner; both of them worked very well together. She told Asaf he was there for his partner and it is like night and day from last week to this week. Cat announces the results from last week’s votes, they ae both in danger this week.

Marissa and Yorelis join together for a Christopher Scott hip-hop number. For the story, Yorelis gets to hypnotize Marissa to win her over to Team Street. The song is “Let Go” by Kezwik featuring Mimi Page. They make a great team. This routine is among my favorites tonight. This is when I like Christopher Scott’s routines. Nigel thought Marissa’s tumbling skills really came into this routine, although she was terrific. He warns her she has to be careful to get the same liquid flow to her body that Yorelis has. He echoed Jason’s words earlier that he does not know who is on whose team tonight. He thought Yorelis is so beautiful and sensational. Her whole body moves to the music. It’s almost like she hasn’t been choreographed. The music drives her body. Paula wants to compliment both of them. She thought Marissa just licked it up and acknowledged it is hard for a jazz/contemporary dancer—the animation is hard. The choreography was well thought out and very clever. This is where Yorelis shines. Jason thought it was a really good performance. He said that after seeing some of the performances today, it did fall a little short. He wanted them to be a little more intense, a little bigger, based on the intensity of the song. At times they nailed it and at times they didn’t. The little intricacies he thought they did well. For the size of the song, he didn’t feel like the performance matched. It was good but it didn’t blow him away. Cat said that Marissa is the final dancer in danger tonight based on last week’s routine.

Megz and Edson are paired for a contemporary dance from Talia Favia. The story is about temptation and being extremely intrigued by it. Megz is discovering temptation and is constantly being pulled back by Edson. The song is “You There” by Aquilo. GOOSEBUMPS. The expressions on Megz face and her technique considering she is Team Street is so impressive. All the judges were on their feet. Paula was in tears. Paula had bumps all over her arms and she is very taken with this routine. She thought Megz was truly amazing. She told Edson they danced—she didn’t know how it could be any better. Words cannot describe so she is going to leave it at that. Jason said easily one of the best performances of the night. He thought the struggling in the shirt was a concept that was so dope but it could easily go wrong. You had to have the right amount of desperation and he believes they accomplished that. He thinks this number will go into SYTYCD history. Nigel thought for the first time a shirt has come off in this show for a good reason. Cat shrugs and says, “So you say.” The image of how much we hide from each other in a relationship was captured beautifully by Talia’s choreography. He felt she and JaJa have become contemporary dancers. You’ve moved over to Travis’ team. He told Edson that Edson finds it hard to be passionate in his dancing sometimes, but he did not tonight. He really released his emotions so it was great to see. It was a beautiful routine as everyone has said. And since the dancers who are in danger have already been revealed, both Edson and Megz are safe.

Team Street dances together to choreography by Luam. She feels it captures the spirit of New York and the hustler spirit. The song is “Commas” by Future. They nailed it. It was wonderful. The judges were on their feet.

Next up is Team Stage choreographed by Travis Wall. The theme is ghosts of theaters past. The song is “Beautiful Friends” by Helen Money. WOW TRAVIS WALL! I love you! That was so wonderful. I think this is the third time Travis has choreographed his own group number. Time to “Step Up” tWitch!

Twitter votes save JJ and Derek (injured Derek—is that fair Twitter?—he is automatically going to be in the bottom 3 next week). The judges save Kate and let Marissa go. As far as the street dancers, the judges save Ariana; Asaf is leaving the competition.





So You Think You Can Dance Season 12 Top 18 Perform, 2 Eliminated

1 08 2015

The opening number is Justin Timberlake’s “Let The Groove Get In.” Edson and Virgil were the ones who caught my eye tonight. I enjoyed that a lot. One of the better openers. It was choreographed by Reina Hidalgo and Asiel Hardison. Cat shared the results from last week’s show. Team Street had 48% of the vote and Team Stage got 52% of the vote.

Alexia and Derek and JaJa were paired with Stacey Tookey to perform a contemporary routine. The story is about bravery and how it takes on different forms. Derek is a war veteran; JaJa is a woman leaving an abusive situation; Alexia is a single mom. The song is “All Waters” by Perfume Genius. OH MY GOD. GOOSEBUMPS!!!! The entire song—goosebumps. I was almost near tears. Each one of them did a wonderful job, but JaJa and Derek affected me the most. Nigel said Alexia did a tremendous job. Seeing Derek relying on the girls and the girls on him was terrific. JaJa said she just started a new show for him—“Guess who is the street krumper”—because he would have never known. He said someone in his life told him to bloom wherever you are planted and that is exactly what she is doing. Paula said it always starts with choreography and she gets it right. She takes 3 separate unique dancers and blend them beautifully. They all danced beautifully tonight. Regarding Derek, she felt he really fell into the character and tonight so far was his best night. Regarding Alexia, she understands the height challenges and she is always going to have to stretch to be seen and she IS being seen. Regarding JaJa, each and every week she is morphing into a very accomplished dancer and because of that she is always going to have them in the palm of their hands rooting for her. Jason thought said it was beautiful. He felt like our country needed to see that. It was more than a competition—they were living up there. He agrees that tonight by far was Derek’s best routine. He felt like it was about the story and they delivered that tonight. The votes, based on last week’s dances: Alexia and JaJa and Derek are all safe.

Megz, Moises and Jim were paired together for a Team Street hip-hop routine choreographed by JaQuel Knight (who choreographed “All The Single Ladies” for Beyoncé). This dancer, however, is about standing up to the haters saying “whatever.” And appropriately the song choice is “Whuteva” by Remy Ma. Megz was the star of this. Moises was probably next best and Jim still struggled with being straight. Overall I enjoyed the routine quite a bit, and I have a feeling this might be my new anthem. I thought, too, it was clever that the song lyrics cued them in on what the choreography should be with the arms. Paula felt the routine they were given wasn’t necessarily technically challenging so the dance really relies on them filling in the spaces, committing to being in character and being over the top with the vibe and feel. She felt Megz did well but could even give more. Moises really needs to drop down into it like tWitch was saying. She felt the same with Jim but he was giving it his all. Jason thought it was cool. He said the first 75% she was giving it to him, but the last 25% she kind of dropped off. The guys were kind of like the brother back-up dancers. He felt this was not the guys’ best number and they struggled. Nigel agrees with Paula that it was more about the attitude than the steps. Nigel said it didn’t work. Megz gave it everything she had. He didn’t think Moises could be mean or cruel if anyone was kicking him about the stage, but he has to find that attitude. He didn’t comment on Jim. Cat shares the results from last week’s show: Jim and Megz are safe; Moises is in danger again this week.

Edson, JJ and Yorelis were next up to do a jazz routine with choreographer Tovaris Wilson. The song is about the push and pull of relationships. The song is “Restart” by Sam Smith. Edson owned the sexiness. The girls had no worries about their sexiness. They did a terrific job. Jason thought it was good and entertaining. Jason demonstrated to Edson what he was looking for—that he could be into the ladies at any time and not worrying about looking at one or the other. He encouraged him to be more free. Nigel said the girls were two of his favorite street kids this year. This was a nice way to bring the street kids into jazz with the groove. Edson needs to start using his sensuality into it now. Jason is right—keep your options open. Paula said this routine was all about the vibe. The two girls are little bright lights but they have to look at their techniques. We have to see pointed toes and arms with intention. Yorelis was more comfortable in this zone than JJ but they are both wonderful to watch. Edson was the dude; he was the stud; nothing more can be said. The results for last week’s dance puts Edson is in danger; Yorelis and JJ are safe.

Asaf and Marissa got together for a club cha-cha with Jean Marc Genereux. This is about the rock star coming into the room and the groupie fan. Twitch jokes with him that this week he doesn’t have to take him outside to talk to him and that is amazing. The song is “+1” by Martin Solveig featuring Sam White. Marissa was fantastic. You could really see Asaf struggling. He could see him thinking in his head about what he had to do and where he had to be to be a good partner that he totally left his hotness in the closet. This is a routine where he could have used his flirty nature to turn up the heat and if he had accomplished that all the little mistakes with arm positioning and many other things would have been overlooked. He had this little firecracker on his arm! Such a shame. I am glad he didn’t complain about the routine, now he needs to stretch himself. I have no idea why the audience gave them a standing ovation. Perhaps it was because of Marissa. Nigel said he didn’t know what club cha-cha was but it didn’t feel much like a cha-cha to him. I have to agree with Nigel. Towards the end there, I was thinking modern-day disco perhaps. He felt Marissa did everything that was required of her but instead of using him throughout the performance, she used the audience and she was supposed to be the “groupie” of Asaf (who he jabbed with that he looks like a rock star but doesn’t dance like one). Nigel complimented Asaf on how hard he did work this week. It is a journey. This was not a good routine for Asaf (comparing him to a caterpillar that will someday bloom into a butterfly). Paula said she could tell him about the cha-cha about not turning his hips in, not to be pigeon-toed with his feet, but forget all that. She looks at where he started and you can’t help but to feel completely changed to where he is now. It didn’t work for her either but he gets an “A” for effort. Regarding Marissa, the selflessness she saw in rehearsal didn’t come through in the final product and she agrees with Nigel. Jason said it is all about the connection. She didn’t have the same connection with him as she did with the audience and him; it came off as being fake. Regarding Asaf, he has to flex his muscles some to get some votes because he is going to have a hard time. Cat told them that Marissa is safe this week and Asaf is in danger this week.

Sean Cheesman choreographs Gaby, Burim and Ariana for an African jazz number that is what Sean calls the “Dance of the Blood Moon.” He says they are mystical creatures, like creepy animals. Indeed they looked like creepy spiders when the dance began to the song “Gorilla” by Lord Kraven. I would say Ariana was the star of that dance followed very closely by Gaby, but props to Burmin who held his own. He was worried about not getting it, but I think he got it. I loved the standing back rolls the ladies did. Did it give me goosebumps? No. But I think so far it was my second favorite dance of the night. Paula said it was a very strong routine. Paula said to Burim “I loved watching your package.” And Nigel interrupted and Paula realized what she said. She said the show is also about overcoming adversity as it is about getting constant praise. She loves to see the struggle and then they get to sit back with a smile on their face and say, “wow, you pulled through.” That’s charming, that’s exciting, and it makes them proud. Regarding the ladies, she said she knew they were strong but seeing them lift each other and throw each other—those two were fierce. The precision of dancing together was very well done. Jason said if Burim can’t find the foot, don’t let it not happen, just look down for it, because the audience doesn’t know that he isn’t supposed to look down. All in all Jason thought it was a really good performance. Conceptually it was one of the best numbers for him. Nigel said it was one of the best numbers for him tonight. Regarding Ariana, she looked comfortable in it. She was great and powerful in it. He can’t believe that Gaby is really a tap dancer. He is so proud of her. Nigel gave him some dancing pointers. Cat said Ariana and Burim are in danger this week and Gaby is safe.

Neptune and Kate teamed up with Justin Giles for a contemporary routine. It’s about a husband and wife saying goodbye not knowing if the husband will return from a dangerous job. The song is “Promise” by Ben Howard. I had such wonderful goosebumps. Kate improved with her emotional connection and Neptune—wow! He really dug deep. That was beautiful. Jason said that piece was beautiful. Choreography these days are a million steps, but this was not and they had to fill in the pieces and they did that beautifully. The chemistry was chilling. He felt like they were item and still feel that (just putting it out there). That was a grade-A performance. He felt Kate really came out of her shell. It was his performance from her. Neptune surprises him every single week. He doesn’t know who his favorite is this week but Neptune is kind of taking that spot. Nigel said he found it interesting and challenging. It was static in its movements but expansive in what it was trying to say as well. I was shocked when Nigel said that 10 years ago he would get complaints about a black person dancing with a white person (WOW—shocking). But he feels that so much was said in that routine and both portrayed it beautifully and complimented Kate on her performance. He has complained about her not releasing but she did this week. Paula said it was such a simple, beautiful concept yet so complex with emotions and both were able to deliver beautifully. Paula told Kate she was worried about Kate letting go and being vulnerable and she was just right. Neptune is one of the favorites. He is really showing the breadth of a dancer that he really is. Cat said that Neptune is safe. Kate is in danger.

Virgil and Hailee take on a hip-hop routine with Pharside and Phoenix number. They are robots from outer space. The song is “Runnin’” by Noahplause. WOW!!!!! I would have said Hailee was on Team Street. The moves were fantastic. I was blown away. Now, it didn’t give my goosebumps, but I think it was my favorite non-goosebumped-song. The judges were on their feet. Nigel said these two were the best two characters they have this year. Their personalities shine out beyond the little lights on their chest. Even though Hailee’s light has gone out she still….and Virgil came in and turned her light back on, still in character. That was a memorable routine. He thinks when they have a season 20 anniversary special, this routine would be on there. Paula said if they represent what aliens are, sign her up—she’ll go there. It was fantastic. It was crazy fun. Jason said he always knew Virgil was crazy, but he didn’t know Hailee was that crazy. If she is this good in street, he is anxious to see how far she will go. He had no idea. Cat tells them both of them are safe.

The group number for Team Stage was choreographed by Jaci Royal and it is about when you need help from people to overcome obstacles. The song chosen was “For My Help” by Hayden Calnin. OH MY GOD!!!! I’m in love. It looked like everything was timed perfectly and at times it took my breath away. I like that new choreographers are on board this year. It has added a different layer of depth to the show. The judges were on their feet.

Team Street is up next. Choreographed by Marty Kudelka (who was a nominee for best choreography in a music video and the 2007 winner VMA for best choreography in Justin Timberlake’s “My Love” video. Twitch said they have to be cooler than a polar bear’s toenails. The song is “Break Ya Neck” by Busta Rhymes. I enjoyed that, but liked Team Stage better.

The Twitter save goes to Ariana from Team Street and Kate from Team Stage. The judges save Asaf from Team Street (that is a mistake—Burim is a much better dancer). From Team Street, the judges save Edson. I think that was the right decision. Moises is a great dancer but Edson is the better of the two.