So You Think You Can Dance Season 11: Top 18 Perform, 2 Go Home

17 07 2014

Opening Number

Song: “How It’s Done” by District 78
Choreographers: Christopher “Pharside” Jennings and Krystal “Phoenix” Meraz (From Academy of Villains dance crew)

I loved it!

Judges

Mary, Nigel and Misty. Mary and Nigel changed chair places tonight.

Bottom 3 Guys and Gals

Bridget, Emilio, Emily, Stanley, Jourdan, Teddy

Routines

Dancers: Jacque and Zack
Style: Hip hop
Choreographer: Keone and Mari
Song: “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith

Me: Goosebumps! Totally out of their genre and it was lovely. I believe their chemistry.

Judges: Mary was feeling it. Nigel loved when it went around the stage and wasn’t so tight. Misty thinks they make a great partnership. They are not tapper and ballerina; they are dancers!

Dancers: Jourdan and Marcquet
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Dee Caspary
Song: “Disappear (Demo Version)” by Mikky Ekko

Me: Jourdan did a better job than Marcquet. You could tell he was not completely comfortable in this genre.

Judges: Nigel thought it was good. He said that they were an interesting couple because he was not personally connecting with either of them. OUCH. He said that there was a slight lack of discipline in Marcquet’s work. Misty said she saw Marcquet this week in his partnership versus last week. She thinks there is something missing in his partnering technical wise. Jourdan is strong, has the lines, the energy but her face needs to match what her body is doing. She wants the audience to feel the passion she is giving through her body. Nigel added that he is not sure if there is a lack of vulnerability with Jourdan; he can’t put his finger on it. Mary said the first stance as magical. She agrees with everyone. Jourdan’s execution is amazing but there is some magic that isn’t there. She likes how Marcquet it leading her in his partnering but he has to watch his technique.

Dancers: Jessica and Stanley
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio
Song: “Funkier Than a Mosquito’s Tweeter” by Nikka Costa

Me: It was fun but I didn’t feel any connection to it otherwise.

Judges: Misty mentions her face again and Stanley too (both overdid it). Their bodies are doing enough. Stanley has to carry the “wow” extensions to other parts of the routine. Mary loved the whole piece. She encouraged Jessica not to oversell. Nigel worried about the overreaction with her face. Stanley needs to save some of his strength for his core.

Dancers: Bridget and Emilio
Style: Jive
Choreographer: Pasha Kovalev and Anya Garnis
Song: “Happy” by Pharrell Williams

Me: That made me happy (pun intended). Technically I have no idea if they did well or not.

Judges: It made Mary happy too. They were jiving it. She loved every second of it. Bridget picked up the technique better but Emilio’s energy made up for it. So impressive. Nigel reminded Emilio that Fik-Shun never pointed his toes once last year and he did really well. He does not understand why they are in the bottom 6 this week. Misty said this is the perfect example of not overdoing it in the face. Bridget was perfection tonight. She was light, precise and beautiful. They made her happy too.

Dancers: Emily and Teddy
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio
Song: “Ne Me Quitte Pas” by Nina Simone

Me: I felt the pain and desperation but no goosebumps. I think Emily did a better job than Teddy (better lines, extensions and emotion).

Judges: Nigel liked these “ugly” lifts Tyce put in there because love is not all beauty. He thought it was great. Misty said Emily’s body was speaking French. She was singing with her body. Misty is. Fan of Teddy. He transcends to every genre. Mary thinks there isn’t anything Emily can’t do. This is the first time she has been mesmerized by Teddy.

Dancers: Casey and Brooklyn
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Bonnie Story
Song: “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Michael Buble

Me: That was fun. I think they took Bonnie’s criticisms during rehearsal to heart.

Judges: Misty was impressed. However she did see some technique-face in there sometimes during things she was not comfortable with. She just needs to get comfortable with movement outside of ballroom. Casey was so fabulous. Mary thought it was a fun number. She loved every second of it. She thought Casey was on fire. Nigel told Brooklyn she needs to mature very quickly.

Dancers: Valerie and Ricky
Style: Viennese Waltz
Choreographer: Lacey Schwimmer
Song: “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz

Me: Immediate goosebumps. I expect perfection from Ricky (because he is going to win this year) but I am so impressed with Valerie. They have fantastic chemistry and they are my favorite couple. The dance was so joyful. LOVED IT!

Judges: Mary was crying. Nigel was on his feet. Mary said it was magical and dream-like. Ricky’s top line was so amazing. However he has to work on that leg action. Valerie’s feeling was so perfect and she is so beautiful up there. She has to watch her top line. Nigel won’t talk about their technique but their performance was beyond reproach. Misty said tonight was Valerie’s night. Ricky is beyond what they are used to seeing.

Dancers: Carly and Serge
Style: Hip hop
Choreographer: Luther Brown
Song: “Senile” by Young Money featuring Tyga, Nicki Minaj, and Lil Wayne

Me: I really enjoyed it most particularly when they were standing more still in that middle section. Carly did a better job than Serge. Serge was too straight.

Judges: Nigel thought it was a tough one for him. He knew how hard they had both worked but he does not think it is going to drive people to go vote. Misty somewhat disagrees. She thinks it is important to educate the audience in how difficult it is to switch genres. Serge continues to impress her. She thought Carly was great tonight. She loved it. Mary loved it too. Carly was a beast in this. She felt serge worked so hard too.

Dancers: Tanisha and Rudy
Style: Broadway
Choreographer: Warren Carlyle
Song: “Sing Sing Sing (Part 2) by Fosse (original Broadway Cast)

Me: Wonderful. I think Rudy needs to be careful of his facial expressions.

Judges: On their feet. Misty felt they embodied everything they needed to be. They were the closers! Mary said it was a show stopper. She will remember that number at the end of the season. Nigel gave warren a trophy 30 years ago for tap dancing. Tanisha had the technique and what Rudy lacked in technique he made up for in personality.

Artist Performance

A Great Big World performed “Say Something” with the West Los Angeles Children’s Choir. Very lovely. Not the same emotion as it has with Christina Aguilera but it was sweet.

Going Home

Based on tonight, my guesses were Jourdan and Stanley. They decided to go this week with America’s vote. And Stanley and Jourdan are leaving. I think Marcquet is in danger of being in the bottom next week. Possibly Serge. Jessica might be in the bottom for the girls.





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 Top 16 to 14

24 07 2013

Opening Number

Song: “New World” by The Irrepressibles
Choreographers: Stacey Tookey and Peter Chu

Once again, I adored the opening number. It was very cool when they changed wardrobe from red to white. It was like a snake shedding its skin. Although I don’t like snakes, I do love this.

Panel of judges

Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and Carly Rae Jepsen. Grammys! Seven nominations. Congratulations! Woo-hoo!

The Bottom 6/Solos

Mariah, Alan, Makenzie, BluPrint, Jenna, and Curtis are all in danger, but they quickly send Jenna back to safety. The rest have to dance solos to help the judges make their decision about who is staying and who is going.

Makenzie starts the solos. She dances to “Claire de Lune” by Laura Sullivan. That was lovely. I liked how the audience kept quiet until the last 2 seconds to count. If they were like me, they were holding their breath and breathing with the dancer. Alan took the floor next and danced to “Return Of The King” by X-Ray Dog. It was a little strange. Like a Russian matador. I have not seen him dance like that since the auditions. The cape work was outstanding. Curtis danced to “Used To Love U” by John Legend. It was a nice reminder about how great a tap dancer he is. Dancing to “Set It Off” by Kardinal Offishall featuring The Clipse, Mariah showed us why it is important to keep a female krumper in the mix. The last person to strut their stuff was animator BluPrint to “Illusion of Choice” by Gramatik. I never tire watching him perform in his native style. Wow. That is going to be a tough call and I am glad I don’t have to make it!

Couples

Dancers: Alexis and Nico
Style: Jive
Choreographer: Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin
Song: “Mayhem” by Imelda May

Before I talk about the dance, I really like Tony’s longer hairdo. The song was fun. Tapper Alexis stepped up. The jive and the quickstep are dances that the audience has a very difficult time connecting.

The judges: Nigel felt they lost the bopping step halfway through the routine. Mary enjoyed the routine. She offered advice on how to make it better. Carly enjoyed it and liked Alexis’ dress and Nico’s facial expressions.

Dancers: Jenna and Tucker
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Travis Wall
Song: “Hangin’ By A Thread” by Jann Arden

You had me at Travis. Love this dude’s choreography. The story is Jenna has lost all control and is a puppet on a string. Tucker brings her back to life. Once again Travis makes me cry and Jenna and Tucker rocked this. I think it put them back in e forefront in my mind.

The judges: Mary was in tears. She believed they had that moment they were needing. Carly thought it was beautiful. Nigel thought they were both brilliant.

Dancers: Mariah and BluPrint
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Brian Friedman
Song: “Fall Into The Sky” by Zedd & Lucky Date featuring Ellie Goulding

Did BluPrint find personality within his dance is week? He was better for sure but he really needs to let it GO. I enjoyed the routine so much. It is something I will remember tomorrow. The fact that it reminded me of Stargate with their outfits hooked me in as well. It was good to see him smile at the end of the routine.

The judges: Carly thought it was fun and energetic. Nigel felt they carried off the routine pretty well. Mary loved three-quarters of it.

Dancers: Malece and Alan
Style: Hip hop
Choreographer: Dave Scott
Song: “Bassline” by Chris Brown

Aliens bring us hip-hop. They should have spaced this dance out more from the last routine because there were a lot of similar features. Alan was too stiff. Their synchronicity was off. The pants were distracting to me. Sometimes my 17-year-old with disabilities defecates in his pants and it will look like that. Malece did a better job with the overall steps. By the end of the song I had lost interest (sorry guys)!

The judges: Nigel felt Alan did not have swagger and noticed the stiffness too. Mary thought Malece was on fire and Alan was not. At this point, I think Alan is going home tonight. Carly preferred Malece over Alan.

Dancers: Hayley and Curtis
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Dee Caspary
Song: “Don’t Let Go Yet (Radio Edit) by David J. Roch

The story of the song is that they are two people going in different directions, in this case, up and down. I love seeing the unique use of props. When they talked about a ladder in the rehearsals, I thought it was a metaphorical ladder. Hayley is a fiery powerhouse. Curtis continues to make progress but there is something I cannot put my finger on–it looks very amateurish. But when his inexperience fails him, his winning smile compensates. Eventually though, his luck will not hold out. I think Hayley also elevates him as we often see with contestants dancing with the all-stars.

The judges: Mary enjoyed the creativity. She reminded Curtis to drop his shoulders. He had great partnering. She adores Hayley. Carly saw great partnering and chemistry. To work on that, it was revealed that Curtis took her out for sushi. Will they be the new tWitch and Allison? People love romance! That will bring in some votes. Nigel was disappointed that Curtis is not working on dropping his shoulders. The whole routine was ruined for him by his shoulders (well I wouldn’t go that far!). He also was disappointed with his solo; however he thought Hayley was magnificent.

Dancers: Amy and Fik-Shun
Style: Hobo jazz? What the hell is hobo jazz?
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio
Song: “Under The Bridge (Sous le pont) by The Triplets of Belleville (Soundtrack)

They showed a picture of a younger Amy with a golden retriever puppy. Another brownie point goes to her in my fandom. That dance was adorably quirky. I gasped when she jumped up in his arms and then fearlessly went backwards. If Fik-Shun was not doing great partnering, she would have smashed the floor with her head with great force (like the kind in traumatic brain injuries). Wow! That is a lesson in trust now, isn’t it? I liked this routine even more than the alien routine with BluPrint and Mariah.

The judges: Mary and Carly were on their feet. Carly said it was perfect. Nigel thought Tyce gave them one of the best pieces of choreography he has ever done, and Fik-shun has grown enormously this week. He felt they were the couple to beat. Mary thought the routine was as sweet as a Twinkie. They are on the hot tamale train.

Dancers: Makenzie and Paul
Style: Hip-hop
Choreographer: Dave Scott
Song: “Pretty Lil’ Heart” by Robin Thicke featuring Lil’ Wayne

The story is about a photographer and a 1930’s model. He is trying to get the sexy out of her. I was worried when the song first started that it would be boring but it was smoldering HOT. MERCY! Paul was a bit more hard-hitting than Makenzie by just a smidgen.

The judges: All three of them were on their feet. Nigel felt it was the sexiest routine of the evening. They are on HIS hot tamale train. Mary says he is 100% right–for once. Carly was on the edge of her seat the entire time.

Dancers: Aaron and Jasmine
Style: Quick Step
Choreographer: Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin
Song: “Pencil Full of Lead” by Paolo Nutini

Oh God help them! Having the final spot is strategic in either it is just mediocre but it will be the last thing in people’s minds OR the pimp spot was given because it was potentially the winning dance of the night. #AsTheJasTurns. Apparently Aaron sings. Wouldn’t that be cool to see Aaron try out for American Idol or The X-Factor or….(says quietly)…The Voice? I think tapping will be an asset to Aaron in his dancing of the quick step. I was worried about Jasmine’s costume for a wardrobe malfunction. I am not sure why but he looks like Michael Ealy’s cousin the way he is stylized (which is a good thing–love Michael Ealy). There were moments when I think Aaron was too stiff and moments when it felt perfect. Jasmine is perfect. She may be in my top 3 girls. That ending lifts were spectacular. When they were listening to the judges, it struck me that she could pass as Michelle Obama’s cousin. Yes, I have this thing about saying who people look like.

The judges: Mary loved it! She had some nitpicky things that needed fixing but she thought it rocked. She puts Aaron and Jasmine on the hot tamale train (third couple this evening). Carly thought it was fun and sexy. Nigel thought it was great.

The results

BluPrint will be the male contestant leaving tonight. Mariah will be leaving too. It’s always sad to say goodbye to people when they are really all so wonderful, but they do have careers in front of them. I’ve said it many times: One of the reasons why I love this show is that all these young people will have jobs when they leave the show. You’ll see them on other television shows (especially on Fox) or award show or movies.

My picks for the bottom this week

Alan for the guys and maybe Nico? For the girls, it is much more difficult for me. Alexis perhaps? At this time it is a matter of splitting hairs.

Who are your bottom picks? Let’s talk about it!





So You Think You Can Dance — Top 20 Dance Again & First Elimination

22 07 2012

So You Think You Can Dance — Top 20 Dance for a Third Time

I don’t know about you, but this entire format this year has me very confused. Why the change? The first week traditionally has been for us to meet the Top 20 and get a chance to see them dance. Then the second week, traditionally the top 20 dance, we vote, and then the next day, the 3 people with the lowest votes in the girls and the guys get to dance for their lives and the judges choose who is going home. However, the second week, the top 20 danced, and then there was no show the next day. When I heard they would tell who was going home the next week, I thought to myself, okay, so they are going to make us vote again, give the Top 20 a third week to dance so we could thoroughly enjoy them, get to know them, etc., and then on the next-day show, they will add the two weeks’ votes together, and continue on. However, that was not the case. The top 20 danced, but based on the votes, based on what they saw this week and last week, and with additional input from the choreographers from this week and last week decided who was leaving tonight. Nigel reminded us that they were not “voting people” off, but rather sending home the people who did not receive the most votes. Personally it is a game of semantics–like is the cup half empty or half full. I inquired with my OFFICIALFOXVIP contacts if this was just a one-time thing because of scheduling difficulty with the other shows and apparently this is the way they are doing it this year. On one hand, it makes it better for me because trying to type up a blog on Wednesday night before the Thursday show is very difficult. On the other hand, it seems kind of cruel to the dancers. They do not know if their previous week’s dance is going to put them in the bottom 3, and that will translate in the dances they perform on Wednesday night, which in turn will turn into the votes they get for that dance and whether or not they are in the bottom 3 the following week. It sounds like a mind game. I know Nigel Lythgoe is not like that, and I do not know if it was a demand of the network, but I do not like it.

Having said, that, let’s get on with the performances this week. We had Adam Shankman, guest judge, on tonight and the barrage of funny plugs for “Step-Up Revolution.” The group dance was choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon D’Umo to the song: “The Beautiful People (District 78 Remix) by Marilyn Manson. I started having déjà vu. Didn’t we see a song choreographed to this song before? I looked it up and turns out I was right. Comfort Fedoke and Chris Jarosz performed to it, choreographed by Tyce Diorio, in week 3 of season 4, in 2008. See a YouTube clip from the episode.

Even though it was a repeat, the dance was slightly different and it was zombie-esque (I like the word “esque” lately) and had hints of the Thriller dance.

The show opens and Adam thinks Cat is like a big sexy tomato. Cat invites him to take a bite. I love when Adam Shankman is on. He has the BEST lines.

Dancers: Cole and Lindsay
Choreographer: Christopher Scott
Song: “Teeth” by Lady Gaga

My thoughts: It was a lot of fun. Cole was great and definitely played the nerd wonderfully, keeping in character throughout the judges’ critique. Was Lindsay a nerd’s dream or did the nitrous oxide do things to Cole’s head? What a happy gaseous delusion! Christopher Scott’s routines are kind of hit or miss for me. There are either brilliant, or seemingly hastily put together.

The judges: Adam thought the American Dental Association should adopt the routine. Cole was freaking him out (in a good way). He thought Lindsay was holding her sex kitten in and needed to really attack it. Nigel certainly thought it was incentive for Great Britain to go to the dentist. He felt it was a bit immature. He thought Lindsay was playing to the audience and not to Cole. Mary said the routine put a smile on her face. She felt Lindsay needed to be vampier. Part of the show is acting and she will need to bring that. Cole is a lean, mean dancing machine.

Dancers: Amelia and Will
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Song: “3326” by Olafor Arnalds
Story: Two souls are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. They are searching for the light at the end of the tunnel.

My thoughts: I could feel that weight and the oppression of their souls. I had goosebumps, the first tonight. They had stunning lines. Amelia and Will have great chemistry. In this dance, they moved as one. WOW! It was my favorite routine of the night.

The judges: Mary screamed: “OOOOOOOO!” Sonya was right on top tonight with this beautiful routine. Will and Amelia brought it to life. Will was rising to the occasion. They have gone another floor up in her eyes. Adam gave them a standing ovation. Of Amelia, he said he was completely lost in the piece and it took him on a journey. Will 1,000,000% “Stepped it up” (movie plug). It was brilliant. Nigel said that not only had Travis grown, but Sonya, too, has show tremendous growth on the show since she joined. She said Amelia was great a great, quirky dancer. Both Will and Amelia were absolutely brilliant dancers.

Dancers: Amber and Nick
Choreographers: Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo
Style: Tango
Song: “Tanguera” by Sexteto Mayor

My thoughts: My eyes were drawn to Amber immediately and not because of her red dress. There is one spot where she almost looked at the audience and lost her character. There was a lot of hard footwork being performed by both Nick and Amber. It was intense.

The judges: Adam thought it was hot. Amber was spectacular, a fire-breathing dragon. Nick was a brilliant partner but he vanished a bit. Nigel thought Amber made herself look good, a cobra ready to pounce. Nick was very strong and it showed. Mary said it was a difficult routine. Nick and Amber made it not look like work. Amber was a fire out there and she was in awe. She gave a “hats-off” to Nick; he did great.

Dancers: Audrey and Matt
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Song: “Hear Me Now” (Dri, Lind and Lukka Mix) by Steed Lord
Story: The robotic struggle between men and women

My thoughts: It was hard hitting and angry. You could feel the struggle. It was my second favorite routine of the evening. These two have great chemistry together and are superior dancers.

The judges: Nigel loves the “stank steps.” They were incredible and are one of America’s favorite couples. Mary said they, too, were one of her favorite couples, and quite the dynamic duo. They maximized everything. One of her favorite routines tonight. Adam said tonight belongs to Sonya. Audrey was “friggin brilliant.” He told Matt if he kept it up like that, it was his competition to lose. It was amazing and for them to stay in the zone.

Dancers: Dareian and Janelle
Choreographer: Christopher Scott
Song: “My Girl” by The Temptations
Story: A wedding proposal

My thoughts: It was the first kiss of the season, which promptly some fun from the judges, more fun than this routine unfortunately. Mary said she was not getting into this kissing thing this season, so Adam fake-kissed Nigel. It was fantastic. This routine did nothing for me. Dareian was the stronger dancer of the two, however. I think Christopher Scott did not do such a great job tonight with his choreography. Maybe he is the type that needs awhile to prepare, to think things out. He needs to learn how to Twitter-up his dance routines. Less than 140 characters but strong thoughts that resonate with people.

The judges: Adam felt Dareian was more invested than Janelle. Nigel said that so much depends on the choreography and it was a little uninspiring. Both are better dancers but they have to bring it, too, as Adam pointed out. Mary said the routine was sweet and it was just okay.

Dancers: Brandon and Janaya
Choreographer: Sean Cheesman
Song: “Bring On The Men (From Jekyll & Hyde: The Gothic Musical Thriller) by Linda Eder
Style: Broadway — Hot romance book gets the girl frisky

My thoughts: It was a very fun routine with high energy. Some of the moves were great. Sean Cheesman is another “hit or miss” choreographer for me, but this one, I liked.

The judges: He felt like Brandon “stepped it up” (movie plug). Janaya’s lines were great and she played the crowd. Nigel thought it was brilliant Broadway and agreed with Adam. Janaya brought something this week that she did not have last week. Mary thought it was the most entertaining routine of the night. The stepper (Brandon) was “stepping it up” tonight with energy. Great acting from Brandon and Janaya was amazing. Cat thought it was fearless.

Dancers: Cyrus and Eliana
Choreographers: Melaine LaPatin and Tony Meredith
Song: “I’m Shakin'” by Jack White
Style: Jive

My thoughts: I am a huge fan of Cyrus. He brings his personality and enthusiasm to every dance; however, his lack of technique is beginning to show in a big way. Eliana is always wonderful. The routine was lively. Cyrus tries so hard and I am so proud of him.

The judges: Mary said Cyrus’ feet were not quite right, that his posture goes in and out. He is doing great partnership. Her star is still showing for Eliana. She is a phenomenal dancer. She was cookin’. Adam said that he was amazed Cyrus got through it. Eliana was the hardest working woman tonight. Nigel said that at some time Cyrus will hit a brick wall. Cyrus has to connect the dots and needs to fill in the blank spaces. Eliana has a tough job with Cyrus. She has to compensate a great deal for Cyrus’ lack of knowledge.

Dancers: Alexa and Daniel
Choreographer: Dee Caspary
Song: “So Long My Friend” by Yanni
Additional info: The bath tub is the water drowning the words.

My thoughts: They are good technical dancers. They did much better this week, but I really hated last week’s piece. However, by the end of the song, I realize the chemistry really is not there. I don’t know what exactly it is. Is Alexa shutting off her heart again to protect it like she did in Vegas because she does not want to fail, thus really fulfilling her own destiny with her thoughts? Do she and Daniel not have any chemistry off screen? I hoped the title of the song was not going to be their ironic fate. I loved the blue outfit that resembled the water. It was beautiful.

The judges: Adam complimented Dee on a beautiful routine. He told Alexa and Daniel although it was beautiful it was a bit chilly. He is not sure exactly what was missing. It was missing the passion. They were not connecting. Mary agreed with Adam. There is no chemistry between the two of them. Nigel said it was danced brilliantly but there is no chemistry.

Dancers: Tiffany and George
Choreographers: Melanie LaPatin and Tony Meredith
Style: Foxtrot
Song: “I Want To Be Loved by You” by Sinead O’Connor

My thoughts: Sinead O’Connor? Really? That was the biggest surprise to me. I suppose I have not kept up on her career. It was my third favorite routine this evening. My eyes were drawn to George, but they did a tremendous job. I love George’s energy; it is always happy and calm. He is such a smooth operator. I also loved her costume.

The judges: Mary thought Tiffany did everything perfectly. Adam was madly in love with it. It reminded him of Fred and Ginger. They “stepped up” (movie plug) to a whole new level. It was “in-freaking-credible.” Nigel they could be the “Opening Act” for anybody. They should be a lesson to every couple on the show.

Dancers: Witney and Chehon
Choreographer: Nakul Dev Mahajan
Song: “Tandav Music” by Aatish Kapadia
Style: Bollywood of course

My thoughts: It was high energy. Bollywood has to be one of the toughest dances out there, especially because of the hand moves, but also it requires a great deal of stamina and strength. Chehon did the better job of the two. Nakul looked so proud of them. I would not have known Chehon was a ballet dancer tonight. He took the constructive criticism he received last week and applied it.

The judges: Adam said it was the first time he saw joy in Chehon. Witney needed to extend her neck. He still felt chemistry between them even though they were apart during the dance. Mary said it was so much better this week for Chehon and that he was on fire tonight. Nigel thought Chehon was fantastic. He cannot believe that Witney was doing knee turns. He also noticed with khattak in the dance routine.

The Results From Last Week

Based on last week’s votes, Janaya, Alexa, and Witney were in the bottom 3 for the girls. When the camera flashed to Alexa, she knows she is leaving. She looks down and cannot smile. Janaya and Witney are there with their chins up and smiles on their faces. The bottom 3 guys were Nick, Daniel and Chehon. Nigel said that the votes were for people America liked, but they have to stay unemotional about their decision. They were the best 20 dancers across this season. After talking to the choreographers, seeing them dance this week and last, they were saving Chehon and Witney. I imagine the Bollywood routine helped to save them.

Extra Bonuses

There was a great segment about the movie “Step-Up Revolution” coming out. Jamal Sims is the choreographer, but so are Travis Wall and Mia Michaels, Mia also playing the role of “Olivia” in the movie. Adam Shankman is the producer. It features several SYTYCD alumni including Stephen “tWitch” Boss, Tony Bellissimo, Phillip Chbeeb, and Kathryn McCormick.

Speak Out and Step Up (movie plug): What do you think of the decisions this week? What do you think of this new format? Let us know!

Note: I’m headed to New York on Thursday. Since it takes me about 4-6 hours to get this blog done, I do not think I’ll be able to do a detailed blog and pack Wednesday night. I’ll try to get something up, although it likely will not be in this regular format. I appreciate your support for this blog. I’d love to get more comments on it and have a discussion.





So You Think You Can Dance — Finale Performance Show

11 08 2011

It has been a wonderful journey with the best group of dancers to ever be picked in the Top 20 of So You Think You Can Dance. Tonight, the four favorites who flitted into our hearts were: Marko, Melanie, Sasha and Tadd. Katie Holmes and Kenny Ortega served as guest judges for this evening (I just LOVE Kenny Ortega).

Final4

The final 4: Marko, Sasha, Melanie, Tadd

Dancers: Melanie and Marko
Song: “I Feel Love”
Artist: Donna Summer
Choreographer: Doriana Sanchez
Style: Disco
Story: None, just high-energy disco.

I was wondering when disco was going to show up. This song was a blast to my past. It was lovely seeing them partner again. Dressed like John Travolta, Marko did a slightly better job than Melanie with a bit more energy into all his movements. While it was danced well and it was fun to watch, there was no emotional investment in it for me and did not bring me back to that golden era. Kenny thought it was electric, sizzling and great. Katie loved it and said it was like watching Saturday Night Fever. Mary Murphy pointed out that the lifts were not great and they went in and out of the style. Nigel agreed with Mary and felt they were uncomfortable in the style and hoped that they do better in their other routines this evening.

Dancers: Sasha and all-star Mark Kanemura
Song: “Raise Your Weapon”
Artist: Deadmau5
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Style: Contemporary
Story: Ode to Sasha from Sonya, that Sasha handles all the struggles in her life with such grace and integrity, fueling her and giving her power. Mark represents the obstacles.

Another emotional dance for Sasha. This dance brought both goosebumps and tears and then a “hell-yah” out of me during the final sequence when she throws her obstacles to the ground (i.e., Mark). What a powerhouse duo in this pairing (Are you ready to join Lady Gaga’s tour, Sasha, with Mark?)! It stung me in all my emotionally vulnerable hotspots. Sasha has had some incredible performances, but this one tops them all. Mark is the perfect example of someone who did not win the show who went on to do fantastic things in the dance world. Like a fine wine, he has gotten better with age. Katie loved it, especially that walk at the end. Mary pulled out her train-whistled woo-hoo for this and called her a champion and a star. Nigel thought Sasha just threw down the gauntlet to the other three contestants.
Before getting to Sasha’s critique, Kenny had glowing things to say to Sonya who was deeply moved by his accolades. Turning to Sasha, he cited her struggles this week–an injury, battling against Melanie–but claimed her “Sasha, Warrior Princess.”

Dancers: Tadd and all-star Joshua Allen
Song: “Hustle Hard” (Traditional)
Artists: Ace Hood
Choreographer: Lil’C
Style: Hip-hop
Story: None, just the hustle.

Lil’C choreographed a very difficult routine. Tadd is the dark horse in this race, but having Joshua dance with him did not help him, like watching a master and his apprentice. Joshua was crouching lower and hitting harder. Tadd made it this far not only because of his dance technique but also his personality. Just looking at Tadd though, this is the best I have seen him dance all season. Mary said his difficulty is the “sweetie-pie” factor, but was able to pull off a hard-hitting hip-hop style. “Hustle Hard” was Tadd’s theme song for this season. Nigel complimented the moves on the knees, but still felt he was too sweet. Kenny thought the pairing was perfect and wants a pair of the red shoes. Katie thought his hustling was terrific and she loved the pairing. The red shoes helped to highlight how fast of a dancer he was.

Dancers: Melanie and all-star Robert Roldan
Song: “Sacrifice”
Artist: Sinead O’Connor
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Style: Contemporary
Story: Unrequited love; in order to save herself, she has to say good-bye.

My goosebumps started halfway through and were at standing straight up on my arm and traveling down my legs by the time the song was over, a lovely rendition of the famous Elton John song. I loved this pairing as well, as each complimented each other. Nigel felt like Sasha threw down the gauntlet and the challenge was accepted. Kenny would push himself to the front of the line to have a chance to work with Melanie. At this point, Cat announced that he would be resurrecting “Dirty Dancing” and got Melanie her first job after SYTYCD. Katie thinks she is a magical dancer and loves how she creates stories. Mary feels like she is in a class of her own and is so proud of her. Melanie feels so blessed for the journey.

Dancers: Sasha and Marko
Song: “Whatever Lola Wants”
Artist: Ella Fitzgerald
Choreographer: Spencer Liff
Style: Broadway
Story: A restaurant scene. Marko is the waiter, Sasha an elegant dinner who wants to order something off menu.

Hot and spicy, both Sasha and Marko played their roles well. She looked elegant in her purple gown, showing off her cougaress cavort, going after what appeared to be a younger, geeky waiter, portrayed by Marko. Kenny thought it was fun, and their character conversions were fantastic. He had a few extra words of praise for Sasha about her giving her all for every performance. Katie compared Sasha to the legendary Cyd Charisse and thought Marko was great. Mary did not initially recognize Marko and thought he was perhaps one of the all-stars. She was surprised at what a wonderful actor he is, saying that it is not easy to pull off comedy and dance at the same time. The dance, however, did not wow Nigel. He thought Sasha was a better warrior princess than a vamp. He did not understand Marko’s character at all.

Taking a break in the dance action, Cat showed some interviews that she had with all the contestants. Melanie’s favorite moment was dancing with Neil Haskell (with the launch she did into his arms halfway across the stage). Her closest buddy in the competition is Ricky because he can make anyone smile and was such a fighter regardless of the criticism each week. Out of the four remaining, she feels closest to Marko. She misses her father and knows that he would be very proud of her. She then performed her solo to “Song for Viola” by Peter Bradley Adams. I cried, feeling like she was dancing that for her father.

Cat asked Marko what he was thinking when she read his name as the first one through to the finale. He had closed his eyes and wondered why she was waiting (she was waiting for him to open his eyes). His favorite performance was “Turned to Stone” with Melanie. She asked him what it was like to have his mother in the audience, and he again shared that he was not always the most grateful child growing up. Winning would mean “everything” to him. When he got shot, he was searching for the reasons why he survived and perhaps this show was a vehicle for that. He then performed his solo to “The Fear You Won’t Fall” by Joshua Radin, incorporating all he has learned, growing a great deal since his original audition. Tonight, his father was in the audience for the first time, giving him an extra boost.

Dancers: Sasha and Tadd
Song: “Raindrops”
Artist: Basement Jaxx
Choreographer: Mark Ballas
Style: Cha-cha
Story: None, just fun and sassy.

This was not finale-quality dancing. Both looked uncomfortable in the style. Because of that, they did not have that hot, spicy chemistry. The height difference was an issue for me. Katie completely bypassed saying anything about the dance itself and just complimented them on the journey. I think Katie did not want to be booed. Although agreeing with Katie, Mary had to talk about the dance. It just did not work–the connections, the body positions, missing hand connections, lack of chemistry, although Sasha fared a little bit better than Tadd. Nigel agrees with Mary, saying it was uncomfortable to watch. While Sasha did a bit better, Nigel felt it did not bear well for her either. Kenny said it was too ambitious for the last show and for them to walk it off and come back and blow us all away.

Dancers: Marko and all-star Lauren Froderman
Song: “Shirk”
Artist: Me’Shell Ndegedcello
Choreographer: Tessandra Chavez
Style: Contemporary
Story: Two people drawn to each other who can’t seem to find a way to make it work.

Setting the tone for the routine, Lauren was already in character, shedding tears when the dance started. This was another dance that drew me in emotionally, taking me on a journey of moments of my own life. My goosebumps never lie. Mary thought it was beautiful, provoking honest communication in the dance, feeling his soul. Nigel felt like it was a fabulous performance, redeeming his past dances of the evening. Kenny again complimented the outstanding choreography. He felt this was perfect partnering for him, that their spirits became alive, taking him to a distant place. Whatever Marko was doing in that dance, he needed to continue doing it. Katie also thanked Tessandra for the piece. He thanked Marko for creating these picture moments for her while he danced and deemed him magical (Magical Marko–it works–Cat stop stealing my phrases).

Tadd’s interview and solo were next. He thought and dreamed about being in the finale but cannot believe he is here. He thinks America is connecting to him in his solos. His favorite routine was the vulture dance with Jordan that Travis Wall choreographed. Most nervous performance was the first show when they had to make a first impression. There is web site apparently called: The Official “Keep Your Shirt Off Tadd” Fan Club. He said for some reason people want him to be naked, but Cat points out there is a difference between shirtless and naked. Winning would change his and his family’s lives. Dancing his last solo before voting to “Momma Knows Best” by Jessie J, Tadd showed off why we love him so. It was playful and creative.

Dancers: Tadd and Melanie
Song: “Show Me What You’re Working With”
Artist: Sista Monica
Choreographer: Ray Leeper
Style: Jazz
Story: A guy cheats on his girlfriend and she catches him in the act. Sexy, naughty with a little dysfunction thrown in.

This dance showcased Tadd much better. Since he was comfortable, the chemistry flowed like river rapids between them. I got sexy, naughty and the dysfunction. It must have been difficult for Melanie to dance that short while with one heel on and one off; I can barely walk that way. The routine was a lot of good fun. The strip-tease of Tadd for his fan-base was a great touch after the comments made in his interview. The routine brought Nigel’s evening to life. He praised Tadd for a job well done, while complimenting Melanie for selling the character before the dancing ever began. Kenny apparently let out a “woo” during the dance. He loved everything about it and felt the choreographer delivered the perfect routine to showcase their strengths during a finale show. Katie felt like it was a breath of fresh air. Mary thought Tadd brought the sexy back and Melanie’s strut was like no other.

In the final interview and solo, Sasha never thought she would make it this far, loving that her sister has been with her the entire journey. Her favorite moment was when Lady Gaga threw her shoe. Several routines stood out to her, but she asked Cat which one she liked and Cat said the routine with Twitch. She talked more about the wonderful routine with Kent Boyd (with the wall), saying she had to go to a very dark place, and she had to put her journey into the dance. Seeing people affected emotionally in response to her dancing meant a great deal to her. Dancing to “Be Be Your Love” by Rachael Yamagata, Sasha also showed the audience the growth attained this season from that of her first audition.

Dancers: Sasha and Melanie
Song: “Heart Asks Pleasure First”
Artist: Anh Trio
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Style: Contemporary
Story: Suppressed housewives in the 1950s, feelings of isolation and loneliness. The two join forces to break free.

Extremely beautiful. Melanie and Sasha are in direct competition with each other, yet they dance and support each other every time they dance together like true professionals. Another moment of chills for me. Kenny thought the picket fences were symbolic of prison bars and the space in the yard the only place where these women could express themselves. It made him feel hopeless and he wanted to rush in and free them. It also made him curious about their paths, where these characters came from and where they were going. Katie loved the message about friendship and the power that two women can give to each other. Mary enjoyed every second of it, enjoying the movement and musicality. Nigel shared with the audience what we did not see–that each of them hugged each other and wished each other luck before the show came back on air. He said it did not matter who won because they would both grace any dance company they would join.

Dancers: Marko and Tadd
Song: “B.O.B.”
Artist: Outkast
Choreographer: Chuck Maldonado
Style: Gumboot stepping (hip-hop)
Story: Form of dance that was used to communicate in the mines of South Africa

A fantastic, high-energy way to close the show. Tadd had the slight edge in this dance, but Marko was not too shabby. The timing was a little off, but I noticed Tadd looking over at Marko at times to try to get them back in sync again. Katie enjoyed the athletic ability in this number, but it also sound like she was holding something back. Mary felt like it was solid gold for her. Nigel pointed out the rhythms were not together in this routine. Then he crushed them by saying he has felt all along a girl would win this season and that hadn’t changed although they stood up well for themselves tonight. Kenny thanked the dancers and the choreographer.

If it was simply based on dancing tonight, it would have to be Melanie, Marko, Sasha and Tadd. If it came down to most improved dancers over the season, it would be Tadd, Sasha, Marko and Melanie since Tadd, the b-boy held his own outside his own style of dance. Then Sasha was finally partnered with someone who brought out the best in her during the all-stars, and Marko and Melanie have remained pretty level throughout the competition. If it is based on the dancing all season it would be a tie between Melanie/Sasha then Marko and Tadd. However, the show is about America’s favorite dancer. Sasha has an overwhelming fan base and it will come down to who voted more, Melanie’s fans or Sasha’s fans. The margin of votes will be very, very close.  I predict Sasha is going to win.  But Nigel is right:  Both Melanie and Sasha will have tremendous careers after this (and I believe Marko and Tadd will, too).

Hilda Clark Bowen (a.k.a. PBMom)

Hilda Bowen (a.k.a. PBMom)





So You Think You Can Dance — Top 6 Performance

4 08 2011

After tomorrow night’s show, we will be down to our final 4 contestants and our season finale show. Last week we said goodbye to our favorite J’s: Jordan and Jess. Each was the consummate professional full of gratitude the journey and for the fans. Even for a brief moment when Jordan looked like she was about to fall apart, she took a deep breath and remained positive and hopeful for her career, a trail both will blaze after the tour.

Top6

2011 So You Think You Can Dance Top 6 --Season 8

Guest judges for this evening were the lovely Christina Applegate, and the loquacious Lil’C. They discussed the stupendous success of National Day Dance on July 30, 2011. Perhaps it needs to be renamed “International Dance Day” as people across the world celebrated dance, including physicists in Switzerland. Although not shown on the show this evening, even Vancouver, BC got into the fun.

Dancers: Melanie and all-star Twitch Boss
Song: “Roman’s Revenge”
Artist: Nicki Minaj featuring Lil Wayne
Choreographers: Napoleon & Tabitha Dumo (aka NappyTabs)
Style: Hip-hop
Story: Little Red Riding Hood with a twist

Melanie did well, but I’ve seen some of the other ladies do a better job with hip-hop. The routine was weird. I might have liked it better if in the end she would have slay the big bad wolf versus tame him, but that is the choreography and not the dancers. I think she might have needed to be lower to the ground. Lil’C felt she got off to a rough start but found her ghetto groove and ascended. Christina agreed with Lil’C. Mary felt she was on fire. Nigel loved the dance as well. He confronted internet allegations that Melanie has never been given a dance out of her style, but he dispelled that quickly, saying she was good at everything. Itsy bitsy problem with that. If they are randomly drawing dance styles out of a hat, and last week the talk on the internet was the biggest it’s been about this issue, and she suddenly gets hip-hop, it doesn’t help the argument that these dances are random. It is, however, one of these no-win situations. You will have a group of people who will believe it and some that will not, and like politics, there is no changing anybody’s mind about it.

Dancers: Sasha and all-star Kent Boyd
Song: “Fool on Me”
Artist: Me’Shell Ndegeocello
Choreographer: Tyce DiOrio
Style: Contemporary
Story: Two people who have hit a wall in their relationship and the emotions you go through when someone hurts you.

During the rehearsal taping about the song, Sasha began to cry. The meaning of the dance runs deep for her and I was sure it would come through in her dance–and it did. I had goosebumps but I lost my breath at the moment of the lift that had her legs upside down on the wall, a great symbolism for how upside-down you can feel when you are hurting inside when someone you love hurts you. You love them, you hate them, you want them stay, you want them to go. All the feelings are taken the n’th level. Sometimes you can bust through that wall and sometimes you cannot. I love when Tyce choreographs dances like this (like the dance he created for his friend who had cancer, danced who beautifully by Ade and Melissa). They have a way of reaching a place deep inside your soul that is universal to everyone. Christina described the difference between technicians of dance and dancers like Sasha who can affect your heart, and thanking her for being so courageous as to share with us whatever it was that hurt her so badly in this life. Mary called her intoxicating and got all choked up about the move of when Kent threw her to the floor, and that it only matters that you get back up. When she said that, I was thinking of Mary’s courageous battle with her thyroid cancer. Nigel also complimented Tyce, as did Mary, at this routine being at his best, as was Sasha. Sasha then won Nigel’s “favorite” dancer something that he ping-pongs between Melanie and Sasha. Lil’C was trying not to cry, having identified personally with the dance with experiences in his own life. He wishes that he could have worked with Sasha this season and called her phenomenal. Oh, and did I mention, first kiss on tonight’s show. The kissing season, season 8.

Dancers: Marko and all-star Janette Manrara
Song: “Zorongo” (Traditional)
Artists: Antonia Gomez, Ely “La Gambita”, Guillermo Basilisco and Paco Pena
Choreographer: Dmitry Chaplin
Style: Paso doble
Story: Marko is the matador and Janette is an activist trying to keep him away from killing the bull. (I laughed).

I didn’t recognize Dmitry with his beard. Has it been that long? You have to been pretty beautiful and passionate to sway a matador from his mission. How could Janette be ignored? I had a problem at first with that story stuck in my head since we are so used to the woman being the bull or the cape, but after a minute, I concentrated on the actual dance and let the story go. After Cat drew comparisons to the matador costume and Mary Murphy’s shoulder pads, she complimented him for being spot-on at the arrogance that was necessary for the dance. She pointed out that he lost his footing from time-to-time, but most of the time, he nailed it. Nigel loved the twirls that mimicked the movement of the matador’s cape (as did Mary). However, Nigel said it left him feeling cold. He was looking for more passion. I think it is difficult to bring a ballroom routine up against a brilliantly danced contemporary piece. It’s like coming back from San Diego Comic Con. You are on this incredible high and then–CRASH–everything around you seems so boring and mundane. Lil’C loved his stoic performance which was necessary to this particular dance. Christina wanted him to drop it down a little (lower in his crotch level), but loved the bravado.

They took a break in the action to listen to messages from home. The love and pride of all the contestants’ families touched my heart and my tear ducts. Then Ricky took the stage to dance his solo to “After Tonight” by Justin Nozuka. It was lovely.

Dancers: Tadd and all-star Ellenore Scott
Song: “The Gulag Orkestar”
Artist: Beirut
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Style: Contemporary?/Jazz?
Story: A period piece where everyone was prim and proper, but once they touch, everything gets thrown out the window and becomes with wild, reckless, lustful.

Sonya Tayeh is the goddess of strange and Ellenore was the perfect all-star to fill that role. I was not feeling the passion that Sonya demands from her dancers coming from Tadd. The spin on the chandelier was reminiscent of Cirque de Soleil. It was an interesting prop. Nigel had no words and said he felt like it needed more time to develop, that he was left “hanging.” (Oh, Nigel, you make me laugh). Lil’C complimented Sonya’s talent of showcasing a dancer’s unique abilities. He felt like Tadd was just going through the movements instead of making them last a lifetime. Christina likes the dirtier side of dance, and complimented Tadd that he is a b-beat pointing his toes and how great is that. Mary felt Tadd was still growing and complimented Sonya’s trust in doing such a dangerous thing with a prop.

Next was Caitlynn’s mom sharing that she one day said she was going to be on this show. Via the internet, Caitlynn’s dad, away on business, shared his pride. Caitlynn then performed her solo to “What’s Love Got to Do With It” by Katie Thompson. Afterwards, Caitlynn was crying, moved from the words from her parents, the song, the moment or all the above.

Dancers: Ricky and all-star Jaimie Goodwin
Song: “Inside These Lines”
Artist: Trent Dabbs
Choreographer: Dee Caspary
Style: Contemporary
Story: A couple trying to stay together, but he feels her slipping away so he tries to control her. (I call this The Puppetmaster.)

I noticed that when Ricky was close to Jaimie during the routine, he didn’t extend himself as you would see him do when they were apart. Perhaps he was concentrating on the sticks and not hurting his partner. While the sticks did enhance the routine, you can’t forsake the dance for the prop. At the end of the dance, Jaimie did what I was hoping–she took the sticks and threw them to the ground. Lil’C gave props to him and the props (and Cat Deeley just stole my line, damn). As usual Lil’C had a mouthful, “What a magically, magnificent puppeteer of physically rhythmic artistry you are.” In other words, buckness. Christina said he was a beautiful dancer, but wanted to help him grow and said he does not always dance with the clearest intention, like a push and a pull, like when he reached for Jaimie, it was harder to let her go away from him. That would help take him up another notch, which was great advice. Mary added, “All of that” plus that it was beautiful, free-flowing movement. Nigel loved the story of the dance from Dee. The only advice Nigel had to help Ricky was that he wants him to feel the movement more in his gut because he is so up and high in his dancing.

Tadd’s parents, and his entire Filipino community, are very proud of his accomplishments (and the first story that did not make me cry but smile). His song selection also made me laugh, “We Speak No Americano” by Yolanda B Cool and DCup. Tadd’s solos have always been interesting in that he is a b-boy and he chooses all these songs from eras past that make for a weird and wonderful combination. It has become his signature.

Returning from the break, Sasha’s solo was shown but not before her parents got to boast about their beautiful, bubbly baby girl. I smiled, too, when I saw Sasha picked “Teeth” by Lady Gaga after she received such high praise from Lady Gaga last week (and her shoe!). Again she did a terrific job.

Dancers: Caitlynn and all-star Pasha Kovalev
Song: “Drop It Low (District 78 Remix)”
Artist: Kat DeLuna
Choreographer: Dmitry Chaplin
Style: Samba
Story: None, just sexy, great music and being sexy.

Pasha and Dmitry behind one dance? Wow. Double boiler kind of hot. Was it sexy? YES IT WAS! Was there great music. YES , THERE WAS! And was it really sexy? SIZZLING. At that precise moment, I desperately wished to have use of the communication stones that are used in the show Stargate Universe (where people can swap consciousness with another body–yes, I’m a geek). I wanted to be dancing with Pasha. Be still my heart. Wait, this is about Caitlynn. She did a fabulous job. I have to remind myself she is just a senior in high school (or was). Christina loved it. Mary thought it was great, especially on the reverse samba rolls. Her only criticism were some of her facial expressions. Nigel ad Lil’C had similar advice.

Marko’s mother was very emotional about his journey to the show. Dancing to “Wonderful World” By James Morrison, Marko combined a lot of technique with acrobatics. I always enjoy his solos.

Then Melanie’s mother had a message for her. Instead of talking, she sang; instead of walking, she danced. Melanie chose to dance to “Cracks (Flux Pavilion Remix)” by Freestylers featuring Belle Humble. Some truth rang to me with the name “Belle” and “Humble” to describe Melanie. Her solos have become more complex as she incorporates what she has learned over the weeks into her dance. She is both beautiful and humble.  It was the best solo of the night.

Dancers: Sasha and Ricky
Song: “Schoolin’ Life”
Artist: Beyonce
Choreographer: Kumari Suraj
Style: Waacking
Story: None.

Waacking is a new style of dance to SYTYCD, the origins from Los Angeles in the 1970’s. It’s about the individual and who you are right now in your life. It’s about skill, precision and control. After watching the routine, it does bring fond memories of the 70’s back to me. Sasha was great; Ricky less so. He was too stiff once again. I would have hoped he would have taken to heart the earlier critique and applied it to this dance. Mary never liked this type of dance until Samara “Princess” Lockeroo, who was the first to audition and win to a ticket to Vegas with this type of dance. She felt like Sasha had the edge in the dancing. Both were out of their styles, but neither could take it to Princess Lockeroo’s level. Nigel says when Ricky is thinking about dancing, he does lose a little bit. Then Nigel took a comment that they said to Caitlynn and applied it to Sasha, saying she did not have to act sexy because she is sexy. Oops! Lil’C wishes both of them would have enjoyed it more because he felt they were so focused on the steps and speed. Christina enjoyed it and thought perhaps they could have “whacked it harder.” She’s so funny.

Dancers: Melanie and Tadd
Song: “(Where Do I Begin) Love Story (Away Team Mix)
Artist: Shirley Bassey
Choreographer: Spencer Liff
Style: Broadway/Jazz?
Story: A rehearsal within a rehearsal. Tadd uses Melanie’s crush on him to bring out the best dance in her, but she discovers her feelings are not reciprocated.

They paired well together. It was a lovely dance that did not affect me on any emotional level but just was fun to watch. The use of the mirror where Melanie’s hands touched it and it got these weird distortions to it made me think, yes, just like the relationship between this dancer in the dance and the choreographer in the dance, played by Tadd. The relationship is not what it seems to be to Melanie’s character. I look for meaning sometimes that may or may not be in subtle things. Lots of prop use tonight. Cat compared it to “Black Swan” (which I have not seen yet). Nigel complimented Melanie on her solo as the best solo across all the seasons. She is not only the original beast, but a great actress and a great dancer. She now stole Sasha’s earlier place of the evening and is now Nigel’s favorite again. I think if SYTYCD could have a tie, he would be happy having the two of them there. To Tadd he said, “…to say you didn’t suck is a compliment.” He pointed out the things he did well in the routine. Lil’C says Melanie has a quiet fire and Melanie is EXTREMELY buck. Lil’C also wanted to give accolades to her solo performance that it was so beefy. And as an afterthought, he told Tadd he was growing by leaps and bounds and to continue doing so. Christina also commented on her solo, saying they were all banging on the table. She described Melanie’s performance as being better than that of Donna McKechnie in “A Chorus Line.” Tadd continues to surprise Christina with his technique since he is a b-boy. Mary says America has fallen in love with them and they are brilliant in their styles. She got all choked up that she was able to be here for this wonderful season to see it.

Dancers: Caitlynn and Marko
Song: “Heavy in Your Arms”
Artist: Florence and the Machine
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Style: Jazz
Story: Marko is a controlling, overbearing man and Caitlynn is trying to break free.

Perfect song to close the show. This was dynamite and gave me goosebumps. It was much better than the Puppeteer routine performed by Ricky. My breaths felt heavy of the weight of this relationship. The judges were standing in ovation of their performance. Lil’C thought this was double-hashtag buck (#buck #buck or ##buck)? “Reckless and convicted, it was murderous,” according to Lil’C. Translation: Lil’C loved it. Christina makes Marko join the beasts. Christina believes that was Caitlynn’s moment (maybe, but she had one with Mitchell, too). Mary thought it was Caitlynn’s best routines ever. She brought the grit to it and brought it to another level. Marko is Mary’s favorite dancer (I bet Mary and Nigel have a friendly bet going on the side as to who is going to win). Nigel thought this routine redeemed Sonya from her earlier Cirque de Soleil choreography. Regarding Caitlynn, she came of age today, he felt. She is a brilliant dancer. Marko is sensation. Cat added, “But you’re very pretty, too” to Marko.

Common sense would dictate that Marko, Melanie, and Sasha will be in the top 4. Up in the air is whether Tadd or Ricky gets into the final 4.  Or we could use any number of science-fiction shows and their technologies to merge Ricky and Tadd into 1 dancer to get Radd or Ticky so we don’t have to make up our minds.  Of course, it would be temporary….unless…well, they are wearing a red shirt that evening.  What do you say?

Stay tuned tomorrow about more news regarding Miranda’s and Jordan’s fan clubs and what they are doing to show them their love.





So You Think You Can Dance — Top 16 Elimination

4 07 2011

Elimination day is always a mixture of angst for the dancers and the viewers who love then, but it also gives other dance troupes throughout the world a chance to shine. Tonight’s episode had a dance that touched me deeply. The top 16 came out to perform a spy-like routine to the song, “The Incredits” from The Incredibles (soundtrack). The dance was choreographed by Michael Rooney.

Kristen Chenoweth pushed her new CD, coming out September 13. A clip of her first music video was played. I remember Kristen when she was on Broadway in “Wicked” and sang these songs on Good Morning America.

The first bunch of contestants was brought up: Melanie & Marko, Ryan & Ricky, Ashley & Chris. Ashley and Chris were in the bottom and would need to perform solos. This was not surprising. There was something missing from either the choreography of the dance, or the dancers’ ability to pump more soul into the dance itself.

The second group is called up: Jordan & Tadd, Sasha & Alexander, Miranda & Robert. Cat announced that Miranda and Robert were in the bottom 3. After they had this group together, I knew Miranda and Robert would be in the ones whose names were called just because the others had some outstanding dances and once again, when going up against contemporary and hip-hop, ballroom or Broadway will lose every time.

Finally, the last group appeared on stage: Clarice & Jess, Caitlynn & Mitchell. I had worried about Caitlynn and Mitchell being in the bottom 3 just because of the foxtrot. The young people voting just do not understand ballroom dancing.

While the contestants prepared for their solos, we were treated to a remarkable dance routine from Axis Dance Company. The mission of Axis is 1) to create and perform contemporary dance that is developed through the collaboration of dancers with and without disabilities; 2) to teach dance and educate about collaboration and disability through community education and outreach programs; 3) to promote and support physically integrated dance locally, nationally and internationally. Dancers Sonsheree Giles and Rodney Bell moved me to tears with their compelling routine set to “Partita for Violin Solo No 2 in D minor, BWV 1004: V. Ciaccona” by Janine Jansen. Please click on the below link to visit their site and see their stunning choreography.

Axis Dance Company

Click here to visit Axis Dance Company

After the break, Ashley danced her contemporary solo to “For You” by David Ryan Harris. Performing to “You’re Going to Make It” by KJ-52 (featuring Blanca Reyes), Chris showed the judges why he deserved to stay with his hip-hop moves. Miranda reminded the judges of her beauty and grace while dancing to “Unthinkable” by Maria Zouroudis. Robert then took the stage to dance his hip-hop style to “I Don’t Need It” by Jamie Foxx. Returning from commercial, Caitlynn performed to “It Doesn’t Hurt” by Katie Thompson. Rounding out the solos was contemporary dancer, Mitchell, performing to “Rolling In The Deep” by Adele.

Judging strictly on the solos, I would have had to pick Caitlynn as the girl. Miranda and Ashley had better solos. For the guys, I would have picked Chris because Robert and Mitchell had more stand-out solos. However, we know that the judges take everything into consideration: Past performances, the group performance from Wednesday night, the popularity with the viewers, etc.

Cat dismisses the judges who have a tough decision to make. While they are contemplating that, the current United States and world theatrical ballroom dancers/choreographers, Eric Luna and Georgia Ambarian, performed to “Calypso” from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.” Judging from their dancing and the crowd’s appreciation of it, I may have to take back my earlier opinion on the young people not understanding ballroom dancing. If they were contestants performing like this, they would not be in the bottom 3.

LunaAmbarian

Click here to visit Eric & Georgia's website

The judges return with their decision and the girl’s choice was not unanimous. Miranda would be leaving the group this evening. For the guys, it would be Robert, but Chris was told that he must grow faster.

I tweet with many Miranda fans who were understandably upset. I told them to remember this competition is about America’s favorite dancer. Skill does play into the final decision, but so many other factors contribute: Luck of the draw of dances, the vision of the choreographer for that dance, partnering, personality, standing out in the crowd, etc. What is so wonderful about this show is that you do not have to win in order to have a long and wonderful career in dance. Look at Mark Kanemura. He finished 5th in season 4 and this past year I’ve seen him in Glee (in the Britney Spears episode) and was on tour with Lady Gaga. Kherington Payne was eliminated in week 6 of season 4 and went on to star in the remake of “Fame” and was also on a Glee episode. To all the fans of people being eliminated, please keep this in mind. Sadly someone has to leave each week. This truly is the most talented top 20 the show has ever had and the competition is fierce.