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.





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 Season 11: Top 20 Perform; 2 Go Home

14 07 2014

Opening Number

Song: “New York, New York” by On The Town (2014 Broadway Cast)
Choreographer: Josh Bergasse

As I watched it I was thinking, “I wonder if Tyce did this?” And I would be wrong. It is Josh Bergasse. He is choreographing the Broadway show and the winner will be in the show. Very cool.

The Judges

Joining Mary and Nigel is Misty Copeland (an American ballet dancer).

Bottom 3 Girls and Guys

Brooklyn, Casey, Jourdan, Nick, Marlene, Serge

Routines

Dancers: Tanisha and Rudy
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Song: “You Need” by Bengsons

My thoughts: Gritty, powerful, sexy. I love Sonya’s dances and this is no exception. Well done!

The judges: Mary felt it was a strong performance. Misty thought Tanisha was fierce. Their movements were fluid. They gave her all the different types of sexy faces. As for tips to improve she wants Rudy to ground himself in his partnering. Nigel agrees with both.

Dancers: Valerie and Ricky
Style:  Contemporary
Choreographer:  Travis Wall
Song: “Oh Darling” by Gossling

A song about the one who got away. She is a bit of a mess without him.

My thoughts: I didn’t see most of this because there was local breaking news. The little bit I saw at the end gave my goosebumps in a major way. He is my favorite male dancer this season. I think he is the winner. Postnote: I watched this after-the-fact on You Tube, and this was my absolutely favorite routine of the evening. Valerie crushed it (considering she is a tapper, too). That back bend near the end was phenomenal.

The judges: Misty thought they were fabulous together. She cannot get enough of Ricky (neither can I!). Nigel likes their chemistry. Nigel wanted to see more emotion from Valerie. He was proud of her pointing her toes and straightening her legs. Mary thought it was magnificent.

Dancers: Bridget and Emilio
Style: Hip hop
Choreographer: Luther Brown
Song: “Work” by Iggy Azalea

Backstory is they were friends. She was a nerd and hadn’t seen him in a long time.

My thoughts: That was fun.

The judges: Nigel thought there was great chemistry between them too. Nigel poked fun at his outfit and likened it to making him look like a dancing Hobbit. He complimented Emilio. He told Bridget he thought she was going to be terrible at this and he was so wrong. Mary said Bridget went in and out for her, but there really isn’t anything she looks bad doing. Emilio ate the whole thing for dinner and he spit out fabulousness. Misty thought Emilio was amazing as he was in his element. She encouraged Bridget to own it. She can be a fierce sexy woman.

Dancers: Jessica and Nick
Style: West Coast Swing
Choreographer: Benji Schwimmer
Song: “Respect (Live Feb 5 1971)” by Aretha Franklin

My thoughts: Fantastic. That was sooooo fast. Nice to see Benji on as a choreographer.

The judges: Mary was exhausted. She thought Jessica needed to be more grounded. Misty found it entertaining. Misty told Jessica that she needs to be aware of her neck, that her chin was almost touching. Nigel thinks Benji was a bit mean on the pair of them because he was asking a great deal. He gave pointers to them to improve. He felt Jessica over-exaggerated, her face was doing too much tonight.

Dancers: Carly and Serge
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Song: “Latch (Acoustic) by Sam Smith

Story is about unbreakable love.

My thoughts: A few goosebumps. I am not sure what it was. It was beautifully danced, but there was something missing there I can’t seem to place my finger.

The judges: Misty thought it was wow. It was a moving performance. Nigel said it was the first time tonight he has felt an emotional connection between the dance partners. That was the best he has seen Serge dance outside of his genre. Mary was crying. She was not expecting that from Serge and it just got her.

Dancers: Emily and Teddy
Style: Hip hop
Choreographer: Dave Scott
Song: “Don’t” by Ed Sheeran

My thoughts: I thought Emily was looking too much out at the audience and not enough at Teddy especially since this was supposed to be a flirtatious dance. She was not getting down–too stiff in her upper body and not bent enough in her lower.

Judges: Nigel said Teddy’s body moved more than his eyebrows tonight which was incredible. Nigel points out what I was seeing about Emily. She needs to get that chemistry with her partner before performing for us. Mary thought it was cute. She did not care for the ticking at the end. Misty enjoyed it. She felt Emily was committed and she will get more comfortable doing different genres. She thought Teddy was awesome.

Dancers: Malene and Stanley
Style: Broadway
Choreographer: Spencer Liff
Song: “I’ve Got Your Number” by Nancy Wilson

My thoughts: It was good but oddly my eyes were going towards Stanley who was doing the better job. After seeing all the routines through the end of the evening, this one was my least favorite.

Judges: Mary loved the concept. She adored the first 20 seconds of it but halfway through she wanted them to throw the phones down. Misty thought Stanley needed to think about the big picture and not about himself. She didn’t see much of a partnership going on. Nigel felt that they both got the wrong number. There was no chemistry between the two of them.

Dancers: Jourdan and Marcquet
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Sean Cheesman
Song: “Work Work” by Britney Spears

Sexy interrogation between interrogator and her agent.

My thoughts: That was some interrogation!

Judges: Misty thought it was fun but had some pointers for Marcquet. She told Jourdan she made her proud as a ballerina. She was fierce and she loved it. Nigel agrees. He pointed out that Jourdan was smiling and he does not know many interrogators that smile. Mary said it was nice to see Jourdan out of her comfort zone and loving it.

Dancers: Brooklyn and Casey
Style: Argentine tango
Choreographer: Miriam Larici & Leonardo Barrionuevo
Song: “Gallo Ciego” by Luis Bravo’s Forever Tango

My thoughts: Loved it. Mary can comment about technique better than I can.

Judges: Nigel thought they were tremendous. Mary said she was surprised at her maturity during this routine. Casey nailed it. Misty thought he was committed and she was sexy. She would like to see more assertiveness in where her weight is, between her hips versus one leg or the other.

Dancers: Jacque and Zack
Style: African jazz
Choreographer: Sean Cheesman
Song: “Dibiza (Kick *** Mix) by Danny Tenaglia

Warriors that come to life out of ancient art.

My thoughts: Was it fun? Yes. Did I believe they were warriors? No. Their face may have read “I am fierce” but the dancing said no. I felt like it needed to be more hard hitting–that it required them to absolutely lose control. I could tell they were tired. It must require so much energy to dance with that intensity for any length of time.

Judges: Mary was on her feet. She thought Jacque was animalistic and down into it. She thought Zack was a beast. She puts them on the hot tamale train. Misty thought Jacque made the right choices when it came to her body. She pointed out that she needed to do less with her mouth (being fierce). Zack impressed her. Nigel said it was one of his favorite routines tonight.

Dance Crews

Syncopated Ladies danced to “***Flawless” by Beyonce featuring Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie . I liked it.

Going Home

Malene and Nick are going home. I think that is fair based on how they danced this evening.  I worry that Stanley will be in the bottom 3 next week because of the feedback from the judges and the routine.





So You Think You Can Dance S10: The Winners!

13 09 2013

Wednesday night was a celebration of the best dances of the season. It was also announced that So You Think You Can Dance will be back for Season 11. As Mary Murphy would say, “WOOOOOOOOOOOO- HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Put THAT on the hot tamale train.

Logo

We were also treated to new dances. Dominic “D-Trix” Sandoval from season 3 is now part of the new movie, “Battle of the Year” which showcases unscripted live acts. Dominic’s crew, choreographed by Dave Scott, served up an extraordinary dance routine to the song, “Fast Man (Z-Trip Remix)/Know The Ledge” by The PC’s Ltd./Eric B. and Rakim. It was like a mixture of dance and martial arts especially with those kicks.

Napoleon and Tabitha D’Umo had the top 20 dancers, Mary Murphy, Nigel Lythgoe and some of the other choreographers dancing to “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”

Mary and Nigel also danced alone to “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye, when Adam Shankman crashing the party.

But we get down to the winners: Congratulations to Amy and Fik-Shun for winning.

Winners

Amy and Fik-Shun

To Aaron and Jasmine and all the other contestants: Remember that not everyone can take the prize home. It is what you do with the opportunities that present themselves from this point forward that truly will determine your life-long success in dance. There are so many contestants who did not win on the show, who have had extraordinary success: Travis Wall, Dominic Sandoval, Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss, Alex Wong, Robert Roldan, Lacey Schwimmer, Mark Kanemura, Kathryn McCormick just to name a few. Just BE AWESOME.





So You Think You Can Dance S10 Performance Finale Show

5 09 2013

Tonight was the last performance show that would count for voting before next week’s announcement of the top girl and top guy winners. It was a terrific season with such wonderful dancers. There were highs and lows but overall the quality level of the performers continues to improve each year. At the end of 10 seasons, this show has not lost its appeal. I think part of that is because other networks are not producing dance shows that are causing us to fatigue of them unlike perhaps American Idol. Although I have a special place in my heart for Aaron and Jasmine, Amy and Fik-Shun had a terrific night as well. I think they will have wonderful careers ahead of them regardless of whether they win the big prize. Every dancer had the opportunity to work with some of the best choreographers in the business and provided a wonderful education for them. Let’s review tonight’s show.

The Judges

Gabby Douglas, Paula Abdul, Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy.

The Dances

Dancers: Aaron and Amy
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Ray Leeper
Song: “Primitive” by Richard Vission vs Luciana

Rawr! Rawr! Rawr! It is nice to see Aaron always connecting with his partners whoever they may be. It was high energy. They both extended themselves with each stretch. I think Aaron kept his shoulders down, too. I think there may have been a time or two when I think Aaron’s leg should have been extended more if I was comparing it to Amy’s legs. I liked the mixed tempo of the song, too because it allowed for a mixture of dance styles which I guess is why Ray was calling it jazz fusion.

The judges: Nigel said it was a great way to open the show. He loved the costumes. They laid down the gauntlet. Mary said they knocked it out of the park again. They had so much strength said they attacked it ferociously. Their strength as dancers blows her mind. Gabby said it had spunk and attitude. She loved the costumes. Paula said Amy’s center is ridiculous and stunning. She felt Aaron is a generous partner. He does not steal focus from Amy. He breathes character into each one he portrays. He takes her breath away watching him. The two of them are fantastic–great opening.

Dancers: Jasmine and Fik-Shun
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Travis Wall
Song: “Spiegel Im Spiegel” by Angela Yoffe and Vadim Gluzman

Couple growing apart floating away from each other (imagine under the ocean). I thought it was lovely how they were already into character before the song even started. I am very impressed with Fik-Shun and how much he has grown. There were definite issues with height here though. At times it was clumsy because of it but there were times when I felt myself breathing in their ebb and flow. Jasmine always stole my eye but Fik-Shun rose to the occasion. It embodied a great sense of sadness. Not quite goosebumps but right on e edge for me.

The judges: Mary was standing. She thought Travis was brilliant. It was such beautiful movement. They looked beautiful together. Jasmine is captivating to watch. Fik-Shun throws her off all the time. His emotion and his tenderness and his partnering to her is so magnificent to watch. The beat hit in the chest got her. Gabby had goosebumps. Jasmine’s lines are phenomenal. Paula admires Jasmine. She has been exquisite this entire season. She bought that they were underwater. Every time she sees him on stage, she is increasingly aware of the incredible journey he has made on this show. Nigel thinks that Jasmine’s lines were just perfect. Nigel said Paula nailed it in her critique. In Vegas he was like Bambi on ice and now seeing him now extending himself, and this routine did not allow for him to show his personality–it forced him to dance. Both did really well.

Dancers: Aaron and all-star Melinda Sullivan
Style: Tap
Choreographer: Anthony Morigerato
Song: “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars

I have not had opportunities to see a lot of tap done to modern music. Next time I have an argument with my husband I will suggest tapping it out. So nice seeing Melinda back. The depth of emotion was there as well. I really enjoyed it. Go Aaron!

The judges: The panel was standing. Gabby thought it was just incredible performance. She loves tap. They nailed it, they killed it, were on fire, and wow–just incredible. She was in awe. Paula is excited that there was a tap routine. She thinks Aaron is the ultimate storyteller of this season. Nigel thought who could have thought of doing so much in a couple of step pickups. He thanked Aaron for being the first tap dancer in the finale. It was a great concept that you can have a conversation tap dancing. It was well danced. Mary LOVED IT!!!! She thought it was spectacular and the complex rhythms that they brought to the dance right now was music to her ears.

Dancers: Jasmine and all-star Comfort Fedoke
Style: Hip-Hop
Choreographer: Tabitha and Napoleon D’Umo
Song: “Run The World (Girls) (Nappytabs Remix) by Beyonce

Bikes! Girl power! That was fabulous. I know exactly why she picked this–strategy. She knew Amy was going to choose contemporary. She wanted to show us she can handle anything, and she can. She kept up with the fabulous Comfort. That was so fast and hard-hitting, I am amazed these finale dancers have the energy and strength to do so many dances tonight. The audience was crazy excited, too.

The judges: Paula said wow, unbelievable. If these two girls ran the world life would be really fun. She was ferocious on this stage. Nigel said Jasmine is showing us that she is better than just contemporary. She is “in it to win it” tonight. She is fighting to win. Mary said Jasmine danced it like she choreographed it. She is a bad ass in the best possible sense. Gabby said she should get a call from Beyonce–that routine was the bomb. She is looking for a new floor routine for 2014 and maybe that was it.

Dancers: Amy and Fik-Shun
Style: Argentine Tango
Choreographer: Leonardo Barrionuevo and Miriam Larici
Song: “Hazardous/Zero Signs” by PP Music (UK)

I think this music was on Battlestar Galactica (the newer version). I thought she was leading. He tried hard and did his absolute best but Amy did a better job. I really do admire his spirit.

The judges: Nigel thought this was Fik-Shun’s toughest challenge yet. It was a brave attempt but was not strong enough for him. He felt Amy was really strong in this. The competition begins now between Jasmine and Amy. Mary said he was there for her as a partner but pointed out some weaknesses in technique. Amy is one of the most dominating dancers on all the seasons of So You Think You Can Dance. Gabby loved it and the emotion and chemistry. Paula thought Fik-Shun was handling Amy pretty darn well and Amy was perfection.

Dancers: Jasmine’s solo
Song: “Ready For Love” by India.Arie

I could watch her all day and get goosebumps all day long. I also now want her haircut. New news–Cat Deeley fought for her to be in the top 20. So Aaron and Jasmine were both not supposed to be here and here they are, poised to take it all. I love you Cat Deeley!

Dancers: Jasmine and Aaron
Style: Samba
Choreographer: Dmitry Chaplin
Song: “Can’t Touch It (Radio Edit) by Ricki-Lee

That was soooo entertaining! But where were the samba hips? Felt it was danced more like a jazz or Broadway dance versus a samba. Wardrobe malfunction but in this case the costume would not come off Jasmine. Aaron’s arm positioning is a bit sloppy.

The judges: Mary said it was not danced very well. Jasmine fared a little bit better. This was not the best thing for both of them but not bad. Gabby loved it. It was not their strongest one. Paula said they have been one of her favorite couples of all time. The energy and the synergy are beautiful. Nigel said every single thing you do tonight has to be outstanding. He wanted more from them. The chemistry was not there tonight. He felt they were not comfortable with the routine tonight.

Dancer: Fik-Shun’s solo
Song: “Gangham Style” by Psy

I like what he said in his montage. He may not be America’s best dancer, but he could be America’s favorite dancer. I had my doubts about how this would turn out with such an iconic song. I loved that he pulled some of Psy’s dancing and made it his own. I enjoyed it so much.

Dancer: Amy’s solo
Song: “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers

We’ll never forget your dance with Travis either. Amy has such passion and such beautiful technique. I have said it before and I will say it again. She reminds me of Melanie Moore.

Dancers: Fik-Shun and all-star tWitch
Style: Hip-hop
Choreographer: Luther Brown
Song: “Hello Good Morning (Remix) by Diddy-Dirty Money featuring Nicki Minaj and Rick Ross

Wow! Fik-Shun is short! They looked like a father and son dancing together. That was a fun routine. I was watching tWitch, however. I could not help myself. I thoroughly enjoyed that.

The judges: Gabby thought it was fantastic and she loved it with the spark and attitude she loved. Paula wants to dance with Nigel. Nigel thought it was tWitch and tWitch Jr. It was fantastic. He gave Fik-Shun some career advice that tWitch kept growing after the show was over and that is what he needs to do, too. Mary loved it. She thought he is going to be very proud when he sees it play back later.

Dancer: Aaron’s solo
Song: “You & I (Acoustic) by Jason Mraz

He truly has made me fall in love with contemporary tap. The height on that jump! Nigel said it–Fate has brought you to us for a reason. I believe it.

Dancers: Amy and all-star Robert Roldan
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Song: “Say Something” by A Great Big World

It is a story about courage and bad timing. Best friends; he’s been in love with her for years. She realizes that she loves him back. She has to find the courage to tell him before he goes. Goosebumps! Oh my God. That was my favorite routine of the night. I held my breath when he lifted her up in the air and held her for a second before coming down. It was so powerful and vulnerable at the same time. I felt every part of the story as they danced. And the story did not have a happy ending. Maybe there will be a part 2 of this story. I love Robert.

The judges: Paula said this was her favorite routine of the night. The pairing of the two of them was a symphony up there. Her raw emotion–she just steals her heart every time. Nigel said this was terrible choreography–why did he leave her? They were getting along very well (he was kidding). The combination of emotion, performance, technique from the pair of them was intoxicating. She stepped into his lead tonight. Mary loved it. Amy gives every single part of herself. The energy comes from her soul and radiates outward across that stage. Gabby said it was one of her favorites this evening. Everything was on-point.

Dancers: Fik-Shun and Aaron
Style: Broadway
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio
Song: “The Jitter” by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Enjoyable. They both did a good job but it is not quite my style. They complimented each other well.

The judges: Nigel said it reminded him of a Michael Kidd routine. It gave them fun stuff. They did not stop dancing since the music began and they must be exhausted. Mary said that absolutely was the cutest thing ever. Aaron was back on top again with this number and Fik-Shun just charms the pants off everyone. Gabby loved the energy. They were fantastic, phenomenal. Paula said both of them were in their element completely. The two top showmen of the season. She also reminded the audience that Tyce was paper of her dance crew a long time ago.

Dancers: Amy and Jasmine
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Mark Kanemura
Song: “The Diva Dance” by Eric Serra

Mark has been hanging out with Lady Gaga too long. Siamese twins from the fierce jungles of Saturn? The music reminded me of The Fifth Element. Wait! It is the same music–when the blue diva who has the stones inside of her and she sings opera and gets shot and dies but not before Bruce Willis does a c-section and delivers wind, fire, water, and earth stones. I am not really sure about this one. It was different and creative. The ladies did a wonderful job. It will be something I never forget and that is a good thing.

The judges: Mary said she has a bit of clown in her soul too and that was crazy and creative and quirky and she loved it. If Mary could vote them both into first place she would. Gabby thought it was a great way to end. It was crazy and fun and had humor to it. Paula said she finally felt like she was home. E.T phone home. She loved it. Nigel said it was a zany routine. It was loopy which is why he understands why Paula felt at home. It was fun. He felt this year the girls have stolen the show for him. If they were both in competition with the boys this year, he felt they would both would have won. They are some of the best dancers they have ever, ever had.

I will have to agree with Nigel here. Both Amy and Jasmine overall did the best job tonight.





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!