So You Think You Can Dance Season 11 Top 20 Perform

3 07 2014

Opening Number

Song: “Stalker Ha” by Kingdom
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh

My thoughts: It was okay. Usually Sonya pieces blow me away but that is okay. We have many weeks to go.

Interesting twist. In past seasons the first night we get to just watch them dance with no pressure. Tonight they will dance in their own style and the bottom girl and bottom guy will be going home. Then they mix up the dance partners for next week’s show.

Judges

Mary Murphy, Nigel Lythgoe and Jason Derulo.

Top 20 Perform

Couple: Brooklyn and Serge
Style: Cha-cha
Choreographer: Dmitry Chaplain
Song: “Hell Yeah” by Midnight Red

My thoughts: It’s a fun opening. It sizzled. Death drop was impressive.

Judges: Mary loved it but pointed out to Brooklyn that she saw her nerves in her missteps. She thought Serge looked magnificent. Jason wants to add that routine to his show. Nigel said they uplifted everyone with their energy. He wants Brooklyn to play to her partner as well as to the audience; otherwise it looks fake. Serge’s hard work over the years is paying off.

Dancers: Emily and Casey
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Travis Wall
Song: “All of Me (Spotify Live from Milan)” by John Legend

My thoughts: I had goosebumps but I had problems connecting with this version of the song. It did not seem like the choreography synced with the song–either the song was too slow or the dance was too fast.

Judges: Jason did not want the routine to end. Their performance brought the story to life. Sometimes it is not about technique but the story you tell. Nigel said they brought the technique with the emotion which made it absolutely superb. Mary said it was a beautiful love story between the two of them. It was yummy.

Dancers: Valerie and Zack
Style: Tap
Choreographer: Anthony Morigerato
Song: “Sing” by Ed Sheeran

My thoughts: Gosh they make it look easy. And to do it together? You can’t hide any mistakes in there.

Judges: Nigel: “Wow, wow, wow, wow.” They were both magnificent. Mary said they were on fire up there. She loved the rhythmic conversation they were having with us. Jason said he comes from a tap background and that was unbelievable. He educated the audience that the taps on the shoes are actually slippery so to add the stairs in there was crazy.

Dancers: Bridget and Stanley
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Bonnie Story
Song: “Doesn’t Mean Goodbye” by Jon McLaughlin

My thoughts: Major goosebumps. That was beautiful.

Judges: Jason Derulo crying? Wow! Mary thought it was wow. It was so authentic, completely from the heart. Jason said it looked effortless. We felt like we were a part of the story. Nigel said it was tremendous.

Dancers: Jacque and Jourdan
Style: Ballet
Choreographer: Marat Daukayev
Song: “Pas de Deux-Black Swan”–Tchaikovsky

My thoughts: It is not as exciting as contemporary or tap but it was lovely to see classical dance on the show. Based on the lack of applause I worry for them.

Judges: Jason thought it was beautiful. Nigel gave them tips on technique. Mary said what they did took incredible strength. She also thought they looked like sisters.

Jason Derulo and Snoop Dog performed to Jason’s hit song, “Wiggle”.

 

Dancers: Marlene and Marcquet
Style: Samba
Choreographer: Louis Van Amstel
Song: “Morning Drums” by Gregor Salto

My thoughts: That was really fun and well done. I still think Marlene looks like Mila Kunis.

Judges: Nigel loved how her energy came bursting through at the very beginning. Marcquet is a force to be reckoned with. He felt the technique was strong too. Mary said there were hot samba rolls cooking in the oven today. She thought Marcquet was wonderful except for the jive part. Jason could tell they were in their element. He enjoyed it.

Dancers: Carly and Rudy
Style:  Contemporary
Choreographer:   Stacey Tookey
Song: “Take It Easy” by Jetta

My thoughts: I am such a sucker for contemporary. Goosebumps! I like the serious side of Rudy!

Judges: Mary said the passion just poured out all over the stage. Rudy has heart and it touches you. Carly is stunning. It was special. Jason felt like when looking at them anything was possible. Nigel felt like they have the best top 20 dancers they have ever had. Carly’s technique is terrific and Rudy is so damn likable.

Dancers: Emilio and Teddy
Style: Hip hop
Choreographer: Christopher Scott
Song: “Nightshift” by The Commodores

My thoughts: Teddy looks like he could be Robin Thicke’s relative. I love this style as much as contemporary. A few parts were not in sync but it was wonderful nonetheless.

Judges: Jason said it was super dope. It was seamless. Nigel said they are both soloists but they found a way to connect. Mary said it was sharp, clean and easy to read. She hopes to see both of them in the next Step-Up movie.

Dancers: Jessica and Ricky
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Song: “Vow” by Meredith Monk

My thoughts: I gasped before they even took a step. I was iffy about Jessica but her performance tonight changed my mind completely. This was breathtaking, goosebump-making awesomeness. THIS is the Sonya Tayeh I love. My favorite so far this evening.

Judges: The judges were on their feet. Nigel wants America to know they just witnessed an entirely different level of performance. It was other-worldly. Ricky is the magician of dance. Jessica is a star in her own right. One of the best routines he has ever seen. Mary said that came from heaven. It was the best number of the night. Jason thanked them for blessing all of us. Jason held his breath the whole time.

Dancers: Tanisha and Nick
Style: Cha-cha
Choreographer: Louis Van Amstel
Song: “I’m A Freak” by Enrique Iglesias featuring Pitbull

My thoughts: I feel sorry for anyone having to dance after Ricky and Jessica. It was fun but Nick had some facial expressions that annoyed me. I felt he was playing more to the audience than he was interacting with his partner.

Judges: Mary said it was fun, fast and fabulous. Jason said they hit it hard. Nigel thought it was great.





So You Think You Can Dance — Top 4 Perform

13 09 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Solos

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

Guest Performance

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

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