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 S11 Los Angeles Day 2 and Philadelphia Auditions

18 06 2014

Los Angeles Day 2

SoYouThinkYouCanDanceChristina Applegate joined Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe for day 2 of the LA auditions.

Serge Onik (age 25 from Upper Saddle River, NJ) made it to the green mile last season. He has a new partner this year, Alla Kocherga, a 24-year-old woman from Los Angeles. Five seconds in and I loved it. Goosebumps! Rarely does ballroom give me goosebumps. That had a sizzle finish. Mary loved it. They are through.

Timothy Joseph is a 24-year-old, B-boy dancer from Sacramento, California who specializes in “suicides.” He is fantastic. He reminds me of Legacy. Mary thinks he is fearless. He was flipping too much for this. They send him to choreography; however he hurt himself during the solo so he has a decision to make. He was in too much pain to continue.

Casey Askew, 19 years of age, a contemporary dancer from Seattle, Washington. Goosebumps! I loved watching him. He had such great emotion. I got more impressed the more he dances. They stop the music and give him a ticket.

After a montage of successes J4 might have a problem with his height. But he IS only 9. He wants to show him hip hop “for the experience.” Fik-shun and Cyrus join him on stage. This kid is fabulous! What a joy and talent he is. Everyone is on their feet. He was able to meet his idol Stephen ‘Twitch’ Boss. According to him, it was the best day of his life.

Her dance is for her brother who was struggling with addiction who is now sober and healthy. Jourdan Epstein, age 24, from Plymouth, Minnesota is fabulous. I again had goosebumps. She gave Christina chills. Mary puts her on the hot tamale train. She is through.

Johnny “Waackd” Gibson, age 22, from New York City. I think he had improved from his audition 2 years ago. It is a “yes” to choreography and from there he is through to the next round.

Armen Way is a 28-year-old from Glendale, California, who tried out in season 10. I was turned off by him last year. His dance appeared to be all about himself. He seemed to objectify women from this rap video they showed in his audition packet. Last year he was sent home because he dropped Malece Miller on her head. I LIKE this version of Armen better. This year he had a new partner, Malene Ostergaard, a 25-year-old from Studio City, California. She reminded me of Mila Kunis. That dance was hot and sexy. I felt that Armen’s attention was on his partner this time and the dynamic between them sizzled. Yep, I like this version of Armen much better. Mary Murphy talked the entire way through the dance about how impressed she was. What a dynamic couple they are. She felt Malene ran the hot tamale train straight off the tracks. Christina said people would love them both. They are through to the next round.

Philadelphia Day 1

Prima ballerina Misty Copeland joined Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe during this audition.

Bridget Whitman, age 19, from Tempe, Arizona was up first. Her back-story was making me cry. One of her last memories of her dad before a tragic car accident killed him was her telling him that she wanted to be on the show. He told her that she could get there through a lot of hard work. I was sobbing. Mary Murphy was crying, too. Is she the best contemporary dancer I have seen during the auditions? No. But she does deserve a shot in the next round. Misty thinks she is a beautiful dancer. Mary can feel everything she is going through. She gets her ticket.

They then showed a montage of really fantastic male dancers.

Amir Sanders, age 21, is a self-described funky ballerina from Baltimore, Maryland. She is interesting from her look to her style of dance. It did not give me goosebumps, but I enjoyed it. Misty thinks her technique and lines are beautiful, but there were small moments she needs to focus on to improve. Mary thought for a moment it was like watching Diana Ross striking a pose. They sent her to choreography, which shocked both the audience and me. However, she does make it through to the next round after choreography.

Last year’s Jenna Johnson had a partner last season who was too young to audition. Landon Anderson, age 18, from Springville, Utah came back to audition (along with Jenna). He had some nice foot work but is he as strong as some of the other guys on the show? I don’t know about that. Mary thought he was a great partner. Misty said that he became someone else for dancing–like a little boy in speaking but a man in dancing. He gets a ticket to move to the next round. Jenna gets a surprise as well when Nigel extends to her an invitation to come back this season to be an all-star, something they don’t usually do when they were just contestants the prior year.

The last contestant for day 1 was Shafeek Westbrook. In season 9, he left with a really bad attitude. His words were “not coming back ever.” He hails from Upper Darby, Pennsylvania and is 24 years old. I loved his moves, but I was not sure why he felt the need to take his shirt off. Mary wanted more “wow” moments. Misty felt like he was trying to sell them his body versus his dancing. Nigel says yes to choreography. He makes it through to the next round after the choreography sessions.

Philadelphia Day 2

Billy Porter joins the judging panel for this round of auditions.

First up is Stanley Glover. His mother died when he was 4 years old while he was sleeping next to her; she had a heart attack in her sleep and they found her dead in the morning. Both sides of his family failed to go to the court date that would decide guardianship of him. His mother’s friend, Margaret Chamberlain, stepped up and brought him into their home. He is a 19-year-old from Chicago, Illinois. His choreography was genius and for a moment the words “Shelob’s mate” popped into my mind. Or at least a creature from the show on the CW called “The 100.”

Krumper James “Banks” Davis was shot twice in his knee four years ago. They were about to amputate his leg but his pulse came back. He is from Brooklyn, New York, age 24. This gave me goosebumps. It was such a unique style of krumping. Way to represent Brooklyn (I was born there). Billy felt like he was a true storyteller and it was fantastic. He gets to go to choreography, but he does not get to the next round.

Dance Crews

This was a tough choice. It was between a Bollywood/Hip-Hop Dance Crew called Wanted Ashiqz versus a group of hip-hop street style called Mix’d Elements. I’m really torn between them.  As of right now, we do not know the results of the vote.