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 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 Top 18 to 16

11 07 2013

Group number

Song: “Pretty Face (Nathan Lanier Remix)” by Soley
Choreographers: Sonya Tayeh and Christopher Scott

I got goosebumps. It did not surprise me that it was in part choreographed by warrior woman Sonya.

Group

The judges

Paula Abdul and Erin Andrews joined Happy Birthday boy Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy to judge tonight’s group of dancers. Cat says that last week’s format was not received well so they are changing it back to reveal the dancer who is going home at the end of the show. Jade has to have surgery (so I am guessing he is the male competitor going home).

The Bottom 3

Jasmine Mason, BluPrint, Jenna, Curtis, Alexis, and Jade. Nigel informs them that with Jade being unable to continue in the competition, BluPrint and Curtis can continue and do not have to dance for their lives. They, however, are going to ask all 3 ladies to dance for their lives in routines in their style. The decision will be made at the end of the show. Alexis is up first, tapping to “Try A Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding. I loved it. My ankles hurt for her. Jasmine danced to “10 Seconds” by Jazmine Sullivan (Jasmine dances to Jazmine–that’s kind of cute!). Here is the thing I have issues with. They come on the show and get exposed to all these terrific choreographers and I never see what they have learned incorporated into their solos. They revert back to what the judges call self-worship and rolling on the floor. Finally Jenna dances ballroom to “Wild” by Jessie J featuring Big Sean. This routine had life. I appreciated that she did not do the self-worship stuff in a Latin routine. Clearly I feel that Jasmine’s was not the best one.

Couples

Dancers: Amy and Fik-Shun
Style: Paso Doble
Choreographer: Jean-Marc Genereux
Song: “Tactical Dominance (Orch Hybrid Version) by Jack Trammell

Ten seconds in and I completely loved it and got chills. They had my complete attention. I am not a ballroom expert and usually I yawn through a lot of them, but not this. Fik-Shun had a few moments when his lines were not perfectly straight, but for this not being his genre, he did a tremendous job. I still cannot get over how much Amy could pass as a cousin of Melanie Moore especially when she is smiling.

The judges: Mary loved his passion. Technically it needed a bit of work but it seemed like her enjoyment overall is going to let those issues slide. She felt that Amy is a warrior princess. Erin said it is the chemistry and connection they have together. She felt they set the tone for this evening. Paula felt they committed to the feeling that was necessary for the routine and made them believe in it. Paula said she would have had Amy in the front center if she was around during the days Paula did choreography. Fik-Shun was apparently on Paula’s show when he was 16 (that’s interesting). She is so proud of him. He has studied and grown and done his homework. Nigel said they demand attention when they come in stage, a hallmark of a great performer. Nigel suggested to Fik-Shun that he relax his shoulders.

AmyFikshun

Dancers: Jasmine H. And Aaron
Style: Broadway
Choreographer: Spencer Liff
Song: “They Just Keep Moving The Line (SMASH Cast Version) by Smash Cast featuring Megan Hilty

Broadway always seems to get the dancers in trouble on this show. I think the young voters appreciate contemporary and hip-hop more. The story is that Aaron is a detective on a case and Jasmine is the victim whose spirit appears. This played to both their strengths. It reminded me of a soft-shoe style and Aaron excelled in that. I believed Jasmine was a spirit reconciling the fact that she was dead. They are another power couple who have fantastic chemistry together. There was a lot of shouting going on from the audience in favor of the style they delivered. I think this was a winner.

The judges: Erin thought it was fantastic. She thought that during rehearsal Aaron was overshadowing Jasmine but not tonight. She thought Aaron made the dance effortless. Paula felt like it reminded her of the dancers of the past who were under MGM contract during that era. He was grounded yet graceful. She thought both did an amazing job. She added that Jasmine reminded her of Cyd Charisse. Nigel said they could have graced the streets of Broadway with every bit of elegance in which the pros are now dancing. Mary said this week it was all about the legs. It was about style and class. They gave 100% and captured what Spencer wanted.

JasmineAaron

Dancers: Makenzie and Paul
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Lindsay Nelko
Song: “No Day But Today (Live from Soundstage)” by Idina Menzel

The story of the dance is that Makenzie is dying and Paul has to come to terms with that. They immediately got into character before the music even started and it moved me. Wow this is a tough night! Everyone is bringing their “A” game. I sobbed. It is an amazing thing to witness when the dying are always the ones to console us when it should be the other way around. I always love Idina Menzel singing. I have adored her since I heard her in “Wicked”. Lindsey is going to be a great addition to the choreographers on the show.

The judges: Paula thought it was a beautiful dance. Poor Paula called him Alan. Nigel felt they kept the technical ability to the piece and brought in the “something else” that is necessary to do their routines. Mary loved it and she was crying. She said Makenzie was liquid gold. Paul surprised her–he finally gave an honest performance. Erin thought it was fantastic was well.

MakenziePaul

Dancers: Jasmine M and Alan
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Shawn Cheesman
Song: “Veins” by Charlotte Martin

This is about the mundane life of being a royal. It was very quirky with some tricks. I enjoyed it. Jasmine performed much better here than in her solo but I still think she is going home.

The judges: Nigel thought it was very “Prince William and Katie.” Nigel steals my word “quirky.” He wished they were more quirky with it. Mary loved the beginning and end. Mary agreed with Nigel. Erin agreed with them. Paula loved the routine and thought it was a lot of fun. She also agreed with Nigel and Mary.

JasmineMAlan

Dancers: Jenna and Tucker
Style: Hip-hop
Choreographer: Keone and Mariel Madrid
Songs: “Dangerous (Immortal Version)” by Michael Jackson

Femme fatale meets average guy. I am looking to see if Tucker can let go of his posture and get down with the song. It was lacking the intense hitting you see in this type dance and both were too straight in their posture although they get some points for effort. I disagree with the judges who lavishly praised it. It was okay; it was not the best performance of the night. I am really not connecting emotionally with Jenna or Tucker even though they are technically great dancers in their genres.

The judges: Mary thought it was less hip-hop and more jazz but thought it was great. Erin complimented them. Paula thought it was a hipster kind of jazz and loved it. Nigel thought Jenna reminded her of Audrey Hepburn in a movie with Fred Astaire. It was one of his favorite routines tonight.

JennaTucker

Dancers: Malece and substitute dancer Marko Germar
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Song: “In The Embers” by Sleeping At Last

My guess is that Marko is going to elevate her dancing tonight. Before tonight, Sonya said in the rehearsal she was going to have to help Jade but since he has an injury, he withdrew from the competition. Marko saved her for another week. I had not been too pleased with her dancing this season but she did a superb job with Marko. I got goosebumps.

The judges: They were on their feet. Erin thinks Malece is a Tinkerbell. Paula loved it. Nigel said that Sonya said Jade was doing really well this week. Nigel saw the same thing I saw. Marko brought something out in Malece he has never seen before–the woman in her. Mary agrees with Nigel, but she knew Malece would have this moment at some point in the show.

MarkoMalece

Dancers: Hayley and Curtis
Style: Samba
Choreographer: Jean-Marc Genereux
Song: “Straight to Memphis” by Club des Belugas

Curtis posture was terrible. His lack of experience was grossly evident. He has a wonderful personality though and it carries him through sometimes in these routines. Hayley did a great job. The song was fun and lively. It was not, however, up there on the top of my list of favorites for this evening. Hayley’s lipstick was smeared on her tooth (when they judges were critiquing them).

The judges: Paula thought Hayley nailed the samba hips. She brought fire and ferocity. She gives Curtis a lot of credit being a tap dancer in this, but he needs to work on being a little more grounded and not to be afraid to move her and control her. Nigel said he needed to be the dominant role in this dance, unlike last week when it was right that Hayley was, and he did not achieve that. He looked a little immature. Hayley’s footwork looked good to him. Mary gave Curtis tips about his technique and how to improve that. Hayley was on fire. Erin encouraged Curtis to take the critique and work on it. Hayley was fabulous, a vixen that keeps getting better.

HayleyCurtis

Dancers: Alexis and Nico
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Spencer Liff
Song: “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone

The story is that Alexis is hypnotizing Nico. Kissing during a routine always gets votes. There were times I felt Alexis was in the dominant role but then sometimes it felt like she slipped out and Nico was in control. I was thinking during this song what it might have been like if Nico put the spell on Alexis but then I laughed that would not be accepted as well. It is okay when a woman puts a spell on a man because she is the seductress, but if a man were to do that to a woman, he is taking advantage of her. For a tap dancer, Alexis did a great job. I think the choreography limited Nico being able to shine completely.

The judges: Nigel liked it. Paula jumped in that Alexis has come back into the forefront for her. Nigel felt Nico was really good. Mary pretended to be hypnotized. Nico was brilliant. Alexis surprised her. Erin was checking on Nigel after Paula play-attacked him. She felt Alexis did well at adapting to a style of dance that is not her strong area. She thought they were more in sync than they were in dress rehearsals, and there was no sleeping about Nico tonight.

AlexisNico

Dancers: Mariah and BluPrint
Style: Hip-Hop
Choreographer: Luther Brown
Song: “Bring The Noize” by M.I.A.

Two hip-hop artists doing hip-hop? They better bring it (they do have the pimp spot on the show tonight). The synchronicity suffered in a few places especially in the beginning. I loved it and was laughing so hard when BluPrint pulled his shirt up and the ladies went wild. They are definitely safe this week. It was full of energy. I felt bad for BluPrint after the judges gave their critique. He looked defeated.

The judges: Mary thought Luther did well with all the choreography in there, but she is dying for more of BluPrint’s performance. She thought it was sick tonight (which is one step down from ill. Mariah was just “livin’ it out there.” Erin loved it. She wants Luther to come out with the next work-out video. She agrees with Mary that BluPrint needs to loosen up. She felt it when he lifted his shirt, but they need to see more moments like that. She enjoyed his abs but want to see that from his face. Paula thought they were in sync. There were static moments in the routine when they could breathe, but they have to keep in character. She feels BluPrint is holding back. Mariah’s personality was times 10 and covered for BluPrint sometimes. Nigel agreed with Paula. He added that personality holds a lot of weight sometimes even over great dancers and gave him examples of people who won in the past. It is in his hands what he wants to do. If he does not show his personality soon, he will be going home soon.

BluPrintMariah

The results

Jade by default of his injury will be going home this week. He said the judges and the choreographers are unanimous in their decision that Jenna will be staying. To Jasmine he said that the choreographers feel that there is a lot of self-doubt with her. The judges too feel that at times with her (but not so much tonight). He asked her to try to lose that. The choreographers feel that with Alexis they give her a note but 5 minutes later it is gone. However, Jasmine will be the one leaving this evening.

My predictions for next week

So who are in my bottom 2 for guys and girls? Girls: Jenna. Although I enjoyed Alexis’ dancing tonight, I have a feeling if she winds up in the bottom 3 next week and she does not improve on this issue the choreographers have with her, she will be sent home. For the guys, Tucker and maybe BluPrint if he is not making a connection with the audience but in technique he did well whereas Curtis had a difficult time and this is what Nigel was talking about–personality will carry you far.





So You Think You Can Dance — Let the Voting Begin

12 07 2012

So You Think You Can Dance — Top 20 Voting Begins

The evening started out well with a Mad-Men-ish dance, choreographed by Christopher Scott, to the song, “Architect of the Mind” by Kerry Muzzey. The judges for this evening were our resident judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy with the guest judge the fabulous Kenny Ortega. Many goosebump moments happened for me this evening.

What We Learned in 7 Seconds About Our Contestants

Witney Carson is 18, plays guitar and the drums, likes to golf, has over 100 relatives and is afraid of crickets. Chehon Wespi-Tschopp is 23. He was born in Chicago, but grew up in Switzerland. He is a ballet dancer, thinks in 2 languages and finds it hard to talk really fast. Tiffany Maher is 19. Her nickname is T-Maher-Starr, has “baby hands”, had a pet duck, and likes going to the beach. George Lawrence II is 19 and loves the color green. He loves collard greens, hates being outside, is camera shy and had a pet frog (want to bet he named it Kermit?). Janaya French is 20, wants to meet Shamu, loves fuzzy socks, hates orange candy and thinks Chucky is her worst nightmare. Brandon Mitchell is 27, from Kansas City, Kansas, is allergic to cats and dogs. His brother broke the world’s record for the long jump for 8 year olds. Alexa Anderson is 19, loves red lipstick, being outside, watermelon and puppies. She can eat frozen yogurt for every meal and her favorite topping is sprinkles. Daniel Baker humored things up by playing up America’s stereotypical idea of an Aussie. He is 24, puts shrimp on the barbie, throws boomerangs, has a pet kangaroo, is related to Crocodile Dundee and owns vegemite. Right. Amber Jackson is 21. She loves track, bunnies, and skating. She hates sausage and sleeps with stuffed animals. Nick Bloxson-Carter is 20, just took 23 credits and does not advise anyone else to be quite that insane. He loves movies, hanging out with friends, laughing, and the beach. His dad works at the Playboy mansion. Amelia Lowe is 18. Her dad is a tattoo artist. She was named after Amelia Earhart because her dad loves to fly planes. Her mom is a Pilates instructor.  Will Thomas is 19. Orange is his favorite color. He believes he is Simba. Janelle Issis is 24 and from Birmingham, Alabama. She likes the movie, “The Color Purple”. She can cook. She loves roller coasters. Dareian Kujawa is 20. He left home to join the circus. He used to play hockey. He hates spiders. He loves the color blue and can mimic Donald Duck. Eliana Girard is 21. She hates raisins, is addicted to “True Blood” and loves the word “Alfred.” Cyrus Spencer is also known as Glitch, is age 22, a Pisces (I knew I liked him for some reason!), has a dozen pair of gauges (earrings), is addicted to shoes and loves basketball. Audrey Case is 18 and is from Oklahoma. She reminded us that she can make fart noises with her neck. She collects elephants and loves Taylor Lautner. Matthew Kazmierczak is 21. He loves hiking, is definitely a cat person, is terrified of sharks, has 6 tattoos and is terrified of the mannequin that was in the room with him at the time of the interview. Cole Horibe is 26 and is a walking cliché. He is an Asian male who is a ninja martial artist. He liked math when he was “young” (oh please, like 26 is old?), and is part of the descendent line of the 47 Ronin Samurai. Lindsay Arnold is 18, likes food, hates spiders and tomatoes, cannot cook and gave someone stitches once.

Couples Dances

Dancers: Witney Carson and Chehon Wespi-Tschopp
Choreographer: Louis Van Amstel
Dance: Samba
Song: “Jump” by The Cube Guys and Lucinana

My opinion: I loved Witney’s pink dress. Chehon did well being a ballet dancer and worked the audience well during one of the moves, but he is too straight in his posture. Witney did a great job.

The Judges: Nigel thought Witney was a star. Chehon needed to relax more and enjoy the music. Mary pointed out Chehon’s foot work, but moved his body well across the floor. Witney got a 1st class ticket on the hot-tamale train. Kenny thought Witney was like Marilyn Munroe in “Some Like It Hot” but hotter. He told Chehon to surrender to the music and agrees pretty much with Nigel.

Dancers: Tiffany Maher and George Lawrence II
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh (Dance is about the stars being aligned for a couple and they realize each other and who they are.)
Dance: Contemporary
Song: “Turning Page” by Sleeping At Last

My opinion: Goosebumps. I had them when Sonya was just describing the dance, the emotion that the feel towards each other (I am a hopeful romantic at heart) and goosebumps while it was being performed. I have always rooted for George and hoped that his dad could see that he really is a fantastic dancer.

The Judges: Mary said it left her breathless. She said that George is one of the best dancers in the competition. She commented how connected the two of them were. Kenny said they both surrendered, and it reminded him of youth. “You spilled it.” Nigel thought it was superb and loved the arabesque in the lift.

Dancers: Janaya French and Brandon Mitchell
Choreographer: Napoleon and Tabitha Dumo (who looks radiant and like she is going to give birth at any moment). The story is about addiction and the choice between it and love.
Dance: Hip-Hop
Song: “Take Care” by Drake featuring Rihanna

My thoughts: It was average. Brandon got the feelings of anger across well but I did not feel the struggle. Not exactly sure why.

The Judges: Kenny believed the story and thought they did a great job. Nigel thought Nappytabs was very clever to hide some of their flaws through this dance. Mary believed Brandon but felt Janaya needed to be more gritty.

Dancers: Alexa Anderson and Daniel Baker
Choreographer: Sean Cheesman
Dance: Jazz (it is supposed to be sexy, quirky).
Song: “Hey, Hey (DF’s Attention Vocal Mix) by Dennis Ferrer

My opinion: I felt absolutely no chemistry between these two. It was intricate, but sexy and quirky? No. Their faces showed that there were really thinking about all the movements and not really feeling the dance. And they had that one face (smiling) the entire dance. I have had a problem with Alexa’s facial expressions in the past (smiling during a song whose lyrics were sad, for example). Is that the dancers’ issue or the choreographer by making the routine technically difficult? Not sure. Maybe a bit of both. It was my least favorite dance of the evening.

The judges: Nigel hopes the audience can appreciate the level of difficulty. He did not see the chemistry either. Mary said that Daniel looked like he was enjoying himself. Kenny thought it was a demanding piece. He thought they were invested in the exercise but not in the performance.

Dancers: Amber Jackson and Nick Bloxsom-Carter
Choreographer: Jason Gilkison
Dance: Viennese waltz
Song: “Nights in White Satin” by Tina Arena

My opinion: This dance is something you see on Dancing With The Stars. For the audience of So You Think You Can Dance, it usually is the dance of death or at least puts people in the bottom 3. I thought it was beautiful and flowed very well.

The judges: Mary said it was dreamy. Kenny thought it was fluid and flowing and loved it. Nigel told Nick to watch his facial movements.

Dancers: Amelia Lowe and Will Thomas
Choreographers: Napoleon and Tabitha Dumo
Dance: “Unconventional hip-hop” — Character pop. Sophisticated kitty meets alley cat (may explain why Will thinks he is Simba)
Song: “The Lovecats” by The Cure

My opinion: I liked this a great deal. It was upbeat and playful. It made me smile. One of my favorite dances of the evening.

The judges: Kenny thought it was fun and charming and loved it. Nigel thought they were “smitten kittens.” He thought it was terrific and memorable. Mary thought it was “purrrfect.” She commented that it made you happy.

Dancers: Janelle Issis and Dareian Kujawa
Choreographer: Sean Cheesman
Dance: African Jazz
Song: “Jungle” by Hilight Tribe

My opinion: They did a great job. I’d have a headache after dancing like that.

The judges: Nigel loved it. Mary said it was exciting. It was like a jungle dance-off and they both came out as winners. Kenny thought it was universal and was like watching 2 flames dancing across the stage.

Dancers: Eliana Girard and Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio
Dance: Broadway
Song: “Run And Tell That” by Hairspray (Original Broadway Cast)

My opinion: I am such a fan of Cyrus. Ballet meets the animator and it worked! It was fabulous and so much fun to watch. Tyce was so proud of them. Another one of my favorites this evening.

The judges: Mary said she had never seen Tyce worked up that much before in her life. This will be “googled up”, i.e., watched over and over again. She said, “Winners are ordinary people with extraordinary hearts” and Cyrus lays his heart out on that stage. Eliana was a ballerina who could get down. Kenny felt like it was watching a Broadway performance right on a New York stage. Their personalities were on fire. Nigel said Cyrus is not the best dancer but he always gives 100% of himself. Eliana is the benchmark for the other girls in this competition.

Dancers: Audrey Case and Matthew Kazmierczak
Choreographer: Travis Wall
Dance: Contemporary (story is on the Titanic after the sketch scene)
Song: “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers

My opinion: I did not think the song was going to work because we associate that song with “Ghost” and not the movie The Titanic, but it worked. I had goosebumps. For someone who was joking around during the interview and rehearsal, Matt turned on the hot factor. It looked like they were totally and completely in love with each other. It was on fire. I think my favorite dance of the evening.

The judges: On their feet! Kenny thought it was an exquisite choice and was brilliantly danced. Nigel thought it was his favorite of the night and it was a very special moment. Mary loved it.

Dancers: Lindsay Arnold and Cole Horibe
Choreographer: Jason Gilkison
Dance: Paso Doble (instead of a bull and matador, Lindsay’s character was going to be like poison to the warrior).
Song: “Unstoppable” by E. S. Posthumus

My opinion: I normally do not like these dances but they pulled it off. I figured they were going to do something big having the pimp spot of the evening. I had goosebumps. My goosebumps never lie. It was hot.

The judges: They were standing once again. Cat made a comment that Cole had the “blue steel” look (from Zoolander). Kenny thought it was electrifying, mesmerizing and the most fantastic dance he has seen on this show. Mary thought it was the best paso doble Jason has ever choreographed on the show. Lindsay was fabulous and fiery. Cole was “oh my God.” She said it was a beautiful paso doble. Nigel said it was the best paso doble ever done on this show.

After tonight, here is my list of favorites in some semblance of order. It is hard to rate them because they really are so good.

Guys: Cole, George, Matt, Cyrus, Will, Brandon, Nick, Dareian, Chehon, Daniel (sorry Daniel fans; it was this particular dance that put him in the bottom for me.

Girls: Audrey, Amelia, Lindsay, Eliana, Janelle, Amber, Tiffany, Witney, Janaya, Alexa (again, the dance was what put her on the bottom of this particular list).

Who are your favorites? Who is your top 3 and bottom 3?





So You Think You Can Dance — Finale Performance Show

11 08 2011

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

Final4

The final 4: Marko, Sasha, Melanie, Tadd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hilda Bowen (a.k.a. PBMom)





So You Think You Can Dance — Top 6 Performance

4 08 2011

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

Top6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





So You Think You Can Dance — Top 10 Performance

21 07 2011

Congratulations to So You Think You Can Dance for the well-deserved 8 Emmy nominations.

Tonight was a game-changer in the format of the show. The contestant would now be paired up with former alumni of the show, affectionately known as the all-stars. Neil Patrick Harris was the guest judge this evening. Tickets for the tour go on sale July 29 which kicks off in Orlando, Florida.

Dancers: Marko & all-star Chelsie Hightower
Song: “Cinema Italiano” (The Ron Fair Remix)
Artist: Kate Hudson
Choreographer: Jason Gilkison
Style: Samba
Story: A photographer and his muse.

The big question of the night is this: Will Marko and Melanie shine being apart? While Marko did well, it was not his best dance. Perhaps Melanie is his muse. There was a lot of footwork, but there were spots where I felt his arms could have been up higher and his legs could have been together more than apart. But Mary Murphy is the expert in ballroom and she loved it. He does get kudos for those massive lift/twirls.

Dancers: Jordan & all-star Brandon Bryant
Song: “Who You Are”
Artist: Jessie J
Choreographers: Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson
Style: Contemporary
Story: The highs and lows of love.

This was a wonderful partnering. Brandon’s age and experience brought more out of Jordan as did the beautiful choreography which left me with goosebumps. The combination gave her a deepened maturity in her dancing. This is one of the reasons why I love the all-stars so much. The contestants seem to rise up to their level. Jordan received high praise from all the judges including a plea from Nigel to keep her in the competition.

Dancers: Tadd and all-star Comfort Fedoke
Song: “Look At Me Now”
Artist: Chris Brown (featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes)
Choreographer: Chuck Maldonado
Style: Hip-hop
Story: None.

Once again, having Comfort in the mix elevated Tadd’s level of dance. The choreography was also very complex to a very fast beat, but Tadd rose to the challenge. It played to Tadd’s strengths. There was very good chemistry between the two dancers. Nigel and Neil both felt he out-danced Comfort. Mary thought he was ghetto-licious.

Dancers: Mitchell and all-star Melody Lacayanga
Song: “Take Off With Us”
Artist: All That Jazz Soundtrack
Choreographer: Tyce DiOrio
Style: Broadway/jazz
Story: Taking flight.

Once again I’m afraid for Mitchell because Broadway does not bring in the votes. I did not watch SYTYCD in season 1, so Melody is new for me as well. Mitchell had great height in his leaps. There was something awkward about the routine, but I think it was in the height difference actually. I thought Mitchell out-danced Melody. The judges did not like it with Neil Patrick Harris taking aim more at Tyce’s choreography. It was like someone tried to make Boeing, Boeing a musical. It just did not work. Sometimes the dancers are at the mercy of the choreography. Perhaps the awkwardness was not in the height difference, but the fact that the dancers were not feeling it so they overperformed.

Dancers: Caitlynn and all-star Pasha Kovalev
Song: “Malajunta”
Artist: Orquesta Color Tango
Choreographers: Leonardo Barrionueva and Miriam Larici
Style: Argentine tango
Story: A disconnected couple from the 1930’s era falling in love.

This LA-noire-type tango was on fire. With a partner like Pasha how could you not get totally wrapped up in the chemistry? The intricate steps with the interlocking legs are very difficult and I hope the audience can appreciate that. I still worry for Caitlynn because Broadway and ballroom do not do so well with voters. Mary Murphy gave Caitlynn a standing ovation and was near tears. Nigel commented that she used to be a girl dancing but now he saw a woman dance. Neil stated it took a little bit for him to get into it but he was completely mesmerized by it.

Dancers: Sasha and all-star Twitch
Song: “Misty Blue”
Artist: Dorothy Moore
Choreographer: Christopher Scott
Style: Hip-hop
Story: A couple’s whose love has burned out and they try to rekindle the magic.

As much as I enjoyed Alexander, there was a disconnection for me since the first week between the two of them. Tonight, Sasha was partnered with someone who not only had the chemistry but also had the skills to match her. As a married person of 19 years now, I appreciated this dance a great deal and could relate to it. This routine sizzled with sensuality. It was very nice to hear this song again. The routine was received quite well by the audience based on the level of clapping and hooting they did. I just love Twitch and everything he does. Nigel could not even speak. Neil called it the best routine so far in the evening. The routine brought Mary Murphy to swearing, calling it a “sexy-ass number.”

Dancers: Jess and all-star Kathryn McCormick
Song: “The Lonely”
Artist: Christina Perri
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Style: Contemporary
Story: Not being able to see what is right in front of you.

This routine required Jess to give all his eye contact to Kathryn while Kathryn is basically ignoring him. There was not a flowing movement that I would have liked to have seen with the routine. Even dancing separately, there still has to be a bond between them for the audience to be pulled in–a difficult order to be filled by even seasoned dancers. Kathryn did a beautiful job and I have missed seeing her dance. Neil thought the choreography was magnificent but pointed out Jess’ facial expressions that are typical of a Broadway dancer, but thought it was the best he has seen Jess dance. Mary concurred that it was her favorite piece Jess has done to date. Nigel thought Jess did a great job.

Dancers: Melanie and all-star Pasha
Song: “Everybody Hurts”
Artist: Tina Arena
Choreographer: Jason Gilkison
Style: Viennese waltz
Story: A guy who has lost his will to live with Melanie as the friend who is nurturing him through it.

Melanie did not lose herself without Marko. This was the second time this evening I got the chills. Melanie’s movements were ethereal and she looked like a guardian angel cradling Pasha’s troubled soul. I am not really sure what might be troubling Pasha’s soul since he got to dance with two beautiful women this evening! Mary complimented her on her effortless lifts and felt she was right up there on the top of the leaderboard. Nigel called her a solid, brilliant dancer. Neil thinks Melanie looks like she is from the past but dances like she is from the future and is easily his favorite dancer on the show.

Dancers: Ricky and all-star Allison Holker
Song: “Precious Things”
Artist: Tori Amos
Choreographer: Tyce DiOrio
Style: Jazz
Story: A bad dream (Ricky being Allison’s worst nightmare).

It’s hard to imagine cheerful Ricky as anybody’s worst nightmare, but he pulled this dance off. The lift where Allison is in a curved position and Ricky’s arms are straight up took my breath away. There was great power in his movements. Both Neil and Nigel were impressed with both the choreography and Ricky’s performance. Mary thought it was raw, reckless, passionate, intense and committed.

Dancers: Clarice and all-star Robert Roldan
Song: “Aila Re Aila”
Artist: Khatta Meetha
Choreographer: Nakul Dev Mahajan
Style: Bollywood
Story: A game of cat and mouse.

Nakul threw everything except the kitchen sink into this dance routine. Clarice did a fantastic job keeping up with all-star Robert. This season of SYTYCD has got to be labeled the kissing season. This sexy dance was fast with intricate moves. Everyone loved it. It was a great way to end this wonderful show.

Solos

Sasha‘s routine to “Syrup and Honey” by Duffy had very complex moves and good emotional connectivity. It reminded me of a little dragonfly. Jess performed his solo to “Come By Me” by Harry Connick, Jr., utilizing the entire stage very well with his Broadway-like routine. He always has a lot of good energy. Melanie danced beautifully to “You’re The One That I Want” by Angus and Julia Stone. Ricky performed a lovely solo to “Daylight Breaks” by Cassidy Haley. Clarice danced her solo with a Latin-vibe to “Royal T” from Crookers featuring Roison Murphy. Performing to “This Time” by John Legend, Mitchell redeemed himself from his all-star routine. Jordan danced to “Tonight” by Lykee L., taking to heart the judge’s advice last week that they needed to see something different from her. Tadd provided an entertaining solo to “Everything I Can’t Have” by Robin Thicke. Caitlynn’s contemporary piece was lovely to Florence and The Machine’s “Cosmic Love.”  Marko closed out the solo performances of the night with a song from Gavin DeGraw, “More Than Anyone”, reminding us what a beautiful dancer he is.

For me, my least favorite dance this evening was Jess, but I am very worried for Mitchell because he was the only one to receive negative feedback. It would be difficult to say exactly which my favorite was because I had so many. All the solos were stupendous.

I would like to pass on some news from Miranda’s fans at @mirandacandance on Twitter. On Saturday they have an exciting announcement to pass to everyone and a chance to win some really great prizes, so make sure you stay glued to Twitter on Saturday.

Who were your favorites and least favorites this evening?