So You Think You Can Dance Season 12 Top 18 Perform, 2 Eliminated

1 08 2015

The opening number is Justin Timberlake’s “Let The Groove Get In.” Edson and Virgil were the ones who caught my eye tonight. I enjoyed that a lot. One of the better openers. It was choreographed by Reina Hidalgo and Asiel Hardison. Cat shared the results from last week’s show. Team Street had 48% of the vote and Team Stage got 52% of the vote.

Alexia and Derek and JaJa were paired with Stacey Tookey to perform a contemporary routine. The story is about bravery and how it takes on different forms. Derek is a war veteran; JaJa is a woman leaving an abusive situation; Alexia is a single mom. The song is “All Waters” by Perfume Genius. OH MY GOD. GOOSEBUMPS!!!! The entire song—goosebumps. I was almost near tears. Each one of them did a wonderful job, but JaJa and Derek affected me the most. Nigel said Alexia did a tremendous job. Seeing Derek relying on the girls and the girls on him was terrific. JaJa said she just started a new show for him—“Guess who is the street krumper”—because he would have never known. He said someone in his life told him to bloom wherever you are planted and that is exactly what she is doing. Paula said it always starts with choreography and she gets it right. She takes 3 separate unique dancers and blend them beautifully. They all danced beautifully tonight. Regarding Derek, she felt he really fell into the character and tonight so far was his best night. Regarding Alexia, she understands the height challenges and she is always going to have to stretch to be seen and she IS being seen. Regarding JaJa, each and every week she is morphing into a very accomplished dancer and because of that she is always going to have them in the palm of their hands rooting for her. Jason thought said it was beautiful. He felt like our country needed to see that. It was more than a competition—they were living up there. He agrees that tonight by far was Derek’s best routine. He felt like it was about the story and they delivered that tonight. The votes, based on last week’s dances: Alexia and JaJa and Derek are all safe.

Megz, Moises and Jim were paired together for a Team Street hip-hop routine choreographed by JaQuel Knight (who choreographed “All The Single Ladies” for Beyoncé). This dancer, however, is about standing up to the haters saying “whatever.” And appropriately the song choice is “Whuteva” by Remy Ma. Megz was the star of this. Moises was probably next best and Jim still struggled with being straight. Overall I enjoyed the routine quite a bit, and I have a feeling this might be my new anthem. I thought, too, it was clever that the song lyrics cued them in on what the choreography should be with the arms. Paula felt the routine they were given wasn’t necessarily technically challenging so the dance really relies on them filling in the spaces, committing to being in character and being over the top with the vibe and feel. She felt Megz did well but could even give more. Moises really needs to drop down into it like tWitch was saying. She felt the same with Jim but he was giving it his all. Jason thought it was cool. He said the first 75% she was giving it to him, but the last 25% she kind of dropped off. The guys were kind of like the brother back-up dancers. He felt this was not the guys’ best number and they struggled. Nigel agrees with Paula that it was more about the attitude than the steps. Nigel said it didn’t work. Megz gave it everything she had. He didn’t think Moises could be mean or cruel if anyone was kicking him about the stage, but he has to find that attitude. He didn’t comment on Jim. Cat shares the results from last week’s show: Jim and Megz are safe; Moises is in danger again this week.

Edson, JJ and Yorelis were next up to do a jazz routine with choreographer Tovaris Wilson. The song is about the push and pull of relationships. The song is “Restart” by Sam Smith. Edson owned the sexiness. The girls had no worries about their sexiness. They did a terrific job. Jason thought it was good and entertaining. Jason demonstrated to Edson what he was looking for—that he could be into the ladies at any time and not worrying about looking at one or the other. He encouraged him to be more free. Nigel said the girls were two of his favorite street kids this year. This was a nice way to bring the street kids into jazz with the groove. Edson needs to start using his sensuality into it now. Jason is right—keep your options open. Paula said this routine was all about the vibe. The two girls are little bright lights but they have to look at their techniques. We have to see pointed toes and arms with intention. Yorelis was more comfortable in this zone than JJ but they are both wonderful to watch. Edson was the dude; he was the stud; nothing more can be said. The results for last week’s dance puts Edson is in danger; Yorelis and JJ are safe.

Asaf and Marissa got together for a club cha-cha with Jean Marc Genereux. This is about the rock star coming into the room and the groupie fan. Twitch jokes with him that this week he doesn’t have to take him outside to talk to him and that is amazing. The song is “+1” by Martin Solveig featuring Sam White. Marissa was fantastic. You could really see Asaf struggling. He could see him thinking in his head about what he had to do and where he had to be to be a good partner that he totally left his hotness in the closet. This is a routine where he could have used his flirty nature to turn up the heat and if he had accomplished that all the little mistakes with arm positioning and many other things would have been overlooked. He had this little firecracker on his arm! Such a shame. I am glad he didn’t complain about the routine, now he needs to stretch himself. I have no idea why the audience gave them a standing ovation. Perhaps it was because of Marissa. Nigel said he didn’t know what club cha-cha was but it didn’t feel much like a cha-cha to him. I have to agree with Nigel. Towards the end there, I was thinking modern-day disco perhaps. He felt Marissa did everything that was required of her but instead of using him throughout the performance, she used the audience and she was supposed to be the “groupie” of Asaf (who he jabbed with that he looks like a rock star but doesn’t dance like one). Nigel complimented Asaf on how hard he did work this week. It is a journey. This was not a good routine for Asaf (comparing him to a caterpillar that will someday bloom into a butterfly). Paula said she could tell him about the cha-cha about not turning his hips in, not to be pigeon-toed with his feet, but forget all that. She looks at where he started and you can’t help but to feel completely changed to where he is now. It didn’t work for her either but he gets an “A” for effort. Regarding Marissa, the selflessness she saw in rehearsal didn’t come through in the final product and she agrees with Nigel. Jason said it is all about the connection. She didn’t have the same connection with him as she did with the audience and him; it came off as being fake. Regarding Asaf, he has to flex his muscles some to get some votes because he is going to have a hard time. Cat told them that Marissa is safe this week and Asaf is in danger this week.

Sean Cheesman choreographs Gaby, Burim and Ariana for an African jazz number that is what Sean calls the “Dance of the Blood Moon.” He says they are mystical creatures, like creepy animals. Indeed they looked like creepy spiders when the dance began to the song “Gorilla” by Lord Kraven. I would say Ariana was the star of that dance followed very closely by Gaby, but props to Burmin who held his own. He was worried about not getting it, but I think he got it. I loved the standing back rolls the ladies did. Did it give me goosebumps? No. But I think so far it was my second favorite dance of the night. Paula said it was a very strong routine. Paula said to Burim “I loved watching your package.” And Nigel interrupted and Paula realized what she said. She said the show is also about overcoming adversity as it is about getting constant praise. She loves to see the struggle and then they get to sit back with a smile on their face and say, “wow, you pulled through.” That’s charming, that’s exciting, and it makes them proud. Regarding the ladies, she said she knew they were strong but seeing them lift each other and throw each other—those two were fierce. The precision of dancing together was very well done. Jason said if Burim can’t find the foot, don’t let it not happen, just look down for it, because the audience doesn’t know that he isn’t supposed to look down. All in all Jason thought it was a really good performance. Conceptually it was one of the best numbers for him. Nigel said it was one of the best numbers for him tonight. Regarding Ariana, she looked comfortable in it. She was great and powerful in it. He can’t believe that Gaby is really a tap dancer. He is so proud of her. Nigel gave him some dancing pointers. Cat said Ariana and Burim are in danger this week and Gaby is safe.

Neptune and Kate teamed up with Justin Giles for a contemporary routine. It’s about a husband and wife saying goodbye not knowing if the husband will return from a dangerous job. The song is “Promise” by Ben Howard. I had such wonderful goosebumps. Kate improved with her emotional connection and Neptune—wow! He really dug deep. That was beautiful. Jason said that piece was beautiful. Choreography these days are a million steps, but this was not and they had to fill in the pieces and they did that beautifully. The chemistry was chilling. He felt like they were item and still feel that (just putting it out there). That was a grade-A performance. He felt Kate really came out of her shell. It was his performance from her. Neptune surprises him every single week. He doesn’t know who his favorite is this week but Neptune is kind of taking that spot. Nigel said he found it interesting and challenging. It was static in its movements but expansive in what it was trying to say as well. I was shocked when Nigel said that 10 years ago he would get complaints about a black person dancing with a white person (WOW—shocking). But he feels that so much was said in that routine and both portrayed it beautifully and complimented Kate on her performance. He has complained about her not releasing but she did this week. Paula said it was such a simple, beautiful concept yet so complex with emotions and both were able to deliver beautifully. Paula told Kate she was worried about Kate letting go and being vulnerable and she was just right. Neptune is one of the favorites. He is really showing the breadth of a dancer that he really is. Cat said that Neptune is safe. Kate is in danger.

Virgil and Hailee take on a hip-hop routine with Pharside and Phoenix number. They are robots from outer space. The song is “Runnin’” by Noahplause. WOW!!!!! I would have said Hailee was on Team Street. The moves were fantastic. I was blown away. Now, it didn’t give my goosebumps, but I think it was my favorite non-goosebumped-song. The judges were on their feet. Nigel said these two were the best two characters they have this year. Their personalities shine out beyond the little lights on their chest. Even though Hailee’s light has gone out she still….and Virgil came in and turned her light back on, still in character. That was a memorable routine. He thinks when they have a season 20 anniversary special, this routine would be on there. Paula said if they represent what aliens are, sign her up—she’ll go there. It was fantastic. It was crazy fun. Jason said he always knew Virgil was crazy, but he didn’t know Hailee was that crazy. If she is this good in street, he is anxious to see how far she will go. He had no idea. Cat tells them both of them are safe.

The group number for Team Stage was choreographed by Jaci Royal and it is about when you need help from people to overcome obstacles. The song chosen was “For My Help” by Hayden Calnin. OH MY GOD!!!! I’m in love. It looked like everything was timed perfectly and at times it took my breath away. I like that new choreographers are on board this year. It has added a different layer of depth to the show. The judges were on their feet.

Team Street is up next. Choreographed by Marty Kudelka (who was a nominee for best choreography in a music video and the 2007 winner VMA for best choreography in Justin Timberlake’s “My Love” video. Twitch said they have to be cooler than a polar bear’s toenails. The song is “Break Ya Neck” by Busta Rhymes. I enjoyed that, but liked Team Stage better.

The Twitter save goes to Ariana from Team Street and Kate from Team Stage. The judges save Asaf from Team Street (that is a mistake—Burim is a much better dancer). From Team Street, the judges save Edson. I think that was the right decision. Moises is a great dancer but Edson is the better of the two.





So You Think You Can Dance Season 11 Top 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 Top 10 Perform

18 08 2013

Its all-star pairing tonight!

Opening Number

Song: “The Gravel Road” by The Village (Score from the motion picture)
Choreographer: Christopher Scott

Dancing with props is so difficult but that was so beautifully done. I felt the angst and raw emotion of the piece. I don’t know the story behind it, but I felt it was possibly that the couples just lost a baby and the pain of that loss. Of course that feeling comes from my own experience with that.

Judges

Legendary Debbie Allen joins Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy.

Bottom 2

Tucker is automatically in the bottom because of his inability to perform because of his injury. Joining him are Makenzie, Nico, Jenna. Nigel is going to skip seeing them do their solos and go straight to the all-stars. I like that idea very much.

All-Star Couples

Dancers: Amy and All-Star Brandon Bryant
Style: Disco
Choreographer: Doriana Sanchez
Song: “I Will Always Love You (Hex Hector Radio Mix) by Whitney Houston

Doriana has created a brand new move called the disco location. Amy looked like she was having a blast out there. I would be throwing up on stage with all those spins. Brandon has some major guns on those arms and the moves are effortless. The death drop at the end where she was just inches from the ground made me gasp. I don’t know how dancers do that. Brandon has his back turned to her so he is death-dropping her from behind so how does he know when she is close enough but her face is not smashing the floor?

The judges: Mary is not crazy about the song but is crazy about Amy. Debbie loved it. She thought they were paired well in their energy and size and spirit. Nigel thinks Amy is vivacious. She stood out more than the disco ball did.

Dancers: Fik-Shun and all-star Melanie Moore
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Mandy Moore
Song: “Feeling Good” by Jennifer Hudson

Ex-lover of a performer returns to town and things get steamy. Melanie looks stunning. It was a great number, but after seeing Aaron perform, it was a little novice. I did not buy into the chemistry. It felt fake. The dance moves were fun. He did wreak attitude and that was well done.

The judges: Also on their feet. Nigel thought it was fantastic. He is proud of Fik-Shun. He well he kept up. Mary thinks he is growing every week. Debbie said that they can say his name is Fik-Shun but that was real tonight.

Dancers: Aaron and all-star Kathryn McCormick
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Song: “I ‘m Kissing You” by Des’ree

It is about unconditional love. About 15 seconds into the song I got goosebumps. The damn goosebumps stayed the entire song. As Stacey said it is not about the moves but the emotion in the moves. Their connection for just having met was amazing. It was as if they were dancing together their entire lives. There was love and passion and depth. Aaron–YOU ROCK! There was a little mess up at the end when he had to pick her up that should have been a fluid move but I am nitpicking at this point. I think he might wind up being the top 2 dancers in the finale. Then he was talking about how much he had learned from her and that she took him to a whole new place in his dancing and that made me start crying. He is so humble and so filled with joy. I think that is why I like his energy so much. And to think, he was not going to be on the show until that other person left because of an injury. It’s destiny baby! Fate is calling.

The judges: The judges were standing. Debbie said call the fire department because there is fire going on on this stage right now. She thought it was a magical pairing. Aaron has grown so much over the weeks tonight he has raised the bar in the competition. Nigel felt it too that it was like they were dancing forever. He said that the look in Kathryn’s eyes at the end said that she knew he was something special. Mary agrees with everything that has been said. She thinks Aaron is one of the most captivating dancers ever on the show.

Dancers: Paul and all-star Witney Carson
Style: Cha-cha
Choreographer: Jean-Marc Généreux
Song: “Live It Up” by Jennifer Lopez

It was a fun routine that sizzled at times, but I think there were some misses in the moved, like missing her hand. Was she supposed to be in the floor? Maybe but I thought the move was going to be a drop to just above the ground. Happy birthday Paul! He turns 22.

The judges: On their feet again. Mary said he can dance his patootie off. His foot work is clean and precise. He is on the hot tamale train. Debbie said this was his element and they expected him to soar. It was beautiful and seamless. Nigel thought they were born for each other. He has personality and technique.

Dancers: Hayley and all-star Stephen “tWitch” Boss
Style: Hip-hop
Choreographer: Christopher Scott
Song: “Locked Out of Heaven (District 9 Remix) by Bruno Mars

Bank loan applicant meets loan officer Hayley. Her hip-hop is not good but you tend to overlook it during her sexy-loan-officer moves. I was watching tWitch more. Christopher Scott made up for her lack of being able to loosen up with these staccato-like movements.

The judges: Debbie felt when she pulled her hair out, she rose to the occasion. Debbie was watching tWitch, too, more. Nigel said it was great fun and calls her a dark horse. Mary thinks she is following in tWitch’s tracks and agrees with Nigel. She loves her.

Dancers: Jenna and all-star Neil Haskell
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Mandy Moore
Song: “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Mark Masri

A story about breaking up. The lift and turn was great. The acrobatics were great. Jenna and Neil were both filled with emotion but I did not believe they were in a relationship, not in the way I believed in Aaron and Kathryn earlier. I think Jenna was trying to make it happen but Neil was not reciprocating. No goosebumps.

The judges: They were on their feet again. Nigel loved the fluidity in the movement. Mary agrees; the movement was perfect. Debbie says that she sees someone who is one of the most gifted dancers.

Dancers: Jasmine and all-star Marko Germar
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Ray Leeper
Song: “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell

Ray said they had to look like one person but their movements were not (microseconds but not exact). It got better as the song went on though. I love this song. That was a barrel of fun.

Judges: They were on their feet again. Mary was drawn to Jasmine in the performance. The only thing missing from the video of the song of the summer was them dancing in it. Debbie could not keep her eyes off Jasmine. Nigel thought at some points he was reminded of Michael Jackson and sometimes other people back in history. He did not know if he was actually looking at two all-stars.

Dancers: Makenzie and all-star Jakob Karr
Style: Broadway
Choreographer: Spencer Liff
Song: “Too Darn Hot (RAC Mix)” by Ella Fitzgerald

This was a dance about attitude versus tricks. Makenzie did a great job. It is going to be hard to decide who goes home between her and Jenna.

The judges: They were on their feet again. Debbie loved it so much and compared her to Cyd Charisse Nigel said they have the best pair o feet he has ever seen. Mary said it was so darn hot. Nigel chimed in that it was more Rita Hayworth than Cyd.

Dancers: Nico and all-star Comfort Fedoke
Style: Hip-hop
Choreographers: Tabitha and Napoleon D’Umo (Nappytabs)
Song: “Get UR Freak On (Amended LP Version)” by Missy Elliott

This was reptiles on the prowl. Nico looked like a white boy trying to find attitude and dance moves in the hip-hop style. It was fun, but there have been so many other dances so much better than this tonight.

The judges: Finally, they are not giving them a standing ovation. Nigel things the audience loved the routine a little more than he did. He complimented him on getting into character. Mary thought he got his freak on. Debbie enjoyed it. She felt like she was in Jurassic Park.

Dancers: Tucker and all-star Robert Roldan
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Travis Wall
Song: “Medicine” by Daughter

Two brothers–one hits rock bottom and the other helps. It was done with a nod to his brother Danny Tidwell, but Tucker was in a car accident where he was paralyzed for awhile and Robert apparently had a brush with death from a serious fall. In fact, back in June of 2012. In September of 2012, Robert tweeted this: The Reason I Will Not Be An All Star: This past June my life was almost ended. One night I had a major accident that changed my life. I injured myself very badly and to the extent where I had to be rushed to the hospital immediately. This accident has caused me to be unable to dance which is why I’m writing this letter. Every doctor that I have been to since has said “wow…you’re lucky you are alive..” or “people with kind of accident are usually are pronounced dead on the spot..” Therefore I just want to tell everyone single one of you how much your support and encouragement means to me. It makes me fight through this bump in the road. The kind things you have said to me and things you have done for me truly mean the world. One day I will be back on my feet and dancing and doing the things I love to do. In the mean time I am so lucky to be living breathing and opening my eyes every day. I will never take anyone of you and your support for granted because every single one of you are important weather I know you or not. You have made my journey from SYTYCD to now more than a dream and I can’t thank you enough for it. Always cherish the things that you have, even if they are the smallest things because it can all be taken away in the snap of a finger. My heart goes out to each and every one of you with so much thanks! This is not the end. God has a plan. I won’t give up till I’m on that stage again. Much love and thanks, Robert.”

I was welling up in tears within a few seconds. What an amazing idea pairing them together. There was a spot in the middle where they were supposed to be in-sync that they weren’t, but you know what? It just doesn’t matter. That was so beautiful, so exquisite, and so emotional. What a brilliant job. Travis Wall–you ALWAYS get to me.

The judges: Standing as they should be. I think Nico is going home. Mary was crying. She talked about their amazing journeys and triumphs and gave it over to Debbie because she could not speak anymore. Debbie said she did not know how he could be on the bottom but he was on top now. Nigel said all the stars were aligned and it created this piece that will always be remembered on the show.

Going Home

Makenzie and Nico will leave the show tonight.

My Top Picks

For the guys, it’s quite easy: Tucker and Aaron. For the girls, definitely Jasmine, but I’m torn between Amy and Jenna.





So You Think You Can Dance Season 10 — Top 10 Revealed

8 08 2013

Opening Number

Song: “Pandeyjee Seeti” by Dabangg 2 (Original Soundtrack)
Choreographer: Nakul Dev Mahajan

Group Bollywood opening number! I think someone had to super-size their energy drink before coming on stage. How in the world do they keep up that level of energy? Nico and Alan’s hands were not as sharp as the other guys. I enjoyed it very much, however.

Judges Tonight

Kenny Ortega joined Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy on the judges’ panel tonight. Cat delivers more bad news about the dancers. Tucker had an infection in his knee and cannot perform tonight. If he survives the cuts on this evening’s show, he will automatically be in the bottom next week. What does Cat mean about Mary and “retiring?”

In The Bottom

Tonight’s cut is important because the top 10 dancers remaining will be the ones going on tour. Jenna, Alan, Malece, Nico, Amy, Tucker. I am surprised about Amy. It could be that she needs a new dance partner (even though Fik-Shun made it through). Nigel sends Nico and Jenna into the top 10. Amy is NOT going home so I suspect it is Malece’s time to leave. Tucker is dancing? I am confused. Cat said he was not dancing tonight. Hoping to secure his place, Tucker dances to “Maestro” from The Holiday (Original Soundtrack). Now there is the Tucker I remember from the auditions that I loved. So fluid and beautiful. Amy danced to “Je Suis Malade” by Lara Fabian. I got goosebumps! The audience was rooting for her too. Now THAT is dancing for your life. Malece dances to “Patient Love” by Passenger. It was nice but Amy was better. Alan danced to “Mas Que Nada” by Sergio mended featuring The Black Eyed Peas. Sergio Mendes is a name I have not heard for quite awhile. His timing seemed off to the music.

Couples Dance

Dancers: Hayley and Nico
Style: Broadway
Choreographer: Sean Cheesman
Song: “Kiss Of The Spider Woman” by Jeffrey Huard & Chita Rivera (Kiss Of The Spider Woman Cast Recording).

Whoa! I was vacillating between wondering whether or not I liked it or if it was boring, but the flip he did made me pause to rewind. She stands back-to-back with him. She has one leg in the arm (so it looks like a split standing up) he starts bending forward. She starts bending backward (with that right leg straight up now bending backward as her left knee bends. The motion continues and her left leg leaves the floor and he flips her over and she lands facing him, then falls backward onto the stage with that right leg still up in the air and she does a backward tumblesault and then stands up as he does a round-off, back spring, backward somersault. And then a kiss. Wow!

The judges: On their feet! Nigel says it was one of the best Broadway routines they have ever had on the series (Tyce will be sad to hear this). He said it was magnificently danced. Mary thought it was outrageous. Mary loved the passion and the power that Nico brought to the character. Mary thought Hayley was a little temptress. Kenny thought Sean created a courageous piece. Hayley and Nico handled it with bravery and passion.

Dancers: Malece and Alan
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Mandy Moore
Song: “Come Dance With Me” by Michael Bublé

He should go home just on the fact that he is a dancer who has never seen Gene Kelly dance. (LOL). She should go home because apparently she is not environmentally friendly (never wears the same thing twice and shops all the time?). Annoying. I think Alan did a better job than Malece. His hips moved better than hers did. It was okay.

The judges: Kenny made sure Alan went onto You Tube to see a Gene Kelly film. Malece has the sparkle of a young Judie Holiday or Goldie Hawn. He wished they would have found that melding point better between their two styles (missing chemistry, not technical dancing). Nigel thought it was uncomfortable to watch. The style and chemistry were not there. Mary thought it was fun and entertaining but there were some issues with the technical part. She is on the fence about it overall.

Dancers: Jenna and Alex Wong (standing in for Tucker)
Style: Paso Doble
Choreographer: Jean-Marc Généreux
Song: “He’s A Pirate (Ship Ahoy Tribal Remix) by Chris Joss and Klaus Badelt

This makes me very excited to see the top 10 paired with the all-stars next week. Remember when I said it takes a lot to get me excited about ballroom dancing? This is what I am talking about. I wonder if she now likes a new pirate other than Orlando Bloom.

The judges: Mary loved it. She wishes she could trade places with Jenna. Kenny complimented her on dancing with someone she had never danced with before with such passion and confidence. She is now at the top of the list for him. Nigel made it known that Alex had never done ballroom on the show before (due to his early leave because of his injury in his season). He also made a comment about the all-stars.

Dancers: Makenzie and Paul
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Mandy Moore
Song: “The Edge of Glory” (Live From “A Very Gaga Thanksgiving”) by Lady Gaga

Unlikely lovers. He’s a boy from the wrong side of the tracks (depends on your perspective I imagine–perhaps he is the RIGHT side of the tracks). That sizzled. I got goosebumps! The lines were exquisite. The chemistry exploded. The judges were standing.

The judges: Nigel talked about all the wonderful moments in their movement. Mary said it was done beautifully. They melted together and oozed. Kenny said they are two of his favorite dancers in this competition and have been for awhile.

Dancers: Amy and Fik-Shun
Style: Viennese waltz
Choreographer: Jean-Marc Généreux
Song: “A Thousand Years, Part 2” by Christina Perri featuring Steve Kazee

This is not going to be pretty. People who dance this usually find themselves in the bottom. The Twilight fans might like it. Fik-Shun’s foot work was sloppy. He gave a good effort with his posture. There was something I had difficulty putting my finger on and I think it is in this dance I felt like more “boy” than “man” came through. His partnering was better this week and he was there for all the lifts and tricks and nothing on the floor she might have tripped on.

The judges: Mary said they were precious together. There were definitely technical issues but something special Happens between them. Kenny praised Jean Marc on being a great teacher. He thought if a choreographer asked Fik-Shun to fly he would find a way to do it. Amy is like the dancer in a music box. Nigel acknowledged the problem this dance has getting votes. He feels like Fik-Shun is learning week after week.

Dancers: Jasmine and Aaron
Style: Hip-hop
Choreographer: Tabitha and Napoleon D’Umo
Song: “Gold Rush” by Clinton Sparks featuring 2 Chainz, Macklemore & D.A.

Stagecoach robber meets gold-digging saloon girl. They truly are my favorite couple. It was fun, playful, sexy, and entertaining. I liked it so much I had to watch it again (and again and again). My favorite routine of the night. Here–You should watch it, too.

The judges–were on their feet! Kenny said after SYTYCD choreographers will have to form a lottery to see who gets to work with them first. Nigel felt that Aaron was right about height but he would have been right had it not been for Jasmine. He did not know the pelvic girdle could move like that (on Jasmine). Mary felt Jasmine’s hip and torso isolations were crazy tonight. Aaron did great too.

Dancers: Nico, Paul, Fik-Shun, Alan
Style: Hip-hop
Choreographers: Tabitha and Napoleon D’Umo
Song: “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World (American Idol Performance) by Joshua Ledet

The guys have to pull their own weight in a relationship. It was a great routine. The girls went NUTS in the audience.

The judges: Mary and Kenny were standing. Nigel thought it was really good. Mary picked out Paul and Aaron to compliment. Kenny gave Alan a compliment for throwing his all into the dance. He also complimented Paul and Aaron (although I think he mistakenly said Alan instead of Aaron).

Dancers: Jenna, Hayley, Malece, Makenzie, Amy, Jasmine
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Song: “Young and Beautiful” (DH Orchestral Version) by Lana Del Rey (The Great Gatsby Soundtrack)

At the fountain of youth, the ladies ultimately find that what matters most is on the inside. It was haunting and celebrated their sisterhood.

The judges: Also standing again. Mary said they are the best 6 girls that they have had in 10 seasons. Kenny said their commitment to dance is evident in every movement they make. Nigel thought it was beautiful.

Going Home

Malece and Alan. But Nigel said he would try his best to get them on the tour in some capacity.

My picks for next week

I can’t pick the bottom this week. Everyone was so good. My favorites though were Aaron and Jasmine and Paul and Makenzie. But Nico and Hayley get props for the complicated moves in their dance. Well, okay, maybe I do have picks for the bottom seeing who is then left. We know Tucker automatically goes into the bottom 2, but the other should be Fik-Shun. Jenna should be the next one to leave. Amy needs a chance to shine with an all-star next week and that leaves only Jenna.





So You Think You Can Dance Top 18

3 07 2013

Yes it happened again. My DVR did not record the show last week. I think I finally got it fixed though. I still do not like the way we are getting the results. All 20 have to put their best efforts forward even though only 18 will remain by the end of the show. But it is what it is.

Tonight joining resident judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy was Christina Applegate.

Opening number

Song: “The Heroic Weather-Conditions Of The Universe, part 1: A Veiled Mist” by Moonrise Kingdom (Original Soundtrack)
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio

That was fabulous. They look like a real dance troupe that have been working together for years. It is one of those odd dances–like a circus with so much going on you are not quite sure where to look and when you do look you do look out of the corner of your eye you find you are missing a lot.

Group

Yikes! Cat Deeley is already announcing the bottom 3 guys and girls. That is going to either dampen their psyche, or make them dance better in their couples’ routines. Bottom 3 girls: Mariah. Makenzie, Brittany. Bottom 3 guys: Alan, Jade, Carlos.

This season the judges get to save 2 contestants right away. This week it is Alan and Makenzie are saved.

Solos

Mariah danced to “Hard In da Paint” by Waka Flocka Flame. I adore a female hip-hop dancer. Carlos danced a solo to “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons which I just knew would show up on this season’s show somehow when I heard it. It is the ringtone of my timer on my IPhone. I thought it was a fabulous solo outside of a little but too much rolling on the ground. Brittany danced to “Hacksaw” by Ooah. Was that Ballroom or Jazz? Hard to tell, but there was a lot of self-worship with her hands on her body a lot–something I know the judges dislike from previous seasons’ auditions. Jade danced to “De Novo Adagio (Intro) by Alicia Keys. He is an amazing animator. I felt like he was a maestro pulling on our strings, but in a way it was very smooth like the water. It is very hard to describe.

Oh GEEZ! They are actually telling us who is going home before the couples dance? That is not right at all. I do not like this format. Nigel said he was disappointed in their solos. He did not feel they were dancing for their lives at all. The decision is made by the choreographers’ input as well as what they saw in Vegas and how they feel the contestants would grow. Carlos and Brittany will be leaving the show.

Couples

Dancers: Hayley and Curtis
Choreographer: Ray Leeper
Style: Jazz
Song: “Mama Knows Best” By Jessie J

I loved it when she was pushing him down. What back control and strength. Some of Curtis’ lines need work. I also think he needs to emote more, like Hayley does. It seemed like he was trying to remember the steps too much.

The judges: Nigel could not take his eyes off Hayley but felt Curtis was a good partner. Mary loved it and felt Hayley was a force to be reckoned with on the show. Christina forgot Curtis was a tapper. She felt like maybe everyone should leave to give them some privacy. She gave some helpful points they could take away and put into their work the next time around.

HayleyCurtis

Dancers: Aaron and Jasmine H. (who I affectionately have named #JasTurns)
Choreographers: Tabitha and Napoleon Dumo (NappyTabs)
Style: Lyrical hip-hop
Song: “Tears Always Win” by Alicia Keys

The story is he is a man going in and out of her life. He expects her to be there for him when he does. For a tapper, Aaron does a great job with hip hop. I am so glad he was #11 and someone dropped out because of an injury. There is a lot of chemistry between these dancers. Jasmine conveyed the feelings of being upset with him yet longing for him at the same time. I LOVED it. When he flipped her over into a backbend it was so fluid. It was beautiful.

The judges: Mary loved it. Jasmine is a star. Aaron was sexy. Christina had notes written from the dress rehearsal that she tossed away. She thinks they are the couple to beat at this point. Nigel felt an honesty in the routine. He feels that Aaron is a major asset to the series this year.

AaronJasmine

Dancers: Malece and Jade
Choreographer: Nakul Dev Mahajan
Style: Bollywood
Song: “Radha” by Student Of The Year (Original Soundtrack)

The girl plays hard to get and the guy woos her back in. I know that every movement had purpose including positioning. Would I know if they made a mistake? Nope! I love Bollywood because it is always interesting and full of energy. It makes me want to get up and move. You have to be in superb physical shape to survive those songs.

The Judges: Christina gave Jade some words of encouragement. Nigel is shocked that Jade picked up the choreography as well as he did. He thought Malece is like a little pixie. Mary felt Jade was having fun and Malece did a really great job.

MaleceJade

Dancers: Alexis and Nico
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Style: Contemporary
Song: “Old Skin” by Olafur Arnalds & Arnor Dan

This piece is a sequel to Robert Roldan and Kathryn McCormick’s dance from season 7. Kathryn’s character left to go to war; in this piece, she (Alexis) is coming home. These are big shoes to fill. In a sense you can say she had returned from war a changed person quite literally. I cried. I tried to imagine the joy of what real families go through when their loved ones return from war. I think Alexis and Nico found the joy.

The judges: Nigel thinks Nico gets better every week. He felt that Alexis had the hardest job this week because as a tapper they don’t straighten their legs. He felt she did very well but she is going to have to work harder. Mary said they let the music take them some place. She felt Nico was fabulous and Alexis’ performance was so honest. Christina thought it was great and that Alexis has “it.”

AlexisNico

Dancers: Brittany and BluPrint
Choreographer: Spencer Liff
Style: Broadway
Song: “It’s Oh So Quiet” by Ice Princess (Original Soundtrack)

Two students in a late-night cram session and they fall in love. The vulnerabilities of BluPrint’s dancing are obvious, but he does get an “A” for trying and being a good partner.

The Judges: Mary adored this piece. She felt like BluPrint was really going to have to make sure the lines get hit. Christina gave BluPrint advice if he gets Broadway again. Nigel agreed with Christina.

BrittanyBluPrint

Dancers: Jasmine M and Alan
Choreographers: Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo
Style: Tango
Song: “Escape From Slavery” by PP Music (UK)

Innocent girl wooed by an evil man. Alan had a powerful male presence but I felt like it was overacting a bit. I believe he did not believe he was evil. The footwork looked good. He did a great job on the lifts.

The Judges: Mary gave them a standing ovation. Christina joined her. Christina thought they had a “moment” like they did last week. Nigel agreed. Mary said it is all about passion and they spilled it all over the stage.

JasmineAlan

Dancers: Makenzie and Paul
Choreographer: Sean Cheesman
Style: Jazz
Song: “‘Mannequin (Skeet & Tito Remix) by Trish

Mad scientist Paul creates Makenzie. Paul has some good moves there, but he also had some awkward ones, too. His face doesn’t seem to match the story. He looks angry–has that weird pouty face. He also looked out at the audience like you would do in ballroom which I kind of felt was out of place. Mackenzie was doing a great job.

The judges: Nigel loved the routine. He thought they both did fantastic. Mary loved it. She called Makenzie a dance diva without the attitude (hmmm…in order to be a diva you must have attitude). Christina loved it. She urged Paul to get of his carriage in these kinds of numbers.

MackenziePaul

Dancers: Mariah and Carlos
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Style: Contemporary
Song: “Dead In The Water” by Ellie Goulding

Carlos has been in an accident and lost his memory. Carlos is supposed to have this glazed-over look and with the emotion of having to go home tonight, that has to be so very hard to do, but does speak volumes to his professionalism. I could feel the pain in Mariah’s movements. I would never think she was a hip-hop dancer. I got goosebumps! This was so beautiful!

The judges: They were on their feet. Mary told Mariah if she kept dancing like that she will make it to the other side of the rainbow. Christina thought it was like they had an umbilical cord between the two of them. The chemistry was the best she had seen tonight. Nigel said Mariah did a brilliant job at emoting.

MariahCarlos

Dancers: Amy and Fik-Shun
Choreographer: Tabitha and Napoleon Dumo
Style: Hip-hop (ratchet?)
Song: “After Party” by Dorrough Music

The story is about two bellhops who love their job. For a contemporary dancer, she did a great job. The audience loved booty dances, too. That will definitely bring in the votes. And what I can I say. There is still #TruthInFikshun! (Yes, I first said that on Twitter).

The Judges: Christina loved that so much. She thought Fik-Shun is something special. She thinks Amy brings him up, too. Nigel said he knew that he was going to love this routine. Both of them light up the entire studio when they dance. He predicted if they kept dancing like that this and they would be in the finale. Mary said they were the pre-party, party-party and after-party.

AmyFikshun

Dancers: Jenna and Tucker
Choreographer: Dmitry Chaplin
Style: Cha-cha
Song: “I Like It Like That (Aaron Jerome Remix) by Pete Rodriguez

Story about a guy who knows everyone in a nightclub and thinks he owns the place; Jenna’s job is to put him in his place. It was very good. It didn’t blow me away but it was respectable. They both played their parts well. It seemed they had the right posture for Latin dancing. It sizzled in spots but it did. It move me emotionally in any direction.

Judges: Mary thinks Jenna is a chameleon. She missed rhythmical action from Tucker. She thought he had it in moments. Christina was thoroughly entertain and loved the story and the characters they portrayed. Nigel felt Jenna did not give enough cha-cha and she was in heroin genre. He actually wanted it to look more like “Dancing With The Stars.” He blames Dmitry.

TuckerJenna

It is hard to predict who might be in the bottom two. I would say for the guys Tucker and BluPrint. For the girls, Jenna and maybe Malece? Picking out the girls is a bit more difficult.





So You Think You Can Dance S10 Top 20 Revealed

23 06 2013

I could not believe it when I came home on Tuesday, June 11, and found my DVR did not record So You Think You Can Dance because of a glitch. I missed Vegas Hell Week. I tried to find it elsewhere but apparently my satellite company does not interact with Fox on-line for on-demand programming (although I can see it 30 days after the air date–what good is that going to do me. I also was not going to pay Hulu Plus for the chance to see it. I did watch the first 40 minutes live before I had to leave, but I took no notes. I do remember someone liking my #TruthInFikshun hash tag on Twitter, which I promptly claimed ownership and bragging rights.

This week’s episode announced the Top 20 and allowed us the opportunity to see them dance for the first time. Thirty-three contestants awaited their fate.

Du-Shaunt “Fik-Shun” Stegall and Mariah Spears made it through to the top 20. However, Emilio “Millie” Dosal, Phillip Cheeeb’s friend, made it, but had an injury and had to withdraw. Markus Shields who auditioned in season 4 and got to the green mile only to receive a “no”, received a “no” for a second time.

Fikshun

Du-Shant “Fik-Shun” Stegall

MariahSpears

Mariah Spears

 

Dance: Hip-hop
Choreographer: Luther Brown
Song: “Ball” by T.I. featuring Lil Wayne

It was wonderful seeing a female hip-hop dancer this year. There was nice chemistry and synchronicity to their movements. Mariah was the stronger dancer her. As Cat was making introductions you could see Fik-Shun was a little sad that he didn’t get lavish praise from the judges. He seemed to take it in and sighed. It’s okay Fik-Shun–next week raise your game.

FikShunMariah

Mariah & Fik-Shun

Makenzie Dustman (The contestant I thought rolled too much on the floor for her audition) is a yes. Jasmine Harper, Cyrus ex-girlfriend), gets a yes. A surprise yes was given to both Tucker Knox and Nico Greetham who went into the judges together. Ryan Johnson, who auditioned in Memphis, received a no for this season. There were several other contestants I did not recognize (whose names were not said) that also were turned down for this season.

MakenzieDustman

Makenzie Dustman

JasmineHarper

Jasmine Harper

TuckerKnox

Tucker Knox

NicoGreetham

Nico Greetham

 

Dance: Contemporary
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Song: “Goes On and On” by Sleeping At Last

This was a very strong performance by all 4 and I got them–yes GOOSEBUMPS! The judges felt the magic too and gave them a standing ovation.

MakenzieTuckerNicoJasmine

Makenzie, Tucker, Nico and Jasmine

Tappers Alexis Juliano and Curtis Holland both received a yes. Aaron Turner was an initially a “no” but when Emilio withdrew from the competition, Aaron was guy #11 so he was back in.

AlexisJuliano

Alexis Juliano

CurtisHolland

Curtis Holland

AaronTurner

Aaron Turner

Dance: Tap
Choreographer: Anthony Morigerato
Song: “You Really Did It” (Live) by Jason Mraz

That was so enjoyable. Curtis had some balance issues at the end there, but the judges were also gave them a standing ovation.

AlexisCurtisAaron

Aaron, Alexis and Curtis

Animators Jade Zuberi and Dragon House’s Dorian “BluPrint” Hector were both in the top 20.

JadeZuberi

Jade Zuberi

BluPrint

Dorian “BluPrint” Hector

Dance: Animation
Choreographer: Christopher Scott
Song: “Trigger” (Original Mix) by Kezwik featuring Mel Presson

That ROCKED! There were a few spots that should have been synchronized but were a bit off but it’s only week one. The mannequins moving freaked me out. The judges once again were on their feet.

JadeBluPrint

Jade and BluPrint

While David Lorenzo was sent home, Carlos Garland, Hayley Erbert and Malece Miller were moving to the top 20.

CarlosGarland

Carlos Garland

HayleyErbert

Hayley Erbert

MaleceMiller

Malece Miller

Dance: Contemporary
Choreographer:  Mia Michaels
Song: “Stay” by Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko

I thought Carlos had some great partnering skills, catching Malece especially when she fell backwards. After being dropped on her head in Vegas, I bet she was scared. I LOVE Mia Michaels. Goosebumps again.

MaleceHayleyCarlos

Malece, Hayley and Carlos

Brittany Cherry, Jenna Johnson and Paul Karmiryan were moved into the top 20, but Serge (?) from the Los Angeles auditions was a no. Two brothers, Alan and Gene Bersten, were pitted against each other and Alan was moving forward.

BrittanyCherry

Brittany Cherry

JennaJohnson

Jenna Johnson

PaulKarmiryan

Paul Karmiryan

AlanBersten

Alan Bersten

 

Dance: Ballroom
Choreographer: Louis Van Amstel
Song: “Wings” by Little Mix

They had two challenges–Dancing with their partners and trying to synchronize with each other. The first was fine, the latter needs work. I think Jenna was the better girl.

BrittanyJennaPaulAlan

Paul, Jenna, Alan and Brittany

There were many “no” responses for the next group of individuals including Marissa Milele, Tessa, and Gabby Marquez. Amy Yakima from the Detroit auditions received a yes. They brought back Megan and Jasmine. This year, Jasmine Mason made it through.

AmyYakima

Amy Yakima (was called The Beast by Nigel; she does look a little like Melanie Moore’s cousin, doesn’t she?

JasmineMason

Jasmine Mason, not she is not related to Jeanine Mason

Dance: Jazz
Choreographer:  Sonya Tayeh
Song: “Enjoy” by Bjork

Loved it and Goosebumps. The judges also loved it.

AmyJasmine

Amy and Jasmine M.

 

Top 10 guys dance
Choreographer: Christopher Scott
Song: “Sand” by Nathan Lanier featuring Karen Whipple

Like a sandstorm happening. It is difficult to watch all 10 and say who stood out. I adored it. When Christopher Scott first joined the show, I did not quite understand his perspective. Either he has gotten better or I finally GOT it.

———

Top 10 girls dance
Choreographer: Ray Lepper
Song: “Let’s Have a Kiki (Guwremix) by Fanny Pak and District 78

I adore Ray for getting sweaty during rehearsals with his group. It was a fun routine.

——–

Top 20
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Song: “Ghost of the Sky” (Epic Dub) by Steed Lord

Wow! How talented is Sonya that she created such a vehicle for such a diverse group of dancers to show off their strengths! I love warrior mama.

I am looking forward to seeing them perform next week for voting.

Top20

SYTYCD Season 10 Top 20 — Good luck everyone!





So You Think You Can Dance — Top 4 Perform

13 09 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Solos

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

Guest Performance

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

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