Thursday, July 26, 2012

SYTYCD 9.11- No Soupier for You!

This should pretty much explain how I feel about my So You Think You Can Dance Nights:







And so here it is, yet again Wednesday night and the Top 16 are about to take the stage.  I'm excited to see what kind of shakeups last week's dismissals, or should I say "saves", will result in.  Without any further ado, let's plant ourselves in front of the screen and silently, or not so silently (it's your house, you can do as you wish) critique, boo, or stand in awe of the routines that either end up on the Hot Tamale Train or end up all aboard the Pack N' Go Express.

Cat's hair is amazing, she's looking all 40's noir femme fatale tonight-good on you Cat!  Oh...good...(sarcasm) the opening number is Charlie Chaplin-inspired, with Amelia starting front and center. It's set to The Here and After which makes sense when you consider it's off of the soundtrack to Wim Wenders dance documentary "Pina".  It's delightfully eccentric, which is later explained by the fact that it's choreographed by Tyce Diorio, but I really wish they hadn't filtered to black and white.  I get why they did it, silent film and all, but it makes it difficult to see who's doing what without the close-ups.  I also realize this is probably the point of group numbers, but what can I say, tonight's a nitpicky night.

The judges panel tonight: Nigel, Mary, and Christina Applegate

Couple #1:  Tiffany & George
Choreographer:  Napoleon & Tabitha
Style:  Hip Hop
Theme:  Adventures in Babysitting
Song Artist:  B.o.B f/Nicki Minaj
Song Title:  Out of My Mind

This routine is awesome.  It's intricate and I cannot imagine how much rehearsal went in to getting all of those small movements right.  It goes on forever and I think it shows that this week, everything, including the choreographers are stepping up their games.  Nigel would like his hip hop "grungier" and says that George lacks a bit of stamina but that Tiffany "got down". Mary thinks they're fabulous partners.  Christina thinks that the slow parts should have been "soupier" which I think just means it should look like there was some resistance to their movements, kind of a slow motion feel, weighed down, but there's no synonym for that, so I can't be certain of that definition.


Couple #2:  Brandon & Amber
Choreographer:  Ray Leeper (seriously a perfect choreographer's name)
Style:  Jazz
Theme:  Sexy, Jazzy Chemistry
Song Artist:  Aretha Franklin
Song Title:  Dr. Feelgood (Love Is A Serious Business)

First of all, I call a little bogus on Brandon being cast.  It's not that he's not good, but he was in the main crew of Step-Up Revolution, which means that SOMEONE in the So You Think You Can Dance team knew who he was before auditions, right?  But I'll leave the reality show conspiracies for another time.  I thought this might be a good partnership, and it does feel as if Amber is much more herself than she was with Nick.  It could also be because she's finally not doing a ballroom routine and doing something much closer to her contemporary roots.  The routine is a little Cat on A Hot Tin Roof, and the atmosphere works, but I don't think Brandon has that much to do, most of the work is in Amber's court.  Christina says it's "the best" that Amber's danced and that she has "passion".  Mary might have the quote of the night "there was some SOOOUUULLL in that bowl".  I don't know where she comes up with this stuff.  Nigel calls it "baby-making choreography", which is kind of creepy.  I think they're playing up the sexy a bunch because pre-teens love that stuff, but that's okay, these two kids did great, but I didn't think as difficult a routine as Tiffany and George.

Hey guys, in case you haven't been watching any of this season, National Dance Day is July 28th, i just saved you five minutes

Couple #3:  Dareian & Jannelle
Choreographer:  Pasha Kovalev (SYTYCD alum)
Style:  Cha-Cha
Theme:  Play it cool, boy, reeeaaaalll cool- and maybe call her, just maybe.
Song Artist:  Carly Rae-Jepsen
Song Title:  Call Me Maybe

hahahhhahahaha! I love that they've fallen into the Jepsen trap at SYTYCD!  Is there anyone who hasn't sung this song at the top of their lungs in the car (probably with windows up because, admit it you're embarrassed)?  Holy crap, that overhead lift at the end was great.  I kind of felt it was a slightly lackluster routine though.  I don't know if that's anyone's specific fault though.  Mary said the same thing basically: the tricks were great but the dancing was ok.  Christina picks on Dareian's hands and Nigel picks on Jannelle for not being as sexy as she normally is.  So the judges apparently thought it was even worse than lackluster, which is kind of sad, because I do like them as a couple.

Couple #4:  Lindsay & Cole
Choreographer:  Mandy Moore
Style:  Contemporary
Theme:  Love & Hate
Song Artist:  Charlotte Martin
Song Title:  Wild Horses

Ok, Cole is just seriously great.  The air he got from that standing jetee was insane. And Lindsay's dress is amazing.  She dances beautifully too, but she's overpowered by Cole in terms of stage presence.  I like that this feels like a really balanced routine, with both people relying on each other.  It doesn't feel like it's just about one of them.  It's a gorgeous routine, there's no denying that.  Nigel takes the moment to pimp the Emmy nomination for the SYTYCD lighting crew.  Nigel calls Cole "genius" and says that Lindsay's "spirit was in the right place". Mary says Lindsay has "all the magic in the world" and wants to know of Cole "what he can't do?" Christina says that Cole's "an enigma" and says that Lindsay "spoke through her body"...also known as dancing.

Couple #5:  Will & Amelia
Choreographer:  Mandy Moore
Style:  Jazz
Theme:  Opposites Attract...remember what I said two weeks ago about MC Skat Kat?
Song Artist:  The Creatures
Song Title:  You!

Of course the name of this song has an exclamation point.  I feel like Amelia lives her life with exclamation points.  That being said, I always like these guys more than I mean to.  Maybe it's that Will's goofiness makes Amelia's eccentricities bearable, I don't know.  This was good, really good, but it looked like Will was having some trouble in those shoes, or maybe he's just so tall.  Amelia's turns are great, but their chemistry is kind of ambiguous.  I'm not sure if it's brother/sister or sexy and the choreography although I couldn't  stop looking was more on the odd side.

Couple #6:  Audrey & Matt
Choreographer:  Liz Lira
Style:  Salsa
Theme:  Tricky, trick
Song Artist:  Sverre Indris Joner
Song Title: Cinco Salsa 

All you really need to know is that there's going to be a tornado spin in this routine...hopefully...if they got it.  I hope they don't throw out the trick like Johnny Castle and Baby had to, but they didn't.  Again this is another routine that's so heavy on partnering that the bulk of the tricks are on Audrey and Matt basically shows her off.  It's a fairly long routine for what was required and I thought they did at least adequate, there were a lot of tough things in there.  Mary says "I don't think this is gonna be the biggest highlight on your journey"; Christina thinks they "looked a little lost" and that the music was distracting; Nigel says "there wasn't enough going on for me".  It doesn't help that those all-red costumes felt slightly Velveeta.

Couple #7: Whitney & Cheon
Choreographer:  Stacey Tookey
Style: Contemporary
Theme: Star-Crossed Lovers
Song Artist:  Whitney Houston
Song Title:  I Will Always Love You (I picked the live version, because she was just that wonderful)

Fact: You can't go wrong with this song choice.  You can't. Whitney was one of the greats and I don't think it's a coincidence that this aired after the trailer for the movie she filmed before she died Sparkle.  
 

I know I'm being snarky, but am I the only one getting tired of Chehon constantly being shirtless?   This is not a problem for me in real life, generally, you're hot and you're shirtless, fine by me.  But it just feels a little manipulative.  These guys were really lucky this week.  They got a great choreographer, in a genre that's close to Chehon's ballet training so he could shine a bit and an awesome song choice, because, like I said, you don't go wrong with Whitney. It gets a standing ovation.  In fairness though, i feel like all of the dancers on this show would have knocked that routine out of the park, not just these guys.  Christina calls Chehon "stunning" and says that Whitney wasn't "just a ballroom dancer she was a concert dancer".  Mary starts crying  and says that the catch jump was the most "memorable thing on the show to date". Nigel says "he's really proud of the format that allowed (the judges) to save them".

Couple #8:  Cyrus & Eliana
Choreographer:  Napoleon & Tabitha
Style:  Hip Hop
Theme:  Robots and Ballerinas
Song Artist:  District 78 f/ Cheesa
Song Title:  Toxic -couldn't find the video but this is the I-tunes link

Robots...again...with Cyrus; to borrow from The Devil Wears Prada "groundbreaking".  I have to say first off, this song choice...awesome.  I actually love this version of the song.  Alright the routine is awesome indeed.  Probably the best one that Cyrus will get this season, for his strengths.  Again, a partnership that's had a couple of rough weeks and get to work in their strengths.  I'm happy for these two though because I think they've struggled more than others this season (so far).  I think this might be my routine of the night because of the difficulty level.  Mary says "it's a privilege to watch (Cyrus) do his thing" and that "they're both on the damn train..get outta here".  Christina says she was a bit "worried" at the beginning for Eliana and Nigel says that Eliana "was better than (Cyrus) in a lot of the hip hop" and that he believes that Cyrus will be able to "transfer to other worlds" (of dance, presumably).

They're doing another elimination this week (I think they're making this up as they go along)

Bottom 3:
Girls:
Lindsay
Eliana
Amber

Guys:
George
Brandon
Dareian

They want to see Eliana and Amber dance again for the girls (which probably means that Lindsay is safe) and Brandon and Dareian dance (which again, presumably means that George is safe).  WHY IS GEORGE IN THE BOTTOM 3 AMERICA?!?!?!  Are you just jealous of his talent?

Amber's Solo Song: Lana Del Rey's This is What Makes Us Girls
Solo rating: Amazing

Brandon's Solo Song: Tye Tribbett & G.A.- I Want It All Back
Solo rating: Impressive, really precise

Eliana's Solo Song: Olafur Arnalds' Near Light
Solo Rating: Beautiful, but not as passionate as Amber's

Dareian's Solo Song: John Legend's Ordinary People
Solo Rating: Those turns were great, I'm not sure if it makes up for, in comparison to Brandon's solo, the lack of power.

Alvin Ailey's American Dance Theatre troupe performing "The Hunt" proves that if you thought the only man who could dance in a skirt was The Backstreet Boys' Kevin Richardson, you were quite wrong.

Nigel also goes through the old "we're not kicking you off, you just got fewer votes" speech

Going Home:
Girls: Amber (I'm stunned personally)
Guys: Brandon 

Ok, after tonight, I can officially say, this format is totally bogus.  WHY IS AMBER BEING JUDGED ON A ROUTINE SHE PERFORMED WITH A SUB-PAR PARTNER WHO WAS ALREADY SENT HOME?!?!  This is crap, in my opinion.  Well, I'll go see Brandon in Step Up Revolution.  In a week that saw a lot of the strong couples struggle and the struggling couples shine, the votes would have been completely different if it weren't judged on LAST WEEK'S results.  So we say goodbye to two dancers who had the beginnings of an AWESOME partnership, while no one else is held accountable for their last week's performances. Ugh.  Oh well, so it was a tough night all around guys.  Some great dancers got the short end of the stick and some couples got really lucky and made the best of the circumstances.  I do appreciate that there were a lot more challenges thrown at the dancers this week (tons of new choreographers and a few really intricate routines out of their usual comfort zones) and even though I have to wait two weeks for the next episode, I'm still excited to get back and see what's in store.  Even though it means that the people going home will be being judged on routines that people have mostly forgotten in those two weeks. Ok, I have to be positive, positive, positive.  I can't end on that bummer of a note, so until the next two weeks, everyone!  Enjoy the Olympics!! (did the double exclamations convey my positivity?)  Thoughts on the new format?  Favorites? Comments? Critiques? I'm here to reply to whatever you throw my way.

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