June 25, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance - Top 16 Performance

Toni Basil is the guest judge this week and hello Dolly is she ever a hat full of crazy. Poor Cat asked her direct questions like "what did you think" and she'd talk about how she knows a guy who invented a lock step of some kind and that you have to be really street and not let your technique make you worse.
She might have been a tad easier to take if Nigel hadn't been in such a foul mood. He could scarcely think of a single nice thing to say all, "you waltzed beautifully but no one likes waltzes so you're going to be in the bottom three you big losers." Thanks Nigel, that's very constructive.

But the judges are not (really) what the show is about so on with the dances!

Karla and Jonathan - Hip Hop (Dave Scott)
I revert to my initial opinion of Jonathan, he is not good. The routine was supposed to be about gangsters running from the law - he looked like a 6-year-old running from his mom at bed time. He isn't cutting the mustard like they should be at this stage of the competition and while Karla made up for a lot of his short comings in the Cha Cha, she doesn't have the tightest grip on Hip Hop herself - she was merely crisp where she should have been hard and they were playing to and smiling at the audience like it was their first dance recital. The whole thing was a soggy mess.
Grade: D-

Asuka and Vitolio - Jazz (Mandy Moore)
Well let's call a spade a spade - this was not a good Mandy Moore routine. She's one of my favorite choreographers but this was a misstep on her part. But it was no worse than what Sonya choreographed for Melissa and Ade last week and unfortunately Vitolio and Asuka were not up to the task of improving the outcome by dancing the shit out of it the way that Melissa and Ade did. Asuka looked unsure of every move and frightened of making a mistake. Vitolio seemed more worried about being there to steady his partner than getting it perfect for himself. The result was very uncomfortable to watch.
Grade: D

Melissa and Ade - Rhumba (Tony Meredith)
It was a tiny bit too slow for me, which may have been a failure on the part of Tony Meredith, but as I recall, Gev and Courtney danced an equally slow Rhumba last season and did it smoother and better. That said, this was still good. They've both got excellent hip action and they are able to convincingly portray passion and heat in their dancing. They're incredibly strong and genuinely likable as both a couple and as individual dancers.
Grade: B+

Janette and Brandon - Hip Hop (Dave Scott)
Once again, Brandon refuses to let me feel justified in my dislike of him. This is exactly like Danny from season three! The personality is grating, he's too talkative and a total diva but damn it all if he can't effing dance everything he's given admirably. The premise of a rocker and a hip hopper was a pretty brilliant way of ensuring that Janette would not need to be quite as sharp or hard on the poppier/lockier moments in the piece. Brandon is surprisingly good at that aspect of the hip hop and Janette gave such a PERFORMANCE that it sold the routine almost beyond the dancing itself.
Grade: A

Kayla and Kupono - Viennese Waltz (Jean-Marc and France Genereux)
I love Jean-Marc Genereux and am so freaking glad to see him this season finally. This Waltz was beautiful from start to finish and I don't care what Nigel said, this was one of my favorites of the night and it did inspire me to stand up and clap. The choreography was exquisite and they danced it wonderfully. Usually when I watch ballroom dances I pay a lot of attention to their feet and their shoulders trying to anticipate whether Mary will have any beef with them on a technical level. The dance was so lovely that I forgot to look at their feet and their shoulders always seemed in excellent form to me. I thought Kupono should have gone last week but I'm quite glad to see him making himself worthy of sticking around. I think he may just be a better partner for Kayla than Max after all.
Grade: A

Randi and Evan - Contemporary (Mia Michaels)
An entire routine about Randi's ass - I don't know how she'll ever be able to teach elementary school after that. But if it's any consolation to her, this routine was seriously good. I was having a hard time picturing the two of them - sweet, silly, shy little things that they are - pulling off a routine that required her to hypnotize him with her ass. Turns out they are exactly as talented as is necessary to convince me because this dance was fun and funny and hot and strong and amazing. I do have a complaint about the wardrobe - the stylist dressed Evan in a suit so large that he looked like a little boy dressed up in father's pajamas. And I don't understand the single stocking/garter but I'm willing to bet that was a Mia thing. Neither was distracting enough to keep me from loving the piece.
Grade: A

Caitlin and Jason - Paso Doble (Jean-Marc and France Genereux)
I didn't care for it. There were so many moments throughout the dance that made me nervous - like they weren't going to make the turn, or someone would fall or a lift wouldn't get off the ground. By the time he dropped her on purpose at the end I wasn't entirely sure it was part of the plan. It wasn't awful but it lacked sizzle and commitment and passion to me, and the level of performance from both was not on par with some of their competition. They just aren't making themselves memorable and that's going to hurt their chances of making it to the Top 10.
Grade: C

Jeanine and Phillip - Broadway (Tyce DiOrio)
A fun routine that didn't require too much technique but did require a whole lot of energy. I thought they pulled it off and I enjoyed it a lot. I was nervous for him to make the jump over the couch and was subsequently transfixed by the giant split in the ass of his pants after he did. Nigel was harder on him than I thought he deserved under the circumstances. What he lacks in skill, he made up for in personality and chemistry with his partner. My brother feels very strongly that Phillip should be gone but that his fans are unfairly keeping him around. It is definitely true that his abilities aren't quite up to the level of most of the competition, however, this is about America's FAVORITE dancer, not the best dancer. However, while I've sided with the Phillip fans thus far, I'll not remain this generous forever. I would like to see him stretch far enough to reach what he's after one of these weeks. And I don't want his short-comings to hold Jeanine back because she's very good.
Grade: B

Prediction: Karla and Jonathan, Asuka and Vitolio, and Jason and Caitlin are in the bottom three. Jonathan and Asuka are going home.

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