July 16, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance - Top 10 Performance Show

Was it my imagination or did the judges talk a LOT last night? Like, considerably more than is typical...which, by the way, is quite a freakin' bit as it is.

Cat also seemed to have her enthusiasm dialed up one notch too high. I'm all for excitement but hers was just over the top enough for me to suspect she was faking it and isn't that great an actress.

All that said, it was a great show last night. Partners were picked from a hat so everyone was dancing with someone new which meant it was time to see exactly who was holding whom back in the previous pairings. So everyone danced one number with their new partner, a group routine, and a solo. I'll be grading the group routines and the partner numbers but not the solos. I'll just tell you now that very few of the solos were particularly good. Janette's was good considering her style requires partnering and she had to do it alone, Jeanine was the best girl and Evan the best guy. Evan's was the best of the night for me.

Now, let's get to it.

Top 5 Girls - Bollywood (Nakul Dev Makajan)
This was really high-energy and fun to watch. The show is on a roll with this genre. I disagreed with Nigel on one point though - while he didn't think any one dancer stuck out either for better or worse, I thought Janette kicked the shit out of this one while the other ladies were merely excellent. This was a great way to start off the night.
Grade: A

Kayla and Evan - Viennese Waltz (Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin)
I expected this to be a total disaster. I've seen a short guy and a tall girl dance ballroom before (season 3, Top 20 show - I can't remember their names but I know they both went home that week because it was so awkward) and it's not an exaggeration to say that it's painful to watch when it looks like a beautiful woman is dancing romantically with a young boy. But Kayla went barefoot and Evan wore the heels that the Latin ballroom men wear and he really did dance tall. His lifts were outstanding and while Mary had some beefs with his technique, I thought the whole dance looked pretty good. You know, from a lay persons perspective.
Grade: B+

Janette and Ade - Hip Hop (Tabitha and Napoleon)
I have been dying to see Ade tackle hip hop and I already knew Janette could pull it off so this was an exciting prospect and they did not disappoint! He blossomed last night - for the first time this season his routine was not about picking his partner up and carrying her around 10 different ways. NappyTabs could have fallen into that trap just the way every other choreographer did because Ade is the biggest, strongest man in the competition and Janette is the tiniest of the girls. This could have been one lift and throw after another. Instead it was funky and fun and stuck to the story without relying so heavily on it that it made the movement uninteresting. It was great fun to watch and both dancers were outstanding.
Grade: A

Jeanine and Jason - Contemporary (Travis Wall)
If you haven't been with the show since the beginning like I have, Travis Wall was the runner up in Season 2. He's an astonishingly beautiful dancer, a lovely person, and 1/2 of the couple that danced the first routine to win this show an Emmy (Mia Michaels' Park Bench). He spent the next couple of seasons as the SYTYCD audition choreographer and he clearly honed his skills because holy balls was this routine amazing! The story of long-time friends trying to become lovers it was exhilarating, heart breaking, sexy, steamy.... As good as the choreography was, it started out a little bit slow for me but it built to a mother of a crescendo! It also had to be danced perfectly to truly be affecting and it WAS! These two had chemistry to spare. Their previous partners were holding them back because both Jeanine and Jason shined brighter than ever last night. I felt like a voyeur watching this dance and I mean that in a good way. LOVE.
Grade: A+

Randi and Kupono - Paso Doble (Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin)
Last week I thought maybe Randi had been trying to carry Evan and it was more than she could handle. If this week is any indication, it was Evan who was unable to carry Randi any further. This was a hot mess. She clomped across the stage and in some places just looked like she was running or walking rather than dancing. I saw the effort. Kupono wasn't quite as bad but he doesn't have a commanding enough stage presence to combat his own lack of skill with the dance. They lacked chemistry and confidence....it was a real mess.
Grade: D

Melissa and Brandon - Broadway (Tyce Diorio)
Ugh. It was a Hair routine that was so very boring. They danced it well but it was not fun or interesting. The thing about the Broadway style is that more often than not, these are dances that call for large groups - big production numbers. Having just two people dance them makes them seem thin. It didn't give either dancer an opportunity to shine and I don't know if the chemistry was really lacking or if I was so bored by the routine that I just couldn't see the chemistry.
Grade: B-

Top Five Guys - African (Jeffery Page)
Another group dance that was high energy. None of the guys stood out in either a good or bad way. It was a good number and certainly nice to see them try a more ethnic dance that actually worked out but it wasn't as entertaining as Five Guys Named Moe that Nigel (and Shane Sparks if I'm not mistaken) choreographed for the top 5 guys last year.
Grade: A-

Predictions: Randi, Kayla, Melissa are the bottom three girls; Kupono, Brandon and...I have no idea who else are the bottom guys. Randi and Kupono are going home. Neither were very good last night and I don't think either has a big enough fan base to keep them afloat through a tough week. I like them both but amongst stiff competition, they're the weakest.

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