July 9, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance - Top 12 Performance

Now that's more like it! The Top 12 performance night represents the third major obstacle to the contestants on the show - first they need to make it to Vegas, then they need to make the Top 20 and then they need to make the Top 10 in order to go on tour. It's a big night and this season it's an extra big night because each couple dances two routines and this is a couple of weeks sooner than they usually put them through that.

So, as Mary said, "pipe down English muffin" and let's get on with the recap.

Melissa and Ade - Disco (Doriana Sanchez)
Disco. They were good but it was still disco. Melissa was just a bit less comfortable and confident with the movements than Ade was. He was able to really "get down with his bad self" here where he's mostly been there to lift her up and stuff up until now. He's done other things of course, but he's never really been given the opportunity to shine like I believe he can. He showed some definite sparkle in this one though, despite the atrocious get-up they made him wear.
Grade: B+

Kayla and Kupono - Contemporary (Mia Michaels)
Amazing. The piece was about addiction where Kayla was the addict and Kupono was her addiction. She was trying to break free of it but it wouldn't let her go. I have goose bumps even talking about it. They danced it wonderfully of course because they both have terrific skill, but more importantly, they performed the shit out of it - she was desperate and defeated; he was maniacal and smothering. I loved it.
Grade: A+

Caitlin and Jason - Fox Trot (Tony Meredith)
It wasn't bad, but it was boring. There is something about the way that she dances, particularly in lifts and kicks, that makes it seem shaky all the time. She lacks fluidity and she never makes anything look effortless like most of the other dancers do. Jason gave a good performance and his dancing was good but there was nothing outstanding about the dance and once again they lacked chemistry.
Grade: C

Jeanine and Phillip - Russian Folk (Yourie Nelzine and Llia Babanko...or something like that)
Prior to watching the show last night I peeped a Tweet by Nigel (@dizzyfeet) that said the Russian routine was disappointing. I wondered if it was the choreography or the execution that disappointed and then I got my answer. This looked like something you'd choreograph for small children at an "Its A Small World" themed concert at Disneyland and Nigel basically said as much during the show. They did what they could with what they were given but what they were given was complete rubbish and dancers often suffer for the choreographer's mistakes. Nigel was sorry they elected to include this style on the show and I agree.
Grade: Choreography: F, Dancing: B-

Randi and Evan - Hip Hop (Tabitha and Napoleon)
I really, really wanted them to get a routine that was reminiscent of last year's "Bleeding Love" and then have them really sink their teeth in and kill it. What they got was barely hip hop and not very interesting and even then they didn't really sell it. They were alright and they did all the steps...I can't say that they didn't hit it hard enough because there was nothing to hit, but they just didn't kill it. It was limp and watered down.
Grade: C

Janette and Brandon - Argentine Tango (Leonardo Barrionuevo and Miriam Larici)
It was good but it was not perfect as the judges would have us believe. The flicks should have been faster and flickier. But their lines were great and they performed it well and since the level of difficulty is up there pretty high on this style, it was definitely impressive.
Grade: A

Melissa and Ade - Waltz (Ron Montez)
Here's where the intro packages were all about what each person was going to miss the most about their partner when the pairs get shuffled next week and when Melissa talked about not dancing with Ade anymore, she cried. A lot. I would too because he's so beautiful. They were gorgeous in this dance. Their lines were great, he lacked a bit of rise and fall in his feet but their faces and upper bodies were so lovely that my eyes almost never got down there anyway. Once again they had chemistry to spare and he was lifting her up like it was nothing. Melissa was nailing this one the whole time.
Grade: A

Kayla and Kupono - Broadway (Joey "Awful Bitch" Dowling)
Kupono is going to miss her sweaty hands and feet. Hee! Tyce thought they needed to make the floor more a part of the dance and Nigel wanted them to dance more like they'd gotten gut-punched but I thought it was a fun routine. I enjoyed the "teenagers in love" feeling I got from it and thought they danced it well. Oddly enough, I don't care for the real West Side Story which is what the judges wanted to see from them instead of what they did. Maybe that's why I liked it and the judges were merely lukewarm on the whole thing. There were a couple of kicks where her leg was higher than an elephant's eye and his was brushing the dust of a house cat's ears but I honestly couldn't tell if that was the choreography or not because he can usually get his kicks up pretty high.
Grade: A-

Caitlin and Jason - Lyrical Jazz (Mandy Moore)
He's going to miss her personality so obviously he's suffered a closed head injury recently. This was a good (not great) Mandy Moore piece and they danced it well. I would call the whole thing solid. Solid shouldn't be what you're after at this stage of the game. And, it was pointed out to me and I agree, that she does not take either compliments or criticism well during judging. She sits there with a pinched, pained, sour expression the entire time no matter what they say. If she doesn't go home tonight, it'll be a travesty of justice.
Grade: B+

Jeanine and Phillip - Jive (Tony Meredith)
He's going to miss her sunny disposition...his girlfriend must have him on a tight leash because I'd think he'd miss her gorgeousness. You know you expected for the Jive to be a white-hot mess for Phillip but I'm not blowing smoke when I tell you it really wasn't that bad. His feet were quite good, his carriage was good, he was even able to cross the stage in closed holds and get some pretty intricate hand and footwork going at the same time. Unfortunately his facial expression was one of extreme concentration and fear the entire time so he's still not cutting the mustard as he should be. Jeanine was excellent. I'm sticking to what I said yesterday - I think Phillip has done what he can on the show and on the strength of his solos over Jason's and his one tour-worthy routine, he should make the Top 10 and then go home next week.
Grade: B

Randi and Evan - Samba (Pasha Kovalev and Anya Garnis)
She's going to miss the (completely ineffectual and ridiculous) face he makes when he's supposed to be looking at her like he loves and/or wants her. And this is exactly what their problem was in this dance: his "sexy" face conveys the sentiment "Ha! Look at me trying to be sexy. Heeheehee HA!" There is always a smile or smirk creeping into his "sexy" face that makes it clear not even he believes he's capable of seduction. Meanwhile, anytime someone mentions to her that she needs to be sexy she giggles like a school girl. If they can't believe they're sexy, they're never going to sell us on the idea. And they really didn't with the samba. They did all the moves they were asked to do (his shoulders were up a little though) but it was uncomfortable to watch. One of the judges mentioned "a sizzle" and my mother, without missing a beat, said "I didn't get a sizzle. I didn't get a warm breeze. That was like a cold drink of water!" She wasn't wrong. I would have loved to see Pasha (PASHA!) and Anya dance that piece. They would have scorched the floorboards!
Grade: C-

Janette and Brandon - Jazz (Wade Robson)
He's going to miss how she brought him out of his shell. I don't even know what to say to that. This was classic Wade in the best possible way and I loved it. Quickly before I talk about the routine though, I'd just like to ask, is Wade Robson really tall or are Janette and Brandon miniature people? The rehearsal package made him look a foot and a half taller than both of them and he's never come off as being terribly tall before. Ok, moving on. The music was perfect (Roisin Murphy's "Ruby Blue"), the costumes were perfect, the movement was perfect. They were completely, perfectly in sync with one another the entire time, they used their faces, their costumes, their props, the stage and each other to exquisite effect. Upon it's completion my mother promptly proclaimed it her favorite and said "that was awesome!" The novice doesn't lie.
Grade: A+

Best Routine(s): Kayla and Kupono's contemporary (Mia Michaels' addiction), Janette and Brandon's Jazz (Wade Robson's "Ruby Blue")
Worst Routine(s): Russian Folk
Best Overall Couple: Janette and Brandon
Worst Overall Couple: Randi and Evan

Predictions: Randi and Evan, Jason and Caitlin, Phillip and Jeanine in the bottom three. Jason and Caitlin going home.

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