November 25, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance: Top 12

This is the last week that everyone is with their original partnerships - except Victor and Karen you danced together for the first time this week after their partners were sent home last week. There are always one or two partnerships that I don't want to see end and the dancers get all emotional and I tear up a little. Then again, there are some that can really benefit from the shakeup.
We finally get decent use of the two hour run time with two routines per couple and more good than bad. Let's get to it.

Ellenore and Ryan - Lindy Hop (Carla Heiney)
The first Lindy Hop on the show since Neil and Lacey's in Season 3 and I dare say, this one was better. A lot of energy and both dancers were appropriately bouncy. They kept their stamina up for a pretty demanding and fast-paced routine and they performed it very well - which is no surprise really since Ellenore rocks at that and has really been bringing it out in Ryan lately.
Grade: A

Kathryn and Legacy - Jazz (Sonya Tayeh)
As with a lot of Sonya's work, it was sort of weird and alien. There was a sensuality to it that bordered on dirty (in a good way) and it was full to the brim with interest. Of course, several of the elements were tailored specifically to Legacy's style - crap walks, head spins - but I think perhaps Sonya did it less to dumb it down for Legacy and more to add weird elements to her already odd style taking advantage of having a dancer who happens to already be good at those things. And Kathryn and Legacy danced it really well. They really have great chemistry on the floor.
Grade: A

Karen and Victor - Tango (Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin)
The judges loved it, I liked it alright. It wasn't as good as Ellenore and Ryan's Tango from just a couple of weeks ago in my opinion, but it was still fairly good. Victor was a damn-site better at it than I expected and than he had any right to be given that this was the first routine he's done that was much removed from his own style. Karen is a Latin ballroom dancer but Nigel still said this wasn't in her wheel house and if a Tango isn't Latin ballroom then I just do not understand what the eff they consider Latin ballroom. That aside, she was good but not great and you just know the judges went on for an hour and a damn half talking her up trying to justify the fact that they kept her around after two straight weeks of the most abysmal solos the world has ever seen.
Grade: B+

Mollee and Nathan - Hip Hop (Jamal Sims)
A story routine about the invention of the telephone...and it's hip hop. It's really no wonder this was something less than awesome. It was not terrible but it was lack-luster and a little boring. They both danced it ok, I thought Mollee was a little better than Nathan, but overall it was...ok.
Grade: B-

Noelle and Russell - Samba (Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin)
Oh goodness. The problem with the Samba for two dancers so far out of their comfort zone, is that not only are there a lot of technical things they have to get right - the feet and the legs and the steps and the shoulders and the rolls and on and on and on - but there is a sexiness factor that they have to inject into it all. You can't just get up there and shake your hips to the beat and be done with it. You have to exude this Latin heat that I just don't think Russell and Noelle have. Either with each other or in general on their own.
Grade: C

Ashleigh and Jakob - Lyrical Jazz (Sonya Tayeh)
Fantastic! At this point, I don't think there is anything they could give these two to do that they wouldn't absolutely fucking rock at. This piece wasn't quite as strange as her Jazz routine but it was still very Sonya, if you know what I mean. The movement was more fluid and smoothe but there was something about it that made it a little more jazz than contemporary I guess. And Ashleigh and Jakob once again danced it perfectly.
Grade: A+

Ellenore and Ryan - Broadway (Spencer Liff)
I officially love Spencer Liff. Once again I was surprised by how much I actually really liked a Broadway routine. Not only was it good choreography that actually fit as a duet (instead of what Tyce insists on doling out which are the big production numbers with shit choreography and just two people dancing them), their dancing was genius. Particularly Ellenore whose lines are always perfection and, I know I keep harping on it but, her performance sold the whole thing.
Grade: A+

Kathryn and Legacy - Viennese Waltz (Jean-Marc and France Genereux)
I have missed Jean-Marc and France. The choreography was very nice here and it was danced pretty well. Kathryn in particular was terrific while Legacy was a little to high and had some issues with his shoulders being up. But overall, it was a decent performance.
Grade: B+

Karen and Victor - Hip Hop (Laurie Ann Gibson)
Laurie Ann Gibson has over-taken Tyce as my least favorite choreographer on this show. Her personality is obnoxious as hell and her routines are pure crap. Let's take the totally shit choreo off the table and talk about how they danced it: not well. They were soft, they weren't in sync, they didn't seem to put any of themselves into it. It was a bit of a soggy mess from start to finish.
Grade: C-

Mollee and Nathan - Can-Can (Tyce DiOrio)
As with most of Tyce's dances, I thought this would have been a lot better as a group production number. That said, it was still ok as it was. Unfortunately Mollee didn't dance it with anywhere near enough energy and seemed pretty tentative on an injured ankle to me. Nathan, for once, had energy to spare and his spins were out of this world.
Grade: C+

Noelle and Russell - Contemporary (Tyce DiOrio)
For as crappy as his Broadway choreo is, his contemporary pieces are decent more often than not. This was a pretty good one. They were painting their story or something. Whatever it was, they had great chemistry and their movement was divine. I thought they both did great but Noelle was probably a little better than Russell which is to be expected since she's a contemporary dancer.
Grade: A

Ashleigh and Jakob - Cha Cha (Jean-Marc and France Genereux)
Hot stuff! As Adam rightly pointed out after this number, that was Ashleigh's world and we were all just watching her live in it. She cha cha'd her ass off and Jakob did an admirable frakking job keeping up. Steamy, sexy, cool, thrilling and fun as hell to watch, it was everything the cha cha should be.
Grade: A
Bottom Three - Nathan and Mollee, Victor and Karen, Russell and Noelle
Should Go Home - Victor and Karen
Will Go Home - Victor and Karen, though I think the judges will be tempted to send Mollee home because she's got a bum ankle and she wasn't great last night, I hope that they'll realize that they gave Karen at least one week more than she had earned and not let this travesty continue any longer. If they do, I am certain that America will send her home as soon as it's 100% up to the voters.

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