July 15, 2010

Dropping Like Flies

It looks like So You Think You Can Dance has caught Dancing With The Stars Syndrome as we've got someone out with an injury for the second week in a row. After Alex's detached tendon forced him out of the competition last week, Ashley was unable to dance last night due to "chest pains." She'll be automatically placed in the bottom three this week and could be sent home. If she is unable to dance next week, she'll go home for certain.

For the most part, this week's dances were fantastic and since I didn't get to post my thoughts last week (the down side of vacation) I'm itching to get on with it now!

Contestant: Lauren
All-Star: Mark
Dance: Tahitian, Tiana Liufau
Sometimes “ethnic” dances are tough to judge because they’re styles we’re not used to seeing and therefore aren’t certain exactly what they should look like. In this case, I feel like I’ve seen the hula performances at enough luaus to know whether or not it sucks. It did not suck. I thought that Mark (a Hawaiian native) was strong and shirtless and awesome, and Lauren had that hip action down like a damn pro.
Grade – Contestant: A
Grade – All-Star: A
Grade – Choreography: A

Contestant: Adechike
All-Star: Anya
Dance: Salsa, Liz Lira and Danny DavalosI

happen to think Anya is as hot as molten lava and the woman basically puts every male contestant on the show to shame when she gets out there but the combination of the very advanced “competition style” choreography and her newbie partner made even her look awkward during this one. I think it was up to a level that should not have been attempted by a first-timer because there was no way Adechike could keep up with all that was required of him and it showed as Anya struggled to carry him through it. It wasn’t really his fault, he clearly tried hard and it seemed like he might have been able to pull something a little less complex off but he just didn’t get the job done here.
Grade – Contestant: C-
Grade – All-Star: B-
Grade – Choreography: C

Contestant: Jose
All-Star: Courtney
Dance: Broadway, Joey Dowling

Another contestant felled by bad choreography! Jose’s skills have always been sub-par as compared to his competition but he’s flown through on his personality and performance. He is so effervescent that you forget to notice he’s not dancing well and instead just enjoy watching him have fun. But Joey had him pouting and loping around to Mr. Cellophane while Courtney pranced and glided in giant pink show-girl feathers and hot damn was it no fun. At best it was boring, at worst it was a flashing neon sign pointing out his lack of technique in even the simplest moves. And much as I think he’s an adorable person, I thought the pouting during his critique was way over-done. He needs to take the feedback like a man because his reaction told me he expected to skate through to the finale on his personality alone with no intention of improving his dance skills. Grade – Contestant: D-
Grade – All-Star: A
Grade – Choreography: C

Contestant: Robert
All-Star: Allison
Dance: Contemporary, Travis Wall
Sometimes it can be a little irksome when someone tells us in the rehearsal package that the dance is about their dead father in heaven or their disabled daughter or their friend with cancer or whatever. Mostly because there is no way in hell that the judges or the audience can say “eh, I really didn’t care for it” after that. So when Travis said that this dance was about/for his mom who was sick and had just had surgery (I’ve no idea what Denise Wall is sick with but I gather from Allison’s hair and wardrobe that it’s cancer. I hope she’s better very soon), I was worried that I’d be forced to “like” it no matter what. As a confession I’ll tell you now that I never liked that “dancing with my dad in heaven” number that Mia choreographed for Neil and Lacey in season three and upon repeated viewings found only the performances and not the actual choreography to carry Tyce’s “Breast Cancer” routine through to an emotional resonance. But this one turned out to be fantastic on every level. I loved that they costumed Robert in total Travis clothes. I thought they choreography was beautiful and heartbreaking. I thought both Robert and Allison danced it perfectly. I adored it completely.
Grade – Contestant: A
Grade – All-Star: A
Grade – Choreography: A

Contestant: Billy Bell
All-Star: Anya
Dance: Jive, Louis van Amstel
A totally fun routine that looked to me like it could be worked into a production of Grease fairly effortlessly. It was fast but not so fast that Billy appeared to struggle. He kept up with Anya very well and made a terrific showing for himself. I was a wee bit distracted by her wardrobe malfunction and the possibility that it could trip her up to disastrous effect but everything was fine and the overall dance was very a joy to watch. Also, bonus points for Louis from Tom because Meat Loaf is totally his fave.
Grade – Contestant: A
Grade – All-Star: A
Grade – Choreography: A

Contestant: Kent
All-Star: Neil
Dance: Broadway, Tyce DiOrio
How many more ways can I say that I do not like Broadway routines or Tyce’s choreography? This one was a little better than I’m used to from Tyce – a Damn Yankee’s routine with two of the most charismatic dancers the show has ever had in baseball uniforms running around and being cute. It’s damn near impossible not to be charmed by either Neil or Kent let alone Neil AND Kent so it was a fine routine. I thought Neil out-danced Kent a bit and it’s possible that was due to Neil’s larger stature making everything look a little bigger and faster and better-extended. Everyone else at my house and Nigel thought the opposite was true. Either way, it didn’t blow the doors off the place but it didn’t suck either.
Grade – Contestant: A-
Grade – All-Star: A
Grade – Choreography: B

Contestants: Lauren and Billy
Dance: Jazz, Mandy Moore
I really enjoyed this fun, energetic little number. I mean, as if “Boogie Shoes” weren’t perfectly awesome enough all on it’s own, this story of two pairs of shoes that meet, fall in love and just have to dance was so much fun. I thought they both did really well but Lauren really drew my eye here, I really LOVED her in this number. And since I didn’t get to mention it last week, this is the second week in a row that I think Lauren was the over-all best contestant of the night.
Grade – Lauren: A+
Grade – Billy: A
Grade – Choreography: A

Contestant: Jose
All-Star: Dominic
Dance: Breaking, Tabitha and Napoleon
Well I must first call bullshit because the odd number of contestants at the time of the drawing meant that one person would not pick a partner for the pair-up portion. It was inevitable that someone would end up dancing with 2 all-stars but the fact that that person was automatically given their style was utterly ridiculous. Unfortunately for Jose, it didn’t really do him any favors to showcase his b-boy skills alongside Dom who is the best b-boy the show has ever had (in my opinion, though Gev was a very close second). He didn’t have nearly the strength or speed that Dominic has and when they did their helicopter spins side by side it was particularly evident that he isn’t even good enough in his own genre to remain in the competition at this point.
Grade – Contestant: C
Grade – All-Star: A+
Grade – Choreography: A-

Contestants: Adechike and Kent
Dance: Contemporary, Dee Caspary

Apparently one of the two chairs was supposed to represent a girlfriend who doesn’t treat Kent very well and Adechike was staging an intervention to help his friend realize he could do better. It was a good routine but the chair as the girlfriend was a little distracting. I thought Kent out-shown Adechike a little both in performance and technique. I like Adechike well enough but I do think he’s a bit under the level of some of the other dancers that remain.
Grade – Adechike: A-
Grade – Kent: A
Grade – Choreography: B+

Contestants: Robert and Ashley
All-Star Substitute: Kathryn
Dance: Disco, Doriana Sanchez
Ugh. I swear, Doriana must sit around trying to find ways to turn choreography into just one lift after another with no steps in between. Her routines are completely clumsy and not remotely entertaining as all I can think about is when they’re going to lose their balance and kill one another. If I had to guess, I’d say this is the routine that did Ashley in and I hope Doriana feels pretty fucking bad about it because her complete hackary is racking up a body count now! (It was never confirmed but it was suggested that the disco routine was what did in Jessica with a busted rib in the 4th season…that wasn’t entirely Doriana’s fault though, it was Will’s terrible partnering skills that caused him to slam her to the floor during their death drop, but I digress.) This was like all her other routines – too fast, too many lifts and tricks with too little for the dancers to stabilize themselves with and therefore a clumsy mess.
Grade – Robert: B+
Grade – Kathryn: B+
Grade – Choreography: C-

Bottom Three:
Ashley, Adechike, Jose
Should Go Home: Jose
Will Go Home: Ashley

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