July 29, 2010

Six...No Really This Time

Déjà vu?

So You Think You Can Dance, Top 6, Take 2!

A guest judge on the panel again this week – Toni Redpath who was kind of a bitchy hoot in auditions and Las Vegas but is maybe the tiniest bit nuts. It’s nice to have someone who’s qualified to judge the ballroom numbers, but she’s no Mary Murphy. I’m as surprised as anyone at how much, but I really, REALLY miss Mary. What do you suppose she did to piss Nigel off and get the full boot from the show?

Oh, right, dancing.

Contestant: Kent
All-Star: Anya
Dance: Cha Cha, Jean-Marc Genereux and France Mousseau

It’s a little interesting to me that this is Kent’s second ballroom draw and his second Cha Cha. I wonder why they couldn’t have mixed it up a little – have they done a single Rhumba this year? Whiter the waltz? Anyway, I s’pose I shouldn’t complain because he did another really good job. Better than the first when his energy and personality mostly propelled him through it. This time I saw some pretty good lines, some decent foot and hip action, and a lot of manly, sexy, take-charge bravado that is starting to come through in his dancing without him having to try quite so hard. There were definitely moments where he went a little stiff all over like he was so worried about appearing strong or masculine that he didn’t get down into the movement enough, but overall it was a hugely entertaining number. Mia once again nailed him for pulling faces which I honestly thought he kept to a minimum in this number so I dismissed everything else she said. Everyone else seemed to really like it.
Grade – Contestant: A
Grade – All-Star: A
Grade – Choreography: A

Contestant: Robert
All-Star: Kathryn
Dance: Contemporary, Stacey Tookey

This piece is about saying goodbye when someone is going off to the war. It’s well choreographed and really well danced but what reached into my chest and punched me in the heart was Kathryn’s performance. Her dancing is always perfection – and every time I see her I’m more convinced that the voting public are complete morons for not making her the winner last season – but sometimes it’s outshone by her acting. Her face displayed a million different kinds of heartache and agony and love and loss and despair. In the end of the dance, Robert picks up the bag and the uniform and then Kathryn takes them from him and walks away. It was a nice change to the usual story that it was actually Kathryn that was headed to war, and not Robert. The entire piece was powerful and wonderful. The judges all loved it but Mia made a comment about Stacey keeping her on her toes (and called Stacey “mama”) that if found slightly condescending.
Grade – Contestant: A
Grade – All-Star: A+
Grade – Choreography: A

Contestant: AdeChike
All-Star: Courtney
Dance: Jazz, Tyce DiOrio

For a Tyce number, this was pretty good. It was definitely jazzy and had a very sultry sort of vibe to it which went really well with the Dizzy Gillespie song it was performed to, but I’m going to have to be honest and tell you that I almost didn’t notice AdeChike in this dance at all because Courtney drew my eye the entire time. She was amazing. This is one of those dances that seems to fit her like a glove, and I just couldn’t pay attention to him so long as she was on screen. The judges had mostly good things to say about him though Adam and Nigel think he needs to loosen his back and Mia thinks that there needs to be more performance or emotion or joy or something. My grade on this one is going to be on the tiny bits I watched him do and the overall critique from the judges (minus Mia and her lunacy, natch). Oh, also, this is where Adam said something about dancing “balls-out” and, in my time zone anyway, was bleeped out because apparently you can’t say “balls” in primetime. You can say ass and dick though so I’m not sure how they’re drawing this line or why.
Grade – Contestant: A-
Grade – All-Star: A
Grade – Dance: B+

Contestant: Jose
All-Star: Comfort
Dance: Hip Hop, Marty Kudelka and Dana Wilson

I have no idea who these choreographers are, but Jay quite rightly noted that Dana looks a lot like Maggie Gyllenhaal. That has no bearing on anything, I just thought I’d mention it. This number has Jose trying to pick up Comfort and it’s done to one of my all-time favorite songs – Otis Redding’s “Try A Little Tenderness.” I’m not entirely sure why the wardrobe is so ‘30s but that doesn’t really matter because I really dug the cool, groovy, old-school vibe of this piece. And for once, it made me love Comfort’s dancing. I didn’t get even the slightest whiff of masculinity from her, she was precise and in character and on the beat and feminine the entire time and that was kind of a shame for Jose because he doesn’t have anywhere near her precision or her musicality so he added nothing at all to the dance. The judges were mixed – Nigel didn’t care for it, Toni really did, Mia kinda hated it, Adam is Switzerland so he saw everyone’s point and didn’t take sides.
Grade – Contestant: B-
Grade – All-Star: A
Grade – Choreography: A

Contestant: Lauren
All-Star: Allison
Dance: Broadway, Tyce DiOrio

Finally, some girl-girl dancing! I’ll admit I was a little nervous for Lauren when I found out that she was dancing with Allison because Allison has been SO good this year and because Allison has this definite maturity going for her and Lauren’s youth and youthful exuberance is sometimes her greatest weakness. But to my great surprise and delight, she kept up with Allison every inch of the way and maybe almost out-shone her in one or two brief spots (though she also fell the teensiest bit short of matching Allison for in a couple of spots right at the beginning). The number was a lot more fun than I’m used to in a Tyce Broadway offering, but I think my enjoyment of it was mostly to the credit of the ladies dancing it because as with most of Tyce’s stuff, it was a lot of standard steps/moves strung together with a whole lot of nothing special in between. The judges agreed with me and Mia even notes that it isn’t the most memorable routine of the night and because I thought the girls did sparklingly well, I’m choosing to believe she meant the choreography and not the dancing.
Grade – Contestant: A
Grade – All-Star: A
Grade – Choreography: B+

Contestant: Billy
All-Star: Ade
Dance: Contemporary, Stacey Tookey

Another concept/story routine from Stacey and another one I really enjoyed. Billy is a homeless man and Ade is a successful business man. The movement in this piece really seemed to express the story and I enjoyed the hell out of watching them both dance it, though I didn’t get a lot of the “rough, pedestrian” vibe from Billy that I was told I was supposed to be getting. I think he almost has too much skill and training and technique to dance pedestrian. I found Ade to be really gorgeous (both as a dancer and just in general) in this dance.
Grade – Contestant: A
Grade – All-Star: A+
Grade – Choreography: A

Contestants: Jose and Kent
Dance: Broadway, Spencer Liff

Well let me start by saying, holy crap Spencer Liff is hot. Ok, now that that’s out of the way…this routine – about two construction workers on a break ogling women – was well suited for these two dancers in particular. Kent has a definite flare for Broadway routines because his personality is able to come through and he can put all of his charisma and skill to work at the same time and really play to the cheap seats. Plus, he’s given a character that’s young and a bit over-eager so his faces are extra perfect. Jose was given a character that’s older, more laid-back and a bit too cool for school so his lack of technique works with the role. And I’m not sure if it was that, his ability to tell a story with his personality, Kent rubbing off on him a little or all of the above but he managed to work better in this dance than he has in most anything else he’s done all season. All that said, I still thought this routine was a little on the boring side.
Grade – Jose: B+
Grade – Kent: A+
Grade – Choreography : A-

Contestants: Lauren and AdeChike
Dance: Foxtrot, Jean-Marc Genereux and France Mouseau

Poor AdeChike. I didn’t see him in this dance either. Lauren was such a vision, so vivacious and magnetic that I couldn’t tear my eyes off of her. I don’t really know the foxtrot and so I’m not entirely sure how they did (Toni says not great) from a technical standpoint, but I can tell you that I’d pay to watch Lauren dance like that any day of the week and that I enjoyed the shit out of it. I also enjoyed the choreography a lot because it really conveyed a sultry feeling. The judges mostly liked it, and mostly loved Lauren.
Grade – Lauren: A+
Grade – AdeChike: A-
Grade – Choreography: A

Contestants: Billy and Robert
Dance: Bollywood, Nakul Dev Mahajan

Oy with the Bollywood already! One number per season seems like a good place to stop with the Bollywood numbers Nigel. That’ll never happen. Anyway, the guys both did pretty darn good with this one and I thought Robert did a little better – he was a little more crisp and snappy and strong where Billy tends to come off a bit flaily to me in some of the more jump-y movements. The judges said stuff…it doesn’t really matter, does it?
Grade – Billy: A-
Grade – Robert: A
Grade – Dance: A-

Everyone did a solo again this week and usually I don’t mention it because they get 30 seconds and it’s not much time so I tend not to blame them for all being kinda lame. But every once in a while someone does a solo that really blows me away (Janine was a great soloist, I recall one from Ade that blew my mind, Dom and Twitch both used to really kill with their solos) and that happened last night. I thought Lauren’s solo was the best of the entire season, hands down. It was well thought-out, perfectly choreographed to the music, beautiful and impressive.

All the more upsetting then, that Cat tells us on the way out of the show that all their “no injuries” celebrations jinxed us and Lauren was backstage with the medic. Nigel’s tweets this morning indicate that he still hasn’t spoken to her or her doctors and doesn’t know what’s wrong. He has confirmed she won’t perform in the group routine but implied that if she were in the bottom three (she won’t be) she COULD dance.

Bottom Three: Billy, Robert, Jose
Should Go Home: Billy and Jose
Will Go Home: Billy and Jose

I’m sticking to my guns here about Billy. Not just because he bailed on dancing last week even though two doctors cleared him when I’m certain that the rest of the competitors would not have done the same thing (exhibit A: Jose has had a pulled groin muscle that’s kept him out of group routines for 3 weeks but has not kept him from dancing on performance night), but also because I’m getting a real diva vibe from him that I can’t look past. Last night, as the contestants all told us what they thought of each other with a non-stop barrage of love (that’s maybe my favorite thing about this show – how much all of the contestants genuinely love one another), Billy had one sarcastic, back-handed thing after another to say about all of his fellow competitors. I’m sure he thought he was being funny but there is a time for snarky fun and a time for genuineness and his inability to tell the difference reeks of conceit.

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