June 30, 2011

The Top 16, Sitting In A Tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G

The addition of the random celebrity judge to this season's So You Think You Can Dance has been good for all kinds of entertainment.  Last week Debbie Reynolds did a Woody Woodpecker impression and this week Kirsten Chenowith made out with Lil' C.  Shit is getting good, y'all!

Dancers: Sasha and Alexander
Dance: Contemporary, Dee Caspery

Song: "Belong" - Cary Brothers
I'm one routine away from declaring this the season of memories.  Here Sasha is Alexander's memory that comes alive when he plays the piano.  She literally emerges from the instrument in the beginning, dances around on it and then with him and then folds herself back inside the piano and slides her hands out over the keys as a final grasp at staying with him.  The end.  Her dancing continues to be dynamic and passionate while his still feels bland in comparison.  I wasn't completely sold on the story of this dance as told through their performance because I felt they lacked connection and cohesion. 
Sasha: A-
Alexander: B+
Choreography: B
Overall Grade: B+

Dancers: Caitlynn and Mitchell
Dance: Samba, Jean-Marc Gerereux
Song: "Put It In A Love Song" - Alicia Keyes featuring Beyonce
I didn't love the choreography.  It felt a bit like the kind of Jean-Marc routine that's more concerned with cheekiness than it is with actually being the style it's supposed to be.  But their hips - Mitchell's in particular - were moving fast and furious.  I thought they both danced it very well, but I wish she would have been the tiniest bit smoother and that he would address his hands because he has a tendency to keep his wrists bent back with his hands out and it's a distractingly effeminate look. 
Caitlynn: A-
Mitchell: A-
Choreography: B+
Overall Grade: A-

Dancers: Miranda and Robert
Dance: Broadway, Tyce Diorio
Song: "It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" - Sophisticated Ladies
I'm not sure I can keep saying this - Tyce's routines are boring.  They seem like numbers more well-suited to beginners.  That said, that's probably a blessing for Robert who does fine with what he was given here but it wasn't much.  Miranda had more of the showy moves and she did them all beautifully.  They performed it well and they do seem to have gelled as a couple. 
Miranda: A-
Robert: B+
Choreography: B
Overall Grade: B+

Dancers: Melanie and Marko
Dance: Hip Hop, Tabitha and Napoleon
Song: "I Got You" - Leona Lewis
I rarely find the NappyTabs routines quite as thrilling as Nigel and the rest of the judgery do.  Their gimmicks tend to wear me out - for every one that really works, there are half a dozen that really don't. But occasionally, they give us the perfect routine with the perfect couple and the perfect song and everything falls perfectly into place.  Such was the case this week with the routine they gave to Melanie and Marko.  He's been left at the alter, she's his BFF, trying to lift him out of his slump when he realizes that he loves her.  The choreography hit every bit of the story gently but didn't bludgeon it to death.  The dancers nailed every part of it and once again I say that joy comes straight through Melanie when she dances in a way that feels transcendent.
Melanie: A
Marko: A
Choreography: A
Overall Grade: A

Dancers: Ashley and Chris
Dance: Jazz, Sonya Tayeh
Song: "Lights Go Down (District 78 Remix)" - Telepathe
We're told that they're half zombies but other than that, we aren't given much back story.  That's really all we need though because the dance is pretty clearly half-zombified and half not.  I enjoyed all of the zombified parts and was a little bored with the rest.  I thought they both danced it well and performed it very well.  Their personalities might have saved this from being completely snoozy. 
Ashley: A-
Chris: A-
Choreography: B
Overall Grade: B+

Dancers: Clarice and Jess
Dance: Foxtrot, Jean-Marc Genereux
Song: "Fly Me To The Moon" - Frank Sinatra
The foxtrot is an old-fashioned dance that is filled with style, elegance, beauty and class.  Sometimes all of that can get lost or seem boring in a sea of hip hop and contemporary and sexy Latin routines.  This was everything it was supposed to be and not a single second of it felt stodgy or boring or in any way less than brilliant.  They both performed it to perfection and for the first time on the show, I felt them connect on stage in a way that brought me right into the routine.  He brought the flare and pizazz of his Broadway style and she nailed the ladylike grace.  One of Jean-Marc's best pieces.
Clarice: A
Jess: A
Choreography: A
Overall Grade: A

Dancers: Ryan and Ricky
Dance: Contemporary, Sonya Tayeh
Song: "With Every Heartbeat (Acoustic)" - Robyn
This is supposed to be the story of losing a relationship.  We're given all this back story that's emotional and raw and all but guarantees that we'll cry our little eyes out when they perform but then it started and I just didn't feel anything.  I was distracted by the unspooled ribbon of her shirt that they used as this sort of constant connection between them and worse than that, I didn't feel like the dance was saying any of what I was told it was supposed to be saying.  I understand that it was especially emotional for Sonya, I just wasn't able to connect on any real level. 
Ryan: B
Ricky: B+
Choreography: B
Overall Grade: B

Dancers: Jordan and Tadd
Dance: Hip Hop, Tabitha and Napoleon
Song: "Memories" - Dave Guetta featuring Kid Cudi
Welcome to an illustration of how some NappyTab routines are ridiculous, stupid and not enjoyable.  Tadd and Jordan play a couple of college kids who wake up in bed together and don't know each other's names.  Classy, guys.  Real classy.  The dance is routine and blah.  There's some business with taking a sweatshirt on and off, there's some random movement stuffed in the middle followed by faux foreplay action on the bed and then, mercifully, it ends.  The dancers did fine with what they were given but I'm not really able to look past the fact that what they were given was a steaming pile of horse shit. 
Jordan: B+
Tadd: B+
Choreography: D
Overall Grade: C-

There were also two group numbers:

Clarice, Chris, Marko, Miranda, Mitchell, Ryan, Sasha and Tadd did a contemporary number from Tyce Diorio.  It was not great and Clarice, Ryan and Miranda were particularly unimpressive. 

Alexander, Ashley, Caitlynn, Jess, Jordan, Melanie, Ricky and Robert did a contemporary piece by Dee Caspery.  It was interesting and entertaining and all of the dancers were spot on. 

Bottom Three: Jordan and Tadd, Miranda and Robert, Ashley and Chris
Should Go Home: Miranda and Robert
Will Go Home: Miranda and Chris

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