July 22, 2011

Dancing With The All-Stars

Now that we've winnowed it down to our So You Think You Can Dance Top 10, the dancers will be paired each week with All-Stars in whatever style that All-Star specializes in (or, in the case of contemporary and jazz dancers, any style the show fucking pleases), presumably so we can see which dancers are the shit and which dancers are kind of shitty. 

Neil Patrick Harris is our celebrity guest this week and apparently Nigel expects him to be so fantastic we didn't even need to round out the panel with a choreographer.  I had similar expectations because I love NPH but I'll just say this: when it comes to SYTYCD, Neil Patrick Harris is no Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

Contestant: Marko
All-Star: Chelsie
Dance: Samba, Jason Gilkison
Song: "Cinema Italiano (The Ron Fair Remix)" - Kate Hudson
To the extent I could even see him while he danced next to the amazing Chelsie Hightower, I thought he did a good job.  There didn't seem to be a whole lot of figures 8 in this routine, at least not for him, but it was a fun dance to watch and I have nothing to knock Marko for.  If you can keep up with Chelsie, you're alright in my book. 
Marko: A-
Chelsie: A+
Choreography: A
Overall Grade: A

Contestant: Jordan
All-Star: Brandon
Dance: Contemporary, Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson
Song: "Who You Are (Live Acoustic Version)" - Jessie J
Desmond and Dwight usually deliver beautiful contemporary pieces that lean heavily toward the ballet end of the dance spectrum.  This was no exception.  It was a pretty routine and they danced it very well.  I can not find fault with the way that Jordan dances her assigned routines.  She's strong, she's competent and I rarely have to bitch about a lack of performance from her.  But there's little about this dance that I will remember come next week. 
Jordan: A
Brandon: A
Choreography: A
Overall Grade: A

Contestant: Tadd
All-Star: Comfort
Dance: Hip Hop, Chuck Maldonado
Song: "Look at Me Now" by Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes
I don't get the Comfort hype.  I've never thought she was particularly amazing at hip hop and have found her merely adequate in ever other style. Still, she's either the only female hip hop dancer they can get to come back as an all-star or the judges and producers really think she's the best.  Either way, here she is. She is not the least thrilling thing about this dance though.  I thought it was fine but I wasn't wowed.  The dancing was fine, the steps were fine the music was annoying (but fine, whatever) but it all added up to just...fine. 
Tadd: A-
Comfort: B+
Choreography: B
Overall Grade: B

Contestant: Mitchell
All-Star: Melody
Dance: Broadway, Tyce DiOrio
Song: "Take Off With Us" - All That Jazz soundtrack
Are you sitting down? Because I don't want you to faint from the shock of what I'm about to tell you.  I did not like this Tyce DiOrio Broadway routine.  I know! Once again it all looked like something Rona Mae McLintock, who teaches intermediate jazz at Dance, Dance, Dance studio in Boise would have choreographed for her 12-14 year olds class.  Mitchell danced it very well (despite what Nigel tries to tell us) but Melody lacked pizazz and the whole number just felt flat and disjointed.  Which, incidentally, is what NPH thought too.  For the first time in history a judge on this show calls Tyce out for his poor choreography (noting that it seemed "not incredibly thought out") so no matter what he does for the rest of his life, Neil will always be my hero. Then Mary and Nigel back pedal like Tyce has pictures of them both in an even more compromising position than the other week when Nigel kissed her and grabbed her left breast on national television. 
Mitchell: A-
Melody: B-
Choreography: C-
Overall Grade: C

Contestant: Caitlynn
All-Star: Pasha
Dance: Tango, Leonardo Barrionuevo and Miriam Larici
Song: "Malajunta" - Orquesta Color Tango
My current theory is that it's IMPOSSIBLE to dance poorly when you're dancing with Pasha.  He's so confident and effortless in his own dancing and in how he leads his partner.  That's not to take anything away from Caitlynn, who was fantastic, but I can't imagine anyone who is more present for their partner than Pasha is.  And it doesn't hurt that he is one of the sexiest people on planet earth either.  This dance was intimate and smoldering and sexy and I loved every flick, every kick, every single second of it. 
Caitlynn: A
Pasha: A+
Choreogaphy: A
Overall Grade: A

Contestant: Sasha
All-Star: Twitch
Dance: Hip Hop, Christopher Scott
Song: "Misty Blue" - Dorothy Moore
The routine starts over the breakfast table of a couple clearly embroiled in a bit of marital discord.  She wants attention and he's not giving it.  She decides to take it at any cost and they throw-down starts.  She's up over the table, she's in his face, they're dancing, she's rippin' her belt off, he's taking off his jacket, they're dancing, they're gettin' down with it, they're back on the table and at the end, they've rekindled something and it is on! The dance was amazing - stylized and interesting and narrative and smooth.  Both dancers did an amazing job and had undeniable chemistry (though, to be fair, sometimes I think Twitch would have chemistry with a tree). 
Sasha: A+
Twitch: A+
Choreography: A+
Overall Grade: A+

Contestant: Jess
All-Star: Kathryn
Dance: Contemporary, Stacy Tookey
Song: "The Lonely" - Christina Perri
After being "dinged" for several weeks by Nigel for how Nigel THINKS he isn't good enough at lifts because Jess is so tiny, Jess and Stacy are out to prove that he can pick a girl up.  He does indeed lift her and the two dance together very well but I'm still missing something from Jess that I can't quite put my finger on.  I just haven't connected with him the way I do with some of the other dancers. 
Jess: A-
Kathryn: A
Choreography: A-
Overall Grade: A-

Contestant: Melanie
All-Star: Pasha
Dance: Viennese Waltz, Jason Gilkison
Song: "Everybody Hurts" by Tina Arena
The wardrobe department would never let Pasha leave the building without first showing us his chest so he's in an open white shirt while Melanie is in a flowy white dress.  He's in a bad way and she is his "rock" getting him through it.  It matters not at all what the story is because they dance it like a dream.  I would have sworn they were dancing on clouds it was so ethereal.  Then it ends like I'd like all dances to end - with Pasha on his knees, bare chested.  What? Like you weren't thinking it!
Melanie: A
Pasha: A
Choreography: A
Overall Grade: A

Contestant: Ricky
All-Star: Allison
Dance: Jazz, Tyce DiOrio
Song: "Precious Things" - Tori Amos
Surprisingly dark for a Tyce routine, this was better than I expected it to be, thanks in large part to the power Allison and Ricky brought to it.  Ricky was really able to come alive next to someone who was IN the dance instead of just dancing it. 
Ricky: A
Allison: A
Choreography: A-
Overall Grade: A

Contestant: Clarice
All-Star: Robert
Dance: Bollywood, Nakul Dev Mahajan
Song: "Aila Re Aila" - Khatta Meetha (Soundtrack)
Did you all know Robert was an expert in the art of Bollywood dancing?  Neither did I.  I did know that Robert was an expert in the art of being awesome though so, here we are.  This is a super fast routine but much like I felt during Tadd's hip hop number, super fast doesn't necessarily mean super good or super interesting.  It just means...super fast.  They dance it well but when it's all said and done, it's another two person Bollywood routine that leaves me completely cold. Large groups for Bollywood or nothing at all, Nigel!
Clarice: A
Robert: A
Choreography: B-
Overall Grade: B

In the Bottom:
Mitchell and Ricky dropped to the bottom of the pack.  I think Mitchell suffered from the short-straw routine he picked and Ricky might be seeing the ramifications of getting stuck with Ryan for so many weeks. Jordan and Clarice were the bottom two girls.  Jordan's personality is not winning her any friends in the audience, no matter how good her dancing is, and Clarice's utter lack of a personality means no one gives a crap if she goes home. 

Sent Home:
Mitchell, who arguably had 5 more weeks on the show than he should have after the judges declined to send anyone home when he sat out the first week due to injury.  And Clarice who, if she taught us anything, taught us that it's better to have a repugnant personality (Jordan) than no personality at all. 

Next week: A new batch of All-Stars and guest judge Lady GaGa. 

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