July 28, 2011

Oompa Loompa, Dopey-Ass Shoes

Some weeks So You Think You Can Dance is so good it almost overwhelms my brain.  There was so much exquisite dancing last night that I can scarcely imagine sending people home anymore. 

In case the celeb judges and out-sized personalities are more your speed, they had that in spades last night with the orangest man in history, Rob Marshall and the weirdest woman who isn't Grace Jones, Lady GaGa at the judges' desk.  GaGa wore some of her signature crazy hoof shoes.  Rob Marshall made Mary Murphy look like a color found in nature. 

Contestant: Sasha
All-Star: Pasha
Dance: Quickstep, Jonathan Roberts
Song: "Puttin' On The Ritz" - Terry Snyder
If Pasha got on stage and danced with a cardboard cutout, there would still be chemistry, that's how electric the man is (mixing metaphors!).  Still, this is probably the weakest chemistry he's ever had with a partner and I'm beginning to think that her previous lack of sizzle was more about her than it was Alexander.  She did a good job with the fast footwork and holding her frame and carriage but there was a discernible difference in bounce between her and Pasha.  And her getup was just off - there seemed to be no reason at all for that grass head wreath she had on with her sparkly, fringe dress.  I suspect they may have been trying to play up her "pretty" by disguising the side of her head that's shaved. 
Sasha: A-
Pasha: A
Choreography: A
Overall Grade: A-

Contestant: Caitlynn
All-Star: Ivan
Dance: Hip Hop, Marty Kudelka
Song: "Let Me Love You" - Mario
Did anyone else forget exactly how fantastic Ivan was?  I remembered that he was adorable; I remembered he was insanely likable; but somehow I forgot that his hip hop is so perfectly fluid and engaging.  He was amazing in this routine which had a sort of Sabra/Dominic "Make It Work" vibe to it.  It was a good routine and I thought Catilynn was good in it.  The judges felt that Ivan out-danced her a bit and I don't necessarily disagree but I didn't think the disparity was as noticeable as they did and their chemistry was excellent. 
Caitlynn: A
Ivan: A+
Choreography: A
Overall Grade: A

Contestant: Jordan
All-Star: Ade
Dance: Jazz, Tyce DiOrio
Song: "Nutbush City Limits" - Tina Turner
Sweet pickles and milk, the choreography of this number did not match the music AT ALL!  Both Jordan and Ade executed the movements very well and no one is going to deny that Jordan's legs and flexibility are insane, but the routine itself was a lot of nothing.  Much like his Broadway routines, this felt like a lot of moves with no transitions.  A lot of thoughts with no cohesion.  A lot of stuff with no direction.  And I don't care how fabulous and strong Ade is, he's not going to overcome a boring jazz routine when his partner lacks spark, as Jordan does for me.  Technically she's good, but I got nothing from her in that performance.
Jordan: A
Ade: A
Choreography: B-
Overall Grade: B

Contestant: Melanie
All-Star: Neil
Dance: Contemporary, Mandy Moore
Song: "Total Eclipse of the Heart" - Bonnie Tyler
Melanie is my favorite contestant of all time.  Neil is easily in my top 5.  The two of them together is almost too much awesome, and when they are dancing to one of the greatest songs ever while wearing dreamy pajamas...I'm not going to lie, this dance could have been total shit and I still would have loved it.  Actually there were a couple of spots in the choreography that I wasn't crazy about - spots where it got clunky or felt half baked - but when the dancers are this brilliant and dance with the sort of abandon that these two do, it almost doesn't matter.  They overcome the awkward moments with sheer talent and charisma.  And the second she goes running full out and flies half way across the stage into his arms, everything else ceases to exist.  She's astonishing.  The dance was emotional and SO sexy with an ending that made me catch my breath.  And Neil still gives me tingly feelings. 
Melanie: A+
Neil: A
Choreography: A-
Overall Grade: A

Contestant: Ricky
All-Star: Anya
Dance: Jive, Jason Gilkison
Song: "River Deep, Mountain High" - Celine Dion
I've seen Anya dance live and the woman is for real, but whereas I feel like Pasha makes every one of his novice partners seem better, she sometimes highlights the flaws in her partners.  That may be the difference between having the expert lead vs. having the expert be led and in that case that's no fault of hers.  But what I'm saying is, Ricky came off seeming a bit weak in this dance.  He's a wisp of a boy and she's a solid, not small woman and some of the lifts looked labored.  The choreography was top-notch and the ending lift was so good, but overall, I thought he lacked the star-quality you need to hold your own next to Anya.
Ricky: B+
Anya: A
Choreography: A
Overall Grade: A-

Contestant: Jess
All-Star: Lauren Gotlieb
Dance: Hip Hop, Tabitha and Napoleon
Song: "Take A Bow" - Rihanna
Tabitha and Napoleon have never met a dance they can't turn into a story.  This one is about how Jess cheated on Lauren and is trying to win her back.  My first problem with this dance is that I didn't get much chemistry from the two of them and I couldn't tell if it's because she was doing such a good job acting "done" with his cheating ass or if she kind of doesn't like Jess.  It really could have gone either way.  The second thing I wasn't crazy about was the rose.  It was just an incredibly unnecessary prop for both the dance and the story.  But I thought Jess danced this with a sort of Ivan-y smoothness while Lauren hit everything really hard and I preferred Jess in the routine.  I don't often think people out-dance Lauren Gotlieb because that girl is the shit but her movement was big in this one where Jess's were smaller and more fluid and after seeing Ivan dance and how perfectly small and intricate his movements are, I just found myself much more drawn to the smoother, groovier energy here. 
Jess: A
Lauren: A-
Choreography: A-
Overall Grade: A-

Contestant: Tadd
All-Star: Lauren Froderman
Dance: Jazz, Mandy Moore
Song: "Another One Bites The Dust" - Queen
Apparently they're a couple of cool-ass crooks pulling off a heist.  I don't care what they were, they both looked hot.  They danced it well, even after Tadd lost his hat and had to carry on the second half of the routine pantomiming hat choreography without an actual hat.  Will these choreographers ever get over props?  I liked the vibe of the dance and the way the two gelled on stage.  The judges are always throwing around the word "swag" as if it means something (it does, but not what they think) but what I saw with these two in this dance was that they have a relaxed and sort of infectious swagger (that's right, kids! Adding that extra syllable to your word will, in fact, give it meaning!).  They danced that routine like they were the shit and they did actually look like the shit, in my opinion.
Tadd: A
Lauren: A
Choreography: A-
Overall Grade: A-

Contestant: Marko
All-Star: Allison
Dance: Contemporary, Sonya Tayeh
Song: "I Know It's Over" - Jeff Buckley
Sonya's Jazz routines have gotten to be so predictable of late that I was not expecting her to come out with a contemporary piece this emotional and affecting.  It was powerful and fluid and beautiful and the dancers were brilliant in it.  Allison does for her contemporary partners what Pasha does for his ballroom partners - elevates the piece with her own brilliance so that the person she's dancing with almost has no choice but to be brilliant along side her.  Which is not to say that Marko wouldn't have been brilliant all on his own because he probably would have been.  This piece felt like holding your breath until you can't anymore, gasping for air and then holding your breath again.  Yeah, I know, that's the kind of wacky thing Mia Michaels would probably say but watch it and tell me if you don't see it the same way. 
Marko: A+
Allison: A+
Choreography: A+
Overall Grade: A+

Contestants: Caitlynn and Tadd
Dance: Foxtrot, Jonathan Roberts
Song: "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails" - Ella Fitzgerald
Appropriately classy and elegant for a foxtrot though it felt a bit more waltzy to me.  I thought they both did an admirable job of holding their frames and picking up the rise and fall but Tadd seemed a smidge crouched about the knees.  I don't notice the "competition" mugging from Catilynn the way Nigel does or the "give me a trophy" hands that Lady GaGa apparently saw.  I just thought they both looked like non-ballroom dancers doing a yeoman's job with a fairly stiff ballroom style.  I enjoyed it.
Caitlynn: A-
Tadd: A-
Choreography: A-
Overall Grade: A-

Contestants: Marko and Ricky
Dance: Hip Hop, Tabitha and Napoleon
Song: "Bad Boy For Life" - Diddy ft. Black Rob and Mark Curry
The judges loved this.  Like, Mary was all up out of her chair, shouting about it.  I thought the choreo was fine but nothing special and the dancing was kind of a mess.  Neither one sold it as much as they should have but Ricky was a little bit terrible.  Slow, laboured, and lacking any of the believable 'tude you need to be playing a janitor dancing to a song called "Bad Boy For Life."  What the judges were seeing I'm not quite sure but for my money, this was the weakest routine of the night and the performance that will seal Ricky's fate as the next boy heading home.
Marko: A-
Ricky: B-
Choreography: A-
Overall Grade: B-

Contestants: Jordan and Jess
Dance: Rumba, Jason Gilkison
Song: "Set Fire To The Rain" - Adele
Using my favorite Adele song seemed like a good way to win me over but it didn't quite work out the way I expected.  For starters, the choreography didn't match the music terribly well.  And I know they had to make Jordan dance barefoot to keep her from towering over teeny, tiny Jess but it looked odd.  I thought he did a good job of "smoldering" in the movements but she once again appeared to be projecting her "sexiness" to the back row and ignoring her partner completely.  There's a thing she does when she dances where she spends as much time as possible looking out at the audience and then, when she faces her partner, she looks through that person instead of at them.  It's distracting and disconnecting.  I didn't buy her in it but I thought Jess did pretty well. 
Jordan: B+
Jess: A-
Choreography: B+
Overall Grade: B+

Contestants: Sasha and Melanie
Dance: Jazz, Sonya Tayeh
Song: "Game On" - District 78
I can spend all day telling you how bored I am with Sonya's jazz routines but when she's on her game, she is ON HER GAME.  This dance was different enough from what I've gotten used to from her but still with the same sort of girl power, in your face, creepy weirdness that gets under your skin and makes your hairs stand up.  I'm not sure it would have been quite as awesome if different people were dancing it but with these two girls it was out of this world.  I found Melanie a little more captivating but it's partly because she's my favorite and partly because I feel like she dances with more warmth and openness - like she's dancing from her heart while Sasha dances from her head.  Melanie's heart draws my eye every time.  The judges loved the dance and GaGa threw her hoof shoes at the dancers and Sonya. I guess that's a thing.
Sasha: A
Melanie: A+
Choreography: A
Overall Grade: A+

Bottom Girls: Jordan and Shasha
Bottom Boys: Ricky and Tadd
Going Home: Jordan and Ricky

1 comment:

Kooser Family said...

You must have been reading my mind! I'm not nearly as impressed with Sasha as the judges are. I LOVE Melanie, she is my favorite.