August 4, 2011

Prop Me Up, Buttercup

A few weeks ago I tweeted that any time a famous person talks about loving Friday Night Lights, I immediately consider them for my inclusion on my Unhateables List.  For the record, when an actor from Friday Night Lights talks about loving So You Think You Can Dance - as Scott Porter does on Twitter - I immediately award said actor a lifetime spot on that list. 

On with the show.  It was like Night of a Thousand Props in the house.  Christina Applegate was a very good "voice of the audience" judge and Lil C was completely awesome last night.  My parents have agreed that I should marry him.  Plans are proceeding apace.

Contestant: Melanie
All-Star: Twitch
Dance: Hip Hop, Tabitha and Napoleon
Song: "Roman's Revenge" - Nicki Minaj ft. Lil Wayne
I didn't like the song or the choreography and I thought Twitch out danced her.  With a "hard hitting" hip hop routine, the way I tell the people are are doing it really well from the people who are doing the best they can but aren't being quite brilliant is watching the stops.  The best ones stop and then instantly snap back, the ones who aren't quite there just stop.  Melanie just stopped.  She wasn't terrible but it was not as good as it could have been. 
Prop: Many trees
Melanie: B
Twitch: A
Choreography: B+
Overall Grade: B+

Contestant: Sasha
All-Star: Kent
Dance: Contemporary, Tyce DiOrio
Song: "Fool of Me" - Me'Shell Ndegeocello
I was pretty worried going into this that Sasha's notorious lack of chemistry with her partners, paired with her intensity, Kent's cuteness and Tyce's tendency toward sub-par choreography would combine into the perfect storm of unwatchable dancing.  That did not happen.  Kent was masculine, strong and sexy.  Sasha was full of emotion and connecting with him.  Tyce's choreography totally didn't suck.  The routine was kind of dark and forceful and dirty and both dancers were in it for all they were worth.  I quite enjoyed it. 
Prop: Wall
Sasha: A
Kent: A
Choreography: A
Overall Grade: A

Contestant: Marko
All-Star: Jannette
Dance: Paso Doble, Dmitry Chaplin
Song: "Zorongo (Traditional)" - Antonia Gomez, Ely "La Gambita", Guillermo Basilisco and Paco Peña
I just don't like the Paso Doble.  The best thing I can say about this dance is that I really liked the way her skirt moved.  Yeah.  That's it.  That's all I've got here.  I don't know how well he did - there seemed to be some shakiness during a lift or two - or even how well she did.  It was a Paso Doble and therefore the entire thing was less than good in my opinion. I'm just going to pull grades out of thin air on this.  Ready?
Prop: None
Marko: A-
Jannette: A
Choreography: A-
Overall Grade: C-

Contestant: Tadd
All-Star: Ellenore
Dance: Jazz, Sonya Tayeh
Song: "The Gulag Orkestar" - Beirut
I can't really imagine having the opportunity to work with Ellenore and wasting it with a bunch of swinging from the chandelier.  Literally, this dance was 85% swinging from a prop chandelier.  It was fine to watch but really light on dancing which doesn't do Tadd any favors this late in the game.  I don't think he was destined to win anyway but this isn't going to make anyone who was undecided vote for him. 
Prop: Chair and chandelier
Tadd: A-
Ellenore: A
Choreography: B-
Overall Grade: B-

Contestant: Ricky
All-Star: Jamie
Dance: Contemporary, Dee Caspary
Song: "Inside These Lines" - Trent Dabbs
In this installment of Propapalooza, Ricky dances with two tiny sticks that he uses Jamie's movements.  I couldn't quite tell if the sticks were supposed to represent the strings of a puppeteer or the little batons of a conductor but either way, they were a little distracting.  It was a fine dance and they did well but not one of Dee's best by any means. 
Prop: Sticks
Ricky: A
Jamie: A
Choreography: B+
Overall Grade: B+

Contestant: Caitlynn
All-Star: Pasha
Dance: Samba, Dmitry Chaplin
Song: "Drop It Low (District 78 Remix)" - Kat DeLuna
Before we talk about the dance, can we discuss the sort of frenzy I'm flung into when Dmitry and Pasha are in a room together?  Like, I don't even know how Caitlynn kept from fainting.  Then the dance starts and Pasha's shirt is open and I guess Caitlynn was dancing with him but mostly all I could see was Pasha's Pashaness.  I kind (but not really)!  She did fine though I think she was a lot sexier when she wasn't trying to be sexy.  I don't think she knows how sexy she is and it's messing with her head. 
Prop: Pasha's chest
Caitlynn: B+
Pasha: A
Choreography: A-
Overall Grade: A-

Sasha and Ricky
Dance: Waaking, Kumari Sulaj
Song: "Schoolin' Life" - Beyoncé Knowles
Good luck convincing me that waaking is a legitimate style of dance and not just other dances with wild, flailing arm movements added in for the sake of ridiculousness.  This was like a disco routine with helicopter arms and I liked it exactly as much as it sounds like I would from that description.  The worst part about it was that it felt like Ricky and Sasha were doing it at 2/3 speed.  It needed to be faster, more with the music and they needed to be showing a lot less concentration on their faces.  I saw way too much of the effort here. 
Prop: None
Sasha: A-
Ricky: B+
Choreography: B-
Overall Grade: B

Melanie and Tadd
Dance: Broadway, Spencer Liff
Song: "(Where Do I Begin) Love Story (Away Team Remix)" - Shirley Bassey
Dear Spencer Liff, I love you. Yours forever, Me.  The narrative of this dance is like a very short movie: we're back stage at a Broadway musical. Tadd is the choreographer and in the service of trying to get the routine he wants out of Melanie, he leads her to believe he loves her.  She falls for his charms and they dance together with passion but as soon as she gets the piece just right, he walks away from her and she's heartbroken that he played her for a fool.  If there is anything better than Melanie's dancing, it's watching her ACT the routine.  I will forever point to this number to underscore my assertion that Melanie is BRILLIANT.
Prop: Mirror and chair
Melanie: A+
Tadd: A
Choreography: A
Overall Score: A+

Caitlynn and Marko
Dance: Jazz, Sonya Tayeh
Song: "Heavy in Your Arms" - Florence + the Machine
This is my favorite Sonya jazz routine in a couple of years. It was incredibly fluid and airy while still being sort of dark and strong.  Both dancers were so inside the music that it felt as though their movements were being controlled by external forces and not by their own efforts.  They were incredible and the choreography pushed them to greatness and gave them the chance they needed to show us why they made it this far. 
Prop: None
Caitlynn: A
Marko: A+
Choreography: A+
Overall Grade: A+

Nigel Lythgoe tweeted that they will not reveal "bottom four" this week so instead we'll just find out which boy and which girl received the fewest votes from America. 
Going Home: Ricky and Caitlynn, as it should be. 

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