Wednesday, June 25, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance Thursday

A slow starter of an episode that picked up quite a bit by the end there.

I'm not sure if this is controversial or not, but I totally love Adam Shankman as a guest judge. He's like the perfect combination of Mary's enthusiasm, Nigel's concern for the dancers, and Mia's weirdness. He's lovely. And I wanted to smack the shit out of Nigel and Mary for that whole "Adam is so longwinded and boring zzzzzzz" thing while Adam was giving actual productive advice rather than screaming like a banshee or hitting on the girls. Jesus, you guys.

Anyway, as for the performances:

Kherington and Twitch
Hip-Hop (Napoleon and Tabitha)

I thought Kherington picked up the hip-hop stuff pretty damn well for a newbie, though it seems the choreography was dumbed down to that end, so Twitch didn't end up getting to dazzle as much as he might have. Still, they're the best, so even when they're merely good, they're still great.

Courtney and Gev
Rumba (Tony Meredith)
Oh my god, I love these two so much, and I thought they really delivered tonight, Glad the judges finally got onboard with these two. [EDIT: And also nice of the judges to finally get on the "Gev looks like Dominic" train, only two weeks late, but they failed to add the requisite "only not as troll-like" caveat.] Big props to Courtney for wearing that dress too -- she's got thick legs, and she's not afraid to show them. Their chemistry is off the chain, too; my sister and I vowed to track down Courtney's boyfriend and kidnap him so C&G can get together. ...Oh, calm down, it's just an idea we're batting around.

Comfort and Chris
Jazz (Tyce Diorio)

Ugh. Uninspiring. I just don't like them, and every week my desire to see what Comfort might be able to do with a different (better) partner continues. After three weeks, there is wheat and there is chaff in this competition, and I'd just as soon get rid of all the chaff at once. That means these guys.

Will and Jessica
??? (???)
I could go back to the DVR and refresh my memory, but if I can't remember even the genre of dance they performed not an hour later, I think that says enough about my general apathy for Will and continued dislike of Jessica.
[EDIT: Oh right, disco. This was the routine where Will picked Jess up and spun her around about fifty times, which to me came across as kind of desperate. But the judges managed to slobber over Will again, with Nigel even complimenting his technique on the Saturday Night Fever pose, which is kind of excessive. I did think it was cute (though not fooling anybody) when Jess put her hand on the floor after Will needed balance at the end.]

Kourtni and Matt
Contemporary (Sonya)

I'm pretty sure I'm one of those people Nigel was talking about who would prefer the emotionality (new word?) of a Mia Michaels routine to the Manson-esque grotesquerie of whatever Sonya put together. That said, I thought Kourtni and Matt danced it perfectly well. I worry about them, and I'll get to that in a moment, but for now I'll say that I'm glad they did well and that the judges seem to be giving them a damn break.

Chelsea and Thayne
Quickstep (That Lady)

The judges ripped them about six new a-holes, but I thought it was pretty good for a quickstep. Though Nigel was right about the smiling -- that's like my number one obstacle to loving Thayne's gay ADD (gay-DD?) ass.

Mark and Chelsie
Hip-Hop (Napoleon and Tabitha)

Once again, I'm with the judges in their appreciation of Napoleon and Tabitha's "lyrical hip-hop" style. They've delivered and then some. And how about Mark (MY BOY!) and Chelsie just kicking total ass on this one? It took me a while to come around on them (longer for her), but they're at the top of my list right now. This is another pair that I feel are finally getting their due from the judges.

Joshua and Katee
Samba (Tony Meredith)

Technically perfect, if not as emotionally affecting as some of the other dances. But what can you say about Josh and Katee? They're flawless. And Katee's new haircut is awesome.

So, in order, here's how I see this week:

1. Mark and Chelsie
2. Courtney and Gev
3. Joshua and Katee
4. Kherington and Twitch
5. Kourtni and Matt
6. Chelsea and Thayne
7. Will and Jessica
8. Comfort and Chris

This is my same Top 4 (different order) as last week, as the cream of the crop are really starting to separate themselves. I'd put those last three couples as this week's Bottom Three, but I'm super worried about Kourtni and Matt. Even I, who really like them, forget about them a whole lot. Being a solid #5 in a group of 8 is really not a great position to be in. I'm confident the judges will keep them safe, but they'll be dancing for their lives this week, I'd bet.

[Photos to come once the FOX site updates.]


OleNelson said...

I share your Will apathy. He's just such a dah-ncer and I tire of him being praised for greatness week after week.

That said, however, I might be interested in him being paired with Comfort if their respective partners were eliminated this week (assuming that's how it would work -- this is my first season with this show). Her authenticity and his technical precision might balance well.

Anonymous said...

I actually kind of turned around on Will & Jessica tonight. I've always been on board with the "Will seems like a pretty good dancer and Jessica kind of is just not as good" school of thought -- there's something in his movement that's just pleasing to the eye, but tonight I thought they were partnering really well on the disco routine, and did as much as you can do with...disco.

It's weird. I remember not liking Adam Shankman last year, but that may have been tied up with my feelings about his bastardized version of Hairspray*, because I thought he was great this week! He was constructive and trying to help, funny and complimentary without being pervy, and as a non-educated viewer I found that he articulated the advice in a way that I could actually understand it.

I did enjoy Kourtni and Matt's thing with the amazing mohawk lady, but I'm one of those people who often finds the romantic contemporaries can get dull. I thought it was great, but I think they might be in trouble this week.

*Obviously John Waters isn't upset about it, he's the last guy to be like "you can't besmirch my art," but I just can't deal. John Travolta, you are not Divine.

jam said...

I actually liked Will and Jessica this week; it was a little rough in spots, but I was impressed, and Will seemed to unbend a little this week. My love for Twitchington and Joshua/Katee and Matt/Kourtni continues unabated, and I'm liking Courney/Gev and Chelsie/Mark more and more. Chelsie and Mark's routine was the clear winner of the night, in my opinion.

But am I the only one who thinks they need to ease off the critical commentary a little bit in the pre-dance videos? I could be wrong, but it seems like we're getting more background from the choreographers this year (mostly in terms of "wow, they're not getting this") and if the dancers manage to pull their routine off, it can be good (i.e. "we did it after all! wooo!") but if the dancers aren't completely ON for any reason, it seems like extra fodder for the judges to draw upon in their post-dance assessment. Not that this is the most fair and unbiased competition, but I feel like that's a bit unfair, to go ahead and build up some preconceived notions before the performance? But what do I know -- the judges may have notes from all the choreographers anyway already.

jessica said...

Courtney has thick legs? I must not have noticed what with the stunning glued-on half-dress. I enjoyed her and Gev immensely tonight and I'd put them in my top 3. Chelsie and Mark were the best of the night, for me, and Comfort and Chris are definitely the worst. I would totally be on board with a Chris/Jessica departure so as to make way for a Will/Comfort partnering but while I actually like him and found him exponentially more watchable than Jessica in their disco, I still worry about Comfort's ultimate versatility and growth potential. Her partnering skills don't seem too strong either. Still, I'd prefer her over Jessica any day.

Twitch/Kherington and Josh/Katee continue to be personal favorites of mine and while they might not have the best routines of the night they were still solid and incredibly entertaining. Love them.

Also love Adam Shankman. Always have. He's hilarious and goofy and great.

NYOne said...

Adam Shankman is the best! My fav bit from last year was the footage of him choreographing the group Hairspray number, venti Starbucks something in hand, cursing and trying to do splits and just being generally hilarious.
I pretty much agree with your take on the whole show - am ready for Jessica and Chris to go, hope Matt and Kourtni are safe and love seeing Gev and Courtney get some well-deserved props.
Also, Tabpoleon have developed a pattern - first routine: upbeat, fun, poppy = kind of boring and forgettable (I didn't even love Twitch but I really blame it on the choreography). Second routine: lyrical, emotional and set to a 19 artist = best of the night.

Joe Reid said...

HA! That's it exactly.

They should keep Napoleon and Tabitha on for that hybrid style but bring in someone else to choreograph the straight-up hip-hop numbers, I think.

jam said...

Oh, and I meant to say that Adam Shankman should ALWAYS be there. Please.

Mertseger said...

Quite a night. The Chelsie and Mark routine was one of the best of the show's four seasons. It was right up there with the park bench, Mia meeting her Dad, and hummingbird for me. I get the chills at good art, and my spine was buzzing basically for the whole routine. I applauded the damn TV, for Goddess' sake! There's a point where artists get beyond technique and performance and take themselves and the audience to some place beyond. Mark and Chelsie so went there.

Katie and Josh, on the other hand, are "only" superb technicians. Katie is totally my type, and so you must forgive me the skeeviness of this comment, but I think she needs to get laid AND have her heart broken (not necessarily in the same relationship or in that order) before she'll find herself as an artist. That being said, Josh and Katie have the strongest partnership seen on the show since partnerships became somewhat permanent in Season 2. Notice how when they received they're well-deserved praise last night, they sought out each other's eyes and danced for and with each other in response. An amazing connection for so few weeks. The week 6 dissolution of their partnership is going to be a bittersweet moment for the show.

I'm still not on the Courtney and Gev train, but I'd still put them third last night. Neither of them rock my boat, but that's purely subjective and no reflection on their technique which was fine.

Twitchington lost me bit last night. Kherington just cannot keep a straight face, and while she was mostly portraying the romp correctly there were still moments where she slips into Pretty Princess Adore Me mode. Twitch is great, but last night's performance was horribly safe.

Unfortunately, I think Jessica is dancing at her limit which is admirable, but, unfortunately, there are five to seven better women dancers left on the show. I still hope that Will gets another partner soon.

Poor Kourtni and Matt. I was so literally distracted by the fugly wardrobe that I could not pay attention to the routine. My eyes would manage to wrest themselves from the polychromatic traffic accident that Kourtney was wearing only to land on Matt where I'd be asking myself, "Is that a grey hoodie DICKIE???" I do not necessarily think that dancer's cloths need to be painted on to show the dancer's form. I've seen Mummenshanz. But still, couldn't we put Kourtni and Matt in clothes that somehow relate to the piece at hand that won't have us running to the fug girls for validation? OTOH, I drooled over Sonya's look (rock those cheekbones, Punk Rock Girl), but I couldn't form an opinion of her choreography through the distraction of the wardrobe.

page said...

First, let me say how happy I am that you are blogging this show. It is my first season watching and I absolutely adore it. I'm generally a lurker but this drew me into Comment-land.

Mostly ditto to what you and other commenters have said. I, too, found myself applauding the TV for Mark and Chelsie -- and actually for Joshua and Katee also (and can we say a little something about Joshua in those pants???? Yowza! And to think that when he auditioned I actually thought he was a little chubby!). I thought both routines were extraordinary. To me, Josh, Mark and Twitch (not Will) are the ones to beat.

Funny, when we "met" the top 20, Katee and Chelsie were probably my least favorite women, and they have both completely turned me around. Chelsie especially -- she has real acting chops. Not "just" a great dancer with a beautiful face.

Also really loved Courteny and Gev -- I think they have amazing chemistry (sorry, Courteny's Bf); for the second week in a row I have completely bought them as a couple in love, and the dancing is quite fine. I agree that the Kherington/Twitch routine was nothing to write home about but he is just so damned charismatic it almost didn't matter.

My absolute bottom 2 for this week are Chelsea/Thayne (fine, but stiff and both with the smiley-smiley faces) and Comfort/Chris (I like her, but I'm just not a fan of him, and I kind of hated the choreography. I'd also put Will/Jessica there, but fear it will be Kourtni/Matt.

As a newbie, I've been wondering -- how long do they continue bumping two dancers per week? All the way to the final 4? And I gather from Mertseger's comment that at some point they switch up the couples?

Anonymous said...

I loved Adam Shankman! Take note other judges--actual constructive criticism from which the dancers can learn and grow from week to week can be more helpful than gushing praise. Also, has anyone else noticed that Twitch was in Hairspray? I saw him in the finale, but he may be hovering in the background elsewhere. My husband and I watched it for the first time last week and were both hilariously pleased that he was in it.

My faves this week were Chelsie/Mark, Joshua/Katee, Twitchington, Courtney/Gev, and Courtni/Matt.

Will and Jessica were OK, but neither of them really do it for me.

Please, America, make Comfort and Chris go home.

I can't believe how much I like this show! It's my first season, too, and I did not expect to be so emotionally attached.

Mertseger said...

To page:

In Seasons 2 and 3, unless a pair was broken up by one of the partners being sent home and the other staying the pairs were the same until week 6 (top 10). The pairings were random for weeks 6 through 8 and the final used all six possible pairings (including M-M and F-F) of the Top 4. The format could be changed for this season, but it seems unlikely. All pairings and dance assignments were random in Season 1 which led to even more conspiracy theories than we see now.

Dear Famous A$$hole said...

Wow, I think I might be the only person on the planet who feels this way, but Adam Shankman bugs me. I feel like he needs to take every opportunity he's given to speak and turn it into a broadway number starring himself. He does make an effort to offer the dancers some actual advice...which most of the other guest judges do not excel at, but I also feel like he's probably put "change the name of the show to So You Think You Can Adam Shankman" into the SYTYCD suggestion box.

Here's what I agree with:
*the supreme awesomeness of Mark & Chelsie
*and Josh and Katee
*and Twitchington
*I LOVE Courtney and Gev and have from go, and totally think those two are coming into their own (though holy Christ, if her legs are "thick" then I need a very tall, alcohol-laden right now."
*Chris & Comfort have to go (I've yet to be really blown away by either one of them).

Kourtni and Matt are completely forgettable for me. I'm sad that I feel this way, but I soo do. And those costumes!? mertseger: halleleujah! Honestly, I would have thrown a full-on, Mariah Carey diva fit if anyone tried to make me go out in public lookin' like either one of em.

I'm also a huge Will fan, though I completely disagreed with the judges on the disco routine--it was pretty meh for me. Jessica seems like a super sweet girl, but she needs to grab her pom poms and go home.

Also, Nigel is way more animated and full of surprises this year. I mean, he didn't grab his man junk this week, but he did that whole fake out routine with Twitch and Kherrington and he's just a lot more lively.

How about that there was no opening number??!

Joe Reid said...

Just to be clear: I think Courtney looks fab-u-lous. Like, with the snapping and everything. But that pick does the thickness no favors. And she rocked that half-dress way better than Katee did.

Also, don't the opening numbers come on the results shows?

patty m. said...

Chris needs to go away. Thayne seemed to be rocking the edge of insanity this week. Manic, maybe? The pre-dance video made his plastered-on smile look even more desperate than usual. I think he's a great dancer, but I worry that one of these weeks his personality will dissociate once and for all. TOO MUCH PRESSURE!

par3182 said...

will & jessica's routine reminded me of the audition scene in fame when sexy leroy wipes the floor with his way-below-his-level partner

i've loved mark since his 'bohemian rhapsody' dance and he just keeps getting better. he probably won't win though, with so much emphasis on PERSONALITY!!!

Dear Famous A$$hole said...

Joe: you're totally right about the opening dance numbers...But they SHOULD do them both nights (I'm like only at step 2 in my 12 step SYTYCD detox program)....

page said...

Thanks, mertseger. So does that mean that the final four will be two men and two women? (Sorry, just about the only thing I don't like about this show, besides Mary's screams, is the insistence on referring to the women as girls -- although they adorable way Cat says "your gulls" almost makes up for it.) (Of course I have a pretty major girl-crush on Cat.)

This is how obsessed I have become with this show: I didn't get home until after midnight (saw South Pacific at Lincoln Center, which -- WOW), but still watched the results show. I'm pretty happy with how it worked out - would have been fine with losing either Chris or Thayne (patty m., you articulated my feelings about Thayne really well -- good dancer, seems like a doll, but I can't get past the GRIN because it makes me so anxious!) and either Chelsea or Comfort.

To chime in on the Adam Shankman debate -- I had never seen him or heard him speak before and I thought he was great. For me one of the things that makes this show about 4 million times better than Idol is that the judges (especially the "third" judges, but often Nigel and Mary as well) actually offer useful critiques.

page said...

Oh, forgot to say that it seems a little unfair that Thayne and Comfort have to work with a new partner but everyone else gets to stay with the person to whom they've grown accustomed. Of course, if they switched everyone around we wouldn't get another Mark/Chelsie or Josh/Katee dance so perhaps I shouldn't complain.

Mertseger said...

Yep, the final four are two men and two women. and, yep, the matching of the unbooted partners is unfair to them. However, this approach is certainly better than Season 1's. It might seem to be fairer on the surface to pair people randomly each week in that everyone faces potentially the same difficulty of working with a new partner each time. However, what happens is that many of the pairs end up wildly mismatched if only from a physical perspective. The show has not let the audience in on the process of initially pairing up the couples; however, it's clear that Kourtni and Matt, for instance, are paired for obvious reasons. Now just imagine half the guys in random pairings trying to lift Kourtni each week and failing embarrassingly. She's beautiful person and a lovely dancer, but the Season 1 approach would NOT be kind to her. And so the current format is a bit unfair, but it provides additional incentive to keep your pair out of the bottom 3 (or, later, 2). And some dancers have managed to shine while losing their partners each week. Dmitry in Season 2, for instance, had four different partners before being eliminated in week 6 having run out of shirts to take off. (I kid. It should always be noted that Dmitry and Season 2 champion Benji are the only two contestants that have been asked to choreograph a routine in subsequent seasons so far.)

Bo said...

I've loved Gev and Courtney from the beginning. And this week was another hit for me. I was just sorry we only had one episode of Courtney's rhumba hips. My she moves smoothly.

Can't they just dispense with disco? How much disco is danced these days outside of this show and a Poly-Ester's.

The Chelsie Mark routine made me well up, which is a good sign. Love him and she's growing (on me).

I love Mark Kourtni and I get annoyed every time she comes out there in a costume they've given her because no, she's not a size zero, but yes (thank you Nigel) she has a beautiful body and putting her in sacks does nothing for her or the choreography.