Thursday, July 03, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance Thursday: Top 14

Okay, I'm kind of new to this, but aren't they starting the two-performance thing a bit early in the season? Yikes. I guess maybe I'm one of the few people who likes the little personality-building vignettes before each performance (so much better than the filler segments on Idol, probably because these kids actually have personalities). But, speaking of Idol, can I say that Cat Deeley handled all that rush-rush-rush effortlessly, nothing close to the hurricane of coked-up frenzy that happens when Ryan Seacrest has to get a long show in on time.

Anyway, every couple this week (except for Courtney and Gev) ended up with one ballroom routine and one other routine. I kind of hope the show's scratched its ballroom itch and start maybe calming down and letting these kids do what they're good at.

Jessica and Will
Jive (Tony Meredith)
Lyrical Jazz (Mandy Moore)

Up until this week, I honestly couldn't tell you what styles and choreographers Will and Jessica worked with thus far, because they've been totally forgettable for me. I thought that jive was fantastic -- Will blew me away (so effortless!), and I don't think Jessica was holding him back all that much. Despite the fact that its pretty much true, she's really got to be sick of hearing how much of a millstone she is around Will's neck.

As for the jazz routine...okay, lots to discuss. One, as you all know by now, I am totally queer for Heart and "Alone" has been one of my very favorite songs way before Carrie Underwood ever picked up that can of AquaNet. And I found it amusing that the song finally burst beyond the Idol boundaries and started bleeding into Nigel's other show. The problem was, I didn't think the song went with the choreography AT ALL and it ended up totally distracting me from the dancing. Which seemed to be very good. Will certainly threw down the shirtless gauntlet ("Your move, Twitch!"), though maybe the judges could shut up about that for three seconds. Overall, it was a great week for these two, in my opinion. For the first time, I get what the big deal about Will is.

Comfort and Thayne
Broadway (Andy Blanken-something)
Smooth Waltz (Edward Simon)

Not sure when it happened, but I've definitely taken to rooting for wee little Thayne (he really is like Benji and Travis had a baby). So maybe that colored my reactions to these two tonight, but I thought they came through really well. And Nigel was totally overly mean to them. And I'm almost hoping they manage not to get eliminated this week. That waltz was gorgeous -- totally beyond anything Comfort or Thayne has done this season.

Kourtni and Matt
Hip-Hop (Cicely and Elisa)

Mambo (Alex DaSilva)

I didn't love the choreography in the first routine (more on Cicely and Elisa later), but the bigger problem appeared to be Kourtni being out of sync with Matt (she seemed a step too slow at every turn). Their second routine I thought was fabulous, but no one seemed to agree with me. I just love these two. And as long as Nigel's gonna keep calling Matt too faggy to be a good dancer, I'm gonna keep rooting for them. That shit bugs me to no end.

Chelsie and Mark
Jazz (Mandy Moore)
Foxtrot (Edward Simon)

These two have absolutely become my new favorites. That jazz routine was a blast, it had great build to it and showcased Chelsie and Mark's precision and exuberance. I am going to hate to see them split up in a couple weeks. The foxtrot was absolutely on point -- Chelsie carried them in her home style, but Mark was every inch with her. Also...WTF with Paul Anka covering Bon Jovi? Can we not do that?

Kherington and Twitch
Paso Doble (Tony Meredith)
Contemporary (Mia Michaels)

Okay, first of all, the Paso Doble is a dance between the matador and his cape, not a "matadoress," Twitch, and I know that because Travis and Heidi told me so. Good to hear Nigel reference that performance in his judging, because that shit was so awesome. Kherington and Twitch were less so, particularly on that Paso Doble, which, like their Viennese Waltz a few weeks ago, kind of skirted the Paso Doble-ness. Unlike their Viennese Waltz, there wasn't enough other stuff to compensate. Their contemporary routine was better -- the rose petals were kind of overdone (though I love how Mia Michaels was like "hell, I don't even know" about it), but there were some beautiful movements from the pair of them. Overall, though, it was kind of a blah week for these two.

Katee and Joshua
Contemporary (Mia Michaels)
West Coast Swing (Benji Schwimmer)

The first performance was a knockout -- a quintissential Mia Michaels routine full of of drama and angst danced with scary amounts of passion by Katee and Joshua. Best performance of the night. Though, can I bitch about the camerawork on this routine? Let us see the dancing, a-holes! As for the West Coast all know I can't take Benji. Exhausting. With the dog? You know? And how are you gonna straight-up ignore Lacey (the BETTER Schwimmer) like that? Bitches. Anyway, despite the fact that Josh and Katee were dressed like employees at a western-themed gay casino, they danced a strong routine (if a little slo-mo at times).

Courtney and Gev
Hip-Hop (Cicely and Elisa)
Broadway (Andy Something-breuner)

Okay, back to this: what is the deal with Cicely and Elisa? I thought both of their routines this week were totally lackluster and repetitive. I'm not sure how Courtney and Gev could have improved that. Poor Gev was such a punching bag this week, from C&E telling him that this show is turning him into a contemporary dancer (translation: homo), to the judges very predictably praising Courtney's hip-hopping at his expense. The Broadway routine was better, and allowed Courtney and Gev to express their total cuteness. I wish all the Broadway routines this season weren't a billion years old, but for what this was, C&G did really well.

Favorite Performances: Katee and Joshua's contemporary, Chelsie and Mark's foxtrot, Jessica and Will's jive.

Bottom Three Predictions: Comfort and Thayne, Kourtni and Matt, Courtney and Gev

Eliminated: Comfort and Matt

It's gonna be tough. If Jess and Will end up in the bottom three, Jessica's gone, no question. But if not, it's down to Kourtni and Comfort, and Comfort has been more consistently bad. As for the guys, Matt is stone-cold locked and guaranteed. He's toast. Nigel hates him, he hasn't responded to repeated requests to stop being such a sissy boy, and I think the judges will want to mix up another couple.


Mertseger said...

Oh, Goddess, there's Mia and then there're the other choreographers. Frankly, I wish the finals would just be a throw-down between Mia and Wade, and we'd just drop ballroom and hip-hop for the night. That won't happen, of course, but it does portray the extent of my bias.

And since Mia is my earth-hugging, granola-eating, dryad-fucking Tree Goddess, Katie and Josh were the tops for me last night as well. Apparently, I was wrong last week: Katie has had her heart broken at some point, either that or she fakes it exceedingly well. And Josh's partnering in the piece was superb. Their not-looking at each other in Mia's piece showed more chemistry than most couple's grinding their naughty bits together in some Latin routine. I do not think their swing piece was as good as Twitchington's paso, but they smacked Mia's piece out of the park. I'd rate Tabpoleon's piece for Chelsie and Mark last week as better on the season as whole, but Kaite and Josh still won the night for me.

I am getting on the Twitch band-wagon. A guy's six-pack does nothing for me, but, holy shit, the bleary anguish he showed when opening his eyes at the beginning of the bed routine really stung. Kherington is hitting all the steps, not smiling (yay!), and digging deeper, but it's like watching a My Pretty Pony try to portray Lady Macbeth.

To be fair, however, her role in their Mia piece was tough: how exactly does one portray the projection that is focus of a crush. That projection is almost entirely irrelevant to the persona let alone the person who's being crushed upon. And so, yeah, bedroom hair and flung rose petals, whatever. I ask myself what would have Katie or Chelsie or, say, Sabra have done with the role, and I do not know, but I suspect it would have drawn us into the feminine half of the piece more deeply.

Chelsie and Mark were third for me last night, but only for the relative lack of material to work with in their choreography.

Cicely and Elisa just looked pissed after the performance of both of their pieces. I suspect that they could not get the dancers to the level that they wanted, and so did not create the routines that they would have liked. I felt Gev hit the routine better than Courtney, but greater expectations were placed upon him.

Kourtni, OTOH, definitely dropped to the bottom three for me. She seemed to be lagging behind the beat, and in that space of focusing on the next step rather than performing the piece. It must be said, however, that simply putting her body in a vertical split is amazing. She must stretch well over seven feet, foot to foot, in that position. It's awesome.

I suspect that we will see Mark and Jessica in the bottom three again, but I won't be disappointed if your predictions are correct. I thought Jessica looked fantastic in all the lifts, but she, like Kourtni, does not quite keep up with her partner when under her own volition.

I loved Comfort's performances last night. Where did the girl get turn-out? She's not supposed to have turn-out! Still, I don't think either she or Thayne have the fan-base to pull themselves out of the bottom three.

Melissa said...

I have to disagree with you when it comes to Cicely and Elisa, mertsger. I don't think the problem was that they couldn't get the dancers to do any better job and therefore dumbed down the routines. I think they're choreography just isn't up to the standards of this show.

If I'm not mistaken, they were also responsible for the Push It routine last year (Danny and Sharah) which was universally panned by the judges as well and rightfully so. Their choreography appears to be permanently stuck in a 1993 Salt N Peppa video.

I don't think that necessarily made it right for Nigel to invite them to the show and then fully dis their work when he should have been judging the way the dancers danced the routines rather than the quality of the steps they were given because this isn't a show about America's Favorite Choreographer (which, obviously would be a one-time 30 minute tribute to how much Mia Michaels ROCKS!), it's about dancers.

Anyway, I wasn't in love with much last night but for the fourth straight week Mark and Chelsie; Courtney and Gev; Katee and Joshua; Twitch and Kherington were the best four couples on the night for me. Matt is definately headed home and unless Kourtney dances beyond brilliantly tonight, she is probably going with him. She's too tall to partner with any of the other remaining men and she really did a terrible job last night.

Anonymous said...

THe show was just BLEH last night and the two worst routines were the hip hop numbers!! For the love of GOD bring back Shane!!!

Also they really need to get rid of Thayne, I'm not sure what it is about him that causes me to fill up with hated but there is something!!!

Mertseger said...

You're probably right, melissa, and I am being overly generous to Cicely and Olisa. Looking at the records on Wikipedia, I was surprised that they haven't really choreographed much prior to this season: just two pieces in week 2 of Season 2. I think I was crediting them with some of Shane's routines.

Quarterlife crises said...

Joe, I love that you are supporting Matt too. It seems like everywhere I read about SYTYCD people think he is crap but I think just about everything he has done has been really great. As much as I loved Kourtni in the audition rounds she has been the weak link to me for quite a bit.

I would like to see Gev and Kourtni go home and see Matt and Courtney paired up. I just need him to make the top 10 so I can see him on the tour. But I feel your right and that its Matt's night to go home. I think he knows its as well as anyone.

Joe Reid said...

-- I think Shane Sparks is busy with America's Best Dance Crew, is why he's not around much this season (and likely why they brought on Napoleon and Tab to begin with).

-- "Also they really need to get rid of Thayne, I'm not sure what it is about him that causes me to fill up with hated but there is something!!!"

It's his resemblance to Benji.

-- "I would like to see Gev and Kourtni go home and see Matt and Courtney paired up."

It'd be cute to see them paired up but PERISH THE THOUGHT that Gev would get eliminated! Come on. Don't put that out into the universe.

patty m. said...

My problem with Cicely and Elisa's routines is that they're choreographed for one person -- there's little to no pair work in their routines. Synchronized bits in pairs routines are fine, but C&E's numbers are ALL synchronized, as if the choreographers don't know what to do with the second dancer. Shayne or Dan would be a huge step up. And I LOVE Napoleon and Tab. Great, great, great.

Melissa said...

"PERISH THE THOUGHT that Gev would get eliminated! Come on. Don't put that out into the universe."

Holy shit, you're not kidding. I'm, like, knocking on wood, throwing salt over my shoulder, spitting through my fingers three times, crossing my fingers over my head and all kinds of other jinx-combatting supersticious crap right now to help prevent that travesty from coming to pass!

par3182 said...

the dancers this year seem to be better actors than in previous seasons - jessica & will, mark & chelsie, kherrington & twitch all emoted the hell out of their numbers

i like that andy blankenbeuhler (who won a freakin' tony award two weeks ago - hideous nigel might have mentioned that) is giving us some jerome robbins-inspired numbers, which is a nice change from tyce's terrible fosse rip-offs