This is going up super late, which is entirely this guy's fault right here. The results haven't aired yet, but feel free to talk all about it in the comments.
Vance: Am I easy (don't answer that) or was that a GREAT first performance night? While I started criticizing the show for casting beautiful dancers instead of the best dancers, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt now and admit that maybe they found pretty people who ALSO can dance really really well.
My early faves Philip and Evan didn't disappoint. And thank goodness pretty boy Jonathan is actually pretty darn good. Yay! I have a legitimate reason/excuse to ogle him now!
I can see why Mary's gone crazy already but tone it down woman, you're scaring newcomers to the show that I've worked so hard to convince. And I still think Ryan Kasprzak would make a better choreographer than Tyce.
Lauren: I couldn't agree more, Vance -- Sorry Tyce, sometimes I do love your stuff, but overall I totally agree: just put Ryan up there.
I remembered in theory how much Mary made my ears bleed but somehow thought I would mellow, or it wouldn't be so bad. I was wrong. The blood seeping from my ears is proof of that. (Fine, the Botox reference was awesome.) But for the love, tone it down. Vance has it right -- she's going to scare new viewers away!
AB Chao: Ugh, Tyce, with his weird pencil-thin outline beard. I can't stand him most of the time, but that jazz routine was really good. And I was all prepared to hate Melissa (she also has some facial hair issues I'm concerned about) but she won me over by the end.
As a side note: I have to fast-forward through the mugging when Cat is calling out the numbers. I don't want to ruin my image of The Dance with face contortions.
We had a SYTYCD newbie over last night to watch, and not only did he love Mary, it was the Botox Moment that sent him over the edge for her. So maybe she just needs to keep rolling on that hot tamale train. But seriously: shut up, Mary.
Joe: I can't even talk about the Botox moment yet, except to say I rewound it four times before I moved on. Mary wasn't even the best part -- watching everyone's reaction, and especially Cat's, totally made me smile with all my facial muscles.
And much as I love Adam Shankman and would totally gay marry him even though he's not my type, I kind of wish they'd kicked off the season with a more difficult-to-please judge (whatever happened to that dickhole Dan Karaty anyway?), if only because Mary is always going to shreik, from now on, but with Adam's tendency to over-praise, it added up to starting off too high on too many dancers. If Phillip and Janine are already perfection, where do they go from here?
Lauren: I forgot about Dan! He's pocket-sized mean! I know what you mean but at the same time my love for Adam overshadows any criticism I might have.
I miss Brian Friedman, who hasn't been around since season 2, but he wore such increasingly CRAZY jewelry that I got excited to see what he would wear next even though I have no real recollection of what I thought of him as a judge. Anyone who has a bauble the same size as their head hanging around their neck is okay with me.
Vance: Brian Friedman? Those necklaces were RIDIC. But I do kind of miss them. I'm sure Dan Karaty will be back. He actually came up to guest judge with Mia at SYTYCD Canada back in the fall AND even judged one of the auditions (in Halifax no less!).
And while Caitlin didn't bother me and I love me some Jason, and this is not meant as a slight to them, but can ANYBODY perform Bollywood and NOT make it look fun?! It's so awesome!
Lauren: I loved the Bollywood number but that said, Caitlin is rubbing me the wrong way. Maybe it was all the crying during Vegas that turned me? I thought she was okay but didn't 100% keep up with Jason. I loooooved Jason.
I love Mandy Moore's routines and this one totally came through to keep up her streak, and ALSO -- Richard Marx? Why, that was the first concert I ever went to, at the Ventura County Fair no less, so of course I'm going to have a special spot for that. I'm already sick of the "naughty ballerina" schtick but the second she let that go, Melissa grew on me so I hope they toss that.
Joe: That naughty ballerina stuff totally didn't faze me, for whatever reason; Melissa has shot right up to join Randi as my favorite female dancers thus far. She's just gorgeous out there.
Vance: I don't have a FAVE just yet since I'm holding off to see more, but yes, Melissa has definitely shot up the list and Philip cemented that he's not just a one hit wonder.
Joe: I feel weird that I didn't find the entire slate of performances quite so flawless. Don't get me wrong, I love all of these kids, but I only really flipped out for a handful of them. I think part of my problem is that ballroom very rarely excites me, even when it's performed flawlessly. I've certainly had exceptions (last year's awesome waltzes -- Twitch/Kherington and Mark/Courtney -- and that Travis/Heidi paso doble from S2), but not very many. That said, Kayla and Max were pretty flawless.
Also, someone needs to tell Jonathan that with a face like that (THAT FACE! THAT BEAUTIFUL FACE!), he really doesn't need to try so hard to be cute.
A note on the choreography: both Tyce and Napoleon/Tabitha showed their hit-or-miss tendencies last night. Tyce's jazz routine was pretty awesome, but his Broadway kinda sucked; Napoleon/Tabitha, predictably, were great with the lyrical but lackluster with the traditional hip-hop. In both cases, the choreo didn't help but the performances (Vittolio/Asuka and Tony/Paris) didn't add anything to them.
AB Chao: I didn't find them all flawless, either, and I wanted so bad for that Philip/Jeanine hip-hop routine to be as good as Katee/Joshua's last year, but it didn't quite get there for me. I still managed to cry a little, though. However, I am a Tabitha/Napoleon lover, even when they try to do dumb straight-up hip-hop.
I thought Tony and Paris were awful, which makes me sad because I do like both of them a lot. But Paris totally showed up Tony in his own style, which is really bad. Vitolio and Asuka weren't much better, but it's clear that they are good dancers. As a personal bonus, Vitolio is always crying.
Vance: I've always debated if i should also be grading the choreography as separate to the actual dancing skills, because yah, i wasn't feeling one of the Nap/Tab routines too (you can assume i groan at Tyce stuff unless proven otherwise, though i guess his jazz was decent last night) and I usually love those two.
Because yes, with last night, i didn't think the choreo was always there, but then again, every season people complain its not as good as before but if you look back, there are usually only 1 or 2 outstanding memorable ones per episode.
I WAS excited last night though because, especially for first week, they danced them outstandingly, and while some of the routines as a whole probably won't stand to the canon of best-of's, I think we have a good crop that can do most of the choreo justice.
So let's talk about something more fun? When is Jonathan going to go shirtless?
Joe: Not before Brandon goes shirtless, I can guarantee you that. You know how every season there's that weird little side competition among the guys over who goes shirtless and when and how often? Neil/Danny/Pasha in S3, and then Will just took it to ridiculous levels last year? I have a feeling Brandon's taking that shit to town this year.
AB Chao: Since someone pointed it out last night, I can't stop seeing Brandon as Carlton from "The Fresh Prince." The shirtless stuff is almost as bad as the mugging. That is not to say that I do not enjoy seeing the shirtless dancers. I do. I enjoy it very much.
Vance: Oh, I'm all about the shirtless mugging from Jonathan. I can't WAIT! And OMG Brandon IS Carlton!!! Except with bigger shoulders (though Carlton was actually pretty solid too wasn't he? I'm having flashbacks from some pool party episode with Uncle Phil yelling at them again).
Lauren: CARLTON! You are so right! I now have no idea how I didn't notice that before.
The shirtless stuff always kills me -- not that I don't quite enjoy admiring a shirtless male dancer, but it gets so gimmicky and I just want to see how they are dancing. I'm definitely betting on Brandon being the first to strip off.
My late two cents: I totally agree about the hit-or-miss Taboleon and Tyce tendencies and how that was illustrated perfectly tonight.
AB Chao: I can't believe we didn't even discuss last night's Wade Robson sighting. Didn't he decide he was too good for the show last year? I'm glad he's back, either way. His smugness about crash test dummy dances is hilarious to me. (And Kupono was awesome in it, obviously.)
Joe: V. happy to see Wade back, even though it was a quick reminder that he just as often leaves me in the dust with some of these high-concept routines. I found myself watching Kupono and Ashley's movements moreso than the dance as a whole. Which worked out well for those two, especially Kupono, who is still my total boyfriend.
Vance: WADE! He's looking GOOD too these days! Though didn't he skip out last year because he was dealing with the disaster that was Criss Angel's BeLIEve?
Lauren: Was it Criss Angel, or was it one of the Cirque shows? Either way, it was some sort of Vegas extravaganza that clearly was so memorable none of us can pull it up. But he is looking good, and I loved him not knowing how quite to keep his face when they were fawning over his "genius." I actually think the having last season off will be good for me -- I'd started to feel that while I loved most of his work, it started feeling kind of the same, but that at least last night he was bringing something different to the table again, finally.
But you're going to probably notice a theme in that I get easily annoyed with all of the choreographers for that, so it might just be my own issue to deal with. ;)
Vance: the Criss Angel show is under the Cirque brand. It was Cirque trying to combine with another brand. But since I think Criss Angel is a douchebag (as Supernatural so eloquently put it), I think it sullied Cirque's image by attaching themselves to him.
Lauren: Seriously, I hate myself just for knowing who Criss Angel even is. The sooner I can try and forget he ever existed, the better.
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TOP 3 PERFORMANCES
Lauren: Ade/Melissa, Evan/Randi, Max/Kayla
Vance: Phillip/Jeanine, Ade/Melissa, Evan/Randi
Anna Beth: Phillip/Jeanine, Ade/Melissa, Max/Kayla
Joe: Phillip/Jeanine, Evan/Randi, Jason/Caitlin
LEAST FAVORITE PERFORMANCE
Anna Beth: Tony/Paris