Friday, July 03, 2009

So You Think You Can Blog (Blog, Blog...): Top 14, Part 1

We're a day late, due to holiday-weekend craziness, but here we are. AB Chao is otherwise occupied (i.e. drunk ... probs), so it's myself, Lauren and Vance this week.

Janette and Brandon
Cha Cha (Jean Marc Generaux)

Vance: The first week where I think I can legitimately say I loved Brandon. I still keep forgetting Janette is on this show, which is a shame since she keeps wowing me on the dancefloor. It was great choreo which proves to me that Jean Marc needs to choreo more and talk less. (He was getting freaking annoying as the lead judge on SYTYCD Canada)

Lauren: These two continue to be absolutely incredible! I do still forget about her a little bit too, but I don't mind because she brings it so consistently. I thought this was a super fun routine and I'm completely amazed at how the two of them keep knocking it out of the park no matter what they are given.

Joe: Yet another stellar performance from a pair that, I am ashamed to admit, I am looking to find fault with every week. Look, I can't love EVERYONE. But these two keep making it impossible to go negative. I'll echo the huge props to Jean-Marc, too -- he's been doing really inventive stuff with ballroom lately.

Kayla and Kupono
Contemporary (Sonya Tayeh)

Vance: Always liked these two, never loved. But I think I FINALLY get it now. Though isn't it always Contemporary where we FINALLY get someone? Kupono seemed adorable in the interview and Kayla seemed pretty fab dancing.

Lauren I still adore Kupono, but I felt like tonight he was a little bit outclassed by Kayla. He did a great job, but her technique is just stunning, and I could see the difference a little bit. I'm starting to worry that all of Sonya's routines seem very similar but I still enjoyed the number a lot. I did, however, nearly blind myself from my eyes rolling back in my head when the song started and it was actually FROM Twilight. Oh Sonya, I liked it so much better before I knew you were a Twi-hard! Though... I'm also somehow not entirely surprised.

Joe: SO thrilled that Kupono finally seems to get the props he's previously been getting from only me. Sonya's choreography brings out his Mark-ness even more than normal, and I think he and Kayla rally complement each other well -- and so in sync. That segment in the middle where they were doing those locking motions around each other rocked so hard. I actually had no idea that was a "Twilight" song, but yeah, it kind of makes sense. If they can stay out of Bottom 3 again this week, it shows they have a real chance to go far.

Randi and Evan
Broadway (Joey Dowling)

Vance: So cute. So cute. I guess 'cause Joey Dowling (who seemed pretty scary, actually, for someone not scary looking) pointed out the feminine part, I noticed it in Evan's dancing a bit and though he could have butched it up a bit more. Still, pretty darn good for Fosse stuff, which needs to look synchronized and is harder than it looks. Technically it may have faltered just a bit but I was still thoroughly entertained.

Lauren: This, sadly, is one I didn't like. I didn't think the choreography was nearly as good as it could have been -- I love the Fosse style, and this seemed to be missing something for me though I still haven't put a finger on what it was. I just feel like, given these two, she could have knocked it out of the park but this didn't necessarily show off either of their strengths. I agree that Joey seems TOTALLY scary, and Mia is clearly completely crushing on her. I guess one could make the argument that E and R, as dancers, need to step up and do great with whatever they are given, so part of this might have been their fault. But I didn't love it, and that makes me sad because I wanted to.

Joe: I really thought this was underrated and underappreciated. I found Evan to be totally expressive and fluid (I thought the prissy undertones totally worked for the routine -- it's "Sweet Charity," for Pete's sake). He reminded me of the best parts of Neil Haskell. I guess I can't argue with technical nitpicks, but to me that's all they are. Of all the great performances this week, this was the one I re-watched. I also loved how crazy scary Joey Dowling was. She's like if Mia's intensity morphed with Cat's fearsome size. So, like, basically if Mia and Cat had a baby. Which I still think they one day will.

Caitlin and Jason
Pop Jazz (Brian Friedman)

Vance: I had to re-watch this 3 times to get beyond the giant dancing condom. Though it reminded me of those horror films with some flesh eating worm. Seriously. Caitlin was supposed to impregnate Jason (?), but got screwed over by Brian and the costume department. I thought she was fine at first but the more I watched, the less I was impressed actually and found her lines not as long as she usually is. Though again, I think the shiny costume emphasized the wrong things. Apparently Jason danced too but I barely noticed.

Lauren: I didn't like it, then I thought maybe it was just the condom costume, and then I rewound a bit and realized, no, I just really didn't like it. I DID like the look of MURDER on Brian's face when Mia said she was sure he didn't think this was his best work when he was choreographing it. Me-OW!

Joe: You know, I understand the stuff about the weird choreography/costumes doing the dancers in, but a) I am crazy in love with Brian Friedman's face so I'll hear nothing against him, and b) I think better dancers would have sold it. And, c) if Caitlin's really supposed to be an alien, those spikes on the outside of her full-body condom are probably her many penises, so... That being said, they were still pretty good, and this was the first week I've really taken positive notice of Jason.

Jeanine and Phillip
Hip-Hop (Nappy Tabs)

Vance: Phillip gets to do Hip-Hop and Melissa gets to do ballet. Random my ass. On the other hand, Melissa and Phillip are still two of my faves so YAY! Of course it was great and Jeanine REALLY kept up all considering. I agree with Mia that the Chain was a neat concept but sometimes detracted from their dancing.

Lauren: I had the same thought about the "randomness" but chose to just tap it down and ignore it. I thought this routine was good but not great, but was danced really, really well. Philip was naturally amazing, and Jeanine totally impresses me with how she has held her own in two different routines now. I really like Philip, but I'm looking forward to once these two are split up in the top 10 to see how Jeanine does with a bit more versatile partner. (Because come on, you know they're never getting voted into the bottom three at least until that point.)

Joe: They were good, maybe great. And I'm glad Nigel has finally given some legitimacy to the "Nappy Tabs" name so I don't have to feel weird about using it. That being said, I'm once again gonna have to be the asshole and throw cold water on the Phillip thing, if only to say that: If he's being kept around for his awesome hip-hopping despite being clearly the worst at everything else, shouldn't he be completely blowing me away at hip-hop? He shouldn't be topping out at "good, maybe great." Once again, however, my crazy love for Jeanine grows and grows. She's my #2 girl.

Melissa and Ade
Ballet Pas de Deux (Thordal Christensen)

Vance: Like the team before. Melissa was obviously great but her partner kept up as well. Not flawless but impressive enough nonetheless.

Lauren: I absolutely adored this and was totally impressed at how Ade kept up -- I wasn't expecting that. This was just a totally wonderful couple of minutes of dancing to watch. My fave of the night.

Joe: Jury-rigged genre choice or not, that was completely gorgeous, and (not to re-open old wounds) managed to be impressive beyond showing naked flesh like stupid Will last season. Ahem. Anyway, Melissa has blown me away from Week 1, and she was the best she's ever been tonight. The fact that Ade was able to keep up with her and make me occasionally look at him just shows what a strong dancer he is.

Karla and Vitolio
Quick Step (Jean Marc Generaux)

Vance: Caitlin might have been screwed over by her costume but Karla and Vitolio, already the underdogs this week, get screwed over with the Quickstep. But between the choreo and the concept, I had a lot of fun with this. I STILL don't totally feel Vitolio and I think he's STILL holding back, but I REALLY like Karla for trying so hard. I thought she was better in the character moments than when she just had to quickstep her way around the stage but I thought she was pretty great. (Plus, the dress switch gimmick was kinda awesome).

Lauren: I was so worried, and I always get nervous watching the quickstep, but they did way better than I thought. It wasn't perfect but they still did a good job with a super hard dance, and I liked them as partners. I think they'll be in the bottom three just on account of the quickstep and them being, really, the orphans of the group as a new couple. But well played, K and V -- and I loved the dress switcheroo.

Joe: Yeah, the quickstep is so famously hard, and while they actually did pretty well, I almost felt bad for them. But then I remembered that Vitolio's been overdue for elimination for a couple weeks now. I feel bad for Karla, because she's NOT overdue for elimination, but I can't see anyone else getting the boot. Side note: I love Rufus Wainwright as much as anyone, but whose genius decision was it to use his version of "Puttin' on the Ritz"? This is a quick step; Rufus's voice is perpetually being dragged through a stream of maple syrup and cigarette tar. Ill-fitting.

Vance: Jeanette/Brandon, Kayla/Kupono, Jeannine/Phillip

Lauren: Melissa/Ade, Jeanette/Brandon, Kayla/Kupono

Joe: Melissa/Ade, Kayla/Kupono, Evan/Randi

Vance: Caitlin/Jason

Lauren: Caitlin/Jason

Joe: Vitolio/Karla

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