We're all here to discuss this week's So You Think You Can Dance. Amazingly transcendent across the board or kind of blah save for the two best routines of the season? You make the call!
As always, joining me are the lovely and talented AB Chao, the equally lovely and talented Lauren S, and the even more equally lovely and talented Vance from Tapeworthy.
MELISSA and ADE
Disco (Doriana Sanchez)
Joe: This was probably the first week where I wasn't utterly blown away by these two. I didn't think it was awful, but the judges completely overpraised it. That stumble at the end should have at LEAST led to mixed responses, but even before that there just wasn't a ton of oomph to it, and the lifts seemed strained.
Vance Well, count me in with the overpraising judges. I thought it was excellent and I could watch Melissa shake her hair and her booty all night long. Ade's great but poor guy gets overshadowed by Melissa for me.
AB Agreed. I am over Melissa, I think. Her baby voice is wearing on me. "Eem the Biff Bielereena!" But as usual, Ade can do no wrong. Wait, I meant: If I ever decide I don't like him, it will be Ade to remember. YES IT WILL!
Lauren: I wasn't wowed by this routine. I thought they did as good a job as they could with keeping up, but it still felt like it was too fast for them and I wasn't feeling it. I also kept comparing it to Brandon and Janette's routine, which was unfortunate for these two.
Waltz (Ron Montez)
Joe: To even things out, the judges over-nitpicked this one, which was fine, but not good enough to transcend the earthbound tendencies of the waltz. Much as I hate to see them broken up -- and much as Melissa's obvious affection for Ade touched me -- I'm excited to see how they're going to spark with other partners.
Vance Mary pointed out what I noted in the Disco too, that Ade tends to get the big moments right but still needs to strengthen and sharpen some of the smaller moments. It was good but yah, it's hard to get really excited for the Waltz.
AB I thought their disco was better, but I still can't get any enthusiasm going for them. I know y'all love Melissa, but I am just not that into her.
Lauren: I really like these two as partners but I am excited to see how they perform with new partners. I thought the lifts were amazing but the dance itself was kind of dull, which might just be the fault of the waltz.
Vance: I will say, for Melissa to truly stay in the game though, she needs to diva up her personality off the dance floor because yah, she's a little blank at this moment.
KAYLA and KUPONO
Contemporary (Mia Michaels)
Joe: Oh my GOD, twenty minutes into the show and I'm already welling up. This was EASILY my favorite routine of the night, and one of those all-caps MIA routines. Everything was so sharp and hard, but totally graceful and harrowing. Overwrought, just how I like my Mia routines; though I kind of which we weren't informed ahead of time that it was about addiction, because honestly the choreography and dancing were good enough that we'd have been able to guess, and how cool would that have been?
Vance I still think Kupono is the weaker of the two in this pairing but that being said, he was great. And Kayla was GREAT. Though didn't these two get contemporary LAST WEEK? Now they get a MIA Contemporary? Is that a way for producers to say that they want these two in the Top 10? (Not that I'm complaining, just noting).
AB CRYING. I am already very emotional right now what with my MJ mourning, so this probably touched me more than it should have. Kayla is my favorite girl right now; everything she does is near-perfect, and she reminds me of my beloved Katee. This was actually the first time I could see Kupono as the weaker of the pairing, but he still rocked it. Did y'all see Mia crying at the end? I love that she is so awesome she makes her own self cry.
Lauren: I absolutely adored this routine. I still think that you can see that Kayla is a step above Kupono but they were both fantastic and the routine itself was amazing. I loved it so much that I managed to block out that I loathe the song they danced to and this was one of my two favorite routines of the night.
Broadway (Joey Dowling)
Joe: Perfectly fine, if unremarkable. She didn't really deliver anything excellent this time (or last time, really, despite my sticking up for Evan and Randi's frugging), but I was psyched to have Joey Dowling back on my TV screen. The Amazons comfort me.
Vance I thought they danced what they were given pretty well, and the choreography had some ingenious moments but REALLY. Did Joey Dowling Amazon Woman really think she could take on Jerome Robbins' original choreography? I'm sorry but it wasn't even close. Joey Dowling could probably easy take down lil' Arthur Laurents or Stephen Sondheim but she won't be able to take down Robbins.
AB It was good, not great. But I am with Joe -- I love seeing Joey Dowling anytime, anyplace. She may not be able to take down Robbins, but she is so... pretty.
Lauren: I can't get on the Joey bandwagon. I love seeing a gorgeous fellow tall girl on TV, but... I don't think she's very good. I enjoyed watching the routine, I thought it was fun, but it wasn't anything extraordinary.
CAITLIN and JASON
Foxtrot (Tony Meredith)
Joe: One of the better dances these two have pulled off together. But I couldn't help but nod in agreement when Nigel mentioned that he didn't think they've shown a ton of chemistry together.
Vance I thought Caitlin looked super glam in both her makeup and outfit and her dancing. Jason seemed like a little kid who got to dance with the older hot girl. It seemed a bit slow to me.
AB The only reason I have just the tiniest bit of love for these two is that I am suffering from a major case of Caitlin Bangs this morning. That poor girl. How she must struggle with the flat iron. I thought this was pretty good, but Caitlin's dress kept impeding her dancing, and it was getting on my NERVES. They have zero spark together, though, it's true. I never realized it until Nigel said it. I think both of them are great dancers -- they are just boring great dancers.
Lauren: My feelings about Caitlin are the same as always so I won't rehash it. I do wish she'd gotten a better dress that didn't get in the way of her kicks (which were amazing) and didn't make her look like a truck. I might not be a fan but that girl has an insane body, and there's no reason she should ever look as wide as she did in that thing. What is up with the costuming in general this season? I agree that the judges pointed out what I hadn't been able to put my finger on -- the zero chemistry.
Lyrical Jazz (Mandy Moore)
Joe: Too much dancing apart from each other -- like both of them dancing their results-night solos at the same time. That said, kudos to Jason for reminding me of that age-old DANCE axiom that, when in danger, take off that shirt. I still think if they end up in the Bottom 3, they're both gone, unless the judges have finally grown weary of slapping Evan around and give HIM the shove.
Vance As Mary mentioned, there was a missing magic but it won me over enough somewhere halfway and I still enjoyed it. Still, if either of these two are cut this week, I won't be that sad. But uh, Evan? no WAY are they cutting Evan.
AB I liked this one a little better, but that could be because I love Mandy Moore and her weirdo moves. But can someone tell me the difference between lyrical jazz and contemporary? Because it seems... exactly the same to me. And right, Jason? Put your shirt back on, Desperado.
Lauren: This was probably my favorite routine that the two of them have done all season. I thought it was great, though I rolled my eyes so hard I got a headache when Jason came out shirtless. (Not that I don't appreciate the view.) That said, if they are in the bottom I feel like this could be his week. I wish that it would be Caitlin's week too, but I think she's got too much love going from the judges right now to be sent home, so we'll see.
PHILLIP and JEANINE
Russian folk dancing (Youri Nelzine, Lilia Babenko)
Joe: Eh. How am I supposed to evaluate this, respective to everyone else. I'm tempted to just set it aside and pretend it never happened. (However, my feelings on odd genres still applies: Nobody knows how these dances SHOULD look, so the bar's a lot lower to clear; and Phillip's fans will scramble to keep him safe after last week, so whatever.)
Lauren: This was just unfortunate all-around. I agree: who knows what it was supposed to look like? Though I have a feeling that whatever the answer is, it wouldn't have been very enjoyable. I felt sorry for the choreographers getting totally shit on, but... dude, awful.
AB I refuse to comment on this because of its total ridiculousness, except to say that I love Phillip for trying so hard at everything he does.
Vance You know I love me some Phillip, which is weird because usually, at least in former seasons, I have been not so nice to the "Phillips" of the competition. But that was BAD. Just plain BAD. It's true though, what WAS it supposed to look like and would that have been any good in the first place? Let's just stick to Bollywood if we're going to go with ethnic dances.
Jive (Tony Meredith)
Joe: Most over-praised performance of the night? It's up there. The whole thing seemed so slow and labored and reticent. Jeanine did her best to throw some excitement in her movements (she remains a strong favorite of mine), but every time I looked at Phillip, he seemed flat-footed.
Lauren: I actually loved this dance -- I don't know if it's because I was braced for it to be horrible and I was pleasantly surprised, but I wound up loving it. I enjoy Phillip and think he did 1000% better than I thought. I still think his time to go is very near, but I appreciate how he clearly works his ass off and it showed here. I adore Jeanine and I can't wait to see how she does with a new partner.
AB I loved it too! It was a bit over-praised, yes, but it was such a departure for Phillip -- from his usual Comfort-like stiffness -- that I can forgive it. Jeanine is adorable, both when she's dancing and just living. I am excited to see how they both do with new partners. I have a feeling that when Jeanine is unchained from Phillip (sorry, P, I love you, but it's true), she's going to be even better than she is now.
Vance Maybe I'm drinking the same water as the judges but I'm all with the overpraising here. I LOVED IT. LOVED IT. Jeanine now gets overshadowed by Phillip mainly because we're sitting here ready to overanalyze him, but you've got to give the girl props for everything she does. That being said, Phillip was GREAT and such a surprise!!!
RANDI and EVAN
Hip Hop (Tabitha/Napoleon)
Joe: The second-most overpraised performance of the night. This one bugged me from start to finish, but I'm not sure how much I should blame the dancers. The routine was just too irritating -- all smiles and stupid engagement ring props wrapped around fairly derrivative dancing. Where are the Napoleon and Tabitha I kind of loved last season?
Lauren: I watched this with a friend, and we cringed our way through it, both for the stupid choreography and the not-great dancing. I'm so relieved to learn we weren't the only two who didn't like it, given that the judges apparently saw a totally different performance than we did, given that praise. I love these two, but they were both out of their element here.
AB Disappointment all around. I love these two, and I know they could have pulled it off, so what happened? Randi did look super cutes in her little yellow top. Also, I don't understand what is going on with Nappy Tabs. I get so happy when I see them in the rehearsal room, and then... it's like they're rehashing rehashes of the worst parts of their old routines. And seriously, get some better props/ideas than pregnancy/engagement rings. May I suggest a giant balloon?
Vance Ugh, maybe I was on a happy pill cause I, like the judges, loved it. I thought the silly grin on Evan sort of worked with the newly expectant father act (aren't they all like that (if they're not totally freaking out in horror?)) and I thought the piece was great. Not Nappy Tabs best work but I thought it was pretty good. Or am I just so in love with Evan's silly grin that I'm blinded by it all? (Don't answer that!)
Samba (PASHA (!) and Anya)
Joe: Pretty good, all things considered, though I guess I can understand people getting frustrated waiting for Evan to blow them away. For me, I'm forever paying attention to the weird little ways he moves, but it's not really dynamic, I admit.
Lauren: Paha and Anya!! Eeeeeeeeeeee! I clapped and squealed my way through the whole rehearsal package, and then was completely let down by the dance itself and just kept wishing I was watching Pasha and Anya dance it instead. This week was a bad draw for Randi and Evan as a whole, but I think that the judges like them enough that they will squeak through.
AB I forgot how hot Pasha and Anya are, damn. But yeah, bad times. I think a big part of the reason Randi and Evan couldn't pull this off is because they are shorties. Is that heightist? I fear at least one of these two is going home soon, if not this week, then next.
Vance Okay, as much as I love Evan and I've been generally positive about this group, more so than everyone else, I will admit, the moment I saw Pasha, I melted (well, actually, I something else but I'll keep it PG here). I forgot how awesome Pasha was. Just seeing him shake that body in the clip made me (deleted due to TMI). And I realized so far no one this year has entered the realm of Pasha/Neil/Travis for me yet. (Second tier would be Mark/Dimitry/Ivan/Kameron).
Oh yah, back to Evan and Randi. I thought it was decent but not great. I thought Randi did better again, but I didn't totally mind Evan except that watching him try to be sexy was probably unintentionally the funniest thing on this show. But as a fellow guy who can't be sexy (I know I'm not sexy AT ALL, but I know I'm cute as a button (well, at least to kids. Apparently I remind them of The Bear in the Big Blue House)), I can't bash Evan on that (for self preservations sake).
JANETTE and BRANDON
Tango (Mirian Marici, Leonardo Barrionuevo)
Joe: Brilliant. No false steps, huge passion, insane body control, the whole package. (Though Nigel's slow-clap standing-O was a bit much, right?) I will now become the last person in the universe to finally latch into Janette. She was the MVP of tonight, for sure. I have a feeling these two could really elevate their various partners going forward.
Lauren: Hands-down my favorite routine of the night, if not the season. I watched the whole thing with my jaw dropped at how amazing Janette was and am so impressed with how she just takes every single thing they give her and makes it flawless. Great great great. And I loved recognizing the choreographers as the couple that danced the tango in one of the first results shows this season.
AB I loved it. Partly because Brandon didn't wink at anything, but mostly because Janette is SOAWESOME. Why haven't I noticed her before? And also, why haven't I noticed that she totally looks like Blackwood when she dances? Am I right? Anyway, the whole thing was lovely, up to and including Drama Nigel's slow clap.
Vance I had to watch it twice before I could love this. The first time all I could see were the horrid camera angles and edits again. I still thought Brandon had a moment where his legs didn't seem to swing and lock as perfectly as it should have been but maybe I'm being nitpicky. Also note, I have NO IDEA what this is supposed to look like so take me with a grain of salt, especially considering everyone else said it's perfect. But Janette. Didn't I say she's AWESOME!? Yet so under-recognized?
Jazz (Wade Robson)
Joe: Again: amazing. Shades of Wade's angel/devil routine with Neil and Lauren from season 3 that I loved so much. But it also reminded me of "The Brothers Bloom," with the costumes and the madcappery. Delightful. Again, the precision with these two is astounding, and once again Janette was the one my eyes kept snapping to, for the first time this season.
Lauren: This was just a really fun routine. It won't necessarily go down as one of my all-time favorites, but it was great, and Wade never misses with his choreography, and these two are just unbelievable. I think they're awesome, YES I DO!
AB Y'all. Wade Robson. I want to marry him. And, if they don't let him do something Michael Jackson-related soon, someone is going to have to write a letter. This was my favorite of the night, and one of those routines that is so fun you want to learn it yourself and perform it for your friends. Coming soon to Pamie's blog.
P.S., can we talk about why no guest judge can get Wade's name right? Lil C called him "Wade Robinson" and then stupid douchebag Tyce Diorio said "Wade Robeson." Come on, people. And speaking of which: I hate Tyce Diorio so bad it almost made me miss Dan Karaty.
Vance For me, this MIGHT go down as one of the all-time favorites, or at least in the SYTYCD new classics. But can we talk about Wade's height? Or Brandon's lack of it? Maybe he really IS Carlton Banks.
TOP THREE ROUTINES
Joe: Kayla/Kupono's contemporary; Janette/Brandon's jazz; Janette/Brandon's tango
Lauren: Janette/Brandon's tango; Kayla/Kupono's contemporary; Phillip/Jeanine's jive
Anna Beth: Janette/Brandon's jazz; Kayla/Kupono's contemporary; Phillip/Jeanine's jive
Vance: Janette/Brandon's jazz; Kayla/Kupono's contemporary; Phillip/Jeanine's jive
Joe: Phillip/Jeanine's jive
Lauren: Phillip/Jeanine's Russian folk
Anna Beth: Phillip/Jeanine's Russian folk
Vance: Phillip/Jeanine's Russian folk