Um ... AB didn't watch the show today. So we're going lean and mean with a 3-person squad this week: Vance from Tapeworthy, Lauren S, and me. The three of us will get drunk later, after this show does the impossible and kicks one of those four PHENOMENAL women off the show. Could we possibly just lose Jason and Evan both? ...Please?
Joe: I thought these two were really well-matched to this style, since Sonya's dances never really require a lot of length or straight lines or anything these two wee little darlings just can't pull off. As with most of Sonya's stuff, I found it weird, but pleasantly so.
Vance: Me too. I thought this match actually worked well. I wouldn't have thought so either. I thought it was a lot of fun and loved those "shut up" moments within the dance. I didn't think it was Sonya's best routine but yah, it was good enough and thoroughly enjoyable.
Lauren: Let me start by saying I think that Evan is awesome and talented and so cute and pocket-sized, but while his height worked well with Janette, I didn't love him in this piece. He wasn't *bad* -- I mean, no one is bad at this point, quite the opposite -- but I was just drawn to her and her crazy awesomeness the whole time. My love for her only grows!
Rumba (Tony Meredith, Melanie LaPatin)
Joe: Okay, I really loved that. I bought the sexy coming from Evan this time, and they slid around each other quite effortlessly. And Kris Allen's version of "Heartless"! Too much adorable, I fear for Vance's delicate emotions!
Vance: What? Joe thought Evan did an adorable job? LOVE Evan's attempt at a sexy look. I did figure out why he does not look right in these kinds of dances. It's 'cause they outfit him in skintight clothing which makes his small body look small. Thus his bobble-headed huge noggin looks imbalanced on top. So he looks like he can't be taken seriously. But hey, while his steps weren't perfect, I thought he did a pretty good job. Oh, and Janette? She's just awesome. Don't we know that already?
Lauren: Again, I think it was a good effort by Evan but I didn't love it, but Janette knocked it out of the park (I'd also expect no less as this really falls into her style). I think Evan did make an incredible effort, but I feel like, while I thought this was going to be Jason's week, maybe it's Evan's time now.
Vance: Also, why did Evan get Tony and Meredith for the second week in a row? Can't they mix things up a bit more considering how many choreographers they have on their roster?
Lauren Seriously, that is kind of putting him at a disadvantage as I feel like ballroom is probably his weakest area.
Joe: Wow, the Evan defenses are coming fast and furious now! Heh. For the record, I think his fanbase has shown itself to be strong enough that I don't think Evan will go home tonight.
Lauren: Look, I still think it should be Evan going home, despite his crappy luck of the draw. That said, I agree that his fanbase is probably big enough to keep him there.
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Waltz (Hunter Johnson)
Joe: Well, looks like we've finally found the one style Brandon isn't really suited for. Very, very stiff, on his part, in a way that didn't mesh well at all with Jeanine. Who, all things considered, pulled this off pretty well. I'm supressing my insane Jeanine love for the moment (though: guess who finally got me to pick up the phone for this show?), but she was the better here.
Vance: I actually didn't think Brandon was THAT bad but yes, my eye was always drawn to Jeanine and her yellow dress. I didn't think it was nearly as bad as the judges made it out to be. I thought it was pretty. Then again, I'm a sucker for those Irish Enya-sounding songs.
Lauren: Once again, a waltz that isn't breathtaking. That said, I thought Jeanine was beautiful and while it was probably Brandon's weakest dance, his weakest dance is still pretty dang good. Something just didn't quite click for me.
Pop-Jazz (Laurie-Ann Gibson)
Joe: Okay, Laurie-Ann Gibson getting up in Jeanine's face and making her cry? AAAAHHHH! So intense. But all that meanness means she gets results, you stupid chief! Seriously, though, how EFFING BADASS is Jeanine? No, I will NOT stop talking about her! (Also, weird, but I've been waiting all season for someone to choreograph a routine to that Jordin Sparks song, so I'm all sorts of satisfied.)
Vance: Yes, Jeanine is my new favorite dancer of the week. She was FIERCE! (ACK. I need a new word. I hate using that word). I watched it several times and she was SO ON! Though uh, Brandon was always slightly ahead or behind and looking to Jeanine to match, while Jeanine totally just WENT FOR IT. Not that Brandon was bad, he brought the power and passion but they were out of sync and after some replays, it looked like it was him and not her.
Lauren: Now THIS is what I was waiting for! Vance is right that they were a tiny bit off sometimes, but the energy and the moves and all that were so fun that I didn't really mind. I liked having a different choreographer and really enjoyed this. Can't say much more about these two that hasn't already been said about their awesomeness.
Cha-Cha (Tony Meredith, Melanie LaPatin)
Lauren: I didn't love this cha-cha. I thought it was really interesting to hear the feedback about how hard it must be for Melissa to un-learn all her ballet training to do this correctly, and I thought they did a good job, but not a great job. I think that for this particular couple this was their weakest dance yet. Fortunately, they had one more dance coming.
Joe: Sloppy, yes, and I too noticed Ade's butt. And for actually the right (or, for Ade, wrong) reasons too! Much as Mary can grate with the hot tamale train and all (I could not get enough of Ellen throwing crazy shade her way all night), I fucking LOVE it when she brings it with that rat-tat-tat barrage of ballroom knowledge. Seeing that many facts coming from such a crazy face is brain-melting.
Vance And if Evan was disadvantaged with a double header of ballroom, Melissa and Ade together again? Really? Love these two. Did not love this Cha Cha. It looked slower than the Waltz. That fringe stayed limp the whole time. But is that Melissa and Ade's fault? or Tony and Melanie's (seriously, I never had anything against them but... I'm talking about them AGAIN?)?
Contemporary (Tyce Diorio)
Lauren This was fantastic! Yes, it was totally manipulative because who isn't going to be touched by a breast cancer story? But that said, it was beautiful and super emotional, and I don't think any of the other couples could have pulled this off anywhere near the way they did it, which is probably why I liked it so much. I had four friends over and all of us -- whose opinions can differ -- were sniffling and wiping our eyes at the end of this routine. I thought this was Melissa's week to go but after this dance I'd be completely shocked if it's her.
Joe: Ohhh lord a'mighty. Okay. One of the very best Tyce routines he's ever choreographed, despite being a smidge more literal than I like my high-concept routines. But how can I argue with all that crying? I can't. And honestly, Melissa and Ade were at their graceful, passionate peak dancing it -- and Ade is still my favorite male dancer by a mile -- so I'm not about to slam it. Just to say that I'm with Ellen in the "impressed but not a puddle" category. Though I desperately wanted to give Mia a ten-minute hug.
Vance Ah... the Cancer Dance. Uh, where do I even start? I actually missed the intro so didn't realize it was Tyce's and basically figured out the cancer thing from the scarf. I will also just state first that I thought Ade and Melissa did a beautiful job with it. Beautiful. Everything that was great about this was because of them.
But seriously, take away the scarf and it was just another standard contemporary dance (though to a very very smart song choice). And THEN I found out Tyce choreographed it. My hatred knows no bounds. That and I have no soul. Then the judges cried and cried over it and I sat there like a log wondering what I missed. Yah, the cancer part was very sad, but I didn't think it was the most emotional dance piece from SYTYCD. I still enjoyed it but I think it was overpraised. Because seriously, can you remember any of the actual dance moves without thinking about that scarf? I'm going to hell aren't I?
Broadway (Tyce Diorio)
Lauren I really liked this! It wasn't one of the most memorable routines we've ever seen but I loved watching it, it was fun, it was danced really, really well by both of them, and as one of my friends said, "Kayla's legs do things legs aren't supposed to be able to do." Holy moly, woman! Two thumbs up.
Joe: Very well danced, of course, but probably the one routine that had dropped completely out of my head since the episode ended. Though, wait, was this where Mia was talking about cracking Jason's chest open with a hammer? God, I love Mia.
Vance Not bad for a Tyce routine (seriously, I'm really trying to be nice. Really!) but Kayla really saved this with her length and her sparkle. And Jason is finally becoming SOOO charming on the dancefloor.
Hip-Hop (Shane Sparks)
Lauren THIS, though, was completely awesome, and I was so relieved because I feel like Shane hadn't been having a great season. But this was super fun (kind of Thriller, but I'm fine with that) and inventive and super well-danced by the both of them. See, just when I think it's Jason's turn to go... I have no earthly idea who it's going to be.
Joe: I was crossing all my limbs that Shane would finally have one of his routines danced well this season. And either I was looking through rose-colored glasses or Kayla and Jason were really good. There really isn't much Kayla can't do, and Jason was a whole lot better than his last time in Shane's clutches.
Vance My fave of the night. Jason got into full character and if you told me that was someone other than Kayla, I would have believed it cause she totally buried herself with this piece.
Thoughts on the solos/group routine?
Lauren Loved it! Totally fun, I loved the wacked-out costumes, I loved the glasses like you buy at Disneyland once it gets dark. I'm certain that I am a little bit biased because I love Travis so much and wanted it to be good for his sake, but overall really enjoyed it.
Joe: As for the solos, I thought Ade and Jeanine's were the real standouts, though Brandon always has those 1 or 2 moments where he pulls out something super astounding. And I appreciated how Melissa and especially Janette mixed their ballet/ballroom up with more contempo style so they weren't just doing a succession of movements. Evan's routine, I will say, was so similar to last week's that I couldn't get excited for it.
Vance You know I love my future husband Travis but I actually expected a bit more. Seemed a bit all over the place. Still, some nice moments but I wished they turned off the lights more to milk that glowy light gimmick effect.
Solos? Jeanine's was AMAZING. The first girls solo's I finally truly loved. It was well planned out and felt unique and whole. Evan's and Ade's, who are probably the best male soloists, also had more complete solo's than the others though both were not as good as last week's. If anything, Jason and Melissa had the weakest solos. I give credit to Melissa for trying some difficult but slow ballet moves that are technically difficult but it needed to be a bit more showy and faster, especially to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs song she picked.
Thoughts on Ellen/Judges?
Lauren: I adore Ellen, but I was glad when she stopped having the same pattern of quips and just started complimenting the dancers. (Granted, I think this also came about because the dances in the 2nd hour were far and away better than those in the first half of the episode.) I wouldn't want her to be a regular, but I was fine with the little shake-up for a week. I also really enjoyed that Mary had a good amount of actual feedback this week, because I love hearing what she has to say when she's actually critiquing/teaching instead of screeching. (Wow, that's quite a rhyme.)
Joe: Yes, as a one-timer, Ellen was lovely. And I'll gladly take the occasional useless comments in exchange for how she clearly couldn't stand Nigel and Mary's insanity for another minute. It all made me very happy that Mia's bipolar ass was around being a stickler (and occasional supporter of beauty in all forms, even Evan's droopy eyes).
Vance I'm glad Ellen didn't pretend to really know anything about dancing the way I do! It was nice to have a bit of star power on the judges panel but she played it just right, throwing a few funny quips and letting the others give the real critique.
TOP THREE PERFORMANCES
Lauren Kayla/Jason's hip-hop; Melissa/Ade's contemporary; Jeanine/Brandon pop-jazz
Joe: Jeanine/Brandon's pop-jazz; Kayla/Jason's hip-hop; Melissa/Ade's contemporary
Vance Kayla/Jason's Hip-Hop; Jeanine/Brandon's Pop-Jazz; Melissa/Ade's Contemporary
Lauren Jeanine/Brandon's waltz
Joe: Melissa/Ade's Cha-Cha
Vance Melissa/Ade's Cha-Cha