The So You Think You Can Dance blogging around these parts has been limited to be performance episodes only, mainly for logistical reasons (it's hard enough getting those posts up one day a week). But this week, after the field was culled to the Top 10 -- and in somewhat controversial fashion -- I have a handful of observations to make/things to discuss before we hit next week and the home stretch of the season.
1. Phillip Deserved To Be Eliminated
Look, I liked him, too, and his effort at picking up the other dance styles was evident, but it just wasn't happening for him. And as has been evident with Jeanine, the girl he partners with suffers for having a partner who can't keep up. Truthfully, Jason has been bland enough in all styles that he would have been an equally justifiable cut. But with the eliminations getting turned over solely to audience next week, the judges were faced with the real possibility of Phillip's fans keeping him around for a long time, him dragging down his partners the whole way. (And I maintain that his non-solo hip-hop performances have not being so mind-blowingly amazing as to make up for everything else.) It sucks that he was the only hip-hopper who was worth a damn this season. But based on the dancers in play, he had to go.
2. Thursday's Group Number Was the Best Napoleon/Tabitha Routine This Season
So good, in fact, that nobody I know guessed it was them (does everybody else play that guessing game during the group numbers? I was certain this was a Shane Sparks routine). For whatever reason, NapTab (yeah, I'm back to being too embarrassed to type "NappyTabs" without scare quotes; they're the "Moons Over My Hammy" of choreographers) have been really off their game this year. Last season, they were more inconsistent than we gave them credit for at the time, mostly because their high's (Katee/Joshua's "No Air"; Mark/Chelsie's "Bleeding Love") were so high that the lows were forgotten. This season, no such highs, and in fact the lows just seem to be reheated versions of last year's routines. But this group dance (to the White Stripes!) was hard and crisp and exciting. Like the Rhythm Nation not an extra shot in their morning coffee.
3. In a Season Full of Good, We Finally Got Some Great
I'm never going to not love this show, but count me among those who have yet to find a whole lot to get really jazzed about this season. At the very least, it's paled in comparison to the last two summers, and the area it's most suffered in has been high points. I think these are talented dancers, but whether it's the pairings of the choreography or the lack of diverse styles or what, but there hadn't been any WOW numbers. Until this week, when both Kayla and Kupono AND Brandon and Jeanette delivered eye-popping, memorable routines, the kind of big-choreography, impeccably danced numbers I'll be looking up on YouTube for months and months (until they're yanked, then put up again, then yanked, please don't get me started). Let's hope these are just the first dominos to fall and we're in for a late bloomer of a season.
4. In Order of Preference, My Favorite Dancers in the Top 10 Are...
I put this question up to my usual Dance panel as well, but as way of setting up the rest of the season, I figure I'll offer a Power Rankings list, of sorts, for the Top 10. Not in terms of likelihood to win, of course, just my personal preference:
1. Melissa (preternaturally graceful, long-limbed, and melds her ballet training to every style seamlessly)
2. Ade (would probably have dropped from this perch if not for his blazing solo on Thursday)
3. Kayla (I don't have much of an emotional connection to her, but she's yet to display a weakness)
4. Kupono (haters be damned, I LOVE him, neck-centric fashion sense and all)
5. Janette (she announced her presence in a major way on Thursday; she's been good all along, but she tipped the scales this week)
6. Janine (I have every confidence in her potential to crack the top 5, but she's yet to have a partner good enough to knock me out yet)
7. Brandon (without flaws -- and believe me, I've been looking for 'em -- but it seems like too few people really LOVE him)
8. Evan (I adore the guy, but the judges have ripped him for weeks, and I have to agree he needs to knock one out of the park; preferably more than one)
9. Randi (she's probably gone as far as she can go -- by far the weakest of the remaining women)
10. Jason (he's yet to impress me more than in fleeting glances; bright side: his desperation has reached a point that he may never wear a shirt again)
Vance's Top 5:
Lauren's Top 5:
And in the absence of Anna Beth's votes, a Composite Top 5
And now that I've properly nerded y'all out, please discuss and offer your own lists!