Monday, August 03, 2009

So You Think You Can Blog (Blog, Blog...): Top 6 (Belated)

Last week, four bloggers found themselves under time pressure, travel plans, project deadlines, and lack of sleep, so they ended up totally blowing the Thursday posting schedule and ended up in the Bottom Four. This week, they attempt to salvage what's left of their assessments of last week's episodes in time for this Wednesday and Thursday's finale. THIS ... is So You Think You Can Blog!

Our first blogger danced the Argentine Tango with Evan last week, and Mary Murphy put them both on the Hot Tamale Train. This week, he'll attempt a Tyce Diorio tap routine around the subject of his beloved's continuing presence. Ladies and gentlemen ... it's Vance!

Vance: Was it me or was Lil C kind of a downer this week? Or was it just his not-so-thinly-veiled attacks on Evan while pushing Ade and Brandon?

Okay, while at this point, I love all the remaining dancers, (and I'm slowly getting over Janette's elimination from last week -- I've just passed the acceptance part), I think that Jeanine is now my favorite dancer. She totally won me over with her solo last week, plus the fact that I cannot hear Jordan Sparks's song "Battlefield" without seeing Jeanine anymore. Girl has dug herself into that song and THAT has ALWAYS been a sign for me! I will also defend Evan to the death! Luckily he got Broadway this week (in a Tyce routine I didn't hate!), but then got balanced out with deathstep Quickstep.

Ade's great, but to me, Jeanine overshadowed him in both dances. Brandon was so strong that it made up for the lack of a personality, and I thought both of Brandon and Kayla's dances were the best pairs routines. Especially the disco (from Doriana, which I didn't hate!).

While Nigel said Brandon's was one of the best solo's EVAH, I thought Evan's was better, but Brandon's was finally as great as they've always should have been, much to the credit of the epic orchestral music from Carmina Burana.

Still, at this point, Jeanine FTW! Though Kayla is great, and the uniqueness of Evan still puts him third, even though Brandon and Ade are "better" dancers. Melissa is still great but she peaked too early in the competition. I would say Brandon or Ade should be tops, but the fact that I could interchange them in my mind (and not because they are both black... not JUST because they are both black and strong contemporary dancers) probably crosses each other out for the win right now.

Click below to read the rest!

Top 3: Kayla and Brandons Disco, Melissa and Evan's Broadway, Kayla and Brandons Contemporary
Bottom: Melissa and Evan's Quickstep

To vote -- or agree -- with Vance, type 1-866-TEMPO-01 in the comments. All right? Let's hear it for Vance! Our next blogger was paired last week with Jeanine for what guest judge Lil' C called a "resplendent, rhinoscerosian Rumba." Can they live up to the praise this week with a hard-hitting Shane Sparks hip-hop routine? Ladies and gentlemen ... it's Joe!

Joe: I want to start with a word about that quickstep. Because, okay, it was probably not the Platonic ideal of a quickstep; I trust the judges in their expertise that the footwork was lacking, et cetera. But I thought it was a remarkably strong routine, given the degree of difficulty, and I thought Melissa and Evan did themselves fairly proud. There was a bit of everything-comes-together for Evan here (one that was oddly missing in his Broadway ... and his solo, for that matter), and they looked to be having a blast. That being said, I am hoping against hope that he and Melissa get voted out tonight.

Because if I can take one thing away from last night's episode with absolute certainty, it's that Brandon, Ade, Jeanine, and Kayla are the four best dancers remaining, and by a decent margin at that. Evan and Melissa didn't even mess up -- they're just a grade below the others, even at their best. WILL they go home? Maybe. Evan has certainly shown himself to be bulletproof throughout the competition -- hell, maybe he's just going to win this thing for smiling, affable, jazz-handsy dancers everywhere. But it'd be a whole lot better if that quickstep was his swan song. (And it might spare me having to watch him shove his hands into his pockets all aw-shucksy one more time -- I don't know when it happened, but all of Evan's affectations started to bug me all at once, to unseemly degrees.)

(Also, I didn't see Lil' C's less-than-bullish take on Evan to be evidence of any kind of bias besides the bias that comes with evaluating the better dancers as better dancers. He certainly didn't pull any punches with Ade; and he was not even 1/100th as effusive as the other two judges on the subject of Brandon. C remains buck in my estimation.)

As for my ideal Top 4, I may be crazy, but I thought Jeanine and Ade's salsa was pretty great. Maybe that's just because I found it harder and harder to take my eyes off Jeanine, and she was clearly the better half of this pair. I'll defer to Mary's ballroom expertise re: Ade's technical shortcomings; but I'm glad she got to make it up to Jeanine on the back end, because my girl was hot. Also, this may be an odd takeaway, but I was amazed at how well "LoveGame" seemed to fit the samba. I'm not sure if Lady Gaga or Louis van Amstel gets the credit for that one. (Also, Jeanine/Ade's hip-hop was fun-fun-fun and definitely one of my favorite TabNap routines of the year.)

Brandon and Kayla were predictably amazing, and normally I'd say the "predictably" part of that assessment might be dangerous for them, but Kayla has proven to be pretty resurgent with the voters (after that inexplicably shaky start where she was in the Bottom 3 so much). And that spontaneous (or "spontaneous") standing O from Nigel and Co. likely goosed Brandon's fanbase significantly. I could mention that I found their disco to be fairly overpraised (it was...fine), but I was a bigBIG fan of that contemporary.

Top 3 routines: Brandon/Kayla's contemporary; Jeanine/Ade's hip-hop; Evan/Melissa's quickstep.

Least favorite: Evan/Melissa's Broadway

Judges, what did we think of Joe? Let's hear it for him! Our next blogger danced a classical pas des deux with Brandon last week, leading Nigel to pliet so hard he pulled all his hamstrings at once. Now she's back with a Wade Robson jazz routine that he says is a tribute to seasons gone by. Ladies and gentlemen ... it's Lauren!

Lauren: I hate that once again this season, I find myself underwhelmed with the performances, especially given that we're one week away from the finale. I don't think anyone was BAD, but I also feel like in past seasons we've had a lot more GREAT at this point. But then again, I will readily admit that I'm also still heartbroken over seeing Janette go. There was an anguished cry that arose from all five of us in my living room that night. [sniff] But, it's been a week and I have to be strong, and the other girls are all still really good, so I need to begin the healing process.

I agree with Joe that at this point I think Brandon, Ade, Jeanine and Kayla are the four best dancers left. Yes, Ade had a rough night, and I wanted more from what should have been a phenomenal pairing with Jeanine. But now we just know that ballroom is his weakness -- and that said, he still does it better than many past contestants. I also finally had it with Evan after his last "aw, shucks" shoulder shrug at the end of his solo. Dude, you are amazing at what you do, and honestly have been amazing in other genres as well. (Though I was left wanting more after his B'way routine with Melissa -- I do feel like he could have stepped it up and really blown us away.) Why can't you seem to find any other schtick? You can do Broadway without that g-d shrug! That was the straw that broke the camel's back this week for me. I thought he and Melissa did 1000 times better than I thought they would with the quickstep and certainly didn't embarrass themselves, but they still are the two weak links for me at this point. Brandon and Kayla had the two strongest performances, for me. I've always kind of loathed disco on the show but this season, with dancers who can actually keep up, I've wound up loving it. Oh, but my favorite thing in the whole show was the guys' group dance. Awesome! Weird! So in sync and strong! I wish I'd had the same reactions to the girls. If only they had felt the music with their ears and eaten from bowls on the stage while hugging their own greatness, or something...

Top 3: Brandon/Kayla contemporary, Brandon/Kayla disco, guys group routine
Bottom: Melissa/Evan Broadway

Give it up for Lauren, everybody! Now, on last night's results show, we said goodbye to Melissa and Ade. Yeah -- it's sad, right? I don't know what we're gonna do without them. Before we get to our Top 4 discussing the results, we have a solo for you. With a Mia Michaels routine about a crazed decorator and a can of white paint ... it's AB Chao!

AB Chao: Oh, y'all. I have failed you again. I haven't watched either show yet. I am a loser. The project I'm working on is taking all of my days and nights. Also, I am covered in Ikea boxes. Someone call for help. In other news: Jeanine! Very exciting for Joe Reid. Don't be mad.

AB Chao, you are in our Bottom Three and will have to dance for your life later in the show. But let's continue the discussion anyway...

Joe: Very exciting for EVERYBODY! It's Jeanine! (I've decided if AB can talk like Mary Murphy all the time -- yes she can! -- then I can start talking like Cat. C'mere, you!)

Okay, so a couple topics of discussion:

1) Evan. Let's get it over with.

2) Were Melissa and Ade the Mark and Chelsie of this season?

Lauren: But even more pressing -- SEND IN THE CLOWNS? That was the creepiest, most disturbing routine they've ever done, and not in a good Sonya-creepy way. OMG. I kind of wish I'd had a camera to see just how my face looked as I kept wanting to walk away, but stayed just in case there was anything worth discussing.

So.... Evan. I hate that I'm not surprised -- I'm still disappointed in America getting it totally wrong, but whatever. I think, though, this might make me actually vote next week -- for ANYONE that isn't him. Because if he wins... look, I'm in too deep to break up with the show, but it's going to shake the foundation of our relationship a little bit.

Melissa and Ade were both great, but I think that this was the exactly right time for Melissa to go. Ade... not so much. But at least at this point you know his career is totally safe, that people saw him on the show and realized he was totally awesome, so he'll be okay. But still, come ON, America. How great would it have been to see a Brandon/Ade dance next week? Brandon/Evan sounds awkward.

Vance I'm up way too early for a Saturday post-Friday night wedding and still a bit dizzy so I may not make much sense here (as if I ever did) but didn't I totally call Evan in the finals? Hehe.

Okay, I know y'all hate him and you know I love him but now I'll stop it there cause as I'm glad he's in the finale, I don't think he should win. JEANINE FTW!

Though I've been talking to lots of friends about it and it's funny that EVERYONE seems to have totally differing opinions on who will and who should win. Usually there's a bit of a pattern but this year it seems like a free-for-all. Brandon will win, Jeanine will win, Kayla will win, Evan will win.

That said, again, I think Evan's dances are deceptively difficult but with his charm, he snagged the Benji/Neil/Twitch spot.

Okay, I'm dizzy and need to go back to bed before the post-wedding brunch...

Joe: I'm gonna have to stick up for Neil here a bit -- as I am wont to do. He had that rough start (and he certainly reaped the squealing teen girl vote) but by the time he reached the finals, he'd delivered that angel/devil Wade Robson routine with Lauren, that awesome disco with Sara, and the Mandy Moore table dance with Sabra. Not to pick on Evan, but I can't think of one thing he's done that approaches any of those routines.

On another note, next week, everybody dances with everybody else once (Jeanine/Brandon, Jeanine/Evan, Kayla/Evan, Kayla/Brandon, Jeanine/Kayla, Brandon/Evan) ; who are our dream choreographers/styles for each pairing?

Lauren: Jeanine/Brandon - Sonya
Jeanine/Evan - Mandy Moore
Kayla/Evan - Mia
Kayla/Brandon - Louis Van Amstel
Jeanine/Kayla - Laurie Ann Gibson
Brandon/Evan - Wade

Honestly, other than the Sonya call for Jeanine and Brandon, I took my general favorite choreographers and tried to match them up as best I could. I would have loved a Shane Sparks routine but I can't imagine which of these couples would be right for that.

AB Chao: Brandon/Evan would be kind of funny by Shane, kind of like the Benji/Travis routine from that season. Otherwise, my dream choreography is anything with Wade and/or Mia. And I would kind of love to see what Tabitha and Napoleon would do with the two girls. Make a chained up romance rap dance out of THAT, NappyTabs! Otherwise otherwise, I would like to copy Lauren's list.

Vance: Hmm...yah. I don't really know who I would want but I tend to enjoy Sonya, Mandy Moore, Mia, Shane Sparks, Nappytabs, Stacey Tookey of course (represent! eh!?) and Wade of course. I wouldnt disagree with Laurens choices either.

Joe: I love all these suggestions (especially Laurie Ann Gibson for Jeanine and Kayla -- I'm totally stealing that for my own). I need to see Jeanine and Brandon do a Mia Michaels contemporary, because neither of them have yet. I'll actually throw Tyce to Jeanine and Evan, so Evan can be at his best and because Jeanine did well in the Broadway style.

I'm tempted to give Kayla and Evan hip-hop, but I'm not that mean. Or am I? Actually, a Nap/Tab might work for them. Kayla/Brandon should do something ballroom, but she's so tall and he's so short so Paso Doble is out. Perhaps a Tony Meredith Samba? As for Brandon and Evan ... I love the Wade idea ... perhaps, though, a Mandy Moore jazz? She seems to work wonders with the shorties. Something along the Sabra/Neil table dance spectrum, let's say.

All right, y'all, again sorry for the delay. Look tomorrow for a Top 10 Routines of Season 5 piece. And then finale madness on Wednesday and Thursday!


Kirk said...

Funny that Evan's final shoulder-shrug was the last straw for you guys (Lauren and Joe) - that was precisely when I got over his schtick, too. Hmm. Some sort of Tipping Point(TM) is at work here.

shalmelo said...

It's funny. That last shoulder shrug actually endeared Evan to me just a little. I've been ready for him to go for a few weeks now, but I read that shrug as saying "Yeah, I get it. I thought I'd be gone by now too. What a country!"*

* In my head, Evan started turning into Yakov Smirnoff a little towards the end.

momo said...

I love your bloggers' competition. You all desever to ride the hot tamale train to the top 10, yes you do!