Tuesday, November 17, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance, Season 6 - Top 16

Hello, fellow SYTYCD fans!

Did anyone else feel a little underwhelmed after last night's episode? Well, maybe not underwhelmed. Just whelmed? (10 Things I Hate About You moment..."I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?" "I think you can in Europe.") Don't get me wrong, there were some great moments...but they all seemed to come towards the beginning and the end - the middle was a little lackluster. There were some who surprised me, some who disappointed me and others who were predictably poor. Luckily, we are finally in on the game...we can vote! It's been a long time coming, and I'm glad to have a say in who can stay and who can pack their leg warmers and go home.


Kevin and Karen started the show well with their Hustle (you mean...there are other 70s-style dances that aren't disco? Someone page Doriana Sanchez!). It seems Karen can do no wrong - she is definitely in my group of top dancers this season. And how about that divorce? She may have just locked in the heterosexual male vote (you know...all 12 of them that watch SYTYCD....). I'm not sure about Kevin, though I thought he did a good job. I agree with the judges that his technical skills were impressive last night - but were they really up to the standard of other successful hip-hop dancers on this show like Russell, Joshua or Twitch? He's going to have to loosen up a bit before he gets slammed with a contemporary routine (Travis Wall, be gentle on him).

Okay...don't get mad. I liked Ashleigh last night. I wasn't expecting it either, especially considering those offensive, borderline-oppressive red fringe pants she wore during the intro. Once adorned in tight tight TIGHT shiny spandex, she had me hooked. Jakob was of course phenomenal, and I especially appreciated his chin strap and moustache...anything to get into character! Mandy Moore delivered her best piece since Season 3's Negotiation routine with Neil and Sabra...after countless attempts in Seasons 4+5, she finally found another 80s pop song that could sky rocket her back into favor on the SYTYCD stage. Was the cane usage a bit awkward? Sure. Do I think they'll perform this in the finale? Absolutely. And by then, the cane kinks will be ironed out. Congratulations, Ashleigh - you got my vote tonight.

Up next was my boyfriend Peter...and that girl he dances with. Ohhhh the dreaded Quickstep...will anyone ever do this well? Though, while we are going down Memory Lane, did you notice how quickly Nigel forgot Vitolio and Karla's Quickstep from Season 5 to "Puttin' on the Ritz"? I know, I tried to forget Vitolio and Karla, too, but they probably performed the best/most exciting Quickstep we've seen, thanks to Jean-Marc and Frances (come back to us!). Last night's attempt at the kiss-of-death ballroom style was about as good as I expected, which isn't too hard to achieve when you have pretty low expectations. It looked like Pauline was holding on for dear life, and both dancers had barely any technique throughout the routine. Though, as the judges pointed out, Peter performed the hell out of the routine. He was entertaining, which is pretty much all we can ask when a dancer gets a style like Quickstep. And how wonderful is it that he works with a special needs dance program in Philadelphia?? Sidenote: did you notice the choreographer's name? JT Thomas. Like Jonathan Taylor Thomas....? Am I alone here?

"I Wanna Be Like You" is one of my all-time favorite Disney songs, thanks to my grandmother's love for The Jungle Book and the fact that she always called me "man cub". Kathryn and Legacy certainly did a decent job with this Andy Blankenbuehler (how do you even pronounce that?) Broadway routine, but they were lacking the chemistry they've had in weeks past. Kathryn's cutey-patooty persona didn't really play well into this remote control battle royale...she needed a little more sass, like Katee in Season 4's "Mercy". And, fine, I didn't hate Legacy quite as much as in previous weeks...the b-boy is growing on me, though not enough to convince me to pick up the phone.

Between last week's Fear routine and this week's routine about a couple falling out of love, I'm curious about Stacey Tookey's love life. I enjoyed this piece, despite Victor's lack of performance (anyone else starting to see a pattern here with dear Victor? He's a little stone cold on the stage), which was especially disappointing considering he is a contemporary dancer! He's also the luckiest dancer on the show - after Week Three, he has performed TWO contemporary routines and a Broadway routine....somebody get this boy the Quickstep! I want to see him challenged! If anyone benefited from this routine - it was Miss Channing. Free from the chains that shackled her to Phillip, I think Channing is really starting to hit her stride in the competition. She is definitely one to watch in the coming weeks.

Poor Ryan. It must be hard for him to fathom being worse than his wife, but the unthinkable occurred this week. Not that he really had much help. Lil' C was never one of my favorite judges, I always found his overactive vocabulary a bit too much, and this week he became one of my least favorite choreographers. Just when I though Shane Sparks was the King of Snooze when it came to SYTYCD hip hop, Lil' C came in and seized the throne. That snow-bunny-meets-bank-robber routine was the antithesis of "buck".

I've made very clear my dislike of Nathan and Mollee. This week's Samba was no different. Mollee looked fabulous thanks to hair and makeup, but in those heels she looked like a puppy getting used to bigger paws. And Nathan's talent was overshadowed by his overperformance and lack of ballroom experience, not to mention he looked absolutely RIDICULOUS! He was anything but suave. I'm not sure how many more routines I can stomach watching these two in.

After a few sub-par routines, I was starting to get bored. Afro-Jazz took care of that, and then some. Sean Cheesman's Princess and Frog routine was everything we hope for: exciting, entertaining and fresh. It didn't hurt that he had Russell and Noelle to work with...this dynamic duo proved to be one of the strongest of the night. They performed with such passion, and on top of that had strong technique. Last week I wondered if Noelle would be able to keep up with the competition after an injury in Week One and a poor showing in Week Two. The answer came this week - Yes. She. Can. 

We are definitely at the point in the season where you can start to see who is destined for Top 10, and who is holding on for dear life in the hopes of making it onto the tour. My votes last night went to Kevin/Karen, Jakob/Ashleigh, Peter/Pauline and Russell/Noelle. Tonight we'll see who America put in the bottom, and who the judges will send home. My fingers are crossed!
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