Wednesday, December 9, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance, Season 6 - Top 8

Courtesy of Fox
Last night's Top 8 show was a night of remixes. Not only did each couple perform to a remixed version of a song, but we were also given a few SYTYCD routine remixes - tables, benches and all! One of the highlights of the evenings was the return of the intro video packages - balance was returned to the universe and there was an actual flow to the show. It's hard to believe that next week is the finale, but you could tell that all of the dancers were trying to fight their way into the Top 6, though some were more successful than others. In general, I thought most of the dancers' solos weren't up to the standard we've seen in weeks past.

Starting the night with a sizzling Doriana Sanchez disco routine were Kathryn and Ryan. It was so great to have Doriana back - her routines are always such a joy to watch. Add in some Donna Summer, and we had ourselves a party! I love a good head pop, and Doriana gave us an entire dance of neck breaking. I was in heaven. Ryan once again proved himself to be a wonderful partner, probably one of the best in the show's history, and I thought it was a great change of pace to see him lighten up and not be so Chippendale-esque. I'm sure the sparkles helped. Kathryn was beautiful - loved the costume reveal - and she nailed that lift! Though it didn't measure up to Brandon and Janette's disco last season, it was certainly the best disco routine of Season 6. The pair's second routine was a smoking hot Cha Cha from choreographer Jason Gilkison. There was no story behind this number, just fun, sexy dancing. The two dancers had great chemistry and executed at an incredibly high level, looking effortless and relaxed. Kathryn looked like a big ol' tramp, but she somehow managed to pull it off. Her báttements across the stage were absolutely spectacular. And I, for one, think Ryan should always wear suspenders...they looked goooood. Also, how sweet was his plea for Ashleigh after his solo? Tears!

The second couple of the evening was Jakob and Mollee. Ohhh, if only Mollee had been paired with Jakob from the beginning - maybe I could've fallen in love earlier. This was hands down her best partnering, and it showed especially during Jason Gilkison's fast Viennese Waltz. First of all, I had forgotten how much I loved "Ordinary Days" by Vanessa Carlton, so I was hooked from the first note. There were wonderful lifts and gorgeous lines, and Mollee looked stunning in that long yellow skirt. The park image in the background was perfect, especially as it faded to night at the end. The whole routine flowed wonderfully, and showed what a strong partner Jakob is - he always brings out the best in his fellow dancers. The pair's second piece was a Broadway routine from choreographer Joey Dowling. I wasn't a fan of Joey's work last season with Randi and Evan, but this was a completely different story. Though, speaking of stories, was I the only one who didn't really get a whole "con artist" vibe? Not that I really cared - it was fun to have Mollee try to describe herself as being the "stupid character" that was supposed to be a huge shock or something. Once again, music choice had me hooked - I lovvvvve "Easy Street" from Annie so much that I was willing to forgive the heinous Samantha Ronson remix version (note I said 'forgive', not 'forget'). I'm usually not a big fan of overall gymnastics-y dance (i.e. Mollee's solos), but that synchronized aerial was HOT! This was definitely a great week for these two dancers.

The couple that had drawn the most attention leading up to last night's broadcast was Ellenore and Legacy. According to tweets from Nappy Tabs and Travis Wall, Ellenore hurt her collarbone during rehearsals and was almost not allowed to perform. Thankfully she did, because it would've been a shame for her to not be able to perform Travis Wall's dangerous Mr. and Mrs. Smith-inspired contemporary piece. Borrowing a page from the Mandy Moore playbook, the dancers flipped, jumped and danced their way around a giant table trying to murder their opponent. Legacy is always given such difficult, athletic routines, and he pulled this one of masterfully - that flip over the table was awe-inspiring. Ellenore, now having appeared in 3 out of the 4 best routines this season, demonstrated once again what a talented dancer she is, not to mention her extreme flexibility. Did anyone else notice when Travis mouthed "Holy moly" after Nigel suggested the choreographer could be nominated for an Emmy? Adorable! Considering the amazing routines he has provided since his choreographic debut last season, it would be a surprise to not find Travis on that list. A routine that probably won't be getting nominated for anything anytime soon is the Nappy Tabs alien hip hop number. I really liked the opening with the masks, but it was pretty much downhill from there. I will say, Legacy absolutely killed it - and he turned me into a believer last night. Ellenore's injury showed more during this piece; she was nowhere near as hard-hitting as Legacy. This was another instance when the choreography negatively affected the dancers. I still love Nappy Tabs, but this was not their best.

I love Russell. I really do. But if I was a dancer in Season 6, I would not want to be his partner. Despite the rumors of Ellenore's injury, it was Ashleigh who had to sit out this week after dislocating her shoulder during rehearsals, making this Russell's second week on the show without a partner (remember his Foxtrot with Melanie LaPatin...?). The first routine Russell performed was an aggressive, street-style hip hop routine by Shane Sparks. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to Mr. Sparks - I've been pretty rough on him and his choreography. This week proved me wrong (PS - Lil' C, you are not off the hook). It was clear Russell was born to dance like this - he completely embodied the "street" vibe of Shane's choreography while still maintaining his high energy, playful performance qualities, especially during the "King Tut" section. When the judges critique a hip hop routine saying it wasn't "hard-hitting" enough, it's because they want it to be the way Russell performed last night. The only thing off in this routine was that Rachel chick - she was fine and all, but a bit distracting. Russell's high energy continued in Nakul Dev Mahajan's Bollywood routine. Though not as memorable as the Bollywood routines of Seasons 4 and 5, it was a joy to watch him perform this style, and I wish we could've seen Ashleigh do it, too. Thank goodness Russell pulled off two great routines, because his Santa Claus solo made me feel like the Grinch - it was definitely his poorest showing so far. As for Ashleigh, I'm not sure whether her injury is going to help or hurt her chances at getting into the Top 6. I imagine the die-hard Ashleigh fans went crazy last night voting for her, and the pleas from Mary Murphy and Ryan couldn't have hurt.

For the guys, I think it's pretty clear that Ryan will be going home, although I thought he was wonderful this week. For the girls, however, things are much more up in the air. I'd like to think Ellenore will be safe, but I have no idea what to expect for the other 3 girls. Last night, I voted for Jakob, Ellenore, Russell and Kathryn. Legacy seems to be a shoe-in for the finale, leaving the sixth spot for Ashleigh or Mollee. SYTYCD is no stranger to upsets, of course, and since Russell's Bottom 4 placement during the Top 20 show, we haven't had many surprises. Hold your breath and cross your fingers, tonight's results show is going to be an interesting night for sure.
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