Thursday, June 24, 2010

So You Think You Can Dance, Season 7 - Top 10

Photo Courtesy of FOX

Before we begin the rundown, how about a tribute to our dominant female forces last night, Courtney and Anya:
Everybody look at me, me
I walk in the door you start screaming
Come on everybody what you here for?
Move your body around like a nympho
Everybody get your necks to crack around
All you crazy people come on jump around
I want to see you all on your knees, knees
You either want to be with me, or be me!

Maneater, make you work hard
Make you spend hard
Make you want all, of her love
Yes, last night was night of the maneaters - those poor boys just couldn't keep up! But beyond that, last night was kind of a snooze, huh? Actually, I have eyewitnesses that can attest to me falling asleep during a few performances. As our Top 10 dancers were stretched out of their comfort zones, there were more lows than highs, more boos than cheers. Everyone just seemed a bit... off. Even the judges were in a bit of a funk - seriously, Nigel, lay off Travis (more on that later). Of course, that's not to say that a few of our dancers didn't have some wonderful moments.

Enough jibber jabber. Let's get to the dancing!

First up was spicy Cristina who, after tackling a wonderful jazz piece with Mark last week that surprisingly had her dancing for her life, got to show us her ballroom skills with a Passion. Pasha. Paso. ¡Olé! Featuring some daring "rollercoaster" stunts and lifts, the Jean-Marc Généreux and France Mousseau routine was sexy and exciting. And, by the way, how wonderful is it to have Jean-Marc and France back? I just love them. As for Cristina, if she can keep delivering the way she has the past two weeks... well, I wish I could say she'll go far. Unfortunately, I fear that the combination of a talented crop of male dancers and a not-so-stellar history for Latin ballroom girls on the show doesn't really present a bright future no matter how well she dances. And, as we know, a ballroom solo can only get you so far. Regardless of how the cards play out, I am really loving Cristina.

All-Star Allison was up next performing a Mandy Moore contemporary solo.... what? Hmm? There was someone else performing to "Listen to Your Heart" last night? Adechi-who? Oh... that's right. Mr. Personality himself, Adechike. Seriously, even with the incredible amount of improvement from last week, Adechike's performance qualities still bored me to tears. This routine was all about emotion and abandon - and he was cold and restrained. The spotlight shifted to Allison and, boy, did she look fantastic! As for Adechike, he is a strong contemporary dancer with good lines, but I see him vanishing into the abyss of Vitolios, Thaynes and Victors. If you are asking yourself "Who?" - my point exactly.

Before we talk about Alex Wong's Tyce Diorio Broadway routine with Lauren, let's just state the obvious: no matter how amazing he performed this week, it would've never matched up to last week's awe-inspiring Sonya piece with Allison. Not no way, not no how. That being said, it certainly didn't help his cause to be dressed in patent leather dancing to the absolute worst version of "Summertime" ever recorded. It's like Tyce was trying to see how much he could get away with... I'm onto you, Chinstrap! I liked the hat choreography and thought Alex and Lauren were a good team; however, the judges were correct to critique Alex on not getting down and dirty enough. No need for concern, though, I'm pretty positive he will stay far away from that Bottom 3.

Okay okay okay. So I know that last week I was doom and gloom when it came to Miss Ashley. Her routine with Neil was a major bore and I couldn't for the life of me remember who she was. Well, Ashley, I certainly will remember you now! Her Travis Wall jazz routine with Mark to Annie Lennox's "Wonderful" was... well, just that. Wonderful. Passionate, thrilling, romantic and daring - it was everything we've come to expect from last season's Rookie of the Year choreographer. Now, as for cranky Uncle Nigel... I understand that the routine leaned towards contemporary; however, the lines between contemporary and jazz are so blurred to begin with, we should just celebrate that we had an inspired routine to witness after another forgettable Tyce number (zing!). It's always incredibly awkward when the judges criticize the choreographers (though not as annoying as when they over-praise them), and Travis certainly did not deserve it. Of course, now that I actually like Ashley she'll probably go home - but at least we got to see her dance this piece!

Poor Billy Bell. Try as he might, he will never be buck. He will never be fly, he will never have swag, he will NEVER EVER be buck. How appropriate, then, that his Lil' C Krump routine with Comfort was performed to the song "So U Think U Can Krump." That's just asking for it. It is sad that the season after a Krumper finally won the show we are back to watching mere parodies of the aggressive, animalistic style. Billy Bell will be safe, for sure, but I was a little miffed that the judges brushed off this failure so easily. My twin Adam Shankman (can we refer to him as Shanks from now on?) ended his critique with "It doesn't really matter." Really? Is that something you would say to a hip-hop dancer who failed at ballroom, or a ballroom dancer who failed at contemporary? Hellllls no. So, dear judges, it's okay to admit that Billy Bell will probably be safe, but we should also remember that he hasn't delivered a truly great performance yet.

Jean-Marc and France appeared again to choreograph an Argentine Tango for Robert and Anya to everyone's favorite tango music, "Libertango." I was really impressed by Robert's carriage and poise, and thought he pulled of a very difficult style. My only critique was that his feet were occasionally much slower than Anya's. Yes, Anya is a force to be reckoned with - unless you are Pasha, there's probably no chance that you're going to match her fire. So let's just agree to accept that fact and move along. Instead, after giving Billy Bell a "Get Out of Jail Free" card, the judges harped on Robert for not being as fantastic as his partner and Anya futilely attempted to defend him (next time, Anya, just shhhhhhh). "Poor Robert," I thought to myself. And then he did that ferkakte gimmicky nonsense as Cat read off his numbers. I thought we covered this last week, Robert. Stop trying to make fetch happen.

Melinda had a lot of 'splainin' to do after narrowly avoiding elimination last week. Paired with Ade, she took on a Stacey Tookey contemporary routine. Our favorite Canadian contemporary choreographer watched FernGully: The Last Rainforest last week and was inspired by the fairies of the forest to preach eco-friendliness to the world of SYTYCD. With the exception of the horrible outfit, I thought Melinda performed quite well. It's hard to remember sometimes that she is a tapper when she displays such clean lines and grace. Although she has delivered solid routines the past two weeks, I would not be surprised to see Melinda in the Bottom Three again this week. Her personality comes off a little harsh, and I'm not sure America is going to embrace the hipster tapper as their favorite.

Ahhh, Bollywood. Every time it is performed on SYTYCD, I cannot help but to compare it to Joshua and Katee's Season 4 show stopper - the first Bollywood routine in the show's history and an incredible display of raw energy and excitement. Jose was tasked with taking on this intricate style (that he couldn't spell before this week) with Kathryn and choreographer Nakul Dev Mahajan, who apparently has a monopoly on Bollywood choreography on the FOX Network. If anything, this routine was fun to watch. Jose wasn't sharp enough, lacked precision and probably offended a nation of millions - but he had the most endearing smile slapped on his face the entire time. Kathryn, of course, looked stunning, and I thought the two of them made a great pairing. I was harsh on Jose last week, and I still think he will need to improve a lot faster in order to be successful, but I enjoyed this piece a lot. In the words of Mia Michaels, "I love you so much right now because you made us smile and you were so wrong that you were so right."

After last week's disastrous and emotionless Mandy Moore routine, Lauren had nowhere to go but up. And in the trusty hands of new choreographer Tessandra Chavez (remember her amazing group number last week??), she did just that. Paired with Dominic, who needs to fix his haircut and figure out that it's not all about him, Lauren took on a hip hop routine set to Beyonce's "If I Were a Boy." This style of hip hop was somewhere between the styles of child molester Shane Sparks and Nappy Tabs - hard hitting at times and lyrical at others. It was the perfect vehicle for Lauren to show us that she is not, in fact, an emotionless automaton. I wasn't really feeling the whole "spousal abuse" theme, and I think Nappy Tabs did it better in Season 4 with "Bleeding Love," but it will probably keep Lauren out of that dreaded Bottom Three this week.

Holding down the pimp spot this week was lovable Kent, who took off last week's Cha Cha heels and teamed up with Courtney for a Tyce Diorio jazz routine to Amy Winehouse's "Amy Amy Amy." I think it's time we retire the table from SYTYCD for a few seasons - apparently the judges think it's a surefire way to get nominated for an Emmy. And if that is "real jazz," Nigel, then I think I'll just stick with Travis' fake jazz. All of that being said, Kent showed a surprising amount of maturity in this piece - much different from the Mickey Mouse cheerfulness we've come to know and love. What he needs to do now is take that maturity and seriousness and use it to show more confidence and dominance with his partners. Otherwise, the maneaters will continue to swallow him whole.

So, yes, overall a dud of a week. Hopefully the dancers have gotten it out of their systems and will give us another great group number tonight and return next week ready to rock. Unfortunately, one dancer will not be getting another chance. I'm predicting Adechike, Melinda and Cristina will find themselves in the Bottom Three - though after getting 0 out of 3 correct last week, who knows?

What did you think, fellow judgers? Are you afraid there isn't enough love for Cristina? Did Billy Bell get off easy for that horrible Krump? And are you on Team Travis or Team Nigel?
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