Thursday, August 5, 2010

So You Think You Can Dance, Season 7 - Top 4

Photo courtesy of FOX

Can you feel it in the air? The excitement? The nervous anticipation? The fear of the unknown that is creeping closer and closer?!?

Okay, enough about Nigel and Shanks' engagement (no, but really... enough) - let's talk about last night's show.

We've made it to the Top 4 here on So You Think You Can Dance and things felt a little different. There was a special fire in the dancers, who know that America's votes are the only thing between them and next week's finale. And as for the judges, well, they were kind of bland, weren't they? With the responsibility of making a decision off their shoulders (not that they've had to do that much this season with all of the injuries and passing the buck), some of the judges seemed content on recycling critiques and making strange noises - yes, I'm talking to you Tyce "Chinstrap" Diorio. There was a lot of "celebrating the journey" thrown around, but isn't that what next week is all about? This week was supposed to be about fighting towards the finish and leaving it all out on the stage. Most of the dancers did just that. And others, well, not so much.

The night started with a group number, a Tyce Broadway routine to one of my favorites, "The Crapshooter's Dance" from Guys and Dolls. It was traditional, high-energy Broadway and I ate up every count. And while the judges were quick to praise Kent, I found myself glued to Robert and Lauren. Was Adechike even in this number?

Since the contestants were only paired with All-Stars last night, let's break it down dancer by dancer, starting with...

Lauren
The last girl standing continued to shine last night, first taking on an Argentine Tango with Pasha. Choreographers Miriam Larici & Leonardo Barrionuevo (say that 10 times fast) gave the pair a routine that maintained a sultry tension from start to finish while using the music of tango music legend Ástor Piazzolla. Lauren once again engrossed herself in a new style and conquered difficult lifts and phrases with ease. Being paired with a partner as skilled as Pasha cannot be easy, but she pulled it off exquisitely. Her second routine was a Sean Cheesman jazz piece with Ade that told the story of a black widow stalking her prey. Lauren looked like Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman in Batman Returns, but perhaps lacked a little of the edge the costume and the routine required. The sexual chemistry between the dancers wasn't there and it brought down an otherwise well-danced piece. I cannot imagine a finale without Lauren in it, and hopefully her surprising appearance in the Bottom Three last week inspired her fans to vote feverishly. 

Adechike
Ouch. The judges were not feeling Adechike last night, huh? All I have to say is that it's about time. To quote Tyra Banks, his light is fading. In his first routine, a Sean Cheesman African-Jazz piece with All-Star Lauren, Adechike embodied the old sleepover trick "light as a feather, stiff as board." He hit every move perfectly but looked like he had a rod in his back the whole time, especially next to Lauren who was completely loose, carefree and gorgeous. I had higher hopes for Cheeky Cheeks going into his contemporary routine with Kathryn choreographed by legendary duo Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson to Melissa Etheridge's "Fearless Love." Even the title of the song suggests a sense of reckless abandon, throwing cares to the wind and letting everything go. And while Kathryn displayed those qualities perfectly (did we expect any less?), Adechike once again lacked the celebration and expansiveness that the song portrayed. Two disappointing performances, but let's not forget that Cheeks has never once been in the Bottom Three. Ever. Baffling, for sure, but we can only pray that it changes this evening.

Robert
If anyone was desperately dancing for their life last night, it was Robert. He's been in the Bottom Three more than any of the other remaining dancers combined and needed to prove why he deserved to be in the finale. And did he? Absolutely. Teaming up with new choreographer Jonathan Roberts and All-Star Anya (who, thankfully, did not look like Hatchet Face this week), Robert took on yet another ballroom style - the Viennese Waltz. This is one of my favorite ballroom styles and it has brought several memorable routines in the past (Twitch/Kherington, Jakob/Mollee). Last night was no different. Dancing to the ever-beautiful "Lost," Robert and Anya looked straight out of a Disney movie - I half expected the fairies from Sleeping Beauty to start changing the color of her dress. Robert had the perfect carriage to bring the routine to life and the pair had a soft and beautiful connection throughout. Of course, "soft" and "beautiful" are two words I would never associate with Robert's second routine - a Nappy Tabs hip hop piece with Dominic about two clowns who have just learned their circus got shut down. It was twisted, bizarre... and pretty awesome. The choreography cleverly brought out both dancers' quirky personalities and Robert made me wish he had picked hip hop a lot earlier in the season. Loved the balloon choreography! (Side Note #1: Also loved that the routine was to a Basement Jaxx song - remember them? Side Note #2: Why is Dominic going on tour? I'd elaborate, but I don't think I really need to). Hopefully these two amazing routines were enough to keep Robert out of danger again - please oh pleeeeease let him be in the finale!

Kent
Of course, we cannot forget about Mr. Wapakoneta! It's pretty obvious that Kent is the favorite of the season. Well, you know, now that Alex Wong and Ashley are out of the picture. But still. Favorite. He started off with a Doriana Sanchez (!!!) disco routine with Courtney to the beat-thumping club hit "When Love Takes Over" by David Guetta and Kelly Rowland. It's pretty rare that I dislike a disco routine (though it happens - right, Mollee and Nathan?), and tonight was no exception. It was bursting with fun, and I'm pretty sure Courtney was styled to look like a young Doriana. There certainly weren't as many lifts as a typical Doriana Sanchez routine, but, as he admitted himself, Kent is way too tiny to do all those tricks. The highlight of the evening was without a doubt the final routine - a Travis Wall contemporary routine with Neil and Kent. Set to DeVotchKa's "How It Ends," the pair reunited to portray two friends at the end of their relationship. It was gorgeous, heartbreaking, tear-jerking and, most of all, danced perfectly. The height Kent got when Neil threw him was incredible, and the emotional connection between the two dancers was stunning. I have a theory that Travis was secretly telling the story of his falling out with Nigel, but I'll save that for another day.

Tonight is one of the most important nights of the season. America's votes count for everything as we find out who is the one dancer to miss the finale by only thiiiiiiiis much. I once again voted for Robert 50x and I will be holding my breath all night until the results are announced. What about you, fellow judgers? Did you go on a voting frenzy last night? Did you think Neil and Kent's relationship was a little bit more than just friends? And have you erased any memory of Tyce's psychobabble critiques from your memory? Sound off in the comments!


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