Friday, July 1, 2011

So You Think You Can Dance, Season 8: Top 16 Results

As far as results nights go, last night's played out fairly regularly, with just enough a few WTF moments scattered throughout to keep us on our toes. We are at the point in the season when the "cannon fodder" contestants start to get weeded out, so unless the judges went and eliminated Melanie and Marko, not much is going to happen to TOTALLY SHOCK US ALL!!!! Of course, now that I've said that, let's all karma cap ourselves that Melanie and Marko stay in this thing. Thanks.

So what were the highs and lows of last night's episode? Let's break it down, shall we?

Things started off with an aloof, Fosse-inspired group number to "The Incredits" from The Incredibles with the girls standing out in their skintight black tank tops and pony tails. Hot hot hot. And while we're talking about group numbers, I realized last night that I never mentioned the two group routines from Wednesday's performance night, perhaps because neither were terribly memorable. The first, a Broadway routine by Tyce Diorio with flying chairs to "Hit the Road Jack," was a little too long and hard to connect with but well-danced, especially by Clarice, Tadd and Sasha. The second, choreographed by Dee Caspary and telling the tale of medieval women poisoning unsuspecting men, used a haunting song by The Civil Wars and featured intricate staging and characterization. A lot of group numbers this week, which hopefully is a trend this season. Hooray for more dancing!

In addition to the group number, we also had two guest performances. Up first was the AXIS Dance Company, a group that brings together dancers with and without disabilities. As someone who works with a similar group, I really enjoyed this performance despite it's completely bland music and sometimes bizarre choreography by the "non-disabled" dancer. A quick jaunt across the Interwebz brought me to their website and it turns out they are doing a national tour starting this fall—I'll definitely be catching one of their East Coast tours and hopefully seeing more of how they showcase these inspiring performers.

The second guest performance was courtesy of Eric Luna and Georgia Ambarian, World and National Cabaret Champions who displayed unbelievable lifts while gliding across the stage effortlessly. At one point, it looked like a combination of dance, ice skating and Cirque du Soleil as Eric spun Georgia on top of his head without using his hands. I hope Doriana Sanchez was taking notes for her next disco routine!

Of course, the real reason we all tuned in was to see who ended up in the Bottom Three Couples and had to dance for their lives to stay on the show. I was surprised that Mitchell and Caitlynn were in the bottom, especially after that hot tamale samba... but them's the breaks in SYTYCD Land. Here's how the solos played out:

  • Ashley's solo was lackluster at best. She had lovely lines and pulled out some gorgeous leaps, but the passion and heart wasn't really in it. She wasn't dancing for her life! ("For You" by David Ryan Harris)
  • Chris has the weakest solos of the bboys on this show by far. There's a lack of control and a sense of immature angst that is just so off-putting. He needs to focus more on musicality and entertainment. ("You're Gonna Make It" KJ-52 featuring Blanca Reyes)
  • Miranda really stepped her game with her solo. Ethereal, beautiful, light as a feather—she danced for her life without being desperate or over the top. Best female solo of the night by leaps and bounds. ("Unthinkable" by Maria Zouroudis)
  • Robert's solo was far better than Chris'—it had more personality, better choreography, more musicality, better control and was just generally fun to watch. ("I Don't Need It" by Jamie Foxx)
  • Caitlynn needed to calmmmmm dowwwwwwn. She had desperation painted all over her face. Well, she did when I could actually see her face behind that distracting flop of her long hair. If she finds herself in the bottom again, she needs to tie that hair back and not fall out of her pirouettes. ("It Doesn't Hurt (Live Version)" by Katie Thompson)
  • Mitchell worried me two weeks ago when he "over-danced" his solo, but he used much more control this time around, delivering a solo that was powerful and showed off his great technique. Could he be slowly creeping up the ranks? I certainly think so. ("Rolling in the Deep" by Adele)

When the solos were completed, I thought for sure that we'd be saying goodbye to Ashley and Chris. They've consistently been one of my least favorite couples and had the worst solos of the night. But out came Uncle Nigel and the rest of judges to deliver the news and suddenly Miranda and Robert were waving goodbye.


I was starting to really enjoy Miranda's performances and saw a lot of potential in her. I'll admit that I was ready to see Robert go eventually, but his solo was enough to keep him around for at least one more week. Of course, when Nigel talked to the touched-by-an-angel Chris, he praised him for the woodpecker routine from last week. Well, excuse me, Nigel, but that routine was performed by Robert and Miranda! Even I missed that snafu, so special thanks to Please Welcome Your Judges intern Jade Bouza for her ever-attentive eye. Is it possible that the judges really meant to save Robert? I love a good SYTYCD scandal!

Conspiracy theories aside, I'm sad to say goodbye to Miranda but not totally heartbroken. I'm more upset that the judges haven't done any couple swapping, since we are getting to point in the season when that is becoming more and more necessary.

What did you think about last night's eliminations? Who did you want to go home and who do you think is the most vulnerable going into next week's Top 14?
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