So I am back in the driver’s seat for this season of So You Think You Can Dance, season seven. Donovan and Rich have done an AMAZING job of keeping me and everyone else up-to-date on all the happenings around this season’s dancers-to-be and the return of the All Star cast from the past six seasons. This season is truly shaping up to be one for the record books with a whole new structure with past dancer’s acting as the weekly partners and legendary Mary Murphy being replaced on the judging panel by the contemporary rockstar choreographer, Mia Michaels. I am SO excited that she has come back to the show after taking a year break last season to work on her own personal digs. Welcome back Mia!
When looking back at last season, and the disaster it turned out to be by trying to cram two seasons into one fiscal year. I can’t even remember the winners name and I remember one contemporary dancer who blew my mind, Jakob. Also, the mistake of allowing the judges to do the cuts for the first few rounds really left a sour taste in my mouth as it really didn’t feel like ‘America’s Favourite Dancer’, but I digress and now look onward to a potential EPIC season with some of the most spectacular dancers I’ve ever seen move through the audition rounds and sail on through Vegas week as well.
Tonight’s episode is an introduction of sorts, with the top eleven dancers. Wait, ELEVEN? Yes, that’s right folks, if you watched last night’s episode there were only ten who made it through to the show (as indicated all season long). Well naturally, SYTYCD believes in twists and Billy Bell ended up making it into the top eleven! Not sure why the producers chose to do this, but clearly I don’t understand why the fossil Nigel Lythgoe is still on he judging panel preying on the young female contestants.
The show opened with a number performed by the all stars and it was beyond exhilarating to see all of their faces again! Performing a Broadway number from Wade and Amanda Robson to Fame by David Bowie, this group of artists were on their game. A cameo appearance by all of this season’s dancers was a nice twist to the ‘Alice and Wonderland’ themed performance. Simply perfection.
The exquisite Cat Deeley made her way on to the stage to introduce the changes to the show, indicating the voting is specifically for the new contestants, not the all stars, the recordings are now in High-Definition television (yay) and there is a new Production Director, Nikki Parsons. Followed quickly after was her introduction of this season’s judges, Adam Shankman, Mia Michaels and grandpa-near-death Nigel Lythgoe. May our hate-hate relationship begin for another season!
Lauren Froderman and Kent Boyd (MY TWO FAVOURITES) were first to the stage tackling a Travis Wall Jazz routine, dancing alongside all stars Marc from season five and Kathryn from season six. Performed to Paris is Burning by St. Vincent, this dance was EFFING AMAZING! What a brilliant way to start off the season. Seriously, I literally sighed and screamed my way through this piece and watched it back-to-back four times so I could focus on each dancer once so I wouldn’t miss a step. Lauren was INSANE and Kent had me on the edge of my seat with a schoolboy-crush-hands-on-my-face grin. As for the all stars, hands down these two deserve to be in the selection of dancers considered the best at what they do. Kudos to all four dancers, what a way to start the night.
Side Note: The new dancers from season seven were given eleven seconds to tell the viewers something about themselves. It was all nonsense and won’t be part of my recap. Except for Kent blurting out he is single. That’s not nonsense. That’s critical information. And he was yelling it at me folks, so back off.
Alexia Agdeppa and tapper Melinda Sullivan were up next tackling a Tyce Diorio Broadway routine with all stars Allison from season two and Lauren from season three. The piece, performed to There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This by Sweet Charity (Original Broadway Cast) was an interesting number for these four ladies. I have to admit that I was drawn to watch both Lauren and Allison more than the new contestants from season seven, as both of them were looking SMASHING and the excitement to see them dance again overshadowed the idea of watching the two girls I had no connection. Yikes! I hope that isn’t foreshadowing for the season…
Jose Ruiz took to the stage as the third act, performing as the solo season seven contender alongside all stars tWitch and Comfort from season four and Dominic from season three, dancing a Tabitha and Napolean Hip Hop routine – THANK GOODNESS THEY ARE BACK AS WELL! Man do I love these two people and their ability to tell a love story through dance. My tear ducts are warming up as I type this! The number was performed to Din Daa Daa (District 78 remix) by George Kranz. Man oh Man have I missed watching Twitch bust out his moves – such a brilliant dancer. I have to admit that Jose held his own among three all stars all prepared to steal the limelight away – nice work!
Side Note: I finally agreed with Adam Shankman on something for once, I TOO look forward to see how the Cat-Dominic relationship develops over the course of the season. His persistence HAS to pay off at some point!
Cristina Santana was next to take the stage also solo, dancing a Jason Gilkison piece with ballroom all stars Pasha AND Anya from season three – that’s right, a THREESOME on the dance floor folks. Performed to Work (Freemasons Radio Edit) by Kelly Rowland (HECK YEAH), this number was brilliant in showing off the all star talent; however, I felt Cristina got lost in the midst of the other two dancers. And HOT DAMN, when did Pasha turn into a sex symbol? The slight stubble and removal of his shirt had me freaking out (aka. pausing the PVR with my mouth agape)! The judges felt that Cristina did a strong job, and I’ll agree with them largely based on the fact that Pasha left his shirt off during the critic and nothing else matters at this moment in time.
The fifth performance was a Mia Michaels Contemporary piece showcasing the two powerhouses, Alex Wong and Billy Bell alongside all star Ade from season five. Firstly, WELCOME BACK MIA, WE’VE MISSED YOU! The piece symbolized time and the journey of life, performed to This Bitter Earth/On the Nature of Daylight by Dinah Washington/Max Richter. Damn what a beautiful song, and damn what an amazing trio. This was literally one of the most beautiful dances I have ever seen, cycling through the three main stages of a man’s life. Mia’s ability to interpret life through dance, with these three men enacting the characters was fan-effing-tastic.
The final performance of the night brought together three new contestants; Ashley Galvan, Adechike Torbert and Robert Roldan. They performed a Sonya-infused number alongside Neil from season four and Courtney from season three, danced to Freak by Estelle feat. Kardinal Offishall. Welcome back Neil! And hello manly bodies! These three men were made to dance next to one another! Overall, the routine was sexy with a dash of freak, and each dancer did a good job of bringing Sonya Tayeh’s vision to life.
My recap of the night, I have to say the start of the show definitely set the stage as the number to beat, with Billy Bell and Alex Wong clipping at their heals thanks largely to Mia Michaels. How will this season shape up though as the dancers prepare to take on those styles out of their element? I’m definitely excited to be along for the ride!
PS. I’d like to welcome myself back to the judging panel as the Canadian correspondent with all the right opinions and an impeccable toe point.