And we’re back!! After last week’s LAME attempt to shove “inspired remakes” of Mia Michaels routines down our throats as SYTYCD sought to save some bucks on hiring a cast of actually varied choreographers to produce actually new pieces (note: that is not fact but my favourite conspiracy theory as put forth on last week’s article’s comment wall, thanks Mason!), we’re hopefully in store for some GOOD and ORIGINAL programming tonight. As we finally cut the fat (though not all- I still miss you Amber!!) down to the Top 10 what matters most is that we get back some All Stars to pair off with the newbies and present some excellent duos for our viewing pleasure.
This Top 10 cast features all the “lucky” dancers who will take to the road once this show comes to a close and perform for screaming fans at likely less-than stadiums all over the country. Though I jest, in fact about 6 writers and a plethora of other good gays and I went to see one of these tours when it was nearby in Everett, Washington and the show was a riot. However, it was during Neil and my personal fave Kameron Bink’s years so maybe we were a bit spoiled… BUT I digress! Tonight, Cat finally has returned to a reasonable level of fashion and style and we finally have some eye candy in the judges booth as Benjamin Millepied- choreographer of Black Swan and Nat Portman’s husband takes a seat next to Mary. Let’s cross our fingers he has something good to add: on with the show!
(NOTE: I cannot find the opening act video quite yet so for all those tuning in to me as their source of SYTYCD free of commercials I apologize and DO have the rest of the vids so don’t worry but will have to get back to you about this one. For now, just know that it was a Tyce Diorio group Broadway routine that strongly allowed each of the Top 10 a moment to shine on their own until- ugh- Tyce made her queen entrance and put herself into the dance. Sweets, you’re 20 years too late and two steps behind. TD seemed to think this was his big chance for a grand return to the stage… it wasn’t).
Song: “You Make Me Feel” (Disco Fries Remix) by Cobra Starship feat. Sabi
Choreographer: Doriana Sanchez
Well, anyone who’s ever read me KNOWS I’m never a fan of disco so these two have an uphill battle with me. That said, I DO appreciate when contemp and fun music is matched with a style that one wouldn’t assume it blends with naturally so hearing this Cobra Starship diddy as they tell me this is disco… well, I was very pleasantly surprised. While disco is not a graceful dance it IS however full of tricks and spins and that often gets me more excited than a fully extended pieds de whatever. Still, it was ALL tricks and as we know from sexy Neil’s year, that doesn’t really win you a title though it certainly grabs the viewers’ attention. The judges seem to enjoy what they witnessed though they’re always easiest on the opening act for fear that saying something like “yikes” will scare precarious viewers onto another channel so claps all around for Tiffany and handsome Brandon- runner up from Season 5.
Song: “Sign it Back” by Moloko
Choreographer: Travis Wall
Hmmm it says Jazz but starts so Broadway…. I’ll forgive as Whitney is my girl and Travis (ugh I hate saying anything nice about miss thang) DOES make great dances, so for now we’ll let it go. The makeup is atrocious, let’s get that out of the way: you don’t need to pain faces white, these kids haven’t seen the sun for weeks with the all rehearsing they’ve been doing so save the pancake powder SYTY! Teamed up with Season 1′s winner Nick (WOW, there’s a catch for Whitney… producers having their hand in things again much??), Whitney pulls off a damn good routine. Sexy but not overtly, interesting but not “all tricks”, this one seemed without flaw. The jumps seems powerful and the turns on point BUT when it came to the judging the panel seemed to focus on Whitney’s “work to this point” rather than this particular dance. As I type this I’m attempting to quell my frustration that these idiot judges KNOW how the bottom three is going to look due to this year’s format and wonder if they’re not under-evaluating good dancers just to prep us to see them in the bottom. Grrrr that better not be it!!
Song: “Glad You Came” by The Wanted
Choreographer: Dmitry Chaplin
My fave guy of the season gets matched with SY legend Anya who- from Season 3- never had a chance to win but gets constant praise for her powerful pairing year after year of all star appearances. Dressed in barely anything I thinik she looks great and while Cole‘s open shirt is more desperate than I need their outfits are so not the point of this song as Mr. Martial Arts uses his powerful arms to whip this poor lady around the stage like a rag doll and boy does it look good! I thought their tricks were shocking and exciting and well-executed. However, it IS ballroom and because of that there’s about 1800 rules and things to watch out for that a lay like myself would never see and the judges made sure to point out that they did! Taking him down for his over-showmanship and lack of true partnering, Cole got read for pandering to the audience more than he should focus on lady Anya. I’m glad for the honest appraisal of his work but I still think this kid has it made in the shade considering his body of work to date.
Song: “Dancin’ Dan” by Fosse
Choreographer: Spencer Liff
How much do I not like Broadway? It’s like going on a Grindr date and hoping for a masc/contemp routine and they open their mouth and it’s queenie/broadway. Way harsh Tai, I know but come on. The spandex and sparkles, really? Still, the unison these kids pulled off was nothing short of talent. Lindsay- who has NOT been coasting thus far instead hitting the bottom her fair share- works with Season 6 runner up Jakob to pull off a reasonably entertaining piece. As a former gymnast I absolutely appreciate the effort behind synchronized aerials and perfect tumbles and therefore do applaud these kids and their work. However, Lindsay is the nemesis (slash best friend but whatever) of my likely-to-win pick Whitney so how much can I really clap? The judges however seemed to answer that question by saying a LOT and loved this little blonde’s work tonight. Again, knowing that THEY know how the night will end I’m wondering how much is actual review of what they just saw and how much is prep for the last 10 minutes results?? I hate hate hate that the new format and the trickery of Skeletor has turned me into such an untrusting fan of this show… but it honestly has.
Song: “Ooh La La” by The Dirty Picture (Soundtrack)
Choreographer: Nakul Dev Mahajan
Oh Chubby, how much are you never going to win this… Like a big gurl giving her all in the sack for the first time, Will puts his all into this piece and pulls off the Bollywood exaggerated expression to a tee. Working with Season 6′s Kathryn, they perform a snake charmer-esque routine that doesn’t quite do it for me. Maybe it’s just the style (though I doubt it because the VERY first SYTY Bollywood had me jumping out of my seat) but I just didn’t feel it tonight. I know that biggie in blond is a definite contender for a lot of viewers out there but he just doesn’t hit me the right way. I thought the dance seemed more simple than others we saw tonight and wasn’t anything particularly new. Still, the judges seemed to have loved it and praised the heck out of these performers and choreographer so what the heck do I know!
Song: “Outro” by M83
Choreographer: Travis Wall
Current band, current song… no one can say Travis is dated, that’s for sure. Honestly though, I do NOT know how this boy is still in this comp. Cyrus certainly gives it his all but his all never seems enough compared to the talents the other boys have brought so far. Lucky as hell, he gets paired up with Season 3 Jamie and most importantly Travis and his contemporary genius to be handed this gift of a routine. Trav is the show’s golden boy and contemporary is the easiest safe bet for a fan favourite dance and as such the judges lather on the compliments. I do not agree. As I said, I think this kid is resting on the laurels of other peoples’ efforts to get him this far (cough*producers*cough) to push some Cinderella story that just isn’t floating if you ask me. The tricks here were simple, and the pairing was worse than Cole’s ballroom and he was picked apart for his efforts! The beauty of the piece outshone the work put into it by Cyrus and I hate that the judges didn’t call that shit out!
Genre: Lyrical Hip Hop
Song: “Pretty Wings” by Maxwell
Choreographer: Dave Scott
Man, I don’t like a lot of these male performers. Not sure if it’s his giraffe body or ridiculous blow out hairstyle but Chehon is also on my list of people to go. HOWEVER, Lauren- brill balls talent from Season 3- is my girl so I’m immediately into this dance. She has consummately been a star for me and I love everything she touches so for that reason alone I’m okay saying that this routine went well. WELL, and that’s all I’m going to give it. The judges focus on how “relaxed” and all smiles he finally is but to me that’s such a sad thing to only just now be achieving. This late in the game there should be brilliant moves and outstanding feats- not dances that elicit “you look like you’re enjoying yourself finally” comments. The dance was interesting enough but hardly a game changer and while the judges liked it I’m without too much to say about this lack-luster piece.
Song: “Bhamut” by Hazmat Modine
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio
Wow… from the name of this song and its artist, this is NOT the dance I expected. But, of course it’s a Tyce Jazz so really, it’s sultry steps by the girl and weird less-than-masc leg stuff by the guy. My rudeness aside, the dance was actually a pretty good one. I hate the trumpet- which is basically all this song is- and I hate jazz for the most part but I DID love the jumps and height George pulled off as he ran Season 2′s Allison around the stage. Thankfully this time around Tyce didn’t see fit to slip himself into the routine however he didn’t exactly include anything hugely new and original either. The piece was beige, and the judges reacted accordingly. Focusing more on the dancer than the piece as Tyce likely has it in his contract that not a bad word can be spoken about him, the judges called the shit outta George and his inability to connect and shine. I’m feeling foreshadowing to the end of the night people! Personally, I care more about talent and less about “connection” since it seems such an arbitrary and eye-of-the-beholder thing to criticize but I think it’s just their way of saying the producers aren’t making enough money when you’re on the screen so SEE YA!
Song: “Bang Bang” by Nancy Sinatra
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Okay, I love the Kill Bill song but hot damn is this like the eighteenth time we’ve seen it used on this show? Still, the crazy red dress and even crazier hair for Eliana juxtaposed with the dying and barren tree prop and disappointment of Season 7 Alex did well to incite some cheers and screams from the live crowd. Alex is the little engine that might have and has had WAY more credit and complements thrown his way than he deserved with his lispy appearance on SYTY so many years ago and while he did well as a silent and secondary partner to Eliana today I’m starting to wonder if contemporary isn’t starting to be a bit of a free pass in terms of effort from these kids. YES, it requires more anguished looks and often a dramatic make out or bitch slap, but the moves are so much less complicated than other styles it’s hard to compare because their esthetic is just so much beyond the other pieces. This dance was very well done for what it asked of the dancers and is for sure one of my more memorable picks from the night but didn’t quite challenge the way others have. That said, I think Eliana is on her way up with this one.
Genre: Hip Hop
Song: “Sincerely, Jane” by Janelle Monae
Choreographer: Dave Scott
Oh, a vampire theme… that’s original… While Twitch from Season 4 is often only spoken about in hushed tones of complete reverence by the judges of SYTYCD, I’ve never been the koolaid drinking fan everyone else seems to be. Hip Hop for me is a REALLY hard style to do right because so much of it seems to come down to synchronicity and they did NOT have it tonight. The dance was okay but nothing amazing and I was surprised they ended with this one instead of the “beautiful” Stacey contemp from just moments ago. To top it off, the judges didn’t even go that crazy for it and since Twitch was her partner you just know that’s a warning flag for possible bottoming to come. (I know what you’re thinking, how can bottoming suddenly develop such a negative connotation? Haha, dirty birds). Anyway, I think this girl blew it and is likely gonna pay the price if not tonight then come next week for sure.
First up we find out we’re only doing two bottoms this time around- I’m assuming from the slim pickings in the numbers and lack of wanting to over-stigmatize the dancers come the following vote (which again, annoying happens RIGHT after the elim in our newly only one-show-a-week-show). It’s announced it’s Witney and Audrey for the girls and Chehon and George for the guys. Grrrr again for Whit? Why can’t she connect with the voters?? And, George seemed to be predicted for this one from the judges’ annoyance with him tonight. I’m hoping to find the videos of these solos but for now you’ll just have to listen to my “word pictures” haha.
Witney- the dark horse as the solo dancing ballroomer (HARD TO DO)- puts herself out! She kills it on stage giving us full face and full force and like Lindsay from last week likely just saved herself. On top of that she had the much better night tonight so I think little Aud is in trouble. Audrey’s is very beautiful and well choreographed itself but didn’t quite excite like the girl before her. This and her final lame Hip Hop is likely the nail in her coffin. Chehon goes up against likely loser George and damn if George doesn’t kill it in his finale. Neither are favourites of mine but I just hated Chehon’s too lanky everything as he spun about the stage with more desperation than style.
Blah blah blah some guest dance by L.A. Dance Project whatever the hell that is and BAM we get a decision: Witney is Saved, Audrey is Eliminated and Chehon is Saved while George is Eliminated. Audrey never really had a chance but George who turned it out just couldn’t pull back from being in the bottom THREE weeks in a row. Tonight’s results are hardly shockers but rather needed results to clean up some of the weaker staff to make way for the stronger kids to shine. Let’s hope next week gives us SOMETHING to cry and or jump out of our love seats for cause this meh season is starting to wear me out. Comment below! And, make sure to bet on your picks for Bottom Two next week since I’m too untalented a dancer myself to have anything resembling a reasonable guess (at least that’s what the commenters tell me!)