No more foolin’ around kids. As we watch the Top 8 perform tonight we finally start to see some hard dancing from our remaining possible winners as the chaff has been put aside and we pare down to only the best of the best. I’m gonna cut the rants to a minimum today as you readers have proven yourselves to be the better conspiracy theorists in the comment section (which I love reading by the way!), and focus myself on the dances and their performers.
What? No bitchy Adam? Of course not, you can’t have one without the other I assure you so don’t fret, but I promise to collect all the vids I can for you at-work and looking-to-avoid-the-commercials folks and succinctly present them to you in the hopes that you don’t- like so much of America seems to be doing- quit on this show due to the fact that this enterprise has basically turned into a completely sales driven 2-hour variety show with less and less redeeming qualities. Damn, that certainly got bitchy! Let’s get to the show, shall we! Before we start in on Opening Number I’ll let you know that tonight we see 8 different pairings and 8 different solos tonight so there’s gonna be a LOT of dance. Thankfully, Jesse Tyler Ferguson of “Modern Family” is the guest judge tonight. He’s basically the slightly less emotional and less educated version of Adam Shankman so I’ll take it. Oh, and Cat looks amazing in a slinky little black number and my crush on her is back on. Okay, now on with the show!
Song: “Run Boy Run” – Woodkid
Choreographer: Peter Chu
An Asian inspired opening, the ladies get dolled up like soon-to-be-kidnapped white ladies from “Big Trouble Little China” (if you’re gay and not 20 you’ll get that reference) while the guys are simply attired as if they’re on stage to move around furniture during act changes for a play. And, that’s about as exciting as things get. Sorry, but this dance didn’t do it for me: a little safe and not at all highlighting the individual talents of the remaining youths, this one didn’t impress at all. That said, it was short and simple so it didn’t waste too much of my time. No huge surprise, the choreographer was someone brand new to the show Peter Chu and I’m hoping maybe the last we see of him if this is what he’s planning on bringing to the game. NEXT!
Song: “I Was Here” by Glee Cast
Dressed gorgeously, this girl dances interestingly to a Glee song as we see some vertical integration promotion from FOX. The dance is strong and sensual and the girl looks like a little pixie hopping about the stage with her sparkled bra shinning like a shooting star. I thought it was an odd way to start the night- a solo?- but I’m sure the show “knows what they’re doing” [insert eye roll]. Oh, while we’re talking about the producers, wtf is Nigel wearing? A cherry red blazer… with that pale complexion? This guy makes bad decisions everywhere.
Genre: Hip Hop
Song: “My Homies Still” by Lil Wayne feat. Big Sean
Choreographer: Luther Brown
I’m often really critical of the SYTYCD version of “hip hop” knowing that real street dancers of grittier HH would strongly argue the bubble gum dancing that we see is too simple, G-rated and pandering. Tonight, I was happy to see a new (CANADIAN!) choreographer- Luther Brown– showing “ratchet” (huh?) style from the East Coast as it takes a strong turn from our more Nappy Tabs storing-telling. Whitney I ACTUALLY felts started off stronger than Twitch and finished her moves more consistently and thoughtfully than her “oh so” (not my opinion) talented partner. By the end she started to slip but the dance overall was well done for sure. The judging however was painful. I cannot imagine any black viewer thought these 60/50/40 something respectively judges were anything but slightly racist and stupid looking s they “ghettoed” up their review of the little blond. It was sad and the only funny moment was Jesse Tyler showing us behind the curtain that the judges do in fact have cute cue cards to remind them who the hell is on stage.
Song: “Better Man” by James Morrison
Will’s personal opening is kind of adorable as his mom basically announces this kid did NOT have it easy growing up gay and chubby in his little hometown. It was actually quite a sad “dancing saved my life” situation where you wonder how low things got for our
little big mo… course then you find out that he was Homecoming King and you have to take everything you just heard with a grain of salt haha. His solo was first off terribly attired. His to short pants and plain black shirt in fact distracted more than it served to offer a simple backdrop to his performance. The performance itself was meh. I was much more into Tiffany’s personally and don’t think he moved anyone too far with this thing. Still not my favourite.
Song: “Possibly More (Instrumental)” by Bjork
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Ahhh now we come to some real shit. Sonya is one of my all-time favourite choreographers and Cole is definitely killing it this season for me (miles beyond the other guys to be honest) so I’m very hopeful about what we’re going to get. On top of that it’s a Bjork piece which works amazingly for contemp. The dancing is rigidly fluid in that angry Sonya style and the story told is perfectly captured by the awkward and beautiful movement of the talented duo on stage. I thought it was a great blend of narrative and challenging movement that completely captured my attention. Allison’s whore-the-morning-after eye makeup just showed how finely detailed this whole thing was. Jesse Tyler called this thing an “American Horror Story” promo and I think that was a great way to describe it for sure. The judges loved it as I did and called Cole destined for the Top 2 and I think they’re dead to right. THIS is what I want to see this late in the game!
Song: “Senorita” by Bond
The second ballroom girl- yes that’s how I’m referring to her- has proved a surprise this season at least to me making it as far as she has considering she’s been Bottom 2 twice now I believe and scrapping out of that is NOT easy during solos for a Ball girl. All sexied up tonight the tall blond does a somewhat odd dance that reminds me of what Pasha tried to pull off and lost with years ago as he whipped his cape about the stage chasing an invisible bull. She danced FINE but again, ballroom kids are NOT made for the solo and I don’t think this one pushed her anywhere special tonight. Sorry Linds.
Genre: Quick Step (Dance of Death)
Song: “That Man” by Caro Emerald
Choreographer: Jonathan Roberts
I honestly don’t know WHY they keep this style in the rotation considering it’s just a killer to so many performers in the past. And, it’s not that it’s “too hard” to learn, rather just a boring ass style that voters don’t get motivated to vote for. It’s some 20s throw back that belongs in “The Artist“. That said, Eliana is well paired with powerful Ryan as she gets tossed about the stage like a rag doll. Mary is clearly a huge fan of this girl but does a good job to throw in her sincere knowledge of this style and I’m happy to see some actual criticism. Nigel goes nuts telling this girl how brilliant she is and following the windfall of complements for Cole I’m feeling like this panel knows exactly who’s going home already tonight and isn’t being shy telling us who ISN’T.
Song: “On the Nature of Daylight” by Max Richter
This kid is not gonna win. Let’s just call a spade a spade here. One of the weaker remaining boys it’s an uphill battle here on in for the nearly nude bean sprout. His background story of adoption and familial support is actually adorable and he nearly cracks seeing his mother in stage… actually, screw nearly, the kid is CRYING his eyes out by the end of the piece and nearly breaks Cat herself. It’s all very sweet and actually follows a REALLY well done solo that elicits a standing ovation from the judges… well, except for Nigel who slooooowly gets out of his chair to match his partners. I’m totally throwing it out there that he didn’t want to over promote this kid as he’s possibly going home tonight and big red doesn’t want to look like he’s going on a preformed decision as this kid really danced his heart out for this one.
Song: “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye feat. Kimbra
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
I don’t really get why they don’t just let Sonya do contemp alone but oh well, I’ll take her anyway I can. That said, I am NOT excited to see too-much-praised Alex (from BC Canada so now you know I don’t just play favourites to locals!) take the stage again. This kid and his 40-something looking face blew it seasons ago and has been over-hyped ever since. On top, Lindsay is in a little trouble after her sad solo so I’m wondering if the amazeballs choreographer is enough to save the girl. Alex looks as gay as ever from move one of this thing and Lindsay’s see through top isn’t helping much either. Still, they got the Gotye song that that will certainly help to ingrain themselves some in voters minds. Sonya’s work is again wonderfully rigid and strong but not nearly as powerful as her first piece. Nigel calls them out and throws Alex under the bus comparing this to the earlier piece where the All Star Allison did an amazing job and Alex couldn’t even pretend to be sexually interested in this yellow-haired vixen for a second. Jesse Tyler is pretty adorable and shows what you want to see in a guest judge and shows how huge a fan he is of the show as oppose to past guests who have to be reminded who people like Mia Murphy are. I’m hoping this disappointing show is the last we’ll see of Alex as he blew it for this girl tonight and maybe cost her her chance to win like he cost it for himself years ago.
Song: “Dance My Pain Away” (District 78 Remix) by Wye Oak
Choreographer: Christopher Scott
More awful oufits for chunky Will (don’t they make clothes for bigger girls these days that don’t look like parachutes?) I’m only caring about the fact that we get one of my all time lovers Lauren on stage. She looks hot in some Athena-esque dress and dances the hell out of this song. The things is “hip-hop” but came across as almost two-steppie or broadway to me and didn’t quite impress as “hard” as the first “ratchet” piece we saw today. The dancing didn’t seem TOO challenging and I think that helped Will get a really good review and it’s actually cute that Mary tells him “not to be surprised he’s still here” as you basically hear: “No, you’re not going to win but keep trying and smiling”. Lauren killed it- duh!- and Will did WELL but I don’t think this thing is signing him up for Top 2 at all. Sorry Will, I think you’re destined to be a great third place.
Song: “Where Have You Been” by Rihanna
How.pretty.is.this.girl. I’m glad she got some background story time and while it went well, I think I would have thrown in a BIT of hardship or drama to get some sympathy votes cause this girl looks like she had it a BIT easy growing up gorgeous and seemingly well off. That said, her dad did a good job with the over-protective thing which helps considering this too-young girl is soooo sexualized on this program. Like Lindsay, Whitney’s gonna have it a bit tough on her own as a ball girl but does a strong job dramatizing her solo with a very powerful and current Rihanna hit. the dance itself ism’t challenging at all but rather built up and sexual which at this point is the best way for this kid to get votes so I say go for it. She’s an early pick for me and I do love her but having spent time in the bottom before I wonder what chance she has to win…
Song: “Arise” by E.S. Posthumus
Now Cole knows what he’s doing. A sad story of the little outcast Asian kid who learned martial arts to keep himself safe from bullies, he knows how voting works on this show and proves to me why it takes a little brain and certainly some maturity to take the gold ring at this thing. His solos are always entertaining as he combines his martial talents with a dramatic dancing style and the song choice perfectly encapsulates this effort. I’ve said it before and will say it again, this guy is miles beyond the rest and is so damn unique that it’s honestly his game to lose at this point. Hell, I even liked his weirdly side-buttoned shirt and you KNOW I usually hate everything these kids wear so he’s doing something right.
Song: “Badder Badder Schwing” by Freddy Fresh feat. Fatboy Slim
Choreographer: Mandy Moore
Cyrus is definitely down there with Chehon for me as a guy who’s got it tough here as things get closer to the end. So, when you hear he’s being matched with last year’s winner and unique beauty Melanie you have to wonder if they’re trying to give him the best fighting chance he can have to stay in this thing. The dance was all over the stage- in a great way mind you- and was VERY Fatboy Slim (I’d never heard this song before). It was fun and Melanie- as not the lightest girl on the stage- was well tossed around by her strong partner who put on a good show. THAT SAID, Jesse Tyler TOTALLY reads this kid and calls him like everything 3rd/4th place loser before who “has a great personality but is NEVER gonna win”. It’s pointed out Cyrus has never been in the Bottom 3 thanks to America’s votes but Nigel straight up calls the kid “not the greatest one out there” and you just know that the second this kid is able to go home the judges will send him packing as he’s not strong enough to truly represent this brand.
Song: “Infra 8” by Max Richter
Almost going home last week, this girl seems to be QUITE the judges favourite and has risen up from the bottom throughout this competition. Taking the stage like a black swan, Eliana pulls of a contemp ballerina routine that totally impresses. I thought it was controlled, tragically haunting and well done in every way. I’m thinking that after her great duo tonight and her VERY strong solo here she’s quite the front runner to take this thing. Her personal story is cute though not exactly hugely moving but I think her skills alone and gigantic smile will take her to the end in this thing.
Song: “Breathing Below Surface” by Jesse Cook
Choreographer: Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo
Tango isn’t my favourite- let’s get that out of the way. But, with the flying and spinning opening moves I’m watching this thing as closely as I can. The music is simple and barely there so that we might focus on the intense movements of the dancers as they use their giant legs to sway about the stage. The footwork seems dead on to me and I’m impressed by the less-than Chehon who I’d still argue has no chance to win but who killed it with Anya tonight. I believe this was the first standing o for a paired number tonight and that means a lot. The judges were blown away by the silent power of this piece and I agree with them. Didn’t like the style and din’t like the dancer going into this but it was soooo well done that you have to give it up to this one. I’m wondering if this doesn’t spell doom for Cyrus tonight as there’s only so many guys to chose from and it ain’t gonna be Will or Cole to leave…
Song: “Existence (VIP)” by Excision & Downlink
Well, there’s Cyrus doing his Cyrus thing. This style of “dance” does NOT do it for me at all. It’s interesting on day one when you want to show what you’ve been working on all year to prep for the auditions but honestly, at this point in the game where judges have been subtly and not so subtly commenting that you don’t have the skills and technique to keep up with the others you really need to show that you’ve GROWN and learned something after all these weeks. Having said that the judges go stupidly “urban” again and go nuts for this performance but I think it’s part white guilt at having no clue what he’s doing and part just liking him as a person. As a dancer, this kid isn’t gonna win.
Song: “The Power of Love” by Celine Dion
Choreographer: Mandy Moore
A throwback song eh? I like it. Ade however, not so much- I never fully got behind that kid’s “talents”. Likely one of the physically stronger men on the show tonight however, Mandy is able to use the big guy’s strengths and have the pixie Tiffany whipped and catapulted about the stage with ease. The song is as epic as they promote it to be and with some beautiful and starlit lighting the song is well pulled off. The judges- maybe lubricated at this point from previous great dances- jump out of their seats again and throw praise at this girl. I wasn’t QUITE as blown away as the rest of the audience and panel seemed to be though I certainly loved the piece but it seems like past strengths like the Tango and Sonya’s first contemp are forgotten as we get so close to the end of the episode. Still a great job by Tiffany and it sounds like she’s very safe.
As the boys and girls are brought to the stage we’re once again reminded how disjointed this season is with the one night a week performances as they’re judged on last week’s dances which we’ve LONG forgotten after tonight’s work. The ballroom girls Lindsay and Whitney are asked to step forward and it immediately becomes obvious it’s one of these two heading home tonight as Cat announces them in the Bottom 2. Moving onto the boys I’m BLOWN away as it’s reported that Cole (brilliant dancer) and Will (crowd fave) are put forth as Bottom 2 themselves. I think America is voting on personality keeping in Chehon and particularly Cyrus (seriously?!) and I’m sure it’ll be Will heading home tonight.
Moving very quickly, Nigel takes over and isn’t too hard-pressed to send home a ballroom girl tonight (particularly after their lack luster solos) and it’s Lindsay sent home. She was a great dancer and a sweet girl who had a good last night but was never going to win this thing. Bye Linds and I’m happy Whitney is here to stay. Moving to the guys you almost have to laugh at how contrasting these two boys are standing next to one another. Drawing it out more than he needs to, Nigel makes the right and easy decision to keep Cole as Will is sent home. His whole night I suppose was leading to this point as his past drama is finally exposed and the praise he got tonight was more than I would have argued he deserved- it becomes clear the judges knew this was coming and wanted to send him home on a positive note. Side note: many of you wouldn’t know this not knowing him personally but Will is a DEAD ringer for how I’d argue writer Dan would be if he was on this show. Dan, watch this kid’s send of video montage and TRY to argue with me.
Well, that’s it for tonight. The dancers sent packing are ones who were never going to win so I’m okay with that but I’m wondering if the show didn’t prop Cole up to nearly lose tonight to make sure he gets a ton of his fans out voting him closer to the finale where the show likely has to prove that they didn’t falsify the votes just to keep in their faves (I’m cynical, I know) but it’s Jessica Sanchez from “Idol” all over again as Skeletor attempts to get who HE wants in the finale there. Tune in next week as Dan returns to take us to the end of this show and we crown mr and ms “america’s choice dancer”. Thanks for tuning in with me in the interim- don’t worry, Dan’s a lot nicer than I am so the attacks won’t be so brutal from here in ;)