Welcome to the first performance episode of Season 3! I am so excited to be joining Homorazzi as a contributor and giving Dan a break from SYTYCD recaps. (He recently just finished recapping the US version.) Recapping for the Canadian version is extra special for me for a few reasons. 1, I auditioned for the first season and made it straight through to the finals. 2, I auditioned again this year and was given a ticket to finals after Blake’s rigorous Boot Camp. And 3, I happen to currently work with a few SYTYCDC alumni on Hellcats and know a few of this seasons finalists. So, lets get started.
The show starts with Leah Miller introducing the new Top 22 dancers and if you pay close attention, you’ll notice something is missing. Unfortunately, the US injury curse has migrated up to Canada. During rehearsals, Shelaina cracked the 5th metatarsal in her left foot and was advised not to dance as it would break if strained. Smart. But what about her partner? You’ll find out shortly. Tonight’s judges consist of ballroom expert Mary Murphy, Luther “Nasty Situation” Brown, Blake McGrath, Tre Armstrong and the always inappropriate, King of ballroom, Jean Marc Genereux. “So lets get started shall we?” We move to a montage of the finalists picking their partners from a hat and showing their enthusiasm for what promises to be a next few grueling days of rehearsal to perfect their routines. On to our first couple.
Claudia & Yonni – Salsa
Claudia and Yonni are both ballroom dancers and with their luck, pull Salsa out of the hat. What a great way to start the show, with two dancers comfortable in their own style. Ever since the finals week in Toronto, I have pegged Yonni as a smooth operator. But would that translate into his routine with Claudia? She’s also pretty spicy and let me tell you, they let the stage have it. Dancing to Calabria by Enur feat. Natasja, these two made salsa look easy. What I enjoyed most about this routine is that I feel this would be something you would spot in the salsa clubs south of the equator. Their chemistry was great and made the routine feel less choreographed. The judges loved it with Jean Marc and Tre even giving a standing o at the end of their performance. Deserved? For me, a little premature, but a great job for sure.
Kirsten & Jera – Contemporary
Next up is Kirsten and Jera. Jera holds a special place in my heart as he danced at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet last year and I had the privilege of watching him rehearse and perform in my home city last year. Kirsten seemed like an unlikely pick at first for me for the Top 22 as she struggled early on in the finals rounds. Lucky for her, the judges kept fighting for her and she pulled it together. This Mandy Moore contemporary routine should have been a home run for these two as they were in their element. However, the piece fell a little short for me. I’m not sure if I felt the piece lacked strength or that the choreography wasn’t challenging enough for the pair. The judges gave it a great review and so, I move on.
Amanda & Denys – Tango
This next pair is by far my favourite couple in the competition. I know, its really early and we’ve only had one show but wait until you see this Tango. Denys is a ballroom/contemporary dancer, which at first, seems like an unlikely mix but for him, its golden. Amanda is one of my favourite girls in the competition strictly because I want lick her legs from her ankles all the way up to… well, lets just say her legs are outstanding. Toni and Meredith gave these two a tango to die for. The music was so exhilarating and the choreography was phenomenal. Amanda’s legs stole the show and were the main topic of conversation amongst the judges. So. Hot.
Charlene & Jeff – Jive
Next up is Charlene and Jeff. Charlene is a contemporary jazz dancer from BC and Jeff is originally from Edmonton but before this show, lived in the same building as Patrick and I. Small world hey? Jeff has a strong background in acro and Ukrainian dance which for jive I thought would give him a good advantage. The story goes that Jeff comes back from war and has one last dance with his sweetheart before telling her he’s going back. This piece was choreographed by Season 1 alumni Danny Arbour. The song, Celebrity Status by Mariana’s Trench was a great song for jive but didn’t really fit the story set up in the opening clip. Jeff and Charlene were off to a super start in the opening lift sequence and then one missed hand threw it off. It took them a few steps to get their groove back but they finished strong. Blake called these two the Care Bears of the competition and I couldn’t agree more. They are a pretty cute couple. What do you think?
Danielle & Sebastian – Bollywood
Sebastian and Danielle are two contemporary dancers with a unique style all their own. Sebastian is a very odd character but his quirky nature is a mirror of Mark Kanemura from Season 4 of the US version of the show. Heavy comparison I know so hopefully he doesn’t disappoint me. These two pick Bollywood out of the hat and have the honor of working with the choreography of Slumdog Millionaire. I appreciated this piece because to be completely honest, I know jack all about Bollywood other than what I’ve watched on this show. What made it difficult for me was that their costumes were non-traditional and Sebastian’s outfit was cross between Danny Zuko and Sandra Dee. They shared a cute moment when Sebastian undid Danielle’s skirt to unravel from red and rewrap into yellow. I agree with some of the judges opinions who stated that they wished some of the moves could have been sharper. Was this Bollywood number a hit or a miss for you?
Kloe & Jonathan – Hip-Hop
Next up is Kloe and Jonathan. I want to start off with stating that I love how her name is spelled. That’s all. Jonathan is a strong male competitor in this competition and I feel has potential to go far. These two draw hip hop and are paired with Canadian choreographer Sho-Tyme. In the rehearsal clips, I have high hopes for this routine and look forward to watching it. And then, DMX happened. Now don’t get it twisted. I love this song and the chorus is heavy but it set the tone for how hard these two were going to have to hit it. One miss for me was their outfits. Kloe looked smoking in her pleather pants and bra top but Jonathan looked awkward in his matching pleather pants and red tank top. The music and the costumes didn’t mesh and Jonathan danced the routine a lot too stiff for me. Kloe hit it pretty hard but I would have liked to see her work it out more a la Jayme Rae in her Pucker Up piece last year. That was FIRE!
Julia & Jesse – New Disco
Now before I talk about the next pair I have to first comment on So You Think You Can Dance Canada’s idea to “create” new dance styles. This next couple draws out “New Disco” and Leah leads into it saying that Lady Gaga has changed the world of disco and this style is based on that. Umm, WHAT?! I don’t even know what to say. Moving on. Jesse and Julia are the couple faced with this “new style”. Think Jesse looks familiar? Well if all you homos know your movie musicals (and I know you do…) Jesse played I.Q. in the recent remake of Hairspray choreographed and directed by permanent US judge Adam Shankman. And Julia looks like Rosario Dawson. Period. This routine is choreographed by Melissa Williams and begins with Julia dancing around a disco ball. It suddenly opens up to reveal Adam Lambert, I mean Jesse Weafer. This routine felt nothing like disco and everything like street jazz. Despite that, Jesse and Julia danced it with great strength and great performance. Judges loved it but what did you think of this new dance style?
Janick & Shavar – Afro Jazz
Janick and Shavar are up next with a Sean Cheeseman Afro Jazz number. Janick is an East coast contemporary girl and Shavar is a hip hop dancer of 4 years. I am usually a pretty big fan of Sean’s afro jazz pieces. In the opening clip he explains that the pair are dancing like night creatures in the jungle. I love the concept already. The piece begins strong with great music and as per usual, the choreography is to all the little beats and tings, in true Cheeseman style. What I wanted more from this piece was a little bit more earthiness and grounded movement to make the dance seem a little more creature like. I also wasn’t into Shavar stank face and would have liked to see them creature more out of the mysterious creatures they were to become. However, I still enjoyed the piece and look forward to more afro jazz pieces in the future.
Nathalie & Mackenzie – Waltz
If you’ve watched the Homorazzi does Vancouver Pride video you may recognize one of the dancers in our next pair. Mackenzie is originally from Regina, SK but now calls Vancouver home and I know Homorazzi cast member Tommy D couldn’t be more proud of his little Mack. Nathalie is also a Vancouver girl and has auditioned for the show 3 times to finally make it here to the Top 22. These two pull Viennese Waltz which I figure may work out for these two contemporary dancers. I have also seen Mackenzie partner before and know he is a great at that so I held high hopes for this routine. The Hedley song matched perfectly to the movement and Mackenzie and Nathalie’s lines were great going in and out of their waltz carriage. The only critique I have for this routine was wardrobe choice. Mack looked like he was from Pirates of the Caribbean and Nathalie looked like Princess Jasmine in a pink dress. That’s all.
Bree & Edgar – Hip-Hop
Bree and Edgar are next up with a hip hop routine from one of my favourite hip hop choreographers, Jaeblaze. Edgar is a hip hop dancer and was a dancer in Blake’s video for The Night. Bree is a contemporary girl but with Edgar’s help I’m sure they’ll smash. The piece opens with Edgar watching Bree dance on the stairs and tosses money at her as he makes his way to join her on the floor. Oh, and did I mention the song was O.M.G. by Usher? This routine was sexy all the way through with really dirty floor work (which I loved). The routine picked up at the end with some hard hitting hip hip choreography. This routine could have had some more steps and dancing in it for me to really make it pop but Bree’s develope up on Edgar to put his hat on her foot was pretty smoking. The judges loved it and I’m sure the viewers will do.
Hani & Tara Jean – Jazz
On to the final couple of the night, Hani and Shelaina. As I mentioned before, Shaliana is out due to a cracked bone in her foot. So who will take her place? In the opening clip, we see Hani rehearsing with her and having the great privilege to work with newly married Nico (winner of Season 1) and Wynn. The style is jazz and these two would be right at home with the choreography. Before Hani and his mystery partner take the stage, Leah takes the time to say hello to some alumni including Allie Bertram, Everett and Vincent. But where is Tara Jean? Dancing on stage with Hani of course. This routine exploded with Tara Jean’s expertise lighting up the floor and Hani more than holding his own along beside her. This routine was so incredible to watch and the end was hot hot hot with Hani on top of Tara Jean and ripping off his suspenders only to lay on top of her and cover them in the picnic blanket. How Road to Avonlea with a happy ending. The judges are impressed with Hani and give him amazing compliments while paying homage to the injured Shalaina, crying on the sidelines.
There you have it. 22 dancers and 11 performances. What are my bottom 3 couple predictions? I’m not sure how the Canadian format works with injured dancers but according to how voting numbers worked tonight, you could vote for Hani on his own, therefore not automatically put in the bottom. However, his performance with Tara Jean may enough to keep him safe.
My bottom 3 couple predictions are:
Jeff and Charlene, Sebastian and Danielle and a toss up between Shavar and Janick and Jonathan and Kloe. I think Jonathan and Kloe may scrape by because they did a more familiar style. Only Canada’s votes will decide. What did you think of tonight’s performances and the new couples? Share your thoughts. Check back tomorrow to see who got canned and who’s moving on to the next round.