Budweiser Daredevils, Jungle Birds, and More Flights of Fancy
This week on So You Think You Can Dance, we learned how each contestant first developed an interest in dance, realized that Mia needs to find a new word to replace her overused “amaaaaazing,” and discovered that one of the couples could surprise us with an unexpectedly great routine. Here’s my take on each performance.
- Lauren and Neil: They did a hip-hop routine that Mary and Nigel loved, and although Neil “rocked [Mia’s] world,” she expected more from Lauren. I was not as impressed as the judges. I found the performance, especially Neil’s, very cheesy. And when he leaped over Lauren and did a rolling flip onto the stage, I was immediately reminded of the Budweiser Daredevils halftime entertainment shows at basketball games, which were also very cheesy. Sure, it was an impressive move, as were the Daredevils’ leaps off of trampolines on their way to dunking the ball, but something was missing from Lauren and Neil’s performance: chemistry and genuine fun. Their enthusiasm came across as artificial and forced. Despite all of this, I think they will dodge the bottom three because they seem to have a strong fan base who will vote for them.
- Jessi and Pasha: I enjoyed this “African modern contemporary jazz” piece, as did the judges, although I didn’t realize they were supposed to be jungle birds until Mia said “I love birds,” at which time I noticed the feathers on their shoulders. Jessi and Pasha are a good match, helped out by, as Mary put it, Pasha being a “master of partnering.” I’m wondering, though, if this performance was still in viewers’ minds by the end of the show, or if it stood out enough – since some very impressive routines followed it later in the show.
- Jamie and Hok: I love Hok, but I still feel indifferent toward Jamie. Their samba was good (performance wise, not technique wise, according to the judges), but mostly I just noticed Hok’s new open shirt look and Jamie’s imitation of Anya’s fancy foot work. I don’t know anything about samba technique, but it was a fun routine.
- Sabra and Dominic: Since I was ready to send these two home last week, I’m shocking myself when I say that this was my favorite performance this week! I was literally mesmerized by Mandy Moore’s contemporary vision of “men and women, and how they relate,” and was equally impressed by Sabra and Dominic’s chemistry and poise as they acted it out. The song choice added to my enjoyment, since I’ve always loved The Pretenders’ “I’ll Stand by You.” The reason I was so impressed by them is that this contemporary performance was so much better than their campy disco routine last week. However, I must also voice my opinion that Dominic is a chameleon and a charmer. He seems to know what people want him to be at different times in order to win them over. (Last week it was hiding his nipples behind his t-shirt; this week it was describing to Mia how he really wants to learn contemporary but feels scared at the same time). I like Dominic’s dancing, but I think he is manipulating the judges’ and the viewers’ emotions to his advantage. Hey, I guess whatever works works. Maybe I’ll change my mind about him as the season progresses. As for Sabra, she is very cute, or as Mary said, “a heavenly little creature.” Hopefully these two have danced themselves out of the bottom three this week.
- Faina and Cedric: Last week it was their hip hop routine that led the judges to basically humiliate Faina. This week it was the fox trot that led to a role reversal. As Mia put it, it was like watching “Ginger Rogers and an insecure Michael Jackson.” Ouch. I agreed with the judges. Cedric looked like he was skipping around the floor (similarly to Ricky trying to keep up with long-legged Ashley last week) – his inexperience showed. Faina was beautiful, but these two better find a dance that suits them both soon, or at least one of them will run out of opportunities to prove what he or she can do.
- Lacey and Kameron: After reading between the lines during the lead-in to their Broadway performance, I couldn’t concentrate much on their dancing. I was too busy wondering about their comments about each other. Lacey said, “Last week was pretty intense. I’m not gonna lie. I felt like we were very into each other,” and Kameron said, “Me and Lacey are working really good together. We’re starting to get really comfortable with each other, our relationships growing, and it’s gonna show in the dance.” Okay, did anyone else take that to mean that their dancing is going so well because they are “involved” off the dance floor? Hmmm…. Whatever is going on there, they definitely had the raciest performance for the second week in a row. In my opinion, though, it was pretty one-sided. Lacey garnered most of the attention. (Maybe her lack of clothing had something to do with that.) Despite all the talk about sexiness and chemistry, I agreed with Mia that it was “missing the pizzazz.”
- Anya and Danny: Ah, my favorite couple, the couple with the best chemistry, and the most attractive couple. I love watching Anya and Danny dance together. “You and Me” by Lifehouse was an interesting song choice for a Viennese Waltz, but I didn’t mind since it’s one of my favorites (the song, not the dance). Once again, these two were near-perfect together, and I enjoyed the judges’ comments about them: Mia’s “You are the lady and the man of the competition,” Mary’s “You stepped out of a dream,” and Nigel’s compliment about their “reverse attitude turn” being the fastest he’d ever seen. It was rather impressive. The one downside: Anya’s dress was just plain ugly. It looked like Cinderella’s first attempt at a ballgown (the one the mice and birds tailored in the Disney version). That wouldn’t be so bad, except it looks like that dress after the stepsisters have ripped it apart, leaving behind a tattered mess of pink ribbons and fabric. Boo to the wardrobe team for that choice!
- Shauna and Jimmy: Sorry, but I just wasn’t picking up what these two were putting down – particularly all that clapping and foot tapping (even though that’s apparently what “stepping” is all about). In my opinion, they had no chemistry. Apparently the judges didn’t feel the same way, as they praised them for “jumping out of [their] skin” and “stepping it up.” Mia did say that Shauna had “dancing school syndrome,” which sounds like an accurate description.
- Sara and Jesus: These two won me over last week with their vagabond cabaret, so I was already biased before they started dancing tonight. Thankfully, they didn’t disappoint. I love Jesus’ passion, and he and Sara are very cute together. Plus, they looked sharp in their sparkly black outfits. I’ll take Mia’s word for it that Jesus’ “carriage and presence were fabulous,” since this was the first Paso-Doble dance I have ever seen. It’s a fun concept: the matador and the cape. I enjoyed the rockin’ edge that Queen’s “We Will Rock You” lended to the performance.
Winners and Losers
Best Performances: Since I’m no expert on dance technique (and I’d imagine most of the viewers aren’t either), I chose these three as the top couples based on their chemistry together, and on how memorable and entertaining their performances were. Sabra and Dominic stood out the most this week! I’ve posted a video here if you would like to watch it again.
- 1st: Sabra and Dominic
- 2nd: Anya and Danny
- 3rd: Sara and Jesus
Best Costume: Sara and Jesus
Least Impressive Performances: Obviously all these dancers are talented, but these were the routines that, in my opinion, were missing something. Maybe it’s that the couples don’t have chemistry, maybe I don’t like their dance personalities, or maybe they simply didn’t entertain me. Whatever the case, here are my picks.
- 1st: Shauna and Jimmy
- 2nd: Lauren and Neil
- 3rd: Faina and Cedric
Worst Costume: Anya (Danny’s was okay)
My Preditions for the Bottom Three Couples:
- Shauna and Jimmy
- Faina and Cedric
- Jessi and Pasha
My Prediction for Who Will Be Sent Home:
We’ll find out soon if the rest of America agreed with my assessment of tonight’s episode, or if I’m totally out of touch with the general public. What do you think?
Update: I’ve added my reaction to the results show in the comments section.