I had been eagerly anticipating this episode of SYTYCD, the one where we find out who is paired with who, and what kind of start each couple will have as a result of their pairing and the style of dance they draw. Unfortunately, a massive storm hit the entire DFW area during the time the show airs, and as a result, the first hour was preempted by continuous weather coverage. Apparently, the news stations around here don’t understand the concept of weather updates in the bottom corner of the screen, which would allow the show to continue relatively uninterrupted. Oh, well. The storm passed, and I was able to see the final four performances. Check back tomorrow for my thoughts on the performances I missed, after I’ve watched the rest of the episode online. [I’ve now updated the post to include my thoughts on the other routines. See below.] Meanwhile, here’s what I thought of the final four performances:
- Brandon and Janette – Foxtrot – “Come Fly with Me” by Michael Buble – They did a nice job, looked great, and made an often boring dance look like fun. I am rooting for Brandon, especially since Mia and Lil’ C gave him such a hard time. I hope he proves them wrong! The lifting and spinning at the end of this routine were a good start to that. The judges seemed to like their performance.
- Ashley and Kupono – Jazz (Wade Robson) – “Felt Mountain” by Goldfrapp – According to Wade, the idea of this choreography is two crash test dummies “living life like you’ve never been hurt.” I couldn’t get past the costumes, though. I found them disturbing – first of all because they were very unattractive, and second of all because it dehumanized Ashley and Kupono. I realize that that’s kind of the point, since they were supposed to be crash test dummies, but I think that during a week when we’re being introduced to the Top 20 for the first time, hiding under spandex and white face paint isn’t the best idea. I suppose they did well with what they were given, but I didn’t get anything out of it except a “yikes.” As Adam Shankman said, “Wade, you are one sick puppy.” On the other hand, Mary said she was there and bought it 100%. Nigel skirted the issue of whether it was good or bad by rambling on about how it will get people talking about dance.
- Melissa and Ade – Contemporary (Mandy Moore) – “Right Here Waiting” by Richard Marx – A routine about the moment when you first fall in love. I really enjoyed their dancing. It was light, flowing, and beautiful. The way Ade lifted Melissa in the air and swung her around, she looked weightless. Adam called it “so special.” I give Melissa props for coming on the show at 29 (then again, I’m in trouble if 29 is old!) and think Adam may be right that you can get better at dancing with age, at least in terms of the emotion and presence you bring to it. Mary called Ade a “gentle giant… quiet, powerful.” I agree with Nigel that it’s wonderful to have a ballerina on the show this season. Easily my favorite routine (of the ones I’ve seen) so far tonight!
- Kayla and Max – Samba (Louie ?) – “Jum Bah Day” by House of Gypsies – Kayla looked great in all that fuschia fringe. Samba requires a LOT of energy! I got tired just watching it. It was a lot of fun to watch, even though Max isn’t my favorite contestant. Adam: “That was SO GOOD!” And he added, “Only God could have created this girl. (It’s like you were born in a ballroom.)” Mary put them on the hot tamale train. Nigel said it had “everything we could ever wish for.” He also said Kayla has consistently been one of the judges’ favorites. Mine, too! I appreciating Nigel pointing out that Max isn’t as sharp as Pasha and Dmitri – how could he be? That’s a tough standard to measure up to.
The performances I had to track down online (Fox really needs to post full episodes on its website!):
- Jeanine and Phillip – Hip Hop (Tabitha and Napoleon) – Tabitha and Napoleon are my favorite hip hop choreographers. I love that they bring so much emotion and story to their routines. And this one was so interesting – it had me captivated from beginning to end. Jeanine kind of reminds me of Kristin Stewart (aka Bella), except she has a lot more personality. And Phillip brings such interesting movements to any performance, plus he seems to do well with anything that’s thrown at him – I think the choreographers will love to work with him. Adam: “That was unfreakin’ real.” Mary: “You taught us a chemistry lesson.” Nigel pointed out that Phillip already has a following, but that Jeanine has made a mark for herself with this performance.
- Asuka and Vitolio – Broadway (Tyce Diorio) – “Hot Honey Rag” from Chicago – Their performance seemed very wooden to me, very “going through the motions.” The video I tracked down didn’t include the practice session intro or the judges’ comments, but I can’t imagine the judges were wowed by this.
- Karla and Jonathan – Cha Cha (Tony Meredith) – “Poker Face” by Lada GaGa – The guy is out to get the girl in this routine. They did an okay job, but I wasn’t feeling any chemistry between them. Adam praised them for their technique and lines and told Jonathan “you’re dancing less like a boy and more like a man.” Mary: “That was a whole lotta rockin’, a whole lotta fun.” Nigel disagrees with me about the chemistry, saying they exploded onto the stage with it.
- Randi and Evan – Jazz (Tyce Diorio) – “I Only Have Eyes for You” by Jamie Cullum – Very steamy performance! These two had great chemistry, and they both seemed fully invested in the routine. I loved the contrast of the flowing and jerky movements. Adam: “You both danced like you were 8 feet tall… Evan, no one saw you coming – you are a beautiful, beautiful dancer.” (I saw him coming!) And I agree with Adam that this was one of Tyce’s best routines. Mary called it “smoldering, fluid, beautiful, and absolutely believeable.” Nigel: “I think you have just become a couple that people will recognize and talk about.” Yay! I certainly like them.
- Paris and Tony – Hip Hop (Tabitha and Napoleon) – “Let the Beat Rock” by The Black Eyed Peas – I was surprised this was a Tabitha and Napoleon routine. It wasn’t as memorable as most of theirs are. This one seemed kind of gimmicky to me, with the headphones and whatnot. I agree with Adam that the costumes were distracting – kind of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Mary didn’t think it will be memorable. I agree. Nigel told Tony that he has room to grow, and that they were “just doing steps.” Yup. Paris and Tony seemed out of sync a few times, and for me, Tony’s lack of training was noticeable.
- Caitlin and Jason – Bollywood – “Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionaire – I didn’t even recognize Caitlin behind her elaborate costume. I liked her better than Jason in this performance, but they both did a good job with the fun choreography. I didn’t catch all of the judges’ comments (the continuous weather coverage ended and the show cut in right during their comments), but they seemed to like it.
So, now that I’ve managed to track down and watch the six performances I missed last night, I can give my overall assessment.
- Melissa and Ade’s Contemporary – Absolutely beautiful!
- Randi and Evan’s Jazz – Great chemistry, captivating routine
- Jeanine and Phillip’s Hip Hop – Interesting choreography, well executed by this in sync couple
Least Favorite Performances:
- Asuka and Vitolio’s Broadway – I was bored, and they seemed to be, too.
- Paris and Tony’s Hip Hop – I was unimpressed.
- Ashley and Kupono – I was too disturbed to enjoy it.
I think that Asuka, Vitolio, Paris, and Tony are most in danger of going home tonight, and I’d even add Karla and Jonathan to that list. Ashley and Kupono’s performance, while far from my favorite, is memorable enough that I think they will be safe.
My favorite couples so far are Melissa and Ade, and Evan and Randi. Who are your early favorites?