Eclaire Fare

Enjoying Pop Culture, One Bite at a Time

SYTYCD Season 5: The Top 6 Results Show July 30, 2009

Katee and Twitch performed Mia Michaels Emmy nominated Door routine from last season on tonights top six results show.

Katee and Twitch performed Mia Michaels' Emmy nominated "Door" routine from last season on tonight's top six results show.

Cat decided to wear a glittery green, wonderful wizard of Oz dress tonight – very festive for the Top Six Results Show. I was excited to learn that we’d be seeing last season’s four Emmy-nominated performances. Hooray! They were glaringly absent from last week’s 100th episode extravaganza, but it’s kind of nice that the season four standouts get their very own episode. I enjoyed looking back at my posts from last season to see what I had to say about these award-worthy performances at the time.

The Performances

  • “Send in the Clowns” – Choreographed by Tyce Diorio, this performance was automatically disturbing because the top six dancers had been completely transformed into clowns!!! Yikes-o-rama. Despite this factor, it had a simple beauty about it, and I even rewound to see how they snuck so quickly back into the giant box.
  • Jessica and Will, “Silence” – (Tyce Diorio) – Wow. They were impressive. That just goes to show how impressive the talent was last year, since they were both eliminated rather early. My thoughts from this dance when I reviewed the Top 12 Performance episode last season: “Tyce says there’s no story, “just an essence that needs to be felt.” It’s something about the Garden of Eden, man and woman. I was distracted by the absence of music. As a dance routine, this was odd. As an exhibit of the beauty of the human form (particularly the male form – wow Will!), it was successful. This won’t be one of the most memorable performances of the night. They looked hesitant on some of the movements, and it just felt awkward at times.” During that episode, Mia Michaels described it as “the perfect moving human body art,” and I agreed.
  • Twitch and Katee, “Mercy” by Duffy – (Mia Michaels) – So good! I can’t remember a dance this whole season that comes close to the fiery fun of this performance. It was so nice to see Twitch and Katee back on the stage. Here’s what I had to say about the dance when they first performed it last season during the Top 8 Performance Episode: “Twitch is the boyfriend in an argument with his co-dependent, psycho ex-girlfriend, and his disinterest makes her angrier and crazier. Should be interesting… The first half of the routine was mediocre. But about the time Twitch closed the door on Katee, it got much better. It was interesting seeing them dancing “together” while separated by a closed door. They did a good job of continuing the connection. And then the choreography got even more interesting when he opened the door again. There were some acrobatic moves that required a lot of strength from both of them. So, I was impressed with them, and it was cute, but this was not one of my all-time favorite Mia routines. By the way, Katee looked very different. She had an Amy Winehouse look going on with the puffed up hair and dramatic eye makeup.”
  • Joshua and Chelsie, “A Los Amigos” (Dmitry Chaplin) – I hardly recognized Joshua with his shaved head, but who cares? I didn’t want this one to end! It was so good! Last season’s contestants were, as a whole, more talented, or at least created more sparks on stage, and more excitement for viewers at home, than this season’s. I miss them all! Here’s what I had to say about this Argentine Tango last season, which was also from the Top 8 Performance Episode: “This dance is set in the 1940s, and is about a couple who is flirting with each other. And the props just keep on coming. We’ve had a door and two desks tonight, and now they are joined by a table and a chair. As it turns out, they were there more to set the scene than to be used for the dancing. I am okay with that. Technique-wise, Chelsie was fantastic with those great legs of hers. And I thought Joshua kept up with her just fine. And, the technique was matched by their personality and energy. I was spellbound by their performance, which included a few wow moments. I love both of these dancers. No matter what the competition has thrown their way, they give everything they have, and the result is always a fantastic performance.”
  • The Jabberwockies, “Freak-a-Zoid” – Um, forget what I said about the clowns being disturbing. The white faceless masks these guys were wearing freaked me out! The giant mask on stage behind them didn’t help any. At least they revealed their true faces at the end, and they were nice looking guys.
  • Chelsie and Mark, “Bleeding Love” – (Tabitha and Napoleon) – This was fun to see again, but neither of them were favorites of mine last season, so I didn’t get as excited as I did about some of the others. My thoughts way back during the Top 16 Performance Episode last season: “This is about a workaholic whose girl doesn’t want him to leave. It had good emotion, intensity, chemistry. Sharp moves. Good synchronization. My favorite of the night so far! They are a fun and talented couple.”

The Results

  • Who is Safe –

    • Jeanine – Whew! (That’s me breathing a sigh of relief.) I don’t think this revelation was a surprise to anyone. My best guess is that Melissa will go home, especially after receiving low marks from the judges last night.
    • Brandon – Whew! Woo hoo! (That’s me breathing a sigh of relief and doing my happy dance.) I was very confident about Jeanine making it through this week, but after Brandon was in the bottom two guys last week, I was a little worried about him. So I am thrilled that he and Jeanine, my two favorites, are already safely positioned to return for the final four.
  • Who was sent home

    • Melissa – As I expected, the “old” and naughty ballerina received the lowest number of votes this week. She and Ade were my favorite couple for several weeks, and she was in some of my favorite dances. However, she never connected with the audience as well as contestants like Jeanine and Evan. She seems very sweet, and I hope we see her as a special guest on the show from time to time in the future. Perhaps to choreograph a ballet routine?
    • Ade – I could repeat just about everything I said above (except that he’s not a naughty ballerina). He was really cool and quirky, but never connected very well with the audience.
  • The Final Four – I’ve listed them in the order of my preference, from the contestant I’d most like to see win to the contestant I’d least like to see win. I would be happy with either Jeanine or Brandon winning, I’d be surprised if Kayla won (since she hasn’t shown as much personality), and I’d be disappointed if Evan wins. He simply isn’t as versatile as the other three finalists, so if he wins it will be because of personality and popularity, when the winner should be based on those factors as well as on talent and versatility.
    • Jeanine
    • Brandon
    • Kayla
    • Evan

I must say, I actually enjoyed tonight’s results show more than last night’s performance episode. Seeing Joshua, Katee, Twitch, Will, Jessica, Chelsie, and Mark again made me remember how I was much more enthusiastic about last season than about season five. I don’t know if that’s the fault of the contestants, the choreography, my busier life, or all of the above. Whatever the case, at least I have two of my favorites this season in the finals!

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SYTYCD Season 5: The Top 6 Perform July 29, 2009

I can’t believe we’re already down to the final six contestants! Doesn’t that mean that there is only one week left?! Of course, we’ll barely have time to catch our breath before season five starts this fall. For now, Evan, Brandon, Ade, Jeanine, Kayla, and Melissa have two hours tonight to prove they deserve to make it to the final four. This week, Nigel and Mary are joined by Lil’ C on the judges’ panels.

The Group Performances

  • The Guys – They had the fun of working with Sonya Tayeh. “Once they embrace their power, this piece will be unforgettable.” I really enjoyed it! I loved the herky jerky, stop and go, freeze frame style of the choreography. Sonya also designed the routine in a way that allowed each of the guys to shine. Lil’ C commended Evan for staying visible throughout the routine, not “getting swallowed by the dominant excellence of Brandon and Ade.” That sounds like a backhanded compliment…
  • The Girls – The girls are dancing a super hero-themed Sonya Tayeh routine. Sounds fun! Kayla is Storm, Jeanine is Wonder Woman, and Melissa is Buttercup. It was nice to see such a strong, intense girls-only routine. Usually the girls’ dances are sweeter, and feature lots of silky costumes or baby doll dresses. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but this was different, and highly entertaining. And they all looked great!

The Couple Performances

  • Jeanine and Ade
    • Dance #1 – Samba (Louis Van Amstel) – It was fun and sassy! Loved the coordinated purple outfits, and didn’t even mind Jeanine’s feathers. Mary criticized the technical aspects of the performance, but for me, their stage presence was great, particularly Jeanine. My only complaint is that some of the lift work was clumsy. Ade always looked super confident and strong with Melissa, but the lifts seemed a little awkward here.
    • Dance #2 – Hip Hop (Tabitha and Napoleon) – This routine is about friends who are getting evicted from their apartment. Jeanine impressed me more than Ade during this performance, but maybe I was just irritated that the cap kept me from seeing his face. I liked when they danced with their feet in the moving boxes toward the end. That was different. Mary predicted that these two will not be getting their eviction notice after this performance.
  • Melissa and Evan
    • Dance #1 – Broadway (Tyce Diorio) – This may be an awkward partnership, since Melissa is taller than Evan, without heels. This Broadway routine is “get me to the church on time.” This one fell flat for me. The weird boxer/lingerie outfits, the lack of chemistry, the utter cheesiness of it. They’d better have a much more memorable second dance, or they will both be in great danger of going home tomorrow night. Mary said this wasn’t just a “get me to the church on time,” but a “get me to the finale on time.” I don’t agree, and I don’t think America will either. The judges’ comments have seemed quite biased so far tonight, as if they are trying to sway the viewers in a specific direction, moreso than in previous weeks.
    • Dance #2 – The Quickstep (Louis Van Amstel) – This dance style won’t do this pair any favors. It’s technically difficult, and the average viewer doesn’t “get it.” (Count me as one of them.) We’ll see if Louis really is a “dance magician,” able to mask the height issue. My reaction: yawn… I’m not a fan of the quick step, they had zero chemistry, and the only impressive moment was when Evan swung Melissa around at the end. I love Melissa, but I’m afraid this may be the end of the road for her. The judges had mixed feelings about the performance.
  • Kayla and Brandon
    • Dance #1 – Contemporary (Stacey Tookey) – This dance is about “the mistress of a married man who doesn’t have the strength to leave him.” This wasn’t my favorite routine, but it was pretty good. Surprisingly, Brandon stood out more than Kayla, but Kayla looked great in red. Brandon had some amazing leaps and strength moves. All the judges liked it.
    • Dance #2 – Disco (Doriana Sanchez) – Enough with the disco already! Despite my dislike of this style, they did a decent job. It was super fast, and I was impressed that Kayla was able to flip and twirl Brandon around! (Although, that twirling around toward the end was a bit clunky.) Something about this performance reminded me of that scene from Airplane – maybe the white sequined costumes, and the flashing multi-colored lights.

The Solos

  • Kayla – “You Found Me” by The Fray – My reaction to her solos is that she always looks light as a feather, gliding and floating around the stage. Still, I wasn’t as impressed by her solo this week as last week.
  • Ade – “18th Floor Balcony” by Blue October – I think his smart song selection always makes me enjoy his solos more. But there was also a lot to like about his movement and energy tonight.
  • Melissa – “I Put a Spell on You” by Nina Simone – This was an unusual, thus intriguing, solo. I liked it a lot.
  • Brandon – “O Fortuna” (from Carmina Burana) – Brandon decided that no costume was better than the wrong costume for tonight’s solo. Actually, though, it looks like he decided to go back to what got him onto the show in the first place – his original audition. Two words: Wow, and wow. He’s one fine specimen of a dancer, and he’s amazing to watch. Nigel called it “one of the best solos we’ve ever seen on the show.”
  • Jeanine – “Feedback” by Janet Jackson – As usual, she brought a lot of personality, and showed off her strength and control.
  • Evan – “”Lady is a Tramp” by Sammy Davis, Jr. – I think I’ve had about enough of his super cute, throwback style. I loved it at first, but I’m still looking for versatility from him that just isn’t there. (Sorry, Chris!)

My Overall Assessment

  • The Standout Performers
    • Brandon – As my mom said as we watched his solo, “He’s in it to win it.” I have loved just about every dance that he has performed this season.
    • Jeanine – The same can be said for Jeanine. Everything she dances is gold. And yet, she makes it look easy and effortless, and like she’s having tons of fun.
  • My Favorite Performance(s): Jeanine and Ade’s Samba – Honestly, this was one of the most lackluster episodes of the season, so it was hard to pick a “favorite.” Are the choreographers running out of fresh ideas, or are the contestants getting tired after a whirlwind of rehearsals and shows? Actually, I enjoyed Sonya’s guys’ and girls’ group numbers much more than any of the other performances tonight. They were both outstanding. I almost like her as much as Mia Michaels now.
  • My Least Favorite Performance: Melissa and Evan’s Broadway – My second least favorite was the quickstep, but that was less their fault, and more the style’s fault. The Broadway routine was just awkward and boring. I hated to see Melissa stuck with two dud dances tonight, and I’m afraid it is her time to leave.
  • Best Solos: Brandon and Melissa
  • Who should go home: Melissa and Evan – I’d rather see Kayla go home than Melissa, but her performances were more memorable tonight. If people voted based on the solos, Melissa would be safe, because hers was excellent. And Ade may go home instead of Evan, but if he does, it will be a real shame. Really, as long as Brandon and Jeanine make it into next week, I’ll be happy.

What do you think?

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SYTYCD Season 5: The Top 10 Perform July 15, 2009

Every season, even though I grow to love some of the early couples, I still look forward to this point in the season, when the contestants are split up from their partners and placed in new pairings. It’s fun to see how different dancers perform together, but it also lets me know whether I’ve liked someone more because of their partner, or because of their individual performance. It is with this mindset that I approach tonight’s show. Which contestants will continue to be my favorites? Which ones will I see in a different light? Let’s find out.

I enjoyed the “Bollywood Bombshells” group number from the girls. It was colorful, fast-paced, and fun. I liked how they wore mustached masks on the backs of their heads for the “male” section of the dance. The guys showed off their masculinity in Jeffrey Page’s African group dance. Ade was the stand out performer in that routine.) Debbie Allen was the guest judge tonight. I always enjoy her colorful comments. Now, on to the partner dances and solos.

The Pairings

  • Evan and Kayla – Viennese Waltz (Tony Meredith and Melanie Lapatin) – “Kiss from a Rose” by Seal – The tallest girl and the shortest guy. Hmmm… you have to wonder if this was a staged pairing, just to see if these two could overcome the vertical challenge. I was skeptical, especially about the waltz part, but they worked it out. I was entertained, but Evan simply doesn’t have the look and build to be the commanding male half of a waltz duo. That being said, he handily lifted Kayla up into those raises and turns. Kayla and Evan were two of my favorites at the beginning of the season, but other dancers have since moved ahead of them, for various reasons. Nigel liked it. Mary complimented Evan for his classiness, and basically said Kayla can do no wrong. Debbie Allen: “Darlin’, you handled your big woman.” Not sure Kayla qualifies as a big woman, but that sure was a funny comment.
  • Janette and Ade – Hip Hop (Tabitha and Napoleon) – “Love Sex Magic” by Ciara (feat. Justin Timberlake) – Yeah, these drawings must be totally random. For our second pairing, it’s the tallest guy and the shortest girl. Hmm… This routine has the funk doctor trying to hypnotize Janette into finding her inner funk. Either this routine was designed to spotlight Janette, or she’s really just that good. She was so entertaining, and had some amazing moments. I wasn’t crazy about the costumes, especially Ade’s. He looked more like Steve Urkel than Dr. Funk. Maybe Janette should have been the one tryin to funk-dafy Ade. I didn’t love Ade nearly as much doing hip hop as the other styles he’s performed on the show. Nigel: “You’ve got funk.” Mary couldn’t think of anything much more original to say: “That was funky!” Debbie: “Woo, honey! These children wore me out!” She also told Ade to stay away from her daughter. (Thanks, Debbie, for bringing the fun into the comments.)
  • Jeanine and Jason – Contemporary (Travis Wall) – “If It Kills Me (The Casa Nova Sessions)” by Jason Mraz – Welcome to the choregreography rotation, Travis. I didn’t watch season two, but I understand that he is one of the most popular contestants ever. Jeanine and Jason introduced the piece by saying that they have the same style and are good friends. Hopefully those two facts will translate to good chemistry on stage. The story behind this dance is that two longtime friends are hooking up for the first time, and trying to decide if they should take that step. Well, now. That was a a mesmerizing, sensual routine! I’d like to see more of Travis’s work on the show, because this was great. Jeanine and Jason did a great job of conveying the relationship of these two close friends who are attracted to each other, and all the conflicting emotions that would go along with that. I even liked the heart locket prop that was tossed back and forth between them. Well done. This has been my favorite performance from Jason, and only reinforces my strong opinion of Jeanine as one of the top, if not the top, female dancer this season. Nigel: “Jeanine, you are gonna carry more hearts than that around your neck tonight.” Mary was nearly at a loss for words, but she did proclaim the two of them as stars. Debbie declared it “a magical pairing.” She also made a plug for them to do this routine on the tour. It was nice to see how proud the judges were of Travis. I love seeing former contestants on the show!
  • Randi and Kupono – Paso Doble (Tony and Melanie) – “Dies Irae” by Karl Jenkins – Based on their intro, it sounds like these two don’t know each other very well. And I don’t have high hopes for a cutie patootie and a loosy goosy to pull off the dark, bold, violent paso doble. Apparently the costume department had the same concerns, and they did a nice job transforming these two for the part, by giving Randi long brown hair and a great red and black dress, and dressing Kupono in smashing bullfighter garb. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to make this a standout performance. Everything about it felt forced and awkward and I kept waiting for something to go wrong. And go wrong it did at the end when Randi slipped out of Kupono’s hands. Even though Randi looked good, it was kind of disturbing to see her as a long-haired brunette. Nigel said the dancing didn’t match the strong passionate choreography, especially Kupono in the male lead, and he didn’t feel great about Randi’s wig. “It just didn’t work as a couple for me. It just didn’t work as a dance for me.” I agree with him. Mary and Debbie said more of the same.
  • Brandon and Melissa – Broadway (Tyce Diorio) – “Aquarius” from HairYay! Two of my favorite contestants! The height difference is somewhat troubling, but I’m confident they can rise above that. This routine is based on the musical Hair – no worries, no trouble… This was a groovy routine that allowed both of them to showcase their strength and their strengths. Melissa looked great, and she and Brandon shifted around the stage so quickly and smoothly that I never noticed the height difference. Nigel loved Melissa’s spaced-out flower child and Brandon’s gymnastics. Mary: “That was unbelievable!” Debbie talked about how they evoked harmony. “Together it was seamless.”

The Solos

  • Brandon – “In Your Eyes” by Jeffrey Gaines – First of all, great song, whether it’s this version of the Peter Gabriel one from Say Anything. And let’s just say it: Brandon is magic on stage. Not sure what all that hip swaying was at the end, but otherwise it was a well done and memorable solo.
  • Randi – “Dream” by Priscilla Ahn – I didn’t get much out of her solo. It seemed like she was about to fall down a few times. Was that on purpose, or was she feeling a bit off balance?
  • Kupono – “Marina Gasolina” by Bonde Do Role – I liked this better than the other solos he has performed. His costume was funky, and the music and choreography had a tribal feel that suited his quirky style.
  • Melissa – “Gabriel” by Lamb – Her ballet style makes her stand out over the other girls in my mind, and it’s different for me to see ballet performed to pop music.
  • Evan – “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart” by Rufus Wainwright – Evan is fantastic at his old school, Gene Kelly-esque dance style. Too bad he can’t perform it more often on the show, because everything else pales in comparison. I loved him more on this solo than I have on just about any of his partner dances, except for the Broadway stuff and Mia Michael’s contemporary routine.
  • Kayla – “Rock Your Soul” by Elisa – She exuded confidence with every step and turn of this solo. I loved her clean lines and energetic spirit. This is the best I’ve seen her in quite awhile (in terms of her performance – she always looks great, as the judges never let us forget).
  • Ade – “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers – Nice song choice! And Ade brought a level of passion, energy, and emotion to his dancing that matched the melodies of the Righteous Brothers. I just love to watch him dance, especially when I’m not distracted by silly costumes (can’t go wrong with black pants and no shirt).
  • Jeanine – “Violento (Up Mix)” by Bailongo! – Like Kayla, Jeanine brings a lot of poise and confidence to her dancing, but she also has a lot of personality and strength, which means that for me, she is the full dance package.
  • Jason – “Train Fare Home” by Muddy Waters – He tried to throw in some acting to his solo tonight, but that limited the amount of impressive choreography.
  • Janette – “This is Miami” by Sander Kleinenberg – Like Jeanine, Janette chose to wear a couple of strategically wrapped sashes as her costume. She showed off her fancy legwork and spicy personality.

I’m exhausted after all that dancing, the judges’ longwinded comments, and all that screaming from the studio audience! But I’ll take a moment to summarize my opinions of the night:

  • My Favorite Performance: Jason and Jeanine’s contemporary
  • My Least Favorite Performance: Randi and Kupono’s paso doble
  • My Favorite Solos: Ade, Jeanine
  • My Least Favorite Solos: Jason, Randi
  • Who should go home: Based on the solos, I’d say Jason and Randi, but based on the partner dances, I’d say Randi and Kupono. I think Jason deserves to stick around longer. I’m liking him more after this week!

Who were your favorites tonight?

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SYTYCD Season 5: The Top 12 Elimination Round July 9, 2009

The Bottom Three Couples

  • Caitlin and Jason – The minute their names were called, I think I heard their death knell.
  • Jeanine and Phillip – I’m not surprised to see them here. Anyone stuck with that Russian folk dance would be doomed.
  • Melissa and Ade – I’m really surprised that they are here, but I suppose it’s because they were outshone by Brandon and Janette this week.

My thoughts: I’m really surprised that Randi and Evan escaped the bottom three this week! They must have a really huge and devoted following, because their performances weren’t really enough to keep them safe this time. I like them, but I’ve been judging the contestants more this season based on individual performances rather than how I feel about them overall. (Which, for example, is how one week I am not impressed at all by Kupono, but the next he wows me.) I would rather Kayla and Kupono have been in the bottom three than Melissa and Ade, but I have to admit that they deserved to be safe, based on their fantastic and powerful “grip of addiction” contemporary performance last night. So, who goes home? I would be devastated to see Melissa, Ade, or Jeanine go. Which means I’m hoping for Caitlin, and either Phillip or Jason, to be sent home. Since the show runners will want Phillip in the top ten for the tour, I think Jason will be the one to go.

The Solos

  • Caitlin – “Stand by Me” by Playing for Change – Maybe it’s my lack of formal dance knowledge, but I didn’t see much to be impressed by in her solo. To me, it looked like she had already accepted that she was going home, so she just decided to have fun for her last nationally televised performance. It wasn’t bad; it just wasn’t great.
  • Jason – “Calm Touching” by Evaline – Wow! This guy really wants to stay in the competition! He came storming out of the gate and never let up. Either the judges will see it as too little too late, an act of desperation, or a reason to keep him in the competition.
  • Jeanine – “Baby’s Romance” by Chris Garneau – I just love to watch her dance. She has so much confidence and control.
  • Phillip – “The Diva Dance” from The Fifth Element – Of course his solo is phenomenal, but since Nigel just said that the judges base their decision on the whole season, Phillip really should be the guy going home tonight. I mean, they could bring him on the tour as an alternate.
  • Melissa – “Kashira” by Kodo – I had never noticed just how strong and muscular she is! It was fun to see a ballerina solo, and she brought some funky personality to it.
  • Ade – “Windowdipper” by Jib Kidder – First of all, what a bizarre song! When his solo started, I thought my desktop computer was freaking out in the next room, and then I realized it was his song. The strange music mix complemented his quirky clothes and dance style. He has an amazing leaping and flipping ability, both enhanced by his smooth touch and movements. I really hope they keep him around!

Who the Judges Sent Home

  • Caitlin – Did you notice the sobbing from the audience when Nigel broke the news that she was the one leaving the competition? How heartbreaking. 😦  That was probably her sister who went through Vegas week with her. I wish Caitlin well, but am relieved that two of my faves, Melissa and Jeanine, survived.
  • Phillip – Wow! I am surprised but pleased that the judges sent him home. It makes perfect sense. He lacks the technique and training of the others. I am happy for Jason that he will have a chance to prove himself with another partner. He and Caitlin just never clicked. And everybody wins, kind of. Phillip and Caitlin will still have the fun of being on the tour, but we the viewers will have the pleasure of watching all the best dancers continue in the competition.

Ranking the Top Ten – As we look forward to new pairings next week, it’s time to examine the dancers on an individual basis. Here’s my attempt to rank them from my favorite to least favorite. Who are your favorites?

  1. Jeanine
  2. Melissa
  3. Janette
  4. Brandon
  5. Ade
  6. Evan
  7. Randi
  8. Kayla
  9. Jason
  10. Kupono

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SYTYCD Season 5: The Top 12 Perform July 8, 2009

So we’re already to the episodes where the couples perform two dances. With that in mind, I’ll get straight to the point.

  • Melissa and Ade
    • Dance #1 – Disco (Doriana Sanchez) – “Move On Up” by Destination – I was bummed when I heard the show was opening with disco, and that this was the style my favorite couple had been stuck with. Can’t complain much, though, since up until this point they have had great luck with their dance selections. Then again, there is more than luck to their success so far. They have great chemistry and talent! Although Melissa started off this performance looking a little uncomfortable, and ended by falling down, everything else about the routine was fantastic! They were workin’ it, and they had me smiling the whole time. They were crazy strong with two particular moves: Melissa’s upside down splits while Ade held her up in the air, and Melissa’s horizontal spinning while Ade held on to her. This was probably my favorite disco routine ever on the show. On a side note, everyone has talked about how stunning Kayla is, but I think that Melissa is beautiful, with her curly locks, her long legs, and her genuine smile. I love both her and Ade. Tyce summed up the judges thoughts with this phrase: “That was friggin’ great.”
    • Dance #2: Waltz (Ron Montez) – “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” by Mary J. Blige – Oh no! It’s already time for the couples to be split up and given new partners?! Well, I enjoyed my favorite couple’s last dance together – this beautiful, flowing, romantic waltz. I couldn’t believe how high Ade lifted Melissa up toward the end! And he made all the lifts and turns look easy. This wasn’t one of their most memorable performances, but like all the rest, it was still impressive. Mary compared Melissa to “a fine wine… peaking at the right time.”
  • Kayla and Kupono
    • Dance #1 – Contemporary (Mia Michaels) – “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles – Well, it looks like all the Kupono non-fans will have to put up with him for another week. He and Kayla snagged the coveted Mia for their first dance this week, which will most likely translate to lots of votes. I’m not always an automatic fan of Mia’s work. (I especially didn’t like Neil and Lacey’s famous flowers in heaven routine.) In this dance, Kupono is the addiction that Kayla is trying to get rid of. And in Kupono’s defense, I’d imagine it was difficult for him to portray addiction in this performance, when his family experienced the hardship and destruction that it leads to. Their performance did, indeed, convey a lot of emotion, and they danced it very well. Mia did a nice job of creating a powerful interpretation of the grip of addiction. Nigel finally had a critical word for Kayla, stating that he’d like to see more of her face and less of her hair. She does sling her hair around a lot. Tyce said, “The best dancers are the best actors” and that he felt like he “had an experience.” I agree with that. They did a nice job of creating a moment for the audience.
    • Dance #2: Broadway (Joey Dowling) – “The Dance at the Gym” from West Side Story – Something about two kids running into each other on a rooftop and falling in love? I couldn’t understand what they were saying in the intro. I was kind of bored. Remember a few weeks ago when Max and Kayla danced that pop jazz routine, and I said that the choreography made Max seem very feminine (and he was supposed to be playing a devious prince type!)? Well, I had a similar reaction here to Kupono. His dancing was very soft, rather than the tough, charismatic character I think he was supposed to play. And Kayla didn’t do much better. She kind of pranced around the stage. The judges were critical of the couple’s lack of the emotional element.


  • Jason and Caitlin
    • Dance #1: Foxtrot (Tony Meredith) – “Minnie the Moocher” by Big Bad Voodoo Daddie – This is an American gangster style foxtrot. It was okay. Actually, it was my favorite Caitlin performance of the season, and it was nice to see her looking like herself for once. Unfortunately, there was a missing link between her and Jason that led to some awkwardness. I agree with Nigel that this was Caitlin’s style, but I don’t think that the foxtrot will be memorable enough to keep them out of the bottom couples this week.
    • Dance #2: Lyrical Jazz (Mandy  Moore) – “Show Me Heaven ” by Maria McKee – Mandy plans to bring out their contemporary strengths. I hope so! The verdict: that was really nice! I’ve never been more impressed by Jason and Caitlin. Nice song, nice wardrobe (when in doubt, it never hurts to leave the guy shirtless, right?), and interesting movement. I wish they had given us some hints about what the story was, but even without that, I felt drawn to their performance. Nigel doesn’t see much chemistry between the two, and Mary didn’t see any magic. I disagree with them. I thought Jason and Caitlin were very in tune with each other.
  • Jeanine and Phillip

    • Dance #1: Russian Folk – “Kalinka” by Barynya – This dance represents a playful competition between a man and a woman. I’m not sure what to say about this one. They looked kind of silly in their traditional Russian garb, and the choreography didn’t look as technically difficult as most of the other styles on the show. It came across as cartoonish to me, until their leg work and spinning at the end. Nigel said it needed “an awful lot of vodka to go along with it.” I tend to agree.
    • Dance #2: The Jive (Tony and Melanie) – “Stuff Like That There” by Bette Midler – Phillip is a sailor who just returned home, and Jeanine is teasing him. I don’t like Phillip’s exaggerated facial expressions, but I love Jeanine’s saucy personality and fun energy on stage. This is one of the more fun Jives I’ve seen on the show. Nigel thought this was the best Phillip has performed out of his style. And he called Jeanine “one of our best top ten dancers.” All in all, the judges were much crazier about this performance than I was.
  • Evan and Randi

    • Dance #1: Hip Hop (Tabitha and Napoleon) – “Halo” by Beyonce – So this routine is about a couple who has just found out that they are going to have a baby. Randi and Evan had to work off of imagination, since they don’t have any first hand experience in this area. They were sweet together playing these characters. This dance is demonstrative of Tabitha and Napoleon’s ability to fill a hip hop routine with emotion. Nigel said that Tabitha and Napoleon didn’t ask them to be urban, they just let them be them, with a hip hop feel. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. Tyce told Evan he needs to “find more” but praised Randi for doing great.
    • Dance #2: Samba (Pasha and Anya!) – “Ritmo Da Bom Bom” by Jubaba – Oh my goodness! I am so excited to see Pasha and Anya on the show, and working together to choreograph this routine!!! I absolutely love Pasha. He is one of my all-time favorite contestants on the show! I guess I should get back to this season’s contestants, though, so I’ll stop my gushing. Yikes! Not sure how I feel about all that leopard print. Anya must have picked out their costumes (I never really cared for her taste in wardrobe). And why do all of their dances have Evan staring at Randi’s butt? I’m seeing a pattern here. Nigel: “Evan, do I look on you as a hot samba king? No I don’t.” I agree. I thought Randi was much more suited for the style than he was. Um, so now can Pasha and Anya get on stage and do their routine real justice? (Yeah, I’m not going to be able to move past the Pasha cameo. Too excited about it!)
  • Brandon and Janette
    • Dance #1: Argentine Tango (Leonardo and Miriam) – “Libertango” from Forever Tango – I wouldn’t say that there was a lot of heat between them, but Janette did a fantastic job with all the leg work and looked great, and Brandon was a great partner. Nigel and the other judges gave them a standing ovation! And Nigel said it was as close to ballroom perfection as has ever been on the show. I had to go back and watch again after all the praise the judges gave. I liked it better the second time, and noticed Brandon’s complete focus on Janette, reminiscent of his intense stage presence in his first audition solo. I still think that I’ve seen couples dance the tango with more chemistry, but they were definitely technically excellent.
    • Dance #2: Jazz (Wade Robson) – “Ruby Blue” by Roisin Murphy – It’s nice to see Wade back on the show. This routine is about two thieves, one calculated and one crazy. I loved it! In fact, I love this couple more and more every week. This performance gave Janette a chance to be her crazy self, and Brandon a chance to show that he does have a fun, quirky personality. Nigel said that there’s nothing they can throw at them that they can’t do brilliantly. I agree. I think they had the best night, considering that both of their performances were outstanding. Thanks is due to Wade Robson for creating a unique routine for them to close out the night.

My Favorite Performances of the Night:

  • Brandon and Janette’s jazz
  • Caitlin and Jason’s lyrical jazz
  • Kayla and Kupono’s contemporary

Most Disappointing Performances:

  • Kayla and Kupono’s Broadway
  • Jeanine and Phillip’s Russian folk
  • Evan and Randi’s Samba

Predicting the Bottom Three Couples: (Will there still be three couples in danger? I can’t remember when they stop doing the results show that way)

  • Randi and Evan
  • Phillip and Jeanine
  • Kayla and Kupono

If I had my pick, I’d send Kupono and Kayla (or Caitlin if she is in the bottom three) home this week, but it’s hard to know who the judges will pick.

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SYTYCD Season 5: The Top 14 Perform July 1, 2009

So, when my mother-in-law told me that she records So You Think You Can Dance, what she actually meant is that she doesn’t record it, she just watches it live. Therefore, when I turned on her tv at 8:45 p.m., which is when I put my son to bed, all I managed to see of the show was Vitolio and Karla’s performance. And I was so distraught that I had missed the rest of it, that I don’t have any thoughts to share about their dance.

Moral to the story: don’t trust someone else’s word or their DVR; always check the recording status yourself. And the good news is that I can A) watch the performances online tomorrow, and/or B) watch the entire show on my Tivo when I return home this weekend.

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Despite a DVR/mother-in-law malfunction that prevented me from watching the show last night, I was able to catch the performances online today. (Thanks to rickey.org for posting all the videos!) Here are my thoughts on the top 14:

  • Janette and Brandon – Cha Cha – They were great together, as well as individually. I like Janette more every week, and Brandon continues to impress me with his versatility.
  • Kayla and Kupono – “Eyes on Fire” by Blue Foundation – Contemporary (Sonya) – I like how Sonya’s choreography always makes use of every inch of the body – hands, fingertips, hair… This vampire-themed performance will earn a lot of votes. Kayla got to show off her leg strength and control, and Kupono was good, too. The song oozed weirdness as well, and is featured on the Twilight soundtrack. Can’t get any more popular than Edward and Bella right now.
  • Randi and Evan – Broadway – This Joey Dowling routine played out like a more razzle dazzle version of the quirky Mia Michaels’ French poodle dance they performed last week. It wasn’t my favorite performance this week, but it rates pretty high among the Broadway performances from this season. Randi and Evan always look very comfortable on stage, and with each other, which isn’t something that can be said about all the dancers this season. (To be specific, Karla always looks terrified to me, and Phillip often looks uncomfortable.)
  • Jason and Caitlin – Pop Jazz (Brian Friedman) – Hmmm, a dance about an alien procreating with an earthling? Thats… bizarre. And everything about the routine was strange, from the choreography to the costumes, well, at least Caitlin’s. I’m starting to think that Brian Friedman’s routines require extreme costumes to distract from the fact that his choreography isn’t very complicated or interesting. I’m just not that into his creations. Had Mia or Sonya created a dance with this alien/human mating theme, it may have been astonishing, but this one just made me go, “Meh…”
  • Jeanine and Phillip – Hip Hop (Tabitha and Napoleon) – I wasn’t crazy about the chain gimmick. (I’m never a huge fan of the use of props on the show.) And I like Jeanine more than Phillip, which means they aren’t in my top favorites like some of the more in sync “power couples.” Still, though, it was nice to see a T & N hip hop routine.
  • Melissa and Ade – Classical Pas de Deux (Thordal Christensen) – I get chills every time I watch them dance; they both have such an impressive balance of grace and strength, and they work so well together. Love them! They remain my favorite couple. And it can’t be just coincidence that they “drew” pas de deux out of a hat. They are probably the only couple in the top 14 who could pull this off (well, maybe Janette and Brandon could, too), and pull it off they did!
  • Karla and Vitolio – Quickstep – This couple has three strikes against them this week: they have a new pairing, they have both been in the bottom three numerous times, and they got the quickstep. I will be stunned if they aren’t in the bottom three this week. Of all the girls remaining this season, Karla is the one I haven’t had any reaction to, positive or negative. She’s just kind of there. I don’t know if that’s her fault (not enough stage presence), the producers’ fault (for not letting us get to know her), or just my personal taste. Maybe a combination of all three. And Vitolio is my least favorite of the guys, for many of the same reasons I listed for Karla.

My Favorite Performances

  • Melissa and Ade’s Pas de Deux
  • Kayla and Kupono’s Contemporary
  • Janette and Brandon’s Cha Cha

Predicting the Bottom Three Couples

  • Karla and Vitolio
  • Jason and Caitlin
  • Janette and BrandonI think Phillip and Jeanine should be in the bottom three instead of Janette and Brandon (based on last night’s performances), but what should be and what will be are two different things.

Who should go home: Karla and Vitolio – If they stick around another week, that means I don’t know the judges as well as I think I do.

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SYTYCD Season 5: The Top 16 Perform June 24, 2009

Toni “Hey Mickey You’re So Fine” Basil joined Nigel and Mary on the judges’ panel tonight, and they did quite a bit of rambling on as filler for this two hour episode. Since there’s so much ground to cover, let’s skip ahead to the dancing:

  • Karla and Jonathan – Hip Hop (Dave Scott) – “By My Side” by Jadakiss (feat. Ne-Yo) – This routine is described as a Bonnie and Clyde, smooth criminal love story. This performance had too much set up for my taste. It took them quite awhile to actually get to the hip hop choreography, and then they seemed out of sync, like they hardly knew their partner was next to them. It got a little better toward the end, but not enough to change my opinion of this couple. I’ve never picked up on any chemistry between them, even during last week’s contemporary routine. Nigel said it was more like “a Sunday school picnic outing.” Ouch! Mary and Toni had similar things to say about their lack of ghetto groove and such. I keep waiting for a hard hitting hip hop performance, but I haven’t seen one the last couple of weeks.
  • Asuka and Vitolio – Jazz (Mandy Moore) – “Heartbreaker” by Pat Benatar – It was sweet to see Vitolio giving Asuka words of encouragement when she was frustrated and in tears about how things were going at their practice sessions.(And with that clip, they probably earned hundreds or thousands of more votes, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, although it’s a bit manipulative on the producers’ part.) I wish they would both show more emotion like that in their performances! And, in fact, they were more emotive tonight. This ’80s jazz piece was my favorite of their performances so far this season. Of course, I usually enjoy Mandy Moore’s work, and I almost always enjoy the ’80s themed dances. But they did a great job, despite being out of sync with each other a few times. Vitolio seemed more comfortable in this style than Asuka, but they worked well together. Mary made a good point that these two are growing together as a partnership. And Toni gave them some advice on how to earn more votes and become a power couple: “Don’t let your technique get in the way of your emotions.”
  • Melissa and Ade – Rumba (Tony Meredith) – “Emotion” by Destiny’s Child – According to Tony, this dance requires a lot of sensuality and has the challenging combo of difficult technique and selling the emotion. As usual, they dance well together, so they totally sold me on the emotional side of the performance. They wowed me with a couple of amazing moves, and Ade was very strong – surprisingly, my eyes were actually drawn more to him! My only complaint is that at times Melissa seemed to get out of character because she was concentrating so much on what was coming next, but otherwise it was beautiful. As Nigel said, “What a difference Ade makes.”
  • Janette and Brandon – Hip Hop (Dave Scott) – “What a World” by Common – “Rock n roll meets hip hop.” I like the concept, and I was impressed, especially with Brandon! He looked right at home with all that popping and locking. They had me smiling the whole time, which was partly due to the fun choregraphy, but mostly due to how they were totally in character. My only complaint is that Janette’s open-mouthed rocker smile was a little distracting, but I suppose she was only playing the part. This was so much better than Karla and Jonathan’s hip hop routine from earlier tonight. Nigel said it was like 50 Cent and Cher. Sounds about right.
  • Kayla and Kupono – Viennese Waltz (Jean Marc Genereux) – “Sweet Dreams for You” by Jewel – This piece has something to do with Kupono taking Kayla on a dream journey. I don’t really understand what that means… But, I liked it! The Viennese waltz forced Kupono to calm down his normally spastic dancy style, and I liked him much more here. He was commanding, graceful, and an able-bodied partner to Kayla. As for Kayla, she was gorgeous in her flowing mint green dress (I always love the flowy dresses), and looked like she was floating around through much of the dance. I must say, I wasn’t expecting to be so impressed by this new pairing, but they worked well together. Nigel got quite annoying with all of his insistence that “it wasn’t gonna get people standing up and cheering,” but that he hoped he was wrong. How many more weeks is he going to passively beg the audience to vote for Kayla?
  • Randi and Evan – Contemporary (Mia Michaels) – “Koop Island Blues” by Koop feat. Ane Brun – Mia’s description: “It’s all about the booty.” Evan is supposed to be hypnotized by Randi’s butt. She’s like a sexy poodle, and he’s lost all control of his body because he’s mesmerized by her. Interesting… It was terrific! Bizarre, humorous, but terrific. This was excellent choreography for Evan to show off his Broadway-style, and Randi looked smashing in a completely flattering pink negligee. Loved the characters, loved their total investment in the concept, love them!
  • Caitlin and Jason – Paso Doble (Jean Marc and France Genereux)“O’Fortuna” from Carmina Burana – This dance is about them hating each other. How sweet. 🙂  This performance was extremely busy, from the costumes to the camera work to the choreography. There was so much going on that I couldn’t even tell what was supposed to be happening. Caitlin and Jason seemed very scattered, and while Jason did a decent job with his part, Caitlin seemed very out of touch to me. I’m guessing that the paso doble is a difficult dance to learn in a few days, but I’ve seen it performed much better on this show. These two may be back in the bottom three couples again this week.
  • Jeanine and Phillip -Broadway (Tyce Diorio) – “Moses” from Singin’ in the Rain – I wish Tyce had given us an explanation about the concept of this routine, because I didn’t get it. A sofa and a bunch of feathers? And I was very distracted by the huge rip in the back of Phillip’s pants. It was cute, but not my favorite performance at all. Phillip didn’t seem to be whole-heartedly involved, which made it less enjoyable. Nigel complimented Jeanine for bringing the right amount of personality, but told Phillip he needs to grow more.

My Favorite Performances

  • Randi and Evan’s contemporary
  • Melissa and Ade’s rumba
  • Janette and Brandon’s hip hop

My Least Favorite Performances

  • Karla and Jonathan’s hip hop
  • Caitlin and Jason’s paso doble
  • Jeanine and Phillip’s Broadway

Predicting the Bottom Three Couples

  • Karla and Jonathan
  • Caitlin and Jason
  • Asuka and Vitolio

I think it’s time for Karla and Jonathan to go home. In my opinion, they aren’t keeping up with the other dancers, and the competition is fierce out there! I also wouldn’t be disappointed if Caitlin were sent home, but I think she deserves to stick around longer than Karla. We’ll see what happens tomorrow night! This week had much stronger and more interesting performances than last week. I continue to be impressed by Melissa and Ade, as well as Evan and Randi. Janette and Brandon caught my eye this week, Asuka and Vitolio continue to grow on me, and I liked Kupono better this week with Kayla as his partner. What are your thoughts?

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