Wednesday, December 2, 2009

SYTYCD Top 10 - Just The 10 Of Us (Until There Were 8)

This show is a race and Jakob can win it, 'cause he's learnin' the rules of the game. If he can stay on the ball, take it minute by minute, he just might make the hall of fame. What can I say? He's doin' it the best he can!

Hopefully someone out there enjoys a good sitcom TV theme song reference as much as I do.

Top 10 week was a very good - if not slightly odd - SYTYCD viewing experience. Because Obama gave an important speech on Afghanistan, my DVR said the show started at 8:30pm and was going to last until 11pm. It wasn't really accurate, it ostarted 8:45 and only went until 10:45-ish. Still, it just seemed really LONG - 10 routines and 10 solos in total is a lot of dancing to watch. Almost all of the routines were very very good, and one of them was the best of the season by far. Overall, I was very happy with the quality of dance as we were heading into America's First Vote That Meant Something.

The weirdest things about Tuesday's Performance Night Show was that there were no intros to any of the numbers. Cat was just like "give it up for Noelle and Ryan doing a Tabitha and Napolean hip hop routine!" and bam! Noelle is walking out on stage and they are just dancing. It was disconcerting, but I kinda liked not being told what to expect - just as a change of pace. I think with less dancers next week, they will go probably go back to the dance intros. Sometimes for the non-literal dances, it's easier to connect if someone explains the concept and dance style ahead of time.

The new couples were Ryan/Noelle, Legacy/Ashleigh, Nathan/Kathryn, Jakob/Ellenore and Russell/Mollee. They were all interesting pairings. We didn't get to see any "pulling names out of a hat footage, but I guess we can assume that happened and that the Producers didn't just decide the couples this week. But really, who knows? I wouldn't be that surprised or upset to learn that there's some backstage producer manipulation on this show. Nothing so serious as vote tampering, but this week's couples didn't feel so random, you know?

To briefly recap, Ryan/Noelle were not quite hitting it with the NappyTabs hip hop, but had a strong 2nd routine with a smooth waltz. Legacy/Ashleigh had a difficult contemporary number followed by a bizarre hip hop which I'll go into in further detail momentarily. Nathan/Kathryn had a solid Broadway number followed by an awkard rumba, Jakob/Ellenore had a fantastic quick step follwed by a Sonya jazz routine that was the high point of the season. And finally, Russell and Molly had a very good lyric jazz routine followed by a strong jive (choreo'ed by Anya and Pasha! Still my favorite contestants after all these seasons!). So there was a lot of really good, and only a very little bad which made the elimination very tricky to call. My gut said Noelle and Nathan and I was right, but it was hard because they are all very good, so it could've been just as easily anyone else.

But before i get to that. The encore presentation. This routine is just killer. Jakob and Ellenore compliment each other so well and they are both really into Sonya's style. I've watched this routine probably 10 times now and there is just so much detail, you can see something new everytime. FINALLY a dance on the new stage really REALLY connects. I was so excited for them! I think this routine, followed up by an incredible solo, really marked Jakob as a heavy favorite to win the whole competition. It's still very early though! Anything can happen when America is voting!

Along with several great routines, there were also a bunch of really great solos. If you can find Russell's and Legacy's solos frim Top 10 week on youtube, you should check them out immediately. . They show off some amazing moves. I couldn't find high quality clips to link to for the blogpost though.

As much as it pains me, I have to give the Numfar Dance of Shame Award to Legacy and Ashleigh this week. It's totally not their fault. Dave Scott choreographed it, and he did them no favors. It was some vampire story, but Legacy was wearing this vampire cape that even Count Chokula would think was too tacky cartoonish, that it couldn't be taken seriously. The routine had Legacy doing no real tricks and Ashleigh's hip hop skills that we've seen put to good use in other numbers was really ignored. So we weren't left with much. The judges blasted the choreographer for the lack of difficulty at this stage of the game, and they NEVER speak out against the choreographers, so you know something was up. Anyhow, this was really the one bad number of the night. It was too bad it had to be performed by two of my favorite dancers.

But fear not! Legacy and Ashleigh were both safe from elimination! The bottom 2 boys and the bottom 2 girls were Nathan vs. Ryan and Kathryn vs. Noelle. I think America got this one right on both counts and Noelle and Nathan were sent home. It was a tough call because all four of them really are strong competitors. I just think that ultimately Nathan is the least mature dancer of the top 10 (though he's got bucketloads of talent) and that Noelle connected the least with her dances this week (though I think she has some of the best female solos in the history of the show). Top 8 is gonna be an even tougher cut than top 10! I mean, if I had to venture a guess, I'd say Ryan and Mollee get cut next week, but you can never tell who will benefit from the luck of the draw regarding partnership, dance genre and choreographer. All that factors into who gets the most votes week to week.

The quality of the dancing has really picked up there past two weeks and I hope it continues straight through to the Finale. I want more stand out pieces like Sonya's "Tore My Heart" this week. Also, I have to give a shout out to the League of Extraordinary Dancers who put on a phenominal routine during the results show tonight. There was some flip sequences in there that had to be seen to be believed. I really enjoyed it.

Best of luck to you, Nathan and Noelle. Enjoy the tour! You did great! See the rest of you here next week for the Elite 8!

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