Wednesday, December 9, 2009

SYTYCD Top 8 - For The Love Of Ashleigh

If I gathered all my means (all my means)
In a pile beside me (in a pile),
It wouldn't help to fill my dreams (fill my dreams)
- Many votes for Ashleigh.
Money cannot buy me---
Buy for me the votes for Ashleigh.
I'm not the kind of guy who falls in love with Ashleigh.

I have to say, 2 minutes into Tuesday's night's performance episode, I was ready to declare this season a huge disappointment. I don't think it's been the complete failure that was the long-delayed LA-based edition of Project Runway, but I think it's clear that having back to back seasons of SYTYCD was ill-advised. There have been too many problems. It hasn't been a smooth ride at all. Tuesday's big issue was that Ashleigh was injured and not able to dance. She wasn't outright eliminated by her dislocated shoulder, but the chances of her surviving on just the voting public's love of her past performances seemed ridiculously slim. Add her injury to Noelle's previous injury, and Billy (Elliot/Jamie) Bell's illness, plus Mia's departure from the show and we've been dealing with a lot of losses. Combine those losses with the fact that we're skipping a whole week of eliminations because we've run out of Fall Season to work with (while earlier we slogged through 3 whole weeks unneccessarily focused just on the Vegas rounds), the fact we couldn't vote for the first two rounds of Top 20 performances because of post-season baseball and the fact that the choreographers just seem burnt out on all the routines they've been cranking out since last June and it seems like the best thing this show could do is go to bed for a LOOONG winter's nap. We really don't need two seasons a year. One summer season is enough to make me happy.

Getting back to this week, I had come to really enjoy Ashleigh and I was sad for her. I originally thought she was one of the weakest girls in the competition, who got in mostly so the show could have it's first married couple as contestants. Since the start of Top 20, she's really grown on me. I think she's been a part of some of the best routines of the season and her partnership with Jakob has been great. It sucked that she was not going to be dancing with Russell, and that instead, Russell had to dance with some random choreographers' assistants. He did the best he could, but you could really feel Ashleigh's absence in his Hip Hop and Bollywood numbers. They would've KILLED both routines. I know it! Ryan took the opportunity during his own solo performance to beg for votes on his wife's behalf. I actually voted for Ashleigh several times Tuesday night, but I considered her a total goner.

As for the rest of the night, Mollee got partnered with Jakob and they danced a Viennese Waltz, which I thought was good and then a Broadway routine that I thought was weak for Mollee. The Judges heaped tons of praise on Mollee anyway, but it didn't work for me. They danced to this weird mega-mix of Easy Street from Annie and i just didn't think she hit any of it sharp enough. Jakob of course was fantastic. As for the others: Legacy/Ellenore did a really exciting Contempo routine from Travis, Kathryn/Ryan had a Disco routine that I thought was a bit stiff, but then the followed it up with a fantastic Cha Cha that gets this week's encore presentation.

Kathryn is really working off of the Jeanine playbook to secure her victory. But last year, J had an additional week to underdog her way past Brandon. I don't know is she has quite enough Show-mentum at this point to really climb past Jakob and take the title.

This week, I'm not giving Russell the Numfar Dance of Shame Award because it wasn't fair that he didn't have his proper partner in either routine. Therefore I must single out Legacy/Ellenore's NappyTabs Hip Hop number which was just weird. it was not their usual bag. No real stories or relationships. It was just weird. I couldn't connect with it. Sorry, kids. I usually love you both, but this one went nowhere.

So going into Wednesday, I was not pleased with where things had gone and was ready to say good-bye to Ashleigh under the lamest of circumstances. BUT THEN! Something crazy happened which made me love the season again. Ashleigh was SAFE! She wasn't even bottom two! And Ryan made it too! The marrieds can dance in the finale! This is pleasing to me. Mollee wound up getting the axe for the girls, and while I do think had all things been even, it would've been her week to go, it has to really suck to know that you were less popular in your routines this week than the girl who didn't even dance at all! I mean, DAMN. Mollee was a cool young dancer. I didn't see all the "GROWTH!!" the judges kept seeing in her with each passing minute of the show, but she was good and you could tell it meant a lot to her.

I was very upset at the elimination of Legacy. He had some hit or miss routines this week and last, but I thought his solos were outstanding and I really thought he'd make it to top 6. Plus his parents looked so sad! If there had been a three-way struggle for top male dancer next week between Legacy, Jakob and Russell that would've been cool. But he went almost as far as he could possibly go and I have a feeling he'll be well-showcased in the Finale and on the tour, so I'll try not to be too sad about his early dismissal.

I have no idea who will take home the title next week. It's much harder to predict with six contestants left instead of four. I mean Ashleigh made top 4 without even dancing, so I really think it could just come down to who has the most exciting routines next week. But if I had to take a stab at how the final elimination will go, I'd say:

6. Ryan
5. Ellenore
4. Russell
3. Ashleigh
2. Kathryn
1. Jakob

But really, I could see any of them sneaking in to win it all (except maybe Ryan. I'm pretty sure he won't win.) I'll see you all and Adam Lambert next week for the grand finale!

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