Saturday, July 31, 2010

SYTYCD 7 - Road To The Final Four

(FOR WHOM THE BILLY (ELLIOT/JAMIE) BELL TOLLS/NO WAY, JOSE. Two high-profile personalities dealing with season-long vote deficiencies finally get cut, even as Billy gives his best performance of the season.)

We're back again with 6 Finalists just like last week: 4 contempos, 1 jazz hands and1 breaker. Unlike last week, they might all actually perform. They'll be dancing three times again this week. In the end two will go home, so that production stays on schedule. Welcome... to So You THINK You Can Dance!

Here come the intros, let's count to make sure everyone is here. One, two, three, four, five and... six! Hooray! One has a big ol' knee brace on, but I'll take it! Cat Deely comes out looking better-dressed than last week and is all "no injuries! no injuries!" and somewhere on Mount Olympus, The Muse Terpsichore is all "For now. Don't tempt me, Deely." There's a new fourth judge, but it still isn't Mary Murphy. Mary I miss you! Come back and Scream just once for me, please? Instead we get the ballroom expertise of Toni Redpath! She has the best last name. It makes me think she's like Beatrix Kiddo in the House of Blue Leaves leaving a trail of wounded behind her. Anyway, it's finally time to dance!

First it's the All-Star routines. Kent gets cha-cha again with Anya and choreo by Jean-Marc and France. The concept of the dance is that Anya is a Mary Kay Letourneau-type and Kent is her horny rebel student. It's fun, and it's ANYA! but it's not super spectacular. There's a top layer of sheer school-teacher blouse on Anya's costume that needed to go at some point during the routine. The judges ding Kent again for his face-pulling and he tries for a "I have to be true to my face-pulling self!" defense but Mia isn't having it and politely tells him to be more of a chameleon. You're heading to the Top Four, Kent. They want you to earn your eventual title now. Don't slack. Transform!

Robert - dancing contemporary with Kathryn with choreo by Stacey Tookey. Soldiers are going off to war in this routine. It's not the first time we've explored this on SYTYCD, but seeing as we've been at war longer than this show has been on the air, I guess we ought to keep doing dances about it. The dance is set to a fancy version of "Heaven Is a Place on Earth"a song which holds the unique distinction of being the earliest song I can remember learning from listening to it on the radio. The routine is very emotional and Robert and Kathryn have a great connection between them, matched with great technique. There's a bit of a switch at the end because you think Robert is going off to war but it's actually Kathryn! Robert is left alone. Oh good job, Robert! The judges eat it up. Nigel says it shows how's he grown this season, which is the exact opposite of what he said about Robert when he was in the Bottom 3 last week, but no matter. Toni loves him, Kathryn loves him, Mia loves him and Adam loves him. Hopefully love will translate into caller votes.

AdeChike - paired with Courtney, dancing Jazz and Tyce is handling choreo. It's gonna be more straight jazz instead of contempo Jazz so as not to ruffle Nigel's feathers. The performance is fine, but I was a little bored. Too many jazz routines this season, I think. Still not one waltz. What is up with that??

Jose - hip-hop. He's got Comfort with him, doing a routine by Marty Kudelka and Dana Wilson. This routine has a fun throwback feel to it as they dance to "Try a Little Tenderness." I actually think Comfort is totally captivating in this. She's soft and flirty in character, but her moves are all so on point. I love it. Jose works to keep up. The judges are nice to Jose, but everyone involved seems to know he'll be in the bottom 3 this week and is a sure bet to be leaving the competition. The only question left to answer is who is joining him.

Lauren - Broadway with Allison. Girl on Girl action! Damn Yankees again?? Why does this musical have such a hold on this show? This is another Tyce number where it feels like not much is happening and is over before it starts. The girls can't help but look physically amazing though. They both do gymnastic flips at the end, and it looks like Allison is having to work harder than Lauren to get it done, but it only makes me love Allison more. The judges all praise Lauren, saying it's like she's already an All-Star. She really has grown leaps and bounds this season - literally and figuratively.

Billy - contemporary with Ade. Oh, eff yeah! Stacey Tookey is back again for the choreo. The story here is Rich Man/Poor Man. Billy is a homeless dude and Ade is in a super smart suit. They are in their own worlds and then halfway through they realize they used to know each other and that makes them freak the eff out. The music is the Donnie Darko version of "Mad World" by Tears for Fears, a song that I find as emotionally evocative as Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah." You just don't have to work that hard to get something out of it. It's beautiful. Billy and Ade however DO work hard and they get A LOT out of it. It's really amazing. Billy's best performance on the show, by far. He does half of it with a wool hat pulled down over his eyes. Ade is his usual amazing self. Toward the end there are these amazing lifts and the tortured expression on Billy's face is perfection. Everyone but Nigel (who likes it in a more reserved way)goes crazy for it at the end, and Cat makes sure we all know Ade finished up the routine with a "Work, Billy!" of approval. I love the All-Stars. The judges are very complimentary to Billy. Mia tells Billy that win or lose the competition (it will likely be lose) he's an amazing emerging artist and she loves him. Billy beams. Aww. I forget these kids are all like 10 years younger than me.

Contestant! Dancing together! LIVE!

Kent and Jose - Broadway with choreo by Spencer Liff. They're just a couple of old-school blue-collar guys hollerin' at a girl on the street. I gotta tell ya, I'm a little over Kent and Jose so even though there's nothing wrong with this routine, it can't really hold my attention. I'm not even sure what the judges said to them and I've watched it back twice. I just keep spacing. Let's make an educated guess that they liked Kent and were a little underwhelmed by Jose's lack of technique.

Lauren and AdeChike - foxtrot with choreo by Jean-Marc and France. They're dancing to "Fever" which is a nice sexy song for a fox trot. This one is not super-memorable. I don't know what to really say about it. Neither of AdeChicke's routines tonight really made any impact on me, so I wonder if that will be reflected in the vote. Lauren seems to be leaning very heavily on AdeChike during the critique... she doesn't collapse or anything, but it looks like the girl could use a nap.

Robert and Billy - We have a pull Bollywood finale by Nakul Dev Mahajan! Awesome. The idea of the routine is two actors fighting for the same role, but it could just as easily be two contempo dancers fighting to avoid a spot in the Bottom 3. It's very very good. There's a lot of squatting and bouncing and 1,001 ways to aggravate a knee injury, and everyone remembers Bollywood was what took Alex out several weeks ago so there's a bit of weird energy about the whole thing, but both guys make it through and everyone goes crazy. Nigel loves it , Toni amusingly compares Robert to a "big, cheesy hamburger" (she kinda wants him), Mia calls Billy the pizza she prefers and once again points out that they got through it without injury. On Olympus, Terpsichore stirs in annoyance. Nigel points out that Billy is working his knee out, but give the kid a break. He's fiiine, Billy insists to the judges and to America.

Cat again revels in the fact that there were no injuries. (Terpsichore - "You were warned!!") And throws it to the numbers.

My preference for the evening goes:
Billy and Ade's contemporary
Robert and Billy's Bollywood
Robert and Kathryn's contemporary
Lauren and Allison's Broadway
Kent and Anya's cha-cha
AdeChike and Courtney's jazz
AdeChike and Lauren's foxtrot
Jose and Comfort's hip-hop
Kent and Jose's Broadway

She's Cat Deely, goodnight! Wait, what? FIVE dancers are on stage and not six? Cat tells us, abashed, that since no one could shut up about their good fortune tonight, Terpsichore went and made an example of the last girl left in the competition. (TERPSICHORE: DO NOT TEST ME, MORTALS! Lauren's being checked out by the medics. They won't tell us why. Sigh. Hopefully this doesn't spell the end for her.

Results Show! The group routine is very Alice in Wonderland. Allison is Alice, so I guess it's really Allison in Wonderland. Lauren is nowhere to be found. I do spot Jose back in the mix after being mostly absent from the group numbers the past two weeks. Nigel tried to explain yesterday that Jose's absence from the group numbers was a result of a groin problem, but I don't know how much I believe that. Maybe I'm just unfairly hating on Jose. Tonight's group number featured choreo courtesy of Mia Michaels. Fun times!

Lauren is actually fine, btw. Terpsichore just let us off with a final warning not to discuss dance injuries anymore. Lauren got dehydrated, i think is the official diagnosis. She should have been drinking Gatorade during the performance show. Speaking of Gatorade, this season's winner will be featured in an ad campaign for the sports drink. Gatorade now considers dance a sport. Nigel hopes the Olympics will follow suit. I'd personally like to see Anya and Pasha win an Olympic Gold for Latin Ballroom. They deserve it.

Bottom 3 is Jose (not unexpected) Billy (unfortunately not unexpected) and Lauren (what?? unexpected!) American, you got this all wrong! Billy was great last night! How does AdeChike have such a strong fan base? This means Billy has been in the Bottom 3 for FIVE weeks in a row! Since Top 9!! The voting public is not watching what I'm watching. Billy takes it more in stride than I do. You really want less "Mad World" on this show and more "Fever," voters? Okay then. It's clear to everyone now that Billy and Jose are goners. There's no way they will axe Lauren, nor should they at this point.

No All-Star dance this week. Are you saving Transformers with Lauren and Pasha for next week, producers? Instead we get a megamix dance from Step Up 3D. This movie features Dance alums Twitch, Joshua, Ivan, Legacy, Ashlee, and Musa. Tonight's performance also features Tony Bellissimo (but he's not in the movie? I'm confused.) and Lil' C!! They don't show enough of Lil' C during the dance. As I watch, I wonder if Lil' C is younger than me (like Wade Robson), and I just think that he's older because he's a successful choreographer. (Note: wikipedia tells me he is younger, by 3 years - younger even than Wade. Wow.)

Next up is a performance by some dude named Christian TV. He scares me and I don't listen to his song. The Bottom 3 dance solos, but they are just swan songs for the boys because the decision is so obvious.

Up next we have a performance by homegirl Allison Iraheta. She's got Orianthi on guitar with her. To my they are like a real life version of Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn if those two started a rock band. It's not my favorite Iraheta jam, but she's great nonetheless. There are these two random dancers on stage with them, but they're not All-Stars so what was the point of them? More All-Stars, please!

Time for cuts. Jose should be happy he made it this far. He is, and then he's gone. Nigel tells Billy his "androgynous dance style," didn't gel with America. That seems not exactly right to me, but I don't have a better explanation as to why he's had no voter support for over a month, so what can I really say? Billy is an odd bird perhaps, but he's a beautiful dancer and I think he grew a lot through the last month of finding a reason to dance brilliantly even if the public wasn't responding to it. I felt like he made adjustments that were right for him to improve his craft, instead of just trying to please voters and that's gonna benefit him so much more in the long run. I'd pay to see him dance live. I think he's fantastic. Both he and Jose seem really at peace with their eliminations.

So now we're down to four. It's all about the call-in votes from here on out. Next week it's a straight vote tally that determines which three are going to the final and the judges simply critique. i don't think we've ever had an odd number of dancers in a Finale week before this season. Should be interesting. My voting power is firmly behind Robert. I think the Top 3 should be Robert, Kent and Lauren, but AdeChicke has had the magic touch for several weeks. It should be very very interesting next Thursday.

No comments: