(SHUFFLE OFF TO BUFFALO - It's a surprise to no one, least of all Melinda, that she's eliminated this week. Peace out, tappa tappa tappa.)
It's time for another exciting recap of SYTYCD! 9 Finalists Remain: 4 contempos, 1 jazz hands, 1 breaker, 1 (hanging by a thread) tappa tappa tappa, 1 lyric dancer and 1 ballet boy are ready to bring it after a somewhat bizarro previous week of live competition. Welcome... to So You THINK You Can Dance!
The intro is weirdly serious as we're told that we will learn the inspiration behind why all of the contestants became dancers. Oh...kay? Backstory is nice, but can't Cat just tell us this when she usually does? Also of note in the dancer intro's tonight: It looks mad crazy that the guys outnumber the girls 2-1.
We abandon the "Meet & Greet Partner Pick" segment this week and the dancers on their own open non-gender-normative-specific gold-colored envelopes, which immediately indicates to me we're getting a same sex dance routine this week. Contestant Lauren gets Neil and Broadway. Billy gets Kathryn for a season 6 reunion and some contempo. Ashley gets contempo (again?? basically 3 weeks in a row?) with Ade. Robert winds up reteaming with Courtney and Jazz. Melinda is with Pasha again, and it seems like such bad luck that with all the contempo all-stars in the mix she keeps landing with Pasha and ballroom which is not her forte. Wait, I forgot a bunch of people... Kent/Allison doing Jazz. Jose/ANYA! doing Samba, Adechicke/Lauren doing Hip Hop. And then it ends up, that Alex is partnered with Twitch in Hip Hop by Napoleon and Tabitha. The show goes a little too "No Homo" about two guys dancing together for my taste, but what can you do?
Adechicke - is inspired by Desmond Richardson and Alvin Ailey dancers. Sounds good to me. Dave Scott is on hand for the hip hop choreo. The routine, has to do with straight-laced co-workers who decide it's better to dance and rip open their clothes. It's much cooler and more fun that I describe it. Adechicke in particular is very very good. after hours. The judges all thank Adechike for finally showing up with a personality and they shower him with praise. It really was that good.
Ashley is inspired by her dance teacher. She and Ade are working with first-timer Dee Casparay doing the choreo. They are dancing as one, or as if Ashely has a broken backbone... or something. I don't understand it, but it's beautiful. The routine's got an amazing flow. Ashely is pulling off some amazingly fluid movements and then stopping abruptly as Ade swirls her around all over the place. She gets sexier every week too. Damn. The judges love it and say lots of positive things, the subtext being that they have given up on the other two girls and will be putting all their support behind her so she has a chance to break up the boys' club and make it to Top 5.
Robert - is inspired by his mom. He and Courtney are heading into Sonya's Crazy Jazzland. As I said last week, her routines are either hot or cold and I think this one is kinda forgettable. They dance it just fine, there are claws for hands and back bends and they choke each other. Lovely stuff! motion. I thought he and Anya had a sexier routine last week and he wound up bottom 3. The judges like it and really like him, but I don't know if that is enough to reverse the fortunes of our Instant New Gay Best Friend.
Melinda - is inspired by very old mentors. Fabian Sanchez is doing the choreo for her and Pasha. It starts off with her foot getting caught in her dress and it's only downhill from there. Look, it's just not working out with Melinda. Sometimes good dancers just don't connect with the SYTYCD stage once they make it to the Finals and that's the case with her. Maybe it's just ballroom and she got the misfortune of picking ballroom twice, but I think it's more than that. I can't remember what she danced last week, but that didn't go over well either. Nigel thinks it's curtains for her. Mia and Adam both like "damn, we made a HUGE mistake keeping you over Christina last week."The studio audience is all "Yeah, you did." Nobody says it an angry way, it's just like, "woah, my bad." If she's in the Bottom 3 she will surely be eliminated.
Lauren - doing Broadway from (Not Tyce! Hooray!) Joey Dowling. It's 1940's-style and Lauren looks like Renee Zellwegger in Chicago and... Debbie Gibson is singing Gypsy? A lot of worlds are colliding in this routine. It's a nice routine but the most memorable part is that the strap on Lauren's dress breaks halfway through threatening to flash a boob to those of watching live at home and in the studio audience. In a weird way, I think the strap breaking helps Lauren, making her more present in the dance as she tries to cover herself in character. The judges are very nice to her afterwards, but it's clear they don't fancy her the way they do Ashley.
Billy(Elliot/Jamie ) Bell - blows all our minds and tells us his inspiration for dance is LEGACY! WHAAAT?? Back in his younger days, Billy saw Legacy breaking (Legacy is prolly like 7 years older than Billy they are definitely at opposite ends of the SYTYCD contestant age spectrum. Billy and Kathryn get Stacey Tookey contempo You might be shocked to hear this contempo routine is about a couple experiencing a difficult emotional time. I thought it was really good but the judges are less enthralled. Nigel thinks billy a better soloist than a partner. MAYbe... Billy seems very disappointed. Aw, Legacy's there supporting Billy! I've really enjoyed seeing so many alumns in the audience this season.
Jose - takes inspiration from that famous dancer, Bruce Lee. He and Anya will be doing a samba, choreographed by the Sexy&Shirtless Dmitry. Instead of dancing, they might just have sex on a mirrored table which Dmitry has thoughtfully left on the stage for them. Works for me! ANYA! is outstanding and just rips into the routine and Jose is smiling but not really up to the technical challenge. My problem with the ballroom this year is that somehow Pasha and Anya don't make the contestants better. Maybe it's the type of partnering inherent in ballroom, but i can only focus on ANYA! or Pasha because they're so much better than whoever they are with. Seriously the partner either fades away or seems out of their league. The judges don't care. Jose can do no wrong. I like Jose, but I don't think this was him at his most impressive.
Kent - has an older brother that inspires him. He and Allison will be going at it jazz-style with Mandy Moore. It's a fun routine, but Kent seems like he's doing the routine rather a character doing a routine. Allison somehow manages to seem both herself AND a character which is maybe what Kent should aim for. Allison rocks this show y'all. The judges aren't so taken with Kent this week. Nigel tell him to watch out for fakeness and playing to the audience when his hot as all hell oarnter is right there next to him. Mia calls the performance "green" which gets a "yeesh!" face from Kent. Adam tells Kent to drop the"hungry jazz face." Kent seems humbled. Hooray!
Alex - is inspired by... I don't know. i can't concentrate. I am inspired by the dance coming up. Alex is dancing hip hop with Twitch by NappyTabs. The routine is set in a therapist's office with Alex looking for help from Dr. Twitch for his addiction to his awesome ballet form. Less than 10 seconds in becomes the most awesome thing ever. Alex KILLS it! It's all dirrrty, and hard-hitting, Twitch and Alex are an amazing pair together. There's so much variety of movement. But the best thing is that ALEX is so into it I will enjoy the rest of this season, because there are so many amazing dancers. But Alex deserves to win in the end. He can do anything. The whole studio goes crazy. No one knows what to do. People are like pulling their hair out and punching themselves in the face, it's so good. The judges are on their feet. Cat wonders if she can gain control of the broadcast again or if the audience will just stand their screaming for the next three hours. Nigel finally speaks and gives love to everyone, including himself for insisting that All-Stars would work. Mia's all "Who the hell are you?" to our man, Alex. Adam does the "we're not worthy" arm wave of supplication. He (of course) starts crying, while the other two judges fan him with their clipboards. Obviously, the producers are not so hateful to put anyone after this performance and we're done for the night.
holy crap. it was really amazingly fun. wanna see what the fuss was about? take a look at this.
So... final rankings for the night for me: Alex, Ashley, Adechicke, Billy, Lauren, Robert, Jose, Kent, Melinda. Melinda is going home this week, for sure.
Results Show in a flash. The opening number is the worst perhaps I've ever seen on this show. It's to "O Fortuna" and everyone looks really unfocused and on edge and the choreo is not very inspiring. The imbalance of girls and guys is weird. I think they have Billy pretend he's a girl for part of the dance. Meh. I expect better, Show.
Bottom 3 is actually Billy, Robert and Melinda. This is somewhat surprising to me, but there is no suspense because it's obvious Melinda is toast. Robert is in some trouble though. He needs a great routine next week to get out of the bottom 3. He certainly should last longer than Adechicke, Jose or Lauren.
We get a Classic performance by Mark and doing Sonja's Season 4 routine "The Garden." It was a break out dance for both these All-Stars and it's better than ever. They're supposed to keep doing this each week, so I hope this means Lauren and Pasha's transformer's routine is not far behind.
Some more stuff happens and then Melinda is sent home. She handles it well. Having seen the writing on the wall for two weeks now. The tappa tappa tappa's have such a hard time on this show. Only 8 remain next week, and things are mad serious now, so it's time for me to start voting. A good sign that I feel invested and I'm really enjoying the season thus far.
Next week the contestants will dance twice - once with an All-Star they've never had before (no more randomly picked repeats!) and once with another contestant. That means that we will have even more guy-on-guy dance action since there are only two girls left standing. I hope the show can handle it.