Friday, July 20, 2012

SYTYCD 9 Recap: Top 20 to Sweet 16

(it's scary facing a quadruple elimination!)

Welcome Back Dance Fans! Tonight is our first LIVE elimination show of the season. Four Dancers are getting the axe. It should be an interesting night. The exact sequence of when the bottom six are announced, all the new routines and the eliminations has yet to be revealed, so we'll see how they cram it all into two hours. 8 contempos, 3 ballers, 3 ballerinos, 2 Jazz Hands, 1 Tokyo Popper, 1 Kung Fu Hustler, 1 Steppin' Timer and 1 Shake Shake Shakira are still battling it out. Let's get to it!

Cat's got her hair done up and is looking very very tan and tells us to get hunkered down on our couches quickly, as we have a lot to get to and almost no time to pause and take a breath! Adam Shankman is the guest judge. You can be sure of numerous plugs for Step Up Revolution, in theaters this weekend! Will it out-gross The Dark Knight Rises? Only time will tell. First up, another pre-recorded group number! So it looks like these will be standard practice for the rest of the season.

Top 20 Routine, Take 3 - The Beautiful People (District 78 Remix) , Marilyn Manson. by Tabitha and Napoleon. I actually really like this. It's not standard fare for NappyTabs. It's kind like if a Wade Robson group number and A Sonya Tayeh group number had a love child with ADHD. There are crazy headpieces on the girls and slicked up hair for the guys and they are thrashing and running about in different formations. There's a dude with brown hair I can't identify at all. Who is that?  Although, I do have to say, I'm over Cyrus being front and center. He looks good here in his half-skull make-up, but when he does his animator thing now, it just reminds me how he's great at what he does and not really great at anything else. If his personality carries him to top 10 I'll be kinda disappointed.The other guys are stronger dancers.

Time to introduce the dancers. Time is tight so they come out as couples. This means that all the quick tricks are kinda lame and flubbed. Oh, the brown haired guy is Ballroom Boy Nick. His hair is slicked back tonight and I think he looks totally different. So much older. He should've done that last week! He wouldn't have looked so odd with These are the gulls! Here are your guys!

Lindsay and Cole - Hip Hop with Christopher Scott - "Teeth" (Lady Gaga). Concept: A sexy trip to the dentist. Lindsay is the dental hygienist, and Cole is a nerd patient. The routine isn't bad, but it's a little lacking in chemistry. Lindsay and Cole seem to be in slightly different universes. The dancing is in sync and they are... aware of each other. But their costumes don't go together and the dentist chair looks odd sitting there in the middle of the stage, and Lindsay seems a little more focused on the audience than she does on pursuing Cole. So this routine wasn't bad, but it wasn't as sharp as it could've been. It falls way short of there paso doble last week. In judging, Cole has decided to go all method and still be in nerd character the entire time. The judges are a little weirded outt but roll with it. Lindsay has a huge fake smile plastered on her face to let us know she's totally over his weirdness. It makes me think they had trouble connecting because Cole decided to lock himself up in his own world and Lindsay couldn't get in. The judges don't rave for this routine, but they don't rip it apart either. I think they're safe this week, but I wonder if people will find Cole's decision to not drop character off-putting, like I did. As they leave Cat takes the lollipop Cole was sucking on and puts it in her mouth. Cat Deely is many things, but a germophobe is certainly not one of them.

Amelia and Will - Contemporary with Sonya Tayeh -  "3326" (Olufar Arnalds). Concept: Two Contempos, Doing Contempo things while looking for the Light at the End of the Tunnel .It's very good, but this is in both their wheelhouses so you'd expect - no, demand! - that it would be. Will, as a Jolly Gay Giant, is a great partner for Amelia, because he's strong enough to support her doing the most difficult tricks. They really are in it. There's no coasting for these two. They are showing the extent of their expertise. The judges love it. Adam of course is overly dramatic about it, makes a Step Up movie plug, praises Sonya like she just discovered the cure for cancer, yet somehow he manages not to cry. Such restraint, Adam!

Amber and Nick - Argentine Tango with Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo - "Tanguera" (Sexteto Mayor). The music sounds like Roxanne. I don't understand how it's not Roxanne. Is Roxanne a rip off of this song, or the other way around? Anyway, the dance is very hot. There's a lot of technical stuff going on, very complicated footwork, very good frame with the arms. They sell it all. They don't look preoccupied with the steps at all. Very good chemistry between them. This was very strong. Good work! The judges like it. Adam and Mary think Nick might not have done himself any favors by being SUCH a good partner because all the focus went to Amber. Nigel, thinking ahead, tells Amber that her character was very tough and hard this week, so next week she should try to play up her vulnerability for the voting audience. Hmm...

Audrey and Matthew - Jazz with Sonya Tayeh - "Hear Me Now" (Dri, Lind, & Lukka Mix). Concept: Robotic Power Struggle Between Man and Woman... Robots? Sonya wants them both to be really aggressive. Matthew says in the clip package that Audrey is incapable of being aggressive. Don't throw her under the bus, Matthew! But he's right. She's not really a BEAST, you know? But the pair of them together really really works. This isn't a routine with a lot of signature tricks, but the movement is very interesting. It's a compelling routine with good momentum. Is it gonna wind up in like the top 5 Sonya routines? No. But I have a sinking suspicion it will be one of the top routines of the night. I'm sensing some Week 2/ First Elimination jitters amongst the dancers and choreographers. The judges rave for Audrey and Matthew and of course for Sonya. Adam even says he's afraid that the night really belongs to Sonya, and I have to agree. Adam thinks Matthew is the front runner. I'm not completely sure. He's a contender though! I'll definitely give him that.

Dareian and Janelle - Lyrical Hip-Hop with Christopher Scott - "My Girl" (The Temptations)
Concept: A proposal and a reversible jacket! This routine is pleasant and sweet, but VERY safe. The most complicated part is taking off the jacket, and putting it back on. Seriously! Dareian and Janelle are smiley but not really fully into it. It's just not that deep. They kiss at the end, as if that somehow makes it all a big deal. Really, not a lot coming from Chris Scott this week. Sorry! Nothing personal. The judges side with me and are not into it. Nigel breaks his own rule about not blaming the choreographer and tells Christopher in the audience that what he came up with was too simple for them. He thinks the audience won't be moved to call for something like this. Adam wants a little more character from Janelle.Mary is just relieved that their kiss didn't inspire Nigel to maul her again like he did last year. Janelle could definitely be in danger next week. She just didn't have anything here that would make an impact, frankly.

Brandon and Janaya: Broadway with Sean Cheeseman - "Bring on the Men" (Linda Eder, Jekyll and Hyde)
Concept: Janaya wants to bring on the men, specifically Brandon, who does not wish to be brought on. No touchy touchy, for Brandon - guys OR girls, apparently! How did he get this reputation? Ahh, yes. By his own words. Anyway, this dance is a big improvement over last week for them. There are some really unique moves and a double somersault roll thingy that looks like it could be painful, but they both emerge unscathed. Janaya is giving great character work here. I thought this was gonna be bad from their kinda non-matching outfits, but I applaud them. Really, a delight! Would that this was the routine they got last week, when people voted! The judges note the improvement from last week and seem happy for Janaya that she's going out on a high note since they will obviously be sending her home when she falls into the bottom 3 at around the 90 minute mark tonight.

Cyrus and Eliana: Jive with Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin - "I'm Shakin'" (Jack White)
Concept: Pretend that Cyrus can jive! Listen, guys. This was a poor performance. I could've done the jive better than Cyrus this week. This was super weak. I don't expect him to go home tonight or even be in danger given his personality and presence on the show, but he needs to land in the bottom week next week for real.  Eliana is left to basically sell the whole routine on her own. She's pretty successful at it, but it's obvious that she's got no help from Cyrus. Mary is first to critique and she's like "haha................ um...... Cyrus, you were there for her in the lifts and the partnering! WOOO!" Nigel's like, "you got through it!" He sympathizes with Eliana's situation having two weeks in a row of being held back by choreography and partnering when he knows on her own she'd really be able to soar. Eliana needs to make it to Top 10. It's gonna be a hard road ahead, I think.
Alexa and Daniel: Contemporary with Dee Casparay - "So Long My Friend" (Yanni)
Concept: Don't slip getting out of the bathtub. There is a giant tub on stage. They are in the tub. They are out of the tub. They are wearing very little in terms of clothing. Oof, is the song choice an indication of what fate has in store for these two? I get the impression they don't like each other in real life. There's no chemistry. No sense of even camaraderie. They know they have to connect emotionally in order to succeed but there is no electricity here. On paper they made such a good pair, but in practice they can't connect to each other's strengths. It's too bad. I think they're going home tonight.  The judges agree the execution is flawless, but they are missing something crucial between them that would save them from elimination.They both wear expressions of worry chiseled out of stone.

George and Tiffany: Foxtrot with Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin) -"I Want to Be Loved by You" (Sinéad O'Connor)
Concept: Be foxy and trot! These two are once again a great pair.  What can sometimes be a less than exciting and forgettable style of dance on this show, is actually a fun and engaging routine. They are very elegant and have all the chemistry that Alexa and Daniel were lacking. Mary loves it and loves the two of them. Nigel and Adam are all positive too.The contempo boys with the jazz hands girls pairings are really nailing it so far this season.

Chehon and Witney: Bollywood with Nakul Dev Mahajan - "Tandav Music" (Aatish Kapadia)
Concept: hit the hand poses and spin round and round! Bollywood is usually very successful on this show. Partly because it is exciting to watch, the costumes are pretty and the dancers smile through it pretty effortlessly. Chehon and Witney really take to it. This is a much better showing than last week's Samba. Witney looks like she gets caught in her veil right at the end, but it's not a big deal. Chehon actually looks happy to be dancing! When was the last time we saw that? His final solo in Vegas? Judges give them high praise all around. Witney says watching youtube videos helped in their prep. This shows's not just a physical challenge, people. Doing research helps too!

Cat calls everybody back to the stage. Time to reveal the Bottom 6. Cat just rips it off like a band-aid. Janaya, Alexa, and Witney and Nick, Daniel, and Chehon. No, Project Runway Style fake-outs. These are the lowest vote-getters. Four are going home. I'm sure Whitney is safe. Alexa and Janaya are too. I'm less sure about which Ballet Boy is heading home. I think Chehon's Bollywood performance sealed the deal in his favor though.

Cat asks if Nigel and the judges need to see any solos, and Nigel's like "Nah, thanks we got this." I think dancing for your life will come back as there are less routines and more time for solos in the 2-hour block of time. 

Instead right now it's time for an in-show commercial for Step Up: Revolution. The movie stars a lot of SYTYCD alums including Twitch, Tony Bellisimo, Philip Chbeeb, and Kathryn McCormick, who is the lead female in the movie. This movie focuses on community-minded flash mobs. The number they do on stage is pretty fun. I honestly have a hard time focusing on it. Maybe it's just so much dance crammed into a short amount of time. Cat is thrilled to see all her former babies on stage though and if she's excited, I'm excited.

No more stalling, it's execution time.  The six dancers, four of whom are facing certain death, are lined up. Nick and Janaya know they're done for. Alexa is barely holding on. Daniel is hiding his emotions like he is a graduate of the Vulcan Science & Dance Academy. Chehon is hopeful, I think. Nigel tries to explain how no dancer is voted off, they're just "not saved" by neither the public vote, nor the judges. That will make them feel better! So first saved is Witney, as we knew it would be. The other girls are like "we appreciated being here." and then they are swept off to the side to hug and cry together. At least someone else knows what they are going through.Then Chehon is saved as well and the other boys don't get to say ANYTHING as we quickly recap everyone's numbers and then quickly close out the show on time! Damn. Hopefully now with 16 dancers left we'll have a second to breath in next week's show.

Tonight's routines in order of my preference:
Amelia and Will's contemporary
Audrey and Matthew's jazz
Chehon and Witney's Bollywood
Brandon and Janaya's Broadway (Janaya "not saved")
George and Tiffany's foxtrot
Amber and Nick's tango (Nick "not saved")
Dareian and Janelle's hip-hop
Cole and Lindsay's hip-hop
Alexa and Daniel's contemporary ( both "not saved")
Cyrus and Eliana's jive

(Your Top 16, America!)

Bottom 6? Hmm... Cyrus, Cole and I don't know... Brandon... for the guys? Tough call on number three. For the girls I think it's Janelle, Lindsay and... Amber. But that's a tough one to call too. I'm excited to see what Amber and Brandon can do as a couple. It will be weird if they face elimination before America can vote on them as a couple.That's the new format for you!

Until next time, Dance Fans!

No comments: