Friday, July 5, 2013

SYTYCD 10: 20 to 18 Recap - The First Cut is the Earliest

Okay DanceFans. So this week's episode was brimming with controversy. We'll get to it in a minute but I'll start out at the beginning and just say that fan outrage was so loud and proud in the 48 hours following Tuesday night's show that Nigel already has announced an about face on the disastrous format change they tried regarding the eliminations. I have no idea why they thought this would work and it was at the expense of the two dancers who got eliminated, but at least order has been restored. I almost never comment on the show via official message boards or tweets, but I added my voice to the discontented masses on Tuesday night for sure. Anyway, to the recap! We've got 8 contempos, 4 ballers, 3 tappa tappa tappas, 2 hoppers, 2 animazings and 1 jazz hands. Here we go!

There's a group number that looks a lot like one Tyce did a couple seasons ago.  I feel like that one had a rope people swung around on as well and there were less people on stage. But this routine had a lot in common with that one in tone. And Tyce choreographed both of them, so that makes sense. It was nice. It's a lot of people to feature on that stage in a short amount of time and not a large space.

Ok, cue the music and... Guys... the intro is all fucked up. They don't introduce the couples right after the group number. Instead Cat comes out and talks to us first and then she introduces the jidges, which tonight include the totally lovely Christina Applegate and then they bring out the dancers, but they cut the traditional "here are the girls and these are your guys" bit which is a HORROR TO ME. Then we get a quick recap of the routines, Then they just announce the bottom 3 guys and girls and everyone else just kinda wanders off stage.
Bottom 3 Guys:
Carlos, Alan and Jade

Bottom 3 Girls:
Mariah, Brittany and Mackenzie

Immediately Saved: Mackenzie and Alan. Alan's bottom 3 finish is the only one that's a real shocker for me. Well the other shocker is that Alexis isn't in the bottom 3 girls. I thought her hip hop last week was pretty bad.

So the other four do solos and then Nigel eliminates Carlos and Brittany. Just like that! And they still have to dance this week's routines for their partners. Mariah is about to totally lose it. Guys, this is so stupid. This is the worst format decision this show has ever made. Worse than that season where they went to people's houses just to tell them they weren't on the show in front of their families. Cutting people this way starts the hour off on a total bummer of a note. It relieves all the dramatic tension for the night an replaces it with an awkward melancholy. Are we really supposed to shrug off losing two dancers we enjoyed and just get super-happy again 30 seconds later when the first pair comes out to dance the new routines? It puts the dancers in a horrible head space as well! It's beyond me why they thought this would work. I think it's total nonsense and it lessened my enjoyment of all the routines tonight. 

But anyway here we go AGAIN: Now 7 Contempos, 3 ballers, 3 tappa tappa tappas, 2 hoppers, 2 animazings and 1 jazz hands are competing with another contempo and baller who are now forced to hang around and dance for the benefit of their partners. Oh joy.

Hayley and Curtis - Jazz choreographed by Ray Leeper Music: “Mama Knows Best” by Jessie J. 
I should say right now that almost all of the choreographers decided they were going for "sex sells" this week and almost all of the "stories" of the routines involve a lot of literal grab ass. Some are executed better than others, but after a while it all just blurred together for me. First up in this category is Curtis and Hayley's jazz number ...which has almost exactly the same look and feel of the routine they did last week, except this week Curtis is 13% more comfortable with touching Hayley's butt and they are both dressed in tighter skimpier black clothing. Despite a better showing from Curtis than last week, I just think there has to be a better story these two could be asked to tell. Nigel just wants to slobber over Hayley and I'm over him right now. Mary calls Curtis a Giggle Monster. Christina tells them they should also think about oozing into the words along with the music to help fill out the choreo. Good advice! Love Christina. Overall the judges are too effusive for this routine.

Aaron and Jasmine Harper - Lyrical Hip Hop by Tabitha and Napoleon Music: “Tears Always Win” by Alicia Keys.
Aaron is a traveling musician who's come for a little nooky from Jasmine while he's in town and she can't resist him though she wants to. This one is very good. There's a maturity to the characters and to the movement and Jasmine and Aaron compliment each other so well. Is it at the level right now of Sasha and Twitch's Misty Blue routine from Season 8? No. Not quite there. But it's very strong work from them in Week 2. Mary and Cat give us the new phrase "Step. Push. Ripple." Christina throws her notes from rehearsal out the window and call them the couple to beat. Nigel thinks the routine was danced with honesty and applauds Aaron for going from being a Lucky Loser of the season into a true asset among the contestants. Good on you, Aaron!

Jade and Malece - Bollywood by Nakul Dev Mahajan Music: “Student of the Year” (Original Soundtrack) by Radha. This number didn't work for me at all. The costumes, as always with Bollywood, are totally gorgeous. But the hand gestures seemed really non-specific. The energy didn't maintain itself throughout the number. Some of the leg work and arm extension didn't seem in sync and sometimes missed the mark. It looked labored. Sorry, kids. Christina gives Jade some tough love about working harder, but mostly gives both of them a pass. Nigel tells Malece eyes are drawn to her, so her mistakes are more noticeable. Nigel tells Jade that he has to do more when he's dancing for his life - possibly next week? I'd say so. If he's in the bottom again, it's time he went home. He already danced for his life twice in Vegas. How many times does this have to happen before he's cut?

Alexis and Nico - Contemporary by Stacey Tookey Music: “Old Skin” by Olafur Arnalds & Arnor Dan.
This dance is a sequel to a piece Stacey did several seasons ago with Kathryn being a soldier going off to war. Now Alexis is playing the same character who is coming home from war. This is a better effort for the two of them than last week. Their connection is stronger and Alexis expresses a lot of joy through her movement. If they were safe last week, I assume they'll be safe again this week. Nigel is like "Great song choice!" which Stacey and I think is an odd thing to say (although the song IS very pretty, you think he'd be more taken with the dancing.) Mary was very moved by it. Christina continues to hit judging out of the park by making both a Velvet Underground reference for the old people watching the show (like me!) and noting a change that Nico made of attitude turns to pirouettes between rehearsal and performance. Veronica Corningstone knows what she's talking about, folks.

Brittany and BluPrint - Broadway by Spencer Liff Music: “It’s Oh So Quiet” by Bjork
So here we go with the first awkward eliminated partner dance of the evening. It's young love in the library scenario. It's nice to have Spencer back doing the choreo. Brittany actually does her best and looks lovely, but BluPrint looks totally out of it. He doesn't seem particularly happy at all. Maybe because his partner was eliminated while he wasn't even in jeopardy not 30 minutes ago? Hmm. I wonder. The judges aren't exactly sure how to handle the situation either. What do they have to say to Brittany? Voters didn't eliminate her, Nigel did! I'm actually not interested in what they have to say. Though Christina does give BluPrint some good constructive criticism about how to approach Broadway. I wonder if this awkward performance is going to hurt BluPrint in the vote this week.

Alan and Jasmine Mason - Tango by Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo Music: “Escape From Slavery” by PP Music (UK)

Alan, with Adam Lambert hair styling, is out to steal Jasmine's innocence in the form of a pink scarf. What sounds astoundingly silly actually makes for a great tango routine that is very creepy and very well executed. It feels twice as long and 50 times more complex than the Broadway number that preceded it. The judges' minds boggle at how Alan fell into the bottom 3 this week, and I have to agree. He was very strong in his contempo last week. We'll have to see if this tango was enough to change his trajectory in the competition. Everyone agrees that Jasmine is a total star.

Mackenzie and Paul — Jazz with Sean Cheesman Music: “Mannequin (Skeet & Tito Remix)” by Trish
Weird Science themed dance! I am intrigued. This dance is fine. Actually it's pretty strong. It's definitely fun, but I don't know if it's really memorable. But again, I'm just in a bad mood with these early eliminations.  I like the choreography. They both are very cute. I'm not sold on Paul's sleeveless dress shirt look. Mackenzie was in trouble after last week, I don't know that this gave her that much of a better platform to showcase her latents. Nigel points out that Naughty Ballerina Melissa (Cat actually shouts her out by name) is SUPER PREGGERS and in the audience tonight. Christina really liked this routine, so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt that it was being a grump that I didn't connect with it.

Mariah and Carlos — Contemporary by Stacey Tookey Music: “Dead in the Water” by Ellie Goulding

Ironic song choice for Carlos to have to dance to right now, wouldn't you say? The dance is about someone who's lost their memory after an auto accident. HUH? Is there a SYTYCD Dance Concept Generator out there on the internet? There must be. Anyway, Mariah is dancing in the agony of having lost Carlos and Carlos is just IN IT. He was not one of my picks to make Top 10, but certainly he should've stayed over Jade this week. The judges lie and say that Carlos shouldn't have even been in the bottom 4. Yes, he should've. The jive was the second weakest dance of the night last week based on technique after Alexis and Nico's hip hop. He was definitely right to be in the bottom 3, and you judges decided to eliminate him at the start of the show, so don't cry foul now, please. I'm not having it.

Amy and Fik-Shun — Hip-Hop by Tabitha and Napoleon Music: “After Party” by Dorough Music
Concept is Bellhops having fun. They have these large white gloves on that remind me of Mickey Mouse hands that I sort of hate. It's such a little thing but it bothers me for some reason. But the routine is legit fun and they both hit it really hard. They're both very joyous dancers and they are so in sync. They make use of a luggage cart that they keep jumping on and through which is a little crazy to me since it's on wheels and they never lock it down into place, but there are no accidents. These two are really really strong together. The judges totally love them. Nigel thinks they are destined for the Final Four. That's gonna be a tough fight when it comes to it folks.

Jenna and Tucker - Cha Cha by Dmitry Chaplin “I Like It Like That (Aaron Jerome Remix)” by Pete Rodriguez.
 It's really sexy. I like these two a lot. They have an amazing ability to capture characters that  relate to each other through the dance. And Jenna is super hot in her home style. Mary locks in to the critique since ballroom is her thing, and she thinks Tucker relied on just guiding Jenna around instead of really getting down in to it. Christina, like me, loved all the storytelling and Nigel hated the choreography. Nigel is having a weird night y'all. He almost never bad mouth's the choreographer. He just didn't think there was enough Cha Cha in this Cha Cha. Perhaps a valid critique, but he went on about it at length, when he could've just mentioned it and moved on to the dancers. Well, the whole night was weird. But it's done now!

This week's performances in order of my preference:
Alan and Jasmine M.'s Tango
Aaron and Jasmine H.'s Lyrical Hip Hop
Carlos and Mariah's Contemporary 
Fik-shun and Amy's Hip Hop
Jenna and Tucker's Cha Cha
Alexis and Nico's Contemporary
Mackenzie and Paul's Jazz
Curtis and Hayley's Jazz
Blu-Print and Brittany's Broadway
Jade and Malece's Bollywood

Bottom 3 Guys/Girls for next week? I'll guess Jade, Curtis, Blu-Print, Malece, Mackenzie and Hayley. I'm glad we're back to end of show eliminations next week. I wasn't looking forward to a whole season of that nonsense. Enjoy your July 4th Weekends, everyone! I'm sure you're all wishing  you could've been at Cat Deeley's Pool Party and BBQ. Hopefully they'll post some pics on twitter!

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