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Thursday, June 17, 2010

SYTYCD7 - E11Even Playing Field

So You Think You Can Dance - Season 7 - Top 11 Performance Night - Ep. 706
Judges: Nigel Lythgoe, Mia Michaels, Adam Shankman

So tonight's the big night! The first REAL test of combining a new dancer with an All-Star.

And because we have the All-Star, I'm not really sure how to grade it all. So I'm going to try having 2 grades. One for the routine as a whole (including the choreography and the All-Star), and then a separate grade for the competing dancer. I'll see if it works. A third grade to separate the routine and the All-Star seemed excessive, especially since after watching this week, it was pretty clear the All-Stars are back for a reason.

Billy Bell with Lauren Gottlieb
Choreographed by: Tyce DiOrio
Style: Broadway
Song: "Footloose" - Kenny Loggins
Grade - Dance: B+
Grade - Contestant: B+

I like that the judges skirt around things by noting Billy's platonic friendly chemistry with Lauren, and that it's Billy's natural boyishness and his amazing technique that saves the day. Ok. sure. It was fun seeing Billy doing a routine like this (even though I'm never crazy about Tyce routines), though as the judges noted, Billy was not bouncy enough and sometimes a little too showy but overall he did a pretty great job.

I also kind of dug his bad spiky hair.

Here's the video of Billy and Lauren's Broadway:



Cristina Santana with Mark Kanemura
Choreographed by: Sonja Tayeh
Style: Jazz
Song: "Starstruck" - Santigold
Grade - Dance: B+
Grade - Contestant: B+

Not my favorite Sonja dance, but having Mark do a Sonja dance is always heaven, and almost a detriment to any girl partnered with him because you KNOW I'm going to be ogling Mark all. the. TIME! So to Cristina's credit, she seemed to match up to Mark and I barely registered her (and I mean that as in she didn't screw it up way).

Here's the video of Cristina and Mark's Jazz:



Jose "Full Deck" Ruiz with Comfort Fedoke
Choreographed by: Napoleon and Tabitha D'umo
Style: Hip-Hop
Song: "Beautiful Monster" - Ne-Yo
Grade - Dance: A-
Grade - Contestant: B

Ok, Comfort has been getting a lot of grief as the least worthy of being an All-Star but we tend to forget that when she gets to dance her own style (which is all she's going to do on this season), she's actually quite amazing. It was nice to see her remind us of the reason she got onto the show in the first place dancing a fun NappyTabs routine.

Considering Jose is a B-Boy, you would think it's similar but it's not, and as Nigel notes, Jose has never done choreography, so while there were a few split seconds off-moments, Jose did a pretty great job keeping up with Comfort.

Here's a video of Jose and Comfort's Hip-Hop:



Adéchiké Torbert with Kathryn McCormick
Choreographed by: Travis Wall
Style: Contemporary
Song: "Adiicted To Love" - Florence + the Machine
Grade - Dance: A
Grade - Contestant: B-

Adéchiké is really lucky. He has TWO All Stars working for him! First off, loved Travis as a dancer and loving him as a choreographer. Kathryn is just superb and she's SOOOO beautiful when she dances. You know she's an All-Star when a girl can pull attention away from a handsome guy, and Kathryn was flawless with her lines, and she just looked so comfortable with that dance. Wait, who are we supposed to comment on here again?

While Mia thought Adéchiké lacked any soul or emotion, I didn't think it was that bad and Adéchiké managed to keep up with the luminous Kathryn, but I agree with Adam when he said that he needs to bring something more than just technique and great partnership to the dance. As the most positive aspect of this dance, I felt that he was a great partner and didn't bring the dance down, but I guess at this point, he needs to bring the dance up.

Here's the video of Adéchiké and Kathryn's Jazz:



Melinda Sullivan with Pasha Kovalev
Choreographed by: Melanie LaPatin & Tony Meredith
Style: Jive
Song: "L.O.V.E." - VV Brown
Grade - Dance: A-
Grade - Contestant: C

PASHA! (breathe breathe). Pardon while I watch that again, because I didn't notice if Pasha was dancing with anybody, cause that's all I saw.

When I DID manage to tear my eyes off Pasha (and seriously, that was HARD), I thought Melinda did a decent job trying to fake her way through the Jive (not an easy dance to begin with) but jiving next to Pasha is almost cruel because the mistakes and comparisons are just even more obvious. Poor Melinda, she knew she didn't really have a chance did she?

Here's the video of Melinda and Pasha's Jive:



Alex Wong with Allison Holker
Choreographed by: Sonja Tayeh
Style: Contemporary
Song: "Hallelujah" Jeff Buckley
Grade - Dance: A-
Grade - Contestant: A

Damn, look at Alex's leg extensions and the smoothness in his movements!?! Damn that ballet training! As amazing as Allison is, (and she seriously is), I thought Alex was the first person that managed to overshadow their All-Star (and again, not because Allison isn't amazing herself, she's always outstanding).

And while Alex is often criticized for any lack of emotion, I've stated that I believe it's only because he's such a perfectionist that it didn't necessarily come through during the auditions process. Well, we have to worry no more. Mia thought it was the best dance in all of SYTYCD ever. WOW.

Here's the video of Alex and Allison's Contemporary:



Alexie Agdeppa with Stephen Twitch Boss
Choreographed by: Napoleon and Tabitha D'umo
Style: Hip-Hop
Song: "Butterfly" - Jason Mraz
Grade - Dance: B
Grade - Contestant: B

I don't know. Maybe it's because I'm the only person in the world not enthralled with Jason Mraz, but I felt that routine was kind of safe and bland, and I didn't think Twitch brought the energy he usually brings to the piece that could have helped it.

Instead, I thought Alexie's natural bubbly (sometimes to the point of annoyance) self brought the buoyancy needed to keep it afloat, though not enough to save itself. The judges note that Alexie doesn't bring enough of the Hip-Hop grittiness but agrees that her bubbly charisma saves herself.

The flashback to Adam Shankman as a judge on Star Search was priceless and the best part of this portion of the night.

Here's the video of Alexie and Twitch's Hip-Hop:



Lauren Froderman with Ade Obayomi
Choreographed by: Mandy Moore
Style: Pop Jazz
Song: "Oh Yeah" - Yello
Grade - Dance: B-
Grade - Contestant: C+

I think I'm the only person that doesn't buy into Lauren's cuteness and all that, but considering I have an unnecessary bias against her, I thought she did a decent job and didn't totally fail, but as Nigel said, she didn't bring anything extra to it. Mia says she's technically flawless but not bringing the character and emotions to the dance.

Which is how I've felt about her the whole time through the auditions so not sure why they're only bringing it up now? On the other hand, while I think Ade is a strong strong dancer, I didn't think it was his best work either, nor Mandy Moore's choreography which seemed pretty generic.

Here's the video of Lauren and Ade's Pop Jazz:



Kent Boyd with Anya Garnis
Choreographed by: Melanie LaPatin and Tony Meredith
Style: Cha Cha
Song: "Lady Marmalade" - Diva Invasion
Grade - Dance: A-
Grade - Contestant: A-

Ok, I'm not sure technically how well Kent did, though to me, his footwork seemed way better than I expected and the stronger of two halves, but I thought while his top half wasn't perfect, he really looked like he was trying. Just looking at his face, you can tell he was REALLY trying. Loved his facial expressions and emotions and as the judges noted, he looked like he was having a lot of fun up there, pursed lips and all.

Kent also reminded me of what Adam Shankman might have looked like when he was younger. Kent gave the dance the swagger Adam usually gives his dances.

Anya, while not actually a Top 10 SYTYCD alum, is definitely the tops in her style.

Here's the video of Kent and Anya's Cha Cha:



Ashley Galvan with Neil Haskell
Choreographed by: Tyce DiOrio
Style: Contemporary
Song: "For All We Know" - Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway
Grade - Dance: B-
Grade - Contestant: B

Thank goodness, I love you D-Trix but I need my Neil fix and I'm glad he wasn't left out this first week. That said, putting Neil in a Tyce routine is like putting Lea Michelle in The Phantom of the Opera. What a waste. As with most Tyce routines, I didn't love it, but Neil can dance anything beautifully, and Ashley I thought did a fine job, but again, needed to lift the piece up even more. (But not like she had much to work with (yes, another dig at Tyce) and she's working opposite Neil (so, you know, I had to pry my eyes away to see his partner. Any partner)).

All the judges note her technical strength but the lack of the emotions (much like many of the dancers tonight).

Here's the video of Ashley and Neil's Contemporary:



Robert Roldan with Courtney Galiano
Choreographed by: Sean Cheesman
Style: African Jazz
Song: "Norweg" Cirque De Soleil's Saltimbanco Soundtrack
Grade - Dance: A
Grade - Contestant: A

I was just thinking that Robert is the underdog here. So strong and yet somehow forgotten so I'm glad Nigel calls it out right away. Robert is amazing and reminds me of a slightly less quirky version of Mark but with more smoothness.

I thought this pairing with Robert and Courtney was terrific and reminded me of the best of previous seasons (you know when we get excited when a pairing just works?) and I'm glad Adam mentions it too. Adam calls Robert one of the strongest in the competition and I totally agree.

Also, maybe it's my patriotism but I LOVED Sean Cheesman's routine. His stuff has always been terrific on SYTYCD Canada and he didn't disappoint here.

Here's the video of Robert and Courtney's African Jazz:



- - - - - - - - - - - - -
The Final Roundup:

While this new format makes it hard for me to figure out how to grade it all, it makes it far easier to figure out how the individual dancer themselves rank against each other.

The Dancers:
Best of the Night: Alex (with Allison)
2nd: Robert (with Courtney)
3rd: Kent (with Anya)
4th: Cristina (with Mark)
5th: Billy (with Lauren)
6th: Ashley (with Neil)
7th: Jose (with Comfort)
8th: Alexie (with Twitch)
9th: Adéchiké (with Kathryn)
10th: Lauren (with Ade)
11th - Worst of the Night: Melinda (with Pasha)

The Routines:
Best Routine of the Night: Sean Cheesman's African Jazz (Robert and Courtney)
2nd Best Routine of the Night: Travis Wall's Jazz (Adéchiké and Kathryn)
3rd Best Routine of the Night: Melanie LaPatin and Tony Meredith's Jive (Melinda and Pasha)

The All-Stars:
All-Star MVP: Pasha
All-Star MVP 2: Comfort
All-Star MVP 3: Kathryn
All-Star MVP 4: Anya
All-Star MVP 5: Neil

The Predictions:
Bottom Three: Melinda, Alexie, Ashley

And since the judges will now choose from the bottom 3 (voted by the audience), it's almost obvious who is going to go home this week:
Going Home Melinda

So, as I've noted in my tweets, I think generally the boys are far better than the girls so far. Of course, if the girls keep getting voted off, the problem means we will see less of the All-Star boys (and THAT my friend is a BIG problem TOO!). Seriously, can we get some boy with boy dancing?

My friend just asked my why did they pick 6 guys anyways, and here's my controversial theory. The weakest guys were probably Adéchiké or Jose, but they NEED a Black guy on the show, and they need a street dancer (and at least Jose has tons of personality). Meanwhile, the guys were already far stronger than the girls hence why no 6th girl either.

Anyways, at this point, this is how I rank all the dancers overall (#position from last week in parenthesis):
Overall Ranking:
1. Robert (3)
2. Alex (4)
3. Kent (1)
4. Billy (2)
5. Christina (7)
6. Jose (6)
7. Ashley (9)
8. Adéchiké (5)
9. Alexie (10)
10. Lauren (11)
11. Melinda (8)

By the way, you can also check me, and a bunch of other SYTYCD fans over at the Social!

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
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Thanks to Rickey for the media
Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com

3 comments:

DuchessKitty said...

I think you're giving Lauren and Ashley a harder time than they deserve, but I agree with most of your other thoughts.
I also think that unfortunately you could be right about your bottom 3 predictions. But I think that you could maybe switch out Christina or Adechike for Ashley.

I'm not the biggest Jason Mraz fan in the world but I do love that song "Butterfly" and it has long been on my fantasy list of songs for this show. Too bad it was used so poorly. Lame.

Rachel said...

Alex was definitely my favourite last night, although it always stresses me out when the judges love someone that much. I feel like there'll be audience backlash! Surprisingly, I quite liked Alexie and Twitch's dance (surprisingly because I rarely love hip-hop choreographies) - I felt her bounciness added a nice lightness to the smooth style prefered by Tabitha and Napoleon.

I thought Melinda was pretty terrible, and a good example of why these contestants are going to have to work so hard - any weaknesses in a style are going to show up immediately, since they're paired with such excellent dancers. Although I didn't much like Lauren either - she danced right to the cameras/judges, instead of her partner. Sheesh.

And I would like Tyce to get off my TV screen.

tom s. said...

Glad to see you agree with my and my better half that the final Cheeseman number was the best of the night. The Alex/Sonya dance didn't do nearly as much for me (or the others in the room at home) as it did for the judges. We even rewatched it to see what we had missed, but didn't get anything. Not like it was bad or anything, just not amazing enough to justify the off-the-charts reaction.

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