Tapeworthy

Monday, August 29, 2011

SYTYCD4 - The Gr8 Deb8

So You Think You Can Dance Canada - Season 4 - Top 10 Results, Top 8 Performances - Eps. 419-420
Judges (Top 10): Jean-Marc Généreux, Tré Armstrong, Stacey Tookey, Mary Murphy
Judges (Top 8): Jean-Marc Généreux, Tré Armstrong, Blake McGrath, Mary Murphy

I got to go to another live taping for the performance show again, and as always, the dancers were hot, and freaking amazing.

And while I think the Top 10 results (below) got it right, now that it's down to Top 8, I have no idea who should be cut. I could see any of them winning really.
Seriously, I don't know who to vote for because I would call for them all (negating all my votes). Who is everyone else voting for?


Top 10 Results

Top 10 Group Dance
Style: Contemporary
Choreographed by: Sabrina Matthews
Song: "Heavy in Your Arms" - Florence + the Machine



Should Go Home/Will go Home: François and Yuliya

Bottom 6 Dancers:
Denitsa
Yuliya
Melissa
Adam
Christian
François




And François and Yuliya were cut. Great dancers, but at this point, it leaves a very strong Top 8.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
Top 8 - Performances

Jordan Clark and Adam LoPapa
Style: Hip-Hop
Choreographed by: Luther Brown
Song: "Say It With Me - Chris Brown
Grade - Dance: A
Grade - Girl(Live/TV) : A+/
Grade - Boy (Live/TV): A/

Jordan gets Hip-Hop and knocks it out of the park. Are we really surprised at this point? I think I realized that Jordan HAS to perfect her dance moves and punch up everything just to get her huge red mane flowing with her dance. Her hair looks spectacular with every movement but I think to keep it flowing (and out of her face at times), she moves her body with just that extra effort... does that make any sense?

Anyways, AMAZING.

Adam? Awesome. Always a joy to watch. Sexy, confident, with just enough humbleness to make it all work, and a body that rocks the moves with beautiful effort.

Here's the video of Jordan and Adam's Hip-Hop:




Denitsa Ikonomova and Christian Millette
Style: Samba
Choreographed by: Gustavo Vargas
Song: "Tambourine - Eve
Grade - Dance: A
Grade - Girl (Live/TV): A+/
Grade - Boy (Live/TV): A+/

I forgot these two are dance partners in real life. Not because they have no chemistry together (they TOTALLY do), but because they've been so great with other dance partners, in various styles, that I've totally forgotten that they came in to this competition together as a pair.

Yet this dance reminds of why both are still in the Top 8 and what a partnership they have together. There's such a relaxed freeing vibe between the two, that they took Gustavo's part Samba and part Hip-Hop routine and crushed it.

Top notch.

Here's the video of Denitsa and Christian's Samba:



Lindsay Leuschner and Shane Simpson
Style: Contemporary
Choreographed by: Stacey Tookey
Song: "Uninvited - Alanis Morissette
Grade - Dance (Live/TV): B+/
Grade - Girl (Live/TV): A/
Grade - Boy (Live/TV): A/

Lindsay and Shane to me, are the quiet professionals of the group. I feel I really don't know who they are still, but they're always good, never lets us down, and are always consistently strong partners.

Pairing them up together gives us more professionalism, even when it's not my favorite Stacey Tookey dance.

Here's the video of Lindsay and Shane's Contemporary:



Melissa Mitro and Matt Marr
Style: Jazz
Choreographed by: Melissa Williams
Song: "Nobody's Perfect" - Jessie J
Grade - Dance: A
Grade - Girl (Live/TV): A+/
Grade - Boy (Live/TV): A+/

I mean SERIOUSLY. SERIOUSLY. Melissa Mitro. What the? The audience collectively gasped when she leaped onto the chair and jumped on Matt's back. And she danced the whole routine with that kind of controlled abandon.

And Matt, the lovely ever smiley Matt. Who like Adam, has always been great but has gotten even better through the competition and owning up to the levels of the best dancers in this competition.

Here's the video of Melissa and Matt's Jazz:



Top 8 Group Dance
Style: Jive
Choreographed by: Danny Arbour
Song: "" -
So much fun. SO MUCH FUN. Though I did notice Shane and Matt fell off a step at some point, and uh... that's about it? My eyes were zig-zagging around to every dancer who just looked like they were having a blast, and worked brilliantly as a Top 8 team.



Solos:

Melissa Mitro
Song: "" -
Grade: A

Matt Marr
Song: "" -
Grade: A

Christian Millette
Song: "" -
Grade: A

Denitsa Ikonomova
Song: "" -
Grade:A

Lindsay Leuschner
Song: "" -
Grade: A

Shane Simpson
Song: "" -
Grade: A

Jordan Clark
Song: "" -
Grade: A

Adam LoPapa
Song: "" -
Grade: A





The Final Roundup:

Should Go Home: Uh, no one.
My Predictions:
Bottom 4 Dancers
Adam
Denitsa
Shane
Lindsay

Will Go Home: Shane and Lindsay? Oh gawd, I don't even want to think about Tuesday.

This is how I rank all the dancers overall (based on dancing and personality): (last week's standings in parenthesis, ties listed in alphabetical order)
Overall Ranking:
1 (tie). Jordan (1)
1 (tie). Melissa (1)
3 (tie). Adam (3)
3 (tie). Christian (3)
3 (tie). Denitsa (3)
3 (tie). Lindsay (3)
3 (tie). Matt (3)
3 (tie). Shane (3)
And I really don't think this list is a cop-out. I really would rank them in a giant tie.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
For More So You Think You Can Dance:
Check here for the most Recent current postings and Latest News on SYTYCD


So You Think You Can Dance - Season 8 and So You Think You Can Dance Canada Season 4:
SYTYCDCanada Top 12 Results, Top 10 Performances
SYTYCDCanada Top 14 Results, Top 12 Performances
SYTYCDCanada Top 16 Results, Top 14 Performances
SYTYCD Top 10 Performances and Results, Top 8 Performances and Results, Top 6 Performances
SYTYCDCanada Top 20 Results, Top 18 Performances and Results, Top 16 Performances
SYTYCD Top 12 Results & SYTYCDCanada Top 20 Performances
SYTYCD Top 14 Results, Top 12 Performances & SYTYCDCanada Top 22 Results
SYTYCDCanada Top 22 Performances
SYTYCD Top 14 Performances & SYTYCDCanada Audition Finals & Introducing the Top 22
SYTYCD Top 20 Redux Results, Top 16 Performances and Results & SYTYCDCanada Audition Vancouver, Edmonton, Saint John, Montréal
Top 20 Redux Performances
SYTYCD Top 20 Results & SYTYCDCanada Auditions: Toronto
So You Think You Can Dance - Season 8:
Top 20 Performance
Auditions:
Los Angeles, Vegas Week, Top 20 Reveal
Salt Lake City and New York City
Atlanta and Bay Area

So You Think You Can Dance Canada Season 3:
Finale - Final 6 Results
Top 4 Performance
Top 8 Performance and Results
Top 10 Performance and Results
Top 12 Performance and Results
Top 14 Performance and Results
Top 16 Performances, Top 16 Results
Top 18 Performances, Top 18 Results
Top 20 Perfomances, Top 20 Results
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So You Think You Can Dance - Season 7:
Finale - Final 3 Results
Top 3 Performances
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Top 7 Performances, Top 7 Results
Top 8 Performances, Top 8 Results
Top 9 Performances, Top 9 Results
Top 10 Performances, Top 10 Results
Top 11 Performances, Top 11 Results
Season 7 Top 11 Showcase
Auditions:
Dallas, Nashville, Vegas Week and Top 11 Announcement
Los Angeles and Chicago
New York City and Miami
Announcing the All-Stars! With Sexy Pictures!
Discussion on Format Change

Decadeworthy - SYTYCDworthy - Ranking All the Top 10 Dancers from SYTYCD and SYTYCDCanada (w/ Videos) - List Format

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Finale - Final 6 Results
Final 6 Performances
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Top 12 Performances, Top 12 Results
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Top 16 Performances, Top 16 Results
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Finale
Top 4 Performances
Top 6 Performances, Top 6 Results & US Vegas Week Auditions Continued
Top 8 Performances, Top 8 Results & US Salt Lake City and Vegas Week 1 Auditions
Top 10 Performances, Top 10 Results & US New Orleans and Atlanta Auditions
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Top 14 Performances, Top 14 Results & US Phoenix Auditions
Top 16 Performances, Top 16 Results & US Los Angeles Auditions
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Top 20 Performance, Top 20 Results
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Auditions - Toronto, Vancouver, Saint John
Montréal, Edmonton

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Finale
Top 4 Performance
Top 6 Performance, Top 6 Results
Top 8 Performance, Top 8 Results and Panel Chat
Top 10 Performance, Top 10 Results and Panel Chat
Top 12 Performance, Top 12 Results and Panel Chat
Top 14 Performance, Top 14 Results, Top 14 Panel Chat
Top 16 Performance, Top 16 Results and Panel Chat
Top 18 Performance, Top 18 Results and Panel Chat
Top 20 Performance, Top 20 Results and Panel Chat
Auditions - Vegas Week Part 2 - Top 20 Announcement, Top 20 Pictures/Panel Chat
Vegas Week Part 1
New York City, Denver, Miami, Memphis, LA, Seattle

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Top 8 and 6 Performances and Results, Top 4 Performances
Top 10 Performances, Results 10 to 8
Top 12 Performances, Results 12 to 10
Top 14 Performances, Results 14 to 12
Top 16 Performances, Results 16 to 14
Top 18 Performances, Results 18 to 16
Top 20 Performances and Results
Introducing Canada's Top 20
Auditions:
Toronto Week - The Cut to the Top 20
Vancouver, Halifax, Calgary, Montreal - West, East, Middle and Quebec
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The Judges, The Host, The Teaser, All Photos from CTV

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Finale
Top 4 Performances
Top 6 Performances and Results 6 to 4
Top 8 Performances, Results 8 to 6
Top 10 Performances, Results 10 to 8
Top 16, 14 and 12 Weeks Recaps by Vance again
Top 12 Performances, Results 12 to 10 - Guest Blogger Linz McC
Top 14 Performances, Results 14 to 12 - Guest Blogger Linz McC
Top 16 Performances, Results 16 to 14 - Guest Blogger Linz McC
Top 18 Performances, Results 18 to 16
Top 20 Performances, Results 20 to 18
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Auditions:
Callbacks in Las Vegas - The Top 20 Revealed - What Happens In Vegas
Milwaukee, WI - How The Midwest Was Won
Charleston, South Carolina and Washington D.C. - S.C.D.C. The New Electric (Boogaloo) Term!
Salt Lake City and Dallas - Yeehaw Utah!
Los Angeles - It's Time To Put On Those Dancing Shoes Again Kids!

So You Think You Can Dance - Season 3:
Live Tour - Toronto, Pasha's Solo Video, Neil's Solo Video
Finale - Winner Result
Top 4 Performances - Finals
Top 6 Performances, Top 6 Results
Top 8 Performances, Top 8 Results
Top 10 Performances, Top 10 Results
Top 12 Performances, Top 12 Results
Top 14 Performances, Top 14 Results
Top 16 Performances, Top 16 Results
Top 18 Performances, Top 18 Results
Top 20 Performances, Top 20 Results

For So You Think You Can Dance Season 2:
Favorite Video Clips
Song List Live Tour 2006 - Toronto
Live Tour 2006 - Buffalo, Pics, More Pics
Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


More After the Jump...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

SYTYCDC4 - Dirty Dancers

So You Think You Can Dance Canada - Season 4 - Top 12 Results, Top 10 Performances - Ep. 417-418
Judges (Top 12): Jean-Marc Généreux, Tré Armstrong, Luther Brown, Blake McGrath, Mary Murphy
Judges (Top 10): Jean-Marc Généreux, Tré Armstrong, Stacey Tookey, Mary Murphy

Top 14 Results

Top 14 Group Dance
Style: Ballroom
Choreographed by: Jean-Marc Généreux and France Mousseau
Song: "Dirty Dancer - Enrique Iglesias feat. Usher & Lil Wayne


Actual Bottom 3:
Lindsay and Christian
Geisha and Joey
Yuliya and Shane




So yes, at this point, like I said last week, the group of dancer is so strong that most cuts will hurt. And the worse part, the few dancers that I felt we could lose, were all partnered with some of the BEST dancers. Sadly, all three pairs in the bottom 3 had great male dancers, but based on the past few weeks, I would have cut Christian, who is amazing, but Joey is simply the best male from the group and Shane is not far behind him.

Luckily for Christian, the judges thought differently (and luckily for us, he'll prove he deserves his spot in the Top 10 with the Top 10 performance this week) and cut JOEY.

JOEY ARRIGO. WTF?

Ok, I know. the Alternatives are not much better but JOEY. I'm ANGRY.

To be honest, if anyone should have gone home, François' time has come. But alas, he wasn't in the bottom and thus automatically in the Top 10. Seriously, if Joey was in instead, it would have been the perfect Top 5 males. PERFECT.

Meanwhile, Geisha gets cut. Not a surprise, but just as she was FINALLY showing some promise. Oh well. She's a smart girl, and studying something sciency so she'll be fine either way.


- - - - - - - - - - - - -
Top 10 - Performances

Denitsa Ikonomova and François Pruneau
Style: Mambo
Choreographed by: Gustavo Vargas
Song: "Bemba Colorá - Celia Cruz
Grade - Dance: B+
Grade - Girl: A
Grade - Boy: A-

François is one of those dancers you can't hate but he reminds me of Benji Schwimmer. He's great at what he does, and he's quite good at other styles, but he coasts on personality and there are now dancers that are far better in a variety of styles and have that extra dazzle and spark to take them over the edge.

Denitsa on the other hand has the spark, and she's like a little spitfire and while she too probably coasts a bit too much on her petite spiciness, Denitsa has seemed to done better in opposing styles, especially in the hip-hop dances (surprisingly) and at this point, that's what is required to be a winner on the show.

Anyways, ballroom dancers dancing something close to their styles. Their great of course but again, Denitsa has this natural sizzle that takes it over the edge.

Here's the video of Denitsa and François' Mambo:



Lindsay Leuschner and Adam LoPapa
Style: Contemporary
Choreographed by: Blake McGrath
Song: "Remember When It Rained - Josh Groban
Grade - Dance: B+
Grade - Girl: A
Grade - Boy: A

A little fumbly on one of the lifts, but here's two great contemporary dancers, two very hot dancers, who have been sort of been under the shadows of Melissa, Jordan, Joey and Shane. While Adam has come into his own in the past couple of weeks with some great partners and choreo, Lindsay is one of those great dancers looking for a great routine. I'm not sure if this is the one that will make her memorable, but it sure proves that Lindsay is the forgotten underdog.

She's stunning and her chemistry with Adam is palpable. But I still feel she deserves even more somehow, though a partner in Adam is a start.

Here's the video of Lindsay and Adam's Contemporary:



Melissa Mitro and Shane Simpson
Style: Hip-Hop
Choreographed by: Luther Brown
Song: "The Time (Dirty Bit) - Black Eyed Peas
Grade - Dance: A+
Grade - Girl: A+
Grade - Boy: A

You know how good Melissa and Shane were in this? I DESPISE this song. DESPISE this song. With a passion. And I've already watched it 5 times before I could type this. Usually I type my opinions while I watch and the judges do their thing. I just watched spellbound and rewound, and rewound and rewatched.

So this is Melissa's 6th Standing Ovation in a row? Seriously, I know she's from my hometown of Richmond Hill (woot woot!) but WHERE IS SHE FROM? SERIOUSLY? WHO DANCES LIKE THAT? WHO PERFECTS EVERY STYLE SHE'S GIVEN? Manages to form some tight chemistry with every new partner? She must be a robot. That's the only explanation.

Shane is fantastic too. Groovy. Hard. Intense.

Here's the video of Melissa and Shane's Hip-Hop:




Yuliya Zavadska and Matt Marr
Style: Contemporary
Choreographed by: Sabrina Matthews
Song: "My Love" - Sia
Grade - Dance: B+
Grade - Girl: B+
Grade - Boy: A-

I think after two smashing pieces with perfect music last week, this choreo from Sabrina doesn't quite match up.

The power and emotion and the moves were all there, but as the judges noted, the transitions would be the one thing to take it to the next level, though with some movements like Matt's running towards Yuliya only to stop suddenly, I think some of it was planned that way to begin with.

Love Matt. He's like that puppy dog that you love who goes wild with enthusiasm and love, and while I think he just needs to smooth out some of his movements and add a finesse, he's got it down and is still a joy to watch.

Yuliya is lovely and tries her best here. The judges loved her and I thought she does a fine job and again, just needs some finessing with the in between moments, both physically and emotionally, but impressive for a ballroom dancer.

Here's the video of Yuliya and Matt's Contermpoary:



Jordan Clark and Christian Millette
Style: Contemporary
Choreographed by: Sean Cheesman
Song: "Skin - Rihanna
Grade - Dance: A+
Grade - Girl: A+
Grade - Boy: A+

Jordan getting contemporary AGAIN? On the other hand, Contemporary with Christian? With Sean Cheesman? I'll shut up. Because SHUT UP THAT WAS FREAKING AMAZING.

Ok. Jordan is fantastic. We know that.

And we know Christian is such a MAN! And he's pretty amazing in other styles. In fact, I practically forget he's originally from the ballroom style. But seriously, he was smokin' here, and I'm not just talking about his body. The way he moved, he was step by step, movement by movement in sync with Jordan.

And that backflip Jordan does from the ground? What's with THAT? And the way she just spins around Christian's neck like it was nothing? Christian is SOLID and Jordan is just sick!

Here's the video of Jordan and Christian's Contemporary:



Solos:

Lindsay Leuschner
Song: "It Doesn't Hurt" - Katie Thompson
Grade: A-

Adam LoPapa
Song: "You Should Be Dancing" - The Bee Gees
Grade: A

Christian Millette
Song: "Happy (Spiritual South Go happy In Rio Remix)" - Max Sedgley
Grade: A

Jordan Clark
Song: "Hometown Glory" - Adele
Grade: A

Yuliya Zavadska
Song: "Fever" - Peggy Lee
Grade:B+

Matt Marr
Song: "For the Night I Can't Remember" - Hedley
Grade: A-
Totally frenetic (again, like a crazy happy puppy dog) that just needs to tighten up into a full unified routine, but still so impressive with some killer moves.

Melissa Mitro
Song: "To Build A Home" - The Cinematic Orchestra
Grade: A
So many crazy moves and such power and control in her dancing, and I love that she can slow it down and speed it up in split moments, though I almost wish she had a fully slow encapsulating moment just to contrast the power she has in the rest of the routine.

Shane Simpson
Song: "Love Is Gone" - David Guetta feat. Chris Willis
Such an exciting dancer and as great of a partner dancer as he is, I think he's even better in solos.
Grade: A

François Pruneau
Song: "Reet Petite" - Jackie Wilson
Grade: B+
Fun and enjoyable but I had to laugh and roll my eyes at that final shirt ripping. Only Dmitry can really get away with it.

Denitsa Ikonomova
Song: "Le Serpent" - Guem et Zaka Percussion Ensemble
Grade: A

The Girls:

The Boys:



The Final Roundup:

Should Go Home: François and Yuliya
My Predictions:
Bottom 4 Dancers
Yuliya and Lindsay
Adam and François

Will Go Home: Yuliya and François

This is how I rank all the dancers overall (based on dancing and personality): (last week's standings in parenthesis)
Overall Ranking:
1 (tie). Melissa (1)
1 (tie). Jordan (1)
3 (tie). Adam (4)
3 (tie). Shane (6)
3 (tie). Christian (8)
3 (tie). Matt (5)
3 (tie). Denitsa (7)
3 (tie). Lindsay (9)
9. Yuliya (10)
10. François (12)

Um, can you tell I'm pretty undecided on a ranking?

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
For More So You Think You Can Dance:
Check here for the most Recent current postings and Latest News on SYTYCD


So You Think You Can Dance - Season 8 and So You Think You Can Dance Canada Season 4:
SYTYCDCanada Top 14 Results, Top 12 Performances
SYTYCDCanada Top 16 Results, Top 14 Performances
SYTYCD Top 10 Performances and Results, Top 8 Performances and Results, Top 6 Performances
SYTYCDCanada Top 20 Results, Top 18 Performances and Results, Top 16 Performances
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SYTYCD Top 14 Results, Top 12 Performances & SYTYCDCanada Top 22 Results
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SYTYCD Top 14 Performances & SYTYCDCanada Audition Finals & Introducing the Top 22
SYTYCD Top 20 Redux Results, Top 16 Performances and Results & SYTYCDCanada Audition Vancouver, Edmonton, Saint John, Montréal
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SYTYCD Top 20 Results & SYTYCDCanada Auditions: Toronto
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Top 20 Performance
Auditions:
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Finale - Final 6 Results
Top 4 Performance
Top 8 Performance and Results
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Top 16 Performances, Top 16 Results
Top 18 Performances, Top 18 Results
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Top 9 Performances, Top 9 Results
Top 10 Performances, Top 10 Results
Top 11 Performances, Top 11 Results
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Auditions:
Dallas, Nashville, Vegas Week and Top 11 Announcement
Los Angeles and Chicago
New York City and Miami
Announcing the All-Stars! With Sexy Pictures!
Discussion on Format Change

Decadeworthy - SYTYCDworthy - Ranking All the Top 10 Dancers from SYTYCD and SYTYCDCanada (w/ Videos) - List Format

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Finale - Final 6 Results
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Top 10 Performances, Top 12 Results
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Top 14 Performances, Top 14 Results
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So You Think You Can Dance Canada - Season 2 with So You Think You Can Dance Season 6 Auditions:
Finale
Top 4 Performances
Top 6 Performances, Top 6 Results & US Vegas Week Auditions Continued
Top 8 Performances, Top 8 Results & US Salt Lake City and Vegas Week 1 Auditions
Top 10 Performances, Top 10 Results & US New Orleans and Atlanta Auditions
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Top 14 Performances, Top 14 Results & US Phoenix Auditions
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Auditions - Toronto, Vancouver, Saint John
Montréal, Edmonton

My Top 25 Routines from SYTYCD Season 1-5

So You Think You Can Dance - Season 5:
Finale
Top 4 Performance
Top 6 Performance, Top 6 Results
Top 8 Performance, Top 8 Results and Panel Chat
Top 10 Performance, Top 10 Results and Panel Chat
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Finale
Top 8 and 6 Performances and Results, Top 4 Performances
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Top 12 Performances, Results 12 to 10
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Top 16 Performances, Results 16 to 14
Top 18 Performances, Results 18 to 16
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Auditions:
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Vancouver, Halifax, Calgary, Montreal - West, East, Middle and Quebec
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Finale
Top 4 Performances
Top 6 Performances and Results 6 to 4
Top 8 Performances, Results 8 to 6
Top 10 Performances, Results 10 to 8
Top 16, 14 and 12 Weeks Recaps by Vance again
Top 12 Performances, Results 12 to 10 - Guest Blogger Linz McC
Top 14 Performances, Results 14 to 12 - Guest Blogger Linz McC
Top 16 Performances, Results 16 to 14 - Guest Blogger Linz McC
Top 18 Performances, Results 18 to 16
Top 20 Performances, Results 20 to 18
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Callbacks in Las Vegas - The Top 20 Revealed - What Happens In Vegas
Milwaukee, WI - How The Midwest Was Won
Charleston, South Carolina and Washington D.C. - S.C.D.C. The New Electric (Boogaloo) Term!
Salt Lake City and Dallas - Yeehaw Utah!
Los Angeles - It's Time To Put On Those Dancing Shoes Again Kids!

So You Think You Can Dance - Season 3:
Live Tour - Toronto, Pasha's Solo Video, Neil's Solo Video
Finale - Winner Result
Top 4 Performances - Finals
Top 6 Performances, Top 6 Results
Top 8 Performances, Top 8 Results
Top 10 Performances, Top 10 Results
Top 12 Performances, Top 12 Results
Top 14 Performances, Top 14 Results
Top 16 Performances, Top 16 Results
Top 18 Performances, Top 18 Results
Top 20 Performances, Top 20 Results

For So You Think You Can Dance Season 2:
Favorite Video Clips
Song List Live Tour 2006 - Toronto
Live Tour 2006 - Buffalo, Pics, More Pics
Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


More After the Jump...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Looking Fresh and Green - Oklahoma! - Musical Review

Oklahoma! - Fichander Theater - Arena Stage at the Mead Center - Washington D.C. - ****1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Music by Richard Rogers, Book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, Based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs, Directed by Molly Smith, Choreographed by Parker Esse, Original Dances by Agnes de Mille
Runs until Oct. 2nd 2011


Oh! What a beautiful production! Oh! What a beautiful play!

Ok, so confession. I've never actually been a huge fan of the musical Oklahoma!. I've always thought it felt dated, simplistic, and just a bit corny. To me, it was always a mildly enjoyable musical, but never the epic show the groundbreaking musical history dictates. At least, that's what I thought until I saw Arena Stage's current remount of their revival hit from last year, which makes the 1943 musical feel fresh, young and vibrant. With it's theatre-in-the-round presentation, you step miles away from D.C. and straight into Oklahoma! country, and miles away from its anchor at the new Mead Center (a glorious new theatre complex by Vancouver's Bing Thom Architects, that is worth seeing a show just to go visit).

Eugene Lee's simple wooden sets envelop the Fichlander Theatre and sets the sunshine yellow tone that the young cast brings to this invigorating revival by Molly Smith. Being so up close and personal with the stage, the Fichlander brings a closeness to Oklahoma!, with a 360 presentation that strips away the dated nature of the play and brings us iright into simpler times, letting us easily buy into the story of a cowman trying to court a farm girl before the mysterious (read: dark) farm hand lays a hand on her.

Eleasha Gamble (who has dazzled me with her voice before in other local DC shows like Les Miserables at the Signature Theatre, and The Civil War at Ford Theatre) wonderfully gets to shine in a deserved lead role of Laurey, the strong female farm girl at the heart of the central love triangle. Gamble's beautiful voice and her smart and grounded presence is simply perfect for Laurey. PERFECT. Did I mention Gamble is a woman of colour? Molly Smith colour-blind casts this revival and if there are any critics against this, I challenge them to watch Gamble's performance and NOT agree that she makes a perfect Laurey, blonde hair or not. If there's a case that colour-blind casting CAN work, even in such historical contexts, Gamble should be the first example.

Matching wits and emotions with Gamble is Nicholas Rodriguez (who I best know from daytime soap One Life To Live as the 3rd wheel who tried to come between Oliver Fish and Kyle, its first gay love story). Nicholas Rodriguez has a boyishly handsome face and looks very different from previous Curly's I've seen (or know of), which is probably why I loved Rodriguez's Curly even more, for bucking the image of the character and still creating a smashing central lead that is both likable and confidently romantic while showing cracks of emotional vulnerability. Curly's later confrontation with Jud can sometimes feel a tad bullying, but Rodriguez never gets to that point. We understand Rodriguez's Curly, we root for him, but we never feel duped, nor frustrated (with some of his silly social moves). I say all this and I haven't even started mentioning Nicholas' GORGEOUS singing voice.

Knowing Rodriguez only previously from a soap opera, I figured he'd have a passable voice and coasted on his looks and likability, but I was not prepared for the smoothness in his singing that felt both full and large, while soothing and subtle. His entrance to "Oh What A Beautiful Mornin'" sets us up for a beautiful night, but his "The Surrey With the Fringe On Top" shows the intricate emotions and playfulness as he begins to romance Laurey, and us the audience.

It's also nice to see two very young actors cast in the roles of the young maybe-lovers Ado Annie and Will Parker, as well as a suitably young Ali Hakim that gives the second love triangle storyline far more humour and springy lighthearted romance than I've ever fully understood it as.

Ado Annie is a young silly girl who falls in love too easily, and often just feels like a plain silly character. June Schreiner's youth and gee-golly playfulness sets her Ado Annie into the right age, which easily explains Ado Annie's naivety and gives her story a far funnier spin that still feels believable and real.

Cody Williams gives an equal fresh and green performance that at moments feels unrehearsed and unprepared, and whether by design or not, gives his Will Parker a genuine heart (as simplistic as it may be) that excuses Will's silly love story, as Shreiner and Williams' Ado Annie and Will re-enact that comic nature of first love.

Of course, it's not quite Ado Annie's first love, and Nehal B. Joshi, another young actor, livens up the character of Ali Hakim and gives the character a far less creepy vibe I've seen previously, and makes his traveling salesman a far more believable character duped into love than previous caricature portrayals I've seen. Joshi's expressions and intonations hit every comedic cue without turning himself into a clown, and rounds out a believable love triangle that had before felt like a bad cliche.

Of course, if there was ever a bad cliche in this musical, it seemed to fall upon the character of Jud, the lone farm hand who imbued all kind of darkness just because he was a loner, and didn't sing happy tunes. I always thought the scenes with Jud never really worked and were almost ridiculous in trying to cram an antagonist the way it does. I won't say it still totally works here, but Molly Smith has managed to make Jud far more compelling, and explain his story within the confines of the musical, far better in a reasonable manner. And Jud and Curly's on-going dislike is far better reasoned with Rodriguez and Aaron Ramey as Jud. Ramey gives this Jud a misunderstood soul, one that is pushed over the edge. Ramey (who I've seen recently in Miss Saigon in Toronto) has a beautiful thundering tone, and sings with such passion, while he makes his Jud less of a straight-out bad guy, and more of a troubled man who falls in too deep. Ramey's portrayal smoothes over the problems I've had with the Jud character, and another reason this revival works so well.

A great ensemble surrounds the excellent leads, that includes Hugh Nees as Andrew Carnes (Ado Annie's father) and E. Faye Butler (who has recently left the show to star in another Arena Stage play) as Aunt Eller. The young cast two-steps it's way around the 360 stage, in wonderful choreography by Parker Esse.

I loved this Oklahoma! so much that it's really made me re-evaluate other musicals I haven't loved, and wondering if I would have liked them more, if only they had a great cast and stunning production like this one that shows me the true brilliance of the intended show. This Arena Stage revival made a very old musical feel very young and new, with a modern connection that did not sacrifice it's old-simpler-times story and tone. Simply a marvelous and joyous production that relies on young raw talent full of energy and subtle performances in a very bright show.

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

SYTYCDC4 - Adele and "12"

So You Think You Can Dance Canada - Season 4 - Top 14 Results, Top 12 Performances - Ep. 415-416
Judges (Top 14): Jean-Marc Généreux, Tré Armstrong, Rex Harrington, Melissa Williams, Dan Karaty
Judges (Top 12): Jean-Marc Généreux, Tré Armstrong, Luther Brown, Blake McGrath, Mary Murphy

I haven't even gotten around to watching the US Season 8 final performances and finale yet (though I've already been spoiled anyways, not that it was a huge surprise) and while I adored Melanie and Marko, I have to say, there are far more Canadian dancers this year that I'm excited for than the US one had.

I also got to see this week's Top 12 live at the taping, and as always, there's a level of excitement seeing the dancers live that adds something to the dances. I tend to notice different things, and some things look better live than on TV, and vice versa, so I've given grades for both this week. Except this was probably the most outstanding week EVER, that it was basically deciphering between amazing and awesome, and the subtleties from between.

Top 14 Results

Top 14 Group Dance
Style: Jazz
Choreographed by: Melissa Williams
Song: "Rumour Has It - Adele



Actual Bottom 3:
Yuliya and JP
Geisha and Joey
Carlena and Shane

Well, on the plus side, we get to see a Joey solo, and how wonderous it is:

The girls' solos:

Alas, the two hip-hoppers, Carlena and JP, were finally cut. Just as they were finally getting their groove on and getting pretty good, they were cut (but alas, of all the remaining dancers, fairly so).

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
Top 12 - Performances

Lindsay Leuschner and Christian Millette
Style: Salsa
Choreographed by: Francis Lafrenière and Claudia Primeau
Song: "Aguanile" - Héctor Lavoe
Grade - Dance - Live/TV: A-/B+
Grade - Girl - Live/TV: A/A-
Grade - Boy - Live/TV: A/A

Maybe seeing Christian's chest in person made it hotter, but I thought this sizzled live, with all the fast arm movements, but it looked slower on the screen now. Maybe because I could get a better view of the foot movement, which was great, but the arms looked faster. Still, Lindsay looked great and I missed the arm actions that Mary noticed, and Christian has such a masculine presence even while he's shaking his booty salsa style.

Here's the video of Lindsay and Christian's Salsa:



Melissa Mitro and Adam LoPapa
Style: Contemporary
Choreographed by: Sabrina Matthews
Song: "Set Fire To the Rain" - Adele
Grade - Dance - Live/TV: A+/A+
Grade - Girl - Live/TV: A/A+
Grade - Boy - Live/TV: A/A

This was amazing live, and it was still amazing on TV. Though I will admit, despite the emotional power, while watching live, I noticed a few stumbly moments (that were still noticeable on camera), but Adam and Melissa were in such a power mode that they sort of burned right through them and it didn't really matter.

I've been loving Adam and I'm glad he's gotten to shine again (plus seeing him shirtless ain't bad either), while Melissa is like the super strong dark horse. I couldn't remember her at the start, though I recognized her skills and her talents, but she really just threw herself into this dance and you kind of gasp while watching her.

Still, much of this was designed so well by Sabrina with perfect accompaniment from Adele, that SYTYCD should just have a special episode where they dance only to Adele's catalog. Maybe gather Stacey Tookey, Sabrina, Sean Cheesman, Mia Michaels, Wade Robson together. And make sure Melissa and Adam are a part of it.

Here's the video of Melissa and Adam's Contemporary:



Denitsa Ikonomova and Matt Marr
Style: Hip-Hop
Choreographed by: Steve Bolton
Song: "C'Mon (Catch Em By Surprise)" - Diplo vs Tiesto feat. Busta Rhymes
Grade - Dance - Live/TV: A/A
Grade - Girl - Live/TV: A/A
Grade - Boy - Live/TV: A/A+

Blake and Luther thought there was something missing and I have NO idea what they were talking about. I thought Denitsa and Matt were ALL IN and they totally hit it with every power in their bodies. Denitsa totally lost her ballroom background and got totally in the groove, and Matt was the bigger surprise, giving the dance a full throttle effort. Matt just looked powerful in that dance and his usual happy energy was channeled into some scary electronic funk.

Here's the video of Denitsa and Matt's Hip-Hop:


Yuliya Zavadska and Shane Simpson
Style: Jive
Choreographed by: Danny Arbour
Song: "Thunder on the Mountain" - Wanda Jackson feat. Jack White
Grade - Dance - Live/TV: A/A
Grade - Girl - Live/TV: A/A
Grade - Boy - Live/TV: A/A

I forgot that the Jive can often be the death-routine for dancers. Shane looked like a natural. Seriously, he was hopping. This is Yuliya's thing, and she's a master, but Shane was the real surprise, although really, is it that big of a surprise? He's always consistent in being so strong at all the dances. I don't even know why I doubt him anymore.

Here's the video of Yuliya and Shane's Jive:



Geisha Chin and Joey Arrigo
Style: African Jazz
Choreographed by: Sean Cheesman
Song: "Jungle" - Highlight Tribe
Grade - Dance - Live/TV: A/A
Grade - Girl - Live/TV: A/A
Grade - Boy - Live/TV: A/A+

Joey is my favorite male dancer. Geisha, at this point, is probably my least favorite female dancer. So I think last week, Giesha pulled my Joey down to the bottom 3 where he had to dance for his life. So I'm nervous for Joey.

But if it is based on this dance this week, they deserve to be safe. Joey, as always, was extraordinary, and finally, Geisha rose to the occasion and matched Joey step for step. Geisha was totally into the spirit of the piece, and looked fantastic. Finally!

Here's the video of Geisha and Joey's Afro Jazz:



Jordan Clark and François Pruneau
Style: Contemporary
Choreographed by: Sabrina Matthews
Song: "Let Go" - Frou Frou
Grade - Dance - Live/TV: A+/A+
Grade - Girl - Live/TV: A+/A+
Grade - Boy - Live/TV: A/A

Another beautiful number from Sabrina Matthews, with another perfect music pick.

Jordan is just WOW. As always. François, who at this point, and only by default, might be my least favorite male dancer, was superb and fluid here, and such a great partner for Jordan.

Here's the video of Jordan and François' Contemporary:



Top 12 Group Dance
Style: Hip-Hop
Choreographed by: Sho-Tyme
Song: "I Can Transform Ya" - Chris Brown feat. Lil' Wayne & Swizz Beatz
Grade - Dance - Live/TV: A/A-

Great dance. FUGLY COSTUMES. WTF WAS THAT??? What was with the reflectors on the girls' boobies?

But great group dance. Surprisingly mostly in sync. Always fun to see who catches my eye in group dances but my eyes were darting everywhere. Christian was kind of adorable in trying to hit it hard. Shane was a bit off at times though, but Adam, Matt and Joey were always ON. Denitsa, still on her hip-hop high, was amazing here. Jordan and Melissa, showed their front running status by upping each other in attitude. Geisha did quite well on the side.




The Final Roundup:

If you may have noticed, I pretty much gave Straight A's across the board. Only differing in plusses or minuses (and really, only one minus). That may have been one the strongest all-round episodes ever. I seriously can picture a good 8-9 of them WINNING this thing, or winning any other season of both the Canadian or the American version. So it's gonna be a tough battle from here on in.

Should Go Home: Um based on tonight? Lindsay only because I somehow forgot about her bird routine? Even though she's such a great dancer that I love? Based on overall? François and Geisha?
My Predictions:
Bottom 3 Couples
Lindsay and Christian
Yuliya and Shane
Geisha and Joey

Will Go Home: Geisha and Christian


This is how I rank all the dancers overall (based on dancing and personality): (last week's standings in parenthesis)
Overall Ranking:
1 (tie). Melissa (3)
1 (tie). Jordan (1)
1 (tie). Joey (2)
4. Adam (4)
5. Matt (8)
6. Shane (6)
7. Denitsa (9)
8. Christian (7)
9. Lindsay (5)
10. Yuliya (10)
11. Geisha (12)
12. François (11)

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
For More So You Think You Can Dance:
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For So You Think You Can Dance Season 2:
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Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


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