Thursday, June 12, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance - 20 Reasons To Dance!

Top 20 - Performance Night
Judges: Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, Dan Karaty


OMG the auditions are always neat to see but this is when it REALLY gets GOOD!!! When the dancers are paired up, forced to dance a certain style and when the audience gets to vote for their faves!!!

The judges still get their say between the bottom 3 teams on Thursday nights solo dance-off (which I'm sad to say, I'm going to miss tomorrow night because I'll be on my way to the other side of the world but I'll be back next week for more coverage and I'll try to report back by the weekend).

I already have some certain judgements based on the auditions (recapped on the show to OneRepublic's "Stop and Stare") and just seeing their pictures and reading their profiles but I'm going to be good and wait until the top 20 perform before I start picking favorites and foes.

I've also decided to added grades this year because I know it's more fun to pass judgement with a concrete grade and it's more fun to read! Though I reserve the right to change my mind (and in fact, I already did between the time I wrote it and the time I posted it when I re-watched all the clips so you might see some scores crossed out with new grades)!


Rayven Armijo and Jamie Bayard
Style: Hip Hop - Choreographed by Napoleon and Tabitha D'Umo
Song: "American Boy" - Estelle feat. Kanye West

First off, love the song. It was a really fun and funny routine by the newest choreographers on the show and I thought Rayven and Jamie did a pretty good job for the first week. Will it hold up in weeks to come? Probably not but I really enjoyed watching these two cuties and while they missed some togetherness and they didn't hit it as hard as they could, it was pretty good for non-Hip Hoppers on week 1. Though I will admit, their cuteness added to the enjoyment and they are lucky to get away with that. Particularly Jamie. Super cute but super missed some of the hardness. Rayven was the better hip hop dancer of the two.

Grade: B B+

Here's the video clip of Rayven and Jamie's performance:

Susie Garcia and Marquis Cunningham
Style: Smooth Waltz - Choreographed by Hunter Johnson
Song: "Dark Waltz" - Hayley Westnera

Okay, so Susie already seems to start with some negative buzz on the boards since people don't seem to love the hoochieness from her costumes (seriously, she's teaching our kids?) but considering she and Marquis had to dance the waltz, which already is less exciting than the rest of the dance styles (for TV at least), it seemed pretty good to me and they were smoother than I thought they would be, with the exception of that awkward lift. Sorry judges, I noticed.

Grade: B+ B

Here's the video clip of Susie and Marquis' performance:

Kourtni Lind and Matt Dorame
Style: Jazz - Choreographed by Mandy Moore
Song: "Tainted Love" - Soft Cell

Apparently they are both tall. Did Nigel just say what I thought he just did? (That Matt dances like he has a stick up "where the sun don't shine"?) It seemed alright but I'm going to quibble that the editing and camera work was really irritating and I don't feel like I got a good sense of the whole dance. It seems like the director, camera people and editor are still dusting off from a year off because I felt like I missed some of their moves. I know they are tall but we can still fit them on the screen SOMEHOW. Matt's cute but he seemed to smile a bit too much to me, but his legs seem to extend forever. I like Kourtni when she dances (though when she talks, she seems a bit too flaky for me), but overall, I thought it was okay but I was hoping for more from these two. Though part of it was that I didn't love the routine and less about the dancers themselves.

Grade: C+ B-

Here's the video clip of Kourtni and Matt's performance:

Chelsea Traille and Thayne Jasperson
Style: Cha Cha - Choreographed by Tony Meredith and Melanie
Song: "Oye Como Va (Latin Trance Remix)" (I think) - Celia Cruz

Is it me or does Thayne's smile remind you of Benji in a contemporary body of Travis? He seemed to smile a bit TOO much in the routine and it was a bit showy but he was pretty good and I LOVED Chelsea Traille. Wow. Girl can SHAKE IT! Thayne was a good gentlemen for her but she was AWESOME (which according to Mary, is a good thing for this style).

Grade: A-

Here's the video clip of Chelsea T. and Thayne's performance:

Chelsie Hightower and Mark Kanemura
Style: Contemporary - Choreographed by Mia Michaels
Song: "Beautiful" - Me'Shell Ndegocello

Mia Michaels! Oh how we missed you! Missed your choreography. Missed your opinionated openness. Wow, she doesn't hold back in the introduction on her dissapoinement with Mark but from the performance, I couldn't really tell why since it was pretty (as the song says) beautiful. Not my favorite Mia routine but they did pretty well and I thought Chelsie was terrific. Mark's moves were cool though sometimes his face seemed either strained or like he was overacting the piece, while Chelsie seemed good at the subtle dramatics.

Grade: B+

Here's the video clip of Chelsie H. and Mark's performance (that unfortunately gets slightly cut off before it continues in the second video with some missed moments):

Kherington Payne and Twitch
Style: Broadway - Choreographed by Tyce DiOrio
Song: "Too Darn Hot" - from Kiss Me Kate

I know people love Twitch while people don't seem to love Kherington (I don't know why) but I thought Kherington was fabulous and Twitch, while not excellent, was pretty darn good for a Hip Hop dancer doing Broadway. It was fun and I thought Twitch partnered pretty well, making Kherington totally shine on that dance floor.

Grade: B+

Here's the video clip of Kherington and Twitch's performance:

Comfort Fedoke and Chris Jarosz
Style: Jive - Choreographed by Tony Meredith and Melanie
Song: "Boom Boom" - Big Head Todd & the Monsters

I liked these two based on the little we saw before, but I feel these two seem like an odd pairing of personalities which could either implode or make a great chemical reaction. From this performance, I'm hopeful because while it wasn't always perfect, it seemed like the two were having fun and I enjoyed it even though I'm not sure their chemistry is still fully together yet (which Dan Karaty notes). I might have just been blinded by Comfort's sparkly dress of Chris' wide open shirt though. She's darling in the dress and while he's cute and all, that big V-neck is just kinda tacky. (Either just cover it up or SHOW IT ALL! (lol))

Grade: B B+

Here's the video clip of Comfort and Chris' performance:

Katee Shean and Joshua Allen
Style: Hip Hop - Choreographed by Napoleon and Tabitha D'Umo
Song: "No Air" - Jodan Sparks & Chris Brown

Um, I'll never look at THAT song the same way again. Hot DAMN. That was AMAZING dancing from two "cry babies" with AMAZING choreography from the newbies Napoleon and Tabitha. Katee makes up for not shutting up last week, because this is the first dance that I think will be remembered throughout the competition. While Katee wasn't always perfect, she was close, and kept up to the pace and was just fantastically synchronized with Joshua who was just ON! Though this brings up an issue that I might have to put a separate grade for the choreography itself since sometimes a bad/boring routine is unfair to the dancers and sometimes, like this one, the great dance enhances the whole performance. But in the end, if they didn't perform the great choreography well, it wouldn't have mattered. Luckily for us, Joshua and Katee (ahem) breathed life into the piece.

Grade: A

Here's the video clip of Katee and Joshua's performance:

Jessica King and William Wingfield
Style: Tango - Choreographed by Hunter Johnson
Song: "Tango " - Cirque du Soleil

If anybody is going to annoy me this year, it might be Jessica, for being cute. If anybody is going to win me over, it's Jessica for being so cute. I didn't think she was totally on but I'm not going to totally fault her considering it's the tango during week 1, but there were times I thought she seemed to smile too much instead of looking hot and smoldering for her partner. Meanwhile, Jessica's partner William seemed really strong and likable and seemed to hold the two together and make it look easy, despite Jessica's missteps (that she did mostly cover up pretty well, I am being picky here). I'm not sure if Mary's statement that they were team to beat is really true at this point though.

Grade: B

Here's the video clip of Jessica and William's performance:

Courtney Galiano and Gev Manoukian
Style: Disco - Choreographed by Doriana Sanchez
Song: "Boogie Wonderland" - Earth Wind and Fire

This performance brings back the issues of rating the choreography along with the actual dancing because I didn't love the overall performance but I actually thought the dancers did well with whatever they were given. But I thought the routine was kind of boring and just a string of disco basics on a classic disco song that's probably been overplayed a few times over.

Grade: C+

Here's the video clip of Courtney and Gev's performance:

So, this is where I make the bold statements to recap the night but I hate to be at all negative because at this point, there really isn't anybody I really dislike yet. I kinda love everyone at this point like a mother loving all her kids. Still, I didn't think there were any clear disasters like there are sometimes in the first week, and if anything, I would almost make judgements on the choreography because it almost came down to that. If I have to be totally honest, I found most of the choreography to be just okay at best, but then again, while many complained last year that the choreography had gone downhill, when you actually look back at the past seasons, there were usually only one or two actually EXCELLENT routines per episode.

Still, if you read me in previous years, you know I tend to look at the positive sides of things and I'm no dance expert so for some other views, you can always check out my fellow bloggers Ted at BloggingSYTYCD, Dan at DuckydoesTV, Linz at LinzMcG's Completely Pointless Blog, Gabriel at ModFab, Sandie at Daemon's TV, and Joe at Low Resolution amongst many others.

In the meantime, I've had to mull it over and re-watch everything because all in all, I think this Top 20 is more unifyingly (is that even a word?) good, but that means less people seem to stand out at the bottom, and less people stand out on top at this early point in the game. So these are all pretty close and by the smallest of margins:

Best Dance of the Night: Katee and Joshua

Favorite Pairings: Rayven and Jamie or Kherington and Twitch

Worst Dance of the Night: Courtney G. and Gev

Worst Pairing: Kourtni and Matt

Favorite Individual Dancers: Chelsea T., Chelsie H., Kherington, William, Rayven, Katee, Joshua

Worst individual dancers: Jessica? Jamie?

Dancers I Like Anyways: Jamie, Twitch, Thayne, Kourtni, Matt, Gev, Courtney G., Comfort, Chris (so, like, practically everyone else)

Dancers I Do NOT Like: No one at this point. Call me a hippie love child if you must!

Bottom Three Predictions: Courtney G. and Gev, Rayven and Jamie, Kourtni and Matt

So what does everyone else think? Who do you all love, hate, love to hate, hate to love? Who will be bottom three? Am I being too nice? Too nitpicky? Too harsh on the choreographers (though I think Doriana's last routine may have tainted me on this final write up section)?

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 4:

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


ljordan00 said...

Thanks for posting the recap! Much appreciated. Great breakdown too btw.

Anonymous said...

What was the song that the whole group danced to at the beginning of the show???

Vance said...

Are you talking about the group dance from the results show? I posted it in the results blog... uh. forgot what its called right now but you can check the latest posting for it. (the one by Wade right?)

momo said...

I really like your recap--thanks! I tend to also just glow with joy for the whole crowd at first because they are all so talented. Later one, I'll be ready to be critical, but I love the show and don't see the point of negativity!
This is a strong group overall. Nobody that isn't talented, so a lot IS going to depend on the match with the choreographer.
Joshua, Mark, Will, Thayne, Susie, Katee, Twitch, Chelsea H, are my favorites so far, but there is nobody I dislike.

Unknown said...

I particularly noticed bad camera work and found myself getting very annoyed by the weird angles, extreme closeups and letting one partner dance off the screen. I have this odd idea that when im watching a couple dance I want to see the whole package! ..

Sadly enough, it was pointed out to me by the person I watching the show with that when I exrpessed my annoyance, it happened to also be during the performances of the 3 bottom couples. Coincidence? i think not. Bad camera work is going to cost more then a few couples their spots this season as how the heck can we vote for a couple that we dont see the entire dance??!!

I think it's meant to be this way as producers pick who they want to see in the bottom and keep over who they think is not marketable overall. The easiest way is certainly to show the least of the partnership. How can the public possibly vote when we cant see the whole package.

Vance said...

I was thinking that too Kim. I think your conspiracy theatre about the bad camerawork might be right on the button.

I was annoyed at some of the bad camera work tonight too.

Thing is though, not all were bad... so its like. what IS the director/producer/camera person thinking???

Victoria (toy) DeIorio said...

If you despise the camera work on So You Think You Can Dance, sign my petition to alert the producers to how the Television public is missing out on the entire stage picture.