Thursday, June 11, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance - Who to 20VE?

So You Think You Can Dance - Top 20 Performance - Ep. 506
Judges: Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, Guest Judge: Adam Shankman

So, last week I had some reservations about the Top 20 because I knew Nigel had "cast" them instead of picking the "best" dancers and if you noticed, it's quite a pretty bunch this year.

And then on top of that, in this first week, there seems to be quite a few convenient coincidences with dancers "randomly" picking their own styles. RIGHT.

On the other hand, WHO CARES!?! When you can get so many great dances (I don't think I've ever given out so many A's on the first night) on the first performance week, it really makes me wonder if I've either gotten soft or something. I know I'm easy to please, but this is a terrific bunch, isn't it?

I don't even know which of the Top 20 dancers I should be falling in love with anymore. Too many to choose from. I can't choose them all can I? (And yes, the title is 20ve with the 2 looking like an L, just in case you didn't get it)

Jeanine Mason &
Phillip Chbeeb
Style: Hip-Hop
Choreographed by: Napoleon & Tabitha
Song: "Mad" - Neyo
Grade: A

It's a testament to Jeanine that not only was she not bad in a hip-hop style that she doesn't know, but that she kept up with Philip, who I will admit, I couldn't take my eyes off of.

But Jeanine kept up well and while she didn't have that extra snap that Philip has, he's so fricken awesome in his own style, that it's really unfair of us to ask for his perfection, but man, she came pretty close. And as Adam said, Philip is a generous dancer and as amazing as he is, he really DOES feel like he's partnering, which can easily be forgotten in Hip-Hop.
Here's the video of Jeanine and Philip's Hip-Hop:

Asuka Kondoh &
Vitolio Jeune
Style: Broadway
Choreographed by: Tyce Diorio
Song: "Hot Honey Rag" - Chicago The Musical - BP Studio Musicians
Grade: B-

There wasn't enough bounce in Vitolio but I thought Asuka had some moments. The judges thought it was lacking but personally, I didn't love some of the choreography again (Tyce Tyce Tyce... tisk tisk) though it had some moments and they usually coincided with Asuka's best moments.

On the other hand, as Nigel pointed out, you couldn't really fault their actual technical dancing since it was nicely done and sharp, but now, just once more, with feeling.
Here's the video of Asuka and Vitolio's Broadway:

Karla Garcia &
Jonathan Platero
Style: Cha Cha
Choreographed by: Tony Meredith
Song: "Poker Face" - Lady Gaga
Grade: B

Why did we never really see Jonathan before this? HELLO! Actually, ditto with Karla. YAY!!! Another Asian!

So I think they could have turned up the dial just one more click, but generally, I thought it was pretty good, at least after I recovered from my epileptic seizure from the lighting. When they had to do their twists and turns and cool moves, they were ON, now they just need to make sure they hold the in-between moments with the same energy since they seem to be checking in with each other, but once they get used to each other even more through the weeks, I think they will be more comfortable with each other and go for the gusto.
Here's the video of Karla and Jonathan's Cha Cha:

Randi Evans &
Evan Kasprzak
Style: Jazz
Choreographed by: Tyce Dioro
Song: "I Only Have Eyes For You" - Jamie Cullum
Grade: A

I thought I would giggle maybe a little while watching Evan try to be sexy but instead I think I just giggled because I just want to squeeze Evan's cheeks (I won't say which ones). I think I fell in love with these two as the performance progressed.

Evan and Randi had great chemistry together (despite the fact that she's married and Evan's nervous about this) and the wee dancers (both are little apparently though only really noticeable when they stand beside the towering Cat Deeley. I wonder how Cat stacks up next to Ryan Seacrest?) both rolled and flitted across the stage with ease, making Tyce's choreography into something that seemed actually quite beautiful.
Here's the video of Randi and Evan's Jazz:

Paris Torres &
Tony Bellissimo
Style: Hip-Hop
Choreographed by: Napoleon & Tabitha D'Umo
Song: "Let The Beat Rock (Boyz Noize Megamix)" - Black Eyed Peas
Grade: B

Other than the fact that I'm starting to hate the Black Eyed Peas, I thought they did a pretty good job, especially on the first try. I'm trying not to grade on a curve, but I think the time away from SYTYCD softens me (granted, we here in Canada have only been without SYTYCD since Christmas and not last summer so I haven't even been deprived that long).

It wasn't the best and the judges wanted it to hit harder, which I agree, but it was decent. It was cute. Slightly messy at the end, and I think Paris hit harder than Tony actually, but enjoyable to watch still.
Here's the video of Paris and Tony's Hip-Hop:

Caitlin Kinney &
Jason Glover
Style: Bollywood
Choreographed by: Nakul Dev Mahajan
Song: "Jai Ho" - A.R. Rahman - Slumdog Millionaire Soundtrack
Grade: A-

Well that was fast. First week and they already use the Slumdog soundtrack.

Can Bollywood ever NOT look fun? So fun! But with that, I thought Caitlin seemed a bit more on the mark than Jason, but Jason has a smoothness/breeziness/cuteness to him that shouldn't be discounted. While I think I liked Caitlin's sister just a TAD more than Caitlin, I, like Adam who was worried, thought she did a fabulous job here.
Here's the video of Caitlin and Jason's Bollywood:

Janette Manrara &
Brandon Bryant
Style: Foxtrot
Choreographed by: Louis Van Amstel
Song: "Come Fly With Me" - Michael Bublé
Grade: B+

Is there an exchange program with Dancing with the Stars?

Was it me or did Brandon admire his own dancing skills at the start? But once he got over himself, I thought he actually did a wonderful job and shook off whatever arrogant vibes he might have left (hints of Danny but I think Brandon learned his lesson last year and toned it down). But who cares because once I started concentrating on Janette, my eyes couldn't stay off her. She was wonderful and lovely and a total surprise. Plus that last spin lift they did was pretty cool!

(While rewatching it, I realized why Brandon gets the same Danny stigma. He started off dancing while showcasing himself, while Janette was dancing to HIM. But Brandon switched over halfway through the dance while Danny never really turned a chance down to show himself off to us. At least Brandon is learning fast).
Here's the video of Janette and Brandon's Foxtrot:

Ashley Valerio &
Kupono Aweau
Style: Jazz
Choreographed by: Wade Robson
Song: "Felt Mountain" - Goldfrapp
Grade: B+

Whoa, full out crash test dummies costumes and makeup. You gotta love this show and Wade for the surrealist stuff they can pull off on network television (...hey, Adam just said basically the same thing now after I typed this!). I'm sure if someone just tuned into the show during this routine, they'd stare in horror.

Like Adam, I almost forgot to watch the dancing because they carried it off. The weirdness was almost perfect for Kupono, who like his friend Mark Kanemura, is kinda strange and odd in a weird and wonderful way. Considering Ashley has tried out 4 times and only made it this year, I sort of wrote her off but she managed to show why she deserves to be here. I think I still remember the weird imagery more than their actual dancing, but that's probably a good thing since their movements faded easily into the idea of the piece.

In rewatching the piece, I feel like Ashley is going to be underrated and under-appreciated. Myself included. I'm even telling myself she's better than we initially thought and thinking I'm not going to appreciate her.
Here's the video of Ashley and Kupono's Jazz:

Melissa Sandvig &
Ade Obayomi
Style: Contemporary
Choreographed by: Mandy Moore
Song: "Right Here Waiting" - Richard Marx
Grade: A

Richard Marx? I LOVE this song. I know. Cheese, but I grew up with it. Meanwhile, I thought this might go into regular contemporary territory but WOW. Mandy Moore. Wow. Ade and Melissa? What strength in those lifts! That splits lift that shifts over Ade's head showed the power in BOTH these two dancers.

And considering it's kind of an odd pairing, they worked far better than their preview clip would lead me to believe. It was graceful and fluid and Melissa's legs showed some real power as she curls around Ade (who obviously looks strong already). I'm very impressed.
Here's the video of Melissa and Ade's Contemporary:

Kayla Radomski &
Maksim Kapitannikov
Style: Samba
Choreographed by: Louis Van Amstel
Song: "Jum Bah Day" - House of Gypsies
Grade: A

Wow. They should just get a room. Okay. like so much of this first episode, it seemed a little convenient that Max got his own style and as he should, he breezed through that dance like an expert that could easily toss it off blindfolded. Kayla totally kept up. And then some.

The judges criticized Max for not punching out some of his lines but pretty much loved it and loved Kayla and her flying fringe dress. Seriously, when in doubt, wear a fringy dress and spin.
Here's the video of Kayla and Max's Samba:

The Final Roundup:

Best Couple of the Night: Jeanine and Philip's Hip-Hop
Second Best Couple of the Night: Melissa and Ade's Contemporary
Third Best Couple of the Night: Randi and Evan's Jazz
Fourth Best Couple of the Night: Kayla and Max's Samba

Best Male of the Night: Philip Chbeeb
Best Female of the Night: Melissa Sandvig

My Early Faves Who Didn't Disappoint: Philip Chbeeb, Evan Kasprzak, Kupono Aweau, Caitlin Kinney
New Faves Who Are Catching My Attention: Jeanine Mason, Jonathan Platero, Karla Garcia, Jason Glover, Janette Manrara, Melissa Sandvig, Kayla Radomski, Ade Obiyomi

At this point it's still too early to put the dancers in an order of preference and especially this year when there were so many great performances and not one dancer monumentally screwed up on this first week. Which means sadly, the amount of screen time a dancer got during the auditions, or ones hotness, will again play heavily in this first round of voting.

Worst of the Night: Asuka and Vitolio? By default?

Bottom Three Couples: Asuka and Vitolio, Karla and Jonathan, and uh... Janette and Brandon?
Going Home: Vitolio and ... uh... Asuka? Janette? And I'm saying that as a fan of Asuka and a new fan of Janette's. My early pick pre-show would have been Ashley but now I'm not so sure about that. Maybe Paris? Though I have a feeling Tony will keep them safe.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
For More So You Think You Can Dance:
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So You Think You Can Dance - Season 5:

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

So You Think You Can Dance Canada:
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
Toronto Week - The Cut to the Top 20
Vancouver, Halifax, Calgary, Montreal - West, East, Middle and Quebec
Toronto - Toronto's Best Foot Forward
The Judges, The Host, The Teaser, All Photos from CTV

So You Think You Can Dance - Season 4:
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
Introducing the Top 20
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

Thanks to Rickey for the photos and videos.
Vance at

1 comment:

jeremy said...

Melissa is my favorite cuz she's old ("seasoned" ha!) and pretty much breathtaking. Phillip is my second favorite because I've loved him since however long ago it was he auditioned. Outside of those two, I'm just looking forward to some awesome dancing this season.