Thursday, July 02, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance - Une Fort Night

So You Think You Can Dance - Top 14 Performance - Ep. 512
Judges: Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, Guest Judge: Mia Michaels

Remember all those weeks when I was suspicious about the producers throwing their weight to stack the decks on American Idol? AHEM...

Evan gets Broadway? Melissa gets BALLET??? Phillip gets Hip-Hop? Janette and Brandon get Cha Cha? And then underdog new pairing Karla and Vitolio get the kiss of death dance Fox Trot? How fair is that???
(And please don't even tell me... but it's RANDOM. Bullsh!t!)

On the other hand, Evan, Melissa, Phillip are three of my favorites but STILL. It seemed so blatant this week. (Janette is fast getting up there too though).

Anyways, let's just get on with the dancing and ignore the fact that they keep pimping Katie Holmes' dance performance on the upcoming 100th episode of the show (on July 23rd). Okay, so Katie (who I actually DO like) is there to help promote The Dizzy Feet Foundation, which seems like a nice way to support underprivileged kids in the dance world. I'm a little dubious about the whole teacher accreditation program (sounds great in theory but the logistics have be worried).

Anyways, it's the Top 14 and while a LOT of people have said they've felt disconnected with this season (dancing skills? choreography? personalities? viewer burn out? high expectations? hitting the limit to Mary's scream? too many contemporary and ballroom dancers? being burned in the audition eps?), I must say, this was a GREAT Top 14 episode where I think I pretty much loved every dance in some manner:

Janette Manrara &
Brandon Bryant
Style: Cha Cha
Choreographed by: Jean Marc & France Genereux
Song: "Hush Hush; Hush Hush" - The Pussycat Dolls
Grade: A-

I thought it started off slightly awkwardly when Janette was trying to drop down to Brandon's feet, especially with Janette, who I usually love more than Brandon, but then it seemed to snap into place and from then on, they were FANTASTIC. Brandon was ON and probably the first week where I truly loved him. And Janette. Seriously, where did she come from?

I will admit, I keep forgetting about her off the dancefloor but she wows me everytime on the dancefloor. Plus JM and France's choreography was truly exciting and snappy.

Here's the video of Janette and Brandon's Cha Cha:

Kayla Radomski &
Kupono Aweau
Style: Contemporary
Choreographed by: Sonya Tayeh
Song: "Eyes on Fire" - Blue Foundation
Grade: A-

I know LOTS of people are saying (online and off) that they aren't connecting with the dancers this year, and here's another two dancers that I really like but I just haven't connected to. Yet.

I respect them as dancers but if they were to get kicked off, I probably wouldn't be too sad (not like how sad I was when Marc was kicked off).

But if anything can save dancers on this show, it's a cool and odd Contemporary routine. Remember when this show first started and none of us really understood contemporary and it was just the artsy dance? Now it's like were all experts or something.

Oh yah, back to the dancers. Maybe it was the interview with Kupono who seemed super adorable this week around, seemingly more cuddly than normal, and maybe it was thanks to Sonya Tayeh's choreo, but they looked fantastic this week and I finally GOT these two. I may be able to love these two after all. Kupono looked great and Kayla was stunning. I'm starting to really GET them. All it took was more weird dancing by Sonya Tayeh!

Here's the video of Kayla and Kupono's Contemporary:

Randi Evans &
Evan Kasprzak
Style: Broadway
Choreographed by: Joey Dowling
Song: "Rich Man's Frug" - Sweet Charity 2005 Broadway Revival Cast Recording
Grade: B+

Okay, standing next to Joey Dowling, how tall is she? Or how short are Evan and Randi?

Evan and props and Broadway is a perfect match. Add in Bob Fosse style dancing and you've won me over already. Randi matches up to Evan's peppiness.

I did notice that Evan looked a bit... feminine in two sections of the dance, and I only note that because Joey Dowling mentioned avoiding that in the clip, but other times, he definitely manned up against Randi even though they were doing the exact same moves and steps.

Mia seemed most disappointed, saying Randi danced heavy, and Evan should have brought more (echoed slightly by Mary) and I could see that they should have hit this out of the park, but I think they came pretty close. Fosse is NOT easy. It looks simpler but is deceptively complicated so I still give them props for learning it so quickly and they're positive attitude that shines through while they're dancing makes it entertaining despite some of the minor technical flaws.

Here's the video of Randi and Evan's Broadway:

Caitlin Kinney &
Jason Glover
Style: Pop Jazz
Choreographed by: Brian Friedman
Song: "Creator" - Santigold
Grade: B

What? A Brian Friedman dance with strange fugly costumes? What?

Okay, I missed the huge flintstones sized necklaces he wore but does he have to subject his dance subjects to his hideous fashion sense?

I had to watch this several times because I couldn't concentrate on Jason and Caitlin at first because all I saw was a some rubber horror porn worm slinking across the stage. At least you can't say Caitlin relied on her beauty this week. The whole thing kind of reminded me of those videos Kirk used to make on Gilmore Girls.

Jason and Caitlin did a weird and great job with what they were entranced to dance to, though I thought Caitlin could have hit things a bit more, and I barely noticed Jason because I was still mesmerized by the "dancing condom" (Nigel's words, not mine).

Here's the video of Caitlin and Jason's Pop Jazz:

Jeanine Mason &
Phillip Chbeeb
Style: Hip-Hop
Choreographed by: Napoleon and Tabitha D'Umo
Song: "Love Lockdown" - Kanye West
Grade: A-

Okay, so Philip gets to do Hip-Hop. Obviously it's going to be great. But I was in awe at how amazing Jeanine was and how she easily kept up with Philip. Loved the way they locked the whole thing.

The chain gimmick was actually really neat and kept the whole thing on edge. But as Mia pointed out, sometimes the chain looked sloppy and felt at odds with the sharpness of Jeanine and Phillip. Was that Mia's veiled knock at Nappy Tabs' concept right after praising them?

Here's the video of Jeanine and Phillip's Hip-Hop:

Melissa Sandvig &
Ade Obayomi
Style: Ballet Pas de Deux
Choreographed by: Thordal Christensen
Song: "Romeo & Juliet Prokofiev's Suite No. 1 Op. 64b, 6th Movement" - Orchestre De La Suisse Romande & Armin Jordan
Grade: A-


Okay, so Melissa, the ballerina, gets to be the first dancer to do classical ballet with point shoes on the show. Hmm... random you say? If it weren't for the fact that Melissa is probably my top female choice right now, I'd ask for a recall, but since she's so strong in everything else she's done, it's actually kinda nice to see her perform her own style to show us where she comes from. I mean, she's excellent from what I can tell, but what adds to it is that she also has the character down with her emotions.

So really, it's Ade who we should be criticizing but while I'm sure he missed some technical points, he seemed to carry through (and carry Melissa) well enough. He was strong, he lifted Melissa nicely to what practically seemed like the whole dance, and he seemed graceful and played the part of Romeo well enough.

Here's the video of Melissa and Ade's Ballet Pas de Deux:

Karla Garcia &
Vitolio Jeune
Style: Quick Step
Choreographed by: Jean Marc and France Genereux
Song: "Puttin' On The Ritz" - Rufus Wainwright
Grade: B+

The dress change was such a gimmick and I loved it. I loved the choreography and loved the statue story that starts and ends the piece. Everything that Nigel said.

Considering the Quick Step used to be the kiss of death (oh, Mary mentions it now as I type this), I thought they did an excellent job. I still thought Vitolio was holding back a bit, but better than before.

Karla was fantastic and I thought she bounced her way around really well and her emotions worked best when she was in character. Her smile seemed a bit plastered when they had to work their way around the stage in carriage but she seemed generally looser than before. I still think she's highly underrated and under-appreciated and worth another look.

Here's the video of Karla and Vitolio's Quick Step:

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

Best Couple of the Night: Janette and Brandon's Cha Cha
Second Best Couple of the Night: Kayla and Kupono's Contemporary
Third Best Couple of the Night: Jeanine and Philip's Hip-Hop

I'm having a really hard time picking this week's best individual of the night. Obviously Melissa and Phillip did amazing in their own styles, but their partners were huge surprises in the way they easily kept up. Or Janette and Brandon or Kayla?
Best Male of the Night: Phillip Chbeeb (though Brandon Bryant was close)
Best Female of the Night: Kayla Radomski

Worst of the Night: Jason and Caitlin's Pop Jazz

This week seemed particularly strong with some better choreography (oh look, no Tyce!) elevating it all. I mean, if the worst dance still got a B from me, it's not too shabby.

Bottom Three: Jason and Caitlin, Karla and Vitolio, and ??? Brandon and Janette?
Going Home: Caitlin and Vitolio? Though I doubt it. Caitlin is so loved. Is Karla done?

Say what you will about this years crop, but I'm having a hard time knocking them off now, especially after this week's performances.

Don't forget, I'll be back after the results show and on Friday, in a separate post this week, our (new) regular panel for this season, the awesome group of
LowResJoe, ABChau, TwoP Lauren S and myself will discuss this week's performances and results.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
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 5:

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

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...

I think it was pretty shitty of Brian to give Caitlin and Jason those costumes. The dance itself would have been fine if they had just made it less literal with the costumes. And, in fact, I thought Caitlin had some really beautiful leaps that were hard to watch because of those ridiculous costumes.
I'm going to assume, though, that Vitolio and Karla are going home.
Oh, and I disagree about the dancers this year. Across the board I find them more personable then last season.