Thursday, July 01, 2010

SYTYCD7 - This Is How The Movie Nine Should Have Been Made

So You Think You Can Dance - Season 7 - Top 9 Performance Night - Ep. 710
Judges: Nigel Lythgoe, Mia Michaels, Adam Shankman

This week, the dancers have to dance their regular partnered routines AND their first solos during the performance episode. Usually we're lucky to get 1 or 2 amazing solos, but we got a wealth of great solos this week, and collectively, probably one of the best I've remembered in a LONG time. And with a whole slew of new choreographers, I thought overall it was a great night:

Adéchiké Torbert with Lauren Gottlieb
Choreographed by: Dave Scott
Style: Hip-Hop
Song: "Hot-N-Fun" - N.E.R.D ft. Nelly Furtado
Grade - Dance: A-
Grade - Contestant: B+

Much better from Adéchiké but partly because it was a great routine from Dave Scott (with Lauren doing a smashing job with it) and it worked with Adéchiké's stiff character that slowly loosens up, which nicely covers his hesitance at showing us a personality.

The judges loved it, partly I think because it's been a vast improvement for him over his previous weeks, but I still thought he started out slow (again, covered by the "character"), and Lauren still sort of danced over him, but I still enjoyed it.

Here's the video of Adéchiké and Lauren's Hip-Hop:

Ashley Galvan with Ade Obayomi
Choreographed by: Dee Caspary
Style: Contemporary
Song: "Cosmic Love" - Florence and the Machine
Grade - Dance: A-
Grade - Contestant: A-

At first I thought it was another whispy contemporary and I thought Ashley looked stiff but then when the song kicked into gear and sped up, I thought the dancing looked far more interesting and Ashley looked far more into it then the start. Her lines looked straighter and maybe the speed just blurred the flaws, but I thought the speed actually made Ade and Ashley dance even cleaner than they ever did.

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

Robert Roldan with Courtney Galiano
Choreographed by: Sonya Tayeh
Style: Jazz
Song: "XXXO" - M.I.A.
Grade - Dance: A-
Grade - Contestant: A-

Robert has some of the quirkiness in Mark so having him dance a Sonja routine is sort of perfect because he seems to get it. Him with Courtney is just awesome. That said, I still think it lacked something, as I think Robert should have almost danced it harder, but he was at the same level as Courtney so maybe it was designed that way and I just wanted the Sonja piece to almost be as hard as the song.

Robert was still awesome and I just love seeing his lines and the way he moves is so controlled in it's freneticism, but I thought it was just short of perfect somehow, when it should have been an A+ performance.

Nigel mentions the Mark connection. Mia tells Robert to take Ballet to add the groundedness that he seems to be missing, despite being a wonderful dancer, and it might be the same thing I feel is just slightly missing.

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

Melinda Sullivan with Pasha Kovalev
Choreographed by: Fabian Sanchez
Style: Salsa
Song: "Madgalena, Mi Amor (Quimara)" - D.L.G.
Grade - Dance: A-
Grade - Contestant: B-

Melinda and Pasha again? Really? Though I'm not sure that is good for her since I cannot take my eyes off Pasha when he dances. And Melinda is not strong enough of a dancer to justify looking away from Pasha.

That said, when I watched it again to actually force myself to watch Melinda, I thought she did a far better job than her first week with Pasha. She's still too stiff for me, but then again, Samba is hard for most dancers so considering, I think she's loosened up already and did an comparable job.

Still, Pasha was awesome wasn't he? And he always looks like he's having so much fun!

I can't believe Mia and Adam are admitting they made a mistake by letting Cristina go last week. THANK YOU! I could NOT figure out why they let her stay last week so I'm glad to see the judges admit it, as harsh as it was for Melinda to hear.

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

Lauren Froderman with Neil Haskell
Choreographed by: Joey Dowling
Style: Broadway
Song: "Let Me Entertain You" - Debbie Gibson
Grade - Dance: A
Grade - Contestant: B+

Wardrobe malfunction? What wardrobe malfunction? Oh right, maybe I should be watching Lauren and not Neil. Neil was SUPERB and so wonderful in his character and such a darling.

Oh right, who are we supposed to be criticizing? I thought Lauren did a fine job, much helped by Joey's choreo, but like Mia, I wanted her to be slinkier and sexier and she needed more oomph to her performance. Adam and Nigel thought she was great but I still feel she's missing some kind of spark despite getting all the moves down.

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

Billy Bell with Kathryn McCormick
Choreographed by: Stacey Tookey
Style: Contemporary
Song: "Jar of Hearts" - Christina Perri
Grade - Dance: A-
Grade - Contestant: A-

Sometimes the routine falls into all the contemporary cliches, and then Stacey spins it around and throws in tricks just in the right places that moves it beyond that.

The judges think that Billy's technical dancing is perfection but his connection to his partner is lacking and I can see their points, but I think it's such a subtle thing that he needs to perfect that it's still above and beyond many other dancers on this show (and far beyond any of the female competitors). No matter what, it was still incredibly moving.

Here's the video of Billy and Kathryn's Contemporary:

Jose "Full Deck" Ruiz with Anya Garnis
Choreographed by: Dmitry Chaplin
Style: Samba
Song: "Long Time" - Shakira
Grade - Dance: B
Grade - Contestant: B-

Well, Jose tried. But he still looks like a little boy playing with a smokin' hot woman and trying to keep up. Anya looked fantastic and like she could school the poor boy.

The judges essentially point out Jose's charm and personality overcomes his lack of dancing skills yet still makes it enjoyable.

Here's the video of Jose and Anya's Samba:

Kent Boyd with Allison Holker
Choreographed by: Mandy Moore
Style: Jazz
Song: "Heartburn" - Alicia Keys
Grade - Dance: A-
Grade - Contestant: A-

Ok, he's supposed to be a man here. I'm not sure if he can look like a man with that boyish haircut and face but who cares when you can dance like that?

Nigel criticizes him for playing to the audience and faking it, and I can see a little of that and his need to keep connecting to his partner (the always excellent Allison who looked HAWWWWWWT here) but I still loved Kent's performance far more than the judges did. He may have played to the audience and I totally fell for it.

Here's the video of Kent and Allison's Jazz:

Alex Wong with Stephen Twitch Boss
Choreographed by: Napoleon and Tabitha D'umo
Style: Hip-Hop
Song: "Outta Your Mind" - Lil Jon and LMFAO
Grade - Dance: A+
Grade - Contestant: A

I thought it was going to be a disaster but that was an incredible routine with a really fun plot, and I thought Alex did a superb job. Not even in just a "oh look, the ballet guy is doing a pretty good job", but in a OH WOW, HE'S MATCHING TWITCH BEAT FOR BEAT. If the only thing I could point as a flaw was that Alex's light weight doesn't give the same heft that Twitch automatically gives to his beats.

Now Nigel, is this proof that we can do same-sex partners now?

Nigel also calls this NappyTabs routine their best ever, and I totally agree. Mia says Alex holds his own to Twitch, who is one of the best in the business. Adam goes nuts as Adam does.

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

The Solos

Billy Bell
Style: Jazz
Song: "Something Bigger, Something Better" - Amanda Blank
Grade: A+

I was expecting some floaty airy contemp piece but that was an awesome quirky cool solo that showed Billy in a very different and artsy with a black-rimmed-glasses light and I LOVED IT. It was interesting and mesmerizing and danced with such precision despite it's odd movements. Unexpected and enthralling.

Jose "Full Deck" Ruiz
Style: Breakdancing
Song: "Super Bad" - James Brown
Grade: A-

Some cool breaking but that headspin was unreal and just kept going. That's when it won me over. He has a nice musicality to it and kept his tricks within the confines of the song.

Kent Boyd
Style: Contemporary
Song: "Down (Candlelight Remix)" - Jay Sean
Grade: A+

There is something about this boy that emits pure sunshine. The solo manages to turn the usual contemporary moves and gives it a huge dose of optimism through a combined Kent personality overdose and perfect music accompaniment. Kent literally reaches for the sky and it sure feels like the sun is shining down on this farm boy.

Alex Wong
Style: Ballet
Song: "Rule the Planet" from Planet of the Apes
Grade: A+

Wow. Simply wow. Beautiful. Ballet movements with contemporary movements and a modern feel and some quirky moments thrown in. AND it all worked with the music right up until the perfectly timed ending. Wow.

Ashley Galvan
Style: Jazz
Song: "Royal T" - Crookers feat. Róisín Murphy
Grade: A-

A great solo that worked well with the beat and Ashley had some nice big jumps/moves there that worked across the stage nicely, something the dancers tend not to do enough in their solos.

Robert Roldan
Style: Contemporary
Song: "Hold Me In My Arms" - Ray LaMontagne
Grade: A-

He combines the smoothness of some of the best contemporary soloists (Travis, Jakob) with the quirkiness of Mark, which is why it makes Robert so interesting and why he's solidifying himself as one of my favorites from this season.

Melinda Sullivan
Style: Tap
Song: "Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down" - Alicia Keys
Grade: B

It's the third week we've seen Melinda's tap solo and while impressive for her skills, I keep losing the little interest I had in them. I feel bad for Melinda because she seemed so promising, but I'm just not wowed.

Adéchiké Torbert
Style: Contemporary
Song: "Ruthless Gravity" - Craig Armstrong
Grade: A

When he doesn't have to connect to his partner, we can see the power and intensity in his dancing here. And it's superb.

Lauren Froderman
Style: Contemporary
Song: "Unchained Melody" - Cyndi Lauper
Grade: A-

Very smooth and while her height on her jumps seem weighted, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

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

WHAT A STRONG NIGHT. Strong pairs with some great routines from a lot of new choreographers (with not a Tyce in sight!) and probably the best set of solos, especially this early in the competition), I've ever seen.

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

The Routines:
Best Routine of the Night: Napoleon and Tabitha's Hip-Hop (Alex and Twitch)
2nd Best Routine of the Night: Joey Dowling's Broadway (Lauren and Neil)
3rd Best Routine of the Night: Mandy Moore's Jazz (Kent and Allison)

The All-Stars:
All-Star MVP: Allison
All-Star MVP 2: Lauren
All-Star MVP 3: Neil
All-Star MVP 4: Courtney
All-Star MVP 5: Kathryn

The Dancers - Solos:
Best of the Night: Billy
2nd: Kent
3rd: Alex
4th: Adéchiké
5th: Robert
6th: Ashley
7th: Jose
8th: Lauren
9th - Worst of the Night: Melinda

The Predictions:
Bottom Three: Melinda, Robert, Adéchiké

Going Home Melinda

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

I mean, at this point, the top 4 boys are sort of just in constant re-arrangement within the top 4, depending on their routines. While Ashley now sits as the top girl now that Cristina is out. And Melinda continues to stay at the bottom.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
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momo said...

THIS is the episdoe when all the elements of this season gelled for me: I'm still thrilled to see the al-stars, but now I know the competitors better and can give them my full attention; the insanely high level of quality of all the dancers even those who are relatively weaker than others; the lack of Tyce choreo (hallelujah) and the quality of the routines, the inclusion of solos; the judges combining supportive remarks with some real dance advice (although I think they are wrong about how Billy Bell's connection to his partner came across on TV--I thought he was totally connected but not melodramatic).
I loved rewatching all these clips because there is so much to see in each routine.

Melinda and Jose have each had repeats of ballroom parterning, the hardest type for non-specialists, and each is now the weakest in support. I would prefer to see Jose go home because he is skating on charm, and I think he needs to be schooled for calling out Legacy in the auditions. Melinda is a cerebral dancer and the judges have been merciless with her, but she has actually performed very well in dances outside her genre and has been given almost no credit for it while Jose has been incredibly sloppy and allowed to slide by because of his smile.

Robert is one of my favorites--I LOVED his solo-- even though Alex, Billy, and Kent each have the technical and charismatic qualities that may make them last longer. Adichike has great potential and I'm glad to see him coming out of his shell. ashleigh is alovly dancer, but like Kayla Radomski, I just find her dull in her non-dancing persona, whihc is unfair, but there it is. Lauren is so unheedingly arrogant, nicer than Kherington, but blurting out egotistical remarks with no clue. she needs someone to help her humble down but without reining in that great spirit, and then she'll be the total package.
Alex and Twitch killed the floor. THIS is what Alex has been wanting to do: he apparently started dancing hip hop before he started ballet and I think he wants to integrate those parts of his dance life.

Rachel said...

I am so glad you post these recaps and clips, because I missed the show this week, and not seeing these amazing dances would have been so sad! So thank you.