Welcome to the penultimate performance episode of So You Think You Can Dance! This week is sort of the semi-finals, featuring the top 6 dancers who remain in the competition. In a shocker, Janette was eliminated last week, along with (in a not-so-shocker) Jason, so the remaining dancers are Ade, Brandon, Evan, Jeanine, Kayla and Melissa. With the decision in the viewers’ hands, there’s no telling who’ll be here next week. Since this is another super-sized 2 hour episode, let’s get started!
Joining our regular judges – Mary Murphy and Nigel Lithgoe – this week is Lil C. I can’t understand half of what he says, so this should be interesting….or annoying, take your pick. Host Cat queries the judges about last week’s events. Lil C agrees with America’s choices so far, but Mary seems to disagree, saying it was tough to see Janette to home. She gives some advice to the viewers at home: vote not only for the performance, but for the whole season. Nigel gives some advice to the dancers: bring some personality tonight. This season hasn’t had any major standouts in the personality arena, so viewers are voting on the choreography and the routine rather than on the dancers. Hmmm…wonder who those comments are directed at.
Before we get down to the couples, the remaining 3 guys will be dancing a Jazz routine choreographed by Sonya Tayeh. Ade, Evan and Brandon stand side-by-side looking like an Oreo while Sonya explains that this routine will be Willie Wonka-esque.
The guys dance to “True Romance” by She Wants Revenge. Lil C admits he’s wanted to see Brandon and Ade in the same number since the beginning. Brandon is such a dedicated dancer, he says. Weeks ago, Lil C said Ade was the one to watch and he’s still proving that. Lil C then comments Evan for not being dominated by Brandon and Ade. The subtext here is that they are stronger dancers than Evan. Mary, of course, loved the routine. She notes the guys’ unison and says the routine shows why they are the top 3. Nigel agrees with Mary and then says that Evan stood out because they’ve never seen him working at this level before. This season has a higher standard of dance than in past seasons and it’s because the dancers are so good.
Jeanine and Ade
This week, the girls drew for partners and for the two dance styles they’ll be performing with those partners. This is the first time Jeanine and Ade will be working together and Jeanine is excited: she wanted to work with Ade and says he’s the strongest partner. First up for the new partners is a Samba choreographed by Louis Van Amstel. This won’t be a traditional Samba, Louis cautions: it’ll be even more sexy, hot and suggestive. There are lots of falls and missteps in rehearsal, so this could go really badly.
Dancing to “Love Game” by Lady Gaga, Jeanine and Ade do a serviceable Samba. It’s not quite as down and dirty as it needed to be and Ade feels a little more bouncy than he should. Mary says the first 15 seconds of the routine were incredibly dynamic, but then it all started to fall apart. She notes that the roll of the Samba wasn’t there: the routine looked so novice. It needed to be hot - and not just in their appearance – and it just wasn’t. Lil C notes that Jeanine looks amazing and says he was excited about this pairing. He says the routine fell short, but wonders if his expectations might have been too high. Nigel says Ade has been fantastic in other routines, but he needs to work harder to adapt to other styles. Jeanine did well in this routine and is fabulous in everything she’s done. Nigel notes that they were working with one of the great Latin American choreographers and he probably gave them the same corrections the judges just did.
Again tonight, each of the dancers is performing a solo and again, I’m not recapping them. The solos are all pretty much the same each week and since the judges don’t comment, what’s the point?
Melissa and Evan
First up for Melissa and Evan is a Broadway routine choreographed by Tyce Diorio. Evan will be playing a groom who’s overslept and Melissa will play his eager bride. It’s a very straightforward Broadway routine – just Evan’s style. Dancing to “Get Me to the Church on Time” from My Fair Lady Melissa is in a tiny dress that looks more like a teddy and Evan is clad in a white dress shirt, along with black boxers and black socks….and garters. Seriously, who wears those any more if they’re under, like, 90? It’s a nice routine, but considering this is Evan’s specialty, I’m not blown away.
Lil C thought that Evan should have really shined in this number and he didn’t, although he did dance “really good.” Lil C isn’t sure what’s missing, but there isn’t a lot of time to find it. The performance was an “A,” but definitely not an “A+.” Mary says the routine was fun and entertaining, but adds that it’s hard to take Evan seriously in his underwear. Nigel says Melissa is inspirational for so many ballerinas out there, but most of them aren’t as adaptable as she is. Technically, this routine wasn’t very demanding, so Evan needed to bring lots of personality to the number and he did just that.
Kayla and Brandon
Now this is the pairing I’ve been waiting for all season. Since these two are, IMO, the best all around dancers in the competition, I’ve wanted to see if they could be even better as a couple. They’ll be working on a Contemporary routine with Stacey Tookey. Kayla will play the mistress of a married man, who can’t leave him. They’ll have to work on the emotional aspect of the dance and Stacey tells us she’s pulling out all the stops on this one: it is the top 6 after all.
Dancing to “All I Want” by Ahn Trio, Kayla and Brandon knock it out of the park. The routine is fantastic and their talent is really on display here. Lil C says the routine was really intense and “beyond amazing.” Since the beginning of the show, everyone Kayla has been paired with has been at a disadvantage because she’s so talented. This is the first time she’s been equally matched. Mary tells Brandon that’s he’s still riding first class on the Hot Tamale Train and says his dancing here was brilliant. Kayla, Mary says, is exquisite and hasn’t taken a wrong step yet. Nigel first compliments Stacey Tookey on the choreography, noting her transition from the Canadian version of the show. He then points out that the girls on this show have had a rough time of it: they’ve been pregnant, drug addicts, zombies…now Kayla’s playing an abused mistress. He wishes Kayla and Brandon had been paired up sooner so their chemistry could have really been cemented. He says their dancing was brilliant.
Jeanine and Ade, Round Two
Talk about a 180. Jeanine and Ade are going from the Samba to Hip Hop with Tabitha and Napoleon. They will play friends getting evicted from their apartment and will have to work with a pile of boxes. Oh yay, more props. Jeanine has trouble in rehearsal and worries that she could fall on her face. You know, I don’t want anyone to fall, really, but don’t you wish that, just once, someone actually would fall on their face?
Of course, no one falls down (boo) and the routine, danced to Move (If You Wanna) by MIMS is clever and danced really well. Lil C wishes moving was always that fun. Personally, I wish it only took 2 minutes, like that routine. They both danced better than he thought they would. Ade has kind of a dirty groove, but he doesn’t always use it: here he did. This is the first time Jeanine has done Hip Hop with someone other than Phillip and Lil C liked it. At least I think that’s what he said. He called it “buck,” I guess that’s good. Mary starts out apologizing to Jeanine for not saying that she looked terrific in the Samba. She says that getting evicted stinks and she doesn’t think either Jeanine or Ade will be getting an eviction notice this week. She applauds Ade for keeping his bum down in this routine. Nigel thinks they really got down in a routine that could have overshadowed the actual dancing. It was fantastic.
Okay, remember how I said I wasn’t recapping the solos? Okay, that’s was before Brandon danced. Wearing only a pair of tiny black spandex shorts, Brandon dances to “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana. This is the same song Caitlyn and Jason did their Paso Doble to and I felt like they got owned by the music. Brandon doesn’t have that problem: he commands the stage and brings the judges – and likely the entire audience – to their feet. Nigel calls it one of the best solos they’ve ever seen on the show. He’s right. If you missed it, head to YouTube right now.
Melissa and Evan, Round Two
Is the Quickstep the kiss of death on this show? Does anyone ever do a really amazing Quickstep? For their second dance, Melissa and Evan will be working with Louis Van Amstel on a Quickstep and it’s pretty clear – particularly because she actually tells us – that Melissa doesn’t completely trust Evan as a partner. I can’t say I blame her. After all, she’s been partnered with Ade most of the season and he’s arguably the best at partner work. He’s certainly stronger than Evan. Because Evan is part hobbit, Louis works on helping Melissa and Evan change their posture so that Evan looks taller.
They dance to “As Long as I’m Singin’” by The Brian Setzer Orchestra and, while it lovely in parts, it’s not great. Lil C commends Evan on dancing bigger. Back when they did the Jive, the judges talked to Evan about his retractions, but he it doesn’t seem like he listened. Mary first compliments Louis Van Amstel on two unbelievable routines tonight. This routine started out well, but everything crumbled. The lift near the end was good but, overall, Melissa and Evan didn’t live up to Mary’s expectations. Nigel takes Melissa to task for talking about how old she is at 29. She’s still young and extremely talented. The only time the routine really floundered was the middle portion when they did the Lindy Hop.Was it one of the best tonight? No.
Kayla and Brandon, Round Two
For their second routine this week, Kayla and Brandon worked with Doriana Sanchez on a Disco number. Doriana tells us this routine will be high energy and fun. She cautions Brandon that he’ll be doing lots of lifts and, because he admits he hasn’t done any push-ups, she orders him to drop and start working because this will be a challenging number.
In silver and white, Kayla and Brandon – who look like negative images of each other – dance to “Dance (Disco Heat)” by Sylvester and I’m tired just watching. Lil C rambles on about comfort zones and darkness and it seems as if he liked the routine. Brandon has helped Kayla reach a new level. Mary says they hit a home run tonight. Kayla really got her groove on and Brandon shouldn’t be having any self-esteem issues: he’s incredible. Nigel says it’s easy to hype up the audience with music and screaming, but he’ll be critiquing the routine professionally. He then jumps to his feet, screaming and dancing. This is what the show is about: diversity in dance. He calls the performance “absolutely incredible.”
Triplet Powers Activate!
The final performance of the night will feature the final 3 girls in a Jazz number choreographed by Sonya Tayeh. Each of the girls will be playing a different superhero: Kayla will be Storm, Jeanine will be Wonder Woman and Melissa will be Buttercup. Who the Hell is Buttercup? Like the guys, the girls will have to work on getting in sync with each other. It doesn’t do so smoothly in rehearsals as Jeanine clocks Kayla square in the face…. by accident…or at least that’s what she says.
Wearing very dominatrix meets Wonder Woman costumes, the girls dance to “Kick It” by Nina Martine. Lil C commends Sonya on the curriculum at Superhero High. The routine required them to work as a group, but also to shine as individuals. He thinks maybe the girls were a little too courteous to each other: they didn’t really go for it. It was an excellent routine, danced amazingly, but he needed more. Mary says the routine as amazing. These girls are the epitome of strong, versatile, sexy dancers. Nigel lived the chemistry between the girls and says their strengths are equal. The choreography stood out in a fantastic routine.
Well, that’s it for this week. Tune in next week when, hopefully, the strongest dancers will be back to compete in the finale.