Welcome back to another episode of So You Think You Can Dance! Last week, we said goodbye to Peter and Pauline, who were almost assured of elimination after drawing the dreaded Quickstep, aka The Eliminator. Why they don’t retire that one, I’ll never know. We’re down to 14 dancers, which means the season finale should be airing some time in March. (<--- only a slight exaggeration)
This week, the dancers will all be talking about what they were like as a kid and reminiscing about their most memorable performances. Frankly, these all blend together; some of them were shy, some rebellious, some have embarrassing videos of themselves in bunny ears or too much makeup. Really, let’s stick with the actual dancing and the judges’ comments. This recap only needs to be so long. The producers may feel the need for filler. I do not. Did I mention that the first five couples will have performed by the time we’re an hour and ten minutes into the show? Ah, Fox; the master of filler.
Ashleigh and Jakob
You know what bugs me? The nickname “Nappy Tabs.” What the hell is that about? Anyway, Ashleigh and Jakob will be working on a hip hop routine choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon this week. They will be portraying a couple in love, but she will discover that he has cheated. Dancing to “Whatcha Say” by Jason Derulo, Ashleigh and Jakob do an incredibly respectable hip hop routine, especially considering the fact that she’s a ballroom dancer and he’s a contemporary dancer. I am only slightly distracted by the fact that she is wearing a sheer lace top that I owned in 1992.
Nigel: Great routine by Tabitha and Napoleon. Every week, Jakob is challenged by different styles and every week, he excels. If he continues to grow like this, he’ll definitely make it to the top 10. While it seemed like Ashleigh had the ability to grow and ride on Jakob’s coat tails, she’s grown faster than anyone could have imagined. She’s contributed to much to this partnership. A lot of people didn’t want to give her a chance, but now they’re eating their words.
Mary: She was spellbound. It was hard-hitting and believable.
Adam: In the beginning, Jakob was as sure a bet for the top 10 as anyone. Ashleigh was the one Adam didn’t believe in, but now he thinks she’s a contender as well.
Hey, before we go any further, I have to say how ridiculous it is that the judges will keep praising the dancers as top 10 material as if it’s some far off goal. There are only 14 dancers left, so the top 10 is in TWO weeks.
Karen and Kevin
Sometimes when a couple chooses their dance style you can almost hear that little “end game” Pacman noise. This is one of those times. Karen and Kevin will be performing a Broadway routine choreographed by Spencer Liff, who is new to the show. The routine is from Sweet Charity and both Karen and Kevin seem shocked at how difficult this style really is. Because it’s a rule that all men who dance Broadway must wear suspenders, Kevin has on his suspenders as they dance to “If My Friends Could See Me Now” from Sweet Charity. This is a recent recording, so it’s Christina Applegate doing the honors with this song. Meh. The best I can say about this routine is that it wasn’t horrible. I wanted to like it more than I actually did. While they both did the steps, they weren’t really performing them.
Nigel: Props to Spencer, a new choreographer for the show. Broadway dancing requires humor and added personality. Both were missing from this performance. This was Karen’s first time dancing without being sexy and Nigel didn’t like it. She didn’t bring any humor to the performance, but she brought more than Kevin did. Since Kevin’s own style requires some humor, Nigel expected Kevin to be able to bring it to this number. There was just no chemistry.
Mary: Mary agrees with Nigel. There just needed to be more. The performance was nice and safe. Karen fared better than Kevin, but that’s not saying much.
Adam: Adam gives props to Spencer for challenging the dancers. He actually liked watching Karen not be sexy and calls the performance a “bump in the road.”
To lighten the mood, Cat points out Kevin’s sparkly shoes. Unless the fans throw a lot of votes his way, those shoes might be Kevin’s parting gift.
Noelle and Russell
What kind of coinkidink is this? Noelle and Russell got the Foxtrot again. If you’ll remember, they drew the Foxtrot a few weeks ago and Russell ended up dancing with instructor Melanie, while Noelle sat in the audience nursing a bum leg. This week, they get a second chance at the Foxtrot, this time with choreographer Eddie Simon. Noelle is confident that this dance with be a breakthrough performance for them, which immediately puts me on edge. Reality show producers love their foreshadowing. This could mean either Noelle or Russell or both of them could end up tripping and falling off the stage. Dancing to “Baby (You’ve Got What it Takes)” sung by the ubiquitous Michael Buble. (<---I know there’s an accent on his name, but I’m too lazy to do it) Luckily for Noelle, Russell and the audience, it’s far from disastrous. Noelle is elegant in a red gown and Russell sports a dapper black pants/vest and white shirt ensemble. At this point, I have to remind myself that Russell is mainly a krumper. They both look fantastic, but he’s the star.
Nigel: It’s only been a few weeks since the last Foxtrot, but Russell has improved so much in that time. His rise and fall was much better. He never ceases to amaze; he’s a star. Noelle has a star partner, but she’s really stepping out in her own right.
Mary: Practice definitely makes perfect. They made that look easy. Noelle was gorgeous and elegant and the footwork was terrific.
Adam: The key component of that performance was joy. They had so much confidence. It was fantastic.
Channing and Victor
I‘ve always thought Tyce Diorio is a bit of a tool and his appearance on this week’s show does nothing to change my opinion. Channing and Victor will be dancing a Tyce-choreographed jazz routine where they both play black birds. This only confirms to me that Tyce is insane. The routine is set to “Blackbird,” but it’s not the good version by the Beatles; it’s the horribly distracting cover by Bobby McFerrin, he of the human beat box. Upstage is a prop designed to look like a big bird cage, only the bars are elastic-y, so Channing and Victor can move between them. Maybe it’s a good routine. I couldn’t tell you because the music got in the way. I have nothing against Bobby McFerrin. I mean, hey, he just wanted us to be happy about 20 years ago and who can’t like that? Still, this song grates. Otherwise, this routine is the first time that Channing didn’t seem like she was just marking steps. Still, there’s something lacking in her performance: maybe it’s her elevation or her extension. Either way, I’m not that impressed and I really want to be.
Nigel: This is the first week that Channing looked like she was actually enjoying herself. There’s a lot to say about Victor. From the first time they saw him, he’s grown as a person. His growth as a dancer hasn’t been as fast and he really needs to push himself because the other guys are growing by leaps and bounds.
Mary: What a great piece by Tyce – the concept was great. This only confirms that Mary is insane. Mary agrees with Nigel that Victor needs to grow more as a dancer. Channing has been strong throughout the competition, but it was fun to see her let go tonight.
Adam: It’s as if Channing is finally finding her way into the show. Nigel interjects that he likes the Beatles version of the song and Adam agrees. He says the song kept him from getting into the dance.
Kathryn and Legacy
In store for Kathryn and Legacy this week is a Paso Doble routine choreographed by Tony Meredith. Tony tells us that the words that describe the Paso are “passion,” “power” and “provocative.” Legacy will portray an admiral returning from sea to find Kathryn, his lover. Tony calls it “the Paso from Hell.” So good luck to you two! It doesn’t bode well that Legacy’s pants rip right open in the middle of rehearsal. Dancing to “Ka” from one of those Cirque du Soleil shows, Kathryn and Legacy kill it. He’s clad only in black pants, while Kathryn works a long, flowy white skirt and tiny peasant-y top. It’s powerful and passionate and surprising, especially in light of the fact that he’s a hip hop dancer.
Nigel: Nigel isn’t sure where Tony got that story from because there aren’t many admirals who look like Legacy. Adam interjects that maybe more people would join the Navy if there were. Last week, the judges complained that Kathryn’s dancing was too juvenile. She definitely didn’t do that this week; she danced with intensity and passion. Nigel comments that, whenever he sees Legacy, he’s practicing the week’s routine. That hunger and passion is going to push Legacy into the top 10.
Mary: Kathryn played that just right and Legacy was just crazy this week. The character was right on, even though the technique wasn’t all there. They’re both delivering more than what anyone anticipated from them.
Adam: Kathryn killed it. She had so much bravado, along with beautiful carriage. Adam remembers back to the auditions when Legacy’s lack of stamina was shocking. Now, it’s spectacular. Legacy is no longer a break dancer – he’s a dancer.
Pause for Shameless Plugging of Actually Worthwhile Charity
We interrupt the regular performance part of the show for a little plug about the Dizzyfeet Foundation. Since I actually think it’s a cool charity, I don’t mind the interruption. In the past four months, the foundation has raised enough money to give out scholarships to nine dancers. Still, it’s not enough. The Dizzyfeet Foundation will be holding a gala on November 29th at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood to raise more money. Performing at the gala will be dancers from SYTYCD, Dancing With the Stars, America’s Best Dance Crew and the movie Step Up, as well as performers from Julliard, American Ballet Theater and many others. If you go, come back and tell us all about it! Moving on…
Ellenore and Ryan
This week, Ellenore and Ryan will be working with Travis Wall on a Contemporary number. Since Travis is one of my all-time favorite contestants on this show, I’m always happy to see him. The routine will have Ellenore and Ryan portraying a reunited couple who meet ten years after a break up. The number is very physical and very fast. They perform in street clothes – Ellenore in a yellow sundress, Ryan in khakis and an unbuttoned plaid shirt – to “Your Ex-Lover’s Dead” by Stars. Ah, such a happy song. Depressing song title aside, the routine is powerful and lyrical and it actually gave me goosebumps. If Ade was the best partner of the guys last season, Ryan is certainly the best partner this season. His lifts are effortless.
Nigel: They just cemented their place for another week. It was a memorable routine and Travis is such an asset to the show. Ryan’s lifts were excellent. All of the choreographers who have worked with Ellenore say she’s one of the sharpest dancers. Every week, she is able to become a completely different person. Nigel wonders if this will end up hurting her because the audience won’t really know why she is. Ryan has proven that he’s the best ballroom dancer ever to do contemporary on this show.
Mary: Travis Wall hasn’t taken a wrong step this season. Ellenore is the perfect combination; looks, star quality, legs, feet and talent. Ryan’s timing was perfect and he’s becoming an inspiration to lots of kids dancing ballroom who are afraid of trying out for this show.
Adam: The season just kicked in. Until now, Adam hadn’t had that moment of catching his breath or tearing up. Ryan’s commitment to story definitely didn’t come from ballroom and Ellenore is just “ridiculous.” Adam predicts that Ryan will end up in the top 10 with Ashleigh. No word on how he thinks Ellenore will do.
Mollee and Nathan
After last week’s craptastic salsa, Mollee and Nathan really need to prove that they deserve to be there and aren’t just getting votes because they’re so darned cute. They’ll be working with wannabe drill sergeant Laurieann Gibson on a pop jazz routine. Since Laurieann’s main mode of communication is barking orders at people, I’m sure Mollee and Nathan are appropriately terrified of her. I’m slightly afraid of her and I’m sitting at home on my couch. Lauriann tells us that this will be a passionate dance and I wonder if these two aren’t a little young to portray that. They dance to “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga and you know, it’s miles better than last week, although Mollee’s dress is muy distracting.
Nigel: He complained last week about their lack of commitment, but they were much better this week. Mollee is one of the most committed dancers there and that will hold her in good stead for a professional career. People (i.e. Nigel) were tough on Nathan last week and they will keep being tough on him. Nathan has the potential to be one of the best, but he needs to work hard and keep growing because there are other dancers on the show who are growing more quickly than he is. Nate will have to mature quickly if he wants to stick around.
Mary: It’s so good to have the dream tam, (Really, Mary? Dream team?) back after that horrid salsa last week. This routine was intense. Mollee was “perfection” and so was Nathan. It didn’t give Mary the chills, but it was really good. Since Mary makes alarming sounds when she gets the chills, I’m happy it was just “really good.”
Adam: They’ve gotten their props. Now it’s time to talk strategy. This won’t come easily for Nathan, what with the competition heating up. They had a strong week, but will have to work harder.
So that’s it for this week. These two hour shows seem to go on forever, don’t they? To find out who got the boot this week, stay tuned for the results recap, brought to you by igunanachocolate. My money’s on Kevin and Karen, but then what do I know? I don’t even vote.