So…let me start off by saying I DO NOT like this new format. Granted the 1 hour elimination shows were bloated, but now it feels rushed. We barely get time to say hello and absolutely no time to say good-bye. I miss the dance for your life solos, the goodbye package, and especially all the dancers crying and saying goodbye (yes, I’m a glutton for tears). Instead we get a cold recap with phone numbers to call at the end. Can FOX make the episodes 2 hours and 10 minutes instead? Come on people, seriously!
But they’ll be more time to rant later (you know how I love to rant). Let’s get on with it…
So You Think You Can Dance: Season 9
Top 20 Perform and 4 Eliminated
The show kicks off with a Top 20 performance that’s pretty spectacular. The piece is set to Marilyn Manson’s “The Beautiful People.” Remember Marilyn Manson? The routine is reminiscent of Wade Robinson (Where is he these days?) Cyrus is once again given a featured part, which is a bit unfair because it involves him dancing less, and behing a character more. But we’ll get to that later. The dancers use every single beat of this song hitting it hard. I loved the pose they did to emphasize the word “steeple”. You can really tell when a dancer enjoys a routine. Daniel had a nice featured moment that really made him standout for me. Cat reveals that the choreographers are Tabitha and Napoleon. It was unlike any routine I’ve seen from them. Good work guys. I liked it!
Who: Cole and Lindsey
Choreographer: Christopher Scott
Song: “Teeth” by Lady Gaga
Performance: Lindsey is a seductive dentist, Cole is her nerdy patient she’s trying to persue. Lindsey is definitely showing some weakness here. Though she’s doing most of the aggressive dancing, and Cole is all character, she’s not hitting it as hard as I’d like and it’s not coming off as hip hop. Lindsey’s dancing comes off too much as “hey look Ma, I’m sexy!” Grade: B-
The judging: Cole is in character the entire time. At first it’s funny, then it’s scary, then it’s annoying. Nigel calls it “immature” and tells Lindsey she’s playing too much to the audience. I agree. Mary calls Lindsey a great dancer, but that she needs to bring more to the acting aspect to it as well.
Who: Will and Ameila
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Song: “3326” by Olafur Arnalds
Performance: Will and Ameila are “two souls carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders”, or so Sonya tells us. This routine was really magical. Everything just worked: the haunting music, the darkened set, the beautiful dancing. Sonya really created some nice choreography for these dancers that translated into some really touching and haunting moments. Every step Will took was heavy and yet somehow light at the same time. He really embodied what the piece was about and despite his height and statue he danced around that stage like he was a feather. He really immersed himself into this piece. He was completely in the moment, and I often found myself focused on him, rather that Amelia. Maybe it was because of that smile she had on her face. What was that about? If you’re feeling the weight of the world, you would not be smiling. However, that said, her incredible dancing almost made me forget that. Almost. There was this move where Will dove down for her legs and every time she tried to jump up he caught her ankle and pulled her down. It was really an incredible image. Then there was another stand out moment where Ameila froze in a pose and Will grabbed her and pulled him back into her. It’s those slow to quick movements that really amazed me. And made this the best piece of the night for me. (Ps: Anyone notice they started this piece with their eyes closed?) Grade: A
The judging: They all loved it and got a spontaneous standing ovation from Adam Shankman. All the judges seem so surprised by how well Will is doing, as if they were expecting him to fail. They call Ameila amazing. Nigel calls the dancers “lucky”, which is a little condescending, but I get it. He makes up for it a bit by calling them brilliant later on.
Who: Nick and Amber
Dancing Style: Tango
Song: “Tanguera” by Sexeto Mayor
Performance: Amber’s struggle with this dance was noticeable. Nick made her look good. He was a professional up there. She definitely let him lead, and I could see her thinking about the steps, but I also feel like the choreographer didn’t give Nick much to work with. The piece could have had more wow and punch, but I think Amber held Nick back a bit, especially in his own style. Grade: B
The judging: Man! Those judges do Not. Like. Nick. They make it balantly obvious and they don’t even try to hide it. Why can’t they let the audience decide for themselves who they like or don’t like. I, personally thought Nick did a great job. Adam fawns over Amber, and tells Nick he vanished a little. Nigel says he doesn’t think, “Nick made Amber look good, Amber made Amber look good.” Ouch for Nick.
Who: Matthew and Audrey
Dancing Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Song: “Hear Me Now” by Steed Lord
Performance: The concept is a robotic power struggle between Matthew and Audrey. They both have to be aggressive, which Audrey is not. This piece has Sonya written all over it. Unlike Will and Amelia’s piece, I could tell you right off the bat that this was choreographed by Sonya. She loves to bend and twist the actors almost beyond their breaking points. Audrey’s lines are beautiful and she’s hitting it heart, but she has absolutely no aggression in her face. She’s trying, but she’s more like an aggressive puppy. Matthew is excellent and I’m not just saying that because the make-up department decided to define Matt’s abs. He supported her and brought the aggression…and the “guyliner.” Still, I felt the routine could have had a little bit more rage. Grade: B+
Judging: Nigel loves Sonya’s “stank steps” and does a demonstration that I unfortunately will never be able to unsee again. I can never take back what I’ve just seen. And it was awful. He calls them one of America’s favorite couples…which can sometimes be the kiss of death, in my opinion. Adam says all his doubt he had about Audrey has disappeared. She is amazing. As for Matthew, the competition may just be his to lose. That’s a lot of pressure, Adam!
Who: Daerian and Janelle
Dancing Style: Lyrical Hip Hop
Choreographer: Christopher Scott
Song: “My Girl” by The Temptations
Performance: The routine is about a guy, getting ready to propose to his girl. And that’s just what it was. Simple as can be. They had some lighting issues, either they kept missing the spot light, or the spot light kept missing them…And it wasn’t quite hip hop. Something about the routine just felt a little too easy. I know not everything needs to be tricks, but I don’t think the song, or the cheesy acting, or the melodramatic kiss, helped anything. Grade: C
The Judging: Adam says this routine was more about characters and suited it Daerian perfectly, but that Janelle needed to work on her acting. However Nigel calls the choreography called it “uninspiring.” It didn’t stretch their abilities at off or show off their potential. (I agree Nigel). Oh and then Nigel got kissed…
Who: Brandon and Janaya
Dancing Style: Broadway
Choreographer: Sean Cheesman
Song: “Bring on the Men (Jekyl and Hyde Musical)” by Linda Eder
Performance: First I just have to say, I love that the choreographers are taking on other genres. Sean has choreographed a piece about two people at a bus stop. The girl wants to pursue the man, but the man is not having it. This is another piece about character. And I thought Janelle brought it. Last week she didn’t really stand out, but this week she showed sparkle and dazzle and she looked like she was having fun. Her performance pursuing Brandon should have been the performance Lindsay had early when she was pursuing Cole. Brandon was equally, if not even more amazing. His feelings were evident on his face and I felt like he was really into the piece. His personality was all over his performance. While Janaya brought life out in herself, I felt like Brandon brought life to the piece and I felt like he brought a lot of himself to the piece as well. It was cute. Grade: B
Judging: Nigel called it fun and great characterization. Mary said it was a lot of fun and very entertaining. Mary thought they could have been in the bottom, but Brandon stepped it up and brought a lot of energy to it. Janaya dove into it.
Who: Cyrus and Eliana
Dancing Style: Jive
Choreographer: Melanie LaPatin and Tony Meredith
Song: “Im Shakin’” by Jack White
Performance: In the beginning, I really liked Cyrus. But the more and more the judges gush and push him on us, the more I get turned off. And the more they pretend like he can dance, the more I look to see if he really can. And he can’t. Eliana worked it this routine. She did all the work. And I mean all of it. But at the same time the routine felt disappointing because I know she can do so much more if she had a partner that had more training and technique. Also, girl’s legs are CRAZY! Grade: B
Judging: The judges fawn over Cryrus and Eliana gets put on the backburner once again. Nigel does mention Eliana still hasn’t had the opportunity to show America what she can do, and I believe it. Remember that ballet routine she did with Daniel and Chehon? That was amazing. Why not pair her with Daniel and let Alexa go bye bye.
Who: Daniel and Alexa
Dancing Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Dee Caspary
Song: “So Long My Friend” by Yanni
Performance: The core of this routine is the emotional connection and something about the piece felt very cold. Part of me thinks a lot of it had to do with the bathtub prop which served as a barrier between themselves and the audience, and the other part is that there was just no chemistry between the two. The two of them looked AMAZING, I mean they’ve never looked better there was just no heat, or emotional connection between the two. And that’s sad. Daniel is one I was rooting for. I think he just need another partner. Grade: B-
Judging: Adam thought the routine was difficult and beautiful, but their performance was “chilly”. Mary agrees with Adam that they were technically on top of things, but something was missing.
Who: George and Tiffany
Dancing Style: Fox Trot
Choreographer: Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin
Song: “I Want To Be Loved By You.” Sinead O’Connor
Performance: This is the first time in a ballroom performance where I’ve seen the man do as many impressive movements as the woman. I thought that was not only incredible, but spoke to George’s talent and the choreographer’s trust in him. Their fox trot was very pretty and flowy. Though I think Tiffany had problems getting in and out of those lifts. However it was a fun a routine. I’d say it was more successful than Nick and Amber’s ballroom routine. Grade: B
Judging: Mary thought the routine was a perfect fit for Tiffany. It was light and flowy. Adam is extremely excited about it (Really? Really it wasn’t that exciting.) He calls them in-freaking-credible. Biased? Nigel says they just gave a lesson to every other couple about connecting. Was that a burn to Daniel and Alexa? I didn’t feel like they connect THAT much. No more than any of the other pairs that performed well.
Who: Chehon and Witney
Dancing Style: Bollywood
Choreographer: NakulDev Mamajan
Song: “Unstoppable” by E.S. Posthumus
Performance: Nakul says there’s no concept to the routine, instead it’s more about getting the technical aspects of the genre right – and their stamina. I really believe this routine was made perfectly for Chehon. He just fit into it so seamlessly. And you know what? He looked like he was having a lot of fun. He completely danced Witney right off that stage. He was just so joyous and he danced with a lot of personality. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. Witney was of course beautiful but she wasn’t hitting things as hard as Chehon. She did pick it up near the end though, but this routine belonged to Chehon. It came at a right time too, because I was worried about him. Grade: B+
Judging: Adam says it’s the first time he saw Chehon’s personality and all the judges agree. Mary loved that this performance came at a good time and it was nice to let him go. Witney needs to work on a few more technical aspects, but they had a lot of chemistry. There’s was an awkward moment where Nigel questioned her experience in other aspects, but I love that she admitted she studied videos about the genre off of YouTube. See it is useful for more than just videos about cute animals.
Top 3 Routines
- Will and Ameilia
- Chehon and Witney
- Matthew and Audrey
The Bottom Six
Man if you want to talk about cold, let’s talk about the naming of the bottom six. Maybe it was the gentle fake outs, or the long recaps of the performances that lessened the blow, but calling out all 20 contestants then reading the names of the bottom six felt extremely harsh. Cat coldly announces that the bottom six are Daniel, Alexa, Janaya, Nick, Witney and Chehon. Janaya and Nick were expected. The judges constantly beat down Nick, and we knew virtually nothing about Janaya, but Daniel, Alexa, Witney, and Chehon were featured heavily throughout the audition/Wegas round. Plus Witney is the judges golden child and Daniel and Chehon fantastic dancers with the good looks to hold over the female votes. What gives?
But before we have time to lament over out who was in the bottom three. The judges eliminated four people. No dance for your life, no final package, barely any goodbye. Seriously? What’s up with that? At least let them dance for their lives. Though the two that were saved were obvious: Chehon and Witney (they had a great routine this week), I still would have loved to see Daniel Baker for the last time.
Favorite quote of the show: “She Cray Cray”
And that’s the show folks. Hopefully next week, we’ll be able to say proper goodbyes, and have some solos now that we’re down to 16. Also, the judges need to stop playing favorites and the choreographers need better song choices! And, no more movie plugs or other dance routines until we get to the Top 10. Give us more time to know these dancers! My favorites are still Will and Eliana.