Sunday, February 17, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance Australia - Top 20 Show

Reality Raver recaps the first performance episode of So You Think You Can Dance Australia: UPDATED WITH VIDEO

It was game on as the first show was tonight and it was time to start dancing to be Australia's favorite dancer, oh and the $200,000 first prize wouldn't be bad either.

Tonight we saw how hot the Australian dancers were, they are right up there with the US competitors, however the same cannot be said about choreographers.

Before we get into a recap of the show a couple of comments:

* Natalie Bassingthwaites hair was a cross between Farrah Fawcett, and Crystal Carrington, and NOT in a good way;
* Jason Coleman must have been reading forums and blogs and got his spiky mullet hair cut, and it looked much better;
* The male dancers are stronger then the girls;
* The Sydney Star Observer (Australia's leading gay newspaper) editorial team must be having a meltdown as who are they going to back?; and
* I am struggling to see the role of Matt Lee on the judging panel, he did not add much value tonight he repeatedly said "You did a great job".

It was great to see the Australian version was going to be similar to the original. Same set, same introductory solo dancers, and Natalie even did a Cat Deeley like shimmy as she came onto the set.
However there was no opening group routine, or will we see that tomorrow night?
Natalie was obviously nervous and this was particularly noticeable as she was reading off the autocue, but I expect that she will have mastered this by next week.
First dancers up were Rhiannon the 18 year old from Minto, Sydney, and JD the adopted hip-hop dancer choreographer from Melbourne. This looked like it was going to be a good match.
JD scored big time as their first routine was hip hop. Their choreographer was to be Manuela, who had devised a routine to the song "Kiss, Kiss"...

There appeared to be a bit of friction between her and JD in rehearsal where she said she thought JD was a bit narrow minded.
JD and Rhiannon came out pumped and they danced well, but the choreography lacked pizzazz. Rhiannon if she can get past this round will be a strong contender as she was hot. JD was good but you would expect that as this is his style.
Matt Lee said "What a way to start the show", and "JD you were cool calm and collected".
Bonnie Lythgoe said "As a couple you worked well together" and gave Rhiannon a huge wrap.
Jason Coleman said "Your unison could have been better"
Next were Courtney, the 23 year old dancer from St Kilda, Melbourne and Hilton the 18 year old whose parents are Haitian from Sydney. They danced a jazz lyrical routine. Kelly Aykers choreographed their routine.
This partnership raises the question of will Hilton pull Courtney through, or will Courtney's lesser dancing skills drag Hilton into the bottom three. I would say the former, as I think Hilton is a definite contender to take out the title. I barely noticed Courtney, but the difference in their technique was noticeable.
The theme of their dance of Romeo and Juliette which after the opening few bars I kind of lost that story. Hilton was superb except he flubbed the lifts. The routine was good but not memorable.

Matt Lee said "Courtney you have a high likeability, however your technique will only take you so far in this competition."
Bonnie said "Felt the chemistry between the two" and "Hilton great, however nervous with the lifts"
Jason said "Even though they missed the lift, they got back on the horse" and "Courtney you need to work on your extension."
Vanessa the beautiful ballet dancer from Sydney, who has not danced seriously in three years, and Henry the ballroom dancer, will make a great partnership. Henry could not believe his luck to be dancing salsa in the first week. Luda Kroiter and her salsa partner Oliver were the choreographers. Luda has also been seen on Dancing With the Stars, and danced with comedian Anh Do in the finals.
Henry was outstanding, and was also going for the women who like chest hair vote. He will go a long way in the comp, as will Vanessa as she is just so sweet. However she managed to turn on a sexy sizzle for the salsa, looking very cute in a fluro pink number. Some bits of the routine were not completely smooth but they should avoid a bottom three finish tomorrow.
Matt Lee said "Good job, Vanessa a bit more strength in the upper body needed"
Bonnie said "Henry you helped her tremendously" and "Vanessa don't hold back"
Jason said "There needs to be more plie` and bend" and "Job well done for a ballet dancer"
Camilla the 25 year old from Ipswich, Queensland, and Seramsah the indigenous dancer from Western Australia were to dance a musical theatre number to the Shirley Bassey classic "Hey Big Spender". The choreographer was Adam Williams (for those that care he is Sydney celebrity hairdresser Joh Bailey's partner).
Adam thought Seramsah needed to believe in himself more as he is a great dancer.
This routine was sexy, and fun, and if they had nailed the lift it would have been flawless but they stumbled there. One of the papers today said that Sermsah was carrying injuries into Friday nights taping.
Matt Lee said his usual insipid "Great job".
Jason said "Energy needs to be centred to lift"
Next were Jemma an 18 year old ballroom dancer and Rhys a contemporary dancer from Melbourne. This week the Herald Sun were trying to beat up a gasp shock horror story that Rhys performed as a drag queen in Melbourne. Heeeellllllllloooooo anyone would have guessed that when we saw him dance in high heel boots to the Prince song Kiss in the top 100 week.
Rhys has both the technique and personality to win this competition, and he is definitely one of my favorite dancers.
They were to dance the waltz, a dance I always think is a death knell for couples. But the Jason Gilkison choreography was great, and they danced it beautifully. Jemma will be safe for a few weeks because Rhys will see her through a few rounds, however when she has to dance for her life she may be in trouble.
Apparently this was the first time he has danced with a partner, but it was flawless, he almost looked butch as he gazed lovingly at her throughout this romantic dance.
Matt Lee said "Jemma in bare feet you have to make sure your feet are stretched"
Bonnie said "Stunning" and "Rhys did extremely well, likeability factor high"
Jason said " I loved the routine" and "Favourite routine of the night so far"
Next was Laura from Adelaide and Anthony Ikin the gymnast from the Gold Coast. There has been discussion in the papers today about whether he was gay, and he was refusing to discuss the matter. Fair enough it is his business, and all we should care about is his dancing. But after tonight's episode if I was a betting person I would say yes he was.
They were to dance a contemporary lyrical routine by Juliette "Jet" Verne who is a Director at the Urban Dance Centre. It was a girl clinging to a guy who was trying to break up with her.
Juliette said that Anthony tended to over act his emotions, must have been all those aerobic world championships he competed in.
Anthony had no problem with the lift however the whole routine was a bit forgettable.

Matt Lee said "Julia complemented their strengths" and "Laura you did step up tonight, however when you do a layout make sure your leg is straight"
Jason also said a the same" Laura you came up to the mark tonight". The judges obviously don't think she is the strongest dancer in the show.
Stephanie the 18 year old ballroom dancer, and Marko the 22 year old contemporary dancer danced the jive choreographed by Jason Gilkison.
I found Marko a bit of a worry when he said he used to follow everything Michael Jackson did. Hopefully not everything...
In rehearsals Stephanie really struggled but she did well in the performance. However the it was more of a hip hop jive, while they were wearing punk like gear.

Jason Coleman summed it up when he said he did not understand the colleration between the music, the costumes and the dancers. He thought "two danced separately but not together", also "they were hitting the bottom of the beat at different times".
Bonnie said "I loved the costumes" is this the dance equivalent of when you say I loved the cinematography when the film is really crap?
Matt Lee said "Marko one of the best dancers in the competition".
I agree but he lacks personality. This pair will be bottom 3 tomorrow night.
Kate a 29 year old contemporary dancer was matched with hip hop artist Khaly. This guy is our Hok in our competition.
They were to dance a contemporary jazz routine by Sally Clark. It was to a jarring Silverchair number, but they were dressed in 1930's type outfits, and Kate was doll like.
There was a height difference with Khaly shorter then Kate, which made him look like he was being crushed during the lift.
I thought the routine was unremarkable, but both are good dancers, and I hope they both stick around for awhile.
Matt Lee said "Did a good job" and "Kate best female dancer in the competition"
Bonnie said "Khaly didn't have eye contact with her, but understandable considering this style was not what he was used to.
Jason said "Houston we have a problem", "Didn't like the routine" but he did compliment the dancers and said they did a great job with what they were given.
Needless to say Sally Clark probably did not have a drink with him at the after shoot party.
Demi, the 27 year old b-girl from Melbourne, and Jack the dancer from Queensland danced the Boogaloo, which is a funk orientated type dance from the '70s. Nacho Pop choreographed a routine to the Parliament song "Flashlight".
Jack just reminds me of Benji Schwimmer, that similar personality so he could be the dark horse of the competition. Also Jack's sisters were a hoot, can we see more of them?
They danced the routine really well, but I worry that once Demi gets out of her comfort zone she is going crumble.
The routine was fun but it did not hit any great heights, most of the time they were dancing separately around the stage.
Matt Lee said "I felt that funk - so joyous"
Bonnie said "Demi just lovely" and "Jack spot on great"
Jason said "Huge threat in the competition", "Up there in likeability" and "Routine did not reach a crescendo"
In the lucky last spot (my theory you get more votes in this position) were Kassy and Graeme both from Sydney and both trained dancers. They danced a hip hop lyrical number by Yannus Sufandi. He was one of the three stand out choreographers of the night, with Jason Gilkison, and Adam Williams. However I did not see much hip hop in the routine.
Kassy's leopard underpants beneath her petticoat dress should garner the male vote.
Matt Lee thought "Brilliant" and "Kassy stepped up to another level"
Bonnie said "Beautiful routine", "Kassy you weren't cold tonight" and "Danced it well"
Jason said "Graeme you need to work on your feet they were like dead fish hanging on the end of your legs"
Graeme quickly replied "At least I wasn't a salmon" alluding to the girl in the auditions who danced as a salmon.
It was a pretty good show for the first one, and there were certainly some exciting dancers there, however they need to find some good choreographers to add the sparkle this competition needs.
The standout judge was Jason Coleman. Matt Lee, and Bonnie did not add much to critique of the dances.
My prediction for bottom three are JD and Rhiannon, Stephanie and Marko, and Kate and Khaly.
JD and Stephanie to be eliminated.