Sunday, February 24, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance Australia - Final 18 Performance Show

Reality Raver reports from Sydney:

It was the second week of the finals and the judges had decided to take the gloves off after their gentle approach in the first episode.

The dancers were getting to know their partners and expectations were high that the standard of dance would improve. But did it? Overall I think it did.

Just some quick thoughts on the episode:

* Natalie Bassingthwaite's hair was not copying Krystle Carrington this week, however the silver lamé dress was. But bonus points are given for her amazing ability to stay upright in 20 inch heels.
* Natalie was also more relaxed and natural and gave good banter this week, except she still needs to work on her autocue technique as her eyes always look a little stoned when she is reading from it.
* There needs to be a lift workshop as a lot of the couples are still struggling with lifts.
* I like Bonnie Lythgoe, but every time I looked at her this week, all I could think of was Shirley Valentine. The dress with her cleavage hanging out, her tan, and the blonde bouffant hair, and the brassy English accent; and
* Is Rhys going to have his own float at Mardi Gras next week? If not he should, as himself, not his drag queen identity. He is hilarious, and will be in the competition for a while.

First on tonight were the new pairing...


...Kate and Hilton, as their partners Khaly and Courtney had been eliminated last week.
They had to do the Foxtrot with Jason Gilkison as their choreographer.
I am quite excited about this pairing and I think they will go far. It was a very modern foxtrot ( well actually I don't know what parts of it were a foxtrot) to a Kylie song "Two Hearts".
It was good, fairly smooth, with a lot of lifts. The lifts were good but not great you could see the effort it was taking.
Matt Lee said " Elegant, sexy slick".
Bonnie wants "Hilton to up his game"
Jason Coleman said " Kate owned that routine" "Hilton don't get lost as you are working with a fine dancer". Is Jason becoming the judge whose opinion does matter to the contestants, ala Simon Cowell?
Next up was Camilla and Sermsah and they pulled hip hop.
In the pre-routine vignette, Sermsah again got edited as saying he did not feel worthy of being in the final 20. Which Jason Coleman who clearly the love of Sorry Week of had evaporated, said "Enough of the don't deserve to be here" "I don't want to hear it again."
Phillip Haddad choreographed the routine. The dancers came out dressed in the blue and white striped jail gear, which looked like pyjamas, and frankly I thought the routine was dull all over the shop. There appeared to be just a lot of strutting on stage, and even to my amateur eye I could see they were not in unison.
Camilla in couple of places really pumped it but not all the way through.
Matt Lee said "Genre had not been kind to you.", "Sermsah too out of control", and "Both gave 150%."
Bonnie said "Both made mistakes", "Camilla I think you are creeping up there, and " Thought you pulled it off together."
Jason said "Unison not together enough," and he liked the choreography, which I thought ordinary.
Kassy and Graham danced a contemporary lyrical to a Sarah Boulton routine. Just an aside was Kassy one of the dancers in the Bonds ad that was on tv during the show? I thought I caught a glimpse of her.
Considering this was both their genres it was good, but it was not fantastic. The theme of the dance was a dream sequence of two young happy lovers. So it was a flashier routine which was joyous, and some of the lifts were difficult and they did pull it off, but it just was not seamless. But both of them looked fabulous in white.
If Graeme does not develop some personality he is going to be in danger of being voted out.
Matt Lee said "Lifts dangerous" He was on the edge of his seat.
Bonnie said "A little bit of magic"
Jason said "Lifts good, however the rest was a bit laboured" "I could hear you land" and "Didn't really nail it."
Next were Stephanie and Marko and they were doing Swap, which is a cross between hip hop and Swing.
The choreographer was Rose Edwards, and I thought her routine looked great. If another dancer other then Stephanie had been dancing it, it would have been sensational.
Poor Marko seems to now know he has been stuck with a dud. She was apparently filled with negativity in the rehearsal, and she did a fake cartwheel lift over his back. They will struggle to stay out of the bottom three this week.
The last lift they did looked really awkward.
Matt Lee even got critical on the routine. "Steph like a fish out of water, didn't have the steps", "Lifts really laboured", and "Wishy washy".
Bonnie said "Stephanie you have got to get lifts together" and "Marko loved what you did."
Jason said "Stephanie you got left behind, your shoulders are around your ears", and "Not good enough".
After all the criticism, Stepanie then tried to hit back by saying "Dancing is about having fun, and the dance had no story line"
Jason quickly put her back in her box by saying "Dancing is not about fun it is about following the choreography." Steph was starting to look upset by this stage.
Another person lacking diplomacy tonight was Anthony Ikin who danced disco with Laura. The choreographer was Aleeta Blackburn.
Anthony said he was not looking forward to dancing the routine in front of the judges as both Jason and Bonnie were around in the disco era.
Jason was not happy "How old do you think I am?" and "Now we have established Anthony is in the bottom three...."
This was a fun routine, and Laura looked fabulous in her gold lamé dress, and Anthony just reminded me of John Travolta. Which he confirmed he had been channeling as the previous evening they had rented out Saturday Night Fever. There were five great lifts, and it was high energy the whole way.
Anthony will go a long way in this competition.
Again not all the lifts were smooth.
Matt Lee said "Crowd favourite" and was critical of Laura's bent leg.
Bonnie confirmed she was around in the '70's by saying it was authentic.
Jason said that Laura was number one with car dealers, as they all wanted her number. Apparently he was out shopping for a car last week.
He also said "Laura not enough technique and core", and "He would have liked to have seen more Anthony".
At this point I noticed former Australian Idol contestant Ben McKenzie in the audience.
JD and Rhiannon had to do a contemporary jazz routine to a Kelly Akers number.
The dance was to a Prodigy song. Rhiannon was dressed as a zombie similar to how dancers a dressed in Wade Robson's routines.
Rhiannon just was great, but JD was trés ordinary, and as Jason said "he chased the routine". JD has to hope Rhiannon pulls him through to the next round. I have to say I have been underwhelmed by JD in the last two weeks. So if he gets through this week I hope steps it up next week. I am not sure about his versatility.
Matt Lee said "Rhiannon outdanced you"
Jason said "JD not strong, clean and sharp" also he wants to see "Rhiannon extend herself as she dances very closed".
JD was looking very worried as they went into the commercial break.
The ever popular Demi and Jack were up next to dance the Samba with routine from choreographer Paul Green. Well I have to retract my words of last week when I queried if Demi would be able to pull off the more sexy feminine dances.
She wowed it tonight and she managed to do it in high heels. Jack's charisma was again evident, and these two are going to be up there towards the end of the competition.
Demi shimmied and slithered but it was not over the top sexy, and Jack just moved smoothly. However if Mary Murphy was judging she would not have been happy with the technique, but it may have got a tamale train comment.
Matt Lee said "Great job" to both of them.
Bonnie said "worked together, great eye contact" and "Sexy and saucy"
Jason said "whole transformation" and "routine of the night - it went pop", "was not technically perfect."
Jemma and Rhys were next dancing a Jazz routine. The choreographer was failed-top-20 contestant Michael, who I still think if he had been better looking may have made it through. However he was given the opportunity to choreograph this routine.
It was a vampire routine to an INXS song. Rhys is one of my favourites and this continued tonight, even though the routine wasn't 100% fabulous. In fact I thought ballroom dancer Jemma did very well with all the kicks. I think they will be safe for another week.
Matt Lee said "Did a really great job Jemma - but I could see you thinking" and "Rhys great job"
Bonnie said "Routine did not feel polished"
Jason said "Not enough staccato - it blended a bit" and "Good but not great this week"
Last were Vanessa and Henry doing an animated hip-hop (how many forms of hip hop are there???) to a Nacho Pop routine. Why does nacho always have a toothpick in his mouth, has he just quit smoking?
In rehearsal it all got a bit much for ballerina Vanessa and she started crying, however she also endeared herself to the show's sponsors with a Maybelline head band.
They came out wearing masks which I think helped the routine, as they did not have to worry about their facial expressions but just concentrate on the stop-start dance moves.
Animated hip hop is hard to describe, it was a cross between popping, but a more robotic movement. It was interesting to watch. It did look like something out of a Thomas Dolby music clip.
Matt Lee said "More memorable for the masks then the performance"
Bonnie said "Did a great job Vanessa as so out of your zone" and "It worked for me"
Jason said "Henry so versatile as a ballroom dancer loved you in routine" and "Vanessa thought you were going to be crap but you did a great job", and "Did not totally love it, but you made it look easy".
My bottom three predictions are: Marko and Stephanie, Sermsah and Camilla, and JD and Rhiannon. I only picked one out of the three last week so hopefully I will improve this week.