Well, I have to be honest: I was quite disappointed. I'm not sure what I expected, but after a fantastic Top 20 in Australia, I expected more. Maybe it was because some of my favorites (Sheila, Brandon, and others) didn't make it through that I was hoping the ones who did would kick it, but not so. The nicest surprise was how Katee kicked it (I'll get to that shortly). Susie was not strong, but that wasn't a surprise, although the judges liked her (go figure). I am not going to do much with music, b/c that's coming, but here are the dances/dancers, and the judges and my responses.
The Top 20 are introduced, wearing bright colors. I don't even try to figure out who is whom. It's bizarre to me that there are two Chelseas and two Courtneys (different spellings, as I'll note) and that the two have their last name mentioned each time. It's a tad awkward.
Cat enters wearing a resplendent glimmering silver dress. You go, Cat! Then we see Dan Karaty (yay!) wearing a very nice black suit and tie, Mary in a black and white dress, and Nigel in a suit jacket but no tie. Nigel's cast is gone; his injury occurred at least six weeks ago. Cat asks if there are any front runners, and the judges say no. Then Nigel says that, You Cat, are a front runner, you look absolutely fantastic, you have dancer legs, and I gag. Nigel also mentions that we haven't seen five or six of the dancers yet, so how could we (the public) decide, and I am angry. Duh, Nigel, and why not?!
We see some highlights of the auditions by One Republic's Stop and Stare, and I love them, so I'm happy (maybe they will be on again). Then the first couple is up, Rayven and Jamie. We learn a bit about contemporary dancer Rayven, who is the oldest contestant at 28 (yay!) and is a contemporary dancers. Jamie is a West Coast Swing dancers whose girlfriend and partner was cut in Vegas but who supports him. They are given a hip hop routine by Napoleon and Tabitha (I guess they will be very active this year with the sow), and it's okay but not great, high on the humor element, not so much on the dancing (though it was fun when she pulled down his pants). I thought it wasn't hard hitting enough, though there was good synchronization. Nigel liked it, but said he didn't think it would be memorable though we would see later on (I agree). Mary screamed, saying that Rayven is a beautiful strong dancing machine (okay, Mary), and it was cotton candy (what?). Dan says, weakly, that he likes cotton candy but that there was no funk at all, didn't find it light and funny and it wasn't funky or hard hitting. I totally agreed with Dan on nearly every dance tonight.
MORE AFTER THE JUMP...
Next up is Susie, our favorite contestant (insert sarcasm here) from Miami, 25, who is a high school teacher and gets inspiration from them. Then we see Marquis, an 18 year old hip hop teacher who had a rough child childhood (single mom) but who excited to have made it this far. They are given a Smooth Waltz by Hunter and I go, uh oh. Susie looks nice in her shimmering blue dress (Marquis has on a dark suit), but I found this extremely boring. The judges were far kinder, however, probably b/c they were working outside of their comfort zone (we will only hear that a gazillion times during the season). Nigel was impressed with the way the performed the very difficult choreography and thought, aside from the lift (a mess), that Susie had tremendous lines as did Marquis and that he hopes that the audience will realize how good they were. Sorry, no go for me. Mary said it was a slow and controlled dance that they pulled off (she was blown away), and Dan said it was an almost perfect ending to a love story. I didn't feel the chemistry, and wished that Anya and Danny had been there instead. I think the judges justified the dance b/c they KNEW the public wouldn't be impressed, and I would not be surprised to see them in the bottom three.
Next up is Kourtni, who graduated college at 16, moved to LA at age 17, and is very motivated. Matt is a 22 year old contemporary dancer, very athletic (he says) who is from Salt Lake City and performed his solo in gym shorts (I love him). They both noted how tall they are: she's 5'9" and he is 6'5", and Mandy Moore (love her) said they will either look big on stage or sloppy. Ha ha. They were dressed all in black and danced a jazz number to Tainted Love. I thought it was okay, but not great (no Neil and Sabra Table Dance, that's for sure). I loved his jumps and thought he stole the dance, while Kourtni seemed to just strut about. Nigel said that he wanted more personality from Matt, that he seemed too upright and locked in, and I wondered what drug Nigel as on. Mary thought they did a great job, thought the lift and landing was havey, and they were sexy. Dan thought it was a so-so performance, and they didn't attack it at all (again, I agreed) though he loved the choreography
We see a commercial for Bones, and i think that the leads are no Mulder and Scully, though I liked when David Boreanz (sp?) on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Next up is Chelsea, a contemporary dancers dancer, whose parents were from Jamaica (she is first generation American). She had a strict background and is appreciative of getting this opportunity. Thayne is a contemporary dancer who gave up dancing for five years and then came back to it. They are given a Cha Cha by Tony Meredith and Melanie (one of the kisses of death), and it is noted that this is one of the hardest routines they have choreographed for the show (so why do it on the FIRST WEEK?!). Chelsea has on a purple sexy dress, Thayne is all in black with an open chest, and there is a lot of booty shaking, but they dance a lot better apart than together (no partnering skill, IMO). Nigel says they were both terrific and on the platform of Mary's train (can't we have a new metaphor for Season 4?). Mary says they are already there and were on fire and partnered well (maybe I was just too critical during the program), and Dan said that Chelsea owned the stage, though Thayne wasn't as prominent, though he did what he was supposed to do. They will probably go through.
Chelsie H and Mark are up next. Chelsie is another dancer from Salt Lake City, and when she makes Top 20 she receives a big hug from Natalie and I am sad. Mark is the dancer from Hawaii who made such a great impression with his terrific Queen solo during Vegas week and calls himself "left of center." They are given a totally bizarre contemporary from Mia (I know, shock, but this was REALLY out there), who imagined what Tim Burton's wedding would be like. She was really critical of Mark (he would be better than he was, he needs to bring it to the next level, Chelsie is terrific) and I hope he steps it up (oh, oh, wrong show! :-)). I hope he does well after such criticism, and in fact he does. Chelsie wears a freaky fluffy dress, Mark is all in white, and I'm not sure what to make of the dance, though I like it and impressed by its level of difficultly. Nigel says, Mia Michaels, you bring us weird relationships, don't you? (I agree.) He says that Mia took Mark's quirkiness and made it his own (bird-like) and Chelsie, a ballroom dancer, danced it brilliantly. Mia gives them two thumbs up, a great sign. Mary loves Mark's uniqueness and says Chelsie is like a little angelic angel (huh?) and that they made the lifts look effortless. Dan says what an experience it would be to be inside Mia Michael's head (heh heh)and that it was amazing.
Next up is Twitch (yay!), brought to you by Extra Fruit Sensations gum (are they REALLY that hard up this season)?. He is, of course, a hip hop dancer, they show him losing to Hok last year for like the millionth time, and how he really wants it this year and brings his element of humor. Kherington is an 18 year old contemporary jazz dancer who missed her high school graduation the day before (though Natalie missed her COLLEGE graduation and didn't get in; I know, bitter). They get Tyce (yay!) and a fun jazz number to the song Too Darn Hot. Twitch deems their relationship Twichington, and I remember Dancey (Lacey/Danny) and realize they are into the Top 10 already. Though he keeps running into Kherington's foot during the package, they are dressed all in red and black and do a great job, using the stage really well. This was my favorite routine of the night. Nigel says it's really, really hot, and Kherington looked stunning, Twitch looked like he could dance on Broadway. Then Mary claps and says, Look up to the ceiling, need the sprinkler system to come on, because it is SO HOT IN HERE (a new metaphor, at least!). Dan says that Kherington was hitting all cylinders and Twitch is not a traditional Broadways dancers but who cares and he could watch him up there all day. You know they are through.
Comfort and Chris take the stage. Comfort is a 19 year old hip hop dancer who says she says eh can set it down like a guy and I don't like her arrogance already. We don't get much from Chris (shock), poor guy. They are doing Tony and Meredith's jive, and I am like, Oh, no, another kiss of death to Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom. she's in a sexy white outfit, he in sexy black, and there is lot of booty shaking but terrible partnering. Comfort notes that they have never seen her in bra, panties, and beads, and I miss Sara. Nigel says that Comfort was smoldering and was on fire and Chris did well to keep up with her (grumble). Nigel did say that Chris stayed down low while Comfort was up too high, but he blamed the heels. Mary says that Comfort was kicking it, thought Chris did a respectable job (why do they dislike Chris so much?!). Dan said that all was said that needed to be about Comfort and that Chris did a wonderful job keeping up with Comfort but they needed to find a chemistry with one another. WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH THE ANTI-CHRIS SENTIMENT?!
Katee, the 20 year old contemporary dancer who was in trouble after the Natalie fiasco, and Joshua, the cool 19 year old popper who is into sports and whose single mother made sure he was also provided for (aw) were next, and man, did they nail it! They had a hip hop number from Napoleon and Tabitha about a man leaving his woman to enter the army, playing to Jordin Sparks' No Air, and it was beautiful. Nigel said that it played to both of their strengths and that it would be a real asset to have Napoleon and Tabitha along this year (I agree). This was his favorite routine of the night. Natalie is there supporting Katee, and Nigel notes that she may be there for a while (yay!). May says that she didn't expect this and that they hit every little nuance. She says that she has a loved one in Iraq, as many do, and that this really got to her. Dan says they killed it, dancing in perfect unison, and that Katee held her own up there and that Joshua owned the stage.
Jessica and Will are introduced. Jessica is a 22 year old contemporary dancer that misspelled Vegas after she made it (funny) and said that dancing is her art and voice. Will is the 21 year old contemporary dancer who left Tennessee at age 16 to come to LA and work with Debbie Allen (it is explained again that she can no longer judge as long as he is in the top 20). They do the tango to Hunter's number, and while she has on a shimmery dress and he has on a neat black suit with a red scarf, I think that they struggle through this one. Nigel says that they are a hell of a couple up there, and they look professional and that Will is majestic and that Jessica needed to hold her positions better but was absolutely wonderful. Mary says I have to break it down and there is only one way I like my tango to be danced and that was it!!! Dan was really impressed with the difficulty of the routine and said that they were the couple to beat. Really? I totally disagree.
Last up are Courtney G, a 19 year old contemporary dancer from NYC who is also a Knicks dancer, and Gev, the b boy from Salt Lake City (via Khazikstan, spelled incorrectly, I know), who ousted Brandon (sigh). They get a disco number with Doriana Sanchez and I know they are in trouble b/c it is only week one and the dance will be full of lifts (and it is). They note that the dance is super hard, fast, crazy, and they think they nail it, but in fact they do not (they are, for the record, no Neil and Sara, but that was Top 10, to be fair). They do dance well separately to Boogie Wonderland (I love that song!) but not together. Nigel says that Um, I love disco, brought up with (as was I), but did I love that, no. Didn't have the boogie feel it needed, and it looked like Disco Duck (harsh!). Mary said that she thought the disco queen was back (Courtney) but that Gev did a good job and that the lifts were on. Dan said that he enjoyed it, that it wasn't the best dancing he had ever seen, that it could have been cleaner and tighter, but not bad.
And that was it! Whew!!! :)
My predicted bottom three:
Gev and Courtney
Jamie and Rayven
Kourtni and Mark or Susie and Marquis.
We'll find out soon!!!