Friday, June 27, 2008

Top 16 Results Show - Sue Brody's Recap

Cat is introduced--sort of (during the opening group dance)--wearing a fancy gray dress, though I think the ruffle at the top looks like it's going to swallow her neck. The group dance has a great deal of synchronized movement but I can't tell you exactly what is going on (the circus? the costumes and the poles reminded me of a merry-go-round). Comfort and Mark are showcased and it turns out it is a routine by Mia Michaels (I was certain it was by Sonya Tayeh). The dancers stay on stage as Cat walks through their line, and we are told HERE IS CAT DEELEY and then "SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE," and I wonder if this is purposely done or if there was an audio glitch (wouldn't be the first time). Adam is dressed all in black, Mary has on a red dress (pretty), and Nigel is wearing a leather jacket (he is going home via motorcycle after the show?), which is surprising, to say the least.

The first three couples are introduced. Chelsea and Thayne's quickstep is reviewed, and not surprisingly, based on the judges' comments from the night before, they are in the bottom three (you can usually tell, but as I'll point out shortly, occasionally it's not as clear cut). Nigel had said that they better have their solos ready, and Cat asks if Nigel was right. Yes, he was. Mary notes that they did a respectable job, but none of us are surprised, and that they will take everything into account, including the solos, when making the final cuts, which definitely seems to be the case this year.

Katee and Joshua's samba gets...

Continued after the jump...
...a quick look, though we mostly are treated to Joshua's tight trousers. They are safe, to no one's surprise, and leave the stage. I like Joshua's t-shirt, red with a large skull on the front.

Chelsie and Mark's lyrical hip hop is shown, including Adam's jump and scream ("That's entertainment!"). Cat says that the judges loved it and...America loved it, too. They kiss and do a happy dance and are safe.

After the break, Kherington and Twitch are introduced, provoking many screams from the girls in the audience. Their hip hop number is briefly viewed, Mary screams her Murphy proverb, Nigel notes that there were no negatives, and Cat asks if the millions (this is the only time the number of votes is mentioned, so I wonder how many there really were) of voters could find anything wrong with their performances, and they could not, so the couple is safe, and Cat notes that Twitch's superhero glasses are still working.

Courtney and Gev's Rhumba is up next, and while there is a little bit of suspense as to whether they will be safe, the comments they show indicate otherwise. Mary notes how proud she is of them, and Nigel says he is s very, very happy with routine. Cat says that the judges enjoyed the routine but how did America feel...and...they enjoyed it, too, and the couple is safe. This leaves us with Comfort and Chris and their African jazz routine, and let the negative comments begin. Adam didn't see the music in their face, Nigel wanted it to be stronger, bigger, and animalistic, Mary says that Comfort is almost off the train and Chris does not get a hot tamale scream from me (in reference to Chris's hope the night before in the package). Cat asks if the reaction from America was lukewarm? Yes, it was, and they are the second couple in the bottom three. Adam notes that he is not surprised--six dancers have to be in the bottom three, and this is as much about the luck of the draw as the dancing, and I am happy that he points this out to the uninitiated. He also tels Comfort and Chris that they their dancing is about much more than technique and about throwing everything they have into the dance if they remain in the competition, and I think, Finally, a productive comment! I love Adam.

The final two couples are Kourtni and Matt and Jessica and Will, and this is where I find the most suspense. Kourtni and Matt's contemporary dance is shown, and Nigel lauds Sonya, while Mary screams "there's something weird for sale and I'm buying it!" (Is the first weird thing Mary has ever purchased, I wonder. I'm kidding!) Adam says that when people talk about synchronized dancing they are talking about you, and I think, Okay, they are safe. Maybe.

Jessica and Will's disco routine is reviewed, and Adam says that Jessica has to understand what a good dancer she is, Will is so great, and they carried their mistakes off. At this point, I'm still pretty sure they are going to land in the bottom three, but no, it's Kourtni and Matt, and I'm quite disappointed. Nigel then tries to explain what he thinks the rationale behind the voting was. He says that the style of the dance showed what they're really good at (I agree), but Kourtni used to be in his top five girls and now he's not so sure. He also says that Matt has to bring out his personality more and and not just technique, and I am feeling deja vous all over again. He also points out hat they have been in the bottom three for two long, and Kourtni says, I agree, and I love her.

Then Nigel goes on his once-a-program tirade. He says that Matt needs to immerse himself in the parts he plays, and does impressions of a German man, a French man, and Michael Caine, whom he says does NOT need to change with every role because he is Michael Caine, and that Matt needs to BRING IT TONIGHT. I am soooo tired of Nigel ragging on Matt, and I do hope he brings it big time in his solo.

Our dancing performers are then introduced and it's Quest! Cat reminds us that Ryan, Don, and Hok were SYTYCD finalists, this is the best crew in America (a jab at America's Best Dance Crew?), and the group dances to Chemical Calisthenics by Blackalicious featuring Cut Chemist (yes, I had to stop the tape a couple of times to get that down). I have no idea who this group or song is, but it's perfect for Quest, who choreograph a routine based on a surgical premise, with white lab coats and khakis. I LOVE this routine. There are head spins, popping, locking, tricks, isolations, head spins, and individual and group moves. Wow.

After the break, we get to see Snuggling in the Streets (TM), followed by the contestants watching some of the viewer submissions and choosing this guy doing a sort of air guitar dance. I hope that's it for Snuggle Dancing.

Finally, onto the solos! I will say up front that I don't understand why we don't critiques on the solos from the judges aside from one was great or it was disappointing, which neither helps the dancers nor the viewers, who are trying to understand what the judges expect in a solo. I hope this changes in the future (if anyone knows Nigel, please pass this along). Chelsea dances to Donny Hathaway, and I find her sensual with pretty cool leaps. Thayne dances to Bon Jovi (cool choice), and I think he really uses the stage, and that the piece is both emotive and Thayne shows us some lovely lines. Comfort dances to Mary J Blige, a perfect choice, but I am not particularly wowed. I expected bigger movements or more tricks, and I got neither. Chris dances to Justin Nozuka, an artist with whom I am not familiar, and it's just an average contemporary routine, without great technique or passion. I think that's it for Chris. Kourtni dances to Ani DiFranco, and I am disappointed. I think the gray dress she wears doesn't help, and I don't see the sparkle in her eyes the judges wanted. I am not sure it is strong enough. Finally, Matt dances to Jason Mraz, and it's a quirky solo, with both technique and personality, and I think it's enough to keep him safe.

After the dancers leave the stage and the judges go backstage to make the cuts (Adam spills his water and Nigel makes a feeble Titantic reference), Jordin Sparks, last year's American Idol winner, enters the stage (it's a little strange that she walks to the front as she waves and then the music begins). We learn that this is her third single from her first album, and I yawn. She has on a pink Wizard-of-Oz top dress (big and baggy), and I don't understand why she isn't dressed in more flattering clothing. The song is One Step at a Time, but since this is not American Idol and I can't stand lip syncing, I call to talk to my sister about the solos.

Finally, finally, FINALLY we get to the results. Nigel talks to all six dancers, noting that all of them have been in the bottom for two or three weeks running, and that America is saying you've got to bring it or next week will be your last week. He also notes that he is offering tough love because he loves all of them and that's why they were chosen to be in the Top 20. I am sure they appreciate the support, plus he's right; these couples do keep ending up in the bottom three. He then moves to the girls and says, Chelsea, you're going home. That's it. No explanation, just See ya, bye. She looks surprised and sighs, the audience gasps, and I am upset, not just because her solo was the best and she is let go but because Nigel gives no explanation. Why bother having the dancers even do a solo if you don't give them a reason why they're going home?! Cat tells her not to cry, shows her goodbye montage to an Avril Lavigne song (I am not sure why they keep changing it up every week, but I like that), and then Chelsea gives a classy speech about her feeling privileged to dance on the stage, that she will keep going, and that she is going home to a warm family that is ready to cradle her, and I smile.

Nigel moves onto the guys, and says, Matt, I've been hitting on you every week, and I apologize, your solo was brilliant, go and sit down. Finally Matt gets props, and I'm pleased. We're down to Thayne and Chris, and Nigel says, I don't understand why you guys seem to be here every week--I don't know if it's American not loving contemporary dancers (I doubt this, since Sabra, Danny, and Neil were in the final four last year)--but that Chris is going home. This is no surprise, though no specific reason is given, and Thayne is told he will be dancing with Comfort next week, and wishes the pair of them good luck. Chris's goodbye montage plays to One Republic (they are loving on One Republic this year, but I love them, too, so no complaints from me). Chris apologizes for crying (what a cutie), and that it was a dream come true just to be in the top 20, and he loves them all. As the credits roll, Comfort and Chris hug, Thayne and Chelsea hug, and it's nice to see. Perhaps the decision was made so that Kourtni and Matt would have one more chance to perform and that Comfort and Thayne would make an interesting couple, but for whatever reason that's it. See you next week.

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