Friday, June 20, 2008

Top 18 Results Show - Sue Brody's Recap

Cat enters the stage wearing a pretty olive green dress. After the intro, we are treated to a terrific hip hop piece by Shane Sparks (whom I watch an hour later on America's Best Dance Crew, where he really seems at home), choreographed to Elevator by Flo Rida. This is nicely tied into Flo Rida's later appearance, which I'll get to shortly. Marquis is highlighted first, and then the men open up the piece in dark suits, followed by the women in street gear, and the dance is mysterious, hard hitting, and really well synchronized. I think, yes, this is the way to do a group dance. The featured dancers are Will, Joshua, Twitch, and Comfort, and I wonder if this is a hint at who they want to end up in the top 4 or if it simply suited their styles. I think the latter is more likely, b/c the danced ended with a 60 second head stand by Gev that is fabulous (even after Cat poked him, he stayed still, and it was really cute when he ran off last, blowing her a kiss).

Cat then tells us the votes were in the millions (good to hear), and the judges are briefly introduced. Mia has on a red and white checked shirt, and I wonder if she is on her way to a barbecue. Mary has on a much more tasteful black and gold dress than the night before; maybe she deliberately wants to tone it down on results night. Nigel is in his customary jacket and tie, and I hope he's been properly medicated. The first three couples are brought on stage: Katee and Joshua, Kherington and Twitch, and Chelsea and Thayne. As has been the custom this year, the couple that is definitely safe (and probably received the most votes) goes first, and Katee and Joshua are indeed safe and leave the stage. We see a review of Kherington and Twitch's performance (I know, it's not Switch or Swatch; I'll be more careful in the future :-)) and then Chelsea and Thayne's, and not surprisingly, Chelsea and Thayne are in the bottom three. Mia is asked her opinion, and says she is not surprised, that America got it right, and adds that she doesn't think they are shocked (they don't disagree). She says "my little precious dumplings (ugh)," need to set the stage on fire and show why they're here b/c she knows they belong here, and I have the feeling they will give strong solos.

Next up are...

Continued after the jump
Chelsie and Mark, Matt and Kourtni, and Will and Jessica. This is the tease of the evening. Chelsie and Mark's Argentine Tango is reviewed, we are reminded that Mary loved it (and America did, too), and they are safe. It is clear that the better the reviews they show us, the more likely it is that the couple will be safe (this makes sense). Next up are Matt and Kourtni's ballroom, and it received mixed reviews but the reaction was positive overall. Then Will and Jessica's hip hop is recapped, with an emphasis from Mia and Mary of how much stronger Will was than Jessica (coughfinalfourcough), but Nigel thought Jessica did well. Cat says, "The second couple in the bottom three is...not you, Kourtni and Matt (so, of course, it is Will and Jessica)...and it's not you, either, Will and Jessica, you're both safe." There is a great deal of jumping about and screaming and hugging, and Cat can barely get the four of them off the stage.

After the break, the final three couples are brought on stage: Susie and Marquis, Courtney and Gev, and Chris and Comfort. There is not a lot of suspense with these three. Susie and Marquis' Salsa is totally dissed by the judges (and by most of the viewing public), and they are in the bottom three. Mary tells them to bring their heart to their solos and I have the feeling Susie is ready to go home. Courtney and Gev are next, and in the tape Gev says, "We are about to get buck (Lil C's term) with the Krump," but they didn't. However, the last line from the previous evening ends with Mary saying she loved it, and so did America (or else they liked it well enough), and they are safe. Chris and Comfort are the final couple in the bottom three, and I think everyone knew they would be unless they picked up a huge number of sympathy votes (I voted for them a couple of times), but they didn't. I'm bracing for this part, for good reason. We get some of Nigel's over-the-top criticism, this time focusing on Nigel's reference to Ed Norton turning into the hulk, and Nigel's face goes green and I am so not amused. Fortunately, Nigel tries to redeem himself by reminding everyone that while he has been disappointed by the couple, Comfort injured her shoulder last week and hasn't had the chance to really show herself and krumping did not suit Chris (ya think?), and then basically apologizes to Chris, noting his great spirit, etc., and I wonder if Nigel has received some harsh feedback or at least knows about it.

Tonight's special guest dancer is America's number one Flamenco Dancer (who knew we had one?), Timo Nuñez. He tried out for seasons one and two but didn't make it past Vegas, and judging by his performance, I can see why. I enjoyed the accompanying guitarist and singer/hand clapper, but I felt that it was an eye candy performance, all stomping and slicked buff chest action and thumping, and it does nothing for me, though the girls go wild. We get some happy dance snuggling in the street after the commercial break, and I know I'll grimace every week during this short portion of our program and will check to see what else is on TV.

Finally, we get to the solos:

Chelsea dances to Moliko and is sleek and saucy. I notice she has a Sabra-like body, though I'm not sure she is as explosive.

Thayne dances to Gavin DeGraw (the singer of the season), and he has beautiful lines but I feel that he could be a little bigger and the dance seems a little labored. Cat notices that he seemed to have enjoyed dancing, and Thayne looks surprised and says, I'm a dancer, of course I like to dance! High five, Thayne.

Susie dances to Pitbull and it is extremely unimpressive, similar, I thought, to her first audition (which did nothing for me). She shakes her body but barely moves across the stage, and I am pretty sure this is the last we'll see of her.

Marquis dances to One Republic (the band of the season) and is fantastic; explosive, beautiful lines, wonderful pirouttes, a la Danny, just brilliant. I am sure he is safe.

Comfort dances to Afrika Bambaataa, and I see hot b-girl action, with a great number of isolations. She looks sleek in her red hoodie, but seems pretty sad afterward.

Finally, Chris dances to John Legend, and I find his solo underwhelming, the weakest of the guys. However, as he starts to leave the stage, Cat pulls him back and holds up a sign that says "Chris is not a (picture of a) tree," and it's very cute, and perhaps a sign (get it?) that the producers (or just the audience members) feel badly about the way Chris has been portrayed.

The judges leave and Flo Rida and his posse sing In the Air. I like his music, but I hate lip syncing and sexy girls in tight black shorts shaking their butts, and I turn away, though the girls wave their hands in the air like they just don't care (though they clearly do).

At last we get to the results. Nigel spends a couple of minutes blathering on about the NBA Finals, and how impressed he was that Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers (I bet a lot of audience members are Lakers fans) made a point of congratulating each member of the WORLD CHAMPION BOSTON CELTICS (yes, I'm from Boston). His point is that you can fail and still be a brilliant dancer, and I wish he'd get on with it. Chelsea is first, and Nigel tells her she will have to step it up (take a drink), because there are better dancers on the show than her (must have done wonders for her self-confidence), but she is safe. Then we get to Susie, who is told that she no longer lights up the stage and needs to rekindle the fire, and Comfort, who is told that she has yet to find her potential on the show but because of her work in Shane Sparks' number she is safe. I find this unfair, b/c she did such a strong solo--clearly, the judges had made up their minds last night, or before the solo, and if so, why even BOTHER with the solos--but she is safe and Susie is going home. We get a going home montage to Idina Menzel (thank you, Natalie, for that information), and it's pretty and goodbye, Susie.

Finally, we get to the guys. I am certain that it's going to be Chris's time to leave, based on his dancing and particularly his solo. Nigel explains that it was really difficult, with the "three contemporary boys on the stage," and how strong everyone else is, and I am thinking something odd is up. Nigel goes across the line: Thayne has great personality and lots of potential, Marquis is a very good dancer, but his solo was only tricks (say WHAT?), and Chris did bring passion to his solo (really? I didn't see any, sorry to say), and Marquis is sent packing. There is palpable shock in the studio and in millions of homes in America. There is quite a bit of booing, Cat notes that "this is not a popular choice in the studio," and his goodbye package is set to James Morrison's "Wonderful World." Now James Morrison is my favorite singer in the whole world, and I even wrote a one-act play set to his song "Undiscovered," but that didn't make me any happier to see Marquis go (his package highlighted more of his amazing moves). I think that Marquis is either let go because Nigel want to split up another couple (possible) or because, as some have said, that they didn't really want to keep a contemporary dancer of color on the show. I have no idea if the latter is the case, but I am extremely disappointed with the decision. We barely got to see Marquis' skills (two ballroom numbers), he combines "tricks" with beautiful technique (so what about Neil, then?!), and this was a completely bogus analysis of his beautiful solo. I don't understand what is going on this season, and I think SYTYCD better rethink itself in a hurry if it wants to continue retaining its viewers and bringing new ones along.

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