Hi, Sue here. I am going to attempt to recap last night's debacle, er, So You Think You Can Dance's Vegas week. I am going to start by asking a silly question: Why, Nigel, why? You spent nearly three weeks showing us good and bad dancers, and then you had to cram the most important week into TWO HOURS? What up? I live blogged on this site with Ted (thank you, Ted) and many of you, and I was completely lost. Then I re-watched the entire show (I know, glutton for punishment) after it aired, and I *still* don't know much of what happened. I'll do my best, but I won't even bother naming most of the Top 20, b/c I still don't who they are!!! So bear with me...
For those who don't know, this is a "time where dancers should become dancers" (what does that even mean?!). We had Cat, as resplendent as ever, shouting into a bullhorn, "Let the games commence and here we go!" and then over 200 dancers ran into the hotel and I shuddered. The judges were Tabitha and Napoleon, Nigel, Mary, Mia, and...Debbie Allen! She had on neon green and sunglasses, but was a welcome presence, and I'll get back to her in a bit.
Day One: The dancers had one hour to learn a hip hop routine by Tabitha and Napoleon. This is one of the saddest moments of the evening, as Robert Muraine, a popper, could not pick up the hip hop choreography, and told us the thought of giving up. Nigel brought him on stage and said he didn't want to let his partner down. Nigel asked him to do a solo and he did, complete with sick isolations and bendy moves, his trademark. Everyone applauded and Nigel said if you continue we'll fight for you, but he said he couldn't do it (he started coming apart) and left the stage. This was unfortunate; I had hoped to see him near or get into the Top 20.
Next we say Kortney (dancer with grandparents) and Rebecca, both contemporary dancers. Kortney made it, Rebecca did not, and she gave a gracious farewell speech (unlike many of the contestants). Sixty two dancers were eliminated, including Ryan the strip club djay and Ricky, the ballroom dancer. The remaining contestants got to ham it up in the pool, and I thought, this is the last time you'll have fun for the rest of the week.
The producers told the dancers to wear "sexy and sassy" outfits, and our next choreographer was Tyce Diorio! The dancers and I cheered. He had on a snappy scarf and took them through a Broadway routine. Erika Gee is in Vegas for her third time and is sure she'll make it. Due to the lack of guys, she and Brittany dance together. It turns out that Brittany is *far* stronger than Erika, who didn't show the judges that she "felt it." Brittany made it, but Erika was cut, and she gave a long speech about how she had let her parents down, who had given her lots of money to perform, etc., and said that "you need thick skin to be a dancer." Yep. The judges did put a lot of partners through. Susie from Miami stood out "even without the sexy dress," and I thought, Uh oh.
MORE AFTER THE JUMP...
Anthony and Antwain got air time, and Antwain had a bad feeling. He was correct, as Anthony was told he did a "wonderful job," but his brother and the rest of his line got cut. They both cried, and I felt badly for them. Then we saw lots of cuts and one angry girl who said she would have made it if she had blond hair and would have made it if she had been prettier. I didn't see her dance, so I don't know if that's true, though I doubt it.
There were 94 dancers left by lunch time. Jean Marc choreographed a fox trot, and Joshua Allen, a hip hop dancer, was frustrated by the the routine. But he and his partner, Comfort, were commended by the judges, particularly Mia, who said they "were wonderful, despite some of their moves which were a hot mess, but there were moments of grace and elegance," and they both moved on to the next round, resulting in a lot of tears. I was really happy for them, representing Texas (Mia).
Then we saw our favorite contestant, Pageant Queen Paige, who smiled throughout her time in Vegas, in the bubble bath (ick), in the first rounds, and looked like Brooke White from American Idol in her yellow dance. She was paired with a hip hop dancer named Will Adams, and she complained that there were too many dancers on stage, she couldn't see well b/c there was no room to move, blah blah blah. She was awkward, which they mostly blamed on Will. He has to do a solo to stay and she is allowed to dance again with another partner who made it through. Then she is cut; she says she did not exhibit enough elegance and grace, and so on. She starts crying, says "Jesus Christ has a plan for everyone," and then babbles on in the bathroom about being a pageant queen and other nonsense. See ya, bye, Paige. Twitch (yay), and others are through after their solos, including Jeremiah, who blows them away with his contemporary solo. Will is not good enough but is told to "keep his chin up."
We get to 6:00 PM, and like last year, the dancers who are left are told that they will be put into groups, will choose a CD from a bag, and will spend the evening (whole night) choreographing their own piece. The dancers note that they are delirious, irritable, and barely slept, which we expected.
Twitch, Jason Glover (contemporary) and Bianca (the tapper) are put together, and they have too many ideas and cannot get it together. The other four groups get to bed by 4 AM, but Twitch's group goes on till 4:30. They say they have a new outlook before they go on, however, and then they dance to The Police's "Every Breath You Take" (huh?!). It's a mess, until Bianca taps around them and they join in. None of the judges liked the routine, and Mary felt that it was selfish that Bianca got her own time to shine. They all get to stay except for Jason, who has to dance for his life, while the others stay. Twitch tells us why he feels responsible for the results.
Then we see the "Angels and Demons" group. Jessica King's choreography does not sit well with Derrick Spears, and they fight in front of the camera and in the corridor. By 2:00 AM Derrick leaves, but the rest of the group carries on. They dance to the Police and the judges really like the piece. (Aside: the girl in the green dress reminds me of last year's Jessie.) They all make it through, though Derrick gets a "hush" sign from Nigel (literally a sign saying HUSH), which I find funny. Jason does his solo and since he gets four votes, including one from Mia, who wants to see him do her work, he is through.
After the break, Mia and her contemporary dance take the floor, and the dancers and I shudder. There are 68 dancers left who have had no sleep and many dancers note that they are starting to feel the presence. Tapper Lizz Platt, whom I love, can hardly deal with the routine, though she says she will "leave it all on the floor," and she barely makes it through the dance. Mia thinks she does a great job, but Nigel says "she must control your nerves." Lizz then goes into a speech about how this is the first time she is not mentally stressed but that her legs gave out, she was afraid to get injured, her body wanted to quit but her mind wouldn't, and I am BEGGING her to shut up. Mary is concerned about what would happen to her if she made the Top 20, and she makes it much worse by continuing to talk. Finally Debbie Allen speaks up, telling her that she should have just stood there and taken the notes, and she is cut. She cries off stage, explains that she her mouth DID get her in trouble, but that she would "glue her mouth shut next year," and I hope this will indeed happen.
Jeremiah Hughes is a contemporary dancer who actually cannot handle Mia's choreography, is lost, and walks off after 3/4 of the routine. He comes back, stamps his foot, and his reprimanded for his meltdown (Mary says she feels let down). Finally Nigel tells him to leave, and off-camera he says that he leaves humbled, apologizes for his behavior, and will be back next year. We'll see. Twenty two dancers are cut, including Jason (who is Jason?). 47 dancers are left but nine will be dancing for their lives, including Twitch and jazz dancer Sheila. All nine dancers will do their solos and no decisions will be made until after they have all finished. Dominick seems a bit desperate and does not finish his moves, but then he falls to the floor and it turns out he has pulled a muscle and leaves the competition (I feel badly for him). Twitch makes it (see a pattern here?), and Mark does this awesome contemporary dance to Queen, and I REALLY hope he makes it to the Top 20. Unfortunately, Sheila does not make it, and says she'll return to the classroom and will see what happens.
At this point, there is only one more step. They dancers will each do their final solo without a critique, and they are told these solos will have a lot of bearing on what happens to them. And FINALLY we get to the final cuts, where we'll be introduced to the Top 20. They will take the walk of fame/shame (I made that up! :-)), while there are videos of their their first and last solos playing on a screen in the hallway, and they do not care, nor do I.
Now, this is where I get completely lost and where I am extremely frustrated by Nigel, etal. This is the most important part of the series to date, and yet this is jumbled up. We see Kelli Baker, the daughter of the Rent choreographer, who is told that she is a fabulous dancer but didn't show enough personality and is cut, though they tell her to come back next year and she says she has no regrets.
Kortney, the contemporary dancers, is teased but make it to the Top 20. Others, including Chelsea Hightower, are told they made it (I have no idea who they are), though I see that Anthony doesn't make the cut, but is commended for his dancing and is told to come back next year (I'm really happy for Anthony). Tap dancer Bianca doesn't make it (too bad) but Joshua Allen, the hip hopper dancer, does (yay!), and he cries. He is told that he is brilliant and should keep working on his brises (sp?), a type of turn I am not familiar with, and Debbie says "to show your truth and we can handle the truth."
Twitch makes it and says he will work on his skills and hugs everyone. Soccer player Kherington is "just good enough to get by every time" and says he will get her chance in the Top 20. Markus, the man with his mom's face on his shirt, doesn't make it there, and I'm sad. Derrick, who can't keep his mouth shut, is told he is not quite yet there but to keep back. William Wingfield, the protege of Debbie Allen, makes the Top 20, and we learn that Debbie can no longer be a judge b/c there would be a conflict of interest. Pressure much, Nigel?
Finally, we get to the reality show portion of our program. Dev and Brandon are trotted out (last year it was Twitch and Hok), and Dev is chosen (a surprise), but they want Brandon to come back next year, and he says he will. Then we have this weirdness where roommates Katee and Natalie (I am shocked they made it this far) are brought out. Katee, who is only 19, says that b/c this is her second time in Vegas, will give up if she doesn't make it, while Natalie comforts her, and the judges get extremely pissed off. They make the two of them leave, discuss, and then bring them back. They tell Katee that she originally was chosen, but after her statements the judges take another vote. Because it is a split decision, they have to go with the original vote, and Katee is chosen. Katee back pedals, while Natalie is gracious is ever, and has even missed her graduation. Nigel commends her for her class, she and Katee cry off stage, and the Top 20 dance and I am SO relieved that this is over and we can really begin the show. I won't even attempt to tell you who the Top 20 is--some of whom we've never even seen before (Jamie, for example), and somehow Susie from Miami makes it--but they do the Snuggle Happy Dance, and we can actually figure out who they are and how to spell their names next week.
So...that's it. I apologize for any misspelling of a contestant's name (I'm sure there were many), but I feel relieved that I could offer a recap of the debacle they called Vegas week, and I can't wait for Top 20 to begin! See you next week, and I should be able to provide more clarity from now on. :)