Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sue Brody's Top 10 Performance Show Recap

Fox/Kelsey McNeal

Well, this was another jam-packed So You Think You Can Dance episode! As I've done the past two weeks, I am going to review the couples by dance, not chronologically, and then the solos last.

Cat has on a pretty yellow dress with her hair down. I wish she'd dress like this every week. Tonight's guest judge is Lil C, the Krump choreographer. I wasn't sure how he would be--he's always put on a tough, street persona--but he was very articulate and offered constructive criticism. I think every judge, particularly Mia and Nigel, could learn a lot from him. I will say that Mary was far less excitable than usual, and Nigel was less snarky and lewd. Maybe they've been reading the negative reviews the viewers have been expressing. Nigel has on a denim shirt and I prefer him in a suit, but that's just me. Mary is tastefully dressed this week.

Before the dancing starts, Cat notes that there were only nine dancers at the beginning of the show, and then Jessica is introduced. As most of you know, she had to bow out of the competition due to injury, and Cat has her explain. Jessica says that she broke two ribs and fractured another one, and the doctors told her not to dance for four weeks, though she should be able to join the tour. Cat says that she was always a strong part of the show, and I wondered if she's been listening to Mia and Nigel's harsh comments of her. Cat notes that Comfort will be competing in Jessica's place, and Jessica graciously leaves the stage.

As is the case each year beginning with the Top 10, the girls pick a new partner and two dances. Actually, last year it was one dance per couple and each contestant performed a Wade Robson routine, but this year, they will all perform two dances AND a solo, and I wonder when these guys will get a break.

More after the jump...
First couple: Courtney and Joshua.

Dance one: Hip hop by Dave Scott, dancing to Skippin' by Mario.

This dance reminds me of Lacey and Pasha's statue dance last season, as Joshua does a great deal of the straight dancing, and Courtney plays the character, Spankingstein, as Mary calls her (like Frankenstein's monster--get it?). I like the routine a lot; it plays to both of their strengths. Lil C says that it has interesting choreography and that Joshua killed it, but that Courtney also did well and that they made the choreography work. Mary screams and says that yes, the had great chemistry, and that Dave brought in comedy, which she likes. She says that Joshua stole the show but that Courtney did a respectable job. I thought that was obvious, since Joshua is a hip hop dancer, but that Courtney kept up with him. Nigel says that Joshua danced it terrifically and that Courtney's character was great but that she has to bring her dancing up, because the viewers will be voting for individuals and not couples this week. I don't think this is a great sign for Courtney.

Dance two: Rumba by Jean-Marc Generaux, dancing to Hero by Enrique Iglesias.

This is a very sensual dance, and Lil C says that he might need his asthma pump, as they took his breath away. He praised their hands and their extensions, but said that he could tell when the lifts were coming (I agreed). Mary says that the Rumba is so difficult but that they didn't fall off balance, there were many nuances, and that it was just fantastic. Nigel says that Jean-Marc designed a routine for them. Then he gets lewd, noting that Joshua was so butch but that a lot of women like that, and says he noticed Joshua kept some of his shirt on. Joshua amusingly replies that Will and Twitch were often naked on stage, and "wait till you see the rest of him." The judges applaud.

Second couple: Mark and Kherington.

First dance: Two Step by Ronnie Debenedeta and Brandi Tobias, to Kick Back by Ty England.

Their performance is very disappointing. This is a tough dance--in my opinion, as tough as the Quickstep--but they clearly struggled with it. Twitch gives Kherington his Superman glasses for luck, and Mark does an amusing giddy-up dance in the package, but that's about all that is particularly notable. Lil C says that this is a fun routine and that they tried to attack it, but that it only went in one direction and that their missed turn bled onto the stage (ouch). Mary says that Kherington wasn't connected through the center and that because she wasn't smooth, it was tough for Mark, but kudos to him for partnering her. Nigel says that the trouble was that it required partners to have complete trust in each other and that they didn't. He adds that Kherington was leading most of the way, but that they didn't give up, and yet that the routine was not winning any prizes. Not good.

Dance two: Jazz by Tyce DiOrio, to Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat by Sam Harris, Guys and Dolls soundtrack.

I found this especially disappointing. because I expected great energy and fun and they didn't bring it. Tyce notes that there is no story, that it is just a piece where the dancers feel the music and it showcases their style. However, they were far stronger in the package. Lil C says that it was a good routine and that they maintained a nice balance with good turns by Kherington, but that the lifts looked too choreographed (I agreed; they seemed laborious). Mary says that she wasn't jumping up and down in her seat, and though they covered the stage, it didn't fire her up, and she called it okay, a weigh station between too little and too much (I liked that analogy). She adds that Mark is lost without having a character or a story, and I have to agree. Mark says that it was a little like a driving test; he checked off the pirouettes, the knees pointed, their dancing together, but that there wasn't anything on top of it, and that they didn't add any passion to what Tyce gave them (this really reminded me of Wade's solo dances during Top 10 last season). He says that this wasn't what would make people pick up the phone for them, and I get worried as a Mark fan. I would also be shocked if Kherington isn't in the bottom two.

Twitch and Comfort.

Dance one: Waltz by Hunter Johnson to Open Arms by Journey.

Uh, oh, I thought, this isn't going to work, and in fact it was pretty much a train wreck; the only thing I enjoyed was the song, which I sang while I watched the couple stumble through the number. Comfort was beautiful, and Lil C says he enjoyed the routine, but they weren't floating along the floor, that Comfort's extensions were more graceful than before, though is was respectable (I found Lil C encouraging throughout the show). Mary, however, says that it was lacking so much power at this point of the season, and that even though it was outside of their style, the routine was clunky, and the quality of movement just wasn't there. Nigel was even harsher, saying that if viewers hadn't known that these two were in the Top 10, they wouldn't have believed it, and explained the problems with their dancing, though he did say that they nailed the final lift. H said it was another hurdle over with, which was true, though the Swaybots seemed to enjoy it.

Dance two: Hip Hop by Dave Scott to Forever by Chris Brown.

They are lucky they are both hip hop dancers, because they did a great job with this number. It was a futuristic piece that Lil C said was kinda buck. Then he explained what he meant: " [Buck is] when internal artistry meets physical expression (interesting)." He said that Twitch was the spitting image of Dave Scott, as he was precise and hits hard, and that this was Comfort's best hip hop routine. Mary agrees that this was buck, too, and that it revealed character, and that Comfort was a fighter and came to the plate and stepped up (if I hear those expressions one more time, and I will, I'm going to scream, which I will). She stood up and bowed before Twitch, and Nigel does a "fa real" move and says that it didn't look choreographed, it looked like dancing with joy, and that Comfort had always been the best hip hop girl of the season, and that she never came up to the plate UNTIL TONIGHT (ugh, stop saying that, Mary and Nigel). He also says that he hopes Jessica feels "well-respected" (I actually do wonder how she feels), and "Welcome back, Comfort." We'll see if this is enough to keep her from elimination.

Will and Katee.

Dance one: Broadway to Tyce DiOrio, dancing to Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat from the Guys and Dolls, Sam Harris.

Not surprisingly, Katee and Will do a great job with the piece. Tyce thinks they are the perfect couple, technically strong and just great dancers, and they have great unison as they dance with power in a small space (a boat, surprise). Lil C applauds their versatility, says that Tyce is a beast, and that he finds them explosive and in character and that they rocked his boat and it was buck (ha ha). Mary says that they had hopped on the love boat (this was an expression from S2 and also apropos of the number), and that Katee possess talent that was out of this world and that Will got got into the funky part and that it was fantastic. Cat makes a reference to Will ripping off his shirt and wondering if Dmitri ever got so much applause from the audience, and COINCIDENTALLY Dmitri and Mia are in the audience. Nigel says that they are the most technical dancers in the competition, and that they are the first couple that he could say, Yeah, I know why you are in the top 10. Considering that he also said very complimentary things about Joshua and Courtney, I am a little bit annoyed by this comment, but it's clear that Katee and Will are his favorite couple.

Dance two: Pad de Deux by Desmond Richardson, danced to Imagine by David Archuleta. (That didn't take long for David Archuleta from American Idol to get a song on the program, and I wonder if David Cook is jealous. To be fair, Archie' rendition his beautiful, possibly the highlight of the season.) This was a beautiful dance, and not surprisingly the judges went crazy in their praise. Lil C says that he is nervous critiquing this one, that the dancers have the most difficult job in having to mediate what the choreographers see (somehow, I don't think Nigel would agree). He says they danced with such fervor and commitment and really delivered the piece. Mary says that it was a beautiful song, beautiful choreography, and that they are two of the most beautiful dancers she has ever seen. Nigel begins by praising Desmond Richardson, "probably one of the greatest modern ballet contemporary dancers in the world," and notes that he and his partner Dwight Rhoden formed the Complexions Dance Company and thanks them for coming to SYTYCD. He says that he has never seen such beautiful dancing on the show this season or maybe ever, and that he caught their one mistake (I did, too), but if they hadn't had it, they might never have surpassed this moment. I think he's gone a bit overboard, but their combination of contemporary dancing with ballet was beautiful. They are both headed for the Top 4.

Final couple: Chelsie and Gev.

Dance one: Contemporary by Sonya Tayeh, danced to These Arms of Mine by Otis Redding.

Sonya says this is a dance about a couple in love and how they feel when they are apart. I'm not sure I saw that in the piece, but I really liked it. Gev had crazy leaps and Chelsie was extremely emotional. Lil C says that contemporary makes him feel something and lets him explore something, and that this piece did as well and that the dancers were committed. Mary says that Sonya finds an interesting way of doing things and that they had great chemistry and that Gev leaped across the stage, that they had effortless lifts, and that it was terrific. Nigel says that it felt like a sleazy cafe, late at night, with the waitress gone, and I was surprised it took him this long to say something inappropriate. However, he says that Chelsie made him "your man," but that Gev was not completely beyond it and that he might still have Courtney on his mind (inappropriate comment two). I disagree: I thought both dancers were terrific. It seemed to me that Nigel didn't really want Gev to continue in the competition.

Dance two: Jive by Jean-Marc Generaux danced to The House is Rocking by Brian Setzer (what a great song!). I also liked this piece a lot, though Lil C says that Chelsie out-stepped Gev and that she could make a mannequin look good, but that Gev was not always there and was in and out of the routine. Mary say it was a great way to end the evening, and showed great partnership, but THEN went on to say that it was like Dancing with the Stars: a professional (Chelsie) with an amateur (Gev). I kept wondering why they forgot that Chelsie is a ballroom dancer and Gev is a b-boy (and I LOVE Chelsie). She did note that Gev was there for her and that it was very entertaining. Nigel says that it was very entertaining and that Chelsie was terrific but that Gev bounded and then stopped, though they did a great job. Again, I have a feeling they want Gev eliminated.

Finally, the solos, and I'll keep this brief:

Chelsie dances to Pon de Replay by Rhianna. It was a very nice routine and didn't feel ballroom.

Gev dances to Hello/Goodbye (Uncool) by Lupe Fiasco feat. Unkle, and it is fabulous, insane, and original, using a t-shirt in the midst of this leaps and spins. This could keep him in the competition.

Courtney dances to I Want You to Need Me by Celine Dion, and she is very passionate and gets hugged tightly by Cat and is applauded by the judges.

Mark dances to Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen and I think this is the dance of the night. He is just so lithe and uses the music to perfection. It reminds me of how well Michael Johns sang the song during Hollywood Week on Idol, and he pantomimes Cat as she gives out his number. This may keep him in the competition.

Comfort dances to Need a Boss by Shareefa feat. Ludacris and it's fine, but similar to her other dances.

Katee dances to This Woman's Work (MTV Unplugged) by Maxwell and it's a nice solo, but not the strongest of the night. It doesn't matter, however; she is more than safe.

dances to I Question Mark by Wade Robson (I don't know who Mark is, but it's a Wade Robson song, so yay!). He uses the stage well and is fun to watch. He gets a great deal of applause. Cat says, "Do you fancy saving the universe," and Twitch says he does, "one dance floor at a time." Twitch continues to amuse.

Will dances to Dance with My Father by Luther Vandross, and he uses the stage brilliantly and includes his great leaps, but I am not sure this is his best solo. Again, it doesn't really matter.

Kherington dances to Breakin' Dishes by Rhianna and she displays passion, attitude, and technique. It's too bad she doesn't bring such fire to her routines.

Joshua dances to Jam by Michael Jackson, and shows great leaps, isolations, and even chest popping at the end. It's very impressive.

Predicted bottom four:

Girls: Kherington and Comfort
Boys: Gev, Mark, Twitch (not really sure, to be honest)

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