Thursday, July 24, 2008

Top 8 Performance Show Recap

Wednesday night's SYTYCD was possibly the strongest performance show of the season, though I still feel that Season 3's top 6 show was stronger (it contained Neil and Sabra's Table Dance, nominated for an Emmy, and their Paso Doble, amongst many others). At any rate, it's nice to review a good show. Along with the eight dances and solos, we were also treated to information about each dancer's decision to begin dancing, which I found interesting.

Cat wore a pretty black dress. I wonder if someone commented on her odd dances in the beginning of the season. Nigel wore a white suit, Mary had on a fairly sedate floral dress, and our guest judge was Toni Basil, she of "Micky" fame. However, since that time she has been working with Bette Middler in Vegas and will begin choreographing Tina Turner's tour, which is pretty cool. She had on a red dress and looked good.

More after the jump...

Will and Courtney

Dance One: Jean-Marc Genereux's Samba to I Fell in Love with the Djay by Che'Nelle. They mentioned in the package how both dancers needed to move their hips, and Courtney certainly did. I liked the piece a lot, though the lights in the studio were far too bright, and I couldn't see them half the time because of the glare. Courtney looked particularly sexy in a hot yellow dress while Will danced all in black. Nigel said that their hips were screaming and everyone was screaming for their hops. He thought that tonight's show was going to be a great one, and all of the guys looked like they were out of the movie 300, and that this should be called 300: the Dance Off. Obviously, he had seen the guys during the dress rehearsal, but whatever. He loved Courtney and Will's chemistry, and Mary said that she wondered where Ashton was because she thought she was being punked, since she has two contemporary dancers who looked like Samba dancers. She did note that Will's technique was not great all of the time, particularly his upper frame and his turns, and I thought this might be the first time Will had ever been criticized. She did scream for Courtney, however. Toni, who I thought was very articulate and concise, said that she forgot to take notes, as she had so much fun watching them, and that they brought the life of the Samba to the dance. I liked the dance but wasn't really wow'ed by it.

Dance two: Lyrical Hip Hop by Napoleon and Tabitha to Like You'll Never See Me Again by Alicia Keys (a beautiful song). The theme was for a woman aching to go back in time to her late man. Courtney wore a black dress and Will was dressed in white, to drive home the differences between the two. The couple hit all the beats, but I have to say that this piece reminded me of Mia's flower dance last season for Lacey and Neil and it just didn't affect me that way, although the judges really liked it. Nigel said that he was affected emotionally by hip hop routines this season and that this dance reminded me of movies like Ghost and that he felt like a voyeur watching a beautiful, private moment and that it was very beautiful. Mary said that Courtney and Will were tremendous dancers (I agree) and that they didn't meet her expectations, they exceeded them and she screamed. Toni said that when hip hop started out, it was street but has become an art form, and that she was glad to see it on the show and that she would never feel the same way about dance again. I noticed that she did NOT mention the routine.

Comfort's solo
She said that she had started by street dancing, and that her dad tricked into going to a performing arts school that had no hiphop, but that she picked up technique there. I felt her solo was good, not great, with a lot of energy but similar to other solos she's performed. Cat noted that she was a fighter and I thought, Okay, that's the last week we'll see Comfort. We got the first of the "fa real" gestures, and frankly, I am totally sick of it, so I won't mention it again.

Twitch and Katee
Dance one: Mia Michael's Contemporary to Mercy by Duff. They noted that they had known each other before the program, and you could tell. They had great chemistry, and this was probably my favorite routine of the evening. The premise was that they were a couple in an argument, where he was cool and she was insane. A door was used as a very effective prop, as Twitch and Katee went back and forth in their tussle. This was different than other Mia routines, and I was glad to see that. Nigel said that it was hard to critique the dancing because the performances were so strong, which reminded me of the Twitchington dance a few weeks earlier on the bed. Nigel thought it was just fantastic and mentioned that he had had a woman like this (Mary), and they bantered back and forth for a bit, which I didn't find funny. He wondered for another week what went through Mia's head, but said that it was one of the most entertaining dances that had ever had on the program, and I agreed. Mary did her only really corny moment of the show: Knock Knock. Who's There? Two. Two who? Two of the best dancers we've ever seen on the the stage, which I'm sure might be a little much. (Nick? Danny? Travis? Benjy? Heidi? Natalie? Alison? Blake? etal) Toni said that Katee and Twitch were lucky to have been choreographed by one of the reigning queens of contemporary dance (true) and that it was funky and she hadn't taken any notes on this piece, either.

Dance two: Broadway by Tyce DiOrio to Sweet Georgia Brown from Bubblin' Brown Sugar. Katee wore a sexy red dress and Twitch had on a matching bow tie, and I liked this dance but didn't love it. Nigel said that he loved the routine and could see it being performed on Broadway (I'm not so sure). He said that he was shocked with Twitch, who was probably the least trained dancer on the show, and that he gave Katee the best compliment he could by saying that there wasn't one routine he hadn't enjoyed her doing. Mary said that it was terrific and that she didn't remember a night when she had had so much fun. Toni said that Twitch was really grounded and more reality-based than most Broadway dancers in that he danced organically but that she wished Katee's dancing had matched the deep vocals a bit more but that she really loved the routine.

Will's solo
He said that he got started by watching Dirty Dancing (man, am I old) and that he began with hip hop and tumbling and that he moved to LA, was noticed by Debbie Allen, and was given a full scholarship to her academy. He danced to Get Up Offa That Thing by James Brown, and with his wig he even looked like him. It was a very funky dance, far different than the ones he had performed before, and the judges gave him a standing ovation, but I didn't find the dance that good, though he got props for originality.

Mark and Comfort

Dance one: Hip Hop by Napoleon and Tabitha to Party People by Fergie featuring Nelly. I was concerned with this pairing, but this dance was fantastic, "hard hitting" as Mary likes to say. The premise was that they were two students in detention fooling around while the teacher was out of the room, and it was a bit reminiscent of Benjy and Travis's final dance during season two. Nigel noted that Comfort was so much better when given choreography than in her solos (true, and a bit surprising, since you'd think she'd nail free style), and that she was incredible and that Mark was even more surprising. He loved their pick up into the back somersault. Mary said that the guys did a great job with the piece, and that their synchronization was impressive. She said that Comfort was a great dancer (first time we've heard her say that, I believe) and that Mark nailed it. Toni said that she loved this style, that she had taken classes from NapTab (surprising) and that this had the underpinnings of street (the word of the evening). She said that that they had that groove, and that this dance was fabulous, and they were rooted in the music. HOWEVER, Nigel said that if they ended up in the bottom two, it wasn't because they weren't good but that the others were better. I read this as See ya, bye guys but the voters might have responded to this challenge by voting more, as was the case when Simon handed the American Idol title to David Archuleta and David Cook came back to take it by 12 million votes.

Dance two: Foxtrot by Jean-Marc Genereaux to Lady Luck by the Brian Setzer Orchestra. Uh, oh, I thought. Comfort is not strong in ballroom dancing and Mark was always strong b/c of Chelsie's ballroom background. My fears were not unfounded. This was the weakest performance of the night. While Mark looked suave with his slicked back hair and Comfort was pretty in her dress, this dance was a train wreck and as Nigel said, he thinks Lady Luck walked in the room when they got hip hop and walked out of the room when they got the foxtrot (true). He felt it was slightly amateurish and that it didn't show their chemistry, which had been evident during their hip hop. Mary said that she was sorry, but her review was not gonna get any better, and that she noted everything that was wrong with it. She then said it was one of the worst foxtrots she had every seen, and I grimaced. Toni said that their turns were like during a recital, though Mark's jazz partnership was really good, and then reminded the audience that that their hip hop was fabulous, and Cat, trying to be supportive, said "Remember the hiphop." Too bad this was their second dance, not their first.

Katee's solo
She said she started tap when she was four, and that it wasn't good, but that she moved onto contemporary eventually and she thanked her teachers who pushed her. She danced to Taking Chances by Celine Dion and and I wonder when they are actually going to HAVE Celine Dion on the program, considering how many times they've used her songs. I thought it was a good dance, but not great; I prefer her partner dancing.

Mark's solo
He said that he started in musical theatre after seeing Phantom of the Opera and that he was the only boy in the entire school who danced but that he was a little different (Cat said there was nothing wrong with being different). He danced to Creator - Santogold feat Switch & Freq Nasty. I liked the dance--I always like Mark's solos--but I didn't find it as fun as the ones last week. He mimed the numbers with Cat again.

Courtney's solo
She said that her first recital was to Lil Bo Peep when she was three and that during senior year her classmates had stopped dancing but that she realized that she was not done and that she only had a small window to perform as a dancer. She danced to Where I Stand by Missy Higgins and it was beautiful. She always shows so much emotion and she is my favorite soloist.

Twitch's solo
He noted that he didn't take it seriously until senior year, which is much later than the other dancers. He then went onto a community college and after that spent nine months in South Korea where he was in a couple of music videos. He did a nice solo to Go to Work by Kay L, though it didn't really stand out from others he has performed.

Chelsie's solo
She said that she started dancing when she was nine, and began taking it seriously when she turned 14 and started training in the ballroom world. She traveled throughout the country entering ballroom competitions. She danced to Damaged by Danity Kane, and it wasn't bad, but it was pretty much the same as her others. She excels as a partner, but as with other ballroom dancers like Anya last season, she would not win any prizes as a soloist.

Joshua's solo
He began dancing as a kid, and did the moonwalk all the way to the principal's office. If he was committed to enrolling in dance, he would be let off detention, and he did, auditioning to Pepito's Story. He loved the screaming and thanked her for his entrance into dancing. He danced to Shawty Get Loose by Lil Mama feat T-Pain & Chris Brown and it was fantastic. His isolations, popping, and other tricks are so seamlessly performed.

Joshua and Chelsie

Dance one: Argentine Tango by Dmitry Chaplin from season two to A Los Amigos - Forever Tango (Original Cast). Chelsie was dressed in a sexy blue dress and I liked but did not love their routine. Nigel pointed out how fantastic Chelsie's legs were (and noted that he meant technically, not just physically). He said Chelsie used her legs while Joshua used his strength and they got into a brief interchange about Joshua's bum that I found stupid. Mary said that Joshua set the mood and was very committed, while Chelsie was so much more sexy than in her last one (I don't know which that was and didn't realize she hadn't been sexy in it). She really liked their chemistry and that they were still on the hot tamale train. Toni said that Joshua was the most street of all the ballroom partner dancers (stop it already!) and that it needed to be torrid and spontaneous and that it was. She noted that Joshua's turns were not his great forte, but that the whole dance came together. Once again, as with Katee, Chelsie made her partner look good.

Dance two: Disco by Doriana Sanchez to Everlasting Love by Gloria Estefan. Love the song, did not love the routine. They should ban disco and the foxtrot forever from SYTYCD. They did nail a lift they had been trying on the show for four years, and that Joshua was able to perform the lifts due to his upper body strength and that Chelsie had wonderful courage to let herself be lifted like that and that it was a great finale to a wonderful show. Mary said it was really good for her and that Chelsie's legs really worked, that she could let herself down with great precision, and she praised the airplane change into another position. Toni said that there was no way Joshua could have remembered disco, as it started before he was born (I'm old; I remember it clearly)and that Joshua's lines were as long as hustle dancers but that he had the spirit and Chelsie had both.

Predicted bottom two:

Comfort and Mark and ?
Going home: Comfort for sure and then I really don't know

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