Wednesday, June 29, 2011

SYTYCD Top 16 Perform

I'm back from a busy day of RWA shenanigans--Times Square is filled with romance writers, people, so you'd better watch out!  Fortunately, I'm still in time for tonight's SYTYCD.  Our lovely hostess, Cat, is in full flapper regalia today.  Either someone got a bob, or she has a clever stylist, because her hair is all short and curly--she's in a glittery flapper shift as well. Very cute.

We have four judges tonight--maybe the first two rounds convinced them that the guests weren't going to say much?  In addition to Nigel and Mary, we have Lil C, and special guest Kristen Chenoweth, who is now required to appear on every Fox show at least once a season. Does she really have much to say about dancing? I know she's a Broadway star, but my sense is that she's not exactly cast for her footwork. Lil C is his usual self, but I must grant him a "heh" when Cat asks what he's been up to and he says, "I've been a busy lil' buckster." But I don't actually care what he's been doing, so I FF.

Tonight the group is split into halves for two group numbers--Cat tells us the judges won't comment on the group routines, but will take them into consideration.  Think this is just a ploy to let them keep their golden child, Ryan, despite the fact that the audience didn't cotton to her last week? I'm suspicious.

First group has a Tyce routine, and I'm sorry to say the bowler hats are back.  He's choreographed a guys vs. girls dance involving chairs and hats, in which the girls kick ass. How fresh and original. I was just talking with someone about how much we hate that all competition shows so quickly devolve into boys vs. girls, as though gender was a signifier of skill.  Please address the sexual politics of this in the comments :).  Anyway, they're dancing to "Hit the Road, Jack" and the chairs have those stick-on spotlights underneath them, which I suppose is supposed to be innovative. I think the number is badly filmed so that we're probably missing a lot of the patterns, but it's OK. Decent for Tyce, not as shticky as he can be.

Our first couple is Sasha and Alex, dancing a Dee Caspary contemporary routine. I liked Caspary last season, and I'm happy to have some relatively fresh blood. The opening video clips are about the dancers' first performances, and as Cat says, are really just an excuse to show baby photos of the kids. I will mention them only if they say something remarkable. The dance is a love story (again), but in this case Sasha is playing the memory of a long ago love, which Alex is remembering.  The dance opens with Alex seated at a piano. (Well, a "piano." It's huge and blocky in a way that makes me think it's meant for dancing on rather than playing.)  And indeed, they're all over it, around it, on top of it, and at one point, Sasha climbs inside it and then reaches her hands onto the keyboard from within. (Which looks a little creepy, frankly.) It was an odd piece, and I think they danced it well, but it didn't really let them show off so much.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

SYTYCD Top 20 - Four Dancers Leave. No, Seriously This Time.

Just a quick update to review our fallen gazelles...the first of our bottom three couples are Missy and Wadi (wonder if America agreed that Wadi was the weak link, or if they weren't as charmed by Missy's identity of "sexy contempo"?).  They're in a group with Mitchell & Caitlynn (whose name I couldn't remember), who are safe after she got punched in the snoot yesterday. Sasha & Alex are the third couple in this group, and honestly, we're not sending Sasha home this early (nor are they announcing the second endangered couple this early).  I fast forward through the rather maudlin review of their dance, the recap of which leaves Alex in tears. And they're safe, of course.

There's a bit about Gatorade and athleticism and Nigel is gibbering and I'm boop-booping. Next!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

SYTYCD Top 20 Again - Blogtastrophe!

Gah! My poor Tivo management meant that I accidentally ranked The Voice higher than SYTYCD, and thus came home late to discover I'd missed the first 45 minutes of the show.  My apologies, fans!

We begin with Missy and Wadi's dance--they have a cha cha with Jean-Marc, the ballroom elf who looks like your company's IT manager.  Missy is a bit of a control freak in rehearsals, wanting to be perfect, while Wadi is just trying to wrap his mind around a cha cha at all.  In the performance itself, they begin with some tutting--a shout-out to Wadi's specialty, perhaps?--and then set off...but they are dancing to Ke$ha, which is a mandatory .5 deduction. There's lots of sexy posing and Wadi picking Missy up and putting her down, but not a lot of work in hold--and the dance seems to lack elevation.  I don't feel any chemistry between these two. Will the judges be suck-ups like they were last week?

Whoa! Debbie Reynolds is a guest judge! Don't know why, but what the hell. She just tells them "muy bueno." Nigel is the first to rain on our parade, though nicely.  He felt Wadi was too weak, especially in the arms--there was no power and technique. Yeah, fair enough. Says Missy was great, though, and "took care of herself." Sorry, Wadi.  Mary agrees that Wadi was the weakest link, and says a bunch of good technical things about the inside edges of his feet. Then she turns up the volume and screams that Missy is "the cha cha queen"!  Still not feeling her. Debbie chimes in to say that she'll take Wadi home, and "he can cha-cha with Debbie anytime." Heh.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

SYTYCD Top 20 - Two Dancers Leave...Or Not

The opening number is a Sonya joint, and I thought it was really cool! They're sort of like Russian jazz ninjas with canes. (You know, that old thing....)  Turns out we're doing three couples plus Mitchell, I guess so no girl gets a free pass? The bottom three couples are Jordan and Tadd, Clarice and Jess, and Miranda and Robert.

I think Jordan's interview hurt her a bit, because she seems like kind of a dummy, and also she's a bit of a thick dancer compared to some of the others.  But ultimately, the biggest strike against this couple is probably that they had to go first.  Ten dances later, who remembered them?

Clarice and Jess were hindered by a boring routine, well-danced but without much in the way of chemistry.  As discussed, Jess got slammed in Vegas (and he had that icky joke with Cat after his dance during the showcase episode), and Clarice is mostly legs without a discernable personality.  The dreaded Who? factor may have come into play.

Miranda and Robert weren't totally expected, at least not by me.  Was it the jive that did them in? Or could America just be getting sick of Mr. Woo! and his Urkel routine?

In the interim, we have Keri Hilson singing...something....and a dancer from the Bolshoi dancing the gopek, the Russian folk dance that was the worst-received in the history of SYTYCD. He shows everyone how it's supposed to be done, and he's clearly a remarkable and beautiful dancer, but it's still boring.

Solos! Mitchell goes first, and although his gestures are too matchy-matchy with the lyrics, he has some beautiful leaps and kicks.  I'd keep him, just so we could see him dance for real.  Jordan is next and dances like a stripper, basically.  A ton of HMV moves and little musicality. I say dump her.  Tadd does his b-boy stuff, which is impressive and should keep him safe, while Clarice is also a little strippery. She looks better than Jordan, though, because she's taller and her extensions are better, so I bet she stays. Jess kept the fedora (could it be the source of his power?) and basically just pirouettes his ass off. He busts out every step in the Broadway toolbox, and certainly is fighting to stay. Miranda's our last girl and enters like it's a gymnastics floor routine. Lotta hairography from this one. Finally, it's Woo!'s turn--the crowd starts hooting before he's even announced, and then he gestures for more. His solo's awfully marchy, but it's enough to keep him, I bet.  I think we're going to lose Jordan from the girls, but I'm stumped by the guys. Mitchell, because they have enough contempo boys? Or Jess, because he has an unpopular specialty and is unlikely to catch on with younger voters?

While the judges deliberate, Cat takes us back to Season 4, and the TV debut of a little lady called Gaga. (She debuted on SYTYCD? I feel so hip.) Then she announces that she will be guest-judging later in the season. Whee! She was actually very good as a mentor on Idol, though I'm not convinced she'll be as helpful about dance. And then we watch her new video, "The Edge of Glory." I like this song in spite of myself, because the substance, it is fairly thin on the ground in this one. But this video is boring. C'mon, Gaga, you can do better.

Judges are back! So who's taking the fall? We don't know yet, because Nigel has to take a minute to share the news that Clarence Clemons (who played sax in the video) had a stroke. And then, he still won't give us an answer, because the judges need to see Mitchell and Robert (that's Woo! for those of you who already forgot) dance one more time. This has got to freak them out. But I can see Robert is bringing it much harder this time--every joint is working overtime. Mitchell basically just starts his solo again, but I don't think he has the improvisational talent to jam-pack his routine at the last minute.  I think this probably sealed his fate.

Cat is doing yeoman's service managing this twist, because it really does look unplanned.  She's like the most charming tour guide you've ever had.  She calls the girls up to get their results first, says nice things about all of them, and then refuses to give us an answer.  He makes Cat call the guys up (is he seriously NOT going to dump anyone?), and starts with Jess, whom he calls "Jesse." He says nice things about all of them, too.

And of course, it turns out that all the bullshitting was to stall the fact that "we are not going to let anybody go home." So why are we here, dude? The crowd is screaming and the dancers have all rushed the stage to hug their compatriots.  Over the chaos, Nigel shouts to Cat that two couples will go home next week.  I guess they wanted Mitchell to have a chance to be judged on more than 30 seconds, which seems fair.

And then my Tivo cut off because of all Nigel's rambling, so if he said anything else important, I didn't get it! See you next week!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dusting off the Ol' Blog...

For some more TV recaps! This time, it's my beloved "So You Think You Can Dance." I skipped the audition rounds, but we're finally ready to start the real thing with tonight's Top 20 show!

First off, may I observe that when you have 20 dancers, it takes FOREVER to introduce them.  Did it always take this long? I feel like I'm at a highschool graduation. But at Cat's "Here are the girls...and here are your boys," everyone does the little sashay-skip that has become tradition on the show, and I settle in for some comfort TV. Ahhhh....

Cat appears to be wearing a very shiny garbage bag, and her hair looks like she just got out of the shower.  I love you, Cat, but leave a little more time next week.  Also, because no one is safe from my rapier wit, including myself, I will confess to you that after eating a spring roll too vigorously, I found a carrot shred on my collarbone.  In my defense, I was really hungry.