SYTYCD Top 20, Week 2–The Eliminations Begin

courtesy of 19 Entertainment and Dick Clark Production

For this week’s show I typed my commentary as I watched, so with only a few minor edits, these are my actual, in-the-moment comments on the show.

Top 20 – Character (Tabitha and Napoleon Dumo)
It looked like a Mia Michaels piece, to tell you the truth—I don’t know if Nappytabs had assistance or if they’re branching out into contemporary, but I liked it. Showcasing Cyrus was pretty much a given considering the theme and the music—at this stage he’s much less trained than Twitch was on entering this competition, but as noticed and mentioned by many, he is the consummate student, and the opportunity of this show is going to do wonders for his career future.

Guest judge: Adam Shankman, who just happens to be the producer of “Step Up Revolution,” opening in theaters the following week.

Lindsay/Cole – Hip-Hop (Christopher Scott)
She’d have been hotter in a black skintight catsuit, and Cole as nerd scares me. Nigel commented on Lindsay playing to the audience rather to the vampish character; Mary agreed and so do I. She looks a lot like Lo-Fro (Lauren Frodeman, Season 7’s champion), and if SHE could pull it off Lindsay has a great chance if she works at it. Cole has a future in entertainment even if he never dances again.

Amelia/Will – Contemporary (Sonya Tayeh)
Wow. Will is really good at contemporary. I no longer question his presence. Amelia was her usual engaging quirky, but definitely at home in her own style. Adam commented on not noticing the size difference between the pair—I have to agree with that, too. See all that bending and melding you did, Will? That there is what Nigel was talking about. More of that, please.

Amber/Nick – Tango (Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo)
Amber looks mean and Nick’s coat is not only too big, but wholly unnecessary. He does look a lot sexier tonight but they’re still hesitant with each other. Should have been a little more push and pull between the two of them. Nigel and Mary were quite impressed with Amber, though. (On a second look, some of her solo performance persona in that was really well done.) Nick is an excellent partner, no doubt—the problem is that in THIS competition, stars win.

Audrey/Matthew – Jazz (Sonya Tayeh)
Girlie’s got dance skills, but I’m just not believing the whole tough, strong woman bit from her. FYI—if you want somebody that little and innocent looking to be a warrior, the French braid ponytail is NOT the way to go. Matthew’s really good. Almost reminded me of Baryshnikov for a hot second…although I still need some more power out of him. Maybe Daniel can give him some pointers….

Janelle/Dareian – Lyrical Hip-Hop (Christopher Scott)
Awwwww……that was cute. And they’re both really good at it. Got lukewarm reception from the judges, and they may have something there. Dareian did have a performance edge over Janelle—he was definitely living the piece, while she was simply dancing it.

Janaya/Brandon – Broadway (Sean Cheesman)
Eh. Well danced, I’ll give them that. I really liked that last lift. Janaya was definitely in character. But I’mma need Cat Deeley to NEVER utter the words “cray-cray” AGAIN. Well received by the judges.

Eliana/Cyrus – Jive (Melanie LaPatin and Tony Meredith)
Valiant effort by Cyrus, but this one was ALL Eliana. He was telegraphing too many transitions, his feet were horrible but he held the swag in the poses—and he did get the speed in some of those unison moves. I also have to commend him on the lifts. But this was Eliana’s spotlight tonight! I daresay she about matched up to Melanie’s competitive days with Tony on the ballroom floor.

Alexa/Daniel – Contemporary (Dee Caspary)
Damn. Veddy interestink……don’t really get the bathtub part of the story but OK. The judges connected with the technical but not the emotional/audience connection. I have to agree. Alexa ought to be tired of hearing this by now. (Although now that I get that she was supposed to be water, I’ll cut her a small break. Personifying water would be difficult for emotive experts.)

Tiffany/George – Foxtrot (Melanie LaPatin and Tony Meredith)
I could so see George at the Cotton Club. His ballroom form wasn’t perfect but it was very good for just learning it. Almost makes you want to give him the last name Nicholas. (Dance history, kiddies—look it up.) Tiffany has finally impressed me, though. In-freakin’-credible indeed, Adam.

Witney/Chehon – Bollywood (Nakul Dev Mahajan)
WHAT. THE. BLEEP?!? This Latin ballroom dancer and contemporary ballet dancer just did the HELL out of Bollywood. That was awesome—on par with Season 4’s Katee and Joshua (Dhoom Taana) and Season 5’s Caitlin and Jason (Jai Ho). I think some of Chehon’s energy flagged at the end of that, but Nakul’s pieces are never cute as far as the fast pace goes, so that’s not only understandable but forgivable.

Now for the elimination section:

Witney (saved)
Chehon (saved)

courtesy 19 Entertainment and Dick Clark Productions

I pretty much called the first four but can’t understand the lack of fan votes for Witney and Chehon. Even considering that the votes were based on the so-so samba, there were numbers from that previous week’s show that were not nearly as strong as that one. The judges did not need to see a “dance for your life”—I don’t appreciate that or them padding the extra time with a full-on “Step Up Revolution” promo blitz. I don’t care if a bunch of my favorite alums were in the number; those kids should have had that opportunity.

Of the four, I’m sorriest to see Daniel go—he had great potential and I liked his performance energy. It was just too much for America to keep two male ballet dancers in the running. Janaya fell victim to that invisibility factor I mentioned in the first blog, and Alexa and Nick just never fully ignited between technique and performance. I am surprised to see the split between the Janaya/Brandon and Amber/Nick partnerships. We’ll see what comes of the new Amber/Brandon partnership in the next episode.

Next week’s projected Bottom 6 (trying to do this while blocking out the review spoilers):

Brandon or Cyrus (though I really believe Cyrus’s fan base is going to drag him up to the Top 10)

Based on last week’s votes, I fear Witney and Chehon will be in the bottom again…but hopefully that kick-ass Bollywood performance will keep them safe.

I know we’re going to be subjected to more stunt promotion given that it’s Step Up Revolution opening weekend AND National Dance Day weekend, but with any luck that will die off a little as the weeks go on. I will go on record as saying the choreography was much better this week. Let’s hope the content keeps getting better.


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