There is more dancing and drama as we enter week 3 of the competition.
Top 18 Opening Number
Contemporary – This has got to be Stacey, Mia or Sonya….
Sonya and Christopher MF’ing Scott. Do I need to start calling y’all Mr. and Ms. Jones, ‘cause y’all seem to have a thing going on…..
The set looked like a cross between the barricades in Les Miserablés and a fiery volcano into which everyone was throwing themselves to appease the dance gods before the results were announced. It looked good, and I see that Aaron is featured prominently in the front. Again. Boy’s got versatility.
One dancer missing already…damn Jade, when I messaged you “break a leg,” I REALLY meant it in the theatrical sense! Poor baby tore his meniscus, aggravated an old injury and requiring surgery and rest. So he’s out of the competition anyway.
Cat announces the format change….(duh!) As if third-world countries weren’t threatening to tar and feather Nigel for last week’s results debacle…..
FOUR people on the judges’ panel?!?
Guest judges: Erin Andrews (DWTS gives her a little knowledge, I guess) for a FOX 1 push, and Paula Abdul (so the rumors ARE true). Happy Birthday, Mr. Executive Producer!
Bottom 6 (there’s still 6)
BluPrint and Curtis are automatically saved due to Jade’s withdrawal, and as there are only three dancers remaining in peril, all three girls are dancing for their lives.
Three unique styles, three stellar solos. I would hate to see Jasmine go, but 1 tap dancer = 1 ballroom dancer = 2 jazz girls. Doesn’t bode well.
We will wait and see (as promised), as the competition begins…..
Paso Doble – Jean Marc Genereux
Aw s**t nah! I can’t wait to see this one. The Evolution of Paso Doble—the two dancers in a fight to the death. The boy’s got a good stance, though…..
Cole, baby….I think you have to move over. Fik-Shun smashed that. Sweetie, I need the truth now—you took classes somewhere, didn’t you? You cannot possibly be this good of a chameleon. Amy, you were on fire, too….had some Pink Power Ranger swag on you. And those are the best paso costumes since Jeanine and Brandon did their Matrix number in Season 5. (Jean Paul, does Pee Wee Herman know you stole his clothes?)
Mary is loud from the beginning—this is a good sign. Though she did critique Fik-Shun’s form (a lot of minutiae), she was really happy with both him and Amy. Erin hailed Fik-Shun for “taming The Beast” and told the pair to keep up their high level as the couple to beat. Paula praised their commitment to the emotion, put powerhouse Amy “front row center” and is proud of Fik-Shun’s progress. And now I have to go search for “Live To Dance” clips to find a 16 year old Fik-Shun….damn, I should have watched that whole show’s run! Nigel said even minus his usual jovial personality, he still demanded attention onstage…and also critiqued his form. But, like Mary, it was mostly posture issues (raised shoulders and the like).
Broadway – Spencer Liff
That’s an ugly nightgown on Jasmine…and a Columbo-style trenchcoat for Aaron. The detective on the case gets visited by the “spirit” of the victim.
OK, how am I supposed to concentrate when you plucked a Smash tune? Sigh…..but DAMN that boy’s got some grace! Jasmine was a bit stiff—pun intended and, I assume, choreographer intended as well. I have to watch this again and erase the song context from my mind so I can get the full effect.
Erin loved the number, Paula thought Aaron embodied the character and looked like a Golden Age MGM contract dancer….and wants to be reincarnated as one of Jasmine’s legs. (They ARE amazing, though.) Said she reminded her of Cyd Charisse, and while I can definitely agree with that, I imagine she could also rival Eartha Kitt in her heyday. Nigel thought the two of them worthy of the Broadway stage, and Mary said this week was about style and class, and it would be a crime if they wound up in the bottom next week. *weak rimshot*
Contemporary – Lindsay Nelko (new choreographer)
Terminally ill woman trying to help her sweetheart accept the circumstances. The choreographer’s asking for organics, and Makenzie’s all about the artistry. Let’s see what happens.
Now a Rent song sung by Idina Menzel?!? C’mon y’all—you’re killing my focus! But perfect rendition for the number. Paul’s emotional performance brought back memories of Chehon’s breakthrough last season in the park bench redux, and I no longer see that artistic focus of Makenzie’s as a weakness–she reminds me of Season 3’s Jessica King…and I dare say, has the potential to be the next Allison Holker. We can call this the sequel to “Fix You”—the complement to Travis Wall’s vision from Season 7: simply beautiful and tragic and heartfelt. Welcome to the family, Lindsay. I look forward to seeing more of you.
Paula believed the emotion and thought the piece had life; Nigel praises Makenzie’s technical prowess but also praised both her and Paul for letting some of it go; Mary cried, praising Makenzie’s ability and admitting surprise with Paul’s honesty in the performance.
Jazz – Sean Cheesman
Regality and “the mundane life of being a royal” – hopefully it carries better than Thayne and Chelsea Trail’s turn (which I personally loved, BTW)
Bits of “Alice in Mialand”—I liked it. Quirky yet refined. Jasmine is showing some very Sabra-like tendencies here, and I’m starting to see Alan flesh out into more of a three-dimensional, versatile dancer with his performance this week.
Nigel praises Alan’s strength in the lifts and thought they could have added more quirkiness to the number; Mary loved the sharpness and precision and was impressed with Alan on the one-leg lift, and also would have appreciated a little more fun; Erin and Paula also agreed the pair should have let go and “gone for it” more.
Hip-Hop – Keone and Mari Madrid (new choreographers)
Poor Tucker can’t catch a break—Jenna’s leading him around by the nose again. And unless you’re getting a REALLY good spray tan, I don’t think we’ll mistake you for Comfort, love….but give it your all.
Oh come on—MICHAEL?!? Y’all are trying to kill me…..I WILL concentrate on this blog…. I WILL concentrate on this blog….
I liked it for two really white-bread non-hip-hop dancers doing hip-hop. Very stylistic. An eagle-eyed viewer indignantly noted seeing this dance before, and it wasn’t until I did some Googling that I also finally recognized the routine from the choreographers themselves on Urban Dance Camp’s YouTube channel. I suppose in comparison Team Tuna floundered a bit (now Mary’s got me doing it) but they danced what they were given. Besides, it was the choreographers’ own work that the couple performed….it’s not like this was the Les Twins controversy OR like everybody scours YouTube like that bellowing blowhard. Give it a rest, mayn……
Mary thought the hip-hop was jazzy, and liked it….very impressed with Jenna and thought it sat well on Tucker; Erin was jazzed by Jenna and saw shades of Mike in some of Tucker’s moves; Paula thought they had great energy and moved strategically through the various tempos, thinking them a powerful couple; Nigel thought Jenna channeled Audrey Hepburn’s Funny Face persona and deemed the number one of his favorites of the evening.
Contemporary – Sonya Tayeh
I’m really saddened not to be able to see Jade do contemporary (and somehow I knew it was Sonya before going through the commercial break), though he looked very good in the clips.
Maintaining a legacy? We’ll see. Malece is the first to dance with an All-Star due to Jade’s injury and withdrawal, and is dancing with my boy-toy Marko.
I’ve been comparing her to Melanie from the beginning, and watching her dance with Marko spotlights a lot of the areas she needs to strengthen and develop. Just a little more forceful with her stage energy and she’ll be unstoppable….right now, to me, she’s just really, really good.
She was apparently good enough to get a standing O from the ENTIRE panel and a giddy, dancing Sonya in the aisles of the audience. Partner Jade’s smile says everything. Erin “Sonya, I can’t…” Andrews brings in the Tinkerbell references again (clearly a celebrity Superfan—her panel cred just went up) and loved everything; Paula dubs THIS one her favorite and those Malece was astonishing and gorgeous; Nigel praises the maturity that developed in Malece (in part due to Marko’s delightful yet sadly necessary presence) and said they made the piece look unchoreographed; Mary makes four and said she knew Malece’s captivating moment would come. The FIRST to actually say she looks like Melanie, too.
Cat, get your lips off my man!
Samba – Jean Marc Genereux
Alright, he’s looking halfway sexy in that outfit there….this’ll be interesting. Curtis, don’t you break that girl!
OK, now THAT’S a man. Needs a little more lift in the posture—he was lifting but it always seems more exaggerated than what he was doing—and the last lift sequence hit a snag, but well done. Those bachacadas on both of them were working as hard as that fringe Hayley was wearing, though I could have used a little extra oomph from her too. I could see Elvis in his heyday doing this samba in our of those beach movies….
Paula liked the sauciness and sexiness of the number, praising Hayley’s hips and Curtis’s effort, all while giving him notes on being more grounded, attacking it more and taking control; Nigel thought Hayley dominated Curtis in a routine where his maturity and machismo were required, saying that he came off a little young, but he praised Hayley’s feet and hips; Mary gave Curtis tips on shifting his weight properly in the samba walks but thought he tackled it well…and also caught the hiccup in the last lifts (Hayley got a “Holy Smokes”); Erin told Curtis to roll with and apply the critiques and called Hayley a vixen who kept getting better every week.
Jazz – Spencer Liff
Alexis hypnotizing Nico so she can have her way with him…..Thank GOD he picked the Nina Simone version of that song—if Screamin’ Jay Hawkins had come out of those speakers this review would have been OVER…..
Some of the side-by-side sync was off but Alexis definitely had the attitude. Nico seemed a little more in control than he should have been–either that, or he was playing it as unwilling under Alexis’s spell and being fascinated and perplexed by it at the same time.
Paula was mesmerized; Nigel was impressed with their unity and thought the routine was interesting; Mary was in a trance—thought Nico was brilliant and was surprised by her presence in the bottom; Erin thought Alexis adapted to the style very well and that their sync was improved from the dress rehearsals.
Hip-Hop – Luther Brown
The newly minted couple draws their own genre this week. Luther’s worried about Mariah’s “soul” and BluPrint facial animation….let’s “go!”
They were definitely together on that—strange number, but they danced it well.
Mary thought he danced well but still needed to project more with his face, but loved Mariah. Too cute how Mary has classified sick as a step down from ill….trying hard to get that ‘hood card, are you? Erin was floored by the energy, enjoying Mariah and piggybacking on Mary’s commentary about projection; Paula loved the beginning sync and energy but thinks BluPrint is holding back some, and Mariah’s was personality times 10. Nigel cautioned BluPrint about the history of personality winning over technical prowess (bringing up Sabra and Benji’s victories, though how he couldn’t remember Travis Wall–SYTYCD choreographic staple and BROTHER TO DANNY TIDWELL–is beyond me) and said that he has to dig for it and pull out the charm to stay in the running.
And NOW the eliminations (where they should have been last week):
Jenna wasn’t going home and I knew that before Nigel opened his mouth; Nigel noted some self-doubt in Jasmine over the weeks and lack of adhesion with corrections and notes with Alexis. It’s Jasmine who is eliminated tonight, and we’re treated to our first set of flashbacks.
(I don’t know who selects the music for these things, but I am digging the fact that their love for Christian Contemporary artists seems to be the prominent choices.)
Any choice was going to be tough, but I called that equation at the start of this. Though, judging from some of the fan reaction in the social media outlets, Alexis has to nail EVERYTHING she does AND not be in the bottom with any of the powerhouses like Makenzie or Jenna in order to survive the next round of cuts. Fortunately, she gets a one-week reprieve as FOX and this All-Star Game/new sports channel launch takes over next week. Rounding out the potential Bottom 6 are:
Hayley (HER fans have a pretty strong voice, though….)
Jenna or Mariah
Alan or maybe Tucker (whose rabid fan base may keep him safe)
There have been little hitches here and there but still no major dropped balls yet. This truly is the best cast the show has ever had, and the voting is strictly based on popularity this season. The competition resumes after the brief All-Star baseball game holiday, so we’ll see what new surprises are in store for us then.