Clash of the Titans: SYTYCD Season 12, Week 7 Hollywood

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The cream is rising to the top–we’re getting down to the big decision about who is America’s favorite dancer, and the kids are dancing at levels of epic proportion.

Top 8 Group – Contemporary
Choreographer Tyce Diorio (Song: Lilies Of The Valley, Piña soundtrack)

I saw this and said it was Sonya weird but they’d never do her two weeks in a row, so that left Tyce. And I was right. Addams Family meets Matilda, and it felt like that Chaplin number from Season 9.

Team Street is at 53% in the votes and beats Team Street for the third week in a row.

Virgil (with All-Star Jasmine Harper) – African Jazz
Choreographer Sean Cheesman (Song: Kintamani (Hanoman’s Forest Mix), Transglobal Underground)

Virgil is trying to pull Jasmine to the dark side. And he has to lift her….where is Evan Kasprzak when you need him?

There’s a definite Vodou feel to this piece. But that child couldn’t be evil if he tried….and boy did he try. Those moves were on point, though.

Nigel said–after apologizing to both Jasmine and Sasha for the Misty Blue gaffe last week–that Virgil hadn’t had a bad week yet on the show, and this week is no exception. Paula barely sidestepped another ribbing from her cohorts when she told Virgil that “size doesn’t matter,” gracefully continuing that he’s mastered the art of fun and it’s evident in how he dances with so much joy. Jason agrees, but gives the note that Virgil’s sinister comes off more comedic.

Cat got tired of Virgil peeking behind him and just handed him the card this week to open himself….good thing he was safe.

Dance recital videos! First up is Jim in a pink tuxedo, handing out roses to the girls. Awww!

Solo: The Four Seasons: Summer, Antonio Vivaldi

Jim channels his inner Nijinsky and adds a little Chehon flair. A lot more aggression from him this week….and that side of him works as well.

Derek (with All-Star Jaimie Goodwin) – Contemporary
Choreographer Tyce Diorio (Song: Never Dreamed You’d Leave In Summer, Stevie Wonder)

Two broken souls who have lost that magical thing that they had….a dance Travis is hoping that Tyce will continue to bring out Derek’s emotional side.

I didn’t feel much until the very end. I don’t think it had anything to do with Derek as much as it didn’t read through the choreography. It was a little too pretty, with small moments of feeling. Well danced, mind you, but not a breathtaking heart-tugging piece.

Paula is proud and impressed, though, and apparently saw things I didn’t. Jason thought he did a good job AND saw the improvement but didn’t believe the feeling. Nigel sides with Jason, asking Derek to give in to his vulnerability a lot more.

Derek is in the bottom again, the first of Team Stage tonight.

JaJa’s first recital was more like a living room performance for the family, but we see her here in her very first competition…which she won. Such an underachiever, our JaJa…..

Solo: Hype City, Tighteyez

Oh we’re krumping AND doing music too, Tighteyez? OK then….and a wildly appropriate tune for her. She seriously danced for her life right there, rivaling her predecessors Mariah Spears and Russell Ferguson.

Hailee (with All-Star DuShant “Fik-Shun” Steagal) – Hip-Hop
Choreographer Luther Brown (Song: Let It Go, Chronique Sneed)

All about flavor….not swag, flavor. Luther’s exact words.

Boo swung her around afterwards, so Hailee clearly did a little something here. Whatever bits of swag or flavor she missed she covered with showmanship and confidence, and that made it work for her. She actually pulled focus from Fik-Shun a few times…and that’s hard to do.

Jason thought the routine was incredible, and thought the flavor Hailee brought was chicken and waffles variety–some sweet, some hot sauce and all “party in my mouth.” (That could’ve gone sideways.) Nigel loved the flavor and the chemistry, and praises Hailee for her stellar ability every week. Paula calls her a dynamic performer and predicts a long-lasting and fruitful career.

I’m utterly shocked that Hailee is the second dancer in the bottom for Team Stage, but I seriously doubt even with the Web popularity that she’s leaving before Derek.

Gaby was a crier. Awww! Though in my experience as a dancer teacher, the criers turned out to be the most dedicated dancers later on.

Solo: Oye Como Va, Santana

¡CALIENTE! Honestly, with the tenacity shown from the first audition rejection through the versatility she’s displayed on the stage, I’d be hard-pressed to say she’s not going to be one of the Final Two.

Megz (with All-Star Paul Karmiryan) – Paso Doble
Choreographer Jean-Marc Genereux (Song: Blade of Blood, Tom Player)

“Now this should be interesting.” -Cat Deeley

Indeed. And I’ve been waiting for it. Checking her bio on the show’s website, Megz’s parents are skilled ballroom dancers. Her dance concentration went a little left of that, but genes usually foster some surprises, so I’m looking forward to seeing what Megz has in her back pocket for this one. Jean-Marc wants a “passion doble– passionate like the Argentine tango and quick like flamenco, but with modern and contemporary movement. And it’s currently kicking Megz’s fanny in this rehearsal footage.

And it’s still kicking her fanny. The family business did not pass into her, or she was trying too hard. The slump in her shoulders distracted me, and it looked like an underrehearsed pro-am routine. This dance led her around the floor instead of the other way around.

The tentative smile and sigh from Jean-Marc says everything…..

Nigel recognized that she gave her 100% but it wasn’t strong enough and spotlighted her lack of formal training. Paula agrees but appreciates her unparalleled intensity and fire, and advises her to improve her core strength. Jason concurs and says her intensity morphed into tension and pulled the audience away from the total performance.

Megz is in danger for Team Street again this week.

Young Derek was a last-minute addition into a cheerleading/tumbling type number. Moms was impressed but Derek thought he was horrible. That boss straddle split says otherwise, mayn….

Solo: Two Men In Love, The Irrepressibles

Now THAT was letting go and throwing your emotions into a piece! If solos could save, Derek would have a strong chance.

Neptune (with All-Star Kayla Radomsky) – Jazz
Choreographer Ray Leeper (Song: Infinity, The xx)

Ray displays a couple reuniting after having been broken up for a long time.

Um….Fik-Shun and Amy, anyone? The identical overall look aside, Neptune displayed the same level of excellence in performing the technique his coach was so worried about him grasping, and his emotional growth has skyrocketed.

Paula also sees the exponential growth and is pleased, but does warn his that his lack of technical prowess is showing. Jason thought Neptune struggled a bit and also pointed out the technical weaknesses. Nigel is more encouraging, telling Neptune that if he seeks out more training that he has the potential to be a well sought-after professional dancer.

And like Megz before him, he’s also in the bottom two. Same tough choice, different week.

OH MY GOD, THREE YEAR OLD VIRGIL DANCING ON THE BACK STAIRS AT THE FAMILY BARBECUE IS TOO FREAKING ADORABLE! This could definitely be a vote clincher right here.

Solo: i, Kendrick Lamar

Bigger stoop, same attitude. Can you stand all this cute?!?

Jim (with All-Star Comfort Fedoke) – Hip-Hop
Choreographers Phoenix and Pharcyde (Song: Hey Mama, David Guetta featuring Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha & Afrojack)

Brush off your Greek mythology–we have the tale of Medusa and Perseus in a hip-hop. Jim has his previous hip-hop with Megz and Moises and his comments about lack of connection to overcome.

Not “Get Outta Your Mind” electric but Jim had a better connection, especially considering he couldn’t look at her. The end was a touch weak….I mean, if you’re gonna chop off a Gorgon’s head, put some oomph into it. But good overall.

Jason applauds Jim for going for the energy but says he’s still not quite embodying hip-hop yet. Nigel agrees to a degree, as he loved the routine and the concept, but felt a little uncomfortable with the swag, as it were. Paula thinks the routine was so loaded that it didn’t allow Jim to breathe in it, and that added to the forced lack of connection caused a complete separation for her.

Fortunately for Jim, the two Stage dancers in jeopardy have already been announced, so he’s on to the Top 6.

Poor little Hailee got Chumbawumba’ed….got in the crosshairs of the older group of dancers and they knocked her down hard. Hurting and crying, she valiantly did her solo part, though…what a trooper. Good job matey! (I HAD to….)

Solo: Vanguardian, Steed Lord

Looking like Madonna and throwing in tricks like Blake McGrath, this was really frenetic, and not a complement to the duet she did earlier. But the votes are already in, so we’ll see….

Gaby (with All-Star Robert Roldan) – Contemporary
Choreographer Mandy Moore (Song: Angel, Sarah McLachlan)

Mandy’s back! This piece is about anxiety one can feel in the unknown….Gaby’s the anxiety and Robert is the comforting force.

Alright, exactly WHO is the All-Star again?!? It’s going to take a serious online vote campaign to keep Gaby from being the first tapper to win this show. That first busted audition has fired her up into the dance stratosphere, where every performance is a dance for her life. That was, dare I say, Alison Holker worthy.

And judging from the standing ovation on the panel, I’m about to hear a lot more of the same.

Nigel: “To say that that is in a class of its own tonight is not actually telling you how absolutely brilliant you were….Outstanding.”

Paula: “….You were world class–completely, unequivocally, one million percent.”

Jason:  “You’re not missing anything, you just get it. And stars get it….you’re going to become something that surpassed what I thought.”

If we didn’t already know she was in, this would have done it….and if she hadn’t been the backlash would have been EPIC. At least from around these parts.

Our young Megz was NOT feeling that pink tutu over the bike shorts….but she and her brother did their thing.

Solo: Delirious (Boneless), Steve Aoki, Chris Lake & Tujamo featuring Kid Ink

A little stronger this week, save the backwards worm attempts. Fascinating there was a pink sports bra under all that black……

JaJa (with All-Star Ricky Ubeda) – Broadway
Choreographer Al Blackstone (Song: Let’s Face The Music And Dance, Nat King Cole)

Somebody is either on vacation or at the end of his run in On The Town, because our reigning champ is here to trip the light fantastic with our ever-surprising JaJa.

“This is what happens when a smooth-talking mobster and his feisty wife get arrested and thrown into a holding cell.” -Al Blackstone

Oh dear…..I believe JaJa can do feisty but little Baby Face Ricky a gangster? Hmmm…..

If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear Finding Neverland let Melanie Moore have the night off, too…..I see you JaJa! That was so smooth and suave and fun I’m not even going to mention the unnecessary tutting y’all threw in there.

The judges are standing again….Paula says JaJa embodies character more than any other contestant. Jason agreed and is just as surprised as Paula at her transformation into an all-around, consummate dancer. Nigel thought JaJa reminded him of Amy Adams (and I can see that) and said that she has done remarkably well no matter what style of dance she’s been given.

Is she safe? Ja, Ja! (Again, I HAD to….)

No video, but Neptune got his first spotlight at his dad’s wedding reception. Judging from the photos, he was a real cutie.

Solo: Get Big, Dorrough

Started off Fik-Shun and Cyrus and closed out Russell. Dancewise, that’s a potent combination, but a hard thing to transition in the face. The Virgil charm would have suited him well here.

Team Street group dance Choreographer Dave Scott (Song: Finna Get Loose, Puff Daddy and The Family featuring Pharrell Williams)

On the block on the hottest day of the summer….seems appropriate.

That’s why they’re the Top 4 on Team Street. Best of the best.

Team Stage group dance – Contemporary
Choreographer Tessandra Chavez (Give Me Love, Ed Sheeran)

A story about two couples in an addictive and desperate relationship.

Jim was really feeling it, but you couldn’t see as much until the last close-up. Derek threw everything he had into this one, and might have borrowed some of Jim’s, because this is the freest he’s ever been on stage. The girls were a draw–each had their moments.

I got spoilers, so I knew Neptune was going. But I didn’t expect Derek to come to the end of his run. I figured pitted against Hailee she’d be the victor, but Derek did manage some incredible growth tonight.  The Megz/Neptune decision was a tough emotional call. Neptune’s skill had really come up, and Megz had a couple of rough weeks, so I am actually surprised Megz got the pass this week.

One more week before the Final Four face off for the ultimate title!

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Js up! SYTYCD Season 12, Week 6 Hollywood

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It’s Top 10 week, which means the All-Stars are coming out to play now! It’s also a week for triple J news: JJ is injured, J-Lo is offering a dance spot in her Vegas show as part of the prize pot, and J. Smollett and company (AKA the cast of Empire) are the soundtrack for tonight’s contestant solos. Js up, yo!

More in-depth bios on the contestants this week.

Virgil – Conqueror (from the Empire soundtrack)
Pulled out his full bag of tricks, but it looked a little incohesive.

Hailee (with All-Star Brandon Bryant) – Broadway
Choreographer Warren Carlyle  (Song: It Don’t Mean A Thing  (If It Ain’t Got That Swing), Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga)

Quirky, jazzy and fast–a tap dance without the shoes…at least according to Warren.

This isn’t Hailee’s style. Don’t get me wrong, she danced the hell out of it…I’m just not fond of the way it sits on her. This uptempo, classic style doesn’t seem to fit her personality, but she kept up well with both the music and her partner.

“Liza Gaga” as a nickname, Nigel? I can half see that. Makes the music selection that much more ironic. He thought it was a great routine and that Hailee is an exquisite individual in her own right. Paula said she was throwback Liza and radiated from every angle, taking her breath away. Jason recognized her combination of ability and energy and also dubbed her star material.

Hailee is SO safe. The bar is set high tonight.

Neptune – Power of the Empire (from the Empire soundtrack)
Song bodied and embodied. I like.

Derek (with All-Star Kayla Radomsky) – Jazz
Choreographers RJ Durell and Nick Flores  (Song: Got It, Marian Hill)

Sexy vibe is required tonight from Derek.

I got the power and male aggression from Derek but I can’t say sexy came across for certain. He was definitely exerting control in that number but no thoughts were made impure in the dancing of this piece. Again, though, the technique was razor sharp.

Paula said Derek’s strength prevailed and his technique is triumphant, with her only note being to better finesse a balance between his partner and the audience in getting his passion across. Jason noted that Derek fed off Kayla’s energy and produced a different side to his personality tonight, but needs to channel it when not in the partner moments as well. Nigel thought Derek was great support and started to come through from the background, holding his own with Kayla as the dance progressed.

Derek is the first of Team Stage in the bottom. (two from each team tonight, and it looks like no Twitter saves are in play.)

Gaby – Can’t Truss Em (from the Empire soundtrack)
Nice blend of rhythm and tricks, and glad to finally see her in her own style.

JJ gets her bio aired even though she can’t dance tonight. She’s in the bottom this week, and should she survive gets to do it all again next week, being automatically sent to the bottom.

Virgil (with All-Star Comfort Fedoke) – Hip-Hop
Choreographer Christopher Scott (Song: Just My Imagination  (Running Away With Me), The Temptations)

“Two very serious dancers.” Christopher, how you even THOUGHT that with a straight face boggles the mind. The two are a couple spending their first night together in their new apartment. Coach tWitch is trying to pull big brother rank but I’m wondering if he’s having bed flashbacks from his season….. Well, at least Comfort is unpacking this time, and under happier circumstances.

They are just too daggone cute.

Jason said the dance was a cool breeze on a hot summer day in Hollywood, and cold Virgil the one to beat. (Pause… Is that Whoopi Goldberg in the audience? Well damn.) Nigel thinks Virgil came out of the womb born to dance and born to entertain, and handled the difficult moves with great ease. Paula calls Virgil enjoyable to watch and wants to know what size batteries he runs on. AA, in case you were wondering.

This Energizer bunny is going to keep going and going….he’s safe.

OK, Cat…Virgil’s happy dance? THAT you’re allowed to do.

JaJa – Keep It Movin’ (from the Empire soundtrack)
I’m still salty you didn’t make Season 11, JaJa. But I do agree that the year wait was better for you.  Clever choice of lyrics and moves for this song.

Megz (with All-Star Marko Germar) – Jazz
Choreographer Ray Leeper (Song: Canned Heat, Jamiroquai)

A “That’s my jam!” jazz dance….this is gonna be fun.

The last jazz to Canned Heat (and that might have been Ray’s, too) did not go over well. This one was a lot more fun but I sensed less energy in Megz’s performance than in the rehearsal footage. I think she played it cool a little too long, and some of her transitions were bumpy because of it. Plus the usual palpable energy was not as strong tonight. I hope this piece does enough for her.

Nigel loved it and loves that Megz owns her personality and stands out with it. He does give her a note on increasing her flexibility, but states that the performance cannot be faulted. Paula says the number was fun and Megz was magnificent, with infectious energy. Jason thinks Megz has catapulted herself into a top contender on the show.

Megz is the second Team Street dancer in danger. Things will be thrown if I don’t see her next week.

Jim – You’re So Beautiful (from the Empire soundtrack)
Light and fun, with all that gorgeous technique thrown in for good measure.

Edson (with All-Star Jaimie Goodwin) – Contemporary
Choreographer Travis Wall (Song: Your Day Will Come, Son Lux)

Edson is the force trying to keep Jaimie from losing all hope and drifting toward the light. This is Coach Travis’s attempt to push Edson’s boundaries and performance personality even further.

GODDAMMIT TRAVIS! Lord, those lines were beautiful….and Edson really pulled something from deep within to connect with that piece. Standing ovation well deserved.

After a bit of fluttering and stuttering, Nigel lauds Edson for the best work he has done on the show thus far, calling the routine very strong. Paula agrees, calling tonight’s performance a game changer for him, and marveling at his strong presence, his effortless transitions, and his exquisite lifts. She hails the duet as magical. Jason agrees that today was Edson’s breakout this evening, and other than noting a small bobble on one left, agrees with his fellow judges wholeheartedly.

Even with this stellar performance, Edson joins Derek in the bottom two for Team Stage. If all is aligned properly in the heavens, this performance should save him for next week. However, Derek has a very strong Internet following, so I’m very worried about this one.

Hailee – Nothing To Lose  (from the Empire soundtrack)
Lots of desperation in that solo–it’s a good thing her All-Star duet was first. Or maybe that’s why I’m not knocked out by it. I don’t know…..

Young Hailee and young JaJa look eerily similar. I’m just saying.

Neptune (with All-Star Jasmine Harper) – Hip-Hop
Choreographers Phoenix and Pharcyde (Song: Milk Was A Bad Choice, Yultron)

I see furniture. The last time I saw furniture and hip-hop was involved was tWitch and Sasha Mallory in Misty Blue. A lot to live up to already. Uh-oh….Frankenstein and his bride are spatting this time. Curiouser and curiouser……

Good pairing. Off-the-wall choreography and bananas energy. So many previous numbers I can compare this to… the aforementioned Misty Blue and a duet done by Jasmine Mason featuring a regal couple. There were a couple of bumpy transitions between the pair, but it was really fun to watch and they hit all their points.

Jason said it was crazy–when you’re speechless to the point of trying not to work the censors overtime on live TV, you know he thought it was good. He thought the pair danced at the highest level and that Neptune is also one to beat in the competition. Nigel loves the theatricality and the “buckness.” I swear Nigel is so cute when he tries to talk street…. Paula marvels at how Neptune improves every week, and was equally yoked in his partnership with Jasmine tonight. She dubbed it “a marriage made in Transylvania.” (Nope, nope, NOPE. Nice Misty Blue mention, Nigel, but that was NOT Jasmine. Give Sasha her props.)

We already know the two in the bottom for this week, so the rest of the contestants are just dancing for next week’s glory. Neptune moves on.

Derek – Drip Drop (from the Empire soundtrack)
That solo was BOSS. I enjoyed it. The end wasn’t designed for a fully lit stage, so it looked a little incomplete, but it was very well crafted. This might just balance the scales with Edson if it has any effect on the outcome.

Jim (with All-Star Jessica Richens) – Contemporary
Choreographer Dee Caspary (Song: Heal, Tom Odell)

A young man dealing with internal conflict, and a young woman who doesn’t want him to have to deal with it alone. One of the first times we have seen Jim out of his comfort zone, probably partially because of last week’s injury as well as the movement of this piece being foreign to what he is used to.

I’m really starting to like and understand Dee’s work a lot better now. He has still put out some oddball pieces, but I really like this one, and Jim seemed to get a grasp on the movement much better than he did in rehearsal. He certainly internalized the character very well, and matched Jessica’s movements well.

Nigel thought it was a beautiful routine and again tells Jim that his technique is flawless but he needs to release it a little in order to fully immerse himself into characterization and connection. Paula agrees and advises Jim to trust his gut  instincts. Jason made it unanimous, remarking that the weakness in connection kept him from enjoying the routine as much as he felt he should have.

Jim has another week to work on it, and hopefully have a breakthrough in that area.

Megz – No Apologies (from the Empire soundtrack)
I would not have recognized Megz from any Season 5 clips. She needed time and seasoning as well.

The solo was fierce but really heavy. Her personality sat way back for the first time this season, and it’s probably largely due to the pressure and the nerves. I hope she has another week.

JaJa (with All-Star Alex Wong) – Bollywood
Choreographer Nakul Dev Mahajan (Song: Naacho Re, Jai Ho soundtrack)

JaJa is a princess who escapes her palace and bumps into the palace guard in her excursion out. Another week of bringing out the girlie within.

Well damn, JaJa….somebody had their sassy juice this morning. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with 70s musician and personality Charo, but JaJa was channeling her in spades. I didn’t know she had that much flirty in her. Not to mention they gave her knee spins–not a typically female move, but she breezed right through them. I loved it! (And yay for Alex getting through yet another Bollywood routine unscathed!)

Paula’s quotable of the day: “[Jaja] you’re a firecracker and a sweet dream all at the same time.” She believed JaJa nailed the character and has proven her versatility among dance styles. Jason called her a chameleon and thought she more than matched up to her All-Star partner’s level. Nigel confirms my eyesight and makes a joke/reference to Ms. Whoop in the audience….who is evidently a huge JaJa fan. Go figure. Nigel calls her a princess of dance and is amazed how she transforms herself for every single routine.

Edson – I Just Wanna Love You (from the Empire soundtrack)

Hey now….that was kinda sexy suave right there. And just enough razzle dazzle to show you off. The solos are a draw for him and Derek.

Gaby (with All-Star Joshua Allen) Hip-Hop
Choreographers Phoenix and Pharcyde (Song: I’m Really Hot, Missy Elliott)

Geisha and ninja doing hip-hop….don’t judge a book by its cover, Mr. Man. Underestimating the beautiful can be deadly.

TOUR!!!!!!!!!!!! (Neptune, get ready to learn this, boo….) Gaby took on the Season 4 champion and knocked him out. It was like Mulan from the ‘Hood, with a dash of Kill Bill thrown in. Some of the twerk moves need a little more looseness, but everything that was sharp and precise was hit with as much deadly accuracy as those imaginary throwing stars. Travis said in the package that this was the kind of routine that could walk her through the finale. I wouldn’t doubt it.

Cat tells Gaby that she couldn’t love her any more with every fiber of her being, and Jason fully agreed….and also appreciated the twerk moments as well. Nigel pronounces this his favorite episode of the season and says the caliber of dancing from everyone is going to make it difficult to separate the pack. However, he does qualify with his “favorites” being JaJa and Gaby, so I guess it’s safe to say he loved it. Paula is slayed as well, and enjoys Gaby’s ability to master all the styles given to her while maintaining her feminine power and old-school swagger.

This routine may well carry her a couple of weeks. She definitely gets the next one.

Now on to the grizzly business of sending someone home…..*pauses TiVo*

All of them have their pluses dancewise, but if the vote goes the way I think it will based on Internet presence, the two I really want to stay are leaving this week. *unpause*

Hmmmm…..it’s a split vote. Megz stays but Edson goes, giving Derek a pass and sending the injured JJ out without a chance for redemption. I’m sad that she goes out like that but she’d have been my bottom choice of the Street team anyway. I think Edson gave everything and then some these last two weeks and should have stayed. Derek’s fans are helping to carry him, but he’s got to find a breakthrough quickly.

Three weeks left to discover America’s favorite dancer, and the race is the closest it’s ever been.

Three shows closer to a champion now….the field is closer than ever and the outcome more up in the air. Who’s gonna take it all?

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Ladies’ Night Out: SYTYCD Season 12, Week 5 Hollywood

Double eliminations this week as we shape up who’s moving into the Top 10!

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Top 14 group
Choreographer Brian Friedman (Song: 100% Pure Love, Crystal Waters)

A Vogue from the VMAs look. I like it. I had to look up Brian’s bio to double check–if he was in that, he was the tallest, most mature-looking 13 year old EVER. I can’t believe that performance is 25 years old! Love what the kids did with it.

Team Street get 53% tonight!

This week is the 20 second question round! Let the hilarity ensue!

Jim and Yorelis – Contemporary
Choreographer Sonya Tayeh (Song: Asht, Nebulo)

Jim was injured during rehearsal (and wasn’t in that group dance), but was cleared to perform his duet with Yorelis. Because I was TOTES confused when he came out during intros…..the theme is a power play.

Strong work. It’s like Sonya just painted this work onto their bodies. Jim actually reminded me of Cole Horibe in given moments. Yorelis proves that though she might have moved her focus to street styles, her technique is well-rounded and in full force.

Nigel appreciates that Yorelis was given the chance to shine and display her versatility in this piece, and praises Jim as one of the best technical dancers in the show’s history….but cautions him to hone his personality, performance and connection, as the best technical dancers have not always been the people’s champions. Paula lauds their ability to handle the strength, power and intensity of the piece and thought the pair complemented each other. Jason appreciated the synergy and technical prowess from both dancers.

Jim is safe, Yorelis is in danger.

Edson and JaJa – Hip-Hop
Choreographer Misha Gabriel (Song: She Came To Give It To You, Usher featuring Nicki Minaj)

Edson wins for sneaking an IaMmE reference into the 20 second round.

The pair are funky, edgy models taking the fashion world by storm….a runway show with a remix to it.

Stuck-up, sexy JaJa…..even JaJa’s not seeing that. Edson’s confidence in his swag is flagging, too.

This season’s Blurred Lines. Not quite the attitude from Sexyback (maybe Edson should have consulted Coach Travis?), but well performed and lots of energy.

Paula thought it was a fun routine and made an intricate routine look breezy,  found Edson’s swag and thought JaJa blended the fierce technique and flirty ‘tude perfectly. Jason thought the routine was a little basic, particularly for this stage of the competition, cool but no standout “wow” moments. (Hope he had someone check his car before he left.) Nigel agrees with Jason and thought it was too big for his taste, as opposed to the contained cool the style usually displays.

America voted the pair into the Top 10.

Hailee and Virgil – Contemporary
Choreographer Tyce Diorio (Song: Cellophane, Sia)

Hailee as crazy, obsessed girlfriend who won’t let go. She’s channeling her dance crush on Virgil to tap into the dark, reckless feel of this piece. Virgil is also going to have to internalize the usual megawatt charm to pull off his part.

I’m seeing part Joshua and part Fik-Shun in Virgil’s performance. The intense energy is definitely subdued, but it fits the piece. I can easily see Sia or even Pink calling Hailee in the future for one of their videos. That last drag across the stage said everything.

Jason felt the recklessness in the piece and appreciated the 180 degree turn from Virgil in the persona portrayed. Nigel loves the material and the characters, and enjoyed Hailee’s transformation. Nigel thought Virgil’s character was terrific but it exposed his lack of technique. Paula countered, saying it was more that Virgil’s dramatic turnaround in the face of Hailee’s intensity and draw dimmed his usual magnetic exuberance.

Y’all in the Top 10, too. We already knew.

Alexia and Ariana – Burlesque Jazz
Choreographers Tracy Phillips and Dominic Carbone (Song: Circus Fish, Vermilion Lies)

Sexy fish….alrighty then.

It was weird. It was definitely weird. Weird’s not necessarily a bad thing, though…I thought they nailed what they were given, give or take a few missed connections. Burlesque is such a varied and misunderstood art form it’s going to be hard for the audience to grasp. And now that I know they were literally supposed to be fish, I think it was hard for them to embrace and, well, swim in the character with the complex, unfamiliar movements.

Nigel thought it missed the mark a little, starting off in a Liza Minelli/Bob Fosse vein but losing its dark feel with all the smiles. Paula is slightly less brutal (and great gut check on Nigel, girlie!) and recognizes the campy concept, suggesting to the girls that they emulate a performer that embodies what they’re going for, and act as if until you can become. (I’m stealing that mantra, Paula.) Jason opined that it was a little rough, saying that the uncertainty and negative feelings about the piece showed out through the movement and transferred into his perception and enjoyment of it.

Both girls are in danger, and this piece is going to be hard-pressed to win them any votes.

Megz/Derek – Hip-Hop
Choreographer Dave Scott (Song: Worth It, Fifth Harmony featuring Kid Ink)

Female artist in a jazz club is intrigued by an audience member and pulls him onstage. Sooooo……Megz was just gonna keep that trumpet playing card in her back pocket, huh? I tell you what–in addition to some killer dance moves across the board, she is making for some really fascinating TV, and that’s the type of thing that boosts ratings….and votes. They have to loosen Derek up some, though.

They got him looser, though he still needs work on hitting the hip-hop moves. But I felt like I was at a concert witnessing an impromptu on-stage collaboration between artist and fan. I can see Pink calling up Megz, too. That sassy-sexy came out of left field….Megz could easily and strategically maneuver her way into Top 4 with all these surprises she keeps revealing.

Paula says it wasn’t her favorite–though she appreciated the effort–because it wasn’t Derek’s comfort zone (which showed) and Megz did more face-pulling than she would have liked. The nit-picking about the mismatched horn was unnecessary…..we can suspend disbelief, dammit! Jason thought Megz was pretty good, not her worst but OK (can y’all give it a rest about the sax/trumpet conundrum?), and that Derek needs to immerse himself in some research to improve his hip-hop vocabulary and swag. Nigel doesn’t think the routine helped Derek’s standing in the votes, already being in the bottom from last week’s injury. However, he thought Megz was terrific.

So did America….helloooooo, Top 10, Megz.

Gaby/Neptune – Contemporary
Choreographer Stacey Tookey  (Song: Take My Hand, Precious Lord, Ledisi [from the Selma soundtrack])

Neptune, did you REALLY shade that girl’s nose ring as a booger?!? Sir, you’re fired. SMH

Humanity and prejudice….”chasing each other’s trust.” (Neptune, that quote was inspired.)

Timing is everything. Particularly with this show and the placement of the pieces. I think given the current climate in this country with racial tensions and current interactions, this routine could easily be described as this season’s “Woman’s Work.” Both dancers moved in concert with each other, but more importantly fully lived this piece. It’s clearly visible once we see their faces after the performance. Props to the director and the camera operator for the decision to shoot this with one camera and in one take. That made the number that much more powerful.

The judges are standing. Jason is STILL standing as he gives his commentary, calling it unreal and a grade A performance. Nigel calls Gaby his favorite stage dancer this year, and says that she has shined every week. Neptune, in his eyes, has simply transcended to a dancer, with no limitations. Given that Neptune basically poured his life out on the stage and into that performance, I think the rest of us can say the same. Paula is short on time, but also short on words, calling it stunning.

Gaby sails into the Top 10, but Neptune surprisingly is back in the bottom after a few safe weeks. If America wants him to stay, this would be the routine to move them.

JJ/Kate – Jazz
Choreographer Brian Friedman (Song: A Different Beat, Little Mix)

Pin-up jazz….Brian sure loves this sexy/flirty stuff when he gets all girls to work with. I’m here for it, though. Uh-oh….Kate has some twerk in here. Both are struggling with parts, though.

This needed to channel On The Town and any given Katy Perry video, and for the most part JJ got the flirty sass down. Kate was working at it but it looked like it–it didn’t come across as natural. But I think they both did well and conquered their personal weak areas.

(Brian, I sincerely hope none of those pins on your hat are remotely military–I still remember the backlash Mia Michaels got for wearing the upside-down Marine patch on her blouse in Season 3…..)

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Nigel thought their personalities definitely came out but didn’t showcase their abilities as much. Paula suggested not performing so on-the-nose in order to make it look mature and sassy as opposed to leaning toward the adolescent. Jason agreed, but thought the performance was pretty good.

Kate is in danger, but JJ moves on to the Top 10.

I’d honestly forgotten about the double eliminations…..so the Twitter votes are all important tonight, as it solidifies the Top 10. The futures of Alexia, Derek, Kate, Yorelis, Ariana and Neptune hang in the balance….and the judges have no say.

Team Stage group dance – Contemporary
Choreographer Sonya Tayeh (Song: Lift Me, The Bengsons)

Based on all the emotions that happen within the first few moments you receive tragic news, each of the dancers should have some experience they can tap into. (All-Star Robert Roldan steps into the group number for the injured Jim.)

This had a very Alvin Ailey “I’ve Been ‘Buked” feeling to it…the feeling of despair and desperation is palpable. The sincerity Sonya was looking for definitely came through.

Team Street group dance – Hip-Hop
Choreographer Pharcyde and Phoenix (Song: Dragula, Rob Zombie)

Welcome to the Freakshow Carnival…..cue Ryan Murphy, as this one number covers all the bases of his two latest successful ventures.

Freaky as hell. Virgil was way too cute a clown for the dark nature of this piece (as cute as clowns can go). But folks definitely latched onto their characters while slapping the life out of that choreography. (I had a slightly saltier version but I try to use my cuss words judiciously.)

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Twitter saves allow Derek and Neptune to round out the Top 10, leaving Kate, Ariana, Alexia and Yorelis out in the cold…but hopefully the swing realm. Personally the Team Street vote was an impossible choice–Yorelis, Ariana and Neptune are three of the strongest dancers PERIOD. The emotional pull from Neptune’s turn on tonight’s stage may have elevated him this time. As for the Stage crew, each had their flubs, so I’m guessing Derek had the strongest Internet presence to pull him out of the fire. Not at all pleased with the Street result but that’s who was up for the vote this week. I didn’t have any strong attachments to the Stage dancers in jeopardy, but logistically Derek was probably the best choice of the three given their existing body of work on the show.

Next week brings in the All-Stars….and turns up the heat. Now the competition really kicks in as they fight for the title.

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Never Give Up

Awesome inspiration

Never Give Up.

Thinning The Herd: SYTYCD Season 12, Week 4 Hollywood

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This is the last week for contestants to still make the Tour.

Top 16 group

Choreographers Nick Flores and RJ Durell stage a Goth fashion show…..Enough said.
(Song: Love Is Free, Robyn & La Bagatello Magique featuring Maluca)

Intro had 15 dancers–where’s Derek? He was injured in rehearsal and is on mandatory medical rest. He will automatically be in the bottom for next week’s show–if he’s not voted out.

Team Street is coming up–49.5% to Team Stage’s 50.5%. tWitch and tWavis do a lovely pas de deux.

Oh goody…..we’re now into the dancer interview question phase….

JaJa and Hailee – Jazz
Choreographer Ray Leeper (Song: Endangered Species, Dianne Reeves)

[JaJa’s engaged and Hailee is not a natural blonde…kind of a hair chameleon like Lacey Schwimmer.]

Ray is choreographing the two female powerhouses in a female empowerment piece.

Hail-Ja….they’ve dubbed themselves Hail-Ja. And they’re dancing to Dianne Reeves. Did they kill it? HAIL-JA! JaJa is looking more Stage every week, and Hailee clearly has the ability to adapt seamlessly to all styles.

Nigel agrees with the powerhouse label, and says Hailee is pulling the majority of the focus. He says JaJa is the most interesting street dancer, and her technique is growing exponentially. Paula said is brilliant to watch JaJa’s growth from her first audition, and remarks on Hailee’s radiance. Jason says it’s a great opener to the show, and praises JaJa for her progress. However, he does caution her about lengthening her extensions. Hailee he dubs a star.

If they hadn’t already been voted safe by the audience, this dance certainly would have secured it.

Neptune and Alexia – Hip-Hop
Choreographer Dave Scott (Song: Flex (Ooh Ooh Ooh), Rich Homie Quan)

Neptune’s a daddy and Alexia has a blind toy poodle. Reminds me of a friend’s dearly departed pup Ginger.

Dave crafts a crazy love story, and Alexia has to come up to Neptune’s level here. They must literally mean crazy, because they’ve also incorporated a padded wall into the routine. Didn’t Travis use the wall a few seasons back with Sasha? Let’s see how it works for hip-hop.

OK, they are seriously flying over the cuckoo’s nest with this one. Immediately I get vibes of Beautiful, Mia Michaels’ quirky wedding piece performed by Mark and Chelsea from Season 4. Alexia almost has Witney Carson level swag in this, while Neptune is clearly swimming with the sharks and thriving. I could see this going on tour.

Paula was impressed with their commitment to the insanity of the characters, and thought it was quirky and  weird and loved it.  Jason believe Neptune is very important to Team Street’s success, and thanks Alexia is improving as well. He thought Dave Scott’s concept for the dance was brilliant. Nigel agrees with the commentary on the kids’ performances.

After such an amazing performance, the pair is relieved to both be safe.

JJ is solo going into the break, so I gather she was to dance with Derek in a Miriam and Leonardo Argentine tango….

JJ and Derek – Argentine Tango
Choreographers Miriam Larici and Leonardo Buenonuevos (Song: Duo De Amor, Astor Piazzelle)

Derek is adopted; JJ LOVES her topknot.

Portraying a couple being alone for the first time, this promises to be steamy. However, as we see in the Day 2 footage, Derek has sprained his back from all the lifts….the muscle next to his spine, to be specific. So naturally, Leonardo is stepping in tonight.

JJ did well, especially with the emotional side of the performance. No Mary to zero in on the intricacies of the technique, but she looked like she was working very hard at hitting all the lines and foot placements.

Jason said she brought sexy back, and that she held her own given the circumstances. Nigel said she was a credit to her team, and had Mary been in attendance, she would have been on the Hot Tamale train. Paula said it was a beautiful routine and she had an incredible transformation this week.

As we know, Derek will be in danger next week if he comes back, but as it stands this week both of them are in danger anyway.

Jim and Ariana – Contemporary
Choreographer Sean Cheesman (Song: Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Lorde)

Ariana loves special effects makeup and Jim loves therapeutic bubble baths. I’m not mad at him.

Sean is displayed a battle with depression, with Ariana as the depression and Jim as the person battling it. Given my family experiences recently, this should cut pretty close.

Lorde, I like you, but I don’t know if I want you fooling with this particular song. However, the tone of your version went very well with this piece, combined with the costuming and the lighting. Arianna and Jim we’re in great sync the entire time, and carried the emotional weight of this piece elegantly. Reminiscent of the wild horses piece from season 8 And the rigid and Emilio piece from last season.

Judging from the standing ovation from this judges panel, these reviews are to be pretty good. Nigel thought they connected to the message very well and put rated brilliantly, and is at a loss as to why Ariana has not connected with the audience. (Me too.) He also tells Jim that his work was effortless in his portrayal. Paula thinks the piece showcases the breadth of their development as dancers, and is very pleased with both of their growth. Jason is equally blown away by Ariana and her ability to match her partner’s stage technique, well giving high praise to Jim’s technical prowess.

Again, again, Jim is safe but Ariana is in danger. I’m really getting sick of America on this one.

Gaby and Virgil – Broadway
Choreographer Al Blackstone (Where Or When, Sammy Davis, Jr.)

Virgil has a jazz band and Gaby has Food Network Star aspirations….she just can’t cook.

Two New Yorkers who literally bump into each other on the streets and feel like they’ve met before. “Character Olympics” is the new phrase of the day. Let’s see how much radiates from these two hams.

And Gabi gets to tap….awesome.

Virgil has some pretty good moves there, channeling Bob Fosse, Gene Kelly, and even a little bit of their singing namesake. Clearly those years on stage have helped his performance a lot. He and Gaby took the Character Olympics to an entirely different level. Dynamic number from the two of them.

Paula is ecstatic and calls them both a great day at Disneyland. She actually tells Virgil he looks like Sammy Davis Jr., and says that Gabi is well rounded and well versed in the competition. Jason says Virgil breathes life into every performance, and that both of them did an amazing job. He also agrees that both have a wide breadth of ability, but cautions the taller Gabi to “act larger” when dancing next to Virgil’s megawatts personality. Nigel disagrees with Jason, saying that the two were a powerhouse couple in that regard, and matched each other perfectly.

Both are safe, though we pretty much knew that on Virgil side. But Gaby was pretty much a shoe-in.

Kate and Asaf – Jazz
Choreographer Sean Cheesman (Song: Braveheart, Neon Jungle)

Asaf? Doughnuts and peanut butter? At the same time?!? Kate, on the other hand, was the target of an attempted kidnapping as a four year old by a serial killer. The phrase, “you just can’t make this stuff up” just seems inadequate…..

The couple at the club that IS the “in” club…. this week we are struggling with Asaf’s ability to lift Kate. Both coaches step in to try to help him build his skills so that the piece looks good and Kate doesn’t get hurt.

Eh. He tried. She was going gangbusters, too. I just wasn’t feeling it. Kate’s technique is insane, though.

Jason called it a good performance, which doesn’t bode well. He thought Kate was awesome, and that Asaf has improved but still has a good way to go. Nigel thought that Kate did a great job with connecting as well as with her technique, and Nigel throws in the name pun, saying he danced his “ass off.” Paula thought they both worked very well together, and also agrees that he improved significantly from last week.

Both are in the bottom again, so we’ll see what happens.

Marissa and Yorelis – Hip-Hop
Choreographer Christopher Scott (Song: Let Go, Kezwik featuring Mimi Page)

Marissa was a power tumbler, and Yorelis is a club go-go dancer.

Yorelis hypnotizes Marissa to bring her to the Street side….

Marissa is still a little too precise for me, but I believe Yorelis mentioned something in the package about her style being less fluid. So I could be wrong about that. Both are definitely hitting the choreography, I’m just not sure how much of the vibe they caught. Christopher is smiling, though….

Nigel but Marissa was terrific, but cautioned her about matching flow.  He thought Yorelis’s flow was excellent, and that the peer did well together. Paula also thought they did well as a team, and thought Yorelis nailed the entire performance. Jason thought it was a really good performance, but given the scope of the competition, he thought the routine could have used a little more intensity.

Yorelis is safe and Marissa is the final Stage dancer in the bottom 6.

So Megz and Edson get to perform with no pressure.

Megz and Edson – Contemporary
Choreographer Talia Favia (Song: You There, Aquilo)

Edson has been a cheerleader since age 10 and even coaches teams. His team spirit has even led him to create a Team Stage cheer. How cute! Megz has a shoe fetish–378 pairs that she obsesses over.

This routine is about temptation and being extremely intrigued buy it. Megz is reaching for it and Edson is pulling her back from it.

Don’t sleep on Megz, y’all….I really believe Sonya Tayeh sent her secret little sister into this contest to mess with us. Edson is really developing emotionally, and if ever a piece of choreography earned the Best Use of Costuming in Movement award, this was it.

Cat called it a mix between the Scream painting and the Calvin Klein ad campaign. I can buy that.

Paula looks like she’s about to cry. She has goosebumps and is nearly speechless. She says she’s very taken by the piece, calls Megz truly amazing, and praises the partnership. Jason says it’s easily the best performance of the night. Nigel praises Megz’s transformation, as well as Edson’s emotional breakthrough.

Safe, as we said before….but it’s nice to hear it confirmed.

Team Street group dance – Hip-Hop
Choreographer Luam (Song: Commas, Future)

The New York “hustler spirit.”

The girls are really carrying this team. Asaf is good in his own right but the weakest link of the bunch.

Team Stage group dance – Contemporary
Choreographer Travis Wall (Song: Beautiful Friends, Helen Money)

Ghosts of Theaters Past….the ghosts come out at night. Oh wait, wrong song. Sorry, Whodini…..

Again, the costuming and lighting really sell this piece. The choreography is amazing as well, but the entire ghostlight concept is what puts this over the top.

So now, who goes home? Twitter saves JJ and Derek, so Derek at least gets a chance to dance his way to another save. The judges make the tough decision to save Kate and Ariana, and Marissa and Asaf leave the show. Asaf was growing but not fast enough or any brighter than the rest of his team, and Marissa, though good, was expendable compared to her female teammates.

So now we have the Tour dancers in place…who will be the featured Top 10 and who will be the alternates? With all of the dancers performing at higher and higher levels, it should be interesting to watch.

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The Total Package: SYTYCD Season 12, Week 3 Hollywood

Another week, another round of exciting competition…..

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Top 18 group – Samba/Jazz (?)
Choreographers Asiel Hardin and Reina Hidalgo

Nothing could prepare me for this Brazilian samba-like rhythm and the song title super….Let The Groove Get In by Justin Timberlake?!? Alrighty then….it’s a fun number, though. I can see this being a tour piece.  First-time choreographers Reina Hidalgo and Asiel Hardin are welcome back anytime.

Not caring for this Stage/Street percentage announcement….

JaJa, Derek and Alexia – Contemporary
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Song: All Waters, Perfume Genius

Bravery in different forms. The dancers are cast as a war veteran, an abused woman and a single mother, and each has to draw on their own emotions to convey experiences they have no direct way of relating to.

I still wholeheartedly believe JaJa was ready last season, but she is really morphing well into the stage styles. A bobble here and there but for the most part she matched Alexia the whole time. Derek’s salute was weak but that may have been intentional given the theme of the piece….plus he also had some off moments. Considering he had two girls to partner and his own character to portray through all of it, I think he did an admirable job. Alexia danced very well–it’s hard to focus on Stacey Tookey’s choreography as there are several things happening at once. But I think she delivered everything Stacey asked.  The lighting was spectacular.

Nigel thinks Alexia danced tall and Derek did well in concert with the girls, and is also impressed with JaJa’s chameleon-like abilities. Paula lauds Stacey for the piece and agrees on all three, and dubs this as Derek’s best work yet. Jason makes three and appreciates the timeliness of such a piece, feeling connected to the story and the emotion. Cat drags out the results for effect, scaring poor Derek unnecessarily….all three are safe.

Megz, Moises and Jim – Hip-Hop
Choreographer JaQuel Knight
Song: Whuteva, Remy Ma

Choreographer JaQuel Knight (famous for Beyoncé’s Single Ladies choreography) gives the trio a piece that “lets everybody knows you’re here to stay, and ‘whuteva to the haters.’ ” Megz still looks the toughest in the bunch regardless of style, but the guys are really trying to find their cockiness and swag.

Jim tried, and held on to the choreography fairly well, but the swag rested in the not-so-good stank face he was bringing. Moises did better and I thought he gave the necessary attitude. Megz clearly danced more in pocket to help the boys match.

Paula thought their commitment to character, vibe and feel could have been stronger, though she did applaud Jim for being able to more fully express it; Jason thought it was cool, but thought Megz petered off in energy at the last quarter, and the guys gave mediocre backup dancer; Nigel didn’t think the piece worked at all.  Results save Jim and Megz but puts Moises in danger again.

Edson, JJ and Yorelis – Jazz Funk
Choreographer Tovaris Wilson
Song: Restart, Sam Smith

A jazz/hip-hop fusion with Edson as the ladies’ man working two women. Coach Travis wants Edson to own his sex appeal in this piece, while Coach tWitch is impressed with the girls’ grasp on the choreography.

Great sync from all three. Not sure about the level of stage training JJ has had but she’s proving equal to her partners. Also, Edson holds his own extremely well alongside two of the strongest performing personalities in the competition–I got some nice suave pretty boy vibes from him. The jazz technical sections seemed more drawn out and heavy compared to the fun, hip-hop inspired parts, but the execution was strong and precise.

Jason thought it was entertaining and that Edson had some great moments, but could have been more free with his interactions “flirting” with the ladies. Nigel thought the girls are very strong–dubbed them two of his favorites–and said they caught the groove but need to be careful polishing the technique, while telling Edson to embrace his sexuality and infuse his performances with it. Paula agrees on both points about the girls regarding vibe and technique, and notes Yorelis had a slightly better hold on the latter than JJ. Edson got a favorable review on his vibe as well. Yorelis and JJ move forward while Edson falls to the bottom.

Marissa and Asaf – Club Cha-Cha
Choreographer Jean Marc Genereux
Song: +1, Martin Solveig featuring Sam White

A rock star and groupie/plus one connection. Asaf gets to use some of his cocky bravado if he can grasp all of that complicated choreography, and Marissa gets to amp up her sex appeal once she can more fully let loose and be confident in her partner’s abilities. Coach tWitch is just happy Asaf is working hard and doesn’t have to be pulled aside this week. (As are we all, tWitch…as are we all.) Jean Marc gives Asaf a plate to work with to help him maintain his arm space…..now Jean Marc, was the duct tape under yours really necessary?

He tried. I will give it to him–Asaf really tried, and was physically strong and present. But I now see what Mary Murphy has been yammering about regarding foot placement and rhythmic hips…because it was badly lacking. This hampered Asaf’s ability to infuse his persona into the dance, while Marissa thrived in that, making it seem like SHE was the rock star character in this instead of the man.

The judges were unanimous in noting that Marissa, in her effort to dance down to Asaf’s level, danced below her own as well. She is safe to come back next week, though, as Asaf heads the bottom 6.

Gaby, Burim and Ariana – African Jazz
Choreographer Sean Cheesman
Song: Gorilla, Lord KraVen

Choreographer Sean Cheesman casts the trio as animalistic, beasty creatures and themes the piece “dance of the blood moon.” Canes are involved–the girls are grasping it; Burim is not. We’ll see what happens on stage.

Arachnophobes, do not adjust your sets–that is not a spider in the opening shot. Very ethnic and earthy movements, and Burim caught on better than I thought, but this number belonged to the girls. Total powerhouses, those two. Between wardrobe, hair and lighting this was a visually spectacular piece.

Paula thought it was strong, and inadvertently made a reference to the video introduction that triggered the 12 year old boys flanking her at the judges’ table. Thanks to a save from Cat Deeley (because you will NOT drag me into pre-pubescent boy world), she is able to articulate how proud and impressed she is that he’s overcoming his struggles. She also marvels at the girls’ strength and power, and loves the overall visual presentation. Jason noticed a slight misstep on Burim’s part and gave him some advice, but overall loved the concept and the number. Nigel called it one of the best of the evening, praising the two girls and giving Burim his due on keeping pace. He also gives Burim tips on using his second position and plié to get further down into the movement…..then quickly reverts back to his inner teenage horndog. *facepalm* Ariana is in danger again as well as Burim this week, but Gaby comes up safe.

Neptune and Kate – Contemporary
Choreographer Justin Giles
Song: Promise, Ben Howard

Oh goody–an established married couple having to do the long-distance/separation thing. A little too close to my personal home. Both dancers are having to pull on their full emotional range for this piece to prove to the judges and to the viewing audience what their capabilities are.

Good routine. Neptune’s movements need a little more power and completion but he had them and the emotional execution down. Kate is a very fluid dancer, and that tends to imply that there are no drastic levels to her performances. I saw a few sharply defined moments, so she may be able to get better remarks from the judges this week.

Jason enjoyed the chemistry and the “filling in of spaces”, and applauded Kate for breaking out of her shell. Likewise, he praised Neptune’s efforts and intimated that he just might be this week’s favorite. Nigel marveled at the dichotomy of such a limited scope of steps giving off such an expansive aura, and also commented on the progression of audience acceptance regarding pairs of mixed races. (Trust me, Nigel, the ignorance is still out there…..they just don’t say it in the general public.) Paula also sees Kate’s emotional progress and claims Neptune as a favorite as well. Neptune is safe this week with the audience vote, but Kate is in danger.

Virgil and Hailee – Hip-Hop
Choreographers Phoenix and Pharcyde
Song: Runnin, Noahplause

Robots. They’re playing robots. From outer space, even. This should be good. Hailee is picking this up…..wise girl, studying some hip-hop for the show. Virgil is having to bring a harder game to keep up. I’m not worried, though. Coach tWitch described him as “Arnold Schwarzenegger and Richard Pryor wrapped up in a little nugget of a man.” That’s about right.

Ummmm……damn. Dizamn, y’all. I was watching the beginning thinking Hailee needed to bring up her energy and precision…and then I noticed the height difference. Briefly mistaking her for Virgil is about the highest compliment I can give her. That, and I see shades of Eliana. Virgil was no slouch either. These two were virtual dynamite. This is touring.

Nigel dubs them the two brightest personalities on the show, and these two personalities proceed to try to snag the Cole Horibe Award for not breaking character. Paula thought it was fantastic, and Jason is floored by the wacky pair.

So the bottom 6 this week are Edson, Moises and Kate for Team Stage, and Ariana, Asaf and Burim for Team Street.

Team Stage group dance – Contemporary
Choreographer Jaci Royal
Song: For My Help, Hayden Calnin

Choreographer Jaci Royal crafts a piece about needing others to overcome obstacles. Focusing on emotion and connectedness as opposed to the power and aggression of last week, Coach Travis is hoping something new comes across this time.

Still a lot of power and aggressive energy, but the slow motion moves are impressive with the strength and fluidity displayed. Kate’s expressiveness is really palpable in this one.

Team Street group dance – Hip-Hop
Choreographer Marty Kudelka
Song: Break Ya Neck, Busta Rhymes

Legendary choreographer Marty Kudelka gives Team Street a smoother, groovier piece than the previous offerings.

Pretty funky. Squad is in the house.

Twitter saves Ariana and Kate, which drops all of the boys in jeopardy. After the judges’ deliberations, Asaf is the last B-boy standing, while Edson gets the contemporary save. So Burim and Moises–the two I DIDN’T want to leave–are going home this week. Boo hiss. Oh well, the show goes on. We’ll see what new challenges are in store for next week.
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