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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