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

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


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…..)


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… 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.)


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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