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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