So You Think You Can Dance – From 20 to 16

The top 20 perform a dance choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon

Group Routine, choreographed by Christopher Scott performed to “The Beautiful People (District 78 Remix) by Marilyn Manson: I really had no idea who choreographed the opening group routine while I was watching it.  It highlighted Cyrus which led me to believe that it was a hip hop choreographer, but had these great group movements (that I really have no way to describe other than to say it was like the dancers were portraying the movement of breathing) which made me think that it was a contemporary choreographer.  The dance was completely great, but the director did a really poor job of capturing it and editing the performance which is a bummer.  I LOVED the choreography – really challenging and different and entertaining.  The whole piece had a really great vibe to it.  I’m so glad the producers recognized how important these group routines are and didn’t get rid of them when they got rid of the elimination episode.

Amber and Nick during rehearsals.

I can’t believe we’re going to lose FOUR dancers tonight.  That’s not cool.  We jump RIGHT into the top 20 announcement by pairs.  Everyone is pretty much getting the same level of screaming across the board although it definitely lessons as the pairs go on, as if the crowd got tired of cheering which is really weird and kind of sad.  It doesn’t take that much energy, guys.  Also, it is made very clear that the group numbers are pre-taped.  I am ok with that.  I adore Cat’s dress.  So summery and adorable.  Umm, that routine was apparently Tabitha and Napoleon.  They have really switched things up stylistically this season.  It’s kind of crazy.

Judges: Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, Adam Shankman

Tonight’s guest judge is Adam Shankman which I think is a good choice for the first cut.  At least he knows something about dance/dancers so he’ll actually be able to have an opinion unlike, say, Zooey Deschanel last week. After Nigel does his whole Dance Day Spiel (which I’m all for, really, but he does go on a bit long) Cat says that we are not only going to get 10 performances from the contestants but also a sneak peak at Step Up: Revolution and a live performance from some of the dancers from the movie PLUS we have to see four people eliminated.  All in under 2 hours.  Ummmmm, right.

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Lindsay & Cole, Hip-hop, choreographed by Christopher Scott, Performed to "Teeth" by Lady Gaga: I have a total soft spot for this song so I’m prepared to really like this performance. I thought his costume was great and Lindsay is definitely tried to bring the personality and character, but I don't think the props really worked the way that they should - she seemed to be working extra hard to move that chair around and things kept flying off her costume. She definitely out-danced him a little. He was just a little less sharp or something. Maybe she was more exaggerated in her sharpness? I'm not sure. It's was cute, but maybe a little under-choreographed. Cole totally annoyed me when he remained in character during judging. The first time, ok, but after that it's obnoxious.

Here’s where things get weird and sad and awkward.   Continue reading

So You Think You Can Dance: The Top 20 Perform for Votes

The Top 20 perform a Christopher Scott routine.

The show opens with a group number which I’m almost positive has been choreographed by Christopher Scott (I was right) and I am immediately relieved because I assumed that with the elimination of the results show the group numbers would be eliminated as well. Anyway, The costumes makeup and hair are just rockin’.  I love the use of the spinny chairs as props and I really feel like everyone is in complete unison and just kind of rocking it.  Wow.  I’m really excited to get to know these dancers.  They just completely hold my interest.  They all look as if they’ve been a company forever.  I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like to lose any of them.  Why, GOD, WHY!

Now we have our intro to the top 20 dancers and its clear that the opening number was pre taped because everyone is in different hair and makeup and costumes.  I guess I’m ok with that.  Our judges tonight are Nigel, Mary and Kenny Ortega (he of Dirty Dancing and the High School Musical series).  Right off the bat they explain how things are going to go down next week – America will vote for individuals and the bottom three guys and bottom three girls will be announced next week and 2 of each will be sent home by the judges.  Apparently there will also be some discussion with the choreographers about the dancers, which I think could be interesting if we get to see any of that.  They better not kick off 2 dancers each every week.  That would be a depressingly short show.  I’m hoping the double elimination is just to make up for the lack of episode last week.  Shall we get on with it?

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Witney (why no “H” Witney?) & Chehon, Samba, choreographed by Louis Van Amstel, performed to “Jump" by The Cube Guys & Lucinana: Chehon is a little stiff. Witney is awesome at this, as she should be considering that this is her thing. I wish they had chosen a different hairstyle for Chehon. There's something a little stop and go about the choreography that's not really sitting well with me. They are trying to connect, you can see them trying to connect, but there's definitely something missing here. They gave it the good old college try, but the two of them together just didn't work. Yes, Witney was great, but I think she wasn't quite there for Chehon to bring him into it a little more and that would have been nice to see. I pretty much don't care what the judges say, but find it hilarious that Kenny clearly didn't know Chehon's name so chose to call him "mister" during his critique.

Season 9 is kick-ass.

Good god.  I can’t even handle this season.  There is barely a weak link.  Plus, no results show means I have to wait another whole week for another episode.  Unfortunately, I think that Nick and Amber’s Viennese Waltz is going to land them in the bottom three because it didn’t quite have the same allure as a lot of the other dances.  I’d also put Janaya and Brandon in the bottom but I don’t want them to go home at all.  I think it’s possible that Daniel and Alexa will end up in the bottom as well which would be really sucky.  I don’t want anyone to go home.  LET THEM ALL STAY.  Let’s just pick the final winners at the end of 10 weeks of awesome dancing.  That’s my vote.    UGH.  Two people going home next week is stupid.  Can’t they just keep a double elimination for further down the line when they can seen who’s not improving and have more evidence of the dancers’ abilities?  I HATE (but really love) this show!

So You Think You Can Dance Season 9: Top 20

So You Think You Can Dance Season 9 Top 20

Every year I think that there is no way the talent in the So You Think You Can Dancetop 20  will surpass the previous season and every year I am wrong.  Season 9’s top 20 appears to be particularly strong, not only in dance ability, but likability as well.  What I’m really excited for, though, is the fact that Mia FREAKING Michaels is BACK!  This is huge news that I wasn’t aware of before last night and I am very excited to see what kinds of stuff she comes up with for this crop of dancers.  Nigel Lythgoe has done some really great things with this show – never staying too precious with the format – and one of the best ideas was this first episode introduction.  It gives the dancers a chance to get comfortable on the SYTYCD stage in front of a live audience without the pressure of the competition hanging over them and produces some really great stuff.  And the choreographers tend to just KILL IT as they did last night. Continue reading

So You Think You Can Dance: The Top 12 have some shining moments (some not so shining too)

Nigel, Mary, Jesse and Sonya were surprisingly coherent, gave actual criticism and never over-praised. Highly impressive!

This week on So You Think You Can Dance is a pretty big deal.  It is the final cut before the top 10 and determines which dancers will be going on tour this summer.  I’ve been to the tour the last three seasons and it is well worth it to see these dances live.  Cat is looking very “boudoir barbie” tonight perhaps in celebration of the fact that the contestants will be dancing two routines this week.  Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Sonya Tayeh (making her debut on the judging panel which should be pretty interesting) are joining Nigel and Mary at the judges table.  Everything is happening much faster this week because we’ve got 12 dances to squeeze in, but it should be a fun ride!

Sasha & Alexander did a respectable job on the Paso Doble even if they didn't quite blow me away.

Sasha & Alexander, Paso Doble, choreographers Tony Meredith and Melanie Le Patin, performed to “Alley Dash/Marsh of the Trolls” by Taylor Long/Rick Powell : First of all, Melanie has been giving excellent commentary on EW.com that you should all check out (the link is to last week’s blog; this week’s isn’t up yet).  Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get on with the show.  I’m super excited to see Alexander and Sasha dance something that is completely foreign to them and they’re doing a pretty good job of bringing the fierceness that the Paso Doble requires although they missed a few holds here and there and look ridiculous in their close hold.  Also, something about them feels clumsy and a little off balance.  Sasha still pulls the attention from Alex – she’s just one of those performers that exudes a strong energy.  I really liked the choreography, but felt Sasha and Alex didn’t necessarily dance it very well. Continue reading

So You Think You Can Dance: The Top 16 perform

Here are the Top 16 dancers!

Losing Nick and Wadi, two of my early favorites, last week has definitely taken some of my excitement about this season.  However, Cat’s faux bob is going a long way toward making me feel a little better.  (So adorable as is her gorgeous flapper-esque mini).  Last night the guest judges were Kristen Chenoweth and Lil’ C.  I found myself hoping they would do a little more than just fawn over all the contestants and give some actual criticism.  I used to really credit the judges on this show for not being pansies, but this season it feels like they’re spending more time trying to convince us to like the contestants than critiquing the dancing.  This is a dance show.  I don’t care if I like who the dancers are as individuals.  All I care about is whether they dance well.  Sometimes I need the judges help deciphering that because I know less than nothing about dance.  Please, judges, it’s ok to give constructive criticism.  I swear.  Ok, rant over.  Back to the show: I loved the way the couples coordinated their intro dance this week (best marks go to Sasha and Alexander) and I’m really excited about the two group numbers we’ll get to see during the performance show.  I think it’s a much more productive use of time than adding in nonsense filler.  However, we also got plenty of that last night too. Continue reading

So You Think You Can Dance – Unprecedented Decisions

Cat Deeley's dress is adorable!

I never watch the American Idol results shows.  They just feel so dragged out and uneventful.  But that’s not the case with So You Think You Can Dance.  Sometimes the result show feels more packed with talent than the performance shows (not really, but you know what I’m getting at).  I love that the show brings on so many fantastic professional dancers who perform in so many genres that aren’t necessarily represented on the show and since, in the first five weeks, the judges choose who goes home, we get solos from those dancers at risk and that can be a real treat (can be.  Sometimes the solos are really uninspiring).  But before we get into the show, I have to comment on the fact that Cat is wearing the most adorable dress EVER!  I read in In Style a while ago that Cat picks her own wardrobe which makes me love her all the more.

The first result show’s group number was choreographed by Sonya Tayeh (“XR2″ by M.I.A.) – The top 20 dancers looked like a prety demented chorus line, the choreography was really intricate and well-synced, and I loved the outfits the girls were wearing.  Sonya did such a good job of choreographing for this huge group of people.  They spent most of the dance having to be completely in unison and everything was really fast, but the group performed it fantastically.  I REALLY loved this number.

Programming note: Nigel would like us all to know that National Dance Day will be on July 30th.  Better get going on that choreography soon everyone. Continue reading

So You Think You Can Dance – The Top 20 Don’t Suck

Cat looked stunning as usual, although I feel like that dress makes her shoulders look unusually broad.

I forgot how exhausting the first episode of So You Think You Can Dance can be!  20 dancers, 10 routines, 3 crazy judges and 1 gorgeous (and very sultry last night) hostess with the most-ess.  The intro takes forever (also, what was up with that random backstage shot just before Sasha’s intro?  Good job, director).  Last night, Nigel and Mary were joined by Megan Mullaly, and her broadway and ballet background, on the judges panel.  I’m going to try to avoid recapping the filler.  It never really does the contestants justice and is just filler anyway.  But before the dancing can begin we learn that Mitchell has already been injured and will not be able to perform which really sucks.  This means that he is going to be in the bottom 3 before we even get a chance to see what he’s capable of.  Luckily, the way SYTYCD works, the judges are responsible for sending someone home so hopefully he’ll get his shot next week.  In other news, Cat was slightly tongue tied last night which is really unusual.  Was she nervous?  Drinking?  Too excited to spit the words out?  We’ll probably never know, but I hope she gets it together because hearing her stumble over every other word last night was really disappointing.  C’mon Cat!  You can do it!! Continue reading

So You Think You Can Dance – My top 20 dances of all time to celebrate season 8’s top 20

Tonight, the top 20 dancers will strut their stuff and officially kick off season 8 of So You Think You Can Dance.  Spurred on by Entertainment Weekly, I decided to take a trip down memory lane and rewatch my favorite dances from the past.  It was a lot harder to narrow down than I though it would be, and it also hit home just how strong some seasons were vs. others.  For instance, I only chose one dance from season 6 vs 4 from season 4 and 5 from season 5 (huh.  How appropriate.)  One note before I get into the videos: stupidly, I didn’t watch the first season of this show, so I have not chosen any of those dances.

My favorite number of all time is a group number, so I’m including it as a bonus.  Wade Robson’s choreography for “Ramalama” (season 2, top 10 results show routine) has stuck with me ever since it first aired.  I love the characterization that each dancer brings to the performance and feel like I’m watching an 18th century zombie ball which is just nuts.  I know it’s a bit derivative of the choreography from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video, but I really don’t care.  Wade adds his own flair to it and it is just bursting with energy.

And we’re off! Continue reading

So You Think You Can Dance: “Meet The Top 20″

Your Judges! (l to r) Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, Tyce DiOrio, Lil' C, and Robin Antin

Part of the benefit of the truncated So You Think You Can Dance audition episodes is that there isn’t a lot of meaningless filler, but it also makes the show feel like it’s rushing.  The whole audition period has only taken 5 episodes.  I really would have liked one more Vegas episode and one episode devoted to our top 20 dancing for the first time.  However, last night, as the judges announced their picks for the top 20, instead of getting the same backstories over and over again (and NOT getting to see the final solos), the producers combined the tunnel of doom episode with the very first episode of new dances.  Starting in season 6, producers added a “Meet the Top 20″ episode to give the audience a chance to get to know the dancers in their own genres before the voting begins.  It’s a really smart move because it means that pretty much everyone starts out with at least some camera time (although Sasha Mallory is definitely the winner in the exposure race this year) and the dancers get a chance to dance on the big stage for the first time without the pressure of being voted off which helps them reign in their nerves when the competition really begins.  I think the combination of the reveal and “Meet the Top 20″ is ingenious and I am super super excited to get started.

Cat Deeley in all her courthouse bridal glory.

Cat’s first live show ensemble is a little “courthouse bride”, but still pretty.  It’s so nice to have Cat back as her full charming, excitable self.  She is so happy to be on the stage with so many good dancers and it’s lovely that she is so supportive of them.  The judges on hand tonight are Nigel Lythgoe, Mary murphy, Robin Antin, Lil’ C, and Tyce DiOrio.  (Gotta say, I’m loving Mary’s hair color this year).  My biggest complaint about the all-star season last year was that the dancers never got a chance to establish a chemistry so each dance felt like they were just getting to know each other’s rhythms.  Luckily, Nigel is not afraid of change and after shaking the structure up last year by adding in the all-stars, he’s doing it again by combining the two elements – we’ll have a top 20 and get to see the dancers build chemistry with the same partner for the first five weeks and when it gets to the top 10, the all-stars will swoop in and be awesome.  I think it’s great to hear that Nigel listened to the audience and found a compromise that works for everyone.

Shall we meet the top 20? Continue reading