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?

sytycd_season9_top20_witneychehon

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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

Bits and Bobs: TV is still awesome

TV is as good as ever (LOVED the twist on The Vampire Diaries last night that when an original dies their whole bloodline dies with them) but I’ve found that when the TV I love is really good, I have less of a need to blog about it.  Here are a few bits and bobs that I’ve been thinking about anyway:

- Nothing makes me happier than seeing So You Think You Can Dance alum in new projects – last week I pointed out that Alex Wong is in Newsies on broadway (along with Jess LeProtto from season 8 and Evan Kasprzak from season 5), this week it has come to my attention that Kathryn McCormick from Season 6 is starring in Step Up: Revolution out this summer.  Not only that, but Travis Wall is going to be choreographing a few of the dances.  Dude.  This is going to be the best (dance-wise) in the series yet!

- Do you think America is ready for a black Bachelor? If ABC/Mike Fleiss go with Lamar Hurd from Portland, OR I think the answer is ABSOLUTELY!  Check out his audition video in which he comes across as sincere, well-spoken, actually interesting and also adorable!  That smile!  Seriously, ABC.  You should do this.

Show pickups for next season are starting to trickle in from the networks and so far there haven’t been any major surprises.  I’m still holding out hope for a Fringe renewal from Fox though.

- I have finally watched Terriers, the FX series from 2010.  It is awesome.  I still have 1 episode to go but it is so worth checking out on Netflix if you’re looking for a great show.

 

Emmy Nominations: Outstanding Choreography

Lauren Froderman and Kent Boyd perform the Travis Wall choreographed "Collide"

As I think I’ve made clear already, I love dance in general and it makes me extremely happy that the Emmys have an Outstanding Choreography category.  I think it’s a total travesty that we don’t get to see the nominated dances during the ceremony.  However, it appears that instead of nominating a specific routine, they nominate a choreographer and name 2 or three dances that got them the nomination, so I guess it might be difficult to show all of the nominated dances.  But they could definitely include a few of them – maybe show the dances by the winning choreographer or something.   Anyway, this year, choreographers from So You Think You Can Dance dominated the category scoring 5 out of the 6 nominations and since I know we won’t get to see the dances on the telecast (or even find out who wins in this category) I thought I’d make it easy to watch them all in one place.  The Outstanding Choreography category doesn’t usually get mentioned when television critics are analyzing the nominees, but it’s important to me.  Plus, I wanted to see all the dances again too! 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: From 14 down to 12

It's a bollywood rainbow!

This week’s So You Think You Can Dance results show group routine is a Bollywood number choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan and performed to “Kata Kata” from the Raavan soundtrack.  I adored the costumes with their rich beautiful colors and thought the group did a fairly good job, but it was definitely a much simpler bollywood than we’ve seen in the past.  The dancers all had great energy and I felt like they did a good job with their unison for the most part, but I don’t know.  It didn’t really bowl me over.  Cat’s dress and belt, however, did!  So adorable.  For some reason Carmen Electra did not join the judging panel for the results show, probably because of a scheduling snafu but I like to think that it’s because the producers realized she was totally useless.  Travis did show up, however, and wore another fabulous velvet tuxedo. Continue reading

So You Think You Can Dance: New Blood for the Top 14

The Judges: Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, Carmen Electra & Travis Wall

Recapping last night’s episode of So You Think You Can Dance I stayed true to my word and tried not to hear any description of the dance’s back stories before seeing the full dance (did not always work out so well).  This led to some interesting misinterpretations on my part, but mostly just proved that you don’t really need to understand a choreographer’s motivation to feel the emotions of the dance and made me realize just how manipulative those back stories really are.  In fact, I think the fact that a story is so expected actually got in the way of me really enjoying one of the dances.  Good dancing is good dancing.  Yes, what I think of as good dancing and what you think of as good dancing may be different, but I’m pretty sure an epic tale won’t really change how each of us feels about what makes dancing good.  Anyway, joining Nigel and Mary at the judges table this week were Carmen Electra and Travis Wall (looking very dapper) both making their SYTYCD judging debuts.  I’ve decided to stop recapping the judges comments though.  Unless they actually give a critique instead of a bunch of platitudes, nothing they say means anything.  On top of 2 first time judges, we got 5 (FIVE!) first time choreographers.  It was pretty exciting to see some fresh faces but I’m not sure all of them are as strong as I expect from the choreographers on this show.  Also, I have no comment about Cat Deeley’s dress from last night, but would love an invitation to a barbecue at her house. 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