Thursday, July 02, 2009

SYTYCD Review, 2009-07-01

We're down to the final 14, which means we get to do a retrospective of the entire audition process. Filler, anyone?

DH, on Cat: My gawd, she looks normal. The hell? No weird hairstyle, no weird dress. Just...normal.

Our guest judge this week is Mia, wearing a very interesting blouse. I'm not sure it's meant to be seen while the wearer is in a sitting position, but I kind of see where the designer was going with it. Right off the top, we find out that Mia has softened on the Brandon situation. Alas, she has not softened her eye makeup; I can barely see her irises.

Is Cat actually sticking her hand in a pocket?

This week, the contestants are interviewing about the highs and lows of the whole SYTYCD experience.

  • Janette and Brandon are up first. Brandon is wearing a terrific t-shirt with the words: "body: (NOUN) The greatest instrument ever known." Ten bucks says the other thirteen contestants deeply covet that shirt. We found out last week that his alternative career is a lighting dude because he likes making things sparkly. Since their disco number was sparkly, that was his "high". He and Janette are doing a cha-cha this week, with Jean Marc and France. We are assured that it will be hot. Sassy. Sexy. Janette warns us, however, that the littlest mistake can totally screw them up, and indeed, in rehearsal they appear to be screwing up right, left and centre.

    The dance starts off kind of slow and ho-hum, but the rest of it was awesome. It's very unusual to see the technique in a routine get better as the dance goes on, right up to the end, but that is what happened. It was a lot of fun and really well done. Brandon in particular appeared to be having a fantastic time.

    Nigel attempts a lame fakeout, but he's delighted...although I'm not sure what he meant by "Pulling his finger out"?!? Superlatives abound. Mary tells us that salsa and cha-cha are very different techniques. She then gives some very technical compliments, which is fantastic. So often it's really easy to forget that Mary has any kind of dance expertise because she talks out of her ass and acts like an idiot 99% of the time. Mia eats crow and tries to make it sound like she knew Brandon was fly the whole time. Brandon gets vorklempt. In the audience, Jean-Marc is relly pleased.

  • DH feels sorry for Kupono and Kayla, who have to somehow follow that.

    The next couple's low moments, of course, were when they lost their original partners. But so far as a new couple, it's been going pretty well. They're doing a contemporary dance with Sonya this week, and Kupono makes a shirt just for her. (I, too, could take a Sharpie to a white tee if it would make Sonya happy, but I digress.) They're going to be doing "dark, dark stuff" - vampires. Kupono will be trying to pull a struggling Kayla towards death when she doesn't wanna go.

    And literally, at the beginning, he was dragging her. Awkwardly. Yet, I thought it was very well danced, and with good unity. Unfortunately, I didn't completely buy Kupono in the purpose of his role, although admittedly, he came off way stronger and menacing than his actual personality, which is definitely impressive.

    Nigel's back surgery must've been a real success because he is so upbeat tonight. Mia critiques superficial stuff that the dancers have no control over, such as how handsome they are together, the costuming, and the makeup. She then praises Sonya for this piece being her best ever on the show, which I really disagree with. (Mark and Courtney's burlesque number wins, hands-down.) Mia can't say enough wonderful things about Kayla, then heaps praise on Kupono. You can tell she can't wait to choreograph these guys.

  • Evan and Randi are next, and Randi has had to deal with the predictable fallout of the butt routine from last week. This week, they're doing Broadway, but it's not with Tyce DiOrio - rather, someone extremely tall named Joey Dowling. They will be a fighting couple. Evan is intimidated, not only because Joey is twice his height, but also because she comes off as a real hardass. (In a good way, I'm sure.) I peg her as a totally professional, hardworking perfectionist with high expectations...damn, now I want to work with her. Anyway, no pressure, guys.

    I thought the routine was a little weird and hard to judge. Evan looked like he was still obsessed with Randi's butt. But I actually really liked Joey's style, way more than I've ever liked any of Tyce's Broadway stuff (which is to say not very much at all...I think Tyce's talent is contemporary choreography, I love his stuff when he does that). She threw in some other styles, too, like some hiphoppish moves, some contemporary, etc. Evan, to give him credit, acquired a COMPLETELY different personality in this dance, so kudos. Generally I guess it was good, but there were points where it looked like the choreography was too hard for them, and/or they were concentrating too hard on it.

    Mia gave some really insightful comments. We are also given a quick shot of Scott Bakula in the audience, which FINALLY turns the light on for me as to who it is that Evan reminds me of! THANK YOU! (Are they related, is that why he's there and they showed him after Evan's routine?)

Odd moment: Cat is giddy about being back from commercial.

  • Next, we see Jason & Caitlin's journey from Bollywood through hiphop to paso doble. They've been in the bottom two for the last two weeks, so they're justifiably paranoid and feeling the pressure. Will luck smile on them? Hell, no. Brian Friedman has a very bizarre concept for their dance: alien woman destroys the earth and then comes down to find the last remaining human male on the surface to mate with.



    Caitlin has to take charge in this number, and Brian interviews that she's having "trouble with the details". Apparently there is also an impregnation at the end of this. Gawd. Brian's descent into the stoopid weird has now officially become painful.

    But they do the best they can with it - Jason was amusingly good with his characterization, actually, and Caitlin wasn't too bad either. DH, with great understatement: That was kinda weird.

    Nigel: The dancing condom, it looked like!
    Me: Spiked for his pleasure?

    Honestly, the execution of probably as close to as good as it could have been, all things considered. But I don't think it's going to call out the votes, and I'm not surprised that Mary didn't dig it. Mia manages very well to sidestep the unpleasant duty of telling Brian that his concept was crap.

    (I honestly wouldn't mind Brian's stuff if it was clear that he was tongue-in-cheek. But he comes across as trying to be so serious about these ridiculous themes, like they're deep and meaningful. That's what irritates me.)

  • Phillip and Jeanine is the team that I'm starting to mentally refer to as "The Lips". I mean seriously, collagen would get jealous just looking at them. :) They talk about the success of their hiphop and the stink of their tango. Phillip discusses the embarrassment of having his pants rip on national TV. Poor dude. But he's bearing up well. This week, they have hiphop again (fix! fix!), with Tabitha and Napoleon. They will be chained together for the whole routine because "Nappy Tabs" (most annoying couple name ever...a nappy is a diaper, which, perhaps not coincidentally, also has tabs) is absolutely incapable of any kind of symbolism that moves beyond the utterly literal. Unfortunately, the chain seems to be a safety hazard. (First a sofa, now this? I think SYTYCD is trying to kill them.)

    I thought the routine was pretty darn good, actually, and at times very moving. The key-offering was particularly good. But I like it better when they have a happy personal connection rather than a hostile one. I like my Phillip happy, not mad. :)

    Mia takes issue with more stuff that's totally beyond the dancers' control. Phillip and Jeanine then give us some background info on the chain, and Jeanine REVEALS TOO MUCH! ;D Hilarity.

  • We move on to Melissa and Ade.

    Riiiight, like they would have given a ballet pas de deux to any couple other than the one that includes Melissa. This is so not random. Ade tells us that he had no idea how to do rumba...coulda fooled me, dude. Thordal Christensen is choreographing them this week; they're doing Romeo and Juliet, which is Melissa's dream. They have to bring tenderness and meaning to each movement. It is pointed out that this is the first time anyone's been en pointe in a SYTYCD routine, which is cool. Melissa hopes the love story will come through, and the show rolls out the wind machine to assist with this.

    Well, not bad. Ade muffed his big landing a trifle, but got good height. I didn't so much get "true love" out of this one as "innocent joy in each other", but that's okay. It looked like what it was - some dude carrying around a ballerina. Not that I'm trying to diss Ade, because I think he's a very powerful dancer, but you could totally tell that he does not have this kind of training.

    Nigel points out the surrealism of this show (that you can have ballet, chains, and alien impregnation all in one night), and almost wrenches his back again patting himself on the back. Cat, stop bopping. :)

    Thought: Isn't Tordel Christensen the dude that Alex (who almost made the top 20) works for? Am I remembering that name wrong?

We're almost at the end of the night, but first we have to go to the "big announcement" that we got the hint about from Adam Shankman's tweets this week. Nigel has started up the "Dizzy Feet Foundation", which is a charity devoted to bringing the miracle of dance training to underprivileged kids. (Cool.) They're also trying to single-handedly regulate dancing in America by accrediting teachers. (I guess Nigel finally got so sick of seeing people audition who said they had lots of training or were themselves teachers, and yet suck goat. I can't say I blame him.) After the introductory tape, Nigel tells us more about it and Mia simply CANNOT stop fidgeting! (Time to give her a refresher on how to tell which camera is filming, I think.)

  • Vitolio and Karla, a new couple who both lost their partners last week, have pulled the quickstep this week. Geez. Could it be any more obvious that the show is trying to give them the boot? Karla is the 6,423rd person tonight to describe being on the show as a "roller coaster". She's hopeful about her chances this week because Vitolio is a powerful dancer. Jean Marc and France are doing this one, and it comes with a story: Vitolio is a statue in a museum who comes to life. Well, they may have the unluckiest dance style, but at least they have a gimmick. We once again get a window on Jean Marc's incredible gift for analogy.

    The dance was quite decent, which is impressive. Unfortunately, it kind of looked like Karla was the mannequin with her stiffness and meaningless perma-grin. I think she was at a disadvantage right at the beginning of the number until her (very cool) quick-change, because it looked like the costume had her actual costume folded up inside it and forced her to move awkwardly. But even giving her that, I think Vitolio could have shone more with a different partner.

    Nigel had a really good point about more bounce needed in the Charlston part - Vitolio pretty much had it, but Karla couldn't get out of the smooth contemporary style of movement.


  • Best of night: Brandon & Janette
  • Very good: Phillip & Jeanine
  • Everybody else I had some issues with

It's very hard to say who's going to be in the bottom three this week, because the pack was very close together once you get beyond Brandon & Janette. Certainly I think Caitlin and Jason are behind the eightball thanks to Brian Friedman, but it's anybody's guess as to who else will be at risk. I personally would choose Melissa & Ade and Vitolio & Karla. (Although I have a sinking feeling we're going to see Evan & Randi in the bottom 3 instead.) As always, I'm hoping Caitlin gets the chop, although I could do without Karla at this point, too. I suspect Jason is toast, although Vitolio might also have problems getting past the judges.

Everybody limbo!

Line of the night: "There are chains all over our apartment."