SYTYCD: because Ellen is awesome

top 8I love Ellen.  Always have.  And now I love her hair.  I love her dancing – because it’s completely full of life, and fun.  Mia Michaels is on tonight, too, and with all her Emmy nominations, I think her head will take over the stage.  Travis is back to choreograph the group number, a…”banana extravaganza”.

To me, this group number is interesting, but not my favorite.  There seemed to be a lot of moments where they were “almost” together.  That kinda got me.  The judges are gushing over Travis, but this wasn’t a standout for me.

Evan and Janette get to work together with Sonia, and they’re cute together.  They’re definitely height compatible, but you never know with Sonia routines.  For me, the choreo didn’t go far enough.  There wasn’t enough mmmph.  But at least Mia gave Janette some love as her fave girl on the show this year.  Wonder about how Ellen’s going to like being between Nigel and Mary for the whole show.

Kayla’s solo was nice, but more of the same – great lines.  Whee.

Hunter Johnson is doing the waltz for Brandon and Jeanine, and they look beautiful together our there on the floor.  I can’t judge technicality on this stuff, but I thought the dress was beautiful and made the dance beautiful.  Mary says that was respectable, Mia expounds and it’s all blah blah blah to me.

Jason’s solo, lovely.  Lots of leaping, great lines…is this deja vu?

Melissa and Ade are working with Tony and Melanie on the cha cha.  And they dance to a Spanish version of Yeah?  You can definitely see that Ade is really stiff all the way through this dance.  This has got to be the biggest opposite for his style.  I didn’t really like it.  This was not a good night for them.  Mia’s right when she says this was Ade’s worst performance.  Hope their next dance is better.

Janette’s solo was much more interesting than Kayla’s or Jason’s.  I love her.

Kayla and Jason are doing Broadway with TyceD.  I really love Tyce’s choreo, generally, and tonight’s piece is no exception.  And Kayla nd Jason are excellent in their interpretation.  Definitely the best of the first set of performances.  Mary got herself a train whistle – that’s crazy.  Mia’s critique of Jason was kinda freaky and scary.  There are just too many times I want her to shut up.

Ade’s solo was cool – fun with lots of leaping.

Rumba.  Evan and Janette with Melanie and Tony.  How does Evan have an inner Latino stallion?  And now they’re dancing to Kris Allen’s version of Heartless?  The music ruined it for me.  The dance seemed a little slow, so I just didn’t really get it.  [Oooh – Shane is there!  Please let there be a Shane Sparks number!!!]  Oh – and I think Evan’s got serious cuteface, but Nigel’s comment about his eyelids almost made me hate nigel.

Oh, ew.  That’s got to be the worst solo I’ve seen from Melissa.  Awful.  I don’t even get that one.  Ugh.

Jeanine and Brandon are working with Laurieann?  Laurieann is on SYTYCD?  What what?  Pop-jazz, y’all.  And there were some really strong moments in this one.  I loved the choreo, definitely.  And the song was excellent.  I saw Jeanine struggling, but she worked it out.  And Laurieann was right about making this sans story – this was just about them – as fighters.  I have to say, tho, that sometimes Jeanine’s hair was distracting me.  It almost made them look out of sync, sometimes.  But this was great.

Evan’s solo was just as fun as always, even with the hat-drop.  He’s so dynamic in his solos that I sometimes forget his lack of versatility.  I could watch him alone every day.

Jeanine’s back up for her solo, adn this is definitely the first solo from her that I’ve actually enjoyed.  I wanted that to keep going, actually.  I feel like she wasn’t really trying in her other/previous solos.  She didn’t really look like she was – but tonight, she dug that sucker out.

TyceD’s piece is about breast cancer.  And I think Melissa and Ade can do this.  And they did.  I’ve got tears.  Big time.  This was unbelievable, and beautiful and heartbreaking.  I’m just a bawling mess.  I don’t have anything else to say.

I’m just barely recovering with Brandon’s solo which is incredibly strong.  But it’s great.  Tumbling that defies gravity.

And yeah – Shane is choreographing Kayla and Jason – zombie people.  And that’s how great this show is.  I went from crying to smiling in minutes.  This was SO fun.  I’m super happy to have Shane back on the show, and I’m totally with Nigel – hip-hop has been crappy this season…til now.  Yay for Shane and Jason and Kayla!  Creepy and lovely and excellent.

I don’t know who should go home this week, but this was a great night, and I’m all ready for tomorrow’s 100th episode!  I think I’ve gotta rewatch a couple routines.

SYTYCD: Tyce D in the house!

top 12Tonight, Tyce is our guest judge.  Nice – finally a cool Broadway choreographer as a judge.  And we’ve got two dances from everybody tonight, so buckle up!

::Now before things get started, I’d just like to address the idea of ranking the seasons  according to greatness.  Some people are trying to say this season is the best/has the best talent.  Stop the madness!

What is true is that this season is much more evenly matched than previous seasons.  We’re at the top 12 now, and it will be hard from now on to see who should be out, because there aren’t many shining stars.  Ade and Melissa have captured everyone’s hearts, but not as much as last year’s team to beat: Katee and Joshua [they were HOT!].  But everyone else this season has been…good.  Not stellar.

Something else that’s true: this season has a wider range of genres represented by the dancers.  Melissa’s the first classical ballerina on the show, and Evan is (I think) the first Broadway baby.  But we’re still left with an abundance of contemporary and only one hip-hopper and…one (?) ballroom/latin dance person in the top 12.  I’m still rooting for a tapper to make it to the top 20.

Anyway, please don’t give me any “this-is-the-best-season-ever!” stuff.  Cuz it falls flat in comparison to Donyelle and Benji.::

Now let’s get back into the present –

Melissa and Ade are up first with a disco number from Doriana Sanchez.  Cross your fingers, cuz disco can go either way.  As Ade said “It could go really good, or really bad”.   And boy.  That was hard on Melissa.  Ade didn’t struggle as much as Melissa, and I think the judges bias shines through for these two in their responses.  Yeah the lifts were awesome, but the floor work?  Not so much.  But yeah, since she’s a ballerina, I can give her a pass.

Kupono and Kayla get to work with Mia Michaels on a piece that was all about addiction.  It was unbelievable.  Very strong.  Almost hurtful.  But exactly what it was supposed to be.  Kupono was definitely in character.  I don’t know how to descibe Kayla’s performance, but she was very into it.  Almost faceless though.  Truly, her part didn’t stick with me as much because – as Nigel said – we couldn’t see her face because of her hair.  Maybe it was a good thing, cuz it seemed to fit the piece…

Caitlin and Jason do Foxtrot with the Meredith.   I don’t love this couple.  I don’t love the Foxtrot.  And after a piece that struck us with emotion, and an action packed piece before that, this one is falling flat for me.   Mary called it tremendous.  I think maybe the judges are hyping them cuz Foxtrot is boring.  They look elegant, but…it was.not.fun.

Jeanine and Phillip will do the Kalinka choreographed by Youri Nelzie and Lilia Babenko.  This is going to be hard.  Russian folkdancing, though – will definitely be cool to watch.  And it was hard.  And it was cool to watch.  It was…cute.  I think the difficulty level was there in parts, so, some moments were…different.

Randi and Evan! [Love them!] tabitha and napoleon. blah.  But I like this routine.  LOVE it.  It was the soft hip-hop that this couple can do.  They were super-adorable!  I just love them.  I agree with TyceD, tho, Evan has more that he can bring.  And Randi?  I just love her.  Am I gushing?  Aw – who cares.  Share the love, y’all.

Brandon and Janette are doing the Mark Sanford soulmate dance Argentine Tango by Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo.  There was a really nice lift at the beginning that caught me by surprise, and then some cool footwork…but..I thought the music chosen hurt the cause of the dancers.  I didn’t get the heat that I think you’re meant to get with the Tango.  But Nigel gave them a standing O, Mary put them on the hot-tamale train, TyceD said something about juicing an orange that got kinda weird…

Dance #2 coming up.  And NewsFlash! Next week is a big partner switchup!  No more Melissa and Ade? Awwww.

A Waltz from Ron Montez is their last dance.  Beautiful.  Perfect harmony of song and choreo.  And Mary just called Nigel an English muffin.  That was hilarious.  Tyce gave some good advice.

Broadway from Joey Dowling = K&K’s last dance.  Love at first sight.  From The Dance at the Gym [West Side Story].  That didn’t get me at all.   After having actually seen West Side Story, I don’t see the choreo playing well with the idea of  first love…I definitely felt like they could’ve gone into the floor a bit more.

Lyrical Jazz by Mandy Moore is the C&K sendoff.  I’m happy with that.  I hope they do as well and they think they will.  I do think they did well.  Much of it felt effortless for them, though there were some moments I felt could’ve been better.  Agreeing with Mary, I didn’t get the *magic* that can sometimes come to the pieces.

***is it the job of the guest choreo judge to thank the choreographer of each piece?  sometimes that gets old***

Jive from Tony Meredith is gonna be rough on P&J.  But I think that’s the best I’ve ever seen Phillip do on his footwork.  Nigel noticed, too.  Phillip really has improved.  Jeanine was great, and she’s been a real trooper with Phillip all this time.  Her faces were great, too.

To me, Evan and Randi are the best couple as far as a pair.  Now they’re doing a samba from Pascha and Anya.  What a dance to draw.  This is one of those dances that I think height might make a difference in.  I dunno.  Definitely, the choreographers could’ve done it better.  But then, that’s cuz it’s their style.  I don’t think Randi carried this.  I think she looked as ridiculous as Evan.

Janette = fun. loud. Cuban.  How can you not love that?  So J&B are doing jazz by Wade Robson.  What a superfun piece!   Great way to end the show.  Janette has been freakin’ awesome, really.  And Brandon – of course.  I am sad about the end of that partnership, cuz they’re great together.  Excellence.

Who do I think will be in the bottom tomorrow night?  Caitlin and Jason.  Jeanine and Phillip.  Randi and Evan.  (sniff)

SYTYCD: the top 20

top 20So now the real show begins.  I”m excited to see if this season lives up to the excellence that has been perpetuated in at least the last three seasons.  Already, Adam Shenkman is telling us about Step Up: 3D (which I can’t tell if it’s going to be overkill on the franchise or just getting to the good part) with parts for Joshua, Katee, and Twitch(!).  I don’t care how stupid the movie is, I’ll be seeing it. [Possibly not in the theater, but I *will* see it.

I don’t really know much about these dancers, cuz it seems that the ones that they chose to follow on the road to the top 20, ended up not making it.  [I miss you, Alex!]  But I’m noticing that this season seems really light on the hip-hop dancers.  Phillip and maybe one other guy.

So Mad, with Phillip and Jeanine [Tabitha and Napoleon – blah]: I’ll say it was fair.  Obviously hip-hop lite for Jeanine’s benefit.  The part that endeared me to Phillip, and the piece, was the very end.  That popped hug was just adorable.

Asuka and Vitolio (who I think is kinda hot) do Broadway with Tyce and it comes across a little forced to me.  There didn’t seem to be any chemistry, though all the moves seemed to be done correctly.  Oh, and the Charlie Chaplin moustache on V was a bit unfortunate.  Nigel was right – they needed to bring some more personality to that performance.

Cha Cha (Tony Meredith) to Poker Face.  This piece is fun, but it didn’t seem like Karla and Jonathan were together a lot, except for the tricks.  And now, I think Mary’s getting a lil inappropriate with the Lady Gaga comments [“If it’s not rough, it’s not fun”?].

Randi and Evan do some Jazz with Tyce.  And even though Randi’s married, the chemistry is oozing across the floor.  Now I get why Evan apologized.  That was all the way hot.  All the way.  I definitely agree with Adam, this is one of the best pieces of work I’ve seen from Tyce.  And Nigel is right – they’ll be a recognizable couple.  This was great!

So, Paris and Tony, the only other hip-hopper, work with Tabitha and Napoleon again.  I sure do miss Shane Sparks.  A lot.  The choreography was severely lacking for me.  There were only a few moments that seemed like there was a hot move in there.  Mary expected them to be harder into it – but there wasn’t much to draw from in the choreo.  Not only that, but, they weren’t even in sync for a while.  Eww.

Oooh, Bollywood with Caitlyn and Jason!  Bollywood is hard.  Jai ho, y’all!  Huh.  Well…I don’t know that they were supposed to actually kiss.  But they did.  I thought they did well for the task that they were given.  But I think they were a little off in the sync, as well.  Wow, the judges love Jason.  But I remember Joshua and Katee’s routine, and it was a much better piece IMO, than tonight’s.

Foxtrot gets a lot of people in trouble.  So I’m hoping Janette and Brandon kill it.  I think it’s hard for people to connect as well with the ballroom numbers, sometimes…this one started off slow, for me, but it ended well.  Mary must’ve been tipping into the wine tonight, cuz she is on fire.  Her wit is crazy – claiming she can’t lift an eyebrow because of the botox.  Anyway, this was nice.  Not the disaster that foxtrot often is.

Wade Robson is back on the show, doing a jazz piece.  Ashley and Kupono are so lucky to get Wade the very first week.  Jazz ‘blades’ instead of jazz hands.  It really was beautiful, in that weird Wade way.  I think this fit Ashley more than Kupono, but they both did well. Kat’s right, tho, Kupono does kinda give that C3PO feel in that makeup and all.

Melissa and Ade are doing Contemporary with Mandy Moore.  I like Mandy, she’s usually very soft with her choreo, but nicely evocative.  And yay for the back-in-the-day treat of Right Here Waiting by Richard Marx.  From the first lift to the ending hand hold…loved it.  Of course, I’m usually a sucker for the flowy dresses and the wind machines, but the ballerina and the contemporary dancer took the cake.

Samba!  It can be great or scary – we’ll see what Kayla and Max can do.  Max and Kayla were caliente! The swish-swish of her dress accentuated all the movement and made the dance a really fun number.

I hate to say it, but the weakest performers tonight [for me] come down to Asuka and Vitolio, and Paris and Tony.  Well…I guess I don’t hate to say it.  I’m not terribly invested in either one of those couples.

Tomorrow night we can see who gets shaken out first.