Friday, June 18, 2010

Week One: Top Eleven Performances

Billy and Lauren (Broadway by Tyce Diorio)

I thought this was a great, cute, fun routine. I never would've known Billy was out of his element with Tyce's choreography, as he never let on that he was at all uncomfortable. I wish Tyce would have given him more interaction with Lauren, as this didn't really feel like it was a duet; there was no reason for her to be there. For me, that explains why there wasn't much chemistry or connection.

Oh, also... I'd like to officially start the campaign for Billy Bell to play Ren McCormick in the Footloose remake since Chase Crawford and Zac Efron have both dropped out.

Cristina and Mark (Jazz by Sonya Tayeh)

This was not one of Sonya's better routines. The inspiration of the snake didn't really come through for me, except in the overt instance when Mark wrapped Cristina around his neck. Overkill, for sure. But Cristina was very impressive, especially considering her genre is salsa. As Mia said, many of her technical elements were nearly flawless. It just wasn't all that exciting of a routine for her, though it was wonderful seeing Mark dancing another piece created by Sonya; those two were meant to work together. The wardrobe department also committed its first sin this season in dressing Cristina in a bizarre brown bodysuit that I'm sure they were intending to look like snakeskin, but it just looked puzzling.

Jose and Comfort (Hip Hop by Tabitha & Napoleon D'umo)

Like the previous number, this one was built around an idea that wasn't really strong enough. It came off as cheesy when choreographed, especially seeing Jose howl at the moon. Sometimes these choreographers need to realize that dance can explore a theme without you having to put such obvious images into it. Anyway, I still don't like Comfort even though she has a great personality on stage. Jose's breaking was boring, and I know he can do much better; that was B-Boy 101. But it says wonders about the quality of dancers and choreography when all Mia really cared to comment on was the fact that she couldn't figure out if Jose was wearing a weave or if that ugly fake hair was part of his costume.

Adechike and Kathryn (Jazz by Travis Wall)

This was easily Travis's worst showing as a choreographer. The idea was cliche (An office fantasy? It was done just last season as a hip-hop routine, plus it's pretty similar to the boardroom routine by Mandy Moore in season three), and the dancing was rather weak. Adechike was completely unremarkable in every way. He had no personality whatsoever, and though Kathryn was clearly trying harder than he was... there still wasn't much there. It reminded me of a dance recital piece: all technical, devoid of emotion. It looked especially weak in a night full of jazz and contemporary pieces.

Melinda and Pasha (Jive by Tony Meredith & Melanie LaPatin)

Jives are hardly ever my favorite routines, and this was no exception. Pasha was fun to watch, as it was clear he was letting go and revelling in the cheesy campiness of it all. Melinda showed signs of that at times, but overall she was stiff and awkward. It look as if her feet and her legs were two completely separate entities; like, she's been tapping for so long that she forgot how to use her legs and only knows how to move her feet. It made the kicks look really ugly. Definitely one of the weakest of the evening.

Alex and Allison (Contemporary by Sonya Tayeh)

And Sonya makes up for any shortcomings in her previous outing of the night with a truly wonderful routine featuring two wonderful dancers. While I think the judges overreacted (I definitely wouldn't call it "the best thing ever danced on any SYTYCD stage anywhere" as Mia did), it was beautiful. The emotion was real, the technique was flawless. This is one example where I think the pairing of a newcomer and a veteran SYTYCD member worked well; Allison clearly pulled something out of Alex. He was more connected to this material than we've seen from him before (in solos, last week's intro episode, etc). Overall, a memorable performance, probably the best of the night.

Alexie and Twitch (Hip Hop by Tabita & Napoleon D'umo)

NappyTabs has failed to impress me for a while; I feel like they peaked with "Bleeding Love" and will never get back to that point. "Mad" was close, but they haven't grabbed me lately. This routine was cute, but nothing more. Boring. Twitch still has not learned not to upstage his partners, and that annoys the hell out of me. But Alexie didn't give him much choice here, since she brought no excitement to an already pretty dull routine. Yawn.

Lauren and Ade (Pop Jazz by Mandy Moore)

I love Mandy Moore. I love that she takes bad 80s songs and makes great routines out of them, centered on moments rather than on storytelling. This one was very well dance, though I don't know why Lauren is suddenly hiding her sexuality. Her first audition found her rolling around on stage, but now the sex appeal is missing. But she was still interesting to watch and brought a lot of happiness and energy to the evening.

Now, an open request to Nigel Lythgoe: GET OVER YOUR MASCULINITY ISSUES. Why must every critique include a sports reference? We get it: you're straight, even though you love dance. Stop rubbing it in our faces as if you need to qualify your heterosexuality.

Kent and Anya (Cha Cha by Tony Meredith & Melanie LaPatin)

I don't have much to say about this one, except that Kent was clearly outside of his comfort zone but didn't do a very good job of hiding it. He was all about cheese, while Anya was all about sex. It was confusing, since I didn't know if this was supposed to be like a drunken dance at a wedding or an intense show of hypersexuality. Something small I've noticed about Kent is that he has very awkward hands, like he doesn't ever know what to do with them. But he'll go far based on the fact that he's outgoing and always adorably flustered.

Ashley and Neil (Contemporary by Tyce Diorio)

I'm annoyed by Ashley. She's the one they never show you during auditions so you have no idea why she's on the show, and now that they're focusing on her... I realize why she was left out previously: she's boring. You get to tell America one interesting thing about you, and you choose to do a robot voice? Ugh. She's a great dancer, but my annoyance coupled with the fact that she didn't seem to connect to Neil or the material made for an unmemorable routine. Plus, this paled in comparison to the night's other contemporary routine.

Robert and Courtney (African Jazz by Sean Cheesman)

I love AfroJazz, and I loved this routine. I thought both dancers did very well, even though Robert was dancing a little too "pretty" for such an earthy and wild genre. Courtney understood the genre better, but I was surprised to like Robert as much as I did. His core is fantastic (check out his torso as he twists... it's perfect), and I can see him doing great things.

My Bottom Three:

1. Melinda
2. Adechike
3. Alexie

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