Thursday, July 8, 2010

Week Four: Top Eight (Well, Seven) Performances

So Alex is hurt and won't be competing this week; he's automatically in the bottom three and if he is still hurt next week (and survives the vote this week, obviously), then he goes home. And here I was thinking he'd probably win the entire season. Fuck.

Lauren and Pasha (Cha Cha by Jean-Marc Genereux)
I really don't understand the concept of using Lady Gaga songs for ballroom dances, yet it happens constantly. But I really think the song choice was the only misstep here; it didn't portray enough sexiness to really do any good for the dancers, but they worked it out. Lauren was very mature and danced as if she'd been doing this for years. Her movements were sharp, and for the first time, someone looked like a partner to Pasha rather than a hindrance.

Jose and Lauren (Contemporary by Mandy Moore)
I didn't like this piece at all, and I think it's a joke that the judges were gung-ho about praising Jose for just "being there" for Lauren. To me, that means, "You didn't do anything but service your partner, and even though we've torn people up this season for that... we love you and think you being a prop is pure perfection." Whatever. Jose didn't do anything: he didn't really dance, he didn't really act, he didn't really complete his lines. The choreography was boring, and it was clearly designed to showcase Lauren moreso than Jose (obviously, since Mandy probably realized that Jose can't really do anything). Not a fan.

Kent and Comfort (Hip Hop by Dave Scott)
First of all, I never knew that Comfort could be pretty; they always have her done up very masculinely, but she looked good. I don't particularly like this style of hip hop (smooth, slow, whatever you want to call it), however I thought Kent made a decent attempt here. I still think he's mostly too cheesy (although this week it was more because of the costume than anything else), and he definitely had some missteps and lacked some funk, as Mia put it. But not terrible and not over-the-top like usual.

Side note: I want to be invited to Cat's house for 4th of July next year.

Adechike and Courtney (Jazz by Mandy Moore)
Again, I wasn't really taken with this choreography. Adechike's hands were sloppy most of the time (particularly in the jazz section they showed in slow-mo during Nigel's comments), and I didn't feel any sexual chemistry between Lauren and him. I just don't like him, and I can't really get past that when I watch him dance. I completely agree with Mia: it was empty and nothing. It was boring. He is boring.

Billy and Katee (Broadway by Spencer Liff)
So many things were great about this routine. Even though Allison is hurt (why is everyone dying this week?), I was glad to see Katee step in. I was ecstatic to see Spencer Liff choreographing again. And I love that their music was from Cats. Let me just say this: I did Cats once, and I would've killed for this to have been our choreography for "Macavity." Spencer played so well to Billy's strengths and to the music's strength as well; it was jazzy when the music called for it, sexy, technical. Just a wonderful routine overall, danced as well as always by Billy.

Side note: do any of the judges realize that there were other Broadway choreographers besides Jerome Robbins? Everytime someone does well in Broadway, they say, "Jerome Robbins would've been proud" or something.

Ashley and Dominic (Hip Hop by Tabitha & Napoleon D'umo)
I hated this. Like, a lot. I thought the concept was pretty stupid, especially since NappyTabs pretty much abandoned it once the vocals began on the song. Then it just turned into a dirty prom dance with Ashley bending over with her ass in the air. Speaking of Ashley, even though she wasn't really bad, she clearly lost steam about halfway through and started lagging. It just added to the fact that I thought this routine was just dumb from beginning to end. It looked like something a group of high school students would do at a talent show.

Robert and Kathryn (Jazz by Sean Cheesman)
Another week, another jazz performance from Robert. Fortunately this one was much better than the weirdness Sonya gave him last week, and Sean Cheesman actually probably showed Robert off better even though it wasn't his primary intention. Ironic. But I did really like this routine, especially everything happening inside the boxes. I would have preferred their faces be completely motionless until escaping the boxes, but whatever; it still looked great. It also played to Robert's personality perfectly, since he basically comes across as a big, smiling doofus anyway. So why not make him a doll whose face is permanently smiling like a doofus? This reminded me a lot of a Wade Robson routine: from the use of Roisin Murphy as the music, to the movement itself, to the fact that he has previously done something similar to this in NSync's "It's Gonna Be Me" video.

Adechike and Not Alex (Bollywood by Nakul Dev Mahajan)
Yucky yucky yuck yuck. Adechike sucks. Yeah, I said it. I feel like he's never once truly tapped into an emotion or an idea given to him by a choreographer. He was fine with the geeky character last week, because it was a caricature. But try to give him something real, and he fails. This is a happy, devotional dance. Why are you grooving like you're at a club looking to get lucky? And why do choreographers insist on giving him barrel leaps every single week? THEY'RE NOT GOOD. I will say the toe-touches at the end were impressive, but the rest just made me angry. I feel like he kind of disrespected the genre with this routine.

Lauren and Kent (Contemporary by Travis Wall)
Good routine. Pretty predictable, not all that exciting, but solidly choreographed and danced. I thought Kent was very real and very in the moment for the first time this season. He finally bared his soul a little. And even though there were still some fleeting awkward moments (hesitations, mostly), I enjoyed what he did. I always love Lauren; I don't really get why the judges said they worry about the acting aspect of her performances (hello, were you not paying attention 2 weeks ago to her hip hop?) because I think she's always spot on. Overall, this was enjoyable if not totally memorable.

Ashley and Robert (Quickstep by Jean-Marc Genereux)
Let's be honest: we all know that the quickstep usually means you're going home. It's a terrible dance, very boring and rigid. And I can only remember there being one truly successful quickstep ever on this show, and it was Jakob and Ellenore's from last season. And while this wasn't the epic failure that the quickstep usually is, it certainly wasn't good. I'm glad that quickstep choreographers are giving the couples a storyline now, to distract the audience from the boredom of the actual dance I'm sure. But looking at the dance itself, Robert was particularly weak. As Nigel said, his arms were too low (spaghetti arms! RIP Patrick Swayze) and his attitude hop turn was pitiful; he's a contemporary dancer and couldn't get his leg any higher? Bullshit.

Billy and Jose (Afrojazz by Sean Cheesman)
I really enjoyed this one. That Sean Cheesman is kind of brilliant, and I'm upset they don't use him more. But the whole concept of this was very interesting. The hunter/hunted thing has been done to death, but this spin of Billy playing some kind of unknown creature and moving truly like an animal was new and exciting. His movement was simultaneously beautiful and disturbing; no one's body should be able to hold some of those positions. Jose, unfortunately, was not up to the task. He was slow and cumbersome in his movement. It should have been more exciting, and would have been with another dancer. But wow, Billy. Seriously, go back and watch him move. It's groteque but amazing.

Side note: did Adam Lambert's stylist dress Billy for both of his routines tonight? They could've been twins, especially with the hair piece they put on Billy for this one.

My Bottom Three

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