Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Season Nine, Week One: Top Twenty Performances

Ok, let's talk about how the voting is going to work.

Tonight, people will vote for individual dancers, not couples. Next week, three boys and three girls will be in the bottom. But they will still learn a week's worth of choreography and perform next week. Then two boys and two girls will be eliminated at the end. What a fucking waste of these people's time.

Group Performance (Choreographed by Christopher Scott)

First of all, can we talk about Alexa's unbelievably terrible teased hair? What the hell was up with that? The choreography was pedestrian, for the most part. It didn't create very many interesting visuals, and I didn't get much of a story. The workplace dances are totally played out, and this one didn't have anything new to say. It's hard enough to work with twenty dancers on that stage when they're just dancing, so adding ten desks and chairs didn't help matters. In other words, I knew it was a Christopher Scott routine before Cat even announced it.

Witney and Chehon (Samba by Louis Van Amstel)

Wow, already playing favorites, are we? Witney is one of the most talented dancers on the show, so it's a bit suspect that she got Latin ballroom, her strongest point, in the first week. To start with, I hated the choreography. I typically enjoy the Samba, but this one was off-the-walls boring. Witney brought it up a little bit with her performance, and she totally wiped the floor with Chehon. He could not let go of his ballet training, and like Nigel said, he had bowlegs for a majority of the routine. And he looked like a cheeseball overcompensating for his ugly feet by grinning like the Cheshire Cat.

Tiffany and George (Contemporary by Sonya Tayeh)

First of all, George... shave that disgusting mustache. You look like a creeper. I really liked this choreography, because it wasn't typical Sonya. If she's going to be such a huge presence on the show, I'd like to see more of her breaking out of her choppy, twisty, overdramatic, woman-power style and embracing the more ethereal aspects of contemporary dance. There were moments where the dancers screwed up (at one point they both kicked out and one was flexed foot, the other pointed), and I felt absolutely no emotion from Tiffany. George is the better performer here, I just wasn't totally sold on the performance as a whole.

Janaya and Brandon (Hip Hop by Nappytabs)

I'm so happy to see Nappytabs on the show; I assumed they wouldn't be participating because of Tabitha's pregnancy. The beginning was directly referential of "Bleeding Love," with some of the choreography being identical. The story was cheesy, basically the same as "Bleeding Love" as well. There are ways to use hip hop to tell stories about things other than couples fighting over props. I didn't hate it, but it was absolutely not anywhere near as strong as it could/should have been. Plus the ending was terribly performed. Janaya (I hate your name) wasn't very good (especially since I couldn't stop comparing her to Chelsie in "Bleeding Love"), but Brandon was much better. Neither really tapped into the emotion in the movement, but he did it a little better.

Alexa and Daniel (Jazz by Sean Cheesman)

Thank god for Daniel, the only one to really have fun with his intro. Also, I want to make out with him. Oh right, dancing. I feel like they were done a disservice by just about everything. The costumes were hideous (particularly Daniel's ill-fitted jacket); the set-piece was shaky; the choreography was heavily reliant on tricks; and they were the first pair not to get a storytelling piece. It was busy and distracting, so I can't really tell if it was good or not. The technique seemed to be there, I just didn't love the whole picture.

Amber and Nick (Viennese Waltz by Jason Gilkison)

To start, all of the spinning camerawork made me sick to my stomach. Just because they're spinning doesn't mean my head should be, Fox. And let's be real, the Viennese Waltz is fucking boring. There's been maybe one exciting performance of it in nine seasons, and it was four years ago from Twitch and Kherington. I don't know how to judge it, and to be honest I hardly paid attention. I decided last week in the intro episode that I hated Nick (seriously, he was terrible), and he did nothing to change my mind. And I don't care about Amber yet. NEXT.

Amelia and Will (Hip Hop by Nappytabs)

This couple wins for Most Awkward Pairing. But for some reason, the routine really worked for me. There is nothing even remotely sexy about Amelia OR Will, so I was happy to see them play up the camp of the whole concept. And despite both dancers being far removed from the hip hop genre, I think Nappytabs's choreography really showcased their strengths. It seemed more Broadway than hip hop, but I liked that about it; it was unconventional and unexpected in every way, but it was really fun and well-done. And this from someone who hated every second of Amelia in the auditions and Vegas week.

Janelle and Dareian (African Jazz by Sean Cheesman)

I love African Jazz, but none have matched the pure spectacle and wonder and perfection of his "Princess and the Frog" in season six... until now. The movement was both primal and beautiful, to say nothing of how fast and difficult it was. Janelle laid it all out, especially in the breakdown when I'm surprised her head didn't detach from her neck. Even Dareian seemed at home in the style, which actually worked with his ugly feet. It displayed his athleticism and skill at the same time. I loved this performance so much, it just captured so much joy and power.

Eliana and Cyrus (Broadway by Tyce Diorio)

What the fuck was that? Tyce basically just choreographed a really mediocre competition routine with two really mediocre teen dancers.The choreography went so far beyond boring that there are no words in the English language for it; it was so boring that the dancers couldn't even pretend to interested. They were just as bored as I was. There was no energy, no character. I know everyone loves him, but Cyrus was terrible. But apparently I watched a completely different performance, because the live audience went nuts and the judges were obsessed. So whatever. I have a feeling if Adam Shankman were on the panel tonight, he would've taken a dump on Tyce's head, because this had nothing on his choreography for the Hairspray film.

Audrey and Matthew (Contemporary by Travis Wall)

Fuck you, Travis. FUCK. YOU. You got the most talented male dancer on your side, and you gave him the most perfect story to tell, set to one of the most perfect songs ever written. Then you went and made him play second fiddle to the neck farter.

Ok, on to the piece. It was gorgeous. I never liked neck farter Audrey, but she was beautiful in this piece. The choreography was stunning, literally breathtaking at parts, and transcendent. It fit the music so perfectly, it was as if they were made for each other. The technique was flawless, and even though I wanted to see Matthew dancing more, I was ecstatic that he performed the shit out of it.

Lindsay and Cole (Paso Doble by Jason Gilkison)

I hate the paso doble... like, a lot. Read back through old entries for proof of that. This was a slight exception: I didn't hate it, but I also didn't really like it. On the plus side, Cole demonstrated the necessary anger and power and strength for the first time since Brandon in season five; Lindsay complemented him well. On the negative side, the story they were supposed to be telling never came across, and there was still a lot of dead space. And Lindsay just doesn't compare to how good Witney is.

By the way... all three ballroom dancers got ballroom pieces this week. FIX.

My Pick for Bottom Three Girls 


My Pick for Bottom Three Guys


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