Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Season Ten, Week Five: Top Fourteen Performances

I love Anna Kendrick. Like, I'm basically obsessed with her. I just wish she did this entire episode in character as Fritzy from Camp (if you don't know this movie, drop everything and watch it now) and tore some bitches up, because some of them deserved it. And also because she wasn't that great of a judge: cute and kinda funny, but too effusive and overly complimentary. Let's just get Christina Applegate up there every week to tell everyone how it is and give constructive, informed critiques. Somebody's gotta do it, 'cause it sure as hell isn't gonna be Nigel or Mary.

Group Performance (Choreographed by Sonya Tayeh & Dmitry Chaplin)

Okay, they're taking this collaboration thing a little overboard. This one didn't work as well as some of the others, and I'm going to blame Sonya for that since Dmitry did one of the best group performances of all time collaborating with Nappytabs. The styling was standard for a Sonya routine, and the choreography was about standard as well: nothing too exciting or beautiful. I also didn't understand what kind of concept they were going for... and for the love of God, can we please stop with the District 78 remixes? They SUCK.

Jenna and Tucker (Hip Hop by Luther Brown)

Luther Brown is such a great choreographer, and I love that his routines always feel fresh. Jenna got into the style and worked her sexiness to sell the cocky attitude as much as she could. She was too cutesy, over all, but she got at least a little bit of it right. Unfortunately for Tucker, he comes across so gay on stage that it was borderline uncomfortable to watch. It was really awkward and kind of reminded me of something that might be in a Christopher Guest movie.

Alexis and Nico (Contemporary by Sonya Tayeh)

I'm sorry, but that first moment of Alexis running in place was so unintentionally funny that I couldn't take any of the rest of this piece seriously. And then Sonya ended with it too?! What a crackhead. Nico had some great jumps and extensions, but he also fell out of one his turns. Alexis proved with this performance that she's a better performer than dancer.

Hayley and Not Curtis (Argentine Tango by Miriam Larici & Leonardo Barrionuevo)

There's no doubt here that Hayley lucked out with Curtis's injury. She got to dance with Leonardo Barrionuevo, who's one of the best tango dancers in the world, and he was most definitely a stronger partner than Curtis ever could have been. And it obviously elevated Hayley a bit, because she was utterly spectacular and totally on-point. The choreography was gorgeous (and it looked extremely difficult compared to the other ballroom routines this season). My only gripe is that Leonardo's costume was way too baggy and made him look like a kid playing dress up in his daddy's suit.

Makenzie and Paul (Jazz by Sonya Tayeh)

Too. Much. Sonya. This was totally forgettable in every way. It looked like fifteen other Sonya routines from the past six seasons, everything from the choreography to the music to the costumes. This was Makenzie's best performance yet, but I still don't see anything special in her at all. I've encountered dozens of her. But for some reason the judges are obsessed with getting everyone to love her too... but I, along with the rest of the voters, have clearly not seen anything in her that we can connect with or care about.

Jasmine and Aaron (Contemporary by Justin Giles)

I'm torn over this one. On the one hand, I think a dance interpretation of The Giving Tree could be beautiful, but this was just a fraction of what that story is. Aaron won me over a little this week, and I think it's because, for whatever reason, Justin Giles was the first choreographer who made his height not matter to me. Aaron spent so much of the routine bent or kneeling so that he constantly seemed at Jasmine's level, and it made their pairing feel more natural. I still don't think he's too strong of a dancer, but I like him a little more now. Jasmine was beautiful, as usual, and I'm so glad that the costume department didn't literally dress her like a tree (like they did to Melinda in her heinous globe costume a few seasons ago). I was really taken with some of Justin's choreography (some was just so-so), and I hope we see more from him this season.

Amy and Fik-Shun (Hip Hop by Christopher Scott)

It's a shame this routine happened to this couple. From the music to the concept, this just wasn't working for them. Christopher Scott took this to another level of cutesy. It was so cheesy and saccharine-sweet that it was stupid. And then Amy took that huge tumble, and it was over. They have a great chemistry together, but this was just not a good way to display their talents. I mean, how weird and anachronistic was some of that choreography? Like when Fik-Shun lifted his leg up like he was a dog peeing on a fire hydrant while he was pouring the water in Amy's glass? A stupid, forgettable routine in the grand scheme of all their routines.

Malece and Alan (Salsa by Jonathan Platero)

This was so good. The tricks were awesome, and Alan made them look effortless. He was tossing Malece around that stage like she weighed nothing. The steps were so fast, and the energy was so high, that I couldn't help but really like it. Malece had some issues (in the synchronized portion, you can see her feet are just a bit behind the music), but Alan was good enough for them both: sensual but masculine, athletic, and strong.

Malece, Alan, Alexis, Nico, Hayley, Not Curtis, Jenna (Choreographed by Spencer Liff)

It's really not fair to the other choreographers on this show how good Spencer is. His choreography is sleek, fresh, unique, and it always tells a story without having to try too hard. This routine was no exception. But the most thrilling thing about it? Spencer filling in for Curtis; I've had the honor of seeing him dance on Broadway, and he's honestly one of the most incredible dancers I've ever seen. I didn't even really watch anyone else.

Jasmine, Aaron, Amy, Fik-Shun, Makenzie, Paul, Tucker (Choreographed by Bonnie Story)

I feel like this oscillated between being beautifully effective and melodramatic tripe. A lot of this was over the top and preachy, but then some of it was very touching, thanks mostly to great performances from Amy, Tucker, and Fik-Shun.


Bottom Three Girls: Alexis, Makenzie, Jasmine
Bottom Three Guys: Nico, Curtis, Alan

Nigel needs to take the fucking hint: people don't like Makenzie. The fact that she was saved over Jasmine is horrifying, though how Jasmine ended up in the bottom to begin with is a total mystery to me. But luckily for her, she had the first good solo of the season. As much as I would rather see Makenzie go home than either of these two dancers because I just find her boring, it's Alexis and Curtis; I'm totally fine with Curtis going home since he's injured and clearly wasn't an audience or judge favorite, at least not enough to advance in a week when he couldn't even perform.

My Bottom Three Girls

My Bottom Three Guys

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