Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Season Ten, Week Two: Top Twenty Performances Redux/First Elimination

Ok, what the hell is with this season? This elimination process makes no sense. Last season was annoying, with two dancers learning choreography and performing, only to then learn at the episode's close that they had been eliminated; but eliminating someone at the beginning of the episode, and then still expecting them to dance as if nothing happened is absurd. If I were on the show, I would refuse to dance after being eliminated. HOW STUPID.

I guess I'm doing this at the beginning of the post now...

Bottom Three Girls: Mariah, Makenzie, Brittany
Bottom Three Guys: Carlos, Jade, Alan

No one was all that great here, and I'm sure for the majority of them, it's because they didn't expect to have to dance for their lives. Having said that, Brittany's solo was the worst of the lot. I think she was great last week, and had the elimination happened at the end of the episode I think she would have been better this week than she ended up being. What I'm trying to say is that if this decision was truly based on both last week's performance and this dance for your life, she should've been safe; if it's just based on this solo, then she defintiely deserved to go. I would have been fine with any of those guys leaving, based on these solos and what they brought to the table in week one, but the judges just made an "eeny-meeny-miney-mo" decision and ended up with Carlos.

Also, I'm not even going to bother commenting in any depth on Tyce's group number. There was too much going on, and none of it was creative or new. But here it is anyway:

Hayley and Curtis (Jazz by Ray Leeper)

Has Ray Leeper ever choreographed a good routine on this show? Because I sure can't remember any. He would be a decent (not great) studio competition choreographer, but it's way too amateurish for this show. It belongs on Dance Moms. Hayley was the star dancer here. She took boring, beginner's choreography and made it look good. Curtis was slightly less successful in making the most of a bad situation, but he still continues to impress me with the fact that he is a tapper and dances better than some of the trained dancers of this and the past couple seasons. I just wish he had more to work with; he was solely there to be a partner for Hayley, and none of the choreography was all that great to begin with.

Jasmine H. and Aaron (Hip Hop by Tabitha & Napoloeon D'Umo)

Okay, so... this was almost step-for-step "Bleeding Love." No joke. It's almost exactly the same, down to the props, until they start utilizing that couch. Having said that, I can't say I enjoyed it. It's a sign of utter laziness to go back and copy your own work, especially when it's so well-known and fondly remembered as the original. Nappytabs, I'm disappointed.

Anyway, Jasmine was actually quite good. Hip hop suits her well, and she performed the hell out of it. Aaron was so-so. Since he's a tapper, I just don't think he knows how to dance with the upper part of his body very well. His torso and arms are always weaker than his legs and feet, and usually a bit off-kilter. His movements had a tendency to feel constrained, like he had rubber bands around his body or something.

Malece and Jade (Bollywood by Nakul Dev Mahajan)

I don't know if I didn't like this because of the dancers or because of the choreography. There were moments that looked good, but for the most part it was a total letdown. This is Bollywood; at the very least, you need to bring the energy. Neither of them did that, at least not throughout the whole dance. Plus, neither of them did the style all that well. The kicks were low, and everything felt heavy. (Someone please teach these street dancers how to dance on the balls of their feet, for the love of God.) I'm no Bollywood expert, but I'm pretty sure Malece wasn't doing the feet correctly most of the time, and I'm pretty sure we're lucky Jade was just able to do it. Then again, I also just couldn't get into this particular routine, so some blame could be placed on the music selection, choreography, and/or costumes. I don't know. Next.

Alexis and Nico (Contemporary by Stacey Tookey)

I actually really liked this piece. There were some clunky moments from Alexis, but I was surprised by how well she adapted to the style, which couldn't be further from tap. You could sense her reservation at times, but I think that worked for her character. Nico is like this season's Kent, for me. He's a very talented, but very green, young dancer. He doesn't annoy me the way Kent did, but I do think there's room for improvement. He danced this piece wonderfully (technically), and his performance got the job done. But because there is so much potential in Nico, I want him to be much better than that. Stacey Tookey's choreography, however, is the reason this number was so great. The lifts were unique, the push-and-pull was great for the characters Nico and Alexis were portraying, and the music was stunning.

Brittany and Blu Print (Broadway by Spencer Liff)

Brittany's elimination clearly threw her off. There were some really stupid mistakes when the number began, and quite a few little stumbles. It's also a shame that she was sent home, because she was the star of this routine. Blu Print had very little to do, so it will be hard to judge his performance on its own merits, because he was just there for Brittany. Speaking of, he wasn't nearly as strong this week as he was last week. I think Spencer's choreography is too technical for him, whereas there is some wiggle room in afrojazz for (for lack of a better word) ugliness and imperfection. Two better dancers (or one better dancer and Brittany without the heartbreak of having just been kicked off the show) would have brought this tongue-in-cheek choreography to life in a more joyful way. As is, it was pretty blah.

Jasmine M. and Alan (Tango by Miriam Larici & Leooardo Barrionuevo)

I seriously hated about half this choreography, but after watching it, I totally understand why Alan made the top twenty. He was amazing. His stature, his movement, his partnering, all of it was wonderful. What made him look even better was that he elevated Jasmine. She was kind of awful in her own right (seriously, no heat coming off of her at all... those back bends, with the spread legs, were awkwardly vulgar rather than hot), and she seemed a little scared to be close to Alan, but she never looked bad next to Alan. Her shoes are another story. I digress... there were moments in the middle that totally confused me, like the choreographers forgot there were 2 bars of music to cover so they just said, "Eh, just take a really long, awkward stride and pant at each other like you're on a telenovela."

Makenzie and Paul (Jazz by Sean Cheesman)

First of all, I had no recollection of this couple's existence. I'm not surprised Makenzie made the bottom three this week, because she is bland. She's a cookie-cutter dancer, and her only defining characteristic is her hair. I'm not a fan, even after this performance. It wasn't terrible, it just should have been better. This choreography was high-octane fun, and Makenzie kind of brought it down a couple notches, I think. Paul was surprising though. For a ballroom dancer, he carried himself remarkably well through the technical bits and even managed some impressive tricks that he never would have picked up doing Latin dance (see: that twisting, horizontal flip).

Mariah and Carlos (Contemporary by Stacey Tookey)

I really liked this piece. The storyline was beautiful, and the choreography was beautiful. The only thing that kept me from loving it is that I don't think the two meshed entirely; there were moments where I was taken by the movement, but it didn't seem to go with the story (like when Mariah was on Carlos's shoulders). Mariah recovered nicely from a disappointing first go-round this week, and Carlos proved that there were much better choices for the first elimination than him (though, to be fair, the elimination was based only on his jive last week, and it wasn't good). Both dancers performed this piece, emotionally, at a level above that of any of their fellow contestants.

Amy and Fik-Shun (Hip Hop by Tabitha & Napoleon D'Umo)

I just love Fik-Shun. I shouldn't, but I do. He's an untrained street dancer, and I usually can't stand them... but he's just so damn charming, and so damn talented. If you were unimpressed by him here, you just don't know what entertainment is. And for all the complaining Napoleon did in the pre-dance interview, I expected Amy to have the most precipitous week-on-week fall ever. But she was great too. The choreography was good, even if the whole bellhop theme was totally unnecessary, and I think they both did it as well as anyone could be expected to do it. Probably the best couple of the night, and the ones to beat so far. No one else is even in the same league, especially since Carlos and Mariah are the only ones who come close, and he's not eligible to continue.

Jenna and Tucker (Cha Cha by Dmitry Chaplin)

NO. Just... NO. Tucker creeped me out so bad in this number that I had to keep looking away. It was like being at a bar when someone really unattractive but totally relentless won't stop staring at you. Awkward. I just couldn't deal; he was embarrassingly bad. First of all, why are your legs spread so wide? You look like a nutcracker. Secondly, how about you actually do some dancing next time? He was like a maypole that Jenna was dancing around. Loosen up your hips! Have a facial expression! Just... nothing about this was good. Tucker almost fell at the beginning when he did that long lunge, Jenna didn't do those continuous kicks high enough, and the whole thing was just blah. The very little partnering there was was pedestrian (both in terms of choreography and performance), and there wasn't even the slightest bit of chemistry between them.

My Bottom Three Girls
Jasmine M.

My Bottom Three Guys
Blu Print

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