Thursday, July 17, 2014

Season Eleven, Week Three: Top Eighteen Performances

I couldn't possibly be more over the judging on this show. I'll touch more on this when I get to my thoughts on the night's final number, but the vast overpraising these people receive is absurd, to the point that I'm just assuming the judges make notes on the rehearsal and don't even watch the live performance. The discrepancy is just that big. Anyway, let's get to it.

Group Performance (Choreographed by Christopher Jennings & Krystal Meraz)

This was a really neat concept, and it was styled really well. I liked that everyone was androgynous and pretty unrecognizable beneath their costumes and makeup. But the choreography itself was a little elementary; there wasn't much there that I don't think most people couldn't do. And keeping everything within the confines of the chess board got a bit claustrophobic at times. Still a pretty good number, but I wanted the movement to be more at the level of the styling.

Jacque and Zack (Hip Hop by Keone & Mari Madrid)

This reminded me a lot of "Mad" from season five. I thought both dancers performed the piece well, especially considering their respective backgrounds, but I wasn't taken by the choreography. It didn't gel with the music, and it featured too many ugly, awkward positions. Zack has quickly become one of my favorite dancers this season, and as much as I want to hate her because of her stupid name, I find myself rooting for Jacque.

P.S. - This whole lovebirds storyline with Jacque and Rudy is beyond childish and annoying.

Jourdan and Marcquet (Contemporary by Dee Caspary)

This bitch with the voice. No. Never speak again. It's Lady Gaga meets Marilyn Monroe after a handful of sleeping pills.

I didn't really get this routine. I'm normally really taken with Dee's choreography, so I'm not sure if this was just a weak turnout from him or if the dancers just didn't sell it well enough, because I didn't like it. The suspended umbrellas were cool, and some of Jourdan's movement was beautiful. Marcquet was bad; his hands were limp, he was flailing, and he didn't sink deep down into the motions or extend his legs fully. Weak performance.

Jessica and Stanley (Jazz by Tyce Diorio)

All hail the return of King Douche, Tyce Diorio. This concept was terrible and made no fucking sense whatsoever. The choreography was downright ugly, and it wasn't elevated at all by two utterly horrible performances from Stanley and Jessica. The costumes were hideous (why was Jessica in dirty granny panties?), the music was obnoxious, and the overselling they were doing with their faces was distracting. I just can't with this. And after two disasters in a row, I'm ready to throw Jessica from the train.

P.S - Allow me to paraphrase guest judge Misty Copeland's critique: "You guys are good sometimes... but you're so ugly when you dance!"

Bridget and Emilio (Jive by Pasha Kovalev & Anya Garnis)

This was fun. I don't have much to say other than that. The wardrobe department is trying their damnedest to make up for the tragic styling of this couple's dance last week, and they're doing a bang up job so far; loved the cute blue dress and matching tie on Emilio. The energy rarely lagged, which is a feat for the jive on this show, and I thought they both did admirably with the style of dance. Emilio is a great performer and really sold this number for me, even in some of his weaker moments. Not bad.

Emily and Teddy (Contemporary by Tyce Diorio)

I was bored by this. I can recognize that they both did a good job with what they were given, but I felt no connection to it. I'm reserving judgment of Teddy's dance ability until he does something really outside his comfort zone, like a cha-cha or something, but I still don't think I like him. Emily blends into the background for me as well; she's not all that unique, though I won't deny she's talented.

P.S. - Tyce once again proves that he is, indeed, King Douche by yelling out an inappropriate "YAASSS" in the middle of a silent moment in the routine.

Brooklyn and Casey (Jazz by Bonnie Story)

This piece could have been lifted straight from Dance Moms. It was all showy competition technique and nothing more. Casey had some brilliant moments, namely anytime he was doing turns, but Brooklyn was kind of awful. She had no energy and didn't sell the cutesy fun Bonnie Story was going for. Her aerial was sloppy as all get out, and she was dancing flat-footed throughout with her shoulders pulled up. I expected much more from her after the tango last week.

Valerie and Ricky (Viennese Waltz by Lacey Schwimmer)

Lacey! LACEY! I love you! But girl, you look like shit. What happened to your face? And your hair? You look like you got smacked with a #sackofnickels (yes, I just hashtagged... it's my blog, shut up).

This piece was gorgeous. First of all, fucking home run for the wardrobe department. Valerie's dress and shoes were unbelievable; the movement of that skirt during the turns was everything. Perfection. This was a really great performance from both dancers, though I'm more impressed with how well Valerie fared. The top frame of the waltz should have been her downfall as a tapper, but she was excellent. Ricky was as well, though surprisingly his frame fell more than Valerie's did (and he had some bad feet when he was turning her in place). But her overall performance more than made up for it. Beautiful.

Carly and Serge (Hip Hop by Luther Brown)

No no no nope. I don't get what the judges see in Serge, because this was atrocious. He looked like he was marking the whole thing. Bend your damn knees, sir. Flatten your back when you're bent over. And have some damn energy, for crying out loud. Carly was markedly better, to the point where it looked awkward for her. The choreography was also instantly forgettable. Weak.

Tanisha and Rudy (Broadway by Warren Carlyle)

I'm upsetting myself just thinking about this. What did the judges see that I didn't? This was good choreography, but in what world was this in total unison, as they claimed it was? Look at the leg extension coming out of the double pirouette; they were off by a full beat, if not more, because Tanisha put her foot down when she shouldn't have. Look at the back bend, or lack thereof if you're looking at Rudy. Tanisha has her right foot in bevel, which is where it should be. Rudy's is on the floor, so he can't get the C-shape the movement is meant to make. Look at the synchronized jump-and-slides: Rudy gets his knee to the floor, Tanisha does not. The soft shoe was flat footed. Rudy's aerial wasn't vertical. They hit their final poses at different times (and then Tanisha fell out of hers). Still think it was danced "in perfect unison," Misty?

I was convinced that the judges were going to rip this to shreds, as I was doing while I was watching. But then they stood up and praised it as if Jesus himself had descended from heaven and hoofed it up there. I don't understand, honestly and sincerely. The choreography was good. The song was fun. But it was not a good performance. Rudy was cheesing hard, like so hard that I wanted to throw rocks at him. It reached unfounded levels of obnoxiousness during the judge's critique. CAN'T.


Bottom Three Guys: Stanley, Emilio, Teddy
Bottom Three Girls: Jourdan, Bridget, Emily

How was Jessica not in the bottom after that trainwreck swing thing last week? Insane. And this just goes to show that when the judges basically tell the audience who to vote for (*cough*Serge*cough*), it really does affect the outcome of the voting. But I'm more than fine with both Stanley and Jourdan leaving.

My Bottom Three Guys: Marcquet, Serge, Rudy
My Bottom Three Girls: Jessica, Brooklyn, Carly

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