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Aaaah Top 20! Now SYTYCD really begins. I’ve missed this so much. No more playing around, this is the big show. Tonight, with 10 pairs, we get a wide variety of dance styles. Some step right up to the challenge, show us they actually can dance, thank you very much, while some struggle with mastering a new style. Buckle your seat belts, folks, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Cat Deeley, in a fetching silver and white frock, begins the show by letting us know it’s no longer playtime. Auditions are over, and the Top 20 better bring it. Btw, I agree with the commenters who love Cat Deeley. You’re rarely going to hear me rag on what she’s wearing because I basically covet her entire wardrobe (except the poncho). You know it’s serious now as Cat begins the show with the classic phrase: THIS is SoYouThinkYouCanDance! Do you think it’s a requirement to start Nigel Lythgoe shows with “THIS is [insert show here]?” Nigel wouldn’t have it any other way.
In case you’ve forgotten from last week, or are just starting to watch the show now (as I did in previous years), we get a little reminder of who’s in our Top 20, and their dance styles as each contestant gives a 5 second solo during the opening. Jessi’s in those fucking golashes again. On what planet are those shoes fit for dancing??
Aaaaah! I’ve missed this so much. Cat shimmies onto the stage, and I lol. She tells us this year the prize for winning SYTYCD is “a quarter million dollars” and the title of America’s Favorite (or should that be Favourite, considering the company involved?) Dancer. I’m glad they cut the whole back-up dancer for Celine Dionne aspect, because really, that’s an anti-prize.
And here’s our judges! Per usual, Nigel is there. I guess Mary Murphy will be a judge all season, which is a shame because I want to see her choreograph something. This week’s guest judge is Dan Karaty.
Cat gives us the run-down on the rules: The Top 20 were paired by the show, the pairs picked a dance style randomly from a hat, they dance, we vote, tomorrow the bottom three pairs dance for their lives, and then the judges decide which guy and which girl is shot at gunpoint.
Video montage time filler! We see random clips of the Top 20 in all the previous rounds. Dance, dance, baby oil, ACTUAL DANCE.
Our first couple tonight is Jamie and Hok. Before the dancing, we get to find out a little more about the pair, which is especially nice for Jamie, because we haven’t really seen anything about her yet. Jamie is a contemporary dancer and is basically an Asian-ish Bernadette Peters without the ‘tude. Her mom actually died of breast cancer, so I don’t know why we weren’t following her every move during the earlier rounds, though it probably has something to do with her lack of bitchiness.
We know Hok pretty well by now, but I love his getting to know you video purely because we get to see baby-Hok in his audition from season 1.
This week Jamie and Hok are dancing a hip-hop routine choreographed by Shane Sparks. Shane’s pretty psyched to get to work with Hok because of all the fun things he can do with him. Hok feels like there’s only a couple spots where he can show his stuff, and it’s basically because Jamie’s a little in over her head. But Shane admires her aggression and recognizes that she wants to learn.
Of course, Hok is STELLAR. I mean, he ends the routine in a one-handed handstand. I think Jamie keeps up with him really well, though clearly hip-hop is not her style. The judges echo my sentiments: Hok is amazing, Jamie did well for the first week out of her style. Nigel makes a little dig at the choreography, saying Hok was held back, and Shane feigns anger, handling it much better than that asshole who would get so pissy last year.
Also, has anyone else noticed Nigel’s sexy new blond hair? And by sexy I mean not at all. Nigel, we have DVRs and MEMORIES. Everyone knows you dyed your hair. No one thinks you’re aging backwards.
Our next couple is Anya and Danny. That’s an interesting pair: the sexpot with the (possibly evil?) robot. Anya has the technique and the passion. After Danny mentions that he danced with ABT (American Ballet Theater,) I googled him and geez, what a resume.
Oooh, Anya and Danny are dancing the jive. Tough draw for the first week for Danny. He’s frustrated, and calls Anya bossy, while she admits to it because she just wants to learn the routine already. I smell trouble brewing!
They’re dancing to Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend” which is absolutely idiotic. Whatever, their awesome dancing more than makes up for the blood trickling out of my ears. Though Anya’s the one we’re supposed to watch, what with her green sequined dress and all, I find myself watching Danny’s feet. I’m so impressed Danny’s got those strong ballroom dancer’s leg down after one week. They are absolutely fabulous. Once Danny does the reverse split through her legs I am totally sold. Team Anya and Danny!
The judges also adored it. Dan calls it “effortless.” Mary agrees and babbles something about a “Hot tamale train” letting Anya off at the station. Like I could make that up. Nigel loves how Anya and Danny partner together and he and Mary are so impressed with Danny keeping up with Anya. Nigel predicts they will be a couple to be reckoned with.
While introducing Lacey, Cat says that her brother, “Benji, partnered with Donyelle, flirted all the way to the Top 20.” Um, what? Were we watching the same show last year, Cat? I don’t remember them flirting at all. There was some debate in my viewing party whether she said “flirted” or “floated,” but upon repeat viewing it really sounds like she said “flirted.”
Lacey and Kameron are paired together. Jealous! Lacey is Benji’s sister, the youth Latin and Swing champion, and “a professional krumper.” HA! Okay, Lacey, you can stay.
And hi, season boyfriend, Kameron. He’s both a hip-hop and contemporary dancer, which bodes well for him in this competition. He likes to tell people he’s a star by dying hot pink stars into his hair, so we might break-up soon. But he dances with old ladies at parties for a living, and that just makes my heart go bump.
This week, they’re dancing a contemporary routine choreographed by Mia Michaels. LOL, as Mia greets Kameron in the studio, she mouths to the camera “I hate his hair, it sucks!” Amen! While not groping each other, it’s Lacey, of course, who’s struggling with the routine. In ballroom, she’s trained to be turned-out and upright, but in this routine she’s supposed to be the exact opposite. Lacey’s just hoping to get half of Mia’s vision.
Well, I think she did just fine because this is AWESOME. Sexy, raw, and at times spastic, but SO FREAKING GOOD. Like we would get anything else from Mia. It almost rivals Allison and Ivan’s contemporary dance from last season. There’s an incredible move where Lacey leaps, like, on Kameron’s head and believe me, that’s not easy. My friend David and I tried to recreate it and he ended up kicking me in the arm. Hard. Let this be a lesson to all of you: Do not drink and dance.
Cat tells them they gave her “the first chills of the season.” Dan Karaty tells Lacey she did an incredible job, and calls Kameron a prop, saying he was good while partnering Lacey, but “meh” otherwise. Mary Murphy disagrees, saying Kameron “is so much more than a prop to me” and then cackles so you know she meant that in a really dirty way. Mary was shocked at how great Lacey was. I agree. I’m officially a fan. Nigel wishes the routine hadn’t ended; He felt it was like watching The Sopranos and missing the end. Woka woka, how timely.
Up next: Sabra and Dominic. Sabra is a contemporary dancer, born in the Netherlands, who spent nine years of her life in Germany and nine years of her life in Utah. How Aryan. She’s only been dancing for four years, but she dances like she’s danced forever. Dominic has been dancing for a while, but for the past few years, has been teaching breaking, though not performing much. He’s excited to be in this competition so he can expand his dance horizons, because he wants to be known as a dancer, not just a breaker. He already does not have a fan in Mia, who finds his cocky attitude disturbing. Magnanimous Nigel, however, recognizes he probably needs to be cocky “where he’s from” just to survive.
This week, they pulled disco, and I don’t understand why that’s still a style on this show. The judges never love it and I think a week is not enough time to learn to do lifts really well, which is really the only exciting part of a disco routine.
Of course, they’re dancing to Donna Summer. This is the perfect style for Sabra’s hair. The dance is meh. Like, what does good disco technique look like? That’s why I don’t get why this style is still in rotation on this show. They do a good job with the lifts, but in the end I’m pretty sure they’re going to be in the bottom three.
Dan loved the outfits, but thought the dance was just “okay.” Mary loved Dominic’s lines, and enjoyed Sabra as well. Nigel is impressed by Dominic because this is the first time EVER he’s worked with a partner, and comments it took Patrick Swayze and Baby an entire summer to learn their overhead lift. Gotta love the Dirty Dancing references.
Our next couple is Ashley and Ricky. Ashley is a contemporary dancer from Texas and is possibly the most apple-cheeked dancer I’ve ever seen. She breezed through every round to the Top 20. Ricky is also a contemporary dancer and explains he takes a mathematical and scientific approach to dance, something about extremities and quadrants and aaah math! GO AWAY! He’s the one Mia called her favorite two weeks ago.
They are going to be dancing the Argentine Tango, and sucks for them that neither is a ballroom dancer. This is going to be a total amateur hour. Also, she is like a foot taller than him in heels. As the choreographer explains that the Argentine Tango is sexy, I worry for the pair because Ricky is like the anti-sexy. Also, Ashley’s going to be kicking between Ricky’s legs in a move known as the “goncho,” and nothing screams sexy like an almost kick in the balls. No, that’s called comedy.
The blue wash is pretty cool in the beginning, but the dance isn’t that great. Really, Ashley looks massive next to Ricky. Which isn’t their fault, it’s the fault of whoever paired them, SHOW. They do all the moves, but lack all the passion everyone was talking about in the intro.
Dan agrees that this routine was not sexy, and thought it looked like a mother dancing with her son. Gross. Mary agrees with Dan. She thinks they look great, but the dancing just wasn’t good. Nigel thinks the problem with the chemistry is that Ashley is so much taller than Ricky, and therefore repulsive.
Up next are Sara and Jesus. Sara dances on the Denver Nuggets’ hip-hop dance squad and originally moved to Colorado to be a ski bum. I totally want to be friends with Sara. Jesus got into lyrical dancing because his friend “showed him a Janet Jackson video.” A-mazing.
This week they’ll be dancing a Wade Robson pop-jazz routine. No idea what pop-jazz is. Wade explains this routine is “Vagabond cabaret.” He imagines turn-of-the-century hobos broke into dance at 3 in the morning.
They’re dancing to a song off the The Triplets of Belleville soundtrack, which really helps to set the turn-of-the-century vagabond mood. It’s a really cool dance. I enjoy. It’s kind of creepy, but just so interesting. I also think the lighting really helps express the mood. Nice production values, SYTYCD, and I say that with no sarcasm.
Sara and Jesus stay in their vagabond characters as they approach the judges. Dan begins by giving Wade props for such a stand-out routine. They show Wade in the audience and behind him you can see Ivan, Dmitri and Allison. Aw, missed all of them! Dan’s critiques that there were moments where the unison was off, but in the end thought they were great in character and did a nice job.
Mary calls it “twisted, demented and SPECTACULAR!” Nigel thinks Sara picked up the new style really well, and informs the audience of all the different influences in the routine: Charlie Chaplin, Bob Fosse and Michael Kidd. Sidenote: if you really love dancing and enjoy musicals, go rent Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Michael Kidd’s choreography in that movie is not to be missed!
Our sixth couple consists of my least favorite, Jessi, paired with Pasha. Jessi once again bitches about her day job, and how she sits for eight hours a day in front of a computer. Yeah, welcome to LIFE. The judges inexplicably like her. Pasha came in as Anya’s partner. He is Russian, clearly. Those ripped jeans scream European.
They’re doing the Smooth Waltz. Yawn. Pasha’s confident, but knows that if they had drawn hip-hop he’d be feeling a lot different. Jessi, as a hip-hop (or as she calls it, “yo yo”) dancer feels out of place. She feels like she’s at her senior prom.
They’re dancing to Norah Jones andzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Sorry, dozed off for a minute there. This routine is BOOOOORIIIIING, though well executed.
The judges loved it. Vomit. They are just not going to let Jessi go before the Top 10, are they? Mary calls it classy and elegant, and was impressed by both of them. So is Nigel. He loved that she was floating, but I think that’s more because of her dress than her skills.
Our next couple is ballroom dancer Faina and hip-hopper Cedric. Cat reminds us that Faina’s brother, Stanislav, got out on this round last year. Will she do better? Faina has already shown she’s great in her style, but slow to pick up choreography in others.
Her partner, Cedric, started dancing by copying Michael Jackson and James Brown, and only started dancing seriously at 18. He really can make some amazing angles with his body. In the previous rounds, Cedric excelled at his own style, but struggled in anything else. Hey, just like Faina! What a pair!
This week they’ll be doing a Shane Sparks hip-hop routine, and Cat wonders via voice-over whether Faina will be able to “step-up.” Yeah, probably not. Shane is incredibly frustrated by Faina in rehearsals. He doesn’t think he’s looking at the next winner of SYTYCD.
The dance goes pretty much as expected, Cedric is awesome, but Faina fails. The best part is when she’s standing still and Cedric is literally dancing circles around her. Faina just doesn’t have the moves.
Dan thought they didn’t partner well; It felt like two strangers dancing. Dan didn’t think Faina committed to the routine, but Cedric was ridiculous[ly good]. Mary rambles about her love for Cedric. Nigel also did not think the pair gelled. He explains that Cedric has such a particular technique of dancing hip-hop that it makes it hard for Faina to match him when she’s so inexperienced. Compared to Cedric, she looked like she was dancing by numbers.
Up next, are Lauren and Neil. Lauren is that perky one who worked for the show. We know all about her already. Neil is a contemporary dancer and is basically Travis 2.0 at this point, pirouettes and adorable-ness and all. Neil was also a gymnast, so he has some tricks up his sleeve.
Lauren and Neil are doing a salsa routine, and they are a “hot mess” (Lauren’s words, not mine!) during their rehearsal. But it’s to be expected as neither are ballroom dancers.
Their actual routine is pretty good for two non-ballroom dancers. MUCH better than Ricky and Ashley fared. Some of their transitions are a little slow, and they don’t carry themselves like ballroom dancers, but good effort overall, I thought.
Dan thought it was so-so. They danced it well, but thought Neil lacked passion. He was too cheesey and not as into Lauren as he should have been. Mary though Neil needed to dance more in his hips and less in his shoulders. The audience adamantly disagrees. Nigel also agrees there was a lack of passion between the two. Nigel thinks Lauren rivals Allison for his favorite dancer. He also thinks Lauren could draw in her partner, so the blame doesn’t lie entirely with Neil.
The final couple consists of Shauna and Jimmy. We followed neither of them in the audition rounds. Shauna’s mother was a ballerina, so she’s been dancing her whole life. Jimmy is also a contemporary dancer. Last year Jimmy almost made it to the Top 20, and this year he’s finally getting his chance.
This week they will dance a Tyce DiOrio Broadway routine. YAY! I work on Broadway, so I’m psyched. Tyce describes the choreography as technical, but zany and energetic. The pair look like they’re having a blast in rehearsal.
Dancing to “Ease on Down the Road” from The Wiz Shauna is Dorothy and Jimmy is the Scarecrow. It’s really fun and I think they do a great job. It’s not technically difficult, but the two of them have their characters down.
Dan loved Jimmy, saying he outperformed Shauna, though loved watching the routine on the whole. Mary too, loved the performance. Nigel liked it, though he thought Shauna looked frumpy in the dress. He goes on to say she looked amateur in the routine and gets resoundly booed. Who put her in that dress in the first place? Oh right, the SHOW. Shut up, show.
As Cat gives a rundown of the dances, I’m seriously torn between Anya and Danny and Lacey and Kameron as my favorites. Sara and Jesus get an honorable mention. Mary names Anya and Danny as her favorites, adding in a scream for good measure. Dan thinks Ashley and Ricky are the two that are most in danger, and doesn’t get violently booed by the audience, which does not bode well for Ashley and Ricky at all.
So what did you think of this week’s episode. Flirted or floated? What’s the deal with Kameron’s hair? Who’s your favorite pair? Any chance Jessi will be gone before the Top 10?