This is it, Gasmi. We’ve made it through all the audition episodes, through the grueling Vegas week, through the filler filled selection episode, and now we are to be rewarded. Tonight we get to see each of the top twenty dancers perform a routine in their own genre. It will be the first time we see more than a snippet of some of them, and for others we will get to see them perform again. And for one performer, it will be the last time we see him this season.
THIS. Is So You Think You Can Dance (dance……..dance)!
Bye Bye Billy, we hardly knew ye.
So, for those of you unsure about what I’m talking about above, where the hell have you been the past few days?!?!? I keed, I keed. I’m sure everyone knows by now that Billy had to drop out of the competition because he got mono. I honestly didn’t know you could catch mono from the judges kissing your ass, but there you go Gasmi, another lesson learned.
I’m looking at you, sir.
All kidding aside, I wish Billy a full recovery, and hope to see him on the show again. I’m not quite sure if that’s even feasible, but I’m hoping that he’ll be able to come back next season. Somehow.
You may wonder why I’m even bothering to tell you any of this since the show didn’t bother to mention it at all during tonight’s episode. Well, it’s because I’m better than Nigel. Duh. And I want to be able to truly appreciate Billy’s dancing during this show before he is wrenched from my TV. Gawd, melodramatic much?
This evening’s show starts out with Cat telling us that the auditions were the toughest EVER. In fact, the top twenty this year is SO TALENTED they’ve decided to give them this special to show us all what they can do. Wow. I bet this season is going to blow last season out of the water. I bet it has the most talented group of dancers EVER.
The impact of the word “ever” goes down in direct correlation with how many times you say it. It’s a scientific fact.
I’d like to take this opportunity to discuss Cat’s dress for a moment. At first I was thinking it wasn’t too bad, even if it did have button sized sequins sewn all over it.
Too bad the seamstress ran out of time before sewing them all on.
I hate the new stage. I hated it during the finale last year. And I hate it now. Hate. It.
Oh, did I mention I hate the new stage? I didn’t want to forget to say that. Cat’s already fishing for compliments as she asks the audience if they like the new set. They cheer and holler, but I’m guessing that they were told anyone who didn’t cheer was going to get kicked out. Either that or they’re all blind.
Before we get to any dancing we have to first meet the three people who will annoy the crap out of us every week. Well, at least two out of the three will. Yes, that’s right, please welcome your…………judges!
Choreographer, film producer, director, giver of mono, and new permanent judge………Adam Shankman!
Ballroom expert and screecher extraordinaire……..Mary Murphy!
Executive Producer and Letcher…….Nigel “They’re Never Too Young” Lythgoe.
Don’t we already have enough crazy on this show?
Nigel is trying to pressure her to come on the show. He thinks if he has a chair ready and waiting for her, she’s bound to show up. Hmmmmmm……….perhaps he is on to something.
Woo Hoo!! It worked!
What?!? You can’t blame a girl for trying.
Alright, enough screwing around! Let’s get to some dancing. We’re going to start things off with a group routine choreographed by Wade Robson (conceived by both Wade and his wife, Amanda). YAY!
Before we get to the dance Cat wants to get their take on these twenty AMAZING performers.
“Yeah, they’re good.”
What the hell is she wearing?!? Eek! Cat asks Wade to tell us about the group number. So the idea is that it’s a bar/cafe, 1930′s type thing. The four slickest gangs in the city are there and a turf war ensues. Love it.
There is talk in rehearsal of how fast and hard the dance is, the usual stuff. Legacy actually has a likable moment talking about how it’s Wade Robson, and you can see just how excited he is to be working with Wade.
Cat asks Wade if he thinks they can pull it off. Nope, no way, they’re going to fall flat on their faces and be forever known as the worst top twenty EVER. Kidding! Of course he says they can do it. They just need to find the right combination of excitement and focus. And then he crosses his fingers, and Cat cracks up. Very cute.
Wow. I really love this number. Wade, I think I can finally forgive for that cheerleader/jock debacle last season. The crowd is going wild, giving the dancers a standing ovation. Even the judges are on their feet.
Except for the asshole.
He irritates me so much.
First up for the genre dances is hip hop with Russell, Kevin, and Legacy. Tabitha and Napoleon will be choreographing. They are really excited about working with these three guys which is really cute to see. Tabitha tells us they were really excited in the beginning of rehearsal, but then reality hit as they were going on. These guys aren’t used to learning choreography. We see some shot of them struggling, but by the end of the clip they all seem to be in good spirits.
I think Tabitha and Napoleon did a really good job with this number. I liked how they incorporated all three styles of hip hop into this routine. The guys did a really good job with it. I think there were some parts where their transitions could have been smoother, but overall, a good job all around.
Nigel says that if that is an example of how exciting this season is going to be, bring it on! He doesn’t care; he will lose the hearing in his left ear. Of course that is Mary’s cue to start screaming at Nigel. Ugh. Shut up.
Nigel gives props to Tabitha and Napoleon, natch, and then he says it will be a great season for the choreographers who will be getting to work with a top twenty who can do just about anything by the looks of it. Yes Nigel, keep that hype machine going.
Up next are Jakob, Channing, Ariana and Nathan with a contemporary piece by Sir BitchyPants who tells us he has four amazing dancers to work with. Sir BitchyPants tells us the piece is about four different personal stories, and how they personalize sadness. Sounds uplifting. He tells us that the best dancers are the best actors and he wants to utilize that to the best of their abilities. I actually agree with him. Huh.
I think the problem for me with this piece is that they are telling four different stories. There were parts that felt disjointed, and I understand that was the intention, but it just looked sloppy on the stage. Having said that, what they were actually doing, and how they executed the steps was great. Jakob and Nathan in particular really stood out for me. I think a big reason for that is they were given more to do. All in all, a good showcase for the two guys, a little bit less so for the girls.
This time around it’s Mary’s turn to talk. She says she sort of dizzy at the moment. At the moment? Um, okay. She thinks the dance was unbelievable. She says they’re always telling the choreographers to play to the dancers’ strengths, and doesn’t see any weaknesses.
She says each one of them was so dynamic and powerful. Channing was more elegant and feminine (didn’t see it), Ariana was dynamic with a great body line, she loved Nathan’s pirouettes, and calls Jakob superman for the height of his leaps.
Going into the break Cat tells us that a tap dancer has never made it into the top twenty but this year we have three tappers. PLEASE STOP PRETENDING THAT THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A TAPPER ON THIS SHOW BEFORE. It infuriates me.
Guess what? Tap is next. Thanks so much for aggravating me right before this, CAT. I’m actually really looking forward to seeing tap showcased here, and I’m dying to see who they got to choreograph the number. Cat tells us again that no tapper has ever made it to the top twenty.
Let’s just move along, shall we? The choreographer for the tap routine is Derick K. Grant. Derick was the dance captain for Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk, and performed the role originated by Savion Glover on the first national tour of the show.
He says he feels like tappers are always on the outside looking in, waiting to be invited to the dance. He thinks a good tap dance is like a good kung fu move, action packed. Peter tells us that tap is underestimated because it doesn’t seem like tappers have to do a lot of work. But it IS a hell of a lot of work to make something look so effortless.
Uhhhhh. I have to start out by saying I love tap. BUT. I really did not like this number at all. They really screwed the pooch on this one. First of all the costumes were TERRIBLE. Bianca in white lycra pants? Are you kidding me? Never mind that the crotch was slowly creeping downward over the course of the dance. The guy’s costumes were only marginally better.
Second issue. The song. I mean, I love me some Ella Fitzgerald but COME ON. That is no way to make tap exciting to people. There are so many better songs they could have used. More modern songs, OR if you want to go a more traditional route, why not do something more “Broadway”? Hell, I would have rather have seen them tap to “42nd Street” than this song. Cliched though it may be.
Next issue. Who miked the taps? They should be fired. Ugh. It was so terrible sounding. The beginning didn’t sound great because they weren’t together, but the taps sounded weird and disjointed because of the way they were miked. I mean, I get that it’s a big theater, but the taps should be able to carry on their own as long as you’re not blasting the music too much. Or find a better way to amplify them. I am so sad and disappointed right now; I feel like they (NIGEL) really blew a great opportunity.
Nigel thinks it’s so wonderful that they’ve brought tap to the show. Grrrrrrrrr. He so pleased about that, and he’s pleased to welcome a new choreographer into their ranks. He says it’s going to be exceptionally tough for the tappers this season. He doesn’t know that tap will bring in the votes.
Plus, he says, they cannot teach anybody tap in such a short period of time. So whoever their partners are, they will not be tapping. So these three will be doing everybody else’s style, but no one will be doing theirs.
Okay. I need to stop here for a minute. THIS IS ABSOLUTE BULLSHIT. I’m pissed about this. Why shouldn’t people have to learn a tap routine? Non-ballroom dancers have to learn those routines. Guys who have never taken dance before have to learn to do the routines they are given. Why NOT tap?
Yes, tap is difficult to learn. It would be hard to learn a routine in a just a week. But let’s be honest here. The fact that they’ve loaded the top twenty with contemporary dancers should help. Most of those kids have danced for a big chunk of their lives. I’m SURE that all of them have taken tap classes. Probably for several years. Maybe not for a while, maybe it wasn’t their favorite, but you can’t have danced for years and years and never taken a tap class. So for him to sit there and say that really bites my ass. Gawd, I’m so fucking pissed about this. I need something to make me feel better.
Thanks. That helped.
Alright, next up is
another contemporary jazz piece. Nigel is trying to convince us that some of the contemporary folks are actually jazz dancers. So they’ve recategorized Mowee, Pauline and Ellenore as jazz. They’ll be performing a routine choreographed by Sonya.
Sonya wants this piece to represent a flirtatious, exciting vibe. She wants the girls to be sexy.
Yeah. This is another one I didn’t like. I really hated the costumes. I don’t know who thought empire waisted tutus would look sexy, but they were wrong. W-R-O-N-G. The dance was not sexy at all. And there were other issues with it. Their spacing was really off in sections, and Mowee looked to me to be flailing about in several parts of the dance. At one point she stumbled out of her leap, and it looked to me like she fell. She tried to go with it and make it look like a part of the dance, but it was pretty obvious to me that she fell.
Adam finally gets his turn to talk. He thought the jazz hands at the end were a fitting ending to the number since that is also the sign in ASL for applause. He must watch Heroes too. He says he would never would have imagined someone would think tutus were sexy, or jazz hands for that matter. But he thought they brought it and made it work.
He tells Sonya that it was as cute as a button. Which doesn’t sound to me like he thought it was sexy. He talks about how Mowee got told time and time again in Vegas that she had to dance with more maturity and like a woman. He thinks she did that here. She goofs out like a little girl. I completely disagree with him by the way. I don’t think she danced more womanly, just more flailingly.
Straightening your hair does not make you all grown up Mowee.
He thinks Pauline looks gorgeous, and tells them all just to keep it up. What? No words of encouragement for Ellenore, Adam? How rude.
Moving right along, we’re now getting to our
third second contemporary piece of the evening. This time we get Billy, Kathryn, Noelle and Victor. Their routine will be choreographed by Mandy Moore. Billy’s zits must be sad that he’s leaving the show because they’ve started to migrate off his face.
And onto Kathryn’s.
Victor is really excited that they’re working with Mandy because he was hoping to get her this season. Mandy says the idea for the piece is very simple; she’s just supposed to showcase them and their talents. Billy talks about how fast paced the number is, and Noelle has torn one of her toenails off. Mandy is adorably grossed out by that.
I really liked this number a lot. There were a couple of parts where the timing was off, but overall I think they did a really great job on this. The first time around I have to admit I watched Billy because I knew I wouldn’t see him dance again this season. But I went back and rewatched, and I have to say they all did incredibly well in this dance. I’m looking forward to seeing what the other three will bring in their partnered dances.
Adam thinks that was one of the most beautiful, relentless and intense routines. He thought the dance was beautiful and a work of art. He says that this show is all about improvement, but he wonders where they can go from here. How can they improve? Don’t jinx them Adam!
Did you know that this is the most diverse and talented top twenty EVER? Good thing Cat is here to remind us of that, huh?
Last up for this performance special are the ballroom dancers, Ryan, Karen and Ashleigh. During the teaser before the break Cat talks about them and Ryan kisses Ashleigh on the forehead. And then doesn’t know what to do with Karen. I laughed. Maybe more than I should have, but I found this to be supremely funny.
They will be performing a samba choreographed by Jason Gilkison. Oh, I like Jason! He says because they are in their genre he can use a lot of difficult samba stuff. Goody! Ashleigh says this is the first time the show has had two Latin ballroom girls. WRONG!!!!! Season three had Anya and Faina. Lacey, too, although I’m not sure if West Coast Swing would be categorized as Latin. Whatever. Either way, she’s wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Each lady in the dance is vying for Ryan’s attention. Of course they are. Ashleigh talks some smack (jokingly) (sort of) to Karen. Anyone else get the feeling that the face licker is a little insecure? Anyone?
Eh. I’m not a big fan of this one either, and I think that’s Ryan’s fault. When he wasn’t smarming it up to the audience, he was paying all of his attention to his wife. I really felt like Karen was a third wheel in that routine, and I think we were supposed to feel like they both had a chance of getting him. I dunno, the chemistry was off for me, and it was all a bit uncomfortable. The choreography itself was good, and they executed it well, but I’m still left feeling meh about it.
Mary loved it. Shocking. She calls them hot, hot, hot. She says it’s so much fun for her to see three ballroom dancers dancing together on this program, it’s never happened before. For once we are actually hearing the truth. WOW.
She thinks Ashleigh comes to life on the stage and looks phenomenal. Mary tells Karen there is something very animalistic about her and she just eats it up out there all the time. And Ryan? “Hello? Ladies?” And the girls in the audience scream. I’m sorry, I still don’t see his supposed hotness.
Cat calls the rest of the top twenty out to the stage and we get the “intro” clips of them while Cat voices over their names. And that’s the end of this very special episode. Tomorrow night the competition begins in earnest and two of the dancers will be sent home.
What did you think about this performance special, Gasmi? I think it’s a great idea and I hope they do it again in other seasons. Were there any dances that blew you away? That you thought just blew? Are you as pissed as me every time they pretend Sandra Colton was never on this show? Tell me! Tell me! Tell me!
I’m going to start immediately on the top twenty show, so hopefully I’ll be able to post that soon! Until then….