I have to admit that this show is reeling me in, and I’ve been looking forward to seeing what would happen with the contestants this week. Would Aleks stop acting like she’s on her way to the electric chair, and would she and Dmitry gel as a new team? Would we get closure on the spelling of “Jamyz”? Would Musa and Natalie conceive a child onstage? Would Nigel’s friskiness result in a sexual harassment suit? And would Cat’s wardrobe continue to trigger migraines and temporary bouts of blindness? Welcome … to SOYOUTHINKYOUCANDANCE!!!!!
Yeah, I really love the way Cat says that, but her dress is very, very bad. She totally faked us out by wearing a fairly normal dress last Thursday, and now she’s wearing a navy blue … thing … with ruffles, and a GIANT. YELLOW. BELT. So that answers one of my questions.
I’ll end the suspense on another one those questions early, too. Fox has corrected the spelling of Jaymz’s name, although it is still hard for me to use the word “corrected” in conjunction with the word “Jaymz.” Thanks to all those who pointed out that “Jamyz” was a typo by Fox. It’s kind of poetic justice, though – if you name yourself something completely stupid, you can hardly be annoyed if people make a mistake and think it’s something even MORE stupid. There was one commenter who thought that I should have Googled Jaymz so that I could have learned that he is sometimes referenced as James “Jaymz” Tuaileva. I think maybe from now on I am going to call him James “Jaymz” Tuaileva all the time. Again, he gets what he asked for. I sure hope he gets kicked off soon.
In related news, watching the opening sequence, I continue to think that James “Jaymz” Tuaileva’s partner, Jessica, is the single worst dancer remaining in the competition. I originally pegged her and Joy as the two clunkers. One down. Other things I notice during the opening sequence: Almost everyone looks totally hot, especially Musa, over whom I can barely restrain myself from drooling. Ivan is starting to remind me of Kevin Covais, in a variety of ways. Aleks seems to have recovered from whatever was causing her to look like she had just swallowed a bunch of broken glass last Thursday. Ben has on the coolest red socks/legwarmers.
Chicken Little learns to dance?
There is no super-awesome opening group dance. Why? I mean, they all dance around a little, but nothing fancy. Boo! Then Cat tries to boogie down with them for a few seconds when she comes down onto the stage. Oh, Cat, you really shouldn’t do that. Does Ryan Seacrest try to sing? NO. Learn from the master.
I think it’s funny that Cat plays the Ryan Seacrest role on this show, but they don’t quite trust her with all of Ryan’s responsibilities. For example, it’s Nigel, not Cat, who announces the actual eliminations. Maybe someday, Cat, if you work extra hard, they will let you read more things off of a card.
There are FOUR judges tonight: Nigel; drunk-seeming choreographer Mary Murphy; and hip-hop choreographer duo Cicely and Olisa. They were the ones who tried to explain the differences between Old School/New School, and West Coast/East Coast, in the context of Aleks’s abysmally white hip-hop dancing. I like them – they seem spunky.
The judges are, once again, asked to reminisce about auditions. There are flashbacks of some people sucking and/or spraying obscenities. I ignore this. Really, y’all, it wasn’t that entertaining the first time. Or the second time. Please stop doing it. It’s okay to make the show 90 minutes instead of two hours. There’s no shame in that.
Next there are some (previously unaired) flashbacks of the contestants marching into the studio before Thursday’s results show. Apparently, before the results show, they were quite nervous. Who knew? We see some very brief clips of Joy and Jason post-elimination. They were both kind of bummed. Shocking! I swear, if there are any more revelations of this caliber, I am going to have to make sure my defibrillator is charged before I watch this show. The contestants talk about how crazy their days are, and I believe them. There is a cute moment when Natalie tells Musa she wants a divorce. She so doesn’t, y’all.
Let’s play “divorce.” Then later we can play “naughty motorcycle cop,” okay?
Some guest dancers do the Lindy hop, or something. It’s okay, but I would so much rather see the actual contestants. The amount of filler amazes me more every time I see this show. Will the show shrink down from two hours when there are fewer contestants? Or will they have them do two dances per couple instead? Either way, we’re obviously in some trouble for the next couple of weeks, when they still have too many contestants to shorten the show or double up the dances, so every time they eliminate someone, they are just going to have to add even more filler. I am going to have to take up knitting.
There are some commercials, and then at long last we introduce Ashlee and Ben at 21 minutes in. And I think of them as one of the weakest couples, but I am so happy to see them right now. I missed you guys! Those Lindy hoppers just didn’t fill this hole inside my soul! They draw hip-hop, which is Ashlee’s thang. (Actually, her dance style is called “poppin’,” but apparently that’s a subset of hip-hop.) She has lost her voice due to a cold, so Ben has to talk for her. It’s sort of cute.
Their choreographer is named Tod Sams. He says his style is very inspired by the street. Ben pays some lip service to the idea that this is not his type of dance, but honestly, he looks like he’s doing fine to me. At almost 24 minutes in, we finally see a dance. Ashlee definitely looks more comfortable than Ben does, but he’s good too. I am starting to think they’ve just had bad choreography/styles the last couple of weeks, because this is fun to watch.
Nigel praises Ashlee and dumps on Ben. Mary says Ben can’t help not being from the streets, and he did a respectable job. Cicely and Olisa say that Ben’s only problem was appearing too lyrical/contemporary on a few of his moves, especially the turns, but that overall, the team did great. Ashlee is so cute when she’s happy – I kind of love her.
Next, Heidi and Ryan draw Cuban Rumba. (Okay, I thought “rhumba” had an “h” in it, but I am a slave to the captions.) It turns out that this dance is totally new to both of them; it’s more of an African-influenced style than a ballroom style. Heidi does better than Ryan does in rehearsals, but neither of them is exactly comfortable. We get a little reminder that the key for this couple is likely to be the chemistry between the two of them, which has not always been their strong suit.
I love their outfits. Ryan has white pants, a white wifebeater, and a white fedora. The dance has a lot of different parts, and there is once again some acting, which is what they got slammed for last week. There’s one part where he plays her ass like drums. Overall, though, this style seems to be situated right at the intersection of what they are both good at. Nigel is blown away; he just loved it. Mary loved it; she says Heidi and Ryan now have chemistry, which they didn’t before. Cicely and Olisa also loved it. Really, that was awesome. If I paid money to see a dance performance and I saw that, I would be a satisfied customer.
Ryan plays Heidi’s bongos….
… and Nigel is so, so envious.
Next couple up is Dmitry and Aleks, and this is interesting because it’s the “new” couple that was formed when Joy and Jason were sent home. On the results show, Dmitry and Aleks both looked like their dog just died when they found out they were going to be partnered from now on. So I am looking forward to seeing whether they will show up tonight with an attitude adjustment, or not.
Don’t get too carried away by your enthusiasm, there, kids.
Dmitry and Aleks draw ballroom. They don’t look thrilled, even though Dmitry is a ballroom dancer. Pretty much Aleks still looks like she wants to go home. By the end of rehearsals, though, they’ve loosened up and Aleks says the waltz they’re going to be doing is “steamy.” They’re dancing to “If I Were A Painting” by Kenny Rogers. Okay, I’ve never heard of that, but I don’t have a good feeling about it.
It doesn’t help matters that Aleks is wearing a hideous long shapeless bilious yellow gown. I find their routine very boring, although maybe that’s just the fact that it’s the waltz, I don’t know. Nigel says that Dmitry is a special and passionate dancer, but he calls Aleks the “Corpse Bride” – without soul or a center. Harsh, but I have to agree.
Mary is rough on Aleks too, saying she had some nice moments but overall it just wasn’t there. Cicely passes. Olisa says they worked well as a couple, and Aleks was better than she was last week. Ouch, when that’s the best you can get. It’s interesting to see that Dmitry acts very supportive of Aleks, keeping his arm around her and agreeing with everything she says about how she felt good during the dance, whereas when Joy was getting slammed last week, he was obviously ready to join in. I am a little worried about Aleks’s self-esteem after the one-two punch of the last couple of weeks.
Thank you, sir, may I please have another?
Commercials. Allison and Ivan are up next. I am still anxious to get rid of Ivan, so I kind of hope they do a bad job. They draw “Argentine tango.” Some of these dance styles are awfully specific. Obviously, they both think this one sounds tough. The choreographer is Alex da Silva, who is the same one who choreographed Heidi and Ryan, and who also choreographed Allison and Ivan a couple of weeks ago for the salsa, which I think is when they almost got kicked off. We learn that Ivan is scared of getting kicked in the crotch during this dance. Oh, little Ivan.
This dance, like Ryan and Heidi’s, involves a fedora, which is always a plus in my book. Ivan’s whole outfit is very “Smooth Criminal.” And yikes, this dance is ass-kickingly good. They execute the “war of the feet” portion without anyone getting kicked in the crotch, and I am almost – not quite, but almost – happy about that. There are a couple of times when Allison seems like she’s about to take flight. Just high, high drama and perfect execution.
Cat is annoying, but kind of says what we’re all thinking, when she comments that “little Ivan is all grown up.” Nigel is all hot and bothered again. I think he needs to stop taking his Viagra before the show – I’m worried about the people who have to sit next to him (Mary, in this case). He points out that Ivan sucked in his earlier salsa, but this week he was great, and that Allison’s performance tonight was one of the best ever on the show.
Mary straight up tells Ivan that she didn’t want to let him into the top twenty, but now she’s completely changed her mind. I can’t understand her exact words to him because she’s too shrill and my hearing is impeded by the fact that my ears are now bleeding. But Ivan gets really happy, and shrieks, “I just got a Mary scream! I just got a Mary scream!” He does a cute little dance. Nigel backs my assessment of Mary when he puts on giant headphones to protect his ears, but that’s kind of lame because it means that whole sequence was planned.
Hey baby, I got another pair just like this one back at my place.
Cat repeats her “all grown up” line, and Cat, that’s just lame – we heard you the first time. Cicely calls Ivan “a tall drink of dark water.” Everyone also talks about how hot Allison was. Olisa is the only person with something negative to say – she doesn’t think Ivan exhibited adequate desire to “eat [Allison] up.” So, insufficient appetite, but otherwise perfect marks.
Donyelle and Benji draw “pop jazz.” Again with the weirdly specific dance styles. Are they trying to never repeat a single style, or something? Donyelle and Benji are both such upbeat people that they decide they are excited about this, even though they don’t really know what it means. The choreographer says that this type of dance is “Madonna, Paula Abdul, Britney Spears.” So, just “pop,” then? I mean, that’s what they called it last week. I hope this means another cutesy teen-acting routine set to Kelly Clarkson. Sorry, I like the cheesy acting.
Yay! During rehearsal, we find out that this routine will indeed have a plot and acting, with Donyelle playing a supermodel, and Benji playing a DJ who falls under her spell. Well, I will be eating this up with a spoon, but somehow I think that it’s not going to carry much weight with the judges when compared to those two smokin’ Latin routines. Benji interviews that “sexual tension” is “outside of [his] comfort zone.” Hm – this seems to be a major theme with him. You would think that as a professional dancer, he would be well-served to at least acquaint himself with the concept of sexual tension, even if he wants to ring-fence it away from his actual life.
The choreographer calls Benji “a little goofy. I don’t think it’s something that I’m going to break. He’s always going to have a quirkiness to him. He’s just gotta channel that quirkiness into a masculine quirkiness.” Ooh, burn. Donyelle says that Benji’s going to have to “pull out the sexy man inside of him.” Um, there are really a lot of different ways that one could interpret that last remark. Think before you speak on camera, Donyelle.
We don’t get Kelly Clarkson – we get Danii Minogue, which is like a poor man’s, uh, Kylie Minogue. The first major problem I see is with Donyelle’s outfit. Is she an Amish supermodel? Because every inch of her below the neck is covered, and most of those inches are covered at least twice. Thank goodness, the jacket comes off as part of the dance. It’s also probably to their benefit that the plot is not that apparent. It’s just a dance. It’s pretty good. I’m sort of glad, because I like them, but I’m always simultaneously disappointed not to be seeing a train wreck.
The crowd goes nuts, all out of proportion to how good the dance was. This is the first time it becomes really clear to me that these people, just like the Idol contestants, must have voting fans who call in for them no matter how well or badly they dance. Donyelle and Benji do seem to be getting more fan reaction than the others. I wonder why – they are endearing, but so are a lot of the other contestants.
Nigel praises the choreographer and then disses Benji’s eye makeup, which is really atrocious. Then he says that Benji and Donyelle are among the best dancers on the show when it comes to having formed a real partnership. Mary agrees and also gushes about the dance generally; she also craps on Benji’s look, which she says he has no control over. Is that really true? I mean, I know they don’t costume themselves, but do they get no vote in whether they wear a ton of eyeliner or not? That seems cruel, in a way that makes me cackle with glee.
Mary also says that the type of chemistry Benji and Donyelle have can’t be faked, and she thinks there’s something real there. I bet this makes Benji feel all funny inside, especially when Donyelle leans over and kisses him in the general vicinity of his lips. Benji is becoming a man right before our eyes, y’all. Even more than Ivan – at least no one is suggesting that Allison and Ivan might want each other in real life. Personally, I think the odds that Donyelle is secretly lusting after Benji are, well, lower than the odds that she’s lusting after Nigel, but I guess you never know.
Cicely and Olisa agree with everything Nigel and Mary said. Olisa goes one step further and points out that Donyelle in particular seems to be able to master any style of choreography. That, so far, is true.
Cat pimps Natalie and Musa’s sexalicious chemistry before we even find out what dance they picked. Natalie says she hopes they pick an old-school hip-hop style, but instead they draw the quick step, which they know is going to be really freaking hard. Musa cracks me up when he says, “Yeah. It’s too many steps, you know? I have a hard time as it is trying to count the steps. And quick steps? I mean, it’s quicker than normal steps!” So true, Musa. So true.
The choreographer is a blonde woman named Heather who also choreographed Dmitry and Aleks’s boring waltz. Natalie says that when she thinks of the quick step, she thinks of “Yul Brynner in The King and I, just jumping around like a little monkey in circles.” I am impressed and entertained by the specificity of that reference, and also by the fact that the dancers are once again referencing monkeys in rehearsal. How many different ways can monkeys come up? It’s already been more than I would have thought possible. Musa says he doesn’t know anything about the quick step, except it’s ballroom, and again, the steps are quicker than usual.
Natalie cracks me up when she rolls her eyes and says, “The theme of it is quick. I don’t know if you guys got it yet.” Yes, Natalie, we got it, and it seems like maybe you’ve had it rammed down your throat a little bit too. Unfortunately, the quick step is unlikely to afford Natalie and Musa the opportunity to copulate on stage as they did last week, and that will automatically delete a large portion of their appeal with the judges, especially Nigel, who is a frisky little animal.
I want to note that the choreographer, Heather, is wearing an ensemble that strikes me as just a big no. She has on a tight sky-blue long-sleeved shirt, but the back is mesh so that you can see her bra. Then, she’s wearing pearls, and pearl earrings, and she has ultra-conservative hair and makeup, so the sheer-back shirt thing just makes it seem like maybe she forgot to put on part of her clothes. I know it’s just rehearsal, but it’s still really weird.
Front … back.
Heather makes Musa wear a “ballroom training bar,” which is a medieval torture device intended to force him to hold his shoulders and arms in the proper position. Natalie cracks up, yet again. I like these two a lot; they’re very funny and relaxed. (I’m sure their extracurricular activities give them a big advantage in that regard.) Musa says that during this rehearsal, the dancers are “like horses.” Okay, that is officially the new drinking game for this show: Drink whenever someone makes an animal reference. You’ll be plastered by the third routine, which, luckily for you, will never come less than an hour into the show.
I always laugh when my lover gets put on the rack.
The show is really putting this couple up on a pedestal, giving them a ton of airtime. They’re dancing to “Zoot Suit Riot.” I hate this song. Their dance seems, well, kind of slow for a quick step, but I guess there’s only so much you can do your very first time ever attempting one. It’s pretty blah, although they seem to be having fun. I think Natalie’s dress covers too much of her legs.
Nigel essentially says that the performance was just okay, but Musa’s level of effort in learning a totally unfamiliar style deserves huge commendation. He says that Heather told him that Musa kept asking to be taught more and given extra hours of practice. This is very interesting, because it suggests that the judges can be influenced quite a lot by what the choreographers tell them, as opposed to what they actually see happening on the dance floor during the routines.
I don’t think this is especially fair. Doesn’t it create a huge incentive for the dancers to suck up to the choreographers? Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s awesome that Musa has such a great attitude and works so hard, but I think the judges should be going by what they see on the dance floor, and probably they shouldn’t be debriefing the choreographers before the performances. (“Debriefing” is the funniest word ever. Don’t worry, I know that’s not an original thought.)
Nigel kind of proves my point by saying, “Musa, I don’t care if all the ballroom people in the world say you were awful tonight; you were fantastic for me.” Um, no, if all the ballroom people in the world say he was awful, then he was awful. Do you think Celine Dion is going to be satisfied with just hard work and a great personality? DO YOU??? As Musa rakes in the praise, Natalie gets all emotional, and hugs and kisses him, and puts her head on his shoulder, and just generally looooooves all over him.
Musa, the day I met you, my life changed forever.
Mary, being “from the ballroom world,” is a bit more honest than Nigel was, saying that Musa was not that great, but she also says that “when someone’s drowning out there, do we want to take the boat and just, you know, run over you in the water? I don’t really want to do that either.” Uh, why not? I mean, here’s the thing. Most of the time, these judges are brutally honest, and I like that. It’s one of the few refreshing things about this show. But for some reason, when it comes to this couple, they make all kinds of allowances that they don’t make for the others. I call foul (and I like Natalie and Musa, too, but I would rather see the judges tell the truth).
Cicely and Olisa say the same thing as the others. I wish they would switch up the order so that these two weren’t always placed in the position of parroting Nigel and Mary. What’s up with that? Last week, Shane Sparks got to go first and Nigel was last, and now they’ve reversed it. I think it’s only fair that Nigel should have to go last, since he takes all sorts of liberties with the format and everything else whenever he feels like it. (But thanks to the commenter who filled me in that Nigel has a background in dance, because that really does make him seem like less of a jackass for putting himself on this show.)
Oh, great, it’s Jessica and James “Jaymz” Tuaileva. They pick contemporary and they are both really happy. Remember, “contemporary” has to do with swaying around like a tree, or, in the case of Aleks last Thursday, like a drunken homeless person with a phobia of sunlight and hairbrushes. When the dancers show up at the studio, it appears that James “Jaymz” Tuaileva is carrying a man-purse. He would.
“I mean if – if you’re thinking it’s a woman’s bag, it’s not. It’s a MAN’S BAG!”
The choreographer is Brian Friedman, who also did the “pop jazz” routine. He is really all about the dances with plots; this one is going to be about her pursuing him. And this is when I find out that I love Brian Friedman, because he hates Jessica and James “Jaymz” Tuaileva almost as much as I do. Let’s stop and absorb some of his great wisdom: “She’s gonna really have to grasp this and not turn it into something fake. It’s about them actually feeling something inside, a real emotion. And with James ["Jaymz" Tuaileva], he’s a competition kid, really bad hands, flimsy arms. I can’t say I’m pleased that this is the couple that I’m working with today.”
Brian gives James “Jaymz” Tuaileva some direction, telling him to “bend [his] knees a little, so she’s not nose to nipple.” Oh, EW. I think I feel my lunch making an encore appearance. I was hoping to make it through the rest of my life without receiving verbal confirmation that James “Jaymz” Tuaileva actually has nipples. Brian, you just made me love you a tiny little bit less.
They start their dance by writhing around various parts of the catwalk and stairwell. They flail around a lot; it looks like they’re wearing pajamas, and her hair is always in her face. I hate this dance, but I am happy to concede that I am not objective in the slightest. I have thought she was a bad dancer since the first time I saw her, and I hate him just on principle. Yes, that’s right, I said it. I hate James “Jaymz” Tuaileva for no reason at all.
Nigel liked the routine; he thought it was cool that they used the whole stage, and he thought their chemistry was believable. He thinks the public will have a hard time coming up with a bottom three. Well, I’m not having much trouble so far. These two, and Dmitry and Aleks, and we haven’t seen everyone dance yet. Frankly, just based on the couples we’ve seen so far, Natalie and Musa probably belong in the bottom three. But that will happen when pigs fly.
Mary fakes everybody out by saying that “there’s an old saying called ‘That put the ‘U’ in ‘Ugly.’” Really, Mary? Is that what the saying is called? And is it really an old saying, perhaps a bit of treasured folk wisdom brought over by your grandmother from Eastern Europe? Mary follows up her tortured syntax with some more tortured faux folk wisdom, inventing her own “saying”: “That put the ‘W’ in ‘Wonderful.’” Oh, ick. I am so not buying this. I hate this couple and I am going to keep right on hating them. Cicely and Olisa liked it too. I am going to put that in a macro.
Yay, it’s Martha and Travis! I forgot about them. I think they went first last week and so it has been a thousand years since we’ve seen them dance. They draw hip-hop, which is Martha’s style, or one of her styles, because apparently she also does contemporary. Didn’t they krump last week? So this doesn’t seem like that much of a change, am I wrong? The storyline is the ever-boring “Travis doesn’t get it because he doesn’t dance hip-hop” storyline, but you can tell it’s not one of those times when one of them REALLY doesn’t get it.
Martha and Travis flirt with each other, but it’s in a very cute, funny way. It’s not as though they really want to rip each other’s clothes off, like Natalie and Musa, and it’s not as though one of them is a little uncomfortable with it, like Donyelle and Benji. It just seems like they’re … friends. It’s cool.
The dance is cute. It doesn’t involve as much togetherness as a lot of the others. Martha’s legs are obscenely long. Nigel thinks Martha and Travis were not that good and have slipped a lot since the first week; tonight they danced like two individuals. She danced very smoothly and he danced hard. Yeah, that seems true. Travis says he totally agrees with Nigel’s point that the rest of the couples have really stepped it up, and Travis and Martha can no longer feel comfortable as front-runners.
She’s got legs….
Mary agrees with Nigel that these two are still great dancers, but their dance tonight was not a home run. Cicely says that Martha danced more New School smooth, while Travis didn’t smooth it out enough. Olisa doesn’t really say anything.
Then Travis proceeds to shoot his mouth off, saying, “I think America is forgetting that I’m a contemporary dancer…. I do a fan kick.” He says it in a funny, laidback way, but still, he’s dissing the judges, and that’s dumb. Travis is not actually talking about “America,” because America hasn’t said anything about this performance yet, and he didn’t end up in the bottom three after the krumping either. So what he means is that the judges are forgetting that he’s a contemporary dancer. Most likely, he just wants the same type of consideration they are giving to Musa, and I don’t blame him, but I still think it is never smart to look like you’re arguing with the judges. He doesn’t get smacked down like he should – instead, Olisa reassures him: “You’ve got hip-hop in you, baby.”
As an aside, I think it’s hilarious whenever they use the word “America” on these shows. As in “America voted,” or “America put you in the bottom three.” I love the idea of defining “America” as “the body of individuals who vote on So You Think You Can Dance.”
We see the recaps, and here is what I observe: Nigel was right on when he called Aleks the Corpse Bride. Allison and Ivan were just unbelievable with their tango; I might even watch that one again on my own time. And Musa dancing the quick step? Is exactly like Jerry Rice dancing the quick step. Sorry, but it’s true. Same great enthusiasm and effort; same clunky result. I really don’t want Musa to be sent home, and I don’t think there’s any chance that he will be, but let’s be honest about the way the judges are pimping him. I think some resentment has got to be building among the others.
Who let Jerry Rice into the building? SECURITY!!
Nigel refuses to predict who will be going home, although he does take his opportunity to slam Aleks one more time. Then he calls the three female judges “The Witches of Eastwick,” which is really stupid but somehow also a little bit funny. Mary wins me over when she singles out Musa and Natalie as needing to worry about the vote. Olisa threatens to climb across the table and bite Nigel’s neck in retaliation for the Witches of Eastwick comment. Less talking, more doing, Olisa! Cicely dumps on Aleks too.
I’ll “Witches of Eastwick” you.
More tomorrow, when Natasha Bedingfield will be on. How much d’you wanna bet she wears shorts? During the dance-out, Aleks still looks kind of dead. I’m ready for her to go – she’s bringing down the room. Who do you hope will get the heave-ho?