Brandon Bryant and Natalie Reid So You Think You can Dance 5 Audition Videos

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UPDATE: Natalie Reid was cut! C’mmon! and at a jazz routine where Sonya Tayeh proudly asked Natalie and Brandon Bryant to dance the choreography and show everyone else how it is done. The couple were used as example and yet in the final performance, the judges didn’t like Natalie’s dance. Read more here.

Natalie Reid, 23 | Seattle, WA
Dance Song: “Breakdown More” by Eric Hutchinson

Brandon Bryant, 19 | Miami, Florida

Dancing to “O Fortuna” (From Carmina Burana) by Carl Orff, a powerful song that builds up in tempo and heighten ones emotions, Brandon so moved Mary Murphy that the latter couldn’t help but cry in admiration…

5/21 So You Think You Can Dance Season 5 Opens 2-hour Show with Brooklyn and Denver Auditions

Season 5 of the Summer’s hottest show- So You Think You can Dance is here! The whole gang is back! After bearing with Ryan Seacrest (American Idol) and Tom Bergeron (Dancing with the Stars) for weeks and weeks, Cat Deely’s presence on TV is a pleasant change. She is always full of sunshine and delightful to watch. We can’t wait when she introduces the “jidges.”

Opening up the season, the two-hour show featured auditions held in Brooklyn, New York and Denver, Colorado.

“Nasty Nigel” is his old self. We’re almost positive SYTYCD just lost a good number of viewers upon hearing Nigel Lythgoe’s homophobic comments when two male dancers auditioned together as same-sex partners and have them do choreography to see them perform with female partners. He said that the same-sex partnering would “alienate” the audience. We think Nigel’s comment just alienated the viewers! In the end, after the choreography round, the two didn’t make the cut. (UPDATE on the “homophobia issue” here and the audition video)

Mary Murphy didn’t disappoint when she kicked off the show with her irritatingly loud scream from hell. Guest judges Tabitha and Napoleon D’umo are a couple to watch sharing their inputs in the New York auditions. They have done some really great choreography in Season 4; the most memorable dances were Katee Shean and Joshua Allen’s “No Air” and Mark Kanemura and Chelsie Hightower’s “Bleeding Love.”

photo credit: fox.com/dance
photo credit: fox.com/dance

Sonya Tayeh who was first introduced last season joined Nigel and Mary as guest judge in the Denver auditions at the second half of the show. She left a lasting impression for her jazz choreography of “The Garden” danced by Mark Kanemura and Courtney Galiano. Sonya seemed genuinely impressed with all the contemporary dancers who auditioned and couldn’t quite contain her excitement and awe. (Watch a clip of her first judging stint here.)

gabirojas_sytycdUnfortunately for us, we barely saw any of it as Fox is doing their fast forward thing again- showing quick montages of those who got in and holding back names and faces, yet spend a minute or two to highlight certain people with back stories.

Standouts in the New York and Denver auditions we got to see were amazing.

Gabi Rojas, 24 from Albuquerque NM is someone to watch out for. She received a standing ovation from most of the people inside the theater and from the judges after her audition dance. “If you are not in this year’s top 20, I’ll be surprised. One of the best auditions I’ve seen in five years,” says Nigel. (Watch audition video here)

brandon_natalieThere’s Natalie Reid, 23 from Seattle, WA who came so close last year to getting into the top 20 where it was between her and roommate Katee Shean and the judges eventually picked Katee after a dramatic split decision vote. Sonya Tayeh was left nearly breathless and speechless after Natalie’s audition performance. “Everything was so right. I’m dying… I’m your biggest fan. Your movement was so real… so sincere, didn’t want it to end. You’re really something to see. I hope you make it all the way,” explains Sonya to the misty-eyed Natalie. (Watch audition video here)

Then there’s Brandon Bryant, 19 of Miami, FL who had a similar fate getting the cut last season for a spot in the top 20 in favor of breakdancer Gev Manoukian. He danced so beautifully that Mary was in tears after the performance. And heck, she still gave out that horrific scream! “I have to say I have the greatest job in the whole world, to be able to sit some days and witness something I could never do in a million years. It’s just fabulous to see… technique, artistry, use of stage, intent, commitment. If you don’t make it to the top 20, I think I’ll just die this year,” Mary says tearfully. (Watch audition video here)

We definitely want to see these three make it to the top 20! Special mention goes out to Arielle Taylor, Nobuya Nagahama and Kellen Stancil.

Sample of the Mary Murphy Scream

So You Think You Can Dance Casting Call for Season 5. Show Premieres May 21

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Cat Deeley

Fox’ number one summer hit show is back for its 5th season. Auditions kicked off in New York in November last year and casting in Miami and Los Angeles just finished. Last three auditions are slated this month in Denver (March 12), Memphis (March16), and Seattle (March 28).

If you think you can dance, here’s your chance to be part of this Emmy winning show that showcases hip-hop, contemporary and ballroom dancing choreography at its best. Contestants must be at least 18 or no more than 30 years of age on the first day they register for auditions. Any contestant who is a minor in their state of residence must also have a parent or legal guardian sign.

The Las Vegas Call Backs is currently scheduled to begin on or about April 1, 2009.

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Season 2 Winner, Benji Schwimmer

So You Think You Can Dance introduces some of the finest dancers in America. Last season, Joshua Allen became America’s Favorite Dancer. Twitch Boss is First Runner-up while Katee Shean is Top Girl Dancer. Nearly 60 Million votes were cast! Previous winners include Nick Lazzarini, Benji Schwimmer and Sabra Johnson.

Winners get a cash prize and other perks from $100,000 cash and a use of an apartment overlooking Central Park in New York City for one year in Season 1, a one-year contract to perform in Céline Dion’s show in Las Vegas plus $100,000 in Season two to $250,000 in cash in Season 3 and last season’s winner, Joshua taking home $250,000 cash plus an offer for a role in the upcoming Adam Shankman movie Step Up 3D. That, an instant celebrity status and the title “America’s Favorite Dancer.”

The show runs for 12 weeks. A two-night, four-hour season premiere is scheduled for Thursday, May 21 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) and Wednesday, May 27 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Cat Deeley returns as four-time host and Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy steps in as regular judges with one other rotating judge to complete the roll.

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SYTYCD Season 4 Finale: America’s Favorite Dancer is Joshua Allen!

This show can often shock us with its results. In each episode, the audience has made us eat crow, and this week was no different, except our pollsters were asked to dine with us. We barely had enough to go around.

In a different approach to earlier weeks, we will cover the results first, because that is what was the focus of this show. The results were already in, the envelopes sealed and the cards dealt. But we will review the show in its entirety after this discussion, and if you didn’t see it, there were numerous surprises you will find entertaining and some important hints at what will be on the tour, so please read the entire review and vote in our polls. We put a ton of effort into it for you and would love your input. Thank you.

We could totally understand Joshua winning. After trailing in our polls by as much as 3-1, he made a major surge as the show was nearing its start. It was close enough that the telephone vote could have gone either way, but seeing Twitch there on the stage with Joshua made it surreal, like when you watch a movie and you say, “That could never happen in real life”.

Katee was offered a runner up prize of $50,000.00. We get the impression the show added this surprise when they realized how unexpected the result was. Katee took it well and followed with an excellent performance; ironically, it was with Twitch.

This has been a year where the best have often been eliminated in favor of the underdog, but in this case, whoever was dialing those phones were punching in the wrong keys. Our Polls had Twitch as dead last, out-voted 5-1!! Statistically, it all seems rather odd that the telephone dialers felt so differently.

After 35 hours of show, 167 performances and 60 million votes, for Twitch to be in the final two was farcical. We believe this demonstrates that there is something wrong with the system of voting on the show? Twitch placed in front of Katee?? Twitch is a great street dancer, but he shouldn’t have placed in front of Mark, Chelsie, Courtney or Will, let alone Katee!

But in a way, there was some justice. Katee, by being selected as the top woman performer got a $50,000.00 prize. For coming in second, Twitch got diddly.

And Now For the Show.

This was a wonderful show, well choreographed and presented. Let’s start by introducing our “jidges.” Mia Michaels, Adam Shankman, Debbie Allen, Mia Michaels, Nigel Lythgoe and Little C.

The show started with a move through a number of flashbacks from the season. It was quick, but brought back some fond memories.

They then brought back the entire top 20 to dance to a set choreographed by Shane Sparks and danced to “BOOM”, by SIN feat. T-Pain. This was basic hip-hop. The choreography was fun, bringing out some of the best talent on the show. One move where Gev slides under the line of women as they each jump over him. As Little C says, it was “buck”. They then clustered into a group and everyone gradually drops to the floor leaving only the final four standing. Cute metaphor yes?

So the show moved to letting the six “jidges” choose their favorite set from the season. These are likely the sets that will be performed on the tour, so make sure you don’t miss them. Nigel Lythgoe had first pick and selected one of our favorites, and one we already said would be on the tour, “Bollywood”, which may be more appropriately spelled “Bali-Wood”.

Katee and Joshua were at the ready and began their routine. You could tell how much these two love to perform with each other. There is no point in presenting an encore of our prior review of this piece, other than to say these guys gave us goose bumps once again, and you can watch it here.

Mary selected Courtney and Gev, performing to “Wishing on a Star” by Rose Royce.  This piece has a richer feel than any performed to songs by Ford Taurus.  The set had some of the sexiest moves in the show this year with Courtney showing how provocative she can be. Had this been a dance in her repertoire last night, the results of this competition may have been different.

Surprise 1

Now, for a break, there was a popping championship, incorporating two of the poppers that the judges voted through to Vegas. The first, Philip Chbeeb, had to resign before going to Vegas because he contracted pneumonia. And Robert Muraine resigned after getting to Vegas when he realized that there was much more to the show than just popping. Neither could have won the competition, but their popping skills defy everything we know about physics, so they are clearly worth watching compete.

This was the first time Robert and Philip met and they went head to head. Robert went first, and did some basic moves. Philip looked unfazed and moved into a set of his own that was quite challenging. But then Robert stole the rest of the show with moves that could not be duplicated by any other human on the planet. This kid is a major freak show with the way he can move his body. Robert finished by mimicking Philip’s signature move easily. Adam Shankman concurred with what we had said to each other half way through the performance, “Robert, you are a freak of nature!”. The judges voted Robert the winner 5-1. We have no idea what he won, but it was fun.

Adam Shankman called Twitch and Comfort back to the stage, for their set performed to “Forever” by Chris Brown. This hip-hop piece has been reviewed on our site before and will be on the tour. It is freakish how good it gets when these two fantastic hip hop dancers hook up. The finale Russian walk and heart pump are classic and only created and performed this well by artists in the top of their field.

Little C called out Chelsie and Mark to perform to “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis. This was a classic, and they took it another step as they continued to prove why they are champions. Had things played out differently, these two could have easily been in the finals instead of Twitch and Courtney. And we believe that this dance shows that America may have erred on calling for their elimination.

Surprise 2

Mary Murphy then surprised even Nigel by taking the stage in a hot short red dress dancing with D’mitri from last season, with his shirt fully open. Mary demonstrated she still has the legs to move on the floor. She wore the outfit that Courtney should have worn last night in the Jive. Had Courtney worn that red, frilly dress, instead of a one-piece bathing suit, we know that dance would have been much better received.

Mia Michaels then called on Katee and Will for the classic danced to “Imagine” by David Archuleta. If you remember, earlier in the season, this dance was performed to near perfection in the competition, but Katee bumped her head moving under Will’s arm. This time, it was flawless and brought the entire crowd to its feet as well as the judges. This demonstrated that these two were the best dancers in this competition. America does not like to be told whom to vote for, but sometimes the experts really do know best. These two were perfect.

Adam Shackman called on Mark and Courtney dancing to the Garden by Mirah. This is the sexy Burlesque piece where Courtney wears a single net stocking half torn and Mark distinguishes his performance with the look of Alex Delarge, played by Malcolm McDowell, from “A Clockwork Orange”. Great set and we look forward to it on the tour.

First Elimination

They then brought out the four finalists to cut Courtney. She knew she wouldn’t beat Katee. She got a nice bouquet of flowers. She took the loss well, as she should, because she is a star now and will be cheered again and again on the tour and after that in every performance of which she is a part.

They then had the final five men perform Nigel’s piece choreographed to “Five Guys Named Moe” by Joe Jackson. This piece is so much fun that if you haven’t seen it, watch it; if you have, watch it again (we did, twice), and expect it live on tour.

They then presented a dance from the performers of “Cirque du Soleil” done to “Homage to the Rabbits” by Eric Serra. It is an incredibly dark piece danced with everyone in rabbit costumes and choreographed by, you guessed it, the dark man himself, Wade Robson, of “Thriller” fame.

Second Elimination

They then leaped to the biggest mistake on the show we have ever seen, eliminating Katee and leaving Twitch. She was awarded a prize of $50,000.00 to compensate her for America’s inept analysis of dance. The judges last night tried to subdue their praise of Katee, we think to keep this from being a blow out, but they instead got America to forget how wonderful she is. They played back her prior dances from the season, and we remembered, she not only made herself the winner, she brought the male dancers to the show. Twitch’s most memorable dances were with Katee, and if not for those, he likely would not have been voted through.  Will’s best performance was with Katee, and we all know how the pairing of Joshua and Katee worked out.

Sour grapes are worth eating after you saw Katee lose. It was sad, and it was wrong. We have to believe that this was an error on the part of the show; perhaps what they were inferring with the new prize for Katee is that there will be a winner on both the men and women’s side from now on, and it will not be clear if the leader in the runner-up gender finished second or third. We are thinking that Katee could have actually finished second here and we were misled by the show because they wanted to play up the final draw between the men. No clue, but if America did vote for Twitch over Katee, we know they were in the “dead zone” with their cell phones.

Surprise 3

After the break, we found Cat Deely sitting in Nigel’s place in the judges panel.  Could this be a  signal something was up?  Cat chatted with Debbie Allen for a little while who quipped that she stepped down (as SYTYCD judge) so Will could compete and that she was proud of Will’s performances. With that note, Cat introduced the next performers from the Debbie Allen Dance Academy bringing in Debbie’s youngest and ‘oldest’ students- 19 kids tap dancing to “Boogie Wonderland” by the Earth, Wind and Fire. Oh, the oldest performer was- was that really Nigel Lythgoe taking the center stage? Yes it was! He was tap dancing his heart out along with the kids. It was a fun number.

Mary called for Mia Michael’s piece next starring Katee and Twitch and danced to “Mercy” by Duffy. This performance was not as sharp as when it was first performed, but it was still superb and should win Mia an Emmy. It was also, ironically, performed right after Katee’s elimination, the piece that brought Twitch to the forefront and gave him his chance to beat Will in the voting. Had this piece not been so wonderfully performed by Katee, we think Will would have lived on and Twitch would have gone home.

After some comic relief, Debbie Allen selected Twitch and Kherington‘s dance to “A New Day Had Come” by Celine Dion. This is a beautiful piece and it does show Twitch can dance, but it also clearly demonstrates his lack of ability in formal dance relative to the other performers in the competition. The lifts are strong, but strength is not dance. It helps, but it is not dance.

Nigel then called for the pair of the season, Joshua and Katee, dancing to “No Air” by Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown. This was Joshua’s and Katee’s first dance together on the show and it is one of the most memorable. It was the start of what would be the best year of these two dancers’ lives, and resulted in another standing ovation from the crowd and judges.

There was a segment on “where they are now” that was fun. It showed a number of past season dancers and was primarily a promotion for the show, but it was presented professionally.

Surprise 4

They brought performers from past seasons to refresh the audience’s memory of these great dancers. Dominic, Lauren, Travis, Ryan, Neil, Dmitri, Anya, Hok, Jaime and Benji among others came to the stage to remind us this show’s foundation is built on amazing talent. They wowed us in this set and at the end, the cast from this year joined in. This was great and had the audience going wild.

THE FINAL TWO

They then returned and crowned Joshua in the final 2 minutes of the show. Joshua and Twitch both reacted by leaping into the air, and Twitch raised Joshua’s hand in victory. Joshua’s Dad was in tears and Joshua was hugging Cat. He thanked everyone graciously, and showed he is a deserving champion.

Now, we wait for the tour and next year on SYTYCD. It was a great season with so many stunning and entertaining sets that no matter who wins, the audience always does.

Our congratulations to Joshua Allen, SYTYCD America’s Favorite Dancer!

The photo above is copyrighted; published with permission. Please do not copy.
For more quality and stunning photos visit j kay bradford photography




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Season 4 SYTYCD Finale: Men Outperform the Ladies!! WHO WILL WIN?? Prediction and Review

Our pollsters this week were overwhelmingly in favor of Katee. She was ahead nearly 2 to 1 over the nearest competitor, Joshua. Twitch and Courtney were taking up the rear with only a fraction of the votes. Our contributors have gained our respect from their past calls, but were they right this time?

We again apologize if this review is long, but this was a two-hour show with little anyone should miss. Each piece was spectacular and there were slight variations in the quality of the performances that we believe screams out who won this competition. If you are only interested in the prediction, and voting in our polls, it is at the end of this article. If not, read on, because this was one amazing show.

Now for the show.

The show didn’t waste time, and the first pair to take the stage was Twitch and Courtney. The theme was a crazed emotional girlfriend and the man that has to confront such emotion. It was a Hip Hop routine, and was well done. Courtney struck us, somewhat, as too cute for the part. She looked just a tad nervous, but in this competition finale, you could understand that. The dance was great, finished by an attempted pinwheel head spin. They blew the last move though, as Courtney dropped off Twitch’s head too soon. Fortunately, he caught her.

The judges tried to get the audience to look past the final slip and did not mention it. “I felt that from you!” exclaimed Mary, followed by her deafening scream. The thing that stood out in the judges’ comments at the end was that they seemed to focus on Courtney and promoted her performance more than Twitch’s. Nigel remarked, “Twitch, if I were you, I would be grateful I was dancing with Courtney and not Mary”. If you recall, this is the second time that Twitch has drawn the crazy girlfriend. In one of our absolute favorite performances from the season, Katee goes ballistic on Twitch, her indifferent partner.

Courtney had to now take her turn at the interview and solo. She danced the solo to “They Weren’t There” by Missy Higgins. Following her graceful and superior solo, Courtney broke into tears as the judges praised her. Courtney always wins the solo, but would it be enough to bring her the votes to win?

What was to follow was almost unfair. They paired Katee and Joshua to dance in competition against Twitch and Courtney’s initial performance. Katee quipped in practice, “Joshua’s my boo”. Could this be for real? They do seem wonderful together. The two have been astonishing as a pair all season. Twitch and Courtney have barely been noticed in their few pairings.

Wade Robson choreographed another contemporary masterpiece, performed to “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” by John Mayer. Katie begins the piece quivering with evident despair, totally relating her character to the audience. The emotions burst through the television and into our hearts. The synchronization in this dance has to be seen. It cannot be conveyed in words. Every move is pure grace, with a particularly beautiful reverse fall by Katee onto Joshua’s leg, as he gently kicks Katee upright. Our response before the dance was that no one could beat Katee and Joshua as partners in any competition. Our response after the dance was that it wasn’t going to happen tonight. Round one to Joshua and Katee.

We were shocked by a rather muted response from the judges. Mandy Moore commented to Katee, “You could have used a little more work through the legs and feet.” We have no idea what Mandy was speaking of. Katee’s feet are among her most spectacular features during a dance. Mary did praise the dancers, but did not give them her scream or a trip on the Hot Tamale train. Nigel commented that Katee and Joshua were “Two of the best dancers we have ever had on this show”.

Courtney and Katee: dancing together!

Next up were the “girls” as the show refers to them. Courtney and Katee performed a Broadway dance for the audience complete with spinning umbrellas and puffy colorful outfits. Tyce Diorio choreographed the piece, and it was danced to “The Trolley Song” by Rufus Wainwright. The two dancers started off slightly out of sync, but they pulled it together as they progressed. What became evident during this dance is what makes Katee extraordinary. Her lines are impeccable. It was hard to place before you saw this dance scene. Katee almost makes Courtney seem awkward, and Courtney is far from awkward. Katee has lines that are nearly perfect. We would be inclined to say it was a height advantage, but Sabra last year dispelled that theory. It is grace and beauty in her motion that can only be seen and felt, not expressed in prose.

Nigel said it all, following the dance. “Katee finishes every move just a little bit further than you.” You could see the pained facial reaction to the comment on Courtney’s face, but Nigel was right. Katee was smoother and more graceful throughout.

Now it was time for Twitch to speak to the audience. He said he would be in the military now if it wasn’t for this opportunity. Twitch was asked what his favorite routine was, and he said it was clearly the Viennese Waltz with Kherington.

Twitch did a very entertaining mixed Pop and Hip Hop solo danced to “It Was All In Your Mind” by Wade Robson. Twitch started with a back flip and followed with moves throughout the dance that seemed downright impossible. The judges were unanimous in their praise.

Joshua and Twitch: sparring partners!

Joshua and Twitch were up next in an all male pairing. This dance made us glad that Mark was eliminated. While it was sad to see him go, and we believe he won last week, Twitch and Joshua made superb partners for this dance, and we believe it could have only been possible given these two specific men. It was a Russian dance called the Trepac, choreographed by Youri Nelzine and danced to the Nutcracker.

The costumes were ridiculous gypsy outfits, though, that made us think of Halloween. Twitch did all the floor work, effortlessly executing Russian squats, kicks and walks as he crouched. Joshua executed leaps that were six feet off the floor. We have never seen such height in all the time we have watched the show. There were body flips, twirls and jumps that were spectacular and had the audience screaming on every move. The audience and judges were on their feet. Mary expressed that it was great to see “two Hip Hop dancers for the first time in the finale”, and broke into another deafening scream. The men’s dance was clearly stronger than the women’s. The two dancers followed by attempting to show who could jump higher. Joshua left little doubt with a standing back flip.

Katee was up next, and the show reflected on her near elimination at the auditions. At the time, she said she would give up and not come back next year if not selected. Nigel then called for another vote, as though they would not let her through for her careless comment.   Of course, the judges did put through Katee, and we think there was no doubt this was little more than theatrics on Nigel’s part. Katee said her favorite dance was with Joshua in the performance to “No Air” by Jordan Sparks. A championship dance performed to another champion’s hit song.

Katee did her solo to “Hide and Seek”, by Imogen Heap. It was beautiful and expressive, but not as well danced as Courtney’s. Courtney again won the solo competition. The guest judge, Mandy Moore, once again stated Katee should work on her knees and feet. We suggest Mandy visit her optometrist; near sightedness can be fixed these days. The other judges were rather muted in their praise of Katee here. They just said it was great and not much else. Could Katee’s grip on first place be waning?

So, Twitch and Katee were to now perform the Fox Trot. This brought consternation to our faces as we remembered how badly Twitch danced last week with Chelsie. It seemed unfair to do this again, but this time to Katee. Could she survive it? The piece was danced to “Feeling Good” by Michael Buble. Katee was in a killer light blue full length gown with frills, and this dress was perfect for this dance. Katee brought it to life in every spin and every lift. Katee even pulled off something we had never seen before, a cartwheel in a full gown!!

Now for the surprise. Twitch was superb. While the dance accentuated Katee, that is what a leading man is supposed to do. Twitch worked this dance. Every lift and move was graceful and strong. Every smile, nuance and point perfect on Katee, raised up in Twitch’s strong arms.

The judges appeared to praise Twitch more than Katee once again, especially commenting on his strong lift of Katee directly over his head. Katee merely got the comment, “Bravo” from Mary. Nigel, at least said a bit more, saying that the men were so strong this year that they spoiled the choreographers. Twitch was pouring sweat after this dance. That tux was on its way to the dry cleaners for sure!!

Joshua came on next for his interview and, as it turns out, was quite the high school athlete in football and track. His coaches, he stated, were quite upset when he quit to pursue dance. It seems obvious that with Joshua’s leg strength, he must have been an absolute star in track. Joshua’s quote touched us, as he reflected on the show, “This is a blessing, everything here is a blessing.”

Joshua followed with his solo. It was quite fun with some spectacular moves and then breaking off the stage to pop and perform a finale split on the judges’ stand. He hammed it up just enough to be cute at the end, expressing the personality that makes everyone love him. Mary said that he has been riding first class all the way on the Hot Tamale Train. Nigel added, “You have set the standard for untrained dancers.” But this made us wonder. They say that he is trained on the SYTYCD website. Which is it Nigel?

Courtney would now have her chance to dance with Joshua. Joshua began with a strong leap over Courtney. Courtney was keeping up beautifully, but it was apparent, the costume department totally blew their assignment. Courtney’s outfit looked like a one-piece bathing suit. It should have been more of a skirt or a garment that accentuates movement. The high boots made her legs look short; this dance is made for high heels!! The outfit was completely wrong. It did nothing to augment Courtney’s lines and did not contribute at all to her performance.

Joshua’s attire didn’t help much either, because he was wearing sneakers and jeans, which are also all wrong for this style of dance. There were two spectacular moves though, a brilliant slide back bend between Joshua’s legs, followed by a lift up. And the killer move in the finale, which Nigel informed us is called “around the world”. In this move, Joshua swings Courtney around upside down behind is back, with one arm, and brings her back around perfectly just to gently lay her on the floor. Joshua finished with a cartwheel that effortlessly moved into a back-flip.

Mary and Mandy were quick to praise the two dancers, but Nigel then brought them back to reality. “There were a lot of things I was disappointed with; it didn’t have the great feel the Jive should have. It wasn’t brilliant, it was tired”. To that we respond, Nigel, this dance was anything but tired!! We believe the costumes totally negated the performance and made it seem slow and clumsy. You do not dance the Jive in a bathing suit and sneakers. It was simply a poor choice by the costume department that detracted from the execution of what could have been a championship performance.

Final Dance of the Top 4

In the finale, Mia Michaels choreographed a piece for all four dancers. They start off with a large blue scarf that spans the stage. The dancers move back and quickly discard the scarf after they exploited it for opening effect. We once again were disappointed with the costumes. They were dressed in Scottish Kilts that did nothing at all for the dance. As Nigel later quipped, he felt the dancers looked like “the Scottish Olympic Team”. In this instance, plaid was clearly bad.

Mia will get no Emmy for this choreography. The dancers did not seem in sync. There were some fantastic lifts and spins, but overall, while entertaining, the performance did nothing for us, and it did not help in differentiating any of the top four contestants. After the dance, Nigel commented, “Two untrained dancers in the guys”, and “I think these two boys deserve to be here”, finishing with “You are inspirational for others that could not be trained as dancers”.

Once again we are puzzled, because we have said all along that from what we could find, Joshua and Twitch are not trained dancers, and yet the Fox website contradicts both Nigel and our research. Maybe it is all a matter of degree.

So, we can finally conclude, and we appreciate your patience in reading our review. Our pollsters will want to know if they did it again. Did Katee indeed win? Did Joshua pull an upset, or Courtney bring it strongly enough to draw votes and take this contest? Could Twitch have pulled out a miracle with his astonishing performances?

This wasn’t as close as it seems. Joshua and Twitch’s dance together was spectacular and better than the ladies’ pairing, but even six foot leaps could not overcome Katee’s grace. After her prior performances, this competition was Katee’s to lose. She didn’t.


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SYTYCD Joshua and Twitch COLLAPSE, Is Fox Responsible?

If you didn’t catch the news yet, two out of the four finalists, Joshua and Twitch, of So You Think You Can Dance were hospitalized Saturday after supposedly succumbing to dehydration. Sunday rehearsals were canceled as a result. Judge Mary Murphy was interviewed by People Magazine on Sunday, and she stated “The kids are completely dehydrated – two of them. I’m sure they’re doing a lot of blood work to see if there’s anything else.”

Mary was optimistic that a day off would be beneficial to all, and that the remaining two dancers should not have any advantage as a result.

In reality, though, a day of rehearsal is critical to these performers, and so is being in peak physical condition. Their performances place physical demands on the dancers that are on par with those placed on many Olympic athletes.

Murphy actually blamed Twitch and Joshua themselves, stating, “they want it so bad, so, they keep pushing themselves and pushing themselves and not letting anybody know that, ‘Hey, I’m running on empty,’ and then it catches up on them and then they collapse.”

We are not so sure the show is not responsible for placing demands on the performers that are unsafe and risky, and failing to properly monitor the dancers’ health. These aren’t the first dancers shuffled off in an ambulance.

It appears to us that the show could be pushing the contestants to the brink risking their health and careers. Earlier this season alone, Jessica was forced to back out of the competition with a pair of broken ribs, restoring Comfort to the top ten. And last year’s winner, Sabra, suffered an ugly blow to the head that could have led to a severe neck or head injury after being dropped in practice by a dancer much less trained than she.

Twitch and Joshua are powerful men that are at the top of their game in dance. They are strong, hard-hitting and have proven to be amazing athletic dancers with extensive backgrounds, and BOTH, not just one,  were driven to collapse by the So You Think You Can Dance program.

The good news is that both Twitch and Joshua were treated and released from the hospital, but we think that Mary and company should take pause before they truly damage someone’s career.  12 hours of rehearsal a day is common according to Mary, and that is likely not sustainable over the duration of the season.


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Season 4: So You Think You Can Dance Recap and Prediction: Katee and Joshua At The Bottom!!

UPDATE: AUGUST 07, 2008, Joshua ALLEN is AMERICA’S FAVORITE DANCER!

As you watched this show unwind, it was obviously going to be very difficult to pick a man or woman for the bottom of tomorrow’s voting. After watching the show, we feel that Katee and Joshua were obviously at the bottom of our list. The bottom of our list for elimination that is…

This was a complex episode and is difficult to express in words. We apologize for the lengthy review, but there was so much to cover, and if you are only interested in the results or reading about your favorites, we understand. Our final results are at the end.

First, we are convinced that the solo in the finals of this competition means absolutely nothing anymore. We believed when the dancers were lower quality, a solo could pull it out, but now we opine it is just not important to the audience. It can save the contestants with the “jidges”, but not with the audience; they want chemistry, they want couples, they want the magic of partnering.

We think that was totally evident last week. Will killed the solo. His James Brown impersonation was brilliant, creative and daring. He won the solo by a mile. But he got the fewest votes. Did anyone care that Mark’s solo was weak, and that both Twitch and Joshua’s were a level above? Nope. It wasn’t even necessary for Mark to perform a solo to send Will home (well, not really home, but into practice sessions for the tour).

So all we will review here is what matters.

Dance One: Courtney and Mark, Viennese Waltz

Could the couple survive one of the dances that has often proved to be the kiss of death? This dance can often eliminate a couple by lulling the audience to sleep. We are not sure who selected the music for the dance, but selecting David Cook’s “Time of My Life” made this dance much more memorable, and we think only one of the three male dancers could have pulled it off this well.

Mark had fantastic facial expression in this dance, and it was an absolutely astounding performance. Any of the women would have been fantastic in this performance, but we think Courtney fits best with Mark, so the match was perfect. His stoic face at the end and Courtney’s smile as they finished could have won right then and there. Our only complaint was regarding the childish facial expressions from Mark after the dance. He is the elder of the group and came across as a younger teenager during the judges’ comments.

Dance Two – Joshua and Katee, Contemporary

In this dance, Joshua and Katee did a Romeo and Juliet number choreographed by Tice DiOrio. The style of this dance outclassed so much we have seen before on this show. The reverse back hand stand by Joshua and step-over by Katee are not high on the difficulty list, but it was so well timed and beautiful. The passion was palpable. Then, a leap over Katee and a lift into a cross. A fall, dip and the a leap we cannot even describe well enough, but will try. Katee does a full leap into the air, and just at the crest of her leap, Joshua catches her in full stride, just to twist and turn and lift her again. This is a runner up for the best dance move in the show. Joshua then runs across the stage with Katee upside down in his arms.

It was now time for a bit of a wardrobe malfunction in the reverse of Janet Jackson’s topless Superbowl piece. Katee’s bottoms were clearly visible and fully exposed as her outfit started to look more like she was wearing a thong. Even at the finish, it was obvious that the people that do the costumes should think a bit about some kind of glue or this show may get an R rating.

Adam Shankman, the guest judge, stated that they were “the holy trinity of So You Think You Can Dance…two great dancers, one great choreographer”. The judges gave a standing ovation, although Nigel looked obligated to comply as he stood with a foolish grin on his face. Mary screamed loudly… twice until we believe Nigel was nearly deaf. No foolish faces on the couple, just totally professional, garnering even more points. The judges seemed to build Joshua up more than Katee here. He was great, and we believe the judges want to make sure the finale is close, not just a Katee blow out.

Dance Three: Chelsie and Twitch – Mambo

This a very difficult dance, and it is way out of Twitch’s league. So, as we said earlier today, we felt if he was out of his element that this would be his downfall. Chelsie is unstoppable and this dance is in her element. She would dance this fantastically whether Twitch came to the show or not. Chelsie’s red dress drew the eyes of the audience to her throughout. She was stunning, with high heels so high, she shouldn’t be able to stand in them, let alone perform one of the masterpieces of So You Think You Can Dance.

She is so fast. We thought the Russian dancer from last year, Anya, had the fastest legs we had ever seen on this show. Chelsie’s are even faster.

Twitch looked like he was straining throughout the dance to work out the moves. He was peeking at Chelsie to lead him through the dance, like a child cheats on a test by slyly glancing at his neighbor’s test paper. And we are not sure if Chelsie noticed or planned it, but some of her shakes raised her skirt to expose her cheeks a bit. Was this to be a theme?

Then, it happened, what we think is the best move of the night, right up there with the earlier move of Katee and Joshua, but this was 80/20.  80 percent Chelsie, 20 percent Twitch. Following several unmemorable but well executed spins, the Pièce de résistance, Chelsie worked a double spin into a reverse back drop in which she totally had to trust Twitch to catch her by the neck or she falls straight to the floor hitting the back of her head. That must have been incredibly scary in practice. Twitch catches her in the nick of time, but then lets go. We gasped as Chelsie somehow remains suspended with her head pointed straight up and her knees completely bent 90 degrees. Newton discovered gravity, Chelsie disproved his theory. Chelsie, just as she looks about to collapse backwards onto the floor, catches Twitch’s knee. At this point, Twitch is supposed to catch her with his left arm. He casually reaches back and misses. Chelsie takes charge and finds the arm she needs in the nick of time with her hair fully extended to the floor.

After coming to her feet, and with total composure, Chelsie pulls off some shakes and moves that stun and follows it with five consecutive twirls in a standing position followed by five more twirls in an impossible squatted position. She then falls to the floor, on her back and Twitch then falls over her into a Push Up Position.

Twitch held his own and was a reasonably strong partner, but Chelsie just used him mostly as a prop. This was her specialty, and the floor may have needed a fire extinguisher after her dance. But this was out of Twitch’s comfort zone, so he gets a bonus point or two for effort. As Mary said afterwards, No one can touch Chelsie in the Latin style. Considering she isn’t Latin, that is pretty impressive. A little dark skin and she has us convinced.

Professional during the judges review. Close if not the best dance of the night for the women.

Dance 4: Mark and Courtney – Jazz

This dance was fun and dark done to the Garden by Mirah. The choreographer (Sonya Tayeh) looks a little “Trick or Treat”, so her dark style seems appropriate. Mark starts off with a fantastic peacock walk with his arms inverted forward off his hips. He moves just like a bird in a mating ritual, one wing forward at a time and his hair in a Mohawk-like style bestowing an even more bird-like appearance. Facial expression once again, classic as only Mark can pull it off.

The torn single net stocking on Courtney is reminiscent of Burlesque. There is a lift by Mark followed by some shocking artistic moves with Courtney writhing on the floor and Mark expressing running away before breaking into a pseudo fight scene. Courtney appears to get away, but Mark chases her down and just as he gets her in his grasp, he stares into the camera. His face grabbed us as the frightening and evil look of the star of “A Clock Work Orange”, Alex DeLarge, as he stares straight into the camera with a grin of complete control and evil intent.

The throws and dance are so theatrical it is impossible to describe them all in words but in a final fight scene, Mark submits to Courtney. Adam Shankman said it was “so sick”. The judges loved it. Courtney ‘s face was gorgeous and sincere. Mark had a few artificial smiles and unduly surprised looks, but nothing crazed.

Dance 5: Katee and Joshua – Paso Doble

First, the outfits. Joshua starts in black long pants and, for the first time, no shirt. His skin blends well with the pants and he really has nothing to hide. Katee has a dress that completely exposes her midriff, but is long and Spanish looking to her ankles, accented by black wrappings on her right arm giving her a masculine look, or as masculine as Katee could look.

The music Filet by Le Reve (Original Sound Track), is driving opera-style Spanish classical that heightens in intensity as it moves forward. This dance does as well. A lift, followed by a reverse back flip by Katee over Joshua’s shoulder. Then Katee appears to throw Joshua across the floor who slides on his knees for what appears to be approximately ten feet. Katee swiftly moves in the position of a belly dancer to the front of Joshua as he slides. Then she falls back into his arms and they dance like toreadors facing the bull.

The dance is masculine, reminding us of something from primitive films like “Konan the Barbarian”, but with vastly better choreography. Joshua here takes the show for a bit, commanding in his movements as they prance about the floor. His bullfighter heroics impress into a move where he falls to his knees as Katee raises her leg and kicks over him as he postures forward, arching backwards on his knees.

A finale of spins with Katee sprawled across Joshua’s knees grasping him around the neck, finished with Joshua dragging her across the dance floor to Cat for “jidging”. As the judges mention, this performance was stunning for Joshua to be so brilliant or even capable of dancing with his minimal training in this area. Mary said, “True Magic” and then followed with two huge screams, and now we are certain Nigel is totally deaf in his left ear. Once again, the judges seemed pushed to stress Joshua’s ability as Nigel exclaimed, “it breaks my heart to say it, I must be honest, I have to agree with Mary, if you keep dancing like that Joshua, you are going to steal this show, there is no question about it.” Then, Mary gives them a standing O.

Dance 6: Twitch and Chelsie – Hip Hop

This hip hop dance is simple in theme. The two appear as conductors about to battle for a baton that will ultimately give them control over the music and the dance. They slowly back in to take the baton, but Twitch beats Chelsie to the punch and takes control. Chelsie moves in from behind to steal the baton from Twitch. He is controlled by her for a bit, and then moves in, taking control of her arms from behind, forcing the baton to the floor. A bit of posturing then Twitch flipped his body upside down with one leg over his other knee, which gave his body the impression of a bass violin. Chelsie plays the bow and then she sneaks though Twitch’s legs to snag the baton. Twitch quickly turns to try to get it himself. Very theatrical and expressive material. Twitch matched Mark here, but he did not beat him. Chelsie sealed the deal. If she can do hip hop as well as she did, she is a winner. But Chelsie’s hair must have taken about six bottles of hair spray.

Conclusion:

Joshua and Katee are runaway leaders. They were the most memorable and the strongest dancers in this show. In fact, when they dance together this late in the competition, their biggest risk is making their partner look too good. Remember, only one wins.

Now for the real challenge. Who will get eliminated??? Mark and Twitch were fairly close. Twitch survived the first dance which was out of his element. Mark was in the lead.

Both Mark and Twitch did great in their finales. Our preliminary pick. Twitch’s hip hop dance wasn’t better than Mark’s Jazz Dance,  and Mark’s first dance was better than Twitch’s. Hmmmm. So close, but we are going to say goodbye to…Twitch.

Courtney was stunning tonight. She would have won last year in our opinion, but Chelsie hit every step. Courtney had the advantage, we feel, because of her selected dances and having a more diverse partner, but Chelsie won. That drop catching Twitch’s knee nailed it for us.

Courtney won the solo. Joshua won on the men’s side. Mark should keep his shirt on.

Two of the women, we noticed, were turning the other cheek, several times in the dances. But when it comes down to it, Katee and Joshua were in our bottom two selections, but not in the bottom of the voting, in the bottom of possible choices for elimination. They were number one and number two, you just have to decide which is which.

Our guess is that Courtney and Twitch will be at the bottom tomorrow night. Chelsie with those moves and super human recoveries just has to go on. And unless the voters get complacent, Katee is a cinch. Twitch was great, but he couldn’t pull off a meaningful dance for us. Mark was more expressive and, despite losing the lost T-Shirt wars, clearly nailed second place among the men.

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