6/24 SYTYCD 5 Top 16 Perform For your Votes America!

There are times we feel the judges are not on their game. Most of the time, the judges on SYTYCD are quite good, but tonight, we are not so sure. They were inconsistent, and Mary seemed like the only person really paying attention. Nigel Lithgoe was way off, criticizing dances that were performed wonderfully. Mary would correct him, but he continued to miss the mark.

The first performance, though, all the judges seemed to miss.

1. Karla Garcia and Jonathan Platero Hip-hop,  “By My Side” —Jadakiss featuring Ne-Yo choreographed by Dave Scott

OK, this was not the best hip hop we have seen on the show, but it was very well done. Our biggest criticism of it was Jonathan’s face. They were supposed to be gangstah here and instead he was smiling like a goofy teenager throughout. That, we think, is what brought down the performance, because overall, it was very fun and we think better than the second dance, which the judges praised. (7/10)

2. Asuka Kondoh and Vitolio Jeune Jazz, “Heartbreaker” —Pat Benatar choreographed by Mandy Moore

Asuka came out dressed like a tramp. It is not becoming for her, but she was trying to look the part of a rocker as they danced to Pat Benatar. We found nothing thrilling in the performance. The moves and lifts were dull. The choreography took few risks and left us flat. Then we listened to the judges praise it? What is wrong with this picture. (6/10)

3. Melissa Sandvig and Ade Obayomi Rumba, “Emotion” —Destiny’s Child choreographed by Tony Meredith

This has the ability to kill some dancers, but it plays well to a ballet style and Melissa is all ballet with a massive dose of style. Her body is so physical, that it makes movements impossible for anyone look simple. Ade was on mark and great at leading. He is no Joshua, at least not at this stage, but in some ways reminds of him. His strut just screams Joshua at times, but he doesn’t have the total masculine demeanor that made Joshua commanding. Overall, though, this was clearly the best of three. (9/10)

4. Janette Manrara and Brandon Bryant Hip-hop, “What a World” —Common choreographed by Dave Scott

Now we’re talkin. Janette came out wearing a burlesque style outfit as sexy as anything worn by Liza Minelli in her jaunt into the genre. But something was missing. We think it was Brandon. He did OK, and he danced well, but he seemed feminine which doesn’t work for the man in hip hop. He was sharp on his moves though and Janette was smokin’. (8/10)

Top 16 Solo Introduction plus Dance Performance Recap

5. Kayla Radomski and Kupono Aweau Viennese Waltz, “Sweet Dreams” —Jewel choreographed by Jean-Marc Généreux

Now this was to be very difficult. Neither of these dancers are ball room. And by the luck of the draw, they picked this seemingly off character dance for their first week together after losing their partners last week. We were incredibly surprised. Both delivered graceful performances with moves, lifts and timing that were impeccable. No bottom 3 this week. (9/10)

6. Randi Evans and Evan Kasprzak Contemporary, “Koop Island Blues” —Koop featuring Ane Brun choreographed by Mia Michaels

This performance had a major jazz style even though contemporary. There was nothing outstanding about it from a dance standpoint. No spectacular lifts or death defying leaps across the stage. There were no flips or somersaults. Just a story, a simple one, of a rascal of a man mesmerized by the derrière of a cagey blonde. We were shocked to see Randi has a rump. Nice job Randi. Evan and Randi nailed this routine. Mia Michaels brought us in again, and we have no idea how she can do it every week. We loved this and we’ll upload vids later for you guys to watch if you missed it. Fantastic. (10/10)

7. Caitlin Kinney and Jason Glover Paso Doble, “O Fortuna” —Mozaretum Orchestra Salzburg & Kurt Prestel choreographed by Jean-Marc Généreux

This dance has to be done with total strength and confidence. Jason pulled it off beautifully, and we think this dance, if improved slightly with time, is one for the live show. We loved Jason’s strength throughout the dance. And Caitlin’s lines and feminine but powerful moves were equally as captivating. There were a couple of minor issues the judges picked up on, but if you watch the dance as a dance lover and not a complete critic, this was wonderfully done. (9/10)

8. Jeanine Mason and Phillip Chbeeb Broadway, “Moses”  from Singing in the Rain choreographed by Tyce DiOrio

Phillip is just not this kind of dancer. He did manage to jump over a sofa the long way and mastered it, and his facial expressions were fun in this type of performance, but he is not diverse enough for anyone to believe him a finalist. Jeanine on the other hand is a firecracker, beautiful, graceful and consistently delivering performance after performance. She just can’t carry the act by herself. This was fun. We liked it a bunch. We had fun. But Philip just does not belong in this group of men, and may force Jeanine to dance for her life tomorrow. (7/10)

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Our bottom three:

Asuka & Vitolio

Jeanine & Philip

Karla & Jonathan

The pair of dancers that should go this week? We think Philip should go no matter how flexible or popular he is. And Asuka, while graceful, is outclassed by the remainder of the gals. Jonathan is at real risk though if his solo isn’t great because Philip has a strong following. Karla is fantastic though and we would hate to see her have to dance for her life. Vitolio is fun, but we don’t like him all that much. So it is hard to pick, but we think Philip should go, if not Philip, then Vitolio. From the gals, Asuka is the weakest, and if it comes down to a solo, we think it will be a clear cut choice.

6/17 SYTYCD 5 Top 18 Performance Night, Where was the ‘Fun’?

Sometimes, the sophomore performance is just plain lacking. Such was this week. It is not that the dancers weren’t great, but last week, the opening of the 20 top dancers competition, was incredible. The creativity and the style, both on the part of the choreographers and dancers was phenomenal. We have watched that show no less than five times this past week because it was spectacular.

So we entered into tonight thinking, these people are going to step it up even further. We were wrong. The show stumbled. The dances weren’t as good nor as sharp. Many otherwise excellent dancers did not show up when it counted. And in general, the choreographers were rather dull, save for a couple of dances. When Disco is the best dance of the night…you have a problem.

1. Randi Evans and Evan Kasprzak Jive, “Shake A Tail Feather”—Ray Charles

Choreographed by Louis van Amstel

The choreographer forgot how important leg movement is in this dance. Watch a Benji jive, for example, and the legs are living and kicking the entire time. There was very little of that in this dance, which left us wondering if we were watching the jive at all. These guys didn’t bring it and also went first, but we blame the choreographer, at least in part, for designing a dance that didn’t feel much like the style it was intended to be. Randi showed little unique personality, but has good technique and is a peppy dancer. Evan, well, for some reason, this wasn’t his night. Seems like there was enough blame to go around for everyone. (6/10)

2. Melissa Sandvig and Ade Obayomi Jazz, “24 Hours” (The Aston Shuffle A-Bomb Remix) —Terry Poison

Choreographed by Sonya Tayeh

The music on this song was horrible. It made absolutely no connection for us, and we feel as though the dancers started off with little connection to it as well. But Melissa and Ade brought it after a bit of a slow start. Their movements were unique and strong. Ade is physically incredible, which lends itself well to this kind of dance, where expression is so very important. Melissa was on target and in sync. We loved the performance. (8/10)

3. Caitlin Kinney and Jason Glover Hip-hop, “Missin’ You” —Trey Songz

Choreographed by Shane Sparks

There are times you just can see the pain in a dance, and it isn’t the intended pain of the choreographer. While they were smiling, the dancers were struggling throughout. Jason was able to hit the moves stronger and with more feeling. Caitlin had no feel for it at all, making Hip Hop look more like Contemporary. They danced great, but forgot to do Hip Hop. (6/10)

4. Janette Manrara and Brandon Bryant Disco, “Loving Is Really My Game”—Brainstorm

Choreographed by Doriana Sanchez

This was probably the best dance of the night. The tempo was incredibly fast, which brought an energy to the performance that has been lacking in prior disco sets. Despite a minor stumble, Janette was incredible, performing a V Split that hurt us to watch. Brandon, well, there is nothing he can’t do. Amazing performance for both of them and the best of the night. (9.5/10)

Top 18 Solo Introduction and Dance Recap

5. Asuka Kondoh and Vitolio Jeune Waltz, “Dreams Are More Precious” —Enya

Choreographed by Louis van Amstel

The waltz is a very difficult dance to pick up if you are not graced with training. Neither dancer is truly the type we would expect to be a champion Waltz dancer. Asuka, however, is graceful, and she did not want to be in the bottom three this week, and it showed. She was elegant throughout, smooth in every move even when her partner was less so, and dressed in stunning fashion. She was flawless in this dance which helped Vitolio. Vitolio was strong and on tempo. He was able to pull off every necessary lifts. But his leg movements were anything but the Waltz. He brings down the couple’s score, but Asuka was a 9. (8/10)

6. Kayla Radomski and Max Kapitannikov Pop-Jazz, “Hot Like Wow” —Nadia Oh

Choreographed by Brian Friedman

We think the judges on this show really underestimate Max’s talent. He is an incredibly strong dancer and, more importantly, in this phase of the competition, an amazing partner. Kayla is spectacular, but Max makes her even more special. This team pulled off an amazing dance that was so close to Janette and Brandon that we have to give them the same score. But Janette and Brandon won by a hair. (9.25/10)

7. Karla Garcia and Jonathan Platero Contemporary, “Falling Slowly” —The Frames (Original The Frames Music Video )

Choreographed by Stacey Tookey

Jonathan is not a contemporary dancer, but he nailed this performance. Karla was phenomenal. We weren’t crazy overall about the choreography. They weren’t the best of the night, but Jonathan proved to us that he is a serious contender. Karla always was. We also place them at the top of the night, losing slightly to Janette and Brandon. (9/10)

8. Jeanine Mason and Phillip Chbeeb Tango, “Violento (Up Mix)”–Bailongo!

Choreographed by Tony Meredith

If you cannot swim, you tend not to jump into the deep end of the pool. This show tends to throw dancers into the deep end even when they cannot swim. And Phillip could not swim. He is brilliant at what he does, but his attempt tonight was rather pathetic. It reminded us of Dancing With The Stars, with Jeanine as the Pro and Phillip as a wanna be star hoping to not be embarrassed. The result makes Jeanine even more phenomenal to us. Despite Phillip being awkward and plodding, she made every move gracefully and professionally. She gets a 9. Phillip a 4. Total score? Who knows, but we figure a (7/10).

9. Ashley Valerio and Kupono Aweau Hip-hop, “Imma Be” —The Black Eyed Peas

Choreographed by Shane Sparks

Now, when you get to go last, you have a chance to really nail the routine and get the most votes because the audience will remember you best. Ashley and Kupono stepped out and embarrassed themselves. There was no style to their dance. It hit about as hard as a helium balloon. And the moves were as crisp as over cooked spaghetti. Nothing about this performance did anything for us. In the other dancers, one dancer was significantly better than the other. In this dance, neither did it for us. (6/10)

Overall, tonight was a disappointment with only three great dances. Last week we are keeping in our DVR and will watch again and again. This week gets erased permanently.

Out of it all though emerges the bottom three. And it is pretty obvious who they are. Ashley and Kupono, Randi and Evan, & finally Caitlin and Jason were our bottom three. Much disappointment after being so stellar last week. Any one could go, but we think Ashley and Kupono were the flattest of the three couples. Randi was not incredible. But Caitlin and Jason were a huge disappointment because we expected more of Caitlin than this. So tough to call the actual bottom, and it will come down the solos. We think that Ashley and Kupono should depart as a couple, but it is so close at the bottom this week, that it just plain doesn’t matter which of the three goes. Problem is, in this show, one bad week and you could be gone, but next week could be your best of the season. It is just not possible to know.

We can narrow it down though and it was much easier to pick out the potential losers this week. Then again, America often mislead us with their votes that totally render a surprising bottom three. We’ll see.

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A Step by Step Video Review of the Shocking Season 4 SYTYCD Show that Led to the Final 6!

The first dance of the night was Will and Courtney’s Samba

The movement was fluid, and that frilly dress on Courtney doesn’t hurt. The judges loved it, but the Samba is an older style dance, first becoming popular in the US in the 1920’s and 30’s. Will and Courtney danced it incredibly, but despite what was an amazingly well-synchronized performance, this dance style could be forgettable relative to a more modern dance style, especially having gone first. And indeed, Courtney and Will ended up in the bottom. This could have been why. Or it could have been that Mary overdid her criticism of the dance, praising it, but making sure everyone knew that Courtney was her favorite. We think Mary may have talked just a tad too much.

Twitch and Katee Contemporary

This dance is outrageous. The choreography is fantastic, but what stands out are the emotions. There was a door in the piece used as a prop, but it felt like there were actually two independent rooms. Both Twitch and Katee pulled off a memorable piece here but Katee kicking and pounding on the door brought out the emotion best. The anger was palpable. Twitch was so cool throughout. Smooth moves, leaps over Katee’s moving body were timed with precision, and his strength was clearly conveyed. This was, without question, our favorite dance of the night, and possibly ever on this show.

Mark and Comfort Hip Hop

The lady of Hip Hop and Mark took the beat and energy on this song and hit it. It was an all out effort. The story conveyed is two kids in detention and erupting into expressive dance to squelch the boredom. Mark was not left behind here and danced step for step with Comfort. The prize move, about half way through is a split by Comfort followed by a lift over Mark’s back in which Comfort pulls a back-flip to finish it off. That move made us remember the dance, and memory in a voting competition is everything. Comfort had a shot here. The judges loved it and we did as well.

Joshua and Chelsie Tango

The Tango is a difficult dance to pull off in front of a modern audience. Ballroom is tough to perform and wow the audience. It requires major personality, and a performer that can pull it off is an instant star. Benji was the master and won the second season. Chelsie’s first kick set’s the stage. It builds slowly at first as Chelsie emerges from a chair and her legs start to do the impossible. There is a reverse kick where Chelsie practically kicked herself in the back of the head. Then the fast leg movement starts only to slow again into a lift. Then the couple uses slow foot movement to draw us in, and each move is dead on perfect. Chelsie was the star in this one. But Joshua was excellent, and they weren’t done yet!!

Will and Courtney Slow Hip Hop

This is not the type of Hip Hop we expect. The theme is to have the chance to turn back time. Will plays the role of a deceased lover, and the theatrics in this piece were reminiscent of the movie “Ghost.” The song was “Like You’ll Never See Me Again” by Alicia Keys. The emotion conveyed is beautiful from the start as Courtney holds an hourglass, and as she turns it over, the spot light appears on Will. They break into more what looks like a synchronized contemporary dance. Your heart aches as Will reaches for Courtney but cannot touch her, and as Courtney falls to the floor to look at his photograph. At the end Courtney drops Will’s picture and our hearts cracked just a bit. Will is amazing. His elimination was a shocker, but it could be that the audience did not remember this slower dance when it came time to make the call.

Katee and Twitch Broadway

The word was to be spread here, as “Sweet Georgia Brown” was about to be sung. Katee holds up a sign saying “Looking for Mr. Right”. The song was from the original Broadway cast and performed by Bubbling Brown Sugar. Katee dances masterfully, and all her points, as usual, are perfect. Katee’s specialty is the movement and positioning of her feet and hands, always graceful and expressive. Never a flat-footed moment. When they break into the fast dance, it reminds of the Charleston. The chase scene is humorous and the finale lift is classic. The only criticism is that Katee seemed too bubbly in this piece. But hey, we loved it!! And if we saw this on Broadway, we would have been standing.

Mark and Comfort Fox Trot

Danced to Lady Luck, by The Brian Setzer Orchestra, this piece was criticized heavily by the judges. We think the judges already had Comfort going home, and Nigel’s quip at the end seemed rehearsed. That said, the dance was a top-notch performance, at least by Mark, and the judges missed it. Mark starts off with flare and works into some very timely steps with Comfort. As usual, his expression is priceless, like when Comfort grabs him with her feather sash. We loved both Mark’s and Comfort’s footwork in the middle of the dance. And the first lift was fantastic with a perfect point by Comfort. The rest was a bit slow and some of the hand movement looked too exaggerated, but the final steps and lift were great. Considering what they were dealt, Mark and Comfort finished like pros.

Joshua and Chelsie Disco

The last dance of the night brought Disco to the floor. Watch this dance and you get exhausted. There are so many spins, twirls and lifts. There was no single move here that was the key memorable moment, but only because there were so many incredible moves. Like when Joshua lays Chelsie down on the floor, grabs her arm and leg and starts to spin her five times, actually inverting her body as he does. Seems impossible. And the final lift and drop made us gasp. Chelsie looks destined for a concussion on her way to the floor and yet stops safely in Joshua’s arms still smiling, but upside down. This was number two of the night for us and we are not disco fans!!

Will Solo: Get Up Offa That Thing!!

Our only solo reviewed here is a classic done by Will that should have won him the night. But the time limit did not allow Will to exploit the performance all the way. It was over way too quickly. Even he seems to stumble a bit at the end, surprised by the cue to finish. But we were shocked to see him go down to the bottom two let alone get eliminated. Danced to James Browns classic “Get Up Offa That Thing”, this performance speaks for itself. But hostess Cat (“Here are your jidges”) Deeley spoke for it too, bowing down to the master at the very end. We loved this piece. We will miss you Will, but look forward to seeing you on tour.

We hope you loved the show and each performance, we did.

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