We have followed this season from the beginning and as it progressed we were hoping week after week that stars will emerge and we’ll really feel connected with the dancers rather than just become a viewer showing no interest to any of them. Last year and the previous years, there were stars and we could pick them early on. We became instant fans!
We are now at the Top 6. The final six dancers and we still don’t have any favorite male dancer. No one has emerged victor and a star. Evan is closest just because his style is unique but overall, he’s really not great with other form of dance. Ade or Brandon could be in the final two but Evan could be too; we have no problem because they’re all on equal footing. No standout. They could eliminate all three and we won’t miss them!
The only thing we can say at this point in the competition is We MISS MIAMI and wished she is in the Finale with Jeanine Mason. We want Janette Manrara in the finale! We couldn’t care about Melissa and Kayla no matter how we try. They are fabulous dancers and great at what they do but they are not “STARS” the way Janette and Jeanine are.
We are still griping over Janette’s elimination. America better not eliminate Jeanine Mason or else…
Here are our Top pick dances. Click on the link to watch them:
When you get to the end, it gets so hard to determine who will be the audience’ bottom two. We had the gamut tonight, from dancers that were in last place but launching themselves into first place, and from dancers that delivered consistent and professional performances throughout, but were still short of the first place couple’s dance. What is even more disturbing is that despite performing in the best dance of the evening, one dancer may still be in trouble.
OK, the judges love Kayla, we get that. And we do not deny how great she is, but the other three women are spectacular as well. And when you praise every woman, where do you leave the audience? In confusion perhaps?
The men were the weak notch this week and we are thinking this could be a woman’s year. There are men with confused personalities, but the women are as feminine as they can be, and it gives them an edge. In couples dance, it is all about a man and a woman. It is about their emotions and expression, and a woman that is a man cannot convey it any better than a man that is a woman. Gayness has nothing to do with our opinion of the dancers’ ability, but it does distort chemistry with the other sex in couples dancing. Paired dancing’s history goes back for centuries, and is an expression of the relationship between a man and a woman, and if, in any way, a dancer cannot convey that man or woman perfectly, the dance doesn’t quite have that spark. That dark, handsome and commanding man is just not there this year. But Season 2 winner Benji Schwimmer pulled it off so what do we know? (solo introduction and dance recap video at the near bottom of this post)
Here we go.
Kayla – We loved Kayla tonight and there is no doubt how feminine this lady is. How could she end up eliminated? Here it is in a nutshell. She has great lines, the judges love her, the femininity is there. But she isn’t any more feminine than the other gals, she isn’t sexy and she has an older than she looks feel. We believe that SYTYCD draws a very young crowd. Tonight’s first dance didn’t help in that regard even though she danced it beautifully. The Broadway style was sultry and wonderful, but it should convey sexy when it calls for it and we didn’t get that from Kayla.
In her second performance, she performed a dance that was some mix between Tyce Diorio and Wade Robson. Wade is of Killer Fame, and that is appropriate to honor after Michael Jackon’s recent demise. However, this came across as a mating of the two choreographers and the identity of neither. Still, the dance was extremely well performed… but… you know, Kayla is way too feminine for hip hop, so this is, as it has in past seasons, to be the one dance that hurts the feminine woman and helps the butch one. Kaya’s solo did nothing for us. (8/10)
Jason – Jason is working his ass off to be in this competition to the end. He has flaws, which the judges are often quick to indicate, but we would hate to see him eliminated. But Kayla didn’t convey the winner instinct in this week’s performances and Jason had no chemistry with her. A major part of couple’s dance, and the judges most often point this out, is chemistry. The feeling that this couple is entwined in love or some other bond that is stronger than life. These two look as bonded as oil and vinegar. Still Jason danced brilliantly.
In the hip hop routine, he was the better of the two and they delivered a terrific performance. He had the look, the outfit and the moves. But it may be too little too late. His solo, as always, was spectacular. This man deserves to be on stage alone, he is a consummate soloist. But his two paired performances could not make him stand out for us tonight. (8/10)
Janette – You know, some people are just in it to win. You know the type, they just don’t give up, they fight for everything and quite often they end up leaving as their challengers look on in awe of what they have accomplished. It is that drive, that hunger, that passion that makes winners. At the beginning of this season, we would never have picked Janette as a favorite. This week, despite great overall paired performances, ones better than those that occurred in her couplings, she was the best woman, and the sexiest. And only one dance leaves us in doubt… her solo. We just don’t think the solos turn out to be the deciding factor, even if memorable. (10/10)
Ade – There is something to be said for memory, something that gains votes. When people go to vote for a candidate for any political office, they often pick the person they recognize or the name they remember. There are two names in this competition we remember best. Ade and Janette. We have no idea why that is, but it says much for Ade. Unfortunately, Ade and Melissa drew a horrible dance for appeal to a modern audience and downright sucked at it to boot. We were thinking that Ade could be in clear danger with his goofy look and last week’s bottom two appearance, and we already picked Melissa for a trip to the bleachers. Then he and Melissa stormed back with a piece that would bring tears into the hardest and blackest soul. Ade was beautiful in this piece and showed true and memorable superior talent and diversity. His solo was quirky, but powerful. The quirkiness and that first dance could hurt him a tad. (9/10)
Melissa – This Samba wasn’t good. There was basically nothing we liked about it. Ade seemed awkward as though in a collision course with disaster. Melissa just couldn’t get the tempo. The costumes, which were supposed to convey a sexy passion, conveyed a clownish appearance which did nothing for the dancers, even if it was not their fault. The judges keep telling Melissa how sexy she is and what a great body she has. We don’t see it. She is by far the least sexy woman on the stage and does not have the allure to pull off a Samba.
But when it comes to contemporary, which is much closer to her style and focuses on emotion, this woman presents absolute excellence. The piece she and Ade do is one for the ages and brought every judge to tears, as it brought memories of Twitch and Kherington* from last year, but had more passion and was more dance and less theatrics. Yet, despite being more dance, it brought more emotion to the floor than any other piece by allowing the dance to convey the story more than theater. The art is not something words can explain; someone must clearly just see it. Melissa portrays a cancer victim, and it touched us deeply because a good friend just got the shock of his life when being diagnosed with cancer after spending a July 4th being the ultimate host and bringing pleasure and the best of hospitality to us all. Our prayers are with him.
The problem? Melissa isn’t sexy. Her solo was fantastic; ballet is an art form that takes incredible skill and dedication to master, and we appreciate that. We also realize now Melissa has drawn our longest paragraph, so perhaps we are justifying our position as we place someone in the bottom four we love. The less we say, typically the better. (8/10)
(*Thanks for the correction msg. Although we were also thinking of Twitch and Katee’s Emmy nominated “door” dance to the music of “Mercy” by Duffy 🙂 )
Evan – We always get the feeling looking at Evan he is out of his league, and then he surprises us. He has a Charlie Chaplin appeal. Some compare him to Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, but while he imitates them, he brings a comedy to the steps more like Chaplain did to his films. The problem Evan has tonight is he is with Janette. She is so much sexier than he is masculine, it makes him seem off balance. She has more reach and more passion. But in the first dance, Evan was quite respectable. He was outclassed by Janette, but he brought a passion to the Jazz dance that was quite strong, but was it good enough for first place? Well? Then there was a romantic waltz. This just isn’t something we like to see a dancer do this late in the competition, especially with a woman much sexier than he. He tried, but try as he might, he didn’t have it. Then, he followed with a solo and, suddenly we remembered how spectacular a personality he is. Still, he cannot win this year. He isn’t as diverse as the other men. Like Benjie, he has the personality to stick around and eventually win on personality alone. Benji, though, was more original and overall …just better. (8/10)
Jeanine – There is a performer that always gets our attention when she dawns the stage. A performer that stops everyone and makes them want to watch. In her contemporary dance, Jeanine was emotional, beautiful and powerful. Her power almost seemed in contradiction to her incredible femininity. Her ability to convey emotion while she dances is something we have not seen the judges make mention of all season, and we cannot see how they are missing it. She also has chemistry with any with whom man she dances. You always believe her. Even if the man seems lacking, she appears as the angel that will eventually transform him. We believe she could dance with a chimpanzee and look spectacular. Jeanine’s solo is always the best of the night. Jeanine’s second dance was as a waltz, the kiss of death. But she made her partner look like he could love no other. Grace, elegance, lines…call it what you will. she had it all. (10/10)
Brandon – You know, Brandon is hot, he is diverse, he is powerful. We cannot say much bad about him except he cannot cast off his gay personna. Again, we have no problem with that, but acting is a huge part of partnering and most often, when we see him dance, we think to ourselves, he just isn’t interested in the woman, there is no chemistry. Brandon danced a spectacular solo, and danced flawlessly tonight. He gets a demerit for not showing enough passion, something Jeanine is never short of. Brandon’s solo was powerful as could be, but it was more gymnastics than dance. Perhaps he is overcompensating in his solo to make up for his femininity in the pairings. (9/10)
Well, wow, we feel like we ran out of dancers. We felt this week’s show was much bigger than the 8 dancers that performed. We saw a dance that, if it isn’t taken on the road, would be a disastrous oversight. But in counting up the numbers, this is the order of our performers.
OK, this makes it simple once again to pick our favorites. Jeanine could never be voted out this early. Janette is just way too entertaining and has proven she could be number one this year. Ade has been the least feminine of the males in dance, and delivered a spectacular piece tonight in his second dance which brought tears to the audience and judges. His expression combined with his strength is just a notch above. Brandon, we will give grace because of his incredible talent. Our problem with him is personality. He has to shake the gayness in couple’s dance or he is out of here. Maybe it even happened this week. but we don’t think so.
So that leaves our bottom four. Evan is wonderful, quirky and romantic, but only by himself. He has a wonderful personality, but nowhere near the diversity of his challengers.While Benji overcame that, we are not sure Evan can. But we do think he has America’s love, and his solo was a classic. Melissa is not sexy, she is not someone we just look at and awe, and she is not star quality without the beauty of her dance. This IS a dance competition, but other factors do get in the way, especially when it is close, so she is in danger. Kayla has the judges’ praises. They say how fantastic she is each week. And we agree, but these gals are all fantastic. Our criticism of Kayla is she doesn’t have have a familiar look. It is hard to pinpoint. Something that says that, while we adore her, we don’t know her. As another difficulty as she nears the finals, she is also severely lacking in the sexy department along with Melissa. We think she is in trouble. Jason is such a spectacular dancer, but once again, we think he is best in his solo. Both his dances tonight were strong and he was better than Evan, but not by much.
So, with all that verbiage, who lost? Wow. It is tough to give you the absolute bottom 2. So we won’t. You see our bottom 4 and it will come down to America’s choice. Flip a coin between Evan and Jason. And flip a coin between Melissa and Kayla. The others are safe, although we do have our dark horse pick for the bottom. Brandon came across too effeminate at times and may draw a low card. We have seen it before. Brandon could get nailed for his first performance. It is all a game.
But we will stick with our bottom four. We believe one of those four should go,and we believe that, of them, only one could win this competition, but it would take an incredible change in personality. Who are they? OK, we will say. Jason and Kayla. But we won’t say which is which.
We were very surprised to see Ellen Degeneres sitting in the judges panel, critiquing the dancers while being funny. She did add ‘some’ fun to the show but was sort of misplaced; even she herself looked as though she didn’t know what she was doing there- other than to watch the show and have the best seat in the house. The only time she was serious was commenting on Melissa and Ade’s memorable Contemporary performance where everyone else were either teary eyed, sobbing or crying.
Top 8 solo introduction and dance performances recap)
The Top 8 performances
Janette Manrara and Evan Kasprzak, Jazz- “Move” (Metronomy Remix) —CSS choreography by Sonya Tayeh
Janette Manrara and Evan Kasprzak, Rumba- “Heartless” —Kris Allen choreography by Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin
Jeanine Mason and Brandon Bryant, Waltz- “May It Be” —Hayley Westenra choreography by Hunter Johnson
Jeanine Mason and Brandon Bryant, Pop-Jazz – “Battlefield” —Jordin Sparks choreography by Laurie Ann Gibson
Melissa Sandvig and Ade Obayomi, Cha-Cha – “Yeah (Como Goza Mi Morena)” —Chino Espinoza y Los Dueños Del Son choreography by Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin
Melissa Sandvig and Ade Obayomi danced Contemporary – “This Woman’s Work” —Maxwell choreography by Tyce Diorio
Kayla Radomski and Jason Glover, Broadway – “Mr. Monotony” —Kim Criswell choreography by Tyce Diorio
Kayla Radomski and Jason Glover, Hip-hop – “They’re Everywhere” —Izza Kizza choreography by Shane Sparks
So You Think You Can Dance 2009 Top 8 solo music:
Kayla Radomski: “The Moment I Said It” —Imogen Heap
Jason Glover: “…Slowdance On the Inside” —Taking Back Sunday
Janette Manrara: “Seduces Me” —Celine Dion
Ade Obayomi: “Hater” —Various
Melissa Sandvig: “Heads Will Roll” —Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Evan Kasprzak: “Old Devil Moon” —Jamie Cullum
Jeanine Mason: “Let the Drummer Kick” —Citizen Cope
Brandon Bryant: “Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That” —Robert Randolph and the Family Band
Tonight breaks the mold because the dancers must all change partners after dancing with their prior partner for weeks. Partnering is a very difficult aspect of dance. Sometimes there is chemistry, sometimes there is beauty and sometimes there is just discomfort. It is conveyed by the dancers if the match is not right and it cannot be hidden.
But as time progresses, as they spend weeks together, a chemistry evolves as the dancers learn each others personality and movements. Their strengths and weaknesses. Their rise and fall.
And then, suddenly, just as the dancers get in a rhythm, they are split apart and thrown at new partners. This is kind of odd in another way, because it does not favor the dancers that lost partners like in prior weeks. A dancer that lost a partner was at a significant disadvantage while the rest of the dancers maintained their partnerships, but tonight, they all were broken.
Other than having to dance with new partners, the solos really come onto play now because every dancer has to suddenly do a solo that can impact America’s vote. And this is even more important because the judges can no longer save a dancer. It is down to America to vote. Whomever gets the lowest votes on the male and female side go home, no excuses, no whining, no second chances.
So, tonight, we have to do things a bit differently. We have to rank each dancer and how well they did in their pairing and solo. We have found in the past the solo weights much more lightly than the pairing because the pairing tends to be more memorable, but it can be a differentiator in a close race.
Before we start, we want to say that all these dancers are fantastic. We love them all and we do not think any should be eliminated. They should all win. Which is what is great about this show, because all these dancers did win. They will all be on the tour, and they will all have the chance to be professionals with exposure beyond most dancer’s dreams.
Let’s start… we shall go in order of the voting numbers.
1. Brandon – Brandon drew Melissa as a partner. She is the most graceful and composed dancer in this competition, so she helped him. They did a contemporary piece to “Aquarius” from the play “Hair”. The piece was the best of the night by any couple. Brandon was strong as ever, leaping with aplomb and yet remaining in character throughout. Brandon win this night among the men, but his masculinity is sometimes just not evident and, in dance, it is required, so we can only give him. Brandon’s solo was too frantic and did not help him. He needs to realize that less is more and timing the music is more important than squeezing in the most moves. (9/10).
2. Randi – Randi drew Kupono, and this was difficult, because he is the tallest man and she is not tall at all. The dance is also a dance meant for a matched pair, the Paso Doble and this couple was not well matched. We felt Randi did a commendable job, but she lost a major feature that has been an advantage in past weeks. Randi is by far the cutest look on the dance floor. She has that truly innocent girlish quality. And this week, she wore a dark wig that hid her personality in an attempt to make her sexy. It may have helped the overall dance, but it did nothing for her personally. She danced the better of the pair and we think America has a major thing for her, but that wig puts her in danger. Her solo was not strong either. It seemed, not frantic, but at times strained. We felt some of the moves were accidents as a result of a slip or stumble and we couldn’t say it was memorable. (8/10)
3. Kupono – Kupono drew Randi, and it was not a successful pairing. There was little chemistry and Kupono was weak in the dance. We have to say, though, we give him credit considering this is a new partner and this was, by far, the hardest dance of the night. But Kupono does not have strength. He studied under Mark from last season, but Mark had this ability to portray a dark personality and an evil strength. Kupono just can’t do it. This dance was not good. Kupono’s solo was quirky and creative as usual and it was among his best. But it can’t save him on that dance. Oh my. (8/10)
4. Melissa – Melissa drew Brandon and that is a great pairing. They did a contemporary piece to “Aquarius” from the play “Hair” and nailed every move. WE have to give Melissa the nod in this performance, but overall, both were fantastic. Melissa took her time in the solo, she was not frantic like so many others. We felt she could have taken some more risks, but we liked it. Still, there is something unappealing about her, which gets her a demerit. (8/10)
5. Evan – Evan was both lucky and unlucky in the partnering tonight. He drew Kayla, who is the tallest woman in the competition. She brings so much grace to the dance, but she also poses a problem for the shortest man in the competition. They did a Viennese Waltz, which is also trouble because this type of ballroom dance plays to the man’s dominance. The dance looked more like a regular waltz, but was still quite lovely. Evan wore heels to compensate and Kayla wore slippers with no heels. This helped balance them. Evan, we feel, did an amazing job.
There were some criticisms by Nigel, but they were misplaced. What was especially evident was how amazingly well Evan did the lifts. He is much stronger than people thought, as is often the case with compact men. His lifts were smooth and effortless and it made each of them memorable. Evan’s solo did something that only could be done by Evan. It was totally memorable, bringing out the Fred Astaire in the show and yet also proving he is no slouch as he flipped effortlessly near the end. It was the best solo of the night. (9/10)
Top 10 Solo introduction and dance recap
6. Kayla – Kayla is so incredibly graceful. Her points on her dance with Evan were incredible. Every move was graceful, but her dress was too ruffled and distracting. We cannot discredit her for wardrobe although the audience may without realizing why. Kayla’s solo was better timed than many of the women, and she can flip over upside down with both feet almost touching the floor at the same time while her head faces the floor. We have no idea how that is humanly possible. The dictionary shall have to be reprinted to place a picture of Kayla next to the word “flexible”. Kayla is just too diverse and too good to go home yet. (9/10)
7. Ade – Ade partnered with Janette. Now, this was an interesting hip hop piece in which Ade hypnotizes his partner into total funk. He did a commendable job and his strength and rhythm helped him in his performance. His solo, however, was not a help. Not because he didn’t have spectacular moves, but as is the case for so many dancers, he tried to do too much, looking frantic in the process rather than graceful. His acrobatics are undoubtedly the strongest of the dancers, but this is not a gymnastics contest. Still…(9/10)
8. Jeanine – Jeanine drew Jason, which is a good match of styles, height and talent. Jeanine had suffered with Philip, who was clearly inferior, and yet came through every week. Still, that could have been an advantage, consistently making her look superb in comparison. Jeanine is by far the prettiest girl here and it shows. Yet, she has the same cute personality that graces Randi. Her grace is unsurpassed, even by Kayla, who does, admittedly have better lines. Jeanine nailed this contemporary piece and is near the top this week. Her solo was flawless and well timed. She doesn’t do flips and gymnastics, it is just pure dance, and it is beautiful. (9/10)
9. Jason – Jason danced very well with Jeanine. and was on par for one of the best performances of the night, but we feel she outperformed him. The choreography was done by one of the best dancers the show has seen, Travis, who only lost to Benjie in season two on a personality vote. He introduced some incredibly difficult moves and Jason, while executing many of them, did not have Travis’s extension. Still, this was his first attempt at these moves, and Travis is a very tough act to follow. WE are torn on Jason. What can we do? Jason’s solo was cute and performed to character in what could be characterized as his best solo. It wasn’t as acrobatic as many, but it played to his strength and looked like a true performance, not some frantic attempt to get in more moves than the other guy. (9/10)
10. Janette – Janette and Ade did a great hip hop piece, but in our opinion, Janette stole the piece and she is anthing but hip hop. She is not the prettiest dancer in this competition, but she has the best legs and is the sexiest. That does draw attention to her when she dances. She also introduces a massive amount of expression and personality into her dance that makes you believe her. Now, the solo, well, that would of course be a problem right? Janette is all ballroom and a partner dancer. So, how do you pull off a solo with limited contemporary training? Well, Janette has the main component of a ballroom dancer doing a solo. She is sexy. And it shows and it makes her solo memorable where other ballroom dancers would fall. We are certain she can dance pretty much anything except extreme forms of contemporary. Her personality is top notch. (9/10)
So, where does that leave us? Shoot, it is easier to pick the best than the worst again this week. Sigh, it is so difficult to say who should go home, especially considering the luck of the draw can play such a major part in the result. Partnering with a new partner can’t always work, and it that dance doesn’t work, history has shown the solo can’t save you. Remember, this week, they are all ranked separately and the girl and guy with the least votes will go home regardless of whether they partnered or not. And the judges can only weigh in with their opinions, not votes this week.
Our bottom three men…
Kupono, Evan and Jason. How could this be? Look at our scores. These guys are fantastic. Kupono was here because of the dance he was condemned to dance, the Paso Doble. He was not believable. Evan is not as strong a dancer, but has massive personality. We think America will not vote him out, but we can’t place him in the top 2. And Jason, we felt, was not as strong as Ade or Brandon. So, who is at the very bottom? Our guess is Kupono, but this is a tight one.
Our bottom three women…
Randi, Melissa and Janette. Now this is tougher than the men to call. Randi, we believe, sacrificed her own votes for the dance. Wearing the wig hid who she was and America is voting for that all American look. She lost that this week. Melissa just doesn’t have the cute factor. She is graceful, but butch, and it doesn’t play well as we watch her perform. She looks like she is putting in a major effort to be female despite her grace. Janette is fantastic, but we have to give Kayla and Jeanine the night, so someone had to be in the bottom three.
OK, now our absolute bottom this week is Randi. We think the wig, as well as the dance style, blew her chance. And we also believe America had a love affair with Randi and Evan as a couple, and that was busted this week. We think Randi is at major risk. Melissa is also at risk, primarily because of the persona she conveys, and the fact that no one would vote for her above Kayla or Jeanine. If Janette goes home, it is because of the solo, which does not favor ballroom dancers. But we don’t see that weighing that much and think she is safe.
THE DANCES and the music:
The top five girls: Bollywood dance routine, Music to “Dlohna” from Pyar Ki Jeet, choreography by Nakul Dev Mahajan
The top five guys: African dance routine, Music to “Ballant Funk” by Ayanda Clark and Shawn Kelly choreography by Jeffrey Page
The couple routines were done to the following music: Kayla Radomski and Evan Kasprzak Viennese Waltz, “Kiss from a Rose” —Seal choreography by Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin Janette Manrara and Ade Obayomi Hip-hop, “Love Sex Magic” —Ciara featuring Justin Timberlake choreography by Tabitha D’umo and Napoleon D’umo Jeanine Mason and Jason Glover Contemporary, “If It Kills Me” (The Casa Nova Sessions)—Jason Mraz choreography by Travis Wall Randi Evans and Kupono Aweau Paso Doble, “Dies Irae” —Karl Jenkins choreography by Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin Melissa Sandvig and Brandon Bryant Broadway, “Aquarius” from the musical “Hair” choreography by Tyce Diorio
Brandon Bryant: “In Your Eyes” —Jeffrey Gaines
Randi Evans: “Dream” —Priscilla Ahn
Kupuno Aweau: “Marina Gasolina” —Bonde do Rolê
Melissa Sandvig: “Gabriel” —Lamb
Evan Kasprzak: “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart” —Rufus Wainwright
Kayla Radomski: “Rock Your Soul” —Elisa
Ade Obayomi: “Unchained Melody” —The Righteous Brothers
Jeanine Mason: “Violento (Up Mix)”–Bailongo!
Jason Glover: “Train Fare Home” —Muddy Waters
Janette Manrara: “This is Miami” —Sander Kleinenberg
This week we have to work top down. Most weeks we are thinking we have to nail the bottom three. So we go bottom up and try to pick who we liked least. This week, we loved every performance. These dancers are true stars and a step above everyone else in dance. The choreographers do deserve much of the credit, and we believe that choreography may have more to do with the elimination of this week’s pair of dancers than the dancing itself. But maybe a fan base could save one or two from elimination. We think Philip and Evan have a strong following that will bail them out on the telephone in many cases, but will it help them this week?
As a note aside, this is the last week these couples will perform with each other. They have to face the music with a different partner next week. This could result in some very interesting mismatches. For example, we could never imagine Kayla or Melissa with Phillip.
When you get down to it this week, there isn’t a dance we disliked. There were no major flaws. So, it comes down to how each dance made us feel and expect that we are in tune with the audience. We aren’t always, but we think we can tell you what happened and who was the most likely to get votes this week.
Normally we go through the dances in chronological order, but this week we are going to list our dancers top down, top to bottom, best to worst, and ecstacy to pain. Let’s see how this goes… (Watch solo introduction and dance recap at the bottom of this post)
Janette Manrara and Brandon Bryant Argentine Tango to the song “Libertango” from Forever Tango choreographed by Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo Janette Manrara and Brandon Bryant Jazz to the song “Ruby Blue” —Róisín Murphy choreographed by Wade Robson (Complete performance videos here with judges comments)
In every show, this couple has nailed every single dance. No slips, no flaws, just pure and perfect entertainment. Tonight exemplified their run with two of the best performances by any couple this season. One will definitely be on the tour. The first was a tango. Every move was executed with phenomenal precision. Jeannette is the dark horse here. We keep forgetting about her until she dances and suddenly we believe she could take it all. Every week she has been our number one or number two pick of the women. Brandon is brought out personality-wise by her. Her slightly cocky (in a good way) personality is exactly what Brandon needed to bring out his excellence as a dancer because it got him to lighten up. (Dance 1: 10/10)
The second dance will be on the tour. It was a jazz dance that has some of the sleekiest choreography we have seen. If executed correctly, it should have you laughing and still amazed at how well it is performed. This one had us laughing at the cocky character acting, but almost in tears over how amazingly delivered this dance was. You have to watch it, because if you don’t, we cannot explain it. If this were a final contest among couples, Jeannette and Brandon are well above the rest of the pack.(Dance 2: 10/10)
Melissa Sandvig and Ade Obayomi Disco to the song “Move On Up” —Destination choreographed by Doriana Sanchez Melissa Sandvig and Ade Obayomi Waltz to the song “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” —Mary J. Blige choreographed by Ron Montez (VIDEO PERFORMANCES HERE with judges comments)
The first dance was disco, the second dance a waltz. Melissa did one split upside down that would have likely killed a normal human being. Ade was strong throughout. When he needed to lift Melissa it was effortless. When he needed to deliver that perfect dance move or spin, it was there. Melissa was the top performer in this couple, but both kicked it up a notch even in that difficult first slot. Dance 1 was fast and furious. It was not as good as last week’s disco by Jeanette and Brandon, but it was so very well performed nonetheless. (Dance 1: 9/10) Next was a waltz that brought both of these dancer’s beauty into perspective. (Dance 2: 10/10)
Kayla Radomski and Kupono Aweau Contemporary to the song “Gravity” —Sara Bareilles choreographed by Mia Michaels Kayla Radomski and Kupono Aweau Broadway to the song “The Dance At the Gym” from West Side Story choreographed by Joey Dowling
In their first dance, they drew contemporary and it was superbly performed. The synchronized moves were spectacular. The touch of craziness in the dance had us mesmerized. (Dance 1: 9/10) Kayla, though, outshines Kupono. The second dance was a jazz performance and we just couldn’t help but giggle at some of it. It had a truly off beat appeal. We loved both dances. Kayla was spectacular. Kupono quite good. This was difficult to score because we loved the dance, but felt Kupono did not perform up to par. (Dance 2: 8./10)
Randi Evans and Evan Kasprzak Hip-hop to the song “Halo” —Beyoncé Knowles choreographed by Tabitha D’umo and Napoleon D’umo Randi Evans and Evan Kasprzak Samba to the song “Ritmo De Bum Bom”—Jababa choreographyed by Anya Garnis and Pasha Kovalev
In the first dance, hip hop was their task, and Randi was able to hit the beat and lead us into the dance much better than Evan. We like Evan’s personality and style, but he hasn’t been as much of a dancing standout of late, and this was not his best performance. It looked like he was dancing a different style. On time, on the beat and off the mark. (Dance 1: 8/10) Randi is just so cute that as long as she shows up and doesn’t fall, she looks great on stage. Her perkiness and energy bring that cute nature home even more
The second dance truly demonstrated the dichotomy this couple presents to us. Once again Randi was stunning, made every move flawlessly and led the dance with pure dazzle. Once again, Evan was a disappointment, disappearing behind Randi’s aura and just not showing the style and personality of a winner. Evan has the personality, we have seen it, but he hasn’t been bringing it to the show the last couple of weeks. Unlike loveable dancers from years past, such as Benjie in season 2, he can’t bring his personality consistently to the floor. He looks like he is straining and just not having the fun he should be. (Dance 2: 8/10)
Jeanine Mason and Phillip Chbeeb Russian folk dance to the song “Kalinka” —Barynya choreographed by Youri Nelzine and Lilia Babenko Jeanine Mason and Phillip Chbeeb Jive to the song “Stuff Like That There” —Bette Midler choreographed by Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin
If Jeanine can dance as well as she has while partnering with a dancer as weak as Phillip, she deserves to win this year. And she has. Every single dance she has delivered pure perfection, and tonight was no exception. The start was a Russian dance that brought back memories of last year when Twitch and Joshua danced up an energetic storm of Russian movement. Jeanine was believable and on mark throughout. Phillip was not, but put in a commendable effort despite a stumble and being incredibly outmatched. Honestly, though, Phillip is way out of his league and is just plain no Joshua or Twitch (Dance 1: 7/10).
The second dance was swing, and once again, Jeanine shook the hips and took the dance away. Jeanine is championship quality, Phillip is not. But we think that quite possibly the judges promoted Phillip in these routines because they want Phillip’s entertainment factor on the tour. And only the top 10 are guaranteed to tour. Jeanine was so good in the second dance and Phillip put in an underdog performance worth noting, so this dance can’t be downgraded that much. (Dance 2: 9/10)
Caitlin Kinney and Jason Glover Foxtrot to the song “Minnie the Moocher” —Big Bad Voodoo Daddy choreographed by Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin Caitlin Kinney and Jason Glover Lyrical jazz to the song “Show Me Heaven” —Maria McKee choreographed by Mandy Moore
The first dance was a 40s type slow swing. The dancers executed the dance with aplomb. Our issue was not the performance, it was the choreography. The dance, while amazingly performed, was dull, and votes come from how well the audience remembers the dance. Caitlin is better than this dance showed her to be. Jason as well. (Dance 1: 8/10)
The second dance was Lyrical Jazz and was their exact style. And once again, despite some beautiful movement, it was dull. We cannot place our finger on it, but this was the couple we would be least likely to vote for this week. They did the one thing that cannot be done. They bored us. (Dance 2: 8/10)
Top 12 Solo introduction and Dance Recap
Now it becomes a bit more clear…We have two obviously safe couples…what about the rest?
Brandon and Jeanine are not going anywhere. They are spectacular and the best couple in this competition by a decent margin.
Melissa and Ade have strong movement and finesse that is magnified by the incredible strength of both dancers. Melissa is a bit butch at times, but never is anyting but perfect grace. Ade is strong and always at home. So, they are SAFE!
But then we get into the gray area. All these couples, with the exception of Caitlin and Jason, are tied. And Caitlin and Jason are not far behind. What do we do? Well, we won’t cop out, we will make our guess for the bottom three, but it may not be how the audience votes.
Let’s start by saying that Jeanine and Kayla are outstanding and carry their dances repeatedly. They are both easily top ten talents, but their partners? Well….not so much. Phillip is weaker than any man here, but has a major underdog factor combined with a lovable goofiness. And you have to give him a major A for effort in that second dance. So, how do we think it will go down. In this order.
Kayla & Kupono – They were marginally the best of the four.
Jeanine & Phillip – Jeanine gets 10/10 on both dances. Phillip gets an A for effort and just being on the floor with her and not looking downright stupid. They are lovable. But at the end of the day, someone has to dance for his and/or her life.
Randi and Evan – Randi, like Jeanine, gets top scores for her dances, but Evan had an almost sleepy quality to him as he danced. No pizzazz, no personality and just not a winner. And we really like Evan and are so disappointed. Perhaps he just isn’t cut out for the limelight? We just think he has to look like he is having more fun, but this is hard, and we think he is displaying a bit of stage fright.
Caitlin and Jason – Dead last for boredom. Neither stood out, both were equally dull, but much of it was the choreography which is just the luck of the draw. Jason is better than this and we think Caitlin is as well. But, at the end of the day, no matter what the champion draws, the champion only wins if he or she brings it, so we crave their next performance. These performances made us just plain not care if this couple was not here next week, and we think that the audience won’t care either.
We think that if it plays out the way we think, Phillip has to go home unless the other two dancers blow their solos. Phillip will perform a predictable hip hop solo that will be no surprise and that demonstrates that, in the end, he has little versatility relative to the other dancers. But, Evan could fall flat as well. This is mainly because he has been a disappointment, not only to us, but repeatedly to the judges. He has to nail his solo and remind us of what he can do, or he will be on the bus out of here.
Of the women, this is very difficult. We love them all. If we had to choose, we would prefer to see Randi and Jeanette move through. Melissa we think is spectacular, but we don’t see the personality in her that makes us want to vote for her. Caitlin is spectacular, but she has to nail the solo against some pretty stiff talent and we think she is last this week in our eyes as well as the judges. We think Caitlin will be shipped out.
America’s vote nailed Phillip and Jeanine and we were only right on two couples in the bottom three. But Phillip did a great solo and did not belong here tonight after he got hip hop again last night. He should have gone last week or the week before, but this week, he didn’t belong here. The other two couples unfortunately did, but only by a hair.
Randi and Evan thankfully escaped. We love them and think the judges were totally unfair in their criticisms last night. Still, we did see them at the top of the bottom three, and they survived without having to dance for their lives.
Kupono was not so lucky. We felt that he didn’t cut it last night, while he was great other nights, but he was thrust into the bottom. And his solo was horrible. But lucky or not, he survived.
So that left Vitolio, someone we thought could make the bottom three because of a rather unmemorable performance. The judges were cruel after his solo saying that at the end of the day all he had was a great presence on stage but the performance was lacking. These judges have been calling his praises for weeks and know that is far far from the truth. He had a bad night. His solo was better than Kupono’s. There were other factors at work here. But still, we did see him in the bottom three if Randi and Evan did not get in.
For the women, the best solo by far was danced by the one woman that did not belong here. Jeanine nailed the solo and literally embarrassed the other girls. She is a stunning dancer that has carried Phillip for weeks and she deserves to be in this.
So, that left Kayla and Karla. Not much difference in the names, but there is a difference in their talent. Once again, the judges missed the mark as to why. Kayla is just better. Karla could have spun cartwheels in the stars and not won this. The judges had already made up their minds. So their comment that Karla was lacking star quality was just stupid filler. If she isn’t a star, what do you call the top 20? They are all star quality.
And so we say goodbye to Karla and Vitolio. We think that Phillip is entertaining, but doesn’t belong here on the basis of his overall talent. We do like him though and he did kill it last night. And we think Kayla had better step it up big time, because while the judges are singing her praises, we, the audience, obviously aren’t getting it and she keeps getting the honor of doing survival solos.
Elimination recap from the judges and comments from Karla and Vitolio
How does one judge a bag of nuts. Well, the judges were nuts, but that is not what we mean. You are given a basket of the best and freshest nuts. Walnuts, almonds, filberts, macadamia, cashews and pecans. Then you are asked to pick your least favorite. What would happen?
We know our choices. We would pick almonds and have a tough time between macadamia and filberts. But others that crave the walnut would beg to differ. And those that have that passion for the cashew, no other nut will do, of course we have to be wrong. And anyone knows that the macadamia is the most royal, creamy and perfect nut of all. But the champion of nuts that spans the entire spectrum of nut lovers because everyone loves it is the almond.
So what would you choose? It all comes down to taste. It all comes down a number of factors that are not exactly intuitive on the surface, but that make sense as you drive deeper into the selections. So, as we snack on peanuts, we shall judge the rest of the nuts.
First, let’s begin by saying we believe this show is a bit of a hoax. No, the dancing is fantastic and the judging real, but if anyone believes the judges are spontaneous, they are wrong. The judges are rehearsed. And the part that bothers us about this is the judges had to have their minds made up before the performance, which is kind of disgusting. There is no shock, no stammer, no loss for words. It is all staged and as choreographed as the dancers which is disappointing. The judges are great at what they do, but they are poor actors.
Tonight was a night when we saw every couple hit their number. Normally, we judge from the bottom up on this show (no we are not referring to the spectacular performance last week by Evan and Randi), but this week, we had to judge from the top down. Every performance was so well done that we were taken aback. Not one dancer flinched. None flubbed. There was no chance for anyone to lose, but someone has to.
That said, the dancers were given their time to perform in their niches tonight. It was no coincidence. This was no luck of the draw or you have to believe that you can actually beat the casino at roulette.
Well, does it come down then to the wheel, the dice or the machine? If the player isn’t winning, could it be the instrument? In this case, the instruments are the choreographers. And the choreographers on this show are so tremendous that it would be hard to judge them. But a new choreographer, not quite as well understood and not as adept at training dancers that must perform in this level of competition often do have weaknesses, and the dancers can pay for them.
To the dancers: (Solo introduction and dance recap at the bottom of this post)
1. Janette and Brandon – Cha-Cha-Cha “Hush Hush”—The Pussycat Dolls, Choreography by Jean-Marc Généreux
There is often a really subtle standout in the show that comes out as the show progresses. In this show, it is Janette. She is spectacular. Her legs are as fast as any dancer, and when you compare her to so many others on this show that had fast legs, that is a tremendous achievement. She is mesmerizing to watch. Brandon is a wonderful dancer, but is too effeminate. We hope he shakes that because he is truly talented. Even with his weakness, though, this dance was amazing. (10/10)
2. Kayla and Kupono – Contemporary “Eyes On Fire”—Blue Foundation Choreography by Sonya Tayeh
You know, we thought this was an absolutely great set. We love dark theme performances and this was no exception. Kayla, as usual, had awesome lines, but we didn’t see her being as much of a standout as in prior weeks. Kupono was great here as well, but we didn’t find the performance particularly memorable. The judges loved it, but it just wasn’t overall as good as they made it out to be and yet (9/10)
3. Randi and Evan – Broadway “Rich Man’s Frug” from Sweet Charity Choreography by Joey Dowling
Now, sometimes, someone just has to get art. You can look at a masterpiece and stare at it for hours and have no idea what makes it great. This performance had a twist of the odd in it. The most important part of the dance, independently of making every step perfectly, was the character acting. Evan pulled it off with amazing accuracy. His acting persona was spectacular. Randi was not quite as good this week as last, but that is like saying she was only genius. These two were once again fantastic. The judges had to find someone to criticize after praising the first two dances, but this dance was every bit as good. (9/10)
4. Caitlin and Jason – Pop-Jazz “Creator”—Santigold Choreography by Brian Friedman
There are times that being the oddest person in the group makes you stand out in a positive way. In other cases, no matter how wonderfully odd you are, you are just odd. We blame the choreographers for the fact we did not like this dance as much as the others. The judges could not place their fingers on it and blamed Caitlin’s distracting outfit, but she was supposed to be an alien for heaven’s sake, and it is not like the dancer’s pick their outfits. Stupid for the judges to mention it. But the quirkiness of the dance did not take away from Caitlin and Jason’s talent. They performed amazingly well. (9/10)
5. Jeanine and Phillip – Hip-hop “Love Lockdown”—Kanye West Choreography by Tabitha D’umo
OK, now let’s give Phillip a chance here. Give him what he does best so we can show why he belongs here. Fine, we get it. But so many other dancers have had to dance out of their element every week and as Phillip got in trouble two weeks running with that, they brought him back with this performance. OK, Phillip is amazing at this style and Jeanine can do anything, so we cannot take anything away from this performance. It was a delight to watch, the choreography was amazing and the dancers on mark throughout. So, what didn’t we like? We feel the show is giving Phillip a strong amount of favoritism because of his entertainment factor within his niche. The show may be right, we enjoyed watching this performance enormously. And we believe Jeanine is as good as any woman here. (10/10)
6. Melissa and Ade – Classical Pas de deux Romeo & Juliet: Provofiev’s Suite (No.1 Op 64b, 6th Movement)—Orchestre De La Suisse Romande & Armin Jordan Choreography by Thordal Christensen
This was perfect for Melissa to show her lines and specialty. Finally, she was given an opportunity to perform like the ballet artist she truly is. There was no doubt throughout who we were watching. Melissa floated through the air, pointed like the most talented ballerina and made the Nutcracker look like a show for amateurs. This was her best performance. Ade, on the other hand, was out of his element. The judges praised him, but to us, Melissa outclassed him so greatly that it made him look silly at times. Melissa was so graceful and perfect though that she totally disguised any lack of grace by Ade. In a lift that took us to a world of enchantment, Melissa arched her body and bent her legs so gracefully that it looked for sure like she could fly. During the lift, Ade was merely her support and little else, but no one was looking at Ade. In another move, it was grace by Melissa that made her look like she was literally flying across the stage like a real life tinker bell, and once again Ade was merely a prop. So, how do we judge this? (10/10)
7. Karla and Vitolio- Quickstep “Puttin’ on the Ritz”—Rufus Wainwright, Choreography by Jean-Marc Généreux
Ah, if only Vitolio could work that goofy smile into something a bit more serious. His smile tends to make us want to laugh when we see it. But he can dance. Karla needed a great performance tonight to pull out of the bottom three. This is a new couple, and that brings some very interesting and difficult challenges. In this performance, Karla pulled out all the stops and performed the best we have seen her. Vitolio was great, but somehow detached. The chemistry was not there for us. But it was still a performance one should not miss. (9/10)
Top 14 Solo Introduction plus Dance Recap
OK, now if we were judging, what do we do now? We have just said everyone is amazing and yet we have to have a bottom 3. Usually, in a given week, we see a blunder that stands out to us. But none stood out in any way this week in a negative fashion performance wise. So, now it comes down to taste.
We don’t like walnuts. Caitlin and Jason were our walnuts. We see them in the bottom three because we believe they will not make the final snack bowl. The choreography was too odd, and even their great talent could not bring it out in as positive a way as the rest of the group.
We love macadamia nuts. They are delightful and we know they could never be in the bottom three. Jeanette and Brandon were our macadamias. They were the number one or number two couple. No question.
Now, normally, we don’t care much for cashews. They are mealy at times and often much sweeter than we like a nut to be. But every once in a while, you get a perfect cashew. Jeanine and Phillip were out perfect cashews. If they are in the bottom three it is only because someone had to be.
Filberts are always a surprise the first time. They have a hard outer shell and look much like an acorn. Seems like food for squirrels, not for humans. But then you taste one, and you realize that they are among the best of nuts. Well, this is how we would classify Melissa but not Ade. Still, as a team, they were what makes a cashew lover remember why they crave them. No bottom three here.
Shoot, now we only have one bottom couple. What do we do? We have no choice but to place Kayla and Kupono and Randi and Evan in our bottom three. Not because they were not spectacular, just that they were a hair behind in a photo finish.
We still believe that in the long run, Phillip cannot win and has no diversity. We don’t believe he has any chance here, so the judges should make way for the more diverse and stop pandering to him. That said, he nailed his specialty so amazingly well this week that he cannot go home. That places Randi and Evan in our bottom three. And we love Evan. They were our almonds. The standby you love every time you have them. And yet, could you give them up for a great cashew? We think it more likely, though, we will be sending home the walnuts. But we can still use them in cookies that no one eats.
Hedging our bets on our bottom three though, we have to turn to the set that was least memorable even if well performed. This also places Karla and Vitolio square in the cross hairs. Anyone other than these four possibilities in the bottom three would be a mistake. But who knows what America will do with ballet? How cultured are we after all?
The solos will tell all. But our bottom three are:
1. Caitlin and Jason
2. Randi and Evan
3. Kayla and Kupono
4. Karla and Vitolio
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)
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.
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.