7/22 SYTYCD 5 Review, Top 8 Perform for votes! A tough one for America.

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)

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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.

sytycd_judges8Jeanine

Janette

Ade

Brandon

Evan

Melissa

Kayla

Jason

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.

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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

SYTYCD 5 Solo Performances from the Top 10 Finalists, Watch here!

The top 10 SYTYCD finalists perform their solos, for some of them who have never been in the bottom three- their first time on the spotlight with a solo…

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Randi Evans: “Dream” —Priscilla Ahn

Brandon Bryant: “In Your Eyes” —Jeffrey Gaines

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

Season 4 SYTYCD Top 6 Results Don’t Shock Our Readers!!

Our Current poll is still up: Who Will win the title “America’s Favorite Dancer?” Please participate. Thank you. 🙂

We searched our refrigerator after this show, and we were quite fortunate. We were able to find some left over crow to dine on after tonight’s judging. The audience showed that it is never obvious what is going to happen, and what you see when you watch a reality television show is indeed based on your own reality.

The show started off with a lovely piece danced to Bette Midler’s “The Rose”. Bette has always been a favorite of ours because when you analyze her piece by piece as you do most people, she is nothing special. When you analyze her as a whole, she is a star.

That is how it is with great personalities and spectacular talents. In person, they are little more than the human beings we all are, but somewhere in their persona, they bring some small spark that generates the big bang that made the universe, and erupt into a talent that is bigger than life itself.

All six of the dancers demonstrated in this single piece that they are all exactly that type of talent, those special people that deservedly rise to the top of all of us to be our idols! This style of synchronized paired dance is rarely seen because it is so difficult, and these six amazing talents brought it to us in a masterpiece that, for them, was seemingly effortless after what was likely a few hours of rehearsal. How can you not love this show??!!

Something does gnaw at us just a bit though.  We just don’t know where the winners go. If they don’t turn up back on the show doing a bit of choreography or doing a lead-in piece for American Idol, they just seem to disappear, at least to the general public. Do any of you know what Sabre is doing right now without cheating using Google?

After the performance, guest judge Adam Shankman informed us all that in addition to the cash prize for the first place finisher, the selected individual will also be offered a starring role in his next production.  This is almost guaranteeing a star here, and it is a welcome opportunity to bring the excellence of this show to the rest of the world.  Dancing careers are typically short ones.  The demands dance places on these individuals are vast, and many dancers’ careers are over young if they cannot find an alternate path such as choreography to lead them into the future.

Many of the past winners have disappeared from view. We are guessing that this year, they want to ensure this person does not get lost in the mix of dance talents and guarantee that they get remembered. This show’s winners have been outshined by American Idol’s, and even America’s Got Talent’s winner, Terry Fator, received a 100 million dollar Las Vegas Contract, but what happened to Benji?

The Solos

The solos were interesting, but this is purely for the entertainment of the audience.  The voting was over, but we get one more opportunity to see the dancer’s perform a solo.

In solo one, it became apparent how painful being a professional dancer can be. The dues Courtney pays in every dance is showing up on her body, and her beautiful legs look so sadly abused. Her solo, as usual, was stellar.

Mark, we have decided, is some species of bird. We have not figured out what kind of bird, but in every solo, he appears to be seeking a mate. Mark is spectacular, but in this year’s competition, we have found he has a horrible habit of making goofy smiles and faces after a dance. It is a shame, because it does not seem to positively influence one’s opinion of him. He does something remarkable, and then makes childish faces diminishing his performance. It is a way to relieve the stress, but it doesn’t help him.  Marks solo was not the best.

Katee did a conservative solo, and it is likely this woman knows she is ahead by a mile. No point in risking a potential championship for a single slip that leads to an injury.

Joshua did an awesome popping segment that was also very safe physically. He proved he has another amazingly entertaining dance style without risking his rise into next week. To boot, Joshua had his braces removed before this show.  Joshua, you are quite dashing!!!

Chelsie demonstrates once again that she is a woman to die for, and her kicks are to die from. Her speed with those feet in high heels should require, by law, warning signs informing any bystander they are risking their life if they draw too close.

Twitch was awesome in his solo danced to “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. We loved it, very creative. And Twitch has apparently created his own line of clothing. Check it out. So cool.

After the solos, they broke to a new talent that was ridiculous. A six year old that could win the competition next year!!! This kid could move better than most professional dancers. You have to see this if you missed the show.

The Verdict

It was time to see who got voted through.

They did not waste time; Katee got a pass to the finals very quickly.  Based on our polls, she is miles above the rest, so there was no point in dragging that one out.

They then moved to the guys, and the replays clearly showed what was about to happen. Joshua so obviously blew out the men last night, and the audience concurred.

What was humorous about these two getting the pass through to the finals was Cat’s statement that they were not necessarily at the top in the voting. Let’s think for just a minute. If you did not pass on Katee to the finals immediately, would you believe either of the remaining women could displace her? And if you did not tell Joshua he was “safe”, then you already knew who was the next one to go, and it would not be Joshua. Certainly, they garnered the top votes. Perhaps the show wanted to do their best to conceal it to give their competition some chance in the finals.

So it came down to Courtney and Chelsie. As they reviewed Chelsie’s dancing from the prior night, she was reminded that Twitch was her partner, and you could see a cringe on her face. Perhaps she knew from reviewing her performances that being Twitch’s partner was not the best result for a ballroom dancer. The audience failed to recognize her greatness in overcoming Twitch’s shortcomings and in performing one on one with Twitch in a Hip Hop. Chelsie performed with amazing determination and practically did a solo around Twitch in the first dance. None the less, we were wrong, Courtney got the votes, but we don’t think she won by much.

Now came the biggest surprise from our perspective. Mark is eliminated. We honestly believe Twitch did not perform like a champion last night and has little chance to win this competition. His Hip Hop was great as usual, but this is not a Hip Hop competition. His performances were good, but not great. Chelsie danced circles around him last night in their first dance and he nearly dropped her.  His Hip Hop performance was great, but nothing stellar.  We are puzzled by this choice, and all it guarantees is that Joshua wins easily for the guys.  But we also feel that if you voted based on past performances, you may have remembered Twitch’s classic sets from last week and voted him through, because what he accomplished last week was amazing.  He became a star in those performances with Katee and demonstrated what an incredible talent he is. Perhaps, as one of our contributor’s wrote, “Twitch is just too cool to get eliminated”.

The choice among Chelsie and Courtney could have really gone either way. As we reviewed last night’s performances, we could see that Courtney was superb, but for surviving Twitch as a partner and coming through incredibly in her performances, we honestly felt Chelsie had pulled it out. Courtney was delivered a diverse partner and two dances that catered to her style. Chelsie was delivered a horrible match as a partner that did not dance her style well at all, and was forced to perform Hip Hop, a dance completely out of her style, which she still killed. So, what we are betting is that this decision was so close, it could have been based on hanging chads or a Supreme Court decision; Courtney moves on.

What does it all mean? It is down to Katee or Joshua to lose. It is their battle. There is no competition that is close.  If Mark had made the final, he could have challenged Joshua. Twitch has no prayer. Neither Chelsie nor Courtney could beat Katee in the finals unless Katee has a horrible night, but we expect Courtney to bring it huge in the finale.

We were half right again.  We could clearly see that Joshua and Katee would get to the finals, but we did not call the victories by Twitch and Courtney, so we are still saving a little crow from tonight for the next show. We are starting to get used to it, and it isn’t bad fresh out of the toaster oven.

Our pollsters’ reality was right on the money. You folks picked it perfectly. The polls had Chelsie and Mark going home, and you all have proven you can pick a winner!!! You are all fantastic and we are grateful for your input. Please try to beat us again next week by voting in our polls, and please send your comments too as we move into the finals!!