Jeanine Mason and Ade Obayomi, Hip-hop “Move (If You Wanna)”—Mims | Choreography by: Tabitha D’umo and Napoleon D’umo
Jeanine Mason and Ade Obayomi, Hip-hop “Move (If You Wanna)”—Mims | Choreography by: Tabitha D’umo and Napoleon D’umo
Randi Evans and Evan Kasprzak danced Hip-hop to the song “Halo” Beyoncé – Choreography by Tabitha D’umo and Napoleon D’umo
Randi Evans and Evan Kasprzak danced Samba to the song “Ritmo De Bum Bom”—Jababa Choreography by Anya Garnis and Pasha Kovalev
Jeanine and Philip Top 14 performance: Hip-Hop “Love Lockdown”—Kanye West. Choreography by: Tabitha D’umo and Napoleon D’umo
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
Oh my what an opening live show for this Season’s So You Think You Can Dance! The audience were feeling it. The judges nervous and excited for the dancers and Cat Deely was just full of life. We can feel both the tension and excitement from watching here at home. It was an overall great show!
What do you know, after they set up the dancers in pairs for the first released interviews- we find out that wasn’t the pairing at all. So we are seeing “new” couples who will be dancing throughout the season until the finals. Here goes:
1. Jeanine Mason and Phillip Chbeeb Hip-hop “Mad” Ne-Yo – Year of the Gentleman (Bonus Track Version)
Choreography of Tabitha D’umo and Napoleon D’umo
Adam Shankman: “That was unfreakin’ real! Jeanine, you are amazing. Philip: No one dances like you. It’s such a joy to watch you dance”
Mary Murphy: “I do hate to disagree with Adam….ahm really sorry… BUT I’M NOT GOING TO…!! (with the Mary loud shriek). Jeanine: You did hold your own up there. Tabitha and Napoloeon, they just know how to work each dancer they get and make it fit and work… Philip: You are special in what you do and nobody does it like you do it.”
Nigel Lythgoe:” You are fantastic Jeanine! I think you have really made a mark for yourself tonight. Congratulations. Philip: You have already got a following. You were brilliant. What a great way to start the night!
To vote for Jeanine and Philip: 1-888-83676-01
2. Asuka Kondoh and Vitolio Jeune Broadway “Hot Honey Rag” Chicago – The Musical
Choreography of Tyce Diorio
Adam Shankman: “You followed a number that was extremely emotional and that the dancers kinda do that and this was much more of a character performance piece. As a result, it felt a little more artificial. That having been said, you guys danced it very well, very clean. What is apparent is that you are both very good dancers, so you know you should feel good about it ”
Mary Murphy: Vitolio: “I’m left sitting just a little bit disappointed. I feel that you really needed to bring this routine to life. It was just safe. You both played it safe…”
Nigel Lythgoe: “The dancing was very strong, your lines were beautiful… But we were expecting for you to put your personalities into it wholeheartedly and I don’t feel as though you did this… You just gotta bring your own energy into it.”
To vote for Asuka and Vitolio: 1-888-83676-02
3. Karla Garcia and Jonathan Platero Cha-cha “Poker Face” Lady GaGa – The Fame Choreographed by Tony Meredith
Adam Shankman: “I thought that was really good. You just *beeped* me up. That was awesome. I do my own censoring so they don’t have to do it. Your lines were beautiful.”
Mary Murphy: Screams…”I love my cha-cha rough. That was a lot of roughin’ and a whole lotta fun.” Screams…
Nigel Lythgoe: “Your another couple that has totally slipped under the radar. Nobody really knew who you were up until tonight. If you talk about chemistry, you two just exploded on that stage. Absolutely fantastic routine. It was exciting. It was challenging to you and certainly entertaining for us here. Congratulations, great routine.”
To vote for Karla and Jonathan: 1-888-83676-03
4. Randi Evans and Evan Kasprzak Jazz “I Only Have Eyes For You” Jamie Cullum – Catching Tales
Choreographed by Tyce Diorio
Adam Shankman: “Let’s just be honest, let’s call spade a spade. You are slightly vertically challenged as a couple. But you both danced like you were 8 feet tall… Your lines went forever. Your lifts were there. You have the sensuality and more… Evan, no one saw you coming. You are a beautiful dancer.”
Mary Murphy: “I have to be honest with you guys. When we left Las Vegas, you were really probably at the end of the pack for me. I’m telling you, the stars have just come out tonight. My eyes are wide open when it comes to the two of you… (brace yourselves, here’s the screaaam…), That was smoldering and fluid and beautiful and absolutely believable!”
Nigel Lythgoe: “You are absolutely fantastic. I like your hair being curly like that. I think you have just become the couple that people will recognize and talk about. This is one of Tyce’ best routines.”
To vote for Randi and Evan: 1-888-83676-04
5. Paris Torres and Tony Bellissimo Hip-hop to the song “Let the Beat Rock” (Boyz Noize Megamix) Black Eyed Peas – Invasion of Boom Boom Pow (Megamix) [feat. 50 Cent]
Choreographed by Tabitha D’umo and Napoleon D’umo
Adam Shankman: “I thought it was really good. But i found the costumes a little distracting… When you attack something, you need more rebound…”
Mary Murphy: “Well, there’s been memorable. I don’t think this will be. Tony this is your field. Paris, it was just good…. Good I’m afraid is not gonna cut it. You’re gonna grow and I hope that you do and I know you’re both capable…”
Nigel Lythgoe: “I agree with Mary, I don’t think it was memorable. Paris, I think you’re a fantastic dancer. you really came into your own when we did West Side Story, I thought you were absolutely sensational. Everyone’s just magnetized by your dancing. Tony there is room to grow across this season and you need a lot of growth… The pair of you were basically just doing steps and it didn’t feel right…”
To vote for Paris and Tony: 1-888-83676-05
Top 20 Introduction and Dance Recap
6. Caitlin Kinney and Jason Glover Bollywood to the song “Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionaire
Choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan
Adam Shankman: “You GUYS ROCK!!! (very pleased indeed!) Jason, your hand work was so superb, your feet hit on the floor so hard and perfect. You did a thing that is so essential to a great dancer, you made it look like it was nothing. Effortless. Caitlin, I was worried about you. you did a great job.”
Mary Murphy: “I’m glad Bollywood came to Hollywood. Yes, I am. That was cool. Caitlin, your handstand, the stength…of keeping it still and doing your foot, that was bizarre. Jason, you have charisma that just reeks out of those eyes, yes you do.” (Screams…)
Nigel Lythgoe: “You brought it tonight. Absolutely fantastic. You encapsulated that whole thing. Caitlin, from the moment you came alive as his hands touched you, and you breathed in and we felt that and we thougth this is going to be special. That was beautiful to see. Congratulations! Jai ho!
To vote for Caitlin and Jason: 1-888-83676-06
7. Janette Manrara and Brandon Bryant Foxtrot “Come Fly With Me” —Michael Bublé
Choreographed by Louis van Amstel
Adam Shankman: “As sad as I know America will be to see Brandon actually dancing in clothes, I’m just going to tell you- it works…. It was lovely. Absolutely lovely. You both should be very very proud of yourselves.”
Mary Murphy: “Janette: You were Ginger Rogers out there. you were elegant and you know you are Miami fire and spice, your lines were lovely, your legs were lovely. The lifts looked effortless… Brandon is a powerhouse. Brandon, if nobody sees the talent that you are, they’re just crazy! (Shrieks…)
Nigel Lythgoe: “As a Salsa dancer there is no way you have this courage. This is something that you found in a very short time, Janette and it’s absolutely beautiful. The way you carried yourself, the grace- it was beautiful. Brandon, I doubt you’ve ever worked in a frame work before have you? (Brandon: NO.) You kept that brilliantly. Terrific. But those tiny feet sometimes are not strong enough. Work on that. Good luck to you both. I thought it was a wonderful routine.”
To vote for Janette and Brandon: 1-888-83676-07
8. Ashley Valerio and Kuponohi’ipoi “Kupono” Aweau Jazz “Felt Mountain” –Goldfrapp
Choreographed by Wade Robson
Adam Shankman: “Your technique is exquisite. Your ability is extraordinary. You guys are gonna go far in the competition. I am totally there. Wade, you are one sick puppy.”
Mary Murphy: “I bought it 100%! You were marvelous in that number. Ashley, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of you. Really well done.”
Nigel Lythgoe: “What I think is genius about this is he(Wade) gave you both characters which you adhered to throughout. Ashley, You look beautiful in this ridiculous white make up. You look fabulous. Kupono: this wasn’t just robotic thing, this was a fluid type movement that you were being asked to do that you had to master in a very short period of time and nerves to boot. I was in a completely different world and I love being taken there and you kept me in that world which was your job. Congratulations.”
To vote for Ashley and Kupono: 1-888-83676-08
9. Melissa Sandvig and Ade Obayomi contemporary ”Right Here Waiting” – Richard Marx choreographed by Mandy Moore.
Adam Shankman: “We see a lot of good, we see a lot of great (in the show) and we see a lot of you know, eh not so good. What we get to see every once in a while, I can’t believe it I’m doing it, is special. That was so special. Melissa, I think that you are living proof that you get better with age because i bet when you were 21, you weren’t dancing like this. (Melissa is the oldest in the competiton at 29). Ade, your power is so profound and more profound because it is quiet. It is extraordinary. You guys really moved me… that was big”
Mary Murphy: and Mary gives out the biggest scream of the night!!! “Oh my gad. it was totally believable. just from the very beginning, Ade when you ran your hand up the side of her, I was like oh my goodness, everything was just flowing amazingly. The lines, the lifts were beautiful. The movement, the quality. That’s what it is, the training. You can’t deny training and Melissa, you are spectacular. And Ade, wow, I called you a superstar and you know what you are living up to my expectations. you are a gentle giant- yes you are! Quiet, powerful, you got it all! Got my eyes on you…”
Nigel Lythgoe: “Melissa, it’s absolutely beautiful to have a ballerina in our program. I’m so delighted that you made it through. Ade, I don’t think everyone has seen how good you really are yet. This was a beautiful routine. America has got so much to look forward to with you two. Well done tonight.
To vote for Melissa and Ade: 1-888-83676-09
10. Kayla Radomski and Maksim “Max” Kapitannikov samba “Jum Buh Day” choreographed by Louis van Amstel.
Adam Shankman: “That was soooo goood, oh my gad….! Max, you must be the luckiest man alive. for two reasons a, you got ballroom first b. you got a person who makes me know there is a God because only God could have created this girl in front of me. Are you kidding me?! Kayla, you’ve never done ballroom before. It’s like you were born in a ballroom babe. Max, I’m psyche for you. I’m throwing it over to you, she could have never looked that good without you. That’s absolutely true.”
Mary Murphy: “I hear a train, I can hear it…” (Brace for the Hot Tamale Train of the night! Nigel prepares by putting in a headset between his ears and Adam justthrowing his hands up in the air while Mary stand up and gives the loudest scream)…. You are in the Hot Tamale Train…Holy Smokes!”
Nigel Lythgoe: “That was truly sensational routine. That had everything that we could ever wish for. Kayla, your name is always at the top of the list every single time. You are just one of those dancers that appears to be able to do everything. Max, even thought this is your genre- you could have easily been lost. You were also terrific…. You have topped an absolutely brilliant night tonight. Thank you so very much.”
To vote for Kayla and Max: 1-888-83676-10
– o –
The best performers not in order are: jeanine and philip, randi and evan, caitlin and jason, ashley and kupono, melissa and ade, kayla and max.
Those who may be in trouble: paris and tony, asuka and vitolio, karla and jonathan
Tension and emotions are high in Las Vegas callbacks. We’ve never seen so many tears and this is only part of the audition process! Fox had to show them and give those who were cut (or not) air time- as long as they’re crying, they’re going to show it for all to see. We would have wanted to see more dancing instead of more crying and whining…
What is in store in Vegas Week? The choreography is tougher. The judges ruthless and harsh. There are six of them in the panel and when they have to cut, at least three people must say yes for a dancer to stay. Nigel Lythgoe, Lil C, Mia Michaels, Mary Murphy, Debbie Allen and Adam Shankman complete the panel.
We thought there were 178 but Cat Deely just announced 172 best dancers in America are battling it out for a place in the Top 20. Before things kicked off, the judges had all the dancers do their solo to “refresh” them of how good or bad of a dancer the hopefuls were. 45 dancers are cut without hesitation, including Travis Prokop, Talia Rickards, and Chimezie.
The dance order of the Vegas callbacks are: Hip Hop with Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo (Music: “Boom, Boom Pow”), Ballroom with Jean Marc Genereaux and France, Jazz with Sonya Tayeh, Group dance (the group has to choreograph the dance themselves), the dreaded Contemporary with Mia Michaels, Broadway with Tyce Diorio, all boys and all Girls group dance (West Side Story) and finally another bout of solo performances.
In each dance style, the judges are going to cut and as the routine progress, they will cut some more and more. In the end, they left us hanging with 16 girls and 16 guys awaiting their fate to be part of Season 5’s Top 20.
Show’s main highlight, disappointments and shockers are people who were cut! Fox shows this little tidbits about the dancers here and there, tell us their back stories. Along the way we become “emotionally invested” with some of the dancers and then they cut them- heartlessly.
Natalie Reid was cut! C’mmon! and at a jazz routine where Sonya Tayeh proudly asked Natalie and Brandon Bryant to dance the choreography and show everyone else how it is done. The couple were used as example and yet in the final performance, the judges didn’t like Natalie’s dance. So her jazz wasn’t smooth as it should. They gave worse performers more chances. We couldn’t quite accept how she was rudely cut like that because last season, she was so close to becoming part of the Top 20 where it came down between her and Katee Shean and the judges picked Katee (which was great). But they didn’t give her a chance to do the remaining routine including contemporary and Broadway to showcase her talent. What was that?
And then to give Gabi Rojas a chance again and again and again to redeem herself yet was cut later on in the Broadway routine. They even gave Gabi a chance to “dance for her life.” Why didn’t they give that to Natalie?
Nobuya Nagahama, Erik “Silky” Moore, Megan Kinney and Priscilla Marrero were also cut. Bianca Revels who was doing great in the whole process was cut in the Broadway round. She was shocked and believes the judges made a mistake. We think so too, along with cutting Natalie Reid. She remarked in finality that she was not going to try back again because she didn’t make it last season and this year’s. She doesn’t see any point to audition again.
Our Top 7 Girls we’d love to see in the show:
1. Caitlin Kinney (ballet/contemporary)
2. Jeanette Manrara (ballroom)
3. Kelsea Taylor (contemporary) ?
4. Asuka Kondoh (ballroom)
5. Kayla Radomski (contemporary)
7. Paris Torres (contemporary)
Our Top 9 guys we’d love to see int the Top 20:
1. Evan Kasprzak (jazz)
2. Pono Aweau (contemporary hip hop funk)
3. Maksim Kapitannikov (ballroom)
4. Brandon Bryant (contemporary)
5. Philip Chbeeb (hip hop)
6. Ryan Kasprzak (tap)
7. Alex Wong (contemporary)
8. Jason Glover (contemporary)
9. Ricky Sun (ballroom)
The Las Vegas Choreographers
“If your feet are bad, you work them until they cramp.”
“I love cutting people and I will cut you.”
– Mia Michaels