7/14 SYTYCD 5 Ten for Ten (almost) for the Top 10 Performances

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)

brandon_melissa4. 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)

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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

THE SOLOS:

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

Top 12 Jeanine Mason and Philip Chbeeb: Russian Folk dance in SYTYCD 5 (Really now Nigel!) plus the Jive

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Jeanine Mason and Phillip Chbeeb Russian folk dance, “Kalinka” Kalinka – Somewhere My Love: Russian Gems Choreography by Youri Nelzine and Lilia Babenko

Jeanine Mason and Phillip Chbeeb Jive, “Stuff Like That There” Bette Midler – For the Boys (Music from the Motion Picture) – Stuff Like That There—Bette Midler choreography by Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin

Top 12 SYTYCD Caitlin Kinney and Jason Glover Perform Lyrical Jazz and Foxtrot (VIDEO)

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Caitlin Kinney and Jason Glover danced Foxtrot to the song “Minnie the Moocher” Big Bad Voodoo Daddy – Choreography by Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin

Caitlin Kinney and Jason Glover Lyrical jazz, Music “Show Me Heaven” —Maria McKee, Choreography by Mandy Moore

7/8 SYTYCD 5 Top Performances from the Top 12, Only 10 gets to Go on Tour…

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)

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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

RESULTS?

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.

SYTYCD 5 Melissa Sandvig and Ade Obayomi doing Rumba to “Emotion” by Destiny’s Child

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Melissa Sandvig and Ade Obayomi doing Rumba to “Emotion” by Destiny’s Child. Choreography by Tony Meredith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 16 Solo Introduction plus Dance Performance Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Our bottom three:

Asuka & Vitolio

Jeanine & Philip

Karla & Jonathan

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

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

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

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

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

Choreographed by Louis van Amstel

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

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

Choreographed by Sonya Tayeh

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

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

Choreographed by Shane Sparks

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

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

Choreographed by Doriana Sanchez

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

Top 18 Solo Introduction and Dance Recap

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

Choreographed by Louis van Amstel

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

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

Choreographed by Brian Friedman

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

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

Choreographed by Stacey Tookey

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

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

Choreographed by Tony Meredith

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

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

Choreographed by Shane Sparks

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

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

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

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

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So You Think You Can Dance 5 First Performance Night of the Top 20 Dancers, ‘New Pairing’ Revealed

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 beautifulBut 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


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