There are times we feel the judges are not on their game. Most of the time, the judges on SYTYCD are quite good, but tonight, we are not so sure. They were inconsistent, and Mary seemed like the only person really paying attention. Nigel Lithgoe was way off, criticizing dances that were performed wonderfully. Mary would correct him, but he continued to miss the mark.
The first performance, though, all the judges seemed to miss.
1. Karla Garcia and Jonathan Platero Hip-hop, “By My Side” —Jadakiss featuring Ne-Yo choreographed by Dave Scott
OK, this was not the best hip hop we have seen on the show, but it was very well done. Our biggest criticism of it was Jonathan’s face. They were supposed to be gangstah here and instead he was smiling like a goofy teenager throughout. That, we think, is what brought down the performance, because overall, it was very fun and we think better than the second dance, which the judges praised. (7/10)
2. Asuka Kondoh and Vitolio Jeune Jazz, “Heartbreaker” —Pat Benatar choreographed by Mandy Moore
Asuka came out dressed like a tramp. It is not becoming for her, but she was trying to look the part of a rocker as they danced to Pat Benatar. We found nothing thrilling in the performance. The moves and lifts were dull. The choreography took few risks and left us flat. Then we listened to the judges praise it? What is wrong with this picture. (6/10)
3. Melissa Sandvig and Ade Obayomi Rumba, “Emotion” —Destiny’s Child choreographed by Tony Meredith
This has the ability to kill some dancers, but it plays well to a ballet style and Melissa is all ballet with a massive dose of style. Her body is so physical, that it makes movements impossible for anyone look simple. Ade was on mark and great at leading. He is no Joshua, at least not at this stage, but in some ways reminds of him. His strut just screams Joshua at times, but he doesn’t have the total masculine demeanor that made Joshua commanding. Overall, though, this was clearly the best of three. (9/10)
4. Janette Manrara and Brandon Bryant Hip-hop, “What a World” —Common choreographed by Dave Scott
Now we’re talkin. Janette came out wearing a burlesque style outfit as sexy as anything worn by Liza Minelli in her jaunt into the genre. But something was missing. We think it was Brandon. He did OK, and he danced well, but he seemed feminine which doesn’t work for the man in hip hop. He was sharp on his moves though and Janette was smokin’. (8/10)
Top 16 Solo Introduction plus Dance Performance Recap
5. Kayla Radomski and Kupono Aweau Viennese Waltz, “Sweet Dreams” —Jewel choreographed by Jean-Marc Généreux
Now this was to be very difficult. Neither of these dancers are ball room. And by the luck of the draw, they picked this seemingly off character dance for their first week together after losing their partners last week. We were incredibly surprised. Both delivered graceful performances with moves, lifts and timing that were impeccable. No bottom 3 this week. (9/10)
6. Randi Evans and Evan Kasprzak Contemporary, “Koop Island Blues” —Koop featuring Ane Brun choreographed by Mia Michaels
This performance had a major jazz style even though contemporary. There was nothing outstanding about it from a dance standpoint. No spectacular lifts or death defying leaps across the stage. There were no flips or somersaults. Just a story, a simple one, of a rascal of a man mesmerized by the derrière of a cagey blonde. We were shocked to see Randi has a rump. Nice job Randi. Evan and Randi nailed this routine. Mia Michaels brought us in again, and we have no idea how she can do it every week. We loved this and we’ll upload vids later for you guys to watch if you missed it. Fantastic. (10/10)
7. Caitlin Kinney and Jason Glover Paso Doble, “O Fortuna” —Mozaretum Orchestra Salzburg & Kurt Prestel choreographed by Jean-Marc Généreux
This dance has to be done with total strength and confidence. Jason pulled it off beautifully, and we think this dance, if improved slightly with time, is one for the live show. We loved Jason’s strength throughout the dance. And Caitlin’s lines and feminine but powerful moves were equally as captivating. There were a couple of minor issues the judges picked up on, but if you watch the dance as a dance lover and not a complete critic, this was wonderfully done. (9/10)
8. Jeanine Mason and Phillip Chbeeb Broadway, “Moses” from Singing in the Rain choreographed by Tyce DiOrio
Phillip is just not this kind of dancer. He did manage to jump over a sofa the long way and mastered it, and his facial expressions were fun in this type of performance, but he is not diverse enough for anyone to believe him a finalist. Jeanine on the other hand is a firecracker, beautiful, graceful and consistently delivering performance after performance. She just can’t carry the act by herself. This was fun. We liked it a bunch. We had fun. But Philip just does not belong in this group of men, and may force Jeanine to dance for her life tomorrow. (7/10)
Our bottom three:
Asuka & Vitolio
Jeanine & Philip
Karla & Jonathan
The pair of dancers that should go this week? We think Philip should go no matter how flexible or popular he is. And Asuka, while graceful, is outclassed by the remainder of the gals. Jonathan is at real risk though if his solo isn’t great because Philip has a strong following. Karla is fantastic though and we would hate to see her have to dance for her life. Vitolio is fun, but we don’t like him all that much. So it is hard to pick, but we think Philip should go, if not Philip, then Vitolio. From the gals, Asuka is the weakest, and if it comes down to a solo, we think it will be a clear cut choice.
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.
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
It does not take much to move from American Idol fever to So You think You can Dance mania after all. We thought we’ll have withdrawal symptoms from missing Adam Lambert belt out those outrageous high notes every Tuesday night. So You Think You Can Dance to the rescue! Our weeks will be filled with dancing and more dancing every Wednesday and Thursday nights and we are feeling it! We are so excited for these undiscovered dancers whose lives are about to change as they become TV stars and soon after ‘conquer’ America.
The Season Premiere continues as Cat Deely and the rest of the gang head to Miami, Florida and Memphis, Tennessee.
Dancers to watch out for in the Miami audition are Priscilla Marrero, 23 Miami, FL, Erik “Silky” Moore, 19 Oviedo, FL and Janette Manrara, 25 Miami, FL. We’re not sure about the last two making it very far though because Erik does tap and Janette ballroom. They might not be good in other dances. Janette was in Season 4 but was cut in Vegas week.
Last but not least, Talia Rickards, 24 Miami, FL who had a moving backstory reminiscent of Danny Gokey losing his wife prior to audition in American Idol. Talia lost her young husband to a motorcycle accident and SYTYCD had her narrated her love story found and lost. She dances with fire and intensity and thought she should go straight to Vegas but the judges wanted to make it more dramatic so they had her do choreography. She passed and is going to Vegas, but of course!
Beautiful and exciting dancers are aplenty in the Memphis auditions: Paris Torres, 19 from Seattle WA was Miss Washington prior to audition made it straight to Vegas after her “Toxic” audition performing in the acoustic version of the Britney Spears song. (Watch audition video here.)
Lots of siblings going to Vegas! Caitlyn Kinney, 21 Annapolis, MD, who was stunning in her audition dancing in “Winter Song” by Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson and younger sister Megan is also joining her, shown in a montage of contemporary dancers. Both beautiful dancers. Twins’ Lauren & Lydia Guerra, 19 from Dallas TX are a pleasant surprise! Brothers Evan Kasprzak, 21 West Bloomfield, MI (lyrical Jazz/Broadway) and Ryan Kasprzak, 29 Astoria NY (Tap dancer and choreographer) are such exciting dancers and want to see more!
Anna Dunn, 18 Jackson, MS shows a lot of promise dancing contemporary to “Winter Song” (again). She too has a sob story where she lost her father to suicide. Must we really know these things? This is too private to be on TV but Fox has to “tell” it all… She made it to Vegas after doing choreography. We’d like to see her grow in the show but less talk about back stories please…
Contemporary Dancers: Henry Rivero, 18 Miami, FL, Megan Kinney, 18 Annapolis, MD and Alex Wong, 22 Miami, FL are also all worth mentioning. (Watch audition video here.)
Tyce Diorio is an unbelievable choreographer but wow we didn’t realize he has got some unbelievable mouth! We thought Nigel Lythgoe was bad. Tyce is something else. All throughout the audition he came off really cocky to the point of being demeaning and insulting to the dancers. At the end of the Miami leg, Nigel finally had to say: “… Tyce don’t be so mean with the Dancers.” Mary Murphy seconded with “I know…” That should teach them that perhaps Tyce is better off in the background, do what he does best- choreograph but not have to be in the judges panel.
In contrast, we are really beginning to like Lil C. We remember him as guest judge in the panel before and he always had something good and constructive to say. Some even deep and thoughtful which surprised us because he does not seem the type. “Krump” choreography defines rugged and tough but Lil C is soft and gentle in a good way. He is not patronizing and seem to be really sincere in his criticisms without offending the dancers or the viewers.
Still more coming in the Los Angeles and Seattle auditions, Thursday… Check back for videos later!
Our pollsters this week were overwhelmingly in favor of Katee. She was ahead nearly 2 to 1 over the nearest competitor, Joshua. Twitch and Courtney were taking up the rear with only a fraction of the votes. Our contributors have gained our respect from their past calls, but were they right this time?
We again apologize if this review is long, but this was a two-hour show with little anyone should miss. Each piece was spectacular and there were slight variations in the quality of the performances that we believe screams out who won this competition. If you are only interested in the prediction, and voting in our polls, it is at the end of this article. If not, read on, because this was one amazing show.
Now for the show.
The show didn’t waste time, and the first pair to take the stage was Twitch and Courtney. The theme was a crazed emotional girlfriend and the man that has to confront such emotion. It was a Hip Hop routine, and was well done. Courtney struck us, somewhat, as too cute for the part. She looked just a tad nervous, but in this competition finale, you could understand that. The dance was great, finished by an attempted pinwheel head spin. They blew the last move though, as Courtney dropped off Twitch’s head too soon. Fortunately, he caught her.
The judges tried to get the audience to look past the final slip and did not mention it. “I felt that from you!” exclaimed Mary, followed by her deafening scream. The thing that stood out in the judges’ comments at the end was that they seemed to focus on Courtney and promoted her performance more than Twitch’s. Nigel remarked, “Twitch, if I were you, I would be grateful I was dancing with Courtney and not Mary”. If you recall, this is the second time that Twitch has drawn the crazy girlfriend. In one of our absolute favorite performances from the season, Katee goes ballistic on Twitch, her indifferent partner.
Courtney had to now take her turn at the interview and solo. She danced the solo to “They Weren’t There” by Missy Higgins. Following her graceful and superior solo, Courtney broke into tears as the judges praised her. Courtney always wins the solo, but would it be enough to bring her the votes to win?
What was to follow was almost unfair. They paired Katee and Joshua to dance in competition against Twitch and Courtney’s initial performance. Katee quipped in practice, “Joshua’s my boo”. Could this be for real? They do seem wonderful together. The two have been astonishing as a pair all season. Twitch and Courtney have barely been noticed in their few pairings.
Wade Robson choreographed another contemporary masterpiece, performed to “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” by John Mayer. Katie begins the piece quivering with evident despair, totally relating her character to the audience. The emotions burst through the television and into our hearts. The synchronization in this dance has to be seen. It cannot be conveyed in words. Every move is pure grace, with a particularly beautiful reverse fall by Katee onto Joshua’s leg, as he gently kicks Katee upright. Our response before the dance was that no one could beat Katee and Joshua as partners in any competition. Our response after the dance was that it wasn’t going to happen tonight. Round one to Joshua and Katee.
We were shocked by a rather muted response from the judges. Mandy Moore commented to Katee, “You could have used a little more work through the legs and feet.” We have no idea what Mandy was speaking of. Katee’s feet are among her most spectacular features during a dance. Mary did praise the dancers, but did not give them her scream or a trip on the Hot Tamale train. Nigel commented that Katee and Joshua were “Two of the best dancers we have ever had on this show”.
Courtney and Katee: dancing together!
Next up were the “girls” as the show refers to them. Courtney and Katee performed a Broadway dance for the audience complete with spinning umbrellas and puffy colorful outfits. Tyce Diorio choreographed the piece, and it was danced to “The Trolley Song” by Rufus Wainwright. The two dancers started off slightly out of sync, but they pulled it together as they progressed. What became evident during this dance is what makes Katee extraordinary. Her lines are impeccable. It was hard to place before you saw this dance scene. Katee almost makes Courtney seem awkward, and Courtney is far from awkward. Katee has lines that are nearly perfect. We would be inclined to say it was a height advantage, but Sabra last year dispelled that theory. It is grace and beauty in her motion that can only be seen and felt, not expressed in prose.
Nigel said it all, following the dance. “Katee finishes every move just a little bit further than you.” You could see the pained facial reaction to the comment on Courtney’s face, but Nigel was right. Katee was smoother and more graceful throughout.
Now it was time for Twitch to speak to the audience. He said he would be in the military now if it wasn’t for this opportunity. Twitch was asked what his favorite routine was, and he said it was clearly the Viennese Waltz with Kherington.
Twitch did a very entertaining mixed Pop and Hip Hop solo danced to “It Was All In Your Mind” by Wade Robson. Twitch started with a back flip and followed with moves throughout the dance that seemed downright impossible. The judges were unanimous in their praise.
Joshua and Twitch: sparring partners!
Joshua and Twitch were up next in an all male pairing. This dance made us glad that Mark was eliminated. While it was sad to see him go, and we believe he won last week, Twitch and Joshua made superb partners for this dance, and we believe it could have only been possible given these two specific men. It was a Russian dance called the Trepac, choreographed by Youri Nelzine and danced to the Nutcracker.
The costumes were ridiculous gypsy outfits, though, that made us think of Halloween. Twitch did all the floor work, effortlessly executing Russian squats, kicks and walks as he crouched. Joshua executed leaps that were six feet off the floor. We have never seen such height in all the time we have watched the show. There were body flips, twirls and jumps that were spectacular and had the audience screaming on every move. The audience and judges were on their feet. Mary expressed that it was great to see “two Hip Hop dancers for the first time in the finale”, and broke into another deafening scream. The men’s dance was clearly stronger than the women’s. The two dancers followed by attempting to show who could jump higher. Joshua left little doubt with a standing back flip.
Katee was up next, and the show reflected on her near elimination at the auditions. At the time, she said she would give up and not come back next year if not selected. Nigel then called for another vote, as though they would not let her through for her careless comment. Of course, the judges did put through Katee, and we think there was no doubt this was little more than theatrics on Nigel’s part. Katee said her favorite dance was with Joshua in the performance to “No Air” by Jordan Sparks. A championship dance performed to another champion’s hit song.
Katee did her solo to “Hide and Seek”, by Imogen Heap. It was beautiful and expressive, but not as well danced as Courtney’s. Courtney again won the solo competition. The guest judge, Mandy Moore, once again stated Katee should work on her knees and feet. We suggest Mandy visit her optometrist; near sightedness can be fixed these days. The other judges were rather muted in their praise of Katee here. They just said it was great and not much else. Could Katee’s grip on first place be waning?
So, Twitch and Katee were to now perform the Fox Trot. This brought consternation to our faces as we remembered how badly Twitch danced last week with Chelsie. It seemed unfair to do this again, but this time to Katee. Could she survive it? The piece was danced to “Feeling Good” by Michael Buble. Katee was in a killer light blue full length gown with frills, and this dress was perfect for this dance. Katee brought it to life in every spin and every lift. Katee even pulled off something we had never seen before, a cartwheel in a full gown!!
Now for the surprise. Twitch was superb. While the dance accentuated Katee, that is what a leading man is supposed to do. Twitch worked this dance. Every lift and move was graceful and strong. Every smile, nuance and point perfect on Katee, raised up in Twitch’s strong arms.
The judges appeared to praise Twitch more than Katee once again, especially commenting on his strong lift of Katee directly over his head. Katee merely got the comment, “Bravo” from Mary. Nigel, at least said a bit more, saying that the men were so strong this year that they spoiled the choreographers. Twitch was pouring sweat after this dance. That tux was on its way to the dry cleaners for sure!!
Joshua came on next for his interview and, as it turns out, was quite the high school athlete in football and track. His coaches, he stated, were quite upset when he quit to pursue dance. It seems obvious that with Joshua’s leg strength, he must have been an absolute star in track. Joshua’s quote touched us, as he reflected on the show, “This is a blessing, everything here is a blessing.”
Joshua followed with his solo. It was quite fun with some spectacular moves and then breaking off the stage to pop and perform a finale split on the judges’ stand. He hammed it up just enough to be cute at the end, expressing the personality that makes everyone love him. Mary said that he has been riding first class all the way on the Hot Tamale Train. Nigel added, “You have set the standard for untrained dancers.” But this made us wonder. They say that he is trained on the SYTYCD website. Which is it Nigel?
Courtney would now have her chance to dance with Joshua. Joshua began with a strong leap over Courtney. Courtney was keeping up beautifully, but it was apparent, the costume department totally blew their assignment. Courtney’s outfit looked like a one-piece bathing suit. It should have been more of a skirt or a garment that accentuates movement. The high boots made her legs look short; this dance is made for high heels!! The outfit was completely wrong. It did nothing to augment Courtney’s lines and did not contribute at all to her performance.
Joshua’s attire didn’t help much either, because he was wearing sneakers and jeans, which are also all wrong for this style of dance. There were two spectacular moves though, a brilliant slide back bend between Joshua’s legs, followed by a lift up. And the killer move in the finale, which Nigel informed us is called “around the world”. In this move, Joshua swings Courtney around upside down behind is back, with one arm, and brings her back around perfectly just to gently lay her on the floor. Joshua finished with a cartwheel that effortlessly moved into a back-flip.
Mary and Mandy were quick to praise the two dancers, but Nigel then brought them back to reality. “There were a lot of things I was disappointed with; it didn’t have the great feel the Jive should have. It wasn’t brilliant, it was tired”. To that we respond, Nigel, this dance was anything but tired!! We believe the costumes totally negated the performance and made it seem slow and clumsy. You do not dance the Jive in a bathing suit and sneakers. It was simply a poor choice by the costume department that detracted from the execution of what could have been a championship performance.
Final Dance of the Top 4
In the finale, Mia Michaels choreographed a piece for all four dancers. They start off with a large blue scarf that spans the stage. The dancers move back and quickly discard the scarf after they exploited it for opening effect. We once again were disappointed with the costumes. They were dressed in Scottish Kilts that did nothing at all for the dance. As Nigel later quipped, he felt the dancers looked like “the Scottish Olympic Team”. In this instance, plaid was clearly bad.
Mia will get no Emmy for this choreography. The dancers did not seem in sync. There were some fantastic lifts and spins, but overall, while entertaining, the performance did nothing for us, and it did not help in differentiating any of the top four contestants. After the dance, Nigel commented, “Two untrained dancers in the guys”, and “I think these two boys deserve to be here”, finishing with “You are inspirational for others that could not be trained as dancers”.
Once again we are puzzled, because we have said all along that from what we could find, Joshua and Twitch are not trained dancers, and yet the Fox website contradicts both Nigel and our research. Maybe it is all a matter of degree.
So, we can finally conclude, and we appreciate your patience in reading our review. Our pollsters will want to know if they did it again. Did Katee indeed win? Did Joshua pull an upset, or Courtney bring it strongly enough to draw votes and take this contest? Could Twitch have pulled out a miracle with his astonishing performances?
This wasn’t as close as it seems. Joshua and Twitch’s dance together was spectacular and better than the ladies’ pairing, but even six foot leaps could not overcome Katee’s grace. After her prior performances, this competition was Katee’s to lose. She didn’t.