Karla on her week with Vitolio:
It was really hard, because after [former partner ] Jonathan [Platero] got eliminated I was really emotional, because we got attached and then all of a sudden I got paired up with a brand-new partner. I had to find an emotional connection in very little time, plus had an added layer of the hardest dance style to work with, so it was a challenge, but we’re both professionals and we both had that motivation to show America that we could attack this kiss of death. That’s what brought us together, and that made it easier.
On the quickstep being known as the “kiss of death” on “SYTYCD”:
I think I was already practicing my solo when I opened that card that told us we’d be doing that dance, especially when everyone else around us had a genre in their comfort zone. I felt almost defeated, but there was motivation to attack the dance’s hard style. The blessing was having Jean-Marc [Généreux] as a choreographer. He was very involved and invested in us, and he knew it would be a difficult task and that it’s a hard dance to learn: Your feet have to work very fast, and you have to work intimately with your partner, and that was an additional challenge. I think Jean-Marc guided us a lot with the analogies he used to help us with frame and finding that connection physically. He gave us a great routine choreographically to make it easier because there were other things to focus on, like the story and acting, so we weren’t too focused on doing the quickstep perfectly.
Relaxing and spending time with family. I got a few offers the day after the elimination episode to teach and to perform and to do the Radio City Rockettes show and maybe get into acting.
Vitolio on how dancing saved his life:
I saw a Michael Jackson video in early age and that inspired me: Once I got out of an orphanage [in Haiti] I used dance as a way to survive and make money in the street and take care of myself and my grandma.
How it felt to be in the bottom three the third time:
I was a little surprised because, from the judges’ critiques the night before, we thought we had done an awesome quickstep. I knew we were somehow going to be in there because America had its favorites and wasn’t going to put its favorites aside to vote for us, but I was hoping for a miracle still.
I’m back in Miami and I’m looking for an agent in L.A., so I’m planning on moving to L.A. and keep on dancing and choreographing and getting into acting and modeling, and maybe writing a book about my life story.
America’s vote nailed Phillip and Jeanine and we were only right on two couples in the bottom three. But Phillip did a great solo and did not belong here tonight after he got hip hop again last night. He should have gone last week or the week before, but this week, he didn’t belong here. The other two couples unfortunately did, but only by a hair.
Randi and Evan thankfully escaped. We love them and think the judges were totally unfair in their criticisms last night. Still, we did see them at the top of the bottom three, and they survived without having to dance for their lives.
Kupono was not so lucky. We felt that he didn’t cut it last night, while he was great other nights, but he was thrust into the bottom. And his solo was horrible. But lucky or not, he survived.
So that left Vitolio, someone we thought could make the bottom three because of a rather unmemorable performance. The judges were cruel after his solo saying that at the end of the day all he had was a great presence on stage but the performance was lacking. These judges have been calling his praises for weeks and know that is far far from the truth. He had a bad night. His solo was better than Kupono’s. There were other factors at work here. But still, we did see him in the bottom three if Randi and Evan did not get in.
For the women, the best solo by far was danced by the one woman that did not belong here. Jeanine nailed the solo and literally embarrassed the other girls. She is a stunning dancer that has carried Phillip for weeks and she deserves to be in this.
So, that left Kayla and Karla. Not much difference in the names, but there is a difference in their talent. Once again, the judges missed the mark as to why. Kayla is just better. Karla could have spun cartwheels in the stars and not won this. The judges had already made up their minds. So their comment that Karla was lacking star quality was just stupid filler. If she isn’t a star, what do you call the top 20? They are all star quality.
And so we say goodbye to Karla and Vitolio. We think that Phillip is entertaining, but doesn’t belong here on the basis of his overall talent. We do like him though and he did kill it last night. And we think Kayla had better step it up big time, because while the judges are singing her praises, we, the audience, obviously aren’t getting it and she keeps getting the honor of doing survival solos.
Elimination recap from the judges and comments from Karla and Vitolio
How does one judge a bag of nuts. Well, the judges were nuts, but that is not what we mean. You are given a basket of the best and freshest nuts. Walnuts, almonds, filberts, macadamia, cashews and pecans. Then you are asked to pick your least favorite. What would happen?
We know our choices. We would pick almonds and have a tough time between macadamia and filberts. But others that crave the walnut would beg to differ. And those that have that passion for the cashew, no other nut will do, of course we have to be wrong. And anyone knows that the macadamia is the most royal, creamy and perfect nut of all. But the champion of nuts that spans the entire spectrum of nut lovers because everyone loves it is the almond.
So what would you choose? It all comes down to taste. It all comes down a number of factors that are not exactly intuitive on the surface, but that make sense as you drive deeper into the selections. So, as we snack on peanuts, we shall judge the rest of the nuts.
First, let’s begin by saying we believe this show is a bit of a hoax. No, the dancing is fantastic and the judging real, but if anyone believes the judges are spontaneous, they are wrong. The judges are rehearsed. And the part that bothers us about this is the judges had to have their minds made up before the performance, which is kind of disgusting. There is no shock, no stammer, no loss for words. It is all staged and as choreographed as the dancers which is disappointing. The judges are great at what they do, but they are poor actors.
Tonight was a night when we saw every couple hit their number. Normally, we judge from the bottom up on this show (no we are not referring to the spectacular performance last week by Evan and Randi), but this week, we had to judge from the top down. Every performance was so well done that we were taken aback. Not one dancer flinched. None flubbed. There was no chance for anyone to lose, but someone has to.
That said, the dancers were given their time to perform in their niches tonight. It was no coincidence. This was no luck of the draw or you have to believe that you can actually beat the casino at roulette.
Well, does it come down then to the wheel, the dice or the machine? If the player isn’t winning, could it be the instrument? In this case, the instruments are the choreographers. And the choreographers on this show are so tremendous that it would be hard to judge them. But a new choreographer, not quite as well understood and not as adept at training dancers that must perform in this level of competition often do have weaknesses, and the dancers can pay for them.
To the dancers: (Solo introduction and dance recap at the bottom of this post)
1. Janette and Brandon – Cha-Cha-Cha “Hush Hush”—The Pussycat Dolls, Choreography by Jean-Marc Généreux
There is often a really subtle standout in the show that comes out as the show progresses. In this show, it is Janette. She is spectacular. Her legs are as fast as any dancer, and when you compare her to so many others on this show that had fast legs, that is a tremendous achievement. She is mesmerizing to watch. Brandon is a wonderful dancer, but is too effeminate. We hope he shakes that because he is truly talented. Even with his weakness, though, this dance was amazing. (10/10)
2. Kayla and Kupono – Contemporary “Eyes On Fire”—Blue Foundation Choreography by Sonya Tayeh
You know, we thought this was an absolutely great set. We love dark theme performances and this was no exception. Kayla, as usual, had awesome lines, but we didn’t see her being as much of a standout as in prior weeks. Kupono was great here as well, but we didn’t find the performance particularly memorable. The judges loved it, but it just wasn’t overall as good as they made it out to be and yet (9/10)
3. Randi and Evan – Broadway “Rich Man’s Frug” from Sweet Charity Choreography by Joey Dowling
Now, sometimes, someone just has to get art. You can look at a masterpiece and stare at it for hours and have no idea what makes it great. This performance had a twist of the odd in it. The most important part of the dance, independently of making every step perfectly, was the character acting. Evan pulled it off with amazing accuracy. His acting persona was spectacular. Randi was not quite as good this week as last, but that is like saying she was only genius. These two were once again fantastic. The judges had to find someone to criticize after praising the first two dances, but this dance was every bit as good. (9/10)
4. Caitlin and Jason – Pop-Jazz “Creator”—Santigold Choreography by Brian Friedman
There are times that being the oddest person in the group makes you stand out in a positive way. In other cases, no matter how wonderfully odd you are, you are just odd. We blame the choreographers for the fact we did not like this dance as much as the others. The judges could not place their fingers on it and blamed Caitlin’s distracting outfit, but she was supposed to be an alien for heaven’s sake, and it is not like the dancer’s pick their outfits. Stupid for the judges to mention it. But the quirkiness of the dance did not take away from Caitlin and Jason’s talent. They performed amazingly well. (9/10)
5. Jeanine and Phillip – Hip-hop “Love Lockdown”—Kanye West Choreography by Tabitha D’umo
OK, now let’s give Phillip a chance here. Give him what he does best so we can show why he belongs here. Fine, we get it. But so many other dancers have had to dance out of their element every week and as Phillip got in trouble two weeks running with that, they brought him back with this performance. OK, Phillip is amazing at this style and Jeanine can do anything, so we cannot take anything away from this performance. It was a delight to watch, the choreography was amazing and the dancers on mark throughout. So, what didn’t we like? We feel the show is giving Phillip a strong amount of favoritism because of his entertainment factor within his niche. The show may be right, we enjoyed watching this performance enormously. And we believe Jeanine is as good as any woman here. (10/10)
6. Melissa and Ade – Classical Pas de deux Romeo & Juliet: Provofiev’s Suite (No.1 Op 64b, 6th Movement)—Orchestre De La Suisse Romande & Armin Jordan Choreography by Thordal Christensen
This was perfect for Melissa to show her lines and specialty. Finally, she was given an opportunity to perform like the ballet artist she truly is. There was no doubt throughout who we were watching. Melissa floated through the air, pointed like the most talented ballerina and made the Nutcracker look like a show for amateurs. This was her best performance. Ade, on the other hand, was out of his element. The judges praised him, but to us, Melissa outclassed him so greatly that it made him look silly at times. Melissa was so graceful and perfect though that she totally disguised any lack of grace by Ade. In a lift that took us to a world of enchantment, Melissa arched her body and bent her legs so gracefully that it looked for sure like she could fly. During the lift, Ade was merely her support and little else, but no one was looking at Ade. In another move, it was grace by Melissa that made her look like she was literally flying across the stage like a real life tinker bell, and once again Ade was merely a prop. So, how do we judge this? (10/10)
7. Karla and Vitolio- Quickstep “Puttin’ on the Ritz”—Rufus Wainwright, Choreography by Jean-Marc Généreux
Ah, if only Vitolio could work that goofy smile into something a bit more serious. His smile tends to make us want to laugh when we see it. But he can dance. Karla needed a great performance tonight to pull out of the bottom three. This is a new couple, and that brings some very interesting and difficult challenges. In this performance, Karla pulled out all the stops and performed the best we have seen her. Vitolio was great, but somehow detached. The chemistry was not there for us. But it was still a performance one should not miss. (9/10)
Top 14 Solo Introduction plus Dance Recap
OK, now if we were judging, what do we do now? We have just said everyone is amazing and yet we have to have a bottom 3. Usually, in a given week, we see a blunder that stands out to us. But none stood out in any way this week in a negative fashion performance wise. So, now it comes down to taste.
We don’t like walnuts. Caitlin and Jason were our walnuts. We see them in the bottom three because we believe they will not make the final snack bowl. The choreography was too odd, and even their great talent could not bring it out in as positive a way as the rest of the group.
We love macadamia nuts. They are delightful and we know they could never be in the bottom three. Jeanette and Brandon were our macadamias. They were the number one or number two couple. No question.
Now, normally, we don’t care much for cashews. They are mealy at times and often much sweeter than we like a nut to be. But every once in a while, you get a perfect cashew. Jeanine and Phillip were out perfect cashews. If they are in the bottom three it is only because someone had to be.
Filberts are always a surprise the first time. They have a hard outer shell and look much like an acorn. Seems like food for squirrels, not for humans. But then you taste one, and you realize that they are among the best of nuts. Well, this is how we would classify Melissa but not Ade. Still, as a team, they were what makes a cashew lover remember why they crave them. No bottom three here.
Shoot, now we only have one bottom couple. What do we do? We have no choice but to place Kayla and Kupono and Randi and Evan in our bottom three. Not because they were not spectacular, just that they were a hair behind in a photo finish.
We still believe that in the long run, Phillip cannot win and has no diversity. We don’t believe he has any chance here, so the judges should make way for the more diverse and stop pandering to him. That said, he nailed his specialty so amazingly well this week that he cannot go home. That places Randi and Evan in our bottom three. And we love Evan. They were our almonds. The standby you love every time you have them. And yet, could you give them up for a great cashew? We think it more likely, though, we will be sending home the walnuts. But we can still use them in cookies that no one eats.
Hedging our bets on our bottom three though, we have to turn to the set that was least memorable even if well performed. This also places Karla and Vitolio square in the cross hairs. Anyone other than these four possibilities in the bottom three would be a mistake. But who knows what America will do with ballet? How cultured are we after all?
The solos will tell all. But our bottom three are:
1. Caitlin and Jason
2. Randi and Evan
3. Kayla and Kupono
4. Karla and Vitolio
Well, once again, we were not totally surprised, but maybe a little, at how poorly America can choose a dance performance. While two of our bottom three couples made the bottom three, one did not, and the one that did, just plain did not belong there. Thank heavens, the couple that did not belong there humiliated their competition in the solos.
Before we get into who was here that did not belong, let’s go to the couple that did belong and escaped. Phillip and Jeanine. It is possible that Jeanine was so good she saved Phillip, or there is some goofy god that saved Phillip, but honestly, he has no true dance talent. He is a one trick pony. It shows week after week, but he has some followers that do vote for him. We are not sure who they are, but they know little about dance, and the result this week was a dancer with vastly more talent and an actual chance at winning was sent home tonight. Get it right America. Phillip is not a dancer, he is a circus act.
Caitlin and Jason did not belong at all in the bottom three. They were one of the best couples of the night. And while they easily escaped elimination with their excellent solos, it shows how foolish things can get. We have no idea how anyone could have not seen how fantastic their performance was last night, and yet, somehow, Philip was better? Please. Pathetic.
So it came down to two women for the bottom two, both of whom we thought would be there. Asuka and Karla. But we thought Karla had more diversity and performed much better last night. Asuka has the sleek lines and the ballroom finesse, but you have to do it all in SYTYCD and when it comes to a solo, the ballroom dancers, if not absolutely sensational, usually do not get through. But tonight, Karla was weak on her solo. Nothing stood out. It seemed she played it so safe as to be in danger. The judges were unanimous as they told Karla… she was safe. Asuka went home, but Karla did not help herself with that solo.
And now the saddest part of the night. There is no question that of the two men left, one did an off tempo out of sync solo and one did an excellent on key solo that was on par with his performance last night. One man was great, and one man was not, but according to our picks last night, both men should have been in the bottom three. The one of the two that was not able to dance to the music. The one off his step. And the one with, by far the weakest solo, was kept. And so Jonathan goes home and Vitolio survives in a pathetic play by the judges to favor minorities over true talent. A sad statement.
We bid Jonathan goodbye and wish him the best. He just has to get that goofy kids smile off his face, because his dance is wonderful and he makes Vitolio look second rate.
So goodbye to Jonathan and Asuka. One deserved to go, one did not, but both were in our bottom three from last night.
Now if someone could just get a clue and kick Philip out of here..
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.