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.