I have a few friends who like to liveblog their favorite reality contests and award shows, and though I completely opted out of American Idol this year, my love affair with So You Think You Can Dance started last year. I danced from age 2-15, and I still regret quitting ballet when I was 9 years old, right before I would've been put on pointe (which if they'd told me... ok, moving on).
Tonight was the first episode where the top 20 contestants performed for audience votes to stay in the competition. This same show last season featured my favorite performance to date, when Lacey Schwimmer and Kameron Bink performed a Mia Michaels contemporary piece to the song "Dancing" by Elisa, and it was ridiculously amazing. I've never been a fan of contemporary (nor did I ever perform or take classes in it), but over a year later that dance is still in my head! I've searched YouTube for clips... alas there are none. I do hope, however, that this season will offer something as exciting and memorable as that performance, because it's what hooked me on the rest of the season and has me returning this year.
So tonight we find out who gets paired with who, which I find is indicative to who the producers want to see move forward- as they'd never put a crowd favorite (and yes, some have already been established through the audition shows) with the weakest partner. You might think it's presumptuous to say that there's a weak link in a group of 20 which have been culled from 200 finalists, but there are many excellent solo dancers who just don't partner well. ANYWAY. Here come the performances:
Raven & Jamie
She's so Raven! Love that show. She's 28 which gives me a momentary false sense of hope that I could still be on the show next year (HAHA). I love that she left her position @ Alvin Ailey to move back home and help her mother with her dance studio. I love a dancer with good character, and she seems to have both that and the life experience to really appreciate this opportunity.
Jamie- 'eh. Auditioned with his girlfriend who didn't make it past Vegas. He's a west-coast swinger, so I hope he can keep his mug in check; they throw goofy faces like woah, and have trouble turning it off.
(song: American Boy, Estelle w. Kanye West) These two seem oblivious to the fact that they're dancing hip hop. When they finally do throw down for an 8-count it's more like a parody. Disappointing. Also, if someone could clue these two into the function of the camera's tally light so they talk to the right camera when trying to convince me to call in and vote for them. And Raven- reel it in hon, Jamie's mugging has rubbed off on you already. Go take a shower.
Agree with judges? Yes, but only Dan- "there was no funk." Sorry- I'm not feeling "cotton candy hip-hop".
Susie & Marquis
I was honestly amazed that Susie made it to Vegas. I really wasn't impressed with her at any point in the audition process, but have to assume that she showed the judges something more than what was aired.
I don't remember Marquis much at all, ironic since he was at the DC audition which I thought I'd paid a little extra attention to. Seems to have good technique though, and not a smidge of arrogance. Thank goodness.
(song: Dark Waltz, Hayley Westenra) Waltz requires excellent partnering, and though i'm sure she's got it in her background, he's definitely working to match her, with success. Little trouble with a lift there, but she plays it off gracefully, and he doesn't drop her. THAT'S how you recover. A+
Agree with judges? Yes. Nigel calls 'em out on the lift, but gives 'em credit for correcting well.
Kourtni & Matt
Kourtni- my issues with you have nothing to do with your dancing; hence they don't really matter- but please oh please take that stud out of your lip piercing. It looks like a migrating monroe and is driving me nuts. Beautiful girl, and I remember her from auditions- good stuff.
Matt has been told he's the shit and he believes the hype. I worry about him as a partner, cause he's clearly been groomed as a soloist.
(song: Tainted Love, Soft Cell) Can they stay in character? Let's hope so.... ut oh. Matt's already too smiley. You're on your own Kourtni. ARG. Matt's playing to the camera. I hope Kourtni doesn't suffer for him cause I hate when one person drags the other down.
Agree with judges? YES. I heart Nigel. Calls Matt right out about being "above the routine". Even implies Matt not might not be around for very long. WOW.
Chelsea & Thayne
Chelsea is gorgeous, great facial expressions- lots of personality coming from her. I'm a fan already.
Thayne appears to be able to do some great acrobatic stuff and gets good air on jumps. I think this will be a good pairing.
(song: Oye Como Va (Latin/Trance Mix), Celia Cruz) ARG. Pseudo-techno... me no like. I feel like this routine is moving a little too slow for the music, but no one's noticing cause of Chelsea's costume- which she certainly has the body for. Damn. That girl is all muscle. She's hamming it up a bit, but Thanye isn't detracting from her or getting left behind.
Agree with judges? Yes. Thayne is just living in Chelsea's world.
Chelsie & Mark
Chelsie doesn't seem like anything too special from what they're showing here, not terribly memorable.
Mark is from Hawaii, and dances like a cuckoo bird. I remember his solo but I'm still wondering why he made it to the top 20. In rehearsal they're having trouble, and he's kicking her around like a sack of potatoes. I see these two getting split up not very far down the road.
(song: Beautiful, Me'Shell Ndegeocello) This set is a mix of tiny perfect moments and complete disjointedness. Mark dances with Chelsie like she's a prop. There's an audience member drawing more of my attention than they are for a good 10 second span of time after their little rolly-polly move. And Chelsie's skirt makes it nearly impossible to see how she's moving and what her legs are doing. I wanna think the routine had more potential but it just didn't come through. Damn skirt.
Agree with judges? Not really. I'm not infatuated with Mark the way they are; I think his 'quirkiness' is covering for something.
Kherington & Twitch
Dubbed "Twitchington"- ok, i'll go with it. Twitch is a crowd favorite who some of us wanted to see make it last year- but was blocked by Hawk in Season 3. i've got high hopes for him, and not just cause he's kinda cute. He's funny and has a good attitude about the whole thing
Kherington is 18 but is good for tv- a cute little blonde with a very animated face. These two will have a lot of audeince support.
(song: Too Darn Hot, Kiss Me Kate 2002 Revival Cast) WHERE ARE KHERINGTON'S SHOES? A broadway routine merits shoes dammit- and he's wearing 'em, so.... wtf. It's seriously that distracting for me. She's an energetic firecracker which was totally expected, and Twitch did great- not "just for a hip-hop dancer". His energy level wasn't quite as high as hers, but I think the only one who could match her so far is Chealsea.
Agree with judges? Yep yep! They used their faces and stayed in it the whole time, BUT WHAT OF HER SHOES? Come on now.
Comfort & Chris
She's a hip-hop dancer and hella good. I'm hoping she can parter and rock it out, cause when she finally draws hip hop it's gonna be AWESOME.
Chris does seem a little low on personality like the judges say, but Comfort can draw it out of him we hope. I'm a little worried about how happy he seems to be about dancing with a girl....
(song: Boom Boom, Big Head Todd and The Monsters) NICE opening, and they're staying together really well throughout the routine. Not too many tricks, but the footwork is clean. That was great, event hough Comfort seemed a little stiff.
Agree with judges? Yes- Chris' personality came out and Comfort just needs to get a little more used to dancing in heels. And she dislocated her shoulder the day before? DAMN SOLDIER. And Dan's right- they showed a lot of personality, but need a little more chemistry with each other.
Katee & Joshua
Katee almost didn't make it in after telling the judges that she wouldn't try out again next year if she didn't make it. I think that might sour some of the audience against her, including me.
Joshua is good, and kinda cute though I'm not feelin' the braces. He and Comfort better keep a safe distance from each other. He did some good performances during auditions, so I hope he keeps it up.
(song: No Air, Chris Brown & Jordin Sparks) I HATE THIS SONG.She a'ight, but he's gonna carry her through it for sure. I wish they were looking at each other a little more, and the emotion doesn't really start comign out till the end. He killed it, of course. Still not as good as the 'soft hip-hop' routine last year with Saliesha & ___.
Agree with judges? Yes, in that Joshua really shined and this was probably the best chance for these 2 to stick around for next week. I don't agree that Katee held her own though.
Jessica & Will
Jessica was pretty good at auditions, and took over her group coreography, but hers was the first group that actually did well in that round. Looks promising.
Will is a protoge of Debbie Allen, and hawwwt. I'd call that a double advantage. His audition pieces were phenomenal, and he gets amazing height in the air. Clearly Debbie Allen's still got the goods to be passing on.
(song: Tango, Cirque Du Soleil)This seems slow moving, but I suppose it's not really. They're a bit jerky though, and too smiley- specially Will. Back into character people.
Agree with judges? Just when I think Mary has the potential to deliver actual criticsm she's back on the crazy train. Jessica lost her footing a few times and I didn't feel the chemistry 100%, but they did do well. I wouldn't call them the couple to beat by far, but they did well.
Courtney G. & Gev
Courtney did a good audition- I remember her before Vegas. Cute girl who seems really nice and thankful for her place in the competition- which I like.
Gev is a b-boy who I don't really remember from auditions, but must have something going for him to have made it Top 20 right? He's not full of himself either, so it looks like a good match.
(song: Boogie Wonderland, Earth, Wind, & Fire) They certainly look good together- and are dancing with each other. There's been a surprising lack of that in the performances tonight. Good control on the turns from Courtney- but Gev is definintely struggling with the lifts. and almost dropped her at the end- yikes!
Agree with judges? No! Nigel hit the pipe during the last break- I think he could've at least praised the partnering and the chemistry. That was a tough routine for a b-boy.
Favorite Couple of the night: Chelsea & Thayne. They had the most chemistry, the tightest routine, and complimented each other perfectly.
Favorite Song of the night: Beautiful, by Me'Shell Ndegeocello
Favorite Judge of the night: Dan's the man.