SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE: Top 18 Performances - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE: Top 18 Performances

November 4, 2009 by  

Watching SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE in the daytime seems oh so odd. Circumstances kept me from watching SYTYCD last night, but I wanted to make sure we didn’t go a week without talking about it. Sadly the press release that Fox issued last night spoiled me on which two contestants went home. Ugh! But I might as well take a look to see how they got there.

Tonight’s the Top 18 dancers took to the floor. The World Series schedule dictates that once again it’s up to the sole discretion of the judges as to who stays and who goes. But next week our votes start to count once again, so start paying attention.

When oh when will I just accept that the producers aren’t going to ditch this horrific stage?! The fancy video backdrop and massive dance floor space detract from the show in such a way that it’s very disappointing. And while I’m bitching, can I just say ‘enough already’ with the Paula Abdul begging. I really don’t need a fourth judge on the show, and certainly not Paula. Drop it!

Before we get to the dancing, one quick update. The legal eagles have been brought it and it’s been determined that Billy Bell will be eligible to return to Vegas next season if he so wishes, and that Brandon Dumlao can also audition for the show again next year. Good news for both dancers.

Noelle & Russell

Injured dancer Noelle is back this week, and she and her partner Russell are up first with a Hip Hop routine by Jamal Sims. I can’t say I was a fan of the tennis death match.  Both dancers were in character, but I think the choreography relied too much on the rackets as props. I found them completely distracting.  It was really hard to see the dancing in between all the movement of the props. I think they both did ok, but I think they are capable of more.  I blame Sims more than I do the dancers for this let down.

Adam thought they seemed a bit overwhelmed by the routine. Mary loved Russell but thought they looked tired by the end. Nigel worried that it might not be good enough to keep Noelle out of the bottom four tonight.

Jakob & Ashleigh

Ok can we please get a consensus on this one?  Is it Melanie ‘La pAH Tahn’ or ‘La pa tin’? Cat says it differently each week. I’m so confused.  Well no matter how you pronounce it, Mel and Tony were in charge of choreographing a Viennese Waltz. The piece is all about a newlywed’s couple’s first dance at their wedding.  Jakob says ‘marrying a married woman is, um interesting. It’s strange. It feels a little bit wrong.” Ha – I’m sure it does on many levels dear Jakob. But let me tell you, there was nothing wrong with this routine. I would have liked to be at this wedding. Wowza! Jakob is just perfection. What a stunning dancer.  He and Ashleigh looked beautiful together floating across the dance floor. My one critique was that Ashleigh wasn’t as connected to Jakob as she should have been.  I’m sure it’s her ballroom training, but her eyes were more out to the audience when on this piece she should have been completely enraptured by Jakob.

Interesting that Adam had some criticism for the choreographers, telling them that just because dancers like Jakob have certain abilities (in this case his gorgeous leaps) it doesn’t mean that it has to be put into the dance, especially if it’s not natural.  Mary, the ballroom expert, critiqued Jakob’s technique and lack of power. Nigel said it was a “very, very strong routine tonight”.

Bianca & Victor

Tyce came with ‘A Color Purple’ inspired piece this week.  Is it jazz or is it Broadway? One never can tell. But what I can tell you is that this was a hot mess.  I have no idea what happened on that stage tonight. Were Victor and Bianca dancing with the music?  It seemed so scattered and off rhythm. I couldn’t tell if they were behind the beat or in front of it.  They were rushing to get through the routine and both dancers looked very amateurish up there.  Oh and Tyce – your choreo sucked.  Sorry, but let’s make it about keeping these kids in the competition and not just about your own ego.  Running around the stage and jumping up and down isn’t going to work out well for even the strongest of the Top 18 dancers.

Adam said he was “overly aware that they were dancing” which isn’t a good thing for this particular number. Mary wanted a lot more and she thought they were just doing choreography. Nigel thought Victor wasn’t in character at all, but the dance didn’t sit comfortably with either of them.

Mollee & Nathan

Mollee and Taylor Lautner Jr. will be taking on the season’s first Bollywood number choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan.  Mollee promised it would be Bollywood like we’ve never seen it before.  Um, yeah, it’s week two. There’s no way it could possibly be better than Joshua and Katee’s B-Wood routine from two seasons ago.  And it wasn’t.  Nathan was extremely powerful.  And damn if he didn’t really look the part.  Tell me the kid doesn’t look like a prince in one of those Disney cartoons. Maybe I’ve been influenced by how many times it’s been brought up, but Mollee still seems so very young to me.  Her lack of presence on stage actually brings Nathan down a little. On the whole I thought the dance was a lot of fun, and it created a beautiful story but I would have liked to see it a bit later in the season. I thought Nathan was the stronger of the two by far.

The Shankman pretty much said the opposite of everything I said about Mollee.  So there’s that. Mary was very excited about the piece. Nigel thought Nathan and Mollee had “tremendous stuff”.

Channing & Philip

Melanie and Tony are back for the second time in the show, but this time they’re teaching Philip and Channing the Samba. The Samba is a sexy dance, so I’m interested to see how Philip and his cheesy smile pulls it off. Or I guess, doesn’t.  Yikes, this was brutal. This might be one of the worst dances I have ever seen on SYTYCD.  Is that too harsh? I don’t think so.  These dancers were not good enough to pull off the routine.  I was embarrassed for them. It was so uncomfortable to watch.  The lifts and the jumps should have been pulled from the routine because they clearly couldn’t handle them.  Each were done in excruciatingly slow motion. But even the basic steps and moves were bad.  Channing was not comfortable at all playing the sexy role. She looked petrified out there. But the dancing was just really bad. No way around it.

Adam said he could see them struggling.  He liked Channing’s hip action though. Mary said she should could see how hard they were working.  Like Adam she fought for something good to say.  I thought both judges stretched it a bit.  Nigel thought Philip looked really stiff.

Karen & Kevin

In the pre-vid, Kevin mentioned that he feels invisible on stage when he’s standing next to his gorgeous partner.  Well, this week it’s his turn to shine since the pair pulled a Hip Hop routine with NappyTabs.  And I can’t say that he did. Is it me?  Why am I not loving these routines?  Being a hip hop dancer Kevin should have owned this dance. But it was Karen who looked the strong of the pair. I thought he didn’t hit it hard enough and she just attacked it. It wasn’t horrible or anything like that but I didn’t feel any kind of connection. Is it the stage and those damn graphics? I don’t know.

Adam literally fell out of his chair twice. A few more weeks of Karen and Shankman might be switching teams.  He loved the routine and felt Kevin was really enjoying the character this week. Mary said that Karen is still on the hot tamale train and with some prompting from Cat, she put Kevin on the train too. Nigel said Karen was moving parts of her body that he didn’t even know could move. Uncle Nigel likey-likey.

Much love to Napolean who is going through the same back issues I am right now. He’s in a lot of pain, so much love to ya Naps!

Kathryn & Legacy

Aw, if we were voting based on the pre-vid alone, then these two would get me to call in.  Loved that Legacy said the best thing about Kathryn is that he can feel secure with her because they are both emotional people. Aw. Tear. Choreographer Stacey Tookey will try to channel their emotion in a beautiful Contemporary piece.

Oh good God I’m a sucker for Contemporary…and Legacy. That routine was incredible! Legacy’s strength set such a foundation for Kathryn to be more fluid around him.  I went back and watched twice before I even started writing because I enjoyed the piece so much.  So many great moments, but when Legacy curled himself around Kathryn’s body…damn, that was beautiful. My only criticism is that I wish there were a few less B-boy moves in the piece.  Legacy didn’t need any kind of crutch. He stood tall on his own. My favorite piece so far, by far (watch the judges hate it).

Oh they didn’t! YAY! The Shankman was moved by Legacy’s performance and he said he can’t wait to see what this couple does next.  Mary praised Legacy on his growth as a dancer and said Kathryn’s movement and lines were beautiful. Nigel said Kathryn isn’t under the radar any more.

Pauline & Peter

After losing their partners last week, Pauline and Peter are dancing together for the first time.  Wade Robson (sigh) is on hand as their choreographer.  I watched the pre-vid twice but I still have no idea what this dance is all about. Something about being lost inside Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Starry Night’ before it was painted?  What? Oh Wade, once I’d like a passport to visit the world you live in.  As for the dance, well it was hard to critique because I had no idea what to look for.  It was certainly unconventional and quirky. I thought both dancers, but especially Peter, were really committed to it so that’s a plus.  I could see a lot of Wade, but I could also see how Wade would have done it better. Ok I’m going to to stop now because I’m making about as much sense as that dance.

Adam noted that the piece could be controversial, but he did say that it was essential that both the dancers were committed and they were – especially Peter. (Love when we’re on the same page Adam). Mary liked everything about it but she didn’t think it would take them anywhere.  I see what she means.  The choreo can sometimes be a disconnect for the voting audience at home. Glad we aren’t voting this week. Nigel offered up criticism to help the dancers in the future, but overall he thought they danced well.

Ellenore & Ryan

The final couple on the stage take on an Argentine Tango by Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo. And talk about saving the best for last! BRAVO! That was sick! Being a Latin Ballroom dancer, I knew Ryan would be strong, but the pair of them were intoxicating. So many scary lifts. But their precision and syncopation was the real stand out.  And was anyone else freaking out when her heel got caught in her dress in the early moments of the routine? And it stayed like that until almost the end! How she kept it together I don’t know. She could have been hurt.  But the visual of the dress struck on the heel kind of worked, especially in those gorgeous spins.  That’s when you know everything is going in your favor, when a wardrobe malfunction enhances your performance.  Damn this was so good and worth a second and third viewing.

The judges gave them a standing ovation. Adam remarked that they almost stopped the routine when they saw her hell get caught in her dress but she carried on. Amazing! Mary said it was phenomenal and that their technique were outstanding. Nigel said there isn’t any other couple on the show this season that could do what these two did tonight.

So that’s that.  Nigel ominously called the following dancers to the front of the stage:

  • Noelle & Russell
  • Bianca & Victor
  • Channing & Phillip

But of this group only Noelle, Phillip, Bianca and Victor will be dancing for their lives.

Noelle was powerful and left it all on the stage. Victor also showed his strength and agility in his performance. There’s no denying Bianca is so fantastic at what she does, but it’s SO irritating the way her heels are mic’d. And finally Phillip, who was also great. You can’t fault him because he does what he does so well. It’s just not right for SYTYCD. Sorry tappers.

The first person sent home last night was Bianca. Whoa, that was way more emotional for me than I thought it would be. Why am I crying? Maybe it’s because we’ve known Bianca for so long, I don’t know.

Oh the rest of the dancers are just a wreck. That kills me.

As for the guy going home, well that’s another tapper – Philip.  And Uncle Nigel does not looked pleased with the result. And oh goodness, Philip’s father just passed away last week.  Ugh, someone please pass the tissues because I’m an absolute mess. And now Cat is crying. And he is my least favorite dancer.

Enough. I’m spent.

Your turn…

Best routine of the night? Did the right dancers go home? Early favorites to win it all? Why does Cat still not have an Emmy?


11 Responses to “SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE: Top 18 Performances”

  1. Lisa (aka lmr) on November 4th, 2009 4:21 pm

    I love your review, Kath, and so glad to see you got to do it. I’m in rabid agreement with your observations. I am sick of Noelle though and sort of want her off my TV, she’s dragging down my fave IMO. Mollee should reach for the door handle right after her — over exposed and belongs more as one of the Cheerios than on SYTYCD. Not hating on Ashleigh as much as I was but I think that’s because I adore Jakob. I am rooting for a lot of partner swaps soon.

  2. Elizabeth on November 4th, 2009 4:22 pm

    Your recap makes me all the more excited to watch this when I have a spare moment in my busy life. Missing SYTYCD is excruciating – thank God for DVRs!

  3. Cookie on November 4th, 2009 5:55 pm

    Totally agree! I hate the new stage! The dancers disappear when wearing black, and the black dancers disappear completely!! Don’t get me started on the Starry Starry Night costume blending with that ginormous backdrop.

    I can’t believe that the judges commended Channing on her hip movement and blamed Phillip for her shortcomings. I thought she should have been in the bottom 2, and ultimately gone home. Her place in the competition is seeming more like casting and Nigel’s comments more scripted than ever.

    I wished the DWTS flu on Peter so that Wade could step in to perform. Is that too evil? In the snippets of him dancing the routine in rehearsal, he blew Peter out of the water.

    I thought Ellenore’s dress getting caught added to the drama of the dance, I didn’t consider it could be dangerous. That dance was breathtaking. Cyd Charisse was an apt comparison for her.

    Count me in as someone who is distracted by leaps in a Waltz. The guys are being given choreo to show off their tricks and the girls are secondary in the group and pair dances.

    Legacy and Kathryn’s dance was my favorite last night. From Vegas, I didn’t have much hope for him in other styles, but that was beautiful.

    I was so mad about Channing skating through, I wasn’t prepared for Phillip’s speech. He had me crying, and he was not one of my favorites. This cast seems to be as close as Season 4 and it was hard watching how emotional they were.

    Thanks for the recap, and I hope you are feeling better!

  4. Amanda on November 4th, 2009 5:55 pm

    I didn’t expect much from Legacy, but damn if he isn’t becoming one of my favorites. Their dance was stunning. I don’t have as much Channing hate as some, but that dance was bad. The lifts looked labored and awful. Good riddance to Phillip and his cheesy grin. And you know, the first thing I thought when I saw Nathan in his Bollywood costume was – it’s Aladdin! The resemblance was uncanny.

  5. Kathy on November 4th, 2009 6:42 pm

    I absolutely loved Legacy and whatshername (see? I have a favorite – OK I looked up, Kathryn). That is going to be one of those routines we see at the end of the season as a favorite. The samba was just painful to watch. So painful, I started checking my emails on my phone part way through it. I also hate how they mic the tappers, and for that reason am glad 2 of them are gone. They just didn’t translate well enough into the other styles. I can’t wait for next week where we can start voting.

  6. Sarah (seeleybaby) on November 4th, 2009 7:08 pm

    I still love Peter. I hope he is around for awhile, even if he’s not the strongest so far of the men. My dad, and avid SYTYCD fan just waved his hand and was like “he won’t be”. Ouch! haha. Legacy HAS come a long way from before (armpits like waterfalls) and all of that, haha. I loved that dance with Kathryn.

    I have never watched any other season, so I didn’t know Bianca before this season, but I also cried a bit. I think it’s because since she made it to the top 20, she can never try out again, and yet she was cut so soon that it’s just such a bummer. For me at least. Like it’s almost like she’d rather have not made the top 20 so she could try out again or something.

  7. Jennifer on November 4th, 2009 8:55 pm

    I agree that Tyce’s routine was horrible. If you’re looking for a fantastic “church style” routine, look for SYTYCD Canada’s Top 20 dance on the finale choreographed by Sean Cheesman. This guy is an amazing choreographer, he can do so many different styles; broadway, jazz, theatre, african, he will do anything. His jazz fusion dance to The White Stripes was unbelievable. Hey Nigel, hire this guy!

  8. Patty on November 5th, 2009 3:20 pm

    It’s not only Mollee’s immaturity that kills me but it always looks like her arms are flailing all over the place to me. She has no control of her limbs! Please send her home (although I don’t see how with that dreamy jail bait Nathan)

    I am falling for Legacy and I really didn’t like him all that much during Vegas. I like Ryan and Kathryn (reminds me of Ione Skye) and maybe Ellenore. We’ll see how it goes when America starts to vote. I dint’ call until the finals this past season but I will be calling next week!

  9. Forts on November 5th, 2009 5:04 pm

    I still hate the new stage but the performances were good. 😀 I actually liked “The Color Purple” routine! I don’t know if you grew up in a church but trust me that’s exactly what it’s like on the good days. 🙂 I’ve also been to churches in Costa Rica that were exactly like that and I assume “Black Churches” are a lot like that. 😀 My parents are white but both grew up in black neighborhoods and school and they claim that that’s what church was like for them growing up. 😀

    The “Fear” contemporary routine was stunning. Emmy nominee?
    Definitely reminded me of the “Addiction” routine from last year. They were similar but not identical. 🙂

    Sometimes I wonder if the choreographers are trying too hard near the beginning of the season. I feel like the show would be better if amazing dances like that were saved for the top 10.

    Also I totally got the concept of the Van Gogh “Starry Night” ((One ‘starry’ not two. Two is a song. One is a painting)) dance but the execution wasn’t… great. I liked it but didn’t love it.

  10. Toast with JAM on November 5th, 2009 8:40 pm

    has anyone mentioned that Channing was dropped on her head to end their Samba routine? I thought she’d have medical over there right away. Her head just smacked the floor!

    Kathryn and Legacy have had a great two weeks and are becoming this season’s Brandon and Janette for me! Kathryn has a great performance face and presence, much like Jeanine.

  11. Em on November 8th, 2009 1:01 pm

    I loved the Fear dance too. Thank goodness for Miss Tookey – I’m going to really miss Mia this season, but Stacy does a great job.

    I did notice that it looked like Channing hit her head, but I wasn’t able to pause it in the right spot to verify.

    Did anyone else see that Ryan didn’t lift Ellenore up over his head during the most difficult lift? We saw it in the rehearsal footage like 4 times. I thought that one of the judges would call them on it and ask why, but I guess it was good that they focused on the positive since they did do such a great job.

    I felt SO bad for poor Philip and Bianca and I was not a big fan of either one of them, and when Philip mentioned that his father had passed – I lost it. What a week. It’s nice to see how tight-knit everyone is this year: the heart with the 6 fingers is a cute touch too.