Now that Dance Show has gone to the all-in-one format – dancing and elimination in one show – I’m having a nomenclature problem. Is the show that was on this week, featuring the top 12 dancers, but eliminating two of them so now we’re at the top 10, the top 12 show, or the top 10 show? This is clearly an issue for North America’s top minds to ponder. Quick, call the think tanks!
Anyway, this week’s show was great, but since this is my first Dance Show chat of the season, I’d like to open with some general discussion topics. Please turn to page 1 of your agendas.
Guest Judges. Although I was excited to see Anna Kendrick (totally Twitter crushing on her right now) and Carly Rae Jepsen (go Canada!) as judges, and they took their roles as seriously as possible, they just did not seem like they belonged there. Other judges, like that random sports host chick – Erin Andrews, I think? – were ugh, a total fail. Even this week’s visit by Kenny Ortega felt like a visit from your lecturing grandpa (“Chita Rivera would be so proud of you!” – gah). I’d much, much rather see a return to the days of old where the choreographers were given a seat at the table on a rotating basis. Also: I miss Lil C. Sigh.
Lighting. Is it just me, or is there a lighting problem this season? Granted, our TV is very near death, which may have something to do with it, but there have been several dances that were lit so darkly that I could barely see the dancers and their movements. Not good at all, dance show. I finally feel like the cameramen are getting the hang of things – now it’s time to brighten things up. We can’t vote for dancers we cannot see, Nigel.
Choreographers, Old and New. I hate to say this, but I am tiring of Sonya. Once she was a refreshing change from so-many-love-numbers; now I find her constant repetition of the same themes and styles (power and aggression, combined with leather bodysuits) to be dull. I just feel like they are using her too often, and she doesn’t have enough different tricks in her bag to keep it interesting. On the other hand, Napoleon and Tabitha are impressing me with their range – they’ve shown me cute, sexy, sad, funny, happy, and romantic, all with a wide range of settings, costumes, and themes. Nice. In other news, loved the return of Choreographer Mandy Moore this week (she may just be my all-time favourite on this show), cannot get enough of Spencer Liff, Chris Scott is as adorable as ever, The Cheesman and Jean-Luc are representing Canada with pride, and how is it that Leonardo and Miriam can turn in amazing tango after amazing tango without repeating themselves? Love them all. And further: let us all agree to retire Bollywood as a style, as no one is nailing it EVER, and it just looks really, really bad all the time. Even Disco has faired better overall on this show. GAH.
On to the dancers – let’s talk rankings!
Paul – I’m putting him at the top because he is getting the screaming-teenage-girl vote (much to my surprise – I thought Nico had that all locked up). Could he win it all? I thought not – until he turned in two really great performances, this week and last. Despite my issues with the lighting, I still loved the Mandy Moore number he did with Makenzie this week – lovely and so delicate. The potential is there.
Hayley – Hayley is, surprisingly, the only girl who has never been in the bottom three. She’s really growing on me – I loved her this week with Nico, and their Sean Cheesman number was my favourite in a week full of really good numbers. I think she’s got a spark that could turn into something fabulous with the right all-star pairings.
Fik-shun – He’s cute. He’s adorable. He’s a sweetie pie. He’s also managed a few nice, dramatic moments, but he’ll have to put a few more of those together if he wants to win this thing. We haven’t even seen him solo yet, which should do a lot to push him into the top 4, so if he develops stronger partner skills, he’s golden.
Aaron – Winning the “big teddy bear” vote, as held by Will last year, I actually like Aaron a lot. He’s not a bad dancer, but what he really has in spades is personality – he can sell just about any style with his facial expressions alone. He’s really been helped by his spectacular matchup with Jasmine – we’ll see how he fairs with new partners.
Amy – Also cute. Also adorable. She’s on the edge of grating for me – it’s just that her super-wide smile needs just a pinch more variation to avoid becoming a caricature. I think she’s got the dancing chops – now she just needs to find some emotional depth. I’m really looking forward to seeing her dance with someone other than Fik-shun, as the two of them together seem incapable of anything but extreme cuteness no matter what they do.
Jasmine – Jasmine actually deserves to be higher on this list, in my opinion, but I feel like America is still waiting for her to have a really big moment. She’s the kind of dancer that starts out at such a high level, and does such consistently great work every week, that she is in danger of not having a “story arc” in which she learns and grows. Oh my lands, you don’t think Nigel is going to bring in Cyrus as an all-star so they can dance together, do you? Would he be so evil? I’m afraid to say it…but yes. EEP.
Makenzie – Again, deserves to be higher – no idea why the voters love Paul so much and seem to dislike her so much. Actually, I have a theory – my theory is that the odd spelling of her name means that texted votes for her are not being counted, because people who want to vote for her just can’t spell. In any case, based on past voting I’d say she is unlikely to make the top 4, unless she really blows everyone out of the water next week.
Nico – Nico, I think, has a lot of great stuff in there that we have not seen yet. I always felt that he and Alexis were missing some vital element of chemistry – they were both good, but just did not seem to click. This week with Hayley was huge for me – he seemed to come out of nowhere with emotion and power and skill, and even in the group numbers I felt he really stood out. Can he keep it going, and maybe pass Aaron for a spot in the top 6? Perhaps, if he gets a really great partner for next week.
Jenna – One of my early favourites, I think Jenna is a great dancer but probably the weakest girl left. She can handle the non-ballroom styles, but just doesn’t seem to shine when she’s going through the motions; in ballroom styles, she dazzles but often overpowers or overshines her partner. Most likely to go home, although I will miss her.
Tucker – Again, one of my early favourites, but I feel like he never really stepped up to the plate, and it certainly doesn’t help that he didn’t perform this week. I think he and Nico are similar in look and style, and it’s Nico who is starting to come out of his shell. Sadly, I predict the end of the road for Tucker next week. In fact, question: no one can vote for Tucker this week, which means zero votes, and aren’t they going to pure audience-vote next week, instead of judges choice? So doesn’t that mean he’s for sure out?
Better call the think tank back and add another item. See you next week!