I can’t believe I blogged about Dance! Show! last week and totally forgot to mention Sir Monkeypants’ brilliant idea. Dance Show is on at exactly the same time as American Ninja Warrior – our two summertime favourites – and I was flicking back and forth between the two a few weeks ago (we PVR both, don’t worry, we don’t miss a second of either). Sir Monkeypants got the idea to combine them – imagine Nigel and Akbar Gbajabiamila commentating as athletes did a combination of monkey bars and small dance routines. Hilarious, and yet also: GENIUS. I actually think there’s a lot of crossover, athletically speaking. Plus I would LOVE to see Akbar give Nigel a “friendly” punch in the arm when someone totally nails that piroutte-jete-salmon-ladder combo. SWEET.
I realized this week that I have been watching all along with the idea in my head that I’ll be able to get a much better look at some of these routines and dancers during the live tour, and then I just went and checked this morning the tour is not coming ANYWHERE in Canada, let alone Ottawa. The closest I could get is Brooklyn, and even I cannot travel to Brooklyn just for Dance Show, although the chance to see Jaja in person is tempting. However, I’m afraid I am going to have to live with TV-only viewing, which is sad.
So this was our first look at the top 10 with the new stage/street format, which was good in some ways (so much hip hop! fantastic solos!) and bad in others (no more group routines, plus a couple of people who got the opposite style, like Megz, kind of got screwed). I was happy enough with the going-homers – JJ was my pick for street and with her injury, seemed like it was her time. I would have kept Edson over Derek any day, but either was really expendable.
So who’s left and being awesome in the top 8?
Virgil. Loved his number with Comfort this week – Christopher Scott is so fantastic. Virgil is just so groovy and Comfort was a perfect match for him. Plus, his solo was cool and he continues to charm. Could he win it all? Possibly.
Hailee. Also loved her Broadway routine this week – she brought the dazzle. With so few dancers remaining I feel like she is really beginning to stand out from the pack. I just hope that since she was first up this week, the voters remember how great she was when it comes time to dial in.
Jaja. Her rep was certainly damaged by the kiss-of-death Bollywood this week – RETIRE IT ALREADY, DANCE SHOW. However, giving her Bollywood usually means she’s at the top of the voting board – they tend to give Bollywood to someone with an ironclad voting block, so they can withstand the horror. Plus, I’ve seen worse – MUCH worse – when it comes to this style; at least she managed to keep up and keep it cute.
Jim. Jim is great, but I don’t know, sometimes I just feel a little removed from him onstage. Having Alex around this week – even though he was stuck in Bollywood hell – made me realize that Jim is no Alex in terms of personality and charm. I plan to re-watch Jim’s performance this week because I feel like I should have gotten more out of it than I did. He’s still, I think, the stage team number two though.
Neptune. Loved him this week. It’s funny, I never really cared for Jasmine when she was actually on the show, but as an all-star she has really shone. I thought she and Neptune were the perfect match – amazing chemistry and physically they just seem to go together. I’d say this was Neptune at his best and he deserves to be around another week – in fact, he’s probably good enough to win it all, and it’s too bad he has Virgil and Jaja to fight against for Street Top 2.
Gaby. Once again this week, the judges (and Cat!) were all, “OMG WE LOVE YOU,” and again, I do not see it. Her number with Joshua (JOSHUA! SQUEE!) was good but I mostly watched him, and he was GREAT, while Gaby was just kind of…there. I’m going to rewatch this one too to try to figure out what I missed – maybe it’ll have more magic the second time around. Wanted to mention here, though, that I ADORED her solo – my favourite! – and so that alone is enough to keep her around for another week in my books.
Megz. Oh Megz, I love you and want you to move next door so you can come over on Saturdays for drinks and a movie with me and Paula. Bring your shoes. But this week showed her weaknesses – her jazz number was okay but she was outdanced by Marco for sure. She just didn’t have the technique to be super clean and her adorable personality wasn’t enough. She was hit with a double whammy – not her style, and the dreadful Ray Leeper – but still, I don’t think she will be able to make it another week, sadly.
Derek. He’s still here. Can’t explain it. Once again this week, I watched his partner (Kayla! Squee!) almost exclusively. America: sometimes you are an odd and unpredictable beast. Hopefully it’ll sort itself out next week.
Kay, off to do some rewatching. In the meantime: brainstorm ninja/dance fusion titles. American Ninja Dance Show? So You Think You Can Ninja? American Dancer Warrior? Discuss.
I wasn’t planning on blogging about the Dance! Show! Live! Show!, because really, how much dance show can one poor little blog take?
But it was good. Really, really good, and I loved it, so now I must take a (hopefully very small) moment to gush.
The live show was sort of like the finale that should have been, but never was. It was all dancing, like continuous dancing, for two hours. One pair would finish, and as their number was winding down, the next couple was already on stage getting started. I would guess that about three quarters of the numbers were from the show, but it had been enough time and the interesting ordering/blurring together of performances made them interesting again; while another quarter or so were brand new and all of those were just plain old good. Choreographer Mandy Moore was the force behind the live show, and I adore her, and so it was really just one fantastic thing after another. I can’t say enough good things about it and would go again in a heartbeat if it ever comes back to Ottawa.
One of my favourite things was that the top 10 got to perform a solo. It made me realize how much I miss the 1/2 hour “results” show, which used to allow those in jeopardy to oh-so-dramatically “dance for their lives.” The plus there was that getting to know the dancers individually like that went such a HUGE way towards loyalty and investment in the show. The solos at the live show showed me more about the dancers as individuals than I ever got from the show. Add more solos, please, dance show!
Also: Ricky’s solo was SO AMAZING. Like, a) he blew everyone else out of the water, and b) he can practically fly, and c) so, so deserved to win. No doubt. He was literally mind blowing.
Know who else was amazing? Teddy, who, it turned out, was the mysterious *crackle* guy from the phone call interview. He never really impressed me much on the show but on stage, he OWNED it. He literally stood out from the pack in all the group numbers he was in, and he had a couple of duets that were amazing. Where was that guy during the show? And also rocking it: Tanisha. She was EVERYWHERE, and she was FEROCIOUS. She took over the “snake” part in the King Tut hip-hop number with Emilio, AND did the Amy part from After The Rain with Zac, AND she did almost every number from the show with Rudy, AND had featured rolls in almost all of the new numbers, and just WOW.
For those who wonder if they’d be bored seeing the same numbers in real life that they’d already seen on the show, I’d say that one of the best things was being able to watch the group numbers from my own viewpoint – that is, not controlled by the camera angle. You really get the full effect of the group choreography and it’s dazzling. They did pretty much all of my favourite group numbers in real life – the top 7 girls (GORGEOUS, this was the one with the pretty pink and purple flowing dresses), top 7 guys (so cool – this was the one with the waves), the “chess” based hip hop, the “love runs out” group number by Travis (which was super complex and nifty to see in person). But my favourite was this one:
A Sonya routine! Who would have guessed? You can watch the YouTube clip, but although the cameras can get nice and close up to see the expressions on everyone’s face, this particular number was SO much better in person – the group dynamics were amazing and the way they seemed to move as one unit was so impressive. I think I may have gasped out loud.
My only real complaint is that there was, I thought, not enough ballroom. They tried to diversify a bit – my absolute favourite part was when they ran together the Sing tap dance number with the Happy Jive number and the Rudy and Tanisha Sing Sing Sing number with the canes, which I had actually forgotten about so I’m linking to it here:
And then, those three couples did a group number with a Broadway/50s feel that was SO AWESOME. They did a small Spencer Liff segment (oh, that reminds me – most of the show was “sorted” by choreographer, which I LOVED, it was so cool to see pieces by the same choreographer next to each other like that), and they did force poor Bridget and Valerie and Ricky to revisit Bollywod (with poor Rudy taking on the disco Bollywood with Bridget, and although it was a nice change of pace it was really just as dreadful in real life as it was on the screen). But other than those smaller parts, it was mainly contemporary with a sprinkling of hip-hop, and although everything was super, super good, I found myself wondering when they were going to get around to some ballroom, and they never did. Tanisha and Marquet were on hand, yet no salsas or sambas or anything; no Leonardo and Miriam tangos, or Jean-Marc’s paso doble for Zack and Jacque (which would have given Jacque something more to do, as she was underrepresented, I thought). The jive and Tanisha’s solo were, I think, the only ballroom I saw.
Well, that’s about five times as much as I wanted to write, and I’m sure six times as much as you were interested in reading, so I’ll let it go now. But really: SO AWESOME. I’ll see you there next time!
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know two things: a) I love me some Dance! Show!, and b) I am too lazy to seek out sponsorships/interviews/special perks of blogging. But when I bought my tickets to the live show, they were pretty far back, and I felt like I wanted things to be a little more, I don’t know, special. So I thought to myself, hey, I’m a blogger, and bloggers get stuff all the time, like cars and coffee makers and tickets to things, so I rather boldly called up the Canadian Tire Centre and announced myself as a Dance Show Blogger Extraordinaire, ready to do whatever it took for whatever they were willing to give me.
And they thanked me very much and then nothing happened.
But then! The SYTYCD PR team wrote to Allison, asking if she would be interested in interviewing some of this year’s Top 10 dancers as a publicity thing, and she was all, “Um, haaaaaave you met Lynn?” And thus, I was IN. For absolutely no compensation whatsoever, other than the glory of getting to be a total geek-out fangirl, I got on the list. SWEET.
I got to choose which dancers I wanted, and I picked out Jacque (the ballerina) and Bridget (the only contemporary girl to make it to the top 10) because I had some specific questions for each of them, although truth be told, I would have been happy to talk to ANYONE, SQUEE. Jacque and Bridget, however, were just so nice and thoughtful and well spoken and it was an absolute pleasure talking to them.
So here’s how it went down – I talked to the two girls via phone while they were on a break in Minnesota. Unfortunately the line was a little crackly on my end, and I didn’t have a recording device, so most of this won’t be direct quotes, but at least my brush with fame can be your second-generation brush with fame, you’re welcome.
Me: How are you doing? I imagine you’re exhausted.
I still actually imagine they are exhausted, but both girls said that although they are now on their 13th show of the tour, they’re still finding it a thrill. They’re excited and really enjoying being on stage and getting to see a few new places.
Me: We don’t often see the tour here in Ottawa, so can you tell us a bit about the show?
I thought the live show was a mixture of the Top 10 and all-stars, but no, it’s just the Top 10, plus four “special guests” selected from the other 10 dancers this season (they are Carly, Marquette, Emily, and (…crackle…) (guess that last one will have to be a surprise, although I would think it is Serge, as they need a classical ballroom guy in the mix). They’ll be doing some of the numbers from the show, but there are actually several brand new numbers choreographed just for the live show, including several group routines, so that’s cool. Each of the Top 10 gets to do a solo as well, and Jacque mentioned that there are some cute and funny videos sprinkled in, too.
Some of the all-star numbers will be recreated with other dancers filling in for the missing all-star, which is good because some of those routines were SO GOOD, however, I assume this means we will not be able to see Jacque and Chehon’s ballet in person as no one else could recreate that, which is sad. SAD FACE. (Still pumped, though.)
Me: I felt like both of you – Bridget with Emilio, and Jacque with Zack – had the kind of special spark that makes a couple stand out, and that this chemistry propelled all four of you into the top ten (as well as Valerie and Ricky). Was this something you lucked into, or did you work at it?
Okay, so I kind of cheated here – if you look back at my posts from this season you’ll note that I was not always 100% sold on the Zack-Jacque pairing. But I meant what I said about Bridget and Emilio, though – I think their spark helped get them both into the top 10.
In any case, Bridget said that although she didn’t know Emilio at all before they were paired up, they clicked right away. She has three older brothers, and he’s a few years older than her, so they quickly fell into a joking/poking/affectionate brother/sister dynamic that really worked well for them. She said that they never got tired of each others’ company the entire time which I think is really sweet.
Jacque had similar things to say about Zack – that she didn’t know him at all before the pairing, but was excited to have him as a partner because she’d seen him dance and knew he had the skills, and not just in tap. She said that Zack was a fantastically supportive partner, and always knew how to calm her nerves and reassure her before a performance, which helped them both do well (awwwww!).
Me: Question for Bridget. It’s really unusual for there to be so few contemporary girl dancers in the top 10 – you were the last one standing (and lived through some tough elimination rounds). What do you think was the key to your success?
Here I may have also geeked out and mentioned that Bridget was my favourite of the contemporary girl pack. Remember when I actually pegged her for the win? Good times, good times. I really thought she was a stand-out.
She talked here about how her whole approach to the competition was to be really open to anything, and to commit fully to any crazy new style she was given. She didn’t think much about the competition part, but rather just tried to embrace the experience. It sounds to me like she was really able to set aside nerves, and just run with whatever was thrown at her, which I do agree is a real secret to success on this show – once you start thinking you can’t do it, then you can’t.
I have to say it’s a shame we didn’t get to see Bridget perform more in her own style. I forgot to mention this during the interview, but her contemporary with Stanley in the first week “meet the dancers” show was a highlight of that night. Check it out if you’ve forgotten it:
Me: Question for Jacque. You had some great numbers that I was hoping to see in the finale, but didn’t get chosen. What number of yours was your favourite?
Jacque surprised me by picking her Sonya jazz routine that she and Zack did in week 3 (Back to Black) and also mentioned the hip-hop they did in Week 2 (Stay With Me). In truth I think she kind of liked everything, and didn’t have a bad word to say about any of her numbers.
I had to jump in here, though, and mention my own personal two favourites (both of which I was so sure would be picked for the finale, but were not, because they totally messed up this year’s finale, GAH) – her ballet with Chehon, and her 99 Red Balloons number with Will. Then we got into a talk about Sean Cheeseman, who did the 99 Red Balloons number, because he’s Canadian (he and Jean-Marc, ROCKING IT). So that led to a discussion of the crazy African Jazz number she did with Zack in week 1, remember all the rainbow-coloured body paint and backdrop? And Jacque said that the African Jazz actually may have been her favourite, because it was so out there, and so different from anything she’d ever done, and there was a great audience reaction. I am sadly guessing we will see none of these three in the show as they require too much costuming/makeup/mad ballet skills, but they were all three some of the best this season so I’m glad we got a chance to talk about them.
Me: Speaking of favourite numbers – let’s talk styles. One thing this show is great at is pushing you outside your comfort zone and forcing you to try new styles. Jacque – I thought you were surprisingly good at hip-hop, which is about as far away from a ballerina as you can get; Bridget, I just loved your jive with Emilio, it was one of my absolute favourites of the season. What was your most surprising new style? What did you dislike the most? Do you think you’ll continue to explore new styles?
Jacque was super happy to hear that I liked her hip hop, because it was clear that that style had made her the most nervous. She talked about her number with tWitch (what was that, like top 6 maybe?) and how nervous she was ahead of time, and I assured her the audience absolutely could not tell. (In fact – don’t tell Jacque – I believe I predicted that number would be a mess, and then she totally pulled it off and I was forced to admit that I was wrong, wrong, wrong.) Jacque talked quite a bit here about the All Stars in general, and how their advice and encouragement and ability to empathize went a long way, and made the top 10 weeks much more fun and bearable. She again mentioned the African Jazz as being one of her favourite new styles.
Bridget agreed with me that the jive she did with Emilio was great – she said she had so much fun working on it and loved the energy and pep of the number. She said she was really excited to learn the style as she’d never done it before (which surprised me because I always think the dancers look at ballroom as The Worst). Then we got into a talk about Bollywood, which is what Bridget got in the top 10 week (the week she was eliminated), and I ranted a bit here about how Bollywood is THE ABSOLUTE WORST, and should be bumped from the show. And Bridget was very gracious and said that yes, it was one of the hardest for her and she was kind of sad it was the last thing she did on the show, but at the same time it is fun and has good energy and she had a good time dancing with Brandon.
But Bollywood still SUCKS, Dance Show. TRUST ME.
Did either of you get injured on the show? What do you do if there is an injury?
Both girls were happy to report they were relatively injury free throughout the competition and tour so far, although in a dancer’s world, “relatively injury free” is possibly not defined quite the same way as for you or I. Jacque had some ankle issues during the show but got regular physical therapy (remember the Big Injury Season, when Alex had to quit, along with a few others? Sounds like the show is being better about preventative therapies now). She also had an infection on one of her feet but it’s better now.
Bridget actually has been dancing on the tour with a broken toe and sprained ankle. She didn’t seem to think this was a big deal – just some of her shoes for various costumes had to be swapped out. Some people are more hardcore than I am!
What are your plans for after the tour? Would you like to come back as an all-star?
Bridget is in school, college (I think she’s 20 or 21), and she still has a year left. So after the tour she’ll be going back to school in Philly and finishing her degree, then considering her options after that. Jacque is only 18 (but will be turning 19 next week, in Canada, WOOT) and is looking to stay on the dance track for the immediate future – not sure if that means looking for a performance job, or going to dance school, but definitely something in the field.
Both girls would love to come back as all stars – they loved their experience on the show and really valued the experience and advice from the all stars they worked with. Jacque said she’d love to pay it back by being a mentor like that for dancers to come. Which is AWESOME.
So that’s it! I’m off to the show next Friday night. I’ll be the one screaming loudly in section (I think) 101 if you want to come by and say hi (that includes you, Bridget and Jacque!). Dance! Show! Forever!
So I think tonight is the Dance Show Finale, but I’m not sure, it’s all so confusing. I thought Cat said last week that last week’s votes would be added to this week’s votes to choose the winner, but then she described this week’s show as being the Finale, and the Facebook page seems to imply that this is the Finale, so I guess they are letting people vote during the show for the winner, then will announce it in the end, through the wonders of lightning fast computer tabulation?
I am a blogger of too little brain for this sort of thing.
In any case, setting aside discussion of tonight’s show, I have HUGE NEWS to share (many, many thanks to Sarah for letting me know about this).
Brace yourselves: DANCE SHOW IS COMING TO OTTAWA.
The Top 10/All-Stars tour will be in Ottawa, at the Canadian Tire Centre, on Friday, October 24, at 8 p.m. SQUEE. I’m totally going! You should come too! But join me in the cheap seats – even I don’t love Dance Show enough to pay $365 for a VIP front row seat.
(Maybe. If anyone reading this is with the press and wants to give me front row seats in exchange for a lavishly glowing review, I can easily be bought, is what I’m saying.)
So! Last week we lost Casey and Jacque, showing once more I am dreadful at predicting this show. I really thought I was not attached to anyone on this show, even Ricky, who I think is the best dancer but don’t really feel bonded with. But man, I was super sad when Casey got eliminated. I didn’t realize how much I had come to root for the little guy. Sniff. At least he went out on a high note and I’ll see him on the TOUR WHICH IS COMING TO MY CITY OMG.
Also, while I’m being ridiculously over-the-top excited about things: CHBEEB. I thought I might pass out from glee. Man, I love that guy, and the number he choreographed for Fikshun and Zack rocked. AND there was Sean Cheeseman rocking it with that amazing red balloon/ball number, AND there was Spencer Liff, who is my second favourite choreographer, rocking it with a giant swing, AND there was Jean-Marc being his adorably wacky Jean-Marc self, AND Jessica and Casey did the best disco I have seen on this show in YEARS. (And there was a Ray Leeper nightclub number which we will just say nothing about.)
So all in all – FABULOUS Top 6 show.
This week – Valerie and Zack have made it to the top 4 which means some awesome tapping awaits me, and that is a super bonus. Predictions: not sure I should even bother, but I will call Ricky for the win, although it does seem to me that Valerie has that Melanie-type smile about her that may carry her through. I have to say, any of the top 4 could win and I’d be fine with it, which is usually how a Dance Show season ends up for me, but I’m still super pumped and excited.
Which is all good. Dance Show forever!
A list of some favourite numbers from this season I’d like to see in the Finale (and in the LIVE SHOW OMG):
Valerie and Zack’s tap number to Sing, from the first week showcase show Jessica and Stanley’s jazz number by Tyce D’Orio (the “flying carpet” number) Tanisha and Rudy’s broadway number (Sing Sing Sing) Both of the top 8 numbers – one to So Broken by Sonya Tayeh, one to Love Runs Out by Travis Wall Zack and Jacque’s paso doble to Dragula Jessica and Casey’s contemporary routine by Travis Wall (the one with The Kiss in the middle) Emilio and Bridget’s jive to Happy Both of the top 7 numbers – the girls to My Immortal by Mandy Moore, the guys to Wave by Travis Wall Jacque and Chehon’s ballet Ricky and Lauren’s rockabilly jazz by Mandy Moore Jessica and Will’s Earth Song (where he’s the Earth, and she’s in the red dress) Casey and Comfort’s hip hop (where she is the spider woman) Valerie and Ricky’s broadway number from this week, with the swing Jacque and Will’s number from this week, with the red ball/balloons Zack and Fikshun’s ink blot number from this week, because CHBEEB
Well, well, well. Last week’s So You Think You Can Dance was pretty darn shocking – at least for poor little me, who apparently knows nothing about the voting habits of America. Rudy is out, people, RUDY IS OUT. Seriously thought he was on track to win this thing.
Does this mean that having ballroom on any given week is a kiss of death, no matter who you are? I have to admit, I always thought that the American dance-loving public voted based purely on popularity, like some sort of high school presidential election, rather than on the individual merits of each dance week-to-week. But perhaps they are more fickle than I thought, and the dances each week actually do make a difference. In that case, Valerie better watch her back this week.
Last week I suggested that Dance Show was possibly played out, in that I don’t obsess over it like I used to, and it has been a good long time since my mind was literally blown away (last time I can recall – Melanie’s huge leap into Neil’s arms in the Mandy Moore number – what was that, four seasons ago?). But then something like Rudy getting voted out happens, and suddenly I’m sucked back in. Not sure I’ll feel compelled to blog about it next year but I know I’ll be watching.
Before we talk dancers, just wanted to say: Jenna Dewan Tatum!! SQUEE. I’m sure this comes as no surprise but I am a fanatical fan of all the Step Up movies, including the first one (“FOR SKINNY!”). Thought she was pretty good – usually I don’t like it when a judge is gushingly positive about every number, but every number last night really WAS good, so I give her a pass.
Ricky. Probably jinxing him by putting him at the top (the last two weeks, my top pick has gone out), but he is really the best overall, and also was so good last week with Jaimie. They were so well matched and their dance was just lovely and although not exactly ground breaking, did include some movements I’d never seen before. Would love to see that one again in the finale. Poor Ricky is with Anya next week – ballroom AND the tiger lady – so fingers crossed he’ll survive.
Jessica. Also shining last week with Will (who, I must admit, I have no memory of whatsoever – anyone else?). Once again Mandy Moore confirms her spot as my favourite choreographer. I thought Jessica and Will had fantastic chemistry and they balanced each other just perfectly – a great performance. Still don’t believe she can win the whole thing, though, unless she has a really amazing dance with Ade next week (could actually happen, though).
Casey. I think the voting public has clued in on Casey, and he was pretty good with Comfort this week – Comfort ROCKED IT, but Casey at least kept up, and their number was unique and memorable. He’s with Mackenzie next week which should mean yet another lovely but forgettable contemporary number but I think it will get him into the top 4.
Jacque. Man, if you told me two weeks ago I’d be calling Jacque for the top 4, I’d have said you were nuts. But the weird voting style of this season – where you are ranked based on your last performance – means she’s bought herself extra time somehow. I thought she was actually good with Twitch – which totally surprised me, I never thought she had it in her – so I think she is the one who will make top 4. She’s with Will this week for what I’m sure will be a very nice contemporary number. Also, getting gossipy: she didn’t seem particularly broken up when Rudy went home, did she? Didn’t even give him a hug. Guess that affair is over!
Zack. I loved his Broadway number with Mackenzie, but in general, I love all the Broadway stuff, while America is lukewarm on it. Zack, I thought, was absolutely bang on perfect, plus his solo last week was KICK ASS. He’s with Fikshun next week which is very, very interesting – hopefully it’s not his swan song.
Valerie. Once again, putting Valerie at the bottom although her personal popularity (she’s never been in danger before) seems to make her bulletproof. The judges praised the hell out of her Samba with Ryan, but I actually thought she was okay at best – Ryan totally outshone her and she looked quite stiff and uncomfortable, I thought. Guess we’ll see if ballroom really is the kiss of death. She’s with Twitch this week which should be fine and cute and charming, if not exactly badass.
I just realized something – nothing that happens in top 6 week actually matters. Does it? Tonight we find out who the top 4 are – based on their performances from last week. But then, the top 4 get to perform again next week in the top 4 show, and the votes from THAT week pick the winner. So is there even voting after tonight’s show? Or do they actually pick the winner based on tonight’s performances, and next week is just the greatest hits/announce the winner show? I am confused. Either way, it’s created an awkward voting pattern.
It is time, my dance loving friends, to wrap up another season of Dance! Show!. Sniff. I just realized that the dancers themselves must see this show as sort of the ultimate summer camp. BFFs forever! Write me! Pass the tissues! Etc. Poor babies.
It’s harder than ever for me to predict a winner, after everyone went and specifically did what I specifically said they do NOT do in last week’s post. Jasmine, more-or-less bending her back all over! Aaron, showing spark with both Amy and Melinda! Amy, being sexy and grown-up-like! Fikshun…still sucking at ballroom! But otherwise being super adorable.
Plus, Nigel went and threw in, ever so casually, the news that there will be both a girl winner and a boy winner this year. I love the way he says it like it’s old news, when I’m sure this is the first we’ve heard about it. And by “love,” I mean “hate,” and I wish they really would just spell things out for us at the beginning of the season, because if there’s one thing I hate it’s surprises, and if there’s one thing I hate even more it’s surprises on Dance! Show!. The only other time they’ve had separate winners was the Katee/Joshua season – also a last minute addition, and I felt strongly then that their reasoning was that Katee deserved to win, as the most accomplished dancer, technique-wise, and the one most likely to go on to a career in dance, but she was going to be snowballed by the Joshua/Twitch Train Of Super Coolness. So I take it that this season they feel that one of Amy or Jasmine actually should win, in the judges’ eyes – considering how much they’ve gone on and on about how FABULOUS the GIRLS are this season, I guess they are pushing that agenda – but that Fikshun and Aaron are taking the majority of the votes, so the girls actually have no chance.
So they’ve decided to kind of fix things themselves, in all senses of the word “fix.” WHATEVER, Dance! Show!. I’ll never quit you, so do your worst.
Anyway! Predictions: I’m going to go with Amy as the girl winner. Boys…eep. Very, very tough call here. I feel like Aaron has some seriously massive American support behind him for some reason. I’m supporting Fikshun for the win, though, as I think he has shown more growth, and actually, could really use the helping hand in getting his dance career kick-started.
Best numbers from the top 4 performance show: Fikshun and Twitch (LOVED. IT.); Aaron and Melinda (a little tip-tappity, even for my taste, but I love that they actually tried to do a storytelling thing with tap); both the contemporary routines – Fikshun and Jasmine doing a Travis Wall number (fantastic choreography), and Amy and Robert doing a Stacey Tookey number (fantastic dancing); and I also kind of grooved on Amy and Aaron’s odd cage-dance nightclub routine, much as it pains me to say it as I detest Ray Leeper. The worst: the ballroom routines (UGH) and Mark’s weirdo number for the girls (whaaaa?).
Numbers I’d like to see again in the Fin-Awl-Lee:
Christopher Scott’s group routine with the rocking chairs
Nappy Tab’s opening number from the first show, where they go all through back stage (I’m sure it cannot be repeated, but LOVED IT)
Jasmine and Alan’s Travis Wall routine where they are blindfolded
Brittany and BluPrint’s “Oh So Quiet” library routine, by Spencer Liff
Amy and Fikshun’s bellhop routine
Jasmine and Aaron’s quickstep
Hayley and Nico’s Kiss of the Spider Woman routine (that leg flip – WOW)
Makenzie and Paul’s Mandy Moore routine (“We’re on the edge, the edge, the edge, the edge…”)
Nappy Tab’s top 6 boys routine – the one with the rope in the middle
Jasmine and Marko’s routine to Blurred Lines (Ray Leeper again! SHUDDER – what have I become?)
Jenna’s routine with Mark, where she has the giant braid – so weird, but it kind of worked
Amy dancing with Travis to Wicked Game (GORGEOUS)
Hayley and Paul’s lovely contempary number to 500 Miles, by Dee Caspery (a totally underused and underrated choreographer)
Paul’s routine with Kathryn, by Tyce, from two weeks’ back
Fikshun and Twitch from this week
Who do you think will win, and what routines are you itching to see again?
Dance! Show! is on tonight, but since they went to the new one-show-per-week format I always get a little mixed up at this point. I THINK that tonight’s show is a performance-only show by the final 4, then next week is a Greatest Hits/Pick the Winner thing. Right? In that case, since there’s no eliminations tonight, no need to actually pick a winner-type person yet, as the voting will happen after this week.
Ugh, even I can’t follow that logic. Whatever.
Just wanted to comment a wee bit on last week’s show:
Sean Cheesman is The Man. Loved his opening number (although, I’m sure I have heard him use that exact music before – probably on the Canadian show…tsk tsk, Sean). The opening number, by the way, gives you a great chance to directly compare the three guys and three girls remaining. Have a second look if you still have it on your PVR and I dare you to tell me that Fikshun and Amy didn’t outshine everyone else.
Elminations were a bit of a surprise last week. I thought, from the girls’ solos, it was absolutely obvious that Amy is way by far the best girl, and Haley was the worst girl (she’s a lovely dancer, but her solo was a by-the-numbers contemporary dance that hit all the common movements; the other two were much more original and emotional). However, sending Paul home was a shocker – I thought he was a shoo-in for the win. I think he was possibly as surprised as I was, poor guy. Personally I think they had to keep Aaron in as there’s no other suitable partner for Jasmine in the finale – call me cynical, but Paul, I think you were possibly screwed over by your height. UGH.
Performances were up and down. I loved Paul’s number with Kathryn – I find Kathryn sometimes to be hard to partner, as she doesn’t seem to include her partner in her performance but rather dances alone and uses the guy as a prop. Paul held his own however, and I was entranced. For that reason alone, I wish they’d kept him around. The other all-star performances were a mixture of weak to crappy: Haley doing boxing was odd and mystifying; Fikshun doing ballroom highlighted his every weakness; Aaron with Melanie had some amateurish flubs; Amy with Alex doing Bollywood was the best I’ve seen since Joshua and Katee, but it still made me want to rant a LOT about how Bollywood needs to be a) eliminated or at least b) given to a new choreographer with fresh ideas; Jasmine with Neil dancing about tornadoes? Or hurricanes? made me sigh and want to slap Tyce upside the head. Their numbers together were better – Hayley and Paul were smashing, my favourite number of the night, and went out on a high note; Amy and Fikshun showed why they are the Queen and King of Adorable this season (and the best dancers, too); while Aaron showed that he really only has a spark when dancing with Jasmine (who I deeply, deeply sympathized with, having to stand around on stage in that silver skin-suit, UGH).
Who Will Win is a mystery to me, as usual. We’ll see what happens this week. Personally I feel strongly that it should be between Amy and Fikshun. Jasmine is a good dancer but she is not my favourite, and I have finally figured out why: it’s her back. Her back, especially her lower back, is locked up like Fort Knox when she’s dancing. She has no flow to her torso, no smoothness to her movement. Watch her in any given number, and you’ll see. Aaron has such a great personality and spirit on stage, but as a dancer, he’s just not top grade, and he really only shines with Jasmine. So yes, Amy or Fikshun will win – my heart is with Fikshun, but either will do nicely.
So! We are down to 8. More on that in a bit – but first, let me say this: what is UP with Dance Show and all that awesomeness? I mean, I know it’s Dance Show and everything, and by its very definition Awesome, but seriously. Usually in any given week there’s a dud number or two, but these past two weeks have just been fabulous all over. I love it when the all stars show up – it’s just SO much great dancing.
Also let me say a) Christopher Scott’s opening number with the chairs was lovely and brilliant and really moved me, and b) JAKOB MARKO MELANIE SQUEE.
Regarding this week’s eliminations (warning, possible spoilers here), can I make a suggestion? Don’t let Nigel announce it any more…GAH. I hated the fact that he told them the vote split (unanimous for the boys, 9-6 vote split for the girls). Which one is worse – knowing everyone hated you, or knowing you were thisclose and yet out anyway? Either way, it’s sucky, sucky news. SUCK IT, NIGEL. Anyway, both eliminations surprised me; I would have kept Makenzie over Jenna, though Jenna did shine this week, and as for Nico, I feel like he was just starting to grow and could have done so much more if only given a chance to continue. Ah well, at least they were both fabulous this evening (LOVE Spencer Liff, LOVE NappyTab and thought Nico rocked it as a lizard-man), and will be on the tour.
Let’s rank the remainder, shall we?
Fik-shun. I thought he rocked it this week. It’s often easy, especially in the first all-star week, to be outshone by your partner, but Mandy Moore (LOVE HER) put together a great routine here that showcased both Fik-shun and Melanie. My eyes were drawn to them both and although Melanie can really be Strength Personified, I thought Fik-shun held his own. He has the charm, the growth, and the kick-ass solos – I actually think he could win.
Paul. The ladies love Paul, and with this week’s strong performance with Witney, he’s unlikely to be in any danger. I admit I was making lunch during this cha-cha, but the kids were watching and loved it so much, they insisted I rewind so I could watch it too. I’m not normally that into ballroom on this show but they were both quite solid and sexy and it was all good, if not revolutionary.
Amy. Disco was a perfect fit for her this week, I thought. Her very persona can be defined by the word “sparkly” and her mega-watt smile absolutely matched her gold lame outfit. This routine looked impossibly difficult and she and Brandon were more-or-less on it, and the way she rolled her body around was most impressive. A peppy routine for a peppy girl – she should be fine.
Jasmine. I actually disagree with this ranking, but I think she is likely to make the top 4, so I have to put her this high. But this week, I just didn’t see it. Did you? I actually liked her routine (despite the creepy Ray Leeper factor, EW EW EW), but my eyes were drawn to Marko almost exclusively. I thought he got the groove of the piece much better – Jasmine looked like she was ripping into it like a raw steak, while Marko had a smoothness that the number deserved. I was shocked to find that the judges thought the exact opposite. From the way they were going on, I’m sure they will move Jasmine into the top 4, but I want to see her do something lovely and feminine next week.
Jenna. Really? Really. The judges obviously adore her, and this week, she was super impressive. I thought she was a great match for Neil – I often find her to be a little stiff and a little distant from her partner, but these two were so lovely together, moving like they were one person. Despite the Mandy Moore factor (LOVE HER), I was fully prepared to crap all over this routine – and yet, it was one of my favourites of the night. I think Jenna is likely to be in the bottom two again, but the judges are also likely to save her again…unless she goes up against Jasmine.
Aaron. I think Aaron’s personal popularity might be enough to get him through another week, but this week I thought he was one of the weaker contestants. It was mostly the fault of choreographer Stacey Tooky, who obviously loves all-star Kathryn a whole bunch, and this piece was a huge showcase for her. Aaron mostly had to lift her and stand behind her and stand under her, and then the judges talked all about how fabulous she was and is and will be, while Aaron played window dressing. So while I think he will be safe, he better do something much more interesting next week or he’s out.
Hayley. Hayley is now my favourite remaining girl…which means she’s probably going home next week. I really do have the worst luck picking favourites. I think she has it in her to dazzle – but this week was not it. It’s so, so hard to dance with Twitch – he is just sooooo groovy, it’s hard to keep up. She hit all the pop points, but couldn’t match Twitch for smoothness. I definitely predict bottom two for her next week; she’ll have to pull something magic out of the hat if she wants to stick around for the top 6.
Tucker. Despite the fact that Tucker was one of my early picks, he hasn’t shown me that sparkle and shine that I thought might be in there. I wish they had kept Nico this week – he was starting to really show promise, and maybe could have had more of a growth curve than Tucker. I think Tucker survived by virtue of a) having Travis Wall as his perfectly-matched-to-his-style choreographer, and b) sharing the stage with Robert, who generated a ton of goodwill and emotion from his personal connection to the storyline. I haven’t seen Tucker do an outstanding job at any other styles – hip hop, ballroom, even jazz aren’t really his thing – so I think he’ll be going home next week.
And that’s it for this week! I’m off to re-watch the chair routine from the beginning. Flash inspiration! Christopher Scott and Spencer Liff, choreographering together! SWOON.
This has definitely been my weakest season ever for the rankings. I am sucking it, I admit. Apparently I have no insight whatsoever into the minds of America. I blame Suzanne Collins, as I devoured The Hunger Games book 1 this week, and now the half of my brain that is usually devoted to So You Think You Can Dance is instead busy huffing around the house fuming at Katniss for her shabby treatment of Peeta. I’m torn now between wanting her to figure out that Peeta is the best guy on the planet, or ditching him for Gale so there’s more Peeta for me.
I am the cougary-ist cougar who ever cougared.
Anyway! Dance show! We’re down to the top six and my top women’s pick went home last week, along with my second men’s pick. Who’s left to choose from? Let’s see…
Eliana. I think she’s got the love going on. It’s been a slow build but she’s really starting to shine now. Her number with Ryan was actually pretty charming – I had totally forgotten about Ryan, and it was nice to see him looking so light on his feet in his own style. As for Eliana, I love her, the judges love her – all that can come in her way now is the underdog factor.
Cyrus. Definitely a head above the rest when it comes to the men’s race. He’s stupidly popular, and getting to dance with Melanie last week (who is very smartly popular) was a windfall. I thought their number was sweet but not dazzling, but who cares – it’s Cyrus! Even I don’t care because he’s such a sweetie.
Tiffany. I like her, but I find myself confused as to why she turned out to be so smashingly popular, when Audrey, her dance clone, was tossed aside like last week’s leftovers. Sometimes I find Tiffany to have this ruthless, ambitious look in her eye that makes me wonder if she’s secretly a mob wife, and her connections are out strong-arming votes for her. Just me, then? In any case, she’s a great dancer and her abs put my entire body to shame, so I can’t complain about her making top 4.
Chehon. Mega, mega points to Chehon this week for his touching family backstory. He actually maybe even (dare I suggest it?) surpassed Cyrus in the heartbreak category. The way his parents saved him and his brothers from the streets! The way he’s been on his own since age 14! The way he cried to have his mom see him dance! Oh, how I love it when they cry. Add in his lovely tango, courtesy of the always-amazing Miriam and Leonardo, and he had a great week, one that should easily get him into the top 4.
Witney. I often feel that the top 6 show is the least interesting, voting wise, as it’s almost always the two that finished in the bottom during top 8 week who will be sent home the next week. Maybe top-8 week should be one of the double elimination weeks, if required. In any case, Witney is most likely to go home just based on the fact that she got fewer votes last week, but that’s too bad because her hip hop with Twitch was BAD ASS. Seriously, I do not know how Witney can go from being such a giggly girl in her interviews to being so powerfully charismatic on stage. I thought she was every inch Twitch’s partner in that number and it’s actually the only one I wanted to watch over and over again. AMAZING.
Cole. Again, most likely to go home based on last week’s voting, and also because Cyrus and Chehon are both crazy popular (not that that seemed to help Will, though, and we have established that I have no idea what I’m talking about, so…). He was pretty good with Allison, although as usual, I mostly watched her, because Allison is da bomb. Cole showed once again that he’s best when playing powerfully evil, which is cool and dazzling but also kind of scary, so yeah, I’d say he’s most likely to go home this week.
I heard a rumour that Benji will be on this week! Benji Schwimmer! That’s rockin’ awesome. Also possibly returning: Marko! Of Marko and Melanie fame! Such a cutie pie. It’s gonna be a good week.
Well! The top ten certainly did not disappoint last week. May I say, I thought that was some of the best choreography I’ve seen on the show to date, and the dancers were incredible, too. I am not too sure about the elimination process this season but I have really come to love the all-star top-ten format – it’s so great to see some favourite dancers return, it allows for way more dance numbers per show, and I think the quality is much higher.
Now, to the ranking! I’m going to rank the girls and guys separately again, as it seems to make the most sense this season where there will be two winners. But if I were ranking them together, there would be four girls at the top, and four boys at the bottom. The boys are fine, but the girls are all outstanding and I love them. Can’t there be a four-way tie for first? No? Sigh.
Lindsay. Did I just say that? I did! I thought she was brilliant this week – of course, she had the good fortune to draw Jacob as her partner, who is not only fantastic, but has this magical quality of always making his partners look just as good as he is. Still, Lindsay stayed with him, the piece was sharp and memorable (Spencer Liff is my new favourite choreographer), and most importantly, her past appearances in the bottom allow her to show “growth,” which America loves. She should have no problem sailing into the top 4.
Eliana. She needed a big performance this week, and I’d say she got it. She actually outshined Alex onstage, I thought, and this number – set to a fabulous arrangement of one of my favourite songs, Bang Bang by Nancy Sinatra – was so, so memorable. My one quibble is that we already knew she could do this kind of dancing, and do it well, so it doesn’t show us anything new. However, it was still great, she has a billion watt smile, and I think she deserves to win. I’m positive the judges would save her over any of the remaining women so she should sail into the final two, at least.
Tiffany. She’s turning into quite a little firecracker – I have high hopes for her tonight. As usual, Doriana Sanchez rocked the disco and Tiffany’s number with Brandon was fab. Plus, totally awesome outfit. She’s growing all the time and I think deserves to stay.
Witney. It shames me to put Witney last, after her dreamy number with Nick last week, choreographed by Travis. She could have been sharper and snappier, I thought, but there’s no mistaking the fact that she was hypnotically beautiful to watch. I suspect she’ll be sent home tonight…ah, if only everyone could stay.
As for the boys…
Cyrus. I watched last week’s show with my mom and older sister, and I was all like, “I don’t have a favourite this season,” and they were all like, “DUH, CYRUS.” So apparently, Cyrus has captured the hearts and minds of the nation, which is actually okay with me, because he’s a sweetie and a cool dude. His dancing? Pretty much beside the point. I mean, he was okay and everything last week but he’s no George or Matthew, highly deserving dudes who are now gone. Plus, Jamie (LOVE HER) totally carried his ass. Still, if he wins the whole shebang, I won’t be sad.
Will. Oh, how I am trying to like Will. I am TRYING. However. He was totally outshone by Kathryn last week – he has the goofy, fun spirit for Bollywood but none of the required snap. My mom and sister think he’s adorably cute. I am apparently the only one on the planet who is not charmed by Will. But I am trying. GAH.
Chehon. First let me say, I ADORED the choreography of the Dave Scott number he did with Lauren last week. However, his dancing was just not loose and groovy enough. Lauren, who I usually do not like, totally rocked it, she was flowing and jamming all over the place. Chehon, however, struggled. I love what he can do but he needs to work on his versatility.
Cole. Wow, from first last week to the bottom of the pack this week. Between an injury that kept him out of the group number (but OMG, I died to see Tyce dancing, he was actually fantastic, I thought), to pulling Anya as his partner, it’s a tough week for him to win votes. I think Anya and Allison are the hardest all-stars to get, as they are both so incredibly magnetic that their partner just disappears, and sadly, Cole was no exception. Speaking of Anya, I thought she was showing a little weakness this time, not quite as snapping and snazzy as usual – but still so, so charismatic. I wonder, though, if her time is waning and we will see Witney or Lindsay appearing as ballroom all-stars next year.
And speaking of next year, here’s some all-stars I want to see back: Janeane, Sasha, Melanie, Sabra, and Phillip Chbeeb (known simply as CHBEEB in my house). Please, Nigel?