So You Think You Can Dance: Dancers Beware!

soyouthinkyoucandance2I think season six is cursed. These contestants better leap lightly because a bone could break at any moment and all extremities are in jeopardy. This week has been nothing but craziness in the So You Think You Can Dance world, and it’s a little much to take in. Not to mention, this week’s bottom four baffled me. Okay, really only one baffled me, but that one literally made my jaw hit the floor.

First, the whole kit and kaboodle has been shaken up. There’s a fourth judge and a new stage. Second, because this season is taking place in the fall during the World Series (Go Yankees!), we’ll be missing out on voting. Yep! The judges will be making the decision until a baseball victor has been crowned. Then, the results show will kick in. Third, we got a treat in Monday’s show since, for the first time, we were able to watch each contestant in a group number that showcased their own genres. (I actually think this needs to be done EVERY season to even out the playing field between those who get a ton of camera time and those who don’t.)

Fourth, Billy Bell, an early favorite for the judges, fans and myself, had to bow out of the competition due to illness (::cough::mono::cough::). Brandon Dumlao, a hip-hop dancer who only got one passing mention in all of my SYTYCD audition reviews, stepped in to take his place. Can you imagine a fifth point?! Well, there is. Fifth, Noelle hurt her knee and had to sit out of this week’s competition. She may continue on; she may be too hurt, but we won’t find out until next week. In essence, her pain garnered her a one-week, free pass. I probably could have written five reviews this week with all the material that SYTYCD provided, but I will try my best to condense the highlights into one bulging review.

No one went home after dancing on Monday, and I’m okay with that because, man, it would have been hard to choose. The group performed a Wade Robson jazz routine to open up the show, and I can’t remember another top 20 opening routine that could hold a candle to this one. Everyone shined on introduction night, but the real standout, for me, was Jakob. He had very little screen time up to this point, but he shot right up to the top of my pick list. Of course, the judges praised everyone tonight, but it was deserved. Even Cat (good to see you back in the spotlight and looking fabulous, Ms. Deeley) asked, “How are we going to send anyone home this season?”

THE TOP 20soyouthinkyoucandance3
This season I’ll be ranking the dances on a 1-10 scale. A 10 means absolutely amazing, and a one means someone falling on their face would have been more exciting. I’m ranking a dance only against the other dances that night. A 10 this week could be a 8 compared to next week’s dances. So here goes…

Phillip and Channing performed a jive by new SYTYCD Australia choreographer Jason Gilkison to “Rockin’ Robin” by the Jackson 5
Channing surpassed my expectations. She was absolutely captivating. Phillip could work on making that cheese of his more genuine. It’s just too pearly. The jive is probably the easiest type of ballroom for him to pick up with its quick leg work, but I don’t want to deter from the fact that he did a commendable job. There was one extremely awkward lift, but overall, a solid routine. 7

Ashleigh and Jakob performed a Broadway piece by Tyce Diorio to “Hit Me With A Hot Note (And Watch Me Bounce)” from the Sophisticated Ladies original soundtrack
Jakob must have, seriously, rubbed off on Ashleigh because she didn’t bother me. Shankman said that God put Jakob on this earth for one thing “and it is to spread the gospel of dance and its excellence.” He’s so right. He did lifts and high kicks and higher jumps and fast drops. I mean, WHAA? Ashleigh needs to work on her face which she scrunches up in a weird way sometimes, otherwise, she’s come very far in a very short time period. 8

Ariana and Peter performed a hip-hop routine by Nappy/Tabs to “Black & Gold” by Sam Sparro
The concept was stellar. The routine was based on two robots who only come “alive” when they’re together. Peter was alright, but Ariana was really stiff. Nappy/Tabs bring the flavor, and the performance was just dry. The judges noted that they weren’t similar in their dance moves. Plus, the chemistry was weak for a piece that was supposed to be about robots in love. 5

Russell performed a foxtrot choreographed by Tony Meredith and Melanie Lapatin to “Vagabond Shoes” by Victor Damone
Russell’s partner is supposed to be Noelle, but she had to watch from the stands while Melanie stood in. He didn’t have all the technique down, but he had flare and confidence and made me happy to watch him. Given the fact that he danced with a woman that he’s probably not attracted to and had a partner switch, midway through week one (AND he’s a krumper), I’m impressed. The judges also enjoyed it, though that’s not new news. 6

Bianca and Victor performed a contemporary piece choreographed by Travis Wall to “Wasted Time” by Me’Shell Ndegeocellosoyouthinkyoucandance4
This was my favorite piece of the night. I witnessed the perfect combination of great music, amazing choreography, strong dancing and powerful chemistry. Mary pointed out that Bianca has fought so hard to reach this point and was passionate, and you could taste the fight emanating out of that girl. Victor joined Jakob as a guy who’s been off the radar and just sky rocketed. 10

Karen and Kevin performed a cha-cha choreographed by Tony Meredith and Melanie Lapatin to “Push It” by the Glee Cast
In pre-show talks with a friend, I discovered that we were on opposite sides of the Karen train. I will now concede that she was right, and I was wrong. Even though Karen got her style, she still took it to a higher level. She nailed every step, every turn, every look and then some. Kevin was so-so in my opinion. The judges saw his lack of technique but praised him for his fire and passion. 8

Ellenore and Ryan performed a jazz routine by Sonya Tayeh to “Arcadia” by Apparat
Sonya is a visionary. She was totally that kookie girl in the back of my class who said the strangest things and probably thought even weirder things. The really cool kids would totally laugh with at her. Well, who’s laughing now? Cause that girl is completely brilliant. Her best routines are pure art. I have nothing bad to say about these two. Ryan made me forget that he was a ballroom dancer. A BALLROOM DANCER! That rarely happens this early in the game. I couldn’t keep my eyes off Ellenore. She was graceful and beautiful and freaky at the same time, quite a feat. 9

Pauline and Brandon performed a smooth waltz choreographed by Jason Gilkison to “Light Up My Life” by Whitney Houston
This duo was the underdog of the night. It’s an extremely difficult dance, and it doesn’t always capture viewers like a contemporary piece can. Brandon had to learn the piece, and both had to adapt to a new partner, in a day and a half. With all that being said, I think they did a great job, and I thought it was beautiful. I know things must look different in the studio without the panning camera angles, but Nigel though it was like a prom couple dancing. Plus, he pointed out that they get no favors just because they went through a rough patch. 6

Kathryn and Legacy performed a hip-hop routine choreographed by Dave Scott to “On & On” by Missy Elliott
I loved this one. It was the hip-hop version of Sonya’s dance. Every move and every choice was a great one. Kathryn was hot, which I never really thought before, and Legacy looked like a dancer, not just a b-boy. Both Shankman and Mary were impressed with the way that Legacy hit his moves as if he’d been picking up choreography his whole life. 9soyouthinkyoucandance6

Mollee and Nathan performed a disco choreographed by Doriana Sanchez to “Turn The Beat Around (Pablo’s 12” Remix)” by Gloria Estefan
I know it’s a disco, but it was a tiny bit frantic to me. These two made up for it, though, with their dancing and energy (even if it looked like dance on speed). Nathan also proved that he can dance like an angel in contemporary and then get saucy and sexy, and Mollee kind of reminded me of sunshine. 8

When I look back at my scores, the bottom four is pretty clear, but that didn’t stop me from being surprised when Russell was put in the bottom. Ariana, Pauline and Brandon joined him. He is the show darling, and there was no way that they’d send him home before Brandon. This whole group is talented, so I enjoyed everyone’s solo. In the end, Ariana and Brandon were sent home. Nigel stated that, currently, there is a rule which states once you make the Top 20 you can’t be a contestant on any other season. However, he is going to talk to the producers about making an exception for Brandon. Under the circumstances, I wouldn’t object.

So two dancers are already down and out. Really, four dancers including our injured Billy and Noelle. I guess, I mean five if we count losing the awesome Paula.  This is already turning out to be the craziest SYTYCD season ever. Game on!

Season 6, Episodes 10 & 11:  Meet the Top 20 Dancers/Top 20 Perform (originally aired October 26 & 27, 2009)

Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8/7c on Fox

Photographs courtesy of Fox and IMDbPro

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