So You Think You Can Dance, Top 18

Filed under: Recaps & Reviews

The opening 8-counts are so dismal on this giant new stage. Each dancer has to awkwardly sprint to centre stage during the preceding dancer's 8-count, and then race off following their own. It's... unbecoming.

Still, Cat is as becoming as ever, so I guess we can all be happy. Even if baseball is pre-empting the usual order of things, and once again, no results show and it's all up to the judges to boot off two dancers tonight.

I will say, I prefer the new red to the old blue. And the good news, I guess, as per Nigel, is that both Billy and Brandon can come back to the show again. Yay?

First up are Noelle (I guess her knee is fine, then) and Russell with a Jamal Sims (of Step Up choreography fame) hip-hop tennis routine. Huh. It's just as weird as it sounds, and too conceptual to really be awesome, but I think they do an ok job with what they're given... though they definitely seem tired by the end.

As for the judges, Adam thinks they did well but let the dance... well, dance them, instead of the other way around. Mary thought Russell was better than Noelle, but that Noelle seemed impressively uninjured. Nigel seems to think they were struggling to keep up with the choreography all the way through; fair judgment, I'd say.

Jakob and Ashleigh's turn for a Viennese waltz by Tony and Melanie. The story is a newly wedded couple's first dance. She's full-on in a veil at the start of the routine, but fortunately he removes it right away... unfortunately, that's to kiss her. Awkward. It's bad enough when they make kids kiss on this show, now they're doing it to married women too? It makes me all cringe-y.

Anyway, waltz. It's pretty. It's danced to "At Last," the Etta James version, so it's all very traditional and wedding-y. And they kiss again at the end, just to make me feel extra ooky.

Adam thinks they're brilliant but criticizes the choreography for including too many lifts and tricks and not enough, y'know, waltzing. Word, Adam. (Can we send a memo to Doriana Sanchez?) Mary wonders if Ryan might object to the kissing (somehow I doubt it), and thinks they're great but has specific critiques regarding some waltz technique. She is being remarkably sane thus far tonight. Nigel likes them both a great deal as well. The background is all blue now. I feel confused.

Tyce is teaching Bianca and Victor a Broadway routine, choreographed to a song from The Colour Purple. It is all about being moved by the spirit, naturally. I think... Victor might be incredibly amusing. The dance is typically boring and disjointed, as Tyce's Broadway tends to be, and Bianca is typically awkward. Unfortunately, Victor is not much less awkward in this particular number. They both seem to break character a lot. I think they might be out of character more than they're in it, actually.

The judges make the same offensive spiritual healing jokes that Tyce did in the pre-dance clips, and then Adam proves that he's really, really educated about dance and Broadway, and he also didn't think they got the character. I think that's what he said, anyway. Mary agrees with Adam and me. Also, she is still being SO SANE. I don't understand. Nigel agrees with all the rest of us.

Mollee and Nathan are doing Bollywood with The Only Bollywood Choreographer In America (I'm just guessing here), Nakul Dev Mahajan. The routine involves a lot of spinning, and guess what? Nathan's centre is still the best I've ever seen. Yes, including Nick Lazzarini. Yes, including Travis Wall. I enjoyed this routine because it's less... bright than the Bollywood routines have tended to be previously. The lighting, the staging, the costumes, and even the dancing are all a bit darker than we're used to seeing on this show, and it's to great effect.

Adam appreciates the maturity Mollee's dancing with, and loved the routine overall. (By the by, she's rocking the most amazing blonde-Indian-girl look I've ever seen.) Mary loved it enough to scream and yell "YES I DO" several times. Nigel loved it as well.

Channing and Phillip are tasked with a lift-heavy Tony-and-Melanie samba. Unfortunately, said lifts are rather laboured, as is the routine as a whole. Including a particularly painful-looking ending that has Phillip basically jumping on Channing's head, which I think might have whacked the floor at about 90 miles an hour. At least Channing looks amazing in her barely there dress and messy-sexy hair?

They both know the critiques aren't going to be good. Adam wishes he wouldn't have been able to tell they were struggling so hard (what with the ai-yi-yi faces and all), and commends Channing for her Latin feel. Mary says the same about the struggling, but she did like that they had the rhythmic feel down a lot of the time. Mary thinks Phillip let Channing down. Nigel agrees. I think Phillip just isn't strong enough to toss a girl around.

Karen and Kevin have hip-hop this week, with Tabitha and Napoleon. The story involves a mechanic and a hot race car driver who needs her car fixed. The giant background screen is exceptionally distracting during this dance, although it hasn't been exactly unobtrusive at any point. I found the whole thing overly cutesy and rather boring, myself.

But Adam Shankman falls out of his chair, so I guess he must have liked it. Because Karen is hot, see? Hey, speaking of, have we ever talked about how gorgeous Napoleon is? Maybe not, but he really is. Mary thought it was hot. Tamales, trains, blah blah blah. Nigel is generally gross about Karen's hotness.

Kathryn and Legacy have drawn contemporary with Stacey Tookey, lucky ducks. WELCOME TO CANADA. The story is that she's struggling with fear, and he's the fear. It's a really interesting study in contrasts, between his b-boy feel and her contemporary gracefulness, but both work perfectly for the characters; coupled with Stacey's choreography -- which not only highlights both of their strengths while diminishing their weaknesses, but also includes some wicked cool moves that only Legacy could accomplish -- it's a performance with impact. The dancers seem quite affected by it as well.

Adam thinks that Stacey has transformed Legacy into a new man. He loved it and he's very proud of Legacy for pointing his feet. He says Kathryn and Legacy are both bringing out something special in one another. Mary likewise loved it but takes a lot longer than that to say so. Nigel compares it favourably to Mia's addiction piece that Kayla and Kupono did last season. Hey, P.S., everybody loves Stacey Tookey.

New couple Peter and Pauline are doing a fantastical Wade Robson piece that takes place inside Van Gogh's "Starry Night." Of course. (Who's crazier: Wade or his wife Amanda?) From the rehearsal footage, it looks very Wade-like. I can't tell if I like the piece because I'm too busy wishing it was on the smaller stage. We've got a moving "Starry Night" background plus on-stage set pieces that all blend with Peter and Pauline's costumes such that they're sort of lost. Plus neither of them dances it hard enough. It's underwhelming, especially when compared to the last piece Wade did, Brandon and Janette's bank robber routine from last season. I wish this would have been better.

Adam surprisingly thinks they were very committed. Ok, committed maybe; I'll give them that. But not hard-hitting enough. It just looked kind of lazy. Adam and Mary both thought it was controversial (I think maybe they mean polarizing) but Mary seems underwhelmed. Nigel thought it was very memorable and he loves Wade, as do we all. He does specifically critique the tightness of Peter's shoulders. He also thought Pauline was very good.

Ellenore and Ryan are doing an Argentine tango by Miriam & Leonardo. Also, Ellenore is hilarious and weird and maybe my favourite. Their tango is predictably hot and spicy and well danced. Their lines are amazing, and all that flippy, freaky leg work they always make them do looks effortless. Well done, friends.

The judges must think so as well because they give them a standing ovation. Cat informs us that Ellenore's skirt was stuck in her heel for about 40% of the dance and bows down to her. Indeed, for I did not notice at all. I thought her skirt looked especially tight against her leg, but I figured it was supposed to. Upon second viewing, it's totally obvious now that I know what I'm looking for, but the fact that I was oblivious the first time I watched it speaks volumes to the level of professionalism these two possess. Neither of them so much as flinched.

The judges are duly impressed. Mary especially thinks they were incredibly authentic. Nigel gives us a lesson in Argentine tango appreciation, comparing its reservedness to his own. Thanks, Uncle Nigel. There are a lot of crazy people in the audience with Ryan and Ellenore signs.

After a quick recap, the judges will select the bottom four dancers, thanks to baseball (which I am happy to report is now over, so we can all get back to our regularly scheduled television viewing). Nigel calls out Noelle and Russell, Bianca and Victor, and Channing and Phillip, and announces that the bottom four who will be dancing for their lives come from these three couples. He tells Russell and Channing to step back and Noelle and Phillip that they're in the bottom four. Victor and Bianca are also both in the bottom four.

Noelle dances her ass off, not at all like she just suffered a potentially devastating knee injury. Victor does a Brandon-esque solo, gross. He seems really tall. Bianca taps with her shoulders up in her ears. (She also does one measly set of wings that seems to nearly knock her off her feet. Not that I was ever any great shakes at them, but... isn't she supposed to be amazing? That's like first-year tap.) Phillip taps to Nat King Cole with his usual big freaking grin. It's good if that's your thing, I guess.

Nigel addresses the girls. Noelle seems convinced she's going home. She's not; Bianca is. Everyone is very sad and shocked. I too am shocked, but also relieved. She never grew on me. Oh man, they're using a sad Fray song for the outros. I'm gonna be a soggy mess this season!

Nigel doesn't waste any words and very succinctly tells Phillip he's going home. Uncle Nigel isn't happy to be losing two tappers in one night, it would seem. Especially since we all thought Peter would be the first gone. Phillip's dad just died last week. That's really sad.

So that's that. Next week you get to vote! If you're American, that is. Which I am not.

P.S. I still hate the new stage.

Tags: so you think you can dance, dance, sytycd, recap

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Original Comments Posted (2)

fujitam says...

Hey Ariana, I was surprised to see Noelle back this week, for some reason I really thought that she wouldn't be able to compete. I am kinda glad some of the tappers are gone, I don't know why, but it drives me crazy when they have the awkward sound on when the tappers are doing their intro dance. I was a fan of Kathryn and Legacy's Fear dance, although I found myself wondering how arrogant a name like Legacy was... and then they knocked my socks off. I must echo your comment about how hot Napoleon is, there was one shot of him during this episode that had me drooling... yum yum. I am also looking forward to being back to the regular format of the show, even though I can't vote either.

Nov 6, 2009 11:03am

ariana says...

I think that too about "Legacy." I think I might just call him Jonathan in my head from now on, and I'll probably like him more.

Napoleon! Napoleon is so hot, and I don't think it really sunk in for me until last night. (Tabitha is no ugly duckling herself, either.)

Nov 6, 2009 3:11pm

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