So You Think You Can Dance, Top 16

Filed under: Recaps & Reviews

It almost feels like the real show this week, doesn't it? If it weren't for the stupid giant stage, anyway...

So, Top 16 week. This could get long, so I hope you've got the patience to read through it all, because I'm hilarious, you know, so it's worth it.

Top 16 Performances

This week, the dancers are all telling us something we should know about them, Cat says. Whatever that means.

Up first are Karen & Kevin, and Karen tells us that she and her husband Matt, with whom she originally auditioned and who was cut in Vegas, are in the process of getting divorced. Cheery! (Hmm... Several thousand straight men across North America stuck watching the show probably did cheer because they can now feel less guilty about ogling her, I guess.) Kevin says something about travelling a lot and letting that influence his dancing. Well, I'm fascinated.

Karen & Kevin are going to hustle. Oh... oh great. We're going to be overloaded by sexy right off the bat, aren't we? Their choreographer is Maria Torres, and like most of the routines thus far this season, they're dancing to a song I've never heard. The dance itself seems unusually confused and laboured, considering what these two have given us thus far in the season. I'm unimpressed.

A bunch of S5 contestants are in the audience tonight, and during the judging, Kupono is directly behind Maria Torres and he's got a big orange flower stuck behind his ear. I don't know. It's Kupono. Don't ask questions.

The judges, not unsurprisingly, loved it, although Mary did call out Kevin for some awkwardness. She thought their performances made up for it enough that they're both on the Hot Tamale Train, like it's a real, official thing that matters. Oh, Mary. Nigel gets all, "BUT YOU'RE JUST A STREET DANCER!" with Kevin, like clearly the boy has had enough training that he knows how to point his toes; shut up, Nigel.

Oh, and the return of the phone numbers mugging! I almost missed it.

On to Ashleigh & Jakob. Ashleigh is a political nerd. Jakob is best friends with Jeanine. Hey, I can get behind that. I love Jeanine.

Mandy Moore is doing a jazz routine with Ashleigh, Jakob, and a cane to "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Ashleigh is in Sandy-from-Grease leather pants. The routine is sexy and well danced without taking itself too seriously, but it's akin to Mandy's beloved Sabra/Neil jazz routine of S3, which the whole world but me loved: too dependent on a prop, and overall pretty yawn-worthy.

The judges, however, are fairly thrilled by it. Adam thought it was mature and fiery, despite a slight cane malfunction (which Nigel didn't even notice). He commends Jakob's strength and control. Mary loved it and thinks Ashleigh is really improving week by week. Nigel also compares the routine to Sabra & Neil's, but favourably on both counts. See? I know what I'm talking about, even if the direction of my opinion is skewed. (Or is Nigel's? Holy cats, I don't get the love for that table routine.)

It's Pauline & Peter's turn. Peter volunteers teaching dance for handicapped folk, which makes us all go "Awwwww" and love him a little bit more. Pauline eats a lot.

They have drawn the quickstep this week, choreographed by a couple of people named JT & Tomas. Tomas is wicked hot. There is some "kiss of death" talk, like if this is constantly the most dreaded dance, why are they still using it? PICK A NEW STYLE. THERE ARE OTHERS. I CHECKED.

The theme of the dance is that Pauline is a hula girl in Hawaii and Peter is in the army. It's all very big band-y, but generally they look confused and somewhat messy. There is very little precision in most of their movement, though he does throw her around fairly competently toward the end of the routine.

Adam thought there were some technical difficulties but that their natural abilities and charisma were utilized well. He comments on Cat's English pronunciation of "Pauline," and she compares it to how she says "jidges." Aww, she said it! She never says it her own self anymore!

Mary thought they pulled it off, but she says it (and a whole lot more) with that sad, sympathetic voice. You know, the one that's potentially even worse than her screechy voice because of the faux gravitas.

Nigel knows it wasn't technically perfect, but he loved it anyway and thought the performance quality was great. He also appreciated the story element, as quicksteps seldom contain stories. He talks a great deal about the accessibility of the routine and how that is what makes people pick up the phone and vote, and I just realized that we have no idea how (the dance-show-watching-and-voting sector of) America feels about any of these dancers yet.

Kathryn & Legacy. Kathryn recently went on a missions trip to Costa Rica and loves to help people. Legacy was going to be a professional soccer player, but... he's a dancer instead. New choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler is doing a Broadway routine for them. What's with all the sudden new choreographers? Not that I mind, you understand.

Especially after I see this routine, because it is amazing. It's so much cleaner and more interesting than Tyce's Broadway, and Kathryn and Legacy pull off the entire thing with aplomb and then some. It's the classic man-woman argument -- she wants his attention; he wants to watch TV -- set to a swing version of "I Wanna Be Like You" from that classic Broadway musical, The Jungle Book. Ugh, these two are just so cute I can't even.

Adam wishes that Kathryn had been less cute and more man-eating. He calls Legacy "Legs." Bwah! And commends him on a job very well done. As always, Adam knows a lot about Broadway and gives great tips. Mary weirdly thought they were lacking a bit of chemistry. I disagree. She thinks Legacy will make it to the Top 10. Well, I guess we know what's not going to happen if they're voted into the bottom three at any point. Way to show your favouritism, judges. Nigel also thought Kathryn was too cute and was disappointed, and also thinks Legacy is transforming unbelievably well.

With two full hours for only eight dances, there is SO MUCH TALKING tonight. I am deathly bored.

Channing & Victor, new partners this week. Victor used to be a goth rocker; Channing used to race lawnmowers or something. They have contemporary with Stacey Tookey this week. Two weeks of Stacey in a row! Her piece this week is about a toxic, interminable relationship; ironic given that these two are dancing together for the first time. (Is that irony? I always forget. Stupid Alanis Morissette ruined me for life.)

The routine, danced to a live version of "Be Be Your Love" by Rachael Yamagata, far surpassed my expectations of these two, honestly. I think it was the moment when Victor threw Channing up into the air and held her there as she posed like royalty over the line "pretend I was queen." Literal, yes, but oh so effective. Ten points to Stacey Tookey. This was intricately and beautifully choreographed, and danced with softness, emotion and connection. I LIKE.

Adam saw the chemistry between them and also saw the softness, emotion and quality of movement. (I totes know what I'm talking about, you guys.) Mary also loves the new partnership, and although it didn't necessarily "touch her soul" [/finger quotes], she thought it was soft and light and beautiful. Nigel also wasn't emotionally carried away by the routine (he says Stacey gave them a very difficult task of trying to pretend they were sick of each other when they barely know each other) and says for two contemporary dancers it wasn't strong enough, even though it was well done technically. Sort of seems like the deck is stacked against these two, judgatorially speaking. Hide your favouritism better, people, seriously.

Ellenore (squeeeeeee!) & Ryan take the dance floor next. Ellenore is six different ethnicities (Mexican, African-American, American Indian, Italian, Hawaiian and Filipino). Mutts are always the most beautiful people, aren't they? (Hey, she calls herself a mutt; I can too.) Ryan is an extreme sports junkie. They're doing non-krump hip-hop with Lil C. Ryan has to work extra hard to swagger.

For the routine (set to "Lost Boiz Anthem" by Tha J-Squad), they appear to be some sort of bank robbers. The first 30 seconds of the dance is just them running around with flashing lights and stuff, but once it gets going, it's your typical hard-hitting Lil C routine, and I think Ryan does a passable job (a couple of missteps notwithstanding), though Ellenore is clearly more in her element.

Adam says Ryan has undergone the best transformation of the night, but takes a really long time to say so. Mary says it was good but not great, again taking so much longer to say so little. She loves them but she can't scream. Because the scream really, really matters, guys. It's practically like winning an Emmy. Nigel doesn't think either of them suited the style or brought it hard enough. He argues with Adam over the relative floppiness vs. strength of this style of hip-hop. TOO MUCH TALKING. SHUT UP.

And now, Mollee & Nathan cute out. Mollee is deaf in her left ear. WE ALREADY KNOW THAT. She refuses to wear a hearing aid because being able to hear out of both ears threw off her balance for dance. Nathan likes to jetski. I am so enthralled by these people. They're dancing salsa with Gustavo Vargas. So... expect a lot of yellow and HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY. Mollee is supposed to be sexy and not cute. Mm-hm. Colour me skeptical.

Especially since, hey guess what, she's wearing yellow. Called it. (WAIT. Is Gustavo another transplant from Canada? I fully thought he'd done the American version before.)

Nathan is dressed and hair-slicked like some guy in the Mexican mafia. I'm surprised they didn't draw a mustache on him. Ok, the routine is not sexy, and nor is it particularly well danced. They look confused and the faces they're pulling aren't helping anything. Also, Mollee, fix your shoulders, GAH.

Adam braces for booing (YES. ADAM. GO!) and says it was bad luck of the draw. The crowd boos and Adam wonders if it's as fun for them when he asks for it first. Heh. He says the number exposed all their weaknesses, and I concur 100%. But, he says he knows people love them and will vote for them anyway. He specifically calls out their non-use of the floor and hand/arm confusion. Mary didn't like it either as it looked uncomfortable and the feel wasn't there, but she likes them. LOOK OUT, MARY, YOUR FAVOURITES ARE SHOWING. How embarrassing. Nigel calls the night sobering for many of the dancers, and agrees that this really exposed Mollee & Nathan's weaknesses and their chemistry wasn't there for the first time.

Noelle & Russell are last. Noelle has a big family including an inspiring brother who had a stroke when he was younger and lost use of one of his hands. Russell is an artist. They're doing Afro jazz with Canada's own Sean Cheesman. KILL ME NOW. THEY'RE FOLLOWING ME. Noelle unfortunately says, "Either [sic] of us have a clue what [Afro jazz] is," and now I have to hate her. Russell is a frog and Noelle is a (white?) African princess. (They have those, you know. Prince Harry knows one.)

They've given Noelle dread-like hair to match Russell's for the routine, which in my estimation Russell nails and Noelle hits at about 80%. Her movements are not as sharp or thorough as Russell's, and she is doing a lot more cheesy grinning. It ends with a kiss. Awkward.

Cat makes a "kiss a few frogs" joke, which Adam riffs on a bit before welcoming Sean to the show and congratulating him on a nice entrance. My eyes, they roll. Sean Cheesman is the Tyce Diorio of So You Think You Can Dance Canada. Adam jokes about Noelle being such an obvious choice for an African princess. He appreciated the joy of the routine and commitment to the characters and story, and had a fantastic time watching it. Mary looks to be prepping for a scream (Nigel even plugs his ears), but instead she calmly says, "That was crazy." What? Anyway, Mary loved it and, after some half-assed shrieking, throws them on the Hot Tamale Train. Which is a real thing, you know. Nigel sends his kudos as well.

So, to recap in preparation for results show talk below: Karen & Kevin hustled adequately; Ashleigh & Jakob covered a beloved Sabra & Neil routine; Pauline & Peter kissed death with a quickstep; Kathryn & Legacy were adorable and maybe too much so; Channing & Victor were amazing even if the judges disagree; Ellenore & Ryan hipped but did not hop hard enough; Mollee & Nathan aren't sexy; and Noelle & Russell got the most consistently good comments across the board.

My personal bottom three couples are Pauline & Peter, Mollee & Nathan, and Karen & Kevin, but I predict Channing & Victor will be instead of Mollee & Nathan. Nigel thinks Ellenore & Ryan are in trouble; Mary calls out Mollee & Nathan; and Adam concurs with both Nigel and Mary.

Top 16 Results

The group dance (this is what I was missing these past two weeks, not the phone number mugging) is a funky but visually confusing hip-hop thing, featuring African warrior costumes and Russell, and choreographed by Dave Scott. Cat cutely runs out and pretends to be afraid of the warriors.

You know, I think one thing that I really hate about the configuration of this stage is that it only allows for traditional side entrances, like we're watching a jazz competition at the local community theatre. The old stage was so much more interesting.

Cat's dress tonight is a crinkly red number with kind of big shoulders, reminiscent of the 80s; it's a marginal improvement over last night's unflattering space-age black-and-shiny thing. (I know; I'm as shocked as you are that anything could possibly be unflattering on Cat.) She asks Nigel about how the voting might have panned out, and he says that America may prevent them from extricating the dancers they would have otherwise. Yes, that's the whole point of the structure of the show. Which they trashed over the past couple of weeks, let us not forget.

Adam gets it, though, and he comments that it's America's favourite dancer, not America's best dancer. Just like Idol IS NOT A SINGING COMPETITION, no matter how many times the judges try to shove that one down our throats.

The first three couples are Ellenore & Ryan, Channing & Victor, and Kathryn & Legacy. They run the clips for Ellenore & Ryan, and then Cat right away tells them they're in the bottom three. They do the other two couples' clips and tell Channing & Victor that they're safe, and let Kathryn & Legacy stew a little before telling them the same.

Dominic of S3 fame stops by to test audience members on their dance knowledge. It's fairly adorable. He's got a two-tone faux-hawk these days.

The next couples on stage are Ashleigh & Jakob, Pauline & Peter, and Noelle & Russell. Jakob & Ashleigh get their clip and then the news that they're safe. Clips for the other two couples, then Pauline & Peter are in the bottom three (I typed that before Cat even said it; I am getting to be quite terrific at predicting the outcome of dancing shows) and Noelle & Russell are safe.

Karen & Kevin and Mollee & Nathan. Clip packages and... giant pause... Karen & Kevin are in the bottom three, while Mollee & Nathan are safe. Plenty of shock and awe all around. Nigel gives us all a lecture on voting more responsibly so that we can teach Nathan a lesson and he won't be such a cocky, immature brat anymore; that's the gist I got, anyway. Gross, Nigel. How mean and angry are you? Nathan is not your child. He is a contestant on a reality show you produce. You put him there. You know he's 18. You know he's well loved by giddy American teenage girls. You know you're just going to get his fans' backs up. Or is that your whole diabolical plan?

Anyhoodle. Before the bottom six dancers perform their solos, we get a modern ballet number by this week's guest dancers, from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Ellenore dances to "Eleanor" by Alexa Woodward. Heh heh. I love this girl. She points to herself and looks confused every time the singer says her name and is generally all-around awesome and quirky and wonderfully extended. I love her hair.

Ryan is surprisingly not shirtless as he ballrooms to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. He's good, but you guys, I miss Pasha. Every season I miss Pasha. I sort of wish he lived down the hall from me. Or in my living room.

Pauline, aka Cannon Fodder, dances to "Took the Night" by Chelley. She's all pink and sparkly and happy and pointed toes, but it's not special, you know?

Peter, the lone tapper remaining, taps to... no music. His sounds and rhythm seem really clean to me, and despite his eyebrows, I think he's super duper cute.

Oh dear, it's Karen. She sexys to some Celia Cruz & Tito Puente. She's really wicked good though, and not just some average Latin sexpot.

The show tells us Kevin's dancing to "I Question Mark" by Wade Robson, but it's actually "It Was All in a Dream." ...Weird that they got that one wrong. Regardless, Kevin is awesome at hip-hop.

And now, the results. They're making the girls all stand like three feet away from each other instead of letting them hold hands like usual. So awkward.

Nigel is SO CRABBY tonight. He thinks all the girls sucked in their solos and yells at the audience for booing him, even going so far as to call anyone who disagrees with the judges and thinks these girls tried hard enough incorrect. Cocky English bastard.

Long, embarrassing story short, Pauline is going because she is too conventional. I am shocked. Simply shocked. Departure package, cue the sad Fray song, cue my sniffling.

Now to the guys. Nigel is still crabby; specifically he's mad at the audience for screaming when he wants to listen to Peter's taps. Seriously? Nigel, that's their main function. Anyway, Peter's going. No more tappers 'cause they ain't got no Everett in Ameriker.

And that's about how I thought it would play out.

Next week: somebody get Nigel a scotch before the results show.

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

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Original Comments Posted (1)

craftnscrap says...

I love reading your recaps. I've missed them the passed few shows. You are so accurate.

Nov 12, 2009 11:49am

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