So You Think You Can Dance, Top 14

Filed under: Recaps & Reviews

I'm so sorry this is many days late, but nonetheless Cat seems especially sassy and giddy to open the performance show, so let's dig in, shall we?

Top 14 Performances

They seem to have cleaned up the camera work on the opening 8-counts enough that it doesn't look quite so awkward when they run out and interrupt each other, although the non-choreography the waiting dancers do behind them seems more bored-looking than usual.

The theme of tonight is embarrassing footage and photos from one's childhood (under the guise of "how did you get into dancing?"). We see photos of nerdy nine-year-old Nigel, teenage princess Mary, and Adam "Muscles McGee" Shankman, but no baby Cat Deeley? What gives!?!

My goal here, in case you're wondering, is to recap this with as little pausing and rewinding as possible. There's so much senseless blather in a seven-number, two-hour-long episode that it shouldn't be too hard, I figure.

Ashleigh & Jakob are doing hip-hop with Tabitha & Napoleon, a routine about a guy cheating on his lady. They riff on their wedding of two weeks ago, and have we all forgotten about Ryan so soon? Anyway, "Whatcha Say" by Jason Derulo, which is that awful bastardized dance version of Imogen Heap. Ashleigh finds text messages (broadcast on the giant screen behind them) on Jakob's phone and confronts him about it; then they dance the shit out of the routine. Ashleigh is wearing the stumpy-making pants/shoe combo that typifies every NappyTabs number. (Ew, "NappyTabs." Never doing it again. I'm sorry.)

The judges love them and loved their dancing for its passion and believability, but they take so effing long to say so. Jakob is consistently jaw-droppingly amazing, and Ashleigh is no longer riding on Jakob's coattails but growing immeasurably every week. (I concur.)

Karen & Kevin get a Broadway routine by new choreographer Spencer Liff. Spencer thought the routine was really easy; Kevin does not agree. They're dancing to "If They Could See Me Now" from Sweet Charity, which is one of my favourite Broadway songs, mostly because I did the funnest dance ever to a disco version of it when I was a mere 17 years old. Karen does an ok job of it, but Kevin looks freaked out the whole way through. The choreography was more understated than the usual Broadway numbers they have on the show, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Nigel thought they lacked character and chemistry, Mary thought it was too safe and they needed to bring more, and Adam compliments the choreography and Karen, but not so much Kevin. They all agree that Karen did better than Kevin, who had the awkward up shoulders. What is with dancers these days? Aren't they being trained to elongate their necks anymore? Good grief.

Noelle & Russell are repeating the foxtrot, this time with Eddie Simon. This is a second chance for Noelle, who was injured during Top 20 week when they also drew the foxtrot. (I guess we're still maintaining the illusion that they pick their dances at random.) The song they're dancing to is "Baby (You've Got What It Takes)" by Michael Bublé, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, and from what I can tell, they do a really good job with most of it. A couple of awkward moments, but they embrace it with full cheese factor and it works.

Nigel says Russell was vastly improved over the last time he danced the foxtrot, and congratulates Noelle on not hiding in Russell's shadow. Mary compliments all the good technical stuff they did. Adam is equally complimentary.

Channing & Victor are cursed with jazz by Tyce Diorio. The number is about blackbirds come out to play. You know, if Wade Robson tried this, I'd be fine with it. But I just want Tyce Diorio to go away. Except sometimes when he yells at people in the audition rounds. Ok, except, the thing is that I really loved this routine. They danced to "Blackbird" by Bobby McFerrin, which is a cappella and very sparse, so for them to maintain the rhythm they did with very little easily identifiable rhythmic notes in the music is pretty remarkable. Plus, the staging was great: the background was all starry night and they had this big fake birdcage that sort of looked like a giant harp, with the middle four "bars" able to bend and move so they could jump and dance through them. It's hard to explain, but really cool. The costuming was great, and the choreography and dancing also great -- so good that I had to pause it to type all this before the judges' views coloured my own.

Cat asks Victor about his battle scars from this dance, and it turns out he's got five stitches right above his eye from where Channing "pecked" him in the face. He wanted six, for Season 6, but they wouldn't do it.

Nigel compliments Channing on finally letting go, but thinks Victor hasn't grown enough as a dancer so far in the show's run -- he's always been amazing but isn't getting better, while some of the other guys are. Mary loved the choreography and agrees with Nigel about Victor, but does point out his consistency. Adam agrees with all of that but he felt the quirkiness of Bobby McFerrin's version of the song kept him sort of removed and he couldn't connect with the dancers the way he wanted to. Humm, ok.

Kathryn & Legacy are learning a paso doble with Tony Meredith (sans Melanie this time). You know what Legacy knows about paso doble? How it's pronounced. Well done, Jonathan. Tony says this is the paso doble from hell, and I think there's something a navy man coming home to his woman or some such. Brace yourselves! They're dancing to "Pursuit" from a Cirque du Soleil soundtrack, and Legacy's shirtless. Ok, they talk about Ryan's torso all the time, but ummmm LEGACY? I'll take his slightly leaner version ANY DAY. His back alone is something to behold. I was kind of too distracted by it to really notice much about the dancing, but it looked good to me. (I also liked how Kathryn was in a sparkly, flowy white dress instead of the usual black or red.)

Another commercial break (unusual), and here are the judges to tell us how the actual dancing was, maybe. Nigel is glad Kathryn isn't being so cutesy anymore and applauds her mature dancing. He comments on how Legacy is always practicing every time he sees him; Legacy is a little embarrassed. Mary loved it, but uses a lot more words and shrieking to say so. Adam is very impressed by both of them, and especially by Legacy's growth compared to what a semi-disaster he was at times in Vegas.

Insert update on Dizzy Feet Foundation here (ah, this is why the strangely placed commercial break). They misspell Juilliard. *headdesk* I wish I could go to the gala. Are they airing it on le television?

Ellenore (eeeeeee!) & Ryan. Together with Travis Wall. IT IS A GOOD DAY IN AMERICA, PEOPLE. The contemporary routine is all about a couple who have broken up and meet up again after a years-long separation. Cat does a hilarious imitation of Ryan's growl about how excited he is as she introduces the couple, who are dancing to Stars' "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead." TRAVIS. Always with the good music! Ellenore is in an adorable little yellow dress and opens the dance in front of an autumnal background. Ryan bumps into her wearing an open plaid shirt and khakis -- very picnic-in-the-woodlands-y. It is predictably amazing -- tender, gentle, passionate, full of creative lifts and excellent side-by-side work. Spoiler: the separated couple don't end up together again. On second watching, I notice that there are sections of this dance that are incredibly fast and precise, and of course the two of them nail them all.

Cat thinks there is something very special about Travis Wall. D'YOU THINK? As for Nigel, it's his favourite routine of the night and he thinks Travis is a great asset to Season 6. (Travis is adorably flattered.) Nigel waxes poetic about both Ryan and Ellenore for awhile, even going so far as to declare Ryan the best ballroom dancer to ever have done contemporary (he doesn't add "on this show," but I assume that's what he means), and then Mary is moved nearly to tears -- it was so good she actually has to speak in words instead of screams. She also points out how their timing was so impeccable, and that usually takes weeks of rehearsals to nail, not mere hours. Adam loved it too but they all are talking SO MUCH TONIGHT. *falls asleep*

Mollee & Nathan. We look at videos and photos of Mollee & Nathan as children. So, from yesterday. They're doing pop jazz with the terrifying Laurie Ann Gibson. They manage to give her chills, though, so I guess rehearsals went well. The performance, though... not so much, if you ask me. They're dancing to "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga, and the choreography is typical pop jazz with virtually no interesting additions and a few very weird moments. They're off from each other quite a few times as well. Mollee's makeup looks especially impeccable, by the by.

Nigel thinks they dug much deeper this week than last (fair enough), and chides Nathan to ensure that he's always growing because he's so naturally gifted and he needs to make sure that other people who are growing more and working harder aren't surpassing him. Mary woooooos a bit and is very glad they were so much better than last week. Adam also thinks they were good (and notes that they were well synced this week; obviously I disagree) but talks to them about strategy a bit, none of which makes much sense to me. Basically, the judges want them to live up to their hype.

Ok, let's get this show on the road. I have other things to do today. RESULTS!

Top 14 Results

Does anyone else find it strange and unfair that the five dancers from Season 5 featured in the new opening credits are Jeanine, Kayla, Brandon, Ade, and Phillip, who didn't even make the Top 10?

My sister texted me on Wednesday while she was watching the results to let me know that Cat was wearing a grandma dress and looked tired, and my roommate just said that Cat's eyes are weird. So in summation: Cat looks bad tonight. Relatively speaking, of course. She still looks better than I could ever hope to, even if she could use some bottom eyeliner.

Tonight's group number is to "Aha!" by Imogen Heap. In our house, we guessed Sonya Tayeh as the choreographer, but it was in fact Wade (& Amanda) Robson. I wondered about that, but I felt like the colour palette was too subdued to be them. (Seriously.) It was, of course, wonderful.

Nigel introduces the judges and calls Nigel a reprobate. Ha! Mary, by the by, looks very nice in red.

Onward to the results! We have on stage Ashleigh & Jakob, who are safe, and Karen & Kevin, who are in the bottom three couples. After the break, we look at Ellenore & Ryan (safe, of course), then Noelle & Russell and Channing & Victor. Of those last two couples, Channing & Victor are in the bottom three. Mary says it's because even though they're "tremendous" dancers, the audience is maybe not connecting with them.

Another break, and then Mollee & Nathan and Kathryn & Legacy. Cat is using the growly voice a lot this week, and I do not mind. Mollee & Nathan are in the bottom three.

Our "waiting for the solos" dance is Bollywood starring The Only Bollywood Choreographer in America. It's significantly better than whenever the contestants on this show do Bollywood, probably because everyone in it is an actual Bollywood dancer. That'll help.

Solos! Karen sexys in leather to "Break On Through" by The Doors, and it is, at least conceptually, one of the better solos I've ever seen by a ballroom woman -- very rock 'n roll. Kevin hip-hops reasonably well but boringly and still with his shoulders up in his ears to "Freeze" by T-Pain and Chris Brown. Channing does some flowy lyric stuff to "The Face" by RyanDan (lame). Victor picks "Baby's Romance" by Chris Garneau, because that's never been done before (seriously, there are other songs to do contemporary solos to; I promise), but it's very good and his centre is so solid, especially for someone so tall.

Commercials. Then Mollee dances to a song I've never heard that would require a lot of typing to tell you about. It's solid, sexy-cute jazz stuff, and I think her legs may actually be longer than Cat's, even though she's about half the height. Nathan AWESOMES to "So Insane" by Discovery, and it's just that his solos are so strong, and his partner dancing is so mediocre, and I don't know, is that a maturity thing?

Cat asks Nigel what he thought overall, and he thought they were very strong and they saw some new stuff -- like Mollee's aerial flip onto her knee, which I too thought was stunning.

We have another special guest, Orianthi, a rocker chick who's played guitar with a bunch of famous people, and her blue-painted fingertips do not lie. The girl rocks out with her, well... you know.

On to the actual, actual results. Girls first. Nigel calls Mollee out and tells her she's safe, and then Channing is sent home because Karen is a better performer. Cat pulls out "reprobates" again, in reference to Channing's friends in the front row. Cue sad Fray song.

Now the boys: Nathan is told he is safe and he is very grateful. Kevin is eliminated because he's the least good of the three bottom guys. Karen's sad, but she'll be much better served with Victor as a partner.

That's all for me! I'm sorry this was so drastically late this week. Thanks for reading! Now comment. Do it.

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

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Original Comments Posted (2)

fujitam says...

Love, love, love the Tabitha Napolean number, so good. Been missing that!!! Thought Ashleigh did an awesome job. I also really liked the Blackbird number, was a little sad that Channing got kicked off. I thought Travis' number was amazing too, this episode was prob my favorite of the season so far. Am curious why Tony was sans Melanie this week. Also thought the episode dragged on and on, and was happy that I PVR'd it so I didn't have to listen to the judgeds drone on and on. Did you notice that Nigel spoke first this week? Totally thru off my routine as I usually listen to Shankman and then FFWD through Mary and Nigel. Thanks for the recap Ariana!

Nov 23, 2009 12:38pm

Ariana says...

I totally didn't even notice that Nigel went first and that it was abnormal! Haha, good call.

Nov 25, 2009 1:01am

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