Wednesday, June 28

SYTYCD- Top 16 (6/28/06)

The intros are fun tonight, several 80's style outfits and most of the girls have their hair up. Looks like it's going to be an interesting night!

Judges are Nigel, Mary, and Cicely & Olisa (ok as choreographers last week; somewhat annoying as judges this week). We get a few bad audition clips and some behind-the-scenes footage from this past week; nothing too interesting. Then a guest performance by 6 people called "Hip, Swing, and a Jump" who had a couple of neat tricks but really don't do anything our contestants haven't already shown us, & then some. So on to them!

Ben/Ashlee - Hip-Hop (she's thrilled, though has a cold & no voice), choreographed by Todd Sams to Usher's "Caught Up." Ashlee was great, but Ben wasn't snappy enough. The choreography seemed slow to me too and their routine just looked like obvious choreography, not 2 people (just) dancing. Nigel reamed Ben, saying it was "not so much street as Rodeo Drive", though Mary called his effort "respectable."

Ryan/Heidi - Cuban Rumba (Alex DiSilva). Heidi thought this would be the same as American Rumba, but it's very different: a mix of African & Latin dance. This routine has a story of flirtation & resistance. Ryan said he's having to learn a lot of acrobatics and also mentions that their connection/chemistry will be very important. The dance is very entertaining, very African percussion-filled. I thought Ryan was better with the movements and expression than Heidi (she was too smiley), and they weren't together at times, but overall it was good. The crowd & judges loved it.

Dmitri/Aleksandra - Waltz (choreographer Heather Smith) to a Kenny Rogers song. The dance is explained as being about the connection between the two dancers, even when they're not touching, but even as a new team they seem to develop this fairly well (and seem to enjoy working together). However, she doesn't get the technique and I think her arms are too straight; Mary mentions this as well. Nigel calls Dmitri "special" and "passionate," while he asks Aleks if she's seen "A Corpse Bride" and likens her to the title character (ouch!). Cicely & Olisa compliment her though, saying she "stepped up" (from last week) & was good.

Ivan/Allison - Argentine Tango (Alex), described as passionate and nicknamed "the war of the feet." Allison was great, doing most of the work, but making the couple look good as well, as did their smokin' costumes (hers was red, sultry & skimpy; he was in a suave suit & hat). Nigel called the choreography "incredible" and said Ivan was showing much improvement; Mary was very impressed and Ivan was ecstatic to receive a "Mary scream" (jumping around showing his age & immaturity, in contrast to his performance).

Benji/Donyelle - Pop/Jazz by B-Free! (finally!) Brian apparently always choreographs to a story, or at least he does tonight. This number is about a diva supermodel "taking control" of a cool, suave DJ. Benji annoyed Brian a bit w/his goofiness, but also admitted he needed to "tone down the geek & bring out the sheik" (hee). He was also talking about his background in fun, happy dance styles and said that portraying sexual attraction is out of his comfort zone, but said that Donyelle makes it easy for him... and, blushing a bit, was for once speechless! The routine was a lot of fun. The crowd of course loved it (they screamed at the introduction!), and Cat "dared" Nigel to say somthing bad... which he did, kind-of. He mentioned how Brian had encouraged Benji to portray a "strong masculine" character & then puts him in eye make-up! (He had eyeliner & a mohawk.)

Musa/Natalie - Quickstep. Musa of course struggled; choreographer Heather had him wear a "ballroom training bar" for a while to keep his arms up so he could learn the posture but concentrate on footwork. It was an entertaining routine - they were together & decent, but obviously new to the style. Nigel called them "great performers" and mentioned the hard work (& time) Musa put into practicing. Mary agreed though said they couldn't see Natalie's full potential because of Musa's limitations.

Jaymz/Jessie - Contemporary, again by Brian. This one's a love story, with the woman trying to break down the man's walls, and the focus on the repeated lyric mentioning joy in the breakdown. Brian was very tough, said he was disappointed to have this couple & criticized them both (Jaymz for having a lot of "competition kid" bad habits), but said he wanted them to perform well enough to show everyone they're in contention! He said he thought they could but would have to work for it. J&J admitted it was a lot harder than they'd expected. The routine was awesome, and Jaymz was fantastic! They started up on the platform and used the stairs, then the whole lower stage... (Nigel complimented Brian on that part of the choreography). Cicely & Olisa also complimented B, for both numbers, and he was shown (yay!) smiling contentedly in the audience.

Travis/Martha closed the night with Hip-Hop from Todd Sams to a Chris Brown song. Travis told Todd they'd been "kicking each other" away in previous weeks & asked if they could have a romantic relationship this time! Which they did. I thought the routine was great, and while Travis was much snappier than Martha, their close moves were very nice and convincing (i.e. hot!). Nigel and others criticized Travis for not being as smooth as Martha, and Nigel said they really need to work next week as several other couples have "passed them up." Travis humbly agreed that the competition had heated up and they/he needed to improve, but he was also defensive (after the 2nd negative comment) and said he thought "America" was "forgetting" that he's a contemporary dancer & hip-hop is new for him. I do think the krumping may have hurt him because he concentrated so hard on that sharpness, and this week's choreographer may not have emphasized the difference & smoothness of what they were supposed to do this week (whereas Martha knew because it's her specialty; perhaps she should've helped him more, but on the other hand maybe she saw a chance to finally outshine him & took it!).

I agree with Nigel that "America" has a tough choice tonight. I threw in 5 votes each for Benji/Donyelle, Jaymz/Jessica, and Travis/Martha.

I predict the bottom 3 will be Dmitri/Aleks, Ben/Ashlee, and Travis/Martha, with Ben (unfortunately) and Aleks leaving. Musa/Natalie could replace Travis/Martha (or Ben/Ashlee, as they seem to have a strong voting fanbase) though; I think it'll be close between those three.

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