Wednesday, July 12

SYTYCD - Top 12 (7/12/06)

Unfortunately the show started a bit early so I missed the beginning! :-( I missed the intro mini-solos and the judges' introductions. Judges are Nigel, Mary (those 2 seem a given this year), and Brian (yay!!! - I really like him for several reasons, one being that he's brutally honest & gives detailed, practical feedback - or was that two?). When I came in Cat had asked Brian something and he was finishing up his comments. They were talking about someone's comments, and Brian said he was just giving a "normal guy" opinion and that was ok. I'll edit later if I find out what that was about (if someone knows please comment!). Then he said it was his job as choreographer to give them something fun and entertaining and it kept them out of the bottom 3, so he was happy. This almost has to be about Dmitry & Ashlee's contemporary routine last week- I'm guessing from this that the comment was a criticism. Anyway, on to the performances!

Musa/Natalie- HipHop by Dan, to "Promiscuous."
Dan said the routine was "built for their relationship" and it was about a guy chasing a girl; most of the practice footage was of N. or M. talking about their roles and how each would 'win' and I thought it was a waste of time. The routine itself was ok; Musa did a lot of tricks but (as I'd read in spoilers from someone who attended the taping) Natalie did more "acting" than actual dancing. The choreography in general just wasn't that interesting.

Nigel said it was "worth waiting for" Musa to be in his own element and that Natalie did what she was asked to do well, and that was to be an actress. Mary said they played the parts given to them; she complimented Musa's upper body strength but said the synchronized parts were not together or strong. Brian said he'd been waiting from the beginning of the finals to "tear [Musa] down technically," but that he couldn't! He said, "Granted you did like 15 tumbling passes," and they weren't in unison in the parts of the routine that required it. He told Natalie she's "sick" and said he really couldn't say much more; that she's "every video girl right now" and is "ready to work."

Heidi/Ryan - Cha Cha. Choreographed by Jean-Marc Genereux, to "Sex Bomb" by Tom Jones.
Heidi apparently knows Jean-Marc, who describes the dance as being about "rhythm" with one's feet and hips, and a fun dance. Ryan seems a bit intimidated, which isn't helped by the fact that Heidi spends more time working and practicing with Jean-Marc than with Ryan. I love her outfit, it's sparkly and flashy and very flattering to her. A lot of the choreography wasn't in unison... perhaps the video clip influenced me, but it just didn't do that much for me, especially Ryan. However, the crowd seemed to enjoy it. Especially Ryan's family, who all had signs, and Cat said they'd all been dancing along.

Nigel mentioned Latin dance expert Louis Van Amstel (from Dancing w/the Stars) in the audience. He said that the dance was difficult, and that Ryan had "really good technique," although he also felt something was missing. About Heidi he said "Wow... just fabulous." His only criticism was that at times she scrunches her face up and looks "like a Cabbage Patch doll." (the gal who attended the taping said that after the cameras were off he said he didn't mean it in a bad way). Mary said yes, Heidi was a doll, but *not* a Cabbage Patch. She said she's a "ball of fire" and can do anything. She called Ryan a "sex bomb." Brian said Heidi is "infectious," "excellent," and that she always makes him happy when she performs, and then she starts talking and (I was expecting something bad!) then he gets even happier! Wow, that had to make her feel good. He said what he thought was "missing" with Ryan was relaxation, that he dances with too much tension and concentration, but if he would "accept" his skill more he would grow more.

Ivan/Allison - Contemporary, by Tyce Dioro to Annie Lennox's "Why."
I thought Tyce said he created this routine for them before they picked their style, which doesn't really make sense. Anyway, Allison said Ivan has been wanting to learn contemporary since the show started, and he said he's ready to "attack" it! It showed... wow!! It was really good; they both stayed in (serious) character throughout the routine, and it was hot! She was definitely more passionate and aggressive in movement (reminding me of Jason), but he was definitely good.

Nigel told Allison she's beautiful and said he was close to agreeing with Mary that she could win. He mentioned Tyce's saying that "maturity" was something to look for in the routine, and said Ivan showed more than maturity, he showed "growth." He said the choreography was beautiful and that he was proud of Ivan. Mary was actually crying! She said that while she isn't normally "mushy" at all, that it was "very touching" and "fabulous," and that Ivan has taken them on a "magnificent roller coaster ride." She said "SeaBiscuit is still in the race," and for the first time, I agree! Brian called Allison "genius" and "brilliant" and said there was nothing negative to say. He told Ivan he "far surpassed" the expectations Brian had for him, and that he had "amazing lines," the connection between them was believable, and he had "great technique" including pointed feet. Also a bit from the gal at the taping: "During the performance, you could hear multiple gasps throughout the audience, and after it ended I heard Brian say, "Wow" behind me."

Dmitry/Ashlee - Pop by Dan to "Let Me" by Rihanna.
Dan said a lot of people don't know what "pop" is but it's basically "watered down hip-hop with jazz influences." Again I was somewhat bored with the choreography (though I did like it better the 2nd time I watched it), especially Dmitry's; perhaps he wasn't given as much because he didn't have the experience?? They were both good when they had good things to do, but overall it wasn't a great performance. I did like her hair up (she looks older) and her attitude/persona was fitting.

Nigel said he didn't know what "pop" is either, that Dmitry didn't have "a character to play," and that the routine was "forgettable." The audience boo'ed, and he said he/it deserved it and he wanted to boo himself (hee!), but he didn't know what else to say. Mary loved it; she said "it was supposed to be watered down hip-hop and it was." She loved their chemistry and said they were synchronized. Brian, who also specializes in "pop," was quick to correct them and defined it as "a mix of hip-hop and jazz." It was hard to understand his comments though because he seemed to contradict himself. First he said he didn't see any jazz in it, but that wasn't their fault. He said Dmitry should have done more with his upper body, and that Ashlee played her role but stayed at one pace (especially facially) throughout the routine instead of giving it different levels. He said that it wasn't their fault though and that they "brought what they were given." I'd heard rumor of disrespect between Brian & Dan, which this seemed to confirm, as did Cat's obviously scripted follow-up question asking what he thought of the "actual routine," emphasizing that it was by Dan! He said, "I'm not going to answer that," but then he did, saying it was a good routine but "they should have brought more energy to it." Hmm, backpedaling perhaps?

Travis/Martha - Foxtrot from Jean-Luc, to "Witchcraft" by Steve Tyrell.
I didn't catch all of the practice footage due to a phone call & lack of time to rewatch everything ;-), but I did hear Martha say that Jean-Luc likes choreography with stories, and Jean-Luc was talking about reviving (the style of) Fred & Ginger. Travis was talking about how usually you get (taught) the steps of a routine and then work on fine-tuning the technique, but they were doing it in reverse, at that point having only technique and no steps (he sounded slightly frustrated/bewildered, but it was hard to tell). Oh, and it was really funny when they chose their style because Travis definitely wasn't happy to get another ballroom dance! According to the taping attendee, the clip then showed him saying, "Am I allowed to cry on camera? Or is that a Benji thing?" Bwah!! But for tv they cut the 2nd half. The performance was nice, elegant, due muchly to their costuming (her dress was awesome, she looked wonderfully feminine for a change) and the temporary disappearance of his mohawk. ;-)

Nigel said they're both "fabulous dancers". He talked about extension and how the movement in your arms & shoulders is supposed to 'keep going' but Travis' sometimes 'stopped' instead, and that Martha needed to lower her shoulders, but otherwise it was lovely. Mary said that Martha looked beautiful and was "stunning" moving across the floor; she told Travis that he "partnered her" very well. Brian said he was scared with another ballroom pick that it would be their "kryptonite," but that it wasn't. He was "very impressed" with both of them. I still threw them a few votes for support as there have been a few indications that Travis is disheartened and think a lot of people "hate" him, but I still think (especially after seeing Benji's Broadway routine) that he's the best technical dancer on the show.

Benji/Donyelle - Broadway, by Tyce, to "You Can't Stop the Beat" from Hairspray.
What fun! Tyce talked about this being a very high-energy routine and said it involves several movements from the 60's (he named them but I didn't write them down, I figured this has enough detail as is!). Donyelle was excited and said she's a "theater junkie," to which Benji replied, "in other words, 'geek'!" Apparently she started in musical theater (cool, and I never would've guessed!). They talked about how in this routine they get to just "celebrate each other" and have fun, focusing more on their "real-life friendship" than the 'romance' of some of their past routines. His hair was slicked back and between that and his over-exaggerated movements, he ended up being the 'geek' in my eyes. I'd built up really high expectations based on the song, how much I loved Travis/Martha's Broadway routine, and comments from the tape attendee, and I was rather disappointed when it came down to it. There wasn't that much of anything technically difficult, and such a large part of my love for them is based on their skills. It was entertaining but probably my least favorite of theirs so far (and I'm not a huge waltz fan). Also for the first time I didn't think their styles were perfectly matched; she was more smooth (plus the ruffly dress hid her hips) while he moved more sharply, or severely. I think she did a much better job with it than he did.

Nigel said the reason they're such a great couple is that neither carries the other, they both "come up" and "get" anything they're given. He said he's not one to predict winners (because that's "silly") but said he'll be very surprised if Benji doesn't win! Benji laughed & actually pointed to Donyelle & mouthed "she's going to win," which was sweet. Of course then Nigel said, "And Donyelle, I'll be very surprised if *you* don't win!" He said unfortunately there's only one winner, but that person will have personality, technique, and performance, and they both have all of those things.

Mary looked a bit serious and said "we have to get real... 50% of that was corny & cheesy, 40% was energetic dancing, and 10% was pulling faces... but (standing up and almost screaming) it was 100% fantastic!" Nigel stood with her and they cut away but when they cut back Brian was standing too! Benji laughed and complained that she "did that to" them/him, but "at least I didn't cry this time" and said she did, so they're even! She also said theirs was the best routine of the night (I disagree, but I'm glad she thought so!).

Brian started by saying, "Benji, I'm going to tell you this now, because I haven't told you yet... but I never wanted you in the finals & didn't think you were one of the top 10 guys." Then "I eat my words fully" and said he is "the best male dancer on the show right now"!!!!! (Wow, and woo-hoo!!) Benji just thanked him respectfully, no big shocked face or anything, he was just listening intently to his comments I think. Brian went on to say "every time you come on stage you light it up;" that he does everything he's asked to do; and that he has surpassed the contemporary/lyrical dancers (& mentioned the high kick Benji did - "you kicked!"). Lastly he said that he loves Hairspray and that they "both belong in that musical." After Brian's comments to Benji in the past I was really surprised to hear all of this, but on the other hand Brian loves good dancers (and is very focused in the studio) & was probably frustrated that Benji's goofiness interferes w/his performance at times.

A good show, though overall I probably enjoyed last week's better performance-wise (I enjoy Brian's choreography a lot more than Dan's, but also love when he's judging!). I predict (and hope) the bottom 3 will be Ryan/Heidi, Dmitry/Ashlee, and Musa/Natalie, though I won't be too surprised if Travis/Martha are there instead of Musa/Natalie. I think Ryan is almost certain to go, and normally I'd pick Ashlee for the girl, but that would leave Heidi with Dmitry and since they're real-life partners, I'm not sure they'd be allowed to partner on the show. On the other hand we're moving to more solo competition soon and I don't know what all that will entail, so it might be ok. I think Heidi is definitely more skilled than Ashlee so I hope she doesn't suffer from a 'technicality.'

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Anonymous said...

hello,
i am from germany and i love that dance show. i am looking for that video of ivan & allison performing to "why". i've watched it almost a dozen times at youtube.
but where i can download it? i'd like to burn in on cd.
maybe you can give me a link if you know one?