Tuesday, July 1

SYTYCD - Top 14

Guest judges are Napoleon and Tabitha. 2 new choreographers: Andy Blankenbuehler just won a Tony Award for choreographing In the Heights! And Edward Simon does some ballroom.

Jessica & Will: Jive, Tony & Melanie ("Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" from Five Guys Named Moe) - This had more tricks and fewer kicking moves than most jives I've seen, but I thought it was decent. Mary said there were a lot of missed connections and both Mary & Nigel criticized Jessica (as usual).

Comfort & Thayne: Broadway, Andy Blankenbuehler ("Cool" from West Side Story) - I liked this! It was very different than Tyce's (predictable) stuff, in a good way. :-) Tabitha said they had good chemistry, but Nigel said the passion he wanted to see wasn't there.

Kourtni & Matt: Hip Hop, Cicily & Olisa ("How Do I Breathe," Mario) - Well, Matt looked very nice in his white suit, but it made some of the movements a bit harder to see. Overall it was good (for 2 non-hh dancers) but the movements definitely weren't sharp or hard-hitting, and the judges criticized them for that (though one of Napolitha said Matt did better than they expected him to).

Chelsie & Mark: Jazz, Mandy Moore ("Kiss Kiss", Holly Vance) - Loved this!! They're really on a roll; moving in unison, continuing to have great chemistry (there was lots of flirting and fake air-kisses, very cute); and different types of movement - Mark was especially good (and as nice as he looks in the suits, this tighter outfit shows off his movement very well). The judges enjoyed it as well - Napolitha said they can "tell any story they're given" and complimented their chemistry and teamwork.

Kherington & Twitch: Paso Doble, Tony & Melanie ("Malaguena", Brian Setzer: '68 Comeback Special) - Both started out w/capes... she finally wore heels! and he danced pretty well. Not a great paso overall though. Napolitha said he didn't "embrace the character" until part-way through the routine; Mary said it was passionate but the technique was just so-so.

Katee & Joshua: Contemporary, Mia Michaels ("Hometown Glory," Adele) - the story (because it's Mia!) is two people and their journey as they're "focused selfishly on their own lives." They're both in black and it starts out slowly, but then gets good and there are a lot of unique (Mia) moves. It looked very difficult and they did a good job. Cat asked Josh why he looked so serious afterward and he said that with Mia "it's so much more than dance." Napolitha loved their movement and that they 'got' the feel of it; Mary & Nigel loved it. Nigel complimented the partnership and the trust (from her) and strength (from him) required for some of the moves.

Courtney & Gev: Hip Hop, Cicily & Olisa ("Lights, Camera, Action") - Gev says in the intro that he's not used to "East Coast style," and New Yorker Courtney does indeed seem to dance this much better than he does! The judges concur and are disappointed w/Gev. Nigel says it's more "funk" than hip-hop though.

Take a breath... and now, Round 2!

Jessica & Will: Lyrical Jazz, Mandy Moore (Heart's "Alone") - LOVE this! They used a shirt as a prop, and Will was not wearing one at all (to the stated pleasure of Cat and the female judges). The dance was very sexy, they had great chemistry and portrayed the message of the song. Napolean said Jessica was weaker but overall the judges loved it. Mary said they're both on the train and Nigel asked the audience "Who wants to dance with Will?" (at which everyone's hands were in the air, including Jessica!)

Comfort & Thayne: Smooth Waltz, Edward Simon (New Age Armenia) - The story is of a long-lost love (Comfort says she's never had one) and they get the special Twitchington dance-for-the-disabled-girl lighting. I liked it, they had a good connection and appropriate emoting. The last pose where they ran past each other and then looked around - like a "oh no, I just missed him/her" - was very cool, and the long lift/spin was very pretty. Mary loved it, and Nigel complimented some specific moves/technique.

Kourtni & Matt: Mambo, Alex DiSilva - In rehearsal they said the routine was "very difficult," and after watching I agree. They did fairly well, though I didn't see much hip action where it looked like there should have been some. All the judges were disappointed because it wasn't sultry/"down" enough & lacked chemistry as well as technique. Oh yes and Nigel went on again about Matt not dancing "macho" enough (grr).

Chelsie & Mark: Foxtrot, Tony & Melanie ("It's My Life", Paul Anka) - Chelsie looks like one big blue feather! And Mark is back in a suit (has he set a record yet?). I thought they did very well - he seemed to get the 'feel' of the dance as well as some of the details (hand positions, etc.). Napolean said he liked watching them because they look like they just love to dance! (Mark & Chelsie nodded.) Mary said there were some difficult moves but they pulled them off. Nigel was less sure, saying Mark looked uncomfortable and that there were mistakes in the technique.

Kherington & Twitch: Contemporary, Mia Michaels ("Dreaming with a Broken Heart", John Mayer) - This was a break-up 'story' and used a mattress as a prop(tilted up so they could jump onto it & bounce off). Twitch was shirtless and the heartbroken one, while Kher. (complete with bedhead) was behind the bed several times throwing rose petals up onto it. It was kind-of cool, but didn't have much "dancing" IMO. Kher. did better than Twitch, not surprisingly. All the judges really loved it and went on and on about both Mia and the routine.

Katee & Joshua: West Coast Swing, Benji Schwimmer! ("Shake It", Brother Yusef) - Sigh, Benji guest choreographs (with Lacey's help) and we only get a tiny rehearsal clip because of time constraints. The routine was... meh. Partly because the song was slow, though I'm not sure Josh & Katee could have handled faster choreo anyway. Joshua just seemed to stand there in between moves. The judges loved it (or at least them - as usual). Napolitha liked Katee and the "stops"; Mary said the lifts were tough; and Nigel mentioned that it's not their style, in other words it's ok they weren't nearly as good as Benji/Heidi/Pasha/Lacey/etc. Evs, Nigel, we get that they're one of your "chosen" couples.

Courtney & Gev: Broadway, Andy Blankenbuehler ("New York, New York" from On the Town, as opposed to the other, more familiar "New York, New York") - They're supposed to be tourists in NYC, awed and looking around at all the wonders of the city. Courtney complains in rehearsal that not only is she from NY, she hates tourists. But she plays one on TV anyway and does ok; Gev does great. Cute routine, let's keep Andy, please? Napolitha said it was believable and complimented Gev. Mary & Nigel liked it and Nigel picked on a couple of things but also complimented them.

Whew! That was a lot of dancing! I think the quality was better last week, but then they only had one routine to learn in 4 days (Thursday evening - Monday evening), not two like this week.

My favorites were definitely Mandy's jazz pieces, with Mia's for Josh & Katee 3rd (Mia's bed routine is my least favorite, though!).

I predict Matt & Kourtni will go; Thayne & Comfort will probably also be in the Bottom 3 and the 3rd couple could be almost anyone but it won't matter. *Sniff* - goodbye, my beautiful tall ballet dancer of the season! (No, he's not as good as Danny, but I seem to like that 'type'!)

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