So You Think You Can Dance (July 25, 2007)July 30, 2007 at 11:52 pm | Posted in So You Think You Can Dance, TV News | 2 Comments
My deep and abiding love for So You Think You Can Dance can be a blessing and a curse, as I discovered last Wednesday when my stupid DVR screwed up the recording. I’ve spent a week trying to find the beginning through other means, but no luck, so I caught the stuff I missed on YouTube. Hence, this recap’s kind of wack. (Just like Wade Robson’s beats! BURN.)
My recording for this episode started with Neil, and my first two thoughts were: 1. why is Neil dancing solo on a Wednesday, 2. why does this solo choreography suck so bad? Then Sabra appeared and did the exact same dance, so the wheels in my head started turning. Anyway, apparently the partners were drawn at random. Also, starting this week, the judges become perfunctory and our votes really do kick people off. Frightening!
Apparently, Lauren and Pasha danced first. Lauren seems awfully excited to draw his name out of the hat, and looks genuinely pleased to help Pasha learn hip hop. Shane Sparks is worried that Pasha won’t be able to pull it off. And dang, it looks like this dance would be hard for anyone to pull off. Let me set the scene for you — there’s crazy green lighting, and Lauren’s sitting on the ground, with Pasha somewhere underneath her, cause it looks like she’s got four legs. They’re wearing what appears to be skeleton-print sweatshirts with striped athletic socks, you know, the really nerdy kind you pull halfway up your calves. They’re doing some robotic movements, fall over on the floor, then pop up with a little more hip hop flava. Pasha appears to control Lauren like a pop-and-lock puppetmaster, then it busts out into a more typical Shane Sparks routine. Lauren looks like she’s doing great, but I’m barely watching her because I’m so curious about Pasha. He looks like he’s having some unison and sharpness issues, but attitude-wise, he’s totally committed. In the critique, Nigel calls Pasha the best Russian hip hop dancer he’s ever seen, which is actually higher praise than I expected. He’s also really happy that Lauren stuck around. Mary loves it, their partnership, and really gushes over Pasha, resorting to a “more cowbell” joke. They both keep making allusions to Transformers, which is really a slap in the face of corporate synergy — it’s a Paramount movie, not Fox. They should be all, “Holy Jeebus! You guys were better than Spider-Pig!” or something. Mia Michaels is on the panel this week, too; she was dreading Pasha’s performance, but thought he was excellent. Mia also says Lauren’s blowing up. In a good way.
Okay, then at some point all the dancers did this solo choreographed by Wade Robson to John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change.” Guess what? This routine totally blows. Seriously, it’s like the worst thing ever — and infuriatingly, Nigel spends the whole evening talking about how awesome it is. It’s contemporary, but it’s way boring. At one point they stop the music and the dancer’s supposed to scream, which is almost as lame as it was in the middle of the “Smooth Criminal” video, where Michael Jackson’s backup dancers makes his dancers yell “Annie, are you okay?” over and over and then it gets creepily orgasmic. Later in the dance, Wade has the dancer mime being a clock, and then try to communicate via sign language. Atrocious. The dancers all wear white pants and scribbled-on t-shirts, ostensibly to provide a level playing field, i.e. to prevent Jaimie from swaying the vote by showing off her big boobs. Also, I hate this song. I’m not going to knock John Mayer, because there’s really no point, but dude. For one thing, listen to the chords — it’s totally “Crazy Love” by Van Morrison but with different lyrics. Different bad lyrics: he rhymes generation with nation. Ew. Ew times a million.
Skipping around a little, let’s talk about Pasha’s solo. He appears to have stenciled “communication” on his shirt, which makes a lot of sense, considering he’s from Siberia and today’s Russians really value that sort of thing. He didn’t have a lot of space to squeeze the word in though: poor communication! But his dancing is fine. He’s in time with the music, he’s got a fierce attitude, and his scream was … sufficiently loud. He doesn’t have a lot of flexibility in his legs, I notice, and I don’t quite buy his angry face.
Next, let’s talk Lauren. (Her word? “Patience.”) She really attacks this piece. Rocks it. She also manages a little bit of an emotional journey, starting out fierce but ending up joyous. Good job, Lauren.
Back to some partner dancing: Sabra and Kameron are doing contemporary with Tyce Diorio. Lucky bastards! I’ve already forgiven Tyce for the Mr. Bojangles debacle. Sabra’s happy because Kameron doesn’t drop her like Dominic does. They seem to get along quite well, but Kameron’s a little jealous that Sabra’s hair is cooler than his. (No shit, Kameron. You’ve got a mohawk with stenciled red stars in it. EVERYONE’S hair is cooler than yours.) Weirdly, they’re dancing to an a cappella version of Amazing Grace. This dance is beautifully choreographed, and they have incredible lines, but ugh, the music’s so distracting. There’s like zero emotional pull. I swear, if only they’d played some Annie Lennox instead, the audience would be in tears. Sigh. Kameron does a great job partnering, but Sabra outshines him. He’s definitely solid, but I’m not feeling the personal connection. Nigel says he didn’t buy Kameron’s “emotional journey,” which is probably the same thing I’m talking about. Mary didn’t feel the magic with their partnership, but loved Sabra. Mia says Kameron was “exposed” tonight, calling his technique lacking.
Solos: Sabra rocks hers, with “unity” stenciled on her ass. She’s very spunky and fiery, and her scream would not be out of place in a horror movie. Kameron has “trust” on his back. It’s fine, but not that exciting.
Lacey’s paired up with Danny, and they’re doing the samba. And guess what — Dmitry’s choreographing! Dmitry looks so, so hot. He got a tan and grew his hair out; the man bangs are way sexy. They don’t introduce her, but Lacey’s cousin Heidi (who auditioned with Dmitry) is assisting. According to Lacey, Danny + Lacey = Dancey, and she made commemorative “dancey” armbands for herself … and Danny. Ha! I’m sure he’s thrilled. I kind of like Lacey more after witnessing that little outburst of dorkiness. Danny and Lacey are getting along really well. He’s definitely cheesing it up more for the camera, smart boy. Anyway, Dmitry really knows how to choreograph. They both look hot in all black, and the dance has all the classical samba elements, but there’s a lot of sexy cat-and-mouse stuff going on. At one point, Danny runs over and puts his face in Lacey’s butt, and she bumps her hip and sends him flying. Heh. It’s much sexier than it sounds. Nigel usually loves the sexy routines, but instead he criticizes Lacey for playing to the audience instead of focusing on her partner. He liked Danny’s partnering, though, and said Danny really sold the performance. Mary slams Danny for his technique — dang, I didn’t notice any problems, but I guess I was more impressed with his pretty ballet lines and wasn’t watching his feet. She loves Lacey, obviously. Mia was overwhelmed by the sexiness. Then she calls Danny “the stallion of dance.” Heh, I love Mia.
Solos: Lacey’s got “peace” on her back. I bet she was all “we have to pick a word for an anti-war dance? I call ‘PEACE!'” And everyone else was like “BITCH!” Lacey’s quite good and screams sufficiently. I think Lauren and Sabra were a little better though.
Okay, now for Danny. In the actual order of the show, he danced last, which I think was done on purpose. Danny absolutely knocks this out of the park. He’s really the only dancer who does an interpretation of the choreography, instead of just parroting it back. And he doesn’t make it more balletic — it’s looser, rougher, but not unpolished, and he’s got great command of the stage. He’s such a pro. The audience totally loses it. He even goofs around with Cat after finishing. Look out, folks, Danny’s staging a comeback!
Jaimie and Dominic are doing the Viennese waltz with Toni Redpath. Uh oh, she says it’s going to be Spanish-ish. Dude, Uncle Nigel will be pissed if they come out and do a flamenco. And now for my unpopular opinion — I liked this routine! Mostly because they’re dancing to “Man of La Mancha,” which is a kickass song. Jaimie’s skirt is very twirly, and her lines are so nice. Dominic looked a little rough, but I was watching Jaimie anyway. The judges rip Dom a new one. As predicted, Nigel hates that he didn’t see a traditional waltz, and yells at Dominic for being too cheesy. That might have bothered me if I were watching on a big screen, but I couldn’t see his facial expressions that well. Mary also disliked Dom’s hamminess and needles him on the technique. Mia’s nice to Dom, though, telling him it’s okay to have one bad week. Then she called his technique atrocious. They all still love Jaimie, though.
But how were their solos? Well, Jaimie’s quite good, per usual. She’s got a little roughness in her moves, and it’s great, makes it look more spontaneous. Also, her word is “honesty.” Dominic has “love” on his back, and does pretty well. Sometimes when he does contemporary work, I dislike his facial expressions, like he’s faking passion or something. I’m with Uncle Nigel on this one, it’s a little hammy. But I thought his execution was quite nice.
Last up: Sara and Neil. They’re doing disco! Run for the hills! Doriana Sanchez’s routines are generally craptastic. The two seem to get along well in rehearsal, and Neil is charmingly silly as usual. At performance time, Sara’s rocking a short sexy pink dress, and Neil’s in a ridiculous bright blue leisure suit. He dramatically enters with a bunch of pirouettes, then goes right into a roundoff back handspring. It’s wicked, let me assure you. This is the first disco routine I’ve actually liked on this show. They both have a great playful attitude, and are perfectly in sync. The lifts are amazing, and they’re super cute together. You know what? My favorite routine of the night. Nigel: “When it’s like that, I love disco.” Mary loves it, Mia loves it, it was great, hurray.
Solos: Sara’s shirt says “hope.” Good job, but I can’t help but compare her to Sabra, who’s close to her size. Sabra was better. Neil’s shirt says “humility,” which isn’t exactly his defining characteristic. Routine’s great, I really like his style. Better than Kameron, worse than Danny.
The show should be over now, but it’s not. The judges are going to critique everyone’s solo before we vote, because from now on, America gets the final say! Bullet points:
Nigel calls Jaimie flat emotionally, Mia agrees, but Mary defends her.
Nigel said Dominic was a little tight but loved the emotion, Mary agrees but reiterates the technique problem. Mia criticizes Dominic, and the whole group, for sticking too closely to Wade’s routine.
Nigel called Sara’s dancing too “small,” but Mary and Mia thought she was terrific.
Nigel calls Pasha out of his league, ouch. Mary’s a little nicer, and Mia thought it was overwrought and awkward.
Nigel loved Lauren’s musicality, and the ladies love Lauren.
Nigel criticizes Neil’s shoulders, which apparently should be rolled back more. I guess I can see that. Mary and Mia agree, and wanted more emotion.
Nigel loved that Sabra danced “large.” Mia doesn’t comment, but just bows in homage to the Awesomeness of Sabra. And Mia calls Sabra her favorite!
Nigel was let down by Kameron, and says he would’ve kicked him off earlier, but, he loved Kameron’s solo. Mary liked it too, and Mia agrees. This surprises me.
Nigel thought Lacey was awesome, obviously Mary does, too, and Mia was also pleased.
Finally, Danny’s up, and the crowd goes wild as he steps forward. Nigel thought Danny put a unique spin on the routine, loved it, but thought Danny got off music occasionally. Then he starts talking about Danny’s emotional shell or whatever, and instead of freaking out as usual, Danny grins. He’s learning. Mary gushes, and liked his emotion. Mia harps on again about the emotional distance, but says if he can conquer it, he’s “beyond … beyond … beyond …” I think she means his potential is limitless.
These judges really confuse me. They went for the “attitude problem” storyline with Danny, and now they’re backing off. Was this done just to create audience sympathy for Danny? Because if so, it totally worked — the crowd was going crazy for him. Sure, these judges are probably the most honest ones in the reality TV biz, but they’re still awfully manipulative. I like Danny — just look at how many words I’ve devoted to him already — but I can’t help being a little suspicious at the way his story has played out. I still don’t think he’ll win, though. After tonight, my money’s on Sabra, or maybe Lacey. They’re both consistently strong. Lacey’s got a large fan base, but Sabra makes for better TV, I think.