So You Think You Can Dance (August 1, 2007)

August 2, 2007 at 1:13 am | Posted in So You Think You Can Dance, TV News | 1 Comment

It’s So You Think You Can Dance time! As Cat reminds us, we’re only two weeks away from finding out Who Is America’s Favorite Dancer. (I’ll ruin the suspense for you: it’s still Benji.) She’s wearing a spangly blue dress with straightened hair, and looks quite fab. Cat also fulfills my wish and actually says the word “judges” this week, except she parodies her own accent and it comes out “JIDGIZZZZ.” Um, it’s not pleasant.

Our distinguished panel for this week: Nigel, Mary, and … Adam Shankman?? Again? Seriously? I don’t get it, Hairspray already’s in theaters, does it really need another publicity boost, or is Adam Shankman just trying to build his personal brand? I mean, I’m grateful it’s not dreadful Debbie Allen, but let’s face it, Shankman’s kind of a spaz. (I miss Brian Friedman.) Anyway, Shankman takes this opportunity to beg the teen audience to clap for his movie, and they dutifully do.

No solos ad infinitum tonight — instead, the dancers will be randomly assigned a new partner and two dance styles. Dang, two routines to learn in a week — three, counting the group routine? That’s harsh! This show takes no prisoners.

First couple: Danny and Sara will be doing the Argentine tango and hip hop. Argentine tango’s with Alex de Silva, of course, and he’s come prepared with a special training clipboard. Danny holds it over his crotch to prevent Sara from harming his balls with the between-leg kicks. Clever! Or just wear a cup! Fast-forwarding to the performance … good song choice: Whatever Lola Wants. Sara’s got a big red fan which she uses for dramatic effect. First off, the dance is great, and they’re really selling it. Sara’s doing the heavy lifting, with some extremely complicated flippy things, but Danny sort of looks like a prop. I wonder if he’s bad at the tango or if it’s just a choreography decision. The piece concludes weirdly; Sara pulls out Danny’s boutonniere and struts off, while Danny pulls out a fan of his own, because … he’s overheated? With passion? I don’t know. Shankman loves it, calling it “un-beeping-real.” He’s proud of Sara for not tainting the tango with b-girl style, which irritates me, because Sara isn’t Dominic — she’s had plenty of formal training. He also gushes over Danny’s center. Eh, this wasn’t my favorite Danny performance. Aside from the spins, I thought Ivan did a better job with the tango last year. But getting back to what the important people think: Mary also loves Danny’s pirouettes, but didn’t like how the choreography strayed from traditional tango. Nigel thought it was sexy, but wanted to see more facial expression. Then he freaks out over the million pirouettes Danny did.

Next up: Dominic gets paired with Lauren, and first they’re doing krumping with Lil’C. Both of them look pretty good at krumping, but I’m still kind of underwhelmed. The song’s unusually slow, and consequently, they’re not hitting any of the moves very hard. They’ve got nice ‘tudes, but it feels like a rehearsal instead of the actual performance. Shankman thought it didn’t really show off their skillz, but liked it nonetheless. Mary said they lost energy as it went along, and Nigel agrees, but blames the song, daring to call a 50 Cent track tuneless and unrhythmical. I hope Nigel’s riding home from the studio in an armored car. Then Nigel calls Lauren out for tripping and falling during the routine. She did a great job covering, I didn’t even notice. After the critique, Dominic tries to grope Cat while she reads from the teleprompter. Let’s move on, shall we?

Lacey and Neil are next, doing Latin Jazz with Maria Torres. Is she new? I don’t remember her from last year. In rehearsal, they struggle with a tricky lift called a crunch. Lacey’s scared Neil will drop her, which Neil doesn’t appreciate. “I got her,” he says, flexing his guns, “trust me.” He then points to his shirt, which reads “trust me.” Heh. I like Neil. At performance time, they both look really fine. Lacey has a super hot dress, and Neil’s shirtless. He looks like an Abercrombie model, it’s ridiculous. They’re both rocking the Latin attitude, and it seems pretty good to me. However, ever since Mia criticized how Neil holds his shoulders, I started to notice it, too. Occasionally his lines look funky. But something else is bothering me, and I can’t figure out what it is. Hopefully, the judges will explain it to us. Shankman liked it, but faults Lacey for looking at the audience instead of at her partner, and faults Neil for staying at one energy level instead of mixing it up. Mary hated it, saying there’s no real chemistry, and points out some technique problems. Then Shankman chimes in again, prompting Uncle Nigel to check his watch. Eventually he lets Nigel speak. Nigel thought they looked amateurish. So, another okay routine. Nothing’s doing it for me tonight! Maybe it’s just that these dances aren’t as polished, since they’ve had less practice time.

Pasha and Sabra are next, and they’re doing Broadway with Tyce! Diorio! first. Pasha and Sabra butt heads a little because Pasha can’t understand a word she says. Heh, Russians. The routine’s super high energy and adorable. It’s a message piece, and the message is “come party with us!” Sabra’s marvelous as usual, and Pasha’s quite good as well. Some of his facial expressions are a little awkward, though — he does “passionate” much better than he does “wacky hijinks.” Shankman said he was dreading this number because Broadway choreography looks better when done by a huge chorus and lame with only two dancers … but of course he loved this, because it’s a Diorio Original. He praises their “character and overall performance,” and makes hilarious hand gestures while doing so. Mary loved it, and even gives it a scream. Nigel kisses Tyce’s ass a lot, as he should, and has nothing negative to say. Yay for Pasha and Sabra!

Now we’re out of dancers, which means Danny and Sara are up again. Shane Sparks is choreographing their hip hop routine, watch out! Danny reminds us that Shane totally hates him and didn’t want him in the top twenty. Shane doesn’t deny it. Awkward! Then we see some awkward rehearsal footage where Shane pays attention to Sara and won’t look Danny in the eyes. Don’t cry, kids — ultimately, Shane and Danny become BFF 4EVER. Seriously, Shane says that Danny might be one of the best dancers ever or some similar hyperbole. Then we get a shot of Shane and Danny standing next to each other, and Shane totally looks like a hobbit. He’s short! At performance time, there are pros and cons. Pro: they’re dancing to “Push It.” Con: they are wearing red berets and stupid yellow t-shirts that say “push it” in big puffy letters. Despite the attire, Sara’s kicking ass. At first, Danny looks scared and isn’t hitting anything hard enough, but he improves as the routine goes on. Shankman says they were “punk’d by wardrobe,” and Danny responds MTV Diary-style: “you think you know but you have no idea.” Heh. Cut to Shane laughing his ass off at them in the audience. Maybe Shane orchestrated the outfits as Danny-revenge? Mary didn’t like the dancing, and Nigel agrees, saying their energy levels didn’t match.

Lauren and Dom are back, doing the rhumba with Tony Meredith and his red-headed Pasha-loving assistant Melanie. Dom resents Lauren for being way hotter than he is, particularly because he’s wearing Tom Cruiseish heels. Ooh, they’re dancing to Ain’t No Sunshine! It looks about like the last rhumba, lots of weird slow posing. I liked the first one better, though. It’s hard to judge the talent here, though, because this routine seems really easy. And oh my goodness, at the end, Lauren and Dom kiss! Inappropriate! Tony and Mia Michaels fake smooching in the audience, totally as shocked as we are. I don’t buy that Dom and Lauren are dating behind the scenes, so I’m just grossed out. Shankman thought Dom did a great job, but thought the choreography was weird. Mary thought their lines were beautiful, but spotted some technique problems as usual, and agrees that it was a weird rhumba. Uncle Nigel ogles Lauren’s skimpy dress, praises Dom’s expressions, and then nitpicks about the ballroom technique again. Nigel suspects that the choreographers are doing easy routines for the weak dancers, and tells them to make the routines more difficult next week. The gauntlet’s been thrown!

Next, Lacey and Neil return for their second routine, contemporary with Mia Michaels. Mia’s crying during the rehearsal interview, because the piece is about Mia’s imagined reunion her father in heaven. Neither dancer wants to let Mia down. The stage is strewn with flowers — dancing hazard! — and they’re dressed in all white. They both really inhabit their roles well, Neil particularly. They mostly just play catch with the flowers, though. The judges go INSANE for it: Shankman says it represented true beauty in dance, and says it will go down in dance history. Really? Mary can’t even talk, which Nigel attributes to family issues. Way to get personal, Nige. Then Nigel says it’s one of the most beautiful things he’s seen ever. Now I’m forced to reconsider my opinion — why wasn’t I into it?

Possibilities:
1. The song was a little cheesy.
2. Too many flowers on stage.
3. I am a hard-hearted bitch.
4. Camera angles.

I’m going with number four. I went to a taping during season one, and routines that looked incredible from the audience lost their sparkle when I watched the television version. I think that dance probably made great use of space, but with all the cuts and sweeping camera motions, it was difficult to see. Plus, we got lots of face close-ups, which meant I was watching their expressions instead of what they were doing overall. Anyway, that’s my theory.

We’re closing the night with Pasha and Sasha’s quickstep by Tony Meredith. You may recall that this dance is known as the Kiss of Death, but maybe it’s time to put that to rest, because Lacey and Kameron nailed theirs earlier this season. Sabra’s struggling in rehearsal, will this be her Achilles heel? Of course not! They’re in adorable twenties outfits and dancing to big band. Pasha is very forcefully leading Sabra, but she’s keeping up. And Pasha isn’t perfect — his back should be more arched. (See how much I’ve learned from watching this show!) It’s so much fun, though. Incredibly energetic and fun. Shankman loved it, but also noticed Pasha’s posture. Mary notes the difficulty of the routine, and she’s still a little sniffly from Mia’s routine, but gushes all the same. Nigel gets very technical in his critique, but concludes that they’re the best couple of the night. Definitely my favorite routine for tonight. The quickstep curse has been lifted!

Well, I didn’t mean to be this cranky, but what can I say? Not my favorite night. Even so, we saw some good stuff, and I don’t want to say goodbye to anyone tomorrow. Side note: I voted for multiple contestants tonight (multiple times), but only got busy signals when I voted for Sabra. Seriously, I couldn’t get a single vote through for her. I’m feeling pretty good about her chances!

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  1. i’ve never read your blog before (or anyone’s really for that matter, but late-night random interneting has led me here) but i love your commentary on sytycd. it’s exactly what i think while i’m watching it.
    thanks for an entertaining read.


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