And cue music for our Top 16

Posted: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 by Travis Cody in

Welcome to

Cat Deeley's a bit of LEGSSES. She's wearing a knee length dress. No cleavage and minimal legsses. I'm not thrilled with the hairstyle.

Our permanent judging panel is Adam Shankman, Mary Murphy, and Nigel Lythgoe.

For the first time this season, viewers will be able to vote for their favorite dancers. The fan vote was delayed two weeks while Major League Baseball finished up its post season.

I think that was a little bit unfair. Four dancers were eliminated by the judges, which kind of defeats the purpose of making it to the live show. We'll never know whether those four dancers would have been saved by the fan vote from even having to dance solos to stay in the competition. Instead, they were simply dismissed based on the judges' decisions.

I don't know how it could have been done differently, but making the Top 20 should earn each of these dancers a chance to capture the fans. I thought that's what the introduction show was supposed to do...introduce us to the kids, dancing in their own styles, so we could get to know them and maybe latch onto a favorite or two.

This is just one of the things that has me re-thinking whether or not this show is suited to a fall season. Perhaps the dancers, and the viewers, are better served by only having the summer show.

OK, editorial over. Let's see what our Top 16 is up to this week.

Karen Hauer, a 27 year old American rhythm dancer, is paired with Kevin Hunte, a 23 year old hip hop dancer, for Hustle choreographed by Maria Torres. I'm impressed by some of his lines. He works hard to finish off moves. There is certainly more to him than hip hop. And she is stunning. I didn't recognize much in the way of traditional Hustle movement in the choreography. It was lift and trick heavy, which they handled very well. But I missed the repeated patterns you normally find in a Hustle. They danced very well together though. They have good chemistry, and he has strong skills as a partner. I liked they way they controlled the movement and stayed solidly within the concept and story of the piece. This isn't one of my favorite disco routines, but it worked nicely. Well done.

Ashleigh DiLello, a 26 year old ballroom dancer, is paired with Jakob Karr, a 19 year old contemporary dancer for Jazz choreographed by Mandy Moore. This young man's talent is extraordinary. And I'm surprised she is able to keep up with him. I love the way this piece moved. It was sharp and clean. The body positions were different and interesting. They managed the cane well. Sometimes a prop like that just ges in the way, or controls the dancers. But they executed the dance quite well. Ashleigh is showing so much growth. And the pair together is able to seem like a single dancer on stage. This a surprisingly strong partnership. And I think this is one of Mandy Moore's best pieces on the show. It had character, strong story, enticing movement, and it was brilliantly performed. Excellent.

Pauline Mata, an 18 year old contemporary dancer, is paired with Peter Sabasino, a 22 year old tap dancer, for Quickstep choreographed by JT and Tomas. This dance has been called the kiss of death, because many couples just don't survive it. It's one of the more technically challenging of all ballroom styles. When done well, it looks fantastic. But when done's ugly. They actually handled the performance quite well. They kept the speed up and their footwork was decent, although a bit heavy. They were unable to maintain close hold, but Peter was a solid lead. He kept control of the movement and he was there for Pauline in every lift. I really enjoyed the dance. I thought this was one of the better Quickstep. And the choreography was splendid. They made great use of story and character. Sometimes you just throw out technique, especially when the performance was so much fun and the two dancers expressed excitement. Congratulations and welcome to JT and Tomas.

Kathryn McCormick, an 18 year old contemporary dancer, is paired with Legacy Perez, a 28 year old B-Boy, for Broadway choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler. Here's another new choreographer for the show. I'll be honest...I didn't like Legacy at first. I thought he got a pass as a one-dimensional dancer. But he is really impressing me with his dedication to mastering new styles. The guy is a natural talent. He interpreted character, and his dancing was outstanding. He actually demonstrated lines and shapes and acting. Kathryn is just so engaging. Her dancing was excellent, although she may have missed just a bit at character. These two are a lot of fun to watch. There are nits to pick, but they are small. He is going to capture votes for the two of them. I think he is developing into a force. Congratulations and welcome to Andy.

Channing Cooke, an 18 year old contemporary dancer, is paired with Victor Smalley, a 20 year old contemporary dancer, for Contemporary choreographed by Stacey Tookey. This is their first dance together, as they both lost their partners last week. It should be a perfect marriage of dancers and choreographer. I liked Victor much better this week. He was passionate and committed to the movement. His dancing was powerful. I'm not sure about Channing though. I just don't know what to make of her yet. She doesn't capture my interest. I think together they had some wonderful moments in the dance. Together they made the piece look effortless. They handled all the pressures very well...first dance together after losing partners last week, dancing in their own styles. The entire piece worked well together. I wasn't transported, but I enjoyed the performance. Well done. I'm just not sold on Channing for some reason.

Ellenore Scott, a 19 year old contemporary dancer, is paired with Ryan DiLello, a 28 year old ballroom dancer, for Krump/Hip Hop choreographed by Lil C. As my pal Anndi pointed out earlier, this routine is a repeat of work Lil C did for SYTYCD Canada. This will probably be the most challenging style Ryan takes on this season, He tried to get into the floor and throw himself into the style, but I could see him fighting the core control that a ballroom dancer requires. He wasn't able to coil into the movement. It was a solid effort, but ultimately forgettable. Ellenore was more open to the hip hop movement with her more fluid contemporary style. But again, she gave a good effort, just not memorable. It was a tough challenge for them. Some dancers aren't suited to the more aggressive and attacking hip hop styles.

Mollee Gray, an 18 year old jazz dancer, is paired with Nathan Trasoras, an 18 year old contemporary dancer, for Salsa choreographed by Gustavo Vargas. I think Nathan did better than Mollee. He got down into the floor like you need to do in all the Latin styles. Mollee was too much on her toes. She also looked very uncomfortable and awkward with the movement, and that forced her to fall back on her jazz roots as she danced a bit too high. She was the wrong partner for Nathan in that dance. He had a grasp of the flavor of the dance, and I think he could have gotten there with a different partner. They missed hand holds, their footwork lost synchronization at times, the lifts were awkward, and they didn't have good chemistry. Gustavo's choreography was terrific, but he just didn't have the dancers for what he tried to do. Welcome to Gustavo...I hope we get to see his work again this season, with dancers who can really pull it off.

Noelle Marsh, an 18 year old contemporary dancer, is paired with Russell Ferguson, a 20 year old krumper, for Afro Jazz choreographed by Sean Cheesman. I liked this piece a lot. The choreography was quick, quirky, and well suited to both dancers. It had character, story, high energy, and lots of opportunity for each dancer to utilize technique from their own styles. I didn't think I was going to like Noelle at all, but she snuck up on me. I've been a fan of Russell from the beginning. And the two of them together make a strong partnership. This style suited them right down to the ground. They mastered movement, technique, and performance. I liked both dancers in it. Congratulations and welcome Sean Cheesman.

I wasn't compelled to vote for any of the pairs or individual dancers. I may not do any voting until we get to Top 10. I do like many of these dancers and I think it's a talented group.

Tune in tonight for results!


  1. Jody says:

    Karen and Kevin: The Hustle
    I swear to you that I watched a different dance then the judges. I found this dance to be boring and clunky. I didn't see sparks flying. And I actually have come to expect them wiht Karen. It wasn't horrible but I will be surprised if I remember it tomorrow.

    Ashleigh and Jakob: Jazz
    DANG IT. It is making me absolutely insane that this couple is doing so well. That I am enjoying the dances. Jakob I really like. He makes me smile when he dances. Ashleigh.... I just can't stand her. From her smug mugging for the camera as they were first introduced on stage to ..... just her. I wish he had a different partner. Drat... I hope they continue to do good. Dang... could we just vote HER out? This dance was sharp and beautiful. They were crisp and I liked it. Sigh...

    Pauline and Peter: Quickstep
    The whole Army guy/hula girl thing was a tiny bit hokey but I can't believe how much I enjoyed it. Peter has a smile on his face that reached his eyes and Pauline looked to be having just as much fun. When the dancers are having fun there is no way that the watchers can not have fun.

    Kathryn and Legacy: Broadway
    I enjoyed this dance. I understand what the judges were talking about though. It just seemed like all she did was shake her hips and look cute. Legacy is shocking me with his style though!I never expected him to actually do well in this. The dance was fun to watch though.

    Channing and Victor: Contemporary
    First off let me say I much prefer the look of goh Victor. Why? I have no idea but I do.
    This dance was pretty good. I am beginning to wonder though.. can contemporary ever be happy? Addiction. Breast Cancer. Toxic relationship. Is there ever something like Spring rains make sunflowers grow. I guess I would just like to see some sunshine once instead of all rain.

    Ellenore and Ryan: Hip Hop
    Who decided that white ski outfits were to be used in a robbery? It was pretty good but pretty boring too. This is another dance I am going to forget by tomorrow.
    And as a side note.... At the beginning of the show with the whole shirt untucked strut thing... he annoyed me as much as his wife for the first time. Knock it off Ryan... Don't push it.

    Mollee and Nathan: Salsa
    Ok before this dance ever started I was laughing. Why? Because there was no way in hell "I'm such a cute little girl" was going to be able to pull off the sex appeal needed for this dance. Nathan maybe but Mollee.. no.
    As the dance started I actually felt bad for them. It was embarrassing to watch. And a bit creepy at the same time. Like watching the young next door neighbor and seeing them as a man/child for the first time and running to go wash your hands and mind out with soap.

    Noelle and Russell: African Jazz
    I completely enjoyed this dance. Although I never saw a frog... It was an uplifing happy dance that fit both of them very well. I hope we see this style again.

    My prediction for bottom 3 based on dancing alone....
    Ryan and Ellenore
    Mollee and Nathan
    Karen and Kevin

  1. Bond says:

    I have not gotten into this yet...I presume when DWTS ends, I will slide into this show...

    It is on TiVo, but I never get a chance to watch right now

  1. Anndi says:

    I simply adore Sean Cheesman.

    Jakob... wow. Just WOW. I want to see him dance a Wade Robson piece.

    Lil C wasn't counting on fans of SYTYCD Canada watching? Doesn't he know we get both shows here? Shame on you Wee Widdle C (as Chicklet calls him).

    If a dance makes me smile as much as that Quickstep does, I don't care about technical issues.

  1. I was sooo not liking that hair-do on Kat. What WAS that?!? It looked like it came from the set of Road Warrior!

    I like Russel and Legacy.