And cue music...

Posted: Thursday, July 08, 2010 by Travis Cody in
12

Welcome to



So last night I could view my dashboard but I couldn't open a new post.  I couldn't even see my blog.  I thought I wasn't going to be able to post my review.  I had to write everything in MS Word and hope the "request took too long" issue was resolved quickly.

Ridiculous.

Fortunately, I got back in.  Unfortunately I couldn't copy and past what I wrote in MS Word.  Blogger wouldn't save it.  So I had to retype everything I had written.

Double ridiculous.

So let's begin, shall we?

Our Cat Deeley update...gorgeous!  Mmmmmm...shimmery golden goodness with long wavy hair.  And LEGSSES.  I am pleased.

Of course our judges are the usual suspects Adam Shankman, Mia Michaels, and Nigel Lythgoe.


Last night our 8 remaining dancers performed two routines, one with an All Star with whom they had not yet danced and another with one of their fellow competitors.  But there is bad news.  Alex was injured during rehearsals before the show and was unable to perform.  Damn.  The initial suspicion is a possible ruptured Achilles.  The rules are that Alex will go into the bottom three tonight.  If the doctor's say he is unable to continue, then he'll be eliminated.

What a damn shame.

Lauren Froderman, an 18 year old contemporary dancer, is paired with All Star Pasha for Cha Cha Cha choreographed by Jean Marc Genereux and France.  Lauren has such power in her lower body.  I didn't care for the music.  It kind of took the cheekiness out of the dance, and that's one of my favorite things about Cha Cha Cha.  Still, I thought she danced well and I thought she brought the sexiness that the choreography required.  She has been able to take all of the constructive notes about maturity and weave them into a sizzling performance.  I still missed the fun and frivolity of a Cha Cha Cha, but I can't argue that this was a complete performance and another positive step forward for Lauren.  Well done young Lady.


Jose Ruiz, a 21 year old break dancer, is paired with All Star Lauren for contemporary choreographed by Mandy Moore.  I thought Jose did very well with the lifts and tricks.  He provided a solid foundation and a trustworthy base for Lauren.  But I'm a little disappointed in Mandy because I thought that she didn't require Jose to do much more than lift and throw Lauren around.  The choreography made best use of his comfort on the floor.  I'm not discounting the heavy lifting he did...that's a critical piece of partnering and the dance just doesn't work if he isn't strong and solid in that role, which he was.  But he clearly was not asked to do the kinds of things the other guys might have been asked to do.  I thought he danced very well, but I think there's an imbalance that needs to be addressed in the way Jose is judged for what he does, and how the other guys are judged.


Kent Boyd, an 18 year old contemporary dancer, is paired with All Star Comfort for hip hop choreographed by Dave Scott.  The thing about Kent is that the young man can dance.  This particular choreography had a lot of lyrical and more musical elements to it.  It didn't require as much hard hitting, so I think Kent was able to fit his style within the choreography very well.  I really enjoyed the performance.  I thought Kent had a great chemistry with Comfort.  He avoided the pitfalls of over-doing his facial expressions and playing too much toward the audience.  He didn't over-perform, rather he connected with his partner and interpreted the character he was given for the story.  Everything he did felt honest and he didn't lose his "Kentness".  He relaxed into the music and had fun with what he was given.  Nicely done young man.
 
AdeChike Torbert, a 23 year old contemporary dancer, is paired with All Star Courtney for jazz choreographed by Mandy Moore.  I didn't like it.  This isn't the dancers' fault, but the choreography bothered me because there was so much work with their backs to the audience.  That made it hard for me to feel the connection they were trying to build between them.  The part of it I did like was when they actually danced side by side together.  Sometimes the props just get in the way, and that's how I felt about the bar and the stools and the white towel.  It just threw me.  I think Adam said it for me...AdeChike needs to get lost in the music and not let the choreography trap him.  There was dissension on the judging panel about the performance.  I agree with Mia and Adam, who thought that AdeChike simply recycled the same character and energy from last week's performance.  The problem with that is last week the choreography called for silliness and this week it required more sizzle and smolder.  I think AdeChike is a talented dancer, but something isn't working for him...at least it isn't working for me.

Billy Bell, a 20 year old contemporary dancer, was originally paired with All Star Allison, but she was unable to continue.  So Katie Shean from Season 4 stepped in.  This is a Broadway routine choreographed by Spencer Liff.  I liked that dance a lot.  I thought Billy had the feline quality required for dancing to music from the musical Cats.  He had the character and the connection with Katie.  The details were so wonderful.  He didn't over-dance it.  He understood what the piece needed when it needed it.  If I could use a singing analogy...he seemed to know that hitting the money note doesn't mean singing louder.  It simply means connecting with that singular note in a song that makes everyone stop, listen, and like.  I thought Billy did that in his dance.  The big moment when the music hit its crescendo and the dancers brought the routine home was controlled and drew my attention without hitting me over the head and shouting "look at me I can dance!"  Well done young man. 


Ashley Galvan, an 18 year old contemporary dancer, is paired with All Star Dominic for hip hop choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon D'Umo.  I didn't think she had the hit and rebound she needed, but the judges said she did.  I really liked the performance though, whether I saw the same things the judges did or not.  There was so much to like about the choreography that her technique was secondary for me.  I think the judges did her a major dis-service early on by suggesting that she didn't portray emotion when she danced.  She does.  She's so talented and she's more versatile than the judges gave her credit.  I think she's the real deal.  Well done young Lady.


Robert Roldan, a 19 year old contemporary dancer, is paired with All Star Katherine for jazz choreographed by Sean Cheeseman.  That was interesting.  The concept was fun, with the dancers portraying a couple of dolls both inside and outside the box.  Robert is a tremendous dancer and I think this kind of piece suits him right down to the ground.  I sort of liked it.  But I thought that there were parts of the dance that weren't clean.  There were some tricks that were a bit jerky.  My only criticism was that I wanted the dance to be more smooth so I didn't lose the illusion of a couple of dolls coming to life and getting outside of their boxes for a bit of fun.  The image that came to mind was Dick van Dyke and Sally Ann Howes in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, during the birthday party when he danced as a full sized marionette and she was a doll atop a music box.  I wanted the dance to have that quality, and it missed on that level for me.


AdeChike was supposed to dance Bollywood with Alex choreographed by Nakul.  But with Alex injured, Nakul's assistant stepped in to perform the routine.  This style of dance needs to be performed really really well for me to enjoy it.  AdeChike's athleticism was amazing.  He must have done at least 5 split jumps at the end of the piece, one after the other.  That part was fantastic.  But the rest of the dance looked rushed and hectic instead of smooth and controlled.  

Good for you Cat!  She called the judges on the praise they gave Jose for putting his own spin and personality on his Bollywood routine, which was completely lacking in technique.  The judges told Jose that he had such a spark of personality that it didn't matter that he didn't dance the style correctly.  But they harshly criticized AdeChike for doing some of the same thing, telling him that he didn't have the personality to pull that off.  That's the imbalance that needs to be corrected.  If you hold one dancer accountable for not dancing the style correctly, you have to hold them all accountable for it.   

Kent and Lauren dance contemporary choreographed by Travis Wall.  This was a great blend of material and dancers.  They were both able to draw on experiences they were familiar with and interpret what they were given with a wonderful innocence, balanced by intimacy.  It was a lovely routine and showed off each dancer's potential to full effect.  They are such amazing dancers.  But this routine allowed them to fall into the piece and just portray joy in dance.  I loved it.

Ashley and Robert dance Quickstep choreographed by Jean Marc and France.  The Quickstep has not been good to most competitors on this show.  That opening lift was amazing.  The technique suffered, but I expected that.  I liked Ashely in the piece.  She attacked it and didn't seem afraid of it.  Robert struggled a bit as the lead.  This was a tough piece to get right because they had so much Quickstep to do and maintain character as well.  It wasn't the train wreck it could have been.  The parts that were out of hold were done very well.  But overall I thought the dancing was disjointed.

Billy and Jose dance Afro-Jazz choreographed by Sean Cheeseman.  Each dancer was well cast in the piece.  Billy made use of the incredible control he has over his body, while Jose was able to use his athleticism and power.   However, the choreography did expose the technical weaknesses that Jose has.  And while he brought a kind of power to it, I didn't think he reached as far as he could have.  For Billy, I thought there could have been more primal release and less focus on technique.  But I did like the performance.


Tonight's elimination is going to be interesting, and a bit dangerous.  Alex will automatically be in the bottom three because he was unable to dance due to his injury.  That's good news for at least one dancer, who won't be in danger even if the votes actually put him or her in the bottom three.  


But it's dangerous as well for someone.  If the extent of Alex's injury isn't known by show time and there is even the slightest chance that he can continue in the competition, then the judges are likely to save him and send someone else home.  Then if Alex can't continue, we've lost a dancer who maybe should have gotten the extra week.


It's just a shame that an injury is going to impact the competition.

12 comments:

  1. Barb says:

    Blogger has definitely been having issues for a few days. I couldn't comment on many blogs and I couldn't schedule a post. It kept giving me "We're sorry, but we were unable to complete your request" error message. Then later when I went in to try again, it had a bunch of 'em scheduled that I had to delete!

    Ack!

    It's hard to complain about something that's completely free, but still!

  1. I thought Kent and Laurens "prom" duet was perhaps the dance of the night. Everything about it suited them.
    Like you, I thought Cat was great about calling out the judges for their seemingly biased critique. However, Nigel would probably remind us that this is not about America's best dancer, but America's favorite dancer...and Jose is one of the judges favorites right now.
    AdaChike just had a bad night. I thought his duet with the Courtney was just disconnected or disjointed or something. He definitely suffered from not having Alex in the bollywood number, because Alex makes everyone better.
    I do think that AdeChike and Jose should be in the bottom three, but for the sake of the competition, it might be best if Alex cannot continue. And yes, that is a crying shame.
    If Alex cannot continue, then I think they should give him a free pass straight to the top 10 next season. Just sayin'.

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
  1. Barb: I know. I was getting so irritated last night until I remembered 2 things. First was that I could type my review in MS Word and post it when Blogger came back...folks would understand. Second was...Blogger is a free service!

    Driller: All great points. One of the things I usually point out when the voters get called out for "getting it wrong" is that the viewers are voting for their favorite, which sometimes is more about who they like rather than who is "best". As the judges advise the dancers that they'll see some of the issues when they watch the tapes of their dances, I think the judges need to re-watch some of their critiques and realize the inconsistencies. I think they are insulting the break dancers who have competed on the show, insinuating that for them it's more about personality than getting the dances "right" in terms of technique. And it does Jose a disservice for not holding him to an equal standard.

  1. It seems I was very tired last night as I called SYTYCD DWTS? Sorry about that. I have seen the dancers take to heart what the judges said and apply it to their dance.

    Mistakes and all, I thought last night was inventive and enjoyed the dancers.

    I am afraid for Alex that his injury may take him out of the show. I hope not because he is awesome. I do not understand why a choreographer would call for the five split jumps at the end of a dance. They are already tired, but to add those at the end seemed crazy to me.

    Thanks for the great recap of the show.

    Many thanks for your creating my Peace globe. It is awesome. You multi task so well.

  1. Akelamalu says:

    Sometimes Blogger can be a right pain in the a***!

    Great review as always Trav. :)

  1. Thanks for the summary, Trav. I didn't get to watch. Goodnight and I were glued to something on PBS. Do you have a favorite dancer yet? I don't. I'm glad Kent isn't hamming it up so much any more. He's got some talent. But he's in with other talented dancers too. Sorry to hear about the injury, however.

  1. 'Shimmery golden goodness with long wavy hair. And LEGSSES. I am pleased.'

    LOL, Travis!

  1. Jamie says:

    Sorry to hear about that injury. A ruptured achilles tendon can eliminate a career if it isn't treated properly.

    As always you hit the nail on the head with your reviews. They really should make you a "blogging judge" or something.

  1. your problem with blogger was even scarier than mine...

  1. Pam: Even if it turns out to be just a tweak Achilles, I can't imagine it's in Alex's best interest to continue and risk a more serious injury. And if it's a serious injury already, then certainly his health is more important than continuing in the competition. I wish the best for the young man however it turns out.

    Akelamalu: Indeed it can! But fortunately not very often.

    GGG: I have been glued to things on PBS in the past, so I definitely understand that!

    Julia: Hehehehehehehee!

    Jamie: Recovery has to be the primary focus for Alex, because he has way too much talent not to dance.

    Terra: It definitely worried me not to be able to see the blog. Luckily the problem resolved.

  1. I was clapping when Cat slapped the judge's wrists for that

    I will be sad if Alex can not continue