And cue legsses

Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2012 by Travis Cody in

Welcome to the first complete recap of Season 9!

Quick Cat Deeley flowing and natural just the way I like it and a lovely black frock.  Tantalizing calfsses tapering enticingly into gorgeous shoesses.  Very nice indeed preciousss, yess very nice.

We kick off the show with our Top 16 in a wonderfully creative group routine choreographed by Tyce Diorio.

Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy are joined by Christina Applegate at the judging table.  Remember, there will be eliminations after the performances.  So let's get started.'s a 2 week break for the Olympics.  I know!  But I like that just as much as I like dancing, so we'll be OK.

Business out of the way, let's get to the dancing.

Tiffany Maher, a 19 year old jazz dancer, is paired with George Lawrence II, a 19 year old contemporary dancer, for hip hop choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon D'Umo.  This is much less lyrical than last week.  I'm also not really a fan of the music.  This is not the kind of hip hop I enjoy.  The movement didn't really seem to work with the staging and costumes.  I thought they were missing synchronicity when they needed it.  I thought they had decent energy, but I thought they needed to be a bit more sharp and crisp.  I didn't see the pauses for emphasis that I think are essential to bring off a routine like this.  Not one of my favorites. 

Amber Jackson, a 21 year old contemporary dancer, is paired with Brandon Mitchell, a 27 year old stepper, for jazz choreographed by Ray Leeper.  They both lost partners in last week's elimination, so this is their first time dancing together.  What Brandon doesn't have in technique he makes up for with raw talent.  Amber is a revelation every time she dances.  Her lines are so extended and clean.  She dances so confidently.  She is in control of every movement, but she also dances with abandon and fearlessness.  Passion and power.  I really like her.  Brandon was good in the piece, but he was kind of a prop sometimes to make Amber look good.  It was a steamy routine and I thought they did justice to the music and the choreography.  Very well done.  This is a good pair. 

Janelle Issis, a 24 year old belly dancer, is paired with Dareian Kujawa, a 20 year old contemporary dancer, for Cha Cha Cha choreographed by Pasha Kovalev.  I can't really think of what to say about this routine.  I liked the choreography, but something wasn't quite right about the performance.  I think they handled the lift in the middle really well.  But there were so many issues with the lower body for both of them.  The feet were bad.  The hips weren't moving in the right way.  In hold, there was too much space between them.  The performance felt really awkward and off balance.  I didn't feel much chemistry between the two of them.  

Lindsay Arnold, an 18 year old Latin ballroom dancer, is paired with Cole Horibe, a 26 year old martial arts fusion dancer, for contemporary choreographed by Mandy Moore.  One thing I really like about Cole is his posture.  His core is so strong and that makes for some wonderful lines.  And he dances with attention to detail enhanced by an emotional connection to the material.  I love Lindsay's passion in this piece.  I didn't know if she could pull off a routine like this, and she proved that she can.  She danced with a maturity beyond her years.  The connection between them was really emotional.  Mandy's choreography set up a beautiful story, and both dancers interpreted the movement and music in perfect harmony.  Excellent.  This one could have been dance of the night.

Amelia Lowe, and 18 year old contemporary dancer, is paired with Will Thomas, a 19 year old contemporary dancer, for jazz choreographed by Mandy Moore.  This is my favorite pair.  They both have such vibrant personalities that go well together.  And of course they are both outstanding dancers.  I never notice the difference in their heights.  This piece was quirky and odd.  There were some places where Mandy required a difficult transition from smooth movement to a trick, and they kept the transitions seamless.  They just both seem to be sponges for each piece of choreography.  It probably wasn't at the level of the first 2 weeks, but those two previous performances were so outstanding.  This week they were solid.  I enjoyed the dance.

Audrey Case, an 18 year old contemporary dancer, is paired with Matthew Kazmierczak, a 21 year old contemporary dancer, for Salsa choreographed by Liz Lira.  I really did not like that, and this has been my second favorite pair so far.  I didn't like the red on Matthew.  I thought he over-emphasized the movements in all the wrong ways.  Just very awkward for me.  I liked Audrey a little better.  I thought she looked sexy in the red outfit.  And her flexibility for the tricks was really terrific.  But overall, that performance really fell flat.  There was no excitement at all in the piece.  They danced as if all they wanted was to get through it, rather than sell it.  That's really a shame.

Witney Carson, an 18 year old Latin ballroom dancer, is paired with Chehon Wespi-Tschopp, a 23 year old ballet dancer, for contemporary choreographed by Stacey Tookey.  The choreography was simply beautiful.  I liked how Witney was able to make her body go from limp to tense to limp to tense.  That interpretation really made the emotion in the story come alive.  And Chehon was so strong.  His technique really served him well because he controlled everything on stage and let Witney be the star.  Both of them created a moment with this dance.  That was a first class piece of theatre.  This is our dance of the night.

Eliana Girard, a 21 year old ballet dancer, is paired with Cyrus Spencer, a 22 year old animation dancer, for hip hop choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon D'Umo.  I think this is the most difficult pairing because Eliana is so technically skilled and Cyrus has no training at all.  They are making it work, but Eliana really hasn't had a chance to shine yet.  Cyrus gets to do his thing in this piece, so we get to see his animation genius.  And I use that word appropriately in his case.  I have to say that Eliana was very good in this routine.  Her body control and posture are tremendous.  I'm not sure I liked it, but it was very well danced and deserved the praise from the judges.

Oh...eliminations coming up.  It's tough to get used to only having one show each week to get everything done.  But we shall persevere.

Our bottom three gals are Amber, Lindsay, and Eliana.

Out bottom three guys are George, Brandon, and Dareian.

The judges say they want t see Amber, Eliana, Brandon, and Dareian dance solos.  Sounds like Lindsay and George are going to be safe and the elimination may come down to the other 4.
  • Amber - that was a bit sloppy for my taste.  
  • Brandon - don't care for that style.
  • Eliana - stunning.
  • Dareian - powerful and engaging.
As much as I enjoyed Amber's performance in the choreographed piece, I would choose to save Eliana.  I'm basically indifferent to these 2 guys, but I would save Brandon based on his performance with Amber.

But before we get the bad news about who is leaving, let's see some dancers from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in a piece called The Hunt, choreographed by Robert Battle.  My goodness that was powerful.

Eliminations for the gals...Lindsay and Eliana are safe.  Which means Amber is eliminated.

Eliminations for the guys...George and Dareian are safe.  Which means Brandon is eliminated.

Scroll back up because Amber and Brandon danced well enough to make my encores.  Eliminations are tough every week and they'll only get tougher.  Since these 2 were a pair and are eliminated together, that means that the rest of our couples will be intact when we return in 2 weeks.  Let's hope the extra rehearsal time makes for some excellent dancing.

Before I close out, let me just tell you about the 6 Emmy nominations for SYTYCD.
  • Outstanding Reality-Competition program
  • Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program - Cat Deeley
  • Outstanding Lighting Design/Direction for a Variety Series for the Season 8 Finale
  • Outstanding Choreography - Stacey Tookey for her body of work
  • Outstanding Choreography - Christopher Scott for his body of work
    • Misty Blue - features Sasha Mallory and tWitch
    • Velocity - features Chris Koehl, Jess LeProtto, Marko Germar, Mitchell Kelly, Nick Young, Ricky Jaime, Robert Taylor Jr, Tadd Gadduang, and Wadi Jones
  • Outstanding Choreography - Spencer Liff for his body of work
Click on all the links to see the dances.  I'm a little surprised not to see Travis Wall recognized with a nomination.  Here is some of his work from Season 8.
  • Turn to Stone - features Melanie Moore and Marko Germar
  • Brotsjor - features Jordan Casanova and Tadd Gadduang
  • Moth's Wings - features Caitlynn Lawson, Ashley Rich, Ryan Ramirez, Alexander Fost, and Mitchell Kelly
Not to take anything away from Ms Tookey, Mr Scott, and Mr Liff.  They are all worthy nominees.  I'm just saying...Travis Wall = brilliant.

Later gang!


  1. Jean(ie) says:

    you crack me up with your legsses! Hahahahaahahha! I love it!

  1. This is one tough group...I do like Amelia and Will - LOVED THE LEGSSES this week...