Gosh but it sure does seem like longer than 2 weeks since the last show. I enjoyed the Olympics but I sure did miss the dancing.
And I missed LEGSSES!!! But they have forgotten that I like the hair loose and flowing. I'm also not wild about the feathery frock. Hmmm...may have to send hair, make-up, and wardrobe another note.
In case you've forgotten, we've had 2 eliminations catching out 6 dancers. So we're down to our Top 14 and by the end of the night we'll have our Top 10.
Oh...the whole show is dedicated to Mia Michaels and her choreography. Our dancers interpret some of Mia's classic routines from SYTYCD history. Sweet! I'll give you a link to the original performances in each of my critiques.
Sheesh!! It's gonna be a night.
Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy are joined on the panel by Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt, co-founders of Ballet Boyz.
Congratulations to Tabitha and Napoleon D'Umo on the birth of their son, London Riley.
Top 14 group number is choreographed by Mia. And it is amazing. We're going to see the width and breadth of her diversity and creativity, beginning with this...something completely different yet again.
Wow...that's a ton of content before we get to the competitive dances. Let's do that now!
Eliana Girard, a 21 year old ballet dancer, is paired with Cyrus Spencer, a 22 year old animation dancer, to reprise The Door routine originally danced by Katee Shean and tWitch Boss from Season 4. I'm not feeling the energy and tension between Eliana and Cyrus that made this routine really pop when Katee and tWitch danced it. There's nothing wrong with the steps and movement for Eliana and Cyrus. They captured the flavor of the piece while each adding an interesting detail to take charge of the choreography. I liked how Eliana used her power. I think she danced ahead of Cyrus. I didn't find this cover to be as passionate and believable as the original. Nice job, but I prefer Katee and tWitch in the piece. Personally, I really like both Eliana and Cyrus but I'd like to see her with a partner who challenges and compliments her technique.
Tiffany Maher, a 19 year old jazz dancer, is paired with George Lawrence II, a 19 year old contemporary dancer, to reprise Hometown Glory originally danced by Katee and Joshua Allen from Season 4. I have to remember to see just Tiffany and George, because Katee and Joshua were just incredible in the original piece. I thought Tiffany and George danced with wonderful abandon and trust in each other. I loved their technique together. The dance had power as well as subtlety, and was completely controlled by both dancers. I agree with the judges that there were moments in the piece where it didn't look like they were actually dancing together. Some of it felt forced and too technical to me. The contrast between Katee and Joshua was what made the original piece so astounding...her technical excellence combined with his raw power and talent made the moment. The choreography disappeared into a visceral event that you could fee through the television. Tiffany and George were very good, but I can't honestly say they made their own moment with it.
Amelia Lowe, an 18 year old contemporary dancer, is paired with Will Thomas, a 19 year old contemporary dancer, to reprise The Butt Dance originally performed by Randi Evans and Evan Kasprzak from Season 5. This is my favorite pair performing a dance originally presented by one of my all time favorite dancers. I wondered a little bit about this choice for them, but it so suits each of their personalities. It's light-hearted and fun, and so mischievous. I think it plays right to their strengths, but it's also very sneaky in how difficult it is from a technical standpoint. I thought Will was the stronger of the pair. He found the little details to emphasize, but this was really the first time I've watched him dance and been aware of his size. He's a really big guy and this week I really saw the effort behind his dancing...that's not a good thing. It seemed to me that Amelia didn't buy into the whole flavor of the piece. That flavor was demonstrated in the casual feel that Randi and Evan originally brought to the dance. This reprisal didn't have the playful sensuality, or a distinct sense of personality.
Janelle Issis, a 24 year old belly dancer, is paired with Dareian Kujawa, a 20 year old contemporary dancer, to reprise The Bed originally performed by Kherington Payne and tWitch from Season 4. This was one of those pieces from tWitch that floored me...a street dancer interpreting an emotional contemporary piece, able to create a seamless partnership with Kherington so that it seemed they were in the same mind together. I thought both Janelle and Dareian danced wonderfully, and brought the full weight of emotion to the choreography they were given. But here's my problem...Kherington and tWitch were so big and bold and powerful and raw and connected...animal. I can't get past what they did. They had real star power. If I had never seen the original, I think I really would have enjoyed how Janelle and Dareian interpreted the story, character, and emotion. I liked what they did, but I loved it when Kherington and tWitch had their moment with it.
Audry Case, an 18 year old contemporary dancer, is paired with Matthew Kazmierczak, a 21 year old contemporary dancer, to reprise Time originally danced by Lacey Schwimmer and Neil Haskell from Season 3. Interesting. This is a real power pair in a real power piece. The choreography lends itself to their style. It shows off how lightly they both dance. I think Audry danced with an innocence that felt so honest. But what I was missing from Matthew was the gravity and dignity required to dance his role. I think that he failed to communicate the intensity, urgency, and joy in the relationship between a father and his daughter, which is really what the story is. This was never an easy piece because it brought so much of the personal Mia into it. If Audry and Matthew weren't going to portray Mia's emotion in the choreography and story, then they needed to interpret something of themselves. I thought they danced well, but missed the point of the piece. This is the second week in a row that I've been disappointed by this pair after a really strong start.
Witney Carson, an 18 year old Latin ballroom dancer, is paired with Chehon Wespi-Tschopp, a 23 year old ballet dancer, to reprise The Bench originally performed by Heidi Groskreutz and Travis Wall in Season 2. This dance won an Emmy and is going to be incredibly difficult to separate from the original. Chehon has such tremendous control over the way his body moves. I liked what he did. I think he chose passion over technique. He let his muscle memory dictate his actions so that he could give us the emotion. I thought Witney was the star of the piece. She's only 18 years old, and I felt how connected to Chehon her character desperately wanted to be, and then how confused she was by his rejection. I will always love the original, but I thought Witney and Chehon made the piece their own, distinguished and separate from what Heidi and Travis created with it. I continue to be impressed with Witney's versatility and Chehon's willingness to learn how to interpret the choreography while maintaining effortless technique. Well done. This would have been my choice for dance of the night, if it hadn't been followed by something even more powerful. Go to about 1:30 for the dance and click here if the video doesn't play.
Lindsay Arnold, an 18 year old Latin ballroom dancer, is paired with Cole Horibe, a 26 year old martial arts fusion dancer, to reprise Addiction originally performed by Kayla Radomski and Kapono Aweau from Season 5. This also won an Emmy. Kapono was so evil and perfect as he portrayed the sinister essence of control; almost sensual in his malice. And Kayla was so desperate to escape, but completely captivated in the torture. I thought Lindsay captured that feeling brilliantly. Cole's choice to take the expression completely out of his face was spot on. The blankness in his face was so cold and menacing. He was frightful and chilling, portraying the addiction as completely devoid of interest in its subject. He made that part his own and completely distinct from what Kapono did. And I think that really made a powerful framework for Lindsay to make her desperate powerlessness seem so much more hopeless, as though she were caged and suppressed and completely helpless. Both of these dancers surprise me every time I see them. Really well done. Definitely my dance of the night. Click here if the video doesn't play.
Nigel said the point of this week was to step into choreography that was originally designed for someone else, and make it your own. I think a few of the dancers did that very well. Trying to separate the original from the reprise was very difficult for some of the pieces. At least it was for me. But I enjoyed the exercise.
Results...Eliana is safe. Cyrus is safe. Tiffany is safe. Will is safe. Audrey is safe. Witney is safe. Chehon is safe. Cole is safe.
Bottom six...George, Amelia, Janelle, Dareian, Matthew, Lindsay.
Judges want to see solos from everyone.
- Amelia - I feel like she was off tonight, but she redeemed herself with that solo, reminding me what I love about her.
- Janelle - I think she has the versatility to continue to grow each week, but I'm not a fan.
- Lindsay - This is a talented young lady with tons of energy and flare.
- George - I think he has the perfect mix of technique, personality, and emotion in his dancing.
- Dareian - I think his potential is only limited by his ability to correct the issues with his feet, but everything else about him is so exciting.
- Matthew - I'm feeling like he is dancing very selfishly instead of inviting me into the world with him, and that puts me off.
First the gals...Lindsay is safe.
That means Amelia is eliminated...
...and Janelle is eliminated.
Now the guys...George is safe.
That means Dareian is eliminated...
...and Matthew is eliminated.
I think that elimination is about potential and growth and I'd have to agree with the choices by the judges. Lindsay and George have potential and grow each week, and I think that's why they joined the rest in the Top 10.
Top 10! New pairings for our dancers next week, plus the return of All Stars. YAY!