Cue that theme music

Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 by Travis Cody in

It's the semi-finals live from Hollywood!

That's right.  We're down to 5 remaining pairs dancing for a spot in next week's performance finale.  Our couples are dancing the styles chosen for them last week by the fans plus another individual routine.

Let's have our first round.

Kellie and Derek dance Argentine Tango.  This is where her focus on precise and sharp technique will serve well.  Doing the steps correctly has been Kellie's main strength all season.  I always love her extensions and lines.  I love the body shapes she made during those leaps and lifts.  Just tremendous.  The judges have been picking at her inconsistent emotion all season.  I thought this week she had emotion, drama, and passion.  It was traditional choreography and it was performed with power, focus, control, and finesse.  That was really an incredible performance.  The work in silhouette was brilliant.  Outstanding.  Judges say 10s across for a total of 30.  Yup.

Ingo and Kym dance Samba.  He has never really mastered smooth transitions from movement to movement.  But, he has made a lot of progress as a partner.  I think he creates a solid frame for Kym and shows her off to great effect, which is the man's job in these dances.  I think this was good choreography and he didn't make any glaring mistakes.  But he always seems to have that one sloppy moment that throws off his timing and musicality.  Still, I thought the overall performance was pretty good.  He's just up against some really tough competition at this stage.  I suspect their chance of getting into the finale is going to come down to how close they can stay with scores to give Ingo's fans a chance to keep them in it.  Judges say 8s across for a total of 24.

Aly and Mark dance Rumba.  I've enjoyed watching her make the transition from controlled gymnast to relaxed dancer.  I liked this choreography.  I thought it was a nice mix of pose and dance.  My one criticism would be lack of true Rumba hips.  But that's really the only issue I had and it's really picking nits.  I thought Aly was sensual and emotional.  I thought she controlled the story and brought a maturity to her movement.  She and Mark had a wonderfully understated romantic quality.  I don't think she could have performed that piece in that way a few weeks ago.  Well done.  Judges say 10s across for a total of 30.

Jacoby and Karina dance Argentine Tango.  Yikes.  Karina had a terrible accident during a lift in camera blocking, but she's OK to dance.  I like the staging for this piece.  Unfortunately there are Jacoby's turned in feet again, not to mention his inability to tuck in his backside.  I know that's just a natural part of Jacoby, so it is what it is.  If I look past those two things, I can say I saw some stalking and some real Tango flavor.  Karina did a magnificent job with choreography.  I did like the drama and passion in the performance.  Judges say 10s across for a total of 30.  Sorry, I can't get on board with a perfect score because of the feet and the backside.  That's just my own aesthetic I guess.

Zendaya and Val dance Quickstep.  I've appreciated the consistency all season from Val...he has made age appropriate dances for Zendaya that are fun but still difficult, and that show off her skills.  She has handled herself on the floor with wonderful maturity, without losing her teenage charm.  Witness a couple of go carts as props to begin the dance.  Wonder what Len will say.  I'll tell you what I think.  I didn't like the costumes or the choreography.  The dance looked a little frantic to me and that made it seem kind of sloppy and rushed.  It was really fast.  It was a very modern concept with a lot of classic Quickstep movement.  She's 16, so Len doesn't lose his mind over it like he did last week with K&D; he just politely didn't like it.  Judges say 8,8,9 for a total of 25.

Here's our leader board after Latin round:

30 Kellie and Derek
30 Aly and Mark
30 Jacoby and Karina
25 Zendaya and Val
24 Ingo and Kym

Wow.  That 25 for Z&V could open a door for I&K.  

Now let's have Round 2 with the dance styles chosen by fans.

Kellie and Derek dance Flamenco.  Derek had to study this week to get the nuances of the style.  Did you know that Kellie went from a roller skating waitress to an American Idol finalist?  She didn't win Idol, but she might win the Fabulous Mirror Ball.  I don't know much about Flamenco, but I can say that the footwork looked precise and clean.  The performance was also a little bit sexy.  And that last lift-spin-trick was terrific.  That was pretty hot gang.  Congratulations to Derek for putting together such a difficult piece.  Judges say 9,10,9 for a total of 28.  Nice of Len to throw a couple of 10s for them this week after that silly 7 from last week. 

Ingo and Kym dance Charleston.  Born in Germany, moved to Australia.  Played the same character on General Hospital for 18 years.  Lives in Hawaii with a beautiful family.  Not too shabby.  I love this music.  You can't dance Charleston to modern music.  It just doesn't make any sense unless it's music with a 1920s flavor.  Although the choreography was fun and fluffy, Ingo just looked very awkward to me.  They had great intent and energy.  I just don't think they danced very well.  I'm not sure what the judges were watching.  I just thought the footwork was sloppy and disjointed.  But that's just me.  Judges say 9s across for a total of 27.  Seriously?  I'll have to watch that back to figure out what I didn't see.  I thought it was 8s.

Aly and Mark dance Afro Jazz.  I remember that Aly was not the favorite on the US Gymnastics team during the 2012 Olympics, but she became the most decorated member of the squad in London.  This style can be hit or miss.  It has to be high energy and expressive.  Afro Jazz is danced with controlled abandon, and lots of rhythm.  I think this is a solid performance.  I like the constant movement.  There's nothing in hold, so they had to maintain sync with all the side by side work.  They kept the energy up through the entire piece.  I've seen some amazing choreography from Sean Cheesman on SYTYCD.  This piece may not have been Sean Cheesman level good, but it was credible and enjoyable to watch.  Judges say 10,9,10 for a total of 29.

Jacoby and Karina dance Lindy Hop.  I hate that Super Bowl kick off return, but I respect Jacoby's drive to overcome a muffed punt in his rookie year at Houston in a playoff game that cost the Texans a TD.  He was released after that season, paving the way for his move to the Ravens.  Lindy Hop was one of the best possible styles for him to get in this round.  It capitalizes on his incredible energy and is meant to be danced right on the edge.  I can also easily overlook the turned in feet this time.  The lifts had tremendous power.  They transitioned well from tricks to dancing and back to tricks.  They never ran out of steam.  That was my favorite performance of his all season.  Well done.  Judges say 10,9,10 for a total of 29.

Zendaya and Val dance Hip Hop.  Would you believe this girl grew up shy?  Then she discovered theatre and now the sky is the limit for this talented young lady.  I expected her to be very good at this, and she was.  Typically the pros can pull my focus and I have to be careful to watch the whole.  This hip hop was all Zendaya.  I couldn't tell you whether Val was successful or not.  But I can tell you that Zendaya was amazing.  Her musicality and her timing were impeccable.  Her personality shone through.  Couldn't have asked for anything better.  I really enjoyed the performance.  I wonder how much of a collaboration this was between the two of them.  I'll bet Zendaya had a lot of input.  I particularly liked how cool and youthful the choreography and presentation was.  Judges say 10s across for a total of 30.

Here's our combined leader board after both dances:

59 Aly and Mark
59 Jacoby and Karina
58 Kellie and Derek
55 Zendaya and Val
51 Ingo and Kym

That 25 in the first round for Zendaya and Val made Pam nervous, so she voted for them.  My votes stayed with Kellie and Derek.  If I had more than 5 votes I would have shared some with Zendaya.  She should not be going home yet.  But I gotta stick with my gal Kellie at this point.

You know the drill.  Tune in tonight to see who makes the performance finale, and check back here tomorrow for my encores and results recap.

And don't forget...So You Think You Can Dance returns tomorrow as Season 10 kicks off with the first auditions.

Later gang!


  1. Cherie says:

    There was some really great dancing. And, I think that Jacoby has been working on the pigeon toed thing. It doesn't seem nearly as pronounced. (Actually, I really didn't notice it at all during the performances but thought about it after.) Could it be that you're being a tad tougher on our "friend"? ;) I think that Val made a rare misstep with the Quickstep routine. Thought the scores were fair, but that hip-hop routine was off the charts. I think that Zendaya deserves to be in the finals and am most concerned about her fan base, so my votes all went to her. I could be quite happy if she or Kellie takes it all. Jacoby tops out my top 3 as they all seem to really be dancing in the moment. Aly & Ingo look to me like really good students dancing with their teachers. A fine line perhaps. It's all so subjective.

  1. This has been a truly great season and the last five couples truly deserved to get to this point. I'll truly look forward to the finale. Thank you for all of your input.