Previously on SYTYCD, the producers got the message and shifted the eliminations to the end of the show. Of course, they still insist on only having one show a week to get everything done, and that's not such a good thing. It's tough to get any real feeling of momentum.
At least, it is for me. Even more now that we've skipped a week due to the MLB All Star Game.
But it's what we have, so on we go. Our Top 16 becomes 14 as 2 dancers are eliminated and the rest dance for votes.
Cat update...hair loose and wavy, just the way I like it. I'm not sure about the dress, although it has a kind of hip 1960s charm.
More incredible choreography and storytelling in our opening group dance by Stacey Tookey and Peter Chu, wonderfully interpreted by our Top 16.
Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy are joined on the panel by Carly Rae Jeppson, for reasons I can't explain.
Everyone seems to be healthy this week, so we'll find out our bottom six first.
Our bottom three gals are...Mariah, Makenzie, Jenna.
Our bottom three guys are...Alan, BluPrint, Curtis.
Jenna is saved, but the other five must dance solos.
- Makenzie - Not terribly engaging.
- Alan - Smart choice to go with a Paso inspired solo to show his power.
- Curtis - Uninspiring.
- Mariah - I'm sorry, that jerking and jumping around is not appealing to me.
- BluPrint - His animation is fascinating.
Alexis Juliano, an 18 year old Tap dancer, is paired with Nico Greetham, an 18 year old Contemporary dancer, for Jive choreographed by Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin. I like the way the routine opened because it focused on the quick kicks and high energy I expect from a Jive. I thought they handled the lifts and tricks very well, except that they made the piece a bit stuttery. Yeah, I just made that up. The dancing lost momentum when they went into the tricks...thus, stuttery. I think the choreography was fine to throw all that in, but these two were not well equipped to keep the momentum through the tricks. The best part of the routine was the first couple of passes. I did think Nico and Alexis captured the flavor of the characters. It's just that the tricks overwhelmed them in the end in terms of keeping the energy up through the entire dance.
Jenna Johnson, an 18 year old Ballroom dancer, is paired with Tucker Knox, a 22 year old Contemporary dancer, for Contemporary choreographed by Travis Wall. Wow. That's one of the few times during the run of this show when I just could not look away from the dance. Usually I type while I'm watching so I can give you my immediate thoughts. But this piece grabbed my attention from the first moment. There was an understated power in the choreography. The foundation of the dance was pure emotion, but the interpretation throughout was so far beyond the story as given. I found the performance stunningly profound. This was more genius from Travis Wall, animated by two wonderful dancers who work so well together.
Mariah Spears, a 19 year old Krumper, is paired with Dorian "BluPrint" Hector, a 19 year old Animator, for Jazz choreographed by Brian Friedman. I think Mariah was terrific in this piece. I thought BluPrint gave it his best effort, and I think he was mostly successful in getting there on the counts. But it was such a technical routine and they did struggle with some of those elements. I think they caught a break with a lot of the movement because there was a heavy hip hop flavor that allowed them to relax a bit and just dance without thinking. To their credit, I thought they kept the energy up which helped to make the performance enjoyable. I think they gave a credible performance, but with both of them in jeopardy, credible just might not be enough.
Malece Miller, a 19 year old Contemporary dancer, is paired with Alan Bersten, a 19 year old Ballroom dancer, for Hip Hop choreographed by Dave Scott. It's another tough week for Malece as she adjusts to another different partnership. Alan also lost his partner last week, so we'll see how quickly these two can connect. This story is supposed to be about futuristic super heroes trying to save Hip Hop from aliens. I normally don't care for this style, but I actually enjoyed the performance. I think Alan brought an arrogance to his facial expressions and upper body language that was totally appropriate to the character, although his lower body was a bit too stiff and proper. I thought Malece was totally down into it. I think she was right in the pocket with the movement and the style and the funk of the music and the story. I thought she carried the routine, although I don't think Alan was nearly as bad as the judges suggested.
Hayley Erbert, an 18 year old Contemporary dancer, is paired with Curtis Holland, a 19 year old Tap dancer, are paired for Contemporary choreographed by Dee Caspary. Well, you know that I already don't like this pair together. Now I don't like the choreography they were given this week either. I thought this piece needed a much stronger male lead. I thought using the ladder just wasn't necessary and it added that extra level of difficulty for Curtis that he wasn't really able to overcome. His upper body isn't strong enough, and he compensates by working too much in his shoulders and not enough with his core. That makes everything look odd, and forces him to struggle with lifts. I think that comes from his style of tap dancing, which is fine, but he needs to overcome it in order to be good outside of his own style. Points to Hayley for dealing with a fear of heights to work with that ladder, but I just didn't care for the overall performance.
Amy Yakima, a 19 year old Contemporary dancer, is paired with Du-Shaunt "Fik-Shun" Stegall, an 18 year old Hip Hop dancer, for Jazz choreographed by Tyce Diorio. That was so creative and clever. I am impressed each week by the way these two move, individually and together. They look like they've been dancing together for years. The piece had a built in charm that was enhanced by the innate charm and personality of the two dancers. It also wasn't an easy routine, but they made it seem so simple. There just isn't anything to dislike...at least not in my opinion. They just explode off the stage and make what they are doing so believable. Add in amazing versatility, and you should have at least two of the Final Four in this pair right here.
Makenzie Dustman, an 18 year old Contemporary dancer, is paired with Paul Kamiryan, a 21 year old Latin Ballroom dancer, for Hip Hop choreographed by Dave Scott. I'm surprised by Paul. He found the swag and got down into the floor. That was totally unexpected based on what I've seen of him so far. And Makenzie...wow. I thought these two had a break out performance last week with a deeply emotional Contemporary piece. This routine was a 180 from last week and they were all over it. It was raw and sensual...sexy without being raunchy. This style was something I haven't seen from Dave Scott, and it was a great choice for these two dancers. It had the potential to seem contrived, but there was an honesty to it. If Makenzie makes it through to next week, these two together have a chance to continue on a special path of growth.
Jasmine Harper, a 19 year old Contemporary dancer, is paired with Aaron Turner, a 25 year old Tap dancer, for Quickstep choreographed by Tony and Melanie. I haven't seen many Quicksteps go well on SYTYCD. Jasmine's posture was so bad. Her shoulders were way leaned in and she couldn't keep her backside tucked. I thought Aaron managed the speed of the routine really well, although he wasn't able to hold the frame together for the two of them. But you know what? If this was a ballroom competition I'd say that stuff needed to be called out. For this show, they get props for how well they performed. They got all of the steps in the order they needed to get them, and they were able to add so many little pauses and winks at the audience. Their personalities made up for the technical lapses. This wasn't their best dance in terms of managing the style, but I thought it built on their momentum as a powerful performance pair.
So now it's results. Our dancers in danger are Makenzie, Mariah, Alan, Curtis, and BluPrint. I think this is a reasonably easy choice for the guys...Curtis. Based on solos, I'd go with Mariah for the gals. But both Makenzie and Mariah danced well in their set pieces, so it could really go either way.
Nigel tells Alan that he needs to find a way to bring his solo work to his partner work. He tells Curtis that he needs to take the notes about his shoulders and improve. He tells BluPrint that he is magnificent at what he does and that he has learned some great discipline that is going to help him in his career.
Alan and Curtis are safe. That means BluPrint is eliminated.
Nigel says that Makenzie cemented her place with her work tonight. He tells Mariah that her work was good, but not good enough.
Makenzie is safe. That means Mariah is eliminated.
I thought BluPrint might make it through one more week, but it seems that the judges and choreographers decided that he had gone as far as he could. As for Mariah, she did well in set pieces each week but her solo work was way too one dimensional.
Now before I forget, let me tell you of the Emmy nominations earned by SYTYCD. The show was nominated for Outstanding Reality Competition Program and Cat has taken a nomination for Outstanding Host. The show is also nominated for Outstanding Lighting Design and Direction for a Variety Series.
Nominees for Outstanding Choreography are
- Sonya Tayeh for the routines Possibly Maybe performed by Cole Horibe and All Star Allison Holker; Turning Page performed by Tiffany Maher and George Lawrence II; Sail performed by Audrey Case and Tiffany Maher
- Mandy Jo Moore for the routines The Power of Love performed by Tiffany Maher and All Star Ade Obyomi; Wild Horses performed by Lindsay Arnold and Cole Horibe
- Tabitha and Napoleon Dumo for the routines Call of the Wild performed by Season 9 Top 10 with All Stars; Love Cats performed by Amelia Lowe and Will Thomas; Beautiful People performed by Season 9 Top 20
- Travis Wall for the routines Where the Light Gets In performed by Season 9 Top 10 Gals; Without You performed by Eliana Girard and All Star Alex Wong; Unchained Melody performed by Audrey Case and Matthew Kazmierczak