This year’s top 20 dancers of “So You Think You Can Dance” are very strong. They delivered one of the best opening nights ever last week. That makes this week’s fiasco a bit hard to take.
Whether it was the dancing style they drew by lot, their lack of chemistry or understanding with the choreographers, or the intensity of the show, almost everyone had an off night this week.
That’s not to say there weren’t some very good entertainment. There definitely were a few. However, the technique seemed to take a backseat rather than balance out the performance.
Randi and Evan opened the show with an energetic jive choreographed by Louis van Amstel to the song “Shake Your Tail Feathers.” There was a whole lot of shaking going on to be sure, but the jive lacked precision.
Randi delivered. Unexpectedly, Evan – the king of Broadway dance — did not. He failed to execute the quick double bounce that gives the legs the ability to flick and kick precisely. While the performance was by no means awful, it was a bit off this couple’s game, which left the judges wanting something more.
Up next were Ade and Melissa doing a jazz routine choreographed by Sonya Tehan. While the dance itself was a little “out there” (as most of Tehan’s routines are), the dancers delivered nonetheless. Although I didn’t get the dance itself, I was able to tell that ballerina Melissa and contemporary Ade were working well outside of their comfort zone and doing a great job.
Doing a Shane Sparks hip-hop routine were Jason and Caitilin. That danced to the song “Missin’ You.” The dance was supposed to be about a couple that had parted ways but met accidentally to find the chemistry still very much alive.
The truth is that I didn’t see that in the performance and neither did the judges. There was no chemistry; no spark; and nothing authentic about the routine.
The couple just looked like two dancers trying to be technically proficient at the sacrifice of performance. Even then, their synchronization was off, making the whole dance fall flat.
Brandon and Janette drew a disco theme and received choreographer Doriana Sanchez to help them.
The dance was fast paced, which left the couple struggling in a few spots. They lost their unity and even slipped. However, there was no doubting their flexibility and strength.
Last week Asuka and Vitolio fell in the bottom three with a Broadway routine that just didn’t deliver at the same level as most of the other competitors. The couple didn’t connect at all and left their personalities in the dressing room.
This week, the couple drew a waltz choreographed by Louis van Amstel. Because the couple had no attraction to one another, Louis decided to base the dance on Vitolio’s journey from an orphanage to his dream of becoming a dancer.
The story worked. Vitolio was able to bring an honesty and sincerity to the routine that captivated the audience and held their attention. Auska mirrored her compassion, faith, and hope for her friend. The result was breathtaking, if not technically proficient. This couple should be safe from elimination this week, if all is just in the world.
One of opening week’s strongest couples, Max and Kayla, performed a pop jazz routine choreographed by Brian Friedman. The story was about a man who seduced a princess in order to gain her throne.
Although I don’t think the story sold to the audience, the dancing definitely did. Kayla continues to be a force to be reckoned with; delivering strong routine after strong routine. Although Max couldn’t quite catch his partner’s fire, he too was very strong.
Another bottom three couple from last week was Jonathan and Karla who danced a contemporary routine choreographed by Stacey Tookie from Canada’s version of SYTYCD.
They played a strangers who met and immediately felt chemistry and tension. It was about seduction and temptation.
The performance was magnificent. They couple sold the story with their own chemistry and held the audience and judges spellbound. It was a perfect balance of technique and performance.
Up next were Philip and Jeanine, dancing a tango. While Philip had the attitude of the tango down pat, he couldn’t deliver the intensity or fierceness required for the dance. While Jeanine was a bit better both in technique and performance, the judges still felt she could have delivered something more.
Up last were Kupono and Ashley doing another Shane Sparks hip-hop routine. It didn’t connect with me and left the judges underwhelmed.
So who is likely to be on the chopping block this week. It might be easier to guess who likely won’t be.
While last week’s performances were stellar, this week’s were somewhat lackluster in comparison. That means that almost anyone could get the boot tonight.
Despite the fact their routine wasn’t everything it could have been, I don’t see Randi and Evan getting cut this week. There is something likeable about this cute couple. That may carry them far with the audience as well as the judges.
Also unlikely to find themselves in the bottom three are Melissa and Ade. I don’t think the viewing audience will punish the dancers for a routine they might not have understood. The dancing was up to par and that should be enough to sail them through to next week.
Even though the judges wanted more from Caitilin and Jason’s hip-hop routine, it wasn’t bad. This couple should be safe for another week.
The same can be said for the performance of Kayla and Max. The routine was tough and they handled it well. Even if the audience didn’t like the story, I suspect they loved the dancing.
Karla and Jonathan should also find themselves safe this week. Their contemporary routine was beautiful and they danced it well.
Asuka and Vitolo’s charming performance should also assure them immunity for another week. Their routine was magical and they danced it perfectly.
That leaves three couples that I suspect will find themselves in the bottom three this week: Janette and Brandon, Jeanine and Philip, and Ashley and Kupono. As for which two among this group the judges might send home, that’s a bit harder to predict.
Philip could be in trouble. While he is brilliant at his own dance style, he struggles trying to pick up other types of routines. Of the three men, his was the weakest performance so this could spell the end of the line for him.
The women are harder still to predict. All three girls are great dancers. Even though Janette struggled slightly with the fast disco, she proved that she can adapt and pick up new routines.
Jeanine was by far the strongest performer in her dance with Philip. She held the right carriage, kept the right attitude and worked to maintain the tango steps.
Although Ashley is an equally strong dancer, unless she really delivers when she dances for her life, she could find herself walking out the door. A lot will ride on those few minutes allotted for each dancer’s solo performance. We’ll just have to wait and see.