Wednesday, August 8, 2007

UH, THIS IS MY FIRST TIME ON THE TRAIN: One of two things happened on tonight's So You Think You Can Dance, and I'm honestly not sure which it was. Either the judges decided to be equal opportunity pimpers, so that the selection of the final four dancers would wholly be America's choice, or else the choreographers heeded Nigel's admonition to make the dances more complicated and I am insufficiently knowledgeable to fully appreciate the additional level of difficulty. (Or both.) In general, I thought that all six partnered dances were great, but I didn't feel like they warranted the degree of effusion that they were receiving. More specifically:

Lacey and Pasha: I loved the heep hop. I thought it was a really good use of Pasha's semi-latent dorkiness and Lacey's hypertheatricality, plus they just danced it well. As for the smooth waltz -- well, as always, I pity the fool who gets stuck with a waltz of any texture on this show. Fallaway slip pivot double reverse spin overspin or not, it just doesn't show as well to the non-expert (hi!) as some of the showier dance styles, even within the ballroom realm.

Lauren and Danny: So was it just me, or was there no "alien" in the alien dance? All I saw was a whole lot of running around for no discernable purpose. I enjoyed the parts that were standard-issue Mia Michaels Glorious Dance of Unspeakable Joy, but given that I've been looking forward to the week in which Danny would be ripped apart to his emotional core by Mia as the climax of the redemption arc that would send him soaring into the finals, this was kind of anticlimactic. And then there's the disco. I've never been a particular fan of disco on this show, and I have been totally over Doriana Sanchez for at least a season and a half. Are there no other disco choreographers on the planet? It was fine, and I'm sure it was unusually difficult, but I didn't find it memorable.

Sabra and Neil: I am of mixed minds on Le Jazz Workplace. On the one hand, it was wildly creative and interesting and oh my God did Sabra really fly up in the air like that? But I can't help thinking that the entire routine was really small. Small controlled movements, small body positions -- just small. I know this was the point, but I wasn't all that moved. And as for the paso doble: first of all, I totally agree with Debbie Allen that we've had enough paso doble to last a while. And other than the Wow of the ending (which was a pretty serious wow), I wasn't getting a whole lot of cape from Sabra. In a dance as to which the sole purpose is Matador and Cape, I expect some cape from my cape.

(This is as good a time as any to note that Cat Deeley has been clothed in one smashing dress after another -- it's not hard when one is eight feet tall and spectacularly beautiful, I suspect -- but that I liked her a smidge better when she didn't try to imitate her own accent every week.)

Among the guys, the only one who I believe without reservation must be in the finale is Danny, whose dancing is purer and more moving than anyone else in the competition except possibly Sabra's. Both Neil and Pasha have pros and cons -- Pasha tends to look dopey when dancing outside his comfort zone, and Neil is simply a somewhat less talented version of Nick Lazzarini, Travis Wall, and, for that matter, Danny Tidwell. I don't have a strong preference as between those two, so long as Danny makes it.

Then there are the girls. All along I have been a Lauren detractor, but I have to admit that she's upped her game over the last three weeks or so. Lacey, on the other hand, has been one of my favorites from the beginning, but of late has been fairly static and unexciting. And then there's Sabra, resplendent vivid Sabra, who didn't knock my socks off this week, but who has been a consistent sock-knocker once she managed to stop being dropped by Dominic every damn week. I hope that it's Lacey and Sabra in the final, but I could see Lauren sneaking in.

So here we are. Who ya got? (And who's got a tickler in their calendar reminding them to order their tour tickets on Saturday morning?)

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