- No Shankman? Boo. I suspect that Shankman's volubility clashed with Nigel's desire to land the show on time, but still, he was frequently constructive and invariably enthusiastic without resorting to shouting. You just cannot fill that chair with TV personalities.
- This show is pimping Ryan Ramirez more than anybody has pimped anybody since Idol threw its lot with Danny Gokey. Anywhere there is an odd number of dancers doing anything in formation, Ryan Ramirez is the one in the front middle. She's good, yes (but more on that in another bullet), and she has a nice story and dramatic blonde hair, but enough. There are other women on this show too.
- First overpraise: Jordan and Tadd's african jazz. They didn't "get down into the floor," to misuse a Nigel phrase, and it seemed too light, too bouncy. It was like they were rushing to fit everything in, instead of really muscling it.
- First non-surprise: Sasha, in her Travis Wall contemporary, is waaaaay better with a partner of comparable skills than when she dances with her sister, who is cute but who is not in the same league as these folks.
- First alarming thought: Cat Deeley is still growing. She must live above a nuclear waste repository. Even when she leans down to hold the microphone to Jess's face, everything from her deltoids up is above the frame. If she doesn't fight crime in her spare time, she's being wasted.
- First lie: Ryan Ramirez is not a "very funky white girl." Her hip-hop was terrible, all going-through-the-motions and upright and Julia Stiles at the beginning of Save the Last Dance. Ricky Jaime was much better, lighter on his feet and subtly great at some of the small stuff, like decelerating in a glide or transitioning from footwork into other elements.
- First appearance of recurring complaint: Why does every dance have to have a hyperliteral story (which Nigel is proud to point out)? When the League of Extraordinary Dancers comes on the show, they just do crazy-looking stuff. When the League's Christopher Scott choreographs, it has to be a dance in three acts with exposition at the beginning and a moral at the end? That's just a way of hiding the absence of crazy-looking stuff by Ryan, I think.
- The Urkel/Woo guy is annoying. Enough already.
- And Miranda Maleski is right -- she is surprisingly unsexy (cute and pretty, sure, but there is no sizzle there) for a woman who kind of looks like Kate Beckinsale. It's kind of unfair to say to someone who doesn't know how to be sexy that they should dance sexier. It's like telling a baseball player to hit more or telling an associate to write better.
- First legitimate gushing: Melanie and Marko's contemporary. I hate her hair and wasn't wowed by him in the auditions, but this is a great piece. I think Travis Wall is becoming my favorite of the show's regular choreographers. This piece has some great shapes (like when Melanie stands on her left leg and raises her right leg and right arm in a big parallel sweep), some nice stuff where bodies moving in opposite directions use each other to halt or alter their motion, which makes it clear that they are dancing with (not just around) each other, and also some cool looking stuff where twirls invert themselves and then spin in opposite directions. That's all probably pretty standard stuff for choreographers, but it looks cool to me. This may be a case of choreography elevating dancers, but I really liked this one.
- Iveta disturbs me. She is 30 but looks 50. Her lack of body fat is disturbing -- she doesn't even have fat on her cheeks or in her lips. Her combination of bronzer and hair dye makes her unnatural skin darker than her unnatural hair, a sepia photonegative. Is competitive ballroom dance second only to child beauty pageants in creepiness of the bizarre beauty standard to which it adheres?
Thursday, June 16, 2011
ALL THE CHILDREN ARE ABOVE AVERAGE: One hallmark of Nigel Lythgoe shows is that the first real competition episode, when you're trying to introduce all of the contestants, is more of a showcase than a competition. With SYTYCD, you can pretty much count on the judges saying nice things about everybody and on pretty nonrandom dance assignments, like hip-hoppers getting hip-hop and ballroom champions getting the quickstep. So with 20 dancers competing for attention, little judging, and no real degree of difficulty, it's hard to say much. Which means quick bullet points:
Posted by Isaac Spaceman at 10:55 AM