Thursday, June 28, 2012

NEVER PRACTICE YOUR BACK FLIP IN SOCKS ON A HOTEL LOBBY CARPET: I've been remiss -- a whole season of auditions for So You Think You Can Dance has gone by with scarcely a comment from me, or from the even-more-absent K. Cos.  But I rectify!  Herewith, my thoughts on the Top 20 and various related topics, while last night is still fresh in my mind.  I promise my thoughts will be long and disconnected.  Dance specialists (Janet), please chime in:
  • Most importantly, it seems -- with perhaps one or two exceptions -- a pretty strong group.  The one thing I was really rooting for was for Eliana Girard to make the Top 20.  Her audition, a combination of ballet and contemporary (if I remember correctly), was my favorite.  The first thing I always notice about dancers is how high they jump; the second is how much effort it seems to take to reach full extension when throwing legs around and what-not; the third is how light they seem on their feet.  For Eliana's audition, the answers seemed to be very, none, and very.  She seemed to float less in the group ballet on the selection episode, but she's still my favorite.  And yet there seems to be an endless supply of pretty good dancers, or at least pretty good auditioners this year.
  • Though, and I say this every year, I think the women are stronger than the men.  That's true of dance in general, isn't it?   
  • There was a woman Spacewoman knew in law school who was perfectly nice, but who for the longest time Spacewoman thought was mean because she suffered from bitchface.  You know, bitchface.  Think Eli Manning.  When the judges say that Alexa Anderson -- a talented, determined, and pretty dancer -- is not connecting with the audience, or lacks performance, what they are saying is "you have bitchface."  Alexa Anderson's dance face is Kristen Stewart's acting face.  Not her fault, but the voters don't care about fault.  
  • State-of-the-art in dancewear this year are the high-waisted short shorts.  Take an ordinary pair of shorts and force the bottom third of the fabric to relocate north of the beltline.  The effect is akin to a diaper, or Betty Draper's granny panties, or a pair of overfilled water balloons suspended in a makeshift sling.  Just as a general rule, there is not a single person in the world -- even skinny dancers with the bodies of world-class athletes -- on whom these are flattering.  And they are even worse for dancing, because they visually bifurcate the torso and mess up the lines people are trying to make with their bodies.  Must I wait a whole season or two for these to go out of style?
  • State-of-the-art in dancer this year is curly-haired brunette.  I approve.  Though I will have a hard time telling them apart for the first four weeks.
  • Shorthand for "you dance well, but weird" is now "Sonya Tayeh will love working with you."  I wonder if she watches the auditions and goes, "eh."  Usually when the judges say that, what they mean is that the dancer is ungainly-looking, didn't jump very high, jerked around a bunch, and didn't do any extension.  But people who can do regular dance?  They can do that stuff too.  Tayeh's best work on this show was "The Garden," danced by Courtney, an NBA cheerleader who was about as mainstream as contemporary gets.  You don't think Tayeh is excited to work with Eliana? 
  • I thought they cut the martial-arts contemporary guy, who I find embarrassing.  Why is he here?  He is like The Miz before The Miz was an actual wrestler. 
  • How embarrassing would it be to be Mia Michaels, to make a huge emotional deal about leaving SYTYCD to pursue other things, and then to be right back after a single season off?  If you commit to the dramatic farewell, I feel like you should be stuck with it.  Or, like I said with Roger Clemens, once they give you the parade and the Hummer, you have to stay retired. 
  • Three ballet dancers?  They're setting a high barre.  [groan]
  • Where did these steppers come from?  And the ballroom guy? And the blonde African-American girl?  Serious pimpage deficiency.
  • Also, Will Thomas?  Nine of the guys on this show have abs like teen-movie werewolves, and Will Thomas looks like when nobody is watching he eats the Funyons he finds under the couch. 
  • Worst all-around dancer since Season 2 has to be Cyrus Spencer.  He is so likeable, and I enjoy his Ragnarok-flavored popping, but clearly they just didn't have any good all-around hip-hoppers this season.  He can't use his legs at all, and the judges are going to kill him week after week, and maybe they just should have had the whole Dragonhouse Crew just come do stuff while the judges deliberated.  Nobody wants to see Cyrus try to quick-step. 


  1. Re Clemens, which is my only entry point here, when Irving Fryar un-retired and joined the Washington football team, he returned to the Eagles the motorcycle they had presented him as an on-field retirement gift.

  2. Watts9:37 AM

    Alexa Anderson reminds me, bitchface-wise, of Ryan from last year. So, that means last year it was bitchface v bitchface for the final slot.

    My favorite routine of the night was the ballet trio.

  3. janet9:44 AM

    Great recap, Isaac! 

    One of the best moments from the auditions, in the outside-the-box-dancer category:

    And did I miss an explanation of why there were only 9 girls performing the top 10 girls' dance, and 19 in the top 20 dance? Is someone injured already?

  4. Celendra10:01 AM

    Bellydancer was told by the doctor not to dance that night, but she should be fine by the time they come back in 2 weeks. She was supposed to be in the Sonya Tayeh "brunettes" number, as well.

  5. Maggie11:08 AM

    "He is like The Miz before The Miz was an actual wrestler." This may be my favorite sentence ever written by Isaac.  I haven't watched this week's top 20 episode, but I was certain this guy had been cut.  I hate him and his Selena Gomez backpack - Isaac is 100% right...he is embarassing.

  6. Janet, I loved that guy!  I was afraid he wasn't going to be able to handle choreography, and he sure couldn't, but what he does is amazing.

  7. Selena Gomez backpack was cut.  Asian martial arts dance guy is really good, though, even though the kung fu stuff is dumb.  

    I just can't do Cyrus.  I don't need to see him disappoint week after week, a la Cedric.  

    Finally, the stepper:  he will get the untrained edit.  Don't believe it.  

  8. Maggie12:12 PM

    Whew.  That's what I get for commenting before watching.

  9. isaac_spaceman12:35 PM

    The belly dancer (one of the curly-haired brunettes) got sick, and doctors said she couldn't perform that episode. 

  10. Natalie1:41 PM

    I agree that Asian marital arts guy is really good although I don't think the kung fu stuff is dumb. I think he can do just about anything and he happens to have something different that looks cool. I wish i could say I was shocked that they kept Cyrus over the other hip hop guy (who looked to have himself togeher well from the recap of his week in vegas) but I'm not. Cyrus is a delightful human but he just can't dance. That other guy was screwed.

  11. isaac_spaceman2:19 PM

    I didn't think the exorcist was all that great.  I thought the two other Dragonhouse guys were better than both him and Cyrus, though they were (a) even worse at choreo; and (b) had dead or scary eyes and none at all of Cyrus's personal charisma.  But look, you know Dragonhouse is going to be back on the show, and even if they aren't, they have had the best publicity a hip-hop crew could get. 

  12. Shayera2:33 PM

    The beely dancing girl (whose name I can't remember) was apparently sick, which is why only 9 girls danced.

  13. Shayera2:34 PM

    <span>The belly dancing girl (whose name I can't remember) was apparently sick, which is why only 9 girls danced.</span>

  14. Shayera2:36 PM

    That was the sloppiest Sonya Tayeh number I've ever seen on the show as well. I was hoping it was because they'd rehearsed with three and had to adjust to two suddenly. 

  15. Shayera2:37 PM

    I want to see the ballet trio do bollywood. I know it won't happen. But watching them, I really wanted to see what they'd do with it. Personally, I think it would be gorgeous.

  16. I felt sorry for the ballroom boy.  No hype and it looked like he could barely keep up with the girls in that 3-way.  The curly headed ballroom girl is one of my favorites, real charisma and a fantastic dancer. 
    Note that I know next to nothing about ballroom dancing!

  17. isaac_spaceman6:16 PM

    You're talking about the ballroom girl with braces, not the virtually identical childhood-friend ballroom girl without braces, right?  I had a strong adverse reaction to her.  I really hated her "check me out, I'm so sexy" schtick in auditions.  I have nothing against the dancers being sexy.  But (a) they're all sexy -- duh, they're highly trained dancers -- so that's a silly way to try to distinguish oneself; (b) saying "look at me, I'm sexy" is itself not sexy; and (c) if you're a 17-year-old Mormon with braces, exploiting your sexuality is either cognitive dissonance or an hour-long Frontline documentary.