Wednesday, July 8, 2009

PIPE DOWN, ENGLISH MUFFIN: So yeah, there was a whole lot of dancing on SYTYCD tonight. I know this isn't the first time that the week of 12 has been a twofer week, but I can't help wondering whether Nigel Lythgoe watched the my-show-runneth-over shenanigans on American Idol this season and thought to himself oh yeah? well maybe i'll just squeeze 12 dances plus two sets of clip sequences per dance into two hours without breaking a sweat, just to show that i can. And then you factor in Cat's mention of Studio 57 54 not once but twice, and things start to look like a beat-up-on-AI session.

Dancing is not something that normally makes me cry. Mia's dead father with the flowers didn't do it, Jean Marc Generaux's handicapped daughter didn't do it, all of the various I-love-you-I-can't-breathe-I-love-you-you-make-my-heart-hurt-please-don't-go-to-Iraq routines don't do it. But apparently there's one thing that makes me cry, and that's a nice heartwarming addiction dance. This is only the second Mia Michaels routine of this season, and for those who are new to the show, it's the kind of gut-wrenching emotional firestorm that makes Mia's work some of the most memorable that SYTYCD has to offer. Kayla and Kupono danced it gorgeously, and I was just all kinds of misty.

There were other, less weepy things I really liked. Brandon and Janette certainly picked a good week to have a good week. It's no secret that I think Wade is the rock star of SYTYCD, but the perfection of the dancers' movements on his jewel heist routine was something to behold. When the jidges tell people to "hit it harder," this is what they mean. And then that tango -- I spent the whole time thinking isn't this a lot more complicated than every other tango we've ever seen? The thing where Brandon kind of spun Janette between his legs like she was some sort of knock-your-opponent-into-the-water rotating log was crazy cool, and the tango is one of the only dances where making goofy melodramatic faces is basically required. So, like, yay for them.

Melissa and Ade were pretty much the same as they always are: excellent without knocking my socks off. I did take notice of Ade during the disco routine -- he seemed much more comfortable and in the moment than Melissa did. (Although Melissa did have some rockin' Tarted Up Sandy tell me about it, stud hair during that disco number, no?) Ditto Jeanine during the jive. Philip is way lucky that he got a Tony Meredith jive rather than a Benji Schwimmer swing, because man, could you imagine Philip trying to do one of those slide on the heel of a shoe maneuvers across the stage? But popping Philip into a sailor suit and letting Jeanine shimmy and bump him around worked quite well.

I really enjoyed the latest effort to mortify Evan and Randi, this time through pregnancy. It's not that Randi is the best dancer on the show, but she just exudes happiness when she's on the stage in a really endearing way. Which of course caused problems for them during the samba -- the samba is not a chirpy happy boppy dance, and Randi is clearly just not comfortable with the idea of being a sex object. Oh, and speaking of discomfort, how awkward was that Russian folk thing and the judges' efforts not to offend the entire Russian population by telling them that their national folk dance just isn't cutting it on SYTYCD?

Equally awkward was the criticism of Kayla and Kupono's Broadway routine. I'm not sure that the dancers were ever told all this business about the "hardness" of West Side Story or the need to "take the floor with them." Kayla and Kupono seemed more bemused than anything by the comments, especially given that what we saw of Joey Dowling's coaching was a lot more you're in love! you're in love! than get down and dirty as Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins would have wanted you to. So that was weird for me.

And then there's Caitlin and Jason. They weren't memorable, but they also weren't terrible. The lifts and kicks during the foxtrot were gorgeous, but the actual foxtrotting in between the tricks was kind of leadfooted. And the lyrical jazz routine was enjoyable, but not terribly memorable. But then again, with the exception of the Sabra/Neil office dance from Season 3, I can't think of any really great Mandy Moore routines, so I don't think that pulling Mandy's name did Caitlin and Jason any favors.

Bottom three: Caitlin/Jason, Jeanine/Philip, and . . . I don't know. Probably Kayla and Kupono given their prior track record (much as it pains me, given the addiction dance), but does the chirpy samba bring down Randi and Evan for the first time? For the guys, it shouldn't matter, as I suspect that Philip's number is up, but the jidges have been awfully whiny about Evan lately. As for the girls, I can't see the jidges keeping Caitlin over Jeanine or Kayla, barring another of those manic Kayla solos that the jidges rightly keep criticizing.

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