So You Think You Can Dance – Episode 5-9 Review

Here we are, Top 12, at the all important week where the couples take on two dances in one night. The Top 10 are guaranteed a spot on the So You Think You Can Dance tour, so I’m guessing they’re all extra nervous this week.

We begin with a Doriana Sanchez disco with Melissa and Ade. Finally, we get to see her perform something not rooted in ballet. She handles it well (better than some other classically trained dancers in other styles) and Ade is fantastic. I’m beginning to heart him. They end in what would have been an awesome pose if Melissa hadn’t fallen on her bum, but the judges gloss over it. Nigel notes that if you had to fall, it’s best at the end of a routine.

Kupono and Kayla are given a Contemporary routine about the pains of addiction. Kupono seems wrecked by this, he had a close family friend who battled with drug addiction. Kayla is Bland Barbie Robot as usual. It’s a powerful performance, and while Kayla dances this flawlessly, Kupono performs his heart out. He is in character for sure; we are talking Mark or Neil status. Kayla’s technique is great, but she can’t match his performance level. It’s still one of the top routines of the night, and one of the only things Season 5 might be memorable for. I think if Kayla works more on emoting, she is Top 4 for sure.

My favorite underdogs, Caitlin and Jason, perform a lovely Foxtrot. It’s all jazzy and Old Hollywood, and I’m feeling it. This delicate style really suits them. Ballroom is no joke, it looks easy and is difficult to execute and they are superb dancers. They don’t have the best chemistry, and I still think they need to bring it on their next performance, but it was wonderfully done. 

Phillip and Jeanine perform a cute little Russian Folk Dance. Not gonna lie, after their critiques, I think Nigel and Mary are idiots. They didn’t like the routine/choreography (how insulting! Especially when they didn’t call out Brian Friedman’s alien nonsense last week) and took it out on the couple . Nigel in particular is rude and disrespectful to the style. It’s how they approach other World styles they aren’t familiar with, like Bollywood. If they like the style itself then they give good critiques and if it doesn’t work for them then they crap all over it –  regardless of how it’s danced. Thank god Tyce gave us a bit of sense with his critiques. I think it was an interesting routine, Phillip surprised me with how well he coped with it, and Jeanine was fabulous. Suck on that, Nigel and Mary!

Evan and Randi provide us with a completely forgettable Hip Hop routine by NappyTabs. It’s about a high school couple? That gets pregnant and then engaged? I think Randi and Evan are ADO-RA-BLE but even I couldn’t watch this. The judges like it, Tyce wants Evan to bring on “more”, and I begin to snooze. This was so lackluster it’s killing me. I wonder if it’s NappyTabs’ fault or Evan and Randi’s. They need something truly great later for me to being to care anymore.

Brandon and Janette come out with an Argentine Tango. They have some cute moments in rehearsal because the choreographers and Janette speak Spanish and Brandon does not. No matter the language, their routine is hot, and the lifts are amazing. This is one of the few times where a lift actually adds to the choreography instead of taking away from it. I loved this, but Nigel says this is the closest to perfection we have seen on this stage. Really? Better than Joshua and Chelsie last season? Even if they are overpraised, it looks like Janette and Brandon are a THE couple to beat this season.

Melissa and Ade begin round two with a Waltz. It’s pretty, but incredibly dull. The judges finally give this couple actually critiques instead of fawning over them – Melissa needs to get more grounded and powerful, and Ade needs to show growth. It was all pretty, and little else.

Kupono and Kayla get Joey Dowling and Broadway. Yayyyy, one of my favorite genres. And they get the Gym Mambo from West Side Story! It proves to be the one crack in Kupono and Kayla’s armor. For me, it felt empty – particularly from Kayla. No emotion, no joy, nothing. Danced well and performed like it was dead. Nigel and Tyce both address this, but for me at least, there is no denying it was their worst performance. Their worst is still better than some other couple’s best.

Caitlyn, Jason, Mandy Moore, and Lyrical Jazz! That should equal magic, but for some reason it doesn’t. They suffer from the same ailment as Kayla – they just to don’t the emotions right. They don’t portray any feeling or story, which is a shame because Mandy Moore gave them a lovely routine. They dance it well, and I hope it’s enough to get them out of the bottom. I would like to see them dance with other people, because they never seem to get the chemistry right.

Those to finally bring on the excitement are… Phillip and Jeanine! They perform a Jive, and Phillip does way better than I could have ever expected. I think the choreographers really worked around Phillip’s lack of technique, and he is obviously nervous through the performance (he slips onto the floor like Melissa), but it’s still the best I’ve seen him so far in this competition. After last week’s solo, I’m getting the feeling we have just seen the beginning of Jeanine, and she is soooo good tonight.

Evan and Randi are given my favorite Latin dance, the Samba, choreographed by some of my favorite past contestants: Anya and Pasha from Season 3. It’s a great routine, with great music, and utterly wasted on this couple. Or rather, wasted on Evan. Randi does well, but Evan is not comfortable with the sexy. His moves aren’t strong enough, his hips are lost, and he isn’t doing his best. These two are destined for the Bottom 3… unless his serious fanbase kicks in again.

The night closes with its best – Brandon and Janette performing a Wade Robson Jazz piece. It’s interesting, fun, and everything Season 5 isn’t. Gotta hand it to Wade and this couple, they saved a mediocre night. We all knew Brandon the Wunderkind had this in him, but Janette is a revelation! She is wonderful at Jazz, the very last thing I expected a Salsa dancer to be. I suspect training in her past. That’s nothing new, as the contestants always get put into a box (Latin, Hip Hop, etc.) when their backgrounds are far more varied.

BOTTOM 3 PREDICTIONS: Randi & Evan, Caitlyn & Jason, Phillip & Jeanine.

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