So You Think You Can Dance – Episode 7-8

Anyone else really annoyed at the show’s tendency to talk down to viewers? That “live” introduction was A) obviously from last week and B) obviously staged. We also see the performances for what they are, no matter how much a judge tries to convince us it was great, awful, or somewhere in between. Let’s actually give some constructive feedback instead of trying to steer audiences, okay?

Rant over. On the other side of things, it seems the show it trying to make the All Star presence not so strange. We get to see names being drawn out of a hat, and the All Stars actually (thankfully!) spend some time on stage. All of this results in a much less awkward show – you’re welcome, Nigel!

On to the dancing!

Cristina and All Star Pasha, Paso Doble – I don’t really find this girl or her underwear stories too charming, but I’ll be the first to admit she can move. It’s very hard to hold your own against a dancer like Pasha, especially in that atrocious costume she was forced to wear, and somehow she did fine. Was I imagining how much better the routine would have been with Anya? Sure. But Cristina made a case for staying this week.

Adechike and All Star Allison, Contemporary – I really, really liked this one. I don’t know if it was because of Allison’s overall awesomeness, or Adechike’s gift with Contemporary, or Mandy’s romantic choreography, but I responded to the routine. The judges weren’t too enthusiastic, and it seems like they’re demanding a lot from him. We’ll get to just how unfair that was in a second.

Alex and All Star Lauren, Broadway – This just in: Alex can’t do everything. Not terribly shocking, but I didn’t expect this to be his weakness. Bob Fosse was such an innovator he practically created his own brand of Jazz and Broadway, so I was surprised that Alex didn’t know too much about him. It’s a hard style to nail, the slinky and seedy sort of movement, but I thought the Beast could handle it. It doesn’t really matter, because there’s no doubt he’ll make it through to next week, and what are chances of him doing Fosse again?

Ashley and All Star Mark, “Jazz” – Choreographers are half responsible for what we see, and I would like to see them be held more accountable. I agree with Nigel that this wasn’t really a Jazz routine, and Ashley was saddled with a floaty, pretty routine with no substance for the second week in a row. But the judges can’t call out some choreographers and not others. They generally ignore mediocre work (like these from Mandy MooreMia Michaels, Sonya Tayeh, Tyce Diorio, & NappyTabs) and then rudely skewer people like Travis and that poor Russian Folk dance couple in Season 5. Be consistent with critiques, Nigel! That’s when it stops being rude and just becomes honest.

Billy and All Star Comfort, Krump – Did I ever expect Billy Bell to be good at Krump? No. Which is why it was so surprising when he performed. He was fine! Not great, maybe not even really good, but a fine routine from someone used to doing high kicks and rolling around on the floor. I was glad that Comfort stood up for him, it became sort of a trend for the night.

Robert and All Star Anya, Argentine Tango – This was hot. Really, insufferably hot. Robert’s hammy demeanor kind of irks me, but he’s easily becoming one of the standouts. He got up and worked it out, which apparently that wasn’t good enough for Mia. She gave the stock critique that Anya could eat him alive. Well, Anya (who knows what she’s talking about) stood up for her him, saying that she wouldn’t be able to dance as well as she did without a strong partner. You tell ’em!

Melinda and All Star Ade, Contemporary – Here’s where things get really dumb with the judges. I like Melinda, and can admire her efforts. But there’s no denying she looked clunky and rickety in her movements. The transitions were awful. Instead of elevating her performance, Ade’s fluidity highlighted Melinda’s weaknesses. I liked the concept and Stacey Tookey so much that I wanted this routine to be good, but it fell flat. And whoever was responsible for that dress should be fired.

Jose and All Star Kathryn, Bollywood – Jose turned in a terrible performance, and the reaction was simply, “Yeah, but we love you.” After every cutting and nitpicky little critique, the judges unfairly glossed over the worst dancing of the night. Where do I begin? He didn’t take it seriously. He was clearly embarrassed by the routine. He had an obvious mess up in the beginning. He looked too much like a breaker. At points he even looked like an amateur. Kathryn outdid him even when she wasn’t moving. It was a fun routine, and Bollywood has always worked on this show. He made it suck. And before you think I’m being too hard on him, remember that he boasted he was better than Legacy. I’ll believe that when I see it.

Lauren and All Star Dominic, Lyrical Hip Hop – I officially like Tessandra Chavez. She proved that “Lyrical Hip Hop” can be stronger than the schmaltz NappyTabs usually produce, and that emotion can come from a genre other than Contemporary. Dominic and Lauren really sold this performance, and either they’re really committed actors, or they have some sort of connection to this subject. Probably a little of both. Thoroughly enjoyed the routine.

Kent and All Star Courtney, Jazz – I thought Kent was awesome. Embodied the character believably and danced really well, with even a few sexy moments thrown in. He may not look like the dancer for that style, but he pulled it off! Again, it seemed like the judges figured out what they wanted to say before seeing the actual dance. I was glad Courtney stood up for him, he deserved it. Tell me, what more could Kent have done?

I would really like more complete views from the judges. There’s no way Adechike’s perfromance – even if it didn’t work for them – deserved harsher criticism than Jose’s pathetic attempt. It feels like they get so consumed with Kent’s adorable personality that they refuse to see him any other way. Snap out of it judges, and be fair! Viewers refuse to be directed.

Bottom 3 Predictions:

  • Melinda – I like her, but this wasn’t her best night. And that dress.
  • Jose – Made a mockery of the routine.
  • Cristina – Performed a good-but-forgettable routine early in the night.

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