Saturday, July 26, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance Top 12...

It seems moot to even have a show this week, because without Kourtni and Matt around to make them look good, Comfort and Thayne must know they’ve reached the end. I’m not ashamed to admit it (ok, I’m a little ashamed), but I think about this sort of thing a lot: what would Comfort and Thayne have to do, short of mass hypnosis, to get America on their side? And what would Comfort and Thayne have to do, short of sexual favors, to convince the judges to let them stay over the likes of Twitchington or Team Hobbits? The easy answer seems to be, “Well, Reeva… they could, like, dance good and stuff,” but I think it’s more complicated than that. Clearly, America doesn’t like them – or I should say, America doesn’t like them as much as they like the others, so I guess they only thing they can do is show up, smile pretty, and try not to suck. Meanwhile, everyone else can coast…

Oh, and for real, the picture on the left is Cat on Performance Night and the picture on the right is on Results Night. It kind of looks like a before and after shot… what was Cat thinking on Wednesday?? She looks like she’s just had a hard day of teaching kindergarten on the beach…

First up this week are Chelsie and Mark. I’m not gonna lie, I missed their first dance because I fell asleep during the Simpsons and didn’t wake up until I heard Mary Murphy start squawking. They looked hot, though… sleeveless is a good look for Mark. Anyway, I caught it on YouTube later and it was apparently a Salsa. It was flirty and fun, but ultimately hard to remember (which probably explains why I slept through it).

Later that evening, they performed a Tyce Diorio Broadway routine to the tune of Smokey Joe’s CafĂ©, and I’m happy to say I really enjoyed it. Tyce Diorio’s routines have been rather hit-or-miss for me this season, to the point that I think he’s missing more than hitting… but this was a hit. Mark was sleeveless again (good choice), Chelsie was appropriately smoky and hot, and they both played their parts very well. I got a little nervous when Mark’s suspenders starting acting up, but then I thought… that’s the kind of wardrobe malfunction I like. Sadly, his pants stayed up.

Comfort and Thayne must know they’re on borrowed time, so dance choice this week was crucial, and even though I know it’s kind of pointless, I can’t help but pull for them, because he’s so lovely, and she’s such an underdog, and they keep getting struck with bad dances… I just want them to land in some good luck, that’s all. And look… they do. They draw a TabNap Hip-Hop routine and a Mandy Moore contemporary joint. Other pairs have had great success with these styles, especially the lyrical hip-hop, so if they blow it, at least we know it isn’t the source material. Hip-Hop is first, and, I’ll say it again, Thayne just can’t pull off thug. Why do they make him try? To be fair, he did his best, and it was really quite good, but if Comfort isn’t even buying it (which she clearly isn’t), then why the hell should we? The choreography is really good, though, and I immediately imagine it with a different couple and like it even more.

The same thing happens with the Mandy Moore routine. It’s such a great number – different dancers would have made me love it – but Comfort and Thayne just Do. Not. Connect. I’m tempted to blame Comfort, because it seems like Thayne is trying so hard and since I like him I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but there’s no mistaking the freeze these two have for one another. I will say that neither performance was as bad as the judges made them out to be, in my opinion, but I think the judges are just tired of delaying the inevitable. They’re also setting up the easy elimination tomorrow night. This show has gotten rather transparent, hasn’t it?

Next up, Jessica and Will. I’m getting really tired of this show forcing me to like Jessica. I’m not in a coma… I can see what they’re trying to do, and I don’t appreciate it. Or her. They will perform a contemporary routine by Tyce Diorio and (Dun Dun Duuuuuuunnnnnhhhh) The Dreaded Quickstep.

If you will recall, most of Tyce’s non-Broadway routines have an African flavor, which I only know because they tell me it is so. I mean, what was African about that routine that Comfort and Chris did? When I hear anything by Marilyn Manson, I don’t say to myself, “Wow, this would work well for African choregraphy…” But then again, I guess that’s why I’m sitting here recapping at my shit job instead of working on the show, right? Anyway, this night’s routine doesn’t have a story, per say, but Tyce directs them to think of themselves as the first man and woman on Earth, so everyone assumes he’s talking about Adam and Eve. The music is minimal and evocative (Silence from the Unfaithful Soundtrack, obviously (but not really)) and provides an almost blank slate on which Tyce can draw a beautiful picture. Will is shirtless (yay!) and sporting some short shorts, so all I see are abs and legs and… I’m not complaining. Jessica is there, too. When it’s over, the audience is very appreciative, if not slightly awed, and the judges are very complimentary. Besides the fact that it was danced incredibly well, this was one of those routines that transcend the show, in a way, because it was real art. It’s something I would expect to see in a real venue after having paid a nice wad of cash. It obviously challenged the audience (and me) because it wasn’t just two people we like performing a crowd-pleasing number to a song we recognize… it was so much more. Anyway, loved it.

The quickstep, on the other hand, was as uncomfortable and unmemorable as I expected it to be, so I need not dwell on it further.

Team Hobbits, aka Courtney and Gev, performed a Cha-Cha and Mandy Moore jazz routine, and even though they didn’t get many accolades, they remain my default favorites. I must mention that the Cha-Cha was choreographed by Season 3 alums Pasha and Anya, and I desperately wish this show could find more reasons to have Pasha. I mean, he is ratings gold. I would watch that man have a root canal. Well, he’s as fine as ever, and the routine he puts together for Courtney and Gev is so much fun. I’m not sure if Courtney knows it, but she really shines on these Latin Ballroom dances. She’s got a smoldering sexiness, perfect for these styles, and she and Gev just seem to have a ton of fun dancing them. Gev is such a trooper, too, and even though he does kind of slip into the background sometimes, he’s holding his own.

Later, Mandy Moore’s jazz routine, about two kids lost in the jungle, is cheeky and bouncy, giving Gev a chance to be silly (which suits him). While this won’t go down as the most exciting dance of the season, I smiled all the way through it, and that has to count for something.

Now for Twitchington. They started with a Krump routine that I just did not like, and I had to meditate for a while on why… I think I like the style of Krump, especially when it’s done well, but I guess I can’t tell the difference between Krumping and regular hard-hitting hip-hop, at least in the context of this show. Maybe I don’t like it because of the obvious disadvantage it poses to these white contemporary dancers… not because I feel sorry for them but because none of them can do it, so the dancing suffers. If I want to watch white people dance poorly, I’ll watch Dancing with the Stars. Anyway, this routine bored me to tears, regardless of whether or not Kherington managed to be “buck” and, surprisingly, I wasn’t even enthused to watch Twitch, even though this is supposedly right up his alley. Again, I feel like I should like this stuff, so maybe I’m out of touch?

Their other routine was a Smooth Tango, and for God’s sake, someone is going to have to do a better job of explaining the differences between the Tangos. There’s the Tango, the Argentine Tango, and now… the smooth Tango, and I mean, can’t we just call them all Tangos and go home? Anyway, the storyline for this dance is a cheap rip-off of the Mr. and Mrs. Smith dynamic, and ya’ll… I didn’t like it at all. I thought it was tedious. Both dancers seemed tentative, and neither one brought any fire or passion. Except for one fairly impressive lift, NOTHING HAPPENED! I can’t rag on the choreography, either, because I feel strongly that a different couple (Chelsie and Mark, maybe) could have totally sold it.

And here’s Katee and Joshua, bringing up the rear. Their first dance was a Viennese Waltz, and I’m so sorry but I don’t remember anything about it… like, at all… and even though I’m writing this three weeks later, I can promise you that I couldn’t remember this routine five minutes after watching it. I’m sure it was magical and beautiful and touching and all that because it’s Katee and Joshua, after all, but seriously…

What we really must discuss is the Bollywood routine. I think this dance marked the first time this entire season that I’ve actually been excited about a routine. Like, this was the first time I actually felt compelled to watch it on YouTube so soon after the show that I couldn’t find it because no one had posted it yet. Since then, I’ve watched it a gazillion times. I have a vague, unsatisfied fascination with Bollywood, and I say vague because I’m not even sure what I like about it, and I say unsatisfied because I know so little about it that I have no idea where to start looking on the interwebs for more! We have an Indian restaurant here in town that plays Bollywood on giant screens, and most of the time I forget to eat (ok, that’s a lie) because I’m completely absorbed by the videos. Anyway, I loved this…

On elimination night, we start with a group routine from Nappy Tabs, or TabNap, or Tapoleon, or however you wanna call ‘em. For the record, I’m totally on this particular train (I have no interest in the hot tamale one, thank you very much)… I think Tabitha and Napoleon are frikkin’ awesome. And since the last few group routines have been, in a word, bad, I was very pleased with this one, if only because it wasn’t boring.

The bottom 3 was hard to predict this week, or rather, two out of the three couples were hard to predict. The first two couples on stage were Katee/Joshua and Comfort/Thayne. I like to think it took every ounce of Cat’s willpower not to roll her eyes and just escort Comfort and Thayne backstage herself, but no, we must go through the motions: Katee and Joshua are safe and Comfort and Thayne are not. The next two couples were Jessica and Will and Chelsie and Mark. I wasn’t sure about this pair-up because Will and Jessica had that awesome contemporary routine while Chelsie and Mark had two good, but not all that memorable, routines. Well, the national distaste for Jessica struck again, though I swear I could hear the audience collectively screaming excuses to Will, “It’s not you, dear, it’s her!” Even sadder, I think Jessica could hear them, too. Finally, in a surprise for me, Twitchington is finally (FINALLY!) called out for their less than stellar performances and Team Hobbits is safe! I have absolutely nothing against Twitch or Kherington, but I was thrilled to see that America wasn’t going to let them slide through purely based on Twitch’s exuberant personality. This show has the best audience of any I’ve seen… seriously.

Is it bad that I’ve stopped watching the solo routines all together? I don’t get anything out of them and I really can’t fathom what the judges see in them, either. I wouldn’t be upset if they did away with them all together. Anyway, the eliminations are not surprising in the least… Comfort and Thayne are booted. Both seem grateful for the experience, and Comfort seems surprised that she made it this far at all (little does she know). I was sad about Thayne not making the tour, although, don’t they usually take the Top 12 (the last two serving as alternates)? I still feel like Thayne got screwed by the Fates, because I think he and Chelsea T. (remember her?) would have been awesome had they drawn better dances… now we’ll never know. Comfort, on the other hand, never proved to me that she could effectively dance anything besides her own genre. Many people have commented that her only real flaw was her inability to connect with her partners, but you know, I’ve said it before… I wouldn’t expect a girl like Comfort to have chemistry with the likes of Chris and Thayne. But since it is a competition, she must rise above, and… she didn’t.

I feel I must mention the strange implications of Nigel’s comments during the eliminations. After dismissing Comfort and Thayne (thus saving Jessica), Nigel says something along the lines of, “the truth is we’d rather get rid of two girls.” Of course, the camera flashes straight to Jessica, and the nation nods in agreement (or at least I do). This, plus Mia’s comments from the night before (she said, “Will, I think you’re tired of carrying her. You need a new partner.”)… OUCH!! I mean, I don’t like Jessica either, but that was way harsh, don’t you think? Anyway, my point is: Jessica is going to break some ribs in the next few days and drop out of the competition. Coincidence??

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