Sunday, October 18, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance - 6x08 "Vegas Callbacks #2"


And just like that -- "that" being specifically LaurieAnne Headphone's choreography -- Iveta's gone! Disappeared by Ms. Headphones, just like what happens with Russian teachers! Since she's 29, this means that short of some miraculous math, we've the seen the last of her on SYTYCD. For this reason and because there aren't many ballroomers better than she is, hers is an especially bold elimination, and I hope that it signals an embarrassment of talent and not arrogance.

But otherwise, this and the previous callback episode have been surprisingly encouraging; instead of kids being struggling for their art only to be in the end beaten down into puddles of abject failure as a matter of course, we're seeing success, sometimes beautifully arresting (Billy Bell), and sometimes coming from unexpected corners, notably a handful of hip-hop dancers excelling (Russell Ferguson, Tyrone No-Last-Name-Needed-Apparently, Kevin Hunt -- and for Kevin, I'd like to remind everyone that he was the guy whom Tyce rudely kept cutting off, because Kevin said he had picked up training in other styles but had the temerity -- the tasty temerity! -- to audition in his strongest style (hip hop), which Tyce couldn't believe, so hearing Tasty plotz over him was sweet irony), a welcome change of pace given the last year's white-breadedness.


We've also followed a few hopefuls quite closely, Russell and Legacy, for instance, and seeing the ups and downs (mostly ups, which is the key), and even if neither of them are still standing by the end of Vegas, their mini-narratives of personal revelation and/or small triumphs have been invigorating. So, the callbacks have raised my expectations for the top 20, which is what the Vegas part of the show ought to do. Kudos to the show for finally doing its job.

The group with Paula van Oppen (which also included Russell) finished putting their choreography together before midnight, and in a voiceover Cat calls them the "first group to go to bed." If you remember last season, the group Paula was in chose sleep over working on their mess of a routine, a choice which angered the judges who clearly preferred work to sleep; this time, however, they praised the group's performance, which I take to be a vindication of sleep, because as I've said before, sleep is like chocolate because it makes everything better.


In direct contrast to previous seasons, we're seeing a number of dancers who've auditioned in previous seasons but whom the show hasn't described as a post auditioner. Kevin Hunt, Nathan Trasoras, Pauline Mata, Dominic Pierson, and, of course, Ryan Kasprzak have at some point been identified as having auditioned before, but we've also seen Bianca Revels, Paula van Oppen, Romulo Villaverde (Janette's partner), and Erik "Silky" Moore, all without any recognition that this isn't their first rodeo/dance. In fact, it's Bianca's fourth(?) time to Vegas. This new development is interesting only compared against past practice, the last especially, where the program simultaneously cashed in on the fanbases multiple-year auditioners had built up (Chbeeb, Brandon Bryant) and laid the groundwork for future contestants (Trasoras). With this Vegas round, and the second episode in particular, we've mostly just followed a few of the dancers, with past auditioners falling to the wayside often without mention or even on-screen identification, which makes the program seem more interested in this season for this season's sake, dispensing with the baggage from the past and, so far as we can tell, not paying heed to the future, like it's really aiming to carpe the diem.

Cat Klum, everybody.

So in the height of my trip-hop listening days when I cared about artists on NinjaTune's roster, the Cinematic Orchestra was just another downtempo outfit but with more of a depleted jazz feel. So, when I heard the music to which Billy Bell soloed, with its mournfully sweet arpeggios and soulful vocals, I didn't expect to find out that a survivor from the early '00s is making music that is almost quite pleasant.


I like Ashleigh's chances of making the top 20, not so much for her dancing which I find anonymous at best, or for that tacky over-application of lipstick, but because of the show's Ashley/Ashlee/Ashleigh/Ashlé Quota, which I have extrapolated as 0.8 Ashleys per season.


This made Adam want to go to the gym, but it made me just want to give up.



Austin Di Iulio, that is, the second wave of the coming Canadian invasion! Someone tell the Minutemen they're, like, guarding the wrong border!

Mia may keep her true identity under wraps, but she can't hide from my might brain, she is a hobgoblin that lives in the nightmares of Mary Murphy.



(Apropos of nothing, she looks in the previous pic like she could be Christian Siriano's mom or something.)


It's like a Neverending Reach Out To Nowhere version of Being John Malkavich.

Indie rating: Mirah - To All We Stretch the Open Arm


The Enforcer said...

NinjaTune and Cinematic Orchestra FTW!!

And you're right...chocolate and sleep do make everything better. Add Nathan Trasoras' dancing to that list as well. That kid is a star. We haven't seen much of him in Vegas...he's still in, yes?

EllieD said...

You're absolutely right -- the Ashley/Ashle/Ashlee/etc quotient has been sadly lacking the past couple of seasons. I'm glad they're finally recognizing how lax they've been and are now rectifying it.

momo said...

I'm hanging on to my love of SYTYCD despite the departure of Mia (probably in part because of the way the show made her out to be hateful to the haters), despite the overuse of NappyTabs and Tyce, despite the cutting of Iveta. But this long drawn-out audition process has taxed my patience, and for once I find myself in the company of the grumbling cynics. The dancers I've seen go through do look talented, but we'll need a healthy dose of Wade or some new choreopraphers who are peers of Mia to bring back some of the oomph. I want more than screaming and crying and leering from the judges, too; give us real dance critique to show that the show and its audience have grown up.

Leee said...

Hockeyfan, Nathan T was still in play by the episode's end. Wearing blue shorts, he did that one-hand, no-feet side plank, in slow motion. Impressive.

Momo, I don't mind the protracted pre-season as much as other people, mais, chacun à son goût, ouais? I was intensely interested when Nigel berated the jazz dancers, even if what he said was opaque -- is that what you'd prefer to see?

momo said...

Oh, I've made the mistake of lurking in the comments section of a place where dancers who know the top 20 dancers are hating on everything it very technical terms, so I really should just not go there anymore.

Margot said...

At first I was put off by 2 months of selection eps, but a large part of that was to pimp gLee (gLeee??? lol) and since S6 came so quickly and I now LOVE gLee, I'm happy. And ready for next week!

Keep the faith my fellow sytycders! Only six more days until the bonus top 20 ep :)