Sunday, November 29, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance - Top 12 (6x17, 6x18)

It's a good thing that Kathryn and Legacy have made the top 10, because many people, some very distinguished, would've been quite upset.

As much as I've become an irrational fan of "Kathacy" (which sounds like a puzzle game where you roll things into a giant ball), they were probably only my third favorite couple for the week of the top 12. Instead, Ellenore and Ryan made the night for me; their Broadway was acceptable -- Ryan's extravagant, maniacal turns made the routine -- while the Lindy Hop looked stupendously, wish-I-could-do-that fun, making me want to get up and boogie the second it was done, which hasn't happened since Katee and Joshua's Broadway (which makes one whole routine of Tasty Oreo's that I like). To put the Lindy Hop into perspective, I'd give up my Autechre collection to dance like that.

After Ryan and Ellenore, my world was rocked by Victor and Karen's tango -- best to forget their other routine altogether -- and the fact that I ranked Karen and Victor this high on the basis of half their night is a testament to their tango, which looked like is-that-legal-in-public fun; it was ravishing H2T (i.e. head-to-toe, for you non-America's Next Top Model people), dancing-to-costuming. Karen was stunning in that black sleeved dress -- dead sexy and she was almost entirely covered up -- and Victor's suit made him look like he was all business if he were in the seduce-and-break-hearts industry. The tango warrants me giving up my Mogwai collection if I could dance like Karen and Victor did.

Only at this point do Kathryn and Legacy enter the picture for me. Their jazz number was more a collection of cool but discrete moments, though that one bit when Kathryn was leading Legacy by her hand and he all of a sudden fell flat on his stomach never ceases to make me laugh. (It's also something like the third time he's had to dive onto the ground like that.) And, like all waltzes, Viennese and otherwise, Kathryn and Legacy's was kind of just there, as pretty as it was and as impressively as Legacy managed it. To extend my metaphor, I'd only give up my Mirah collection.

If my heart was not touched, then my brain-thing has been more and more impressed by Kathryn, who's been showing her versatility in ways subtle and loud. She was sharp and funky in the jazz, while in the waltz, she suddenly became incredibly light and airy. If I were to continue to draw parallels between this duo and a certain power couple from the past, she is the Katee of the season 6. (Hope she's ok with finishing third.)

Incidentally, when Nigel said that Kathryn was "incredibly sexy" during the Sonya routine, Kathryn replied, "Why, thank you," in an exceedingly polite and mature way, which I would find quite hot if I wasn't caught up in how quietly surreal the entire exchange was.

Speaking of Katee, she apparently has forgiven Oreo for that idiotic, embarrassing Broadway number with the ruffly dresses and the parasols he had her do with Shortney.

Victor's solo was pretty insane -- it distinctly echoed some of Brandon's moves -- and I was hoping that it would save him from elimination, which would've meant that Nathan would be going home (seeing as Ryan has been getting talked up to the sky and hasn't been dinged by the judges once this season), which in turn would've amounted to the judges forming their opinions based on actual performance instead of (unmet) expectation (that's the New Critic in me talking), basically admitting that they were wrong to overhype (and keep) Nathan over concrete talent. Doing so would've been a small way to make up for all the other contestants who stayed on the show past their expiration dates at the expense of better and more charismatic talent. (Can you tell I'm still sore about Janette's elimination?)

That wasn't how things shook out, and instead, being the New Historicists that they are, the judges passed Nathan and Mollee into the top 10 as a couple of Golden Childs (Golden Children?) who've been trading mostly on potential and/or looks rather than results.

Two things about Ellenore's solo, which I'm otherwise not crazy about. First, I loved her non sequitur snarl at the end. I imagine she's making something like a pirate "YARR" or a dinosaur sound. Second, this leap where she lands on one leg may have been an overlooked exhibition of technical virtuosity that's been lost in yet more of Mollee's tumbling.

From certain angles, Ellenore is one gap-in-her-front-teeth away from being a doppelganger of a recent Secretary of State.

It's nice to see hip hop adequately represented on the show again, if not necessarily in the routines then in one of the top 5 guys being a krumper with an enormously rabid fanbase, and another being a purebred b-boy who has captured power-voting hearts. (A tangent: I wonder if high-frequency voting is inversely proportional to a person's legal electoral influence -- that is, the older you get, the less likely you're invested in the act of exercising your franchise.)

Unfortunately, judging from this and the previous seasons, SYTYCD seems to have given up on the female hip-hop specialist. We've gotten a number of women who've had non-trivial hip-hop bonafides but, when time comes for them to solo, they opt to perform contemporary (Karla last season, Pauline this season, both of whom were cut very early in the competition, and if there's anything more than coincidence there...). In short: Où sont les Saras, les Comforts, ou les Ashlee Ninos d'antan? (OK, Sara may be cut from a cloth more similar to Pauline/Karla than to Comfort/Lady Shiva, but she was identified on the show as a b-girl, whereas Karla and Pauline were both labeled contemporary/jazz.) Hell, if the infamously gully streets of Socialist Canada can produce a female krumper who acquitted herself more than admirably on So You Think You Can Dance: I Can See Alaska From My House Edition, where are the ladies in baggy pants and sideways caps on the American edition? Are they all on America's Best Dance Crew?

OK, the preceding was an excuse to embed another video of Rino from the Beat Freaks, reminding me what hot hip hop looks like again:

Where have you gone, Russell Ferguson? Through the first week of competition, he was probably my favorite guy, but since then, I've hardly had reason to pay any attention to him. The biased answer would be that Noelle (more like Borelle, amirite?) has been holding him back since the second week, and I would've rather he continued his partnership with Melanie LaPatin throughout the competition.

As much fun as it is to hate on Nathan, the moment in the hip hop where he had to put on a sexytime face while doing body rolls up against Mollee was inadvertently hilarious. That's still making hating on him, I guess.

Contemporary girls always perform lovely waltzes, and the reason for which I have determined is solely their flowy dresses. Ergo, non-ballroom guys can immediately improve their waltzes by donning dresses, QED. My logic is tight, do not try to contradict me.

Am I the only fool that recognizes the cracked genius of NappyTabs' psychedelic Alice in Wonderland group number? I was willing-to-eat-a-hat convinced it was Wade/Amanda joint because of its jagged-jointed lines and big cartoony steps, not to mention the id-driven costuming, which I assumed at first included Karen as a bearded woman. Having the gall to feature a bearded woman in a routine is many sorts of awesome, or would be, because she actually wears a veil. Fact and reality are disappointing, all the time sometimes.

Aside from that disappointment, the giant, crooked smile painted across Jakob's face was rad, and Russell brilliantly embraced his role as a bastard love child of Flava Flav, Donnie Darko, and the White Rabbit. (Tricky reproductive math there is quite in line with the routine's freakiness.) I also enjoyed how I couldn't tell where Legacy was until he busted out his headspins.

And, OK, Wade probably wouldn't be caught dead choreographing to the Basement Jaxx, but I'll give NappyTabs credit for using a Jaxx song that most sounds like Roisin Murphy.

Are Tuesdays officially Lift Your Female Partner Onto Your Shoulder day?

Quick, someone give Jakob and Russell the memo, and Nathan some steroids!

Without looking at the filenames of the following screenies, can you tell which is Karen, and which is Victor? And, um, without scrutinizing the length of their hair.

Both of them began their solos in nearly identical positions.

Really, a strangely fruitful week for echoes and resonances.

People are speculating why the perfect Tiger Beat storm of Nathan and Mollee, or as I refer to them in my notes, MOTH, have been in the bottom the past two weeks: their combined immaturity drags the dancing down; observers have overestimated their fanbase; Nigel's dressing down of him a couple weeks ago actually having a cooling effect on his fans' ardor; so on, so forth. As thoughtful as these possibilities sound, they're all wrong.

MOTH's literal-minded fans no doubt took Nathan's direction to heart -- they're not going to look at Mollee, blech!! -- dialing 1-888-TEMPO-03, which would've made couple 3 safe! My reasoning, again, is foolproof! Do not try to find fault with it, you will fail!

You may also notice that Mollee and Nathan broke their phone prop in the routine. Prescient omen!

This picture kind of tells the whole story, no? That is, Jakob carrying Ashleigh on her back through the competition and into Happy Top Ten Land, for which she is way more excited than Jakob. That said, Ashleigh Is Determined To Make You Like Her, Part XVI:

Maybe she's crying because it was a beautiful routine (I don't really think so), or she's relieved because she doesn't have to work with Sonya anymore: with all the slapping and shaking of Ashleigh during the lyrical jazz rehearsal, I was beginning to suspect that Madame Mohawk was channeling the internet's universal dislike of Mrs. Di Lello.

A partial list of indie-approved music that Sonya has used on SYTYCD:
  • Mirah, "The Garden"
  • Apparat, "Arcadia"
  • Hot Chip, "So Deep"
  • Lykke Li, "Time Flies"

Notwithstanding her taste for college radio fare, is the show's resident hipster a Twilight fan, or something?

Wait, don't answer that.

Someone's a leg fetishist, apparently.

Indie rating: Electrelane – "Blue Straggler"


momo said...

Many moments of win here! I did think Karen and Victor's tango was their best performance (and well-costumed and lit), and would have been happy to keep Victor and lose Nathan, but hey.
Kathacy is better than Legaryn, I guess, but now they will be split up *sob* and we will see if they can bring their magic to their new partners. I am contemplating a post/rant on the show's discourse about hiphop and race, but don't have time to write it now. If I read the dismissive "bboy tricks" phrase ONE MORE TIME, I may stay up late, though.
I tried hanging out at the chat room at a certain blog, but the bitter dancer brought me down, so I hosted a chat last week, East Coast time. I'm getting the hang of the CitL chat thingie, but it's too bad our time zones don't overlap :(
I think someone should make a portfolio of Cat's shoes!

momo said...

that should be *bitter dancers* plural.

Leee said...

OK, I'm now curious to know what the bitter dancers blog is!

The Enforcer said...

Kathacy > Katamari. For sure.

ladyhelix said...

SYTYCD S6:Top 12 - you mention hip-hop-girls....

The only thing better than your Rino video is this video of RINO & LEGACY