Sunday, November 01, 2009
So You Think You Can Dance - Top 20 (6x10, 6x11)
I'm getting somewhat of a late jump on what's been a news-packed week for SYTYCD, which saw more than its fair share of blood getting drawn during auditions and callbacks and in the first week of actual competition (though thankfully more figuratively, which admittedly is small comfort for the people involved) with not just Billy's exit, Noelle's knee, but also with Noelle turning her toenail the previous week and, well, something unspeakable for the fellas, which for now shall remain unspoken of.
At first, I was having a hard time working up outrage over Brandon's elimination because I could see it coming from miles. However, I actually missed half of his performance with Pauline and so I didn't see how well he acquitted himself, not just for someone who had a day and change to prepare, but on the level of the show's competition.
Ariana caught a raw deal, too, since the way the show played out, Noelle was completely protected from elimination. The last time someone was too injured to perform one week (i.e Jessica King), that was the end of her time one the show; apparently the powers that be weren't aware of the extent of Noelle's injury at decision-making time, but Noelle, her personality, and her fashion sense bug me.
Ideally, I'd rather have seen a male stand-in like Jason Gilkison performed with Pauline just to get her through the show like Melanie did with Russell, while Noelle would be the one whom Nigel would be talking about with the FOX producers about letting her compete next season.
All said, though, since Brandon clearly has enough chops to twice reach the "Green Mile" portion of the show, he has a very real chance of making it for season 7 with the added advantage of a storyline all set up for him -- though that's still up to the FOX suits, apparently (and color me surprised that Nigel isn't at the top of this food chain).
The other major outrage was Russell ending up in the bottom 4, which by all reasonable measures was an inscrutably senseless decision.
Any attempt to explain why he was in the bottom ultimately ends up in circumstantial speculation, so I'll leave that to others. The important thing is that in his solo he was Prometheus bringing fire down to us shivering mortals.
His foxtrot was inspiring, too, and his smoothness shows that to a large extent, confidence and conviction is what's needed to properly style a performance; the worst thing about it was the lighting in conjunction with the costuming: great idea to put him in a black suit with a black backdrop.
I was looking forward to seeing what his mate in hip-hopdom Kevin would manage (since he was the other guy whom the judges were going nuts for during Vegas), but heavens to Betsy, I just couldn't get past the music. "Push It" killed the routine for me and finally erased the incompatible nightmare of Sara and Jesús's paso to "We Are The Champions." Sorry, a REMIX OF "WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS." As awful as that sounds (and as awful as it was to sit through), the cha cha to "Push It" was a worse combination.
(What is it with ballroom choreographers and terrible music choices? Tony and Melanie seem like serial offenders. At best, maybe they have little control over the music -- cf. the cross-promotional inclusion of Glee -- but that doesn't explain why Louis van Amstel went with an orchestral techno track from The Matrix.)
Fortunately from the hip-hop perspective, you can't go wrong with Missy Elliott in which Legacy and Kathryn got what was likely my favorite Dave Scott routine to date. Something just doesn't jibe with me usually -- I still hold Shane as the go-to hip-hop choreographer on SYTYCD, even if he barely ever has time for it anymore -- but this one had an irresistible conceit and great execution, and provided that moment of minor astonishment and revelation where one dancer completely surpasses expectations (and to a small degree Legacy did too), which has become a fine joy that this season has provided acutely -- Kathryn has instantly become more than That Girl With That Voice Who Cries.
And oh yeah THAT FREEZE.
I'll quibble with the judges who felt they needed to remind us that Dave Scott can pull out goofy numbers: most of his routines on the show have been goofy! Pasha and Lacey's take on Galatea, Joshua and Shortney's Bride of Frankenstein, and Janette and Ade's Dr. Funk were all pretty far from being gully, and come to think of it, neither was his piece for Comfort and Twitch, so I don't know where they're getting their idea of Dave Scott from.
But anyway, Legacy and Kathryn danced the routine of the night for me, though Ellenore and Ryan got the best music to dance to, for which I have to praise Sonya for consistently bringing the choicest jams. I'm mostly familiar with Apparat through his work with Ellen Allien, especially on Orchestra of Bubbles (for which "Jet" is the standout track), though having now checked out his Walls album, he seems fond of moving glitch/microhouse methods (the pounding kick drum, the clicks in the background) into a dream-pop song structure, even including what sounds like actual acoustic instrumentation, which is a far cry from Sonya's usually bass-heavy electro.
Uh, the dance? I think it was outshined by the song but otherwise ranks among the better half of the night's routines, and yet, music aside, the most memorable thing about it was the intimacy between Ellenore's hand and Ryan's, uh, midsection.
As if I needed further motivation to dislike Doriana's choreography, she leaves open -- like, frighteningly legs-wide-open open -- the possibility of testicular trauma. Danny Tidwell's cookies didn't get smacked quite so hard and directly as Nathan's were.
The actual performance was mixed. This is where Nathan's and Mollee's immaturity is most evident. I was surprised that Nathan particularly looked like such a kid out there because I thought his contemporary technique would've given him better bearing, but between him and Mollee, he was the less mature of the two. However, they brought a tremendous amount of energy and I find it hard to condemn their dance; in a way, this number should've gotten the Glee song because, in spite of its obvious shortcomings, its guileless enthusiasm is impossible to ignore and hard to begrudge.
Between the contemporary technicians, I preferred Billy because of, I don't know, the sensitivity of his turns; as amazing as they are, Jakob's leaps are uniformly loud, which is the main reason why I have very little to say about his Broadway routine with Ashleigh.
As a choreographer, Travis hasn't wowed me yet -- I don't know how to pinpoint my difficulty with him precisely, but I think it's his desire to impress. Some parts of his routines have stood out for me in a good way -- Bianca rolling on the ground while Victor walked oblivious to her presence -- but overall, they often leave me unengaged.
Do I have to talk about Peter and Ariana's hip hop or Philip and Channing's jive, other than Peter must have some street in him for being able to pull off a headslide?
On its own terms, I wouldn't take the lack of voting for the first two weeks seriously, but coupled with how the depraved values of Canadance have now infected the American version...
... this is clearly a sign of Comrade Obama's anti-democratic takeover. Pretty soon, dearest reader, your stout and upstanding writer will be watching an Emmy-award winning lefty homoerotic propaganda hour, 9:30 PM Thursdays on NBC.
Pro wrestling strikes hip hop again, this time in the NappyTabs exhibition with the three guys where they performed a tilt-a-whirl headscissors takedown (before, we saw Janette's bodyscissors/wheelbarrow into a sunset flip on that scoundrel Ade AKA Dr. Funk).
I also saw a distinct Three Stooges influence.
Anyway, with the trio of Kevin, Russell, and Legacy, Tabitha and Napoleon show that they can do more than Hip Hop For Couples, and this was on par with their ABDC work (and may have even bitten off the final choreography they did for Beat Freaks and Quest, which used the same song). Some nice top-rocking from all the lads, and while Kevin and Russell were better, Legacy turtling under the bridge Russell and Kevin made was sick like H1N1.
In a future Project Runway challenge, the designers must take an item of clothing from a previous SYTYCD performance and repurpose it for this season, which is how Jeanine's ripped dress transformed into Jakob's tunic, this is what we call synergy, people.
One of many reasons that I couldn't follow the ballroom routine between Ryan, Ashleigh, and Karen is because Ryan was wearing a jacket taken straight out of the Village and so I kept expecting a giant balloon to come in and eat him.
Now that he's rocking the ponytail and smizing, he's channeling Namond Brice by way of Tyra Banks.
Season 6 already has its gang sign:
Pretty sure I'm already tired of it.
Kind of cute that Ashleigh and Jakob both wore purple to their rehearsal. Even cuter: Jakob trying to match the exact shade by sweating through his t-shirt.
From certain angles, Ashleigh is the mirror image of Jennifer Garner, even down to the serious cuts:
Clearly, the couple that works out together is the couple that, um, gets cast onto reality tv shows together.
Why do people hate Paula so much?
Chalk this up to a personal oversight: I'm kicking myself for not finishing Underworld (got 400 pages into it and gave up) and for failing to read any other Don Delillo, because I could've flexed my pretension with a series of hilariously abstruse and elitist literary macros like I did with Kupono last year... so instead:
Indie rating: The Raveonettes – "Oh, I Buried You Today"