Tuesday, December 22, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance - Top 6 (6x23, 6x24)

Congrats first and foremost to Russell, to whom I expect Lil C will now cede his King of Krump Twitter account. (PS - if you're looking for talk about Russell's celebratory outburst, you'll be better off seeking out the morality police. See, I'm an outlaw, baby, you love it.)

Russell has been a seriously cool cat from the start...

... though his easy coolness may have led to him being the most low-key frontrunner to be on the show, as he hasn't had any "get up out of your seats and go bananas" performances this season. Nevertheless, his talent is hard to deny, and whatever you think about how his classical training was treated on the show, he used it to great effect. Sonya, for example, must have loved him to have given him such a gift of a routine on the performance finale, but it wouldn't have mattered if he hadn't been able to do that spinny somersault thing, with the legs, for instance.


I for one welcome our new Krump overlord. I'd like to remind him that as a trusted F-list television blogger, I can use my mighty rhetorical skills to persuade viewers to love every season of SYTYCD.

Any of the top four would've made acceptable champs. Kathryn and Ellenore both approached flawless versatility -- Kathryn could rock a hip hop better, but Ellnore had a leg up in terms of performance quality. Jakob was, classically, the most advanced technician. I'd have liked one of the women to have placed second, since female dancers tend to get overshadowed on the show (only two winners in six years).

There were only two routines in the performance finale that I liked: Ellenore and Ryan's Jazz number with Garry Stewart, and Ellenore and Russell's Paso Doble. (Now that I'm doing the math, I probably should've voted for Ellenore.)

In the Garry Stewart routine, I'd like to think that instead of robots, Ellenore and Ryan were characters from some dystopic, 1984-ish world where humans have forgotten emotions. It almost reminds me of their Broadway from the night of the top 12 with all the herky-jerky movements and faces set in stylized expressions.

With Russell and Ellenore's number, I realized that I almost always watch the male part in the pasos, possibly because of the shirtlessness the over-the-top depictions of masculinity involved in the style, at once comic and irresistible.

Kathryn and Jakob's contemporary didn't come close to moving me, unfortunately, which was also the case the last time Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden choreographed a piece for the show. With their pair of routines, the D&D strike me as deliberately increasing the level of sentimentality when they come on SYTYCD, because a dancer who can rip something like this must be able to choreograph at an equally mature level, right?

As for the final hip-hop number, as NappyTabs routines go, it wasn't a trainwreck, and might actually have charmed me at the end when Kathryn stole Optimus Prime's matrix of leadership Russell's heart, because of the Transformers theme. (Lil Wayne was rapping about robots, see?)

I made a gif of the part where Russell hurt his calf or ankle. Even though his right foot lands flat on the ground (i.e. his ankle does not get hyperextended), it is angled out (his toes are to the outside of his heel). You can also tell that he feels that something is wrong because he reels backwards when he tries to stand up.

About Nigel's offhand remark that Russell points his toes unlike Legacy, I'd add one obvious correction: Adam commended Legacy's pointed toes after the Stacey Tookey routine (at about 4:15 of this video (hurry before it's taken down)). Also, this.

The opening segment of the performance finale -- you know, where the dancers walking somberly in the hallway with to the portentous voice overs -- was so cheesy that Ryan must have come up with it.

What's the point of pointing out that NappyTabs choreographed Jennifer Lopez's performance and then shoot her to the point of excluding her backup dancers and handcuffing her in perilous heels so she could only hobble around, and then put former SYTYCD contestants in costumes that make it incredibly difficult to recognize them, and rather than focus the camera on them. From her Twitter feed, I knew that Janette was in it, but the only way I could spot her was to look for the shortest girl out there who didn't look like Pauline Mata, i.e. the girl farthest on the left:

On top of the ill-conceived performance, the song barely avoids being anonymous solely thanks to a chorus that processes JLo's voice into a psychedelic drone, which is easily the most radical aspect of an otherwise forgettable pop song.

I like having rehearsal packages because they tend to situate the routine into a context, sometimes helpful, sometimes incidental to the dance (looking at you, Sonya). The funny thing is, I'm completely the opposite way with most other narrative media (novels, films, tv) -- I'll go pretty far out of my way to avoid even plot summaries like you'd find on the back of a book, partly because I want to test my ability to understand the particulars of a story without any external help. (The other part is my pathological dislike of spoilers.) However, since I don't feel as confident about my dance-reading skills as I do about my general reading skills, I'm happy to get as much help as I can get on this show, i.e. I welcome the choreographers to give me crib notes to their numbers.

Yet, as much as the packages orient me around a theme, they're also lovely if limited looks into the way the contestants interact with each other, which is a reality tv staple that I've become happily accustomed to. So, when the performance finale had to do without them because of the time squeeze, I quite missed them just out of habit.

Cat... stop... doing... the monkey!

Ryan wasn't so selflessly in love with his wife that he encouraged people to vote for her again.

From Ellenore's EW.com interview:
A lot of people thought I forced my family to move there, but no, it was a decision. It was hard because we did not have a lot of money and we used a lot of savings to try to get everything with rent, because rent in New York is woooooo! Which we didn’t realize [...]
Like, what planet is she from?

You know how kids can multitask today.

Did the expanded format of the top 6 alter the voting results? My short answer is...

... Who knows. Less short answer: If we had a normal top 4, the votes that went to the Di Lellos would've been either distributed in some unknowable combination to Kathryn, Ellenore, Jakob, and Russell (in which case the results would probably be skewed, though enough to radically change the results?), or the people who voted for the Di Lellos wouldn't have voted at all. So again, I unno.

I had this terrific one-liner about someone getting his or her inner beardo out, but I completely forget whom it was talking about.

You don't know how tempted I was to render this macro in Vulcan... who am I kidding, I did.

So, I hope you weren't like Cat and holding your breath for this recap.


Indie rating: Yann Tiersen & Shannon Wright – "While You Sleep"


dixly said...

I've often wondered how to say "Live Long and Meow" in Vulcan. Thanks.

Margot said...

Re: Skewed results, let's not forget the 1 hour performance finale! How many people let the trusty DVR handle it, to show up just a tad late to skip commercials and frantically realized they were LATE to the voting party??? And now it's semi-official via twitter. No tour. This season got majorly screwed.

momo said...

thanks for all the great recaps for this bizarre season.