Monday, August 02, 2010

So You Think You Can Dance - Top Five Six (7x19, 7x20)

Before I resume talking about the resurgence of hip hop this season, can I just ask the judges to never say "swag" or "swagger" or even "swagga" ever again? They've leaned on the term so hard -- I'd say out of sheer laziness or ignorance of what gives hip hop its flavors -- that I'd rather they use "radical" or "gnarly" instead. Are we cowabunga on this?

Anyway, as I can't stop talking about hip hop's return to relevance on SYTYCD, momo makes a great observation about Comfort:
surprisingly enough, one of my favorite parts of this season is turning out to be Comfort's performances. She is delivering in each routine, in spite of not having partners who can really match her most of the time.

I'd say that some of her partners have managed to keep up with her -- Adechike comes most quickly to mind -- but we've also had a roster of dancers who actually didn't embarrass themselves in hip hop: Alex, Adechike, Ashley. Clearly, the secret to dancing hip hop well is having your first name start with 'A,' unless you're Lauren and can bust out a Tumbleweed on the spot.

But, per momo, Comfort has been stellar, and my god, she is captivating this week. Like, god. I absolutely can't stop watching her in the Marty Kudelka/Dana Wilson number. The choreography, the music, making fun of Jose, it's all going on for her here. (As Dana describes the routine, Jose is "trying to give her his pick-up line, which is essentially his dancing." Twenty seconds later, Comfort tells us that "Jose has no game." Add in a little algebra, and you get to the truth.) Nothing short of immense.

And Marty Kudelka:

I know, I know, "Why can't he be both?" BECAUSE SUBURBAN HIPSTERISM AND HIP HOP NEVER THE TWAIN SHALL MEET, THAT'S WHY oh umm wait apparently I've forgotten that 2001 happened.

Where do I start with Robert and Kathryn's routine for Stacey? For starters: I couldn't stand it. I've lost my taste for any of Stacey's man-woman relationship routines, which are so tonally similar that they have this pristinely embalmed aura that suffocates the performances, and in this case, the twist ending couldn't save the routine for me. And as for the song -- by far, I prefer the original Bon Jovi version.

However, her piece for Billy and Ade was exquisite (Ade's being used much better as an All-Star than he was as a contestant, and it's hard to argue that Billy hasn't danced better here with the exception of his solos). It reminds me conceptually of a dance on the Australian version of the show, though I prefer Stacey's a lot more, very likely because she choreographed outside of the themes ("themes"? more like "theme," amirite?) she's boxed herself into on SYTYCD. This is where she earns her comparisons to Mia, who, as hit-or-miss as she is in my eyes, at least tackles a broader array of motifs and at least choreographs to songs that aren't always Lilith Fair rejects.

There's critic-proof like Cancer Dance or Dear Dead Daddy, and then there's critic-proof like the Broadway number for Lauren and Allison. I checked out of the routine just after it started (when I realized it was just going to be the usual horrible Tasty Oreo choreography (I guess I'm a little slow)), while the judges said virtually nothing about the routine, offering only vague critiques about how well Lauren has been dancing overall.

I'm going to say that Robert's dancing in the Bollywood is the best he's danced this season, so much in fact that on first impression, I thought he was leaving a struggling Billy in the dust. (On second viewing, Billy is definitely keeping up, even with his injured knee, but doesn't match just how well Robert is performing.)

By the way, I have to mention that Nakul's assistant (googling reveals that her name is Mala Tejwani) is beautiful.

I wonder if I should drop ballroom from my schedule and take up Indian dance now, because none of Nakul's assistants have been anything short of gorgeous.

Adechike's jazz with Shortney this week was a big improvement over their previous jazz (from week 4), in which Sweet Cheeks' torso was too tight and stiff. He was much better this time around -- and the joy he's dancing with is obvious in it -- but Adam was right, he can still afford to lose the tension in his back and hips for more of that jazzy bounce.

Also, if Tasty stops choreographing Broadway and we never, ever hear him speak or see his face again, then he would be a million times more bearable.

Jose's solo was easily the best he's b-boyed, in which he shows glimpses of belonging on the show. His freezes continue to be his strengths, and in the solo on performance night, he shows a lot more strength and power transitioning from one to the next. While I'm not particularly sorry to see him go, I can tell that he's been struggling with his confidence over the past several weeks.

Billy, though, has proven that far and away, he's the best soloist this season. He's certainly not the first contestant to solo to Venetian Snares (and again, blows my mind that his music ever appears on SYTYCD), the musicality he demonstrates is just amazing. It's my favorite solo of the year, and maybe a candidate for all-time favorite. And considered with his solo in Top Nine week, Billy has singlehandedly broadened the emotional scope of male contemporary dancers on this show. (Thank god for that.) And after sort of forgetting that he existed last week, I'm doubly saddened that he is one of the two who had to go.

Speaking of which, I'm tempted to say that the lack of eliminations last week didn't amount to much after all because ultimately Jose and (hobbled) Billy are going home. However, SYTYCD has shown a lot of week-to-week variability in which let's call them "unique" performances can save a dancer whose ticket is all but punched (Old Mother Melissa upsetting Janette's rise to stardom thanks to above-mentioned Breast Cancer Dance, or Ryan "Sean Cheese Man" Di Lello's pleading on behalf of Ashley Ashlé Ashleigh's behalf, which effectively ousted Legacy), so granting any given dancer a reprieve always raises the probability that they might pull off a minor miracle and evade elimination for another week (only to be cut the following week). And although Jose and Billy seem like the natural choices to go home in these past two weeks, we need to consider that Lauren falling into the bottom three instead of Robert all but assured that Billy would be eliminated (if for no other reason than the judges wanting to keep at least one girl in the contest), whereas if it was the Jose-Billy-Robert bottom again, Billy would've stood a markedly better chance of staying for another week (though probably still a less than 50/50 chance, since the judges adore Robert). The bottom line is, the decision to skip eliminations last week might've had consequences that no one could really anticipate or decipher.

Best feline revelation of the week? Cat watches ANTM. ("Two guys stand before me...")

And the one girl in the Step Up: 3D performance, you know, the one who was doing crazy standing splits?

Damn. Flavor and flexibility. If I hadn't already seen the 3D trailer, she would've sold me on the movie entirely.

In fact, the whiz-bang depth of this shot from the trailer...

... made it seem like a hadoken is being fired straight at me, and that's why I want to see the film. But the prospect of seeing Ms. Flavor up there in the moving busting about a million different moves is the proverbial cherry on top.

Kathryn looks adorable here.

Brought to you by Gatorade G. IS IT IN YOU? or whatever their slogan is now.

As muted as Cat's wardrobe has been in most seasons since her illustriously tacky ensembles of season 3, none other than Billy Bell stepped up in the sartorial wtf department, especially in his final show of the season. Here, he's sporting a modern interpretation of the Pertwee-era Doctor.

To which I can only say: WORK. Meanwhile, Adechike is dressed up as the laziest TARDIS ever.

I have to say, Mary Murphy is looking great here.

Also, she suddenly has an Australian accent, and no longer makes me want to kill. An odd development to be sure, but welcome all the same.

1 comment:

Emmaloo said...

Laziest tardis ever! I totally agree on Comfort - I enjoy watching her so much more now. And do you notice how she stood up to Nigel (she is one of the few who will). Nigel: "I thought I was watching the Colour Purple" (me: cringe) Comfort "Naow, Niegel (southern accent) ..."