SYTYCD Season 9: Top 20 Revealed!

28 06 2012

All in one show, we saw the results of Vegas week, met the Top 20,  marveled at the first group performances of the season, and had a guest judge appearance (Zooey Dechanelle). It was jam packed, and very well executed. In the past, shows have played with the format of determining the Top 20 (or Top 10…) and there have been some pretty strange variations on the ‘big reveal’. Remember a few seasons ago, the judges actually went house-hopping to all the contestants to tell them ‘yes’ or ‘no’? It was cruel and unusual punishment for both parties involved. How do you drive a thousand miles, and bring an entire camera crew into a home for the afternoon… just to sit on th couch and say ‘you havent made it’?! That was just plain painful to watch.

Well, Last night I believe the producers at SYTYCD have found a winning formula. The top 20 was selected (on tape) by genre. Then cut to a performance by those dancers, in their own style (designed by this seasons chosen choreographers). It is a showcase of their talents, and a celebration of making it to the Top 20. There was no criticism this week, nor is there a ‘vote’. It is simply the BEST way to give each dancer a moment in the spotlight to shine, before the hammer falls. Someone always has to ‘go’ first – but it is particularly bitter when you havent had any opportunity to engage an audience and campaign for a following. If you were one of the ‘highlighted’ stories, you’ve got a FAR better chance at making it through the first rounds of the vote…it’s simple logic. There are some faces in the Top 20… I dont recall seeing throughout the auditions or Vegas week. How is that possible? They have NO footage whatsoever of a person who has surpassed hundreds (nay thousands!) of other hopefuls to make the Top 20 dancers?! Really?! Is it because they didnt think they were good TV? It does them a disservice when it comes to voting. There are two blondes I’ve never seen before, a couple of brunettes that look the same to me… I will be voting for the flapper incarnate because I saw her dance every week!

I digress… it’s my right, this is my blog.

Overall,  I thought it was a highly entertaining evening – chalk full of fabulous routines playing to each dancers strength (before they are forced to perform WAY out of their genre competancies!).

Things I LOVE about the Top 20…

1. Ballet is back baby! Yep, this year there are 3 ballet dancers… and there’s nothing I love more than watching Da Vinci chiseled bodies fly through the air in perfect form. Usually, I’m chowing down on a guilty ‘after 8 pm’ snack and kicking myself for not going to the gym for the last 5 years (maybe I’ll start tomorrow). They are magnificent, and I love having their calibre of technique as part of this show.

2. The Girl/Guy split. New this season, Nigel has announced that there will be two winners… Best Girl, Best Guy. This elvels the playing field in my opinion. Consider the demographic (mostly female and begrudging husbands), and consider the results of seasons past… there’s a bit of a theme emerging (take note American Idol). The contestants that do very well in this competition are the good looking guys, who look great without a shirt and who can dance hip hop but blossom in contemporary (unter Mama Mia’s tutilage). If a girl wins, they look like Selena Gomez or one of her friends. My point is, no longer will the votes be one-sided based on gender. Apples to apples. I like this decision, and I’m very interested to see it all play out.

3.  Variety – there have been a few seasons that heavily favour one genre over the next. Ahem-contemporary… ahem-Hip Hop… This season has ballroom, ballet, contemporary, hip hop, jazz, even a bellydancer…

Looking forward to next week for the official start of competition – but after last night, I have very high hopes for a memorable season 9!



SYTYCD Finale: August 10

11 08 2011

The SYTYCD Finale show is one of my favourite shows of the year – it combines all the elements of a great evening. TRUE Talent, TRUE competion, TRUE Entertainment.

Last night, the Top 4 battled it out on stage for their last chance to dance for the title.

The format calls for each dancer to dance with every member of the Top 4 and an All-Star…. so they were on the stage quite a bit! It’s hard to pick a clear winner, because each had a stand out dance, and each had a less memorable dance…enough talk,  let’s get to it:

Melanie with Marko: Disco – Why disco on the last night of performances? The style is tired and dead. It’s supposed to be a party dance, but it comes off as cheesy smultz with no real content. No slight ont he dancers, they did well… but there was nothing to hold onto with this dance, nothing memorable.

Sasha and All-Star Mark: Contemporary – In the past few weeks (since the ‘Wall’ dance) choreographers have focused on her ability to ‘rise up’ ‘challenge adversity’ ‘battle through the pain’. Did Shasha have a tragic backstory we don’t know about? How did they come to this conlcusion? At any rate, she was Sasha the Warrior Princess in this dance and showed her dynamic strength once again.

Tadd with All-Star Joshua: Hip Hop – This was not a finale-calibre dance. It was a regular, run of the mill Hip Hop and I dont know who to blame… the dancer or the choreographer. Tadd was given no character, the steps were fairly standard and it lacked…content and emotion. Too bad for Tadd.

Melanie with All-Star Robert: Contemporary – That’s right, give this girl a conetmporary and watch her knock it out of the park. She is beautiful in every way. Her form, her lines, her passion. This is the Melanie that could walk away with the title, this is the Melanie we’ve been awe-struck by all season.

Sasha with Marko: Jazz – This had the makings for a very good routine. Unfortunately, the dancers didn’t really show up for this one. The characterization was not strong or developed, and that will ruin a Jazz piece faster than a popsicle melts in Texas.

Tadd with Sasha: Cha Cha – Mark Ballas making his move into the SYTYCD world… and it was not a great first step. The choreography was intended to be ‘edgy’, but it came across as clunky and confusing. Two very strong, adaptable dancers, but the choreography let them down. Kenny Ortega delivered a stirring Pep Talk, and the dancers were challenged to come back guns blazing in their next dances.

Marko with All-Star Lauren: Contemporary – The fact that Lauren was crying as soon as the dance began gave this piece the emotional kick start that lasted through the entire dance. Marko proved his worth with this routine, he proved that he is definitely the strongest male in the competition and that a girl may not just ‘walk away’ with the title. He is still in it, and his backstory and emotionally charged performances will give him a clear shot.

Melanie with Tadd: Jazz – Great dance. Probably my favourite of the night…seriously. Right from the first beat, Melanie’s character was sassy, strong and never broke from beginning to end. This dance showed us that Melanie is not only a powerhouse dancer, she can take on a totally new character with gusto and…perform the heck out of it!

Melanie with Sasha: Contemporary – For some reason (don yell at me) I feel like this dance didnt work super well. Here’s why. I think it is hard for choreographers to create a dance for two women where a) it doesnt come across as overtly sexual b) it doesnt feature one over the other c) it doesnt assign roles. So I found this to be a GREAT display of dance, but the story and the emotional factor were not present. Does that make sense?

Marko with Tadd: Step – The boys needed to outperform the girls… but they did not. I dont know that it wouldve been any different is the dance style were switched – the girls probably wouldve killed this number too. Not that the boys didnt lay down a solid routine, but I just feel like the girl sowuldve hit it even harder.

Whew… Thoughts? That’s a lot of dancing!

Predictions? I don’t think Tadd has a chance, and I think Marko will come in third. It’s a duel between the ladies in my opinion… has been for weeks.

SYTYCD: Top 6 August 3rd

4 08 2011

SYTYCD is easily on of my favourite competition shows, but it is also one of the hardest to watch as it gets closer to the finale (next week!). Hard to watch such talent be a) judged b) in competition and c) eliminated each week.

But still extremely entertaining every wednesday night!

So let’s get to it, the dances from last night:

Melanie – A Hip Hop with Twitch. I was not a huge fan of the song, or the choreography… but I was a huge fan of Melanie in this piece. She was powerful, controlled, meticulous… she is everything a dancer should be and more. I think she is an artist and a technician… putting work into the details, and giving it heart. So, I wasnt a fan of this piece, but I could watch Melanie for hours in any number.

Sasha – Contemporary/Jazz with Kent (a former favourite!). They used a wall to leap onto, pound against, make shadows etc. It was a beautiful piece, one of the best I’ve seen particularly from Tyce. These are two power-house dancers, and the piece was elevated because of their strength and emotional rawness. I loved it, Sasha has gotten stronger every week… I never wouldve expected form her audition, for her to be such a contender til the end. Now, it’s a two-woman competition with Melanie.

Marko– Paso Doble. Poor guy. His chances of making it into the finale hang int he balance…and he picks the Paso. Dont get me wrong, there have been a few Pasos that have given me chills. However, this was not one of those nights. Marko is a great dancer, probably still my favourite guy… but this was slow and lacked the density and intensity to make me pick up the phone.

Tadd– Contemporary. This was more of a Cirque du Soleil performance than a “dance”, at least for this stage of the game. I wouldve liked to see less dangling from a chandelier and more dancing, but that’s my opinion. I think Tadd it a darkhorse in this competition but I wasnt a huge fan of his first attempt last night.

Ricky– Contemporary. If you didnt already think that Ricky was a bit ‘wooden’ as a dancer, give him batons to twirl for an entire number and see how wooden he CAN get. The inability to use his hands was a disastor in my opinion. He lacked line and he lacked full movement. Not a grat combination. I get it , the concept was supposed to be him conducting with his batons…but it came across very laboured and awkward.

Caitlynn – Samba. She can definitely shake it, and her legs are insane. But I dont think this dance did her any favours either. She has been squeaking by every week. becuase the judges see her technique and promise…but the problem is, I don’t get anything from her. I dont get soul like I do Melanie or heart like I do Sasha. So giving her a Samba, a party dance, didnt do it for me on an emotional level.

Paired dances:

Sasha and Ricky: Wacking (?!). Guess who kept my attention the whole time? One guess. Pairing a strong dancer with a lesser partner only exaggerates the gap between them. Sasha was fierce, she attacked this dance the way she attacks every dance. Ricky felt like a DWTS ‘Star’… just trying to keep up and not mess up. Sorry, my opinion.

Melanie and Tadd– Broadway. O.M.G I think I just re-fell in love with Melanie again. Sorry, bare with me. This dacne was about a choreographer and his muse, and it was JUST liek watching a professional Broadway number. It was professional quality. These are not amateur dancers people, these are true professional artists. Melanie was flawless and totally embraced the character she was given. Tadd was brilliant also, you would never suspect he was a ‘untrained’ B-Boy.

Caitlynn and Marko -Jazz. A great lyrical piece about a woman trying desperately to leave a controlling man. Both dancers put their heart and soul into this piece, as if it were the last time. THAT is what dancing for your life looks like. I think Marko redeemed himself and gave himself a fighting chance for the finale. Caitlynn was the best I’ve seen of her, but too little too late?


SYTCD Top 8 Results: July 28

29 07 2011

I was dreading the SYTCD Top 8 Results show last night.

At this point, I have invested so much time with each performer, and I look forward to seeing them rise above every week.

Last night, I knew I was going to be disappointed, no matter what happened!

The Bottom Two girls were Caitlyn and Jordan.

The Bottom Two guys were Tadd and Jesse.

The two dancers eliminated were: Jordan and Jesse.

So,  those of you who have been following my blog know that I wasnt a huge fan of Jordan, but I was infact, a huge fan of Jesse.

 I felt like he was dealt a bit of an unfair hand last night – he didnt get a dance style that particularly suited him as much as some of the others. His contemporary was good, but not the most memorable contemporary dance of the night. His rhumba was totally out of his element, and not a particularly well choreographed piece.

Jordan was a surprise to me, because I felt that she outdanced Caitlyn last night, and she has been a judges favourite from the start. So, although i wasn’t her biggest fan, I felt that the decision was a bit of a headscratcher.


SYTYCD Top 8: July 27

28 07 2011

The Top 8 performed on last night’s SYTYCD, and now is the time when it starts to get very difficult for me.

I love these dancers, I love watching them every week. I wish the show wasnt a competition, I wish the premise was finding 8 amazing dancers and watching them dance with no one ever getting cut.

Last night’s show in particular, was probably one of the best 2-hours of competition TV i’ve seen…ever. It’s hard to watch THIS show and then transition into watching DWTS, because it doesnt compare.

Also, last night we were graced on the panel with Director of Chicago and Moulin Rouge, Rob Marshall and the… i-have-no-words-to-describe-her, Lady Gaga. She is the female version of a 1970’s Elton John no? Last night she was in a a Psychedelic Military Smurf get up. But honestly, i hang on every word she says. She has such a unique way of expressing herself and showing her feelings artistically. She was honest, and that’s all you can ask for.  Great panel.

Let’s get to the dancing! (each contestant had 2 dances)

dance 1: a quirky quickstep with Pasha. Beautiful, precise, charasmatic. The judges loved it and are starting the night off with ‘you’re my favourite dancer’…too soon?

dance 1: A contemporary with Neil, showing off her greatest strenghts. Her lines, he reckless abandon, her soul. She is a beautiful dancer and her passion for giving 100% and beyond is so evident in everything she does. She is by far, the most talented dancer of the bunch, and has never fallen from that position.

dance 1: Hip Hop – I wasnt a fan. She performed it ‘ok’, but as Gaga said, she really has to let go of her ‘this is a dance competition’ approach. She has never given me something to write home about or get excited for, and i feel like this dance was just medicre… she will get eaten alive by the rest of the dancers.

dance 1: Jazz with Ade. A great partnership, I loved seeing Ade again! I know Iknow, i am supposed to be watching Jordan. She has almost elastic legs, which makes her very interesting to observe – and probably a choreographers dream. Gaga loves her- i think more because of her confidence and overt sexuality.

dance 1: ballroom with Anja. This was a bit of a trainwreck for me. Again, Gaga said it right…it felt more DWTS than SYTYCD at times. Anja is such a strong female All-Star that Ricky looked like he was just treading water beside her brilliance. I think he showed his weakness in this competition, and could be in some danger tonight as a result.

dance 1: Jazz. A slick (or sick)  jazz number depicting two criminals doing a job. It was full of great character work, interesting MJ-esque moves and overall…it was just really cool. I’ve been saying all along that Tadd is a guy to watch, he is GREAT at what he does, and able to adapt to every dance thrown at him.

dance 1: A lyrical Hip Hop a la Nappy Tabs. (just a question…are there any other hip hop choreographers who might be talented enough to give it a shot on this show? I mean…really.) It was a very nice story, and Jesse really put his heart and soul into it. Jesse has long been one of my favourite dancers, but i’m not sure he was given enough to WOW people this week.

dance 1: Sonja contemporary. This dance saved the guys. Until this point, the girls had badly outshined the guys… but Marko’s dance was beautiful and raw. It brogh the panel to tears, and to make the water works worse, his mom came all the way from Guam to see him dance. Marko is the best male dancer in the Top 8, and I dont think he’ll have trouble making Top 6 (or 2).

Second dances-

Tadd/Caitlynn: Foxtrot. It was….nice. It was the least memorable dance of the evening, not much to say. I dont think it helps eith of them in their quest to make Top 6.

Ricky/Marko: Hip Hop. Watered down with all the props and gimicks… but still a pretty memorable dance for the two of them. They both danced it well, I dont think it will save Ricky from a bottom two spot.

Jordan/Jess: Rhumba.  Two totally different dancers, and the pairing just didnt work for me. I felt contrived and ‘this is a dance compteition piece’. There was no emotionall connection and even the choreography didnt really fit the song. Not a great way to end the night for either dancer.

Melanie/Sasha: A sonja contemporary with Melanie. The last dance of the night, and it brought the entire house to the floor. Unbelievable strength, power and dynamic performance form these two…it also brought upon the moment of the night: Gage Throwing her shoe as a sign of respect for the dance. And we can’t go without mentioning the shoe. It was a red leather, 12 inch heel. ’nuff said.

SYTYCD: Top 10 results

22 07 2011

The first elimination came for the  Top 10 on SYTYCD last night.

A Ballerina and Snoop Dog performed. sigh. Who makes these bookings? The Ballerina, I get. And I loved it. But in my opinion, the Blush/SnoopDog performance was more painful than any i’ve seen on this show. Sooo unnecessary.

Here were the results:

Bottom 4: Clarice, Jordan, Ricky and Mitchell

Kind of what I expected – I think I mentioned that both Ricky and Mitchell had performances that didnt stand out, and that Jordan although strong last night, has not been connecting with the audience. Clarice had the misfortune of a Bollywood dance, which as I say, is hard to judge and compare to other dances.

In the end, Nigel pulled the bandaid off quickly – sending Clarice and Mitchell home.


SYTYCD Top 10: July 20

21 07 2011

The Top 10 performed on last night’s SYTYCD… paired with All-Stars from the past, the dancers stepped it up this week and proved why they are in the running for America favourite dancer.

let’s face it, there isnt a BAD dancer in the bunch.

There isnt a weak dancer in the bunch.

So the decision will likely come down to who lands the best choreographer each week, who performs the heck out of the piece they are given, who makes the judges scream and hollar their praises, and who connects to the largest audience.

Hollywood’s Man for Every Event/Occasion Neil Patrick Harris joined the panel. Surprised? Me neither.

Let’s get to last night:

Starting with Marko– He was paired with Chelsea Hightower of DWTS fame, who started on this stage a few seasons ago. THey were given a fast, intricate and hip-defining Samba. Marko was in a great pairing with Melanie up til now, but tonight, he broke free and showed his strength as an individual. He is charasmatic, strong and puts 100% into every dance he’s given. He has a chance…watch out.

Jordan – paired with the perfect picture of dance,  Brandon. They were given contemporary, and Jordan was forced to grow up a bit to dance with such a strong partner. And she did. I have personality issues with this girl, but she CAN dance, and last night, she danced at the same level as her All-Star. She will be stretched in this competition, and it will be interesting to see if her youth impedes her art.

Caitlynn – and Pasha (swoon) took on a steamy, sultry, slow moving Tango. I’m with NPH, I never like the tango because it’s too slow, rarely has a storyline and can be hard to judge. This tango, however, I got. It was super sexy, there was intricate movement and passion between the two dancers. IT was great, great great. I still dont know, how the voting public will judge the performance, Tango is always less exciting than a Jive.

Tadd– shocker, got paired with Comfort for a Hip Hop routine. I would rather have seen Tadd jump into a Jive, Quickstep or Jazz routine… I feel like the reason he is a contender is because he puts his own style and energy into dances outside his genre. But he was definitely in his element here (a relief from previous weeks!) and delivered a strong Hip Hop performance.

Sasha – lucky girl, was paired with a perrennial favourite, Twitch. What a cute couple! This pairing was genius and the choreography was equally amazing. They did a throw back, old school Hip Hop as a couple in the 60’s (70’s?) who had fallen out of love. It was fun, bright, fresh and totally character driven – right int heir wheelhouse. Sasha is back on top after this performance…

Jesse – had an unbelievable solo, and was paired with Kathryn for a contemporary routine. Jesse is not a big strong dancer, he has the body of Gene Kelly… therefore the core strength and upper body abilities that a contemprary routine requires is a tough challenge. He was able to perform these moves and inject the passion he brings to every dance. He can do anything, but his forte lies in the performance-driven routines, so hopefully he’ll get on next week!

Melanie– paired up with Pasha pulling double duty tonight! Not that I mind. Melanie has been the leader of the talent pool all season long, and even after splitting from long time partner Marko, she proves that her talent is unstoppable and that she can shine as an individual. Their contemporary piece was stunning. Beautiful, and expertly performed. By far, she is the strongest dancer on the stage this season…that doesnt necesarily guarantee a win.

Mitchell- was parired up with Melody for a Tyce Jazz routine. It… was confusing. There was a ‘storyline’, but it wasnt evident. The choreography was all over the place, and he danced it with too much ‘try’…it came off insincere and forced. Not a great way to start the Top 10 journey for Mitchell, I think he’ll be a bottom dweller tonight.

Ricky – was paired with Alison for another Tyce Jazz routine. This one was better than the previous attempt, but I still didnt LOVE it. Ricky is a strong dancer, but I find I forget about him almost every week, and this piece didnt stand out for me either. He could be another bottom-dweller tonight.

Clarice– ended the show with a Bollywood joined by Robert. Question. Why would they give a Bollywood piece to this dancer, when everyone else basically got a routine in their element? It seems unfair! Also, as much as I like Bollywood for it’s excitement and flambuoyancy…I still find it hard to judge. It’s difficult to compare Bollywood to a Waltz or a contemporary for example. It was a great way to end the show though!


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