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New Show Recap: SYTYCD, Again with the Top Twenty, Four Go Home

I’d like to start this recap with a plea to the producers of So You Think You Can Dance. In my success fantasies, they totally read my blog.

Producers, I think Fox gave you a raw deal when they cut you back to one night per week. Sure, there’s no longer room for solos (which I’m on record as hating). Sure, everything’s got higher stakes, yada yada yada. Any other season, I’d probably be fine with this new format. I’m going to propose something pretty radical for a competitive reality show only because of the quality of dancers you’ve assembled this season.

Don’t send anyone home.

Seriously, I could watch these twenty kids dance their hearts out every single week between now and the end of the season. Every single one of them. In earlier seasons I didn’t even care enough to learn the dancers’ names until the top ten. (I’m sorry.) This season I was nearly yelling at my TV when the six dancers in jeopardy were announced. When I tried to think of who I’d rather go home in their places, I couldn’t name one dancer.

Let them all stay. They’re really that good. Bring back the unlucky four who went home this week. Make a medium-sized ladyblog’s summer.

To the dancing.

I totally miss the opening number, save 25 seconds at the end. I catch the last notes of a  Marilyn Manson song, some uncomfortable strutting, and what I believe is a dancer being pulled out of a hat like a rabbit. Cat’s Vamp informs me it was a Tabitha and Napoleon routine and I decide not to pursue it further. Readers, please let me know if it’s worth a trip to the official site.

Cole & Lindsay

Lindsay and Cole dance to a Christopher Scott creation. It is, frankly, pretty terrible. Both dancers are talented, Christopher Scott has choreographed many beautiful things. This is not one of those things. It seems like a mash-up of the very worst of musical theater and a cheerleading routine from Bring It On. Let’s just pretend that whole thing never happened.

Amelia & Will

When the season began, I was not feeling all that warmly towards Amelia. I thought she was kind of gimmicky, and I didn’t recognize how incredibly strong she is. She and Will continue to make me fall in love with them during Sonya Tayeh’s routine, which is, to quote guest judge Adam Shankman “The Sickness.” (Capitalization implied.) It’s a very demanding number, both Will and Amelia hold these completely ridiculous poses and extend their bodies in ways I didn’t even know were possible. Sonya describes the routine as a couple who are struggling to find the light at the end of a tunnel, and there’s a moment at the very end of the routine when they appear to stop each other from falling off a ledge. It’s beautiful and simple, and Amelia and Will both sell it completely.

Nick & Amber

Oh yeah, it’s a tango. Tangos are my very favorite, and this tango is all-caps, glitter-gif, mother-trumping hot. Amber is on fire, friends. Nick does a great job of partnering her, but this is the Amber show and she is leaving no survivors.  Her legs are national treasures, right alongside Cat, who I suppose is technically an international treasure.  The judges love it, as well they should, and I need a cold shower.

Matthew & Audrey

Matthew and Audrey are dancing to a second piece by Sonya Tayeh. There are some similar themes between this dance and the number she created for Amelia and Will, but this one isn’t quite as powerful. The dancers are dancing the hell out of it, it just doesn’t have the same kind of emotional effect on me that her earlier number did. Matthew and Aubrey are both very good, and they’re pretty literally stretched to their physical limits here. The music didn’t help, but that may be my Old talking.

Dareian & Janelle

Aw, this is sweet, and they’re adorable together. It’s a Chris Scott hip hop routine, according to the website, but I don’t really see where the hip hop works in. I know hip hop can mean many things, and encompasses many different styles and types of dance. This just doesn’t seem to be any of those things. I like it, it’s fun and light, and it gives the dancers a chance to show off their personalities. Nigel calls it out as being too simple, and nothing that shows what both dancers are capable. The other judges are mixed, as well.

Brandon & Janaya

It’s a Sean Cheesemen routine for these two, and it’s a lot of fun. I run hot and cold on Broadway routines, I could be totally biased by my general meh-ness towards Tyce Diorio. This is really cute, and Janaya has a lot of fun with it. Brandon is equally adorable, and I have lots of fun through the whole number.

Cyrus & Eliana

The jive is a lot to ask of a dancer with a ton of experience in non-jive dances. The jive is really a lot to ask of Cyrus. Cyrus rolled with it, Cyrus gave it his all, Cyrus had a really good time. Cyrus didn’t really nail the jive. I’m torn, I don’t want America to hold this one ridiculously difficult dance against him, but this isn’t Dancing With the Stars, either. We’re not supposed to only vote for dancers because they seem like really fucking cool people. The judges aren’t easy on him, and I feel bad for him. I hope he gets a dance he can blow the roof off of next week. Eliana, on the other hand, was riveting. I like them so much as a team, they really seem to like and respect each other, and I’m still firmly in Team Cyrus and Eliana.

Daniel & Alexa

Daniel and Alexa are dancing in a tub. I believe they are supposed to be water. It’s kind of awkward at moments, but overall it’s a pretty contemporary dance. I feel like I’m cheating the pair out of words, but there’s just not much to say.

George & Tiffany

George and Tiffany are dancing a foxtrot. I love a good foxtrot, and this is pretty decent. Tiffany’s dress has a lot of illusion panels in it, or perhaps she had to wrestle a bear for it backstage. The dance gets away from them a little in parts, there’s a bit of wobble in both of their frames. George wears the shit out of a tux.

Chehon & Witney

These two are dancing a “Bollywood” number. It is ridiculously hard. Watching them leaves me out of breath and sweating, they are moving so much and in such bendy ways. Best of all, they look like they’re having the most fun of anyone on stage tonight, including Cyrus and Cat. I enjoy the “Bollywood” numbers a lot, but I feel uneasy when I watch. I’m not sure I have the vocabulary to put it into words, other than being pretty sure there’s a better name for this dance style than “Bollywood,” but it’s definitely an area where I need to educate myself.

The Shameless Plug

There’s a new Step Up movie coming out. The judges and producers and especially Adam Shankman would really like us to see it. I will totally check it out on cable, Team SYTYCD, just like the other Step Up movies.

The “Saving” 

Nigel makes a point to tell us America doesn’t vote anyone off, we save people we like by voting for them. The judges are also not voting anyone off, they’re just choosing who to save. Sure thing, but four dancers are still going home because America didn’t save them enough.

The bottom three women are Janaya, Alexa and Witney. The judges save Witney.

The bottom three men are Nick, Daniel and Chehon. The judges save Chehon.

See? Some really fantastic dancers went home. I will miss all four of them, and what I know they would have shown me throughout the season. My proposal may throw a wrench into picking America’s favorite dancers, but wouldn’t we all still win?

 

 

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

3 replies on “New Show Recap: SYTYCD, Again with the Top Twenty, Four Go Home”

I actually liked the opening dance quite a bit.  Nothing spectacular, but definitely fun and stylish.  Although I readily admit that my enjoyment and appreciation of any given dance is HUGELY influenced by music, and I liked the music for that one.

I actually liked the second Sonya Tayeh routine better, but I thought they were both good.  Her sweet one last week actually left me a little cold – I think she should stick to dark and weird, that suits her better.

And I am SO with you on Amelia.  I REALLY didn’t like her at first, but it’s hard to argue with how great she’s been so far.

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