”So You Think You Can Dance”: Love juice!
It was a night of love juice, shaved toes, birds of a feather, and belly bling — no, not the double feature at your local grindhouse theater, but week 2 of SYTYCD’s dancing pairs, down to nine couples now.
It was nice to see Mia Michaels in the first slot of the judges’ panel, just to have a different face and maybe even a different opinion — especially now that Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe seem to agree on everything, which doesn’t serve to brighten up the show (though Mary may be passing Nigel her Crest Whitestrips, ‘cuz his smile is not as frightening as it usually is).
Nigel tried to defend his axing last week of classically trained Ricky by explaining that the show’s aim was ”to keep the unique dancers here” and remarking that he disliked dance snobs — the people who think you need years of training in order to call yourself a dancer. Hmm, well, winners of the first two seasons were very well-schooled dancers, and one of last week’s unique dancers (sorry, Cedric) was a huge disappointment to the show and his partner last night.
After he shone last week with his specialty, hip-hop, of course the gods had to turn a kink in Cedric’s pop-and-lock step and throw him some ballroom — fast. When we saw choreographer Hunter Johnson explain to Cedric that the lines in foxtrot are like railroad tracks, I couldn’t help thinking that Cedric was simply in another station altogether. (Unlike Mary, I didn’t mind that Hunter threw in some M.J. moves to play to Cedric’s strong points.) It’s clear that Cedric is just not well-rounded enough for this competition, and it’s a shame that his partner, Faina, will no doubt have to dance for her life again tonight. (And lest you think that I favor ballroom dancers over hip-hoppers, remember that last season’s hip-hopper Ivan did a fantastic tango and surprised everyone; when dancers cross over, it’s absolutely glorious.)
Who else might join Cedric and Faina in the bottom three couples? I would have to say Jaimie and Hok, whose samba really brought out mixed comments from the judges. Mia, high on her ”love juice,” as she called it, thought it was amazing. I agreed with Mary, who thought it just wasn’t high-level enough. (Hok had nice individual shoulder movement, but his rolls were too stiff and too shallow, and the routine lacked overall flow.) While Nigel thought it was a good performance, he put the blame on French-Canadian choreographer and Joe Pesci doppelgänger Jean-Marc Genereux, who clearly showed his disdain for Nigel’s comment with an indignant raised brow. I say put Jean-Marc on the judges’ panel and invite Dancing With the Stars’ Bruno Tonioli over so they can compete for best heavily accented metaphoric sound bites together.
I really don’t want to pick anyone else for bottom three, but if I’m forced to, I’d have to say Lauren and Neil, just because, compared with everyone else’s performance, their hip-hop routine was a bit lackluster — and mainly on Lauren’s part. Neil pretty much saved it with his flying somersaults and other tricks, but their stomping seemed a bit by-the-numbers forced, and overall Lauren’s moves weren’t edgy enough. (The tutu didn’t help either.)
Who was good? Jessi and Pasha’s bird-pecking, feathered, out-there contemporary routine, just because it was unlike anything we’d seen before, and yes, as Mia said, ”quirkiest, most ridiculous, amazing.” Sabra and Dominic’s contemporary piece (more birds here), where Sabra proved she is Aileyesque and D was totally committed. (He admitted he’d shaved his toes ”because it was a jungle down there.”) Anya and Danny’s beautiful Viennese (now I want to call it Vietnamese, Cat) waltz, where Danny’s grace and technical ability was on full display. (I smell hip-hop coming their way.) I would have included Sara and Jesús, who are my favorite underrated couple, in this section, but the song they had to do the paso to (Queen’s ”We Will Rock You”) just killed it for me. It’s a shame because Jesús had lovely Spanish dance lines throughout (rounded arms, chest forward and pelvis tucked) and Sara, as someone with no dance training, held her own, in heels no less.
What do you think? Did Lacey and Kameron’s ode to Chicago have enough pizzazz (never mind the navel bling)? Was there anything fresh in the dancers’ inspiration bios, or did they seem like filler? Who do you think showed the most improvement? And who are your picks for the bottom three to ”ahh” show?