Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Well said, Crazy Toni

Tonight's festivities kick off with my future BFF Cat wearing an extremely fetching orange Greek toga-esque frock that looks way better than it sounds, complimented with her trademark Perfect Hair.

Toni Basil, rocking the latest in kooky hats and plastic surgery, is tonight's guest judge. She's back to blather about "street dance," so I'm already bored and ready for dancing. Let's get to it.

1. Karla & Jonathan, Hip Hop - These two have a Dave Scott routine, which I'm pretty excited for since I really like his stuff. And I don't like these two much more in their bio package, but I like the dance when it starts. Karla is growing on me in this number. She's in character, she's relaxed, and I'm really enjoying myself. The song is also great ("By My Side" by Jadakiss featuring Ne-Yo), which might be helping my enjoyment along. Jonathan, on the other hand, is totally blah, and bringing the whole thing down. The judges bash the hell out of them as unfairly as they lavished praise on them last week--maybe making up for last week's decision? I'm suspicious of these super-harsh critiques, although I actually did appreciate Toni's assessment of what a dancer needs to bring to be good at hip hop: "Street has to have a groove and a funk. And if you're gangsters and you don't have a ghetto groove, then it's going to feel store-bought." AHEM Tabitha & Napoleon COUGH.

2. Asuka & Vitolio, Jazz - Or, as choreographer Mandy Moore calls it, "Thrash-rocker-jazz. Yeah." (In other news, Mandy is my new favorite person on this show that I want to be friends with and gossip with over pink drinks. Call me!) The bio package showcases more crying designed to generate sympathy & affection that these two can't generate on stage. Grumble. But with Mz Moore and Pat Benatar's "Heartbreaker," which is one of my all-time faves, I should be totally prepped to love the hell out of this right? Wrong. It's danced amazingly well, but there's no emotion from these two at all. Asuka is like a little plastic Barbie doll, and Vitolio's concentrating SO HARD, and the whole thing is kind of perfect, but also emotionless. Like, rocker robots, or something. SIGH. It could have been so much more. And again, Crazy Toni nails it when she tells them, "Don't let your technique get in the way of your emotions." Well said, Crazy Toni.

3. Melissa & Ade, Rhumba - My favorite couple are working with Tony Meredith this week and dancing to Destiny's Child's "Emotion." And straight up, I can't tell how good their technique is here because the chemistry (and, if I'm being honest, Melissa's smokin' hot bod) is totally distracting me. The judges claim the technique was fantastic, and I'm still so hung up on the HOT that I just believe them. Fine, good, technique, whatever. HOT, honey. Hot hot hot.

4. Janette & Brandon, Hip Hop - These two also get a Dave Scott routine, as well as another great song (Common's "What a World"). The costumes help their characters a lot right from the get go, so I start off thinking a bit that they're kind of cheating. And then they start dancing. And, WOW. I mean, I'm not crazy about these two as people, but this routine was freaking phenomenal. Character, steps, performance, fun, the whole thing wrapped up in one rock-meets-hip-hop dance treat. I paused the DVR just as it finished to type this up, and the attitude from both of them in this still shot is freaking genius. Very, very well done!

5. Kayla & Kupono, Viennese Waltz - The new couple is working with Jean Marc Generaux is this week, with Jewel's "Sweet Dreams for You" (as long as I'm mentioning all the songs, evidently). The whole thing is luminous. Kayla is radiant, and Kupono is masculine and strong. There's a sweetness throughout the whole thing that just makes me sigh. I mean, it's hard for a dance not to be all dreamy when you've got Jean Marc's choreography and a wind machine working for you, on the one hand. On the other, I thought these two really sold it. It was beautiful.

6. Randi & Evan, Contemporary - They've got a Mia Michaels number set to the fantastic "Koop Island Blues" by Koop featuring Ane Brun, and the key word is supposedly "booty." I'm intrigued by the choreography just from rehearsal, and I'm riveted by their performance. There's a LOT of technique and attitude crammed into an otherwise simple, unique, and sexy number, and I like it. Based on the choreography and the song, I feel like Mia's original intention was probably a lot earthier than what was delivered here. I think the couple dig in a little, but that overall their performance is a little cuter than what was maybe intended. That said, I liked it anyway. (I also liked Cat's first comment: "Cheeky." Oh, you punny, adorable girl.)

7. Caitlin & Jason, Paso Doble - Jean Marc Generaux is back with a number set to "O Fortuna" from Carmina Burana, and right off the bat I know that they're going to have to work hard if they want their dancing to stand up to their crazy costumes and this POWERHOUSE of a song (look it up if you don't know it already and you'll be like, oh right, THAT song). And the dancing is good. I have chills at the end, but I know for a fact it's from the song 'cause it gives me chills every time. As for the dancing, I think it was just good.

8. Jeanine & Phillip, Broadway - Tasty Oreo has done up a little number to "Moses" from Singin' in the Rain, complete with a sofa (which is a cute nod to the movie, where Gene, Donald & Debbie sail over the sofa in "Good Mornin'"). The costumes, hair, makeup, and dancing are all adorable. This style is PERFECT for Jeanine, who traipses across the stage like she was born on Broadway. And I like Phillip pretty well here too, so much that I A) forget for a second that he's a crazy popper and B) it takes almost the whole song before I notice he has totally split open the back of his pants. OMG. The silent pleading in his eyes for Cat to allow him to stay seated on the couch for their critique KILLS me. Poor guy. Nigel: "Like so many Vaudeville dancers before him, Phillip now knows what it's like to dance with his ass hanging out of his trousers." Their critique otherwise is totally fair. Phillip's lack of technique is starting to fight a bit with his winning personality, and could prove to be problematic down the road. Or tomorrow, depending on how the votes go.

Which leaves me with the following predictions:
Fantastic couples that I have about 30 more minutes to vote for: Melissa & Ade, Janette & Brandon, Kayla & Kupono, Randi & Evan

Couples I wouldn't totally cry over if/when they land in the Bottom Three: Karla & Jonathan, Asuka & Vitolio, Caitlin & Jason, Jeanine & Phillip. Which is hedging my bets, so I'm going to guess that Jeanine & Phillip are safe just 'cause they're so darn adorable.


Erika said...

Word. I completely agree with everything you said. I was especially disappointed with the Asuka and Vitolio number. Any Pat B. song should just be awesome out there (and combined with Mandy Moore's choreography? It should have kicked all kinds of ass.) I couldn't help think that Melissa and Ade would have killed it.

Ideas Man, Ph.D. said...

I think the problem is that Asuka is in fact a robot, incapable of human emotions... I went in really wanting to like her and Vitolio but I like them a little less each week

(P.S. Lest comments from a stranger totally out of the blue seem weird --- I'm a colleague of your sister's who pointed me to your blog b/c she knows I'm obsessed with SYTYCD.)

Christopher said...

Basically on the same page again. We are always fairly close in our critiques.

I also kind of hedged my bets with Phillip and Jeanine. But, like you, I think they're probably safe.

Maybe if you were out having drinks with Mandy Moore, she wouldn't be available to choreograph, and everyone involved would benefit. Seriously, she's kind of on the bus for me, sitting right next to Doriana Sanchez, right behind Toni Basil and Li'l C. If I never saw another routine of hers, I would not be sad. Less Mandy Moore, more Stacey Tookey, people!

Dinah said...

Erika, if you contrast Melissa & Ade's Sonya routine w/ the rocker outfits against Asuka & Vitolio's Mandy routine w/ the rocker outfits, I think you'll be proved right.

Ideas Man, welcome to the conversation! And you're exactly right with Asuka & Vitolio--I WANT to like them much more than I actually do.

Chip, I don't dislike those 4 as much as you do, but I would like to see more Stacey Tookey. And I'd forgotten about your "bus." How full is that thing by now? ;)

Erika said...

Mandy Moore won me over with the Sabra/Neil "Sweet Dreams" table dance and I've been a fan ever since, despite some misses. It's kind of like how even though Shane Sparks has had some crappy routines, I'll love him forever because of "2 Much Booty" and the kick ass group routine to BBD's "Poison" from Season 2.