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Thursday, June 21, 2007


So You Think You Can Dance Blog

I've been quite surprised this summer by So You Think You Can Dance...it's been insanely entertaining, hugely improved. Part of it is the higher caliber of dancer they managed to attract this year, but their secret weapon are the choreographers, many of whom -- Mia Michaels, Wade Robson, and Shane Sparks to name but a few -- are simply astonishing. It's American Idol with more talent and more visual appeal.

So I think I'm going to blog it this summer...because why not. If you're not watching yet, it's a very easy show to jump into. Share your thoughts and your opinions here, and we'll go all the way to the finals! (Starting next week, I'll also be joined by a special guest blogger and SYTYCD fanatic, who will share insights each week...their identity will be revealed soon!)

But now, last night's dance round:

Lauren and Neil: The judges felt differently, but I felt this couple's chemistry problems seemed to continue, especially in a nuanced hip-hop routine which seemed outside their comfort zones. There was a lack of detail required in the mechanics of popping and locking; often, it felt like two suburban kids imitating things they saw on TV. They have great personalities, and my guess is they're safe...but next week will be a different matter if they don't step it up.

Jessi and Pasha:A rather odd jazz routine by Tyce Diorio (the animal metaphors seemed at odds with the sleek lines) didn't serve them very well. But both dancers acquitted themselves, and the judges were suprisingly kind...plus, Pasha is one of the most charming personalities in the competition. Which matters more than you think.

Jaimie and Hok: A confession first...I am absolutely smitten with hip-hop dancer Hok. He's adorable, and talented, and has amazing energy. And considering he had never danced the samba, or ever even danced with a partner, I thought it was pretty great. Ballroom 'expert' Mary disagreed, and read them the riot act on their footwork. She misses the point, however...he's the early audience favorite, and at the end of the day, this is a popularity contest.

Sabra and Dominic: Nearly eliminated last week, this pair seemed to dance like their life depended on it. And it worked. Performing a romantically tormented contemporary duet, they transformed the way they are seen in the competition. Sabra is new to dance, and Dominic is a b-boy; here, they became actual, honest-to-goodness dancers. Wonderful work, and an effort that will pull them back from the brink.

Faina and Cedric: Assigned this week to dance the fox trot, this odd-duck pairing of a Latin ballroom dancer and a hip-hop innovator were bound to struggle with the routine. Faina, better known the Russian Goddess, did a wonderful job; Cedric, on the other hand, was a disaster. He ignored his partner completely, and his dancing was clumsy and embarrassing. The judges (and others) have praised him highly each week, but I've yet to see what makes him good enough to be in this competition. Send him home, and quick.

Lacey and Kameron: While Lacey has been championed from the start -- she's the little sister of last year's winner -- I actually think Kameron is the dark horse of the competition. He's talented, gorgeous, and picks up choreography quickly (and with style to boot). In tonight's routine to music from Chicago, they proved they're a force to be reckoned with; its acrobatics-meets-sleaze ethos ended up being the best routine of the night.

Anya and Danny: The presumptive favorites, I haven't been sold yet on their status as future winners. Danny is a tremendous classic dancer (a former pro, too) and Anya is as talented as anyone. But watching their Viennese waltz tonight, their weaknesses became clear. It was as if we were watching a collegiate dance recital; it had exquisite technical precision, but almost no soul. Flat and unemotional. Others will disagree (including the judges, who thought it was the best of the night), but I just don't see it. Yet, at least.

Shauna and Jimmy: Who? Whah? Sometimes I forget that they're even in the competition. It's a charisma problem, I think...there's nothing wrong with their dancing, per se. Indeed, their jacked-up performance (which included step-dancing) was pretty fabulous. But I found my mind wandering, wondering what Kameron, Faina, Hok, or Sabra would have done with this choreography. Not a good sign...but they did well.

Sara and Jesus: Yay, a paso doble! My favorite dance to see on this show, because I think it really separates the grownups from the children. Tonight was more at the kiddie table for me -- Jesus missed the hyper-masculinity of the dance, while Sara just missed the steps. (Although that walkover was something to see.) The music choice was weird (a Queen mashup), and the whole thing seemed off-balance...or as Mia called it, "awkward." I think they'll be bottom three tomorrow night.

Bottom Three Couples: Faina and Cedric, Lauren and Neil, Sara and Jesus
Going Home Tonight: Cedric and Sara



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