So You Think You Can
This week was the last of the permanent-partner rounds on So You Think You Can Dance, but it was really a showcase for the choreographers...who sucked royally. The dancing, for the first time this season, suffered from a lack of imagination and focus in its design. Who survived their routines? Here's my cranky opinions on the matter:
Sabra and Dominic: Jive
If there were a best all-around category on SYTYCD, these two would have already walked away with the gold medal. Tonight's effervescent and thoroughly entertaining retro routine was the very definition of a crowd-pleaser. Does anyone remember that they were almost cut in the first week? Thank God they weren't.
Jaimie and Hok: Broadway
"Mr. Bojangles" is hardly my idea of a Broadway piece; I guess it's all about dramatic themes in the dance, and less about Lloyd Webber and bugle beads. Tyce Diorio's limp and uninspiring choreography did them no favors (it looked like a kiddie theatre show), but they executed well. However, the judges ripped them apart, and were especially rough on Hok...some nonsense about not having enough character. I smell bullshit, a setup to try to get rid of him. Really unfair, I think...place the blame where it should lay, on the choreographer.
Sara and Pasha: Jazz
And speaking of terrible choreography...what fresh hell were Sara and Pasha given this week? Some kind of 80's leotard workout with jazz hands? It looked like a number cut from the movie Xanadu. To their credit, the duo gave it the old college try, but I bet it doesn't play well at all with the at-home audience. Bottom three for sure...especially if Danny and Anya do well.
Lauren and Neil: Contemporary
Mia Michaels' herky-jerky pas de deux wasn't her best -- the sunglasses and plastic dayglo gloves were evocative but not very rich thematically -- but after the last two big stinky piles that preceded it, I'll take Mia's work gladly. In a movement set that often drifted towards hip-hop, the complex and unnatural style exposed this couple's biggest weaknesses: Lauren's lack of technique, and Neil's lack of personality. The judges couldn't figure out what was going on plot-wise (apparently, we've become a theatre competition tonight), but that didn't bother me. What DID bother me is their inability to dance in unison when the piece clearly called for it. If I had my way, these would be the next two to go.
Anya and Danny: Fox Trot
Ehhhhh....so what. It had all the technical proficiency we've come to expect from Mr. Gazelle and his EuroBeard. (Two things I could do without for the rest of my life: hearing Danny described as a gazelle, and hearing judge Mary Murphy overpraising this couple to tip the audience voting in their favor.) I'm sure they'll be fine, but I still can't stand them. Their dancing leaves me cold, like the work of Robert Wilson, Atom Egoyan or Charlotte Gainsbourg....clearly talented, but no palpable excitement underneath.
Lacey and Kameron: Hip-Hop
A bubbly, oddly-quixotic number left the judges wanting something harder and crisper...which is understandable. But laying heavy criticism into Kameron, who is solid as a rock, was just ridiculously odd. After weeks of praising them, suddenly the judges have decided he dances "too heavy" and isn't charismatic enough. To which I say: honey, please. He's one of the best dancers in the competition, and a hit with the voting demographic in a way that his biggest competition, Danny and Pasha, are not. Trying to rig the voting to make it seem more of a race seems a bit underhanded...but then, tonight's episode in general was a forced, unsatisfying affair.
Bottom Three Couples: Jaimie and Hok, Lauren and Neil, and Sara and Pasha
Going Home Tonight: Lauren and Neil