So You Think You Can
The Final Ten battled in both solo and partner rounds last night on So You Think You Can Dance...but if choreographer Wade Robson had anything to say about it, the night was really about global peace. All ten dancers had to dance the same Robson solo, a cry against the Iraq War and a vote of confidence in cutesy pantomime. For me, however, I had my world rocked in another way -- the dancers I usually hate were brilliant, while my favorites faltered badly. Here's how it all went down:
Solo Competition: "Waiting on the World to Change", John Mayer
Robson, a painfully earnest and cliche-ridden person, crafted a number as painfully earnest and cliche-ridden as you imagine a dance to that song might be. Jesus. When the choreography called for the dancers to draw hearts in the air, or to point to their own wrist on the chorus ("See? I'm miming a watch. I'm waiting on the wor...well, you get it, right?"), a thousand talented choreographers around the world committed seppuku. It was an interesting study in interpretation, though. Of the ten, I thought Jaimie was all sweetness and light, Dominic seemed tired and beaten. Sara decided to rail against the world with her dancin' fury, while Pasha managed to make the choreography a little sophisticated (well, at least until the drawing-hearts-in-the-air thing). Lauren was overblown and sloppy, as usual, and her former partner Neil matched her in emotional maturity and overenthusiastic flouncing. Sabra was the best of the night, in my opinion...her upbeat demeanor somehow infused the lyric's fragile hope. Kameron, still obviously smarting from his beating by the judges (read on and you'll see), took the opportunity to overextend at every turn. Lacey...well, all I'll say is that it's interesting to watch a ballroom dancer attempt contemporary choreography. And it ended with Danny, who just took the opportunity to show off. And by the way, he is, in fact, the gayest thing I've ever seen.
Lauren and Pasha: Hip-Hop
You know when you're at a wedding or a bar mitzvah or something, and the old people decide to "cut a rug" with the youngsters and show the "kids how to get jiggy with it"? This was kind of like that, only more Caucasian. The routine, a Transformers-inspired mechanical kind of dance, lack the hard lines and edge that define quality hip-hop...soft where it should have been brutal, smiley when it should have been hard. The judges loved it, but they've lost all credibility by this point anyway. Pasha...stick to ballroom.
Sabra and Kameron: Contemporary
A surprisingly sweet interpretation of the hymn "Amazing Grace" was matched with a better-than-expected routine from Tyce Diorio, but I think it was the weakest Kameron's ever been. I hate saying that, because it reinforces Mary and Mia's sharp criticisms, which I felt crossed the line into being mean and cruel. But it didn't play to his strengths, and the remark about not extending far enough was accurate. Meanwhile the entire number was built for Sabra, with jumps, bends, lifts and steps that showcased her beautifully. I'm REALLY tired of choreographers who give one partner all the glory, and the other the short end of the dance baton.
Lacey and Danny: Samba
I suppose I have to start with this: I take back everything I said about them. I haven't cared for these two since the start, but the number was really electric to watch. (The judges dithered about technique, but thank the Lord, they're out of the decision-making process now.) Sensuous and passionate from start to finish, it was hypnotizingly sexy in all-black costumes and hips a-shakin'. (And congrats to last season's contestant Dimitri, who did a great job of choreographing my favorite number of the season to date.)
Jaimie and Dominic: Viennese Waltz
If a Viennese waltz is supposed to look effortless, this wasn't it. Poor Dominic, the lone b-boy left in the competition, was completely out of his element, with obvious stumbles and weak characterization. And Jaimie, cast as a Spanish harlot in a truly heinous costume (again, the word flouncy comes to mind), was about as sultry as Dakota Fanning. The movement was leaden and labored, with no honest energy or spirit. Heinous on almost every level, I am worried that this will be Dominic's final moment in the sun.
Sara and Neil: Disco
As long as I live, I'll never understand Neil's appeal. To me, both he and his dancing are vacant and flat, acrobatics without spirit. Sara, bless her soul, is a true fighter. I wish she would have pulled out a rope and strangled her partner.
Best of Night: Lacey and Danny
Bottom Three: Kameron, Dominic, and Lauren
Going Home Tonight: Dominic