Thursday, June 11, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance? Season 5 - Week 1 (Top 20)

It took me a long time to get this posted because I had to lie down for awhile after taking about six Tylenol: I had a powerful headache from all Mary's screaming. She's a doll and I love her critiques both good and bad, plus I appreciate the way the dancing can move her emotionally, but whoooooaaaaaaaaa. Mary was LOUD last night.

There was a sign of grave portent as the show was coming on, warning me that it was going to be loud and screechy; some unseen girl in the audience was shrieking like an air horn as the live show was coming on, over and over and over and over again. Security! Stop the squealing!

Things start off with the beauteous Cat Deeley coming out to greet us wearing....what? What is that? It's a dress that is kind of silky, kind of lacy, kind of chiffony and kind of braidy, with a big spiderweb on the front and lots of large jewels bedazzled onto the bodice. It looks like a 4-H clothing project gone sadly awry. Byuck.

As soon as I can drag my attention away from that revolting and distracting garment from hell, I realize that Cat is telling is that we're going to see how everyone made it to the Top 20. There's a montage of all the dancers set to The Fray's song "You Found Me," and I swear, does ANYBODY ever listen to the lyrics of songs anymore? Yes, the title of the song fits in with the whole kids-came-and-danced-and-proved-their-talent-was-genuine-so-we-the-judges-chose-them, but nothing else does. Here, have a look:

Lost and insecure
You found me, you found me
Lyin' on the floor
Surrounded, surrounded
Why'd you have to wait?
Where were you? Where were you?
Just a little late
You found me, you found me

I'm thinking this tune is more appropriate to be the theme song of the hundred-and-some kids who didn't get chosen to be on the show. But maybe that's just me.

There's a bunch of talk back and forth between Cat and the three judges for this evening, who are Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and Adam Shankman. They all look bright-eyed and happy. And then we're off with Cat telling us that Phillip and Jeanine are going to be up after the break.

1. Jeanine Mason (contemporary)/Phillip Chbeeb (popping)
Dance style: Hip-hop
Choreographed by: Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo
Music: "Mad" by Ne-Yo

Tabitha and Napoleon's choreography rarely disappoints, which is a strange thing for me to be saying because they do hip-hop routines, which is a dance style I never expected to like. But anyway, their charm is infectious, and they tell the audience from the studio that this dance will be a about a couple who are angry with one another and can't go to sleep until their differences are resolved. The scene opens with Phillip and Jeanine lying on their backs, side by side on the stage floor, looking irritable. Lots of spinning, popping and lifting ensues; it's a nice piece. I can feel the emotion. My only quarrel with the piece is that Phillip and Jeanine aren't dancing in pajamas. Wouldn't that have made sense? There's a spoony ending; very sweet. Adam calls it "Un-freakin'-real!" and Mary shouts that she hates to disagree with Adam, SO SHE WON'T. I saw that one coming, didn't you? She also says that they've given us a "chemistry lesson." Nigel calls them "fabulous." It was a great opening to the show.

But then, uh-oh....

2. Asuka Kondoh (Latin ballroom)/Vitolio Jeune (contemporary)
Dance style: Broadway
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio
Music: "Hot Honey Rag" from the Chicago soundtrack

Broadway. Oh dear. That's the one with the capering and frolicking and the heee-yooooge smiles. In the annals of So You Think You Can Dance, Broadway numbers have taken out quite a few talented kids. If you could picture the Grim Reaper with his cloak and scythe doing spirit hands as he delivers the kiss of death to a dance style, Broadway would be the one. Anyway, this number features Vitolio as an old-fashioned film director. He's got kind of a Charlie Chaplin thing going on. Asuka is the "actress," dressed like Morticia Addams auditioning for a movie role. She somehow manages to make her awkward costume work. Oh dear. Oh dear. They're both adorable, but Broadway....I am filled with misgiving.

3. Karla Garcia (jazz/contemporary) /Jonathan Platero (salsa)
Dance style: Cha-cha
Choreographer: Tony Meredith
Music: "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga

Karla and Jonathan start out their number with a strobe light -- aaaaaaahhhhh, my eyes! There, that's better. Jonathan looks to be about twelve years old in his meshy male dancer shirt. Kayla's wearing a saucy little white and black frock. Maybe she'd be better dressed in a cougar costume, with a ear'd headband? Anyway, they're pretty good, despite the age discrepancy. I sense that many of Jonathan's dreams are being fulfilled right now. He does some a sliding split maneuver through Kayla's legs that is actually rather spectacular. I think they're good! Cat cheekily refers to Our Little Man as "Jon-jon-shake-your-bon-bon" as he and Kayla approach the judges. Will she ask him next if he has to make a peepee? The judges were very enthusiastic; Mary very screamy. Kayla was led away in handcuffs by some police officers. No, really, I just made that last part up. Mary makes some remarks about Jonathan's hotness and she is cuffed as well. Okay, I made that up, too, but Mary was being a little creepy and I was driven to it.

4. Randi Evans (jazz) /Evan Kasprzak (Broadway)
Dance style: Jazz
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio
Music: "I Only Have Eyes for You" by Jamie Cullum

Yowza!! Vereeee sexeeee. Since Randi pointed out that she is married, I feel like I'm watching something inappropriate. Their dance is well done, though, very romantic and pretty. As the two of them are being judged, Adam points out that they are both very short -- Cat is towering over them like a ponderosa pine over a couple of apple trees -- but they "danced like they're eight feet tall." Mary yells out a great big train-whistley Woooooooooooooooooo, but it isn't the famous Hot Tamale Train that's a-pullin' into the station; it is possibly the Red Bull Express coming to take her away. They are smoldering! she gushes. Fluid! BELIEVABLE! (Does Randi's husband need to seek legal counsel?) I am so overwhelmed by the forcefulness of Mary's critique, I can't remember what Nigel said.

5. Paris Torres (contemporary)/Tony Bellissimo (hip-hop)
Dance style: Hip-hop
Choreographers: Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo
Music: "Let the Beat Rock" by The Black-Eyed Peas

This should be good because hip-hop is Tony's style and it would be hard to go wrong with TabiNapo. Regardless of Tony's hip-hop talents, Tabitha and Napoleon tell him he looks too "nice." Tony practices what he calls his "stank face," and I begin to feel a moment of misgiving. My eighty-six year old step-gran has a better stank face than that. Tony is coming off like a seventh grader who wants so badly to be taken seriously as a man, but is still just too cute with the puppy-dog eyes and the rosy round cheeks. When Paris and Tony come out, they are dressed in the worst costumes. Tony appears to have stolen his jacket from Ace Frehley's closet. There's just a lot going on, including a pair of black PVC pants for Paris. This is just never a good look, especially when paired with clumpy sneakers. They both look really silly. The dance is okay. Adam likes it. Mary and Nigel feel that they were both just "doing steps." Nigel wittily adds that Tony's "stank stank." I'm thinking "bottom three."

6. Caitlin Kinney (contemporary)/Jason Glover (lyrical/contemporary)
Dance style: Bollywood
Choreographer: Nakul Dev Mahajan
Music: "Jai Ho" from the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack

Oooh, this is more like it. LOVE the Bollywood, it is so fun to watch. The costumes are great and Caitlin and Jason look like they're really into it and having fun. In their pre-dance interviews, they both talked about how Bollywood is so intricate, with the hands, the feet, the exact angle of their heads...It appears that they've put their rehearsals to good use. Caitlin does do an ungainly handstand that has her exposing her hoo-ha; not so crazy about that. But she does it well, with the legs and the feet dancing along without her while she is upside down and lost in her skirt. They have lots of energy and make a nice couple. Adam hollers, "YOU GUYS ROCKED!" Mary, who is looking a little frazzled, shouts, "I'm glad Bollywood came to Hollywood, YES I AM!!!!" Oh dear. Mary, I love you, but you simply must shut up. Once again, I miss Nigel's commentary, although I do catch him flinging his arms in the air and shouting, "JAI HO!" Er...namaste, Nigel. Now hush.

7. Janette Manrara (salsa)/Brandon Bryant (contemporary)
Dance: Fox trot
Choreographer: Louis van Amstel
Music: "Come Fly with Me" by Michael Bublé

Oh, my....They are a gorgeous couple. Jeanette, a Cuban salsa dancer from Miami, looks gorgeous in a candy-floss pink sparkly gown. Brandon looks beyond incredible in black pants, white shirt and black vest with a pink pocket square that matches Jeanette's dress. They confide in their interview that doing the fox trot is actually hard. "I don't feel like Ginger Rogers," says Jeanette, looking nervous. "I just feel like....Jeanette from Miami." They swoop about the stage and if you ever thought that the fox trot was some dull dance that your grandparents did out on the dance floor at the club, well, you'd best think again. (Self, I'm looking at you.) There is an amazing lift, with Brandon effortlessly carrying Jeanette over his head, upside-down and twirling. They are soooo good. After we hear Adam's excited critique, Cat asks Mary to "give us an eyebrow"; Mary, in a moment of rare humor, says "I can't anymore because of Botox." Heh. That was a good one, girl.

8. Ashley Valerio (contemporary)/Kuponohi'ipoi "Kupono" Aweau (lyrical/contemporary)
Dance: Jazz
Choreographer: Wade Robson
Music: "Felt Mountain" by Goldfrapp

Glad to see Wade back this season -- we missed him in Season 4. He's done one of his strange, fun pieces for us, of course, and the concept is "crash test dummies" falling in love. Kupono is an older dummy who's been through a lot: his blade hands are trembly and he has a tire tread mark across his chest. Ashley is new on the job and she is awed by his experiences. She comes onstage, moving like a marionette (thankfully, not like a robot) with a little crash test dog. We watch the two dummies fall in love and eventually run backstage, hand-in-hand, where we hear a large CRASH. A tire comes rolling out and loses its hubcap. All must be well in the land of crash test dummies. This dance is sweet and quirky, but I am put off it by the music, which is that bloopy, bleepy atonal stuff that I automatically associate with Wall-E, one of my most hated movies ever. Nigel says that Wade is a genius and that it wasn't just the dancing that was good; the characters were good. I do agree, but this is not my personal favorite.

9. Melissa Sandvig (ballet)/Ade Obayomi (c0ntemporary)
Dance style: Comtemporary
Choreographer: Mandy Moore
Music: "Right Here Waiting" by Richard Marx

Mandy starts out by telling us that this is a dance about falling in love -- "that first time you look at each other and just know" -- but she has them dancing to this song about unrequited love? I don't get it. Plus, this song was popular when I was in my twenties. It's not a standard like "Come Fly with Me" and it's never going to be, and it isn't aged enough otherwise to be a memorable golden oldie. It's just a tired old song, even though it was one I liked way back when in the days of the westward expansion. Odd choice. Anyway, Ade and Melissa do some amazing lifts and bends and's really a beautiful dance. They are so graceful. Surprisingly, Adam is all teared up by it and calls it "special." He also says that Melissa, who is twenty-nine, is "getting better with age." Like she ought to be wearing support hose and tottering along with a cane? Nigel says it's great to have a ballerina on the show. Mary must have passed out under the judges' table because I recorded no comment from her in my notes.

10. Kayla Radomski (jazz/contemporary)/Maksim "Max" Kapitannikov (Latin ballroom)
Dance style: Samba
Choreographer: Louis van Amstel
Music: "Jum Bah Day" by House of Gypsies

Quite simply, Max and Kayla just look like they were created to dance together. Their smokin' hot samba nearly catches the stage on fire. Kayla is wearing this great fringed pink dress, reminiscent of a flapper's garb, but she is workin' it in a way the Lindy hop never could. There is one maneuver in the dance that has Kayla astride Max (they are both standing up, but still...) and it doesn't meet with my approval. Church lady! But other than that, it is fast and furious and really fun to watch, all bendy and twirly with the great music. Adam looks like he has a migraine, his hands plastered to his face: "That was SO GOOD" he yelps. "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?" Mary brings out the Hot Tamale Train and gets so unwound, I fear for her. I think the stage hands may have to sop her up with shop towels and send her home in a bucket.

That wrapped up the evening!

Bottom three predictions:

#2 Asuka and Vitolio
#5 Paris and Tony
#8 Ashley and Kupono

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