Once again, I’m going to combine my Top 9 performance thoughts and power rankings this week.
This one’s gonna be rough. Roouuuggggh. I’ve been reading a few of your comments to help me out here, but I’m still pretty confused.
Alex – Is there any question? I think we can all agree on this one. And this is coming from me, the “hater” of hip-hop. Helllloooo…let’s just say I’m most likely to like hip-hop if it’s NappyTabs. And if Twitch is dancing, I’m always in love. But Alex is what made this routine, which was choreographed brilliantly for him and all, but he held his own with TWITCH BOSS! I mean, boss is in his name. And Alex killed it. Did you hear that audience? Cat kept saying it was the loudest crowd she’d even seen on the show. It sounded like they were in a stadium. I especially loved Mia’s, “Who the hell are you?” Even though, I’m not really that surprised Alex rocked because he’s just phenomenal. When I saw the SYTYCDism spoilers that Alex and Twitch were dancing together, I made very girly sounds.
Billy – The judges came down hard on him (but they kinda have to, since he’s been a judge favorite all along, right?), but it was a gorgeous routine. Billy still has a lot of fans and I thought the combination of his mentioning Legacy as his role model, dancing with Kathryn (who danced with Legacy) and a powerful routine from Stacey Tookey put him up top. He was a bit stiff and arrogant while getting his feedback, I think, which makes me like him less. But the routine was lovely and his solo was strong as well. Overall, I think the judges were hard on him because they’re trying to give him a possibility at a “journey/arch” that he might not be perceived as having since he’s so technically good.
Ashley – When Top 11 started after Vegas Week, I was thinking, “Who is this girl?” I had no idea who she was. But I loooooooooove her now. Yes, she needs to dance something other than contemporary. But she’s been able to show something different in this routine and it was a chilling and wonderful routine with Ade. She has quickly become one of my favorites and will be my biggest solace when we probably lose the girl who has been one of my favorite from the beginning.
Robert -I love him. He got BIG cheers, supported Jose (yes he can, when Cat asked rhetorically if Jose could hold his own) and had great chemistry with Courtney. But, he danced with Courtney again to a blah-ish Sonya (not her best, at least) routine that happened earlier in the show, which makes it sadly a bit forgettable. He was compared to Mark, however, and I think he does suit Sonya’s choreography. I hope it doesn’t put him in danger cause I loved when Sonya was taking America to task for not voting for Robert. He definitely deserves to stay.
Lauren – I thought it was a fun Broadway, and though I don’t always love her personality, I do enjoy her dancing. I thought both she and Neil were technically strong and had great lines, but there wasn’t a lot of chemistry between them. She’s starting to get a lot of flak, but a lot of people still really love her, I think. Also, I think the wardrobe malfunction and the resulting brou-ha-ha (“I enjoyed that tremendously,” and “I bet you did”) will make her stand out. She got a lot of time – and honestly kudos to her for carrying on with her entire strap dangling. I think that would have been just a bit distracting.
Kent – This is a tough call. It’ll either be Kent or Jose in this or the first Bottom 3 spot, in my opinion. But, they’re kinda on the same level, I think. Both didn’t dance strongly this week, both have huge fan bases. I do have to say I don’t think enough has been said about Dmitry’s phenomenal choreography here – smart and sexy work. While Jose got better feedback (and I liked his performance better), I think Kent’s fan base is a little more rabid AND I think that he’s perceived to have danced better in genres outside his own…
Jose – Whereas Jose has been giving a lot of “Legacy choreography” – stunts within the choreo that show off his skillz and remind us why he’s on the show. I liked Jose’s performance tonight, but I agree with some of the comments I’ve seen that he didn’t do a lot of real dancing, more like excellent partnering. I think the routine (and most of his routines) have cleverly disguised his weaknesses and the judges are mostly glossing them over. So while I think he may be in the Bottom 3 tomorrow night, I think he’ll be a the “top” of the Bottom 3, which will mean he’ll be back next week.
Adechike – A lot of people are raving about his Dave Scott hip-hop tonight. After watching it back three times now, I think he made *some* improvement. But you know what? He had all the personality of a prop, to me. He might as well have not been there. The only times I noticed him was when he was being sloppy and cheesy. It’s kinda the reverse of Melinda for me – I don’t get the hate for her and a lot of people probably won’t get (or agree with) me putting him in the bottom 3. But honestly, I think that any little sign of improvement was going to be seen as a huge step for him because he danced like a stick with two beautiful women in his own genre in the weeks before this. I think he should be getting a lot of heat for that and I don’t care if he danced a slightly better hip-hop this week. I would’ve rather’d seen that routine with *anyone* other than him. Even not always loving hip-hop, I could see how that could be a great routine. With somebody else.
Melinda – I love her, but… it seems like I’m one of the few left who do. Especially if you count the judges. I thought Mia’s comment was so gross. What is the constructive point of telling her “we might have made a mistake keeping you” on national t.v.? Why not, “You didn’t dance your best, or as strongly as you needed to”? And, after watching the routine back, it galls me to admit this, but it was pretty awful. I enjoyed it in the moment, I did. I thought there were some especially awkward transitions into jumps, lifts and tricks and a moment that might’ve been choreographed or might’ve been a colossal mistake. I think the only thing that could save Melinda now is the sympathy vote after Mia’s ugly, pointless comment or if ALL of Melinda’s fans stay up all night voting for her.
I’m not happy about it, but I think Melinda’s going home. (Or maybe it’s a plot to use reverse-psychology are the voting audience….) I hope that it’s two guys in the bottom with her and I’m fairly confident in my picks. Though, as I said earlier today, I think we’re ripe for a shocker.
Some last thoughts before I go –
-I love that Cat’s talking more than ever – especially about the routines. Even if she’s not a dancer, she should get to put her 2 cents in after all the years she’s hosted and participated in the show. I like knowing what she thinks!
-I thought the solos were all pretty strong and interesting. I wasn’t thrilled with Ashley using the same music as last week’s group routine – I think it was too soon and indicated (whether this is fair or not) that she didn’t try as hard to be unique. Same thing with Adechike – he used at least the same song as his dance for his life in Vegas and it might have been the same solo, I’m not sure. I thought Lauren had the strongest solo of the girls and I was very impressed by Kent’s solo (his “new Billy Belly status” has never been clearer). I enjoyed Jose and Melinda’s solos quite a lot as well.
-The minute Alex’s footage started and up to the last minute on screen was some of the best SYTYCD has ever had to offer. Pure enjoyment. Even though Adam’s “This is your world and I’m just visiting” comment was regurgitated (Marianya reminded me he said it to Ashleigh last season), I think the emotion behind it was truly genuine. How could it not be? You could see the mass hysteria going on in that studio. I think NappyTabs were incredibly smart to forsake an easy route “battle” dynamic for this routine and in doing so, they made this an incredibly memorable routine, one that showcased both of its incredible dancers. If this is the quality of dancing we have to look forward to, I don’t mind *as much* that we’ll probably lose Melinda and be at 2-6 girls and guys.
-You know…some of the problem with this season’s female-male dynamic may originate with the choreographers. Hear me out… I suspect that the choreographers are just plain more inspired by the guys and they’re using the choreography to showcase and protect the guys, yet they’re not doing the same thing for the girls. Especially when you consider the enormous amounts of ballroom that the in-danger and eliminated girls have danced. The ballroom routines usually don’t have intense back stories, are very technically fussy and difficult, usually have less appealing music (hey, I’m considering the types of songs YOU tend to click on) and are a hit-or-miss when it comes to audience appreciation.
-Did you see Legacy on stage with all the dancers at the end? He and Kathryn seemed to have a bit of a reunion.
Well, bring on my heat for all the cranky-puss comments about Ade. I know a lot of you are going to think I’m crazy for my power rankings this week, so time to hear it!