My normal Monday night plans hit a snag last night and left me questioning the Fox network’s thought process. I live on the east coast so normally watch the show at 8 and then have my post up before the end of the night. However, last night Fox decided to change-up the schedule. So instead of SYTYCD there was a benefit concert/fundraiser for the most Louisiana floods, which pushed SYTYCD back to 11pm. I had a little taste of what the west coast deals with when social media is live tweeting…it’s annoying. I would have streamed it online but it wasn’t available in my area. I could rant more but I’ll focus on the final four dancers and how I think the will place in the competition.
I like they decided to switch up the all-stars and maybe they should have done that sooner. All of the dancers did well but there were two that edged out the others. I felt Tate and JT had the best new dances of the night. That salsa was fast and difficult and required a lot of trust on those lifts. I am probably not the only one who held the breath when Jonathan removed his hands during one of those lifts. JT and Marko took on a Bollywood routine and I loved it. I also felt like if Marko had been an original all-star, I think he and JT would have been a great pair.
Now the real question who will win? My thought is that it will come down between Kida and Tate…they have been the most consistent throughout the season. JT and Emma are my wild cards and either of them could find their way in the top 2. JT is the cute lovable kid that you just want to root for and plus having Robert as an all-star I think gives him and edge. Emma on the other hand is just really good in her own style and she deserves some type of award in my opinion. All there is left to do is wait a week to find out who wins.
So now that the Olympics are over we can get back to the competition. I honestly think that the remaining dancers are all fantastic and it’s really hard to pick just one that will win. This week we got to see them dance with their all-stars and paired with each other.
Each of the next generation dancers shine when they are dancing with their all-stars. I feel like three of them stood out the most. Ruby, JT, and Emma.
Ruby: She has probably the most infectious personality and the Jive was the perfect way to show it off. Love seeing Mark Ballas choreographing for SYTYCD again and loved that Ruby teased him about his man bun. Only critique I have is that maybe Paul could have channeled Mark just a little bit more.
JT: This routine choreographed by Al Blackstone might have been my favorite so far that JT and Robert have done together. I can’t help but to smile watching these two together. I do think that JT is slowly turning into Roberts mini me…saw that in his solo. Maddie said it the best, that this dance also explains what this show has been about.
Emma: I’m consistently blown away by her tap skills. It was so great to see Nick Young from season 8 choreographing for the show. SpecTAPular! Thanks Paula for that new word to add to my vocabulary.
Now on to the Next Generation pairings and I think I’ll rank these.
Tate and Kida: Mark again delivers another great routine. I think he turned Kida and Tate into ballroom dancers, they both did a great job. I will probably watch this Paso again and again.
Tahani and Ruby: While this broadway routine was a little bit lack luster for Nigel, I enjoyed it. I really enjoyed the simplicity of the routine and thought that Ruby and Tahani performed it well.
JT and Emma: I really like what Travis brought out in these two. They seemed to have a more maturity to their dancing. However, I think that there is still few things that they still needs to work on.
Unfortunately someone had to leave and Ruby was the one that had the least amount of votes. Sad to see her go but I think she will have a great dance future.
Next week will be the shows 250th show and the Next Generation is taking over the choreographing jobs. I’m not sure about this idea but if they all-stars are allowed to help then it may work. Plus a special performance from Travis Wall and Maddie.
Tonight the top 8 become the top 6…that means there is a dreaded double elimination (the bottom two will go home). To add to this bit of information Cat also said that the show will be taking a two-week break. If I had to guess they are taking the break so that won’t have to compete with the Summer Olympics.
Each contestant had two dances tonight, one with their all-star and one where they were paired off with each other. I’ll be the first to admit that it is kind of hard to critique the dancers when they are dancing with their all-star and in their comfort zone. Each of the top 8 shined in their own style tonight. Emma really stands out when it comes to tap…she is a pro and makes something that is incredibly hard to learn look easy.
When they paired off with each other to take on a dance outside of their specialty, I feel like we saw a few weaknesses start to show. So here’s how I would rank them.
Emma and Tate: Broadway It was a cute routine despite the fact they were supposed to be trouble makers. I feel like these two were the best of the night in technique and performance.
Kida and Ruby: Contemporary I already knew Ruby would be fine taking on contemporary, but I was looking forward to seeing Kida dance. I’m really enjoying watching Kida grow throughout the competition. All he needs is just a little fine tuning (so to speak) and he could make it into the top 3 or 4.
Tahani and JT: Cha-Cha- They both were outside of their style but I thought they managed to pull it off. I didn’t feel like it was uncomfortable to watch like Nigel stated. I give Emma and Sasha major credit for teaching these two.
Jordan and Jake: Hip hop- I thought that these two gave it their all but something just fell flat for me…just couldn’t get into it. They did have that one trick that stood out.
I’ve never really like double eliminations but some how I dislike them even more now when it involves these kids. Unfortunately Jordan and Jake landed in the bottom two and were eliminated from the competition. I’m really going to miss Jake, I thought he would have at least made it to the top 6. So with that I hope the dancers are able to get a little bit of rest in the next two weeks and come back stronger.
Before I could watch tonight’s show, I to catch up on last weeks episode that I missed while I was out-of-town. I have to say I’m impressed not only by the talent but also the work ethic of these kids. Twitch stepped in as a judge since Jason out-of-town. After that fabulous opening number, we learn that each of the dancers were paired up and would perform two dances together, not to mention a small duet with their all-star.
I loved the small duets with the all-stars. I do think Jake and Jenna had the best and quite possibly the cutest one. Kida and Fikshun were a close second. Something I noticed in the last episode and tonight’s that the all-stars (with the exception of the ballroom) seem to pick their mini me’s.
Jordan & Ruby: Afro Jazz and Contemporary
I thought both dances were great. Their contemporary was my favorite of the two dances. I did enjoy Jordan’s reaction when the judges mentioned that the afro jazz was a difficult routine.
JT & Emma: Hip Hop and Broadway
These two made a cute pairing. It was fun to see them working with NappyTabs and I like the candy theme. I think JT just needs a little bit of tweaking when it comes to hip hop.
Tahani & Jake: Contemporary and Jive
I’m glad that they were able to capture the emotion of the choreography they were given. They both seemed genuinely moved by it. Then there was that Jive, that was high energy and so much fun. It allowed them to show off their personalities. Fingers crossed will see more choreography from Emma and Sasha.
Tate & Kida: Hip Hop and Jazz
There isn’t much to say about these two other than they are my top two of the night. Also, Nappy Tabs may have created my new favorite routine of theirs with great props.
Sheaden & Daniela: Cha-Cha and Broadway
I thought they had a good night and that we got to see Daniela shine a little bit more this week than last week. I enjoyed their broadway routine and Fosse is a hard style to learn. Unfortunately, they were also the bottom two dancers.
The judges decided that they would keep Sheaden. It’s a tough decision to make but I will say this about the judges, I think they handle the critiques and letting these kids down easily very well.
Tonight’s show was jammed packed with dance, which is normal for the top 4 performance finale. So each of the top 4 had 4 dances to perform plus a solo. As a viewer it is just a lot to take in, so I’m going to give my thoughts on each dancer and the night they had. Before I get to that just want to say Congratulations to Cat Deeley on the announcement of her pregnancy. Granted she announced this new on Twitter over the weekend and I think Nigel caught her off guard. Hailee Payne (Jazz): Hailee is someone who has really grown on me. When the live shows started we really didn’t know anything about her because she wasn’t really featured in the audition process. It was the robot routine with Virgil that made her a standout. Hailee always seemed to be able to channel the character of every dance she has done. Though for me the Broadway numbers seemed to be her best. I think she could have a career on Broadway.
Virgil Godson (Hip hop): I sure I am not alone in the fact that I have compared Virgil to Fikshun all season. Honestly, I’m a little disappointed that partnership didn’t happen. Virgil truly is just a bundle of joy and I just love watching him dance. He is a fan favorite but I don’t think it will be enough for him to win. However to be the last man standing is a win in my book. Also, he and Josh killed that dance together.
Jaja Vankova (Krump/Animation): Hands down Jaja has been the best female hip hop dancer that the show has had since Comfort. I truly have enjoyed watching her become a chameleon of dance this season. She has taken every challenge this season and has done well.
Gaby Diaz (Tap): It took all season to finally see Gaby do tap number. The dance was amazing and it was nice to see Zack back. All season Gaby has been fantastic and possibly the judges favorite. I think she proved that she is more than just a tap dancer.
So who will win? I got a gut feeling it will be between Jaja and Gaby. It usually a hard decision for me to pick and this season is no different but going on tonight’s performances I think Gaby will the winner but it will be a close call.
So now we get to wait a week to find out who wins season 12 of SYTYCD. I hope I am not the only one that doesn’t want to wait. Also, the fact they are directly competing with the premier of DWTS is not exactly a smart idea. So if you watch both shows make sure you set you DVRs to record on of them.
My favorite part of the season is here…All Stars and solos are back. It’s just something about when the all-stars join the show the dancers step up their game. There are no more saves, so whoever has the lowest votes from each team will go home. Also, there was another injury, this time it’s JJ and her ribs. Before the show gets started, Jennifer Lopez had some news. The winner of this season gets the chance to dance in her Las Vegas show.
Hailee & Brandon: Warren Carlyle (Broadway)
Such a fun, fast paced routine. This is what I like about Broadway numbers. I really can see the Liza Minnelli and Lady Gaga, when it comes to Hailee. It was just another fantastic way for her to show her personality. Side note you can find Brandon dancing in Brittney Spears in Vegas.
Derek & Kayla: RJ Durell & Nick Flores (Jazz)
Okay so not going to lie…I had to re watch this one because I couldn’t take my eyes of Kayla. I sometimes forget who is the one competing. We definitely saw a different side of Derek this week.
Virgil & Comfort: Chris Scott
This was just too cute. Chris Scott does it again…from the music selection to the dancers was just amazing. I love how effortless that Virgil and Comfort made that dance look. Virgil’s personality is infectious (such a goofball)…loved his happy dance with Cat.
Megz & Marco: Ray Leeper (Jazz)
This was another one I had to watch again…this time it was the song choice…it makes me think of “Center Stage” every time.
This was just a simply a fun routine and just makes you want to dance with them. Megz, like Nigel said, stays true to herself which is nice. Anyone else surprised to learn her parents were ballroom dancers.
Edson & Jaime: Travis Wall
Hate that Edson was eliminated tonight…moments like this I really miss the results show. Thankful he left on such a high note. One of the best of the night and Travis deserves to win an Emmy.
Neptune & Jasmine: Pharside & Pheonix
Halloween a few months early? Just a fun concept and good to see Neptune in his element.
Also, Nigel said the wrong dancers name again. This time it was Sasha who didn’t get the credit for dancing “Misty Blue” with Twitch.
Jim & Jessica: Dee Caspary
So weird to see Jim struggle in rehearsals. I’m not sure but maybe the pressure of the competition got to him a little bit. Over it was a beautiful dance but I felt that the story was a little lost…maybe it had something to do with not connecting with his partner. Agreed with everything Jason said.
Jaja & Alex: Nakul (Bollywood)
This was so much fun…especially to see yet another side of Jaja. She is my favorite street dancer and has a really chance of winning.
Gaby & Joshua: Pharside & Phoenix
My favorite of the two Pharside & Phoenix routines tonight. Gaby is the other chameleon on the show. I have a feeling it may come down to Gaby and Jaja in the final two.
Bottom 4: Megz, JJ, Derek and Edson Going home: JJ and Edson
Is there ever going to be a right time to do eliminations? When there is no results show, they have to do what what’s need to make the show work. I’ll admit I like what they did this time around. Due to an injury Jade had to withdraw from the competition, so that gave Curtis and BluPrint a get out of jail free card. The girls on the other hand had to dance their solos. Jenna, Alexis, and Jasmine M all did great solos…my toes hurt just watching Alexis.
The opening number was a great collaboration by Sonya and Chris. Ok now on with the hard part trying to rank these dances.
Makensie & Paul: What a way for a new choreographer to make a statement. The song itself, which I recognize from the musical RENT, sung by the insanely talented Indina Minzel (who played Maureen in RENT) was enough to give me goose bumps. Makensie and Paul dance beautifully. Paul is keeps surprising me, tonight with the amount of emotion he put into this piece. I think it’s safe to say that these two might be the dark horses of the show.
Malece & Marco: Marco stepped in and took Jade’s spot. I’m not sure what Sonya said to Malece but it seems we got to see what potential the Judges see in her. I hope she can keep this improvement up cause she was great last night.
Jasmine H. & Aaron: This Broadway routine felt like a throw back to the old Hollywood days. It really was so much fun to watch. These two are going to be around for a while. Jasmine and her legs for days. Aaron is starting to remind me of Gene Kelly, I’d love to see him recreated one of his dances.
Amy & FikShun: I just can’t thing of one negative thing about these two. The only thing that this paso needed was a little more fine tuning (cleaning).
Mariah & BluPrint: I loved seeing these two in their comfort zone. BluPrint’s personality is slowly starting to show…it just needs to happen faster.
Alexis & Nico: I agreed with most of what the judges said. It’s one of those dances I just like but I don’t have much to say about it.
Jenna & Tucker: Was’t feeling this as much as the Judges were, I do agree that this was more of a jazzy hip hop. I love Tucker and my eyes are usually on him. I not sure why but I just don’t care for Jenna all that much.
Jasmine M & Alan: This dance need more quirkiness from both of the dancers. I saw it in Alan near the end but not sure if it is enough to keep him safe.
Hayley & Curtis: When it comes to the ballroom numbers I always pay attention to what Mary has to say. Curtis did need to be a bit stronger and truly lead his partner. I thought the gave it great effort and danced the samba as best as the could
So who will be in danger in two weeks(thanks Baseball All Star game). Boys Curtis, BluPrint and Alan. Girls Jenna, Hayley and Alexis.
Summary For the finale of So You Think You Can Dance season 8 we give you a super-sized podcast with 15 more minutes of content. We were happy with Melanie’s win and were pleasantly surprised that the top two dancers this season were both women, which has not happened before on this program. The performance episode was not up to the high standards of past seasons which was disappointing for us, but there were some highlights such as Marko and Lauren F.’s wonderful contemporary piece by Tessandra Chavez and the captivating performance by Melanie and Sasha in the second Stacey Tookey routine of the night.
The results show reminded us of many of the great routines from the season, although we were surprised by how the judges picks seemed to place less emphasis on everyone except for Melanie, Marko and Sasha (even Tadd only had one non-group routine repeated). This portion of the show has historically served as a warm-up for the forthcoming tour and features many of the routines that are expected to show up. But here we had many routines that involved all-stars, none of which will likely be on the tour. It was unexpected for the judges picks to lack variety.
We conclude the podcast with a discussion of the show’s production and the effect it’s having on the pacing and the way we get to know the dancers. We pinpoint that the approach towards the show changed in season 6, when they moved to the live show format. At this point the packages became shorter and contained more schtick and the judges comments started having less substance due to the time constraints of a live program. We also discuss the choreographers and that some of them tailor their work to their selected dancers and that others do not and whether this is a fair way of doing things. Finally, we discuss the variety of dancers in the top 20 in later seasons versus the early seasons and the effect this seems to have on the type of choreography we see each week.
Please let us know your thoughts by dropping us a comment here after listening! We love to hear feedback and what you thought of the show. We also encourage you to check out our twitter feed!
We want to thank everyone that has tuned into our podcasts during the course of the season! We’ve enjoyed doing this and its been a learning experience for us! We’re planning to do podcasts for season 9 of So You Think You Can Dance, so check back with us in May 2012. We’re going to continue doing our Big Brother podcasts and will be adding The X-Factor to our weekly discussions when it premieres on September 21st. We are also adding a Week in Review podcast in the fall for all the other shows we watch during that time. So if any of that sounds interesting to you, then follow our blog Reflections on Pop Entertainment and watch for our updates. If you’re only interested in our So You Think You Can Dance material, we’ll see you again next summer!
Episode Length: 44:53
0:00 – Introduction: Congrats to Melanie! Guest judges: Katie Holmes and Kenny Ortega and the choice to have celebrity judges
2:37 – Melanie and Marko’s disco
4:15 – Sasha and Mark’s jazz
5:44 – Tadd and Joshua’s hip-hop
7:10 – Melanie and Robert’s contemporary
8:29 – Sasha and Marko’s broadway
10:46 – Sasha and Tadd’s chacha
12:57 – Marko and Lauren F.’s contemporary
14:36 – Tadd and Melanie’s jazz
16:01 – Melanie and Sasha’s contemporary
18:27 – Marko and Tadd’s gumboot stepping
20:28 – The order of the placing: 2 girls in the top
22:22 – Results show: The new top 20 routine and tap routine
24:28 – Results show: The judges picks were stacked towards Melanie, Sasha and Marko and didn’t seem to be a retrospective of the season
28:58 – Post-season discussion: The direction of production and how it affects the show – pacing in live shows vs recorded shows, an increasing focus on the judging panel, choreographers tailoring their work to the dancers, variety in the dancers in the Top 20 (stacked towards contemporary/jazz now), variety in routine genres (less ballroom now, more contemporary/jazz)
42:34 – Wrap-up: What are your thoughts on our post-season discussion? What we’re going to be doing in future podcasts (Big Brother, The X-Factor, Week in Review)
This is both the easiest and the hardest Power Rankings post I’ve done all season. I’m going to break it down in rounds (solos, All-Stars, contestant).
Round One (Solos)
1. Sasha – While hers and Melanie’s solos were neck and neck, I’m giving this round’s top spot to Sasha because hers was later in the episode.
2. Melanie – As I said, she and Sasha were neck and neck with the strongest solos, but hers was just a bit earlier in the episode and that’s the only reason I’m putting her in second place.
3. Tadd – He uses cool music and a lot of personality and had a cute near run-in with the audience.
4. Marko – His solos are strong, but they use slow music that always sounds the same. His solos never really stand apart for me.
Round Two (All-Star routines)
1. Melanie – Her Stacey Tookey with Robert was a bit later than Sasha/Mark and it was really strong. I thought the choreo was a bit confusing, but Melanie and Robert definitely had a connection.
2. Sasha – Her Sonya Tayeh routine with Mark was probably a bit stronger than Melanie/Robert, but since it was the second routine of the night, I’m putting it in second place.
3. Marko – His Tessandra Chavez routine with LoFro was really, really good and the last of the All-Star routines, but I think the girls have the edge on him because LoFro outdanced him just a bit. Just a bit!
4. Tadd – His Lil C hip hop with Joshua was a bit out of sync and boring. Plus, it was the third routine of the night, so that probably won’t do him any favors.
Round Three (Top 4 partners)
1.Melanie – She and Sasha each had one bad routine, one ok routine and one great routine, but I give Melanie the edge because her worst routine was her first of the night (Disco with Marko). Her okay routine (Broadway with Tadd) was in the middle and her great routine (contemporary with Sasha) was her last routine.
2. Sasha – Her okay routine (Broadway with Marko) was better than Melanie’s okay (also Broadway), but it was her first routine, whereas her worst routine (cha cha with Tadd) was middle. She also ended on a high note (contemporary with Melanie), which makes this kinda hard.
3. Marko – He and Tadd both had their worst routine together and smack dab at the end of the episode. They also both had bad routines with their Top 4 partners, but Marko’s worst was the first routine of the night. His okay Broadway was earlier in the episode, but it was better and suited him just a bit better.
4. Tadd – When he was bad tonight, he was really bad. Horrible cha cha with Sasha, alright Broadway with Melanie and then awful stepping routine with Marko. He was in two of the worst routines of the night. Not so hot.
Winner: Melanie – She’s been slightly ahead of Sasha in popularity all season, at least according to our poll) and was just slightly ahead of Sasha tonight. Her biggest disadvantage is that she hasn’t been out of her style as much as the others and how gross the judge’s favoritism has been all season (not that that’s her fault).
Runner-up: Sasha – It could go either way between the girls, honestly. Her edge is that she overcame a bum partnership to get this far and while she’s always been a great dancer, she’s developed some soft femininity (with the right partners, Twitch, Kent, Mark), she’s stayed fierce.
3rd place: Marko – He’s been more popular than Sasha all season according to our polls, but I think Sasha has edge him out in ability and fight. Especially tonight.
4th place: Tadd – He’s the least popular of the Top 4 (according to our polls) and he was in 2 of the worst routines tonight.
I hope you’ll let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments. How do you think this will go?
And now for your poll (I think I got every possible variation, to be fair):
Summary The top 6 proved to be an interesting week as it wasn’t clear which dancers were going to be in the finals and what two were going to be sent home. It turned out that Caitlynn and Ricky were the ones that had their journeys end, which was predictable but still sad to see. Ricky did well in his contemporary in showing us why he made it as far as he did in the competition and Caitlynn had an excellent night with two solid routines. In another season with a weaker pool of girls Caitlynn may have made it into the finals.
The top 4 makes for an intriguing mix and we go over their performances from this past week. Like last week, we spend some time on Tadd and go over what we liked from him, but that we feel like the choreographers, for better or worse, aren’t challenging him in the same way as the rest of the contestants. Marko, Sasha and Melanie all have been strong the entire season and we’ve loved nearly everything put forward by Melanie and Marko. Any of these four contestants can win the whole win, which is not a normal situation for most SYTYCD finales. Next week should prove to have a gripping conclusion.
We spend a few minutes going over and debunking the “Melanie conspiracy.” We don’t see any evidence for this view and it’s not something we like seeing appear all over the internet, not because we’re Melanie fans but because we like to keep the dialogue about reality competitions honest and based in what we see, not what we imagine.
We wrap up by giving our list of good routines from this season that we’d like to see appear in the finale.
Please let us know your thoughts by dropping us a comment here after listening! We love to hear feedback and what you thought of the show. We also encourage you to check out our blog and twitter feed to keep up to date with us!
Episode Length: 35:11
0:00 – The guest judging by Christina Applegate and Lil ‘C
1:35 – Eliminated: Ricky – Contemporary and Waacking
5:57 – Eliminated: Caitlynn – Samba and Jazz
9:05 – The end of the Tyce kiss of death
10:45 – Top 4: Tadd
15:10 – Top 4: Marko
17:45 – Top 4: Sasha
20:18 – Top 4: Melanie
24:00 – The alleged Melanie conspiracy
27:30 – Who’s going to win overall?
28:15 – The routines we’d like to see reprised in the finale
34:33 – Wrap-up