I’m going to combine my Top 10 performance thoughts and power rankings this week.
Some of you may wonder how I come about my power rankings. Unlike my “thoughts” posts, the power rankings are not based upon my personal preferences. Though, on rare occasion, I have refused to put one of my favorite dancers in the Bottom 3, even though I knew they probably would be. I rank the dancers on my impression of how the performances go over with the voting audience, which takes into account, the dancer’s perceived popularity, the judges’ comments and the live audience reaction. And also, your comments. I take a look at what all of you are saying about the dancers and their performances and I keep that in mind as well.
I gotta say – this is the toughest job, trying to decide who’s gonna be in the bottom and maybe go home, especially this season. But, I’m always up for a challenge, so here I go….
Lauren – She crossed oceans from where she was last week. While her performance wasn’t all that bad last week, her reaction to the judges turned off a lot of people. This week, she threw herself into her performance (not just the moves) and appeared humble and centered when facing the judges. She and Dominic are probably two of the silliest of all the dancers, yet they performed an intense, serious routine with heart and the respect that it deserved. I agreed that there wasn’t much to the “abuse” element of the piece – but I think that was in the choreography. It was Tessandra’s first competition choreography on the show, so she might have been straddling a very fine line. All of the real (forgive me) “punch” to the routine came from Lauren, in my opinion. She was whaling on Dominic. I was super impressed with them both. It was a great routine and Lauren’s got a solid fan base (and the good word of the judges), so I think she’ll be fine. [For those of you who know how bland hip-hop generally is to me, you might be surprised to see me say all this, but there you go.]
Jose – Everybody really seems to love Jose and he kinda won me over with this performance. He’s been one of the weaker dancers in my mind for a while, but I was really charmed and entertained my his Bollywood with Kathryn. They played up how he and Nakul were from such different worlds, but that’s kinda bullsh*t in my opinion. They seemed to understand each other pretty well, especially by the end. Bhangra, which is an Indian club dance style, has a lot in common with hip-hop. So, I think Jose held his own with Kathryn for the most part and particularly presented the character of the piece well. It was joyful, which is what made it so entertaining (much like Kent’s cha cha last week). His one greatest weakness this week was his arms while they were in the air. They didn’t seem to have the strength that they needed, but rather seemed to flap limply at times. But it seriously seems to be a stand-out routine (and it was for me, as well), so I think it is up there as one of the favorite routines. And he’s pretty popular, as far as I can tell.
Kent – This is the same situation as Jose (and Kent’s own performance last week). He drowns whatever weaknesses exist in exuberance and shear entertainment. He’s great. That being said, I think he did a great job with Courtney. I think he does a good job of taking on different characters of being dark and jazzy. And did you hear the audience cheer when they kissed at the end? And that doesn’t hurt, either, it was the last performance, so very memorable in several ways.
Ashley – I would like to put Ashley at the top because she’s quickly becoming one of my favorites. However, I think a lot of people are still on the fence about her, so I’m putting her here, at the top of the middle. I looooved her routine with Mark – I think she’s extremely lucky to have danced with two of the handsomest of the All-Stars already (and two of the strongest and most supportive). I was struck by her chemistry with Mark – apparently, that’s one of her strengths. So while I enjoyed her both last week and this week, I would love to see her dance something different. Maybe hip-hop with Twitch next? That would really keep her sexy partner trend going.
Robert – A lot of people seem to be on the fence about Robert, as well. I adore him. I think he’s wonderful. He had some crazy lifts in this routine with Anya – he got her so high up there and she’s not dramatically shorter than him (well, maybe that’s the heels). I disagreed with completely that Anya ate him up because I felt he met her as an equal in her own specialized style and there were times when he “dominated” as the male partner should in a tango. I think Anya had a point – that while she’s the expert between then, she needed a good partner in order to look as great as she did. If he hadn’t been strong, she would’ve been able to compensate for him, but it probably would have made her own performance suffer.
Alex – I loved this routine. I don’t think it had as much of the things that a lot of the audience look for (story, partnering, kick-ass music), but it did have music that was perfect for it, two phenomenal dancers and a friendly and sweet “anything you can do, I can do better”/battle feel to it. It reminded me of b-boy battles like Jose mentioned. They were doing tricks together, supporting each other and competing against each other – in the Broadway sense, which is a give and take. I thought Alex might be careful not to burn bridges back to the ballet world, but I love that he’s eager to learn whatever he can sink his teeth into and thrilled to be on the SYTYCD stage. And Lauren! Love that girl!
Billy – His krump could have been a lot worse. That’s kind of it for me. I don’t love the style, I don’t adore Comfort and I agree with Nigel that the music is overbearing and repetitive. BUT. It was actually pretty enjoyable. And Billy represented a lot better than I (or anyone, probably) thought he would. But seriously, with his fan base, Billy could drop his partner off the stage and probably be safe. Though, he’s got to have some amazing routines in the next few weeks because I think people are starting to get tired of his (already high level) plateau.
Adechike – He got a lot of flak last week for dancing poorly with a strong partner, great choreography and a phenomenal partner in his style. Yet, he wasn’t in the bottom 3. I think he’ll be there retroactively for last week’s routine, especially since he still paled in comparison to his gorgeous All-Star in his own style. It says something that he’s been lucky enough to get his own style twice with two extremely popular and strong partners and he can’t match them. I think in another season, he would’ve been given time and room to grow. But, in this season, I think he’ll be in the bottom 3. And if he is, I think he may go because of his first two weak performances and the judges will probably want to “match up” the numbers of guys and girls since there’s been outcry against an all-boy, 1-girl season (like American Idol).
Melinda – I love Melinda, but I recognize I’m in the minority here. Apparently. Attractive girls (especially without formal training) have a hard road to travel on this show. The voting block loves gorgeous guys and sometimes supports them longer than their talent deserves, but at the slightest bit of wobble, a lot of the gorgeous girls go. I recognize that Melinda’s one of the least technically strong, in many respects, but we love the “journeys” of the b-boys, don’t we? Why can’t we get behind a gorgeous female tapper who’s trying to learn different styles and kick ass in them? And guess what? She was amazing last night. She had great lines, especially for a “hoofer,” as the judges pointed out. The worst thing about her performance was her costume, which she can’t control. So, I don’t get the Melinda hate, but she’ll probably be here in the Bottom 3. I hope she survives, because I’d especially love to see her dance with Neil. It’d be great to see her dance hip-hop with Twitch.
Cristina – One of our readers said “Cristina just doesn’t do it for me,” and I have to second that emotion. Whereas I don’t get the Melinda hate and feel protective of her cause I wanna see her keep dancing on the show, Cristina is my least favorite of the dancers. She’s the one that feels the most flat and one-note. Her paso with Pasha was alright, but that was mostly due to Pasha for me. Plus, I feel that paso more than any of the other dances uses dramatic lighting and theatrical music/costumes to disguise the sameness of the choreography (often) and the weakness of the dancers. Don’t believe me? There were hardly any close shots of Cristina and Pasha dancing and they were almost all focused in on Pasha’s faces and expression, not Cristina’s. Almost the entire routine was shot in mid to long shots that enabled us to see the large movement and gestures, but nothing refined performance-wise. The last pose was gorgeous of course, which was helped enormously by the lighting. If she’s in the bottom 3 again, there’s a very good chance she’ll be eliminated this week.
So, all that being said, I generally believe in my bottom 3. I think that either Adechike will go home or the judges will give him one last chance (to try a style outside his specialty) and send him home next if he’s in the bottom (again). In which case, Cristina is probably going to be eliminated tonight.
Some last thoughts before I go –
-I’m with a lot of our readers who say that Nigel’s comment to Tyce, “That was jazz, thank you very much, Tyce” was horrifically rude to Travis and he looked so hurt/pissed when they panned to him. I would be, too. Honestly, I loved his routine, so big whoop if it’s not technically jazz. Speaking of Travis, I loved that we could hear him hollering happily at the end of Ashley/Mark’s routine. Love him.
-I love Mia, but she needs to stop making weird noises rather than offering real, solid criticism. She can leave the noises for her personal, private discussions with the dancers, in my opinion. I think they do understand that language of hers, but I think it’d help them more if it was on a one-to-one level rather than while they’re on stage. Also, she is one of the worst for favoritism. She ragged on Melinda’s costume (which she can’t control), and then said to Kent, “Was that Bollywood? I don’t know, but I don’t care.” I get it – I have favorites, too. I’d probably be the same way. But she’s a permanent judge, not an audience member.
-Cat was in fine form tonight. I loved her comments about her massive head (with the hat) and how it’s ridiculous that Kent grew up in the 90s. But, I have to say…her comment about “Would you like to go deeper, Dominic,” disturbed me. As did his hand kind of petting her shoulder while Lauren was standing between them getting her criticism. Loved when she asked if sexy Kent was in there and Kent said, “yeaaaaah.” Lol. She has the best repartee with the contestants – that never changes.
-I’m really, really glad they decided to have the All-Stars stand on stage with the contestants through the criticism and are sorta letting them talk and offer support. It was too weird having them run off stage before we got to catch up with them a little. It’s one of my favorite parts of how the new format is developing, so I hope it continues.
Tell me what you think, as always!