Dizzy Feet Foundation
November 11, 2009 by USA Post
Finally, it’s in the voters’ hands on So You Think You Can Dance, now that pesky baseball is out of the way.
(Just a quick technical note, to get it out of the way: The blogs will be down for maintenance starting around 10 p.m., so while you might be able to read, you won’t be able to comment during the downtime. Sorry for the difficulty; it sure wasn’t my choice of times!)
The stars from last season, who are on tour right now, are in the audience tonight. The tour already stopped in Baltimore, but you can relive the experience in our photo gallery.
They spend some time p**ping the big fund-raiser for the Dizzy Feet Foundation, which you can read more about here.
Karen and Kevin are first. Karen shares that she tried out with her husband, but he got cut in Vegas. Shortly thereafter, they decided to get a divorce. Ouch. Awkward to have to go public with that already. They’re working on the Hustle with Maria Torres. As usual, it kind of feels like Karen is dancing circles around Kevin, though he is definitely there for her on some lifts and tricks. Adam Shankman says they made it work for them, and he disagrees with me and says he noticed Kevin for the first time in this competition. He says he could see their partnership growing. He adds that Karen performed with “wonderful restraint.” Mary Murphy calls it a “Sadie Hawkins Hustle, with the lady leading from beginning to end.” She credits Kevin with his performance. They’re both still on the train. (You know the one.) Nigel Lythgoe says his friends back home must be absolutely shocked and that he himself is absolutely delighted.
Ashleigh and Jakob share things people don’t know about them. Ashleigh says she is a “book nerd” because she got good grades and interned for a congressperson. I find this annoying; real nerds own it, thank you very much. Jakob is really good friends with Jeannine Mason, last season’s winner. They are doing jazz with Mandy Moore, and a cane. I want to like this. Really I do. But the prop usage is just really overwrought and labored. Not like they are having trouble with it, but the way the dance is structured. Adam says Ashleigh absolutely deserves to be on this show, and that it’s been great watching their partnership grow. He found it to be a mature, studied and fiery performance. Mary agrees that it’s a perfect partnership. She, unlike me, loved the prop usage. She calls Ashleigh a chameleon who is getting better every week and says that Jakob is brilliant. Nigel says this comes up to the standard of the table routine with Neil and Sabra. Mmmm … I don’t know about that. That’s my all-time favorite, and this just isn’t.
Pauline and Peter are doing the quickstep (aka the “kiss of death”) with JT and Tomas. Peter says it’s like a duck on water, with the top half of the body kind of still and the feet just going like crazy. The performance feels a little panicky, like they are so focused on getting the feet that they forget the characters a little. It seems like they just have smiles pasted on their faces rather than any real interaction. Adam welcomes the new choreographers and praises their adorable routine. He says they blew past the technical missteps with lots of character and performance and charisma. Hmm, not sure I’m in the same frame of mind. Mary says she expects a trainwreck with the quickstep, but she thinks they pulled it off. But she thinks the performance was great and full of joy. Nigel says it was not technically perfect, especially the running steps, but he says he didn’t care because the performance was so amazing. I’m feeling like I’ve lost my mind because I felt like the characters weren’t really there! But hey, it’s not up to me or the judges. It’s up to the voters.
Kathryn and Legacy have Broadway with Andy Blankenbeuhler. It’s a very fun routine, very 1950s and cute. It is fast, which the dancers indicated they were struggling with a little in rehearsal, but in performance they seem to have it down. Adam loves the routine, but he isn’t sure what the deal was with Kathryn’s character. He didn’t get that she was angry with Legacy, but more about being cute. Still, though, “there was no problem.” He says there’s no way Legacy should have been able to get through that, but he totally did. He gives him a note to watch some classic dancers for hand technique. Mary thinks it was missing just a little chemistry and that Kathryn got a little lost because Legacy is growing so fast week to week. (Side note: I wish she would stop calling people “brother.”) Nigel says he was a little disappointed in Kathryn, like it was a little juvenile compared with her past performances. Regarding Legacy, he says it’s like the show is an “alien transmogrifier” turning street dancers into complete dancers.
Channing and Victor are a new couple, and they are doing contemporary with Stacey Tookey. The dance is about a couple in a struggle in their relationship. It’s to “Be Be Love Love” by Rachael Yamagata, a song I literally cannot listen to without crying, so I am kind of already emotionally moved even before they are dancing. But they do really well, especially as a new couple with such an intense story to try to tell. It helps, of course, that it is in their style. But it’s just lovely. Adam says this partnership is going to reinvigorate them back into the competition (his weird wording, not mine). He says Victor brought out some softness in Channing and that they both had quality of movement and emotion. “Good job!” Mary says they were beautiful together and that it was tremendous. She says it didn’t quite take her to a level where it touched her soul, though. Nigel says he wasn’t emotionally carried away by them, but technically, he was. He wanted more from them, though, since it was their style, and next week, they won’t be in their style so it will be tougher.
Ellenore and Ryan are doing hip-hop with Lil C. That is the shortest sentence that Lil C has ever been featured in. Ryan struggles with putting away his proper, ballroom-tutored side to get the appropriate swagger. In the performance, I think it’s clear that Ryan’s been trying, but his comfort zone is just more dignified, and that keeps kind of rising to the surface now and again. But entertaining, they are. Adam wonders who was more scared, Ryan or Lil C, when they saw who they were working with. He says it’s a little hard because they are so nice and Lil C likes to get dirrrrtay. He says, though, that Ryan is the most transformed dancer of the night, crediting him for being able to open his chest and to get up and down from the floor so quickly. “It was not great, but it was really good,” he closes. Mary says it wasn’t great, but it was good and impressive. Nigel, however, doesn’t think it was good at all, that the style didn’t suit them, and neither of them came up to it. He adds that it must have killed Ryan because he seems like someone who needs to be good at everything he does.
Mollee and Nathan drew salsa for the night, and they are working with Gustavo Vargas, a new choreographer on the show. They are doing more of a club salsa. The routine is really interesting — there are some slowed-down a fluid parts that lead into some of the faster parts, and these two cute little-kid-seeming dancers manage to grow up a little more. It’s really fun, though I think they lose their synchronicity a couple of times. Adam tells the audience to get ready to boo. He says it was a bad luck of the draw because it exposed all of their weaknesses, but every other week they were fantastic. He also thinks they will be OK because they are fan favorites. Mary says it wasn’t sexified, it was french fried, but they are still the dream team. She doesn’t think Nathan was suave enough and Mollee just looked uncomfortable. Nigel says it’s a sobering night for a lot of the dancers because weaknesses are getting exposed. He says they started out walking on the wrong feet and it stayed off, plus their chemistry was missing. I’m not a dance expert, so I didn’t see as much of the trouble (until they put it in slo-mo and showed it off). I didn’t hate it as much as the judges did.
Noelle and Russell close the show with an African jazz routine with Sean Cheesman, in which Russell is a frog and Noelle is an African princess. It’s so fast, so interesting, so fun, and they shine where some of the other couples have faltered. I wouldn’t have known he was supposed to be a frog without Sean saying it. Adam says it was a curious blend of techniques and lot of joy and character and story to sell with the audience. Mary says it was crazy good and starts talking really loud. She calls Russell the king of Afro-jazz, and then the hot tamale train comes a-screamin’! I want them to wrap this up so I can post it before the blog maintenance starts. Come on, people! Nigel wants Sean to come back with more because he loved it (I’m kind of feeling for Gustavo). He says Russell is a star of this season, no question, and he’s so happy Noelle scraped by this week.
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