So You Think You Can Dance: Top Twelve Performance Show, 7/13/11

E: And what have we learned tonight, fellow dance addicts?  These kids aren’t quite ready to do two partnered dances in one week.  Almost no one managed to get through without criticism, not even the beloved Melanie and Marko. In other non-news, we have yet another random celebrity with dubious to non-existent dance credentials acting as a guest judge.  Ah well.  At least they’re entertaining, these comedians with Broadway ties.  But why am I talking about the judges?  Let’s get on to the dancing!

When Cat walks into view, Mr. E’s did a fair imitation of a cartoon wolf howl.  “Wow, she looks awesome.”  I thought her smoky eye makeup was a little too intense, but I love love loved her long sleek curls and her fabulous fitted frock, two tones of silver spangles tracing a pattern under a sweetheart neck and itsy bitsy little spaghetti straps.  It fit like a dream, just ridiculously flattering.  And – surprise! – the bottom featured a swirl of white feathers.  Well done, Cat!  The dancers twirl about in pairs.  The only thing that sticks with me is that Sasha’s got something silver stuck to the side of her head, some sort of elaborate design in glitter.  When they’re all done, Cat introduces the two guest judges for tonight; the glorious Sonya Tayeh, and Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson.  Yes, really.  It seems he spent some time on Broadway, and three years dancing at a theme park, a qualification that puts Carmen Electra’s “Miss Dance Ohio” title to shame.  He’s wearing a dapper little polka dot gray suit (genuinely dapper, I swear) and he and Cat banter adorably.  I’m outraged and entertained at the same time.

With only the tiniest of rehearsal packages, we learn that Sasha and Alexander will start the night in the spot of doom (hmm – trying to get rid of Alexander before the top ten, are we, Nigel?) with a Tony and Melanie paso doble.  It’s a battle of love and hate, male and female, set to the strains of Taylor long and Rick Powell’s “Alley Dash/March of the Trolls” (March of the Trolls?  Really? I won’t ask.)  The piece starts with a stark, fierce pose.  They’re both in black- he’s got on a short sleeves shirt, vest and pants, and she’s got on long tight sparkly pants, a dark, dazzling bra and a fringed silver shrug.    It’s crazy fierce, and they strike fantastic poses throughout, in between stomping and thrusting and pushing each other around.  Very paso, very angry, very passionate.  I love it.  Alexander grips Sasha’s throat, but she tosses his hand away.  At the end, she stalks away from him,  then changes her mind and plants on one him.  Woah.

Mary’s got her hand to her mouth in shock.  Nigel needs to know if the kiss was choreographed.  Sounds like no.  He says the routine plays to brilliant Sasha’s strengths, but that for once, Alexander kept up with her.  His aerial cartwheel was a thing of beauty. Mary calls for an Ole! from the audience.  She says she’s never seen a girl do the leg crawl that the two did toward each other, and that it reveals a whole new area of growth for the paso as a dance; the girl can be the matador as well as the cape, can be the bull, can be anything.  She calls it a breakthrough dance for Alexander.

Jesse thought it was highly dramatical, and informs us that during rehearsal (I love when the judges talk about that, I really do) Sasha’s bikini top kept falling off “as bejewelled bras are wont to do.”  Sasha’s a pillar of strength, but Alexander’s right there with her.  Sonya – surprise, surprise, is all about strength in women.  She’s like the anti-Mia that way (in that Mia prefers male dancers because the girls aren’t always athletic enough for her).  She says she doesn’t always trust Alexander’s partnering, but she loved it.  Alexander steps in to mention that the dance is dedicated to a friend of Tony and Melanie’s who is fighting cancer, to which I say, God bless, and may you stomp the hell out of whatever tumor is dogging you.

This might have been the point where Cat casually mentions that we have 12 routines tonight. Damn.

Next up, Jordan and Tadd in their promised Travis Wall contemporary routine.  He promises to highlight their strengths.  He went into the rehearsal with the tiny seed pearl of an idea – Jordan is a vulture, stalking Tadd as he stumbles around in the desert, dying.  The music is “Brotsjor” by Olafur Arnaldis, which sounds like what you’d think from the name – very Scandinavian and dark and portentous.  Jordan’s wearing a fabulous dark dress with enormous feathers, with feathers circling her wrists as well, and her hair’s in a ponytail that sticks straight up.  Tadd, happily, wears only pants. He’s lying on his belly, twitching to the strong regular beat of the music – though when I say twitch, it’s but a poor expression for the way he’s shooting up off the floor.  She moves like a bird, only now that Nigel pointed it out,  I’m kind of annoyed with her just sticking her leg up all the time. We know you’re insanely good at that.  It’s ceasing to be a strength, honey, and I can’t help wondering why Travis didn’t give her more varied choreography.  Still, that’s nitpicking; when Tadd struggles to his feet, grapples with her, and snaps her neck, it’s a surprising and stunning development.  Nice work!

Cat jokes that Jordan’s her evil twin, gesturing their contrasting feathered ensembles.  Mary thought it was beautiful, dark and magnificent, and insists she’s going to stop claiming it’s a surprise that Tadd’s good at everything. That’s right, Mary; we all know better now.  Jesse makes me snarf  by proclaiming that Travis took the old cliche “vulture stalks boy, boy almost succumbs to vulture, boy kills vulture” plot and made it feel like new.  And then he quotes another famous FOX reality show judge, barking that Tadd is “in it to win it!”  I love your grasp of low culture, Jesse.  Cat, on the other hand, says that makes him sound presidential, which baffles me.  Sonya asks Cat if it’s okay if she swears.  Hee.  Then  she says that Tadd and Jordan are unstoppable (which, considering that they’ve twice hit the bottom three, is contrary to fact).  Nigel calls it a happy little story of Thanksgiving, and loved the way Travis incorporated breaking moves for Tadd.  I’m sure that’s why he wanted to work with them, Nigel – such a fun tool in the choreographer’s tool box, Tadd is.

Next up, Ricky and Ryan with a Spencer Liff Broadway routine.  Ooooh, I love Spencer Liff!  His idea is that suave Ricky, waiting for his girl, imagines Ryan walks out of a poster.  Why do I feel like we did this with Neil and Lauren last season?  The look here is much more Rat Pack/Breakfast at Tiffany’s, though; Ricky’s in a single breasted suit and a fedora, and Ryan’s in full on Audrey Hepburn mode, with her hair up, a neat little black dress with a slit thigh, and a cigarette on one of those long slender holders.  Ricky expresses concern in the rehearsal package that he’s too goofy to pull off the suave character, and his fears are well founded in reality.  He’s not believable for a second. Ryan vamps it up, and I like the dancing.  They’re so well matched, and achieve such great unison with their long limbs.  But eh.  What makes something Broadway isn’t even the physical style as the acting, the clarity of the storytelling, so while the choreography is there, the routine isn’t.

Cat throws the ball to Jesse (“you’ve been on Broadway“) and he reluctantly agrees with me.  Actually, he liked it less than I did.  It was too muted, it didn’t sparkle.  He feels guilty saying it, but he does enjoy being booed.  Sonya, too, receives her first boos for telling them they question the dance too much.  Nigel tells them that they lost the style, that it was a simple routine with had to be carried by a particular flavor, and they didn’t give it.  This isn’t going to keep you out of the bottom three, he warns.  Ouch.  Mary agrees that they lost the style of the piece after the first 30 seconds (odd, because it was the beginning I objected to the most) and then they just looked uncomfortable.  Cat, the Ceasar Flickerman of So You Think You Can Dance, comfortingly insists that they’ll knock ’em dead in the next round.

I wasn’t sure we were going to see any more pair routines from Christopher Scott after his disastrous first show, but here he is again, with a hip hop routine for Caitlynn and Mitchell.  Well, cool!  I’m happy to see them do something different.   The idea?  It’s something about bring attention to the Invisible Children – child soldiers from Northern Uganda.  Gulp.  How on earth do you do that?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled it’s not another thwarted love/zombie routine, but no one’s really explaining how this is going to work.  Everyone’s sporting “Invisible Children” t-shirts, and indeed, the costumes for the performance are just that, white tanks with “Invisible Children” blocked out on them in black, and full black pants.

So, how does it work?  The music is Lupe Fiasco’s “Break the Chain,” which seems promising as a theme (and also promise the Caitlynn and Mitchell run around a lot, pumping the air with their fists, holding their stomachs to express their anguish, then reaching out to express their desire for salvation.  There’s a lot of unison work which is at times mildly but at other times badly out of sync (particularly the ending).  It didn’t have the snap I wanted; it seemed aimless. To express the frustration of the children, or the frustration of those of us who can’t help them?  Would it have been better with a longer explanation, if there’d be in a longer rehearsal package?  I mean, how DO you dance in a non-literal manner about child soldiers?  Lots of bundled up good intentions, but unfocused.  Half their fault, half Christopher Scott’s.

Sonya cries that she loves Caitlynn and Mitchell and Christopher Scott, but it just doesn’t work. Because, let’s face it, it didn’t.   She thinks the lack of unison obscured the story, although personally I think even if they’d performed it perfectly, the story wasn’t there.  Nigel blathers about abductees in the Congo (is Uganda in the Congo?)  and how the story was just too big for what they could do.  And they needed to put in more time in front of the mirror, frankly, working on the unison thing.  Ouch.  Mary tries to buck them up, saying they commanded out attention.  I sort of agree with that, I guess, but I think they came up more than a tiny bit short.  Jesse tells them that they have the power of a mack truck when he’s a  mere tricycle (it always has to be about you, doesn’t it, Jesse?)  and says he’s too ignorant to understand the routine.  Just a dense dude with a microphone.  Which is sort of half of us out here on the internet, frankly, but when the intent of the dance is to communicate, it shouldn’t require a degree to get the point across.  On the other hand, perhaps lots of people who didn’t even know that there are child soldiers in Africa now, and that’s something.

No story, just dance: that’s what’s behind Louie Van Amstel’s tango for Melanie and Marko.  Ah, I’m so glad they’ve got a totally different style to do!  Excellent.  But, ugh.  WHY, why, can they not dress them in other colors?  Melanie’s in full length maroon lace, very fitted to her torso but flaring out below her waist, with a high slit and low back, and Marko’s in a charcoal colored suit.  “Triptico” by the Gotan Project sets the tune.  And, huh.  Some parts of it are fabulous, and it’s mostly the slow parts, like when Marko lowers Melanie so her leg is hangs over the stage.  I love the way she oozes across the floor in the opening seconds.  But there’s a combination of slow and quick parts, and the quick parts seem odd, and the long twirling movements… I don’t know.  I’m eons away from an expert, but there seems something funny about her posture.  It’s making her neck look short where it ought to look lengthened, something tense in her shoulder, and when Marko whips her around, it’s not looking intentional.  I’m stunned.  I mean, some parts of it were really really good, but it’s a far cry from their usual standard.  Let’s face it, have we cared about a couple this much since Katee and Joshua?  I don’t think so.

But before I can write the routine off, the closing trick, where she shoots through his legs on her back, flips over and rockets back through facing the other way? Unbelievable!  Boy, did they end on the right note.

This was your toughest challenge yet, Nigel believes (duh), but thinks they’ve taken some pills from that movie Limitless because this was a thousand times better than the dress rehearsal.  Wow.  Mary gives us a little dissertation about the dance, and how Louie’s given them an American Tango, which incorporates the fast and slow styles of the standard and the Argentine. There were a few awkward shapes, but it’s night and day from the dress rehearsal. Damn, now I wish I’d seen the dress rehearsal!  It must really have been terrible for them to get this much of a break!  After pointing out Mary’s resemblance to Marie Osmond (unchallenged), Jesse praises Melanie and Marko as a couple, completely ignoring the dance in front of him.  They have that indefinable It factor, and they should enjoy themselves.  You make me lose my breath every time, Sonya coos, with your conviction and your discipline.  Every step comes from your soul.  They’re timeless dancers and they make her shiver.

You know, you can really just tell that doing the two dances has not been a good thing for the quality of tonight’s performances, even when the judges love the dancers too much to actually judge them.  Also, and I am just going to say this now, I will be so mad if Marko and Melanie end up in a variation of red black and white for their final routine.  Really really mad.

Clarice and Jess get kiss of death Christopher Scott for a lyrical hip hop routine about a girl who won’t believe she’s pretty and the guy who’s desperately trying make her see herself for who she really is.  (Or what her outside really is, since obviously she IS really pretty.)  They’re dancing to Boyce Avenue’s cover of the Bruno Mars hit “Just the Way You Are,” a slower, piano driven, less peppy version of a terrific song.  This song, by the way, always makes me think of a couple who goes through this debate all the time.  I don’t want to make you uncomfortable, but you know who you are!

Clarice stands in front of a vanity, looking at herself, upset, while Jess seems to be painting on the other side.  She’s wearing casual clothes in black and pink, capris and granny boots, and he’s in a blue shirt and a very odd cap.   It turns out that Jess is pretty credible as a b boy.  I suspected he’d be good because of their routine last week, a hard hitting contemporary with quick stops like hip hop, but I’m not prepared for the tricks.  Really, I like it a lot.  They sync up beautifully, and they do these amazing spins as mirror images, which could be even harder than regular synchronization. Really, a lot of fun.  Christopher Scott, you genius at working with large groups, you’ve finally pulled out a pair routine that works.

The subject matter – insecurity – actually chokes Mary up a bit. Of course any woman working in Hollywood would understand the impulses here.  She thinks the song should be an anthem – does she know how popular the original version was, I wonder?  She praises Jess and Clarice for the way their swag and pulse matches up so beautifully. I have to agree.  Jesse proposes that he and Clarice leave their respective boyfriends and get married.  To each other.  (We don’t get to see him, but Clarice is super thrilled that her guy is in the audience, which is sweet.)  Then he says that one of his biggest reasons for wanting to do the show is to meet Jess, because he is that much of a fan boy.  Damn.  Sonya grins at the adorableness of it all, and tells them they slayed it.  I love her presence, I really do.  She’s this sort of frightening looking sunbeam.  Nigel loved the bounce and resistance, and then tells Christopher Scott that this is what he wants, not some crap about starving kidnapped children in Africa.  Scott nods in the audience, his face a blank.  “A triumph, my friends,” Cat sums it up.

And now we’re back to the beginning; Sasha and Alexander have a jazz routine from Tyce.  The theme?  Life.  It’s just life.  Er, thanks.  That helped.  It’s less specific than the whole child soldier thing, but it’s also really big and unwieldy.  He wants them to put all their pain and passion into it.  And if people don’t like it, Sasha shrugs, that’s life.

So obviously they’re dancing to “That’s Life,” though since we’ve already done Sinatra tonight it’s an Aretha Franklin version.  Cool. Alexander’s in black again, and Sasha’s in a dress with a white top and a layered, knee length skirt in sparkly black or midnight blue, I can’t tell.  There’s a street lamp, sitting in a pool of light.

The dance is exuberant, passionate.  Sasha and Alexander fling themselves around the stage, powerful and expressive.  It’s athletic and gorgeous, sometimes jazzy and bendy and deep, sometimes light and airborne, always vivid.  There’s a cool assisted crab walk, and some sexy bits, and this neat lift where Sasha waves the flats of her feet in the air, and I love it like crazy.   Something wonky happens at the end, which I can’t figure out – are they too flingy?  Was part of that not supposed to happen?  Blame it on the lamp post, Cat says.  When all else fails, blame it on the lamp post.

Jesse starts to lose his focus here, but is excited because he thinks this routine is better than their hip hop, which he didn’t think was possible.  Also, will Sasha say hi to Natalia for him?  Because he’s a fan.  A superfan, Cat suggests.  And yeah, you can really tell he watches the show, so at least there’s that about having a non-professional at the table; you know that he wouldn’t have commended Chris for his work in the woodpecker routine.  Still wishing she could swear, Sonya’s full of the best thoughts.  Jesse thoughtfully bleeps for her when she says “Tyce is the ____.”  Cute.  Sasha makes a hand heart at the choreographer.  Tonights level of performance is what Sonya’s been praying and hoping for all season.  Nigel pulls no punches, telling Alexander that Sasha’s been carrying him up to now.  But not tonight!  And it’s so true.   He’d have been gone weeks ago if they’d ever gotten the chance.  Heck, I think he’d be gone this week if they still got the chance, but I can’t imagine why they would.  Can anyone top this pair of routines?  I doubt it.   Mary agrees that it’s a breakthrough night for Alexander, that he’d been too tight, too perfect until now.  I think they’ve owned the night so far.  The Mallory family cheers mightily from the audience.

The last we’ll see of Jordan and Tadd together is a Spencer Liff routine, a Sleeping Beauty story with an comic edge, where Tadd has to wake Jordan with a kiss.  Man, they’re on a bed again?  Spencer notes that Jordan is not bendy enough to do the things he expected her to, and Tadd’s getting walloped.

Instead of a mattress, Jordan begins the routine on a clear acrylic table,  dressed in a punked out tutu of purple and teal, with a black bustier.  Tadd, who delays kissing her to mime spraying breath freshener in his mouth,  looks like a pirate in a long tailed vest with studs on the front lapels.  I don’t love the look.   I like the choice of “Out tonight” from Rent immediately, but as the routine goes on, it feels like there’s less and less to it.  I do love the way she rolls up off the table from her belly to a standing position, but somehow the whole thing doesn’t come together for me.  It was supposed to be whimsical, clearly, but it didn’t get there. Again, I think it might be the acting – it’s just not exuberant, not like what we’ve just seen, and it suffers by comparison.  Wow. I can’t even think of a Spencer Liff routine that’s missed before, and tonight there were two.

Sonya tries to be sunshine, saying she loves Jordan and Tadd and Spencer, but she was underwhelmed.  “Awkward!” she jokes – but it just wasn’t up to the level that she knows they’re all capable of.  Nigel feels it should have been quirkier, sillier – which, exactly.  It was the character that was lacking, the bit they inject into the dance by feeling it the way the choreographer intended.  Mary calls it cotton candy and says it didn’t make the grade.  Wow.  Those are harsh words, Miss Mary Murphy.  Jesse thought the dance and the costume and the music and the story didn’t mesh, and while I can see where the costumers were going, I can’t help but agree.

And the question on everyone’s mind is; can Ryan and Ricky “redeem” themselves and stay out of the dreaded bottom three with a Louie Van Amstel chacha?  Louie thinks he’s got a routine that will do it.  It’s all sexy fire.  If they can be hot enough, it’ll keep them out.  Ricky mimes train noises, saying he wants onto Mary’s train.  Er, or something. So are they hot enough?

Ryan’s dressed in a crimson ballroom leotard with layers of fringe across her lower half; Ricky’s in a matching red/orange shirt.  They’re dancing to “Tonight (I’m Loving You)” by Enrique Inglesias with DJ Frank E.  I feel like Ricky’s arms look odd, and that Ryan’s not full committed, or just not naturally slinky or something, but I’m so impressed with their footwork in the unison section, those long legs flashing in tandem.  They’ve got the same flow.  The end is ridiculously sexual – she wraps her legs around his waist, then he falls to his knees and she lays back so her head touches the floor.  Oh my!  Let’s fan ourselves. Or, you know, not.  The end bit didn’t seem earned to me.  I never for one second felt actual heat between them.

Nigel loves Ricky, but not Ryan.  Ouch.  Mary puts Ricky on the hot tamale train, but not Ryan.  Really?  His feet and hips looked great to me, but his arms?  Was I the only one who saw that?  Jesse and Ryan flirt with each other, and then he tells Ricky it was his best performance of the season.  Wow, clearly I am not seeing what they’re seeing.  I love Sonya, though, because while she does praise Ricky, she talks to Ryan about how the pressure has gotten to her and how she just has to let go of that. “Does that make sense?” She’s asked that several times already, but even though she’s overusing the phrase, I really like her for caring whether her very clear critiques make sense to the dancers.  She rocks.

Next up on the Redemption Express are Caitlynn and Mitchell with a jazz piece.  Travis envisions Caitlynn as a 70s rock star and Mitchell as the lover she’s just found out is married.  Oh no you didn’t!  The rehearsal footage (which features Robert Roldan, woohoo!) focuses on the piece which begins with a slap; Caitlynn has a lot of trouble bringing herself to actually make contact.  But she’ll do it, by golly, if Travis has to act like a fool all day to get her there.

And she does indeed let out a ringing slap at the start of Janis Joplin’s classic “Piece of My Heart.” She’s in a ridiculously sexy white (or pale pink?) bustier with thigh highs and boots, with huge tousled hair, and Mitchell’s got on a leather vest, white t and black pants.  There are fantastic lifts, including one where she slides down into a split, and a lot of tandem leaping.  In fact, there’s sort of a repeat of last week’s amazing tandem leap and roll.  It’s good, but the partnering isn’t as effortless as last week. It’s all sexy “love you hate you” stuff, and it’s good.

In a funny little voice, Mary tells them it was “slightly naughty!”  She loved the intensity.  Was it really a real slap?  Yeah, says Mitchell, but I figure I owe her because of her nose from a few weeks back.  Jesse jokes that they should dance in a forest like that, least they set fires.  Sonya things that Caitlynn’s ridiculously hot, but that Mitchell’s partnering sometimes looks like work.  Yes.  Exactly.  Funny that it was so seamless last week, yet you can see the labor this time.  Well.  Maybe not weird, since they had half the time to devote to the routine.  Nigel finishes things off by saying he’s not going to compliment Caitlynn for fear of being called a perv, but instead will tell her that he’d prefer she focus on her partner instead of the audience.  Hmm.  I didn’t notice that, and that’s something that generally bothers me.

For their last appearance as a couple (sob!) Marko and Melanie have a contemporary routine (yay!) by Dee Caspary (yay!).  The idea is – and you know Dee always has to have a prop – Melanie’s yearning toward the light, but Marko shies away from it.  Be it “taking their relationship to the next level” or whatever, it’s all about fear and yearning. Sounds good to me!

Even better?  They’re not wearing red black and white!  I never thought I’d be so excited to see taupe in my life.  Marko’s in a white-ish t and grey pants, and Melanie’s wearing a beige halterneck with a ruffle in the back on the neck, and a tiered taupe skirt.  The muted tones are a really nice change.  There’s a lone lightbulb hanging over the stage, low, and it doesn’t look as weird as I expect.   The song is “Skin and Bones” by David J. Roch (and, can I say, why with all these ridiculous “featuring” titles where you get 4 names of people singing the song, does this turn out to be a duet?  and we never the woman’s name? not cool, Roch, not cool) which I’ve never heard but I like very much.  Because I pretty much like any music that Dee Caspary likes.  I wonder if he’s ever posted playlists on itunes.  And if he hasn’t, maybe he will?

Anyway.  It’s frickin’ gorgeous. I mean, there’s nothing to say. It’s everything you love Melanie and Marko for, sinuous and striving and failing and emotional and real and perfect.  Repeatedly, she reaches for the light, and they twist over each other as he pulls her back.  At the end, you think he’s finally reaching, too, but it’s only reaching for her hand to pull it back in.  It’s eloquent, without saying a word.  Honestly, we didn’t even need an explanation of it to begin with; the longing and the frustration are that clear.

Jesse reads the goosebump brail on his arm.  (I like that thought. I’m over his cleverness, but I like that.)  He dubs it the Moth dance, which is perfectly on target, even if I am over him.  He’s just so pleased to even contribute that much.  It’s better than the statue dance, which he didn’t think was possible. Sonya says she’s grateful they’re the future of dance, but paradoxically, after that monstrous compliment, begs them to stay humble. Nigel hates the idea of breaking them up, because their partnership is too magical.  Loves Dee’s concept of the moth to the flame (which I don’t think was really Dee’s concept, actually) and loves the way it all flowed until it didn’t seem like choreography but an honest expression of feelings, the emotion of the moment made flesh.  Mary, too, is devastated by the thought of breaking them up.

The final routine of the night is Jess and Clarice’s to perform; it’s a Melanie and Tony ‘rock and roll’ jive. How fun!  We get a great moment of Melanie, in the studio, ranking on Jess.  “Is that how high you can kick?”  It’s clear she’s challenging him to do better.

And do better he does! They dance to “Aint’ Nothing Wrong with That” by the delightful Robert Randolph and the Family Band – perfect music to dance to and get your heart racing.  He’s wearing black plants and a black short sleeve button down, and she’s got on a froth lilac concoction with an gorgeous asymmetrical feather bottom.  It’s fast, it’s fun, it’s athletic, and it’s hard on the beat.  I love their speed and their force of attack, and the way they’re so wedded to the music.

“I’m happy to see you got the memo about the frock,” Cat jokes. There really have been a lot of feathered or fringed bottoms tonight (not to mention Sasha’s shrug).  Sonya just loved the routine.  Nigel admits to being nervous about the lifts (no doubt because even in heels, Jess is shorter than Clarice) and didn’t think it had enough energy.  What?!  Where were your eyes, Nigel?  Good Lord, they just exploded out of the gate!  If they were any more energetic – well, insert your own cliche here.  Blown up my tv?  Rocketed into outer space?  Fallen through the floor?  Also, Nigel doesn’t think it’s going to bring in the votes.  Really?  The studio audience loved it.  Well, anyway, we’ll find out soon enough.  Mary loved Jess’s insane leg kicks (looks like the tough love worked, Melanie), but thought Jess wasn’t sufficiently joyous, though Clarice had it all.  Really?  Jesse finishes the night by telling Jess that he wishes he could give him the keys to Broadway.  Unfortunately he’s not the mayor of Broadway (that’s Neil Patrick Harris, of course) but perhaps NPH will do it when he guest judges later on.  Arg.  When’s Gaga showing up again?  Anyway.  Then Jesse surprises me by mentioning how the Emmy nominations come out tomorrow morning, and it’s criminal that Cat’s never gotten one because she’s the best in the biz, and I could not agree more, and suddenly, I love him.

And there we stand.  Did you love or hate Jesse Tyler Ferguson?  Did you think two routines were too much?  And who the heck will they send home?  Off to my dvr right now to find out…

One comment on “So You Think You Can Dance: Top Twelve Performance Show, 7/13/11

  1. the presidentrix says:

    I’m sorry to report, E, that I loved JTF! I can totally understand objecting to the very idea of judges who aren’t sufficiently trained in dance. However, with Sonya – whose critiques seemed honest and fairly specific, while still so diplomatic and not at all heartless – around as well, and with Nigel and Mary (generally) being so candid for the night, I didn’t mind that they left a spot open for the mere superfan. Maybe I end up identifying with the lay perspective, since I never manage to notice anything like posture and whatnot – and sometimes even end up thinking I saw something going wrong in the routine that the judges liked! But mostly he just made me laugh over and over. And he and Cat are so adorkable together.

    As for any other comments, gee, there was so much going on!

    1. I was almost disappointed that the vulture routine thrilled me so – though at least it keeps Tadd in the competition; there are actually so many dancers this season that I can’t wait to see with a new partner, just to find out what develops. (Not so much M&M, of course, but other pairings haven’t been as magical). On the other hand, I also noticed exactly what you said about Jordan’s high kicks. Most of her power in the routine came from the music and that one maneuver – the one maneuver Nigel just complained last week that she does over and over again! I was surprised he didn’t mention that.

    2. Moth dance! What a wonderful pair they are; they both have this irrepressible, whimsical earnestness about them. I hope they get matched together at random before the season is out.

    3. I didn’t necessarily recognize the nuances of style that you did, but was really impressed with Jess this week, especially in the mirror/painting routine. He and Clarice worked wonderfully well together in that. I’m still eager to see Clarice with a new partner, however. She has a stateliness that’s just not Jess’ idiom, making them kind of an odd couple. I wonder about maybe Clarice and Tadd? Or Mitchell? Anyway, since Jess is so obviously talented, I’m glad that he seems to be truly coming along. I don’t know that I want him to win (right now I can’t imagine anybody but Melanie or Sasha winning), but I’m excited to see how much he can grow.

    4. I thought there was something terrifying about Ryan’s cha cha. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I found it alarming. I wondered whether it’s possible for a person’s legs to be too long for ballroom!

    5. In one of their two routines, Alexander did this move… which I will unhelpfully be totally unable to describe! that just made me go wow wow wow, I’ve never seen that before! I was excited that they picked that particular clip to replay at the end when they show the phone #s!

    6. It’s too bad that the Sleeping Beauty dance didn’t work. It was a cute, cute idea, and the music choice was fun, but I didn’t understand it once it was underway. Maybe if there had been more contrast or interaction between the two characters – like if the Prince had seemed surprised that he’d just awoken a punk Princess who wants to run about town like a crazy person? :o)

    7. Sonya has such an amazing presence. I didn’t expect someone with such a manic style to give off such a sense of charity and calm.

    8. And lastly, SO HAPPY FOR CAT!!! It really is beyond all reason that’s she’s never been nominated before! My sister told me who usually gets nominated, and as far as I can tell, what most of them contribute to their respective shows is either a) calmly enunciating or b) being actively annoying. But Cat comes across as everything you could possibly want in a host – or a friend! – and everything that most people could never dream of consistently managing simultaneously: cleverness, charm, sweetness, good cheer… being drop dead gorgeous. WHAT MORE COULD THEY POSSIBLY HAVE WANTED FROM HER??? I ask you!

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