So You Think You Can Dance: Top 16, Season 10

E: I hate results nights.  I hate that results nights are now combined with the performance shows so we don’t get a night that’s just fun and one that’s hard, it’s just all hard.  And I’m utterly baffled by the people who landed in the bottom and the ones who got sent home.  And no dancing for two weeks?  Argh.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m relieved not to have to choose between this show and the Olympics because I love me some Olympics, but that just feels like such a looooooong time without my favorite show.  And puh-leeze do not tell me we’re going to have mass eliminations to make up for the break, either!

But.  Like always, there was good dancing.  Some seriously good, even magically transporting dancing. Let me focus on that for now.

Cat’s in full Golden Age of Hollywood/noir mode, with a slinky black dress down to her knees; blast her, but her legs look even longer covered up.  How is that even possible?  There are long sleeves covered with a glittery silver vine design, her hair in pulled back on one side, cascading down in glamorous Lauren Bacall waves, her mouth a slash of brick colored lipstick.  She introduces the opening routine, set to the haunting “The Here and After” by Jun Miyake,  which begins in black and white with Amelia dressed up as Charlie Chaplin.  Ha!  That’s genius.  It’s so perfect for her!  All the dancers wear mustaches and bowler hats with what appear to be black pants and gray shirts with suspenders.  On each dancer, their shirts are untucked on one side, often revealing a slice of muscled abdomen.  The dancers pass around a red umbrella, and show us a few of Chaplin’s signature moves (spinning an invisible cane, waddling like a penguin, mincing, nearly falling off something, fluttering their fingerless gloves).  It’s cool.  My first thought is that Mia Michaels must have been captivated by Amelia’s old timey spirit and created this piece for her, because that’s how Mia works, but by about midway through I realize I like it, but it’s not gasp-inducing, and that means it’s more likely to be Tyce than Mia.  And no, I am not just saying that in hindsight because it turns out to be Tyce.

And, yay!  It’s excellent celebrity guest Christina Applegate!  Whatever you thought of Kelly Bundy, Christina is smart, articulate, she has strong emotional responses to the pieces, she knows the dancers, she knows how to offer relevant and even helpful critiques, and she danced on Broadway for a year in Sweet Charity so she knows of which she speaks.  She’s wearing a really lovely red off the shoulder cocktail dress with a bit of an origami flair to it and a high ponytail.

First to the stage are tanning star Tiffany and George, and this week their task (other than a Nappy Tabs hip hop routine) is to tell us something about each other. Track star George peed his pants in his first race, back at age 6 (OMG you did not just say that on national television) and Tiffany was the salutatorian of her high school class.  Get out!  She’s not just pretty, sweet baby George wants us to know.  Man, I hope you pre-approved the story you shared, Tiffany, because you definitely got the better anecdote.  Their routine?  Yeah, not sure they won the lottery here.  They’re taking care of baby Duomo, and they freak out when the baby cries.  The stage is festooned with brightly colored cartoonish set pieces suggesting a nursery, and Tiffany and George are dressed like extras in a TLC video, all bright colors and odd patterns and hoodies and, of course, a big section of Tiffany’s washboard abs.  They do it well, but there’s nothing exciting in the choreography – or maybe the story just doesn’t make sense to me.  If they’d tried to do stuff to calm the baby?  Maybe that’s what the segue into “Airplanes” was about, amusing the baby?  Tiffany jumps up on George’s back to suggest a plane, at one point follows the lyrics in fake shooting a machine gun, but all out at the audience rather than the crib that’s behind them – none of it really makes sense to me.  Or maybe it’s just that I hate the music (B.O.B & Nikki Minaj’s “Out of My Mind”).  Let’s just say it’s no where near the league of “Outta Your Mind”. And that’s not even getting into the fact that the baby is just a creepy crying lump under a pink blanket, which totally freaks me out.

Nigel thinks the story will be good for people who need that kind of thing (what?), and liked the routine, but wishes the hip hop routines we’re getting were generally more hard hitting.  He thinks George tired out, but Tiffany rocked it.  Of course she did; have you seen her abs?  Girl has core strength for days!  Mary thinks the whole thing is adorable; they’re lucky to be partnered together, and Tiffany’s a fierce warrior princess. I think Mary’s enormous ring with two glittery butterflies is distracting, and I wonder if it’s comfortable to wear.  It’s neat, though, and my daughters would love it, if it weren’t bigger than their hands. The distance between cute, sweet Tiffany and tough hip hop Tiffany totally bemuses Christina, whose only complaint is that the slow bits weren’t “soupy” enough.  Despite her insistence that she can’t get this across in her restrictive dress, I know just what she means (that quality that makes the dancers look like they’re in slow motion or moving through a thick liquid) and agree on general principle, even if that’s not what I would have complained about here.  To me it all felt light and forgettable.

This Saturday is National Dance Day, did you hear?  No way!  I think this is a lovely idea, I really do – so why does the way the show pushes it annoy me?  I feel really guilty not to be pumped up and trying one of the routines.  That’s probably why, the guilt.  Or maybe it’s just odd to see someone trying to invent a holiday.

Anyway.  Lots of cute videos, my favorite involving dancing on swimming racing blocks.  Rock on, America.

Next up, Ray Leeper has a jazz routine for our newest couple, Amber and Brandon.  Those two glowing with the happiness of being together, but they don’t have any super personal details to offer due to their short partnership, so he tells us that she’s a hairstylist (which is perhaps why she looks totally different every time we see her), and she tells us that he’s part of the “main crew” in Step Up Revolution and we see the film clips to prove it.  Good for you, Brandon!  But does anyone else think that it’s weird Adam didn’t mention this last week?  That’s weird, right?  He didn’t, right?  Ray’s idea is that Brandon comes home at the end of a long, hot work day, and he and his wife show us what the Dirty South is all about.  Well then.  I like a routine that gets its smolder on.

And, oooooh, they’re dancing to Aretha Franklin’s “Dr. Feelgood.”  I love love love this song; I mean, come on, this woman is unbelievable genius.   Amber’s slumped on a wooden chair, succumbing to the heat, limbs spread apart, wearing a sexy beige chemise with dark straps and brown detail work on the bust and mid-sections, and her hair tousled up, very very sexy housewife.  Brandon stands, as if at a door, wearing a golfer’s hat, tan pants, and a white short sleeve unbuttoned button down with gorgeous embroidered detail and suspenders (vaguely Jazz Age/classic New Orleans looking) , and when Amber senses him at the door, she sort of collapses even more, breathing out, grinning in toe-curling anticipation.  Damn.  The two of them are ridiculously hot as individuals, and together they definitely smolder.

Amber writhes on the chair, and Brandon flips her around a bit, showing us the super high garters that visually echo his suspenders.  Good Lord Almighty do they have chemistry!  She writhes on the floor, over and around him, with a blissed out, confident sensuality; he carries her around the stage, dipping in the rhythm of the music.”When me and that man get to lovin’,” Aretha coos, “I tell you girls – I dig you, but I just don’t have time, to sit and chit chat and smile.”  Because nothing feels as good – and boy, do they sell it. Brandon sits on the chair, and Amber undulates within his legs.  Damn.  When it ends, Amber leans back against Brandon’s chest, and he tenderly strokes her hand for a few moments before standing.  Why is it that those moments when the dance has ended but the dancers haven’t broken character can be the most intense?

A bit like “Misty Blue,” Cat notes before mocking Mary for fanning herself.  The first judge to jump in is Christina, however, who declares herself not religious before swearing such a blue streak that the sound cuts out not just for part of her comment but for Cat’s next query and half of Christina’s response to it.  She settles down to observe that they must have been thrilled to dance to that song (they – and I – nod fervently), how it felt too private to be on stage, and how Amber has a level of passion, a “gut” that sets her apart from the other female dancers.  That’s a good point (and I love what a fan of the show Christina is that she knows that.)  Still fanning herself, Mary notes that the judges have always pushed Amber to better her performance quality (what?  that’s so puzzling to me after what we’ve seen of her – do they not remember last week’s fierce tango?  She brings amazing character to her pieces!) and boy has she ever delivered tonight.  Brandon’s got such an unforced masculinity (amen, sister). Nigel laughs that this was baby making choreography.  Hee!  Ray – who’s sitting next to Allison in the audience – laughs, pleased.  Our executive producer praises Brandon’s pairing of strength with gentleness before cautioning him to keep his shoulders down (which is why his suspenders kept falling off, apparently).  As the two walk off, Amber swats at Brandon’s butt.

With the unenviable task of following that blast of pure sex, Dareian and Janelle have the Cha Cha with Pasha.  Well, Pasha can follow that, anyway.  His idea is that Janelle’s coming on to Dareian, who is playing it cool.  (We find out that Dareian is a skater boi, and that Janelle raps.  Yes.  It’s just what you’d guess.)  Dareian’s in basic ballroom black (though I think those are jeans) while Janelle’s got on a very sexy black backless dress with a glittery bodice and a tiered skirt of tulle fringe.  I’m almost stunned they got the rights to this song, but they did – it’s the most ubiquitous song of this summer, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.”  It’s fast, and while you can see that Dareian is stiff, as he noted, he’s not as stiff as Chehon was the first week.  They do this interesting scissor like lift where Dareian moves Janelle all around his head, but I can’t help wondering if that’s what it’s supposed to look like – it didn’t seem fluid to me.  Also?  If they’re supposed to be hot and cold, I don’t see it.  Janelle’s as gorgeous as ever, unnecessarily mussing up her hair and beaming at us, but I don’t see any of the character play at all, not one bit.

Cat shoots us right over to Mary, who cringes and says she doesn’t want to go first.  Aaaaand that’s not a good sign.  She’s not happy.  They lacked connectedness to the center  (huh?); the transitions and their feet were terrible.  She knew Dareian would have bad feet, but she’s shocked that Janelle was just as badly “sickled in.”  Wow.  I watched it again, and I can’t see what she’s talking about – not that I doubt her, of course,  I just can’t see it myself.  I had other issues with the piece.  It’s just a hiccup on your journey, Mary waves off the bad performance. While she thought Janelle sparkled,  Christina (who like Mary loves this pair) thought Dareian did weird things with his hands.  Nigel jumps on this, saying that Dareian just didn’t know what to do with the hand that wasn’t on Janelle.  Then he absolutely crushes the girl, saying he didn’t find her sexy which shocked him since she’s so sexy as a belly dancer.  Well.  That seems crazy to me. They all know the basics and I don’t, but none of that was my problem with the dance.

Just in case we missed it last week, Lindsay reminds us that Cole loves staying in character, especially the dentist visiting “Lawrence Nerd.”  Is that a particular type, or did he give the character a name?  Cole has actual new information – that Lindsay’s freaked out by feet.  Or maybe it’s just dancer feet, which are admittedly all messed up.  (Anyone else see the Bunheads episode with the ugly feet subplot?)  He’s hoping that by sticking his feet in herface repeatedly, he’ll get her to give him a foot massage by the end of the season.  Good luck with that, buddy.  I’m cracked up when he bows and barks out “ninja foot!” though.

Welcome back, Mandy Moore!  She’s got a piece for the pair in which love and purity (Lindsay) contend with the negativity and hate (Cole) that always strives to hold it down.  The music’s Charlotte Martin’s version of “Wild Horses,” which is very very slow.  Cole wears varying shades of black and gray with odd ribbon details on his collar shirt; Lindsay’s in a a light aqua dress with cut outs and layers and a braided rope detail.  It’s all very pretty and flowy, considering the subject matter.  Lindsay in particular is gorgeous and fluid; you’d never think she wasn’t a contemporary dancer.  Cole disappears, almost.  I love the bit at the end where she sweeps the floor with her hair.  Altogether what’s most present is the backdrop, which has been lit so we see the dancer’s shadows copying their motions.  It’s a very very striking effect.  All in all it reminds me of “Gravity”  and “Two Steps Away” in a way that’s pretty, but doesn’t really add anything new.  Which is to say, very impressive considering how far out of their genres they are, but not memorable for itself.

Nigel loves Mandy and the lighting and mentions that the show is actually nominated for an Emmy for its lighting.  Maybe it’s just because I’m an award show junky, but I wouldn’t have been at all offended if you mentioned the rest of your nominations, Nigel!  You brag about everything else – why not this?  Would it provoke too much envy from the choreographers and crew members who were passed over, I wonder?  I mean, surely it’s worth saying the number of nominations!  It’s not like you have a problem bragging. Anyway.  Though last week he came down on Lindsay for not being “mature” enough, this week her spirit was in the right place.  Cole, on the other hand, is so meticulous and precise he could be boring (or a Killer Queen) but instead he’s a genius.  Um, okay.  Cole looks surprised, and so am I.  From Mary Murphy we get an extended apology for ever suggesting in the Green Mile fake out that Witney was a better dancer; Nigel mocks her for attempting to re-write history.  Christina calls Cole an enigma (in a good way) and says that at first it bothered her that Lindsay’s hair was always blocking her face (yes!) but eventually she decided that Lindsay’s body told the whole story.

Early frontrunners Will and Amelia take the stage next for a Mandy Moore jazz piece about – guess what – duality!  First, we get to see that Will sings everywhere (damn, he’s so much like my friend JB it is killing me) , and that Amelia uses a ton of sunblock and cover ups to preserve her Nicole Kidman-like pallor.  Also, we find out that while the piece is about opposites attracting, goofy Mandy is very taken with goofy Will.  Hee!  I love Amelia being all “she’s trying to steal my man!” over it.  Really cute.

For the piece – set to The Creatures “You!” – Will’s in a white suit with black detailing, and Amelia’s in a black suit with white details.  Also, her hair is plastered over so it’s all on the right side, which does unfortunate things to her face shape.  Hate it.  For once, it doesn’t come together for me.  I don’t think this duality obsession is inspiring Mandy’s best work.  I don’t see an overwhelming attraction, I don’t see any opposition outside of the costumes – the dancing itself is fun and they do it well, but the story doesn’t flow for me.  And oh my gosh do I hate the music.  It’s fine for the first 30 seconds or so, but then it dissolves into these discordant chimes and I’m just not enjoying it.

Christina calls them the dream team (yes) and loves that they can submerge themselves into their choreography (yes).  I agree with that, so much so that I wonder if my issue is with Mandy and not them, or if I need to hold them responsible for not saving the routine.  Like me, however, Nigel didn’t feel it – but he’s quick to cheer the way Will “caresses” Amelia to console her.  Mary’s in the middle; it wasn’t as good as their previous efforts (yes), but it was still very good.  She notes that Will’s the best partner this season (jiggly bits not withstanding) and that all the girls will want him.

Delicate darlings Audrey and Matthew have picked out for themselves a Liz Lyra salsa. Interesting.  First, we find out that Matthew is something of a prodigy who only started dancing when he was 16; before that, he played golf.  Nice.  Matt lets us in on Audrey transforming into an even more adorkable nerd overnight, with huge glasses and a retainer.  Hee.  I love that he thinks she’s still cute; the look in his eyes is so genuinely fond.  If he’s straight, I totally want him to be her first boyfriend.  Liz thinks they have the basics mastered, but expresses concern about their ability to take on the very difficult tricks she’s put in.  Pot stirrers?   Damn.  That’s pretty advanced stuff for newbies; their jaws drop as Liz demonstrates the technique, and I don’t blame them.  The whole routine is a tornado spin move, Audrey squeaks fearfully.

Or maybe she’s just afraid of her hair, which is partly down and partly in a big poof in the middle of her head.  Both dancers glow in crimson, Matthew in a typical ballroom/disco Ken doll jumpsuit, and Audrey in a flirty skirt and bikini top with huge circular sequins hanging off and a wide silver belt.  From the start it feels out of sync with the music (“Cinco Salsa” by Sverre Indris Jones/HSC/KORK), much too slow, and once they start the tricks you can see they’ve never mastered them.  I don’t blame Audrey, but potstickers are supposed to be blinding fast, and there’s just not that many spins.  Nobody falls, though, so I guess it’s a win?  They do everything, but it’s not the best routine; you can see Matt thinking through the hand holds.  I love them, though, and I love the way they end the routine holding each others faces, their bodies flush against each other.  A sign in the audience cheers for “Matt Gosling.”  Ha.

I love you guys, Mary says, but this will not be a highlight of your time here. I love you too, Christina agrees, but I was really distracted by the music.  Me too!  Nigel grumbles that the salsa should be a cocktail of sex, energy and fun, and it just wasn’t.  Quarter speed isn’t going to cut it; he calls out the potstirrers particularly as being too slow.   Did Matt just poke Audrey in the chest while they were mugging for votes?

The penultimate couple is Witney and Chehon with a Stacey Tookey contemporary.  Nice!  Chehon eats orange juice in his cereal instead of milk (ugh) and plays the violin really well; Witney speaks a little German, and Chehon (being Swiss) is fluent, so he cutely tries to talk to her, which fails just as cutely.  Stacey’s idea for these two is that they have an impossible love; they have to be together, but circumstances won’t let me.  How many times have we seen this routine from you, Stacey, and who is it you’re pining for?  The solider going to war, the mistress trying to leave her domineering married lover, the cheaters trying to stay apart – I could go on, and I’m sure you could too.  Happily this repetition doesn’t affect the quality of her work.  Chehon responds to it because he’s been in this exact situation recently (aw, poor guy – when he left Switzerland, maybe) and Witney thinks she better nail it because she’s actually named after Whitney Houston, whose signature song – “And I Will Always Love You” – they’ll be dancing to.

As Houston’s voice echoes through the studio, Chehon dances alone, clad in the typical male contemporary uniform; he’s shirtless, wearing flowy white pants. Just at the moment when he stands, arms out at his sides, Witney walks up behind him, rest her chin on his bicep, and in an gesture of aching, almost unbearable tenderness, lays her head against the top of his arm.  I swoon.  Wearing what appears to be a short white dress held up by a fragile string around her neck, her hair loose and rumpled, Witney looks like she’s wrapped in a bed sheet.  Their anguish and their love is palpable;  they’re drawn together, but stop short of touching with their hands, their fingers and palms always pulled back as if they can’t bear to touch, pushing each other away yet drawn back.  Just before Houston breaks into the famous “and Iiii-eee-iii” of the first chorus, Chehon solos across the stage, Witney runs to him, he tosses her straight into the air, and then in a flash of light she falls down into his arms, cradled as Whitney and the instrumentation screams.  It’s a jaw dropping moment, a perfect union of dancers, lights, music, choreography.  Wow.

Continuing to break our hearts, Witney and Chehon dip and bend toward each other and then away.  With the lights on, you can see her dress is pale peach, not white.  She looks like a movie star, like Kim Bassinger maybe; they’re both astoundingly beautiful and broken.  At the last moment, he reaches out his hands to cup her face, and when it seems inevitable they’ll kiss, she throws herself around his middle instead.  He tosses her up and lets her slide down his back, her hands clawing, wanting to slow the descent, wanting to hold him, wanting to force him away.

It looks like the judges and audience have been on their feet long before the piece ended.  The dancers hold each other, and with only a dusting of peach glitter over her eyes, Witney looks so young, so girlish she breaks your heart all over again.  Am I seeing this right, or is Christina Applegate fighting off tears?  She is.  She’s awed by Stacey, and remarks that Chehon and Witney weren’t just Stacey muses, they were the painters, too, bringing her vision to life.  It was one of the most heart-stopping beautiful things she’s ever seen.  Mary too is fighting off tears, especially because of the connection with the late great Whitney Houston whose music embodies such blended joy and sorrow.  The lift and catch was one of the most memorable moves she’s ever seen; they need to soak in the feeling of having done something extraordinary, because this is their moment.  You know of course that Nigel will compliment himself for keeping them, and he does.  He brings up Stacey’s “Oscar” nomination, and when Cat laughs at the term, he commends Cat for her hosting “Oscar” nomination too.  Ha.

Gosh, how do you follow that?  With a complete change of tone – some down and dirty Nappy Tabs hip hop from Cyrus and Eliana. First, we learn that like a real robot might, Cyrus’s belly button actually looks like a power button.  Forget about Eliana pushing his button and the two of them goofing off; it really looks exactly like a power button.  His belly button is actually a circle with a line through the top.  Crazy.  More crazy?  Eliana raises birds, and once she snuggled up with her favorite parakeet and crushed it in her sleep.  Are you kidding me?  Who sleeps with a bird?  They’re tiny!  Their bones are hollow!  Ugh, that’s so horrible; can you imagine waking up with a dead pet in your bed?  Ghastly.

Moving on (so I don’t have that stuck in my head all day) let’s take a look at the routine.  With an “Outta Your Mind” like nod to Eliana’s ballet roots, Nappy Tabs decided to make her the ballerina on a child’s jewelry box, while Cyrus is the toy robot who brings her to life.  Interesting.  I love toys come to life stories.  When the routine begins, she’s up on a round dais,  her arms raised over her head.  The box is black, and her multi-layered tutu is black, with a sort of silver foil bustier on top, and her hair down; it’s totally different from the pink box and pink dancer with the chignon and snood.  Kind of a goth ballerina, really.  Cyrus’s got on a ribbed rubber suit, also black, and he does his robotic thing to turn a crank which makes Eliana spin to District 78 and Cheesa’s “Toxic” cover.  When she’s spun completely around, she bends, they touch hands, and she springs into (robotic) life.

I love the off kilter twist where he’s moving her around like a marionette and she does a tipped back bend on the platform.  I like it even more when she flips over onto her belly and they both walk their fingers as if they were spiders.  It’s nicely creepy.  I love the synchronized moves where they’ve both got their shoulders down and their legs in a deep bend.  Very cool.  When they finish, the judges are standing again.  Really?  Well, it was fun, and I won’t be a scrooge about it.  Mary gushes that it was fabulous.  “You’re both on the damn train, get out of here,” she waves at them.  Gosh, she’s so arbitrary with that damn train!  What a perfect fit for you two, Christina enthuses; Cyrus is sublime and Eliana’s one of the best dancers Christina’s ever seen.  Wow.  She does say that they’re lucky not to have been forced into contemporary, and that Eliana should do some barre work with Cyrus before they get there.  Excellent advise, because you can’t dodge that bullet forever!  How did a ballerina get swag, Nigel wonders.  From Cyrus, Eliana asserts, but then Nigel says she was better than Cyrus when the choreography called for looseness.  He loves how they support each other through criticism, though.  What’s not to love about those beaming faces?

Getting to the non-lovey part, that’s what.  Cat calls the other 14 dancers to the stage, and we find out that the bottom is a rather puzzling concoction.  Amber, despite being a dragon in her tango.  Lindsay, for that forgettable dentist routine (but interestingly, not Cole).  Eliana, for selling the hell out of that jive?  Now that’s criminal.  Then – wow, this is mind-boggling – George for his glorious foxtrot, Brandon for his really enjoyable Broadway bit, and Dareian for last week’s other lame Christopher Scott routine.  Huh.   I don’t know who I expected, but I’m really not sure this group was it.  Definitely not Eliana and George, that’s for darn sure. Will we have solos, Cat asks?  Well duh, I think, there’s loads of time this week.  But not quite!  They want to see Eliana, Amber, Brandon and Dareian dance.  Does this mean that Lindsay and George are definitely not going home?  And why would you EVER pick Lindsay over Eliana – who, let me just say, Nigel has called the standard for the girls?  Are you kidding?  Maybe they just want us to get a chance to see what a great dancer she is, since her routines with Cyrus have been rather dumbed down.  The solos are all quite good, but since we saw so little of her in the audition rounds I particularly enjoyed getting a look at Amber’s style, which is strong and unique and quite wonderful.  I’m really glad I got to see that, but I’m honestly outraged that they didn’t have everyone dance.

Alvin Ailey performs their beloved-in-France routine “The Hunt.”  Ah, the French. You have such specific taste. In the immortal words of Randy Jackson, it was just a’iight for me.  I didn’t really get how it was hunt-like, and I didn’t get the men faux-ballroom dancing in split skirts, and putting their hands up in front of their mouths as if they were saying “tee hee” behind their fingers.  Just odd.  They’re brilliant dancers, of course, but I didn’t really get this piece; the skirts looked like matador capes, which I thought was neat and in the hunting spirit, but I kept expecting the dancers to whip them off and thrash them around.  That can’t have been just me, can it?  And that bums me out, because usually AA’s performances are a treat for me.

And, for the results.  Interesting to know that Nigel knew the results last Thursday morning but Mary and Christina only got them today, wouldn’t you say?  It makes me wonder how much input Mary and Christina actually had.  Nigel gives us the standard disclaimers – this is so hard, we love all these dancers, we put them in the top twenty to begin with – and then lowers the boom.  I kind of figured it was going to be Brandon and Amber when the judges allowed Lindsay and George not to dance.  Dareian thrills as a soloist, and Eliana’s beyond brilliant and should never have been in the bottom.  Personally, based on their performances both this week and last week, I’d have given Dareian and Lindsay the boot.  Not that I don’t like them (I do, heaps) but honestly?  Dareian’s had two bad weeks in a row, and Amber’s been consistently brilliant, mostly out of her style.  I guess Mary had inside information when she told Dareian his bad performance was just a hiccup, huh, if the judges are that determined to keep him.   I can’t help shakng my head, because Amber and Brandon were such a promising partnership.

No.  Honestly, I’m kind of pissed off about this.   Nigel tells the pair how proud they should be of this week’s routine and that they certainly wouldn’t have been in the bottom this time.  Damn you, Nigel, how can you not take that into account?  All I can think is that perhaps they like Lindsay and Dareian with their currents partners, and think Janelle and Cole would crash together?   Brandon and Amber killed it in tonight’s routine, absolutely killed.  Granted that Lindsay did a really nice routine too, and that Brandon’s solo wasn’t as spectacular as Dareian’s… no, it’s still hard for me to swallow.  Brandon gives a shout out to God, and Amber thanks everyone for the experience.  This week we get montages (hurray for having enough time!) and I actually learn something, which is that I did see Amber during the audition rounds, and (as Brandon noted) she just has so many different weaves and hairstyles I didn’t recognize her from one appearance to the next.

And that’s it! See you in a few weeks!  I’m going to be on vacation for the next episode, but I’ll get there.

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3 comments on “So You Think You Can Dance: Top 16, Season 10

  1. The Presidentrix says:

    Random comments (no reflection whatsoever on what is most important, just what I happen to have taken away while it’s rerunning tonight):

    -I think what didn’t work for me about the Evil vs. Free Spirit routine was a) Cole, although a very cool guy in his own right, is not Mark or Kupono, and it kind of seemed like they were hoping he would be. And b), I think Cole made the mistake of making too much eye contact with his partner. You have to be connected to your partner, yes, but eye contact isn’t the only connection, and it made it look like Evil was too concerned for Good and was constantly looking to see if she was okay, which, to me, completely undercut any malevolence in his movements. Evil doesn’t care that much about you, and the difference between “Evil is checking to see if you are okay” and “Evil is looking at you to try to shoot hate beams into your eye sockets” is hard to detect on tv.

    -I’m never any, any good at telling good ballroom from bad, but the flippy, flashy red salsa skirt distracted me so completely that I *thought* it was good.

    -Will and Amelia pleased me during certain moments when their bodies sort of oozed and then snapped in a cartoony, almost inhuman way, but I kept seeing them as out-of-sync in between those best moments. I kind of wished they hadn’t been dressed opposite one another, because there were interesting holds and shapes that might have had more impact if they’d been wearing the same color and could look temporarily, geometrically merged…

    I often have my favorites watching this show, but I’m never the slightest bit confident that my choice has much to do with the very best dancing. Right now, I’ve got a dancer crush on Eliana, but I don’t know why; I just do.

  2. The Presidentrix says:

    In the final moments of the show, now that I can appreciate better what a mess that judging session was:

    -Either they actually are deciding the results ahead of the show and showing no regard for the quality of the performances that night, or they need to get A LOT better at making sense of their decisions. The only message I came away with from Nigel was, ‘Amber and Brandon, we think you’re the most expendable, and as much as we wish you weren’t in the bottom to begin with, we can think of inconsistent excuses to keep the others in the interests of the show, so you’re out.’ And Brandon had such a good attitude, despite getting shafted, and I don’t blame Amber for being royally peeved. Two great performances in a row, but they’re keeping Eliana (who, despite being my favorite, has not been triumphantly successful), probably either because Eliana has the more winning personality or because they still haven’t gotten to mine her unique ballet talent for the show and don’t want to send her away before they get the chance. Sad day. Bad taste in my mouth.

  3. The Presidentrix says:

    Oh, er, final thingy: I can believe that Eliana is as technically brilliant as she is charming and winning, and I trust the judges on that, but when I say she hasn’t been triumphantly successful, I mean I didn’t think she’d had a *moment* – a perfect confluence of dancer and routine and choreographer and story – the way Amber has, at least once if not twice. So when the judges make a bigger fuss over A’s performance than E’s, it can feel like E’s being kept on the strength of her promise, rather than on what she’s done already. Which might not be an accurate feeling – given she really is that staggeringly talented – but goes again to the judges doing a very poor job explaining to the audience where the decisions are coming from.

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