Guest blogger Lenni G is back, helping us with SYTYCD coverage. And today, she is not happy:
Time to vent about this season.
Judges-only voting should stop after the top 20 dancers have been named - the audience should be voting from that point forward. The judge's critiques have become so technical that we ordinary hoofers have no idea what they're talking about - it's depressing to really love a couple's dance and then have the "experts" tell us it was awful.
Finally, the daggone new stage is just a hot mess. It is way too big and all the bells, whistles and flashing lights really detract from the dancers' performances - what happened to the "less is more" staging concept of previous seasons?
OK, ending venting, on to the summary of last night.
Noelle Marsh (who's from Sanford) and Russell started with a Jamal Sims Hip Hop dance which was supposed to be a "death match, tennis style." Judges pretty much didn't feel like the couple did very well and I thought the choreography was strange, strange, strange. And, I also thought Noelle looked less than 100% physically - she was clearly unsteady a number of times and appeared to be favoring the knee that kept her out of last week's competition.
Ashleigh and Jakob were next doing a Tony and Melanie Waltz. Adam, in what has to be a first, called out the choreographers, proclaiming there were too many lifts in the routine - WHAT? Then he said, "You guys can do no wrong, brilliant." So, if I understand correctly, the dancers did a superior job with a poorly scripted dance - WHAT? Mary and Nigel were unanimous in their praise for the couple.
Bianca and Victor followed, doing a Tyce Diorio routine danced to the music from the church scene in the movie, "The Color Purple." I thought they were fabulous, particularly Bianca, and then the judges' comments brought me down to earth. What they wanted was a more frenzied, fall out on the floor, foam-at-the-mouth interpretation. This assessment was, in my opinion, way off base. Tyce Diorio is one of the best choreographers around and I'm sure if he had wanted Bianca and Victor to "lose it" as Adam said, or "go crazy" as Mary said, he would have told Bianca and Victor just that. Oops, I'm back to venting!
Mollee and Nathan were next, doing a terrific Bollywood routine from Nakul. Judges loved the whole thing and so did I. This is a great pairing that should get better and better.
Channing and Phillip did a Samba from Tony and Melanie. Adam didn't rag on T and M for this routine but he did pan the cancers mercilessly, as did Mary and Nigel. I loved Nigel's comment that Channing looked nervous going into the lifts. Sure she did, Nigel, she knew from the rehearsals that Phillip, with very little upper body strength, could drop her at any time. And Nigel, calling Channing a "Beautiful sack of potatoes" is so not PC. And your comment about the color of her dress being good was the height of judgespeak.
Lifting up the competition once more were Karen and Kevin doing an all time great Hip Hop from my favs, NappyTabs. This is Kevin's style so I expected good from him, but Karen, a Latin dancer, was phenomenal. Have to agree with Mary that Karen has the "It Factor" and that she sure has been fun to watch so far. And yes, the Hot Tamale Train arrived with Karen and Kevin on board.
Kathryn and Legacy followed with a Stacey Tookee Contemporary number. This routine about a woman struggling with fear, personified by Legacy, was really, really NICE! And the judges AGREED with me - that's even better than nice. Legacy got huge props for dancing so brilliantly so far out of his usual style of Hip Hop. And Kathryn was a vision. As Nigel said, she had been under the radar but no longer for sure.
Pauline and Peter, unfortunately, got a Wade Robson number that was just plain weird (Adam called it a controversial piece). Nigel thought that Wade made a statement having the couple dance as humans in Van Gogh's "Starry Night." To me, that statement would be, Van Gogh didn't put humans in his painting cuz that would be wrong. The twosome did their best with what they got and that's about all I can say other than hot mess choreography.
Finally, it was Ellenore and Ryan doing a Miriam and Leonardo Argentine Tango. This was totally hot without the mess. And, Ellenore completely ignored the fact that her heel was caught in her dress almost half the time they were dancing. Now that's concentration. This is one great couple that should go very, very far.
It was now time for the danger zone with Noelle and Russell, Channing and Phillip, and Bianca and Victor making the trip this week. The judges then selected Noelle, Phillip, Bianca and Victor for the dance-for-your life solos. Here again, it appeared that Noelle was at less than full strength physically and that Bianca's tap routine was much more energetic. Judge's disagreed and put Noelle through to next week. Sorry judges and Noelle, Bianca was better and should have stayed. As for the men, Phillip punched his ticket, and rightfully so, for the Bye Bye Train.
So, think I heard Nigel say at the end of the show that the audience starts to have input next week. It's about time!