SYTYCD 2010 - 1st night of competiton

Tonight's the first night for the Top 11 dancers to perform. Cat introduces the dancers, and then the judges--Adam Shankman, Mia Michaels, and Nigel Lythgoe. (Mia's now a permanent judge--it's my understanding that Mary Murphy will be doing some choreography this season. I gotta admit--I will not miss her screaming each week.)

After last week's show, each contestant drew the name of an All-Star (A-S from now on) out of a hat. Then they met with a choreographer and rehearsed.

First up is Billy, who we learn, is a do-it-yourself-er. He's paired with A-S Lauren to do a Tyce Diorio Broadway routine to Footloose by Kenny Loggins. Wow...this routine is fast, and Billy is great. His kicks are leaps are fantastic. And, I still love Lauren...glad to watch her dance again. Off to a great start. Nigel warned him to be careful with chemistry with his partner. Mia said he did an awesome job, and Adam said Billy's biggest challenge will be that dancing is too easy for him...he needs to focus on his character, and fill out what's in between the step.

Cristina's next. She tells us she once auditioned for an American-Idol type show in Mexico, but she got cut. She's paired with A-S Mark, doing one of Sonya Tayeh's jazz routines, which was inspired by a snake. They perform to Starstruck by Santigold. Mark was made for Sonya's choreography. It was hard for me to take my eyes off him. Cristina did very well, but just isn't dynamic like Mark is. Nigel said, "in truth, that routine was all about the coming together of Sonya and Mark again." Exactly. He added, however, that Cristina was tremendous in it. Okay, after that remark, I rewound and forced myself to focus on Cristina. She was good and held her own. Mia said she was paired with the best in that genre, but she did an awesome job. Mia said that Cristina displayed skills that Mia didn't expect her to have since Cristina's a salsa dancer. Adam said he wasn't just proud, he was stunned. He saw no trace of a salsa dancer.

Next is B-boy José, who does yoga everyday. He's dancing with A-S Comfort in a hip-hop routine by Napoleon and Tabitha. They say the routine is about two predators ready to attack, but we don't know who's going to be the prey. The song is Beautiful Monster by Ne-Yo. Best part: Comfort ran and jumped into José's arms, and somehow landed with one leg around his neck! WOW. They were great. Nigel loved the routine and thought it José was outstanding. Mia said the only criticism was that he seems to be thinking about the choregraphy too much. That's not what she said...she instead used a sound effect of some sort, but I think that's what she meant. Adam suggested he work on power moves that are faster.

Adéchiké comes next. He went to the Fame school La Guardia Arts, which produced Tyce Diorio, who we learned didn't do so well his junior year. Adéchiké is paired with A-S Kathryn for a Travis Wall jazz routine about a man's fantasy. He's an office worker who has a daydream about what he wishes he were doing at work, seducing (or being seduced by) a pretty lady in red. Music: Addicted to Love by Florence + the Machine. Adéchiké is very talented, but once again, I was more interested in Kathryn, who was fantastic. Nigel kind of said the same thing--he didn't believe this was Adéchiké's fantasy. Kathyrn was really giving herself, but it didn't seem like Adéchiké wanted her. I agree with that...he just wasn't into the roll. Nigel said it's not just about steps, it's also about dancing and performing. Mia complimented Travis' choreography, but said there was no sexual chemistry between the two, despite all that Kathryn was giving. She said he was stiff and brought nothing to the stage. Adam said technically, he was a good partner, but that Adéchiké didn't take that extra step. He then demonstrated an intense look with Mia.

Melinda, the tapper, is up next. She's on As the World Turns--I'll have to ask my mom about her. She gets to dance with Pasha. Lucky girl! They're doing a jive routine from Melanie Lapatin and Tony Meredith. The routine's about love. The song: L.O.V.E. by VV Brown. Melinda's steps weren't always in sync with Pasha's, and she looked a little lost once or twice, but the performance aspect missing from the previous dancers was all there. She looked like she was having fun. Nigel said the style didn't suit Melinda, and expects she'll be dancing for her life tomorrow night. Mia agreed with Nigel, and said there's something she can't quite pinpoint the problem, but that Melinda comes across pigeon-toed. Adam said when she watches it back, she'll see what they're talking about and will learn a lot. He said she's a good actor, and a good entertainer/performer, but she used it too much to mask her weaknesses in the dancing.

Alex tells us that he loves to sing and play the piano. He's dancing with Allison to another Sonya routine about salvation. Allison is the only all-star that I don't really remember. I think she's from Season 2. The song: Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley. These two dance beautifully together, and completely in sync. Oh my god--that was amaaaaaazing. Standing "O' from Mia and Adam. Cat remarked, "First chills of the season." Nigel was speechless for a minute. He then said that Alex has set a new standard for SYTYCD, and Alex got emotional. Nigel said it was utterly fantastic, and that Alex and Allison were mega lightyears beyond everyone else. He also gave props to Sonya. Mia said it was the best piece of work danced on SYTYCD ever and that Sonya completely outdid herself. She said Alex is sheer perfection. Adam said that usually a choreographer will raise the level of the dancer, but in this case, he thinks the dancers raised Sonya to new heights as a choreographer. He said that Adam is unbelievable.

It's Alexie's turn. She tells us she was on Star Search as a kid, and coincidentally, Adam Shankman was a judge! He looked so young! She's dancing with Twitch. Yay Twitch! It's another Nape-Tab routine about young love. They're dancing to Butterfly by Jason Mraz. It's a cute routine and Twitch and Alexie have great chemistry. Alexie did a great job. Nigel said, "You're such a cute little dancer." But, he said when dancing hip-hop she can't be too cutesy. Mia said she danced like a young adorable girl, but Twitch was Mr. Swag, so her dancing didn't quite match. Adam said her performance was won over by charisma, but she needs to bring some more power in the future.

Lauren's next. She works with kindergartners. Tonight she's dancing with Ade--another lucky girl. They're doing a Mandy Moore pop-jazz routine about a first date. In rehearsals, Lauren was having trouble being sexy. The routine is to Oh Yeah by Yello. Yes, that Oh Yeah from Ferris Bueller ("chick. chicka-chickahhh..."). They start out on a couch, and Ade goes to make a move on her. This was another great pairing...I loved it. Nigel didn't though...he didn't find any chemistry between Lauren and Ade, but I disagree. Mia said, again, that Lauren needed to "fill in the space" emotionally and character-wise. Adam said the dance was about character and connection, but he didn't see any of that...there was no cat-and-mouse with Ade. I can see what the judges mean, but I still liked the routine. There was nothing wrong with her technique.

Kent tells us he was Homecoming King at his school. He adds that there were only 14 guys in his class. Wow...talk about a small-town boy. I can't relate to that at all. My graduating class had 611 people. Kent will be dancing with Anya to a Melanie/Tony cha-cha. Song: Lady Marmalade by Diva Invasion. (Who?) Kent did a good job, but I was completely distracted by his facial expressions and the fact that he kept opening and closing his mouth. Anya was great as always. It was cute, at one point he did this huge shoulder shimmy and when it was over, he had a HUGE grin like he was having the time of his life--that was cool to see. Cat asked, what was going on with those lips? Nigel said the overriding factor of the entire routine is that Kent ENJOYED it. He loved every second of Kent's performance. Mia said he looked like a "ballroom boy" and Kent said, "Oh cool!" Adam compared Kent to former contestants Gev and Dominic, who were so far out of their style, yet have had more determination that anyone.

Don't worry folks, we're almost done. Two more dancers to go....

Ashley tells us that she does crazy voices. She's dancing with Neil in a Tyce Diorio contemporary routine about love, to For All We Know by Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway. The opening lyrics of the song set the mood, 'For all we know, we may never meet again." Bravo--that was great. Ashley's a very powerful dancer, yet graceful. They did a great job. Nigel said something about using her emotions more, but said she's a beautiful dancer. Mia felt Ashley's emotion, but she wasn't sure which emotion it was. She said Ashley brings something innocent and is a beautiful dancer. Adam thought she created "incredible pictures" but he didn't connect emotionally to her performance.

And finally, Robert performs with Courtney , but first he tells us that he wanted to be a professional baseball player. New-to-the-show (I think) choreographer, Sean Cheesman, created a African-jazz routine about two mystical creatures who one moment in a year, become human. Song: Norweg, from the Cirque du Soleil Saltimbanco Soundtrack. Hmm...I didn't love it, but I can't really figure out why. They danced well--maybe it was a lack of chemistry thing. Nigel loved it and said Robert is a dark horse in the competition. Mia said there are so many things she loves about Robert. Then they growled at each other. It was bad. Adam is loving the All-Star thing and thinks Robert & Courtney were great with each other. He thinks Robert is one of the best contemporary dancers ever on the show. Hmmm...maybe I need to go back and watch it again. It's late--I'll do it tomorrow.

OK. That's it. Here's how I'd rank the dancers tonight:

11. Melinda
10. Adéchiké
9. Cristina
8. Alexie
7. Lauren
6. Robert
5. Ashley
4. José
3. Kent
2. Billy
1. Alex


Kerri said...

gosh, i wish i liked the dancer tv shows, but i just don't have an interest. all my shows are over or in reruns.

except, the worst show ever, which i love because of that very reason,...the bachlorette.

OH, i discovered a cute, cute, cute new show on tvland called hot in cleveland- you should maybe check it out. i think it's really great- if you watch, tell me what you think!

Valerie said...

Hi Kerri,

I really encourage you to give SYTYCD a try, if you haven't already. If you think you don't have an interest because you've seen Dancing with the Stars, it's completely understandable--I don't have an interest in DWTS either!

SYTYCD is SO much better--the contestants have true, raw talent. This will be my last pitch to you, I promise! :o)

I'm setting Tivo now for Hot in Cleveland. I meant to check it out, but forgot, so thanks for the reminder! I'll let you know.

Other summer shows I enjoy are Royal Pains, White Collar, and Psych, all on USA. Royal Pains is on now, but the other two don't start for a couple of weeks.