SYTYCD top 14

Man, a week goes by quickly.  Hard to believe it's already time for SYTYCD, but alas, here we are.

There are four judges again this week.  Nigel and Mary, of course, and with them: Carmen Electra and Travis Wall.  Travis!  Carmen Electra actually has an interesting dance background--she started dancing when she was five.  In school she majored in ballet and modern dance.  She won Miss Dance Ohio, and then she moved to L.A., where she worked with Prince and Jamie King (I looked it up--he's a concert director), and most recently, the Pussycat Dolls. 

The first performance features the guys.  (Just like last week, the judges won't comment on this, but will take it into account later.)  The routine is choreographed by SYTYCD first-timer Justin Giles.  The piece is about the seven stages of grief:  shock, anger, denial, depression, guilt, bargaining, and acceptance.  Song:  "Prague" by Damien Rice.  That was fantastic!  I'll say now that I just love Marko.

First couple up is Melanie & Marko.   Melanie tells us that her boyfriend came to the show last week for the first time--of course it was the week she kissed Marko twice.  Awkward!  Anyway, they're dancing jazz this week, choreographed by Ray Leeper.  It's the story of a young Latin couple whose families have been feuding for years, and they decide to run away and get married.  Interesting that they're a Latin couple...hmmm...what does that have to do with anything?  Oh, I see, the song is "Americano" by Lady Gaga, which definitely has a Latin feel to it.  Mel's costume was a little distracting, but otherwise, they looked great.  Travis said it was an amazing way to start the show.  He said that Marko is one of the strongest males dancers in the competition, and Melanie is his favorite dancer, by far.  Carmen loved it.  Mary said, "Wow!"  Nigel said their technique matches their performance and gave major kudos.

Up next are Sasha & Alexander.  Shaun Evaristo is another new choreographer, and it's a hip-hop routine.  The story is that Alex wants a kiss at the end of their date, and Sasha keeps shooting him down.  Song: "To the Moon" by Miguel.  Cute routine.  Alex did a decent job, but pretty much looked like a ballet dancer (which he is) trying to do hip-hop.  Sasha owned it.  Carmen said the same thing--it was hard for her to take her eyes off Sasha, so it was hard to get the feeling of them as a couple.  Mary thought it was lacking, she didn't feel the connection between the two of them.  She didn't connect with it, and didn't think they did either.  Nigel said it felt like Hip-Hop 101, and it lost him.  Travis said he didn't hate it as much as Mary & Nigel did.  He recommended they work on their musicality--he thought Sasha did a better job than Alex.

Jordan & Tadd are next.  They'll be dancing a smooth waltz choreographed by Toni Redpath.  Jordan is a siren/sea creature who lures men into her world.  She seduces Tadd to fall in love with her, then she kills him.  Song: "Nocturne" by Secret Garden.  Hmmm....this is the first time I didn't love their routine.  I think it was the song.  I really didn't like it.  They looked good, but I couldn't get past the music.  Mary said it was dreamy & romantic.  She thought the beginning was beautiful.  Nigel complimented Tadd's taking on unfamiliar dance steps and doing them really well.  Travis thought it was beautiful, but it could've been a little smoother.  Carmen said she doesn't know much about the waltz, but she knows what she feels, and she said their dancing is so beautiful. 

Clarice & Jess get to do a contemporary routine choreographed by Justin Giles about a relationship coming to an end.  Song: "Light Through the Branches" by Celeste Lear.  Jess was great as always, but again, I didn't love this routine.  Travis, however, said it's his favorite routine they've done all season.  Hmmm...maybe I'm just in a mood.  Nigel is in agreement and said it was tremendously danced and choreographed.  Carmen enjoyed it.  Mary said the partnership has been growing every week this season.  Mary said it feels like they've been dancing together for years.

Next are Ashley & Chris doing a salsa.  Liz Lira is the choreographer.  Lots of new faces this week.  Liz says this is the most difficult routine she's ever choreographed.  Song: "Mambo Beat' by Tito Puente.  They're a little off, but for him being a hip-hopper and she being a jazz dancer, I think they did a respectable job.  Travis said it started out really hopeful and the lifts were awesome, but when they broke away from each other it got iffy.  He felt it didn't pop or have the right energy.  Carmen said salsa is hot, on fire, passionate, sharp, it has so much.  She felt they were hesitating--the potential was there, but they weren't quite hitting the moves.  She thought it was okay.  Mary could tell Chris still wasn't comfortable, but commended him on his partnering work.  She said Ashley had moments of hot-ness, but it didn't carry through.  He said Chris didn't have the right feel for salsa, just as Nigel doesn't have the feel for krumping.

Ryan & Ricky are next.  They get a jazz routine done by another new face, Chucky Klapow.  It's about two members of a cult of fashion, who by following what was hot and hip--instead of being themselves--get done in.  Song: "Fashion" by David Bowie.  They did a good job--I think Ricky out-danced Ryan this time.  She looked a little clunky to me.  Carmen thought they rocked!  Mary said it was hot.  Mary said Ricky was strong as ever, but said Ryan went full tilt into character.  I'm really not in sync with the judges tonight.  Nigel loved the quirk and that they were so together.  Travis loved it and says he sees both of them past the Top 10.

The last partner dance is Caitlynn & Mitchell.  They're doing a Mandy Moore routine about falling in love.  Song: "To Love You More" by Celine Dion.  This was a gorgeous routine filled with lifts and throws.  It was like Caitlynn was a ragdoll.  Beautiful.  Standing O from all the judges.  It was Mary's favorite of the night.  Mine too.  Oh gosh...Mary's in tears.  She said "This is your moment.  You need to grab onto it and run like the wind!"  Nigel agreed.  He said the emotion just grabbed us all.  Travis said it was unbelievable.  Carmen said "Dance is to be out of yourself...larger, more beautiful, more powerful...you guys were all that and even more.  Best performance of the night."

And finally, the girls' group dance is choreographed by Ray Leeper and it's a sexy jazz routine about seven girlfriends whose mission it is to rid the world of evil men.  Song: "My Discarded Men" by Eartha Kitt with Bronski Beat.  Cute routine.  The girls did a good job!

Wow...as far as I'm concerned, the only two performances I loved were Melanie & Marko and Caitlynn and Mitchell.   I fear Chris and Alexander are in danger.  But for the girls...I just don't know.  They're really good this year!

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