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Changing Your Stripes
Here are the weekly Reviews and Recaps, from the Top Twenty Dancers to the Final Four:
Hi all you dance lovers!
This is the best website to get insightful SYTYCD analysis. Why so? Because Dr Matt knows Dance and he also knows the twisted intent of the Judges. He's the only PhD on the Planet that can intelligently probe a messed up mind AND teach the Mambo.
I've ranked the performances from Less to Best, and provided handy dandy hyperlinks to videos of each performance: How good is that? In parenthesis are the (number of views) at YouTube—added as of Sunday June 15th, and (number of views) as of Sunday June 22nd.
Here is an introduction to the Top 20 dancers!
Dr Matt's Red-Hot Review of SYTYCD June 11, 2008 -- Ten Couple Recap
Dr Matt's Apology: Sorry about all the DEAD hyperlinks; Dick Clark Productions decided to exercise their copyrite privilege, and thus, crush our fun!
10 - Jessica and Will -- Tango (9100) (16800)
After their performance, Mary Murphy said that this was the couple to beat. I don't know what she was smoking at the time, but she didn't draw this premature conclusion based upon Will & Jessica's tango performance. This is an example of how Judges "project" their expectations and thereby influence the viewing audience—but I wasn't swayed.
Knowing Tango technique, as I do, their performance was lacking: they never did execute a proper "contra-body" position that is basic to International Tango—this position is like a parallel-a-gram with your partner: as you move North, your body is facing NorthWest. Watch a good example of International Tango's contrary body movement position.
But to be fair, most non-ballroom dancers would NOT do this particular style of tango very well, either. This tango reflects the style of choreographer, Hunter Johnson. Compare this tango to the fiery and popular Argentine Tangos choreographed by Alex Da Silva in previous SYTYCD seasons.
Take a look at Allison Holker's Tango from Season Two: Hot and Spicy! (And here's the same Tango performed on tour in South Carolina) We come to expect such excellence from dancers trained at Center Stage in Orem, Utah— owned by "Dancing with the Stars" professional, Ashley Delgrosso.
9 - Jamie and Rayven -- Hip Hop (21700) (32900)
It was a well executed performance. Clean and together, but NO real fire works. Being first up, this routine is going to be forgettable. Neither of these dancers have had much exposure leading up to the start of the competition. The fact that the producers put this couple first, is a "set up" for this couple to be cut—more easily.
Climb into the twisted minds of the producers and realize that they have already anticipated who they "want" to be eliminated. You got to believe that the producers have intentionally paired together the dancers most likely to be eliminated; and it's always going to be dancers that haven't had much TV time. You see, TV time is the investment that SYTYCD puts into the product that they are selling during the season, and will be selling on tour.
Being first in the order of performance isn't the kiss of death, if you're a good dancer. Two years ago, it was Benji and Donyelle that started off the SYTYCD season and brought the house down.
8 - Comfort and Chris -- Jive (16900) (39600)
The couple chemistry between these two dancers is LESS than others at this point. The dance and the music for the Jive is naturally more exciting, so in evaluating this performance, we must not confuse energetic music and exciting choreography with the proper execution of the dance steps.
Watch the way the Jive is supposed to look, and you'll understand why Comfort & Chris's Jive was . . . NOT so hot.
On the positive side: Comfort is a ball of dynamite and lots of people are going to like her! Comfort has a lively personality. The former tom-boy made this comment about her skimpy costume: "You ain't never seen me no bra and panties and beads."
7 - Gev and Courtney G. -- Disco (15100) (26900)
The choreography here looked suspiciously like every other Disco number Doriana Sanchez has done—Doriana, will ya plaaalleeeeeeezz try to surprise me in the future? My evaluation of this Disco performance: In the words of my dawg Randy Jackson, "It was just ah-ight for me."
WHY did the producers put this piece in the pimp spot (the last spot being most memorable)? You would think that they would want to end the show with a BANG. The music was BANG-Y enough, but the dancing was just ah-ight.
For example, when "lifts" are done well, the audience never worries and wonders: "is he going to drop her?" I could see that Gev was fighting for balance in one quite difficult over head lift—lucky Courtney G. only weighs 90 lbs. I agree with Hip Hop Choreographer Dan Karady "It could have been cleaner and it could have been tighter."
In comparison, look at the way Musa lifts Natalie in a Disco routine from season two—steady and sure.
From this point, the burning question of popularity looms. Courtney G. is from New York, so we'll see if this large population center will get out the vote for their home-girl. Of course, Gev has the Kazakhstan Vote wrapped up; and as for Centerville, Utah, Gev will have all 5,000 residents watching and voting.
6 - Kourtni Lind and Matt -- Jazz (17500) (26200)
Clean and competent. This partnership has the potential to develop great chemistry in the coming weeks. The comment made by Nigel that "you're dancing like you have a stick up where the sun don't shine" was completely out of bounds (what was he thinking?). This class-less comment brought grimaces to the face of dancer, Matt Dorame, and the choreographer Mandy Moore.
Nigel will likely NOT say such a stupid thing again, and may even apologize in future episodes. Kind of like Simon apologized the next day after he dissed David Cook, during the show where David was crowned American Idol—smooth move Simon.
5 - Susie and Marquis -- Waltz (15600) (26900)
Very pretty Waltz. They danced it well, especially for the fact that both are dancing way outside of their training orientations. The waltz would be the kiss of death for most non-ballroom couples, but Marquis has some major dance technique going on and Salsa-girl Susie surprisingly showed a lot of grace and elegance. The Waltz will not WOW the audience as easily as an excitable dance like the Mambo; but great dancers can manage to put the WOW into a waltz—watch Pasha and Lacey make waltz magic.
4 - Chelsea T and Thayne -- Cha Cha (18700) (29200)
Both these dancers have a great set of TEETH. A very good partnership is going to develop here! Look at how comfortable Chelsea T. is hanging her arm over the shoulder of Thayne. They are getting along big time, and that will definitely add to the chemistry of their future dance performances. Chemistry between guy and girl is precisely why we love "Fred and Ginger."
Mary Murphy put this performance on the Hot Tamale Train! For two contemporary dancers, they executed the latin hip movement very well. Chelsea T. has been a Dallas Maverick Dancer, so she's very experienced in projecting enthusiasm in her performance.
3 - Twitch and Kherington -- Broadway (51200) (137000)
A lot of people are pulling for Twitch. He was the last participant cut from Season 3, and of course Hawk got the final spot. The judges like Kherington a lot! Give her credit, she performs with her "face" better than most--and the body dances pretty good too. Twitch holds his own, has a lot of strength in his dancing.
Tyce's choreography here . . . looks suspiciously like . . . every other Broadway number he's done. I'm hoping for a new twist in future days. But I could say the same for the Disco Choreography too. (and I did).
2 - Chelsie Hightower and Mark -- Contemporary (66800) (135000)
Wow! This one came close to matching the level of artistry and emotion achieved in last year's contemporary performance by Lacey and Kameron—both choreographed by Mia Michaels. Mark is fantastic at doing all those kinky weird movements that Mia conjures up on her head. Chelsie danced beautifully. Although she is being touted as a Ballroom Dancer, everyone is going to see that this girl can do it all!
Different from Gev's lifting deficiencies, Mark was a real man. I never once thought "is he going to drop her?"—instead, I was taken in by the dancing magic, and the way Mia Michael moved her choreographical paint brush.
I would love to see this dance AGAIN with Chelsie wearing a less-puffy dress. The outfit really got in the way of seeing the pretty lines.
1 - Katee and Joshua -- Hip Hop (210000) (647000)
Synergy: 1 + 1 = 3. That's what happened here. Joshua is not the best trained, technical dancer and Katee had to overcome "negative press" from Las Vegas week—after saying she would NOT try out for SYTYCD again, if she didn't make it this year. I agree with Nigel, come on girl get your attitude right. You're only 19 years old.
Anyway, these two dancers came together with great music and great choreography to deliver the best performance of the night. Click on the hyperlink, and watch dancing magic in motion. Nuff Said.
A Poll at Fox's Official "So You Think You Can Dance" Website asked which Dance Style people like best: Hip Hop won by a BIG margin—which explains why the couple that was eliminated (Jamie & Rayven) has MORE YouTube "views" compared to other couples that were safe.
Bottom 3: Jamie and Rayven, Comfort and Chris, Will and Jessica. But there's no way that Jessica and Will are going to get cut, because Will has Debbie Allen's blessing and he is also a fantastic dancer! But will "Will" have the Personality Power to keep moving up in the competition?
Who will be eliminated? Jamie and Rayven are the most likely to leave! I am making this prediction on Wednesday, June 11th at 8:38 pm MST (and I have witnesses).
Dr Matt's Results Show Recap June 12, 2008:
Wade Robson's opening number symbolized the kind of Karma that Nigel Lythgoe deserves for his brutally blunt treatment of the dancers for three previous seasons, and I'm totally "down with it." He needs his butt kicked (even if symbolically) for all the booty-kickin' he's done.
If you watch the Group Number choreographed by Wade Robson (Music: Cobrastyle by Robin). You get a sense for who the Choreographer, Wade Robson, feels are competent dancers. Just like Basketball Coaches design plays so that the BEST players get the ball, choreographers always put the BEST dancers up front. On the other hand, prominent roles in the choreography may have been dictated to Robson by the producers.
I see Mark Kanemura playing the lead role as the rope-carrying, evil kidnapper, and his partner Chelsie Hightower right up front in the group formation. Thayne, Courtney G., and Susie were also up front as well.
I predicted two of the bottom three couples: Jamie and Rayven, & Will and Jessica. I was surprised to find Matt and Kourtni there. They both had pretty good TV time leading up to the competition. I thought their performance was good. If the viewing audience listen to the judges, then the dancers "on the bubble" are Matt and Jessica. They both received harsh reviews from Nigel; and they will need to rally the vote for next week. We'll see if Arizona and South Carolina will get out the vote for their home-town dancers.
As for the couple leaving? I totally called it! Again, I think the producers set this one up from the start. After seeing Jamie's solo, it was very obvious WHO was going! The judges/producers knew how WEAK Jamie's solo would be, so they paired a less-popular (low or no advanced TV Time) female dancer with him, then put the couple in the #1 one slot, and they told American how UN-memorable their performance was, from the get-go. I swear, this elimination script was written even BEFORE Jamie and Rayven danced.
Jamie's chemistry with Rayven is terrible. Did SYTYCD have to mention that Jamie had a girlfriend that also tried out (and even made it to Vegas)? That completely poured cold water on any HOT prospects of chemistry between Jamie & Rayven. Think about it: when you know the GUY that's dancing with Rayven is already taken—you just CAN'T believe any connection between them.
Notice the FIRST three couples they trotted out? Twitch & Kharington; Thayne & Chelsea T.; and Mark & Chelsie H. The SYTYCD Producers are openly revealing the top vote getters—thus promoting their popularity.
During the American Idol season, recall how the show would make David Cook AND David Archuleta SAFE, right from the top of the show. The same pattern is being applied at SYTYCD. Remember, Nigel Lythgoe is the Executive Producer of both American Idol AND So You Think You Can Dance.
Typically, when three couples are presented for possible Bottom-Three-dom, they tell the first couple that they are safe, and then one of the next two couples will go. But I had a feeling that all three would be safe. And they were! The SYTYCD Producers are always trying to FAKE OUT the audience by doing the un-expected. But they didn't FAKE me out. (Although, I'm sure to be FAKED OUT at some point during this SYTYCD season).
I've been poking around the Internet, and I stumbled upon a SYTYCD poll. It only has 1450 votes total, so far, but it does indicate some trends:
1 - Stephen (Twitch) Boss - Freestyle 14% (196 votes)
Based upon this Poll, couples likely to find themselves in the bottom 3 in future weeks will be: Marquis & Susie, Comfort & Chris, and Jessica & Will—all dance performances being EQUAL. You'd like to think "the dancing" makes a difference, and this is NOT merely a popularity contest. It's a combination of both.
By combining each dancers popular vote with that of his/her partner. Here's the ranking for the couples:
1 - Twitch & Kherington - 382
An AOL SYTYCD Poll has just started up. They only have about 600 votes so far. But when they get into the thousands, this Poll will be a pretty good predictor of popularity.
You can see from the popular vote, that Susie & Marquis are on the bubble. Again, hopefully the way each couple dances each week will make a difference over initial preferences. I know it did for me: I wasn't a big fan of I'm-going-to-quit Katee, but the way she danced with Joshua . . . WOW!
But it's early in the game. Give Joshua and Katee a Quickstep and their YouTube Views will be in the toilet!
So we'll see who's going to kill it in coming weeks. Of course, this is always entails some LUCK: which dance is drawn, the music, and the choreography. And when a couple gets LUCKY . . . there is Synergy! That's what Joshua and Katee had in the "10 couple" Round.
Nigel foreshadowed the new attitude of the judging panel this year when he said to Matt Dorame (pronounced Door-May): "this week will be the last time we will choose technique OVER personality." This could mean that the Judges are going to listen to the popular vote—following the American Idol mode.
That sends a message to Will, which is: You're a great dancer, but if American puts in the bottom 3 consistently, THEN, the Judges will not save you over and over (like they did Danny Tidwell last year, time after time).
Final Note: The way SYTYCD presented their selection process, they made it seem like the final choice for a Top-20 guy, was between Gev and the fabulous dancer from Florida, Brandon. While this is what "appeared" to be the case, it really wasn't the case. Gev is the ONLY break dancer in the bunch; whereas they already had 6 male contemporary dancers, and putting Brandon in the top 20 would have brought the total to 7 male contemporary dancers.
This means, if Brandon was placed in the Top 20 Dancers, then one of the other Contemporary Dancers would have been taken off the list—and not Gev Manoukian.
The producers intentionally want to have representatives from different styles of dancing in the top 20 (equal opportunity quotas): That's why Gev's spot was secure, even before the Gev vs. Brandon Illusion was presented—because he's the only breaker in the bunch. And that's why Jamie Bayard made it; he's the only male Ballroomer this year. So, you KNOW that Chelsie Hightower was a LOCK for the top 20, because she is the only female Ballroom Dancer among a mix of mostly Contemporary and Hip Hop Dancers.
See Ya Next Week for the Nine Couple Recap,
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