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So You Think You Can Dance
Season Four Review — Week Three

By Dr Matt 

Here are the weekly Recaps from the Top Twenty Dancers to the Final Four:

Top 20       18       16      14       12       10       8       6      Final 4

Hola, Dance Fans:

Here's something to ponder: Change the Judges . . . and you Change who wins "Miss America"—am I right or am I right? This same principle applies to the selection of . . . "America's Favorite Dancer."

The influence of the SYTYCD Judges looms large this year. This means you must each ask yourself some hard questions: "To what extent is Nigel Lythgoe performing a Vulcan Mind Meld upon me?" . . . "Is Mary Murphy's screaming antics influencing the way I assess each performance?" . . . "Is there a correlation between Who's on the Hot Tamale Train AND Who I vote for?"

As usual, I have the Less to Best Rankings for Week Three, and here's something new: Watch the Top 16 do their intro dances!

Dr Matt's Red-Hot Review of SYTYCD June 25, 2008—Eight Couple Recap

Cat came out tonight looking very spokes-model-icious, and Adam Shankman commented: Ms. Deeley looks "Cat-egorically, Cat-aclysmically, . . . Cat-tastic! Burning question: Will Cat Deeley ever again say the words . . . "your Jeedgees" at the top of the show? Gotta love those English accents!

Another burning question: Will the viewing audience vote on what appeals to them personally, even if it dissagrees with what the Judges say?

Psychological Moment by Dr Matt: Let's talk more about "Cognitive Dissonance." So, you hear of the alleged magnificence of Will . . . and you say to yourself: The Judges are experts, they know what's up! Thus, if I agree with the Judges, then I also know what's up! AND if I disagree with the Judges, then that means I'm not very smart . . . like I know the Judges are smart. So here's the application of "Cognitive Dissonance Theory" in a Nutshell: "Of course I agree with the super-smart, expert Judges . . . I'M NOT STUPID."

The Judges gave two couples negative reviews, suggesting Bottom-Three-Dom, and a third couple could have had more harsh reviews, BUT . . . the don't "dis" Will taboo continues. I'm talking about the bottom three of my top eight:

Dr Matt's Apology: Sorry about all the DEAD hyperlinks; Dick Clark Productions decided to exercise their copyrite privilege, and thus, crush our fun!

8 - Jessica and Will -- Disco   (41300) **

Will's gotta show me that he can dance, or he's looking to be eliminated in the next couple of weeks. His popularity is NOT building, because he has yet to show anything! The Judges are finally cooling off on the "Will in the final four" talk—since the viewing audience is NOT buying what the Judges are selling about Will.

About tonight's Disco performance, the Judges praised Will for excellence with which he assumed the cheesy John Travolta pose? That's the best compliment they could dredge up from this dreadful Disco number? What a joke! While other dancers are actually dancing spectacularly, Will is excelling with the highly difficult dance manuver that is . . . the John Travolta pose? Plaaaaaeeeeeese!

Again, Will has yet to show me his fabulous-ness. It is true that his "dance for your life" performance showed a few amazing moves in week one, but his couple performances for three straight weeks have been very UN-memorable.

This number was an easy choice for dead last. This is the only couple on the night, that obviously mess-up their choreography. Poor Jessica had that"deer in the head lights" look when a step was missed in the middle. And during the final pose, Will lost his balance and kept himself from fall all over Jessica by extending his right hand to the floor. Adam Shankman thought it was cute that Jessica spontaneously added her hand to the floor too, creating a parallel line—as if their GOOF wasn't really the GOOF that we know it was.

Yes, the piece had some bright moments here and there, but I'm going with the Olympic Figure Skating Standard: When you fall on your butt after an attempted Luts or Sow-Cow, your score goes down! Jessica and Will fell on their Butts with this performance.

Some fans of Will are hoping he makes the bottom three this week, just so he can dump his partner Jessica. Some are hoping that Thayne gets eliminated along with Jessica, and thus Will would be matched up with Chelsea T.

If there is to be partner-switching, the match-up of Will and Comfort is more likely; simply because Chris has received regular dis-respect from the Judges in previous weeks. It's his time to go. Now, if Thayne and Will achieve Bottom-Three-Dom next week, the Chelsea T. and Will match-up is pretty likely! But the Judges need to toss out Chris and Comfort as a team tonight, to make that permutation possible.

7 - Chelsea T. and Thayne -- Quickstep  (25800)

Tonight, the couple with the great TEETH fell victim to the nightmare that is . . . the Quick Step. Dum Dah-Dum Dum . . . Dooooom! The Judges applied previous precedent in putting down this performance. Comparing this Quickstep to the performance of Lacey and Kameron in Season Three—and Nick Lazzarini & Michelle in Season One.

Lesson learned: If you must do the Quickstep, have a latin expert like Tony Merideth put the routine together, which was the case for Kameron and Lacey.

Speaking of which, who's that icy Irish chick cookin' up the "don't-do-me-any-favors" choreography. If Heather Smith was as clever like Jean-Marc Genereux, she would have turned this Quickstep into a Contemporary routine and dedicated the number to a family member with special needs.

Heather, Heather, Heather, when your dancers are good at the Charleston . . . PUT IN MORE CHARLESTON! Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative! Meaning, Bait and Switch: Eliminate all Quickstep steps and choreograph a Broadway/Charleston routine to Quickstep music, THEN . . . call it a Quickstep!

Hey, the old "Bait and Switch" worked for Twitchington in week two! Strangely, Twitch still has no clue that he didn't really dance the Viennese Waltz.

Cat Deeley introduced the draw for Chelsea & Thayne as . . . "the dreaded quickstep." It's true, this dance will KICK YOUR BUTT if you're not versatile. But a clever choreographer will give the dancers something that they can excel at! The choreographers have failed Chelsea T. and Thayne two weeks running.

While I feel sorry for Thayne and Chelsea's drawing the Quickstep, they could have taken destiny in their own hands (and feet) by simply executing the choreography. I believe Matt and Kourtni could have danced this same quickstep, and sold it!

6 - Comfort and Chris -- Jazz  (42000)

Comfort showed her lack of technical training, especially in the lower body, in this piece. Chris was much stronger in performing this choreography. Curiously, the judges saw it opposite. They praised Comfort and "dissed" Chris.

I thought this piece was performed well, but the judges have already decided who's going home tomorrow, so they decided to help the viewing audience out by suggesting that what we saw was a poor performance. Cognitive Dissonance Moment #2: "I'm not stupid, of course this was a bad performance, I wouldn't disagree with super-smart, expert Judges!"

I'm not buying what the Judges are selling, completely. The choreography was good, the dancing was good. But get REAL . . . what killed the popularity of this performance was the Marilyn Manson music? Chris and Comfort are sure to garner huge support from the demographic of devil-worshippers. Smart song choice by Tyce Diorio . . . NOT!

5 - Twitch and Kherington -- Hip Hop   (139000)

Choreographers Tabitha and Napoleon met their Waterloo with this completely forgettable choreography. I can only remember those ugly-awful orange inmate outfits! This is classic "the King's New Clothes" syndrome by millions in the viewing audience who are buying the "puffing" campaigne for Twitch and Kherington.

Here's how the propaganda works: The Judges say how brilliant this piece is, and since the viewing public adore Twitch and Kherington personally, hence, it's Cognitive Dissonance Moment #3 if we choose to see this number for what it really was: pretty darn average.

I'm still waiting for the producers to quit tossing Twitch so many easy pitches. Twitch needs to dance a real Cha Cha or a real Samba or a real Quickstep—and thus, his BUTT will be totally KICKED.

Remember last weeks criticism of Kherington as they dance the most popular piece of week two—Kherington smiled too much, and failed to show range of emotion. Yet, their so-called Viennese Waltz was the runaway favorite with America. Consider this: Matt & Kourtni or Chelsie & Mark could have performed this same Viennese choreography better.

Of all the female contemporary dancers, I believe Kherington is the weakest of them. But, she happens to be very popular, anyway. Great Smile goes along way! But the name of the show is NOT "So You Think You Can Smile." We'll see if the Twitchington popularity wanes after dancing this un-memorable Hip Hop.

4 - Katee and Joshua -- Samba  (145700)

Judging conspiracy going on Big Time! This routine was just OK, it was just ah-ight. But the judges were raving about it. What's up with that? Mary Murphy could have pick this performance apart, yet inexplicably . . . she puts it on the Hot Tamale Train!

Josh's dad was in the audience and it may have been just too socially and politically incorrect to criticize this performance in front of family. Also, Joshua and Katee are quite popular, and so to protect the SYTYCD product: Put these two on the Hot Tamale Train.

Can you say IN-CONSISTENT? The judges hammered Thayne and Chelsea's Quickstep on the basis of the precedent set by Lacey and Kameron, yet they don't mention precedent for Joshua and Katee's samba. There's a judging conspiracy a foot. Just compare this samba to last season's volcano-hot samba by Lacey and Danny and you'll quickly see how far Katee and Joshua were from executing proper technique.

As a person, and as a dancer, I like Joshua a lot! He has the sympathy factor working for him, more than most other dancers. He got the best "rags to riches" story going. I'm cheering for him. He's an underdog compared to other dancers. But there comes a point when you have to just judge the performance apart from the person. Though I like them both, Josh and Katee's performance wasn't as good as the judges were "puffing it up" to be. The powers that be are propping up Joshua and Katee for Top Ten Dancer status and the SYTYCD tour.

3 - Gev and Courtney G. -- Rumba   (65300)

Gev does pretty well dancing outside of his orientation. His technique was lacking here and there, but he sold the performance with good emotional connection to his partner. Courtney G. stayed completely in character throughout the dance and her technique was surprisingly good for a non-ballroomer.

The Judges gave these two dancers a truck-load of slack for dancing outside of their element. Compare this SYTYCD Rumba to a performance by a top amateur couple from Russia, Denis Kuznetsov & Maria Tzaptashvili—you should see a difference.

2 - Kourtni Lind and Matt -- Contemporary  (66400)

Fun choreography by Sonia—that's Sonia from Mohawkia, a small villiage in LipRingestan! Sonia is obviously from another planet, and so is her choreography! But her unique quirkiness was wonderfully weird—good weird!

This was demanding choreography that required Matt and Kourtni to remember many intricate details. They showed their full range of technical skills. This piece was much more demanding upon the dancers compared to what Twitch and Kherington had to do. And let's be honest: though they are more popular to this point, Twitch and Kherington could not have pull off this piece as well.

With this number, Kourtni and Matt are gaining momentum to make it in to the coveted top ten dancers--and be a part of the SYTYCD tour. The judges liked it too! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: Again, Nigel is picking on Matt for some supposed inadequacies. If Mia Michaels would have been judging tonight, she would have simply been raving—with NO picking. Again, Change the Judges, and you Change who is crowned "Miss America."

I loved it! Matt is such a clean dancers with precise execution, and Kourtni was a perfect complement. These two have great chemistry.

1 - Chelsie Hightower and Mark -- Hip Hop   (744800)

It's interesting how the decision-making process unfolded this week for the prducers: Giving Twitch and Kherington completely forgettable Hip Hop, and in contrast, gave Chelsie and Mark a completely magical Hip Hop.

I honestly don't think Twitch and Kherington could have matched the performance put in by Mark and Chelsie. Mark is just more expressive, a better dancer-actor than Twitch, and Chelsie showed amazing range of emotion during this number.

Judge Adam "Hair Spray" Shankman, says Chelsie and Mark are the couple to beat after this outstanding number. I agree!

BUT ponder the disastrous possibilities had Chelsie and Mark been given the "jail break" number? They would have been languishing in the middle of the pack after dancing in those awful-ugly orange inmate outfits! And had Twitch and Kherington performed the "bleeding love" number, their stock would have gone even higher.

Maybe the SYTYCD producers decided to create some competition at the Top. Well, this memorable number by Chelsie and Mark has thickened the plot substantially!

Again, Dance Performance Synergy begins with a great song! So, go with a #1 Hit like: Bleeding Love! This routine was blazing hot like molten lava.* The choreography by Napoleon and Waterloo . . . I mean, Tabitha . . . was magic!

Mark is starting to become one of my favorite dancers, because he is quirky, unique, and very intense! And the little angel from Orem Utah, Chelsie Hightower, . . . WOW, she showed maturity beyond her years with her emotional expressiveness. This piece was not only great body-dancing, but also great emotion-dancing. Chelsie and Mark acted their roles in a completely believable way!

The competition wasn't even close tonight. This dance will be on everyone's mind for the coming week. You can expect the YouTube views for this performance to sky rocket*—as they did for Joshua & Katee's historic Hip Hop routine in week one. It doesn't surprise me at all that Mark and Chelsie are high in the AOL SYTYCD Poll.
* 125,000 views in the first 24 hours after performance) 
** Cumulative Views at YouTube as of Sunday 29th June in parentheses = (000)



With a lot of help from the Judges, the bottom three is soooooo easy to predict this week: Comfort and Chris, Thayne and Chelsie, and Will and Jessica. The judges have established a precedent for sending home couples together. And it they go with that . . . then Comfort and Chris will go home.

But if they actually judge the "Dance for Your Life" performances separately, there's an outside chance that they might decide to send home Jessica and Chris—thus giving Will a little Comfort. This new couple combination just might be able to generate some serious chemistry? We shall see.

Dr Matt's Results Show Recap June 26, 2008:

The Results show begins with a Mia Michaels creation. And for the 2nd time, Mark Kanemura plays the role of the Evil Leader of Strange People—Mr. Quirky does it again. Mia has choreographs a Wade-Robson-esque number. Strange looking people popping and jerking around the stage has become so popular lately. And I mean that sincerely!

The popular vote for this week is revealed by the order in which each couple is declared safe:

#1 - Katee and Joshua
#2 - Chelsie Hightower and Mark
#3 - Kherington and Twitch
#4 - Gev and Courtney G.

Even if they perform badly, I can't see the top 3 being in danger at all next week, they are just too popular. For example, the Samba by Joshua & Katee was not so hot—when you know what Samba technique is supposed to look like. But the viewing audience in general does not know, so as Joshua wiggles in hips in his tight pants . . . people across the country are totally loving it.

The #5 and #6 couple were Will and Jessica & Matt and Kourtni—both couples being bottom three repeaters.

After making many mistakes in their routine, the obvious choice for Bottom-Three-Dom was Will and Jessica. SYTYCD knew this, so in the tradition of springing surprises, they surprised us again by declaring Kourtni and Matt as a bottom three couple—this after a strong Contemporary routine that drew high praise from the Judges.

Three weeks running, I've predicted two of the bottom three couples: Thayne and Chelsea, & Comfort and Chris. William Wingfield continues to ride on his reputation as the Debbie Allen endorsee. At this same point last season, Danny Tidwell had been in the bottom three consistently, but American finally figured out just how good Danny was and is—extremely amazing! In contrast, Will has not yet shown what Danny was able to show, three weeks into the competition.

Which reminds me, being in the bottom three can be slightly advantageous, because if you can absolutely kill your elimination performance, that can catapult a dancer's popularity. Season 3 winner, Sabra Johnson, was in the bottom three early on, and then showed everyone how good she was!

Just watching the Elimination Performances, it was clear that Matt and Thayne had a "leg up" on Chris. For the bottom-three girls, Chelsea T. was desperately trying to make her "Dance for your life" choreography as impressive as possible. She did a lot of spins, but revealed a slight lack of control in doing so—again, it was a little desperate. This in comparison to Kourtni, who was controlled, graceful, and expressive.

Comfort did her funky popping thing, and did it well. The Judges like her, and now she will have a new partner in Thayne. Size-wise, the chemistry will definitely be better because Thayne is a short guy.

Mary Murphy tipped where her vote was going yesterday when she said of Chelsea T., "you let down your partner." The two dancers leaving the show ended up being Chris and Chelsea. SYTYCD broke from the pattern of eliminating couples together.

If the order stays true for next week, that means that William & Jessica will be joining Matt & Kourtni, and Thayne & Comfort as the couples "on the bubble"—thus exposing Jessica to elimination. Looking ahead, this may mean that Comfort will get a new partner two weeks in a row. The Judges will lean towards saving Will, Matt, and Thayne . . . in that order; and Kourtni, Comfort, and Jessica . . . in that order.

I'd really like to see America mix things up a bit! It would be fantastic if America would reward a great performance by the "bubble" couples, and thus, kept them safe from Bottom-Three-Dom. In the American Idol season, America recognized the talent of Syesha, and voted her into the top three, and deservedly so. However, she hoovered in the bottom three right from the beginning. But American got it right in terms of Syesha's huge talent!

You'd like to think that great performances can keep you safe. Alas, popularity sometimes wins out over performance: That was absolutely the case tonight where the mistake-ridden Disco routine of Will and Jessica garnering more popular votes than the clean, competent Comtemporary artistry of Matt and Kourtni.

Here are the "Dance For Your Life" performances for the Bottom Three Girls and Guys:

      Chelsea . . . . . Thayne . . . . . Comfort . . . . . Chris . . . . . Matt . . . . . Kourtni        

I'm surprised more people are NOT voting at the AOL SYTYCD Poll. During the American Idol season, AOL provides an excellent poll that thousands participate in (most likely hundreds of thousands). Even though the SYTYCD Poll only has a few hundred voting, it still mirrors the popularity pattern revealed by the "safe" order.

Next Week is the Seven Couple Recap! See Ya then,

Dr Matt


The Greatest Prize
for Life's labors isn't
in material possessions
or impressive accomplishments,
but in the progress of personal character.
You labor for your own becoming, this is your richest reward.
Who You Become is your greatest possession,
make it your Masterpiece!

(Changing Your Stripes, 2nd Edition, page 274)

"Changing Your Stripes" presents principles for getting out of
the ditch in which you've been dumped (the difficulties of which you are a victim),
and the ditch in which you've jumped (the difficulties for which you volunteer).

"Mastering a challenging situation
is ultimately a matter of
mastering yourself!"

- Matt Moody 

"Changing Your Stripes," teaches you the principles that lead to lasting change,
making you a new kind of creature capable of communicating
with calm, even as storms of contention swirl.

If these ideas resonate and ring true,
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