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So You Think You Can Dance
Season Five — Top 20 Performance

By Dr Matt 

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

Intro      Top 20       18       16       14      12       10       8       6      Final 4

Hello Dance Fans:

The pairings have been decided: It's hard to find a weak couple in the bunch. The talent is so very high this year.

Weak-Link Dancers: Tony and Philip are good at their styles, and as long as they are doing Hip-Hop and Popping . . . they're in great shape! What LUCK . . . they both drew their style "randomly out of a hat" (NOT).

And WHAT LUCK again, Max drew a Ballroom Dance, the Samba, for his first routine; Salsa specialist, Jonathan, draws the Cha Cha . . . HELLO — that's right up his alley. It's pretty clear to me, that the SYTYCD Producers have set up the Season 5 Five dancers with they're best opportunity to succeed.

Early favorite Brandon was given a challenging style the first dance out . . . to level the playing field. Nevertheless, his partner Janette was pretty comfortable doing a Ballroom Dance, the Foxtrot, . . . being a Salsa Girl.

Here's how I see the Top 20 Performances:

From Worst to Wow!

10 - Karla Garcia & Jonathan Platero 
Cha Cha choreographed by Tony Meredith 
"Poker Face" by Lady GaGa

Because Dr Matt KNOWS Ballroom Dance, he is easily dissatified by the attempts of GREAT CONTEMPORARY DANCERS trying to do what takes many YEARS to learn: proper ballroom dance technique. Still a pretty good performance, BUT . . . when you know what Cha Cha can look like: Dr Matt is left dissatisfied. See fantastic Cha Cha dancing done by the best in the world.


9 - Asuka Kondoh & Vitolio Jeune 
Broadway choreographed by Tyce Diorio 
"Hot Honey Rag" from Chicago

It's like the Judges had already pre-decided that they were NOT going to like this performance? I saw it differently compared to the gang of 3. I liked this performance and enjoyed Vitolio's accurate execution of steps! Asuka was clean and complemtary to her partner.

I'm thinking that the judges/producers were trying to help the viewing audience figure out how they should vote? Anyway, if this couple lands in the bottom 3 . . . the judges will be "justified" is kicking them to the curb! I hope Asuka and Vitolio make it through this round, but if they don't get popular votes, it doesn't look good.


8 - Tony Bellissimo & Paris Torres 
Hip-Hop choreographed by Tabitha & Napoleon 
"Let The Beat Rock" (Boys Noize Megamix) by The Black Eyed Peas

After this performance, I'm liking Paris Torres's dancing A LOT! Wow she was agressive and athletic in this Hip Hop routine! She hit it harder than her partner: and this was supposed to be his dance specialty.


7 - Brandon Bryant & Janette Manrara 
Foxtrot choreographed by Louis van Amstel 
"Come Fly With Me" by Michael Buble

On the BRIGHT SIDE, Brandon's dance intro at the top of the show: Holy Wow! He did a 360 turn into into the splits and then popped straight up? Crazy!

Now for the Less-Bright: Because I've seen how the BEST in the world do the Foxtrot. I'm just not that entertained by this number. Jenette showed a pretty good top line throughout, and delivered a sparkling performance for her part. Brandon showed that he was unfamiliar with the art form.

What is UP with that: People KNOW was the SYTYCD competition requires. You'd think they'd study-up on a little ballroom in their spare time? See how Foxtrot is danced by the BEST in the world. Because they couldn't really pull off proper foxtrot technique in standard steps, the choreographer cleverly added a spectacular lift to make you forget that this was a Foxtrot.


6 - Jeanine Mason & Phillip Chbeeb 
Hip-Hop choreographed by Tabitha & Napoleon 
"Mad" by Ne-Yo

First DANCE to open up Season 5 Five! It was a fairly entertaining number. I liked it. Chbeeb is fun to watch and Jeanine stayed with him pretty good. I liked this performance, and so did the judges. THEN, I I saw all the other couples perform and, in comparison, this number became quite forgettable.


5 - Max Kapitannikov & Kayla Radomski 
Samba choreographed by Louis van Amstel 
"Jum Bah Day" by House of Gypsies

They put this number in the "pimp spot," soooooooo, . . . this means it is supposed to be good. The producers anticipated a great preformance, BUT . . . the Judges praise of this number seemed to follow a script. Come on . . . what's up with the Hot Tamalee Train being awarded to this number? I'm NOT buying it.

Just look back to other Samba performances on SYTYCD, and this Samba is just NOT up to that level. Take a peek at Danny and Lacey doing a Samba that is really Hot Tamolee Train Worthy.


4 - Evan Kasprzak & Randi Evans 
Jazz choreographed by Tyce Diorio 
"I Only Have Eyes For You" by Jamie Cullum

Great choreography by Tyce the OREO. His broadway numbers have become soooooo predictable, and hence boring, over the last few season of SYTYCD. It was refreshing to watch Tyce create some beautiful movement and emotions to a beautiful song.

The Judges liked it, and I liked it. Judges predict that this couple should go far in the competition. I wonder WHY they feel a need to tell America what they should be thinking? I believe America can see beauty when it appears. Alas, Judges bias and influence is a fact of life on SYTYCD. But because America does know they have a Veto Vote via the telephone, occassionally, they decide to vote a different direction from the one the Judges suggest.

But in the case of this performance, I believe America and the Judge should be on the same page. We'll see on Thursday night, when the Bottom 3 are announced, and the early Front-Runners emerge.


3 - Ade Obayomi & Melissa Sandvig 
Contemporary choreographed by Mandy Moore 
"Right Here Waiting" by Richard Marx

First lady OUT of the competition last year was a Ballerina named Raven. Hence, I wasn't expecting this ballerina named Melissa to do that well. WOW . . . I like this Ballet Dancer! She comes in with rich preformance credentials. I believe she'll do very well in this competition. Her partner Ade, is strong and powerful, a lot like Joshua last year.


2 - Jason Glover & Caitlin Kinney 
Bollywood choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan 
"Jai Ho" from Slumdog Millionaire

Intricate choreography: much unfamiliar details to pay attention to . . . and they pulled it off fantastically. Caitlin's dancing was crisp and accurate. I couldn't keep my eyes off her. Jason did not detract at all. He was THERE through every tough sequence of this Bollywood number!


1 - Ashley Valerio & Kupono Aweau 
Jazz choreographed by Wade Robson 
Music: "Felt Mountain" by Goldfrapp

What was required of the dancers was ununsual and extraordinary. Unique concept by World Champion Choreographer Wade Robson! The music was forgettable, and even though it was weird, the dancing performance completely drew me in! Fabulous choreography by Wade, and great dancing by Ashely & Kupono


The talent level is very high this year. What I'm calling the "worst" performances were NOT bad at all; instead, they were good to very good, but were simply OUT SHOWN by the rest of the competitors.

Fan Base plays LESS of a role in SYTYCD, compared to Dancing with the Stars — where in the latter, obviously BAD dancers move deep into the competition. In SYTYCD, there are regional pockets of support for each dancer, but then AMERICA votes on the dancing they like, and thus, the actual quality of performance is rewarded.

If Asuka Kondoh & Vitolio Jeune land in the Bottom 3 Three, I think the judges are ready to eliminate them from the competition. Both are talented dancers within a fantastic field dancers — the best ever for SYTYCD.

Results Show:

Is the order in which they are saved significant? Sometimes! First 3 couples to be saved were by middle of the pack performers #4, #5, and #6. From the start Max and Kayla were the first couple saved. Since it's typical that ONE of the three couples is found in the bottom three, it was a good FAKE OUT when both Evan & Randi AND Jeanine & Philip were safe.

There there were four couples in the next group: In my mind, there was NO WAY in the world that the couples that delivered the THREE BEST performances would be eliminated. So Jason & Caitlin, Kupono & Ashley, and Ade and Melissa were SAFE, leaving Tony and Paris in the Bottom Three.

So TWO of the last three couples presented would be in the Bottom Three: No surprize that the first of the three couples HAD TO BE in the Bottom Three. Why so? Because if the first couple mentioned is SAFE, then the other two couples are IN THE BOTTOM THREE, and there is no more suspense in the presentation. So, Vitolio and Asuka land in the Bottom Three, leaving a little suspense between Brandon & Jeanette versus Jonathan & Karla.

Come on, does anyone think Brandon would be in the Bottom Three? NO! So the final Bottom Three couple is Karla and Jonathan.

The "Dance for your life" Solos told the tale: Non of the Girls were particularly strong. Karla has a nice resume of experience coming in to the competition, and the Judges took into account her whole body of work leading up to tonight. Karla is SAFE!

Asuka is saved because, as Nigel explained "we try to keep a variety of dance specialty in the competition, when we can" — so we KNEW that Asuka was safe, because Paris is contemporary and there are plenty of them in the competition. Paris is the FIRST to go.

Even though the Judges said that ALL of the male solos were weak, I disagree: Vitolio was freaking fantastic! His solo was head and shoulders above the other two dancers. Vitolio is the FIRST to be saved, and is admonished to BRING OUT his personality . . . else he will not succeed.

The other two solos from Jonathan and Tony were pretty UN-impressive. I really thought Jonathan would be BOOTED. The last few seasons Popping/Hip Hop specialists have been saved from the start of the show: Dominique, Hawk, Ivan . . . all did well in their styles, but struggles out of their styles a bit. So I thought it would be the "Ivan" factor. WRONG. Tony is kicked to the curb!

Next week, it's clear to me that if Jonathan and Karla land in the Bottom Three . . . they are TOAST! Vitolio's dancing is way too strong! It will be interesting to see if any of the Bottom Dwellers will be able to get out the VOTE!

Dr Matt

Weekly SYTYCD Recaps from the Top Twenty Dancers to the Final Four:

Intro      Top 20       18       16       14      12       10       8       6      Final 4


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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