You Think You Can Dance: Top 16

Last week (okay, four weeks ago, so sorry about the delay here), four dancers we didn’t really care about were eliminated. Who will go home this week (based on last week’s dances, it is still a bit strange)? We start the week off with another pre-taped performance, where all of the dancers are dressed like Charlie Chaplin, and the whole thing is in black and white, save for one bright red umbrella. The style of the dance isn’t super interesting..it is sort of slow and rhythmic. I really just stared at the red umbrella the whole time, wondering how it was filmed and processed. The look of the routine was fun, but I really didn’t take in much of the dance.

Cat Deeley looks particularly gorgeous tonight. She has really fun old Hollywood glam hair, a deep burgundy lip colour, and a sleek black dress. Judges tonight are Nigel and Mary, as usual, along with guest judge Christina Applegate. This is exciting, Applegate was a strong judge last season, and she used to be a dancer (she co-founded the Pussycat Dolls, strangely enough).

Tiffany and George

Oh my lord, these poor dancers. They have to dance a truly horrible CrappyTabs hip hop routine about babysitting. I audibly “ugh”ed when they explained the routine, and then again when I saw the horrifying NappyTabs set pieces for a hip hop routine about babies. Their costumes are likewise hideous. Nigel thought it was great, because he is an idiot. He does say he wishes that the hip hop was grungier. Mary thinks it was amazing, but I don’t hear much of what she is saying because I am trying to figure out what on god’s green earth she is wearing. It is like a denim v-neck, sleeveless tee, but with sparkly shoulder pads that are poking out of the sleeve holes. For real! Christina liked it, but thought that their dance could have been “soupier”, by which she means more fluid and rhythmic.

Amber and Brandon

This is a new partnership this week because Amber lost her partner Nick, and Brandon lost Janaya in the slaughter last week. There dance this week is a Ray Leeper jazz routine. From the first few beats of the song (“Dr. Feelgood” by Aretha Franklin), I can tell this routine is going to be pretty damn good. Amber and Brandon have a ton of chemistry, right off the bat. They also fill the awesome music with tons of emotion and really strong dance movement. The styling of the routine works, and the choreography is great. Christina gets bleeped, but I read on twitter that she just said “Jesus that was good”. She thinks that Amber has a ton of gut and passion, and that Brandon was really strong. Mary is fanning herself, and says that there was some “soul in that bowl”. She thinks Amber really had a great soulful performance, and that Brandon was super masculine. Nigel calls it “baby making choreography”, and then makes a really awkward joke about NappyTabs that the audience doesn’t understand. Classic Nigel.

Dareian and Janelle

These two have a cha cha by Pasha. There are a lot of issues with this routine, and none of them are to do with the dance. The first problem is that the cha cha is to the Carly Rae Jepsen song, “Call Me Maybe”. It just doesn’t fit with the dance style. The next problem, and it is a big one, is that Dareian is wearing the most distracting jeans in the world. The Peanut Gallery and I spent the whole dance trying to figure out what the fuzz was going on with them, and we still aren’t sure. They look like mom jeans, with a balloon seat or something. The rise is really unattractive, and there is bunching in the junk area as well. They are just the worst jeans ever. Pair that with the fact that Janelle is in a full-out cha cha dress and it is very odd. I also didn’t see any of the dance because of that and because of the nauseating camera work. Mary thought they had a good tricks, but both of them danced it poorly. Their feet were wrong. Christina thought Dareian had some really weird hand movements that were distracting. Nigel agrees with both of his fellow judges, and also says that Janelle sex-appeal didn’t come through. Nigel also thinks they weren’t connected with each other, which is key in ballroom.

Lindsay and Cole

These two have a contemporary routine by Mandy Moore, who is almost always strong. The dance is very good, and Lindsay really holds her own in a contemporary piece. The lighting is very cool for the dance (kind of a sepia effect), but the camera work is just terrible again. We are too close to the dancers to really see what is happening, and the angle we are seeing it from is not great. Nigel compliments the lighting department (and congratulates them on their Emmy nod), and says that Lindsay is making great strides. He also calls Cole a genius for his precise placement and control. Mary thinks that Lindsay has the magic that Witney has, and that Cole is astounding for how he has picked up the different styles. Christina compliments Cole’s technique, and Lindsay’s ability to emote through her dance.

Amelia and Will

These two have a Mandy Moore jazz routine, and Mandy falls in love with Will and keeps making him dance with her in rehearsal. The routine is very quirky, and I found Amelia’s character a little distracting. She is just sort of smiling like a goon the whole time, and I am not sure why. Maybe it is just that the dance didn’t have enough character built into it, but whatever Amelia is doing, it seems to be jiving with the choreography instead of complimenting it. Christina calls these two a dream team, and says that they really embrace the choreography. Nigel didn’t like the routine, and thought they were kind of working against each other. Mary didn’t think it was their strongest routine, but they are still at a high level.

Audrey and Matthew

These two get to dance a salsa by Liz Leera (who I don’t know that we have seen before). They struggle with the tricks during the rehearsal. The routine starts out weirdly slow, and they take quite a while to get into hold. They also keep breaking hold throughout the routine, which takes away from any momentum they are building. The choreography isn’t good, much of it is way too slow for salsa. Mary loves them, but they didn’t have a good dance today. Christina thinks that the music was distracting and that it made things look clunky. Nigel agrees that it was all just too slow, and that it wasn’t a good dance for them. He also says that the choreography was good, but I think that was a lie.

Witney and Chehon

These two get to dance a Stacey Tookey contemporary number. The dance is to the Whitney Houston version of “I Will Always Love You”, which is a really big song to perform against. I don’t think the pair of them necessarily succeed. Chehon is suffering from what I will now call “Nick face”, where he is trying SO hard to make us know that he feels angsty. I just didn’t love it. The entire auditorium gives them a standing O, as do the judges. Christina is teary and loved every part of it. Mary breaks down about Whitney Houston, because she is a little bit nutty. She loved the routine, and calls it the defining moment of their journey. Nigel is glad they saved these two because the routine was so good, and I am going to rematch it to see if my opinion changes.

Cyrus and Eliana

These two have a CrappyTabs hip hop routine where Cyrus is supposed to turn ballerina Eliana into a Robot. We’ll see how this going to go. This routine is so much better than the early CrappyTabs number. It helps that Eliana is an extremely capable and adaptable dancer, and that this is Cyrus’ wheelhouse. But beyond that, the dance is just edgier, dirtier, and doesn’t use neon surrealistic baby props. The routine gets a standing O from the judges. Mary loved it, and uses a bunch of hip hop terms to describe it in a cute older white lady way. Christina loved Eliana and thought she was full out in it, and predicts that contemporary is going to be a big damn hurdle for Cyrus. Nigel says that Eliana outshone Cyrus in a lot of the hip hop moves, which I agree with.

Cat calls (hehe) all of the dancers to the stage to announce the bottom 6. Amber, Lindsay, and Eliana are the bottom 3 girls. George, Brandon, and Dareian are the bottom 3 guys.  Nigel wants to see Amber, Eliana, Brandon and Dareian dance again. I wonder what that means for George and Lindsay. Do the judges just think they are good enough? Or not good enough? I can’t imagine Lindsay just gets a free pass. I am sure it is a timing issue. They do their solos, and this is the first time we have really seen Brandon step. He is pretty great. Amber is not very memorable. Eliana has some crazy leg extensions, and is generally amazing. Dareian is strong, but not too unique.

Nigel announces that the judges are going to save Lindsay (because she has room to grow), as well as Eliana. Thank goodness. I was worried that they might cut Eliana for some horrible reason. This means Amber is out, and I don’t think she’ll be missed. She did have a strong week this week, but it was too little too late. Nigel tells George that he is saved, which isn’t a big surprise. He then tells Brandon that he is out, which isn’t too surprising. It is too bad that Amber and Brandon had that great routine today and that it won’t make a difference.

More Battements:

  • Cat Deeley was nominated for an Emmy again! As much as I would like to see the fabulous RuPaul in that pool, Cat is a pretty great consolation prize. She certainly has my vote.
  • Throughout the show, there was some crazy person who kept yelling over the judges. I think they removed him at some point.
  • Mary said the word “hiccup” like “HE-ccup”, twice. Great one, Murphy.
  • Bad news for SYTYCD fans. The show is taking a two-week hiatus for the Olympics. They are really having some crappy scheduling issues this year.
  • I really want Janelle to be in the bottom next week. I don’t know why she hasn’t been there yet, but it is starting to piss me off. Other bottom-bound folks? I think Tiffany and George might be there because of that horrible NappyTabs routine, and Dareian might get a repeat trip to the bottom because of that bad cha cha.
  • The Peanut Gallery really liked Will’s snazzy white suit, because that is how she rolls.
  • Shameless Plug: Did you know that (Cult)ure Magazine has an awesome new podcast? If you like learning strange things about music and judging me for how little I know about that topic, check out the Pop (Cult)ure Music Popcast! Our most recent episode takes a look at The Beatles, and why they may (or may not) have changed music. Hilarity enusues, trust me.