SYTYCD Season 9 – Top 14

Kate: Hold on, this is a total Mia Michaels episode?

Erica: The first thing I thought when they said it was going to be an all-Mia Michaels show, with the kids doing her best routines, was, “Shit. We are going to have to hyperlink everything.”

Kate: Hold on, this is a total Mia-Michaels-routines-that-they-have-already-done episode?

Erica: The second thing I thought was, “Is she okay?”

Kate: Did we ever find out exactly what happened to her? I mean, she definitely looks like she’s been through something rough.

Erica: My initial Google search indicated that she was not sick, or at least she was saying she was not sick, but a) I wasn’t very thorough, and b) I kind of don’t believe her. And this doing a retrospective thing is making me super-worried.

Cat’s Dress

Kate: Bah! Someone get the bird off her neck!

Erica: Kate! How can you say that? Zoe worked so hard to design that dress for Cat.

Kate: In other news, I can’t stand the braid trend. Did we all decide our preschool years were when we looked best, or something?

Erica: Kate, just because you were an ugly baby is no reason to shit all over someone else’s style. Also, my favorite thing tonight was when the (totally gorgeous) Ballet Boys (and how much do I love the English accent pronouncing “ballet”? A lot.) were all, “We’ve never seen the show!” and Nigel and Mia gave the stink eye but what are you going to do? Not everyone in the dance world is going to give a reality show on FOX in which American tweenagers are the judges a tongue bath. Suck it, Nigel.

The Group Routine

Kate: Hoping you’ll back me up on this one Er – I don’t like when props, costumes and “acting” – and KISSING! OMG SO MUCH KISSING! – get in the way of, you know, actual dancing. I didn’t like this at all.

Erica: I thought this was more of a performance than a dance but it was a damn cool performance (except for the kissing which was indeed excessive). But my favorite was when, later in the show, Nigel called it the Fifty Shades of Grey dance and Mia looked horrified. Because I was worried that might have served as inspiration, although I don’t remember a scene in that book with the kind of ropes you can use to fly off the stage like that, but her look clearly indicated that it had not.

Eliana and Cyrus: original performance by Katee and Twitch, “Mercy” by Duffy (The Door Routine)

Erica: I loved this routine with Katee and Twitch so much. I thought Cyrus and Eliana did a really good job with it.

Kate: I have surprised myself by thinking this, but I think Cyrus did a much better job than Eliana in this routine. He seemed to have more actual dancing, know what I’m saying? She was just kind of flipping around, which is disappointing; this routine did not enhance her ability.

Erica: I disagree. Eliana is so much shorter than Katee and I didn’t really realize how much that affects what the dance looks like, but she also definitely brought her personality to bear on the routine and I thought she did great.

Kate: The color of Mary Murphy’s dress is quite awesome, though.

Erica: Seconded.

Kate’s roommate: Why is there a number 6 thing on her dress?

Kate: I do not know, Roommate.

George and Tiffany: original performance by Katee and Joshua, “Hometown Glory” by Adele

Kate: This song was out that long ago? I guess Ian was right (we disagreed on this being her first popular single).

Erica: I loved Katee and Joshua so much as a couple. That pairing might be my favorite SYTYCD “moment” ever. And when they did that routine, the striking thing about it was how completely in sync they were. I mean, it was evident all the time, but especially in that routine, where the pair needs to be so very together but are rarely looking at each other, it was astonishing. They knew each other’s bodies. They knew where they other would be without having to think about it. It was like they were two arms controlled by the same brain. That sideways lift thing where the girl throws herself into the arms of the guy – Katee nailed that because she did it without seeming to have any concern or thought at all about whether Joshua would be where she expected him to be to catch her. Tiffany and George didn’t have that.

Kate: It’s a pretty amazing routine but it almost looks like they are doing a previously done routine; does that make sense? Like they are trying too hard. Watching the original for the purposes of this post gave me chills everywhere, so I don’t they came that close.

Erica: It’s not that they were bad. George brought fluidity where Joshua had hardness, for instance, which was different and not worse. Tiffany was not as good as Katee, though. She was trying to be pretty while being tortured and this dance needed her to just look tortured. And they lacked the epic togetherness. And the Ballet Boys agreed with me.

Amelia and Will: original performance by Evan and Randi, Koop Island Blues by Koop featuring Ane Brun (The Butt Dance)

Kate: Um, this is Awkward Turtle City.

Erica: Awkward Turtle?

Kate’s Roommate: She looks like a prostitute.

Kate: Once again, this is a routine that requires sex appeal, which she does not have.

Erica: Not for nothing, but Randi had sex appeal in the original. And she was a fully grown woman with, like, a husband and a kid and everything. So maybe if y’all want sexy dances you should select women with some level of ownership of their sexuality, instead of bright-eyed, willfully virginal little girls?

Kate: Neither of their movements are fluid or smooth. The originals also had way more chemistry with one another.

Erica: I thought they were better technicians, though.

Janelle and Dariean: original performance by Twitch and Kherington, Dreaming with a Broken Heart by John Mayer (The Bed Routine)

Kate: My my he is very bouncy, isn’t he?

Erica: I didn’t much like the original. So, you know. This didn’t change my mind. Twitch and Dariean are obviously very different dancers who brought different feeling to the dance. Janelle is, I think, objectively not as good as Kherington (and I wasn’t her biggest fan).

Kate: He’s got some great tricks in this but again it seems like the guy is dancing way more than the girl and she is just kind of flopping around looking tragic. Did Mia like re-choreograph some of these and make the guys just have more moves? I don’t get it.

Erica: Well, with this particular routine, the guy does have more moves. I mean, it sort of tells the story of a guy who’s broken-hearted because the girl he wants is not in the bed. So the girl he wants has to be not in the bed. But at the time of the original, I wondered if Mia was underwhelmed by Kherington and therefore deliberately not giving her much to do, and this pairing has not changed that speculation for me.

Audrey and Matt: original performance by Lacey and Neil, “Time” by Bruce Porter (The Dad Dance)

Erica: The first time around, I didn’t like it because how do you critique a dance about someone’s dad dying? This time, they did manage to critique it. So. You know. Progress.

Kate: Well, if there’s one routine you’re not supposed to f**k up it’s the dead dad one, eh Matthew? Nigel made him feel pretty terrible about that.

Erica: Yeah, my heart broke a little when I saw their faces during the critique. But, you know, this again might be an argument for seeking out slightly more mature dancers next season.

Kate: I didn’t like this routine anyway, the clip of the original didn’t look that great and these two didn’t do that great either. It’s just like the Melissa and Ade breast cancer routine – don’t give me that story before the dance and the QUIZ the poor dancer boy about the father whom the dance is about. If there is a sad message like that in the dance, I should GET IT from the ACTUAL DANCING.

Witney and Chehon: original performance by Travis and Heidi, “You” by Celine Dion (The Bench Routine)

Kate: This is one of the most, if not THE most, famous dances in the show’s history. I can’t believe they repeated this one.

Erica: Whereas I can’t believe, given how iconic it is, that they didn’t put it last.

Kate: I didn’t even watch the show until Season 6 and I feel like I’ve heard about this dance every other episode since.

Erica: I would bet that, for people who’ve never seen SYTYCD, this is the thing they know about it. That there was a bench dance.

Kate: But they did a pretty great job. I remain convinced that Chehon is one of the best male dancers I have ever seen – second only to Twitch ❤ – and I think this dance showed her talent and their talent together even more than the Whitney Houston routine last time.

Kate’s roommate: He just looks like such a man dancing.

Kate: He is a man.

Kate’s roommate: Not every guy looks that masculine dancing.

Erica: I thought they both did this really, really beautifully, except I totally noticed the same thing Mary Murphy noticed, that Chehon was danced a fall instead of falling. So go me.

Cole and Lindsey: original performance by Kayla and Kupono, “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles (The Addiction Dance)

Kate: This was much better than I expected it to be, especially when the music and choreography really picked up. But it was semi-awkward when he dragged his mouth up her leg, on account of him being semi-terrifying.

Erica: All I could think was, “I hope she’s not ticklish.” But Cole was really magnificent in this, and it was his character that was the most amazing. Very different from the way Kupono played it; Cole was cold to the point of robotic or flat but I mean that in a totally good way. The whole, you know, metaphor there is that the addiction does not care about you but it can control you anyway. Pretty thoughtful acting choice. And good dancing, too.


Kate: Not at all surprised about the bottom 6.

Erica: I was surprised that George was in. Well, not surprised. Just disappointed.

Kate: I still hate solos, but here goes: Though Amelia chose to do hers to one of my favorite songs ever it was not great and did not show any skill.

Erica: Agreed, except I am tired of songs that sound like that.

Kate: Janelle’s belly dancing also didn’t show any real dancing talent.

Erica: I’ve even seen better belly dancing. On a workout video! But I still want to do belly dancing.

Kate: Lindsey’s was surprisingly boring but shoot I love that dress.

Erica: Ballroom solos are almost always boring. She’s got great legs, though.

Kate: George’s was completely unmemorable.

Erica: I disagree; I thought he was luminescent.

Kate: Dareian’s was AWESOME and I thought it was great that he was dancing to a MAN’S cover of “It’s a Man’s Man’s World.”

Erica: Yeah, he was good, too. But, Kate, “It’s a Man’s Man’s World” is originally James Brown. When girls do it, they’re covering. And for mysterious reasons, since it’s a pretty chauvinist song. Also, I hate that song. Not because it’s chauvinist. Just because I don’t like it.

Kate: Matthew Gosling was pretty good, too.

Erica: Actually, he looked pretty sloppy to me. Still reeling from not having honored Mia’s dad well enough.

Kate: Right before they chose which guy they were saving (and my roommate can confirm) I said, “If they save George I’m going to freak out.” Ugh.

Erica: I for one am glad they saved George. I still think he’s magnificent.


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