SYTYCD Season 9 – Top 8

Erica: Ugh, they’re doing solos tonight?

Kate’s roommate: Tonight is the finale?

Kate: WHAT!?

Kate’s roommate: She said finale!

Kate: No, finale is in 3 weeks. #amateur

Erica: Cat looks pretty good. The dress is inoffensive and the make-up and hair and gorgeous.

Kate: Um, yes she is finally wearing a dress and um, yes her hair finally looks like its fabulous self, but the makeup? No. Her eyes are really freaking me out, I think she got some kind of work done.

Tiffany’s solo

Erica: Fine? Zoe liked it.

Kate: Ugh, Glee. Are they still doing that stupid thing where they write their own songs?

Erica: They did it at least once this last season I think but I don’t remember that song at all. But me and Glee are through anyway.

Kate: Yes this was fine, sometimes she is a little too cutesy but she is quite talented. Also, do you think her sister, who is a fellow dancer, sort of hates her a bit?

Erica: Speaking as the big sister of a fabulous human, I am sure that all of her pride wipes out (nearly) completely any jealousy she feels.

Witney and Season 4’s Twitch: Hip-hop, “My Homies Still” by Li’l Wayne feat. Big Sean, choreographed by Luther Brown

Erica: Okay, see, I asked for real hip-hop last week, and I got it, and I was happy. And then I was reminded of the way Nigel and Mary tend to act around real hip-hop and I take it back. Don’t do anything that gives them license to try to act “street.”

Kate: Ha, but this was great. I mean Witney looked quite silly bopping around with Twitch but she actually has the sass — and the ass, might I add — for hip-hip hop. It’s not her fault she was wearing, as Jesse Tyler Ferguson put it, “diaper pants”.

Erica: I thought she was a little sloppy in the beginning but mostly very good, although she performs street the same way she performs sexy – like a very, very good mimic but without a lot of soul. And I agree that the thing that needs to be discussed were those pants they put her in. What on earth?

Kate: I am actually starting to think she MIGHT win over Eliana, which would not be the worst thing in the world but still shouldn’t happen. Also, I really wish some day some how it would be possible for me to dance with Twitch. Or take a class he teaches, or something.

Erica: I think Witney is second best to Eliana and has been all season (for the girls). And maybe one day Twitch will be teaching classes in NYC and you can go!

Will’s solo

Kate: He is trying to win me over via dancing to James Morrison. It almost sort of worked.

Erica: He’s much better in his solo than he has been in, you know, the dancing.

Kate: Agreed. But he’s still just not THAT good.

Cole and Season 2’s Allison: Jazz, “Possibly Maybe (Instrumental)” by Bjork, choreographed by Bjork’s soul sister Sonja Tayeh

Kate: Um, why was this song called “Possibly Maybe (Instrumental)” when there was clearly a human (sort of) voice involved? Ugh I hate Bjork.

Erica: Allison is just awesome. I know you get annoyed, Kate, that they presume that the all-stars will be better, because it’s not always true, but I’m sure you agree, in this case, it’s true.

Kate: Oh yes, when it’s Allison it’s true. I like that Cole said he was supposed to be a soulless character — um, he has only not played that character in like one dance all season.

Erica: I do have to say, last week they dinged him for acting to the audience instead of to his partner. He definitely took that advice to heart this week. It’s a very strong, lovely routine. I’m liking Sonja more and more this season. She’s got a strong voice.

Kate: I think he’s very talented. More talented than Will, not as talented as Chehon, but talented. But I don’t think America loves loves loves him on account of his creepiness.

Erica: And, you know, Nigel mentions that Sonja said blah blah blah, revealing for the second time – the first was last year – that they see the dances in rehearsal beforehand. And I know this is reality TV and everything is scripted and manipulated, but . . . I want to believe the judges are seeing this all for the first time right now. I want to believe that there is no man behind that curtain. Just let me believe, Nigel.

Kate: Also, what’s wrong with Allison? I know she had on whacky makeup re: Sonya’s bizarre requests, but she looked like she was about to break down. DID SHE AND TWITCHYPOO BREAK UP?!

Erica: It was an emotional number! She was just still in that space! Don’t worry about it!

Lindsay’s solo

Erica: Her family is so very blonde.

Kate: And all dancers. That’s somewhat awesome that her mom owns a dance studio and that they all dance, although I guess there’s not much else to do in Utah.

Erica: I think there are some non-SYTYCD-specific ties between Mormon culture and ballroom dance. But did you catch that thing about her mom opening the studio for them? What does that mean?

Kate: She flings her arms around way too much to disguise the fact that she is not actually really dancing. I mean, look at those stems! She should use them more!

Erica: She has some serious stems. But it is really hard to do a ballroom solo.

Eliana and Season 6’s Ryan: Quickstep, “That Man” by Caro Emerald, choreographed by Jonathan Roberts

Erica: Love. Love, love, love her.

Kate: The step wasn’t that quick, but if anyone can kick this routine’s ass it’s her. She looks so light on her feet like she isn’t making one freakin’ sound.

Erica: When they started in with the “dreaded quickstep” stuff, I was going, look, America, if you vote Eliana off, we’re over. Forget the election, that’s when I’ll know it’s time to move to Canada. But then she shone! Surely, America, you can see that, too?!

Kate: Surely! Also, I want that dress (as I’m sure you do too Er), and it looks like she was sort of meant to be a flapper no?

Erica: Well, the quickstep is sort of flapper-y, right? And yes, wanted the dress. The thing about her is that it’s not just that her technique is flawless and it’s not just that she can adapt to any style and it’s not just that her performance is top notch and that she’s accessible to the audience as Nigel said. It’s all of those things, but it’s also that she makes the movements look beyond effortless. She makes them look like they are just the natural physical manifestations of her emotions. She’s amazing.

Chehon’s solo

Kate: I mean, I feel like I just don’t even need to comment anymore. A standing ovation for a solo? Come on.

Erica: Gosh, he’s pretty.

Kate: In all aspects of the word.

Erica: The solo was amazing, of course. Also, I feel the need to mention that the name of the song was “On the Nature of Daylight,” which is a great, if pretentious, song title. And he’s so choked up about his mom being there he can’t even talk! Aw!

Lindsay and Season Never’s Alex: Jazz, “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye feat. Kimba, choreographed by Sonja Tayeh

Erica: Great choreography, fantastic dancing (wow is Alex Wong a prince among men – hey, do you suppose they’ll reprise your favorite Alex/Twitch routine during the finale, Kate?) but Nigel was right – not a lot of heat.

Kate: Oh so I can post the link to that dance again? Swell. Yea I didn’t love this, and it appears Mr. Wong has gone tanning a lot recently.

Erica: Lindsay’s outfit is super-weird.

Kate’s roommate: I have that bra.

Erica: Sonya just loves her flexed feet, pulses and kicking, doesn’t she?

Kate: But see how much better Lindsay is when she actually USES those legs?

Erica: Oh, yeah. It wasn’t a criticism. I love flexed feet, pulses, and kicking, too.

Will and Season 3’s Lauren: Hip-Hop, “Dance My Pain Away (District 78 Remix)” by Wye Oak, choreographed by Chris Scott

Kate: I like that couch.

Erica: I was skeptical about this concept but the choreography ended up being really neat, didn’t it?

Kate: I think so, I mean I love when the partners don’t dance together together, like touching together, and he did better at hip-hop than I expected.

Erica: Will and Lauren did a very good job staying in sync even when he couldn’t see her, and he was very sharp. His goofiness was sort of contained by the movement, so that he did manage to come across as more serious than usual, but his natural style also came through enough that he seemed relatable and real through his pain. Imagine the contrast if, say, Cole had been working the same character. (That’s not a criticism of Cole; it just would have been very different.) This is the first week I like Will.

Kate: Oh, Cole would look absurd doing hip-hop. I sort of hope they give that to him next week.

Erica: But, oh, my God, Nigel’s comment about Lauren coming to his room that night to be the thing that pushes his pain away? Just stop. Please. You’re old enough to be my father. She’s young enough to be my . . . much younger sister. Just stop.

Kate’s roommate: Ew!

Witney’s solo

Erica: It’s a ballroom solo. It was good for a ballroom solo. Sexier than Lindsay’s but not quite as good.

Kate: See, that’s where you’re wrong. A) She picked my favorite horrible song of the week, so I wanted it to be really cool. It wasn’t. B) She does the same thing Lindsay does with solos but instead of flinging arms she just shimmies a lot instead of ACTUALLY dancing; I guess these young ballroom lassies just aren’t experienced in choreographing solos for themselves. Which sort of makes sense, but which shows me they are not quite ready for the world yet.

Erica: I just think there’s no such thing as a “solo” in the ballroom world so they have to make shit up for this show.

Cole’s solo

Kate: Somehow I am not surprised by his childhood. And his mom looks fab-u-lous.

Erica: Cool. Not as good as Chehon.

Kate: Well, who is?

Cyrus and Season 8’s Melanie: Jazz, “Badder Badder Schwing” by Freddy Fresh feat. Fatboy Slim, choreographed by Mandy Moore

Erica: Okay, first, much squealing about seeing Melanie. Gosh, she is just such a slice of delicious.

Kate: She is quite great.

Erica: And then, love the choreography. Super-fun and cute and memorable. And it’s okay with me if Nigel and Mary want to punch the air for a while.

Kate: Here’s where we differ, and I don’t mean anything against Mandy, but I did not like the choreography so much. It was TOO Fosse, like TOO much of that fist thing. I’d get it if there were just 2 or 3 fist things you know?

Erica: Eh, I think you’re wrong and it was super-fun. I liked it as much as I liked that Sara-Pasha number with the suspenders. The thing about Mandy Moore is that you could use her work to do a dissertation on the difference between cheesy-delicious and cheesy-awful. For me, this work fell squarely in the former category.

Erica: And then on to the Cyrus. You know, this was really very good from him.

Kate: He wasn’t sharp enough. But America loves him, and goddammit Nigel yes it IS about the best dancer!!!!!! WHICH IS CHEHON!!! (For the boys.)

Erica: I hated when Nigel asked him all condescending if he knows who Bob Fosse is and he looked all wide-eyed and said, “No,” and Nigel was all, “Study our history you fabulous innocent, you,” and I’m going, first, shut up, Nigel, and second, stop it, Cyrus. I don’t believe for a second that you’ve never heard of Bob Fosse.

Kate: Seconded.

Eliana solo

Kate: Weeee an actual BALLET solo!

Erica: Sick. Why is she here? Seriously?

Kate: I know, when she said she moved to NYC when she was 16 and she guesses it worked out because she’s here, I went “Um, how old are you?” and then “Um, I think you were doing pretty great before this show!”

Chehon and Season 3’s Anya: Tango, “Breathing Below Surface” by Jesse Cook, choreographed by Miriam and Leonardo?

Kate: How much did you squeel when they said “Chehon” “Anya” and “Tango”?

Erica: Mary Murphy says it’s great so it must be great. I did like it. It was softer and sweeter than I’m used to the tango being and I thought Chehon, you know, didn’t fuck it up in any way. And I almost believed he was straight!

Kate: Yes I thought it was good BUT I thought he was almost not in the right character mind frame for the tango, like not angry/aggressive enough, but then I realized it was not an angry/aggressive tango and it was actually kind of slow and soft, which is odd. So I think I just didn’t like the choreography much.

Erica: But camera! He’s great at spinning but if she’s on stage I need to be able to see her, too! You should make this as much like having the best seats in the house as possible! Stop randomly deciding on close-ups when there’s shit going on elsewhere!

Cyrus’s solo

Erica: The solo was great. Cyrus did what he does and he does it really well. But then Nigel had to throw out “ratchet”, a slang term he learned from Luther Brown up by that first hip-hop routine. No, Nigel. Don’t. I want to like your more “street” hip-hop choreographers but not if they’re going to inspire this nonsense in you.

Kate: See this did not impress me. This stuff never does. It’s not actual dancing/choreography, it’s just matching these weird intricate movements to a weird intricate song, which I know a lot of dancing does but it still just doesn’t get me the way Chehon’s and Eliana’s do.

Tiffany and Season 5’s Ade: Jazz, “The Power of Love” by Celine Dion, choreographed by (seriously, with that song choice, do I even need to tell you?) Mandy Moore

Kate: That was jazz? I’d call that lyrical. I’m starting to think that’s a term my school dance company made up, though.

Erica: Gosh, Ade has quite the set of guns there. I mean, he can just lift her up and toss her around.

Kate: She’s also approximately 85 pounds. I thought she was great in this.

Erica: Just lift her on her side while he’s lying down . . . or over his head . . . or around the side. Just a lot of strong, strong lifting there.

Kate: No, I’ve always liked him. But let’s hear how you feel about Tiffany now hmm?

Erica: Tiffany, to me, there’s nothing wrong with her dancing. She’s very good and strong and light and good lines and all that. But there’s nothing that’s really memorable, either. There’s no depth to her. I feel like, if I were a control-freaky choreographer, I would want to work with her, because she’d always do the dance exactly the way I showed her and do it really well. But I don’t get the feeling there are any surprises in her.

Kate: Well she’s definitely better than Witney and Lindsey combined — remember her hip-hop with George? So good! — but she definitely doesn’t have as much depth and emotion as Eliana. I agree with Mary Murphy that this was her best of the season.

Erica: Oh, and Cat made a comment about Tiffany not know she’s beautiful, like the One Direction song, and then Nigel made THE VERY SAME COMMENT FIVE SECONDS LATER LIKE CAT DIDN’T MAKE IT FIRST. Stop it, Nigel.


Erica: I was surprised Witney was in the bottom and not Tiffany.

Kate: I was not.

Erica: I don’t know how or why people are connecting with Tiffany. But I’m not surprised they picked Witney over Lindsay. I was pleased and surprised to see Eliana safe.

Kate: Duh!

Erica: I was also not surprised to see Will go. It was the first week I liked him; of course it was his time to go.

Kate: Oh well, on to the next!


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