SYTYCD Season X – The Top 18 Perform



Opening Number – Choreo by Sonya Tayeh and Christopher Scott; “Pretty Face (Nathan Lanier Remix)” by Soley

Kate: Now this is an opening number I can get behind. The flailing, the long movements, the tortured faces, the tortured music – wow.

Erica: I really very much loved this routine and thought everyone brought their best to it. Oddly, I did sort of notice Jade was missing. I first noted that Jasmine H. and Aaron were dancing together and thought, “Hey, they kept the couples together,” but then I looked over and Malece was dancing with not-Jade, and I said, “Oh, I guess not.”

Kate: What a dream team of choreographers, eh?

Erica: So here’s what happened in my head during this number: “They’re in white and there’s a big set piece. Mia Michaels?” “Oh wait, no, flexed feet and sharp movements and throwing themselves into a volcano, it’s Sonya!” “But the animators are animating; Sonya doesn’t usually do that. Christopher Scott? But no way, nothing about the rest of this is Christopher Scott. But he’s pretty versatile so . . .” And then it was Sonya Tayeh AND Christopher Scott and I got to feel sort of smart.

Cat Deeley’s outfit

Kate: Finally!

Erica: I think she looks fab tonight. Simple works on her. And her hair has never looked better.

Kate: Can’t go wrong with an LBD and long flippy blond hair. Speaking of which, Erin Andrews is totes Cat Deely’s hair twin.

Erica: She wishes.

Kate: And I want her bracelets.

Erica: I am having a visceral and instant haaaate for Erin Andrews. I’ve got that song from Wicked running through my head. “Loathing/There’s such strange exhilaration/in such total detestation./It’s so pure, so strong!” I don’t even really understand what she is, and yet, haaaaate.

Kate: So I think they read our blog post and, like, a million angry tweets about the elimination format, and then changed their minds about it. Either way, we’re taking partial credit.

Erica: I’m taking full credit. Me and Cat are secretly BFF and she listens to everything I tell her. So, okay, Jade is out due to injury, so neither Curtis nor BluPrint is in trouble this week, although they are obviously gunning for BluPrint. The girls in the bottom are Jasmine M., Alexis, and Jenna. To which I say, I could lose either of two of those girls without crying. I really don’t like Alexis much at all, and Jenna is only meh to me.

Kate: Kate: All 3 girls are meh to me.

Erica: So now we watch the solos.

Alexis – Tap; “Try a Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding

Erica: Okay, I don’t like her much. But this was pretty f-ing impressive.

Kate: No, it wasn’t. Great song, overpowered by stupid tap noises.

Erica: Also, I still ❤ when the dancers do movement to the now-non-existent “dance dance dance” echo.

Jasmine M. – Contemporary; “10 Seconds” by Jazmine Sullivan

Erica: Man. I love her, but this was . . . less than awesome. But I am not worried! She is amazing! That tango last week was to die! She will be fine!

Kate: There is just absolutely nothing special about her, I’m sorry.

Jenna – Ballroom; “Wild” by Jessie J. feat. Big Sean

Erica: The audience is going nuts here and I don’t really get it. She’s got attitude, sure, but the solo is a completely unremarkable and boring ballroom solo and her hips just don’t do what Latin ballroom hips are supposed to do.

Kate: This song made me feel like she was the most annoying Jersey guidette at a Dunkin Donuts down the shore talking loudly on her cell phone. In other words, I hated the whole thing.

Erica: Okay, on to the actual show.

Amy & Fik-Shun – Paso Doble; choreo by Jean-Marc Genereux, “Tactical Dominance (Orchestra Hybrid Version)” by Jack Trammel

Kate: Ugh the dreaded passodoblay.

Erica: I like paso. Sometimes.

Kate: I am still reeling from how much I loved their hip-hop last week, and I think I did an admirable job at this, I just hate this style.

Erica: I have to say, she really is f-ing awesome. For whatever reason she hasn’t quite gotten to my heart but she’s a spectacular dancer, a great performer, and she seems like a genuinely pleasant and cheerful person. And she did great here.

Kate: Yes, I want them both to go as far as possible.

Erica: He looked profoundly uncomfortable with the whole thing, I thought. But the judges are just going to tongue-bathe him all season until, even though I think he’s pretty good, I’ll loathe him. Also, I know that I should be very much in favor of the way paso choreographers for the last few seasons have been playing with the gender expectations of the paso doble, but . . . I miss the swirly skirts.

Janine H. & Aaron – Broadway; choreo by Spencer Liff, “They Just Keep Moving the Line” by the cast of “Smash,” feat. Megan Hilty

Erica: Once I heard the song, I just kept thinking about how sad I am that “Smash” ended up being really not very good, and how much I want Megan Hilty back on my TV screen, and how it would be nice if HBO would attempt a musical TV show, not just because they could do it right, but because HBO would probably let us see Megan Hilty’s boobs, and I kind of forgot to watch the dance.

Kate: Ugh, Broadway again. I really am starting to hate this style, amazingly so.

Erica: I just think Spencer Liff is not a very inspired choreographer. Tyce has his moments, but I’ve been liking his contemporary pieces way more than his Broadway numbers. So they just kind of don’t have a good choreographer to represent Broadway.

Kate: I continue to believe Aaron is not in fact that graceful, and his size inhibits him.

Erica: I have no opinion on him one way or another.

Kate: She does have the spectacular legs and they look nice together, but I do not think he is good enough to stay in this competition. I can’t comprehend what the judges saw that made them think this was quality Broadway – he needed to be way more in character, especially doing the little nothing movements like walking around and hand gesturing.

Erica: Okay. She’s spectacular, though. I grow more and more impressed with her every week. Just one thing – what cheap-ass bargain bin did they pull her costume from? Ugh.

Makenzie & Paul – Contemporary; choreo by newbie Lindsay Nelco, “No Day But Today” by Idina Menzel, Live from Soundstage

Erica: The new girl looks too young to be choreographing. Shouldn’t she still be dancing?


Erica: Not quite there with you.

Kate: Phenomenal! First of all, this song. Second of all, this version of this song. Holy smokes.

Erica: Agreed.

Kate: THIRD of all, Makenzie! Is there anything this girl can’t do? She blows me away.

Erica: She is amazing. She is still suffering from a little show-biz sociopathy, but good lord, she can dance.

Kate: And see how Paul had the facials and the dramatics even while he was just walking around? That’s what Aaron should have had.

Erica: I cannot fault the dancing at all.

Kate: Nor should you.

Erica: I am just not in the mood to watch two ultra-able-bodied 18-year-olds enact terminal illness. Not. in. the. fucking. mood.

Kate: I know, I purposely ignored/didn’t mention the disease theme.

Erica: Remember Melissa and Ade in their cancer dance? I mean, I hate when the show does this tearjerking bullshit anyway, but at least Tyce D’Orio made the effort to use their incredibly abled bodies to enact illness in a beautiful way.  And Melissa and Ade had the maturity to pull it off credibly. Still hated it. But hate this way more. But yes, Makenzie and Paul are amazingly, beautifully talented and it is not at all their fault that they are eighteen and that they were being choreographed by a twenty-year-old.

Jasmine M. & Alan – Jazz; choreo by Sean Cheesman, “Veins” by Charlotte Martin

Kate: I keep forgetting who these two are/that they are in the competition at all.

Erica: I have really liked both of them.

Kate: Also, this choreography was so not Cheesman, in that I actually liked it. A lot. Fun theme.

Erica: Agreed! First time I’ve liked – and I really liked it! – a Sean Cheesman routine. Maybe it’s because his pecs were covered in the rehearsal footage. I wasn’t scared this time.

Kate: But there’s a reason these two aren’t memorable. Nothing stands out about them.

Erica: The judges were right, they needed to embrace the quirk a little more. Remember this? This is good quirk.

Kate: I don’t consider that quirk, but it’s good dancing.

Erica: So Mary said something about Alan not being used to lifts? I thought he was a ballroom dancer, no?

Kate:I didn’t notice she said that, but I thought their lifts were just fine.

Erica: Also, judges, seriously, I know this was a dance about royalty, and I know that Will and Kate are very popular royals right now, but . . . this in no way resembled Will-and-Kate-ness. So stfu. Especially you, Erin Andrews. Haaaaate.

Kate: But…Kate Middleton has the most perfect hair ever.

Erica: Zoe thinks she looks like you.

Jenna & Tucker – Hip-Hop; choreo by two new people whose last names are Madrid but whose first names I couldn’t catch because they aren’t chyron-ing the choreographers anymore and Cat’s accent confuses me, “Dangerous (Immortal Version)” by Michael Jackson

Erica: 5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .


Erica: Heehee.

Kate: Goodness me I agree with the judges, but this was NOT hip-hop. This was jazz.

Erica: I liked it, whatever it was. And I LOVE when Nigel Lythgoe explains hip-hop to us all.

Kate: It was a cool routine. I don’t think anyone gives Tucker enough credit; his movements are very sharp yet fluid, and he really throws himself into every style. Jenna, on the other hand, I thought was WAY too stiff for this so-called “hip-hop”. When she needed to be sharp, she was sharp and good, but she was so stiff in the upper half of her body I thought she looked ridiculous.

Erica: I give Tucker plenty of credit; he’s my favorite boy on the show.

Kate: By anyone I meant the judges.

Erica: I was intrigued when Mary was like, “Next time, Jenna, you should blah blah blah,” and Jenna was like, “Next time?” and then it seemed like either a) Mary totally forgot Jenna was in danger, or b) the “jidges” had already decided not to get rid of her.

Kate: Oh nice catch!

Malece & Marko (!) (standing in for injured Jade) – Contemporary; choreo by Sonya Tayeh, “In the Embers” by Sleeping at Last

Kate: So ok, this was amazing. BUT, I felt it gave Malece an unfair advantage, because the judges could dedicate their full attention to the girl dancer.

Erica: Oh, whatever. I’ve liked her from the first and this whole thing was A. Maze. Ing. This is the first routine I think will show up on the favorites of the season list.

Kate: That said, the judges were right in that Marko did bring something out of Malece and made her dance much better than I’ve seen all season. And she does, in fact, remind me of Melanie. Good grief I hate agreeing with the judges.

Erica: I just noticed that during the rehearsal footage, Sonya was saying something about how Malece was going to have to take responsibility for Jade because he- and then the video cut off. And then Nigel was like, Sonya said Jade was doing really well! And I’m like, I . . . don’t think that’s exactly what happened.

Hayley & Curtis – Samba; choreo by Jean-Marc Genereux, “Straight to Memphis” by Club des Belugas

Kate: Poor Curtis. In all fairness to him, he didn’t do THAT badly. He didn’t do great, but he didn’t bomb it. And in more fairness to him, Hayley looked good, like, doing her best impression of a ballroom dancer because she stuck out her hips a lot and shook her fringy dress. But, she was not a great ballroom dancer here. Know what I’m saying?

Erica: Yes. I loved her hips, especially as I’ve been complaining about Jenna’s Latin ballroom-trained, unimpressive hips all season, and I loved this choreography, but I thought they both looked like very good dancers who don’t do ballroom and were trying to do ballroom.

Alexis & Nico – Jazz; choreo by Spencer Liff, “I Put A Spell On You” 

Kate: I continue to dislike her and want her off the show.

Erica: Yup.

Kate: She just moved awkwardly, and not gracefully. Especially not in those shoes. I also wanted more from him in this routine, but the “story” focused too much on her.

Erica: I actually thought he did a really great job in this weird character piece. And I kind of liked the routine, even though, oh my God, what a very obvious story choice for a very obvious song.

Kate: Great song.

Erica: Then the judges were clearly getting punchy. As was I. Don’t have four judges again, show. Too many. Too boring. Even they’re bored, that’s why they’re all jumping on top of Nigel. I did like Erin for a minute when she chastised Nigel for joking about having another heart attack. Just because I like it when they chastise Nigel.

Mariah & BluPrint – Hip-Hop; choreo by Luther Brown, “Bring the Noize” by M.I.A.

Erica: Yeah, sure, they draw styles completely randomly.

Kate: He’s got to go.

Erica: Yeah . . .

Kate: I was a fan, and I think he’s talented, but not talented enough. If for several weeks in a row the judges have told you to have some gosh darn facial expressions, and you still aren’t doing it in the top 16, you don’t deserve to be on this show.

Erica: I don’t know. Nigel told that story about Sasha winning over Danny in season 4 despite Danny being a FUCKING AMAZING dancer who’d already had a quite a bit of professional success as if it was an object lesson for BluPrint, rather than a shameful incident for the show. And as if it wasn’t partially Nigel’s fault, for complaining the whole f-ing season that Danny’s perfectly professional demeanor was unlikeable and snotty. Also, how do we know we’d like BluPrint’s personality if we saw more of it? Maybe he’s a dick, and he’s just doing his best not to show us that.

Kate: And furthermore, Mariah completely outshined him in this! She had much more of a hip-hop attitude/swag/whatever you want to call it AND great facials.

Erica: Yeah. I really like her.

Kate: But I could have done without the weird all-white costumes, for sure.

Erica: Luther Brown does like putting girls in bizarre outfits.


Kate: So Jade is out, obviously, which is a shame because I wanted to see what else he wanted to do, but it was probably for the best.

Erica: Yeah. Plus, hey, he’s injured. You’ve got to take care of yourself, you know?

Kate: I’m glad America agreed with me on not really caring about or remembering Jasmine M. There’s only room for one Jasmine on this stage, people!

Erica: Boo, hiss. I liked her. And now, Alexis? Oh, now I’m really gunning for you. Not Nancy O’Dell/Wendy Piper levels of gunning, but still. Gunning.

Kate: Also, did you notice the awkward aura surrounding Paula Abdul on this episode? Like, no one was really acknowledging her, and she sounded so nervous and fumbly every time she spoke. No?

Erica: My thing about Paula Abdul is that I never watched American Idol. So though I’m aware of her as kooky, drugged out, super-nice reality show judge, I mostly think of her as the pop singer I liked when I was ten. I’m just surprised every time she doesn’t dance with a cartoon cat.

Kate: Ok, tune in next week for the top 14! God I love this show!


2 thoughts on “SYTYCD Season X – The Top 18 Perform

  1. Lenore Happenstance says:

    Alexis should’ve been out. Girl drives me nuts but this week, to her credit if this actually is credit, her shoulders weren’t scrunched up to her ears when she tapped her solo. Jasmine looked so pretty in her tiara and even though her tango was clompy, I don’t remember the judges saying anything terribly critical to her in the past shows. And ballroom solos continue to not make sense to me.

    Curtis, oh baby boy. His outfit was so slimming, I wanted to take him home and feed him sandwiches. Fik-shun let me down, too. On Twitter, I said if he killed on the paso doble then he’s in the finals. Then it didn’t happen. I think Amy will be in though. She’s one of the dancers that make me happy when I see her dance.

    I watched Marko (POLO!) more than Malece. Not good. It’s hard to explain how somebody with white hair and skin that glows in the dark doesn’t catch my eye.

    And I wonder if they taped Paula’s critiques separately from the rest of the show. Just in case she spaced out. “Erica: My thing about Paula Abdul is that I never watched American Idol. So though I’m aware of her as kooky, drugged out, super-nice reality show judge, I mostly think of her as the pop singer I liked when I was ten. I’m just surprised every time she doesn’t dance with a cartoon cat.” BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

    Thanks for a great review!! I can’t wait to read your thoughts when they come back to the air. Hopefully when the all stars are on, it will be all tWitch all the time.

  2. perica1981 says:

    Fik-Shun is going to be in the finale. He’s adorable and smiley, they’re pimping the hell out of him, and the truth is, he has a soupçon of talent. He will get votes, and if he ever doesn’t, the judges will rescue him. That’s my prediction, anyway.

    Thanks for reading! I’m glad you’re enjoying!

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