SYTYCD XI – Top Twenty!

Kate: WE’RE BAAAAAAAAAACKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!

Erica: Well, I’m trying very hard to be back.

Kate: This show makes me so inexplicably happy, I can’t even.

Erica: And when you’re happy, I’m happy, my dear.

Kate: Let’s start with…

Cat’s Outfit

Erica: Meh.

Kate: I like the longer, beachier hair, and I like the dress, but it almost looked too big for her (the slits on the side were not tight against her skin), which leads me to believe she has lost weight, which she did not need to do. Bad Cat.

Erica: I did not much like the dress. Her hair continues to spectacular. How do we feel about Mary’s hair?

Kate: Looking froofy but good.

Erica: I do think she looks better as a brunette but I kind of like the shape.

Opening Group Number — Jazz, choreo by Sonya Tayeh

[“Stalker Ha” by Kingdom]

Kate: A little sexier than usual, no?

Erica: A little, yeah. I think Sonya Tayeh’s choreography is very reflective of where she is emotionally, so maybe she’s getting some.

Kate: She does have some interesting new hair. Regardless, I thought they were all very synchronized for this routine. That said, I didn’t love the routine as a whole. Not enough “wow factor” for the first performance of this group, know what I’m saying?

Erica: Really? I quite liked it. Creative choreo, really showed off some of these dancers’ ridic legs, and they were all very much dancing as twenty parts of one whole. I especially loved when they were sort of dancing in a clump but with partners.

Kate: I did like the cheerleader-esque stunts. 😉

Brooklyn & Serge – Cha Cha, choreo by Dmitry Chaplin

[“Hell Yeah” by Midnight Red]

Kate: Isn’t he your fave, Er?

Erica: No, PASHA is my fave!

Kate: Oh. These two are very talented individually — very snappy and sharp with non-human fast legs — but they did not completely connect in this, and I feel like of all dancers ballroomers should be the ones to most easily connect.

Erica: I was not thrilled by the choreography. We’ve seen more interesting cha cha routines. And then the lights went all crazy and it felt like they were trying to make up for the lackluster choreo.

Kate: I am excited about the number of ballroom dancers this season, though, and I think they will both be very good at other genres.

Erica: Of course Nigel loved Serge’s, you know, heterosexuality. And of course he had to do a long lead-up to his commentary, talking about him doing something arts-education-related. Yes, Nigel. Good job bringing dance to the world, Nigel.

Emily & Casey – Contemporary, choreo by Travis Wall

[“All of Me” by John Legend]

Kate: It was only a matter of time before they did a contemporary dance to this song.

Erica: I’m so out of it. This song…I mean, I guess it sounds familiar?

Kate: I surprisingly did not love this (surprisingly because it’s Travis Wall). I was not happy she made it to the top 20 as she barely impressed me in the auditions and callbacks, and I saw her wobble more than once in this routine.

Erica: I was more impressed by him than I expected to be given how young he is. And I did really like this routine. I mean, it won’t be Travis Wall’s Best Ever, but I liked it.

Kate: It was also not nearly as fluid as the usual Travis Wall routines, and they did not connect AT ALL as partners. AND, when she ran and jumped on his back, it reminded me too much of at least, like, three other recent routines. (Maybe from the Melanie season?)

Erica: Well, all the choreographers have their tics.

Valerie & Zack – Tap, choreo by Anthony Morigerato

[“Sing” by Ed Sheeran]

Kate: I must start off by saying that I LOVE VALERIE. I am not usually a huge fan of tap on this show, but she was incredible at other styles during callbacks and she has a really adorable charm about her.

Erica: She is like the cutest little puppy on the block. These two make me feel ancient.

Kate: And yet, I didn’t love the tap routine. The mini-staircases added a little awkwardness to their movements, and I caught both of them looking down a lot to make sure they weren’t going to slip and fall, which caused me to worry they were going to slip and fall. I also don’t like how tap makes dancers’ arms just kind of wave around in the air doing their own thing and there’s no sharpness.

Erica: I thought she was lightness and grace itself. I barely paid attention to him. But can we talk about Jason DeRulo having a tap background?

Kate: I cannot figure out if he is serious, or why he was guest judging the very first episode of the season.

Bridget & Stanley – Contemporary, choreo by Bonnie Story

[“Doesn’t Mean Goodbye” by Jon McLaughlin]

Kate: Excuse me while I do my best impression of Mary Murphy: WAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! WOO WOO WOO! HOLY SMOKES! HOT TAMALE TRAIN!

Erica: I mean, I don’t know about “hot” but great gadzooks, these kids were fabulous.

Kate: This is EXACTLY what I would have expected from a Travis Wall routine, and I am now in love with this Bonnie lady. Bridget and Stanley had amazing chemistry and incredible technique, they were so in sync with each other. I think this is my favorite of the night.

Erica: They were both just so graceful. They hit all of these poses with the perfect, like, fingers and toes and it was just all in sync.

Kate: I do think Stanley outshines Bridget a little, but he will make her better. I hope they stay together as partners for a while. The only thing I would change about Bridget is her corny facial expressions.

Erica: They won’t, though, right? I didn’t love her personality. He struck me as intelligent and thoughtful.

Jourdan & Jacque – Ballet, choreo by Marat Daukayev

[“Pas De Deux – Black Swan – Tchaikovsky” by Richard Bonynge & The London Symphony Orchestra]

Erica: Fine?

Kate: These ladies are lovely, but this dance was way too hard for them. Fifteen fortes in a row at the beginning of the routine? They both had a hard time recovering from that for the rest of the performance, especially Jourdan. “Strict Russian ballet teacher” is an understatement for this choreographer.

Erica: I was definitely not excited by this routine. I mean obviously they are doing things I could never do, and well, but they are no Eliana.

Kate: I am also a little worried about them doing other styles. They will obviously excel at Contemporary and maybe even Jazz, but Hip-Hop? Broadway? Ballroom? Not so sure.

Erica: By the way, did you know that Nigel can get REALLY, REALLY big deal choreographers to do this show? Like, BIG.

Jason DeRulo Performance

Kate: I’m sorry, we must address this.

Erica: Really? Must we? Because I could happily live without ever acknowledging the existence of this performance.

Kate: This is a real song? “You know what to do with that big fat butt”?

Erica: Pop music is just done with the whole pretending-to-be-art thing.

Kate: I mean, props to the sole white girl for keeping up with everyone else and wiggling her not-at-all-fat butt, but geez Louise this was absurd. I would have liked to have seen some SYTYCD alum up there!

Erica: I would rather not see them sully themselves.

Malene & Marcquet – Brazilian Samba, choreo by Louis Van Amstel

[“Morning Drums” by Gregor Salto]

Erica: I thought this was very Brazilian. Snerk.

Kate: I was a little bit in love with Marlene during auditions, but then she looked horrible doing a hip-hop routine at callbacks and I thought she wouldn’t make the top 20. Alas.

Erica: I did, in fact, see Marlene’s audition. She was the one who gave the sexy little look over her partner’s shoulder before the music started. I kind of adore her.

Kate: Marcquet is definitely a force to be reckoned with, and I foresee him staying on for a long time.

Erica: Hey, a man who can look that good in that stupid shirt is ok with me. And he gyrated even better than she did.

Carly & Rudy – Contemporary, choreo by Stacey Tookey

[“Take It Easy” by Jetta]

Kate: I developed a serious disliking of Carly during callbacks when her group routine drama was shown, so I may now have a negative bias against her dancing.

Erica: I didn’t see it but I am certainly not all that impressed.

Kate: This was good, but I feel like it was good because of all the tricks and not necessarily because of the dancing? I do really like Rudy, and I didn’t understand the judges saying multiple times that he has “heart” but not “technique”. He has both, folks!

Erica: I hate that sh!t. If he doesn’t have technique, why is he in the Top Twenty? Especially considering that this is the best Top Twenty EVER!!!

Kate: ALSO, during the whole judges’ critique Carly had her shoulders hunched. I know it’s a tiring experience, but you are a DANCER — stand up straight for goodness’ sake!

Emilio & Teddy – Hip-Hop, choreo by Christopher Scott

[“Nightshift” by The Commodores]

Kate: What a HORRIBLE song choice for a hip-hop routine. Simply horrible!

Erica: I am generally in favor of the contrasting music genre/dance style thing. But this music, combined with this concept — was no one else getting a porn vibe?

Kate: This was a little corny (I didn’t get a porn vibe), but most of Chris Scott’s routines are. Emilio and Teddy were not always together, possibly because they are so differently shaped/sized, but they are both very good. I look forward to seeing what else Teddy can do.

Erica: I liked Emilio more than I expected to, given that he annoyed me in the little 8-seconds-tell-us-about-yourself thing.

Kate: I also appreciate that Emilio still had to go through callbacks and not just walk onto the top 20 because he made it last year but then got injured. Three cheers for fairness, Fox!

Erica: Here, here!

Jessica & Ricky – Contemporary, choreo by Sonya Tayeh

[“Vow” by Meredith Monk]

Erica: Holy moly.

Kate: Whoa.

Erica: That was perfection. That was incredible. I am comfortable crowning these two right now.

Kate: I must admit, I fell asleep during this one and had to re-watch. I am officially 90 years old. But this was phenomenal and these two are now tied with Bridget and Stanley as my favorite of the night/the most talented dancers this season (as evidenced by this episode; I know that can change).

Tanisha & Nick – Cha Cha, choreo by Louis Van Amstel

[“I’m a Freak” by Enrique Iglesias feat. Pitbull]

Kate: Why were two cha chas allowed in the opening episode? I don’t like that.

Erica: Because they had Louis Van Amstel and that’s what he does? I’d prefer more variety but I tend to like cha chas the second most, after jives, so whatevs.

Kate: They were not nearly as good as the other ballroom dancers nor is Nick as good as his BFF Rudy (I know they do different styles, but still). I don’t think either will last long on the show.

Erica: I thought Tanisha had spark. Nick looked like a boy playing a man’s role to me. But maybe that is because I am SO FRICKIN’ OLD.

Kate: Ok so OVERALL, I think the guys need a little more practice in lifting these ladies, and everyone needs a little more practice in partnering (except Marcquet and Marlene). I also want the judges to be a little harsher next week because they were too happy-go-lucky and not providing any real critique.

Erica: See this is what’s weird to me. They don’t usually have voting for this top-twenty, dance-your-own-style episode but I guess now they are? Anyway, I am pleased as punch to once again be in the company of the young, hopeful dancers, Cat, and even Screechy Mary and the Lewd Racist Homophobe (Nigel). See you next week!

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