SYTYCD Season 12 – Top Twenty Perform; Two Are Eliminated

Erica: So something is becoming clear to me. They’re not partnering traditionally because we’re voting off one street and one stage dancer, not one boy and one girl. This is a move of which I heartily approve, because for a few seasons now, we’ve been very much feeling that the girls overall are better than the boys overall, and yet not-so-great boys have been staying while better girls have been packed off.

Kate: I also think I was wrong about them not learning other styles, and thank goodness because that is truly the heart of this show.

Erica: Anyway, to business:

Group Routine: Hip-Hop, choreo by Pharside & Phoenix

“Baila Como Yo” by District 78

Erica: So this was pretty weird. For those of you who read these recaps but don’t watch the show, first, why?, and second, thank you, and finally, let me explain what was happening on stage to the best of my ability. Which will be pretty poor, because I have very little dance or music vocabulary. So the guys are all in mariachi costumes and the girls are all in Latin ballroom dresses and everyone’s got their faces painted like those fancy Mexican skulls but the song is hip-hop but that sort of Latin-influenced hip-hop which I’m sure has a name. And they dance hip-hop and roughly half the dance is stupid and sloppy and the random flailing of arms looks a lot less cool than I think we’re supposed to think they are. And then there are some cute tricks, like when one of the guys flips through the held-out-in-a-circle arms of another. And the boys slide off the stage into the audience, which is always a crowd-pleaser. And then half the dance is actually really cool-looking and utilizes the group dynamic really well. I’d say more of the first half of the dance was stupid and sloppy-looking, whereas more of the second half of the dance was cool and interesting. But there was a mish mosh, really.

Kate: They were dressed as that Dia de los Muertos thing, which I am SO over. The girls looked sharp in the beginning but the rest was pretty messy. The boys just have no star power.

Cat Deeley’s Outfit

Erica: This is a no from me.

Kate: Too 80s cocktail party. Not v. flattering.

Erica: The dress conceptually is fine but looks ill-made. And I strongly feel that Cat’s hair should always be down unless there’s a really, really good reason to put it up, and this dress was not a good enough reason for me. And I do not like pink (her jewelry) with red (her dress) unless they’re really made to work well together, which these are not.

Kate: Yes, pink earrings with red dress = BIG NO. Red shoes too matchy-matchy.

Erica: PS. Do not Travis and tWitch look ridiculously happy to be doing this?

Kate: I mean, wouldn’t you be?

Erica: Yes. And we’re doing something about the 10 years of SYTYCD and all the Emmy nominations they’ve gotten. Good job, guys.

Kate: YAYAYAYAYAY!

Erica: Seriously, guys. It’s time to bring Mary Murphy back. Also Nigel has some sort of honor from Britain. Order of Merlin, First Class? Something like that.

Kate: I now understand that reference! 🙂

Erica: YAYAYAYAYAY! So now there will be three street and three stage dancers in danger. YOUR TWEETS can save one street and one stage dancer; the judges will save one street and one stage dancer, and then the last two get the boot.

Darion (stage), Hailee (stage) & Yorelis (street): Salsa, choreo by Jonathan & Oksana

“Blucutu” by Saamara

Erica: I am a fan of trio ballroom. Just, as a general rule. Also I am becoming a fan of Hailee. Who is gamely wearing the same outfit that she wore last week.

Kate: Yes, I love her.

Erica: The girls were definitely more impressive than the boy. I liked Hailee best but Yorelis may be one to watch out for, too.

Kate: Me too, but Darion effing up that lift ruined Hailee’s mojo a little.

Erica: Overall, I liked it, but there were points at which the tricks just weren’t working that well. Even the cool one they teased during the rehearsal footage, where Darion leaps over Yorelis and sort of lands on Hailee looked a bit belabored. And one of the lifts the judges called out for being disastrous but I’m not exactly sure which one.

Kate: The one I just mentioned.

Erica: Oh, and Cat’s giving results throughout, so Darion’s in danger, but both girls are fine.

Ariana (street) & Derek (stage): Jazz, choreo by Ray Leeper

“Cry Me a River” by Michael Buble

Erica: So, Ray Leeper said that this was about two people experiencing grief and loss together. But I really felt that the sharpness of the choreography and the costumes and makeup (face paint tears) made sort of a joke of grief. Maybe it’s just because we as a family have been through a lot and I don’t feel very ready to laugh about grief.

Kate: I just didn’t think they were very sharp, even stagey Derek in some parts. Two all-stars would have killed this routine.

Erica: I mean, the choreography was cool and I thought they danced it very well. I was just set up for one thing and ended up comparing what happened on stage to that thing and being disappointed. Well, they danced it well, but their movements didn’t really match. She was much more flowy and he was much bigger. I mean, his movements were much bigger.

Kate: She was not good at all toward the end, seemed to give up on the movement.

Erica: Every time Paula Abdul said “I really do,” I thought she meant, you know, “Bless your heart.” And Nigel of course had to be all “Ariana, you’re brown and yet you can dance like white people!”

Kate: Oh, I’m shocked that Jason DeRulo wants to mirror what Paula said!

Erica: They are both in danger, btw. And I am saying nothing at all about the Degree infomercial in the middle of this.

Alexa (stage), Megz (street) & Virgil (street): Contemporary, choreo by Dee Caspary

“Until We Go Down” by Ruelle

Erica: So these three I thought were amazingly in sync. And I really liked the choreography. I’ve liked Dee Caspary before, so I wasn’t surprised, but I thought this was pretty neat. And Virgil had amazing chemistry with his two female partners last week, too. I think he’s in the top for boys.

Kate: How could you tell they were in sync when they were constantly doing different choreography? I definitely felt the emotion and energy and saw a good deal of skill but as a whole something was just off for me.

Erica: Because they appeared to be dancing like each other, if that makes any sense. Like they were part of a cohesive whole. Nigel speaks out against his haters. You do you, Nigel.

Kate: Always.

Erica: All three of these guys are safe. Ryan Seacrest has a new show. He goes trick or treating with Ariana Grande? I don’t know what’s happening. I don’t care.

Burim (street), Edson (stage), Gaby (stage) & Lily (street): Bollywood, choreo by Dev Nahul Mahajan

“Dhol Bhaje” from the Ek Paneli Leela soundtrack

Erica: So that was super-fun and adorable.

Kate: I love Bollywood so much. I’d love to learn a routine.

Erica: I thought they were all very sharp and precise. I mean, I’m sure people who’ve spent their lives practicing this style are better. But I thought they were really pretty great. They definitely embraced the spirit of the dance.

Kate: No, Burim was horrible. Absolutely zero sharpness. The other three were as good as non-professional Bollywood dancers can be.

Erica: If you say so. Lily is in danger. The other three are fine.

Asaf (street), Kate (stage) & Neptune (street): Broadway, choreo by Spencer Liff

“All About That Bass” by Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox feat. Kate Davis

Erica: You’re so right; Asaf has a terrible attitude. Oh, my God, I would cry if I was getting this dressing-down from tWitch. I mean, tWitch is 100% right to be giving it. But I would cry.

Kate: I am just not a fan of them focusing on developing his character throughout the season. All I care about is if he’s a good dancer.

Erica: So I think Kate is a star and I really liked this routine. I thought Neptune was a little too loose, and didn’t hit all his cues, and Asaf looked very uncomfortable in his suit. And the thing is, the routine was super cute. But only Kate was really selling it.

Kate: We disagree on this one — this had the potential to be great, but the three did not vibe off each other and Kate seemed a little dead inside. I disagreed with the judges about her wholeheartedly last week, but this week I saw it — she has amazing technique but no pizzazz. She needs to pull that out quick or she’s going home.

Erica: Neptune is in danger; Kate and Asaf are safe. Asaf should thank his lucky stars and cute face; I think the judges would give him the boot if they could.

JaJa (street) & Jim (stage): Hip-Hop, choreo by Christopher Scott

“No Woman No Cry (Live)” by Bob Marley and the Wailers

Erica: tWitch promised us a “staple of the season” and I gotta say, I don’t think he’s wrong. Both of them gave great performances. Both of them were incredibly in sync. The choreography was fantastic and really utilized hip-hop dance with a slow reggae ballad. And they danced like it really was a perfect fusion of ballet and hip-hop — not piecemeal fusion, like, oh, this move looks hip-hop and this move looks ballet and we put them both in this dance, but a genuine fusion. I’m really, really impressed.

Kate: Well, Jim is 10000% Alex Wong part two. This was amazing and definitely my favorite so far, except for the music. I love that song but it really threw me off as a hip-hop dance song. Their movements were absolutely perfect together.

Erica: Nigel is getting all emotional about how this dance is basically the apotheosis of this show and I can’t even make fun of him. Because he’s not wrong.

Kate: But like, why so emotional Nigel? Crying???

Erica: But seriously though. Paula and Jason are contributing absolutely zero in terms of critique. They are just empty bodies making mouth noises. Where is Mary Murphy? Nigel, what did you do to her? Can we have Christina Applegate as a permanent judge? What’s she up to? What about Adam Shankman? I like him better as a choreographer than as a judge, but I’ll take him. Hell, I’d take Li’l C at this point. At least he has, like, a distinct personality.

Kate: At this point I’ll even take Mia Michaels.

Erica: They’re both safe, by the way.

JJ (street), Marissa (stage) & Moises (stage): Jazz, choreo by Ray Leeper

“I’m So Sorry” by Imagine Dragons

Erica: Oh my goodness Moises is giving off the least sexual energy of anyone I’ve ever seen ever.

Kate: Again, this had so much potential to be good, but even the girls let me down here. They were not nearly fierce enough, smiles or not.

Erica: “Marissa, we gave you a super-sexy number but you were too sexy in it. So please be less sexy the next time we have you dance in black lingerie. Okay?” By the way does she not occasionally look like Sophia Bush?

Kate: Yes she does.

Erica: First of all, I thought Marissa was the one to watch in this piece. No one else had her stage presence.

Kate: I feel like the judges got in her head about the sexy thing and she held back too much in this, but she was better than the other two.

Erica: That said, I didn’t love this number. I thought the choreography was not that interesting and followed this very frequent “sexy pissed woman” thing. And they gave Moises jetes because he can do jetes, not because they made any damn sense.

Kate: And they also taught Jason DeRulo to say “jetes”.

Erica: Then the judges talk a bunch of nonsense about their facial expressions. It’s the weirdest. “Don’t smile; smiling doesn’t make sense. Smile; don’t keep your face the same. You should smile but something else that makes no damn sense.” It’s very weird.

Kate: #Dontlistentothejudges, Marissa!

Erica: Moises is in danger. The girls are safe. And when they come back from the break we learn that Team Stage is in the lead.

Team Street: Hip-Hop, choreo by Christopher Scott & Season 5’s Phillip Chbeeb

“Time” by Nathan Lanier

Erica: I saw the seesaws and decided this was either going to be amazing or stupid as shit.

Kate: The seesaws made me very nervous, and what’s-his-name almost fell on them right in the beginning.

Erica: And can we talk about how much more focused and skilled the girls are, even just in the rehearsal footage?

Kate: Girls rule and boys drool!

Erica: I really do think Christopher Scott is pretty brilliant. The kids are in these almost steampunk suits and the music is weird and creepy and the choreo is pretty amazing. And the girls rocked it.

Kate: I liked it but not as much as last week’s Team Street routine.

Team Stage: Contemporary, choreo by Travis Wall

“Stabat Mater” by Woodkid

Erica: It’s still the girls. I think the gender divide is less obvious on Team Stage than it is on Team Street but it’s there.

Kate: Kate SHINED here. Shined. Thank goodness.

Erica: And these costumes are sort of post-apocalypse steampunk. There’s too much flailing for the cameras to keep up in a meaningful way. Which is not a criticism of the dance itself. The dance is actually pretty amazing. The sort of contrast between sharp and flowing movements and the organic togetherness of the group is, you know, cool.

Kate: The costumes reminded me of a Covet style challenge.

Erica: So just for the record, of the six on the bottom, four are guys and two are girls. Twitter has saved Neptune and Moises. Oy. Neptune I can see has some potential, but Moises? I don’t know, man. Lily is working so hard not to freak out on stage. And then some very weird thing happens with the cameras — we see a staged shot of Team Stage, and then we’re out and up on the stage with a strange voice that’s probably someone in the control room, and then we’re out to commercial. Weird.

Kate: Yeah, Fox effed up a little. And I did not think Lily deserved to go home.

Erica: The judges are saving Derek, who I’d swear on my life I’d never seen before except obviously I just watched him in this show, and Ariana, a decision I support. So, goodbye Darion, I hardly knew ye, and goodbye Lily, I don’t think I much liked you.

Kate: They’re doing a special show tomorrow to celebrate 10 glorious years of this fabulous show, but we are only watching not blogging. We’re back next Tuesday after the Top 18 perform and two more are eliminated!

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