SYTYCD Season 15 – Top 6 Perform

Cat Deeley’s Ensemble

Kate: This dress needs 2 less sleeves, one less turtleneck and one less obnoxiously large bow on the shoulder, then it’d be fine. Although the combination of velvet AND sequins is a little aggressive.

Erica: The bow is, to me, the most egregious thing. I don’t much like the dress, but it’s also just not my sort of thing.

Kate: Love the hair — silky smooth — and makeup, though.

Erica: Fully agree. Perfect. Also, it must be said; neither Hudge nor Mary look like a crazy person styled them tonight.

Kate: Ehhh…

 

Group Routine: Contemporary, choreo by Mia Michaels

“Spring 1” by Max Richter, Andre de Ridder, Konzerthaus Kammerorchester Berlin & Daniel Hope

Kate: Oh, kind of lovely, no?

Erica: I really enjoyed the choreography and I thought the performance was better than they have been. Also I kind of want a skirt like the girls were wearing. For, um, Sadie. And not for myself. At all.

Kate: I liked the mix of a classical/ballet-type song with contemporary Mia Michaels-type dancing.

Erica: I was surprised Nigel approved of the boys dancing all girly.

Kate: Also, this is the top 6 already? Does that mean next week is the finale since it’s the top 4?

Erica: Yeah, it sounds like it. That’s what happens when you start with just ten dancers.

 

Jensen & Kiki (Season 14) Cha-Cha, choreo by Jenna Johnson (Season 10)

“Bailar (Radio Edit)” by Deorro ft. Elvis Crespo

Kate: Ok so I think when we talk about her and Jay Jay having trouble with the connections, it’s actually her, because I noticed it here too, which is weird because isn’t ballroom her thing?

Erica: Yeah. It is. It did feel like the two of them were in different dances.

Kate: They said in the thing before the dance that she was sick this week, and I feel like I could kind of tell; she was not going full out, which is something I said about one of her performances last week I think.

 

Genessy & Lex (Season 14): Contemporary, choreo by Mandy & Elizabeth

“Be Brave” by My Brightest Diamond

Kate: Why was she crying in the thing before the dance?

Erica: Because it’s a struggle, y’all.

Kate: Well, even though I’m not totally in love with her, she did great in this, but who wouldn’t with Lex as their partner?

Erica: No no we hate Lex. I didn’t love the conceptual on-the-nose-ness of this piece, but I thought she danced it very well.

Kate: We do? Don’t remember that. I just feel like I finally was able to see her range of movement here, you know?

Erica: Yeah. We definitely saw her legs like we had not seen them before. I will say, Nigel kind of said without saying that it was good she wasn’t dragging around Slavik anymore.

 

Slavik & Jaja (Season 12): Hip-Hop, choreo by Comfort Fedoke (Season 4)

“Beggin & Pleadin” by Brandy

Kate: Still not that impressed with him. Like, at all.

Erica: I hate to say it, but…I didn’t like this choreography. Man. I love Comfort. But I thought this was not an interesting piece. And I’m all for dancing a style that doesn’t match the music, but it did not work here.

Kate: I thought it was ok, but it was a pretty odd Brandy song that I had never heard before. Also, isn’t hip-hop his genre? I didn’t find him to be sharp or down low enough at all.

Erica: The judges were pretty harsh. Although Nigel did also make reference to the not-at-all-happening showmance.

 

Hannahlei & Marko (Season 8): choreo by Robert Roldan (Season 7)

“Welcome Home” by Joy Williams

Kate: Marko! Robert!! And a Joy Williams song (she’s one half of the now nonexistent duo, The Civil Wars)!!! Oh, be still my heart; it’s too much. TOO MUCH!

Erica: The piece was quite lovely. Not going to change the world of dance, but pretty and danced well.

Kate: They weren’t  t o t a l l y in sync but this was beautiful and she did great, especially with all the lifts and tricks.

Erica: Yeah, I was impressed with her. There were moments of very honest connection that I thought worked really well.

 

Jay Jay & Lauren (Season 7): Jazz, choreo by Mandy Moore

“Runaway Baby” by Bruno Mars

Kate: Oh, I thought all the routines would be choreographed by former contestants, which would have been cool. Also, really, Mandy Moore? This show doesn’t respond well to jazz?

Erica: Hey, that would have been cool. Maybe there’s some statistic she has access to that indicates voters don’t vote for jazz? I have to imagine that people who work on this show have access to and obsess over stats we don’t know about.

Kate: Oh, I hadn’t thought about that; probably. Lauren is also another one of my favorites; I think her and Robert’s season was my all-time favorite. The golden era of dance, if you will.

Erica: Hah! But yeah, they were good.

Kate: And although she’s one of my favorites, I feel like she did her job as an all-star and really let him shine in this routine; his jazz sass and attitude were pretty on point. (Lots of dance puns in that sentence.)

Erica: He has something that no other dancer has this season — he makes it look easy. I thought he was fab in this as he has been in just about everything. And of course I was delighted to see Lauren again. She’s great.

 

Darius & Taylor (Season 14): Contemporary, choreo by Travis Wall

“It Takes A Lot To Know A Man” by Damien Rice

Kate: Wait, didn’t we love Taylor?

Erica: Yes. We loved Koine a skootch more, but we loved Taylor next best last season.

Kate: Um, I know this is a Big Message piece, but may I just say that the eye makeup on him here was just gorgeous?

Erica: Here’s my thing — they let Travis say that he’s gay. Out loud. It’s…Like…Progress.

Kate: Hooray for progress! They danced a little awkwardly together and I don’t know if that was intended because of the choreography or what; but other than that, this was great and he was great. He has a lot of range, I think.

Erica: Oh, I thought they were perfection together. I think any awkwardness was intentional. He was spectacular and this piece was spectacular. You and I often don’t love Big Message pieces, but I think the thing is that a lot of the time the dancing suffers in service of The Message. In this piece, the dancing was brilliant, and The Message and the dancing were enhanced by each other. And he was so good. I’m so glad we didn’t lose him last week.

Kate: Aaaand there’s Nigel’s awful commentary. I cannot even. And stupid Hudge is “legit shook”.

Erica: Nigel, there have been gay boys on your show for 15 seasons and this is the first time one of them was allowed to admit it. Don’t pull a muscle patting yourself on the back, there.

 

Jensen & Jay Jay: Tahitian, choreo by Tiana Nonosina Liufau

“Lugahiva” by Te Vaka

Kate: Well, this was new. And WOW costumes.

Erica: This is because of the popularity of Moana. Kate, I forget, did you manage to watch this with the girls at some point? It’s so good.

Kate: I have still never seen it, but Ian plays the songs for me frequently. And I think Nigel said that this lady choreographed Moana, so, duh. But how does one choreograph an animated movie? Anyway, they were only slightly better on their connections here but individually they both danced this great; him a tad bit better, though.

Erica: I think it was nice for these two that this dance wasn’t super-dependent on connections. I thought they were individually very good and her hips were excellent.

 

Genessy & Slavik: Salsa, choreo by Jonathan & Oksana

“Machika” by J Balvin, Jeon & Anitta

Kate: Their silly little romance thing is just too…Silly…For me to believe this was a “sexy salsa” routine as indicated in the pre-dance thing.

Erica: Yeah, weirdly, the parts that they were supposed to be really rolling their pelvises together or whatever looked the worst.

Kate: Their lifts and tricks were also super-awkward throughout, very labored. Didn’t really like this, so I’m back to not liking her, and I still don’t like him or their silly little romance.

Erica: I thought she was better than him in this. But not great.

 

Hannahlei & Darius: Argentine Tango, choreo by Leonardo & Miriam

“Tanguango” by Ryota Komatsu

Kate: It sucks/is interesting that these are the only 2 left in the competition not with their original partners, no?

Erica: I suppose, but also, again, the small numbers made that inevitable.

Kate: Also, the way the 2 choreographers were dancing in the pre-dance thing made me want to watch THEM do some Argentine Tango!

Erica: Oof. I forgot to pay attention to that.

Kate: Also, they NAILED this. That beginning lift? Damn. All the lifts? Damn damn damn. (Except that one at the end when they kind of bumped heads, oops.) Really amazed. What a great night they both had!

Erica: I thought they danced it very well but didn’t sell the sexy. I also have to give props to the choreographers, who put in some really cool moves, which the pair of them pulled off.

Kate: “The pair of them” is a very Nigel-esque phrase. And, um, awkward AF when he asked Fox if they can have a top 20 again. I just don’t see it for you, Nigel.

Erica: Aw, poor Nigel.

Kate: Jensen is safe. Yay/duh.

 

Group Routine (Boys): Lyrical Hip-Hop, choreo by Christopher Scott

“Violence Broken” by No Mono

Kate: Hmm, not my favorite concept, but Jay Jay and Darius so clearly outshine Slavik.

Erica: I didn’t mind the concept. Christopher Scott loves his props but I thought these worked okay. And I thought Darius was the best in this one.

Kate: This really was just a weird routine.

Erica: Well. Yes. It was. I thought it was interesting but did not shine. I liked Luther Brown’s boys’ piece last week.

Kate: Slavik is safe. Are. You. Kidding. ???

Erica: I’m telling you, the power of the heterosexuality is working for him right now. I am super-enjoying, too, that the girls had to come out for results with their hair wrapped up because they were in the middle of prepping for their next routine. This show is usually pretty good about not showing its bones like that, but I enjoy when they do.

 

Group Routine (Girls): Hip-Hop, choreo by Luther Brown

“Bump” by Trish

Kate: SO much more fun/interesting than the boys’ routine.

Erica: I’m telling you, we need Luther Brown on the group routines more.

Kate: I actually really enjoyed this routine and I actually think that Genessy was best of the 3, followed by Hannahlei then Jensen, but I still love Jensen. I would very much like to learn this routine, Luther.

Erica: I liked Hannahlei the best in this one but I thought it was mostly that it was a fun routine.

Kate: Hannahlei is safe, which is good, as is Jensen, which is not good. America, I am once again not at all thrilled with you. Jay Jay and Darius are way more talented than most of those people in the top 4. UGH!

Erica: I have no objection to the girls, as I didn’t have a huge attachment to any of them, but once Slavik was safe I knew America had not been healed. No matter how many times tWitch wishes Luther Brown “mazel tov”. So our top 4 are Hannahlei, Jensen, Genessy and Slavik. Wait, so, first of all, for the first time ever, they have chosen not to do an even number of boys and girls, and also, Jay Jay and Darius are the best on the show? WTF? I call racism.

Kate: Ugh, until next week, I guess.

 

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SYTYCD Top 8

Erica: I want y’all to know that I’m using my precious the-baby-is-asleep-and-I’m-not time to do this recap instead of reading China Rich Girlfriend, the second in the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. So I hope someone is reading it. Kate, have we talked Crazy Rich Asians? Have you read it?

Kate: No and no, but the movie looks funny.

Erica: You should read the books; you would love them.

 

Cat Deeley’s Ensemble

Erica: This is such an extreme improvement from last week that I have to assume it’s a different stylist. I am very much charmed by the oversized scalloped edges on the halter neckline.

Kate: Yes she looks great. Love a high pony on a tall blonde.

Erica: So very much dancing tonight. Each couple dances twice, then each dancer does a solo (which we won’t cover unless something exciting happens, which it won’t), then there’s a girls’ routine and a boys’ routine. So that’s cool.

Kate: Ugh, solos.

Erica: Also I still hate Hudge but I like her hair tonight. I can be nice.

Kate: Yes, her hairstyle on this particular episode is the most redeeming thing about her. Ever.

 

Group Routine: Contemporary, choreo by Christopher Scott

“Runaway” by Nathan Lanier

Erica: This was a very high concept piece. The four boys were on platforms in black outfits and stretchy cords attaching them by the shoulders to their platforms. They struggled against these cords until their ladies came on the platforms dressed as pantsless doctors. Eventually all the boys except the straight guy got out and then he was left on stage alone and panicked. It was extremely bizarre.

Kate: The cords distracted me from the dancing at first. I love this version of this song.

Erica: I thought the flailing was a little sloppy at times. But it was a routine that was mostly about the choreography, not the dancing. IMHO.

Kate: And the props.

 

Jensen & Jay Jay: Smooth Jazz, choreo by Sean Cheesman

“I Got You (I Feel Good)” by Jessie J

Erica: She has really good hair. Like, not so much in this costuming (although it’s fine), but in general. That’s not a dance comment but I felt it needed to be said.

Kate: Yes, she does. I do not like this version of this song. Also, there is a difference between “Jazz” and “Smooth Jazz” in dance as well as in music? Odd…

Erica: Am I just being a b!tch? I felt like a lot of the lifts were super-awkward and labored. Because of the tempo of the song, you can’t really use momentum to throw your partner around; you have to look smooth like honey, and they didn’t.

Kate: No you are not you are being correct, they are still severely lacking in connections when it comes to lifts and turns and I do not understand why because they are good everywhere else. She also seemed very unsure and held back throughout this entire routine.

Erica: I did really like the choreography.

 

Genessy & Slavik: Contemporary, choreo by Mandy Moore

“Fall For You” by Leela James

Erica: Ugh they are trying to showmance these two and I am not interested.

Kate: Did she say “He is definitely one of my soulmates?” WTF does that mean?

Erica: I don’t have anything to criticize about their dancing except that I didn’t fall in love with them and I wanted to fall in love with them. The dance was supposed to be about the moment they decide to say “I love you,” so I wanted to have that little sigh, that heart-gasm™ (Sonali Dev), and I didn’t. Maybe because I was already annoyed by the showmance stuff.

Kate: I did like them in this routine better than I have in any other routines so far, but, yea, don’t care about their showmance.

 

Magda & Darius: Hip-Hop, choreo by Phoenix & Pharside

“Killa” by Disto

Erica: Between the weird bulkiness of their wolf-ish costumes, the lighting and the camera angles, I couldn’t really tell whether they’re doing this well or not. I suspect not.

Kate: I really, really hated the costumes; at first I thought it had something to do with The Wizard of Oz and she was the cowardly lion. However, she was actually better at hip-hop than he was, I think.

Erica: Also holy sh*t is Hudge the most useless human. “Wolf! There it is!”, she crowed, as if she somehow managed to have an original thought instead of having her only comment be a joke that would have felt dated when I was a freshman in high school.

 

Hannahlei & Cole: Broadway, choreo by Travis Wall

“Get Happy” by Judy Garland

Erica: Okay. I don’t like him. But they were adorable in this piece. And this piece was adorable. Travis Wall really is kind of a gift to dance.

Kate: I don’t get why everyone loved this so much. This is possibly because I wasn’t paying much attention to it. Oops.

Erica: Go back and pay attention because it was the first routine of this season I’m going to remember. I mean, I already like Broadway, but honestly, this was good.

 

Genessy & Slavik: Jazz, choreo by Ray Leeper

“House Work (Extended Mix)” by Jax Jones ft. Mike Dunn & MNEK

Erica: This is exactly what I do when I clean my house. I felt that they were not nearly in sync enough or sharp enough.

Kate: Yea, they are back to boring me. I don’t think she’s really that good of a dancer.

Erica: I must give tWitch all the props for being actually critical. And Nigel none of the props for pushing the showmance so awkwardly and annoyingly.

Kate: I hate it.

 

Magda & Darius: Contemporary, choreo by Jaci Royal

“Undertow” by Ane Braun

Erica: This is not about the dancers at all. I have many questions about Jaci Royal. Like, why is your name spelled like that when you pronounce it “Jackie”? And, what about “story about a bad relationship using an on-the-nose prop” is NOT a “typical contemporary routine”?

Kate: Oh I kind of loved this.

Erica: The coolest part of this routine was the way they slipped around on the floor. The thing I liked least about this routine was when they got too close on her when she was holding her hands out ahead of her, so that instead of it looking like she was finally free, it looked like she was a zombie with ginormous hands.

Kate: I thought they danced it beautifully!

Erica: No disagreements there. I didn’t like the camera work. Ooh, Nigel dinged the choreographer. That almost never happens. And Mary and tWitch argued with him, and everyone was, like, cohesive and basing their arguments on dance rather than screeching. And Hudge is silent.

Kate: That’s because “cohesive” is not in her vocabulary. Literally.

 

Jensen & Jay Jay: Hip-Hop, choreo by Hef & Randi

“Cookin” by Fat Joe, Remy Ma & French Montana ft. RySoValid

Erica: Have we seen these choreographers before?

Kate: Not that I can recall.

Erica: I was worried that this routine would be too prop-heavy — they were cooks and there was a kitchen counter on stage, and at the beginning they played with pans and stuff — but they left that behind pretty quickly and did what I thought was a pretty cute routine that they performed really well. They weren’t always perfectly in sync but they had good chemistry and performance, and really, overall, I thought they did really well.

Kate: Oh, I freakin’ loved this. They both had the perfect sass for this routine, and they finally didn’t look completely terrified of touching/lifting each other (although the tumbling was a bit bumpy). Loved it!

Erica: Did I miss something? Why did Mary give a shout-out to Aretha Franklin? And then Nigel pitched his next reality show idea: Jensen’s dancing Mormon family.

Kate: Honestly, wouldn’t be surprised if I saw that on Lifetime.

 

Hannahlei & Cole: Cha-Cha, choreo by Sasha Farber & Emma Slater

“Sing It Back” by Moloko

Erica: I hate to say it, but he was really good in this. She was pretty good, too. And the choreography was pretty great. My only complaint is the lighting in the beginning, which was too much. And that it’s forcing me to compliment Cole.

Kate: Her solo was also really great, I think. I am now starting to dislike him as much as you do, though, so get back on that train with me.

Erica: Actually, when they showed that trick that impressed Mary again, I see that it was a little labored. But still. Great dance. I still hate his personality.

 

Group Routine (Girls): Contemporary, choreo by Talia Favia

“Wanderlust” by Empara Mi

Erica: Not in sync. Not enough in sync. It seems to be a running theme this week.

Kate: Oh, not in sync at ALL. But Jensen really stood out from the rest as someone who actually knows what she’s doing.

Erica: This piece had a bit of a performance-arty feel to it that I didn’t love. But the bit where they were all running in place while holding hands was cool.

Kate: Agree.

Erica: And the girls’ results were announced at this point, which honestly makes sense. Jensen was safe. I agree with America on this issue. Magda, who was in danger last week, was once again in the bottom. Genessy was also in the bottom, so Hannahlei was safe. And after tonight, there’s no way she would be sent home, so that’s fine.

 

Group Routine (Boys): Hip-hop, choreo by Luther Brown

“Juice” by Yo Gotti

Erica: So, first, the stuff that’s not on the dancers — this is further evidence to me that Luther Brown does not find the standard boy-girl pairing inspiring. I thought this routine was great. Fun without being cartoony, with terrific costuming and lighting, and a good marriage between music and moves.

Kate: Kind of like a sophisticated version of that Magic Mike “It’s Raining Men” routine. 🙂

Erica: Now the dancing — individually, I thought they were all good. Jay Jay continues to stand out for me, and (ugh) Cole was pretty good, if a little too performative. But, again, not in sync enough, and not sharp enough.

Kate: How can a dancer be “too performative”?

Erica: He was mugging too much. It was distracting. And it frequently feels to me like he doesn’t try to feel the emotions in a piece; he just tried to show them. Not that this piece is a showcase for that. Just something I feel in general.

Kate: Ok.

Erica: And on to the results. Jay Jay was safe because he’s the bestest. Cole was in danger, but after tonight there’s no way they’ll send him home. He had a good night. Slavik was safe, so does that mean Darius is out? I have to say, I wasn’t into Darius much, but his solo tonight, I thought, showed he proved to be here, even if he did insist on wearing velvet pants during it.

Kate: I like him better than Slavik and Cole, though.

Erica: Oh, wow. They went with the voters to clear bottom two, so Cole and Magda are gone. I thought the girls’ could have gone either way but I really thought Cole’s performances tonight would save him.

Kate: Oh darn, I was starting to like Magda. But you hated Cole, so that’s ok, right?

Erica: Yes, that’s ok. See you next week, folks!

 

SYTYCD Season 15 – 10 Dance, 8 Remain

Erica: Before we begin, I’ve got to plug for a friend of a friend. My friend Melonie Johnson (whose debut novel will be out in April) is friends with Alexis Daria, whose debut novel Take the Lead won the RITA (the BFD romance novel award) for Best First Book. It takes place on the set of a reality dance competition (which is more Dancing with the Stars than SYTYCD) and you guys, if you are into romance novels, it’s a really good one. I recommend. The second in the series is out, too, but I didn’t know that so I haven’t read it yet.

 

Cat Deeley’s Ensemble

Kate: Oh, no. This is way too young for her.

Erica: In that it would be more appropriate on a four-year-old? Who is in some sort of pageant? In Tulsa, Oklahoma, circa 1968? Yeah. It’s too young for her. Holy sh!t. Did her stylist need a day off, so Mary’s took over?

Kate: It’s also just too much — the bow, the high half-pony, the sparkly hoops, the sparkly floral mini-dress, just no. Great eye makeup, though, I think?

Erica: I mean, sure. Yes. But that’s a little, “But other than that, how did you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln?”

 

Group Routine (All): Hip-Hop, choreo by Luther Brown

“Yummy” by Gwen Stefani ft. Pharrell

Kate: Well, that was fun! A much better opening than last week’s, no?

Erica: I really, really liked it. I thought it was so much fun, so funky and really showed off the dancers.

Kate: Except I can’t tell if it was fun/better than last week’s mostly because of the song and the costumes and the concept and the choreography and not the actual DANCING. You know?

Erica: I don’t think last week’s was bad. It just wasn’t as peppy as I’d like the opening number for the first real episode to be. (I will say, I loved the costumes. They always do a good job with those sort of Victorian-glitter-goth looks. But what was up with the pastel Willy Wonka set? Was it because the song was called “Yummy”? Did not seem to match.)

Kate: Wow, and it was a Luther Brown routine, so I retract what I said last week. …Somewhat.

Erica: Maybe he’s just not inspired by one boy dancing with one girl all the time. …Nigel.

Kate: And, praise be, tWitch IS a permanent judge this season. Praise. Be.

Erica: In His Name. (“His” being tWitch.)

 

Magda & Darius: Bollywood, choreo by Nakul Dev Mahajan

“Badri Ki Dulhania” by Badrinath Ki Dulhania (Soundtrack)

Kate: I feel guilty for not paying enough attention to these two last week. Oh how I love these outfits.  

Erica: Yeah? They were fun but not my favorite.

Kate: I love a good Bollywood routine as much as the next person, and they had great energy throughout, but they were not even close to being sharp enough at any point in time.

Erica: I thought they looked like they were having an incredible amount of fun, which is great. They could have used more sharpness. There were also a lot of moments where they needed to make their bodies look the same as each other, and they sort of missed the mark.

Kate: Actually, I think they put way more effort into the energy and attitude of Bollywood rather than the sharpness in the movements, which is really absolutely key in these routines. Seriously less than thrilled.

Erica: I give a lot of leeway, though, because that kind of precision takes more practice than they could reasonably be expected to develop in a week. Do you recall them ever doing a group Bollywood routine on this show? I’d like to see that.

Kate: I do not recall but I would also like to see that.

 

Chelsea & Evan: Lyrical Hip-Hop, choreo by Christopher Scott

“Love on the Brain” by Rihanna

Kate: Oh, what a song for lyrical hip-hop, and this theme.

Erica: I’d never heard this song. The tune it’s sampling is one of my favorites. I liked it very much.

Kate: She was probably my favorite last week, but I was very impressed by his rhythm and moves here — you know, for a tap dancer.

Erica: Yeah, totally. They were very connected, and he seemed really great.

Kate: Also, Christopher Scott, or whomever is in charge of props on this show, I think we would have gotten the concept just fine without all the boxes of stuff. So corny.

Erica: I thought “corny” was part of the definition of “lyrical hip-hop”.

Kate: Also also, I don’t know what the judges were talking about with their chemistry; I thought their chemistry was great. But, as we know, I am NOT on the same page as the judges this season. Except tWitch — love ya always, boo 😉

Erica: I felt like Mary, at least, wanted it to be a different story than it was.

 

Hannahlei & Cole: Step, choreo by Joe Brown

“Pump It Up” by Joe Budden

Kate: I just want to brag about the fact that I spelled her name right on the first try. Biggest accomplishment of the week.

Erica: Mazel tov.

Kate: Also, since when are they doing step as its own category on this show? That’s new this year, right? I did a step class in college and messed up pretty bad during a performance; it is REALLY hard. But it is REALLY fun to watch when it’s a ton of people who know what they’re doing. That said, it sounds REALLY weird when it’s just 2 people…Over music. Step is usually NOT done over music because the clapping and stomping kind of IS the music, know what I’m saying?

Erica: Yes. The part where the music went quiet, they were not loud enough or sharp enough. And isn’t it usually done with, like, at least 25 people?

Kate: Yes. I thought they were actually kind of terrible at this. Too hyper and smiley and high up, not low and steppy enough.

Erica: Very smiley. Not sure if it’s them or the choreographer. Her cheerleader roots are showing.

Kate: I want to be offended by that but I’m not.

 

Jensen & Jay Jay: Contemporary, choreo by Jaci Royal

“Lost Without You” by Freya Ridings

Kate: This was gorgeous for the most part, but a few of the lifts and connections could have been a little smoother, which was my exact feedback on their salsa last week. They need to be more aware of where the other is at all times.

Erica: I thought that aspect improved since last week. And I thought that she did a better job of performing with him as opposed to mugging for the camera.

Kate: Eh, sort of. Also — and this is a comment on the choreography, I know, but whatever — I prefer my sad-relationship-contemporary routines with much more separate synchronized dancing rather than partner lift-y dancing a la Robert and Allison’s Fix You (honestly, any excuse to link to that routine).

Erica: Oh, but I thought in this particular routine, it worked, because she was trying to get him back, so she was throwing her body at him. No? (Fully support your linking to that routine, though.)

Kate: ROBERT AND ALLISON!

 

Genessy & Slavik: Jive, choreo by Sharna Burgess

“Jump, Jive An’ Wail” by The Brian Setzer Orchestra

Kate: Really, Sharna? Couldn’t come up with a song that didn’t have the word “jive” in it? I’m reminded of Miranda Priestly saying “Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking.”

Erica: Hey, sometimes a classic is a classic for a reason.

Kate: For all his worry about being a hip-hop dancer doing jive, I thought he did much better than her. He was better at the really quick movements while she was lagging quite a bit and seemed overall very nervous and tired the whole time. Like, he was kind of carrying her.

Erica: I thought they both looked a little heavy. I love jive and just the fact of the dance should make me love it but I thought this could have been better. He is, by the way, using his heterosexuality to get votes (from the watchers who are way younger, or pervier, than us).

Kate: Eh, toward the end they were better, but she still failed pretty miserably at this in my eyes. But don’t worry, the judges gave them a standing O, so it’s ok. Ugh!

Erica: I think that’s the power of the jive. It just makes everyone happy.

 

Magda & Darius: Jazz, choreo by Mandy Moore

“Fever” by Peggy Lee

Kate: Ok so we’re just going for the MOST stereotypical songs per genre? Fine.

Erica: Okay but I love this song.

Kate: Well I liked this better than their first routine but still, neither of them are really doing it for me in any way shape or form.

Erica: They looked a little stiff, and they weren’t coordinating when to be flirting with each other and when to be flirting with the audience. Also, what about this was out of Magda’s ballroom dance comfort zone? She said she was having to unlearn everything, but I didn’t see it. tWitch said he wished he was them in this routine and honestly, I’d have liked to see him (and his wife) do this routine, too.

Kate: Oh, so much same.

 

Chelsea & Evan: Contemporary, choreo by Travis Wall

“Snowing” by Sonya Kitchell

Kate: Oh, Travis. You’re so…Deep.

Erica: This was quite lovely.

Kate: This was beautiful. He could have been a little more sure-footed (and sure-armed? Is that a thing?) on those lifts, but overall I really loved this and am really starting to love these two.

Erica: Yeah. She’s my favorite. And he’s not bad either.

Kate: But, AGAIN, MUST WE BE SO LITERAL with the white outfits and the “it’s snowing” song and the LITERAL FAKE SNOW FALLING FROM THE CEILING? Come ON!

Erica: Look, SYTYCD is just trying to embrace its cheesy, cheesy soul in its last trip around the sun.

 

Hannahlei & Cole: Disco, choreo by Doriana Sanchez

“Last Dance (12” Version)” by Donna Summer

Kate: Have we ever seen a disco routine on this show NOT choreographed by Doriana Sanchez? ALSO, SERIOUSLY, THIS SONG? We really are going for the most stereotypical of songs!

Erica: I think one time there was a different disco choreographer?

Kate: Again, they have the pizazz of the genre but not the skill. He did OK but she was too flaily (and not the controlled kind), and most of their lifts made me grimace in fear that someone would be on their @$$ any minute.

Erica: Yeah, they seemed to have to concentrate too hard on connecting with each other. Even in small moments, like when they put their arms around each other. I really can’t stand him. I don’t know why he rubs me the wrong way so much.

 

Jensen & Jay Jay: African Jazz, choreo by Sean Cheesman

“Run” by Hybrid Core Music + Sound

Kate: Um, super, super, super-duper cool. Costumes + dancing. I like that Sean Cheesman said “There’s nothing pretty about this. I hope they get that”, because that really is true about certain dances and is pretty hard to pull off.

Erica: Loved the choreography. Want to see Sean Cheesman do more group routines.

Kate: I think she could have been a little sharper in some areas, but he really nailed it. These two are probably my other favorites besides Chelsea and Evan.

Erica: Jay Jay and Chelsea are my favorites. Jensen is growing on me. But I thought both of them could have been the teensiest bit sharper, gotten more air under them when they jumped and lifted, etc. They were good, though.

Kate: And wow, Jensen’s makeup is incredible.

Erica: Yeah, it’s pretty good. I like tWitch ordering us all to try to do, like, one movement that they did. Which might actually kill me but I should probably try.

Kate: Oh, they did some results before the final routine. Odd. Hannahlei and Jay Jay are safe. Why TF did they do the results like that?

Erica: Nigel, when I said I wanted you to break form a little, do something new and different, this wasn’t where I wanted you to focus your energy.

 

Genessy & Slavik: Broadway, choreo by Al Blackstone

“Someone to Watch Over Me” by Ella Fitzgerald & London Symphony Orchestra

Kate: Um, a bench and a flower? Are we serious?

Erica: If you don’t know what she’s talking about, a) who are you and how did you come to be reading this post? and b) here.

Kate: Fine, this was fairly adorable, but I don’t know that it was a great showcase of their dancing, you know? She had some pretty moments with her legs, though.

Erica: I loved the choreography. I think she’s a beautiful dancer, but not a great actress. She didn’t really sell the story.

Kate: I cannot get over the fact that someone put a bench on the SYTYCD stage after THE bench, though. And no one even mentioned it!

Erica: That, to me, is the most unusual thing. Nigel loves recalling the history of SYTYCD.

Kate: Ok, more results. Jensen and Genessy are safe.

Erica: Fine.

Kate: Oh, they’re sending home one guy and one girl each week. Man, this show is definitely on its way out the door. Sad.

Erica: Well, they always do that. But with only ten to start with, this season is going to go fast.

Kate: LOL my first two favorites are of course going home, and how convenient that they were a couple so the producers don’t have to refigure the pairings? *thinking face emoji*

Erica: Blergh. Chelsea, I would love to see you in something else. Please return to my screen sometime soon. Cole, I do not like you and I wish you had gone home tonight.

Kate: Well, see you next week, folks!

 

SYTYCD – Season 15, Top Ten Dancers Perform

Erica: Well, I’m guessing this is the last season. What do you think?

Kate: I don’t know, I keep thinking that, and then the following season comes up with even more changes and shorter air times, and this time around we’re only seeing the top 10 dancers instead of the top 20. Yikes.

Erica: I would be sad, but remember how mad we were about the RAMPANT SEXISM that deprived Koine, or even the infinitely superior Taylor, of the win, and gave it to sub-par Lex instead?

Kate: I do remember this rampant sexism, now that you mention it.

Erica: And Nigel has remained so committed to boy-girl pairings and a stale formula for so long that I’m kind of exhausted by it.

Kate: This season’s auditions in particular exhausted me because every single piece of feedback was, like, “You’re not that great but we like you so yay you move on to the next round!” Literally, almost 0 negative feedback. Is this part of the whole everyone-gets-a-trophy movement? Because I have to say, I hate it.

Erica: So we’re not going to be as on top of this as we usually are. Kate is very busy with non-SYTYCD-blogging work, and I am being reminded that having a toddler is even more exhausting than having an infant. So we’ll do our best, and we’re pretty sure y’all are over it anyway.

Kate: Seriously, does anyone even still watch this besides us? Hello?

 

Cat Deeley’s Ensemble

Erica: I hate to say it, but man, is she looking tired.

Kate: Yup she looked very haggard throughout auditions and academy weeks, this is actually an improvement. I love her long flowy hair, and the color of her dress, but not the style of the dress, and good god whoever did her and Mary Murphy’s makeup should be fired. They look neon!

Erica: Cat’s hair still looks great.

Kate: Duh.

 

Group Routine (All): Contemporary, choreo by Travis Wall

“Dream State” by Son Lux

 

Erica: So much sparkly.

Kate: Yes, distracted by the sparkle.

Erica: I didn’t think it was the dynamic, energetic beginning we could have used, but the choreography was lovely and the dancers, for the most part, looked sharp and made some beautiful lines. I haven’t watched anything yet, so I don’t know these guys, but there was one guy, I think Jay Jay, who looked really gorgeous.

Kate: I could tell this was a Travis routine immediately. I enjoyed it because they look a hell of a lot better dancing all together than individually or in pairs, but that’s not saying much with this group.

Erica: So just in case you want a little guidance as to the format, tonight each couple will dance twice, once in the girl’s style and once in the boy’s style. I don’t know if they’ll stay in the same couples for any of the rest of the season. Also, tWitch is a judge, which I’m excited about. Almost makes up for bringing back the Hudge.

Kate: Wait he is a permanent judge, not just a guest for the first episode? Please let that be the case. Hudge is the worst.

Erica: Her voice sends me into some sort of parallel state.

 

Jensen & Jay Jay: Salsa, choreo by Jean-Marc Genereux

“Mad Love” by Sean Paul & David Guetta feat. Becky G

Erica: No female person who’s not a dancer is named Jensen. So she’s the ballroom dancer, by the way. In case you’re keeping track. Ladies first, it seems.

Kate: And the younger sister of a former contestant, also a ballroom dancer, I think? Lindsey/Lindsay?

Erica: There were some awkward moments — like that last one where she’s sort of sliding down his thigh — but overall, I thought it was pretty good. He didn’t look obviously out-classed. She was a little overly smiley for my taste but I thought not bad.

Kate: They missed a whole lot of connections, which to me is what makes ballroom so cool (besides all the lifts and tricks). The connections should be almost invisible — they should just completely flow together as one, which they most certainly did not. They are both fun to watch separately, though.

Erica: What is with Hudge’s nails? She’s so weird.

Kate: SHE IS THE ACTUAL WORST.

Erica: So, Jensen is Mormon, right? She’s young and engaged. She’s got a big family that also dances. She’s got that adorable blonde cute-as-apple-pie look. Right? I didn’t watch all the auditions and everything.

 

Hannahlei & Cole: Contemporary, choreo by Tyce D’Orio

“They Won’t Go When I Go” by George Michael

Erica: She seems adorable but now I’m hoping she gets voted out early because her name is going to be hellish to type every time. My autocorrect does not like it. So they’re dancing through the apocalypse, as you do.

Kate: This song felt way too upbeat for the apocalypse.

Erica: I think I like her. I think she’s got a lot of presence and she’s got the acting piece down, as well as being a lovely dancer. I particularly like one of their first lifts, which isn’t so much a lift because she just sort of wraps herself around his torso.

Kate: Was honestly too distracted by the song vs. the theme to notice much of the dancing, so I guess the dancing wasn’t that attention-grabbing.

Erica: He seems fine but he didn’t stand out for me. Oh, and, BTW, they are staying in these partnerships for the duration. Or some duration.

Kate: Right, until people get voted off.

Erica: Hudge is Filipino? Okay.

Kate: Hudge is the worst, is what she is.

 

Chelsea & Evan: Jazz, choreo by Ray Leeper

“Make Me Feel” by Janelle Monae

Kate: Ok, finally a routine I actually enjoy! I think she’s pretty good, maybe the best so far?

Erica: She pulls a lot of faces, which feels appropriate to a jazz routine, but we’ll see how that tendency plays in other styles.

Kate: I do feel like she could have elongated and exaggerated several movements a little more in this routine.

Erica: tWitch says something about these being the moments they’ve dreamed of their whole lives. And this show has been on long enough that that’s very likely true.

 

Genessy & Slavik: Hip-Hop, choreo by Luther Brown

“Round & Round” by Fabolous

Erica: Oh, wait, it’s not all ladies first. This is his style. Genessy is also a name you don’t hear outside the reality dance world.

Kate: I really did not like the choreography of this routine and it reminded me that I think I don’t usually like Luther Brown’s choreography in general — it’s like, not enough HAPPENS, you know? GIVE ME MORE, LUTHER!

Erica: They’re pretty cute together. Great chemistry. Hate to agree with the judges, but it’s true.

Kate: Fine, yes, but I need to see a different routine to accurately judge that.

 

Magda & Darius: Contemporary, choreo by Travis Wall

“Glass Heart Concerto” by Blondie & Philip Glass

Erica: This is also his style first; she’s ballroom. Also, Blondie & Philip Glass? I’m so confused right now.

Kate: I…didn’t pay much attention to this routine. Oops.

Erica: Ooh, she’s playing him like he’s her cello to open. It’s cool. Then he gets the bow. Damn, the choreo is really cool. I mean, I expect it from Travis Wall, but he delivers.

Kate: Yes that part I saw and thought was cool.

Erica: They’re both pretty good, but he’s better. In this, anyway. It is his style.

Kate: Correct.

Erica: Nigel claims they’ll be talking about this routine for many seasons to come, but I don’t believe him.

Kate: Yes, because there may not be many seasons to come. Or any. Yikes!

 

Hannahlei & Cole: Paso Doble, choreo by Jean-Marc Genereux

“Heroes of Chaos” by Tybercore

Erica: I try not to comment on the rehearsal footage but I can already tell he’s going to irritate me.

Kate: Don’t I also not like paso dobles, usually? I didn’t enjoy this.

Erica: I didn’t love it. And I’ve seen paso dobles that I do like. It’s not an auto-love category for me (like Broadway or Jive), but it’s not an auto-hate, either. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve decided I don’t like him, but I didn’t feel like he was doing a great partnering job. And she was not extending enough sometimes. And they didn’t look like they trusted each other.

Kate: I don’t think these 2 should be in the top 10.

Erica: Oh, and I hate the costumes. Nigel liked them, but he’s wrong. I’m for some reason reminded of that low-budget Supergirl movie from when I was a kid.

 

Jensen & Jay Jay: Jazz, choreo by Mandy Moore

“Ex’s & Oh’s” by Elle King

Erica: I love this song. I hate their costumes but not as much as I hated the last ones.

Kate: Most exciting routine of the night.

Erica: She’s way smiley. And she smiles at the audience instead of at her partner. Well, she also smiles at her partner. But she needs to interact with him more.

Kate: Yes but she did great in not-her-own style, and they had good (dance) chemistry, and the choreo was great and their energy was great. Finally!

Erica: I think he might be my favorite. We’ll see.

Kate: Yes, he’s great.

Erica: Nigel is criticizing their sexiness? For this song? That’s so weird. Like, I actually think the problem was not that they were too sexy; it’s that she was sexing up the audience instead of her partner.

 

Chelsea & Evan: Tap, choreo by Anthony Morigerato

“Singin’ in the Rain” by Jamie Cullum

Erica: I feel like this is a style that is really quite difficult for anyone outside the style to do well. And I don’t love this version of this song although it does allow their taps to sing.

Kate: Oh I hated every single second of this. I hated this version of this song, I hated the choreography, and I hated that it was a tap routine with, like, barely any taps! It was just awkward silence!

Erica: Her feet look super heavy. She’s acting the hell out of the piece but it is quite obvious that she is not in her style.

Kate: Yeah, and Nigel said this is the first time they ever made someone whose original style isn’t tap do tap, but I feel like that can’t be true, can it?

Erica: I think it might be. For years, if you came in as a tapper, you were only ever going to tap during your solos. Then they had that season with three tappers. But I don’t think they have ever asked a non-tapper to tap, and if they haven’t, then there’s a good reason. It’s not really something you can just do. I believe converting to any dance style from one you specialize in is probably tough, but tap seems to me to be its own category.

 

Genessy & Slavik: Contemporary, choreo by Talia Favia

“An Evening I Will Not Forget” by Dermot Kennedy

Erica: Slavik is going to get votes for being the only straight dude here, isn’t he?

Kate: He doesn’t do much for me.

Erica: I think we are both too old for him. So I liked this choreo. It’s your usual emotional contemporary flailing, but it was good. Not gonna change the world of dance, but good.

Kate: Agree.

Erica: I thought they looked a little more genuinely flail-y, and not controlled-contemporary flail-y, but I think that either their amateur movements worked for the piece, or they were actually quite brilliantly performing imperfection. Nigel is totally giving them a spiel designed to make voters think they’re the underdogs and therefore vote with alacrity.

 

Magda & Darius: Cha-Cha, choreo by Val Chmerkovskiy

“I Like It Like That” by Pete Rodriguez

Erica: Even after fourteen seasons of watching this show (I missed the first one), I don’t feel qualified to talk about the technical aspects of their performance, but I thought the attitude on both of their parts was good. I could have used more sexiness. Nigel felt it was the right amount of controlled sexiness, so maybe I’m just less prudish than Nigel.

Kate: This was much better ballroom than the first one, but I felt like too much separate ballroom rather than partner ballroom, if that makes sense; but that’s the fault of the choreographer. Is he new?

Erica: No. I only know that because I searched our recaps to see how to spell his name. So, I’m pro-Jay Jay. I’m anti-Cole. I have yet to develop a strong feeling about the girls but so far Chelsea might be my favorite, despite the poor tap performance. Genessy is pretty good, too. Thoughts?

Kate: Agree about Chelsea. Let’s see what happens!