SYTYCD – Season 9 – Top Twenty Redux

We have quite a special treat for you tonight folks, a special treat indeed: we are actually in the same room tonight as we watch So You Think You Can Dance Season 9 (official) Episode 2, and we have a few very special guests commenting on the routines along with us. It’ll be like you’re watching right along with us! Isn’t that exciting?!

Kate: Cat’s outfit?

Erica: What do you think?

K: Um… She looks kind of like a post-sex mess?

E: Is this sort of loose-on-top thing popular now?

K: Yes.

E: I’m not so in love with that. But I like her hair, makeup and jewelry.

K: Still think she looks like she just had a nice roll in the sack. Maybe she did. Hopefully not with Nigel.

E: Ew! Thank you so much for putting that image in my head!

Group Dance

K: Ooh spooky! I can’t wait for Halloween.

Connie (E & K’s mom, aka The Grand Duchess of Snark): This looks exactly like that Michael Jackson monster song.

E & K: Thriller.

Zoe (E’s daughter/K’s niece, for the two of you reading this who don’t know): It’s hard to dance outside!

K: I hate Marilyn Manson.

E: I feel like a lot of them could be a little tighter. Maybe it’s because the dance is so fast, it’s like they’re just trying to get to the next move on time. Is it a Sean Cheesman? (Answer I looked up later: No. It’s a Chris Scott.)

C: There’s too many of them on stage at once.

Introduction of Dancers & Judges

Z: Eliana and Cyrus loves each other! There are guys who are married!

E: Oh hey it’s Adam Shankmann! I was hoping we would see him, although I was hoping more as a choreographer but whatever.

K: There’s still time. I think he’s mad at me for my Rock of Ages post.

Lindsey & Cole: Jazz, Teeth by Lady Gaga, choreographed by Christopher Scott

K: Oh I love this song.

E: Sexy dentist, really? That’s the theme?

Z: That’s a bad dance!

K: I feel like I’m enjoying the routine mostly because I like the song, but it’s still kinda cute?

E: This is bizarre, I hate this. It’s not their fault that I hate this; it’s just a stupid concept.

Z: Don’t say that!

E: Sorry. It’s a foolish concept.

Z: It’s a stupid dance!

K: Well they aren’t dancing so much as running and jumping around, so okay I guess I don’t like it that much either. On to the next.

Amelia & Will: Contemporary, 3326 by Olafur Arnalds, choreographed by Sonya Tayeh

K: I still can’t get over the similarity of her haircut to mine when I was four years old.

E: Goodness she’s pale.

K: She’s like, not serious enough. She’s smiling, isn’t this supposed to be sad?

E: Yes but look at her legs.

K: Oh they look great together when they are not touching.

E: She really seems to lead in the dances.

K: Okay so this was better than the first one but it didn’t knock my socks off.

E: I think it was good, they were very connected.

Z: Yuck!

Amber & Nick: Tango, Tenguera by Sexteto Mayor, choreographed by some chick we can’t look up because we’re posting this so early! 

E: Is he seriously getting another ballroom?

K: Looks like it!

E: They nearly missed a hand connection. See, he’s another one who knows how to perform sexy without actually being sexy; it’s a Mormon thing I’m telling you.

K: I don’t think he looks sexy at all; I think they both look ridiculous.

C: No he’s not good at all.

E: He’s a good dancer!

C: Nah.

E: But the tango should be steaming hot, and this is not at all hot.

C: It sounds like polka music.

K: I am not impressed.

E: They’re also wearing way too much makeup. His looks bizarre.

K: I’m 0 for 3 on agreeing with the judges tonight. Mary Murphy’s shirt is making me very uncomfortable.

Audrey & Matthew: Contemporary, Here Me Now by Steed Lord, choreographed by Sonya Tayeh

K: Wow they are using her a lot this year.

E: They’re not quite on the music.

K: This isn’t really even music.

E: I feel like they’re not hitting the beat right.

K: They’ve got some really cool tricks going on though. She’s so athletic.

E: Oh good, let’s talk more about what Nigel loves about the show he executive produces. What’s that? You love how dancers dance outside their genre? That’s great.

K: Well with no Lil’ C, someone has to fill the air with pointless jabber.

Janelle & Dareian: Hip-hop, My Girl by The Temptations, choreographed by Christopher Scott

C: Bad match of song and dance.

K: It doesn’t quite work, but it was a good try.

E: He’s sharper than a contemporary boy usually is.

K: Yes, I think he’s much better than her right now.

E: She’s too bouncy?

K: Yeah, but he’s great doing that old school Motown walk. I’m becoming a fan of his. But this Christopher Scott guy is doing too many cutesy dances.

E: Awwwwwwwwwww!

K: A real kiss at the end! I love when they do that!

C: But that has nothing to do with dancing.

E: Well, their acting was pretty good, and that’s what the judges care about here.

Janaya & Brandon: Jazz, Bring On the Men by Linda Eder, choreographed by Sean Cheesman

E: I love this song!

K: I feel like this is more musical theater than jazz, and I do not like when there is more acting than dancing. Like, MOVE people!

E: This is dumb. It doesn’t really matter how they’re dancing, it’s dumb. She’s way over-acting.

K: Whoa, cool body roll trick.

E: Dumb. I don’t like Cheesman much as a choreographer.

K: Oh my god Cat said “cray cray”.

E: More than once.

Kate: Why do the judges refuse to say anything negative in Season 9 so far?

E: Very annoying.

Eliana & Cyrus: Jive, I’m Shakin’ by Jack White, choreographed by Tony Meredith & Melanie LaPatin

E: His lack of training is showing so much. I mean he’s so talented but they should have let him come back another season.

K: Yea, she’s smoking him right now.

E: He’s just not ready for this kind of competition. It’s almost a shame that they put him through this time.

K: I’ve seen the light.

C: I think it’s his hair. It’s keeping him off balance. Eww FEH what is in his ears?!

Alexa & Daniel: Contemporary, So Long My Friend by Yanni, choreographed by some guy we can’t look up because we’re posting this so early!

C: Dancing in and out of a bathtub.

E: I’m already annoyed with the choreographer and the dance isn’t doing anything to make me feel otherwise. They are just flailing beautifully and tragically.

C: In the bathtub.

K: Guys, I like it. And I don’t like her as a dancer at all.

E: I mean they danced it beautifully I just didn’t like the routine.

K: What’s the difference?

E: They delivered, their lines were fluid and everything, but the choreography was bland and unoriginal.

K: Well, this isn’t So You Think You Can Choreograph!

E: *Glares*

K: But look Adam agrees with you, sorta.

E: And there are times when I like the choreography but not the dancing.

George & Tiffany: Fox Trot, I Want To Be Loved By You by Sinead O’Connor, choreographed by Tony Meredith & Melanie LaPatin

Z: He’s not beautiful!

E: Oh but I like him.

Z: No!

K: This is kind of nice, but they seem a little shaky and unsure and you need to have serious control in a dance like this.

E: I think she’s overacting a little.

K: How do you overact a fox trot?

E: She’s just got a goofy grin.

K: So does your boy. The fox trot is kind of a goofy dance. They keep doing these almost-lifts, so that’s kind of weird and anti-climactic.

E: They got a wildly enthusiastic response for a fox trot.

C: It was the dress.

E: It’s kind of a cool dress.

Z: He is not beautiful because he does not have a beautiful dress and is not sparkly. But she does!

Whitney & Chehon: Bollywood, Tandav Music by Aatish Kapadia, choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan

K: Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Bollywood!

C: That’s a nice outfit.

K: I think his technical perfection makes him amazing in this.

E: He’s very precise.

K: They’re both doing great I think.

Z: Can I belly dance?

E: Yeah they’re both doing a really good job.

Z: It looks like Jasmine movie!

K: This is my favorite of the night. He is perfect.

C: Great outfits.

Step Up Revolution dance

K: Weeeeeeee Twitch! Weeeeeeee I can’t wait to see this movie! Now I want to watch the Twitch and Alex dance.

The Results

E: So with Nick, Daniel and Chehon in the bottom for boys, and Janaya, Alexa and Whitney in the bottom for girls, I predict correctly that Chehon and Whitney will be saved.

K: Ugh thank God they kept Chehon. I mean, DUH, but thank god.

E: I’m sort of sorry to lose Alexa. It was so palpable how badly she wanted to be there and she’s technically wonderful. But whatevs, I knew from the start that these judges were going to just adore Whitney in everything she said and did so I’m not surprised.

K: Til next time!

SYTYCD – Season 9 – Top Twenty!

Finally! Let’s do this!

Kate: Must start with Cat’s Ensemble. Cute dress, very Jennifer Aniston and gold is SO in right now (I mean, when is it not?), but not her best. Not Top 20-worthy, know what I’m saying? And that belt is way too 90s for my taste. 

Erica: Hey, did y’all know about this? I haven’t watched yet, but, um, cool.

Kate: Yea, she’s just great. But I also think she looks a little too tan, like she is really naturally tan and then they put too much make-up on her.

Erica: Her make-up reminded me of a story, because I am, in fact, 90 years old and will bore you all with my anecdotes. See, when I was at sleepaway camp, I was in a production of Aladdin, and the drama director that year had a thing for make-up. He was giving the girls huge bright powder blue cream powder all over their eyes, lash to brow, and big red spots of blush, like, in perfect circles, and bright, hot pink lipstick. But me, I was playing a boy – the Grand Vizier’s son, who, if you only know the Disney version of Aladdin, the Jafar character actually wants his son, and not himself, to marry the princess – so I just got a sheet of “brown face” to look more Arab, I guess, and eyeliner. I was glad at the time to just have a monochromatic, not wholly embarrassing look. But that same look is not really doing Cat any favors. Still gorgeous! Still great hair! Still great legs! Just saying.

Kate: And obviously the shoes are phenomenal.

Erica: Obviously.

The Group Number

Erica: Wow, they really can’t get over that Neil and Sabra number on this show, can they?

Kate: Um, that was cool. But I have seen them dance in groups enough, I want to see them in pairs dangit!

Erica: I liked the number. And I’m glad we’re preserving the concept of the group number, even without the results show.

Kate: Meh.

The New Format

Erica: I’m really not sure about this new format. So next week will be treated as both the results show and the next show, and you’ll use America’s votes from this week to pick a bottom three, and then their dances from next week to determine which four dancers go home? And then no one votes on next week and the following show, people vote again? It’s too weird for me.

Kate: I don’t get it either, but I haven’t been paying as much attention as you and I never actually vote so I just want to watch the pretty people prance around.

Whitney Carson and Chehon Wespi-Tschopp – Samba to “Jump” by The Cube Guys and Luciana; choreography by Louis Van Amstel

Erica: First of all, I do not “get to know the dancers better” by seeing them flub through ridiculous 9 second nonsense.

Kate: Yeah, I don’t need to know them either. Um, isn’t she supposed to be the ballroom dancer? He is completely outdoing her in this.

Erica: I thought she was perfect, but, like, pageant-perfect, you know?

Kate: YEA, she wass being too cheerleader smiley; this is supposed to be a sultry dance, no?

Erica: She seemed like she knew how to perform “hot” without really feeling “hot.”

Kate: Also, he is probably one of the technically best dancers I have ever seen. AB-solute perfection.

Erica: I thought he was a very supportive partner, which, honestly, is to be expected of him, but he didn’t seem exactly hot.

Kate: ALSO, are you noticing those Dirty Dancing-inspired outfits?! His is SO Johnny and hers is SO Penny.

Erica: I confess, I didn’t notice.

K: But now do you see it?!

Erica: Sure.

Tiffany Maher and George Lawrence II – Contemporary to “Turning Page” by Sleeping at Last; choreography by Sonya Tayeh

Erica: Well, I said last week that I wouldn’t remember who Tiffany was, but I guess if she’s going to be paired with my man George, I’ll have to try.

Kate:  Oh my god, yes. Beautiful. Stunning. Very “melty,” which is what Sonya said she wanted, and why, yes, she IS looking rather soft and feminine and tan and loving, Nigel. Weird.

Erica: It was really lovely. Sonya really uses flexed feet well. I don’t know what I mean by that, really. I just know that contemporary uses flexed feet, but when I see her flexed feet, they’re usually sharper and stronger, and used in moments where I find them surprising and maybe meaningful. I’m sure if I knew more about dance I’d be able to express that better.

Kate: Flexed feet are so the new pointed feet.

Erica: Kenny Ortega told them they “spilled it.” I wonder if I will have to, in the coming weeks, tell Nigel and Mary to stop trying to make “spill it” happen.

Kate: What is spilling it? Do they mean killing it?

E: I think “spilling it” means “Mia and Li’l C get to make up words and phrases all the time! Why can’t I?”

Janaya French and Brandon Mitchell – Hip-Hop to “Take Care” by Drake feat. Rihanna; choreography by NappyTabs

Erica: So NappyTabs wanted to do a number about an alcoholic who has to choose between his love of the bottle and his love of his woman. Yeah, this is totally how alcoholism works. Way to handle a big “issue” with all the sensitivity and subtlety I expected of you, NappyTabs!

Kate: You stop that talk. Once again Nappy Tabs makes me wonder why I am not pursuing a career in professional dance, with them as my personal choreographers for every day life. Their routines are so perfect and their moves are so simple yet powerful. I just sort of want to be them as well as be their student and child and best friend.

Erica: I obviously disagree with your sentiment, although their dance routines are usually pretty much fun.

Kate: But Janaya looks a liiiiiitle bit awkward doing hip-hop but I am guessing this is her first time and she is putting in a great effort, but he is obviously better in this genre. NO NOT BECAUSE HE’S BLACK, BECAUSE HE’S A HIP-HOP POPPER LOCKER CRUMPER THING. Right?

Erica: He’s a stepper.

Kate: That’s what I said.

Erica: I thought she was over the top with the characterization, which made him seem underwhelming. Which is not to say he was underwhelming; I thought he was quite good. They just weren’t, you know, in sync. That part where she jumped up into his arms was awesome, though. Like, she jumped up with her legs split, parallel to the floor, and he caught her under her thighs and lifted her. Damn. I also loved how Kenny Ortega, the guest judge, was all, “It’s amazing how hip-hop is changing into this thing that can tell a story.” It’s Season F-ing Nine, Kenny. They’ve been doing this forever. And “making hip-hop tell a (really obvious, often cliche) story” is kind of NappyTabs’s thing.

Kate: Yeah, DUH Kenny. I don’t like him as a guest judge.

Alexa Anderson and Daniel Baker – Jazz to “Hey Hey” by Dennis Ferrer; choreography by Sean Cheesman

Erica: So we have the Type A personality with the asshole. And both very, very pale. He used his whole nine seconds to tick off stereotypes about Australians that he’s apparently annoyed Americans think about him.

Kate: I don’t like that she made the Top 20 still.

Erica: Sean Cheesman’s scary, scary pecs are in hiding this year.

Kate: Ew.

Erica: There is a weird scaffold on stage which they play around with, but mostly they are rushing around trying to hit each step. This number is fast.

Erica: Nigel points out that there’s no real breathing room in a Sean Cheesman number, and he doesn’t say so, because he’s Nigel and the people employed by this show can do no wrong, but I know he agrees with me that this is a problem in this particular number, and it’s the fault of the choreography, not of the dancers. Also, their costumes are really, really stupid. Especially hers.

Kate: Totally!

Erica: That said, she’s really, incredibly gorgeous.

Amber Jackson and Nick Bloxsom-Carter – Viennese Waltz to “Nights in White Satin” by Tina Arena by Jason Gilkison

Kate: Emmmmm . . . This is kind of boring? They are both, you know, good, but you have to be REALLY good to make a waltz interesting. And they don’t have much chemistry. Not impressed, bottom 3! Or bottom whatever it is now.

Erica: You know, for all that they show Jason yelling at Nick, he looks totally confident and in charge on stage. I’m not his biggest fan – and this dance is right in his very well-practiced wheelhouse – but he really stands up here. And her legs are just fluid perfection throughout the whole thing. But, yeah, waltzes are kind of boring.

Amelia Lowe and Will Thomas – “Character” P/Hop to “The Lovecats” by The Cure; choreography by NappyTabs

Erica: So she’s a sophisticated house cat (who they for some reason dress like a mid-priced hooker in 1983) and he’s a “back alley cat daddy”. And then they have the nerve to complain that Will isn’t taking his character seriously. Um . . . “back alley cat daddy”?

Kate: AMAZING. Amazing that I like a routine with her in it, amazing that NappyTabs is now doing some kind of hip-hop jazz mashup, amazing all around. I have officially changed my mind about her.

Erica: Oh, good, because I liked her in this but then wondered if that was because I’m plebeian and bourgeois. I liked both of them, really, and the number as a whole. I mean, they prowl around pretending to be cats wanting to get it on with each other (in a garbage thing! Ew!) and there’s nothing super-difficult about it, but they really brought it to life.

Kate: And then Nigel makes the creepy comment about him wanting her to be his cat, or something. Ugh.

Erica: I must complain, however, about the CAMERA WORK! I know I go on about this every year, but seriously, people, STOP SWOOPING! I CAN’T SEE!

Kate: Yea guys, she can’t see. Gosh.

Janelle Issis and Dareian Kujawa- African Jazz to “Jungle” by Hilight Tribe; choreography by Sean Cheesman

Kate: I love when they announce Sean Cheesman as the choreographer. I always think it’s a joke, but it’s not. That’s actually his name.

Erica: I continue to have liberal white guilt attacks whenever they do African jazz. “It’s just like regular jazz only with more exotic animal-ness!” I mean, I know Sean Cheesman is himself black, so maybe I shouldn’t give a crap but . . . I don’t know. I’ll try to stop.

Kate: I love African jazz. This was a super cool dance but they look so DOOFY! I mean, RIGHT? I feel like you have to have somewhat serious faces on when doing that kind of routine in those kinds of outfits, but they are all WEEEEEE LOOK AT US IN THE TOP 20!

Erica: She’s flexible like crazy. Her legs can do things that most legs attached to human bodies cannot do. This dance was also a no-room-to-breathe Sean Cheesman number, but I thought it worked better than the Alexa/Daniel one. But wait, now, I go back to my thing about the format. Because are there still going to be solos? I don’t necessarily want Janelle gone, but I would like to see a solo.

Eliana Girard and Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer – Broadway to “Run and Tell That” from Hairspray; choreography by Tasty Oreo

Kate: Um, Tasty Oreo? Tyce Diorio?

Erica: Yeah, if we’re going to call them Nappy Tabs, I’m going to call him Tasty Oreo. Which should in no way indicate that I like him as much as I like tasty Oreos.

Erica: So this is where the “You don’t even KNOW about dancing and look at how fabulous you are!” narrative comes in, only this time it seems legitimate. I mean, I know it’s the editing, but as far as I can tell from what he’s said about himself, Cyrus really hasn’t had any formal training, so when they say, “for an ‘animator’ [which is a whole new term to me], that was amazing!” it’s a little less annoying than it usually is. It still IS annoying, though, because Nigel goes, “You’re not a GREAT dancer yet,” and that guy who didn’t make the top 20 when Cyrus did is probably at home going, “Well I fucking AM, so why is he there and not me?!”That said, you know, for a guy whose experience with choreography and styles of dance other than his own is limited to his week in Vegas with these cats, he pretty much rocked it. Although not nearly as hard as Eliana rocked it. She’s my number one girl, and by such a long shot I can’t really see anyone else catching up. I mean, a lot of these girls, they’re flexible, they have beautiful lines, blah blah blah. But technically, Eliana is better than them, and performance-wise, she’s seriously awesome.

Kate: But it wasn’t that good of a dance. I don’t like this almost as much as I didn’t like the waltz. I usually love Tyce but this is surprisingly boring and unoriginal.

Erica: I don’t know, I had fun. But it’s not like they could have choreographed something to “Run and Tell That” that would have displeased me, though.

Audrey and Matthew – Contemporary to “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers; choreography by Travis Wall

Erica: This is so confusing to me. I love Travis Wall. But he is inspired, for this dance, by the movie Titanic, which he calls the greatest love story ever told. I hate that movie so incredibly much. (Also?Ask me some time about why I hate the ending so much. You know. If you want to hear it.) But then he uses “Unchained Melody” which may be my favorite song in the world. It’s certainly in the top five. So how do I deal with all of this?

Kate: Ah, the Righteous Brothers routine. Pretty random song choice to go with a Titanic theme, but it goes with the dance itself, so I wish my boo Travis Wall just hadn’t said anything about that big stupid boat. This is something else though; lots of great lifts and good chemistry between them. Looking forward to seeing these two grow. I feel like he’s the type that would throw in a kiss at the end of another routine like that. Or so I’m hoping.

Erica: Also? He seriously looks like Ryan Gosling.

Kate: I stand by my last statement.

LIndsay Arnold and Cole Horibe – Paso Doble to “Unstoppable” by E.S. Posthumus; choreography by Jason Gilkison

Kate: I really just want to spell it possadoblay, but I know that’s wrong.

Erica: My spellcheck hates “doble” and keeps changing it to “double” no matter how much I change it back.

Kate: Anyway, I hate this. I can’t believe Mary Murphy is loving this so much. They are saying it’s the best possadoblay ever on the show, and I am like, um, are you bitches blind or somethin’? (Name that movie!)

Erica: Too easy.

Kate: I was really hoping for great things from the other Miss Ballroom but alas I am disappointed. Cole is pretty talented, though.

Erica: I knew Nigel was going to love this. Cole, who I know I was hard on last time, was extremely masculine and strong and with very precise, sharp movements and beautiful hands. And we know how Nigel loves his macho paso doble guys. But, you know, the paso doble is the guy’s dance. So she didn’t shine, and I already don’t think she’s as good as Whitney, but I wasn’t looking for her to shine in this, just as I’m not looking for the guy to shine in other ballroom dances. And this was one of the better pasos for this show.

Kate: Yes, you’re right, Cole was very good. He scares me just a wee bit.

Erica: But wait a second . . . all three ballroom dancers got to dance ballroom?! I call shenanigans.

Kate: Didn’t even notice that! Cheaters.

Erica: Also, did you  notice how every dance they did was the best dance this show has ever seen? I can’t fault them here, since I also think that was the best paso doble I’ve seen, and it’s certainly the one Nigel has responded the most strongly to, and he loves the paso doble, but still, guys, calm down. You need an arc, you know what I’m saying? With highs and lows?

Kate: YES I did notice that, like COME on you know that’s not true! Kenny said a lot, stupid Kenny. That was not the best possadoblay I’ve ever seen, but I am pretty biased against the dance as a whole. It’s not like fun to watch, it’s just a random genre they wanted to throw into the show to represent “diversity” along with African jazz and Bollywood. Speaking of which, I can’t wait for the first Bollywood of this season.

Erica: I can’t wait for Nigel to go on about how he practically invented Bollywood.

Kate: Touche. See you next week folks, and for that episode, E & K will actually be viewing the dances together in the same room! WOO!

SYTYCD Season 9 – A Prelude

Erica: So I’m all confused as to what is going on this season. Why are they changing the format?

Kate: What are you talking about? This episode is just like the last few top-20-revealed episodes.

Erica: It is?

Kate: Yes! We don’t start blogging until they actually start competing, which is next week.

Erica: But next week they’re not getting rid of anyone, right?

Kate: Ummm…

Erica: Okay, anyway, I thought as long as this isn’t the competition proper yet but it’s still with the dancing and what-not, I’d do a run-down of our Top 20 dancers, and we’d give our opinions, okay?

Kate: Readyyyy O-KAY!

Erica: Great. I’m just going to go in order of how they were announced.

The Contemporaries (Round One)

Alexa Anderson 

Erica: Much has been made of the fact that she was in the top 21 last year – meaning she was the first loser. But she made it this year! They gave her a lot of crap in Vegas about being technically perfect and also stunningly gorgeous (she is) but emotionally dead so expect to see her congratulated every five minutes or so for showing her heart or some such.

Kate: I’m not thrilled that she’s in the top 20 because the feedback they were giving her led me to believe she would not be. I always had a problem with facial expressions too, though.

George Lawrence II 

Erica: This is the one with the bad daddy who wanted him to, I don’t know, play baseball or something? And then Debbie Allen said that there are very few people who are simply meant to dance, and he’s one of them? The thing is, as much as the whole thing annoyed me, because that’s such a hippie-dippie thing to say and also I know how much Nigel loves to hate on the bad dads who don’t want their sons to dance, but George really does dance like the light of some god is within him. In the first contemporary routine, which featured these first four dancers, he stood out by a mile. He’s my current favorite.

Kate: Was he the tall one?

Will Thomas 

Erica: We saw nothing of him in the auditions episodes. And in this episode’s Top 10 Boys dance number, we saw that he’s a little, uh, doughy. Which is not great in a dancer. And he’s super, super tall. Like, taller than Cat. Even when Cat’s in heels.

Kate: Oh HE’S the tall one. My bad. Yeah I’m not that much of a fan, he needs to be quicker on his big-ass feet.

Amber Jackson 

Erica: Amber Jackson wasn’t really featured in the auditions episodes either, but apparently she has been rejected by these folks before. And the last time she said she wasn’t going to come back, but look, here she is! Nigel tells her she looks ugly when she says she’s quitting, but beautiful now that she’s come back – which of course he wouldn’t take the time to say if she came back but didn’t make the top 20. I don’t like her hair as much now as I did in the earlier shots of her.

Kate: Yeah that was so mean NIGEL! But she clearly grew as a dancer, I’m neutral on her as of this moment.

The Ballrooms (or Latins, whatevs)

Nick Bloxsom-Carter 

Erica: He’s a crier. He’s also not long for this competition. He’s good but not great. Although maybe I am speaking too early. Sometimes it’s hard to tell with ballroom boys because in their own genre, their main job is to support the lady. Or ladies.

Kate: I barely even noticed him because the ballroom girls were so freakin’ good. Actually one of them messed up at some point I think.

Whitney Carson 

Erica: Seriously, people, what goes on in Utah? Anyway, I knew she was going to be in. She’s a virginal hot tamale; that’s exactly what this show is all about. I know I’m snarking, but she’s very good.

Kate: RIGHT? And they were like friends before the show.

Lindsay Arnold

Erica: She’s the other ballroom chick from Utah. Which is sort of the problem; she’s terrific but if I had to guess now, I’d guess Whitney is going to outshine her. But what is up with Utah?

Kate: Yeah, of all the states you’d think would have awesome ballroom dancing, Utah is not one of them. I actually can’t tell them apart.

The Ballet Dancers

Eliana Girard

Erica: She was one of the first auditioners we saw, and she was the one who made me go, “Why is she doing this show?” I think she said she was with Alvin Ailey, and then she moved to Cirque du Soleil to do pole dancing (actual dancing with the poles, not a euphemism for stripping, and not actual pole dancing at a strip club). Like, she has a career, and a good one, and why is she here? And that seems to be true of the male dancers, too, although I think both of them expressed interest, during their auditions, in learning other styles, so, you know, that’s a reason. But Eliana already works outside of traditional ballet so . . . what is she hoping to gain here? That said, she’s fabulous.

Kate: Yea this was a great weird ballet routine! And I don’t get that either about the professional dancers quitting their jobs to do this show, haven’t they already gained what they would from this show? I think it’s just a thing now in the dance community, like “Hey let’s all do SYTYCD this year!”

Daniel Baker 

Erica: He seems sort of cynical and maybe a touch asshole-y. But maybe I just don’t know him well enough yet.

Kate: Eliana outshined the boys in this one so I didn’t even notice. Maybe I didn’t pay as close attention to this episode as I should have eh?

Chehon Wespi-Tschopp

Erica: That is one hell of a name. Seriously, though, their ballet routine was awesome and they were all so in sync and perfect in it. Sometimes I see that and I think contemporary looks like ballet’s lazy little sister. Which I know is not true and sometimes I see fabulous contemporary routines I adore (like Mia’s at the end of this episode – what’s up; she has been battling cancer or something?), but damn, these guys were good. Maybe it’s just the difference between working professionals and kids who left high school, like, yesterday.

Kate: Wait is he the one from auditions that was kind of like a robot but insanely good? He needs a lot more personality if he’s going to make it on this show but he is immensely talented and has perfecto form. And, um, hello muscle definition.

The, Uh, Jazz (?) Girls

Tiffany Maher

Erica: They didn’t show us her in the auditions, I don’t think. I’m not going to remember her.

Kate: This was actually an awesome routine, and they are both ridiculously miniscule, but I don’t know that they’ll last very long because they are basically interchangeable.

Audrey Case

Erica: I wouldn’t remember her, either, except I think she’s the one who, after being told, with her group, that she’d gotten through ballroom, said, “Really? Even though I sucked?” and giggled and I found that obnoxious. But maybe I’m remembering wrong.

Kate: See above statement.

Erica: As a note, only these two danced. The next girl was sick. I did not think they did that good a job with some really pretty good choreography from show favorite Sonya Tayeh, and it’s really rare for me to think the dancers dropped the ball on the choreography rather than the other way around.

Janelle Isis

Erica: She’s not jazz, she’s a belly dancer! Oh, boy, I hope she has to do lots and lots of solos. And I mean that nicely; especially with this season and its new rules, I don’t even know that doing solos is going to be a bad thing or what. And here’s my thing: She’s a Palestinian Christian from Alabama who belly dances. Is this one hell of a country or what?

Kate:I don’t think she should have been in the top 20. Belly dancing is very different than any other form of dance and I’m not sure she’ll be able to pick up, like, hip hop and quick stepping. This was just Nigel being a horny weirdo.

Erica: I’m not saying you’re wrong. I’m saying I love watching belly dancing.

The Contemporaries (Round Two)

Matthew Kazmierczak 

Erica: They compared his looks to Ryan Gosling’s and now that’s all I can see.

Kate: ME TOO!

Janaya French

Erica: We never saw her before. She lists her specialty as “Lyrical,” not “Contemporary.” What, pray tell, is the difference between lyrical and contemporary?

Kate: Haven’t we been over this? Lyrical is more ballet-y, contemporary is more jazz-y.

Erica: Alright.

Dareian Kujawa

Erica: All I know about him is he’s short.

Kate: Don’t remember this one either. Crap.

Erica: They really didn’t do a lot to highlight him. I forgot to include him in my run-down at first.

Amelia Lowe

Erica: Aw, she made it! This is the woman who wants to be Berenice Bojo in The Artist. I thought she was going to be the girl they made me love and then sent home because she’s too weird and quirky and not well-trained enough. But she made it! She also has a little light-0f-God thing going on, but technically, she’s not as good as George or, really, a lot of the other girls.

Kate: That’s not the light of God, it’s extremely pale skin that actually hurts my eyes. I am so mad she made it. The other girl was better. I hate her stupid hair (hello Kate circa 1994) and her stupid makeup and her stupid silent movie thing, it’s just a schtick and I don’t like that she used it to get on the show. During auditions I did not think she was all that talented.

The Non-White Guys without “Training”

Cole Horibe

Erica: He’s the “martial arts fusion” guy. Whatever. They padded this category because they didn’t want to let in so many trained contemporary dancers as they usually do. Which is not to say he’s not good, but that’s what happened.

Kate: Er, this routine was AWESOME. I mean truly spectacular. An Asian and 2 black guys doing a hiphop-lyrical-contemporary hybrid with baseball bats as props?! It was true genius, I love this new choreographer and I love all of them. Extreme talent all around and I can’t wait to see what else they can do.

Erica: Sorry, yes, the number was cool. And he’s super-talented. But I’m saying, they vacillate a lot between “Let’s let in the best of the best,” and “Let’s invite a variety of styles into our top 20,” and this year, they were doing the latter. In a “best of the best” year, I don’t think Cole or Cyrus would have made it.

Brandon Mitchell

Erica: A stepper we’ve never seen before right now. I actually thought he was the best of this group. He’s also kinda easy on the eyes. As is my man Chehon up there.

Kate: Love love love.

Erica: I know this is a stupid thing to even bother mentioning, but when they showed this, Jason asked what stepping was. We had a step team at our high school, so I knew. Yet another advantage of growing up in a racially diverse community.

Cyrus Spencer

Erica: This is the guy who lives in that house in Atlanta with, like, 20 other people who do the kind of dancing he does – “popping,” whatever that is – and three of them tried out and he was the best one. He’s good, but a) the guy they showed as his direct competition and then sent home was better at all the styles, and b) I think he was shocked he made it as far as he did at that point and was kind of hoping to be sent home so he could, like, take actual dance classes before trying out again. What I’m saying is, as awesome as he is, I think he’s a little out of his depth.

Kate: Yeah Brandon was better but together they were so so so good.

Erica: Oh, also, I loved how, after their routine, Nigel was all, “Aren’t you poor, pathetic brown people so very grateful to white British me for giving you this FABULOUS opportunity to make more money for me?”

Kate: Ha, you love when he does that. But it is incredible that they are hiphop dancers and did lyrical stuff so beautifully on the first try.

Both: Okay, people, see you in two weeks for the competition proper! Have a happy and a safe Fourth!