SYTYCD Season X – Top 8 Perform

Erica: Boo, hiss, no Makenzie.

Kate: Stupid horrible country.

Opening Number – Contemporary, “Move to the Ocean (Bauer Remix)” by Brick and Mortar; choreo by Mia Michaels

Erica: So the performers were dressed like they were in some kind of 19th century burlesque circus, which was awesome, and the dance was really quirky and cool and sharp and I totally loved it. And then Mia Michaels choreographed it so that was exciting. She hasn’t done any new dances for this show in forever.

Kate: I LOVED this. It was almost kind of like hip-hop a little?

Erica: And then Cat announced that the rest of the dances would be choreographed by the All-Stars and I was kind of like, “Is this an ego thing? Does Mia Michaels refuse to choreograph if her work is going to be shown alongside Sonya and Mandy and all the rest?” But that can’t be it, right?

Kate: Well, she is Mia.

Erica: And Zoe demanded that I write down that during this dance she lifted up her nighting gown and did a belly dance. And also Atela, who may or may not have been her imaginary sister for the night, followed her moves and did a great job.

Kate: Excellent.

Cat’s Outfit

Erica: Holy shit this was terrible.

Kate: Literally the worst I’ve ever seen her look.

Erica: Jumpsuit! Just . . . jumpsuit! No!

Kate: Um what about that slicked-back hair?

Erica: And the hair! Total hate for the hair and eye make-up!

Kate: Her eye makeup looked like Melissa Gorga’s, which I hate. Not EVERY occasion calls for hardcore smoky eyes, ladies!

Erica: So you know how sometimes the universe works such that something that never comes up ever in your life comes up suddenly several times in succession? I thought it was funny that Jenna Elfman was a judge, because a) didn’t know about her impressive dance history, and b) I just watched EdTV last week. Which, as it turns out, I had never seen the whole way through, and which, by the way, was made in 1999 and is a total mind trip to watch now.

Kate: I didn’t know she had a dance background either, all I can think of is her as the slutty angel in Can’t Hardly Wait.

Erica: So the bottom four are Jenna (of course), Hayley, Tucker, and Fik-Shun (!).

Kate: Wah for Fik-Shun.

Erica: And they’re all solo-ing.

Fik-Shun solo – “If You Crump Stand Up” by edIT

Erica: Zoe also demanded that I record the following exchange:

Zoe: Fik Shun is so cool.

Erica: I am not a big fan.

Zoe: But he has cool moves. Just look.

Then she gave me a big kiss for writing it down properly.

Kate: You are good at following her instructions.

Erica: He’s really a lot better than I give him credit for. I haven’t wanted to like him because this show has pushed me so hard to like him and he has that b-boy story they love because they want to be all “You’ve never heard of dance! You are like a wood nymph, ignorant of our ways, except by ‘wood’ we mean ‘ghetto’ and it doesn’t really matter that you appear to have had about the same amount of experience with the ‘ghetto’ as Nigel; you are brown and you break-dance and this is your story.” But he’s really pretty excellent.

Kate: Yes he is!

Hayley solo – “Skin and Bones” by David J. Roth

Erica: I feel about her the way I always have – she’s very, very good, but not particularly interesting or distinct. Which could be due to her being twelve.

Kate: I feel like this song is on every episode of this show. And I disagree, I think she is amazing.

Jenna solo – “Greyhound” by Swedish House Mafia

Erica: What is this awful noise?

Kate: This is the worst thing ever. What is with her face tonight?

Tucker solo – “Beautiful Child” by Rufus Wainwright

Erica: His height, which everyone talks about like it’s a liability, is so beautifully used. I love to watch him move.

Kate: I know, but there is still something about him that’s just not working.

Aaron & Season 4’s Chelsie Hightower – Jive; “Great Balls of Fire” from Million Dollar Quartet

Erica: So, like I said, the All-Stars are also the choreographers this episode, and I was very skeptical at first as to how this would work out, but they seem to have chosen mostly the older, more experienced dancers for this, so it worked out really well, I thought. I love jives, I love Chelsie, and I thought this was some really great jive choreography.

Kate: Yes but I still don’t like him, he looks lazy. And this version of this song REALLY bothers me.

Erica: I thought Aaron looked sort of lunkish and awkward occasionally, but his kicks were quite graceful, and oh man can he get height with his jumps.

Kate: Lazy.

Erica: Also, how many car accidents can be involved in one season? Good lord. Driving is dangerous, kids. Stay home and watch TV instead.

Fik-Shun & Season 2’s Allison Holker – Contemporary; “Skinny Love” by Birdy

Erica: First of all, Fik-Shun looks just like his dad. Second of all, I thought she was beautiful in her own season but damn, she just keeps getting more gorgeous. Also she made a sort of Claire Danes face at the end when she was talking about progress and shit.

Kate: I thought this was unreal. Like Melanie, she brought out the absolute best in him.

Erica: And then I wanted to be all cynical about how BRAVE it is for SYTYCD to STAND UP FOR interracial relationships, like, God, until I was reminded that Allison is in one (and YAY they’re getting married!) and maybe knows more about how current these attitudes are than I do. Although Nigel still managed to be annoyingly self-righteous.

Kate: Such is his nature. Twitch + Allison 4eva!

Erica: But anyway the dancing was fantastic. The choreography was very good and Fik-Shun, while obviously not as polished as Allison, continues to be better than I ever expect him to be, which is as much a fault of my expectations as anything else.

Kate: See I think he did look very polished in this.

Tucker & Season 4’s Courtney Galiano – Jazz, “Clarity” by Zedd feat. Foxes

Erica: And then I was back to being pissed about Nigel/SYTYCD’s show of self-righteousness in supporting interracial relationships, when they won’t let Tucker say on camera that he’s gay. “My macho, football hero dad supports everything about me. Like my dancing. And my dancing. And even if I said anything other than ‘my dancing’, they sure as shit edited it out, because GOD FORBID Nigel admit that homosexuality is fairly common in male dancers.” And then he had to flirt awkwardly in rehearsal footage with Courtney so that we wouldn’t think he was GAY. Because PROGRESS is letting black boys dance with white girls on stage IN 20-F-ING-13 but not letting your male dancers say they’re gay. In 2013.

Kate: It is still Fox, you know.

Erica: Courtney is one of those dancers that I remember not liking much in her season but I love her now and I was wrong not to like her then. And this was a whole lot of fun.

Kate: Yes, I liked this a lot.

Paul & Season 4’s Comfort Fedoke – Hip-Hop, “Dum Dum” by Tedashi feat. LeCrae

Erica: Comfort is a treat, as usual.

Kate: This. Was. Seriously. Amazing.

Erica: Paul still seems sort of bouncy and flowy and cute, but really not bad at all in this totally fun routine.

Kate: I REALLY like him. Not as much as I like Fik-Shun, but I would bot be upset if he won.

Hayley & Season 2’s Dmitry Chapin – Rumba, “Meant” by Elizaveta

Kate: HOLY MOLY!

Erica: Hello again, DmitryLovely to see you again. I guess it’s your job to turn girls into women, now that Pasha’s gone.

Kate: Holy moly they were great together! Everything flowed together so seamlessly, they were like one awesome dancing human.

Erica: I normally don’t much care for the rumba but this was very sexy and I thought Hayley outdid herself.

Kate: Yes, she has actual talent!

Jenna & Season 4’s Mark Kanemura – Jazz, “I Am The Best” by 2NE1

Kate: In addition to dancing with hair in front of face, nothing bothers me more than dancers MOUTHING THE WORDS TO THE SONG TO WHICH THEY ARE DANCING, JENNA!

Erica: I’ve already given you Mark videos; he was Chelsie’s partner and one of the Courtney dances I linked was him, too. But here’s some more.

Kate: I barely noticed him, I was too busy being horrified by Jenna.

Erica: See, this is the point in the season where I start to feel bad about being so mean to Jenna. Because she’s really very, very good. I just don’t like her as much as I liked Malece. Or Makenzie! (sob) But this was exactly as weird as I would have expected of Mark Kanemura, and she did really very well with it. Although, good lord, does she pull some weird faces.

Kate: no, you’re wrong, this sucked.

Jasmine & Season 4’s Stephen “tWitch” Boss – Hip-hop, “The Power” by District 78 feat. Cheesa

Erica: I do very much appreciate Twitch’s humor, and I would totally watch a movie/television series which used this as a premise. However. I think he’s a better dancer than he is a choreographer.

Kate: She, like Aaron, appears lazy to me. Maybe it’s a tall people thing? I mean you are dancing with TWITCH, step your sh!t up!

Erica: Well, with Makenzie gone, she’s my girl. Not in the least because, unlike Makenzie, she seems like a genuinely enjoyable human being, too.

Amy & Season 2’s Travis Wall – Contemporary, “Wicked Games” by James Vincent McMorrow

Kate: Umm oh my god.

Erica: And of course they pair Travis with Amy. She’s their darling. Which makes me crabby toward her, though God knows, she doesn’t deserve it. She’s spectacular. And so ridiculously strong.

Kate: She is so lucky.

Erica: And how nice to see Travis dance again.

Kate: How can you not connect with this wonderful man?

Erica: Okay, so after all that, Jenna is finally given her walking papers, which is fine. Tucker is sent home, too, which . . . I think he’s better than Fik-Shun, but I think Fik-Shun is more interesting, and God knows they love their journeys. Anyway, Tucker, you were a joy to watch and it’s okay with me if you’re gay even if it’s not okay with Nigel. Or Fox. I don’t know.

Kate: They did soften the blow by saying they’ll be right back there next week, though I doubt that helped. Hallelujah for Jenna finally being gone!

 

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SYTYCD Season X – The Top 18 Perform

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

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

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

Kate: What a dream team of choreographers, eh?

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

Cat Deeley’s outfit

Kate: Finally!

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

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

Erica: She wishes.

Kate: And I want her bracelets.

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

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

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

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

Erica: So now we watch the solos.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Erica: Okay, on to the actual show.

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

Kate: Ugh the dreaded passodoblay.

Erica: I like paso. Sometimes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kate: UUUUUUUMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!

Erica: Not quite there with you.

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

Erica: Agreed.

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

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

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

Erica: I cannot fault the dancing at all.

Kate: Nor should you.

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

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

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

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

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

Erica: I have really liked both of them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Erica: Zoe thinks she looks like you.

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

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

Kate: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD NO FEMALE ON THIS SHOW, NO FEMALE ANYWHERE EVER, SHOULD REMIND ANYONE OF AUDREY HEPBURN! STOP IT!

Erica: Heehee.

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

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

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

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

Kate: By anyone I meant the judges.

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

Kate: Oh nice catch!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Erica: Yup.

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

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

Kate: Great song.

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

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

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

Kate: He’s got to go.

Erica: Yeah . . .

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

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

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

Erica: Yeah. I really like her.

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

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

Elimination

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SYTYCD Season X – Top 18 Perform (with two lame ducks)

Cat-Deeley-14

Opening Number – Contemporary: “The Heroic Weather Conditions of the Universe Part One – A Veiled Mist” from Moonrise Kingdom; choreo by Tasty Oreo

Erica: Damn you, Tasty Oreo. Why can’t you just let me hate you in peace?

Kate: This did not thrill me.

Erica: I loved it. A lot. A lot a lot. And not just because of the costumes. Which I also loved. To an unhealthy degree.

Kate: Their faces creeped me out.

Cat Deely’s Outfit

Kate: From the waist up, she is wearing one of those stupid bathing suits no one would ever buy or wear because hello tan lines. From the waist down, she is wearing a hula skirt. The two items attached? God help us all.

Erica: I kind of liked the top. But the skirt . . . not much. And not with the top.

Kate: Also, when you have hair like hers…Don’t put it all on top of your head. I do like/want her earrings, though.

Erica: So . . . we’re doing this thing now where the eliminations happen right after the group number?

Kate: When I asked last week if they were doing the same elimination as last season, in my head I thought, ‘But it wouldn’t make sense to have the eliminations at the beginning of the show and then those people still have to dance, right? That’s kind of cruel?’ But, alas.

Erica: They announced the bottom six, and the judges picked two to save. They picked Makenzie and Alan to save. Totally right calls, as far as I’m concerned, although they kept wondering why Makenzie is in the bottom and I’m like, dude, it’s because straight guys are not your key demographic.

Kate: I know I was mad about that! She’s insanely good. But I suppose being in the bottom 6 of 20 people isn’t THAT bad.

Erica: Then the four that are left “dance for their lives,” which, seriously, you need to stop saying that, guys. It’s a spot on the show. It’s not actual death.

Kate: And you know how I feel about solos.

Erica: Anyway, solos:

Kate: Ugh.

Mariah – Hip-hop: “Hard in da Paint” by Waka Flocka Flame

Kate: Did not like.

Erica: This was terrible. I like her, but her solo looked more like “performing all street and shit,” not like, you know, dancing.

Kate: Yes, she’s better than this solo, and I don’t even like her that much.

Carlos – Contemporary: “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons

Erica: I think he’s really good. His musicality leaves a little something to be desired but his lines are beautiful and he seems strong for his size and the solo as a dance piece wasn’t bad.

Kate: Musicality? Have you transformed into Mia Michaels?

Erica: Hell, yeah. No, I mean, the moves he was doing were beautiful and strong, but they didn’t seem to relate much to the music. That’s what musicality means, right?

Brittany – (Latin?) Ballroom: “Hacksaw” by Ooah

Kate: Ballroom doesn’t make sense as a solo. Ballroom as a solo is a girl shaking her butt/cute costume.

Erica: Ballroom solos are hard to pull off but I definitely thought she did a better job than Mariah here.

Kate: I suppose.

Jade – Animation: “Adagio” by Alicia Keys

Kate: Why did he pick slow music?

Erica: I know you don’t think animation is actually dancing and I do but whatever I think of animation as a whole, this was what the fuck is this I don’t even know because he’s a much better dancer – dancer dancer, not just animator – than this solo shows.

Kate: Agreed, he seemed a little off tonight in general.

Erica: So then Nigel announces that the eliminations are not based on the solos, which is good because they sucked, and why can’t you guys dance for your lives when you’re dancing for your lives, and it’s like, Nigel, a) being not on your show anymore is not the same as being dead and b) you just said you didn’t decide based on solos so why should they put their blood into it? And then he proves it by choosing Mariah and Jade to stay and sending home Carlos and Brittany.

Kate: But, he was right. The solos sucked.

Erica: I guess I should be grateful that I lose a non-descript brunette and get to keep a dancer I like, but this whole thing is too weird for me. I hate that the eliminations are in the beginning and then the losers have to dance. I hate that they have to do a solo even though the solo doesn’t count for anything and no one really likes watching them anyway. Just the whole thing. Blecch.

Kate: Who shall we blame/hate for this?

Erica: Well, it’s either Fox or Nigel. I’m comfortable hating on either of them. Anyway. Onward.

Hayley & Curtis – Jazz: “Mama Knows Best” by Jessie J; choreo by Ray Leeper

Kate: I enjoyed this!

Erica: I feel about this the way I felt about his group number – it’s cute, it’s fun, it’s sexy, and I’m going to forget everything about it but the outfits by tomorrow.

Kate: He continues to be one of my favorites. I don’t want to sound like the judges, but he has amazing jazz and contemporary moves for someone who only tapped his whole life.

Erica: Except I bet that’s not true?

Jasmine H. & Aaron – Lyrical Hip-Hop: “Tears Always Win” by Alicia Keys; choreo by NappyTabs

Kate: Ian had quite a lot to say about this one. He thinks Aaron is too hulky bulky to look graceful while dancing, and I agree. You have to be EXTREMELY graceful and fluidy to overcome that size, ESPECIALLY as a male dancer, and Aaron did not do that here. I don’t know if he did it last week, but he definitely didn’t do it this week.

Erica: She’s in my top five girls for sure. And I like him quite a bit. Not sure I loved this number. It was pretty good, but the angry flailing at the beginning was a little juvenile and overdone for me.

Kate: The thing is, they look good together because she is so tall and, you know, not a complete rail. Also…They are 100% banging each other.

Erica: They are not!

Kate: They are so.

Erica: I noticed in the rehearsal footage that Tabs is rocking the accent nail, a trend I plan on picking up in the near future.

Kate: Kate: This routine made me a little nervous in terms of NappyTabs being off their game post-baby, actually.

Erica: Oh, and I love me some Christina Applegate as a judge, but hard, but I just want to say that I hate how often everyone is mentioning seeing dress rehearsals now. Allow me my illusions!

Kate: She looked a little tired.

Erica: Also, I always forget this but I like Alicia Keys.

Malece & Jade – Bollywood: “Radha” from Student of the Year; choreo by Nakul Dov Mahajan

Erica: OMG this was so freakin’ cute.

Kate: OMG this was a mess.

Erica: I thought these two were very well-suited to Bollywood, actually. Jade as an animator should be able to handle intricate hand movements and I have always admired Malece’s precise and on-beat style.

Kate: Disagree completely! They both looked so uncomfortable about the fact that they got Bollywood this week, ESPECIALLY Jade. Malece kind of sucked it up and did the best she could, but he, who should have extremely sharp and intricate movements, did not do well with this style at all, in my humble opinion.

Erica: But OMG Nigel how do you not hear how awful it sounds when you call Jade’s costume, “Adam Shankman’s outfit” and then ask Jade how all his friends will feel about it?

Kate: Yeah, that was obnoxious.

Alexis & Nico – Contemporary: “Old Skin” by Olafur Arnolds & Arnfor Dan; choreo by Stacey Tookey

Erica: So Stacey Tookey called this a sequel to Kathryn and Robert’s number back in Season 6. And, I mean, come on.

Kate: I squealed when they said “a Stacey Tookey number”, and I got exactly what I wanted. This was loverly, and it made me feel good because everyone hated on their hip-hop last week even though I liked it and then they blew it out of the water with this.

Erica: I can’t exactly find fault with Alexis here, but . . . she is no Kathryn.

Kate: She was damn good at contemporary for a tapper. Not as good as Curtis, but impressive.

Erica: And then Nigel went on about the piece of music – which was quite lovely – so you know he wasn’t thrilled but didn’t want to say so.

Kate: Cranky old hag.

Brittany & Blueprint – Broadway: “It’s Oh So Quiet” from Ice Princess; choreo by Spencer Liff

Erica: So this is the first number with an already-gone cast member, which is too weird.

Kate: Totes.

Erica: Hey, I just did the math, and this means he’ll be dancing with Mariah next week. I don’t see that as a particularly productive pairing.

Kate: That will be interesting. We know it’ll be good if they get hip-hop, but if they get anything else, it’s two people completely out of their element(s).

Erica: This I did not care for. I mean, first, what’s Ice Princess? and second, this song isn’t making me want to find out more about it and third . . . I don’t know. They danced pretty well and I actually thought he made some cute faces, although Christina Applegate is right that he needs to throw his whole body into it more, but it was just meh to me.

Kate: Yes, they were better last week. But I don’t feel strongly one way or another about her going home.

Jasmine M. & Alan – Tango: “Escape from Slavery” by PP Music; choreo by Miriam Larici & Leonardo Barrionuevo

Erica: She remains my number one girl right now. And he’s damn good, too.

Kate: Eh.

Erica: Really?

Kate: This was o-kay. She is not my number one girl, but he is pretty good.

Makenzie & Paul – Jazz: “Mannequin (Skeet & Tito Remix)” by Trish; choreo by Sean Cheesman

Erica: A fembot? What a perfect role for her. I guess since she was on the bottom, all those shrieks are for Paul.

Kate: Loved this!

Erica: I didn’t want to like it because I thought the premise was cheesy and I’m still scared of Sean Cheesman, but I really thought it was cute and fun and they did a good job. But as I was watching I was going, what is in the water at SYTYCD this week? Why are all the choreographers so horny? And then Nigel went and made that joke himself. Damn you, Nigel!

Kate: Actually I really liked the dancing part of this routine, but the tricks looked a liiiiiiiiiittle uncomfortable, almost like she didn’t quite trust him.

Erica: I do think the costumers could have come up with a better fembot outfit, though.

Mariah & Carlos – Contemporary: “Dead in the Water” by Ellie Goulding; choreo by Stacey Tookey

Erica: Well, now don’t you feel stupid for sending this guy home?

Kate: Kate: Yea, this was wonderful. I lovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvve Ellie Goulding!

Amy & Fik-Shun – Hip-Hop: “After Party” by Dorrough Music; choreo by NappyTabs

Kate: Oh my god, yes. This is NappyTabs at their finest, holy moly, yes yes yes, I want to learn this routine.

Erica: I really loved it. It was very silly and cute and fun and I just loved it. NappyTabs have totally grown on me.

Kate: There was just ONE part where I wanted her to be even more hip-hoppy and aggressive — when he was in front of her doing that back bend side to side and she was kind of pushing him, you know? She needed like one more rush of BOOM!

Erica: He is made for NappyTabs routines and she could have been better at the booty-popping but definitely had the right attitude.

Kate: But Jade is also made for NappyTabs routines and he would have done great in this, so now I feel even worse for him. I hope he doesn’t go home next week.

Jenna & Tucker – Cha-Cha: “I Like It Like That (Aaron Jerome remix)” by Pete Rodriguez; choreo by Dmitry Chaplin

Erica: So for those of you who don’t remember, Dmitry Chaplin was the hot tamale of Season 2 who danced with Mary Murphy that one time that I keep posting because it’s evidence that Mary Murphy absolutely deserves to be judging this show even thought she’s hella annoying (I say it with love, Mary! Love!) and who also choreographs regularly and, I totally forgot this, choreographed that FABULOUS samba Lacey and Danny did back in Season 4.

Kate: Yes, but, I can’t find enough words to describe how much I hated this.

Erica: I really like Tucker; he’s right behind Alan for me and maybe even with Aaron for my favorite dancer.

Kate: No, he was way too greasy in this routine. He, like, made me grimace. Possibly I hated this more so because of the song – I just kept waiting for it to START, you know? – but I really did not feel it was a Cha-Cha nor a good ballroom routine. I would have preferred for her to go home instead of the other brunette who kind of looks like her.

Erica: I did not think her hips cha-cha’d enough. Remember Chelsie Hightower? She was in Season 4 and then showed up this year at auditions and also did a samba with Marko two seasons ago? Her most remembered from her season were this NappyTabs number and this Mia number, but she was really ballroom and seems to be on DWTS sometimes now, like so many SYTYCD alums? Yeah. Her hips were crazy.

Kate: Kate: Wow, they don’t do ballroom on this show like they used to. Hot damn. Also, who has straight hair for a Cha-Cha? Seriously.

Erica: Also, I can’t believe I’m agreeing with Nigel, but I do want to see each dance style be very discrete and definitive, too. One more thing – I know no one cares about this but me, but why is it that in so many of these dances where a sexy girl is sexy at a guy for a while, the end of the dance is always her pushing him away? What is this trope about, where part of the definition of a sexy, empowered lady is that she turns down sex? And the sex that she had been, up to that point, apparently pursuing?

Kate: That would be a question for the choreographers. I don’t think Sonya, Mia, Stacey or Mandy ever choreograph that way, though.

Erica: That’s true; it’s mostly a dude choreography thing.

SYTYCD Season X – The Top 20 Perform

Erica: So it appears that we will be voting for one guy and one girl winner this year again. I want to disapprove of this choice, but I think it’s a response to the fact that the girls are consistently better, overall, than the guys, but don’t get the votes the guys do. So fine.

Kate: I think the guys are way better this season so far! Are they doing the same elimination style again?

Erica: That is a mystery to me.

Opening Number – Hip-hop: “Puttin’ On The Ritz” by Herb Alpert feat. Lani Hall; choreo by NappyTabs:

Kate: This was so adorable I couldn’t even stand it.

Erica: It was so adorable I wanted to be dismissive of it, then it came back around and won me over.

Kate: I loved seeing the choreographer cameos – especially my choreographer love Travis Wall.

Erica: Forget choreographers; I LOVE seeing Nigel and Mary dance. Especially Mary. Just to remind you that actually yes, these people do have business judging a dancing competition. These were just cameos, of course, but remember this? Nigel choreographed it. And this? Talk about hot tamales.

Cat Deely’s Outfit

Kate: I love that pink, and she finally has some decent makeup and I like her hair straight, but are those shoulder pads? Also the neck is a little too high.

Erica: I love the outfit and the hair, but it looked super-weird against the orange background for the first part of the show. And for the first time I am starting to feel she’s too tan.

Mariah & Carlos – Jive: “Get It Right” by Fantasia; choreo by Jason Gilkison

Kate: He was cute in this, but she was not ready at all.

Erica: Really? I continue to like her.

Kate: The lifts looked very uncomfortable.

Erica: Yeah but isn’t that his fault?

Kate: No she looked uncomfortable, like she didn’t trust him and like she did not want to be lifted whatsoever. That’s a hip-hop dancer for you.

Erica: I continue to love it when Mary gets all technical about the ballroom.

Jasmine M. & Alan – Contemporary: “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Ingrid Michaelson; choreo by Travis Wall

Kate: Well, how can you go wrong with Travvy?!

Erica: You can’t. Well, you can, but these two really, really didn’t. Although the Jewish mother in me thought the blindfolds were a TERRIBLE idea, and the snarky crank in me thought they were gimmicky, in the actual routine, it was just beautiful, smooth perfection. I also appreciate – and I have to assume Travis Wall himself has something to do with this, because the same is not true for every dance – that the whole thing is beautifully designed. The backdrops and costumes blend seamlessly into the choreography.

Kate: Yes I found myself liking the costumes a lot, and usually I think they are absurd. I love this version of this song, it’s just sooooooo romantic. As was the dancing, I thought.

Erica: Yeah, ditto on the song. Loved it. And Wayne Brady was right, you didn’t worry about them once they took the stage with the blindfolds. She continues to be a favorite for me. Erica: Just a note – I stressed last week that they had four ballroomers and none of them seemed to be either Utahan or Russian. But he’s Russian. Not recently, judging from the very light accent, but Russian. So my world is righted again.

Malece & Jade – Jazz: “Silver Screen (Shower Scene” by Felix da Housecat; choreo by Travis Wall

Kate: They were great together!

Erica: Yes. They were. I’ve always liked her and he didn’t do anything to piss me off.

Kate: I thought I would once again hate the animator because he wouldn’t really be able to do the other stuff but we’d just keep him on anyway, but I genuinely believe hie is talented and dedicated to picking up other styles. Quickly.

Erica: Yes. But. I hated this routine.

Kate: WHY!

Erica: I know, I know, Travis Wall can do no wrong. But. A) I hate the black and white shit; it was so gimmicky. And b) what the fuck was that at the end? Was he supposed to be so domineering and mean throughout the dance that we supported her being violent to him? And even if he had been domineering and mean, why does this show keep supporting routines in which it’s supposed to be cute and empowering when women do violent things to men?

Kate: Er. It’s dancing. They performed a dance well.

Erica: Well, I’m not just judging the dancers; I’m judging the show as a whole. And I wish they would stop doing that. I’m not blaming Malece and Jade for it.

Kate: Ugh, Cat just said “Gatsby” because Malece looks like Carey Mulligan.

Erica: Yeah. They do that a lot, too.

Jenna & Tucker – Broadway: “That’s All” by Kevin Spacey (Beyond the Sea soundtrack); choreo by Tasty Oreo

Kate: Kevin Spacey????

Erica: Well, he was in that biopic about Bobby Darrin, right? Weird song choice, though, I agree. Or, weird version of that song choice.

Kate: This was kind of boring? I think I don’t like her. Or maybe I don’t like Broadway as a genre on this show.

Erica: I’m neutral about her (although I’m thinking – three dancing sisters, maybe she is Utahan?). I like him. I thought this routine was super-cheesy, but I can’t decide if it was cheesy-adorable or cheesy-boring. I’m leaning toward the latter.

Kate: Was he the guy with the annoying mom at auditions who kept screaming “ay papi”? If so, he has much more potential which was not shown in that dance.

Erica: I think that was the other one. Nico.

Brittany & BluPrint – African Jazz: “Drumming Circle” by Professor Trance and The Energizers; choreo by Sean Cheesman

Kate: Actually . . . This was SUPER fun!

Erica: Ugh. I hate “Afro-Jazz”. I don’t understand how it’s not racist to have them in “primitive” garb and sniffing the ground like animals and calling it “African,” even if it is choreographed by a black man. And then they do the “Oh, my God, Brittany, you’re a contemporary dancer! (read: white!) And you danced like an Afro-Jazz dancer! (read: black!) Just, ugh. Also, Sean Cheesman’s pecs continue to haunt my nightmares.

Kate: Yes, Nigel made some in appropriate comments about that, but African (calling it “Afro” doesn’t help!) Jazz is an actual genre and awesome type of dance to learn/do. I think as the dance went on, the choreography got better and the dancers clearly got more comfortable. My dislike for Sean Cheesman is still there, FYI.

Erica: I thought the lifts looked very labored. And even Cat and Wayne were making fun of the choreo. I will say, I loved the face paint.

Kate: They weren’t making fun! They are right about what they said in Vegas, though – he needs more/better facial expressions. I used to HATE people telling me that, so I know how he feels.

Interstitial

Erica: Is this prancing . . . a thing? Also does Nigel know it makes him look WORSE to whine about the prancing nonsense than to just do it with a smile?

Kate: Yea it’s a viral video thing, I haven’t seen it but I heard about it. I can’t believe we paused a live national competition reality television show to display funny videos, but there you have it.

Alexis & Nico – Hip-hop: “Last Time (Knife Party Remis” by Labrinth; choreo by Christopher Scott

Kate: Ah, this is the guy with the annoying mom.

Erica: Right.

Kate: I feel like she should have been good at hip-hop and she most certainly is not; meanwhile he was pretty impressive.

Erica: I liked the routine, except for the part where they went into their own styles. I understand why he did that; I just thought it was dumb.

Kate: I disagree with Nigel, at least in terms of Nico. I think he did great with the hip-hop style of movements, even if he didn’t perfect the attitude.

Erica: I also think this is kind of a problem they bring upon themselves by choosing such a young cast. Just about everyone here is between 18-21, with, like, one 23-year-old and one 24- or 25-year-old. They don’t have the maturity to understand what makes their style their style, or to fully throw themselves into the potentially embarrassing act of code-switching. I think they should actively be looking for more dancers in the 24-29 age group.

Makenzie & Paul – Viennese Waltz: “I’m With You” by Avril Lavigne; choreo by Jason Gilkison

Kate: Odd waltz song choice.

Erica: I did not know this song was by Avril Lavigne.

Kate: It’s not, like, a particularly happy song, so why are they smiling so goofily?

Erica: Well, because he’s her perfect dream man and she’s having an enjoyable dream. I think it’s a problem of the song not matching the storyline, not their faces not matching the dance.

Kate: Fair enough. He is maybe a weeeeee bit too feminine? She is just lovely. Very smooth performance overall.

Erica: It was a good performance. She continues to read to me like a very show-biz kid. It feels to me like she never actually allows herself an honest moment of feeling, because she’s too busy worrying about how to portray herself.

Kate: WHAT WAS AUDREY-ESQUE/VERY ROMAN HOLIDAY ABOUT THAT, CAT!? Nigel, you too!? It’s a conspiracy!

Erica: Hee hee. I knew you’d flip your lid over that.

Kate: I mean, it was good, but I HATE when other women are compared to Audrey Hepburn. THERE IS NO COMPARISON.

Jasmine H. & Aaron – Jazz: “Bottom of the River” by Delta Rae; choreo by Sonya Tayeh

Kate: He needs to work on his arms. Not the muscles, but the movement. Her legs are absolutely insane.

Erica: Yes. Holy lord. Loved her.

Kate: Also, cool song.

Erica: Very.

Hayley & Curtis – Hip-hop: “Go” by Delilah; choreo by Christopher Scott

Kate: Is she the one we are going to constantly mix up with Makenzie?

Erica: I’m going to mix her up with Brittany and maybe Jenna, too. Makenzie is standing out to me for her gorgeousness and her show-biz pathology. Amy is going to stand out to me for being awesome. But the other three brunettes, I’ll never keep them straight. (I’d include Alexis, but we won’t be seeing her much longer.)

Kate: Also, are we short on choreographers? They used three of them twice already.

Erica: No, that’s normal. Most of the time in a given show, each choreographer presents two pieces, unless there’s a reason.

Kate: I actually really liked him during auditions, he has a lot of potential. They matched up great here, and she was surprisingly good at “hip-hop” (I use quotes because it was an odd definition of the genre).

Erica: Yeah. I hated this. Again. Because IT IS NOT CUTE OR EMPOWERING FOR WOMEN TO PERFORM VIOLENCE ON MEN! It is not feminist to think it is! STOP DOING THAT!

Amy & Fik-shun – Contemporary: “Elsa” by The Valerie Project; choreo by Sonya Tayeh

Kate: Make that four choreographers used twice. What the H?

Erica: I’m telling you, it’s normal. I’m sure it’s contractual. That way, the choreographers can work on their other stuff on the weeks they aren’t on.

Kate: I just want some more NappyTabs and Stacey Tooky and Mandy Moore in my life. Awesome tricks, though. They are very strong together. But there were more tricks than dancing, no?

Erica: Well, yes, but that’s Sonya. I want to hate Fik-shun because of the way they’re promoting him, but . . . dude can dance.

Kate: Dude can’t dance as well as Jade and BluPrint, if we are comparing him to the other, in Nigel’s words, “non-trained” dancers.

Erica: I have yet to make a judgement on that.

Kate: That does it for the top 20, tune in next week for the first elimination!

Erica: Presumably.