SYTYCD – The Finale!

Erica: Here’s what’s going on – for some reason Fox was not broadcasting to NYC Tuesday night. Or possibly just to Kate’s apartment.

Kate: Definitely just my apartment, literally the only channel. HD and regular.

Erica: So I’m going to do a little bit of recapping for her, and also, since they’re mostly just repeating dances they did before, we’ll be able to comment on their choices.

Kate:I already know which ones they’re picking.

Erica: BUT the other thing is I’m having a kind of crazy week so that’s why this is so late. And my recaps might be filled with, “And then I fast-forwarded.” Fun, yes?

Kate: Well, we’ve all already seen these dances and all we care about is the last 5 minutes so we can find out if you are remaining in this country.

Erica: Okay, great! So Cat’s in a little silver glittery cocktail dress. Not interesting or unusual in any way, but God knows, “interesting” and “unusual” have NOT been working for her this season. So this dress looks great and her shoes are appropriately stilt-like and her hair is pin-straight and lovely.

Kate: I love her hair pin-straight. Mine, not so much.

Erica: Nigel and Mary are joined at judges table by Tasty Oreo, the lamentably little-seen Debbie Allen, Adam Shankman, and, for reasons not immediately apparent to me, Li’l C.

Kate: OH NO! HE CAME BACK?! I guess Time Warner knows how much I can’t stand him and that’s why Fox was the only channel not working on my stupid @ss TV.

Erica: Fear not, I will not be listening to any of them. Also – the boys’ tuxes look kind of . . . I mean, Nigel’s is all shiny and black-on-black paisley, so that’s weird, and then the other boys, especially Tyce, just look . . . How shall I say this? I think both my prom dates had sharper-looking tuxes. That’s what I’m saying.

Kate: Um.

Erica: Also, Mary has decided to cede the cleavage battle to Debbie Allen. Mary’s covered up to her chin and Debbie is like, whoa, girl. And Mary’s hair is back again. I feel like for seasons and seasons now we’ve only ever seen Mary’s hair down and for two weeks in a row it’s been up. What’s up, Mary? Bad extensions? Feeling insecure about the cut? Go back to being a brunette; it suited you better.

Kate: Um.

Erica: First up we have a group dance to “Torn” by Nathan Lanier, a sort of desperately mournful instrumental choreographed by the combined minds of Sonya Tayeh and Christopher Scott. There is major wind and also I don’t know if something’s up with my TV or what but I guess this is supposed to be very dimly lit? But I kept thinking that throughout the show so maybe it’s my TV? Anyway, wind. Boys in oversized suits with gray tee-shirts and athletic socks like they are coming from a Bar Mitzvah. Girls in very modest royal blue ballgowns, like maybe it was an Orthodox Bar Mitzvah. But the dance is hella cool. (Using “hella,” Kate. Don’t care.) First the boys push and pull the girls through the leaps and then there are some stunningly gorgeous leaps from the guys and cool, like, shapes with the bodies and it’s just all very melodramatic and awesome and windy, except they are still using choreography to cover for Cyrus. And then at the end Cyrus and Chehon stand next to each other in the middle and the rest of the group tosses Eliana and Tiffany to them. Like, pretty far. It’s cool. Everyone’s wildly enthusiastic.

Kate: Cyrus was doing stunningly gorgeous leaps?

Erica: No one is more wildly enthusiastic than Sonya, who is quite pleased with herself.

Kate: Duh. Duh, squared.

Erica: Then we start with favorites. Nigel gets to go first and he chooses Travis Wall’s routine with the chaise longue that was supposed to be based on Titanic and was set to one of my very favorite songs ever, “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers, danced by Audrey (The Other Contemporary Brunette) and Matthew (Gosling). Solid choice, certainly. Good dance. I had forgotten until I looked for the link that this was in the first episode. Nigel appreciates the use of the chaise as a real part of the dance rather than just a jumping off point. So to speak.

Kate: I wish they’d chosen the Tiffany and Audrey dance from the first first episode instead, that was baller. (But, since Fox wasn’t working, and my DVR only recorded a black screen, I suppose I wouldn’t have seen it anyway.)

Erica: Next up, Li’l C, after much verbose explanation, chooses Witney and Twitch’s “ratchet” hip-hop, choreographed by new-to-the-show (and let’s bring him back, please) Luther Brown, to “My Homies Still” by Li’l Wayne feat. Big Sean. Also a solid choice. Not a solid choice? Keeping Witney in those ridiculous pants.

Kate: Wait. Li’l (shouldn’t the apostrophe be AFTER the second “l”?!) chose ratchet?!  What!

Erica: Here is what’s unfortunate. Jason was watching some of this with me. He did not see anything wrong with the pants.

Kate: Everything is wrong with the pants. Was she as sassy as/more “hood” than last time?

Erica: Here is what’s fortunate. Zoe set up her little chair at the front of the room to practice the moves from the chaise dance. Then while watching this dance, she practiced her hairography.

Kate: I can’t wait to start going to her recitals.

Erica: Debbie, who, you may or may not remember from auditions, was a huge George fan, chooses the Sonya piece featuring Tiffany and George and set to “Turning Page” by Sleeping at Last.

Kate: I didn’t like George and I don’t remember this one?

Erica: I will be honest. I didn’t remember this from its original iteration and I didn’t watch it this time. Sorry.

Kate: So we’re on the same page. (Literally, ha!)

Erica: Then apparently they’re going to be giving us their Top 5 Audition Moments. First up – the big dude who’s the only male member of his family never to have been incarcerated and who wants to have dance after-school programs for inner-city youth. I want to not be manipulated by SYTYCD’s pretentious self-righteousness, but the truth is, this guy seems very sincere in his aims and, despite his size, dances with real grace and joy and talent. So, you know. I’ve got nothing cynical to say here.

Kate: Gotta fill those two hours, eh? Why wasn’t he in the top 20 then?

Erica: Adam chooses Lindsey and Cole’s paso doble by Jason Gilkison, set to “Unstoppable” by ES Posthumus.

Kate: Hate. Paso. Do. Blay.

Erica: I did vaguely remember that this was really good and that Cole gave a very good uber-masculine paso doble performance . . . but I didn’t care enough to watch this time around.

Kate: Because you were frightened he might jump out of the TV screen and kidnap Zoe, and perhaps you too?

Erica: Tyce mentions the fabulous personalities on this season, like Will and Amelia, and then chooses their NappyTabs routine to “Lovecats” by The Cure. Which is . . . fine. I mean, that was a good one. Right?

Kate: Wrong. Cute, not great.

Erica: I didn’t re-watch this one, either. I was going to say it wasn’t my favorite NappyTabs of the season, then I realized I liked NappyTabs a lot better last season. Even though I still made fun of them.

Kate: I ❤ them and their new baby.

Erica: The #4 audition they remind us of was that Dallas mom who performed awesomely and then her little boy came up to give her the ticket and she kind of lost it and then her little two-year-old girl performed for everyone – and also did really well! Only they don’t show the baby performing which was the best part! But anyway that was very sweet and I hope she’s finding work in the dance world right now. The mom, I mean. Or the girl.

Kate: Tat audition made me cry, and I hate them all for not putting her in the top 20 based on that baby alone. She reminded me of Melissa from Jeanine and Ade’s season.

Erica: Mary picks the Holocaust dance – and calls it the Holocaust dance! Which you might remember, it pissed me off that they didn’t when they did it the first time! Only Mary calls it the “Hollycaust” and also gets wrong what the dance was about – she seems to think it was about that moment when the SS bangs on your door and says you’ve got two minutes, pack one suitcase and let’s go. When actually it’s about being a post-Holocaust survivor, putting together the pieces after the tragedy and horror. Because the Mary interpretation would have been way darker and scarier – you’d be watching someone who was on his way to a concentration camp to die, and you’d know that even if the character the dancer was portraying didn’t. You’d be looking at someone who was frightened of what the future might hold, rather than anguished about what the past held to the point where he can’t even see the future. Anyway, I have always loved “Eli, Eli” since my Hebrew School days, and this version by Sophie Milman is lovely, and yeah, even though it’s by Tasty Oreo, I liked it. And I really liked that someone finally acknowledged what it was about.

Kate: . . . Hollycaust?!

Erica: Then, this year, each of the Top 4 gets to pick a song to re-dance. It should be no surprise to anyone that Eliana chooses the Stacey Tookey routine she performed with Alex Wong to “Bang, Bang” by Nancy Sinatra. Which was an awesome routine and my second-favorite of the season.


Erica: After Eliana dances, Nigel talks to her for a few minutes, and tells her that Desmond Richardson wants her for his company. Eliana is for some reason surprised by this. I am not.

Kate: 1) Who? 2) Yay! 3) Wasn’t she already part of another company?

Erica: The third audition they honor were the Ninja twins. Again, I want to be cynical, because these guys were so very “We’re gay and bitchy and multiethnic! Love us!” Except I kind of did. They were pretty funny and not bad dancers. So fine.

Kate: Do not remember.

Erica: Cat chooses the Doriana Sanchez disco (it has eleven lifts!) that Tiffany and Brandon danced to (and did eleven lifts!) to “You Make Me Feel” by Cobra Starship feat. Sabi (Disco Fries Remix) (with the eleven lifts!). Boo, Cat. Just boo.

Kate: Has Cat always gotten a choice?

Erica: Chehon chooses his tango with Anya. It was choreographed by people whose names I didn’t catch the first time around, and danced to “Breathing Below the Surface” by Jesse Cook. I think he’s the only one who found this routine memorable.

Kate: Hah, agreed; this might have been my least favorite from his delicious self.

Erica: Cat does a thing about how could they choose between all the fabulous hip-hop numbers this season for their favorite hip-hop routine? Then they show a video montage of all the hip-hop numbers. Two of which they’ve already done. So I don’t know what the point is here. I did forget that Cat accused Nigel of trying to act street and told him it was like watching your dad at a wedding, which, good one, Cat. Good one. I also enjoyed re-seeing her pretend to do a “ratchet” hip-hop move with Witney and Twitch. But then they announce that instead of picking (another) one of the routines for the (other) hip-hop number (and I was surprised by this reaction in myself, but I would have watched Will and Lauren’s, or Eliana and Cyrus’s, or Cyrus and Twitch’s, or even Tiffany and George’s babysitting number again), they’re going to do a NEW hip-hop number ! With Twitch and Comfort and Cyrus AND choreographer Chris Scott! It’s set to “Holy Ghost” by Messinian (Helicopter Showdown & Sluggo Remix) and it’s pretty cool and very animator-y. They’re all playing poker and then they decide Cyrus was cheating so they go after him but also animate and pull on each other’s suspenders and whatnot. And then he was totally cheating, just so y’all know. Anyway, it was a pretty good routine.

Kate: Well I obviously had to look up this routine and twas quite awesome, I especially like that Crhis Scott joined because I was wondering if this white hip-hop choreographer had any rhythm/swag, and, in fact, he does.

Erica: Tiffany chooses her dance with Ade, by Mandy Moore, to “Power of Love” by Celine Dion. I am once again totally distracted by Ade’s arms.

Kate: ‘Cause I’m your laaaaaaaaaaaaddddddddaaaaaaayyyyyyyy!

Erica: When Tiffany comes up for the judges to praise her, I notice that she appears to have a bruise on her forehead or something. I hope she’s okay.

Kate: Probably from dancing with her hair down.

Erica: The number 2 audition is that dude from Dallas who called himself an “exorcist” and was all, “My style is that I can steal people’s souls,” and I thought, “Oh, for fuck’s sake,” but then he kind of did. And it wasn’t just me, they showed video of basically everyone in the room sobbing when he finished. Anyway. These damn auditioners robbed me of my cynicism this year.

Kate: No, I HATED him. Thought he was a total freak creep and couldn’t believe my eyes and ears when the judges actually LIKED him.

Erica: And then they announce that the final, number 1 audition was the Dragonhouse Crew, who are Cyrus’s buds, and then they show them dance, and the dance features another former auditioner, the dude with, like, the bone disease who sort of introduced “animation” to this show and was awesome so many years ago? Anyway. It was cool. If you like that sort of thing. Jason did. He made me watch twice.

Kate: I didn’t know Cyrus auditioned in a group? Did he dance with them again?

Erica: They didn’t audition together but they came together and they live together in a house with like 23 people and they dance together. And then Nigel seems especially pleased with himself to have these fellows on his stage. His face looks sort of Mr. Burns-esque. Nigel, I’m sorry I’m so mean to you. I can’t help it sometimes. In all seriousness, I love this show and thanks for producing it.

Kate: Creepy old wacko.

Erica: Then Carly Rae Jepsen sings a song that is not “Call Me Maybe.” I would say it’s not nearly as brain-worm-inducing, but Zoe makes us watch twice, and I think four-year-olds are sort of Pop Whisperers. So count on that one climbing the charts, I guess.

Kate: HAH!

Erica: Then they do a video montage of everything that happened this season and they do show a tiny clip of the little girl who “auditioned” after her mommy! Why didn’t they feature her in her mommy’s package?

Kate: She and Zoe should be friends, no?

Erica: Cyrus chooses his Christopher Scott-choreographed dance to “Like a Criminal” by District 78 with Twitch because duh. Good job, guys.

Kate: Still think Twitch is infinitely better in all aspects.

Erica:  So then when we’re back from the break they announce a NappyTabs group routine which for some reason we have to sit through a trailer for even though we’re about to watch the actual dance. But the trailer tells us that it’s this season’s Top Ten with this season’s ten All-Stars and it’s jungle-rific. And then the dance starts and there are rocks and foliage and the kids are all in jungle gear and the song is “Circle of Life” from The Lion King, but of course a District 78 remix. Who are District 78, anyway?

Kate: Also had to look this one up, because it’s NappyTabs, and oh my GOD LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE!! So raunchy!!!

Erica: Anyway, it’s a cool routine. Actually? I think it is my favorite NappyTabs of the season. It’s fun and it’s hard and the dancers obviously loved doing it. At one point the girls wave their butts in the audience’s face for, like, 30 whole seconds, and at another point, Marko, I believe, bounces across two other boys’ backs and goes flipping far for, um, a human, and it was great.

Kate: Maybe my favorite NappyTabs routine EVER! HOLY COW!

Erica: So by this point Jason had gone to bed and Zoe was driving me f-ing nuts – it has been a rough day – so I didn’t watch the rest but I know who won because Kate saw tweets from Alex Wong this morning and America, surprisingly enough, chose right and selected Eliana and Chehon! Go you guys! Hooray!

Kate: So you are staying in the country, swell!

Erica: See you next week for Kate’s and my fashion review of the Emmys!

Kate: Crap, that’s this Sunday?

SYTYCD Season 9 – Top Six

Group Routine: “Scream” by Kelis, contemporary choreographed by Sonya Tayeh

Kate: This was pretty good I thought, good partnerning and separate dancing. And masks.

Erica: Yeah. I’m really into Sonya Tayeh this year.

Kate: But you can tell that Eliana really stands out from the other 2 chicks.

Erica: Well, all the group choreographers have been featuring her heavily. Because she’s the best. Duh.

Kate: I am supremely freaked out by Sonya having a full head of hair.


Kate: FINALLY! This is the Cat we know and love! Does the dress have a super-weird, almost-ugly pattern? Sure! Does the silhoutte still look absolutely great on her? Most definitely!

Erica: Yeah, despite the weirdness of the dress, she looked pretty good.

Kate: And her hair and makeup are appropriately sultry. Glad it’s the second-to-last episode and she’s finally looking normal.

Erica: Maybe next season they’ll go back to her usual elegance.

Kate: Weeeeee I love when Christina Applegate judges!


Tiffany & Season 2 Champion Benji: “What I Like About You” by Lilix, jive choreographed by Jean-Marc Genereux

Kate: Pretty sure I did a cheer routine to this song — particularly this version of this song — and it was even cornier than this, if you can imagine.

Erica: I loved this. I don’t care that it’s corny. I love a jive. It makes me happy. And this was a really good one.

Kate: I thought they were pretty great together and very in sync when dancing separate, and she did that super cool leg lift thing over his head.

Erica: Yeah. She did great. They did great together.

Kate: But, this was jive/swing? It felt a bit more jazzy/Broadway to me no?

Erica: It was a straight-up jive. I don’t understand what’s confusing to you about this. But let’s talk about the real issue here. Benji, dear, you have grown into a man.

Witney’s Solo: “Malaguerna” by Brian Setzer ’68 Comeback Special

Kate: Horrible. Actually horrible. Instead of shimmying her shoulders all around this time she shimmied her stupid half-dress thing all around. This was the first time I genuinely didn’t like anything about her performance.

Erica: The solos were short this time, right?

Kate: The solos are pointless every. Single. Time. Right?

Cole & Season 8’s Melanie: “Too Close” by Alex Clare, jazz choreographed by Sonya Tayeh

Kate: Oh I love this song. And Alex Clare. Er you might like him.

Erica: I liked this song.

Kate: But this seemed to actually be the wrong song choice if Sonya wanted me to believe Cole was representing “love”? The routine was good but not too memorable.

Erica: Well, he wasn’t “love” so much as he was “freedom”. From the one he loved. So, uh, that. But yeah, I agree. Good but not great. I have to say, they really try to sell Cole as this “does his own style” maverick-y untrained guy but he’s so clearly trained in a lot of things and just also has added his martial arts stuff to create something new out of a whole lot of learning.

Chehon’s Solo: “Way Back Home” by District 78

Kate: Wow he busted out some weird stuff this week huh? The music sounded like it came from Cyrus’s collection.

Erica: He’s so very good-looking.

Kate: His leaps and turns and legs in general are just sickeningly good.

Eliana & Season 4’s Twitch: “Please Mr. Postman” (District 78 Remix) by The Marvelettes, hip-hop choreographed by Chris Scott

Kate: Holy sh!t.

Erica: See, I was not super-thrilled.

Kate: I love this concept, I love this song, I love this remix of this song, I love this pair together; damn right Chris, Eliana IS funky! Bah!

Erica: I did love the song and the concept.

Kate: I NEED to be wearing her outfit. But not with a black bra.

Erica: Really? Underwhelmed by her outfit.

Kate: You know, I almost didn’t watch Twitch at all in this, she was that good. Her feet weren’t as quick as his but she was very…What’s the word? Magnetic.

Erica:  They are both magnetic but I felt like this could have been better. There were moves that seemed unfinished and I really think she could have handled a little more . . . something. I don’t know. I thought they looked better in the rehearsal footage than they did on stage.

Kate: Well then that’s the fault of Chris Scott, not them. And um can I do that dance convention thing in Vegas please? When is it?

Tiffany’s Solo: “Just the Way You Are by Carmen Reece

Kate: Basically the same as last week’s.

Erica: I liked a girl singing this song.

Kate: Well, you know how I feel about the other person who sings this song.

Chehon & Season 6’s Kathryn – “Eli, Eli (A Walk to Caesarea)” by Sophie Milman, contemporary choreographed by Tasty Oreo 

Kate: So the judges loved this, and I didn’t. I still love Chehon, duh, but maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for such an emotional routine because I really didn’t get it…What is so dramatic about living out of a suitcase?

Erica: You didn’t get it because for reasons I really don’t understand, they refused to say what it was about.

Kate: And there was that weird stumble when she climbed onto his back. Also, since when does he have an accent?

Erica: I think his accent is just a result of him being from everywhere. But let’s go back to this. Tyce said in the rehearsal footage, “In history, there’s been so many tragic events” and that this piece was about how you deal with the anguish of having gone through one of these generic “tragic events” and then have nothing left to you but a suitcase. The song was “Eli, Eli,” which, for those of you who don’t know, is a very popular Jewish song, the lyrics of which come from a poem by Hannah Szenes, a Jewish woman who tried to rescue Holocaust victims and was executed for her efforts. It was even used in Schindler’s List; it is a song very recognizably tied to the Holocaust. (The lyrics are quite lovely, actually. Here’s a link.) They dressed Kathryn in a very 1940s-refugee-ish dress. Then Nigel mentioned specifically all of the immigrants “in the ’40s” who came here with nothing but a suitcase, which, you know, there have been countless immigrants over countless decades who’ve come to these shores with nothing but a suitcase. He said specifically the ’40s, when a huge number of those immigrants were Holocaust survivors. And yet no one said the word “Holocaust.” Why? Why did that happen? I don’t get it. I want to call anti-Semitism, but I know my anti-Semitism trigger is a little jumpy sometimes. So let’s just call it weird?

Kate: Um, yea, if it was about the Holocaust, why didn’t they just say so? They have no problem over-talking about all other types of tragedies and deaths. I really was very confused.

Cole’s Solo: “Night of the Wolf” by Nox Arcana

Kate: Typical. He is wearing a skirt. I love his mom.

Erica: She’s the most enthusiastic mom in the world. She’s so cute.

Witney & Season 8’s Marko: “No Nothing” by Curtis & Reinhard feat. Blaire, lyrical jazz choreographed by Ray Leeper

Kate: Maybe she’s having second thoughts because that cotton-candy thing is her wedding dress. Cool stained glass lighting effect though.

Erica: Zoe designed that dress, too.

Kate: Wow, I had forgotten how great Marko is. This was a cool routine but I don’t think she proved she is as good as, let alone better than, Eliana (as IF) or Tiffany. Some of the running and jumping was very anticlimactic.

Erica: I didn’t love the choreography. I was kind of bored.

Eliana’s Solo: “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” by Death Cab

Kate: Beautiful.

Erica: I love this song!

Kate: Me too. But…I would put money on the fact that if directly competing with Chehon, her leaps turns and legs and general aren’t quite as good as his. She is obviously more likeable, though

Erica: She is also way more adaptable.

Cyrus & Season 4’s Comfort: “Cinema” (Skrillex Remix) by Benny Benassi feat. Gary Go, dub step choreographed by Chris Scott

Kate: As soon as they said “Cyrus”, “Comfort” and “dub step” in the same sentence I though, “Oh jeez what are we in for now?”

Erica: I was so excited for Comfort. I love her.

Kate: Why was she practicing with all that jewelry on?! Dance Rules 101 people!

Erica: 🙂

Kate: I thought the beginning was horrible and slow and the song was stupid, but then it picked up when they did all the synchronized hand things. They seemed very effortlessly together and fluid, but I cannot for the life of me separate this from regular old hip-hop.

Erica: Yeah, I don’t know. But I did like it.

Kate: But please God do not let this guy win.

Erica: He is going to win for the boys. America apparently loves him.

Witney & Chehon: “Where Have You Been” by Rihanna, cha-cha choreographed by Jean-Marc Genereux

Kate: Hey she danced to that last week!

Erica: Here’s a thing I am noticing. Not so much with that song, but Rihanna has more than one song in which she’s saying, “I am not capable of making emotionally healthy decisions in my relationships. Please help.” Including one song that is literally called “S.O.S.”

Kate: Well, I’m pretty sure she is a certified crazy person. Anyway, you could definitely tell he was quite uncomfortable up there, but he was still very precise in his movements. That lift messup made me cringe, and then I think they messed up a few other things so she then became almost as uncomfortable as he was, and by the end I think she wanted to scratch his eyes out because she was mad he made her look bad.

Erica: There were a lot of moments where they definitely looked like they had to think about the next step.

Kate: When can I see him dance with Eliana dammit?!

Cyrus’s Solo: “Harem” by Sarah Brightman

Erica: These solos were too short to really show anything this week. They should have just cut them.

Kate: Meh.

Eliana & Cole: “Adagio for Strings” by Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, contemporary choreographed by Mia Michaels

Kate: Oh, Cole is doing “hatred” again, how unique MIA. This was actually quite beautiful and dramatic, I had chills at the end when they did that silent scream thing.

Erica: I thought it was awesome EXCEPT for the silent scream thing. Well, not that it was bad, but that was, like, three dances tonight with screams. Choreographers? You all okay?

Kate: But…Um…Rams, Mia?

Erica: She’s so weird. But in a totally awesome way. I thought this was great.

Tiffany & Cyrus: “Treat Me Rough (Girl Crazy)” by Debbie Gravitte, Broadway choreographed by Spencer Liff

Kate: She was great in this, very passionate. He was O-kay, not as good as she was but still fun to watch. Good use of prop (for once) with the tie.

Erica: Yeah, it was. I thought they were super-cute and I liked her more than I usually do.

Kate: Is it just me or did Cat look royally pissed off about something all night? Maybe it was the sultry makeup?<

Erica: Really? I thought she was even more cheerful than normal. But I wasn’t paying that close attention.

Kate: Oh my goodness that wheelchair dance made me so very nervous. He was really dancing in a wheelchair though, so that’s impressive. And dangerous.

Erica: I . . . didn’t watch. Because I’m a bad person. And I had to get this out before leaving to pick up my daughter from preschool.

Kate: Not at all surprised by the results, but does that mean Tiffany had MORE votes than Eliana?! Unacceptable, America.

Erica: It doesn’t necessarily mean that. I think they knew that there was more suspense in the Witney/Eliana question than a Tiffany/Witney question. I hope, anyway, that that’s the reason. If Tiffany wins the girls over Eliana, even though she’s very good, America, we are through. Through.


SYTYCD Season 9 – Top 8

Erica: Ugh, they’re doing solos tonight?

Kate’s roommate: Tonight is the finale?

Kate: WHAT!?

Kate’s roommate: She said finale!

Kate: No, finale is in 3 weeks. #amateur

Erica: Cat looks pretty good. The dress is inoffensive and the make-up and hair and gorgeous.

Kate: Um, yes she is finally wearing a dress and um, yes her hair finally looks like its fabulous self, but the makeup? No. Her eyes are really freaking me out, I think she got some kind of work done.

Tiffany’s solo

Erica: Fine? Zoe liked it.

Kate: Ugh, Glee. Are they still doing that stupid thing where they write their own songs?

Erica: They did it at least once this last season I think but I don’t remember that song at all. But me and Glee are through anyway.

Kate: Yes this was fine, sometimes she is a little too cutesy but she is quite talented. Also, do you think her sister, who is a fellow dancer, sort of hates her a bit?

Erica: Speaking as the big sister of a fabulous human, I am sure that all of her pride wipes out (nearly) completely any jealousy she feels.

Witney and Season 4’s Twitch: Hip-hop, “My Homies Still” by Li’l Wayne feat. Big Sean, choreographed by Luther Brown

Erica: Okay, see, I asked for real hip-hop last week, and I got it, and I was happy. And then I was reminded of the way Nigel and Mary tend to act around real hip-hop and I take it back. Don’t do anything that gives them license to try to act “street.”

Kate: Ha, but this was great. I mean Witney looked quite silly bopping around with Twitch but she actually has the sass — and the ass, might I add — for hip-hip hop. It’s not her fault she was wearing, as Jesse Tyler Ferguson put it, “diaper pants”.

Erica: I thought she was a little sloppy in the beginning but mostly very good, although she performs street the same way she performs sexy – like a very, very good mimic but without a lot of soul. And I agree that the thing that needs to be discussed were those pants they put her in. What on earth?

Kate: I am actually starting to think she MIGHT win over Eliana, which would not be the worst thing in the world but still shouldn’t happen. Also, I really wish some day some how it would be possible for me to dance with Twitch. Or take a class he teaches, or something.

Erica: I think Witney is second best to Eliana and has been all season (for the girls). And maybe one day Twitch will be teaching classes in NYC and you can go!

Will’s solo

Kate: He is trying to win me over via dancing to James Morrison. It almost sort of worked.

Erica: He’s much better in his solo than he has been in, you know, the dancing.

Kate: Agreed. But he’s still just not THAT good.

Cole and Season 2’s Allison: Jazz, “Possibly Maybe (Instrumental)” by Bjork, choreographed by Bjork’s soul sister Sonja Tayeh

Kate: Um, why was this song called “Possibly Maybe (Instrumental)” when there was clearly a human (sort of) voice involved? Ugh I hate Bjork.

Erica: Allison is just awesome. I know you get annoyed, Kate, that they presume that the all-stars will be better, because it’s not always true, but I’m sure you agree, in this case, it’s true.

Kate: Oh yes, when it’s Allison it’s true. I like that Cole said he was supposed to be a soulless character — um, he has only not played that character in like one dance all season.

Erica: I do have to say, last week they dinged him for acting to the audience instead of to his partner. He definitely took that advice to heart this week. It’s a very strong, lovely routine. I’m liking Sonja more and more this season. She’s got a strong voice.

Kate: I think he’s very talented. More talented than Will, not as talented as Chehon, but talented. But I don’t think America loves loves loves him on account of his creepiness.

Erica: And, you know, Nigel mentions that Sonja said blah blah blah, revealing for the second time – the first was last year – that they see the dances in rehearsal beforehand. And I know this is reality TV and everything is scripted and manipulated, but . . . I want to believe the judges are seeing this all for the first time right now. I want to believe that there is no man behind that curtain. Just let me believe, Nigel.

Kate: Also, what’s wrong with Allison? I know she had on whacky makeup re: Sonya’s bizarre requests, but she looked like she was about to break down. DID SHE AND TWITCHYPOO BREAK UP?!

Erica: It was an emotional number! She was just still in that space! Don’t worry about it!

Lindsay’s solo

Erica: Her family is so very blonde.

Kate: And all dancers. That’s somewhat awesome that her mom owns a dance studio and that they all dance, although I guess there’s not much else to do in Utah.

Erica: I think there are some non-SYTYCD-specific ties between Mormon culture and ballroom dance. But did you catch that thing about her mom opening the studio for them? What does that mean?

Kate: She flings her arms around way too much to disguise the fact that she is not actually really dancing. I mean, look at those stems! She should use them more!

Erica: She has some serious stems. But it is really hard to do a ballroom solo.

Eliana and Season 6’s Ryan: Quickstep, “That Man” by Caro Emerald, choreographed by Jonathan Roberts

Erica: Love. Love, love, love her.

Kate: The step wasn’t that quick, but if anyone can kick this routine’s ass it’s her. She looks so light on her feet like she isn’t making one freakin’ sound.

Erica: When they started in with the “dreaded quickstep” stuff, I was going, look, America, if you vote Eliana off, we’re over. Forget the election, that’s when I’ll know it’s time to move to Canada. But then she shone! Surely, America, you can see that, too?!

Kate: Surely! Also, I want that dress (as I’m sure you do too Er), and it looks like she was sort of meant to be a flapper no?

Erica: Well, the quickstep is sort of flapper-y, right? And yes, wanted the dress. The thing about her is that it’s not just that her technique is flawless and it’s not just that she can adapt to any style and it’s not just that her performance is top notch and that she’s accessible to the audience as Nigel said. It’s all of those things, but it’s also that she makes the movements look beyond effortless. She makes them look like they are just the natural physical manifestations of her emotions. She’s amazing.

Chehon’s solo

Kate: I mean, I feel like I just don’t even need to comment anymore. A standing ovation for a solo? Come on.

Erica: Gosh, he’s pretty.

Kate: In all aspects of the word.

Erica: The solo was amazing, of course. Also, I feel the need to mention that the name of the song was “On the Nature of Daylight,” which is a great, if pretentious, song title. And he’s so choked up about his mom being there he can’t even talk! Aw!

Lindsay and Season Never’s Alex: Jazz, “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye feat. Kimba, choreographed by Sonja Tayeh

Erica: Great choreography, fantastic dancing (wow is Alex Wong a prince among men – hey, do you suppose they’ll reprise your favorite Alex/Twitch routine during the finale, Kate?) but Nigel was right – not a lot of heat.

Kate: Oh so I can post the link to that dance again? Swell. Yea I didn’t love this, and it appears Mr. Wong has gone tanning a lot recently.

Erica: Lindsay’s outfit is super-weird.

Kate’s roommate: I have that bra.

Erica: Sonya just loves her flexed feet, pulses and kicking, doesn’t she?

Kate: But see how much better Lindsay is when she actually USES those legs?

Erica: Oh, yeah. It wasn’t a criticism. I love flexed feet, pulses, and kicking, too.

Will and Season 3’s Lauren: Hip-Hop, “Dance My Pain Away (District 78 Remix)” by Wye Oak, choreographed by Chris Scott

Kate: I like that couch.

Erica: I was skeptical about this concept but the choreography ended up being really neat, didn’t it?

Kate: I think so, I mean I love when the partners don’t dance together together, like touching together, and he did better at hip-hop than I expected.

Erica: Will and Lauren did a very good job staying in sync even when he couldn’t see her, and he was very sharp. His goofiness was sort of contained by the movement, so that he did manage to come across as more serious than usual, but his natural style also came through enough that he seemed relatable and real through his pain. Imagine the contrast if, say, Cole had been working the same character. (That’s not a criticism of Cole; it just would have been very different.) This is the first week I like Will.

Kate: Oh, Cole would look absurd doing hip-hop. I sort of hope they give that to him next week.

Erica: But, oh, my God, Nigel’s comment about Lauren coming to his room that night to be the thing that pushes his pain away? Just stop. Please. You’re old enough to be my father. She’s young enough to be my . . . much younger sister. Just stop.

Kate’s roommate: Ew!

Witney’s solo

Erica: It’s a ballroom solo. It was good for a ballroom solo. Sexier than Lindsay’s but not quite as good.

Kate: See, that’s where you’re wrong. A) She picked my favorite horrible song of the week, so I wanted it to be really cool. It wasn’t. B) She does the same thing Lindsay does with solos but instead of flinging arms she just shimmies a lot instead of ACTUALLY dancing; I guess these young ballroom lassies just aren’t experienced in choreographing solos for themselves. Which sort of makes sense, but which shows me they are not quite ready for the world yet.

Erica: I just think there’s no such thing as a “solo” in the ballroom world so they have to make shit up for this show.

Cole’s solo

Kate: Somehow I am not surprised by his childhood. And his mom looks fab-u-lous.

Erica: Cool. Not as good as Chehon.

Kate: Well, who is?

Cyrus and Season 8’s Melanie: Jazz, “Badder Badder Schwing” by Freddy Fresh feat. Fatboy Slim, choreographed by Mandy Moore

Erica: Okay, first, much squealing about seeing Melanie. Gosh, she is just such a slice of delicious.

Kate: She is quite great.

Erica: And then, love the choreography. Super-fun and cute and memorable. And it’s okay with me if Nigel and Mary want to punch the air for a while.

Kate: Here’s where we differ, and I don’t mean anything against Mandy, but I did not like the choreography so much. It was TOO Fosse, like TOO much of that fist thing. I’d get it if there were just 2 or 3 fist things you know?

Erica: Eh, I think you’re wrong and it was super-fun. I liked it as much as I liked that Sara-Pasha number with the suspenders. The thing about Mandy Moore is that you could use her work to do a dissertation on the difference between cheesy-delicious and cheesy-awful. For me, this work fell squarely in the former category.

Erica: And then on to the Cyrus. You know, this was really very good from him.

Kate: He wasn’t sharp enough. But America loves him, and goddammit Nigel yes it IS about the best dancer!!!!!! WHICH IS CHEHON!!! (For the boys.)

Erica: I hated when Nigel asked him all condescending if he knows who Bob Fosse is and he looked all wide-eyed and said, “No,” and Nigel was all, “Study our history you fabulous innocent, you,” and I’m going, first, shut up, Nigel, and second, stop it, Cyrus. I don’t believe for a second that you’ve never heard of Bob Fosse.

Kate: Seconded.

Eliana solo

Kate: Weeee an actual BALLET solo!

Erica: Sick. Why is she here? Seriously?

Kate: I know, when she said she moved to NYC when she was 16 and she guesses it worked out because she’s here, I went “Um, how old are you?” and then “Um, I think you were doing pretty great before this show!”

Chehon and Season 3’s Anya: Tango, “Breathing Below Surface” by Jesse Cook, choreographed by Miriam and Leonardo?

Kate: How much did you squeel when they said “Chehon” “Anya” and “Tango”?

Erica: Mary Murphy says it’s great so it must be great. I did like it. It was softer and sweeter than I’m used to the tango being and I thought Chehon, you know, didn’t fuck it up in any way. And I almost believed he was straight!

Kate: Yes I thought it was good BUT I thought he was almost not in the right character mind frame for the tango, like not angry/aggressive enough, but then I realized it was not an angry/aggressive tango and it was actually kind of slow and soft, which is odd. So I think I just didn’t like the choreography much.

Erica: But camera! He’s great at spinning but if she’s on stage I need to be able to see her, too! You should make this as much like having the best seats in the house as possible! Stop randomly deciding on close-ups when there’s shit going on elsewhere!

Cyrus’s solo

Erica: The solo was great. Cyrus did what he does and he does it really well. But then Nigel had to throw out “ratchet”, a slang term he learned from Luther Brown up by that first hip-hop routine. No, Nigel. Don’t. I want to like your more “street” hip-hop choreographers but not if they’re going to inspire this nonsense in you.

Kate: See this did not impress me. This stuff never does. It’s not actual dancing/choreography, it’s just matching these weird intricate movements to a weird intricate song, which I know a lot of dancing does but it still just doesn’t get me the way Chehon’s and Eliana’s do.

Tiffany and Season 5’s Ade: Jazz, “The Power of Love” by Celine Dion, choreographed by (seriously, with that song choice, do I even need to tell you?) Mandy Moore

Kate: That was jazz? I’d call that lyrical. I’m starting to think that’s a term my school dance company made up, though.

Erica: Gosh, Ade has quite the set of guns there. I mean, he can just lift her up and toss her around.

Kate: She’s also approximately 85 pounds. I thought she was great in this.

Erica: Just lift her on her side while he’s lying down . . . or over his head . . . or around the side. Just a lot of strong, strong lifting there.

Kate: No, I’ve always liked him. But let’s hear how you feel about Tiffany now hmm?

Erica: Tiffany, to me, there’s nothing wrong with her dancing. She’s very good and strong and light and good lines and all that. But there’s nothing that’s really memorable, either. There’s no depth to her. I feel like, if I were a control-freaky choreographer, I would want to work with her, because she’d always do the dance exactly the way I showed her and do it really well. But I don’t get the feeling there are any surprises in her.

Kate: Well she’s definitely better than Witney and Lindsey combined — remember her hip-hop with George? So good! — but she definitely doesn’t have as much depth and emotion as Eliana. I agree with Mary Murphy that this was her best of the season.

Erica: Oh, and Cat made a comment about Tiffany not know she’s beautiful, like the One Direction song, and then Nigel made THE VERY SAME COMMENT FIVE SECONDS LATER LIKE CAT DIDN’T MAKE IT FIRST. Stop it, Nigel.


Erica: I was surprised Witney was in the bottom and not Tiffany.

Kate: I was not.

Erica: I don’t know how or why people are connecting with Tiffany. But I’m not surprised they picked Witney over Lindsay. I was pleased and surprised to see Eliana safe.

Kate: Duh!

Erica: I was also not surprised to see Will go. It was the first week I liked him; of course it was his time to go.

Kate: Oh well, on to the next!

SYTYCD Season 9 – Top Ten

Erica: Hey, I didn’t know they were bringing back the all-stars again! Woohoo! Sorry, Kate, I know you hate this.

Kate: I just don’t think it’s fair because the allstars are not in fact perfect — helLO they didn’t (all) win their seasons — so it’s not right to assume that person is perfect and the current contestant is the only one to be judged.

Erica: So the other night, Jason and I were watching “True Blood” and we were talking about all the fairly easy steps one could take if vampires were real and really out to destroy humanity, within the universe of that show. And in that show, silver is a big problem for vamps. So we thought, silver chain-mail outfits. All the time. Why wouldn’t you, honestly? So I guess Cat heard us.

Kate: This was unfortunately an actual improvement from her past, like, 3 outfits, but it’s still not up to par with other seasons. I mean, can someone get her a friggin belt? Or a FITTING for crying out loud?

The Group Dance

Erica: Ugh, I hated this. I think I hated it specifically because it was something that I should have liked – Gene Kelly-esque Broadway routine, set backstage, and featuring Eliana being her usual awesome Eliana self – and yet I hated it. It was all muddled and confusing and not really good for TV, with the swoopy, limited-scope cameras. And Tyce dancing. I mean, I get that he was filling in for Cole, but still. Don’t like him.

Kate: I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it, I thought it was a little too act-y in the beginning but good at the end when they were more all together. I haven’t been impressed with any group routines overall this season.

Tiffany and Season X’s Brandon: Disco, “You Make Me Feel” by Cobra Starship feat. Sabi, choreographed by (who else but) Doriana Sanchez

Erica: Ugh again. I am not a huge disco fan. Or a Doriana Sanchez fan. “This number is about fun, it’s about Studio 54, it’s got a ton of lifts!” Really, Doriana Sanchez? That could describe all of your disco numbers. Or, in fact, all of disco.

Kate: There was a bit too much sparkle going on for my taste but I think this is a great song to dance to and it, like, showed in their energy. And she did that super cool leg lift thing but then they followed it up by an awkward twirl-with-girl-above-head-grabbing-her-legs thing that didn’t really work.

Erica: It wasn’t great. Brandon was great partnering but un-outstanding otherwise and Tiffany was sloppy. Plenty of personality, and that one lift where she’s, like, upside-down in a split on his hip was pretty awesome, but overall, sloppy. More performance than technique.

Erica: And I hated the costumes.

Kate: I bet Zoe didn’t.

Witney and First Season Champion Nick: Jazz, “Sing it Back” by Moloko, choreographed by Travis Wall

Erica: So here’s the thing. I’m not the biggest Witney fan. She does that dewy-eyed-virgin-who-can-play-act-at-sexy thing that annoys me, and a lot of the time I think she’s pageant-y. For sure she’s super-talented, but I don’t have any emotional attachment to her. And I didn’t watch this show Season One, and Nick struck me as a douche in the rehearsal footage, so I have no emotional attachment to him, either. But this dance might be my favorite of the season. I was blown away. And I was blown away by the fact that I was blown away.

Kate: I was not expecting you to say that after that intro. I wasn’t quite as blown away, but let me tell you a little something about shoulder rolls: I think they’re the most awesome things ever. Apparently they are very easy for most intermediate to advanced dancers but they look very complicated to the naked eye; I have never been able to do one successfuly, and here Witney is shoulder rolling OFF OF HER PARTER. So jealous!

Erica: I know I hate when the judges do this but Travis? Seriously? I don’t even know what to call that. That was inventive choreography, my friend.

Kate: Well, Mr. Wall can do no wrong.

Erica: And Witney was a perfect blend of technique and performance although there’s still a surface-y quality to her, but damn it’s a good surface. And her chemistry with Nick was spot-on and, just, wow. Loved it.

Cole and Season 3’s Anya: Cha-cha, “Glad You Came” by The Wanted; choreographed by Season 2’s Dmitry Chaplin.

Erica: Now, they were pretty harsh on Cole here, but I have to say, most of the time, when they bring Anya on to dance with one of these 20-year-old kids, the kid ends up looking like a little boy being led around the stage by her awesomeness. Cole didn’t look like that. Did he look like a professional ballroom dancer? No. Did he perform to the audience more than to her, like Nigel said? Yeah, a little. But he did some cool tricks and his partnering wasn’t bad and hey, he was too sick to be in the group routine. So I thought he wasn’t bad.

Kate: He still scares me but I thought this showed a lovely other non-scary side of him, even if it was a bit awkward in the beginning, and I thought he kept up with Anya pretty well. (I didn’t know it was Anya until they started dancing, and I was oh that is so obviously Anya.)

Erica: Then again, I could watch Anya cha-cha all day long and not get bored.

Lindsey and Season 6’s Jakob: Broadway, “Dancin’ Dan (Me and My Shadow)” by Fosse (Original Broadway Cast), choreographed by Spencer Liff

Erica: Oy do I hate the cameras on this show. The first part of the dance is about them dancing in sync from opposite sides of a screen. So why couldn’t we see her for the first several seconds, camera?!

Kate: This was, in my humble opinion, musical theater at its finest. I was very impressed with her and I think it may have been her best routine yet.

Erica: I don’t really remember Jakob. I feel kind of bad about that. He’s excellent.

Kate: They were very in sync.

Erica: They both did well but I thought the dance was sort of forgettable.

Kate: Disagree!

Will and Season 6’s Katherine: Bollywood, “Ooh La La”  from The Dirty Picture soundtrack, choreographed by their Bollywood guy Nakul Dev Mahajan

Kate: This was the raunchiest, corniest, most hip-hop-iest Bollywood routine I’ve ever seen. I friggin loved it.

Erica: Sometimes Will looks to me like an audience member they just chose to go on stage and lucky for them, he can dance. This was one of those times. They keep talking about his personality being so appealing but he never comes across as a professional dancer to me. Then again, look how they were with Season 3’s Danny, who was Anya’s partner through the first half, and who was a professional ballet dancer (and who is also Travis Wall’s foster brother). He was very professional in demeanor – because he was already a professional dancer, I think with the American Ballet Company – and they were all, “We need more personality from you!” So I guess this sort of “Gee shucks thanks for letting me bounce around on stage with a sexy girl!” demeanor is what this show wants.

Kate: But for such a big bulky guy I thought he moved really well in this.

Erica: The routine was so fast, even Kathryn looked a little behind sometimes, but Will was really kind of sloppy. Also, camera! Stop moving! I can’t see!

Kate: Well then let’s focus on the real gem of the routine: Kathryn’s costume! Holy wow!

Cyrus and Season 3’s Jaime: Contemporary, “Outro” by M83, choreographed by Travis Wall

Erica: It annoys me that they’re still grading Cyrus on a curve. And it annoys me precisely because all the things they say about him are true. He’s got passion out the wazoo. He picks up on things super-quick. His performance and character work are spot-on. He’s strong and good at partnering. But he could be so much better if he just trained in more styles for a few more years.

Kate: Yes, I agree he is very passionate but he is NOT — I repeat NOT — the best dancer on this season of the show, and definitely not the best male dancer either.

Erica: I was also less impressed with this as a piece than I was with the first one. It was still very good – I like Travis Wall’s work a lot- but I wonder, if the costumes had been non-descript and the stage hadn’t been lit all orange, would I still know this was a post-apocaplyptic number? Other than the last few steps where he’s walking all brave and she’s clinging to his back? I guess that’s a nitpick.

Kate: I definitely think the ambiance and the song kind of helped push this routine along and made it much more dramatic, almost distracting us from their actual movements? Also, as happens lots of times, she seemed to be dancing more and he seemed to be just lifting more.

Erica: BTW, Jaime looks great. She’s gotten more beautiful since her own season.

Chehon and Season 3’s Lauren: Hip-Hop, “Pretty Wings” by Maxwell, choreographed by David Scott

Erica: Oh, good. “Lyrical” hip-hop.

Kate: So when NabbyTabs has babies, this is the hip-hop we have to deal with? Not pleased.

Erica: I just . . . I want hip-hop that hits, you know? That’s sharp and swagger-y and cool. If there is a difference between “lyrical” hip-hop like this and jazz, I do not know what it is. And I know I get on NappyTabs’ case all the time because I think they’re cheesy and very much not “street,” but on the other hand, their choreography is usually a lot of fun to watch. This was boring.

Kate: The difference is this was far-from-stellar choreography. When they said “Chehon” and “hip-hop” I visibly cringed and prayed that he wouldn’t be too too awkward.

Erica: Also, they make a big deal of hip-hop being so very challenging for a ballet dancer like Chehon, but if the moves are all flowy like this, it’s a lot less of a gap to bridge, no?

Kate: Well, no. He was still very very stiff for a hip-hop routine, you could tell he was all up in his center and straight spine and stuff and he should have been a little looser. I think he did not do badly, though, and I think it was shoddy, repetitive, boring choreography. And EW Lauren’s outfit!

Erica: I do have to say, “kick groove-hop” might be the first time Mary Murphy’s ever coined a useful phrase.

George and Season 2’s (and Twitch’s!) Allison: Broadway, “Bahamut” by Hazmat Modine, choreographed by Tasty Oreo

Erica: Oh, man. George is going to have to pretend to be a straight guy.

Kate: I am still so bitter that he is there over Dareaiaeian.

Erica: It’s actually his best character work so far. Which isn’t saying much. He’s a brilliant technician and a beautiful dancer, but honestly, and I say this with love, because you know I love him, his performance is usually weak.

Kate: I do not say this with love, because I do not love him at all, I want him gone. Of course the routine looked good as a whole because Allison was in it, but dear me I agreed with Nigel and I don’t think he is all that and a bag of chips.

Erica: I would so very much like it if I could never hear about Nigel’s sexual attraction to one of the dancers ever again.

Eliana and Season Never Really Happened’s Alex Wong: Jazz, “Bang Bang” by Nancy Sinatra, choreographed by Stacey Tookey


Erica: Okay, first, can we talk about Stacey Tookey’s hair? I know that’s always her hair, but it’s really cute and I kind of want it. But every time I cut my hair short I am sad I did so within about two weeks. But still. It is very cute.

Kate: Yes it is, but she’s blonde. She’s a different breed than us.

Erica: I really enjoyed how Stacey in the rehearsal footage was all, “Eliana, could you be a little bit less awesome for this number, please?” No, Stacey. No, she cannot. She is perfection.

Kate: Damn right she is! Best girl on the season, one of the best in the series’ history, hands down. She is radiant. WEEEEEEEEEEE ALEX!!

Erica: I had actually forgotten that Alex Wong was a contemporary (or possibly ballet) dancer because that hip-hop number with him and Twitch is so popular.


Erica: But he, like Eliana, can do anything and can do it amazingly. Witney and Nick’s number was still my favorite of the night, but this is a damn close second and Eliana is my favorite person in this competition. Eliana for the win!

Kate: Nope, this was my favorite of the night, one of my favorite of the season. Correction: Eliana and CHEHON for the win! (When can I see THEM dance together?)

Erica: Oh, and Zoe was sort of disturbed by this song, and the dance actually. She kept talking about how he had stepped on her and was trying to hurt her. But then she decided, based only on the strength of the world “baby” being in the song, that this was about a mommy and a daddy and the mommy has a baby in her belly and she’s going to take care of her baby.

Kate: Well, duh.

Audrey and Season 4’s Twitch: Hip-Hop, “Sincerely, Jane” by Janelle Monae, choreographed by David Scott.

Kate: So this was essentially the most perfect possible routine you could give a guy like Twitch: intricate hip-hop moves that involve a creepy weird character and a not-all-that-hip-hop song. This was essentially a horrible routine to give Audrey.

Erica: Meh. I find her annoying. I did not think she danced this well at all. I did not like the number even a little bit. Even Twitch, with all his awesome and all his personality, could not keep me interested in this number. Just meh to the whole thing.

Kate: Meh to YOU how can you say such things about Twitch! I thought he was awesome, because DUH HE’S TWITCH, but I agree she was a total lame-o. They were together, but the same moves looked so different on him than on her.



Erica: Oh, quit your kidding, Nigel. At an hour and a half into the show, you’re going to pretend the audience’s response dictates whether you see solos? Obviously we’re going to see solos. Witney’s was good for a ballroom solo, Audrey’s was boring, Chehon’s was amaze-balls and makes me hope we see him in a paso doble soon, and George’s was quite lovely but not as good as Chehon’s. So I wasn’t surprised to see him go home, although I was a little sad, and I was neither surprised nor sad to see Audrey go.

Kate: Please don’t ever say amaze-balls again. I was almost sick to my stomach thinking Chehon was going to be sent home but luckily the judges came to their senses, which the rest of America (who watches this show) is lacking.

SYTYCD Season 9 – Top 14

Kate: Hold on, this is a total Mia Michaels episode?

Erica: The first thing I thought when they said it was going to be an all-Mia Michaels show, with the kids doing her best routines, was, “Shit. We are going to have to hyperlink everything.”

Kate: Hold on, this is a total Mia-Michaels-routines-that-they-have-already-done episode?

Erica: The second thing I thought was, “Is she okay?”

Kate: Did we ever find out exactly what happened to her? I mean, she definitely looks like she’s been through something rough.

Erica: My initial Google search indicated that she was not sick, or at least she was saying she was not sick, but a) I wasn’t very thorough, and b) I kind of don’t believe her. And this doing a retrospective thing is making me super-worried.

Cat’s Dress

Kate: Bah! Someone get the bird off her neck!

Erica: Kate! How can you say that? Zoe worked so hard to design that dress for Cat.

Kate: In other news, I can’t stand the braid trend. Did we all decide our preschool years were when we looked best, or something?

Erica: Kate, just because you were an ugly baby is no reason to shit all over someone else’s style. Also, my favorite thing tonight was when the (totally gorgeous) Ballet Boys (and how much do I love the English accent pronouncing “ballet”? A lot.) were all, “We’ve never seen the show!” and Nigel and Mia gave the stink eye but what are you going to do? Not everyone in the dance world is going to give a reality show on FOX in which American tweenagers are the judges a tongue bath. Suck it, Nigel.

The Group Routine

Kate: Hoping you’ll back me up on this one Er – I don’t like when props, costumes and “acting” – and KISSING! OMG SO MUCH KISSING! – get in the way of, you know, actual dancing. I didn’t like this at all.

Erica: I thought this was more of a performance than a dance but it was a damn cool performance (except for the kissing which was indeed excessive). But my favorite was when, later in the show, Nigel called it the Fifty Shades of Grey dance and Mia looked horrified. Because I was worried that might have served as inspiration, although I don’t remember a scene in that book with the kind of ropes you can use to fly off the stage like that, but her look clearly indicated that it had not.

Eliana and Cyrus: original performance by Katee and Twitch, “Mercy” by Duffy (The Door Routine)

Erica: I loved this routine with Katee and Twitch so much. I thought Cyrus and Eliana did a really good job with it.

Kate: I have surprised myself by thinking this, but I think Cyrus did a much better job than Eliana in this routine. He seemed to have more actual dancing, know what I’m saying? She was just kind of flipping around, which is disappointing; this routine did not enhance her ability.

Erica: I disagree. Eliana is so much shorter than Katee and I didn’t really realize how much that affects what the dance looks like, but she also definitely brought her personality to bear on the routine and I thought she did great.

Kate: The color of Mary Murphy’s dress is quite awesome, though.

Erica: Seconded.

Kate’s roommate: Why is there a number 6 thing on her dress?

Kate: I do not know, Roommate.

George and Tiffany: original performance by Katee and Joshua, “Hometown Glory” by Adele

Kate: This song was out that long ago? I guess Ian was right (we disagreed on this being her first popular single).

Erica: I loved Katee and Joshua so much as a couple. That pairing might be my favorite SYTYCD “moment” ever. And when they did that routine, the striking thing about it was how completely in sync they were. I mean, it was evident all the time, but especially in that routine, where the pair needs to be so very together but are rarely looking at each other, it was astonishing. They knew each other’s bodies. They knew where they other would be without having to think about it. It was like they were two arms controlled by the same brain. That sideways lift thing where the girl throws herself into the arms of the guy – Katee nailed that because she did it without seeming to have any concern or thought at all about whether Joshua would be where she expected him to be to catch her. Tiffany and George didn’t have that.

Kate: It’s a pretty amazing routine but it almost looks like they are doing a previously done routine; does that make sense? Like they are trying too hard. Watching the original for the purposes of this post gave me chills everywhere, so I don’t they came that close.

Erica: It’s not that they were bad. George brought fluidity where Joshua had hardness, for instance, which was different and not worse. Tiffany was not as good as Katee, though. She was trying to be pretty while being tortured and this dance needed her to just look tortured. And they lacked the epic togetherness. And the Ballet Boys agreed with me.

Amelia and Will: original performance by Evan and Randi, Koop Island Blues by Koop featuring Ane Brun (The Butt Dance)

Kate: Um, this is Awkward Turtle City.

Erica: Awkward Turtle?

Kate’s Roommate: She looks like a prostitute.

Kate: Once again, this is a routine that requires sex appeal, which she does not have.

Erica: Not for nothing, but Randi had sex appeal in the original. And she was a fully grown woman with, like, a husband and a kid and everything. So maybe if y’all want sexy dances you should select women with some level of ownership of their sexuality, instead of bright-eyed, willfully virginal little girls?

Kate: Neither of their movements are fluid or smooth. The originals also had way more chemistry with one another.

Erica: I thought they were better technicians, though.

Janelle and Dariean: original performance by Twitch and Kherington, Dreaming with a Broken Heart by John Mayer (The Bed Routine)

Kate: My my he is very bouncy, isn’t he?

Erica: I didn’t much like the original. So, you know. This didn’t change my mind. Twitch and Dariean are obviously very different dancers who brought different feeling to the dance. Janelle is, I think, objectively not as good as Kherington (and I wasn’t her biggest fan).

Kate: He’s got some great tricks in this but again it seems like the guy is dancing way more than the girl and she is just kind of flopping around looking tragic. Did Mia like re-choreograph some of these and make the guys just have more moves? I don’t get it.

Erica: Well, with this particular routine, the guy does have more moves. I mean, it sort of tells the story of a guy who’s broken-hearted because the girl he wants is not in the bed. So the girl he wants has to be not in the bed. But at the time of the original, I wondered if Mia was underwhelmed by Kherington and therefore deliberately not giving her much to do, and this pairing has not changed that speculation for me.

Audrey and Matt: original performance by Lacey and Neil, “Time” by Bruce Porter (The Dad Dance)

Erica: The first time around, I didn’t like it because how do you critique a dance about someone’s dad dying? This time, they did manage to critique it. So. You know. Progress.

Kate: Well, if there’s one routine you’re not supposed to f**k up it’s the dead dad one, eh Matthew? Nigel made him feel pretty terrible about that.

Erica: Yeah, my heart broke a little when I saw their faces during the critique. But, you know, this again might be an argument for seeking out slightly more mature dancers next season.

Kate: I didn’t like this routine anyway, the clip of the original didn’t look that great and these two didn’t do that great either. It’s just like the Melissa and Ade breast cancer routine – don’t give me that story before the dance and the QUIZ the poor dancer boy about the father whom the dance is about. If there is a sad message like that in the dance, I should GET IT from the ACTUAL DANCING.

Witney and Chehon: original performance by Travis and Heidi, “You” by Celine Dion (The Bench Routine)

Kate: This is one of the most, if not THE most, famous dances in the show’s history. I can’t believe they repeated this one.

Erica: Whereas I can’t believe, given how iconic it is, that they didn’t put it last.

Kate: I didn’t even watch the show until Season 6 and I feel like I’ve heard about this dance every other episode since.

Erica: I would bet that, for people who’ve never seen SYTYCD, this is the thing they know about it. That there was a bench dance.

Kate: But they did a pretty great job. I remain convinced that Chehon is one of the best male dancers I have ever seen – second only to Twitch ❤ – and I think this dance showed her talent and their talent together even more than the Whitney Houston routine last time.

Kate’s roommate: He just looks like such a man dancing.

Kate: He is a man.

Kate’s roommate: Not every guy looks that masculine dancing.

Erica: I thought they both did this really, really beautifully, except I totally noticed the same thing Mary Murphy noticed, that Chehon was danced a fall instead of falling. So go me.

Cole and Lindsey: original performance by Kayla and Kupono, “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles (The Addiction Dance)

Kate: This was much better than I expected it to be, especially when the music and choreography really picked up. But it was semi-awkward when he dragged his mouth up her leg, on account of him being semi-terrifying.

Erica: All I could think was, “I hope she’s not ticklish.” But Cole was really magnificent in this, and it was his character that was the most amazing. Very different from the way Kupono played it; Cole was cold to the point of robotic or flat but I mean that in a totally good way. The whole, you know, metaphor there is that the addiction does not care about you but it can control you anyway. Pretty thoughtful acting choice. And good dancing, too.


Kate: Not at all surprised about the bottom 6.

Erica: I was surprised that George was in. Well, not surprised. Just disappointed.

Kate: I still hate solos, but here goes: Though Amelia chose to do hers to one of my favorite songs ever it was not great and did not show any skill.

Erica: Agreed, except I am tired of songs that sound like that.

Kate: Janelle’s belly dancing also didn’t show any real dancing talent.

Erica: I’ve even seen better belly dancing. On a workout video! But I still want to do belly dancing.

Kate: Lindsey’s was surprisingly boring but shoot I love that dress.

Erica: Ballroom solos are almost always boring. She’s got great legs, though.

Kate: George’s was completely unmemorable.

Erica: I disagree; I thought he was luminescent.

Kate: Dareian’s was AWESOME and I thought it was great that he was dancing to a MAN’S cover of “It’s a Man’s Man’s World.”

Erica: Yeah, he was good, too. But, Kate, “It’s a Man’s Man’s World” is originally James Brown. When girls do it, they’re covering. And for mysterious reasons, since it’s a pretty chauvinist song. Also, I hate that song. Not because it’s chauvinist. Just because I don’t like it.

Kate: Matthew Gosling was pretty good, too.

Erica: Actually, he looked pretty sloppy to me. Still reeling from not having honored Mia’s dad well enough.

Kate: Right before they chose which guy they were saving (and my roommate can confirm) I said, “If they save George I’m going to freak out.” Ugh.

Erica: I for one am glad they saved George. I still think he’s magnificent.

SYTYCD Season 9 – Top 16

Sorry this is so late. We went on vacation.

As usual, we begin with:

Cat’s Outfit

Kate: What is up with her this season? How tacky/old school is that dress?

Erica: Yeah, I didn’t much like it. Plus it was bunching in the back from her mike. Shouldn’t there be, like, a cottage industry of fashion designers making dresses specifically for reality show participants that can accomodate microphones without ruining lines?

Kate: That is a positive idea.

Erica: I liked her hair a lot.

Kate: Her hair is oooooo-kay, but I don’t like dark lipstick on her.

Erica: I don’t know; I thought it was a nice change. She is awfully fair for it, though.

Kate: Speaking of dark lipstick, Er, I bought that Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm in Hibiscus and I love it.

Erica: That’s not dark at all.

Opening Routine

Erica: Oy.

Kate: Well the chair part was cool, because that involved actual dancing instead of scampering about the stage with odd expressions on their faces.

Erica: You know what? The dance was great and the dancers were great in it. They were all really together, even when the movements weren’t the same – it was like their hearts were beating in sync. And they held their weight somewhere around their chests and they looked great doing it. It was just so very catered to Amelia’s whole schtick and it annoyed me. Even though I like her.

Kate: Ha! I am slowly turning you against her. (Disagree with most of the rest of what you said, though.)

Erica: Wait, it was choreographed by Tasty Oreo? Wow. I usually hate his non-Broadway routines.

Tiffany & George: Hip-hop, Out of My Mind by B.O.B. featuring Nicki Minaj, choreographed by NappyTabs

K: Well I OBVIOUSLY love THIS! Holy Toledo Tiffany is fantastic at hip-hop, she seems even sharper than George (but how is that possible because he’s black and it’s hip-hop, right, Nigel?).

E: Oy again. “We’re having a BABY so we thought we’d do a BABYSITTING routine because we are so ON THE EDGE and INVENTIVE.” Sorry. I know you like them. And yeah, Tiffany and George did a great job, especially Tiffany.

K: You are such a NappyTabs hater, this was fun and you know it. It actually reminds me of that thing Jeanine and Ade did with the boxes (Move If You Wanna), which coincidentally inspired the hip-hop routine I taught in my class.

Amber & Brandon: Jazz, Dr. Feelgood (Love is a Serious Business) by Aretha Franklin, choreographed by Ray Leeper

K: All right, now I see what y’all are saying about her legs and her lines. Pretty fantastic.

E: He’s a new choreographer, right? Or newish? I liked it.

K: But . . . this routine made me slightly uncomfortable, like Brandon made it TOO sexy with all those very slow body rolls. Come to think of it, I think that’s all he did in the dance really, isn’t that boring?

E: Um . . . Brandon could do body rolls all day and not bore me. Sorry. But it was supposed to be hot and it was hot, so good job them.

K: I did not find it hot. Her hair makes me equally uncomfortable.

E: Yeah, I’m glad Brandon told us she’s a hair dresser because now all of her bizarre hair choices make sense.

K: Also, this is jazz? Isn’t it more contemporary-ish?

E: Where is the line, I ask you? WHERE IS THE LINE?

Janelle & Dareian: Cha-cha, Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepson, choreographed by Pasha (!)

K: A cha-cha to Call Me Maybe. Good grief.

E: Anya and Pasha’s year, Anya did a jive (presumably with Danny, but as good as Danny is, who’s looking at him when Anya’s dancing?) to Avril LaVigne’s “Girlfriend.” To this day I have a totally undeserved affection for that song, because of Anya’s dancing. Yes, Nigel, dancing is a powerful and amazing art form.

K: So I think she looks great because she’s a belly dancer and transferring that to ballroom can’t be TOO hard except for the partnering thing, but that is exactly where they are falling short here. He looks too excited and is missing a lot of connections. In ballroom it doesn’t matter how good one person looks, if the other is off the whole thing is wrong, wrong, wrong.

E: I actually didn’t think she looked that good. I expected better, precisely because of her belly dance background.

K: Well at least the judges agree with me for once!

Lindsey & Cole: Contemporary, Wild Horses by Charlotte Martin, choreographed by Mandy Moore (but not that Mandy Moore)

K: I know we’re all saying Thank goodness Mandy is back, because this was beautiful. Cole is freakishly appropriate to play “hate”, no? I mean, he has such a fierce face.

E: I have to agree. You know, I make fun of the constant reality-show-ese on this show, but the truth is, the contestants do get better and better every year, because Cole and Lindsey are maybe my least favorite of the Top 16 (except for Janelle, maybe). I thought both of them got in sort of under the wire. I thought Witney was better than Lindsey and I thought Cole was in for the “not really a dancer!” ness of him. But you know what? They are still freaking amazing.

K: My one complaint about this routine is not that this is a Rolling Stones cover because I really like it, it’s that she has her hair down and I hate when people dance with their hair completely down and she was flipping it around so much we couldn’t see her face. Not that I need to see her face, I just think that’s a childish move and I don’t think it was direction that came from Mandy.

E: Well, I don’t know how much input the choreographers have over hair and make-up, but I do know Lindsey has none. And I get worried about the girls dancing with their hair all over the place. I find it so distracting when my hair is in my face and I’m usually not trying to, you know, stand with one foot on the floor and the other foot all the way up in the sky. But I really loved how Christina Applegate – I love her so much as a judge on this show – was like, “You spoke with the muscles in your body and that was enough.”

Amelia & Will: Jazz, You by The Creatures, choreographed by Mandy Moore

E: What, did Mandy Moore have to go somewhere later? They had to put both her numbers back to back?

K: It appears Mandy Moore put all her efforts into the contemporary routine and just kind of half-assed this one. It really wasn’t great choreography or a great song, so them dancing it well couldn’t have done much to save it.

E: I did like the dancing more than the judges did, though. I thought they were fun and upbeat and amusing, which is what the two of them do well.

K: Also, don’t get mad at me for saying this Er, but I think they were going for some sexy stuff here and Amelia is just not believable as sexy.

E: I, in fact, did not notice any attempts at sexiness, so you’re right, I guess she’s not.

K: The size difference between Amelia and Will is fairly amusing.

Audrey & Matthew: Salsa, Cinco Salsa by Sverre Indris Joner/HBC/Kork, choreographed by Liz Lira

K: I definitely like her Latin ballroom outfit better than Janelle’s.

E: Yes.

K: Their little “what you should know about my partner” blurb in the beginning makes me think they are not-s0-secretly making out between rehearsals.

E: Maybe that’s distracting them and it’s why they kind of sucked.

K: Matthew Gosling was, like, barely moving at all until they split up, but I think he was too embarrassed to be wearing a bright red sparkly pantsuit to really enjoy his time up there, know what I’m saying?

E: It was an embarrassing suit.

Witney & Chehon: Contemporary, I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston, choreographed by Stacy Tookey

E: My first reaction was, “Oh, please don’t have Stacy Tookey and Mandy Moore in the same episode! I can’t tell them apart!”

K: There was passion exploding out of their fingertips before they even started moving; they were clearly very excited to do this routine.

E: As well they should have been.

K: He is truly my favorite dancer this season and possibly one of my favorite since I started watching the show. I mean, the man doesn’t make a false move ever. I had chills all over my body at that BOOM LIFT moment, as I’m sure the rest of America did.

E: Yeah, I have nothing bad to say about this. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful work.

K: It was kind of a weird ending, though, no?

E: I thought it was perfect. Actually, I thought the ending to the Lindsey/Cole number was weirder, because Mandy said “If you’re just pure and love and blah blah blah, you can beat hate,” and then it didn’t look to me like love beat hate. But what do I know?

K: Agreed, I wasn’t sure who won that battle. But Chehon totes won in this, oy (in a good way)!

E: Oh, by the way, yes, it’s Witney, no h. Do you suppose that’s why she was in the bottom three last week? Because people texting in their votes didn’t know/remember that?

K: Ha!

Cyrus & Eliana: Hip-hop, Toxic by District 78, choreographed by NappyTabs

K: This is pretty creepy and weird in the best possible way, I didn’t know NappyTabs had that in them!

E: I was disdainful of the premise – The guy who dances like a robot is going to be a robot and the ballerina is going to be a ballerina! Inventive! – but the dance was seriously awesome and they did a seriously awesome job with it.

K: Stop analyzing NappyTabs’ creative juices! This isn’t So You Think You Can Conceptualize! Anyway, she was very, very sharp at the hip-hop stuff, and this was obviously the perfect routine for him. She even did isolations!

E: There is nothing she can’t rock at. She’s my favorite.

K: The last 2 routines were the best of the night and possibly the whole season to date.

Solos & Eliminations

E: So, the Alvin Ailey thing – Nigel, did you like it because it was uber-masculine, or hate it because boys danced together in pairs?

K: Oh, I didn’t really like that at all. And as for the solos, I sort of hate solo dancing.

E: I usually can’t tell what’s going on in solos, although – and I say this with love and a little bit of “You are fiiiiine,” Brandon’s really sucked.

K: Which is why he went home. I guessed Amber and Brandon would be the ones to go, I was right, and I am totes okay with it.

E: How did we not talk more about how much I love Christina Applegate?

K: That just goes without saying.