SYTYCD Recap: Electra Boogaloo!

So You Think You Can Dance continued a Season 8 tradition on Wednesday night of bringing us an inoffensive guest judge who lobbed softballs and/or followed the Nigel Lythgoe party line. The latest variation on this theme, Carmen Electra, brought a supple, new-age-y twist to the role, but she might have been just as effective if she’d held up placards with emoticons conveying her feelings about the various dances: “Happy,” “sad,” “sexy,” and “I’ve run out of vocabulary words.” The one thing that confused me about Electra’s judging stint, though, was her response to Cat Deeley’s question about her dance credentials.

Seriously, Carmen, you’re going to bore us with tales of being named Miss Dance Ohio when a quick Google search reveals you’re the star of such legendary workout videos as Carmen Electra’s Aerobic Striptease: In the Bedroom and Carmen Electra’s The Lap Dance and Hip-Hop? Plus, I may or may not have in my CD collection your self-titled 1993 debut featuring the classic chart-topper crapsterpiece “Go-Go Dancer.” That video had you shaking your moneymaker, working the pole like a 9-to-5, and performing a series of impressive handsprings. You’ve got nothing to be ashamed of! (Click here if you’ve never witnessed this stunning/tragique piece of art.)

Anyhow, while Carmen neither raised nor lowered my enjoyment of the two-hour telecast, fellow first-time panelist (and former SYTYCD contestant) Travis Wall brought a winning mixture of boyish enthusiasm, specific critique, and gentle honesty to the table that has me hoping it won’t be the last time he plays the role of judge. Travis’ contributions were especially appreciated on a night where much of the dancing and choreography fell short of the high standard set over the last few weeks. Let’s break down the duos in chronological order:

Melanie Moore and Marko Germar (Jazz: Ray Leeper)
We’ve only been through four weeks of live, competitive performances, but already it’s next to impossible to envision a finale that doesn’t involve Melanie and Marko, whose delectable combination of outré performance and dazzling technique allows them to shine even when she’s swathed in Spanish brothel drag and he’s relegated to wearing orange satin pants and black criss-crossed suspenders over his naked torso. This week’s routine, set to Lady Gaga’s anthemic “Americano,” contained speed and brute strength — and felt a little bit like a Paso Doble on steroids. I gasped at the one lift where Marko hoisted Melanie upward and she threw her legs over her head in a way that was both spastic and refined. We even got Marko down on his knees and thrusting his pelvis with abandon, like a firefighter strip-o-gram. Travis went for brutal honesty when he declared Melanie was “by far” his favorite dancer in the competition, but Nigel’s tired questions about Marko’s one foray into drag brought the night’s best zinger from Cat: “He didn’t inhale, Nigel.”

Sasha Mallory and Alexander Fost (Hip-Hop: Shaun Evaristo)
I’m not sure if this routine was already a limp noodle when Sasha and Alexander got ahold of it, or if it was the dancers themselves who boiled the life out of the steps, but either way, it’s probably going to result in a Bottom 3 debut for the ferocious Ms. Mallory. (If she gets sent home, I may have to boycott the rest of the season. Seriously.) The couple’s intro package was so ominous — and so packed with doubt about Alexander’s ability to deliver real hip-hop attitude — that it left the fabulously appointed Cat Deeley “praying to the god of swag.” And unfortunately, the duo’s moves resembled a stomach halfway through Thanksgiving dinner: sluggish, a little bloated, and not entirely comfortable, or as Travis pointed out, Sasha and Alexander were “slushing through it.” I did enjoy that move where the dancers flipped ever so gingerly in opposite directions, and I agreed with The Lady Electra that (as usual) it was hard to look at anything or anyone other than Sasha, despite that caked-on yellow eyeshadow. (Someone in the makeup room is not your friend, grrrl!) There are weaker guys left in the competition than Alexander, but part of me wants him gone soon, so maybe Sasha can finally score herself a partner that can match her on-stage intensity.

Jordan Casanova and Tadd Gadduang (Waltz: Toni Redpath)
The last thing you want to hear in your intro package is repeated references to the phrase “kiss of death,” but here’s hoping Jordan and Tadd won’t get booted over their perfectly fine (but not particular thrilling) waltz about a siren luring a sailor to his watery grave. I appreciated Mary Murphy honing in on the way Jordan held position through the entire floor sweep — and I agreed with her that the Pussycat Doll wannabe excelled at the “explosion lines” that peppered the performance. But there was a heaviness here that weighed down the rise and fall of the dance, and I suspect the couple’s costumes — Jordan in seaweed chic with a barnacle bodice, Tadd in sailor garb that was tragically buttoned up — were at least partially to blame. Mary’s tepid summation — “Was it dreamy and romantic? Yes it was.” — pretty much summed up the ho-hum not-bad-ness of the routine.

Clarice Ordaz and Jess LeProtto (Contemporary: Justin Giles)
I wasn’t remotely surprised — or annoyed — to discover that, as a child, Jess wouldn’t greet guests without his parents indulging him with a grand entrance. Yeah, I know, the guy is the living embodiment of jazz hands — turned up to 11 on the “look at me!” dial — but he’s so completely and totally consumed by dance that I have to kind of respect and appreciate his commitment. It didn’t hurt, of course, that Jess and Clarice brought a newfound sense of maturity and depth to my favorite piece this week, a stark, skittery contemporary routine about the end of an intense relationship. Every touch between the duo was infused with a disarming mix of attraction and revulsion, wistfulness and anger. I thought the costuming was a little strange — Clarice’s short white onesie, Jess’ short-sleeved dress shirt and V-neck vest — but Travis was right that the couple finally came to life this week. What’s more, this is the first time since her end-of-Vegas solo that Clarice has looked like a legit contender.

Ashley Rich and Chris Koehl (Salsa: Liz Lira)
Chris’ white sparkly vest and pantsuit were reminiscent of Saturday Night Fever, but the dance itself was a fever of the Wednesday evening variety — complete with chills, sweats, coughing, muscle aches, and general malaise. Throughout the performance, Chris’ facial expression was a combination of terror and embarrassment, while Ashley’s general lack of self-awareness allowed her to grin and shimmy blandly, barely noticing that the routine itself was a bloody piece of chum floating in the middle of a shark tank. Nigel was right that there were some impressive lifts in the mix — I dug that move where Chris hoisted Ashley as her leg pointed upward, parallel to her torso — but the rest of the routine wasn’t so much danced as it was endured. I typically appreciate some salsa in the SYTYCD mix, but these kids brought all the Latin authenticity of a bag of Doritos Collisions: Zesty Taco and Chipotle Ranch.

Ryan Ramirez and Ricky Jaime (Jazz: Chucky Klapow)
While I haven’t been able to shake the vibe that Nigel & Co. have “Team Ryan 4EVA” scrawled on the inside of their Tapper-Keepers, I also don’t think they did girlfriend any favors with a highlight reel showing her extensive background working with former SYTYCD judge/choreographer Mia Michaels and subsequent gig working on an episode of House. (Not exactly as charmingly low-rent as working on a Guam-based drag cruise.) But, hey, Ricky was the first male cheerleader at his school, so bring it on! Mary praised the duo for delving deep into their characters of doomed fashion victims, but I thought Ricky surpassed his partner in bringing to life these wackily macabre beings. (Ryan never can quite get her facial expressions on point, can she?) The slight echo of Season 2’s “Ramalama Bang Bang” certainly didn’t hurt, but I’ve got to credit Ryan and Ricky for successfully capturing the weird physicality of the choreography. Their interlocked chorus-line walk was especially nifty, and Ricky’s pirouettes were all kinds of powerful.

Caitlynn Lawson and Mitchell Kelly (Contemporary: Mandy Moore)
Here’s the thing: I wasn’t nearly as ecstatic as the judges about Mandy’s love-affair (set to Celine Dion’s “To Love You More”), but I still managed to get choked up watching injured Mitchell weep openly as the panel and the live audience gave the piece a standing O. Oh, don’t get me wrong: Caitlynn and Mitchell danced the tarnation out of the number, fearlessly (dare I say violently?) flinging themselves into each other with a series of lifts that far exceeded the difficult of anything else we saw during the telecast. And what’s more, I totally bought the gooey chemistry between the pair — which is all the more impressive considering the duo brought such angst and turmoil to life during their Stacey Tookey “armchairs” number back on Top 20 Redux night. But at the end of the day, I thought the routine could’ve used some quiet space, a little breathing room in the midst of all the crash-into-you, lovey-dovey action. Still my second favorite routine of the night, though. And yep, I’ve reached a point where Mitchell is as vital to my Top 10 dreams as Tadd, Jess, and Marko. (Bonus points for his unbridled voguing as the credits rolled.)

Which brings me to my countdowns of the night’s best and worst numbers:

Three Best Performances
Clarice Ordaz and Jess LeProtto
Caitlynn Lawson and Mitchell Kelly
Melanie Moore and Marko Germar

Should (and Will) Be Bottom Three (Yep, these lists are the same this week)
Ashley Rich and Chris Koehl
Sasha Mallory and Alexander Fost
Jordan Casanova and Tadd Gadduang* (This is what happens when you cover your torso, Tadd!)

*Okay, I’d accept Ryan and Ricky in this slot, too.

As for the evening’s group numbers, the women’s merry and vengeful widows definitely trumped the men’s seven stages of grief. The former piece — during which I couldn’t take my eyes off a menacing Sasha — was dark and sexy and oozing with humor. The latter was a triumph of concept over actual dancing, and even with its brief running time, it didn’t hold my attention.

What did you think of this week’s SYTYCD? What were your favorite numbers? Who will and should be in the Bottom 3? Is it time for the judges to start splitting up couples for elimination, or did Ashley and Chris make it too easy to continue the “ouster-in-pairs” Season 8 trend? And what did you think of Carmen and Travis in the judges chairs? Sound off below and for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. justjack says:

    I thought Travis was a much needed breath of fresh air in the judge’s seat. Actual notes and critique for the dancers! Who would have imagined it? Here’s hoping he becomes a regular… but not so much of a regular that he stops choreographing.

    • Sincy says:

      Did not like him as a judge. I hope he sticks to choreography. Of course he was a better judge than Carmen, but he wasn’t good. I wrote somewhere else that he came across as whiny and a bit self-aggrandizing.

    • Teecie says:

      I thought Travis did a great job, too. It was nice to hear some real criticism for a change … though he seemed a little bit too much on the Ryan bandwagon for me.

      • Sincy says:

        Yea, but it didn’t seem like real criticism — it seemed all about him.

      • AK says:

        Well, no surprise there. You could see them assisting Mia together for the “Dreaming With a Broken Heart” piece in Ryan’s clip package. He’s clearly known her for a while.

  2. Beth T says:

    Michael – I almost completely agree with you on everything! For sure, Jess and Clarice did my favorite routine of the night. :) I have to admit, though, I was not quite as enamored of Mel amd Marko’s routine as most everyone else seemed to be (though I still think THEY are the shizz!) I actually liked Ricky and Ryan last night for the third best.

    Chris and Ashley were certainly at the bottom and I can only hope that the judges lay off whatever the hell they were drinking last week and send.them.home. And if by some cruel act of fate they do NOT end up in the bottom three – I hope the judges send them home anyway. :(

    Overall- this was not a particularly impressive night of dance – but Travis Wall totally rocked as a judge!

  3. Amy says:

    I am ready to see the genres mixed up and the couples get more out of their comfort zone. As much as I love M&M, they haven’t been given anything really out of their comfort zone. Kind of frustrating.

    • Jo says:

      “haven’t been given anything really out of their comfort zone”? Has something changed with the show that they are not longer picking routine style out of a hat?

      • Nate says:

        They “pick them out of a hat”, but from what I’ve heard the judges pre-pick the style and there is one card in that hat for when each couple picks.

    • sadtroll says:

      They did do a hip hop and both looked very comfortable in that.
      But yeah it would be nice to see how they do with a ballroom piece or maybe a bollywood.

  4. AlyssaG says:

    Travis was so insightful, constructive, and all around delightful. Would love to see him back at the judge’s table. And Kudos to fellow alum Kathryn for landing the lead in Step-Up 4. She is one of my all time favs!

    Quick note about Sasha– I think she’s such a talented and engaging dancer, but I find her obvious dislike for her partner to be very distracting.

    • Stephanie says:

      I agree 100% about Sasha’s dislike. There is something to be said about putting them in pairs to develop chemistry, but I think it also can pull them down if they are paired with someone and there is zero chemistry. I’d much rather risk “chemistry” if they changed the partners around. I like Sasha, but I’d LOVE to see her dance with Mitchell, just once.

  5. luna maya says:

    First of all, j’adore Travis so much as a judge. Somehow he looks similar to Adam Shankman (where is he anyway??) the hair, the outfit, even the speed when he talks and how much he talks!!

    Second, I never liked Jess/Clarice until last week. The “Fly Me to the Moon” routine was insane. Every move of Jess was sharp, controlled, and hitting all the right place. And this week they were just phenomenal. They just suddenly starting to grab everybody’s attention!

    Third, I said it again third time in a row. Ryan Needs To Go Home! Why on earth she got another contemporary/jazz routine 3 times out of 4 performances so far!! isn’t that obvious how they make it easy on her to secure a place in top 10. Oh and I need to say this before I forget, she looks like a fish/salamander called “Axolotl”

    Fourth, my only reason still watching the show after Nick got cut is to see how they dress Cat Deely each week, she’s just a living cute barbie doll!

    Bottom 3 shud be;
    Sasha/Alexander – I doubt it though

    Another two things about this week of performance:
    1. I like the song of Jordan/Tadd routine, this would be my lullaby for tonight
    2. Please judges bring an appropriate guest judge next week!! (Carmen electra, seriously!!)

    • Shannon says:

      Shankman is currently filming Rock of Ages (he’s the director) in Miami so he couldn’t be on the panel this year. I hope he comes back for at least 1 guest spot though! I love him.

    • Marissa says:

      Cat actually dresses herself. She was on a show called “Dresscue Me” on the Discovery Channel (you can find it on Youtube) and she mentions it. She is just amazing.

  6. Dani C says:

    Loved having Travis on the panel…made up for Carmen Electra (really?!). Best of the night for me was a tie between Marko and Melanie and Caitlynn and Mitchell. Still loving Tadd, but i just don’t get Ryan’s appeal. I’m thinking tonight we will be saying goodbye to Chris and Ashley. They were never really able to break out IMO…of course neither has Jess and Clarice or Sasha and Alexander…but i think Sasha got stuck with a bum partner…hopefully she sticks around cause i would love to see her dance w/Marko or Mitchel.
    Also, Cat D looked fierce last night!

    • anon says:

      I don’t agree that Sasha got stuck with a bum partner. I think she’s the problem in the relationship/partnership. She has such obvious disdain for Alex that I think it really affects his performance.

  7. Patty says:

    Totally agree with your top 3 and and bottom four. I was shocked that I didn’t hate Caitlynn and Mitchell or Jess this week. Pleasant surprise. I still think Ryan needs to go. Are they keeping her for the top 10? Maybe. but I think it’s a huge mistake.

    Allowing those girls to talk was probably a mistake too. As much as I like Melanie, wow, all the giggling was just annoying. Now I don’t like any of the girls as people. Dancers? Maybe. The whole interview thing just nailed the fact that all these people are 20 and super immature as humans if not dancers.

    Best part of the night for me was Travis as a judge. He did what I have wanted the judges to do all season every season. Praise and critique. Help those dancers to grow in small ways that can make HUGE improvements. I really hope this is not the last we see of him as a judge.

    • Molly says:

      Let’s not forget that 20 IS young, so sure, the kids are immature, as are most 20 year olds. Cut them some slack.

      Agree about Travis. Total breath of fresh air.

  8. r0ckmypants says:

    It would be nice to have someone recapping this show who actually knows something about dance. Case in point: “I did enjoy that move where the dancers flipped ever so gingerly in opposite directions.” They’re called aerials. “I gasped at the one lift where Marko hoisted Melanie upward and she threw her legs over her head…” What does that even mean? This describes 90% of the lits on the this show.

    • Rumpelteazer says:

      IKR? Jeez, Slezak. If you don’t have degrees in musical theatre (Glee), culinary arts (Food Network Star, Top Chef), vocal music (The Voice, Idol), and dance (concentrating on at least 10 dance styles), what the frak are you doing recapping those shows? Truly shocking.

      • r0ckmypants says:

        That’s EXACTLY what I’m trying to say! When I said it would be nice if he “knows something about dance,” I really meant he must “have a degree” in it! Thank you for fully understanding me!

        It doesn’t take someone with a degree in dance to properly name movement. Just like it doesn’t take someone with a music degree to know when someone is singing off pitch.

        • SlezakFan says:

          Boy, you are really making no sense! And Rumpelteazer’s response to your earlier comment was a sarcastic one, if you happen to miss it ;-)

        • Rumpelteazer says:

          Jaw drop, face palm, eye roll.

          I suggest you, my dear, focus less on others’ linguistic shortcomings and more on your own. You should begin with a study of rhetorical devices (um, perhaps start with the ‘S’s).

        • Rumpelteazer says:

          As a follow up, if YOU were trying to be sarcastic, good on ya, but you might want to take another stab at it. The reply was a bit of a “limp noodle,” you “slushed through it,” and you perhaps “flipped over too gently” when setting down your thoughts. Personally, I like my needling a little sharper.

          Sorry I didn’t use more technical terms. Clearly I’m no wordsmith.

      • Taylor says:

        I disagree. If he were using the actual terms for the movements, I wouldn’t understand him at all. I watch the show for the entertainment and the fact that I think dancing is cool (especially since I couldn’t do that).
        Slezak represents 95% of the viewing audience. He’s a reality tv fan that isn’t well-versed in anyof the styles highlighted in these competition shows, but neither are we.
        I don’t think I’d read a blog if I had to google what the author was saying every 5 sentences.

    • Volcfom says:

      Slezak writes to appeal to the common folk who don’t know the dance terms. I knew exactly what move he was talking about when he said “flipped ever so gingerly”. He blogs about so many different types of shows, so he’s not going to be an expert at everything. Cut the guy some slack.

    • SlezakFan says:

      Why don’t you shop somewhere else then?

  9. HannahN says:

    I agree with most of this. However, don’t think Carmen was that bad. She at least tried to give some sort of criticism instead of saying how much she loved everyone and/or wanted to take them home.

    This week competition was difficult, even as a fan to vote caue none of the choreography wowed me last night. But one Mediocre M&M routine is better than most other routines. Would love to see How Jess does with another partner and clarice for that matter. I like both of them individually but not together. I wanted to like Ryan in the beginning but she irks me. But really they should just make it the Melanie show and I’d ve happy.

  10. Nate says:

    Hahaha, I’m guessing that missing R in “Trapper-Keeper” (see Ryan and Ricky’s blurb where Slezak wrote “Tapper-Keeper”) is unintentional, but is a funny slip of the keyboard considering Nick’s ridiculously early ouster. Tapper-Keepers these judges are not…

  11. Natalie says:

    I completely agree with most of this article. I did really enjoy Ryan and Ricky’s performances…the dance was awesome, song choice was fantastic(all hail to the master David Bowie, who’s music seems timeless) and Ricky commanded so much attention it was all too easy to forget Ryan even existed(YAY!). I also thought, for the first time, I can finally understand why so many people are enamored with Melanie. That was not only brilliant choreography but amazing dancing and I’m not sure any other couple could have done it as well as those two. What is it with Mandy Moore and severely outdated songs? Mitchell and Caitlynn danced absolutely perfectly but the song choice was absolutely horrible. It made the dance feel like something that should have been done in the 90s when Celine Dion was actually relevant. Caitlynn and Mitchell made that vomit inducing dance worth watching…they were absolutely fantastic.

  12. Shannon says:

    I’m a huge M&M fan but I agree that this week wasn’t my favorite of their performances. Her outfit was just awful. It totally distracted me from the dance! Although I do think they did a great job with it though. It just wasn’t my fav.

    I’m ready for Chris and Ashley to go. I just never connected with her at all and he screwed up the boy’s dance by completely being out of synch with everyone else and just isn’t as good as the other boys. I think Sasha will be safe even if she is in the bottom 3. The judges love her too much to send her home now.

    Love, love, LOVED Travis Wall as a judge. FINALLY some critiques that the dancers can use!! He did it a nice way too and I think he just brought a breath of fresh air to the judging panel!! I hope he judges again but I also want him choreographing!!

  13. Jake says:

    This season of SYTYCD has been really strong overall – my favorite since Season 4, and certainly a big step up from last year. Last night was a bit of a downer, but still gave us some really good routines. I agree with Slezak that Clarice and Jess were the best of the night, followed closely by Caitlynn and Mitchell. Caitlynn and Clarice are my favorite girls (though really I like them all) and Jess is still my favorite guy. The quip about him having to be introduced as a kid was hilariously appropriate. Chris and Ashley should be heading home this week.

  14. Megan says:

    Well, IMO the choreography really ruined this show. It was so amateur and boring and utterly beneath the talent of the dancers. Sasha and Alexander definitely got the short end of the stick there, with a boring, easy routine that they could really do nothing with. That’s often the problem with this show – the dancers are SO dependent on getting good, strong routines to dance to. Just think of what an advantage it is getting a great Mia or Travis routine, vs the newbie choreeographers that came out this week. Oh well.

    Yeah, I do hope Alexander is cut so Sasha gets a better partner, though I think the strongest guys left aren’t going to be split up anytime soon, so that’s a conundrum. Ashley and Chris should probably go home. But they probably won’t since every week now Nigel has made the most asinine picks for who goes home.

    • SororSalsa says:

      Contrary to popular opinion, I think Sasha & Alexander stunk it up last night. Shaun Evaristo is an amazing choreographer, but they put no life into their performance last night. I’ve seen other dancers perform that choreography much better than they did. I get the feeling that these two really don’t gel, but they should be professional and suck it up until they have the opportunity to change partners. They were given good material but didn’t do anything with it.

      We should remember that all of these choreographers were new (to the show, anyway) at one time, and Sonya, NappyTabs, etc. all had to prove themselves.

  15. fela says:

    I was not feeling last nights dance routines. The choregraphy was not great yet the judges were praising the dances. I missed Nappy Tabs & Travis Wall The Hip Hop & Salsa were bad. Caitlyn & Mitchell were good. I notice they are not doing too many ballroom routines. The majority was contemporary & jazz. I like seeing the paso doble, argentine tango, salsa, & rumba. Carmen Electra a judge really!!! What a joke!

    • Sarah El says:

      YES I want a Paso Doble! And an Argentine tango! I think those two give more chances for the dancers to shine because they’re so much more dramatic than most of the ballroom routines.

    • elr says:

      That is my feeling too. Are they working the dancers up to a Argentine Tango and Paso Doble? Why have we not seen either of those ballroom styles? But we’ve had a jive, quick step, samba, Viennese Waltz, cha cha, and a salsa that haven’t been good for any of the dancers with the exception of Nick and Iveta’s quick step.

  16. Sarah El says:

    I agree with you about Mitchell – I love him and he is so talented. He’s also vital to my top five guys, which mostly consists of needing Marko and Tadd there as well.

  17. Lulio says:

    Have to say that I thought the men’s dance was terrific–completely mesmerized throughout. The main thing that frustrated me last night was that many couple’ seem to be getting the same styles of dance, like Jordan and Tadd with the waltz which was so similar to their waltz from a couple of weeks ago. I really would have liked to have seen something different. Also, Sasha and Alexander with another hip-hop?? Why not throw them or Ricky and Ryan a ballroom? It just wasn’t all that exciting of a night for me. Caitlynn and Mitchell and Clarice and Jess were the only dances I would have wanted to watch again.

  18. Grignac says:

    This show desperately needs someone to critique the way Shankman always did and the way Travis did last night.

    Mia Michaels with her everything you do is crap critique was better than the celebrity judges.

    Mary and Nigel say no more than I liked it, or I didnt like it. Blah.

    I suspect it’s goodbye to Chris and Ashley. Leaving only Tadd for future great hiphop potential.

  19. JVC says:

    Seriously folks Ricky has been carrying Ryan since day one. While it doesn’t look like Sasha and alexander won’t land in the bottom 3, it is time a new couple was formed. Could you imagine is Sasha was paired with Rickey? Now that’s a couple that can give m&m a run for their money. I do like m&m though. Let us hope that both ashley and Ryan don’t make it into the top 5 girls.

    • r0ckmypants says:

      Hahahahaha!! No, Ricky has not been carrying Ryan. At all. Reverse it. Go back to week 2 with the Mandy Moore jazz routine; Ricky doesn’t know what “sexual chemistry” means, and it shows in that piece. Ryan carried him through that for sure.

    • SororSalsa says:

      Well said! ITA…Ricky and Sasha would be an awesome combination. And yes…Ricky has been carrying Ryan…and with her plodding dancing, it must be an awfully heavy load.

  20. Catherine says:

    Two jazz and two contemporary pieces out of seven, especially when most of the dancers come from those backgrounds? It doesn’t seem like the show is trying as hard as it did in years past to push contestants out of their genre. How about a no contemporary night? Bring back country two-step, krump, the pas de deux, swing, tango, pop.

  21. Megan says:

    I’m surprised they didn’t mention that Ryan was on Glee as well. She was in the glee club that sang “Yeah!” at Nationals.

  22. Lauren says:

    Slezak, you failed to mention Ms. Electra’s rapping in that video. Probably the best thing I’ve seen all week!

  23. LauraHolt says:

    Slezak even if you have to do it as phone interview or webcam interview you need to follow through with your promise to bring us the Casey Abram interview.

    Seriously I want to hear what that nut has to say about his performances. I want to know if he figured out why he didn’t’ go further when he was the most musically talented person of the series.

  24. EveatEden says:

    Yay for Travis as a judge but OMG can we stop with the non-choreographer guest judges please? I want the same quality we’ve seen in years past please!

  25. MK204 says:

    Once again, Jess and Clarice were my favorites. Yes, Jess seems like a precocious kid but as an adult, I find his personality endearing. He’s funny and cute and just a bundle of personality. Dancing amazingly helps too.

    I also didn’t love Melanie and Marko’s routine as much as the judges seemed to so if they were in the B3, it wouldn’t surprise me. They weren’t bad, but then again I don’t think any of the dancers are/were bad, just some were more boring than others.

    No comment on Carmen Electra. Suffice it to say that blessedly Travis Wall made it look like she wasn’t even a consideration. I do have to say, though, her eye makeup was a big distraction to me.

    I agree with those who mentioned Sasha’s obvious dislike of her partner. It appears from the editing that she thinks she’s too cool for him. But…that comes with youth and perhaps other experiences.

    On the whole, choreography wise, it was a pretty ho hum night of dance. Where is Louis Von Amstel? TabbyNap? Jean? I can’t believe I even missed Tyce D’orio. Seriously though…Dancing With The Stars is on break now…bring in some of those choreographers. The show needs new blood. I am extraordinarily grateful that Mia Michaels is off doing something else.

    And my mantra of forever…Bring back Benjie Schwimmer to choreograph. *Ducks*

  26. Wendeeloo says:

    Aha! I wondered why they liked Ryan so much – Sounds like she is a darling of Mia’s … I think she moves ‘heavy’ and why did no one mention how she almost fell out of the final pirouette of the number? I don’t think the audience has the love for her that the producers do.
    And Mandy Moore is always ‘over choreographing’ – It’s like she has little to no regard for how hard she is on the dancers – She just wants her number to be the most impressive – so the dancers are given an almost impossible task. And that is when injuries happen. The injury they are talking about for Mitchell – new one? or the same injury from before?

  27. Susan says:

    Okay, is anyone else as bored with this season as I am? I can’t really think of a stand-out routine so far. Even the good ones like the statue routine or the armchair one have been just “okay” to me; good, but not “wow.” I can’t pinpoint what is wrong with this season. Maybe it’s more than one thing. All I know is that I am bored and sad because I love this show so much and I think Nigel is ruining it this season.

    Where is the paso doble or argentine tango or disco of seasons past? That is where dancers shined. Like Janine, Brandon, Jeanette, Joshua, and Ellenore. All of them gave “wow” performances in those styles. That’s what I want this season.

    Come on, Nigel. I’m tired of contemporary and lyrical hip hop. Give us something different.

  28. JW says:

    I really enjoy SYTYCD but why, oh why, do the producers feel the need to pack the jury with “celebrities” who offer only inane comments and no criticism? Criticism doesn’t have to be mean…criticism should be helpful. But, so far, Megan Mulally, Debbie Reynolds, Carmen Electra…they’ve added NOTHING to the show except frustration to everyone watching it. The producers should only put professionals on the jury, who are trained to give insightful commentary on the technical aspects of the dancing they have just viewed. The producers need to trust that the audience will appreciate this so much more than a so-called celebrity who only offers bland, insipid comments of joy.

  29. Faz says:

    We watched the show a little differently last night. We fast forwarded past the rehearsal and just went straight to the dance (then went back and watched the pre-work. It was an interesting exercise. It makes it real clear how blurry many of the genres are, and how the “story” of the dance sways what you think about the dance. Without know those things — the dancing seemed much more mediocre. I wonder if the many “beautiful” stories about cancer and/or abuse would seem so beautiful without prior knowledge of the story.

    • Katie says:

      I agree completely. The ‘cancer’ dance did not do anything for me – it was an okay piece, but it sure didn’t fill me with awe. The ‘Addiction’ piece – well, I loved that, because I watched it without hearing the story first and I still knew what it was about. Also, dance does not always need to tell a story – sometimes it is just wonderful to watch someone interpret the music. I love Jess, Melanie and am getting quite fond of Mitchell and Marko. Sorry – Sasha is a great dancer but man – she is not presenting herself to the world in a very positive light – her distaste for her partner shows. Professionals can handle that – she is behaving very unprofessionally in my opinion, and it is only going to hurt her.

    • JLW says:

      ITA. When the cancer dance orginally aired, I missed the rehearsal and explanation. Without hearing the backstory, I had a completely different reaction than others who watched it. I did figure it out by the end, but I wasn’t nearly as moved as those who were given the emotional manipulation first. I guess Emmy voters felt the same way.

  30. Volcfom says:

    I blame the mediocrity of last night on the number of new choreographers they tried out in one show. I’m all for introducing new people, but the majority of the routines were by newbies to the show, and it was obvious.
    I watched one critique by Carmen, and FF through the rest of hers.
    This must be the week that Ashley and Chris get the boot. I’d also see Ashley and Alexander, too.

    • Volcfom says:

      Also, I’m hoping the more intricate styles get introduces when the All-Stars come in at least. I’m among the crowd who’s bored of contemporary/jazz routines.

  31. miri says:

    I don’t understand all the negativity towards Alexander and love for Sasha. Sasha’s inability to hide her dislike for her partner and complement her partner really detracts from her as a dancer. He dances very well but understandably cannot emote when your partner hates your guts even though you are supposed to be in love.

    The choreography based on girls being stronger than guys is getting really old. Along with all the contemporary/jazz routines for contemporary/jazz dancers. I’ve been watching since season 1 but this is starting to get boring, even though the crop of dancers are the strongest.

  32. Karen says:

    More than anything, I want Ryan or Clarice to follow Jess out of the SYTYCD-door tonight.

    Travis was all kinds of awesome (is there anything he can’t do?!)
    Caitlynn & Mitchell and M&M remain my two favourite couple along with the gorgeous Tadd

  33. Lana says:

    I love reading all the comments as a lot of time you’all say something that will get me to go “AH Ha” Thats why I felt that way about Sasha and Alexander. I love Alexander and think his dancing is awesome and I love Sasha and think her dancing is awesome too so I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t loving their dances as much. Then I read many comments on Sasha’s obvious distast for her partner and I went back and looked over all the dances (yes, I’m that much of a lover of dance and this show that I save every episode until the end and then I spend the evening with a huge orgy of SYTYCD) and realized she doesn’t care for him and isn’t mature enough, as a dancer, to hide it completely in the dance. I love being introduced to new choreographers but only a few each show amongst the tried and true. However the good ones are going to be busy doing shows and films and tv so as long as they keep coming back I will carry on. I loved last nights show but I do miss all the routines that were mentioned and I’m hoping when we get to the ALL STARS we will get the variety we crave.

  34. Andi says:

    I think they should pair Sasha & Ricky and Alexander & Ryan. That would make it a little more balanced.

  35. ladyhelix says:

    I thought Travis was great – specific, constructive, and positive.

    As far as critiques being “about him” – well he’s earned that in my book. He’s walked in those shoes and I think it comes across differently to the dancers because he has.

    If you want to see SYTYCD is “All about me” – check out the clips of Ellen judging (ouch!)

  36. Desdemona says:

    Jess is my favorite dancer this season. His technical abilities are insane, and he can also immerse himself into character. I’m also starting to really enjoy his partnership with Clarice. I hope they both go far in the competition!