This week’s So You Think You Can Dance practically deserved its own post on Craigslist.
You were the All-Star wearing beige who kept gesticulating wildly with your arms… I was the Team Stage dancer trying to keep my head above water in a complicated routine… You were Medusa, and how the heck am I supposed to make that work?
Yes, I’m exaggerating a wee bit, and no, I am not Michael Slezak. (More on that in a moment.) But the gulf that existed between some of this season’s Top 8 and their All-Star partners was considerable as the week’s routines unfolded, with that oft-invoked, hard-to-quantify idea of “connection” coming up again and again.
Which pairs nailed the you-and-me-against-the-world thing, and which looked like they’d had no more interaction than accidentally taking home each other’s dry cleaning? Read on as I — for one week only, while your beloved Slezak is on a well deserved vacation — run down the best and worst of what we saw from the Top 8.
Bottom 2 Team Stage (Based on Last Week’s Vote)
Bottom 2 Team Street (Based on Last Week’s Vote)
Lowest Vote Getters
Now, let’s talk about the fancy footwork.
Routines (Ranked Worst to Best)
8. Derek and All-Star Jaimie (Tyce Diorio, Contemporary) | You know that “something” Diorio couldn’t quite define when he was talking about the relationship between two dancers? I couldn’t quite see it when Derek and his All-Star took the stage. What I could see: lots of beige, a little odd cheek-smooshing and quite a bit of DANCING!, complete with dramatically outstretched arms and pained facial expressions. Is it audition rounds time again already?!
7. Megz and All-Star Paul (Jean Marc Genereux, Paso Doble) | The street dancer cut an imposing figure in her cape and fringe, and no one can deny that Megz can bring the strength and force that a paso doble requires. But, as the judges noted, her lack of training and an overall unease with the choreography might as well have been an actual bull’s horns, so thoroughly did they gore her prospects of escaping the Bottom 2 next week.
6. Jim and All-Star Comfort (Pharside and Phoenix, Hip-Hop) | Don’t worry, Jim: Though you didn’t get as down as the judges would’ve liked and the sitting part of the routine didn’t quite gel, you and your 24-pack get the Russell Crowe Gladiator Medal of Valor for making a leather skirt look as comfortable as the high school swim team sweatpants I stole from my sister’s closet 15 years ago. (Plus, that solo was on point… though not literally. #ballet)
5. Neptune and All-Star Kayla (Ray Leeper, Jazz) | The theme of Leeper’s choreography — a couple reuniting and deciding they’re in it for the long run — didn’t read to me, but it wasn’t for want of chemistry: Neptune’s lack of formal training was certainly something to be addressed, but damned if I didn’t forget about it during a few of his passionate clinches with Kayla. (Side note: What was up with her Vivian-from-Pretty-Woman-goes-to-Coachella crochet costume?)
4. Virgil and All-Star Jasmine (Sean Cheesman, African Jazz) | I’m not averse to SYTYCD pairings that flaunt the rigid rules of dance: Though many crowed about how Season 2’s Donyelle was too big for her partner, Benji, their spark and showmanship always blinded me to any disparities in their match-up. But not even Virgil’s massive talent could even out tonight’s routine for me, so statuesque and eye-catching was Jasmine in her gorgeous white frock. Thank goodness Virgil’s solo, which was Twitch-esque in its all-around crowd-pleasing, provided him with a high note on which to end the evening.
3. Jaja and All-Star Ricky (Al Blackstone, Broadway) | Jaja’s versatility is, indeed, a thing of beauty. And she’s pointing her toes and creating sweeping lines and doing all of those things street dancers usually get dinged for missing at this point in the competition. But is it just me, or do her facial expressions sometimes feel a bit like she’s an android who’s really good at approximating human behavior? In certain routines, like this week’s opening number, it really works for her. In other cases, like this one, not so much.
2. Hailee and All-Star Fik-Shun (Luther Brown, Hip-Hop) | Hailee’s objectives in this number reminded me of that scene in Ocean’s Eleven: Hit with power, but show your soft side; be sexy, but don’t try too hard; nail every single tiny movement, but do it with the attitude like you’re just messing around. Hailee masterfully pulled off all of it — while wearing a rubbery catsuit, no less — in seemingly effortless style.
1. Gaby and All-Star Robert (Mandy Moore, Contemporary) | A few moments in this duet were a mite too on-the-nose for me (Gaby kicking her heels and doing crazy arms as Sarah McLachlan crooned about believing in the “sweet madness,” for instance), but they were quickly forgotten with that lift (which extended up onto Robert’s toes!), the pair’s delicate balance work (her supporting him from beneath was inspired) and that final moment that just went on and on and on… To paraphrase Friends‘ Rachel Green: That, my friends, is what they call connection.
And now it’s your turn. What did you think of Season 10 Top 8 results night? Take our polls below, then sound off in the comments!