Wednesday, July 27, 2011

SYTYCD Season 8 Top 8 Recap/Review

            The past couple of episodes of So You Think You Can Dance? have seen some this season’s lesser known dancers given the chance to shine. That, combined with the early front-runners receiving decent routines and only giving good performances, has created the illusion that this season might shake things up a bit near the end. Hell, I even said as much last week. Now, though, that thought could not be any further from the truth. As the Top 8 took to the stage this week, it became extremely clear who we should expect in the finale, with only maybe the second male spot still up in the air. As of right now, I would say Melanie, Marko, and Sasha are a lock for the final episode, with Tadd most likely joining them, but maybe Jess sneaking in there instead. Based on their work tonight and throughout the season, I can honestly say they deserve it.
Sure they have been lucky helped with the favorable routines they have received, and might not have been as challenged (outside of Tadd) as other final four contestants. Still, I cannot deny the awesomeness they have brought to this season, with superb and superior dancing and performing compared to the other contestants on almost any night. Most importantly, I very much want this to be the final four. No offense to the other contestants, but I simply want to see these four duke it out in the end. And I suspect, I am not the only one.
Before we get to the finale, however, there are still two more eliminations, so let’s get to discussing this week’s episode. The guest judges this week were Rob Marshall and Lady Gaga. Poor Rob, he really never had a chance to make any sort of impression. Clearly someone at SYTYCD? hates him, hence his appearance along with Gaga. I will also confessed to not knowing who he was to begin with, at all. Not even a  “Oh, that guy!” or “His face looks familiar.” Nothing. As for Gaga, she was very much Gaga. Meaning, there were seventeen different shades to her performance judging. Yes sometimes she went a little over the edge, but you could see she genuinely cared. I will forgive a lot of a person who obviously loves this show and its contestants.
First up tonight were Sasha and Pasha with a quickstep. Can I just say, what a horrible costume? Not only did it look ugly, especially with that headband, but it also partly hid her legs. Why would the costume department want to do that for a quickstep? Why would they want me to suffer that heinous sight in the first place? Do they not know I will already have to do that with the Project Runway starting up tomorrow? Anyways, the dance was okay, but awkward. Sasha seemed to rush, and was definitely stiff in the upper body. Her angles might have right, but the speed and control was definitely off. Also, any choreographer that does not use Pasha’s best traits, no explanation needed, should not be asked back. Just saying.
Up next were Caitlynn and Ivan doing a hip-hop routine. Ivan! How fantastic was it to see him and his adorable baby face again? Any untrained dancer on this show should be thanking Ivan, because he proved you did not need training to succeed on this show. Ivan was the original trailblazer. For his dance with Caitlynn, I actually thought they killed it. Started a little slow, but felt very Allison and Ivan 2011 hip-hop. Even the height difference helped create the illusion. I thought they were smooth and flowed quite nicely. The judges were a little more down on it than I expected, but whatever. I always take what the judges say with a huge grain of salt, because there is always some type of manipulation at hand.
Case in point: the massive amount of praise Tyce received for his jazz routine choreographed for Jordan and Ade’. Undoubtedly, someone’s feelings were hurt last week with too much honest critiquing, so it was back to tongue baths for Tyce this week! Jordan and Ade’ did a good job dancing what they were given, but it felt a little too repetitive to me. Step one, dance a little and then perform a great lift. Step two, dance a little and then act sexy. Step three, repeat steps one and two for two plus minutes. And yes, Jordan has amazing legs, but I have seen enough of them, and I LOVE leg extensions. I am all about them, but man, I need to see something else consistently asked of her if she is back next week. Who knows if she will be back though, because she very well could have been Tyced.
Up next were Melanie and Neil doing a contemporary dance by Mandy Moore. Can I just take a brief minute to comment on the Renaissance that Ms. Moore is going through this season? It is all still very much her, with her heavy eighties influence, but damn! Plain and simple, she is working it. Girl, go on. Also, yes Melanie has received way too many contemporary and other similar styles, but shut up. When you can do what she did with this piece, I do not want anybody else to have it. She shut it down. That leap into Neil’s arm will be talked about forever, and honestly made me tear up a little. I just cannot even.
Following that showstopper was poor Ricky and Anya dancing a jive. Everybody say goodbye to Ricky. About the only thing good I can say was that he had nice flicks and energy. Everything else, though, was a complete mess. He fumbled lifts, one very badly, was awkward and stiff from the knees up, and just seemed completely lost. All of this was amplified by going after Melanie, but still, it would not have been that good anywhere in the show. Poor Ricky, you were doomed from the beginning.
Next were Jess and Laruen Gottlieb dancing hip-hop. I remember when Lauren was a controversial contestant. Man, have times changed or what? Nowadays, I bet she would barely raise people’s annoyance let alone ire. Dancing tonight with Jess, she completely owned him in my opinion. Jess was very good technically, as he always is, but had nothing on her dancing and performing. The only comment I can really remember Rob saying the whole night was that he wanted dancers to dancer with abandon, and that is what Lauren did. While Jess was very much dancing and performing by the numbers, Lauren lived the routine. I am glad to say that Jess has grown, both personally and as a dancer. Or, he is just getting a favorable edit. Tonight’s lack of camera time probably honestly helped him. Regardless, Jess now just makes me go “meh” instead of seethe with annoyance. Jess is a very good technical dancer, but not that much of a performer, especially given his background.
After them came Tadd and my favorite winner Lauren Froderman with a jazz routine. Oh Lauren, how you kicked ass last season. I was hoping for amazing things, especially given that Mandi was choreographing again, but the routine did not explode. Of course, part of that was because of the terrible luck that Tadd had, not only losing his hat but also being punched by Lauren. They recovered nicely both times, however, and really sold the performance. Hell, if it had not been for those mistakes and recoveries, I probably would not have liked the routine as much. Tadd is very much the underdog right now of the final I have predicated, but do not count him out. A cute face, nice personality, good dance skills, ability to adapt, and killer abs will always make someone a contender on this show. As I why saying, the dance was good, if not mind blowing. I hope Lauren gets to dance again, because I miss her. I also apologize to Ms. Moore for jinxing her!
Now comes the part of the recap where I probably make a few enemies. Look, I really like Marko, enjoy Sonya’s work, and absolutely adore Allison (second favorite all time after Katee). That routine was fantastic, emotional, and very, very good. It was not, however, the end all be all of this show. Hell, it was not even Sonya’s best routine! If anything, it was clear that she was heavily inspired by her best routine, which was the Alex-Allison-Jeff Buckley piece from last season. Sadly, I think the natural comparisons between these dances will only serve to diminish this one. Do not take this to mean I thought this dance was bad, or even less than fantastic. It was just not everything the judges were claiming. Yes, Gaga cried, but so what? This show has a history of getting wrapped up in a moment or story and exaggerating things. That is honestly what happened here.
If anything, I think this dance will ultimately be remembered for Marko’s declaration to his mother. On a lot of people that would have felt corny or false. It was obviously a genuine reaction and moment from him, and I thought it was extremely touching. And of course, I teared up.
The final four dances pretty much cemented for me where the producers heads out for the finale. In other words, the final four dances were just opportunities for blatant manipulation
Jordan and Caitlynn have been destined to not reach the finale. Therefore, they were given ballroom routines to partner with Jess and Tadd respectively, so one of these guys could take the opportunity to make their claim for the fourth spot over the other. Sadly, both routines were just okay, with edge going to Jess and Jordan. I am pretty much sure whichever guy is in the bottom this week with Ricky will be going next week, and I actually cannot make the call right now.
As for Ricky, his hip-hop with Marko was only a chance for Marko to shine against inferior competition. They both did well, but Marko simply outclassed him in both technique and performance. The Alex Wong comparison’s will of course never end now for him, which will probably come back to bite him in the end.
Sasha and Melanie were given the chance to preview the battle that will go through for superiority with a Sonya jazz piece. If the judge’s reaction for Marko’s dance can be excused for them being caught up in a beautiful moment, their reaction for this can only be explained by the thought of what this dance could have been. Yes it was powerful and technical and performed extremely well, but come on! That was not the dance of the night! Sometimes Sonya nails, and other times she just does weird things and inserts this idea of female empowerment for no reason. This time was a heavy dose of the later. Also, the complaints against Melanie getting similar dances to her own training can begin again. Come on show!
            Anyways, tomorrow I expect Ricky to with Caitlynn or Jordan joining her. If there is any justice in the world, it will be Jordan. Nothing against her, just Caitlynn simply deserves to be in the Top 6. Watch some surprise elimination come up tonight and blow all of this out of the water.
            What about you guys? Did you like tonight? How did you feel about Gaga? Can you tell me Rob’s last name without cheating? Was the hyperbole at points too much for you as well? Are my predications for the final four correct? Let me know!

1 comment:

  1. While Sasha is by far my favorite girl, I didn't think her dance with Melanie was the most spectacular thing ever. As usual, they were both great and there was definitely a lot of power, but it wasn't very technically difficult or impressive. The only reason it got such acclaim was because it was weird and Lady Gaga was a judge and she is weird.
    And Marko was perfect and beautiful as usual.