Thursday, July 28, 2011

So You Think You Can Dance

In the intro they all look good, but the girls are way better at the strutting thing.
The level of the show is much better now. The all-stars bring charisma and chops, and the competitors seem to be challenged. They dance twice tonight; once with an all-star, and once in pairs among themselves.
Cat looks good in a clean, simple white strappy dress and headband. The skirt’s a little odd, kind of peplum-ed.
Judges tonight are Rob Marshall, choreographer and film director, pop megastar Lady Gaga, with long green hair and a red sort of police cap, as well as Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy. Mary’s back in a one-shoulder dress. I think we may even have seen it before.
Jonathan Roberts choreographed Sasha and Pasha in a bizarre quickstep.  The choreographer calls it that. They dance to “Puttin on the Ritz” by Terry Snyder in kind of traditional ballroom outfits, she in a fluttery asymmetrical hemline thing.  Man, Pasha is great.  Nice little jumps. You know what’s bizarre about this? That it’s just straight quickstep! No weird story! He outdances her but she’s also good.
Sasha thought she pulled off the quickstep, and thought her promenade was very good.  And Nigel says she is his favorite dancer in the competition, though it will probably change next week.  He thought she might have been a little too stiff in the upper body, but it was a five star performance.  And Lady Gaga calls her a beautiful soul.  Oh dear.  That doesn’t bode well for her critiques.  She thought her approach was a little strange.  Um, huh?  I have to say I don’t know what she meant by how Sasha interpreted the choreographer’s intent.
Marty Kudelka gives Caitlynn and Ivan a hip-hop dance about a woman fed up with her man.  “Let Me Love You” by Mario is the song.  Caitlynn’s on a park bench and Ivan’s got a hat.  He’s cute.  She stands ups she sits down.  Finally she does some dancing.  But again she’s outdanced by the All-Star and next to him she looks pretty legato.  I don’t know why he won her over in the end.
Mary can’t help gushing over how brilliant Ivan is.  She thought Caitlynn was good, she hung in there with Ivan.  Sort of weak praise, but about what I’d say.  Nigel gives her a critique—Ivan has swag, he sits down in that pocket.  I’m not sure what that means, but I’m so going to use it.  He did like the way she stayed in character.  Lady Gaga calls her extremely sexy.  She thought lyrical hip-hop could be dated, but she brought it to life.  Ivan moved through the movement completely, but Caitlynn sometimes stopped in her center.  She really seems to use a lot of words to say little.  Rob Marshall thought she was infectious but could lose herself more in the dance.  The queen of that is right there, he says, meaning Lady Gaga.
Don’t know, but Caitlynn’s days may be numbered.
Tyce DiOrio choreographed a jazz  about a secret rendezvous between Jordan and Ade.  It will be very athletic.  Isn’t Jordan the one with no tricks?
“Nutbush City Limits” by Tina Turner is the song.  Okay, she does get to do the one leg high in the air thing.  Boy Aday made that aerial cartwheel look easy, and the lift.  Jordan looked pretty good in this, though, energetic and confident.
Nigel opens with “is there anything that little body can’t do?  You’re so pliable!”  And he says she’s a small girl and her legs go on forever.  I think she’s his new Ryan, in a way.  Lady Gaga points out that she herself is quite short, and shows off her huge platform shoes.  Rob Marshall begins by praising Tyce, then says he loves Jordan’s abandon.  Mary Murphy does her shriek.  She also praises Jordan’s body.
Mandy Moore gives Melanie and Neil a dance about a couple at the crossroads of a relationship.  The song is “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler, and I can never hear this song again without thinking of the literal music video  of this (“Here’s where I pretend to be Eva Peron, look at me I’m lifting my arms!”).  But this is contemporary and Melanie is so darn good at it.  She’s in a fluttery white handkerchief dress, and he is not wearing a shirt.  It’s very pretty.  Wow, that was an amazing leap into his arms from across the stage.  She’s as good as he is.
Judges are on their feet.  And so are the audience.
Lady Gaga says that Melanie is her favorite, and she would hire her tomorrow to dance all over the world.  Melanie, Fordham can wait.  Lady Gaga says she is athletic and beautiful, and she was the first dancer that she didn’t watch on the monitor, just the stage.  Wow, I didn’t know they watched on monitors.  Rob agrees, and says she’s poetic, and her technique is flawless.  And he says she’s an actress as well as a dancer.  Is that another job offer?  Mary points out that every week they use words like brilliant and amazing about her.  And that her leap was absolutely fearless.  And that it wouldn’t surprise her if the number was up for an Emmy.  Nigel says he warned Sasha that he’s fickle and may change his mind, and he has, and she is now again his favorite dancer, and that is kind of funny.  It happened in the arabesque where she collapsed into Neil’s arms and then on the floor and I wonder why they didn’t just show us that clip?  Ellen DeGeneres is in the house, he says, and she once called a dancer a carpenter because you just nailed it!
She did.  But, after all, this is her genre.  Would she nail Bollywood or krump?  Still it was pretty fab, and she matched her All-Star.
Jason Gilkison gave Ricky and Anya a jive dance without plot.  Hurray!  It’s just a celebration dance.  The song is “River Deep, Mountain High,” by Celine Dion.  Really?  Celine Dion?  Not Ike and Tina?  He does a quick spin in the air which was wonderful.  But she’s like lightning.  She manages to make even him look  a little slow, but he’s very good.
Cat points out that Anya is the only woman who can throw a man over her shoulder by his head.  Rob opens by praising Ricky’s joyous smile.  And his legs go flying and his technique.  He praises his double tour that’s effortless.  He could dig deeper into the floor, but otherwise he’s a star.  At first Mary thought he missed the double bounce in the beginning but it got much better as the routine went on.  Nigel thought he was too tall, he needs to get down over it more, and one lift had a labored look.  The crowd boos him.  Bus, meet Ricky.  Lady Gaga says she has a sweet spot for him and she doesn’t know why.  She loves that he’s high and looks so strong and so nimble and quick.  She actually thought Anya wasn’t as modern as Ricky.
Tickets for the tour go on sale July 29th, Cat reminds us.
Jess and Lauren Gottlieb get a Nappy Tabs routine, about a relationship again.  He’s apologizing, will he win her back?
“Take a bow” by Rihanna is the song; I didn’t catch the genre but I think it’s lyrical hip-hop.  They look good in parallel even though she’s much better at this style than he is.  This is like the third time Jess got a dance about a boy whose girl is mad at him.  With Clarice, he walked away; this time, Lauren Gottlieb walked away.
Mary opens with the word “progress.”  That sounds lame, but she goes on to say as good as Lauren was tonight, you were too.  And that it was one of his more honest performances, with good movements and isolation—and swag.  Jess looks excited!  Nigel agrees with how much he’s learned, which really sounds lukewarm.  Gaga respects him because she went to school for theater, and what she loved about this that there were things about the choreography she didn’t love, including the props—she thought the flower didn’t need to be there—but his performance outshined all that.  Gee, it’s nice to hear someone call out the choreography.  Rob Marshall says he’s known him since he was a little boy.  He was in “The Grinch” on Broadway.  And he thought this dance was simple, pure and beautiful.  Wow, it sounded like the bus was aimed at him, but maybe not?
It’s about masterminds pulling off a heist.  The song is “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen.”  They’re in button down shirts, blazers and hats. She’s in shorts and black heeled booties.  Cute costumes.   Tadd’s got a shirt on but looks good anyway.   Again, I didn’t get the genre but it looks sort of hip-hoppy.  Nice trick from Tadd as he does a flip.  And then a one-armed handstand.
Nigel’s amazed that Mandy did Melanie’s song and then this.  Not surprising, really, as in both cases she did work that suited what the dancers had.  Nigel reminds us that Tadd is a B-boy who is not used to choreography, and he just absorbs everything.  Gaga loved it.  Rob Marshall says the mark of a real pro is when you do lose your hat or get socked in the face you keep going.  Mary thought he was cool up there and that he looked like a young Elvis Presley, or Michael Jackson.  He’s good but come on.  She thinks he will land himself in the finale.
Sonya Tayeh gives a piece to Marko and Alison about people who cause damage to each other but are moved and want to change.  “I Know It’s Over” by Jeff Buckley is the song.  Marko’s not wearing a shirt, and she’s in a fluttery two-toned dress.  Very Melanie and Marko like.  It’s contemporary and rather uninteresting though well done.  Lots of emoting, some hair grabbing.
But in close-ups the judges seem moved.  Gaga is weeping.  The judges are all standing.  Gaga says she’s just so proud of him, and your mom is here (I guess that’s relevant because the lyrics are to a mother).  Marko is weeping because it’s the first time his mother has seen the show live, because she flew in yesterday from Guam, and he dedicated the piece to her, and apologizes for being bratty when he was a kid.  He’s a kid now, so that must have been last week. Rob Marshall praises Alison first.  And that they had an incredible partnership.  Mary says he does the moves everyone does on this show and adds to them.  And he’s by far her favorite dancer.  Cat asks Nigel to be quick about it, but Nigel says he can’t, because the moment was more than the competition, and how he also took the opportunity to speak to his mother.  And he hopes other people will turn round to their mothers and say what they need to say while they have the opportunity of doing so.
No bus for Marko then, because he loves his mom.
Oh, and mom?  I love you.
Jonathan Roberts gives Caitlynn and Tadd a fox trot.  It’s a classic boy meets girl fox trot.
In full Fred and Ginger style costumes, they dance to “Top Hat, White Tie and Tails” by Ella Fitzgerald.  He’s actually in white tie and she’s in a sequined dress with a feathery skirt.  I don’t know it looks a little slow to me.  They can’t tap so when they have the separate sequences it looks a little lame, but it’s not their fault Jonathan Roberts referenced Fred and Ginger.
Rob Marshall thought it was sparkling, elegant and stylish.  He praises Caitlynn’s back and developpe.  Mary didn’t think it was the most memorable number of the night, though it was beautiful and elegant, she would like more power in the grapevine step, and there could be more power in the swing.  Nigel doesn’t want to go into technical details because he was enjoying it.  So unfair.  Gaga loved it.  But every once in a while her hands seemed to say “I’ve won a bunch of trophies,” and it’s hard to know what she means until she says “relax those hands.”
Marko and Ricky dance a NappyTabs routine.  There’s a plot about two clean-up guys.   “Bad Boy for Life” by Diddy featuring Black Rob and Mark Curry is the song.  They come out with loads of props, brooms etc.  I guess it’s hip-hop.  They’re both good as they bounce around.  Marko maybe is slightly better in this style.
Mary shrieks, and says they kept the vibe tight.  Nigel thought it was fun, and how nasty Marko looked was something.  He thought Ricky was still a bit high but the aerial swipe they both did was fantastic.  He expresses reservations about whether Ricky will be in the bottom or not, and gets booed.  He always pretends he says that so people will vote for him. Gaga says she’d vote for him.  She criticizes the choreography a bit and again didn’t like the props and things.  Rob Marshall than pours love on NappyTabs.  And he’s astonished by their range.
Jason Gilkison gave a rumba to Jordan and Jess.  And it’s about a woman in a controlling relationship.  “Set Fire to the Rain” but Adele is the music.  She’s in a long red dress of fringe; he’s all in black; they dance around a bentwood chair.  He lifts her off the chair and it looks hard for him.  It’s rather slow and he seems to move around her as she spins.  Wow, this really didn’t show off what he can do at all.
Nigel praises his back reverse spin lift, but thought they didn’t have much chemistry.  And she has to be careful with her swayed back, it’s too much.  He gets booed.  Gaga says there was nothing wrong with it, which amuses me.  She would have interpreted the song differently (is that fair?).  Rob Marshall thought they brought out the best in each other, and they were connected, to him.  And he sees big theater careers for both of them.  Mary thought that back lift was the best thing in it, and also one of the best lifts all season.  She didn’t see the arms in international rumba, with its elasticity.
Sasha and Melanie are the last pair, given a jazz routine by Sonya Tayeh.  “Game On” by District 78 lays as both girls in spiky hair, shorts and kind of bondage-y bikini tops strike poses around each other.
Judges on their feet, Sonya looks thrilled.  “That’s how the girls do it,” Cat says.  Gaga says in the dance community when you do a really good job you throw your shoe on the stage.  And she throw one of her huge red platforms at them!  She says everybody else can pack up and go home because that was the performance of the evening.  Rob Marshall thought it was unbelievable.  Mary also thought it was the best performance of the night.  Gaga limps over and gives the other show to Sonya.  Nigel thinks one of the pair of them could be this year’s champion.  It does look that way!