June 12, 2008

SYTYCD: Technique Over Personality

It's about time the judges valued technique over personality. Last I checked it is a dancing competition. So we say goodbye to Jamie and Rayven - luckily we hardly knew them so they won't be especially missed.

I was sad to see the only swing dancer, and Lacey Schwimmer's former partner, cut, but not very surprised. It's always hard for a ballroom/swing dancer to showcase their solos, but Jamie's was especially weak. But I think his biggest issue is he is a male dancer who is not only 100% straight (supposedly his girlfriend made it to Vegas but was cut early on), but dances and acys like he is a pure-bred, genuine male (except when he cried when he was eliminated).

Rayven, the 28-year-old rock princess ballerina wasn't half bad. Her solo was even unique and entertaining in a quirky way. But what was most captivating about her was her confession that this was the first time she performed professionally. Kudos to her. It's refreshing to see someone who is a newbie to the stage, since the majority of the other contestants have worked with the choreographers, been in professional dance companies and have appeared in movies.

Returning next week after dancing for their life are Matt, Kourtni, Will and Jessica (I guess they weren't the couple to beat, Mary). While Matt is a phenomenal dancer, he is definitely missing the Travis spark. But so was Danny Wall until he broke down his emotional barricades. Kourtni consistantly will hold her own when it comes to the solos, but it I didn't see the "magic quality" Nigel referred to like I did in her first audition. It also seems she is purely a solo dancer, looking gawky and out of place with her partner, which could be an issue since this is predominately a parings competition. Will was by far the best of the solos, though I was really hoping he would dance to more spoken word poetry (but Gavin Degraw comes in a close second). I am still unsure about Jessica. I am crossing my fingers that she will be the Allison of the group, a position I originally thought would go to Kelli Baker. Also, what's the deal with her ankle?

Ultimately, however, I thought Courtney G. and Gev and Susie and Marquis should have been in the bottom three. Since when do poorly performed versions of the disco and smooth waltz send people through? I really wanted to see Susie go back to her classroom in Miami, or if anything, prove to me in her solo that she belongs in the top 18 (doubtful).

Overall, this is the first year I like the girls better than the guys. If you lined up the guys I don't think I could accurately name any of them except Joshua and Twitch. Maybe it's because my favorite guys (Evan and Cooper) were cut in Vegas, but I have no real emotional attachment to any of them.

I have to address the opening routine choreographed by Wade Robson. Once again Robson incorporates all of his signature edginess and darkness, (and a little humor with Nigel tied to a chair), into a phenomenal performance.

As a side note, I think SYTYCD should do away with singing performances, especially by the Pussy Cat Dolls, or any of the girls in the group that decide they can have a solo career, but wind up with one, semi-catchy single on the radio. That is all.

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