Reaction Shots: So You Think You Can Dance 4×14

July 11, 2008 at 8:41 pm (Don't Touch That Dial) (, )

Oh look, me talking a lot. Mary seemed kind of subdued in this, toned down her shrieking and metaphor-making. Which was a good thing.

It’s long, so I’ll cut it. Because I am just that nice.

Chelsie & Mark; salsa & Broadway.

I thought the salsa was pretty good, but. I don’t know, it felt kind of lacking—like I kept watching it and waiting for something to happen, for the routine to climax (and it’s not a lyrical routine, I know it doesn’t have a story) but when it did, with the lift—it felt kind of out of place, sucked the momentum from it, and it didn’t give me what I thought it would do. It was kind of like, they were anticipating the lift, anticipating the lift, anticipating the final life and—it wasn’t really up to the hype. They didn’t screw up anywhere or anything (except for one part where I think they missed their grip briefly) but yeah. Not quite there—maybe because it felt out of sync with the music; their steps are fast and frantic but the music was sort of mellow and slow. It just didn’t fit quite right to me—same with the outfits. They’re gorgeous and they look great together, but the mellower, cooler colors don’t seem to jive with the steps themselves.

(Meaningful comments from Mary Murphy sans high-pitched shrieks and dying metaphors? Say it ain’t so!)

Okay, wow. First I want to note the costuming choice for this—the default color for a sultry female characters is red. Costuming went with blue—which fits the tone of the song better, but also signals not just sultriness but maturity and evokes coolness, a sense of being calm, collected, and together.

Um. Okay. I’m still kind of stunned, so—yeah. I’ll just leave it there.

(Cat Deeley is awesome, but we already knew that.)

Comfort & Thayne; hip hop & contemporary.

You could really see Comfort was in her element here—she just looked more relaxed about doing the routine. There were times when my eye was drawn to Thayne, though, but that might just be because of his big white jacket—it does stand out more in the dark lighting than Comfort’s outfit, though this does beg the question of why she’s not drawing the eye when this is her area of expertise. You’d expect to be watching her more, given Thayne’s lack of experience and nerves here.

I take issue with Mary’s comparison to Tabitha and Napoleon in regards to chemistry; I don’t think they’re really a valid couple to compare contestants to. They’re a freaking married couple, of course they have chemistry on the dance floor. They’ve also had years to get to know each and get comfortable with each other. The contestants don’t have that. Plus they don’t get to choose their partners as Tabitha and Napoleon got to when they chose to choreograph together as colleagues and a couple. I wouldn’t be reasonable to expect contestant couples—especially the relatively new ones—to have chemistry on par with Tabitha and Napoleon. Some do and that’s great, but those are exceptions, not the rule.

I have issues with the storyline, but narratives aren’t what are being judged here, so. I’ll keep quiet about that.

(AGAIN with the lack of shrieking and metaphors! IS THE APOCALYPSE NIGH?)

Hmm. I don’t know if I’m just running out of steam or what, but I can’t think of much to say…I want to say Comfort impressed me, but. I don’t feel like I can be justified saying that. The whole routine just left me kind of cold. Thayne was pretty good—but then, it’s his genre.

I don’t have much else to say.

(Oh wait, yes I do. Re: what Mia said about faking technique…I don’t know how much other iterations of SYTYCD inform the American version, but I get the sense that they want Comfort to be their Demi. And that’s just not going to happen.)

Jessica & Will; contemporary & quickstep.

Right off the bat—Jessica is shaky through the lifts. Will brought it, I think, but maybe it’s just Jessica’s general shakiness making him look better by comparison. Not that he’s perfect either, there were a few places where his steps weren’t quite right, but they were as noticeable—or numerous—as with Jessica.

Nigel is wrong, Jessica totally did not keep up with Will here. Did Mary just miss all of Jessica’s little missteps? (Also, shrieking. AND WE WERE DOING SO WELL WITHOUT IT, TOO.). Did Mia miss it too? I feel like I’m missing something here. Yeah, the choreography was great and fluid and dynamic but BOTH of them messed up in numerous, little ways, Jessica more than Will, and all of that destroyed the flow of the piece and. No, just no.

First: Will’s outfit is fine. Jessica’s looks like what you’d wear under a dress rather than a dress itself. What’s up with that?

So…to my admittedly untrained eye the steps looked fine, they hit them all together and they also moved in sync and in that regard, it looked great. Buuuut…a lot of steps felt like they were lacking energy, like they were sticking out their legs rather than actually kicking. The result is what should have been a fast-paced high-energy and fun routine ended up being kind of blah.

You can really see how Will’s better than Jessica, especially with the opening—he’s just flipping all over the stage, and she needs more preparation to take a single slower cartwheel.

Courtney & Gev; cha cha & jazz.

Okay, this was GREAT. The judges want chemistry and connection? That was it right there. Courtney was right about Gev; I’m pretty sure he has no ballroom background and yet he really does pick it up like nobody’s business. Courtney was no small potatoes either—she looked so natural doing it (she’s not a ballroom dancer, right?), she was great in this as well.

(though what was up with Courtney’s body rolls at the end? Were they mean to be in time with the last echoes of the word music? In which case it didn’t quite work, it felt like an afterthought—like she remembered at the last minute this was what she had to be doing. Second watch, it didn’t look quite so random. But either way, that’s really a minor flaw in an all-around great routine, so I can’t really complain.)

With this piece I really felt like the choreography, the lighting, and the costumes all came together to evoke a specific image and setting—in this case, a night club. The music reinforced that, but not in an overtly literal way; it did so in a thematic way. And that’s awesome.

This was really, really, good. From the opening—which was hella dramatic—right through the whole thing…Courtney and Gev really are one of the couples with the most chemistry, even when they’re fighting each other, they really connect.

Re: Nigel’s comment about cotton candy. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—you can read the fight as needing to be a serious conflict between comrades (not really supported by the music, I feel) or you can read it as a spat between friends. If you take the second reading, then cotton candy and fun’s just fine, and I think this second reading is supported by both the choreography and the music. Cotton candy still tells a valid story.

Mary pinned it. Playful, that’s the word I wanted.

Kherington & Twitch; krump & tango.

So. Krump.

It didn’t suck as much as I expected it to—alright, Kherington wasn’t as bad as I thought she would be. Twitch did pretty good, but the routine felt less intense after Kherington came on—because she wasn’t hitting as hard as him and thus diluting the intensity (as it were) or because Twitch pulled it in a little to match her, I don’t know. I don’t think it was bad, it just wasn’t very good. It was okay.

I’m surprised there were no accidents, given how lowcut Kherington’s top was.

(Mary said it was fantastic. It was only fantastic in comparison to the krump that’s shown up before.)

(Wait, so the judges won’t excuse a two-week couple not having the same chemistry as a married one, but they’ll excuse one of the Top 12 dancers getting tired halfway through a routine and letting the ball drop? What?)

Storywise—I like how in the first half, with the low blue lighting and where they presumably don’t know it’s each other yet, the choreography mostly didn’t have them looking at each other. And then, when they really did get a look at each other, that’s when the choreography and lighting switched gears to the fight.

That being said, while the first half was pretty good, the second half, with the fighting? Eh, not so much. I didn’t really get any aggression from them—mostly from Kherington, really. So I couldn’t really believe that they were fighting, and fighting to the death to boot.

I guess I can’t really say it’s a bad tango, having never seen a good tango before. But I wouldn’t call it excellent. Passable, maybe. Eh.

(Kherington’s outfit really puzzled me. That skirt—what’s up with all the stripes? I’d’ve thought she’d be in all black to match Twitch and the Mr. & Mrs. Smith theme.)

Katee & Joshua; (Viennese) waltz & Bollywood.

Uh. Wow. Talk about incongruous. And yet, it really worked—the waltz was fast and it flowed pretty well and I was transfixed, transfixed I tell you, on watching them because everything look pretty much effortless.

Storywise, I don’t think I’d have gotten it if I hadn’t known what it was about beforehand. I was actually expecting another Celine Dion song—I can’t remember which one, but I remember the music video had a similar storyline to the one Jean-Marc Genereaux proposed (this may have colored what I’m about to say.).

Katee’s dress was just gorgeous, fingerless opera gloves included. This was another piece where everything—choreography, costuming, lighting, music, dancing—came together to evoke a certain mood. Just wonderful.

I was expecting it to suck, and IT DIDN’T IT DIDN’T IT WAS GREAT.

(This owned the one on SYTYCD Australia, by the way. So much more genuinely Bollywood in look and feel.)

Just. What a way to end the show, honestly. It was a little over-the-top at times, but that’s Bollywood, that’s the style—not just the dancing, but the movie style too. The choreography was really good, and Katee and Joshua were really good doing it. It’s just so much fun, and they’re so good as a couple. When they’re on, they are on, and they were for this. Just. So much love, seriously.

Maybe the routine’s not exactly authentic Bollywood, but if not, it was damn good at pretending to be. I kept waiting for a tree to show up for them to chase each other around, because that would have the cherry on the Bollywood pie. Even without the tree, they did have the peeking around thing at the very beginning, with Joshua looking around Katee, so really, I can’t truly complain on that score.

One caveat, though—I wish the costumes had managed to cover their knee pads. I mean, I see why they’d be necessary, especially since neither of them are used to the style. But at the same time, suspension of disbelief, anyone? But that’s a minor, minor nitpick.

That all being said—Awwww, Joshua. I think he’s my favorite for the guys.


(I’m wondering whether any of the judges know what Bollywood means? Bollywood is the movie-making machine of India. That’s right, it sounds like Hollywood for a reason. A lot of Indian movies incorporate dance which, yes, has roots in traditional Indian dance. But honestly I’d say that Bollywood is a commercialized form of it, not the genuine from of Indian cultural dance. Even so, it’s great to see some of it onstage, but when the judges go on and on about world culture and the bringing it to the American stage, part of me goes “Uh, no. Not quite.”

I just thought it was worth saying.)


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