It was only a matter of time before I was going to have to take this year’s "So You Think You Can Dance" finalists off the pedestal I put them on ... I just didn’t think it would be so soon.
After dazzling us last week by dominating in unfamiliar styles, this week, many of the same dancers crumbled while well within their comfort zones. It was like a group bait-and-switch, and top spot on the fraud list goes to Susie.
With her hot pink highlights and Cuban flare, the sassy schoolteacher did a good job of painting herself as the salsa dancer this season. Yet when she actually got to dance in her own style this week, her salsa was about as spicy as a snow cone.
She reminded us of how hot she’s capable of being in her solo on Thursday, but why couldn’t she fire it up with her partner Marquis? Sure, he’s a contemporary dancer, but he did manage more hip-action than his (alleged) salsa dancing partner. Also to his credit, his solo was amazing.
Still, the pairing of a Cuban and a Puerto Rican should never render a dance so lacking in Latin flavor I was reaching for the Tabasco. And so it’s no surprise that this is our ousted couple.
Comfort and Chris stuck around, but not because they fared much better. With krump choreographer Lil’C (my favorite) on the job, Comfort had the perfect opportunity to show us that she’s earned her reputation as the show’s “best female hip-hop dancer.“ Instead she showed us that the hype is undeserved, and her solo — despite the one cool move that makes her arms look like wet noodles — did nothing to change that. Spaghetti arms may have gotten Baby out of the corner, but it’s gonna take more than that to keep Comfort in this competition.
As for Chris, he really was about as "gangster" as Nigel’s granny, and while I realize that krump is hardly his style, his contemporary solo was even less entertaining. Nigel said he danced with passion — I thought he danced like a sleepwalker. Either way he’s safe, but I doubt it’ll be long before we’re watching his tribute reel.
Chelsea Traille and Thayne, however, should be around for a while despite their fall from grace this week. It’s still a little hard to believe this couple of contemporary dancers botched a jazz performance, especially considering superstitious Thayne knocked on a forest’s worth of wood before the performance.
Yet while I know the judges shy from pointing fingers away from the stage, I actually don’t fault the dancers for this one. Nigel said it himself: they looked more like circus clowns then the royal characters they were supposed to portray. But, dare I add, the choreography was lame too. There was actually a step-touch in there! Two in fact.
Will and Jessica, on the other hand, had great moves for their hip-hop routine but were a mismatched pair in delivering them. Both contemporary dancers, Will looked like a popper, Jessica looked like a cheerleader. Actually, I’m not even sure we can call Will a contemporary dancer anymore after seeing him dance so well in so many styles. Can someone just give him a ticket straight to the Top 4?
Same goes for Joshua, who again teamed up with Katee for the best number of the night. Yes the Broadway routine was very well-choreographed, but I can honestly say I don’t think any other couple could have pulled it off the way they did. For a girl who started on my bad side, Katee’s quickly making me a member of her fan club. And if the goal was to make us believe this contemporary and hip-hop dancer could make it under the neon lights … Amen.
Chelsea Hightower and Mark were also among the night’s non-disappointers with the Argentine Tango. I actually expected a little more from Chelsea the ballroom queen in the emotion department, but I had little time to think about that in between “oohs” and “ahs” over how her legs just seem to snap and bend at will. Oh, and for the ladies out there, how badly do you want her crazy fringe skirt?!
Mark, on the other hand, was full of passion (for real this time … take notes Chris) and was actually sexy, which is noteworthy for someone who normally looks — and dances — like a bug.
Nigel liked the number too, but wanted Chelsea to be more “sleazy.” I bet there are many guys out there who could echo that sentiment but again, Nigel, this is a family show. And on that note, the horrid vision of you showing Chris how to grab his crotch “with authority” will forever be burned in my very traumatized brain. Thanks for that.
Luckily there was no crotch-grabbing in Matt and Kourtni’s Fox Trot. And while that dance and this pair generally bore me, I actually enjoyed it. Maybe I’m just fascinated by how Matt can make someone as tall as Kourtni seem light as a feather in all these lifts. If only he could do something about those "twee" arms... Either way, they both stepped way up from last week and I was thoroughly entertained.
Lastly, Gev, Courtney and "Twitchington" get my Goosebump awards.
It was no surprise that the girls were breathtaking in both of these dances — Courtney in her own contemporary style and Kherington close by on the Viennese Waltz. But seeing breakdancers Gev and Twitch float around in these graceful routines like they were dancing on air was something else. They completely committed to the emotions of their dances and to their partners.
Joshua and Will are the technique powerhouses, but with better b-boy skills and personality for days, Gev and Twitch could give them a run for their money.
So now it’s down to 16, and after another volatile "Idol" season of inexplicable vote-offs, it’s refreshing to see the "SYTYCD" audience get it right for the second week now. Some of these dancers may have thought they’d be able to squeak by on image, but hopefully, hits from the judges and America’s votes showed them that game won’t work anymore.