Throughout the season of "So You Think You Can Dance," what’s most often stressed and judged is how well contestants dance with their partners. But many often forget that it’s their solos that get them in to this competition, and their solos can get them kicked out, too.
Chelsie Hightower and Mark Kanemura will likely remember that for a very long time.
With Joshua Allen and Katee Shean coming together to complete the "Holy Trinity of So You Think You Can Dance,” there was no way that either one of them was going home this week. So the battle to stay alive was really between Mark, Chelsie, Courtney Galiano and Twitch Boss.
Early favorites Twitch and Chelsie once again got to dance in their own styles and once again — in their comfort zones — they killed it. But dancing in each other’s style, they weren’t quite as impressive.
Twitch looked as uncomfortable with the Mambo as he did in the skin-tight satin pants he was sporting. And while Chelsie did better than I expected in their conductor skit, it was yet another "lyrical" hip-hop routine tailor-made for her.
The judges kept saying there’s nothing she can’t do. I’m guessing she couldn’t do that dance much justice if it required hard-hitting hip-hop moves instead of a wimpy air violin.
But I don’t have to guess to know she can’t dance a solo without putting me to sleep halfway through. We all love to see Chelsie shake her hips like a belly dancer on speed and spin around like a top … but not for almost a minute straight. More importantly, we already know she can do that as we see it all the time in her partner dances — even more so now that she picks a Latin number just about every week.
The point of the solo is to show off the strengths you don’t get to show in your choreographed dance. A cartwheel, a leap, anything else could have given her that extra “wow” she needed. Instead she stayed in her comfort zone, and now we hope she’ll be comfortable in her audience seat for the finale.
Mark, on the other hand, certainly used his solos to showcase moves he never got to do in choreographed dances. Problem is, the reason they never appeared in choreography is because no one in their right mind would ever want to see them. This particularly holds true for his strip move this week.
I’m sure Mark was feeling left out as all the other guys were constantly going shirtless. But baring your chest when you share a stage with Joshua and Twitch, and while we have Will Wingfield still ingrained in our memories … not such a good idea.
It’s still kind of sad though. Despite being so upset that Mark didn’t go home or even make the bottom two last week, this week I was actually kind of pulling for him. His Viennese Waltz with Courtney was a reminder of how graceful and dependable he is as a partner. And their burlesque jazz routine showed once and for all that when it comes to getting into character, Mark might as well win an Emmy.
But even an Emmy won’t help him win this competition now. No, for Mark and Chelsie, the "SYTYCD" journey has ended. But, like us, they can watch as Katee, Joshua, Twitch and Courtney compete for the top spot, and prepare to see old routines recreated, new routines ready to go and let’s not forget, some standout solos.