You know what, "SYTYCD" judges? Back off a little.
We know you're all capable of incisive, funny, helpful commentary. (In fact, sometimes that commentary makes the show!) But this season you've been frustrating us. We thought the performances by the show's ladies were underwhelming last night, while the gentlemen were generally pretty awesome. Rather than giving the fantabulous boys their due praise, however, all of you made statements that betrayed an irritating ulterior motive--namely, "Hey, we have an extra boy in this group, and a girl went home last week, so we REALLY REALLY don't want a girl to go home this time. In fact, we have two contemporary dudes, so let's ditch [THE AWESOMELY FANTASTICALLY AMAZING] Billy Bell!"
Did you all have a conference before the show? Did Nigel coach you? Since the voting power is in the hands of the audience for the whole season this time around, are you feeling strangely helpless and trying to exert your influence in this totally annoying fashion instead?
We don't know. But we know we don't like it.
Anyhoo, we're determined to give all of these talented dancers a fair shake. Beginning with:
Cristina, partnered with do-I-want-to-pinch-his-cheeks-or-make-out-with-him? cutie Pasha for a paso doble by Jean-Marc and France Généreux. That Cristina drew a Latin ballroom style this week is either totally lucky or--more probably--totally rigged. We think she's a delicious spicy meatball, but we don't think she truly shines unless she's doing something similar to her own style (salsa). That being said, it was nice to see her in her element, blazing through the super-dramatic number. We especially loved those crazy drops at the end.
(By the way--we're so glad that the all-stars get to stick around for the judging sessions this week! It was terribly sad last week when they had to leave their partners to face the wrath of the judges alone. Good call.)
Next up were Adéchiké and Alison in a sweet, but forgettable, contemporary routine by Mandy Moore. Mandy wanted a "more smiley" Adechike, and he delivered. (What a knockout smile he has, too.) And we thought he and Alison had particularly nice chemistry in this duet. Mia, however, wanted him to be "more consistent emotionally" and to remember that "dance is a not just an artform, it's a heartform." Blech. Adam concurred, saying that Adéchiké danced from his head, not his heart, whatever that means.
Our bunhead heart will always beat a little faster for Alex, but man, oh man, did he ever get the short end of the stick this week: a "Broadway" (heavy, heavy quotation marks) number by Tyce Diorio, whom we'd like to strangle with his own chinstrap. Theoretically this was a Fosse-esque piece, but ugh, Tyce, how many Fosse numbers do you know that involve giant split leaps? It's all about subtlety! Alex and the lovely Lauren threw their spandex-clad bums into the awk routine, but couldn't save it from total weirdness. And the judges--surprise, surprise--blamed it on Alex, not Tyce. Which was just wrong. (Although we do agree with Nigel: It's a little weird that Alex "doesn't really know much" about Fosse!)
Ashley and one of our all-time favorites, Mark, were next, tackling a "jazz" (again, heavy quotation marks) piece by Travis Wall. Ashley has a gorgeous body, and the routine was clean and pretty, but she's just...bland. It's like we've seen her a million times before. We actually agreed with Nigel in this case: She needs to tackle a style that's well out of her comfort zone--like true jazz, rather than Travis' rather soupy contemporary--so that we can see what she's really made of.
And then it was Billy. Doing Lil' C's krump routine. With hip hop queen Comfort.
We could practically hear the entire television audience scream along with us: Oh, no. Oh, no no no no no.
And yet--somehow--Billy TOTALLY ROCKED IT. Lil' C (and, we're guessing, the amazing Comfort) helped baby Billy successfully transform into "Billy B. Bucc," who apparently has no trouble pulling a crazy stankface and hitting everything hard and sharp. It. was. awesome.
So what was up, judges? Why did Nigel say that Billy hadn't "found his inner warrior" yet? Why did Mia call him "Billy B. Whack"? Why did Adam say it was a "failed experiment"? Give us a break already. We're going to vote for that little miracle, whether you want us to or not!
Moving on. Robert--a.k.a. "Roberto"--and the super-hot Anya were up next, trying on an Argentine tango by Jean-Marc and France (assisted by Janette! Hi, Janette!). We love us some Argentine tango--the fire! the passion! the little between-the-legs kicks!--but Robert seemed really, super nervous. Devastatingly handsome, yes; dashing, not quite. Mia said Anya appeared to "devour" Robert and that he seemed "scritchy." Fair enough (for once).
Melinda and Ade were next, in a contemporary routine by Stacey Tookey. When we heard the idea was Melinda as Mother Earth and Ade as mankind, we started worrying. When we saw Melinda's costume, we commenced freaking out. When we discovered that a section of the costume ripped away to reveal what looked like an oil spill, we lost it. We know that it's a relevant, worthy topic, but the bang-you-over-the-head literalism of this routine was cringe-worthy. And though Melinda is a wonderful performer and has pretty darn good lines for a tapper, we don't think she's versatile enough to make it all the way in this competition.
Before we assess Jose and Kathryn's Bollywood routine by Nakul Dev Mahajan, can we pause for a moment and say how AMAZING Kathryn looks these days? Jeez louise, girl. That's one of the problems with this "all-star" format: We keep getting distracted by the all-stars! Also, Nakul thinks Jose is a "B-bopper," and Jose's never heard of Bollywood. Let that sink in for a moment. As for the routine itself: Good happy fun, as usual. Jose sortof got the complicated hand positions, but we didn't think he was connecting with Kathryn at all; he's seems like more of a solo artist. And unlike all of the judges, we didn't feel that his performance was especially fun. Maybe that joy factor was more obvious close up, but even so, it's hard to believe that Jose was truly the "bright light" Adam claimed he was.
We love love love newbie hip hop choreographer Tessandra Chavez! And we thought that the usually hyper-cute Lauren did a pretty good job getting gritty in Chavez's abusive relationship-themed routine. Maybe her dramatic transformation was inspired by Beyoncé's emotive vocals, or maybe it was thanks to the help of all-star Dominic--regardless, we believed her as a hip hop dancer, even if Mia wanted "more abuse." Also, Cat! When did you become so awesomely tongue-in-cheek? Witness:
-Lauren: "I felt like I got to a deeper place."
-Cat: "Dominic, do you want to get to a deeper place?"
-Dominic (shocked): "You asked."
Finally, the always-adorable Kent took on a Tyce Diorio jazz routine with Courtney. Apparently Tyce felt like getting his Sonya Tayeh on this week--we definitely thought there was a heavy dose of Sonya in his angsty, sensual choreo, although the end result was more awkward than awesome. And oh, Kent--we didn't really think you rocked this routine (or that bizarro costume), but you are awfully hard not to like. We're slowly realizing that your innocent-country-boy thing isn't some faux persona the producers came up with--it's actually you. And you always look like you're having genuine fun up there. Also, congrats, because we have a feeling that liplock at the end of the piece was the first time you ever kissed a girl. Aww.
So, who's going home tonight? Will the judges' anti-Billy plan come to horrible fruition? Check back tomorrow for our recap of the results show!
You know what, "SYTYCD" judges? Back off a little.