SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE WEEK FIVE: GO JANETTE!

Fun seeing Pasha and Anya again, huh!

Janette is really becoming my favorite dancer. I love her because I don’t think there’s really anything she can’t do (except maybe a ballet routine on pointe, assuming she’s never had training in that, and I don’t think she has). She doesn’t seem to have any real training — she’s just Cuban, just born with dance in her blood and is working her butt off and excelling at every blasted thing that gets tossed in her way. I always like rooting for the underdog :) And we haven’t had a female ballroom winner on the show yet, right? It’s time, it’s time!

Okay, so I obviously loved both of Janette and Brandon’s routines — that kickass Argentine Tango (were those lightening fast, razor sharp kicks and flicks and hooks and gauchos not to die for? Not to mention her gorgeous lines in all the lifts and poses and just the power and passion of it all); and that killer Wade Robson Jazz dance (I love how both were very loose and rubbery but still had very solid form; it was very Rich Man’s Frug and now I see what we missed last week with Evan and Randi’s performance).

My other favorite couple is Melissa and Ade. That disco! Can Ade move or what?

He had a bit more rhythm than she (and he looked straight out of the 70s!) but her lines in the lifts were spectacular and she has such beautiful balletic form. Their waltz (choreographed by Ron Montez, from PBS’s America’s Ballroom Challenge — his first time on this show I think?) was breathtaking. I thought she was more stunning than he, but he was concentrating on supporting her well during the lifts, which is what he should be doing of course. The man is the frame anyway in ballroom. I’ve loved this couple together — they each seem to compensate for the other’s weakness and make the other look good. It will be interesting to see how they fare with new partners, beginning next week.

Oh and I love how Nigel mentioned that ABT will be performing Romeo and Juliet in L.A. next week!

I also loved Jason and Caitlin. Their mobster-esque foxtrot by Melanie LaPatin and Tony Meredith was a lot of fun, and very well executed. Her kicks are gorgeous — she gets such height on them – and the lifts were really lovely. Funny thing, when she leaned back into him, her back toward him, while doing the developpes (slow lift of the leg, first with bent knee, then straightening), it looked a little bit awkward. Not the leg lift but his support of her. It’s funny because I had that in one of my routines too and it always looked and felt awkward, even though it didn’t seem that hard. I guess I’m not the only one! And their lyrical Jazz routine by Mandy Moore was to die for. I loved how sweet and playful it was at the beginning, with the light little touches and caresses, and then how it turned so romantic with the kiss at the end. Beautiful leg lines for her, especially when they were on the floor. And the lifts were really effortless-looking, a testament to his strength. I also loved the costumes — he shirtless and in jeans, and she in the sweet baby-doll nightgown / dress.

I thought Evan and Randi’s Tabitha and Napoleon hip hip went very well. I’m not a huge fan of these choreographers — I’m just not that into hip hop — but this was very passionate and loving. I could feel a panoply of emotions — hope, happiness, trepidation (her character has just found out she’s pregnant; he is the boyfriend) both through the movement itself and their performance. They didn’t do so well with Pasha and Anya’s Samba, though, as the judges pointed out. I think for me it was more that having Pasha and Anya choreograph it just reminded me of how excellent they are at this dance. Plus, I was just at the Manhattan Dancesport Championships watching all the top Latin dancers like Yulia Zagoruychenko and Riccardo Cocchi. Just in comparison, Evan and Randi were so not there. It didn’t have the hip action, the pelvic contractions, the flash and dazzle, the sexy charm. I thought neither partner did well though, not just Evan, whom the judges seemed to pick on.

As for Kayla and Kupono: I do think he’s a good actor, but I also think she really outdances him. Their Mia Michaels addiction routine was good — he portrayed addiction as a character quite nicely and she acted her part as victim quite well. I loved how she’d try to reach for the sky and he’d stop her, cut her off, pull her back down. I liked how shaky she was (I mean intentionally so). I thought his telling the audience during practice that the role was hard for him because he’s had family members and friends destroyed by addiction, then crying, was a rather obvious attempt to gain our sympathy. I’m looking at my notes and I honestly can’t really remember their Broadway routine. I guess it wasn’t very memorable for me. I have written down that his acting was good but that he looked turned in a lot (foot-wise, I mean) and it looked like he was losing balance at several points. I have written that she looked good and had her usual great lines. Nigel said it wasn’t tough and dangerous enough, like Jerome Robbins-esque Jazz should be.I know some people really like Kupono, but I’m sorry, I have yet to see it! I might still eventually…

Phillip and Jeanine’s Russian folk routine was lacking something though I’m not entirely sure what. His deep knee-bent walks were excellent (those are not easy) and those turns on the floor were very good. I generally agree with Nigel, who said something was missing and reminded us how great Twitch and Joshua were at their Russian routine last season. But Phillip and Jeanine made up with their Jive. In this dance, Phillip was the best I’ve ever seen him. Honestly. Nigel said it was the best dance for him outside of his own style, and I disagree. I think it was the best dance for him period, within his own style too. Those jive kicks are hard and he did them perfectly, like a real Latin dancer. I couldn’t believe it. The judges went wild over her as well, but I was so blown away by him I couldn’t concentrate on her!

So, tomorrow night we’ll find out who will be in the coveted top 10 — those who will be going on tour. I feel like if Evan and Randi are in the bottom three (and half of the couples are going to be in the bottom three tomorrow night), Evan might get the boot. The judges don’t seem to like him much any more. I have no idea what girl will be going home though. I hope it’s not Melissa… We shall see.

8 Comments

  1. I remember Ron Montez being part of SYTYCD on Season 2. He was not just a choreographer, but also an audition judge that season. I didn't watch Season 1, so I'm not sure if he was there. He does about 2-3 routines each season he's on which isn't every year.

    Like you, Janette/Brandon were my favorites tonight, then Melissa/Ade. I can see Wade's routine making the tour as an all-cast routine.

  2. Finally, someone with a little Phillip love! The Russian choreographers had them spend the first half of the routine doing little side-by-side movements that anyone in the audience could do–maybe they were authentic—but by the time they brought out the really hard stuff, I'm sure most people were halfway to the bathroom or joking about the outfits. Too bad because it really sabotages them to have to climb over that mistake in judgment by the producers. I thought they both did well in the jive, and Jeanine finally got some more attention from the judges who have routinely talked about hiim and ignored her.
    Brandon and Janette were terrific in both of their dances. I especially appreciated that their Argentine tango was both choreographed well (not a bunch of flashy lifts to disguise bad dancing) and danced well. Wade's dance was pure joy from start to finish.
    It will be great to see them mix up the couples so we can find out what they can do when Ade is not relegated to being Mellissa-lifter.
    Evan channeling Pasha was brave but unintentionally hilarious. He had a couple moments where he was so clearly imitating his posture and little smirk.

  3. Philip was so much improved in the Jive performance! I was really disappointed in them having to work through that Russian Folk dance, though. It was really unfair of Nigel to criticize them like that. Last year, Twitch and Joshua (?) ended up having a very macho sort of jumping competition, so of course it was more exciting. But what are choreographers supposed to do with a male-female pair? They can't really have Jeanine jumping around like a boy? It wasn't their fault.

  4. umm actually it was. russian folk dance feeds in to character dance which is a crucial element in lots of classical ballets. anyhow, if nothing else, the russian dance had to be cleanly executed, with intricate footwork and precise movements. philip's feet were a trainwreck, and though jeanine's were slightly better, they both had an absurd amount of room for improvement. to blame it on the choreographers was ridiculous, considering that philip and jeanine's problem was the same thing that he clearly articulated for kayla and kupono/evan and randi's second dances-attitude and commitment. it wasn;t that the routine was too “folk-y”. it's that nobody bothered to understand how it was supposed to be done, not the judges,not the audience, and apparently not the dancers.

  5. I was truly disappointed with last nights results. Evan just doesn't have it…lacks passion or chi or something. He does all the movement well but his performance quality is monotonous. He hasn't grown as a performer on this show. And Caitlyn just never had a chance. I think her partnership with Jason wasn't a good match and I had looked forward to seeing what she could do with a new partner. But as I said in my blog, its all going to be painful from here on.

  6. I personally thought that Kayla and Kupono did an amazing job on the Mia Michaels Addicton piece. Mia did a wonderful job with the choreography, but the emotions that the two danced with made me and my sister both tear up a little bit. I've watched that dance over 30 times on my DVR, its amazing <3

    The other dance that I love was the Wade Robson jazz routine with Janette and Brandon. Brandon is still one of my favorites. So yeah. Just thought I'd throw in my opinion on the Mia Michaels routine!

  7. [i]I thought his telling the audience during practice that the role was hard for him because he’s had family members and friends destroyed by addiction, then crying, was a rather obvious attempt to gain our sympathy.[/i]
    Wow. While I dislike the manipulative 'sob' and 'inspirational' backstories that the producers favour so much in the audition episodes, I admire a dancer that can draw from his/her experience to better express the emotion of a piece. I believe that Kupono was genuine since he seems to have a very expressive (wear your emotions on your sleeves) personality.

    Kayla, on the other hand, seems more reserved and introverted. The judges commented that she didn't have enough emotions on her face but maybe she is just not a 'facial' person. She expresses her emotion through her movements and it is lovely, but I suppose the facials are required for the TV cameras.

    Janette has already showed that she deserves a spot in the top 4. Her bio on the fox page states: “Manrara began performing in musical theater at age 12, and started her formal dance training at 19, studying Ballroom, Ballet, Pointe, Jazz and Hip Hop. She currently attends Florida International University.” She is very versatile.

    I think Philip and Caitlin were the right choices if not a week or two too late. Philip is incredible in his unique style but even more limited than Tony who was out in week one.

  8. [i]I thought his telling the audience during practice that the role was hard for him because he’s had family members and friends destroyed by addiction, then crying, was a rather obvious attempt to gain our sympathy.[/i]
    Wow. While I dislike the manipulative 'sob' and 'inspirational' backstories that the producers favour so much in the audition episodes, I admire a dancer that can draw from his/her experience to better express the emotion of a piece. I believe that Kupono was genuine since he seems to have a very expressive (wear your emotions on your sleeves) personality.

    Kayla, on the other hand, seems more reserved and introverted. The judges commented that she didn't have enough emotions on her face but maybe she is just not a 'facial' person. She expresses her emotion through her movements and it is lovely, but I suppose the facials are required for the TV cameras.

    Janette has already showed that she deserves a spot in the top 4. Her bio on the fox page states: “Manrara began performing in musical theater at age 12, and started her formal dance training at 19, studying Ballroom, Ballet, Pointe, Jazz and Hip Hop. She currently attends Florida International University.” She is very versatile.

    I think Philip and Caitlin were the right choices if not a week or two too late. Philip is incredible in his unique style but even more limited than Tony who was out in week one.

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