Sorry I’m late in posting again. Another problem with Godzilla last night — our run-ins are slowly coming to a head…
Anyway, one highlight to me last night was Mia Michaels echoing my love of Janette! She pronounced Janette “my favorite, favorite, favorite this season”! I of course love Janette too. There’s nothing she hasn’t been able to do. I don’t think she’s really received a single criticism yet on the show. Since this show honors versatility, at this point she is my favorite to win.
I also think though that Evan and Kayla are two of the best things to come out of this season. I honestly feel that the past two seasons generally have been duller than the first three, and sometimes I wonder what good this show really does for the dancers who appear on it. American Idol contestants go on to do huge things — acting in movies (and winning awards for their work), going on Broadway and becoming sensations, and of course becoming recording superstars — but I haven’t seen the dancers from this show reap those kinds of rewards. I do think with Evan and Kayla, Broadway could have found some new stars. I could see both of them up there on the Broadway stage, especially if, as Mia Michaels told Kayla, they can sing and act. I thought Kayla and Jasons’ Broadway routine was the hit of the night. The judges didn’t all agree with me and I think Nigel said they were “flat” but I thought it was fantastic. I thought Kayla in particular showed real star potential.
To me, Evan always shows that star potential. Another great Gene Kelly-ish solo from him last night. He reminds me so much of ABT’s Craig Salstein.
So what if he’s not the proto-typical tall, dark and handsome hero — neither were Kelly, or Fred Astaire. Character and sheer dance ability can go a long way; they can be everything. And I loved his and Janette’s Rumba. I loved it! I totally agree with Mia — I thought he was sexy, even though I wasn’t expecting it. So much better than his earlier Samba. He had not only the character down, but the passion, the hip action, the partnering, the sexy stylized walks — the technique was all there. And gorgeous lunge for him at one point. He looked like a real Sergey Surkov. I liked their contemporary routine by Sonya less, mainly because I didn’t really understand the point — they just kept covering their own and each other’s mouths to shut each other up, but I didn’t really understand why. Still, they danced it very well. The movement was all there.
I thought Ellen Degeneres was hilarious, although I’m not sure exactly why she was on the show. She obviously couldn’t offer any critiques, and she’d mentioned at one point she really just wanted to watch a live taping, not necessarily judge one. Still, some of the things she said were hilarious — particularly up front, when she talked about her “extensive street training.” Everyone’s seen this, right? I loved it when she talked about how she loved Evan’s face and his eyes, and called him a very special dancer. He looked like he was going to cry at that point.
I also really loved Jeanine and Brandon’s Waltz by Hunter Johnson. I seem to be liking everything the judges don’t this season and disliking what they do. In explaining to the dancers why they thought it didn’t work so well, they said it was so slow and therefore really hard to pull off. Slow? This song is played ALL THE TIME in American Smooth ballroom competitions! All the time! I can’t believe Mary said most pro dancers can’t dance to it right. Yes, they can! Anyway, I thought Brandon and Jeanine were beautiful, flowing, dreamy, romantic. She had some beautiful spins in arabesque position, and there was really nice partnering, really lovely lifts. It was all the things a waltz should be.
But then, in contrast to the judges, I wasn’t so hot on their contemporary routine, choreographed by LaurieAnn Gibson (who I don’t remember seeing on the show before, though she may have been). I thought from rehearsals that she was supposed to not want him to go off to war and to try to prevent him from doing so, so I kept expecting to see that. Instead it just seemed like a lot of hard hitting action, a lot of flexed-footed jumping, often with them dancing in sync. But their movement was point on.
I thought Ade and Melissa’s Salsa, choreographed by Tony and Melanie, was cute, but I thought she wasn’t grounded enough, which is typical for a ballet dancer. One of the judges – I think Nigel — told her to be careful and not be so turned out when she settled into her hip or she could hurt her hips, which is true. It’s something ballet dancers always have to be careful about in Latin dance — kind of reversing their turnout, which is hard since you’ve really spent your life trying to attain it in maximum.
All the judges of course loved Melissa and Ade’s contemporary Tyce DiOrio routine about a woman with breast cancer. Each judge cried, Tyce cried, several people in the audience cried, and Melissa cried. It looked to me similar to what I call the “rag doll” pas de deux in MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet, at the end where he thinks she’s dead and her body is all limp. Except that moved me far more than this. I don’t know why — maybe it was something you had to see live. Definitely hard to do those lifts though, where he’s tossing her body straight up in the air seemingly without any help from her. (Here she’s limp out of exhaustion from the illness). Ade is definitely a powerhouse of a man. I thought her develope was not that which would be expected of a ballerina, and it bugged me. She lifted her leg, knee bent, and then didn’t fully unbend it, like is proper with a develope. Of course it could be that she did it intentionally to show how exhuasted her character was, but it seemed more that she just didn’t do it properly. She doesn’t have really great extensions, I’ve noticed.
I wasn’t as in love with Kayla and Jason’s Shane Sparks zombie-esque hip hop routine as I was with their waltz, but I have to admit, I liked it a lot better when Nigel pointed out that it looked very Michael Jackson, very Thriller. I hadn’t thought of that. Still, I thought the movement was good; I loved the one part where he wobbled his knees. Jason’s very good at those kind of things; he’s able to make his body all flexible and rubbery-looking.
Melissa’s solo was interesting; she tried to spice it up and make it more contemporary ballet, with lots of angular movement and deep knee bends on pointe. Kind of Balanchine-y.
It’s hard to talk about their solos; that’s not really where most of the dancers excel, as someone had commented here before. Brandon had a series of impressive back flips in his and I’ve always loved (and wanted to dance to) that Celine Dion music Janette chose for hers. Everyone else’s was just kind of so-so, except Evan’s.
Tonight’s 100th episode celebration should be interesting. I hope Godzilla allows me to watch it in peace.