Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ranking the SYTYCD Top 16: Crushes, Tears and Bleeding Love

I adore the moment on So You Think You Can Dance where a performance makes you sit up straight, then lean in, and finally wipe away a tear. Tonight, Chelsie and Mark (and Tabitha and Napoleon) made me feel that. It reminded me of why I love the show.

Unfortunately, five of the performances brought up some difficult questions -- will Kourtni meet the high expectations I have of her? Is Kherington all-charm and not enough substance? Will Jessica get kicked off so Will can have a decent partner?

It wasn't all bad -- aside from Chelsie and Mark, Joshua and Katee and Gev and Courtney also stood out. Here's my rankings of the top 10:

1. Chelsie and Mark
This routine combined several of my favorite things: (a)the song "Bleeding Love" (which I can, and have, listened to on repeat for hours. Love.); (b) Napoleon and Tabitha's choreography (but only when they do "lyrical hip hop" -- there "real" hip-hop is just plain boring); and Chelsie and Mark. Oh, Chelsie and Mark, how I love thee! Mark is so original and compelling (not to mention gorgeous), and Chelsie was feeling the music. An all around triumph.

2. Joshua and Katee
I don't know which is more remarkable -- Joshua's ability to samba, or his booty! Though I loved their first two performances, I wasn't convinced they were going to pull this one off, but it was hot hot hot. Once again, their chemistry and connection transcended all else. I can't wait to see what they do next week.

3. Courtney and Gev
I don't know what it is about these two that I love so much -- maybe it's that Courtney reminds me uncannily of The OC's Rachel Bilson; maybe it's Gev's adorable crush; maybe it's the fact that they seem really genuinely connected to each other. Who cares when the dance is this sexy? Her dress was so striking it only highlighted the beauty of her dancing. And Gev, once again, danced like a real man. Love 'em.

4. Kourtni and Matt
I really wanted to love this new choreographer, as we can never have enough good choreographers on this show, but this piece didn't quite work for me. Kourtni and Matt danced it well, and I actually saw some personality in Matt for the first time, but I just wasn't buying what she is selling. More than anything it made me miss Mia Michaels.

5. Kherington and Twitch
As I said above, when Napoleon and Tabitha add some lyrical to their hip-hop, it's genius (think Joshua and Katee's week one "No Air"), but their straight-up hip-hop is pretty uninspiring. Unfortunately, neither Kherington, or, surprisingly, Twitch, really elevated the choreography beyond the "ordinary." And does anyone else think it's weird that Adam Shankman, the director of "Hairspray," didn't acknowledge that Twitch had been in his film (see my post Dancing on Broadway Indeed: Twitch Was in the Movie Version of Hairspray). Do I sense a cover-up here?

6. Jessica and Will
Will was adorable right from the get-go, and Jessica held her own for about 60% of the dance, but when it comes down to it, this dance was a big hot mess. There were three different occasions where they appeared to have no idea what they were doing, to the point that I wondered if something had been screwed up in the music. Unfortunately, those screw-ups are the moments I most remember.

7. Chelsea and Thayne
I have no comment -- I'm still scared by their perma-smiles (and Nigel's impression of them).

8. Comfort and Chris
Nigel was right -- there was no animalistic sensibility in this dance. I didn't buy either of them -- they weren't grounded in anything. My favorite part of the whole thing, however, is when Nigel basically called Tyce out on his crappy choreography. I know there's some hardcore Tyce fans out there, but I just don't see it. This, to me, was a poseur mess.

And there you have it. Check back tomorrow for my thoughts on who will go home. Hint: Chelsie and Mark have nothing to worry about.

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