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'So You Think You Can Dance': Dancing, not competing

Catpg193916 I'm of two minds of tonight's episode of "So You Think You Can Dance." From the loyal fan standpoint, we saw some great dancing and the show looked amazing in HD. From an editorial standpoint, it was completely unnecessary -- there was no competing, or even really getting to know the Top 11 or the All-Stars, so it was not too exciting or enlightening. 

I was kind of down on the episode from the beginning group number that featured Top 11 and All-Stars.  I think I would have liked the Robsons' dark garden party dance to David Bowie's "Fame" more without all the accoutrement. Something about the foppish costumes, the teacups and the AstroTurf and AstroHedges made the dance look a little silly. If we had to imagine a few of those things, it might have been sexier.  But the dancing itself was good: I especially like seeing Mark Kanemura back.

Cat Deeley introduced the show and she seemed a little more "on" than last season, when I don't recall having a lot of those "Oh, Cat, I secretly love you, you goofball!" moments, but she seemed to be more outgoing tonight. I know some people find Caffeinated Cat a little grating, but I like her; she's a breath of fresh air anyway after months of Seacrest (no offense, Ryan, but sometimes you want a change of scenery).

So, tonight the dancers performed with the All-Stars that, aside from the hip-hop and ballroom dances, seemed a little arbitrarily grouped.  I won't go over every routine in detail, but I do think in the larger groups it was hard to figure out who to keep an eye on sometimes -- the new kids or the All-Stars -- and with four people onstage it was hard to get a tight camera angle, so sometimes I wasn't even sure who was who. 

Comfort, Twitch, Dominic and Jose's fun hip-hop routine worked for me because the dance was aboutJose dancing with the other three, so he stood out, yet the others all were able to shine.  Meanwhile, Latin dancer Cristina held up quite well against Pasha and Anya until Pasha took his shirt off and it was every man for himself.  My other favorite was Alexie and Melinda dancing Broadway with Allison and Lauren: "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This" is such a great song and Tyce Diorio did an amazing job with it and their frisky, sexy strong routine was a lot of fun. I liked when Cat begged to be a part of their gang. "You're, like, the coolest!" she said.

There were a few additional tweaks to the show beyond the dancing.  The judges now sit in front of a literal judges' panel, which on its own is very pretty and glowy, but it seems to separate the judges from the audience and makes them seem as if they're on a game show.  Also, the choreographers all gave feedback to the dancers (but all rather generically positive, so that was a little bit pointless).

Aside from that, I'm waiting to see if Kent will be funny or annoying as the season wears on.  Cat asked him to describe his favorite woman and he said "Someone like my mom," and Cat asked him if he was sure, and then he yelled, "BEYONCE!"  It was funny, but I'm trying to figure him out, whether he's just funny-weird or just loud. Meanwhile, Adechike lost points with me by declaring himself the underdog (I think it bugged me because "underdog" would indicate he is somehow under-appreciated, which is a little whiny early on), and when Sonya told Adechike not to call him that, he flexed his muscles.  It rubbed me the wrong way, but I might get over it when I see him compete next week.

-- Claire Zulkey

Host Cat Deeley. Credit: Mark Davis/PictureGroup/FOX

Comments () | Archives (9)

I agree about Adechike. It is way to early for anyone to be calling themselves the underdog except for Jose, since he is the only one not classically trained. While the episode isn't necessary, I still really enjoyed it. I loved the routines and all the dancers are looking to be solid competitors!

For more of my thoughts on the episode, check out my blog here: http://toointerestingfortwitter.blogspot.com/2010/06/so-you-think-you-can-dance-top-11.html

Don't be too hard on the newbies

Clearly they have no experience with television. Some of the things they said and did reminded me of when MTV first came out.

I'm surprised you didn't mention how Nigel keeps getting creepier and creepier.

Clearly, Dominic's love for Cat has not faded at all...

I have watched this show from day one but I find this new format hard to get into. The new contestants are hard to single out on stage and I just feel disconnected from them. I do love seeing the all-stars perform especially Dominick and Pasha. Cat is my favorite female TV hostess of all time but I don't know if I'll eagerly be waiting week by week to catch each episode.

Yeah, I can't agree with you more. Yesterday's show is kind of disappointing, too busy, messy and dark. Except the hip-hop, everything else is not reached my expectation. Last year's intro show was much better, brought up lots of excitement, and most of all, showcased the new dancers' talents. The all stars idea isn't working, at least from the first show.

Did we watch the same show? I thought it was awful. The sound was wonky, to the point I could barely make out what the judges were saying, and the camera work did the dancers no favors by cutting away at key moments, and long shots in which you couldn't tell who was who. The frequent cuts undermined any drama the choreographers built into the dances. The so-called "All-Stars" were treated like expendable chorus boys and girls, shunted aside after each dance. (I mean, that's Twitch you're ignoring over there!) Lauren and Kent are already being pimped as the frontrunners--and for them we lost Anthony Burrell? Clearly the producers of SYTYCD have made a decision to become more like American Idol, more emphasis on backstory, cute looks and "the journey" and less on dancing. It's too bad. For many seasons the show had a certain integrity.

I do believe there are amazing contestants this year...however in the group numbers it was almost impossible to distinguish them from the "all-stars". I'm looking forward to the competition when we will see just one competitor and one "all-star" at a time.

I like Cat....however....I hate the way she's all touchy, feely with everyone. Just...NO!!!!!

We're going to watch some terrific dancing this season. However, is it fair to include dancers in a competition like the guy who was a male principal with the Miami Ballet, or Alvin Ailey dancers? I thought it was great fun to see some of my faves from the past dancing their b**ts off.

I really liked last years into show, it gives us a chance to get to know the dancers and see what they can do in their own style before judgeing them in others.

That being said, it did feel rushed and short. Also agreed it was a bit hard to focus on who's who in some of the numbers.

I will say that Jose disapointed me a bit in the hip hop number (and I'm a hip hop fan that does a bit of popping on my own). I didn't see anything super fancy out of him, and he got showed up dancing next to twitch etc. He's going to need to step up his game, especially after saying he was better than legacy (big words so early in the season).

I am a big fan of the show. However, I feel like they don't really represent hip hop well. Most of their hip hop routines are really just contemporary dance with a few hip hop tricks added.
I hope that they bring in some new choreographers for hip hop this season.


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