'So You Think You Can Dance': Tears of a creepy clown
I am reluctant to say who my new favorite guy is after Wednesday night’s show, because I did that last week and he got voted off. So I won’t name names, but I will say that one male dancer gave two very strong performances, and I hope he makes it to the finale (Thursday night the judges are powerless to save any dancers: it’s solely up to the voters).
Cat was dressed like a member of Jem and the Holograms as she danced out onto the stage. She’s been doing a lot of dancing lately, despite repeating her standby joke that if she danced on the show she’d “make people’s eyes bleed.” She introduced a cute group Broadway number from “Guys and Dolls” as choreographed by Tyce Diorio. Lauren, perhaps inevitably as the only girl, stood out in the group. Tyce was a strong guest judge and had honest comments for all the contestants. At the top of the show he proclaimed Kent a standout and implored Adechike to display a little more fight.
Lauren and Pasha kicked off the competition part of the show with a tango choreographed by Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo. I really liked how the dance was an exercise in control and deliberation, when the choreographers could go really big and overdramatic at this stage in the competition. While it was still pretty clear to me exactly who was the All-Star here, Lauren paired well with Pasha, and her legs especially looked great in the dance's many slow lifts and twirls. The judges adored Lauren and the dance. I like her, and I liked the dance, but I don’t know if I was as over-the-moon about it as they were. Adam took this opportunity to celebrate the overturn of Proposition 8 by proposing to Nigel, who demurely asked for some time to think it over.
I wonder if Adechike is sick of hearing the same input again and again from the judges. Open up, loosen up, lose yourself in the dance, Just Forget It’s a Competition®! I’m sorry to say though, I agreed with them. Adechike looked like he was having fun in Sean Cheesman’s African jazz routine, but for a dance that was all about joy and light, I don’t think Adechike brought the sense of transcendence that might come with getting this far in the competition. I wondered what Ade, for instance, would have done with the dance. It’s telling that Tyce Diorio’s first comment was telling All-Star Lauren how much he loved her in the dance (she was great). Mia out-and-out told Adechike that she didn’t care for the dance, but it’s pretty clear by now that he’s just not her favorite. In short, I think Adechike danced it well, but he didn’t dance like a winner in the Promised Land.
I finally got the goosebumps going with the next dance, a Viennese waltz for Robert and Anya as choreographed by Jonathan Roberts, who to me resembles old-timey Superman. Aside from his old-fashioned good looks, Jonathan choreographed a gorgeous waltz for Robert. It somehow resembled a fairy tale, yet felt contemporary. Robert looked like a prince in the dance, and finally had that command of the floor that I had been missing to date. He was elegant yet manly, especially when he made Anya look like she weighed about 10 pounds with his lifts (she was wonderful as always too: I especially loved her in that white flowing dress). The judges agreed, Mia even stealing my impression of Robert as a prince. Adam observed that Robert seems to be going through a “surge” at the end of the season. With Billy now gone I wouldn’t mind this at all.
Hmm, OK, so Kent and disco. On the one hand, it was the perfect genre for him, since you can be a little cheesy and over the top, but only a little. I thought there were some parts of the dance where Kent performed surprisingly well, specifically the spins at the end. However, I still think you need a bit of machismo to do a disco just right (I’m thinking Travolta here) and little Kent with his “O” face didn’t quite pull it off. I thought Courtney did a great job making him look good, though. The judges mostly agreed with me: Nigel didn’t think Kent was too cheesy, but Mia thought Kent was “childlike, bouncy, short and squashy.” I think Tyce was the most diplomatic when he (after complimenting Courtney first) advised Kent to do a bit more research on what disco should look like.
Lauren looked like she was Britney Spears in a hot new video in her next dance (and I mean that as a compliment, if that’s not clear). She played a black widow in a Sean Cheesman dance with Ade. I loved that the dance seduction was uptempo and dark at the same time. Ade was a great partner for Lauren, who literally had to climb him like a wall at times. It was a sexy, fun, slightly retro dance (hand choreography!). I only wish that the dance had ended on a bit more of a power move and that Lauren had been able to nail the face a little bit better: She’s still a little too young and sweet to really capture “evil badass” in her character sometimes. In addition to wanting more “ferociousness,” Mia also wished that Lauren and Ade had some more sexual chemistry, but overall the judges were happy.
I think that when the judges tell a dancer "congratulations" at the end of a dance, it means they think he or she is going home the next night, and that’s what happened after Adechike’s final performance. He danced a contemporary dance choreographed just for him by Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, who had worked with him before. I wonder if Kathryn is simply a bad All-Star to draw this season because every time she’s danced I’ve had my eye on her only. As usual with Adechike, I have nothing specific to complain about, but I didn’t find anything to love about the performance. The judges all complimented him overall as a dancer, but only Adam really gave him positive feedback on the dance itself and not just his potential as a dancer. Even Cat didn’t have much to say about the dance other than “Well done!” and she usually has something specific to say about each dance.
I don’t want to sound like I’m psychic, but I knew Robert and Dominic’s Nappytabs hip-hop routine about demented clowns would be great before it even began. It was, as Mia said, “hip-hop theatre.” The guys were creepy and cool and the choreography was fantastic: I especially loved the sickly pendulum-type moves at the beginning. Most importantly, Robert nailed the weirdo character that normally I would say Mark Kanemura is best at capturing. This has been Nappytabs’ best season, in my opinion, and this was Robert’s best night by far. I knew before Nigel even said so that this would be a great dance for the tour.
I do think Kent redeemed himself after his disco routine with a contemporary dance by Travis Wall with Neil about two friends who split apart. The dance was beautiful, and I love it when Neil plays a bad guy, but Kent was really his own man in this piece, which was so elegant and clean. I loved it when the two of them danced together. I still think Robert’s my favorite guy after tonight, but Kent definitely proved why he deserves to be on this show. He didn’t look like Neil’s dippy little brother in this dance, he looked like his partner. The judges overflowed with praise (Mia claimed not to be able to find the words, but then she did, saying that Neil, Kent and Travis are a great team).
I’ll just say that I hope the finale consists of a coed duo, but I don’t want to jinx anything beyond that. Who do you think should be eliminated tomorrow night?
Photo from left: Adechike Torbert, Lauren Froderman, Robert Roldan and Kent Boyd. Credit: Frank Micelotta / FOX