A few favorites flopped while one dancer flew high above the competition. Mia has a new "little bunny," and Kent was... loveable as always. Join me for an interesting first night of performances on season 7 of So You Think You Can Dance.
First, Cat Deeley reminds all of us about the long journey each dancer has taken to get to this stage. As she calls out their name, each dancer does a cute little move/pose for the camera. Of course, it would help if the camera could find them. Seriously, what happened there?
Speaking of Cat Deeley — she looks amazing. She has this whole Grecian Goddess thing going on as she towers over every single finalist. Sigh. So pretty. So very, very — oh, I'm sorry. I drifted off a bit. It looks like the question of the night will be: What doesn't America know about you that they should?
On to the Dancing!
Answer to tonight's question: Billy apparently is really into woodworking and working with his hands. Huh. No, I would not have guessed that. There is footage of Billy building something. What could it be? A dance table. Of course it is.
Choreographer/Style: Tyce Diorio/Broadway
Song: "Footloose" by Kenny Loggins
I always feel like this song is the ultimate feel-good dance number and they certainly look like they're having a blast. Billy is fun to watch, but I'm not sure we're seeing him live up to his promise. We keep hearing Billy is amazing, yet we haven't really been shown that talent (this season). Unfortunately, I think we're still missing it in this performance. Both dancers are out of sync several times as well.
Nigel notes that Tyce used longer movements with Billy to complement his style and that it worked well. He advises Billy that he will need to bond with each partner quickly as they will be moving on each week with a new All-Star.
Mia thinks that the dance was awesome especially since the style is out of Billy's comfort zone. She feels, though, that Billy wasn't embracing the "frenetic-ness" of the music. There's a bouncy quality to the song that he was missing. She says he danced like a boy, but needs to dance like a man.
Adam wants Billy to focus on inhabiting the character. He checked on Lauren too many times and lost the connection he should have had with the story. "It's what's in between the steps that you need to fill."
Answer to Tonight's Question: Christina once auditioned for an American Idol-type show in Mexico. She sings a little for the cameras, but says she got cut and doesn't sing anymore. Awww.
Choreographer/Style: Sonya Tayeh/Jazz
Song: "Starstruck" by Santigold
Christina looks a little bit awkward, but the dance itself is much more interesting than Billy's. Maybe that's just because of the style. You definitely see the snake influences in the choreography. She has beautiful long fluid movements, but something about it feels stiff and bereft of emotion. It's not bad; it's just not mind-blowing.
Cat describes a cutesy finger thing that Mark does as "Cool like Fonzie" and I fawn a little more over Cat Deeley.
Nigel says the routine, for him, was all about Mark and Sonya being reunited. He pays Christina some compliments; she fills the spaces between moves and his eyes often followed her despite Mark's presence.
Mia admits that Christina captured the essence. She does wish she saw more of a twisted style, but she loved Christina's technique. She was impressed and proud.
Adam is stunned. He thought it would be a disaster that Christina would be working with Sonya, but admits he was wrong. She truly took on the character she was given.
Answer to tonight's question: He does yoga. I like that: A B-boy that does yoga. He's just adorable.
Choreographer/Style: Tabitha and Napoleon Dumo/Hip-Hop
Song: "Beautiful Monster" by Ne-Yo
Camera Man, zoom in! Finally I get a look. I'm impressed. He has some major moves. Everything is fluid and beautiful yet cool. He is certainly one of the most unique we've seen so far (okay, out of 3).
Nigel points out all of the barriers Jose is facing and all the things he's done this week that he's never done. He's never done choreography or Hip-Hop. Outstanding, Nigel says.
Mia says she thought he had a fabulous weave for a moment. Me too, Mia! She also says he was a bit stiff while doing choreography moves. She still thinks he's fantastic on the floor, but wants him to bring that fierce quality to the choreographed steps.
Adam loves the crazy character and compliments Jose on coming so far since Vegas. Fast power moves.
Answer to tonight's question: He went to the "Fame" high school. He goes into the school office and finds out Tyce Diorio (also a school alum) was not exactly a model student.
Choreographer/Style: Travis Wall/Jazz
Song: "Addicted to Love" by Florence + The Machine
I really like the song choice. They're so beautiful in the beginning, but towards the middle of the piece I find myself watching her much more. I don't know if it's because they gave her more to do or if he just isn't capturing the attention of the audience.
Nigel thinks it was a bit cheeky (Ade-"cheeky"). The choreography was good. He loved the energy and fire that Kathryn gave, but he thinks that Adechike was not necessarily believable in this role.
Mia admits she's going to be harsh. She compliments Travis on the routine, but is disappointed by the lack of sexual chemistry between the two dancers. She feels like he brought nothing but empty technique; there was no passion.
Adam says that Adechike was a good partner technically because he supported Kathryn, but he didn't go that extra step. Because there are 11 this year, there is no learning period and you have to be on top of it right from the start.
Answer to tonight's question: She is an actress and worked on the soap opera As the World Turns. She also sings and writes her own music. She seems like a cool person and I loved her in last week's episodes, but she's starting to feel a little boring tonight.
Choreographer/Style: Tony Meredith and Melanie Lapatin /Jive
Song: L.O.V.E. by VV Brown (Jive)
Oh my. Melinda is a little flat. She has thrown herself into this dance and she doesn't necessarily stand out as "The Tap Dancer," but there is just something off about this performance. They aren't in sync on many of the steps. Pasha on the other hand is gorgeous and a phenomenal dancer
Nigel points out that while she is vivacious, her face was maybe a bit too much. Her form was off. This style wasn't for her. She's "unsafe."
Mia can't help but note how pigeon-toed Melinda can be despite her talent as a dancer. She cautions not to go over the top. All the judges agree that she has to keep the honesty.
Adam says that when Melinda watches this back, she will learn a lot. She used her acting skills to mask her feet, however her hands sometimes finished stiff and rigid.
Answer to tonight's question: He also loves to sing. It allows him to de-stress.
Choreographer/Style: Sonya Tayeh
Song: "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley
I have to admit, this is the only dance I felt the need to re-watch all the way through. This piece is absolutely beautiful. It's an interesting dance, but I love how they move together. Oh yeah! This is awesome. Well, I think Alex has definitely gotten past that whole showing emotion critique from Vegas. He really shines during this number.
Well. All of the judges are crying. That's a good sign, Alex!
Nigel thinks Alex has set a new standard for So You Think You Can Dance. He says sometimes they focus on the lines of the dance and forget the poetry of dance, but tonight Alex has shown you can have both "melded together." He thinks this pair is light years ahead of everyone else.
Mia felt that the pain exuding from the two dancers was unbelievable. She says it's the best piece ever danced on So You Think You Can Dance. He's "sheer perfection."
Adam points out that dancers are often paired with a choreographer who makes them better, but that the reverse happened in this dance.
Answer to tonight's question: She was on Star Search as a mini hip-hop dancer. Oh my God. Christmas came early this year. Adam Shankman was her judge back then and there's some phenomenal footage of '90s Adam doing "sexy face" for the cameras.
Choreographer/Style: Tabitha and Napoleon Dumo/Hip-Hop
Song: "Butterfly" by Jason Mraz
Oh no! Going into tonight, Alexie was one of my favorites. I'm so scared for her know. I feel like this is a boring number as far as choreography goes. Let's hope I eat my words. Hmmmm. No, just boring. Alexie tries to make it work, but she isn't hitting everything as hard or with enough attitude as she needs to sell such a boring number.
Nigel knows Alexie will go far in this competition, but she needs to show more resistance with this style. She needs to make sure she isn't too cutesy and that she isn't too fluid when doing Hip-Hop.
Mia thinks she needs to step it up — that there was no coolness to it. There was too much cute in the dance.
Adam says it was a performance run on charisma. She needs to bring "the power of a guy" to Hip-Hop.
Answer to tonight's question: She works with kindergartners and loves making a difference in their lives.
Choreographer/Style: Mandy Moore/Pop/Jazz
Song: "Oh Yeah" by Yello
Ooo! I like this choreography so much better; though Lauren is also coming across as a little cutesy. It's strange. This pair seems to have a lot of chemistry and yet there is almost a wall between Lauren and her partner. She's mostly able to keep up with Ade though. She just needs to hit some moves a little harder maybe and connect with him more.
Nigel thinks it was really well-choreographed and that the pair was certainly in sync technically with one another. Still, he finds it to be sterile.
Mia thinks technically Lauren was flawless, but that she needs to concentrate on her emotional and character work. It felt like the "first draft" of a performance.
Adam is concerned Lauren isn't really hearing their criticisms. Her reaction definitely seems to reinforce that idea. She says she's learning what to do in order to gain the judges' approval. Oh no, Sweetie. That was definitely the wrong thing to say. She's too focused on presentation. Adam didn't see "character and connection." She looked out at the audience too much. Honestly, she just comes across as so very young during these critiques.
Answer to tonight's question: He was Homecoming King out of a class of only 14 other guys. Awww. He's just so cute!
Choreographer/Style: Tony Meredith and Melanie Lapatin/Cha-Cha
Song: "Lady Marmalade" by Diva Invasion
Damn! Well he's definitely not as presentational. He looks like he's having a blast. I really don't know what else to say. He looks phenomenal. Full disclosure: I absolutely adore Kent and would gladly do my own happy dance were he to win. Still, I can tell he's a little too feminine at points and the judges really hate that. It will be interesting to see what Mia thinks.
Nigel felt that the overriding factor of the routine was that Kent enjoyed himself. He does need to be careful about being too feminine. But he calls Kent a young Paul Newman. Awwww.
Mia says the judges looked like Muppets during that performance — aka all three were smiling the whole time. She also points out the same feminine moves that Nigel did, but says that he comes across as a little bit of a "ballroom boy." I think she means it as a compliment.
Adam points out that Kent really blasted through any of his weaknesses despite his lack of experience in the genre.
Answer to tonight's question: She does crazy voices. I like this for the quirky factor. I feel like she doesn't really stand out personality-wise, but I like seeing this goofy side to her.
Choreographer/Style: Tyce Diorio/Contemporary
Song: "For All We Know" by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway
It's interesting, but a little ho-hum. Beautiful of course, but it's not a stand-out performance. Fluid lines and a real connection between the two partners make me hopeful that Ashley might have a fighting chance.
Nigel clearly tries to make a point about Ashley being too young to understand the emotion behind the dance, but she inadvertently takes the wind out of his sails saying she's in love right now. He wants her to infuse her dancing with her emotions. He ends saying she is a beautiful dancer.
Mia says she felt her a lot, but doesn't know what exactly she was feeling. She says there was emotion, but it was almost too subtle and not clear enough. She's a special "little bunny." I want Mia to call me a little bunny.
For Adam, this season is a conundrum because a lot of people are technically great but they are not emotionally present. He didn't connect with Ashley, but he says she'll understand when she watches the playback.
Answer to tonight's question: He likes baseball! He used to play but then discovered dance and had to choose between the two.
Choreographer/Style: Sean Cheesman/African Dance
Song: "Noreweg" by Cirque de Soleil's Saltimbanco Soundtrack
I really love how different Robert can be within this style. He hasn't really been one of my favorites thus far, but he really is spot on here. He's been a little devoid of personality off the dance floor up until now which may hurt him. The movement in this performance, though, is beautiful while retaining the playfulness of an African dance piece.
Nigel thought the routine was fabulous and he loved the way Robert danced. He also says he thinks Robert is a dark horse in this competition. I think he might be right.
Mia loves so many things about Robert — the quirky factor, the beauty factor. Damn right, the beauty factor. She wants him to dig into who Robert is now.
Adam likes this all-star format because it mixes up the pairings. He then pays Robert a huge compliment by saying he is one of the best contemporary dancers they've ever had on the show.
So, tomorrow it will be time for us to say our first "good-bye" to one of this season's top 11 finalists — and say "hello" to Usher. Yowza. I'm still leaning towards Kent as my overall favorite and I'm hoping Alexie can at least survive this week's cut. Alex was phenomenal, though. I can't wait to see what he will pull out for next week.
What did you think? Did you really hate any of the performances tonight? Any new favorites? Discuss below and we'll see what happens tomorrow night.