Cat wore a smart turquoise Indian-inspired tunic. Nigel turned 60. There will be no SYTYCD Michael Jackson special due to a conflict over the music rights. SYTYCD Tour tickets go on sale July 25. (We’ll probably be at the Nov. 20th show in Everett, WA, by the way.) Every Thursday from here on out, Cat’s going to show us a tease of what’s to come for the fall season. Everything about last night’s show moved at a steady clip, as if to underscore the seriousness of making it to the Top 10 by dispensing with most of the funny business and banter.
Tabitha and Napoleon continued on Wednesday night’s Russian history lesson by choreographing a very smart, well-staged hip-hop routine set to The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army,” which ended with the dancers approximating a Soviet-era work poster, Jason posed at the top of a mountain of subwoofers, defiantly holding a severed cable in the air. Arguably, it was the smartest piece they’ve ever done, and it would be a good number to open the tour, considering it contains all of the Top 10, plus the tour’s two alternates. (The video is below, with Ade’s solo oddly attached.)
And who are those alternates?
Cat brought our six couples up two by two, which meant, of course, that of each pairing, one couple would be safe, and the other would have to dance for their lives. In the battle of Caitlin and Jason vs. Jeanette and Brandon, it was abundantly clear that Jeanette and Brandon were safe, having danced two of the best routines of the night and being virtually unstoppable all season. The capable but less impressive Caitlin and Jason ended up in the bottom for the third time. Next up was a fearful match between two couples I predicted yesterday would surely both be in the bottom three: Randi and Evan and Chbeeb and Jeanine. I clearly shouldn’t have doubted Randi and Evan’s fans because they kept those two tiny dancers in the competition, sending Chbeeb and Jeanine into their second bottom three appearance. With Randi and Evan safe, this meant bad things for Melissa and Ade, who were pitted against Kayla and Kupono, whom I expected to get through to the Top 10 by sheer force of their powerful Mia Michaels routine alone. It turned out to be true, and Melissa and Ade found themselves in the bottom three for the first time. (Which is sad face, because Melissa and Ade are both very, very good dancers.)
Cat showed some of the upcoming audition footage, as I mentioned above, and the dancers in danger launched into their solos:
- Caitlin was a little desperate tonight dancing to Playing for Change’s cover of “Stand By Me.” I think she knew it was over for her and so she barely tried.
- Jason performed one of his more powerful solos to “Calm Touching” by Evaline. I am constantly impressed by the strength of his core and the length of his leg lines.
- Jeanine was absolutely superb in both her expression of technique and musicality in her routine set to Chris Garneau’s “Baby’s Romance.”
- Phillip chose to perform to “The Diva Dance” from the Fifth Element, which made me larf because I started thinking about Chris Tucker as Ruby Rod. As always, Chbeeb is amazing at what he does, even though I could tell he was a little nervous this week, unlike the first time he soloed for us. It wasn’t his strongest by comparison.
- Melissa performed a ballet solo that was a dozen times less impressive than her classical pas de deux to “Kashiva” by Kodo, but she still looked more polished overall than Caitlin. And she went en pointe.
- Ade danced to a totally insane song called “Windowdripper” by Jib Kidder and did a totally insane backflip to finish it off. Having never really noticed Ade before he got into the Top 20, I now have a better understanding of what it is about his personality that made him shine more than other dancers.
Kelly Rowland came out to perform her single, during which I realized that there is a reason why Beyoncé became the breakout star from Destiny’s Child. Kelly does not sound great live (maybe it’s just that her wailing “Yeah!” sounds really stupid live?), but she was singing live, and that deserves some accolades because Kristinia DeBarge of the Family DeBarge sure as hell didn’t do that when she dropped by. If there’s anything I can compliment her on, it’s her stellar breath control. Girl can get some air under those notes, and she does not get winded while doing it.
After her performance, Nigel announced which dancers would be continuing on into the Top 10 and going on tour, and which dancers would be . . . also going on tour as alternates because that’s how the tour has worked every freakin’ year. For whose benefit was Nigel expressing the need for alternates? Remember how Hok didn’t make the Top 10, but he still got to go on tour to perform the Hummingbird routine because it was so amazing? Yeah, that’s because he was an alternate. I suppose the show gets new fans every year who might not know how the tour works, but surely if you’re watching a dance show, you do know a little bit about how theatre works, and thus you might reasonably surmise that “runners-up” would end up as alternates/understudies/swings for the Big Show.
(Husband Note: That’s how it usually works, but I’ve seen at least one person who did worse than 12th place as an alternate, Santa Cruz’s Shaun Noland, who came in 14th place in s3.)
Anyway, Nigel said that the judges were unanimous in their decisions to keep the dancers they chose to keep, muttering some bullshit about how the dancers they’re letting go (but still bringing on tour!) hadn’t become “stars” yet, and that’s what everyone in the Top 10 needed to be from here on out. Phillip and Caitlin were eliminated, which is why that bit about “stars” is kind of bee ess. You know who’s a star? Phillip Chbeeb. You know who isn’t? Caitlin’s partner, Jason. I’m all for Jason staying in the Top 10 over Phillip because I believe Jason is a stronger dancer, but if you’re going to give some bullshit line to soften the blow for Caitlin (who really was being let go because she isn’t a star, unlike the other girls in the competition who are, in fact, stars), it needs to be true on the guys end, as well. Phillip was let go simply because he was great in his own style, but not strong enough to compete against more versatile dancers. If there’s any truth to Nigel’s “star quality” bee ess, it’s the fact that Phillip’s fans didn’t keep him out of the bottom three, which either means his fanbase is waning (which I doubt is true) or simply that his fans know that he’s already reached his zenith in this competition, and to keep him around any longer would probably tarnish the reputation he’s built and sully our initial excitement for his inclusion on the show. (Kind of like how, after five seasons, I’m still angry that Jamile took third place in season 1. Dude was not that good, and he stayed around longer than he should have. And over Artem! Bah!) I think this was best for Phillip, and I look forward to seeing him perform a solo on the tour this fall.
On a slightly selfish note, though, my correct prediction that Phillip would be eliminated (along with Caitlin) earned me super awesome amounts of points in SYTYCD Predicify over at EW.com, and I am now 287th out of 3,227 players. This also means I am officially trouncing every EW staffer that’s playing. Go me! I am a very premium judge of dances!
I’m very much looking forward to the next five weeks of competition, as I think everyone we have left is extremely talented. Here are some things I’d like to see happen in the next few weeks:
- I need there to be one less girl in the competition whose name starts with “Jean”. It’s hard to type Jeanine and Jeanette. If there’s one of the two of them that I think has more star power, it’s Jeanette. In fact, I bet Jeanette will make the Top 4.
- I hope people will continue to vote for Kayla, now that she’s free of her partner. I like Kupono more now, but I didn’t think Mark Kanemura should have made the Top 4 and neither should Kupono. (And I effing LOVED Mark, by the way.)
- I’m going to lose Evan soon, because he’s just not as strong as Brandon Bryant or even Ade. And I’m learning to accept that.
- I actually now no longer care if Randi stays or goes. (Although, don’t get me wrong. I do like her very much.) My top 3 ladies are Melissa, Kayla and Jeanette. And I’d pick Kayla and Jeanette to crack to Top 4.
- Of the remaining guys, I think Brandon and Ade will be the two to make it to the Top 4.