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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

So You Thnk You Can Dance 2, 08/09/06 – Climbing on the Love Boat With Mary


I think there’s something special about this year’s group of dancers on So You Think You Can Dance. I can’t really put my finger on it, as last year seemed to be a talented group as well, but this group seems perhaps a little more talented, and seem to also be genuine personalities and all very likable. No hard-edged ones like Snow. At the end of their introductory group number, they even have a group hug.

Cat comes out, looking as beautiful as ever in a silver dress and lots of flowing curls in her hair. I really like her personality as hostess on this show. Tonight each girl will dance with each guy, and the girls will also dance together, the guys will dance together, and they’ll each also do a solo and one more group number at the end. That’s a lot of dancing to fit in in one hour. We better get moving. To help us out tonight, even though we will be solely responsible for the judging with out phone-in votes, Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and Brian Friedman will be offering their own critiques.

First up is Heidi and Travis doing one of Doriana Sanchez’s signature disco routines. Since routine will be rather short, she wants the two dancers to come out and explode like a firecracker. Heidi just wants to put the quarter in the machine and get going. They dance to Shake Your Groove Thing by Peaches & Herb. This is classic disco, and I feel like I’m spending a Saturday night watching Dance Fever in the late ’70s. They include a really cool flip at the end, and as they walk away, Travis hits Heidi in the butt for emphasis. At the end, Nigel tells Cat if they’d have hung her at one point, they could have spun her around to look like a disco ball. She tells him if he can fix the words, he can hang her any way he likes. Well, alright then. That’s certainly interesting.

Getting to his critique of the dance, Nigel calls it a great start to the evening and says h e thinks Heidi is the bets girl partner in the competition. Travis agrees, and Nigel continues to say she always looks like she’s dancing with a partner. She has a great strong back, is easy to lift. Mary says she just loves that song, but she loves the way they danced it even better, and this prompts Heidi and Travis to do the bump together. Mary continues, telling Heidi she’s the first girl that has been able to dance the hustle basic, and have it look fabulous. To Travis, sh says he was doing a great job in partnering skills, as they stayed together. With all the lifts in this, he was like Hercules. Thinking back to Doriana wanting it to explode like a firecracker, Mary says this was like the fourth of July. Brian tells the dancers they are both so disco, he actually believed they were in that era. He believes it worked with the facial expressions Heidi makes. However, for one little critique, when Travis into into the overhead lift, he wanted him to lock. It would have provided so much more lift.

Donyelle and Benji do the Viennese Waltz, choreographed by Jean Marc Genereux. Since these two have done this style before, Jean Marc says it needs to be even more challenging for finale. Donyelle is getting quite the workout, saying he always wants it to “go go go go.” They dance to I’ll Be by Edwin McCain. They add in some very nice jumps and spins, and have the same great chemistry they always do. Benji even seems to fit in a little “smooch”, as Cat calls it for his old partner at the end.

Nigel confirms that neither Benji or Donyelle had any classical training, then says he’s afraid it showed. On the turns their arms were turned the wrong way, and it didn’t look particularly graceful to him. He is pleased they have other dances coming up, as he doesn’t feel this was worthy of being on a finale. Mary admits it was a disappointment for her as well. Since it was the second time around for this style, she really anticipated a lot of improvement. She wanted more drive and powerful movement across the floor, but it just wasn’t happening. The great thing is they have great chemistry together, but the dancing just didn’t happen for her. Brian agrees, saying it should be a smooth waltz, but it felt tense and rushed. Although they are great performers, that’s what makes it look good. If you watch their faces it would look good. He loved the arobesque, but warns them to be careful of their arms. I liked it, but what do I know?

The four finalists were whisked off in a limo for the world premiere of the movie Step Up, and we get to see them having fun in the limo. Heidi, though, has her dress falling apart, and Travis is kind enough to pin it for her. Benji says the movie is about a hip hop dancer meeting a ballet dancer, and feels it’s like himself and Donyelle. They all seem to thoroughly enjoy the movie, plus the thought that maybe they could be starring in something similar themselves one day.

Heidi dances a here usual Latin type solo to Rie Y Llora by Celia Cruz. It’s her usual, but there is a little bit more zap to it than usual. She includes an amazing backbend at the end.

Benji and Travis get to dance together to a Shane Sparks hip hop. As they are calling themselves “Trenji,” Shane notes that the guys either have different abilities, and he wants to highlight that. They dance to Gyrate by Da Muzicianz feat. Mr. Collipark. This dance features the two guys as “geeks” with backpacks and dorky clothes, but once they’re done bumping into each other, they start gyrating their bodies, then move into a really cool backwards flip going over each other. It’s a cute dance, and seems to do just what Shane wanted.

Nigel calls it a great idea for a routine, and says Trenji didn’t have to be good or together, and they still came off a s a pair of closet krumpers. He was almost afraid they’d have nipple rings on, and it would be freaky and reminiscent of Dmitry. Mary says she’s not even gonna mess with these two guys. She loved it, loved it. It was well-synchronized, and they were hitting it when they needed to. She says they completely deserve it, and asks her hand if it agrees, then gives out one of her signature yells. Is this woman losing it? I thinks she needs a vacation. Brian answers back with a yell of his own for Mary, then calls Trenji dorktastic. He totally loved it, and liked how they kept the whole dork thinking going, even into the choreography, making it seamless. He liked the two guys dancing together, and feels they make a great team.

Donyelle comes out for her solo, doing her usual African hip hop thing to Human by Dionne Farris. I have to say I’m not impressed. I’ve seen it before. She doesn’t seem to have stepped it up at all for the finale.

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