There’s just something about watching So You Think You Can Dance this year that sets it apart from other seasons. It’s really hard to pinpoint, as while the dancers are all just so good, even the choreographers are noticing that there are techniques being done that other professional dancers can’t do or take years to master. Yet, there isn’t anyone that inspires me to pick up the phone, or that sticks in mind a few hours after watching the show.
As the show starts out tonight, Cat Deeley panders to Mia Michaels a little, asking her how tough it was to lose Ricky Palomino, one of her favorites. She says it was awful to the point of making her gag. Well, that has to be quite a bit of melodrama. She believes we as America got it wrong, as the best male dancers were up on the stage as bottom three, and it was left to the three judges to do what they had to do. Mary believes this is a good lesson for all of us that we have to vote if we want to save our favorites. Nigel says there will always be three couples in the bottom three (duh!), and says what he dislikes are the dance snobs, people that think they need formal training with years and years of training before they can be called a dancer. He thinks this final 20 is the best of any season.
Tonight, we are learning what inspires the dancers, and up first are Lauren Gottlieb and Neil Haskell. For Lauren, it was her mom, as Lauren was a tomboy, doing baseball and karate, but her mom wanted her to do something girly. The first time she walked off the stage she wanted to run back on, and she knew it was what she would do forever. Neil and his twin were best friends with a girl when they were in preschool, and she was taking dance lessons with another guy. They wanted to hang out with her more, so started taking dance as well. He and Lauren realize they need to work on their chemistry, and have pulled hip hop from the hat, which may not be the best style to work on chemistry. Dave Scott, from the movies You Got Served and Stomp the Yard will be helping them out. He know his choreography is hard-hitting, as he likes to do a lot of poppin’, and is very energetic. Lauren finds she has a little hip hop side to her, and Neil has some things that David kind of likes, some acrobatics, that he works into the choreography.
Lauren and Neil dance to The Way I Are by Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson and D.O.E., and are definitely together, dancing in black and white. He does a jump over her and does spins and flips as well. The two strut over to Cat Deeley for their critiques. Mia says that first of all, they are a helluva lot better than last week for her. She loves Dave’s choreography, and the way it breathes and moves. She tells Neil he tore this up, but she has to be honest to say she could have done without Lauren, as Neil was just so good, and she thinks she’s not quite bringing it yet. Mary says last week Lauren was dancing like a cheerleader and there was nothing happening between the two of them, yet this week their chemistry is starting to happen in the partnership. She loved when Neil came around and gave Lauren a little smack, and his dive seemed suspended for about five minutes. Nigel loved it, and feels the choreography is the first time one of those hip hop routines doesn’t look like someone is about to beat up the whole world. He feels they have set the bar for everyone else.
Jessi Peralta and Pasha Kovalev are up next, and he says he was inspired to take up dance when he was 8 in Russia and watching ballroom competition. Jessi says that dancing came naturally to her as she would practice in front of the fireplace from the time she was 2 years old. She thinks it’s a celebratory art form they express themselves. Last week they did the small waltz, and she was excited her grandfather got to see her do that, while he would like his family back in Russia to see him dance like that. This week they pull jazz from the hat, and while they expect to be doing something with “jazz hands,” choreographer Tyce Dioro has them doing more of an African, modern, contemporary dance. It’s supposed to resemble the way a bird moves, and Pasha says it has a more earthy, urban kind of feel.
Dancing to Stiff Jazz by dZihan and Kamien, Jessi and Pasha are definitely bird-like with crisp, sharp moves that become very loose and breezy. Mia says she loves birds, and Jessi and Pasha are her favorite birds. It was the quirkiest, most ridiculous amazing piece, and she admits now that in Las Vegas, she was not having Pasha at all, yet tonight she is very proud of him. Mary tells Jessi she liked the way she isolated her head and finds her movement intriguing, and we have to latch onto them as they are both such gorgeous people. She finds Pasha a master at partnering and liked the way he stalked Jess “animalistically.” Nigel feels that goes along with the journey of the show, to move from Latin ballroom champion to doing an idiosyncratic bird routine. He also notes that Jessi’s quality with dancing has fit everything she’s had to do so far. He thinks she’s on her way to being one of their top dancers, and he just loves that afro jazz style of the dance.