The first week of performances on any competitive-based show are always exciting, whether it’s So You Think You Can Dance, American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, etc. It’s like there’s the great buildup, and now we see it come to fruition. That’s what we have tonight. We’re not exactly sure who and what we’ll have in this top 20, but we know who’s proven to be exciting so far. Let’s see how that all works out.
Let me tell you, just from their intros, I’m already excited. They all seem fantastic! Tonight on our judging panel, we have Adam Shankman, Mary Murphy, and Nigel Lythgoe. Nigel’s advice for the top twenty is to grab the energy from the audience. He thinks they’ll be nervous, as even the judges are. Mary says it’s easy watching extraordinary dancing, but dropping two people tomorrow night won’t be so nice. Cat suggests she and Mary should wear waterproof mascara. Adam’s been living in airports, but being here on this show is important, as the dance community is where he comes from. But, he’s also producing three movies simultaneously, and one is Step Up 3D, that includes many of the dancers from past seasons. Twitch has a huge role in it, along with Katee Shean, Ivan Koumeav, and others.
Jeanine Mason and Phillip Chbeeb are the first couple up tonight. She knows when she first started dancing she was a hot mess. There were a lot of moments when she thought her body wasn’t meant to move that way, and she realizes she doesn’t have amazing legs, but she has passion and loves what she’s doing. He says all his ability was born and raised in his bedroom, practicing in front of a window reflection. He finds It exciting how far creativity and a little bit of passion can take you. They will be doing hip hop with Tabitha and Napoleon D’Umo. It’s a routine about a couple that can’t fall asleep without resolving their issues. Jeanine wants to kill it so bad, and even Napoleon admits there’s a lot of work ahead of them. Phillip thinks if they can just find the connection, it’ll be perfect.
They dance tonight to Mad by Ne-Yo and start lying on the floor. This is of course his style, but it’s really intersting to see him put some type of story to it. She does well, too, for a person trained in ballet. I think they have a really cute connection with each other. Adam tells them it was “unfreaking real.” Jeanine has no hip hop experience and is the last person he’d want to be on the stage with. But in the first number on the first show, she’s with Phillip. But she held her own and stepped it up. Phillip has grown so much, and he says no one dances like him or ever will. He has to compliment him on being so generous to his partners, as he gives them everything, and that makes them both better.
Mary hates to disagree, and she’s not going to, she says with a Mary scream. Jeanine did hold her own, and Napoleon and Tabitha know how to work each dancer and make it work and fit them. Nobody does it like Phillip, and while she was worried about the chemistry, he taught them a chemistry lesson. Nigel tells Jeanine she was fantastic and kept up with Phillip. Phillip already has a following, and Jeanine has slipped under the radar, but tonight she’s made her mark. He tells Tabitha and Napoleon it was fabulous, as it’s not just about steps, but stories as well.
Asuka Kondoh and Vitolio Jeune step up to the plate next. She was born in San Francisco and remembers going to a dance studio, and of all the classes she took, she stuck with ballet. In college she got into ballroom. This whole thing has been like a dream to her. His mother died giving birth to his sister, and he grew up with his grandmother, then ended up in an orphanage. He felt like he was different. Tonight, they’ll work with Tyce Diorio on Broadway. It’ll be like their own silent film, with Asuka being the actress and Vitolio being the director. She notes there’s a lot of staccato movements and locking, and she’s never locked in her life. Vitolio knows Tyce is getting frustrated.
Dancing to Hot Honey Rag by BP Studio Musicans from Chicago, we need to see if they can bring in larger than life personalities for the Broadway. They seem to do just fine with it. It definitely tells a story, as well. Adam tells them this is where the luck of the draw comes into the show. They followed a performance that was very emotional, and they had more of a chracter performance piece. It felt more artificial, yet they danced well and clean, and it was apparent they’re both very good dancers.
Mary notes that Vitolio feared he might disappoint Tyce, and she doesn’t think he disappointed him or the audience, but she is a little disappointed. They both played it safe, when they could have put much more energy in it. It was just safe and nice. Nigel doesn’t think it was about the dancing, saying if you’d take photographs, all the lines they hit were fantastic. The routine they were given meant they should have put their personalities into it. While they both have personalities, that didn’t come out, as they were both so worried about their lines and hitting the mark.
Karla Garcia and Jonathan Platero are up, and she admits to performing in two Broadway shows and being on tour with Wicked last year. Yet, something was missing, and when she would watch this show, she thought it would be interesting to work with these choreographers and dancers for the challenge. He started dancing because of season one, wanting to dance like them, but never dreamed he’d be on the show. They work on the cha cha this week with Tony Meredith in a routine that is all about the girl flirting, and him about to get her. She knows it needs to be hot and sexy and thinks it’ll be easy as Jonathan’s so sexy. He’s awfully sweaty, though. He puts in a special request for a Mary scream.
Poker Face by Lady Gaga is the backdrop for Karla and Johnathan’s cah cha, and she has hips that move like Chelsie Hightower’s. Again there are no missteps whatsoever. This year’s crew is amazing so far. These seem like performances that should come much later in the season. Adam tells them he thought it was really good, and he was really excited for them. They just “beeped” him up. The technique and lines were beautiful, but she dropped her shoulders a little bit once in awhile. He thinks Jonathan can have a little more roll, but it didn’t really matter, and he’s dancing less like a boy and more like a man.
Mary gives a scream, and Jonathan gets what he wanted. She loves her cha cha rough, and lke Lady Gaga says, if it’s not rough, it’s not fun. TMI, Mary. There was a whole lot of rough, and a whole lot of fun. Nigel says this is another couple that has slipped under the radar, with no one knowing who they are. As far as chemistry, they exploded through the stage. When he came through her legs, he just exploded. It was exciting, challenging, and entertaining.
Randi Evans and Evan Kasprzak should be a favorite couple the way everyone felt for the brothers. This was her third time auditioning. She comes from a huge family and is very much like the country girl, making the makeup, cameras, and everything else surreal to her. He calls it bittersweet to see his brother go home, and he hopes he does him proud. Growing up in Michigan, it’s a little weird being in L.A. They’ll be doing jazz with Tyce, and it ought to be really good. Tyce wants to see a style, a connection, and says the minute they look at each other, that’s the most important moment of the routine. The piece is both physically and emotionally demanding for Evan, and it’s really hard to do with someone he’s just partnered with. She’s married, so it’s difficult for her as well. The fact she’s married scares him a little, and he apologizes to her husband in advance.