June 11, 2009 03:42 PM by DA Southern
So You Think You Can Dance finally gets serious as we see the Top 20 vie for dancing supremacy and, along the way, pick up some cash to spur on their dancing careers. Is it me, or has it seemed like forever since we have seen some serious dancing from these guys. Oh wait, it has as Vegas callbacks are way to schizophrenic to really count.
The Big Stage is calling and it is delightful to see Cat Deeley all dressed up once again, well at least to me, as she preps us for what looks to be one of the best seasons yet on SYTYCD. The Top 20 strutted their stuff a bit to get us used to seeing their bodies, I mean, their dance styles. Cat welcomed judges Adam Shankman, Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe for the first judging of the season.
Cat announced that the dancers picked out of a hat to see who they were paired with and that the bottom three couples would be in danger of going home. After a quick montage of the dancer’s road to the Big Stage, we picked up with out first pair, Janine and Phillip, for a Hip-Hop routine from Tabitha and Napoleon.
With a song by, Ne-Yo, called Mad, it was Phillip’s style but you could see Jeanine was worried as she had never done Hip-Hop before. She changed a lot of minds after the performance as Shankman loved them both and said it was frickin’ awesome. Mary screamed, which is good, as she said that the duo taught us a “Chemistry lesson” and Nigel echoed the praise.
Next up was Asuka and Vitolio with a Broadway routine from Tyce Diorio. I was unsure of the routine as it looked a little rough to me. Adam started the carnage by saying it felt artificial but said they were good dancers. Mary said Vitolio sucked with a bunch of dancing mumbo jumbo and said they both played it safe and Nigel said that technically, the dancing was good, but their personalities did not come out.
Karla and Jonathan were paired up for the Latin Dance and just watching them rehearse was hot as the duo was as sexy as could be imagined. After their routine, Shankman said it was “Really good” and even self-beeped himself when describing how good they were. Mary gave them the biggest scream for this early in the season and Nigel said they had slipped under the radar but have burst onto the stage with dynamic chemistry.
Randi and Evan were paired for a Broadway routine from Tyce Diorio and the routine looked already a bit more sensual that the first Broadway bit. So unfair as I LOVE Asuka (Call me, really, give me a ring!) The routine was as sensual as could be imagined and Adam said that, even though they were vertically challenged, uhh, they are short, they blew him away. Mary let out another scream and Nigel said that they were absolutely fantastic and would be a couple that people would be talking about.
Paris and Tony were Hip-Hop ready with Tabitha and Napoleon and did a routine to a Black Eyed Peas song that was certainly funky, for a lack of a better term. What am I 90? I didn’t know what to think, so I deferred to the judges. Adam gave it mixed reviews and Mary said it would not be memorable. Nigel pretty much agreed with Adam and Mary but even said the word “Stank” to refer to their routine. See, I was right.
Caitlin and Jason were paired off for a Bollywood routine which I am still totally getting used to but the more I see it the more I like it. Since the style is hard to judge from a casual observer’s standpoint, Adam said they rocked; Mary she was glad “Bollywood came to Hollywood” and let out a controlled scream and Nigel said they “Brought it” tonight.
Janette and Brandon were doing a Foxtrot, generally a hard routine to sell and one that should stretch the cocky Brandon a bit in the process. When they got on stage, they glided as if the had been doing it forever. Adam did like them and said it was lovely. Mary had the funniest line of the night when asked by Cat Deeley to give them an eyebrow, she said she could not because of all of the Botox she has had. Nigel, too, said they were good but did not seem quite as impressed.
Ashley and Kupono were doing a contemporary jazz routine from Wade Robson and they are Crash Test Dummies in the routine. It was an interesting number and I am guessing they did it right as the dummies they were supposed to be. They didn’t look together to me and it was a bit bizarre, especially for show one. Adam admitted that it was a different routine but that it truly exposes dance to America in new and different ways and Mary and Nigel essentially agreed and said that the duo was basically spellbinding.
Ade and Melissa did a Contemporary routine form Mandy Moore and it made Adam Shankman cry, Mary scream and Nigel said that what their routine has proved just how great this Top 20 is this season.
The final routine of the evening was performed by Max and Kayla and they were doing a Samba, which is a fast dance and looks impressive but is always savaged by the judges, for some reason. The couple rocked the stage, at least to me, and Max seemed to bring his Russian sensibilities to the Dance and Kayla was pretty sexy as well. Adam said it was so good that he knew there was a God as good as Kayla was. Mary Murphy said the couple as on the “Hot Tamale” train and let out the biggest scream of the evening. Nigel added that it was sensational routine and singled out Kayla as one of the sensational dancers in the competition.
With the strongest Top 20 yet, it will be hard to see who will be in the bottom three, but if it was based on the judge’s critiques alone, it would be Asuka and Vitolio and Paris and Tony but I don’t know who will fill the other spot but I guess America will have the final say. More than likely, it will be a duo that America did not get as a concept dance, like the crash dummies. Although they were great, many may not have gotten it, but hey, I liked it.
Photo courtesy of Fox Broadcasting