Though SYTYCD pulled off a few routines worthy of last week’s wonderful premiere, the first two partnered dances were slimy and offensive. The opening routine with the top twenty was graceful, flowing and lovely. It opens with, “In my imagination, all my dolls are real“. A girlish giggle follows. The show, which began with beauty, then brought in the beasts. Supposed to be sexy, the following two routines were, instead, totally distasteful. And what happened to the fact that this is supposed to be a “family” show. What family? The Kardashians? I watched enough to know that enough was enough and jumped to another station until the next routine came along.
Haley Erbert and Curtis Holland in Ray Leeper’s disgusting jazz routine, started the evening on an affront to the senses. It went far beyond acceptable, as did Tabitha and Napolean’s lyrical hip-hop with Jasmine Harper and Aaron Turner. This was a huge disappointment since both Jasmine, Aaron, and Tabitha and Napolean are up there in my top category rating. What was even more disappointing was that “NappyTabs” struck out on both counts last night. The hip-hop routine with Amy Yakima and Fic-Shun in those darling bellboy costumes should have been totally delightful. That also deteriorated into x-rated. Hardly something for young people to watch. Or old ones for that matter. With these routines you’d think a rabbit troupe had joined up this season.
But the show was kept from being a total loss with routines such as the Argentine Tango with Jasmine Mason and Alan Bersten, choreographed by Miriam and Leonardo. The story is about a young girl’s loss of innocence to a man of the world. This was one powerful performance. Alan, who had been saved from the bottom six, was absolutely masterful in this routine, not to mention strong and dexterous in those amazing lifts. Jasmine was pink quicksilver from her rapid-fire flicks to her complete and fluid submission. These two were made for each other. As Mary Murphy said, it was all about passion [not sleaze]. There is a BIG difference. The comments from all three judges were spot-on, and that’s including Christina Applegate who — unlike last year — actually brought some serious views and discernment to last night’s show..
Mackensie Dustman and Paul Karmiryan embodied the “weird science” story in Sean Cheesman’s dishy jazz routine. Paul, the “Latin dancer” has already made me sit up and take notice this season. He has a special quality about him that draws the eye. But I did not like Nigel lumping this piece in with those so-called “naughty” routines. There was nothing lewd about it and the “electrifying” kiss at the end where Mackensie the fem-bot shorted out Paul’s circuits was just right.
Though Nigel trashed Dmitry Chaplin’s Cha-Cha as not having enough Cha-Cha (and I totally understand his point) I loved the dance. But during the introduction, I didn’t know if that tall, skinny guy, Tucker Knox, would be able to pull off the role of a nightclubber “who knows everybody in the place — thinks he owns it”. He’s the type who is convinced he’s the coolest dude in town. Though I loved Tucker’s qualified apology to his mother (it’s just choreography), and his self-abasing comment that if he did go in a bar he would probably trip over the threshold, it left me unprepared for that tall, slender stranger who walked the walk, made the moves, and put those long legs to such good use on the dance floor. Jenna Johnson was in her element, so no surprise there. But, DUDE, this dude became someone else entirely. Loved it.
I was shocked when Mariah Spears and Carlos Garland wound up in the bottom group, and couldn’t believe Jade Zuberi was chosen to stay while Carlos was eliminated, since Carlos is by far the better dancer. And I thought Mariah was outstanding in the “Puttin’ On the Ritz” opening performance last week. Carlos gave his all in this beautiful Stacey Tookey contemporary routine about loss. Loss of memory. Loss of love and recognition. The desperate effort to get back what was lost. And I believe Mariah’s real emotions and sense of loss were so overwhelming that she hit us right in the heart with them through the dance. Now, as Mary Murphy said, “It’s America’s loss”. But I still wonder why they saved Jade and not Carlos. The judges got it wrong, too.
Alexis Juliano and Nico Greetham did a more than credible job with Stacey Tookey’s sequel to Robert Roldan and Kathryn McCormick’s woman soldier routine. Especially since Alexis is a tap dancer. She moved beautifully through this contemporary like she’d done it all her life. But I can’t get Robert and Kathryn’s performance out of my head. Here they are back to back. You decide.
Robert Roldan and Kathryn McCormick: Season 7
Alexis Juliano and Nico Greetham
I still love Malece Miller, and loved her in the Bollywood routine, but Jade’s gotta go. He’s doing great for someone who’s never worked outside his genre, but he’s too short and doesn’t compare to others who are better. I give him his props, and I admire what he has accomplished, but it’s a contest. And Carlos Garland should still be among those standing.