SYTYCD Showstopper! Rudy Lights Up The Dance Stage

Top 18 group dance routine by Chris Jennings. Wow!

The hot numbers in last night’s “So You Think You Can Dance” queue began with number one. Zach and Jacque clearly expressed the feeling of the performance through the distinctive hand movements in this unusual hip-hop routine by Keone and Mari Madrid. Nigel said it reminded him a little of Bollywood in that the hands had to be so precise or lose the point of their intentions. Mary was very impressed with the couple’s articulation through their hands, and new guest judge, Misty Copeland, felt they had grown in their emotional relationship. “You are not ballet or tap,” she said. “You are dancers.” This performance was both unusual and moving.

I love Misty more and more and wish the network would keep her. She is quietly beautiful and brings subdued passion to the panel, rounding out the personalities of our wonderful Nigel Lithgoe and Mary Murphy. Along with Kat Dailey, this crew is as entertaining as the dancers. I love to watch their interaction as well as listen to their sage and witty comments. Great show, guys. And great job. Nine Emmy nominations, was it?

We will temporarily skip the next two couples and go with Bridget and Emelio’s jive routine by Pasha and Anya, danced to “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Their jivy, energetic performance wowed Mary, prompted Nigel to say he hated Emelio was in the bottom six, and Misty loved that they didn’t over-do it. “You were light, precise, and beautiful, ” she said. “You made me happy, too.”

Tyce Diorio’s contemporary routine was performed by Teddy and Emily to the French song, “Ne Me Quitte Pas”. It was the story of a couple clinging to each other with an air of desperation. Nigel pointed out that parts of the dance were not beautiful, even ugly, just as love is not always about beauty. He told the dancers they came close to giving a touching performance. Mary was “absolutely mesmerized” by Teddy, and Misty delivered the clencher. “Do you speak French,” she asked Emily. “Your body does. And Teddy. I’m a fan. You are a beautiful dancer.”

Dancer/choreographer Lacey Schwinn took us back to a kinder, gentler era of beauty and grace with the Viennese Waltz performed by Valerie and Ricky. Valerie seemed to float and glide across the floor in that gorgeous confection of a dress so pleasing to the eye, which garnered a Standing O from Nigel. The only drawback to the dress was that it seemed to diminish Ricky, who is an amazing dancer, though rather small. Sometimes he seemed to almost get swept away in the full petticoated swirl of those layers of fabric. Nigel called the performance beyond reproach, and Valerie looked like Cinderella in a ball gown. Nigel seemed happy just to see a girl dancing in a real dress. Mary called the performance dreamlike and magical. She told Ricky his topline was amazing, but needed to watch his feet. Valerie, whose feet were so beautiful, needed to watch her topline. Misty said their performance was beyond what they were used to seeing (on amateur hour, I think she means). “But tonight, Valerie, was your night.” I agree. It was an absolutely beautiful Viennese Waltz.

“A showstopper” is what Mary Murphy called Warren Carlyle’s Broadway routine for Rudy and Tanisha, danced to “Sing, Sing, Sing” by Fosse. And that was the perfect word for it. But I just couldn’t take my eyes off Rudy long enough to barely glance at Tanisha. Rudy lights up a stage better than the chandelier from Phantom of the Opera. His wattage is always on bright. Misty told him, “This is you. Fabulous. You two were in perfect unison, but still showed your own individuality.” Mary told him he had dance running in his veins. Nigel said Rudy performed with an inner light. “You’ve got more than you need,” he said. “You’ve got magic in you.” And that he does.

Two great looking skeletons hip-hopped their way to a split panel. Luther Brown’s number, performed to “Senile” by Carly and Serge, didn’t impress Nigel, who thought it would cost them votes. “People won’t realize how tough it is to pick up this style,” he complained. Mary disagreed with Nigel, and so did I. “We’re here to educate the audience,” she said, saying that Serge continued to impress her and that Carly completely grasped the hip-hop routine. “Carly,” Mary continued, “this was great tonight.” Misty sided with Mary, saying she loved it, too. She loved Serge in this piece and said Carly was a “beast”. Which is the in talk around these circles for really gettin’ down and attacking the routine. I thought the eye-popping costumes, theme, and performance were spot-on entertainment, but didn’t care for the music. Nigel’s problem was that he still had visions of Cinderella and layers of soft whirling skirts dancing in his head. To watch two skeletons doing hip-hop right after the lovely Viennese Waltz was too much for his system to take.

The next split came not between the judges, but from the performance of Brooklyn and Casey to Bonnie Story’s “High School Dance” routine to “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”. Casey wowed the audience, making those awesome moves look effortless. Brooklyn, on the other hand, looked a little intimidated and approached her moves with uncertainty, which is hard to watch from a viewer’s perspective. Misty was impressed with the routine, but critiqued Brooklyn’s “tech face”, overdoing the facial expressions. Misty also advised her to be more confident. Casey, however, she thought was fabulous. Mary agreed that Brooklyn had technical issues. Casey, however, was “Brilliant. On fire! Right now, you’re smokin’,” she said. Nigel agreed with the girls that Casey was “smokin'” on that stage, but said that Brooklyn was “challenged really hard”, and that the routine was a tough one.

Jessica, who danced that unforgettable routine with Ricky on that first SYTYCD night, was disappointing in this Tyce Diorio story about two people on a flying carpet. The routine itself was not up to the Diorio standard, and the performance seemed less than inspired. Though Stanley was praised by Misty for his high leaps — the highest on the show’s record — both dancers were advised by judges to tone down the overly expressive faces.  Mary said Jess had inner beauty and a strong foundation. “You don’t need overkill,” she said. Nigel advised Stanley to save some of that strength he calls on for leaping and use it for his core.

Jourdan and Marcquet’s partnering skills didn’t work for judges or audience in their hip-hop routine by Dee Caspary. Nigel said they were not connecting and that Marcquet showed a slight lack of discipline. Misty said there was something missing in their partnering. Jourdan’s face, she said, needs to match what her body is saying. Mary thought the lighting and umbrellas gave a magical aura, but said Marcquet need to watch his shaping. Mary didn’t seem to have a problem with the partnering.

In the bottom six last night were Bridget, Emelio, Emily, Stanley, Jourdan, and Teddy. My sister Katie asked me to call it on who would go home. My answer was Stanley and Jourdan. It was Stanley and Jourdan. I doubt it will be that obvious next time, though as the show progresses, I’m sure we will see more technical or personality problems. On the other hand, we may see those who stand in the shadows now, come out shining. That’s the great appeal of So You Think You Can Dance. Someone always grows into their finest hour.

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3 thoughts on “SYTYCD Showstopper! Rudy Lights Up The Dance Stage

  1. Another uninspiring week for me. I disagreed a lot with the judges, especially on the Viennese Waltz with Ricky and Valerie. Loved Ricky, but I thought Valerie seemed awkward. I hope she goes home soon so Ricky can get a new partner. She doesn’t come close to being on his level, except for tap dancing, her genre.

    I liked Rudy and Tanisha’s Broadway number even though their synchronization was off. I felt sorry for Stanley. I don’t think he was given any opportunities to do the kind of dancing at which he excels. This season is full of strange choreography and mismatched pairings, IMO. I think it’s by far my least favorite season.

    In other news, I have Misty Copeland’s book and it’s fascinating. You should get it.

    • Don’t give up hope. I see some inspired dancers here, especially the guys. And, of course, there are a couple of partners that do not measure up to the better dancer. I have called it on the ones leaving the show every time now, including last night. The rest of them are definitely going to get harder. But I think you’ll find the partnerships will get better as time goes on. Also, I hope they will still have the top Stars come back to dance with this year’s contestants. That’s always fun, entertaining, and so beautiful.

      I have liked most of the choreographies this year, but, of course, I like much of the hip-hop now. As Mike says, it has grown into a genre with all kinds of interpretations now, not just the quirky gymnastics. It’s like tap. I loved the tap of the old greats like Gene Kelly (can’t get enough of him), and Donald O’Conner. The new tap choreographies are boring, and the music just seems off for tap. I just go back and re-watch some Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Though, I must say, my favorite is still Gene Kelly over Fred Astaire.

      Can’t wait to write my newest take on last night’s show, so better get to it. Just hang in there. It will get better and better.

      • Well, I thought last night was a HUGE improvement over last week. I still question some of the mismatched partnerships, but the choreography was terrific. I still love Rudy the most and apparently, so do the judges, especially Misty. I’m looking forward to your write-up because I know I won’t be so grumpy this week. 🙂

        I’m so sorry that last night was Misty’s last week of judging. Nigel said she’s leaving for Australia to perform “Swan Lake” with a ballet company there in three weeks. I’ve done a complete 360 about Misty. Maybe it has to do with reading her memoir, “Life in Motion.” It’s only 167 pages so I read it in one day. I couldn’t put it down. You must read it…absolutely fascinating.

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