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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

So You Think You Can Dance Season 14 Ep. 8 Top 10 Review

If you haven't read/noticed by now, I love dance. It is very close to my heart and I personally find it to be such a therapeutic activity. So naturally, I love the show "So You Think You Can Dance", especially because it incorporates so many different styles of dance and such impressive choreography!

So I thought it would be fun to share some of my thoughts on the dancers and choreography etc. I would love to hear your guys' thoughts too! πŸ˜Š

Top 10 Picks & Thoughts


Kyle Bennett Jr. vs. Dassy Lee

Fik-Shun is tasked with choosing between Kyle and Dassy. His concerns are that Dassy can be a little "soft" (whatever that means) and that Kyle's not very technical and sometimes has a hard time with the choreography. He chooses Dassy. (I think it's very likely that Kyle might come back in the future, better-trained and more versatile. I think this was the right call for now.)

Zachary Downer vs. Logan Hernandez

Allison has one of the hardest choices to make of all of the all-stars. She has two phenomenal dancers that, in my opinion, both deserve to be in the top 10. (Stupid choosing format!) Further proving my point, Allison has no real "downfalls" to say about either of them (except that Logan is young, which really doesn't count as a "downfall"). She chooses Logan. I think Allison went with Logan because he was a little more confident than Zachary, which seemed to be what Allison was looking for. I probably would've chosen Zachary myself as I think he was more graceful (and maybe versatile?) but either one is deserving of the live shows. 
*Side note: Luckily for Zachary Downer, even though he wasn't chosen for this show, he was chosen for Cats on Broadway! Congratulations to Zachary!

Kiki Nyemchek vs. Kevin Davis Jr. "Konkrete"

Jenna probably had the hardest choice from a personal point of view, as that kiss with Kiki during rehearsals was sure to add some weight to her decision. Jenna called Kiki's performance from the hip-hop round "a hot mess" but said she wanted to be his mentor. Jenna was upset that Kevin doubted himself in front of the choreographer in the jazz round but held out that he would find his belief in himself. She says the choice was between "connection and chemistry" or "stability and a more reliable partner". Editing showed the former being Kevin and the latter being Kiki - though there's evidence that it was actually the other way around. She chooses Kiki. And seemingly a potential romance... So I guess I can't blame the girl for that, but I think the audience is really missing out by not having Kevin/Konkrete in the Top 10. I can't believe the guy that originally had Allison, Cyrus, Jasmine, Comfort and Fik-Shun all fighting for him didn't even make the Top 10 - especially considering he did so well in the other styles of dance, which isn't super common from krump dancers. His sense of musicality was actually really talented and I'm sad we won't get to see more from him. (More proof the "selection" process this season was more harmful than helpful.) I hope he will come back and make the Top 10 next season. He deserves it!


Huwer "Havoc" Marche vs. Kaylee Millis

Cyrus has to choose between a fellow street dancer or a contemporary-fusion dancer. He can either help "Havoc" grow, or grow together with Kaylee. He chooses Kaylee. It was also noted that Havoc had a hard time with choreography so I think that played a role in this choice as well. Havoc said he experienced some growth throughout academy, so there is some light at the end of his tunnel.

Lex Ishimoto vs. Evan DeBenedetto

Kat calls Lex and Evan "equally talented dancers" but no one really believes that considering that Lex trained with thee Travis Wall. Gaby has to choose between a fellow tapper whose pretty versatile or a versatile dancer who can tap. Lex was insane "not in his specialty" while Evan is insane in his specialty. Lex is told he's "too serious" in the face. Clearly they didn't include those moments in the editing (or it never happened) because every time we saw him dance, he wasn't too serious in the face. There have also been many times where she's implied Evan has the same problem, which also doesn't seem to ring true from what we've seen. Gaby says she has to pick someone who "needs [her] a little more". She chooses Lex. (Even though Evan needed her more.) In my opinion, Lex was a shoe-in from the beginning and it would've been a disgrace if he hadn't made the top 10. So of course she chose him!

Mark Villaver vs. Deja Williams

Comfort has the choice of the dynamic of a "powerhouse" of two women, or the dynamic of a masculinity-femininity contrast. She watched as Deja continued to progress; But Mark was delivering in all of the different styles of dance during the academy. It seems like Mark has the better chemistry with Comfort than Deja, and she did say she wanted someone who would maker her "feel good on stage". So she chooses Mark. It was undoubtedly the right call. This guy has too much charisma to pass up.

Sofia Ghavami vs. Koine Iwasaki


Marko has to choose between Sofia and Koine. Marko points out that even though Sofia is a ballroom expert, Koine did a great job in ballroom - especially for not being a ballroom dancer. Even though contemporary is Koine's style, Marko says he was missing something from her but he doesn't clarify what it is. He says Sofia was missing something in jazz. Marko chooses Koine. This was the right choice. If you were paying attention to Koine during the Academy weeks, you probably realized that she's quite the versatile dancer - even though we haven't heard anyone really say that yet. She's definitely underrated at the moment and I think she will end up surprising a lot of people. They also seemed to have the stronger chemistry.

Kristina Androsenko vs. Sydney Tormey


Paul definitely has a tough choice ahead of himself. Kristina definitely has the better passion and fierceness for ballroom dancing but she has trouble with picking up choreography; Sydney is versatile - as shown in her hip-hop round - but she's lacking that passion and fierceness required in ballroom dancing. Paul chooses Sydney. I don't think this was necessarily the "wrong" choice but I do think Kristina was the better dancer. Shame about her having trouble with the choreography as I'm sure that played a big role in her not being chosen.

Jonathan Wade vs. Taylor Sieve


Robert's choice is between Jonathan and Taylor. Robert believes that Jonathan's strength is that "he can fly across the stage more than anybody else in this competition" but he thinks Taylor's "lines are stunning, the way she understands to move her body is stunning". Robert feels he has a connection with both, but that he had a connection with one just a bit more than the other. Robert chooses Taylor. I think this was the right choice. We didn't see much from both of these contestants throughout academy week but I trust Robert's decision.

Robert Green vs. Howard Johnson

Jasmine has a choice between fellow contemporary dancer Howard or hip-hop dancer Robert. Both are strong: Howard is "tall, flexible and well-rounded" while Robert is "not technically trained at all" but "he shows up to the plate every time". (Plus that personality and stage presence!) Jasmine chooses Robert. I think either of them could've done well in the top 10 and I hate to have to "eliminate" Howard but I do love Robert's charismatic dancing personality. Jasmine says he does well in other styles (though we didn't get to see that) so it seems like it was the right choice. Again, this "selection" process is completely flawed and should not continue next season. The judges are better at eliminating than the all-stars. The all-stars should stick to dancing. Besides, the dancers are basically picking the all-stars anyways.


Top 10/All-Star Routines & Countdown

Since the focus is supposed to be on the contestants, I have arranged the performances from the night in countdown order - according to which dances I think were performed the best by the contestants involved.



12. Taylor & All-Star Robert


Choreographer(s): Travis Wall, Contemporary
Song: “Change Is Everything (A Capella Version)” by Son Lux

Contestant Grade: C+
That fall at the beginning was stunning! Although Taylor clearly has great technique at certain points, there were just so many mistakes made in this number. To the untrained eye, there were a few mistakes, to the trained dancer's eye, there were a ton of mistakes - which is especially hard to watch when you love Travis Wall's choreography like I do! Speaking of, thanks to Travis Wall's top-notch choreography, few people noticed/mentioned these mistakes, but there were times where she was a bit sloppy or slow or missed her queue. This was a tough routine though, so I give her that and her size difference isn't much different than Robert's - which makes a difference when it comes to a lot of the lifts.

All-Star Grade: B-
Robert did a good job but I think this routine and partnership really challenged him. There were a few mistakes that he made, primarily when it came to anything involving him physically supporting Taylor. Again, thanks to Travis Wall's top-notch choreography, few people noticed/mentioned it. It kind of seemed like maybe Taylor was a bit too heavy for Robert and that's why the few mishaps happened. Some of it was due to his messing up the footing but a lot of it just seemed like he wasn't strong enough to handle Taylor the way this routine called for; If he were a little stronger or Taylor a little smaller, he probably would've made a lot less mistakes. (After all, he never made a mistake with physically supporting little JT last season.)  Also, this routine called for a lot of trust and chemistry, and I don't think Robert and Taylor had enough to deliver a performance more deserving of such splendid choreography. They look mismatched on stage. They're going to have a tough season ahead of them if they can't improve on their chemistry and lifts etc. Of all of the all-star and contestant pairs this season, they seem to have the least chemistry so far.

*Side note: There's no way that realistically Robert is 6'0" and Taylor only 5'7". Most likely, Taylor is like 5'8" or 5'9" and Robert is 5'10 or 5'11". They were standing barefoot on the stage, there's clearly only 2-3 inches between the two of them, not 5 inches as Cat said.

Pairing Chemistry Grade: C

*Side note: How cute to see JT, Emma and Tate in the audience! πŸ˜Š

Choreography Grade: A+ πŸ™ŒπŸ‘
Is there really anything to say about Travis Wall's choreography other than "stunning", "phenomenal", "work of art"? As per usual, his choreography is top-notch and I think it's unfortunate about the few mishaps as Travis' choreography is meant to be performed to A+ perfection. His use of every pose, turn, flip, lift, etc. is perfect. This routine was very tough, but they also usually make for the best dances and I thank Travis Wall for every piece of choreography he comes up with. This routine was exceptional, typical Travis Wall. As Nigel said, he showed us again why he's an Emmy-nominated choreographer. So true.


11. Kaylee & All-Star Cyrus


Choreographer(s): Tessandra Chavez, Contemporary
Song: “Clown” by Emeli SandΓ©

Contestant Grade: B
Overall this was somewhere between a decent and good performance. The whole time, it just felt like something was missing: perhaps it needed a little more passion, a little more technique and a little stronger characterization/personality. There was also the slightest tinge of sloppiness, like they could've used a couple more practices. Vanessa said she would've liked to have seen more "weightlessness" from Kaylee, I agree with that. She could definitely use some work when it comes to gracefulness.

All-Star Grade: B-
It's a good think that Cyrus was the all-star and not the contestant in this routine because this was only a decent performance. Granted, this was completely out of Cyrus' style but I think they would've benefited from some more practice before performing. There were definitely a few small moments where he messed things up for Kaylee; though never completely messing up. He seemed a tad rushed, so kudos to Kaylee for keeping up anyways. He did do a good job with the characterization and personality though, something Kaylee is definitely going to need to learn from him. Another thing Kaylee could learn from Cyrus is his passion. Even though he was dancing completely out of his style and had a few minor mishaps, he completely delivered when it came to the passion. 
(Maybe Cyrus should've picked up Kevin instead of Jenna.)

Pairing Chemistry Grade: B+

Choreography Grade: C-
This was, in my opinion, the weakest choreography and song/concept of the night (for the partners). Most of these routines either tell a compelling and captivating story or they're just so fun to watch, that they make you want to get up and dance along. This routine did neither of those things. The story wasn't very compelling or captivating and the story was a bit confusing. I can't even tell you what the story was exactly. The couple had some fight and Cyrus' character seemed to be sympathetic yet the dance ends with Kaylee walking out as though she'd had enough... What happened? The dancing itself was pretty talented and had quite the potential; However, it also came off very inconsistent - and I think this really hurt Kaylee's chances. Hopefully she'll get a much better choreographer next week (*cough* Travis Wall *cough*) to give her a nice chance of redemption.

*Note: Vanessa Hudgens threw a shoe at someone? Yikes - that's domestic abuse! No one in a committed relationship should be throwing shoes at each other!


10. Sydney & All-Star Paul


Choreographer(s): Val Chmerkovskiy, Ballroom
Song: “All Stars” by Martin Solveig feat. Alma
Contestant Grade: B+
Sydney hits all of her moves and doesn't miss anything - yet there is still something lacking. Sydney definitely still has some work to do when it comes to bringing more passion and fierceness on stage. (Especially while Jenna and Kiki are still in the competition.) As a result of her lacking a bit in this area, there were a few moments here and there where she felt just a tad slow in the routine. That being said, she did hit all of her kicks, turns and poses beautifully and almost perfectly (except for that one clear mistake at the end). As Paul said, she is a "kitten" who needs to become a "lion", which she does seem capable of doing. Also when Vanessa said that she'd like to see a little more "pizzazz" and "oomph", I know exactly what she was talking about, as she was alluding to the same passion and fierceness that I saw she was lacking as well. It just seems like for whatever reason, she's holding back a little when she performs.

All-Star Grade: A+
Paul is a fabulous ballroom dancer. He clearly loves ballroom dancing and he looks like he's on cloud 9 on stage, having the time of his life. It makes him very fun to watch. He definitely has a lot of personality that shines in this routine. I honestly think that his level of fun and energy really helped Sydney a lot with her own fun and energy - though she does still need to step it up another notch or two. I was concerned about that kick Paul did over Sydney since she is so much taller than him (especially with those heels). I really hope they don't ever have an accident (especially in those heels!). Otherwise, their connection was pretty good; Very solid though not particularly outstanding.

Pairing Chemistry Grade: A-

Choreography Grade: A-
What a fun and entertaining ballroom routine! This was a great routine that actually served both Paul and Sydney, complimenting and highlighting them both while taking away from neither (unlike the earlier ballroom routine with Jenna and Kiki). I love when ballroom routines have a lot of turns and lifts and makes use of quick feet - and this routine did deliver with those things. The music to this dance was perfect as well, really elevating the entire dance; Great choice! A little more lifts would've been (personally) welcome but the routine was beautiful as is.



9. Top 10 & All-Stars


Choreographer(s): Wade and Amanda Robson, Tony Testa
Song: “This Time” by Son Lux

Choreography Grade: C
This dance is so weird. What a weird way to close out the show... It was also interesting the way they had all of the contestants (including the males, many of which had some trouble with the "reveal" part) wear a dress that wrapped them up like presents. I think with that concept, this would've been better at the beginning of the show, rather than the end. There were some cool sequences throughout, but most it was just, well... weird.



8. Koine & All-Star Marko


Choreographer(s): Stacey Tookey, Contemporary
Song: “Memories” by Alex Somers

Contestant Grade: A-
Koine has good technique and she is incredibly graceful when she dances. Her turns, jumps and kicks etc. are really beautiful to watch, and she looks weightless. Even though Koine did a wonderful job in this routine, I think she could've been a little more passionate, going a bit bigger with it. This was a lovely routine that lent itself to bigger, more drawn out choreography that she could have delivered a little more on. Also as weightless as she was, I think she would've benefited from loosening up in just a few areas. Her role was a very feminine one in this dance and she did a great job.

All-Star Grade: A
Marko did an amazing job. His technique is great and he played his character perfectly. He gave the right amount of passion and showed why he's an all-star. He was smart to pick Koine as I don't think this dance would've worked as well with Sofia. Marko and Koine looked great on stage together and seemed to have a very natural chemistry in this routine.

Pairing Chemistry Grade: A

*Side Note: Nigel definitely should not have made a joke about when Koine and Marko "name the day". I think that would've been more appropriate in Kiki and Jenna's situation, since they actually kissed in rehearsal. In this situation, Nigel was adding awkwardness that didn't need to be there.

Then he said, "Too late for you Mary", which was hilarious! and it kind of made up for putting Koine and Marko on the spot. πŸ˜„

Choreography Grade: B-
This routine was soft, sweet, beautiful and touching. That being said, I think it would've benefitted from more jumps and turns that could've taken it to the next level. The concept was very bittersweet and made for a really lovely dance. The turns it did have were so gorgeous, I just wanted a little more.


7. Kiki & All-Star Jenna


Choreographer(s): Dmitry Chaplin, Ballroom
Song: “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” by Shawn Mendes

Contestant Grade: A-
The down side for Kiki being Jenna's partner is that she is so charismatic and talented that she really steals the spotlight, naturally. That being said, he does look the happiest he's ever looked doing any dance so far this season, though. He shows more personality than we've ever seen from him before this point. He executes all of his moves without mistakes but he doesn't get much chance to really shine and showcase his own talents - especially in comparison to Jenna. Furthermore, despite the music, "there's nothing holding me back", it does seem like Kiki is holding back. It kind of seems like a small part of him gets distracted by Jenna every now and then, like he's in awe of her and loses character in those moments. (Jenna is a beautiful and talented woman but he really needs to focus. He needs to remember to engage the audience more. Like Paul does.) This routine also called for a more confident Kiki then what he was bringing.

Even if Kiki was a ballroom champion or something like that, Jenna still seems a bit out of his league. She really owns that stage. Kiki is going to have to step it up if he doesn't want Jenna to keep outshining him. Unfortunately for Kiki, I have to tell myself to watch him or I'll miss him for most of the performance. He needs to push himself to the next level. (Take some cues from Paul.)

All-Star Grade: A
My gosh, this girl can DANCE! And boy did this dance really showcase her tremendous talents. She has amazingly quick feet and clearly great stamina. She has the perfect fierceness that is required to take ballroom to the next level. She is very charismatic and super fun to watch. Unfortunately for Kiki, she also completely overshadows him. I completely agree with Nigel when he brings up the concern that Jenna was "sensational", which is tough on Kiki because it was hard for him to take his eyes off of her. I completely agree with that assessment.

All of that being said though, Jenna could work on her technique a bit - I'd like to see cleaner lines - and she doesn't move her hips as well as Sydney does - though she does seem quicker on her feet than Sydney overall.

Pairing Chemistry Grade: A

Choreography Grade: B+
This dance was a fun dance to watch and would've been better if Jenna was the contestant instead of Kiki. She was highlighted so much in this dance - and steals the spotlight so naturally. This dance wasn't as energetic as it could've been and I would've liked to have seen a few more turns and lifts or poses. The whole dance kept feeling like it was building up to something more that it never delivered on. It was a cool routine though.

*Note: Nigel makes the point that he wants to see more of Jenna's choreography. I second that!



6. Lex & All-Star Gaby



Choreographer(s): Anthony Morigerato, Tap
Song: “More” by Bobby Darin

Contestant Grade: A-
Even though Lex did a really good job, it wasn't "excellent". For all of the "personality" that some say Lex is missing, I thought he delivered on "personality" pretty much throughout the entire routine. I agree with Vanessa about his personality, it's "endearing" and I definitely see it too. That being said, as this was a tap routine, I would've liked to have seen more smiles, confidence and fun from Lex. He did a great job but it didn't seem like he was really enjoying himself the way we've seen with some of the other contestants. That being said, tap isn't Lex's style and for the most part, he did keep up with Gaby and probably did better than she was expecting him to do. (And I'd like to see all of the other contestants try out a tap routine!)

All-Star Grade: A
Gaby is a phenomenal tapper and she makes tapping look way more easy than it actually is. She is very light on her feet and she looks like she was born to tap on stage. Unfortunately, I now see what she meant from the academy weeks when she said that Lex "makes her nervous on stage". She didn't show it too much but there were definitely some moments that seemed like she was "checking on Lex" more than enjoying himself. She didn't seem to trust him as much in certain spots, perhaps remembering his struggles during practice. This affected their chemistry as it wasn't as smooth as it could've been. I agree with Nigel when he said her "dancing reminded us all why you're a past winner".

Pairing Chemistry Grade: A-

Choreography Grade: B+
Tap takes a lot to impress but when it hits it's marks, it really leaves a lasting impression. I think this routine was a very fun routine that gave a nod to the classic tap routines (like Fred Astaire) but wasn't at the same level. Anyone who watched last season (yes, the one with the kids) might remember some really impressive tap routines by Gaby and her kid-star Emma. Those girls could really move their feet. This routine was a bit slow for tap (maybe for Lex's sake?) and while I enjoyed every second of it, it definitely could've been better. I'm sure many viewers who aren't as into tap didn't find this to be too compelling. Those who enjoy and appreciate tap though, I'm sure enjoyed it.




5. Robert & All-Star Jasmine


Choreographer(s): Chris Scott, Hip-Hop
Song: “Perm” by Bruno Mars

Contestant Grade: A
The thing that stands out the most about Robert is his charismatic personality. He really steals the spotlight when he's on stage and seems to be having the time of his life in this routine. He really elevates this routine and makes it seem a lot more fun and entertaining than I believe it would be without his personality. He has the perfect attitude to make this routine work. Also, I don't know if Jasmine was supposed to spray that stuff directly in his face but it didn't seem to mess him up at all. He didn't miss a beat. That being said, it is noticeable that Robert could work on his technical ability. What he lacks in technical ability, he certainly makes up for in personality. He has enough personality even to carry Jasmine's role. However, I'm not sure if that would still hold true if he were doing a contemporary routine. I'm interested in seeing how he does in other styles.

All-Star Grade: B+
Even though Jasmine never messes up in this routine, it really feels like something is missing. Of all of the all-stars this season, she's definitely the least memorable. She also seems a little outmatched by Robert - like if they were both contestants, she'd lose to him. She definitely wasn't having the same high level of fun tat Robert was clearly having. She doesn't have the same fun charisma that he has. She also lacks a bit in techni/que, especially considering she's an all-star.

Pairing Chemistry Grade: B+

Choreography Grade: B-
This song is so silly but thankfully, Robert distracts you from that. There are some really fun moments in this dance but there are also some wasted moments. Robert made this dance come off more fun than I think it actually is (or the way Jasmine dances it). It also isn't as challenging as I'd expect it to be for the "top 10".


4. All-Stars


Choreographer(s): Mandy Moore
Song: "Knocking On Heavens Door" by RAIGN

Choreography Grade: B


This was a pretty and talented number. There were some really beautiful and graceful moments. (Not the "knock-knock" parts though.) Overall, this was not particularly outstanding or mesmerizing but the all-stars did a great job. Considering how beautiful the song is, this routine doesn't match the same level of beauty and splendor. It was also very obvious that someone was missing (Allison), so I think that affected the choreography.

3. Logan & All-Star Audrey


Choreographer(s): Tyce Diorio, Contemporary
Song: “Protocol” by Leon Else

Contestant Grade: A
Wow. I really didn't expect that Logan had that in him but I guess it's that "confidence" that perhaps made Allison choose him. He does a pretty amazing job, getting surprisingly very into character and showing off some strength. His lines are clean and his technique is completely on point. He is very impressive in this number. I don't think he was one of the biggest stand outs during the academy weeks, but he certainly stood out here. Bravo. That being said, I do still see his room to grow. As amazing as this routine was, and it truly was, it wasn't "exceptional" in the way that I think he has the potential to be. I think he held back just a slight tad, I would like to see just a tad more passion and confidence from him.

All-Star Grade: A+ *Note: Audrey filled in for Allison since Allison was injured.
Did they say she learned that in just a few hours? WOW! I agree with Nigel, "stunning". She did just as good in the routine as he did! She performed perfectly and was very graceful and smooth. She also had great chemistry with Logan, despite probably meeting him just that day.

Pairing Chemistry Grade: A+

Choreography Grade: A
This was some very powerful choreography and had a very unexpected concept/story. That being said, the choreography is perfect and tells it's story perfectly. This dance was very intricate, unique and overall, impressive. Very sad and moving, as well.


2. Dassy & All-Star Fik-Shun


Choreographer(s): Popin’ Pete, Hip-Hop
Song: “Shake Your Pants” by Cameo

Contestant Grade: A+
Dassy really knows how to work the camera. She is so much fun to watch! Her facial reactions within the dance work perfectly. It's amazing that someone could be on stage dancing with Fik-Shun, and not be overshadowed by his own amazingly fun and charismatic personality. Dassy clearly has fun with her dance and makes this routine more exciting to watch. Her chemistry with Fik-Shun is top-notch. She hits all of her moves perfectly and maybe even just a tad better than Fik-Shun..? Definitely up-to-par with him. (Not taking anything away from Fik-Shun.) She made the most of all of her moves, elevating her overall performance.

All-Star Grade: A
Fik-Shun is a previous winner for a reason. He is always a blast to watch. He always lights up the stage and gives a fun performance that is always worth watching. This routine was no different. I agree with Mary Murphey's comment, "Fik-Shun, you have finally found your match!" The chemistry between Fik-Shun and Dassy is outstanding and they look like they've been dancing together for years!

Pairing Chemistry Grade: A+

Choreography Grade: B+
What an incredibly fun hip-hop routine and the perfect one to open the show! This routine is fun, lively and energetic; It immediately catches your attention. Popin' Pete really made such great use of the beat in this song and the choreography works so perfectly. Dassy and Fik-Shun come off like dancing puppets sprung to life by the music and it's awesome. It's always fun to see a hip-hop routine that makes you want to get up and dance - and isn't so sexualized (isn't this show supposed to be family-friendly anyways?).

1. Mark & All-Star Comfort


Choreographer(s): Luther Brown, Hip-Hop
Song: “REDMERCEDES” by AminΓ©

Contestant Grade: A+ πŸ™ŒπŸ‘
Mark made sure he took this dance to the highest level he possibly could and he made it seem effortless all the while! Wow! His facials and personality throughout this dance really elevated it and took it to the next level. What a delivery of performance. He was able to catch every pocket to showcase his personality and did so without ever taking away from the choreography. It was incredibly impressive how quick he could switch from a more intense passion to a playful attitude and back again. Again, effortless and also seamless. He hit all of his moves perfectly and even added to them. He was insanely fun to watch - and hip-hop isn't even one of my favorite styles, my preference is for contemporary, ballet, jazz & swing! Furthermore, he looks like he's having the time of his life on stage! And it certainly helps us - the audience - have fun watching him. He had no shortage of passion in this dance. When Vanessa told Mark, "you love the camera, I can tell" and that he "gives it all up there on the stage", she was spot on.

*Side note: Even when Mark was on the floor while Comfort was doing her thing, he still made the most of his role, never taking a break.

All-Star Grade: A+ πŸ™ŒπŸ‘
BRAVO, girl! That solo part where she moved her feet to the quick beat was very impressive! It was also impressive the way she could pick up speed then slow it down without missing a beat. She also has such great personality when she dances. She definitely seemed to "feel good on stage" like she wanted. Whether she was giving us more of her fierceness or more of her smoothness and flow, she was always delivered a top-notch performance. I agree with Nigel, she danced "brilliantly". This was a blast to watch. The chemistry between Mark and Comfort was seriously off the charts.

*Side note: The way Vanessa said Comfort gets her "so riled up" was so funny. I wish they'd showed Comfort's facial reaction.

Pairing Chemistry Grade: A+

Choreography Grade: A+ πŸ™ŒπŸ‘
What an incredibly fun, energetic and creative hip-hop routine! This routine was very captivating from start to finish. It is very impressive how the choreography makes use of every little second in this routine, Bravo. This was such a perfect routine for this pairing as well, it really highlighted their "big", charismatic dancing personalities . The way the choreography would turn from quick and intense to slow and smooth was so entertaining and captivating. This routine really complimented this song in an unexpected but impressive way. It was very fun and had a certain "swagger" to it, for lack of a better word. Just a perfect hip-hop routine, performed perfectly. Furthermore, Comfort and Mark together, truly made this entire routine as fun as it could possibly be, absolutely. Bravo to everyone involved in this routine.



What did you think of this week's show? 






Wednesday, August 2, 2017

So You Think You Can Dance Season 14 "Academy" Week 3 Review

If you haven't read/noticed by now, I love dance. It is very close to my heart and I personally find it to be such a therapeutic activity. So naturally, I love the show "So You Think You Can Dance", especially because it incorporates so many different styles of dance and such impressive choreography!

So I thought it would be fun to share some of my thoughts on the dancers and choreography etc. I would love to hear your guys' thoughts too! πŸ˜Š

Academy Week

All-Star Robert, has the best facial reactions to all of the dances - especially Ryan's Solo routine & Jenna's special-tailored routines for Kiki & Konkrete.

Even though I love the "Academy Week" format, of running the dancers through the different styles, in rounds as cuts are made; I do think it's a shame that we miss out on seeing so many of the actual dance performances. It would go a long way to help us understand why certain dancers were cut or chosen etc. - especially those who already had a "fan-base" from their auditions. Why show people who are cut without showing why?

Jazz Routine Thoughts

Gaby's Group
Evan DeBenedetto - Evan does a really great job and shows off some pretty good technical ability.
Lex Ishimoto - Lex pretty much kills it, even adding a bit of "pizzazz" in the personality department to make critics happy.
Natalie Delgado - Natalie is easily the weakest link here. She gives solid effort but she's clearly not as good as her peers on stage.

At the end of the number, Gaby thanks Natalie for bringing "Flamenco" to "So You Think You Can Dance" and "killing it in every round"... though we (the audience) clearly didn't get to see either of those things.

Paul's Group
Ramita Ravi - Ramita does a pretty good job but again, I think the way she tries to incorporate her own personal style isn't as seamless as it could be, and ends up hurting her performance more than helping it. 
Kristina Androsenko - Kristina shows a surprising degree of intensity in this routine, bringing the same amount of passion she does to her ballroom dances.
Sydney Tormey - Sydney does a good job overall and a great job for a ballroom dancer. There are times when she's a little off, but she's clearly trying.

At the end of the number, Paul sends Ramita home.



Jenna's Group
Kiki Nyemchek - For the first time, Kiki looks good dancing outside of his style. 
Kevin Davis Jr. - For all of the trouble that Kevin had earlier during practice, he does a pretty good job in this routine. He definitely has a certain charisma and passion that shows no matter what style of dance he is performing, and his sense of timing is pretty incredible. Overall, he keeps impressing and I think he would make a great choice for the live show.
Riley Kurilko  - Riley isn't entirely graceful as a contemporary dancer but he certainly has some skills to offer.

At the end of the number, Jenna seems to notice what I did about Kiki, calling jazz his "break out moment", but she questions whether it is enough. She scolds Kevin a bit for disappointing her with his attitude during jazz rehearsal. She tells Riley that he "soared through the week" but she "didn't feel a connection" and "it wasn't enough", letting him go. (What?!?) She then proceeds to tell Kevin that he is not allowed to doubt himself anymore and that he needs to show more confidence. She also tells him that he deserves to be here, which some of the all-stars visually and verbally agree with.

All-Star "Final 2" Routines Thoughts

Marko's Group
This dance is a sweet little number. Nothing too special but very sweet, nonetheless.
Choreography: C+
Sofia Ghavami - At certain points, Sofia seems to be behind the music and rushing the moves at the same time. She's also definitely not very graceful - though, not awkward either.
Koine Iwasaki,  - Although Koine is small, you can tell that she has a lot of strength and control in her movements. She is so graceful yet technical in her moves, she seems to come off as being "weightless".


Personally, I think Marko should choose Koine. When he danced with Sofia, the dance itself lost some of it's integrity and came off more amateur. When he danced with Koine, the dance itself came to life and came off much more beautiful. Furthermore, Koine seemed to be surprisingly versatile, exceeding expectations in the hip-hop and ballroom routines. Definitely the better all-around dancer.

Gaby's Group
Tap dancing might not always sound like the most interesting style of dance but Gaby certainly knows how to make it interesting. Her choreography went well to the music and was fun to watch. It wasn't particularly outstanding but definitely required some talent in the tapping department.
Choreography: B-

Evan DeBenedetto - Evan was pretty flawless as far as the moves went. However, when it comes to "dancing personality", nothing about his performance really grabbed you and made you watch him.
Lex Ishimoto - For the first time, Lex seemed to have a little bit of a mishap but it was small and quick. That being said, Lex gave plenty of personality in this routine and it was quite charming as well! (It even had a little bit of a "suave" quality to it.) And aside from the one little mishap, Lex did a pretty great job - especially keeping up with Gaby's crazy tapping ability!

Personally, I think Gaby should choose Lex. Not only has he pretty much been my #1 pick since he auditioned for his amazing talent and abilities, but he's so much more versatile, which is what this show thrives on. Furthermore, for all of the talk about "dancing personality", I love Lex's! It's a little bashful and coy, but it's also incredibly charming.

Cyrus's Group
Interesting "routine" here. It wasn't super exciting and it didn't really give his contestants too much chance to showcase their talents and abilities.
Choreography: C

Kaylee Millis - Kaylee did a surprisingly pretty great job with this hip-hop routine considering her personal style is "contemporary fusion". There were many moments where she looked like a natural hip-hop dancer.
Huwer Havoc Marche - Havoc clearly knows what he's doing when it comes to his own unique style. Unfortunately, it really doesn't seem like he does too great of a job diversifying outside of his style.

Personally, I think Cyrus should choose Kaylee because she's more versatile, otherwise both are pretty equal picks.

Jenna's Group
Jenna is the only all-star to choreograph 2 separate routines for her dancers - in order to compliment their personal styles - and we all thank her for it! WOW! Also, Jenna knows what she's doing and knows how to use the choreography to highlight her contestants! Thank you again!

"Paso" Choreography: B+

Kiki Nyemchek - The best Kiki has EVER looked in this entire competition so far, is with Jenna's choreography and partnership. She makes him go quicker than we've ever seen him go, a key to highlighting a ballroom male dancer. If it weren't for this routine, I wouldn't have realized just how quick Kiki is on his feet. This dance required a lot of passion and control, of which Kiki delivered without a problem. The ending pose will surely be talked about for many different reasons. Personally, I agree with Kevin, "That was too much sauce." It really seemed like Jenna and Kiki needed to get a room at the end of that dance. Kind of uncomfortable to be honest...
*Side Note: Jenna is a phenomenal ballroom dancer! Wow!



"Krump" Choreography: A

I don't know how Jenna figured to make "ballroom" and "krump" work so well together but she really did. The contrast of styles really elevated this entire dance and made it so captivating to watch! It really heightened the intensity of the entire routine and that scream sequence was breathtaking. That being said, this routine had some more cheap "seductive" sell-points but it also had some interesting moves of technique and talent as well. The end lift and pose was also completely outstanding. I would say the "Paso" routine was more consistent but the "Krump" routine had higher hits when it did hit.
*Side Note: Jenna was actually impressive the way she did the krump sequence with Kevin towards the end, really elevating this entire performance. BRAVO!


Kevin Davis Jr. - Just as he had delivered in all previous rounds, Kevin definitely delivered in this one! In fact, Kevin really stood out and delivered an outstanding performance in this routine! It was tailored to his style but he killed it. As Jenna said, "You went there."


Personally, I think Jenna should pick Kevin. My reaction was pretty much exactly what Robert's was, shock and awe due to such an impressive performance. Furthermore, from what we've seen so far, Kevin actually seems to adapt pretty well to the other styles; Better than Kiki did, anyways. I know Jenna seemed to have a personal, romantic connection with Kiki and he's a ballroom champion or whatever, but I still think Kevin would be the better choice for the show.

Most of the the other dances/dancers weren't featured enough for full notes and grades but I'll still share my thoughts and picks below:


Paul's Group
Kristina Androsenko vs. Sydney Tormey

Personally, I think Paul should pick Kristina. I think Kristina is a more polished dancer and they seem to work better together. I think Sydney wouldn't be a bad choice, but she certainly has some room to grow.

Robert's Group:
Jonathan Wade vs. Taylor Sieve

Personally, I think Robert should pick either one, really, but I guess Taylor. (She was definitely highlighted more.) I think either one would make a good pick.


Allison's Group:
Zachary Downer vs. Logan Hernandez


Personally, I think Allison should not have been allowed to have Zachary and Logan on the same team as they both equally deserve to be on the show. They both have wonderful skills and tremendous talent and prove why this particular format and process of selection and elimination sucks! If I really had to pick like she does, I guess I'd pick Zachary. He seems a little more technically sound and I like his "dancing personality" more.


Comfort's Group:
Mark Villaver vs. Deja Williams


Personally, I think Comfort should pick Mark. He has a really fun personality and seems to be the bettter dancer than Deja. (But you know, editing, so we don't really know.) He definitely seems to stand out whenever he's on stage though.

Jasmine's Group:
Robert Green vs. Howard Johnson


Personally, I think Jasmine should pick Robert. I think Howard is a really good dancer and is more technically sound than Robert. However, Robert has the perfect "dancing personality". He's definitely one of the most charismatic dancers in the top 20. Every time he is dancing, he makes you watch him and doesn't let you regret it. It's a shame they;re on the same team because I don't think Howard should be cut but if we have to choose (and we do), then I'd pick Robert.


Fik-Shun's Group:
Dassy Lee vs. Kyle Bennett Jr.


Personally, I think Fik-Shun should pick Dassy. Perhaps this is just personal preference but they just seem like two peas in a pod and I think they'd be a ton of fun watching together. I don't think Kyle would be a bad choice but he's not as technically sound or diverse, so I think he has a lot of room to grow.

What did you guys think of the "Academy" weeks? Who do you think will make the Top 10? Who do you want to make the Top 10?

Share your picks for Top 10 here!