So You Think You Can Dance Episode Recap and My Take – Season 5 Top 18 Perform
Let me start by saying that I am, by no means, a professional dancer, choreographer or dance critic—though I did spend most of my teen years in dance classes and performing in recitals and then with a junior performance company. I am, however, a MAJOR fan of all types of dance, and I love this show. When I still lived in Los Angeles my best friend (she, on the other hand, was a professional dancer for years) and I used to call each other during commercial breaks and discuss things. Now that I love in Colorado the show is on at different times for each of us and we are left with trying to do a recap the next day. I figured doing this would give me an immediate outlet for my thoughts and reactions.
Also, FYI, though I understand why they do things like have the dancers tell us something about their partner and such I find it incredibly annoying and tend to tune it out, so I likely won’t have much to say about it. My focus is the dancing! And I am doing this from memory since I decided to start after the show had ended, so this may be a little shorter and less detailed than I would prefer.
Randi & Evan - Randi & Evan danced a jive this week, choreographed by Louis van Amstel. The performance was definitely fun, something they were quite obviously putting emphasis on. I think that they both picked up the steps and really threw themselves in to performing it. I must agree with the judges though that while Randi performed the steps like a true jive should be performed, very crisp with the kicks having a quick retraction, etc., Evan’s performance left a bit to be desired. I think this is largely due to his style coming through as was mentioned by the judges. Not the best routine ever, but definitely not the worst either. I won’t be surprised if these 2 end up in the bottom 3 however, but would be surprised to see either of them go.
Melissa & Ade - This week Melissa & Ade were given a jazz routine choreographed by Sonya Tayeh. I should start by saying that I love Sonya’s choreography; she brings a lot to the show. I thought the dancers did an amazing job with this routine. I was a little worried at first. Not because I thought either dancer would be unable to pick-up the steps, they are both amazing, but because Sonya’s pieces can be rather quirky and I was not viewing either of them as being exceptionally quirky people. I was so pleasantly surprised! Melissa truly does show the benefit of ballet training (now I know why my jazz teacher made me take ballet!), her lines are amazing. I also love Melissa because of her age, you can tell she has a good relationship with her body and is very comfortable in her skin, something you don’t see as much in younger dancers. Ade’s strength really showed in this routine, and I think his personality began to show a bit more, thankfully! I think this couple will definitely be safe from elimination this week.
Caitlyn & Jason - Caitlyn & Jason were paired with Shane Sparks this week for a hip-hop routine. I am so glad Shane is back, but look forward to him working with a pair that might better execute his choreography. Their execution was not a complete disaster, but it was definitely not a complete success. Their ability to perform moves that should in unison when they were supposed to was not there. Although I agree with Nigel that Shane likely didn’t choreograph them in his typical style which tends to be more hard-hitting, I think that he intended it to be less mushy than it was. I think these 2 are headed for the bottom 3 this week. Caitlyn can be a bit unpredictable, not always bringing her “A Game,” and Jason has his wishy-washy moments as well.
Janette & Brandon - Doriana Sanchez choreographed the fastest disco routine I have ever seen for this pair! I tend to worry a little about disco routines, they often look like stuff that rightfully made it to the cutting room floor during the filming of “Boogie Nights.” This was a great routine however, and Janette and Brandon did an amazing job with it. Brandon is not my favorite, his technique is great but there is just something about him I find annoying and arrogant all at once. But I cannot deny that their performance was one of the best of the night. These 2 should definitely be safe from the bottom 3.
Asuka & Vitolio - Louis van Amstel choreographed Asuka & Vitolio in a waltz. I always worry when a pair is given a ballroom style because these styles are not as flashy as, for instance, a disco routine. I was also worried because this is a pair that ended up in the bottom 3 last week (though I enjoyed their performance), and it can be hard to battle back from that. They, however, did an amazing job! It has to be quite hard to express emotion while dancing with someone you barely know, and as Asuka expressed, are not attracted to! These two managed to handle that just fine and their execution of the steps was beautiful. I don’t think they will find themselves in the bottom 3 again this week.
Kayla & Max - Kayla & Max have a pop jazz routine choreographed by Brian Friedman (glad to see him back!). I was a little worried about Max since this is so out of his element, but I thought he did an amazing job. The judges complimented him, but I think he did even better than they seemed to think. Kayla, of course, was amazing. I worry about them being too complimentary as I think viewers tend to not vote for those the judges fawn all over—not sure if this is because they think they can easily find work without winning (and let me tell you that is never the case, there is so little dance work out there and so many people fighting for it), or if they figure others will vote for them, or if it is something else. But, the bottom line is that she is great, she just has the ability and the charisma. If these 2 hit the bottom 3 it will only be because of the curse of the judges liking you.
Karla & Jonathan - Choreographing a contemporary routine for Karla & Jonathan is a new choreographer for this season, or at least new to the US version of the show, she comes from the Canadian show. Good addition so far in my opinion! I was worried about Jonathan, both due to the fact that contemporary is a hard style to pick up for many people and because I think he is one of the weaker dancers as far as technique in his own style. I agree with Mary though, I think he danced contemporary better than his own style! I thought Karla did a great job too. I think this should keep them out of the bottom 3, but it depends on whether people are looking back to last week when voting, since it was not a jaw dropping performance.
Jeanine & Phillip - Tony Meredith choreographed a tango for Phillip & Jeanine. Though I have a fan of Phillip, and have been impressed by how well he has picked up other styles, this was not one of the times he impressed me. He definitely seemed to be trying very hard to perfect it, but I think it was just too much. Now, the tango is a hard dance to master, especially for someone younger because it requires a real understanding of the emotion behind the dance and an ability to express that—this I think Phillip didn’t do too bad at. It is also a dance that has to be very crisp in its execution and that is very hard to do if you are not confident in what you are doing and he very obviously was just not confident or comfortable. Jeanine got a bit lost in it all to me, I think she was fine but it was hard to look past Phillip’s struggles. These two belong in the bottom 3 this week, though I would like to see them make it past that.
Ashley & Kupono - Ashley & Kupono also worked with Shane Sparks for a hip-hop routine. Once again, I look forward to someone properly executing Shane’s choreography which did not happen here. The judges thought the problem was mostly Kupono, but I didn’t think Ashley was all that good either. The focus of the dance was Kupono with Ashley as his shadow, but that didn’t really translate at all. I was even less fond of their performance than I was of the other hip-hop performance of the night. I think these two belong in the bottom 3 as well.
I think the bottom 3 will be: Jeanine & Phillip, Ashley & Kupono and Caitlyn & Jason, with the remote possibility of one of the hip-hop pairs being replaced by Randi & Evan. Out of these pairs I am not sure who will get eliminated, if forced to guess I would say Jason and Jeanine, mostly because we have yet to see either of them really shine. What do you think?