The Top Ten have their first live performances
by Stephen Mosher
August 12, 2019 - It feels like it has taken forever to get here but we finally arrive at the live performances and the Top Ten get to take the stage for the first time. This is what we’ve all been waiting for, though there are some predictions, naturally, that will begin to develop for everyone with an investment in the show. Let’s all see how our individual predictions go down!
During the opening number
'This is Me' by Kesha, the cast wore all white and, during their Mandy Moore choreographed routine, there were FX that caused lasers to shoot from their fingers. It was a good enough number but it didn’t need the extra effects. Watching them perform, it becomes clear that there are no grown-ups on the show. There was a time when Ryan DiLello or Iveta Lukosiute could be seen dancing in the competition, but not today. It has come down to the youngest dancers in America, and I do love these kids but I smell a big pile of ageism on So You Think You Can Dance
. That being said, together these youngsters represent something new: we’ve had casts of great dancers, though not necessarily casts with style. In this cast, even the lesser of the dancers has a style all their own. These kids all have a look, a signature, a style. It will make it interesting to watch them.
Tonight we will see duets by each pair, and a boys dance, and a girls dance.
The first duo to learn they were dancing together were Mariah and Bailey
, who were thrilled to be matched (everyone should be thrilled they were matched). The twosome were given a jazz routine by Mandy Moore to 'Love Shack' that showed them as what they are: the couple to beat. The smoldering, dirty dance routine was full of tricks, hits, chemistry and fun, and even though there were a couple of times when they went off, it didn’t matter to the judges. Dominic was “extremely jealous,” Nigel said they were “enormous in talent,” Laurieann said “BOOM!” and Mary announced she was “hopping on the Love Shack train.” Mary also said that Bailey was the biggest shock. Cat asked “the cutest couple I have ever seen” who was the leader in the pairing and Bailey said Mariah is his Boss.
Stephanie and Gino
were matched for a Luther Brown hip hop routine to the songs 'Ice Me Out' by Kash Doll. During rehearsals the contestants remarked that the style was hard on both of them but by the time they got to the performance they were in a good place, and in good costumes and makeup. Stephanie really brought the facial expression to the dance, and between the two of them, he had the hits and she had the swag. It was a nice dance, if a bit drab: Dominic thought it was okay while Nigel said Gino is struggling with the personality vs technique thing. Laurieann and Mary did not agree with the men - Laurieann told Gino he had her, while Mary thought Stephanie was off the charts.
Anna and Benjamin
met up with Emma and Sasha (married couple Slater and Farber) to learn a cha cha to 'We Run the Night' by Havana ft. Pitbull. Team “Benanna” (they named themselves) are lovely kids but they had lead feet in this number. It was all too slow and lukewarm, instead of fiery fast. But chemistry! Anna’s feet were flexed much of the time and, try though he might, beautiful Benjamin couldn’t get the lines and feet. They are sweet kids but this wasn’t the one, even if Laurieann thinks they are humble warriors and Nigel thinks they are sensational. A discreet Mary said it looked like they were having the time of their lives and Dominic asked Anna how many times she had danced in heels. One. The judges love these two and are soft pedaling it to keep them on the show.
Stars in training Madison and Ezra
landed a contemporary dance by Talia Favia to the song 'Lost' by Dermot Kennedy, and, dressed like Twyla Tharp dancers, they rolled around on the floor, emoting. It was very moving and powerful, and since Madison was dancing her own style, natch, she excelled - but it was Ezra who was the revelation because a ballroom dancer making this work for him is a beautiful thing … and the judges knew it. Mary called him a great partner and told them every single step was glorious. Laurieann said they had “so much power” and Dominic said it was his favorite routine of the night, noting that a mistake was a moment of imperfection, perfected. It was a win for the winsome twosome.
Sophie and Eddie
had Brian Friedman choreograph a jazz funk routine for them to the song 'Sushi' by Merk & Kremont, and while Sophie was in it, Eddie was totally out of his element - and he knew it, which made him aware of the audience, so he pushed really hard and tried to make up for his shortcomings with a lot of facial mugging. He was lost in the routine and lost in his costume - the designers did him no favors with this outfit, and he and the ‘stume and the dance all looked like a big mess, with Sophie as the cleaning lady who was trying, desperately, to tidy it up. Not one of the judges had a good thing to say about Eddie and Nigel summed it up by saying he was uncomfortable with Eddie’s performance. Meanwhile they all loved Sophie. Eddie has to know he will probably go home next week.
The group numbers only ranked as OK for me. The women
had a Travis Wall piece to 'Saint Honesty' by Sarah Bareilles, and you could tell it was a Travis Wall piece because his style can be so predictable, with dancers rolling around on the floor, flailing about, and his signature move of dancers picking up one dancer and either holding them mid-air while they walk or throwing them across the stage while still holding them. It happens in almost every one of his dances. I love Travis Wall, but facts are facts. Predictable.
had a rather boring Luther Brown hip hop dance to the song 'Drop' by Smokepurrp, where it became obvious that Eddie was cast because of his popularity last season and his Instagram followers. He’s a darling boy and a marvelous tap dancer but the producers and the judges opted to put him on the show for his audience, bumping another boy dancer with more talent and a better shot at the show. Shame on them for doing it, but it’s all a ratings game, isn’t it? This number? Snore.
No one would go home this night. The voting would begin and the following week one boy and one girl would get the boot. If I had to choose I would say Anna and Eddie, but it’s up to America - and that’s always a gamble.
The best thing about getting to the live shows?
More Cat Deeley.
Post a Comment