Thoughts on the Top 4 and the eliminations

October 16, 2009

Well, those eliminations were predictable.  The elimination of Melanie was and still is utter nonsense.

What I saw from that results show was a lot of sloppy isolation work and needless flailing from Jayme Rae and Tara Jean, respectively.  Melanie is a lot more like an employable contemporary dancer in the current dance world; she sticks to her guns and maintains her movement style (and within it keeps a certain amount of versatility), executes her lines cleanly, and controls her upper body movement down to the fingers.  Nonetheless, it was the classiest exit so far, and she remains my favourite in this competition for her dancing and her sheer honesty on that stage; she never pretended to be anything but who she was.

Jayme Rae is a lovely girl and this is no comment on anything but her dancing, but she dances ‘chunkily’.  Her movement is sloppy and blocky, and her isolations are practically not isolations.  Tara Jean, whenever she tries to create ‘art’, basically cries on stage and flails her arms around like they’re broken wings (see my recap of her audition).  The exception to that was her Top 4 performance solo, which was a solid departure and clearly executed to win over Canada.  There is no denying the power of her recent performances, however.  Luck of the choreographer draw though?  Engineered backstage to be a Jeanine-esque rising star type of win?  Either way, she’s very innocently and sweetly gunning for that top prize and more than likely to get it.

I cannot disagree with the elimination of Emanuel.  He stayed longer than he should have.  The way I saw it, Kim kept him afloat for most of his time in the show.  He was not ready to be here; after only one year of choreography training, he was often a half or full step behind, and I didn’t see that all the arrogance had been truly removed.  Dan Karaty was right on the money in pointing out that he overcompensated at times by overdoing fake emotion, and it showed.

Everett is a hard worker and a great tapper.  I am happy that he has made it into the Top 4, though I thought his performance in the Jazz Rock lacked some energy.

Vincent is a star to me.  I do find it funny at times because like many ballroom dancers, he just cannot let go of his ballroom legs at times, and it appeared a few times in his contemporary with Tara Jean; a few of his turns were more latin ballroom turns than contemporary turns.  But he comes across as a genuinely kind and warm individual, and has been undervalued as THE best male partner on this show.  Whenever he has been able to, he has helped his partner to shine.

My preference for our Final 4 in the Finale:

1. Vincent

2. Everett

3. Tara Jean

4. Jayme Rae

As if I actually need to write who I think will actually win it, however.  We should mail Tara Jean the crown now.

I am looking forward to seeing which dances they’ll reprise in the Finale episode.  Melanie mentioned today in one of her interviews that she is already being called back to rehearse for the finale.  My top picks?  In no particular order:

Tara Jean & Everett – House

Jayme Rae & Daniel – Afro Jazz

Jayme Rae & Daniel – Dance Hall

Melanie & Cody – Contemporary

Melanie & Vincent – Paso Doble

Amy & Vincent – Contemporary

Tara Jean & Vincent – Contemporary

Melanie & Emanuel – Contemporary (pas de deux)

Kim & Everett – Theatre

Top 4 Girls – Sean Cheesman Jazz

Jayme Rae & Everett – Jazz Funk

Jayme Rae & Everett – Mambo

Top 3 Girls – Mia Michaels Contemporary

Top 18 – Bollywood

Kim & Emanuel – Contemporary

Tara Jean & Vincent – Rumba


Thoughts on the Top 6

October 9, 2009

I’ve stopped blogging this because it’s gotten sufficient coverage elsewhere, but I will give my thoughts on the Top 6, starting with the girls:

Melanie Mah

Melanie is technically one of the most beautiful dancers.  I had some doubts at the beginning, but her lines, her versatility, her attitude, and her incredible work ethic have earned my respect and affection.  Her pas de deux with Emanuel was in my opinion saved by her dancing, and her solos have been the most versatile and diverse of any of the girls’.  She’s shown she can do lyrical, jazz, and quirky.  I want her to win it all.

Jayme Rae

Jayme Rae has star quality and is charismatic as hell on stage, but it seems to me to be limited to when she wants to be sexy; namely, Jayme Rae.  Her contemporary with Daniel (the Blake piece) left me feeling absolutely nothing.  I don’t think she has the emotional depth to pull off other pieces, and she’s been protected with a Mambo and Jazz Funk that catered exactly to who she naturally was.  Her solos have been a bit chunky and messy, and I haven’t been won over by much since her Dance Hall.

Tara Jean

Obviously the current general favourite, Tara Jean is another incredibly hard worker and versatile dancer.  But I think she’s actually benefited from not getting a Contemporary piece yet.  Why?  From what I’ve seen of her two solos and her audition piece, she’s actually rather limited in her own style compared to the others.  I don’t see great turns or a solid center, her lines are weaker than the other two girls’, and she does the same things in every solo she has.  The leap into the fall, staring at her hand and pretending to cry, and slowing the piece down to the point where it’s more a gigantic moment of ‘sadness’ than anything significant.  I see no versatility there, and frankly, I think she’s be better off if they just kept giving her ballrooms instead.  I think someone who’s never been in the bottom 3 can hardly be considered the ‘underdog’ anyway, especially after all the Jayme Rae and Melanie attacking going on.

Vincent Desjardins

I love Vincent to death.  He’s sexy, charismatic, humble, and adorable.  He knows how to make his partners look good, and knows how to shine and capture an audience’s heart during his solos.  What else is there to say?


Everett is another hard worker, but frankly, there’s almost something too intense about the way he tackles certain things.  Also, if you watch him in the Jazz Funk with Jayme Rae, he’s sloppy, and she’s not.  His performance is incredible, I will give him that.  But his movement is not.  His tap solos are incredible though.  He also tends to know how to help his partners to look good.


I do not dislike Emanuel the way a lot of the populace seem to, nor do I love him the way his powerful fanbase seems to (considering they saved him from the bottom 2).  Emanuel’s technique is lacking at times though, and considering he was unable to rehearse the entire Sunday leading up to the show, I’m not sure how fair it was for him to be dancing at all.  Aside from that, I just think he has the least left to offer the show or his partners compared to Everett and Vincent.

My Top 4:  Melanie Mah, Jayme Rae, Everett, Vincent.

My winners: Vincent or Melanie.


Jean Marc wakes up, gives two proper critiques, then goes back to screaming vowels. [S02E10 – Top 16 Performance]

September 8, 2009


Kim and Emanuel get jazz with Blake.  He says he doesn’t even care if they screw up the tricks as long as it makes people lusty and stuff.  Lots of magician box dancing, and woah! He pulls a cloth out of Kim!  Um…is this a dance or is it a magic show?  Woah Kim.  no no.  I like you clothed and demure.  Standing ovation from the judges already?  Premature, I think.  WEll danced and good attitude, but I wasn’t jumping out of my sofa.

Sean says wow that was a way to start a show!  And then Sean makes a somewhat awkward “thank goodness I’m black or else everyone would see me blush” joke, but ok then.  Sean points out that he started as a figure skater and says he’s been a fan of Emanuel’s for years, and now Emanuel is making him a fan off the ice too.  Melissa points out a miscommunication about liking Kim’s boot rather licking her boob.  Tre reiterates that wasn’t about the technique, and Kim executed it beyond her expectations and Emanuel was meant to dance.  What happened to my mean-ass judges from Toronto week?  Jean Marc gives it up for Blake, makes some stupid joke about comic books, and then compliments them as well.

Oh, we get a history of Jean Marc and France.  Oh, this is a better way of killing time than on the American ones.


Amy thinks Vincent is precious.  Vincent points out that Amy is bilingual.  Amy demurrs on saying anything negative and Vincent says something about Amy that sounds like “dreamy”?  They pull hip hop, and get a new choreographer, Flii Stylz.  Ok then.  Oh his little locking moment seems like Katie Lee a bit, who have you noticed is on the Muchmusic commercials?  Shots of them practicing.

Ugh, Blake Eyed Peas again?  Fine.  Whatever.  Be that way, show.  They are both doing a great job at first, Vincent and Amy both hitting it nice, hard, and clean (Vincent moreso than Amy).  This choreography seems a bit easy though, no?  A bit simplistic, particuarly the second half.  And the intensity sags just a bit toward the end, though Vincent grows on me more and more, and Amy is probably a threat for Top 4.

Sean says they are both more than meets the eye, and they made it their own.  Thanks, Paula.  Melissa compliments them too, though the intensity of the congratulations is less than last week.  And Tre welcomes Flii to the choreographic family and sucks up to him, and says Vincent wasn’t quite as tight on one move as she’d like, but admits that it was probably his first time. Jean Marc loved it, in that stupid way where he loves everything, so what does it matter?

Congratulations, commercials, on ensuring that no one will ever watch the Vampire Diaries or listen to that stupid song ever again.


Corynne said dancing for her life was one of her favourite but most firghtening things.  ANd Austin continues to try to play macho and nonchalant about the fact that he may be turning into a partner killer, which is a bad choice on his part, given the character the show keeps trying to apportion him.  They pull contemporary with Stacey Tookey, who says that Corynne is going to have a b reakthrough beyond her legs.

It’s definitely a mostly un-leggy piece for Corynne, and you can’t help to watch her legs when she does use them, especially when they catch on the ground, whoops.  But it’s a beautiful piece.  I’m not so sure about their connectivity though.  Corynne is capable of it, I saw it with her and Anthony.  I dno’t know if I ever see it with Austin though, which is an issue because he is a beautiful dancer but I feel nothing when I watch him except an intellectual appreciation.

Sean thanks Stacey Tookey for making everything she choreographs gold.  And he also thanks her for letting him see Austin DANCE.  He was worried because he felt Austin was a trick performer who could do wonderful tricks, but he was never dancing through the movement, but he did all of that tonight.  He says for Corynne, nothing is beautiful than a dancer who is stunning to watch and has the technique to back it up.  Melissa says it was amazing, and for the first time tonight Corynne truly emoted.  Melissa points out that sometimes Austin is not focused or in the zone, but not tonight.  Tre says it was the first time she ever saw Austin connect with his partner and that was trust.  Jean Marc says he loves conversations on the dance floor.  And from the judges table.  And wherever the @)%& he goes.  Jean Marc thinks everything he says it profound, when really it is just exhausting to listen to.  Tell me about technique, Jean Marc.  He calls Corynne his new contemporary queen.  Corynne is adorable.  Austin has to stop doing this macho fake thing and just be real, because it comes across on camera, and I think he’s probably really emotionally deeper and gentler spirit than he comes across as on screen.


Yep, they got rid of the “M.”.  Melanie says Cody has a hilarious laugh, and does an awesome imitation of it.  Cody says the best thing about Melanie is that she is super encouraging, and is the first person there to cheer him up.  His getting down on himself is what she says is his worst quality, and he points out her messiness.  Oh my, how un-asian of you, Melanie!  They pull Mambo with Gustavo Vargas of the awesome Nico/Arassay salsa.   We get shots of them practicing, and it is odd to see Melanie dance in heels.  They laugh about how being sexy is so weird, which will not help with the detractors who think they’re too young for it.  WE’re told that once they connect and just have a good time with it, it’ll be fine, by Gustavo.

Melanie has great hip hovement, but her shoulders are what throws the ballroom movement off.  They’re better than I’d expect, but the energy is lacking from a lack of confidence, I think.  Oh boy, if a producer hates these two, they will pull another ballroom next week.  ANd if someone loves them,. they will never get another one after this.  Their endearing quality still comes across, but the moves and the energy were both dampened.

Sean says it was the cutest mambo he’s seen in his life, and it was just absolutely great, and he thought Melanie was a beast in this competition, and outshined Cody, but not tonight.  He says there were some moments with the lifts that made him nervous, but they recovered well and brought some joy to the performance.  Melissa tosses it over to Gustavo (are we not letting any of our choreographers sit?), and he gave them the perfect mambo suited for them.  She said for Cody, it was infectious and made her move; she would have liked to see more ribcage and hips, but all in all they smashed it.  She consoles them in pointing out that it was difficult to master, and says they did a great job.  Tre says she didn’t feel the mambo technique, and she couldnt’ differentiate between mambo and salsa, and both of them were there with energy, but Cody’s sharpness was lacking due to his smoothness of style.  She says Melanie was great tonight, keep the attitude, and hit more of the technique.  Jean Marc also tosses it over to Gustavo, and corrects Tre on the timing.  He says he’s thrilled to see Cody leading a girl that way.  He points out Melanie has a cool vibe in her lower back, hips, and etc, but when she wears heels, she has to define her feet more and use the inside of her feet, they were flat and a bit turned in, and that’s a “no go in mambo”.  Wow, I guess Melanie and Cody are not the chosen ones for Jean Marc, eh?  The first actual critique we’ve gottne tonight, and then he goes back to screaming and talking nonsense.

Ooh, we get to meet the idiots who put Corynne in a skirt that was too long. oh, no, false alarm, we don’t really get a long costume feature.  It’s just a camera sponsor plug.


I missed what they loved about each other, but Tara Jean was super happy with Mary Murphy’s scream.  They pull Quickstep and Tara Jean’s heart drops. Lots of lifts, which basically are a way of tossing a save to the dancers so they’re not trapped in hold for the entire time.

Oh for heaven’s sake, another Chicago.  It seems slower than your usual Quickstep.  Was Pierre tossing them a save that way?  Someone hates these two to keep giving them ballroom after ballroom, when they are neither.  They, like Melanie and Cody and some of the others (maybe even Jayme Rae and Daniel since we haven’t seen them), do not have the facility or training to pull off the more traditional ballroom routines.  But it’s a good job, it just seems to lack the carriage of more technically proficient quicksteps. I don’t really see it with Everett.  His personality is great, but his transition between moves is so jolted.  Tara Jean is blossoming for me though.  I’d love to see someone toss them a freaking bone and give them a non-ballroom.

Sean says they are great, and that Tara Jean can do anything.  He says Everett he feels sometimes holds back a bit, when he should be giving THAT much (gesture), but tonight, he gave THAT much.  Melissa says she hopes they’re here for final 4, but she wants them to bust out and show their personalities even more.  Tre says the popcorn just keeps popping with them.  Jean Marc tosses it over to Pierre, whose work I do enjoy.


Jayme Rae says that when Daniel doesn’t eat, he gets grumpy, and Daniel says that Jayme Rae is a control freak.  They pull hip hop with Luther Brown, ok, what?  Three soul-infused dances in a row, and no contemporary OR ballroom?  Hi CTV room, let’s make the new favouritism less overt, please?  Anyway, I love Luther.

I find that with the exception of Nappytabs, a lot of the urban dances on SYTYCD lack partnering, aside from some minor interaction, and I’d like to see it intergrated a bit more.  But man, do I enjoy Luther’s choreo.  As usual, Jayme Rae and Daniel are absolutely incredible, in character, hitting it hard, clean, no mistakes. What else is there to say?  A++, next, and please, give them something with pointed feet or posture next week so I can feel like they’ve earned it just a bit more, despite their amazingness.

The judges are going wild.  Sean says he loves the show, loves Luther Brown, and then points out Jayme Rae and Daniel as his favourite dancers.  Sean calls Daniel a work of art, and his pecs have grown since two weeks ago, which is nice for all of us.  Melissa says they have so much to offer, and they were amazing.  Tre says for him to put his pants back on and not to take them off when he comes walking over again, or someone’s gonna get off the podium.  She says hip hop tonight has been 2/2, and gives Luther big props.  Jean Marc raises his voice to that level where it’s just a big headache, and does the  VID thing, which no one cares about.  These two may be a lock for Top 4.


Like, many, Jenna Lynn is the boss, and Nicolas is so innocent and quiet.  We get a recap of how they were not safe.  They pull the Hustle.  They get Benji, whose hair looks so normal!  Woah, we get a very homoerotic pose of Benji straddling Nicolas.

ACK, first on-stage choreographed (or not?) kiss of the night!  Nicolas as usual brings joy and exuberance, but I don’t really like watching his feet anymore.  And the choreographed lift we saw them practicing was sloppier than it seemed like it would be in rehearsals.  But as usual, Jenna Lynn is pretty clean (if not very hippy), and brings mad attitude.

Sean says what they did was “new”.  Sean says Jenna Lynn is just unbelievably amazing, and has an attack about her dancing when she’s alone.  When she does her solos, he thinks “who is this beast on stage?”.  But sometimes when she’s with Nicolas, Sean feels the skills from dancing alone don’t transform into partnering skills.  But tonight, nope!  ok, that is the third time we’ve had this fakeout.  He says Nicolas amazes him because bboys don’t do choreography, and have it the hardest in the competition.  Melissa warns Jenna Lynn not to let her charisma get in her own way, and says Nicolas’s partnering skills have grown in the last three weeks. I tune out Tre and Jean Marc.


Natalie and Danny pull their first ballroom routine, a Rumba, and get Gustavo as well (when choreographers do two numbers, how on earth do they find time to work with both pairs enough?).  He says Natalie needs to find her sensuality.

Oh look, she found it!  There are moments that seem awkward, but I am so impressed with Natalie in this number.  Her posture, arms, turns, and attitude are so much more than I’d have anticipated.  Danny is great as well, but as usual, it does seem a bit like he’s overshadowed by her.  Costume has put him in bad jeans too.  Great ending.

Sean says he thought it would be a disaster, but it so was not, because everybody has stepped it up tonight.  Natalie amazed him.  He advises Danny, who he says is a great dancer with perfect everything, to start believing he is a great dancer, because the day he believes it, he will explode.  I agree, there is a lot missing from Danny and it’s always just the character.  I always see something moving beautifully in the background behind Natalie, and if he projects that personality more, then it could be incredible.  Melissa wants Natalie to open up her back and release, but she’s with Sean in that Natalie is very impressive.  Tre says some of their movement can be drawn out a bit, and it was a great attempt.  Tre warns Natalie with her “chicken arms” and wants more extension at time, and gives Danny props, but says the performance as a whole didn’t convince her.  Jean Marc says it was a very authentic sultry rumba, and because it’s not international style, he wasn’t expecting straight legs, he was expecting flexed legs, but it’s one flex, one bent.  Wow Jean Marc, where the hell is the critique the rest of the time?  He says he couldnt’ see the technique sometimes, but with Danny, sometimes there was too much.  He said that when Natalie was alone, he could see all the lack of technique of foot, ankle, and toes.  He wishes them good luck, which is code for “See you in the bottom 3”.

WOAH, Emanuel and Kim’s eyelashes up close are SCARY.  Aw, Corynne hurt her nose on Austin’s shoulder!

Bottom 3 predictions this week:

Corynne and Austin

Natalie and Danny

Melanie and Cody


Jenna Lynn and Nicolas

Who should go home:

I hate to lose any of the girls, so I’m going to abstain.

Guys: Austin or Nicolas, probably.


Bawlin’ wooooood. [S02E09 – Top 18 Results]

September 2, 2009

As usual, not a full recap for results night.  We got a beautiful bollywood routine from the choreographer from Slumdog Millionaire, Mr. Longinus Fernandes.  This man knows how to move large groups of bodies on stage and make them look goooood.  A huge improvement on last year’s group bollywood.  The girls looked incredibly sharp in this routine and gorgeous, particularly Tara Jean and Melanie M.  Austin’s hair looked better side-parted than it ever has before.

Moving on!

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Blake, the love child of Wade Robson and Mia Michaels. [S02E08 – Top 18 Performance]

September 1, 2009
Here we go!  Leah opens in an odd aqua-influenced dress thing which looks like it was neglected in the upper body design.

We meet our dancers! Woo!!! Screaming girls!

image courtesy of ctv.ca

image courtesy of ctv.ca

Judges today are Mary Murphy in an unfortunate purple dress, Luther Brown, Tre (ooh, not coming out simultaneously with Jean Marc this week?) looking very thin and lovely and ’20s, and Jean Marc in a ridiculous suit.  What the devil is that nonsense?  Is it tradition for SYTYCD hosts to be taller than everyone else?  Also, Leah looks tired and makeup-less, but i actually find it to be a big relief compared to last week.  She looks human and her hair is better.

We get a reminder on the prize.  Woo, as if any of us care.  Are we getting the car?  No.

Leah recaps the process of elimination and talks about how it was really tough last week and how it came to a complete standstill.  She asks Mary for her opinion.  Mary says one of the couples brought her to tears already, a few couples made her want to stand up and scream in her hotel room, and a lot of the dancers are just so versatile. And she talks about how it’s always the hardest cut to lose the very first couple (unless it’s Will Wingfield, in which case it’s always painful as hell).  Luther rambles and says it will be a dope show, and Tre thanks everyone for making the show number one.  Way to distract from Leah’s question.  Jean Marc says season 1 was amazing (OH GOD THE SUIT IS MORE UGLY UP CLOSE, FOR ONCE I AM THANKFUL FOR NO HDTV WIDESCREEN), and says some random shit about something no one cares about. Read the rest of this entry »


Elimination becomes very very real [s02E07 – Top 20 Results]

August 26, 2009

So tonight’s is a weecap.  I’m not going to address the Michael Jackson tribute, which…well, moving on.

image courtesy of ctv.ca

image courtesy of ctv.

In the bottom 6, it was Melanie B./Taylor, Tatiana/Austin, and Amy/Vincent.  So much for 2/3 of my predictions. 

Melanie B. did a solo barefoot jive style, which seemed sloppy and forgettable.  Amy did a lovely contemporary solo though it was also sloppy at times.  Tatiana did a kickass hip hop routine.  Of the three of them, I’d say the only one who danced for her life was Tatiana.

Taylor abandoned turns and tricks for pure movement, and it was lovely, but I knew then that he might be eliminated.  Vincent did a quirky and chilled out solo that was endearing.  Austin was almost pure tricks, flips, etc.

Jean Marc verbally did the duty of eliminating Tatiana, and you could see Blake’s head shaking in disapproval in the background.  

Tre did the job of eliminating Taylor, and the other 18 dancers seemed truly devastated by the news.  It was very touching and upsetting to see, and I can’t say I remember a group as seemingly cohesive as this one on any other season of SYTYCD.

Next Tuesday: Top 18.

image courtesy of ctv.ca

image courtesy of ctv.ca

Next week, I’m hoping for some dramatic changes from this week’s “give at least one dancer their own style” predictability.  I want to see the baby couple get something really nasty like krump, and I want to see Natalie Lyons and Danny Lawn do a fox trot. 

In fact, here’s what I want to see next week (assuming these were the styles next week, of course):

Amy/Vincent – Lyrical hip hop

Corynne/Anthony – Bollywood

Jayme Ray/Daniel – Quickstep

Kim/Emanuel – Contemporary

Natalie/Danny – Fox Trot

Mel B./Austin – Broadway

Tara Jean/Everett – Jazz

Mel M./Cody – Krump

Jenna Lynn/Nicolas – Ballet

What would you like to see next to shake it up?

Jean Marc teaches us how to overemote until you drop…or are drop kicked. [S02E06 – Top 20 Performance]

August 25, 2009
Image courtesy of ctv.ca

In case it wasn’t drastically clear from the beginning, that title concerns Jean Marc Generaux, who is very nearly on my last nerve.  Almost everything he says he thinks is profound, he takes up almost twice the time that any other judge does, and he rarely critiques the actual technique or the intricacies of the dance, even when it’s Latin or Standard ballroom.  Jean Marc: stick to the basics, be concise, and otherwise, stay QUIET.

Ok!  I would be lying to you all if I didn’t say I was super super excited for tonight!  Leah Miller is wearing an odd dress. It’s lovely and form fitting, but it’s got that zipper which looks just a bit too industrial for my taste.  It’s like a form fitting body bag.  Also, her hair is lovely and wavy, but I’m not feeling the side part.  Here we go, our first dancer intro for the Top 20!!

Tara Jean! Nicolas! Melanie B.! Emanuel! Corynne! Cody!  Jenna Lynn!  Vincent!  Jayme Rae! Everett! Natalie! Taylor! Amy! Daniel! Melanie M.! Danny! Tatiana! Anthony! Kim! Austin! Top ten girls strut! Top ten guys strut! Dance and writhe, young people, and pose!  Leah walks through the crowd and thanks everyone for coming.

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