Okay, let's get out the notebook:
Here's my ranking of the routines last night, just after I watched the program.
2) Mia's contemporary routine
3) the Broadway routine
4) the Tango
5) the rumba
and then in the bottom three:
the Latin Jazz, the hip hop, the krumping
Now, in order:
Tango by Alex da Silva, danced by Danny and Sara:
Pretty much agree with the 'ooh ahh's of the judges about Danny's centering. The turns were effortless. That comment they made about how he just stepped out of the pirouette as if he had not been turning -- yeah, that was a WOW moment, if you are a dancer. Smoothly executed, and yet, I was wanting something else performance-wise. Maybe it was too much all on one level.
Krumping by Lil' C, with Lauren and Dominic.
Here's the funny thing about Krumping. It's not my favorite thing, unless Lil' C himself is doing it, and then I 'get' what he is trying to do, and then I can get into it. But when the dancers do it, it just doesn't come off somehow -- the only exception so far was earlier this season with <FX: flips madly through notebook> Sara and Jesus (this 6/27 show).
If you have the ability to review 6/27 and last night, run the two routines back to back and you should be able to see the differences in performance between the two couples.
With Lauren and Dominic, I saw glitches in the transitions when they switched from dancing solo to partnering -- several times -- and in general, the unison was way, way, way off. If I were pulling out routines as demos to people who had never seen this style, to show you what krumping was, you betcha, this is the LAST routine I would use. I am the world's most ignorant person when it comes to krumping, seeing as how all I know about Lil' C's own style is what he has done himself on the show and what his other couples have done in the competition -- but taking the small sample set into account, even I can see how horrible the execution was.
Latin Jazz by Maria Torres, danced by Lacey and Neil.
I watched the whole routine with it not grabbing me, thinking, okay, what's wrong with this. It's just not grabbing me, so why not? It needs -- something ---
And then Nigel comes along and says they were dancing it too high, they didn't get down with it, it was danced like two dance school pupils. And he's right. That's exactly it. Neil was called down before for dancing one of the routines too high, "like a cheerleader" and not getting down into the floor with things, and from the looks of this routine, that comment went in one ear and right out the other. Plus I agreed with the comments about the lack of chemistry, and the knock on Lacey for looking out at the audience too much.
Broadway routine by Tyce, with Sabra and Pasha:
Not my favorite choice of music, but -- lots of good energy, nice performance.
hip hop by Shane Sparks, with Sara and Danny
Loved Adam's riff about 'what had they done to wardrobe' and the 'hip hop on Sesame Street' comment. Too funny. What can I say, something's wrong when you enjoy the judges' comments (Nigel translating '50 cent' into pence was a hoot) more than you do the dancing.
Tony Meredith's Rumba, Lauren and Dominic:
Apologies to Sabra, but I'm still waiting for a really sexy rumba. Count me in the 'is this really a rumba' camp -- I too thought there was more posing than dance, not enough hip action. Nigel's comments about how the choreographers need to step it up and actually show off the real style rather than doing camouflage and hiding what the dancers could not do were spot-on, IMHO.
Mia Michaels, contemporary, danced by Lacey and Neil.
Okay, let me step up in defence of Mia on this one. First of all, I don't disagree that we needed the backstory given to us to 'get' it. Neil just doesn't have the gravitas to dance the role in a way that would convey that they were father and daughter. I also agree 100% that Lacey's mugging afterwards, while probably an attempt to lighten the mood, was out of place. However --
I do have to say that I enjoyed the performance a lot more than I was expecting to. There was a simplicity to the choreography that was refreshing after seeing some of the other contemporary stuff this season -- it was like listening to Aaron Copland, open and airy, after you've been listening to something more densely orchestrated. The kids could have gone WAY over the top with it, but they didn't -- they kept their dancing in line with the character of the music, and were light and effortless in what they did. I think Lacey was making the effort to dance like Mia as much as she could, and of course that will have a much greater impression on the judging panel than it does on us, because they have all seen her dance -- the illusion of it being a young Mia will be more powerful for them than it will for us.
So while it didn't have the same impact for me as the contemporary routine Lacey had with Dominic in show one, I liked it for what it was, and while Neil's dancing had a lot of the same bag o'tricks we've seen him pull out all season, I thought they were nicely placed, choreographically speaking, and that it was well-danced.
And anything that makes Lacey not mug and grimace through a routine has got to be a good thing, yeah?
Quickstep by Tony Meredith, danced by Sabra and Pasha -
This was my favorite routine of the night, a full-out quickstep.
To be fair the Quickstep is my favorite dance and while this one certainly didn't top Apollo/Juliane's on DWTS it was mighty fine nonetheless.
The very fact that you would make that comparison speaks to the quality of the dancing. Remember Nigel's earlier comment that the choreographers would have to step it up next week: Well, hello, next week is now!
Finally -- finally -- we get a ballroom routine choreographed by Tony Meredith that I can watch and say, 'oh, yeah, I could totally
imagine Tony and Melanie in their prime, dancing this' -- and NOT 'I wish I were watching Tony and Melanie dancing instead'.
See, I cut my teeth on watching ballroom by watching the Ohio Star Ball on PBS. It was interesting back then, and fun, but I was mostly watching it to learn more about the dances so I could understand ice dancing, so when the commentators said "that was nice, but I don't think it was really a rumba" I would know what the heck they were talking about. It was homework -- entertaining homework, but I was watching to learn more than I was watching for its own sake.
But Tony and Melanie were my "oh yeah" couple. If they were showing the Showdance competition (which is the closest thing to the free dance in an ice-dancing competition), they were the #1 and only couple on the MUST-WATCH list, that I wanted to watch for THEM, where I was excited about what they could do (a feeling, I might add, that has been sorely lacking for me this season on SYTYCD).
So yeah, baby, that quickstep, THAT'S what it is all about!
Choreography of the night, performance of the night, and music I like, too. Yum!
My go-home signal goes to: Lauren and Dominic. The krumping routine -- just not anywhere near what it should have been. It was a sorry mess. And the rumba -- well, just think about what that rumba would have looked like, if it had been performed at the same level the Quickstep was. (Apologies to PJO1966, but I disagree, Dominic was posing, not dancing -- his posing was 'very good' but not his dancing.)
I mean, for those of you who watch Dancing with the Stars, think about what that rumba would have been like if Tony Davolani and Cheryl Burke had danced it instead. Need I say more?