My favorite reality show (not just of the summer but period) returned just last week and already we have a top 20! Geez, that was fast. Not that I’m complaining. The audition rounds are always my least favorite so the quicker they introduce the 20 dancers I’ll be getting to love the better.
Last night’s show was absolutely wonderful. I enjoyed nearly every dance and rewound several times which is always a good sign. It was also nice to be able to watch so many dances without worrying about who would be going home. Cat agreed and even asked Nigel at one point if we couldn’t keep all of them the whole season. Oh, Cat, how terribly I’ve missed you. (Also, her dress was super adorable, no?)
The first four to make the cut were contemporary dancers Melanie Moore, Sasha Mallory, Ricky Jaime, and Miranda Mileski. At this point in the competition I try not to make too many judgements about who I will or won’t like based on personality because so many of the dancers (like Ricky and Miranda) have had so little screen time thus far. Of course, some do make strong impressions but I’m going to try to focus on the dancing.
The first dance of the night featured the contemporary dancers listed above and was choreographed by Stacey Tookey. I actually really liked this number even if it was mostly flailing and lines and leaping. It was just so pretty! I was glad to have a dance that seemed to be designed purely to show off the incredible movements these dancers are capable of. I can’t wait to see what they do with an actual story to go along with the dancing.
Next we had a Dave Scott hip-hop routine with the four boys who will represent that genre this year. They are: Tadd Gadduang, Wadi Jones, Chris Koehl, and Robert Taylor Jr. I am typically very fond of Dave Scott’s particular brand of hip-hop choreography. However, I wasn’t too terribly impressed with this dance. I don’t know if it was the choreography or the dancers themselves, but it was underwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, the boys are definitely great dancers but it just didn’t connect with me which is sad because I usually love the hip-hop routines.
Following that came probably my favorite dance of the night: Iveta Lukosiute featuring my love, Pasha. This was insanely good! Granted, I’m likely to adore anything Pasha is involved with but I actually watched the both of them and not just him which is definitely a good sign. Iveta was just as technically flawless (to my untrained eye) as I had assumed she’d be but she also had such a presence on the stage. I’m really hoping she can handle the other styles too ’cause I’d like her to stick around. If for no other reason than I’d like to see her dance with Pasha again once they reach the top 10.
Sonya Tayeh tends to be hit or miss for me as a choreographer. Sometimes I think she’s brilliant and other times I just don’t get her. Tonight she had a solid showing with the four jazz dancers named to the top 20: Jordan Casanova, Missy Morelli, Marko Germar, and Clarice Ordaz. Side note: when did jazz become code for “sexy, sexy fun times” because that’s all I heard Jordan and Missy saying about their dancing. (Also, if that Puusycat Doll sad excuse for a judge doesn’t get off my TV soon I’m going to have to smack somebody. Probably Nigel.) Thankfully, once they actually danced they handled themselves well. This wasn’t my favorite dance of the night but I liked it. Marko especially caught my eye but that could have more to do with the fact that I keep getting the girls all mixed up in my head than his dancing.
Next came my least favorite dance of the night and this has a lot to do with Jess LeProtto. I know I said I try not to make judgements on personality this early but everything about this kid bugs me. I’m hoping it’s just the way he’s been edited so far but man is he annoying. It’s funny because the other dancer in this broadway/tap number is tap dancer Nick Young who I immediately liked. I just want to hug him! Anyway, this routine by Christopher Scott just didn’t work for me. I understood the story of it and everything but Nick’s tapping combined with Jess’s dancing didn’t mesh well. They’re both very good to be sure (and again, I seriously like Nick…potential SYTYCD boyfriend season 8? We’ll see…).but this was one of those dances I just didn’t like.
The last of the introduction dances featured five more contemporary dancers including the much pimped Ryan Ramirez, Caitlynn Lawson, Mitchell Kelly, Alexander Frost, and Ashley Rich. I’m not holding the producer’s antics against Ryan because she really is a wonderful dancer, but I’m hoping the others don’t get lost in this season’s sea of contemporary dancers because they were all great during their Travis Wall routine. I just loved this dance! Travis is one of my favorite choreographers because he’s so consistently good and he didn’t disappoint last night. This number could have played as cheesy what with the petals and all but it was just so joyful! I couldn’t help but smile the whole time.
I’m never a huge fan of the big group numbers so I’m just going to breeze through the last three dances of the night. The top 10 boys did fine with the hip-hop/contemporary combo by Christopher Scott and I appreciated that he tried to show off all of them by using both styles. By the end of the episode though, which wasn’t very much later, I didn’t really remember it other than there were a lot of suits. Sonya’s geisha number for the girls was certainly memorable and I really did enjoy it so I think hers won between those two dances. Tyce’s routine featuring all 20 dancers is exactly what most huge group numbers are on this show: not much fun to watch. There’s just too much going on but that’s the nature of the beast.
Next week the voting begins and I could not be more excited for the first performance show of the season! It airs Wednesday, June 15 on Fox.