TV Time: SYTYCD Season 10 “Top 17 Perform”

For a season that started out incredibly strong, last night’s episode of So You Think You Can Dance faltered a little bit. On the positive side: I’m really happy the complaints of many (including myself) were heard, and the results of the elimination were saved until the end of the show. I also can’t really argue with who was sent home. For as much as I loved Jasmine Mason in her opening-week contemporary with Alan, I thought she was less than dynamic in her tango last week, and her solo seemed very generic.

Although I found myself agreeing with the elimination results—and I do like the idea of consulting the choreographers as well—I didn’t like the way Nigel gave both Jasmine and Alexis such public criticism from their choreographers. Those comments felt like they should be said in private to the dancers rather than broadcast to millions. But maybe I’m just being too sensitive…

This week’s judging panel was interesting to say the least. I was beyond thrilled to see Paula Abdul there because if there’s anyone who should be judging these dancers, it’s someone with the résumé Abdul has. Her passion for dance is so contagious, and she’s actually really good at giving constructive criticism as well as praise. However, I have no idea why Erin Andrews was there. Did I mind staring at her beautiful face? No. Do I think she was a good contestant on Dancing with the Stars? Yes. But I don’t think that qualifies her to judge this kind of show in any capacity.

As for the dancing itself, there was no real standout moment this week for me, no routine that I’ve needed to watch 10 times after the show ended. Yes, there were some strong routines. Aaron and Jasmine continue to be my favorite couple; their Broadway routine this week embodied everything I love about their dynamic: It was smooth, mature, and sexy without trying too hard. It was also surprising, especially Aaron’s graceful quality to his movement. Fik-Shun and Amy also surprised me with their Paso Doble, which was much stronger and more intense than I was expecting from those two smiley kids. I loved Mackenzie’s technique and Paul’s gorgeously emotional performance in their contemporary (even if that story has been told on this show before—and told better). And Marko truly brought out the best in Malece, although it was sad to lose Jade to an injury this week.

Though these dances were good, there were far too many routines that dwelt in the land of the mediocre this week. Jasmine and Alan’s jazz dance had great choreography, but, like the judges, I found their performances were a bit lacking. (I especially wanted more from their facial expressions.) I liked Jenna and Tucker’s hip hop, but I didn’t love it. (I was distracted by how jazzy it felt.) Curtis and Haley seemed to have fun in their samba, but their technique (especially Curtis’s) was awkward at times. Alexis and Nico’s jazz was so forgettable I can’t recall anything about it except Nico’s aerial and the kiss near the end of it. And Mariah completely owned her hip hop dance with BluPrint, but he seemed to fade in the face of her glowing stage presence and energetic movement.

All in all, I’ve seen far worse weeks on SYTYCD, but I’ve also seen far better—even from this young season.

Standout Performers: Aaron, Jasmine Harper, Malece, Mariah, Paul, and Jenna

Favorite Routine: I feel incredibly bad for Jade having to leave the show so early because of his torn meniscus. However, his exit made the pairing of Malece and Marko possible, so I can’t be too devastated. Marko was one of my favorite dancers back in Season 8, and he somehow knows how to balance being a brilliant dancer in his own right with letting his partner shine. (It doesn’t hurt that his smile is one of the most adorable smiles in the known universe.)

In this beautiful Sonya Tayeh contemporary piece, Marko’s strength and grace brought both of those qualities out in Malece. I thought she was stunning in this dance, and I think so much of that came from feeling comfortable dancing with someone as poised and talented as Marko. He had her back through all of it, and that allowed her to dance with a remarkable mixture of abandon and controlled power. She’s an incredibly graceful dancer, and for the first time I understood what the “Malece Magic” is all about.


4 thoughts on “TV Time: SYTYCD Season 10 “Top 17 Perform”

  1. Interesting take on Nigel’s discussing the choreographer’s input. I actually appreciated the disclosure. Since they got rid of the elimination episode Nigel has talked often about the consulting with the choreographers with no indication to content. It always felt like some side secret. I liked that he shared with the audience the critique because as a viewer it gives me a better indication as to why dancers are going home. I thought the critique of Alexis in particular was very telling. It also explains some of the favoritism at the judging panel if the choreographers are supportive of a dancer’s skills even if they aren’t connecting with the audience — let’s call it Tidwell syndrome. I do however have a pet peeve this season and it is the judges commentary about dress rehearsals we don’t see. I don’t care what they did/didn’t do in dress it isn’t their actual performance.

    As for Erin Andrews, Cat squeezed in the answer to her presence at the end of the episode. Andrews is calling the All-Star game this weekend on FOX. It was a cross promotion mandated by the network.

    I also thought the episode was lacking, but some of that I believe was due to the fact that there were several new choreographers this episode. I appreciate their bringing new blood into the mix and I think it takes a minute or two for them to get their footing/voice/vision in the format. So it gets a pass from me.

    In my opinion Curtis, Blueprint, Alan Jenna, Haley, Alexis all should be working on solos this week. I am tired of Blueprint and think it is time for him to go home, he doesn’t have an ounce of Cyrus’ personality and humility which makes his lack of training glaring. I think if Alexis is in fact in the bottom she’s a goner.

    • I think you hit the nail on the head with the mention of the new choreographers. It usually takes them a few routines for them to really find their voice on this show. And it doesn’t help that they were paired with some dancers who I feel are less-than-stellar at selling the material they’re given.

      I definitely see where you’re coming from with the explanations of the choreographers’ thoughts—it surely helps to see an insider’s perspective on these dancers. Like I said, I think as a dancer and choreographer I’m just being overly protective of those dancers and their feelings. (I get way too emotionally invested in this show!) It’s the same way I feel about sports—if a coach sees negative attributes in a player, I’d rather it’s addressed privately rather than in the press the way some coaches do. Just a personal preference, I suppose.

  2. Agree! I felt almost like we were eavesdropping when it comes to the critique from the choreographers..
    I am so so so bummed about Jade. I really feel as if he was going to be one of those ‘you haven’t had any training?!’ kind of dancers. And the way you could see him in the audience holding all of the emotions in…. heartbroken.

    But that dance. I was.. in a trance watching it. I’m also addicted to that song. I agree with who left, I didn’t see too much of a personality? I don’t know? I also think that’s my new favourite Sonya dance. It felt like she was even stepping outside of her comfort zone because I didn’t necessarily see that immediately and think, yep. A Sonya piece.

    Moving on..

    I am still just entirely in love with Fikshun and his general vibe! He just seems like the friendliest guy EVER.

    Oh, Tucker and Jenna?! (It was Jenna wasn’t it? I’m still not sure about all the girls’ names, the guys have my attention!) that dance made ME want to learn it.

    I still think we need a results show seperately.. I’m a bit frustrated with that.

    • “I still think we need a results show seperately.. I’m a bit frustrated with that.”

      I will never be okay with that FOX decision. I understand why it was done, but it takes away so much joy from the show knowing that someone is going home that same night. I actually stopped watching a good majority of the last season because of the new format, but I came back this season because I missed watching great dancing on my TV.

      I love what you said about that dance feeling like something completely different from Sonya. It had a kind of grace that we don’t normally see from her. I love her style, but she’s usually such a powerful choreographer—even in her contemporary pieces. This dance felt softer, more subdued, and I LOVED it.

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