I couldn’t have been more excited for the first week of the real competition on So You Think You Can Dance. There are only so many trannies with bad lipstick and “I pulled a muscle” sob stories you can watch before you’re aching for the top 20. I’ve been wishing for the start of the real competition for weeks and tonight I finally got my wish… well, sort of.
Though the talent on the show has been more and more impressive every season, tonight’s episode left me feeling as though this group has nothing to offer that hasn’t already been brought by the amazing dancers of years past (the breathtaking technique and complicated character of Danny, the optimistic energy and confidence of Sabra, the goofy and talented surprise of Neil, the sweetness and easy-going nature of Pasha, the exuberance and charisma of Benji, the strength and beauty of Travis, the courage and dedication of Donyelle, the growth of Ivan, Jaimie’s smile, Dmitry’s abs, Nick’s pirouettes, Anya’s outrageous outfits, Hok’s entire being,… the list goes on and on).
This year’s contestants are (to date) unimpressive and uninspiring. The routines were plagued with a monotony, lack of energy and lack of precision that seemed like a complete let down after last season’s spectacular lot.That’s not to say they won’t prove me wrong, but at this point last year I was already standing up and cheering the dancers on as opposed to the yawning and fast forwarding. Early favourites Twitch and Kherington provide a breath of fresh air as the only contestants I really care about so far. Charismatic and jovial, what Twitch called “twitchington” is already gobbling up all my love and attention.
The show has even left behind fan favourite judges/choreographers Shane Sparks and Wade Robson (Robson will choreograph a group number for tomorrow night’s results show but is not listed as a recurring fixture for the season) while choosing to premiere their top 20 with the worst choreographer/judge of the lot (Dan Karaty) sitting in the 3rd seat. And for the most part, this week, I thought the judging panel was entirely wrong. I never think this panel’s wrong (Adam Shankman and Dan Karaty’s foot-in-mouth existences aside). Nigel is always tough without being rude and is consistently constructive while Mary’s crazy antics never fully distract from the fact that she knows exactly what she’s talking about. Tonight, though, they were forthcoming with praise on routines that I thought completely unenlightening and sloppy (and let’s not even get me started on their love affair with Susie the slutty school teacher).
The only really great routine of the night was performed by likable though not memorable couple Joshua and Katee. The pair mustered lovely emotion and balanced it withperfect synchronicity and precise technique in their hip hop routine. The routine, a wonderful blend of sentimental and cool, was choreographed by the show’s greatest assets at the moment: husband and wife team Napoleon and Tabitha. Perhaps the saving grace of an otherwise so far disappointing season, Napoleon and Tabitha proved to be excellent judges throughout Vegas week and have now proven themselves to be talented choreographers as well, easing slightly the pain of the loss of Shane.
So, as the season progresses I’m hoping to find that the contestants step up their game and give me something I’ve never seen before. For now, though, my thoughts are as such (in order):
LEAST FAVOURITE CONTESTANTS:
THE SHOW’S GREATEST ASSETS:
Tabitha and Napoleon