June 21 2009.
Okay so this is how I ranked the performances from Wednesday night:
1. Max and Kayla – Brian Friedman – Pop Jazz
2. Jonathan and Karla – Stacey Tookey – Contemporary
3. Brandon and Janette – Doriana Sanchez – Disco
4. Kupono and Ashley – Shane Sparks – Hip Hop
5. Ade and Melissa – Sonya Tayeh – Jazz
6. Jason and Caitlin – Shane Sparks – Hip Hop
7. Evan and Randi – Louis Amstel – Jive
8. Asuka and Vitolio – Louis Amstel – Waltz
9. Phillip and Jeanine – Tango
So let’s talk about…
The Under-Rated Hip Hop Performances:
Shane Sparks is back as couples choreographer this season and he choreos not one, but two routines this week! Both Caitlin Kinney and Jason Glover + Kupono Aweau and Ashley Valerio get Shane hip hop for Top 18 week, both coming off of very well-done, well-received performances from the week prior. Unfortunately both these routines are not to the judge’s liking. Personally I enjoyed both of these hip hop routines (Ashono’s more so than Caitson’s) and I think the judges weren’t fair in their critique. I felt both the males performed way better than the judge’s comments made it seem and I find it funny that while they state their very lukewarm comments for the performances and routines themselves, they all the while rave about how fantastic Shane is and how excited they are that he’s back. I doubt their compliments about Shane’s choreography and talent made him feel any better about the fact that the judges seemed to throw this hip hop foursome under a bus. Either way, I thought both hip hops were underrated and the dancers deserve some more credit for their performances.
To be fair, though, pretty much all of the routines from Top 18 week were only politely received and well, mediocre at best. Ones that stand out in my mind are Max & Kayla’s Pop Jazz choreographed by Brian Friedman (who also returns as choreographer this season! Exciting!! BFREE is fantastic), Jonathan & Karla’s Contemporary choreographed by Stacey Tookey from Canada! (And not just Canada, but she’s from Edmonton, Alberta! My hometown. She seriously gives me hope that Edmontonians can break into the SYTYCD America world! Of course, I’m no choreographer but I’m sure there’s a job for me in that industry somewhere… ha ha!). Brandon & Janette’s fun fun fun Disco choreographed by Doriana Sanchez, the Disco choreographing queen. Such a fun routine, despite Janette’s minor slipups, it was thoroughly enjoyable to watch.
This week’s pre-performance ‘get-to-know-the-dancers’ clip centered around something America doesn’t know about the dancer including secrets such as Kupono’s OCD (things cannot be diagonal! Too precious), Jeanine’s teddy bear boyfriend, Brandon never having worked out in his entire life, yet having the body that he has (this literally made me drop my jaw, I didn’t believe it!), Evan loves cars and building cars, Randi talks to her dog/treats it like a person, and more. Definitely a really likeable Top 18!
Overall though, I thought this week’s performances across the board were not as up to par as last week’s. I am pleased that Brian Friedman and Shane Sparks are back to choreograph, however, and I also hope that they bring back Stacey Tookey to choreograph more as well!
Now here are some things I noted for Thursday’s results show:
Bottom 3 guys and bottom 3 girls:
– Caitlin Kinney
– Jason Glover
– Kupono Aweau
– Ashley Valerio
– Kayla Radomski
– Max Kapitannikov.
This was an absolutely stressful bottom six, particularly in the case of the guys for me. (The guys are always more important to me, it is apparent, ha ha). Anyway the fact that Jason and Kupono were both in the bottom stressed me out to no end as they are my two favourite guys of the season. I was praying, praying, that the third guy would be either Jonathan or Max, who I felt could both be eliminated way before Jason & Kupono. Granted, Max has done a really brilliant job the past two weeks. It was a surprise that him and Kayla were both in the bottom this week but I took that as my answer from the SYTYCD Heavens, that they would sacrifice Max to keep Pono.
It was bittersweet really. I think it’s completely unfair that there are SO many likeable (and talented) guys in this season’s group. I can only see the remaining results shows becoming increasingly difficult and stressful to watch. I’m really glad the judges decided to give Pono another chance and I hope he lives on that stage for Top 16 week and really show everyone that the judges’ decision to keep him was not in vain. In terms of girl eliminations, I am really sad that Ashley was eliminated. It was NOT her time at ALL. She was becoming one of my favourite girls and is so, so talented. If it had been up to me, I would have chosen Caitlin to leave before Ashley or Kayla.
In terms of solos, again like the performance show this past week I thought that the solos were all only okay really. Jason’s solo stood out the most for me so it was completely understood when the judges spared him first. Also, Jason chose to dance to Robin Thicke’s Superman, so he gets extra points for doing a Travis Wall-danced song: NYCDA Pittsburgh Solo!
The other thing to note was that given Nigel’s prophetic blessing to Kayla that she was headed straight for the top, I knew there was no way in hell she was going to be eliminated.
Also, the Mia Michaels Top 18 Group Routine to “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder was, much like last week’s group routine, SO GOOD!!!!!!! Re-watch it here:
Ade, Jason, and Pono dead front & centre were all brilliant, thank you Mia for that positioning.
Ryan Kasprzak‘s S6 audition was also given considerable airtime during this week’s show. He better make Season 6!
So in the end, Max Kapitannikov and Ashley Valerio are eliminated quite bittersweetly for Top 18 week.
Comments are very welcome!
“I took that as my answer from the SYTYCD Heavens, that they would sacrifice Max to keep Pono.”
That’s absolutely hilarious. Now I can let my readers know that your prayers are responsible for Max’s departure.
Great recap as usual, Linda! My rankings are similar to yours, except I liked Jon & Karla’s contemp the best, and I liked Asuka & Vitolio’s waltz a lot more than you did. But yeah, Ash & Pono’s hip hop was maddeningly underrated. It was great. The judges were either delusional … or bringing out the “agendas” early in the game, grrrrrrr. “Higher Ground” was AMAZING!! Mia ROCKS.