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Last nights episode of So You Think You Can Dance was good for various reasons. Not only the routines, which were good but overall not Great, the fact that the show used last night to introduce 5 new choreographers help to energize this season 4 weeks in. They weren’t all fantastic, but there are a few I can’t wait to see again so here’s a report card of sorts to give my take on whose routines were best and which ones  just didn’t sparkle as brightly.

Shaun Evauristo.

Overall Grade: C

This show has been desperate for new Hip Hop talent, but really the only new choreographers that have left a big mark on the show in that genre were the now over-used NappyTabs (Napoleon and Tabatha) and they were introduced 4 seasons ago. Shaun’s attempt was good, he choreographed a real fun and breezy routine last night tackled by Sasha and Alexander who have been one of leading couples thus far. The problem was Alexander, and I didn’t necessarily mind that he wasn’t hitting as hard because he gave it a great effort. He was on beat and did all the moves, just the intensity and “swag” (they couldn’t say that word enough last night) was lacking. And unfortunately it also kind of brought down Sasha.

The routine was cute, and Evauristo put together a nice package but his dancers let him down and you have to blame him a little for not pulling what he needed out of the dancers. I do hope he returns but it probably won’t happen. (The judges never even said his name when critiquing the dancers, and they generally always do that bad or good)

Liz Lira.

Overall Grade: B-

Her Salsa routine taken on by Ashley and Chris was not my favorite, even though both dancers really tried it was just missing some serious passion. Chris (like Alexander in Hip Hop) did what he was supposed to do but the attitude wasn’t  there, Ashley was better but like Nigel said they were both kind of going in and out from great moments to just barely making it by. The routine was very patchy because of that, but I will give Lira credit it could have been an amazing routine. There was a 4 part lift that was one of the most awesome moves I’ve seen on the show in a while. She strung together some truly great moves and tricks for this routine, it just sort of fell apart.

I think they should bring her back later this season when the All-Stars come back, her routine begged for some truly skilled dancers and she didn’t luck up this time.

Ray Leeper.

Overall Grade: B+

Leeper, a jazz choreographer, was responsible for two routines and he pretty much nailed them both. The first was a routine by my favorite couple Melanie and Marko, even though I noted it was “just okay” It was a very engaging routine and I couldn’t take my eyes off  of it. I’m not really sure what was lacking though, it kind of felt like a run on sentence where I needed them to make some sort of clear statement.


The second group routine of the night (and I’m loving that they are doing this on Wednesdays as well as Thursdays now) was a showcase for the girls and Leeper really showed out on this one. It was the type of Bob Fosse sex-drenched numbers from “Chicago” or “Sweet Charity”, but it wasn’t like a mimic it was truly original and was one of the big highlights of the night.

After watching both routines, Tyce better be worried about getting replaced.

Chucky Klapow.

Overall Grade: A

“Swag” was easily the most used word of last night, but when it came to Ryan and Ricky’s routine choreographed by Chuck Klapow “Quirk” became the new buzz word. Klapow seems to be filling in for quirk-king Wade Robson who has been absent this season (and if I remember correctly, he was M.I.A. last season too). I’ll say this David Bowie routine has NOTHING on Wade’s “Fame” routine from last season, but Klapow did show his talents and his voice with this routine. It was fun, fierce, intense and yes quirky.

From the reaction in the studio, Klapow will be back and I’m really excited to see what he can cook up.

Justin Giles.

Overall Grade: A+

Though everybody was praising the Mandy Moore routine danced by Mitchell and Caitlynn last night, the two best routines were from new contemporary guy Justin Giles. He did the opening group number by the guys which was incredibly beautiful and make a really strong statement. It’s part Mia Michaels and strangely part NappyTabs, he has the emotion and (can’t believe I’m going to say it again) quirk of Mia and the incredible musicality and quick moves of NappyTabs. He did an amazing job with the group number, and even though Chris totally flubbed some steps the routine overall was one of my favorite group numbers of the series history.

His second routine was the BEST of the night, Jess and Clarice dancing to a beautiful Celeste Lear track. Again it had the emotion and quirk of a great contemporary routine but also the syncopation and staccato of a Hip Hop routine. For that molding of genres, Giles has quickly become one of my favorite choreographers. And he was lucky to have Jess and Clarice who completely went there emotionally to deliver a really powerful routine.

Of course Mandy Moore had the judges favorite routine of the night, which was really breathtaking. It was beautiful, romantic and the shocking thing to me was it was so quick both Mitchell and Caitlynn danced with such power but also brought a genuine connection.

The other routine not taken on by a new choreographer was Tony Redpath’s waltz by Jordan and Tadd. Again, they did great with the routine, they gave everything they were supposed to give, but Jordan and Tadd just have this issue of not being really memorable. They need to step it up.

Predictions:

I was surprised nobody mentioned Chris’ major flub during the guys group number, but for that alone he should be going home. Also he wasn’t as effective in the salsa, and you can give him a handicap since he’s a Hip Hop dancer but you look back and other Hip Hop dancers like Joshua and Russell were able to do a lot better so we can’t use that excuse Chris. Just being fair, Ashley should be the girl to go home. If Chris skates by, it’ll be because of Alexander who didn’t do as bad as Chris but he lacks something in personality. He’s not the type of person people will vote for just because they like him as a person so that could be his downfall. Sasha isn’t going anywhere though, so it might be Ashley and Alexander.

Other possibility, and I hate to say it because I do love them, Jordan and Tadd. I think most people really do like them and they haven’t made a wrong move all season, it’s just they’ve yet to have that real stand out routine and that might hurt them. If they don’t get voted off, they will most likely be in the bottom and maybe that’ll shake them up and we’ll get a flawless and unforgettable performance from them next week.

Judges:

When they announced Carmen Electra, I was like “WTF!” Surprise Surprise her critiques were kind of good. I’ve been meaning to talk about the judging panel this season, which has corrected it’s major issue already. They started out with Nigel and Mary and a guest judge which would be their “Paula” — only has nice things to say, no real help at all– but now that they are doing 4 judges it works much better. This week though, they brought on Travis Wall as a judge. And here’s the deal… he’s a very talented choreographer and his critiques were actually really good (he gave me a Baby Shankman vibe at parts though). I just don’t understand why this show favors him so much!? Did he even win his season!?

I want to know what he had been doing in the time frame of him leaving the show and coming back as a choreographer. And why they haven’t brought back other past contestants regularly? Is he well connected to one of the producers? Did he just hob nob and network his way to a spot like this? Is it because he’s a blonde boy? Why is he getting these opportunities and not others? That question bothers me, but not taking away from his talent at all.

Okay there you have it. Again I have to shout out 0yramary0 and CapriciousThe for the Youtube clips.

We’ll see how I do tonight (as you saw last week I correctly predicted the dancers who were eliminated)

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