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S14.E10: Top 9 Perform

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Each dancer has another opportunity to impress the judges and fight for the nation's vote before one must say goodbye.

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This week's show was much better to me than last.  IMO Koine/Marko and Comfort/Mark are the two most in sync couples, where they just seem to work like a seamless pair and kill everything they do.  Comfort is breathtaking. I know it's not supposed to be about the all stars, but I'd watch her dance contemporary for hours.  I'd rather watch her than most of the actual contemporary dancers.  I'd also watch Koine for hours.

The opening dance was fine, but hated the tribal costumes.  Dressing your dancers in generic tribal garb as a means of dress-up is tacky.

Kaylee is being dragged down by Cyrus. She's outperforming her all-star week to week and I feel like he's holding her back.  I also thought Lex outperformed Gaby tonight.

Thought Logan did well with jive and it played to his strengths.  Taylor's samba wasn't particularly good.  It was no Katee/Josh.

Sydney wasn't good.  As for Kiki, it is the judges that are driving me crazy.  Was their Mandy Moore contemporary really well executed? Yes. Did Kiki do much in it? Not really. That routine was almost all Jenna (and it was nice to see her do something soft as opposed to her normal in your face mode).  Yes, Kiki had to lift her and move her and do some really tiny movements but he's going to get exposed really bad when he's paired up with someone else eventually.  I don't care if the judges want to praise Kiki, but their over the top praise towards him is so over the top.

The B3 was disappointing.  Sydney should have gone last week.  Though I expect the B3 will look different next week. I'd be shocked if Robert is there.

Edited by spanana
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Lex moves like water and is so strong and commanding on stage. Seems he is always front and center in the group routines. The choreographers love him.

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I  agree with you @Spanna.   I think Koine and Marko are very special and Comfort and Mark are as well.  I'm shocked that Mark was bottom 3,  but maybe there is something that bugs with his mugging for the camera.  Kiki I am more annoyed than ever about the pimpin' and the fact the judges had to refer to Jenna and Val's romance in the critique.  Makes me want to barf.  Why not call it what it is, a pretty, boring contemporary dance where the male is only there as a support, not really a fork lift because very little was done overhead. Plus, there is no break out extensions or  flips or leaps because he can't do them.  He can barely do an arabesque.  And sorry, I saw very little in the way of connection, in the way that Comfort and Mark were so raw and emotional.  It sucks because Mandy's boring choreo is now being held up as the best because of the overblown movie and rather generous Oscar given.  Mandy is of course a big supporter of the Fam, and it's getting rather tiresome.   He really should go but that's not going to happen given the huge push for mediocrity.

Kudos to Travis tonight for a really haunting Strange Fruit piece.  The lyrics of this song always get me, and given the happenings in the last couple of weeks very poignant as well.

Robert went last week, yes?  

Shout out to DWTS Rashad Jennings who was in the audience, I guess to support his partner Emma Slater and her beau Sasha Fabers fun jive choreography.   What a cool winner of DWTS to stay so connected to dance, especially since the guy had no training.

ETA:  I'm getting a strange creepy feeling that so many from DWTS on the show this season is somehow the push to get Kiki a plumb spot back on DWTS with fanfare...

@Luvthepros   Lex was really strong on his solo tonight. probably the best solo on the show.  I thought the duet was good, he was much sharper than his partner who was rather messy in parts.  I was never a big fan of Gaby. 

Edited by Andie1
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1 hour ago, spanana said:

Kaylee is being dragged down by Cyrus. She's outperforming her all-star week to week and I feel like he's holding her back.  I also thought Lex outperformed Gaby tonight.

100% agree

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My rankings this week...

1. Mark & Comfort - I'm shocked he was in the bottom but another strong performance this week. Great example of an all star making the contestant better unlike some of the others...

2. Logan & Allison - I thought this was really strong and I was surprised how well he did in this

3. Kione & Mark - they are consistently one of the top couples every week, didn't love the song choice but the choreography was really good and showcased them both well

4. Taylor & Robert - didn't expect Taylor to be good in this but I thought she brought it and no Robert, you're hips don't lie ?

5. Kiki & Jenna - let's be honest, this was all Jenna, Kiki did nothing. TPTB really love these two and I have no idea why. 

6. Kaylee & Cyrus - this was middle of the pack for me, I agree that Cyrus is holding her back, I hope she gets to dance with anyone else before she gets voted off

7. Sydney & Paul - cute, fun, nothing special 

8. Dassy & Fikshun - I'm so underwhelmed by this pairing, honestly I don't think Fikshun has much emotional range, this routine was supposed to be sexy at times and he just can't pull that off, everything can't be cute. Another pair where I'd like to see Dassy dance with someone else. 

9. Lex & Gaby - He danced circles around her in this number. I'm pretty sure they cut off a camera angle of her falling out of a turn. I feel like if it had been just him it would've been one of the top routines of the night. And he still hasn't danced in his genre. 

Edited by healthnut
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21 minutes ago, Cuatro1234 said:

100% agree

That is what is a bit weird about this season. In the past the all-stars have mostly been kept to their individual specialities so the newbies rarely outshined them.  In some ways it defeats the so called purpose of the all-stars, as the all knowing mentors often being held up as the best of the best, when they are in some cases being outshined by their newbies and showing their weaknesses.  Most obviously Cyrus, and I thought Gaby looked pretty weak tonight.

Then in other cases the all-stars are somewhat holding their own in a style outside of their speciality, but they don't know enough about said style to really be of help to their partner.  See either ballroom pro attempting to do hip hop and not being able to help their partner in any way.

It's funny that I thought Allison looked stronger at ballroom here, probably when up against other non ballroomers, then she does on DWTS when she's being held up again actual champions and people that have trained it in their whole life.  I thought Emma/Sasha did a good job choreographing to Logan's strengths. 

ETA: I noticed too it looked like the camera cut away as Gaby was falling out of a turn. I know it's not supposed to be about the all-stars, or at least I wish it wasn't, but if the judges are going to spend so much time fawning over them I also wish they would acknowledge when they kind of suck. So far they seem to be reserving it all for Cyrus.

Edited by spanana
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Ummm, I was rather excited when Kat announced a dance to "Strange Fruit" ...but then they put a line of white dancers up front and totally showcased Allison and Robert throughout the whole dance and gave them all the close ups and shit! WTF?!  

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Mark and Comfort, just WOW.  

The staging and dancing for Strange Fruit was amazing.  That song has gotten to me since I first heard it by Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues.  It's a haunting and gut wrenching song. 

Is it just me or has Kat's Cockney/Geordie accent gotten worse?  Sometimes I need captions to understand what she's saying.  

Why can't news conferences be held at 3am?   I flipping hate these interruptions.  

Edited by KLovestoShop
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Just now, KLovestoShop said:

Why can't news conferences be held at 3am?   I flipping hate these interruptions.

Thank goodness our local Fox channel showed the rest of the show after the news conference...sometimes networks don't do that! I would rather watch bad dancing than a news conference...but this was almost all good dancing so I really didn't want to miss it.

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Yeah... "Strange Fruit" made me feel some type of way when I watched it. Like, it's beautifully done (that ending shot was so trite though), but this was a moment where I think the black dancers (the few that's there) should have had the spotlight.

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9 minutes ago, KLovestoShop said:

Mark and Comfort, just WOW.  

The staging and dancing for Strange Fruit was amazing.  That song has gotten to me since I first heard it by Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues.  It's a haunting and gut wrenching song. 

Is it just me or has Kat's Cockney/Geordie accent gotten worse?  Sometimes I need captions to understand what she's saying.  

Why can't news conferences be held at 3am?   I flipping hate these interruptions.  

Cockney = from London

Geordie = from Newcastle/northeast England

Kat is from near Birmingham, therefore her accent is Brummie.

Loads of different accents in the UK and it's difficult to keep them all straight, but they are pretty different.

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Dang it. I cannot watch Luther Brown's routines.  And as a Canadian I think I'm supposed to, but I'm sorry.

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I didn't agree with the judges tonight.

 

I enjoyed Kiki's solo, but his duet looked like a ballroom dancer doing contemporary. He couldn't let go of the ballroom lines, imo.

 

I thought Lex and Gaby were a hot mess, and I like both of them a lot. I seriously worried they'd fall (again in Gaby's case) because it seemed like they were slipping around the stage. Lex needs to learn to lift a partner without making it look like she's a struggling St Bernard. 

 

Geez o Pete, was Cyrus even in that routine? I've never seen camerawork to cut out the partner like that. Spencer Liff did not look happy when it was over. As others have mentioned, Cyrus is dragging Haylee down, and that's a big bummer. She is such a strong dancer and deserves a more all-around partner, though Cyrus seems super supportive and generous. She danced to an Elliott Yamin song, yay!

 

i'm so happy to see the choreographers they've having this season. I'm glad SYT and DWTS worked it out so DWTS dancers get to do stuff.

 

Logan really got the expressions down in the jive. I actually watched him the whole time, not Allison.

 

Really glad Dassy wasn't cut.

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What I really wanted to see was the choreography of the camera operator on Taylor and Robert's routine: he or she ran over a full circle around the two on the samba roll and then was entirely out of sight on the next cut to a shot of the entire stage - I suspect they dove behind one of the large panels.

 I think the intention of doing Strange Fruit was good, but it certainly had its problems as noted earlier in the thread. I'm glad Travis tried to address the topic, but I don't think he got there. Further, I don't think the final cut to modern attire worked at all particularly since doing so breaks the illusion that these previously filmed segments are part of the live show. 

The solos have always been vestigial on this show (at least we no longer suffer the count-down clock), but I have much preferred to spend that time on group routines - maybe trios sans All Stars?

Lex is almost certainly the best technical dancer here, but I'm voting for Koine.

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Between them cutting the camera away to hide her falling out of a move during the Top 9 Group routine and retweeting 3 different tweets about her performance from two weeks ago during tonight's show, I think the producers' Taylor bias is showing preeeeeeeetty obviously. I only watched the performances on Twitter, but I'm guessing they didn't call her out for a number of missed holds during that ballroom routine, or the fact that she and Robert are never quite perfectly in sync (a problem she also had during the Top 9 number)? It just grates because I'd rank her, at best, 5th of the remaining 8. 

Koine, Logan, Kaylee, and Mark had the best routines tonight. Pretty firmly on Team Koine at this part. Her connection, both with Marko and with the camera, is magnetic.

Lex danced circles around Gaby.

Wake me up when Kiki finally goes home.

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So Lex has always been my favorite since auditions. But I think he's weak in partnering. He looks uncomfortable when he's touching Gabby, imo. There's space in between them when there shouldn't be. Perhaps it's his shyness? I love awkward adorable guys, so he's still a fav, but he really is best in group performances. He dances the hell out of those.

I was surprised how much I loved Logan/Alison today, as I usually dislike anything she does. I hated her on DWTS, but I was ambivalent on her season if sytycd. She just dances so, well, hard. Her ballroom is usually so frantic, but Logan kept up and looked great! His personality is so cute. What a fun routine. I like Emma and Sasha.

koine and Marko are wonderful. One of the best connections. I really enjoyed Dassy and Fikshun, too. I love their adorable little partnership and was surprised she was in the bottom. 

Hate Kiki. Why is he still here? Ugh.

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I am really sympatico with most all the comments tonight.  Koine has become my fave girl  she's a beautiful dancer in all styles she's tackled. Her range is possibly  the most extensive of the girls and she and Marko just click. A cute couple with the right height and porportion.  It would be nice if Marko got a win with her.  He's such an outstanding dancer who doesn't over shadow his partner, but there's just enough spice from him to infuse interest in the team. 

 I did love Logan tonight on the Jive.  He really sold that dance not so much as a technical Jive but a show dance that would be right at home in the USO Canteen. He had that goofy puppy dog eyes for Allison that was excellent casting.  He really benefitted from Sasha Faber's very athletic style choreographed into the piece . When Allison does  ballroom choreographed by a ballroom specialist she's very strong. It's when she presents her own choreography in ballroom that I think is lacking because the technique gets flaily and doesn't follow the ambition. 

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I thought Kiki was beautiful when partnering Jenna, but definitely looked like a ballroom dancer dancing contemporary. However, I hate when the importance of the lifter's role in lifts gets dismissed. For lifts to be as seamless and light as Kiki/Jenna's, both partners have to nail it. Kiki absolutely was part of making that cloud-like magic happen. Honestly, Mandy probably should have choreographed a straight up adagio style routine for them since Kiki can't get the ballroom lines out of his body.

I agree with the critique of "Strange Fruit." The choreography was nicely done with some very beautiful/clever moments, but it was undercut by having so many non-Black dancers as part of the group and the camera focusing on the non-Black dancers. It felt very uncomfortable, and I think undercut the message.

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My take on Strange Fruit is a little different.  I found the first person I focused on was Jasmine who was pulled into a unnatural position.  As the piece continued  Marko who's Asian wanted to become part of the fabric, was pushed away and then had to leap to assert himself. The dance became neither  black or white, but something that everyone must confront. Everyone writhing as if hanging from that tree... Moving from slave clothes to modern ones with the look on Robert's face, was like holy shit, what just happened to me?  it can happen to you, it can happen to anyone unless we bond together.  So for me, even though the song is specific to lynching,  the noose of oppression can be felt by  anyone  who is  different. 

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Like last week's episode, this week's was a mixed bag and overall I can't really determine if it was worse or better. If anything, it demonstrates even further the numerous cons of the new format--namely that a number of couples still look very awkward together in spite of the All-Stars' so-called "good judgment" in choosing their partners, and that this crop of contestants is decidedly weaker than Top 9s of past years. The pros are all coincidental, by contrast. I'll cover each contestant's performance with their All-Star.

On a not-so-unrelated note, Vanessa offers nothing of value. Also, it seems Maddie Ziegler grew up to be one of those "Look how great of a person I am" types and... massive eye-roller. "It was just really hard for me to portray a rude girl..."

1.) Opening group number

I feel like I would have liked this a little better if last week's group disco didn't exist--one of my all-time favorite group numbers, no joke. I found the costumes cute but poorly assembled just like the choreography, the latter of which could have been remedied by showcasing more than the same five All-Stars and Lex. I don't even know if the other twelve or so even got any screen time, especially the other contestants. Comfort killed it just as she kills everything.

2.) Logan

Though I love watching Logan by himself, he and Allison truly are one of the most forgettable couples here. Though this piece was light years ahead of their terribly-choreographed Friedman thing from last week, the two have very little chemistry together, and next to Allison, Logan's age and lack of partnering experience stick out; he looks 12 more than he already looks 12. There were some seriously good moments--loved when he had his head following her butt and the leg-kicking thing Mary mentioned--but the dance underwhelmed me overall. In addition to looking uncomfortable with nearly every partnering maneuver, Logan doesn't act very well. This really isn't a problem when he kicks ass in all of his solos, and I'm glad Emma and Sasha gave him a lot to work with here, but when you're on a show where the choreographers explicitly tell you what the piece is about, character building or at least some facial expressions are a must. Let's hope he can learn quickly as he has so much potential.

3.) Koine

I wasn't as floored with Koine and Mark's African Jazz number from last week as everyone else... they were trying their hardest and it showed... however, I have a complete change of heart this week: their hip-hop was one of the top three pieces of the night. Mark and Koine have always been one of the happy accidents of this ill-fitted format; from their immediate chemistry and synchronization to their ease of partnering, it seems they've been a near-perfect match from the beginning. Here, however, Koine took the choreography and the story and absolutely RAN with it, leaving Mark well in her shadow. To be honest, I really didn't understand how Mark even fit in the dance, and it could have easily been a solo, but if the point was to highlight the contestant instead of the All-Star then it was a total success. Her character progression from devastated pageant girl to total badass was eminently palpable in her facial expressions and body language; though she wasn't very grounded at times it didn't really matter. Just wish the routine could have been a bit longer. Nevertheless, A+ from me and I hope M/K show up a whole lot more.

4.) Dassy

It confused the f*** out of me that "be sexy" was the main advice in Dassy's video package instead of Taylor's since Taylor could have benefitted a great deal more from that and it was totally mismatched for this number. Nothing about the music or the choreography or, really, any aspect of Dassy and Fik-Shun's Jazz routine screamed "sexy" to me in the way Ray Leeper was trying to suggest. The costumes, maybe? As a result, telling Dassy to be sexy in a number that doesn't really call for it put her on the wrong foot from the beginning, and though she was moving relatively well all her effort was big-time showing on her face. It didn't help that her hat was obscuring most of it. The piece could have really done without that one move where Dassy was crawling on Fik-Shun--the one part in the choreography that could have been "sexy" just looked massively uncomfortable. Though it's evident that D/F-S collaborate well together and are well-proportioned for each other, there's something missing when they dance together. The best I can boil it down to is that Fik-Shun doesn't really elevate Dassy, and vice versa, in the way that Koine and Mark or Taylor and Robert do. And though I think she's adorable and she has some of the better solos of the bunch, there remains a chasm in technical ability between Dassy and the other contestants that is rather apparent in the more challenging group numbers. I was shocked she was in the bottom three this week after last week's spunky Bollywood; however, I'm sad to say there's a good chance that it's 8th or 7th place for her unless she can find some spark with Fik-Shun.

5.) Mark

Another powerful and emotionally-resonant routine from Mark and Comfort that proves you don't need to have a faux affair with someone in order to play a believable couple. Though the producers' character arcs for the contestants are all painfully obvious and mostly unnecessary--let me put on my glasses--for Mark, the "I can be more than a goof and show the complexities of my acting" direction actually holds weight. At 27, Mark is the oldest contestant, having more experience and, dare I say it, maturity (maybe not) than the rest of the cast. His pairing with Comfort makes all the more sense as she is the oldest or second-oldest All-Star and has shown by far the most growth as a dancer as the years have gone by. Thus, their placement in pieces with more complex, "adult" concepts, like last week's sexually-charged, delicious Jazz number that only landed Mark in the bottom three because Trump's America, is bound to happen given the details of their pairing. Though I think Mark does "BDSM" a little more convincingly than "doomed lover," he nevertheless nailed the emotional delivery and (almost) physical demands of the piece--a contemporary routine where flexibility and variety in one's fluidness were required. Imagine that! It really helped his case that Comfort is his partner; again, Comfort killed it just as she kills everything. Like Mark/Koine and Robert/Taylor, Mark/Comfort are a near-perfect couple and a pleasant surprise of the format. Though Mark, talented ham that he is, could succeed with anyone based off of the merit and creativity of his solos and his affability, his partnership with Comfort has the potential to propel him to win this whole competition.

I'll continue with the All-Stars' contemporary routine tomorrow.

Edited by PRGyro · Reason: Mistakes
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I get where Logan is immature, but for me tonight, the Jive piece sort of played up the idea that Logan is a soldier boy out for a good time, while Allison "the catch" will play ball only if he plays nice.  It didn't bother me that Allison is older, it sort of a young man's fantasy to have the attention of the older hot chick. 

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Performances from this week:

Group dances:

Spoiler

All stars - contemporary (Travis Wall)


Top 9 - jazz & Broadway (Chris Baldock)

 
All Stars & top 9 (Luther Brown)

 


Partner dances:

Spoiler

Kaylee & Cyrus - jazz (Spencer Liff)


Kiki & Jenna - contemporary (Mandy Moore)


Taylor & Robert - samba (Jean Marc Genereux)


Sydney & Paul - hip hop (Luther Brown)


Dassy & Fik Shun - jazz (Ray Leeper)


Lex & Gaby - Broadway (Warren Carlyle)


Mark & Comfort - contemporary (Talia Favia)


Koine & Marko - hip hop (Dave Scott)


Logan & Allison - jive (Emma Slater and Sasha Farber)

 


Solos:

Spoiler

Lex


Dassy


Mark


Koine


Logan


Taylor


Kiki


Sydney


Kaylee

 

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Lex's solo showed so much control! One thing I really dislike about the new format is that because the contestants only dance with the All Stars, I feel like the routines should be more tailored to that. This is the second week in a row where the contestant spent the first 30 seconds sitting in a chair while the All Star danced around. Lex is the one competing here so he shouldn't be sidelined for 1/3 of the routine while Gaby gets a solo.

In one of the early seasons, the judges talked about how an important aspect of dance and performance is being a good actor. Koine was great in her routine, partly because she was able to express so much with just her face when she was sitting in front of the mirror. If she keeps getting good routines, she is definitely a contender to win!

I didn't like Kiki's solo - too much hair tossing for my taste. Although Jenna has annoyed me in the past (both here and on DWTS), one thing I enjoyed about her performance was that she really pointed her feet. It seems the bar has been set very low for a dance show, but there you have it. Too often we see contestants with dangling feet, meaning no energy put into their feet so they're neither pointed nor flexed, just hanging there. Sometimes there are people who don't have good toe point so instead of pointing with their whole foot (as they should),  they just curl their toes under (this has become really noticeable in gymnastics over the last decade so I notice it all the time).

Is Luther Brown just tired of choreographing? Because once again he gave us a routine where the last 30 seconds was NOTHING. I mean, great, we got the stupid spinning camera again, but Paul and Sydney were just standing there on stage while the camera circled around them like three times. Hated the costumes and I didn't really like the choreography, but Sydney just faded into the background. Paul at least looked like he was trying.

I did not like Taylor and Robert's samba. It was not executed well. I thought the same thing about her solo.

Allison has been problematic on DWTS but she and Logan both looked great in the jive. She was much sharper than she was on DWTS, but without being too flaily or over the top. Maybe it was having someone else choreograph the routine that helped? Logan looked like he was having fun and he made it look effortless.

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I like the routines, as a whole, better than last week's.  But, it was surprising to see Lex, Kaylee, and Taylor outdance their ASs.  One, OK but three?  My favorite routines were -Kiki (I know it was mainly Jenna but it was good), Logan (I smiled the whole time), Mark (Someone had mentioned their ages.  Maybe that's why their performances seem so believable?).  There really wasn't a routine that I totally didn't like.  They even did better with the samba than I thought they would.  I like watching Dassy and FikShun but obviously most people don't because they're not getting the support.  I feel the same about Mark and Comfort and they don't have the support either. 

I think TPTB were probably hoping their favorites would've distanced themselves by now or a dark horse would've run ahead.  There will have to be something drastic to get Kiki and Lex off TPTB list.  I think TPTB wanted Taylor but they can't turn a blind eye to Koine.  More people seem to be impressed with Koine than Taylor.  TPTB want Logan to do well but I think they're hoping Mark will catch on with the voters--BBoy, Ballroom, Contemp.  That leaves Kaylee and Dassy.  Dassy will probably hit B3 again but Kaylee seems to have good support and the judges seem to like her.  For some reason it seems harder to guess the next one out than when there was a T20 with original couples.  By the time of the T10, you had your do or die.  Or, maybe it's just that the show hasn't started the real smear campaign yet--harsh critiques, technical ballroom, technical hip hop.  Anyway my B3 prediction are Dassy, Mark and Taylor.  They will let Dassy go.

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First of all, Paul! Damn, I love him in that Miami routine. He nailed the character and the moves. I don't know what Nigel was smoking but I did not mind the tongue. ;-)

Is Marko one of the best and most well-rounded dancers this show had ever had? He can do all genres of dance and do it well. Koine was okay but Marko was perfect in that routine.

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14 minutes ago, crossover said:

I like the routines, as a whole, better than last week's.  But, it was surprising to see Lex, Kaylee, and Taylor outdance their ASs.  One, OK but three?  My favorite routines were -Kiki (I know it was mainly Jenna but it was good), Logan (I smiled the whole time), Mark (Someone had mentioned their ages.  Maybe that's why their performances seem so believable?).  There really wasn't a routine that I totally didn't like.  They even did better with the samba than I thought they would.  I like watching Dassy and FikShun but obviously most people don't because they're not getting the support.  I feel the same about Mark and Comfort and they don't have the support either. 

I

I think with more and more professionals trying out on this show this is bound to happen.  Kiki was on DWTS as a troupe member.  What does he need this show for?  Maybe to get back on DWTS.  He's servicable as a ballroom dancer, but I'm not convinced he's cross trained enough to make an impact, even though the tongue baths for him are over the top. 

Comfort has become a dancer of the highest quality in my mind, she has grown like no other on this show since season 4.  She's not classically trained, but this is the story that Nigel was always wanting to tell about the untrained becoming great and a winner. It's remarkable, Nigel should continue to sing her praises,. So it's really up to Mark and maybe last week was an awakening for his fans.

If people are voting for partnerships, not only individuals then I think Dassy suffers from the fact that a similar looking dancer Koine bonded very early with Marko, there was a unique and romantic chemistry with their first piece that is sustaining this team as a cute couple and they remain likable throughout  the more quirky routines.  Marko is the perfect partner -( that's how you do Contemporary, Kiki), and will do well with anyone but together they set a very appealing tone.  I just don't think FikShun does sexy, so the piece came off a bit more juvenile than what we expected.    

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I wasn't crazy about the choreography for the Mark/Comfort duet (it seemed oddly static to me). They danced it beautifully, though. All I could think about during their performance was that if they brought Comfort back as part of a true 20 All-Star season, she'd be my winner. She has grown so much since her original season, and it's such a joy to watch her.

ETA my dvr cut out right after Lex and Gaby's dance, so thank you for posting the dances here. I felt like Robert and Taylor's samba looked flat, and I cannot believe I'm saying this, but I wish I could have heard Mary's critique. 

I completely agree with the posters who thought the "Strange Fruit" staging was awkward.

Edited by sharifa70

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I continue to love Lex.  I thought their routine tonight was one of the best.  Absolutely enjoyed it.  I also liked Fik-shun/Dassy and Marko/Koine.  I guess I'm in the minority in saying that I like Kiki.  He's not the best dancer, I admit, but there's something about him that I find appealing and enjoyable to watch.  I didn't think his hip hop last week was as bad as most seemed to think, and I quite enjoyed their dance tonight.  I am not normally a fan of Logan or Allison (on DWTS anyway), but I liked their jive.

I have to admit I did not like the Comfort/Mark routine at all.  I adore Comfort, but Mark isn't grabbing me.   I also do not care for Kaylee at all.  Don't know why, but I don't enjoy watching her dance. 

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6 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Lex's solo showed so much control! One thing I really dislike about the new format is that because the contestants only dance with the All Stars, I feel like the routines should be more tailored to that. This is the second week in a row where the contestant spent the first 30 seconds sitting in a chair while the All Star danced around. Lex is the one competing here so he shouldn't be sidelined for 1/3 of the routine while Gaby gets a solo.

I had the same reaction. He spent an uncomfortably long time just sitting in a chair moving a menu around. I also just am not feeling the chemistry between these two.

I really like Koine, but it is beyond embarrassing that the show can't even seem to figure out how to spell her name. Did anyone else notice her graphic during critique said "Kione" before someone must have noticed and yanked it? Not great.

I agree that the concept of having one all star partner for each contestant only holds up as far as the all stars are equally adept at each genre--which is to say, not very far. However one feels about Allison, there's no comparison between her versatility in different types of dance and someone like Cyrus. As others have said, Gaby looked outdanced tonight, and I didn't think she did a lot to help her partner in ballroom, either. I liked her a lot on her season, but on this season I'm finding her a bit off putting, maybe because she is trying to exert more authority as an all star. There's something uncomfortable about her "mentoring" someone who might be a better dancer than she is--and who seems to know it. At any rate, I get that they keep trying to change up the concept, but this one is a bit strange to me. It just seems inequitable. 

I don't get Kiki at all. 

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UGH!  I thought I was going to get through an episode without Mark mugging desperately for the camera.  We were almost there and then he had to pull the faces and crap.  The piece was very serious and I was impressed that he stayed in character. Dancing wise I think he is doing fine, Comfort helps elevate him but I wonder if his personality is what is costing him votes?  I was shocked to see him in the bottom last week because there were so many others I would have put in the bottom over him and figured that he would be safe because of the tween girl audience. 

Kaylee and Cyrus are a weird pairing and it does not do her justice.  She is a good dancer and very skilled but I don’t feel any joy watching her dance.  Watching her dance does not make me happy instead I am constantly thinking why does this feel off to me.  There is not a lot of softness in her.  Cyrus was miscast as an All Star.  While he is PHENOMENAL in his discipline he is considerably lacking in all the others

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Is it just me or do some of these dancers show the same basic skills and/or tricks in each solo?  I felt like Lex did the same thing we've always seen him do in his solos.  30 seconds is too short a time to not show me something at least a little different.  Made me think back to the early seasons where the bottom three did dance for your life solos and Nigel chastised the group for not putting enough effort into them.  I felt like Konie and Kaylee were the only two where I wanted to see more.

The contestant group dance was just bad.  Bad costuming, uninspired choreography, and mediocre execution.   Also, then the women are wearing pants, there is no reason they should be forced to dance in heels.  That choreography was too fast and too complicated to risk a turned ankle on a skinny heel.  At least give them wider character shoe type heels!  

I watched the Strange Fruit number after reading some of the commentary here and it didn't strike me as featuring the white dancers.  The costuming, lighting, and movement felt like an attempt to downplay racial differences between the dancers to further the narrative of struggle.  It was so so much better than the contestant group dance in every way.

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1 minute ago, rigs32 said:

I watched the Strange Fruit number after reading some of the commentary here and it didn't strike me as featuring the white dancers.  The costuming, lighting, and movement felt like an attempt to downplay racial differences between the dancers to further the narrative of struggle.  It was so so much better than the contestant group dance in every way.

There's a formation that takes up a significant portion of the choreography where there are four white dancers in the front, and Allison has a solo. The disconnect for me is that this song is fundamentally about the suffering of black people. Why is Allison having the significant solo moment? Why couldn't it have gone to Jasmine or Comfort? Why couldn't Fik-shun or Cyrus have the close up moment that Robert got? If you're going to go there, with the costuming that reflects what slaves wore down to the head scarves, GO there.

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1 hour ago, GeminiDancer said:

There's a formation that takes up a significant portion of the choreography where there are four white dancers in the front, and Allison has a solo. The disconnect for me is that this song is fundamentally about the suffering of black people. Why is Allison having the significant solo moment? Why couldn't it have gone to Jasmine or Comfort? Why couldn't Fik-shun or Cyrus have the close up moment that Robert got? If you're going to go there, with the costuming that reflects what slaves wore down to the head scarves, GO there.

I agree totally but I think it mostly that a lot of the artists on SYTYCD like to play the color blind card.  We don't see color.  Anyone can be anything.  Okay, but seeing color is actually a good thing IMO.  Discriminating against people because of color, no.  But don't deny people their heritage and their history in the process of trying to make everybody one.  I think most of the people on SYTYCD are well meaning and not hateful but there isn't a lot of cultural competency going on in that place.  Just look at the various made up tribal costumes in the opening number where some dancers were running around in feathers and warpaint.  I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't even dawn on Travis that it didn't make sense to have white leads, which is made all the more ridiculous when there were some ridiculously talented black dancers on that stage.  I think he meant well, but it was an odd choice.

Quote

So for me, even though the song is specific to lynching,  the noose of oppression can be felt by  anyone  who is  different. 

It's not the oppression Olympics.  People don't get to take a song dedicated to one specific group of marginalized people and then co-opt it and make it about their struggle.  That to me is what I said above, where people try to play the colorblind "we're all the same" card.   We're all oppressed.  Well, no.  Don't erase a specific groups history and struggle and co-opt it for somebody else in another group.  Also you can't put Robert and Allison and Jenna or whoever front and center and tell me that they know anything about the struggle of race (yes, I know Allison has a black husband and a biracial child but she herself is white).  Being "different" while being part of the privileged majority is a lot different than being different in the way the song intends.

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So for me, even though the song is specific to lynching,  the noose of oppression can be felt by  anyone  who is  different. 

THIS! I'm not a yuuuuge Travis fan, but I liked his concept, love the song (which gives me shivers every time I hear it), and didn't mind the cliché ending. And of course the timing was perfect.

What's with the outfits for Mary and The Giggler? Did they get Cat's hand-me-downs from past seasons?

OTOH, Cat looked gorgeous in her short dress and legs. 

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1 hour ago, GeminiDancer said:

There's a formation that takes up a significant portion of the choreography where there are four white dancers in the front, and Allison has a solo. The disconnect for me is that this song is fundamentally about the suffering of black people. Why is Allison having the significant solo moment? Why couldn't it have gone to Jasmine or Comfort? Why couldn't Fik-shun or Cyrus have the close up moment that Robert got? If you're going to go there, with the costuming that reflects what slaves wore down to the head scarves, GO there.

I have to be honest, I recognize that the music  contextualizes the place and the costumes, yet  the  events of the past couple of weeks underscores the suffering of humanity.  The events of the nation for me,  is about slavery and the confederacy no question, but it's interwoven with a modern evil.  It is about bigotry in all forms. I don't know if it was Travis' intent, but the piece made me think of  prose by Martin Niemoller during the second world war... "First they came for the Socialists...but I did not speak out because I'm not a socialist..."

But in America's case,  First they came for the Mexicans,  but I did not speak out because I'm not a Mexican... 

                                     Then they came for the The Blacks,  The Disabled, The Women,  The Muslims,  The Jews,  The elderly, The LBGTQ community  but I did not speak out because I'm not one of them.   Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.. 

That's why I thought the mixture of all including white men and women for me seemed profound rather than color blind.  So even though Strange Fruit is a historical suffering, it could be a modern phenomenon when left unattended.  Does it bastardize the integrity of Strange Fruit?  Maybe.  But I also saw a larger truth in the piece.

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I'm predicting that the Strange Fruit routine Travis choreographed is going to win him another Emmy.

Hauntingly beautiful. If you haven't heard Billie Holiday sing it? Nina Simone wasn't the first. That was Billie Holiday.  Here....

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19 minutes ago, Andie1 said:

That's why I thought the mixture of all including white men and women for me seemed profound rather than color blind.  So even though Strange Fruit is a historical suffering, it could be a modern phenomenon when left unattended.  Does it bastardize the integrity of Strange Fruit?  Maybe.  But I also saw a larger truth in the piece.

This is a place where mileage is going to vary and it's the last I'll say on it since I'm not sure this is really the place for this discussion, but racism is still a modern phenomenon.  Yes, all other isms exist and are awful and I'm not trying to take anything away from any of them.  But we are not as far off from the days of lynching and slavery as people pretend and that is where I have the issue.  Racism has been here front and center the whole time.  The only thing that has changed is the way it has manifested itself over the years, with most non white supremacist racism being a lot more subtle and embedded into the way society is structured.  That historical suffering is still happening and still plays out in the lives of black people every day, so something about co-opting it and making it about everyones struggle doesn't feel quite right.

Again, I'm not arguing Travis's intent was bad.  I think he meant well and the dance moved people. Though I expect the general SYTYCD viewing audience is very white and female and I suspect the dance might have gotten a different reaction in a different setting/venue with a different audience.

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18 minutes ago, hnygrl said:

I'm predicting that the Strange Fruit routine Travis choreographed is going to win him another Emmy.

Hauntingly beautiful. If you haven't heard Billie Holiday sing it? Nina Simone wasn't the first. That was Billie Holiday.  Here....

 

Love Billie Holiday!  I had the great pleasure of seeing Audra McDonald on Broadway sing for the one woman show Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill and it was uncanny how she sounds like Billie.   

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That historical suffering is still happening and still plays out in the lives of black people every day, so something about co-opting it and making it about everyones struggle doesn't feel quite right.

Again, I'm not arguing Travis's intent was bad.  I think he meant well and the dance moved people. Though I expect the general SYTYCD viewing audience is very white and female and I suspect the dance might have gotten a different reaction in a different setting/venue with a different audience.

 

Yes, this exactly. "Strange Fruit" is not about generic oppression that can affect everyone. It was written by a Jewish songwriter for a Black woman to sing about a very specifically Black oppression, and we are currently in a moment of particular historic resonance. There is a way that I think non-Black dancers can be incorporated into a "Strange Fruit" dance, but IMHO, they can be incorporated as supporting witnesses with the Black dancers front and center. And certainly they shouldn't all have been costumed in identical historic slave clothing. Not everything can be universal.

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28 minutes ago, spanana said:

Again, I'm not arguing Travis's intent was bad.  I think he meant well and the dance moved people. Though I expect the general SYTYCD viewing audience is very white and female and I suspect the dance might have gotten a different reaction in a different setting/venue with a different audience.

I wonder what it would have been like if Desmond Richardson had choreographed "Strange Fruit".

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Re: Strange Fruit:  Whatever its inadequacies (and the only thing that bothered me at first watch was the cliched ending), I applaud Travis for tackling the topic at this particular time.  I repeat my above comment:  Good on ya, Travis

Edited by Cuatro1234 · Reason: Just re-watched--at least some of the spotlighting is camera person's choice, not choreography
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Also--for me, the music was WAY better this episode than in previous ones this season. So many times in previous seasons, I used to hear songs that were new to me that I'd get excited about, and this season there have been many pieces that are almost hard to classify as music at all.  I realize this is deeply personal, but this episode's music really worked for me. 

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15 hours ago, KLovestoShop said:

Is it just me or has Kat's Cockney/Geordie accent gotten worse?  Sometimes I need captions to understand what she's saying. 

Agree. I feel like a need an interpreter most of the time.

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13 hours ago, PRGyro said:

...... At 27, Mark is the oldest contestant, .......

How did you find out Mark's age? I have looked on the SYTYCD FOX website and bios of the contestants are not listed. This is the first season that FOX has not had interviews and bios of the contestants. Are they there but I'm not seeing them???

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6 hours ago, Jillibean said:

I had the same reaction. He spent an uncomfortably long time just sitting in a chair moving a menu around. I also just am not feeling the chemistry between these two.

I agree that the concept of having one all star partner for each contestant only holds up as far as the all stars are equally adept at each genre--which is to say, not very far. However one feels about Allison, there's no comparison between her versatility in different types of dance and someone like Cyrus. As others have said, Gaby looked outdanced tonight, and I didn't think she did a lot to help her partner in ballroom, either. I liked her a lot on her season, but on this season I'm finding her a bit off putting, maybe because she is trying to exert more authority as an all star. There's something uncomfortable about her "mentoring" someone who might be a better dancer than she is--and who seems to know it. At any rate, I get that they keep trying to change up the concept, but this one is a bit strange to me. It just seems inequitable. 

I totally agree with you re. Lex-Gaby. I thought he outdanced her - in the sections we actually got to see him dance with her lol and not just sit on a chair - and her personality and vibe with him is a little odd. Like you, I really liked her on her season and actually thought she'd be perfect for Lex, since she was pretty young and wouldn't look too much older than him in romantic/coupley routines and also is very versatile and can do most styles well. But it's been a little strange this season, and her slightly sarcastic, 'playfully hitting/admonishing' Lex thing isn't really working - I almost feel he would've been better off with someone like Allison who I find incredibly annoying but would at least be able to actually mentor him. Or Jasmine because that would be the dream LEGS pair. They could've just stood for a minute and a half extending their legs haha.

 

I love Lex and am going to support him DESPITE the slightly muddled arc that TPTB are trying to give him ('no personality', giving him all the non-contemporary styles in the beginning, strangely choreographed routines that don't actually highlight him), and I say despite because I'm sure there are a lot of people who think he's being pimped (I actually think they're pimping Kiki far more and far less deservedly), and I hope that doesn't work against him, because at the end of the day he's a fantastic dancer and seems like a humble, likeable guy. He shines in every group routine, and I don't think it's because he's not good at partner work because the section in the disco number from last week where he dances with Comfort was really fun to watch. 

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Hi guys! Late to the party my DVR cut off at 10:00 and I missed who went home. I have read this thread and still managed to miss who went home? Who went home?

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If they are going to force the contestants to dance with the same all-star every week, it is not fair to the them not to have all-stars equally skilled in all styles.  Far too much emphasis is on the old stars.  BUt, I get that they did that for ratings...supposedly.  I still prefer mixing it up so that each dancer gets an equal opportunity to do their best in all genres.
I really got a rhumba vibe from Kiki and Jenna.  I never felt like I was watching a contemporary.  They did it well...but....
The ballroom folks need to go back and watch old tapes of the solos of Benji, Heidi, Dmitry, and Sasha.  They did more than just shimmy around.  Bring out the cape and do a paso or do a fast kicking jive or jitterbug.  Pretend they are Fred or Ginger and bring out a foxtrot.  
Lex is so much better than Gabby.  Cyrus is a great dancer but in this format does not belong.  
Have we ever so quite so much cross over from DWTS.  3 All-Stars, 1 dancer, multiple choregraphers

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