so you think you can dance: thoughts on season 7 so far

I’ve been unable to catch the entirety of both performance episodes so far, (reason #69263 why we need a DVR, parents!) so I haven’t been able to write recaps like I had wanted. I’m not totally wowed by anyone yet, and I’m still unsure if I like the all-stars format or not. Here is my take on the remaining nine dancers.
I don’t know if it’s the extremely high bar he set for himself during his brief appearance in season six, but Billy Bell has been just so-so in his first two performances. Lame choreography dragged him down in his Tyce Diorio Broadway number, and the poor kid never stood a chance next to Comfort in a krump routine. He needs a contemporary or jazz piece soon to really shine.
Kent Boyd is the cutest, most adorable thing to grace my TV screen since the Gosselin sextuplets. He has enough personality for three people, and regardless if you find him entertaining or not, there’s no denying the boy’s got legitimate dance talent. It was impossible not to smile during his cha-cha-cha with Anya, and even though the costume department saddled him with some heinous S&M-type getup in his jazz with Courtney this week, his technical ability shone through any sartorial missteps. I can’t wait to see him in a hip-hop or Broadway number.
I was ready to send Lauren Froderman back to her cheerleading squad after week one’s disastrous pop-jazz with Ade. Technically, it was great, but that cheesy perma-smile was so off-putting. Her redemption came in the form of a Tessandra Chavez lyrical hip-hop. The cheerleader-y grin was gone and she absolutely nailed the choreography. I’ll warily give her my support, but I’m unsure how successful she’ll be with ballroom or something more obscure, like African Jazz.
I keep forgetting that Ashley Galvan is even on the show; the little airtime she received before the top 11 combined with two routines that didn’t really stand out make for a forgettable dancer. Her contemporary with Neil during week one was okay, although I was confused by her declaration to the judges after she danced that she thought she might be in love. With Neil? You best step off, sister. Week two’s jazz (or contemporary if you’re Nigel Lythgoe,) was better, but she needs something really different to make her stand out next week. Give her a hip-hop with Twitch or a jive with Pasha.
Robert Roldan seems to be doing everything in his power to make himself extremely unlikable. The hammy antics and the spastic mugging for the camera have got to go. Personality aside, I think he has a lot of talent left to show us. The guy’s in an Alvin Ailey dance troupe, for crying out loud. I thought he was better than his all-star counterpart, Courtney, in week one’s African Jazz, and while I missed his Argentine tango with Anya last week, from what I saw, he seemed to hold his own. If he could just stop trying so damn hard to be funny, he could make it pretty far.
Jose Ruiz fashions himself to be Legacy 2.0, but he’s not even close. Legacy rose to the occasion each week and made it seem like he’d been doing whatever given genre his entire life, whereas Jose seems very limited in what he can do outside of the b-boy style. Take this week’s Bollywood number, for example. The judges praised him to no end, but I thought it was the sloppiest performance in that style throughout the entire show’s history. I dread the week where Jose picks contemporary.
Judging by the fact that she’s been in the bottom three both weeks so far, I seem to be in the minority of people who like Melinda Sullivan. Nigel sees an inability to connect with the audience; I see someone who isn’t trying desperately to get votes (I’m looking at you, Robert.) Her week one jive with Pasha was a bit off, and terrible costuming and choreography ruined her week two contemporary piece for me, but I’ve loved both of her “dance for your life” solos so far. I do wish the judges would stop praising her technique for being “just a tapper,” though, because Melinda has repeatedly admitted to taking classes in other styles of dance.
Towards the end of Vegas week, I had hoped that Adechike Torbert would survive and make it to the top ten/eleven/whatever number the producers decided to settle on. I’m starting to forget why I wanted him to move on, because his two performances so far have been less than memorable. In his defense, he was forced to stand out while dancing with all-stars Kathryn and Allison, a seemingly insurmountable task. He needs a dance this week that forces him to show some personality, otherwise he could be gone before top five.
Alex Wong‘s technique is so perfect that even Baryshnikov would feel inadequate. However, I don’t foresee him winning, because as SYTYCD history shows, technically flawless male dancers never win. Just ask Danny, Brandon, Jakob, etc. I don’t think he needs to win this show to have success in the dance industry, though. His Broadway number with Lauren was fun, so I hope he gets something like hip-hop or an upbeat ballroom number to showcase his personality and take some of the focus away from his freakishly amazing technical skills.
As far as the new all-star format, I love it and I hate it. I love it because I get to see people like Neil, Pasha, Mark, Kathryn and Courtney dance again, but that’s also the reason why I hate it. Sometimes I’m so focused on watching the all-star dance that the actual contestant becomes an afterthought. I understand what Nigel and co. wanted to accomplish with the all-stars, but I think cutting down the field from 20 to 10 and putting well-known and well-loved dancers into the mix alters the natural balance of SYTYCD.
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  1. Robin

     /  June 27, 2010

    Sara O told me to comment.

    I don’t know that Billy Bell has had bad luck with his routines or if he lacks the stamina to fully commit to the characters he’s given. I’m sick of his laugh and convinced he’s incapable of portraying masculine chemistry with any of the all-stars.

    I want to be best friends with Kent Boyd! However, he’s also lacking in the bravado/testosterone department. It’s not like his technique is any better than anyone else. He’s like the Mollee of this season–not that I wanted to be friends with her.

    Lauren Froderman has an unfortunate name. I don’t know where she’s gone from the audition episodes. I have a weak theory that she purposely sucked in the first performance show so that she has room to grow each week. (I think Tassandra’s choreography was a breath of fresh air compared to a lot of gimmicky stuff the show is falling back on.)

    Ashley Galvan is indeed, forgettable. Her love affair (that I’m also assuming she’s having with Neil) is probably the only thing keeping her interesting. Prediction: she gets some mediocre ballroom next week, stays on just barely, then blows everyone away with a routine that’s actually dynamic.

    Robert Roldan. So true! If he’d calm the heck down, I’d like him a whole lot. He’s the only guy this season who passes for a man. I thought his Argentine Tango was damn sexy. He’s also got the talent, he just needs to shut his trap!

    Jose Ruiz will never be Legacy, but sure. He’s adorable.

    Melinda Sullivan is possibly the only one this season I’m willing to admit I like, right out. Know why she doesn’t connect with America? Cuz the girl is SMART! Clearly her technique isn’t flawless, but I’d rather watch someone with spirit any day. When every contestant has perfect form, it’s a personality contest, but more intriguing to watch will be when she keeps improving exponentially (if she can get some more votes). When the show has real people on it… that’s what makes it good–“dance is a heartform.” She’s the only one I see that in; she’s the only mature dancer; she’s not some pimply-faced pirouetting robot.

    Adechike Torbert bugs the crap out of me. I think keeping him through auditions was a mistake that post-production tried to salvage by hyping up one (not so brilliant) contemporary solo. He just wreaks disingenuous to me, I don’t know why.

    Alex Wong is ok. I think he should have just admitted to being a sober kind of guy instead of claiming that he’s oh so whacky. Unfortunately, you’re right that the Jakob’s of the show never win (but Jakob was so much more than a technician!). His Fosse was painful to watch… and I know she’s the Magnificent Mia Michaels, but I disagree with her about the Hallelujah piece. It was good, but I can’t help but think that Allison (who I’m a big fan of now even though I didn’t start watching until season four) and the song emitted more emotion than Alex and the choreo did. It was really good, don’t get me wrong, but not the best. There was something lacking. It didn’t move me even though in these past two weeks in my own life more than any, “salvation” should have been a powerful concept. Oh, and he can’t sing.

    I guess I’m kinda harsh. But I WILL rave about the new decisions from the director’s seat. Voting for couples together allows for so many discrepancies. Partners carry someone else’s weight, someone’s always stuck being the only person with a new partner each week, and lucking out with a crowd-pleasing routine can save not one, but two crappy dancers. With all-stars, if you’re not even able to keep an eye on the dancer who is competing this season, it speaks volumes. The all-stars should be the neutral, bland, technical support, not the ones saving the performance. I think it brings more clarity to the competition.

    I get the feeling that this format is also psychologically beneficial to the newbie dancers, and it’s a constant reminder that just about everyone will have career opportunities at the end of the season. I like that it’s live, too. The judges have to try to keep it simple–the less we hear from them, the better, because they all just say the same thing, anyway. Little things seem better, too, like the camera not always panning to the judges’ reactions for half the number. AND MARY MURPHY IS GONE! She’s annoying and closed-minded.


    • aljal

       /  June 27, 2010

      I don’t think you can ever write too much about SYTYCD! I’m glad there are other people out there who are as obsessed with this show as I am…sometimes I feel like I over analyze this show way too much, but I love it : )

  2. Robin

     /  July 2, 2010

    I just finished watching the top 9 perform, and I felt the need to over analyze.

    Billy Bell is no Jakob. Katherine really did outshine his emotional capacity ten-fold. What he can do with his body is incredible, but I can’t get over the feeling that he’s maybe spitting evil remarks out his mouth as soon as the camera’s are gone. I don’t think he wants to win.

    Kent Boyd is still just mediocre to me. He has so much more living to do before he’ll be able to dance. I’m glad they told him to get rid of the hungry jazz face. The judges were sort of spot-on with a lot of what they were saying this show, actually.

    Lauren Froderman is also still lacking. She wasn’t gritty and sexy. She did a decent enough job, but all I could think was how much of a virgin she seems like and how jealous poor Ashley must be that Neil wouldn’t stop touching her busted costume.

    Ashley Galvan came alive a week before I predicted she would. The choreography of that contemporary piece was just remarkable, though–I’m so glad she gave in to it. It really showed and created a performance that will stay with me for a while.

    Robert Roldan did a pretty good job, but I think he’s just going to be compared to Mark. He’s no Mark, but he annoyed me way less this week.

    Jose Ruiz surprised me this week. He was sexy and more of a man than the others have been. I’d do him–he’s the only one. But he still doesn’t adapt to the technique of each style the way Legacy could.

    Melinda Sullivan is probably going home, and though it makes me a little sad, I completely understand why. I think she had bad luck with two ballroom numbers, but she was sexier in salsa than Lauren was in jazz. Her solo was also pretty awesome, but no one knows what tap involves! I just wish that she had hip hop or something. If she got some serious ballet training, I think she’d have a better shot, but even that wouldn’t teach her to open herself up. Also, she should have talked about her family–people either want you to be a child or to be married on this show.

    Adechike Torbert did do a better job this week, but he still bugs me. He’s some strange version of Carlton Banks! However, when he was doing his solo, I forgot that he was being timed, which is very a good thing. I think it must have been the confidence from his hip hop number.

    Alex Wong. Holy Crap. Sure his hip hop with Twitch was good… good because it was unexpected and good because Twitch is hot and good because the choreography was genius. But I thought his solo is even more worthy of comment. He used the stage and showed how dynamic he is. If he choreographed that himself, then he has a future beyond the ballet stage. It was really awesome and it moved me–I felt like when Kat said Mia and Adam’s faces showed their amazement, she was talking about my face as well. One thing I will say, though, is that his ballet showed through just a little in his hip hop. He got the style down better than Billy and probably better than Adechike, but ballet dancers have trouble keeping their steps down into the ground and there’s a little more of a soft bounce like lighter gravity. I wonder why girls don’t get as much praise when they master hip hop compared to when guys can…


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