Jose’s got no swagger and Billy’s homeless on “SYTYCD”

We finally get to see all of the dancers perform, with nary an injury in sight. Minus Billy's knee brace

Topics: So You Think You Can Dance, Television,

Jose's got no swagger and Billy's homeless on "SYTYCD"All Star Allison Holker and contestant Lauren Froderman perform a Broadway routine on "So You Think You Can Dance."

Two people are going home this week on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and I have a sneaking suspicion that my least favorite dancers aren’t the same as America’s, so … I’m prepared to be annoyed. After Billy’s performance night I would be thrilled if he stayed in the competition, but I don’t know that he can muster the votes over Adechike. It’s going to take divine intervention to keep Jose on the show, though.

I’m technically on vacation right now, so we’re keeping this very, very short (for me.) And I’m sure hearts are breaking as I tell you that I will not be writing a reaction to the elimination Thursday night — we’ll have to commiserate or lament our lost (blank) and (blank) next week.

Lauren: Our resident “lady-dancer,” according to Adam, was upbeat and fresh in her Broadway routine with Allison. I was thrilled to finally see two girls perform together, and guest judge Toni Redpath was right — strong women are sexy. Women don’t cease to be hot when the guy leaves the room. Then Lauren made her body undulate freakishly during her foxtrot with the overdressed Adechike (seriously, a sweater vest? Lauren’s practically wearing a bathing suit.) She’s still great, and getting better.

Adechike: Having no rolling prop in the middle of the stage helped Adechike and Courtney this time — their “last call” piece a few weeks ago was a blah mess. This time the music was electrifying, though, and the dancing needed to be big, on fire, and I didn’t get that. “Manteca,” Dizzy Gillespie: perfection. The foxtrot with Lauren was solid, but no matter how hard I’ve tried I just cannot warm up to Adechike. At all. I’m going to give up, now that we’re just a couple of weeks from the finale.

Jose: I’ve got, like, three things to say about Jose, all of which you’ve heard before: he tried really hard. He’s super-sweet. And it’s time for him to go home, albeit totally proud of himself. Jose should have nailed that incredibly cool hip-hop choreographed by Marty Kudelka, but the b-boy couldn’t hit the beats, and he had no precision. In the Broadway piece with Kent, Jose’s inadequacies were further emphasized, and I’m just over it.



Kent: The choreographers of little Kent’s cha cha played to the age divide between him and his All Star Anya, and it worked in his favor. Yes, he’s manlier than at the beginning of the season, but not by that much. I agreed with the judges, though, that Kent’s Broadway was a Gene Kelly-esque eye-opener. Maybe it was just the suspenders and hat filling my brain with visions of the ’40s, but I thought his technique and flair was spot-on and derivative in the best possible way.

Robert: I teared up even before the contemporary piece with Kathryn, as soon as I heard the number was about a loved one going off to war — I’m a total sap for military themes. Thankfully the actual performances were up to the challenge, from throws to lifts to entwined limbs. Although the tortured cover of a really perky Belinda Carlisle song was a smidge distracting. Then the Bollywood routine with Billy closed out the show, and no matter how good Billy was tonight, Robert wiped the floor with him on this one. Rob’s joy was palpable, his motions more emphatic, and he just seemed to give it all up to the dance floor. Awesome.

Billy: Even if Robert out-danced young Mr. Bell in their shared Bollywood number, that doesn’t diminish what Billy was able to do, especially on a bum knee that was braced the entire show. He was up, down, up, down with perfect timing, and he was flexible, bright and lively. But the earlier contemporary piece, in which Billy was a homeless man pitted against All Star Ade’s upper-class mogul, was truly amazing. The message was embodied perfectly by the contrast in movement, but I didn’t feel like I was being preached to. Bell also has the most consistently entertaining solos on the show, period. I’m interested to see what he can do as a choreographer when he grows up.

What I learned, short version: I hate snakeskin print, even on Cat Deeley’s carefully jutted hip. We’re two weeks from the finale, and I’m exhausted, so I can’t even fathom what the actual dancers must be feeling. Otis Redding should be used every week. Stacey Tookey is coming up with the most exciting work on the show this year. And I loved Marty Kudelka and Dana Wilson’s hip-hop routine, arranged for Comfort and Adechike. Check out the choreographers themselves — Kudelka’s got a rubbery, relaxed precision and Wilson is just sick, as the kids say:

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët
    Kerascoët's lovely, delicate pen-and-watercolor art -- all intricate botanicals, big eyes and flowing hair -- gives this fairy story a deceptively pretty finish. You find out quickly, however, that these are the heartless and heedless fairies of folk legend, not the sentimental sprites beloved by the Victorians and Disney fans. A host of tiny hominid creatures must learn to survive in the forest after fleeing their former home -- a little girl who lies dead in the woods. The main character, Aurora, tries to organize the group into a community, but most of her cohort is too capricious, lazy and selfish to participate for long. There's no real moral to this story, which is refreshing in itself, beyond the perpetual lessons that life is hard and you have to be careful whom you trust. Never has ugly truth been given a prettier face.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni
    Squarzoni is a French cartoonist who makes nonfiction graphic novels about contemporary issues and politics. While finishing up a book about France under Jacques Chirac, he realized that when it came to environmental policy, he didn't know what he was talking about. "Climate Changed" is the result of his efforts to understand what has been happening to the planet, a striking combination of memoir and data that ruminates on a notoriously elusive, difficult and even imponderable subject. Panels of talking heads dispensing information (or Squarzoni discussing the issues with his partner) are juxtaposed with detailed and meticulous yet lyrical scenes from the author's childhood, the countryside where he takes a holiday and a visit to New York. He uses his own unreachable past as a way to grasp the imminent transformation of the Earth. The result is both enlightening and unexpectedly moving.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Here by Richard McGuire
    A six-page version of this innovative work by a regular contributor to the New Yorker first appeared in RAW magazine 25 years ago. Each two-page spread depicts a single place, sometimes occupied by a corner of a room, over the course of 4 billion years. The oldest image is a blur of pink and purple gases; others depict hazmat-suited explorers from 300 years in the future. Inset images show the changing decor and inhabitants of the house throughout its existence: family photos, quarrels, kids in Halloween costumes, a woman reading a book, a cat walking across the floor. The cumulative effect is serene and ravishing, an intimation of the immensity of time and the wonder embodied in the humblest things.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Kill My Mother by Jules Feiffer
    The legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist delivers his debut graphic novel at 85, a deliriously over-the-top blend of classic movie noir and melodrama that roams from chiaroscuro Bay City to Hollywood to a USO gig in the Pacific theater of World War II. There's a burnt-out drunk of a private eye, but the story is soon commandeered by a multigenerational collection of ferocious women, including a mysterious chanteuse who never speaks, a radio comedy writer who makes a childhood friend the butt of a hit series and a ruthless dame intent on making her whiny coward of a husband into a star. There are disguises, musical numbers and plenty of gunfights, but the drawing is the main attraction. Nobody convey's bodies in motion more thrillingly than Feiffer, whether they're dancing, running or duking it out. The kid has promise.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Motherless Oven by Rob Davis
    This is a weird one, but in the nervy surreal way that word-playful novels like "A Clockwork Orange" or "Ulysses" are weird. The main character, a teenage schoolboy named Scarper Lee, lives in a world where it rains knives and people make their own parents, contraptions that can be anything from a tiny figurine stashable in a pocket to biomorphic boiler-like entities that seem to have escaped from Dr. Seuss' nightmares. Their homes are crammed with gadgets they call gods and instead of TV they watch a hulu-hoop-size wheel of repeating images that changes with the day of the week. They also know their own "death day," and Scarper's is coming up fast. Maybe that's why he runs off with the new girl at school, a real troublemaker, and the obscurely dysfunctional Castro, whose mother is a cageful of talking parakeets. A solid towline of teenage angst holds this manically inventive vision together, and proves that some graphic novels can rival the text-only kind at their own game.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    NOBROW 9: It's Oh So Quiet
    For each issue, the anthology magazine put out by this adventurous U.K.-based publisher of independent graphic design, illustration and comics gives 45 artists a four-color palette and a theme. In the ninth issue, the theme is silence, and the results are magnificent and full of surprises. The comics, each told in images only, range from atmospheric to trippy to jokey to melancholy to epic to creepy. But the two-page illustrations are even more powerful, even if it's not always easy to see how they pertain to the overall concept of silence. Well, except perhaps for the fact that so many of them left me utterly dumbstruck with visual delight.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Over Easy by Mimi Pond
    When Pond was a broke art student in the 1970s, she took a job at a neighborhood breakfast spot in Oakland, a place with good food, splendid coffee and an endlessly entertaining crew of short-order cooks, waitresses, dishwashers and regular customers. This graphic memoir, influenced by the work of Pond's friend, Alison Bechdel, captures the funky ethos of the time, when hippies, punks and disco aficionados mingled in a Bay Area at the height of its eccentricity. The staff of the Imperial Cafe were forever swapping wisecracks and hopping in and out of each other's beds, which makes them more or less like every restaurant team in history. There's an intoxicating esprit de corps to a well-run everyday joint like the Imperial Cafe, and never has the delight in being part of it been more winningly portrayed.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew
    You don't have to be a superhero fan to be utterly charmed by Yang and Liew's revival of a little-known character created in the 1940s by the cartoonist Chu Hing. This version of the Green Turtle, however, is rich in characterization, comedy and luscious period detail from the Chinatown of "San Incendio" (a ringer for San Francisco). Hank, son of a mild-mannered grocer, would like to follow in his father's footsteps, but his restless mother (the book's best character and drawn with masterful nuance by Liew) has other ideas after her thrilling encounter with a superhero. Yang's story effortlessly folds pathos into humor without stooping to either slapstick or cheap "darkness." This is that rare tribute that far surpasses the thing it celebrates.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Shoplifter by Michael Cho
    Corinna Park, former English major, works, unhappily, in a Toronto advertising agency. When the dissatisfaction of the past five years begins to oppress her, she lets off steam by pilfering magazines from a local convenience store. Cho's moody character study is as much about city life as it is about Corinna. He depicts her falling asleep in front of the TV in her condo, brooding on the subway, roaming the crowded streets after a budding romance goes awry. Like a great short story, this is a simple tale of a young woman figuring out how to get her life back, but if feels as if it contains so much of contemporary existence -- its comforts, its loneliness, its self-deceptions -- suspended in wintery amber.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
    This collection of archetypal horror, fairy and ghost stories, all about young girls, comes lushly decked in Carroll's inky black, snowy white and blood-scarlet art. A young bride hears her predecessor's bones singing from under the floorboards, two friends make the mistake of pretending to summon the spirits of the dead, a family of orphaned siblings disappears one by one into the winter nights. Carroll's color-saturated images can be jagged, ornate and gruesome, but she also knows how to chill with absence, shadows and a single staring eye. Literary readers who cherish the work of Kelly Link or the late Angela Carter's collection, "The Bloody Chamber," will adore the violent beauty on these pages.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>