"SYTYCD" Season 7: Top 4 Performances

August 4, 2010

We’ve reached the top four—and boy, were we relieved to see all four of those finalists prance onto the stage last night! This season’s injury epidemic has been so ridiculous that we expected at least a couple of them to hobble out on crutches. Giant sigh of relief.

Our relief only lasted so long, unfortunately. We were soon subjected to…

Top 4
Broadway – Tyce Diorio

…which was vanilla, vanilla, vanilla. Set to “The Crapshooter’s Dance” from Guys and Dolls, this routine bored us to tears. That’s really too bad, because we saw Sergio Trujillo’s amazing pyrotechnical version of the number for the recent Broadway production of G+D, so we know how much potential this music has. The boys looked great in their spats and suspenders, and Lauren’s polka dot dress was super cute (was she supposed to be the die they were rolling?), but that’s pretty much all we remember about the lackluster, low-energy piece. And, um, Tyce was also the guest judge for the week—isn’t there a conflict of interest there? Weird.

Lauren and Pasha
Tango – Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo

We love us some tango, and we love us some Pasha, so we figured this piece would be a surefire hit. The backstory—Pasha and Lauren have just broken up, but she’s reappeared to seduce him—posed challenges for cheerleader-perky Lauren, who’s anything but a sultry seductress. Yet she managed to smolder in her hot, sheer, low-backed dress (Nigel said his “eyes steamed up,” whatever that means), and we thought she and Pasha had killer chemistry. That being said, we’re not a fan of Lauren in heels: We know that tango is grounded and earthy, but she seemed clunkier and heavier than usual in her ballroom shoes.

Cue a super-adorable video peek at Lauren’s perfect high school life. She is totally the girl we wanted to be as a teen.

Adéchiké and Lauren
African Jazz – Sean Cheesman

Sean said that this routine was about the “path to freedom,” that Adéchiké and Lauren were looking for “the promised land” (i.e. the finale?). We honestly would never have gotten that from the routine itself, which was fun and bouncy but not especially substantial. Though he obviously had the steps down cold, Adéchiké gave a weirdly halfhearted performance that made it seem like he’s given up on that “promised land” already. (In all fairness, we were also totally distracted by his bizarre orange shrug thing.) Mia said he had too much tightness in his upper body, so it didn’t “feel like a celebration.” Right on, Ms. Michaels.

Robert and Anya
Viennese Waltz – Jonathan Roberts

Well hey there, Jonathan from “Dancing with the Stars”! These two shows are really cross-fertilizing these days, what with all the “SYTYCD” alums who are now pros on “DWTS”, huh? Jonathan whipped up a simply lovely waltz for Robert and Anya (probably the most genetically gifted duo we’ve seen on “SYTYCD” in a long time), which Robert pulled off with grace, style and aplomb. Good boy. We did have two complaints, however: 1) It was hard to tear our eyes away from Anya, who was a. amazing and b. wearing a stunning white dress; and 2) we have seen SO MANY contemporary routines to “Lost” by Anouk, Jonathan’s song choice. Time to move on, people. Mia called Robert “the prince of the season,” which made us miss Alex Wong like whoa. Sadface.

Aaand here’s Robert’s cute “get-to-know-me” video. Aww, he lives with Channing from Season 6, who we sort of vaguely remember!

Kent and Courtney
Disco – Doriana Sanchez

The rehearsal footage for this piece looked DISASTROUS, which was encouraging, because that usually means that the piece itself turned out well. Not in this case, unfortunately. Yes, it was nice that Kent didn’t over-cheese a potentially cheesetastic number. (Or, you know, was as reserved as anyone wearing a bedazzled orange shirt can be.) But where were all the LIFTS? Aren’t they Doriana’s trademark? Even Nigel noted that she seemed to have taken it easy on teeny little Kent (although c’mon, how much can it really take to heft pocket-sized Courtney?). Mia thought it was “bouncy, short and squashy,” and even hyper-positive Adam was negative. Cue the boos.

Next came Kent’s video, which was NOT cute. It was the same, annoying “I’m a small-town farm boy, yodel-ay-hee-hoo” schtick we’ve been getting all season. Drop the act, dude—it’s grating, and it’s time for you to grow up already.

Lauren and Ade
Jazz – Sean Cheesman

Lauren is once again asked to play the seductress—but this time there’s a twist: She’s a deadly black widow spider. The costume department went wild with that idea, dressing her in a see-through black catsuit (was there some rule that no opaque fabrics could be used in Lauren’s outfits this week?). She looked awesome, and we liked that she seemed to be channeling Madonna during the piece’s hot, “Vogue”-esque hand jive. Again, though, we’re not into Lauren in heels. It wasn’t a delicate routine, but heels do require a certain delicacy, and Lauren lacks it. Also, a note to the choreographers: We’ve had enough of the makeouts. Just because these dancers are beautiful people doesn’t mean they should be slobbering all over each other onstage.

Adéchiké and Kathryn
Contemporary (?) – Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson

You know, nothing will lower your opinion of a dancer faster than watching him dance next to Desmond Richardson. And that’s really the last thing Adéchiké—who, let’s face it, is the underdog technically—needed. Maybe it’s because our expectations were too high, maybe it’s because we HATED the screamy Melissa Etheridge song, maybe it’s because we expected these fantastic ballet dancers to use some actual ballet in their choreo, but to us this routine felt like a big, unfocused mess–a mess that Adéchiké couldn’t clean up. (And we wish the judges could be realistic about the works of “esteemed” choreographers like Dwight and Desmond. This was a cruddy piece, and should have been identified as such—which would have placed less of the blame on Adéchiké’s shoulders. Yet the judges fawned over it. Be real, guys.)

Cue Adéchiké’s video. We were getting cranky at this point. In hindsight it was a moving portrait of a guy who’s had a genuinely tough life. But our notes read: “Adéchiké’s vid—in which we’re reminded of how much he cries. Thank you for not crying during this episode, Adéchiké. Oh, wait, no. We’re back live. He’s crying.”

Robert and Dominic
Hip Hop – Tabitha and Napoleon

This pulled us right out of our mediocrity-induced funk. Tabith and Napoleon are on FIRE this season! As two clowns who’ve just discovered their circus is closing, Robert and Dominic—in full-on Joker facepaint—did a fabulous, drunken, Wade Robson-esque walk along the fine line between funny and creepy. We were surprised and impressed that Robert held his own in a hip hop routine with Dominic, and thrilled to see the beginnings of a new genre—”hip hop theater,” as Mia aptly called it—emerging. Go Nappytabs! Go Nappytabs! And, um, go Robert. He’s never been our favorite, but we think he was the overall winner of the episode.

Kent and Neil
Contemporary – Travis Wall

OK, yes, we knew this would be good. But we didn’t know it’d be THIS good—or that the story behind it would be so juicy! Travis says the piece is about two guys who are best friends—until one stabs the other in the back. Could this be based on real life, Travis??? Could it be about a falling-out you had with A CERTAIN RUNNER UP FROM SEASON 3??!! We’re dying to know. The duet itself was fantastic, of course. We’re not sure how we feel about the fact that Neil literally stabbed Kent in the back—subtlety is powerful, Travis—but we loved that it was a guy-guy duet that involved real touching and partnering, which the show tends to shy away from. And holy wow, did they get air in their lifts. Nigel thought it was the number of the show (we might still go with the clowns), and Mia cried. She totally knows the backstory. SPILL THE BEANS, ALREADY!

So, who will make it to the finale? Check back tomorrow for our recap of the results show!