Another episode of Why the Hell Did They Do That?
What an awful choice the judges had. To pick between Suni and Amanda. I think they made the right decision, but it was still a terrible thing to have to do. How the hell has a talentless dance hack like Iman survived this far in the show? Just a byproduct of people voting without giving a thought to the person’s dance ability. Like David Ross and Bobby Bones.
But we soldier on.
I found a weird bit of synchronicity in the pairings of judges and dancers for the redemption round.
Cody & Bruno gay dancer & gay judge
Melora & Len oldest dancer & oldest judge
Suni & Carrie Ann Asian dancer & Asian judge
JoJo & Len youngest dancer & oldest judge
Iman & Derek blackest dancer & whitest judge
Amanda & Len really couldn’t find anything for this pair
Cody started the show right with a blazing salsa. It was high energy, and he was really feeling it. He was working those hips for all he was worth, but the body roll he did in the package never made it to the floor. Too bad, it was sharp. I especially liked Cheryl’s head slide down his leg. Fun to watch. He looks kinda odd though. As a fitness trainer I expect him to be thinner, leaner. But in profile during the dances he looks thick, and it makes it seem like he’s lumbering around, almost as much as Iman. It really came out in his Argentine tango. It looked like they didn’t fit together. That made it lack fluidity and seem a bit klunky. The fast parts were hot, though.
Iman just needs to go. And I don’t mean into the finals. We are faced with another year of a person with little dance ability taking the prize. I complain about it nearly every year, and I probably will keep on. Len keeps calling it a dance competition and Carrie Ann pulls that stupid lift rule from dance competitions, so I expect it to be decided like a dance competition: whoever has the most political pull wins. No, I expect the winner to be able to go on the floor and give a good dance performance. Iman cannot. His tango was passable for a bronze recital, but unacceptable for this level of competition. He was less awkward than previous outings, but still hunched over and still stuck his butt out. The dance was again mostly Daniella. I could hardly take my eyes off her. Yowza. As for the Jazz, some nice acrobatics. That’s her strong suit. Most of their high scores came from the judges scoring her rather than him. There wasn’t much of what looked like dance to me in their routine. But then the music sucked, too. How do you dance to rap?
I loved the rolling hips in Melora and Artem’s rumba. Lovely figure eights with the promise of sensual delight. And Melora looked good, too. Just kidding. It was one of her best dances. But what was with that weird clomping flat-footed walk?
Suni hit that foxtrot out of the ballpark. OMG, but I loved it! She finally showed up for the dance. This was the Suni I wish we’d seen all season. It was imbued with joyful, in yo’ face, kiss my ass insouciance that just sparkled. I was worried at the start with the song choice because Derek’s performance of that a few seasons back was iconic. It seems like there might be room for two icons on that platform. Well done.
Amanda stepped up and really worked the tango. I loved her frame. There was plenty of sharp footwork. And those legs! At first, the music didn’t really set a tango feel to the stage, but then it kicked in much like Assassin’s Tango and just rocked. The lighting and camera angles made some parts of it hard to see, but I disagree with Carrie Ann about the foot coming off the floor. After Suni, it was my second favorite of the redemption dances.
JoJo’s Argentine tango was technical perfection. I loved the music and laughed out loud when they changed who was leading. Very cheeky. My only complaint comes from my traditionalism. The Argentine tango requires a certain masculine flavor for it to seem authentic to me. That’s why two men can do it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6-6kN79oIA
JoJo had plenty of bravado, as Len said, but not enough to carry it off. I may be unfair in that assessment, but it’s how I feel. Otherwise, a flawless performance.
The other four dances were contemporary. I used to not like contemporary because it isn’t ballroom and this is supposed to be a ballroom competition. After many seasons of watching So You Think You Can Dance, I’ve come to a better understanding and appreciation of contemporary. It can be moving and appealing. It’s still not ballroom and shouldn’t be on DWTS. Much of contemporary, to me, just looks like people jumping around in their pajamas for no reason. Others tell emotionally wrenching stories that leave an effect long after they’re gone. Unfortunately, Melora’s contemporary was the former type. None of the moves wowed me and I felt no emotional connection.
The other three – Suni, JoJo, and Amanda moved me, but for different reasons. I hate when they get all weepy. Yeah, we’ve all lost people. Get on with it. But Suni’s contemporary was everything that Melora’s wasn’t. The opening flip to a stand was spectacular. All the moves were powerful and filled with emotion. Almost made me cry.
While Suni’s was about the power, JoJo’s was more about the movement. Her figures were out of this world. Such connection with her partner. And the words of the song made a teardrop fall. Not sure I agree with Derek that it was the best contemporary ever on the show, but it ranks up there.
Amanda took the prize among contemporaries for me. Not only were the moves wonderful, but they really conveyed a story, a heartbreaking one and the emotion came through loud and clear. I remember her husband’s battle and death. Aside from whether it was appropriate for it all to play out on social media, the fact is, it did. And it was devastating to watch. I was as moved by it as everyone else. I’m a romantic at heart, not that you’d ever guess. This one left me a weepy mess. It was a shot right through the heart. Maybe not the best DANCE of the night, but possibly the BEST dance. There is a difference.
So we have a very unlikely crew going into the finals. I’d expected JoJo and Amanda. I don’t think anyone expected Iman and Cody.
Discounting a Bobby Bones level anomaly, I don’t see either Iman or Cody being a challenger. I think it comes down to JoJo and Amanda. Not so much on how well they dance. I’m pretty sure that, barring some disaster, they both turn in two 40 point performances next week. The key is how well their fans turn out, and how the fans of the defunct performers throw their support. I feel Suni’s will go toward JoJo and Melora’s will go to Amanda. So again, maybe an even split. JoJo seems to have had the vibe since day one, so I’ll go out on a limb and predict her as the winner, but in my heart of hearts, I like Amanda.
A word about the Freestyle event. I pretty much hate it. Sometimes they come up with something that looks dancey and works (Like Drew Lachey’s country routine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbmqN_HUe90 It still gives me chills. And Amber and Derek https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3aIaS7QlFQ ).
So many times it’s just a mess that doesn’t even resemble dancing like Apolo Ohno’s hip-hop mess. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhaQTYClcUA
I imagine Daniella will have lots and lots of lifts. She’s kind of a one trick pony in that regard.
Cheryl will try to do something that doesn’t make Cody look awkward. May be hard to find.
Alan has a history of wringing magic out of his partners at the end. He was in the same position last season with a similar partner. He’s also made the finals or semi-finals twice in addition. That’s a pretty good record for the five seasons he’s been on.
I don’t recall how Jenna has done other than she won once.
So, Jenna and Alan have won once, and Cheryl has two trophies. Daniella’s a newbie. It’s anybody’s guess.