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‘SYTYCD’ judges critiquing everything but dance

Top Ten! Based on applause, or lack thereof, during the intro, Melinda and Cristina have their work cut out for them. But hey, you never know whose family is in town, so applause, shmapplause. So let’s get to it.Cat Deeley reminds the audience that they’re live, which seems like a bad idea to me, because it’s practically asking someone to streak naked across the stage or start screaming epit
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Top Ten! Based on applause, or lack thereof, during the intro, Melinda and Cristina have their work cut out for them. But hey, you never know whose family is in town, so applause, shmapplause. So let’s get to it.

Cat Deeley reminds the audience that they’re live, which seems like a bad idea to me, because it’s practically asking someone to streak naked across the stage or start screaming epithets that will get Fox fined by the FCC. But “SYTYCD” fans may be too wholesome for that.

First up, we see the drawing from the hat for this week’s dancing. Billy will be dancing crump with Comfort, the thought of which makes him squinch up his face like he smelled something bad. Lauren will be dancing lyrical hip-hop with Dominic. Adechike will be doing contemporary with Allison, which is all kinds of good if her performance with Alex is any indication. Kent and Courtney will be dancing jazz. Melinda will get all contemporary with Ade, who doesn’t look so happy about this for some reason. Maybe tappers are more likely to step on your feet. Alex gets Broadway with Lauren.

Cristina will do a passionate paso doble with Pasha (say that ten times fast). Ashley and Mark will be busting out some jazz. Robert and Anya will do the Argentine tango, and they both look thrilled about it. Jose and Kathryn will be tackling Bollywood, which the judges always love but I usually think is a far cry from the real thing. Neal and Twitch don’t get to dance this week. Poor all-stars.


This week’s “get to know you” moment is a childhood memory. This could either be cute or annoying, which you can also say about most children. Anyway, Cristina was a flower in a dance recital, and she suffered a wardrobe malfunction that resulted in exposing her underwear to the public. Not exactly a Janet Jackson disaster, but mortifying nonetheless.

For her paso doble with Pasha, Jean-Marc Genereux and France (don’t know why they left off his wife’s last name, Mousseau, or just said Jean-Marc and France Genereux, but hey, that’s how they have it on the chryon, people, don’t start with me) have created a dance where Cristina is a gypsy or something. And Cristina doesn’t like to ride roller coasters. But she’s still getting tossed around like pizza dough, so she better just suck it up and take some Dramamine or something.

I like Cristina, and I really can’t understand how she ended up in the bottom last week. Whereas a lot of the other dancers, even the guys, have looked a little shell shocked (Adechike, I’m talking to you), she always delivers a real, fiery, committed performance. And this paso doble is no different. Although the music is a bit much, this is hot. Maybe voters have a hard time connecting the on-stage fireball with the super smiley off-screen persona. But really, who wants a dancer who growls and snarls 24/7? That would be cause for institutionalization.

Nigel says the dance needs passion, power, fire and control. And Cristina brought all of those things. Mia says it’s the whole package. Adam says it’s mucho caliente. In short, everyone’s happy.


He lost all the photos of his youthful dance recitals in a house fire six years ago. So, not exactly the cuddly, happy childhood memory moment for Adechike.

Choreographer Mandy Moore is coaching Adechike on how to smile. And yes, Adechike smiles throughout this routine. But maybe it’s because he’s being forced to dance to “Listen to Your Heart,” which is enough to make anyone want to sick up, but that smile seems just as frozen and creepy as his blank expression did last week. C’mon, Adechike, relax a little. Because from the neck down, you rock it.

Nigel sees a major improvement, but says Adechike is thinking too much. Mia tells him to tap into his joy more consistently and she didn’t feel the heart. Adam said he’s dancing from his head.

You know, I think this show is mostly commercials. I’m thinking a 70/30 split. Okay, maybe it just feels that way, but it’s pretty ridiculous. And another 20 percent is just the “SYTYCD” theme song.


As a little kid, he was a tapper. Which he preferred to ballet. Thank god he came around, because tap is just as goofy looking on a little kid as it is on Melinda.

Toasty Oreo has put together a Fosse inspired number, and Alex needs to educate himself about Fosse. This breaks my heart. How can he not know Fosse? If he says he doesn’t know who Ann Reinking or Gwen Verdon are, I will literally burst into tears. I know, I know, he’s a god of ballet, but still, every dancer should know their Fosse. It’s like algebra. You may never use it in your real life, but it’s something you should learn in middle school for your own good. Fingers crossed he can master snaps, shoulder shrugs and jazz hands first time out.

Well, he’s definitely got the Fosse kicks. I wouldn’t say this routine is straight Fosse so much as Fosse inspired. But still, I wanted more attitude, more pop, more cool. This was okay.

Nigel says Alex should have hit YouTube or rented “The Little Prince” (oh yes, the snake! Everyone should rent that movie, just because, really). He wanted to see more power and less shoulder stiffness. Mia wanted more sinew and she thought it was weird they were wearing winter clothing. Ooooohkay. Adam thought it was a lot of flash and no smolder. Alex takes the criticism on the chin and says he wants to keep learning. Good answer, Alex.


Ashley’s mom liked to dress her up like Jon Benet Ramsey meets Barbie. And she was in a dance competition at the tender age of four. I get the sense Ashley wants to say she didn’t like any of this very much, but she doesn’t.

Ashley and Mark are dancing to a Travis Wall routine. And I love Travis Wall’s routines, and this one shows off all that Ashley can do. But I wonder if the judges, who are so desperate to see emotion, will be impressed. Although I think Ashley does deliver emotion and does seem connected to the dance, it’s hard to tell because Mark is flipping her around so much. Oh, and it’s her 20th birthday on Saturday. Let’s hope her gift from the show isn’t a ticket home, which honestly would have nothing to do with her talent and everything to do with the fact that the girls seem to be getting picked off like those walking snot monsters in the Mucinex commercials.

Nigel thought the routine wasn’t jazz, and he didn’t learn anything new about Ashley. Mia says Ashley is one of her favorite girls and thought she delivered. Adam didn’t think she lost herself in the music. I think it’s a little unfair to punish Ashley for choreography, but oh well.


Billy grew up in Palm Beach, Florida. And he was a fat baby. Oh ma God, he was such a cute baby! Fat babies are always cute, unless they start looking porcine or inflated with those creepy bulbous cheeks you sometimes see, but Billy was definitely in the cute category. The good news is that his first recital was with an all-boy hip-hop troupe. Dancing to Backstreet Boys. Um, maybe that’s not going to be as helpful this week as I hoped.

Lil’ C is going to transform Billy Bell into Billy B Buck. Billy is willing to fake it, but he’s realistic about his buckness. I feel for Billy. For this dance, he’s not only outside of his comfort zone, he’s not even in the same zip code.

You know, if this is Billy faking it, we should all be so lucky. No, he doesn’t look like he grew up in the hood or anything, but I thought this was pretty good, considering I was expecting a car accident (and honestly, Billy pretty much suggested it would be). Props to Billy for not embarrassing himself, which is impressive as hell, if you ask me.

Nigel hated the music. Shut up, Nigel. He didn’t think Billy found the warrior in himself, but he did his best. Mia thought he knocked on the warrior’s door, but it was awkward for her. Adam could tell he was working hard, but he got no buck and it was a failed experiment. Ouch.


As a kid, Robert was crazy. And liked to dance at weddings. I think Robert might be kind of annoying in person. Or in need of Ritalin.

The Genereuxs are going to help Robert find his passion. And I think they do. This is surprisingly hot, given that Robert is not a ballroom guy. He nails a lot of the moves, and even though his hot, smoldering face gives way to crap, what do I do next?

Nigel thinks Robert was all kinds of macho. It didn’t give Mia chills. Anya tells Mia she wouldn’t have been as hot without Robert as her partner. Hmm, don’t argue with the judges, Anya, you never win. Adam loved the footwork, but thought Robert looked stressed out.

And then, Robert tries to get votes by pretending to throw up. Don’t do that, Robert. Seriously.


In childhood, Melinda was different from the other kids. Melinda seems very impressed with her youthful quirk. I like Melinda better when she says less, not more.

Choreographer Stacey Tookey has created a routine about Mother Earth. I bet Stacey Tookey was different from other kids, too.

It’s funny. Everyone else gets slammed for not delivering the emotion but delivering the moves, and I feel Melinda is just the opposite. The beginning of this routine looks all kinds of floppy, but then she pulls it together and delivers.

Nigel goes on a painful tangent about Canada and ecology. But he loves Melinda’s lines and he loved the performance. And then he talks about Ade. Nigel is awfully chatty tonight. Mia didn’t love the dress, but she thought Melinda’s lines were yay. Adam thought she was great. I think, while Billy got tossed under the bus, the judges gave Melinda points just for not looking like a tapper. Double standard much, judges?


He was an athletic little kid. He doesn’t have recitals, he has battles. Such is the life of a B-Boy.

Choreographer Nakul Dev Mahajan has his work cut out for him. Jose doesn’t know how to spell Bollywood. And, ultimately, it shows. Jose looks like he’s having a great time, but this is about as Bollywood as one of those Indian food packets from Trader Joe’s.

Nigel didn’t think this was great, but felt Jose tried really hard. Mia says Jose was so wrong, but he was so right. Adam thinks he is the brightest light on the show, so, even though everything he did was wrong, he doesn’t care. Huh?

I’m a little sick of the judges tonight, because I expect them to judge the dancers on skill. Voters can pick who they think is cutest or who they’d like to be friends with. Jose did a hamfisted job and smiled a lot. And yet Billy is the one who’s given a slap on the wrist for not being a grade A crumper. At least be consistent, judges. Either give everyone a thumbs up for trying, or no one.


She was a hyper kid. Lauren doesn’t seem that hyper to me, but I guess she outgrew it.

Sandra Chavez is choreographing a hip-hop routine about domestic abuse. So, this should be uplifting and fun.

Great routine, great performance. I think Lauren really commits herself emotionally this week, and tonight is head and shoulders above last week. Good for you, Lauren! She actually seems torn up by this dance, and that’s truly a good thing.

Nigel believed the performance. But her feet were a little close together. And he’s worried about her back. Mia says it’s actually a good butt, not a swayed back, that he’s looking at. I’m thinking this exploration of Lauren’s possibly scoliosis is better left for off-camera. Mia thought it was outstanding. She wanted more from the abuse part, though. Adam loved that she took his notes from last week’s show, and voila, got better. Of the girls, Lauren is definitely shaping up as the last one standing.


As a little kid, Kent had a combover. And he loved to dance so much it looked like he was having a seizure. Kent’s all about the wacky.

Toasty is challenging Kent to grab Courtney all over the place. Kent seems a little flabbergasted by this. I feel like every week we see Kent lose a little of his innocence, which isn’t such a good feeling, really.

Oh my God, he’s wearing a harness. Okay, I know the goal is to push Kent out of his comfort zone, but let’s not dress him like a submissive, people. Unless this is supposed to make him feel closer to the farm or something. Technically, this routine is perfect. But I’m not feeling it. Still, it’s great, and Kent’s a lot sexier than he has been, so he’s getting there. Props for that.

Nigel enjoyed it, but didn’t think Kent was having as much fun as last week. Courtney interjects that she thought he was sexy. Again, the judges do not tend to like the input from the all-stars, as Nigel quickly puts her on the spot. Mia isn’t sure how she felt about it. Adam didn’t feel the connection, but thinks he’s a great dancer. So, some love, but not a lot.

This was a week of strong performances and some really haphazard judging, if you ask me. I think the judges have such low expectations for Melinda and Jose that they’re pleasantly surprised by almost anything they do, but then feel the need to give Billy and, to a lesser degree, Alex a rap on the nose with a rolled up newspaper when they fail to deliver perfection. This may be their way of trying to keep their favorites from being voted out too early, but seriously, judges, check yourselves.