Matt and Carly
I think Matt is the male dancer who has benefited the most from the rigorous training regimen that the dancers are going through this season (I wonder whether SYTYCDAU actually got sponsorship from the Australian Navy? It seems sort of far fetched, but I can’t otherwise explain the Navy boot camp and PT trainers being involved.) Everything he does is a little tighter, a little more controlled–of the boys who are left, he’s definitely the one with the least technique, so it’s nice to see how he’s improved over the course of the competition.
Carly is just great; I don’t agree with Matt Lee at all about Kieran outdancing her up until now; Kieran is such a lackluster partner in general–really astonishingly bad from a ballroom dancer’s standpoint–that I think it’s been Carly’s 100% commitment that she brought to everything that made that partnership work as well as it did. I wasn’t a Carly fan throughout the audition and exhibition process, but I’ve been more and more impressed with her every week.
Jazz: Just a lot of fun; not necessarily a memorable or distinctive routine, but joyful and sharp. Great attack from both of them, especially Carly.
Hip Hop: Holy fuck, Supple! I love many things about this routine, but first and foremost I love the total fashion-bitch assurance with which Carly stomped that shit out. Matt was strong and held his own, but Carly totally owned that–all oblique angles and arrogant head lines, like a real model. This is a venue where her “sexy frown” actually works.
I love the line of her thighs here; there’s something so editorial about it.
Robbie and Jessie H.
What fucking beasts. Jessie takes up the Kate & Kathryn torch of being the contemporary girl who barely gets covered throughout auditions but builds and builds every week. I think at this point it’s clear that she’s the best girl, technically, of the competition, maybe the best dancer period this season. And Robbie’s her only competition in that respect.
Robbie! I love him more and more every week; his floorwork is just PERFECT. Light and solid and careless; does he mind if he throws himself four feet to the ground on his stomach for the sake of the routine? No, and he’ll do it over and over again until he makes it look effortless! I’m so glad he stayed past his first disastrous partnership.
Hip hop: Oh my god. Just–oh my god, it was perfect. You can really tell that Robbie and Jessie trained under the same teachers; not only do they do everything well, they do everything well in the same way. Their unison is so rock-solid. Great costuming, great lighting, great music choice, great use of levels, every movement pneumatic–soft yet inimitable, that pressure. Robbie did well here, but Jessie shone.
My boyfriend thought the stealing-the-jacket moment was derivative (I think he meant from this amazing Katee and Josh number from SYTYCD US season 5) but I thought it fit the storyline of an out-of-work businessman striking up this rapport with a homeless woman. I wanted to watch this piece again and again.
Contemporary: Kind of weird and headbang-y, but performed well. Basically more of the same, but HOW FIERCE IS JESSIE H?
Nick and Jessica P.
Disappointing, from these two, at a stage in the competition when no one can afford to be disappointing anymore. It’s really sad because I like her, I thought she was terrifically versatile and thought for a while that she might make the top 6. But Ivy stepped up and Jessica got injured, and now it’s her time to go.
Nick is something of a mystery, reality competition-wise, for me. No one can argue that he’s really good, technically; he’s good-looking and well-spoken and doesn’t seem like a douche. But he’s been in the bottom four weeks out of five and this doesn’t look to be an exception. He’s not my favorite, but why doesn’t Australia like him?
Contemporary: This could have been SO GOOD. Sarah Bolton! Fantastic music and concept! But it just wasn’t. Jessica had her injury, but this is Nick’s home style. He had no excuse.
Ballroom: Nick was really better than I expected him to be here; is this the first ballroom card he’s drawn all competition? He actually covers ground, and could pass off as a pretty decent syllabus dancer! Jessica, decent as expected. There were ells of space between them, though, and very little quickstep in that quickstep.
Who got a degree in sexy West Coasting?
THIS WOMAN DID.
Kieran and Jess S.
Jess S. started out really strong for my in this competition and has been dropping a little every week with her just-okay performances and, it must be said, her shittacular ballroom. No hips. No body connection. No rhythm. I can’t explain it; she’s perfectly musical in her own genre, but just isn’t proving very nuanced or versatile.
Kieran is just—-ugh. His arms are disconnected and he loses his center all the time and he cannot act as anything but a vaguely self-obsessed douchebag. But he hasn’t put a foot wrong this competition, it’s true, and I’m afraid he’ll win it all. WORST OUTCOME EVER.
Ballroom: Not as bad as some ballroom routines on SYTYCD AU (Timomatic and Lamb, I’m looking at you) but god, that was not good. Mostly on Jess’ part; where went the sexy, sexy girl? This is a samba! Step it up! But like I said before, she’s revealing herself as not very versatile. And on Kieran’s part, there are a couple of embarrassing shortcomings in his ballroom that revealed themselves today, and by embarrassing shortcomings, I mean his arms:
LOOK MA I CAN FLY.
Hip Hop: Ewwwww. Hair and Makeup need to be shot for this. Who thought that THIS was a good idea?
Boring routine boringly danced. Boooo, Juliette Verne. Booo.
Philippe and Ivy
Philippe rounds out my ideal top 4 (Carly, Jessie H., Robbie, and him.) He’s so precise, everything sharp and just-so. His physical strength is just amazing, and I think his major weakness really has been in the emoting department. Even his ballroom posture is good (though he lacks any swing whatsoever; he’s kind of the anti-Nick that way.)
Ivy, for her part, has been the most surprising dancer this competition. I was all ready to write her off as a Penny (Ugh. Penny,) but she’s totally been the dancer to benefit the most visibly from getting into shape and interacting with other top choreographers and dancers. You can see her technique strengthening every week, and she is such a gifted physical actress–there’s a reason the group number choreographers keep using her to set the mood at the top of every piece. Ivy stretches or yawns, and you’re like, “Oh, it’s a 1920s Shanghai speakeasy. Got it.”
Contemporary: Mmmmmm. You guys, that was really hot. Holy fuck, I need a cigarette. In the meantime, I’ll just spam you with pictures of the SEXINESS THAT JUST HAPPENED.
Hip Hop: LOLWUT.
But seriously, that was a lot of fun and a lot better than many 80′s themed hip hop routines we’ve seen on this show in the past. Philippe was significantly better at the isolation elements, but Ivy really sold that with her permagrin (annoying in some contexts, but I liked the wry oh-god-this-is-so-dorky-but-I’m-having-fun-anyway touch it brought to events) and, rarity of rarities, Philippe looked like he was having a blast. Great way to end the show!