Absence makes the heart grow fonder. It’s a saying, but it may also be a fact. I do cherish the Olympics, but I’ve been missing the SYTYCD family and was hankering to get everyone back in my arms. Tonight: our reunion, replete with hair whipping around and obscuring faces, loads of open-mouthed kissing and two hours of Mia Michaels choreography. Two hours of it! Now, I am not a Mia-Michaels-the-judge fan, but I am a Mia-Michaels-the-choreographer-who-gives-me-feelings fan, so I was looking forward to seeing some of her classic dances re-created. In good ways and bad, Mia is a cat who never fails to entertain me. Plus, high stakes. By the end of tonight, an alarming four (4!) dancers would be sent home and we’d learn who would comprise the top 10, a.k.a the tour group.
So. Let’s talk about what transpired.
The Mia-choreographed group number “Hanging On” is based on her long-distance relationship and it featured swinging, flying, sliding, gliding, climbing, kissing, teased hair and God it looked fun to perform. Eliana, front and center, must have felt right at home with all that upside down dangling, Cirque du Soleil-style. I still cannot and may never get used to Mia’s Diane Keaton haircut. It’s not bad per se, it’s just that I keep expecting to see her short, blond, butch ‘do, which I rather liked, so I’m always surprised to see the bob and find it unsettling. Also unsettling to me: Mia’s gum-chewing during the live show. Naturally, right? Because she’s only being broadcast to, like, six million viewers. Maybe the gum was to announce Casual Vibe. Some movie stars do sunglasses, maybe some choreographers chew gum. To each her own.
Joining Nigel and Mary at the judging table were Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt — both formerly of the London Royal Ballet and now the creators of the BalletBoyz Dance Company — who seemed lovely as people but were maddening as guest judges. Not only had they never seen the original routines (which in and of itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, actually), but they also apparently haven’t watched this season at all and also they quite possibly have never seen the show, ever. Which they kept repeating, like it was a badge of pride. So their comments were entirely without context, and for a show that makes a big deal about considering dancers’ style of training and their growth over the course of a season, this was problematic.
Cyrus and Eliana took the stage first with the Door Dance aka “Mercy,” which I’ve loved ever since Katee and Twitch birthed it/killed it in season four. Cyrus took to the stage with a mean swagger and brought his animation stuff to the role. Eliana was beautiful both dancewise and characterwise, as always, but watching her made me realize just how much Katee really hurled herself around the stage. With Eliana — not surprisingly, since she’s a ballet dancer — everything was a little more placed, a little more controlled. Of course I was expecting and looking forward to some reinterpretation of the routines, but I do feel that this particular one needs more reckless abandon. (And more cowbell.) The general consensus amongst the judges was that the piece was fierce and Eliana was superfierce. At the end of the piece Mia was chewing again, but this time it didn’t seem to be gum. Maybe a mint? Maybe even a cracker? Nigel commented that Cyrus needs to work on lowering his shoulders and that Eliana brought it in the getting-into-character department. Mary said something or other which was when I noticed THE BUTTERFLY RING IS BACK. Also, hello Ryan Ramirez, who was in the audience and also in rehearsal footage assisting Mia. I forgot those two are thick as thieves.
NEXT: I really need to talk to you about the assisted run