Entertainment behind the scenes
“SYTYCD” pays tribute to Michael Jackson; Asuka, Jonathan go home
Asuka Kondoh | Ed McMahon | Farrah Fawcett | Jonathan Platero | Mary Murphy | Michael Jackson | Nigel Lythgoe | So You Think You Can Dance
Thursday’s elimination show of “So You Think You Can Dance” began on a somber note as executive producer Nigel Lythgoe paid tribute toEd McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, all of whom passed away this week.
Nigel paid special recognition to the enormous contribution Jackson made to music and dance.
“We will not see his like again. He changed the face of music and dance in the world — not just in this country.”
He called Jackson’s 1991 “Black or White” music video — which incorporated a number of international dance styles — an inspiration for the show.
“This is a life to celebrate. This is a life that remains inspirational for anybody who listens to music, anybody who wants to dance,” Nigel said, noting that many dancers auditioning for the show over the years cited Jackson as the reason why they started dancing. (Last week, contestant Jason Glover was shown doing an impressive Jackson impression when he was four years old.)
Of Jackson’s iconic 1982 “Thriller” video, directed by John Landis, Nigel said, “After this, there was nothing ever again that would be the same.”
THE SHOW MUST GO ON
After the tribute, the voting results were unveiled. It was not a good night for ballroom dancers as Asuka Kondoh andJonathan Platero were the unlucky ones sent home by judges Nigel, Mary Murphy and guest Toni Basil.
Asuka, who performed a Mandy Moore thrash-jazz routine with partner Vitolio Jeune, was the first to go home in an unanimous decision. The judges called her a beautiful and “exciting performer,” but it wasn’t good enough. “You give a little something of yourself with everything that you do, but we do feel that you are not growing in the competition,” Nigel said.
The boyish Jonathan was the third male to leave the show. Despite an “outstanding” solo, the judges said his hip-hop performance (choreographed by Dave Scott) was “like a Sunday school picnic outing” despite its “gangsta” theme. “I don’t believe you’ve brought the dancing that is required to be America’s best dancer,” Nigel concluded.
The four contestants who escaped the chopping block were Jonathan’s partner, Karla Garcia (despite what the judges called a “desperate” solo), Vitolio, and Caitlin Kinney and Jason, who performed a paso doble by choreographer Jean Marc Genereaux.
Randi Evans and Evan Kasprzak lived up to the personality and originality of Mia Michael’s charming “butt” routine.
And speaking of butts, Phillip Chbeeb ripped his pants during his Tyce Diorio jazz number with Jeanine Mason, sending Mary into hysterics. Nigel felt Phillip still needed to grow, despite his popularity with voters: “I need more than your ass sticking out of your trousers.”
The only couple to make it onto Mary’s “hot tomale train” this week was Kupono Aweau and his new partner Kayla Radomski with their performance of a waltz by Genereaux. “I never yell for a Viennese waltz,” said Mary, who preceded to give her signature scream. But Nigel, in a particularly crusty and critical mood on Wednesday, said they weren’t going to make anyone stand up and cheer, even though it was beautifully danced. Voters disagreed.
With seven couples left, dancers will face increasing pressure to exceed expectations every week. Who will survive the heat and who will wilt under the glare of the spotlight?
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