'Live to Dance' judge Travis Payne
It’s probably too late now, but someone at CBS should consider giving this show a revamp before it frustrates someone to death. Wondering how much fluff is packed into the beginning of the show? Two minutes to tell us who’s going to be on the show, a minute for the judges to walk onto the stage like three little Eva Perons greeting their public, and then another minute to recap the previous week’s episode. So, if you were wondering how the producers stretch six short performances into a full hour of prime time, well, there you go.
[Full recap of Wednesday's (Jan. 19) "Live to Dance" after the break...]
Anyway, first up we have to finish business leftover from last week: the viewer’s choice to enter the finals. The two acts that had the most votes are D’Angelo & Amanda and Jittin’ Genius. The act that made it through is… D’Angelo & Amanda. This is not exactly a shocker, although our helpful Australian host and a ridiculously overwrought musical score tries to create tension where there is none. But seriously, how could anyone not vote for little D’Angelo & Amanda? D’Angelo goes all Mia Hamm and, while he doesn’t rip off his shirt, he does drop to his knees and shake his little fists. I wonder if he does this at ballroom competitions, because I doubt such sports-inspired displays of happiness fly in that realm.
Another cutesy-poo entry is Jalen, who’s up first. He’s lost a tooth since his last time on the show, so he’s just that much more adorable. It’s like watching a B-boy bunny rabbit. And while some of his moves are pretty impressive, I’m not exactly wowed by this kid. He’s not in synch with the music, and at one point it just looks like he’s jerking around on the floor for his own amusement.
Paula tells him he worked his little butt off. And thinks he’s 19 and not nine for reasons that don’t make a great deal of sense. Um, okay. Gold star. Travis says it was great. Gold star. Kimberly thinks he has skills beyond his years. Gold star.
Next up, Dance in Flight. We are told that Gary is a crematory operator and they’re both old, although they don’t say how old. Unless you cop to a number, I’m not giving you points for age, geezers! They try to kiss up to the judges by choreographing part of their routine to a Paula Abdul song, but this is a train wreck. Gary almost drops Kate at the end, there are a few missed connections and they just look nervous.
Travis feels they’ve lost their luster since the audition. Red star. Kimberly is conflicted because she admires their love of dance but thinks Kate didn’t nail some of her extensions. That would be an understatement, sweetie. Gold star. Paula thinks they have a commitment to excellence but felt Kate couldn’t nail the sharper moves. Gold star. So much for playing hardball, Paula.
Twitch is eight girls and one guy and once again we learn that everyone has a crush on Anthony. But the latest development is that he’s dating one of the girls now. Ooh, drama! Well, even if the other girls are quietly devastated and wanting to kill the Chosen Girl, this routine is still amazing. There’s great use of the stage, the routine is beautifully synchronized and it’s powerful storytelling. However, someone needs to tell the girls that they really shouldn’t be yanking one their boy shorts while waiting for the judges’ comments. Kinda gross.
Paula is proud of them and thought it was beautiful. Gold star. Travis thought it was hot and tells them they raised the bar. Gold star. Kimberly thinks their ability to tell a story is exquisite. Gold star.
Next up, Du-Shaunt Stegall. He just moved to a new school, so he’s happy to have dance in his life. And because he’s short, though I’m not really sure what dance does to improve that situation. Du-Shaunt has a nice stage presence and some sharp isolations up his sleeve, but the whole routine sputters out too quickly. At one point, he looks like he’s just killing time, waiting for the music to end.
Kimberly gives him props for his moves, but felt it fell flat. Red star. Paula thinks he needs to learn beyond hip-hop. Red star. Travis thought he was good but not great. Red star. Wahh-wah.
Dax & Sarah are next in line and, though only a few letters off, not a Ben Folds song. They’re a couple, which is cute, but their dancing dreams could be at risk because Dax has a bad back. Actually, make that two herniated discs. We even get to go to the doctor with Dax and see him looking worried in a hospital gown. Alright, we get it, this is a Dramatic Moment about to happen on Live Television because Dax is going to dance, but his entire spine could pop out and slither across the stage if he busts the wrong move. That doesn’t happen, but not much else happens, either. I loooove the Lindy hop, but this starts out achingly slow and isn’t as crisp or as exciting as I would have hoped. Oddly, Sarah is the one who looks like she has a back injury. In the opening her arms look awkward and she carries some weird tension in her shoulders.
Paula feels for them and thought they were still entertaining. Gold star. Travis hated the slow opening and thought it was boring. Red star. Kimberly fully disagrees and thought it was true to the spirit of the Lindy hop yet modern, too. Gold star.
White Tree Fine Art is the final act. Just in case we think he’s a little girly or something, he points out that he was the captain of the football team. Now, of course, he’s a sculptor and a painter, and Nikki writes about dance. And all I can think is, how can you guys afford to live in San Francisco? Do you live in a coat closet? Anyway, this is beautiful, but I will say I’ll like almost anything if it’s set to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Still, I love the aerial work with the red fabric (very Cirque de Soleil), and she has exceptional form. I know he’s trying to butch it up by wearing pants, but it just makes his moves look a little heavy.
Kimberly gives them a standing O. She says they bring little girl dreams to life. Gold star. Travis wants to be more excited about them. Red star. Paula and Kimberly want to kill him. Paula loved it, and points out that she thought of the aerial thing, so nyah nyah, Travis. Gold star.
So, now the judges must pick an act to put through to the finals. I’m thinking Twitch might be a good choice, as they were solid, fun to watch and no one had a bad back. And the act they’re putting through is… White Tree Fine Art. That’s a surprise, given that Travis didn’t love them, but I guess Paula and Kimberly dragged him behind a backdrop and beat him into submission with their high heels. I do like White Tree Fine Art and I’m thrilled to see ballet in the finals, but these two are going to have to ramp it up. While the aerial work brought a new dimension to their routine, they still seem a little reserved. But Paula will surely have some ideas, right?
Do you think White Tree Fine Art should have been picked? Do you think Paula is turning into a big, mushy marshmallow of love and support? Which act are you voting for?