I’m still on the fence as to whether I’ll bother doing SYTYCD Australia episode reviews for the blog, partially because I can’t guarantee they’ll all be timely and partially because the vast majority of my reading audience doesn’t have easy access to the program. (I might be able to mollify that somewhat if Youtube is convenient enough, though.)
Regardless, the Aussies put on their “performance show prior to actual competition” episode this past week, copying what the American show did in season six – a non-voting episode where everybody dances in their genre, so as to “even the playing field” and make it harder for the audience to play favourites with the dancers who got more airtime during auditions. I thought it was a good idea when the Americans did it and I think it’s a good idea now.
As to the quality of the third season’s top 20? Obviously it’s still too early to say, but my hunch is that it’s not going to quite equal the second season. The performance show’s routines were, for the most part, quite solid (the big exceptions for me were the Ivy/Doug Broadway, which I thought was something of a mess, and the Renee/Carlie/Mikhaela pop/jazz, which was just boring choreography combined with horrible costumes), but I’m not sure about a lot of the dancers, especially the boys. Kieran, Robbie and Nick all look like they’re twelve, and Kieran in particular just looks nervous all the time and the others dance very “young.” Issi reminds me of US S6’s Mollee much more than I’d like. Heath seems very inwardly focused, almost too much so, and I’m not sure how sharp Felipe is.
(Also, Australia needs to be put on notice for having three dancers named Jessica in the top 20. The workaround of calling them “Jessica,” “Jessie” and “Jess” is not really un-confusing.)
But the potential exists to prove me wrong on every one of those counts, and the performance show delivered at least one shit-hot routine: the top 10 boys’ performance, choreographed by none other than head judge Jason Coleman. (The girls’ routine, choreo’d by Matt Lee, was also very good, but not quite on par with this.)
That instantly jumps onto my “best group routines of all time” list – it’s clever, unique and works with each dancer’s strengths very fluidly, and they all deliver (even poor terrified-looking Kieran). It’s immediately obvious that some of the dancers are more inherently performers than others, but then again that’s the reasoning behind a no-vote episode: get them used to working on this scale.
So, on the whole, I’m optimistic.