Evan channels his inner Chuck Bass.. and Austin Powers?
This post was originally slated to air on Wednesday. As you might recall, I ended up writing a full-blown SYTYCD recap instead. I couldn’t resist! Then I was going to post it last night, but part two of the True Blood recap swallowed me whole, Jonah-and-the-whale style. (BLOGGING IN THE DARK!) Recaps are fun, but they take for-eh-ver to write. (I’m very meticulous.)
But it works out pretty well to post this piece now, because as of last night we know that Evan is safe for this week. (Yessss!!!) I had an uneasy feeling that this might be his last ride on the Hot Tamale Train (although… is he even ON the Hot Tamale Train? He never gets a break, does he?), but he pulled through with flying colors. He wasn’t even in the bottom two! Good work, Evan. You looked great with Shortest Girl (TM) Janette this week. I can’t believe she was eliminated (that’s not a spoiler alert, because it happened more than 12 hours ago, and in our digital age that’s the equivalent of 12 days ago).
RIP, Janette (just kidding, she’s alive and kicking… high-kicking, probably). You were Mia Michaels’ favorite, to the power of 4.
Whereas some of the contestants were more or less invisible until the Top 20 revelations, this season featured Evan from the start. (Last year, he was eliminated in the Las Vegas rounds–fairly late in the game, I think. The producers probably had a good feeling about his chances this time around.) That gave the audience a long time to get to know him, although the coverage sometimes seemed to paint him into a corner, as a dancer/character. (As we found out, nobody paints Evan into a corner! He dance-leaps right out of that corner!)
From the first time we saw him, Evan was pushing against the odds. During this season’s auditions, Evan and his brother Ryan were framed as a schticky, mugging pair of vaudevillians. (His style is a sort of Gene Kelly old-fashioned cool–billed as “Broadway” on the SYTYCD website– which isn’t necessarily the rage amongst the voting demographic. Ryan’s style–at least on this show–is tap dancing with an emphasis on whoopee cushion. He also choreographs Evan’s routines.)
Evan rose above it all (literally) with his amazing leaps and lines, and his expressive face (he’s a Musical Theater major at Illinois Weslyan University, and I would love to see him in “Guys and Dolls” on Broadway, like, tomorrow). Evan could easily bill himself as a contemporary or jazz dancer– those leaps! Mein Gott!
Ryan was basically number 21 out of the top 20 (but we already know that he will make it to Vegas this fall). First emotional blow! Both brothers took it in stride, which… good moral character! Attractive.
Okay, back to the hurdles… Evan’s short, to the extent that the judges were surprised that he was able to lift the much-taller (?) Kayla a few weeks ago (I wasn’t shocked; Kayla is a feather). (That week, he also had to wear shoes with really high heels. Then again, Ade had to wear RED heels this week.) The first few weeks, wardrobe dressed him in oversized, poofy clothes, which only made his physique look more awkward. Not to mention, the famous hooded eyelid debacle. (Whatever, Nigel.)
On top of all that, Evan was paired with married-girl Randi (from Utah, for what that’s worth), who felt awkward about having to do sexy dances with a man not her husband, and also about having to do sexy dances in general. Sorry, Evan! (And of course, Mia gave them a dance with the theme “Randi’s booty,” as in butt.) You kind of got a dud, in that department (but she was a really good sport and a great dancer, so it worked out). But you’re going to get a lot of girls when this is all over, if you’re into that (or a lot of guys, if that’s your thing).
All of the aforementioned factors added up to potential first-week elimination for Evan, but he’s still alive and kicking. Why? Above all, he’s a fantastic dancer. But on this show, everyone’s a great dancer. Getting into the Top 6 requires that magical “it” factor.
So how did Evan get there? I have a few ideas…
-His unique solos and amazing leaps. There’s nothing more sweet than a bashful guy in an old-fashioned tux, and when that guy does a high split leap into a floor split as if it’s nothing, and it’s just the appetizer of the solo… wow. Trust me on that. (Don’t trust me? See for yourself!) And his face is incredibly expressive. (Take that, Nigel.)
-Despite the emotional and physical hurdles being thrown his way, Evan has maintained a cheerful, can-do attitude. He exudes kindness and class. He takes criticism (even the hooded eyelid thing) with a smile, and pushes himself to improve. He never says an unkind word about any of his partners.
-In a competition populated by a whole lotta beautiful “ready-for-my-close-up” part-time models (heh), he’s an underdog and an outsider– and we like him for it. It’s refreshing. And he’s full of surprises. In true Michigander fashion, he interviewed that if he wasn’t dancing, he’d be an auto mechanic. Hard to imagine, but he means it– he rebuilt an old car from scratch, just for fun. I never even knew what a “gear head” was until I heard him talk about it. (Also, I never identified with Randi more than when she seemed geniunely confused by the whole “gear head” thing, too.)
-He’s funny, sincere, and open to anything. Remember when he said this? “There’s definitely some moments that are a little awkward in my body. I’m not used to this style of jazz. I’m used to jazz hands and smiles.” Remember the African dance, when he was scrutinized for being pasty, short, and devoid of six-pack abs? Remember how despite all that, he rocked it? He has heart… and soul.
-He’s cute, in so many ways. (And he’s probably not as short as everybody thinks. Cat Deeley is an Amazon.)
-By the end of the whole hooded eyes debacle, he was obviously close to tears. I think that was a combination of the sting of Nigel’s comment, and the aftershock of having two amazing women shower him with praise. Sensitive! Sweet! Body issues that are beyond our control are so easy to identify with! PLUS, when Mia ended her critique with a Zoolander reference, Evan had the presence of mind to swallow his tears, smile, and quip, “A little Blue Steel.” A little Blue Steel, everybody. This kid’s gonna be a star.
-When Mia announced that Brandon was in the bottom two last night and Evan realized that he was safe, you could see the shock wash over his face. I’m in?? He covered his face with his hand, and it was all very, “Pinch me, I must be dreaming.” You’re not dreaming, Evan! Dreamy? Yes. Sleepy-eyed? Maybe. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) Dreaming? No.
-Okay, enough with this list. You get it.
Will Evan go home next week? Maybe. It’s anybody’s game. But at this point, he’s going on tour and he’s America’s sweetheart. He’s going to be just fine.
Evan, if you’re feeling small amongst all of the towering, tanned, model-slash-actors of Los Angeles, hit me up. I’m 5’1″-ish (so you’ll feel nice and tall), at least as pale as you, and well-versed in musical theater. Additionally, I have the hooded eyelids (and I’m pretty sure we both wear glasses, but not all the time… eye buddies!). Let’s start a club! (We’re gonna need a bigger boat, because… no, I’ve reached my self-stereotyping Jew quota for the week.)
Also, if I were a boy (ha), my parents were going to name me Evan. True story. Is this getting weird? We’re not twins or anything, because I’m older… and, you know… can’t dance to save my life. (DANCE FOR YOUR LIFE!)
Best of luck to Evan and Ryan! I have a feeling that you two will be dancing for your lives, as in… for years to come. You’re contributing to global warming. Global heart-warming, that is. (I’m sorry, I’m spreading too much love right now. I need to put this corndog down and go find a majestic falcon to kick.)(Just kidding. I don’t eat corndogs.)
Little Red Eyelid-Hood
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