From Rehearsal to Seductive Performance “Whataya Want from Me”
“So You Think You Can Dance” producer and judge Nigel Lythgoe issued some sort of ultimatum that Adam would be held to whatever he performed in rehearsal, and that there better not be any surprises on the live show. We can imagine rehearsal earlier in the day and the curious from far and wide have filled the hall to watch – Adam in rehearsal is more exciting than so many others in performance.
Adam sitting down having a chat is sexier and more interesting than guys in their Sunday Best high-tops and denim jackets. Adam eating an ice cream cone would have more sex appeal than guys making lame attempts at lusty moves with lunges and awkward thrusts, loose plaid shirt flowing around them. But I digress. This is what happens when I watch an Adam video forty-seven times in a row – a necessary curse for a proper Xena analysis, all for you dear friends.
Back to rehearsal and the judges, plus some Fox lawyers are seated in the front row. Adam strides out dressed in those exposed zipper jeans, t-shirt and leather vest, boots open with the tongue flapping. Nigel “Is this what you will be wearing my dear boy?” “Oh, I see it over there – a nice glen check, two button, single vent …ah … the rest – o.k. white shirt, silk tie – just fine. Good, very Saville Row… oh Italian.”
“Now, let’s go people… and one!” As Monte begins, Adam stands at the mic and all goes well until he gets to the one minute mark “Just don’t give up..” as Adam lunges forward, GB leading in a thrust.
“Stop!!! Stop right there! Adam, what do you think you are doing? This is a prime time show, children watch it, grandmothers watch it, old men watch it and I don’t think what you just did there is going to work. Counsel, over there – what do you think?….. over again? Okay – start over Adam, we need to see it again.”
Again, the guitar starts, Adam sings quietly, then “Just don’t….” and he does the thrust again. “Stop!…. ladies, gentlemen? What is your verdict? …..right, the whole number. This time Adam, start and continue until I tell you to stop.”
Adam puts on a great show in rehearsal, he thrusts, he rubs, Sneaky gets in a little rehearsal with the GB, he sways, he puts an arm around Lisa, pats her on the butt, messes her hair, he stomps aggressively across the stage, grabs Cat Deely by her skinny waist and dips her back as he wails “Whataya want from me”. Judge Mary Murphy shrieks – “waaaaa! waaaa!” as she leaps to the stage, arms flailing, hair flying “grab me! Grab me! I want some too” and as Adam takes Mary in his arm, here comes Shankman for some action. Adam, band, host, judges – the stage is getting a little chaotic.
Nigel falls out of his chair – huddles with the others then turns around “Perfect!” You do it just like that and we will all have a great show. But remember, if you change anything, you will never perform on this show again. Wait, my phone ‘Simon, my boy….yes he just finished and I….. right, yes of course.’ Adam, forget what I just said, Fuller says not to worry, do what you want.
In the opening number, the SYTYCD dancers appear to be in costumes borrowed from Adam’s AMA performance – black, bondage and skimpy. Then there is crotch-grabbing, girl lifting with legs outspread, girls sitting on boys’ faces, chorus girls stroking each other’s legs, barely dressed in cute virginal white.
Adam’s performance: No one, but no one, can wear a classic glen-check suit, white dress shirt, monochromatic pewter silk tie with matching pearl collar pin, spats! Spats?! shards of basalt hair, asymmetrical sparkly eyes, and infuse the whole package with so much sex, it’s pent-up in his body and the only release, his voice, his face and that devilish animated eyebrow, swoon-inducing – even solo. That eyebrow should be insured by Lloyds. But the sex is still tightly coiled as he sways his body to shake some out, stepping forward within the confines of the ring of light. Gracing his shoulder, a boa from the tour, at least what’s left of one after Megan and Anoop finished fighting over it and plucked it clean.
Adam is tender and pleading in voice and words until………..the chorus, when the power and confidence shoot through and the plea becomes so emotional he takes some frustration out on the mic stand, vigorously flung aside now. We’ve seen this Adam in Whole Lotta Love, but here just a couple of brief glimpses of the backdoor man, maintaining his masculine edge. There’s a slight Angry Young Man from Black or White, a taste of searching, reaching out – from One, from Mad World with the symbolic tear smudge on one eye.
Still holding back, he builds & teases with GB modestly covered and Sneaky kept occupied with the mic stand that just won’t die in its grip. Adam steps back during the guitar solo, to regroup, to reconnect with Monte and give Tommy a rub for good luck, that flirty and slightly belligerent “so there” smile, before stepping forward into the light to release with a forceful lunge – whatever he’s got left, through his voice, glittery eyes, the cherubic lips, GB gets momentary flashes of exposure as Adam spreads his feet apart, taking more ground and moving forcefully within the confines of the censors’ sensibilities.
Finally exasperated, WLL Adam lets it all out, adding notes and flourishes, opening wide to that anguished crescendo at the top of the roller coaster and falling in the vertical drop to bring the house down.
Button him up, tie him down and Adam’s charismatic, innately sexual personality shines through, whether the bad boy sophisticate, Xavier* or the young freshly-enlightened Adam of the Garden.
Nigel, Mary, Cat, Shankman and lawyers are on their feet – what did they just see? So much heat generated within a constrained body, but exploding through voice, face and eyes that could light-up Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
*’Xavier’ came from a reader who left a comment here and it’s a wonderful name for “bad boy” Adam