It’s been a long road, but we’ve finally made it. Auditions are over, callbacks are complete and the judges of So You Think You Can Dance have chosen their top 20 dancers. This week, the 10 men and 10 women teamed up to dance in their own style – and for America’s votes, of course. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: boy, there is a lot of ballroom this year. I was afraid it was going to get a little redundant, but the choreographers definitely managed to mix it up enough to keep it interesting. There were some good performances, some great ones and some that were completely forgettable. Guest judge Jason Derulo joined Nigel and Mary for the panel, which was even stranger than usual. Mary is hitting the Red Bull pretty hard this year, no? Also, am I the only one who cannot not sing Jason Derulo’s name? Even when I say it in my head, I’m like, “Jason DeRulo!” Anyway, let’s recap the best and worst performances of the night.
First up was hey, wow, a ballroom number, with Brooklyn Fullmer and Serge Onik. I still only vaguely remember who Brooklyn is, but it doesn’t really matter because Serge stole the show. Their cha-cha was choreographed by SYTYCD alum Dmitry, so of course there was a lot of touchy-feely grinding going on. Brooklyn was definitely nervous, but I think Serge stood out as the stronger dancer, anyway. Following their performance was the first contemporary number of the night. Emily James and Casey Askew had great chemistry, but I wasn’t very wowed by the dance itself. For a Travis Wall routine, I felt it was kind of blah. The judges loved it, though. The first real showstopper of the night for me was from tappers Valerie Rockey and Zack Everheart. They did a whole thing with stairs and I thought they were going to fall the entire time, but they didn’t! It was grrrrreat.
Next was the second contemporary number of the night, even though it was basically the same dance as the first one. Bridget Whitman and Stanley Glover weren’t as in sync as Emily and Casey, but damn – Stanley’s lines are just extraordinary. I still cannot stand Bridget, but she’s a talented dancer. The following routine was from our two ballerinas, Jacque LeWarne and Jourdan Epstein. The number was inspired by Swan Lake, and it was lovely, but not overly so. The real problem, I think, was that it was impossible to tell Jourdan and Jacque apart. Maybe next time we do this, don’t put the two dark-haired, similarly-framed ballerinas in matching buns and costumes? Oh well. Next was another ballroom number and one of my favorites of the night. Marcquet Hill and Malene Østergaard did a Louis van Amstel samba and it was sexy and exciting and full of energy. I loved it. I hope they get a chance to partner again.
Full disclosure: I still have no clue who Carly Blaney is and I would probably forget her routine entirely if she wasn’t partnered with Rudy Abreu. The pair did a contemporary piece from Stacey Tookey and it was good, not great. Rudy still gets an absolute A+ on being The Most Adorable, though, and I think he’ll get by on personality alone for a long time. Next up – the only hip hop routine of the night. I am always excited for a Christopher Scott hip hop routine, though I have to say that the number he put together for Teddy Coffey and Emilio Dosal wasn’t one of my absolute faves. It was definitely more smooth than hard hitting, but it was very fun and creative nonetheless. Plus, it gave me a chance to figure out who the hell Teddy is! And hey guess what? Teddy is a really great dancer! I was impressed with both him and Emilio.
The next routine, from Jessica Rickens and Ricky Ubeda, is the first I can safely predict will make its appearance on the show’s tour next year. It will also be the one Nigel compares everything else to, all season. Like seriously, if Ricky and Jessica mess up once, he’ll be like, “BUT REMEMBER THAT FIRST DANCE!?” The thing is, it was that good. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such a beautiful performance so early in the competition. The contemporary piece, by Sonya Tayeh, was gorgeous on its own – but the dancers really brought it to life. I’ve already predicted that Ricky will be the contestant to beat this year and he’s proving me right.
The unfortunate pairing to follow that routine was Tanisha Belnap and Nick Garcia. They did another cha-cha, but I preferred it to the one from Brooklyn and Serge. It had more energy, more spirit. It also helps that Tanisha is a frigging firecracker on stage. I like her and Nick a lot. Unfortunately, the two barely got any solid feedback, because the show was out of time (and the judges spent so much time raving over Ricky).
And that’s that! What performance was your favorite? There are so many contestants right now, any number of them could be in the bottom three this week. I predict either Carly, Brooklyn or Bridget from the girls – and from the boys, I’m not sure. Serge? Or perhaps Casey, who’s good but forgettable when compared to Ricky or Rudy. Who do you think will go home?