It’s time for the top ten! I got a chance to visit the set of “So You Think You Can Dance” this week and talk to some of the dancers (and hear what Nigel, Mary and some choreographers had to say). I’ll post a story soon, but before that happens, we have to say goodbye to two dancers. I really can’t understand how Cat Deeley does this every week.
First up, we get a look at the group dance, which is Bollywood. It’s definitely a little more refined than what I saw, but it’s also hard to really focus when you’re sitting close to the stage. Having seen where the judges sit, I’m now really impressed that they’re able to pick out strong performances when there are people leaping all around the stage, usually in matching outfits. Still, I think Bollywood is never 100 percent great on this show, simply because it’s a very fast dance that’s very foreign to almost everyone who’s on the show. Still, it’s always fun.
Next, the bottom six are announced: Jenna, Alan, Malece, Nico, Amy and Tucker. Tucker is out with a knee infection (I did not even know that was a thing), so he won’t be dancing a routine this week.
Nigel announces that Nico and Jenna are safe. Wha? Jenna, not Anna, the beast? And Nico? I never thought the judges liked Nico, or have I missed something?
Anyway, the cutesy intro for tonight is each dancer telling us something about his or her partner that we didn’t already know. Bring on the quirk!
Nico & Hayley
The Background: Nico tells us Hayley loves animals. Hayley tells us Nico has big hair. They’re doing a Broadway number to a “Kiss of the Spider Woman” song performed by Chita Rivera. In the dance, a gypsy wants to kiss a guy and steal his soul. So, no cross dressing in prison. Okay.
The Dance: It’s very fierce — and it’s all about Hayley. She’s killing it, too. Nico, also great, but it’s not his routine, I’m afraid. Not his fault, though. The choreography is really about highlighting Hayley.
The Judges: Nigel gives Sean Cheesman a standing O. He thinks it’s one of the best Broadway scenes ever on the series. That would have graced the actual show. Hayley never ceases to surprise him. He doesn’t think she’ll be in the bottom two next week. Niles thinks he fixed his problems and he was excellent. Top marks! Mary thought it was outrageous. It was a breakthrough for both Nico and Hayley to another level. Lots more praise for Hayley than Nico, though. Kenny Ortega thought they handled it with bravery and passion.
The Verdict: You heard Niles — nothing to worry about next week.
Alan & Malece
The Background: Alan says Malece is a very fashionable shopaholic. Malece says Alan is born and raised in Minnesota, despite his exotic accent.
The Dance: Mandy Moore! They’re channeling Gene Kelly, except Alan doesn’t know who that is. Malece is going to try to channel Audrey Hepburn. Thank God she knows who that is. This is kind of adorable, but there’s something off. It’s like they’re not in the same room with one another.
The Judges: Kenny finds out if Alan checked out Gene Kelly on YouTube (he did). He tells Malece she sparkles, and they were both wonderful. But… he thought they couldn’t find the melding point. Not a full chemistry. Nigel thought it was uncomfortable to watch. It lacked a plie.
The Verdict: They’re both in the bottom, and this doesn’t bode well.
The “SYTYCD” tour will be hitting cities this fall. Whoot!
Jenna & Tucker (really, Alex Wong)
The Background: Tucker says Jenna snorts like a pig when she laughs. Jenna says Tucker always smells amazing.
The Dance: They will (or Jenna will) be dancing a paso doble with a pirate theme. Jenna will be dancing with Alex Wong! I am so happy to see Alex I barely pay attention to Jenna at first. But when I do, I have to say she’s very, very good. I think working with Alex has to be giving her a boost. He’s just one of those dancers who makes his partner look good by association.
The Judges: Mary loved it. Kenny thinks Jenna attacked it, and she’s one of his favorite dancers. Nigel thought she was tremendous.
The Verdict: Jenna’s fine for next week, but Tucker, who knows?
Makenzie & Paul
The Background: Makenzie says Paul is a chronic nail biter. Paul says Makenzie pulls some really ugly faces.
The Dance: Contemporary with Mandy Moore! This is beautiful, beautiful. They have such reach and this soars. Really, it’s just magical.
The Judges: Standing O from them, so I think they liked it. Nigel loved it and thought their breathing was perfect. Mary thought it was done beautifully. Kenny thought Paul had a fire burning in his soul.
The Verdict: Yeah, they’re fine. Although I will say, Makenzie shouldn’t have told us about the nail-biting. Paul has a fan base, woman!
Fik-Shun & Amy
The Background: Fik-Shun says Amy hums when she eats. Amy says Fik-Shun sleeps everywhere he can. They will be Vienesse waltzing, which neither one of them seems excited about doing.
The Dance: Elegant, ethereal, but we know this isn’t Fik-Shun’s wheelhouse. There’s a messiness to his performance, while Amy is excellent.
The Judges: Mary saw technical issues, but thought they had something special. She thinks Fik-Shun is getting better and better. Kenny thought it was a wonderful love story and Fik-Shun does anything he’s asked to do, and Amy is like a dancer in a music box. Nigel thought Fik-Shun’s arms were magical, and he’s obviously learning. He will be really disappointed if Amy leaves tonight.
The Verdict: I’m just so rattled that Amy is in the bottom three AND that Nigel didn’t save her, I don’t know what to think here.
Jasmine & Aaron
The Background: Aaron says Jasmine has a sassy alter ego when the music comes on. Jasmine says Aaron is a party animal.
The Dance: It’s a cowboy hip hop routine, and man alive, Jasmine is beyond killing it. If I didn’t know better, I would think this was her style. Aaron isn’t getting down quite as low or getting quite as dirty, but I think that he just suffers in comparison to Jasmine. Holy Toledo, she is GOOD at this. Aaron is snarling and acting it up, but his body doesn’t entirely seem comfortable with hip hop.
The Judges: Kenny thought they were two smoking guns. Nigel thought Jasmine killed it. He doesn’t say much about Aaron. Mary thought Jasmine dug out the best NappyTabs routine ever. Aaron also attacked everything.
The Verdict: Jasmine can’t go home next week. I think Nigel will stroke out if she’s in the bottom three. Aaron might be showing some weakness, though.
More group dances! The top guys are doing a NappyTabs routine with a rope. Mary and Kenny give a standing O, but Nigel doesn’t. Praise for Paul and a ding for Alan (he was too stiff), but it was very good. Mary thought Aaron’s solo was off the charts. Kenny gives Alan a pat on the back for throwing himself into it.
The girls will be doing a Stacey Tookey dance about the fountain of youth. Standing O from all three judges. Mary thinks these are the best six girls the show has had in ten seasons. No weak links. Kenny calls them all divas in the making. Nigel loved the routine and says the death of “So You Think You Can Dance” in Canada is sad but has given his show awesome choreographers like Stacey. But more than that, he thought it was an awesome routine.
Nigel thinks all the bottom dancers danced their hearts out in their solos. Nigel tells them that he wants anyone eliminated tonight to go on tour as alternates and swing dancers, though he doesn’t get much say in this. Yeah, but I bet whoever runs the tour will listen to you, Nigel. Leaving will be… Malece and Alan.
Wow — I can’t believe this, simply because Malece had grown so much so quickly (which is often seen as a sign of more good stuff to come), and because Tucker couldn’t dance this week. Usually, that’s a death knell. The good and bad news this season is that, especially with the girls, it’s really true that there are no weak links. But now it’s that much harder to say goodbye.
So, we have our top ten. What do you think? Do you think anyone needs to go home? Who do you think will win?