‘So You Think You Can Dance’ recap: ‘Top 20 Perform, 2 Eliminated’

The opening number is pretty great — dreamlike, ethereal, a little spooky, and it makes great use of the stage. Dammit. Now I don’t want anyone to go home! I’ll get over that shortly, however. It’s better to just accept the inevitable. Two dancers will be getting the axe, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it now. 

Our judges are Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and Christina Applegate. I’m glad to see her back. She’s made some insightful comments in the past, and it’s always good to have another female on the panel, I think. 

Flashback montage from last week. I still wish Wayne Brady had taken his clothes off and danced with Cat Deeley. That would have been memorable!

Time to reveal the bottom dancers. Makenzie, Alan, Mariah, Jade, Brittany, and Carlos are on the block. I’m a little surprised to see Jade and Makenzie here, but hopefully they won’t go home. 

The judges can save one guy and one girl right away. Nigel asks if everyone can perform even if they are cut — because the two people who are sent packing will need to dance with their partners later in the show. This is a new twist, and it’s a risky one. There’s a chance someone will fall apart, or mess up their partner’s routine without meaning to do so. Anyway, let’s hope that doesn’t happen. Tell us who you’re going to save, Nigel! Mariah, Carlos, Jade, and Brittany will be dancing for their lives, which means Alan and Makenzie are safe. 

Mariah must dance for her life first. This is energetic but it’s not great. I’m actually disappointed. Plus she runs out of moves before the timer ticks down. Yikes. 

Carlos, on the other hand, brings it. 

Brittany is slinky and sexy, and does a hands-free cartwheel, which is impressive. I’m still wondering what happened to Mariah. 

Jade brings out some beautiful, dreamlike animation. I’m really surprised to see Jade in the bottom, as he did very well last week (if you listen to the judges).

Time for two to be cut. Nigel admits he thought the solos were not great. He didn’t think anyone did very well. Ouch! Nigel talks and talks and talks. Finally, he calls Carlos and Brittany forward. And, just like that, they are cut. 

I honestly think Mariah made a mess of both her routine last week and her dance for her life, but I think she was likely saved because of her big personality on stage and the fact she’s that rare female hip hop dancer. I’m sorry to see Carlos and Brittany go, but I can’t say they stood out enough to make me miss them terribly. 

Hayley and Curtis

The Background: They’ll be doing a Ray Leeper jazz  number, but sadly that means Curtis has to pretend to be a bad boy. Let’s see if he can do it. Good luck, Curtis! You’re too nice for your own good!

The Dance: I get that Hayley is a bad, bad girl (the thigh high boots help) but more importantly, Curtis is a dependable partner to her and seems, if not super bad, at least into her and slinky and maybe a little dangerous. For him, that’s huge. 

The Judges: Nigel wonders if Hayley’s daddy knows what she’s getting up to. He thinks it was sexy and danced brilliantly. Still, he couldn’t take his eyes off Hayley. Mary thinks… she loved it! She thinks Curtis is a giggle bucket, but he managed to be down and dirty and gritty. She saw fireworks! Christina forgot Curtis was a tapper, and the thought it was all dangerous. Still, she thinks they could have oozed into the words more. 

The Verdict: I think this number was memorable, they brought it, and they’re probably safe. 

Jasmine H. and Aaron

The Background: They have a NappyTabs routine, which requires heat and heartbreak. Perfect for Jasmine H., as that’s the prism through which we view her for better or for worse. 

The Dance: Nice pop and definition, some great emotion from Jasmine, and man, the heat!

The Judges: Mary thanks them for the chemistry lesson, and she thinks Jasmine H. is a star. She could feel the frustration! And Aaron was sexy. The step-push ripples were so hot! Christina has nothing negative to say. Christina thinks Jasmine H. is a huge star. She thinks she and Aaron are the couple to beat at this point. Nigel thinks Aaron is a major asset to the series, and he truly believed Jasmine H. 

The Verdict: I think there’s a lot of truth to the idea that they’re the couple to beat — they both have compelling backstories and, more importantly, they’re great dancers who do have chemistry. 

Time to plug National Dance Day! And NappyTab shows off a master routine — with Napoleon wearing their baby in a Baby Bjorn! NDD is July 27. In case you forgot. Which would be very, very difficult, I think. 

Malece and Jade 

The Background: They’ll be dancing a Bollywood routine by Nakul. Jade thinks Bollywood without smiling is like being a clown without being funny. That is SUCH an awesome definition of Bollywood! 

The Dance: They seemed to run out of steam toward the end, but who wouldn’t be exhausted by this? There’s a lot of flapping, but Jade does an okay job. Malece is helped by a veil, as judges can’t really ding her for being expressionless. 

The Judges: Christina thinks they did a commendable job, and she wants Jade to work harder than everyone else. And she loves Malece. Nigel thinks Malece has a lovely pixie look, and she’s a fabulous little dancer. And if Jade has to dance for his life again, he has to move beyond waves. He was amazed at how well he picked up the choreography for Bollywood. Mary thought Jade was a prince, plus she thought he was having fun. Plus, she thought Malece’s outfit was great. 

The Verdict: Given that Jade ended up in the bottom this week, I can’t say this routine will save them — Bollywood doesn’t always wow voters. Still, they made a good effort. 

Alexis and Nico

The Background: Stacey Tookey is creating a continuation of the dance she created for Katherine, in which she’s going to war. I think that’s setting up Alexis for failure, honestly. 

The Dance: This is okay, but it’s pretty clear that Alexis isn’t a contemporary dancer. 

The Judges: Nigel loved the music. He thinks Nico gets better every week. He thinks Alexis did very well, but she’s going to have to work harder. Still, he likes watching her. Mary loved the music, too. She thinks they were uninhibited and felt Alexis was real and honest. Christina thinks Nico is a beautiful dancer, and she thinks Alexis has “it.” 

The Verdict: I’m not as impressed as Christina was with this dance. I think Alexis is doing a great job, but I think she has an uphill dancer to “flush” the tap out of her system. I don’t see this saving her next week. 

Brittany and BluPrint

The Background: They’ll be doing a Spencer Liff Broadway routine

The Dance: I’m trying not to pay any attention to Brittany, since she’s gone. BluPrint, though, is hard to focus on. He’s a little sleepy, a little reserved, and his moves lack passion. 

The Judges: Mary wants Brittany to know she adores her. She thinks BluPrint did a fine job, but he needs to work on his lines. Christina thinks BluPrint was wonderful, but if he gets Broadway again, he can be as goofy as he wants to be. Nigel thinks BluPrint needs to believe in what he’s selling. 

The Verdict: I feel as though this was largely Brittany’s routine, and BluPrint wasn’t the focus of the choreography nor was he strong enough to draw us in. 

Jasmine M. and Alan

The Background: They’ll be doing a ballroom routine by Miriam and Leonardo that involves lots of lifts and sex appeal. Alan will absolutely nail this, as we know. 

The Dance: And he does. More importantly, so does Jasmine M. She has good extension, she’s emotional, she’s great.

The Judges: Was that a standing O? Christina can’t believe Jasmine M. has a moment two weeks in a row. Nigel was shocked when Alan was in the bottom three, and he’s done another amazing routine this week. He also likes Jasmine M.’s dress. Mary thinks they had passion, and they sprayed passion all over the stage. Wow, that sounds gross.

The Verdict: I really hope voters give these two a pass into next week, because this really is two great routines in a row. Aaron and Jasmine H. may be the couple to beat, but these two are a dark horse power couple. 

Makenzie and Paul

The Background: Sean Cheesman has created a sexy femmebot routine for them. Okay. 

The Dance: Hey! That was cool! I was not expecting this to be as fun as it was, but it’s hot and has a sense of humor, which is pretty irresistible. 

The Judges: Nigel loved the routine and thought it was naughty. He thought Paul’s flips were terrific, and he thinks Makenzie is a star. Mary loved the beginning, the end and the middle. She was, like Nigel, shocked Makenzie was in the bottom as she’s a humble, professional dancer. She thinks Paul nailed it as well. Christina thinks Paul is giving her Patrick Dempsey, which is very sexy. She wants him to loosen up his carriage going forward. 

The Verdict: This was sexy and funny and memorable. I think this is the first time I’ll remember Paul, which is saying something.

Mariah and Carlos

The Background: They’re dancing a Stacey Tookey routine, and Carlos is an accident victim who has lost his memory. Mariah can’t wait to show her serious side. Hopefully that will be better than her flicks and kicks. 

The Dance: Since Carlos is gone, I’m not really watching him. Mariah brings her emotion to contemporary and it works. 

The Judges: Mary can’t believe they ever fell into the bottom, and she’s sorry to see Carlos go. It’s America’s loss, so suck it America. She thought Mariah went to another place and it was stunning. Christina thinks it’s wrong that Carlos is going home. It was the best chemistry of the night. She got goosebumps because Mariah had so much pain and grace and beauty in her face. Nigel thinks Mariah did a brilliant job emoting in the routine. He wishes Carlos luck. 

The Verdict: I think voters will feel much more comfortable voting for Mariah this week. She really can do more than hip hop, which definitely wasn’t clear last week. 

Amy and Fik-Shun

The Background: They’ll be dancing to a NappyTabs routine. Oh my, the Beast plus Fik-Shun working in his style? This will be awesome!

The Dance: And it is. I’m reminded of Alex’s dance with tWitch, which was landmark. Amy is truly a beast, and of course Fik-Shun is great. I would not want to have to follow this routine 

The Judges: Christina thinks Fik-Shun is something special and Amy brings him up. Nigel knew he was going to love the routine. They light up the entire studio when they dance! He thinks their personalities come out when they dance. And if they keep dancing like this, they’ll be in the finale. Mary thinks it was a party on stage and thinks they’re adorable. 

The Verdict: Hell yeah, if there’s any justice they’re safe next week!

Jenna and Tucker

The Background: They’ll be dancing a cha cha choreographed by Dmitry Chaplin. Tucker doesn’t feel sexy. How can he be as sexy as Jenna? Jenna loves sexy! She’s a ballroom dancer! She’ll be fine. 

The Dance: I don’t care what Tucker says — he can dance sexy, and this is very sexy. He gets a couple of the ballroom moves just right and I don’t even mind when not all of it is sharp. He’s conveying raw sex appeal, and it works given he’s with Jenna, who is all about the sex appeal. 

The Judges: Mary thinks Jenna is a star. She thinks Jenna can do anything. She thinks Tucker was just so-so, but his partnering was very good. Christina was thoroughly entertained and was engrossed in the story. She forgot Tucker was a contemporary dancer. He had a raw dirtiness. And Jenna is awesome. Nigel thinks Jenna looks marvelous but there wasn’t enough cha cha. So, wrap on the knuckles for Dmitry. But both of them did what they were asked to do well.

The Verdict: I liked this a lot more than the judges did. Maybe they’re just tired at the end of the show, but I thought this was solid. But whether that will translate into votes I don’t know.

This was another strong night of dancing (which is amazing given how early it is in the season), so I can’t say anyone really deserves the boot. That being said, I see BluPrint and Alexis might be in trouble. But after that, it’s hard to say. This is going to be a good season — which means it’s just going to be harder to send people home. 

Who are you voting for? Who did you think was weak? And who was the MVP?