Now that the viewers and judges have pared down the "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 9 competitors to the Top 10, it's time to throw in a few more quirks to keep the dancers on their toes. No more dances with the partners they've been matched up with for several weeks -- it's time to bring in the All-Stars from previous seasons to show the Top 10 how it's done and to teach them a few new tricks.
Unfortunately, after working their tails off during the show, it will be the end of the road for two more dancers. Wouldn't it be more fair to start the show with the results and elimination that are based on last week's votes and then let the remaining dancers show their stuff? I'll admit, that with the elimination at the end of the show, it does give all of the dancers more opportunities for exposure to other styles of dance and other dancers.
Host Cat Deeley, dressed in a slinky, iridescent, silver shift, introduced the beginning group number. It was a tribute to Gene Kelly, whose 100th birthday would have been Thursday, and Kelly's widow, Patricia, applauded the routine from the audience. And yes, that was Broadway-style choreographer Tyce Diorio, who slipped himself into the movie-themed routine when dancer Cole Horibe couldn't perform for some unexplained reason. The regular judges, Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy, were joined by guest judge, Benjamin Millepied, who choreographed and danced in "The Black Swan."
Starting the evening was a
Next up was Witney Carson paired with Nick Lazzarini, the winner of SYTYCD's Season 1, and they did a jazz routine choreographed by Travis Wall. It was supposed to be sexy and lived up to that promise. Benjamin called it "excellent, great fun to watch," and Mary, barely restraining her urge to scream, said, "You were smoldering out there. Holy smokies, you are a star."
The third routine was a cha-cha by Cole Horibe and Anya Garnis, an All-Star from Season 3. It was choreographed by Dmitry Chapin, a former SYTYCD competitor, who must have shown Cole how to dance with an unbuttoned shirt. The All-Stars are making all of the dancers look great. Mary said it was "amazing" and reminded the audience that Anya was the original dancer on Mary's "Hot Tamale Train." Mary pointed out some problems with Cole's feet and that there was not enough connection between the two dancers. Nigel agreed, saying he was "a little disappointed in his contact with Anya" and that Cole was performing to the judges and audience, instead of to Anya
Lindsay Arnold then danced a Broadway routine by Spencer Liff with All-Star Jakob Karr from Season 6. It was a Broadway number and a really difficult shadow routine where the dancers mirrored each other's movements with a sheet between them. After asking Jakob to show his pointed foot and raving about how magnificent his feet were, Nigel said Lindsay was magnificent and told her that Jakob can teach her extension -- sometimes, Nigel is a bit weird in his comments. Mary said Jakob was "from another dance planet," but she couldn't control herself any longer, screaming that Lindsay has booked a ride on the Hot Tamale Train. Benjamin looked a bit shocked at the outburst, but recovered to say that he thought the dancing was well-executed.
After plugging the SYTYCD tour, Cat introduced Will Thomas, who was dancing with All-Star Kathryn McCormick from Season 6. It was a Bollywood number by Nakul Dev Mahajan, with Will as a snake-charmer and Kathryn as the sexiest snake ever. Mary described it as "so fun, so entertaining. Jumping and hopping, amazing control, lots of action. Well done tonight, Will." Benjamin said Will had a charming and unique style, and "took advantage of every little section." Nigel really gushed over Kathryn, who is in the "Step Up Revolution" movie. Pulling his attention away from Kathryn, he told Will, "You bring personality to every routine."
Cyrus "Glitch" Spencer was paired with Jaimie Goodwin of Season 3 for a contemporary routine by Travis Wall. It was the latest test for Cyrus, who had never danced that style or done the moves, but he passed with flying colors. Benjamin said he had raw energy, and that he knew how to shift his focus and partner Jaimie. "Jaimie brought out the best in you," Nigel said. "I think you're brilliant, I really do." Mary added that Travis didn't hold back and "made you work." Cyrus just stood there, taking in the compliments with a huge smile.
Chehon Wespi-Tschopp and All-Star Lauren Gottlieb from Season 3 performed a hip-hop routine by Dave Scott, but Chehon is too well-trained to let it all go and some of the moves were too smooth. Nigel told Chehon, "You had a smile on your face and were so much warmer. Remember, this is how you communicate with your audience. Well done." Mary described the dance as "slinky groove-hop" but that she wanted it to be a little more funky.
George Lawrence II and All-Star Allison Holker from Season 2 did a jazz routine by Tyce Diorio about a man who misses a train because of great distraction by a sexy woman. It was supposed to be about a sexy and steamy night in Paris. While Mary thought it was "lots of fun, lot of fun to watch." Benjamin thought George was an "amazing mover, who can do just about everything." But Nigel said that while the technique was tremendous, "I didn't believe the character. You didn't bring the goods."
Eliana Girard and All-Star Alex Wong from Season 7 did a Stacey Tookie contemporary routine. It was an incredible number that brought a standing ovation from the judges and the audience. Since he is a judge, Nigel noted Eliana's maturity in movement and said, "Eliana, you are my favorite girl dancer and I'm annoyed that Stacey did such a short routine." Mary said the "hair went up on my arms and it was my favorite routine tonight." Benjamin added that it was a "great dance, great song, a performance driven by so much passion and everyone felt it."
The final dance was Audrey Case doing a hip-hop routine with Stephen "tWitch" Boss, an All-Star from Season 4. The dance was choreographed by Dave Scott and told the story of a 400-year-old couple who alternately love and hate each other. The routine began with the pair coming out of a coffin, and then dancing a hip-hop number that, as Nigel noted, will surely be a part of the finale. Benjamin said Audrey did "very, very well," but that it was unfair to have tWitch come out and take over the room. He wanted a little more from Audrey, but Mary told her, "You made me watch you, you held your own."
And then, with an abruptness that I just don't like, Cat called all the dancers on stage and called out Witney and Audrey as the bottom two girls, and Chehon and George as the bottom two guys. When she asked Nigel if the judges wanted to see solos, he asked the audience the question, which meant that he already knew who was going to go home and was giving them one last chance to perform.
There was a performance by members of the L.A. Dance Project performed, and then the final judgment. Nigel, who said the decision was not unanimous, said they were keeping Witney and Chehon, and that it was the end of the journey for Audrey and George.
The dancers are so good this season that it is a real jolt when they are eliminated, but as was pointed out a couple of times, the Top 10 will be performing on the tour. Cat announced that the dancers are only three weeks away from the performance finale, so it's going to get harder and harder to send dancers home. Do you agree with the judges' final decision this week? Who is your favorite dancer of the Top 10?