This is a very interesting week for So You Think You Can Dance as this week the contestants dance with all-stars instead of each other. This can tricky transition for many reasons, the simplest of which is that they’ve formed a bond with their partner in the last five weeks. Now they’re forced to start anew and form new chemistry with a different partner each week. But it can also be tricky since so many of the all-stars are just incredible. On their own, the contestants this year are great but will they stack up next to tWitch or Allison or Jenna? I’m not sure. But let’s see.
Note: I watched this week’s episode live on Wednesday but due to being on vacation and having a very bad internet connection, this recap could not be published in a timely fashion.
Like last week, I will write a recap of each dance and give it a rating of zero to five stars. Feel free to comment below with your favorite/least favorite routine of the night.
Bridget & Brandon, Bollywood/Disco – * * * *
What a fun, way to start the show (well the Technicolor cowboy routine technically started the show, but never mind)! Bridget and Brandon strutted their stuff in this really fun East Meets West combo plate of a routine. But while both performed it really well and got into the character of the dance, I couldn’t help but notice a few technical snafus that lowered their score a bit. But, all in all, a fun (and very difficult) routine executed well.
Tanisha & Ryan, Argentine Tango – * * * * *
With limbs flying all akimbo, Tanisha perfectly executed the very difficult Argentine Tango with (what looked like) ease. With impeccable technique and a fierce, sexy attitude, she tamed one of SYTYCD’s genre beasts. In writing these reviews, I often contemplate when or if I should give out a five star rating, but I see absolutely nothing to criticize or comment on here. So welcome to the five star club, Tanisha!
Emilio & Jasmine, Hip-Hop – * * * * ½
First off, it’s so good to see Jasmine back on the SYTYCD stage. And the judges are right; she certainly brought out Emilio’s best performance by a country mile. In his own style (and with the phenomenal Jasmine helping him out), Emilio’s snake charmer routine was fun, hard-hitting and very well performed. Was it my favorite NappyTabs number? No, but I’m certainly happy to have one of the show’s best back on the choreography team.
Valerie & Ade, Jazz – * * * ½
Something about this Tyce Diorio’s jazz number just didn’t gel. While the judges blamed most of it on Valerie, who they all found to be too soft and gentle for this sizzling, angry number, I’m not too sure. I mean, sure, Valerie could have been a little more in-character and hit a little harder, but it was the choreography that was this routine’s biggest failure. It just felt too safe and dull, the kind of paint-by-numbers jazz routine Tyce could choreograph in his sleep. The lifts where cool, but when Valerie and Ade got to the ground, things just became predictable and uninspired.
Rudy & Jenna, Cha-Cha – * * * *
It’s really a blessing and a curse to be paired with Jenna, one of Dance’s most beautiful and captivating dancers. Yes, the pair sizzled in this cha-cha but I couldn’t help but spend most of it focusing on Jenna. While Rudy did a nice job, he couldn’t quite reach her level of performance or technique.
Jacque & Chehon, Contemporary Ballet – * * * * *
I rarely base my ratings on the production value and usually just stick to the dancers and choreography. But what made this routine special (besides Travis Wall’s gorgeous, ethereal choreography and the duo’s flawless technique) was the way it was presented. Sparsely lit with some beautiful shadows, the dancers almost bled into the bleak tableau of the stage. Plus, (and this is where I have to assume Dance’s director reads my recaps) it was filmed brilliantly in just one shot. No spinning camera, no quick jump cuts. Thank the Lord. Moody and elegant, although wonderfully simple, this is one of my favorite routines this season.
Ricky & Lauren, Jazz – * * * * ½
The pairing of Ricky and SYTYCD champ Lauren is inspired. Both are incredibly likeable and proficient dancers. I wasn’t a huge fan of this routine itself (something about Mandy Moore’s moves just didn’t do it for me…well, except for that terrific roll at the end) but it really doesn’t matter. Lauren’s an all-star. Ricky’s an all-star in the making.
Casey & Kathryn, Broadway – * * * *
Would it be lazy to cut and paste what I said about Rudy and Jenna? Casey is getting better and better every week. He is maturing before our eyes and, yes, really becoming one of this season’s best male dancers. But that prospect is dwarfed when he’s put next to Kathryn, a sensual powerhouse who inadvertently steals focus from whomever is unfortunate (or perhaps fortunate) enough to dance beside her. Besides, I also found Spencer Liff’s choreography just a touch sleepy, which didn’t really help matters. Not a bad routine at all, but not one of my favorites tonight.
Jessica & tWitch, Hip-Hop – * * * * *
It must be intimidating to do a funky hip-hop routine with SYTYCD funk master tWitch. But while Casey and Rudy shrunk next to their all-star partners, Jessica flourished. Under tWitch’s (and NappyTab’s) tutelage, Jessica brought out her inner club girl and slayed this hip-hop number. Technically challenging but filled with moments of great physical comedy, this is a routine I’ll remember at the finale.
Zack & Amy, Contemporary – * * * * *
In the pre-dance package, Amy hoped this would be “Zack’s wow moment.” Well, Amy, you have nothing to worry about. This was a breathtaking, stunning, emotionally honest and incredibly well danced routine. Bravo to Sonya Tayah for the brave and exquisite choreography and bravo to Zack and last year’s champion Amy on a brilliant job. Wow, it’s been a good night of SYTYCD!
Bridget, Jacque, Emilio & Zack
Who Should Have Gone Home (out of the bottom four):
Emilio & Bridget
Who Actually Went Home:
Emilio & Bridget