'So You Think You Can Dance' Recap - Top 8 Perform

By Noah Golden,

Michael Jackson songs. All-stars. Top 8. Let’s go!

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.
Solos:

Tanisha - * * * ½
While her solo seemed to be filled with movement rather than actual dance steps, Tanisha’s solo was fierce nonetheless.

Zack - * * * * ½
While Zack occasionally falters when switching genres, in his own he is a force to be reckoned with. This was a contemporary take on an old genre and just kicked ass.

Casey - * * * * ½
You know a solo’s good when you don’t want it to end. I didn’t want this to end.

Casey - * * * *
Who knew Rudy had such a strong, animalistic, dark routine inside of him? Nice going, Casey.

Jaque - * * * * ½
What makes Jacque’s genre so difficult to judge is that she looks so effortless and easy, almost as if she was underwater, yet the graceful moves only come from years and years of technical training. Simple and gorgeous and gorgeously simple.

Jessica - * * * *
While some of her moves seemed somewhat generic, Jessica just lights up the stage.

Valerie - * * * *
Valerie’s plastered on, pageant smile made me uneasy but her footwork was mighty fancy. Mighty fancy.

Ricky - * * * * ½
Ricky is a master at solos. This didn’t disappoint. It was athletic, emotional and just beautiful to watch.

Duets:

Ricky & Jaimie, Contemporary – * * * ½
Because Ricky is a front-runner in this competition and because he was dancing in his own style, I had very, very high hopes for this routine. It was good. But it wasn’t amazing in the way I hoped it would be. Yes, Ricky’s performance and technique were beyond reproach. But I had hoped that the choreography would grab me just a bit more. Perhaps it was that I never felt Travis Wall’s choreo fully jelled with the slow MJ track or that I never really felt that spark between Ricky and Jaimie (who, I must admit, I can’t really remember from her own tenure on the show). Not a failure by any means but I have super high hopes for Ricky and this just didn’t quite work.

Valerie & Ryan, Samba – * * * *
Valerie is a star. There’s no doubt about it. She has tons of charisma and is a vivacious, gifted dancer to boot. While tonight there were times when her moves seemed more stilted than Ryan’s, I really don’t care. This was a fun, sexy samba and that’s all I’m gonna remember.

Casey & Comfort, Hip-Hop – * * * *
I was worried about this one. Comfort is not my favorite all-star and I doubt that Casey was comfortable (if you ignore the pun) with the genre. But they did a surprisingly good job overall. Yes, I wanted Casey to be more grounded and, no, I still don’t buy him as a hard-hitting, hip-hop badass, but Casey never felt uncomfortable (sorry) and all those crazy difficult lifts and tricks went off without a hitch. He’s just getting better every week.

Tanisha & Nick, Contemporary – * * * * ½
What a stunning routine! Great concept (and great moves by Stacy Tookey), phenomenal, gliding technique and honest emotionally. Loved it. Side note: As a non-dancer, I’m always curious if doing a routine to such a slow song with no discernable rhythm is as difficult as it looks.

Rudy & Allison, Contemporary – * * * * ½
Pairing Rudy and Allison was a risky move. Rudy can sometimes come off as immature and a bit too fresh-faced while Allison is one of SYTYCD’s most mature dancers. There is maturity to her impeccable dancing and maturity in the smoky, raw sensuality she brings to the dance floor. While the term all-star might be thrown around a lot on Dance, Allison truly is one. The good news is that Rudy climbed up to her level and (barely) equaled her. It was a steamy routine very well acted and performed.

Zack & Makenzie, Broadway – * * * ½
Perhaps on a different night I would have loved this Broadway routine. But in a great show filled with great dances, this one just felt breezy and forgettable. This was community theater when it should have been Broadway. Not bad at all just…bland.

Jacque & tWitch, Hip-Hop – * * *
Pure and simple, Jacque was out-danced by her all-star. To be honest, it’s hard to not be out-danced by tWitch. I wanted her to bring out “Street Jacque, funky Jacque” (as tWitch put it) a bit more, hit harder and do those isolations a lot better. Was it a lot better than you’d think a ballerina doing hip-hop would be? Absolutely. Was it a routine I’ll remember next week, though? Probably not.

Jessica & Will, Contemporary – * * * * ½
During her solo, I wrote that Jessica lit up the room. The same thing happened in her exquisite Mandy Moore duet. But it wasn’t her stage presence that made this the best routine of the night; it was the athleticism, strength and passion in her routine and fantastic connection with Will. Jessica might be a dark horse this season.

Bottom Four:
Casey, Rudy, Tanisha & Jacque

Who Should Have Gone Home (out of the bottom four):
(This is a hard one but) Rudy & Jacque

Who Actually Went Home:
Rudy & Tanisha

image for thumbnail courtesy of ©2014 FOX Broadcasting Co. Cr: Adam Rose

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