BWW Recaps: SYTYCD's Top-10 Perform with All-Stars as Two are Eliminated; Updated with Full Reviews & Pictures!
Well, if you weren't fully invested in Season 11 of "So You Think You Can Dance" yet, tonight is the night to dive-in head first. With the Top-10 being joined by an incredible cast of All-Stars, this week's episode brought about as much excitement as a dance fan can handle. Each dancer was, more or less, paired with an All-Star inside their genre, and nearly all of the 10 couples delivered excellent routines. That being said, a few left me disappointed.
As if the introduction of the All-Stars wasn't enough, this week's guest-judge was Olympic Gold Medalist Tara Lipinski. Anyone who watched the figure skating during this year's Winter Olympics, knows that Tara is an excellent commentator, who has the ability to critique without criticizing. You hear that Misty Copeland?
Finally, we got a performance from an artist who really owes much of her success to SYTYCD. Four years ago, Christina Perri was a struggling waitress, then choreographer Stacey Tookey used her song "Jar of Hearts" as the soundtrack to a Billy Bell and Kathryn McCormick contemporary routine, and she became an over-night success. Now, she is preparing to go on tour with Demi Lovato, and she performed her new single, "Burning Gold."
Below are my thoughts on each performance of the night. I will be updating this with pictures of each routine as soon as Fox makes them available. In the meantime, take a look at my recap, then let me know how terribly wrong, or perfectly correct you think I am, whichever the case my be. You can do so in the comments below, or on Twitter @BWWMatt.
Choreographer: Jamal Sims
Genre: Hip Hop
Song: "Bang Bang" by Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj
Three-Word Review: Funky Neon Cowboys!
In lieu of announcing the dancers in danger at the top of the show, Nigel has decided to fold the announcements into each dancer's critiques. As much as I love this show, it seems that they ALWAYS make the wrong decision when it comes to eliminations. I understand that the judges no longer have a vote in who is eliminated, but there is no need to ruin a performer's moment after a routine by telling them it might be their last on the show. I wish they would have either announced it before any of the numbers started, or they saved it until the end. This just feels like it is deflating some of the show's joy. What say you?
Bridget Whitman and All-Star Brandon Bryant
Status: In the Bottom-Two
Choreographer: Nakul Dev Mahajan
Song: "Disco Khisco (Remix)" from the "Dil Bole Hadippa" Soundtrack
Three-Word Review: Indian Richard Simmons
Wow, Richard Simmons has nothing on these two. As quickly as they bounced from one ridiculous move to another, there is no doubt that Bridget and Brandon were sweating to this Indian take on an Oldie-style. Generally in either Bollywood or Disco routines, the dancers' energy wanes as it gets closer to the end, however, this number seemed to get better as it went on; in fact, there was so much jam-packed into this routine it seemed like it could have ended 20-30 seconds before it actually did, and I would still have thought it ran long. That cartwheel that Bridget did off of Brandon's shoulders straight into the next move was awesome. Even though Bridget is in trouble, after this routine, she deserves to be safe, if she survives until next week...
Pre-Commercial Choreography: I dare you to go to your next costume party as Bollywood Robin Hood and just do the Bollywood Bow and Arrow all night.
Tanisha Belnap and All-Star Ryan Di Lello
Choreographer: Miriam Larici & Leonardo Barrionuevo
Genre: Argentine Tango
Song: "The Gaucho's Pain" by Tango Jointz
Three-Word Review: WWE Quality Moves
I normally don't get worked up by ballroom routines, but this one was exhilarating. There was an incredible amount of trust coming from this pair; not only the trust that Tanisha had to have as Ryan threw her around his body, but the trust that she had in her genre, in her ability, and in each sexy, confident, perfect step. As death-defying as some of these moves were, I never feared for Tanisha moves, even though some of them would probably make even the most veteran WWE wrestler nervous. Tanisha has quickly risen from darkhorse to frontrunner.
Emilio Dosal and All-Star Jasmine Harper
Status: In the Bottom-Two
Choreographers: Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo
Genre: Hip Hop
Song: "Get Low" by Dillon Francis and DJ Snake
Three-Word Review: Buck King Tut
I will just start by saying, if I ever encounter a snake as gorgeous as Jasmine, I might just have to let her bite me! Now, onto Emilio, he looked as strong and professional as any guy has this season (other than Ricky). He jumped from Hip Hop style to Hip Hop style without ever seeming to miss a beat, literally or figuratively. Both he and Jasmine never left the pocket of the dance, and seemed to be experts in everything that Nappy Tabs threw at them. My only complaint about the number is that in an Egyptian-themed routine, I wish they would have done just a little bit more Tutting; those lightning-quick, intricate hand movements were insanely sick (that means "good," right?).
Valerie Rockey and All-Star Ade Obayomi
Choreographer: Broadway vet Tyce Diorio
Song: "Hearts a Mess" by Gotye
Three-Word Review: Fosse-esq Body Contortions
I wonder if people realize how out of the norm it is for Valerie, a tap-dancer, to pull off those really unique body contortions in Tyce's jazz routine. I was completely mesmerized by her work on this routine, and I don't understand the judges' critiques. Some of the angles and stage pictures that Valerie and Ade made were really cool, and despite not having any jazz hands, had a certain Fosse-vibe. That move where Ade had Valerie extended over, and behind, his head and her legs were running in the air was a great visual. I suppose it's ok to not agree with the judges, but on a night where, thus far, they have only given positive feedback, I would hate for the judges' wonky feedback to derail Valerie's success.
Rudy Abreu and All-Star Jenna Johnson
Choreographer: Louis Van Amstel
Song: "Maps" by Maroon 5
Three-Word Review: Technically No Chemistry
For me, the intro package telegraphed the issue with this routine. Both Jenna and Rudy danced incredibly, but despite the warnings, I didn't see any passion coming from Rudy. Perhaps he spent it all on Jacque, but I didn't see any sparks for him, even though Jenna was generating plenty on her own. It was an impressively technical routine, but that's all it was for me; technical. At this point, that's not enough from Rudy, especially when I think the pair botched the ending. Clearly the judges love him, as they should, he seems like a fun guy, but like Fik-shun, I feel like he is succeeding far more on personality than skill.
Jacque LaWarne and All-Star Chehon Wespi-Tschopp
Status: In the Bottom-Two
Choreographer: Broadway vet Travis Wall
Genre: Contemporary Ballet Duet
Song: "Adagio for TRON" by Daft Punk
Three-Word Review: Don't Get It