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.

Top-14 Performance
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
Genre: Bollywood-Disco
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
Status: Safe
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
Status: Safe
Choreographer: Broadway vet Tyce Diorio
Genre: Jazz
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
Status: Safe
Choreographer: Louis Van Amstel
Genre: Cha-Cha
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

Maybe my TV isn't as good as it should be, but I had a tough time seeing half of the routine, because the stage was so dark. I am all for risky, innovative performances. Often, that is my favorite type of theatre, even when it crashes and burns, however, this routine did little for me. The technique might have been en pointe (see what I did there?), but the fact that there was no story to the piece (which Travis admitted) seemed to rob it of any emotional weight. It was two pretty dancers doing pretty things, but it didn't have the heart, or the flair to make it memorable for me.

Product Placement Alert: I am all for Degree and "The Giver" getting some extra love on the show, if that means Fox can make a little extra money on SYTYCD. Every little bit helps for a low-rated show struggling for renewal.

Ricky Ubeda and All-Star Lauren Froderman
Status: Safe
Choreographer: Mandy Moore
Genre: Jazz
Song: "Bossa Nova Baby (Viva Remix)" by Elvis Pressley
Three-Word Review: Turkey Lurkey Time?

Maybe it was Lauren's costume, or maybe it was Mandy Moore's staccato choreography, but this number reminded me of the bizarre "Turkey Lurkey Time" routine from Rob Ashford's "Promises Promises." Yes, they are both great dancers. Yes, Ricky is definitely the frontrunner, but this routine was just slightly off-putting. For some reason Ricky's flailing arms and odd facials made me uncomfortable. That being typed, the ending floor work was phenomenal, and easily the coolest choreography of the night. With the Bollywood-Disco and Ballet-Contemporary risks taken tonight, how long until we get an entire floor-dancing routine?

Casey Askew and All-Star Kathryn McCormick
Status: Safe
Choreographer: Broadway vet Spencer Liff
Genre: Broadway
Song: "Maybe This Time" by Liza (don't even dare asking me, "Liza who?")
Three-Word Review: Broadway Quality Dancing

Cat couldn't be more right, there is no way that any man would EVER walk away from Kathryn like Casey did at the end of this routine. Now, I've said before that a traditional Broadway number is tough on this show. It is hard for that style, which is far more about show than either the emotion of Contemporary, or the flair of Hip Hop routines; however, this felt like the first duet worthy of the Broadway genre this season. It had the glorious old-school class of Broadway's Golden Age, and it had the innovative moves of more recent works. I have thought Casey would be a contender from the get-go, and he is picking the right time to come into his own. After a performance like this, maybe Spencer will find a spot for Casey in the next Broadway show he works on.

Jessica Richens and All-Star Stephen "tWitch" Boss
Status: Safe
Choreographers: Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo
Genre: Hip Hop
Song: "U Got Me Up (Underground Goodie Mix '93)" by Cajmere featuring Dajae
Three-Word Review: DJ Jazzy Jess

I know that this was technically a NappyTabs Hip Hop routine, but whether it was the music, Jessica's costume, or some of the more technical moves, it had a very jazzy feel. This blended style really fit Jessica well, as she was completely in step with tWitch throughout. She might not have had as much character as her partner, but she matched him step-for-step. This was the most fun routine of the night, and it made Jessica believable as a Hip Hop dancer, albeit a jazzy one. Despite having to dance for her life during the Callback Week, she is proving that she just might deserve a spot in the finale.

Zack Everhart and All-Star Amy Yakima
Status: In the Bottom-Two
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Genre: Contemporary
Song: "Europe, After the Rain" by Max Richter
Three-Word Review: Blame it on the Rain (sorry, it's more than three words, but it is too good to pass up, and it's my recap, so get over it!)

Ok, dancers out there, tell me, how hard is it to dance to nothing but the sound of rain? I mean, I know that you are counting the entire time, but to dance without the support of the music has to be daunting, especially in a routine that relies so heavily on not being overcome by your emotions and rushing the beat.

There is a certain part of me that is hot-wired to love everything that Sonya does. She routinely creates some of the most innovative and evocative pieces of art that you are likely to ever see on television; but this one just didn't hit me. I could tell that it was extremely emotional for Sonya, but I got zero emotional connection from Zack. I have seen him in a number of musicals at the Atlanta Lyric Theatre, so I know he has more than just a passing experience in acting, but that isn't where tappers live. They live in their personality and their technique. His technique here was fine, I just didn't see much beyond that.

Christina Perri Performance
Song: "Burning Gold"
Song Three-Word Review: A Bit Pitchy
Dance Three-Word Review: Appropriate Kathryn Casting

How appropriate is it that Kathryn was one of the All-Stars dancing to Christina's performance tonight? You have to wonder if "Jar of Hearts" would have blown up like it did, had Stacey's choreography been performed by a dancer who wasn't as captivating as Kathryn was, and still is.

Christina seemed to be singing live, which I applaud her for, but as "American Idol's" DawgFather Randy Jackson would say, she seemed a little "pitchy."

Eliminated This Week
Bridget Whitman
Emilio Dosal

Should be In Danger
No one... the correct answer is no one deserves to be in danger this week. This was one of the most consistently impressive evenings of TV I've watched in a long time. Whether it was that we were down to the 10 best dancers, or the infusion of the All-Stars, this was one of the strongest SYTYCDs in a while. However, if I have to pick four to be in danger, based on their full bodies of work, I will reluctantly say:

Rudy Abreu
Zack Everhart

Jacque LeWarne
Valerie Rockey (this one really, really hurts me)

Should be Eliminated
Zack Everhart
Jacque LeWarne

Best of the Night (one male and one female competitor routine)
Casey Askew and All-Star Kathryn McCormick
Jessica Richens and All-Star Stephen "tWitch" Boss

Next Week's All-Star Pairings
They only gave first names, so if I picked the wrong last name for someone, I will fix it as soon as I confirm who everybody is!

Jessica Richens and All-Star Will Wingfield
Valerie Rockey and All-Star Ryan Di Lello
Tanisha Belnap and All-Star Nick Lazzarini
Casey Askew and All-Star Comfort Fedoke
Ricky Ubeda and All-Star Jaimie Goodwin
Jacque LaWarne and All-Star Stephen "tWitch" Boss
Rudy Abreu and All-Star Allison Holker

Zack Everhart and All-Star Makenzie Dustman

Ok, what did you think of tonight's eliminations? What was your favorite number? Which All-stars are you most excited about for next week? Let me know what you think in the comments below, or on Twitter @BWWMatt.

Photo Credit: Adam Rose | FOX

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From This Author Matt Tamanini