So You Think You Can Dance Recap: The Competition Begins!

Lithe young bodies take flight with the power and grace of Pegasus. A hyperactive woman sits behind a rectangular table and squeals with delight. A British fashionista dazzles in a shimmering black minidress and silver stilettos from hell. And I’m awkwardly typing phone numbers containing the word “TEMPO” into my cellular keypad. It can only mean one thing: The live rounds of So You Think You Can Dance, Season 8, are upon us. And based on Tuesday night’s mostly first-rate performances, I’d say we’re in for a heckuva thrilling summer. Ask 10 different folks who’s the competition’s current front-runner, and you’re likely to get 10 different answers. Let’s review the action — in chronological order.

Jordan Casanova and Tadd Gadduang (Afro Jazz: Sean Cheesman)
Talk about a way to kick off the voting portion of the season! Jordan and Tadd had me transfixed right from the freaky, intertwining pose that began the routine down to the final, primal stomps. Their hair tinged with red, their bodies painted to look as if they were taking part in some kind of spirit-conjuring ceremony, Jordan and Tadd danced with an abandon that’s unusual for the SYTYCD stage, but never at the expense of the choreography. Best of all was that move where Tadd held Jordan in the vertical, upside-down position, off the ground, and flipped her left to right as she used his thigh for support. Bonus points for Tadd’s fleet “crab-walk” over the top of his partner. I went in to the night thinking Wadi was the strongest of the Season 8 B-Boys, but I’m starting to think the title should actually go to Tadd.

Sasha Mallory and Alexander Fost (Contemporary: Travis Wall)
Despite the judges’ lavish praise, I’ve got to admit I wasn’t completely enamored of Travis’ piece about a man whose conscience comes back to tear him to shreds. That said, Sasha more than earned the “beast” title bestowed upon her by Nigel. The woman has so much raw power — who else gasped at her daring, unbridled leap into Alexander’s arms? — and such undeniable command of the stage, she might as well have been dancing solo. Alexander’s final move — a brutal and thrilling hurtle to the ground — was impressive, but without Sasha’s fan base he’d be dancing for his life on Thursday’s result-show telecast.

Clarice Ordaz and Jess LeProtto (Broadway: Tyce Diorio)
I got a lot of grief in the comments last week for placing Jess at No. 7 on my Season 8 rankings, but I’m almost thinking I didn’t rank the kid high enough after witnessing how he used his dazzling pirouettes and terrific theatricality to upgrade Tyce’s so-so routine to Liza Minnelli’s “Me and My Baby.” Dude’s pirouettes are so fast and varied and effortless, he looks like he’s doing ’em on ice. Clarice, for her part, provided very pretty backing support, but Nigel is right: She can’t afford to give a single dance — or a single move — away, if she wants to go far in an ultra-tight pack.

Ryan Ramirez and Ricky Jaime (Lyrical Hip-Hop: Christopher Scott)
Add me to the tally of people completely flummoxed by Ryan’s glazed smile during a routine about a guy clinging to the memories of his lost lover. Maybe girlfriend had a point that her character was buoyed by memories of happier times, but the particular smile she chose was a little too Stepford Wives, no? And while the duo are certainly capable of creating beautiful pictures with their bodies, I don’t think they were helped by Ryan’s distracting green dress or Ricky’s drab street clothes, either. If the average viewer felt as disconnected from the routine as me, Ryan and Rickey could be in jeopardy this week.

Caitlynn Lawson and Mitchell Kelly Robert Roldan (Jazz: Sonya Tayeh)
My heart really broke for Mitchell, whose elbow injury left him on the sidelines — and sent him directly to the Bottom 3 guys — during the first week of voting. As for his partner, well, let’s just say that even if Nigel’s “10s across the board!” critique was a wee bit overenthusiastic, it’s not as if Caitlyn wasn’t absolutely fabulous. I especially liked how she didn’t leave even the slightest trace of her “perky princess” persona in the almost savage Sonya Tayeh routine (performed with world’s hottest substitute, Robert). I loved that move where the duo grabbed each other’s legs and “placed” them in position on the floor — as if relying on the other partner’s strength to overcome the laws of gravity (and perhaps the obstacles of daily life).

Miranda Maleski and Robert Taylor Jr (Latin/Jive, Jason Gilkison)
On a night where Nigel drove home the “beastliness” of the Season 8 ladies, Miranda could be at risk on account of her own insecurities about being sexy, and a routine that fell more on the side of goofy than powerful. Not that she didn’t pull off the zippy footwork or the flirty energy of Mr. Gilkison’s routine, but I can’t really see her lasting over Sasha or Missy or Caitlyn or Melanie or Iveta or Jordan, can you? Robert, on the other hand, was less technically adept (thank you, Nigel, for pointing out Robert’s failure to point his toes) but if he lands in the bottom, he might skate through on the basis of having “possibly the biggest personality” in the Top 20. Personally, I find his “Urkel Suavé” routine more hammy than hilarious, but at this stage of the competition, that beats being forgettable.

Missy Morelli and Wadi Jones (Jazz: Sean Cheesman)
I can’t say the “sexy demons emerge from Pandora’s box” routine was the cleanest of the night, but it was certainly among the most compelling. Missy and Wadi’s individual moves were so raw and passionate, I found myself in a fierce internal debate over which one to watch whenever they separated. Wadi couldn’t have been more virile or dangerous — no small accomplishment, considering he was wearing a red and black rubber shrug) — and Missy displayed a thrilling fearlessness, particularly in that segment where Wadi was flinging her around while clutching only her hand and foot. J-apostrophe-adore! (Side note: Of all the slo-mo “dancer’s introduction” segments, I have to rank Wadi’s ridiculous flip at No. 1.)

Melanie Moore and Marko Germar (Contemporary: Travis Wall)
Was Mary’s “Oh em gee a moment like this only comes once or twice a season” critique a little 1-800-Sister-Please? Yeah, sure. But that doesn’t mean Melanie and Marko’s number about a love affair between a couple of statues wasn’t the best of the night. There was something quietly, achingly beautiful about the way Melanie and Marko brought their characters to life — the way they used every single bar of music to convey their longing, their love, and their joy at coming together — that made it perfectly understandable why Mary and guest judge Megan Mullally (not too bad, as far as guest judges go) were moved to tears. When the music (Ingrid Michaelson’s “Turn to Stone”) shifted and the duo launched into a series of ecstatic leaps and spins, I was clutching the couch cushions in a state of suspense and anticipation. That’s some good dancing, people!

Ashley Rich and Chris Koehl (Hip-Hop: Chris Scott)
It probably didn’t help that Ashley and Chris had to follow Melanie and Marko, but I thought theirs was far and away the weakest routine of the night. Ashley’s facial expression was almost gleeful, while Chris’ was downright bewildered — despite the fact that they were supposed to be playing lovers who discover each other’s cheating ways. Even more perplexing, though, was the judges’ failure to point out that Ashley’s motions were far too soft and fluid for a convincing hip-hop routine, that Chris seemed to be fade further into the background as the dance went on, and that the duo possessed little to no discernible chemistry. If these kids don’t wind up in the bottom, I’ll swear off gelato this weekend.

Iveta Lukosiute and Nick Young (Quickstep: Jason Gilkison)
Yeah, it’s a little cray-cray that in Week One of competition, our World Champion in Quickstep draws…Quickstep! But a lot of other dancers managed to draw their own styles this week, too. And if Iveta and Nick had drawn, say, hip-hop, we’d have been robbed of the evening’s most riveting display of footwork, and possibly denied seeing Nick’s emergence as a major Season 8 threat. Honestly, there wasn’t a moment of the dance — set to Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz,” which I may have to download and add to my Calorie Burner playlist — where Iveta and Nick’s feet seemed to touch the ground. Their posture was impeccable. Their joy was palpable. And they infused the whole number with a gleeful rock-and-roll attitude. This one ranks right behind Melanie and Marko, and just ahead of Jordan and Tadd, as my second-favorite of the night.

What did you think of Week One of the Season 8 performances? What was your favorite routine? How about your least favorite? Who did you vote for? And who is most likely to go home? Sound off below, and for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. James says:

    Does anyone watch this show?

  2. Debby says:

    Love the recap but I have a question. I thought the bottom 3 COUPLES would be in danger tonight (possibly adding the 7th due to Mitchell being automatically added). Then 1 guy and 1 girl will be eliminated by the judges.

  3. Cassandra says:

    Ashley and chris will be in the bottom 3, I was expecting it to take off but by the time it was lackluster the entire routine. Melanie has always been my favorite but we didn’t see much of her in Vegas and we had an overload of sasha. (I do like sasha but I’ve seen nothing but her these past episodes) Melanie is an excellent dancer, likable, and she connects well.

    • cassandra says:

      I meant *I was expecting it to take off but the entire routine was lackluster

    • elr says:

      I don’t get all the Sasha love. I mean she can dance, but I find nothing “WOW” about her. I may change my mind after I see her perform something other than contemporary. I loved Melanie and Marko in the statue routine. Do you think they didn’t show to much of Melanie during Vegas week on purpose?

  4. Genie says:

    Slezak, I can’t believe you didn’t call out Tyce on not giving Clarice anything to do in her dance with Jess!!! How can anyone critique the girl when she was basically Vanna white to Jess’s letters, look at Jess do this, and this etc etc. It was so blatant, when none of the Judges noted it, I hoped you would.

    • FoxLondon says:

      Genie, I love you! Was thinking the EXACT same thing! Michael, you should have caught that. Rewind!

    • GiggleBox says:

      Thank you Genie for pointing that out! While Jess was doing those 8 pirouettes, her choreography was bow(!)-step-step. Their side by side split jumps were perfection. She should have been given credit for what she was given to dance.

      • djm says:

        I thought Clarice was boring, appeared to be moving slow, and was completely forgettable. And I HATE her partner. Sorry, after all that hammy/cheesy dude from last season (hello Kent, I am talking about you), I just have no patience for his schtick. I also HATE Robert Taylor for the same reason – sorry, Twitch already did the lens-less geek thing – and 1,000,000 times better than you. Give it and your “Woooo” a rest already.

        • Wendeeloo says:

          The “hammy-cheesy dude” is one of the best dancers this seasons. He can learn not to be so hammy. He’s not going to be anything less than spectacular as a dancer. It’s a dance show.

          • ladyhelix says:

            But it’s America’s “favorite” dancer… and America WILL walk away from an annoying personality – regardless of talent.

      • Stafford says:

        I also thought Clarice was hampered by being barefoot…I mean come on…I think shoes would have given her some depth but as it was, she was so totally an afterthought as Tyce salivated over Jess and ignore her.

    • kyrjar says:

      At first I thought Tyce actually managed to decently choreograph something and then I realized it was Jess elevating the choreography. Jess was one of the few that stood out in his own choreography. Iveta was great but so effortless that I was transfixed by Nick, who appeared nearly perfect in form and matching Iveta’s steps and even the exact height of the footwork. Melanie and Marko have stood out for me from day one as well as stars.

      • kate says:

        Jess made that piece much better than it actually was – not the best choreo, but that boy can fly!

        • Daniel says:

          Couldn’t agree more. Yay for Jess! Jersey boys represent. He’s got pirouettes for miles.

          I also completely agree with Slezak’s entire analysis, except that I’m not sure whether Melanie & Marko or Iveta & Nick was my favorite. But I’m a ballroom dancer, so perhaps I’m a bit biased …

    • Delon says:

      I thought Tyce’s routine was by far the weakest, and Ashley&Chris danced the weakest. My favorite was Iveta&Nick. Finally, i’ve seen Quickstep done perfect on SYTYCD. That was great!

    • KevyB says:

      EXACTLY, and their chemistry was way off. I think they could be Bottom Three because I don’t think there are a lot of Jess fans out there.

      I also need to complain about NOBODY pointing out how bad Wadi’s transitions were. It was like, great move, stumble stumble, great move, stumble stumble. They even called him on his great partnering, when that was the worst part of their routine! I think Wadi garnered enough fans during the audition process to keep him safe this week, but if he keeps fumbling his transitions, people are going to notice.

    • Mary says:

      After that dance I turned to my hubby and said that Tyce was at fault for not giving her more to do. I still love Tyce but I agree with your comment!

  5. Jemmy says:

    I think dancers are sent to the bottom 3 by couple aren’t they? And then the individuals dance for their life. Or am I remembering it wrong

  6. Lucy says:

    I know I do! Probably the only tv show where the stars (most of them, anyway) are really talented. lol

    Either way, love me some Ivetta. She’s the reason I’m watching this year.

  7. Christina says:

    Bottom 3 prediction:


    With Chris/Ashley going home

    • Jazzabelle508 says:

      I think that the bottom people are going to be 3 couples and mitchell was just automatically added making it 3 girls and 4 guys unless caitlin ends up their 2 then it will be three couples like usual. I know it is really confusing. As for who I think will be in the bottom (other than mitchell) are going to be Miranda/Robert, Ashley/Chris with the third couple being either Jordan and Tadd or Ryan and Rickey. I wish the third couple would be that jess guy and his partner just because i think he is coming off a little 2 intense with the annoying quirks in his personality. I know that sounds really harsh and I usually am not this harsh with a particular contestant

    • kyrjar says:

      I agree with this list, except Miranda will be there only if Robert Jr. is as well. Those were the 3 noticeably weakest performances.

      I totally disagree with Slezak on one point. Jordan was not good in that routine. Tadd was great but that is her style generally (Jazz) and she put energy in the routine but was unpolished and wobbly.

    • djm says:

      I hope the bottom 3 couples are:

      Miranda & Robert
      Ashley & Chris
      Iveta & Nick

      I hope that Iveta and Robert go home – sorry, but he;s SUPER annoying and Iveta looks like she’s 50 if she’s a day. Sorry granny, I know you’ve won a ton of awards but let’s leave this season to the youngsters. I know Iveta & Nick will probably be safe (based on him, not her) so in that case I hope it’s Clarice & Jess with Clarice & Robert going home.

      • Lana says:

        I don’t know where this granny thing came from, obviously djm you are about 6 yrs old. Iveta and Nick were fantastic with Iveta looking like it was as easy as walking in the park, now that is when you know you are watching a pro.

  8. MA says:

    If Melanie doesn’t win this whole thing (which I’ve been rooting for since her audition!), I’ll really be shocked. I mean…she’s in a league all her own, with Marko coming in a very, very close second. It borders on unfair to everyone else to even have her there.

    Agree that Ashley and Chris were the weakest, though I found Ashley so sweet and charming that I’d hate to see her go. If I could have my way, Jess and Clarice, Miranda, or Missy would go tonight. But I suspect I won’t have my way.

    • Mariana says:

      I agree she’s the favorite now, but so often the favorite gets overtaken at the end by someone who wasn’t perfect on day 1 but improved so dramatically (see Sasha, Joshua, Jeanine, Lauren). I guess I like the underdog, because my favorite right now is Nick.

      • MA says:

        I hear you, and usually am totally seeking out the underdog too. But Melanie is just so spectacular. There’s something so fluid and unique about her movement. Granted, we haven’t seen her do anything else, but I have a feeling that she’s going to be great at all the styles because she has such physical and emotional control of her body. A dancer friend told me once that a really good dancer should be able to pick up any style and do it well, save maybe something that requires a lot of acrobatics, because all dance is about character, emotion, and body control. So Melanie will have to show her chops, but boy…she’s my horse in this race for sure. Plus, I love that she goes to college and is such a fantastic painter. I feel like she’s one of those people who just oozes “artist,” in all its forms. Like…I bet she could pick up an instrument too, if she doesn’t play something already.

    • dona says:

      i agree. it’s not only her impaccable posture and extentions but the way she brings depth and maturity beyond her years to her dance. i actually Feel sth each time i see her dance. curious to see her art!

    • Gabe says:

      I agree with all of your opinions except for Missy. Her personality is really blah, but I think she really worked and owned that jazz routine.. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.

  9. AtoZ says:

    Michael, I don’t see how you can pick the bottom 3 for men and women separately, seeing as how the voting is for COUPLES! If Ryan is bottom 3, then so would Ricky be in the bottom 3… If Miranda is bottom 3, then so is Robert…so your predictions make no sense…

  10. Stanislava says:

    Michael,when is Haley’s interview coming?Pleaseeeeeeeeee upload it soon,I honestly can’t wait any longer…………. :)

  11. Evan says:

    Does it drive anyone else crazy that everything that Travis choreographs has to have some gimmicky story? I’d challenge him to choreograph just one routine without adding a story to it; it would force him to make his choreography compelling enough on its own, without telling us what it’s all about and how we should feel.

    • tjj50 says:

      Can you name one routine last night that didn’t have a story to it? Most of the time the choreographers have add a story background to the piece so I’m not sure why you’re picking on Travis. But regardless, that piece was dance beautifully by Melanie and Marko, story or no story.

    • Danielle says:

      I agree, to a point, but I have to point out that Travis is not alone in this. So many of the routines have elaborate plots that have to be explained beforehand.

    • David says:

      Not me. The one dance last night without a story, or at least a theme, was Tyce’s Broadway number, which was by far the weakest choreography of the night in my opinion. I think a story adds, not subtracts or distracts.

    • dona says:

      dont mind the story but the fact that although he is wonderful all his dances look the same. the same moves and transitions keep repeating themselves.

      • luke says:

        I was thinking the opposite – that Travis always manages to not repeat himself. As much as I love Sonya T.’s work – she’s the one who repeats moves a lot. But she is still wonderful.

  12. denial1 says:

    Yes it is a bottom 3 couples not singles. And I felt for Ashley she was never seen during auditions and she got horrible choreography and those two are a kiss of death.

  13. 4F says:

    Iveta and Nick were my favorite performance.

    “I’ve got to admit I wasn’t completely enamored of Travis’ piece about a man whose conscience comes back to tear him to shreds”

    Ditto. I found it melodramatic/over-emotive so even though the dancing might have been technically good/correct, the choreography was not enjoyable.

  14. Sandi says:

    I was very impressed with almost all of the performances last night. Truly, I think Jess is a little dynamo and I expect/hope him to go a long way. I can never completely gauge my enthusiasum for a performance on the dancer’s skill or the style and choregraphy of the piece but my picks for the bottom 3 are:

    Ashley & Chris – very forgetable
    Miranda & Robert – borderline annoying and I didn’t get ANY latin vibe at all
    Mitchell & Caitlynn – Can HE be the bottom but not HER? Nigel already said that the fact that he was injured and didn’t perform automatically lands him “in danger” of elimination. Plus his repeated reference to his delight that he has a good-looking partner as opposed to the horror of a bad-looking partner already has me wanting him gone. I thought she was great, though.

  15. K2 says:

    Mike, just curious, do you ever look at the reviews at your erstwhile employer? Because their review is almost completely different than yours. FWIW, I agree with almost everything you wrote, with ABV not so much…

  16. Jen says:

    I don’t understand why everyone hates Jordan and Ryan so much–they’re probably my favorite girls at this point, even though I hated Ryan last season.

  17. C says:

    I have to disagree about Jordan and tadds routine. While I thought Jordan was really good, I thought tadd lacked the technical skill. His arms weren’t always placed correctly and I just really think that Jordan out danced him.

  18. beth t says:

    I’m wondering…

    Unless Caitlynnn’s routine actually DOES end up as one of the three lowest vote getters (which I doubt), I’m wondering if they will only do two couples plus Mitchell? Otherwise – how could it possibly be fair to Caitlynn that she ends up in the bottom 3 girls because her partner couldn’t dance? I suppose they could do the bottom 3 couples plus Mitchell – but that would make for an extended show due to having to put in an extra solo performance.

    I did love Travis’ statues routine w/Mel and Marko, but I put Jason’s Quickstep with Nick and Iveta right up there with it in a tie! Can’t really compare the dances because the styles are so different – but the choreo for each was top notch and the dancers in each were top notch!

    I am so happy to see Nick paired with Iveta and off to a good start -he was the delightful surprise of the Top 20 for me. I loved his “intro” dance with Jess. I don’t think he was seen at all before then – it was the first mention I can remember of a tapper at all – let alone making it to Vegas or beyond.

    Nick truly looked elegant in his dance with Iveta (and she was absolutely striking!) I was glad, though, when Nigel finally pointed out that being a tapper, quick steps probably weren’t actually all that foreign to him. :D

  19. Jim says:

    I don’t believe for a minute that the dances were drawn out of a hat. (Unless they were drawn out of a hat that ONLY HAD ONE DANCE IN IT.) Too many dancers were relatively close to their styles. And it wouldn’t have occurred to me if Uncle Nigel hadn’t mentioned it late in the show. Better to have kept his mouth shut about it. As a side note, rather than the “OMG it’s a hip-hopper doing [contemporary/jazz/quickstep]!!!”, I’d rather they just own up to the fact that kids are now taking classes before auditioning. I really wouldn’t mind hearing (street/other) dancers say “I wanted this so bad that I started taking classes to make me a better dancer – and this is what I learned.”

    • tz says:

      Yes! Here’s what I noticed: they didn’t actually show anyone drawing out of a hat. All the girls had their styles in their hands in the shots where the boys are sneaking up behind them, and then they opened them together. Slezak, for all your thoughtfulness about producer manipulation on Idol, I’m surprised this didn’t occur to you… I think this first show was rigged to bring out the best in everyone. Not that I mind! It was a great show.

  20. Amy says:

    I really hope they mix up the styles more next week. Most of them were given routines right in their comfort zone which is why Iveta’s routine annoyed me.

  21. Joyce says:

    Oh I love it all! It’s going to be a great season!

  22. Nick says:

    Gonna get bold and anti-purist here: For me, off auditions not so much as last night (I sensed no Latin vibe there, either, but wasn’t that mostly the choreographer’s fault, as also the music choice — totally un-Latin?), Robert’s the dynamo of the top 20. Despite Miranda’s phone-in turn, the two got the night’s biggest audience applause by far, but one performance after another, I’ve found Robert’s move feet, arms, legs and joyous head light-years more original than any one else in the competition. Sure, others are more polished and “schooled,” but I’ve seen all their moves before. Robert makes it up out of his own spirit, and I predict that even if he doesn’t win, he’ll have the way-biggest after-show career.

    • Canuck Gal says:

      For some reason, the ballroom world categorizes the Jive as a Latin dance, which is what the choreographer choreographed and the dancers danced.

  23. kanalie says:

    What is a world champion, in 10 dances, doing on sytycd?

    Shouldn’t Iveta be on a show called “so we know you can dance”?

    Isn’t that unfair to all the other dancers in the competition?

    • Strepsi says:

      Not at all — can she hip hop? can she CRUMP? Where a lot of street dancers have issues with partnering, a lot of ballroom dancers have trouble on the show because :

      1) Unlike contemporary they are trained to have a fixed smile, which hurts emotional / story pieces

      2) The “dance for your life solos” are tough when you’ve only EVER danced with a partner.

      I think if given a youthful hip hop number she could be in trouble. But then Nick is emerging as very versatile and the stealth charmer of the season, so it’s a good pairing.

  24. T says:

    I did vote. I admit it! I voted for Nick and Iveta and Melanie and Marko. Man, Travis Wall was on fire yesterday! I have a feeling Chris and Ashley will be in the bottom 2. I wasn’t feeling their performance. Check out my recap of this episode here:

  25. MK204 says:

    My favorites were Jess and Clarice, Wadi and Missy, Robert and Miranda and Iveta and Nick. I hated that Nigel had to remind everyone that the Quickstep was the dance of “death” because I think Nigel always has an agenda. But they were both fabulous. I’m more into ballroom and Broadway than I am into other types of dancing but IMO it would be difficult to pick a bottom because all of them were really good and I’m so glad there are new choreographers. I hope Mia doesn’t come back.

    I wish they’d bring back Benjie to choreograph some ballroom, but I don’t think Nigel likes Benjie all that much. And you know if Nigel doesn’t like someone, he’ll make sure everyone knows it.

  26. Mel says:

    This is not a reaction to Ryan’s possibly having been shoved down our throats, but I thought her hip-hop was pretty weak. The smile aside (which was weird – she SHOULD have danced with some melancholy), she just looked every bit like a girl trying to do hip hop, and not failing miserably, but being very obvious in not succeeding, either. I know it was “lyrical” hip hop, but I didn’t believe her for one second. For years the judges on this show have criticized hip hop routines for not being hard-hitting enough, and this routine deserved that critique yet didn’t get it. Remember Billy Bell’s krump? I thought that was actually very good (and he was very good in general), and the judges ripped him apart. Ryan did not deserve special treatment.

  27. Stephanie says:

    Clarice said in her interview last night that “Jess has danced on Broadway three times.” A search on comes up with no results. Does anyone know if he’s using a different name, or if Clarice meant that he danced with a top hat turned over outside a Starbucks or something?

    • Wendeeloo says:

      …”Clarice meant that he danced with a top hat turned over outside a Starbucks or something?” – Stephanie, that was very funny. I wonder what Evan K is up to these days? You remind me that I should google him. Nigel was so mean to poor Evan. Hearing Nigel complain about Jess’s attitude – I thought – ‘oh no, another broadway dancer on Nigel’s sh*t list. But last night Nigel has changed his tune on Jess. Just hope people vote for him.

      • justpassingthru says:

        Thankfully people don’t value Nigel’s opinion much these days. He was horrible to Evan. As far as attitudes…I never saw one with Jess. I have, however, seen Nigel with a big attitude problem. I liked Jess a lot. Hope he goes far.

  28. dmarie says:

    For me Jess was outstanding. When you talk about performance, this kid can do a performance with personality and mostly skill. Let’s see what he does in other genres. Im betting he will be great!

  29. Pnkl8y says:

    Does anyone know if they are actually drawing dances or if we are just being made to believe they are. We did not see the draw, right?

  30. Jake says:

    Incredible show last night! The Top 20 is always my favorite episode and last night might have been the best ever. I agree with Slezak on the best and worst, though I thought Ashley danced the routine very well – better than Chris if you ask me.

    My ranking:

    1. Melanie and Marko – best of the night, Mary did go a touch overboard with her praise.

    2. Jess and Clarice – Jess was phenomenal, Clarice wasn’t given a chance to show off her ability, which is considerable.

    3. Caitlynn – she is quickly becoming my favorite girl. Her routine last night was superb, and she is gorgeous.

    4. Jordan and Tadd – Slezak is right, amazing intensity but always great technique as well.

    5. Iveta and Nick – excellent ballroom routine, but what else do you expect from the world champ.

    6. Missy and Wadi – I love both of these dancers, but their routine was overpraised last night in my opinion.

    7. Sasha and Alexander – good, not great.

    8. Ryan and Ricky – I thought Ryan looked very awkward, or maybe it was just the costume?

    9. Miranda and Robert – this was a passable and at times fun routine, but they will likely be in the Bottom 3.

    10. Ashley and Chriss – not a bad dance, but nothing really interesting or memorable. I thought Ashley was stronger than Chris.

  31. Geo says:

    While I liked the statue dance a lot, and LOVE Marko… he stumbled. TWICE. First, he stepped out of form at one point when she was falling into his arms, and then he did the botched step Nigel pointed out. Sorry, but technical merit like that should take them down just a step from all the over-praise.

    Likewise with Iveta. LOVE her, but unfair advantage.

    Alexander, on the other hand, got underpraised by most people. He had an intensity that matched the theme of the dance, for most of the piece. Sasha was so fierce (pardon the Beyoncified play on words), but Alexander was darmned good, especially at the end; and those moves in the piece were pretty difficult, much more so than many of the others tonight.

    That Cheesman hip-hop was absolute crap choreography.

  32. Geo says:

    Forgot to add: Wadi was way overpraised as well. Rewatch the bit: He does nothing for the first two-thirds of the routine. His partner did everything while he just stood there and “partnered.” Important to do? Yes. Is that all that is important to the dance? No. Besides partnering he did some solid aerials. Not enough to make it come together as a full performance, to me.

  33. Zoey says:

    Missy and Wadi’s routine reminded me a lot of this routine in the first season of SYTYCD in the UK:

    • Zoey says:

      And ftr, that routine was also choreographed by Sean Cheesman.

    • Canuck Gal says:

      It also reminded me of a routine in last season’s SYTYCD Canada, choreographed by U.S. alumnus Blake. Maybe it’s kind of like music … there are ten basic tunes/riffs, tweak and repeat.

      • Riot Guy says:

        Oh yeah music, dance so simple and uncreative.

        I get what you’re saying but I think it’s more the choreographers are being asked to deliver five or six or even more routines in a two or three month period and maybe they hold back their best ideas for later in the season…

  34. Mick says:

    Someone pointed out to me that part of the reason Nick was so good was because Iveta matched his movements and formed a equal partnership. She didn’t out dance him like Jess did to Clarice or show off. She worked on the partnership beautifully. I heard DWTS calling her already. I thought Ricky was much stronger than Ryan and was surprised when the judges heaped praise on her while he was an after thought. I don’t care about the the reason her smiling took me too far out of the story.

  35. Renee says:

    I’m not sure which was my favorite Iveta/Nick or Melanie/Marko. Adored both and watched both multiple times. I think Melanie and Marko are very evenly matched, but Iveta and Nick could be very interesting. I think she made him look very very good last night. Not that Nick wasn’t great, but I suspect we saw a very savvy pro making her partner look good at every step and turn. And I respect her even more for not making herself look great at the expense of the team.

  36. Mary says:

    I love Miranda’s quirkiness!

  37. Ang says:

    Does anyone know the song that Mitchell used for his solo performance? Thanks

  38. Blank Slate says:

    More producer manipulation. Megan Mullaley was in your face reading the “critique” off the script/cards in front of her. It was embarrassing to watch.

    First tell was when she said to Sasha: “You’re already coming in as a favorite…”

    Oh really? HOW WOULD YOU KNOW? Do you work for the show? There’s been no voting from the public. I wonder if someone told her Sasha is scripted to be a favorite…Hmmm…

    Second: When Megan garbled her script and started stumbling over her words, unsure if the words in front of her said “Call Jess Jimmy Cagney… Jimmy Durante…” JIMMY DURANTE????! I know who Jimmy Durante is and what he looked like. A Cagney-like dancer he was not! Campy, perhaps but it was so obvious Megan made an error and tried to slur her words and move on!

    STOP READING FROM THE SCRIPT. Please. Honest critiqes only. Dare I dream it could ever happen?

    Love the show. Love love love this season’s dancers.

    • Volcfom says:

      They sometimes watch rehearsals, and they take notes while the contestants are performing live.
      And she knows that Sasha is coming in as a favorite because she said she’s watched every episode.