SYTYCD Recap: Two Too Divine

Will there be a more stressful day this year for So You Think You Can Dance fans than Thursday, July 14? No, that’s not a reference to Bastille Day — Nigel Lythgoe is a Brit, after all! — but it will mark the brutal moment when the final two dancers are sent home just short of the SYTYCD Season 8 touring Top 10, and the 2011 Emmy nominations are announced. And as far as I’m concerned, there can only be one satisfying conclusion: Ryan Ramirez and Ricky Jaime must get the boot, and Cat Deeley must finally score herself a nod in the Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program category.

Okay, so maybe I’d accept Nigel Lythgoe and his cohorts sending home Alexander Fost in Ricky’s place, but as for Cat’s Emmy worthiness, well, that’s not up for discussion. Heck, even tonight’s guest judge, Modern Family‘s Jesse Tyler Ferguson, closed the show by acknowledging the repeated failure of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences to show some love to the funniest, leggiest, sharpest, most genuinely caring host in the business.

Oh, and speaking of all things Emmy, since I’ve got to be up at the crack of dawn with the rest of Team TVLine to assemble our comprehensive nomination coverage (do bookmark us and come back all day and all of the night), I’m going to keep this week’s recap — which I’m worried might be deemed a wee bit contro-versee-ahhhl by fans of the season’s most talented couple — shorter than the sides of Sonya Tayeh’s mohawk. So without further ado, let me offer a couple sentences on each of the six remaining couples — each of whom had to perform not one, but two dances –followed by my picks for the night’s best routines (spoiler alert: the night’s opening two dances both made my Top 2), and my verdict on who will (and should) wind up in the Bottom 3.

Sasha Mallory and Alexander Fost (Paso Doble: Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin)
Sasha and Alexander had me at that opening, intertwined pose, the one in which they resembled a two-torsoed beast, and the entire performance was exploding with violence and power. Sasha’s leg-crawl was particularly ferocious, and I dare say this was the best Paso I’ve witnessed on any platform since Jeanine and Brandon’s classic Season 5 showdown. Side note: I’m not a big fan of Alexander’s, but he really kept up with his partner this week, to the point where I actually winced at Jesse’s scathingly backhanded compliment: “You came up to her level!” Ouch, Mitchell Pritchett, that stings!

Jordan Casanova and Tadd Gadduang (Contemporary: Travis Wall)
Oh how I wish Jordan and Tadd had gotten to close the show with this stunning piece of work, which featured the former dancer as a vulture lady, and the latter as a very dehydrated and very shirtless (thanks, Travis) traveler. The vibration that traveled through Jordan’s body, all the way to her toes the first time Tadd “choked” her was mesmerizing, and dude’s flip-jump combo and general flexibility were a sight to behold (as was his torso, sorry). A Top 10 without Tadd should be as illegal as anyone on the SYTYCD panel quoting Randy Jackson, though, in his defense, at least Jesse poked fun at his own “in it to win it” reference before anyone else could.

Ryan Ramirez and Ricky Jaime (Broadway: Spencer Liff)
Watching the increasingly leaden Ryan try to get in touch with her inner Audrey Hepburn was kind of like watching a pelican attempt to imitate a swan: Morbidly fascinating on certain levels, but in no way successful. Granted, Spencer’s routine was the night’s biggest clunker — and Ricky’s hat brim often hung so low it distracted from seeing his eyes — but as Mary pointed out, it’s up to the couple to fill every second of the number (particularly those spaces in between the movements) if they’re going to win over the audience. Oh, and guess what? They didn’t.

Caitlynn Lawson and Mitchell Kelly (Hip-Hop: Christopher Scott)
I knew we were in trouble the minute I spied Caitlynn and Mitchell wearing those “invisible children” t-shirts (the choreographer’s nod to kids forced into battle in northern Uganda and the Congo), and alas, the judges came down harshly not only on Christopher Scott’s routine, but on the way it was executed. And while, yes, there were entire passages where the duo got slightly out of sync, I think the real problem was the assignment of a very literal, very serious meaning to an abstract routine. I wish that at the very least, the judges had been more effusive about the power and explosion Mitchell and Caitlynn displayed. In a season where hip-hop has been marshmallow soft, it was nice to see some harder edges and even a little bit of abandon in Mitchell and Caitlynn’s bodies.

Melanie Moore and Marko Germar (Tango: Louis Van Amstel)
Props to Louis for believing enough in his steps — and his dancers — that he didn’t feel the need to assign a storyline to his routine. (Not that I have any problem with storylines, per se, but I do think sometimes we see choreographers digging a little overzealously to explain their art in a way that will ensure its mass appeal.) My biggest problem with the end result, though, was the abysmal camera work involved from start to finish, which robbed us of huge swaths of flicks and kicks and other fancy footwork. Mary was right that there were undoubtedly some “a few awkward shapes,” and I could’ve sworn there were a few moments where both Melanie and Marko looked a little unsteady, but that final WHOOSH — with Melanie going through Marko’s legs, then flipping up and back through — was probably enough to ensure their absolutely essential safe passage to the Top 10. (Not that a possible inclusion in the Bottom 3 wouldn’t possibly be a positive for Melanie and Marko in that it might sharpen their competitive resolve and wipe away any complacency they might be experiencing after five weeks of almost unanimous effusive praise. Ahem.)

Clarice Ordaz and Jess LeProtto (Lyrical Hip-Hop: Christopher Scott)
Much like Christopher’s previous routine this week, I felt like Clarice and Jess would’ve benefitted if their storyline about a painter and his insecure muse hadn’t been weighed down by thuddingly literal props like a paintbrush, a mirror, and a giant if not entirely successful portrait of Clarice that made an embarrassing appearance at the close of the dance. On the plus side, though, Jess proved that he can pretty much master any style that’s thrown his way; his moves were crisp and precise, with plenty of edge. Meanwhile, after weeks of slightly beige performances, it looks like Clarice is finally living up to the potential she displayed in her final Vegas solo.

As for the night’s second set of routines, I’m going to deal with ’em like a hot-dog eating champ facing a half-dozen frankfurters — finishing ’em in one bite apiece. (Hey, I told you I’ve got Emmys to deal with tomorrow!)

Sasha Mallory and Alexander Fost (Broadway: Tyce Diorio)
I’m with the judges: This was the first time in six routines I’ve found myself focusing on Alexander more than Sasha, and while that final lift looked like it got abandoned at the midway mark (was that intentional?), the overall number was a lot more solid than their lamppost prop.

Jordan Casanova and Tadd Gadduang (Broadway: Spencer Liff)
Nigel was absolutely right: Tadd and Jordan should’ve stuck to the Gaston-Belle vibe with which the routine began. I actually laughed out loud at Tadd’s breath spray/hair slick moves, but didn’t crack a smile for the rest of the dance. I’m glad Jesse (the best celebrity guest judge we’ve had this season) made mention of the vulture dance in his closing remarks; it’d be kind of criminal for Jordan and Tadd to have to dance for their lives after having left their hearts and souls on the floor after that first performance, no?

Ryan Ramirez and Ricky Jaime (Cha Cha: Louis Van Amstel)
I’m not an expert in cha cha execution, but my notes on the dance read “Nothing about Ryan’s dancing looks sharp or tight here.” So I was encouraged that folks who do have an eye for the technical aspects of ballroom both made mention of Ryan’s “sloppy” footwork. Plus, girlfriend maintained her vacant smile from beginning to end. She seems like a nice enough gal, but like a carton of milk that should’ve been finished in June, Ryan has reached her expiration date. As for Ricky, yeah, he was definitely better, but I don’t know if he entirely earned that ticket on the Hot Tamale train. (Actually, ticket distribution for that particular ride has been a little hinky all season, no?)

Caitlynn Lawson and Mitchell Kelly (Contemporary: Travis Wall)
I swear on Cat’s Emmy nomination that my head will explode if Nigel’s gripe about Mitchell’s face losing intensity during his partnering work is some kind of maniacal groundwork that will lead to a Mitchell-Caitlynn ouster — and another reprieve for Ryan and Ricky. I actually thought Mitchell was magnificent — haughty, sexy, and full of verve — and that Caitlynn once again managed to dissolve fully and completely into her character. Yeah, I realize that said “dissolving” means it’s hard to get a sense of Caitlynn’s personality, and that may hurt her if people vote for their “favorites.” But bear in mind she’s excelled on everything from the tumultuous chair dance to last week’s love affair to this week’s sexy rock star: Shouldn’t that be enough to crack the Top 10?

Melanie Moore and Marko Germar (Contemporary: Dee Caspary)
Don’t get me wrong: Marko and Melanie are sublime, and I will weep openly if they get cut from the competition Thursday night. (Spoiler alert: Nigel and Mary are more likely to get evicted at this point than Marko and Melanie.) Still, I felt like the duo weren’t entirely at their best in Dee’s somewhat scattershot piece about a couple struggling to go toward the light. It was all a little too lah-dee-dah, a little “look at us doing something artsy with a lightbulb!” without a lot of deeper feeling behind it. But the judges all ate it up like me devouring a peanut butter spoon while stress eating at 2 a.m., so maybe I’m way off the mark. I dunno: You tell me.

Clarice Ordaz and Jess LeProtto (Jive: Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin)
Oh I do love me some well executed ballroom, and this one was lightning quick, full of flicks and kicks, and totally sick. Look at me rhyming! No, actually, look at Clarice and Jess dancing — all the way to the Top 10! Like I said last week, Jess somehow manages to perform entire routines as if he’s suspended three inches off the ground. HE IS INCREDIBLE. And Clarice and her hot pink tailfeathers were pretty dazzling this week, too.

Three Best Dances
Jordan and Tadd (Contemporary)
Sasha and Alexander (Paso Doble)
Caitlynn and Mitchell (Contemporary)/Clarice and Jess (Jive)

Should Be Bottom Three
Ryan and Ricky
Caitlynn and Mitchell
Melanie and Marko (please don’t abandon me for the rest of the season for saying that…y’know, a little scare could motivate ’em to new heights. Also: Who hasn’t been dying to see another Melanie solo since the season premiere?)

Will Be Bottom Three
Ryan and Ricky
Caitlynn and Mitchell
Jordan and Tadd

What did you think of this week’s SYTYCD? What were your favorite routines? Who will and should crack the Bottom 3? 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!

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  1. T says:

    Melanie and Marko shouldn’t be in the bottom three, even if their first performance was weak. The bottom three should be: Jordan and Tadd, Ryan and Ricky, and Sasha and Alexander with Alexander and Ryan going home. If anyone else (well Jordan can go too) is sent home, it’ll be awful. Check out my other thoughts here:

    • KevyB says:

      Crazy talk! Melanie and Marko were awesome! Were they perfect? No. The routines they were given were about 1000 times tougher than the other couples’. But they at least they always dance in the style they are supposed to be dancing. Mitchell never seems to break his contemporary chains, Jess never completely leaves his Broadway roots and Jordan has the laziest arms on that stage (honestly, is she a riverdancer?). Really, the only other person I can say who can also dance wholly outside her specialty is Sasha.

  2. Kate says:

    The Invisible Children dance just didn’t work, I’m glad the judges were honest about not liking it. I hate when dances get overpraised because the choreographer came up with a sob story behind it. Here there was a giant disconnect between the story and dance itself.

    The “Moth” dance was off as well. There was nothing terrible about it, but I really struggled to figure out why Marko had to practically carry her away at the end. Did not going to the light ruin her? Sometimes less story is better.

    Maybe it’s just me but I don’t find myself enjoying the work of Spencer Liff or Christopher Scott. I miss the variety of styles used in past seasons. I know sometimes one would bomb (tahitian), but seeing sometime different is preferable to more Spencer or Christopher.

    I thought Jesse was a delightful guest judge. He obviously loves the show by how familiar he was with past routines, but he also wasn’t afraid to say he didn’t like routines which was refreshing.

    • Tim says:

      I agree with you about now being impressed by the choreographers Spencer Liff and Christopher Scott. I think they’ve created some of the weakest routines that have ever been featured on SYTYCD in any season.

      As such, it’s a little unfair for the judges (Nigel in particular has a tendency to do this) to blame the dancers when they’ve been given a ho-hum or even bad routine to perform (which was the case with both Ryan and Ricky’s Broadway number.) While the dancers do have the repsonsibility to do the steps correctly and well, it’s got to be very difficult to make a poorly choregraphed routine look good. Just as even the best chef would find it very difficult to make good dishes if he/she was given nastly food products to work with, the same is true for dancers.

  3. Ann says:

    In addition to the stories that didn’t make sense above, what was with the Mitchell-Caitlyn routine? It was supposed to be about her finding out he was married, but it appeared instead of getting mad she just seduced him? I’m not normally one to get hung up in the stories but tonight they all just seemed off.

  4. J says:

    I hated that Nigel went after Jess for his size in the last dance. It seemed like an unfair critique given Jess can’t change his size, and the choreographer is the one who chose all the lifts. There is no denying it looks weird to see a small guy lifting a girl bigger than him since he practically disappeared behind her. Even it looks awkward size wise Clarice never seemed in danger of being dropped so obviously he has the strength to pull it off.

    • CAG says:

      I agree. I have watched the jive several times and it never seems as if he doesn’t have control or she’s flopping around in the air, fighting for balance. It’s just that if a hobbit picks up a Muggle, the face of the hobbit might disappear briefly, which looks odd, but doesn’t mean the lift wasn’t handled well. There isn’t a think he can do about extending his neck momentarily another 9 inches.

    • not says:

      I agree about Nigel’s unfair critique of Jess, but otherwise, I think the judging last night was the best it’s been all season. You’ve got to give them kudos for not praising the very blah invisible children routine b/c it had a very sympathetic theme (which they’ve been guilty of doing in the past). And when Ryan’s dancing stood out more obviously than in previous weeks as being not up to snuff, they abandoned the Ryan hype-machine they’ve been on for the past month and told it like it is. BTW, I disagree with Slezak that they were overpraising Ricky. I felt he completely out-danced her and it will be a shame if they throw him out with her as they have seemed determined all season not to split up any couples.

  5. charlie says:

    I really liked the light bulb dance with Melanie regularly reaching for the light and Marko tending to drag her away and finally dragging her totally away at the end. The routine was seamless and organic and magnificently danced IMO… of course I admit I am biased in their favor as my fave couple of the season.
    The tango routine was a difficult one and I’m always amazed that the couples can come pretty close to mastery of ballroom routines that pros take months or longer to perfect.
    Last week, I thought most of the choreo was pretty terrible and weak.
    This week was better but some was still weak. Couldn’t comprehend the judges’ praise of the hip hop choreo. Compared to what NAPPYTABS
    and others have given us in prior seasons, the current guy is a real weakling it seems to me. I say: ‘get the hook for him and get someone with some real talent!’
    The ballroom choreo is pretty good, but I much prefer the french guy and his wife. They were much more talented at teaching the routines and helping the couples to master them with analogies, etc. plus making the rehearsals more fun.
    Strong dancers this season, but too much weak choreo greatly reduces the pleasure of watching the show. == And why are the choreographers giving each routine a standing ovation? That makes as much sense as those dopey judges on Idol giving nothing but praise to Scotty and Lauren every performance.
    Finally, shortening the routines to shoehorn in double routines for everyone is stupid. Shorten the judging time [e.g. limit comments to 2 judges for each routine … judging is the least enjoyable part of the show by many miles, especially Nigel’s judging which almost always bugs the hell out of me!] and give us more dancing.

    • mdaily says:

      Couldn’t agree more, Charlie. Great observations, especially about the weak choreography. So far, Travis Walls is one of the better choreographers, but the past two weeks overall have left me underwhelmed with the routines. I can’t blame the dancers for the unexciting routines handed to them.

    • Bill Dauphin says:

      Absolutely agree about the lightbulb dance: I thought it was the best of the night. Of course, like you, I’m smitten with Melanie and Marko (esp., in my case, w/Melanie!), so maybe I’m biased as well.

    • Lorna Patrick says:

      I’d be pleased if the judges would make it clearer when they’re complaining about the choreography as opposed to the dancers. I’m afraid that less sophisticated viewers might not be able to differentiate between the two when they hear negative comments. A judge could easily resolve that by saying, “It’s clearly not your fault”, or “the choreography didn’t allow you to demonstrate your true capabilities”. I suppose that the judges might hesitate to embarrass the choreographer at the expense of the dancers. Of course, there are many talented choreographers, but they can’t all hit a winner every time. PS. You’re dynamite, Cat!

    • Teecie says:

      The “french guy and his wife” are French Canadians, Jean-Marc Genereux and his wife, France Mousseau…..just so you know.

    • Janie says:

      Melanie and Marko’s light bulb dance would have benefited greatly from a different lighting set-up on the stage. We’re supposed to see this bare light bulb something the dancers are drawn to, yet the stage was awash with light. Use a filter for the areas away from the bulb. Make the bulb be the only spot of unfiltered light on the stage. The lighting took me right out of the story.

  6. Retrosurfer says:

    Its sadly time for jess to go home in my mind while he is a great open dancer he can’t partner successfully because he’ s weak and cant do even a basic lift with demolishing the flow of the whole dance, It also affecting everything else even the choreography has to be changed whenever he’s the make dancer because all the lifts need to be dropped. In tonight dance from practice they had five lifts by performance time there was one left that Jess could not complete. he’s to week to lift a female partner and he gets partnered with anyone of size they need to put the dress on him and reverse the roles.

    • kate says:

      @ retrosurfer – Jess is amazing! Not every dance has to include lifts – in fact, sometimes they are better without them.

      Case in Point – if you ever watch figure skating, you know the jumps are what get everyone excited. I youtubed Kurt Browning doing a number to a Spanish flamenco guitarist – no jumps – it was spellbinding. Jess has that same precision, lightness and skill – I could watch him all day. So I don’t agree and I don’t think it is anywhere near time for him to go anywhere.

    • Desdemona says:

      He is not too weak to lift a partner. It just looks odd sometimes because he’s a wee little man, especially when Clarice is wearing a giant froofy skirt. But I’ve seen bigger guys on this show who have been way more unstable in lifts.

    • wendeeloo says:

      OK Hold me back, fellow-Jess lovers – These are fighting words from “retrosurfer” – 2 words for you “surf”- Big. Deal. Big deal if he can’t lift a woman larger than himself. In the real world of dance he would not be expected to lift her. And it certainly doesn’t have to be the reason he is shown the door. Because all his other strengths far overshadow that one move. And how does his being shorter mean he needs to wear a dress?! I mean, what are you, in junior high?! Jess is the one I am most anxious to see each week – since Nick and Miranda were so ridiculously eliminated. After he killed in the Bollywood number last week, Jess is my favorite – then Mitchell – then Caitlynn – Tonight I am most frightened for Mitchell.

    • dmarie says:

      You are out of your mind. Jess is the most versatile dancer on the show. A female partner has to help the guy when he lifts her. No guy can’t lift dead wood gracefully. Give me a break. Did you ever think that maybe his partner doesn’t know how to help execute the lift!

  7. Lana says:

    Jess can out dance any of the females that partner with him and until he actually drops the girl he is lifting them well enough. The way he moves is awesome, he never seems to lose his balance no matter what kind of twist and turns he is asked to do. He and Clarice had two great dances which is more than most of the others had, except for Sasha and Alexander. Finally Alexander showed how good he really is and it made their dances look so much better. I also think Sasha was really showing that she did not dislike her partner, which was commented on last week. Good for her. I do miss the hard hitting hip hop and hope that we see that more when the All Stars show up. Give us some Twitch!!!

    • AK says:

      I kind of felt like he was lacking in the hip-hop piece. I would give him a solid A-. He put about 5% too much into almost single move, so that his dancing was missing the resistance and dime stops that style calls for. He did a really good job, but he definitely betrayed that he was an amateur hip-hop dancer. Clarice was surprisingly great and definitely out-danced him in that one.

      • Lou says:

        I think Jess is the first non-hip hop specialist asked to pull off b boy moves in a hip hop dance. And he pulled them off credibly well, and certainly was NOT outdanced by Clarice.

  8. MK204 says:

    I actually didn’t like the Paso. Neither did Mark Ballas of Dancing With the Stars as he was complaining about it on Twitter. LOL I may be a traditionalist but I found Sasha’s character too rough and to masculine. Sasha seems too arrogant for some reason. She may be nice and sweet but she doesn’t come off that way. I know not a popular opinion, but mine nevertheless. I thought this was their weakest night.

    I thought some of the music, while good was so off for the dances. The Frank Sinatra song for Bway…too slow which may be why Ryan and Ricky just didn’t get it. As I watched I kept thinking that Jess would be so much better.

    The Invisible Children routine just didn’t click. There was nothing about the routine that made me shed a tear. Because of that the dancers suffered.

    I also thought Piece of My Heart, while one of my favorite Janis Joplin tunes, just didn’t quite go with that particular piece and I felt the song from Rent, while a great song, also didn’t fit in with the dance.

    I’m also annoyed with Nigel for pointing out Jess’ height. And that goes for anyone else. Jess is a powerhouse dancer. He may not be able to lift Clarice, but a more professional and smaller partner would be better. THAT will happen once he gets on Broadway and real professional choreographers whose job it is to “pair” people will be able to see it. Whoever partnered these people (I’m looking at YOU Nigel) did an unprofessional job.

    I’m also tired of Nigel’s backhanded compliments. Luckily I don’t like to go to any of the shows to sit in the audience. They might have to escort me out because I’d be telling Nigel what a fool he is.

    Looks like Slezak, Melinda Doolittle and I have one thing in common. We all love JESS.


    If he’s in the B3, I don’t trust Nigel one bit. And even if Jess doesn’t win, I hope he at least stays long enough because otherwise I’ll be bored with so many contemporary dancers. Melanie and Marko may be brilliant, but they bore the heck out of me. Jess is adorable and entertaining.

    I’m going to hold Jesse to his promise to tell Neil Patrick Harris to get that key ready for Jess. I may not live in NYC, but Broadway is where Jess belongs.

    • elr says:

      I totally agree with your comments about Sasha. I think arrogant is a true way to describe her. I wasn’t a fan of the Paso either. She’s a powerful dancer, I just wish we could see the more feminine side of her.

  9. Rich says:

    The unstated fact of Cat is that she is not simply a “host”. She is Master of Ceremonies, in the best possible way. Not afraid to chide the judges and share joy with the dancers, she’s amazing at what she does, unmatched by any other reality host.

    I’ve never been able to fault Jess’ dancing, but something about his seeming attitude had always been irksome. Until tonight. He was finally both talented and someone I’d care to know personally.

    • ChrissieK says:

      And our Cat, finally!, was nominated for that Emmy and may she win and win big!!

      • Tim says:

        Cat’s been nominated for an Emmy at least once before, maybe twice, but she didn’t win. She definitely SHOULD HAVE, however. There is simply no host of any live talent show who does it better.

        • wendeeloo says:

          I love Cat too but I also think Tom Bergeron deserves to win – He is consistently quick, witty and supports the contestants as Cat does. He just doesn’t have her legs.

          • Erin says:

            Cat is a great person, but her cockney “OKAY” she uses as commas when she speaks are a nightmare for public speaking. We should be made to drink everytime she says it. Okay.

  10. Paige says:

    Didn’t get to watch last night, but I agree whole-heartedly that Cat deserves a nod more than any other reality TV host.

  11. Christina says:

    I watched the show on DVR and still found myself bored. There’s just been a big disconnect this season, and each week I’m losing more interest. How ridiculous was the invisible children dance. I mean seriously. I remember when there didn’t have to be a big sad back story to the dance. What happened to just dancing. If the choreographers focused more on good dance than an artistic story there might be more connect happening.

    All that being said some combination of Ryan/Jordan, Rickey/Alexander needs to go home this week.

    • Jenks says:

      I could not agree more. I am sick to death of these convoluted stories. I’ve noticed that the real dance troupes who guest on the results shows don’t feel the need to explain some long-winded story. It sucks the life out of every routine. By the time I hear all the droning about the story, I’ve lost all interest, if not my will to live.

  12. Stephanie says:

    This is the third “inspired by a bird” dance on this show, unless I’m wrong…what the hell? Are they running out of ideas? Because if they are, they will soon run out of different types of birds.

    Tonight the group performance will represent pigeons in New York.

  13. Jake says:

    Haven’t had the chance to watch the show yet, but the comments about Cat Deeley are right on. She is the best reality host on TV right now, hands down. Seacrest is sleek and professional, Cat is sublime. Hope she gets at the very least an Emmy nomination.

  14. Sara says:

    While the “Vulture” Dance was good, I actually didn’t like it that much because all Jordan did once again was throw her leg up more times than I care to count. I’m starting to really believe that’s all the girl can do. Add to that the fact that lifts were taken out of the second routine and Spencer seemed to blame her in the package? Not good. If they B3, I wouldn’t be bummed if she got the boot. Tadd deserves the top 10.

    My favorite routine was the Jess and Clarice first one. I think these two have really been giving some great performances and I was very surprised this week at how well they did with the choreography. I’m not sure any of the other guys (Tadd excluded) would have been able to do what Jess did and Clarice has really been giving it her all. I’ll take the literal parts of it for the performance value that they brought.

    As for Melanie and Marko’s lackluster contemporary, it’s a combination of things. The main one being the fact that the Tango they performed earlier in the night was the first time they were out of their wheelhouse (lyrical hip hop is basically fast contemporary) so just seeing them go right back to another contemporary routine was kind of boring because that’s all we’ve been seeing them do. The tango was not good but it wasn’t Ryan and Ricky cha cha bad.

  15. Igoreli says:

    Paso Doble was weak (and overpraised). Sasha and Alexander should go home.

  16. JVC says:

    PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE let it be Ryan who gets sent packing. I will only take comfort in ryan staying (I know right?) if she dances the hell out of her solo tonight. IF she gives a terrible solo amongst her fellow dancers and skates by again, she’ll be the first to get booted out of the top 10. As for a guy going home it will be either ricky, mitchell, or alexander (I doubt he and sasha will land in the bottom 3). I wouldn’t mind seeing melanie or marko land in the bottom 3 cause i doubt want their fans feeling complacent otherwise we could get a shocking top 8 ouster from either of the couple like with janette from season 5. We do need a diverse set of top 5 guys this season and no way tad can be sent backing since he’s the last hip hop guy left.

  17. Karen says:

    Please just send through Caitlynn & Mitchell, M&M and Tadd, and I’ll be jumping out of my seat. A top 10 without any of these 5 people would be a crime!

  18. HannaB says:

    I’d love to see Ricky last one more week so we can then judge him on his own basis, not connected with Ryan. Ricky has been great all along, unfortunately overshadowed by the nonlikeability of his partner Ryan. Alexander did step it up this week and I think Sasha was grateful for that, evidenced by the kiss. But I think it should be Ryan and Alexander that go home.

    • Hem says:

      Agree with this. Ricky has been consistently good all season long but has been strapped down by his unpopular partner. I wish the judges would have sent Ryan home last week so we could’ve seen what Rickey would do with a different partner.
      I think he’ll be the victim of the “too many visits to the Bottom 3” curse and get sent home this week, which is a shame because he’s one of the better male contemporary dancers left.

  19. Lisa says:

    I agree with the comments about seeing weaker choreography this season. I’m sure not an easy task coming up with routines in such a short time, but many last night were not good. Add poor music selections for some, the invisible children routine, and the rent number immediately come to mind, made for a bad combination and possibly some dancers being put in the bottom 3. But, as Mary pointed out, it’s also up to the dancers to fill the space and make the dance their own, maybe a good lesson/reminder for all the dancers.

    As long as Ryan goes home, I not concerned with who the other bottom 2 couples are. Based on judges comments last night, if finally sounds like they are ready to send her home, something they should have done weeks ago. Any other female dancer going home will be a huge mistake.

    I’m looking forward to next week, seeing the dancers work with the professionals. It should be a game changer for those dancers who made it through b/c fans were voting for a partner vs couple (Sasha/Alexander come to mind).

  20. Nikki says:

    Your “should be bottom 3” is what I picked as well. And then got really sad because two of the couples had Travis Wall routines :(

    I kind of felt the same way about Melanie and Marko’s contemporary piece too. Sometimes contemp pieces all run together and it was just more of the same for them. I was so glad to see them get a ballroom routine and something that actually challenged them.

    Felt really bad for Christopher Scott and Spencer Liff because of their weaker routines. Though if it had just been dancing w/o a story for the Caitlynn/Mitchell routine *AND* they had danced in sync it may have been good. I really like Spencer too so I was sad that both of his routines seemed lacking.

    And I’m all for never letting Tadd wear a shirt again :)

  21. Jim says:

    Ultimately, I felt like Melanie & Marko’s second piece could’ve done without the story. Once I let that go, I really enjoyed the piece – the movement felt different from a lot of what we’ve seen before and I thought it had some lovely pulling/pushing tension that made it a compelling piece to watch.

  22. Intelliwoman says:

    Ryan must go. Although I like the work of some of the new choreographers, esp Travis Wall, we need better choreo. I miss Mia, NappyTabs especially.

  23. Steve Z says:

    Unfortunately, most of the men this season do not have the power or personality showcase their female partners.

    I look forward to splitting the couples and seeing what happens for Melanie, Caitlyn, Clarice and Sasha with more seasoned men (not that Marko is bad… but I feel Melanie could really be pushed into greatness).

    If we lost Ryan or Jordan, I would not be too upset. I feel Ryan’s best dancing was done in Glee (as a member of the all girl group at Nationals). Wondering how much word of mouth from past SYTYCDers helped her crack the top 20 this year?

    And something about Jordan just bothers me… I loved how the choreographer kind of threw her under the bus in the intro package … I thought she had better skills… which to me indicated that he changes up his vision to meet her limited skill set.

    And while Alex may have done some of his best dancing this episode, I think he will fade against the All Stars so they may as well cut their losses now and send him home.

    All and all, there just seemed to be a lot of vacant dancing this season.

    • Christina says:

      I agree that a large part of the problem this season is that the male dancers have not been strong enough for their female partners.

  24. Lisa (@KittyKay3) says:

    I think the choreography has been simplified in reaction to all of the injuries last season. Alex Wong being hurt so badly as to still be unable to work one year later.

    I want Ryan to go home. I don’t really care who else goes, except for Marco. I am surprised at the people who say they don’t find Sasha likable. I find her quirky, fun and a strong dancer.

    • Jenks says:

      This is an interesting theory. Alex wasn’t the only one injured last year, although his was certainly the worst injury. I wonder if they have dumbed down the choreo because of that. If so, I would say give them one challenging routine to do and ditch the second one. That would give them enough time to learn the routine and master any challenging moves. I think most people would rather see one stunning number than two mediocre ones. The show is suffering from the TPTB’s need to stretch the show to two hours.

  25. Jake says:

    And Cat Deeley gets the Emmy nomination – about time!

  26. Melissa says:

    I couldn’t DISAGREE more about Cat. I can’t stand her. I find her comments rediculous and cringeworthy. Every week of every season I want to vote HER off.

  27. Luna Maya says:

    omg omg omgEE!!! this is the best episode ever!! HAHAHA I’M SO FREAKIN HAPPY I ALMOST SPILLED MY CHOCOLATE MILK BECAUSE I LAUGHED SO DAMN HARD WHEN THE JUDGES FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER CRITICIZED RYAN!! and I couldn’t be more happier until the Cha-cha routine when Ryan still getting real critics she should have got in the past weeks. Finally, Nigel is sober in judging her.

    Please Jordan has to stay over Ryan, don’t let all the top 5 girls are contemporary dancers. Fingers crossed!!

    I wish all the good luck in the world for Cat Deely to win Emmy, she was amazing, breathtakingly gorgeous, loving and caring (remember when she defends Adechike when the judges being unfair to him especially Mia)

    Is there gonna be 10 all stars? These guys should be them : Kameron s3, Lacey s3, Anya & Pasha s3 (Duh!), Gev s4, Katee s4, Brandon s5, Jeanine s5, Legacy s6, Lauren s7.

  28. MA says:

    Marko and Melanie don’t deserve the bottom 3. Come on! That tango was great, especially the backwards flip thing, and the contemporary was fine…though completely cheesy. The problem with the “stories” of these dances is that they’re way too obvious. You need a little mystery in art, or at least I do, and when the choreographer lays out a piece like the audience is stupid, it leaves no room for individual interpretation. If these people want to create stories, they need to start studying writing. If they want to create mood and feeling, quit telling me that the piece is about sad warrior children in Uganda. The lightbulb dance was the ultimate example of this. Didn’t the song even talk about light? Good lord.
    That said, Melanie and Marko are fantastic, and I don’t think any of these kids get complacent. To us, maybe a runaway looks obvious, but from the inside, I think they’re all as freaked out every week as anyone.
    My picks to go home would be Ryan and Mitchell, actually. There’s something missing in Mitchell for me, and I really like Ricky. He reminds me of a young Michael Jackson.

  29. Meri says:

    I was in another room when I heard the opening bars of “Out Tonight” from Rent…I ran in to check out the dance…and ended up closing my eyes and feasting on my personal memory of Daphne Rubin-Vega singing and dancing her heart out on a Broadway stage years ago.

    This was by far my least favorite routine of the night–the costumes, the strange music edits, and the flailing about of limbs (I can’t bring myself to call it actual dancing)…What is going on with the choreographers?

    There are also fewer dancers that are pulling me in this year. Melanie and Marko are great (last night was not their best effort), but Melanie’s “perk” off stage is just as annoying as Jess’ (shut up and dance, kid).

    I don’t like it when the judges keep couples together during eliminations…they should be evaluated on their solos and their individual contribution to the success or failure of a routine.

    I hope Ricky sticks around so we can see what he can do on his own merit. I am always so distracted by her Joker-like grin, that I often have to rewind to see what he is doing on stage. He is actually quite talented, and I would love to see him dance with someone else. I am sure that he would like to have that chance as well!

    All Stars are announced tonight….Kent? Lauren? Katee? Twitch? Ade? Is it true that Alex Wong is still out due to his injury? Someone lay hands on that leg!

  30. maddogonwheels says:

    I love this show, have waited for and watched every season. It is (unlike idol)…. real. until this season. Nigel was clear he is pushing for Ryan. Didn’t understand until last week’s “meet their family” package when it was revealed that Mia is Ryan’s sponsor. And this is likely why Mia cannot be a judge with Ryan there. They threw Ashley under the bus for Ryan and that was criminal. Ashley should have gone to top ten and not been burdened with a bad partner. Ryan … the public isn’t buying that ticket no matter how hard Nigel tries to sell it. Be fair send her home finally. I think modern family guy will not let them keep her yay! And leave Jess alone. Nigel tried to set him up in the first week about his “bad personality”. Didn’t work, Jess worked harder and he belongs in top 10 I don’t care how short he is!. Sadly Alexander will skate by one more week because Sasha isn’t going to be in b3, and that is good so Nigel can’t throw her under bus for Ryan either.
    A caitlyn, jordan/melanie, ryan B3 is the only way to force them to do what should have been done weeks ago. get it over with and let the real dancing and choreography begin next week and Mia can come back!

    • lucinda says:

      Totally agree on your views about “Ryan”. Hope she gets the boot tonight. If she doesn’t, it’s probably b/c of her connection to Mia. Instead of having the judges boot her off, they probably will think, “Oh, let her be at least in the top 10 and she can go on tour. We’ll let the viewers vote her off. We’ll still be in the good books with Mia b/c we don’t have control over who gets eliminated now.” I miss Iveta and Nick; and I think Jess is doing an excellent job. I can’t keep me eyes off his dancing!

    • Luna Maya says:

      agree, Ryan couldn’t get into top 10 in season 7 bcos Mia was in the judging panel, now that Mia is gone, she landed her butt in top 20, too bad for me she is the worse of the top 10 girls!!

  31. Mandy says:

    Jordan and Mitchell should go. Mitchell is alot like Ricky, but not as good and much more annoying. Jordan is a one trick pony and that one trick has gotten very old.
    This would put Tadd and Caitlynn together and they would make a super cute pairing… unless it is time for the all-stars to join? Little lost on when that is starting…

  32. ron says:

    would it work, if no one in the top 20 were cut, until the top ten vote getters were in. Just like a foot race for the first ten weeks, but the ranking determined by who gets the most votes ?
    The results show could reward the top ten with a chance to dance with an allstar.

  33. Thom says:

    I think that Ryan and Mitchell are going to be the two to go home. I’m going to be sad to see Melanie and Marko not be partners. They will be in the finals for sure.

  34. AK says:

    Oh, Slezak. You have got to be kidding me. Maybe you’ve gotten as complacent with Melanie and Marko’s general amazingness as you hope that they haven’t. (And they haven’t, bringing passion to every single performance so far this season.) But that final contemporary piece was one of the most gorgeous I’ve seen on this show all season—cutting through a mass of generic couples-falling-apart routines with its breath-taking and distinctive flowy beauty. I’ll take that over underwhelming dancing princes and low-energy jives any day.

  35. Lulio3 says:

    You seriously think that Jordan and Tadd’s 2nd dance was better than the light bulb dance, Mr. Slezak??? Surely not. I’ll just say that you were too stressed out about the Emmy’s to think straight and I’m sure you will rethink this insanity in a few days!!

  36. Saracen Riggins says:

    My personal picks to go home would be either Ryan or Jordan, along with Mitchell or Alexander.

  37. lar says:

    Not getting the hate towards Ryan. WT? She’s not my favorite, but the nasty hate seems misplaced. The pair do not look as connected as other pairs, for sure, but her dancing throughout this season–tryouts, Las Vegas–has been solid. And I don’t think she was picked because of Mia–Isn’t she the one that just missed the cut for the top 10 last year? Isn’t she the one they featured with LilC going to her home and saying to please come back next year? She seems nice enough, and she is a talented dancer, but the pairing did nothing to help either one of them. She seems to be a taller dancer, and you can’t help but notice her against the other dancers.
    Having said this, though, I think she knows that if she’s in the bottom three this week she’s the one going home. Nigel and the judges pretty much made that clear in their comments last night.