BEST OF THE NIGHT | Amy & Fik-Shun (Jazz, Tyce Diorio) I physically recoiled when Cat announced “Tyce Diorio” and “hobos” — the choreographer/theme combo most likely to be playing on repeat loop when I eventually go to hell. But Nigel was right: This was some of Tyce’s best ever work, and the front-running couple executed the routine with great humor and wicked energy. I loved Amy’s relentless physicality — how she folded in half against Fik-Shun’s frame — and the way the pair effortlessly transitioned from hip-hoppy precision to sensual Fosse-esque moves. It’s getting harder and harder to envision a finale without ’em, no?
BEST OF THE NIGHT (RUNNER-UP) | Makenizie & Paul (Hip-Hop, Dave Scott) I’m not gonna lie: The opening 20 seconds had me ready to hurl this routine into the “Worst of the Night” category — seeing how “seductive photographer” Paul barely danced and “1930s model” Makenzie barely moved. But once the beat kicked in, the pair got down and dirty, maintained their sync and never lost their energy level — even with Paul’s hips gyrating with gale-force intensity. After three consecutive strong weeks (including “Lady Frankenstein” and “Dying Lover”) Makenzie and Paul are looking like they’ll stick around well into August.
THIRD BEST | Jasmine H & Aaron (Quickstep, Tony Meredith & Melanie LaPatin) Is it just me, or is it feeling more and more like Jasmine H and Aaron — along with Amy/Fik-Shun and Makenzie/Paul — are beginning to separate themselves from the rest of the Season 10 pack? (Oh, sure, Nigel will carry Malece to the finale on his British back if he must, but let me hang on to the dream for a moment.) Mary had a point that Jasmine and Aaron didn’t entirely nail their closed hold (you could’ve fit a Malece in between ’em), but they really captured the joy of a dance that’s all too often dismissed as the kiss of death. Throw in some bonus points for that insane final lift, Jasmine’s million-dollar gams and Aaron’s million-dollar smile — can’t you envision his mug on The CW or USA network? — and they ought to be safe come next week.
WORST OF THE NIGHT | Mariah & BluPrint (Jazz, Brian Friedman) Initially, it seemed like the judges were slightly overpraising this number, which despite several moves that bordered on pornographic generated almost no sexual heat. But ultimately, they were probably cushioning the elimination blow they knew they’d be delivering at the end of the telecast. Granted, some of the blame has to be handed to the choreographer — how exactly was this a story about a goddess falling in love with a mortal, aside from the high-school drama club A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum costumes? — but that painful-looking final lift fell squarely (and literally) on BluPrint’s shoulders.
WORST OF THE NIGHT (RUNNER-UP) | Malece & Alan (Hip-Hop, Dave Scott) OK, Alan is probably my second-favorite guy in Season 10 lineup (or at least he was) but his first attempt at hip-hop was about as natural as a cat going waterskiing. To be honest, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such cooked-noodle limbs in a hip-hop dance in SYTYCD history. By comparison, Malece had the upper hand, but there was something a little vacant and unconvincing in her actual performance, like a kid trying on a costume more than a woman truly inhabiting a character. I do wonder, too, if she’ll lose votes for declaring that at 98 pounds, she can put away a burger, fries, pancakes, eggs, bacon and a shake all in one sitting. (The Lord giveth a ridiculous metabolism, but the voting public can taketh away your Top 10 placing, mmmkay?)
WIDEST GAP BETWEEN PARTNERS | Alexis & Nico (Jive, Tony Meredith & Melanie LaPatin) Can someone please explain how Alexis avoided the Bottom 3 after last week’s middling (and kinda icky) “hypnotist” dance? Methinks she won’t be so lucky next Tuesday based on the fact that she was stiffer than a bowl of beaten egg whites coming into and out of the tricks in a fast-paced jive. Nico, on the other hand, generally had more to do (like that upward roll of Alexis) and pulled it off with greater aplomb (like clearing Alexis’ head not once, but twice with simultaneous high kicks). Carly Rae, bringing great insight to the proceedings, praised Alexis’ dress and Nico’s facial expressions, so even she seemed to recognize the latter contestant dominated (at least in terms of categories within the dancers’ control).
BEST USE OF PROPS IN A ROUTINE THAT NEVERTHELESS FELT A TAD OVERHYPED | Jenna & Tucker (Contemporary, Travis Wall) The straps of Travis’ “inspiration frees a woman who’s a puppet to her impulses” routine were a cool idea — and there were moments where Tucker’s stunning physical strength made it appear as though some invisible puppetmaster in the rafters was hoisting Jenna upward with pulleys. Still, from an emotional standpoint, I can’t say I was particularly moved — or that I bought Mary’s argument that this will be remembered as one of Season 10’s greatest moments. (Especially not when Jenna clumsily battled against the Velcro release right at the end of the dance.) I’m not sure if it’s Jenna or Tucker or the duo’s lack of chemistry, but they’re like a restaurant that gets great reviews, with a menu that simply isn’t speaking to me — if that makes any sense.
WORST USE OF PROPS IN A ROUTINE THAT DIDN’T DO THE DANCERS ANY FAVORS | Hayley & Curtis (Contemporary, Dee Caspary) Ummm…I didn’t actually switch my channel to So You Think You Can Climb a 15-Foot Ladder and Hang To and Fro, right? I really don’t know what to say about this one: I mean, you can’t really blame Hayley and Curtis for a lack of vote-inspiring content as they climbed and slid, then climbed and slid again. But on the flip side, is it really a coincidence that they wind up at or near the bottom of the Season 10 heap for me nearly every week?
SHOULD BE BOTTOM 6
Hayley, Alexis, Jenna, Curtis, Alan, Tucker (AND CARLY RAE, OF COURSE)
WILL BE BOTTOM 6
Hayley, Alexis, Jenna, Curtis, Alan, Nico