Wednesday’s SYTYCD performance marked the first time all the dancers actually competed and the first time the public could vote for their favorite dancers. Each So You Think You Can Dance competitor was paired with an All Star dancer whose name they pulled from a hat for the competition that was aired live from Hollywood. Critiquing the dancers were, of course, the judges Nigel Lythgoe, Mia Michaels and Adam Shankman. Each dancer started out with a piece telling us something we did not know about them that we should.
Thursday’s results show Live from Hollywood started out with a group number to Acaplla by Kelis choreographed by Tessandra Chavez. They wasted no time in finding out who was safe and who was not. There were some performances that occurred throughout the night. Twyla Tharp’s Come Fly Away, her ode to Frank Sinatra was performed by Keith Roberts and Karine Plantadit to the song That’s Life by Frank Sinatra. Usher performed his latest single OMG. Plus the Justin Bieber world premier video of Somebody to Love featuring Usher was shown.
Did the public agree with my assessment of the dances? The judges’ assessment?
So You Think You Can Dance: Billy Bell
Billy Bell was paired with All Star Lauren Gottlieb to perform a Tyce Diorio Broadway routine to Kenny Loggins’ Footloose. Something that struck me (and the judges) and became a recurring theme throughout the evening was that the steps were pretty much perfection but there was not enough personality for my taste. It seemed a little too acted and not enough Billy having fun with it. Adam told Billy he was a great dancer and focused his comments on what he needs to improve and grow in the competition, “It’s what’s in between the steps that you need to fill out…what is it the choreographer didn’t give to you…that you need to fill out?” The choreography was typical Tyce brilliance and I especially liked the little nods to the movie that were thrown in. While the routine was not the same as that in the movie, there were some steps that reminded me of it and made me smile. I appreciated it.
Result: It was no surprise that Billy was safe this week.
So You Think You Can Dance: Cristina Santana
Cristina Santana was up next with All Star Mark Kanemura. Sonya Tayeh created a jazz number to Starstruck by Santigold. I was interested to see how a salsa dancer would take to a Sonya jazz routine and I was pleasantly surprised. She did incredibly well, blending into the style perfectly. She enveloped the character and performed wonderfully.
What I did not like as much was the choreography. This is not to take away from Sonya’s talent. She is undoubtedly a brilliant choreographer. But I can see a Sonya routine from a mile away. They are starting to look all the same to me. I remarked that the routine looked just like The Garden, a Sonya routine from SYTYCD Season 4. I was not the only one who thought that as Nigel also remarked on it. My craving to see a different-than-the-typical-Sonya-dark-funk routine would be satisfied later in the show, though.
Result: Although I think she did very well apparently the public disagreed and she was in the bottom three. Read on to see if she was ultimately safe or was the first to leave us.
So You Think You Can Dance: Jose Ruiz
Jose Ruiz and Comfort Fedoke took on a Tabitha and Napoleon D’umo hip-hop routine to Beautiful Monster by Ne-Yo. I knew he would do well with the dancing but when I saw what they were going for with the theme I was a tad concerned. Jose does not strike me as a primal, ferocious, scary animal. He’s too cute and cuddly and I was concerned he could not pull off the attitude needed. I was so wrong and I am so glad. The dancing was intense and I was completely pulled in. I believed every second of it and it became one of my favorite dances of the evening. Nappy Tabs always satisfies and they are so incredibly talented, always coming up with innovative steps and brilliant story lines.
Result: Jose obviously has a following and he was safe.
So You Think You Can Dance: Adéchiké Torbert
Adéchiké Torbert and All Star Kathryn McCormick came together to dance to Addicted to Love by Florence and the Machine choreographed by Travis Wall. Kathryn was the perfect partner for this dance, oozing sensuality. I was immediately struck with how much I did not believe he was into her in the least. He danced perfectly. I can not fault him at all for the steps but there was zero chemistry between him and Kathryn. Travis’ choreography was unique and I would have really liked this routine if there were more sparks between the two. Nigel mirrored my thoughts, “I didn’t quite believe…this was your fantasy. I didn’t quite believe that you really wanted her as much as she was giving it to you.”
Result: It seems Adéchiké has plenty of people who like him regardless of the lackluster performance and he was safe.
So You Think You Can Dance: Melinda Sullivan
Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin choreographed a jive to L-O-V-E by VV Brown. Melinda Sullivan was paired with All Star Pasha Kovalev. I was a little surprised she did as well as she did but that is not to say she did well merely that she did better than I expected. I was again in tune with the judges as I remarked that her personality masks many, many technical deficiencies. All the judges agreed that her legs and feet were not up to par. That was the biggest negative for her. Nigel remarked that he thought she would be in trouble this week. The dance was energetic and charming. Positively adorable. I would have loved to see this routine danced by experts. If Anya and Pasha performed this nobody would be able to look away.
Result: The public agreed with Nigel and she was not safe and was one of the bottom three. Will she continue with us after dancing for her life? Read on.
So You Think You Can Dance: Alex Wong
Alex Wong and All Star Allison Holker danced to Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah. Sonya Tayeh choreographed this contemporary routine. I was captivated as were the judges, the audience and I am sure everyone watching at home. The only critique I have was that Allison’s emotions dripped from her being with every step and it was stunning to watch so I continually caught my gaze drifting to her more often. That is saying a lot though because Alex’s performance was nothing short of brilliant. It’s not much of a critique because it merely meant I had to watch it again, focusing completely on Alex. Oh darn.
Nigel had to take a moment to compose himself before telling Alex, “I believe you have just set a new standard for So You Think You Can Dance.” Mia agreed with, “That is the best, hands down, piece of work, danced on the So You Think You Can Dance stage, anywhere in the world, up to date.” Adam continued the praise with, “Now I know why Edward Viellella did not want you to leave the Miami City Ballet.”
Now to the choreography. I remarked earlier that I was getting tired of the same Sonya routine over and over again. But she broke the mold with this one. Adam mentioned, “I think that those dancers just made you a totally different choreographer.” It was definitely outside the norm of what she usually creates and I, for one, appreciated it immensely. I was not the only one. Mia said, “Sonya you have completely outdone yourself. Sonya you are sheer genius.” This was easily my favorite routine of the night.
Result: It is no surprise he was safe. Did anyone really question it?
So You Think You Can Dance: Alexie Agdeppa
Alexie Agdeppa danced with All Star Stephen “Twitch” Boss to a Tabitha and Napoleon D’umo hip-hop routine. Butterfly by Jason Mraz was the vehicle for this routine. The first thing I thought of when I saw the beginning of this dance was the window which was reminiscent of the routine he did on SYTYCD Season 4. Cat also saw it remarking laughingly, “What is it with you and doors and windows?”
For me this was so benign it did the Nappy Tabs routine a disservice. The choreography was there, the personality was not. It seemed like very immature dancing to me, something you would see from a young dancer with talent but no life experience. Again, it seemed I was in complete agreement with the judges. Mia said, “There was no hip hop groove, there was no swag, there was no coolness to it…It felt just like…cute.” The performance simply was not there even though the steps were.
Result: It seemed everyone felt the performance was lacking and Alexie was in the bottom three. Did her dance for her life performance save her? Read on.
So You Think You Can Dance: Lauren Froderman
Lauren Froderman and All Star Ade Obayomi performed a Mandy Moore pop-jazz routine to Oh Yeah by Yello. It had all the potential to be a really hot routine filled with give and take between the dancers for a fun and flirty routine. It fell short, though. I kept thinking throughout the performance that she looked like a cheerleader. She had this smile plastered on her face and she kept performing to the audience. Zero chemistry between her and Ade. No flirtatious banter. I was disappointed and ultimately this was my least favorite routine. However, I still want to see Lauren in the competition because I think she has a better performance in her.
Mia remarked, “Technically and athletic wise you’re kind of flawless. You are really, really powerful but there is a lot of space in there that is unused…It felt like a first draft of a performance and we need to take it to level 10.” Adam continued with, “You were focused on presentation. There was no cat and mouse. There was no sideward glances. [It was] you looking out at the audience going ‘like me, like me.'”
Unfortunately the performance did not do the choreography justice. I suspect the dance would have been a lot of fun to watch if it was performed better. I would actually like to see Lauren redo it taking into consideration the critiques.
Result: The rest of the voters want to see more of Lauren also. She was safe.
So You Think You Can Dance: Kent Boyd
Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin took to the ballroom again with a cha cha cha for Kent Boyd and All Star Anya Garnis to Lady Marmalade by Diva Invasion. I could not stop smiling through this routine. You just have to love Kent. I couldn’t help but think Anya would tear him up though. Kent was so obviously enjoying himself that his joy was infectious. He needs to work on his maturity and masculinity in this routine but his steps were better than I expected from him. The choreography was perfect for the cha cha cha and had it been performed by a more seasoned ballroom dancer I think it would have been breathtaking.
Result: I was a little scared of this outcome but it looks like nobody else can resist him either. He was safe.
So You Think You Can Dance: Ashley Galvan
Ashley Galvan was paired with All Star Neil Haskell for a Tyce Diorio contemporary routine to For All We Know by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway. The dance was good and I could feel her emotions but there was something missing. It was hard to pinpoint exactly what went wrong but I think Mia articulated it best with, “when you were dancing…I felt you a lot and I don’t know where you placed that emotion… not sure what you’re feeling and that’s the thing, I couldn’t tell if it was pain…it was there, it was a nugget of emotion that was trying to envelope the stage but wasn’t quite coming across as loudly as I hoped.” The thing I love so much about Tyce’s choreography is his versatility. From Broadway to contemporary Tyce never ceases to amaze me. This performance was close but missed just short of the mark.
Result: It was close enough though as Ashley was safe this week.
So You Think You Can Dance: Robert Roldan
Robert Roldan finished the evening’s competition with his All Star partner Courtney Galiano. They danced to a Sean Cheesman African jazz routine to Norweg from Cirque de Soleil’s Saltimbanco Soundtrack. This was a close second for my favorite routine. It was danced beautifully. Frankly, prior to this I did not put a lot of stock in Robert but he became one of my favorites tonight. As Nigel said, “No one really knows you yet…you are gonna be so good young man.” Adam said, “I happen to believe you are one of the best contemporary dancers we’ve ever had on this show.” I have to agree.
African jazz is actually one of my favorite styles of dance and Sean Cheesman did a phenomenal job with this piece. The fact that it was performed so brilliantly just made it that much more incredible. I look forward to seeing more from him this season.
Result: Apparently the voter’s felt the same and he was safe.
Bottom three and the elimination
The dancers who were safe included Billy Bell, Jose Ruiz, Adéchiké Torbert, Alex Wong, Lauren Froderman, Kent Boyd, Ashley Galvan and Robert Roldan. The bottom three were Cristina Santana, Melinda Sullivan and Alexie Agdeppa. They each had a chance to perform a solo routine in their own style to convince the judges they should stay on the show. Melinda was up first with a tap routine to I Got the Feelin’ by James Brown. Alexie was next with a contemporary routine to I’ve Been Loving You Too Long by Otis Redding. Cristina rounded out the bottom three performing a salsa routine to La Guarachera by Celia Cruz and Tito Puente.
After the judges returned Nigel announced that they were unanimous in their decision. Nigel told Melinda that she needed some warmth to her performances – that she needs to bring some fire. Nigel told Cristina that she brought the fire but not the steps for her performance. Nigel told Alexie that she was very contained in her performance and an immature dancer. Unfortunately, she was the first to go. The judges gave her some great positive feedback and we said goodbye to Alexie.
From SYTYCD Wednesday: What we don’t know about…
Billy Bell – he likes DIY projects
Cristina Santana – she auditioned for a show similar to American Idol in Mexico as a singer
Jose Ruiz – every day he practices yoga
Adéchiké Torbert – went to the Fame school, LaGuardia Performing Arts High School where Tyce went and we learned he did not do so well
Melinda Sullivan – is also an actress and had a role on As the World Turns plus she writes music
Alex Wong – loves to sing and play piano
Alexie Agdeppa – competed on Star Search as a child where Adam Shankman judged her
Lauren Froderman – she works with kindergarteners
Kent Boyd – he was crowned homecoming king (out of 14 guys)
Ashley Galvan – does weird voices including a robot called Galvitron
Robert Roldan – wanted to become a professional baseball player
Wikipedia, “So You Think You Can Dance Season 7.” Wikipedia