Nigel Lythgoe, Adam Shankman and Mia Michaels were introduced by host Cat Deeley for the start of week three of So You Think You Can Dance. Wednesday’s show featured each of the remaining nine dancers who drew an All-Star name and then were assigned a dance. In addition to this typical format, they added a solo routine to the mix so each dancer could also show off their own style of dance. For the “get to know you” portion of the show, each dancer told us who inspired them the most. Last week I was unimpressed with the dancing overall. It was good but nothing really wowed me. This week was different – there were a few surprises, some incredible routines and immense growth. The dancers really stepped up their game this week and I certainly appreciated it.
Thursday’s results show started out with the group dance to O Fortuna from Carmina Burana by the London Symphony Orchestra and Richard Hickox. Nigel announced some exciting changes that would occur next week. Each dancer will dance two dances: one with an All-Star they have never worked with and one with another competitor. The show continued with the bottom three dancers revealed. After this All-Stars Courtney and Mark were featured and they performed Sonya’s crowd favorite dance, The Garden.
In the first guest performance the cast of Cirque de Soleil’s Viva Elvis performed to Didja Ever/Return to Sender by Elvis Presley and choreographed by SYTYCD‘s own Tabitha and Napoleon Dumo and Mandy Moore. The bottom three performed their solo routines and the second guest, Ne-Yo performed his smash hit Beautiful Monster. The judges came back to announce their unanimous decision. Did they pick who you wanted to leave the show?
So You Think You Can Dance Solos
Although the solos were intermixed with the partner dances, I will discuss each solo first in turn. Billy Bell was first to do a jazz solo to Something Bigger, Something Better by Amanda Blank. He is a positively brilliant dancer who can hit some amazing lines and positions. What I felt about this particular solo, though, is that he incorporated some other styles into his dance. Perhaps he was inspired by the various styles he is learning but I certainly liked his solo. He let us in on the fact that SYTYCD Season 6’s Legacy was his inspiration when he saw him dance years earlier.
Jose Ruiz was up next with his break dancing routine to Super Bad by James Brown. He has been given some suggestions in performances past that he needs to put a little more speed and power into this moves. It seems as if he took that to heart and performed a great solo. He let us in on who his inspiration is – Bruce Lee.
Kent Boyd impressed with a contemporary solo to Down (Candlelight Remix) by Jay Sean showing both his artistry and his athleticism. He obviously has some fans if the screams emitted from the audience is any indication. His inspiration is his brother.
Alex Wong’s ballet to Rule the Planet from Planet of the Apes did not disappoint. He performed his solo brilliantly, hitting even the SYTYCD music like it was a part of his routine. As I watched I remarked to others with me that I felt he was using SYTYCD as a vehicle to break out of ballet as his primary dance discipline. I think Alex Wong is one of the best all around dancers ever and without such a platform as SYTYCD I think he may have been stuck in ballet for years. This opportunity may just give him the stepping stone he needs to expand his reach to many other genres. As the night progressed and he performed his partner routine, this thought was only amplified. He told us that Edward Villella is his inspiration.
After letting us know that her inspiration for dance is her dance teacher, Rebecca, Ashley Galvan danced a jazz number to Royal T by Crookers feat. Róisín Murphy. It was fine. It was exactly what I expected from her but not more. At this level I think I expect to be dazzled and I was not. I was really enjoyed her partner dance but her solo was merely OK.
Robert let us know that his biggest inspiration is his mother. With Robert Roldan’s contemporary routine to Hold You in My Arms by Ray LaMontagne I think I finally figured out why he is so underrated and why I didn’t really pay much attention to him through auditions and Vegas week. I don’t think he is a good choreographer and knows how to push himself or feature his best points. When he works with a choreographer he is stretched as a dancer and this brings out his strengths. In his own choreography he shows he is a great dancer but we all know that already. After seeing it a few times it gets old no matter how brilliant it is. This is not necessarily a bad thing – not all dancers are great choreographers. But if he has to dance for his life this may actually hurt him if he can not tap into something deeper in his solos.
Melinda Sullivan’s inspiration is legendary tapper Harold Cromer. She performed a decent tap to Empire State of Mind (Part II)Broken Down by Alicia Keys. I can not disagree that she is a great tapper. But I am tired of it…and her.
Adéchiké Torbert informed us that his inspiration for dance was Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s star Desmond Richardson. Adéchiké performed his contemporary to Ruthless Gravity by Craig Armstrong. This was my favorite solo of the evening. It had strength, interest and intensity combined with a flow and musicality that was riveting.
Lauren Froderman’s biggest influence is her student council advisor. She performed another contemporary piece to Unchained Melody by Cyndi Lauper. It was a good solo but I was distracted by how bad the music was. I cringed. How could anyone take such a classic as Unchained Melody and butcher it like that? Lauren should have simply used the original. Aside from that, though, great job.
But now on to the partner routines…
So You Think You Can Dance: Adéchiké Torbert
All-Star Lauren Gottlieb was paired with Adéchiké Torbert for a hip-hop routine choreographed by Dave Scott to Hot-N-Fun by N.E.R.D ft. Nelly Furtado. Dave Scott did an incredible job creating a fun, funky dance that had to be performed with personality to make it work. Adéchiké has been criticized in previous weeks for his lack of personality so it was with trepidation that I watched. Adéchiké certainly delivered though and it was like a new person on the stage. This is what the public and the judges have been hoping for since the first week of competition. He seemed relaxed and it looked like he was having a great time performing. The fact that his steps were perfection didn’t hurt either.
Nigel said, “Dave Scott has brought something out in you Adéchiké that hasn’t been there which is a lack of nerves. You’re obviously having fun – he’s brought your personality out. Your natural swagger is there, your natural funk is there. Not only were you enjoying it, we were enjoying watching you. There is great chemistry between you and your partner. This is a different Adéchiké that I’ve seen so far in the competition.” Mia said, “Welcome, Mr. Personality to So You Think You Can Dance.” Adam stood up and gave Adéchiké a standing ovation and thanked him for listening. It was a great job with tremendous growth shown as a performer.
Result: The viewers also appreciated the growth and he was safe.
So You Think You Can Dance: Ashley Galvan
Ashley Galvan chose All-Star Ade Obayomi to perform a Dee Caspary contemporary routine to Cosmic Love by Florence and the Machine. The dance focuses on their reliance on one another to dance. The dance was cleverly composed and Dee did an incredible job giving the dancers a vehicle to really shine. Again we see a dancer grow with this performance. I admit I am getting a little tired of seeing Ashley perform to contemporary and would like to see something different but if I had to see another contemporary, this was the one I wanted to see. This was the first time since the beginning of competition that I really felt Ashley’s emotion in a performance. It was danced beautifully. It was danced with heart.
Ashley mentioned that it “felt nice to just let go.” Adam said, “Young lady you are breathtaking. That was unbelievable and probably one of the best contemporary female performances I have seen on this show in any season.” I’m not sure I would go that far but it was great.
Result: The viewers also thought Ashley did a great job and she was safe.
So You Think You Can Dance: Robert Roldan
For a Sonya Tayeh jazz number to XXXO by M.I.A., All-Star Courtney Galiano teamed with Robert Roldan. You really can tell a Sonya routine from a mile away but I liked this one because it had her signature on it but was not cookie-cutter like I think a few of her dances have become. It showcased Robert’s talents and pushed him to show a different side of his to let us see how versatile he could be. Paired with Courtney it made a magical partnership between the dance and dancers. It was strong, intense and just a tad dark. The judges agreed. Mia and Adam gave him a little constructive criticism to help him out in future performances with the minute details of some steps.
Result: Even though Robert did a good job he did not get the votes and was in the bottom three. Ultimately, though, he was safe.
So You Think You Can Dance: Melinda Sullivan
All-Star Pasha Kovalev and Melinda Sullivan danced a Fabian Sanchez choreographed salsa to Madgalena, Mi Amor (Quimara) by D.L.G. Fabian choreographed a routine that had the potential to be smoking hot. Unfortunately, the execution of it fell short of its potential Melinda’s performance reminded me of a certain “Clomp Along Kate” on the other dance show, Dancing with the Stars. Of course, nobody could be that bad but for a professional, her feet and legs were terrible. She could certainly shake it and put her all into it. She also had a small foible at the beginning where her dress caught in her heel. She got it out and continued with no break in the rhythm which is a testament to her tenacity. But this was definitely not her dance. It was by far the worst performance of the night and again I wished that Cristina was still in the running and Melinda was the one eliminated last week. It seems the judges thought so too.
Even though Mia and Adam were the ones who outvoted Nigel last week to keep Melinda both acknowledged they felt that was a mistake. Mia said, “I feel like we made a mistake last week by letting Cristina go.” Adam continued with, “Honestly, after watching the show back last week I sort of felt the same way.”
Result: The viewers wanted to make sure the same mistake did not happen twice and Melinda was in the bottom three. The mistake was not made twice and Melinda was unanimously voted off.
So You Think You Can Dance: Lauren Froderman
Lauren Froderman and All-Star Neil Haskell performed a Broadway number to Let Me Entertain You by Debbie Gibson choreographed by Joey Dowling. First, I was rather impressed with the song given that the Debbie Gibson I remembered sang watered down bubble gum pop in the early 1980’s. Next, Joey Dowling painted a picture with her routine that was both whimsical and sultry. The dancers took that and ran with it, bringing it to life. This was the first time I have seen Lauren dance where I did not immediately think she was a teenager. She showed a maturity in her dance that was impressive. Again, more growth in this dancer. The fact that she had a rather embarrassing wardrobe malfunction and carried on seamlessly just shows her professional dedication. Wonderful job.
The judges had some advice to make the performance even better but ultimately agreed that her performance was great.
Result: The viewers seemed to enjoy the maturity…or maybe the wardrobe malfunction. In any case, she was safe.
So You Think You Can Dance: Billy Bell
Billy Bell was joined by All-Star Kathryn McCormick for a contemporary routine choreographed by Stacey Tookey to Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri. Stacey Tookey created a beautiful and haunting routine that was paired perfectly with the music. She gave the dancers everything they needed to bring the audience into this heartbreaking routine to feel their pain. All-Star Kathryn was who you felt though. She performed her heart out and gave it her all. I was slightly disappointed in Billy’s performance though. I just did not buy that Billy caught this woman, dumped her then tried to get her back. He did not sell me on his part although he danced the steps well. He simply did not bring me into his world and that is what needed to happen with this performance. It fell just slightly short of that for me.
Nigel observed, “You are such a brilliant dancer and such a brilliant soloist. SYTYCD is a silly name for a show for you to be on because you can dance. Brilliantly. There’s no question about that. But the thing I think you’ve got to learn is ‘So You Think You Can Partner’. I didn’t quite believe the partnership. You’ve now got to figure out the acting side of it and you’ve got to figure out the performance side with somebody else there.”
Result: Viewers agreed that there’s a disconnect and he was in the bottom three. However, his incredible solos ensured he stayed safe.
So You Think You Can Dance: Jose Ruiz
All-Star Anya Garnis was partnered by Jose Ruiz for a Dmitry Chaplin choreographed samba to Long Time by Shakira. What stood out for me in this dance was Dmitry’s choreography. First of all Dmitry, you stole that opening step from Maks and “sexy face” Erin from DWTS. But now that I have that out of the way – what positively brilliant choreography! Dmitry highlighted Anya, a talented ballroom dancer, and made her do all the work. Jose had very few actual ballroom steps so he could work on perfecting what little had had to do. He did a great job including some goof footwork and posture but I did think his role in the dance was a tad light. Kudos to Dmitry for letting the dancer shine by not exposing his weaknesses. But also noted in Jose’s dancing is what is continually remarked on and that is his personality.
Nigel quipped, “You are not the best dancer on this show but you have magic in your eyes. You have a charisma that you could not sell or bottle.” Mia continued with, “Yea, we could tear different things down but…I don’t care.” Adam agreed, “You made the dance work for you.”
Result: Everyone loves Jose. He was safe.
So You Think You Can Dance: Kent Boyd
Kent Boyd and All-Star Allison Holker performed a jazz routine to Heartburn by Alicia Keys that was choreographed by Mandy Moore. Mandy created a strong, vibrant and somewhat cheeky routine that had, in my opinion, some Fosse influence too. The problem I am starting to have with Kent that is grating on my nerves somewhat is that his personality is just so huge and it is not turned off. You do not get a character in his dance performances you simply get another facet of Kent. As Mia said last week, we are always in “Kent world.” I don’t think he is pulling off his characters because he is not tapping into them. The judges also found his performance a bit lacking, though the expertise of his dancing is indisputable.
Nigel remarked, “I think you need to be careful that you keep an honesty to your work. If you start faking a performance…you love playing to the audience don’t you? But there is a negative in there and that is he’s got a partner here and even through that routine he was playing to the audience when he should have been using his partner.” Mia agreed that he gets caught up in the television personality. Adam thought he is one of the most hirable dancers but he does need to lose the “hungry jazz face”.
Result: Viewers still love him though and Kent was safe.
So You Think You Can Dance: Alex Wong
For a surprise twist and a first for Season 7 on SYTYCD there was a male/male pairing. Alex Wong teamed with All-Star Stephen “Twitch” Boss for a NappyTabs hip-hop routine to Outta Your Mind by Lil Jon and LMFAO. Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo did what they do best and then some. As many of the dancers did this week, Napoleon and Tabitha upped their game with this routine. This was definitely the highlight of the night from both a choreography and dancing perspective. The choreography gave Alex something that would expand his perspective yet it often referred back to his roots in ballet. You could not take your eyes off it and it verified what I though in his solo. I think Alex may be one of the best and most versatile dancers of his generation. Who would have thought ballet dancer Alex would be able to go toe to toe with a master of hip hop like Twitch? Not only did he do exactly that but he pushed Twitch to be better also. Positively brilliant work all the way around.
Tabitha quipped, “I want it to be so ‘Wong’ that it is right.” It was so, so Wong! The crowd went wild. The judges were in awe. Nigel predicted an Emmy nod. Mia asked, “Who the hell are you? You have defied everything about the ballet world. I wish I could close my mouth but I can’t.” Adam added, “This is your world and I am just visiting. I am so proud of you!”
Result: There would have been a riot if the result was any different. He was, of course, safe.
So You Think You Can Dance Results
This week the dancers who were safe included Alex Wong, Ashley Galvan, Adéchiké Torbert, Kent Boyd, Lauren Froderman and Jose Ruiz. Dancing to stay in the competition were Billy Bell, Robert Roldan and Melinda Sullivan. Billy danced first to Fly by Ludovico Einaudi. Robert was up next to Hater by Various Productions. Finishing the trio was Melinda who did an a cappella tap. It really is no surprise to anyone that Melinda was the one to go.
Next week’s dance show promises to be great with a few changes. Stay tuned to So You Think You can Dance!