As we get closer and closer to finding America’s favorite dancer, emotional connections have been made with each performer and tens of thousands of loyal voters wait for the news which two dancers will be let go as we go from the Top 16 down to 14 last night on the Fox hit show So You Think You Can Dance. The night was set in motion in with a group routine choreographed by Stacey Tookey and Peter Chu to New World by The Irrepressibles.
Fans of the show have been buzzing in anticipation, and frankly in reasonable question, about this week’s guest judge pop singer Carley Rae Jepsen. Nigel proudly mentions an amazing seven Emmy nominations the series received, including several choreographers, hostess Cat Deeley, lighting, and the overall recognition for Outstanding Reality Program. WooHoo!
Keeping with the new-new-new format, Cat breaks the news to the six dancers with the lowest votes: Mariah Spears, Alan Bersten, Makenzie Dustman, BluPrint, Jenna Johnson and Curtis Holland. After debating with the other judges and choreographers, Nigel announces that Jenna is the only dancer being saved at the top of the show and the remaining five dancers will need to dance for their lives as a good reminder of how they perform in their own genre.
Straight out of the gate Makenzie gives a jaw-dropping performance to Claire de Lune by Laura Sullivan. Alan Bersten brings down the house and shows how a solo is done to Return of the King by X-Ray Dog. Curtis Holland gives a less than stellar performance to Used to Love U by John Legend. Mariah Spears shows us a copycat performance of her last average solo to Set It Off by Kardinal Offishall and Clipse. An unemotional BluPrint may have given his best animation solo of the season to Illusion of Choice to Gramatik.
Nico Greetham and Alexis Juliano start off the couples performances with a Jive number choreographed by Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin to Mayhem by Imelda May that started off really strong, but quickly lost momentum. Sweet little Carley Rae even seemed to struggle coming up with something pleasant saying she thought they did good even dancing out of their element. Nigel was a little more realistic indicating they lost the good feeling and energy halfway through. Mary had mixed reviews saying they must have had some of Honey Boo Boo’s Go Go Juice, but they should work on keeping their feet underneath their bodies in this sort of routine.
Jenna Johnson and Tucker Knox were finally paired up with Emmy nominated Travis Wall for a breathtaking Contemporary routine to Hangin’ by a Thready by Jann Arden. The use of ceiling mounted material as a harness like a puppeteer an unexpected element that added so much intensity to the performance. Mary was overcome with emotion and said the routine will be remembered as one of the best of the season. Almost as if she was tuned in with loyal SYTYCD watchers, she said the pair has done something great every week but just needed that moment, and this routine was it. Still choked up, she weakly put them on Hot Tamale Train. Nigel pointed out that this routine served to remind everyone why choreographer Travis was nominated again for an Emmy. Couldn’t agree more.
The last two dancers from the Hip-Hop category, Animator BluPrint and Krumper Mariah Spears drew Jazz this week and were teamed up with choreographer Brian Friedman teams to Fall Into the Sky by Zedd and Lucky Date. Mariah seemed to really struggle to keep up with this number, but BluPrint looked really fluid and in control. …well, until the last lift which you could almost hear the audience suck in and then exhale when they pulled it off. Nigel pointed out the painfully obvious, saying the routine was filled with a lot of Hip-Hop influence, which helped the pair master it. Mary commented on their outfits (never a good sign), said they hit it hard once the music picked up, and complimented BluPrint on his ability to improve every week.
Alan Bersten and Malece Miller pair up for the first time for a demanding Hip-Hop routine with the amazing Dave Scott to Bassline by Chris Scott putting their ability to connect quickly to an early test. Malece was hitting it hard and getting it done throughout the entire routine, but unfortunately Alan was so far out of his element he just seemed lost. Nigel pointed out that Alan seemed a little stiff and needed to come out with a swagger. Mary agreed, saying he seemed to be just doing dancing steps and not performing. On the other hand, Malece was on fire tonight and her star is shining bright. Cat even interjected to name her a bad-ass Tinkerbell.
Former Miss Kansas Teen USA, Hayley Erbert and her partner Curtis Holland teamed up with choreographer Dee Caspary to Don’t Let Go Yet by David J. Roch. Using a huge ladder in the center of the stage, they pull off a very creative routine that makes Hayley shine brilliantly and leaves the entire room standing on their feet in applause. Both Mary and Nigel gave credit to Hayley and criticism to Curtis for basically the same things they always critique him about.
Leave it to Tyce Diorio to bring some energetic fun to the night by way of Amy Yakima and Fik-Shun as a couple of hobos in a Jazz routine to the tune of Under the Bridge from the Soundtrack The Triplets of Belleville. Nigel slaps down that Tyce choreographed one of the best routines he’s ever come up with, stole from this column saying Amy is a choreographer’s dream, and joked that if the royal family saw this number they’d be naming the baby Fik-Shun. Mary chimes in that these hobos need some serious transportation—on the Hot Tamale Train!
The funniest dance prequel was Makenzie Dustman talking about being obsessed with actor James Franco and how much her partner Paul Karmiryan is his identical twin. Dave Scott returns for a sexy 30’s style Hip-Hop routine Pretty Lil’ Heart by Robin Thicke and Lil Wayne. This was by far one of the hottest routines ever on this show and brought the house to their feet again. Nigel was left nearly speechless, and could only muster how sexy Makenzie was and that the pair was on his Hot Tamale Train. With finally something useful to say, Carley Rae comments that she was on the edge of her seat and thought the choreography was spectacular in a number reminiscent of a Baz Luhrmann movie.
The tallest couple got the Quickstep? Oh no!. Jasmine Harper and Aaron Turner hooked up with the duo of Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin, to work out a routine to Pencil Full of Lead by Paolo Nutini. Wait a minute. Hold on. They NAILED it! That may have been the best Quickstep ever seen on SYTYCD. Oh look – another standing ovation. The judges probably said something, but no one heard them. Wow…
After Nigel saves Alan and gives a warning to Curtis, he gives BluPrint the bad news. Next he said that Makenzie cemented her spot on this show tonight, which means Mariah was out. Masters of street and Hip-Hop are removed from the competition in one fatal swoop. …and no more good-bye video anymore?
Share comments and suggestions on So You Think You Can Dance Examiner FACEBOOK or TWITTER #sytycdExaminer