After weeks of auditions, Vegas Week aka Hell Week and the return to Los Angeles for final cuts to announce the Top 20, it’s finally time for partnered live performances and America to take over season 10 of So You Think You Can Dance of Fox. The show opened with a stunning Tony Awards style Broadway number set to Puttin’ on the Ritz that included all cast members, most judges and several choreographers. Returning to join Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy at the judges table is Las Vegas staple funny man Wayne Brady.
Odd couple Mariah Spears and Carlos Garland kick things off with a Jason Gilkison choreographed Jive routine to Get It Right by American Idol winner Fantasia. Drawing the Jive in the first week is practically the kiss of death, although Jason packed this routine with so many change-ups, it was impossible to avoid the allure. To the same point, it also brought the weaknesses in this partnership to the forefront and the judges weren’t shy in pointing them out.
Travis Wall makes his season 10 choreography debut with the duo of Jasmine Mason and Alan Bersten about love being blind to Can’t Help Falling in Love by Ingrid Michaelson. This was an emotionally touching and memorable piece having both dancers wear blindfolds as they performed. Time will tell whether it was the skills of Travis Wall or remarkable chemistry, but this seems to be a great partnership.
Another extraordinarily unexpected couple is Malece Miller and Jade Zuberi, but the stars were aligned to allow them to work with Travis Wall for their first performance to Silver Screen by Felix da Housecat. Although the audience didn’t necessarily need to know, Nigel points out that the pair struggled in practice, though they pulled it together on the live show. It must have been an uphill battle for Travis to work with this couple, because he is a genius and this performance was mediocre at best.
The first couple to face the Broadway hurdle is Jenna Johnson and Tucker Knox working with the fabulous Tyce Diorio set to That’s All by Kevin Spacey from the Beyond the Sea soundtrack. Mary calls Tyce Dr. Feelgood, Wayne says Tucker reminds him of Donald O’Connor and Jenna reminds him of Cyd Charisse, though neither dancer are old enough to realize what any of those references mean.
With a pattern of every other couple seeming very strange forming here, next up is Brittany Cherry and BluPrint drawing Afro-Jazz. Although they got the opportunity to work with the incredible Sean Cheesman right out of the gate, the American audience doesn’t typically connect with Afro-Jazz, but this was an absolutely remarkable performance by both dancers hitting it hard to Drumming Circle by Professor Trance & The Energisers. Nigel told BluPrint that he performed one of the best Afro-Jazz numbers he’s seen on the show and Mary placed them as the first couple on the Hot Tamale Train.
The first hip-hop routine was arranged by Christopher Scott for Nico Greetham and Alexis Juliano to Last Time by Labrinth. Nigel gave some seldom received honest feedback by telling Alexis she is a stunning Tapper and one of his favorites this year, and that Nico is a fantastic Contemporary partner. However, the dancers were unable to live up to their potential tonight, and although he does feel that the public will support them for now, they will need to work to adapt to the routines, otherwise they won’t stay on the show for long as they both deserve to.
One of the best arrangements was Makenzie Dustman and Paul Karmiryan in terms of partnering and being technically comparable. Though they drew the dreaded Viennese waltz, their performance to Jason Gilkison’s choreography to the beat of I’m With You by Avril Lavigne may be an indication of great things ahead for them this season. Mary said she thought the number was a beautiful fairy tale and Wayne joked that the pair should be on top of a wedding cake.
The most predictable, but still possible the most compatible couple is Jasmine Harper and Aaron Turner, because of sheer size alone. Bottom of the River by Delta Rae is a highly unusual song to put choreography to, but what better person to meet that challenge than Sonya Tayeh? Wayne knowing he sounded like a creepy old man, pondered where Jasmine was when he was 20, Nigel commented on Jasmine’s legs that won’t quit, and Mary even joking said the number should be renamed Jasmine DANG got some legs.
The second hip-hop number of the evening. also choreographed by Christopher Scott, is performed by Hayley Erbert and Curtis Holland to Go by Delilah. Nigel provides a huge compliment by saying that Alexis and Nico should have performed like them, and calls the piece tremendous. Everyone hailed Hayley for her stronger performance, but the best Mary and Wayne could muster for Curtis is that he was able to keep up with her.
In realizing who was left, they clearly saved the best for last with a pairing of possibly the two most talented dancers of the season, Amy Yakima and Fik-Shun. For the second week in a row our dreams are answered bringing Sonya Tayeh in as Amy’s choreographer to Elsa by The Valeria Project. The judges and audience respond by giving the first standing ovation of the night and Mary says Amy is one of the best and most dynamic dancers this season. In true Wayne Brady fashion, the funniest moment of the evening was when he told Fik-Shun,
When I want to get serious, I also get naked and dance with a white chick.
For the first time this season, America now takes over and controls the fate of the dancers by voting for their favorite. Next week Cat will announce who the bottom three guys and bottom three girls are, then after dancing for their lives Nigel will tell us who will be the first two to go.
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