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'So You Think You Can Dance': Easy come, easy go?

October 27, 2009 |  8:01 pm

Sytucd_Brandon_MG-5078abrF There were so many new and temporary pairings on tonight's competitive debut of the Top 20 that I don't think it's fair to judge all the performances.

I will pick out my favorite couples based on tonight, however: 


Bianca Revels and Victor Smalley.  Sure, it helped that Bianca and Victor were given a very strong Travis Wall contemporary dance, but separately, they seemed like entertaining individuals and I liked the way they come together. Victor was so cruelly cold to Bianca in the dance, especially compared to how goofy and colorful he seems offstage, that I see a lot of performance potential in him. As Adam Shankman put it, "That was your dance," and Nigel Lythgoe noted that at that point in the competition, they had the best connection of all the couples. 

Ellenore Scott and Ryan Di Llelo.  They're a hot couple. I had basically already picked them out as the best-looking individuals in the competition, and now they're paired up and I have high hopes for them. I don't always like Sonya Tayeh dances as much as I would like to, and this was another example of a dance that I think really could have soared more and gone weirder, but I think we saw a great example of Ryan getting into a role and not being a ballroom guy. Meanwhile, I still love Ellenore's sexy quirkiness. 

Kathryn McCormick and Legacy Perez.
These two surprised me. I didn't take Legacy seriously because his name is "Legacy," and I didn't take Kathryn seriously because of all the high-pitched cry-talking last week. But Kathryn especially did a better job than I expected on Dave Scott's caveman hip-hop dance. This could be one of those cute petite fun couples that forms great chemistry as the season goes on.  They rendered Mary Murphy pretty much incoherent too. 
 
I'm sure some people think Mollee Gray and Nathan Trasoras shouldn't be left out. I do think they did a great job on another intense Doriana Sanchez disco routine, especially with the crazy lifts and spins.  However, those youngsters need to grow on me a bit (especially Mollee) before I can put them on the Bold Print Train. 

Tonight the judges decided which dancers were going home, putting Russell, Brandon Dumlao (who filled in for Billy Bell at the last minute), Pauline Mata and Ariana DeBose in the bottom four without much explanation. A little rationalization would have been nice, especially because the judges and audience so far seem to have loved Russell so much, including during his fox trot with Melanie LaPatin (his original partner, Noelle Marsh, was unable to perform due to an injured knee and may not return to the season).  Brandon and Pauline were paired up last minute and the judges gave them encouragement after their smooth waltz (although I had a feeling that Brandon was dancing on borrowed time). The only dancer they actually gave negative feedback to earlier in the show was Ariana, for her hip-hop routine with Peter Sabasino.

While I wish I had learned why the judges chose who they did, I didn't disagree with their results. Brandon left the show as quickly as he joined it (Nigel is hoping to make sure he can compete on the show again in the future due to unusual circumstances) and Ariana exited as well (Pauline's solo shone more next to hers). I have a feeling, though, that the next time America has a word in the matter, Russell won't be in the bottom four.

-- Claire Zulkey

Related posts:

'So You Think You Can Dance': Meet your Top 20! (Especially since two of them will be gone tomorrow)

'So You Think You Can Dance': Your Top 20 revealed!

Find all "So You Think You Can Dance" coverage here.

Photo: Brandon Dumlao. Credit: Joe Viles / Fox


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