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'So You Think You Can Dance': Dancing with the all-stars

June 16, 2010 |  9:32 pm

SYTYCD-MeetTheTop10_E-GroupShot_0599 Tonight was the return of live programming on "SYTYCD" and also the debut of the show's new competition format: the contestants each draw a genre from a hat and then perform with said genre's corresponding all-star. The episode got off to a bit of a rough start as the dancers were introduced and the camera couldn't decide where to be: way far in the back or right next to the dancers, never exactly focusing on them. Fortunately, things settled down after that.

We did see some very good dancing tonight. The judges pretty much declared Alex's Sonya Tayeh routine with Allison to be the best ever in the history of the show (no pressure on living up to that again, Alex. Good luck during hip-hop week!) Also, I was a big Mark Kanemura fan during his season of "SYTYCD" and I thought he and Cristina made a sexy duo with their jazz Sonya Tayeh dance. Even with my crush on Mark, I still watched a lot of Cristina's work. I think Mia was right, that Cristina could have done more with her face as she danced, but I was happy overall.

An issue I have with this format is that at times I want to watch the all-stars more than the competitors.  Maybe this will change as I get to know the dancers more and they improve but in Adechike's sexy dance with Kathryn, I was looking at her more: Of course, she was wearing the bright red dress, throwing paper around and dancing with her legs wide open (she was fantastic, by the way). The judges took him to task though for not having better chemistry with his partner. I also didn't get a lot of chemistry between Billy and Lauren: The judges gave him a little bit of insight about inhabiting character, but they also worshiped him for his talents.

Some performances just made me think about what I like and don't like about the new content of the show.  Although Mia critiqued Lauren for not filling in the spaces between the moves during her dance with Ade, I thought how much I enjoy having Mia on the panel, I think because she's actually the most serious critic among the three (although Adam sort of took Lauren to town for being a bit disingenuous.)  And watching Kent do his cha-cha with Anya, I did miss the old format of the show, because how fun would it be to see Kent have an ongoing relationship with a partner for a while, to see how they'd work together and what his partner would think of him long-term?  Watching those developments grow was a fun undercurrent to the show.


I think without that element the episode went on a little bit long for me, as it's a little more boring to hear the judges critique the contestants one at a time; it was more interesting to hear them talk to the couples as pairs. So, a lot of the dancers who were OK, but not perfect, from tonight, seemed to fall through the cracks a little bit, like Ashley and Alexie, for not being extremely memorable on their own. I thought the judges were a little rough on Lauren for her dance with Ade, but she was maybe at the top of the medium dancers tonight.

Nigel seemed to think Melinda would go home tonight after her jive routine with Pasha. I don't know who I'd pick to go home, but I sort of want to see Melinda get another shot since the tappers always go home so early.

--Claire Zulkey

Photo: The Top 11 finalists and their all-star dance partners.

Credit: Mathieu Young / Fox

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