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"So You Think You Can Dance": Disco, b-boys and Tahitian dance, oh my!

July 14, 2010 | 10:42 pm

IMG_3113 As Nigel Lythgoe noted halfway through Wednesday night’s episode, it was one of the more diverse installments of “So You Think You Can Dance,” and the slight changes of scenery paid off, despite the drama that last week brought.

I was very happy with the way the show kicked off, as Lauren and Mark performed the series’ first Tahitian dance. I thought it was a great style for Lauren, playful yet sensual (plus I loved the feathered costume.  She played “Day” and at certain points she actually looked like the sun). I think Mark was a little more committed to character and chemistry than she was but I don’t know if it was the type of dance where a lot of intense looks were very necessary.  It looked like a lot of fun, the kind of dance I would love to learn.

Next Adechike performed a “competitive” salsa with Anya.  While I don’t think it was the super triumphant return from last week that would have been very satisfying to see, Adechike still took what the judges described as “hard-ass” choreography and made it look not-that-hard, so while Mia Michaels didn’t think it was perfect (with which Anya agreed), she still gave him props for pulling it off. I, meanwhile, would like to have muscles like Anya, who spent a good deal of the dance bent over backwards, parallel to the floor.

Jose then performed a Joey Dowling Broadway routine to “Mister Cellophane” with Courtney. I loved seeing Jose play a sad sack and I thought he utilized his grace during the dance, but my complaint with the performance is that he didn’t actually seem to dance with Courtney at all. Yes, it was about a man pining after a woman who doesn’t know he’s alive but they had hardly any interaction during the performance. Nigel felt that the problem wasn’t in the choreography, but that if Jose’s personality wasn’t allowed to shine, his dancing looked extremely weak in comparison. I wonder what Nigel meant regarding the “mistake” the judges made in regards to him.


Travis Wall rarely disappoints and he choreographed a beautiful performance for Robert and Allison as they played an adult son and his ailing mother, based on Travis’ own experiences. There were so many great moments in the dance, including the part where Allison jumped up and Robert ran up from behind her to catch her, and when he lifted her onto her toes at the end.  I have to admit I was watching Allison a little bit more closely than Robert but it was a wonderful dance.  Nigel complimented Robert’s performance and opined that it would be one of the most memorable dances on the history of the show.

The judges kept up the positive feedback with Billy, who danced a jive with Anya.  While during rehearsals he had worried about getting the chemistry right with his partner, that didn’t seem to be a problem during the performance, where Billy seemed way more confident, even naughty than he has most of the season.  Nigel mentioned that in terms of actual dancing, Billy could have held back a tiny bit, but overall it was nice to see Billy in charge.  In case you were wondering whether Nigel mentioned soccer in tonight’s episode, by the way, he did here (in re: Billy’s kicks) even though the World Cup is over.

I have to say I failed to connect with Tyce Diorio’s baseball-themed Broadway dance for Neal and Kent. I can’t put my finger on any specific reason why it wasn’t my favorite, but I can’t deny the judges’ input that the dancing was strong, Kent made his gymnastic tricks seem effortless and that he has a lot of potential as a Broadway dancer.

I did enjoy Billy and Lauren’s second dance, a super-cute Mandy Moore jazz routine to “Boogie Shoes.”  It was youthful and fun; perhaps it wasn’t the most meaningful dance ever, probably, but who cares? The judges loved it as well, and Adam proclaimed that Lauren posed significant competition to the guys (without Ashley around, she’s the only girl!)

Jose redeemed himself after “Mister Cellophane” with a NappyTabs b’boy routine featuring Dominic. You could tell from the first move that it was going to be a fun dance, and that the choreographers had a great time letting the guys do their thing. I couldn’t tell what I liked best, the stuff that was closest to the floor, the more hard-hitting moves or the tricks and lifts at the end. The judges were happy to see Jose in his element, not just style-wise but with confidence too.

I thought Kent and Adechike then both had one of their best performances of the season with a Dee Caspary contemporary dance about a guy who tries to save his friend from a toxic relationship. I had gotten the impression from the rehearsal footage that the dance would be rather lighthearted, but that wasn’t the case at all. It was sad and elegant, and Adechike especially was simply beautiful in his dancing and performance. My favorite move was when Adechike tilted one chair to the side and Kent, sitting in a chair behind him, fell off his. Nigel praised the dance and complimented Kent for underplaying the performance. Mia echoed my thoughts that she had hoped that this would be a good week for Adechike, and that it indeed was.

We closed with a disco routine featuring Robert and Kathryn. I would have loved to see what Robert’s original partner, Ashley, would have done with the dance, but as I alluded to earlier today, she was out with a rib injury (and thus in the bottom three tomorrow).  The dance looked really tough, and I enjoyed some of the moves but I had to agree with Mia that Robert seemed to lack a little authority in his performance, the sort of weight and snap that Ryan De Lillo had last season.

As Nigel noted, it’s a hard night to pick who will or should go home tomorrow night. I could only make uneducated guesses at this point: who do you think should (if not will) be eliminated?

--Claire Zulkey

Nigel Lythgoe (L), Mia Michaels and Adam Shankman. Cr: Mathieu Young/FOX


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