'So You Think You Can Dance': The top nine couples perform
To quote choreographer Mia Michaels, this season is banoodles.
It seems like there are very few dancers in the competition who are NOT fan or judge favorites, which means that the elimination process throughout this season of "So You Think You Can Dance" will be more tense than in previous seasons: No one is safe.
Thus far, the only couples who have performed solidly from Week 1 to Week 2 are Joshua Allen and Kate Shean, and Kherington Payne and Twitch Boss, who almost switched roles in the last week. Joshua and Katie last week tugged heartstrings with their performance about a soldier leaving for war and Wednesday night supplied a Tivo-rewind moment with their infectiously fast-paced and fun Broadway number. Kherington and Twitch tackled Broadway last week and this week performed a Viennese waltz designed to bring joy to the choreographer's disabled daughter.
Both weeks, both couples delivered beautiful heartfelt performances and were also perhaps aided a bit by a touching story -- Michaels even got booed by suggesting that perhaps Kherington could tone down her megawatt smile during the waltz. Mark Kanemura and Chelsie Hightower, who wowed last week in a Michaels routine, also stayed in the judges' favor with their Argentinian tango, although perhaps the highlight of that performance was host Cat Deeley, who got on the floor in her feathered cocktail dress to help guide Chelsie's errant pinkie toe back into her shoe. Would Tyra Banks ever be such a mensch?
However, Thayne Jasperson and Chelsea Traille, who were lauded last week for their saucy cha-cha, didn't impress the judges with their courtly jazz routine (which was rather unjazzy). The judges praised Susie Garcia and Marquis Cunningham for their smooth waltz last week, but pretty much raked Susie over the coals Wednesday night for not bringing much to the table as a salsa dancer -- she cried over this during rehearsals and the defeat in her face was clear after the performance. Comfort Fedoke and Chris Jarosz also have fallen from grace. Poor Chris -- he's an adorable, talented dancer who unfortunately is mostly relegated to keeping up with Comfort and her out-sized personality. While Mia and judge Mary Murphy (who seemed to have raided Paula Abdul's wardrobe) gave him credit for doing the best he could during a krumping routine, judge Nigel Lythgoe went a little overboard in criticizing Chris' lack of hard-coreness, almost questioning his manhood. Chris seems like he desperately needs a week in which he can truly shine and guide Comfort, not just try not to be overshadowed by her.
Two couples that still need a killer routine to set themselves apart are Kourtni Lind and Matt Dorame, and Courtney Galiano and Gev Manoukian. Both are attractive, appealing couples but have failed to inspire much from the judges. The panel seemed positive, but in all lukewarm, about Kourtni and Matt's foxtrot. Courtney and Gev improved on last week's disco routine with a contemporary dance, but still need to give more, even if, according to Deeley, they are the cutest little "pocket" couple.
The dancer who may have the most to worry about in tonight's elimination is Jessica King. She was in the bottom three last week and was generally informed how vastly inferior she was to her partner, Will Wingfield, during their hip-hop routine. She's also unfortunately a dancer who doesn't seem to have been able to impart that much of a great impression up until this point, so if she can make it, she too will need to get a great dance number to show off that she deserves to be in the competition.
-- Claire Zulkey