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'So You Think You Can Dance': Tough love

November 11, 2009 |  9:32 pm
Molleenathansalsa_MG_6744 For me, it wasn't tonight's results that were noteworthy so much as the truth bombs dropped by judge Nigel Lythgoe.  When Karen Hauer and Kevin Hunte were sent to the bottom three couples and not Mollee Gray and Nathan Trasoras, Nigel said what he thought: that many voting women might be too intimidated by Karen to love her (guilty as charged) and, more harshly, he told Mollee and Nathan that they were safe because people thought they, especially Nathan, were cute. Nigel opined that Nathan did need to learn more but wouldn't do so just by being voted through for his looks, and criticized Nathan for being flippant last night about his bad performance in the salsa.  Some audience members booed but a few did applaud after Nigel's speech, and Nathan and Mollee looked satisfyingly abashed.

Then, after the solos, Nigel lit into the dancers in the bottom three couples, telling them that none of them performed as well as they should for the solos, especially compared to Season 5. In the end, Pauline Mata and Peter Sabasino were eliminated. I liked them both, but by a matter of comparison it made sense: The judges love Karen, and Ellenore Scott is too unique to give up so early. Ryan Di Lello is eye candy for the TV public, and between a hip-hop dancer and a tapper, I think we all knew that none of the tappers would last very long. I wonder if in the future the judges will put tap dancers through to Las Vegas as easily as they did this season, or if they've given up on this little experiment.

But it wasn't all negative. I liked Dave Scott's warriors group dance, especially the mini solos starring Legacy Perez, Ellenore and Ryan's abs. And the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater put on an amazing performance; the women especially were a remarkable mix of powerful and vulnerable. But most importantly I enjoyed Dominic Sandoval as a sidewalk correspondent -- he even made it seem charming and not kind of weird that he was talking about dance and promoting K-Mart at the same time.

-- Claire Zulkey