Cat Deeley was stunning as always. Mary Murphy was loud, as usual. Nigel Lythgoe had his moments. I embraced (and related to) Megan Mullally’s love for this show. These Top 20 dancers for season 8 took to the stage and the only thing I could think about all show was “Do we really have to lose some?” You know you were too. Admit it now, it’s healthier that way. On the downside of things, it wouldn’t be SYTYCD without a season-opening injury. Sadly, we got just that. Mitchell, this season’s first (and hopefully only) casualty to the injury bug sat on the sidelines as America got to enjoy the 19 other contestants slide across that stage in fashion. Speaking of, no point in wasting your time or mine with some wry and wordy intro. Let’s get straight to the performances tonight in chronological order.
Jordan & Tadd ~ African Jazz by Sean Cheesman | No, Jordan, you’re not about to do jazzercise on stage while wearing Afros. How nice of SYTYCD production team to throw that ignorant gem of a comment out for Jordan’s opener. Oh well, she wants to be a Pussycat Doll, so maybe it works. Well, Tadd can’t ride a bike but he sure as hell can become animalistic for this tribal dance! Not to mention, his body paint galore. The routine was fun, acrobatic, and full of “stunts” with some high energy music, but it started off too slow for me as they seemed to have trouble with the acrobats. Tadd looks much stronger than Jordan. I know the judges and I don’t mesh here, but I didn’t find her choreography to be complete. Maybe that was part of the routine, but she seemed to start off sluggish. That’s not to say she wasn’t rockin’ that stage, but I sorta feel she held out on us.
Sasha & Alexander ~ Contemporary by Travis Wall | Lesson learned: Don’t Mess With the Sasha. Cat’s Warrior princess (who can’t seem to remember her age) took every emotion of that piece, tore it to shreds on stage and kicked Alex to the curb all in one breath. Her movements were so fluid and Megan is right in saying she’s coming into this as a favorite. No doubt another powerful piece from Travis Wall who is quickly becoming one of the show’s biggest and most prized possessions. It felt so strong and empowering. Alexander played the character well. Unfortunately for him, his character was blown out of the water … and it showed.
Clarice & Jess ~ Broadway by Tyce Diorio | Can I be honest? I didn’t write any notes during this performance and I can’t decide if that was because I was mesmerized or if I couldn’t come up with anything to say. The piece was fun and hoppy. It had that snap, crackle, pop aspect, but I expected more from Tyce…or maybe I wanted more from Clarice. Someone help me out here. Poopy.
Ryan & Ricky ~ Lyrical Hip-Hop by Chris Scott | Can I be honest again? I didn’t write any notes during this performance, but this time I know why. I couldn’t coincide my foot tapping with my finger pecking. The rhythm and beat in that emotional piece was pretty grabby. And it took them 4 seasons to get Ryan into the Top 20, why? I have yet another question. If Ryan was so smiley during that piece, which seemed to be more of a “distant” piece, do you think she’s all smiley during her SVU viewing? Also, more Chris Scott please!
Caitlyn & Season 7’s Robert ~ Jazz by Sonya Tayeh | I’m pretty sure Robert will be sticking around for much of the season. I’d be shocked if he’s not an all-star that joins us once we get to our Top 10. And Mary agrees with me. There is never anything left behind with a Sonya Tayeh piece. She commands the stage without even being on it. Caitlyn’s legs have been the pair that has impressed me most up to this point. Don’t pervert that folks, rewatch this performance. Her flexibility complemented Robert’s strength and powerful presence. I obviously can’t comment on Mitchell’s technique, but I for one hope we get to see it next week so we can make our own opinion!
Miranda & Robert ~ Latin Jive by Jason Gilkison | Thank you Mary Murphy for the Rebecca Black shout out with “fun fun fun.” If I may go casual for one moment, what a hella freakin’ impersonation of Urkel in the pre-performance package. Robert’s “woo” got a “waaaaaahoooooo” from Mary – the first of the season. This jive was definitely so high energy that we lost an earring early on. And Miranda was worried about pulling off sexy? Nigel was right, she totally did! If I may, I think Robert’s hyper personality could become old very quick. In fact, I find him fun, but I’m already ready for the “woo” to be put to a stop. But who am I to complain? Someone’s up there enjoying dance and infusing their personality. Couldn’t be happier, right? And who else thought he’d knock Miranda over at the end?
Missy & Wadi ~ Jazz by Sean Cheesman | Big Brother be damned. SYTYCD brought 2 minutes of Pandora’s Box and it’s outlived any “twist” CBS has thrown our way during the summer staple. But we won’t go there … Sexy demons everywhere, take note. These two topped you! I sure am glad those demons were let free. You can’t even tell these people are out of their genre! The Jamaican loving Missy paired with the Jamaican was pure magic. Good work Fox. Wadi’s technique for never having partnered before was masterful. The energy these two put forth blew me away. In the words of Megan Mullally, that was pretty “In-san.” In other news, this episode is totally making me hate that we went a whole season without Mary Murphy. Pandora’s Box be opened and bring on that can of whoop ass Mary promised. This performance wins the award for the first to be rewound on the DVR this season!
Melanie & Marko ~ Contemporary by Travis Wall | First of all, please don’t let these two turn back into pillars of salt, stone or whatever the heck they started off as. Our first standing O of the season is EXTREMELY well deserved. This moving piece of art was just that. Art – in its finest form. Honestly, Mary said it best. One was right in line with the universe with this piece. The fluidity of the piece, which is expected with Travis’s choreography, hasn’t been on that very SYTYCD stage in a long time. This piece rivals “Fix You,” “Gravity,” and “This Women’s Work” to name a few. Nigel goes so far as to say this piece could (and should) be Emmy nominated!
Ashley & Chris ~ Hip Hop by Chris Scott | Nigel’s gotten America thinking about cross-dressing. How’s that for Wednesday night entertainment? This routine was definitely the most fun of the night. From the music choice, performance plot, to bra discoveries and more. Ashley surprised me the most, not only because she is a ballerina dominating the hip-hop scene, but because her quick and easy adaptation went unnoticeable. Chris looked slightly uncomfortable up there compared to Ashley, but his knowledge of the hip hop swagger probably kept him more on his feet than had they opened the African Jazz envelope. Side note: Who’s making peanut butter toast, BBQ chips and orange soda for tonight’s results show snack?
Iveta & Nick ~ Ballroom Quickstep by Jason Gilkison | Even though I got a quick sense of “unfair” attitude in my mind at the start of their pre-performance package, I was more than excited to see world champion Iveta dance the ever dreaded quickstep with the most logical partner (based on height) for her this season. And how do I even begin to describe the fancy footwork here? Fabulous? Fine? Frizzy? Fresh? Not only did Iveta masterfully wow me with her fancy footwork, but Nick did more than enough to keep up with the humble champion to stay in the game. I’d like to finish this recap with three questions. Did you know monkeys were illegal in New York? Anyone else hear Nigel’s frat-like “Tap dancers rock” comment at the end of the critiques? More importantly, was anyone else as disturbed as I?
Predictions for Bottom 3 couples (even though I don’t want to make them!)
1. Jordan & Tadd
2. Clarice & Jess
3. Ashley & Chris
So what’d you think about tonight’s Top 20 performances? Who was your favorite? Did you have a least favorite? Do you agree with my Bottom 3 choices? Sound off below!