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‘So You Think You Can Dance:’ The Top 20 perform!!!


As much as I hate to agree with Nigel “It’s Always the Greatest Season EVER” Lythgoe, last night’s performance show of “So You Think You Can Dance” was possibly one of the best Top 20 launches of the series.

Usually, there’s a few couples who make obvious stumbles right out of the gate, and you know exactly who’s going to be picked off in the first few weeks. It’s just a matter of time. And although it’s kind of clear who’ll be in the Bottom Three tonight (more on that in a minute), it’s not at all obvious who will – or should – be going home right away.

Not to mention, there don’t seem to be any clear front-runners yet – unlike, say, last season, when Joshua, Will, Twitch and Katee immediately stood out in the crowd.

So before we get to the breakdown of each performance, a few comments about the show in general:

• How cracked-out was Mary Murphy last night? And where can I get whatever she’s on, because, man, it makes you happy! She was on fire more than usual – even going so far as to admit that she can’t raise her eyebrows anymore because of Botox. Sure, she’s sometimes annoying. Yes, she’s a complete loon. But you’ve gotta admit, once she calms down, she really knows her stuff – and always speaks her mind. That makes her awesome in my book.

• How great is Adam Shankman? In my opinion, he’s the best judge on the show – even better than Mary and Nigel. First, he’s a freakin’ hoot. He’s also emotional – awww! He got teary watching Melissa and Ade! – without making us feel uncomfortable. And he knows how to cut through the b.s. – but in a fun way and without insulting anyone. Not to mention, he managed to brag about producing three movies at one time (including “Step Up 3D” with Joshua, Katee and Ivan, whee!!!) while traveling back and forth to be on “SYTYCD,” without sounding arrogant. Totally. Love. Him.

• When did Cat Deeley turn into Little Miss Muffet? What was up with that dress: Did she hire a sequin-happy spider as her stylist? And I know a lot of Londoners, and I’m pretty sure “shnucking” isn’t British slang for anything.

Anyway, click through for the couple-by-couple breakdown – and see if you agree that Asuka and Vitolio, Paris and Tony, and Karla and Jonathan are the ones who need to get their solos ready…


(Hip-hop, Tabitha and Napoleon)

Judges’ reaction: Adam called their bedroom antics “un-freakin-real,” and Mary said they taught us a “chemistry lesson.” Nigel thought the couple definitely made their mark on the voters at home.

My reaction: Maybe it’s a problem I have with Tabitha and Napoleon – I like that they tell “stories” but their numbers all tend to blend together for me and are always set to songs that are the genre’s equivalent of “easy listening” – but I wasn’t all that hot for this routine. Granted, I’ll agree that Jeanine definitely held her own and Phillip is a lot of fun to watch, but I’d still put them in the middle of the pack right now.

My prediction: Probably safe.


(Broadway, Tyce D’Orio)

Judges’ reaction: Adam thought Tyce’s “silent movie” routine felt a little “artificial,” while Mary outright said she was disappointed. Nigel thought their personalities didn’t come through.

My reaction: Come on, Tyce did these two no favors with that train wreck of a dance. It wasn’t just cliche – it was downright silly. Still, the dancers are supposed to give their best shot to whatever they’re stuck with, and these two were going through the motions.

My prediction: Bottom Three.


(Cha-cha, Tony Meredith)

Judges’ reaction: They liked Karla a LOT more than her partner, with Adam labeling her as “HOT!” And Mary went off the deep end (for the first, but not last, time), creepily paraphrasing Lady Gaga about how if her “cha-cha isn’t rough, it isn’t fun.”

My reaction: Karla’s wild, Jonathan’s mild. (And as long as we’re rhyming, he’s a child, too. He’s supposed to be 21? He looks more like he’s 12.) Again, these two were saddled with choreography that didn’t fit their song. At first, I thought using “Poker Face” was a brilliant idea: I’m a sucker for unconventional song choices. Then l realized that – though it wasn’t their fault – the dancers couldn’t match the Latin steps with the techno beat.

My prediction: Bottom Three.


(Jazz, Tyce D’Orio)

Judges’ reaction: Adam raved about Evan’s ability to conquer any style and Mary called them “smoldering.” Nigel says that they’re a couple people “will recognize and talk about.”

My reaction: Huh?!? How is jazz that far out of Evan’s Broadway wheelhouse? And memorable? I honestly don’t remember a thing about their performance, other than constant references to Randi’s being married.

My prediction: Probably safe.


(Hip-hop, Tabitha and Napoleon)

Judges’ reaction: Adam went easy on them, telling Tony he needs to be more than “the cute guy” on the show. Mary was blunt with him, though, saying “good is not gonna cut it.” Nigel thought it wasn’t memorable and told Tony that his “stank face” just plain “stank.”

My reaction: Yowch! I honestly didn’t think that Paris and Tony were bad, especially Paris. She was pretty powerful, in my opinion. And when has being the “cute guy” ever been a drawback on this show? Still, I’m guessing that these two will be in danger.

My prediction: Bottom Three.


(Bollywood, Nakul Dev Mahajan)

Judges’ reaction: They went wild for this one, set to “Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire.” Adam thought they “rocked” and called Jason’s moves “effortless.” Mary salivated over Caitlin’s handstand and Jason’s charisma which apparently “reeks out of” his eyes. (Um, okay.) Nigel said they brought their personalities to the routine.

My reaction: Come on, you simply can’t go wrong with a Bollywood number. (Caitlin and Jason must have keeled over with joy after picking that one out of the hat.) Beautiful costumes, fun moves and, damn!, Caitlin’s handstand and foot flexes were eye-popping. But I couldn’t help but feel like the routine ran away with them a bit. As Nigel sort of hinted, they were not as good as Katee and Joshua doing Bollywood last season. Still, it was one of the night’s best numbers.

My prediction: Totally safe.


(Foxtrot, Louis Van Amstel)

Judges’ reaction: Adam said the pair was simply “lovely.” Nigel praised Janette’s “grace” and Mary called Brandon a “powerhouse.” (So screw you, Mia.)

My reaction: Usually, the foxtrot is the kiss of death, but these two more than pulled it off. I can’t recall enjoying a ballroom number like this one in a long time, and that Brandon has the strength of an ox.

My prediction: Probably safe. (They were great, but the foxtrot doesn’t usually prompt viewers to pick up the phone.)


(Jazz, Wade Robson)

Judges’ reaction: The judges didn’t do much analysis of the dancing, did they? They spent more time raving about how the routine was weirdly wonderful and Wade Robson is, in Nigel’s words, a “genius.”

My reaction: Freaky, fun and fantastic. But it wasn’t all about the choreography, though Ashley and Kupono hit the jackpot on getting Wade Robson. (It’s like Mia Michaels; anyone who works with them automatically sails straight through the week.) But to give Ashley and Kupono their due, they actually achieved what Asuka and Vitolio didn’t: They managed to give fluidity to a number chock full of staccato steps.

My prediction: Totally safe.


(Contemporary, Mandy Moore)

Judges’ reaction: This number brought Adam to tears – and inspired Mary to give her biggest scream of the night. She said Melissa – who, at 29, is the oldest dancer in the contest – proves that you “only get better with age.” Nigel said they showed what an amazing Top 20 the show has this season.

My reaction: I had every reason to hate this number. Melissa and her “naughty ballerina” persona makes me want to slap her. I don’t usually get on board with Mandy Moore’s vision. There was great overuse of a wind machine. It was set to a Richard Marx song, for God’s sake! Yet it was still pretty spectacular.

My prediction: Totally safe.


(Samba, Louis Van Amstel)

Judges’ reaction: Smoooooking!!! Mary put both of them on the hot tamale train – was there any doubt? – but all three saved their biggest praise for Kayla. She’d never done ballroom before, and though she benefited from having Latin expert Max as a partner, they said she was outstanding. Nigel claims Kayla is one to watch in the contest, since she “seems able to do everything.” (We’ll have to take his word on this, since we didn’t get to see much of her during the audition episodes.)

My reaction: Gotta go with the judges on this one. They were incredible, and Kayla deserved every compliment she got. Selfishly, however, I wish they’d be in the Bottom Three tonight, because I want Max to go home. Dude, button your shirt. You may be Russian, but you are no Dmitry.

My prediction: Totally safe.

So if Asuka, Vitolio, Paris, Tony, Karla and Jonathan are the ones dancing for their life tonight, who’ll be the first boy and girl to go home?

My best guess? Karla and Jonathan.

Check back here tomorrow to discuss whether the viewers – and the judges – made the right choice!!!

(Photos courtesy of FOX)

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 11th, 2009 at 8:44 am by Heather Salerno. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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