This week the Top 20 perform in 10 awesome partnerships. Megan Mullaly is the guest judge, and just to prove that she does belong there, they went over her previous dance creditials: danced in a ballet company in New York during high school and just after graduating and just recently starred in 3 broadway shows.
Unfortunately, there's already been an injury in the ranks. Mitchell hurt his elbow after his first rehearsal, so he's sitting this episode out and in danger of going home this week. Let's get started with the dancing!
Sean Cheesman's African Jazz
Song: Riding the waves by afro celt sound system
Nigel thought they exploded on the stage! It was almost sub-primal with the rhythms and choreography. Jordan is a jazz dancer so it was basically expected that she'd do well, but Tadd who's a hip-hopper kept up and picked up the style really well! Mary loved how in character they were and their power in all the movements. Megan highlighted the lift where Jordan switched legs, which I thought was one of the worst moves they did. It just looked awkward and you could see the effort they were putting in to it. There were so many other great moves to feature!
Travis Wall Contemporary
Song: Stupid (Mark Bell Mix) by Sarah McLachlan
This dance shows Sasha as Alex's conscious coming to haunt him. Travis always picks fantastic songs that I've (usually) never heard of that fit perfectly with his routines and the emotions. Mary thought it was great, and loved Travis's transitions because of how well they blend and how you don't see them coming. Sasha is so strong in this, and I'm glad she got a contemporary routine to start. Because her legs bow out from all that African training, I feel like ballroom could spell disaster for her when the time comes. Mary's only critique was that she didn't feel the connection from Alex's end, but otherwise it was great storytelling and dancing. Nigel highlighted the twisting lift that looked so smooth and effortless. Nigel thinks Sasha is a "beautiful, magnificent warrior" and an "amazonian princess" but needed more emotion from Alex's face to match his body and to show the passion.
Tyce D'orio Broadway
Song: Me and My Baby by Liza Minnelli
Cat calls them her "perfect pocket-sized couple." Megan loved it and thought Jess is a "natural born performer" with so much showmanship. Nigel thought Clarice was beautiful and is a beautiful dancer, but needs to work extra hard to keep up with Jess when it comes to performance. Nigel calls Jess one of his favorite guys this year - really? I love most of this Top 20 but there are so far only 2 that have just rubbed me the wrong way with smug performances that don't live up to the hype, and Jess is one of them. Mary thought it couldn't have been any better, and I am going to be in disagreement with the judges on this couple.
Chris Scott's Lyrical Hip Hop
Song: Ain't No Sunshine by LIghthouse Family
The dance is Ricky remembering his love with his recently deceased (broken up?) girlfriend. Was she supposed to smile through the whole thing? The song choice and the story made that seem off. Otherwise, I loved the moves. Nigel thought the same thing, and didn't get what they were supposed to be feeling. Mary thought Ricky did a great job with the moves, stayed in character and committed, and he's one of her favorite guys at the moment. Because the judges were confused, Ryan explained that she was smiling because she was a memory of the good times of their relationship.
Sonya Tayeh's Jazz
Song: In for the Kill (Skream's Let's Get Ravey Remix) by La Roux
While the routine was great, I don't know how much of that was Robert or Caitlynn. I'd love for him to be one of the all-stars this season! I couldn't really stop watching him, so let's see what the judges thought of Caitynn. Mary thought her legs and extension was spectacular. Even the simplest moves were so effective and captivating. Nigel would have given her "tens across the board!"
Jason Gilkinson's Jive
Song: Runaway Baby by Bruno Mars
The audience is standing after that energetic routine! It was a very fun routine, as the jive should be. Megan thought it was a sheer delight, "you had to be in a coma not to like that." Robert is her Top 20 crush, because of his huge personality. Nigel points out that he can't rely on his huge personality alone, the dance technique wasn't there. He also wants Miranda to work on her confidence because she is sexy and can pull of that appeal if she just believed in herself. Mary capped off the critiques with a loud "WOOO" herself and thought that while his toes weren't pointed, he had the overall body tick down that is so hard for many dancers to grasp.
Sean Cheesman Jazz
Song: Judas (R3Hab Remix) by Lady Gaga
Wadi had some awesome flips in this routine! Nigel thought this was Sean Cheesman's best routine yet. Missy is one of the "beasts" he's been talking about this season, with great technique and skill. He thinks this season's hip hop guys are among the best of hip hoppers when it comes to picking up new styles. Wadi has never even partnered before, so Megan thought that was "in-SAN." This was a great routine and I would definitely say it was among Cheesman's best that I've seen! This could be a great partnership, I hope we see a lot more of them.
Travis Wall's Contemporary
Song: Turn to Stone by Ingrid Michaelson
Everyone is on their feet after that beautiful routine! Travis Wall, you are my favorite choreographer. There have just been so many of his routines that just move me. Mary was moved to tears because of how magical it all was with such strong technique and chemistry and artistry all coming together. Chills, breathtaking, tears - the judges just loved it. Nigel even says that this could possibly be the first emmy nominated routine from this season. Now that is quite the compliment! He then went on to call her the "queen of the beasts" and could be the best girl they've ever had on the show. She's definitely my early favorite to win it! Let's hope America loves her as much as the judges and I do.
Christopher Scott's Hip Hop
Song: Forget You by Cee Lo Green
This dance is about a couple who finds out at the same time that they've both been cheating. While it was fun and well danced, this routine was pretty forgettable. There were no tricks or stand out moments that made me want to rewind the DVR. Then for it to be directly after the Statue Routine, it just paled in comparison. I wonder why their shirts said 8/08 when they were couple #9 to perform?
Jason Gilkison's QuickStep
Song: Ballrom Blitz by Sweet
The judges gave them a standing ovation, which may be a first for the Quick Step. Usually, this is the "dance of death" on the show, but with Iveta being a world champion in this dance and Nick used to fast footwork from tapping, they did an amazing job!
Other Odds & Ends
- This season is so old! Two 30 year olds, 25 year old, 23 year old, and more. A nice change from last season where most of the contestants were still teenagers.
- The dancing was so strong across the board, it's really hard to pick a favorite to win the season. Melanie has the added benefit of not only being a strong dancer, but getting a great routine in her style and being featured a lot in Vegas week. This all makes her stand out more right now, but it's still early.
- Is it too early for me to make a SYTYCD playlist? Some of the song choices have been amazing and absolutely spot on!
- Sorry for the delay on this one; all other recaps will be posted Wednesday nights after the West Coast airing.
What was your favorite routine of the night? Who's your front runner to win it all? And did you join my Fantasy League yet?
[Images from Fox.com/Dance]