So You Think You Can Dance Recap: The Top 20...Again

And also, again, it's a really tough call with some really talented people.

After last week's shocking non-elimination, I was full of anticipation about last night's Top 20 performing again: Would anybody falter and be an obvious choice to go home? And tonight: Will those chosen to dance for their lives put a little more effort into it? These are important questions, people!

Last night's guest judge was Debbie Reynolds, at an impressive 79 years old, but here's what I want to know: Is this the format they're going to have now? Celebrity dancy judges instead of the dancers and choreographers they've been working with for many seasons?

Because I don't like it. Here's why: The sum total of feedback that Megan Mullally and Debbie Reynolds have shared over the past two episodes has consisted of "You're amazing, and awesome, I have goosebumps." I know Nigel and Mary haven't exactly been hard on the contestants yet either, but the guest judges have been more softball than Steven Tyler on American Idol.

Image courtesy FOX

Where's Mia? And, by the way, when are they going to start letting Travis judge? (And total side note: Mary has been spending too much time in the tanning booth. That is all.)

So, on to the show (and I will spare you all the lame "insight" into the weird habits of the dancers that were "revealed" to us last "night."

1. Ryan and Ricky: Jazz by Mandy Moore

So, this was pretty marginal. It was supposed to be all sexy and raunchy, but it didn't really feel either. For one thing, I never felt like she was relating to him, but rather focusing her energy and seductive glances on the audience. Also, she did achieve an acceptable level of raunchy on her part, but he was more of a Madonna/Vogue dancer. The most memorable thing about the routine was her ripped tights, right up near her crotch. Ouch.

2. Caitlynn and Mitchell: Contemporary by Stacey Tookey

At first I was all "What? Another relationship-gone-wrong dance. Wow, unique." But then they started dancing, and I really liked it and liked their performances and chemistry, especially hers. Her trust and and abandon, especially in all her leaps into his arms, were breathtaking. My natural cynicism was mostly overcome, and I thought this was one of the better routines of the night.

3. Missy and Wadi: Cha Cha by Jean Marc

She was clearly way more comfortable with the cha cha than he was, but he made a valiant effort. Unfortunately, though, sometimes he let his discomfort show on his face. That's the kiss of death, Let's face it: most of us don't really know exactly what the cha cha entails besides the "one, two, cha-cha-cha" we might have pretended to do. But with his stern face, tense shoulders and flat hands, anyone could tell something was wrong. There were portions that he pulled off pretty well, and he was good lifting and flinging her, but overall, he may put them at risk, despite the fact that she seemed pretty on it.

4. Iveta and Nick: Bollywood by Nakul

This was another one that was only OK. Let's face it, no one has really recaptured the energy and sense of surprise that the first-ever Bollywood danced by Katie and Josh had. In this case, I think Iveta had it down a bit more than Nick. She always seemed very precise (but also occasionally seemed a bit behind the beat). He, on the other hand, seemed a bit flaily. And yes, that's a technical term. You'll learn cool new dance terms like that when you read my SYTYCD recaps.

5. Miranda and Robert: Hip-Hop by Napoleon and Tabitha

So, yeah, this was supposed to be a woodpecker dance, but I didn't really get the woodpecker story. Whatever, I thought they did a good job, woodpecker storyline or not. I was particularly impressed with how she did, given she isn't a hip-hop dancer at all. She had precision, edge, hard-hits and attitude. he actually was softer and less compelling than her. After the unimpressive jive last week, this was a big step up.

6. Clarice and Jess: Contemporary by Stacey Tookey

I thought this was really nice, and that they did a sweet job with a slightly saccharine prince and princess storyline. Unlike Nigel, I thought they actually shared nice chemistry and connection. Like Nigel, I agree that their side-by-side work was exemplary. I'm a little afraid, though, that they'll be in the bottom again. Jess is such a stellar dancer, I hope that maybe they will, Clarice will be sent home, and he'll get a partner that's better suited to him.

7. Jordan and Tadd: Viennese Waltz by Jean Marc

Really nice job. Although not a ton of actual rise-and-fall, three-step waltzing was included, when they did it was really good. And Tadd was especially impressive, given he's a hip hop dude. He had great posture and fabulous arms. Although Spatula Hands celebs on Dancing with the Stars should take note! (Did I just bring back your nightmares about Spatula Hands? Because I brought back mine.)

8. Melanie and Marko: Jazz by Mandy Moore

This was fun, but I wouldn't say it was thrilling. Melanie actually is so talented that she makes it look too easy. There's something a little leisurely about her's just so easy for her with that extension. But it made it not quite as sharp as I would have wanted to see. After last week's statuesque triumph, this could hardly have prevented being a letdown.

9. Sasha and Alexander: Hip-Hop by Napoleon and Tabitha

Back when NappyTabs choreographed that great off-to-the-military routine for Katie and Josh, I am not sure they mentioned that Napoleon has actually been in the military. So, a few years later, here was the coming-home conclusion to the storyline. It was pretty good. I thought they had some synching issues on the side-by-side work, but as everyone noted, there was true emotion and authenticity. That'll probably keep them safe.

10. Ashley and Chris, Broadway by Spencer Liff

Well, this jailhouse number was much better than their hip-hop last week, which isn't saying too much. I thought it was missing a little spice, actually. They could both look hot without actually being hot, you know? If they weren't in the bottom for that cheesy hip hop last week, I guess they'll be safe this week.

So, Bottom Line for the Bottom Three:
  • Clarice and Jess
  • Missy and Wadi
  • Iveta and Nick

I think they'll send Clarice and Nick home, pairing Jess with Iveta. Which probably isn't going to help him much.

What do you think?

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