Finally, we're off and running. It was the first round of head-to-head competition on "So You Think You Can Dance" and everyone turned in a respectable performance. In general, the pairings are perfect. I don't remember thinking this about last year's bunch. On the other hand, there are no real standouts in this group. Twitch is known to the audience and a sentimental favorite, but other than that, they're all on a pretty level playing field, or should that be dance floor!
Rayven Armijo and Jamie Bayard started the night with a hip hop routine that was softer than we usually see. I thought it was enjoyable though Nigel said it wouldn't be memorable enough by the end of the night.
Susie Garcia and Marquis Cunningham were simply elegant as they waltzed around the floor. Susie's dress was amazing and Marquis has posture that won't quit! There were some stumbled and awkward lifts along the way, but still a very nice performance.
Kourtni Lind and Matt Dorame are the tallest dancers in the bunch but that didn't help them tower over the competition. Their jazz routine to "Tainted Love" reminded me of the boardroom dance with Neil and Sabra but wasn't nearly as well executed.
Chelsea Traille and Thayne Jasperson rocked the house with a sassy Cha Cha that had Mary booking them tickets on the Hot Tamale Train. The camera loves Chelsea and that's going to go a long way toward keeping her in the competition. An unexpected pleasure, for sure.
The other Chelsea, Chelsie Hightower and Mark Kanemura, took on a typically quirky Mia Michaels number. This one themed to "What would Tim Burton's wedding be like?" Personally, I didn't get it. But then I rarely get Mia's dances. And Nigel always looks at the couples who take them on as if he pities them. I'm with him. I think most people are left confused after her choreography because it's hard to tell if the dancers are dancing oddly or making mistakes.
Kherington Payne and Twitch Boss took on my favorite style, Broadway! It was "Too Darn Hot" from "Kiss Me Kate" and it was good, but not "too hot" enough for my taste. They're both great dancers with great personalities but I didn't get the heat from this number.
Comfort Fedoke and Chris Jarosz were lucky to be able to take the stage at all after Comfort dislocated her shoulder during rehearsals. You wouldn't know it by the way she danced though! This jazzy jive looked easy though it could have used some refinements like sharper kicks and more bounce.
Katee Shean and Joshua Allen were another surprise, one that brought me to tears and with a Hip Hop number, no less. This one, choreographed to "No Air" was about Joshua telling Katee that he's going off to war. Oh my. So much story in those movements, so much pain. And Joshua! He's a big, clunky looking guy to me and he nailed this with the kind of grace you don't expect from a man of his size. Lovely.
Jessica King and Will Wingfield came out with a traditional tango that the judges loved but me, not so much. I didn't see the personality behind the dance and she seemed to be having trouble keeping steady on those high heels. Not bad, but I don't think they deserved the level of praise that they got.
The last couple to dance was Courtney Galiano and Gev Manoukian. They had a disco routine set to "Boogie Wonderland" and it was so-so for me. Fun, had that disco essence but it didn't wow me. Two out of three judges agreed with me.
So now it's time for the first elimination, but before that, we'll get to see a group dance number from Wade Robson (always a treat). That's followed by a performance by The Pussycat Dolls and The Electric Boogaloos.
It all happens tonight at 9:00 on Fox.
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