The dancers have six judges to please covering a wide range of dancing styles. Mia Michaels is contemporary, Lil C handles the poppers and hip hoppers, Debbie Allen knows jazz and Adam Shankman handles Broadway while Mary Murphy is the ballroom champ. Heading up the panel is Nigel Lythgoe whose face made a cameo appearance in Tony Bellissimo's quirky solo.
The producers of the show began with a treat, a look at ballet dancer Alex Wong whose movements left Mia open mouthed and Debbie whispering, "shut up!" But as impressive as Alex and Tony were, 45 other dancers were cut right after the solo round. Says Nigel, where the 172 all shined in their hometowns, here in Vegas they just aren't as good as the judges remember.
Sadly, Travis, the football coach's son is one of the early SYTYCD cuts. That kid had a lot of guts to go for his dream and I'm sorry to see him go. Staying in are my favorite dancers, brothers Ryan and Evan! These two aren't built like traditional dancers, they both have the more athletic, but common man style of a Gene Kelly and I love that about them. And guess what -- they both make it to the very end of Vegas week which had me squealing with delight.
Late on day one, the remaining dancers are given a hip hop routine choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon. Another 37 dancers are sent packing and for the rest it's a fitful night's sleep.
Day two of Vegas week begins with a lesson in ballroom and then it's jazz with Sonya. Sonya pulls early favorites Natalie and Brandon out of the crowd and has them demonstrate for the others but then, in a totally inexplicable move -- Natalie is cut after she performs. Someone explain that to me. How can she be good enough to be the example for the group but not good enough to move on? For Natalie and Brandon, it seems to be a case of peaking too soon. Several of the judges said they came into So You Think You Can Dance Vegas week having heard high praise about a select few and they were expecting to be blown away. Given the speed and pressure of Vegas week, that's just not going to happen. Those that barely made it into the competition are having an easier time of it since the expectation was lower and that's a shame.
Emotionally and physically exhausted, the remaining 73 dancers (or so they say, I hear the math might be off) are split into groups then handed a CD. They must choreograph and perfect a dance routine by morning -- which means little to no sleep for everyone. This is the experiment that really divides those that have it from those who don't. One group is so good, they prompt Adam to exclaim, "you made me miss dancing." He was in tears, I was in tears...I don't know why, but this show always makes me cry.
After the next round of cuts, sweet tapper Erik "Silky" Moore is forced to dance for his life. He says he's going to pour all of the emotion he's feeling into the dance but he doesn't. He's technical but closed off and the boy is sent home.
Finally it's time for the dreaded contemporary round with Mia Michaels. The dancers are terrified and I don't blame them as Mia has spent most of the week threatening to cut people in a way that sounded very violent.
In an unusual move, long and lanky Tony is asked to try the dance a second time and this time he makes it through. He collapsed in tears and so does the panel. It's been a long day.
Day four is devoted to Broadway! Tyce Diorio delivers two numbers from West Side Story pitting the boys against the girls. Ironically, sisters Megan and Caitlin Kinney did a flip-flop here. Caitlin was nearly sent home on day three but made it through day four, Megan did not. Don't cry yet, I expect Caitlin will be one of the victims of tomorrow's final cut.
The last thing we see is a panning shot of the top 16 girls and 16 guys. Funny thing, I don't recognize half of them. Isn't that strange? Shouldn't we be familiar with the best of the best about now?
Tonight night is the long, boring, drawn out walk of lights where 12 more will be cut from the pack thinning the group down to the Top 20. I suspect one of my favorite brothers will go and Tony's hours are numbered, too. Honestly, I'm not sure what's worse, getting cut the first day or going through all that torture only to be cut in the final hours.
Watch the last "pre-show" episode of So You Think You Can Dance tonight at 9:00 on Fox.
Then tune in for the performance show every Wednesday and then Thursdays for the results.
Photo: Kelsey McNeal/Fox
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