Jeanine and Phillip kicked off So You Think You Can Dance with a hip-hop routine by Tabitha and Napoleon. But this isn't the kind of hip-hop you'll see anywhere else. This is movement with a story behind it -- in this case, the tale of a young couple who can't sleep because they've had a fight. It was a marvelous routine. There's something so watchable about Phillip, though he lucked out a bit getting this as his first piece. I'm a little worried about how he'll do when it comes to a ballroom number. I loved it, and the judges loved it.
The judges said it's hard to follow an emotional piece with one that's light and fun, but the performance order wasn't at fault here. Asuka and Vitolio were given a Broadway number choreographed by Tyce DiOrio. The piece was themed as if they were filming a silent movie, and it should have been a really energetic, showstopper. It wasn't. Both dancers looked like they were just making their ways through the dance -- no vitality, no personality. The judges agreed that this dance was lacking. I'm thinking bottom three for this couple.
Karla and Jonathan weren't featured much in the pre-performance weeks, so I felt as though I were meeting both of them for the first time. She's lovely, and he's very sweet and innocent looking, but that didn't work for this dance: A sexy cha-cha by Tony Meredith. I didn't dislike the dance; I just didn't see the spark that some of the other couples had. The judges liked them more than I did.
Wow! Evan was my favorite coming into this round, but my respect for him just went up two notches. Despite being "vertically challenged" (to quote Adam Shankman), these two pulled off a sultry, sensual jazz number from Tyce DiOrio. The connection between them was heart wrenching, with their moves so slow and controlled. Kudos from the judges... and you can double them from me.
It seemed like newbie Tony lucked out getting a hip-hop routine in his first round, but this number by Tabitha and Napoleon didn't come off as it should have. The techno-pop theme called for hard hitting, sharp moves, but these two simply didn't take charge of the stage. Not the worst of the night, but I think they're in trouble.
When I think of Bollywood numbers, I think of Joshua and Katee blowing it out of the water last year. Judge Nigel thought Caitlin and Jason turned in an equally great performance, but I beg to differ. This number, choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan, was intricate and incredibly hard on the inner thighs, yet the couple did a very good job of pulling off the moves. I don't think they brought the same excitement as last year's couple, but maybe that's just because it's not so new anymore. It is ironic that Jason has that same kind of boyish charm that Joshua had. I'd say this couple will be around for awhile.
I do love a good Foxtrot, but I didn't love this. The number was choreographed by Louis Van Amstel from Dancing with the Stars and featured several really fabulous lifts. At one point, Janette was literally flying upward and away from Brandon's body from the force of the spin above his head. But when it came to the smooth floor work, these two lacked that Rogers-Astaire chemistry and style. They could end up in the bottom three.
Ashley and Kupono followed "smooth and classic" with "weird and wacky." Yes, it's a Wade Robson number, but not one of his best. Kupono does have some very neat-looking lines in his legs, and Ashley was bouncy and sweet -- but the costuming and props overshadowed the dancing.
It's a shame these two weren't last on the bill, because they brought the judges to tears with their romantic contemporary piece by Mandy Moore.
At 29, Melissa is the oldest contestant, and this may have worked in her favor. A classical ballerina, she really embodied the spirit of new love, and her chemistry with Ade was insane. That last hand clasp: Heart wrenching. My second favorite of the night.
Kayla and Max finished up the night with a lively samba by Louis Van Amstel. Max is a Russian ballroom dancer who appears to have a history with Louis, so he lucked out all around. Kayla was the real bombshell here. She doesn't have an ounce of ballroom training, and yet she rocked it like a pro. The night ended with two tickets on Mary's hot-tamale train, and you can't get better than that.
Tonight at 9, the bottom three couples, as judged by your votes, will have to dance for their lives. Then the judges will send one boy and one girl home. My guess would be Asuka and Vitolio, but you never know how these things will turn out.
Watch So You Think You Can Dance Wednesdays at 8:00 and Thursdays at 9:00 on Fox.
Photo: Mathieu Young/Fox
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