By the end of the show, the top 10 will be revealed! Can you believe we got here that quickly?
First the top 14 lead off the show with a marvelous centurion Contemporary routine choreographed by Stacey Tookey to "Last Moment" by Christophe Filippi. Host Cat Deeley, dressed in a colorful halter dress, introduced the So You Think You Can Dance judges panel, including a show favorite TV, movie and Broadway actress, Christina Applegate returning as a guest judge after several weeks of that ballet woman-hater.
Mixing things up slightly different, Cat announced 8 out of the top 10 dancers that advanced already into the top 10, which left: Serge Onik, Teddy Coffey, Casey Askew, Emily Dosal, Carly Blaney and Jessica Richens (REALLY?) to fight it out for the last two spots. Same basic concept of the format, so this is still working.
Ray Leeper brings such life to Jazz that has been missing for so long. This was a really fun routine that could have been even better had Emilio been a better trained dancer, but he still deserves credit for completing everything required of him. However, adding his tricks into choreographer that should never call for it "just because" is not a good enough reason to do it, and it's getting rather old. Bridget was terrific in this routine and made me want to dance Jazz, which will never happen.
This routine is exactly what Rudy needed to redeem himself and Mandy Moore deserves the credit for it. She can bring out the most in her dancers and bring their focus into the meaning of their movement and it really showed in both dancers of this piece. I truly believe this is the type of dancer that Rudy will be after he trains more, matures into a man and gets a haircut. He will realize that he doesn't have to showboat to get attention, but that people will watch him naturally because of his talent, which is something Tanisha already knows and handles with grace. In the meantime, he is still just annoying.
Although that was the least expected song for a Paso, Jean Marc Genereux put together a stupendous routine. This was Jacque and Zack's best performance as a couple where they both equally rose up to the occasion and matched each other in skill, though Jacque has clearly outperformed Zack in the past. Maybe it was the return of the solos tonight that brought Zack back to his roots and love of dance or Jean Marc's innate ability to push his dancers beyond their capabilities. Either way, it was great to see this couple have a great moment together before they are split up next week.
Did someone hit the snooze button? Oye! This might have gone over well on Dancing with the Stars, but not here. There was no connection, lots of slips, and halfway through they were no longer in sync. Broadway never goes over very well on this show, so the choreographers and dancers know by now that it has to be something spectacular to get any attention. This was short of average.
The first real enthusiastic standing ovation of the season. Just in case you've never seen it mentioned in this column a hundred times before, Travis Wall is truly legendary. These two just danced like they have always been a couple with a connection that seemed filled with joy and love. That kiss! Wow, that kiss shocked me. Seeing Jessica cry in response to the standing ovation confirms her love for this craft and disappointment in being voted into the bottom six. What was America thinking?
Jean Marc Genereux is on fire with his choreography tonight for sure! Although it sounds like an oxymoron, this was an amazing Quick Step routine and definitely one of the best this show has ever seen. Carly and Serge were surely fighting for their spot to stay on this show, hitting those quick steps, solid framing and terrific personality throughout the routine. Very nice.
Christopher Jennings and Krystal Meraz did a really good job of putting Valerie in the forefront of everything in this routine because she really nailed this choreography, whereas Ricky didn't seem to really even try to be a hard hitting Hip-Hop dancer at all. They even threw in a Ricky aerial trick halfway through, which had nothing to do with... well anything. This routine had a great story, costuming and choreography and Valerie did terrific. Too much favoritism is given to Ricky in categories where his pliable legs don't make him shine like submissive diamond.
The top 7 girls performed a Mandy Moore Contemporary routine to "My Immortal" by Evanescence that had an equal balance of strength and beauty that somehow allowed each individual dancer their time in the spotlight throughout the routine.
Travis Wall outdoing himself once again, closed the show with a Contemporary routine for the top 7 guys performing "Wave" by Beck, showing so many new things we've never seen before that just takes your breath away time and time again.
Unfortunately the show does have to end with the four dancers leaving this week: Serge Onik, Carly Blaney, Emily Dosal, and Teddy Coffey. Though Carly and Serge probably would have done very well once they had the chance to perform with All-Stars, Jessica Richens and Casey Askew were definitely the right choices to keep for the top 10.
Too bad we can't re-vote someone back into the top 10 or even the finale at the last minute, like they do on all these cooking shows. Who would you vote to bring back into the top 10?
So next week it's time for the All-Stars! Here are the pairings: Rudy Abreu / Jenna Johnson (S10), Jacque LeWarne / Chehon Wespi-Tschopp (S9), Zack Everhart / Amy Yakima (S10 Winner), Bridget Whitman / Brandon Bryant (S5), Ricky Ubeda / Lauren Froderman (S7), Tanisha Belnap / Ryan Di Lello (S6), Emilio Dosal / Jasmine Harper (S10), Valerie Rockey / Ade Obayomi (S5), Casey Askew / Kathryn McCormick (S6), Jessica Richens / Stephen "tWitch" Boss (S3).