sytycd 01 'So You Think You Can Dance': Ellenore, Jakob & Sonya form a dream teamOur top ten dancers performed as new couples Tuesday on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and I hope the viewing audience is paying very, very close attention this week since voting alone determines the results. You hear that, people who somehow let Ellenore and Ryan wind up in the bottom three last week? I need you to step up your game. Seriously.

1. Noelle & Ryan
Hip Hop/Tabitha & Napoleon/”Give It To Me Right” by Melanie Fiona:
 This sexy number was about an office fling, and Noelle and Ryan do a pretty good job considering the fact that they’re a new couple and needed to create chemistry from scratch. It wasn’t super exciting, but it worked well enough for me. Noelle in particular, as Mary points out, seems like a different dancer. The judges generally give it a thumbs up. 

2. Ashleigh & Legacy
Contemporary/Garry Stewart/”Poison” by The Prodigy:
The routine is much more aggressive than the contemporary routines we’re used to, and I appreciate the change of pace. There were several really cool moves where the dancers leapt off of each other, and in general it must’ve been exhausting to perform. I seriously can’t imagine. Nigel can’t get over the athletic challenge, and Mary and Adam were also blown away by the moves and the dramatic handstand ending.

Solo: Mollee
Song: “Rock The Beat” by LM*AO
– Mollee definitely keeps the energy going. I really enjoyed this solo, which featured more leaps and bounds than the gymnastics of her previous solos.

Solo: Russell
Song: “Outros” by Black Milk
– And now I remember why we all loved Russell so much in the first place. I wish he’d bring more of the electricity in his solo to his choreographed performances.

3. Kathryn & Nathan
Broadway/Spencer Liff/”Choreography” by Danny Kaye: 
First of all, Spencer Liff is well on his way to being one of my favorite choreographers. Second of all, Nathan definitely benefits from having a more mature partner. He and Kathryn did a great job staying in synch, and captured the mood of the piece beautifully. And I want to steal Kathryn’s dress. Nigel found it “tremendous,” and appreciated Nathan’s smile and their ability to pick up the style. However, he didn’t love Kathryn’s chemistry with Nathan. Mary disagrees, calling Kathryn’s performance “effortless.” Adam is almost insultingly relieved at how well Nathan did, actually. I can see his point, though; this is a much better outcome than I envisioned for these guys after hearing what style they drew.   

Solo: Noelle
Song: “Every Time It Rains” by Charlotte Martin
– Say what you will…this girl gives good solo. As Cat puts it, she had “wild, joyful abandon” with the perfect mix of emotive dance and well-executed moves.

4. Ellenore & Jakob
Quickstep/Tony & Melanie/”Four Brothers” by Manhattan Transfer: 
No way! When my mom asked me this afternoon which two dancers I’d love to see as a couple, this was my answer! Of course, I didn’t exactly envision them drawing the dreaded quickstep. Yikes. But hey, I’ll take it. I’m not sure the rather meta “couple in a ballroom competition” premise was necessary, but the number was so good I can’t complain. Nigel found the routine fun, and even praises their technique and chemistry. Mary points out the difficulty of the routine, praising their execution. Adam is basically jumping out of his seat with excitement.

Solo: Ryan
Song: “Rock You Like A Hurricane” by Scorpions
– Ryan’s song choice has bought him a free pass with this solo, in my mind. It takes a confident, confident ballroom dancer to promise to rock us like a hurricane. He mixes it up a bit more than last week, with more use of the stage and varied moves, but I still feel for the ballroom soloists.

Solo: Kathryn
Song: “Beautiful” by Bethany Dillon
– Her hair was stuck to her lip gloss for the whole thing, which drove me a little crazy (but probably not as much as it drove her crazy). But, it was a nice solo, and I can’t imagine Kathryn is going anywhere.

5. Mollee & Russell
Lyrical Jazz/Mandy Moore/”It Must Have Been Love” by Roxette: 
Does anyone else feel like they’re watching “Pretty in Pink,” or something? I definitely got that John Hughes vibe. It’s not a routine I’ll rewind and rewatch a million times, but I thought they did a really great job, and it was good to see Mollee with another partner. She was pretty lucky to draw her style, too. Russell couldn’t be less different from his solo. Nigel agrees that Mollee has grown, and is hugely proud of Russell. Mary screams her approval of the partnership, and so Adam requests that they “please not dance so well in the future.” Ha.     

Solo: Nathan
Song: “Golden Train” by Justin Nozuka 
– The furrowed brow was a bit much, but it’s nice to be reminded what a beautiful dancer Nathan is. Gorgeous lines in his turns and leaps. And he takes a page out of Legacy’s book, crying afterward about how much he appreciates his parents.

ryandilello sytycd 290 'So You Think You Can Dance': Ellenore, Jakob & Sonya form a dream team6. Noelle & Ryan
Smooth Waltz/JT & Thomas/”Jeux deau” from O (Cirque du Soleil soundtrack): 
Uh-oh. I mean, it’s smooth and all, but terrible luck that they didn’t get the NappyTabs routine second. Waltzes just don’t tend to attract a ton of votes. Nigel beats me to a Disney reference, but really liked the routine aside from a couple technical corrections for Noelle. Mary and Adam are also loving it, though Adam is clearly taking happy pills tonight, because he’s been pretty darn sunny for the past hour and twenty minutes.

Solo: Ellenore
Song: “Beatbox Harmonica” by Yuri Lane
– Yessssss. This girl is exactly my kind of weird. I hope she’s America’s kind of weird, though…this might not have been the most well-calculated solo. But hey, she looks like she’s having a blast out there!

7. Ashleigh & Legacy
Hip Hop/Dave Scott/”Slow Down” by Bobby Valentino:
 Vampires, y’all. Awesome, awesome vampires. Legacy was great, of course, and Ashleigh did an admirable job keeping up. I think the Ashleigh hate just might be disappearing! They both get into their characters to an impressive degree, not just in their faces, but in the style of their dancing. But Nigel didn’t feel it! He didn’t think there was enough dancing. And true, the dance didn’t use Legacy nearly as well as it could have, but as Nigel (barely) acknowledges, that was more of a choreography issue – his technical criticisms were much smaller. Mary and Adam agree with Nigel, and Adam specifically points out that it wasn’t challenging enough. Again, I’m going to call that a choreography issue.    

8. Kathryn & Nathan
Rhumba/Tony & Melanie/”Walk On By” by Aretha Franklin:
Well, that’s a sparkly black turtleneck, alright. Now that we’ve established that, I’ll say that the dance was actually pretty solid. Kathryn’s attitude is great, and Nathan largely (and appropriately, I think) lets it be her show. Nigel criticizes Nathan’s “sour” facial expression (on the one hand, it seems really nitpicky…on the other hand, I completely see what he means), and again slams the choreography. Um, yeah, not helpful. Mary agrees that the chemistry was poor, but praises some of Nathan’s technique and several of Kathryn’s moves. Adam also loves him some Kathryn.

Solo: Legacy
Song: “No Air” by Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown
– This song still conjures up memories of Joshua and Katee’s routine, but Legacy obviously makes it his own. He glides and bounces across the floor in ways that simply seem to defy physics. Out. Standing.

9. Ellenore & Jakob
Contemporary/Sonya/”Tore My Heart” by OONA and Dave Tweedie: 
Wow, talk about a dream team – this is pretty much the best combination of dancers/choreographer I can imagine. And it lives up to expectations. In fact, it exceeds them…which seems impossible, but there you have it. These are probably the two best technical dancers on the show, and to see them in their element, with such excellent choreography, is a real treat. Every movement is perfect, and their chemistry is amazing. This may very well be the best routine of the season. It brings down the house, choreographer and judges included. Adam calls it the sequel to “The Garden,” and I agree completely.   

Solo: Ashleigh
Song: “Batucada Por Favor” by Bob Azzam
– Yeah, I just don’t love her solos. It’s just…a whole lot of shaking. Dancing too, yes, but much, much shaking. I really am trying to repress the Ashleigh hate, though. I promise!

russellferguson sytycd 290 'So You Think You Can Dance': Ellenore, Jakob & Sonya form a dream team10. Mollee & Russell
Jive/Anya & Pasha/”Land of 1000 Dances” by Jimmy Barnes: 
These guys really manage to look like they’re having fun, and Russell continues his streak of awesome tonight. They sell the heck out of the routine, and I really do think they’re a better couple than either of their previous pairs. Crazy, I know. But I’m standing by it. Woo’s and hot tamale trains all the way from the judges, who seem just as surprised as I am about what a fun pair these two are.  

Solo: Jakob
Song: “Always Midnight (Acoustic)” by Pat Monahan
– For godsakes, this kid can dance so hard it’s unfair to everyone else. Magic legs, I tell ya. He gets so high off the ground, and has such amazing flexibility to create beautiful lines, it’s just unbelievable.

Favorite Numbers: Ellenore and Jakob’s Sonya routine, obviously. I really enjoyed several others, but I’m not sure anything can be in the same category as this number.
Stand-out Individuals: Jakob, but of course. I’m also going to give Russell a shout out for beginning to reach his potential tonight.
Disappointments: I feel like Ryan faltered a little this week without Ellenore.

Which was your favorite new couple? Did anyone in particular suffer without their usual partner, or shine with a new one?

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