It isn’t an exaggeration to say that “So You Think You Can Dance’s” 9th season has delivered the best Top 20 the show has seen. And the first night of live competition did not disappoint. From Will and Amelia’s lusty “Love Cats” to Cyrus busting a Broadway move (and wowing the judges), the dancers totally brought it.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that four dancers — YES, 4! — will be voted off next week. Meaning that two guys and two girls who danced their hearts out on Wednesday’s (July 11) show won’t be continuing in the competition. Unless we can all agree right now to send in one vote apiece for each contestant, thereby making it impossible for any of the dancers to land in the bottom 3 girls or guys.
The show opened with a “Mad Men”-esque group dance choreographed by Christopher Scott. It was cool, but Dareian’s solo pirouettes kind of stole the show. Still, it set the bar high for the night’s competition which was judged by the usual suspects: Nigel Lythgoe and hot tamale mama Mary Murphy along with guest judge Kenny Ortega — the director/choreographer behind “High School Musical.”
Here, in one SAT test-emulating sentence apiece, is a run-down of the evening’s pairings.
1. Chehon and Witney’s Louis Van Amstel-choreographed ballroom number was described by Kenny Ortega as “Some Like It Hotter,” though Chehon was chided by Nigel for not loosening up his ballet dancer’s taut frame.
2. Tiffany and George danced a surprisingly soft and sensual number put together by the usually hard-edged Sonya Tayeh and both were showered with praise by the judges.
3. Janaya and Brandon danced the lesser of two NappyTabs hip-hop routines of the evening and may have been among the weakest links in a strong field.
4. Before the evening’s dance, Alexa talked about her love of red lipstick but the whole red theme was taken to an extreme and ended up distracting us from the complicated routine from choreographer Sam Chessman, who had she and partner Daniel start and end the number from a scaffold (and we didn’t promise these sentences wouldn’t be run-ons).
5. Amber and Nick positively had us swooning with a floaty waltz from Jason Gilkinson and it was only slightly annoying that the song was a saccharin cover of the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin.”
***At this point in the evening’s program we were utterly thrown out of our bliss by Nigel’s insistence on pointing out that “Dance Mom” Abby Lee Miller was in the audience. Buzz kill.***
6. OMG guys, Amelia and Will totally killed it with a (loosely) hip-hop number from the preggo NappyTabs team and delivered some serious chemistry and the night’s first and last sustained applause/standing ovation from the audience for a dance that included jumping out of and back into a trash dumpster. In fact, it was so good it gets two sentences because it must be known that Will and Amelia are the two dancers to beat this week.
7. Dareian and Jenelle managed to each make individual good impressions in a complexly-choreographed African jazz piece from Sam Chessman.
8. Who’da thunk it would be Tyce Diorio to become the springboard for Cyrus to fly out of his animation genre and land squarely in the realm of Broadway dancing beside partner Eliana? Not us (and yes we realize this is a second sentence), but we’re so glad we were in the room to witness his transformation — along with Cyrus’ mom who tells Zap2it she couldn’t be prouder of her boy.
9. If you looked up the definition of sappy in our imaginary “SYTYCD” dictionary, it would contain a clip of Audrey and Matthew dancing their “Titatic”-inspired Travis Wall number to the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody” — but we’d keep looking it up again and again because the routine was just that good and (we mean this literally) uplifting.
10. Lindsay and Cole closed the show and brought down the house with Jason Gilkinson’s H-O-T Pasodoble and proved that even martial arts fusion dancers (Cole) can burn the floor.
Okay zappers — which dancers do you think will land in the bottom 3 (which is really a bottom 6 since there will be 3 girls/3 guys in jeopardy)? Tweet your predictions to @zap2it and make sure to use the hashtag #SYTYCD.