“So You Think You Can Dance” Season 8 rolled on Wednesday night with a redux of performances by the top 20. Which hopeful hoofers excelled and which failed to meet expectations? Here’s a look at the evening’s action.
Cat Deeley opened the show by welcoming the judging panel, including usuals Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy as well as dance icon Debbie Reynolds, who addressed the cheering crowd with a kiss. Cat then introduced a clip from 1952’s “Singin’ in the Rain”, which featured Reynolds tappin’ it up alongside Donald O’Connor and Gene Kelly. Yep, she’s qualified to share her thoughts!
Up first to dance were Ryan Ramirez and Ricky Jaime. In the share-an-embarrassing-secret-about-your-partner segment, Ricky shared that Ryan’s leg hair grows really fast, much to the blonde’s horror. Since one turn deserves another, Ryan spilled the beans that Ricky’s real name is Roderick. The two were responsible for learning a Mandy Moore jazz routine that Ricky called “really x-rated”. Ryan said that they’d need to master their sexual chemistry in order to make a go of it, while Mandy agreed and hoped that they’d be able to pull of a “sexual tension-filled routine”. Set to Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love”, the routine was definitely overtly sexual in nature. Ryan shook her bacon like nobody’s business, hoo-ha. Nigel called it “absolutely sensational” and praised the “raunchy” quality of the dance. He joked that it was “like something between Mary and I”. Mary declared that she was “addicted to the two of you”. She praised Ryan for turning into a “vixen” and Ricky for being in character the whole time. Debbie said “I never saw anybody dance sexier” and “you gave us your all”, referencing some near-wardrobe malfunctions.
Caitlynn Lawson and Mitchell Kelly were up next to perform on the “So You Think You Can Dance” season 8 top 20 redux. Mitchell shared about Caitlynn’s blue feet, while Caitlynn spilled the beans about Mitchell’s zebra snuggie. They were charged with perfoming a Stacey Tookey contemporary routine. In the dance, Caitlynn was assigned to portray a girl who wants to leave a relationship but can’t make herself do it. The routine was set to the tune of Adele’s “Turning Tables”, and began with the two dancers seated in chairs. Caitlynn in particular got into character beautifully, showing a raw emotion on her face throughout, while Mitchell did his part as he jerk-boyfriend as he accidentally punched her in the nose and drew blood. Mary called them “flawless” and thought their chemistry was “so believable”. Debbie thought they were “both so beautiful”. Nigel called it “a remarkable piece” and praised Caitlynn for effectively expressing her “inner turmoil”.
Keeping the night’s action in drive were Missy Morelli and Wadi Jones. In the embarrass-your-partner segment, Missy shared that Wadi used women’s hair removal cream to take off his chest hair. Wadi, in turn, poked fun at Missy’s stop-and-start style laugh. The pair were assigned a Cha-Cha choreographed by ballroom specialist Jean-Marc Genereux, who hoped they’d deliver something “hot and spicy”. He called it the most difficult routine he’d ever done for “So You Think You Can Dance”, and b-boy Wadi stressed over the requisite hip action. The two hit the stage to the tune of Ke$ha’s “Cannibal”. It definitely had its rough moments; Wadi looked awkward throughout. But Missy looked pretty good for a jazz specialist; she had some good legwork at times and really shook it. Debbie called it “muy bueno”. Nigel praised Wadi’s partnering, but criticized his “weak arms” and technique. He called Missy “spicy” and “hot” and praised her overall routine as “very, very good darling”. Mary broke the performance down, calling the beginning great, but he agreed with Nigel that Wadi fell short. She told him to make his body “a little more rhythmical”. She went on to say she was “so impressed” with Missy likened her to the “Dancing with the Stars” pro with Wadi as her student. In an odd moment, Debbie promised to take Wadi home and declared “you can cha cha with Debbie any time”.
Bollywood was the word for ballroom champ Iveta Lukosuite and tapper Nick Young, who were up next to perform. Nick dished that Iveta talks to herself in the mirror, while Iveta called Nick out for always wearing shorts. The routine, choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan, was designed to be”lightning fast”. Nick hoped that they’d generate a ton of energy. The routine, which was danced to “Baawre” from the “Luck By Chance” soundtrack, began slowly, but kicked into high gear after just a few bars. They had good energy, though Iveta seemed stuck in ballroom mode with her precise motions, while Nick really let loose. Nigel praised them for their effort, noting that they’d both done well out of their element. Mary called herself “a fan” and said they were “really entertaining out there”. She appreciated the quality of their partnership. Debbie declared “I feel 20 years younger” and said “to do this kind of dancing would freak me out… you were terrific”.
Miranda Maleski and Robert Taylor Jr. were up next to dance. The couple’s embarrassing fact segment revealed that Robert thinks of himself as a pro wrestler, and that Miranda has a crush on fellow competitor Tadd. The two were charged with performing a hip hop routine choreographed by none other than “SYTYCD” regularsTabitha and Napoleon Dumo, and required the duo to get into the character of… woodpeckers. Yes, woodpeckers. Miranda called it “one big woodpeckerness mess”. The two hit the stage to Busta Rhymes’ “Break Ya Neck” looking oddly like, yes, woodpeckers. Miranda’s high ponytail was especially woodpeckery. It was odd. But I bopped along. Mary said it “absolutely worked for the two of you” and praised Tabitha and Napoleon’s creativity. She called Robert “amazing” and Miranda “hard hitting” and “sharp”. Debbie called it “fabulous” and said she was “mesmerized by the moth of you” before offering up a Woody Woodpecker impression. Nigel started by sucking up to Tabitha and Napoleon, and went on to call Miranda “the best contemporary dancer I’ve seen do hip hop”. He hoped they’d evade the bottom three after finding themselves there during the original top 20 show last week.
Contemporary was the word of the week for Broadway guy Jess LeProtto and jazz galClarice Ordaz, who were next to dance. The humiliate your partner clip featured Jess’s claim that Clarice sleeps with her eyes open and the revelation that Jess draws stick figure orchestras. Uh, okay. Stacey Rookey choreographed the routine, which told the story of a girl marrying into royalty. (Will and Kate, anyone?) She called the lifts challenging, and the two good naturedly struggled to make them happen during rehearsals. “Cathedrals” by Jump, Little Children served as the backdrop for their routine, which saw Clarice dressed in an airy pink number and Jess looking teeny tiny in what looked like a military outfit. The couple’s size difference is just so jarring to me that it’s hard to be objective, but Jess had some really nice spins while Clarice looked graceful and elegant throughout. Debbie said they’d “touched my heart” and promised to take them home along with Wadi. Nigel said he enjoyed the parts that they did separately, but said “it just didn’t look right to me” when they worked together as a couple. He said he was “slightly worried” for them but called them “fabulous dancers”. Mary called Jess’ emotions “perfect” and enjoyed his control, and then turned to Clarice, who she called “Miss Legs”, and called her “a beautiful dancer”.
Jordan Casanova and Tadd Gadduang kept things moving with their top 20 redux performance, but not before they dished the dirt on each other. Tadd said that Jordan wasn’t the “brightest crayon in the box” while Jordan snarked that Tadd has OCD issues with clothing organization. The pair was charged with mastering a Jean-Marc Genereux Viennese Waltz. He worked with the duo on proper spacing, which drove Jordan nuts. They hit the stage with their offering, which was set to “American Idol” winner David Cook’s “Fade into Me”. Usually provocative Jordan looked elegant in her lilac ballroom gown, while Tadd was dapper in a vest and tie. They had some lovely moments, including an impressive lift near the end that left the crowd cheering. Nigel called it “just so beautiful” and loved their rise and fall. He called Jordan’s “arabesque ridiculous” and reminded Tadd that he’s a b-boy as he called his presentation and arms “fantastic”.He said it was the best Viennese Waltz he’d seen from a b-boy. Tadd admitted that he’d “dreaded” dancing it, but Nigel insisted he’d done well. Mary called Tadd “the biggest surprise of the season right now” and loved his “perfect cool” and “tenderness”. She was way proud. She was also proud of Jordan’s effort. Debbie likened them to dance legends Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse.
Melanie Moore and Marko Germar, who impressed mightily during the first top 20 performance show with a memorable contemporary routine,were up next to dance. Before they got down to business, we learned that Melanie can’t stand anyone touching her ears, and that Marko loves reading romance novels. The two were assigned a jazz routine by Mandy Moore. The “strong accent” filled dance involved the two hat-wearing dancers as they portrayed cool kids. Melanie called Marko “a great partner” during rehearsals and praised him for not dropping her. The two hit the stage to the tune of “Sing witha Swing” by DKS. Uber contender Melanie’s extensions were incredible, and Marko tossed her around like a well-controlled doll. It was truly a fantastic spectacle from start to finish. Mary called them “so good” and said she felt like they’d be able to “take on everything we throw at you”. She called Melanie “a fabulous technical dancer” and said “I could go on and on about you”. Debbie called them “both great stars”. Nigel seconded Debbie, noting that they were “a perfect combination” together.
“So You Think You Can Dance” season 8’s top 20 redux chugged onward with hopefuls Sasha Mallory and Alexander Fost. Alexander dished that Sasha “sweats like a dude” (much to her consternation), while Sasha shared that Alex loves to look at himself in the mirror. With the humiliation in the rearview, they danced a routine by Tabitha and Napoleon depicting a soldier returning from Afghanistan and seeing his wife again for the first time. Sasha said that it needs to “come from an honest place” and Tabitha agreed, saying that they really needed to get into character or it won’t work. The two began their dance, set to the tune of Diddy-Dirty Money and Skylar Grey’s “Coming Home”, with Sasha in the foregound and Alex approaching in slow motion before behind. The tempo changed as he touched her shoulder for the first time, and it became a celebration of the reunited couple. It was definitely different. A little jarring, but good. When the audience screams died down, Debbie acknowledged that they’d had a difficult assignment and said they’d succeeded. A tearful Mary called it “too close” to her emotionally. She loved Sasha’s emotion at the beginning before tossing the evaluation to Nigel. He thought it was ironic in light of Obama’s announcement that the troops would all be withdrawn by September 2012, and loved the art behind the dance as he applauded Tabitha and Napoleon.
The show came to a close with Ashley Rich and Chris Koehl, who were assigned a Broadway routine. But first, Ashley pointed out Chris’ creepy nervous smile, which her partner then demonstrated, while Chris asserted that “Ashley thinks she has swag but she doesn’t”. Their dance, by Broadway choreographer Spencer Liff, cast Ashley as a girl visiting her partner in jail, and the two were literally charged with dancing with bars between them. Alex admitted “I’m a little uncomfortable because she’s really hot” and Ashley said “it’s hard to look at Chris like that”. She called it the sexiest dance she’d ever done. Set to the tune of “Please, Mr. Jailer” by Rachel Sweet, Alex began the routine with some impressive arm work on the wrong side of the bars, and Ashley looked impressive in a bright red dress. Both showed off their strengths admirably, with Ashley showing off her extensions and Chris climbing the bars like a sexy monkey. Nigel called it “a great routine” and praised Chris’ efforts as a hip hop guy. To Ashley? “I hope the next time they put me in prison you come to visit” and called her “beautiful”. Mary joked that Chris needed to go over to Debbie’s house and then yelled “you two are on the hot tamale train!” after a circuitous critique. Debbie called them both “sensational”. Chris told Cat he was excited about dancing with the bars, while Ashley said she was “a little nervous” over her partner’s moves.
When tomorrow night’s “So You Think You Can Dance” season 8 top 20 redux results show airs tomorrow night, four dancers –two guys and two girls– will get the boot. So who will survive? Watch for yourself at 8 PM and FOX and find out!