Brandon Bryant and Kayla Radomski were the clear winners of last night’s So You Think You Can Dance Top 6 show. Well-matched in power, grace, and versatility, their performances demonstrated strength and flawless execution. If it were up to me, Brandon and Kayla would be in next week’s final along with Evan Kasprzak and Melissa Sandvig. Yet I have no doubt that Brandon, Kayla, Ade Obayomi, and Jeanine Mason will survive this week.
While I came into last night’s performances with relatively low expectations, Brandon and Kayla carried the show and almost made up for Janette Manrara’s absence.
Brandon and Kayla on SYTYCD Top 6: Power and Precision
Brandon and Kayla teamed up to perform a Stacey Tookey contemporary routine. Together they conveyed the intensity of a man and his mistress. They followed up their performance with a Doriana Sanchez number, complete with speed, precision, and athleticism. Highlights of that performance included an awe-inspiring double death spiral. Their solos were equally impressive. Kayla demonstrated her star power and clean lines while Brandon won the judges’ standing ovation with his Carmina Burana solo.
Brandon and Janette were the clear front-runners until Janette’s shocking elimination last week. Kayla has always been a favorite of the judges, but never the fans until now. Much of it may have stem from being partnered with weaker dancers Kupono and Evan who were unable to showcase her strengths. Hopefully this will change after tonight.
Evan and Melissa on SYTYCD Top 6: Noble in the Face of Backlash
Evan and Melissa entered this week with a target on their backs, as they received the brunt of backlash over Janette’s departure. The judges too seemed eager to send them home. Lil C could only offer Evan backhanded compliments about how he “held his own” against stronger dancers, while Nigel said that Melissa was not Cloris Leachman. It was a bit of reverse psychology, as he was still putting her in the same sentence as Cloris.
And what better way to sabotage them than to assign the dreaded quickstep, especially when Melissa is so much taller than Evan? They did pull it off quite convincingly, except for the middle section which Nigel said was a bit short on energy.
While I was not happy with Janette’s departure, I do see Melissa’s appeal. She is unique, and her balletic style transfers well to Broadway and contemporary routines. Evan too is quite appealing with his quirkiness and Broadway style. Both have done better than expected at stepping out of their comfort zone. Evan, in particular with the African dance number two weeks ago.
While Brandon and Kayla are at a much higher level than the rest, I would still keep Melissa over Jeanine and Evan over Ade. Still, both Evan and Melissa are unable to free themselves of the stigma of being “niche” dancers. As Michael Slezak at EW writes, “And with only a week left to compete, I’m sad to say her window for risk-taking may have already passed.”
Ade and Jeanine on SYTYCD Top 6: Indifferent
Ade and Jeanine had one great performance and one mediocre one. Their Nappy Tabs routine was strong and compelling. Ade in particularly transferred his “earthy” style to the hip-hop quite convincingly. Jeanine held her own outside her comfort zone as well. Yet their first performance, a Louis van Amstel number, fell flat. Ade seemed out of sync while Jeanine appeared clunky. Janette would blown the house down with this, especially given that this was her style.
I’m indifferent on Ade. I’ve seen him give brilliant performances (such as Tyce’s routine last week), but also mediocre performances (particularly in ballroom and salsa styles). I would keep lyrical Evan or strong Ade because we already have a strength dancer in Brandon.
As for Jeanine, I want to like her because I should, but I never really warmed up to her. For me, she doesn’t have the star power of Janette or Kayla. And being the “other” J dancer from Miami, Jeanine is the one who makes me miss Janette the most. Yet I have no doubt in my mind that Brandon, Kayla, Ade, and Jeanine will be in next week’s final on So You Think You Can Dance.
‘So You Think You Can Dance’ recap: Six and Twisted, Michael Slezak, EW