Mollee & Nathan did it again-they wowed regular judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy, along with guest judge Adam Shankman. For a sucessive week, there was an empty chair marked with Paula Abdul’s name. Will Paula judge or choreograph- or both? Once she appears.
The Top 18 dancers of So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) Season 6 competed as nine couples- each dancing a genre randomly pulled from a hat. Of the nine performances, three were weak; two were excellent. And four were astonishing- Mollee & Nathan’s exciting Bollywood routine; Karen & Kevin’s hot Hip-Hop dance (yes, Karen made Hip-Hop hoo-boy hot!); Kathryn & Legacy’s powerful and emotional Contemporary; Ellenore & Ryan’s dangerous Argentine Tango.
The Four Astonishing Performances (the number indicates the order of the performances)
4. Dream team Mollee & Nathan danced a westernized Bollywood routine to ‘Azeem O Shaan Shahenshah’ from the Jodhaa Akbar soundtrack, choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan. Mollee Gray joked that it was ‘Molleewood doing Bollywood in Hollywood’. Nathan Trasoras played a warrior prince going to war; Mollee played his princess, not wanting him to go. Nathan’s prop was a sword. The dance was fast with very high energy. At one point, Nathan did a long pirouette on one leg and stopped on a dime- amazing to see. When the performance ended, the females in the audience enthusiastically screamed and shouted choruses of “I love you, Nathan.”
Adam called bubble-icious Mollee and to-die-for handsome Nathan exciting . He marveled over Mollee’s new maturity and inner stillness. And over Nathan’s amazing dancing. Mary loved the pair. Nigel called the pair fabulous and Nathan tremendous. Everything about Mollee & Nathan is bringing them closer to the Top 10.
6. Karen & Kevin danced Hip-Hop to ‘Ice Cream Paint Job’ by Dorrough, choreographed by Napoleon & Tabitha D’Umo. Karen Hauer played the hot girl who walks into a car mechanic shop and Kevin Hunte played the mechanic who works under her hood. Last week, they danced her genre, Latin Ballroom; this week they danced his genre, Hip-Hop. Last week, Karen’s performance and personality eclipsed Kevin despite his brilliance; this week, he was again eclipsed, if only partially.
Adam said, “Karen-” and immediately fell off his chair and out of sight. Everyone laughed. He reappeared from his prank and praised sexy Karen to the hilt. He shouted to her, “You tore that up!” He called Kevin fantastic. He then looked at Karen and dropped off his chair again. Mary said it was a hot routine and that Karen is still on Mary’s Hot Tamale Train- in First Class. And that Karen has the indefinable but magnetic ‘It’ factor. She told Kevin he was phenomenal, screamed her scream, and added him to her Hot Tamale Train. Nigel told Karen that she moved parts of her body that he didn’t know could move, saying, “You’re an invertebrate, Darling- you have no spine.” He called her a pleasure to watch. He said it was not just her movement but also her personality. Her personality shines, no matter what she does. Nigel added, “And that is the mark of a true performer.”
7. Kathryn & Legacy danced Contemporary to ‘2 Steps Away’ by Patti LaBelle, choreographed by Stacey Tookey. Kathryn McCormick played a woman struggling with fear. Dressed in black, Legacy Perez personified Kathryn’s fear. The choreography, the emotional aspect, and the dancing were powerful. The judges unanimously agreed about the incredibly-fast growth in dance that Legacy was continuing to make. He had transformed himself. The judges also agreed that Kathryn is gorgeous and keeps ‘nailing it every week’.
9. Ellenore & Ryan danced an Argentine Tango to ‘Violentango’ by Astor Piazzollo, choreographed by Miriam Larici & Leonardo Barrionuevo (new to SYTYCD) with many spins, lifts, and leg wraps. Sexy muscle-hunk Ryan Di Lello and elegant Ellenore Scott kept a laser-light connection. He was there for her 100% in the dangerous dance. The judges gave them a unanimous standing ovation. They praised her maturity, dance, and inner stillness and said she had a ‘Cyd Charisse quality’. They thought Ellenore & Ryan both were unbelievable and that no one else could have performed the dance better. They were amazed that the pair not only kept performing after Ellenore’s high heel caught in her dress- and stayed caught for half the dance- but also that the pair were still able to perform flawlessly. And that her dress did not rip off.
The Two Excellent Performances
2. Ashleigh & Jakob danced a Viennese Waltz to ‘At Last’ by Etta James, choreographed by Tony Meredith & Melanie LaPatin. They played a newlywed couple dancing together for the first time as husband and wife, starting and ending the dance with a kiss. Adam said, “You can do no wrong… I’m madly in love with you.” Mary said she expects more from Jakob Karr, who showed no power in his dance. She said Ashleigh Di Lello is gorgeous to watch. Nigel told Jakob that he was a beautiful dancer and Ashleigh that she had danced very well- her lines were beautiful. However, he advised her to soften her arms. With this performance, Ashleigh & Jakob are closer to the Top 10.
8. After losing their partners last week, new couple Pauline & Peter danced to ‘Little Green Bag’, George Baker Selection, choreographed by Wade Robson. If Vincent Van Gogh had painted people into his Starry Night and then discarded them, this dance represented what would have happened if the people returned to the painting to torment Van Gogh. Adam said, “Great job.” Mary said the couple had danced really well but that the routine was not going to take them anywhere. Nigel said ‘let’s hope it doesn’t’… that they’ll ‘stay on the show’. He told Pauline Mata that she was very good, elegant, and precise. He advised Peter Sabasino to loosen up his tight shoulders.
The Three Weak Performances
1. Noelle & Russell danced Hip-Hop choreographed by Jamal Sims (new to SYTYCD) to ‘Move Shake Drop Remix’ by DJ Laz, Flo Rida, & Casely. With tennis rackets in hand, they danced as a lovey-dovey couple who play a tennis death match.
Last week, Noelle injured a knee and missed competing with the Top 20, which was reduced to the Top 18. So, tonight’s routine was her first real foray into the competition. She showed no signs of weakness from her injury but the judges thought she was overwhelmed by the choreography. Nigel thought the dance was too fast for both Noelle & Russell. He was disappointed.
3. Bianca & Victor danced to choreography by Tyce DiOrio and music by ‘Maybe God Is Tryin’ to Tell You Something’ from The Color Purple soundtrack. The dance was based on the Southern church and being ‘moved by the Spirit’. Bianca & Victor danced well but didn’t cut loose and celebrate. Nigel said, “You need more exuberance.”
5. Channing & Phillip danced a classic competition Samba to ‘Maracatu Funk’ by The Samba Squad, choreographed by Tony Meredith & Melanie LaPatin. According to Tony, this Samba is all about ‘isolations and technique, gyrations, syncopations, movement of the body’. Phillip obviously struggled with most of the lifts- which were shaky and sloppy. His face showed stress. Adam told him and Channing that ‘you gotta make it work no matter what’. But he recognized that the pair was a supportive team. He told Channing that she had great hip action. Mary agreed with Adam. She added that Phillip had let down Channing- that had Phillip been there for her on the lifts, then Channing would have nailed the routine.
The Judgment- After the nine performances, the judges put the following four dancers in danger of going home- Noelle Marsh, Phillip Attmore, Bianca Revels, Victor Smalley. Each danced a thirty-second solo for his life in this order- Noelle, Victor, Bianca, Phillip. After deliberating, the judges cut Bianca Revels and Phillip Attmore. The decision for Bianca was not unanimous. Next week, the dancers’ fates no longer rest in the judges’ hands; they lie with the voting American TV audience.
About Next Season- Anyone who makes the Top 20 is not allowed to audition for SYTYCD ever again. However, there are two exceptions- Billy Bell and Brandon Dumlao. Billy, who dropped out of this season’s Top 20 due to a life-threatening illness, will be automatically admitted into the top 100 of Vegas week next season. (He is yet too ill to return to the performing arts conservatory Julliard.) Brandon, who replaced Billy in the Top 20 on very short notice but was soon cut, will be allowed to audition again for SYTYCD.