Heading into tonight on So You Think You Can Dance, there were six couples left--half of them safe, the other half in danger of not making it into the top 10 and the ensuing SYTYCD live tour.
Following last night's 12-routine performance show, it seemed pretty obvious who would be picked to dance for their lives: Jordan Casanova and Tadd Gadduang, Ryan Ramirez and Ricky Jaime, and Caitlynn Lawson and Mitchell Kelly.
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Clarice and Mitchell made practically no impact with their opening lyrical hip-hop routine (a bummer of a miss from Christopher Scott), so even though they steamed up the stage with their lady-rocker-scorned contemporary number in the latter half of the show, they were really just playing catch-up.
Then Ryan and Ricky, who just aren't connecting for some reason, made their umpteenth trip to the bottom three, as well. We thought both of them killed their Broadway routine, but the judges (including Sonya Tayeh and Jesse Tyler Ferguson this week) didn't quite agree. And then Ricky's half of the cha-cha was praised, while Ryan's half was deemed a bit sloppy.
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But while the judges called it for the most part, the voters apparently didn't agree with the so-called landmark Broadway performance given by Sasha Mallory and Alexander to "That's Life," and Jordan and Tadd ended up safe despite the utter lack of oomph in their Rent number.
And then, though it didn't matter as far as keeping the couples together for next week, the judges split a pair for the first time this season.
Ryan and Alexander did not make it into the top 10, with the judges feeling that their respective solos let them down tonight.
Perhaps sensing that she had been in the bottom three one too many times (and knowing the judge would never let Sasha go), Ryan looked resigned to her fate even before it had been announced. Alex, however, seemingly danced a technically thrilling ballet solo, but...according to Nigel Lythgoe, it was full of flaws. Who knew?!
As for the safe folk, Jess LeProtto and Clarice Ordaz scored the better of last night's lyrical hip-hop offerings from Scott and then absolutely charmed with their jive
While Clarice held her own last night, we've always felt that Jess--he appears weightless when he dances, his little legs bouncing and kicking as if they were powered by a motor--has been the Sasha of this group.
And, of course, Melanie Moore and Marko Germar have done no wrong since minute one, so they were perfectly safe after a proficient tango punctuated by that saucy foot-off-the-stage sequence and a killer closing lift, and then yet another standing-O-worthy contemporary piece.
So, your top 10, America, are Jess, Clarice, Melanie, Marko, Tadd, Jordan, Sasha, Ricky, Mitchell and Caitlynn. They will start teaming with all-stars including Chelsie Hightower, Brandon Bryant and Twitch starting next week!
Did the judges--and the voters, for that matter--get it right? Do share your thoughts in the comments!
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(Originally published July 14, 2011, at 6:20 p.m. PT)