The Top 14 danced their hearts out last night, replete with a brand new set of choreographers.
On the judging panel along with Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe were Carmen Electra and Travis Wall, as So You Think You Can Dance continued the adding a choreographer to mix because celebs are useless. With Wall sounding like Ross Matthews when excited, let's grade all the acts that came before us, shall we?
Guy's Group Dance - Contemporary (Justin Giles): The dance was supposed to be seven stages of grief. I liked each of the dancers’ solo time while the rest were continuing their movements. Sadly, Chris was having a lot of trouble with timing, possibly because of his hoodie over his head. The performance felt short because of the solos and Jess definitely had two dance motions: "consider dropping bag" and "drop bag."
Melanie & Marko - Jazz (Ray Leeper): Of all the random information we got from these contestants, Marko admitted to doing drag once. The story involved a feuding Latin family (aka West Side Story/Romeo & Juliet), but in reality this dance didn't have a storyline. I loved how the couple had to start in a pose and Melanie maintained her arabesque well before the song began. I also liked the sharpness of the movements and it proved that having new choreographers improves the quality level of the dancers. The walk the couple performed had power despite its simplicity. My Grade: A.Sasha & Alexander - Hip-Hop (Shaun Evaristo): The dance was all about a kiss at the end of the date. Alex lacked any swag and he didn’t learn any of it by the time of the routine. Sasha was naturally smoother in the routine, but the awkwardness of Alexander worked because his character wanted the kiss. I liked the synchronization throughout the whole routine and the use of the tree prop was minimal but useful. There may not have been connection, but they did the choreography the way Shaun wanted.
Jordan & Tadd - Waltz (Toni Redpath): The story was a siren luring in a man. I was more upset that every waltz is performed with a fog machine. The fog covered up minor issues with their footwork early on. The dance was soft and both dancers managed to look effortless. The lifts felt really clunky, like Tadd was trying to lift a sack of potatoes over his head. My Grade: B.
Clarice & Jess - Contemporary (Justin Giles): Justin's concept was about love running its course danced through emphasized beats. I loved the shift in tempo and the confidence that Clarice had through the routine. Jess had a lot more frozen poses but both had a natural flow reacting in staccato. In an alternate world, shifting the music would have turned the whole piece into a Lyrical Hip-Hop. My Grade: A-.
Ashley & Chris - Salsa (Liz Lira): The three points of the salsa routine we needed to look for were: Speed, Tricks, and Flavor. The performance started off slow and Ashley looked like she was trying to overdo the routine. Until the big lift and trick section, I wasn't impressed. The couple's kicks were not even close during their side-by-side. Their spinning finale was strong, but not enough to save the whole routine. My Grade: D+.
Ryan & Ricky - Jazz (Chucky Klapow): Random Fact: Ryan was on House. Other random Fact: Brandon was a male cheerleader. The dance was supposed to be two cult of fashion members that got into a car accident. To me it was a gay version of "Thriller" and the two were fabulous zombies. Suffice to say, I liked the routine. Chucky understood what beats of the song to choreograph to. Outside of Ryan almost falling out of her pirouettes near the end, the dance was solid. My Grade: A.
Caitlynn & Mitchell, pictured - Contemporary (Mandy Moore): Mandy Moore created a routine that was full of difficult lifts, but because she's Mandy Moore she had to use some outdated Top 40 song. I've heard "To Love You More" by Celine Dion on SYTYCD a million times. The routine had flow and achieved a high amount of difficulty in the routine, but I guess after all of the innovative choreographers Mandy Moore’s routine was a bit cliché. Don't get me wrong, both Caitlynn and Mitchell were good and will be safe, but they didn’t deserve the standing ovation. My Grade: A-.
Girls' Group Routine – Jazz (Ray Leeper): The girls continued the story of the black widow alter-egos killing off the men. The smoothness of the routine in the beginning kept me invested. The girls were in sync and when the girls re-intertwined with each other it showed their strong timing. They understood the character and danced with passion. My Grade: A+.