With choreographer Sonya Tayeh and Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson by their sides, the So You Think You Can Dance panel judged two pieces by the remaining couples last night. So did we...
Sasha & Alexander: Paso Doble (Toni & Melanie) - The story was supposed to be about fighting and passion and the dance really looked like it was supposed to be for two guys to perform. While a part of me was disappointed there was no cape/matador, the performance was an equal battle that played on Sasha's strengths. The two had power moves in between very intricate choreography, but the middle section was sloppy. The side by side dances and the knee slides were fun to watch. My Grade: A-.
Jordan & Tadd: Contemporary (Travis Wall) - The story was about a vulture chasing a dying man. Travis played it smart and played to the two dancers' strengths, instead of actually choreographing before the routine. Tadd's great breaker movements and Jordan's extensions were used correctly to create wonderful shapes. The catered dance looked comfortable doing the routine. The twist at the end where the guy finally survived tried its best to break the whole "black widow" women this season. My Grade: A+.
Ryan & Ricky: Broadway (Spencer Liff) - It's sad to say that the concept, a poster coming to life, feels overplayed. Outside of the cool clothing, the couple wasn't as smooth as Spencer hoped they would be. There was a nice cheeky nature to the routine, but it didn't play up their strengths like the prior dances have. The two didn't fit like Jess may have had. My Grade: C.
Caitlynn & Mitchell: Hip-Hop (Christopher Scott) - The dance was about abducted children in Africa asking for help. Without Christopher's explanation, I wouldn't have gotten the concept at all. The couple was a few seconds off in choreography with Caitlynn behind; her height may be an issue. The brake where the two had to breathe didn't feel like choreography. As contemporary dancers, the two gave it their best effort but didn't hit hard enough. My Grade: B-.
Melanie & Marko: Tango (Louis Van Amstel) - Louis, I love you for not creating a stupid storyline and letting the dance speak for itself. While there were a few minor bumbles in the beginning, the couple covered the floor really well and the use of the stage was amazing. The final flip sequence was stunning. My Grade: A.
Clarice & Jess: Lyrical Hip-Hop (Christopher Scott) - Christopher wanted a story about a woman's insecurity. I'm surprised how well Jess fit into the Hip-Hop character and how he had a bounce in his step. The choreography had a great pace despite the slow tempo. Clarice did a great job just looking into the mirror showing that she was in character in the small movements. My Grade: B+.
Sasha & Alexander: Jazz (Tyce Diorio) - Tyce wanted to portray life, easy enough for anyone to grasp. The two found their point of inspiration and both performed to their highest. They had strength in their jumps and the big lift sequence was flawless. Sasha is still shadowing Alexander, but he was trying his best to hold his own. Sasha even managed to fall and made it look like it was part of the routine. My Grade: B+.
Jordan & Tadd: Broadway (Spencer Liff) - The concept was about a sleeping princess and a prince. While the glass bed was cool, I'm pretty sure Jordan was sporting some armpit hair which was a turn-off. As much as Jordan struggled with the acrobatics in practice, Spencer must have removed the difficult choreography because Jordan channeled her "sexy girl" genre. The outfits were more quirky than the dancers. My Grade: B.
Ryan & Ricky: Cha-Cha (Louis Van Amstel) - Like his tango, Louis just wants "hot" as his dance's theme. Ryan didn't have the hips for the dance because of her foot placement, by the time the couple got into hold it was better because they supported each other. The two weren't synchronized perfectly as they should have been. Ryan's death drop split was cool to look at, but you could see the fear on both Ryan and Ricky's faces when they made minor mistakes. My Grade: C+.
Caitlynn & Mitchell: Jazz (Travis Wall) - Travis wanted a story of "I didn't know you were married" set to Jefferson Airplane. As much as Caitlynn practiced her slap, the camera angle made it look tame. The two got into character afterwards and there were elements of a Sonya Tayeh style performance. I loved Caitlynn's inhibition as she went through the steps; it's as if she just threw herself at Mitchell and let all her emotions come through. The power lifts were strong and Mitchell was at every step. My Grade: B+.
Melanie & Marko: Contemporary (Dee Caspary) - Jesse dubbed this performance "The Moth Dance" as the two couples fought for the light bulb. The way the light bulb was used to light up at specific beats was a great element. The two looked effortless as they reached for the light. The routine was just building and building, so by the end it was emotionally grappling. My Grade: A-.
Clarice & Jess: Jive (Tony & Melanie) - The couple's jive was all about capturing the spirit of Rock n' Roll. There was something really natural about watching Jess doing the routine which was reminiscent of the cheese factor that Benji Schwimmer (or Lacey Schwimmer) had when performing West Coast Swing. Clarice's dress was doing a lot of the work for her, but her flicks were sharp and she kept with the pace. The lifts felt a bit weak, mostly because of Jess' lack of upper body strength. My Grade: A-.