‘so you think you can dance’ top 20: boobs, blood and bollywood

After last week’s oh-so-controversial non-elimination on So You Think You Can Dance, we got to see the top 20 dance again last night. Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds joined Nigel and Mary on the judging panel. While it was amazing to have someone who starred in Singing in the Rain involved with the show, she functioned more like your entertaining great-aunt with a penchant for sequined mauve jackets. It was still very cool to have Debbie on the show, Woody Woodpecker imitation not included.

First up were Ryan and Ricky with a “sexy” jazz dance by Mandy Moore. Both dancers were clad in ugly bondage-inspired gear, with Ryan sporting a ponytail mullet to boot. The choreography was a bit over-the-top, but I confess I was distracted from the actual dancing by Ryan’s Joker grin, so much so that I totally missed her wardrobe malfunction. She had absolutely no connection to Ricky throughout the dance, grinning away and hungrily searching her line of sight for the camera. I hope and pray they’re in the bottom three tonight, but the judges seem to have a Lauren Alaina-eqsue crush on Ryan, so I fear she’ll live to smile another day.

My favorite dance of the night was a contemporary piece danced by Caitlynn and Mitchell. There was so much to love about this dance; from the song (Adele’s “Turning Tables”) to the perfectly staged chairs and lamps. Caitlynn, looking lovely in a floral dress, was all lines and extensions, while Mitchell had a lot of strength in his dancing. He maybe had a bit too much strength, as he clonked Caitlynn in the nose, prompting what may be the first live bloody nose on primetime television.

Poor Missy and Wadi missed all the marks in their Jean-Marc Genereux-choreographed cha-cha-cha. This dance is all about hip action, which neither Missy nor Wadi showed much of. I didn’t even bother watching Wadi dance because he so clearly had no idea what he was doing. The judges praised Missy, but I thought her moves were lacking, too. She was wearing a dress with fringe, which should have been moving all about if her hips were moving correctly. They weren’t. I’m sure they’ll be in the bottom three.

Nick and Iveta danced a Bollywood routine by Nakul Dev Mahajan, which was passable, but it was far from the best routine in this style in SYTYCD history. That honor belongs to season four’s Katee and Joshua. Both Nick and Iveta kept up with the speed of the dance, but it lacked the crispness and precision that Bollywood requires. It just wasn’t very memorable.

Tabitha and Napoleon have returned to torture us with their mostly mediocre hip-hop, this time creating a woodpecker-themed routine for Miranda and Robert. A woodpecker routine? Seriously? I’d like to know what kind of shrooms NappyTabs are smoking, because that is the most bizarre theme they’ve come up with. I thought Miranda hit the moves harder than Robert, which is a bit surprising considering this is his style. Again, not a terrible piece, but not very memorable, either.

I confess: I fast-forwarded my DVR through most of Clarice and Jess’ contemporary routine, choreographed by Stacey Tookey. The choreography was boring, with Jess visibly struggling with some of the lifts. This affected Clarice’s dancing too, as she appeared hesitant to enter some of the lifts for fear of falling. Even though I haven’t been impressed by either of their dances together, Clarice and Jess’ solos were phenomenal last week. I’m in the minority amongst SYTYCD fans, but I find Jess incredibly talented and a joy to watch. I’ll be devastated if he’s eliminated tonight.

The night’s second foray into ballroom was much more palatable. Jean-Marc’s Viennese waltz for Tadd and Jordan was fluid and pretty. It was nice to see Jordan play a role that wasn’t sex kitten for once. Tadd continues to impress me, because there is no way a breakdancer should be that natural at a waltz.

My second favorite routine of the night was Marko and Melanie’s jazz, courtesy of Mandy Moore. It was funky yet classic, and the two brought a lot of energy and charisma to the dance. I mostly had eyes for Melanie, though; that girl has a magnetic presence when she’s dancing. She makes everything look so effortless, too.

Napoleon and Tabitha’s second routine was allegedly wonderful, moving, emotional, etc. Alexander and Sasha played a soldier coming home from war and his waiting girlfriend, which is basically like a sequel to Nappytabs’ season four “No Air” routine with Katee and Joshua. I’m usually the first one to start tearing up/getting goosebumps/generally being affected by dances, but this one left me cold. Alexander was so stiff and so unnatural that it was more like a one woman show. I don’t know what I’m missing, but I won’t be adding this to the Nappytabs hall of fame.

I would like to thank Spencer Liff for doing a proper and entertaining Broadway routine; Tyce DiOrio needs to take note. Chris and Ashley were tasked to play a jailed man and his visiting sweetie, complete with prison bars. Nine times out of 10, I’m against props in dancing (see: Mia Michaels’ overrated “Mercy” dance with the doors from season four), but the bars were visually interesting and allowed Chris to do some crazy acrobatic stuff. This dance had all of the sexy that Ricky and Ryan lacked. I’m not feeling a lot of chemistry from Ashley and Chris as a couple, but I hope this routine pushes them in the right direction.

My picks for bottom three couples are: Ricky and Ryan, Missy and Wadi, and Clarice and Jess. Out of those six dancers, I’d really only like to see Ryan go home. Can you tell I don’t like her? Check back tomorrow for an update on the results show.

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