‘so you think you can dance’: let’s hear it for the boys.

This week’s episode of So You Think You Can Dance marked the first time that a dance has moved me to actual tears. Sure, many of the routines have evoked strong emotions, but I’m talking tears in the eyes, threatening to spill over onto my face. More on that routine later. While I wasn’t getting weepy, I was swooning over the male dancers on the show. Contestants and all-stars alike made me wish I still had a Trapper Keeper so I could write “Alison ❤ Neil” on it (among other names.)

The injuries plague that claimed dearly departed Alex Wong last week struck again, this time in the form of a rib injury for Ashley. Forgettable as she may be, she’s a consistently good dancer, so I hope there isn’t an early departure in her future.

The last time SYTYCD attempted a foray into cultural dance, it resulted in the Russian folk dance fiasco that Jeanine and Phillip were saddled with in season 5. When I heard that Lauren would be dancing a Tahitian dance with Mark, I feared the worst. Before I get into the dance, I would like to thank the Dance gods for bringing Mark back to our TV screen this week; an episode without Mark is an episode without joy. I can’t imagine a better partner than him for this dance, because he brought the perfect amount of masculinity and strength. Lauren got that swively hip action just right, and while I can’t say I want to see this dance every week, it was a welcome
departure from the overwhelming amount of angsty contemporary pieces.

I was all for Adechike and Anya’s salsa last night, but the more I think about it, the less sure I am about its awesomeness. The tricks were great, especially Anya’s prolonged backbend and Adechike’s cartwheel over her arm, but the rest of the dance seemed to be lacking. It was a bit too stop-and-go to accommodate the tricks and lacked the fiery feel of a salsa. Choreography aside, Adechike did a great job of stepping out of his technical comfort zone and attacking something completely different.

One dance that I definitely did not like was Jose and Courtney’s Broadway routine. Joey Dowling’s choreography is hit-or-miss for me, and last night was for sure a miss. I get that they didn’t dance together due to the story of the dance, but the meager steps Jose did perform were executed poorly. I would have rather watched Courtney shimmy around the stage in that ridiculous showgirl costume by herself for the entirety of the dance. Don’t even get me started on that wounded puppy face Jose was pulling during his judging…

As I’m sure you’ve guessed, it was Travis Wall’s contemporary, danced by Robert and Allison, that moved me to tears. The one-two punch of Coldplay’s “Fix You” and the emotional backstory of his mom recovering from surgery was too much for my fragile emotions to handle. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Travis Wall is a genius. His choreography was so strong and so lovely that it would have been just as breathtaking without knowing the inspiration behind the piece. Robert put a lid on his oversized personality and allowed himself to connect with the piece, which definitely showed. I’m going to make a bold statement here and name Allison the best female contemporary dancer in SYTYCD history.

I’d like to thank the Dance gods again for the return of Dancing With the Stars pro Louis van Amstel as a choreographer. I missed him last season, when the new fall format of SYTYCD conflicted with DWTS. I love the jive as much as I love Louis, so one choreographing the other must equal greatness, right? Almost. Billy was able to overcome his nervous laughter from rehearsal and connect with Anya, but I wouldn’t rank this among the show’s top jives. Chopping up Meatloaf’s epic “Paradise By the Dashboard Light” into a minute and thirty seconds seems sacrilegious, and it gave the routine a slightly disjointed feel.

Let me offer another hearty “amen” for Neil. Not just last night, but in general. If they changed the title of the show to So You Think You Can Watch Neil Dance Solo For an Hour, I’d be all for it. I know this season is about the contestants and not the all-stars, but I thought Neil totally ruled this dance last night. Tyce Diorio’s Damn Yankees-themed Broadway piece was shockingly enjoyable. Okay, so Kent was good in this routine, too, because it allowed him to fully embrace his “gee-shucks-Kent!” persona, but I can’t believe Nigel told Neil he was outdanced. No way, no how.

Moving on to the contestants-only dances, (which I’m glad they’re continuing with) Lauren and Billy had a fun jazz from Mandy Moore. Her choreography isn’t usually that great, but this funky, peppy routine to “Boogie Shoes” was enjoyable to watch. (Not to mention I want a pair of those bejeweled Chuck Taylors they were wearing.) Adam was right; Billy truly did just let go and dance, and it showed.

I was shocked at the praise the judges were throwing at Jose after his b-boy dance with Dominic, who he was paired with since there was an odd number of contestants left. There is no way that you could sit there and watch that routine and not see that Jose is nowhere near as good at b-boying as Dominic. This was so obvious when they were dancing side-by-side; the leg windmills (or whatever they’re called) come to mind. I’m sick of all the passes Jose gets from the judges. He needs to be in the bottom three tonight.

Not taking into account the weird story behind the dance, (Kent’s girlfriend is a chair and Adechike doesn’t like her?) Dee Caspary’s contemporary piece was strong, masculine and really used the strengths of both dancers. The use of chairs could have hindered the routine, but the choreography was interesting and different.

The last dance of the night was the first disco of the season, and while I had been wondering when we were going to finally see it, I realized after last night’s routine with Robert and Kathryn that I didn’t really miss it that much. Doriana Sanchez’s choreography used to be non-stop good times, but now it’s evolved into death-defying trick after death-defying trick. Robert wasn’t fabulous in this, but he and Kathryn worked well together considering she had to fill in for the injured Ashley.

I think Jose and Billy or Robert will be joining Ashley in the bottom three tonight, and hopefully she’ll be well enough to continue on in the competition and Jose will be b-boying his way back to Miami.

Photo courtesy of Mark Kanemura’s Twitter account, @mKiK808.

live-blogging the oscars.

The awards season comes to a close tonight with the most prestigious of ceremonies: the Academy Awards. It will be an interesting telecast with an unprecedented 10 nominees for Best Picture, and, for the first time in Oscar history, two hosts. The duo of Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin is either going to be great or terrible. I’m hoping for the latter, because I find both of them funny separately, so they have to be funny together, right? I’ll be picking apart the fashions as they appear, since I can’t stomach any network’s red carpet coverage. Check back for my thoughts on Hollywood’s most important evening, and bear with me, because I think I’ve seen one, maybe two nominated movies.

8:30: This intro of the Best Actor/Actress nominees feels like a beauty pageant.

8:32: Neil Patrick Harris! Love him and his sequined tux. Of course he’s singing.

8:33: Loving the SYTYCD alums in this number, courtesy of producer Adam Shankman.

8:35: Meryl Streep is awesome.

8:37: Great “damn”/”dame” joke at Helen Mirren’s expense. BTW, has she found the fountain of youth? If so, please share.

8:39: Gabourey Sidibe’s mom is loving Baldwin/Martin.

8:41: Awkwardddd…James Cameron is sitting behind Kathryn Bigelow.

8:43: I asked why Zac Efron and Taylor Lautner were invited and my mother’s response was, “They’re in movies.” Thanks for clearing that up, Mom!

8:48: And Best Supporting Actor goes to…Christoph Waltz. Can’t say I’m surprised since he won a Golden Globe.

8:50: Ryan Reynolds – one of Canada’s best exports.

8:52: It’s nice to see that the real family from The Blind Side was invited.

8:56: This bit with the animated characters is cute.

8:58: Not at all surprised that Up won Best Animated Feature Film. I haven’t seen it, but it’s Pixar, so it has to be fantastic.

9:00: Go home, Miley. Amanda Seyfried looks lovely, though.

9:03: The song from Crazy Heart is probably going to win.

9:04: I’m three for three with winners so far. Too bad I didn’t take part in an Oscar pool.

9:05: So far we’ve had Ryan Reynolds then Chris Pine introduce a Best Picture nominee. I like the trend that’s being set here…

9:12: Tina Fey. My idol. My mother thinks she looks like “Tarzana” in her polka dotted-ish dress.

9:13: Fey and Downey, Jr. are killing it with their writer/actor bit.

9:15: As a writer (I use that term loosely,) I love when they do nerdy writer stuff like read the stage directions on scripts.

9:17: Molly Ringwald? Did you get lost on the way from 1987?

9:19: This John Hughes montage is making me feel old.

9:22: This gathering of Hughes movie alums may or may not make me cry.

9:24: Now the clip of Up is making me tear up. Get a grip.

9:27: I have a total girl crush on Zoe Saldana, even though she was in the Britney Spears cinematic disaster Crossroads.

9:30: John Lasseter, you are awesome.

9:32: I may love Zoe, but hot damn, her dress is UGLY.

9:35: That red haired lady was pretty intense. I got the impression that she wasn’t supposed to be onstage and/or speak.

9:37: I am not shocked at all that Ben Stiller is dressed as a Na’avi.

9:40: I still love the Will Ferrell/Steve Carell bit from when they introduced Best Makeup a few years ago. I may YouTube it during a commercial.

9:47: I love Rachel McAdams (aka Regina George).

9:52: Queen Latifah always looks classy at awards shows. Her dress tonight is very flattering.

9:54: Cameron Diaz, I see you in the background chewing gum.

9:55: Robin Williams is oddly subdued.

9:59: Best Supporting Actress was a strong group with lots of talent, but Mo’nique totally deserves this.

10:01: Colin Firth is so dapper.

10:06: Of course Avatar won Art Direction. It’s easily the most visually stunning movie I’ve ever seen.

10:09: More Martin and Baldwin, please. These two are getting lots of laughs in my living room. SJP’s dress and hair piece are heinous.

10:11: I like this lady who just won Best Costume Design. Way to thank the under appreciated costumers!

10:13: Ugh, I can’t even escape Twilight on the Oscars.

10:15: I’m getting sleepy and bored. I might not make it to the end.

10:18: Color me shocked…Kristen Stewart’s dress is nice and she doesn’t look as slouchy as usual.

10:19: Do. Not. Like. Horror. Movies. I’m watching through my fingers.

10:22: Zac Efron and Anna Kendrick are very cute together.

10:27: Hmm…I thought these sound awards were a lock for Avatar. Does this mean The Hurt Locker has some big awards in its near future?

10:30: Quentin Tarantino – the Dwight Schrute of directing? Discuss.

10:35: Sandra is looking super shiny tonight. I kind of like the dress.

10:36: Avatar finally wins a technical-ish award tonight.

10:37: Oh no. The death montage. We’ve lost a lot of greats this year. Sad.

10:45: Oh, hello, Sam Worthington. I like your glasses.

10:46: LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY DANCERS! I love them so much.

10:54: Do you think Gerard Butler and Bradley Cooper talked about Jennifer Aniston while they were waiting backstage?

10:55: A big “DUH” that Avatar won Best Visual Effects.

11:02: Matt Damon – smart, talented, and a writer. Yes, please.

11:08: Dear Keanu, please shave. Thanks.

11:13: All the big awards are coming up, and just in time too, because I’m by myself now and I can barely stay awake.

11:14: I rest my case re: Quentin/Dwight.

11:19: Kathy Bates, you own Dunder Mifflin now.

11:20: I got chills watching the Avatar clip reel. It truly is a story that sucks you in and keeps you emotionally involved until the end credits.

11:23: There is a GIGANTIC spider crawling across the wall towards me. I just want this awards show to be over so I can get away from this speedy arachnid.

11:28: These personal tributes are actually quite interesting and touching.

11:31: Oh my god, West Coasters, it’s 11 freaking 30. Wrap it up, already.

11:33: Best Actor goes to…Jeff Bridges. No surprise there.

11:37: All right, I have to close up shop. I needed to go to bed like, an hour ago. Unlike everyone at the Oscars, some of us have to go to work tomorrow and earn a living : )

“so you think you can dance”: random thoughts and judging the top 10

It’s been a while since I’ve checked in on So You Think You Can Dance, and a lot has happened since then. We’ve had injured dancers (RIP Billy Bell), eliminations on performance nights thanks to the World Series, and some semi-interesting dances. No dancer has really reached out and grabbed my attention like previous seasons, but the top 10 will definitely show who the true front runners are, and who will be heading home soon.

Before I get to my thoughts on the top 10 dancers, I need to take a moment to address the atrocity that is Victor Smalley’s elimination last night. His solo was so much stronger than Nathan’s last night, and I’m perplexed as to how Victor went home while the judges’ personal punching bag will live on to annoy for another week. Victor was never a standout to me, but I felt the grounds of his elimination were unfair, and for once, I actually agreed with Nigel Lythgoe. Scary. Also, I’ve been in love with Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” since the first time I heard it on the radio, and I knew it was just a matter of time before it would make an appearance on SYTYCD. Imagine my disgust when terror queen Laurieann Gibson choreographed a clunky, forgettable routine for sparkle twins Mollee and Nathan. So disappointing. I wish we could put the song back into the rotation for, say, a Nap/Tab routine for Jakob and Kathryn. Someone make this happen, please!

On to the top 10…

I expressed my dislike of Ashleigh at the start of the top 20, and while I was able to quash my annoyance so far, I feel like her gig is up soon after leaving her partnership with Jakob. Her obnoxious facial expressions have been kept to a minimum, but after each routine, I couldn’t help but notice she never did much dancing. A lot of hair whipping and posing, sure, but nothing incredibly substantial. The judges have fallen over themselves to praise her, constantly raving over how much she’s grown. I have to challenge them on that…I think people who have been voting for Jakob and Ashleigh are only voting for one half of the partnership. Also, expect Ashleigh to “randomly” draw her husband as a partner in the upcoming weeks.

Male ballroom dancers usually light up the stage on SYTYCD (see: Dmitry, Pasha, Artem and Ivan), but Ryan has left me unimpressed so far. He’s a good dancer, but he’s really nothing special. I think his overt masculinity was nicely balanced out by Ellenore’s quirky grace. He has no discernible personality outside of working out, doing extreme sports, and obsessively waxing his eyebrows. He’ll go pretty far in the top 10, but I don’t think he’ll crack the top four.

Russell was an early favorite of mine, but there hasn’t been much to keep him on my favorites list since the top 20 started. So far, it’s been a lackluster foxtrot, an awkward hip-hop, a pretty good Afro-jazz, another lackluster foxtrot, a clunky samba and an overpraised contemporary piece. That track record doesn’t exactly scream top four to me. I do love Russell’s personality, and when he performs in his own style, I remember why I loved him so much in the Vegas round. He really needs to step it up and be more consistent if he wants to make it far.

Mollee, Mollee, Mollee. SYTYCD‘s resident Cindy Brady (thank you to Entertainment Weekly for making that comparison) annoys me more and more each week, a feat I didn’t think possible. Despite having been in the bottom a few times and delivering solos that were nothing but glorified gymnastics routines, Mollee is still in the competition. She is a pretty decent dancer, but we haven’t really seen her in a genre that she’s completely owned. She can’t do sexy, she can’t do hip-hop, and everything else has been just so-so. I’m waiting for her to blossom into the woman the judges repeatedly claim her to be, because right now, she really does look like a graduate of “Dolly Dinkle’s regional hip-hop class 101.” (Help…I’m agreeing with Grandpa Nigel again!)

Jakob has been the shining star of season six thus far. His technical ability seems to be endless, and he comes across as very personable in his interview packages (not to mention he’s BFFs with season five winner Jeanine…can they please do a duet on the finale episode? How awesome would that be?) I think Jakob will excel even more once he’s ditched his cheese ball, coattail riding partner. I beg you to show me a genre this guy can’t do, therefore making him a lock for the top four.

I’m pretty lukewarm about Noelle, considering she’s had the same middling lineup of dances as Russell. She’s definitely got great lines and technique, as shown in her contemporary piece this week, but her attempt at sexiness in the samba was kind of hard to watch. I think my biggest problem with Noelle is that she reeks of dance school competitions. The cheesy grins and some of her posturing are so reminiscent of my own dance school experience, and I don’t think that kind of dancing will get her very far into the top 10.

There is nothing I love more than a relative unknown at the start of the top 20 turning into an absolute dynamo by the top 10. This is how Jeanine evolved last season, and I think Kathryn is following the same trajectory. She’s gone from unknown crying girl to talented tamer of emotional b-boys. From a cave woman in a Dave Scott hip hop to a fiery vixen in a Tony Meredith paso doble, Kathryn has handled whatever she’s been given with her extensive talent. I absolutely adored her partnership with Legacy, and while I’m sad to see them break up, I’m anxious to see how she’ll grow with other partners.

I was unnecessarily harsh on Legacy before the top 20, thinking him irritating and overhyped. I am definitely eating my words now. What I used to think was insincere is now an emotional dancer learning a lot on a once in a lifetime journey. His lack of technique is sometimes very evident, but the fact that he was able to pull of a haunting contemporary piece, an attention-grabbing paso doble and an emotional Viennese waltz speaks to his ability to learn quickly. Kathryn has definitely taught him a lot, and I fear that Legacy may falter without her helpful partnership, but his sincerity and eagerness will hopefully carry him far.

I can’t really recall why I thought Ellenore was annoying during the Vegas round. Sure, she’s quirky and definitely unique, but I’ve enjoyed watching her dance. She is so versatile and so good at what she does. I don’t think I even watched Ryan during their Broadway piece this week because Ellenore was just so phenomenal. The idea of a potential partnership between her and Jakob has me anxious for Tuesday nights.

Oh, Nathan. How quickly you’ve gone from young upstart to judges’ punching bag. As soon as I found out he was paired with Susie Sunshine, I knew things couldn’t be good for him. I knew Nathan had talent, but there was something about his partnership that brought out the irritating brat in him. The judges latched on to this, with both Nigel and Adam Shankman taking turns handing him slices of humble pie. I think he would have been so much better off with someone else as a partner, because he’s now been so strongly associated with giggles, skipping and annoyance. It will be interesting to see how Nathan internalizes Adam’s advice to watch what he says, as well as how he fares with a less obnoxious partner.

“so you think you can dance”: handicapping the top 20

Even though it seems like we just crowned Jeanine Mason “America’s Favorite Dancer,” So You Think You Can Dance has quickly segued into their first fall season, giving us another group of talented dancers to entertain us each week. Here are my thoughts on the top 20.

I love tappers, and I loved Phillip Attmore’s audition, but last night’s conveniently placed clip of his backtalk to the judges will surely turn some people off to him. I think a lot of Phillip’s success rides on which female dancer he’s paired with.

Billy Bell is an early favorite of mine. The strength of his dancing comes as somewhat of a shock, as though it’s not possible for this skinny, pale kid to bring Adam Shankman to tears. I really look forward to seeing Billy’s growth in the top 20.

My spotty viewing of the audition rounds prevented me from seeing Channing Cooke before last night. Athletic strength doesn’t always translate to strong dancing, but she seems to have a balance of both. She’s like the Kherington of season 6, albeit less annoying, so I think viewers will become well acquainted with her.

I’ve literally never seen Ariana DeBose before finding out she was in the top 20, and the producers couldn’t be bothered to show much of her dancing. Depending on her partner, Ariana could make an early exit just from the fact that the viewers don’t have much of a rapport with her.

The less I have to see of Ashleigh DiLello, the better. She’s clearly hamming it up for the cameras every chance she gets, and the faces she makes while both dancing and talking are obnoxious. I get the whole husband and wife shtick the producers are going for, but her dancing is mediocre, and “personality” can only get you so far.

Ryan DiLello is far more talented than his elastic-faced wife. A strong male ballroom dancer has been missing from SYTYCD for the past few seasons, so if Ryan’s prowess extends beyond ballroom floor, I think he has a good chance of making the top 10.

Russell Ferguson is the earliest of my early favorites. When I saw this krumper excel at Louis van Amstel’s insane cha-cha-cha during Vegas week, I was shocked. Russell further shocked me by completely killing it in the following jazz, contemporary and Broadway routines. The cynic in me finds his claims of having no previous training suspect, but I hope it’s true and he’s simply a wealth of untapped talent.

Detest is not a strong enough word to describe my dislike for Mollee Gray. Nigel was completely spot-on when he told her that she dances like a 14 or 15-year-old. I’d place her maturity level at about the same age. Sure, she has great technique, but the emotional connection to her dances is lacking. Can she master the fiery paso doble? The sultry rumba? A hard-hitting hip hop? Mollee will definitely alienate older viewers, but the younger crowd will text enough votes to keep her around for longer than I’d like.

As far as female ballroom dancers go, I’ll take Karen Hauer over Ashleigh any day. Her audition was strong, but her lack of camera time throughout Vegas could hurt her.

Hip-hop is often over-represented in the SYTYCD top 20, but this season, Kevin Hunte is the sole hip-hopper (not counting krumper Russell or b-boy Legacy). He’s very versatile, as glimpses of him in Vegas showed, but there are a lot of strong males this season, so Kevin’s versatility will have to go a long way.

We haven’t seen much of contemporary dancer Jakob Karr thus far, but the little we have seen shows a lot of promise. I hope he does better than my early contemporary favorite from last season, Jason Glover, who was kind of a disappointment.

The only thing Noelle Marsh has going for her is that she’s mildly less obnoxious than her “best friend” Mollee. (Side note: How fast can one become someone’s best friend? Apparently for these two, it’s the length of time it took some random PA to put them in the same hotel room.) We haven’t seen much of her dancing, so Noelle’s run in the top 20 is TBD.

Throughout Vegas, Paulina Mata was one to watch for me, so when she suffered that terrible ankle injury before the Broadway round, I thought she was a goner. Her spirit seemed a little beaten post-injury, so hopefully being in the top 20 gives Paulina the spark she needs to become a true contender.

Kathryn McCormick is a great dancer, as seen in the clips we saw last night. Viewers may have a hard time remembering her talent, however, after witnessing the horrible sound of her voice when she cries. When the tears started, her voice reached octaves that only dogs and dolphins can hear. Unless Kathryn can pull it together and keep the tears in check, she’s going to have a hard time getting votes.

I’ll keep my thoughts about Jonathan “Legacy” Perez short: he’s annoying, and I don’t get the hype. The end.

Tapper Bianca Revels is very talented and has a lot of personality to back it up. She also has quite a fan following, as this is her third season on SYTYCD. Her tapping is great, but I fear she may struggle with ballroom or contemporary.

Peter Sabasino rounds out the trifecta of tappers this season, and while we haven’t seen much of him yet, I have to applaud Nigel and the rest of the judges for not pulling the “we need to keep the genres equally represented” card when it came to the tap dancers. Now if only we could get some more ballet dancers on the show…

All I can really recall about Ellenore Scott is that I declared her “really obnoxious” after her audition. We know Nigel loves personality, and Ellenore has plenty to go around.

Victor Smalley’s curly Mohawk suffered the same fate as Kupono’s floppy Mohawk last season: shorn off in a Las Vegas bathroom. The haircut is definitely an improvement, and from what I saw of Victor last night, he has great technique.

Nathan Trasoras has the advantage of being a favorite from way back in season 5. His audition was phenomenal, but he was too young to qualify. Nigel, in a rare moment of clarity, saw Nathan’s potential and gave him a ticket for Vegas in season 6. For being so young, Nathan is a great dancer, and I think he’ll fit nicely into the requisite non-threatening male that makes the teen voters go crazy.

Be sure to tune in on Monday October 26 for “So You Think You Can Dance: Meet the Top 20,” where viewers will get to see each dancer perform in their own style, as well as in choreographed group numbers. The judges will then pair up the dancers at the end of this SYTYCD special.

Photo courtesy of Fox.com

‘so you think you can dance’ recap: top 20

Last night was the first performance show of season 5 of So You Think You Can Dance, which has easily overshadowed its reality TV cousin American Idol in showcasing talent and keeping viewers (namely, me) interested. The first week can often be shaky as dancers adjust to their partners and the show’s format, but this season’s top 20 proved otherwise. Here’s my take on the ten performances.

Philip and Jeanine: Freaky popper meets unknown contemporary dancer. I think Philip lucked out by getting hip-hop his first week, and despite Jeanine’s lack of hip-hop training, she really kept up with him during Tabitha and Napoleon’s routine. I wouldn’t rank it among SYTYCD’s most memorable dances, but it was good.

Vitolio and Asukah: This was the one routine that really missed the mark throughout the 2-hour show. Both dancers focused way too much on their technique instead of really embodying the characters of Tyce Diorio’s Broadway number. Technically, the dancing was great, but it was lacking the personality that was so desperately needed to turn the choreography into a true performance.

Jonathan and Karla: A cha-cha to Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” sounds terrible, but these two made it work. I expected Jonathan, a ballroom dancer, to do well, but Karla’s skill was surprising given her contemporary background.

Evan and Randi: Another Tyce Diorio routine, this time jazz, and this time executed much better than his previous piece. It was very obvious tonight that Evan’s dancing skills go far beyond his Broadway stylings. Randi (formerly known as Unitard Girl,) was wonderful too, and the whole dance was fluid and beautiful.

Tony and Paris: Another weak routine in an otherwise strong first episode. I liked the choreography (again, Tabitha and Napleon,) but I didn’t like the performance. Something was off. It seemed like both Paris and Tony were trying too hard, which is something that becomes very evident on a show full of natural talent. I agree with Nigel that their costumes were too distracting, but that’s an issue to take up with the costume department, not the dancers.

Jason and Caitlin: The Bollywood style of dance has become a great addition to the show, and all of the numbers thus far have been energetic and sharp, Caitlin and Jason’s included. This is definitely a couple to watch this season. While I don’t think the number was as perfect as the judges claimed it to be, (some sloppy feet and weak arms) it was definitely memorable and great to watch. I’m just glad they didn’t dance to the Pussycat Dolls’ version of “Jai Ho” and stuck with the original instead.

Brandon and Janette: Usually, the mention of a foxtrot makes me want to change the channel, but tonight I actually found it enjoyable to watch. Dancing with the Stars pro Louis van Amstel’s choreography was great, although he was mysteriously absent from the audience while the judges were showering his work with praise.  Brandon may be this season’s most controversial contestant, only because of Mia Michaels’ inexplicable hatred, but I think he’ll be around to have a dance studio showdown with her if he continues to dance as well as he did last night.

Kupono and Ashley: Wade Robson’s routine about crash test dummies falling in love was very strange, but that’s what any regular viewer of SYTYCD has come to expect from him. Both Kupono and Ashley fully embraced their characters and made them believable, something Asukah and Vitolio should have done earlier in the night. The dancing was great, too, but it was hard to focus on the steps when the dancers’ skin was painted white and there were robotic dogs and flying tires onstage.

Ade and Melissa: Having taken ballet for most of my life, it’s only natural that I want to see Melissa do well, since other ballet dancers have short shelf lives on SYTYCD. She may be the oldest contestant at 29, but I don’t think that’s a handicap at all. It seems to be more of an advantage, because while younger dancers were still eating Cap’n Crunch and watching Full House before going to school, Melissa was already five years into her dance training. The contemporary routine, choreographed by Mandy Moore (not the one married to Ryan Adams,) was beautiful and even made judge Adam Shankman tear up.

Max and Kayla: Wow. Talk about ending the night on a high note. Their samba, another Louis van Amstel masterpiece, was phenomenal. I think that ballroom dancer Max was outperformed by Kayla, a contemporary dancer, but as Adam Shankman pointed out, Kayla wouldn’t have looked half as good as she did without the strong partnering that Max provided.

Bottom 3 predictions: I think it’s a safe bet that Paris and Tony will be in the bottom 3 couples, as well as Asukah and Vitolio, but I honestly have no idea who could be joining them. If I absolutely had to choose, I would say Ashley and Kupono, simply because Wade Robson’s number may have been too strange for America to understand. Out of those six dancers, I think that Paris and Vitolio will be going home.

Check out the results show tonight on Fox to see whose dancing days are over.