So You Think You Can Dance: Season 10, 14 Perform, 2 Eliminated

E: We’re ever so close to the shape of the tour, So You Think fans.  And we’re far enough along in the season now for contestants to make a second round with certain styles.  We have injuries, heartbreak, dancing choreographers, choreographer contestants, and a certain celebrifan judge whom I was absolutely determined to hate.

When the curtain comes up, the 7 remaining female dancers form a human rope across the stage; Malece flies off one end on a wire.  The boys stride in.  Everyone’s clad in straps of leather and chunky gold jewelry, and the music is by house remixers District 78; Sonya Tayeh, we love you.  Who else could it be, right?  But then the dance turns into a sexy, aggressive ballroom fusion, the dancers paired in close hold.  “Um,” I searched my memory, “Sonya and … Dmitry Chaplin?”  He did do that super cool routine with Napoleon and Tabitha a few seasons ago, after all, but really I just couldn’t think of anyone else.  I love this trend of multi-style group numbers no matter who’s responsible for them. Anyway, I was pretty shocked when Cat – dressed in a gorgeous champagne colored dress, slicked back hair and an excessive of make up – thanks Dmitry and Sonya for the routine.  I didn’t actually think I’d be right. She rightly acknowledges Sonya as an Emmy nominee, making up for Nigel’s blunder last week.

Which brings us to the judging panel, which today consists of Nigel, Mary and – Twilight star Anna Kendrick?  I’m not going to lie, I was weirded out by this.  I like Anna Kendrick in Pitch Perfect and Up in the Air.  She’s half way to being an EGOT nominee, and she has a very cute song high on the Billboard charts so maybe she’s going to take care of the G soon.  She’s done Broadway which maybe entailed a little dancing?  But ugh.  What’s with the non-dancer judges?  Do the producers really think this is going to draw extra viewers to the program?  I’m exasperated with them (I want me some Mia and Adam and Debbie and Toni, damn it!) and I wanted to hate her.

The thing is, I totally couldn’t.

But first, let’s get the crappy stuff out of the way.  Turns out that Curtis has to sit out this week’s performances due to a shoulder injury.  Ah.  That’s ironic. Was he trying too hard to keep those shoulders down?  So it’s not an automatic goodbye like Jade’s, but given his many trips to the bottom, and all the notes about those frustratingly perky shoulders, it looks like it might be curtains for him.  He’s joined by perpetual bottom dweller Alan (justly after last week’s mismatched hip hop) and Nico.  I don’t want to sound mean, but I don’t know how he’s keep out of the bottom this long.  The girls in trouble are his partner Alexis, perpetual bottom dweller Mackenzie (despite her studio audience pleasing hip hop), and – Jasmine?  Damn it.  The curse of ballroom strikes again, and not just for the girls this time.

We’ve seen enough of the boys, the judges say, waving them off stage.  They’re all in trouble, but we don’t need to see them dance.  Perhaps this is a time management issue, or perhaps they just don’t want to be unfair to Curtis who can’t actually dance for his life?  Remarking on the times they had to save Eliana and Chehon last season, the judges send Mackenzie to safety?  Mackenzie?  Don’t get me wrong, I like her, but the public is not buying what you’re selling here, Nigel.  She is not Eliana or Chehon in this scenario.  And while I’m ranting, isn’t the obvious save here Jasmine?  I mean, are they kidding?  They couldn’t possibly be thinking of sending her home, could they?  Not to sound paranoid, but you have to tell me they’re doing this just to let her solo and remind us of how freaking fantastic she is so we’ll never let her fall into the bottom again!  Right?

Enough ranting  – on to the solos.  First Alexis taps adorably to “Stand By Me” and makes really excellent music with her feet.  The girl is really good; she deserves mad props even if I’m praying desperately she’s the one to go home.  (I’d have been fine with them keeping her over Mackenzie, but Jasmine?  No way.)  Next and last, Jasmine dances to Dianne Reeves’ “Endangered Species,”  which, wow.  “I am a woman, I am an artist; I know where my voice belongs.”  Like the fierce, stompy song, Jasmine blows me away – she’s so sinuous and powerful, and her movements are so unexpected. It’s not the basic contemporary girl solo at all.

For this week’s goofy contestant biography bit, we get to see home video and photos from early performances.  To everyone’s shock, we see that Jenna was a total ham singing along with “Lollipop;” if you like her, it’s adorable, and if you think she’s too much, this will be too much.  Tucker was much older in his film debut, a gangly (pre?) teen in a white suit and an enormous mop of floppy hair, dancing to “Boy Meets World.”  He realizes in retrospect that he was given his own special part because he couldn’t stay in unison with the other boys.  Well, you made up for it fast enough if you got into Julliard, I’d say.

The two have another hip hop routine (weird, they had one two episodes ago), this time by Luther Brown and much more normally hip hoppy.  They’re posturing in a club, which Tucker’s happy to tell us again is totally not his scene.  He says that a lot, doesn’t he?  Well, he’s quite right for once; he’s pulled off cocky before, but not this time.  They dance to “Slight Work” by Wale featuring Big Sean, and there’s a stage with speakers flanking it and sitting on top, and it’s all arm waving to get the audience going with them, and they’re both in black leather pants with sleek, tight fitting leather jackets, but the whole style doesn’t sit right on either of them.  Jenna does better, but Tucker flaps like a chicken, especially when he unzips his jacket and gestures as his (impressive) bare chest, because then the jacket flaps with him.  And then the hammy faces they make when sirens start rolling in the song?  Ugh. It’s not as horrible as Alexis and Nico’s hip hop, but it ain’t great, either.

That was unconvincing, Nigel whines.  Tucker was too upright, Jenna was too prettified, and by half way through the show he hopes he will have forgotten all about that.  Youch!  Nigel, that was a little harsh, Mary winces.  No, it wasn’t a slam dunk, and the style didn’t fit them like a glove, but they went at it with great attack and very clearly tried as hard as they possibly could.  Anna begins her judging career by telling Jenna and Tucker she was so happy to see them capture everyone’s attention with their gorgeous contemporary last week.  It was the moment she’s been wanting them to have.  Oooh, she’s a regular viewer of the show!  Cat’s excited.  Me too.  Yes, she agrees, it was too cute, but she kind of likes that even though it clearly wasn’t Luther’s intention. As she’s saying “even though it wasn’t…” Nigel calls out “good?”  Sigh.  Nigel.

To sum up: opening slot.  Poorly reviewed routine.  Expect to see at least Jenna in the bottom three next week.

Second out of seven we get Alexis and Nico.  Alexis was a total girly girl and loved little sparkly dance costumes (we see her pose in a plethora of them), but her first real tap performance was in a tuxedo.  Phooey!  No, seriously, she was a prodigy.  Very cool.  Like so many who go into show biz, Nico lets us know he was ” that kid” – the hyperactive, won’t be quiet, has to be the center of attention kid.  And because he was the class clown, he starred in his first performance as an actual clown, wearing floppy shoes and a blue suit and huge red hair and a half bald head like Bozo.

There’s no clowning around in the contemporary routine Sonya’s choreographed for the two of them.  Nico’s breaking up with Alexis, who is still in love with him and tries desperately not to let him go.  He slips away; she runs after.  The Bengson’s “Ashes” fits her theme perfectly.  “I’ve been running/since you broke/since you broke me” the plaintive voice cries out, and when she says the word “running” Alexis runs in place, her body stretched out. Her shoulder are hunched up; is it the tap, or is this impossible to do otherwise without falling over?  She’s wearing a gorgeous draped dress in white and nude – she’s like a ragged Marilyn Monroe in the Seven Year Itch.  Nico’s in simple gray pants and a tank that appears simple in the front but has large holes cut out for his shoulder blades, really different for a man’s shirt.  The dance itself is anguished. He blocks his ears.  She stabs at his chest.  The whole is pain.

Because she’s already praising Sonya for this piece, Mary adds on some love for the cool opening number.  She won’t soon forget Alexis’ standing run, she says. It was haunting and desperate, and she loves the dancers fearless abandon, and the nuances of the piece. Continuing on that theme, Anna applauds the range and complexity of the partners’ acting – they never played just one thing, but like life and like a real break up made it about many emotions at once; rage, sorrow, jealousy, regret. The fact that you’re in danger speaks to the level of talent in this season, Nigel notes, and you both gave great accounting for yourselves here.  For him the highlight was the emotion of the piece, so different from Alexis’ joyous tap routines, so much stronger than Nico’s usual. He thinks, anyway; I’m not sure I agreewith the strength comment as either criticism of his past or an apt description of the present.

Next we don’t get to see Curtis do an Argentinian Tango.  Hmm – didn’t he and Hayley do Latin Ballroom two episodes ago too?  Wacky.  Not that I would ever, ever complain about the presence of Argentinian Tango.  Anyway, we find out that Curtis did the Mexican hat dance as a tiny, preposterous sunny tot, and the hat kept slipping off his head because it was too big and he was too hyper.  Also, Hayley used to smile horribly and trip over her own two feet.  (This first bit of information cracks me up because M made that same toothy grimace in many of our family pictures.)  When it comes to the tango, however, Leonardo and especially Miriam are not charmed by the adorable couple.  They’re not serious enough, Miriam tells us disapprovingly as we see film of the duo giggling.  We even see Curtis make kissy faces at Hayley.  Hee!

So, the bad: as I said, we don’t get to see Curtis dance.  The good: hello, Leonardo.  Dude is smooth and hulking in his shiny gray shark’s suit.  Do I necessarily see the alleged plot (two people meeting for the first time at a dance club)?  No.  Do I care?  No. Not in the slightest, not watching the slow way he turns her face toward him.  Is it the knockout of say, Lauren and Pasha or Brandon and Janette?  I’m not sure, but again, I don’t care.  It’s flipping fantastic.  Hayley wears strappy silver shoes and a black dress with cut outs, silver trim and an open back, very sexy and Latin and kind of Art Deco in feel.  I love the side-bun, too.  The music – “Este Es El Ray” by Juan D’Arienzo – is largely old school piano, with lots of tinkling runs for the fast, flick-filled bits, and slow sections for the sensuous, languorous parts. This too gave me an old Hollywood feel – it’s like the music that accompanied silent films.  Of course I love the frozen lift where Hayley hangs, perfectly still in the air, caught in a spotlight that obscures Leonardo from our view.  And the splits!  Over his head, between his legs, and especially the one where she slinks down into one, slides delicately back up, turns in the air and slinks back down in the other direction.  Really she spends about half the routine floating in the air, and he makes it look effortless.  Watch their holds – he’s not even making contact with her back half the time (is this the just meeting bit?)  and she’s only got a single finger touching him.  Stunning.

Cementing my approval, Anna begins by observing that the show gave Hayley a “sexy girl narrative” yet from her trio in the Meet the Top Twenty episode we could see she was a strongly emotional dancer, too. (A superfan who notices the way contestants are packaged and what it means?  I swoon.)  She loves that Hayley can be sexy like this yet clearly has so much depth as a performer.  Agreed!  Also, she thinks if she had Hayley’s body for just one day, she could do anything, like solve world hunger or the economic crisis.  Snort.  Cat gets in on the joke and they start trading issues that could be fixed with Hayley’s physique: global warming, perhaps?  Weird but cute.  I love the way the sequins on Hayley’s costume reflect light up onto her face as she listens to the comments, too.  Nigel thinks she was perfect; he wants to know why Leonardo and all the other men in Forever Tango always look so pissed off when they’re dancing with gorgeous women.  That’s just tango, Leonardo blushes (so cute), and Cat explains that women go for the mean, moody type.  As Nigel leers moodily at Mary, Cat praises Hayley (so strong and powerful!).  Mary agrees, lauding the way the girl oozed down out of that freeze, and the moment where Leonardo turned her face.  I want to be Hayley, too, she pouts, so I can dance with Leonardo!

Next up Mackenzie and Paul get a Sonya jazz routine.  First we see hammy child-of-a-performing-arts-family Mackenzie singing “These Boots Are Made For Walking” on stage with her mom and aunt.  She’s about 8.  For his part, Paul’s first performance was at a Latin Ballroom competition when he was 18, where he felt totally out of his depth but loved it anyway.  Sonya is looking for sexiness, strength and aggression from the pair and immediately makes Paul take off his shirt.  (“I’m not complaining,” Mackenzie assures us. Okaaaaay.)  And indeed, when the dance opens, Mackenzie’s wearing a strange leather leotard with scrunched up and cut out sections and a high, almost Elizabethan collar and Paul has on black leather pants.  With his slight build and his hair slicked back like that, he reminds me quite a bit of Mark.  He doesn’t make Mark’s beautifully insane faces, but he has that general look.

“Go ahead, you know you want it,” Santigold sings right from the opening pose, so you know that’s where “You’ll Find a Way (Switch and Sinden Remix)” is taking the dancers.  It’s very athletic, bouncing back and forth, and it’s very, very old school Sonya. To my eye Paul seems to be struggling with a few of the admittedly very difficult lifts (several times he has to pick her up when she’s flat on the floor, and he’s a very slender guy), but over all I enjoyed it.   There’s some really nice sinuous movement (Paul is quite good at rippling his torso) and there’s a point where their opposition flows not into unison, but into mirroring of each others motions, and that’s very nicely done.

The judges spend a lot of their critique time wondering why Mackenzie’s a perpetual bottom dweller.  Is the audience jealous that she gets to dance with Paul and they don’t?  (In that case, is it a good thing that she speaks so appreciatively of his physical attributes or not?) You won the Armenian SYTYCD, Nigel reminds Paul, and you are well on your way to winning this one.  Wow!  What the heck must his numbers look like, do you think, to rate a comment like that from Nigel?  Mary loves this gritty and intense new side of the pair.  And once again, Anna comes up with my favorite critique; Mackenzie’s so pretty, she says, but the genius of this routine is that her power comes from her technique and ability, not her looks.  Mack’s safe this week, but I will be really curious to see if the judges can boost her through to the top ten or if they’re just going to have to give in to the fact that the voting public doesn’t really respond to her.  I can’t help wondering how this season would be going if we were still voting for pairs; Paul would be carrying her through, right, as Malece would be carrying Jade and Tucker Jenna?  But now she’s in trouble, especially if she goes up against, say, Jenna and Jasmine for elimination next week.

Speaking of Jasmine (and man, it pains me to see her in the bottom), she and Aaron are up next.  We get a quick shot of Jasmine the tomboy dancing in a tuxedo before moving on to Aaron who had quite an early life on stage.  Like Mackenzie, he’s a stage brat, and we see him in musical theater – he’s Pee Wee Herman, he’s Elvis, he’s Cinderella’s evil stepmother.  His first dance performance, however, was in a hip hop routine choreographed by – guess who? Napoleon, who started his career in Aaron’s home town of Vegas before hitting the big time in L.A..  Small world.  Love it.

This week Elvis -er, Aaron – and Jasmine have a Justin Giles contemporary routine.  Have we had Justin on the show before?  I don’t remember him particularly.  Anyway, his idea is that Jasmine is the Giving Tree of the Shel Silverstein picture book; Aaron is the boy who’s getting ready to take her last apple, and she’s not so ready to let it go.  Really?  I have a love/hate relationship with that book, because we’re supposed to get all gooey over the tree’s selflessness but all I can think is how beastly the boy is for consuming the entire tree.   And obviously, the tree is not at all ambivalent about giving away that apple, so this idea is not canonical.  Annoying.

However.  I will enjoy the piece for what it is, because I enjoy these dancers too much to quibble.  Or at least to let the quibbling prevent that enjoyment. On a dappled green stage, the pair dances to Birdy’s “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight”; Aaron wears dark jeans and a black v-neck t-shirt, and Jasmine has on a short green dress with a lace top (long sleeves, high neck, open back) and full A-line skirt.  (But not a real green dress, that’s cruel.)  During rehearsal the two were clearly apprehensive about dropping the apple, but there’s no sign of insecurity here; of course, they don’t toss it back and forth as they did in rehearsal either, so perhaps Giles changed the choreography to make it safer? Their movements are sharp and clear as she holds the apple out of his reach, out of his reach, out of his reach, until we see her work it through, until she accepts the loss, half kneeling on the floor and holding it out to him by the stem.  Now she has to push the apple at him, for he won’t take it, and they move together until he fully accepts her sacrifice, places it in his sack and leaves. “I was the one worth leaving,” Birdy sighs.

That was a seriously interesting number, Mary says, which doesn’t sound exactly like she liked it.  She then goes on about how difficult it is to work with props and how normally you toss away your hat or cane 30 seconds into the routine – but Jasmine made the apple seem like part of her body.  Even if you had dropped it, it’d be fine, Anna claims, because that apple was so real to you.  She’s really smart about bringing her experience as an actress into her judging; she’s very articulate about her work, and that lends itself well to being here. She found Jasmine magical and so graceful and everything she’d expected – and then she makes Aaron’s day by saying that she’s so thrilled he’s on the show (me too!) and always roots for him.  And then she demands a piggy back after the show.  Tell me that happened!  Why can I not find a picture of this online?  Nigel, the production staff is letting you down.

For his part, Nigel tells the story of the book, ending with that image of the old man sitting on the stump and reciting the last line: “And the tree was happy.”  It’s a story of unconditional love, and that’s what Nigel thinks of when he thinks of this partnership.  Aw!  Aaron wraps his arm even tighter around Jasmine.  Oddly no one even mentions that she’s in trouble.  Is that a good thing or a bad one?

And speaking of perfect pairs, Fik-shun and Amy are next with their second hip hop routine of the season.  This time they have Christopher Scott – but before I get ahead of myself, let me relate that Fik-shun’s “first performance” was a dance battle at the Winter Assembly when his sophomore year in high school, and he danced with his now busking partner to thunderous applause.  Amy was a tiny tot – 7, but super small for her age – and the faces she made were bigger than her head.  Very cute.  She was a clear stand out even then.

Back to the routine: I love me some Christopher Scott with classic R&B, and he’s got a super-smooth, totally perfect idea.  Amy’s a weary waitress, and long time customer Fik-shun has waited until the end of her shift to finally declare his crush.  And oh my goodness, from the first notes of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” it’s so ridiculously right!  Wearing a grey button down untucked with a bow tie and orange jeans, Fik-shun jumps up when he notices Amy, and executes a smooth roll over one of the little bistro tables set up on the stage.  She’s wearing a close fitted white button down and tight black shorts under a red waitresses apron, carrying a tray.  The routine is equal parts chemistry and props; they tussle cutely over her tray before she sits, and Fik-shun places a napkin on his arm (such courtly charm!) and pours her a glass of water.  Of course, he massively over pours the water, so when he starts showing her the menu he showers her with water, but when he flaps the menu open and closed like his fluttering heart, well, who could hold it against him?  I just want to hug ’em!

The props drag them down when Fik-shun fails to toss his napkin far enough away and Amy slips on it, but she recovers beautifully.  Their unison is gorgeous, their flirting is gorgeous – they’re so well matched in both movement and spirit it’s ridiculous.  In the end, she plops him down into a chair and ends up in his lap; when he kisses her cheek, she scrunches up her face in the world’s most adorable smile.

Can I take you guys home with me, Anna begs.  Amy’s her favorite of all the dancers, she was such a pro about the fall, and this routine was clearly made for them.  (Yes it was. Go, Christopher Scott!  It was perfect.  I bet when we see it on the finale, Fik-shun’ll be better about throwing that napkin out of the way.)  Nigel thinks that if the show were scored on cumulative points this pair would be so far ahead there’d be no catching them.  He suggests, however, that they get cute characters every week.  What about the paso, Nigel, or Sonya’s agonized contemporary?  Naw, he just remembers the bellhops and hobos.  All Mary can feel is sorry that it’s over; the choreography was superb, Amy’s a total pro, and they’ve both got first class tickets on the hot tamale train.

For the final pair routine of the night, Malece and Alan have drawn salsa, which will be choreographed by former contestant Jonathan Plantero.  Cool!  I really liked him as a contestant.  As usual, I’m forgetting the dancer’s experiences – Alan entered his first Latin competition when he was 8 (so cute!) and little Malece was so terrified her first time on stage she actually peed her pants.  I can’t believe I just admitted that on national television, she howls, hiding her face.  There’s no hiding now, though; Jonathan’s given them a fierce, fast salsa with a ton of tricks.  Alan is stoked, while Malece is more apprehensive.  Not about Alan, though; she has complete trust that he won’t drop her on her head like someone else who will not be dignified with a name.

And, wow.  Malece begins the routine on Alan’s shoulders, and they go full tilt from there – lifts and spins and death drops and splits and somersaults and awesomeness.  I love this, just love it – the perfect music (Tito Puente’s “Pa’ Los Rumberos”) just makes you want to dance along.  It’s one of my favorite pieces of the night.  Malece (sassy in a Barbie pink bikini top and flirty skirt) snaps her hips and rolls her white white torso.  In black pants and an open sleeveless shirt, tanned and sweaty Alan just owns it, barreling through it all with zip and pizazz and real joy.  His enjoyment and energy level never fail.  Hers does, a little, but it’s still awesome – and I really love the whole tiny girl/big guy/Russian figure skaters dynamic they’ve got going on.  It’s far and away the best we’ve seen from Alan, and definitely a step up for them as a pair.

What a tremendous routine, coos Nigel after laughing at Malece who is literally doubled over trying to catch her breath, well choreographed and danced and sold brilliantly.  Alan was perfect.  Jonathan made that fiendishly difficult, Mary exclaims.  The timing was incredibly difficult, and she couldn’t even count the number of lifts – and apparently ideal partner Alan isn’t used to doing lifts (huh?  how’s that possible?) so this really was a huge challenge that he bested beautifully.  She loved all the different rhythms.  I don’t always get ballroom on this show, Anna confesses, but that made me want to take classes, and have an affair on a tropical island – or maybe just the latter.  Ha!  I feel like you two should make a baby, she finishes, and when Cat recovers from the shock of this unexpected remark, she agrees. Why not?  But you can’t really vote for that, she cautions us.  I love it.  When do we ever see Cat stumped?

Before we get to the brutal cuts, we’re treated to a pair of group routines. First off, Spencer Liff has the absent Curtis, Alan, Nico, Hayley, Malece and Jenna for a piece about cool kids at a pool hall back in the fifties.  What we learn from the rehearsal film is that Alan is so not a cool kid.  Alrighty then.  That just makes me like him more.  They dance to Joe Cocker’s over of the Beatles classic “Come Together,” leaping on and off a pool table, playing around with the pool cues, using them to lift each other.  It’s very much something you can see the resort staff doing in Dirty Dancing, maybe with a little West Side Story or Grease mixed in.  I love the vibe, but it’s not the most memorable thing in the world.

It’s not until Cat comes out and says so that I realize Spencer Liff himself stepped in for Curtis, but the judges sure noticed.  It’s almost boring how good you are, Anna says before leaping in with a shout out to the steady-cam operator for the Meet the Top Twenty number.   Good point, Anna!  (Oh, Mariah!  Carlos!  BluPrint!  Jasmine!  Jade!  Brittany!  How I miss all those guys!) Nigel thought everyone looked bad in comparison to Spencer.  Now, like I said, I didn’t even recognize him at first, so I watched it again, and I still think that was mean.  Yes, he added a ton of character on a level the boys especially didn’t achieve, but watching the very lively routine as it was filmed, cut in from several camera angles, I rarely saw him in direct comparison with anyone else.  Perhaps the viewing experience was different live.  He thought the girls were largely splendid, though Malece is clearly still weezing from her salsa.  Why does Alan not get a break on that front, then?  Mary too was thrilled to see Spencer, and thought that Nico was the weakest of the six; in her opinion the girls all killed it.

Our final treat of the evening is a contemporary routine about bullying from new-to-the show choreographer Bonnie Story, who wastes no time in making her dancers cry by having a friend describe his experiences being bullied to them.  (We see all the girls in tears.) Bonnie has Paul, Aaron, Jasmine and Alexis in black and gray as her bullies, and Fik-shun, Amy and Tucker in white and seafoam as their victims.  I wonder if she watches the show and has cottoned to Tucker’s vulnerabilities?  Because to match the tiny duo of Amy and Fik-shun she could have picked Paul rather than the taller contemporary dancer; I say this not as a criticism but because I’m impressed with her perception in casting them.

The atrociously named RyanDan’s “Tears of an Angel” sets the mood.  And it’s quite moody.  The bullies are cold, pitiless, implacable; they hem the other dancers in, blocking their paths, rebuffing them, throwing them to the ground.  “Cover my eyes/cover my ears,” RyanDan sings, which is just Bonnie’s contention – if you ignore the problem, you’ve become part of it.  If you ignore suffering, you’re not better than those who cause it.   There’s a lot of real full on dancing in it, which is gorgeous and makes me so happy.  At the end, the bullies have corralled the victims at the edge of the stage, and then turn their backs one by one; the victims collapse on the stage. “Cover my ears, cover my eyes, tell me these words are a lie.”

As Cat brings the dancers across the stage, we see all of the judges standing.  Mary loves Bonnie and the piece itself; I just love a piece with a social conscience, she informs us.  She calls Fik-shun the weak link at the same time that she assures us that his passion makes up for his lack of technique. Curious.  Stumbling over her words for the first time tonight, Anna claims she doesn’t do sincerity.  But if this is the last last I say on the show, she decides, I just want to thank all of you guys for dedicating so much time and energy to an art form that doesn’t have many platforms, and for this show for giving you a platform for doing this kind of work.  Aw! Yes! I think you do sincerity just fine, Anna.  (Then she starts babbling over the applause about how cool and tall and pretty Cat is.  I just like this girl more and more.)  Nigel, too, is ready to come down on Fik-shun (who, while definitely very good, lacks the carriage and perfect timing of trained contemporary dancers Amy and Tucker) but says that this is his time to soak up all the choreographers have to offer him, to pick up the technique that will make him unstoppable.  He also prides himself on giving Bonnie a platform for this important work, and is thrilled Bonnie’s finally agreed to come on the show; he’s apparently been professionally courting her since High School Musical.

And that’s the end of the good stuff.  After the last commercial break, the endangered dancers hold hands on the stage, and after saying how hard it is to dismiss people once you’ve become emotionally attached, Nigel calls Alexis and Curtis forward, saying that it wrecks him to cut two tap dancers at once but there’s no help for it.  Adorable little brother Curtis takes it in his sunshine-y stride (between his injury and their critiques I’m sure he was expecting it) but Alexis bubbles over into tears. Out in the audience, the other dancers sob; Jasmine has to drag a weeping Alan off the stage by the hand.  Hayley can’t recover.

Sigh.  It was a really excellent show otherwise, and like I said, I was charmed by Anna Kendrick despite myself. And now we’re down to twelve. Which two dancers will fail to make the tour?  Alan and Nico are the remaining boys to hit the bottom; Aaron, Tucker, Paul and Fik-shun have never been.  Similarly, Amy, Hayley and Malece have never fallen into the bottom: Mackenzie, Jenna and Jasmine have been there before.  Does this mean that Alan and Mackenzie – perpetual bottom dwellers – are likeliest to go?  I know they say she’s one of the best in the competition, but would the judges keep Mackenzie over all of the other five girls?  There are five contemporary dancers left among the girls, so it stands to reason that even if the judges didn’t love Jenna as passionately as they do, she’d still have an excellent shot at making it through.  With two ballroom dancers, a tapper, a hip hop dancer and two contemporary dancers, the boys are spread out a little more evenly.  It’s going to be a tough thing – but then again, it always is.   Sorry I’m so late this week, and see you soon, dance fans!

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