Tonight’s episode is all about inspiration, and slow motion, and black-and-white cinematography. Or something. And that all sounds very exciting, but I’m just hoping there is some kick-ass dancing. Only nine dancers are left, so it’s game on, whoo hoo!

Sometimes I wish, when Cat asks the crowd to welcome their judges, the crowd would just scream out something else, like Smurfs or trash collectors or pickle eaters, just to mix it up a little.
 
In an attempt to eat up part of the two hours, we get to see the not-exactly-interesting picking of names process.
 
Lauren picks Neil for Broadway.
Melinda picks Pasha for salsa
Billy picks Kathryn for contemporary
Ashley picks Ade for contemporary, which she’s super excited about.
Robert gets Courtney for jazz.
Jose gets Anya for samba.
Kent gets Allison for jazz.
Adechike gets Lauren for hip-hop.
Alex gets Twitch. Huh? I guess for hip-hop, you don’t need a chick so much. Alex looks crushed, but I think that has more to do with dancing hip-hop than anything else. I wouldn’t want to have to go toe to toe with Twitch for a hip-hop number, either.
 
[Full recap of Wednesday's "So You Think You Can Dance" after the break...]
 
Adechike
He was inspired by an Alvin Ailey dancer, Desmond Richardson. He liked the fact that Desmond was a manly man. And he’s right, there’s nothing feminine about Desmond Richardson. Don’t worry, Adechike, we know you’re all man.
 
He and Lauren are dancing to a Dave Scott routine. Adechike has a little crush on Lauren. And they’re flirty with one another, which is probably a good thing, because Adechike needs to have a little more fun and stop worrying so much.
 
Is it me, or is Adechike loosening up a little? Good to see the frozen face has been done away with except for a very few moments at the beginning of the routine. This is plain fun, and it’s such a relief to see Adechike showing some sassy attitude for once instead of dancing like he’s being chased by hungry wolverines or something.
 
Nigel is glad to say that Dave Scott’s brought out something in Adechike which he hasn’t seen before, which is a lack of nerves and a natural swagger. Mia welcomes Mr. Personality to the show. She’s happy to see some sunshine. Adam gives Adechike a Mary Murphy hoot and a standing ovation. Adam’s all kinds of thrilled that Adechike took his notes. I think this performance will make a huge difference for Adechike moving forward.
 
 
Ashley
She’s inspired by her dance teacher. Who is a good person to be inspired by, really, when you’re in a dance competition.
 
At first I’m a little worried about this Dee Caspary routine, because it’s all about Ade slinging Ashley around like a wet sock, but in practice this is much more impressive. 
Cat liked the ending. I honestly liked the whole thing. Ashley is definitely evolving.
 
Nigel thought it was the essence of dance and said it was Ashley’s finest performance. Mia said she was a purple wind and a hurricane and a summer breeze, and Ashley was a cut above the other female dancers. Ouch. Can we wait to bag on the other female dancers until the end of the show, maybe? Adam called her breathtaking and says she pulled off one of the best contemporary female performances ever to be seen on the show.
 
 
Billy (solo)
For his solo, he shows off his insanely flexible, well, everything. And it’s impossible not to be wowed by Billy, but I didn’t think this was his best moment, if only because of the herky-jerky music choice that didn’t allow his movements to build momentum, even in such a short routine. But really, not sure it matters, as he could be dancing to the sound of one hand clapping and he’d still be pretty amazing.
 
 
Robert
His biggest inspiration is his mom. She’s lost a lot of kids and had breast cancer. Wow, did his mom really want everyone watching to know all that? But he clearly loves his mom, and this is a step in the right direction, because based on all the goofy behavior of previous weeks I might have expected him to say Big Bird or one of the Transformers or the cast of Monty Python. Which are all well and good, but boy’s gotta stop acting like he’s Mr. Wacky when the music stops.
 
Sonya Tayek wants to show how dynamically beautiful Robert is. So, we can assume she’s not going to let him do his goofy, fake-throwing-up-please-vote-for-me thing. This involves some strangling. Sorry, Courtney. And, of course, it’s a Sonya routine and infinitely watchable, and Robert is, as expected, very good.
 
Nigel says Sonya’s choreography suits Roboert. Mia says the only critique she has is he needs to take ballet, because it will give his movement weight. And the choking was everything. Adam loved the punctuation, but wants him not to jump down going forward.
 
 
Jose (solo)
Jose does his B-boy thing, which is always impressive, although I always think spinning on your head just looks painful.  
 
 
Melinda
She’s inspired by Dr. Harold Cromer. He’s her life coach and her tap teacher, and he wears comical captain’s hats. He also appears to be older than most antique furniture, which is kind of an endorsement for the health benefits of tap dancing, I suppose. 
 
Fabian Sanchez has choreographed a sexy salsa routine, and we can count on Pasha to bring the sexy, too. It starts off well, and Melinda averts footwear disaster by grabbing her shoe and sticking it back on without missing a beat. Good save, Melinda. I just wish she could have saved the rest of the routine. It’s a sexy dance, but too often I feel like Melinda’s less sultry than over-the-top. Occasionally she looks like she’s cheering for her team at a pro ball game instead of feeling the heat of the salsa. She’s working her ass off, yes, but it feels like it. 
 
Nigel loves her outfit, but he doesn’t feel the fluidity of her movement. Mia thought she had moments when she had bricks on her legs and had been thrown into a pool. And she feels like they made a mistake in letting Cristina go last week. No kidding! Seriously, what show were you guys watching last week? Adam feels the same way. But he gives her points for dancing out of her comfort zone. And then he and Nigel give her points for saving her shoe. And then, Adam pretty much tells her to pack her bags.
 
 

 
Kent (solo)

 

 

 

This is beautiful and emotional, and it shows a side of Kent we don’t get to see in the partner dancing, which I think we probably needed to see at this point. I feel like the show spends so much time showing how golly-gee Kent is off the dance floor we sometimes lose sight of his abilities.
 
 
Alex (solo)
Okay, where do these guys find such good stretch jeans, because seriously, I can’t imagine pulling off these moves in anything even remotely close to denim. Alex is, of course, great. Enough said.
 
 
Lauren
Lauren was inspired by her student council advisor. She sounds like a great person, but I’m wondering if Lauren may want to have picked someone who dances. But it’s good to have a mentor in any case, especially if she’s building houses in Haiti.
 
Joey Dowling choreographed a Broadway routine for Neil and Lauren. This is so fun, and Lauren literally looks like she fell out of a 1930s musical. And holy crap, her strap just broke. Amazingly, she doesn’t blink and just carries on, which could not have been easy. What is it with all the girls’ costumes falling apart this week?
 
Nigel thought it was a seduction and a half. He adds that it worked out very well in the end, which I guess is his way of saying he was glad she didn’t expose herself on live television. Mia wanted a little more slinkiness and wants a little more femininity. Adam wants her to imagine dancing through water, but said she reminded him of a young Cyd Charisse. Although I get what the judges are saying, I’m not sure I agree about the lack of sexiness, because the era we’re supposed to be picturing, if the costuming is any indication, is the 1930s. The dancing in musicals of that era, the Busby Berkeley assembly-line routines and the Fred and Ginger comedies, had sex appeal, yes, but were generally a little more innocent. Musicals were the family movies and the film noirs were what inspired the Hayes Commission to come up with a ratings system. I thought she nailed it. So there.
 
 
Ashley
This is slow to start and I really think the female dancers have to be cautious of dancing to any song that might be played by a DJ in a strip club. I’d also recommend against wearing bras and hot pants. But still, Ashley’s got the moves, and she’s Mia’s favorite, so she probably doesn’t have to worry about the Spearmint Rhino association.
 
 
Billy
Billy was inspired by Legacy from season six. When he was twelve. Huh? I guess that was really only six years ago, so it’s not that Legacy is the old man of dance or anything, but weird they’d both end up on the show in season six.
 
Stacey Tookey is choreographing a routine about how Billy broke Kathryn’s heart, then wanders back into her life. There’s a lot of giggling during the rehearsal, so I’m wondering if the chemistry will be there. I’m thinking not.
 
And yeah, no chemistry at all. I also feel like the choreography shows off Kathryn more than Billy. The technique is, of course, impeccable, but it’s surprisingly dull to watch.
 
Nigel felt the most honesty when they’d stopped dancing. Oh, look, there’s Legacy in the audience. Nigel didn’t buy the partnership. Mia thinks Billy gets so caught up in technique he loses sight of himself. Adam thinks he’ll see it all in playback, but still thinks he could be the best thing to happen to dance since denim stretch pants. Okay, that’s just me, but really, those pants are quite impressive.
 
 
Robert (solo)
He looks great in his solo routine, but more importantly, he doesn’t pretend to vomit when Cat pitches him to the voters. Thank you, Robert! He really seems to have gotten the memo that he needs to tone down the wacky.  
 
 
Jose
He used to do kung-fu, and he was inspired by Bruce Lee. The best part of this is we get to see old Bruce Lee interview footage. “Be water, my friend.” Bruce Lee rocks.
 
Dmitry Chaplin choreographs a samba for Jose and Anya. And this feels more like watching “Dancing with the Stars” than “SYTYCD.” Jose’s back is too rigid, he’s smiling like he’s playing a game of kickball instead of smoldering and you can practically hear him telling himself “keep your arms straight,” as it looks so unnatural. Yes, this isn’t his thing, and we’re all supposed to be very impressed that he can dance to anything that isn’t a break dancing routine, but I’m getting tired of the judges acting like he’s nailing it when he isn’t. 
 
But yet again, the judges fall all over themselves to praise Jose. Nigel loves his charisma, and gives him points for controlling Anya. Mia says he’s not a great dancer, but she still loves him. Shut up, Mia! I am so sick of the judges going on and on about Jose bringing a smile to their faces, even when he sucks. Adam thought he made the dance work for him. Okay, people, if you’re going to eviscerate other dancers for not nailing their moves, it’s really unfair to say, well, you’re just so adorable, Jose, you can stink up the room but we’re having a good time, so it’s fine.
 
 
Melinda (solo)
Well, I’ve already said how much I hate tap, so there’s no point in my commenting on it. I like the song choice, though. I will give Melinda props for smiling through it and not having a red, puffy, tear-stained face, because all I know is I would have been backstage sobbing if I’d gotten the critique she had for her salsa.
 
 

 

 

 

 

Kent
His inspiration was his older brother Jared, who’s becoming a youth pastor. Yes, Kent, but how the heck did you end up in dance?
 
Mandy Moore is choreographing a jazz routine for Kent and Allison. And apparently the big challenge is getting Kent to act like a man. This is not easy, as he constantly mugs and giggles and seems slightly freaked out by the prospect. And while I’ll give him props for toning down the enormous grin during this routine, it’s more like watching a little kid pretend to be a grown-up than actually watching an adult man dance. I think Mandy may have pushed Kent a little too far, though the dancing itself is spot on.
 
Nigel says he says Kent is becoming a little fake with his performance and warns him to stop playing to the audience. Mia agrees and doesn’t want to see the deer in headlights every week. Adam thinks he’s meant for Broadway, but he has to lose the hungry jazz face. Cat asks about the hungry jazz face, which is a good question, but Adam ignores her. Too bad, as I wanted to see the hungry jazz face, especially as interpreted by Adam.
 
 
Adechike (solo)
You know, now that Adechike has found his personality, I have to say I’m enjoying him a whole lot more. And he’s one of the most masculine dancers on the show. But Cat really shouldn’t pet some of the guy dancers like they’re bunny rabbits, even if they are about a foot shorter than she is.
 
 
Lauren (solo)
I didn’t know Cyndi Lauper covered “Unchained Melody,” but maybe she shouldn’t have, because the beginning of this song sounds like screaming. That being said, Lauren is fluid and it’s a nice ten seconds.
 
 
Alex
He was inspired by his old boss Edward Viallella. Even though he had no idea who the guy was until he got the gig at Miami City Ballet. Well, that’s a good way to cover your bases if you think you might want your job back, I suppose.
 
Okay, I’ll admit, I rewound and watched this two more times. Initially, I thought Alex might have been keeping his back too straight, but on second viewing, he’s almost a perfect mirror image of Twitch, so maybe not. What I like most about this is the sense of humor. Alex not only nails the moves, but tells a story, and it’s just a hell of a lot of fun to watch. Alex gets a standing ovation, which is pretty amazing. Cat says she’s never heard such a roar from a crowd on “SYTYCD.” I can’t believe it, but it seems Alex has actually nailed a hip-hop routine.
 
Nigel loved the concept from NappyTabs, loves Twitch, but it’s really about Alex. And Nigel thought he was incredible. Then he calls it one of the funnest routines that’s been on the show, which makes me want to shake him because “funnest” is not a word, Nigel! Mia wants to know who the hell he is. She’s shocked and thought he held his own next to Twitch. Adam says it’s Alex’s world and we’re just visiting. I think Adam is going to cry. Mia and Nigel start fanning him, because he really is losing it a little. I love that Adam gets so worked up. The guy should get a sponsorship from Kleenex.
 
It seems pretty obvious that Melinda’ getting the boot, but after this week, I really can’t imagine who would deserve to go. I guess Thursdays are just going to get that much harder to watch. And I hope Cristina saw this week’s episode, because yes, she did get screwed and I’m glad the judges copped to it, even if it’s not much comfort when you’re out of the competition, but hey, it’s something.
 
Do you think it’s time for Melinda to go home? Did you like Alex’s performance? Did your opinion of any of the dancers change this week?