It’s getting down to the wire on “So You Think You Can Dance.” The finalists are practicing, the judges are putting on their frowny faces, everyone is dreading the blood bath known as contemporary. This is always a little gut wrenching, so I hope you aren’t rooting for anyone in particular at this point. I always get a little excited about a dancer only to see them doing the walk of shame out of the theater, sobbing and blowing their nose into their tank top. It’s no fun for either one of us.
Our judges are Robin Antin, Adam Shankman, Debbie Allen, Tyce Diorio (Toasty!), Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe. In three days, they will face five choreographed routines consisting of hip hop, Broadway, ballroom, a group dance and finally contemporary. Otherwise known as blood bath, but that doesn’t have a very nice ring to it.
Anyway, we get straight to business and see some solo dances. Iveta Lukosiute of New York has been sent home twice before making the top twenty. So, she decides to dress up as a naughty policewoman, intent on dragging Nigel to jail. She’s good. They’ve sent her home twice? Crazy!
Marlon Pelayo of Los Angeles is wearing a homemade unitard. I think the judges are having a hard time getting past the outfit. Actually, I’m having a hard time getting past the outfit. It’s uuuuugly. All I can see is weird little blobs and circles. Oh, Marlon, you don’t have to be wacky at this stage in the game.
Marlon is called to the stage, and surprise surprise, he’s getting cut. Debbie tells Marlon he needs to wear pants. Marlon is crushed. And mad. He was trying to be brave! Ugly clothing usually implies you have no taste, Marlon, but okay. Iveta is going to the next round.
Wadi Jones is a fearless B-boy from Ossining, New York who’s worked on a new flip. Wowza. Literally, wowza. He is amazing. He says top twenty to me. The sisters Sasha and Natalia Mallory of Bakersfield, California are the last dancers of the day. They do another dance together, which is impressive but I think Natalia usually suffers a bit in comparison to her sister though I have to say, she keeps up, too. But it doesn’t matter. They’re on the next round.
The body count is down to 114. 46 were cut in the solo rounds. Ouch! Hip hop is next. Tabitha and Napoleon Dumo will be showing the kids a routine.
Chyna Smith from Idaho is going to do her best to be street. And now an injury! Wadi is having crippling leg pain and has to wait a bit to perform. I think Advil should sponsor this competition. Chyna blows the hip hop routine, but the judges tell her she can have a second chance. But Hero McCrae and Patsy Anne Miller do not get another chance. What? See what I mean about getting invested in dancers? Also axed are Mary Kate Sheehan, Kristin Dobson and Princess Lockeroo. Nooo!
19 more dancers get the boot during hip hop. But the good news is that Wadi, who shakes off his pain and performs, does not. Chyna and Iveta, who both get a second chance to dance, also make it through.
Day two kicks off with Broadway. Adam has to run to the hospital, so Jason Gilkison fills in. Broadway seems pretty strong for our contestants. Jordan Cassanova, Wadi, Chyna, Natalia and Sasha all make the cut.
And now we get introduced to two new-but-not-so-new dancers. Rebecca has been to Vegas four times. She’s not a quitter, that’s for sure. Jeremiah blanked during the contemporary round of Vegas in season four and got cut, in part for throwing a very, very small hissy fit (honestly, I don’t know why Mia Michaels wasn’t okay with him stomping his feet, if that’s all he did). It’s redemption time… but not quite. Debbie Allen says Jeremiah’s timing was off. But he scrapes through. Rebecca, on the other hand, gets shot down. She asks to dance for her life. Toasty says she should have torn up the floor and he needs her to be a pro. She tries wooing the judges with a tale of how hard her life is and how she can’t afford lessons, but Nigel just tells her to keep trying. Damn! I know, they have to cut people, but that was awful. Poor thing.
14 more dancers cut during Broadway.
Then, it’s on to ballroom. Gilikson is teaching the kids a jive. All the girls have bleeding feet. Welcome to the big time, ladies!
Natalia and her partner Josh Williams are up first. She’s too big for the guy. Who thought this was a good idea? I think the judges are excited they got through it, but they’re going to make them both do it again with different partners. Duh. Sasha’s up next, and so is Ryan Ramirez.
Sasha is knocked for dancing with her knees open. But she gets a pass. And so does the rest of the group, including Ryan.
At 8 p.m. Natalia and her new partner Bryce are up for her second dance. Much better. She wasn’t bad the first time, anyway, but still, it’s just nicer to see her dance with someone who’s size appropriate. I think the judges really, really want her in the top twenty. And they should. She’s good plus she’s cute plus she’s an inspiration to every not-skinny girl in America. Nigel thinks she brought joy to the routine. She’s moving on.
Jeanine’s sister Alexis Mason of Miami has sailed through – until now. Tyce thinks she lacks maturity. She’s allowed to dance for her life.
She has beautiful technique, but yeah, not much expression. Nigel thinks she’s immature. He says no. Mary says yes. Tyce says yes. Debbie says she’s a diamond in the rough and says yes. She stays.
We’re down to 39 guys and 35 girls. Group dance! Groups of 4 or 5 get a CD at random and must choreograph a routine. While they’re sleep deprived, have bleeding feet and probably haven’t eaten. Oh, and it’s 11 p.m.
As one girl says, “deliria” is kicking in! Clearly
The next morning, Natalia is feeling weak and has chills. Her group won’t perform without her. Or at least that’s what they say. I’m pretty sure they’ll find it in themselves to dance if they have to.
Wadi’s group is up first. They love one another, they got the whole routine ironed out in about two hours and, hello, it’s good! The judges think it may have been the best group dance in the history of “SYTYCD.” See what a little love can do? They and a bunch of other groups get a pass to the next round. In fact, only seven dancers are cut.
Next up, Natalia is cleared by the medics so her group can finally perform. She’s in a group with Jordan Casanova and D.C. Chapman. Which apparently wasn’t a smooth ride, even when Natalia was fine. DC Chapman felt he was being ignored and stomped out at one point. But not a lot of drama given what we’ve seen in past seasons.
But hey, good dance despite the setbacks. Tyce really liked it. Robin felt she was watching the music through their dance. Nigel thinks there’s more of Natalia to get around the stage (his words, not mine) compared to the tiny girls, and he thinks her ability to keep up and shine is remarkable. She’s knocking down walls and barriers. They all get to stay.
On day three, the dancers use their lunch break to go to the pool. Hey, it is Vegas. It’s time for contemporary, and Nigel warns them it will be a bloodbath. Travis Wall is the choreographer, and he’s pulling no punches.
Ryan Ramirez is in pain. Cat hugs her and tells her she should stop if she hurts. Nigel says she has to go to the hospital, because no one knows if her tailbone is broken. Egads!
In other not-feeling-great news, Natalia’s blood sugar is low, and the medic sends her to the hospital, too. Sasha freaks. “It’s stupid! She’s a dancer!” is her reasoning for why her sister should not go to the hospital. I bet she has diabetes, and I would tell Sasha that’s a very good reason to go to the hospital because really bad things could happen if that’s the case. Sasha gets it together and performs, and of course her routine is gorgeous. She’s going through! Bryce and Wadi Jones, too.
Good news from the hospital. Ryan has deep tissue bruising and swelling, so she can dance. She gets a quick refresher and she gets to dance with season 7 finalist Robert. Debbie says she danced with passion and determination. She was beautiful. On to the next round!
Jeremiah Hughes and Arielle are in the next group. This is where they always get cut. D.C. is in this group, too.
Debbie tells Arielle there’s insecurity about what she can do. End of the road. Ouch! Debbie tells her to come back. She’s very Zen about the bad news, but I think she’s in shock. Tyce tells Jeremiah he’s going on to the next round. He cries with happiness, which is good cry. Tyce tells D.C. he’s out. He can’t go home. He cries. He wants to dance for his life. He starts freaking out because he can’t go home. Is his pregnant girlfriend really going to be mad at him? Everyone’s going to be hugely proud of him for getting as far as he did. Debbie says she’ll help him get lessons. Hey, why didn’t anyone offer that deal to Rebecca?
Chyna Smith gets cut, too. Oh no!
Natalia comes back from the emergency room. She says she probably has diabetes. Nigel gives her a pass through contemporary. She gets to dance, but she’ll have to wait for feedback.
Clarice Ordaz of Whittier is a big hit. Natalia makes the cut! She has to make her case for why she wants to be in the top 20. She explains that she wants this because she’s been the big girl her whole life. She’d be an inspiration on the show. Exactly! Put her through!
The dancers who are safe are allowed to relax in a luxury penthouse. But 24 more dancers get cut. Chase Thomas, the guy who dances in teensy bike shorts, is going home. Alexis Mason performs, but she doesn’t make the cut either. As she reminds us over and over and over again, she’s only 18 so she has plenty of time. Which is true. Better luck next time, Alexis.
Tomorrow night is the final judgment. Eeek! Thankfully, there are still some favorite, familiar faces in the running for me, so fingers crossed they make it through. I know what I said about not getting attached, but hey, I’m only human.
Who are you rooting for? Do you think Alexis and D.C. should have been cut? Do you think this season might have the best dancers yet?
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