Friday, June 24, 2011

So You Think You Can Dance, Season 8: Top 20 Redux Results

Wouldn't it have been amazing if the judges once again refused to eliminate anyone last night? Unfortunately, four dancers got the boot during last night's results show, which played out much more like a results show should than last week's three-ring circus.

The best and worst of last night's show, followed by a breakdown of the solos and the final results coming atcha in 5, 4, 3, 2....

We started off with a killer group routine from choreographer Dave Scott to Nina Simone's "Sinnerman." Loved the plaid shorts and bowler hats and all of the isolations—the choreography felt a very Michael Jackson-esque at points. That slow build out at the end was such a fantastic moment in terms of staging and setting a "cool" mood. Bravo to Mr. Scott (and to Tadd, who stood out among the group of dancers).

After such a dancing high, we experienced a crashing low of product placement as Gatorade Lady visited the contestants to teach them to eat ice cream sundaes instead of crackers. I will be starting that diet immediately.

The Rage Crew (formerly known as the Rage Boyz Crew... guess why they changed it) was unbelievable, and I was especially impressed by those little kids—they can friggin' dance! Perhaps next time we could put a little more fabric on the dancers under 14, please?

The couples that ended up in the bottom were a bit surprising for a few reasons: 1) None of them were in the bottom last week; 2) Ryan and Ricky were my second favorite of the week; 3) How are Ashley and Chris consistently escaping the bottom?! Y'all know I love Ashley, but surriously? She and Chris are definitely one of the weakest couples. I hope they either shape up or ship out soon. Of course, I couldn't be mad for too long about the way the voting turned out because it was time for the solos:
  • Wadi definitely has some swag and his breaking moves were truly impressive, but it felt like he was holding back a bit and didn't really put his all into the solo. ("Pon De Floor" by Major Lazer featuring Vybz Kartel)
  • Missy performed a well choreographed solo, but the execution was lacking: her long hair down was a major distraction, the movement was generally sloppy and she didn't hit the sharp motions and isolations as hard as she should've. ("Move (Metronomy Remix)" by CSS)
  • Nick had the difficult task of performing a tap solo on a stage that just isn't conducive to them—the music has to be lowered way down low so we can hear the taps and the sound feeds never quite line up. Despite all of that, it was a pretty entertaining solo and I saw more personality come out of Nick than I had during his performances with Iveta. ("Follow Me Down" by 3OH!3 featuring Neon Hitch)
  • Iveta also had a tall order to fill, as do all ballroom dancers on the show. How are you supposed to display the best you have to offer if the style you are a master in is performed with a partner? It's one of the consistently strange aspects of the show. That being said, Iveta really tore up the stage with her gold fringe dress like a World Champion as best she could. ("Samba Rock" by Gennaro)
  • Ricky delivered the best solo of the season so far with power, athleticism and sickening technique. His isolations would making a bboy jealous, his flexibility rivals any of the girls... and did you see that leap into the pushup position?? That was true "dancing for your life," and he did it all without that feeling of desperation that so often plagues dancers in this position. In the long run, being in the Bottom Three Couples this week is going to really help Ricky. He is now officially on the map as a contender. ("Riot Rhythm" by Sleigh Bells)
  • Ryan's solo, however, wasn't good enough to have sent her straight through to Vegas during auditions, let alone save her from elimination. It was perfectly fine, but when you are dancing for your life "fine" isn't what you are hoping to achieve. ("Moving Mountains" by Usher)
After the solos, I was really hoping Ricky and Iveta would be saved, though knowing the judges' love for Ryan I wasn't too optimistic. While the judges' deliberated, LMFAO, who I just heard of for the first time yesterday, "sang" one of their songs accompanied by Quest Crew (with Season 3's Hok!). The dancing was amazing, but the rapper with the fro and silver pants was terrifying.

Elimination time came, and—shocking!—the judges actually made a decision. So long to Missy, Wadi, Iveta and Nick. I'm sad to see Iveta leave us so soon, especially since I think she and Ricky would have been a fun couple together.

Interestingly, Nigel told E Online that the solos had a big effect on the judges' decision last night...
“When I saw who was in the bottom,” Nigel Lythgoe added (the judges had to eliminate four dancers among Ricky and Ryan, Missy and Wadi, and Iveta and Nick), “I was intending in my heart of hearts that we keep Nick and we keep Iveta.”

But, said SYTYCD’s executive producer and head judge, “I couldn’t keep Nick having watched Ricky’s performance tonight. We asked them to dance for their lives and the passion that he danced with this evening was just fantastic. It was hard, but we had to let Nick go.”

That final decision, Nigel said, "was made a lot easier for me with Ricky's performance. That took the boys out of the equation and let us only really worry about the girls."
So kudos to Ricky for dancing for his life and sticking around!

How do you feel about last night's eliminations? Are you sad to see those four dancers leave us? Which solo was your favorite, and who are your frontrunners going into next week's Top 16?
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