It was double the dancing, double the fun on Wednesday's So You Think You Can Dance, with each of the remaining six couples performing two routines. It couldn't have been easy for the dancers, but I'm glad they pulled it off: Considering that this week brings the crucial cut from the top 12 to the top 10, it's only right for us to see as much from each couple as possible.
Each of the couples had to tackle two radically different styles on Wednesday, and some showed off their versatility while others struggled to make an impact. Which dancers do you think are heading home?
To check out my thoughts on all the routines and see pictures from the night, just
Melissa and Ade's disco — This couple's disco maybe wasn't as fast as Brandon and Janette's from a couple of weeks back, but it was full of giant tricks — with all of those lifts and spins (especially that one with Melissa in an upside-down split), I half expected them to break out some Cutting Edge-style pamchenko action. The only slip-up was that fall at the end, but none of the judges seemed bothered by that. Nigel loved the energy, Mary liked watching them let loose, and Tyce said Melissa showed a lot of growth.
Kayla and Kupono's contemporary — Kayla still doesn't do much for me personally, but girl can dance, and she seems particularly well-suited for Mia's choreography. For that matter, so does Kupono; that style of contemporary dance just clicks for him, and this routine let him be both strong and smirking. Nigel said he wishes he could connect with Kayla's eyes instead of just her hair, but dance-wise he loved the power of the choreography and the movement. Tyce said he felt like he watched an experience instead of just a dance.
Jason and Caitlin's foxtrot — From the hair to the costumes to the movement, these two looked like they'd just stepped onto the floor of a 1940s dance hall. Caitlin's listed as a contemporary dancer, but this really seemed like her element; she's been knocked for being "old-fashioned," but that worked for this routine, and she just looked like she was gliding. Jason partnered her well, with a couple of cool lifts and swings. Nigel said they'd both improved, Mary said they made tough stuff look easy, and Tyce wanted more gliding.
Jeanine and Phillip's Russian folk dance — Yikes. I was not into this routine at all. And for the most part, I don't think it was Jeanine and Phillip's fault. The choreography veered between slow and boring on the one hand and childlike and show-offy on the other. They each had some nice moments, but mostly I just wanted it to be over. Nigel said probably the producers should not have thrown that particular routine at them, while Tyce pointed out that they executed what they were given very well.
Randi and Evan's hip hop — I was nervous about the two of them doing hip hop, but Tabitha and Napoleon's routine played to their strengths without being too wimpy. There were some real hip hop moves in there, but they also got to do plenty of acting and turn the routine into something sweet. It wasn't a particularly memorable performance, but nor was it a disaster. Nigel was glad they weren't asked to "be urban," Mary was expecting a train wreck but was impressed they pulled it off, and Tyce said Evan needs to deliver more.
Janette and Brandon's Argentine tango — Janette said they struggled to find their intimacy, but I don't buy it: These two got close. Janette seemed more at ease than Brandon, who mostly faded into the background for me while Janette showed off her footwork and acted fiery. Nigel led the judges in a wordless standing ovation, then said it was "as close to perfection" as he'd seen for a ballroom routine, while Mary called out the hot tamale train and Tyce made a weird orange juice analogy.
Melissa and Ade's waltz — Typically in this partnership the focus has been on Melissa, so I was glad to see Ade get to show off his technique and control in this routine. Y'know, he has some pretty good leg extension, too! It was floaty and pretty, though maybe not the kind of routine that will make people call and vote. Nigel wanted more rise and fall from Ade, Mary wanted Ade to be stronger on the waltz moves but admitted she mostly watched Melissa, and Tyce said he wants to see Ade work harder.
Kayla and Kupono's Broadway — Aw, I had to smile during this routine. It was very sweet and childlike — though as Nigel pointed out later, maybe that was exactly the problem — and I thought Kupono got into the character quite well. Kayla started out in character, too, but she seemed to revert to her standard smiley face about halfway through. Nigel wanted to see more authenticity and toughness, Mary thought they did a great job but could have done even more, and Tyce wanted them to dig in a little more.
Caitlin and Jason's lyrical jazz — Finally, we get to see these two in their style . . . and it was good! I find them so easy to watch, so gentle and graceful. And they're so good as a couple; I disagree with Nigel about their chemistry. I was impressed they stayed synchronized during that long section when they were practically back-to-back. Nigel said they'd obviously put the work in, Mary said it seemed effortless but not magical and maybe not memorable either, while Tyce was worried they played it safe and didn't go far enough.
Jeanine and Phillip's jive — This routine made me nervous for Phillip, but he really came out swinging. He seemed to lose some of his energy — or maybe confidence — after he slipped, but he kept up with all the footwork and captured the character well. And Jeanine made her half of the routine look effortless. Nigel said this was the best Phillip's been outside of his style, Mary outright guaranteed that Jeanine will be in the top 10, and Tyce called them "fan-frigging-tastic."
Randi and Evan's samba — Pasha and Anya! So good to see them. And it was good to see Randi and Evan get into the sexiness of this samba, though that isn't really the kind of chemistry they have together. Between rehearsal and performance, Randi seemed to get more comfortable with all the shaking, but Evan was just kind of . . . there. Nigel basically pronounced it "meh," Mary said Randi carried the routine, and Tyce said Evan should have been a detective and watched past successful sambas.
Janette and Brandon's jazz — OK, I flat-out loved this routine. I loved the characters, I loved the movement style, and I loved the way these two danced it. One of my favorites of the season for sure. I've liked Brandon all along, but Janette has impressed me more and more each week — she's just so solid. Nigel said they were easily the best of the night, Mary said they stole her heart, and Tyce said they have "that thing" that makes them take charge of every routine.
Best of the night: Janette and Brandon showed great range and should be safe going into next week. Melissa and Ade were also totally solid. Kayla and Kupono get a spot here purely on the strength of their first routine.
In trouble: Randi and Evan didn't have a great night at all, and they might be up for their first trip to the bottom three. I predict Caitlin and Jason will be dancing for their lives again. That leaves Jeanine and Phillip as the logical last couple in the bottom three . . . but I actually wonder if Melissa and Ade will end up there instead?
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Photos courtesy of Fox