The episode of So You Think You Can Dance where the top 20 perform for the first time is always one of my favorite TV nights of the whole Summer. The Vegas episode just leaves us with so many questions, and Wednesday night was the first chance for some of them to be answered: Which partnerships will succeed and which will fail? Who will live up to the promise they showed during the auditions? Who will falter? And who will do something awesome enough to instantly redeem all past wrongs and become a surprise favorite?
I'm going to start with the latter, because: Katee! Wow. She had a tremendous deficit of goodwill to make up after the judges slammed her (fairly? unfairly?) in Vegas for saying she might not try out for the show again if she didn't make the top 20. But then she got paired with Joshua, whom I'd guess is an early fan favorite — and then the two of them delivered hands-down the most powerful number of the night. It also doesn't hurt that they're adorable together — two crybabies as partners is a recipe for cute, especially when one of them is an ex-football player. (Further, I like "No Air" more every time I hear it. Well played, Jordin Sparks.)
Also on the positive-surprise front, I loved Rayven and Jamie's hip-hop routine (except for the five seconds in which Rayven pantsed Jamie — I mean, why?). Mostly, I thought Rayven was a standout — she's a great performer with a lot of energy and a whole bucketful of facial expressions at her disposal. It's a shame they had to go first, because I think the routine would have stood out more later in the show. Meanwhile, Mark and Chelsie are developing into one of my favorite couples: He's quirky, she's cute, and they did a good job with the unenviable task of performing Mia Michaels' choreography in week one. And Chelsea T. and Comfort proved they'll be forces to reckon with, even though I'm not sure either of them is in the strongest partnership.
For more thoughts, including which dancers I think are in trouble, and pictures from all the performances, just
If we had to choose "America's Favorite Dancer" solely by the applause in the auditorium during Wednesday's show, I think there's no question Twitch would walk away with the title. But why did he have to get paired with Kherington? I may be the only person not joining the Kherington Payne Appreciation Club, but I find her utterly average. Still, their Broadway routine was fun, and Twitch's fans alone should get them to the next round safely. (Also: Twitchington!)
Biggest disappointment of the night to me: Courtney and Gev. They were both early favorites of mine, and yet something was just off about their disco routine. It seemed low-energy and just not quite "out there" enough, and I wouldn't be shocked to see them in the bottom — especially because the judges' comments were such a bummer at the end of the show. Susie and Marquis were forgettable (even worse than drawing a Mia routine in the first round: drawing a slow ballroom number?), but that could just be because I'm biased against her already. And I'm worried about Matt and Kourtni — mostly because Nigel's comments about needing more personality from Matt "if you're still here" seemed like the kiss of death. Jessica and Will could find themselves in trouble, too, but I think Will might have enough fans to pull them through.
What did you think of the first episode? Have you picked your favorites? And are you with me that Katee is redeemed — or are you still a little unsure?
Photos courtesy of Fox