|By the looks of last week’s So You Think You Can Dance Top 20 announcement and performances, there is some great talent this season. However, we also thought that at the beginning of the American Idol Top 24, only to end up with a top two no one expected, and that people were less than excited about. Will the same thing happen here?
Tonight on the judging panel is Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and Megan Mullally. What the heck is she doing there? Not that I mind, I mean I’m sure she’s going to be a lot of fun, but I’m just really surprised we’re not seeing Adam Shankman, Tyce Diorio, etc. It turns out she was in a ballet company and studied with the School of American Ballet in New York. I’m not sure what else she said, as it was cut off by a storm warning out here in the Midwest.
Up first tonight is Jordan Casanova. She gets eight seconds to introduce herself and explains she wants to be a Pussycat Doll and she can howl like a dog. Her partner tonight is Tadd Gadduang. He was a dancing taco in a movie and he thought he was Caucasian when he was a kid. They’re dancing African Jazz with Sean Cheesman. Jordan thought she’d have to have an afro for this. They dance to the song Riding the Waves by Afro Celt Sound System. It’s a dance that’s hard to take your eyes off of.
Nigel tells the two they didn’t implode on the stage as feared, but exploded like a volcano erupting. Their feet were going with the rhythm. If that’s African Jazz, he loves it. Jordan was outstanding and didn’t let herself down. As a hip hop dancer, if Tadd keeps picking up the styles like this, he’ll be extremely exciting. Mary tells Jordan she was more animalistic than she expected. She was worried about Tadd for two seconds, and couldn’t believe this was a B-Boy the way he blew her way. Megan appreciated Jordan’s extensions and Tadd’s power.
Sasha Mallory forgets her age and likes purple. She’s paired with Alexander Fost, who Speaks Spanish “kind of.” They’re doing contemporary with Travis Wall, who alway has a story in his routine, and this one is about is about Alexander’s conscience coming back to tear him to shreds the way Sasha was. She gets a little too much into the character, scaring Alexander. They dance to something by Sarah McLachlan. The damn storm warnings are covering it up. This is definitely a Travis Wall number, and he couldn’t have picked two to carry it off better.
Mary remarks “talk about taking a beating at work.” Alexander is okay, as he explains he has insurance. The one thing Mary loves about Travis’ work is his transitions. Sasha is so strong and has so much power and stage presence. She fills up the music and the room. Alexander was strong as well, but she didn’t feel a connection between them.
Megan thinks Sasha is coming into this as a favorite, and doesn’t see it changing any time soon. She thought she was a good storyteller, but found a disconnect between Alexander’s face and body. Nigel particularly loved the lift over the back of the neck. He’s a little scared of Sasha and compares her to Mike Tyson. Alex will continue to be paired with strong girls, so Nigel needs more from his face, as the girls immerse themselves in the characters.
Clarice Ordaz claims her eyes change colors and that she’s shy. Her partner is Jess LeProtto. He’s a Jersey boy and and has a potty mouth. Go figure. They get Broadway, to his excitement, choreographed by Tyce Diorio. They play two lovers in the story, and he doesn’t think it’ll be hard to get into character for that. They dance to Me and My Baby? by Liza Minnelli. You’d think he would run away with this, but she definitely holds her own.
Megan loved everything about this dance, and calls it pure joy on a platter served up for us. She credits Tyce. Jess is a natural performer, and like a young Jimmy Durante, if he had been a dancer. Clarice is sexy and sassy with beautiful legs. Nigel tells Clarice she’s a beautiful girl and dancer, but needs to work hard to keep up with Jess, as he’s wonderfully gifted and outdanced her. Nigel knows he’ll be one of his favorite guys. He especially loved his pirouette that went down and came back up. Mary thought Jess was perfection tonight, and that he couldn’t have done anything better, although doesn’t think Clarice will be in any trouble soon either.
Ryan Ramirez is obsessed with Law and Order: SVU and is a very funky white girl. She’s paired with Ricky Jaime. He’s a Florida native and loves cheer music. They get lyrical hip hop with Chris Scott, who has them dancing a love story, where he’s mad-crazy for her and misses her when she leaves. They dance to Ain’t No Sunshine, but it isn’t by Bill Withers, and the performer’s name is blocked out again by the storm warning graphic. It’s yet another stellar performance as we begin to see why they made Ryan wait another year.