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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

So You Think You Can Dance, July 21 – Handicapping the Top 8


I had no idea who was going home tonight on So You Think You Can Dance. Let’s just say that. I just knew it’s wouldn’t be Melanie, Marko, or Sasha. Beyond that, I wasn’t sure at all. Okay, I was also reasonably sure it wouldn’t be Jess. It’s just that tight as far as the talent goes. It was bound to come down to likability.

This season has been going this way since week one when Nigel Lythgoe decided not to send anyone home and vote out two the next week. They’re just so good, they don’t have very many vulnerabilities, at least not ones detectable to the eyes of casual dance fans.

This all means that fans of the show are truly voting for favorites only, and not voting anyone out. There certainly wasn’t anything discernibly bad about the dancing talent of Mitchell Kelly, Clarice Ordaz, Ricky Jaime, and Jordan Casanova, yet they were the ones that ended up in the bottom four. For whatever reason they keep ending up there. It seems to be personality, or lack thereof.

Clarice and Mitchell went home, and from the looks of the solos, that’s the way it should have been. Not that there was remotely anything less than top 10 about their solos, they just weren’t as stellar as the other two. Even Nigel urged them to know that he didn’t have anything negative to say to them or anything they could improve upon. It was just “the very nature of the competition.”

Here’s a look at the top eight as they remain on the show and what their chances of continuing past next week look like.

1. Jordan Casanova, 18, of Chino Hills, CA. She had been partnered with Tadd Gadduang until top 10 when she worked with Brandon Bryant. She received rave reviews from Nigel, but still fell into the bottom four. She doesn’t have much of a prayer. Eventually they will just have to let her go if her best, that they consider stellar, won’t keep her safe.

2. Tadd Gadduang, 25, of West Valley City, UT. He had partnered with Jordan Casanova in the beginning stages and kept falling into the bottom three, and now that they’re separated, she fell into the bottom four, while he stayed safe. That should have him realizing it wasn’t really him who fans weren’t happy with. This week he danced with Comfort Fedoke. Nigel thought he outdanced the All-Star. He could very well be top four.

3. Marko Germar, 22, of Canoga Park, CA. He had partnered with Melanie Moore originally, and this week was partnered with Chelsie Hightower. Neil Patrick Harris called him the one to beat. It’s clear he doesn’t have to have the special chemistry with Melanie to succeed. He’s just that good.

4. Ricky Jaime, 18, of Miami, FL. He had been paired with Ryan Ramirez before she got eliminated, and this week was with Allison Holker. Suddenly we saw technique out of him that we never saw when he was with Ryan. Yet, he still fell into the bottom four. Maybe he’ll always be unfavorably connected to Ryan. Because of that, he doesn’t have a prayer for winning.  

5. Caitlynn Lawson, 18, of Moses Lake, WA. She was paired with Mitchell Kelly and was often in the bottom three, but this week with All-Star  Pasha Kovalev. She stayed out of the bottom four, while he made an appearance, then was sent home. This should shore up for her that he was pulling her down. Nigel praised the maturity here that he didn’t see with her other partner. She has a very outside chance of making final four.

6. Jess LeProtto, 18, of Little Falls, NJ. He was partnered with Clarice Ordaz, who went home, and this week was with All-Star Kathryn McCormack. He’s been knocked for his partner skills, and this week, Nigel finally thought he pushed past that. Nigel also called it his best dance so far. He could make final four, but his size is going to continue to limit him.

7. Sasha Mallory, 23, of Bakersfield, CA. She  was partnered with Alexander Fost, and never really connected with him, but had tremendous connection with Twitch this week doing a lyrical hip hop. She seems to be a lock for final four and has an outside chance at winning the title away from Melanie or Marko.

8. Melanie Moore, 19, of Marietta, GA. She paired up with Marko Germar, and this week danced with All-Star Pasha Kovalev. They noted that in the routines choreographed for her, she’s always the “rock” in a relationship and supporting someone else. It seems to fit her personality very well, but it would be nice to see her be the aggressor or vixen in a routine.

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