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

So You Think You Can Dance, June 20 – No Time for Drama

With over half of the contestants gone already after just two choreography rounds, Sonya Tayeh asks the dancers if they”re ready to fight for their right to stay. She’s about to teach them a jazz routine that she promises is focused on strength, aggression, texture, and musicality.

The dancers complain she’s intense. Hip-hopper Shafeek Westerook is struggling. He barely made it through the last round andfinds there to be too many people onstage working the routine. He calls it stupid. His partner, bacon-lover Danielle Dominguez, tries to encourage him. She was the one who couldn’t wait to work with Sonya. She also practices with another guy. Shafeek is considering leaving.

Shafeek and Danielle, as well as burlesque-style dancer Rachel Applehans, are in the first group to show the judges what they’ve got. Nigel asks Shafeek what all that was at the end. He answers that he messed up, and Nigel tells him he doesn’t need to know that, so he wonders why he’s showing him. If he didn’t see it, he wouldn’t have known he messed up. Shafeek and Rachel are asked to come forward. Sonya tells them there are a lot of things that need to be polished, and with him it’s his attitude. They’re both sent home.

Rachel isn’t ready for leave, though, and tells the judges it’s everything to her. It’s her passion and she knows she belongs up there. She’s not as technical and trained as the others, but she has so much passion and fire, and she promises them she is a star. Nigel asks the others if they want to see her dance for her life, and Lil’C, Debbie, and Tyce say yes. Shafeek, though, just leaves, saying he’s better than everyone else. It’s so unattractive.

More are cut in the following rounds, and more guys than girls are left. Danielle comes back up to partner with Giovanni Allen. He ends up kicking her in the head. The judges watch her continue, but don’t think she’s okay. Nigel tells Giovanni he was supposed to kick over her head, not into her face. Sonya lets him go while the medic assesses Danielle.

Amelia Lowe is feeling really amped and says “this is my jam.” Who really talks like that? Something about her really bugs me. She’s the one who danced a la silent movie in her audition. She wants to really “get down” with this dance, saying it’s like a hearty meat, like a steak. Also in this group is Cyrus, who says the amount of technique involved is really hurting him. He’s paired with Lindsay Arnold.

Lindsay makes it easily. Sonya tells Amelia that the judges are split and want to see the fire in her gut, so she needs to dance for her life. Cyrus is asked if he had contemporary experience before. He admits he doesn’t, and she responds she wants to see him in some classes, as his lines aren’t there. Yet, he’s through, along with the others. This dragon cries.

The medical team is concerned about Danielle. They strap her to a gurney and cart her off to a hospital via ambulance. Fifteen more dancers are cut.

Amelia and Rachel are preparing to dance for their lives. Rachel is up first. She’s going to stay true to the burlesque style and give them every ounce of character and drive and show them an actual fight for her life. She’s definitely doing that, dancing to It’s a Man’s, Man’s World She gets four noes, and is let go. Debbie tells her that they have talked about her whole appeal being just sex, then she came out and did just that. Next time, they want her to put on more clothes, and just dance. She’s beautiful and sexy and doesn’t need to show them anything like that. She’s just happy to go out fighting and promises to come back.

Amelia thought it was going to be a slice of cake going into this round, then Sonya dropped a bomb on her. Her goal is to make Sonya a fan, so she understands who she is and lets her stay through the round. Adam is loving every minute of it, and looking like he’s about to cry. Sonya has what looks like it could be a smile on her face. She then says, “I just want to get my hands on her.” She votes yes and says she totally gets it.

Nigel votes no … because he doesn’t understand how she can have that wonderful talent and have the ability to lift their spirits when she dances, but not when she’s given other routines to do. The others vote yes, and Adam adds a thank you. She promises tomorrow they will see a different animal out there, as she is so ready to make them love her. Suddenly I’m liking her. I think maybe it wasn’t jus Sonya who needed to get it, but Amelia as well.

It’s time for the group routines. They’ll pick the music by random, then work all night to choreograph the routine. The twist this time is they get to pick their own groups of five or six. They form into their groups and pick CDs. We don’t have the same drama we get from American Idol with people wandering around looking for groups. Not that there isn’t fighting, as there is. We just only get a few seconds of it. In this season of only one show a week, there just isn’t time for drama.

The groups are ready to perform at 7 AM on day three. The first group includes ballet dancer Daniel Baker, and jazz dancers Audrey Case and Danielle. After several hours in the hospital, she was cleared to return at midnight, but then needed a group. She promises to stand in the back, and the group lets her in, despite some reservations. They had to restart with a whole new concept. They decided to go to bed at 4 AM, but without everyone’s approval.

This group isn’t even together as they dance. Nigel tells them it was terrible and also points out that they weren’t together at any one point. He feels they should all go home. Charlie and Danielle are sent home. She thinks she could have done so much better, but says her head was hurting. Other groups suffer the same fate. While Cyrus makes it through in his group, he’s sad about someone else in the group being cut and is disappointed in himself.

Ballet dancer Aubrey Klinger and the rest of her group call themselves the High Schoolers, and Audrey is the only girl. She makes her way through the line of guys with a really creative routine about them going to prom. Tyce tells them it was one of the best group pieces since he’s seen in Vegas. It was so smart. It was Aubrey’s concept, and Nigel tells her she’s a genius and like a mini Mia Michaels, with the look and all. They all make it through.

The last group, including Alexa, Dres Reid, and Adrian Lee, takes the stage. All three of those dancers made it to Vegas week in previous seasons. Dres and Alexa just missed out on the top 20 last year. In season seven, Mary let Adrian go at his house. He thinks they’ll all live up to expectations this year. Their dance seems to go pretty well.

Tyce doesn’t want to seem like a bitch, but tells Alexa there are a lot of great dancers there, but he feels like the lights are on and no one is home with her. He’s not enamored by her beauty anymore. He asks what it all means to her, as she doesn’t say much. She explains when she dances, she’s thinking about showing herself to them. He wants her to demand attention.

Mary tells Alexa to go someplace she hasn’t been before and take a huge risk. She is dying to give it to them, but Mary says even her statement is missing that fire. She knows she has what it takes to be on the show, and she’s not just not listening to them. She’s pushing herself and last year she was so afraid and feels like she’s far away from that and knows she can get there. As she talks through tears, Nigel tells her she just released emotion, and that’s all they are looking for. They all make it through. They go to celebrate outside by the pool with the others.

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