It’s that type of season. The type of season where the dancers who stood out from the audition process and the couple that stood out from day one of season 8 of “So You Think You Can Dance” are the clear ones to beat from the get-go. And, that pair is hands down Melanie and Marko.
Tonight, the two stole the show in the girls and boys group numbers and set the bar high- way high- when they kicked off the show with a jazz number that was hard to top. But, in fairness, the pair have lucked out by picking their own dance styles- contemporary and jazz- and the big question is: How will they fare when they get a genre they are not that familiar with?
That said, one couple creeped up into the race tonight and might have topped the powerhouse that is Melanie and Marko – at least for this week- with what all four judges deemed the best dance of the night: Caitlynn and Mitchell’s emotional contemporary number by Mandy Moore, which brought tears to many.
Watch A Samba Routine By Caitlynn and Mitchell:
Meanwhile, guest judges Carmen Electra, partly known for her sexy dance moves in old Prince videos and in the early incarnation of the Pussycat Dolls, and regular “So You Think You Can Dance” choreographer Travis Wall made for an entertaining judges’ table. Fun fact: Carmen’s favorite style of dance was thrashing (a type of slam dancing at concerts for those not in-the-know). Go figure! Would’ve guessed burlesque.
Let’s see how the remaining 7 couples strutted their stuff…
Melanie and Marko:
Talk about playing to their strengths! Melanie and Marko ooze chemistry and this jazz routine by Ray Leeper was yet another love story for the pair to dance perfectly. “I think you’re one of the strongest male dancers in the competition,” said Travis to Marko, before adding that Melanie is “by far my favorite dancer in the competition.” Carmen marveled at Melanie’s strength and legs. (Nigel doesn’t call her a beast for nothing!) “You just came out like a bull. You took control,” she added. Mary Murphy was wowed and renamed Marko “the domination man,” and Nigel Lythgoe thought it was a job well done.
Sasha and Alexander:
Sasha and Alexander – another early fave – might both be contemporary dancers, but they certainly brought the cool factor in this hip-hop routine by Shaun Evaristo. But was it dirty and gritty enough for hip-hop? Eh. It was a bit too pristine maybe for the genre. “Dang, girl, you were popping so hard,” said Carmen, who didn’t seem to love it. As for the all-important swagger quotient of the routine, Mary did not dig it. “Oh I wish I could say I saw the swagger. I didn’t unfortunately,” she said. The crowd booed. Nigel agreed with Mary: “It just felt like hip-hop 101,” before adding it was also like “Hip Hop for Dummies.” Eek, I smell a couple in jeopardy tomorrow night for sure.
Jordan and Tadd:
The waltz might have been about seduction, and beautifully choreographed by Toni Redpath, but there was nothing seductive about this number. It’s hard to beat Melanie and Marko in the chemistry department and this dance didn’t even come close. Mary schooled the pair on the history of the waltz, but said it was dreamy and romantic. Nigel applauded Tadd for his “progressive twinkles,” seeing that hip-hop guys don’t normally do or know those steps. Travis thought it could’ve been smoother. Overall, nice comments but not a lot of energy from the judges on this one. I, frankly, was bored and think they’ll be in the bottom tomorrow as well.
Clarice and Jess:
Taking on a Justin Giles contemporary piece, Clarice and Jess were less than believable in this love story themed routine. She’s jazz. He’s Broadway. Contemporary is not their thing. Travis, however, said it was his favorite routine by this duo all season. Maybe so, but neither can compete in this genre like some of their fellow competitors can. Unlike me, Nigel believed their story: “It really was an honest emotion that went between them.” Carmen dug it too. “You’re going in the right direction,” added Mary, who thought Jess proved he is versatile and here to stay. Eh, we’ll see about that.
Ashley and Chris:
Ashley and Chris should’ve been dancing for their lives seeing that they barely made it through last week. But instead, their salsa by Liz Lira seemed to be going through the motions in an awkward number that seems more strenuous than sultry. Travis said “the chemistry was slightly not there” and that the dance just didn’t pop and lacked energy. Carmen agreed. “It was almost there. There is potential. But you weren’t quite hitting those moves.” Mary said it wasn’t hot, but some things are simmering. Nigel gave them mixed comments. “It was a bit like me trying to do a krump. It didn’t have the right feel,” he said to Chris.
Ryan and Ricky:
What? Another zombie routine? Last week’s ended up in the bottom, why would choreographer Chucky Klapow go there? Well, the risk was worth it as this routine to David Bowie’s “Fashion” was truly killer. “You guys rocked!” screamed Carmen. “It was hot!” said Mary, who thought Ryan went full-title zombie and punctuated her praise with her trademark scream. “This zombie-Zoolander routine suited you both,” said Nigel. “I love the quirk of this!” he added. Travis loved it too. “You had my attention,” he said. “I see both of you past top 10 for sure.”
Caitlynn and Mitchell:
These two contemporary dancers got the luck of the draw when they chose a contemporary number by Mandy Moore out of the hat, guaranteeing they probably won’t be in the bottom tonight. It was beautiful, moving, believable, and had amazing lifts that the judges gave it a standing ovation. “That was my favorite number of the night! Whoooo!” screamed Mary. Mary cried. Mitchell cried. “This is your time!” she added. Nigel said, “The emotion in that routine just grabbed us all. The leaps in that were fantastic!” Travis loved it too and said Caitlynn is the surprise of the season. “Unbelievable tonight,” he said. Carmen was all about it too: “best performance of the night.”