Our Top 12 becomes our Touring 10 as 2 dancers are eliminated and the rest dance for votes.
Cat update...hair is loose and down just the way I like it. Not sure about the dress. It's probably the scary bow in front that gives me the heebies.
It's group Bollywood for our Top 12, choreographed by Nakul dev Mahajan. Lots of energy.
Bad news...Tucker has an infection in his knee and won't be able to dance choreography this week. That automatically puts him in next week's bottom, if he is not eliminated this week.
Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy are joined on the panel by Kenny Ortega.
Our bottom three gals are...Jenna, Amy, Malece
Our bottom three guys are...Tucker, Nico, Alan
The judges send Nico and Jenna directly into Top 10. The rest dance solos.
- Tucker - Evidently the infection doesn't impact a solo. That is one of the few times this season I have seen someone dance a solo with real passion.
- Amy - Oh my that was brilliant.
- Malece - A bit haphazard and amateurish, particularly when competing with Amy.
- Alan - Some nice Mambo action there.
Although if you did make Kitty choose, Kitty would choose to save Tucker and Amy. Kitty only chooses to save, never to eliminate.
Hayley Erbert, an 18 year old Contemporary dancer, is paired with Nico Greetham, an 18 year old Contemporary dancer, for Broadway choreographed by Sean Cheesman. That was really well danced technically. I thought they had complete control over the story and the character. I thought they did a fine job of building the tension and the drama. I thought the piece actually could have fit right in the pocket on a Broadway stage. There were some incredible lifts that could have broken a leg, but they handled them flawlessly. Nigel pointed out that Nico's transitions had been suspect, but not in this routine. He connected every phrase. And Hayley followed up a brilliant Argentine Tango with another outstanding performance. They only have this one week as a partnership, but in that time they developed the chemistry to make this routine speak. Excellent work. And props to Sean Cheesman for taking this risk.
Malece Miller, a 19 year old Contemporary dancer, is paired with Alan Bersten, a 19 year old Ballroom dancer, for Jazz choreographed by Mandy Moore. This choreography was inspired by old time Hollywood musicals. I thought both dancers did a good job of finding that outsized extension and expression in their movement, but they just didn't maintain it consistently throughout. I'm not sure if it was the shoes or the dress, but there were places in the routine where Malece looked awkward and uncomfortable. She has all the tools, but there was just something missing in this piece. I thought Alan was a little bit better with his lines and shapes, but there were still issues with extension and keeping the character throughout. I don't think they danced well together. Not a strong effort, considering they are matched against two of the better Contemporary dancers to get into Top 10.
Jenna Johnson, an 18 year old Ballroom dancer, is without partner Tucker Knox, a 22 year old Contemporary dancer, this week due to injury. All Star Alex Wong from Season 7 steps in for Paso Doble, choreographed by Jean Marc Genereux. I enjoy watching Alex, but I wonder why we don't have a Ballroom All Star for this Paso. That would seem to put Jenna at a bit of a disadvantage in some very aggressive Paso choreography. I thought she danced with power and precision. I thought she had the attitude and the intensity of a proper Paso. I would have loved to see what Tucker could do in this piece. There were so many moments to shine. And it was very theatrical, which I think would have suited Tucker quite well. I thought Alex handled what was given and provided Jenna with an excellent frame in which to dance. He led her through each transition with power. Excellent performance.
Makenzie Dustman, an 18 year old Contemporary dancer, is paired with Paul Kamiryan, a 21 year old Latin Ballroom dancer, for Contemporary choreographed by Mandy Moore. Steady wins the race. These two have grown together so well this season. Voters finally figured out that Makenzie is worth a few dials this week and she gets to dance free without worry about elimination. And Paul has been a revelation. Remember he's a Latin ballroom dancer, but you can't tell it by the way he handles every style he's given. I wouldn't have said it two weeks in, but these two together have danced themselves into one of my top couples. They had incredible extension. They made beautiful shapes. They paused on the details. They took Mandy's concept and breathed life into it. Exquisitely danced.
Amy Yakima, a 19 year old Contemporary dancer, is paired with Du-Shaunt "Fik-Shun" Stegall, an 18 year old Hip Hop dancer, for Viennese Waltz choreographed by Jean Marc Genereux. This is a tough nut to crack, particularly since Amy is up for elimination. I love the way the choreography told the story of their journey to date on the show. I thought they had a youthful elegance. I loved their rise and fall...that was fairy tale magic. Fik-Shun handled the framing responsibility pretty well. Again he demonstrated how deceptively strong he is with those lifts. And he showed off some wonderful extension in his arms. I thought Amy was beautiful and graceful...just like a princess. I thought the piece was sweetly romantic. For me, the performance as a whole was the thing rather than any technical issues they had with footwork. This pair has the "It" factor.
Jasmine Harper, a 19 year old Contemporary dancer, is paired with Aaron Turner, a 25 year old Tap dancer, for Hip Hop choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo. I LOVED THAT! I could not look away from that performance. They hit every beat. They had all the detail. The moves Tabitha and Napoleon designed had life in themselves, but Jasmine and Aaron brought even more life to the routine. The hits were so hard and there were so many of them, but they never got out of synch. They hit fast, then they took a moment, then they hit again, and then took another moment. There were so many connecting details and they didn't miss a trick. The piece had character and color and flash and precision. Jasmine and Aaron conquered all of it. Well done.
Our Top 6 guys minus Tucker are combined for Hip Hop choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon. Outstanding.
Our Top 6 gals are combined for Contemporary choreographed by Stacey Tookey. Stunning.
Those were two brilliant mini group pieces. The choreography throughout the evening stepped up a notch to show off this Top 12 to best effect. It's a shame someone has to go home right on the cusp of the tour.
Nigel says that each of the four dancers in danger performed well and fought to remain in the competition. And he is going to recommend that the eliminated pair be considered as alternates for the tour.
Amy is safe, and that means Malece is eliminated.
Tucker is safe, and that means Alan is eliminated.
I think that's the right choice. I think both Malece and Alan have grown on the show, and both made their dance moments of which to be proud. They each have solid foundations on which to build careers.
The couples break next week and the All Stars arrive. It's going to be interesting to see what happens as the power couples begin to dance without the surety and comfort of their original partnerships. I'll miss the pairings of Amy and Fik-Shun, Jasmine and Aaron, Makenzie and Paul.
I think this Top 10 stacks up quite well with previous season. I think we're going to see fierce competition with the addition of the All Stars - Stephen "tWitch" Boss, Witney Carson, Lauren Froderman, Neil Haskell, Allison Holker, Mark Kanemura, Kathryn McCormick, Robert Roldan, Alex Wong, and Dominic "D-Trix" Sandoval.
Now's the time to tune in gang!