'So You Think You Can Dance' Recap: The Top 12 Dance
'So You Think You Can Dance' Recap: The Top 12 Dance
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Week 5. 12 dancers left. Who will dance their way into the Top 10 of season 8, and who will fall just short of that lofty goal? We'll get the first of our answers tonight as the Top 12 of So You Think You Can Dance perform!

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At this point in the competition, we've established that all of the dancers are ridiculously talented. And there are several that look likely to go all of the way to the finals. But the performers will have to keep their A-games going if they want the voters and judges to move them into the next week.

Speaking of judges, this week's guest judge is Jesse Tyler Ferguson of Modern Family fame. I honestly had no clue the man had any sort of music-related background until he was announced. Apparently, he does. Quite a lot of it too.

But for now, to the dancing we go!


Along with Jesse Tyler Ferguson (he's so cute!), it looks like we have Sonya Tayeh guest judging as well. That should be kind of fun.

The first dancers up are:

Sasha and Alexander
Looks like they got Tony Meredith and Melanie Lapatin-choreographed paso doble. There's lots of fighting and stuff.

This is sort of a minimalist performance -- all basic costumes and no obviously fancy lighting. This only serves to make the dancing look even more spectacular though. Especially those parts of the dance which involve Sasha's legs. She, as always, looks stunning out there. Really this is a brilliant example of dancing with virtually nothing else going on. Neat. And there's a random kiss.

Nigel: "Alexander, you had a job keeping up with her and her strength. But you did!" "Sasha, you are just a really strong, great character. It comes over in your work. I thought you did brilliantly there."
Mary: "Can I get an OLE! Because you know what? They deserve it!" "You are so fierce and fierce in this competition!" "You stayed in character, it was really strong."
Jesse: "The minute you come out... you're such a pillar of strength." "Alexander, you completely came up to her level."
Sonya: "I thought it was absolutely amazing. Sasha, you rock my socks on a regular basis." "Alexander... overall, it was awesome."


Jordan and Tadd
They've got a Travis Wall contemporary dance. It will not be Tweety Bird-ish.

It may not be Tweety, but it does look like we've got some bird stuff going on. It's a very slow start anyway. Also violent. Tadd looks very strong and is doing a lot of leaps all over. Jordan seems to be mostly spinning and pirouetting, some of which is kind of incredible. I didn't get the dance, and it wasn't pretty like some, but that was dramatic. Also very good.

Nigel: "It was remarkable. It really was." "It took two of you to do this routine, and the pair of you were absolutely tremendous."
Mary: "Beautiful! Dark! Magnificent! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!"
Jesse: "Travis took the classic vulture stalks boy... that we all know so well." "That proves that the guys are in it to win it."
Sonya: "I really wish I could swear. A lot. This is just the true artistry that makes you want to cry."


Ryan and Ricky
They have a Broadway-style dance choreographed by Spencer Liff.

Ryan's in a poster! Hopefully they'll let her dance in a less-confined spot at some point. The dancing didn't start so fast on this. I know they're setting the scene, but the choreographer shouldn't hamper the dancers with all that acting before we get to see some moves. They seem to be dancing pretty well -- it looks like something right off of an old-time Broadway stage. Unfortunately, it's nowhere near as exciting as the dances we just saw moments ago. Good, but not quite so stunning.

Nigel: "I think it's about style." "I don't know if this routine is going to make the connection with the audience..."
Mary: "I felt like you lost the style." "It needs some work."
Jesse: "I felt like... it was like a glass ceiling was on that performance." "It just didn't sparkle for me." "I know you're capable of more than what that routine allowed you to do."
Sonya: "I felt like you were questioning it the whole time, letting it simmer a little too much."


Caitlynn and Mitchell
They've got a hip-hop routine this week, choreographed by Christopher Scott. Wow. This dance is all full of social message (about African orphans). That's kind of cool and different.

They don't seem to be totally in sync, which is odd. Maybe it's because the movements are too precise and too far from their comfort zones? The emotions are definitely there though. Lots of angst and desperation coming across. I'm just not sure that was danced as well as some.

Nigel: "All I want at the end of the day is for you to dance together." "Needed harder work for me."
Mary: "I feel like you still command attention in what you did." "You guys are just so talented in everything that you do. It just fell a little bit short tonight."
Jesse: "You two dance with so much power every time I see you." "I didn't quite see where this amazing message was in the dance."
Sonya: "It just got a little too jumbled for me."


Melanie and Marko
They have a tango, choreographed by Louis Van Amstel (hey! I know who he is!)

They have a nice, almost casual way of starting the dance. I know they're not, but these two really could be a couple. Melanie has especially figured out the passion-part of the dancing. She kind of looks like she's about to have sex with Marko right there on the stage. If there's a fault of the dance, it's that it makes it harder to watch Marko. Otherwise, lovely.

Nigel: "I think you've taken one of those limitless pills that teaches you how to speed-learn the tango." "Really tremendous!"
Mary: "There were a few awkward shapes..." "I thought you guys did a really good job."
Jesse: "You both possess this thing that us people in show call a spark."
Sonya: "I don't understand how every time I watch you dance, you make me lose my breath." "Every step both of you take is from the deepest place."


Clarice and Jess
They've got a lyrical hip-hop routine from Christopher Scott

Is Jess painting? They might be a little too pretty and flowing for hip hop, but they do look good. Jess is especially into his part (no shocker there). Neither looks like an accomplished hip-hop dancer, but they've got enough put into the roles that it's easy to overlook any dancing flaws.

Nigel: "It was simply danced, it was beautifully danced." "I thought this was lovely."
Mary: "I definitely think you guys are amazing just the way you are, for sure!" "You have this pulse and swag that is exactly the same."
Jesse: "It was fantastic." "You make me so happy!"
Sonya: "You're just adorable. You're always so adorable." "You guys just slayed it."

 
Sasha and Alexander
They have jazz this time, as choreographed by Tyce Diorio.

Ah, dancing with a lamp post! A classic. They certainly wasted no time before heading into the spinning. Seriously, this is some of the most energetic jazz ever. The overall impression of what I'm seeing is controlled (barely) chaos. Pretty, pretty chaos.

Nigel: "Alexander, I think for a few weeks, Sasha has carried you in some of the routines... Not tonight!" "Sasha, you're still extremely strong." "The only shaky thing on the stage tonight was that lamp post."
Mary: "Alexander, I think you had an extremely breakthrough night tonight."
Jesse: "This was beyond. I thought it was amazing. I thought it was fantastic. It's my favorite number tonight."
Sonya: "Alexander, this is what I've been praying and hoping for this whole season... You killed it." "Sasha... no matter what, you made it happen."


Jordan and Tadd
This time around, they've got a Spencer Liff-choreographed Broadway routine. Ah, Jordan gets to be a princess!

Hey! Rent music! The dancing is pretty impressive (standard "how did they do that?" stuff), but I'm not sure they've got the performance and acting parts needed for this. It's hard to get into the dance, because I didn't feel the characters as much.

Nigel: "I thought it could have been a little quirkier." "It was OK. It... it was OK."
Mary: "It just wasn't strong enough."
Jesse: "I felt that it was a bit of a grab bag." "This wasn't my favorite of yours."
Sonya: "I just felt a little underwhelmed. And it was a jumble of things." "I know your abilities and I didn't see them. I know your craft, and I didn't see it."


Ryan and Ricky
This time they have a cha-cha routine. Louis Van Amstel is here to choreograph it.

I'm not sure I believe Ricky's hip-shaking. The other movements work better though. When Ryan remembers how she's supposed to move in this kind of routine, it totally works. But I think she forgets sometimes. Definitely it was a hot routine. But was it hot between the partners? Not as sure about that.

Nigel: "Ricky, I thought you did a really good job there... Your hips were terrific." "Ryan, I felt as though you were overdoing it... I thought you were a little bit sloppy on it."
Mary: "That was the fastest darn cha cha I have ever seen." "It just got sloppy as you went along." "Ricky, I don't know who you are right now... Everything. You were just living the cha cha like I like to see it."
Jesse: "Ryan, you were flirting with me." "Ricky, brilliant."
Sonya: "Ryan... Embrace how wonderful you are."


Caitlynn and Mitchell
Their second dance is a jazz routine choreographed by Travis Wall.

She got the slap. Oh my. Caitlynn is way too little and cute to be this mean and angry. And yet she does it. This is looking like another one of those dances where the focus is Caitlynn dancing all around Mitchell. Still good. And hey, their synchronicity is back! Yay! The performance in this dance may be one of the best of the night.

Nigel: "I don't really want to say anything to Caitlynn, because I'd incriminate myself as a dirty old man."
Mary: "I loved it!" "There was some tough stuff in this routine, and you guys really did it well."
Jesse: "Only you can prevent forest fires. By never dancing in a forest like that." "It was fantastic."
Sonya: "That was really, really hot. Caitlynn, dang!" "You shouldn't be that hot. You're just a baby." "Mitch... Sometimes I don't feel like I know where you are."


Melanie and Marko
They're back to contemporary for this dance, choreographed by Dee Caspary. Awww... Last time they dance together. It's a testament to this partnership that this is the only pair that's gotten comments on it being the last time.

Is the light bulb supposed to stay on? Not sure. This has odd choreography. It's done well, but it looks odd -- not sure it goes with the music just right. It might be a little too wild and crazy to relate to easily. It is still really beautiful though. They're incredible performers. Don't know if I liked the dance, but I still have goosebumps.

Nigel: "There is something magical about the pair of you when you work together." "This didn't feel like you'd been choreographed."
Mary: "It really, truly has been magnificent." "Everything was flawless. For sure, you guys are two shining stars on this show."
Jesse: "My mind has been blown." "It's like Braille on my arm right now." "This is my new favorite."
Sonya: "I'm just so grateful that this is the future of dance." "I just want to say thank you, and please stay humble."


Clarice and Jess
For the final dance of Week 5, we have a jive. Tony Meredith and Melanie Lapatin are the choreographers.
 
If there's one guy in the competition who looks comfortable in dances like the jive, it's Jess. Clarice looks maybe a little more awkward, but she also looks lovely, so it's OK. They've definitely got the quickness and attitude right in the dance. There maybe were moments that weren't perfect, but it looked good.

Nigel: "It was very good. You've got those really nice legs." "I'm a little uncomfortable when you lift." "We really want you to get to a Top 10 here."
Mary: "It did lose steam as it went along." "Your legs were showing me the joy, but the animation wasn't there for me. Clarice... you just never let up."
Jesse: "I thought you were fantastic together." "I thought it was a very fun, exciting performance."
Sonya: "I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it..."

That's it for the week! And that's it for the initial partners. That's kind of sad. Oh well!

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What was your favorite dance? Did any of the dancers blow you away on both of their dances this week? Who do you think is in the most danger? Leave a comment below!

(Image courtesy of FOX)




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