So You Think You Can Dance: Top 20 Performance Show, Recap
The top twenty finalists were paired into couples last night on So You Think You Can Dance and they all hit the dance floor to perform their first live routines of the season.  All the usual suspects were back to choreograph the routines: Shane Sparks, Wade Robson, Mia Michaels, that creepy disco lady.  The quality of the routines was impressive, especially for the first performance episode of the season, with a number of dancers adeptly performing in genres far from their expertise.  Although it may be an early opinion, this group of finalists is probably the best So You Think You Can Dance has ever seen.  Dan Karaty joined Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe at the judges table.

Let's take a look at the couples and what dances they performed last night. 

Jaimie Goodwin and Hok Konishi – Hip/Hop

Jaimie, an 18 year old temptress, gets lucky on this routine, because Hok is a master hip/hop dancer.  Jaimie's performance, likely thanks to Hok's tutelage, is actually more impressive, however.  She is anything but a hip/hop dancer, but she manages to pull off a decent performance of a Shane Sparks hip/hop routine.  Hok gets to do his thing a couple times (elevating himself at weird angles, etc.) and overall it's a good performance that will keep them safe tonight.

Anya Garnis and Danny Tidwell – Jive

Anya is the saucy Latin dancer and Danny is the adopted brother of Travis Wall.  Neither of them are all that proficient in the Jive, but they dominate the routine anyway.  The song that accompanies it is Avril Lavigne's “Girlfriend” which was not meant for a Jive routine, but whatever.  Nigel loved Anya's “bum shuffle”.  We all did, Nigel.

Lacey Schwimmer and Kameron Bink – Contemporary

That weirdo Mia Michaels crafted this bizarre routine that, apparently, had some sort of story associated with it, but I didn't get it.  It was actually pretty cool, though, and Benji's little sister can dance.  This Kameron dude is a bit arrogant, but he was pretty good, so we'll forgive him for now.

Sabra Johnson
and Dominic Sandoval – Disco

I've always found most of the disco routines on this show to end badly for everyone involved.  The dances were usually sloppy, but this one was quite good.  D'Trix (aka Dominic) seems able to branch out from his B-Boy roots, which should be fun to watch.  This routine was the first time he ever worked with a partner, making the routine all the more impressive. 

Ashlee Langus and Ricky Palomino – Argentine Tango

Ashlee is an all-American Texas girl, and Ricky...well, Ricky is odd.  They perform the routine just fine, with its various kicks and difficult footwork, but the judges are right on in their criticism: Ricky has no connection with Ashlee.  He's in his own little world.  Ashlee is an attractive lady, and it should be easy to perform a sexual dance with her.  Not for Ricky. 

Sara Von Gillern and Jesus Solario – Pop/Jazz

Sarah is a B-Girl and, given that designation, you'd think she'd have a difficult time with other forms of dance.  Not the case.  She rips it up here with Jesus, who she out dances handily in an unfamiliar genre of dance.  She will be fun to watch throughout the season.  Also, this was a very cool routine, choreographed by Wade Robson. 

Jessi Peralta and Pasha Pkovalev – Smooth Waltz

The smooth waltz is normally the most boring of routines, a genre that reminds viewers of royal courts and wigs and guillotines, but tonight it was great.  This is mostly thanks to Jessi who, apart from looking incredible in her white dress, was smooth as smooth could be out there.  Pasha was very good as well and couple seemed to glide across the stage.  Maybe the most impressive routine of the night.

Faina Savich and Cedric Gardiner – Hip/Hop

Faina has never done hip/hop before and in practice she had a lot of trouble trying to learn the steps.  This is where Cedric excels, however, and he showed his stuff during the performance.  Considering her lack of experience in the genre, I didn't think Faina was all that bad, but it was still sloppy in places. 

Lauren Gottleib and Neil Haskell – Salsa

The judges touched on this a bunch, but it is a good point: the dance was performed well, the steps were there, but it lacked the sexiness that a salsa needs, and it was mostly Neil's fault.  Lauren kicked the song's ass, but Neil didn't seem “into” her, as Dan Karaty stated.  Lauren is a talented dancer, and this couple is too good-looking to be sent home at this juncture. 

Shauna Noland and Jimmy Arguello – Broadway

Tyce DiOrio created this happy, manic Broadway routine, and I actually thought it was pretty good.  The judges weren't big fans of Shauna's performance, but it looked solid to me.  In fact, with the negative judging coming at the end of the episode, I think Shauna and Jimmy may be in danger of heading home tonight. 

If it's not them, my pick would be Ashlee and Ricky, if just to get Ricky off the program.  What do you all think?  Who should be eliminated tonight?

-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer

(Image Courtesy of FOX)