All of the kids on So You Think You Can Dance performed their hearts out in the first live show, proving that they very well may be The Next Generation. Paula, Jason, Nigel and newcomer judge Maddie Ziegler were more impressed by each performance leading up to cute little J.T., who showed the judges and America that he’s taking this competition very seriously.

I’m pretty pumped to see what’s in store for week two of the live competition, though I’m sad to see one performer go. If I had to pick one to go home, I’d say it will be Daniela. While she was great with her salsa routine, I think the other nine kids might have outshined her. But only time will tell.

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Opening Number

The contestants will perform out of their styles, but first is a group Bollywood number featuring the All-Stars and the contestants to “Let’s Nacho” from the Kapoor & Sons (Since 1921) soundtrack, which is choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan. It’s a pretty fun piece with a lot of classic Bollywood moves.

At the judges’ table, All-Star Twitch sits in for Jason, who is traveling. The kids are paired up and perform two routines.

Pairs Out of Style

The first pair to perform is Jordan and Ruby to an African jazz routine by Sean Cheesman. Jordan describes the number as scary and dangerous, though they both do pretty well to “Breath Connect Us All” by Professor Trance & The Energizers. I think Jordan looks more comfortable than Ruby during the performance, but all of the judges love it.

Sheaden has a little fun behind the scenes with a preview of Ice Age: Collision Course, explaining that he thinks awkward silences are funny. His duet with his mentor, Marco, set to “Treasure” by Bruno Mars, is pretty good.

Tate tells a joke behind the scenes and lets us know who her favorite character from Ice Age is. She then performs a short and powerful piece with her mentor, Kathryn.

Next to step out of their styles are J.T. and Emma. They tackle a Nappytabs (Napoleon and Tabitha) hip-hop number, and the choreographers say they didn’t go easy on the kids, pushing them to their limits. Both try their best during “Dessert (Remix)” by Dawin featuring Silento. I happen to think that J.T. does a little better than Emma, but I’m partial to him. Nigel thinks that Emma has great rhythm, but J.T. needs to keep working on the hip-hop style during the competition. Twitch thinks they both did great, calling them a sweet treat of funk and giving them the nickname “Swag Tarts.”

Kida likes jokes that aren’t funny, but he laughs anyway. But it’s no laughing matter when he gets serious during his pop-and-lock duet with Fik-Shun to “TRNSTTR (Lucian Remix)” by Black Coast featuring M. Maggie, which gets a standing ovation from the judges.

Taking on Bullying

Tahani and Jake not only take on a contemporary piece far from their styles, but they also take on the subject of bullying. Choreography Bonnie Story explains that her piece is not only about bullying but also the process of coming out from under bullying. She wants Tahani and Jake to show that there is a way out from bullying. During their performance of “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” by Danny Cokey, they do just that. While they start off a little shaky, somewhere in the middle, they focus and help each other make it a great, emotional performance. And all the judges agree.

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Keeping It Moving

After the emotions run high, Ruby gets the show back on track with her infectious laugh as she explains that she only knows really bad jokes. Her salsa ballroom routine with Paul, set to “Muchacho” by Jonny Good, features another crazy leg flip, showing that she still brings the Latin heat to the stage.

Jordan explains that she loves home videos and cartoons to make her laugh. She performs with Sasha to “Pure4Sure” by Sunless ’97.

Then Daniela and Sheaden hit the stage for their number. Choreographer Umario Diallo manages to find Sheaden’s strength in personality, which shines during the performance. Daniela seems to take over the stage a bit, though, despite having some trouble during rehearsal. The piece, set to “I Love It” by Icona Pop featuring Charli XCX, has a lot of energy, but as I said, the chemistry doesn’t seem to get there. Paula suggests that Daniela let go a little bit and just have fun to match her partner.

And fun is something Emma seems to have down, as she makes funny faces during her time behind the camera. Her tap duet with Gabby to “Boogie Shoes” by KC and the Sunshine Band is a fun little number.

Bringing the funk to the stage is Kida and Tate, who finds herself right at home during a hip-hop number by Nappytabs. Kida, as well as the judges, is impressed as Tate steps out of her genre; however, most of the judges agree that she needs to get down and loosen up a little bit more. That said, I think the chemistry between the pair during “Manolo” by Trip Lee featuring Lecrae is the best of the night so far.

During the Ice Age preview, Jake acts out his favorite part and explains that telling jokes is all about delivery. His duet with Jenna to “Ain’t Your Mama” by Jennifer Lopez is fun, with Jenna dropping him (on purpose) at the end.

Second Duets of the Night

Before the contestants take the stage for their second number of the night, the All-Stars perform a Nick and RJ number set to “Move Your Body” by Sia, which is inspired by Romeo and Juliet.

For their second routine together, J.T. and Emma perform a Broadway number by Spencer Liff. The West Side Story-inspired routine features lots of flips and jumps set to “The Jet Song” by Dave Grusin, and both nail the choreography. However, all of the judges agree that the pair needs to work on the chemistry, as they were a little off during the performance.

During her funny moment, Tahani explains that sometimes she’s funny even when she’s trying not to be. Her hip-hop number with Comfort is set to “Pep Rally” by Missy Elliott.

Daniela liked the love scene in Ice Age. She seems more at home in her routine, set to “Marchina (Remix 14)” by DJ DLVG, with Jonathan than she was with Sheaden. She even does this crazy flip over Jonathan’s back at the end.

For their second number together, Jordan and Ruby get a contemporary piece by Dee Caspary. The number, set to “My Own” by Whitaker, features towels and clothes and is about a broken home. They are supposed to be friends who are there for each other, though I find the connection a little lacking during the performance. However, technique-wise, it is beautiful. The judges, on the other hand, think they connected well, and Twitch is impressed with how they are consistent in their commitment.

The first time around for Tate and Kida, Tate was out of her element. The second time, Kida has to do a jazz routine. And just as Tate nailed hip-hop, Kida nails the routine by Nick and RJ. It’s a high-energy number set to “I Do What I Love” by Ellie Goulding. It’s also a very bright and very physical performance. All of the judges are impressed with the pairing of the two, with Maddie saying she likes the way they dance together.

J.T. lets us know that he likes slapstick comedy but doesn’t like when people get hurt. He adds that he’s also very sarcastic. His duet with All-Star Robert, set to “Change is Everything” by Son Lux, is a moving piece.

Winding Down

Rounding out the final performances are Daniela and Sheaden, and Tahani and Jake. Daniela and Sheaden head out first with another Spencer Liff Broadway routine. This time around, it’s about a prince and princess bored inside. But the classic Bob Fosse number is anything but boring. Daniela and Sheaden play off each other a little better this time around to “Rich Man’s Frug” from Sweet Charity.

Wrapping up the performances is Tahani and Jake with an Emma Slater and Sasha Farber jive number. The pair are a couple of jailbirds breaking and jiving their way out of prison. The routine, set to “Jailhouse Rock” by J-Lew & The Crew, involves a lot of tricks, speed and trust, as there are a bunch of flips involved. The pair nails them all, though. And while they do have to work on a little bit of technique, all the judges love the number.

The Elimination

As always on So You Think You Can Dance, America votes and someone has to leave each week. But as Cat explains, even though someone gets eliminated, the journey is not over, since out of the 10 All-Stars, only two — Fik-Shun and Gaby — actually won the competition. So it should be a celebration rather than an end.

The bottom two are Daniela and Sheaden. And as I predicted, the judges decide that Daniela has to head home.

I imagine each week will only get tougher and tougher for the contestants as another one gets eliminated, but it is a competition, so they should be prepared. As Cat says, though, it’s really just a beginning for these kids. They should all be proud of what they accomplish, especially in such a short period of time.

My favorite performers from this episode were Tate and Kida, and Emma and J.T. I also liked Tahani and Jake. I think that every single one of the Top 9 now have to really step up their game, as each week will only get harder to see who is the strongest.

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So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation airs Mondays at 8pm on FOX.

(Image courtesy of FOX)


Contributing Writer, BuddyTV