It was tough watching the first performer get eliminated from So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation, and it only gets tougher as the Top 9 perform and another dancer gets eliminated. The performances are tighter as the kids step even further out of their comfort zone.
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Starting the Party
The All-Stars and the Top 9 open the show in suits, hats and ties to a contemporary piece by Brian Friedman set to Meghan Trainor’s “Me Too.”
The kids are back paired up with their All-Stars for some action packed performances, and first up is Jake and Jenna with a samba choreographed by newly engaged couple Dmitry Chaplin and Jenya Shatilova. Both feel Jake’s height difference could be an issue, but he doesn’t have any issues keeping up with Jenna to “Hip Hip Chin Chin (Maxim Illion Mix)” by Club Des Belugas. And while I feel he is a little stiff, all the judges have rave reviews, with Paula calling him a little ninja and Maddie commenting that it is his best performance so far.
Before each solo, the kids get to “campaign” for why people should vote for them. And first at the podium is firecracker Tahani, explaining that kids need cell phones. She performs her solo to “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyonce.
In her contemporary piece, 13-year-old Tate has to expand her movements. Kathryn explains that all of the movements are extreme, which is a style Tate isn’t used to, but in the end, the pair perform a beautiful piece by Brian Friedman set to “Get Here” by Oleta Adams. I just wish the smoke was a little less on stage, as it was distracting from the performances. Paula calls Tate a technical masterful dancer, while Nigel says she’s a step above everyone else in the competition.
In his bid for president, Sheadan says he would create an unlimited ice cream day for kids only. And he would put a theme and water park in the White House yard. He performs a hip-hop solo set to “Lean On” by Major Lazer featuring Mo and DJ Snake.
Bringing the Swag to the Stage
Kida brings some swag to the stage with Fik-Shun. Though Kida describes choreographer Dave Scott as tough and different, he nails the routine set to “Panda” by Desiigner. Kida is a puppet controlled by Fik-Shun and, just like Pinocchio, wants to become a real boy. And at one point, he does start controlling Fik-Shun, which is pretty impressive. Jason feels that Kida should smile more, but Nigel disagrees, explaining that it’s hard to smile when you’re a puppet. Paula tells Kida that he’s thriving in the competition and holding his own with Fik-Shun
As Ruby hits the campaign trail, she tells us that if she was president, she would make everyone dance all day, every day. Her solo is set to “The Girl’s Gone Wild” by Travis Tritt, which is a weird country ballroom routine.
In a break from the competition, the kids perform a group routine set to “Wolf” by Tailor, which is choreographed by Jaci Royal.
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In his campaign, J.T. says he will extend kids’ summer break and go to the pool more. His solo set to “Unsteady (Erich Lee Gravity Remix)” by X Ambassadors showcases how he is improving technically each week.
Jordan and Sasha’s jazz piece by Ray Leeper is just okay. Jordan seems to rely a lot on Sasha during the performance set to “Sax” by Fleur East. While it’s terrible, Nigel and Jason agree that the pair needs to be careful with the sync and coordination. However, it is a hard routine, and each judge agrees that Jordan is improving each week.
In her campaign, Tate says she’d like to become the first female Canadian president. She says she supports the right to bare arms — as in people wearing tank tops. She adds that the only wall that should be shared is Travis Wall. Her solo set to Lorikeet” by Ship Shape showcases her crazy flexibility.
Coming Back Strong
Proving he doesn’t belong in the bottom two for another week, Sheaden comes back strong with a hip-hop routine by Luther Brown. The two fly brothers, Sheaden and Marco, swagger across the stage, set to “Down in the DM” by Yo Gotti, while Sheaden uses his strength of facial animations to blow the judges out of their seats. Nigel and Jason love the old man swagger walk, while Paula calls Sheaden smart in his performance.
During her campaign, Emma explains how she would make each day of the week something good for the world, such as Sunday environmental day and tapping Tuesday. Her solo, set to “Expensive” by Tori Kelly featuring Daye Jack, showcases her tapping skills.
And in a creepy group routine, the All-Stars perform a Travis Wall piece set to “Send in the Clowns” by Sarah Vaughan and the Count Basie Orchestra.
Fancy Footwork and Confidence
Stepping a bit out of her comfort zone, Ruby tackles a Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo tango. She pretty much nails the fancy footwork with Paul, set to “Malevo” by Electro Dub Tango. Both Paula and Nigel think the piece is beautiful.
In her campaign, Jordan promises to put root beer in every vending machine and to wear pajamas all the time. Her solo, set to “Confident” by Demi Lovato, is better than her duet earlier. Perhaps she gained her confidence back.
Tahani and Comfort bring a style of dance never seen before on So You Think You Can Dance — dancehall. It’s a Jamaican-style of dance that choreographer Laure Courtellemont explains requires a lot of precise movements. The pair nails a fun routine set to “Get Busy” by Sean Paul. And despite the confusion of the choreographer by Jason and the style of dance by Nigel, all of the judges really like it.
Little heartbreaker Jake explains that if he becomes president, he would make a pizza party. He also says that he would make one day a week for dancing. His solo, set to “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” by Seal, confirms that he’s a ladies man.
Dancing from the Heart
Goodbye to the cute little 8-year-old and hello to the emotional J.T. In a Travis Wall piece with All-Star Robert, J.T. proves once again that he’s in it to win it. He brings emotion and technique during the piece set to “The Mirror” by Alexandre Desplat. He is clearly learning from the entire experience during his time on the show. Nigel goes so far as to say that Robert and J.T. are his favorite pair this season.
Kida, meanwhile, wants to replace water with orange juice and change every food to pizza if he became president. His solo is set to “Lazarus” by Trip Lee featuring Thi’si.
In the final duet of the night, Emma is joined by Gabby for a Chloe Arnold tap routine. It’s a women empowerment number set to “Salute” by Little Mix. And it’s a lot of fast, fancy footwork. But Emma keeps up and impresses all of the judges.
Bottom 2 and Elimination
Despite his comeback in this episode, Sheaden ends up in the bottom two with Ruby. And I have to agree with America on this one. In the end, the judges put Sheaden in ninth place and send him home, leaving Ruby to work hard during her time on the show.
It’s tough telling a kid that he has to go home on such a competitive show. But Sheaden took his ninth place position with grace. And as Nigel says, all of the kids will get what they want in life, as long as they work hard.
I hope that at the end of the season, all of the kids, whether they win or lose, take this experience and really do go far in life.
I think that Kida, Tate and J.T. continue to shine each and every week. Kida and J.T. really go above and beyond each week and continue to grow, as these were the two I felt weren’t that strong in the beginning. I think they can go far on So You Think You Can Dance; that is, unless one of the ladies swoops in and wows America, which is a very distinct possibility.
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So You Think You Can Dance airs Mondays at 8pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)