Each week, the kids on So You Think You Can Dance just continue to grow and get stronger as performers. The Top 8 are performing next, and they work their hardest to remain in the competition. Two kids are eliminated, narrowing down the playing field to six. There are a lot of emotional performances, including a great hip-hop number by Nappytabs.
Opening the show is the All-Stars and the Top 8 with a Pharside and Phoenix number set to “Ain’t Playing With Ya” by District 78. It’s a fun, creepy number featuring clowns and broken toys, but it’s a great show opener.
Fast Feet and Emotions Rise
First up for the pairs are Emma and Gabby with a fast-paced, straight tap technique routine by Anthony Morigerato. During the middle of the performance, set to “Walk Like an Egyptian” by The Puppini Sisters, each of the dancers are showcased by a cool spotlight effect. Emma keeps up the entire routine. I think I have to take back my comment that she may go home this time! All of the judges think the two are perfectly paired, with Jason commenting that Emma keeps getting better and better each week.
Bringing emotion to the stage, Tahani and Comfort bring each other to tears during a Nappytabs routine. It’s a narrative-based dance about a father/husband walking out on his family. Tahani and Comfort perform the raw hip-hop routine to “I’m Going Down” by Rose Royce behind a wall and end up in each other’s arms. Paula and Jason agree that it is Tahani’s best performance of the competition, while Nigel says Tahani is one of his favorite performers. They all agree that it’s an amazing routine that brings out emotion in a hip-hop routine.
After some National Dance Day highlights, Ruby and Paul take the stage for a Pasodoble routine by Jean Marc Genereux. Jean Marc insists it’s not about a fight but rather a competition or a clash of two generations. The routine, set to “Echelon” by Jack Trammell, features a lot of flips and spins. It’s intense, but I don’t feel it’s strong enough. However, the judges feel like Ruby has bounced back. Paula says it’s an aggressive routine that Ruby handled with grace and dignity.
In the first Next Generation match-up of the night, Jordan and Jake tackle a Pharside and Phoenix hip-hop routine. It’s a drum line number — or, rather, a battle between the pair. While it’s not the best routine of the competition, the number, set to “Bad Man” by Missy Elliott featuring Vybz Kartel & M.I.A., features some crazy “moments,” as Jason calls them, including a crazy front flip and upside walk. Nigel recommends that Jake not smile as much during the serious hip-hop routines, but he’s happy that Jordan is finally able to bring her personality in her dance.
In a slightly disappointing match-up, Tahani and J.T. take on a cha-cha. However, for two people who are not ballroom dancers, they do okay with an Emma Slater and Sasha Farber routine set to “Bom Bom (Radio Edit)” by Sam and the Womp. Despite the fancy footwork, the pair seems to have fun during the performance. All of the judges agree that both J.T. and Tahani need more work on their technique, with Nigel telling J.T. to keep his derriere tucked in.
In another emotional piece, Jordan redeems herself with her All-Star Sasha. The pair performs a routine dedicated to Sean Cheesman’s sickly father. “Amazing Grace (Premier Video Appearance)” by Harlem Gospel Choir is a capella, making the number even more powerful and emotional. Jordan is better in her own genre and really brings herself to the dance. Nigel says it’s talent like Jordan that secures the future of dance in this country.
Jake and Jenna take on a Jean Marc jive routine. Jake redeems himself here too. It’s a technical routine set to “Land of 1000 Dances” by Wilson Pickett. The story of a football player and coach works well for the pair. Jake manages to keep up with the fancy footwork and do a crazy double cartwheel, which is impressive because of the height difference. All of the judges love the routine, with Paula calling Jake and Jenna one of her favorite couples.
In another Next Gen match-up, Emma and Tate head to Broadway with Sean Cheesman. They are bad girls stuck in detention and try really hard to be tough and not cute during “Act One: Trouble” from Smokey Joe’s Cafe: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller. The routine has some flips, and the girls clearly have a lot of fun with it. However, some of the judges don’t think it’s their best routine. Maddie, though, thinks it shows how versatile the two are, which I have to agree with.
Ruby and Kida really step out of their comfort zones with a Mandy Moore contemporary piece. The ballroom and hip-hop dancers find their connection on stage during “Over the Rainbow” by Shawn McDonald. Ruby is slightly more graceful and redeems herself in my opinion, but Kida really brings his heart into the routine. He is brought to tears from the emotion at the end, which really shows that he’s growing as a dancer. Nigel recommends that Kida focus on his breathing techniques to really perfect his performances, while Jason suggests that he point his toes to match his partners in this genre.
The All-Stars take the stage for a literally chilling performance by Tyce Diorio set to “A Star in a Stoneboat” by Kevin Keller Trio. They are dressed to look like they are frozen, and there’s fake snow falling. It’s a pretty piece.
Cute J.T. brings even more cuteness and fun to the stage with his All-Star Robert to a jazz number by Mandy Moore. In “Friend Like Me” by Ne-Yo, they flip and jump around the stage in a big celebration of themselves. Paula calls it a fun and smart routine, even saying it looks like a Broadway number, while Jason and Nigel agree that J.T. continues to shine in his element.
Another fun routine is by Kida and Fik-Shun. In a Misha Gabriel hip-hop number, the pair are bees who are supposed to be funkier than the rest of the hive. It was a good number set to “The Buzz” by Hermitude featuring Big K.R.I.T, Mataya & Young Tapz that showcases Kida’s talent in his dance style, but I don’t think it’s anything special. The judges all agree that it’s a fun, entertaining number.
Brought to Tears
Tate and Kathryn bring the audience and judges to tears yet again with a Travis Wall number. Travis describes the piece as the most complex duet of the season. It’s about a young girl who has grown up without her birth mother, who now wants to re-connect with her. Sara Bareilles performed the song “She Used to Be Mine” specifically for So You Think You Can Dance, according to Nigel. The number is not only emotional but physical as well. Of course, all of the judges love it — as does America, I can only assume.
This time, the two contestants in the bottom two are going home, and those two are Jordan and Jake.
Words of Wisdom
I really enjoy Nigel’s words of wisdom each week to encourage the kids going home to keep practicing, to keep dancing and to achieve their goals. His words of wisdom this time around are: “The strongest people aren’t always the people who win; the strongest people are the ones who don’t give up when they don’t win.” And he is right. I think Jake and Jordan will go far in life, if they stick with dance. They both are talented, as are the rest of the contestants.
I think each week, as it gets harder to say goodbye to these kids, it gets a little easier because they just keep getting better and gaining so much experience.
Right now, I think that Tate and J.T. are the frontrunners, with Tahani and possibly Kida right behind them. I think Ruby probably bought herself another week with her match-up with Kida. Emma is a great tapper, but she’s just an okay overall dancer. Then again, Gabby was a great tapper and she ended up winning So You Think You Can Dance. I think at this point, it’s really anyone’s game.
So You Think You Can Dance airs Mondays at 8pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)