The girls of So You Think You Can Dance have been getting beaten like a dead mule, and with half as many girls as boys in the Top 9, it’s time for that to end. Tonight we see the six boys, the three girls, one glorious Cat Deeley, a same-sex partnership, a wardrobe malfunction and solos from the Top 9.

Introductions: For reasons beyond my understanding, Cat Deeley pronounces Ashley’s name with a Southern drawl. She continues to win my heart by repeatedly using the word “erudite.”

Sorting Hat: Lauren Froderman is excited to get Neil Haskell because they’re both pretty. I’ll second that opinion. Alex Wong is confused and fake cries upon learning he’s partnered with Twitch Boss for a Hip-Hop routine. I can’t determine if he’s sad that he’s dancing with a guy or if he has to do Hip-Hop.

Adechike Torbert and Lauren Gottlieb
Hip-Hop choreographed by Dave Scott

This is a rather silly routine about a blerd (black nerd) and Adechike has a goofy smile on his face the whole time which is appropriate for this dance but disconcerting for Hip-Hop. This makes Billy Bell’s Krumping look downright gangsta. The judges rave about his newly discovered personality, but I don’t see any difference.
Adechike’s Fate: If he was safe the first two weeks, he’ll probably be safe again, but I’d put him in the Bottom 3 anyway.

Ashley Galvan and Ade Obayomi
Contemporary choreographed by Dee Caspary

This is what all Contemporary should be, a fierce and raw piece of movement as Ade tries to mend a broken Ashley. She’s extraordinary with her movements and emotions. Nigel LOVES it, so the judges and I are back on the same page.
Ashley’s Fate: Should definitely safe.

Robert Roldan and Courtney Galiano
Jazz choreographed by Sonya Tayeh

Robert’s inspiration is his mom who went through a divroce, breast cancer, three miscarriages and two babies who were born then died in her arms. That’s the single saddest thing I’ve ever heard. Robert fits perfectly with Sonya’s crazy style, but it doesn’t matter since his incredibly brave mom is in the audience. So he gets sympathy, a great Sonya routine and he’s going shirtless. The show must really, really not want Robert to wind up in the Bottom 3 again.
Robert’s Fate: Definitely safe, unless America hates Robert’s mom. 

Melinda Sullivan and Pasha Kovalev
Salsa choreographed by Fabian Sanchez

Words can not adequately describe how awful this was. Melinda gets caught up in her dress right away, clearly ruining her confidence for the whole routine. She’s stiff and very awkward. Mia Michaels and Adam Shankman even apologize for eliminating Cristina Santana and keeping Melinda. Wow, they are just unloading five cans of hatred on her.
Melinda’s Fate: Definitely in the Bottom 3, and I’ll be curious to see if the judges can actually eliminate another girl when she so obviously deserves it.

Lauren Froderman and Neil Haskell
Broadway choreographed by Joey Dowling

I love Broadway and this is acceptable, but Lauren is more cute than sultry even with a nearly FCC-worthy wardrobe malfunction when her dress falls apart  that Nigel found very … titillating. However, Lauren gets out-acted by Neil.
Lauren’s Fate: Safe, thanks to the amount of people who will rewatch this routine on their DVRs.

Billy Bell and Kathryn McCormick
Contemporary choreographed by Stacey Tookey

Oddly, Billy’s inspiration is Legacy, who he saw as a child. I had high expectations and somehow Billy topped them. This was raw and emotional about two people breaking up and I loved all the moves. Nigel found a lack of chemistry, but I thought these two worked well together. However, the judges’ criticisms are constructive and designed to help Billy Bell win this season like he deserves.
Billy’s Fate: Definitely safe.

Jose Ruiz and Anya Garnis
Samba choreographed by Dmitry Chaplin

Dmitry and Mya for the win! Wait, wrong dance show. Anyway, Jose’s secret weapon is his character work and he perfectly captures the charisma of someone who knows how to Samba. The judges explain it best when they repeatedly say that Jose is not even close to being the best dancer, but they love him anyway.
Jose’s Fate: Safe, sadly.

Kent Boyd and Allison Holker
Jazz choreographed by Mandy Moore

I could watch Mandy Moore try to teach Kent how to be a man all day long. However, she could’ve used another week or two because this is like watching a Woman and a boy. I’m also happy that Nigel calls out the fact that Kent is getting too damn full of himself and playing to the in studio audience instead of being true to his partner, so he becomes a fake caricature.
Kent’s Fate: Safe, regardless of his childish dancing. 

Alex Wong and Twitch Boss
Hip-Hop choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon

Holy crap, I think I just got schooled by Alex Wong. We all did. Against all odds, the ballet dancer KILLED it in a clever routine about a boy and his shrink. Nappy Tabs even worked in a funny bit using Alex’s ballet technique in a Hip-Hop context. But ignoring the amazing choreography and Twitch, Alex Wong was extraordinary at Hip-Hop and he felt completely natural. Nigel goes as far as to demand that this routine get Nappy Tabs an Emmy nomination. Adam’s head nearly explodes. Best routine of the night. Best routine of the season.
Alex’s Fate: One hundred million, billion percent safe.

The Top 9 Solos

Billy’s Solo: Perfection. It highlights all the crazy things he can do with his body and reminds us all that he’s Jakob Karr’s brother from another mother.

Jose’s Solo: I’ve watched all five seasons of America’s Best Dance Crew, so I need a little more than head spins to impress me. There wasn’t anything spectacular.

Kent’s Solo: The screams from teenage girls in the audience are a bit much, giving me terrible Tim Urban flashbacks from American Idol. But the dancing is fantastic and shows off his agility.

Alex’s Solo:  Like Billy, he uses the solo to show off the amazing things he can do, mostly around the height he gets with his beautiful leaps.

Ashley’s Solo: There’s absolutely nothing special here. She’ll be in real trouble when she has to do styles outside of her comfort zone.

Robert’s Solo: He may not be the most technically gifted dancer, but he knows how to transform emotion into movement better than any other male dancer this season.

Melinda’s Solo: Tapping is so different from everything else on this show that it always seems out of place. She clearly deserves to go.

Adechike’s Solo: It’s phenomenal, the best I’ve ever seen him, and for me, it only highlights the fact that his partner work needs a lot of work because he’s capable of being really good.

Lauren’s Solo: That solo just kicked the crap out of the other two girls’ solos.

(Image courtesy of FOX)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.