So You Think You Can Dance is announcing the results of the previous week’s voting at the conclusion of the current week’s performances, which is creating the awkward sight of the judges praising certain dancers in the first hour of the show while bidding goodbye to them in the second hour. Four of the top 20 were dropped this week, which is too bad since I believe two of them probably deserved another chance.
Let’s start our recap at the end, with the announcement of the dearly departed. The six low vote-getters from last week were Alexa Anderson, Witney Carson, and Janaya French among the women; and Daniel Baker, Chehon Wespi-Tschopp, and Nick Bloxsom-Carter for the men. In a tightly-bunched field, that list wasn’t too big a surprise: Witney and Chehon had to dance first a week ago, Alexa and Daniel failed to elevate mediocre choreography, and both Janaya and Nick (whose partners were both spared) had little screen time to make an impression.
The judges had the power to save two of the endangered dancers, and chose (correctly, I think) the Witney-Chehon pairing. It was a tough break for Janaya, who showed real personality this week in her Broadway routine with partner Brandon Mitchell. And while Alexa was probably done in by all that Vegas footage portraying her as barely scraping by, she and partner Daniel were badly let down by goofball choreography. This week’s bright idea had them beginning and ending their contemporary dance inside a bathtub. How hard is it to look graceful getting in and out of a tub? Daniel never got the chance to live up to what we saw in the preseason.
Witney and Chehon weren’t helped by their placement on last week’s show, but I had thought both of them had won enough fans to be safe in spite of that. They got to cap off the performances this week with a Bollywood number, and that will probably keep them out of further trouble for now, but Chehon in particular is going to have to find a way to truly shine on something outside his ballet specialty.
This week’s opening routine featured Lindsay Arnold as a dominatrix dentist and Cole Horibe as her nerdy patient, a hip-hop performance that was frankly not very demanding or interesting. But Cole’s antics during the judging will ensure that viewers will remember them: he stayed in character the entire time, to the point where guest judge Adam Shankman was getting unnerved.
This week’s victims of bad choreography were Janelle Issis and Dareian Kujawa. Their routine, set to “My Girl,” was called hip-hop, but it looked shockingly simplistic and old-fashioned for SYTYCD. Motown choreography back in the day was more demanding. The judges suggested that Janelle in particular didn’t do enough to sell her character.
Continuing to impress: Amber Jackson, who looked strong enough in the tango to outshine her ballroom specialist partner Nick; and the partnership of Will Thomas and Amelia Lowe, who followed up last week’s stray cat strut with a lyrical Sonya Tayeh dance. Both of them are adorable in different ways, and I suspect that is boosting their vote totals.
The Eliana Girard-Cyrus Spencer partnership continues to intrigue, since Eliana is obviously one of this season’s favorites, while Glitch is the designated “great story but not necessarily a great dancer” on Season 9. The judges seem to be taking pains to get viewers to understand that Eliana is having to work awfully hard to cover her partner’s deficiencies, so we don’t end up taking it out on her. I suspect Glitch isn’t going to be in trouble just yet, but even so, their jive was one of the night’s more fun dances to watch.
Picking people to go every week is going to be ridiculously hard from here on in, but I think Janelle and Brandon might not want to get too comfortable.