So You Think You Can... Episodes

2005, TV Show

So You Think You Can Dance Episode: "Top 18 Perform"

Season 5, Episode 8
Episode Synopsis: The Top 18 dancers perform.
Original Air Date: Jun 17, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance: Episode Recap: Top 18 Perform Season 5, Episode 8

It's the second week of the competition and who do I want to see perform? I'm surprised to say everyone. Even if I was somewhat underwhelmed last week by some of the couples (and that's only because there was so much great dancing) I want to see what the dancers can do with what they're given this week. I'm very excited to have both Shane Sparks and Brian Friedman back this year. Let's see what they can add to the program.

But first! Let's talk about the lovely Cat. She's ravishing in red but that dress was not working for me. She's a lean girl and she was just swimming in that dress. The hair and makeup are flawless, as always. I look forward to a more becoming outfit for the results show.

Our guest judge for the week is Lil' C. You know I'm a big fan but he wasn't endearing himself to me during the audition process. I'm trying—and failing—to keep my love for Brandon reasonable but when someone attacks him without provocation, I want to hurt them. Not in a permanent way. But Lil' C redeems himself tonight with regard to Brandon. I always love the way he talks about dancing (even if, like Nigel, I don't always understand it) and when he watched last week's show from home he thought it was a solid beginning for what will be a rollercoaster season. Lil' C thinks it'll be a close race this year. Nigel reminds the dancers to show us their strengths, not their weaknesses. He tells them to enjoy themselves out there and hopefully that will make people vote for them. I hope you picked up the phone for your favorites.

What's the one thing each dancer feels like we need to know about their partner? Read on to find out.

Randi and Evan
Randi has a dog she treats like a child. She calls home to talk to her dog. Evan claims he can relate. Kind of. Evan is a total gearhead who built his own car from scratch himself — I think Randi meant he built his engine from scratch but I can't even pretend to know anything about cars. Last week was amazing for Evan; he felt like a rock star on stage. Randi loved hearing the audience scream for her.

Choreographer/Dance: Louis Van Amstel/Jive
Rehearsals: This is a new style to both dancers and the Jive is Louis' favorite style of ballroom. Louis' goal for them is to not stand up straight. Randi is looking forward to showing her dorky side. Evan wants a fun counter at the bottom of the screen. They say it at least 14 times during rehearsals and quite a few more times during the critique.
Performance: I'm having so much fun watching it.  It's such an up-tempo dance that I think it's easy to tell when people aren't having fun and into it. I really enjoy this pairing. They are great together in their second week and show us some nice tricks. I like it when Randi grabs buns. Nice ending.
Lil' C: Out the box with a bang. Subtle approach might be a hindrance for Evan. Wants him more explosive. Randi's a firecracker. The two of them have a great partnership and didn't outperform each other.
Mary: It was fun. If there were two contestants built for the Jive it would be these two. They're both little powerhouses. Evan didn't quite capture the triple-step action; feet were a little bit sloppy.
Nigel: Congratulates Louis and is happy to have him on the program this year. Randi and Evan are built for it. Thought Evan would be better. As a couple they're tremendous but tonight they're a little bit out of their zone.

Melissa and Ade
Melissa has been married for four years. Her sister married her husband's brother — sisters marrying brothers. Aww. Ade's real first name is Adetokunbo. He's smart to shorten his name because I bet people butcher it.

Choreographer/Dance: Sonya/Jazz
Rehearsals: The piece is about a high-maintenance girl and a man who hates to lose. This is another romantic piece—although maybe it's more dysfunctional and controlling than romantic—hmm...I guess that tells you where my head's at.  Sonya wants Melissa to tap into that mud; she's not fully there yet. All those lifts are putting a strain on Ade's back.
Performance: I'm distracted by the music. It doesn't seem to go smoothly with the piece and even if that's the intention, it's taking me out of their performance. Melissa's lines are really popping for me but I just think that's her ballerina training is coming into play. It looks like it takes an incredible amount of strength for this piece but I don't think I'm getting it.
Lil' C: That was Buck. Ade is everybody's competition. That means a lot considering Ade didn't think he'd make the Top 20. Sonya gives them the steps but she makes the dancers search for that hidden person on the inside to portray the message.
Mary: Time to give you some tough love — it's tough to find anything she didn't love. Loves the quirky cool style that Sonya has. Ade really stood out. Movement is soaring across the stage. Phenomenal.
Nigel: Very quirky and out there but it allows the dancers to show their technique. Great routine and they danced it brilliantly.
Further comment from me: Sometimes I worry when I don't even remotely agree with the judges but I'm not a trained professional. I want you to know my actual impressions rather than something I make up later. Do I like Sonya? Yes. Do I love what she brings to this program? Yes. Do I always understand her vision? No.

Jason and Caitlin
Jason had a serious obsession with Michael Jackson when he was younger. His favorite thing to do was put on the white shirt and stand in front of a fan and do the Michael scream. Caitlin uses baby voices and can also imitate a velociraptor. It drives Jason bonkers. Last week was a roller coaster of emotion for Caitlin; she thought Bollywood was hard. Jason loved the people and the energy on the stage.

Choreographer/Dance: Shane Sparks/Hip-Hop
Rehearsals: Chemistry is the story. The guy is longing for something he can't have with her. There was a bit of a wardrobe malfunction with Jason's pants as they rehearse and it's very funny to hear them try to talk about it. Shane wants to see them act like they're in love.
Performance: Jason's hitting it much harder for me again. I don't feel like they're giving Caitlin that much to do. Jason's got the better moves so far in this piece. Caitlin gets a solo which is good I guess. This isn't quite working for me either. I think I wanted to see them hit it harder and do more side-by-side dancing.
Lil' C: Did not love that. He's left feeling perplexed. A choreographer's fantasy has to become the dancer's reality. It became a nightmare. It became corny. Missing some nectar.
Mary: Both very good dancers. Didn't seem in synch. Didn't have flow or the same feel. Chemistry didn't work. Last week the chemistry was magical. She doesn't understand how it didn't happen this week. Loves that Shane's back on the show but they didn't nail it.
Nigel: Shane didn't get hard-hitting hip-hop dancers, so he choreographed for the dancers he got. Nigel liked it.

Janette and Brandon
Janette had the worst teeth ever when she was young. Brandon compares her to Jaws. Brandon has never worked out a day in his life (except for dancing, of course). It was rough for Brandon to get into a classy mode for Foxtrot last week. Janette was happy everything came out ok.

Choreographer/Dance: Doriana Sanchez/Disco
Rehearsals: Doriana's happy to get such great dancers. This is the fastest dance she's ever done for the show. Janette is struggling and she starts the waterworks. Disco's a force to be reckoned with.
Performance: Nice lift to start things off. Looks like Janette's really getting into it. This piece does look incredibly fast and technical. They are really cute together. Nice technique on the lifts. Great high-energy throughout. End was a bit clunky but I think they pulled it off. Overall I enjoyed this piece way more than I usually enjoy disco and although they had a few small problems, I was really impressed with their energy and execution.
Lil' C: Just saw the birth of progression in two amazing dancers. Extremely amazing. Brandon was phenomenal. Saw one mishap at the end from Janette but they barreled through it. She didn't break character.
Mary: Wants to know if Nigel put that whole routine on fast forward. Doriana is crazy. Has never seen a disco done that fast anywhere. The two of them just nailed it. Janette needs to work on that flexibility — not. Brandon needs to work on his strength — not. It gets a Mary scream and standing ovation.
Nigel: If he could stand up and scream like Mary he would. Thought it was tremendous. Saw a lot of steps in there and thinks it's one of the best disco routines they've ever had on the show. They were absolutely brilliant doing it. Congratulations. Loves Brandon to death.

Asuka and Vitolio
Vitolio is obsessed with motorcycles. He's obsessed because he's always wanted to be a rock star. Asuka blows spit bubbles. She felt good on stage last week until it came time for the judges to critique them; she didn't enjoy being in the bottom three. Vitolio is hoping this week is better. Asuka promises to show personality.

Choreographer/Dance: Louis Van Amstel/Waltz
Rehearsals: Asuka is so glad to have Louis as her choreographer. Vitolio asks why they don't have a connection and Asuka tells him she's not attracted to him. Louis makes this more of a lyrical waltz. Louis wants the dance to be  full of pain and  he wants to help Vitolio show the audience where he comes from. Louis promises they'll see a completely different Asuka and Vitolio
Performance: It's very smooth. Very tender. The lifts are beautiful. Their connection is strong and completely believable. Fraught with emotion. This was such a beautiful piece to watch. Was it all there technically? No. But it was still extremely touching and moving. What a treat.
Mary: Hand over her heart. Last week she said she was slightly disappointed but has to stop her critique when she starts crying. It was painfully beautiful. Vitolio — in Vegas and last week she felt the performance wasn't honest. Tonight was something else. Asuka — the passion on her face was endearing and believable. Went to another level.
Lil' C: Choppy steps were compensated for by sincerity of emotion. Not afraid to be vulnerable. No one can deny it. Asuka could have taken the lead but glad she didn't; she displayed dominant submission.
Nigel: Anybody that wasn't touched by that routine is heartless. Lines were sensational. Brought a quality to it that they rarely see on this program. Feels like he's seeing a different couple this week. Likes that people grow on this show.

Max and Kayla
Max is like a house-dad to the group. He cooks for the dancers and takes care of everyone but Max doesn't like being called a housewife. Kayla texts a lot and she's usually on with her mom. She's feeling the pressure coming into this week after their first performance. They want to stay at that high standard.

Choreographer/Dance: Brian Friedman/Pop Jazz
Rehearsals: It's about performing for a princess but Max's character wants to steal her throne. Brian wants a strong, regal element. It's a very strenuous routine. Max already has a lot of bruises from practice. Kayla wants to make sure they know what they're doing.
Performance: I'm loving Kayla. I didn't love when they were dancing apart because I wanted to watch both of their performances. Strong and cool. I'm liking it more as it goes on. Max is keeping up with her but I feel like it's the Kayla show. It's hard not to look at her because she's really bringing something interesting to her performances. I like Max but want to see him step it up just a little.
Lil' C: Dancing is a language. Challenged to pick up the choreographer's vernacular in a short amount of time. Max did very well. He has nothing to say to Kayla. She's amazing. He can't even critique her.
Mary: Doesn't know about Max's outfit. She saw past that to watch his dancing. Quite a surprise tonight. Did you steal the throne? No, but still a huge surprise. Kayla's a beast out there. She's still on the hot tamale train.
Nigel: So happy to have Brian back. He thinks Mary is saying that Kayla is a front-runner. Everyone who's worked with her says how incredible Kayla is. Max's character kept up with her. Reminds him of a young Kevin Spacey. The pair of them bring a lot of this competition.

Karla and Jonathan
Karla is a bad-ass hip-hop dancer who is a member of Boogie Bots, a well known hip-hop crew. Jonathan loves to sing but he's not very good at it and it's kind of a problem as he sings a lot. Performing last week was amazing for Jonathan. Karla thought the cha-cha was challenging.

Choreographer/Dance: Stacey Tookey/Contemporary. Stacy is a regular choreographer on SYTYCD: Canada.
Rehearsal: This piece is about a stranger's accidental meeting and their chemistry. Jonathan wants to show America he can do other styles. Jonathan is getting beat up in this number. There are a lot of lifts and it looks like they're not getting it.
Performance: Lifts are cool and interesting — we haven't seen a lot of this before. Interesting and unusual. Very connected. Jonathan's acrobatic skill really helps him here. The ending of the piece was a little to quiet for me. Now I'm glad Jonathan didn't go home last week because we would have missed something extraordinary.
Mary: Has never said this in five seasons: Jonathan did this style better than his own. Holy smokes. The two of them are the underdogs. Tonight the light is right on them. Amazing. That is one of her favorite songs and they lived up to it. Spellbound. So proud of them.
Nigel: Couldn't believe it. Real lesson to be learned here: Last week they were so close to being cut. Because they weren't, they worked with Stacey this week and she gave them a routine that shined.
Lil' C: Danced it beautifully. It was buck.

Phillip and Jeanine
Phillip is a super-nerd. He's an engineering major. Started a collection of reptiles which got up to about 40 of them. Jeanine's furry companion — Spanky — is the perfect boyfriend. He lets her dress him and he doesn't talk back. Doing so well last week puts pressure on them this week.

Choreographer/Dance: Tony Meredith/Tango
Rehearsal: Tony is surprised by their lack of ballroom knowledge. They aren't doing well at all. Jeanine is feeling manhandled and accidentally kicks Phillip in the no-mans-land. They're gonna make it happen.
Performance: I'm scared. I feel like he's throwing her around instead of lifting her. There are some moments that I'm kind of enjoying but they're at such a disadvantage after we got a taste of the Tango done right during last week's results show. Decent movement. Definitely not in Phillip's comfort level at all. They're working it the best they can, I think. Phillip is letting his partner down in the technique area. They're partnering skills aren't bad.
Mary: Gives Phillip an A-plus in attitude. In technique it was a C-minus. Phillip's got to work on footwork; it was sloppy from time to time. Jeanine's technique was a lot better. She's was a hot mama.
Lil' C: He's a Phillip fan but a lack of confidence is the heaviest anchor a dancer can put on his art. It was apparent. He's got a huge following but he needs to apply that passion to other genres. So much disconnecting.
Nigel: References last week's Tango dancers. Tango is one of the most technical dances and it's tough. You can't strain your face when you're lifting your lady. He can't say it was good technically. It was great entertainment.  This is a learning process. It's up to America to decide if they give Phillip the opportunity to keep learning.

Ashley and Kupono
Kupono has OCD. He organizes his closet in a slightly scary fashion.  On Ashley's first day of first grade everyone had to tell a story and she was so nervous she projectile vomited on her classmates. Last week's dance was so out there they weren't sure people would get it.

Choreographer/Dance: Shane Sparks/Hip-Hop
Rehearsal: Ashley is Kupono's shadow. The quick part in this piece is really fast. Shane wants to see them in unison. Kupono's checklist is back: Find your inner Shane Sparks.
Performance: Weird and cool. I like it so far but they aren't in unison, but they're making it work for me. It's so much more interesting than the other hip-hop piece tonight, at least for me. I'm surprised I didn't have more trouble with their lack of synchronicity. I liked the concept enough that I was willing to hang in there.
Mary: It was ok. Didn't hate it. Didn't love it. Falls in between — not memorable. Couldn't latch onto anything in particular that was great.
Lil' C: Kupono struggled through that one. It made it hard for Ashley to follow. No synchronization to follow. You have to find the serenity inside the chaos of hip-hop — it was rushed. Hindered the whole routine. Ashley had some nice moments that saved the piece for him. She matched the song and tempo at the end.
Nigel: It stopped just as he started to enjoy it. Underwhelmed. Really pleased to have Shane back but it wasn't there for him tonight. Didn't feel like they brought out the best in Shane's work. They let Shane down.

I have to admit to being a little disappointed with tonight's show. After such a great start to the competition phase of this show last week, I was a bit underwhelmed. I guess I expect them to step it up every week but I'm not even sure that's physically possible. There was some great dancing but we witnessed more bad dancing than I wanted to see. But do I ever want to see bad dancing or bad technique?

Were you excited to have Shane and Brian return? I loved Brian's piece much more than I liked Shane's pieces. The dancers let Shane down to a certain extent.

Who do I think will be in the bottom this week? I know I picked Caitlin and Jason last week and was wrong but I'm sticking to my guns.

Even tough Phillip has an immense following I'm not sure his supporters will keep him out of the bottom this week. I love him and want to see him remain in this competition but he let his partner down.

How about my favorites? I'm pleasantly shocked to say Karla and Jonathan were my favorite couple of the night. I loved everything about their piece.

My other favorite couple of the night is Brandon and Janette. I was very worried for them when we were watching their rehearsals. And as we all know from previous seasons, I don't always love Doriana's routines but she really came through for them tonight.

Ok, now it's time for you to weigh in. Who do you love? Who do you hate? Who should be sent packing?

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It's the second week of the competition and who do I want to see perform? I'm surprised to say everyone. Even if I was somewhat underwhelmed last week by some of the couples (and that's only because there was so much great dancing) I want to see what the dancers can do with what they're given this week. I'm very excited to have both Shane Sparks and Brian Friedman back this year. Let's see what they can add to the program.

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Premiered: July 20, 2005, on FOX
Rating: TV-PG
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Premise: A national dance competition from the producers of `American Idol.'



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