So You Think You Can... Episodes

2005, TV Show

So You Think You Can Dance Episode: "Top 12 Perform"

Season 8, Episode 14
Episode Synopsis: The Top 12 dancers perform. Jesse Tyler Ferguson ("Modern Family") is a guest judge.
Original Air Date: Jul 13, 2011

So You Think You Can Dance Episode Recap: The Top 12 Perform Season 8, Episode 14

Only a dozen dancers remain for this critical performance show, which determines the Top 10 competitors who will get to go on tour. The lucky hoofers will also get paired up with the All-Stars, who have yet to be named.

Tonight's guest judge is Jesse Tyler Ferguson of ABC's Modern Family. Wait, he has dance cred? Well, he has a Broadway background and originated the role of Leaf Coneybear in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Your trivia for the day. Choreographer Sonya Tayeh is also on the judges' panel. Like last week's Travis Wall, I'd prefer her choreographing something for me to watch, but I am curious to see what her critiquing style is.

The dancers have to perform two routines each tonight, which we can't even imagine having to learn in the space of a week. Let's see how they did:

Sasha and Alexander, paso doble
Choreographer:
Tony Meredith and Melanie Lapatin
Song:
"Alley Dash/March of the Trolls,"  Taylor Long/Rick Powell
It's angry battle dance time!  Their costumes look great and they do that paso posturing,  but Sasha's actual posture doesn't look good at all. They're trading off doing similar moves, but neither of them feels strong at all to me. Some of the floor work starts off OK, but then just loses its conviction. Nope, not feeling it.
The judges say:
Nigel says that Sasha displayed her strong character and aerial cartwheels, but was a little sloppy. Mary loves the fierceness and how Sasha got to be stronger than Alexander, but also mentions sloppiness. Jesse calls it "highly dramatical" and says Sasha "rocks his socks." Sonya isn't high on Alexander's partnering skills, but calls the routine "overall awesome."

Jordan and Tadd, contemporary
Choreographer:
Travis Wall
Song:
"Brotsjor," Olafur Arnalds
Women who prey on weak men are like vultures, so of course, Jordan is beplumed in black, while Todd is a bare-chested fellow in the desert. It's a dark, atmospheric and weirdly cool routine with lots of emphasis on Jordan's legs. They battle it out and Tadd has this one great jump. In the end, he totally wrenches her neck and she dies. Yeah, that's right! Who's dinner now?
The judges say:
Mary says it's "beautiful, dark, magnificent — Whoo!" She is no longer surprised that Tadd can perform styles outside of his genre so well. Jesse channels Randy Jackson and says they're "in it to win it!" It's actually an amusing if completely unconvincing impression. Sonya wishes she could swear because it was that good. "True artistry makes me cry," she says. Nigel says it was remarkable and says that the pair is "absolutely tremendous."

Ryan and Ricky, Broadway
Choreographer:
Spencer Liff
Song:
"All I Need Is the Girl," Frank Sinatra
Ryan really looks good as an old-school glam Hollywood girl, and that's the best thing I can really say. The routine is cute, but uninspiring and unmemorable. Yikes.
The judges say:
Jesse says it was muted, like they were underwater. Sonya agrees it wasn't their best. Nigel says that they didn't get the flavor of the steps, therefore the simplicity was made very apparent. He also points out they both have trouble connecting with the audience, considering last week's routine was awesome and yet they still ended up in the Bottom 3. Mary says the first 30 seconds were good style-wise, but then it got uncomfortable.

Caitlynn and Mitchell, hip hop
Choreographer:
Christopher Scott
Song:
"Break the Chain," Lupe Fiasco featuring Eric Turner and Sway
This has something to do with young abductees in Uganda, but the meaning doesn't translate to the dance, which is a mess. Neither dancer hits hard enough and this grounded style is not at all compatible with the normally high-flying Caitlynn. Oh no!
The judges say:
Sonya says they weren't in unison and thus the story was lost in translation. Nigel says they need to get in front of a mirror so they can get more in sync. Mary says they commanded attention and were "respectable." Ah, nothing like faint praise! Jesse says that next to the feeble strength of his dancing, which he compares to tricycle, they're Mack trucks.

Melanie and Marko, tango
Choreographer:
Louis Van Amstel
Song:
"Triptico," Gotan Project
It's supposed to be passionate, and whoa, it is. Even to my untrained eyes, I can tell it's not perfect, but this couple is just ridiculously talented, so they had me enjoying the performance more than picking it apart. The ending inside-out lift through the legs is nifty too.
The judges say:
Nigel points out that this was probably their most challenging routine yet. Mary gives a primer on different tango styles and says they did well with the number, although the running promenade could have been better. Jesse says they have a spark for the rest of their lives. Sonya says they make her shiver and lose her breath every time. That's good for the dance, if not for her health.

Clarice and Jess, lyrical hip hop
Choreographer:
Christopher Scott
Song:
"Just the Way You Are," Boyce Avenue
It's all about a woman's low self-esteem regarding her looks, but not to worry, Jess is here to boost your ego! Although Clarice isn't my favorite dancer, paired with Jess she does well. This is one of the most fun routines tonight. The lyrical portion when they play off each other is sweet, and Jess is very good with his focus as a partner. I actually do feel the character from him. His b-boy skills need work, but it is still very serviceable. I could have done without the props, especially the creepy, oversized Clarice etching at the end.
The judges say:
Mary says they were cute and brought the swag. Jesse wants to marry Clarice because she's so happy and filled with light. Sonya thinks they're adorable and that they "slayed it." Nigel said it was a simply told story that was beautifully danced.

Sasha and Alexander, Broadway
Choreographer:
Tyce Diorio
Song:
"That's Life," Aretha Franklin
Both dancers somewhat redeem themselves, but I don't think it's enough. Sasha actually shows more personality, but there's a weird wobbly portion at the end when she loses her footing and sits down. I just can't get into Alexander.
The judges say:
Jesse likes it better than their stellar "Coming Home" routine (uh, what?). Sonya gets Jesse's help to cuss so she can compliment Tyce's choreography skills. She says that Alexander finally got to shine and killed it. Nigel keeps it real (and that's why we like him) and said that Sasha had been carrying Alexander all the previous weeks, but not tonight. He also soothes Sasha's fears about the flub: "The only shaky thing was that lamp post." Mary says Alexander made a breakthrough and was more relaxed.

Jordan and Tadd, Broadway
Choreographer:
Spencer Liff
Song:
"Out Tonight," Rent
She's a rock princess who's awakened by his kiss. It starts out promisingly since Tadd can act and makes the most of the sort of cheesy prince role, but the rest of the routine is kind of all over the place. I think that cape thing gets in the way of Tadd's agility. It's mediocre but I think they'll be fine. They're better than this.
The judges say:
Sonya says, "I'm sorry" because she was underwhelmed. She says they're good but she didn't see their abilities here. Nigel wanted it quirkier and sillier in the character. "It was OK," he says, but definitely thinks they should be in the Top 10. Mary says it was cotton candy, but their first routine was better. Jesse felt it was a grab bag of styles, but thinks they'll be safe on the strength of their Hungry Vulture Dance.

Ryan and Ricky, cha-cha
Choreographer:
Louis Van Amstel
Song:
"Tonight I'm Loving You," Enrique Iglesias featuring DJ Frankie
Ricky is pretty darn good with his quick hips and strong legs, but Ryan — oy! Her legs are kind of flailing uncontrollably and she seems only to be playing at sexy and not feeling it. So much yuck.
The judges say:
Nigel thought Ricky was good and kept it tight, showed great style and his hips were terrific. Ryan was overdoing it though, and had bad footwork. Mary points out this was a super-fast cha-cha, but agrees that Ryan got sloppy. Ricky, however, gets a ticket for one on the Hot Tamale Train! Sorry, Ryan. Your tamale was not well wrapped nor very warm. Jesse says Ricky was brilliant. Sonya points out that she could tell Ricky was basking in the routine and gives Ryan advice to embrace her wonderfulness.

Caitlynn and Mitchell, contemporary
Choreographer:
Travis Wall
Song:
"Piece of My Heart," Janis Joplin
This is thankfully much better than the Ugandan number before, and Caitlynn once again proves that she's great with the leaps and lifts. Mitchell is a good partner (obviously if he has to catch her and all that good stuff), but he seems to telegraph his moves. I'm aware of his dancing as an effort. Overall it is a good routine but lacks some wow factor for me.
The judges say:
Mary says it was slightly naughty and that she loved it. She gives them props for the difficult lifts. Jesse says they can prevent forest fires by not dancing in the forest ... cuz they're hot! Sonya says, "Caitlynn, dang!" and then points out that Mitchell sometimes drops charaqcter when he partners and does the lifts: "It looks like work." Nigel says it was absolutely sensational, but that they shouldn't have broken the fourth wall with their danced "argument."

Melanie and Marko, contemporary
Choreographer:
Dee Caspary
Song:
"Sin & Bones,"  David J. Roch
She's trying to bring him to the light, a light bulb on stage. Every aspect is gorgeous — from Melanie's mesmerizing legs and the flowing choreography to the use of shadow and Marko's emotional delivery. I'm aware of every joint, every bend and I don't care what it's about. The crescendo is almost painfully beautiful without being overwrought. This is the epitome of awesome.
The judges say:
Jesse's mind has been blown and has Braille-like goosebumps on his harm. Sonya thanks them because this is the future of dance. Nigel says they're magical together and compliments Dee for the seemingly effortless choreography. Mary says it was flawless.

Clarice and Jess, jive
Choreographer:
Tony Meredith and Melanie
Song:
"Ain't Nothing Wrong With That," Robert Randolph and the Family Band
Clarice doesn't look quite as springy as she needs to be, but Jess obviously has springs in his heels. The boy can jive and, of course, has the performance aspect down. She just seems heavy and earthbound.
The judges say:
Sonya thought it was adorable. Nigel says Jess did well with the flicks and kicks, but that the lifts are uncomfortable to watch. Mary says they lost a bit of steam and joy by the end. Jesse wants to ask Neil Patrick Harris, who he calls the Mayor of Broadway, to give Jess the keys. Then he gives Cat Deeley a huge compliment and hopes that she'll get an Emmy nomination for best reality show host tomorrow.

So who faltered and doesn't deserve to be in the Top 10? Who had the best routine of the night? Which All-Stars would you like to see return next week?

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Only a dozen dancers remain for this critical performance show, which determines the Top 10 competitors who will get to go on tour. The lucky hoofers will also get paired up with the All-Stars, who have yet to be named.

Tonight's guest judge is Jesse Tyler Ferguson of ABC's Modern Family. Wait, he has dance cred? Well, he has a Broadway background and originated the role of Leaf Coneybear in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Your trivia for the day. Choreographer Sonya Tayeh is also on the judges' panel. Like last week's Travis Wall, I'd prefer her choreographing something for me to watch, but I am curious to see what her critiquing style is.

The dancers have to perform two routines each tonight, which we can't even imagine having to learn in the space of a week. Let's see how they did: read more

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