So You Think You Can Dance Recap: The Top 20 Give Me Deja Vu

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SYTYCD is the reality show that has really "got talent", and when they say "This will be the best season yet", every year it seems actually true.

But that can actually be problematic. Just like this season's American Idol...where every contestant was pretty solid, but no one was AMAZING, this year's crop of dancers on SYTYCD all seem incredibly talented. I mean 10x more talented than the baseline talent on AI. And my question is: How will anyone really break away from the crowd?

Last night was a good example. Picking the bottom three shouldn't really be this hard on the first week!

Now, I'm not sure I would have waxed as ecstatic as the three judges, Nigel, Mary and Will & Grace star (and former Broadway actress) Megan Mulally. But I was generally impressed.

So, let's get started:

1. Jordan and Tadd danced an African Jazz routine by Sean Cheeseman

This had some awkward moments when I wasn't sure the y were supposed to bump into each other quite that hard or that much, but generally it was good. However, it was sometimes a little monotonous. I didn't get quite the buzz out of it that the judges did. What's funny is that I actually really like AfroCelt Sound System and their music, but in this case it didn't add...it repeated.

2. Sasha and Alexander danced a Contemporary routine by Travis Wall

Travis is the new Mia. Every number he ever does is now legally required to be called the best number ever. Now a little later in the evening such high praise was deserved. This one didn't do it for me quite as much. Yes, it was hard-hitting, literally. But I actually felt it didn't have the smooth transitions Mary praised it for, but was rather a series of poses. It's true that Alexander didn't have quite the same level of passion as Sasha, and he will indeed need to step it up with the charisma to keep up with her.

3. Clarice and Jess danced a Broadway routine by Tyce DiOrio

The routine itself was the usual boring Tyce Broadway number. I see it on community theatre stages around here. But wow, Jess is so impressive for 18. Those spins were amazing. She just faded away in comparison. So like Alexander before her: She'll need to step it up to keep up. 

4. Ryan and Ricky danced a Lyrical Hip Hop routine by Chris Scott

Yeah, I didn't get Ryan's smiling either, doesn't matter: That was really good. And specifically, she is pretty mesmerizing. I interpreted her smile as being glad she could torment a boyfriend she was glad to leave. But that's why my nickname is Blackheart.

5. Caitlynn and Mitchell danced a Contemporary routine by Sonya Tayeh. Only Mitchell got hurt after the first rehearsal, so last season's Robert stood in...which was fine with me...rowr.

So, perhaps you won't be surprised to hear that I was a little more interested in him than her, truth be told. The choreography was actually not incredibly thrilling. Sonya better work to make sure she doesn't become like Wade Robson. Really really cool the first dozen times you see their particular style. But after that? Predictable.

6. Miranda and Robert danced a Jive routine by Jason Gillkison

Well, Miranda was right: She doesn't know how to be sexy. What bothered me was that she was very heavy. I don't mean weight, I just mean she wasn't light on her feet at all, she didn't get any air between her feet and the floor. This was clunky and cumbersome. And the first clunker of the night.

7. Missy and Wadi danced a Jazz routine by Sean Cheeseman

I confess: The routines started to look alike to me at this point. I started to get very tired of Contemporary, and Lyrical Hip Hop that looks like Contemporary, and Jazz that looks like Contemporary. These are fine distinctions people! Also: They didn't always seem well-synched. So, maybe I was getting tired, but I also thought this was a Bottom Three performance.

Melanie and Marko from So You Think You Can Dance

Photo Courtesy of FOX


8. Melanie and Marko danced a Contemporary routine by Travis Wall

Now this was the performance of the night. I was a little worried it would be gimmicky, what with the painted statue effect. But it was a lovely lovely routine, executed so perfectly. And emotional, unique. It deserved the raves it got.

9. Ashley and Chris danced a Hip Hop routine by Christopher Scott

Wow, this was a really long set-up. Len from DWtS would have been very VERY cranky about it, as was I. And it was just a lot of rambly wandering around choreography. Not only that, but they were not really in synch in how they moved. The steps were right, but the style they each attacked the steps with was different. Another clunker.

10. Yveta and Nick danced a Quick Step routine by Jason Gillkison

Well obviously she was perfect. And he kept up. Which earned him major points from the judges. I thought it could have been more fizzy and bubbly and effervescent. But she's the world champion, so what do I know.

Bottom line for the Bottom Three:

I think the Bottom Three couples will be:

Miranda and Robert (standing in for Mitchell)

Missy and Wadi

Ashley and Chris

It's so early and so hard for me to predict who will go home, because I can't really yet connect them with the string of performances the judges have observed.

If I had to guess I'd guess Mitchell and Missy will go home.

What do you think?

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