Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

So You Think You Can Dance: The Top 10 Perform

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I can sympathize with the injury-plagued top ten this week.  My ankle is elevated after swelling up due to a little sports injury of my own.  That's going to affect my pirouettes and acrobatics this week, but I'll try not to let it affect my recapping abilities.

Because the tyrannical reign of the judges is over!  It's our turn, America, and it's about time.

Noelle and Ryan:

They get hip hop from NappyTab, and it's the usual fluff as far as I'm concerned.  The storyline was about some sexual tension (well, some of that went beyond tension) at work, and I don't think it let either of them really shine.  There weren't any fancy tricks, there wasn't many hard hits, and something seemed to go wrong in that bit where the camera went in close on Ryan.  Noelle is going to be hard pressed to distinguish herself in this top ten, so she'd better hope for something more memorable next time.

Smooth waltz the second time around, and it's assured and lovely, but aside from that lovely lift at the end, it wasn't enough about Noelle.  Ryan is in his element here, of course, but I think he made it a bit too much about himself.  He needs to present her and help her to shine.

Ashleigh and Legacy:

They pair up for a futuristic contemporary routine, and this is another one I just didn't get.  Both seemed lost with the style of movement they were being asked to perform.  The pacing was weird, like skaters doing tricks off the halfpipe; there were odd moments where they seemed more to be waiting for the next thing than dancing.  Nigel felt the need to explain that this is a unique style of dancing to us so we'd know why he was impressed.  Well, if that's so, then it belonged in the earlier rounds when we get to see some of the rehearsal and actually hearing from the choreographer.


Again with the weirdness for their hip-hop number!  Was everyone so tired of Ashleigh's gold fringe solo outfit that they competed to put her in the oddest costumes possible?  And please, Legacy, please don't ever wear a cape again.  Once again the synchronization seemed to fail them, and Ashleigh didn't appear to know what to do with her arms.  It was so unsuccessful that Nigel actually blames the choreographer, and you know that's bad news.  These two are in line for big trouble tomorrow night.

Kathryn and Nathan:

Kathryn looks beautiful in her Broadway routine, and she's got real joy in both face and movement.  But Nathan is a weird partner for her, with his overly dancerly movement, slicked-back hair, and willowy presence.  He danced it well, but I would have preferred to see a partnership that felt more like they shared something.  Bottom line – she shone, he simpered.


Once again in the rhumba, Kathryn is a force to be reckoned with.  But Nathan seems to be dancing with himself.  Too flamboyant, too pouty.  Nigel hits up the choreographers once again for not putting enough ballroom in the number!  Nathan should be on the chopping block tomorrow.

Ellenore and Jakob:

If any couple can do the quickstep, surely it's these two.  Check out that footwork – a lot more than the choreographers would dare give to anyone else.  Love the partnered jette!  This was a winning routine, and succeeded in making this style, so often labored on this show, accessible, virtuoso, and frothy.


What a contemporary routine for their second number!  The crowd goes wild, and rightly so.  The difference between Jakob and Nathan is that the former can pull off many different styles of intensity.  Here it was predatory and powerful.  Ellenore pulled off the performance that Sonya would have sketched out for herself, with so much personality and energy.  Your winners, ladies and gentlemen.

Mollee and Russell:

These two make an odd couple, don't they?  Dancing lyrical jazz, they have nice moments but don't seem completely in sync.  This is one of that routines that takes a lot of trust between the partners, and I saw some grasping, grabbing, and slight hesitation on both of their parts.  More problematically, there wasn't a story or emotional throughline to this routine that made it memorable.  The judges love it, but their comments were all about growth (as usual).


In an incredible gift, the two are given that crowd-pleaser, The Jive, for their final dance. This is disco all over again for Mollee, and she makes the most of it, combining her infectious happiness with an unthreatening sexiness. And of course, Russell's smile lights up the room, plus he gets to bust out some stage-spanning moves.

So what are we likely to see tomorrow? It's a race to the bottom for Nathan and Legacy. The bottom girls are likely to be Ashleigh and Noelle. And it's Nathan and Ashleigh's turn to go.


Stray observations:

  • The show seemed so rushed tonight, what with diving right into the couples' performances and having recap video packages before the solos.
  • Noelle's family is supportive of everything she does, including playing softball right out in the street!
  • Ryan really has difficulty showing what he's all about (other than guns and waxed chest) during his solos.  It's offputtingly narcissistic.
  • Ellenore's solo, on the other hand, has more personality than the rest of the girls put together.
  • Whaddya know – one of these video packages actually tells us something beyond how proud of the contestant their parents are!  Legacy's move from Miami to L.A., inspired by You Got Served, was worth the price of admission.
  • We finally got to see what Ashleigh was planning to do with that gold fringey dress, and in terms of ballroom-style solos, she rocked Ryan like a hurricane.