So You Think You Can Dance Top 16 Performance

Audience voting begins this week. Don’t love that but oh well. Having a couple what are you wearing moments. Ashleigh and Jakob I mean you. I also don’t like Cat’s hairstyle at all. Or her shirt.

In the crowd is a row of season 5 dancers. More Dizzy Feet talk, it will have dancers from DWTS, SYTYCD, and ABDC and dancers from Step Up. Mary will be doing the Samba. And American Ballet Theater. Dizzyfeetfoundation.org

What should America know about you?

Kevin and Karen first. Karen auditioned with her husband but he was let go in Vegas and they decided to divorce shortly afterwards. Kevin has performed abroad and takes inspiration from all over. They get the Hustle with Maria Torres. The girl asks the boy to dance in the routine. Another outfit I really don’t like. Well, either of them. That flip was slow, on purpose? The dance seems slower than the music. It’s really irritating. Adam says they made it work for them. (He nearly dropped her on her face after the dance.) This was the first time Kevin’s been visible. Incredible partnership. Karen performed with beautiful restraint. Quiet fire. Mary says Sadie Hawkins hustle. Karen is the hustle queen. Kevin had good performance, he has some body position work, staying on the train. Karen is still first class. Nigel is delighted with what Kevin is doing. All the lines. Careful about the facial expression during the death drops (spinning her on the floor with one arm). The routine was suited for Karen. She adds personality to the choreography.

Ashleigh and Jakob get a Mandy Moore jazz routine. Ashleigh is a nerd. She studied politics and interned in Washington. Jakob is close friends with Jeanine and the two are very competitive. They are crazy together. They will be using a cane as a prop. Ha to the song “Relax.” It seemed like things could have been a bit smoother but it was pretty cool looking even so. Props for working with props from Cat. Adam says Ashleigh belongs on the show, she is so good. The partners are beginning to experience things simultaneously. They have a malfunction midway that Nigel didn’t even notice. (I was iffy about if it was a mistake or not.) Adam says elegant, mature, studied, fiery. Jakob is given a new way to jump every week he is flexible. Mandy is definitely up there on my favorite choreographer list. Mary says phenomenal. Terrific. Ashleigh has stepped up to the plate every week, chameleon. Improving every week. Jakob is strong, passionate. Brilliant. Nigel says this is up to the standard of the table routine. The dancers worked as a unit. Ashleigh improves every week. Ashleigh represents ballroom brilliantly. Jakob reminds him of Joel Grey from Cabaret. They changed to suit their characters. Ashleigh less eye makeup please.

Pauline and Peter. Peter volunteers at a dance place for special needs people. Pauline eats a lot. They get a quickstep with new choreographers JT and Thomas. Navy guy entranced by Hula girl. Quickstep is one of the most dreaded dances. Well, I think it went pretty well considering. I like that it had a fun, playful story. Adam says welcome to the new choreographers and thanks for the adorable routine. Smart thing done here: by giving it a story it may have blown past the technical missteps. Peter on fire, Pauline adorable. Charisma. Congrats on performance. Mary for technical. She says she always expects a train wreck with the quickstep but they pulled it off. Performance was amazing. Joy brought was great. The leg action was heavy and clunky. Pauline was a vision. Close holds positioning was off. Nigel says not technically perfect but he didn’t care. It was fabulous as a performance. The winners are always great with personality. He doesn’t think they are going anywhere. It’s the first time he’s seen a quickstep with a story. Good job new choreographers. It makes it more accessible.

Katherine and Legacy. Katherine went on mission trips to Costa Rico. Legacy loves soccer and had scholarships for it. Andy Blankenhauer Broadway routine. Girl battling guy for attention. It was pretty cute. I don’t know the broadway routines never quite translate. Adam says great, adorable routine. Broadway is all about character. He wasn’t sure what Katherine’s character was. She was cute but she should’ve been more of a maneater. No problem but watch character. Legacy, yet another step in his growth. He totally got through it. Look back at history, watch their hands, need more softness. Mary agrees, it was missing a bit of chemistry. Katherine got a little lost but maybe because Legacy is growing so much that everyone’s paying more attention to him. She thinks he’ll get into the top ten. Nigel was disappointed with Katherine but he doesn’t know why. She seemed slightly juvenile. While in previous weeks she was more mature. Legacy has “gone in one end and out the other like a little sausage machine.” He’s growing into the other styles and an inspiration for choreographers. Full marks.

Channing and Victor get a Stacy Tookey contemporary. Excellent! Victor used to be a hardcore gothic rocker. Channing used to race lawnmowers and won a trip to Disneyworld. The piece looks at a toxic long term relationship leaving the couple exhausted. They’re a new couple so hopefully they get the chemistry. They are both contemporary dancers. It started a little slow but from the point where Channing does the spin, it gets really good. Adam says this new partnership will reinvigorate them. The similar styles brings out sensitivity and softness in Channing. Beautiful piece Stacy. The quality of movement and emotional rise and fall, and how they worked off of each other was key. Good job. Mary agrees. Beautiful together. Tremendous, light, phenomenal. It didn’t touch her soul but so nice to see. Channing is beautiful, strong. Nice to see. Victor, in your element. Enjoyable. Nigel says two contemporary dancers doing contemporary, they had to be good. They danced very well but didn’t take him away emotionally. They had a tough emotional job. Need to be more brilliant. I don’t think people will be doing much comparing from week to week just yet, it’s a lot of dances to remember in a week.

Ellenore and Ryan get hip hop with Lil C. Ellenore is six different ethnicities. Ryan is an extreme sports junky. Not so surprising. He wants to be a superhero in an action movie. Routine focuses on timing, swagger, and synergy. Ryan looks pretty awkward in practice. He can’t get the flavor. I think Ryan hit the moves but not the attitude. Ellenore hit the attitude but seemed to tire a bit at times. Adam says ballroom to hip hop is hard to mesh. But he thinks Ryan is the most transformed dancer of the night. Big step. A guy of his size has a tough time doing that did good, not great but good considering. Mary thinks it’s a crime that Ellenore is covered up. It was good not great. Impressive but it got sluggish halfway through and it wasn’t quite synchronized. Agreed. Respectable but not scream worthy for both. Nigel said the only swag was in the money bags. Not good at all. The style didn’t suite them. All hip hop all the time. Their personalities don’t suit the style. Ellenore is too sweet. The position wasn’t there. Missing for him from the style, can’t just dance it have to feel it. He thinks they got the worst draw.

Molly and Nathan have a salsa with Gustavo Vargas. Molly is deaf in her left ear since she was a baby. A hearing aid threw off her dance balance. Nathan likes to jet ski. Nathan needs to be suave and Molly needs to be sexy (she assures us she will with a giggle). Good outfit choice. The cameraman is doing an awful job. It looked a little too thoughtful and hesitant. Adam says get ready to boo. Another bad luck of the draw, not easy on them. Exposed their weaknesses, bummed because they’ve been so fantastic until now. Usage of the floor and spins were off. Positioning was off. Mary agrees it wasn’t sexified, it was French fried. She does like french fries though, they’re still the dream team. The feel was off, if that were right then the rest would have been better. Nathan wasn’t suave and Molly looked uncomfortable in her heals. Nigel says it is a sobering night for many. Weaknesses exposed the music wasn’t being felt. Their chemistry was missing for them. Learning experience. I like them, I hope they stay.

Lastly, Russel and Noelle. Noelle has a huge family and her brother had a stroke that left on hand paralyzed. He inspires her. Russel is an artist. They will work with new choreographer Sean C… for Afro Jazz. It’s the Disney movie The Princess and the Frog. The frog is her spirit guide. Sean thinks it is a perfect match. It’s pretty cool. They were off a couple of moments but the whole style is pretty cool to watch. Adam welcomes Sean, nice entrance. Very smart. Joy and character. Noelle is who he thinks of for African Princess. Never stopped, totally committed to the characters. All the spirit. Mary says that was crazy. Crazy good. Noelle was so in there. She was so dynamic. She got more than expected from each. Fierce. (You can see Jeanine cheering in the background and Melissa clapping.) Can you hear it? Here it comes. Russel is the first king on the hot tamale train of the night. Nigel has never seen this style before but he hopes for more. Great fun to watch. Russel is a star this season. Thrilled that Noelle performed this routine.

Read about the Top 16 Results.

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