So You Think You Can Dance 9 – Recap Live Blog – Top 16

8:03 – Sorry for the late start tonight folks!

8:05 – Interesting opening group number from Tyce tonight. Clearly Charlie Chaplin inspired, with the costumes and black-and-white use. Loved the red umbrella prop, and the way he had the dancers incorporate it. I kind of wish he had chosen music without lyrics, just to fully go there and give that silent movie effect. Still, very nice from him tonight; probably one of my favorite routines he has ever done.

8:06 – Christina Applegate in the house for a judging repeat. She was a little spastic last year, so I wonder how it will be this time.

8:07 – So it looks like the dancers are revealing things about their partners that America does not know tonight. Meh. Very rarely do great things come from these kind of moments, like Dominic admitting he wanted to do headspins naked. Oh Season 3, I miss you so much.

8:13 – Tiffany and George lead off the show with a NappyTabbs Hip-Hop routine about babysitters. Hmmm, I am not completely sold on this dance. Sometimes I think NappyTabbs have pumped their creative well dry. I understand where they were coming from on this one, but it just felt so forgettable. Outside of the set, can you honestly say you will remember this number at the end of the night? I am pretty sure I will not, which is real shame because Tiffany and George handled themselves very well throughout the performance. Like Nigel said, George looked like he lost a little steam, but Tiffany just kept hitting in very hard and sharp manner. I would love for her to receive some more difficult Hip-Hop choreo and see what she turns out. I think it could be quite fantastic.

8:21 – Ray Leeper is up with a Jazz number for Amber and Brandon. Damn Nigel, why did we not see more of Amber before the Top 20?! Girl is soo00o good. Ugh, and then he had to go and screw her over some more with that “I’m not coming back” clip when he met the Top 20. Seriously though, she just delivered such a controlled but abandoned performance. She really just threw herself into it, and felt everything she was doing. Brandon was good as well, but he truly was given a supporting role in this dance. Their chemistry was great together, especially if you consider they just came together this week. Obviously Amber feels more comfortable with Brandon than Nick. Also, notice how spazzy Christina got? Her critiques were on point, but her deliver made me question if she needs to be medicated. Love her, but breathe lady.

8:24 – What is with the audience tonight? Is something in the air? Did Christina bring it? Calm down, please.

8:33 – National Dance Day plug. Blah blah blah.

8:40 – Janelle and Dareian are next with a Pasha Cha-Cha piece. PASHA! Season 3! Why is Janelle rapping? No. Stop it. Also, why are they dancing a Cha-Cha to “Call me Maybe”? Why Pasha? Is this entire segment going to make me question everything? As for the routine, it was not really working for me. The judges were pretty harsh, but I did not think it was as bad as they were making it out to be. Sure the technique was not really there, but it did not come off as a total train wreck. As Mary said, the tricks were great, especially that one lift, but everything else was lacking. I do not know, methinks the panel was setting them up for some bottom six action there. I will say I really do not like the judges knowing who is in the bottom this season before they dance. It just seems to easy for them to frame the night to justify their eliminations. I am not going to be shocked at all to see these two go after that.

8:47 – Lindsay and Cole are up next with a Contemporary piece from Mandy Moore. Oh Cole. I think you are hilarious, but bring it down a notch buddy. I do not want you to alienate the voting public with over doing it, because man, you are my favorite guy right now. And that was my favorite routine of Season 9 so far. I had tears in my eyes, because it was so beautiful. I will totally disagree with Nigel, since I think the lighting as been atrocious this season, but I have to say they really did amazing there. The shadows on the wall were a great touch, and I am surprised nobody had thought of doing that until now. None of that would have been as great if it was not for Mandy Moore’s routine, and the way Lindsay and Cole danced it. Wow. Everything was just done with such reckless abandon. As I said, Cole is my favorite guy right now, and it is because of the way he just moves so effortlessly. It is honestly like it is nothing for him, which is scary considering some of the things he is doing. As for Lindsay, if you did not know it before, would anybody guess she is a ballroom dancer? I would not have. Girl is upping her game at the right time.

8:54 – Mandy Moore pulls a double header with a Jazz routine for Amelia and Will. Get your man, Mandy! But girl, no to this dance. That was something, and not in a good way. Amelia is still dancing circles around Will in my opinion. I think part of the problem is that he does not dance completely through his body. He is a big guy, so I expect very elongated and reaching movements from him. He just seems to shorten himself so much. That might have to do with Amelia being so small in comparison, that Will has to compact himself to partner her appropriately. Whatever it is, he never stands out for me. They were both fine technically, but simply unexciting. I also hope they get something like ballroom or Bollywood next week. Too many of these quirky, jazzy, contemporary numbers for this early in the season for them.

9:05 – Audrey and Matt get a Liz Lira Salsa piece and are next on the stage. Man, ballroom is not having a good night is it? You could really see how uncomfortable they were with the routine, because even their chemistry was off. And these two have a wonderful connection, so it was definitely the routine at work. Everything was just so slow and basic and honestly quite boring. I think Christina had it right when she mentioned the music, which sounded cheesy. Girl has good critiques and advice, I just wish she could relax a little when giving them. I also need to point out the difference between the judges’ critiques and for this couple compared to Janelle and Dareian’s. Here they were all quick and to the point, not letting the negative feedback last long. Which is unlike before, where they were really giving to Janelle and Dareian. Sometimes I hate the manipulation on this show, but what are you going to do?

9:15 – Witney and Chehon then take the stage with a Stacey Tookey Contemporary number, and also proceed to blow up my spell check with their names. Man, I am about to step in it now. I really wanted to love this dance. I love Chehon, think Witney is doing superb things outside of her genre and that Stcaey Tookey is consistently underrated, but I was not floored by this. I think part of it is that it reminds me in glancing way of Melanie and Niel’s routine from last season. The leaping jump trick, the crumbling arabesque, the costumes, everything really just kept calling me back to that piece–and I feel like that piece is much better than this one. I am sure I am alone on this, but I just did not feel that special spark that everyone was mentioning. I cannot even really point to what was lacking, because it was technically superb and there was connection between the dancers. Just one of those things, I guess. Tell me how much I am an idiot in the comments!

9:25 – Eliana and Cyrus close out the show with a NappyTabbs Hip-Hop dance that was clearly made for them. I mean come on, they were definitely saving that for whenever they pulled Hip-Hop. Not that I am really complaining here, because it was awesome. Cyrus was naturally phenomenal, but Eliana really turned it out given her background. To quote Mary with my favorite critique of this season, they were “frozen good” and “on a damn train.” Hahaha, yes! Really though, I was highly impressed with the quality of movement they demonstrated. The hitting was hard where it needed to be, as well as smooth when it was called for. They also both brought a great performance to the stage.

9:32 – Here we go again. Line up the firing squad!

9:34 – Amber, Lindsay and Eliana for the girls. George, Brandon and Dareian for the guys. Amber, Eliana, Brandon and Dareian will be dancing again, so I am assuming Lindsay and George are safe? UGH, JUST HAVE THEM ALL DANCE DAMMIT! Okay, at least this better than last week.

9:36 – It is going to be Amber and Dareian, right?

9:45 – So Amber went with-a-throwing-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-approach to her solo. Those rarely work out well on this show for the dancer. This is followed by Eliana’s very controlled and beautiful performance, so we can say goodbye to Amber I think it is safe to say. The guys are harder to call. Brandon might have really put himself in danger, because that was a lacking solo. Come on now! Dareian, on the other hand,  delivered something powerful and splendid. That pirouette at the end was giving me life. Still, Brandon has done better in his partner dancing, so who knows. I am going to go with Dareian leaving, but I will understand if it goes the other way.

9:48 – That guest group routine was something. I do not think I am cultured enough to critique it, because it was totally off-putting for me.

9:51 – Nigel, please stop sugarcoating this. Pull the trigger man!

9:52 – Lyndsay and Eliana are saved, so we say goodbye to Amber. Not surprising. We saw next to nothing of her before the Top 20, Nigel screwed over her introduction and she had two ballroom routines to start off the show. Poor girl, I would have loved to have seen more from her.

9:55 – George and Dareian are saved. It was Brandon’s to lose, and he did with that solo. Dareian definitely performed for his life there, but Brandon opened the door to let him in. I am not broken up about this one, because he never made that much of an impression on me.

10:00 – There you have it folks! A good night in general, and I am glad to see at least some dancers got to dance-for-their-lives in the competition tonight. The show is off for two weeks for the Olympics, so see everybody back here on August 15!


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