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Andrew is a staff writer at the “The Hudsucker”. He is a 28 year old lawyer living in Ottawa. Besides legal jargon, his brain capacity is taken up by reality show trivia, video game walk-throughs and room escape strategies. Andrew is also happily in a long-term, long-distance relationship. Follow him on Twitter as @sublymonal.

SYTYCD10: Top 20 Performance Show – 20/20 Vision

The interesting part of tonight’s show is that, in many ways, the audience starts off like the dancers in one of the routines we saw tonight: blindfolded and waiting for the couples, and the judges true intentions, to be revealed. Tonight is when we see which fan favourites were paired with dancers we previously thought were cannon fodder and who got the brunt of the judges “constructive criticism” before the voting lines open. So let’s tackle each routine one by one and see what the judges, dancers and choreographers got right on night one:

Credit: Fox

1. The Top 20 – “Puttin’ On the Ritz” (Choreographed by Nappytabs) – I loved that this piece took the dancers off the stage and through the studios, popping up between racks of clothing and dancing in animating in dressing rooms with Nigel. It showed that they all have a fun side and, from everything we saw, they danced it really well, whether in or out of their style. I loved that we got to see little bits of the choreographers too, like Travis Wall strutting out in a feather boa or Jason Gilkison dipping Mary Murphy, ballroom style. It was a really cool way to start the season and gave everyone a little chance to shine.

  • Rating: A+

Credit: TVLine

2. Mariah & Carlos – “Get It Right” (Jive by Jason Gilkison) – It’s never good to be the first couple to perform and to perform, of all things, ballroom but I think they both gave a commendable effort for dancers that were out of their style. I agree that Mariah, as a krumper, was kind of heavy footed for a jive, but I think she sold it with her sassy personality and we got to see Carlos’ fun side too, so I wasn’t totally bad, but I think if either of them are safe, they probably have a decent sized fanbase to thank and maybe not necessarily this routine.

  • Rating: B-

Credit: TVLine

3. Jasmine M. & Alan – “Can’t Help Falling In Love” (Contemporary by Travis Wall) – I’m always excited when we find out Travis is in the house because it means we’ll likely get a breathtaking contemporary number and this was one of the better routines of the night. I think it was better for Jasmine M., not just because she’s a contemporary dancer but because it gave her plenty of moments to show her legs and lines off. Sure, some girls may be stronger technicians than her, but she had the best routine to show off in while Alan just supported her all the way through. He made a good partner but didn’t really do much. Still, maybe I was the only one who noticed it and I have no doubt that the voters have warmed to both of them after this routine.

  • Rating: A-

Credit: TVLine

4. Malece & Jade – “Silver Screen Shower Scene” (Jazz by Travis Wall) – While this was probably this less memorable of Travis’s two routines for the night, I still think the two of them showed promise. Malece got a bit of flack last week for not showing off her acting chops in Mia’s piece (which I disagree on), but tonight she got credit for being the self-centred starlet that Travis asked her to play. Even Jade was able to mask his sometimes subpar technique behind a good dose of believability in his role and I think that could be what keeps people interested in him.

  • Rating: B-

Credit: TVLine

5. Jenna & Tucker – “That’s All” (Broadway by Tyce Diorio) – Tyce is one of those choreographers that, for me at least, has great “hits” and some slightly off-target “misses”. In terms of striking a chord with the voters, I think this routine was a bit of a miss, but I think Jenna, Tucker and the judge’s accurate feedback saved the piece. Tucker has technique for days and he showed it all off in this piece as he leapt and bounded between the elaborate set on stage. Jenna has the sass and personality to pull off her character, which made her a good fit for broadway in Week 1. I agree with the judges that the chemistry and potential that this couple has is great, but I don’t know if this was the routine to get them there. Still, they did well with it.

  • Rating: B

Credit: TVLine

6. Brittany & BluPrint – “Drumming Circle” (Afro Jazz by Sean Cheesman) – I love Sean Cheesman and I love Afro Jazz as a style, but I think Brittany outshine BluPrint in this number. BluPrint often still had the stiff upper back of an animator when he should have been fluid and grounded like Brittany was. Brittany had that reckless abandon that this piece required and I think, for that reason, outperformed him. Still, there’s no escaping the fact that BluPrint is Cyrus’s dance mate and, therefore, likely has most of his fanbase so don’t expect him to end up in the Bottom 3 any time soon.

  • Rating: B-

Credit: TVLine

7. Alexis & Nico – “Last Time” (Hip-hop by Christopher Scott) – The judges were quite harsh on these two after Christopher Scott gave them a “fun” hip-hop routine to start the season. I love Chris as a choreographer but I have to say that I blame his choreography for the failure of this routine. The moves were sloppy and it was basically impossible for these two to be “in sync” or “grounded” (as the judges claimed they ought to be). The hardest part is that both of them appeared to be frontrunners and very likeable coming into the live shows and this routine may have derailed their chances at making the top ten. I sure hope not and I hope Nico’s powerful fanbase can carry him through another week. If Alexis is in the bottom three, I think her killer tap solos should help her out, but who knows. The judges say they want a great tapper and then when one comes along, she ends up getting awful choreography like this…

  • Rating: C

Credit: TVLine

8. Makenzie & Paul – “I’m With You” (Viennese Waltz by Jason Gilkison) – I thought these two were graceful and elegant in this routine. Makenzie carried herself with a certain pose that made the cheesy storyline believable and modern and not feel forced. They had a great chemistry that felt young and fresh and it really worked for them. I think, in terms of getting a ballroom routine that voters will remember, Jason did a good job her to give them something that hopefully won’t get lost in the fray.

  • Rating: B+

Credit: TVLine

9. Jasmine H. & Aaron – “Bottom of the River” (Jazz by Sonya Tayeh) – In contrast to the last routine, I don’t think this was a very memorable routine from Sonya and these two. The best part of this routine was undeniably Jasmine’s legs, but beyond that, I didn’t get much from this routine. Perhaps it was the strange costumes, or perhaps it was that I wanted both of them to get a little more down and dirty with a routine that was supposed to be about swamp people, but either way, I think I’m going to need a little more from these two in the weeks to come if they’re going to succeed in this competition.

  • Rating: B-

Credit: TVLine

10. Hayley & Curtis – “Go” (Hip-hop by Christopher Scott) – From everything I’ve seen online, this routine was quite polarizing, people either loved it or hated it. I will say that it was unexpected. While it felt more like a jazz routine than a hip-hop, I think they two of them were in sync and Curtis definitely dropped the “boy who cried in Vegas” act and just danced for once. It was definitely the better routine from Chris for the night and because it was close to the end of the show, that might keep them out of danger even after being pegged as fodder from the word go.

  • Rating: B+

Credit: TVLine

11. Amy & Fik-Shun – “Elsa” (Contemporary by Sonya Tayeh) – No surprises here, the last routine of the night and the one that comes from the very serendipitous pairing of the guy and girl that I ranked #1 last week just so happens to be the best routine of the night. You could say the stars aligned or that the game is playing to their favour, but whatever the case, this routine was definitely a great start to their journeys on the show. There’s no way either of them are going home after this number, in which Sonya gave them a chance to connect and show a bit of their darker side. I will say that I’m a bit frustrated that 3 of the 4 routines we’ve seen Amy do so far have been choreographed by Sonya, but if she wasn’t so good in them, I’d have more reason to complain. She could be the Melanie Moore of this season, where she gets a lot of “lyrical” based routines, but kills them, so the voters warm up to her likeable personality and she ends up sweeping the competition just the same. I guess we’ll see, but I hope someone gives her a run for her money.

  • Rating: A

So who’s in danger of being eliminated? It’s a tough call, because some of the people who were “bad” appear to have strong fan bases and some of the people who were mediocre don’t, but here’s my best guesses right now:

  • Bottom 3 Girls: Alexis, Mariah, Brittany. Eliminated: Alexis.
  • Bottom 3 Guys: Carlos, Aaron, Jade. Eliminated: Jade.

Yes, I’m predicting the best of the three tappers this season are going to be sent packing next week. Why? Because history seems to repeat itself on this show. I hope that’s not the case, but I like a lot of people at this point so I think that regardless of who they send home, I’m going to be disappointed. I’m also predicting Jade because I think he and the other two black male hiphoppers will be splitting votes and they want Fik-Shun to be the last one standing.

What about you? Any guesses? Let me know in the polls or comments below…

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