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Andrew is a staff writer at the “The Hudsucker”. He is a 30 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: I’ll Just Take A Dozen

For the first time in weeks, I think there was some agreement on who the Bottom 3 might be and who the likely eliminees were after last week’s show, but just because there’s consensus, doesn’t mean that will be the result… so let’s talk results, and then routines, before the Top 12 is revealed.

After yet another stunning double-choreographer group routine (more on that later), Cat revealed the Bottom 3: Contemporary girls Makenzie and Jasmine and tapper Alexis for the girls, and the injured tapper Curtis, contemporary boy Nico and ballroom boy Alan for the boys. In my opinion the decision was obvious, even before we saw the routines, but the judges decided to build a bit of suspense by saving Bottom 3 dweller Makenzie right away, leaving the other two girls to dance solos – both of which might have persuaded the judges to keep them. None of the boys were saved or danced solos, which I can imagine was scary for them not to be able to prove themselves one last time, especially considering it was Alan’s solo that saved him the previous week. Then we launched right into the routines… so let’s talk about who rose to the top and who floundered the week before the Top 10 is decided… not a very good time to do so if you ask me.

1. Top 14 (minus the injured Curtis) – “Dimman Kryper Sakta In” (Paso Doble/Jazz Fusion by Sonya Tayeh & Season 2’s Dmitry Chaplin) – When this routine stated, I’ll admit I let our a sigh. “Great, another Sonya jazz number”. Don’t get me wrong, I love Sonya and she creates epic group routines but I was longing for the days of more variety in the group routines, both in styles and choreographers. But suddenly, about a third of the way through, there was Paso Doble choreography. The Top 14 had paired up and had entered the ballroom genre and that’s when I got excited during this routine. I was glad to see that part of it and I think Dmitry has a lot of potential as a choreographer even if, thus far, he hasn’t had many standout routines. I think having Sonya by his side brought out the best in him and the two of them made a really good routine at the end of the day. Now that I’m in Montreal, I’ve been watching with my grandmother, and it’s interesting to hear her take on it since she loves classical dance. She said to me “how do you pick a winner when you can’t tell them apart?” and I thought to myself “isn’t that the point?” and I think that this routine proved how good the talent is this season. Hip-hop, contemporary, tap and ballroom dancers came together and you couldn’t tell who was who.

  • Rating: A-

Credit: Fox

2.  Jenna & Tucker – “Slight Work” (Hip-hop by Luther Brown) – I think Nigel said it best when he said that this routine just didn’t feel like it “fit” them as a couple. I think when we look back on their journey at the end of the season, this one will stick out like a sore thumb. That being said, I don’t think it was a terrible as the judges pretended it was. Tucker was surprisingly macho in it and I think Jenna brought a lot of personality to it, even if she was smiling at all the wrong times. I think they made a good effort at it, but at the end of the day, the feedback they got combined with the fact that they went first has me worrying about both of their fates come next week.

  • Rating : C+

Credit: Fox

3. Alexis & Nico – “Ashes” (Contemporary by Sonya Tayeh) – I was quite excited when I found out that these two got Sonya on the night when they needed a good routine to save them and they definitely got a rich, deep routine. I think the judges were right that this was the first time they got to mature and sink their teeth into something this dark and I think they pulled it off well. Nico was stiff when he needed to be and fluid when it called for it and Alexis’s desperation came across really well. I will say that I felt like the standing run was slightly awkward and I think Sonya could have worked on that a bit more with her to make it fit better into the piece, but otherwise this was miles better than their last few pieces, even if I don’t think Nico has quite reached his potential. Hopefully he can make it to the all-stars and really kick it up a notch because I think he’ll benefit from that.

  • Rating: B+

Credit: Fox

4. Hayley & Leonardo (standing in for Curtis) – “Este Es El Rey” (Argentine Tango by Miriam & Leonardo) – Hayley, like Malece, got slightly lucky to have a pro dance this with her. I don’t think Leonardo pushed and pulled her, but without Curtis there, I think we focused more on what she was doing and that let her talent shine. She was still a little stiff for more, considering this was a passionate tango, but I think that might just have been nerves from dancing with someone that she wasn’t comfortable with like she was with Curtis. I do think, however, that this routine showed why she’s kind of been an underdog in this competition so far and why she might be safe yet again this week.

  • Rating: A-

Credit: Fox

5. Makenzie & Paul – “You’ll Find A Way” (Jazz by Sonya Tayeh) – If you haven’t boarded the Paul train yet, I suggest you do because this routine, yet again, proved why this guy won a season of this show over in Armenia. He has the personality and the fluidity to pull of some of the craziest routines. Every week I wonder how he’s going to do and every week he proves me wrong. I actually think he’s beginning to outshine Makenzie, who’s a gorgeous technical dancer like the judges said, but Nigel also wisely pointed out that maybe Paul’s popularity and taking votes away from her. That said, as good as he was in this routine, it wasn’t necessarily memorable amongst its peers and seemed more like a step sideways than forward for them as a couple, which might leave Makenzie in the dust yet again this week with the voters, even if Nigel and the others seemed determine to get her to the Top 3.

  • Rating: B

Credit: Fox

6. Jasmine & Aaron – “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” (Contemporary by Justin Giles) – Justin is one of those choreographers that rears his head only so often but always gives us something to talk about after. This piece, based on Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree” was quirky and different for a contemporary routine. The movements were more stacatto and the prop (an apple) was so simple that it let us focus on the story. I think this piece was the perfect contrast to the ladder piece last week, where the prop and the choreography seemed overbaked. This piece was stripped down, right down to the song (a cover by Birdy of an electro hit by the Postal Service), and that was perfect for them as a couple. Honestly, if the judges (and the voters) don’t save Jasmine (and Aaron) after this, I don’t know… in my eyes, they’re one of the three power couples who both are a necessary part of the Top 10.

  • Rating: A

Credit: Fox

7. Amy & Fik-shun – “Let’s Get It On” (Hip-hop by Christopher Scott) – I hate to quote Nigel again, but I have to agree with him when he said that this couple’s shtick is getting old. They’ve been given very elaborate characters every week and sometimes it works (like in last week’s hobo dance by Tyce Diorio) and sometimes it doesn’t, like tonight. Even forgiving Amy for her little slip on the water Fik-shun spilled on the floor, and her professional ability to keep dancing, I don’t think this routine had very much choreographic meat. It felt more like a play than a dance number and I think it detracted from the fact that the two of them really are good dancers. Hopefully, in the next few weeks, when these two part ways, their spotlights won’t dim allowing someone else to sneak up and take their coveted spots in the finale, but this routine definitely had me worried. Still, they’ll probably be safe based on the fanbase they’ve built up over the past few weeks.

  • Rating: C+

Credit: Fox

8. Malece & Alan – “Pa’ Los Rumberos” (Salsa by Season 5’s Jonathan Platero) – I was excited to see what Jonathan, who exited the show rather early but has been on the Spanish version of Dancing With The Stars since then, would give ballroom boy Alan and Malece, who seems to be capable of a lot more than we initially gave her credit for, and he didn’t disappoint with this routine. Sure, there were a lot of tricks, but there were a lot of good moments that allowed Alan to show off a bit and hopefully win back his fanbase. Malece, on the other hand, definitely lost steam halfway through, like the judges said and it made her look like she was someone who would be eliminated halfway through a season of dancing with the stars, rather than transformer we’ve seen from the past few weeks. Still, since she performed last, she might still be able to count on enough votes to get by.

  • Rating: B

Credit: Fox

9. Group A (Alan, Makenzie, Hayley, Nico, Jenna, Malece and Spencer Liff filling in for Curtis) – “Come Together” (Broadway by Spencer Liff) – True, choreographer Spencer Liff’s presence in this routine was quite distracting because he is truly on another level when it comes to dancing broadway, but that being said, I don’t think the criticism lobbed at the boys in this routine was entirely justified. I thought Nico and Alan both carried themselves well and more than kept up with the girls who, obviously, weren’t being compared to Spencer anyway. As for the routine as a whole, I love that it had a rock and roll pool hall vibe and, again, lended itself to the possibility that maybe broadway will make a roaring comeback on the show this season. God knows we need it.

  • Rating: B

Credit: Fox

10. Group B (Jasmine, Alexis, Paul, Tucker, Fik-shun, Aaron and Amy) – “Tears of An Angel” (Contemporary by Bonnie Story) – Bonnie definitely came out with a bang with this routine. Sure, the story of the bullied and down trodden was a little cheesy, but when it played itself out on stage, you couldn’t help but feel for them. Bonnie gave the dancers plenty of character with very little actual acting. Their dancing spoke for itself and the minimal lighting on this piece created beautiful silhouettes on the walls of the stage that only accented the revery of this piece. It was definitely a quieter moment than any of the group pieces we’ve had all season and I think that is what made me most excited to see what else Bonnie is capable of amidst the “loudness” of some of the other choreographers sometimes.

  • Rating: A-

So, all in all, we got another pretty good night of dancing. I think the contemporary routines owned the night, with ballroom following close behind and hip-hop suffering. We also got a great guest judge in Anna Kendrick, for even when she lacked a wholesome critique of the routine, she filled in the blanks with some hilarious one liners that broke the tension for the contestants. I wouldn’t mind seeing her back once a season, if Nigel’s looking.

As for the Bottom 3, the judges did the predictable thing for once (thank god) and cut tappers Alexis and Curtis, which means next week, Nico and Hayley will be paired together. As I said, I think this was a plan that had been a long time in the making. Nico’s expression when Alexis was eliminated did break my heart though.

Now, for tonight’s Bottom 3… who do I think will be cut just shy of the Top 10? Well, here’s the answer:

  • Bottom 3 Girls: Makenzie, Jenna, and Jasmine – Eliminated: Jenna.
  • Bottom 3 Guys: Alan, Tucker, and Paul – Eliminated: Alan.

Maybe I’m going out on a limb thinking Jenna will be cut after they sent her straight to safety a few weeks ago, but the treatment they gave her in her hip-hop number this week makes me think they had a change of heart on her and are determined to keep Makenzie. Jasmine, although amazing again this week, will be in the bottom again because she shares a fanbase with some of the more popular girls (Amy, Malece and Hayley). As for the boys, although Alan was good that hasn’t seemed to matter in weeks past and I think the judges recognize that Paul is the better ballroom boy, so they will cut him, hoping his votes go to Paul in the following weeks. Which would mean a top ten of Amy, Hayley, Makenzie, Malece, and Jasmine for the girls and Aaron, Fik-shun, Nico, Paul, and Tucker for the boys. Sounds about right to me. Next week, once we know the Top 10, I’ll rank them again by their odds on winning. We’ll see if I’m right… but for now, tell me what you think in the polls below!

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2 Comments on “SYTYCD10: I’ll Just Take A Dozen”

  1. Mark Warneke August 6, 2013 at 12:04 am #

    I’ve been Team Aaron all the way, but I noticed something seemed off in the opening number, so I set my playback to 1/4 speed and watched it through. Aaron is about a 1/2 step ahead of the other the whole way through, and even a full step ahead part of the time. In the apple number, you can see him hesitate and double think himself quite a few times. I thought maybe I was being unfair, so I did the same with Paul, but Paul was nearly flawless, no matter how fast or slow he was. Now that I’ve seen Aaron’s flaws, I don’t think I can unsee them, so I’m probably hopping over to the Paul Train now.

    • Andrew Rogers August 10, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

      I didn’t notice that about Aaron. I will have to go back and rewatch, but I love both of them. They’re my Top 2 guys with Nico as a close third – I just think Nico having Alexis wasn’t good for him. We’ll see how he does with the all-stars, but I adore Paul. He was my least favourite dancer overall coming into the Top 20 and he’s grown on me so much. He’s versatile, charismatic and super likeable. I’ll be totally okay if he joins the obvious Fik-Shun/Amy finale.

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