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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.

SYTYCD12: The Top 14 Dance Again and the Top 10 is Revealed!

Last week, our consummate host Cat Deeley spilled the unfortunate beans that we’d be losing four members of our talented Top 14 and with the deck so stack, especially on the Street side of things (at least, in my opinion), I knew we’d likely lose at least one dancer before their time tonight, but before we talk about that news, let’s talk about each of the routines in turn to see who stuck their landing and who slipped a little on the way down.

  • The night started, as always, with a Jazz routine choreographed by Brian Friedman and set to “100% Pure Love” by Crystal Waters. Brian Friedman’s routines are always a little edgy and so the choreography really worked here, giving the quirky, sharp styles of most of the remaining contestants. Jim was noticeably absent due to an injury, but all-star Robert Roldan fit right in with the others. Overall, it was a solid, interesting opener and seemed to be a sign of good things to come. | Rating: B+
  • Yorelis Apolinario & Jim Nowakowski – “Asht” (Jazz choreographed by Sonya Tayeh) – Although Jim’s injury prevented him from rehearsing for the group routines, he was still able to perform in his pairs routine and thank god for that because he and Yorelis delivered in Sonya’s triumphant return to the SYTYCD stage. Sonya’s concept about the two of them electrifying each other with their touches, gazes and movements seemed to charge this routine with an energy that we haven’t seen before in Yorelis. She was captivating and while Jim’s technique is always stunning, I think Nigel made a fair point that Jim needs to find a way to connect with this partners because, in the end, personality and emotional performances have won the day on this show. | Rating: B+
  • Jaja Vaňková & Edson Juarez – “She Came to Give It To You” (Hip-Hop choreographed by Misha Gabriel) – Misha’s first time choreographing for the show didn’t turn out as well as he’d hoped. The feedback that Jaja and Edson got from the judges wasn’t entirely unwarranted and the routine did feel a little basic in parts, especially compared to some of the high-level hip-hop we’ve been exposed to this season. It felt a little too fun, playful and immature to capture the cool, sexy swagger that Nigel was referring to. Misha’s choreography definitely lends itself to a Justin Timberlake/Usher/Michael Jackson style, but tonight it just didn’t reach those levels. | Rating: C+
  • Hailee Payne & Virgil Gadson – “Cellophane” (Contemporary choreographed by Tyce Diorio) – Tyce, like Sonya, intended to return to the show with a bang and he got two of Season 10’s biggest personalities to do it. Hailee did a good job capturing that wild-eyed frenzy of an obsessive girlfriend while Virgil made up for what he lacked in technique with emotion. Personally, I don’t think he was given enough credit for his performance in this. That being said, I am an advocate for constructive criticism to help the dancers grow and, considering how polished Virgil already is, he can probably do with some tips for improvement, especially since he’s going to be up against the impeccable all-stars next week. | Rating: B-
  • Alexia Mayer & Ariana Crowder – “Circus Fish” (Burlesque choreographed by Tracy Phillips and Dominic Harlow) – The look on Alexia’s face in rehearsals said it all. Perpetual Bottom 3 dweller Ariana just played along, but Alexia could smell the sabotage from a mile away when she was given a routine about “sexy fish”. While the choreography was, in places, uninspired, I don’t think the judges were off the mark with their feedback. The routine needed to swing one way (to the darker side of burlesque) or the other (to the campy side). The girls needed to find what worked and own it. Instead they felt like fish out of water. Pun intended. | Rating: C-
  • Megz Alfonso & Derek Piquette – “Worth It” (Hip-Hop choreographed by Dave Scott)  The concept of this routine (that Megz was a performer in a club and pulled Derek up on stage with her) sounded like the makings of a good routine, but as the judges were quick to point out, the execution felt all off. It was almost like Megz and Derek had opposite problems: Derek had character, but barely hit a single beat in places, while Megz’s dancing was spot on, but her character felt a little forced. In all, it just felt awkward and like the two of them were never in-sync. I think it says a lot when the most exciting part of this number, for me, was seeing Megz play the trumpet in the opening package. | Rating: C
  • Gaby and Neptune get some high praise after an emotional contemporary number. [Credit: FOX Entertainment]

    Gaby Diaz & Neptune Eskridge – “Take My Hand” (Contemporary choreographed by Stacey Tookey) – This routine seemed made for this pair and from the opening notes of the music, I knew it would be one to remember. Neptune had two little hiccups in his technique, but there are some performances (like this one) where the end result is too good to nitpick. I felt the connection between this couple – the struggle, the give and take – and that was what set it apart from other contemporary routines we’ve seen this season. Sometimes the story, choreography, music and dancers all just come together in the right way to create a moment that says something more and for me this was just that. | Rating: A
  • JJ Rabone & Kate Harpootlian – “A Different Beat” (Jazz choreographed by Brian Friedman) – Brian Friedman came around for a second go by giving JJ and Kate a pin-up girl themed routine. The choreography was simple, but the judges were right that this was about personality. JJ has it in spades though and didn’t need a routine to show it off, but I think Kate did. I felt like the two of them had fun with this routine, but as for hitting it hard and in such a way that I’d remember it come next week? No guarantees. I do like JJ a lot though, so I hope she can find a way to recover when the all-stars show up. | Rating: C+

Once the pairs dances were through, we had our bottom three. For Team Stage: contemporary dancer Kate was there yet again and joined by newcomer Alexia and last week’s injured contestant Derek. For Team Street: Bottom 3 fixture Ariana was joined by freestylers Yorelis and Neptune. Given that this week was a double elimination, the fate of these six dancers was left in the hands of twitter to save one from each team. In the meantime, Travis and Twitch’s teams gave us another helping of dance in their group routines:

  • Team Stage – “Lift Me” (Contemporary) – Sonya also came back for seconds in a group routine about the moment after a person receives tragic news. I certainly felt the array of emotions Sonya was going for, from the breathless gasp to the frantic anger, in this routine. It’s funny in a way that I prefer Team Street as individuals, but when Team Stage comes together in the right way with the right routine, they really touch me and I think Sonya, like Stacey, really gave them some great material to work with. | Rating: B+
  • Team Street – “Dragula” (Hip-Hop) – Finally, Pharside and Phoenix took the über talented Team Street to another level. This dark freak show routine gave each dancer a change to shine while also adopting characters that, all-in-all, seemed to suit them all really well. The routine was fun without sacrificing the attention to detail on the choreography that sometimes seems to be lacking from Team Street’s group routines given their arrayed styles. This was a routine that I liked and would love to see on tour. | Rating: A-

As the time wound down on Monday night’s broadcast, Cat was given the all-important card with the results that told us Neptune and Derek would be joining the Top 10 while Alexia, Kate, Ariana and Yorelis would be leaving. Given Neptune’s performance tonight, it’s unsurprising that he was saved and I truly believe that it could have been anyone from Team Stage, depending on America’s preference. All in all, the Top 10 has shaped up to be quite strong and I, personally, am excited to see how things will play out when the all-stars join the fray next week.

Until then, vote in the polls below to let me know your favorite routines and dancers and then leave me a comment to let me know what you thought of tonight’s results and the Top 10. 

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  1. SYTYCD12: The Top 14 Dance Again and the Top 10 is Revealed! | Chesa Nmezi’s General Blog. - August 11, 2015

    […] SYTYCD12: The Top 14 Dance Again and the Top 10 is Revealed!. […]

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