So You Think You Can Dance 9.13 recap: Top 6 Performances

My sister (the lucky person who gets to sit through this show with me and listen to me rant at the TV) keeps telling me that I am so bi-polar about this season. Tonight was a great example of that. Where I would criticize someone one moment they would blow me away the next. There were a couple of pretty amazing routines tonight along with a couple I wasn’t too wild about. Here are my thoughts on this season’s Top 6.

Solos

Unfortunately, Witney’s ballroom solo was a little lacking again this week. I think her solos have really hurt her when it comes to voting. It was paso doble style but she spent too much time just waving her cape around. There wasn’t enough variation. Chehon’s solo was harder hitting and more jazz-inspired than his typical ballet solos but still included his signature high leaps. Tiffany had my favorite solo again this week. I just love her sense of musicality and the easy grace she brings to her style. She also dances with a lot of genuine joy. She was smiling before the music even started.

Cole’s solo was intense and kind of angry which was cool as usual. It makes sense that he would take on that character with his martial arts style but I feel like he has done a lot of that kind of thing in this competition and that may have hurt his ability to connect with his audience. Eliana has amazing control and balance and was as lovely as ever. They saved Cyrus for last and I don’t know what to say except that he is always entertaining and impressive in his style.

All-Star Pairings

Tiffany was paired with all-star Benji, winner of season 2 and one of the best personalities of any season. Their jive was almost too adorable for words. The 50’s style was fun and they both kept up incredibly high energy through the entire number. Their kicks were sharp, bouncy, and synchronized. Nigel was right on – performing at that level in heels is extremely difficult and Tiffany nailed it. This was one of my favorite ballroom routines this season; I will probably watch it over and over again. Also, apparently Benji takes dance classes with guest judge Christina Applegate now, so that’s cool!

Cole was with all-star Melanie, last season’s winner, for a Sonya Tayeh jazz. I honestly think I would have enjoyed this more if I hadn’t watched the video beforehand. I spent my first watch through waiting for Cole to “fly” and to try and get away from Melanie. The reality of the piece was that he would lift and support Melanie and also rely on her. They had really equal energies which was actually cool. They were really “Too Close” –he didn’t get far away from her before she pulled him back in until the end. Great work, although for some reason it wasn’t as memorable to me as some of the others, despite Cole being a favorite from this season and Melanie my favorite from last.

Eliana danced with tWitch for another loosely defined hip-hop. This really solidified my opinion that Eliana is not as versatile as the other girls. Nigel blamed the choreography, but Christopher Scott was probably just doing his best to work with someone who isn’t a hip-hop dancer (much how other choreographers water things down for Cyrus). It was a cute concept and tailor-made for Eliana’s over-the-top, cheesy performance style (which doesn’t do much for me – she sometimes lacks subtlety in my opinion, but that’s just a preference thing). The problem is, the little bit of hip-hop she was asked to do she didn’t do very well. She was a little stiff and wasn’t really in the groove of the music. It was kind of the classic ballerina syndrome. It’s really hard for me to imagine her doing anything hard-hitting with any level of believability.

Chehon was paired with Kathryn in a Tyce Diorio contemporary about moving forward from tragedy. This piece honestly left me with chills. It was technically and emotionally spot-on. Chehon, who struggled with hitting the right emotional notes early on, has definitely grown a lot. His performance was touching and memorable.

Witney danced with Marko, another favorite from last season. They had a Ray Leeper lyrical jazz about a girl on her wedding day who doesn’t want to get married. I really enjoyed the choreography. There were these great dynamics of push and pull that they executed perfectly. She was reaching away from him even as they were dancing together and he tried to keep her connected. Marko always has the hottest chemistry with everyone, I want to dance with him.

We finally got to see Cyrus perform a hip-hop where he could truly excel. The concept was fun (his dream girl comes out of the movie screen and they end up swapping places), their performance was great, and it had moments of incredible precision. Mary summed it up best: “Cyrus, definitely in your Comfort zone.”

Contestant Pairings

I was kind of disappointed to see Witney get paired with Chehon for cha-cha because the poor guy just struggles with the Latin action (no, Nigel, tango is not Latin ballroom; the technique is entirely different and much more comfortable for a ballet dancer). Selfishly I would have liked to see a really smoking Latin ballroom dance just once this season. Although I’m not sure either of the other final guys can pull it off either. Ah well. One of their lifts fell apart and Chehon just didn’t quite have the technique or attitude down. Witney performed well but her chemistry with Chehon wasn’t always there. The number wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t as good as it could have been.

Cole and Eliana had a Mia Michaels contemporary about anger. Both of them displayed wonderful emotion and a really physical chemistry. Their quality of movement was perfectly matched to each other and the choreography. Remember when I said that something about his piece with Melanie just wasn’t memorable? The silent scream at the end of this is a moment that sticks with you. Cole was literally shaking. Also, seeing Cole work himself up to that scream was pretty much brilliant.

“Can we make a game out of this?”

Cyrus and Tiffany were paired up for a Broadway number choreographed by Spencer Liff who rarely lets me down. His Broadway choreography is always a step above. It was a fun concept – parents leave their daughter home with her boyfriend and things get steamy. I was worried for Cyrus, but they actually had really great chemistry. Ok, to be fair, Cyrus’ technique was not very…technical…and if he had ever been in the bottom 2 this entire competition I would hope the judges would send him home. But the reality is that he engages the audience and this was no exception. I do think he sometimes holds his partners back, but in this case, Spencer did a great job of giving Cyrus material he could work with and showcasing Tiffany’s talent and personality. Also, it’s funny how much Christina Applegate wants to throw pens through Cyrus’ gauges.

Eliminations

Predictably, Witney and Cole went home this week. Predictable because of how many times Witney has had to be saved by the judges, how well Chehon did last week, and how popular Cyrus is. I’m really sad that we lost possibly the two most versatile dancers in the competition. Everyone in the final 4 is brilliant at what they do and I think the girls have shown more versatility than the boys, but Witney and Cole really had the widest range. I thought Witney showed a soft, vulnerable side in her Mia Michael’s piece with Chehon to offset her usual sexy, confident style. After Cyrus had what I thought was the weakest performance last week, I would have liked to see Cole make it into the finale. As it stands, I will be surprised if Cyrus doesn’t win the whole damn thing. As for the girls, Tiffany has really grown on me and I want her to win, but I get the impression that Eliana has a bigger fan base. I go back and forth on her so much but she has had some incredible moments this season. What do you guys think? Any predictions for next week?

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About the author: Jen
Jen
I'm pretty much just a big nerd who loves to interact with other people as obsessed with TV as I am! Some of my all-time favorite television includes sci-fi and fantasy staples like Buffy, X-Files, and Battlestar Galactica, but I won't attempt to list all the shows I watch and love currently - I'm kind of an addict. I'm also a big fan of reading, writing, gaming, and dancing (to make up for the rest of my lazy hobbies).

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  • Kelsey

    I can definitely see Cyrus winning, but I also could see all of the fans of the other male contestants rallying together to vote for Chehon just to make sure Cyrus doesn’t win.

    I want Tiffany to win for sure- she’s just so tiny, adorable, and perfect! Her jive with Benji was the highlight of the entire show this season and possibly my favorite jive up there with Phillip and Jeanine’s “Stuff Like That There” in season 5. If she doesn’t win, I’ll be so upset, though Eliana is definitely deserving as well. I just think Tiffany’s personality shines.

    • http://twitter.com/jennyad Jen Dickson

      Here’s the thing about Tiffany vs. Eliana. If Eliana had done that jive she would have done it with 100% energy and maybe as well technically, but she would have had this big cheesy performance instead of the kind of sassy, nuanced, genuine performance we see in Tiffany time and time again.