Boy, howdy. SYTYCD’s Top 6 worked overtime last night! Each dancer had to perform three times to prove they belong in the finale—though the decision had already been made by last week’s votes.
The stage looks empty with only six dancers left, but they filled it as best they could with their opening solos. Amy had the nicest outfits this evening, starting with a patterned crop top and short skirt. Cat Deeley looked stunning—thank goodness—after last week's spectacular sartorial failure. She returned to the classic chic of 1930s Ginger Rogers with a sparkly cream dress and softly flowing hair.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson joined judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy for a fun, pressure-free evening, where the judges wouldn’t have to eliminate anyone. After an awkward exchange between Cat and Nigel, she reminded the judges, “You can give your opinions, they just don't count.” Still, it’s fun to hear what Jesse thinks.
After Sean Cheesman’s energetic group number, which was clearly an homage to Alvin Ailey right down to the costumes (white leotards and flowing “flamenco” skirts for the women and white pants for the shirtless men), the performances jumped into the all-star duets. Paul and all-star Kathryn started things off with a Tyce Diorio jazz piece about the power play between men and women. Whatever. Kathryn started in a shiny, very long gown that hid under it—a la Mother Ginger—Paul hanging from a tall ladder. They climbed down off the ladder and never went back to it, climbing all over each other instead. Paul used his Latin ballroom background to strut and leap in those tight leather pants, which he probably had to peel off. The judges and audience loved it. Shocker.
Hayley and Season 4 winner Joshua danced a NappyTabs hip-hop routine, playing a boxer and her coach preparing for a bout. That must have been challenging for Hayley, dancing an uncomfortable style with an expert who was also the winner of his season, but she hit it strong and solid. That outfit was a little odd, with the lace-chain lederhosen holding up her shiny red boxer shorts. They both KO’d themselves, and Hayley did an adorable curtsy after the routine.
The dancers each had a retrospective and messages from loved ones before dancing their solos. Except for Paul and Aaron, they had all performed solos earlier this season and it was good to remember what their primary style was, especially when both solos were great. All the solos were terrific, but Hayley’s and Jasmine’s, while executed beautifully, looked and sounded familiar. Amy’s ended strangely with her legs in the air.
Aaron danced a Spencer Liff Broadway routine with all-star Melanie as a couple in love but constantly arguing. Yes, perhaps we all know couples like that. Like those couples, something was odd about the choreography and the number never quite gelled, particularly when he accidentally dropped her, really giving her something to be angry about. He did lift her in a beautiful cabriole over his head before that. Jesse called Melanie “one of the greatest actresses this show's ever had,” and hopefully Nigel will listen to him and someday make everyone do a tap routine. They can handle it.
Fik-Shun paired with all-star Witney for a Jonathan Roberts fox trot. Again, the pairing was a little awkward, and Fik-Shun needed to show more maturity. He’s capable of it; we’ve seen him give more in the past. Witney looked, as Nigel said, like a “screen goddess from the ‘50s,” and Fik-Shun displayed flair with his moonwalk and sky-high bell kick. Still, he received more compliments on his fantastic solo than on this performance.
Tyce Diorio, well known for his piece about breast cancer, again took on a socially conscious subject, though one perhaps too broad. Jasmine and all-star Neil danced this piece about recent natural disasters like hurricanes and tsunamis. Though danced beautifully, it felt heavy-handed, going for big emotions but not quite getting them—though Mary could always be counted on to provide the tears.
The last all-star duet featured Amy dancing with all-star Alex in a Bollywood number choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan. Amy wore another terrific costume, again showing off her ripped abs in a green crop top and flowing red skirt. Glad she didn’t tear an earlobe with those earrings, which looked like they weighed a ton. “Good golly Miss Bollywood,” said Jesse, embarrassed at his own wordplay, after the energetic and difficult number. What fun he is and so genuine. The fact that he’s “Such a nerd,” as Cat said, is a big part of why we love him. The number was non-stop, with great lifts and a scary drop, turning split leaps, and a series of knee spins. Thank goodness Alex didn’t injure himself this time.
The dancers each had to perform one more routine, this time returning to their previous pairings: Jasmine and Aaron, Amy and Fik-Shun, and Paul and Hayley in a new partnership. The latter couple worked with Dee Caspary on a contemporary routine danced to a dreamy version of the Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles).” While it was distracting that someone actually covered that song, the two danced well if not quite in unison. Hooray for Jesse with his reference to the season’s worst judge, Carly Rae Jepsen, but why did Nigel ask Mary who Paul reminded her of?
It was fun to see the other four return to their roots, but perhaps the judges could have mixed up the couples so they all danced with new partners. Presumably the height difference would have been difficult, particularly on Fik-Shun, so they returned to their original couplings. Amy and Fik-Shun danced a Dave Scott hip-hop with a ridonkulous theme: a woman showing off her shopping purchases. Do you really need a concept? Why not just dance for dance’s sake? Amy won the best costume prize again with that fabulous skirt, though the shorts revealed underneath weren’t as exciting. Mary reached to find a metaphor about Fik-Shun’s name with a quote from Tom Clancy, and Nigel finally referenced the Miley Cyrus VMA fiasco from Sunday night. We’d been waiting for that all night.
Sean Cheesman choreographed his second routine tonight with Jasmine and Aaron, a surprisingly high-energy jazz piece after the package made it seem like another bit of angst and drama. The concept, in this case, was pretty cool: Jasmine’s essence trapped inside a mirror. Despite looking like Gozer the Gozerian, Jasmine displayed astounding flexibility and sexuality, making those long legs look even longer. Jesse must have loved Aaron’s obligatory chest reveal since he sheepishly confessed he had a crush on Aaron before hiding his head under the table. These judges’ comments contained only the fourth slo-mo replay of the night, out of nine routines. There used to be a replay for every routine, sometimes more than one.
With all the dancing done, time for the bad news. It was anyone’s guess which way it would go. Yes, it was likely people would not vote against Amy and Jasmine, so Hayley would probably be leaving, and indeed she did. The more difficult result was the men: Fik-Shun is very popular but he had been in the bottom once before, while Paul and Aaron had never been in jeopardy. Paul fell short and joined Hayley as the eliminated couple.
So we’ve just about made it, City Kids. We now have our Final 4, and the star-studded SYTYCD finale is right around the corner. Did your favorite survive?