Thanks for All the Fun: #SYTYCD Cuts to Eight

Tonight we endured another cut from the pool of immensely talented kid dancers on So You Think You Can Dance. After another jam-packed performance show, our bottom two were revealed to be Ballroom dancer Ruby Castro and Hip Hop dancer Sheaden Gabriel. I would imagine that the decision was fairly easy for Nigel and company tonight after Sheaden landed in the bottom two for the second week in a row and he was ultimately sent home in 8th place. Sad thing is, that kid killed it tonight! I’m reminded, this is still a competition and sometimes I don’t get my way.

Other than Jason Derulo seeming a little off-kilter after a week in Singapore and Nigel trying to call a Jamaican-flavored dance style “African” the night was pretty routine. See what I did there.

Opening number by Brian Friedman to Meghan Trainor’s current hit (written by Jason Derulo) Me Too was high-energy, bright and cheerful fun. Brian seems to be full steam this season. Glad to have him back, if he’s been gone of course. After that, the kids did a bunch of filler junk that I don’t like, as I think I’ve mentioned before. Each contestant was back with their coach/mentor tonight performing one duet and one solo and a kids only group routine. Here we go:

Jake and Jenna got the dreaded opening spot and this is the worst thing I will say tonight, I can’t buy what Jake is selling. I may have mentioned that kids Ballroom bothers me. Still does. Jenna is hot, hot! Choreography from Dmitry Chaplin and his fiancé (that’s right, I said fiancé) was great and Nigel didn’t rip Dmitry for anything tonight, which was nice because it seems Nigel often scolds Dmitry.

Tate and Katherine continue to be magical. Their piece tonight, from Brian Friedman again, was beautiful but kind of a hot mess of staging snafus. There was so much fog on the stage that it was hard to keep up with which dancer was where. Both girls are spectacular and Jason sort of walked into it when he said it was hard to tell which was the pro and which was the kid. I see what you are saying there Jason, but then the immediate back-paddling made for the first of his awkward comments tonight. #TateforTopTwo

Kida and Fikshun were cast in a strangely wonderful puppet and master hip-hop number from the ever-awesome Dave Scott. I can never say anything bad about these two. Kida’s personality, like Fikshun and even Twitch before that, shines through what is sometimes a blank stare style. He is so young and already has such a grasp on his specialty and what it takes to make it memorable. #notgoinganywhere

Sasha and Jordan had a few stumbles for the first time tonight but I’m going to blame choreographer Ray Leeper. This routine, rooted in 1920’s saxophone or jazz (according to Jason) was so high energy and fast that a few times this powerful duo did fall out of sync. Jordan wasn’t as sharp as she could have been but again, sort of a flailing, arms all over the place kind of choreo. I’m kidding about blaming Ray, I loved it all but it was really fast. I hope America didn’t notice because I still heart Jordan.

Sheaden and Marko – killed it. It’s not fair to say this and please, don’t kick me out of the club, but I think Sheaden would have had a better chance if his original partner hadn’t left the show. Let’s face it, Sheaden is Missy Elliot video ready but losing Joshua Allen hurt his chances. Not his fault. I LOVE Marko but he isn’t a hip-hop dancer and he doesn’t have the street swag that Sheaden needed to complement his style. Not sure why he didn’t resonate with voters but I was sad to see him go. He deserved the save last week and deserved another week after tonight’s Luther Brown business.

Ruby and Paul were back together tonight for an Argentine Tango from Miriam and Leonardo and I didn’t hate it. Maybe because the story that they were telling was that of a brother passing along knowledge to his sister so it didn’t creep me out. Honestly, I might have even loved this whole thing with so many perfectly executed ganchos and such a light and whimsical feel to a typically serious style. Ruby’s hair, tied back in a ribbon, made her look like a sweet, young teenage girl, which is what she is, which is probably why I liked it.

Tahani and Comfort were supposed to be a big and little sister doing a new Jamaican inspired style called Dancehall choreographed tonight by Laure Courtellemont. These two are my favorite so I’ve got nothing bad to say about anything and I don’t know anything about Dancehall to know if it was good but Comfort said it was like a party style and it made me happy so I think they did fine. Apparently the judges didn’t know how to judge it either because Jason tried to congratulate Sean Paul for the choreography (he is the singer of the song Get Busy which they performed to) and Nigel tried to insist that the style was African to Jason’s insistence that it wasn’t even though nobody had ever seen it before. I’m not even sure if anyone actually commented on the girls.

JT and Robert might be my favorite couple in the history of this show. That’s exaggerated a lot but good God every time these two perform together I want to cry. Travis Wall choreographed tonight’s masterpiece around a mirror which showed JT in Robert’s reflection. That tiny kid tracked big kid Robert’s movements perfectly and when Robert reached in and pulled his reflection through the mirror it felt like he was pulling my heart out. Watching Robert so tenderly work with JT and the genuine emotion that they both show in their work is something I didn’t think we would get this season. I don’t understand where such a tiny soul gets all that feeling, and I’m sure it is just really great showmanship, but it’s working so much for me.

Emma and Gabby closed out the show tonight with possibly my favorite tap routine ever. Or my favorite tap routine that didn’t involve slides and platforms, let’s go with that. New choreographer Chloe Arnold, who comes from Syncopated Ladies, gave them a fiercely cool tap routine full of girl power. Chloe makes tap cool and even though I’m not pulling for Emma to make the top five (personal preference this season, not because she isn’t fabulous) she and Gaby were amazing tonight.

Group numbers tonight were all spectacular. Travis Wall creeped me out a little with an All-Star piece to a morose version of Send In the Clowns. I don’t know what any of this meant but it was creative genius. Second group number by the kids was choreographed by someone whose name Cat said so fast I didn’t catch it but it was dark and haunting and reminded me a lot of something our old friend Sonya Tayeh might do.

So many times tonight I thought, this isn’t bad. I’m going to apologize to Nigel for all the hateful things I’ve said about him for choosing to do this, or rather allowing Fox to make him do this. But then we cut Sheaden and he cried really sad tears and I remembered why shows that involve pitting kids against each other for our entertainment is still a bad idea. Yes, I’m going to say that every week to make myself feel better for voting.

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