July 8th, 2010
10:58 AM ET
Wednesday night's episode of "So You Think You Can Dance" started out with one of the most heartbreaking announcements in the show's history: Alex - arguably the season's strongest dancer - was injured during rehearsals and is sitting out this week, and possibly for the rest of the season.
Considering that he's been involved in two of the most memorable routines of the season, here's hoping for a speedy recovery. No matter what the doctors say, he will automatically be in the bottom three this week (not entirely sure why viewers weren't allowed to vote for him, like they were for Ashleigh last season; maybe the rules to this show are like Calvinball).
Thankfully, the rest of the top eight contestants were determined to give us some memorable routines and several of them were quite successful in that, especially Ashley. She embraced her role as a hip-hop ninja with some of the hardest-hitting moves I've ever seen from a contemporary dancer, at times outshining all-star Dominic. Kudos to Tabitha and Napoleon for two straight weeks of show-stopping choreography.
The producers also had the crazy idea this week to allow the competitors to dance with each other. Perhaps they might grow together as dancers this way (what a concept!). When Kent and Lauren took part in this wacky experiment with a Travis Wall routine about a couple after their prom, the pair (who both recently went to their real proms) had loads of chemistry and performed it beautifully. As for that kiss at the end, I think Adam Shankman was on to something when he said that the connection between them was almost too "honest."
It was a great night for the two remaining girls all around, because Lauren also had a smokin' cha-cha with all-star Pasha, making her the first girl (including Cristina) to really be able to keep up with him. I personally would have liked to see the routine go a little faster, as that version of Lady Gaga's "Telephone" seemed slower than usual to me, but that's just a quibble. (I also wouldn't have minded if Nigel Lythgoe had put a lid on the creepy comments about her costume.)
Back to Ashley: She finished up her stellar night by performing the heck out of her quickstep with Robert, who was similarly outdanced by Kathryn in a routine where he literally had to show the emotional range of a Ken doll (note to choreographers: routines where dancers are robots or aliens rarely work). Depending on what the doctors say about Alex's condition, this could be it for Robert.
Also having a rough time of it last night was Adechike, who got a lot of criticism from Adam and Mia Michaels in his first routine with Courtney about - say it with me - not connecting with his partner, among other things. For once, they were in complete disagreement with Nigel, who felt this was the best routine outside of his own style. I'm taking Nigel's side on this one, despite the fact that I was not a fan of Adechike's last week.
His second routine was the where Alex got injured, and choreographer Nakul Dev Mahajan's assistant stepped in. I felt that he really sold his Bollywood number, especially towards the end when the tempo picked up. However, the judges weren't too impressed with it, causing Cat Deeley to remark on the fact that they gave Jose a lot more slack a few weeks ago when he performed Bollywood. This got her a standing ovation from the audience. Greatest. Reality. Show. Host. Ever. Just sayin' (and snubbed again at the Emmys!). Mia's response that Jose has "this heart thing that grabs everyone," which earned her a few boos.
Not that the audience is suddenly turning against Jose. His "heart thing" really worked for him in his contemporary routine with all-star Lauren, to INXS's "Never Tear Us Apart." Mandy Moore plus '80s music usually equals greatness to me, but the judges were throwing a lovefest for him afterwards, praising his lack of ego. I really liked it as well, but what a difference a Cat makes. His second routine, post-Bollywood - which actually had him hunting a different kind of cat, a jaguar played by Billy - was not as well-received with Nigel saying it lacked power. I really found myself in agreement with Nigel quite a bit this week.
It was actually Billy's second cat of the night, and I preferred it to his "Cats" routine with Katee, stepping in for the injured Allison (what is this, "Dancing with the Stars?"). Maybe it was just the excitement at seeing Katee on that stage again, but I felt like Billy really didn't stand out here. Look for him in the bottom three again.
Just to put the exclamation point on how Billy has faltered outside of his own style, take a look at Kent, who grew by leaps and bounds this week. Aside from his routine with Lauren, his Timberlake-esque hip hop routine with all-star Comfort was better than it had any right to be.
Lastly, I think Adam can officially retire the phrase "You'll see it all in playback" this week. And do you think Nigel has been watching the World Cup? I can't tell.
What do you think? Do you agree that the rest of the top eight pulled off a "fabulicious" show (thanks for another new word, Mia), despite Alex's absence? Do you think that kiss between Kent and Lauren was planned? Share your views on video or in the comments below.
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