December 2nd, 2009
10:56 AM ET

'SYTYCD' top 10 bring season's best

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There were a lot of memorable moments on Tuesday night's episode of "So You Think You Can Dance," but once again Sonya Tayeh's routine had them all beat. After a respectable but hardly memorable quickstep, it seemed as though two of the most skilled dancers, Ellenore and Jakob, might be in danger. All of those fears were erased as the audience and judges rose to their feet after their pitch-perfect performance of what Adam Shankman called "The Garden, part two," referring to Sonya's classic from season four. As fellow judge Nigel Lythgoe pointed out, it was pure brilliance with great chemistry to boot.

Chemistry, however, was sorely lacking with some of the other new couples in this top 10 group: namely, Ashleigh and Legacy, and Kathryn and Nathan. Don't get me wrong, there were some great moments in some of both couples' routines - except for Ashleigh and Legacy's hip-hop, featuring a flowing, all-too-distracting Dracula cape.

In Kathryn and Nathan's joyous Broadway routine, Nathan was the best he's ever been (Kathryn can certainly be thanked for that) but despite some wonderful technical work in their rumba, the connection wasn't quite there.

Noelle and Ryan had chemistry to spare - not a big surprise as Ryan has lots of experience partnering. So what if their office desk routine was a bit reminiscent of Neil and Sabra in season three? This may have been the best moment for choreographers Napoleon and Tabitha in two seasons ("Calle Ocho" aside).

I was pleasantly surprised to see some great chemistry between Russell and Mollee, especially in their jive, one of the best straight-up performances of the season. That one may have saved Mollee from the axe, because her solo didn't impress me this week.

When Russell took the stage solo, I jotted down in my notes "best solo of the season." That was quickly erased once Legacy performed. The guy keeps topping himself and the standing ovation he received might just be an indication that viewers will pick up the phone for him, despite an off night.

Among the other solos, Jakob continued to show that he is the best dancer this season, period. That's rarely been an indication of who will win, but for now it's safe to say that he will make top eight.

Among the contemporary girls, Kathryn's solo blew Noelle's and Mollee's out of the water, so I think she will stay safe as well. Ellenore's solos always impress, but I can't say the same for Ryan, Nathan or Ashleigh. If I had to guess, I'd say that Ashleigh and Nathan are in the most danger.

What do you think? Do you agree that Sonya's routine was the best of the season? Who has your vote (and who doesn't)? Tell us on video or in the comments below.

soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Stephen

    I think I'm in agreement with the view of several people that the top 2 guys probably ought to be Russell and (obviously) Jakob, based on what we've seen so far. I admit it's a tougher call this season than last, and I can't really rank Nathan, Legacy, and Ryan far below them in skills, or pick an order amongst them. Nathan's clearly a great dancer, though he doesn't always perform as well as he should. Ryan's a great and strong partner but has a tough time soloing. Legacy's working against his skillset but he's done a really impressive job in many styles, and this week's solo really was crazy good.

    The ladies, I'm leaning toward Ashleigh for next out. I've never been too fond of her, but she's done a great job for a lot of dances. This week was a bit iffy, though and brings me back to not being a big fan. But honestly the other four girls I really like! They're all great dancers, they seem sweet and nice (for Ellenore, add in quirky–which I appreciated in Caitlin last season, and was sad when she was cut), and I admit I'm somewhat partial to Mollee, who is just way too cute and bubbly to be such an amazing dancer plus sexy as well!

    (And yeah, I haven't watched the elimination show yet, though I think I caught a peek of who fell this week by accident. :\ )

    December 3, 2009 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Terri

    Responding to Whosurdaddy –
    I don't claim to know any of these dancers personally. I simply stated that I think that Victor's dancing is more mature than Nathan's. Compare all their dances from the season so far including the solos. I think Victor is better and shouldn't have gone home before Nathan.

    December 3, 2009 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. Tom

    It is true, it is Hollywood. Nigel and the rest of the producers are guiding the entire show and voting outcome. Like last year with his constant bashing of Evan. Not that Evan would've or should've won, but they are looking at it from the #'s of viewers. The majority of viewers can't discern the differences in many dances. Sorry, not being mean, simply stating the truth. Their votes become more of an emotional statement, then about talent. Remember this is America's Favorite Dancer, not most talented. That being said, I really wish Nigel would keep 90% of his comments to himself.

    December 3, 2009 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  4. Lindsay

    I also TiVo and skip through the judges. THey talk for waaaay too long!

    December 3, 2009 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  5. RickySBB

    No one can claim they know any of the dancers well enough. Maybe on the surface, including whosurdaddy, we just think we know them. Let's just base our 'judgment' on their technical skills and screen presence. Remember they got there because they ALL can dance. May the deserving and best dance win. Have a great Holiday Season to all!

    December 3, 2009 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mark DuFresne

    This show is an absolute favorite of ours. The kids are SO talented. Love Mollee, Jacob,Russell and Elenor. WOW what dancing!!!!

    December 3, 2009 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  7. Walt B/Newburyport/Mass

    Jakob and Ashleigh still shine no matter the dance style but I was shocked America voted Ryan in bottom two. this seasons top ten is by far the best of any year and SYTYCD keeps on growing.
    Nigel Lithgowe should be honored at Kennedy Center.

    December 3, 2009 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jim Coleman

    Once again the dancers take the heat for a poor choreographer. The Dracula dance was terrible and Ashleigh and Legacy had to stand and take the blame. Hopefully that choreographer will not return. Once the competition gets down to this low number it would be nice to have all couples dance the same dances. 2 couple dances and one solo that is choreographed to exploit the show the various techniques.

    Several years ago they did a special dance that each dancer danced and it was great. It really showed who was the best dancer.

    But don't blame dancers for bad routines.

    December 3, 2009 at 5:46 am | Report abuse |
  9. John D.

    Jakob is the best male performer this season and we have deeply felt Mia Michaels' absence. Ellenore is the best female talent right now. Nigel is the only judge whose comments are fair, constructive, and rendered at a decibel level that doesn't shatter glass. Have I mentioned how much I miss Mia???

    December 3, 2009 at 2:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. Darryl

    Robert W, Nigel is my least favorite part of this show mainly for the reasons you stated. He's so full of himself. I tend to ignore him. I miss the guest judges. Well, at least some of them.


    December 2, 2009 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Robert W

    The only thing wrong with this show is that the judges comments are often longer than the dance routines themselves. Nigel has great enthusiasm but it translates as self-importance when he makes his comments. I usually watch this on Tivo and skip everything but the dancing, so usually I'm through in 20 minutes.

    December 2, 2009 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. wmo

    The Boys, I think Ryan or Nathan will go tonight. I haven't liked any of Ryan's solos compared to the other guys theres not much to them. Nathan can dance but he was acting weird last night I kinda thought it might of been an act trying to look more humble or something.

    The girls, This is hard I think Noelle should probably go and I'm not sure on the other. Elanore was awesome last night I though Mollee did good. Kathryn is good but didn't have a great performance maybe it was her partner. And Ashleigh kinda had an off night.

    December 2, 2009 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Gordon Zaft

    I'm so glad Mollee isn't paired with Nathan anymore. Her performances last night showed what an amazing dancer and performer she is.

    Jakob and Ellinore are probably the best dancers on the show but I don't think either of them will win.

    December 2, 2009 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Whosurdaddy

    Darryl, you didn't miss anything on the show. Seen it first hand. Like I said though the guy can dance, they just make him look good with his personality though.

    December 2, 2009 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. sytycdfan

    I'd love to see Jakob and Kathryn paired up. I think they'd be amazing together.

    December 2, 2009 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Whosurdaddy

    Terri, how do you know how mature Nathan or Victor is? It's amazing how much some of you think you know these men and women but again only see what the producers want you to see.

    December 2, 2009 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Darryl

    Whosurdaddy, how do you know Russell's a jerk? Did I miss something?

    December 2, 2009 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Mary E.

    Hooray for Hollywood! I'm enjoying this season so far, more each week. The chances that I'll meet up with any of these dancers is "slim to none," so I'm mainly interested in how they dance, not what they're like in their personal life. Though I still enjoy the "personal bio" segments. No more crying, though: Nathan and Kathryn were both shown crying last night, and I don't want the weepiness to turn into an epidemic.

    I really like the idea of putting out DVDs of the dances. I'd love to have a recording of Brandon and Jeanine's paso doble from the end of last season, along with other memorable and favorite dances.

    December 2, 2009 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Terri

    I have to say that the first couple weeks I was really unimpressed with many of the dancers and thought Season 5 dancers were better. I was really upset that Victor went home last week over Nathan – Victor's solo was amazing and he is alot more mature than Nathan. Now that we are down to the top 10 and switched couples, the competition is finally heating up although some of this season's choreography is just awful. (I, too, really miss Mia's work.) I think Jakob is the absolute best – no exception- and really hope that he wins. Russell is my second favorite guy. For the girls, I like Kathryn and Ellenore although none of the girls are as good as Jeanette from Season 5.

    I think Nathan should go home tonight or perhaps Legacy (his solo was great but his other work wasn't so much). For the girls, I think Mollee (her solo wasn't good) or Ashley (what a horrible hip hop routine and a terrible costume – neither of which is her fault) may be headed home but won't be surprised if it is Noelle, who is a lovely dancer but hasn't really connected with viewers this season.

    December 2, 2009 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Melanie

    Jakob is in a different class. To know him is to love him. And since I have the pleasure of knowing him personally I can tell you, that you have only seen an inkling of what that boy can do with dance. The judge that said it is a privelege to watch him has it right.. I have had that privelege for a couple of years and he still amazes me.

    December 2, 2009 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  21. stephanie

    This has happened before but I think it is a shame it has to be one guy and one girl to go – -even with the guys not being at the best I still think the guys are out performing the girls except for Eleanore. Wish we could send home 2 girls and keep all the guys.

    December 2, 2009 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Whosurdaddy

    Some of you need to realize this is Hollywood, so everything you see is not as it seems. Russel is a jerk, although he can dance. The portray him to be so great and lovely. Elanor is the most talented female by far, as is Jakob for the men. It's funny how they portray Nathan to be a cocky young 18 year old, but for those of us who know better can see through that. The kid is extremely talented and has gotten absolutely nothing in his style. We rave about Jakob and Elanors dance, but what do you expect from two contemporary dancers in a contemporary piece. Not taking away from them because they are amazing, but wow. Legacy, probably a great guy that can do his own thing, but struggles with most choreography. Great attitude though. Yes I do have a little inside look, maybe a little biased but a few of you are so far from the truth and really don't even though. Remember ladies and gentlemen, it's still Hollywood!

    December 2, 2009 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Darryl

    Yes Tom, I so agree. Kick Tyce to the curb. I've never liked him. He's very full of himself, and his choreography is not all that.

    December 2, 2009 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Tom

    Legacy needs to go at this time. He has made the tour, but the remaining sports need to be kept for those who can master all the styles. Granted the choreography was bad, but the vampire hip-hop was danced poorly by him as well. Possibly showing he can only do his own stuff. He has not performed anywhere to the level or versatility of the others. And the crying is old!

    Otherwise, Jakob is the tops right now! And Sonja is amazing. Now if they can just get rid of Tyce, the playing field will be a bit more even for the dancers and the choreographers.

    December 2, 2009 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Mary E.

    Sonya Tayeh's routine was amazing as performed by Ellenore and Jakob. Ellenore was born to express her choreography, and whatever else happens, I hope she continues to work with Sonya. Jakob and Ellenore are an awesome combination \, and I envision them inspiring choreographers for the rest of the season.

    Whether or not one of them will win, I don't know. I don't know what's going to happen tonight, now that the public can vote for individual dancers. I never expected Ellenore and Ryan to be dancing for their lives last week, so despite her gifts, I'm not sure how popular she is with the public. Nathan, I'm not sure about either. Although we hear about his enthusiastic fans, their votes haven't kept him from landing in the bottom six during recent weeks, so I have to wonder.

    It's interesting to hear from a number of Legacy's fans. I admire his B-Boy prowess and his determination, but I'll admit to having mixed feelings about him as an overall dancer. Yet now I understand better why others are so impressed by him.

    I'm pulling for Jakob and Russell. Jakob, for all the reasons others have stated. Russell, because I think he's a natural-born dancer who has a quality and ease of movement that it's impossible to learn. Since the early weeks of the season, he's developed a lyrical side that I wouldn't have suspected, and he's also quickly developed strong partnering skills. No favorite as yet among the female dancers.

    December 2, 2009 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Kan YeHater

    Nathan doesn't deserve to be in the Top 10. He's too young and cocky.

    December 2, 2009 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Susie

    I actually really enjoyed Nathan and Kathryn's broadway routine last night (well, I love old musicals so that might explain it!). I thought it was beautiful and both dancers were so graceful. Ok, personality-wise, Nathan is awkward and lacking, but I just keep remembering his first solo audition and how impressed I was. Too bad he hasn't shown the same kind of growth and ability several of the others have. The potential is there but he needs to keep working on it!

    December 2, 2009 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Jessica

    As a dancer myself, I'm amazed by Jakob's technique week after week. The man is AMAZING. In general, though, I find myself rooting for Russell the most. He has amazing charisma on stage, and has held his own in all styles. For the women, I like Kathryn best.

    Overall, this season has been a bit of a disappointment for me. I fault the choreographers. They seem to be trying too hard to make different pieces, and the talent of the dancers is lost in the end. Wade for sure has lost it! And I do miss Mia to no end! Where was Tyce last night? He usually has a decent number each week!

    December 2, 2009 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Fran

    Actually Mia is still doing some work for SYTYCD but up in Canada for a bit.

    December 2, 2009 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  30. dsnk

    Someone earlier asked where they could see the performances. I'm sure there are several places, but the best place I've found is on the square eyes blog–she has the links all grouped together and it is super organized (with some good, spot-on comments to boot). Just google "square eyes" and it should come up.

    December 2, 2009 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  31. J

    K, "Mia Michaels is no longer part of the SYTYCD family"? Sounds like you're in the know. I hope you're right; she always rubbed me the wrong way. I found her to be abrasive and rude. A fantastic choreographer, though. But, I couldn't disagree more about Sonja; I am a huge fan of hers and always love her routines. Last night was no exception.

    December 2, 2009 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  32. ckav

    Huge fan of this show. I'm thinking Jakob, Legacy & Ellenore in the finale myself. Kathryn is a great dancer, but she doesn't have the fire Ellenore has, and Jakob is by far the best dancer out there. Legacy is a huge hit, as much for his emotion as his dance skill. I think it's Nathan & Noelle going home tonight.

    dtlovessytycd – I agree, I would love to buy past season's to see some of the older routines again. You tend to forget them over time, and some of them were just insane. Let's hope.

    December 2, 2009 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Carol

    Kathryn, Legacy, and Jacob are amazing talents. I hope Mollee and Nathan go home tonight.

    December 2, 2009 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Rob

    ...And I agree with Mary that the show does take a popularity turn when the viewers begin to vote. Two dancers that should have won based on talent alone that come to mind are Danny and last season's Jeanette. Just sayin'!!

    December 2, 2009 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Darryl

    It was interesting that Adam referred to Nathan as "a very polarizing contestant". He should've went a step further and called Nathan the "Evan Kasparasz (sp?) of this season" to take a little playful jab at Nigel and Mary.

    I'm just not feeling Russell right now but maybe that'll change. Jakob, Legacy, and Ellenore all the way.

    December 2, 2009 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  36. K

    I'm SO not a fan of Sonja, but LOVED LOVED LOVED this routine. Loved Russell, loved Legacy, and thought Mollee and Russell together were awesome. Nathan needs to go, LOVE Jakob.

    Mia Michaels is no longer part of the SYTYCD family. She is working on her own projects.

    December 2, 2009 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Stephanie

    Rob – Mia Michaels is not choreographing this season, though my guess is she'll do 1 routine late in the season.

    Last night belonged to Sonya Tayeh. She is such an amazing, talented choreographer. It did not hurt to have the 2 best contemporary dancers this season, but the 3 of them made magic.

    I think Legacy will be just fine, I am worried about Kathryn. Her solo was great but did it stand out? Honestly, if you look at the girls... who does stand out? They are all talented but none really shine, like Kayla did last season, and later Jeanine. Mollee only shines because she's like a kid on Christmas morning...

    I predict we'll lose Nathan tonight, possibly Ryan but only because Nathan's crazy fans pick up the phone a bit too frequently. As for the girls, I think anyone is game, but Noelle or Kathryn will probably go.

    Good luck to everyone! This season is FINALLY shaping up!

    December 2, 2009 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  38. dtlovessytycd

    Final four = Jakob, Ellenore, Kathryn and Russell. This show is amazing; I wish they sold DVD's of the seasons b/c some routines I would watch over and over. Long live DANCE!

    December 2, 2009 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Fran

    At the end of the performance of Jakob and Ellenore, Cat walked up the steps to meet them at the edge of the stage and indicated that she had chill bumps, I too felt them. I've watched SYTYCD since it's inception, and even got to enjoy the Canadian version this past season and this was by far one of the most memorable performances of all the seasons. Yes, the work of Sabra and Neil was a flittering thought when I saw the performance of Ryan and Noelle.

    Mia we miss you. Maybe Nigel can get Drake to come down to the US to do some choreography, cutting edge and sexy stuff...

    I routing for Jakob!

    December 2, 2009 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  40. kitch

    I think the guy to go will be either nathan or ryan, which is sad, b/c I like ryan's work with a partner. his solo left something to be desired. legacy's solo was insane and showed that HE CAN DANCE, and not just bounce on his head. russel is a total chameleon, in the best way possible. and jacob... sigh. jacob wont win the season because the best technical dancer never does, and plus, his solos sort of lack that necessary charisma. but omg is he amazing!

    as for the girls, I think its either noelle or mollee. I thought ashleigh did a very good solo for a ballroom dancer – one that showed exactly WHY she's so great at what she does. she's got the fire! Kathryn is so gifted even though her solo didnt impress me, and ellenore is incredible – her quirkyness sometimes distracts from the fact that she is has insane technical skills!

    December 2, 2009 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Darryl

    Does anyone know where I can go to see Jakob's solo. The President's speech went a little over and since I forgot to adjust my DVR record end time, I missed out on his solo. Jakob is by far my favorite of the season.

    December 2, 2009 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  42. mary

    Love this show and I think the men are more stronger this season than the women. Stand outs for me are Russell, Ryan, Jakob and Legacy. Tough to pick a winner but I would give the edge to Jakob at this point. The only women that really stand out for me are Ashleigh and Kathryn. I agree with Rob that I think Nathan and Noelle will be in the bottom tonight and they will leave us. As much as I love this show though, hate it when the public starts voting. It then becomes a popularity contest as opposed to the contestants' true worth as a dancer. Still I also realize that without the public's input, the show might not be as popular as it is.

    December 2, 2009 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Jill

    LOVE LOVE LOVE Katherine no matter what routine – she's awesome. I hate the fact that she was partnered with Nathan – even though his broadway number was good. Love Legacy also – I wish Legacy and Katherine could stay together. Molly did awesome last night also.

    December 2, 2009 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  44. JAV

    Legacy killed his solo – man, that boy can move! I've never seen anyone who can hold the heart of an audience like he can.

    December 2, 2009 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Zack

    JACOB ALL THE WAY!!!!!!!

    December 2, 2009 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Rob

    If we get it right...Jacob and Ellenore wind up #1 and 2 respectively. They are both way ahead of the pack in my opinion. Mollie was the biggest surprise of last night. I think Nathan and Noelle should be in the bottom tonight. I feel badly for the ones' that are getting crappy choreography like a couple from last night. Where is Mia Michaels? Either the show!

    December 2, 2009 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Alice

    Hopefully Legacy will be safe despite an off night. He killed his solo. Thank God for that. I'd love to see him dance again with Kathryn.

    December 2, 2009 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  48. teacher7766

    As always, I am excited by how much Russell is growing. He is so much more than he first appeared to be. Wow, about him and Mollee!!

    December 2, 2009 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |

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