June 24th, 2010
08:53 AM ET

Personality prevails on 'SYTYCD'

As we're told time and time again on "So You Think You Can Dance," all the technique in the world won't help you if you don't have the personality to go along with it.

In some cases, like with B-boy Jose's Bollywood routine on Wednesday night, a great personality can overcome a lack of technique. Jose certainly wasn't keeping up with his all-star partner Kathryn, but to the judges, and to myself, that didn't matter because he made it his own, guaranteeing enough votes to come back next week.

Someone else who didn't quite get all the steps down or match his partner's skill level was Kent, but he gave it his all. For whatever reason, the judges were not as forgiving of him. They felt he needed to show more maturity as a dancer, which is absolutely true, but he sold it quite well, and Courtney didn't really "eat him alive" as one might expect.

Then there were the dancers who were far out of their comfort zone, particularly Billy. He had no business out there krumping with Comfort, but he did put forth a worthy effort (more "hit and rebound," as Adam said, is just the minimum of what he needs). He's such a strong dancer overall that the judges gave him a pass as well, but I don't know if he has the same amount of fan support as Jose and Kent to save him from the bottom three.

Also potentially in trouble once again is Melinda, not because she fell short in her performance as "Mother Earth" in a beautiful Stacey Tookey routine with Ade - in fact, the judges praised her surprisingly good lines - but because I don't think it was enough to overcome the fact that some viewers aren't fans of hers. Look for her in the bottom three, as well.

Unfortunately, ballroom dancer Cristina might be there as well, even though she was dancing something close to her style: a paso doble with Pasha. I just didn't see any chemistry, or much passion there, despite the fact that she had the technique down. The judges had a lot of good things to say, but I don't know if the voters will agree.

Ashley, on the other hand, had chemistry in spades with Mark. This week, we finally have some idea who she is... kinda, sorta. She wasn't too far outside of her own style, but I'm thinking she'll stick around a while longer than expected.

Robert also kept himself safe this week, despite the fact that Anya danced rings around him in their Argentine tango. It was a rare moment of extreme disagreement among the judges, and I come down on Mia Michaels' side. However, I'm not sure if any of the guys this season have what it takes to go toe-to-toe with Anya in her style, and Robert's performance was far from bad.

An example of truly bad would be Adichike last week. He showed a lot of improvement in his Mandy Moore routine (and, as I've said before, I have a soft spot for her choreography), and it didn't hurt that he was dancing his own style with Allison. He'll have to get better each week to stay in the competition.

Alex, on the other hand, looked less comfortable outside of his own style. There was a lack of power in his Broadway routine with Lauren, as Nigel Lythgoe said. All three judges had a lot of criticism for him, and I'm curious to see if he would be able to master hip-hop or ballroom. Last week he looked like a contender, and this week those expectations were brought back down to earth.

He could learn a lot from Lauren, who grew by leaps and bounds in my favorite routine of the night. I wasn't impressed by Tessandra Chavez's group number last week, but this week she gave us a lyrical hip-hop number that was up there with some of the best of Tabitha and Napoleon.

When I heard that it was dealing with the heavy topic of domestic abuse, I worried that the somewhat-immature Lauren and the "class clown" Dominic wouldn't be able to pull it off, but boy, was I ever wrong. They absolutely nailed the emotion that was needed in this routine, to the point where they both stayed in character while the judges critiqued them (at least until the extra-cheeky Cat Deeley made a wildly-inappropriate double entendre at the end). I get what Mia was saying about Lauren needing to "get out of the dance and be the abused," but considering where she was last week, this routine was a revelation.

So what did you think? Are you liking this all-star season any more than last week? Did Lauren and Ashley give you any more confidence that at least one of the girls might make it to the finale? And does anyone really think that look at the dancers backstage (wearing their clothes from last Thursday) was actually live? Post your thoughts here on video, or in the comments below.

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Misty Nevarez

    Very much enjoyed the dance of Ashley. She is amazing in her own style and I can not wait to see more from her....

    June 24, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mary E

    I decided to vote for the dancer who I thought did the best job outside of their usual style, and last night, that was Lauren. I also enjoyed the performances of Jose, Robert, Cristina and Ashley, although the latter two were dancing fairly close to their styles. It felt good to vote for a female contestant, after the first week.

    I didn't know what to make of that "Mother Earth" routine. Somehow, I lost track of the concept in the actual choreography, so the routine looked like another contemporary duet. Lovely, but it didn't wow me. Also, I agree with Mia about Melinda's costume: that's not Melinda's fault, of course, but the dress didn't help me with the suspension of disbelief. Melinda did a much better job this week of "losing herself" in the dance, and relating to her partner, which was a welcome development (it helps that Ade is an amazing partner).

    Kent was also unlucky in the costume department. Again, not his fault, but the bondage-inspired neck-belt accessory (don't know what to call it) didn't help. He danced well enough, but to me, he looked very young, and overwhelmed by Courtney. I also thought Alex and Lauren's outfits looked a little cheesy.

    Is there a different costumer this year? Has anyone noticed the wardrobe credits?

    June 24, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  3. 3 left feet

    I voted for Christina. I thought she and Pasha were fantastic. Mark with anyone is fantastic, too. He is a great partner. Sometimes the judges (Ashley) criticisms are just not called for. Don't gripe about the choreography. The dancers aren't doing their own. Just critique how well they did with what they were given.

    June 24, 2010 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |

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