So You Think You Can Dance Top 10: Routine of the Week

So You Think You Can Dance S09E11: "Top 10 Perform/2 Eliminated"

After last week's bloodbath which saw the dismissal of almost a third of the remaining competitors (including some one-time frontrunners and fan-favorites), this week's Top 10 competition did much to heal our raw nerves. For one thing, it was just a much better episode. No offense to Mia Michaels, but an entire episode devoted to old routines just wasn't very exciting and was an example of how boring self-mythologizing can be. But this week unleashed this show's BEST form of self-mythologizing: The All-Stars! Ten new routines—each contestant paired up with a past contestant—made for a jam-packed show! And many of the routines were plum terrific! But which routine was the best?


ROUTINE OF THE WEEK

Though the judges favored Stacey Tookie's incredible contemporary piece performed by Eliana and Alex (yay!), the performance that stayed with me longest after the credits rolled was the Travis Wall number performed by Cyrus and Jaimie. First of all, it was set to M83's "Outro," which, I mean, I'd probably love ANY performance set to that song. Was it kind of cheating to have chosen that song? Probably! But still, Cyrus did his best work yet as the last man on earth chillin' with the last woman on earth (a way sadder situation than the old cliché suggests!). And that closing walk/drag in darkness they did at the end? Just wonderful, you guys.

You didn't ask, but man do I dislike this show's treatment of Bollywood numbers. True, most of my experience of the genre comes from the 10-hour flight I took on Air India where I watched an endless loop of Bollywood music videos. But still, very few of the actual Bollywood things I've seen have been this terrible/ridiculous:

Just my opinion! Also, I realize Will is a fan favorite, but the fact that he has outlasted both Matthew and George is outrageous. You know? (Confession: I'm still kinda steamed about Matthew not making the Top 10. At least he was in the audience looking happy. At least there was that.)


WHO WENT HOME

Thankfully only TWO contestants went home this week; those four-contestant purges are too much to handle! Based on last week's audience votes, the bottom four were Witney, Chehon, George, and Audrey. The judges opted to save Witney and Chehon.

It was the second week in a row in which the judges saved a foxy blonde teen Utahan. But apparently after saving George last week (instead of Matthew!) Nigel wasn't in the mood to repeat himself this week. Which is actually fine since I think Chehon has a lot of potential for greatness (despite his annoying haircut in this episode). Audrey's exit was a bit of a heartbreaker since she seemed so genuinely different and funny. The main reason these exits have stung so much in the past few episodes was how well-defined each contestant was and how deep this roster has been. Almost everyone seemed like they'd go far. It's just a bit of a rude awakening when we're reminded that not everyone will. But again, at least they made the Top 10 and will go on tour. And from tonight's selection of All-Stars, it's clear the show will invite back even people who didn't go very far during the competition, so there's reason to believe we may see these folks again.


JUDGING THE GUEST JUDGE

It's to this show's credit that nobody even once mentioned that guest judge Benjamin Millepied is Natalie Portman's babydaddy! (And husband too, I guess.) But as much as I appreciate that SYTYCD has been getting actual dance experts to guest judge lately, Millepied was more polite than erudite. Plus, he's undeniably knowledgeable and articulate, but there was something vaguely embarrassing about a ballet expert critiquing a piece about hip-hop vampires. You know? He generally didn't have a ton to say beyond warm-fuzzies.


ETC.

... I am a total sucker for the All-Star element of this show. As Nigel repeatedly pointed out throughout the evening, many of these dancers have gone on to larger successes (okay, mostly involving the Step Up franchise), but will still return "home" to dance for us. I love that. I love the sense of continuity in the SYTYCD universe, how dancers come back to perform and/or choreograph. It seems to affirm the impression that above all else these guys and gals are having a blast. As ridiculous as tWitch and Audrey's vampire hip-hop routine was (why was she dressed like a Fly Girl?), he's such a dashing presence on this show it's impossible not to be entertained. The return of Anya was similarly fun, and obviously it's great seeing Alex and his bionic knees killing it up there. So yeah, I love that on this show, the contestant narratives continue long past their seasons. As a viewer it's very rewarding!

... Also, I've totally come around on the competition-results show hybrid format this season's been using. I love that the first three-quarters of the episode is high-intensity fun, but the last half hour is tense and scary. It used to be the competition nights would sort of just peter out as Cat went over the phone numbers again. But here, there's a mounting sense of dread that someone we've just seen perform won't even be eligible to vote for afterward. I like it. I don't love this season's intermittent airing schedule—four contestant dismissals are a bummer, man—but that probably couldn't have been helped.

... Last thing: The presence of Tyce Diorio in the opening number was really just the dead bird in my guest bed. You know? I mean, the choreography was fine but GET OUT OF HERE, TYCE.

... "Lord have Murphy!" - Mary Murphy.

What was YOUR favorite routine of the night?

Comments (32)
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Please tell me the name of the music that Cyrus did his solo to on the 5th of this month. I first heard it in a richard Gere movie PRIMAL FEAR. Then again as the theme song on SOUTHLAND. Been trying to find a title all this time to no avail. Please help!!! Great job, Cyrus !
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America should already have voted Tiffany, Eliana, Will and Cyrus to be safe tonight and put Lindsay, Witney, Chehon and Cole in danger! So good luck!
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I love how Twitch can make me like anything. That vampiric whatever you want to call it was...it wasn't particularly brilliant, but there is something about Twitch that makes anything watchable.



And Yes. the Bollywood. I'm nothing close to an expert on Bollywood and yet every time I see one of this guys routines, I cringe, because I sense that he's doing something horribly wrong. I look forward to seeing when they branch out and attempt different types of routines. Especially anything remotely close to being cultural...but ugh.



Travis Wall= Incredible. His chereography almost always moves me. He's the new Mia Michaels of this show for me.
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I can definitely say as an Indian person who grew up surrounded by Bollywood dancing that Nakul has absolutely no sense of what the essence of Bollywood is. He just rearranges the same 5 or 6 steps to different music in all of the dances that he has choreographed for SYTYCD. He doesn't really understand the purity and the story behind Bollywood. He has mainstreamed it to the point where it has lost its identity. This is a shame because SYTYCD is exposing this whole new genre of dance to so many people who would normally never have encountered it, and yet, he is giving the audience a completely wrong impression of what it is.



I believe it was a few seasons ago when they made a mistake when they asked the Turkish or Russian guy to come in and choreograph a dance that nobody could judge and then they didnt bring him back again after that, I'm sure the actual dance is quite beautiful but the choreographer screwed up. I wish they would realize their mistake by picking Nakul as the choreographer and bring somebody in who really knows and understands the beauty of real Bollywood without destroying it.



Anyways, I was really sad to see George go, everytime I see him perform I always remember when Debbie Allen said during his first audition that he was one of few people in this world who was born to dance. Everybody on this show is so talented though, only one person can win.



As untalented as people may think Cyrus is, he has so much heart and soul that he puts into everything that he does, and he is not cocky at all about any of his talents. It steals the hearts of those that are watching.
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I heard many SYTYCD do not like the ballroom blondes at all. America has to vote more on Tiffany and Eliana to be safe rather than the ballroom blondes, so please go ahead!
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For the love of God, would America please STOP VOTING FOR CYRUS! Nice guy but he is not anywhere near the being in the same league as any of the other dancers and should not even be in the top 10, or even the top 20. I am so sick of the judges and choreographers coddling him. They got rid of George and kept Cyrus... really??? I am liking this show less and less. It's not about talent or ability at all. That is blatantly evident as long as Cyrus remains "safe".
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Has anyone on any of the voting ever mentioned why they keep the number of votes a secret? They should post the numbers.
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I felt sorry for the four sent home last week as it was totally unfair on them to rehash those old dances. Its fine to say that routines are not written for most dancers and you have to make a routine work, but the problem with these routines was that the viewers are already emotionally attached to them. They are comparing them to when they were first seen and blown away by how good they were. Not sure why it was Mia Michaels appreciation night either. It was lazy tv.

It was great to see Eliana dance with someone other than Cyrus, while I like Cyrus he isn't a great dancer outside of his own style, and I think he was holding her back. Kathryn completely outdanced Will, I don't get why he is a fan favourite.

Maybe they should mix up the pairings each week next year. Having the dancers in the same pairings each week in the beginning is fine for the couples that gel and are of equal skill but if one dancer is weaker than the other, then the better dancer suffers. It also works in reverse with some dancers benefiting if they are with a favourite. This is why I prefer having them dance with the All Stars, plus the All Stars have less pressure with more experience which surely will help the new dancers.

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Eliana will win it all because of her strong independent talent on dancing.
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guess i was the only person voting for george... whenever tiffany and will are in the bottom they'll be out.



i really don't find cyrus that entertaining when he dances outside his animation-style(and he always does that pop-tick regardless of the style). there's a serious lack of technique that i just can't get past.



eliana did the best, bar none. she and alex weaved around each other like liquid, it was marvelous. lindsay was superb, i was surprised the judges didn't stand for her. george was so energetic! but i understand when they said there was no passion between him and his partner, but for a 19 year old gay guy it really would be a feat to fake those feelings.



i thought it was funny the producers kind of sabotaged will and tiffany by having them do bollywood and disco. we'll see how the voting goes next week...
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Cyrus is a good dancer.
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r u kidding me?
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What do you think?
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It feels like first we spend months watching the auditions and now they just send everyone home at once. Also i do not understand why Tiffany is still there. When she came on i thought "who the hell is that??". Couldn't remember ever seeing her before! But you don't vote for Whitney? She's so wonderful. I don't get you guys.
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Unfortunately, both blondes will not beat Tiffany or Eliana and one of the blondes will get eliminated this Wednesday. I wish the top four girls would be Audrey, Lindsay, Tiffany and Witney. But we can't help it.
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I officially despise this new format and nigel, his comments are completely biased on the results he already knows. It's a dead giveaway and unfair. How could Audrey possibly be eliminated she was a complete standout, there is already one blonde ballroom dancer there was seriously no need to save another
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Well if Eliana was in the bottom 2 girls with the other of these girls (Audrey, Lindsay, Tiffany and Witney), then Eliana would have been eliminated. But it turns out that Eliana had a strong advantage of being an independent talented dancer on herself than the other four girls. I wish Eliana would go home instead, but we can't help it.
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I was predicting that this would have been the top 4 girls: Audrey, Lindsay, Tiffany and Witney. Eliana would have been one of the two bottom girls and then eliminated. But Eliana was saved because she had an advantage of being a strong independent talented dancer, unlike the four other girls.



I was predicting that this would have been the top 4 guys: Chehon, Cole, Cyrus and George. Will should have been one of the two bottom guys and then eliminated. But Will was saved because of his dancing momentum.



I predict that the next eliminated dancers for next week are: either Lindsay or Witney AND either Chehon or Cole.
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I could not believe Tyce put himself front and center in his own routine. I get that Cole was injured, but ego much??



Routine of the week: Lindsay and Jakob.
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Totally agree with you about Cyrus' routine. But Eliana and Alex (YAY! to his return, I was expecting him back in the competition a couple years back) was beautiful too.

I will miss George. I thought Nigel's critique of George was a give away that he was going home though. That part (critiquing already knowing who is in the bottom 3) is tricky because last week I called the guy who was going to be eliminated based on Nigel's cross examination of what Mia's father did.

On another note, I don't find this group of dancers as charismatic as those from other seasons, hope that changes.
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Perhaps my opinion of the sophistication and dance knowledge of the voting public is too low, but I honestly doubt that 99% of the people watching the show would be able distinguish one dancers performance from their partners in a dance.

It's not relevant any more now that the all-stars are here, but I would think that people voting for a dance that they liked would vote for both people doing it.



I don't get how one person would end up in the bottom 6 without their partner.



That being said, I probably bitched when weak dancers were paired with strong dancers and made it to the top ten on the strength of their partner, so apparently there's no pleasing me.
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Routine of the night - Lindsay and Jacob were amazing. Travis Wall is overrated. Also, it's a tragedy that Jacob didn't at least get to go on tour for season 6. Season 6 fall season, WORST IDEA EVER.



Disco was also very good, Brandon and Janelle's disco still tops for me.



Audrey got absolutely dominated by Twitch in their routine, the judges can say that they look at the dancers entire body of work, but c'mon, with that fresh in their heads she's going home.



George solo "best that you've ever danced on this show", and Chehon's solo made George look like he was doing the hokey-pokey. Chehon's solo's are INSANE!!
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Audrey does not deserve to go home. Same thing for George.
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