By People Staff
June 12, 2009 12:00 AM
Michael Caulfield/WireImage

After Wednesday’s performance show — one of the best ever this early in the competition — So You Think You Can Dance turned to solos and then eliminations on Thursday. With a stellar top 20, surviving meant performances had to be top notch and couples pulling bad routines the night before had no choice but to turn coal into gold.

With the votes counted, it was now up to the judges to decide who would get another chance and who would not. After a forgettable hip-hop routine followed by dreary solos, Paris Torres, 19, one of the many contemporary dancers on the show, and her partner Tony Bellissimo, 20, one of only two hip-hoppers this season, were season 5’s first two dancers voted off.

The only other couple that might have gone instead of the ousted pair, surprisingly, was Asukah Kundoh, 25, the sexy Latin ballroom dancer, who is seemingly unable to shine since losing her partner Ricky in Vegas, and Vitolio Jeune, 26, a contemporary who appears to have misplaced his winning personality — and his shirt!

In the end, though, the judges based their decision on genre in Paris’s case and lack of improvement in Tony’s.

But the season seems to be more about choreography than partnering. While Tabitha and Napoleon Dumo helped Philip Chbeeb and Jeanine Manrara become instant favorites with their exceptional hip-hop number, they put Tony and Paris so deep in the bottom three with their second creation that they couldn’t dance their way out.

So for the judges, who, according to Nigel and Adam, are very aware of hit-and-miss choreography, it was up to the dancers and their solos to determine their fate.

“In our deliberations tonight, I didn’t think any one of the three boys did a great job,” Nigel told PEOPLE after the show. “The three of them you just wanted to slap around in the face with a wet fish and say, ‘Come on now, wake up!’ And you got to say with Paris, her solo was a little competition dance, and when I look at the other girls in the Top 20, you just go wow!”

Also on Thursday, Sean Kingston delivered the first live musical performance of the year, singing “Fire Burning,” and the first guest dancers performed a masterful Tango live on stage. — Jed Dreben

Tell us: Were you surprised by the results? Did America and the judges make the right decision?Michael Caulfield/WireImage