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October 15, 2009 12:00 AM

Just 77 out of 152 hopefuls were left as day two of the So You Think You Can Dance Las Vegas callbacks shifted into the final and most difficult rounds of choreography. Wednesday’s episode looked more like Bruce Lee fighting his way through adversaries in Game of Death than a dance competition, as the exhausted dancers found themselves up against the dreaded choreographer syndicate: Gibson, Michaels and Diorio, who brought one impossible routine after another, leaving some dancers injured and even more heartbroken.

Laurieann Gibson kicked things off with a jazz number that was so tough it split up married pair Karen and Matthew Hauer. She squeaked by with a so-so from Nigel, but he wasn’t so lucky. The tough routine also took out Willem, the remaining same-sex ballroom dancer, and class act Iveta Lukosiute.

Emmy-winning choreographer Mia Michaels dished out the next challenge. While many dancers cried before and after performing her routine, hip-hopper Kevin Hunte shined, wowing the judges with a raw technique that Tyce called “amazing” and “brilliant.” And krumper Russell Furgeson also found his inner Mia, as did fellow b-boy Jonathan “Legacy” Perez, who danced for his life in the first days of Vegas, but avoided being one of the eleven this routine took out.

More than 100 were gone when Tyce Diorio had his turn. Ashleigh DiLello, who had been fielding criticism since her Salt Lake City audition while the judges praised her hunky husband Ryan, nailed the Broadway routine. Nigel told her she had grown the most out of everybody since her audition. Her doting husband — and Hugh Jackman lookalike — wouldn’t even need to dance (that hard) once the ladies got a glimpse of his Wolverine chest. Both unanimously moved on. The Diorio number took out one ankle and possibly a future on the show for Pauline Mata, as well as six more guys including Dominic Pearson, who was looking to redeem himself after an injury in season 4.

Now the judges must decide which of the dancers has what it takes to make the Top 20 and which ones will have to say goodbye — for now, possibly returning to take another shot at next season. … -Jed Dreben

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