It’s been proven in seasons past that pulling the right routine and choreographer out of the hat is the first crucial step in the early voting rounds of So You Think You Can Dance. The other is making the routine memorable. The Las Vegas cuts now behind them, it was time on Wednesday’s episode to find out which of the top 20 dancers have what it takes to avoid the bottom three and the judges’ chopping block — especially this week as nobody wants to be the first two to be voted off.
Contemporary dancer Jeanine Mason, 18, and popper Phillip Chbeeb, 20, were the first pair to be revealed. Fortunately, they got a hip-hop routine choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon Dumo and set to Ne-Yo‘s “Mad,” which was the perfect platform for Chbeeb to release the popping and body-locking-stopping greatness he is already famous for, while generously allowing Mason to put the finishing touches on a sizzling chemistry. The judges all agreed with Adam Shankman, who called it, “un-freakin’ real!”
Former gymnast Caitlin Kinney, 21, and sporty Jason Glover, also 21, landed a Bollywood number choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan. Taking on a style, because of its technical difficulty, that most dancers fear, the duo stunned the room with a beautiful and effortless routine in gorgeous costumes set to “Jai Ho” from the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack.
Sexy Miami salsa dancer Janette Manrara, 25, helped Mia Michaels‘ bane, Brandon Bryant, 19, vindicate himself with a fox trot choreographed by Louis Van Amstel. After dancing to Michael Buble‘s “Come Fly With Me,” Mary, who was having an especially wacky night (at one point admitting to host Cat Deeley how she was unable to raise an eyebrow “because of Botox”), declared to Brandon, “If nobody sees the talent that you are, they’re just crazy!” That means you, Michaels!
Wade Robson and his wife Amanda channeled classic Woody Allen to help four-time SYTYCD hopeful Ashley Valerio, 22, and Hawaiian native Kupono Aweau, 23, get a perfect start as star-crossed crash-test dummies in a beautiful routine set to “Felt Mountain” by Goldfrapp.
And her grandparents would be proud as Kayla Radomski, 18, a jazz/contemporary specialist, and Russian ballroom dancer Max Kapitannikov, 26, ended the night with a “truly sensational” samba routine choreographed by Louis Van Amstel. Looking like pros from Dancing with the Stars, the pair had Adam screaming “that was so good!” They also got the season’s first tickets Murphy’s “hot tamale train.” — Jed Dreben
Tell us: Who was your favorite pair of the night? Who is in danger of going home?