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So You Think You Can Dance Recap: Top 6 Dances – 11×10

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SYTYCD-Jessica-CaseyI can’t believe we’re already into the Top 10, city kids, as “So You Think You Can Dance“ eliminates four—yes, four—dancers from the competition. The season really flies by, especially when you do that.

Christina Applegate returns to the judging table, along with Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy. She’s entertaining and informative, saying some very funny things—but boy do I feel old when she makes a “This is Spinal Tap” reference and gets crickets in response. While we’re on the subject, is it just me, or does anyone else find the banter getting more and more awkward?

Cat Deeley announces the eight dancers who are moving into the Top 10, revealing that Jessica, Carly, Emily, Casey, Serge, and Teddy are in jeopardy, and that the judges can only save two of them. It’s difficult to lose any of them, especially with such a strong group of dancers this season, and now another one of my favorites is headed home. It’s not too surprising that they save Casey and Jessica (thought I wouldn’t be heartbroken if the latter went home), but I’m so sad to see Teddy go.

It’s another difficult task to pick only 5 favorite routines tonight, especially with such a demonic Top 14. At least four routines have a demonic theme, encompassing devils, vampires, voodoo dolls, and sea creatures—five if you include the winning crew, Academy of Villains, and their neon skeletal number. Three of these even make it into my Top 6. (Yep, I’m upping my number again.)

Bridget and Emilio start the night off right with a devilish jazz by Ray Leeper, strutting and popping to a great song by Avicii, in red and black outfits and bowler hats. (I may have to finally check out the iTunes page Cat keeps telling us about.) It reminds me of “What You Feel,” the demon’s (Hinton Battle) big number in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”’s brilliant musical episode “Once More with Feeling.” Sharp, clean, lots of attitude, and lots of fun.

Mandy Moore choreographs a beautiful red and black contemporary for Rudy and Tanisha. It’s gorgeous and moving, sensual and sexy, without being over the top, and the lifts—especially that impressive one-handed over the head lift—are amazing.

Frickin’ Travis Wall does it again. He’s so brilliant at turning emotion into movement and painting visual pictures with raw energy it’s just ridiculous. And magical. Both of his routines tonight fit this description. Jessica and Casey’s duet to Hozier’s “Like Real People Do,” which is lovely and emotional while still energetic, has gorgeous, inventive moves, like the human pendulum swing and Jessica’s gut reaction—literally—to that kiss (I was concerned when they made such a big deal about the kiss in the package, but Travis’s approach is always unique). Absolutely stunning. As Christina so eloquently said, “Travis Wall, shut your face.”

Ricky and Valerie have so much fun in Pharside and Phoenix’s wicked witch doctor and voodoo doll hip-hop routine. Valerie, looking like Sally from “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” is soaking up everything the amazing Ricky has to offer and is growing in leaps and bounds. She embraces the character, dances with everything she has, and clearly loves what she’s doing. That split wave is incredible, and so unique.

I remember being impressed with Academy of Villains during the voting phase eight weeks ago, but I still did not see this coming. Their neon-skeleton routine is hip, cool, and fun, with great choreography and terrific use of props. Good musicality and inventiveness too, with their funhouse mirrors and leap-through picture frames. Awesome fun.

Travis really excels in choreographing for men, and tonight’s group routine is no exception. He shows off this strong ensemble of male dancers as they undulate and flow like the coral reef. Comfortable showcasing soloists within the context of the ensemble, Ricky flips backwards up onto the group of men, floating above the rippling water, while Emilio flies through the air to be caught effortlessly by the group. The creatures dive back into the water, off the edge of the stage, at the number’s end. Just gorgeous.

So what did you think, city kids? Who are you glad is staying? Who are you sorry to see go? Did the judges make the right calls? Are you excited to see the All-Stars next week? Chime in below.

Renée Camus is a writer, former dancer, and pop culture junkie living in Burbank, California, with her animator husband and two beautiful cats. She has written about dance for Los Angeles magazine and writes about pop and geek culture on her blog at Geek Adjacent. Follow her on Twitter at @camusr6.

Renée Camus has written posts on Reel Life With Jane.


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