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So You Think You Can Dance Is Starting With The Kid In The Mirror

The top nine dancers all perform in their home styles, with their mentors. It means JT knocks out a Travis Wall routine, while Nigel lectures the kids on how to be good little soldiers.

Before Nigel Lythgoe delivers the bad news of this week's elimination -- with bottom-two Sheaden and Ruby on the hot seat -- he has some veiled, pointed comments about how, as aspiring professionals, these kids need to live up to their obligations. Clearly, this is about Daniela's reaction to losing s, when she bolted from the stage and wouldn't return for goodbyes.

And, indeed, when Sheaden gets the bad news that he'd been eliminated, he stays put (albeit looking miserable). Even our beloved Cat Deeley gets into the act, making sure to hook an arm around him before they cut away to his highlight reel. The show got what it wanted: Sheaden in tears, hugging his fellow dancers, letting the cameras capture every sobbing moment. Sheaden may have been eliminated, but at least he's not a disappointment to Uncle Nigel, and I guess that's all that counts.

9. Sheaden (coach: Marko)

He gets eliminated, so by definition he's got to finish last. But his hip-hop with Marko is really on point. He pulled faces like crazy -- not a rare thing among this crowd of youngsters -- but his musicality is solid. And he gets the best set of judges critiques yet. All for naught, though.

8. Emma (coach: Gaby)

Emma and her mentor deliver a tap routine that feels very hip-hop-influenced. Of the two dancers who have always presented as too young, Emma really gets shown up by JT. She probably deserves to be bottom two next week, except I have no idea on what basis viewers are voting this season.

7. Jake (coach: Jenna)

That was a heady time last Monday, with Jake atop my rankings. Not so this week, after a samba with Jenna that is way above his pay grade. Plus, you know I love Dmitry Chaplin, but how's he gonna water down his Danny/Lacey samba from Season 3 with the same music but PG moves? Just do something different!

6. Ruby (coach: Paul)

Ruby finishes in the bottom two this week and is definitely slipping while other dancers are making their moves up the ladder. Not a good trajectory. It's too bad, because I think she's managed to crack the code on how to do an effective ballroom solo.

5. Jordan (coach: Sasha)

I have no complaints about Jordan and Sasha's Ray Leeper routine. Certainly not about the costumes that make them look like outtakes from a Eurythmics video. But Jordan is another one who's flirting with disaster by simply maintaining her high level rather than moving up. Also she doesn't seem to know what a saxophone is?

4. Tahani (coach: Comfort)

I'm going to be honest: Tahani lost points with me during the dumb little interstitials/filler segments when the show had the kids deliver adorable little stump speeches in order to properly commemorate this presidential election that anyone watching So You Think You Can Dance is desperately trying to avoid. Anyway, Tahani's "platform" is that she doesn't like it when her mom takes her phone away. Which immediately aged me ten years as I blurted "Good! She should!" at the screen. That said, Tahani and Comfort do a fun dance hall routine that feels light on choreo but heavy on attitude.

3. Kida (coach: Fik-Shun)

Kida's inevitability is beginning to sap some of the fun out of his routines. He and Fik-Shun deliver a professional, polished hip-hop (about ventriloquists and dummies, of course), and lord knows I love a good Dave Scott routine, but Kida might really want to pull out a dazzler soon.

2. Tate (coach: Kathryn)

Nothing helps fight off the boredom of expected excellence like a Brian Friedman-choreographed routine. Especially one with two big ribbons criss-crossing the stage for the dancers to play off of. It occurs to me that, among the contemporary/jazz/ballet dancers, Tate is the only one who can match up physically enough to be able to perform classic-style SYTSYCD routines. It's incredibly refreshing.

4. JT (coach: Robert)

Before you start, no, I haven't come around on JT entirely. He still seems more like a novelty act than an actual dancer. But he's definitely improved. And watching him dance in his home style -- both in his solo and especially in his and Robert's Travis Wall-choreographed routine -- is undeniably beautiful to watch. Even when it's set to Alexandre Desplat's score for The Danish Girl. Utilizing a stand-up mirror as a prop in some pretty genius ways, Travis's contemporary creation was most certainly the routine of the night, and while JT was in no danger of going anywhere this week, he might have opened the door for a possible win?

For Star Trek Week, we wonder:

Which dance styles would best fit the Enterprise crew?

  • James T. Kirk's red-hot samba
  • Montgomery Scott's sprightly jig
  • Data's animation routine
  • Tasha Yar's tango de la muerte
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