SYTYCD first night of competition

The Top 20 will perform tonight. Two dancers will go home tomorrow based on America's votes. Three pairs will be in danger, and I imagine as in previous seasons, the judges will decide who to save.

The Top 20 are:

Ashley (contemporary)
Alexander (contemporary)
Caitlynn (contemporary)
Chris (hip-hop)
Clarice (jazz)
Jess (a guy - broadway)
Iveta (ballroom)
Marko (jazz)
Jordan (jazz)
Nick (tap)
Melanie (who looks like Ginnifer Goodwin - contemporary)
Ricky (contemporary)
Miranda (contemporary)
Robert (hip-hop)
Missy (jazz)
Tadd (love! - hip-hop)
Ryan (a girl - contemporary)
Wadi (a guy - hip-hop)
Sasha (contemporary)

Tonight on the judges' panel is Nigel, Mary, and Megan Mulalley. Megan Mulally? What's she doing there? Well we learn that she was a ballet dancer back in the day--she's also done some Broadway shows. And, she's seen every episode of SYTYCD.

I wasn't counting the dancers, but one dancer was missing. Mitchell injured his elbow and doctors have advised him to rest. He can't perform tonight, and he's automatically in danger of elimination tomorrow. Poor guy--he's sitting in the audience with tears in his eyes. That has to suck.

First couple up are Jordan and Tadd--yay--my two faves (so far). They'll be dancing African Jazz, choreographed by Sean Cheesman. He says the piece is inspired by the lava of a volcano. Music: "Riding the Waves" by Afro Celt Sound System. They were awesome! So much power. Nigel said it was tremendous. Mary expected Jordan to knock it out, but she was sensational. She was worried for Tadd (the B-boy), but that went away after two seconds. She says he emerged as a star. Megan complimented the precision and power, and brilliant choreography.

Next up are Sasha and Alexander. The two contemporary dancers get to do a contemporary routine choreographed by Travis Wall. Travis says the routine is about Alexander's conscience coming back--he did something wrong in a past relationship, and the conscience has come back to tear him to shreds, the way his ex was torn to shreds. Music: "Stupid" (Mark Bell Mix) by Sarah McLachlan. Wow..she ran and jumped into his arms with one leg over his shoulder, the other at his waist. Very cool. Another great pairing and another great performance. That was fantastic. Mary said it was another great routine by Travis. She said that Sasha is so strong, dynamic...she has power, stage presence. Mary didn't feel connection between the two from Alexander. Megan loved it. She said Sasha came into this as a favorite and that isn't going to change any time soon. She also felt the disconnect from Alexander. Nigel loved it. Said he needs more emotion from Alex and that Sasha was outstanding.

Clarice and Jess are paired next. They'll be dancing Broadway--good for Jess since that's his specialty. Tyce DiOrio will be choreographing. Jess has been on Broadway three times. Music:  "Me and My Baby" by Liza Minnelli.  Cute routine, but before I watched it, my sister commented on Facebook that Clarice's black undies were peeking out from under her costume, so that was all I could see. Megan loved everything about it. Nigel said Clarice is a beautiful girl and beautiful dancer, but she'll need to work hard to keep up with Jess. He says he can tell that Jess is going to be one of his favorites this season. Mary said it was an amazing celebration of dance.

Ryan is paired with Ricky. They're dancing Lyrical Hip Hop, choreographed by Christopher Scott from the League of Extraordinary Dancers (LXD), who are AMAZING (see below). Music: "Ain't No Sunshine" by Lighthouse Family. Ricky is a great dancer--his moves are so fluid and smooth. Ryan holds her own, but looks a bit jerky, compared to Ricky. Good routine. Judges liked it, though they were a little confused by the story. Megan said it was beautiful.

League of Extraordinary Dancers

Next is Caitlynn is paired with Mitchell. But gosh, we already learned that he's hurt. They will be dancing one of Sonya Tayeh's jazz routines. Since Mitchell's not dancing tonight, Caitlynn dances with Season 7's Robert. Music: "In for the Kill" (Skream's Let's Get Ravey Remix) by La Roux. Great routine. Caitlynn held her own against Robert who is SO talented. Mary said Caitlyn's legs and extension are spectacular and that she was luck to have Sonya as a choreography. Mary said, "You. Were. Brilliant." Judges loved it. (I'm multi-tasking here and don't have time to record all the judges' comments.)

Miranda is partnered with Robert for a jive routine by Jason Gilkison. Music: "Runaway Baby" by Bruno Mars. Robert channeled his inner Urkel and was so much fun to watch in this routine. He was the nerdy guy going after a girl way out of his league. Megan said you'd have to be in a coma not to like that. Nigel dinged Robert for not pointing his toes. And asked for more confidence from Miranda.

Next are Missy and Wadi for a jazz routine by Sean Cheesman. This one is about Pandora's Box and sexy demon clones being released. Music: "Judas" (R3hab Remix) by Lady Gaga. Hmm...not sure how I felt about that one. They didn't seem to have much chemistry and it's like there were two separate performances going on. Nigel loved it. Mary loved it. Megan loved it.

Melanie is paired with Marko for a contemporary routine by Travis. Lucky for them since they both dance contemporary. The story is: two separate statues come to life at night, and the male statue wants to become one statue. Music: "Turn to Stone" by Ingrid Michelson. Wow. Exquisite is the word that comes to mind as I watch this routine. Both Melanie and Marko have such grace and control. Beautiful. Mary has tears in her eyes and said, "every once in a while a number comes along that is so magical and everything happens like one with the universe. There's this perfect partnership, this amazing chemistry, this amazing technical level of dance, there's this amazing artistry...and amazing, amazing choreography....It's just breathtaking. Megan had tears too. She said "It's one of those special ones." I agree. Nigel said this is the first night, and this could be the first Emmy-nominated routine. He thinks Melanie is the best female dancer ever on the show.

Ashley and Chris are next. They're taking on hip-hop (convenient for Chris since that's his style) choreographed by Chris Scott. A couple discovers they're cheating on each other. Chris has an emotional moment during practice because he was cheated on once before. I feel ya, Chris. Music: "Forget You" by Cee Lo Green. Cute routine--but Ashley looked a little too happy throughout, considering the story. But they did make up in the end, so that deserves a smile. Nigel thought it was a fun routine. Mary said it was pure entertainment. Megan loved it.

And finally, it's time for Iveta and Nick. Iveta didn't seem too excited by her partner. They're dancing ballroom (the quick step) by Jason G. They say she's 30 years old, but I think she looks much older than that. Did anyone check her long form birth certificate? Music: "Ballroom Blitz" by Sweet. I always look forward to Mary's commentary after the ballroom dances. It looks good to me, especially for a quick step, but what do I know? Well, Mary and the other judges gave a standing "O" so I guess that says it all. Oh! Iveta better have done well--she's the world champion of the quick step! Nigel said Nick "came up to scratch," or in other words, held his own. Mary read off a checklist of what a quick step is supposed to have, and this routine had it all.

Whew, this is long. Thanks for hanging on if you made it this far.

The only routine I didn't really enjoy was Missy and Wadi. The teams are very strong this season, and this was a great show. It'll be hard to see anyone leave.

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