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HOME > So You Think You Can Dance > So You Think You Can Dance 7

'So You Think You Can Dance's Top 11 finalists take to the stage


By Christopher Rocchio, 06/17/2010 

So You Think You Can Dance's Top 11 seventh-season finalists took to the stage and performed for the first time during Wednesday night's live broadcast of the Fox reality competition series.

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The following is Reality TV World's recap of the performance broadcast in the order which the Top 11 finalists danced.  Also included are comments from each of the three judges -- Nigel Lythgoe, Mia Michaels and Adam Shankman -- as well as the style, all-star partner and choreographer for each routine.

On Thursday at 9PM ET/PT, the three finalists who received the lowest number of home viewer votes will be revealed and perform solo routines before the judges decide who will be eliminated.


Billy Bell, a 20-year-old contemporary dancer from Palm Beach, FL who currently resides in New York, NY

Style: Broadway
All-Star Partner: Lauren Gottlieb
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio

Nigel said: "I must say Tyce was listening to different music... Tyce was using much longer movements. It really suited you Billy, because you've got that style. You've got a bigger kick than Jaden Smith in the Karate Kid. That leg's up there! I think what you've got to be careful of this season is to get the chemistry together with your partner very quickly, because you're moving onto the next partner. I think you did that. I think you had a good buddy relationship with Lauren. I think it worked for you. Congratulations. Good start."

Mia said: "I am so proud of you. I love seeing you dance like this, which I think is very different for you -- extremely different. I think you tackled it, and I think you did an awesome job. My feeling was that you did focus on the length of the choreography instead of the bounce and the freneticness of the movement. But all in all, you danced like a boy, which is very good. But now, for the rest of the competition, you're going to dance like a man. Awesome job."

Adam said: "I'm just going to throw you what I think your biggest challenges are going to be this season because dancing is just too bloody easy for you. Dancing is just something that comes naturally and is too inside of your body. So for you to grow inside of the competition, these are the things that I want you to focus on. You need figure out about inhabiting the character. Once you investigate the character, you've got to stay there the whole time. Every once in a while I saw you look and you dropped character, to check out where Lauren was. But that's normal. It's what's in between the steps that you need to fill out. This is super important: What is it the choreographer didn't give to you? When you smacked her but, maybe a reverb happened there as opposed to just a stop. For you, it's all about what's in between. The actual dancing stuff is going to be way to easy for you because you're a bit of a super boy."

Cristina Santana, a 24-year-old salsa dancer from San Diego, CA

Style: Jazz
All-Star Partner: Mark Kanemura
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh

Nigel said: "I've got to say in truth, that routine for me was all about the coming together of Sonya and Mark. That was like seeing the sun of the garden. That style is fabulous to see. To give you all the compliments that I can give you by saying that you were absolutely tremendous in it. My eyes didn't always go to Mark, they stayed with you. Adam has already spoken about filling the spaces -- the bits of choreography that you're not given. You did that. When he's got your leg behind you and he's turning it around and you're giving us the head roll, the fluidity of your body knowing the style that you normally do, I can only compliment you. We know that you're good. You're now showing America that you're good. That was terrific. Well done."

Mia said: "You were partnered with a genius of twisted dark, he is unbelievable. You were partnered with probably the best right there for that genre. You did an awesome job. You really captured the essence. I would have liked more twisted with your face, but your body was so unexpected for me, to see your technique for a salsa girl. Your attitudes were kind of flawless. I was very impressed. I didn't expect it coming from you and I am so proud of you. Congratulations."

Adam said: "I don't even know if the word is proud. I'm stunned. When I saw that you were working with Sonya and doing this, I was just like, 'Disaster. This is not going to work.' I was wrong! I was so wrong! What was so incredible was, first of all, I saw no trace of a salsa dancer in you. I saw a contemporary jazz dancer. You fully inhabited the character. You're in there giving complete performance. I'm just going to say, I think the dancing thing is working out better than the singing thing. Just tremendous."

Jose Ruiz, a 21-year-old b-boy from Miami, FL who currently resides in Pembroke Pines, FL

Style: Hip-hop
All-Star Partner: Comfort Fedoke
Choreographer: Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo

Nigel said: "You're a b-boy, so you don't do hip-hop, you do breaking. You've never done choreography before. So now all of a sudden you've got to count and do steps that people are asking you to do. On top of that, you've got to become a character. So you have done things this week that you've never done before in your life. I love the routine... This for me, for you, was absolutely outstanding. I wasn't anticipating that at all. Congratulations."

Mia said: "The only criticism I have is that when you are on the floor, your character, your commitment, your fierceness is so solid. Then when you do the choreography, which is new for you, there's a little bit of 'eh.' You have to be as committed and know your power and know how fabulous you are and bring what you bring on the floor to your feet. You are really special young man and you have grown from last week to this week, like a lot. Congratulations."

Adam said: "What Mia just said is legitimately what this show is all about and getting to the end. It is improving week after week, and that is what gets people through. You have very successfully come not only legions from Vegas, but a huge step since last week. So congratulations. What was so amazing to me... That is so crazy that you can get into that crazy character and then turn into that happy, little boy. It's so amazing. It's very, very sweet -- and that's going to get you votes, so keep it up. I loved the character. One note, and I said this to you about your tricks last week, work on power moves that are faster because you're going to need to get more dynamic."

Adechike Torbert, a 23-year-old contemporary dancer from Brooklyn, NY who currently resides in Queens, NY

Style: Jazz
All-Star Partner: Kathryn McCormick
Choreographer: Travis Wall

Nigel said: "I thought the choreography was wonderful. You had so much going on there for you. Kathryn was giving you everything there. Goodness me. She just moved so well. I didn't quite believe -- because it's going to come down to, at the end of the day, these performances as well as great dances -- I didn't quite believe this was your fantasy. I didn't quite believe like you really wanted her as much as she was giving it to you. You must watch, week on week now, it isn't just about steps. It's about dancing and performing. I thought you did all of the steps really, really well. But I know that you can perform better than you did tonight."

Mia said: "I'm going to probably be harsh on you right now. First of all, Travis that was a great piece of work. I feel like he gave you a venue for a lot of sexual chemistry and there was nothing between the two of you at all. I know she was giving you a lot. She was giving you everything pretty much, and there was nothing there. I feel like you brought nothing but stiffness and strength and empty technique. You brought nothing to the stage for me, I'm so sorry."

Adam said: "Yes, Travis gave you this incredible opportunity to be a great partner. Technically you were because you were there for her all the time. You had her in the right place, you put her in the right place, you went down to kiss her at the right moment -- all of that. It wasn't about what I said before, going that extra step. What is it that you need to bring into it, that extra little something that you need to do. Here's the thing: We don't have a Top 20. We're down to a Top 11. So you missed all the learning period. You have to get there right from the get-go, so you have to become a different kind of a partner. But good job. Good job."

Melinda Sullivan, a 22-year-old tap dancer from Thousand Oaks, CA who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA

Style: Jive
All-Star Partner: Pasha Kovalev
Choreographer: Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin

Nigel said: "Melinda there's no question you are vivacious. You're vivacious, gorgeous. My eyes go straight to you. You've got a lovely face, be careful you don't pull it around too much. It's maybe a little bit over the top this week. The retraction from your kicks was very good. But your legs were a little turned out and they were a bit wide on it, so it started to not look comfortable. I don't think this style suited you. I'm afraid -- and I love you to death -- but I'm afraid you're a bit like the England goal keeper Robert Green: You're a bit unsafe this week. So in truth, I'd break out your tap shoes. I think you're going to be dancing tomorrow."

Mia said: "I'm going to kind of agree with Nigel as well. There's something about your legs. Looking at them right now, they're fabulous. But when you dance -- and I don't know if it's because of the heels or what -- you come across pigeon-toed, and then you don't straighten your legs completely. So there's a lack of sexiness and a lack of something that's going on that I can't quite pinpoint. Your performance is there. You're a great performer. We do love, we so love you. Be careful not to go over the top because it can become like a big box of corn flakes. Be careful with that. Be authentic as you are, because you are."

Adam said: "When you watch it back, you're going to see all this stuff. You are going to learn a lot, and it's really, really good. What you are going to see is you are going to see is you are a good actor and you are a really, really good entertainer and performer. That is what you used to mask your weaknesses in learning the style. So you blew out the performance... The other thing that I want you to work on, because I've seen this before with you and it happens only sometimes, but the way your hands finish. Sometimes they get very stiff and rigid and they don't have a purity of line. You're going to have that happen to you over and over again when you do ballroom. But honey, we love you. You're amazing. So just work on the stuff you see."

Alex Wong, a 23-year-old ballet dancer from Vancouver, Canada who currently resides in Miami, FL

Style: Contemporary
All-Star Partner: Allison Holker
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh

Nigel said: "I believe that you have just set a new standard for So You Think You Can Dance. Let me say that sometimes we concentrate on the architecture of dance, we worry about lines -- and you've certainly got beautiful lines. We concentrate on those and the structure of dance, and we forget the poetry of dance. We forget sometimes to dance because steps are in the way. Tonight, you have shown that you can have that structure and that beautiful artistry melded together and put into a performance that was utterly fantastic. This is everything that I hoped bringing all-stars back would generate -- an absolutely fantastic piece like this. Your partner Allison tonight and you were absolutely mega-light years ahead of everybody else. And Sonya, oh my god. Sonya, I've got to say, she's so inspired she raised her game because she's got two fantastic people to choreograph as well. So this is a complete situation... I am so, so happy and relieved that this format is working."

Mia said: "The pain that exuded from Allison and you. I know that Allison has lived a lot of life since she left the show and came back, and my god. But I have to say that that was the best, hands-down, piece of work danced on the So You Think You Can Dance stage anywhere in the world up to date. Anywhere. And the choreography, Sonya, you have completely outdone yourself. Alex you are sheer perfection, you are sheer genius. Sonya, you are sheer genius. Allison, I can't even go on. I'm shaking with how brilliant you are. I'm so honored and so excited about your journey. You are everything."

Adam said: "Alex, one of the things that happens on this show a lot is that a dancer is paired with a choreographer who ups their game and just makes them so much better. I actually think the reverse just happened. I think those dancers just made you a totally different choreographer Sonya. I think that was so incredible and that speaks to how amazing you are. We saw none of this performance level -- ever -- from you. Now I know why they did not want you to leave the Miami City Ballet. You're unbelievable."

Alexie Agdeppa, a 26-year-old jazz dancer from Rowland Heights, CA who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA

Style: Hip-hop
All-Star Partner: Stephen "Twitch" Boss
Choreographer: Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo

Nigel said: "It's funny that you and your partner tonight Twitch both tried out two or three times before they made it on the show. He was hugely successful, and I think you're going to be as well. You're such a cute little dancer. You're so sweet. I think you've got to be careful in this style, that it isn't too cutesy because with Tabitha and Napoleon's choreography, there is always a resistance there that you seem to go through. You watch Twitch, he hits it and the resistance comes in against it, and then he gets to the point. You're just getting straight there. So be careful with this style that it does flow but every now and again it just stops and hits that air bender."

Mia said: "I felt like it was a little... You dance like a young, adorable girl. And he is like Dr. Swag, Dr. Smooth. So you have to step it up. You have to step it up. There was no hip-hop groove. There was no swag. There was no coolness to it. It felt just like cute."

Adam said: "That was a performance that was won over by charisma -- pure charisma. When you see Tabitha dance, she dances with all of the sensuality of a woman and all the power of a guy. That's what you've got to do. You've got to dig into the floor, you've got to hit your stops. You've got to challenge your guy. That was more 'I'm dancing with you,' not 'I'm dancing with you!' But Alexie, you know what I'm talking about. You know what I mean. It's all in that power. So if you get hip-hop again and do that, make sure that you're dancing with that power."

Lauren Froderman, an 18-year-old contemporary jazz dancer from Phoenix, AZ

Style: Pop-Jazz
All-Star Partner: Ade Obayomi
Choreographer: Mandy Moore

Nigel said: "I thought it was a really well-choreographed routine. I thought some of the things in it -- like the split-lift off the top of the couch -- was terrific. I thought your feeling for your partner, knowing that he's going to be there for you, gave you a lot of confidence in all of the jumps. Yet I found it sterile. I didn't find there was any chemistry between you and Ade in this routine. I've said to Melinda tonight that I think she might be unsafe. I'm not going to say that to you. I think your position on this show is as safe as Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. But you need to improve your performance, without doubt."

Mia said: "We've been talking about this kind of all night, about filling in the space. That's how I feel about your performance. Technically and athletic-wise, you're kind of flawless. You're really, really powerful. But there's a lot of space in there that's being unused -- emotionally and character-wise. You hit everything, but now what's going on inside that? That's what I'm missing from you. Cute, great piece. But it felt like the first draft of a performance and we need to take it to level 10."

Adam said: "It's very interesting, because I'm going to take into account what I just saw -- Lauren with you listening to them -- just as much as I saw with dancing. This is going to be a little uncharacteristic of me. I'm a little concerned that you're not hearing what we're saying because you're thanking us for stuff instead of really listening. ['I'm thanking you for being able to learn,' replied Lauren. 'I realize now what I need to do in order to get approval from you guys.'] But it's not approval. Honestly, it's going to start with approval from yourself. I mean that in no uncertain terms. What I saw from the very top, you were focused on presentation. There was no cat and mouse. There was no sideward glances. What she's talking about with you is a character and a connection, and I didn't see any of that. That's what you're going to see when you look at the tape back. You're going to see a lot of you looking out at the audience. I'm the kid of a lawyer and a therapist, and it's assess and negotiate. I'm assessing your situation, I'm negotiating with you. I want you to look deeper into who you are. I want you to find out more about your characters in each of these dances, because technically, you're always going to be fine. It's going to be your performance that gets you through. I don't want you to leave us to soon because of that."

Kent Boyd, an 18-year-old contemporary jazz dancer from Botkins, OH who currently resides in Wapakoneta, OH

Style: Cha-cha-cha
All-Star Partner: Anya Garnis
Choreographer: Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin

Nigel said: "Do you know what the overriding factor of this entire routine was? You enjoyed it, Kent! You really enjoyed it! Mind you, dancing with Anya who wouldn't? You're down on the farm, and Wapakoneta can be very proud of you... You remind me of a young Paul Newman. But please, please be careful. Because halfway through that routine you did something like this -- it looked like Jessica Rabbit. Please be careful when you're doing that because it will ruin the whole thing for me. The rest of it was so strong. I loved every second of your performance with it too. Congratulations."

Mia said: "Kent, you committed to everything. You actually -- other than that step -- you actually looked kind of like a ballroom boy. A little bit. But that thing, I think you even pursed your lips a little bit, I think that needs to be a no-go for the rest of your career. Other than that, I am so proud of you. Great routine."

Adam said: "You are in a very rare little circle right now. You are one of the three guys on this show who have been so far out of their style, who have had more determination, more go-out-and-get-there, I am going to kill this, I don't care if it kills me -- and it shows. You blasted through any of your weaknesses. It was so amazing. But what it looked like to me was every parent's nightmare visit to the zoo where you lose your little boy and you look and suddenly they're in the lion cage and they're dancing with the lion. But babe, you did good. That was awesome."

Ashley Galvan, a 19-year-old contemporary dancer from Visalia, CA who currently resides in Burbank, CA

Style: Contemporary
All-Star Partner: Neil Haskell
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio

Nigel said: "You said it yourself, this has got to be about transcending the steps and delving into emotions -- emotions that you may never have felt in your life up until now. Even then, you may have to make it up. We are going to be putting you through a hell of a lot and asking you for real emotions. Have you ever been in love before? ['As a matter of fact, I think I am,' responded Ashley.] I don't know what to say now. You need to use that in all of your dancing now. Tyce's choreography was absolutely beautiful. For all we know, we may never meet again. So you are taking a situation of being in love and yet not knowing how long that love is going to last. That is what you need to portray to us. What America I think didn't know about you was how beautiful a dancer you are. They would have found that out tonight."

Mia said: "When you were dancing what you were feeling, I felt you a lot. I don't know where you placed that emotion, I'm not sure what you're feeling -- and that's the thing. I couldn't tell if it was pain, or if it was just... I couldn't tell what it was. But it was there. It was nugget of emotion that was trying to envelope the stage. But it wasn't quite coming across as loudly as I had hoped. You're a very special little bunny. You bring something very innocent and special. The pictures that you do create technically are really gorgeous. So I just want to give you a hug right now because I'm proud of you, but I also have an intrigue with you."

Adam said: "This season is a bit of a conundrum because what we have is people who are technically all the way there already but are not necessarily emotionally there. So I think Ashley, one of the things that I was very, very clear with you was you're creating incredible pictures and yet I wasn't connecting with you emotionally. It was because you weren't going that extra yard and you weren't opening yourself up. So you're going to have to do that, you'll know that when you watch it back."

Robert Roldan, a 19-year-old contemporary dancer from Thousand Oaks, CA who currently resides in North Hollywood, CA

Style: African Jazz
All-Star Partner: Courtney Galiano
Choreographer: Sean Cheesman

Nigel said: "I thought Sean Cheesman's routine was fabulous. I loved the rhythms, I loved the breath of movement, I loved the abandonment of movement. Robert I loved the way you danced it. You are, I believe, a dark horse in this competition. No one really knows you yet. You will come through. You are going to be so good young man. Our boys are so, so strong this year."

Mia said: "You're just out of the gate. There's so many things I love about you. There's the quirk factor, there's a beauty factor, you're an athlete, you're a technician. I can't wait for you to dig in to more of who Robert is now."

Adam said: "This is proof positive that I think this all-star thing is going to really work great. Seeing you and Courtney together was unbelievable, and it's a partnership that will dissolve tomorrow. I mean it's gone, and you will move on. You were completely there for each other. You knew exactly what you were dancing about in every second of that. I actually happen to think you're one of the best contemporary dancers we've ever had on this show. I think we have just looked at the tip of the iceberg on you. I don't see you as a dark horse, I think you're going very far."

(Photo credit Fox)


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