'So You Think You Can Dance's Top 9 finalists take to the stage
By Christopher Rocchio, 07/01/2010
So You Think You Can Dance's Top 9 seventh-season finalists took to the stage and performed for during Wednesday night's live broadcast of the Fox reality competition series.
The following is Reality TV World's recap of the performance broadcast in the order which the Top 9 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.
In addition, each of the Top 9 finalists performed a solo in his or her own style that was not commented on by the judging panel.
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.
Adechike Torbert, a 23-year-old contemporary dancer from Brooklyn, NY who currently resides in Queens, NY
Style: Hip-Hop All-Star Partner: Lauren Gottlieb Choreographer: Dave Scott
Nigel said: "I'm glad to say that Dave Scott has brought something out in you Adechike that hasn't been there before, which is a lack of nerves. You're obviously having fun. He's brought your personality out. Your natural swagger is there, your natural funk is there. Not only were you enjoying it, we were enjoying watching you. There was great chemistry between you and your partner. This is a different Adechike than I've seen so far in the competition. Confidence is there baby!"
Mia said: "Welcome Mr. Personality to So You Think You Can Dance. All of a sudden it just shifted for you -- and I don't know if it was Dave or I don't know if it was Lauren or what it was that brought it out of you. But I'm so happy to see that there's some sunshine in there. Yah for the smile, yah for the personality, yah for the performance. Solid performance."
Adam said: "Whoa!! That's what I'm talking about! Thank you for listening, thank you for learning, thank you for dropping that wall. Unbelievable! I'm so proud of you!"
Ashley Galvan, a 19-year-old contemporary dancer from Visalia, CA who currently resides in Burbank, CA
Style: Contemporary All-Star Partner: Ade Obayomi Choreographer: Dee Caspary
Nigel said: "We're seeing contemporary again, but this was a completely different dance than I've seen over the last two weeks. Ashley, you've developed so much -- whether it's Dee's choreography here, I don't know. But you moved from action into reaction with this beautiful, smooth fluidity that is the true essence, for me, of dance. The steps did not get in the way at all. You just danced... Ashley, for me this has been your finest performance. It really did feel like pouring a beautiful glass of liquid to drink from. It was just so smooth. It was like honey. It was just beautifully smooth and it flowed so well."
Mia said: "The idea of being able to completely surrender yourself and completely know that someone will be there to catch you in life, what a concept. What an amazing, beautiful concept -- and how it was danced was extraordinary. It was like a purple wind that was coming through this entire theater. It was like a hurricane, and it was a summer breeze, and it was everything. You are, by far, a cut above these dancers -- female dancers. You are my favorite still."
Adam said: "Young lady, you are breathtaking. I don't know what they put in the water this week, but that was unbelievable and probably one of the best contemporary female performances I've seen on this show in any season."
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Robert Roldan, a 19-year-old contemporary dancer from Thousand Oaks, CA who currently resides in North Hollywood, CA
Style: Jazz All-Star Partner: Courtney Galiano Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Nigel said: "Sometimes [Sonya's] choreography doesn't suit certain dancers and then it does. I think what's happened here is it certainly suits you... I think Robert, you're a very strong dancer. You've got great width in your shoulders when you open yourself out. You're not contained and tight. It's lovely to see that. You need to continue to keep that strength in everything that you do."
Mia said: "I'm going to tap into what Nigel just said. I feel the only critique I can give you is take ballet, because it will refine you, it will ground you, it will give your movement weight. That would make you a great artist. I think you are amazing, but having that training solid would take you to a whole other level. I think for me, that's what I'm missing in your performances -- it's not as solid and grounded as it could be. I think that ballet will totally help you. As a whole, I thought it was a great performance."
Adam said: "You're a great dancer. You are so engaged ad you are so engaging and you have so much commitment... Your commitment and your performance was great. One critique, and you're going to see it when you look at the playback, so I'm not totally out of my mind and it's something, you have to use your plie a little bit more -- when you jump, don't jump down. As you stretch up, your weight starts to go down as opposed to lifting completely up. You have to be careful of that. But you were awesome."
Melinda Sullivan, a 22-year-old tap dancer from Thousand Oaks, CA who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA
Nigel said: "You do look amazing Melinda, that outfit looks terrific. I have a small problem in the fact that I don't feel the fluidity of your movement. We've spoken about fluidity this evening. It feels like you're doing step into a step into a step -- there's a breakdown somewhere of the movement. Consequently, the musicality of it didn't sit comfortably. I don't know if it was what you've been given to do or your own musicality... I don't know if you feel that flow of music. I just don't know."
Mia said: "I think you danced as hard as you could. You're sexy and you did commit to it. You did everything you could to stay above water. I did feel at moments that you had bricks on your legs and you were thrown into a pool and you were trying to survive -- at moments, not the whole thing. It wasn't consistently like that. Then again, we talked about your pigeon toes -- very obvious on this performance, and that was hard for me to watch. There were moments, and this is going to be really harsh, everyone's going to hate me for this, I feel like we made a mistake last week by letting [Cristina Santana] go."
Adam said: "I'll just pick up on that. Honestly after watching the show back last week, I sort of felt the same way. You can be mad at me too, and here's what I'll say, I agree with her, that there was a bit of a struggle. Here's what I will say, a very positive thing, this is so far out of your genre it's unbelievable. I think in the heels and in that sexy dress, some of the flex choreography isn't the prettiest stuff in the world -- it's just a part of what it is. I think that you have a lot of gumption... That really buys a lot -- that tenacity and that fire. But is the aesthetic going to get you through this week? I don't know. I'm not sure it was a great fit in the genre category."
Lauren Froderman, an 18-year-old contemporary jazz dancer from Phoenix, AZ
Style: Broadway All-Star Partner: Neil Haskell Choreographer: Joey Dowling
Nigel said: "That was a seduction-and-a-half, wasn't it? (Lauren's shoulder strap came unhinged in the middle of her performance.) Talk about a wardrobe malfunction. I enjoyed that tremendously -- I'm talking about the dancing... You certainly were extremely seductive tonight. I didn't always feel the chemistry between you, and then I started to realize you were using the audience to let them in on the joke. I thought what a cute idea... It worked out very well in the end."
Mia said: "Live television... I felt that it was a great piece and danced really well. I wanted a little bit more slinkiness. But then when the dress broke, it all happened. As an athletic female dancer, you really need to work harder to have a little bit more of a feminine quality to you -- a little bit sexier. I just feel that... I don't know. If you don't tap into the character 100%, don't let that be the reason that takes you out of the race. I wanted you to just let go a little bit more because you're so strong. Sometimes the strength gets in the way as a female dancer, that's all I'm saying. But fabulous job."
Adam said: "Think of yourself as dancing through water -- how your movement would do that and literally how the fluidity would then be impacted by it... You used your legs like your arms... That was really, really, really good. I thought you were great."
Billy Bell, a 20-year-old contemporary dancer from Palm Beach, FL who currently resides in New York, NY
Nigel said: "It's funny, Adam just said to me the best moment was at the end there where you weren't doing anything -- that was the most connected you were and the most honest I think that the whole routine was. Billy, you're such a brilliant dancer and such a brilliant soloist. So You Think You Can Dance is a silly name for a show for you to be on because you can dance -- brilliantly, there's no question about that. But the thing I think you've got to learn is So You Think You Can Partner -- you've now got to get into partnerships with people. I didn't quite believe the partnership. As Adam rightly said at the end there, that's where it really came -- when you stop thinking about the dancing. Because it just happens naturally for you, you're a natural dancer. You've now got to figure out the acting side of it and the performing side with somebody else there -- because you're a sensational dancer. I now see that we can stretch you, and that's good. I'm happy to see that. Good lad, you did very well."
Mia said: "I agree with Nigel, that sometimes I think you get so caught up in the perfection of the lines and the technique that we lose you. We lose Baby B, because that's who you are in this competition for me. You're so genius. I respect you as an artist, however I think if you're going to be a contemporary artist in a commercial world, you have to bring the element of connection to the masses. I think that's the only thing that's lacking from your performance tonight... Just be aware of that."
Adam said: "I think that you're going to see it all on playback. I think that will be the greatest thing you can do, because I think you could be one of the most exciting things to happen to dance in a really long time. But I think it's that one element, and I'm curious to see how it's going to happen because I can't tell you how to do that."
Jose Ruiz, a 21-year-old b-boy from Miami, FL who currently resides in Pembroke Pines, FL
Nigel said: "Dmitry, you brought out the mane in Jose there... Jose, all I can say is -- and I'm going to be totally honest about this -- you are not the best dancer on this show. But you have magic in your eyes. You have magic in your smile. You have a charisma that you could not sell or bottle. You have got something that nobody else on this show has got, a part from maybe, and I'll be honest, [Kent Boyd]. You two have got something absolutely fantastic that no one can teach you. You brought it to that routine. You controlled Anya for goodness sake! How did you do that!? It's so pleasing to see because it just makes me happy, it brings a smile to my face when I watch you dance."
Mia said: "It completely baffles me because you are clearly not a great dancer, in different genres, and yet how do you get away with this? Because every week I'm just like, 'I love him so much.' I love your performances because you're bringing a sense of humbleness and openness and joyfulness -- it's contagious. So we're watching you, and yeah we could tear different things down, but I don't care."
Adam said: "Brilliant. Joy. You go free. Abandonment. Commitment. You made the dance work for you, you didn't work for the dance. You got it."
Kent Boyd, an 18-year-old contemporary jazz dancer from Botkins, OH who currently resides in Wapakoneta, OH
Style: Jazz All-Star Partner: Allison Holker Choreographer: Mandy Moore
Nigel said: "I think you've got a great personality, I've already complimented you. But I'm going to be a bit tough on you this week. I think you need to be careful that you keep an honesty to your work and you're starting to do a few oohs and ahs and becoming a little fake with your performance. Be careful with that please. I think your lines were terrific again this week. You've got a magical quality, like I said before. Your eyes have got something that other people don't have, and it's magnetism. But if you start faking a performance... there's a negative in that, and that is he's got a partner here. Even through that routine, he was playing to the audience when he should have been using his partner. That will get you into trouble with the viewers because they're not standing down here being crazy and screaming -- there at home judging you, and they're the ones that are going to vote for you. Please, please be careful -- don't lose yourself in the adjuration of an audience. You've got to keep the integrity of the dance."
Mia said: "I agree that he gets caught up in the television personality of it all as opposed to the artistry. As I said last week, Kent can only go so far. I don't want to see the deer in headlights every Wednesday. I want to see you going into different vocabulary and different environments. I felt it was a little green, it felt a little like a competition dancer. It's how you translated the work -- it's not the work, the work was there. It was how you translated it. I feel like professional dancers, and when you get to that point because you're still young, you will have to learn how to take the choreography and take it to another level."
Adam said: "I want to talk about your future a little bit. I think you are one of the most hirable dancers we've ever had on the show, which is great -- I think that's a lot. But there's a great line in And All That Jazz: 'I can't make you a good dancer, I can't make you a great dancer, but I can make you a better dancer.' So this is geared towards making you a better dancer. You've got to lose the hungry jazz face. You've just got to lose it. You're better than it. You're just better than it. You'll see it in playback. That having been said, I just called you one of the most hirable dancers on the show. So that's what you want."
Alex Wong, a 23-year-old ballet dancer from Vancouver, Canada who currently resides in Miami, FL
Style: Hip-Hop All-Star Partner: Stephen "Twitch" Boss Choreographer: Napoleon and Tabitha D'umo
Nigel said: "Let us try and put a lid on this, let us try and treat it like it was just an ordinary routine -- which it isn't. The concept was brilliant... Twitch, thank you so much for proving the format of bringing all-stars back this year is absolutely worthwhile and fantastic. Alex this is about you though. This is about a ballet dancer doing the most incredible hip-hop... If this routine and you are not up for an Emmy with Napoleon and Tabitha next year, I don't know why not. It's probably one of the funnest, best hip-hop routines we've ever had on this show. I'm so delighted."
Mia said: "Who the hell are you? I don't even know. You have defied everything about the ballet world. Everything. I have never -- and I've worked with some ballet dancers -- but I'm completely shocked. I wish I could close my mouth, but I can't. You dancing next to Twitch is unreal, he's the best in the business. You held your own."
Adam said: "This is your world and I am just visiting. I cannot tell you how proud you just made me to be on this show so that I can sit here and watch you just do that! I can't believe it! I am so proud of you!"