"So You Think You Can Dance" finally gave a real taste of its new one-show format by featuring all of its usual elements, including the elimination round, on Wednesday's show. Six dancers found themselves in the bottom, but Alexa Anderson, Janaya French, Daniel Baker and Nick Bloxsom-Carter were the first to be eliminated from the top 20 as season nine of the dance competition narrowed down towards America's favorite female and favorite male dancer.
That wasn't all, though. "SYTYCD" alumni, including Kathryn McCormick, came together to give audiences a show-stopping exclusive dance preview of "Step Up Revolution," produced by judge Adam Shankman.
Here is how the night played out:
Lindsay Arnold and Cole Horibe
Cole found himself as a nerd with a very sexy dentist in Lindsay in the opening hip-hop routine by Christopher Scott. Cole was applauded for his commitment to character, while Lindsay was advised to go stronger on hers. The routine was fun, energetic, colorful and full of personality, and we all know personality carries you through this competition.
Amelia Lowe and Will Thomas
Sonya Tayeh choreographed an emotional contemporary piece about two souls carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. "You brought that piece to life!" Mary Murphy said to Amelia and Will, who both received screams from the ballroom queen. Technically, the pair balanced perfectly onstage, also managing to immerse themselves in the story and each other.
Amber Jack and Nick Bloxsom-Carter
The competition's first tango was undertaken by Nick and Amber. The Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo-choreographed piece had the judges calling Amber everything from "cobra" to "fire-breathing dragon." Basically, it was hot.
Audrey Case and Matthew Kazmierczak
A power struggled ensued between Audrey and Matthew in the night's second Sonya Tayeh routine. Not only did the couple receive adoration from the judges, but Tayeh was praised for her consistently remarkable routines. Petite Audrey and Matthew were noted for maximizing their extensions, emotions, everything. "You're probably one of America's favorite couples," Nigel Lythgoe said.
Janelle Issis and Dareian Kujawa
Christopher Scott returned to choreograph Janelle And Dareian in a lyrical jazz number that left the audience and judges unsatisfied. In a rare moment, Lythgoe criticized the choreographer for his bubblegum routine, but the onus was still on the dancers to bring the lyrical routine to life. Shankman advised them to invest themselves in their characters more. The highlight of the piece was the kiss between the couple.
Janaya French and Brandon Mitchell
Janaya and Brandon had much to prove this week after their failed attempt at hip-hop last week. In a routine choreographed by Sean Cheesman, Janaya had to seduce Brandon. The up-tempo Broadway number finally brought forth both their personalities and their dance abilities, taking the couple a big step forward.
Eliana Girard and Cyrus "Glitch" Spencer
Melanie LaPatin and Tony Meredith were assigned to choreograph Eliana and Cyrus in a jive neither couple had ever attempted. The ballet dancer and animator struggled onstage, with Eliana outshining Cyrus by a large margin as a result of her formal training. But what Cyrus lacks in training, he makes up for in personality. Still a crowd favorite, the dancers received support from the judges.
Alexa Anderson and Daniel Baker
The extremely talented Alexa and Daniel seem like a match made in heaven. Their incredible abilities were paired with Dee Caspary's contemporary choreography that revealed a stunning routine set around a bathtub. "There was something to me that was very, very beautiful but a little bit chilly," Shankman said, critiquing the performance. The consensus: Alexa and Daniel are stupendous dancers who had little to no emotional connection with each other or the dance. Sad but true.
Tiffany Maher and George Lawrence II
The adorable Tiffany and George performed a foxtrot choreographed by Lapatin and Meredith. The couple made one of the most feared dances in the competition seem easy, breezy with their gracefulness, stealth and joyful presence. "I was madly in love with that," Shankman told the dancers, saying the routine brought him back to the heyday of dance in the 1940s.
Witney Carson and Chehon Wespi-Tschopp
Closing out the night were Witney and Chehon in a fun-filled, high-energy Bollywood routine choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan.
Although the number wasn't difficult, it was the first time Chehon really loosened his ballet reins and had some fun onstage, while Witney continued to shine. The only improvement Witney could have made was grounding her movements in the dance, which requires you to perform in a plié throughout.
Now that four have been eliminated, "SYTYCD" will return to its original format of cutting two dancers — one male, one female — per show. Overall, it was definitely a night for Tiffany and George with Audrey, Matthew, Amelia and Will not far behind.
Did you agree with the eliminations on "SYTYCD"? Share your comments below!