“So You Think You Can Dance” Season 11 Recap: The First Cut Is the Deepest

If only every episode of “So You Think You Could Dance” could be like last week’s: a glorious buffet of everyone dancing in their own styles, with no cuts to be made. But, alas, this is a competition show, and eventually, someone has to win. This week, we got down to business.

But before we get to the bittersweet farewells, let’s start with the good stuff. Here it is folks—this week’s Top 5 highlights:

1. Misty Copeland’s spot-on critiques. It may be too early to call this, but I think Misty could win the award for Best Judge this season. She had creative and smart advice for just about every Top 20 dancer. Two of my personal favorites? She told Rudy, who performed a Sonya Tayeh jazz routine, to think of his legs as tree trunks, rooted into the ground in order to hold up the flowers (aka his partner Tanisha). And she told Bridget, who performed a Luther Brown hip-hop routine with her partner Emilio, that she shouldn’t be afraid to get down “on his level.” Misty stressed that there are many kinds of sexy, including “strong sexy,” and that women should feel like equals to their male counterparts when dancing hip hop. #GirlPower.

Misty Copeland: The next Lil' C

Misty Copeland: The next Lil’ C

2. The contemporary pieces. We got two very different love stories this week. Travis Wall brought us “the one that got away,” while Sonya Tayeh represented “the unbreakable love.” Beautiful dancers + beautiful contemporary choreography + beautiful backstories? It’s kind of a no-brainer that these pieces were huge successes. Contemporary dancer Ricky and his tap-dancing partner Valerie showed great promise in Travis Wall’s routine. The chemistry isn’t quite there yet, but I’m excited to see how the two grow together throughout the show. As for contemporary dancer Carly and and Latin ballroom dancer Serge in Sonya’s piece? OMG. This had to be my personal favorite piece of the night. It was set to Sam Smith’s acoustic version of “Latch,” and latch is exactly what they did. Leave it to Sonya to think up some of the most breath-taking partnering out there.

Such love between new partners Serge and Carly. Be still my heart.

Be still my heart—such love between new partners Serge and Carly.

3. Argentina wins! The tango, that is. Latin ballroom dancer Brooklyn and her partner contemporary dancer Casey were smokin’ hot in a Miriam and Leonardo Argentinian Tango. From the moment the light hit Brooklyn in her stunning red dress, I knew this was going to be good. She had this perfectly subtle smirk on her face that just exuded confidence. The dancers managed to have chemistry with one another and the audience simultaneously—an impressive feat considering this is their first week dancing together! They also demonstrated remarkable control, and as Misty aptly pointed out, they brought the sexy.

HOT.

HOT.

4. Quite possibly the most ridiculous unitards I’ve ever seen. Okay, so the unitards aren’t actually a highlight. But the dance they accompanied sure is. Ballerina Jacque and tapper Zack were absolutely delightful in a Sean Cheesman Afro-jazz piece. I mean, the two were completely out of their element, yet they adapted to the style seamlessly. Let’s face it: The things they did with their backs you just don’t do in ballet or tap. The routine won a standing ovation from Mary and a ticket on the Hot Tamale Train! (Fortunately for her fellow judges, Mary’s accompanying scream was somewhat subdued.)

Ummmmmm...

Ummmmmm…

5. Chloé Arnold and the Syncopated Ladies. You already know that we think these tappers are #Flawless. But seeing them up there on the “SYTYCD” stage was somehow all the more sweet. Their taps were crystal clear, their formations were on point and they sold it with their performance. What more could we ask of them? Misty Copeland wanted sexy strong, and these ladies brought it.

They woke up like this.

They woke up like this.

OK, now for the not-so-fun part: the eliminations. Brooklyn, Jourdan and Malena were the bottom three girls and Casey, Nick and Serge were the bottom three guys. After last night’s performance, the judges decided to send Malena and Nick home. The first cut is so hard!

Are you upset about who ended up in danger? You can do something about that! Be sure to vote for your favorite(s). (You can vote up to 20 times.) And check back here next week to see who makes it to the Top 16.

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