SYTYCD S6: Top 8

It’s Top 8 time! Is it just us our has this season flown by? It’s clear from the opening introductions that these eight dancers are here to work. And because basically everyone in the Top 8 made it onto the Hot Tamale Train in one way or another on tonight's episode, we'll stray from our usual format and just give a loud Mary scream to everyone. Onto the show…

Cat is looking particularly fierce tonight with her tousled hair and ultra-shiny gold romper. Please let us raid your closet, Ms. Deeley. We’ll be forever grateful and provide you with an endless supply of Dance Spirit.

Oh no! Ashleigh is injured! In an attempt to do a lift, her shoulder popped out (“but I put it back in,” she says). Despite her willingness to dance, the doctors have said no. Fingers crossed for her quick recovery—we’ll miss watching her tonight! So you’re voting for individuals tonight and you can still vote for Ashleigh. Remember, dial wisely these next two weeks, folks. We don’t want another Will/Danny/Travis situation.

Ryan and Kathryn are up first with a Doriana Sanchez disco routine! (Love disco? Read more about it in the December 2009 issue of DS!) First, we’ve gotta comment on Ryan’s pants and see-through button-down. Wardrobe department, what’s going on?! But Kathryn looks super sexy in her barely there sequined fringe mini dress. This duo is giving it all they’ve got (which is a ton of energy!) and they’re nailing every lift. Plus they look like they’re having a blast together. Adam says: "Real men can wear sequins!" We agree with Adam’s next comment that this style suited the pair perfectly. Mary squeals her approval for the pair, but Nigel didn’t completely agree. He also disagrees about men wearing sequins! He says Ryan stayed a little “too ballroom” throughout the routine, but that overall he enjoyed it. (Side note: we’re completely distracted by Kathryn’s beauty during the judges’ comments.)

Jakob and Mollee. It’s the ultimate comp kid pairing. They’ve got a Viennese Waltz with Jason Gilkison. Definitely out of the comfort zone for both of these young ones. Mollee’s legs don’t seem as controlled as they should be during all the quick turns in the choreography and whatever’s on Jakob’s feet (sandals?) is a bit distracting. But that last lift was very nice and the choreography was fresh and youthful. Adam loved it. “It all happened for you guys out there,” he told the dancers. Another piece for Jakob, another round of unanimous praise. And the judges see Mollee growing each week. Mary, the ballroom pro, joined Team Adam, acknowledging that Jakob "was really there for Mollee" and that Mollee “hasn’t lost any of her mojo.” Nigel, too, praised the “simplistic routine,” even comparing it to the beauty demonstrated by LXD company on last week’s show.

Solos: It’s supposed to be Ashleigh, but yes, 26 minutes later she’s still injured. Gotta love her for wanting to bust a move with her sling on!

Ellenore and Legacy are next with a Travis Wall contemporary routine. They’re an angsty married couple (Did you see Season 5’s Kayla Radomski assisting Travis?!) performing a different kind of Travis choreography. We love the table and chair choreography! Ellenore has incredible technique and flexibility—holy developpe, Batman! Legacy’s flip over the table was awesome, and the complicated partnering kept us glued to the screen. Travis Wall, we can’t wait for your first Emmy nomination, which we're sure is right around the corner. The pair definitely performed the heck outta that piece, even keeping up character as they walked toward Cat. Adam said “they murdered it,” Mary screeched that it was “tailor made for the two” and Nigel loved that the routine was “so so dangerous.” We agree! Travis is taking contemporary choreography on this show to new heights and we’re loving tuning in every week to see what he’s been up to. Nigel predicted an Emmy nomination for Travis and the look on Travis’s face was completely priceless! Does he not know how talented he is?!

Solo: Jakob. What more can we say about Jakob? He can turn for days, his legs extend beyond the stage and he can tumble. Someone get this kid a company contract!

The last duo up tonight is Russell and Ashleigh with a Shane Sparks hip-hop routine. And “it’s not lyrical, it’s street,” Shane tells us. We’re so bummed that Ashleigh’s injured because we think she could’ve killed this piece! So Russell dances with Shane’s assistant, Rachel, and steals the show. We love his red shoes! One thing we love about Russell is that, no matter what style he’s given, he looks like he’s having a blast onstage. He made this piece look less like a choreographed hip hop routine for a dance reality competition show and more like something he’d do at a club with his friends. Adam called Russell “smokin’” and praised his awesome energy. Agreed!

Solo: Mollee. She’s definitely gotten better, that’s for sure. Throughout the competition, Mollee has gone from a sweet young comp kid to a mature young woman. Even beyond her flip-tastic tricks, she’s starting to embody that glow you get from becoming a seasoned dancer. She’s cute and sweet and we can’t wait to see where she goes from here.

Ryan and Kathryn are back with a Jason Gilkison cha cha. Honestly, Kathryn is so gorgeous that we’d be happy watching her stand and smile. But it’s even better when she cha chas! That twist drop onto the ground was quick and precise—something that only comes from a strong partnership, which she and Ryan have nailed in just one week. Kathryn’s lines are incredible and Ryan seems comfortably in his element. We’ll buy it.

Solo: Legacy. Flip flip flip! This kid is crazy good and watching him never gets boring. The head spins were unreal but we could’ve used more dancing in between tricks. Still, we’re impressed.

Solo: Ellenore. She’s pretty, she’s graceful, she’s got a million dollar smile. Ellenore’s a great dancer, end of story.

Solo: Russell. He’s dressed as Santa and we LOVE it! Happy to see "SYTYCD" embracing the holiday spirit! Was his shoe supposed to come off? We’re not sure, but he went with it. Would’ve liked to see some more dancing but we’re guessing the shoe mishap threw him off a bit. But this is one Santa we’d love to see at the mall!

Yay Joey Dowling is back! Mollee and Jakob are doing a Broadway routine that’s cute and playful. Mollee definitely looks the part and we like Jakob’s playful scheming. Oh and we love it when dancers strip down into less-drab costumes! They look sharp and clean and those side by side aerials were perfectly precise. We like this pairing! Adam even compared Mollee’s legs to Ann Reinking’s! Now there’s a compliment if we’ve ever heard one!

Solo: Kathryn. It’s hard to comment on anything besides that fact that you cannot take your eyes off her! But Kathryn has strong technique and a classy, elegant stage presence.

Ellenore and Legacy are up again, this time with a Nappytabs number. They’re aliens: Ellenore is hip hopping and Legacy is quirky. The backwards faces are totally creepy (and awesome) and reminiscent of the Jabbawockeez from "America's Best Dance Crew." Ellenore seems to be lacking energy in her body, but her face is dead on. Legacy’s spins on Ellenore’s back were cool and his kip up was solid (Want to learn to do one yourself? Check it out.) but overall this piece wasn’t as hard hitting as we would’ve liked.

Solo: Ryan finishes up his night with his flip-infused ballroom solo. We always feel bad for the ballroom dancers when they have to perform solos—we know it can’t be easy sans partner. But then we remember Benji, who managed to nail his solos week after week. Ryan won our hearts when he got teary and begged voters to call in for his wife, Ashleigh. Too cute. And, for that, we just may pick up the phone!

Russell wrapped up the show with a super energetic Nakul Dev Mahajan Bollywood routine. Fun, fast, flashy—we love it. Despite the setback of losing his partner right before the show, Russell didn't falter. We admire his professionalism—and love his smile!

Overall tonight’s show was a strong one. Who are you voting for? Let us know on Twitter. We’re @Dance_SpiritMag! And remember, your votes are important to us! The winner, announced next Wednesday, will appear on the March 2010 cover of DS. So vote wisely, people! —Alison Feller

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