The Top 10 are set, which meant Wednesday was the beginning of a whole new competition on "So You Think You Can Dance." The judges no longer hold any sway when it comes to determining who stays and who goes as the decision is now left entirely to the voters. Another wrinkle starting this week is that voters are dialing in for their favorite individuals, rather than couples.
The dancers now have to pick their partners from a hat, as well as their dances, throwing a whole new set of variables into the mix -- including the potential for some mismatched dancers, in terms of size.
Guest judge Debbie Allen joined regular panelists Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe this week, and she said three of her top guys and three of her top girls are still in the competition.
Up first was a Bollywood routine by the top five girls, choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan. NIgel said the fivesome was one of the most beautiful groups of girls he's seen work together in the show's history. He said all five of them were fantastic and were "lacking nothing." Mary added that the five girls were "absolutely stunning," and said she could see any one of them in the final. Debbie agreed, calling the performance "an amazing cultural fusion." She agreed that it was the best top five group of girls the show has ever had.
Kayla & Evan: Kayla thought it was cool to have a partner with such a unique style as Evan, who noted that he's the shortest guy and Kayla is the tallest girl. That could pose a problem when it came to ballroom dancing. Just their luck, they pulled the Viennese waltz with Tony Meredith and Melanie Lapatin. In the end, Evan wore heeled boots and Kayla wore flats. Nigel said it wasn't much of a Viennese waltz and more like a regular fast waltz, but he praised the way they danced what they were given by the choreographers. Mary said Evan's motionless turns were not good enough and it didn't flow. She said Kayla was taking it to another level and called her "fabulous." Debbie called it an unexpected surprise and said Evan handled his "big woman." She then dubbed the couple "White Lightning and Gene Kelly."
Jeanette & Ade: Jeanette pulled Ade's name out of the hat, which made for the opposite height difference in that Ade is the tallest guy in the competition and Jeanette said she was the shortest girl (which might call for a standoff between Jeanette and Randi for confirmation). They drew a hip-hop routine from Tabitha & Napoleon. Nigel said they both danced great. Mary said it was "funky" and was "a lot of fun." She called Jeanette "a spicy little hot tamale from Miami." Debbie said the dance wore her out and made her want to jump on stage and join them.
Jeanine & Jason: Jeanine said it wasn't so hard to look at Jason all day, which made her new partnership nice. They landed a contemporary routine with Season 2 finalist Travis Wall, who was choreographing for the first time. The crowd loved the passionate routine that probably lacked a little subtlety. Nigel praised Travis for his first routine, and said they'd both become stars. Mary was at a loss for words. She literally didn't speak for a moment before belting out, "You two are stars!" She wept as she told Jason not to let anyone underestimate his strength and power, and she told Jeanine were light keeps shining "brighter and brighter and brighter." She did her first-ever silent scream, apparently as a favor to the sound tech. Debbie added to the love.
Randi & Kupono: When the couple was announced, Kupono said he wanted to put Randi in his pocket because she's "teeny-tiny." They pulled a paso doble with Tony Meredith and Melanie Lapatin. Nigel made up for his criticism of Tony and Meredith's choreography this time, and said the dancing didn't match the choreography. He said it didn't work for him. He said he lost Kupono about halfway through the routine. He said there was "very little passion" between them and it wasn't "authentic in any way." Mary said some dancers would rise to the new challenges and some would not, "and this is falling somewhere below the 'not' for me." She said "mediocre will not cut it." Debbie said it was hard not to agree, noting some awkwardness and wondering whether the couple lacked trust.
Melissa & Brandon: Melissa and Brandon scored a Broadway routine, a piece from "Hair," choreographed by Tyce DiOrio. Nigel said it was great and "brought back so many memories" for him. Mary said it was unbelievable and said they were the stars of the show. Debbie said they were seamless and called it "a joy to watch."
The top five guys closed the show together with a group performance, an African dance choreographed by Jeffrey Page. Nigel said the routine was one of the toughest they've ever had on the show. He said no one stuck out in a bad way because all the guys held their own.