Matthew was a golfer before he started dancing at age 16. Audrey wears glasses and a retainer at night. Some of these dancers have more exciting secrets than others. In rehearsal, they're challenged by the trick elements of their salsa.
They're dancing to a really cheesy salsa version of Beethoven's 5th Symphony. Unbelievably, it's even worse than the "A Fifth of Beethoven" novelty disco hit. What is with the bad music on tonight's show?
They save the best trick for last, with Audrey flipping over Matthew's back and landing in a split. Mary says they're one of her favorite couples but that this dance wasn't their best. Christina was distracted by the music, but refuses to criticize the dancers directly. Nigel says it was too slow, especially the "pot-stirrer" trick.
Chehon puts orange juice in his cereal. Abomination! He can also play the violin. Witney knows a few basic German phrases. Stacey Tookey has choreographed a "We can't be together/we want to be together" routine and it's set to Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You." Another song I don't particularly care for. And it's such a BIG song, I don't know how you dance to it, especially in light of Houston's death.
Christina is on the verge of tears and calls out Stacey Tookey's choreography and calls the dancers, "Not just muses, but the painters in that number." She calls Chehon "stunning" and praises Witney.
Mary is also choked up, and mentions the emotions brought up listening to Whitney. She talks about the jump/catch, which is a move I always think must require such bravery on the part of the female dancer. Nigel self-congratulates the judges for saving Witney and Chehon last week.
Eliana raises birds and Cyrus has a belly button that looks like a power button on a computer. That's adorable. Tabitha and Napoleon have choreographed a robot themed hip hop routine for them. I like Cyrus, but wow are they letting him play to his strengths here.
So, Eliana starts out as a jewelry box ballerina and Cyrus has to teach her how to be a hip-hop robot. That old story. Eliana's also allowed to lay to her ballet strengths with this story, but she is at least having to stretch into the hip-hop style here and there.
Mary says the routine was fabulous, they were fabulous. Christina thought it was fantastic and entertaining and heaps praises on Eliana. She does point out that Cyrus is lucky they haven't drawn contemporary yet. Nigel is pleased Cyrus "pulled" this routine. Like the new format of letting the dancers pick their styles wouldn't allow for just this.
And now all the dancers are out on the stage for the announcement of the bottom six. Cat calls out Amber, Lindsey, and Eliana. Then George, Brandon, and Dareian. I'm most distressed about Eliana -- I think she's wonderful.
Cat asks Nigel if they need to see any more from these dancers after the judges have had their discussions. He asks for Amber, Brandon, Eliana, and Dareian to dance again. I'm not sure if this means Lindsey and George are automatically safe. But I'm salivating at the chance to see Amber and Eliana dance solos, so there's that.
First solo is Amber and it's contemporary but with a punch and a strength a lot of the contemporary dancers don't bring to their choreography. I like it. Brandon's hip-hop solo is not the best I've ever seen on this show.
Eliana's opening moves show her tremendous flexibility, control, and extension. Dareian's contemporary solo is miles better than Brandon's hip-hop was. If elimination is based purely on the solos of those who danced them, I don't see how you eliminate Dareian.
While the judges deliberate, we get to watch a piece from the Alvin Ailey company. I love when SYTYCD gets these high profile dancers to guest.
This piece, with male dancers shirtless but in floor length wrap skirts is amazing. It's athletic and graceful and the costuming, combined with the sometimes partnered choreography, is playing with gender expectations of dance in an intriguing way. Here's a clip -- watch it if you haven't. It will open your mind about dance.
Nigel announces they're saving Lindsey, which means we're going to lose either Amber or Eliana is going and I will be disappointed. I would've knocked out Lindsey. Amber is out.
Guys up now, and Nigel saves George off the bat. Nigel praises Dareian's solo and then cuts Brandon.
So, the moral of the story is: Don't let your partner get voted off -- you'll go home the next week with your new partner. (This was definitely true in prior seasons as well.)
So, with the show off for the next two weeks, I'll see you in August!