It’s time to get serious, guys. It’s officially top ten week on SYTYCD, which means times are a-changin’. Finally, America gets to determine who stays, and who goes home. Finally, we get to see solos from each dancer on performance night. And finally, the couples have broken up, meaning they will no longer be able to depend on the partnerships that kept them in the competition this long. Noelle no longer has Russell. Ashleigh no longer has Jakob. And Ryan…well, he still has his pecs, but he had to cope with hitting the stage without another vital partner, the quirky Ellenore.
So how did they do? Here’s how I predict the rankings will go down tonight:
10. Ashleigh: Just like partner Legacy — who we’ll get to later — Ashleigh struggled during Gary Stewart’s energetic contemporary number. Clearly, she was out of her element, and couldn’t keep up with the rapid-fire pace of the piece. But I don’t blame her. As a former dancer who’s been forced to dance Stewart-esque routines, I can safely say that you’d have to down all of Jessie Spano’s caffeine pills in order to not get winded during a number like that. Of course, the duo was at a distinct disadvantage in the first place, considering the fact that they’re the two least technically advanced dancers on the stage. But you could tell Ashleigh and Legacy were struggling, and thinking far too much about the marking of their piece.
She must have had the life sucked out of her by Stewart, because she hardly made a presence during her Dave Scott vampire-inspired hip-hop routine. Perhaps I was too distracted by Legacy’s costuming — we’ll also get to that later — but I hardly even noticed Ashleigh was on the stage. And that doesn’t bode well for the dancer, especially since she was the winner of my Jody Sawyer award earlier this season.
Unfortunately, I doubt her solo will save her. Of course, ballroom dancers always suffer when trying to impress viewers with a solo, but Ashleigh barely did more than shimmy on stage. There was zero substance to that solo. The gold fringe dress, however, might attract a few voters. But only if they’re pirates or squirrels. Shiny!
9. Ryan: You know when you a giant zit on your face? And you cover it up with eyeliner pencil to make it look like a beauty mark? Well, Ryan was the zit in NapTab’s sexual harassment hip-hop number. NapTab certainly knew the dancer was hip-hop challenged — why else would they have tried to cover up his weaknesses by putting him behind a desk for the large portion of the dance? It was a smart move, but Ryan had to step away from the prop at some point. And once he did, he looked just as awkward as he did a few weeks ago while attempting the genre. He gave it his all, of course, but it just didn’t work. And though he did have great chemistry with his new partner, I wish NapTab would’ve toned down some of his skeevy moves. I felt like filing a lawsuit just watching him place his face smack-dab on Noelle’s thigh.
He improved the second go-round. Once again proving he’s a brilliant partner, Ryan executed some lovely lifts during his smooth jazz routine. But that strength could also be his downfall. Ryan partners so well, he often allows his duet partners to outshine him. Looking over my notes, I barely wrote anything about our ballroom dancer during the routine.
Now, I found plenty to say about his solo. Dear lord, there was so much cheese in that routine, I could have pulled a whole hunk of Brie from my television screen and slathered it all over a baguette. I know ballroom dancers are inhibited when they perform solos, but certainly Ryan could have done better than that, right? Some of his moves were so ridiculous, even Chris Farley’s Chippendales dancer would turn them down. Seriously, Ryan was this close to truffle-shuffling it.
NEXT: Noelle falters without Russell