An unexpected couple lands in the bottom three, but the results turn out to be entirely unsurprising

By Lanford Beard
Updated July 08, 2011 at 02:56 AM EDT
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Don’t Nakul Dev Mahajan’s dances always start the night off right? It’s like rainbows are actually spewing from the dancers’ feet and arms. Is there a So You Think You Can Dance in India? Because that would be stellar.

So let’s dispense with the good news: Melanie and Marko were predictably safe. Call it the Gaga effect. Or the “Mary Murphy Calls You ‘The Domination Man’ and People Feel Bad for You” effect. Caitlynn and Mitchell were given a week solo-free thanks to an unusually non-’80s Mandy Moore routine. Call it the Céline effect. The Jess voting bloc remains strong, so he and Clarice lived to see another week. Perhaps most lucky were Sasha and Alexander, who triumphed despite across-the-board criticism of their hip-hop routine. I’m putting it off to Sasha’s yellow eyelids and kickin’ half-hawk.

Not so lucky were Ashley and Chris, who were felled by the dreaded ballroom draw, had lackluster chemistry, and had to endure a comparison to Nigel krumping. Likewise, Jordan and Tadd got served by twinkles and fish lifts when they drew a waltz. And in the night’s most surprising bottom three couple, Ryan and Ricky had to dance for their lives. Neither zombies nor Zoolander nor Nigel’s obvious favoritism could save them from their dance with destiny.

While the dancers psyched themselves up for their solos, the troupe featured in The Adjustment Bureau put on an athletic performance. It was straight out of the Mia Michaels playbook, but I’m apparently one of the few people who hasn’t been overtaken by MM ennui, so I quite liked it.

Solo time! Ashley…did pretty much exactly what she did last week, only to different music. Frankly, it seemed a bit defeated. Chris followed suit, virtually repeating his solo from last week down to the heel stretch contortion while on his knees. Jordan brought her peacock bra A-game to the stage, as well as a whole lotta technique in dancing to Kelly Rowland and David Guetta’s “Commander.” Mugging + (leg extensions x undulations) / questionable fashion = Jordan.

NEXT: Tadd rocks it to Gloria Estefan, and Ryan comes to play

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Tadd killed it — if only by virtue of his ’90s radness. The kid literally ran out on the stage. On. His. Knees. To a Gloria Estefan song (“1-2-3”)! Oh, Tadd, you had me at “Oy-ey-oy! Oy-ey-oh-oh-aye!” There were so many good things about this routine (says a child of the ’80s) that I couldn’t possibly enumerate them. I will say this: It injected some humor back into the show that has been sorely lacking this season. Thank you, Tadd. Next came the controversial Ryan. Say what you will about her, but who else on this show has brought such dynamism to a piece of music that is essentially one long strain of violins? She came out to play tonight, and it was only appropriate after the speculation about her place on the show. Finally, Ricky did a pretty run-of-the-mill contemporary solo with a cute little wave at the end. Yeah…he knows he’s not going anywhere.

Then there was Florence and her Machine, she who grows more warbly by the day. My biggest complaint, however, is that this song has now been performed on the show and can’t be choreographed in a future episode. Then again, Jonny Moseley already called dibs when he tooled around the ice rink to it on Skating With the Stars, so I guess it suffers from the competing network stigma. Alas.

With that, it was results time. Nigel gave a word of caution to all the dancers, advising them to show different sides of themselves in their solos. Before he even spoke to the girls specifically, you could see it all over Ashley’s face that she knew she was going. Disregarding that, Nigel told Jordan to cut it out with the développés already. Amen, brother Lythgoe. He was predictably short-winded with Ryan because clearly he wasn’t cutting his pet. So it was Ashley who went home for never peaking. As for the guys, Nigel assured Ricky’s safety by proclaiming him the second best contemporary dancer of the season (following Marko). Then he did a back and forth, calling Chris (who was obviously going home) up before Tadd. In the end, Tadd’s sense of whimsy proved too high a barrier for Chris to surmount given his bottom three double whammy and general failure to live up to the choreographers’ needs.

So, folks, what’s your verdict? Where was Carmen Electra? Should the judges stop keeping couples together at all expense? Who should be the next to go? What ploy will Nigel devise should Ryan land in the bottom three again next week? Are you excited that it’s almost All-Star time? Keeps those comments coming!

Episode Recaps

So You Think You Can Dance

Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and the viewers at home crown America’s Favorite Dancer.
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