So You Think You Can Dance Season 7 started competition last night with a live performance show instead of a pre-taped one. It was clear from outset it was live as Cat introduced Jose as Ade and we were treated to some sloppy camera work during the dancer’s introductions. Luckily that was the end of the issues and the rest of the show seemed to go off without a hitch. I am sad that they don’t seem to be adding Season 6 highlights into the opening titles this year. Last Thursday Season 5 dances were removed, but generic dance stuff is in its place rather than Season 6 dances.

I love Mia Michaels on the judging panel. The energy and insight she brought to the table was fabulous. Her and Adam in particularly are a wonderful combination. I was disappointed that the choreographers weren’t at the table like they were in last week’s intro show. I liked the insight last week they provided.

Let’s get into this week’s dances. On the whole the show was great, but there was a lack of performance in several dances. The judges hit it on the head saying that there was a lot of great technique but some of the dancers just didn’t bring the spark of performance and that’s a shame because it adds so much no matter the style.

Here’s my take on the dances, beginning with my top three for the night:

  • Alex (Sonya Tayeh contemporary): Absolutely amazing. Sonya choreographed stunning movement and Alex, along with his All-Star Allison, were extraordinary. The piece, set to Jeff Buckley’s version of “Hallelujah,” was powerful, technically stunning and packed with emotion and chemistry between the two dancers. It’s among the most brilliant pieces ever done on SYTYCD and with it Alex has set the bar for the performance level for this season and seasons to come.
  • Robert (Sean Cheesman African Jazz): I didn’t see this coming from Robert, who comes off as such an adorable goofball. He and Courtney looked like they had a joy dancing this number and the movements were strong and created some great pictures as they moved across the stage. My only gripe is I wish the music had been more powerful to accompany the movement.
  • Christina (Sonya Tayeh Jazz): Sonya was on fire this week as she crafted a quirky jazz dance for Christina, who had the benefit of All-Star Mark (who specializes in quirky). Two things I loved here: You forgot that Christina was a salsa dancer as she embraced this style and these two, despite the quirky movements, made the whole number into one gorgeous fluid piece.

The rest of the recap is now in the order the dances were performed:

  • Billy (Tyce Diorio Broadway): I was very mixed on this piece. I’m not always a fan of Tyce’s Broadway choreography and this piece was one of those for me. It felt very rah-rah cheerleaderish and I don’t feel it captured Billy’s strengths. That said, I did enjoy seeing Billy dance completely outside his style and at a rapid pace, which he will certainly need if he ever pulls a salsa, jive or any of the other speedy dances.
  • Jose (Tabitha & Napoleon D’uomo Hip Hop): This was a good number, but I didn’t feel that Jose really found his inner fierceness, especially when compared to Comfort who rocked her performance. The choreography was outstanding and I liked the inclusion of the jumps and holds which were well done.
  • AdéChiké (Travis Wall Jazz): There was a serious lack of chemistry and performance here. All-Star Kathryn gave everything she had from her movements and commit to the character, but AdéChiké was mostly getting through the moves. He did the moves great, but it could’ve been so much more if he had connected with the character and Kathryn.
  • Melinda (Tony Meredith & Melanie Lapatin Jive): I disagree with the judges here. I thought this dance was quite good. Yes, Melinda had some technical issues getting the Jive right, but she sold it and overall the entire performance package came off great. I thought occasionally her face looked more “nervous/scared” than “fun” but I enjoyed this a lot.
  • Alexie (Tabitha & Napoleon D’uomo Hip Hop): This was a long way away from Alexie’s jazz/contemporary style and it looked like she was trying to perform the hip hop as if it was jazz. It kind of worked here because of the more lyrical feel of the choreography. However, you only had to look at Twitch to see how it should be done to know she wasn’t doing it quite right.
  • Lauren (Mandy Moore Pop Jazz) This was disappointing. Lauren had a strong partner in Ade and yet this fun piece of choreography fell a little flat because there was no chemistry between them and no real performance from Lauren outside of some mugging to the audience.
  • Kent (Tony Meredith & Melanie Lapatin Cha Cha) How adorable is Kent? So far outside his style and yet he danced this so well and kept up with his All-Star partner Anya. I thought his hands were occasionally out of whack (but maybe I’m wrong about that because the judges didn’t say anything about that). This was fun and it had great chemistry.
  • Ashley (Tyce Diorio Contemporary) This was the disappointment of the night. This number should have been as goosebump worthy as Alex’s but it fell flat because Ashely only brought technique to the dance floor and left all of the emotional content elsewhere.

After all of that, I would put Ashely, Lauren and AdéChiké in the bottom three and would send Ashley home.

Results show update: Well I don’t know what America was doing voting for people who at least gave passable performances while keeping disappointments like Ashely and AdéChiké firmly in the competition. I was sad to find Melinda and Christina in the bottom three. Alexie wasn’t a total surprise and I’m okay with her exiting under the circumstances.

Meanwhile, it was awesome to see Come Fly Away and Usher. I could’ve lived with out Justin Bieber though…snooze.