After the obligatory weeks of auditions, Vegas week and the top 20 introductions, So You Think You Can Dance got the ninth season competition off to a great start last night.

Christopher Scott got things rolling with a great Mad Men inspired group number, which had some great LXD influences in it. With the format changes, I’m glad to see they are keeping a group number at the top of the show since that was something I looked forward to in the results show.

In terms of the 10 dances last night, here are my top three (these are not in any order they were performed as it would be impossible to pick one as the best):

Nick & Amber Vienese Waltz chroeopgrahed by Jason Gilkison: Absolutely breathtaking. Nick is a ballroom dancer so you expect him to shine here, but Amber stepped up to the plate too and created this gorgeous routine that flowed beautifully.

Matthew & Audrey Contemporary choreographed by Travis Wall: Travis is amazing. He constantly creates incredible dances and last night was no different. Matthew and Audrey perfectly danced Travis’ story about doomed lovers on the Tiatnic. I can’t wait to see what else Matthew and Audrey do this season as well as what Travis creates.

Cole & Lindsay Paso Doble choreographed by Jason Gilkison: Jason had a great week this week with the dances he put together. Cole, who I’ve loved since his auction, and Lindsay delivered one of the best, most powerful, pasos I’ve ever seen on SYTYCD. It was a great way to end the show last night.

Other things that stood out for me last night: George and Tiffany are going to be a couple to watch. They did a great job with a Sonya contemporary piece. Will was outstanding in a funky NabbyTabs number, to the degree that Amelia really faded into the background of the routine. I love, love, love Cyrus. He and Eliana did a Tyce Broadway number and nailed it. Cyrus is an animator and Eliana is a ballet dancer so it was great to see them so far outside their styles and succeed so well at it. Chehon & Whitney were also good in their Samba number, but they didn’t stand out as much as some of the other couples.

So what was not-so-good last night? Sean Chessman put out two numbers last night–Alexa and Daniel got Jazz and Dareian and Janelle got Afro Jazz. Both were forgettable. The choreography, especially for the jazz piece, just didn’t work for me (and I usually like Sean’s work). Alexa and Daniel really seemed to struggle to get the complexity down while trying to connect with each other an the audience. The other clunker was Brandon & Janaya in a NappyTabs hip hop piece. The choreography was great, but there performance just didn’t make the connection.

Next week two guys and two girls go home…and we get to see first hand how eliminations will work with no results show (still that it was a bad idea to get rid of that).