For the remaining contestants on SYTYCD, it was the first time out as a top 10 dancer and the first time dancing with new partners. With Jessica King out of the competition due to injury, Comfort Fedoke was given a second chance on the first night with the voting public exclusively in the driver's seat. The final five couples did two dances a piece as well as solos Wednesday, and highlights included solos by hip-hop dancers Gev Manoukian and Stephen 'Twitch' Boss, as well as new pair Katee Shean and Will Wingfield who promise to be unforgettable as the level of difficulty rises in the competition. -- Jed Dreben
From country quickstep to the monster-mash, here's how it went down:
Joshua Allen, who nailed it week after week with partner Katee Shean, looked to keep up the momentum with new partner Courtney Galiano, as the two monster-mashed into Allen's world with a Transylvania-inspired hip-hop routine for their first time out. Guest judge and resident krumper, Lil' C gave both big props for their electric moves, while Mary Murphy said they definitely had "chemistry." Nigel Lythgoe thought they were good but let Galiano know that she needs to step it up if she's going to reach Allen's standard. For their next dance, they delivered a sexy rumba and a satisfied judges' panel heartily approved.
Kherington Payne and Mark Kanemura kicked things off with the show's first-ever country two-step. Looking like urban cowboys as they twisted, turned and kicked their way through the technically challenging number, their routine got mixed reviews from the judges. Lil' C thought was "justifiable" but noticed their groove slowing down after a missed turn. Mary identified with the difficulty of the piece and gave Mark kudos, but felt Kherington needed to "tone up." Nigel praised them for not giving up, but blamed their semi-failure on being new partners and a lack of trust. Next, they did some groovin' jazz with Tyce Diorio to Jamiroquai's "Canned Heat," which judge Nigel compared to a driving test because they mechanically checked off each move rather than get lost in the dance.
Happily back after being eliminated the week before, Comfort Fedoke was partnered up with fellow hip-hopper Stephen 'Twitch' Boss, but both were taken way out of their comfort zones as they took on a waltz set to Journey's "Open Arms." Definitely feeling the music, this new pair found magic in each other's arms on the SYTYCD stage. Lil' C enjoyed it but felt that they just weren't "floating" enough. Mary apologized for having to tell them that this was "not gonna cut it," and even though they were out of their element with the waltz, "the quality of movement was just not there." Nigel also felt it wasn't strong enough for top 10 dancers. But their second dance, a hip-hop piece choreographed by Dave Scott, brought them right back in, and earned a solid "BUCK!" from Lil' C. That means he liked it.
As if by divine intervention, Katee Shean pulled William Wingfield's name out of the hat, starting a dream team partnership that many viewers probably hoped to see. Starting things off with a Tyce Diorio Broadway number, the two technically strong dancers, a choreographer's dream, made it look easy doing "Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat" from Guys and Dolls. The performance wowed Lil' C, who called it "explosive," and told them they "rocked his boat. Mary hopped "on the love boat with this number." Nigel loved the "terrific" routine and called Shean and Wingfield the show's most "technical dancers." For their second dance, they received an extremely difficult and untraditional number choreographed by ballet legend Desmond Richardson and his partner Dwight Rhoden, set to David Archuleta's "Imagine." The judges as well as the crowd were simply left breathless.
Last but definitely not least, Chelsie Hightower and Gev Manoukian may just be another powerful pairing to beat, as they started things off with an emotionally driven contemporary piece choreographed by the innovative Sonya Tayen aptly set to Otis Redding's "These Arms Of Mine." Their beauty and precision on the floor touched Lil' C, who said their commitment to character definitely made him "feel something." Mary thought they had "amazing chemistry together," while Nigel noticed that Gev wasn't feeling it as much and wondered if he had former partner Courtney on his mind. For the last dance, they took on one of Jean-Marc Genereux's difficult jives, which the judges said highlighted Hightower's show-stealing "lighting" legs. Joe Viles/FOX