It's pretty clear all of this season's top 10 contestants do in fact think that they can dance. So the producers are tasked each week with throwing a curve ball to keep the dancers on their toes (when not already choreographed to). Although only two dancers would be going home after a brutal four dancer cut last week, instead of the bottom dancers being announced at the top of the show per usual, each contestant was told his or her fate after dancing. This is a way for them to perform with less pressure, but now that the all-stars have joined the fun and the judges (including Tara Lipinski) have no say in who stays and who goes, the dances don't weigh into this week's outcomes. After an opening number that looked like a scene out of a cowboy coloring book, it was time to see how the contestants would do on their own for the first time. Well, at least judged and voting on their own.
Bridget Whitman (and Brandon Bryant)
Style: Bollywood Disco, Choreography by Nakul Dev Mahajan
Music: "Disco Khisko" by Dil Bole Hadippa soundtrack
To start the show, Bridget did something never before seen on the SYTYCD stage: Bollywood Disco. Where else you can find Bollywood Disco? I don't know, but the meshing of the two very different yet very fast styles of dance led to an energetic and colorful number showing off one of Bridget's biggest strengths—her personality. There were moments when she was slightly out of sync with partner Brandon, but considering her costume (which seemed to be all Tara really cared about) and this was their first time working together, it could have been worse. Bridget has the ability to make what she's doing look hard and fun at the same time, and she gave Nigel a brilliant inspiration to revive John Travolta's film career. However positive the judges were, Bridget was still named as one of the girls in the bottom two.
Tanisha Belnap (and Ryan Di Lello)
Style: Argentine Tango, Choreography by Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo
Music: "The Gaucho's Pain" by Tango Jointz
Who would have thought back in Utah when both Tanisha and Ryan were training to become ballroom dancers that one day they would reunite on the SYTYCD stage? Tanisha is a beautiful dancer and, as Mary noted, almost makes it seem effortless. But Tanisha needs to realize there is a lot more to dancing than just dancing. Like Christina Applegate noted last week with some of the contestants, you could see Tanisha thinking about her moves—she was a little too stiff and should have relaxed her face a bit more. However those are minor critiques considering everything else was great, especially her footwork. But again, though the feet are arguably the most important body party to use when dancing, it's far from the only one. Not to worry though, since Tanisha was deemed safe and her feet can dance on to next week.
Emilio Dosal (and Jasmine Harper)
Style: Hip-Hop, Choreography by Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo
Music: "Get Low" by Dillon Francis and DJ Snake
Emilio is officially listed as a popper, but hip-hop is obviously close to his heart as well—the style felt natural to him, or at least should have felt natural to him. Maybe it was the costume or the fact that she is taller than him, but my attention geared toward Jasmine for most of the routine. Emilio is getting better each week and though this was very good, it could have been—and needed to be—better. It's top 10 time; even very good may not be good enough as Emilio was the first guy to perform and be put in the bottom two.
NEXT: Not mean enough to dance