Ricky Ubeda (and Lauren Froderman)
Style: Jazz, Choreography by Mandy Moore
Music: "Bossa Nova Baby (Viva Mix)" by Elvis Presley
Did somebody say perfection? Ricky's dance was supposedly a celebration of getting into the top 10, but this guy just graduated high school and has been the frontrunner since his first audition—what's not to celebrate? Ricky has been dancing like a winner for weeks and now he gets to dance with a winner—his all-star partner Lauren—in a lively performance. But with that smile, that hair, that bow tie, those suspenders, those shoes, Tara had to ask what we all were thinking—"Is there anything you can't do?" Ricky is (obviously) safe, so we will give him a couple of weeks to try and find an answer... or win, whichever comes first.
Casey Askew (and Kathryn McCormick)
Style: Broadway, Choreography by Spencer Liff
Music: "Maybe This Time" by Liza Minnelli
Casey loves Broadway, Casey loves Broadway not. After being saved by the judges last week, Casey was nervous about his theatrical routine because "it's like acting" and he thought it would be difficult for him. He does know that the winner gets a part on Broadway, right? He better get over that fear quick! Wait—what fear? Casey's performance was full of strength, personality, and his signature flexibility with kicks and extensions that would make any Radio City Rockette jealous. Nigel even specifically noted how much the style suited Casey and that he is getting stronger each week—so strong in fact that Ricky should be nervous. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, Nigel. Maybe this time he was great, but Casey has to prove (like Ricky) that he can be just as consistent each week, which he will get the chance to prove because he's safe.
Jessica Richens (and Stephen "tWitch" Boss)
Style: Hip-Hop, Choreography by Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo
Music: "U Got Me Up" by Cajmere feat. Dajae
Jessica was paired up with tWitch as her all-star to do a hip-hop routine because you know, that's fair. For the bus stop set routine Jessica more than just held her own against tWitch (even with gray hair and a fatsuit), but the jazz dancer proved once again that she can pretty much dance any style of dance thrown at her. Mary said she couldn't have done the dance better, and Nigel was happy that it seemed she was finally starting to live up to her potential. Remember, Christina Applegate had said she could win at his first audition in Los Angeles. Not to discredit her performance in any way though, Jessica was the only dancer who got to perform her routine already knowing that she was safe for the week.
Zack Everhart (and Amy Yakima)
Style: Contemporary, Choreography by Sonya Tayeh
Music: "Europe, After the Rain" by Max Richter
Do you think it helps or hurts Zach that he is always identified as the "small town tapper" when he continues to prove each week that he has the real potential of being a "big city everything" type of dancer? Once again, Zach went against his supposed type with an incredibly difficult and emotional contemporary piece that served as a tribute to a fallen friend. Dancing more to the sound of rain than music, the connection between Zach and all-star Amy was almost too strong for words. Actually Tara really didn't have that many words except that "wow is an understatement." After a little rant against some Emmy ruling for choreography, Nigel told Zach that he is much more than just that "small town tapper" he calls himself but has the ability to control everyone's emotions on a global level. Oh, and Zach did all of this knowing he was already in the bottom two.
At the end of a night full of really strong performances, Emilio and Bridget were sent home. Elimination always hurts, but it's an added layer of grief for both of them as tonight they each had one of their strongest performances of the season. But, alas, tonight's performance couldn't help them stay, no matter how hard they danced.