There'd be "blood on the dance floor" by the night's end, warned "So You Think You Can Dance" hostess Cat Deeley. And she was barely exaggerating. OK, maybe there was no blood, but there was a whole lot of sweat and especially tears on Thursday night, when the first four dancers of Season 8 were sadly sent home.
Yes, there were four castoffs, not the usual two, due to last week's controversial decision (when the judges couldn't decide who to eliminate and instead opted to have all 20 dancers stay on for another week). But interestingly, none of the three couples who were up for elimination last week were in this week's bottom three. Last week Ryan and Ricky, Iveta and Nick, and Wadi and Missy were all safe...but this week, they were in trouble. This development indicates just how tight a race it is this year. No one is 100 percent safe on this show.
Wadi and Missy were probably the least surprising dancers to see on the chopping block this week, given that Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy had been pretty tough critiquing Wadi's cha-cha skills (or lack thereof) on Wednesday--and, let's face it, the cha-cha just isn't the most popular genre of dance among "SYTYCD" viewers, who usually prefer contemporary and hip-hop.
Iveta and Nick's placing was a little more unexpected--I'd assumed the heartthrobby Nick already had a huge following, and that exotic blonde ballroom goddess Iveta stood out amid this season's plucky young girls. But then again, neither was really able to excel in their assigned genre this week, Bollywood. And maybe the young girls who watch this show, and vote for the wholesome likes of Lauren Froderman and Jeanine Mason, just couldn't relate to the icy, older Iveta.
And then there was Ricky and Ryan--the biggest shocker of all. They were fabulous in their sexy "Addicted To Love" routine this week, so my theory is they were doomed only because they danced first on Wednesday.
When it came time for the six at-risk dancers to solo for survival, all of them were good of course, but puzzlingly, only Ricky really seemed to be "dancing for his life." Wadi broke out some cool tricks and flashed an adorable smile, but didn't really wow the audience; Nick was charming and slick, but his solo didn't measure up to the one he did in Vegas; Missy was animalistic and fiery, but her solo didn't seem to feature a huge level of technical difficulty; Iveta was sex on legs (very, very long legs) as she shook the tassels on her teensy flapper dress, but she didn't do anything we hadn't seen from her before; and Ryan was lovely, but something seemed missing from her routine. Only Ricky took it to the necessary next level.
And you know, Ricky deserved to be saved based on the fact that he danced to Sleigh Bells alone. How awesome was that?
The judges were understandably won over by Ricky's amazing solo ("I don't think we've ever seen you dance better than you danced tonight," Nigel told him), so they unanimously saved him. Huzzah! The decision of which girl to save, however, was less obvious (although eventually unanimous as well). While Nigel told Missy, "I don't believe there is anything in your dancing I can fault," she was still let go, as was Iveta, despite the fact that she's a TEN-TIME ballroom champion. Iveta may ace nearly every ballroom competition in America, but she still was felled the moment she had to do Bollywood next to a tap-dancer on live TV.
I was a little more dejected over the girls' elimination. See, while Ricky was saved because of his solo, Nigel sternly told Ryan, "I don't believe your solo was as good as you can do"--yet the judges kept her anyway. That was odd. And my heart broke a little for Iveta, who'd tried out for this show multiple times and had said her ultimate dream was to be on "SYTYCD"; it was sad that her dream only lasted for three episodes. And honestly, I think this season could have been a little more interesting if she'd stayed a little while longer.
But hey, every week, someone has to go. In past "SYTYCD" seasons, these four dancers could have easily made the top 10, but the talent level is just insanely high this year, so some insanely talented dancers are simply going to go home early.
Oh well. Maybe they can all go home with Debbie Reynolds.