To get into this years top 20 in the US version of So You Think You Can Dance you clearly had to have a strange and unusual name - Marquis, Kherington, and Rayven just to name a few, and they weren't even the hip hop dancers.
It was good to see that Nigel had had his haircut for the beginning of the competition as he was looking a little unpolished for the auditions and Las Vegas week. Also he seems to have got his fake tan going. Mary Murphy and Dan Karaty were the other judges, and what a refreshing change they make from the blandness of the Australian judges.
It was time to meet the couples that would be stuck together for the next few weeks, if they weren't eliminated of course.
Rayven and Jamie
Rayven (is this name real?) a 28 year old ballet dancer, and Jamie who is a west coast swing dancer had to tackle hip hop first both outside their genres. How would they cope? It was more a saccharin hip hop routine then the boy in the 'hood style choreographed by two new choreographers to the show Napoleon and Tabitha. It was not the most exciting hip hop routine I have seen, and by the end of the show I suspect I would have forgotten it.
Nigel said that he liked the "soften" up style and he also wondered if the routine would be memorable. Clearly we are on the same wave length which I find vaguely disturbing.
Mary whipped up the crowd up and called it cotton candy hip hop.
Dan Karaty thought it was "not quite there" and "there was no funk" was he being hypercritical because he is a hip hop choreographer who has not been given much choreography gigs on this show?
Susie and Marquis
How did Susie the high school teacher get to the top 20 from her audition I would not have sent her to Vegas. Maybe she is an all rounder as well as a ballroom dancer. Marquis is a contemporary dancer. They were doing a smooth waltz - would this be the kiss of death for them, this is never popular with the voters.
Awkward would be one adjective to describe it - the only excitement was when I thought he was going to drop her. Also not sure the pink hair went with the blue dress. I think we need to see them in another routine to see if they have any charisma.
Nigel (who appears to be going first this year on the judging panel - is there a reason for this?) said it was difficult choreography from Hunter, but yes Nigel the viewers can tell when someone butchers a lift. He said he liked it. Nigel and I are now not on the same wavelength.
Mary thought they pulled it off and they blew her away.
Dan thought he was watching an almost perfect ending to a love story. He loved it.
Kourtni Lynn and Matt
Kourtni a contemporary dancer who I think will easily make it to the top ten, is partnered with Matt another contemporary dancer should be a strong team. They are doing a Mandy Moore jazz routine who I love.
She is so stuck in the eighties which I love - though sometimes I think if I hear Soft Cell's Tainted Love again I am going scream. However this pairing sizzled in their black leather.
Nigel said he needed more personality from Matt and for him to relax a bit more.
Mary thought they did a great job, but not the hot tamale train.
Dan thought it was a so so performance, but loved the choreography.
Chelsea Trail and Thayne
Chelsea T is a contemporary dancer as is her partner Thayne who has only been dancing for 6 year. They were to dance the cha cha to a Tony Meredith routine.
Chelsea showed she is a performer but I felt she could have wiggled her hips a bit more for the cha cha. With this routine they will be safe for another week.
Nigel said thought they were both terrific - he liked the hips and would have liked to have seen more footwork.
Mary gave them two tickets on the hot tamale train.
Dan said they owned the stage.
Chelsie Hightower and Mark
Chelsie and Mark who has a unique style which I liked will be interesting to watch. They were doing Mia Michaels contemporary dance. Mia criticised Mark in rehearsals and said he was not getting it. She was looking dubious about whether he could pull it off.
I loved it and liked Chelsie more then I thought I would and I was surprised she was a ballroomer. He was great, and Mia ended up giving him the thumbs up.
Nigel gushed over Mia, which of course she loved.
Mary thought it was a unbelievable in a good way.
Dan said what an experience it must be to go someplace in Mia Michaels head. He thought it was amazing.
Twitch and Kherington
Twitch is a hip Hopper who got knocked out of Vegas last year by the wonderful Hok is partnering contemporary jazz dancer Kherington. They were doing a Tyce D'Orio broadway routine.
Sensational the only person who would have hated it would be the stage hand who would have to sweep up the red feathers she was shedding all over the stage.
Nigel thought Kherington looked fab and danced well, and he thought Twitch looked like a Broadway dancer.
Mary loved it as did Dan.
Comfort and Chris
Comfort is a hip hop dancer, has a big personality so hopefully will make up for Chris's lack of it. They are doing the jive to be choreographed by Tony Meredith. She is going to be popular.
I loved the beginning of the routine when they did there little solos under spotlights. Comfort was perturbed about dancing in "bra and beads"
Nigel said Chris's technique better and told Comfort needed to bend her knees a bit more, but she needs to get used to heels.
Mary said Comfort had "what it takes", and thought it was "a respectable job"
Dan thought Chris did a wonderful job keeping up with Comfort. They need to develop a chemistry together.
Katee and Joshua
Katee a contemporary dancer and Joshua a hip hop dancer were dancing a hip hop routine choreographed by Napoleon and Tabitha.
It was meant to be a routine about his last night before he went off to war. Joshua was always going to rock this routine but how good was Katee she was a surprise package for me. I really liked it.
Nigel thought it was really good, and he raved about Napoleon and Tabitha, and he said it was his fave routine of the night.
Mary thought it was tremendous also she loved it as she has a loved one in Iraq. Onto to Dan who also has a brother in the armed forces remember the Wade Robson peace routine which Dan complained about??? No more Wade this year after that (his choice he didn't need that crap). However Dan did not mention it but said he thought they were great.
Jessica and Will
Jessica a contemporary dancer, and Will also a contemporary dancer who was mentored by Denise Allen will be dancing the tango choreographed by Hunter Johnson.
Not the sexiest or sultriest of tango's I have ever seen but I hope they stay on as I would like to see them do something else.
Nigel said thought they looked professional and thought they coped well with the choreography. He told Jessica "she needed to hold position".
Mary said it was "strong, passionate and on fire", and thought "Will owned it", and thought they were the couple to beat. Not sure I agreed with that.
Dan said they were hot like fire.
Courtney Galliano and Gev
Courtney is a contemporary and hip hop dancer Gev were dancing a Doriano Sanchez disco routine. Is she a former Solid Gold dancer? Why don't they show reruns of Solid Gold on pay tv.
Disco can always trip up the unwary. It reminded me of a scene from Saturday Night Fever. It was not perfect but I liked it. Courtney needed to learn to keep her mouth closed.
Nigel however did not like it. He thought there was "no get down and boogie feel". He showed his age when he said Earth, Wind and Fire wants everyone to get up a boogie.
Mary did love it, and said they danced it better then Saturday Night Fever.
Dan enjoyed it, but not the best disco he had seen.
I think the bottom three will be Susie and Marquis, Rayven and Jamie and Will and Jessica.