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So You Think You Can Dance: Top 18 Perform, Live Thoughts


It's time for our Top 18 dancers to take the stage and for two of those dancers to be instantly eliminated by the judges. After a bit of a rocky and emotional start last week, I'm positive the Top 18 are going to shine tonight and show us why this is going to be the best season of So You Think You Can Dance yet.


Not only will the Top 18 dance tonight, we'll get the final word on Noelle Marsh and her knee injury and how that will affect the competition. Follow along with me here and on Twitter, as we watch the Top 18 perform together.


A gorgeous, ethereal and shimmery Cat Deeley reminds us that (thank god) this is the final week that eliminations are all up to the judges. So far, Cat's batting 1000 in terms of style for season 6. Nothing ridiculously crazy or animal print yet. Tonight Cat's in a blushy-nude sequined shift. Lovely dance kitten, absolutely lovely.


Noelle does do the pre-show solos, so it looks like the doctor gave her an all clear and my amazing power of Twitter deduction served us well. Interestingly the largest cheers seemed to be for Ryan Di Lello and Russell Ferguson. The girls got decidedly less cheer lovin' tonight. The biggest cheers of them all? Seems to be for Nigel Lythgoe, very strange indeed. There's still an empty chair with Paula Abdul's name on it.


Nigel does bring cheer-worthy good news: Billy Bell can join in at the top 100 at the next Vegas week and Brandon Dumlao can audition for So You Think You Can Dance again. Hooray to both of those! And here's to hoping that both Billy and Brandon come back for season 7.


Noelle Marsh and Russell Ferguson


Style: Hip Hop

Choreographer: Jamal Sims

Song: "Move Shake Drop Remix"


This is a tennis inspired dance about a love battle to the death. You know the saying right? Love means nothing in tennis.


Surprising no one, Russell is right at home with a hip hop routine. He hits it hard, precisely, and really brings the character. Noelle holds her own too, though there is some trepidation in many of her movements. Whether that is based with nerves about her knee or dancing out of her genre, I don't know. By the end of the routine, the comedy is a little heavy, the tennis rackets a little (or a lot) distracting, the characters a little stifling, and Noelle a little worn out. Both Russell and Noelle seemed to get lost in the story and the further along in the routine, the more Noelle looked out of sorts, especially as their synchronization fell off. It's the first routine of the night, and I suspect she'll be in the bottom two.


Judges Say:


Adam says the pair got overwhelmed by the choreography and I agree. Mary says the two were definitely in a fight and Russell won the match. Mary says she looked for Noelle's weakness, but didn't find it. (I did.) Nigel makes a tennis crack that the audience didn't laugh at. He said the routine was so fast that neither Russell or Noelle seemed to get a hold of it. He also says he's not sure Noelle's performance will keep her out of the bottom four. Nigel says the routine left him a bit disappointed. The audience boos, but I agree.


Ashleigh Di Lello and Jakob Karr


Style: Viennese Waltz

Choreographer: Tony Meredith & Mealine LaPatin

Song: "At Last" by Etta James


This routine is supposed to be Ashleigh & Jakob's first wedding dance. Of course they choose one of the married women to do that...there weren't seven unmarried women where this would cause zero potential drama. But what fun would that be?


Jakob and Ashleigh look like the epitome of married bliss and class, as they begin the routine with a sweet kiss. (Hope you're not watching backstage Ryan!) Jakob looks every bit the leading man and partner, with those lines that leave me jaw-dropped. Ashleigh's acting and performance benefited her in the routine, as she was completely believable with Jakob. Still her lines are so out shined by Jakob's technique. The lifts at the end of the routine were gorgeous, albeit somewhat strange for a waltz, still this is turning out to be quite a solid partnership. The routine was filled with elegance and class. These two aren't going anywhere, but the Top 10.


Judges Say:


Adam Shankman, you can do no wrong. I am madly in love with you guys. Mary said it was good to see that Jakob had flaws, and that he lacked power. Mary thinks Ashleigh is gorgeous and that they are getting "closer and closer" to the top 10. Nigel says that Jakob is a beautiful dancer (thanks captain obvious) and that he thinks Ashleigh is proving naysayers wrong. Tonight, I have to say, she did me.


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