Well, isn't this inevitable, us comparing the Di Lellos, Ashleigh and Ryan?
Of course. It's not really often that we see a married couple audition for So You Think You Can Dance, and more so, see both make it to the Top 20. And, in this case, the Top 10, too. What I find interesting, though, is how the two have grown throughout the competition, and how their fates have literally flipped over.
If I remember correctly, it was Ryan who got a lot of praise from the judges during the auditions. At least I had that impression while watching him try out. The judges liked Ryan's versatility, while his wife Ashleigh always seemed lacking, or at least, struggling to get out of her husband's shadow. No, it's not anything marital--it's just that the two have danced together for so long, and by the time they have to dance as individuals, it was Ryan who came out on top. I mean, explain the fake-out during the Top 20 announcement, of Ryan going in first, and everybody waiting for Ashleigh even if it seemed she wouldn't make it, until she did because Paula Van Oppen backed out?
So, I thought, Ashleigh would be the first of the couple to drop out. I didn't really have high expectations for her, as opposed to Ryan, who seemed to be able to carry anything on his really muscular arms. In the first week, Ryan churned out a pretty good routine, while Ashleigh was inevitably overshadowed by partner Jakob. Ryan was, predictably, getting all the praise, while reaction to Ashleigh wasn't as fond.
And then, in a snap, things practically reversed. Ryan isn't the versatile dancer we thought he would be. Sure, he's still got good routines (remember why he was called the best contemporary dancer to have ever done ballroom on the show?) but we started to see cracks. There was, of course, that disastrous hip-hop routine that sent him and Ellenore to the bottom three. And then there were his solos, which still leave a lot to be desired.
Ashleigh, on the other hand, was showing growth--arguably as much as Legacy, who was getting more attention. Her routines were way out of her ball park, and yet she eventually performed them with ease and grace, just as you'd expect a ballroom dancer to bring. Soon she's getting a lot of praise for good dancing and good characterization. And the only solo we've seen her do is, admittedly, a much better ballroom solo.
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