"SYTYCD" Season 7 Recap: Vegas Week Part Deux and the Top 10 Reveal

June 9, 2010

It was a big night on “So You Think You Can Dance”—the second half of Vegas week, and the Top 10 (11!) reveal. So let’s get right to it.

We returned to Vegas, where the remaining 58 dancers were preparing to dance a Broadway routine. But Cat Deeley tells us that Ida Saki, who was a judges fave during the auditions (and the 2009 DS Cover Model Search Winner, if we haven’t mentioned that a gazillion times before), has asked to speak to the panel. Ida tells them that she’s withdrawing from the competition because she has a once-in-a-lifetime scholarship opportunity (more on that later). They show some clips of Ida’s performances in Vegas and say she hasn’t danced up to expectation. Nigel says he believes that if she had done well and received positive feedback, she wouldn’t be withdrawing. Ida gently defends herself saying, “You don’t know me yet, but I promise you, the minute I get negative criticism is the minute I step it up.” Nigel dismisses her with a cordial, “Best of luck.”

But the show must go on, and the rest of Vegas Week is a whirlwind. The dancers are given a group choreography assignment—which, of course, causes some conflicts. But we only see blips of dancing, a few seconds of a group here, another few seconds of a group there. Where’s the dance in “So You Think You Can Dance”? Less drama, more dance, please!

It’s down to 31 dancers and it’s time for a contemporary routine, choreographed by the fabulous Travis Wall (in an LXD t-shirt, no less!). We get one last look at Nicole Knudson, a.k.a pile’o’curls, who’s cut after this round but seems to have a right attitude about the situation. “I’m glad I was cut, because I know I couldn’t handle it,” she tells the camera. “But next year, I know I can.”

The final group to dance includes three stellar men: Alex Wong, Anthony Burrell and Kent Boyd. Again, the editing keeps cutting away from the dancing, so we only get to see the guys in fits and starts. But what we do see looks powerful and passionate. The judges tell Alex he needs to work on putting more personality into his dancing, and then tell him he’s in. Nigel tells Anthony that watching him next to Alex and Kent was the difference between watching a “man” and “boys.” “It was exquisite,” Nigel says. Anthony’s in, too. Then Kent steps up to the mic. He talks about how he can’t believe he’s performing alongside such amazing dancers, and how he thought Vegas would just be a learning experience for him and he’d sort of hang out in the back and absorb all he could. Awww, he’s so young and sweet. The judges tell Kent he’s just as good as those dancers he admires. Own it, Kent!

Before Vegas concludes, the remaining 24 dancers get a masterclass with dancer, choreographer and two-time Tony Award-nominee Grover Dale, who works with them on tapping into their “star quality.” They also perform solos—but we only get to see Lauren Froderman‘s. More dancing, please! But, to be fair, Lauren’s performance to Etta James’ “At Last” is quite captivating, managing to be both playful and sultry.

Vegas, done. Now on to…home visits? The judges scatter throughout the U.S. to tell the Vegas finalists who’s made it on the show. There are a few fun moments, like when Melinda Sullivan receives her news with tap legend Harold Cromer by her side. But generally, it’s a little weird and uncomfortable, especially when Mia, Mary, Tyce, Adam, and Nigel have to deliver bad news. I don’t want to see someone’s dreams crushed on TV.

And, it turns out the judges couldn’t narrow the field to 10, so they added a spot for an additional male dancer. So here it is, the Top 11:

Alexie Agdeppa

Billy Bell

Kent Boyd

Lauren Froderman

Ashley Galvan

Robert Roldan

Jose Ruiz

Christina Santana

Melinda Sullivan

Adéchiké Torbert

Alex Wong

As a big tap nerd, I’m personally very excited to see a Melinda make it on the show. (We always knew she’d be a star—check out the cover of the May 2003 issue of DS.) And while I understand that contemporary dancers are extremely skilled and versatile, the cast seems a little heavy on this genre. Here’s hoping that the choreographers are from a wide-range of specialties. And I’ve let out a huge sigh of relief that we’re on to the meat of the show—por favor, mas dancing!

Finally, a note about Ida. We were so sad about the way things played out for her on last night’s show. The scholarship she received was an award from YoungArts, a national organization that recognizes talented 17 and 18 year olds. We saw Ida in NYC—just days after she’d flown out from Vegas Week—at the YoungArts “In the Studio” workshop, and she opened up to us about her time on the show. Though the YoungArts schedule conflicted with SYTYCD, Ida, always the go-getter, went for both. She’d hoped to be able to work out the scheduling, but, it turned out she had to make a choice. YoungArts is highly selective honor and only those artists who receive gold or silver medals are invited to NYC to participate “In the Studio” (Ida was one of only 8 dancers). In NYC, the aspiring artists take master classes, work with professional mentors and create their own pieces. It truly is a once in a lifetime experience. Said Ida, “I’m 18. I can try out for ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ next year. I can only do YoungArts this year.”

Check back tomorrow for our recap of tonight’s show. And we want to know what you think of “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 7. Share your thoughts here.