So You Think You Can Dance: 20 Become 18

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Last week the top 20 dancers performed, and Wednesday we found out who was going home.

The top 20 danced a jaunty little number to New York, New York, seemingly trading on our nostalgia for the '40s.

It screams "never mind the polio, racism and xenophobia, ladies and gents. Everything was just fine and dandy." The costumes are darn cute, though.

My favorite part of this show has be whenever Kat stands next to the contestants. They're all relatively short, and with her height (and additional heels) she looks like lady Thor next to a bunch of hobbits.

The guest judge for the night is Misty Copeland, one of the few ballerinas of color and one of the best ballerinas, period.

She's sure to bring dance expertise to the table. It's a shame we don't have more dancers of color involved this season.

The six dancers who pulled the fewest votes were, in order: Brooklyn, Jordan, Malene, Casey, Nick, and Serge.

If you remember my review on Empty Lighthouse last week, I was least impressed by Malene and Nick of these six.

They were given the opportunity to dance once more to pull their votes up, and after the hour and a half of dance routines, the judges (Nigel, rather) spoke.

First up were Tanisha and Rudy. They picked a jazz number, which they danced to You Need by Bengsons.

While I didn't love the music, their dancing was stunning and smooth, with flashing lights emphasizing the drama of their moves.

The judges were all suitably impressed with the way they carried off the style, but Rudy was warned a number of times about holding himself strong for his partner.

Next came Valerie and Ricky who danced a contemporary routine to Oh Darling by Gossling. The challenge was getting Valerie on Ricky's level, according to choreographer Travis Wall, as Valerie doesn't have the same kind of experience in various kinds of dance as Ricky does.

They both reached amazing extensions, and if Ricky was slightly stronger than Valerie, it worked within this piece.

It was slow and soft until it was explosive and soft, and their chemistry was fantastic. The judges noted that Valerie has truly progressed in her dancing, but that she could have given just a little more in the dance.

Bridget and Emilio next danced a hip-hop routine choreographed by Luther Brown (yes!) to Work by Iggy Azalea. I have such a distaste for Iggy Azalea -- or any white person who profits off black culture -- that I couldn't really enjoy the dance, even if it was fast, exciting and imaginative.

I just kept thinking that, well, any black female rapper (of whom there are many) would have been a much better choice. The style suited Emilio, and surprisingly, Bridget as well. It wasn't the strongest performance but it was good.

Jessica and Nick danced a West Coast Swing choreographed by Benji to Respect by Aretha Franklin. While rehearsing their number, Jessica dislocated her shoulder during a swing up and over Nick's shoulder, and they were thus forced to be very, very careful during the rest of rehearsal. This could have been a problem for the performance itself, as Jessica seemed to have some familiarity with dislocating her shoulder, making me think this is a chronic issue for her.

My fears were unfounded, however, and Jessica and Nick danced a fun number that isn't deep. The technique was, at times, sloppy, but nevertheless it was a fast and engaging watch.

Serge and Carly were up next with Latch (Acoustic) by Sam Smith. They danced a contemporary routine designed by Sonya Tayek. It was supposed to be deeply moving, and the music and movement were perfectly in sync to that goal. As impressed as I was by the dancers, I'm even more impressed by their choreographer.

Sonya has depths that are still unplumbed and pulls more out of dancers than they thought they had to give. The energy was vibrant and tender and showed a much stronger connection between dancers than we've seen tonight.

I think this performance will keep Serge in the top 18.

Emily and Teddy took on a Dave Scott hip-hop routine to Don't by Ed Sheerhan. They proved that hip-hop can be danced to absolutely anything; it's one of the most versatile dance styles out there. This dance put more emphasis on Emily's moves than Teddy's, which I thought was a mistake.

She was not as loose in her core as she needed to be when dancing hip-hop, classically trained as she is.

Part of that may have been her sucking in her stomach since her costume included a midriff-baring shirt, or it could have been the spasms her back went into during rehearsal, but she was too stiff for it to work very well.

The two performed more for the audience than they did with each other.

Malene and Stanley paired up to dance a Broadway number to I've Got Your Number by Nancy Wilson, a routine choreographed by Spencer Liff. They included telephones on cords as their props, and there were so many ways this could have gone wrong.

Rehearsal paid off in that they didn't strangle themselves, but Marlene seemed tentative when working with and around the cords, had difficulty jumping over the cords, and Stanley was all over the place.

Their chemistry didn't really seem to be there, though that could have been a side effect of the cords keeping them a few feet apart at all times.

If Malene's on the chopping block and this was supposed to convince us to keep her, I'm afraid it didn't work.

Jordan and Marquet selected a modern routine, choreographed by Sean Cheeseman. They performed to Britney Spears' Work Work and they do Brit proud. It was sexy, smooth, and athletic.

They included some floor work, different heights via a table and chair, and some really fabulous energy between the two of them.

If Jordan goes home after this, I'd be shocked. Her ballet training only helped her tonight and Marquet absolutely threw himself into his character.

Brooklyn and Casey took the stage to Gallo Ciego by Luis Bravo's Forever Tango. They danced an Argentine tango choreographed by tango team Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo, and almost convinced me they should be kept on. I love the tango, and it is such an important dance to be able to do precisely and well.

While they performed a lovely interlude that did show their compatibility and fever-heat, the first and last 20 seconds left me cold.

They spent more time showing off lifts more than highlighting their chemistry and footwork.

It is a very difficult dance to maintain such intensity, as Nigel pointed out, and they did for a period of time but took too long to get into it and fell out of if early in the dance.

Jacque and Zack came up next, partnering up to take on an African jazz number by Sean Cheeseman. They performed their dance to Dibiza (Kick *** Mix) by Danny Tenaglia. It was one of the most creative routines we've seen on this show, choreography-wise or costuming-wise as they both come out in colorful skinsuits, makeup and wearing topknots.

It was incredibly graceful and athletic and looks like it was really difficult to learn, as most of the dance was spent performing exactly the same moves side-by-side.

It is a commentary on the equal strength men and women have and the way they perform the same moves to progress through the dance (or life).

I did not think Zack and Jacque would have the chemistry they did, but Cheeseman must have been relentless in his rehearsals for them to come out as in-tune as they were.

Before the eliminations we had a dance interlude, where Syncopated Ladies performed a routine to Beyonce's Flawless featuring the impeccable Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. They're a tap group dancing to choreography by Nick DeMoura, Justin Bieber's choreographer.

But enough of the name-dropping.

This routine is beautiful and worthy of the song they're performing to.

The tap adds something extra to the beat, and while they don't have the physicality that you usually see performed to a Beyonce song, as the routine progressed they involved more and more levels and upper-body movements.

Finally, our three ladies in danger of leaving took the stage. As I suspected, Malene was the first of the top 20 to leave, as her stage presence could no longer make up for her shortcomings as a dancer.

The three men on the edge stepped up next, and unsurprisingly as well, Nick is the one to leave.

Of the six in danger, these two were involved in the least-interesting choreography and couldn't bring their numbers up to another level. Come back next week as they drop to 16 from 18!