The Kids are Back in Town: #SYTYCD Returns

After a two-week Olympic break, our favorite kids of summer returned to the So You Think You Can Dance stage Monday night to battle it out for $250,000 and the title of the Favorite Kid? Ok, I don’t know what their title will be or even what we’re supposed to vote for honestly. I’ve missed the kids and I’m glad they’re back (still not enough for another season of kids).

My favorite part about these shows where we are low on contestants is the additional group numbers being added to fill the time. Even though we are down to our top five contestants, it seems that the All Stars are all hanging around. Fine with me! Monday night had three group numbers, all gorgeous. Travis Wall opened the show with a contemporary piece to What the World Needs Now and at the mid-point we had an all-girl contemporary piece from Mandy Moore followed by hip-hop from Luther Brown from the boys, and Comfort. These nuggets make me glad I didn’t boycott.

I’ll get the nastiness out of the way first. At the end of Monday’s show, the ballroom darling Ruby Castro received the lowest amount of votes and was sent home. The look on her face as she strongly battled tears was too sad a reminder of how hard this format is on the kids. Someone does have to go home every week and if I was betting, she was my choice. Not because she didn’t deserve to be there but because (I think) this top five is now pretty stacked with great talent but also, some of our most beloved All Stars behind them. Comfort, Robert, Fikshun, Gabby, and Kathryn are all former winners or fan-favorites and that’s a tough job to beat both the All Star and the contestant. Just my thoughts.

Here’s how the top six did:

Kida had a decent night with a SWAG-tastic biker dude hip-hop number with his partner Fikshun and an all kinds of confusing Paso with Tate. The hip-hop, from Luther Brown, was packed with everything that makes Kida look good.  His personality, which I didn’t think was ever hiding, was shining through his great big smile. He and Fikshun have those smiles that make you want to pick up the phone and vote! His Paso with Tate was at times both awkward and awesome. The gypsy/pirate(?) inspired costumes were cheesy but the choreography (from DWTS regular Mark Ballas) was great. Kida surprised with a decent job in this style that I’m sure was far from his favorite.

Ruby, first paired with Tahani, had a mixed bag night as well. Together these two girls were adorable but the Broadway number from Al Blackstone was almost too sweet for them. Nigel and Jason were even kind of mean about it all. Nigel thought Blackstone went easy on them and that the number wasn’t up to their abilities. I just thought it was cute but not great and maybe even favored Tahani, only because her personality was stronger. Ruby’s second piece tonight was a jive, again from Ballas, with her partner Paul. Again I thought the choreography was amazing and the costumes were cute but the jive was slightly clumsy and too fast for the pair to do perfectly. Not my favorite night for Ruby…and in the end, not her favorite night either.

Emma and JT performed together first and I’m still at odds with their piece from Travis Wall. The concept was a gorgeous black and white backdrop/lighting effect with two children frolicking (there’s a weird word) in a world devoid of color. They hold between them a rose and they do a childlike contemporary routine that ends with the sun coming up in the background bringing color to the stage and their black and white selves grasp hands that suddenly become in living color. The production value was through the roof and the kids were adorable but I’m still not sure if it suited small people. I get the concept but I’m not sure how I feel about it. Nigel didn’t like it so I’m not crazy. The dancing was fine but maybe, slightly overwrought.

Emma’s second piece with Gaby was all things amazing. New guy Nick Taylor (I hope he’s new cause that was fun to say) choreographed slamming tap to Queen’s We Will Rock You and it rocked me. Loved it. Tap is cool!!

Tate and Kathryn are like a pair of All Stars every week so it’s hard to say much more about them together. On Monday they performed a theme based piece about the relationship between sisters to Rise Up by Andra Day and there isn’t much more to say than they were amazing as usual. Mandy Moore plus Andra Day plus these girls = perfect. If I’m being honest I think the choreographers use Tate’s développé a little too much. See Tate’s other piece with Kida above.

JT and Robert…same. Just when I don’t think someone can come up with an adorable concept for these two, they come up with another one. Monday’s piece from Al Blackstone was a take on Mr. Bojangles about an older dancer passing his “hat” to the younger version. JT can just pour so much into his performances for such a tiny little soul. This relationship and their performances make me glad (again) that I didn’t boycott. Bravo to Robert for doing such a great job every single week with this kid.

Tahani and Comfort finished the night with another hard-hitting, girl-powered, baseball bat swinging, battle fest. Jamal Sims nailed this piece, which had something to do with Banji (Be Authentic Never Jeopardize Authenticity) or so he said. Urban Dictionary may prove that wrong but I’m not going to look it up. As a HUGE compliment to Tahani, my eye does not always go to Comfort when these two are on stage because little girl can keep UP. Costumes were swank! (that’s a cross between swag and stank that I made up because I need new words to describe hip-hop).

Anyway, there were a few bummers but overall a good show. From here on out it’s tough to call because I’m not convinced America isn’t voting on All Stars as much as kids. It’s much easier to do that than not pick a kid when you’re voting. I’d love to see Comfort finally get a trophy but would be equally happy for Robert who has done amazing. Oh right, this is about the kids. Split the money and give them all a trophy.

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