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'So You Think You Can Dance': Overall, a very good night

The minute I heard the So You Think You Can Dance theme music blaring from my television set, I knew I was in for a treat. I had been eagerly awaiting last night's episode all week. I wanted to see which dancers formed couples and danced to random genres of music. I wasn't disappointed.

After host Cat Deeley introduced the judges, Dan Karaty, a hip-hop and pop choreographer; Mary Murphy, a ballroom expert; and Nigel Lythgoe, the show's executive producer, a brief video montage showed the Top 20 dancers' progression to the night.

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Rayven and Jamie -- a ballerina and West Coast swing dancer -- did a hip-hop routine choreographed by Napoleon and Tabitha to Estelle's "American Boy." The duo imitated graffiti taggers for their routine. He had on a white sports coat with a black-and-white argyle sweater. She wore a black sports coat accented by a red, black and white argyle scarf. There was plenty of popping, locking and miming. And wait! Rayven pulled down his pants to reveal blue underwear. (They had good chemistry.)

Nigel said it was not bad for the first routine. Mary said Rayven is a beautiful strong dancing machine. She also liked Jaime. Dan did not like the routine. "There was no funk at all," Dan said. "It kind of all hit on the same level. Not bad. Not great."

Susie and Marquis -- a salsa dancer and contemporary dancer -- did a smooth waltz routine choreographed by Hunter Johnson to "Dark Waltz" by Hayley Westenra. Susie wore a soft powder-blue ballroom dress. Marquis wore a slim, fitted dark suit. He lifted her with ease. She turned effortlessly. It was pretty.

Nigel said it was very difficult choreography. "Well done," Nigel said. "It was a tough routine. I hope people realize how good you two were in it." He said Marquis' technique was marvelous. He said Susie's lines were "absolutely beautiful." Mary agreed. "You guys pulled it off," she said. "You did a great job." Dan said he felt like he was watching an "almost perfect ending to a love story."

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Kourtni L. and Matt -- both contemporary dancers -- did a jazz routine choreographed by Mandy Moore to "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell. The tall pair -- she's 5 foot 9; He's 6 foot 3 -- looked cool in their black leather jackets. The duo was one of the few to use a prop. In the beginning of the routine, Matt revealed this oversized clear jewel, which he flashed to the crowd. Like a gold digger at the NBA All-Star Game, the jewel entranced her as she darted from side to side as he tossed the sparkling object from one hand to another. It was pretty neat. At the end of the routine, Matt hid the jewel in his pocket. A second later he revealed a handful of smaller stones that he threw into the audience. It had a magical effect.

Nigel said the routine was "fun." He said he needed more expression from Matt.
"You are very up and down dancer," he told Matt. "It's like someone shoved a broomstick up where the sun don't shine." (Ouch!) Nigel told Kourtni that she is unique. He then compared her to Uma Thurman and Princess Di. Mary said the "two dancing giants" did a great job. "You make it look so easy," she said. Dan said they didn't attack it. "You played it safe," he said.

Chelsea T. and Thayne -- both contemporary dancers -- did the cha cha choreographed by Tony Meredith to "Oye Como Va" by Celia Cruz. I wasn't crazy about Chelsea's lavender feathered dress (but this isn't Project Runway). I was a fan of the heat and passion the two generated to the smoky vocals of the Cruz classic. The pair did a simultaneous booty shake that brought the house down. The crowd cheered wildly when they finished their routine.

Nigel said he loved Chelsea's attitude. "You were both fantastic," Nigel gushed. "It was a very sexy routine." Mary said the two were on "The Hot Tamale Train." "You were really on fire up there girl," Mary said. "And Thayne, you were really partnering her so well." Dan said Chelsea took control from her first step. "You guys owned the stage," he said. "Unbelievable guys. Well done."

Chelsie H. and Mark -- a ballroom dancer and contemporary dancer -- did a contemporary routine by Mia Michaels to "Beautiful" by Me'Shell Ndegeocello. Mark, a native of Hawaii, said he's a little "left of center." Maybe it was appropriate that he danced Michaels' routine, which she compared to a Tim Burton wedding. But Michaels expressed some disappoint in Mark: "I thought Mark would be better than he is," she said during practice. "He ain't getting' it."

I felt like I was watching a great theatrical performance. The stage was lfilled with blue light. I was really impressed with a sequence that involved the couple rolling, twisting and interlocking on the floor.

Nigel said Chelsie shouldn't be able to dance as well as she does because she is a ballroom dancer. He also remarked that this is going to be a really good season. (Agreed.) "I thought you both danced it brilliantly," Nigel said. Mary commented about Mark's uniqueness. She compared Chelsie to an innocent angel. "If I had a hat, I would take it off to you," Mary added. (High praise.) Dan said the couple did an amazing job.

Kherington and Twitch -- a jazz contemporary dancer and a hip-hop dancer -- did a Broadway routine by Tyce DiOrio to "Too Darn Hot" from Kiss Me, Kate.
Twitch, who was the last man cut out of the Top 20 last year, has something to prove. Like a scene from Chicago, the couple stomped their feet, kicked their legs in the air and commanded the stage. The judges noticed.

Nigel said the routine was hot. "You are dancing fabulously," Nigel said to Kherington. "You both did it brilliantly," he said. Mary said the sprinkler system was going to come on because the pair was so hot. Dan said Kherington was hitting on all cylinders. He also said Twitch did a good job.

Comfort and Chris -- a hip-hop dancer and a contemporary dancer -- did the jive choreographed by Tony Meredith to "Boom Boom Boom" by Big Head Todd and the Monsters. The two exploded on the stage, dancing to blasts of white light that caught Comfort's beaded dress just right. She literally sparkled with each intricate, quick step. Chris was right there along with Comfort showing a lot of energy. There were moments when the routine appeared to slow a bit and I thought I was watching Dancing With the Stars, but, overall, it was a pretty good effort.

Nigel was struck by Comfort's versatility. "You set that stage on fire," he said. "I thought you did a really good job," Nigel told Chris. "I thought your personality came out." Mary liked what she saw.
"This girl has what it takes for sure," Mary said. "That fringe was flyin'!" Dan thought that Chris did a wonderful job. "You both performed well separately," Dan said. "You have to develop chemistry together."

Katee and Joshua -- a contemporary dancer and hip hop dancer -- did a hip-hop routine choreographed by Napoleon and Tabitha to "No Air" by Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown. The routine was about a couple spending their last night together before his deployment to war. Katee was so expressive, and Joshua was smooth. The dancing matched the music wonderfully. The routine was so funky. There were a series of pops, locks and twists that left me breathless. They did this shirt exchange that was extremely cool to wrap up the routine.

"That was really, really good," Nigel said, adding that it was his favorite choreographed routine.
Mary said Joshua made it look effortless. "I wasn't expecting this," she said. "It was tremendous."
Dan said they killed dancing in unison. (That's a good thing.) He said Katee held her own.

Jessica and Will -- both contemporary dancers -- did a tango routine choreographed by Hunter Johnson to "Tango" from Cirque Du Soleil. They looked striking. She was in a long, flowing red dress. He was in a dark suit with a red scarf.

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"They're a hell of a couple," Nigel said. Nigel said Will was majestic. He said Jessica had a few wobbles. He added that she was absolutely wonderful. Mary shrieked while saying that they were strong, passionate and on fire. "You are the couple to beat," Mary said. Dan said they played the part very well.

Courtney G. and Gev -- a contemporary dancer and b-boy dancer -- did a disco routine choreographed by Doriana Sanchez to "Boogie Wonderland" by Earth, Wind and Fire. During the routine, Courtney wore a canary yellow dress; he channeled Saturday Night Fever in his white vest, slacks and canary yellow shirt. It was fast, but I wasn’t crazy about it.

Nigel said he didn’t love it. "It looked more like disco duck," he said. Nigel said he liked Courtney’s personality. He also liked when Gev threw her into the air and she came spiraling down. Mary praised Courtney and said Gev also did a good job. Dan said he enjoyed the routine. "I think you could have been cleaner. I think it could have been tighter. But it was pretty good,” he said.

Tonight, we'll learn the bottom three teams. Each contestant in the bottom three will do a brief routine in their genre of choice. The judges will then determine which contestants stay in the competition. In addition, the Pussycat Dolls will take the stage for a number. The contestants will also perform to a Wade Robson routine. It should be entertaining.

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Who is your favorite couple/dancer so far?

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