HOLY COW! Dance and Outfit Bring Tanisha and Rudy Center Stage on SYTYCD

Holy Cow! Bam! Tanisha and Rudy’s Hot Hip-Hop

There were Emmy hopeful routines on So You Think You Can Dance this week, several that were some seriously great work. But it was the Dave Scott hip-hop number with Tanisha and Rudy that drew a “HOLY COW!” from articulate and poised guest judge Misty Copeland. The reason? The sleek black outfit that flowed over Tanisha Belnap’s sinewy figure like she’d been dipped in oil. Cat Woman never looked so good.

My Two Cents — Who knew this blonde Uma Thurman double had that kind of bodacious BOD. She had the undivided attention of those of the male persuasion and the green-eyed envy of the daughters of Eve. Acting as the framework to Tanisha’s eye-popping masterpiece, Rudy managed to share the stage quite well in his black slick suit and cool gangster hat. He was a part of the art, not the background. As Misty said, “You were sexy and cool and like her shadow.”

Mary Murphy erupted with: “My God! From the second you took the stage that outfit just went BAM! HOT! You were totally in charge. That strut was so powerful and strong.” Misty told her, “Tanisha, you weren’t screaming ‘Look at me, I’m sexy’! We couldn’t help but look at you and where do we start? It was subtle sexiness that wasn’t overdone. You were awesome in this. Awesome.”

Nigel called Tanisha “sinewy and sinuous when she needed to be and sharp when she needed to be.” He noted it was one of the best things he’d seen her do.

My Two Cents — I agree. Tanisha rushed into the foreground of contenders this week, not only in this routine, but in a group routine later. She has definitely come across my radar.

Nigel also praised Rudy for containing his performance, and called it a good thing for the routine.

Mary said Rudy and Tanisha stole the show last week with their Broadway routine and that “you are still stealing our hearts tonight.”

Bridget and Emelio – The Leaving Song – About Embracing Change and Growth

Mary Murphy – “You had a WOW moment tonight,” said Mary. It was a Bridget wow after a Travis Wall contemporary routine, performed to “The Leaving Song” by Chris Garneau. Struggling with emotion, Mary said, “When you see special, you know it. And that was special. I love Travis Wall. I love that song. I love the two of you dancing in it.” For Emelio she was stirred by by his partnering — “The way you flicked her legs up into that lift that just froze for that second. You had complete and utter control for the whole time. It was absolutely gorgeous to watch. Thank you.”

Nigel Lithgoe — “What a powerful piece of choreography,” Nigel said, and Misty seconded him with a “Bravo, Travis!” The piece was performed in and out and around an empty brass bedstead. Travis said it was about leaving the past and embracing change and growth.

My Two Cents — The movements were so slow, sharp, beautifully deliberate, and packed with emotion. It was breathtaking. And so was Bridget’s costume and make-up, both blended with stark wavy lines. The whole routine was performed in and out and around an empty brass bedstead.

Nigel, obviously moved, said that we are often so weighed down by our own guilt and letting it go. It’s sometimes much easier for other people to forgive us than we forgive ourselves.” Speaking to Bridget, Nigel particularly noted, “That bit where your legs were up on the bed [headboard] and you clung to his back and wouldn’t let him go; and even when he tried to walk away, your legs trying to hold him back, Bridget. You have the opportunity in this, with Travis’s choreography, to show that you are a great dancer. And you took that opportunity with both hands, both feet, and the whole of your body, Sweetheart. You were magnificent in that.” He said Emelio was growing. Didn’t know where it would end, and he was looking forward to watching his journey.

Misty Copeland — Misty said the choreography highlighted the dancers. “And that’s hard to do sometimes when you want your ideas to come out and you have to think about the dancers as well.” Because contemporary was Bridget’s forte, Misty praised her for not overshadowing Emelio, instead, being his “rock”. Misty was amazed that Emelio, the popper, did a “ponche” — with pointed toes — a movement with one leg so extended it’s like a sideways standing split.

Carley and Serge – An Awesome Move to “Foolish Games”

The most awesome move this week came from Carly. You’ll have to see it as she bends backwards with only her leg muscles supporting her, until, a couple of inches from the floor, Serge slips his foot underneath to support her head. This was a Mandy Moore contemporary routine performed to “Foolish Games” by Jewel. Said Mandy, “It’s a basic story of desire about Carly wanting something from Serge and him playing with that idea and realizing he has power in that situation.”

Mary — called Serge the most improved dancer of the season. “It takes my breath away. The passion pouring out of you. Every ounce. You give it your all every single moment. And that little sway, sway, down to the back, Carly, was absolutely gorgeous. It was incredible. Incredible.”

Misty — was amazed at Carly’s “hinge” back move. “I thought Serge was holding you for a moment, and then I realized you were on your own and he caught you with his foot. Serge, this was an emotionally charged performance and you are so fluid, so caring. As partners, I love you two together.”

My Two Cents — During the accolades for Carly, I noticed that Serge would smile and give her a little squeeze. He was so supportive and happy for her. I loved it.

Nigel — apologized to Carly and Serge for last week. He had not told them how good they were after commenting that he didn’t think voters would understand how hard the routine they did was. He followed it up to this week’s show by telling them how remarkable Carly’s move was and praised Serge’s partnering strengths. “You were there for her all the way,” he said. “The pair of you . . . danced it brilliantly tonight.”

Valerie and Ricky  – First Bollywood of the Season

The first Bollywood of the season with Valerie and Ricky, was filled with sheer “High-octane energy”, a quote from Mary’s enthusiastic comments. All the judges were impressed with the energy level.

My Two Cents — Now, don’t think I’ve gotten my fingers twisted up on the keyboard, but here is the choreographer, song, and singer in this number. The choreographer was Nakul Dev Mahajan. The song was “Dillivaal Girlfriend” by Yeh Jawaanihai Deewani. The choreography was fun, and the music was perfect for it. The only drawbacks for me were that Ricky’s brightly colored blue tunic was too long and his pants too dull. But this guy didn’t miss a beat and looked fantastic doing it. He has the most gorgeous laser eyes. The only other drawback was the too cheeky (pun intended) butt drumbeat. That doesn’t seem like something that goes with Bollywood. But whatta I know. I just didn’t like it. It interrupted the flow and enjoyment of the lively legs and and hands.

Mary — loved it. “It was full of life, joy, love, and just high-octane energy and stamina. HELLO! The back bend thing was extra tough on you, Valerie, and Ricky, you were wicked strong throughout the whole number.”

My Two Cents — Mary’s Murphy’s pretty face and voice reflected her open joy in the whole Bollywood experience. And didn’t she look especially great this week? I’m a fan.

Nigel — couldn’t figure out where in heck they breathed throughout the number and asked what Valerie said to Ricky while sitting on his shoulder. It was, “Okay. Bye.” To which Nigel said he didn’t think either one would be saying that this week.

Misty — liked that they spoke with their hands and body, saying it was similar to mime. She didn’t feel that Valerie’s movements were quite sharp enough, but loved Ricky’s “whole package”. “You continue to impress me. You have energy coming out of every single part of your body.” She mentioned three movements from the knee while simultaneously doing the hand movements. “You guys were wonderful,” she said.

Jacque and Zach — Pretty Doesn’t Cut It

Sonya — Though Sonya Tayeh’s jazz routine with Jacque and Zach got mixed reviews, Sonya made no bones about her admiration for tapper, Zach Everhart. The tough but creative Sonya, who is historically hard to impress, said, “Zach is blowing my mind. He’s a tapper. So to see him in this jazz [routine] and its technicalities is amazing. He’s killing it. Jacque needs to be a big ball of fire. She’s too satisfied.” Sonya went on to tell Jacque that she needed more punch. “Pretty isn’t going to cut it,” she said.

Mary — loved the “slinky” way that Sonya’s choreography got Jacque “out of those high, high heels”. “No way is she going to dance in those.” But in one of the moves, Zach bent down and held the back of Jacque’s shoes, at which point she just stepped slinkily out of them. Mary called Sonya’s transitions amazing and unique. “Interesting going in and interesting going out.” To Zach, Mary said she loved the move where he got Jacque by the neck and pulled her straight up. “It was phenomenal.” She also loved the way Zach got down to character. “You’re so in it,” she said. “You are just tremendous. I loved it.”

Nigel — Though Nigel “couldn’t fault the dancers”, and though he loves Sonya and her work, the routine left him a little bit emotionally at sea. He couldn’t get an emotional bearing. However, he thought the dancing was remarkable. To Zach, he said, “You know, when I look at your handstand and I see flexed feet, I know only Sonya would say, ‘and flex your feet while you’re doing a handstand’. I thought you both did a good job.”-

Misty — had no problem with the choreography, but said, “I’m going to pick on you, Jacque, because once you get to this level, as all of you guys are, it’s going to be about those small details that are going to make you better dancers.” Since Jacque is a ballerina — as is Misty herself — Misty expected more refinement in Jacque’s feet. “I feel like you could have shined in this.” — “Zach, you’re fabulous. You are a dancer.” — – Here Nigel interrupts.

Nigel — “Do you think you’re tougher on the girls than you are the boys?”

Misty — “Maybe. But you know what? I think the guys are at another level this season. And they are just at the top of their game.”

My Two Cents — Good for you, Misty. I agree wholeheartedly. I think Misty is passionate about dance and totally forthright in her opinions. She has never been abusive in her critiques, but always honest, while giving credit where credit is due. She also seems to stir the mix with kindness. Boooo, Nigel.

Emily and Teddy — A Slip of the Shoe

When Emily slipped in the ballroom salsa routine by Jonathan and Oksana (those are new ones on me, but Oksana’s gorgeous), Misty commented, “Performance is all about what’s happening in the moment and recovering, and you did that.” She called it very professional. “But I have to say, Emily, that you seemed a little bit uncomfortable with your footwork and your shoulders. But, I’m happy you didn’t fall apart from one little mishap, cause that happens all the time in performances.  —  Teddy! I love you. And you were fabulous! It was fierce. You were giving me salsa, and you were a great partner and I definitely saw you as an individual. I would like to see you guys as a partnership.”

Mary — “Well, both of you guys are way the heck outside your style and I think you did a tremendous job. That was a tough routine, and a lot of fast exchanges. Some of them were missed along the way, so , yeah, you get that feeling of being — Woo — are they going to make it? Like I’m sitting on the edge of my seat. But you both got through it. I would have liked it bumped up one more level, but, Teddy, there were some moments there that you — yeah, you — you really had it. You were feeling it. Your leg action, your body, the strength in your upper body. You were really strong out there. Great job!”

Nigel — “What obviously the public doesn’t know is that Emily dislocated her shoulder this morning. And I can imagine that the pair of you must have been very nervous about whether that shoulder was going to pop out again, which is why I think you missed a few of your connections tonight. Emily, you know you’ve just been complimented for being a professional when you did a little slip there. I have to double the compliment and say — the show went on tonight. You did a fabulous job. So congratulations.”

Marcquet and Jessica – No Spell There

Because of eliminations, there was a new pairing this week — Marcquet and Jessica — who performed a Dmitry Chaplan smooth fox trot to “I Put A Spell on You” by Nina Simone.

My Two Cents — Though the number was supposed to be “smooth, sensuous, and beguiling”, Marquet could never maintain the look of the sophisticated businessman, or keep up with the feel of the story. Jessica knew how to work the moves and also work that pretty dress, but the partnership was a pretty one-sided performance.

Mary — I have to say it really didn’t put a spell on me. Go ahead and boo me (nobody did) because I so want to stand up and cheer right now, but I just really can’t. There were some fabulous moments through there. The whole beginning was sexy. You know, strong. But when it got into the dancing — Marcquet, can you just answer me one question before I continue? Have you danced standard or American smooth before? (He shakes his head). So you’re strictly a Latin dancer?” — Yes. “That puts the whole thing in a different light because every time you got into a close hold, the frame wasn’t really good. That has to be developed more. The leg action isn’t quite so good. When you were free to be side by side you did absolutely amazing. — Jessica, this is way outside your style and you just blew me away You were breathtaking out there. The quality of movement you are able to produce already in a short period of time is just mind-boggling to me. So I thought you did an amazing job. It was a great number and I would just like to have seen it at a higher level.”

Nigel — When Nigel hears fox trot, he thinks of Fred and Ginger. “For me,” he said, “the routine didn’t flow as much as I would like to see it. But I’m an old guy and I know you’re doing fantastic things with these lifts. I just miss the flow of movement.” Nigel said he couldn’t speak on the technical level that Mary Murphy did about Marcquet, but just “felt a little uncomfortable with it”. He went on to say that Jessica “captured” him and looked beautiful.

Misty — said she could not tell you the first thing about the fox trot, but advised Jessica to be aware of her neck. “You have to give space so we can see what’s happening between you.” She said she thought Marcquet danced beautifully when he was on his own and looked very manly and broad. But she noted at one point he came back on his heels to catch himself. “If you were more grounded with your feet,” she said, “you would feel more stable. But I think you guys did a beautiful job.”

No video.

Brooklyn and Casey — Juicing A Little Dry

My Two Cents — The routine and totally dud costumes in Bill “WilldaBeast’s” hip-hop “Juicing”, didn’t do a thing for me as Brooklyn and Casey tried to “Hustle Hard” to Ace Hood, Rick Ross, and Lil Wayne’s remix. You could tell they were trying to get into this out-yonder routine they knew absolutely nothing about and were doing it by sheer rote and stamina. The costumes were just plain weird.

Nigel — (Speaking of the outfits), Nigel queried, “Is this really hip-hop cool?” He agreed it was a tough routine when you really haven’t done hip-hop, and advised the dancers it was more about feel than technique and they had to get it “down from the gut,” in which they were both lacking. “Although I’ve gotta say, Brooklyn. I think you did a damn good attempt at it.”

Misty — agreed with Nigel, saying it was the most confident she had seen Brooklyn, who had thrown her energy and commitment into it. And even though she admitted to being a Casey fan — “Brooklyn,” she said, “I think this one was yours.”

Mary — agreed with her contemporaries and thought the first half of the routine could have been lower and down in the pocket. “But, man! The second half. Look out! It was hard hitting all the way home! I thought both of you were great and, I agree, too, Brooklyn, you took it up another notch tonight.”


Group Number 1 – Choreographed by Sonya Tayeh to “So Broken” by Bjork
Featuring Brooklyn, Casey, Emily, Emelio, Tanisha, Serge, Valerie, and Zach.

“If I were to name this piece,” said Sonya, “it would be “The Village of Broken People”. They’re showing and expressing their wounds from the inside out.”

My Two Cents — I was awed by both this routine and the performance. The make-up people did a superb job with dancers’ faces looking cracked and broken, and large holes opening among the cracks. The costumes were intentionally nondescript and formless. The movements were impressive, and featured Tanisha and Emelio, though all the dancers contributed emotionally and artfully with everything they had. This Sonya routine left me breathless. It will be one of my keepers to watch again and again.

Misty — said they were, “Wonderful! A cohesive unit.” But noted that Tanisha was “a shooting star”.

Mary — called it “brilliant” and “breathtaking”, and that each and every dancer was a star at some point in that performance. “Tanisha,” she said, “You. In that overhead lift in that freezing moment. The passion that you all portrayed and poured out. Unbelievable. That first kick out, off of the knee. The sway. Woooo! Yeah, that got me. It was all over then. Yeah, you got my heart.” Then Mary demonstrated how her heart was gotten in her wonderful Mary Murphy way.

Nigel — “This is the Sonya Tayeh I love!” Nigel crowed. “I must be honest with you and say I am not a Bjork fan. In general. But somehow Bjork and Sonya Tayeh must have been joined at birth. They just sat together so brilliantly with the Children of the Corn.” (Nigel can be so cute sometimes). — “I wanted to be a part of that routine,” he said. “Cause somewhere in our lives we all feel broken. And it must have been wonderful to experience that routine. And it was wonderful from our side of the footlights, too. So congratulations.”

Bridget, Marquet, Carly, Ricky, Jaque, Rudy, Jessica, and Teddy

Travis Wall, choreographer, performed to “Love Runs Out” by OneRepublic
Travis explains his story as a group of outlaws trying to escape the city and wreaking havoc along the way. “It’s very aggressive,” he said. “We’re going to see a group of people fly on stage.”

My Two Cents — Ricky takes center stage and looks awesome, as do all the dancers. Ricky’s beautiful eyes show up in laser mode again, due in part to what Cat Deely called “guyshadow”. The beat is moving and rocking and as dancers are flung and tossed and airborne, it takes the viewer right along with it. The two group performances are each awesome in their own way, one for its emotional impact and one for its boundless energy and striking lifts and movements. Both are exceptional and worth seeing over and over.

Nigel — “If we don’t win a bloody Emmy, I don’t know why we don’t. Well done, kids, well done!”

Misty — “Yes! Incredible. Every single one of you. But I have to say, Ricky, you know how to transform and become whatever it is that’s been created. All of you guys were wonderful.”

Mary — yells and screams about keeping the happy dance going, then jumps to her feet swinging her elbows, getting Nigel to join in while Misty is laughing on the side. (You think she liked it?) “If that’s not an Emmy nomination for Travis — I mean, come ON,” she crowed. She then praises Marquet for his part in the performance. “Man oh man, did you just tear that up!” Marquet’s response was to fall over as his friends laughingly held him up.


Then came the bad time: This week Marcquet Hill and Brooklyn left us. Again I had called it. That streak has got to end or I might be tempted to go to Vegas. Next week will definitely be crying time.

You made it a long way. Be proud Marcquet and Brooklyn.


5 thoughts on “HOLY COW! Dance and Outfit Bring Tanisha and Rudy Center Stage on SYTYCD

  1. This week it was the group numbers — all three of them — that were the higlight for me. Exceptionally good choreography, not to neglect the brilliant dancing, but what else would you expect from Mandy, Sonya and Travis.

    I had to check the back of my TV set during Rudy and Tanisha’s hip-hop routine. I was sure there must be smoke pouring out of it. I totally agree with Nigel: this was Tanisha’s best routine to date. I’ll go the record now and say I think this competition is Rudy’s and Tanisha’s to lose.

    I loved Carly and Serge’s contemporary routine to “Foolish Games” and have to admit that Valerie and Ricky’s routine was the first time I’ve enjoyed a Bollywood routine. Ricky outshone Valerie by a mile, but that’s going to keep happening until Valerie goes home.

    There’s one routine I think you missed and I’ve looked and looked on YouTube, but can’t find it. I don’t recall who the dancers were (shame on me) but they danced to The Talking Heads’ “Take Me to the River” — performed by Annie Lennox for this routine. I loved that routine, too, but maybe it’s because it’s my favorite Talking Heads song. Am I imagining this or was it performed last week and I’m just mixed up? Wouldn’t be the first time. 🙂

    And speaking of Bollywood, I came across this while searching for the “Take Me to the River” routine. It’s the current Miss America’s talent segment from this year’s Miss America pagent. She’s good!! And she’s not an air head like so many previous contestants.

    • I couldn’t find two of the videos. The first was the group opening number which was Take Me To The River by Mandy Moore. The second was Marcquet and Jessica’s smooth foxtrot. My favorites so far Ricky, Rudy, Serge, Teddy, Emelio — just about all the guys, and now Tanisha. She really crashed onto the scene this week big time.

      I check out the Miss America.

      • I found it. Here’s the opening number, “Take Me to the River.”

        I hope you enjoy the Miss America video. She’s quite talented, IMO


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