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With only twelve dancers left in the competition on So You Think You Can Dance, we’re definitely getting down to it now. Before this week, the eliminations seemed a lot easier and more obvious. Now the judges will have to cut the worst of the best. Once again, the show is a whole hour long. Correction: the show airs for an hour but the actual show part of the show is maybe ten minutes.

This week’s opening number is a disco-themed romp to “Born to be Alive” by Patrick Hernandez. While I’ll admit to having taken disco lessons and to having owned several pairs of rather voluminous bell bottoms, I have no idea who Patrick Hernandez is. According to amazon.com, he actually has a greatest hits CD. Then again, so does Michael Bolton. The number itself isn’t bad but the costumes are pretty horrifying, particularly Travis’ lavender jumpsuit and Heidi’s Solid Gold dancer get up (complete with sequined headband).

Continuing the gold and shiny (and questionable taste) theme, Cat Deeley welcomes us to the show and introduces the big bag of filler that is the recap of last night’s show. You can read about it in waywyrd’s recap if you missed it. Cat tells us that this week’s vote was the highest in series history – even more people voted this week than in the season finale last year.

After Nigel, Mary and Brian are announced, Cat explains why Donyelle was missing form this week’s group number. I, of course, was blinded by all the sequins and didn’t even notice. It seems that Donyelle’s foot injury is giving her problems. This leads into a discussion with the judges about the emotional and physical strain this competition can have on the dancers. Mary talks about the lack of job security for dancers and how a dancer’s career can be over in a moment due to injury. Show of hands: Does anyone else think Mary is related to Fire Marshall Bill? Brian says all of the dancers have progressed since he last saw them and he compliments Ivan and Musa in particular.

Now Dance! Dance for Your Lives! <---said with evil laugh
Before we do anything else, we should add some more filler here! It’s time for another recap of last night’s show. This time, we are reminded that Nigel and Mary could hardly agree on any of the performances. I think many – including my pal, waywyrd – would agree that Mary is much easier to take with the mute on.

Now we’re getting down to the business of the show and Cat calls the top twelve to the stage. Nigel informs them that, after tonight, the competition will change. Starting next week, America will be voting for individual dancers rather than pairs. To that end, the partners will be split apart and they will be choosing their partners randomly each week, as they’ve done with the dance styles. Each dancer will be performing two dances with their partner and one solo. From here on out, America will vote and the judges won’t have any say in who goes home: they’ll just be there to give constructive criticism.

It’s time to see which pairs are in the bottom three. Cat announces that Benji and Donyelle, Heidi and Ryan and Ivan and Allison are safe. That means that this week’s bottom three couples are Dmitry and Ashley, Travis and Martha and Musa and Natalie. As always, the dancers will have thirty seconds to impress the judges.

First to the stage is Ashley, performing her standard hip hop, popping routine and clad in all black with white shoes, belt and bra top. It’s not really my style and it seems pretty much like every other solo we’ve seen her do. At least she left the bowler at home. Instead, she’s got her hair swept over her forehead…or is that a do-rag? I can’t tell. Ashley tells Cat that she deserves to stay in the competition – she’s the only popper in the competition. She then invokes the word “journey.”

Dmitry and his abs are up next. They dance to Jailhouse Rock in a routine that’s big on sex appeal but not so much on actual dancing. Still, I vote to keep him and his abs. Cat is clearly won over as well and asks if she can vote. Dmitry has had a number of different partners in the competition and Cat asks if he thinks this will give him an advantage when the partners are rearranged next week. Dmitry says that he’s just sad because he feels like he’s established a connection with Ashley.

Although Martha has a lot of talent, I fixate on the fact that her feet aren’t really pointed as she performs her jazz routine. She does get great elevation on her jumps though. Cat asks about the fact that one week, she and Travis are named the team to beat and then this week they end up in the bottom three. Martha tells Cat that this is a tough competition and she needs to be ready for whatever happens.

Now for the great feet! (I know, it’s a fixation) Here comes Travis, performing to Damien Rice’s “The Blower’s Daughter,” which is a song I love. Not that I’m biased or anything, but he kicks ass AND he points his feet. Travis tells Cat that this is the first time his mom could come to the show. He says that she’s the reason he dances that way and then starts to cry. Even I get a little teary. Travis thanks God he got to do that routine and feels like he showed America why he’s here.

Natalie, wearing a very distracting black and white checkerboard skirt and lime green top, performs a kind of a jazzy, pop routine that starts out with her slithering down the stairs. The routine shows off her strength and her sex appeal. Cat mentions Natalie’s chemistry with Musa and asks Natalie if she prefers dancing with a partner or solo. Natalie admits that, even though her partnership with Musa has been rewarding, she prefers performing solo. She also says that she should stay because she loves performing. She then talks about giving her love to everyone. I know – I have a dirty mind.

Bringing up the rear is Musa, who cuts loose to “Disco Inferno.” As usual, Musa kills when dancing his own style. I think he’s improved even in this style since he started on the show. Musa has had to dance so many different styles in the competition and says that the whole program has been a welcome challenge. He tells Cat that he wanted to entertain the crowd tonight.

Oh, The Horror
Now that the bottom six dancers have performed their solos, the judges are sent away to make their decision…. far from the horror that will be the Pussycat Dolls performing their new “hit” entitled “Buttons.” Before we get to that, we see a video of the Dolls talking about So You Think You Can Dance and how much they love the show. It’s really inane and my eyes glaze over at this point. As the song starts, one of the girls shouts, “What’s up, So You Think You Can Dance?” Did she really just give a shout-out to a TV show? Sorry if anyone likes them but it just seems one step away from a bachelor party performance. They’re all wearing semi-lingerie and gyrating as they lip-synch (allegedly). The only thing that's missing is a stripper pole. I muted them after about 20 seconds and it was still annoying.

You’re Amazing. Now Leave.
The judges are back and Nigel says that their decision was unanimous this week. Before we get any actual information, we get a reminder of the performances from the girls. Nigel asks Natalie to step forward. He tells her that she’s sensational and very strong BUT (there’s always a big but) she needs to be careful. Every week, Natalie plays a sex kitten in her performances. Nigel tells her that she doesn’t need to put on this character: her dancing will bring her through. Nevertheless, she’s brilliant and she’s staying.

Nigel calls Martha forward and informs her that the judges think she is a strong dancer and have from the start. She has great elevation and is great dancer, but she may have lost a little of her magic. Her performance in the you in the disco routine today was okay, but it didn’t come close to what she’s done before. Finally, Nigel asks Ashley to step forward. The judges all think she’s a great dancer with a terrific career ahead of her. The problem tonight is that she’s up against who the judges think are two of the strongest dancers in the competition. Ashley is out. We watch her journey video and she cries as she waves goodbye to the audience.

Now it’s time for the guys and I don’t want any of them to go. After a quick reminder of their solos tonight, Nigel calls Travis forward. He tells Travis that the judges are as proud of him tonight as his mother is and he’s staying. Nigel tells Dmitry that he really needs to step it up: coming out and showing his abs isn’t enough. I feel like I’ve been scolded for lusting after Dmitry. What can I say? I was blinded by the rush of hormones.

Musa is called forward and Nigel tells him that this was the toughest decision the judges have had to make (now you know this isn’t good). His solo was one of the most outstanding they’ve seen. If the show was based on talent, Musa would probably win. Unfortunately, the show isn’t just about that and in the other areas, Musa is limited. He’s coped well with everything that has been thrown at him but he’s not strong enough to continue on. Natalie weeps as we watch Musa’s journey video. I get a little teary too.

Outraged Michael Bolton fans should direct all death threats to Critical@fansofrealitytv.com