On “So You Think You Can Dance” it’s expected that you’ll hear the judges criticize the contestants’ performances — point your toes, extend your arms, more hip action! But on Monday night’s show when the Top 8 performed judge Nigel Lythgoe turned his criticisms toward choreographer Jaci Royal. He thought she made a mistake by creating a contemporary routine for Darius Hickman and Magda Fialek where he felt the prop work (a symbolic rope connecting the two dancers) overshadowed the dance content. Did you agree? Watch the performance above to decide for yourself.
The rest of the judges definitely weren’t on the same page. Hickman and Fialek got rave reviews from the other three panelists, and so did Royal’s choreography. Also, it wasn’t like this was the only routine during the show that incorporated props. It wasn’t even the only routine that incorporated ropes; the show opened with a Christopher Scott group number where the contestants were all tied up. And there was more bad news to come for Hickman and Fialek: they were both in the bottom four when the results of America’s vote were announced. The judges decided to spare Hickman, but they sent Fialek home.
What did you think about this judges’ battle? Read their comments below, and vote in our poll at the bottom of this post to let us know if you agreed with this week’s eliminations.
Vanessa Hudgens: “Jaci Royal, I think that was such a beautiful routine just because of how symbolic and meaningful that was. We’ve all been or will be at some point in a relationship that pulls us on a string like that. You guys, that was gorgeous. Darius, you had the Rope around Magda and spinning around — the trust that you guys had, the connection you had, it was beautiful. Great work.”
Twitch: “It’s so hard working with props, but what’s great about this is you get to see trust happening in real time. Darius as a partner making sure she was secure in the ropes, all these things were happening and you just gave so much trust into him, and you showed me too that you can fully commit, dive in and sink your teeth in … That’s the level of commitment that I was talking about, so excellent job.”
Mary Murphy: “Magda, you just looked like you were in the water up there. You were so ethereal. You were just liquid grace. It was so beautiful to watch you have that moment, and there were so many beautiful moments in this routine. And Darius, your character was right on point. It’s not easy trying to get a connection when you’re hand-to-hand with somebody, but even with a rope you are still able to produce this feeling and the character and the emotion.”
Nigel Lythgoe: “I agree there were some magic moments in this. What I would say to all of the choreographers is that you have a responsibility at this stage of the game to ensure that these dancers are dancing the best that they can do in this competition. With that routine, I felt the concept overwhelmed the content. To be able to judge your dancing, all I can say for Darius is that you held the rope really well. You were very strong, but I didn’t really see you dancing, so I just want us to be careful that we don’t allow concept to overwhelm content of dancing. Magda, I would say you did what you were asked to do really well, and there were some magical moments in it. But it’s a dance competition and not a rodeo.”
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