Bailey Munoz and Mariah Russell certainly had the right “Tempo” on Monday night when they performed a hip-hop routine choreographed by Luther Brown to that song from Lizzo and Missy Elliott. They closed “Top 10 Perform, Round 2” with that routine, which got all four judges out of their seats for a standing ovation. Have they emerged as the front-runners to win the whole season?
Munoz is a b-boy, so hip-hop is second nature to him. Russell is a contemporary dancer, though, and sometimes contestants known for their elegance can struggle when trying to get down and dirty in a hip-hop number. But that didn’t seem to be a problem at all. Even while they were rehearsing the number Brown raved about how well she was picking up the steps, and Munoz admitted that he was the one who would have to try to keep up with her.
Keep up he did — even after she did a split-twerk. The entire panel of judges gave them a standing ovation. Dominic “D-Trix” Sandoval said Russell is a “star” and that his fellow Filipino Munoz “brought that soy sauce.” Laurieann Gibson thought the entire hip-hop community would be proud of them. Mary Murphy thought they were perfectly “down in the pocket.” And Nigel Lythgoe called them “strong” and “incredible.” Both Murphy and Lythgoe agreed that Munoz and Russell are now the couple to beat.
That’s hard to deny after two weeks in a row of performances full of magnetic personality and excellent technique. In the first live show they performed a “Love Shack” jazz routine that was just as energetic. But their two routines so far were otherwise so different from each other that they have also demonstrated great versatility. Can anyone touch them, or will they march uncontested to the “SYTYCD” finale?
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