Gino came alive with a jive on ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ after struggling with hip-hop [WATCH]

Gino Cosculluela had arguably the highest expectations from the “So You Think You Can Dance” judges going into the live shows on August 12. Nigel Lythgoe had called the contemporary specialist the best technical dancer in the competition. Cosculluela let them down in the first live show, but he redeemed himself in “Top 10 Perform, Round 2.” Watch his routine above.

He and his partner Stephanie Sosa performed a hip-hop routine for their live debut. Sosa got rave reviews across the board, but the judges criticized Cosculluela for lacking personality. This week he and Sosa were tasked with a jive choreographed by “Dancing with the Stars” pros Emma Slater and Sasha Farber. That fast-paced ballroom style was every bit as demanding as their hip-hop number from a technical standpoint, but perhaps even more demanding from a performative standpoint. Would a technician like Cosculluela be able to get out of his own head and surrender to the humor and energy of the dance?

Mission accomplished. Mary Murphy was wowed by them. Laurieann Gibson could also “smell greatness.” Dominic “D-Trix” Sandoval thought Cosculluela was a “star” and Sosa was “equally amazing.” And Nigel Lythgoe thought Cosculluela had the best jive flicks he’s seen since season two “SYTYCD” winner Benji Schwimmer — high praise.

And fans liked him too. Even though he was criticized by the judges last week, he was safe from elimination when America’s votes were tallied. Perhaps surprisingly, though, his partner Sosa was one of the bottom two women despite getting nothing but praise. And even more surprising than that, the judges decided to eliminate Sosa to save Anna Linstruth instead. So just as Cosculluela found his footing in this partnership, he got the rug pulled out from under him. Will he do just as well with a new partner next week?

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