‘So You Think You Can Dance’ 16: Which Academy cuts hurt the worst? And what saves had you smiling?

After five weeks of  “So You Think You Can Dance” of seeing the  judges Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, Laurieann Gibson and Dominic “D-Trix” Sandoval weeping with joy and gushing like a geyser over dancers in the audition rounds, it was time to bring out the ax and start the painful process of chopping 79 hopefuls down to a mere 10 for the live shows.

Basically, to win the title of America’s favorite dancer, those who move on must go way beyond the comfort zone of their main style of dance and adapt to everything from ballroom to breakdancing. As a result some of those who get swiftly slashed are bound to hurt. And Season 16 proved no different on the initial round of the Academy slashing this week.

First, the eliminations that hurt:

— Let’s get to my No. 1 peeve — the loss of Aussie native Sarah McCreanor, 26 (see above), a jazz dancer whose comedic touches and crazy red hair caused Mary to say, “You’re like the Lucille Ball of dancing.” But Smac, as she is called, tripped up while attempting the cha cha. “I’ll fake it till I make it,” she said on camera but she couldn’t quite pull it off. To the judges credit, they allowed her to do a solo in her own style. There is no denying that what she did with “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?” by the Down Under band Jet was a real kick. But apparently her sin is that she is too much fun and not enough technique. Or, as Nigel put it, the show isn’t called “So You Think You Can Entertain.” Now, if only Fox gave Smac her own variety show, I would watch that in a second.

— Also sadly getting the boot were the 18-year-old twins Colton and Trent Edwards. The contemporary duo, who previously were on Season 12 of “America’s Got Talent” when singing was also part of their act, didn’t get enough votes to go on to the semi-finals. For “SYTYCD,” they each had to perform separately and that might have been their downfall. Colton, the self-declared evil twin, struggled with hip-hop and had to say bye. Trent quickly followed after a less-than-stellar ballroom performance.  They, like Smac, had terrific personalities and did a bang-up job in their original audition but just fell apart when it counted most.


— Then there was poor Jay Jackson, (see above), who did OK with hip-hop and ballroom, but did not impress as much while doing his own style — contemporary. The judges encourage him to try out again. Alas, he is 30 and that is the show’s age limit. Or as he put it, he’s “established.”

As for the the dancers who I was delighted to see continue on:

Gino Coscullvela, 18, a contemporary dancer who appeared on the TV show “Dance Moms” when he was 9, was the star performer of this episode, nailing each style with ease. Not that we saw all that much of his moves. But, at least in Mary’s eyes, he was the breakout of the Academy so far. Dubbed by Laurieann as “Baby Baryshnikov” and predicted to be in the top 10 by Nigel on this season’s first episode, he is probably the one to beat once the live shows begin.

—  Any hip-hop dancer who can conquer the cha cha has some mad skills in my book. Desi Saenz  (see above) 18,  a self-declared beast, had Laurieann’s backing when she called her the strongest of the three female hip hop dancers competing at the Academy. You can feel her determination right through the TV screen. She looks like a force to be reckoned with already (see above).

— Then there is tapper Eddie Hoyt, 19,  who tried out on Season 15 and used the critiques he got from the judges to be less happy-go-lucky and inject some gravitas into his audition routine. He was so good, he made Mary cry for the first time over a tap number. He struggled a bit with ballroom, but  you can tell Nigel and Mary have a soft spot for him. Only one hoofer, Gaby Diaz, ever won the whole show. Here is hoping Eddie can handle the choreography in other styles.

Which eliminated dancer made you sad, and which saved contestant made you glad. Let us know in the comments section below.

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