Last week’s So You Think You Can Dance recap singled out Gaby Diaz’s tap routine with finalists Lex Ishimoto and Evan DeBenedetto. And while official pick Ishimoto is appearing here as a contemporary-first dancer, his training in tap has been substantial enough for the two to offer up this Fred-and-Ginger referencing routine from the usually great Anthony Morigerato:
Along the lines of some other past tapping contestants like Nick Young and Zack Everhart — who focused far more on tap than Ishimoto likely will going forward — he offers a breezily elegant take that recalls a more classical Broadway approach to the style, and presents an interesting contrast as well with Diaz’s own more grounded rhythmic take. Like a Ricky Ubeda, Ishimoto became an instant fan favorite on auditions alone; unlike Ubeda, Ishimoto’s already taking some heat for his more introverted performance quality. He’s doing well to impress Moving in Measure with versatility (and we hope as well to see how he might fare in ballroom at this stage), but the technically excellent dancers with a quiet persona, a la Danny Tidwell, have sometimes struggled to reach the title here. But whatever critiques or voting issues may come, let’s enjoy the ride.
On personality, though, it was nearly inevitable that Fik-Shun and Dassy Lee would combine forces as one of the season’s most appealingly energetic duos — which will likely help the couple navigate the waters of fan-based voting (and Fik-Shun has a history of working well with his popping female compatriots). But the pairing is no weaker in terms of dance itself, and this number from hip hop legend Popin’ Pete showcases that to a T — though, themed costuming aside, less baggy clothing could highlight their matched qualities even better:
And with ballroom All-Stars Jenna Johnson and Paul Karmiryan (Season 10 alumni both) ultimately selecting contestants in their own style, the night also offered two cha chas of higher technical proficiency than possible for non-ballroom dancers on this show — though Dmitry Chaplin could have relied somewhat less on prop work in Jenna and Kiki Nyemchek’s number, while, working with Paul and Sydney Tormey, guest choreographer Val Chmerkovskiy stuck to the strictly-ballroom approach familiar to Dancing With the Stars fans: