The pressure is on! With only one more week of competition before the top 10 dancers are left standing, it was a tense night at So You Think You Can Dance. After coming this far, no one wants to go home, but two had to step out of the spotlight and say goodbye.
So who got the boot, what's next for them, and who had to sit out on the group number because of dehydration?
It was another case of the Thursdays when two of America's most talented dancers were sent packing, leaving a trail of tears and folks going home with very sore muscles! Elimination night is never fun and can often have some unexpected surprises. This week was full of them as we watched the bottom three revealed from our seat behind the judges table.
After Wednesday night's performance show, we weren't too surprised to see Ashley Rich and Chris Koehl standing alongside Tadd Gaddaung and Jordan Casanova in the bottom three, but when Ryan Ramirez and Ricky Jaime joined them on the edge of elimination, the audience was shocked! After an almost scathing critique of their hip-hop routine on Wednesday night, Sasha Mallory and Alexander Fost inched into safety leaving the other six to dance for their lives. For the judges, it wasn't a hard decision on who to cut. After two consecutive weeks in the bottom three, Ashley and Chris were told they were going home.
It was supersad to see all the girls melt into a puddle of tears, watch Ashley with a tear-streaked face wait for the show to close and catch Chris fall to his knees after the closing credits, completely devastated that his time on the show was over.
When we caught up with judge Nigel Lythgoe after the show, he explained the judges decision and why it has been couples going home every week.
"We didn't take into account the couples," Nigel said. "We look at the three girls, choose the girl and look at the guys and don't think they're a couple. We just choose a guy. It's never worked out like this this before, [but] all of a sudden it's couples going every week. I think Chris does a great solo all the time, but it's not just about doing the solo, it's how you get on with the piece in the competition. Next week is the final time these couples are going to dance together, then they are going to be separated. It's going to be interesting to see who America follows with their vote."
We chatted with Ashley and Chris after the show, who had both regained their composure and were handling their elimination with class. They said going in to Thursday night they had nothing but a positive attitude.
"Well, you never know, because all the dancers were amazing last night and got really good critiques," Ashley said. "I kind of knew we were going to be in the bottom, but we just stayed positive, fought to the end and did our best, so I'm proud."
"I'm definitely proud of me and Ashley and what we've accomplished," Chris added. "As far as how I feel about going, it's definitely sad, but there's so much that we did here, it's amazing. I can't put it into words. To know that me and Ashley accomplished so much, that's more than I can ask for."
It was an especially rough night for Chris, who was noticeably not present during the show's flashy opening Bollywood routine. Suffering from dehydration after working hard to learn the salsa, he was forced to sit out on the group routine.
"It was from the piece the week before. I dehydrated myself," Chris said. "Long story short, the doctors said I couldn't dance for a day and therefore, I missed the rehearsal. They learned that entire routine in one day, and I had to miss that day...It's OK, my health is good."
The two aren't sure what's next, but they know it'll be something good.
"The good news is, that it's not over," Chris said. "I'm moving out here, and I'm going to be dancing hard"
"There could be a lot of things in my future, you never know," Ashley added. "Anything with dance I'm happy about. Of course, we all know I'm a chef, so if I could get cooking and dancing together, it'd be great. I'm going to be thinking of a master plan in the next couple days."
Are you sad to see Ashley and Chris go? Are you excited for the top ten? Who do you think is the strongest in the competition? Let us know in the comments!
(Originally published Juyl 7, 2011, at 8:40 p.m. PT)