The last two girls are Ryan Ramirez, the perpetually damp-faced girl who got cut at the last possible moment last year and has not shut up about it since, and Alexa Anderson, who looks kind of like Lucy Punch, and who, within two seconds of watching her struggle with hip-hop makes me really want to root for her. Alas, it's obvious that the judges aren't so cruel as to dangle Ryan out and then cut her at the last minute AGAIN, so unsurprisingly, Alexa is out. Congratulations, Ryan. Now follow the example of your fellow Green Mile weeper Katee Shean and get really awesome in the span of a week.
Caitlin, Ashley, Micthell, Alexander, and Ryan get to do some Travis Wall contemporary, this one based around a stage covered with fall foliage. It's another really fantastic Travis piece, one that uses the fall motif/seasons change thing to great effect. It really feels like the dancers passing from one stage of their lives to another. Ryan is the featured performer here, but, for me, Ashley and Mitchell are the standouts. Afterwards, Cat shouts adorable affirmations to Travis, including complimenting his bow-tie, which she calls a "dickie bow," which is both absolutely ridiculous and also the best thing I've ever heard.
So with the Top 20 having been announced and more than 30 minutes still to go, we get a trio of group performances, starting with the Top 10 Guys tackling a cross-genre piece by Christopher Scott, who we're reminded is part of the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers. The hip-hop kids are kind of running things in rehearsals, until Christopher switches things up on them and blends in some contemporary. I love watching this, as the confidence levels suddenly invert, and soon enough, every dancer is helping all the other ones catch on. On stage, there are five standing doorways that play into the choreo, and the music and costumes are very Matrix-y. I can't do it justice in words, you totally have to look it up, because it is GREAT. In the critique, Nigel praises the boys but says they're gonna have to work. "The voters for this program don't just favor boys here ... like other shows." Oooh, American Idol BURN! And a well-deserved one too.
For the "Top 10 Gulls," Sonya Tayeh is really putting them through their paces. They're all afraid of Sonya, and rightly so. She says the concept of the routine is to make geisha girls "creepy and twisted." Done. The girls are working really hard in rehearsals, and it pays off on stage. The athleticism in this routine is really severe, with a lot of held positions at odd angles. It reminds me, at an odd angle, of my beloved Bollywood routine from season 5. Mary Murphy proves she is well and truly back by invoking the Hot Tamale Train for the first time all season. Not to be out done, Lil C busts out an acrostic of love for Sonya ("S=synergy; O=obstacles; N=never; Y=yes; A=abstract"), and says the girls really embodied Sonya's qualities onstage. This show is the most ridiculous, wonderful thing sometimes.