SYTYCD 2012's July 11 episode featured the top 20 finalists as they hit the stage for the first time in search of America's votes. The show kicked off with a Samba by ballroom specialist Witney Carson and ballet pro Chehon Wespi-Tschopp that earned a mixed reaction from panelists Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and Kenny Ortega.
To start off their segment, Witney and Chehon revealed a little more about themselves via the famed nine-second interview process. While So You Think You Can Dance viewers learned that Witney plays the guitar and the drums, has over 100 relatives and is afraid of crickets, Chehon revealed that he was born in Chicago but grew up in Switzerland.
During rehearsals with choreographer and Dancing with the Stars pro Louis Van Amstel, Witney predicted that her new partner would struggle to deliver what Louis termed the necessary "hot, hot movement" of the Samba. Chehon agreed, noting that it was hard to "move my hips and still look sexy", but Louis was confident that the "pretty boy" could turn into a "hot dude."
Dancing in her ballroom comfort zone, Witney was fabulous in pink. Her legwork was crisp and her hips were on fire. Chehon's motions looked a little tight and controlled and he definitely needs to loosen his hips to succeed.
The two performers received very different evaluations from the judges. Nigel called Witney "a star." He told Chehon that he's a "fantastic dancer" but cautioned him against giving himself "bow legs." He told him to "give into it a little bit more and enjoy that music." Mary noted some "foot problems" with Chehon but still thought he "could really move." Witney, conversely, received a "first class ticket" for the hot tamale train. Kenny likened her to "Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot but thought Witney was "hotter." He told Chehon to "surrender" to the work of the choreographers in the future.
So how will Witney Carson and Chehon Wespi-Tschopp fare with SYTYCD 2012 voters? Witney should sail through to the next round; after all, she danced within her style and was on her game. Chehon, however, should probably find himself in the bottom three and at the mercy of the judges. His performance was good but not stellar, and there are plenty of great dancers in the mix who deserve another shot. It's one thing to be great in a single style, but it's entirely another to deliver greatness across genres. So You Think You Can Dance season 9 continues July 18 on FOX.