So You Think You Can Dance’s Mary Murphy on All-Star Favorites and Season 10’s “Dark Horse”  — Exclusive
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Dancing With The Stars

So You Think You Can Dance’s Mary Murphy on All-Star Favorites and Season 10’s “Dark Horse” — Exclusive

It's time to bring out the All-Stars on So You Think You Can Dance! (Excuse us while we go mourn the breakup of our favorite Season 10 pair Jasmine and Aaron.) But we're not the only ones excited for the Top 10's new All-Star pairings — judge Mary Murphy is too!

Wetpaint Entertainment chatted with the outspoken SYTYCD judge about the All-Star arrivals, whether or not fan favorite Dmitry Chaplin will be back for more ballroom action this season, Amy's shocking fall into the bottom, and why Hayley is Season 10's biggest "dark horse." Does she have what it takes to win the competition? Read on to find out what Mary thinks. (Spoiler alert: Yes!)

Wetpaint Entertainment: Last week, I told you that Malece was finally starting to grown on me, and now, she's gone! Did you agree with that decision?

Mary Murphy: It was a hard decision, but we just didn't feel like there was anywhere else to go with Malece. Then, when the choreographers weighed in, they were the ones that really made the decision. They chose to work with Jenna and, of course, Mackenzie.

So in this case, you would say the choreographers were the ones to make this decision?

Yeah, absolutely. It's unfortunate because she looked good in her number, but it wasn't one of those extraordinary moments for her, and I think in order for her to stay in the competition, she needed to be extraordinary. It was just destiny that Jenna ended up getting the Pasodoble, and Amy had a fabulous number, too. There really wasn't another choice for us. We're starting to look at their best moments from the show, and Malece didn't really have a lot of good moments in the beginning of the season, so when you add it all us, there wasn't any other place to turn. And it was the same thing with Alan. He was in that number as well, so it didn't really pan out for him. I thought Malece's solo was good, but I didn't like Alan's solo, as much as I love the kid. He was off time! He wasn't in that music! I think he was trying so hard to do everything so fast that he took himself right off time. He was an easier decision for us.

When it comes to the guys this season, it seems like it's always an easier decision to let one of them go than it is with a girl.

So far, it has been! Think back to when you saw the top six girls dance. How exquisite was that? The moments, the strength — these girls are strong on both legs! — they're just really well-rounded dancers. I think it's the best top six we've ever had on the show! Just look that number! It was just amazing and beautiful and captivating to watch.

Do you think there was a stronger crop of girls this season than guys?

I think as a whole, the top six girls are a very strong crop. I think now as we move forward, it's equally tough across the boards. I think the guys are very strong now, from here on out. The Top 10 is incredibly strong.

Let's talk about Jenna's Pasodoble. Pirate theme aside, I thought it was one of the best of the night.

She really turned it out! And bravo to Alex Wong because he's not a ballroom dancer. Usually, as an All-Star, you get to specialize in your field, but all our All-Star ballroom dancers are so successful that they're all dancing in different shows around the world. So there's really no All-Star ballroom dancers to pick from this season. We're trying to wheel in Dmitry Chaplin — I think everybody would go nuts if he came up to the plate as an All-Star. So I'm putting that out there right now. I hope it comes true. It would sort of be the best thing ever!

What I liked about Jenna and Alex's performance is that it gave you a taste of what to expect when the All-Stars part of the competition starts.

Oh my god, yeah! He really was fantastic last night. He didn't let her down whatsoever. He was on fire too! They both just lit up that stage, and it didn't stop for one second. She was so commanding in the Pasodoble, which is exactly what you need. It's just that kind of dance. Pasodoble is my favorite dance to perform. I love everything about it, especially the Spanish music. That was a little bit of a different take on the traditional Pasodoble Spanish sound — usually a very powerful type of music is used for Pasodoble. When I see it down without music that has a lot of power, it doesn't work for me. The one time I saw it done on Dancing With the Stars, they were trying to pair it with thriller, and it just didn't work. It was so hard to watch! It doesn't work with modern music. That's not what that dance is about. It's about the power of the bullfight!

Let's talk about my favorite dance from last night, Nico and Hayley's Broadway routine!

For me, I haven't been Nico's biggest fan this season, but that certainly changed last night. He has now taken it up a notch, and I saw a strength in that performance that I had yet to see on the show. But I also saw him stand out in the group number. I was watching him carefully, and when you put Alan and him side-by-side, Nico takes over. You cannot match his leg swipes! You can't, unless you're a trained, Contemporary dancer.

They also have amazing chemistry.

I thought so too! How about that chemistry? It was a great, new partnership. It was great for Hayley to finally be taken seriously. She and Curtis were cute, but they never really had one of those moments. Hayley has consistently had standout moments with Curtis, but all eyes were on her. Now, to see the two rounding off and the volume of a true duet, there's no stopping her. She's like the dark horse who is coming up from behind and could surprise everyone. She is definitely somebody who could make this final. And if Nico continues on this trail, he could make it there too. He's really going to have to perform at this level every week, though. He can't afford to slip because Paul and Fik-Shun are huge fan favorites as well. That's going to be a tough one! And we still have Tucker coming back. You can't count him out.

Now, Mackenzie finally avoided the bottom last week. Were you shocked?

I know! How unbelievable was that? That Contemporary number was spectacular. I loved the "Edge of Glory" number by Mandy Moore. I was absolutely gorgeous and breathtaking. Paul is just becoming stronger and stronger every week. You cannot deny his capabilities. He comes with the secret weapon of ballroom, but he is very well-versed in everything else.

Mackenzie is really going to benefit from an All-Star partner because she needs to break out of Paul's shadow.

I think so. Even though they are such a wonderful partnership, I think it will be really fabulous to see her with somebody else. She needs to have a huge moment for herself.

Let's talk about Amy and Fik-Shun because I was pretty surprised to see Amy in the bottom.

I don't think anyone saw that one coming! I know we didn't, and I don't think she did either. The expression on her face said it all. All of the pieces they have done have been magnificent. They could have crashed and burned with that Viennese Waltz, and honestly, was it the best Viennese Waltz I've ever seen? No. Were there a few technical issues? Yes. But they still possess something that transcends me into a place of caring deeply for them. And that's a God-given gift. A lot of people do not have that talent.

They work so well together. I'm a little worried about them dancing with the All-Stars. I think the public is so attached to Amy and Fik-Shun.

Yeah, I hope not. I hope they get an All-Star and take it to the next level. I'll be grieving over that partnership, and I'll be grieving for Jasmine and Aaron. They draw names out of a hat now for partners, so I'll be worried if Fik-Shun and, let's say, Jasmine get together. Who would be lifting who? That would be an odd pairing. I hope they all succeed with their new partners, but you never know.

I'm not ready to say goodbye to Jasmine and Aaron. They were perfect together.

I know! Was Jasmine on fire last week or what? It was insane! What a clever concept from Tabitha and Napoleon. I think that was their number. We also got to see a lighter side to Aaron, which was a lot of fun. But she was a diva! She just annihilated that number. There was so much energy and power behind it that you could feel it in your seat! You could feel her energy from where I was sitting. It was crazy.

Do you agree with Mary? Was Jasmine and Aaron's Hip-Hop routine your favorite? Are you looking forward to see your Season 10 favorites get paired up with All-Stars? Sound off in the comments!

Catch So You Think You Can Dance on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.

Crystal Bell is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident fan-girl for all things Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries, Game of Thrones and Once Upon a Time. She speaks fluent geek. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!

08.13.2013 / 12:00 AM EDT by Crystal Bell
Related: Dancing With The Stars, Wetpaint Exclusives, Mary Murphy

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