We all like to get a pat on the back. After all, human beings, by nature, like to feel, well, good. Why else would someone have invented bubble bath? LolCats? The soft, cuddly Snuggle bear? And since last night’s So You Think You Can Dance was a non-competitive episode, the producers decided to tap into audiences’ desire for the warm and fuzzy, and presented us with the episode equivalent of the quilt grandma made you when you were a child. Things were cozy and familiar — thanks to the return of 12 all-stars — and warm and fuzzy, what with the way the judges praised every single dancer, not to mention themselves. Love is really all around, Ewan McGregor!
That’s not to say, however, that things were fair in SYTYCD land. Look, you have no idea how happy I am to see the return of some of our all-stars. Particularly Mark and Pasha (Mmm…), two dancers so good (and beautiful), I wish could be featured in every show on television. Think of how much more fun Law & Order would have been if an interrogation finished with Pasha tearing his shirt off and posing in perfect unison with Dick Wolf’s ”bahm-bahm”! But, honestly, I wish Nigel & Co. would have waited to whip out the all-stars until the competition truly began — next week. The title of last night’s episode was ”meet the top 11,” but does anyone feel as if they actually have? (Especially when only a few dancers used their 11 seconds to share something about themselves to actually share something more compelling than their age and hometown.)
Particularly when the pairings made things so glaringly obvious which dancers the producers hope will be successful this season. Take the final group of the night, which contained two dancers we had seen as frequently as Bigfoot: Ashley and Robert. In a perfect world, these two would be rewarded with choreography that flattered their styles, or even highlighted their mere presence. Instead, they were forced into the most populated group of the night — containing fellow contestant Adéchické, and all-stars Neil and Courtney — and relegated to the background during Sonya’s piece. For Balanchine’s sake, even Neil had a broken-out solo during the dance. And the fact is, as mind-bogglingly amazing as his leaps were, Neil’s not even competing this season. To his credit, Robert did manage to stick out as the routine’s most spirited and emotionally present dancer — and he made sure he had some time with the microphone post-number, which would have been obnoxious had I not felt for the guy’s invisible-man act thus far in the competition. But I’m still not convinced that Ashley actually exists. Anyone see her? Notice her do anything? Or was she just being chased by Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Machine? Because I’m almost 100 percent sure now she’s just a ghost. (Or just Mr. Jeevers in costume trying to scare away those meddlesome kids.)
NEXT: The Freak and the Beast