As we’ve learned in pop culture, sometimes things need to get wonky in order to help you really appreciate the good. We need an Ocean’s Twelve in order to enjoy an Ocean’s Thirteen. We need a Bai Ling Lost episode to make even the worst Kate-centric episodes seem mind-blowing. We need a Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones to make Revenge of the Sith feel refreshingly Lake Naboo-talk free.
So after swallowing the saltine that was Tuesday night’s ho-hum audition episode, it felt oh-so-tasty to be able to devour the jelly doughnut that was last night’s show. Vegas, of course, was the surprisingly sweet strawberry jam in the center of it all. There was 23-year-old returning contestant Alex Wong, a dancer so powerful, strong, and flawless, I’m going to pull a Mia and say he makes me want to grab a knife, cut off my hand, and slap myself upside the head with it for not being able to roll out those skills. (The fact that this man is not already a principal dancer in a troupe is a sin worse than the seven deadly ones.) There was the episode’s other returning auditioner, the charming 19-year-old Billy Bell, whose incredible legs still extend high enough to touch that thing scaring William Shatner at 20,000 feet. And then there were promising newbies like 18-year-olds Ida Saki and Nicole Knudson, and 22-year-old Adechike Torbert, who all danced well enough to challenge the best of our all-stars this season.
Not that the show didn’t boast its fair share of flaws. We still had to roll through plenty of auditions worthy of sad trombones — 29-year-old Deroccius Harris danced like every 13-year-old with a Darrin’s Dance Grooves VHS, 18-year-old Faith Looney lived up to her unfortunate last name, and 29-year-old Scooter Rocket looked like if you put Clay Aiken in a blender and tried to reassemble him… on skates. And the show’s producers neglected to show us one of the seven Nashville dancers that won a ticket to Vegas.
But, in the name of L’Oreal, it was all worth it. Because amongst the bad, there was the very, very good. And that includes Ida, a dancer who I adored — and not only because her last name is one-third of my favorite combination on the planet. (That would be sushi-sake-karaoke.) The Iranian dancer was gawky, what with her long legs and hunched back, but the imperfections worked for her — it felt bizarre and cinematic, as if Tim Burton had decided to conjure up a dancer for the SYTYCD stage. The only downside of the whole ”exquisite” scene, as Nigel called it, was Tyce squawking through the entire routine. You would think someone who was a dancer himself would know it’s quite impolite to scream in the middle of art, no?
NEXT: Rolling with the homies