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So You Think You Can Dance recap: Set Piece

Our correspondent covers the top 14 dancers from the show’s studios, where the front-runners continue to run in front and the also-rans keep also-running

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Katee Shean

So You Think You Can Dance

TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Nigel Lythgoe, Cat Deeley, Mary Murphy
Current Status:
In Season

Figures. I was all primed to start this week’s So You Think You Can Dance TV Watch by picking apart certain niggling details about the two-hour behemoth performance episodes — like how they’re two-hour behemoths, but now with fewer dancers, more filler, and the same keeping-me-up-super-late-ness. Then, after throwing down a torrent of withering, snark-barbed criticism, I was going to wrap up the intro by proclaiming it overall a great episode that really entertained me, and throw it back to Cat Deeley to give out the episode’s numbers.

Then two things happened. One: Nigel and Co. packed an all-dancing, fewer-shirts, no-filler episode into two hours by having each of the remaining seven couples dance two routines each. And two: I got to attend the taping of last night’s episode live and in person on Monday afternoon, thereby allowing myself to tackle writing this TV Watch super early and (in theory, at least) providing myself with my first non-3 a.m. Wednesday-night bedtime since well before any of us had ever discovered that parents are actually naming their daughters Kherington. So not only is today’s TV Watch chockablock with 14 total performances, but y’all also get the added bonus of some behind-the-scenes tidbits on what really goes down during the performance episodes.

Which brings us to our Behind-the-scenes tidbit No. 1: Like pretty much all TV-show sets, the SYTYCD stage is a fair smidge smaller than it appears on your screen, but what I wasn’t expecting was just how much the judges’ backs are turned to the audience. Instead of sitting perpendicular to the crowd as I’d expected, they’re more at a 60-degree angle. Weird. The show began with the judges — guests Napoleon and Tabitha ”NapTab” D’Umo, Mary Murphy, and Nigel Lythgoe — the dancers, and Cat Deeley making their way onto the stage. Cat ambled up to the stage-left perch and introduced the show; the dancers did their solos and grooved their way offstage; Cat said ‘ello to NapTab, Mary, and Nigel; and (behind-the-scenes tidbit No. 2) we stopped taping for a tick so the dancers could change into their first-routine costumes, giving us all enough time to ponder whether Cat was trying to be a flapper who’d just sailed to Americer from her home in 1920s Holland or just wanted to relive the time she was a greeter at the Roaring Twenties restaurant in the Holland pavilion at Disney’s Epcot Center.

Jessica and Will danced first, attacking a jive with oodles of high-stepping fun, including a ”waterfall” flip that defied the laws of physics and had me wondering if maybe Will’s secret was that he was, you know, magic. He certainly was working some sort of sorcery during their second number, a lyrical-jazz routine, what with all the ab-bracadabery, and ex-pec-to chest-ronum…ness. Um. Yeah. Sorry. I was confunded there for a sec. But so was Nigel, who somehow managed to pull off a funny about how many dudes wanted to dance with Will without making it sound like an icky dig. Of course, according to the judges, Jessica would, by comparison, be a lowly Muggle (or, worse yet, a Squib!), given how much they dumped on her after both routines.

NEXT: Where are the underdogs?