It was three steps forward, two steps back on last night’s So You Think You Can Dance. (It was really only a matter of time before I hauled out that hoary old cliché for a lead, but Smirkelstiltskin, my snark demon, is giving me the ol’ stink eye for it all the same. Apologies.) For all the routines that melted sex appeal all over the screen (hel-loooooo Will’s chest and Gev’s hips!), there were routines that just sat there like two-year-old freezer-burned ice cream (good-byyyyye Comfort and Thayne!). Cat Deeley not only looked stunning — and without a single sartorial reference to Broadway or 1920s Belgium — but, heavens to Murgatroid, she also brought the funny; the judges, on the other hand, brought the lechery, inconsistency, and wide-brimmed hats. And although the show finally introduced new alumni choreographers (Pasha and Anya) who know from showshopping numbers, and a new genre (Bollywood) that pretty much stopped the show, we were also subjected to yet another tangled mess of quickstepping that threatened to bring the show to a screeching halt.
After Cat introduced the judges — Nigel ”I Took My Viagra Today” Lythgoe, Mary ”I’m a Living Brooch” Murphy, and Mia ”I’m a Jazzercize Gangsta, Beeotch” Michaels — we started right in with our first couple, because Fox has decided I don’t deserve sleep and the jam-packed, two-hour, two-routines-per-couple performance shows must continue. Thankfully, the show opened with one of my favorite duos this season, Mark and Chelsie, who totally sold Alex ”Brazilian Bono” Da Silva’s salsa routine and a clingy black unitard and Mardi Gras peacock ”dress” (respectively). The judges may have docked Mark some points for his less-than-perfect technique for this routine and their Tyce Diorio Smokey Joe’s Cafe Broadway number, but all I could see was the pair continuing their streak of unrelenting entertainment — even if I did really want Melinda Doolittle to pop up for a live performance of ”I’m a Woman.” Mark and Chelsie’s salsa also marked the start of the evening’s secondary competition between Nigel and Mia as to who could make the most off-putting comment about the female dancers. Two rounds went to Nigel for his lechery over where Chelsie’s ”dress” did and did not touch her body and the relative length of her legs, but Mia certainly was a close second for wishing Chelsie stab wounds for looking like Brigitte Bardot.
The only thing that was off-putting about Thayne and Comfort’s time on stage, alas, was the dancing itself, and for that I place the blame squarely on Comfort’s slight shoulders. The hip-hop was a’ight — my notes at the end: ”Aww, they told a little story!” — but Mia was right, once they left the stairs, that story left their steps for much of the number. And even though Thayne worked hard to make it seem like he wasn’t working hard for the hip-hop, you could literally see Comfort thinking her way through their contemporary routine, which was so tepid that the audience could barely even muster canned enthusiasm for it. The knowledge that they’d never make the top 10 was written clear across their faces, but it was also all over Comfort’s dancing — the woman just wants to go home. In the face of that kind of resignation, Thayne could have been equal parts baking soda and vinegar and there wouldn’t have been any chemistry on that stage.
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