I’m in mourning, dear readers. My snark demon, Smirkelstiltskin, has up and abandoned me. I would point the finger at the unkind comments about him in the message boards of late, but (1) the guy’s a snark demon, so he pretty much lives on those things, and (2) he left a note explaining that he left me so he could nest in Cat Deeley’s hair. I don’t blame him, really. Why go to the chocolate shoppe twice a week when you can live on the factory floor? I’ll miss you, dear Smirkel, but I’ll sleep well knowing you’re safely tucked in that well-tended, ever-changing thicket of blond ridiculousness.
In all other respects, meanwhile, last night’s So You Think You Can Dance results show was pretty much shenanigan free. Napoleon and Tabitha’s group number was tight and fresh (though it would’ve been cooler had it ended with the nite-lite track suits spelling out ”Dance,” or ”Closer” like the Ne-Yo song, don’tcha think?). The judges kept their nattering to a minimum — well, save when Nigel announced that Phillip Chbeeb and Robert Muraine will indeed dance off on the finale, only to completely dismiss the showdown as irrelevant mere moments later, but the man simply can’t help himself. Thankfully yet unnervingly, Mary looked, behaved and even sounded like your average, non-shrieking Midwestern mom. A trio of dancers from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, our world-of-dance guests for the evening, schooled us on what serious, noncompeting, nonpartnered, professional contemporary dancing looks like, and brought the house down in the process. And while I couldn’t tell whether Katy Perry‘s voice was prerecorded or live, the fact that a show with such a tricky history with the homosexuality would welcome lyrics like ”I kissed a girl and I liked it….I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it” with nary a raised eyebrow or snippy comment from the peanut gallery — well, it certainly was refreshing.
And, unlike last season, when Lauren inexplicably stole a top 10 slot from the far more consistent Anya, the right dancers were sent packing. Sorta. Within the show’s one-man-one-woman rules, yes, Thayne and Comfort did deserve their tickets home, but wouldn’t it have made for tremendous TV if Nigel had tossed the rule book into Cat’s hair wigwam and announced that both Comfort and Jessica would be getting the boot and Thayne remaining to dance another day? Wouldn’t it have been exactly the kind of shocker that would’ve jolted a new, exciting dynamic into the show, forcing the choreographers to come up with a routine for two guys (and, as the Alvin Ailey dancers ably demonstrated, not necessarily a romantic one) and break them of the been-there-seen-that sameness that’s started creeping into many of the routines? Wouldn’t it have put all the dancers on notice that the playing field was now completely level?
Woulda coulda shoulda, Nigel, but I do have to admit that as far as top 10s go, this one’s pretty solid. In fact, after next week, things are gonna get seriously cutthroat, coming down to the strength of the routines in the week as much as season-long popularity and momentum. But — why not? — let’s hazard a breakdown of the rest of the season anyway. In the spirit of Nigel’s expressed desire to keep Thayne on into the top 10, however, I’m going to make my list gender blind, based solely on the dancers’ perceived voter popularity and my own subjective opinion of their dancing thus far and their chances in the weeks ahead. So, in reverse order, my semifantasy SYTYCD season 4 top 10:
NEXT: Who’s just hanging on?