You’ve got to hand it to Jessica. After five weeks of the near-relentless drumbeat of ”you’re not good enough, you’re not as great as Will, you’re not good enough,” she makes it to this season’s So You Think You Can Dance final 10 — only to be felled by some busted ribs. Then not only did Jessica have to sit in the audience and watch Comfort — a.k.a. her replacement, a.k.a. the dancer with at least five lives — give her best performance of the season; she also had to witness the judges rhapsodize over her former partner’s two numbers with by far the best female dancer on the show. If it were me, I’d probably run screaming from the studio — well, maybe not run, given the broken ribs and skintight dress that may have been a medical necessity to hold in her torso. But certainly scurry. Instead, she stood her ground and smiled, giving all of us who secretly felt a twinge of bliss when we first heard she’d left the show an even bigger twinge of guilt for ever twinging in the first place. Erm, right.
But it was kind of a weird night, wasn’t it, dear readers? Last week, my sister read me the riot act for praising Cat’s ”Dress Barn” ensemble from the top 12 performance show (her words), but even she’s got to admit that Ms. Deeley’s gold Saran Wrap number last night was pretty smashing (and a serendipitous nod to last night’s Project Runway supermarket challenge). Yeah, Nigel was dressed like my middle school shop teacher, and Mary coined some real doozies: ”Happy’s kind of a way station between too little and too much”; ”Dancing doesn’t build character, it just reveals it”; ”I’m hopping on the Love Boat with this number!” (The hot tamale train! It’s been forsaken!) But for the most part, the judges went easy on the grating obnoxiousness, and krumper Lil’ C proved himself as insightful a guest judge as the show’s had this season, even if his syntactical style could get a wee bit convoluted. (A man after my own heart, really.)
Nope, it was some of the dancers and choreographers who irked me the most last night. Not a week after I fingered Mark as the dancer to beat this season, he delivered two lackluster numbers and a solo that was just a B+ when he really needed a solid A to stay out of the bottom four. Not that it’s his fault entirely; Kherington did him no favors during their country two-step, dropping their spins and giving off the vibe that she never fully trusted him to be as physically strong a partner as Twitch. Indeed, the partnering charm I praised in Mark last week certainly didn’t endear him to Kherington, which seems to be half the battle with the paired numbers. Meanwhile, they both ran out of gas as they entered the second half of Tyce Diorio’s jazz number, but in fairness, so did the routine itself. Tyce has created eight dances for the show this season (including one group number), more than I believe any other choreographer, and his idea fatigue is starting to show, from the by-the-numbers steps to the choice of Jamiroquai’s too-on-the-nose ”Canned Heat” as the song.
NEXT: Tyce doesn’t float our boat