The exuberant Bollywood number that opened last night’s So You Think You Can Dance results show was pretty much everything I’d hoped it would be (except, next year, it really ought to be the top 20 group number if it’s ever going to look like this). And Mia Michaels continued her season-long therapy session with an anguished all-girl group number about, um, milkmaids keening in grief over, um, something really, really, really sad. So probably not spilt milk. I kid; even if that anguish was so severe that it left me unable to catch up with it, the number was still pretty stunning. But with a simple three-and-two lineup, some (slightly off) step dancing, Broadway capering, and good ol’ fashioned hoofing, plus — lawd, it’s a miracle! — a single unbroken camera shot, Nigel Lythgoe’s Five Guys Named Moe all-guys group number managed to steal the show. Well, shucks, Nigel, I’m impressed. Now let’s keep those cameras steady and those editors idle for the rest of the season, how ’bout it?
As for the results, well, I can’t say I’m exactly surprised. The bottom four of Gev, Comfort, Kherington, and Mark was pretty much preordained after Wednesday’s performance show, and although I pegged Comfort to go home before Kherington yesterday, based on their numbers this week and their solos last night, Kher deserved the boot first. Comfort has soloed every week since the top 18 results show, and yet her solo last night may have been my favorite. It was pretty clear that she expected to go home, so the pressure was off, and it made her a better dancer. Kherington, though, was just the opposite. Mary called her a front-runner, but I think, as was the case with Kameron and Lacey last season, Kher’s popularity ended up having more to do with Twitch’s popularity than her own; when left alone, she couldn’t define who she is as a dancer. As I write this, in fact, my colleague and fellow SYTYCD fanatic Alynda Wheat just e-mailed this to me: ”Kherington’s solo: You are not Mark.” No, indeed, she isn’t. You don’t end your solo with a shrug, Kher, even if you do think the judges are stinky-poo pants for hating all over your missed turns and perfunctory dancing, making America not vote for you. Although, for a show that just got nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Makeup for a Multi-Camera Series or a Special (Non-Prosthetic) — yes, that’s the real category — you’d think they’d’ve had time to throw a little more eyeliner on the season’s ordained Hollywood beauty before she got tossed on the cold, unforgiving streets.
But to be fair, Mark wasn’t quite Mark this week. Even though he performed true solos on both nights and not just random dancing, I was disappointed that both were more hemmed in and (to use the judges’ oft-repeated term) less expansively quirky — or, put in a less pejorative, we-don’t-want-you-to-win way, unique, or unconventional, or singular, qualities a cursory YouTube search of ”Mark Kanemura” shows he’s capable of delivering in spades. (Seriously, could Nigel have been colder when he said he didn’t have any words for Mark other than, essentially, that he’s quirky?) Given how emphatically Mark nodded during Mary’s annual ”you have no idea how hard this really is” speech, I wonder if the fatigue factor is what’s keeping his inner freak flag from fully flying.
NEXT: Deeper Gev analysis