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So You Think You Can Dance recap: Chemistry 101

Top 16’s performances show how important partner connections are to the overall dance

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Sytycd Evan Kasprzak
Mike Ruiz/Fox

So You Think You Can Dance

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

Sex is supposed to sell, am I wrong? Then why did I feel so incredibly unimpressed with last night’s SYTYCD performance night? We had a whole two hours chock-full o’ skimpy costumes, intense partner chemistry, and sexy numbers — including an admittedly stellar ode to the female derriére, courtesy of Mia Michaels (who ‘da thunk?).

Yet I can’t seem to muster up enough excitement about week three. I just wasn’t feeling it. Maybe it was the fact that the episode came complete with more filler than Mary’s face (thanks for that one, Mom!). Or because last night’s choreographers didn’t quite manage to deliver any toe-curling, face-crushing, jaw-dropping numbers. Or maybe some of Nigel’s initial grumpiness rubbed off on me. But then again, he had more of a reason than I did to be so cantankerous: Based on that curious windbreaker, I can only assume he had just spent an arduous day in the eye of Mexico’s Hurricane Andres.

But before we get to the dancing tonight, I hope that you’re not too grumpy about seeing my byline on top of this TV Watch. Never fear, friends, Adam will be returning next week in order to fulfill your SYTYCD needs. And I might not have a snark demon resting on my shoulder, but I have 13 years of classical ballet training under my belt, so hopefully he’s left you in good hands!

Let’s get back to the episode, which I have to stay started on quite a bright note thanks to our venerable host, Cat Deeley. Opa! Does that girl do Grecian well, or what? And instead of being privy to Lil’ C’s Siddhartha-esque ramblings this week, we were treated to the impressively sober musings of living legend of hip-hop award-winner Toni Basil. My, that woman has gone places since Mickey. (Like Pier 1, where I imagine she purchased that bowl she wore on her head all evening.)

But last night, it was all about the chemistry, folks. Intensifying chemistry, waning chemistry, and newfound chemistry. But which couples have picked up their PhDs in the subject? (They could sure use the degree, too, considering most of their desired non-dance jobs — the subject of last night’s get-to-know-your-dancers fun fact — would likely leave them scrambling in debt. Acting? Singing? Cirque de Soleil-ing?) Let’s take a look at their success last night. And since I like to end things on a good note, I’m going to rank our couples from worst to best, based on last night:

Jonathan and Karla

Oy. This lackluster hip-hop was a tough one to swallow, especially considering the fact that the couple had a huge amount of momentum after last week’s be-a-utiful contemporary routine. Karla put up a good effort, true, but she didn’t hit her moves hard or pristine enough to surge out of the relative anonymity she’s been fighting since week one. And she certainly didn’t bring enough to the table to compensate for poor Jonathan. Now, we all know that the cute-as-a-button dancing newbie was hardly a ”smooth criminal,” but I had faith he would have been able to get himself into character a little better than he did. Instead, the whole scene was like watching David Archuleta perform an Eminem song. Just wrong. Plus, his movements were far too out-of-sync and fluid for audiences to believe that he had truly nailed the genre. Methinks the couple’s No. 1 placement on last night’s show — coupled with the fact that they have journeyed to the bottom three before — will all but guarantee them a spot in the bottom. But before we move on, I have to address Nigel’s cranky assessment that the routine reminded him of ”a Sunday School picnic outing.” Because if his Sunday School outings are anything like that number — bare midriffs! — then I think he might be encouraging a visit from Chris Hansen. Would you like some sweet tea, Nigel?

NEXT PAGE: A Singin’ in the Rain rant