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So You Think You Can Dance recap: Fitting Farewells

America and the judges get it right with the bottom three and the two eliminations, while Nigel pays proper tribute to this week’s star passings

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Sytycd Jon Platero
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

I usually hate result shows. After all, on the typical results program, we’re forced to sit through 58 minutes of boring, predictable filler (look, a famous musician who can kinda sing okay live!) just to hear the fate of our favorite reality show contestants.

Well, last night’s episode proved to me that result shows can actually be entertaining, and, in the case of this program, poignant. There is such a thing as good filler, believe it or not. Unlike Wednesday night — when our judges filibustered like regular Jimmy Stewarts — Nigel & Co., parsed their words, and when they spoke, did so pensively and intelligently. And I have never been more impressed with our dear British executive producer than I was last night. Sure, we EW staffers — and some of you commenters, too — like to tease Nigel for his penchant for leering after pretty girls or telling rusty anecdotes that might as well begin with ”When I was your age….” But he outdid himself last night, paying tribute to three dearly departed legends in a move that showed just how much an organic show like SYTYCD can out-class any other program on television today.

Think about it: We knew there was no way the show could ignore the passing of a phenomenon like Michael Jackson, who influenced countless performers, including those who appeared on SYTYCD itself. And though Nigel did dedicate a few good minutes to the late singer — even showing a clip from ”Thriller” before cutting to commercial — he made sure not to ignore the two other big names who passed away this week: Farrah Fawcett, and second banana Ed McMahon, who I feel still hasn’t received enough credit or attention following his passing.

Something else that I can’t help but admire about Nigel is his passion for helping us youngsters learn. We see this passion in his specific critiques for our dancers. (He would spend minutes just describing a sissonne if given the opportunity.) But we also saw it last night during his tribute, as well as last year when he paid homage to Cyd Charisse. Nigel didn’t just list off the names of the celebrities who died this week and pair it with a disingenuous, generic, ”They will be missed” statement. He actually dug into the meaning of their lives, shared how they influenced the entertainment industry, and tried to help audiences truly understand exactly why folks like McMahon, Fawcett and Jackson were — and will remain — relevant. So, I never thought in a million years that I would ever have reason to say this, but: Fox, you pulled together one classy joint last night.

Okay. Like our show last night, we have acknowledged the sad passing of a superstar, but let’s move on and celebrate his influence by delving into the rest of our hour-long results show. And before we get to Asuka and Jonathan’s eliminations, we’ll begin, naturally, with the fashion statement unveiled by our host Cat Deeley. Do we love or hate the whole ensemble, which looked to me like Saturday Night Fever designed by Project Runway‘s Uli? Cat can really pull off anything, so I’m undecided for the time being. What I do know, however, is that girl could probably evade the most astute Predator in Guatemala, thanks to the outfit’s crazy camouflage-esque print.

NEXT: Caitlin shines