For you, it might have been when Nigel pointed out that not only was Kayla dancing barefoot, but her partner Evan was also dancing in some pretty serious dance-shoe heels. Or when the five girls danced a delightful Bollywood routine together and demonstrated just how formidable they truly are. Or when Ade launched into a soaring back flip during his solo that appeared to land mere inches from the rear steps. But for me — as I suspect it was for many of you — it was somewhere around the time that Jeanine punched Jason’s heart pendant into his chest while driving him backwards across the stage that this season of So You Think You Can Dance finally, truly came into its own.
It’s fitting, really, that season 2 runner-up Travis Wall was the one to choreograph what is certain to be remembered as season 5’s signature routine. Travis, as many of you remember, was one of the two dancers who performed “The Bench,” which was not only his season’s signature routine, but the one that — for me at least, and I suspect again for many of you — elevated SYTYCD from just a fun summer diversion to truly Must Watch TV. Actually, re-watching ”The Bench” now, I’m struck by how uncomplicated it is in comparison to some of the best numbers from this season. It makes me wonder if perhaps we’ve all been a bit too unforgiving of our favorite summer TV show this year. Or maybe it’s just that our standards are that much higher now. Regardless, thank the dancing gods for Travis Wall, who finally shook up the show and its audience simply by, as Jason so rightly pointed out, giving us something we’d never seen before.
Something else we hadn’t seen before, or at the very least this season? Sartorial restraint on the part of Cat and all three judges, from Cat’s elegant emerald woven dress to Mary’s subdued (!) black top with its intricately lattice-work collar. (Other kinds of restraint, however…well, I think we all could’ve done without Nigel placing pencils in his hair, especially since it came with a “joke” about using Ade’s magic pick to hypnotize Mary Murphy out of her clothes. Shudder.) I wish I could also praise the dancers’ choice of raiment, but I’ll get to that bit of snarkery in a moment. First, I’ve got to figure out how exactly to structure this TV Watch, given how haphazardly last night’s show unfolded. To wit, it went top 5 women, couple, solo, couple, solo, solo, couple, solo, solo, solo, couple, solo, solo, solo, couple, solo, top 5 men. What kind of pattern is that? Further confusing matters, the solos came roughly in the opposite order of the couples routines, emphasis on roughly, since Randi & Kupono, Evan & Kayla, and Jeanine & Jason all danced after each other, but Brandon & Melissa and Ade & Janette did not. That scattered sequence meant that you had to pay laser-sharp attention to the call-in numbers for each dancer, and that confusion could very well call into doubt what otherwise feels like the baldly obvious outcome of tonight’s results show — i.e., Kupono and Randi awkwardly paso doble’ing their way home.
NEXT: Jason and Jeanine bring it