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So You Think You Can Dance recap: Worth the Wait

Ellen Degeneres pops in as the Top 8 perform, and a few dances at the end of the night steal the show

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Sytycd Brandon Bryant
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

Hiya, So You Think You Can Dance fans, your usual TV Watcher — the indomitable Adam B. Vary (don’t forget that B!) — is away this week, so you’ve got me as a fill-in for the last night’s performance episode. (And EW’s esteemed ”dance-television critic” and PopWatch blogger extraordinaire Annie Barrett takes the reins for the recap of tonight’s results show that’ll post tomorrow morning.) Anyway, in this somewhat random fill-in role, I’m oddly feeling a bit like…funny lady Ellen DeGeneres, who was a guest judge for the evening on Dance alongside Nigel, Mary, and Mia.

But could you really call her a judge? I enjoyed seeing one of America’s most beloved comics at the judges’ table as much as the next person, but you have to admit: DeGeneres didn’t really add much in the way of critique to the show. Sure, she had some funny lines — especially her repeated gag of telling the dancers ”Well, I can do that” and when she said she learned all her moves from the street…of her gated community — but, overall, it seemed a bit random to have her there.

My problem was that DeGeneres seemed to generally like everyone and offer only corny comic relief. Heck, even she said that she had just asked to come to a taping and asked for the judges’ good seats. Of course, that again was yet another joke, but there’s a hint of truth in that. She seemed to almost realize that she added nothing besides a laugh or two to the show and decided to make fun of it herself. (And to be honest, DeGeneres even looked kind of scared to be there amongst Dance‘s crazy judges, especially if you caught her during moments when she didn’t think she was on camera.)

Another general thing about last night’s show, before I get into the nitty gritty: Could the episode have been any more cram-packed? I thought at some point, as the season wound down, Dance would move into a one-hour format for the performance episodes on Wednesday nights. Isn’t that how it usually goes? Am I remembering past seasons incorrectly? Have I gone crazy? Probably all of the above, but anyway, my point with this comment was that every dancer had to dance four times — and Cat had to string out lots of inane banter with the judges, especially at the beginning — to fill the two hours. When will the overly-long-episode madness end?

Anyway, taking a cue from Mr. B. Vary’s TV Watch last week, I’m going to go with a simple highlight/lowlight, presenting you with my observations in no particular order:

Cat Deeley’s Egyptian-esque gold lamé dress

J’adore the whole thing. Actually, I generally love Deeley’s crazed-out fashions. (See the EW.com gallery I wrote about her insane looks this season.) Did anyone else get a sort of modernized ancient Egyptian vibe from the dress? I certainly did — looked like something you might think of a Hollywood-ized version of Cleopatra wearing. It amazes me that she can pull off such things — approximately 98 percent of the population would have no business wearing something like that.

NEXT: A new choreographer makes her mark