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So You Think You Can Dance recap: Fairly Judged?

The judges send two of the top 20 home, putting an early favorite in jeopardy

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Think You Can Dance
Joe Viles/Fox

So You Think You Can Dance

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

Let me show you all the thoughts that ran through my mind at approximately 9:40 p.m. last night: So three of the bottom four this week are Ariana, Brandon, and Pauline. Hmm, I suppose I could agree with those. I thought Pauline was darling and elegant in her waltz, but the dance often does discourage enthusiasm. Now I suppose the fourth person in the bottom will be Phillip or Peter, right? Who am I kidding, of course I’m right. You know what? I’m so right, I bet I don’t even need to watch this part. So why don’t I just get up and grab a pint of Chubby Hubby from the freez — WHA?! Wait, did I hear that right? RUSSELL is in the bottom four? Russell, the krumper who mastered the foxtrot tonight? Are you serious? Oh no, Nigel, you’re going to make me go all Wrath of Khan on you…Niiiiiiiiiiigelllllll!

Ahem. Now back to the present. It’s been nearly an hour since the judges decided to place Russell in the bottom four, yet I’m still scratching my head like a second-grader in the nurse’s office. Exactly how did Adam, Mary, and Nigel come to that consensus? Did they feel Russell didn’t quite live up to his early favorite potential? (If so, they certainly didn’t seem to indicate that during his critiques.) Did they think Russell needed a slice of humble pie to go along with his hearty serving of praise? (If so, they clearly didn’t see him lovingly point to fallen partner Noelle following his performance. Aw.) Or were they simply a little bored, and felt like watching 30 seconds of Russell-branded entertainment? I can only imagine the latter is true. How else could you explain it? After all, when it came time for the judges to make their final decision, they didn’t so much critique Russell as they encouraged him to continue doing exactly what he’s been doing: learn other styles. So was his bottom four placement just for drama’s sake? If that’s the case, for the love of Brian Littrel, quit playing games with our hearts Nigel!

Because, really, stacked up against newcomer Brandon, it wasn’t even fair. Brandon didn’t have a chance. Especially when he whipped out that slow, unmemorable hip-hop/contemporary mash-up for his final solo. A surprising move, considering we’ve seen more from the Loch Ness Monster than Brandon at this point. But the guy still went out with class, praising the current cast of dancers. Of course, he’s not completely down for the count — Nigel claimed he would try to bend the rules to allow Brandon to return next season, since ”an unfortunate sequence of events” led the dancer to the top 20. Here’s hoping he does make his way to the stage again next year, because I think the hip-hop dancer fared pretty well considering how little time he had to master a dance in a genre so foreign to him. But we’ll get to that later.

On the girls’ side, we lost Ariana. In other news, hell is still scorching hot. Really, this ouster wasn’t a shocking one at all, since the dancer had already been set up as cannon fodder. We’d only seen slightly more of Ariana than Brandon, and her solo failed to excite, thanks to a severe lack of height in her jumps. But I will say this: Just because Ariana’s ouster was far from surprising, doesn’t mean it was fair. Because of a busted knee, Noelle had to sit out of the competition this week. (For the second time since SYTYCD premiered, Melanie LaPatin filled in.) Now, I know that Noelle couldn’t dance for her life, and it would feel a little harsh to cut her when her knee has a chance of improving quickly, but it just doesn’t seem right to give Ariana the boot while an immobile Noelle slides right through. Regardless, following Billy’s departure and Noelle’s injury, how long before talk of a curse starts percolating through the cast?

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