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Emmys 2017
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So You Think You Can Dance recap: Top 18 Perform and Elimination

America votes and saves while the judges protect this season’s worst dancer.

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So You Think You Can Dance

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

Robots, packages, and a frightful judges’ save. This week’s episode of So You Think You Can Dance had quite few memorable highs and lows, but nothing makes a great reality series better than a controversial decision, am I right? That can really be the only reason I can come up with for Nigel Lythgoe, Paula Adbul, and Jason Derulo to save “The Hebrew Breaker” Asaf over fellow b-boy Burim—because otherwise I think we need to get some medical professionals to check their heads. Your regular recapper Kelly is unavailable to regale you in the colorful account of tonight’s SYTYCD proceedings, so I shall attempt to fill in to the best of my abilities. But I have to say, I’m not sure how reliable I’m going to be as my blood continues to boil in both anger and pain over such a stupid judges’ save. Yup, not over it and won’t be for a while. But I’ll move on, for the sake of this recap.

Derek, Jaja, and Alexia

Choreographer: Stacey Tookey

Song: “All Waters” by Perfume Genius

Jaja continues to impress week after week. She works hard, she’s cute as a button, she’s fierce, and she can kill it time and time again. The judges are obviously seeing her talent as well, as Nigel tells her she is “blooming every week” and Paula states that she is “always going to have us in the palm of [her] hand.” But Alexia is also a standout in this routine. She worries in her rehearsal footage that Stacey Tookey wants her to dance like she is 6-feet tall even though she’s 5 feet, but in the performance she dances as tall and long as Mr. Fantastic can freaking stretch. She’ll be a Team Stage threat for sure.  

Megz, Moises, and Jim

Choreographer: Jaquel Knight

Song: “Whateva” by Remy

As we all know, Jim has clearly (and unfairly) been compared to Alex Freaking Wong time and time again on the series. Kelly pointed out the totally unsubtle hints the show throw at us when they made Jim perform a hip-hop routine last week. But now it’s time for the show to prove in its trademark unsubtle fashion that he’s more than just his similarly dancing counterpart. So what do they do? They throw another hip-hop number in his direction, this time choreographed by the same person who gave us the iconic “Single Ladies” dance. (SYTYCD does not let us forget this fact.) Unfortunately, this dance doesn’t work. Megz kills the routine from head to toe, but Jim and Moises can’t really get into the dance, Moises less so than Jim. After Cat makes an awkward yet endearing (as always) reference to “stank face,” Paula gives a great critique to the dancers: In a routine like this with a little less moves and a little more freedom, the routine really relies on filling out the spaces with commitment, character, and vibe. The boys just couldn’t make it happen.

Yorelis, JJ, and Edson

Choreographer: Tovaris Wilson

Song: “Restart” by Sam Smith

Is anyone else relieved to hear a Sam Smith on mainstream television that isn’t “Disclosure,” “Stay With Me,” or “Lay Me Down”? This number is all about sex appeal according to new choreographer Tovaris Wilson, but aside from Yorelis and at times JJ, there’s not much sex appeal being brought to the routine. To be fair, if I were a man with abs like Edson, I would probably be resting on those laurels when it comes to oozing sexiness, but I couldn’t tell if there was just a lack of effort or a lack of sex appeal knowledge on that stage. Yorelis looked great, JJ looked great, Cat found a way to make a “keep your options open” joke about Edson’s role in the routine. But it just wasn’t an interesting number, and these three dancers aren’t impressing like they easily could at the moment.

Asaf and Marissa

Choreographer: Jean Marc Generaux

Song: “+1” by Martin Solveig feat. Sam White

Oof. From start to finish, Asaf is painful as he attempts to take on the Club Cha Cha, but everything about it is just off. Marissa can’t find a way to save the routine, despite being very supportive during rehearsal footage. And yet the judges highlight how far Asaf has come rather than really explain to him where in the routine he needed the most help. Sure Nigel makes his typical bad routine jab by calling the dance more of a “Protection Cha Cha” rather than a “Club Cha Cha” (not nearly his best zinger), but really Paula at least starts to tell Asaf his areas for improvement. But she then immediately focuses on Asaf’s “growth.” What the frack are the judges on right now? Even the studio audience could tell this number was a dud, and they cheer for anything.  

NEXT: Burim’s package is a topic of conversation… You’ll see.