The live performance round has only just begun, but we’ve already learned so much. None of the judges understand squad goals. Cat Deeley liked Jurassic World. Michelle Obama liked Jasmine and Comfort’s hip-hop routine. Cat and the First Lady should be the judges’ squad goals.
We’re ushering in a new era of So You Think You Can Dance, and it calls for a new stage—one with a few more moving pieces than the last. The slightly smaller venue brings back some of the intimacy of the early seasons, but I wish they’d brought back stairs while they were at it. The best choreography always seemed to incorporate those stairs.
After Cat bids a quick farewell to injured Hurrikane (noooo) and welcomes back Asaf, the top 20 break in the stair-less stage (I’ll get over it) with an energetic group routine choreographed by Christopher Scott and Jessica Lee Keller. It’s time for season 12 to really get going.
Megz, Neptune, and JJ (Team Street)
Choreographer: Dave Scott
Song: “The Illest” by Far East Movement feat. Riff Raff
The night begins with a superhero-inspired routine that never really clicks into place, which is frustrating mostly because it puts me on the same page as Jason. I just want the best for these dancers! Neptune works to connect with the rest of the group; he feels like someone a partner could trust. JJ has the most effortless connection with the audience. Megz doesn’t have the sharpest moves of the group, but she’s got her character all figured out. If she were a superhero, she’d be the unlikely one who keeps accidentally saving the day without trying.
SIDE NOTE: It’s been a while since I took Latin, but I’m pretty sure that Neptune is not the god of peace.
Gaby, Derek, and Moises (Team Stage)
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Song: “Luminous” by Max Richter
Stacey says that this is a routine about embracing inner light, but it might also be a dramatic interpretation of what goes on in the Cloud. There’s a lot of fog hugging the stage at the start of the performance, but it clears quickly, allowing us all to revel in just how much Gaby is already slaying it. She looks right at home in a contemporary routine with two contemporary dancers. I don’t mean to agree with Jason again, but he’s right: The moment when they fall into sync is something special.
Lily, Jaja, Burim, and Asaf (Team Street)
Choreographer: Christopher Scott
Song: “Easy (Switch Screens)” by Son Lux feat. Lorde
Because we’re apparently in an alternate reality, I’m also feeling suddenly endeared to Asaf. He asks for the mic in order to thank his teammates after their performance. I’m fully aware that I’m being manipulated. I don’t care. After he was cut, Asaf apparently took 17 classes in two days, and I’m choosing to believe that his brush with reality humbled him.
But even given Asaf’s surprising chemistry with fellow breaker Burim, this performance—like Team Street as a whole—belongs to the ladies. At one point, the guys are spinning on their heads, and the cameras just gradually zoom in on Lily and Jaja. Cat ends the routine with Chris Pratt’s raptor pose, but it’s too late. These girls are their own alphas.
NEXT: Drop and krump me 20