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So You Think You Can Dance recap: SYTYCD Top 20 performance recap

Season 8’s live shows launch with a wealth of solid routines. And did you hear the ladies are beasts this year?

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Patrick Ecclesine/FOX

So You Think You Can Dance

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

Did you know this season of So You Think You Can Dance is populated almost entirely by female werewolves? It’s true! Nigel Lythgoe himself used practically every moment in front of a live microphone for the official Top 20 performance episode to reiterate that the season 8 girls are “beasts” — with their own statuesque queen! There was even a full moon over Los Angeles last night, but luckily, it was kinda overcast (June gloom and all), so no one got all lycanthropic on the SYTYCD stage. That would’ve been so awkward.

Animalistic praise aside, the Top 20 performance episode felt at times like an encore of last week’s stellar Top 20 introduction and showcase episode, in so far as many of the dancers got to perform more-or-less in their comfort zone, and the judges worked overtime to continue to puff up enthusiasm for the season with unwarranted hyperbole. Nigel, Mary, calm down. We can already tell Season 8 is shaping up to be one of the best in series history. There is no need to pump up the volume — especially when Mary is concerned.

The puffed-up plaudits were especially noticeable coming from guest judge Megan Mullally, but only because the Emmy-winning Will and Grace actress was sporting full-on Karen Walker hair, setting us up to expect at least a few acid-tongued rejoinders. (“Honey, I’m too tired to slap you. Bash your face up against my palm.”) Instead, Mullally from the word go genially downplayed her credentials for being a SYTYCD judge — even though she danced ballet through high school, studied with the School of American Ballet, and starred in three Broadway musicals. It seemed like her best bone fide for being there was the fact that she had seen every episode of the show — and that she wasn’t Tyce Diorio or Robin Antin. (“If my brain could still send signals to my face, you’d see I’m horrified right now.”) So, really, I shouldn’t complain.

The show began with the customary introductory micro solos, and if the season 8 top 20 have anything to work on, it’s this blah jumble of generic jumping and posing. Even Nigel couldn’t be bothered to pay much attention. Then out came host Cat Deeley in the most glamourous black trash bag dress I have ever seen, and she announced that the show already had its first injury before it had really started: It seems poor Mitchell had injured his elbow during rehearsal and had to sit the episode out. At which point, I thought: Aw. Who?

NEXT: The dancers give their life stories in eight seconds, and we learn Afro Jazz does not, in fact, involve actual afros