In the first week of finals on ''So You Think You Can Dance,'' partners Stanislav and Erin bring each other down, but the elimination night is all about the hostess

By Annie Barrett
June 16, 2006 at 12:00 PM EDT
So You Think You Can Dance: Kelsey McNeal
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”So You Think You Can Dance”: The finals begin

They writhe around on the ground. They stick out their tongues. Intentionally. They jump up into each other’s arms as soon as they discover they’re partners, as if it were an initiation rite, something people ”in that world” just do whenever something’s remotely exciting. They’re…people who think they can dance!

Yes! I’m so glad this show is in my life. Why would any bored person not watch this?

In the first elimination round of So You Think You Can Dance‘s second season, it took just shy of one hour and five minutes for new host Cat, excuse me, Giraffe Deeley and company to eliminate the first pair of They Thought They Coulds: the paso doble partners Erin and Stanislav. The hell? Dear, sweet Erin’s ouster was predictable enough, but Stanislav, who also goes by ”Stas” and ”that other Russian,” seemed destined to go pretty far. He was versatile and polite and had the most delicate blond features you’ve ever seen. Just, apparently, no detectable ”edge.” He reminded me of Stacy from Dancing With the Stars, so maybe the producers wanted to get rid of someone they knew they didn’t want to win it all (he’s Russian!) before he turned out to be an early fan fave.

The show definitely needed those extra five minutes, because Cat had to ask each of the ten couples very pertinent questions before pausing dramatically and saying, ”You’re safe,” or its catchy variation, ”You’re not safe.” American Idol is on vacation, but lucky for us, it’s lines aren’t. Still, they should spice up ”You’re safe” somehow. Couldn’t Cat do jazz hands while saying it? I seriously think she would if someone convinced her it was a reasonable idea.

I particularly relished Cat’s important interview with Ben and Ashlee about their ”flashdance” performance on Wednesday, a charming little melee of hopping instead of Ashlee’s self-proclaimed forte, popping.

Cat: How did you think it went?

Ben: I don’t know….Did it go?

I think it did go, but cheers to Ben for posing that question. Sometimes you just need to pause and ponder things. Things like: Why bare feet? What did Travis’ hair ever do to him? Seriously, I’m watching this? What constitutes ”popping”? The questions could go on and on, and they still wouldn’t eat up as much time as poor Jaymz’s post-solo babbling. Wasn’t that amazing? His initial answer to how he thought his dance went was a dumb grin and a little head shake. No one could fathom the amount of unrelated crap that ended up spewing out of that mouth. Nobody. He just kept going, and going, and going….Nothing outlasts the Energizer Caveman.

Well, maybe one person does, and that person is a Cat. It’s not her fault — I’m sure she’s instructed to drag things out as long as possible. I may be in the minority here, but I think Cat Deeley is a perfectly fitting host for such a toy-train-wreck show. Anyone can read lines from cue cards, but this girl agrees to wear animal prints in accordance with her height, takes unnecessary half bows before walking onstage, holds the dancers’ hands when they feel frightened (that would be always), and calls them cutesy British pet names like ”my lovely” and ”you.”

Hmm…tall, silly, says awkward things, and blanks on people’s names. I could be biased because I basically just described myself on a good day, but I love this girl. A cool-big-sister type who’s always ready to swoop in for the hug-and-herd is exactly what the mighty mites need. And she’s such an unabashed weirdo sometimes. I especially dig when she smushes her lips into the sides of her mouth like a duck and slightly shrugs to suggest that, well, she’s done with that line now. On with the next!

I’ve already had it with this show’s blatant love affair with the Bedingfield siblings. There are other musicians in the world, even if there aren’t any in Britain. Try America, that country you keep mentioning every three seconds.

There was another reason we ran overtime: Nelly Furtado, Timbaland, and Nelly Furtado’s bloomers all had to debate who was the most promiscuous. I would not put money on the bloomers. The great thing about this song’s recent mass appeal is that undereducated listeners everywhere now know one big word. It’s like ”sporadically” from Clueless. There goes pop culture again, always looking out for our vocabulary. Anyway, I might have enjoyed Nelly more thoroughly if she hadn’t insisting on caressing her curls every few seconds. Someone should have run onstage and dipped that hand in Gak.

What do you think of the season so far? Who stood out, and who was forgettable? Which couple has the best chemistry? And who should get final say: the judges or the viewers?

Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and the viewers at home crown America’s Favorite Dancer.
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