On ''So You Think You Can Dance,'' the jidges evaluate the pairs with flawed logic

By Annie Barrett
Updated August 10, 2006 at 12:00 PM EDT
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So You Think You Can Dance

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”So You Think You Can Dance”: Who will win?

Well, we have a winner! We just won’t know who it is until next week because of football. Football! Gross. Doesn’t Fox realize these dancers are fighting for their lives? I guess I’ll just go see Step Up this weekend to curb my anticipation, because I got the very subtle hint that it’s what Nigel wants. Nigel is hot.

Last night, the final four all got to dance with each other in pairs, which prompted all sorts of shenanigans like Travis munching on straw, Benji lowering Donyelle into a possible makeout session, group hugs galore, and a random three-second road trip in Ron Montez’s car. I award a big WTF to that last one. I generally have no idea what’s going on in those schizophrenically edited rehearsal clips, but the car thing takes the cake that Brian Friedman so desperately wants Heidi and Benji to pop out of.

But first, for the last time… your jidges! These yahoos still can’t get over how hilarious that arm-rolling-in-sync move is. (Not very.) Nigel was his usual dingbat self, with a few zingers about disco balls and nipple rings. Fresh off the tanning bed, Mary let out only one scream but made up for it by indulging in a deep conversation with her fingers. And Brian ditched his usual open-blazer jewel-thief persona, which for some reason was highly upsetting.

I suppose I’m fixating on the jidges because they managed to hog quite a bit of the spotlight in an hour jam-packed with 11 different performances. If this show’s really designed to determine ”America’s favorite dancer,” maybe the jidges shouldn’t get to factor in at all for the finale. The way Mary and Brian pimped out Travis at the end after the supermodel-fabulous Wade Robson group number just seemed like a desperate attempt to sway voters (even though it probably won’t). And I don’t see the point of Nigel fretting over how neither Benji nor Donyelle were ”classically trained” at the Viennese Waltz. Nobody was. And nobody cares.

The two standout partner dances were Benji and Travis’ hip-hop and Travis and Donyelle’s contemporary. ”Tranji” was served on wry with extra cheese, with the two lads running around as ”school nerds” before ditching the outerwear and backpacks to become just plain ”nerds.” After Travis mentioned fishing and bear claws during their rehearsal, I was confused by the outfits and assumed Tranji were embarking on a great big camping trip at the beginning of that dance. (In a way, they were.) Travis and Donyelle did a whole buckwheat-in-the-breeze thing that I might have enjoyed if I’d been able to see any of it under that dim lighting. I gathered that this dance was all sorts of Mia terms like ”grounded” and ”ethereal” and ”dirty dirty earth” and did not involve crotch pumping in unison. That’s probably enough.

Heidi and Donyelle’s Broadway number was pretty abysmal. This pairing intrigued me — for the rehearsal footage, I envisioned Heidi striking a series of poses while reciting the alphabet in one corner while Donyelle sat in another, icing her foot and exuding a cool ”WTF?” stare. Not so. They got along, and it was cute until they got onstage and basically just walked around with not enough moves to execute. This routine could have been so much spicier, and Mary and Brian let choreographer Tyce Diorio know it.

I would have liked to see Benji and Heidi perform this West Coast Swing everyone’s buzzing about, but club salsa was an apt consolation prize. It reminded me a lot of their mambo, but that’s because I’m not classically trained in the world of dizziness and sparkly dresses. That part with Heidi holding a half-backbend for longer than it seemed humanly possible was my favorite, just because it made me so uncomfortable. (This is pretty much how I feel about the show in general.)

So who will it be, Ameriker? Who deserves an SUV and a buttload of money the most? Will Cat drop down on a disco ball next week? And what besides Nigel knocked unconscious would you like to see in the finale?

Episode Recaps

So You Think You Can Dance

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