Contestants dance for their lives, leading to a surprising (and infuriating?) conclusion

By Lanford Beard
Updated June 17, 2011 at 05:00 AM EDT
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Credit: Patrick Ecclesine/FOX
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The night began with all 20 dancers undulating (with canes!) as M.I.A. breathy-asked, “Where were you in ’92?” Apparently the choreographer was getting over the hangover of the Blonde Ambition tour. Going by the gesticulations, we’re dealing with Wade Robson or Sonya Tayeh. The props equal Wade, but the costumes signal Sonya. Whom to choose? Either way, it was sexy, complex, and strobe light-tastic; plus the girls all looked a little bit like Santana from Glee meets a Wild West saloon prostitute. Everybody wins! After the group number, Cat said that, yes, this piece was, indeed, birthed from the twisted loins of the Tayeh.

Then it was time to get down to business. Since Mitchell was out due to an injury last night, not only did the bottom three couples have to perform, but so would poor Mitchell. Before that, Nigel bloviated about his brainchild National Dance Day. This year they’ll put up three routines online — ranging from difficult to basic — for people to perform all over the country in flash mobs for charity (have more horrible words ever been uttered?). He explained that Mary is choreographing the easy one. And I am a rare one to stick up for Ms. Murphy. Because lord know—WOOOOOO!!!! It’s catching, isn’t it? That’ll learn me.

In the first of approximately one million pimp-outs for Lady Gaga throughout the night, Cat exposed these poor retinas to a picture of Nigel being goosed by the Gags herself (pun intended). Then the results were doled out fairly expediently. Melanie and Marko’s routine by Travis Wall was Emmy worthy…and safe. Missy and Wadi got their beastly Gaga on and are predictably safe. Iveta and Nick took on the always challenging quick step (to “Ballroom Blitz,” no less) and were, amazingly, safe — despite drawing the terror-inducing ballroom card. Ashley and Chris were similarly safe thanks to their jazz routine. And with each couple, the odds grew slimmer.

So when Jordan and Tadd came up to bat, the conclusion was foregone. I’d blame it on the extra d if I were Tadd. But the big question was whether Caitlynn would be faulted for her partner Mitchell’s injury or whether the Broadway stylings of Clarice and Jess would be deemed unworthy. If this were seasons 1 through 3, that might be a legit question. But it’s not. As such, Clarice and Jess hear the “goooooong” of destiny. Ryan and Ricky’s doleful contemporary routine impressed the audience. And then it was down to Miranda/Robert’s lively jive versus Sasha/Alexander’s Travis-choreographed piece. It was easy to tell from all angles that Miranda and Robert were toast.

Performances: The sky-high leaping lovechild of season 3’s Pasha and ’90s skating icon Viktor Petrenko, Gennadi Saveliev (who also did some important things like training at the Bolshoi Ballet and founding the Youth America Grand Prix) repented for that time Jeanine and Phillip got shafted in season 5. Also, Keri Hilson wore castoffs from the Gaga wig line, Ke$ha’s ear accouterment garbage pile, and a skort composed solely of chain mail and Lycra. That is all.

NEXT: Have you heard of this Lady Gaga character?

Then it was time to dance…for their lives! Mitchell presumably sealed his fate by choosing some John Mayer dreck from The Bucket List (“Say”). Oh, Mitchy, no matter how adorable you are (and he is), even Wade couldn’t make John Mayer work. With a Nadia Oh song, Jordan managed to become perhaps the only person to unsexily rock boob fringe and gold lame hot pants while dancing to a song whose main lyrics are “Hot Like Wow.” Tadd performed a solid, whimsical breaking routine to Brian Setzer’s “Jump, Jive an’ Wail.” Did I ever think I’d write all those words together in one sentence? No.

Clarice added to my belief that someone (cough, cough, Nigel) sent out a “Be sexy!” memo this week (and every week in the history of weeks) as she danced to Christina Aguilera’s “Glam.” I’m sure the girl can dance, but I was too busy looking at her purple sequin bra top and suggestive leg extensions. Then came Jess, who was just…weird (I’m lookin’ at you, booty shake). One could argue that he deserved to go home on the selection of “Mr. Bojangles” by Robbie Williams alone. Next Miranda rocked some more hair-ography in a sexy angel costume to “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” by Leona Lewis. Ugh. Finally, the audience was clearly on Robert’s side as he stepped up to perform his solo to Omarion’s “Electric,” complete with unbashed Michael Jackson moves.

The highly anticipated Lady Gaga “Edge of Glory” premiere was upon us. She’s not doing anything to help those Madonna comparisons — what with this mash-up of “Human Nature” and the Missy Elliot “Hollywood” remix for Gap. There may also be hints of “Out Tonight” from Rent, though that’s neither here nor Gaga. And then it was over without nearly as much simple delight as “Bad Romance” or crazy-baiting ridiculousness as “Judas.” In other words, it was totally appropriate to premiere on prime-time network television.

With that (and seven minutes to go), Nigel made the sad announcement that Clarence Clemons, who did the epic saxophone solo in “Edge of Glory” (amongst others), was just admitted to the hospital after having a stroke. And then reality TV seemed a little less important. But we had to chug on, suspending that particular reality. Perhaps to up the ante or perhaps because they didn’t gauge their time correctly, Nigel asked Mitchell and Robert to repeat their solos. And so we were forced to hear John Mayer once more.

But who would go home? After much smoke-blowing and wind-bagging, it turned out that no one would go home this week. That means two couples will go home next week in a heretofore unseen SYTYCD massacre courtesy of Nigel Lythgoe.

So Dance dandies, who do you think should have gone home? Who had the best/worst solos? Are you as disturbed by this chain mail/boob fringe trend as I am? Do share…

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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