So You Think You Can Dance recap: In the Safety Zone
Well, that was an odd results show, wasn’t it? Maybe it’s because I didn’t have my daily dose of ”vitt-amins,” as Cat would say, but the mixed bag of a variety hour containing the odd South Korean girl group, the Samantha Ronson segment, those who actually danced this week, and those who actually ended up going home has left me somewhat out of sorts this week. Maybe because the producers were trying to strike the right balance between cutting two more dancers and building anticipation for the finals next week. It sure seemed like the judges were trying to toe the line between the two, albeit unsuccessfully: Cat asked them to speak about those contestants in danger, but both Mary and Adam yammered on about those who made it to the finals instead.
And I never thought that I would say this, but ultimately, I was a bit sad to see Mollee Gray go. Sure, the girl grated on me throughout most of the season like a Microplane to Parmesan. And yes, compared to fellow bottom dweller Ellenore, I would also have voted Mollee off the island. Though I could see why Ellenore ended up in jeopardy this week: She had not curried any favor with those alienating E.T. noises (it’s time to cut that bleep out already), the disappointing hip-hop routine, or her lumbering Tuesday-night solo (thank goodness Wednesday’s was heaps better).
Mollee, on the other hand, had definitely been improving by leaps and bounds since her split with Nathan, and this week she had all but erased any remnants of Tickle Me Mollee Walk & Giggle doll from memory (well, until that montage that brought it all rushing back at the end) and replaced it with a real dancer instead. So while it’s a little unfortunate that she had to leave us when she did, at least she was able to depart on a high note. Mollee’s two routines with Jakob showed the jazz dancer at her shining best: The Viennese Waltz was lilting gorgeousness on heels, and the rousing Joey Dowling Broadway number could have been her audition piece for the Great White Way. (No doubt there’ll inevitably be College Musical as well, if everything else doesn’t pan out.) Though while it was clear that she was absolutely devastated at the result, Mollee still managed to gulp down her sobs and remain gracious and poised (and without her eyeliner running) throughout. And how can you not respect that? And where can I get me some of that waterproof eye makeup? Still, it must be hard to stomach the fact that you’ve been let go over someone who didn’t even dance this week.
Which leaves us with Ashleigh, who not only was saved from elimination, but didn’t even have to suffer the indignity of being in the bottom two. And while there’s more than a fair chance that the injured dancer deserved to be in the finals based on her previous performances (and that slight glimpse of rehearsal footage that we saw at the end of Tuesday night’s program), I am still trying to reconcile the fact that she made it through on the sympathy vote alone, without having to perform at all. Part of me wanted to see her do a solo Wednesday night at least, seeing that she came out dressed to dance. But Ashleigh didn’t even need to do that, as she was quickly ushered into the finals, along with the much deserving Kathryn (yes!), who bounded off to join Jakob and Russell in the peninsula of safety with nary a sigh of relief or a glance back at those left behind.
NEXT: B-boy goodbye
Guess viewers of the show took the judges’ insistent pleas to heart, as Tuesday’s show spurred the public to dial in a whopping 8 million-plus votes. And on the guys’ side, it was Legacy Perez who ended up with the short end of the voting stick. Though when Cat announced that it was Ryan and Legacy in the bottom two, I had all but concluded that it would be perpetual bottom-feeder Ryan who would finally get the old heave-ho. But He Man was high off the momentum of having a particularly memorable Tuesday night, what with his jaw-droppingly fantastic cha cha and his emotional plea to save his wife over himself. And how could the masses call to save an injured Ashleigh and not save her husband as well? Seems as though the people are interested and invested in seeing the married couple perform together in the finale. Or perhaps America is made up of a whole bunch of voting romantics. Ryan let down his hair on Wednesday night and dug deep into his Herculean reserves, and while his solo was a bit sloppier this time around, it didn’t matter, as the bleeding hearts all over the country had already cast their votes and saved him from elimination.
So it was Legacy who got disconnected from the competition instead, despite the fact that he said he had America on the other end of his phone during his solo (in retrospect, he should have had the country call after the voting lines were opened). Though I must say I was surprisingly okay with his exit. While it’s undeniable that this b-boy’s got major skillz, his dancing had seemed to plateau as of late, and his hip-hop routine with Ellenore had been the sore thumb that stuck out in an otherwise stellar evening. Even his solo on Tuesday night was lackluster (he improved on it on Wednesday, but it still mostly looked like he was randomly grabbing from a bag full of spinning tricks).
Other than that, this hastily-put on results show seemed as scattershot as the odd, throwaway segment on DJ and erstwhile Lindsay Lohan dater Samantha Ronson (who graciously appeared in the same outfit that she wore in the segment taping about her remixes two weeks earlier, in case we couldn’t find her in the audience. Apparently she couldn’t apply the same remix that she did to the songs to her wardrobe. Or was trying to be helpful to those infected with a case of the Samantha who?s). Or the primetime debut of the Wonder Girls, who awkwardly moved around with play microphones and headsets and seemed to have no place on the SYTYCD stage other than the fact that they were wearing fringey dresses similar to Ashleigh’s solo outfit last week. Or the K-mart advertorial that had each couple buying gifts for one another — a bizarre, cheesy, fabricated segment shilling blue light specials under the guise of holiday cheer that seemed more suited for American Idol than SYTYCD. And showed Jakob in a onesie. Though it was weird to see Ryan get something for Kathryn, and Ashleigh get something for Russell without Ryan and Ashleigh getting anything for each other. And dude, Ashleigh: all Russell got were some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, really? Could you not be bothered to get past the check-out counter during this trip? (Oh, right: forgot there was also a Kmart special wallet. My bad!)
The Sonya Tayeh-choreographed opening number was also scattershot, but in a good way. The dance moves were like bursts of color and joy, and I got a kick out of the watercolored outfits, pushes of movement, all the dancers sitting on stage with their toes pointed, and the fact that Jakob was front and center, once again. Is there anything this guy can’t do? Well, aside from put on a bicycle helmet properly?
NEXT: American Idol makes another appearance
American Idol winner Kris Allen also made an appearance, singing his single ”Live Like We’re Dying” with his accompanying band, which looked all but swallowed by the ginormous stage. And while his performance was upbeat and undeniably fun, one gets the feeling that this is just a warm-up act for Idol runner-up Adam Lambert’s performance come finale week.
Speaking of which, the finale! Next week! As Cat said, can’t you just smell it? Or is it just her? As odd as a journey as it has been, I am mostly happy with who’s left, and am excited to see what goes down next Tuesday night. If all goes as planned, we’ll get to see the marrieds duke it out, Ellenore and Russell dance together, and a Jakob-Kathryn match made in heaven that will send the two of them sky-rocketing all the way to the very end.
What did you think? Were you also a little sad at Mollee’s departure? Was it fair that Ashleigh made it through to the finals without performing at all this week? Who’s your pick to win it all? Would you rather have the season 7 January auditions mean that the show is coming back in the spring, or the summer?
Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and the viewers at home crown America’s Favorite Dancer.