Though the right two dancers got eliminated, Nigel Lythgoe needs to focus more on the competition and less on the judges; plus, how loud is Mary Murphy?

Since I pretty much called it that Matt and Kourtni would be going home in yesterday’s So You Think You Can Dance recap (toot-toot! goes my own horn), and since the longer this recap is, the longer I keep the dotcom staff from heading off for their July 4 holiday, this is going to be brief(er than usual). Fortunately, there were only a few things really worth talking about anyway during last night’s results show. Unfortunately, most of them left me in quite the ranty mood.

First, though, here’s a quick digest of the non-vociferating moments of last night’s show: I’m guessing that Tyce Diorio’s Cabaret routine was perfectly fine, since I really only caught glimpses of it during all the frenetic, abstract camera angles and cuts — although I don’t know if I agree with Mary that it was all that great a showcase for Thayne. (Thayne’s teeth, maybe.) None of the bottom three couples were a shock, and I think Twitch and Kherington were the only one’s who weren’t shocked that they were safe. Courtney and Gev were blissfully welcome spark plugs of energy during their solos, and Cat ”Tonight’s Decade Will Be the Solid Gold 1970s” Deeley looked genuinely furious with Gev for racing into a near-miss flip not three feet from where she was standing. (Cat wears fury quite well, I’d say.) Kourt, who really only comes alive during her solos, lost the plot about halfway through and resorted to pointing devil horns, and Matt continued to be the living embodiment of the limitations of strong technique that lacks any emotional connection. But Comfort and Thayne both looked pretty beaten down during their solos, too, which led me to be six on them, a half dozen on Kourtni and Matt when Nigel gave out the final verdict.

So barring some kind of miracle, the top 10 is pretty much set in stone now — in ascending order of my personal preference, Jessicer, Kherington, Courtney, Gev, Chelsie, Twitch, Joshua, William, Katee, and Mark — which only further weighs down the series with an enervating sense of the inevitable. But that isn’t its biggest problem, nor is it the concern I expressed yesterday that all of the dancers have remained at the same level they started with, because once we reach the top 10, that level is pretty frakking high. Nope, everything you needed to know about what’s been so off about the fourth season of SYTYCD could be found in that insipid montage of Tyce’s catty commentary during the auditions. Nigel, if you’re reading this, let me put it to you as plainly as I can: This show is not about you. It is not about Mary. It is not about Cat. It is not about any of the judges. I can’t believe I have to remind you of this, but this show, your show, is about dancing. It’s right there in the title, and the most important word is even blown up all big and fancy-like just so you get the point. If you really do care more about this season’s dancers than the contestants in any previous season of SYTYCD and American Idol, perhaps you could’ve scraped together a 90-second montage of their behind-the-scenes exploits instead? It wouldn’t have to be much, really — heck, 90 seconds of watching them eat would’ve been fine — but it would definitely have to be genuine, not some manufactured ”fun” contrived to promote fabric softener.

NEXT: Mind your manners, Nigel

And if you really did care about showcasing the greater world of dance during the results episodes, would you please refrain from insulting your guests, on air, the moment they finish their routines? If I were Robert Muraine, I would seriously think twice about returning for the finale for a dance-off with Phillip Chbeeb after Nigel not once, but twice called me a coward for choosing to step away from the Vegas auditions rather than fall flat on my face tackling choreography I knew I couldn’t handle. Of course, I’m me, and I’d love to see those two dance off, so I hope Muraine’s got some thick skin, because he was by several light years the most entertaining guest dancer the show’s had this season. (Although, I do hope the triple-jointed dude finds music slightly less on-the-nose than C&C Music Factory to pop to next time around.) (And I’m actually still on the fence about whether dropping out of Vegas was the best call, but never mind.)

Okay. End of rant. Because I don’t want to leave y’all to your Independence Day feeling all negative — and because I really enjoy contradicting myself as much as possible — I’ll close, as I promised yesterday, with a story about…one of the judges, namely measuring the decibel level of Mary Murphy’s trademark scream after the taping of this week’s performance episode Monday night. To Mary’s credit, she was an incredibly good sport about the idea; actually, I don’t know if I can fully communicate the depth of her commitment to the task, since she approached me outside the SYTYCD stage with a hard look of utter determination and focus, proclaiming, ”I want to beat the jackhammer!” She meant it. It was a point of deep pride for her. We actually measured it twice, because the first time, she placed her mouth right up against the Radio Shack sound-level meter I’d purchased earlier that day and blew right past its maximum reading of 126 dB. So the second time, we measured it at the manual-recommended distance of three feet, and Murphy peaked at 125 dB. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, that isn’t quite high enough to beat the jackhammer, alas, but it does best a jet-plane takeoff, a chain saw, and a vacuum cleaner. Which is to say, my ears were seriously ringing as I walked back to my car, but I still could hear Mary pronouncing to any and all around her, ”I almost did it! I almost beat the jackhammer!”

Annnnnd scene. So, dear readers, are you with me and my rantiness about last night’s results show, or am I taking it all a wee bit too seriously? Do Thayne and Comfort have any hope at all of making the top 10? And did you know Saving Private Ryan‘s Ed Burns was moonlighting as a member of OneRepublic? I sure didn’t.

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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