So You Think You Can Dance recap: Eight Ball
As a stand-in for your most favorite jidge of them all, Mr. Adam B. Vary (who’ll be back next Wednesday), I know the legacy I must live up to for this one night’s recap of So You Think You Can Dance. I have to be worthy to type about the likes of Twitch’s chest pumps, Nigel’s perv-acious nature, and Mary Murphy’s all-powerful vocal chords. But if I say so myself, — I’m IV Real. I’ve watched every Cat-hosted season, I vote an absurd number of times for a handful of my favorite contestants, I download the night’s best songs — I’ve even lovingly forced my boyfriend and my roommate to watch until they knelt at the altar of Cat Deeley and NapTab.
We’re frighteningly close to the finale, as the mildly BeDazzled Cat reminded us tonight. Two weeks away? Time flies when you’re falling in love with new choreographers, an increasingly sensational host, and a cast of contestants with palpable heart and soul. You could tell that the producers were looking for ways to pad out a night of eight routines and eight solos, yet the solo dances remained short. But I guess we needed to hear the guest judge, the choreographer and singer Toni Basil (”Mickey”), define street hip-hop for us two or three times.
Will and Courtney were the first couple to pair up, and both seemed happy. Or maybe Will was just relieved he wasn’t calling out Comfort’s name, and Courtney was eyeing her ticket to the top six on the coattails of the judge’s crush. Jean-Marc Genereux, who choreographed the samba, agreed that we’ve seen too many gratuitous shots of Will’s chesticles. Of course wardrobe found a way to sneakily expose his pecs with a fishnet tank top — heinous! I know that the judges are on Team Where There’s a Will There’s a Win, but I was shocked when the pair received high praise from the panel. Overall, the samba looked clunky, and every time Will picked Courtney up, he looked as if he were hoisting a heavy sack of potatoes instead of the spry cheerleader she is. And when they did that clumsy face-to-face humping move? I saw awkward eighth-grade dance rather than the polished top eight. Even their hip-hop routine was lacking a sincere connection and didn’t even come close to ”No Air” and ”Bleeding Love” — or, um, making SYTYCD history, Will. A Napoleon-Tabitha routine is a waste on a couple that can’t kill it like Katee and Joshua.
Will’s James Brown solo was too gimmicky and too strange to enjoy. As a viewer, I haven’t been able to connect with the Debbie Allen protégé from the beginning, and — here goes, get your cyber tomatoes ready for me — I’d be happy to see him leave the show tonight. Yeah, yeah, he’s a ridiculously beautiful, talented, and amazing dancer, but for me, that’s not all the show is about. I thought Nigel’s early but brushed-off comparison to last season’s Danny was actually spot-on: Will is cocky and knows he’ll be successful with or without the title of America’s Favorite Dancer. He’ll just never have the same spirit we see every week in Twitch, Joshua, and Mark.
NEXT: Katee’s tabloid romance
Self-described New Yorker Courtney, whose Long Island accent was in full force last night, impressed me with her contemporary solo. Last week’s was equally fun to watch, capturing a level of passion and originality that I never get from her couple numbers. For some reason this season, most of the other dancers seem like they’re clueless in choreographing for themselves — Comfort, Mark, Chelsie, even Katee — but Courtney is always pleasantly surprising.
Katee and Twitch revealed they knew each other before they came on the show! Amicable breakup, anyone? Mia Michaels — who was missing from the show’s three Emmy nominations for Best Choreography — had a contemporary routine waiting for them that was not so much ”in Mia Michaels’ head” as it was daily tabloid fodder. The beehive, winged eyeliner, destructive relationship — Amy Winehouse and Blake, hello? Come on, Nigel, she’s from your side of the pond! Maybe the Anyways, Katee wowed us effortlessly, as she does every week, acting the s— out of the dance, as we say in these parts. They rocked it together as a couple, showing the deliciously lustier side of the face-to-face humping motion. (Paying attention, Will and Courtney?) Nigel proved he could reach new levels of ”eww” last night as he compared Katee and Twitch’s routine to forcing himself on Mary. Um, not okay, old man! Even Cat was embarrassed by him, like he was her drunk uncle acting out at a family wedding. For K&T’s second routine, Tyce Diorio breathed some air back into his Broadway choreography, although Katee was stuck playing another hoochie mama on the prowl, as in last week’s boat routine. Twitch had a truly gifted partner to keep up with, and he pulled it off.
There’s not much to say about Katee’s solo. Even though she’s one of the top dancers, it was just okay. These contemporary routines are so similar that they end up being a bit of a bore. A spin, a leap, you throw yourself on the floor, you wrap yourself up in your arms — we get it! I prefer to see our girl playing a character or working off her partner.
Twitch might be suffering from a bit of a broken heart, having lost the -ington to his Twitch-. I’m saying that for a reason: Did you see him holding his head in his arms after last week’s elimination? That’s heartbreak! Since he was my initial favorite, I’d like to see Twitch stay for at least another week.
As for Mark and Comfort, when he picked ”Comfeeeerrrrrt” as his partner, you could feel the “oh noooo” in his voice. With this season’s stand-out choreographers, Napoleon and Tabitha, the two took on hip-hop first. For Mark’s sake, I wish this routine had been second, because ending on a dance like the foxtrot probably wouldn’t leave a lasting impression on the voters, and thanks to the barely recital-ready Comfort, it didn’t. Even the Hawaii native’s Ken-doll hair and dapper appearance couldn’t save his improved but nowhere near perfect partner. Nigel slapped her with the ultimate backhanded compliment, saying that she danced much better when someone else choreographed for her.
NEXT: Un-Comfortable information
In a night where each contestant divulged what led him or her to dance, the biggest bomb of the night was dropped by Comfort. To be fair, there have been a few contestants whose hard candy shells have melted away to partially reveal gooey sugary centers. Chelsie’s ”family issues” came off more like middle-class credit-card debt; ”solely street-trained” Joshua admitted to dabbling in ballet lessons. But during Comfort’s ”this was my dance inspiration” video, the supposed B-girl came clean and admitted that she went to a performing-arts school and did ballet. That’s news to us.
Mark’s solo was, um, better than last week? Though he and Comfort have little in common, they both seem to be wilting a little from landing in the bottom. I hope the once-favorite Mark will get his super-expressive game face back on for good, make it through this week, and keep going until the final four. We still believe, Mark!
Chelsie and Joshua were last night’s couple to beat, even though they picked the dangerously technical Argentine tango and the dreaded disco. It always surprises me that Chelsie can be little more than a charmingly obstinate brat off stage, treating her partners like big brothers, and then effortlessly bust out the va-va-voom when she has to wrap her legs around them on stage. This tango was no different; both she and Joshua strutted out on the dance floor like they wanted it. The naughty chair work had me swooning at home, and I really appreciated that the music was true to the dance and wasn’t one of those out-of-place ’90s songs you’re embarrassed to still have on your iPod. The disco was the best the show has seen. Thank God for DVR, because I had to rewind the last spin, where Chelsie changed position in midair about five times, to believe it. Both of their solos were good — Chelsie’s considerably better than last week’s hop, skip, and thump, and the bootylicious Joshua’s only missing a callback to his childhood expertise: the moonwalk.
Before I turn the keyboard over to you guys to share your thoughts on the top eight, let’s observe a brief moment of silence for our fallen B-boy turned Broadway-contemporary dancer, Gev. I hope he’s popping and locking to more Michael Bublé somewhere.
So who takes the top four spots in your dream finale? Did last night’s show affect your rankings? Were you as happy as Cat was to see Dmitry from season 2? And although Mia Michaels’ routine rocked, has the show finally overdone the fighting-couple bit?
Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and the viewers at home crown America’s Favorite Dancer.