In the first elimination episode, the judges send packing two contestants we didn't know that well anyway; plus, Cat Deeley tries to make up for some dull guest performers
So You Think You Can Dance

Cat, Cat, Cat. Oh, Cat. How you’ve frightened me so over these last few weeks, what with your stylish yet reasonable wardrobe, your motherly yet levelheaded comments to the dancers, your silly yet appropriate antics along the audition lines. Night after night after night of marathon two-hour So You Think You Can Dance episodes, and yet, Ms. Deeley, you’ve given your devoted viewers a mere pittance of what we’ve come to expect from and, yes, even love about you. Namely, you’re a kook, a glorious, fashion-forward, face-pulling kook — and finally last night you let your freak flag fly high and proud, dominating the hour (a single hour! glory be!) from the word go when you proclaimed that ”one guy…and one GURL” would be going home last night.

I almost wonder if Cat sensed that she’d better ramp up her unique brand of insanity to compensate for what was otherwise quite an anticlimactic results show, plagued with technical glitches, feeble guest performances, and the most duh obvious contestant kiss-offs I’ve seen in a long while. The night began heading south pretty quickly, with a Wade Robson group number that wasn’t his usual mix of virtuosic brilliance so much as it was an inexplicably hideous mix of Captain Eo, The Road Warrior, and Mrs. Robson’s third-grade homeroom production of Peter Pan, with Principal Lythgoe playing Wendy. (At least Wade picked a wicked song in Robyn’s ”Cobrastyle” — seriously, if you haven’t yet sampled this woman’s latest album, you are sorely missing out.)

Thank goodness Cat emerged to take hold of the proceedings. Wearing a dress that appeared to be made of dyed coffee filters and those fake flowers in cheap Hawaiian leis, she launched right into the results. Twitch and Kherington were safe. Thayne wanted to be pinched harder by Chelsea (and who wouldn’t?), Mark channeled Peter Lorre backstage with Chelsie, both couples were safe, and Mark then channeled, um, a werewolf. All three couples celebrated with the other dancers until Cat told them to ”shush now!” Which, I’m assuming, they did, lest the talking blond blood clot get really angry.

After the ad break, Matt and Kourtni were unsurprisingly bottom-three’d, and Mary tipped her hat to how she’d be voting by announcing (through an extended audio gaffe) that she’d like to see more of the couple. When Cat then pivoted to Susie and Marquis, I realized that with six more couples to go, these two would most certainly live to dance another week, causing my snark demon Smirkelstiltskin to muse out loud that a good portion of Miami must have been wearing down their redial buttons Wednesday night. Comfort and Chris were safe, leaving Rayven and Jamie in the bottom three. Nigel speculated that perhaps pantsing Jamie had offended enough people to harm their chances, as if the dancers had any say in the matter, and as if anyone dislikes a good pantsing. (More likely: America just isn’t ready for shiny briefs.)

Back from another ad break, Cat declared Katee and Joshua safe, and then we had our first, and only, shock of the night: William and Jessica were in the bottom three, and Gev and Courtney were safe. After I filed yesterday’s recap of the performance episode, an astute reader pointed out that during his pretaped rehearsal and interview, Gev wore a shirt referencing an image from Abu Ghraib, but it looks like we’ll have to wait another week to see what, if any, fallout there might be for the Kazakh breaker’s political statement. As for William and Jessica, judge Dan Karaty tipped his hat to how he’d be voting when he told them they simply didn’t belong in the bottom three. Hmm. Matt and Kourt have Mary’s vote. Will and Jess have Dan’s. I wonder which couple that could possibly leave dangling in the breeze…?

But there was no time to ponder the obvious, as Cat began explaining that every week we would be treated to a different performer from ”the world of dance.” Our first sampling, from the Electric Boogaloos, was Popin Pete and his son Toneeeeeeee. Or, wait, sorry, Popin Pete and Shownee. Slowmee? Sow Knee? The Electric Boogaloos’ website lists a ”Shonn Boog” among its members, and I can see how Cat could confuse ”Boog” with ”Nee,” in the way that I can’t at all see, hear, taste or smell it. Not that it really matters, since Pete and Boog’s popping was a bit like a parade of 1920s Model Ts during a caution flag at the 2008 Daytona 500 — due respect to Pete’s pioneering family, but any number of poppers who’ve auditioned for this season and didn’t even make it to the top 20 could’ve shown up these two dudes. If this is the kind of guest dancers who will be gracing the stage each results show this season, I’m going to be seriously jealous of all y’all with DVRs who can just bloop-bloop your way past them.

NEXT: Solo flights — and crashes

I’ll get to the solos in a sec, but since we’re already talking about FF-button-worthy guest performances, I have a few questions about the Pussycat Dolls. Is anyone really so into the Dolls’ vocal mastery that they need to hear them breathlessly bleat into live microphones, especially when lip-synching really would make their lives easier and our ears (relatively) happier? Since they were asking, when the Dolls dreamed about what they wanted to be when they grew up, do you think it was of breathlessly bleating on live TV in knee-high socks and PVC hotpants? And this will probably forever destroy all the credibility I’ve worked so hard to establish with the PCD fan base, but what happened to the sixth Pussycat Doll? Did Robin Antin accidentally leave her behind at summer camp? (Note: The preceding interrogatives were entirely rhetorical in nature, and any implication that the writer carries even a whiff of curiosity about their answers was wholly unintentional.)

As for the solos, was there any doubt the moment Rayven and Jamie finished theirs that they were going home? Rayven’s ballet routine wasn’t just not on pointe, it consisted mainly of languorous arm waves — and her tight smile seemed to give away that she knew it, too. Jamie’s solo, meanwhile, was basically chest thumps and banal spins, inspiring Cat to deliver a minor aria of Pollyanna cheerleading: ”Well done, you. Dancing like your life depends on it! It’s good, it’s good.” Which is to say, if either of these dancers really were dancing for their lives, they’d be dead.

Of the other dancers, Matt’s just lucky that Jamie’s solo was so completely lacking, because even his lauded technique wasn’t exactly flooring me; Jessica seemed to lose considerable steam after her opening backflips (not that Cat ”Working the Audience to Perfection! Whipping Them Up Into a Frenzy!” Deeley seemed to notice). And even if Kourt’s single-leg stand was slightly wobbly, I agree that she deserved to be singled out along with the increasingly impressive William, the only soloist who actually, you know, danced to the music.

So, dear readers, did the right dancers go home? Do you think Rayven and Jamie, both essentially unseen before Wednesday night, ever had a snowball’s chance in hell once they landed the first slot of the show? Were you feeling for Rayven’s mom, who lives with her daughter in their dance studio, as much as I was? Did anyone understand what Nigel meant by his note that Will needs to take in every part of the audience? And did anyone else feel like the shot of the judges backstage ”deliberating” over who to send home made it look like Nigel and Mary were about to sit widdle Dan down to tell him Mommy and Daddy want to start seeing other people?

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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