On a night when dancers were moving up and down in the judges' eyes -- and all around the range of styles -- Will was huge
So You Think You Can Dance

Lemme explain. See, it’s actually not my fault that I’m here, at the office, sharing a TV Watch with you, instead of at home (on vacation, even) searching for dirty Twilight fanfic, like I’d normally be. You know whose fault it is? Adam B. Vary’s.

That’s right, So You Think You Can Dance partners, your fearless leader deserted you! The backstory: Last week, while I was still dazed and confused from working like an indentured servant to provide you with quality listicles for our 1,000th (!) issue, the Beav poked his head through my door (our offices are adjacent), batted those Beavy lashes, smiled that Beavy smile, and asked for a favor. Long story short: He’s in San Francisco, where they don’t have TVs, or the webnet, or something, and I’m here (Sucker: table for one). Truth be told though, I could do this from home. But my laptop is old enough to be a third grader, and it seemed fairly important that I actually sit upright and think. Just so you know, though, it’s super creepy around here at night — especially with the entire office gone for the week — and I ain’t gettin’ hazard pay.

There are, however, two bits of good news:

1. Adam will be back for Thursday’s hoofer exits.

2. Either you’ll dig me or you’ll hate me. If you dig me, no harm, no foul. If you hate me, then you’ll just be thrilled to bits to have Adam back, so I’m thinking win/win.

Enough prologue. Let’s get it on!

So here’s the question: Was last night buck, as Lil’ C would say, or banoodles, as Mia Michaels cornily coined? I vote banoodles. (And thank you, Mia, for doing the work for us! Love the hair, BTW.) For each moment of inspired choreography, there was footwork that didn’t bear it out. For every dancer who beat expectations in a genre wildly out of his/her comfort zone, there was a performer who failed to excel in her/his own discipline. And those clothes? All 19 flavors of banoodles.

In fact, let’s start there. Cat, you slinky minx, you were working that LBD! I won’t even be nasty and tell you the boa goes around your shoulders, not the hem, because you know what? You can pull that off. Jidge Mary, on the other hand, oh but no! We don’t do animal prints with crimped hair and funky junky jewelry from Forever 21. It’s scary, like when my friend Paul grew a ’70s porn moustache for charity. Is that why you did this? Are there starving kids involved? Because unless you’re saving the children (or the puppies, or the rainforest), elegant, screamy ladies should buy elegant, screamy-lady clothes. You were not, however, alone in your sartorial slump.

NEXT: Everyone into the talent pool

Chelsea and Thayne were the first fashion victims from the talent pool. Nice concept from choreographer Mandy Moore: ”a king and his forbidden love.” Dud duds from the costume department. Pinstripes and an Elizabethan cuff? We do not need the Shakespearean Insult Generator to tell us they looked like addle-brained coxcombs. Pity is, they danced like it too. They were awkward, disconnected, and as Nigel pointed out (before he set about rending their garments), not believable, a dis he dropped on several couples throughout the night.

While we’re on the subject of couples that didn’t pull it together, Chris and Comfort need to be called out for a krump that utterly lacked authority — a serious error for Comfort. She’s supposedly the best B-girl Nigel’s seen, right? What happened? Either she pulled her punches to lessen the distinction between her and her partner — which would be terribly magnanimous — or she had an off night. Chris, on the other hand, didn’t deserve Nigel’s ”My granny is more gangster than you.” The guy worked hard. It showed. I take far greater issue with Comfort’s B+ performance, than Chris’s B–. Besides, it’s kinda hard to project badass when your floppy handkerchief keeps getting in your eyes (Bad costume department! Bad!).

The Worst Pair of the Night stink bomb, however, goes to Susie and Marquis. Confession time: I have absolutely no idea how or why Susie made it to the top 20. There were clearly far more talented dancers, so why pick someone so patently limited? To be fair, no one was more shocked than I was when Susie squeaked through the waltz last week. Unfortunately, I’m sure no one was more shocked than choreographer Alex Da Silva to discover that his Cuban firecracker ”is not really a salsa dancer. She does street salsa.” Hardly, man. That’s generous. This number started badly. Susie and Marquis were out of sync from the beginning, with her appearing to forget the choreography for a moment. Their whip turns were clunky, she had trouble pulling up out of her split, and they didn’t even look like they were in the same routine until those last 20 seconds, after the lift. Even with Mary saying Marquis had to coax Susie through her turns, and Nigel dropping the word ”labored,” the jidges were still way too kind. Bottom line: Team Mambo deserves the bottom three.

But enough of the bad, let’s get to the good — which is to say, just about everybody else. Chelsie and Mark’s Argentine tango, for instance, was superb. Beautiful lines, great partnering (in spite of a shoe emergency!), it was six different kinds of sexy. At least it was for Mark, who fully committed to the smolder. Chelsie, well…she’s technically fantastic, but is she grossed out by Mark? Is that it? Because I could swear she said that the worst thing about him is that he’s loud and ”ugly.” Did she use that word? I’m hearing impaired (no, f’real), so I could be very, very wrong. But it sounded like it. And she does grimace when he gets close. Then again, she’s 18 and he’s 24, so maybe she’s weirded out by the Hayden-and-Milo-ness of it all.

NEXT: Will, you be mine

Speaking of sexy, can we talk about Will? (I’d be ever so grateful, because I swear I’m drawing hearts all over my notebook, and signing Alynda WhateverWill’sLastNameIs a zillion, billion times.) He’s super pretty! And this is not like my crushes on Kameron and Dominic from last season. No, this is love. So much so that I understood Mia’s meanie moment when she told his partner, Jessica, ”You weren’t even on the stage to me.” Still, harsh! I thought she did a fine job trying to keep up with him during their kickin’ hip-hop number, which is quite obviously impossible. Note to self: Send Debbie Allen a thank-you note for finding this paragon of awesomeness.

As for Kourtni and Matt, will we even remember their foxtrot by next week? Sadly, I think not. It was…sigh…fine. Liked Matt —”twee” arms and all. (Tsk tsk, Nigel, wouldn’t want to reignite the homophobia chatter, would we?) But Kourtni seems like 12 feet of blah in her heels. Do we have to bedazzle this girl with Swarovski for her to show a little sparkle? It’s frustrating, because you know she’s got it in her. She does! But pulling it out on game night would be helpful, particularly when you’re sandwiched between someone as engaging as Will, and something as engaging as Courtney and Gev’s contemporary pas de deux.

Adam said last week that nothing in the first round of perfs had the pop of Kameron and Lacey’s first routine last season, as choreographed by Mia. Beav, sweets, Courtney and Gev’s act was as close as you’re gonna get. (And poor you, you picked last night to be away. I chortle.) Granted, it was a little like the second time Fantasia sang ”Summertime” on Idol — good, but some of the novelty was gone. But like the KaCey number, it was boldly intimate, romantic, and used the dude like a jungle gym (sturdy structure on which the chick can hang and play). And like the KaCey number, it gets us giggling about showmance gossip, with Nigel suggesting Gev is in like with his leading lady. Dude, I hope she likes you back.

While we’re loving love, can we break for a little bit of controversy? I’m just gonna say it: Choreographers shouldn’t pander to dancers by sneaking incongruous bits of the hoofer’s preferred genre into the routine. Case in point: Joshua and Katee’s Broadway combination. What exactly were hip-hop pops and grooves doing in there? What was that about? We’re talking wildly talented dancers here, for the most part. They expect to be pushed out of their comfort zones, and judging by Nigel, Mia, and Mary’s effusive praise, Joshua did more than capably with the Broadway material. There was no reason to let him show off his B-boy skills. So that’s it, choreographers. No dumbing down the material, or throwing in extra credit.

NEXT: A daughter’s dance

I suppose that also goes for Twitchington (hey, if you wanna give yourself a celebrityesque Franken-moniker, I’ll use it). Don’t get me wrong — their Viennese waltz was beautiful. It just wasn’t really a Viennese waltz, at least not the way Nigel explains it. Let’s back up for a second, since this was by far my favorite exchange of the night, encapsulating as it did so much of what makes SYTYCD a superior talent tourney. First, choreographer Jean Marc Genereux shared the very emotional story of his daughter, who has Rett syndrome. Then came his truly sublime dance, for which the footwork was elegant, in spite of yet another sartorial setback (just FYI, wardrobe department, it helps if you don’t put the dancers in yards of drapey fabric that, say, intermittently blind them). Finally came the showdown at jidges‘ table. Mia harped on Kherington’s smile, then did an about-face after some scolding from Nigel, telling herself to shut up. Then Nigel took us to school, explaining the history of the Viennese waltz (fascinating), and how it’s generally supposed to look. This number, as gorgeous as it was, apparently wasn’t a true Viennese waltz. As a viewer, I could care less — it was pure pleasure from start to finish. But is it really fair to the other dancers? I’m not saying they brought the level of difficulty down for Twitch (or, heck, Kherington — she’s no ballroom expert, either), but it’s a mistake even to appear to go light on certain dancers, especially fan favorites. Still, I’m in for a penny, in for a pound with those two. They’re charm all the way.

What do you guys think? Should SYTYCD have a category for the Viennese waltz if they’re not actually going to perform one? Was Mia too mean? Is Susie safe or is she outta there for that bad batch of salsa? Or are you all too choked up missing Adam? Talk to me, Goose!

Episode Recaps

So You Think You Can Dance

Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and the viewers at home crown America’s Favorite Dancer.

  • TV Show
  • 17
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