The show can barely muster any suspense when the kicked-off dancer is so obvious

By Adam B. Vary
July 02, 2010 at 07:05 AM EDT
Mathieu Young/Fox
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You’ve really got to wonder if the So You Think You Can Dance producers think their contestants and viewers are complete simpletons, or at least have no grasp of simple math. After Alex, Ashley, AdéChiké, Kent, and Lauren all were declared safe, there were only four dancers left, with all the bottom three slots still empty. Billy and Robert stood on the stage. Assuming both boys possessed a scintilla of dramatic sense and could count to four, they clearly realized that there was little chance that the final two dancers waiting in the wings, Melinda and Jose, would both be in the bottom three — ergo, Billy and Robert almost certainly knew they’d both be dancing for their lives. And yet the producers forced them and us to wait over a commercial break for Cat to deliver the bad news. It’s as if the evening’s ultimate conclusion was so foregone that nobody even tried to muster any true suspense. Why not send Melinda to the bottom three first, and then pair up Jose and Billy, and Kent and Robert?

Anyhoo, after we watched Billy and Robert slay their solos, and Melinda deliver another of her slightly off but somehow still endearing tap routines, Nigel finally put the hoofer out of her misery. Just like that, there only are two ladies left, and if I was Robert, I’d be very, very worried indeed. I’d wager the odds the judges will send Ashley or Lauren home in the next few weeks are slim indeed, and with his second consecutive visit to the bottom three, Robert’s the guy with the most obvious target on his back. Whereas Mia had all kinds of ostensibly helpful nuggets of advice for Billy — the only one that made sense to me: Stop listening to how we constantly tell you you’re superhuman, and open yourself to the idea that you really do have a chance to grow on this show — her counsel for Robert boiled down to, ”Dude, I have no idea, you’re on your own.” (And while we’re on the subject of advice from the judges, I have a quick question about Adam’s to Melinda: How, exactly, does a tap dancer show vulnerability in her performance? Really, I’m curious.) (Also, some free advice from me for Billy: Next time, let’s just not with the black high-waisted bubble shorts and a t-shirt with the sheer back, separately or together. In fact, let’s just pretend they never happened at all.)

Of the three gotta-fill-the-hour-somehow guest performances, by far the highlight was Mark and Courtney’s reprise of their fabulously bizarre season 4 Sonya Tayeh routine, which felt even stronger now that Mark’s put on some muscle and Courtney’s found some grounded self-confidence. And as a bonus, our peeks at the All Stars’ original auditions allowed my snark demon Smirkelstiltskin to feast once more on the glory that was Nigel Lythgoe’s Florence Henderson hair. Ah, thems were the days, Smirkel. Thems were the days. While he’s here, Smirkel would also love to direct your attention to the following video, which is all he (and I) could think about while watching the overindulgent opening group number set to Carmina Burana’s ”O Fortuna.” Please do yourself a favor and watch it all the way through to the end.

[Sorry, video no longer available]

With that, my truly delightful time as your guest SYTYCD recapper is rapidly coming to an end, but before I go, what did you make of last night’s results show, dear readers? Should the judges have just pronounced Melinda at the start of the show and saved everyone the trouble? Did you get any sense that that number from Viva Elvis! had any real connection to Elvis Presley other than the use of his music? Did you expect Ne-Yo’s performance to suddenly turn into a scene from a film school kung fu project? And with next week’s top 8 performance night featuring the contestants dancing with each other as well as the All Stars, will the show even be able to handle the cosmos-shattering impact of so much male-on-male dancing?!?!

Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and the viewers at home crown America’s Favorite Dancer.
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  • 07/20/05
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