I haven’t been to Las Vegas for a long time.
But you know who is in Las Vegas? The “So You Think You Can Dance” hoofers.
It’s time for the most intense Vegas Week ever. Or what I assume will be the most intense Vegas Week ever. Because reality TV shows rarely pimp episodes by saying, “Next week… Our most exciting Vegas Week in a couple years… since at least Season 4 or something.”
Pity that. Click through for my recap of the toughest cuts of all…
8:01 p.m. Somebody will be hospitalized! Lots of people will cry! People will swear! Sonya Tayeh will be there! Oh, the excitement.
8:02 p.m. Lil’ C, Debbie Allen, Adam Shankman, Toasty Oreos and Mary Murphy are all on the judging panel along with Nigel Lythgoe. We’re starting with solos. Nigel emphasizes the importance of personality, promising “massive cuts.”
8:03 p.m. Hampton “The Exorcist” Williams is our first soloist. Can he repeat his success from the auditions, when he made Mary cry? Well, he seems to be doing the exact same thing, but it’s working its magic on Adam. And then on Toasty. Maybe it’s not exactly the same story. He’s having his heart ripped out, instead of having a demon ripped out. Debbie’s crying. Lil’ C looks sad.
8:05 p.m. Lots of dancers who we’ve either not met before or who we aren’t having identified for us. 10 dancers are called to the stage and dancers named “Jennifer” and “Brianna” are sent home. Hampton, however, is safe. Bye, people I don’t know.
8:06 p.m. Remember belly dancer Janelle Issis? She’s had a major costuming upgrade. She has a blue skirt, a long gold sash and abs for days. She definitely shakes her groove thing and Mary natters on with her “Only in America” silliness. Several people we don’t know and a couple we do are in the next pack of performers, including on Dragon House resident (Cyrus, maybe?) and sextastic teen Whitney Carson from Utah. Tim Conkel, the championship-winning martial artist who I didn’t really think could dance, is the only notable who’s sent home.
8:15 p.m. TWitch! Comfort! Fun. They’re choreographing our first routine. Comfort tells us that the routine is from Atlanta and it’s funky. TWitch promises that it’s going to make people sweat. We’re showcasing Hampton and the Dragon House Crew. It was, indeed, Cyrus who we briefly spotted in the solos. Uh-oh. Hampton is having trouble with the choreography. He’s never trained or been choreographed before and he can’t keep up. Nigel tries to convince Hampton to stick around, but that’s it for Hampton. That’s sad. And anti-climactic. But Andre from Dragon House is also having issues with choreography. “Even though it’s hip-hop, it feels foreign to me,” he says. Unlike Hampton, though, Andre doesn’t want to tell the judges he’s leaving. He just wants to go and his housemates can’t convince him otherwise. Geez. Fellow Dragon House Denizen Boris, with his azure horns, also doesn’t seem to quite have the choreography, but he’s trying anyway. “Trying” isn’t enough and the judges send him packing, albeit with regrets. Oh, the shame upon Dragon House. The Preying Mantis goes home, as does mother-of-two Brie.
8:18 p.m. Other dancers were more successful. I just can’t identify all of them by name. It’s like “Oh, that blonde from Utah.” Whew. Janelle Issis. We can identify her. She survive — and looked good doing it — along with 97 others.
8:19 p.m. It’s down to Cyrus for Dragon House. He was the best-of-house at the auditions anyway. But he’s being upstaged by a partner who admits that she doesn’t do hip-hop. Weird. But his entire group is safe. That was a pity advance for Cyrus.
8:26 p.m. Day Two. How quick the time flies. It’s Broadway Time, meaning lots of annoying time with Toasty Oreos. He’s such a mediocre choreographer. He’s not awful by any stretch of the imagination, but I wish they could find a better Broadway guy. Whitney Carson and Lindsay Arnold, ballroom dancers from Utah, are roommates and cuddle-buddies, apparently. They’ve been dancing buddies since they were nine, which is wicked cute. Lindsay’s not bad, but gracious Whitney pops. And almost pops out of her tops. At some point, somebody’s gotta tell her to relax, don’t they? I mean, I get that dance made her outgoing, but… Yeah. Like there were other dancers in that group, but the cameraman wasn’t interested.
8:30 p.m. Lots of people advance.
8:30 p.m. We’re showcasing Alexa Anderson, the final person cut last season. She talks about how she’s learned to relax since last season. But they’ve already teased that she’s gonna be bawling tonight… Silly foreshadowing. She’s the only person in her group that we’re watching and she seems to be doing her own thing, which isn’t a good thing, probably. Adam Shankman finds Alexa frustrating, because she could be the winner, but she’s dead in the face. “Dance like you want it, honey,” Adam instructs her. Joseph and Trey, whoever they are, don’t advance. And now Alexa’s finally ready to let her emotions, and tears, come out.
8:33 p.m. We keep sending Teddy Tedholm home. And he’s joined by 23 other dancers, most of whom we don’t know. “Why come back and waste my time?” Teddy says, admitting that he doesn’t know how to please the judges and he vows never to return.
8:36 p.m. I had to go back to my recap of the premiere to remember that the Diablo Cody-looking flapper we keep briefly glimpsing is Amelia Lowe. Now you remember, too. You’re welcome!
8:38 p.m. We’ve got 82 people left and it’s Sonya Tayeh time. It’s a jazz routine that focuses on strength, aggression, texture, musicality and a few other Sonya things. Shafeek Westbrook is having a hard time with the jazz choreography. He’s feeling crowded. He’s also screwing with his partner, bacon-loving Danielle Dominguez. Darnit, Shafeek. Don’t screw up Bacon Girl. In the first group is Rachel Applehans, the blonde from Utah who made Whitney Carson look sexually subtle. Both Danielle and Rachel are clearly fighting against their partners up there. Shafeek wants everybody to know that he messed up, annoying Nigel. Sonya tells Shafeek and Rachel that they’re doomed. But Rachel wants to fight for her place. She protests that she has passion and fire and she’s a star. She points to her boobs and says “It’s here.” Oh. Her heart. Lil’ C, Debbie Allen, Toasty Oreos and Mary Murphy let her dance for her life. Really? You whine and you get another shot? Shafeek leaves bitter.
8:43 p.m. Jazz causes trouble for many dancers. We just don’t know most of them. Wait. There was the girl from the town with the chickens. NOOOOOO!!! Why did she get cut? Danielle Dominguez wants to help out in another performance, but she takes a foot to the head from temporary partner Giovanni, who gets sent home for the sucking.
8:45 p.m. See? I told you we’d want to remember Amelia Lowe’s name. Of course, now they just tell us. “This is like a hearty steak,” she says of Jazz. She’s in the same group with Dragon House Survivor Cyrus, who is partnered with Lindsay Arnold. Amelia is obviously good. Lindsay is fairly obviously good. Cyrus is actually doing a solid job of partnering. I hope that’s rewarded. Lindsay advances first. Poor Amelia has to dance for her life. Sonya tells Cyrus that his lines aren’t there and he thinks he’s been eliminated, but he hasn’t been. He advance and cries.
8:48 p.m. Yikes. I missed that that was Bacon Girl we saw go to the hospital in the previews. Will she return?
8:52 p.m. We cut 15 more dancers in the jazz round, but we still have to watch Amelia and Rachel do their solos. I believe we call Rachel’s solo “The morning after,” as it features her doing burlesque in a man’s shirt and tie (and little else) to “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” From this dance, I would only be able to identify one characteristic of Rachel’s dancing: Raunchiness. It’s *good* raunchiness, but it’s not anywhere near good enough for the judges. Debbie Allen tells Rachel that next time, she should “put on more clothes and dance.” Rachel vows to return. I’d also be perfectly fine with FOX doing “So You Think You Can Strip” next summer, just for Rachel. Amelia goes next, dancing to the theme from “To Kill a Mocking Bird,” which is already a bit awesome. In no time, she makes Adam Shankman cry and Sonya Tayeh grin demonically. Do the tears and the demonic grin mean the same thing? Apparently. “I just want to get my hands on her,” Sonya says. Nigel votes “No,” saying that when she does her own routine, she has a life that she doesn’t have with other people’s choreography. The other judges vote “Yes” and Amelia advances, promising to show Nigel a different animal the next day.
9:00 p.m. We’re going straight into Group Routines. This year, there’s a twist: The groups aren’t being randomly assigned. That’s silly. Random or nothing! At least the musical selections are random still. “Things started out well and for the first couple of hours, everybody seemed to be getting along,” Cat says, sounding disappointed. Fortunately, fighting eventually began.
9:01 p.m. Oooh. And apparently somebody dies. Or falls to the ground not moving. But after the “Idol” Hollywood Round killed dozens this past year, I really wish “SYTYCD” would raise the casualties bar.
9:05 p.m. We didn’t spend much time setting this up.
9:05 p.m. Our first group includes Danielle Dominguez and Daniel Baker. That means that Danielle survived. Whew. She arrived super-late, but the group welcomed her in, though Aussie Ballet Stud Daniel worries that Danielle may have screwed up the group balance. This is, of course, much more difficult than “Idol” Group Night, isn’t it? Dancing to Gotye, the group has some synchronization problems, particularly coming from a tall, gawky guy in the back. “I thought that was terrible,” says Nigel, suggesting that they should all be booted. Danielle and some guy named Charlie are sent home. The gawky guy who looked like he was screwing up every step in the back row advanced. Weird.
9:08 p.m. We’re sending home a bunch of people who weren’t spotlighted, though apparently Cyrus survived, though surviving makes him cry again.
9:09 p.m. Can The High Schoolers turn things around? They do a really cute routine mostly showcasing Aubrey Klingler. She’s got four guys with her, but they’re barely there at all. It’s obviously a smart move, because they judges are responding well. Toasty Oreos calls it one of the best Group pieces he’s seen, even calling it smart. Aubrey gets full credit for the routine, which was her idea and Nigel compares her to Mia Michaels.
9:11 p.m. Other people danced, including Whitney Carson, who keeps being the only person the camera notices.
9:11 p.m. Our last group? Wolfpack, featuring Drees, Adrian and Alexa, all late bootees from past seasons. They know there’s a lot of pressure on them. But who is the little blonde who isn’t Alexa? I would like an ID, please. No? Debbie thought they were lovely. Toasty, however, still is getting a “lights are on and nobody’s home” vibe from Alexa and he’s ceased to be moved by her beauty. Mary urges Alexa to take a huge risk, but Alexa can’t even release the emotion to tell them she wants to be on the show. She cries, but it’s an over-contained crying. Nigel’s happy that she’s crying. “That’s what we want in your dancing,” Nigel tells her. They’re all advancing and nobody IDed the second blonde. Boo.
9:16 p.m. Pool time!
9:20 p.m. Jason Gilkison is choreographing a cha-cha, which has Cyrus flummoxed. But he’s not quitting. And how can blame him? He’s got a gorgeous partner. I wouldn’t want to quit on her, even if she doesn’t have a name. Boy, Cyrus is trying hard. Boy, what Cyrus is doing doesn’t look like what the choreography was supposed to be. Samari? Is that the name of Cyrus’ partner? She advances. Jason knows Cyrus struggled and they ask him to dance for his life. “I would love to dance for my life,” he says.
9:23 p.m. The tall gawky guy gets sent home for his cha-cha. And farewell to country hip–hopper Asher Walker. And a couple other people.
9:24 p.m. Remember how great things were for Aubrey Klingler like 10 minutes ago? It seems the cha-cha isn’t her thing? I mean, she looks just fine to me. But based on the tease… Yeah, Jason tells her that she didn’t make it through that challenge and this is the end. I don’t quite get why, but what do I know. She’s very sad. She’s been auditioning for years and she can’t get work and she doesn’t know what she’s doing wrong. That’s sad.
9:26 p.m. The Utah Cuties both shined with ballroom. As they would. Wait. Stefan “Zombie” Stewart is still around and we’re just hearing about it now? Weird. But can Alexa Anderson find a way to spit great fountains of emotion upon the judges? I think I like her footwork and the judges seem to be seeing the desired emotion. I’m not sure I did. Jason calls Alexa one of the best of the day and she advances. And nobody else in that group mattered.
9:29 p.m. Cyrus time. Bring it, dawg! “I get to be myself 100 percent,” he says, as Cat Deeley tries making him nervous. I love Cyrus’ confidence and enthusiasm here. And we’re going to have to wait to see if it pays off.
9:32 p.m. Take Two with Cyrus. After all of the so-so efforts to work with choreography, it’s awesome to see Cyrus in full-on Hip-Hop Robot action. His precision is astounding and amusing both. The judges can’t resist. All “Yes” votes, including Lil’ C, who called it “extra buck.”
9:36 p.m. The dancers are exhausted on Night 3. Only 52 people are left. But they now face… Contemporary, with Travis Wall. They’re all pushed to the breaking point, including Daniel Baker and Janelle Issis.
9:37 p.m. They’re going to dance now, but the judges won’t make any immediate decisions. The dancers like each other. It’s sweet. Travis, by the way, is a great choreographer. Even in little snippets like this.
9:39 p.m. A bunch of dancers are called to the stage. We know lots of them. And their fate won’t be revealed until after commercial…
9:44 p.m. They’re all through. That includes Alexa and Amelia and Whitney and Lindsay and Janelle and Cyrus and… lots of other people.
9:44 p.m. But what of the 18 remaining dancers? They judges aren’t sure and so they’re asked to repeat Travis’ choreography. It’s the end of the journey for most of them in the first group. Remember Mariah Spears? The Utah Krumper? She’s dancing with a contemporary dancer. Mariah’s got tremendous emotion that comes through immediately. She’s not a dancer like Alexa, but emotionally, she’s everything that Alexa wishes she could be. Mariah’s partner, however, advances and Mariah is sent home. Boo.
9:47 p.m. All that’s left is Final Solos! Joshua Alexander is trying a new trick that involves flipping. Unfortunately, he ends up on the floor out cold. Yikes. Will he survive? We won’t find out until after FOX sells some products…
9:53 p.m. We still don’t know what’s up with Joshua, but… The Dance Must Go On.
9:54 p.m. Alexa is up first. Technically, she’s clearly fantastic, but Debbie Allen is completely wrong with her assessment that she could win. 100 percent, totally wrong. America likes dancers it can connect with on a human level and there’s no connecting with Alexa at all.
9:54 p.m. Quick montage. Everybody wants this a lot. “I want to touch people’s lives,” Whitney Carson says after a particularly salacious slo-mo replay. She’s gonna make this show TV14 on her own.
9:55 p.m. Our last solo is from Chehon Wespi… You know how they say a basketball player can jump out of the gym? Chehon can jump out of the freakin’ gym. He’s insane with the leaps. He may feel limited by his ballet background, but he shouldn’t. Even I know he’s good.
9:56 p.m. But what about Joshua?
9:56 p.m. The boys are called back. Nigel apologizes, because they’re about to send home some great dancers. Drees and Adrian Lee are late cuts again, as are two people I didn’t recognize.
9:58 p.m. Up come the girls. Nigel explains that they’re looking for “uniqueness.” And, somehow, none of the girls are being cut.
9:59 p.m. There are 35 dancers left. And nobody mentioned a word about what happened to Joshua after the flipping mishap. That’s very… odd.
9:59 p.m. Really? We’re saving further word on Joshua for next week? Laaaaaaaaame.
Did any of your favorites get booted this week? Who are you liking at this stage?