How can I tell this is a two hour episode of “So You Think You Can Dance”? Because the dance intro goes on longer than some sitcoms. Of course, a lot of that has to do with the fact there are so many damn people still on the show. I’ll actually be a little relieved to dump two to get down to the final sixteen, because no way can I keep track of all these dancers. Not that they aren’t all wonderful and not that I can even think of two people I’d like to go. As much as I hate the ‘this is our best season ever!’ hype, this season it may actually be true. So, I take it back. I will hate to see two people go. But, because of the stupid World Series, that’s exactly what’s going to happen tonight in this double header of “SYTYCD.” So let’s get on with the show!
[Recap of Tuesday (Nov. 3) night’s “So You Think You Can Dance” after the break…]
It’s the traditional three judges at the table – Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and Adam Shankman. No Paula. Nigel seems really sad she hasn’t taken the bait, but I kind of doubt she is. Although I think she’d actually be a really good fourth judge, I’m sure she wants to get a solo gig after playing second fiddle to Simon for however many years. But Nigel is an optimist and that’s why we like him.
Nigel, being a producer, also has lots of information, which is another reason why we like him. Billy Bell will be back! Not soon, but for the top 100 next season, when he will wipe the floor with the competition and win the whole thing. Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. Oh, and Brandon can reapply. Which seems generous enough, really.
But on to this season’s dancers, who may not include Billy Bell but are really pretty kickass in their own rights.
Noelle and Russell
Choreographer: Jamal Sims
Verdict: Match upset
Oh, this week everyone has to say something nice about their partner and something nasty, because this is a reality TV show and we want to fall in love with people but really, it’s just to fill time. Noelle loves Russell’s voice! She hates his sunglasses. He thinks she’s funny! And he hates that she keeps getting injured. Aww, that’s sweet. They’re so boring.
As for their routine, it’s a love match! With tennis rackets! Get it? And a little bit of ‘The Matrix.’ Not sure what that has to do with tennis, but it’s that cool dodging bullets move, which is always good. Too bad this is not a great routine for Noelle and Russell. She looks like a cheerleader on meth and while Russell dances considerably better than her, they both seem a little stressed out. Then, Noelle does a bent-legged cartwheel that literally looks like something I’ve seen in a gymnastics class for second graders. This is pretty meh, all things considered.
Adam says they need to free themselves up, but they were clearly too worried about being fast and they seemed overwhelmed. The small should be small, the big should be big, whatever that means. Mary felt it was a little labored toward the end, and she sees something joyful in Russell’s eyes. Mary was amazed Noelle wasn’t limping. Nigel thought it was so fast they didn’t get a hold of the routine. Finally, the voice of honesty – he admits he isn’t sure that was strong enough to keep Noelle in the competition, and he was a little disappointed. Me, too.
Ashleigh and Jakob
Choreograhers: Melanie Lapatin & Tony Meredith
Style: Viennese waltz
Verdict: So in love
Jakob hates Ashleigh’s hair, but he likes the fact she sweats like a pig. Ashleigh wishes he didn’t sweat so much. I like that they’re sweaty people, because it’s cute in a mildly disgusting way.
They’ve been given a big, sappy wedding dance to ‘At Last’ by Etta James. Which is, like, the wedding industry’s ‘Freebird.’ But hey, at least with “SYTYCD” you get a good first dance instead of the usual spastic swaying you expect from most newlyweds.
If you ask me, this routine is right in Ashleigh and Jakob’s wheelhouse, even if Ashleigh is a Latin dancer. They actually look like a married couple, if married couples were not only blissfully happy but extremely talented. I love this. And Jakob’s form is exquisite. While I’ve never seen a grande jette in a wedding dance, he’s so good I don’t even care.
Adam says they can do no wrong. He thinks Melanie and Tony should have left out the lifts, to which I say, spoil sport. Mary thought the lifts were great, but expected more from Jakob and wanted more power. But she loooves Ashleigh. Nigel thinks they should be on top of a wedding cake. He tells Jakob he’s a beautiful dancer and says Ashleigh is performing far beyond expectations. He says it’s a strong routine. I think Nigel is so right.
Bianca and Victor
Choreographer: Toasty Oreo
Style: “The Color Purple” freak-out
Verdict: Needs Sunday schooling
Victor loves that Bianca is loud like an alarm clock and he hates that her hair changes every five seconds. Bianca loves Victor’s laugh and hates his attachment to neon. Which I can hardly blame her for.
This routine is inspired by “The Color Purple.” Bianca’s game, because it reminds her of church. But Victor is honestly freaked out, because at his church everyone sits quietly and doesn’t get possessed by the holy spirit. This doesn’t bode well.
This routine seems to be mostly about Victor tossing Bianca around. I don’t really get it, but that might be because Bianca actually seems like she could be in the cast of ‘The Color Purple’ but is dialing it down because her partner sucks, while Victor looks like he escaped from a community dance troupe. He does not look comfortable. Or like he’s having fun. At all. My least favorite routine of the night. Sorry, Toasty, but not one of your finer moments.
Adam thinks they danced it well, but they didn’t lose it, and they needed to. Mary wanted to see abandonment. Nigel felt the characters weren’t strong enough. The routine didn’t sit comfortably with Victor or Bianca, though it was a little more comfortable for Bianca.
Mollee and Nathan
Choreographer: Nakul Dev Mahajan
Verdict: Spicy hot
Nathan loves her big, bright personality and hates how often she needs to pee. Mollee thinks he’s super hot but hates that he’s a narcissist. This is destined to not end well for Mollee, I think, unless she gets over him and fast.
The choreography for this routine is kick-ass. And amazingly, Mollee brings it. That being said, she doesn’t have to be sexy in this routine – it’s more about being fierce, which suits her. Nathan, of course, is not only fierce, but has a young Keanu Reeves thing that will probably keep him going until the top 10 even if he flops around on stage like a dead fish for the next few weeks.
Adam thinks Mollee showed great stillness and says she was awesome. Mary thinks they brought a new energy to the stage and thought they were outstanding. Nigel thought it was great. Thumbs up for India.
Channing and Phillip
Choreographers: Meredith and Tony Lapatin
Verdict: Not so hot
Phillip gets lost in Channing’s eyes, but he doesn’t like that she could kick his ass. Channing likes the fact Phillip is always smiling but hates that he talks so much. Does any of this sound like an episode of “Blind Date” to you guys?
This starts off strong, then crumbles like stale coffee cake. Some of the lifts look sloppy and awkward, and at the end Phillip looks like he’s going to knock out Channing’s teeth out with his crotch.
Adam says they were both struggling with the style, but was impressed that Channing worked her hips. Mary says she could see how hard they were working but Phillip’s feet were sloppy and he let Channing down. Nigel thinks Phillip looked stiff, but he loved Channing’s outfit. When the best you can say is you liked a dancer’s outfit, I’d call that faint praise indeed.
Karen and Kevin
Choreographer: Tabitha and Napoleon
Style: Hip hop
Verdict: Revved up
Karen says Kevin is the sweetest thing ever, but she hates his hair. Kevin thinks Karen is beautiful and dynamic, but he hates that the judges love her more than him.
They’re, um, automotive in some way. Who cares? I totally get what Kevin means about Karen stealing the show, because she actually outshines Kevin in his own category. I mean, he is great but he doesn’t grab me for some reason. Was Kevin supposed to fall off the stage? Really, I wasn’t paying attention, because I was watching Karen. Poor Kevin.
Adam thinks Karen was smoking hot. He thought Kevin was good, too. Mary thought it was hot and puts Karen on the hot tamale train. And she thought Kevin was good, too. Oh, wait, she puts him on the hot tamale train, too, because Karen needs a buddy, I guess. Nigel thought Karen was incredible. And he liked Kevin, too. I’ll say it again: poor Kevin.
Kathryn and Legacy
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Verdict: Mostly there
Kathryn loves that Legacy can speak Bulgarian and hates that he has a cricket whistle. Legacy loves that Kathryn is an emotional mess and hates that she keeps hitting him in rehearsal. This sounds like an unhealthy relationship and the show just started, but that could be good TV!
Legacy is going to be Fear in this dance. Um, okay. This could suck. And actually, this seems to be a continuation of the Cancer Dance from last season, but that being said, I think Legacy and Kathryn are pretty good, though Legacy is the one who really shines. Kathryn has the moves down but isn’t as expressive as I would hope, like she’s fighting off fear but really thinking she’d like to heat up a TV dinner.
Adam thinks Legacy transformed into a different man, and thinks Kathryn brought out something special in him. Mary loved it and thought Legacy grew by leaps and bounds. Nigel thought it was a moving dance that reminded him of Mia Michael’s Addiction Dance from last season (he says Addiction, I say Cancer, tomato, tomahto). He thought Kathryn is emerging from the shadows and Legacy is rocking it. I think the judges are lowering their standards, honestly.
Peter and Pauline
Choreographer: Wade Robson
Style: Vincent van Gogh torture
Verdict: Not crazy making
Peter loves that Pauline takes lots of pictures but hates her sneaker obsession. Pauline loves that Peter is a big cheerleader but hates that he thinks he’s a ladies’ man when he’s really a tool. I think Peter’s a little nicer than Pauline. Maybe next week he’ll hate that she’s really a bitch.
Wade says this is a van Gogh painting come to life, but with the people van Gogh never painted. And then they attack van Gogh and, um, torture him. This sounds weird and very, very imaginative, which I hope is a good thing and not an opportunity for two dancers to crash and burn. I kind of love the idea, but I don’t quite get what Pauline and Peter end up doing. I was hoping for less constraint, but the routine doesn’t seem quite devilish or quite wild, just a little goofy with a really cool backdrop.
Adam thinks the piece will be controversial, but that Pauline and Peter were completely committed. He’s a fan. Mary sees what Adam is thinking, but she didn’t feel it would take them anywhere. Nigel says it was memorable, but thinks Peter’s shoulders were too stiff. Still, he thinks he Pauline was very elegant and precise. I think this isn’t one of the better pieces of the evening.
Ellenore and Ryan
Choreographers: Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo
Style: Argentine tango
Verdict: Cool precision
Could someone tell Ellenore the spelling of her name is stupid? She thinks Ryan drinks too many protein shakes, but she loves his muscles. You can’t have it both ways, Ellenore. Ryan loves Ellenore’s quirky personality, but finds it scary as well. And if this clip is any indication, Ellenore has problems plenty bigger than a stupidly spelled first name.
Every move seems very precise and well-executed, but the routine isn’t as smoking hot as it should be. These two have less than zero chemistry, despite amazing focus. Oh, wait, Ellenore’s got her shoe stuck in her dress. Probably just trying not to fall over. Never mind, they get kudos for not falling over. Because if I had done that, I’d be picking my front teeth out of the first row, honestly.
Adam is impressed that Ellenore kept dancing with her heel stuck in her hem. Mary was also impressed that she kept dancing with a heel stuck in her hem. She thought Ellenore and Ryan could have been tango dancers and gives them both a shout out, but not a tamale train. Nigel says the audience won’t realize how difficult the dance is, but he can’t think of another couple on the show that could do it any better.
Cat says four dancers are in danger. Nigel calls three couple out in a grave tone of voice that makes me think that he might tell one of them he or she has a brain tumor.
Noelle and Russell
Bianca and Victor
Channing and Phillip
Russell can step back, as he’s safe. Noelle, not so lucky. Channing can step back. Phillip, not so lucky. Victor and Bianca can feel comfortable knowing they both sucked enough to be in the bottom four as a couple, so it’s not like they dragged one another down, I guess.
Yay, solo dancing!
She has some nice lines. When she isn’t flailing around with a tennis racket, she’s really pretty good.
When will dancers learn that the solo is not an opportunity to throw in every cool move they can do? That being said, he’s pretty good, too. It’s not looking good for Bianca and Phillip.
Yes, Bianca, we know you can tap. But you also flap your arms around like a chicken when you tap. I’m really not sure if tapping was the best idea for her solo, only because we’ve seen it before and the real question is if you can handle other styles.
Another tapper, yes, but Phillip is using the stage much more effectively and creatively than Bianca. And that smile is infectious.
Because it’s always good to give our bottom four as much time as possible to panic, it’s time for a commercial!
And we’re back, but wait, it’s time for a thrashing! Nigel thinks Bianca has grown, and thirty seconds isn’t a lot of time to shine. Nigel thinks Noelle kicked ass in her solo. Bianca, say bye-bye. I have to say, she wasn’t as good as Noelle, and those flappy chicken arms were going to knock her out at some point, but I do feel bad for her given that she’s auditioned for three damn years. And oh man, she’s crying. And I guess she can’t come back now that she’s been in the top 20. But that will certainly free up her schedule for more dance lessons, so there’s a silver lining.
The clock is running out, so it’s a little quicker auf’ing the guys. Phillip’s out. Nigel says cutting two tappers breaks his heart. Of all the tappers, I never expected Phillip to be out this early. At least Phillip doesn’t cry. Oh, crap, he has to tell the story about how his dad died a week and a half ago. And now he’s crying. And his dad is smiling down on him from heaven. Seriously, this is just bumming me out. I take back what I said about looking forward to two dancers getting chopped. Yes, Cat, now we can hate Tuesdays, too.
Do you think Bianca and Phillip deserved to go? What did you think of the van Gogh dance? And who do you think is an early bet to win it now that Billy’s out?