‘So You Think You Can Dance’ recap: Paula Abdul is in, a dancer is injured

Hey, America! If you were furious with “So You Think You Can Dance” for stuffing the eliminations into the top of the show, rejoice! As Cat Deeley informs us, the producers have heard your complaints and changed the show accordingly. As of this week, we’re back to the old format — the bottom six are announced at the top of the show, but the cuts aren’t made until the end. So, let’s move on. Great opening number from Sonya Tayeh and Christopher Scott!

Did anyone notice Jade missing from the opening number? I didn’t, honestly, but I wasn’t counting heads. But he was missing, because he tore his meniscus and has to have surgery. Naturally, he won’t be staying in the competition, but he tells everyone to dance and dream. Poor Jade. I know a lot of people were not fans of his, as there’s more than one animator on the show, but I’m always sorry to see anyone go due to injury. The good news: Nigel will probably let him come back some other season once he’s recovered. 

Speaking of judges, it’s a jam-packed judges’ table this week. “Birthday boy” Nigel Lythgoe is joined by Mary Murphy, Erin Andrews and Paula Abdul. I’m not sure I’m really excited about Paula as a judge, though she might do a better job with dancing than she did with singing. Erin Andrews is probably a big fan of the show and, as a broadcaster and “DWTS” alumna, has lots of opinions. I’m counting on her to drown out Paula’s random tangents.

Time for the bottom six. Jasmine M., BluPrint, Jenna, Curtis, Alexis and Jade are in the bottom. Nigel, who will be dancing for their lives? No guys are going home, so none of them will be dancing for their lives. Unfortunately for the girls, Nigel wants to see all three of them dance. 

So, they do exactly that. 

Alexis taps enthusiastically. I still hate tap. She has spunk, but I just don’t think there’s any indication that she can do more than this.

Jasmine M. writhes, but it’s a little disappointing. I really want Jasmine to do well, simple because she’s been so good and yet ended up in the bottom. Come on, America! 

Jenna is just so, so good. Ballroom solos are usually a little awkward, but she’s a spitfire. 

Amy & Fik-Shun

The Background: They’ll be doing a paso double. This will be less about Amy being the red cape and more, I guess, interactive. It’s a paso war!

The Dance: Fik-Shun’s feet are pretty leaden, but from the waist up he’s very good. Amy is, as usual, a beast. 

The Judges: Mary thought it was great. She thought Fik-Shun was great, though he needs to work on the footwork and the lines. Oh, and Amy is a warrior princess. Erin thinks Fik-Shun needs to feed the beast and they’re the ones to beat. Paula is so excited to see them in person. She thinks they committed to the hate, and she wishes Amy was around when she was choreographing. Oh, and she knows Fik-Shun and she’s so proud of him she could squish him. Nigel tells Fik-Shun to relax his shoulders. 

The Verdict: This wasn’t Fik-Shun’s forte, but he’ll get by on personality. Amy, of course, is going far, no worries. 

Jasmine H. & Aaron

The Background: They’ll be dancing a Spencer Liff Broadway routine which as a film noir/ murder mystery storyline. Hmmm.

The Dance: Aaron still seems too bulky to do what he does, but man alive, he does it. It doesn’t hurt that he’s paired with Jasmine, who is plain amazing. She’s truly graceful and so expressive, and her extension is beyond. 

The Judges: Erin thinks there was nothing dead about Jasmine’s legs and thinks Aaron came alive. Paula thinks of Aaron like an MGM contract dancer. He’s graceful and grounded. Jasmine reminds her of Cyd Charisse. Nigel went to New York this weekend and he loves Broadway, and he thinks either Aaron or Jasmine would be great on Broadway. Mary thinks this week was about style and class for this power couple. 

The Verdict: They are a power couple, and the fact that they have compelling backstories gives them an advantage. 

Makenzie & Paul

The Background: Its terminal illness dancing! That’s always a hit on this show. Anyway, this is also the debut of a new contemporary choreographer, Lindsay. 

TheDance: Not a great song for this. While it’s good, it doesn’t make me want to burst into tears. The bar has been set so high for dances about death, and this routine (and these dancers) aren’t quite at that level yet. That being said, it is (and they are) very good. 

The Judges: Paula thought it was a beautiful piece. Then she talks about Make-A-Wish. Someone, get her back on topic! Anyway, she thought there was a lot of life in a piece with so much terminal illness in it. Nigel thinks Makenzie is one of the best technical dancers on the show, but she had to let go of that for this dance, and he thinks she did. Mary is weepy. She loved it. She thought Makenzie floated and thinks Paul is a huge surprise. Erin bought in when Paul grabbed Makenzie. She never wants to see Makenzie in the bottom six again. I agree. 

The Verdict: I’m sure some people wept, and they will be voting for both of these dancers. 

Jasmine M. & Alan

The Background: They’ll be doing a Sean Cheesman jazz routine, and it’s going to be quirky and royal-themed and stuff. 

The Dance: This routine is spectacularly weird, and I actually love it. Can voters start pulling for Jasmine M., please? She’s so good! 

The Judges: Nigel like quirky routines like this. He’s amazed by how strong Alan is, and he thinks they had fun. Mary thought it was precise and sharp. She also liked the one-legged lift. She would have liked some more quirkiness. Erin wished they’d have let their hair down a little bit. Paula concurs. 

The Verdict: This might be too weird for voters, admittedly. But I hope this isn’t Jasmine M.’s last dance. 

Jenna & Tucker

The Background: Keone and Mariel Madrid have given Jenna and Tucker a hip hop routine. I’m worried, as it seems hip hop is tripping up almost everyone who isn’t a hip hop dancer this season. 

The Dance: This is only occasionally hip hop, as it’s really a jazz routine with some hip hop elements.  Will the judges be okay with that? Jenna and Tucker dance this very well, but I’m worried they’re going to get dinged for this. 

The Judges: Mary thought it was a bit jazzy. Nigel thought it was hip jazz. But still, Mary thinks Jenna can do anything, and she thought the style sat well with Tucker. Erin thinks Jenna can do anything as well. She thought Tucker was like the King. Elvis? Or Michael Jackson? I thought this was supposed to be a tribute to Michael Jackson. I’m so confused. Anyway, Paula thought it was great and thinks Jenna is amazing. Nigel was reminded of Audrey Hepburn in “Funny Face.” It’s one of his favorite routines of the night. 

The Verdict: The judges just glopped big love all over this, so I don’t think Jenna is going home at the end of the episode. That is, unless the judges are trying to be nice before they cut someone. It’s really hard to know with these darn judges sometimes. 

Malece (sans Jade)

The Background: She’s doing a Sonya Tayeh routine with All-Star Marko (as Jade is no longer available). I’m not surprised Jade pulled a muscle doing a Sonya routine.

The Dance:  Is the stage unusually dark? I can’t see Malece’s expression at all until the end. But it doesn’t really matter, as it’s just a gorgeous routine and Malece really delivers the goods from a dance perspective. I’m sure if I watch this on a better screen I’ll be able to see Malece’s expression, but I’m hopeful. 

The Judges: Standing O from the judges, so I think they liked it. Even Sonya is dancing in the aisles. Erin tells Malece she’s a little Tinkerbell, which is a good thing. Paula just adores Malece and thinks she’s matured. Every single thing she did was poetry in motion. Nigel is sorry to see Marko, because it means there’s been an injury. He thinks Marko brought out the woman in Malece. Mary knew Malece would have this moment on the show, and thought it was perfect from beginning to end. 

The Verdict: The judges love Malece, and I think she really is living up to their expectations at this point. 

Curtis & Hayley

The Background: It’s a samba from Jean Marc Genereux, and it’s going to be sexy, sexy, sexy. Maybe.

The Dance: This was fun, but Curtis disappeared. Hayley completely overshadowed him, and I just don’t think this pairing is working out. 

The Judges: Paula thinks Hayley nailed the samba hips, but thinks Curtis has to be more grounded and less afraid to move her around. Nigel thinks he was dominated by Hayley, and he needs to step up. He thought Curtis looked a little immature. Mary thought some of the samba runs didn’t work, so Curtis needs to work on his feet. But she thought Hayley was amazing. Erin says Hayley is a vixen who just keeps getting better week after week. And Curtis needs to improve. 

The Verdict: Curtis could be in trouble next week. 

Alexis & Nico

The Background: It’s a Spencer Liff routine in which Alexis hypnotizes Nico, so this could be fun or it could be gimmicky. 

The Dance: Alexis just seems to be dancing underwater. She lacks precision and she’s not much fun to watch, to be honest. Nico, on the other hand, has great extension and really nails some of the moves. Still, these two might be my least favorite couple. 

The Judges: Nigel thought there was some stuff in this. Paula was mesmerized by them. Nigel thought Nico was very, very good. Mary was hypnotized. Paula kisses Nigel. Anyway, Mary thought they were evenly matched. Erin thinks Alexis adapted well to the routine, and Nico has gorgeous turns. 

The Verdict: Despite what the judges said, Alexis was not hot. She needs to go home, I think.

Mariah & BluPrint

The Background: They get a hip hop routine from Luther Brown, which sounds like “Leekha” Brown when Cat Deeley says it. Where are all the chyrons this week? 

The Dance: Mariah promises this is going to be sick. I hope it is. The expectations are high for hip hop dancers doing hip hop. And this is initially amazing… then they lie down on the floor and execute moves EVEN THE CAMERAS CAN’T PICK UP VERY WELL. What the hell was Luther thinking? Not cute. I miss NappyTabs. 

The Judges: Mary thought BluPrint coped well with the choreography but needs him to emote more. Still, Mary thought it was sick, but not ill. Erin thought Mariah shook it and she wants to see BluPrint emote. Paula thought they were in synch, but felt they didn’t stay in character throughout. She wants more personality from BluPrint, but thought Mariah exudes personality. Nigel agrees. 

The Verdict: Mariah is, yes, sick. BluPrint might survive by association, and for showing his abs. 

Nigel tells Jenna… that she will be staying. She wilts in relief. Jasmine M. steps forward. The choreographers feel she has too much self-doubt. But she’s tremendous! So she needs to lose that. On to Alexis. Choreographers give her a note, and she’ll fix her movements, then five minutes later screw up again. 

And Jasmine M. is going home. NO! I am so disappointed. She needs to be more self-confident… so they’re sending her home. That will help. I would think that would be easier to fix than Alexis being a dumbass who can’t take direction. Unreal. Really, the only tapper I want to see more of in this competition is Aaron. 

So, Jasmine M. and Jade get the boot.  Very sad to see Jasmine M. go, a little less sad to see Jade get the boot. I still feel as if the judges are trying to save people according to some strategy they have as opposed to strong dancing or great personality. But maybe things will get better next week?

Were you sad to see Jasmine M. and Jade go? Who do you think will be eliminated next week? What did you think of Paula and Erin as judges?